Stories for March 2014

Stories for March 2014


Thursday, March 27

Classified Advertising March 26, 2014

Read the latest ads here!

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McAuliffe Talks Medicaid Expansion

Patients share stories at Medicaid expansion roundtable.

Just a few days before the Virginia General Assembly convened in a special session in Richmond to decide on the budget and the possibility of Medicaid expansion, Gov. Terry McAuliffe met with patients of Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services in Arlington, as they shared with him how Medicaid expansion would change their lives for the better.

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Area Residents Depend On Medicaid Coverage

Surovell, Puller host Medicaid expansion town hall.

Before heading to Richmond to debate what Sen. Toddy Puller describes as the “biggest battle” that will occur during this session of the General Assembly, Puller joined Del. Scott Surovell and Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel to discuss Medicaid expansion and its possible impact on the Mount Vernon and Lee communities.

Wednesday, March 26

Letter to the Editor: Advice on Road Sand

To the Editor: To follow up on several recent letters regarding collection and disposal of residual road treatment sand from this winter's snows, I have the following suggestion:1. remove shovel and push broom from garage (1 minute)2. sweep sand from road into gutter (5-10 minutes)3. use shovel to scoop sand from gutter and place in low spots in yard or in flower beds, etc. (don't put it where the kids play or in your vegetable garden) (5 minutes)

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HIRO Artwork Exhibit

HIRO, an artist from Hollin Hills, is exhibiting her artwork at Tachibana Japanese Restaurant, 6715 Lowell Ave. in McLean.

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The Fort Hunt Athletic Association Championship Game

The Fort Hunt Athletic Association fifth grade basketball championship game was played March 15 at Waynewood Elementary School between the North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils.

Editorial: Challenging Budgets

Local Government should be able to access income taxes to give relief on real estate taxes.

Northern Virginia governments are facing shortfalls in the classic budget sense: projected revenues are less than last year’s expenditures plus increases in costs.

Another Milestone

March 30, 2014. My age 59 and a half (9/30/54 is my date of birth). The age at which money deposited into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) can be withdrawn without incurring a 10 percent early-withdrawal penalty from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Not that I’m retiring. I am remembering though when this cancer-centric life of mine began.

Brief: Spring Hills Celebrates Nutrition Month

Using 21st century technology, the senior residents of Spring Hills Mount Vernon Assisted Living, 3709 Shannons Green Way in Alexandria, are celebrating National Nutrition Month by creating indoor vertical aeroponic growing systems to harvest homegrown, fruits, vegetables and herbs to serve at their dining tables for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the senior community.

Commentary: Closing Healthcare Gap

As the General Assembly attempts to complete work in Richmond on the $90 billion state budget, the looming obstacle to an agreement is how to close the health insurance gap or cover uninsured Virginians. There are an estimated one million uninsured adults in Virginia today or about one in every eight Virginians.

Mount Vernon Rec Center Offers Spring Break Camps

With Spring Break for public and private schools coming up on April 14 and April 21, the Mount Vernon Rec Center at 2017 Belle View Blvd. in Alexandria offers spring break camps, spring classes in ice skating and ice hockey and many opportunities to have fun.

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‘Mount Vernon Revisited’ Captures Community’s History

Whether a history buff or a photography enthusiast, local residents will find something of interest in the newly released “Mount Vernon Revisited.” Journalists Michael K. Bohn and Jessie Biele co-authored the book which features more than 215 photographs, paintings and maps covering 340 years of Mount Vernon’s history. The book is available at Mount Vernon retailers and bookstores and online book outlets such as It is also available through Acadia Publishing at 888-313-2665 or “Mount Vernon Revisted” is a part of Acadia Publishing’s Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series.

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Virginia Bluebells: Native Spring Beauty

Carpets of bluebells coming soon to a park near you.

The Virginia Bluebells are coming. In early Spring, these native wildflowers will burst into bloom profusely throughout much of the Washington area. Botanically named Mertensia virginica, one of a number of species of Mertensia, Virginia Bluebells can be found in many moist, woodland areas, especially along streams and rivers. Depending on the weather, they first appear in early April as light pink buds, and then open into several shades of pink, blue and even white. In some areas along the local rivers they bloom in stunning profusion, creating a veritable carpet of color.

‘Sea Surface Full of Clouds’

WMPA, NOVA Community Chorus to debut work of local composer.

At a recent rehearsal of the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic, composer Lawrence Edward Ries observed the orchestra as it performed his cantata “Sea Surface Full of Clouds.”

Wagner Ready for NYU

Come August right-handed power hitter David Wagner will be packing his bags and heading to New York University. “I’ve spent my whole life working towards earning a college baseball career. It was very rewarding to finally reach my goal and play for New York — my top choice. New York is the ‘coolest’ city in the world.”

Letter to the Editor: Amusings

George Washington had a brilliant mind and many interests. Among them was his love for words and, specifically, anagrams. As you know (or maybe not), an anagram is a word or phrase which is created by rearranging its letters to form another word or phrase. As an example, the word "horse" can be "anagrammed" into "shore."

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‘Carmen’ Comes to Area

Virginia Opera brings "Carmen" to Center for the Arts.

Virginia Opera, the Official Opera Company of the Commonwealth of Virginia, will present Georges Bizet’s sultry tragedy about opera’s most famous femme fatale, "Carmen." The opera has enthralled audiences for more than a century and is one of the most popular. "Carmen" follows Don José and his ill-fated obsession with the alluring Carmen who tosses him aside for another man leading to jealous rage.

African American Heritage Tour Stops in Alexandria

“Welcome to Alexandria,” called out the Alexandria Town Crier as 200-plus visitors stepped out of four tour buses at the Charles Houston Recreation Center last month.

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On to State Competition

The Odyssey of the Mind Regional Competition was held at West Potomac on Saturday, March 15. West Potomac was well represented by two teams, both of which qualified to compete at the state competition.

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Kicking Off the 19th Annual Kick Butts Day

Nearly 30 members of the Influence Club at T.C. Williams High School participated in a walking tobacco audit of local stores on March 19.

‘Goal Is To Spot Kids in Crisis’

Police, others take suicide prevention training.

Although there have been four recent incidents of teen suicides in Fairfax County, the Police Department has planned to offer Suicide Awareness and Intervention Training for its officers since October 2013.

Obit: Elsie Taylor Jordan Dies at 87

Family, friends mourn community activist and leader.

Elsie Taylor Jordan (Ms. Elsie) died peacefully at the age of 87 surrounded by her family at the Birmingham Green long-term care facility in Manassas on Feb. 7, 2014.

March for Meals: Bringing Attention To Senior Hunger

Mayor Bill Euille, City Council members Del Pepper and John Chapman and a team of Senior Services of Alexandria volunteers delivered meals to homebound seniors as part of the Meals on Wheels Association of America’s “March for Meals” Campaign.

Charles ‘Tony’ Gee Joins LLA Board

When Charles "Tony" Gee’s appointment to the Living Legends of Alexandria board of directors was announced, LLA President Pam St. Clair told the board, “When Tony was called to say he had been selected as a 2014 Living Legend he said ‘Thank you’ in his first breath and ‘How can I help?’ in the second.”

Spring Fun: The Ninja Gym

Looking for something a step up from the traditional gym? Urban Evolution in Alexandria offers parkour classes for ages 6 and up.

Creating a Bridge to Employment

ServiceSource assists people with a range of disabilities.

He attributes his turnaround to ServiceSource, a non-profit organization that provides a range of support and opportunities for people with a broad spectrum of disabilities, including a program for wounded veterans.

State of the Art

Organizations make 2014 a year to celebrate.

Now known as The Old Town Theatre, the historic venue on King Street leads a list of more than 16 arts organizations celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2014.

Friday, March 21

Celebrating Inclusion

Board of Supervisors Names March Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Inclusion Month.

The Board of Supervisors has designated March "Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Inclusion Month" in Fairfax County. Both those with disabilities and those without have their lives enriched when people with disabilities are fully included in the community. This special month seeks to help those with disabilities find ways to be involved in the community, and bring awareness to others of these engaged neighbors.

Thursday, March 20

Mount Vernon Home Sales: February, 2014

In February 2014, 99 homes sold between $1,435,000-$117,800 in the Mount Vernon area.

Mount Vernon Home Sales: February, 2014

Seniors Porter, Jeanpierre to Participate in All-Star Game

Suburban Classic will be held Sunday, March 23 at Oakton.

Mount Vernon seniors Samantha Porter and De'Ja "DJ" Jeanpierre will participate in Sunday's all-star game.

Commentary: Let’s Be Fair about Route 1

As we’re about to see the Route 1 widening project get underway, it’s worth a review of what brought the need to widen the road in the first place. Contrary to what some of us are given to understand, Fort Belvoir’s growth under the Base Realignment and Closure did not bring about the need to widen Route 1. It did, however, play a critical role in getting the project funded.

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Landfill Decision Deferred to April 3

Group to discuss a compromise is now underway.

On March 13, the Fairfax County Planning Commission was set to make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on whether EnviroSolutions should be permitted to continue dumping construction debris at their landfill in Lorton until 2040. However, at that meeting, the Planning Commission deferred the decision to April 3 in order for a group to be established to discuss the issues at stake between those on both sides of the debate.

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Gartlan Center to Open March 27

CSB integrates primary and behavioral health care at Gartlan Center.

According to a 2006 study, people with a serious mental illness, on average, die 25 years earlier than the rest of the population. The study, conducted by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, found that about 60 percent of these deaths were due to conditions like cardiovascular and pulmonary disease.

Wednesday, March 19

Obituary: Adrian Eugene Miller

Adrian Eugene Miller, 75, of Lake Monticello, died on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at Hospice House in Charlottesville. Born on April 2, 1938 in Alexandria, he was the son of the late Clancie Hope Hamilton Miller and David M. Miller. He was also predeceased by his brother Richard M. Miller.After eight years in the National Guard as a Spec4, he worked for 37 years as an insurance agent and manager for Peoples Life Insurance, now Monumental Life. In 2002, he and his wife retired to Lake Monticello, after working and raising their family in the Alexandria area. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, and belonged to many clubs including the Gold Hounds, of which he was treasurer.

‘Anne of Green Gables’ Opens Friday

Aldersgate Church Community Theatre presents the Alexandria premiere of “Anne of Green Gables.” Relive all of the memorable events and characters from the in L.M. Montgomery’s enduring tale about an orphan, Anne Shirley — “Anne with an ‘e’” — who dreams big and leads with her heart. From her first encounter with Marilla, her austere guardian, to her thrilling graduation from Queen's Academy, we experience all the tragedies and triumphs that mark Anne's growth from adolescence to early adulthood: her friendship with Diana, her feuds with Gilbert, her adoration of Matthew, the mistaken wine bottle, the cake disaster, the broken leg, the scholastic achievements, and the saving of Green Gables. Whether the playgoer is an old “kindred spirit” of Anne's or meeting her for the first time, audiences will fall in love with one of literature's most unforgettable characters.

Letter to the Editor: Frustrating Focus

To the Editor: I read with interest the recent commentary submitted by Del. Scott Surovell in the March 13-19 edition of the Mount Vernon Gazette. I was enlightened, frustrated and saddened by the 20 point commentary written by Delegate Surovell. While many of the 20 items Mr. Surovell discussed were noteworthy and reflected sound logic and value to Virginia citizens, several of the 20 items saddened and frustrated me. In item 9 Mr. Surovell complained about not being successful in removing the Virginia ban on same sex marriage. In short why is our legislative time and money being wasted on such an issue? Gay marriage is offensive and in no way can legislative time and effort and resources be justified in dealing with nothing more than politically correct activity to please a few when so many other pressing issues face our state and our country.

Letter to the Editor: Stop Higher Taxes Now

To the Editor: Speak up now or face higher Fairfax County real estate taxes. After April 29, it will be too late because the Board of Supervisors is making final decisions on the FY 2015 budget that includes property tax rate.By now you should have received the Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration (DTA) tax assessment notices for 2014. They show that assessments have increased over last year for most homeowners. According to county information, County-wide assessment values for 2014 have increased 6.54 percent and a typical household will see their real estate taxes increase by $331.67 over last year. Of course some will pay more because their tax assessment increased more than for the average household and if the current tax rate of $1.085 per $100 of assessed value is not reduced.

Letter to the Editor: Negative Impacts

To the Editor: Re: “Green Energy or Closed Landfill,” March 13. I wish EnviroSolutions’ plans for the Lorton landfill meant Green Energy for Fairfax County. Unfortunately and disappointingly, after vigorous research and investigation, the Mt. Vernon Council has learned that their proposal largely means increased methane pollution for our air, negative impacts on recycling construction and demolition debris (CDD), the likely killing of eagles, and the greening of ESI’s wallets

Editorial: Income Gap Alive and Well

Statistics make life in the area sound idyllic, but many families are left out in the land of plenty.

Northern Virginia is a place of wonder and plenty. So says the New York Times this past week in, "Income Gap Meet the Longevity Gap," (March 15, 2014).

No Know. No Problem.

I felt a bit of a dope this week when, after reading last week’s column, "Whew!", multiple friends called to inquire specifically as to the "Tony-the-Tiger Great" news I wrote that I received from my oncologist, and I couldn’t answer them in any detail: shrinkage, less fluid, "partial stable remission"? Nothing. And though I tried to get my oncologist to explain to me exactly what was so encouraging about this most recent CT Scan – compared to the one I took three months ago (as opposed to the one I had nine months ago which was mistakenly compared to this most recent scan and resulted in the "Some better, some worse. I’ll explain more on Friday" e-mail I received from my doctor and talked about in "Whew!") – I was rebuffed. Rebuffed in the best possible way: being told instead how great I was doing, how great my lab results were (for this most recent pre-chemotherapy) and how I could live a long time like this (presumably continuing to be infused with Alimta) – it was almost disconcerting; especially when you consider the original e-mail assessment we received and our less-than-positive interpretation of it. Moreover, the oncologist’s exuberance and smiling countenance, along with his offer of a congratulatory handshake led me away from the missing facts and immediately into these new-found feelings.

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How To Prepare for New SAT

Local experts say working hard in class is the best way to be successful.

Linda Mitchell and her 15-year-old daughter, Alexis, say they don’t really know what to expect when Alexis sits for the SAT college admissions exam in 2016, but they’re not too worried at this point. Two years is a long time.

Commentary: Will Supervisors Honor Compact with the Community?

Former publisher of the Chronicle Newspapers A move by EnviroSolutions in South County, including Lorton and parts of Fairfax Station and Springfield, to extend the life of its construction debris landfill by 22 years and dramatically increase the facility’s size has led to a growing controversy. The core issue is whether residents can trust the Board of Supervisors to honor and enforce the terms of a past agreement that was made between a corporation, the local community, and the Board of Supervisors.

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Art Educators, Galleries Celebrate Youth Art Month

Experts say art can teach valuable life skills.

Brightly colored self-portraits, landscapes dotted with spring flowers and hand-carved sculptures fill a gallery at the McLean Project for the Arts in McLean. All of the art was created by local school children. Meanwhile, in Alexandria, parents and tots dip their fingers in glue, clay and paint to create collages, sculptures and paintings.

Letter to the Editor: MVCCA Opposes ESI’s Request

To the Editor: An article in last week’s Gazette (“Green Energy or a Closed Landfill”) seemed to miss the purpose of EnviroSolutions’ (ESI) request for a Special Exception Amendment, which is to substantially expand the capacity of the Lorton construction and demolition debris (CDD) landfill and extend operations for 22 years. The Mount Vernon Council of Citizens’ Associations’ Environment and Recreation Committee, which I chair, was asked to review this application by ESI’s representative, Conrad Mehan. We worked closely with colleagues in the South County Federation (which opposes the SEA request) and with ESI, and conducted our own research to understand this complex and contentious case. Majorities of MVCCA Environment and Recreation and Planning and Zoning Committees voted to support a resolution opposing ESI’s request, which was adopted by the full Council on Feb. 26 (see ).

Letter to the Editor: Unacceptable For 2014

To the Editor: The article on March 13 regarding extending and expanding the construction debris landfill at Lorton raises yet again the question of why Fairfax County is even considering revising the current deal, which calls for the landfill to cease operations in 2018.

Commentary: U.S. 1 Version 2.0: Public Hearing Next Week

On Wednesday, March 26, at 6 p.m., the second public hearing regarding the U.S. 1 Multimodal Transit Alternative Analysis Study will take place at the South County Government Center. The study was funded by a $2 million budget amendment secured by Sen. Toddy Puller and I last session and is being administered by Virginia’s Department of Rail and Public Transit. It is probably the most important study for the future of our area to ever take place. The purpose of the study is to consider all factors clearly define the key transportation needs for our community, consider a range of multimodal transportation solutions to address the needs, and arrive at a recommended program of transportation improvements and accompanying land uses to lay the groundwork for development in our area through the year 2035.

Happily Ever After

MVCCT presents “Once Upon A Mattress.”

Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairytale, "The Princess and the Pea," comes to the stage as a musical comedy in the Mount Vernon Children’s Community Theater spring production “Once Upon a Mattress.”

Tuesday, March 18

Classified Advertising March 19. 2014

Read the latest ads here!

Thursday, March 13

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Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Spring

Experts suggest a yearly spring maintenance check-up.

With warmer weather just around the corner, it’s time to focus on your home.

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Getting Your Garden Ready for Spring

Local experts tell you what you should do now, in spite of the cold weather.

It doesn’t feel like spring. Last week’s snow made it seem like warm weather might never arrive, so planting a garden might be the last thing on your mind. However, local gardening experts say this is the ideal time to start preparing your landscape to yield colorful spring foliage. Bill Mann, of Behnke Nurseries in Potomac, Md., said spring garden preparation plans differ from year to year. "It depends on the landscape beds you have and whether or not you’re planning to put in a vegetable garden," he said.

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Whimsy Meets Elegance

Potomac designer creates playful yet polished home for family of five.

When an active family of five approached Potomac interior designer Sharon Kleinman and asked her to give their home a makeover, they wanted a whimsical yet polished space.

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Kitchen Confidential

From light-filled to dramatic, local designers create dream kitchens.

When Allie Mann of Arlington, a designer and senior interior specialist at Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. was tasked with giving the first floor of a McLean, Va., home a face lift, she had to think free-flowing and airy.

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Arlington Family Outgrows Home but Stays Put

Family builds addition to accommodate their growing needs.

When a family of five realized that they’d outgrown their home in the Cherrydale neighborhood of Arlington, they pondered two options: purchase a new home or build an addition onto their existing home. They decided to stay in their home.

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15th Biennial Ikebana Show at the Art League

Twenty-five members of the Washington, D.C., branch of the Sogetsu School participated in the 15th biennial Ikebana Show at the Art League in the Torpedo Factory last week.

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Near Zero Temps Call for Back-to-Basic

What mid-winter maintenance can reveal about your home’s needs.

While common sense suggests that home improvements should be put off to warmer weather, a sustained period of colder temperatures often reveals systemic problems that will need correction sooner or later. As temperatures dropped precipitously several weeks ago, all Reston homeowner Craig Mattice knew was that his original mansard roof was plagued with ice dams and his 10-year-old, 600-square-foot addition was so cold the pipes were freezing. Moreover, no amount of thermostat adjustment improved the situation much.

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Green Energy Triangle Versus Closed Landfill

Community members, stakeholders debate future of Lorton Landfill.

On Thursday, the Fairfax County Planning Commission was set to make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on whether EnviroSolutions should be permitted to continue the operation of the Lorton Landfill until 2040. However, according to Troy Manos, the communications director of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova, a motion is expected to be made by a planning commission member to delay the vote in order to establish a group to discuss issues at stake between those on both sides of the debate.

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Northern Virginia's Growing Debt Burden

Local governments use debt as a tool to build for the future.

Back in the 1920s, Harry Byrd became governor of Virginia on what he called a "pay-as-you-go" platform.

Wednesday, March 12

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Empty-Nesters Re-invent the Family Home

Built-ins, cleverly articulated interior increase usable space without need to add-on.

Sometimes life’s second act requires a bold set change. How else are others to know that the featured players have moved on, embracing new beginnings?

Van Metre Wins Sales, Marketing Awards

Van Metre Homes won eight Silver Awards at the 2014 National Sales and Marketing Awards, hosted by the National Sales and Marketing Council.

Classified Advertising March 12, 2014

Read the latest ads here!

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The D.C. Design House Designers Announced

Some of the area’s top designers competed for an opportunity to donate their talent to transform a local, grand home into a showcase home. Local designers chosen to help transform the 2014 DC Design House include:

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Garden Club of Virginia Celebrates 81st Tour

House and garden tours will take place across Virginia during the 81st Historic Garden Week. Garden week runs from Saturday, April 26-Saturday, May 3.

Editorial: Voting Against Virginia?

Local proponents of expanding health coverage for poor people have a point about those in the General Assembly voting against it.

When Delegates Scott Surovell, Charniele Herring and Rob Krupicka, along with Sen. Adam Ebbin got together to make the case for expanding Medicaid in Virginia, they brought slide presentations, charts, spreadsheets, poll results and more.


Originally, this column was to be a discussion about the communication process between my doctor and this patient. Specifically, the time lag between when tests are performed/completed and when those results are communicated to the doctor who in turn – per this patient’s request, e-mails them to me. In the olden days, results were most likely offered up in person; in the post-olden days, more likely a phone call was made; presently, at least in my experience, results most likely will be e-mailed. I imagine an enduring problem for the patient – during all three "days," has been the time waiting for test results and hearing about them from your doctor. Excruciating is one of the most accurate characterizations of that delay, combined with an unhealthy dose of helplessness. Eventually, if you live long enough, you sort of become accustomed to the process and learn to roll with the punches, both figuratively and literally. Nevertheless, the patience and experience you learn can’t totally stop the rampant speculation that keeps you up at night and sleepy during the day.

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Mr. Horejsi Goes to Richmond

In the fight for social justice with patience and persistence.

Every year, dozens of high-priced lobbyists descend on Virginia’s state capitol.

Obit: Emma Virginia Reeves

Emma Virginia Reeves entered life on July 30, 1922 and died on Feb. 27, 2014. Emma (Ginny) was born to Edward and Viola Owens in Alexandria.

Wellness On Wheels Bus Begins

Students from Patrick Henry Elementary School together with school staff and city officials cut the ribbon on a mobile health care unit Monday morning, March 10, at the school.

Fighting for Her Neighborhood Led to School Roles

Shirley N. Tyler bridged racial divides.

For more than 40 years, Shirley Tyler has been a community leader in Alexandria.

Alexandria Symphony Orchestra Celebrates 70 Years

Three themes: Community, accessibility and connection.

The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year by expanding its outreach efforts.

Letter: Ospreys Have Returned

To the Editor

Hog Wild

Sweet Fire Donna's opens in Carlyle neighborhood.

BBQ fans lined up Feb. 27 to sample the fare at the opening of Sweet Fire Donna's, the latest offering from “Mango Mike” Anderson, Bill Blackburn and Anderson's wife Donna.

LTA Stages "Proof"

Drama explores love and relationships, mental illness and mathematics.

The Little Theater of Alexandria is staging "Proof," a dense and compact drama/comedy written by David Auburn about mathematics and mental illness that starred Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Anthony Hopkins in the 2005 film adaptation.

Why Not Recall Retired Homicide Detectives?

Since retired judges are always available for further bench duty, why aren't retired detectives and other officers accessible for recalled duty?

Alexandria Theater Companies Earn WATCH Awards

The Port City Playhouse, The Little Theatre of Alexandria and Aldersgate Church Community Theatre each took home honors from Washington Area Theatre Community Honors (WATCH) for artistic and technical excellence in community theater.

We’re (Almost) Done

State Budget Still Unfinished

The General Assembly’s 60-day legislative session adjourned on Saturday without a completed budget for the new fiscal year starting July 1.

Gala Raises $125,000 for Center

The Center for Alexandria’s Children, a public-private partnership that serves abused and neglected children, raised a record $125,000 in proceeds at its Fifth Annual Gala Benefit on Friday, Feb. 28, at Virtue Feed & Grain in Old Town.

Saturday, March 8

Braunstein Retiring from CSB

He led agency through transformation, advocated for mental health services.

George Braunstein said he entered the field of mental health services almost accidentally. “My first college degree was in history and education. I was going to be a high school history teacher,” Braunstein said.

Thursday, March 6

Editorial: Take the Money

No downside to gaining health care for 200,000 or more; 30,000 jobs and millions of dollars for hospitals from expansion of Medicaid.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe is right to make expansion of health coverage part of the budget process.

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Debate Over Lorton Landfill Continues at Public Hearing

Decision on application deferred until March 13.

The debate over the future of the Lorton landfill continued as community members commented before the Fairfax County Planning Commission at a public hearing on Feb. 27.

Wednesday, March 5

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Last Snowstorm of the Season?

St. Patrick’s Day brought a lot of white to the Northern Virginia area. All area schools were closed and school activities canceled. Different parts of Virginia and Maryland saw five to nine inches of snow. Snow began Sunday night and accumulated early quickly. St. Patrick’s Day was a more subdued affair since much of the area was a lot quieter. Along Collingwood Road in Alexandria, it seemed like only these male northern red cardinals were out surveying the effects of the storm while singing to other nearby birds.

Letter to the Editor: Re-striping Would Improve Safety

To the Editor: Re: Plan to re-stripe Sherwood Hall Lane to prevent it from appearing like a four lane highway.

Diabetes Research

Jake and his mother Jennifer Reilly, a dietitian, attended the 4th annual Type 1 Diabetes Research Summit on Saturday. March 1.

Letter to the Editor: Parking in District 1

To the Editor: In his letter of Feb. 22, Nate Macek offers a questionable set of recommendations on parking in Old Town, which begins with the faulty assumption equating Old Town’s street grid with that of Clarendon and the District. Referencing a Google map of Old Town and Clarendon shows extremely different systems, and simply citing “the District” is like comparing Old Town to Nebraska.

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Stratford Landing Hosts Annual Science and Engineering Fair

Stratford Landing Elementary School students presented 304 projects at the annual Science and Engineering Fair on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Students displayed and explained their investigations to 25 visiting experts from West Potomac High School and the Geological Society of America. All of the visiting experts engage in teaching and studying advanced biology, chemistry, geology, and physics.

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Beyer Wins Mount Vernon Democrats’ Straw Poll

Former ambassador Donald Beyer won the first straw poll battle for the outgoing U.S. Rep. Jim Moran’s 8th district seat on Saturday night, March 1 with 25 percent of the vote (105 votes). Community leader Lavern Chatman came in second with 20 percent of the vote, and Del. Patrick Hope of Arlington received 19 percent. 419 of those in attendance coast their votes in the primary straw poll and about 470 Democratic activists attended the event. Bruce Shuttleworth did not attend because of a previous engagement.

Letter to the Editor: Best Use Of Funds?

To the Editor:When I think of the money the city is spending to further the cause of bike riders in Alexandria I am appalled. I am particularly appalled because the city, in the name of inadequate funds, has cut staff and activities for other every-day citizen services.

Commentary: Take Care of the Unisured

As Session winds down, we turn our focus to the budget. House Appropriations Chairman, Del. Chris Jones said it best — we are so close, we could knock this out in a day or two. Sadly, the chairman and other Republicans are threatening to hold the budget, and the Commonwealth’s financial health, hostage unless the Senate caves to their demands that we give our hard-earned tax dollars up to other states and force 400,000 Virginians — many of whom are veterans and children — to continue to live in fear of getting sick because they don’t have health insurance.

Letter to the Editor: Test Road Re-striping First

To the Editor: VDOT will soon repave Sherwood Hall Lane from end to end. The county has planned to restripe it for bicycle lanes, and would like to decrease accidents by narrowing the travel lanes and providing a bi-directional left turn lane where possible. Planners called a meeting at the police station on Parker's Lane to discuss it, and the discussion was animated and passionate.

Commentary: Public Meeting To Discuss Health Coverage Gap

The 2014 General Assembly session has come and gone … sort of. While a great many things were accomplished this session, we adjourned on March 8 without a budget. Governor McAuliffe has set a special session for March 24. Details on this special session are still being hammered out.The sticking point is accepting federal dollars for Medicaid expansion, or purchasing private insurance through Marketplace Virginia. As I stated on the Senate floor and in previous articles, I am in favor of expanding health care coverage in Virginia and closing our coverage gap. I have heard from many of my constituents on this issue and the majority of you agree we must close the coverage gap and keep our tax dollars in Virginia, helping Virginians gain access to insurance. To those who want to separate this out from the budget, I say that is short-sighted and not practical.

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Capitol Steps Raises Funds for UCM

The Friends of UCM hosted a sold-out crowd at Knights of Columbus Hall in Alexandria for the 22nd annual Capitol Steps Benefit for UCM on Jan. 26. The event raised more than $66,500 for UCM to help impoverished families and individuals in the community.

News Brief: Storck Sets Community Office Hours

Dan Storck, Mount Vernon District School Board Member for Fairfax County Public Schools will host community office hours at the Sherwood Regional Library, Conference Room 3, on Saturday, March 8, from 12:30-2:30 p.m.

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MVHS Hosts History Day Competition

On March 1 at Mount Vernon High School the National History Day Competition took place.

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Learning about State Government

Del. Scott Surovell hosted the fourth annual Amundson Institute — named after its founder former Del. Kris Amundson which offers student leaders in the 44th District the opportunity to learn about state government first hand. The group included Regine Victoria, junior at Mount Vernon High School; Colleen Grady, senior at West Potomac High School; Dorothy Bowerfind, junior at West Potomac High School; Nia White, junior at West Potomac High School, and Carla Castro Claure, senior at Edison High School.

Letter to the Editor: Divided MVCCA

To the Editor: Last week, the MVCCA suffered a mini-implosion resulting from the controversial request by Furnace Associates, Inc. for a Special Exemption Amendment (SEA) permitting them to continue operating a landfill in the Lorton area until the year 2040, 22 years beyond the deadline imposed by the current Special Exemption. At last Wednesday's MVCCA's Council meeting, a resolution originating from its Environment & Recreation (E&R) Committee was debated and passed, after a contentious debate, by the slim margin of 10-9. The resolution was in opposition to the proposed SEA. Noteworthy to me is the fact that the MVCCA resolution makes no mention whatsoever of the position of the South County Federation (SCF) in opposition to the proposed SEA. During my brief time as chairman of the MVCCA's Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Committee, it was my strict policy to defer to the wishes of the SCF concerning any land use issues on lands in the South County area where its residents were most directly impacted. The MVCCA's continuing paternalistic attitude toward the SCF and its member associations and residents significantly reduces the MVCCA's influence concerning such issues. This needs to change.

Commentary: One Week Left for General Assembly

We have one more week before the General Assembly Session is scheduled to adjourn, and pressure is mounting to finish our work. On Friday, live on WTOP, Governor McAuliffe signed legislation repealing the $64 per year Hybrid Tax and mandating refunds to everyone who paid. I am pleased that we will no longer be taxing virtuous conduct and that the wishes of 7,700 Virginians expressed in the petition I circulated with Sen. Adam Ebbin were honored. Closing the healthcare coverage gap or the Medicaid expansion continues to dominate the discussion in Richmond.

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Celebrating the Birthday Of Dr. Seuss

Teachers and students came dressed as their favorite storybook characters on Feb. 28.

Classified Advertising March 5, 2014

Read the latest ads here!

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Students Selected for the 2014 All-Virginia Band

The following West Potomac High School students were selected for the 2014 All-Virginia Band, Patrick Rhoads, alto saxophone; Kendell Haywood, percussion, and Erika Larsen, flute.

By George!

The questions were fast and furious as nearly 100 local Boy and Girl Scouts slated to march in Alexandria's Washington's Birthday Parade met with President George Washington (Alexandria re-creator Don De Haven) during a Feb. 16 reception at the Old Dominion Boat Club.

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The Carl Sandburg Middle School Science Olympiad Team

The Carl Sandburg Middle School Science Olympiad team participated in the regional competition in Charlottesville on Saturday, Feb. 22. The two teams that participated placed 5th overall in the middle school division.

Reading the Judge's Mail

Over time a lot of notes have been taken in courthouses, jails, political meetings and other venues where intellect sometimes is off the bubble.

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Creating a Harmonious Family Life

Local experts offer tips for keeping your family happy.

As Elizabeth Rees drove her daughter and two of her daughter’s friends to a library reading group recently, the Alexandria mother of three admits that she felt like a chauffeur at first. But she had a change of heart after hearing sounds of laughter.

Not Yet, Really

While we’re exchanging pleasantries here, in semi real time – although this column will not be most read until March 6th (I need to submit it on Monday, March 3rd as we go to press on Tuesday, March 5th), I feel the obligation, given how last week’s column ended, to update you on the results from my February 26th CT Scan. Presumably, by the title you all have determined that as of this writing, Saturday, March 1st, I have not heard back from my oncologist. Typically, I would have already heard from him, electronically. But so far, not a peep, electronic or otherwise and believe me, I’ve been checking, as you might imagine.

Board Advertises Higher Tax Rate

Rate gives board flexibility, options in determining final budget.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted 8-2 Tuesday to advertise a higher real estate tax rate that could add about $100 to annual tax bills, which will be on top of the $332 county homeowners will see this year as a result of higher real estate assessments. Setting the advertised tax rate formally begins the two-month public process to adopt the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, and the rate represents the maximum potential tax rate for FY2015.

Preventing Teen Suicides

Recent deaths shine light on FCPS suicide prevention programs.

Every 15 seconds, a teen in the United States tries to commit suicide. Every 90 minutes, one succeeds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reports that the number of attempted suicides among teenagers increased from 6.3 percent in 2009 to 7.8 percent in 2011.

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Cox Charities Virginia Awards Area Nonprofits

Cox Communications awarded $160,000 in grants to 25 nonprofit organizations in Virginia through Cox Charities grants programs. The grants presented Feb. 21 are part of the nearly $8 million Cox contributes annually through cash and in-kind support to the communities where they do business.