Stories for December 2020

Stories for December 2020


Tuesday, December 29

Tease photo

Robot of the Future Art from Mount Vernon

Robot of the Future, by Christopher, 4th Grade, Riverside Elementary, teacher: Ms. Land.

Tease photo

Two Million Lights in a Dark Winter

An Insider’s View on the Bull Run Festival of Lights; open through Jan. 10, and maybe more

The Bull Run Festival of Lights is the largest light show in the Washington Metropolitan area, and this winter it is more popular than ever before.

Monday, December 28

Tease photo

The 121st Audubon Christmas Bird Count

Volunteers will count birds, locally and nationwide

Between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5, volunteers will fan out across the Washington metropolitan area and count birds – birds foraging in fields, hopping around front yards, poking in the leaf litter, perching in trees, wading in wetlands, feeding at feeders, flying, bathing, swimming, sleeping, all the things birds do.

Tease photo

To the Rescue in Mount Vernon

Firefighters and Friends continue annual toy drive

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, in partnership with Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue, continued its annual toy drive with a scaled-down distribution day Dec. 15 at Penn Daw Fire Station 11.

Thursday, December 24

Opinion: Column: Trip, and Hopefully Not a Fall

Having recently returned from a driving sojourn through the South, with stops and stays in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida, visiting four sets of friends in those three states, I can say with certainty that wearing masks, social distancing and common sense consideration for your fellow citizen were not nearly so accepted as we had hoped.

Surviving Christmas Day in Solitude

Ideas for coping with being alone on the holiday

While Christmas Day will be different and difficult for many this year, it will be especially difficult for seniors who live alone and will be in solitude because of COVID-19 risks.

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Cutting Pollution for Our Health

Ella Kissi-Debrah had severe asthma, frequently visiting the ER with cardiac and respiratory arrest.

Opinion: Editorial: Merry Christmas

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

The pages of the Connection (including the Alexandria Gazette Packet, the Mount Vernon Gazette, the Potomac Almanac and the Centre View) are usually full of holiday spirit, beginning before Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, December 23

Tease photo

Appealing Bad Rulings

Lawmakers to consider expanding appeals court, providing new oversight to judges.

Virginia is the only state in the country that does not guarantee a right to appeal, allowing circuit court judges to make decisions with little oversight or scrutiny. Critics have been calling for reform ever since the Court of Appeals was first created in 1985. The Supreme Court of Virginia recommended an appeal of right as a "long term goal" in 2018. Now, Gov. Ralph Northam says he wants lawmakers to add four judges and support staff "to ensure the court can hear more appeals cases in a timely manner under an increasing workload."

Monday, December 21

Tease photo

Mount Vernon and Global Warming

Ground water seeping up regularly may be a sign.

With the Potomac River a few hundred yards away, residents of Fort Hunt are seeing ground water seeping up, running down the sidewalks and low-lying street areas.

Thursday, December 17

Tease photo

Unusual and Quirky Items Sell at Area Gift Stores

Consignment shops and estate sale hubs in the Mount Vernon corridor.

Gift Shops

Wednesday, December 16

Opinion: Commentary: Giving for the Holidays

Now is the time not only to give generously to your favorite charities but also to give wisely and knowingly.

The holidays are a time for sharing our blessings with those we love and those in need.

Opinion: Column: Three Strikes...

...and now I'm out – of the Handel's Messiah sweepstakes.

Tease photo

Virginia Master Naturalist Program Graduates Spring Class

The 2020 Spring class of Virginia Master Naturalists (VMN) graduated, finally, in a Zoom ceremony on Dec. 14.

Tease photo

A Holiday Season Reimagined

The pandemic leads to altered and new traditions.

When schools adjourn for winter break, the anticipation of a COVID-19 pandemic holiday season will become a reality.

Saturday, December 12

Tease photo

Living with Foxes

They’re tough to “outfox.”

Foxes are very adaptable to human environments, Fairfax County wildlife biologist Erin Thady told 70 attendees at a Dec. 6 Zoom talk sponsored by the Friends of Mason Neck State Park.

Tease photo

Belle View Upgrades May Bring New Life to Shopping Center

Façade improvements continue during pandemic

In early December, shoppers aren’t the only ones busy at Belle View Shopping Center in Mount Vernon.

Friday, December 11

Opinion: Commentary: Shop Local and Support Our Neighbors!

Just like every year, COVID-19 or not, the season of thanksgiving is followed by the season of giving.

Thursday, December 10

Tease photo

Sidewalk and Bike Trail Project Connects to Lee District Park

Spot improvement projects along Telegraph Road improve traffic flow.

Road project in Lee District

Tease photo

First Female NFL Coach Got Her Start with the MV Majors

Mount Vernon native Callie Brownson is now a Cleveland Browns Coach

Female NFL Coach

Tease photo

Absurd Leverage

Lawmakers to reconsider mandatory minimum for assaulting law enforcement

Earlier this year, lawmakers rejected a bill that would have ditched the mandatory minimum sentence for assaulting a law-enforcement officer. Now the General Assembly is about to consider the issue again.

Opinion: Commentary: Prepping for the 2021 Session of the General Assembly

The 2021 General Assembly session is a month away and my staff and I are busy in preparation.

Tease photo

What Does It Cost to Buy a Dog?

Virginia observes Puppy Mill Awareness Month

Second article in series.

Wednesday, December 9

Tease photo

A Look Inside the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Meeting Dec. 1, 2020

Highlights of discussion and actions that impact all who live, work and play in the diverse county

Dec. 1 marked the final Fairfax County Full Board of Supervisors Meeting with Public Comment of 2020.

Tease photo

National Park Foundation Hero Award for Sen. Warner

Award for his efforts to pass the Great American Outdoors Act

Monday, Dec. 7, at an outdoor and socially-distanced ceremony at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) was awarded the National Park Foundation’s Hero Award by Foundation President, Will Shafroth.

Tuesday, December 8

Tease photo

Christmas Casual or Go All Out?

As with many traditions, the pandemic is altering celebrations.

Opinion: Column: “Medican’t” Take It Anymore

The non-stop – or so it seems, television advertising letting all of us viewers know that the 2020 Medicare Open Enrollment window is about to slam shut is nearly over.

Friday, December 4

Tease photo

Cappies: Mount Vernon High Brings Frankenstein to Audio Theater

Wind blew and whistled over a soft piano until cracks of thunder and a baby's cries punctured the surroundings.

Tease photo

Little Theatre of Alexandria Presents “A Christmas Carol”

During Covid-19, the show will be seen through live acting, animation, and virtual reality.

Continuing with its holiday tradition (with Covid-19 restrictions), the Little Theatre of Alexandria (LTA) is presenting Charles Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol,” from Dec. 4-19, 2020 through live acting, animation, and virtual reality.

Opinion: Commentary: Proposed Cuts to WMATA Would Be Devastating

Leaders must step up.

The reality of proposed cuts to our Metrorail and Metrobus service in the absence of a rescue package is now clear.

Editorial: Time to Send Art for Children’s Gazette

Like everything else, the Children's Gazette will be different in 2020.

Thursday, December 3

Drawing the Line

Newly created redistricting commission zooms toward new maps in 2021

Now that voters have approved a constitutional amendment creating a new redistricting commission, the pieces have already started falling into place for how the commission will work and who will serve on it.

Opinion: Commentary: The New Redistricting Process Begins

With the approval of Amendment #1 by 66% of Virginia voters at the ballot box last month, the new redistricting process is now underway and the map-drawing is shifted to a 16-member bipartisan commission.

Opinion: Column: A Bone To Pick

Not that I'm the most-stressed about it, but I am at least stressed about a bone scan I'm having this week.

Wednesday, December 2

Tease photo

December is Virginia’s Puppy Mill Awareness Month

In February, the 2020 General Assembly unanimously designated December as Virginia’s Puppy Mill Awareness Month.

Tease photo

Artifacts Tell the Nation’s Story at the New Army Museum

Museum showcases display cases, first hand accounts, newsreel footage and more.

Inside the Army museum

‘Fairfax Peak’ Indoor Ski Slope Jumps Another Mogul

Public comments show mixed opinions for the slope planned at Lorton Landfill.

Fairfax Peak skiing

Students and Parents Navigate Virtual Learning in Fairfax County

FCPS Virtual and In-Person Learning During COVID 2020

Dec. 1 marked the day that Fairfax County Public Schools students in Group 5, those in Early Head Start, PreK, Kindergarten, and some who receive special education services were to at last transition out of distance learning and walk through school doors to receive two days a week of in-person learning.

Tease photo

Fairfax County Police Patrol on Bikes to Enhance Community Relations

Neighborhood Patrol Units are in every district.

The boots on the ground for the Fairfax County Police Department include the numerous bicycle squads cruising throughout the county, keeping communities safe while interacting with the public on a daily basis.

Tease photo

Have Yourself a Sober Little Christmas

Batting addictions during the holidays

With the holidays come an increase in imbibing.

Tuesday, December 1

Tease photo

Bringing Joy and Message of Hope to Area Children

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue participating in TOYS FOR TOTS Campaign

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department will be participating in the Annual National Capital Region Fire and EMS Departments’ 2020 TOYS FOR TOTS Campaign.

Editorial: Time to Send Art for Children’s Connection

Like everything else, the Children's Connection will be different in 2020.

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Covid Alerts Via Mobile?

Given the evolving COVID-19 restrictions and guidance in response to another wave of infections, I believe I have an idea for information proliferation.