Stories for November 2014

Stories for November 2014


Wednesday, November 26

Crime in Mount Vernon

The following incidents were reported by the Mount Vernon District Police Station.

Mount Vernon: Storck Sets Office Hours

Fairfax County School Board Member Dan Storck will host Saturday Community Office Hours in December and January:

Column: ‘Shrinkage’

Not exactly “like a frightened turtle” as “similed” on a long-ago Seinfeld episode by Jerry himself; this shrinkage is the good kind, the kind you hope a radiological oncologist characterizes when viewing your CT Scan (computed tomography).

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Mount Vernon Schools Host Virginia Secretary of Education

“Pre-ci-pi-ta-tion at-mo-sphere, pre-ci-pi-ta-tion at-mo-sphere.” Hybla Valley music teacher Carla Okouchi helped fourth grade students count out beats for a cross-discipline lesson on music and weather. The floor-seated students picked up white plastic recorders and tweeted a melody, with percussive accompaniment from maracas, wood blocks and tambourine.

Burke, Fairfax Station, Springfield, Mount Vernon: What Are You Thankful for This Thanksgiving?

“I’m thankful for my family, my relative health and my eighth grade Civics students at South County Middle School.”

95 Express Lanes Scheduled to Open in December in Stafford County and Fairfax County

Beginning next month, a 29-mile stretch of I-95 should look a little different. Existing HOV lanes will change to “Express Lanes,” offering drivers with an E-ZPass a less congested alternative. The change affects 95 starting in Stafford County around Garrisonville Road, north to I-395 in Fairfax County by Edsall Road.

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Mount Vernon Girls’ Basketball Looking for Improvement

Majors open season at home against Centreville on Dec. 2.

The Mount Vernon girls' basketball team opens its season at home against Centreville on Dec. 2.

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(Mount Vernon) Thanksgiving Q&A: UVA, Tech Rivalry Meaningful to Sable Family

Mount Vernon’s Amber Sable all-conference in field hockey, softball.

Mount Vernon's Amber Sable hopes to attend the University of Virginia or Virginia Tech.

Tuesday, November 25

And The “Scancer” Is…

Unknown at this date – Saturday, November 15. In fact, it will be six days from now until we’ll know the results. As it is always scheduled, a week or so after my quarterly CT Scan, we will have our usual follow-up, face-to-face appointment with my oncologist. At this meeting, I am examined, and of course, the radiologist’s report of the most recent scan is discussed, and plans for the future – stay the course and/or adjust or switch altogether – are considered.


Not exactly “like a frightened turtle” as “similed” on a long-ago Seinfeld episode by Jerry himself; this shrinkage is the good kind, the kind you hope a radiological oncologist characterizes when viewing your CT Scan (computed tomography). Specifically, the exact kind of scan I get every three months to assess and evaluate the tumors, and fluid, in my stage IV, non-small cell cancer-affected lungs.

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An Exceptional Education

Exceptional Schools Fair offers parents a chance to learn more about schools for their children with special needs.

Maureen Kleinman wandered from booth to booth, speaking with representatives from schools that cater to students who have special needs. She asked questions about each school’s resources and environment.

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November Raises Awareness and Celebrates Caregivers

Resources available for people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

Mary Driver-Downs has been one of the primary caregivers for her mother-in-law, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, for the past six years. It has been a difficult journey, but one she says is well worth it.

Editorial: Holidays Are About Giving

Give thanks and share; tens of thousands of families around us are in need.

The holidays are about giving, and giving thanks. The holidays are about children and family. The holidays are about sharing, about joy. The holidays are about being thankful and about faith and appreciation. The holidays are about alleviating suffering for others. Surrounded by the bounty in so many neighborhoods in Northern Virginia, many of us see little signs of the massive unmet needs here. But in Fairfax County Public Schools, more than 52,000 of the students are poor enough to receive free or subsidized meals, a significant measure of poverty.

Monday, November 24

Mount Vernon: Kroah Serving As Interim Pastor

Don Kroah, known to radio audiences throughout the Washington, D.C. area as host of WAVA Radio’s The Don Kroah Show, is serving as interim pastor at Plymouth Haven Baptist Church in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Crime Report

The following incidents were reported by the Mount Vernon District Police Station.

The following incidents were reported by the Mount Vernon District Police Station.

Letter to the Editor Mount Vernon:For All Those Who Believe

In the Nov. 13-19 publication of The Gazette, Rocky Curtis, in a letter to the editor, extolled the goodness of Tom (a.k.a. Santa) Bailey and indicated that with a neighbor, Wendy Kilpatrick, will miss Tom.

Letter to the Editor Mount Vernon: Help Disadvantaged Students

I found it very interesting that the Chantilly Pyramid Minority Student Achievement Committee (CPMSAC) [“Only Excellence Is Good Enough,”] is working so closely with the public school system and the community in an effort for bettering the academic successes and potential of minority students.

Letter to the Editor Mount Vernon: Supervisors Lack Transparency

I have grown frustrated with the lack of transparency of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors concerning the manner by which they vote upon prospective appointees to the various county boards, authorities and commissions.

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Mount Vernon: Chamber Provides Spotlight on Area’s Needy

Nonprofits discuss their services.

What would it be like to live in south Fairfax County and be out of work, lose your house, and not have hope for the future?

Sunday, November 23

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‘Little Shop of Horrors’ at West Potomac High in Mount Vernon

The final performances of West Potomac High School’s “Little Shop of Horrors” took place Nov. 13, 14 and 15 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. The cast included Sarah Lore, Aubrey Blount, David Jarzen, ,JP Havranek, Austin Harlow, and Nikki Amico.

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Mount Vernon: West Potomac High Cheerleaders Honored at Patriot Conference

Four West Potomac varsity cheerleaders were honored in the Patriot Conference competition this October.

Thursday, November 20

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Q&A: Mount Vernon’s Zyzyk Signs with Towson Softball

Center fielder was first-team all-state in 2014.

Mount Vernon's Stormy Zyzyk will play softball at Towson.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: October, 2014

In October 2014, 118 homes sold between $2,300,000-$90,000 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: October, 2014

1,000 celebrate the life of Hannah Graham at West Potomac High School in Mount Vernon

West Potomac softball coach Craig Maniglia knew Hannah Graham starting when she was seven years old, through being her coach on the varsity softball team. He was one of 17 speakers at a closed memorial for Graham in the West Potomac High School auditorium on Nov. 15.

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Lorton’s Pohick Church Hosts 55th Colonial Christmas Mart

Turkey salad, green beans, cranberry sauce, stuffed celery, pumpkin pie, coffee and tea: Anita Stribling has helped serve the same holiday meal for 300 people for 52 years.

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Fairfax County-wide Nonprofits Offer Gift Ideas and Civic Engagement

In over 20 years as manager of Burke Lake Park, Charlie Reagle has seen a lot of benches installed. So many in fact that he’s running out of water view locations. And though many people choose to honor deceased family members with a bench, he’s had plenty donated in tribute to the living. One pair of sisters gave a bench as a birthday gift to their mother; it had two plaques, one of which was at ground level so the mother’s dog could see it.

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Renovation Keeps Rolling at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria

New wing showcased at Nov. 14 ribbon-cutting.

Thomas Jefferson senior Thomas Rogers is big on the laser cutter. “You can cut anything you want,” said the McLean resident, “like exact designs on sheet metal.” Rogers was enthusiastic about the device, but wouldn’t fire it up during the Nov. 14 tour of the Science and Technology Governor’s School’s new two-story wing with 14 research spaces.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors makes two rail-facilitating moves; Arlington ends streetcar project.

As the Silver Line Metororail project progresses towards its second phase opening date of 2018, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors are helping pave the way.

Wednesday, November 19

Editorial: Why Shop Small? Shop Large Locally

Small business Saturday isn’t enough; don’t wait until then, and don’t stop after that.

There is a joy to shopping in local stores at the holidays, to participating in community traditions and celebrations, to walking along a sidewalk with the streets decked out for the holidays, to being greeted by someone likely to be the owner of the store, to finding gifts that are not mass-produced.

Column: And The “Scancer” Is…

Unknown at this date – Saturday, November 15. In fact, it will be six days from now until we’ll know the results. As it is always scheduled, a week or so after my quarterly CT Scan, we will have our usual follow-up, face-to-face appointment with my oncologist.

Thursday, November 13

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Alexandria Dental Office Offers Free Services for Veterans Day

Willie Davis of Mount Vernon just had an impacted molar surgically removed. “When I bit down, every time I ate it was hurting, like biting the inside of my cheek,” he said. “Not having insurance, not knowing how to get this tooth fixed, it was a blessing actually, that someone would give us a free service.”

Letter to the Editor: Puller Supports Review Board

The following letter was addressed to Sharon Bulova, chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. I am writing to you to recommend that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors create, appoint and support a Citizen Complaint Review Board.

Letter to the Editor: Who Will Protect River?

To the Editor: For over a month, an abandoned boat named "Group Therapy" out of Washington, D.C. has been tied to trees along the shoreline of the Potomac River next to the George Washington Parkway just south of the exit for Vernon View Drive.

Letter to the Editor: Joyful Feeling

To the Editor: Apparently, next-door neighbor Wendy Kilpatrick and I have enjoyed the same experience with retiring Tom (Santa) Bailey of the Belle View post Office. [“‘Twas the Night before Retirement,” The Gazette, Nov. 6.]

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Traveling Purses Raise Domestic Violence Awareness Around Fairfax County

“Victoria” moved to the United States eight years ago with her husband. (Her name has been changed for protective anonymity.) At the beginning, he was the perfect gentleman: holding doors, full of compliments, telling her he loved her. She quit her job to be with him, her first love. Their future in a new country seemed bright.

Mount Vernon: Boy Scouts Stack Shelves at Rising Hope

Decked out in full Scout regalia complete with kerchiefs and insignia patches, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of Troop 1509 turned out in force Saturday morning, Nov. 8, to fill the shelves of the “Milk & Honey” Food Pantry at Rising Hope.

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Jean R. Packard Remembered at Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna

Jean Packard was Frank Roberts’ first boss. He was 13, she was 22 and the acting editor of her father Dave’s Clermont Sun newspaper in Batavia, Ohio. “I was a ‘devil’s rat,’” Roberts said, responsible for odd gofer jobs around the office. “I was trying to hide from work and she’d track me down. She was a tough boss.”

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Mount Vernon: Modern Man Cavorts at St. Aidan’s

The folk-pop trio of musical satirists known as Modern Man had the crowd at St. Aidan’s Saturday night, Nov. 8, fairly rolling on the sanctuary’s glossy cement floor.

Brief: Storytelling Night at SLES

Stratford landing Elementary School is hosting a Storytelling Night on Thursday, Nov. 13. Reading will start at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, November 12

McLean Location for 2015 DC Design House

House will benefit Children’s National Health System.

The new country estate at 956 Mackall Farm Lane in McLean will be the location for the 8th annual DC Design House, a project that raises money to benefit Children’s National Health System. The 2015 DC Design House will be held from April 11 to May 10.

New Interior Design Book Features Local Tastemakers

Interior designers offer advice on creating an elegant home.

Fall not only brings vibrantly colored leaves and pumpkins, but it also ushers in a slew of new book releases. Among those is an interior design book featuring local designers.

Editorial: Thanksgiving Help for Those in Need

Roll up those sleeves and help.

This week is the week to jump in to help the many organizations that will help needy families through the holidays. Here are a few ideas of how to help, but the opportunities are limitless. More than 236,000 people living in the area do not have access to enough food to sustain an active, healthy life for all members of their households, according to Catholic Charities. That is to say, more than a quarter of a million people, including many children, go hungry on a regular basis.

Column: Excuse Me

Early on during my indoctrination/assimilation into the cancer-patient world in which I now reside, I remember asking a fellow cancer patient/friend if I could use cancer as an excuse for whatever it was needed excusing (directly or indirectly related), and she said: absolutely, “blame the cancer.”

Thursday, November 6

Letters to the Editor

Left Out?

Just received the 2014 Transportation Bond Referendum Information from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Well-Deserved Local Honor

In last week's Gazette, Orron Kee corrected my inadvertent error concerning the former name of Colonel John R. Byers Park but he erred concerning Col. Byers' middle initial.

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Celebrating Fall at George Washington’s Farm

Mount Vernon hosts Fall Harvest Family Days.

As the sun beamed down from an early fall sky, children pierced apple chunks with sharpened tree branches, held them over an open fire and then carefully dipped them into a jar of honey.

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Urban Kayaking in the Mount Vernon District jump

Time To Expand Recreational Opportunities

On the north side of Cameron Run across from the Riverside apartments we decide to take a few minutes to explore a series of adjoining tunnels that go under the beltway into what Google Maps indicates to be Hooffs Run and Four Mile Run on the same stream.

Letter: Addressing Metro Capacity

The following open letter was addressed to Aubrey Layne, Jr., Virginia Secretary of Transportation.

The following open letter was addressed to Aubrey Layne, Jr., Virginia Secretary of Transportation.

Election Results

Election Results

U.S. 1 Multimodal Study Is Done

Now it’s time for action.

Last week, a long-standing debate in our community was finally resolved — what should the U.S. 1 Corridor look like? It was a long time coming.

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Yacht Haven Garden Club Hosts 31st Annual Fashion Show

Yacht Haven Garden Club Hosts 31st Annual Fashion Show

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Healing from Domestic Violence

The Women’s Group of Mount Vernon holds 10th anniversary.

”It took me almost 20 years to look in the mirror to say ‘I love myself, I know I’m grand,’” said Mattie Palmore, co-founder for The Women’s of Mount Vernon, Inc. “I Love Myself, I Know I’m Grand” was the theme for the organization’s 10th anniversary celebration at the Gum Springs Community Center on Saturday, Oct. 25.

Cookbook Offers Hearty Dinners

Local chefs use seasonal produce to create new dishes.

When the weather turns chilly and the produce at farmers’ markets change from bright orange tomatoes to thick skinned squash and pumpkins, Dorothy Myers faces a culinary conundrum.

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Natural Treatments for Anxiety

Experts say complementary medical treatments can help relieve anxiety and other mental disorders.

When 35-year-old Andrea Evenson decided to try meditation, exercise and yoga to deal with her anxiety, she had already been on a myriad of anti-anxiety medications.

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Column: November Is Adoption Month

Here’s how to help find a forever family for children and teens waiting in foster care.

If you are lucky, you don't know what it's like to live in the precarious limbo that defines foster care in this country.

Commentary: Sometimes Perception Really Isn’t Reality

Fairfax County is home to one of the wealthiest populations in the country. Unbeknownst to many, the county is also home to the second largest population of homelessness in this region. In fact, more than 1,200 residents of Fairfax County are without stable and safe homes.

Wednesday, November 5

Remembering Hannah

Hannah Graham honored by candlelight and silence.

A young boy walked the eight-sided labyrinth with steady, assured steps following a well-traveled path to the center. He had done this before. The low clicking of his high-tops on the smooth dark concrete mingled in the air with guitar and flute music, wind buffeting branches outside the church and the occasional tearful sigh.

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Twas the Night Before Retirement

Tom Bailey aka Santa Claus leaves Post Office after 30 years.

Wendy Kilpatrick used to mail her packages with help from Santa. The Hollin Hills resident would often joke with the Christmas icon while purchasing postage at the Belle View Post Office.

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HOT Topic

Fairfax County Fire & Rescue invites the media for Hands-On Training.

Rob Schoenberger is pretty good with a 15-foot extendable camera. Its built-in microphone and powerful lights come in handy, paired with a Delsar seismic sensor device, when trying to locate people trapped under the rubble of a collapsed building.

Column: Dos, Don’ts and What-Ifs

Instinctively, I am not the most open-to-new-ideas/new-things kind of person. However, an unexpected diagnosis of stage IV, non small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) at age 54 and a half – along with its equally unexpected “13-month to two-year prognosis,” changes a few things.

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Northern Virginia Democrats Hold Their Ground

In uneasy election, Beyer takes 8th district, but leaves Senate too close to call.

Despite the election still being too close to call, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner gave his supporters at the Doubletree Hotel in Crystal City a full smile and a victory speech. With less than 1 percent of the vote favoring Warner over his Republican challenger Ed Gillespie, the question is whether or not Gillespie will ask for a recount. But if this was troubling Warner as much as it was the Democrats gathered the night of Nov 4, he didn’t show it.

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Gerry Gets Things Done

Democratic incumbent Connolly fends off Republican challenger Suzanne Scholte.

As Huey Lewis and the News’ “Power of Love” poppy ballad led a soundtrack infused with ’80s pop and modern country music, the mood at the DoubleTree Crystal City hotel in Arlington ebbed and flowed between elated cheers and frustrated boos.