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Alexandria Bulletin: Nov. 1-8

Seven nominees are being considered by a panel of judges to receive the prestigious Alex Awards this year. Winners will be announced at the Alexandria Commission for the Arts' Annual Gala, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2 at the Dr. Oswald Durant Memorial Center, 1605 Cameron St. Individuals and organizations are recognized for their contributions to the cultural fabric of the Alexandria community. The 2007 Alex Awards nominees are:

* Herb Cooper-Levy, Folk Musician

* Dr. James C. Faser, Alexandria Performing Arts Association and Alexandria Arts Forum

* William Hubbard, Composer, Arranger, Pianist, Singer, Vocalist, Actor and Music Director

* Wesley McCune, John Adams Elementary School

* Barbara Brecher, Brecher Design Group

* Carbon Copy, Musical Group

*Jennifer Lyman, Little Theatre of Alexandria

The cost is $25 for single tickets, $40 for couple tickets. To purchase tickets online, visit alexandriacommissionforthearts.org. All proceeds from the ticket sales are used to support events and activities that promote the arts in the City of Alexandria. For additional information or to obtain a ticket order form, call 703-838-6348 or e-mail alexandriacommissionforthearts@verizon.net.

Mount Vernon Estate's 2007 holiday season officially gets underway November 1 when tickets for "Mount Vernon by Candlelight" tours officially go 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.

It is also a good time to do some holiday gift shopping in The Shops at Mount Vernon. Normally open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily they remain open until 9 p.m. on tour nights. Twelve themed departments, including the Christmas Corner, abound with a broad selection of unusual items for every taste and age group. No admission is required for the shops, food court, or Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant.

Women for Wise Giving, a giving circle made up of a small group of women in Alexandria, is now soliciting applicants for its third funding cycle.

Women for Wise Giving invites emerging nonprofit 501(c)(3) programs who serve the needs of Alexandrians to apply. For our purposes, an emergin nonprofit program: (1) has been in operation for less than 5 years; (2) shows some evidence that it is an up-and-coming, expanding organization; and, (3) serves a significant number of people in our Alexandria community.

To apply, please submit a letter, 1 - 2 pages in length, with the following information:

Mission and history of organization and program

Need and population served in Alexandria

Description of project for which funding is being requested

How a grant from Women for Wise Giving would be used

Also, please include an organizational budget as an attachment to the letter.

Requests may be for funding up to $5,000.

The deadline for receipt of the letter is November 19, 2007. Submit the letter by email to Lynn O’Connell at lynnoconnell@prodigy.net. Questions

may also be sent to that email address.

During last Friday's Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association Fun Side Forum at The Lyceum ACVA President & CEO Stephanie Brown urged residents to log on to ACVA's website to voice their opinions as to "Alexandria as a travel destination."

ACVA recently completed interviews with 1,400 regional leaders. Now resident interviews via the internet will be accepted for the next three weeks, according to Brown. They want to hear from residents about "your Alexandria."

Residents are encouraged to visit www. myalexandriava.com to take a brief online survey about their perceptions of Alexandria as a tourism destination. The information will provide helpful feedback and become part of ACVA's ongoing research and planning for future marketing programs, according to Brown.

"It's an exciting time to market Alexandria. It's also the right time for us as a city to express our own perceptions of Alexandria as a travel destination, as ACVA takes a look at its marketing strategy to best convey what Alexandria means to so many people -- visitors and locals alike," Brown said.

"We really want to hear from those who live and work here what Alexandria means to them. After all, who knows better than those who call the city their home," she said.

Survey response will be accepted until November 25. For more information contact Laura Overstreet at 703-838-4200 ext. 206 or email at loverstreet@alexandria.travel.

Motorists traveling near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge should prepare for multiple Beltway lane and ramp

closures during overnight hours through Thursday, 11/1 on I-95/I-495 South, the Capital Beltway’s Inner Loop. Crews will be completing preparatory work needed to shift all Inner

Loop lanes in Virginia, between the Route 1 and Telegraph Road Exits. This lane shift is scheduled to occur this weekend 11/2-11/4, along with a major lane shift in Maryland of I-95/I-495 North, the Capital Beltway’s Outer Loop, between the I-295 Interchange and MD 210 Interchange Exits.

Specific details for this week’s work and closures are as follows:

between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.:

Crews will be installing large storm water drainage pipes underneath the Beltway lanes andcompleting necessary roadway work in preparation for the Inner Loop lane shift.

Multiple lane closures will be necessary on the Inner Loop, as well as the temporary closing of Beltway ramps from the Inner Loop to Route 1 South and Telegraph Road Exits. Motorists should use caution and stay alert to roadway signs and detours.

All work subject to change, based on weather conditions.

Click on www.wilsonbridge.com for the latest information.

The City of Alexandria reminds property owners that payment of the second half of their 2007 Real Estate Tax and Refuse Fee is due Thursday, Nov. 15. To avoid late payment penalty and interest charges, payment must be received by the City or postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service no later than Nov. 15. Property owners who have not received a tax bill in the mail and do not have their real estate tax paid by a mortgage company should call the City’s Treasury Division at 703-838-4777 or e-mail payments@alexandriava.gov to request a duplicate bill. Utilize the City’s real estate tax history search and pay at alexandriava.gov/finance.

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.

City residents who are experiencing difficulty in meeting their monthly mortgage payments, as well as those already in the process of foreclosure, are eligible for a free training and counseling service offered by Housing Counseling Services (HCS). The goal of the program is to encourage and assist delinquent homeowners to seek actionable, workable and immediate solutions to prevent foreclosure. HCS is a contract agency of the City of Alexandria, which already provides training and individual counseling for first-time home buyers who live or work in Alexandria.

HCS’s Foreclosure Prevention Clinic will offer participants a presentation on the "dos and don'ts" when facing mortgage delinquency. At the end of the workshop, participants will be individually assessed, triaged, and will immediately be given the opportunity to schedule a default and delinquency (D&D) counseling session. At the individual session, the client's personal situation will be explored, options will be presented and a work plan to address financial issues will be established.

The Foreclosure Prevention Clinic is held twice each month in English and once each month in Spanish. Sessions are currently scheduled to be held on the first Tuesday of every month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the third Tuesday or every month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at HCS offices, located at 2410 17th Street, NW, Suite 100 (Adams Alley Entrance) Washington, D.C.

SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) of Northern Virginia will host its 5th annual Toast to Hope wine and cheese fundraiser on Wednesday, November 14th. The organization announced today that a number of sponsorships are still available for local businesses and individuals who would like to be a part of the highly anticipated event.

The event will be held at the Masonic National Memorial in Old Town Alexandria, with a special Treasure Hunt theme (set in the ambiance of the Memorial, the setting for much of the upcoming "National Treasure 2" film), including fine wine tastings, gourmet hors d‚oeuvres, a silent auction and presentation of the Cleary Award.

To become a sponsor of this well-attended event, please contact SCAN at 703-820-9001 or visit the SCAN website for more information: www.scanva.org

The City of Alexandria is in search of a Colorado Blue Spruce, Leyland Cypress or other well-formed evergreen tree approximately 25 to 35 feet tall to serve as the City’s official 2007 Holiday Tree. The tree will be decorated and displayed at Market Square throughout the 2007 holiday season. The City will remove the tree from the donor’s property in mid-November and grind the stump at no cost. Persons in the Washington metropolitan area who are interested in donating a tree should contact John Noelle, City Arborist, at 703-838-4999 or e-mail john.noelle@alexandriava.gov.

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.

The Child & Family Network Centers has openings for 15-plus classroom volunteers through May, 2008. Sign up now to be a Classroom Assistant in one of the Child & Family Network Centers (CFNC) preschool classrooms. The students are wonderful 4-year-olds, who are bright, full of wonder and fun. You will assist a teacher in guiding the children through new adventures in reading, science, art, music and computer basics, among other skills. And of course, there’s play, games, field trips and much more.

Come dine and shine. Improve your public speaking/leadership skills with fun and fellowship. Old Town Toastmasters meets every second and fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Trattoria da Franco, 305 S. Washington St. Walk-in, call 703 566-4442 or e-mail heartvk@yahoo.com.

Every Saturday, 7–9 a.m. there are bookmark distributions in Del Ray and Old Town to promote awareness about domestic violence. For more information contact Stephanie Romonchuk at Stephanie.romonchuk@alexandriava.gov or 703-838-4911.

Rebuilding Together Alexandria provides free home repairs to in-need homeowners. If you are a Veteran (or a care-taker or widow of a veteran), we want to help. We are able to do up to $10,000 worth of repairs to your home, free of charge. Repairs include ramps, grab bars, roofs, lever handles, etc. The Alexandria home must be owned by you or owned by your care-taker (if you physically reside there) or owned by your widow. To find out if qualified, call RTA at 703-836-1021.

Come and join in the at our The Child and Family Network Centers (CFNC) headquarters offices in Alexandria. Again this year, CFNC staff and volunteers will be preparing our holiday solicitation mailing. We need your help to hand-address, collate stuff and stamp over 2500 letters. We always have a wonderful time working on this project, talking, snacking and getting to know each other. We would love to have you join us. CFNC relies on the funds from this mailing to help provide no cost preschool and family services to those children and their families living at or below the poverty level in Alexandria and Arlington. Please call Patricia Chapman at 703-836-0214, or e-mail to pchapman@cfnc-online.org.

Programs and activities at the Charles Houston Recreation Center have relocated effective Tuesday, Sept. 4, due to the renovation of the center. Most programs are being held at either the Oswald Durant Memorial Recreation Center or the George Washington Middle School. The "Krunch Bunch" Senior Program, the Alexandria Boxing Club, and the Network Preschool have been moved to other locations, as noted below. The following programs and activities at the Charles Houston Recreation Center are being temporarily relocated due to the renovation of the center.

* Programs being held at the Dr. Oswald Durant Memorial Recreation Center, 1605 Cameron St.: Charles Houston Recreation Center Out of School Program for children ages five to twelve, Monday through Friday, until 6 p.m. To register for the Out of School Program, call 703-838-4814. Department of Mental Health’s Peer Advisory Program Counseling Center, Substance Abuse Prevention/Counseling, and The Untouchables. For additional information, call 703-838-5075.

* The following programs will be held at the George Washington Middle School, 1005 Mount Vernon Ave.: Charles Houston Recreation Center Middle School Program for children in grades 6-8, Monday through Friday, until 6 p.m. Charles Houston Recreation Center Teen Program, open gym for adults and drop-in activities, Monday through Friday, 6-11 p.m. For additional information regarding George Washington Middle School activities, call 703-838-4814.

* Additional programs offered at the Charles Houston Community Center have been relocated as follows: "Krunch Bunch" Senior Program, Ladrey Building, 300 Wythe St. For additional information call 703-838-4832. The Alexandria Boxing Club, 2504 Oakville St. For additional information, call 703-838-4234. The Network Preschool will be located at other local Child/Family Network Center sites. For additional information, call 703-836-0214.

Clothing Drive Assistants needed for The Child & Family Network Centers 2007 Annual Clothing Drive on Thursday, December 6 from 1 p.m. to 5p.m., and again on Friday, December 7 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On Thursday and Friday assist social work staff by sorting clothing and setting up "shopping rooms," where our parents will be able to select something to take home for the whole family. Please call Patricia Chapman @ 703-836-0214 or send an e-mail to pchapman@cfnc-online.org and set up a time to come by for a site visit and talk about this opportunity.

The Alexandria Community Services Board is in need of volunteers to serve in the following positions:

(1) Preschool presenters to deliver the 15 minute

Al's Pals curriculum to pre-school children in Alexandria two times per weekfrom October 2007 through mid-June 2008 (flexibility for vacations). Through the use of puppet-led discussions, songs, pictures and books, Al and his puppet pals help children to develop personal, emotional and social skills, which form the building blocks for future success. The volunteers will attend the Al's Pals training on August 30-31 from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm.

(2)Representative payees to receive Social Security checks and pay bills for persons with mental retardation or mental illness. A separate bank account is opened with automatic deposit and there are few monthly transactions. The duties require two hours per month, per account. (3) Friendly Visitors to plan one-on-one outings and activities with residents of Alexandria group homes for adults with mental retardation. This volunteer activity requires approximately two hours per week. Currently there are two persons in need of a friend. Please inquire for more details about these individuals. By giving a small amount of time, volunteers can meet a tremendous need in the community. For more information about these volunteer opportunities,

contact Jennifer Cohen Cordero at 703.838.4455 or

jennifer.cohen-cordero@alexandriava.gov.

The Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is seeking persons who are diplomatic, assertive, and good communicators to serve as a volunteer ombudsman. Volunteers are assigned to a specific local nursing home or assisted-living facility in the City of Alexandria and make weekly visits, meeting one-on-one with residents. Applicants must be available to volunteer four hours per week. For further information and to obtain an application, call 703-324-5435, TTY: 703-449-1186, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/LTCOmbudsman.