Stories for August 2016

Stories for August 2016


Wednesday, August 31

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Mount Vernon: Valencourt Scholarships Presented

Thanks to a bequest from her estate in 2014, the Lois Valencourt Scholarship Fund at UCM enables students who have graduated from high schools in the Mount Vernon area to pursue training and career advancement after high school graduation.

Mount Vernon: FBI, FCPD Seek Robbery Suspect

The FBI has joined with the Mount Vernon Police District in seeking information about the armed commercial robbery that was committed at Beauty Island, 7814 Richmond Highway on Tuesday, Aug, 23 at around 11:15 a.m.

A Musing: Youse Gazette Readers

Youse Gazette readers is clearly an educated bunch, so I take great pains to use well gramer and speling.

Letter: Does He Bite?

Letter to the Editor

Well, they're finally over! Suffering through the breathless NBC "coverage" of Olympic "sports," many of which few of us have ever heard of, involving Zika-virus and Rio-mugging avoidance tips, inane commentary, and tedious "up-close and personals" punctuated by the occasional showing of an actual event and immediate post-race interviews with "heroes" gasping for breath, I wondered about the origins of the ridiculous habit of winning athletes appearing to take a bite out of their medal before the cameras.

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Alexandria Appetite: 3 Spots to Get a Great Beer Around Town

Whether watching a game or enjoying an after-work happy hour, these spots won’t disappoint.

Ready to kick back with friends or catch the big game? Here are three spots with great beer lists — and great food, too.

Editorial: Take One Action to Prevent Suicide

Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 5-13, #MindsMatter

As school begins, we are accustomed to safety warnings. Slow down driving, watch for students along the roads, near schools and perhaps behaving unpredictably near intersections. Buckle seat belts. Wear bicycle helmets. Avoid distracted driving.

Thursday, August 25

Vienna/Oakton Nonprofits: Making Community Work

Making Community Work

Caring for an Ill Spouse?

The Well Spouse Association, a national nonprofit which provides peer support to those caring for a chronically ill or disabled spouse, has free support groups in various northern Virginia locations. For more information, go to or call 800-838-0879.

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Keeping Youth Safe, Healthy and Drug Free

Looking for ways to keep Fairfax County youth and young adults safe, healthy and drug free? Then check out getting involved with the nonprofit Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County (UPC).

Column: Greater Transparency in Policing

Fairfax County Police embrace change, sanctity of life for all.

The Fairfax County Police Department was established on July 1, 1940 and today we have an authorized strength of 1,406 sworn law enforcement officers.

Welcoming Business Community in Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce welcomes newcomers to the area.

I am pleased to welcome you to Northern Virginia on behalf of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce (Northern Virginia Chamber) and the regional business community. The Northern Virginia Chamber is The Voice of Business in Northern Virginia, representing nearly 700 member companies which in total employ more than 500,000 members of our regional community.

Helping to End and Prevent Homelessness

Nonprofits around Northern Virginia help with chronic homelessness, homeless families, victims of domestic violence, homeless youth and more.

Nonprofits around Northern Virginia help with chronic homelessness, homeless families, victims of domestic violence, homeless youth and more.

‘Insider’s Tip’ to New Businesses

Fairfax County Economic Development Authority helps in starting or expanding business in the county.

If you are new to Fairfax County, welcome to one of the world’s most interesting places to live and work. If you are new to the county and are interested in being part of our dynamic business community, here is an “insider’s tip” that you will want to know: The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), works with everyone who wants to start or expand a business in the county.

County Schools: Teaching for 21st Century

What’s new at Fairfax County Public Schools.

Welcome to the 2016-17 school year in Fairfax County Public Schools. With each new school year, we have the wonderful opportunity to build upon our previous successes and continue to improve our work with our students.

Sharon Bulova: 'Welcome to Fairfax County'

Welcome to Fairfax County, one of the greatest places in the nation to live, work, play and raise a family.

About the Connection

As your local, weekly newspaper, the Connection’s mission is to deliver the local news you need, to try to make sense of what is happening in your community, to gather information about the best things in and around your community, to advocate for community good, to provide a forum for dialogue on local concerns, and to celebrate and record achievements, milestones and events in the community and people’s lives.

How to Vote in Fairfax County

Every year is election year in Virginia; mechanics and details of voting require attention to detail.

Every year is election year in Virginia; mechanics and details of voting require attention to detail.

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Sailing: So Near to the City but So Far Away

Lessons on the water.

Joan Darrah walks down the wooden pier to the Flying Scot. "Hold on to the mast while you step on the boat," she says to Sarah White, a summer employee who is out for a refresher. Darrah is a senior sail instructor at the Mariner Sailing School at Belle Haven Marina.

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Mount Vernon Snapshot: George Washington’s Distillery and Gristmill

The fully functioning gristmill and distillery, located down the street from George Washington’s estate, has become a popular attraction for both tourists and residents of the area.

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Mount Vernon: West Potomac Dance Team Earns Nationals Bid

The West Potomac High School Varsity and JV Dance Teams engaged in a three-day, nine-hour-per-day audition with the Universal Dance Association (UDA) that culminated on Aug. 10 with the Varsity team being awarded an invitation to attend UDA’s Nationals Competition at Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. in February 2017.

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Mount Vernon: Working To Reduce Erosion, Silting, and Flooding

Mount Vernon Country Club project includes using a hybrid Bermuda grass.

Members of Mount Vernon Country Club have been seeing more bulldozers than birdies during the past three months.

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Mount Vernon: Estate Hosts Picnic for Friends

Promoting a sense of community.

Mount Vernon's Neighborhood Friends Picnic attracted hundreds of neighborhood friends and contributing members who live within the original five-farm estate of President George Washington.

Mount Vernon Brief: Join in Annual 9/11 Heroes Run

The Travis Manion Foundation will host the Alexandria 9/11 Heroes Run 5K race and 1 Mile Fun/Run Walk at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 10 at Carl Sandburg Middle School, 8428 Fort Hunt Road, Alexandria, and the Annapolis 9/11 Heroes Run 5K race and 1 Mile Fun/Run Walk at 2 p.m. on Sept. 11 at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.

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Alexandria/Mount Vernon: Centipedes To Compete in Patriot Run

The George Washington Patriot Run, co-sponsored by Mount Vernon and the Alexandria George Washington Birthday Committee, will be held on Sunday, Sept. 11, and will feature an opportunity for entrants to run in teams known as Centipedes.

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Alexandria/Mount Vernon: MSA Names New Board Members

Metropolitan School of the Arts of Alexandria recently expanded its Alexandria/Kingstowne campus to include its Academy and studio classes, upon closing its Lorton campus.

Wednesday, August 24

Column: Women’s Equality Day Is 96 Years Young

In four years, celebrate centennial of 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.

On Aug. 26, 2016, our nation celebrates the Women’s Equality Day for the 96th time.

Column: #MindsMatter: Lifesaving Conversations Every Day

Take one action for awareness of National Suicide Prevention week #MindsMatter.

It’s 3 p.m. School’s out. Like clockwork, alerts start ringing, letting our crisis workers know that young people are out of class, and they need to talk.

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Minds Matter to Local Mental Health Service

PRS Inc. of McLean prepares for National Suicide Prevention Week.

Although National Suicide Prevention Week occurs next month, a local mental health service got a head start last week and launched its public awareness campaign on social media.

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Children Science Center Lab Takes 10-year View

Amy Burke, board chairwoman of the Children's Science Center Lab in Fair Oaks Mall, and executive director Adalene “Nene” Spivey watch Emily Brunner, 15, of Falls Church take on the robotic arm challenge by programming the device to play the “Happy Birthday” song on a xylophone.

Friday, August 19

Mount Vernon Home Sales: July, 2016

In July, 2016, 126 homes sold between $1,450,000-$109,000 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: July, 2016

Thursday, August 18

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Mount Vernon: ‘Entertainment … Like Nothing Before’

MGM officials brief local chamber on National Harbor Hotel and Casino.

A Vegas-type luxury hotel and casino owned and operated by the MGM Resorts International — soon to open for business on the shores of the Potomac River’s National Harbor — was discussed at a Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting on Thursday, Aug. 11

Alexandria: Vount Mernon

A Musing

My father, a New Jersey guy, loved to play with words. He would swap syllables between words to create other words. For instance, each Feb. 22 he would announce (I swear this is true) that it was "George Birthington's washday."

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Mount Vernon: Change of Command

Holbrook relieves Mitchell as Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander.

After master of ceremonies Terry Ruggles reminded the audience at Fort Belvoir of the U.S. Army’s age — 241 years — he said that it’s existence is “perpetuated on time-honored values and traditions, not the accomplishments of individuals.”

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Fairfax County: Aiming To Reduce Deer Population

Second Deer Management Program discussion

With an ecosystem struggling to support a deer population several times what’s considered to be healthy for a habitat, Fairfax County is preparing once again to initiate its deer management program.

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Burke, Clifton, Fairfax Station, Lorton Springfield: Area Roundups

Rallies for Back to School and Refugees

Springfield Town Center is hosting a pep rally to celebrate students returning to school. The event is scheduled for the Grand Court area of the mall from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m on Saturday, Aug. 20.

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Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton hosts first Brewfest

Shamara Wilkins of Lorton ventured out of the priceless shade just long enough to get a refreshing top up on her beer-tasting glass from Lorton-based Forge Brew works.

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Fairfax: Man Dies After Being Shot by Fairfax Sheriff’s Deputy Outside Inova Hospital

Hispanic male was discharged patient who was escorted by security to bus stop before the incident.

Early Tuesday morning, Aug. 16, a man died after having been shot by a Fairfax County Sheriff’s Deputy outside the green garage area at Inova Fairfax Hospital the previous evening.

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Fairfax County Police Release Name of 2-Year-Old Victim in Murder-Suicide

Despite pleas from the girl’s family, Fairfax County Police have released the name of the young victim who was found dead along with the body of Roy Eugene Rumsey, 58, in an upstairs bedroom at the scene of a house fire in Fairfax on July 27.

Wednesday, August 17

Classified Advertising August 17, 2016

Read the latest ads here!

Tuesday, August 16

Editorial – Election 2016: Much at Stake Nationally, Locally

Possible record turnout should motivate more early voting.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, and in some ways that seems like it can’t possibly come soon enough.

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Alexandria: Carlyle House – A Tale of America in the Making

The Carlyle House, located at 121 North Fairfax Street, opened as a museum in 1976, and was the first historic house to open during the Bicentennial year. Recently, it celebrated its 40th anniversary of that event this July with an open house at no cost to the public. With that, Alexandria also celebrated its founding in 1749.

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Alexandria Appetite: 3 Spots to Pencil in for Restaurant Week

The city’s offerings are their most diverse ever.

Alexandria’s summertime Restaurant Week is back in action for another season, and diners will find plenty of options that are sure to appeal to every appetite. Here are three to be sure to try.

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Create a Back-to-School Game Plan

Educators tell how to make the transition less jarring.

As a single mother of a fifth grade student, Christine Schull is already making back-to-school preparations.

Considering a Private School?

Educational consultants can help families navigate application process.

For families considering an independent school for the 2017-2018 school year, the admissions process begins this fall. From essays and interviews to school visits and standardized tests, the process for getting into kindergarten may feel nearly as daunting as applying to college.

Thursday, August 11

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Stars of Summer

Northern Virginia Swimming League holds individual championships

Olympic swimming started with an expected bang in its opening weekend in Río, with Katie Ledecky and the men’s four by 100 freestyle relay, that included Michael Phelps in the second leg, captured gold medals for Team USA.

Ginny Thrasher's Golden Gun

Springfield’s Ginny Thrasher wins Olympic gold in air rifle.

Before she left for the Río Olympics, 19-year-old sharpshooter Ginny Thrasher of Springfield was just looking to get experience in her first games. “I was looking more towards 2020 as a realistic option,” she had said.

Wednesday, August 10

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Mount Vernon: Swimming with Engie, for Cancer Research

Fundraiser benefits Inova Schar Cancer Institute.

When Engie Mokhtar of Kingstowne woke up from a blackout on the floor of her kitchen, she didn’t think much of it. She cleaned up, went to bed, and went to swimming practice with the Alexandria Masters team the next morning.

From Iran to Mount Vernon

Retired plastic surgeon writes autobiography.

Mount Vernon resident Dr. Khosrow Matini’s autobiography, “Fortunate Plastic Surgeon: An Autobiography and My View About the United States,” weaves his journey from a youth in the often volatile country of Iran to a plastic surgeon in the United States.

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Mount Vernon Snapshot: Making a Difference

United Community Ministries (UCM) hosted a group of 20 graduating seniors from West Potomac High School during the final two weeks of their high school careers.

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Mount Vernon: Area Students Attend Boys State

At American Legion Boys State, participants are exposed to the rights and privileges, the duties and the responsibilities of a franchised citizen.

Mount Vernon Letter: Focus on Education

Letter to the Editor

I am writing to compliment the Mount Vernon Gazette for publishing Tim Peterson’s very informative article on the situation concerning J.E.B. Stuart High School in Falls Church (“First Step on Re-Naming School,” Aug. 4).

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Mount Vernon: SFDC Seminars Help Educate Businesses

Seminar addresses online ratings.

Local business people learned the benefits of using social media as an online marketing tool during last week’s Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC)-hosted education seminar.

Mount Vernon Column: Legislature Needs to Examine UVA’s Cash Reserve


In July, it was revealed that the University of Virginia had managed to retain over $2 billion of excess revenues — exclusive of their $5 billion endowment maintained by their foundation. An outgoing member of the Board of Visitors called it a “slush fund.”

Mount Vernon: A Musing

My father, a gifted church organist/choirmaster, loved making pun-based jokes. He specialized in first-syllable reversals, swapping first letters to create a joke. For instance, he might suggest that we go to a restaurant over looking the Ratomac Piver (sigh).

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One Step To ‘One Fairfax’

Agreeing on a policy to create opportunity for all.

Jeff McKay didn’t mince words when discussing racial, social and economic inequity in Fairfax County.

Tuesday, August 9

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Stylish Solutions for Organized Homes

Practical and chic ideas for making a home back-to-school ready.

Before school begins later this month, taking the time to organize home and school supplies can take the stress out of the transition from a laid-back summer to a structured, schedule-driven school year. Local home design and organizational experts share ideas to help parents add practical organizational tools to their home without sacrificing their sense of style.

Commentary: Responding to the Zika Threat

There have been 50 reported cases of Zika in Virginia, all linked to foreign travel, as of early August.

Last week, for the first time ever, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was forced to issue a domestic travel warning to pregnant women planning to visit Miami, a popular getaway destination.

Editorial: Laser Focus on Safety

While Metro lapses can’t be excused, it’s much safer than driving; maintenance-related safety issues also plague area bridges and roads.

Intense scrutiny on the safety and maintenance record of the Washington region’s Metro system is resulting in continuing revelation of lapses, and ongoing inconvenience with repair schedules shutting down entire lines and the end of late night service.

Monday, August 8

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Mount Vernon Snapshot: At Leadership Conference

More than 8,000 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) members, advisers, alumni, and guests from across the country gathered in San Diego, Calif. in July for the 2016 National Leadership Conference.

Thursday, August 4

Challenged Brain, Healthy Brain?

Social engagement and mentally challenging jobs might keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay.

Most days of the week, Ana Nelson can be found educating others about Alzheimer’s disease in her role as vice president of Programs and Services for the Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter. Her free time is spent touring historical sites in Northern Virginia and staying fit through competitive running and other activities. She’s currently training for the Marine Corps Marathon.

New Policy Outlines Public’s Rights to Record Police Activity

With the development and prevalence of increasingly portable technologies, people of all ages are capturing more and more moments on video, including law enforcement activity. On June 1, the police department issued a new departmental policy pertaining to anyone who might record police activity, whether it be something they see as a passerby or a direct interaction with an officer - according to FCPD Public Affairs Bureau.

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Fairfax County Police Receive National Accreditation

Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies recognized compliance with 484 standards.

In a hearing in Baltimore’s inner harbor on Saturday, July 30, the Fairfax County Police Department received a formal recognition of its national accreditation from the Gainesville, Va.-based Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, CALEA.

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Working Group to Consider Re-Naming JEB Stuart High School

Fairfax County School Board seeks additional community engagement on divisive issue.

Coming off its recent decision to postpone the implementation of new regulations for transgender students, the Fairfax County School Board has moved action on the possible renaming of J.E.B. Stuart High School in Falls Church to a later date as well.

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Staying Fit and Healthy on Vacation

Advance planning is key to maintaining a healthy diet and fitness on the road.

Listening to Christian Elliot describe part of a recent vacation that he took with his wife, Nina, you might think he was attending a fitness bootcamp.

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Burke, Mount Vernon: Copperthite Race Track Receives Historical Marker

2,000-person grandstand once stood in Burke.

More than 100 years since Copperthite Race Track opened in Burke, harnessed race horses once again trotted back and forth on the same grounds, now inhabited by the Burke Nursery and Garden Center.

Mount Vernon Letter: On Right Side Of Environment

Letter to the Editor

As the headlines on the devastating impacts of climate change in our country and worldwide hitting the media, we wonder whether our legislators are doing enough to address this issue.

Mount Vernon Column: Beat the Heat, Visit a Museum


Normally, summer is a time to enjoy the outdoors, but with record-setting heat broiling the region, many of us may be looking for indoor activities. Thankfully, Mount Vernon and Lee residents have access to several local museums that can help us escape the heat and learn more about our interesting history.

Mount Vernon: A Musing

My wife and I are members of a local yacht club, which sits on land that was once a part of George Washington's Mount Vernon estate.

Wednesday, August 3

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Mount Vernon: Brain Injury Services’ Programs Promote Independent Living

Day services for stroke victims available to residents in the Route 1 corridor.

After suffering from a stroke, concussion, or other brain injury, victims and their family and friends commonly look for professional care to develop independent living skills and to provide supportive and understanding care on the way to recovery.

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Communities Observe National Night Out

Law enforcement and neighborhoods come together in Fairfax Station, Springfield and countywide.

Every night, that’s seven nights a week, Amanda Fox and her mother make rounds of the 169 houses in their community of Cardinal Estates in Springfield.

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Alexandria/Mount Vernon Weekend Fun: Aug. 5-14


Events in Alexandria and Mount Vernon, Va.

Editorial: An Open Letter to Readers and More

Buy an ad in our annual Newcomers and Community Guide, please.

Has your organization been featured in the Connection Newspapers, or the Alexandria Gazette Packet or the Mount Vernon Gazette or the Centre View or the Potomac Almanac?

Tuesday, August 2

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Alexandria Appetite: 3 Gold-Medal Spots to Watch the Olympics

Looking for a restaurant to whet your appetite while you cheer on the USA? Here are three at the top of the list.

After the usual four-year absence, Summer Olympics mania is ready for liftoff again. Looking for a change of scenery to watch your favorite sports? Here are three restaurants that are sure to be gold-medal bets.

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What We Did on V-J Day

Vienna resident’s memories of the end of the war.

Memories of WW ll in an American child's mind are a distinct set of curiosities -- special activities removed from the ordinary day to day routine of growing up.

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Mall STEM Lab Celebrates First Birthday

Children's Science Center Lab celebrates with cake, a new robot, aquarium and checks worth $125,000.

Some children go to the shopping mall because their moms have to run errands or it's a nice place to hang out with friends. Who knew Fair Oaks Mall is a go-to place to conduct science experiments, program a robot and make stuff out of a 3-D printer?

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Passion to Excel in STEM Field

CORE Foundations hosts Summer Camp for area children.

At most summer camps, children are encouraged to step away from their screens and head outdoors. But for the campers enrolled in a program conducted by Core Foundations, a local nonprofit that encourages children to follow their passions in STEM fields, it was all about learning how to innovate with technology.