Stories for September 2015

Stories for September 2015


Wednesday, September 30

Editorial: Changing Perspective on Death Penalty

Evolving standards will eclipse the death penalty entirely at some point in the future.

It’s sad to see senseless death as a response to senseless death. Alfred R. Prieto is not a sympathetic figure, a serial killer who was on death row in California when DNA connected him to murders and rapes in Reston and Arlington that took place in 1988. He is scheduled for execution this week, at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1.

Saturday, September 26

Tease photo

Burke: Lake Braddock Defense Holds Off West Potomac

Bruins QB Edwards scores go-ahead touchdown on fourth-down run.

The Lake Braddock football team defeated West Potomac 24-21 Friday.

Friday, September 25

Alexandria/Mount Vernon Weekend Fun: Sept. 25-Oct. 4

Events in Alexandria City and Mount Vernon, Va.

Thursday, September 24

Mount Vernon Brief: Garden Club To Host Annual Fashion Show

The Yacht Haven Garden Club is presenting its 32nd annual Fashion Show and Luncheon, “Rendezvous in Paris”, on Thursday, Oct. 15, at 10 a.m. at the Fort Belvoir Officers Club in Alexandria.

Commentary: Importance of Ad Hoc Commission’s Role

Letter to the Editor

Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the commission, Mount Vernon Lee Chamber of Commerce is honored to provide testimony on the practices and policies of the Fairfax County Police Department to facilitate the discussion of this commission.

Letter: What Changes Have Been Made?

Letter to the Editor

The Black Lives Matter folks were rude and disruptive at the police review commission hearing last week, but they spoke the truth and I hope county officials heard them.

Letter: Praising League For Forum

Letter to the Editor

I attended the "meet and greet" last Wednesday held by the League of Women Voters at the Sherwood Hall Library.

Tease photo

Obituary: Hugh A. McDermott

Hugh Arthur McDermott, born May 5, 1936 in Moore County, N.C., died Sept. 19, 2015. He graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering in 1959.

Tease photo

Mount Vernon Snapshot: Gala Honors Hyland

The American Horticultural Society’s 22nd annual gala, “Reflections of River Farm — A Step Back in Time,” included honoring Gerald W. Hyland, retiring Mount Vernon District supervisor (second from left). With him at the Sept. 19 event are Shirley Robson, Helen Walutes and John I. Morton.

Tease photo

Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church at 60

“What’s interesting about Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church is that it was not established from the top down, but rather by a group of Hollin Hills and Tauxemont families who wanted a liberal religious education for their children,” said the Rev. Kate Walker at the celebration of the church’s 60th anniversary on Sunday, Sept. 13.

Mount Vernon: Candidates on ‘Inside Scoop’

The non-partisan Meet and Greet Candidates Forum for certified candidates competing for Clerk of the Court, Commonwealth Attorney, Sheriff, and Director of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District will be broadcast on Inside Scoop from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 on Channel 10.

Mount Vernon: Local Author Pens Second Novel

Stephen D. Hayes writes “Missing Letters.”

Longtime Belle Haven resident Stephen D. Hayes’ latest novel “Missing Letters” involves dealing with loss.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: August, 2015

In August, 2015, 112 homes sold between $2,075,000-$129,900 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: August, 2015

Principal Nardos King Leaves Mount Vernon High School

On her last day, Mount Vernon High School principal Nardos King went into school trying to act like it wasn’t anything different. But as she walked through the halls, she couldn’t help but reminisce over the 20 years of different jobs and professional growth she experienced in the building.

Tease photo

Mount Vernon: Crowd Fills Candidate Forum

Without an incumbent running for Mount Vernon District supervisor, the candidates meet and greet event at the Sherwood Regional Library was understandably crowded. Republican Jane Gandee is running against Democratic primary winner Dan Storck to replace longtime supervisor Gerry Hyland (D-Mount Vernon), who announced he would not seek re-election last year.

Mount Vernon: Local Man Charged in Shooting Death

Freddy A. Bonilla Rodriguez of Alexandria was charged with second-degree murder in a Hybla Valley shooting that occurred Sept. 21.

Tease photo

Fairfax County NAACP hosts 70th Freedom Fund Awards

‘Your Vote, Your Power’

J.E.B. Stuart High School seniors Anna Rowan, Cassie Marcotty, Marley Finley, Abby Conde and Lidia Amanuel were bothered by the Confederate legacy of their school. Inspired by a history class with teacher Keith Bropst on the Massive Resistance anti-segregation policy, the girls set out to change Stuart’s name, mascot and colors.

Tease photo

Fairfax NAACP To Host Rally Seeking ‘Justice for Natasha McKenna’

Fairfax County NCAAP president Shirley Ginwright announced a rally will be held Sept. 27 to demand justice for Natasha McKenna, a 37-year-old woman with mental illness who died in February after she had been held in the Adult Detention Center.

Wednesday, September 23

Tease photo

Alexandria: Mount Vernon Football To Host T.C. Williams in Conference 7 Matchup

Majors 2-1 after beating TJ, Titans 1-2 after loss to Westfield.

The T.C. Williams football team will travel to face Mount Vernon on Friday, Sept. 25.

Tease photo

Mount Vernon: West Potomac To Face Early-Season Challenge Against Lake Braddock

Wolverines, Bruins both 3-0 entering Friday's matchup.

West Potomac and Lake Braddock are both 3-0 and will face one another Friday.

Friday, September 18

Ending Bullying

Back to School: Local educators offer advice for parents on how to deal with bullying as school resumes.

When Carol Baker cried, no one heard her. She and a classmate were alone in the girls locker room, and as Baker, then an eighth grade student, tried to leave, her classmate grabbed her gym shirt and pushed her into a locker. They weren’t fighting over anything in particular and Baker didn’t sustain any physical injuries.

Help for Long-Term Caregivers

AARP Virginia and the Organization of Chinese American Women will sponsor event next week.

Those embarking on a long-term caregiving journey will have an opportunity to receive support and learn about the services available to them in Northern Virginia. AARP Virginia and the Organization of Chinese American Women will sponsor an event called, “Caregiving Wisdom from an Ancient Sage,” on Sept. 22, 7 p.m., at the Shirlington Library in Arlington and again on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 7.p.m., at the George Mason Regional Library in Annandale.

Thursday, September 17

Tease photo

Fairfax County: ‘Reports and Tears Are Not Enough’

Protesters demonstrate for Natasha McKenna, social justice and improved mental health services at ad hoc police review commission public hearing.

Cayce Utley of Centreville said Natasha McKenna, the 37-year-old African American woman with mental illness who died in the Sheriff’s Office custody in February, must be “more than just a mistake, more than an accident. Black women aren’t your ‘Oops,’ they aren’t your teachable moments.”

Tease photo

Fairfax County School Board Reflects on First Day of Later Start Times

James Madison High School senior Ben Press provided firsthand testimony for the positive effect of new later start times for Fairfax County high school students. “Your investment in our health paid off, as can be seen in the better-rested faces of thousands of high school students across the county,” said Press, addressing the Fairfax County School Board in his new role as student representative at their Sept. 10 meeting.

Wednesday, September 16

Tease photo

Mount Vernon: One of the Last of Its Kind

Variety Store sells more than 12,000 items.

“Experience the Nostalgia of an Old Five and Dime Store.” This statement is inscribed on the Variety Store business card, and reflects its commitment to the old school approach to retail store customer service. T

Thursday, September 10

Tease photo

Alexandria/Mount Vernon Weekend Fun: Sept. 11-20

Events in Alexandria City and the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County, Va.

Letter: Time for No Tax Pledge

Letter to the Editor

A supervisor candidate campaign article “Seeking to Steer Fairfax County” published in the Mt. Vernon Gazette on Sept. 3-9, 2015 issue, describes what the Board of Supervisors (BOS) do in carrying out their responsibilities such as taxing and setting priorities for services to the public.

Letter: Lock Up Guns

Letter to the Editor

If you knew someone who was contemplating suicide and you could keep them from doing it, would you? Of course you would.

Mount Vernon: Public Invited to Next Police Commission Forum

In an effort to open more opportunities for people around the county to participate and share their views, the Fairfax County Ad Hoc Commision on Police Policies and Practices will hold its next public forum in the Mount Vernon area on Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Tease photo

Mount Vernon Snapshot: Snapshot of Summer

Some local girls relax after an evening swim at Belle Haven Marina (from left): Reade Lambeth, Catherine Smeallie, and Ella Turner, all age 13.

Tease photo

Mount Vernon Snapshot: Tag Day This Saturday

West Potomac performing arts students are hoping members of the community will open their doors — and their wallets — when they knock on Tag Day, Saturday, Sept. 12.

Tease photo

Mount Vernon: Quilters Unlimited Help UCM

Members of the Mount Vernon chapter of Quilters Unlimited of Northern Virginia spent their summer crafting blankets and quilts to donate to families and children at United Community Ministries (UCM). On Sept. 2, the chapter delivered more than 40 one-of-a-kind handmade items to UCM.

Tease photo

Fairfax County: Garza Tours on the First Day of School

Though she visited several schools on the first day of the new year, Fairfax County Public Schools superintendent only received one welcome banner. That was from the articulate student leaders at Mantua Elementary School, who told her “sense of community” and “great teachers who encourage creativity” were among their favorite things about the school.

Mount Vernon: No Criminal Charges In McKenna Death

Tasers did not directly cause Natasha McKenna’s death, nor are any of the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office deputies involved with the case being charged with a crime. Those are the positions announced Tuesday, Sept. 8 by Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh.

Wednesday, September 9

Tease photo

Mount Vernon Engagement: Pitts, Soult Wed

Dr. Alexa Elise Pitts and Dr. Michael Clarkston Soult II were united in marriage on Saturday Sept. 5, 2015 at Freemason Street Baptist Church in Norfolk.

Mount Vernon Brief: MVHS To Host School Budget Information Meeting

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is encouraging the public to help in the development of the FY 2017 budget. Because projected costs for items such as enrollment growth, state mandated retirement, health insurance costs, and employee salary increases are outpacing projected revenues, FCPS anticipates a significant budget shortfall for school year 2016-17 (FY 2017). To balance the budget, FCPS may have to cut, reduce, or redesign current programs.

Tease photo

Mount Vernon Snapshot: Team Effort

Members of West Potomac High School Cross-Country volunteered to organize donated school supplies at United Community Ministries on Aug. 17.

Mount Vernon Brief: Esther Manns Named Interim Principal at MVHS

Esther Manns, who has served as an assistant principal at Mount Vernon High School since 2004, has agreed to serve as the interim principal for Mount Vernon High School.

Mount Vernon Brief: Help Identify Suspect In Attempted Abduction

Police are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a man believed to be responsible for an attempted abduction that occurred on Thursday, Aug. 27.

‘Remodeled Home Tour’

A 3,700-square-foot, four-bedroom center hall Colonial renovated in phases over nearly two decades will be featured in a “Remodeled Home Tour” sponsored by Sun Design Remodeling.

Tease photo

Thinking of Downsizing?

Free seminar will focus on moving to a smaller place without sacrificing style.

Homeowners considering a move from a large home to a smaller dwelling will have an opportunity to receive expert advice on their transition later this month.

Editorial: Focusing on Suicide Prevention

Help is a phone call away.

This week is Suicide Prevention Week. Preventing suicide means paying attention to mental health and treating depression, and there is no better time to focus on that than the first week of school.

Friday, September 4

Tease photo

West Potomac Football Beats Langley in Season Opener

Wolverines amass 543 yards of offense, five different players reach end zone.

The West Potomac football team defeated Langley 41-28 Thursday.

Tease photo

Mount Vernon: Teaming Up for ‘Books on Bases’

Sheila Stevens, deputy director of Programming for Blue Star Families, welcomes the families to the Books on Bases event on Aug. 23 at Fort Belvoir. Behind her are former Redskins player Roger McIntosh and Yellow Ribbons United co-founder Derrick Dockery. More than 100 families gathered to participate in the program offered by the partnership of Blue Star Families and Yellow Ribbons United.

Thursday, September 3

Mount Vernon: Vanderhye, New Principal at Whitman Middle

With international experience, Vanderhye brings 38 years of education to the job.

With 38 years in education, Roger Vanderhye, 59, of McLean was named new principal July 1 of Whitman Middle School, at 2500 Parkers Lane in Alexandria, replacing former principal Jean Bell.

Tease photo

Mount Vernon: New Hope Housing Receives ‘Housing First’ Award

New Hope Housing Executive Director Pamela L. Michell accepted the “Housing First” award on Aug. 26 from the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness (VCEH) on behalf of New Hope Housing at the “Housing Virginia’s Most Vulnerable” conference in Richmond.

Letter: Common Sense Gun Measures

Letter to the Editor

Our thoughts and prayers are with state of Virginia and the families, friends, and colleagues of Alison Parker and Adam Ward killed on live television.

Tease photo

Mount Vernon Snapshot: Helping Prepare for School

More than 850 Mount Vernon area students from low-income families received new backpacks and school supplies this past week thanks to United Community Ministries’ annual summer Back to School campaign.

Column: Warming to Solar Power


Last week, the State Corporation Commission (SCC) approved an innovative solar program proposed by Dominion Resources, a project that will enhance consumer choices and facilitate clean, renewable energy production for many Virginians.

Tease photo

Mount Vernon Snapshot: Body Recovered

A search for a 16-year-old swimmer in the waters of Little Hunting Creek, that began shortly after 8:30 p.m. Aug 26, ended in the recovery of his body shortly after 1 p.m., Aug. 27.

Tease photo

Alexandria/Mount Vernon Weekend Fun: Sept. 4-13

Events near Alexandria, Va.

Mount Vernon Field Hockey Faces Early-Season Challenge

Michelle Diminuco scores twice in win over Stuart.

Moments after the Mount Vernon field hockey team earned its first win of the season, beating Stuart 2-0 on Tuesday, head coach Jessica Edwards shifted focus to four lopsided losses the Majors suffered the previous week.

Wednesday, September 2

Tease photo

Workplace Fitness

Employer-based health and wellness programs are good for business.

It’s Wednesday afternoon and a cohort of George Mason University staff, students and faculty hit the pavement. Clad in attire ranging from running shorts and brightly colored sneakers to neutral walking shoes and business suits, the group takes part in “Who’s Walking Wednesdays,” part of an initiative to get moving for health and wellness.

Tuesday, September 1

Editorial: How to Vote; It Matters

Voting begins in two weeks, Sept. 18.

Election Day is Nov. 3, and on that day, virtually every state and local office is on the ballot. In-person absentee voting begins Sept. 18, barely two weeks from now.