Stories for December 2013

Stories for December 2013


Tuesday, December 31

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Top Alexandria Sports Moments of 2013

Here is a look at the top moments in Alexandria sports for 2013.

Friday, December 27

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Spiritual Wellness in the New Year

What is it and how does one achieve it?

As we begin a new year, many are focused on their spiritual health and well-being. In fact, the National Wellness Institute names spiritual wellness as one of the seven dimensions of overall wellness. It’s essential in life, say experts.

Cures for Cabin Fever

Creative ideas for housebound parents and children.

Winter brings frigid temperatures, icy roads, snow and often school closures. While sledding and building snowmen are fun, hazardous weather conditions mean much of the time is spent indoors, and soon the novelty of time off can become cabin fever. Local child education experts offer activity suggestions for filling those long winter days. Susan Friedman, executive editor for digital content at the National Association for the Education of Young Children and a Bethesda resident, suggests parents encourage a child’s natural curiosity. "In the same way that school classrooms have activity centers, parents can create boxes that focus on different activities like playing dress up with clothes, hats and neckties," she said. "You can create a box with art supplies and a box with games or puzzles."

In Defense of My Own Mechanism

So much of what I feel as a cancer survivor comes from the feedback I receive from others. Positive, complimentary, flattering characterizations are crucial to my optimistic outlook. Negative descriptions, reactions, etc., are not. Not to discount honesty, but the emotional divide on which a cancer patient’s self-assessment/attitude teeters is delicate indeed and honesty is sometimes (I said "sometimes") not the best policy. If I’m in the right mood, negativity can be deflected, absorbed even; not a problem. If I’m in the wrong mood, however, the negative can push me into a black hole of emotional despair. Regardless of whether the comment/observation is well-intended, accurate or even prudent under the circumstances, its effect can be deeply felt. Getting back to normal is not impossible and mostly within my control, but if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not have to claw my way out.

Thursday, December 26

Alexandria Home Sales: November, 2013

Alexandria Home Sales: November, 2013

Classified Advertising December 25, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Friday, December 20

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New Year’s Eve

First Night makes Alexandria the place to be.

Billed as the largest family-friendly New Year's Eve party in the greater Washington area, more than 100 live performances will take place throughout Old Town as part of First Night Alexandria, a day-long event filled with entertainment and culminating with a fireworks finale over the Potomac River along the waterfront.

Santa's Helpers

SSSA students donate to Firefighters and Friends toy drive.

Students from St. Stephens and St. Agnes Upper and Middle School donated more than 300 toys and gift cards as part of the 2013 Firefighters and Friends annual Holiday Toy Drive.

Deck the Halls

Vintage ornaments recapture holiday magic for Old Town resident.

The Christmas tree as we know it today dates back to the 16th century. But until the mid-1800s, they were mostly decorated with edibles like fruits and nuts. That's when German entrepreneurs based in the glassblowing center of Lauscha had the idea to begin producing decorative tree ornaments made out of blown glass.

Thursday, December 19

Backwards Thinking

Considering that I’ve been cancer-centric now for nearly five years, one would have thought I might have learned and totally embraced an alternative concept: forward living – and less thinking about past causes and their possible current effects. Certainly cancer causes physical manifestations and symptoms that are diagnosable and indicative of trouble. But it’s the unseen effects that in some cases cause as many difficulties. What I am referring to is the mental and emotional toll a terminal diagnosis and short term prognosis can have on the patient’s perspective on life and living, and what’s presumptively thought to be left of it.

Preserve 3-2-1 for Housing

Housing for all income levels near transit supports vibrant communities and job growth, reduces traffic.

In the latest edition of The Herrity Report, Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity proposed "redirecting developers’ $3 per square foot contribution for buying rent-controlled housing units into a trust fund to pay for public school renovation and construction."

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Home for the Holidays: Surviving a Long Trip

Keeping children entertained on lengthy airplane rides.

Liz Henry is nervous about her upcoming flight to San Francisco. It’s not TSA regulations or long lines that are causing her anxiety, however. It is traveling alone with her three children — all of whom are under the age of 6.

Teaching Children To Be Charitable

Experts say modeling, nurturing are keys to raising generous children.

Elena Santiviago walked her 6-year-old son down the aisle of a grocery store near her Arlington home. They picked up five boxes of toothpaste and two bottles of mouthwash, several bars of soap and a few sticks of deodorant. The shopping trip was part of a school project in which students fill holiday stockings with personal hygiene items for the homeless.

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Art Educator Releases Two Books

Stories offer children and parents innovative ways to explore art.

Elizabeth Augenblick Smith, 10, spent a recent Saturday afternoon gluing strips of brightly hued tissue paper to create a collage. There were no rules or guides to follow.

Classified Advertising December 18, 2013

Read the lastest ads here!

Wednesday, December 18

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Cartoon: This is the ACTUAL Congress

This is the ACTUAL Congress

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Alexandria Schools See Rising Poverty In the Classroom

City has the highest rates of students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch in region.

In the last decade, the percentage of Alexandria students who live in poverty has grown from 50 percent to 56 percent. That's the largest percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch in the region, according to a recent analysis by the Washington Area Boards of Education.

Thursday, December 12

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Spreading Holiday Cheer

Wine shops from around the region give their suggestions for bottles to bring to holiday parties.

Holiday season means parties, hostess gifts, office Secret Santas and other occasions where many people bring a bottle of some spirit or other to spread good tidings. So what to pick up? What's right? What kind of wine goes with what kind of food? And where to go for some good advice?

‘Tis the Season

Greed, ghosts and redemption in LTA’s ‘A Christmas Carol.’

It’s a tale nearly as old as time: The miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is ethically and emotionally transformed after being haunted by visits from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come in the Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol," now playing at The Little Theatre of Alexandria.

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Let There Be Light

'A Christmas Story' wins Best in Show.

Crowds lined Alexandria's waterfront Dec. 7 as nearly 40 boats cruised the Potomac River to take part in the 14thAnnual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights.

Classified Advertising December 11, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

New Approach to Mental Health

Reforms in wake of tragedy involving state senator's son.

Advocates for mental health services have been calling for improved services and increased funding for years, although the issue has been pushed aside year after year.

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Alexandria's Debt Has More Than Doubled Over Last Decade

City officials are on the verge of violating their own debt ceiling.

In the last decade, the city's debt has more than doubled from $200 million to more than $500 million — a burden that is becoming increasingly difficult for the city to manage, especially considering plans for Alexandria to finance the construction of a new Metrorail station at Potomac Yard.

Wednesday, December 11

Gifts for the Foodie in Your Life

Local gourmets share their favorite products for the food lovers on your list.

Whether you’re shopping for a seasoned cook or a budding culinary enthusiast, buying presents for a foodie can be a daunting task. What’s the best pan? The coolest gadget? The latest trend in desserts? Local gourmets come to the rescue with culinary goodies to entice even the most discerning of food aficionados.

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Opening Up

Open floorplan plus cathedral ceiling equals Mclean ranch stylishly re-invented.

Assess a circa-1952 ranch on a shady street in McLean with an eye towards maximizing value. Among the shortcomings: rooms that are too small and dark; a kitchen that hasn't been remodeled in 25 years. A tiny breakfast room. A rear grade too steep for an addition. A front elevation with no visible front door.

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Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille May Join McAuliffe Administration, Prompting Special Election

Mayor headed to Richmond this week to interview for two positions.

Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille may be joining the new administration of Democratic Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe in the next few weeks, leaving the city of Alexandria and opening the door to a special election for mayor early next year.

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Vola Lawson Dies at 79

Former City Manager was a trailblazer for women, minorities.

In the midst of the turbulent race relations of the 1960s, a proper Southern Belle from Atlanta joined the Urban League in picketing Alexandria's City Hall, where the Confederate flag still flew proudly above Market Square. Little did the young bride know just how much her courage and leadership would help shape the next five decades of the city's history.

Holiday Décor: Make It Sparkle

Local designers offer suggestions for home decorating.

’Tis the season for decking the halls. Whether your style is traditional and colorful, muted and demure or metallic and glittery, three local designers offer distinct holiday decorating ideas to spark your creativity.

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Come Home to a Luxury Bedroom

Local designers unveil inviting spaces that are perfect for dreaming of sugarplums.

Bedrooms are no longer just for sleeping, at least according to some local designers. They’re for relaxing and watching television, but they’re also for reading and for eating a lazy weekend breakfast. In fact, some modern bedrooms are probably larger than their owners’ first apartments. Three local tastemakers unveil master bedrooms that are so opulent and amenity-filled that it’s surprising their owners ever want to leave.

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A New Luxury Kitchen for the Holidays

Designers describe the perfect spaces for baking, cooking and entertaining.

With the holiday season in full swing, many people are finding themselves spending more time in the kitchen. Whether you hate to cook or love it, it can be more enjoyable when done in the kitchen of your dreams, complete with state-of-the-art appliances and custom-made marble topped islands.

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Cartoon: Take Heed

Take Heed

A "Scancer" Update

Since you asked, or rather indulged me the past few weeks by wading through my two "Scanticipation" columns anticipating a result, I am happy to finally share that result with you: "Stable and better." These are the exact words e-mailed to me by my oncologist in response to my post-Thanksgiving inquiry about my CT Scan completed on the 27th.

Editorial: Happy Holidays, Safely

SoberRide safety net, 1-800-200-TAXI.

Holiday party season is well under way, along with winter weather advisories. It’s up to individuals to make good decisions about celebrations that involve alcohol and how to handle transportation.

Tuesday, December 10

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Wakefield Boys’ Basketball Beats T.C. in Memorial Game

Warriors win despite shooting 9-for-30 from the free-throw line.

The Wakefield boys' basketball team opened its season with a 56-51 win over T.C. Williams.

Monday, December 9

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Shop ‘Til You Drop

More than 30 female artisans will showcase their crafts Dec. 8 at the 16th Annual Women’s Holiday Art Show in support of the City of Alexandria’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Services.

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43rd Scottish Walk Weekend

Be prepared as pipes, plaid and pageantry fill the streets of Old Town Dec. 7 during the 43rd annual Scottish Walk Parade, the centerpiece of a weekend of holiday events that includes a Holiday Marketplace, Designer Tour of Homes and Taste of Scotland cocktail reception.

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Thinking Small

White House Drug Czar visits Holy Cow.

White House Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske paid a visit to Del Ray's Holy Cow restaurant Nov. 30 as part of President Barack Obama's initiative to support “Small Business Saturday.”

Let There Be Light

The City of Alexandria held its annual Holiday Tree Lighting in Market Square Nov. 29. Entertainment and a visit from Santa were part of the festivities that signaled the official start of the holiday season. For a complete schedule of holiday events, including free concerts to be held in Market Square, visit www.visitalexandriava.com.

Thursday, December 5

T.C. Williams Figures to Benefit From Increased Depth

Titans won district title last season with roster small in numbers.

The T.C. Williams girls' basketball team won its season-opener against Bishop Ireton.

Democrats Shut Out of Power in Senate

Even if Democrats win in two special elections, control over committees is unlikely.

Don't expect Democrats to take control over state Senate committees anytime soon, even if the party manages to hold both of the seats where special elections are now underway.

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Long-Shuttered Waterfront Food Court to Get a New Lease on Life

Planning Commission approves new waterfront dining proposal.

It's been more than two years since the waterfront Food Court shut its doors, the culmination of a long and steady decline over the last decade as vendors abandoned the building and the facility began falling into disrepair. Now the building may have a new lease on life.

Classified Advertising December 3, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Wednesday, December 4

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Cartoon: S.S. Eminent Domain

S.S. Eminent Domain

Tuesday, December 3

The Holiday Blues: Cope and Prevent

Mental health experts say being realistic and seeking support can help you avoid holiday stress and depression.

While the holiday season is filled with parties, shopping, decorating and other festive activities, mental health experts say it often brings unwelcome guests as well: stress and depression. While they can be difficult to manage when one is in the midst of a bout, with a few strategies one may be able to prevent both before they ruin the holiday season.

Combating Holiday Stress

Local experts suggest turning to yoga and meditation to relax.

Marybeth Montoro says her entire body relaxed as she lay stretched out on a yoga mat for savasana, a relaxation pose, at Pure Prana Yoga Studio in Alexandria, while her yoga instructor guided the class through a breathing practice.

Staying Fit During the Holidays

Staving off extra pounds during the season of sweets.

Patty McAndrews works out with a trainer twice a week at of TRUE Health and Wholeness in Arlington. She found that restarting her fitness regimen about two months ago has strengthened her abdominal muscles and toned her body.

Holiday Recipe Makeovers

Strategies for keeping traditional treats healthy

When Alice Jenkins saw her doctor two months ago, he diagnosed her with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and suggested she change her diet and lose about 30 pounds. Lawson, 45, started a diet program and has lost nine and a half pounds, but now that she’s in the midst of the holiday season, she’s concerned about losing the strides that she’s made with her dietary changes. "I have a large family and we get together a lot during the holidays," said Lawson, who lives in Alexandria. "There is always sweet potato pie, macaroni and cheese, and deep fried turkey."

Every Tweet Counts

How Republican Brian Schoeneman earned wrath of his party by making sure every vote counted in county.

On the morning of Nov. 6, the day after the general election, it appeared that Republican Mark Obenshain had eked out a razor-thin victory over Democrat Mark Herring to become Virginia’s next Attorney General. Like most hotly-contested political battles, the close race generated even closer scrutiny.

Editorial: Who Will Be Hurt?

Innovations, changes and cuts designed to help the budget should be subject to analysis of how they will affect those on the short end of the economic and digital divide.

As Fairfax County faces a tight budget year and Fairfax County Public Schools consider significant cuts, clearly some changes are going to affect services on the ground. As various proposals emerge, there should be some specific analysis of how changes, innovations and cuts would affect the poorest one-third or so of the county’s residents specifically.

Monday, December 2

Letter: Time To End TCW's Marching Mandate

Letter to the Editor

One of the most common explanations for why talented Alexandria musicians drop out of band before high school is a little known but antiquated school mandate that in order to participate in T.C. Williams High School band programs students must join the marching band.