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.
Spring is almost here! It’s time to think about getting out and exploring what our wonderful city has to offer in the way of recreation and cultural activities. There is something for everyone, especially for seniors. If you are curious about what’s out there, come to Senior Services of Alexandria’s next speaker series event to hear from Alexandria’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities and Alexandria Library about special programs for seniors. This free program will be held at Chinquapin Recreation Center at 3210 King St. on March 12 from 9:30 a.m. – noon. Light refreshments will be served and free parking is available.
To the Editor: Parking spaces, parking spaces where have they gone? It seems that every time I say that parking in Old Town is becoming near impossible some uninformed member of one of our boards or commissions tries to tell me that that there are excess parking spaces in the Old and Historic District. Well, as all of you know that's not true. In fact, the parking situation is going to get worse as our esteemed transportation director continues to recommend to the council members that they take parking spaces away from us.The taking of the 27 parking spaces on upper King Street is a good lead-in followed by the taking of 66 parking spaces at the King Street Metro.
Colonoscopies save lives. Just ask Audrey Marcoe. The 83-year old Alexandria resident underwent a colonoscopy in December at Inova Alexandria Hospital due to a severe bout of anemia that left her exhausted and significantly underweight. Her doctors suspected she might be bleeding into her colon. The exam revealed a large cancerous tumor on her ascending colon that was likely causing her anemia. She would need surgery to remove it. “I was surprised at this, truthfully,” she said. “I just never thought I’d get it.” Cancers of the colon and rectum — part of the body’s digestive system — are unfortunately rather common, especially among Americans age 50 and older. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), colorectal cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer among men and women combined. It will cause an estimated 50,000 deaths this year alone. Fortunately, those numbers have been declining for the last two decades thanks to proper screening, increased disease awareness (remember TV anchorwoman Katie Couric’s colonoscopy on the “Today” show?) and advances in treatments and surgical techniques.
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.
Within the next few weeks the Alexandria City Public School (ACPS) Board plans to decide on a way forward for Jefferson-Houston (JH) School. The School Board discussed three options at its Feb. 20 meeting for the school’s future. You may be saying, I don’t have a child in school, why should I care? Because the city (and you as a tax payer) has invested $44 million for a new JH school building to open this fall which will double the school’s capacity. Meanwhile, everyone is working hard to reverse more than a decade of low achievement.
I made it. It’s five years after receiving a terminal diagnosis on February 27, 2009 from my oncologist: stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, accompanied by a "13-month to two-year" prognosis. Let’s be honest, medical professionals don’t toss around the word "terminal" because you’re going to be treated at an airport. Presumably, they know their facts and figures as well as the patient’s present condition, confirmed by a variety of diagnostic results from X-Rays, CT Scans, P.E.T. Scans, lab work and of course the ever-popular biopsy, so their diagnosis/prognosis is a bit more than an educated guess. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to every rule and until proven otherwise, I was not about to succumb to their statistics. Still, based on the best medical knowledge available at the time, this patient (yours truly) was given a limited life expectancy and encouraged to take the vacation I had always dreamed of – for obvious you’re-life-is-now-shorter-than-you-ever-imagined-type reasons, and yet, five years hence, here I am.
Prior to 1996, I had not given much thought to same sex marriage. Then, in September of that year, DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, was passed. Now DOMA confused me. I really did not understand why marriage needed defending. If gay people got married, would that make me want to abandon my wife or make me want to become a gay man? What nonsense! If gays adopted kids who needed homes, wouldn’t that be a good thing, and how was it different from an infertile straight couple who adopted? If gays had legally-recognized families, would they do any worse with the institution of marriage than straight people who for years have sported a 50 percent divorce rate? In November 1996, as a member of City Council, I proposed that we include in our legislative package a same-sex marriage proposal for consideration by the Virginia General Assembly. Hard to believe that was almost 20 years ago. That was the first legislative proposal for same-sex marriage in Virginia, maybe the first in the country. It didn’t pass, but I can tell you it made for some very interesting politics in my next election six months later.
To the Editor: Is the “Complete Streets” policy adopted by Alexandria also to be termed “complete idiocy?” After listening to two hours of testimony before Council recently about the proposal to eliminate parking and put bike lanes on a stretch of King Street, the question occurs to me as a cogent one. The idea of Complete Streets seems like a reasonable idea. More people are using bicycles rather than automobiles to get around and bicycle rights-of-way in the past have been enormously unclear. Complete streets is touted as a way to accommodate cars, pedestrians and bicycles. Unfortunately, some very questionable planning decisions are being made in the name of the concept. For example, the Duke Street transportation plan calls for a bike path to be built on the south side of that major artery, separated from the street traffic and from pedestrian sidewalks. While that might seen like good idea, it would require condemning a strip of land, all now private property, to construct the bike lane. Thus homeowners on Duke, roughly from Jordan east to Wheeler, would lose a healthy chunk of their already small front yards.
To the Editor: It is unfortunate and, I daresay, disappointing that Mayor William Euille, an otherwise serious and thoughtful African American, apparently felt compelled to issue a proclamation, on behalf of the City Council, honoring the Confederate General Robert E. Lee (opinion, Jan. 23-29). Euille should have considered the words of the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who upon hearing of Lee's death in 1870, wrote: "We can scarcely take up a newspaper that is not filled with nauseating flatteries of Lee, from which it would seem … that the soldier who killed the most men in battle, even in a bad cause, is the greatest Christian, and entitled to the highest place in heaven."
To the Editor: A week late, but after this last snow storm, I meant to give Alexandria an “A” for its efforts with respect to Snow Emergency Routes/Primary Road and transit/city school bus routes.
Consider for a moment if Alexandria City Council and surrounding jurisdictions decided to join the federal government and sent agents, inspectors or political operatives into newsrooms of local newspapers, broadcasting houses and every online outlet. Can't happen most of the journalistic professionals would probably be spouting.
I am a newly returning resident to Alexandria. I live just off King Street near T.C. Williams High School. An avid bicycle commuter since 1999 (NOVA and other areas), I looked forward to returning. Many days I ride the entire route to work, but also ride to the metro. While I live closest to the King Street Metro, after a few close calls and preferring not to ride the sidewalk, which is for pedestrians, I changed my route to the Braddock Road Metro instead. It is a longer route, but one that is safer for cyclists.
To the Editor: I am troubled. I can't fathom whether our council members are aloof by design or by nature. Whatever the reason, apart from Silberberg, their collective disdain for the residents they purportedly represent strikes me as arrogance pure and simple. But they are not beyond detecting community discontent. To placate it, an enormous amount of city staff time and more of our money was used to concoct a manual explaining how we the citizenry can interact with them. What chutzpah.
To the Editor: Olin Studio’s third presentation of proposed waterfront landscaping was a community engagement session that showed some small progress in meaningfully engaging the residents of Old Town — those most affected by these changes. It gave small groups of people time to talk together about the two design options, with all tables sharing their opinions in our usual neighborly way.