Stories for October 2016

Stories for October 2016


Monday, October 31

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Clean-Up Honors Jeff Todd

Chamber project dedicated to his civic spirit.

Walking along Jeff Todd Way in the Mount Vernon area, picking up litter didn’t seem like an exciting way to spend a Saturday morning, but Hannah Todd didn’t seem to mind.

Rock 'n' Run

Stratford Landing Elementary School students raised funds during their annual Rock ‘n’ Run on Friday, Oct. 21.

A Toast to Art

Two friends and young entrepreneurs, Rachel Bell and Camille Herrera, opened a brick and mortar franchise on Oct. 22 called Wine & Design

Meals Tax: Myths and Misconceptions


As the Nov. 8 General election draws near, we would like to take the opportunity to set the record straight and do some myth busting regarding the meals tax.

Focusing on Domestic Abuse


Since 1989, October has been designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Vote ‘Yes’ for FCPS Teachers' Salaries


When you vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8, Fairfax County voters can vote for our schools by voting to allow a four percent tax on prepared restaurant meals.

Foundation’s Historic Roots

Its mission is to help needy students with learning disabilities.

“The Gunston Hall School” foundation that donates money to financially needy students with learning disabilities, has origins going back to 1892

Friday, October 28

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Mount Vernon:Clean-Up Honors Jeff Todd

Chamber project dedicated to his civic spirit.

Volunteers clean up along Jeff Todd Way in the Mount Vernon area, in honor of his dedication to the Mount Vernon-Lee community.

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Mount Vernon: Friends and Family Reflect on Michael M. Skinner

Memorial service set for Saturday at MVHS.

Pat Hynes remembers Michael M. Skinner as an administrator was one of those people who “the kids all love, and sort of fear a little.”

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Mount Vernon: Firehouse Subs Donates $80,000 to First Responders

The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation presented a check on Oct. 13 for $79,895 to Virginia first responders and public safety organizations including the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, City of Manassas Park Fire and Rescue, Manassas City Police Department, Loudoun County Police Department, and U.S. Park Police.

Thursday, October 27

Fairfax County: Breaking Down the Bonds

County seeks authorization to finance transportation and parks projects, and human services and community development facilities

Fairfax County will try to make the most of voters’ time on election day Nov. 8, having them weigh in not only on the Presidential and Congressional elections, but also proposed Constitutional amendments, a referendum and bond questions.

Fairfax County: Garza FCPS Departure Impacts Stuart Name Change Working Group

Responding to a student-led group petitioning to change the name of J.E.B. Stuart High School in Falls Church, the Fairfax County Public Schools board voted over the summer to create a working group that would consider the community concerns and look into the logistics of a potential name change.

Wednesday, October 26

Classified Advertising October 26, 2016

Read the latest ads here!

Tuesday, October 25

Reject the Meals Tax

“A closer look at school spending shows the intentions of the School Board are to delve into more political correctness and social engineering.”

A “no” vote will send a message to the county Board of Supervisors that higher taxes should not be routine, and that county leaders must focus on better management, and more importantly, the School Board, more efficiency, and greater respect for taxpayers.

Bulova: Vote Yes

A legally binding commitment 70 percent would go to Fairfax County Public Schools.

I was elected chairman in 2009, just as the Great Recession settled over this country like a stubborn storm cloud. The market value of property in Fairfax County plummeted, resulting in historic reductions in both residential and commercial tax revenues. At the same time, more people than ever turned to the county for assistance. Former County Executive Tony Griffin’s prediction, in the throes of the Recession years, that “this will be our new normal” has proven prescient.

Friday, October 21

Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness Supports Meals Tax

After careful consideration, the Fairfax – Falls Church Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness has decided to fully support the proposed 4 percent Fairfax County Meals Tax.

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American Elections: French Perspective

I am a French student who chose to come to study close to Washington DC for what I thought would be one of the most interesting elections in the history of Uncle Sam’s country.

Column: No to the Meals Tax

A food tax is not a silver bullet.

I have been opposed to the meals tax from the start, but what has concerned me most over the last several months has been the tactics used to try to convince our residents to vote for it and the county’s failure to deal with its spending problems. I would like to offer some clarity on these points and why I am against the meals tax.

Vote Yes: Immigrant Families Rely on Schools for More Than Education

Fairfax County Public Schools are more than just a place to learn. Growing up in Burke, I saw firsthand how our schools created a sense of community and neighborhood camaraderie. Schools are where we could go to borrow a book, where we could watch and play sports, and where we could perform a play or listen to a concert.

Column: Yes to the Meals Tax

Reduces dependence on property tax.

As a businessman here in Fairfax and a former member of the Fairfax County School Board, I write on behalf of a coalition of thousands of homeowners, parents, teachers, firefighters, police, friends and users of our libraries and our parks and recreation facilities, and those who belong to churches and non-profit organizations working to ensure that Fairfax County also protects those in need [].

Letter: Supporting Meals Tax

Letter to the Editor

I’m writing to encourage Fairfax County voters to support the county meals tax referendum on the ballot in November.

Letter: Meals Tax: A Better Option

Letter to the Editor

After reviewing Fairfax County’s proposed 4-percent meals tax, the Class Size Counts (CSC) board voted to support the Nov. 8 referendum because it decided that it would be better to raise money for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) through a tax on prepared foods rather than through additional increases to County property taxes.

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Advice from the Pros

Local private school admissions directors share wisdom they’d offer to their own children.

From interviews to essays to standardized tests to open houses, the season for submitting independent school applications is underway. For families vying for a spot at the area’s most elite schools, the process can be fraught with anxiety, stress and confusion as parents and students wade through the myriad academic options in the Washington, D.C., region.

Thursday, October 20

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Mount Vernon: Inside Cedar Knoll

Historic restaurant approaching one year after re-opening.

After being shuttered since November 2014, the restaurant at Cedar Knoll along the George Washington Memorial Parkway will have been re-opened for a year this December.

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Mount Vernon: Quander Stream Outfall Project on Track

Construction began Aug. 8 on a restoration project for the stream running through Mount Vernon Park, beginning behind the intersection of Dartmouth Drive and Swarthmore Drive in Alexandria.

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Mount Vernon: Michael M. Skinner Dies

Mount Vernon High School’s “institution.”

Michael M. Skinner of Mount Vernon died Oct. 17 at the age of 91. Skinner was as well-known fixture at Mount Vernon High School between 1955 and 1983, where he taught history, coached basketball and was served as subschool principal.

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Fairfax County: Room to Improve for Fairfax County Public Schools on SAT

Scores above Virginia, national Levels, but achievement gap remains

On average, Fairfax County Public High Schools performed better on the SAT college placement exam in 2016 than the Commonwealth of Virginia overall average.

Wednesday, October 19

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Mount Vernon Snapshot: Field Trip at Huntley Meadows Park

Brittany Hopkins's third grade class from Sangster Elementary School in Springfield visited Huntley Meadows Park on Wednesday, Oct. 5.

Mount Vernon Letter: Question 1’s Clarity

Letter to the Editor

Besides considering candidates for election, on Nov. 8, 2016 (or earlier if you vote early), voters will decide several issues including two issues in which it is proposed to amend the Constitution of Virginia. One of these, identified as "Question 1" reads as follows:

Mount Vernon Column: Yes for Widows, No for ‘Right to Work’


On Nov. 8, you can vote on two state constitutional amendments that require voter approval, in addition to voting for President and U.S. Congress. There are also local measures on the ballot in some counties.

Mount Vernon Column: Enshrining ‘Free Riding’


This year on Election Day, the first question you will see on the ballot is a proposed constitutional amendment that would prohibit a worker’s participation in a union as a condition for employment in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Friday, October 14

Free Halloween Car Rides Offered in Area

As a means of making the Washington-metropolitan area’s roadways a little less frightening this Halloween, free cab rides will be offered to would-be drunk drivers throughout the Washington-metropolitan area on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 29.

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Oak Hill Remodeled Home Tour Set for Nov. 5

Gourmet kitchen, spa master bath among spotlight features in makeover.

A circa 1980's center hall Colonial enhanced by a gourmet kitchen, a spacious spa bath and a lower-level guest suite will be featured in a “Remodeled Home Tour” sponsored by Sun Design Remodeling on Saturday, Nov. 5.

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Showcase Home Offers Design Inspiration

DC Design House was transformed by local designers to raise money for charity.

Those in search of interior design ideas now have a source of new inspirations, at least temporarily. The 2016 DC Design House is now open to the public and runs through Oct. 30.

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Home Improvements for the Holidays

Local contractors say there is time to spruce up your house and yard.

Changing temperatures and falling leaves are a signal the holidays are near. From Thanksgiving through the New Year, homes are filled with guests and schedules are stacked with parties. Getting one’s home guest ready by the holidays may be daunting, but it’s doable with proper planning and realistic expectations, say local contractors.

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Mount Vernon: Celebrating Joshua Owusu’s Life

Stratford Landing student loses brain cancer battle.

Joshua Owusu’s bell-like soprano voice floated through the reception hall, carrying the words “Maybe we found love right where we are,” from singer Ed Sheeran’s hit “Thinking Out Loud.” A video projected on one side of the hall showed Owusu, a sixth grader at Stratford Landing Elementary School, performing confidently and innocently onstage, sharply dressed with suspenders and a clip-on bow tie.

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Fairfax County: Lockard Named Interim Superintendent

Dr. Steven Lockard will take over for Dr. Karen Garza as Fairfax County Schools superintendent for the interim period while the School Board searches for her replacement.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: September, 2016

In September, 2016, 120 homes sold between $1,525,000-$80,000 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: September, 2016

Mount Vernon: Support Volleyball Dig Pink

West Potomac Volleyball is hosting its annual Dig Pink Rally at its regularly scheduled match (5, 6 and 7:15 p.m.) against rival Mount Vernon High School on Thursday, Oct. 13.

Mount Vernon: Lockard Named Interim Superintendent

Garza leaves Dec. 19.

Dr. Steven Lockard will take over for Dr. Karen Garza as Fairfax County Schools superintendent for the interim period while the School Board searches for her replacement.

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Mount Vernon: Bryant Focuses on Enhancing Student Success

Seeks to ensure students have plans for their future.

Bryant Principal Tanganika (Tangy) Millard isn’t basking in last year’s graduation success. Millard is working to ensure her students receive individualized and real-time attention required to succeed as adults.

Mount Vernon: MVHS Teacher Studies at Estate

Kenneth Trotman, a history and social studies teacher at Mount Vernon High School, was one of 160 educators from across the nation selected to participate in the George Washington Teacher’s Institute, a four-day residential professional development program, at the Mount Vernon Estate this summer. Institute participants included K-12 teachers, librarians, and media specialists in a competitive application process.

Mount Vernon: Annual Swing Pink Charity Event Returns

The Mount Vernon Athletic Club (MTVAC), a fitness and tennis club, will hold its 11th Annual “Swing for Pink” tennis charity event for Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Oct. 28 from 6:30-11 p.m. The event is open to the public.

Mount Vernon: Graves Places First Runner Up

In Ms. Senior Virginia America Pageant.

Betty Ann Crews Graves, 78, of the Mount Vernon/Gum Springs area placed First Runner Up in the Ms. Senior Virginia America Pageant on July 14 in Falls Church.

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Mount Vernon: Habitat NOVA Celebrates Completion of Two New Homes

Two families are joined by 90 volunteers.

Two families achieved their dream of building and owning their own home, thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia (Habitat NOVA). On Sept. 18 the Mansaye and Omar families were joined by more than 90 volunteers, Habitat NOVA board members and staff, project partners, and guests in celebration of their newly completed homes.

Mount Vernon Letter: New Taxes Should Be Last Option

Letter to the Editor

All governments need tax revenue to administer essential programs and services. Therefore, they should be very frugal in their decisions to spend the taxes collected from hardworking taxpayers. They also should ensure that all programs and services are essential and run efficiently and effectively before raising or asking for new taxes.

Mount Vernon Letter: Establish Ground Rules

Letter to the Editor

Clarification on one issue might help people decide how to vote on the meal tax referendum.

Mount Vernon Column: Students May Apply to Amundson Institute


This coming Legislative Session I will host the seventh annual Amundson Institute, continuing the tradition of Sen. Scott Surovell and his predecessor, former delegate, Kris Amundson. The program, sponsored by Cox Communications, is an outstanding opportunity for young leaders to learn about legislative and public service careers.

Mount Vernon Brief: Join Walk to Bust Cancer

The National Breast Center Foundation will hold its first Walk to Bust Cancer at Fort Hunt Park on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 8 a.m.

Wednesday, October 12

Classified Advertising October 12, 2016

Read the latest ads here!

Friday, October 7

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Snapshot: Senior Olympics Swimming

See more Senior Olympics Swimming photos on Facebook.

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From the Beginning to the End

982 participants signed up for 2016 Northern Virginia Senior Olympics.

The Northern Virginia Senior Olympics (NVSO) opened Sept. 10 and ran through Sept. 21 with another record registration of 918 participants.

Park Authority Offers 50+ Web Portal

The Fairfax County Park Authority has launched a website specifically for residents age 50 or older.

Seminars on Downsizing

The Retiree Real Estate Education Association announces free public service seminars for October on Decluttering, Aging in Place, and Downsizing, given at McLean, Falls Church, and Marshall High schools. These are part of a series of eight free seminars on real estate issues unique to retirees.

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Debating Pro & Con on Meals Tax

League of Women Voters hosts forum on Meals Tax issue.

The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area sponsored a debate-style panel discussion on the Meals Tax issue which will go before county voters in the Nov. 8 General Election.

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Fall Driving: Be Alert for Deer

Autumn is approaching and white-tailed deer will be on the move. Fall is the breeding season for deer.

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Bike Sharing Stations Open up Transportation Options

Capital Bikeshare expands to Reston, Tysons area.

Near the corner of Union Street and Prince Street in Old Town, Alexandria, there is a row of red Capital Bikeshare bikes for commuters, tourists and locals to rent, to offer biking as a transportation option without the hassle of congestion or parking that plagues the area.

Interfaith Partners for Justice Address Needs of Returning Citizens

Interfaith Partners for Justice (IPJ), a cooperative effort of members of ten Northern Virginia faith communities, invites returning citizens (ex-offenders), people of faith and justice advocates to come together for a come-when-you-can afternoon of opportunities for voter registration and photo IDs, as well as a series of workshops, advocacy tables and conversations on the needs of returning citizens (often less hopefully and permanently called “ex-offenders”) on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, 2 to 5 p.m. at Lake Anne Community Center, 1609 A Washington Plaza in Reston.

Thursday, October 6

Editorial: Voting Never Mattered More

Consider voting absentee in person since more than 500,000 other voters are likely to turnout on Election Day.

With more than 655,000 active voters in Fairfax County, and as many as 500,000 voters turning out on Election Day, it’s a good time to consider voting early, and preparing for a longer-than-usual process if voting on Election Day.

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Mount Vernon: Friends of Dyke Marsh Celebrate 40th Anniversary

“It could be our Everglades.”

More than 100 members of the Friends of Dyke Marsh group, supporters and elected officials spent the afternoon at River Farm in Alexandria on Sunday Oct. 2, celebrating the Friends group’s 40th anniversary.

Mount Vernon: 400 Evacuated from River Towers

Fairfax County firefighters evacuated 400 residents from one of three River Towers condo buildings Sunday afternoon Oct. 2 following reports there was structural damage and residents felt the building shake.

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Shepherd’s Center of Fairfax-Burke helps seniors age in place with free rides program

It was the first time Fairfax residents Marilyn Hanick and her husband Robert ever asked for any help. She can drive herself to doctor’s appointments at her Fair Oaks area hospital, but for the couple to get Robert to Tysons Corner for appointments for eye injections, his back and hearing problems make it much more difficult.

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Fairfax County: Meals Tax Statement Debated During Joint Budget Meeting

Text prepared by Board of Supervisors and FCPS board chairs.

There continues to be division, at least among several members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and School Board, on whether voters should approve a referendum allowing the government to levy up to a four percent additional tax on prepared foods and beverages at restaurants, as well as ready-to-eat foods from grocery and convenience stores.

Fairfax County Public Schools Beat Virginia On-Time Graduation Rate

The Virginia Department of Education has released graduation rates for school systems around the Commonwealth. Fairfax County Public Schools had 92.3 percent of its 2016 class graduate on time, compared with the state average 91.3 percent.

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Senior Living: Planning for Multigenerational Living

Making room for older family members.

Planning for multigenerational living has been on the rise in recent years. With life expectancies increasing and early baby boomers entering their golden years, this trend is expected to continue. As with any remodeling project, there are a number of factors to consider when planning a renovation for a growing household.

Senior Living: Regaining Mobility

Local orthopedic surgeons offer keys for successful joint replacement surgery.

Tired of the limited mobility and pain that have thwarted her love of foreign travel and fall hiking, Lynda S. Johnson, 72, scheduled a knee replacement surgery for later this month. She chose a doctor, found a pet sitter to watch her Cairn terrier, and enlisted her sister to live with her while she recovers. “I had been debating for months about whether to have it,” she said. “I was in so much pain, though, that I don’t really think I have anything to lose.”

Medicare Open Enrollment Nears

Tips to help Medicare beneficiaries get ready.

Medicare beneficiaries preparing for open enrollment this month may want to consider their current health needs and the many preventive services covered by Medicare.

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Senior Living: Life at Vinson Hall — Living the Difference

Mary DeMaris is headed down on the elevator at Vinson Hall with her black case of art supplies, an artist headed to a still life class out of the building. “There is a club here for everything — poetry, art, choral group, photography, book, gardening,” she said.

Wednesday, October 5

Mount Vernon Column: Needs of Aging Population


By 2030, one-in-four Virginians will be over 60 years old. That’s over half a million more people than today, and that number will include me too. This is a tremendous demographic change, and it will present the Commonwealth with many new challenges to allow Virginians to age with dignity and respect.

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Mount Vernon Snapshot: Warning

A sign set up Sept. 29 on Fort Hunt Road at Belle View Shopping Center warned residents of heavy rains expected.

Mount Vernon Letter: No Tax Relief With Meals Tax

Letter to the Editor

I am writing to oppose the Meals Tax Referendum. I attended a meeting last week in which the referendum was debated. Attendees included Mount Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck and Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity.

Mount Vernon Letter: Property Taxes Shouldn’t Pay All

Letter to the Editor

By now, you’ve no doubt heard about the meals tax referendum Fairfax County voters will face this November.

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Mount Vernon: Back to the Future

Original Mount Vernon High School reopens for teens after 30 years.

The Original Mount Vernon High School Gym is once again going to be used by teens, only this time as a part of the existing Teen Center at the South County Government Center. The gym is located across the road from the South County Government Center and completes the current Teen Center with a full-size gym and basketball courts.

Mount Vernon Musing: Heavy Metal George

There is a myth that George Washington's false teeth were made of wood. In this case, a myth is not as good as a mile. Woodn't you like to know the truth? Fact is, President Washington had several sets of teeth, made of various materials including ivory, gold and lead. And what does this tell us about George? First, he could clearly take a big bite out of the most difficult tasks. Second, he was clearly a man of very strong mettle, maybe even heavy metal (Do I hear Aerosmith playing in the background?). Plus, he had "endentured" servants.

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Mount Vernon Snapshot: Fall Festival — Unleashed

Westgrove Pack, the community sponsors of the Westgrove Off Leash Dog Park, will celebrate the success of the park with a festival and fundraising launch on Nov. 5, 1-4 p.m., to which all dog enthusiasts — and those few who still need convincing — are invited.

Mount Vernon: Service To Celebrate Joshua Owusu’s Life

Joshua Owusu, a sixth grade student at Stratford Landing Elementary School lost his battle with brain cancer on Tuesday, Sept. 26. A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, Oct. 8, 11 a.m., at Aldersgate Church, 1301 Collingwood Drive. A reception will immediately follow in Wesley Hall. Burial will be in Mount Comfort Cemetery, 6600 S. Kings Highway at 2:30 p.m.

Mount Vernon: Dig Pink Rally

A Dig Pink Rally, supporting breast cancer research, is being sponsored by West Potomac High School Volleyball, 6500 Quander Road, at its Oct. 13 games against Mount Vernon: 5 p.m. (Freshman), 6 p.m. (JV), and 7:15 p.m. (Varsity). The rally will include a Memory/Honor Wall, bake sale, and a Ft. Hunt volleyball players serving contest. The volleyball teams welcome everyone to cheer on the local high school players and wear pink.

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Alexandria Appetite: BurgerFi Sets Up Shop in Old Town

With its opening last week, local co-owners celebrate a homecoming.

Peer down the 100 block of North Pitt Street and it’s easy to spot a new neighbor. The erstwhile Pat Troy’s Ireland’s Own, shuttered for several years, now has new life in the form of the city’s first BurgerFi. Open since Sept. 26, the locally owned franchise has begun to generate quite a bit of foot traffic — and prelaunch interest, too, with would-be customers peeking in the front door in anticipation. But you haven’t missed a grand opening event, franchise co-owner David Landry says.