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Alexandria Bulletin Sept. 25-Oct. 1

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

The City of Alexandria anticipates a historic turnout of approximately 72,000 voters for the 2008 Presidential election. Alexandria election officials and City departments are doing their part to prepare, but lines of voters may be long. Voting at the polls may be difficult for people with special needs, caregivers of family members who are ill, and residents who commute outside the city.

The City’s Office of Voter Registration and Elections advises residents in these circumstances to consider voting by absentee ballot. Many Alexandria voters are eligible, but relatively few take advantage of this option. There are several qualifying circumstances. For example:

You commute and work for 11 of the 13 hours the polls are open. (Take into account those days when traffic is heavy or the weather is bad and it takes longer than usual to get to and from work.)

You are a caretaker for a confined family member.

You are unable to go to the polls in person on Election Day because of an illness or disability.

You will be absent from Alexandria on Election Day because of work, or school, or vacation.

To learn more about these, and other circumstances in which absentee voting is an appropriate option, visit www.alexandriavoter.org and click on “Absentee Voting,” or call 703.838.4050.

You can vote absentee in person at the Alexandria Voter Registration Office, 132 N. Royal St., or by mail. In-person absentee voting hours are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Voting hours will be extended to 7:30 p.m. on the following weekdays: October 16, 20, 22, and October 27. The office will also be open for absentee voting on each Saturday in October and on Saturday, November 1. The deadline for voting absentee in person is Saturday, November 1, at 5p.m.

If you wish to absentee vote by mail, download an application from www.alexandriavoter.org, or contact the Voter Registration Office to get an application mailed to you. The last day to apply for an absentee ballot by mail or fax is Tuesday, October 28. The application must be received by the Voter Registration Office at 5p.m. on that day. Absentee ballots by mail must be received by the Voter Registration Office on or before November 4, at 7p.m. For more information, call Tom Parkins, Registrar of Voters, at 703.838.4050.

Old Town Boutique District is a collection of 19 fashion, beauty, jewelry, children’s, gift and home specialty stores. To mark the launch, the Boutique District will host a Premiere Shopping Weekend, Sept. 26-28. Visit the Web site at www.OldTownBoutiqueDistrict.com.

T.C. Williams H.S. band students will canvass Alexandria neighborhoods Saturday, Sept. 27, between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. for the annual fundraiser sponsored by T.C. Williams Band Boosters. To support the band program, contribute to students going door-to-door or send check donations to T.C. Williams H.S. Band Boosters, P.O. Box 3452, Alexandria, VA 22302. For more information, e-mail tcwbandtagday@yahoo.com or call 703-838-2133.

The City of Alexandria is offering Confident City Bicycling classes to help residents learn how to ride safely and skillfully through city traffic. Residents may attend one of two workshops:

* Thursday, Sept. 25, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at Mount Vernon Community Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave.

* Saturday, Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Cora Kelly Recreation Center, 25 West Reed Ave. (November 1 class includes an optional one-hour on-bike session.)

The classes, which are free to Alexandria residents, are part of a collaborative effort between the City and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. To register, visit www.waba.org. For more information, contact Yon Lambert, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, at 703.519.3400, ext. 183, or visit alexandriava.gov/localmotion.

The Alexandria Health Department will be hosting a “Fun Day Event” on Sunday, Sept. 28, in recognition of World Rabies Day. It will be held in conjunction with the West End Farmers Market, 4800 Brenman Park Drive, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. A rabies vaccination clinic is scheduled later that day, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, 4101 Eisenhower Ave. For more information about this event, contact Holly Feltner at 571-220-7077.

On Wednesday, Oct. 1, the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP) is offering a free Medicare seminar to residents of Arlington and Alexandria. It will be held at 2 p.m. at the Beatley Central Library, 5005 Duke St. Pre-registration is required. For further information or to pre-register, please contact the Arlington Agency on Aging at 703-228-1700 (TTY 703.228.1788), or e-mail at Arlaa@arlingtonva.us.

Jefferson-Houston School for Arts and Academics will host a Family Fun Day and Community Celebration from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26, at the school, 1501 Cameron St., Alexandria. Highlights include free food, a moon bounce, fun activities and entertainment. For more information, contact the school at 703-706-4400.

Wright to Read is a program of the Frank and Betty Wright Foundation and is administered by The Campagna Center in Alexandria. The program trains and places tutors with students in the Alexandria City Public Schools who are reading at least one year below grade level. Needed are volunteers to participate in one of our programs. Contact Heather Miles, the program assistant director, if interested in helping children through volunteering. Phone 703-549-0111 ext. 134 or e-mail hmiles@campagnacenter.org.

The Special Education Parent Resource Center holds a weekly Support Group for Parents of Children in Special Education from 10 a.m. to noon every Thursday in the Parent Resource Center at Jefferson-Houston Elementary School, 1501 Cameron St. (Ring the bell at door No. 4).

Each meeting includes coffee and bagels, and an opportunity to share stories, support, information and problem-solving ideas related to special education issues, school and family life. The group is open to parents who have children of all ages with special needs. Infants and toddlers are welcome. Parents are welcome to drop in whenever they can.

For more information, please contact Anne Lipnick at 703-706-4552 (office) or 571-274-2866 (work cell), or email alipnick@acps.k12.va.us.

Celebrate and support Alexandria’s heritage at the first annual Historic Alexandria Museum Gala This evening of dining, dancing and entertainment will be held on Saturday, September 27, from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union Street.

With the theme of “Making History in Alexandria,” the gala pays tribute to Alexandria’s unique and rich past, from the discovery of a 13,000-year-old spear point to the preservation of historic properties where George Washington, Robert E. Lee, civil rights pioneers, and others made history. The gala also honors Senator John Warner for his service to Virginia and for his effort to promote Alexandria’s proud heritage. In celebrating Alexandria’s full and diverse history, guests will be “making history” themselves through their support of Alexandria’s museums and historic sites.

The memorable evening will begin with cocktails and daring 18th-century entertainment, including a swordsman and Italian equilibrist Signora Bella. Guests will be invited aboard the Godspeed, a replica of the sailing ship that carried English settlers to Jamestown in 1607, for a tour as it is docked along the Alexandria waterfront. Following cocktails, the Alexandria Town Crier and the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums will call guests to dinner. During dinner, a visual experience in black and white will recall Alexandria’s vast and varied history and its remarkable preservation. Then following dinner, guests will enjoy dancing to the swinging big band sound of the Eric Felten Jazz Orchestra.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.historicalexandria.org and click the “Shop” link or call the Office of Historic Alexandria at 703.838.4554.

CrisisLink's 24/7/365 hotline for the Washington Metro Region is currently recruiting volunteers. Come to a training session on Oct. 18. Go to www.crisislink.org, e-mail volunteer@crisislink.org, or call 703-527-6016 to learn more.

The Big Event is returning to Alexandria! The Alexandria Volunteer Bureau is organizing Alexandria youth to participate in their annual day of service called The Big Event. On Saturday, September 27th The Big Event will bring together non profits, corporate sponsors, faith groups and local youth for “one big day” of service aimed to give “one big thanks” to the Alexandria community. Participants of diverse backgrounds will form teams in order to complete half-day service projects for Alexandria nonprofits. We would love for and we invite motivated and open minded youth (ages13-19 years old) to sign up and be a part of a day that will leave a lasting impression on its participants. Please contact Alexis Grant at 703.836.2176.

There will be a multicultural health and Community Day on Sept. 27 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at 25 West Reed Ave. There will be games, free health screenings and more. Free. 703-838-6464.

The Alexandria Domestic Violence Program (DVP) and Sexual Assault Response and Awareness (SARA) Program invite the public to a special evening on Friday, Oct. 3 at 6 p.m. to hear Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis speak about his experience of surviving domestic violence. This free event will be held at the Hilton Mark Center, 5000 Seminary Road. For general information, visit www.alexwomen.com, call 703-838-5030.

The Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) of Alexandria announces the start of its third program year of training parents to participate more fully in community and school life for the betterment of their children. Applications for the 20-week program in leadership skills, community building, civics, public policy, and practical democracy action are now being accepted. Up to 25 students may participate in the 2008-2009 program, which begins on Oct. 24, and continues to April 24, 2009. For more information or to request an application, please contact Fay Slotnick, Executive Director, at 703-739-0233, or e-mail info@plti-alex.org. Visit the PLTI website at www.plti-alex.org.

The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Citizen Corps Council will provide emergency preparedness information at two community events in September to help residents “Be Ready, Alexandria!” The events and locations are as follows:

* Cora Kelly Community Day, Sept. 27, noon to 5 p.m., 25 W. Reed Ave.

* World Rabies Day Fun Day, Sept 28, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ben Brenman Park

For more information about the Citizen Corps Council, or to download emergency preparedness checklists, visit alexandriava.gov/citizencorps or contact Kim Purcell at 703-706-3940, ext. 231.

Tenants and Workers United, The Cora Kelly Recreation Center, and the City of Alexandria will host the Annual Community Day and Health Fair on Sept. 27 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The Health Fair will provide free medical services and information from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. There will be games, music, food, and more. It will be at the Cora Kelly Recreation Center, 25 West Reed Ave.

The Alexandria Workshop of Ikebana International meets at the Hollin Hall Senior Citizen Center, 1500 Shenandoah Road, at 9:30 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month from September through June except December and January. Ikebana is the Japanese art of floral arrangement. The group makes Ikebana floral arrangements, studies the history of the art and learns new techniques. New members are welcome. For more information call Julie Cimino at 202-544-5331.

The Sexual Assault Response and Awareness (SARA) program is looking for compassionate listeners, both English speaking and bilingual, who would be comfortable talking to sexual assault survivors and their families. The next SARA training is scheduled to begin in early October and meets two evenings a week from 6:30-9:30 p.m. and on two Saturday mornings. For more information or to register for the SARA training, contact Stacey C. McCullough at 703-838-5030 or HYPERLINK "mailto:stacey.mccullough@alexandriava.gov"stacey.mccullough@alexandriava.gov.

Super Saturdays/Super Seniors will provide a limited number of trips for $5 fares anywhere in the City of Alexandria on every Saturday in August 2008 between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. on a first-come, first-serve basis. Contact Alexandria Union Cab at 703-683-1200.

The City of Alexandria invites residents to take part in the fall session of the Alexandria Citizens Academy, which begins on Sept. 25. Classes will be held every Thursday from 7-9 p.m. The class size is limited to 15–20 people and is open to City residents over the age of 18 years and/or owners of businesses located in the City. The majority of the classes will be held in the Council Workroom at City Hall, 301 King St., however, a few classes will be held at different locations throughout the City. The deadline for applications is Sept. 15. For more information and/or an application visit www.alexandriava.gov/citizensacademy or call Elaine Scott, Office of Citizen Assistance, at 703-838-4800.

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

* Friends of the Alexandria Mental Health Center Board Members: Friends is seeking new members who will take an active role in fund-raising, building relationships with the business community and helping coordinate Friends community events. The Board meets one Wednesday evening every other month with occasional subcommittee meetings and additional time required for leading or assisting with projects.

* Mural Artists: Alexandria Vocational Services is seeking a mural artist or group of artists to paint a portion of a 30’x 60’ concrete wall in a warehouse that houses the Sheltered Workshop Program. Program participants complete projects such as labeling, envelope stuffing and film recycling. Some funds are available for supplies.* Representative Payees: Payees receive Social Security checks and pay bills for persons with an intellectual disability 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. For more information about these volunteer opportunities, contact Jennifer Cordero at jennifer.cohen-cordero@alexandriava.gov or 703-838-4455, x 161.

Nonprofit organizations and other grantseekers in Alexandria looking for funding sources now have access to a valuable new collection of resources through Alexandria Library. The Foundation Center’s core collection includes The Foundation Directory Online and Foundation Grants to Individuals Online. All four Alexandria Library branches have access to the two databases through their catalog computers. The complete Cooperating Collection of print and electronic resources is held at the Barrett Library, located at 717 Queen St. For more information visit visit www.alexandria.lib.va.us .

The City of Alexandria has partnered with Alexandria City Public Schools to obtain a grant for $70,000 to retrofit approximately 40 school buses with clean air technology that reduces pollutants emitted by diesel engine school buses. For more information about the Retrofit Grant Program, please contact Erica Bannerman, Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, at 703-838-4334 or David Rose, Alexandria City Public Schools, at 703-461-4169.

The Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria (SAPCA) invites youth (6th – 12th grades) and adults who live in the City of Alexandria or work with Alexandria youth to complete a short online survey that asks for perceptions and opinions about youth substance abuse in our community. Incentives are provided for youth participants, and adult survey participants have access to recent statistics on youth substance abuse in Alexandria. Community members are asked to complete one of the seven questionnaires, which are all available at alexandriava.gov/sapcasurvey and can be completed in about 10-15 minutes.

The 4Paws Rescue Team is allowed to keep foster cats at the Petco in Alexandria to increase their chances of finding a loving home. Petco volunteers are asked to commit to one evening or morning each week to care for 2-4 cats. Currently are in dire need of Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning volunteers (until noon), but volunteers for other shifts are encouraged to apply as well.

If interested, contact info@fourpaws.org or by phone at 703-715-6369.

The Northern Virginia Review is accepting entries for the next issue, slated for publication in March 2009. The Review, an annual journal of essays, fine art, photography, poetry and short stories, accepts submissions from residents of the Northern Virginia and the greater Washington metropolitan area.

People may submit two essays, two works of fiction, three pieces of artwork and four poems, with a limit of five items per person. The deadline for entries is Sept. 18. Additional guidelines can be found at http://www.nvcc.edu/depts/nvreview/nvr-submit.htm. The Review is funded by Northern Virginia Community College, the NVCC Educational Foundation, individuals and corporate sponsors. Contributions are tax deductible and all donors are recognized in the publication. To make a donation or learn more about the journal, contact Managing Editor Steve Drasner at sdrasner@nvcc.edu.

Alexandria Library now offers its patrons a chance to write their own reviews of almost all of the Library holdings (books, movies, music, and other materials) on the Alexandria Library Web site online catalog at www.alexandria.lib.va.us. To access the online catalog, visit www.alexandria.lib.va.us , click on “Library Catalog,” and begin browsing. To write a review, simply register and type your review for all to read. For more information, contact Mark Schwartz at 703-519-3498, or e-mail mschwartz@alexandria.lib.va.us

The Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is seeking persons who are diplomatic, assertive, and good communicators to serve as volunteer ombudsmen. 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. For further information and to obtain an application, call 703-324-5422, or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/LTCOmbudsman.