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Mount Vernon Bulletin Nov. 15-21

To have a notice listed in the Bulletin, e-mail gazette@connectionnewspapers.com. Call Rebecca Halik at 703-917-6407 with questions.

Fairfax Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) receives a new referral for a child who has been abused or neglected once every 30 hours. The role of a CASA volunteer is to investigate a child’s situation and to advocate for the best interests of the child in court. Attend an upcoming information session at the Fairfax CASA office on Monday, December 3, from 12:30–1:30 p.m. Fairfax CASA is located at 4103 Chain Bridge Rd, Suite 200, Fairfax. To learn more, visit www.casafairfax.org, or call or e-mail Fairfax CASA’s Recruitment and Training Manager at 703-273-3526, ext. 22 or ekosarin@casafairfax.org

Mount Vernon Estate's 2007 holiday season officially got underway November 1 when tickets for "Mount Vernon by Candlelight" tours went on sale at the Ford Orientation Center, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, and through Ticketmaster at 703-573-SEAT or www.ticketmaster.com. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for children under 12 years of age.

Held Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, November 23,24 and 25; November 30, December 1 and 2; and December 7, 8 and 9; this holiday event is the only time during the year the Estate is open for public evening tours and one of the few times the Mansion's rarely-seen third floor is open for public viewing.

Upon arriving at the Mansion, guests present their "letter of introduction" to Martha Washington who greets them in the Mansion's large dining room prior to hosting their visit to an 18th-century Christmas which includes candlelight walks and fireside caroling surrounded by hand-crafted early American holiday decorations.

The visit to the Mansion's third floor enables visitors to see Martha Washington's garret chamber which she used after George Washington death. This refurbished room was unveiled in 2005 after new curatorial research transformed this sparse space into an accurate restoration of the way it was when she used it.

Visitors will also meet a cast of friends and family of the famous founding couple. In the kitchen, the final stop on the tour, guests will hear about 18th century holiday cooking, see Martha's "Great Cake," and be given a complimentary copy of the recipe to try at home.

Following the Mansion tour, guests are invited to stroll candlelit walks, join in fireside caroling, and enjoy complimentary hot cider and cookies. The Food Court is open during the tours for fresh and convenient meals and holiday treats.

Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant, with its colonial American fare and costumed servers, offers the perfect complement to the candlelight tour. Reservations are suggested and can be made by calling 703-780-0011.

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Adoption Support Groups are forming in the Mount Vernon area. All members of the adoption triad, (adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents) are encouraged to call for more information about the groups as well as individual, couples, and/or family counseling. The groups will be held in the evenings. Contact Diana Tracey, licensed clinical social worker, at 571-245-0054.

The Inova Mount Vernon Hospital Auxiliary is currently accepting applications for adult volunteers. Volunteering at Mount Vernon Hospital is fun, exciting, and rewarding. A variety of positions are available and every effort is made to match your availability, interests, and abilities with the volunteer opportunities within the program. The hospital is located at 2501 Parker's Lane in Alexandria. For further information, call 703-664-7260, stop by the Director of Volunteer Services office Monday through Friday between 8 am and 4 pm, or visit www.inova.org.

MOMS Club of Alexandria meet every second Wednesday of each month at 10:30 a.m. at Mt. Vernon Presbyterian Church, 2001 Sherwood Hall Lane. Children are welcome to all activities. Activities include: Monthly Meetings, playgroups, Park Days, Sunshine Committee, Community Service Projects, MOMS Night Out, etc. Visit www.geocities.com/southalexmomsclub/index.html for contact information.

Weichert, Realtors' Alexandria/Mount Vernon Office, has started collecting items for its annual Can Can Drive that runs through the end of November. The office is teaming up to collect canned goods and other non perishable items to contribute to the Good Shepherd Food Pantry and the United Community Ministries. Both local organizations will organize the items and distribute them to families less fortunate throughout the community. Stop by the office anytime between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to donate can goods or call 703-360-7400.

First Night Alexandria's redesigned Web site is updated with new real-time ticket sales, a Kids Club, a Performer Corner, and an easy-to-read schedule. Visit http://www.firstnightalexandria.org/ for streamlined navigation and graphics, games for kids in the new Kids Club section, detailed performer information in the new Performer Corner, and a mobile device-friendly schedule that is sortable by performance times, type, and location.

In compliance with Governor Tim Kaine‚s statewide burning ban which went into effect on Oct. 19, at 12:01 a.m., the Fairfax County Fire Marshal has banned all bonfires, recreational fires, and open burning in Fairfax County. Controlled burning permits will be issued and approved on a case by case basis. The burning ban will remain in place until further notice. Failure to comply with the ban is considered a Class 3 misdemeanor, and violators will be prosecuted with a fine of not more than $500. For information about controlled burning in Fairfax County, contact 703-246-4849, or visit www.dof.virginia.gov..