Stories for November 2016

Stories for November 2016


Wednesday, November 30

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‘Clawing Away For Information’ in Mount Vernon

Parents of Annie McCann pursue human trafficking as possible factor in her 2008 death.

For Mary Jane and Dan McCann, losing their 16-year-old daughter Annie was a personal catastrophe.

Classified Advertising November 30, 2016

Read the latest ads here!

Column: Expand Early Voting Now in NOVA

The success of early voting in the 2016 Presidential Election reaffirms my conclusion from visiting 12,000 homes last year — Virginia should expand early voting.

Tuesday, November 29

Facing Addiction, Tools in Fairfax County

The following information was provided by the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board.

The Surgeon General released the first-ever report on Facing Addiction in America on Thursday, Nov. 17.

Wednesday, November 23

Editorial: Every day can be “small business day” in Alexandria and Mount Vernon

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

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Mount Vernon: Commission Delays Vote on Farm Alcohol Zoning Amendment

Comments may be sent prior to planning’s Nov. 30 meeting

The Fairfax County Planning Commission has deferred action on a zoning ordinance amendment that would affect the establishment and expansion of farm breweries, distilleries and wineries in the county.

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Springfield: Key Center Teacher Publishes Counting Book

If Barney, the big purple dinosaur, motivates one of his students to learn to count, Ka’ala Rapoza won’t stand in the way. But Rapoza, 37, also recognizes the need to balance age-appropriate teaching tools with the skill being learned.

Fairfax County: Commonwealth’s Attorney Begins Review of FCPD Report on Deputy-Involved INOVA Shooting

Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh said he has received the completed criminal investigation from Fairfax County Police into the Aug. 15 fatal shooting of Yovani Amaya Gomez, 29, by Fairfax County Sheriff’s Deputy MDS Patrick McPartlin outside Inova Fairfax Hospital.

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Fairfax County: Planning Commission Delays Vote on Farm Alcohol Zoning Amendment

The Fairfax County Planning Commission has deferred action on a zoning ordinance amendment that would affect the establishment and expansion of farm breweries, distilleries and wineries in the county.

Fairfax County: FCPS Testing Water Quality in Schools

Drinking water at 40 public schools in Fairfax County has been tested for safety, a release from FCPS said.

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Fairfax County: School Board Formalizes Search for New Superintendent

Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) has been contracted by Fairfax County Public Schools to search for a new school system superintendent. Dr. Karen Garza announced on Sept. 19 she would be leaving that role to become president and CEO of the Columbus-based education organization Battelle for Kids.

Tuesday, November 22

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Sponsored: Fusion Academy in Alexandria to host Open House on Dec 8th

Fusion Academy Alexandria is a revolutionary private middle and high school where positive relationships unlock academic potential.

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Community Tribute for Mount Vernon Police, Fire, and EMTs

Honoring Mount Vernon, Franconia and Fort Belvoir public safety personnel.

Officers from the Mount Vernon and Franconia Police Stations — along with first responders from the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department and their counterparts on Fort Belvoir — were recognized at the 9th Annual Police & Fire Fighters Tribute on Friday, Nov. 18, at the Hilton Springfield Hotel.

Suspect in Mount Vernon Arson Sought

As the investigation into the arson and malicious wounding from Saturday, Nov. 19 continues, detectives are still looking for the suspect, Lewis Edward Reeder.

Mount Vernon Crime Report

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

Pedestrian Dies in Collision in Mount Vernon

Officers responded to the report of a pedestrian that was struck near the intersection of Richmond Highway and Belfield Road on Saturday, Nov. 12, shortly after 7:30 p.m.

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Capitol Steps Benefit for UCM of Mount Vernon Raises Over $75,000

The Capitol Steps Benefit for UCM raised more than $75,000 on Nov. 13 in the Madison Auditorium at the US Patent & Trademark Office.

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West Potomac Wolverines Fall Short in Playoffs

The West Potomac football team traveled to Madison on Friday, Nov. 18, to take on the second ranked Warhawks in a second round playoff game.

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Capturing Complexity in Paint in Mount Vernon

The Montebello condominium community on Route 1 is hosting an art show that opened Nov. 19 and runs through Jan. 5.

Commentary: Happy Indigenous People's Day

Last year, I proposed legislation that designated the day before Thanksgiving as Indigenous People’s Day.

Mount Vernon Schools News

Search for New Superintendent Begins

Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) has been contracted by Fairfax County Public Schools to search for a new school system superintendent.

Letter to the Editor: Thankful To Comment in Mount Vernon

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I wish to express my appreciation for the Mount Vernon Gazette providing a forum in which local residents can express their views in letters to the editor and thus help educate the public on issues of importance.

One of Mount Vernon’s Greatest Assets Is Its Diversity

The county welcomes and celebrates one another’s differences and cultural backgrounds.

One of Fairfax County’s greatest assets is our diversity.

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Training Wheels in Mount Vernon

Program provides bikes, helmets and safety skills.

A collaboration between Alexandria City Public Schools and the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) gave third, fourth, and fifth grade students a chance to turn Mount Vernon Community School students into the city’s youngest cyclists.

Monday, November 21

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Thinking Beyond Serving Meals

Experts advise finding age-appropriate ways for children to give back.

During this season of giving thanks, opportunities for expressions of gratitude can seem ubiquitous.

Easing Election Fears

Local therapists say acknowledging, reassuring are keys to easing anxiety.

On the morning after what was possibly the most adversarial election in recent history, psychologist Carolyn Lorente, Ph.D. felt an urge to send a text message to her two teenaged children.

Friday, November 18

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Scouting for Food in Mount Vernon

Cub Scout Pack 1503 participated in the annual Scouting for Food Drive the last two weekends and had a banner year.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: October, 2016

In October, 2016, 95 homes sold between $1,330,000-$95,000 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: October, 2016

Thursday, November 17

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Tysons: Warby Parker to Open First Virginia Eyeglasses Store

Warby Parker, a popular online eyeglasses retailer, is opening its first brick-and-mortar location in Virginia on Nov. 19 at Tysons Corner Center mall.

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Fairfax County: Volunteers compile more than 7,500 pounds in donated food for Lorton Community Action Center and Britepaths.

Wanda Jeter of Lorton has been a volunteer with the Lorton Community Action Center for 20 years. As single mother who’s struggled to provide for herself and four children, she’s also been a client.

Wednesday, November 16

Appetite: Three Beverages for a Wintertime Brunch

Amid the Thanksgiving prep work and holiday shopping sprees, sometimes it’s best to stop for brunch and order a beverage to treat yourself. Here are three great spots to visit.

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Mount Vernon: Day of Service at Huntington Gardens

Owner Christian Relief Services partners with Accenture and Operation Renewed Hope Foundation.

“Some people work two jobs, 80 hours a week, and still can’t afford to pay rent on a place. This gives them a hand up, not a hand out.” — Gay Shane, Operation Renewed Hope Foundation

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Paying Tribute On Veterans Day

Active duty and retired military parents accompanied Waynewood Elementary School students in raising the flag and planting American flags in the front lawn of the school on Veterans Day.

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Walk to Bust Cancer

Approximately 500 people participated in Walk to Bust Cancer’s inaugural event on Oct. 16 at Fort Hunt Park to benefit the National Breast Center Foundation.

Gang Member Convicted in ‘Cold Case’ Murder

In 2013, detectives from the Major Crimes Division, Cold Case Squad, reviewed the murder case of 19-year-old Cristian Aranzana Vasquez from 2004 and were able to develop new evidence against a suspect, 23-year-old Cory Wilkins, of Woodbridge.

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Wolverines Avenge Regular Season Loss to TC

West Potomac set the tone early in last week’s game against T.C, Williams as they took the opening kickoff and drove down field for a touchdown catch and run by Zack Monson to put the home team up 7-0.

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Park Volunteer Wins State Award

Catherine Ledec, president of the Friends of Huntley Meadows Park (FOHMP) in Alexandria, has received this year’s Distinguished Volunteer Service Award from the Virginia Recreation and Park Society (VRPS).

Suspect Sought in Robbery

Suspect Sought in Robbery

Classified Advertising November 16, 2016

Read the latest ads here!

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.

Classified Advertising November 23, 2016

Read the latest ads here!

Armed Commercial Robbery on North Kings Highway

Fairfax County Police responded to a report of a commercial armed robbery in the 5900 block of North Kings Highway on Monday, Nov. 14.

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Editorial Cartoon

Editorial Cartoon

Monday, November 14

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Setting a holiday table

Local tastemakers offer suggestions for creating festive tablescape.

As Thanksgiving draws near, thoughts of table settings and holiday décor abound.

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Guest-Ready Home for the Holidays

From organizing to decorating, a guide for getting a house ready for visitors.

Ready or not, the holidays are coming.

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Decking the Halls, Stuffing Bellies

Local cooking schools offer crash courses in holiday dishes.

Ever since Bernadette Lott can remember, she’s had a sweet tooth as big as a sugar cane field.

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Additional Factors Impede Efforts To Quit Smoking

Public encouraged to learn about challenges faced by smokers with mental illness who want to quit.

Despite her mental health challenges, Deneice Valentine quit smoking in part by learning to meditate.

Unofficial Election Results as of Monday, Nov. 14


Unofficial Election Results as of Monday, Nov. 14

Friday, November 11

Alexandria Restaurants to Warm Up When Weather Turns Cold

Here are three restaurants that are sure to get the chill out.

Mount Vernon: Crime Report

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

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Opinion: Editorial Cartoon

Cartoon by Steven G. Artley

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Northern Virginia: Bumpy road ahead for Capital Bikeshare expansion in Northern Virginia.

It takes a little over two hours to bike from downtown Washington D.C. to Reston. For the Capital Bikeshare, it’s a trip that’s taken six years.

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Commentary: Day To Honor Veterans

This Friday we take time to honor our veterans and their families.

Fairfax County: Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Taxes

The voters have spoken and the Meals Tax Referendum was defeated 54 percent to 46 percent.

Mount Vernon: Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Bock Farm

Those who have driven on Parker Lane toward Sherwood Hall Lane recently probably noticed the yellow hand-painted signs on various front lawns, urging Supervisor Dan Storck to vote against the rezoning of the Bock farm, which sits on the corner of Parker Lane and Hinson Farm Road.

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Fairfax County: Fire Station ‘Best Open House’ Award

As part of last month’s open house at all Fairfax County Fire and Rescue fire stations, there was a competition among all the fire stations to win the "Best Open House" award.

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Mount Vernon: Centenarians

On Oct. 25, The Fairfax at Fort Belvoir hosted an event to recognize 15 centenarians in the Northern Virginia region.

Fairfax County: New Bike Lanes Available

3.5 miles in upgraded buffered bike lanes are now in place on Telegraph Road (Lee District) from the Fairfax County Parkway to Hilltop Village Center Drive, and features the county’s first bicycle two-stage left turn.

Mount Vernon vs West Potomac

West Potomac defeated Mount Vernon 45-14 on Friday, Nov. 4.

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Alexandria: Correction: A Wolverine Win


Correction: In last week’s Gazette, the wrong photo was printed for the West Potomac-South County football game.

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Alexandria: Behind the Glass Wall

Alexandria history at one’s fingertips.

“What's Behind the Glass Wall?” The sign sits outside the Local History and Special Branch of the Alexandria Library on Queen Street.

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Mount Vernon: ‘Search and Rescue’ at Camporee

During the weekend of Oct. 14-16, Boy Scouts of the Colonial District of the National Capital Area Council attended their fall camporee at the Patuxent River 4-H Center in Upper Marlboro, Md.

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Fairfax County: Sayles Receives Environmental Excellence Award

Sayles is a retired Denver police officer, DEA agent, Ad Hoc Police Commission contributor and long-time county resident

A 12-year-old African American boy watched as a city of Denver patrol car with two white police officers drove slowly by his house, where he reported people attempting to break in.

Thursday, November 10

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Mount Vernon: Accident Victim’s Friends Plan Memorial Service

Amari Newton, 18, of Alexandria was killed in a car crash in Brunswick County, Virginia on Nov. 5, Virginia State Police said. Newton was a 2016 Mount Vernon High School graduate.

Wednesday, November 9

Alexandria: Letter to the Editor: City Should Talk to Businesses

I agree with Jody Manor’s thoughtful and accurate Letter to the Editor in last week’s paper regarding the sudden impetus to regulate the use of A-frame signs on Old Town streets.

Alexandria: Letter to the Editor: What Does It Mean To Honor Veterans?

Show respect for all veterans on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

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Alexandria: Union Street Marks a Milestone

Restaurant to celebrate 30 years.

With the Hotel Indigo and a new residential development slated to open in the coming year, change is in the air for much of South Union Street.

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Alexandria: Bridging Sacred and Secular

Mayor’s clergy council focuses on community issues and service.

In contrast to widespread contention about religion in the public square, Alexandria’s mayor and faith leaders seek a mutually constructive way forward.

Mount Vernon, Alexandria: Coming: Children’s Gazette 2016

Get creative and send art, poetry and more.

During the last week of each year, The Gazette devotes its entire issue to the creativity of local students and children.

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Mount Vernon: Pohick Church

During the Colonial period, Pohick Church was the congregation of many of our country's most prominent families, including the Washingtons, Masons and Fairfaxes.

Alexandria: Historic Sites

Some Historic Sites in Alexandria

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Mount Vernon: Heavy Turnout Early

Chief election officer Doris McBryde said there were around 70 voters already in line at 6 a.m. when the polls opened at West Potomac High School.

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Fairfax County: No to Trump And Meals Tax

Beyer, Connolly re-elected.

With final numbers still coming in from around the country, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump carried a strong lead early Wednesday morning over Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton.

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Alexandria, Mount Vernon: Health Fair Serves Hundreds

After screenings, referrals for affordable treatment.

One volunteer dentist at the end of the Health Fair for the Uninsured on Saturday, Nov. 5 examined a young woman and discovered she had a growth on the side of her tongue. The doctor explained the significance, and referred her for a biopsy — right away. He may have saved her life.

Mount Vernon, Alexandria: A Time to Remember

Ceremony to honor local veterans.

The Friends of Rocky Versace will host the city’s 15th Annual Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11 at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center.

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Alexandria, Mount Vernon: Shifting Gears

Bumpy road ahead for Capital Bikeshare expansion in Northern Virginia.

It takes a little over two hours to bike from downtown Washington D.C. to Reston. For the Capital Bikeshare, it’s a trip that’s taken six years.

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Learning about Government

Webelos of Pack 602, all residents of Alexandria and in the Scouts’ Colonial District, National Capital Area Council, met Thursday, Nov. 3 with Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg in City Hall.

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Spanish Galleon Visits

The center span of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge opens to allow the tall ship El Galeon to pass en route to the Alexandria City Marina during the evening hours of Nov. 8.

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Supporting Wounded Warriors

American Legion and Old Dominion Boat Club lead  fundraiser.

The Sons of the American Legion of Alexandria and Leesburg sponsored a fundraiser at the Old Dominion Boat Club on Nov. 6.

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Sheriff’s Office Salutes Volunteers at Luncheon

More than 200 volunteers help the Sheriff’s Office deliver services to inmates and to the public, and the Sheriff's Office recently honored those volunteers with an appreciation luncheon.

Living Legends: The Project

Living Legends of Alexandria is an ongoing 501(c)(3) photo-documentary project to identify, honor and chronicle the people making current history in Alexandria.

Letter to the Editor: Rightful Heritage

Our Virginia forebears were the first English-speaking people who celebrated and established the custom of celebrating Thanksgiving annually on these shores.

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Clinton and Kaine Carry Virginia, Trump Seizes Key Battlegrounds

Comstock, Connolly, Beyer re-elected; meals tax voted down; bonds voted up.

MEALS TAX referendum would have allowed Fairfax County supervisors to enact up to a four percent tax on prepared foods and beverages.

Monday, November 7

Fairfax County: Autopsy Report Yet to Come for Deputy-Involved Shooting

Administrative investigation to follow.

Law enforcement officials are still waiting to receive the final autopsy report for Yovani Amaya Gomez, 29, who was shot dead by Fairfax County Sheriff’s Deputy MDS Patrick McPartlin outside Inova Fairfax Hospital on Aug. 15 of this year.

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The Italian Place Brings Taste of Europe to Old Town

New shop has been labor of love for owner Adriana Penachio-Sifakis.

When it comes to international cuisine, Old Town is no slouch.

A Half Hour in the Life of a Vet — and a Dog

People At Work

"Gracie?" Dr. Sophia Chiang walks out into the waiting room at VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital on Duke Street looking for a black lab.

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Trick and Treating along Lee Street

Trick and Treating along Lee Street

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ODBC Rowers Post Improved Performances

The ODBC Crew team took 11 boats to the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta (HOSR) on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia early in the morning on Oct. 30, and brought medals and improved performances back to Alexandria at the end of the day.

St. Patrick's Day Parade Grand Marshals Named

Bill and Karen Butcher, founders of Port City Brewing Company, will be the Grand Marshals of the 2017 St. Patrick's Day Parade, according to the Ballyshaners, organizer of the parade.

Outrage Over Traffic Calming

Using congestion to slow traffic

Traffic is slower on King Street. That was part of the city’s Complete Streets goal; to slow vehicular speeds on the stretch of road between T.C. Williams High School and the Masonic Temple.

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Hail to the Chief

Cook honored at retirement luncheon

Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook was honored at a luncheon Sept. 30 as hundreds crowded the Westin Alexandria Hotel ballroom to celebrate Cook’s final day of service to the department.

Voter Fraud Charged

Vafalay Massaquoi was arraigned on Oct. 28 in Alexandria General District Court on four felony charges related to allegations of voter registration fraud.

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20th Halloween Parade in Del Ray

Del Ray held its 20th Annual Halloween parade and post-parade party on Oct. 30.

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And the Winner Is …

Chamber honors best of local business.

It was the Academy Awards for local businesses as the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce presented its annual Business Awards Oct. 19, with Burke and Herbert Chairman and CEO E. Hunt Burke honored as the 2016 Business Leader of the Year.

Friday, November 4

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Salute to Veterans

Euripides to receive Distinguished Patriot Award Nov. 10.

Charlie Euripides, a Korean War Veteran and longtime owner of the Royal Restaurant, will be presented with the Distinguished Patriot Award.

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Supporting Health Fair

Supporting Health Fair

Opinion: Column

Putting the "civil" back in American civic life

Putting the "civil" back in American civic life

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Keeping Children Warm

Coats, books distributed to local families.

Families from across the city came to Charles Houston Recreation Center Oct. 29 to pick out new coats and books.

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Fall Fund Drive

Fall Fund Drive — T.C. Williams high School Principal Dr. Jesse Dingle volunteered Monday evening to work the phone lines.

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Quander Named Grand Marshal

Will lead Scottish Christmas Walk

Nellie Brooks Quander will be the Grand Marshal of the Campagna Center’s 46th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Parade on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 11 a.m.

School Board Notes

Neighbors Push Back

T.C. Williams Advisory Committee has been meeting in its current form since 2007 to resolve issues between the local neighborhoods and the high school.

Practitioners Discuss Alternative Health Therapies

Senior Services of Alexandria

Do you ever take a moment to listen to your body?

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Opinion: Cartoon

Opinion: Letter to the Editor

Business Friendly?

Opinion: Letter to the Editor

City Invests In Public Safety

Opinion: Letter to the Editor

Strengthening Social Security

Opinion: Column

Support County Bonds

Opinion: Letter to the Editor

An Appetite For Spending

Opinion: Letter to the Editor

Silence Over Plane Noise

Opinion: Letter to the Editor

No Guarantee On New Spending


David Dougherty

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Keeping Children Warm

Firefighters distribute coats, books to local charities.

“We believe a new winter coat gives children the freedom and confidence to play more, learn more and do more.” — Firefighters and Friends founder Capt. Will Bailey

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A Wolverine Win

A Wolverine Win

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Aldersgate Church Marks 60 Years

Choir performs specially commissioned piece.

Aldersgate United Methodist Church marked its 60th anniversary Oct. 23.

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Gala Honors Rising Hope Church

Nearly 200 supporters of Rising Hope attended the annual Hope Grows Gala at the Waterford of Springfield on Oct. 14.

Storck Defers Farm Vote

"We don’t have much time to lose.” — Supervisor Dan Storck (D-Mount Vernon)

Once again, Supervisor Dan Storck (D-Mount Vernon) recommended the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors defer taking action regarding the development of more than four acres of the land close to the Inova Mount Vernon medical office suites on Hinson, or Bock, Farm.

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The Few. The Proud.

The 41st Marine Corps Marathon.

For Brooke Sydnor Curran, running the 41st Marine Corps Marathon was a milestone: her 100th marathon for charity since founding the nonprofit RunningBrooke Fund. For Grace Episcopal kindergarten teacher Cara Donley, the Oct. 30 race represented a different milestone.

Wednesday, November 2

New Addition to Middleburg Real Estate/Atoka Properties


Middleburg Real Estate/Atoka Properties proudly announces the addition of Moose Valliere, Top Producer, who for 12 years has proudly served home buyers and sellers in Northern Virginia.

Tuesday, November 1

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Young At Art

Senior art show celebrates 30 years.

Young At Art, a juried art exhibit featuring the works of artists 55 years and older, celebrated its 30th anniversary with a reception and awards ceremony Oct. 19 at the Durant Arts Center in Old Town.

Alexandria Issues Seeking Statewide Solutions

City reviews 2017 legislative package.

From the ongoing debate over Confederate statues to the cutting edge of body-camera technology, Alexandria’s City Council considered a series of local and statewide topics to be addressed in the upcoming state legislative session.

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People at Work

Sharing Food and Conversation

The telephone is ringing; customers line up at the counter for large white carry-out plastic bags of scrambled eggs and pancakes; the cash register clinks.

Police Investigate Industrial Accident

The Alexandria Police Department is investigating an industrial accident in the 700 block of Wythe Street.

Mable B. Wood


George Butt


West End Pantry Tackles Food Desert

An ecumenical project.

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Ghost Stories of Old Town

Mysteries, phantoms, and Devil-Bats lurk through city streets.

Many Old Town Alexandrians are protective of their city. For some, that defensiveness continues beyond the grave.

Man Pleads Guilty to Robbing Two Alexandria Banks

Budder Khan, a 26-year-old resident of Arlington, pleaded guilty on Oct. 20 to two counts of bank robbery.

John Porter Shares Whimsical Poetry

Poetry Conversations

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Editorial Cartoon

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A Safe Place To Play

Rebuilding Together Alexandria

Mentor of The Month

Beyond Books

Lawless Streets

Traffic Calming?

Sunrise, Oct. 21.

Memorial Service