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Neighborhood: Old Town June 7

OTCA’S QUIET ELECTION –

The very important Old Town Civic Association, the city’s vigilant citizen watchdog for more than 50 years, has nominated its officers for the coming year — a move to be made official at the group’s annual meeting June 13.

The nominating committee’s slate, put forward in May, sailed through as presented. No nominations from the floor. Little debate. No tiffs. A very civil affair. "So what?" you ask. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work? Well, usually, but sometimes even a group as sophisticated as OTCA surprises. You may recall that’s what happened a year ago, when there were unexpected and surprising nominations from the floor, bruised feelings and what amounted to a very unusual evening.

What a difference a year makes, Old Towners! While OTCA's quiet election doesn't give your local columnist much to write about, let's offer a toast, anyhow, to civility or whatever. All in favor, say aye, and here are your OTCA officers for the next year: President, Townsend "Van" Van Fleet; Vice President, Linda Couture; Treasurer, Michael Zarlenga; Corresponding Secretary, Susan Brita; Recording Secretary, Douglas Thurman. Director Nominees are Timothy Elliott, Central; Michael Adams, South of Franklin; Poul Hertel, North of King, West; Jonathan Aaronsohn, North of King, East. Continuing Directors are John Johansen and Russell George. The OTCA nominating committee was chaired (and chaired well) by Mike Hobbs, former OTCA president.

A final note on OTCA: Alexandria is a large, vibrant and important city. That's fine. But one of the enduring delights of our town is that, in so many ways, we're still a small place and hopefully, will remain so. What brought this to mind was an item in the May OTCA newsletter about Old Town's Safeway store and the fact that it has new grocery carts! Yes, stop the presses. Our local grocery has new, micro-sized express carts that, as the newsletter explained, are designed to help residents "have more mobility while shopping."

The item goes on at some length on the subject of carts, check-out lines and even the fact that Safeway now has an organic food label and section that some folks, according to Teresa Miller, say is pretty good. So let's hear it for state-of-the-art grocery carts and a testimonial to organic food. Are these useful topics for an important civic newsletter? If your answer is "no, " I submit you're an insufferable snob. And I can say that, because it's my column. So there!

THE DUCHESS OF DUKE STREET –

Our Duchess, Jean Oseth, who reigns over the 200 block of Duke Street and has far more than a few years, passed another milestone this spring — her (fill in the blank) birthday. This delightful creature was taken by Anne Paul and some others to an Old Town restaurant the other day to celebrate the glorious accomplishment of aging gracefully and eloquently. Happy birthday, Jean. Where shall we lunch next year?

—Bob Feldkamp