Stories for May 2016

Stories for May 2016


Tuesday, May 31

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Chantilly Pitcher DiCesare Earns Nine-Inning Postseason Win

Chargers survive stellar effort from West Potomac’s Sara.

The Chantilly baseball team beat West Potomac on May 25.

Thursday, May 26

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Mount Vernon: Police Investigating Shooting Death of FCPS Employee

Tarreece John Sampson, 24, of Alexandria was found unresponsive around 2:20 a.m. the morning of May 20.

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Fairfax County shares plan for mitigating effects of Safe Track maintenance

Bracing for shutdown "surges" in face of Metro crisis

If you use Metrorail from Vienna or Reston or Tysons, be on notice: The Orange and Silver lines will be the first affected.

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Fairfax County: Supervisors Review Use of Force Guidelines

Public Safety Committee meets before June 21 vote: gun carry positions, release of information, body cameras discussed.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is standing by its Chief of Police and his department.

Fairfax County: Kaine Requests Funding for School Drinking Water Testing

FCPS developing testing plan; last test was 2004.

In response to the lead contamination of drinking water of Flint, Michigan, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine joined 24 other senators asking Congress for funding to have school drinking water tested for lead and other toxins.

Wednesday, May 25

A Mindful Family

Family mindfulness meditation practices can bring calm to a hectic day.

Every evening after dinner and bath time, Elizabeth Rees, a Mount Vernon mother of three, instructs her children to lie on the floor keeping as still as possible. With soft tones, she recites a phrase, slowly and purposefully. These moments of serenity allow her family to release the chaos of the day.

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Mount Vernon: West Potomac's Dillard Puts Away Conference 5 Champ Chantilly

Wolverines catcher Divine makes key pickoff throw in sixth inning.

The West Potomac softball team beat Chantilly in the regional tournament on Tuesday.

Editorial: Remembering on Memorial Day 2016

Observe a moment of silence.

On Memorial Day, we remember all of those who have died in military service, more than 400,000 in World War II, more than 30,000 in Korea, more than 50,000 in Vietnam.

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Alexandria/Mount Vernon Snapshot: Black History Month Celebration

The Metropolitan Youth Tap Ensemble of Metropolitan School of the Arts in Alexandria performed for the Black History Month Celebration by Music at NOVA at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center in Alexandria. Other entertainment included poetry, Martin Luther King, Jr. excerpt readings, NOVA Jazz Ensemble, NOVA Community Chorus and more.

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Mount Vernon Snapshot: Girls on the Run To Help

For their community service impact project, the Girls on the Run (GOTR) Team at Belle View Elementary decided to provide school supplies and backpacks to benefit the Back to School program at United Community Ministries.

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ArtSpireVA: A Vision Realized

Gennifer DeFilippo had the same thought each year as she watched some of her dance students walk away from performing, from dancing, from the arts. The reasons varied.

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Mount Vernon: Hands-on Approach to Helping the Community

Mount Vernon Physical Therapy provides community outreach.

Mount Vernon Physical Therapy is proud of providing healing and service to the community.

Alexandria Appetite: Lift a Glass at Vine on the Waterfront

Annual food and wine festival returns to Oronoco Bay Park in June.

Ahh, summertime: The perfect season for sipping wine and sampling food alongside the Potomac River, nestled within the confines of Old Town’s Oronoco Bay Park.

Tuesday, May 24

Commentary: Mosquitos, Zika and a Healthy Summer

Zika virus spreads through the bite of infected Aedes mosquito, a type present in Virginia in summer.

As warm weather returns and the last days of school draw near, I’m sure that, like me, you’re looking forward to spending a lot of time outdoors this summer.

Friday, May 20

Mount Vernon Home Sales: April, 2016

In April, 2016, 138 homes sold between $1,450,000-$105,000 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: April, 2016

Thursday, May 19

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Fairfax County: Female Firefighters Share Experiences

Offering to bring balance into gender issue.

For five-year veteran firefighter-paramedic Alisha Reakoff, her “gender has been a non-issue” in her experience with the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department.

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Fairfax Station, Lorton, Springfield, Mount Vernon: Lawmakers Report on 2016 General Assembly

Diversifying the economy, expanding Medicaid and school funding discussed.

Del. Dave Albo (R-42) introduced himself as a rare breed, an elected official in Virginia who happens to also be a Republican.

Mount Vernon Letter: For All or None

Letter to the Editor

A Constitutional issue recently arose that is worthy of mention.

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Mount Vernon Snapshot: Help Odyssey of the Mind Team

Having succeeded at the Virginia State Odyssey of the Mind Tournament on April 16 at Menchville High School in Newport News, Va., the West Potomac High School team advances to the World Final Odyssey of the Mind Competition from May 25-28 at Iowa State University.

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Mount Vernon: Krizek Tours DMV Lorton Center

Del. Paul Krizek (D-44) recently visited the Department of Motor Vehicles’ Lorton Customer Service Center to learn more about the agency’s operations and spend time with constituents.

Mount Vernon Letter: County Could Eliminate BZA

Letter to the Editor

I agree with Mr. Spiegel’s letter on “Evaluating Appointees” and do also have high hopes that Supervisor Storck does follow through with his stated commitment of appointing people to committees, boards, etc. that adhere to rules, regulations and codes.

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Cappies Review: A Vivid ‘Starlight Express’

“Starlight Express” was perfectly interpreted in West Potomac High School and vividly created the imaginary stories that happen among trains.

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Mount Vernon: Taking Ownership of Their Health and Fitness

Nine women buy Curves franchise.

Curves, an international health and fitness franchise, has been in Alexandria for more than a decade.

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Fairfax County School Board members respond to Obama transgender bathroom guidance

When a student in Fairfax County Public Schools identifies as transgender and they bring it to the attention of their school staff, the school brings in the student’s parents and together they work out a tailored bathroom plan: where to use single-stall facilities on campus that will make the student feel most comfortable.

Alexandria/Mount Vernon Snapshot: Water Tables

Burgundy Farm Country Day School recently added a set of water tables to the Outdoor Classroom and Discovery Playground on campus.

Wednesday, May 18

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Mentoring Guides Foster Care Alum

“If God doesn’t have a plan for you, have a plan for yourself.” 

When foster children age out, that's when they need the most support. For Travis Parnell, he found a mentor in Keith Foxx, and he's hoping to pay it forward.

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Language Immersion for Young Children

Experts tout the benefits of an early start

When Martha Davis’ daughter Alice was ready for kindergarten, she decided to enroll her in a Spanish language immersion program.

Commentary: No Easy Answers to School Funding Challenge

After months of hard work and consideration of public feedback, the Board of Supervisors adopted its budget for 2017 late last month.

Commentary: Who is my neighbor?

You might be amazed to learn who around you was once homeless. It could be the person cleaning your teeth at the dentists’ office. Or the barista making your skinny latte.

Commentary: In Prom Season, Safety First

While we are all proud of our children for their accomplishments, especially those with graduation on the horizon, we must remember that safety is still the number one priority.

Editorial: In Search of Diversified Revenue

Fairfax County residents can expect to see meals tax question on November ballots.

The Meals Tax may be on Virginia ballots this November.

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Alexandria: TC Softball Earns First Region Berth in More Than 10 Years

Pitcher Stone leads Titans to victory over Mount Vernon.

The T.C. Williams softball team defeated Mount Vernon 2-1 on Monday.

Classified Advertising May 18 , 2016

Read the latest ads here!

Tuesday, May 17

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Meals Tax? Ballot Possibility

Board of Supervisors potentially set to approve meals tax ballot question on June 7.

A majority of The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voiced support last week for including a Meals Tax Referendum as part of the 2016 General Election.

Monday, May 16

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Mount Vernon: Browne Academy Turns 75

One of Virginia’s first racially integrated schools celebrates with arts, picnic and assembly.

Independent school Browne Academy didn’t begin its daylong celebration of the institution’s 75th anniversary trumpeting the fact it was founded as one of the first racially integrated schools in Virginia.

Thursday, May 12

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Fairfax County: Hispanic Leadership Alliance awards scholarships to 14 seniors

West Springfield High School senior Fernanda Justiniano-Rivero fought back tears as she thanked her mother for everything. “She worked three jobs, barely raised me, would come home and be so tired,” Justiniano-Rivero said. “But she still would bring me gifts, ask me if I did my homework. I used to pretend we would travel the world and it be just us, I would live in a fairy tale.”

Mount Vernon Letter: Evaluating Appointees

Letter to the Editor

I understand Supervisor Dan Storck is in the process of drafting a "Statement of Commitment" for all Mount Vernon appointees to boards, authorities and commission to ensure appointees are more available and responsive to residents of Mount Vernon, including Supervisor Storck's guidance and standards for serving in such positions.

Mount Vernon Letter: Grateful for Performers

Letter to the Editor

I am a long time supporter of Alice's Kids, a local charity that provides targeted financial assistance to needy children in the hopes of enhancing their self-esteem.

Mount Vernon Column: Make Donations of Healthy Food


This week, I want to take a break from writing about policy and make a short important announcement regarding a dire need in the Mount Vernon-Lee area.

Mount Vernon: Hospital Back to Normal After Norovirus Case

Inova Mount Vernon Hospital was in an “isolation precaution” protocol after it was confirmed Tuesday, May 3 that a patient had norovirus.

Mount Vernon Brief: McKenna Administrative Investigation Ongoing

The administrative investigation of the Fairfax County Sheriff’s deputies involved with the Feb. 8, 2015 in-custody death of 37-year-old Natasha McKenna is still ongoing, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Captain Steve Elbert said.

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Mount Vernon: Women’s Club Marks 80 Years

Honors 19 past presidents.

The Belle Haven Country Club was the setting on Thursday, May 5 for a Food and Wine Pairing in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Belle Haven Women's Club.

Wednesday, May 11

Commentary: Stop County’s ‘One Size Fits All’ Zoning Proposal

In the next few months, the Board of Supervisors plans to approve a “one size fits all” zoning ordinance amendment that would guide redevelopment throughout the urbanizing areas of the county for decades.

Commentary: America’s Anti-Trafficking Efforts …

... Hollow victories for public accolade.

Each day there is more media on the human trafficking scourge in America with heart-wrenching stories about women, men, and children who are forced, defrauded, or coerced into exploitation.

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Local Designer Honored for Remodeling Reston Townhouse

Home transformation gives family of five more living space.

Mina Fies, CEO of Synergy Design and Construction, was recognized for remodeling a Reston townhouse that was built in 1968.

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Creating Space for Family Oasis or Outdoor Entertaining

Local designers unveil recent projects and offer tips.

Lured outside by rising temperatures and blue skies, homeowners are deciding that it’s time to spruce up patios, gardens and other outdoor living spaces. Local tastemakers are hard at work transforming winter-worn al fresco spaces into lively oases in time for a season of warm-weather entertaining.

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Police to Continue Improving Transparency

Public Safety Committee reviews recommendations for police use of force and communications; vote scheduled for June 21.

Fairfax County Supervisors and the Public Safety Committee met Tuesday May 10 to review police use of force and communications policy recommendations from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission.

Monday, May 9

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Women Help Build New Homes

Northern Virginia women help Habitat for Humanity, NOVA build houses for two local families during National Women Build Week.

More than 50 women from across Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria donned hard hats, tool belts and work gloves and, with caulk guns and saws in hand, got to work on two single-family, three bedroom houses Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia is building for two local families in Fairfax.

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Women Help Build New Homes

Northern Virginia women help Habitat for Humanity, NOVA build houses for two local families during National Women Build Week.

More than 50 women from across Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria donned hard hats, tool belts and work gloves and, with caulk guns and saws in hand, got to work on two single-family, three bedroom houses Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia is building for two local families in Fairfax.

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Fairfax County: Training to Reverse an Overdose

In 30 to 45 seconds, a single dose of the drug Naloxone can be the difference in whether someone experiencing an opiate overdose lives or dies.

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Fairfax County: Shining a Light on Addiction and Overdose

Herrity’s Town Hall addresses heroin and prescription drug abuse in Fairfax County.

South Lakes High School and George Mason University graduate Ginny Lovitt lost her brother Chris to a heroin overdose. He was 21 and had been discharged from the Sagebrush Treatment Center of Northern Virginia just a week before, in January of 2013. His tolerance was down.

Friday, May 6

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Mount Vernon: Fort Hunt Little League hosts first Challenger game

Children with mental and physical disabilities were able to take the field April 30 as the Fort Hunt Little League hosted its first “Challenger” baseball game at Hollin Hall fields.

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Fairfax County Fire Chief Moves to Address Department Cyberbullying

After the suicide of Fairfax County firefighter-paramedic Nicole Mittendorff and suspected cyberbullying of the 31-year-old that came to light after her death, Fairfax County Fire & Rescue is cracking down on workplace harassment, bullying and discrimination.

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Fairfax County 2017-2018 School Year to Begin Before Labor Day

Fairfax County Public Schools delaying their start date until after Labor Day will be a thing of the past. Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, the School Board decided classes will begin one week before Labor Day, rather than immediately following it, as has been the tradition.

Thursday, May 5

Mount Vernon: West Potomac’s Floyd Excels on Mound, at Plate

Wolverines beat Mount Vernon 10-0 in 5 innings.

The West Potomac baseball team defeated Mount Vernon 10-0 in five innings.

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Alexandria Snapshot: Spring Plant Sale

The art deco greenhouse at Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church is full of garden plants, herbs, flowers, and open for its annual Spring Plant Sale 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through May at 1909 Windmill Lane. A variety of old-fashioned annuals, perennials, herbs, and more than 30 varieties of tomatoes including many heirloom varieties are for sale. Above, ​Mary Barnett, greenhouse manager, displays cuttings from Mt. Vernon Estate that were grown in the greenhouse this year.

Mount Vernon Letter: Condolences

Letter to the Editor

I write to the editor of the Gazette occasionally and among those letters I sometimes express a different opinion to one expressed by H. Jay Spiegel.

Mount Vernon Letter: Focus on North Hill

Letter to the Editor

Last week, I attended a meeting scheduled to discuss the current status of efforts to develop the North Hill property. An accurate summary of the history of the property to that date appeared in the Oct. 11, 2012 edition of the Gazette.

Mount Vernon Letter: More Study Needed Before Funding FCPS

Letter to the Editor

I'm responding to a letter from a leader for more taxing and spending, Supervisor Dan Storck, published in April 28, 2016 Mount Vernon Gazette regarding the county budget that includes more taxes.

Mount Vernon Column: For Better Future, Understand the Past


Olga Rozenberg. Aron Rozenberg. Pinkhas Rozenberg. Llova Rozenberg, Klara Grinberg, Shulom Litvak.

Mount Vernon Snapshot: Benefit Concert

Nearly $2,500 was raised on Saturday, April 30, at a benefit concert at Saint Aidan’s Episcopal Church on behalf of Alice’s Kids. Local teen musician Charlotte Costantino organized the event and also performed, along with her brother Eric Costantino. Other performers included Anna Katharine Bozard and local teen trumpet prodigy, Geoff Gallante. Ron Fitzsimmons (left), executive director, Alice’s Kids is with Geoff Gallante.

Free Cab Rides on Cinco de Mayo

Preparing to combat that time of year when, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over one-third (33.8 percent) of all U.S. traffic deaths involve drunk drivers, free cab rides will be offered to would-be drunk drivers throughout the Washington-metropolitan area this Thursday and on the Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo, May 5.

Letter: Taking Care of Our Mother Earth

To the Editor

There are many of us, so many that our yards can no longer be dominated by grass and plants that do not feed us or our local population of insects.

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Fine Arts Festival Returns May 21-22

Festival at Reston Town Center features more than 200 national artists, dance performances, family art-making activities and more.

Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) presents their 25th annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, offering authentic art and experiences for all tastes and ages on May 21 and 22 at Reston Town Center.

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Working to End the Longest Day

Event to raise awareness and funds for research programs of Alzheimer’s Association.

Emily Rusch says her mother died a slow and heartbreaking death from Alzheimer’s Disease. The experience felt continuous and excruciating.

Farmers Markets in Fairfax County

Fairfax County’s Farmers Markets opened in May. There are 11 locations of the county’s Park Authority’s Farmers Markets.

Wednesday, May 4

Commentary: Breaking the Cycle of Crime with Treatment Instead of Jail

Fairfax County Budget Invests $3.89 Million in “Diversion First”

One in five adults in the U.S. experience mental illness, and more than half did not receive treatment within the past year.

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Alexandria: MetroStage Presents ‘Black Pearl Sings!’

Play set in 1930s Depression-era features 19 American folk and spiritual songs.

MetroStage is presenting "Black Pearl Sings!" by playwright Frank Higgins now through May 29.

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Alexandria Appetite: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at These 3 Spots

Whether Mexican or Tex-Mex, these restaurants will hit the spot.

To be sure, Cinco de Mayo’s origins are often misunderstood in the United States. Often incorrectly referred to as Mexico’s independence day, the fifth of May is actually the anniversary of the Mexican army’s victory against France in 1862. (Mexico’s independence day is actually in September — a date not nearly as well-known in America.)

Tuesday, May 3

Classified Advertising May 4 , 2016

Read the latest ads here!

Monday, May 2

County Budget Approved

Bulova calls the budget a “booster shot.”

When the Board of Supervisors approved the budget on Tuesday, April 26, they increased taxes by about $300 for the average homeowner and increased funding for schools by 5 percent.

Summer STEM Camps at Three Area Schools

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is partnering with SySTEMic Solutions, Northern Virginia Community College's regional K-16 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) outreach initiative, to host STEM camps at three schools this summer.