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Stories for March 2013

Stories for March 2013

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Saturday, March 30

Classified Advertising March 27, 2013

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Friday, March 29

Letter: Let There Be Light

To the Editor: For those who are unaware, the tree lights along King Street are scheduled to be turned off March 31 just as Alexandria's tourist season begins. I am an advocate to keep those lights on as long as is reasonable because lighting up our city to market it as illuminated, friendly and safe is the message they send for me and many businesses as well as citizens.

Thursday, March 28

Editorial: More Obstacles to Transparency

General Assembly puts more information out of public reach, but other factors also limit access.

The first paragraph of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, passed by the General Assembly in 1968, states that all public records "shall be presumed open." It doesn’t add, “except when we don’t want to,” although that provision does seem to be available in many cases. Individual government entities have a variety of ways of making it hard for the public to access public information.

Column: 14.8 Percent

That is the percentage of diagnosed lung cancer patients who survive beyond five years, according to The National Cancer Institute’s SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2009, in a graph published in the Feb. 26, 2013 Washington Post’s weekly Health & Science section. As a non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) survivor beginning his fifth year post-diagnosis, charting my prospects in such a cold and impersonal manner is both chilling and arguable. “Chilling” in that facts speak for themselves and are hardly made up of whole cloth, to invoke one of the late Jack Kent Cooke’s more famous quotes. And “arguable” in that charts, statistics, etc., may very well measure the mean, but it sure doesn’t measure the man (this man, anyway). Meaning, from my perspective: sure, the chart is scary as hell, but I’m not sure I’m on it, if you know what I mean? (I know you know what I hope.)

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Better Training, More Technology

The bipartisan commission released findings, recommendations regarding long lines on Election Day.

"The commission has identified a variety of improvements and efficiencies to ensure access and convenience for voters in future elections.” —Sharon Bulova

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Parents Rally to Save FACE as Alexandria School Board Considers Budget Cuts

Board members must close a $3 million gap before sending budget to City Hall.

Dozens of parents appeared before members of the Alexandria School Board last week with a simple plea — save FACE.

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Governor Approves Conditional Budget for Medicaid Expansion

Vote-swapping operation traded transportation votes for Medicaid money.

Half a million uninsured Virginians may be eligible for Medicaid under an agreement now being worked out in Richmond — a deal in which Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell agreed to include Medicaid expansion as part of the budget if Senate Democrats supported a transportation package.

Wednesday, March 27

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Ireton Girls’ Lax Beats PVI with Season-High 21 Goals

Cardinals bounce back from lopsided losses to Visitation, SSSAS.

The Bishop Ireton girls' lacrosse team improved to 3-2 with a victory over Paul VI on Tuesday.

Fairs and Festivals 2013-2014

Information on fairs and festivals taking place in 2013-2014.

Alexandria and Mount Vernon Calendar March 27

Information on events going on in the Alexandria and Mount Vernon areas.

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Las Vegas Comes to Alexandria

Big name magicians convene to share tricks, entertain families at Magi-Whirl 2013 on April 6.

An annual magic convention will bring big stars of the entertainment world to a high school auditorium early next month, and everyone's invited.

1930s: Boom Time for Archaeology in America

“Shovel Ready” details program under Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Former Alexandria resident and archeologist, Bernard K. Means’ new book, “Shovel Ready”, looks at the impact that ordinary citizens had on archeology during the Great Depression.

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Celebrating Spring Equinox

Douglas MacArthur Elementary School celebrated the Spring Equinox on March 20 with the school’s compass rose dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony, unveiling the new addition of a painted compass rose in the school's Learning Garden.

Letter to the Editor: More Than Just Money

Governor McDonnell is considering legislation that would seize control of the unaccredited Jefferson Houston Elementary School from the Alexandria City Public School Board and Superintendent Sherman can only say, “We believe we are going to make accreditation. We’ll have a conversation in June or July, and I hope I’m not here saying ‘Oops.’”

Letter to the Editor: Reasonable Requirements

Democracy is the foundation of the American way of life, and the driving force behind democracy is the power to vote.

Letter to the Editor: Protect Del Ray, Not West End?

The recent concerns of many Del Ray residents about the possibility that Walgreens may move into their neighborhood at the corner of Mt. Vernon Avenue and E. Monroe Avenue and displacing several businesses who have been in the Del Ray neighborhood for many years raises a very important question/concern for this resident.

Letter to the Editor: Well-Balanced Decision-Making

In the March 14 Gazette, we read "... once again Alexandria's libraries are on the hit list" in a letter about a proposed 4 percent cut in operating hours for three of five of the City's libraries.

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Gathering for 10th Annual Easter Egg Hunt

The line started to form at 10:30 a.m. and worked its way down the sidewalk towards Monroe Avenue in anticipation.

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Gathering for Generation to Generation Gala

Donley, Greene, Swanson families honored.

More than 350 people turned out March 23 for the annual Senior Services of Alexandria Generation to Generation Gala to pay tribute to families who, through their service to others, have made significant contributions to the community.

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14 Honored as Living Legends

David Martin left “speechless.”

The 6th Annual Meet the Legends reception was held March 21 at the U.S. Patent and Trade Office where more than 250 people gathered to celebrate the 2013 Living Legends of Alexandria.

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Lyles-Crouch Students Raise Funds for Laboy

$4,000 collected for wounded officer.

Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook visited Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy March 22 to accept $4,000 on behalf of Officer Peter Laboy, who is recovering from a gunshot wound to the head he suffered during a routine traffic stop just steps from the school's playground.

Column: What’s Humane in Execution? The Bid for Justice or Mercy

Except in special cases seldom does the death penalty bring about much conversation pro and con on all sides of the political spectrum. It’s not a cut and dried matter and must not be taken lightly.

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Things To Do in Alexandria

Ways to be active in welcoming spring season.

As residents prepare to move on to warm weather, blossoming buds and outdoor fun, a number of events and activities can help make this season fun and festive, whether history buff, arts enthusiast, active volunteer or someone who likes to try new hobbies.

Alexandria Bulletin Board March 27

Information for events taking place in Alexandria.

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Obituary: Charlotte S. Drummond

Charlotte Susan Sauer Drummond died on March 8, 2013 in The Villages, Fla. She was 68.

Tuesday, March 26

‘Dance Around Alexandria’

Choreographers Collaborative Project held a spring concert “Dance Around Alexandria” in the auditorium at T.C. Williams High School on Saturday, March 16. The concert was inspired by public art pieces and public locations in Alexandria.

Monday, March 25

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Cloud Hangs Over Troubled Alexandria School As Governor Considers Takeover

Future of Jefferson-Houston is in doubt, even as state and local leaders strike new agreement.

Even as central administrators in Alexandria have finally entered into a memorandum of understanding with state leaders to turn around a troubled school, Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell is considering legislation that would seize control from local leaders.

Friday, March 22

Classified Advertising March 20, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Alexandria Home Sales: February, 2013

In February 2013, 142 Alexandria homes sold between $1,900,000-$90,000.

Alexandria Home Sales: February, 2013

Order in the Court

Ronald Lawhorne promoted in surprise ceremony.

For many , it was long overdue. But in a humor-filled ceremony inside the courtroom of Chief Judge Becky Moore, Deputy Ronald Lawhorne was sworn in March 5 as a lieutenant in the Alexandria Sheriff's Department by his younger brother Sheriff Dana Lawhorne.

Thursday, March 21

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TC Boys’ Soccer Beats South Lakes

Titans off to 2-0 start, have not allowed a goal.

The Titans will face Mount Vernon on Thursday.

Alexandria and Mount Vernon Calendar March 21

Entertainment calendar for the Alexandria and Mount Vernon areas.

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In the Line of Duty

Remembering slain officer Charles Hill.

As thousands of supporters poured into Virtue Feed and Grain restaurant March 10 for a fundraiser for Alexandria Police Officer Peter Laboy, one attendee quietly slipped away to pay a visit to an often-overlooked corner of a park that sits just steps away.

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Youth Basketball League Championships

The Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities held the Youth Basketball League Championship Games on Saturday, March 9 at T.C. Williams High School.

How To Keep Children Safe

The Center for Alexandria’s Children in partnership with the Department of Community and Human Services, the Alexandria Police Department and the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office, will mark National Child Abuse Prevention month by launching a three-prong approach to ensuring the safety of Alexandria’s children...

Obituary: Robert Ray, III

Robert Ray, III recently died.

Letter to the Editor: Support Funding Public Libraries

I am writing to urge support for important elements of the proposed FY14 City budget as it pertains to the Alexandria public library system.

Letter to the Editor: Many Benefits To Beauregard Plan

I am writing to voice my support for the Beauregard Small Area Plan (BSAP), and its proposed affordable housing solution for Alexandria.

Letter to the Editor: Passive Parks, Creative People

This past Sunday, a beautiful sunny day, I walked the length of the river from Founders Park to Canal Place. People were everywhere and smiling broadly. But what was most exceptional was how creative people were on the blank canvas of green grass along the waterfront.

Letter to the Editor: Who Knows Best?

Although the City Council voted 6-1 to rezone the Alexandria waterfront last Saturday, and although I was disappointed that four years of constructive planning were coming to an end, I was impressed by the intellectual clarity of the council members.

Letter to the Editor: Going Above And Beyond

Sincere appreciation to Dr. Vyfhuis known as Dr. "V" at Paws, Purrs & Exotics in Old Town. Dr. V and his staff provided excellent care to our precious Maine Coon kitty when Hurricaine Sandy hit the area.

Letter to the Editor: Pet Horses Or Eat Them?

[Recently,] food safety officials in United Kingdom, France, and Sweden found traces of horse meat in ground beef sold across Europe. Massive recalls and lawsuits are ensuing.

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Amidst the Rubble

The remains of a playground used by numerous children stands amidst the rubble on N. Columbus Street.

Letter to the Editor: Patron Saint Of Animals

I was delighted to learn that the newly elected pope chose for himself the name of St. Francis of Assisi, generally known as patron saint of the animals.

Letter to the Editor: How Many Do-Overs Needed?

I don't know what City Council was thinking when they rubber stamped the waterfront plan.

Letter to the Editor: Ignorance Is Not Bliss

My thanks to Michael Lee Pope for pointing out to readers in the March 14 issue the troubling ironies as the City of Alexandria again tries to juggle the budget and priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.

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‘Dance Around Alexandria’

Choreographers Collaborative Project held a spring concert “Dance Around Alexandria” in the auditorium at T.C. Williams High School on Saturday, March 16.

Every Drop Counts: Why Everyone Should Be a Water Sleuth

Each year, upwards of one trillion gallons of water are wasted due to leaks in homes across the United States. That’s equal to the water in 1.5 million Olympic-size swimming pools.

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Column: Panel for Seniors Addresses Improving One’s Memory

On March 13, Senior Services of Alexandria and host, Westminster Presbyterian Church, welcomed more than 100 Alexandria seniors to SSA’s March Speaker Series event: “Maintaining Memory and Coping with its Loss.”

Column: Stand by Our Heroes

With the tragic shooting of Officer Peter Laboy and the subsequent outpouring of support from officers, citizens and businesses in Alexandria and the surrounding communities, the daily observances of Officer Laboy's “miraculous” recovery cannot be ignored.

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Column: Miracles for Officer Peter Laboy

“Officer down. Officer down.” Those words shrieked a few weeks ago over police radio. Terror echoed in the hearts and minds of all law enforcement, especially those in Alexandria’s public safety agencies.

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Making Poetry Open to All

New society hopes to expand poetry’s reach.

Alexandria has a new poetry society hosted by the Duncan Library, and organizers hope their efforts will re-introduce the literary art form to those who have previously found it intimidating.

Editorial: Say Yes to Health Coverage

Governor, state panel must accept coverage for 400,000 Virginians without health insurance.

More than 140,000 residents of Fairfax County have no health insurance. That’s more than 13 percent of the slightly more than 1 million people who live in the wealthiest county in the nation. Arlington and Alexandria have similar percentages of uninsured.

Alexandria Bulletin Board March 21

Information for events happening in the Alexandria area.

Column: Just Wondering

Having never attended medical school (and not really having had the grades or commitment to do so), and having only completed 10th grade biology and freshman year astronomy, and rarely even driven by a medical school growing up, my understanding and/or instincts regarding how a medical professional plans and/or prepares for his day is as foreign to me as sugar-free chocolate (if I’m going down, I’m going down swinging; in truth however, considering the anti-cancer, alkaline diet I’m following, I do need to swing a little less frequently).

‘Fix a Leak Week’

Virginia American Water has partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to promote the fifth annual Fix a Leak Week, which runs from March 18-24.

City Budget Proposal To Impact Transit

The Board of Directors of the Alexandria Transit Company will hold a public hearing in the Sister Cities Conference Room 1101, City Hall, on March 28, at 5:30 p.m. on proposed fare and service changes.

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The Sound of Music

Enhancing your child’s music education during Music in Our Schools Month and beyond.

From the powerful sounds of a high school band to the soothing melodies sung in a kindergarten music classroom, local music educators are using the month of March to raise awareness of the benefits of learning music.

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Alexandria City Council Rezones Waterfront Despite Massive Opposition

Six-to-one vote opens the door to higher density and overturns longstanding ban on hotels.

Members of the Alexandria City Council cast what may become one of the most important votes in their career last weekend, approving a controversial zoning change that would triple density at three sites slated for redevelopment compared to what’s there now.

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How Much Money Does Your School Administrator Make?

Alexandria school system has some of the highest paid administrators in the region.

The administrator in the corner office at your local school is sitting pretty with a six-figure paycheck.

Wednesday, March 20

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Salute to Women 2013

11 honored for outstanding achievements.

The Alexandria Commission for Women held its 33rd annual Salute to Women Awards March 18 in a ceremony that honored 11 individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the community.

Tuesday, March 19

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Community Honors Sandy Hook Victim

The gray skies, frigid temperatures, and howling winds were not enough to deter 100 people from coming out to honor the Sandy Hook victims last Sunday, March 3, at Lake Fairfax Park as they ran and walked 26 laps for each of the lost lives.

Thursday, March 14

Classified Advertising March 13, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

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Historic Home for Sale in Alexandria

Designer/owner brought the home up to date while preserving its architectural integrity.

“We wanted to keep the character of what it was. We were careful about integrating the spaces that we added.” — Sydnye Pettengill

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The Region’s Best Home Designs

Local contractors get top honors for remodeling projects.

From designing a kitchen with a concave glass tile backsplash to creating a backyard with a fireplace and pool, some local home remodelers were honored recently with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s (NARI) 2013 Regional Contractor of the Year awards for design acumen. Winning projects ran the gamut from historic preservation projects to environmentally conscious conceptions.

Recycle, Reuse, Remodel

Remodeling often affords an opportunity to re-purpose existing materials by donating to those less fortunate. Ask your remodeler if there is a plan or policy for saving materials for re-use rather than sending it to a land fill. Every project is different. And some materials are more easily removed and saved than others. Here are a couple of organizations that accepted used materials.

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Demand for Incremental Improvements

Over time, some owners makeover the entire house—one phase at a time.

If you compare the current home remodeling market to 2007, it's clear that homeowners are less likely to execute a top-to-bottom makeover in a single stroke than they were five years ago. Home resales are rising again, but the belief that every dollar spent on a Northern Virginia home will be quickly recovered has been suspended—if only temporarily—as homeowners reassess.

World’s Fanciest Rummage Sale Coming April 7

Rumor has it that the “world’s fanciest” rummage sale will feature some of the crystal light fixtures and other items recently replaced in the remodeling of the Ritz-Carlton Tysons.

‘How to Fall in Love’

Hopkins & Porter, Inc. will be offering "How to Fall in Love with Your Home Again,” a free design and remodeling seminar on Thursday, March 21, 6-8 p.m. This seminar will include a complimentary supper with opportunity to discuss one's own project with professional staff.

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Virginia Garden Week to Feature NoVa Gardens

80th Historic Garden Week, April 20-27, 2013

Historic Garden Week 2013 will feature approximately 200 private homes and gardens open on 32 separate tours throughout the state of Virginia over eight consecutive days. It is the largest ongoing volunteer effort in Virginia and represents the coordinated efforts of 3,400 club members. One hundred percent of tour proceeds are used to enhance Virginia’s landscape. For 80 years, the grounds of the commonwealth’s most cherished historic landmarks have been restored or preserved with help from proceeds from Historic Garden Week including Mount Vernon, Monticello and the grounds of the Executive Mansion in Richmond.

Alexandria Elementary School Administrator Salries

Annual salaries of elementary school administrators.

Alexandria High School Administrator Salaries

Salaries of high school administrators.

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List of Rejected Budget Cuts Reveals Thinking Behind Budget Proposal

Cuts that were cut may become key as budget season moves forward.

Imagine a world without school crossing guards or security screening at the courthouse — a city so strapped for cash it closes one of its fire stations and eliminates life insurance for its retired workers.

Week in Alexandria

What’s the difference between a map amendment and a text amendment?

Council Notebook

Want to know how much city officials are going to charge you for the privilege of living in Alexandria? Check the advertisements.

Alexandria Middle School Administrator Salaries

Salaries of middle school administrators.

Wednesday, March 13

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TC Boys’ Soccer Beats Chantilly in Season Opener

Titans senior Terell Williamson scores game’s lone goal.

The T.C. Williams boys' soccer team is the defending Patriot District champion.

Column: Writing What Four

As far as anniversaries go–and I hope this one “goes” a lot further; acknowledging, dare I say celebrating my four-year survival anniversary from “terminal” stage IV (inoperable, metastasized) non-small cell lung cancer, a diagnosis I initially received on Feb. 27, 2009, along with a “13-month to two-year prognosis” from my oncologist, is certainly column-worthy.

Editorial: Hybrid Hijinks

Discouraging innovation in high-tech Virginia.

Consider this as a possible scenario (although perhaps we should have saved this for April 1): Fewer people are smoking, and many of those who do are smoking less. Virginia’s cigarette tax, the lowest of any state at 30 cents a pack, is a declining revenue source. Higher cigarette taxes are proven to reduce smoking. Under current logic in the commonwealth, there would be two courses of action to raise revenue: a) cut the cigarette tax, and b) charge non-smokers a fee to make up the difference and to compensate for the fact that they don’t pay cigarette taxes.

Column: Generations To Be Honored

Senior Services of Alexandria to host Generation to Generation Gala.

Multiple generations of three Alexandria families will be honored at this year’s Senior Services of Alexandria’s gala for the leadership, energy, and talent they’ve contributed over the past seven decades to civic, charity, recreational and faith organizations.

Column: TC Satellite Campus Offers Online Programs

The month of February began with a number of tech-savvy online learning opportunities on the TC Satellite Campus through the Learning History through Skype series.

Letter to the Editor: Defer Decision On Zoning Changes

There are two important votes before Alexandria’s City Council this Saturday. Both deal with amendments to zoning language. One amends the W1 Waterfront Mixed Use Zone. The second amends language of the zoning ordinance itself.

Party Animals

Mardi Growl raises $50,000 for AWLA.

Supporters of the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria celebrated their own version of Mardi Gras with the third annual “Mardi Growl” bash March 8 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. “This is an incredible evening,” said former City Manager Vola Lawson, for whom the AWLA shelter building is named.

Letter to the Editor: The Right To Petition

On Saturday, March 16 at City Hall, elected officials will take a vote that seems intended to try to deny property owners’ their day in court.

Letter to the Editor: A Final Opportunity

On March 16 the City Council will take what may be the final vote on a waterfront plan that in my opinion is akin to the razing of historic buildings along King Street that occurred in the 1960s.

Letter to the Editor: Illusory Benefits

In the March 7 edition of the Gazette Packet, Mayor Euille was quoted saying, “As a lifelong resident of the City, I would not vote for or support a plan that would harm the community, plain and simple.”

Letter to the Editor: Libraries Take Another Hit

Imagine my consternation when once again Alexandria’s libraries are on the hit list. At the same time the BikeShare program is expanded to the tune of $600,000 on top of $360,000 that taxpayers have already forked over.

Column: The BBQ Princess

Frances* has spent all 61 years of her life in Alexandria though she has moved at least eight times over the years. From Patrick Street to Henry, Cameron Valley to Old Town, Fulton Street to Hume Springs … she now owns her home in the Mount Jefferson neighborhood. She has such fond memories of the city, she can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Column: Explaining Waterfront Plan and Petition Process Text Amendments

On Tuesday, March 5, the Alexandria Planning Commission approved two text amendments to Alexandria’s zoning ordinance after public hearings where most of the speakers opposed the amendments.

Column: Join in Battle Against Secondhand Smoke

Kick Butts Day is Wednesday, March 20. It is an annual day of activism, celebrated in more than 2,000 events around the country, empowering youth to raise awareness about the problems of tobacco use in schools and the community.

Zelloe Receives Highest Honor in Girl Scouting

Natascha Zelloe, Girl Scout Ambassador in Linda Kelly’s troop 2615 and senior at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes High School, has achieved the highest honor in Girl Scouting — the Gold Award.

Obituary: Ruth E. Greifer

Ruth E. Greifer died Feb. 22, 2013 at her home in Rockville, Md.

Obituary: Hazel Elizabeth Greenwald

Hazel Elizabeth Greenwald, born Aug., 5, 1912 at 417 S. Lee Street, Alexandria, died on Feb. 15, 2013, at Budd Terrace Nursing Home, Atlanta, Ga.

Obituary: Bernard M. Fagelson

Bernard M. Fagelson, 100, died on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 of Alexandria.

Obituary: Doris Clark

Doris M. Clark, 85, of Woodbridge, died at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center on March 2, 2013.

Neighborhood

Taylor Run

THE WIZ Euphoria filled the hall as the students of St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes danced and sang their way through "The Wiz." Production values, light, sound, and set were extraordinarily well-developed and good.

Thousands Gather for Laboy

$80,000 raised; Biden pays visit to APD.

One by one, more than 3,000 people from throughout the region slowly passed by the motorcycle of wounded Alexandria Police Officer Peter Laboy as they waited in line March 10 to attend an Old Town fundraiser that raised more than $80,000 on his behalf. “We were expecting hundreds and got thousands,” said Capt. Shahram Fard, a trustee with the Alexandria Police Association that co-hosted the event at Virtue Feed and Grain Restaurant.

Wonder Women

Salute to Women Awards to honor 11 civic leaders.

The Alexandria Commission for Women will hold its annual Salute to Women Awards Banquet March 18 to honor 11 individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the community. Honorees at the 33rd annual banquet, a benefit for the Alexandria Sexual Assault Center, will be recognized for their accomplishments in civic life and for the improvements they have brought to the well-being of Alexandria's women.

Distinguished Service Award Given to Berg

Former ACPS superintendent honored for exceptional leadership.

Former Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent Herbert Berg was recognized for his exceptional educational leadership Feb. 23 with the Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of School Administrators. Berg, who lives in Alexandria with his wife Paula, was presented the award at AASA's 2013 National Conference on Education in Los Angeles, California.

Artrageous

City among top arts communities.

The City of Alexandria has been recognized as one of America's Top ArtPlaces, one of only 44 communities to receive the designation in 2013, as a new study revealed a $70.7 million economic impact generated by the local arts industry. In a March 5 event held at The Little Theatre of Alexandria, the City of Alexandria Office of the Arts and the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association announced the findings from the Arts and Economic Prosperity IV national study conducted by Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit arts advocacy organization.

Friday, March 8

Classified Advertising March 6, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Thursday, March 7

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St. Patrick’s Fun Dog Show

More than 100 dogs and their families arrived at Market Square for the annual Fun Dog Show on March 2.

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Mental Health Counseling Professors Honored

Cultural sensitivity at the heart of their work.

Fred Bemak and his wife Rita Chi-Ying Chung, who are both professors at George Mason University in Fairfax, recall being in Haiti shortly after the catastrophic earthquake of 2010. They were there to provide mental health counseling to those traumatized by the natural disaster.

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Music In the Air

ASO celebrates Kim Allen Kluge.

The Symphony League of Alexandria held its 26th annual Symphony Ball and Auction March 2, celebrating 25 years of Maestro Kim Allen Kluge at the helm of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra.

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Thinking Big

Big Lots opens in West End, donates $1,500 to Samuel Tucker.

Closeout retailer Big Lots officially opened its newest store in Alexandria's West End March 1 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring Big Lots executives and local city officials.

Column: E-male

My oncologist is a man. He has e-mail. He works for an HMO that encourages/advertises its connectivity and responsiveness – electronically, to its members. If I want to get medical answers in a reasonable amount of time – save for an emergency, typing, “mousing” and clicking is the recommended methodology. No more phone calls, preferably. Though pressing keys on a keyboard rather than pressing buttons on a phone might have felt counter-intuitive at first as a means of receiving prompt replies, it has proven over these past few years to be a fairly reliable and predictable information loop. Not in minutes necessarily, but more often than not during the same day – and almost always by the very next day. In fact, I’ve received e-mails from my oncologist as late as 9:18 p.m. (time-stamped) after a sometime-during-the-day e-mail had been sent.

Neighborhood: Taylor Run

Euphoria filled the hall as the students of St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes danced and sang their way through "The Wiz."

Letter to the Editor: Protective Role Of Zoning

The original intent of zoning regulation was to protect abutting land owners from detrimental land development, and to preserve property value and quality of life.

Letter to the Editor: So Much for Transparency

No sooner had the Washington Post announced that its two warehouses were for sale than Bingo … council announces that they have had one of their “back room” executive sessions wherein they decided to alter the zoning code on the waterfront.

Letter to the Editor: Help Save Eldercrafters

This is an unabashed plea for someone, perhaps a developer, to help save Eldercrafters, the wonderful store across the street from Gadsby’s Tavern that sells only crafts made by senior citizens.

Letter to the Editor: Responsive Teachers

On Wednesday, Feb. 27 an incident occurred outside Lyles Crouch Traditional Academy. Tragically, Officer Peter Laboy was shot and is fighting to survive.

Letter to the Editor: Rational Compromise

A leader has stepped forward to advance a rational compromise on the Waterfront plan not unlike Councilwoman Del Pepper did last year.

Letter to the Editor: Council Should Discuss Compromise

I am writing to support the compromise which Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg seeks regarding the waterfront plan, a compromise consistent with her campaign reminder that we all serve “as the temporary stewards of this national treasure called Alexandria.”

Letter to the Editor: Competing For Parking

The Burke Library on Seminary Road is a great facility with courteous staff and lots of material. Too bad no one will be able to use it.

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In Everyone's Thoughts

Community prays for Officer Laboy.

While Alexandria Police Officer Peter Laboy is fighting for his life at Medstar Washington Hospital Center, people who have heard about his plight are offering prayers and support from around the block to as far away as Canada.

Snow Denial

City spared from mid-Atlantic storm.

It was a snow day without the snow, or at least without any discernible accumulation for Alexandria despite predictions of up to 12 inches that led to the closing of schools throughout the city.

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Column: Coping with Memory Loss

Senior Services of Alexandria is bringing in March like a lion with our March speaker series and the Generation-to-Generation Gala. You won't want to miss either of these events.

Column: Cracking the Stigma Barrier at College

The bad news confirmed by two recent studies is that mental illnesses, including severe mental illness, are more common among college students than they were at the turn of this century.

Column: Medicaid Reform and Extension

The right choice for Virginia’s health, hospitals, and taxpayers.

The recent compromise by the Virginia General Assembly to reform and expand the commonwealth’s Medicaid program is the right step toward extending health care coverage to even more of Virginia’s nearly one million uninsured residents.

Poem: blizzard (for Ted Kooser)

Dedicated to Ted Kooser, a former Poet Laureate who wrote about a famous midwestern blizzard in the late 19th century.

Obituary: Theresa Jean Edwards

Theresa Jean Edwards, age 81, of Alexandria, died Feb. 14, 2013 at Grace Nursing Home in Clarksville, Tenn.

Obituary: Joyce Marie Scott

Mrs. Joyce Marie Scott, 80, died on Feb. 26, 2013.

Wednesday, March 6

Alexandria and Mount Vernon Calendar March 6

Entertainment calendar for the Alexandria and Mount Vernon areas.

Alexandria School Notes March 6

School notes for Alexandria natives.

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SOLA Hosts Patrons Party

The Symphony Orchestras League of Alexandria held its annual Patrons Party on Feb. 23 at the home of Dr. Joseph and Bertha Braddock in Alexandria.

Thinking Day

Each year on Feb. 22, World Thinking Day, girls honor their sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts by taking time to give thanks for their international friendships and remember that Girl Scouts of the USA is part of a global community

The Ballyshaner’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

St. Patrick's Day Parade pays tribute to Vietnam veterans.

In what was perhaps the biggest turnout since its inception, Alexandria celebrated its Irish heritage March 2 and paid tribute to Vietnam Veterans in the 32nd annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. Sponsored by The Ballyshaners, the parade was founded by Pat Troy, who officially stepped down as organizer following this year's event.

Gala Raises $100,000

Center for Alexandria’s Children honors three for work with at-risk children.

The Center for Alexandria’s Children, a public-private partnership that serves abused and neglected children, raised a record $100,000 and honored three Alexandrians who have shown dedication and service to improving the lives of Alexandria’s children at its fourth annual Gala Benefit on Feb. 28 at Virtue Feed & Grain in Old Town. Alexandria residents Lissa and Dagobert Soergel were presented with the Center’s 2013 Champion for Children Award for their work in founding and expanding Child and Family Network Centers (CFNC), an organization which provides preschool education for at risk children in Alexandria and Arlington.

How To Help

For anyone wishing to help the family of Officer Peter Laboy, the Alexandria Police Association is coordinating efforts for individuals and organizations to show support or donate to the family. “We have set up a Facebook page that will update everyone on Officer Laboy's progress and any specific requests of the family,” said APA board of directors trustee Capt. Shahram Fard.