Stories for December 2012

Stories for December 2012


Friday, December 21

Fairfax Rotary Club Awards Global Grant Scholarship

The Rotary Club of Fairfax, a part of Rotary District 7610 in Northern Virginia, recently awarded the Global Grant Scholarship to a young woman from Fairfax City. Sophie McManus learned she was the winner of the competitive scholarship on Nov. 4, nudging out many other young people from the area.

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Welcoming Scouts

Willow Springs Elementary holds Girl Scouts Investiture/Rededication Ceremony.

The Willow Springs Elementary School Girl Scouts held an investiture/rededication ceremony on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 at 7 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria. Investiture welcomes new members into the Girl Scout family for the first time.

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Artistic Talent on Display

Members of the Art Guild of Clifton, in cooperation with the Clifton Betterment Association, held an art show and sale, Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Clifton Town Meeting Hall.

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Paco Peña 'Flamenco Vivo' at GMU

Flamenco guitar legend appears with The Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company.

Named the “Best Flamenco Guitarist” by America’s Guitar magazine for five consecutive years, Paco Peña brings his troupe of flamenco singers, musicians and dancers to George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 at 8 p.m. for a tour through the history of flamenco.

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Fair Oaks Hospital Receives National Recognition

One Virginia hospital was among The Leapfrog Group’s annual class of “Top Hospitals” announced in Baltimore, Md. on Dec. 4. Inova Fair Oaks Hospital’s management and staffs for the first time completed the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, being transparent on patient safety and achieving the "Top Hospital" award.

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Capturing 50 Years of Christmas History

Springfield resident Al Nielsen has photographed the National Christmas Tree every year since 1963.

In December 1963, Al Nielsen drove his wife and four children to Washington, D.C. to see the National Christmas Tree, a red spruce from West Virginia. That year, the lighting of the tree was delayed due to the mourning period following the assassination of President Kennedy. Being without a tripod, Nielsen placed his camera atop his car and captured the first photo of what would become a long-standing annual tradition. Now 90-years-old, Nielsen recently photographed the 2012 National Christmas Tree, making this the 50th consecutive year that he has captured history in the nation’s capital.

Thieves Target Cars in Parks

Detectives are investigating an apparent series of credit card thefts from vehicles parked at area parks. Many of the crimes have taken place at Burke Lake Park, but there were others at Wakefield and South Run Recreation Center. Detectives from the West Springfield Police District Criminal Investigation Section are working collaboratively with the Financial Crimes Unit to apprehend suspects on over two dozen cases; with the most recent six taking place at Burke Lake Park since Thanksgiving.

Burke Man Sentenced to 360 Months for Producing Child Pornography

Jason Laposay, 40, of Burke, was sentenced to 360 months in prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release, for producing child pornography by filming someone under the age of 12 engaging in sexually explicit activity.

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Selling the Idea of Reston

Panel discusses the marketing and progress of early Reston.

“This was a tremendous opportunity to meet people from all over the world,” said McCandless, who arrived in Reston in 1963 as the town’s 25th employer and a member of the town’s original Public Relations team, following the opening statements. “The joy of Reston is its universality.”

A Silver Line Train for the Holidays

As I drove across the Wiehle Avenue Bridge over the Dulles Access Road a couple of weeks ago, I was sure I saw a Metro railcar on the brand new Silver Line tracks. I hurried to the post office and returned to the scene, parked my car in a nearby lot, and walked to the bridge to record the historic moment. By then it was dusk, and search as I might I could not find a railcar. I began to doubt myself. Had I worked on the project so long that I was seeing things?

Week in Herndon

Find out what's happening this week in Herndon.

Bigelman, Eganhouse Wed

Kara Anne Bigelman and Matthew Colin Eganhouse were married Aug. 25 in San Diego, Calif. Kara is the daughter of Paul and Kathleen Bigelman of Clifton. Matthew is the son of Bob Eganhouse and Trina Billingsley of Herndon.

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Pet Supermarket Supports Warrior Canine Connection

Dog-training program helps veterans.

Deb Weber of Weber’s Pet Supermarket in Herndon wants everyone to “Send in the dirty dogs.” Her mission is to help non-profits raise funds—the pet supply store has built three state-of-the-art stainless steel self-service pet bath tubs and thus, during inclement weather, pet owners can scrub their favorite furry friend. The cost per bath is $16—and Weber donates $10 from each bath to help charities with their mission. Warrior Canine Connection will be the charity receiving the funds generated from the pet baths from Dec. 17 through Jan. 5.

Helping Those in Need

Local teen collects items for the poor and homeless.

“It was a rewarding feeling to know I helped people stay clothed and keep warm.” -Oak Hill resident Nick O’Connell

Unexpected Amusement

Probably without intending to do so, your December 5-11 issue provided considerable amusement.
First—after years of mindless support for Gerry Connolly's determination to turn Tysons Corner into God's Own Junkyard through a secret, no-bid contract—Mr. Horrock has discovered that Metro's Silver Line is badly flawed; no parking, restricted access to the tunnel into D.C. and, alas, doubtful ridership [“Silver Line Faces ‘Daunting Issues’”]. But, not to worry, our fearless Board of Supervisors has a solution, for…

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Giving Back on the Road to Eagle Scout

Sudharsan “Suddy” Sriram of Troop 869, supported by Trinity Methodist Church, McLean, completed his Eagle Scout Project earlier this summer at the childcare center that helped raised him, Westgate Child Center.

Touching For Sure, But Not Always

Usually, but not always, when I show for my scheduled post-chemotherapy/post-scan appointment with my oncologist, I am physically examined (touching, feeling). Recently, due to some enhanced computer and facility upgrades, I was shown the actual scans, digitized. However, on more than one occasion over the last 18 months or so, after we discussed the results of my most recent CT Scan – and lab work, no physical exam was performed. Apparently, as I later learned, the good results from my scan sort of trumps any need to feel for physical manifestations.

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How the Powerless Access Power

Immigrants make significant gains in influencing political system.

On Election Night Nov. 6, Keisy Chavez’s nerves were frayed. The Fairfax single mom had been campaigning hard for Democrats since the official launch of Latinos for Obama last April.


Forty-five months later, I am still dealing with feelings – as in still living, for which I am amazingly fortunate. However, those feelings seem to sometimes have a mind of their own, and accordingly tend to take over and rewire one’s brain (figuratively speaking).

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Contractors Call Holidays Ideal Time to Ponder Remodeling Projects

Local contractors say that the holidays offer an opportunity to consider home renovations.

While the holidays can bring glad tidings and cheer, they can also spark an interest in remodeling, say some local contractors.

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Decking the Halls

Local designers share holiday decorating suggestions.

Looking for inspiration for decking the halls this season? Three local home design experts offer doable tips for capturing the magic of the holidays.

Thursday, December 20

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An Alexandria Homecoming at the 9:30 Club

Two bands with T.C. Williams roots to celebrate the world still spinning this weekend.

Two Alexandria-based bands are joining forces for what's bound to be a feel-good show at the 9:30 Club this weekend. Virginia Coalition, a group of guys that have been making the rounds in rock clubs since their high school days at T.C. Williams and better known to their fans as VACO, are hosting Rock-A-Pocalypse on Saturday, Dec. 22.

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Union of Pedestrians: Waterfront Plan Prompts Changes to Union Street

Union Street to become 'shared street.'

The first signs of change from the waterfront plan are about to sweep through Old Town, adding features city officials believe will make the thoroughfare more friendly to pedestrians who will walk along the redeveloped properties.

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City Leaders Approve Plan to Demolish Jefferson-Houston and Construct New Facility

$45 million facility is seen as a way to revitalize long-struggling school.

The name “Jefferson-Houston” presents a paradox — a hyphenated marriage of slave-owner Thomas Jefferson and civil-rights leader Charles Houston.

Wednesday, December 19

Avoiding Jet Lag

Medical experts offer suggestions for those traveling across multiple time zones during the holidays.

Every December, Linda McDonald travels from her Oak Hill home to Stockton, Calif., to visit her family for Christmas. She tries to head west a few days before the holiday, but often leaves on Christmas Eve, and arrives feeling hazy and sluggish.

Quick Relief for Holiday Stress

Simple strategies for bringing down anxiety levels in a hurry.

“Listen to your favorite relaxation music on your iPod as you shop. It can help reduce anxiety in overcrowded shops. Reserve time to relax or meditate at peak times of stress.” — Michelle Walters-Edwards, Marymount University

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Cosmetic Dentistry for Children

Whether it’s to replace a tooth that was lost or broken during a hockey game or to create a Hollywood-smile before taking the stage for a school play, pediatric dentists say an increasing number of children are undergoing cosmetic dental procedures.

Present Needing to be Accounted For

As a stage IV non-small cell lung cancer diagnosee/patient/survivor/anomaly, living long--whether prospering or not, is not the simple and presumptive proposition I had anticipated. No more do I anticipate living the same number of years and in the same relative good health that my parents (both deceased), experienced well into their 80s. Now, my life revolves around my oncologist and the CT Scans and lab work that precede our recurring appointments.

A Life Lesson in Giving Back

An immigrant’s son becomes state delegate and introduces the Virginia DREAM Act.

My father was born in a small town in the Andes mountains region of Venezuela. He was one of 22 brothers and sisters from the same parents. At the age of 19 he came to this country with $280 in his pocket and the dream of a better life. He worked as a bus boy and waiter, learned English, and went to school. He graduated from Northern Virginia Community College when I was 5 years old. He then took one class a semester at George Mason University every year, until he graduated from college one month before I graduated from Robinson High School in Fairfax. As a result of his achieving the American Dream, my father was able to change the lives of my entire family in Latin America.

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Children of Inmates Receive Holiday Gifts, Winter Coats

Thanks to the support of Toys for Tots and Operation Warm, the children of more than 50 Alexandria inmates received a holiday gift and, if needed, a new winter coat this season.

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The Way We Were

A look back at 2012.

Dominated by a hard-fought City Council race and the ongoing battle over the waterfront, Alexandria citizens had no shortage of topics to debate over the last year.

Letter to the Editor: Make Difference On Gun Control

As our new voice in Congress, Rep.-elect John Delaney is finding his way around the halls of the Capitol and determining what course his Congressional career will take. I hope he will choose as his signature issue to be a leader on gun control.

Letter to the Editor: Move Ahead On Improving Rink

I am writing in regard to the proposed rink that would be located at the Potomac Community Center.

Letter to the Editor: A Center For Everyone

I live just behind the Potomac Community Center tennis courts and have lived here for the past 21 years.

Pay Now, Bye Later

Contrary to last week’s column, if I do pay for it now (things I can’t afford), then I’ll be so in debt later that I may end up saying “bye” anyway--from the stress of it. And if that were to happen; dying with a smile on my face, so to speak, would I be truly better off now anticipating that later was not going to be my problem? Do I want to be a modern day version of George Raft, the American actor from the 1930s and 40s best known for his portrayals of mobsters, who said about his Hollywood money: “I must have gone through $10 million during my career. Part of the loot went for gambling, part for horses and part for women. The rest I spent foolishly.”

Three Narcotics K-9s Support the Force

Leroy, Lucy and Vegas are trained and ready for duty. With their keen sense of smell, they are experts at scanning wide varieties of locations and assisting patrol officers with requests for service on a 24/7 basis. These dogs are busy, industrious professionals.

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DASH-ing All the Way

Employees of the DASH transit system pose for a photo with Santa (aka DASH driver Charles Johnson) in front of the King Street Trolley Dec. 15 to kick off a day of free photos with Santa at Market Square.

Dance Team Wins at Winterfest

At the Dec. 15 Winterfest Cheer and Dance Competition at CD Hylton High School, the Carl Sandburg Middle School Dance Team, competing in the middle school category, won 1st place trophies in Pom, Lyrical, Captains Dance, and the Solo categories.

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Salvation Army-Bell Ringing

Santa (aka Charles Johnson) joins Pomeroy, a 12-year-old Pomeranian rescue, during the Alexandria Rotary Club's day of service Dec. 15 for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign in Market Square.

Family Services Gives Christmas Presents to Families

Santa’s elves come in several forms; and in the local area, many of them are Northern Virginia Family Services volunteers. And this week, they’ll deliver Christmas presents to 589 families — some 2,100 people — in Fairfax and Prince William counties.

Federal Porn Charges for Former Teacher

In June, Fairfax County police charged a special-education teacher at Poplar Tree Elementary with 10 counts of possession of child pornography. He was immediately suspended without pay, and the school system assured parents that no images of students were found on his computer and school computers were not used.

A Time for Giving

FACETS helps children give presents to siblings.

All year ’round, FACETS helps people in poverty in Fairfax County. It works with families living in public-housing communities and having an average income under $20,000 for a family of four. It also aids those who are, or recently were, homeless.

Letter to the Editor: How Many More Incidents?

To the Editor: There is a saying from the Quran that to take one innocent life is to kill all mankind.

School Notes

Vocal musicians from 14 Fairfax County public schools have been named to the Virginia Honors Choir for 2012.

Military Notes

Francis J. Rechner has been awarded an Air Force ROTC scholarship to attend a host college or university.

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Bovine Intervention

Del Ray's Holy Cow, ACT partner for local charities.

With checkbook in hand, Bill Blackburn sat down Nov. 27 to write the first check payable to ACT for Alexandria as part of a partnership between the community foundation and the recently opened Holy Cow gourmet burger restaurant in Del Ray.


Taylor Run

ELECTION WRITE-INS A certain amount of dissatisfaction with our current political setup raised its head in write-in votes for the recent election.

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Inova Dedicates Cancer Center

Facility named for supporters Joseph Viar Jr. and Bonnie Christ.

Inova Alexandria Hospital held a dedication ceremony Dec. 12 to officially name its cancer center in honor of longtime Alexandria residents Joseph Viar Jr. and Bonnie Christ in recognition of a $1.25 million Legacy of Life gift through Viar's estate.

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Capitals at Blessed Sacrament School

Johansson Teaches Students about Hockey

Prior to becoming a Washington record holder in points and assists by a defenseman, Washington Capitals assistant coach Calle Johansson learned the basics of hockey playing the game in a parking lot with his father.

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That's What Friends Are For

Firefighters and Friends annual toy drive to help 4,000 area children.

For 45 Head Start preschoolers, Christmas arrived a week early when they entered Penn Daw Fire and Rescue Station 11 Dec. 18 to select a toy of their choice from the thousands that had been collected as part of the 2012 Firefighters and Friends annual toy drive.

Column: When To Be Representative or Trustee?

Lessons #3 for serving and governing.

City Council members: What are you, representatives of the people or trustees for the people? Answer: You are both, but not at the same time; and only you can figure out the time to be one or the other.

Column: From Learning ABC’s …

Meeting Paola has been a life changing experience. I began working with Paola in February 2011 and it started out as mainly teaching her the English language.

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Norwood Raises Money After Hurricane Sandy

Participants raise more than $4,000 to help purchase books, rugs, easels and bookcases.

More than 200 Norwood School students, parents, teachers and staff members walked the grounds of the school’s Potomac campus earlier this month to raise money for schools devastated by Hurricane Sandy in New York City.

Fireworks In February?

Court of Special Appeals rejects county on Brickyard; legality of school board lease to be argued early next year.

Chief Judge Peter B. Krauser and the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland on Dec. 7, 2012 rejected Montgomery County’s motion that would have allowed moving forward with development of soccer fields on Brickyard Road.

She Leads Model Organization of American States

Holy Child’s Andrea Manchester elected assembly’s president.

Andrea Manchester has extensive experience in diplomatic relations, debating, creating solutions and setting public policy — and she is only a junior in high school. In 7th grade, she took part in the Model United Nations in New York City. She was the first Holy Child freshman involved with the Model Organization of American States — and this December, she was elected to the position of president of MOAS at the Model Assembly held at the Organization of American States headquarters in Washington DC.

Another Arrested in Handyman’s Death

Victim worked for local business-owner.

In June, Reynard Prather was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. On Dec. 7, Tasheik Champean, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and use of a firearm in a crime of violence causing death.

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Showing They Care

In response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Girl Scout Daisy/Brownie Troop 185 of Alexandria made cards during their troop meeting on Friday, Dec. 14.

Fundraiser in Honor Of Ryan Lopynski

Goal is to purchase EKG machines

On April 26, 2009, Ryan Lopynski was a freshman at Virginia Tech with his whole life ahead of him. He’d come home to Clifton’s Hampton Chase community to see his family and look for a summer job. But while showering before going to see his sister’s basketball game, he suffered a fatal heart attack. The specific cause of his death is still unknown, although it was discovered posthumously that Ryan had an enlarged heart.

Column: Texting And Driving

At 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 15, 2011, 18-year-old Kyle Rowley was driving home from his summer job down Route 7 near the Fairfax County line when his car ran out of gas. He pulled his car into the right-hand lane, turned on his flashers and got out to push his car off the road.

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Storage Village Donates Dinners

Storage Village said “Thank You” to its community by helping to ensure that each of its neighbors could enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.

Community Feast Gathers Neighbors for Fellowship

Mount Olive Baptist Church hosted about 100 of its neighbors and special guests at its second Annual Community Feast on Dec. 8

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Christmas Music at St. Elmo’s

Doris Justis, a part of the Metro D.C. folk scene for more than three decades, returns to St Elmo's on Dec. 22, to play Christmas songs, from 8-10 p.m. This will be a family friendly set and children are welcome.

‘Brother Bear’

Starting Jan. 3, Imagination Stage brings back its popular show for the very young: Wake Up, Brother Bear! Called “very entertaining for both kids and adults” by Our Kids, this 45-minute show invites children to enter the world of a young brother bear and his sister as they venture through the seasons of the year.

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Holiday Luncheon

Successful Aging in Alexandria hosted a festive holiday luncheon on Thursday, Dec. 13, for nearly 200 seniors at the First Baptist Church.

Work Group to Study Bell Times

Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr is establishing a work group to study the issue of school bell times.

Titanic Success

T.C. teacher, student honored for community service.

The Titan pride of T.C. Williams High School filled the Dec. 11 meeting of the Alexandria Rotary Club as both a T.C. teacher and student were honored by the organization for their community service.

Crime Reports

The Arlington Police Department reported the following incidents: BANK ROBBERY, 3600 block of S. Glebe Road. At 4:02 p.m. on Dec. 11, an unknown subject entered a Bank of America branch and demanded money from the teller. After receiving a sum of money, the subject fled the scene on foot. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’11” tall and 165 lbs.

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Legislators Are Not Gun Shy About Responding to Connecticut Shooting

Should access to guns be limited or expanded?

Last year's mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut has already prompted a heated debate about gun control in Virginia, where the upcoming session of the General Assembly is likely to feature a number of bills on both sides of the issue.

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Competition Not Required for Public-Private Partnerships

Arlington County Board approves guidelines for transportation projects.

Over the objections of several citizens and one of its own members, the Arlington County Board approved new guidelines for public-private partnerships to build transportation projects last week.

Tuesday, December 18

Immigrant Experience Guides Success

Delegate Mark L. Keam

Del. Mark Keam (D-35) is the first Korean American and the first Asian-born immigrant to serve in the Virginia General Assembly.

Immigrants Gain Influence in Virginia

Immigrants make significant gains in influencing political system.

On Election Night Nov. 6, Keisy Chavez’s nerves were frayed. The Fairfax single mom had been campaigning hard for Democrats since the official launch of Latinos for Obama last April.

Leaders for 2013 at the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors

There were multiple transfers of the torch at the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors Installation Ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 6 at NVAR Headquarters in Fairfax. Officers, directors, outstanding contributors and Realtors—many from Fairfax County—were awarded, inducted and recognized at the ceremony.

Norwood School Raises Money for Those Affected by Hurricane Sandy

Participants raise more than $4,000 to help purchase books, rugs, easels and bookcases.

More than 200 Norwood School students, parents, teachers and staff members walked the grounds of the school’s Potomac campus earlier this month to raise money for schools devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

Teaching Health and Holiday Culinary Traditions

Nutrition experts say moderation, not deprivation, is the key

The holidays start with a saucepan of mushrooms — usually portabella, crimini or oyster — sautéing in olive oil. Next, sliced onions sizzle in a bath of bubbling butter and wine until they’re caramelized.

Classified Advertising Dec. 19, 2012

Read the lastest ads here!

Enhanced Security Around Schools

FCPS releases message about Connecticut tragedy.

On Sunday, Dec. 16, Superintendent Jack Dale sent an email message to all FCPS families and employees. He said the Fairfax County Police Department will be increasing patrols and visibility this week around all FCPS schools, including elementary schools, in response to Friday's tragedy in Connecticut.

Monday, December 17

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Going Casual for a Cause

Nearly 10,000 people and 130-plus organizations participate in Jeans Day 2012 to help end homelessness.

Nearly 10,000 residents representing 130 businesses, Fairfax County agencies, schools and organizations pulled on their favorite jeans Friday, Dec. 14 for the second annual Jeans Day—a powerful community initiative that aims to “Put the ZIP on Homelessness” through building awareness and fundraising.

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Understanding Yoga

Local yogis explain popular styles of yoga.

Joanna Mosely says she can’t tell a downward facing dog from a baby cobra. She belts out a perplexed “huh?” when asked if she knew the difference between Ashtanga and Bikram.

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Preventing Holiday Weight Gain

Nutritionists say merriment doesn’t have to lead to bulge.

Festive holidays are filled with sweet treats from eggnog and cider to fruitcake and chocolate bonbons.

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Keys to Staying Healthy During the Holiday Season

Finding balance can preserve one’s well-being.

Food, festivities and friends are synonymous with the holidays. However, celebrations can take a toll on your health.

Brief: Oakton Conquers Chantilly Chargers

Brief: Oakton High School’s Varsity Swim and Drive teams went head-to-head with Chantilly High School on Friday night at Cub Run RECenter.

Brief: Detective Sylmar Graduates from the Leadership in Police Program

Brief: Detective Arturo E. Sylmar graduated from the Leadership in Police Organizations program on Dec. 7.

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Brief: Northern Virginia Association of Realtors Installs New Leadership

Brief: There were multiple transfers of the torch at the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors Installation Ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 6 at NVAR Headquarters in Fairfax

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Dining for a Cause in Great Falls

Military Appreciation Monday dinner series to continue in 2013.

Long-time Great Falls resident Bob Nelson was all smiles as he stood in the backroom of the Old Brogue providing warm words and thanks to families and supporters sitting in attendance at the monthly Military Appreciation Monday dinner on Dec. 10.

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Brief: Sierra Club Marched in Winterfest for Transit Oriented Development

Brief: Sierra Club members, friends and neighbors from McLean and surroundings celebrated at the Winterfest Parade on Sunday, Dec. 2.

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Langley Presents ‘A Musical Journey to Germany’

The Langley High School Orchestra presented "A Musical Journey to Germany" on Dec. 11.

Cappies Review: "Almost, Maine"

As the clock strikes 9 p.m. in a quaint, quiet town in northern Maine, nine couples simultaneously explore the puzzling issues of romance.

Week in McLean

Check out what is going on this week in McLean.

Brief: Hudgins Wins Award for Regional Leadership

Brief: At its Annual Membership and Awards Luncheon, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), a nonprofit association of 300 area elected officials, presented Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins with the organization’s highest honor.

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A Message From Oakton: ‘We Care’

Money was flying everywhere the day before Thanksgiving break, as Oakton Elementary School students pulled spare change and dollar bills from their pockets, hats, lunch bags, purses and—in some cases—shoes.

Letter: Taxing ‘Household’ or Individual

Letter: Joel Kanter of McLean wrote a letter to the editor commenting on Tax Cuts for the Wealthiest [Tax Cuts for Wealthiest: Not Right and Not Smart, Connection, December 5-11, 2012].

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Flint Hill School Robots Dominate Competition

At the FIRST qualifying event held at Sidwell Friends, Flint Hill School took the top two spots.

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Brief: BRTRC Moves to Vienna

Brief: A 27-year-old, steadily growing government contractor will move its corporate headquarters to a new home in Vienna next year, in a deal brokered by two executives with The Ezra Company.

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Brief: English Skills Open Doors

Students at St. Mark's English as a Second Language Program for adults at the St. Mark Christian Formation Center, 9972 Vale Road, Vienna, benefit from new friendships and improved English skills, which can lead to further job opportunities.

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Brief: Chorus Hosts Renaissance Feaste

Langley choral department performs annual 16th century show.

The Langley High School Choral Department hosted their annual Renaissance Feaste Dec. 7 and 8 at the Capital Church in Vienna.

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Brief: ‘Once in a Lifetime’

Brief: In Terri Peters’ first grade class at Spring Hill Elementary School, students took a moment to celebrate on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012.

Brief: Bringing Joy to Children of Injured Service Members

In the spirit of the holidays, donors and volunteers affiliated with the nonprofit organization Our Military Kids provided gifts to more than 120 children of severely injured service members across the country, helping to minimize the financial burden of Christmas.

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Brief: New Dominion Women’s Club Helps Instill Love of Reading

Macy’s grants funds, Women’s Club distributes books for children at Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center preschool.

Preschool–age children who attend the Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center chose a book about the family to take home and keep when the New Dominion Women’s Club of McLean distributed books on Friday, Nov. 16, in time for Thanksgiving, a time when families often gather with relatives to celebrate the holiday.

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Brief: Junior League Gets Seal of Approval

Brief: Virginia’s First Lady Maureen McDonnell has named the Junior League of Northern Virginia (JLNV) a recipient of the First Lady’s Opportunity Seal of Approval.

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Brief: Former Astronaut Comes to Churchill Road

Brief: Churchill Road’s GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) hosted a very special guest speaker at their Dec. 12 meeting.

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Letter: Seeing the Spirit of Giving

Letter: I would like to share with you about the St. Joseph School Onesight eyeglass collection drive.

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Where Wishes Come True

The Wish List Project attracts more than 130 donors this year.

The Wish List Project proved to be a major success once again as friends, neighbors and community members came together to help make the wishes of 325 individuals, including 75 foster teenagers, come true.

Brief: Student Art on Exhibit at Great Falls Starbucks

Brief: Great Falls Studios (GFS) and Starbucks in Great Falls Center have teamed up with three local elementary schools to showcase student artwork.

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Brief: Great Falls Studios Makes Donations to Great Falls Library

Brief: Great Falls Studios, a network of over 100 artists in Great Falls, has donated a new professional wire cable and hook display system to the Great Falls Community Library to be used for hanging art exhibits in the library’s meeting rooms.

Thursday, December 13

Classified Advertising Dec. 12, 2012

Read the latest ads here!

Schools Attract Immigrants to Fairfax

Our community of 200 single family homes in central Fairfax is far more culturally diverse than when Hickory Farms was built while the first wave of refugees from the Vietnam War resettled in the Washington area in the late 1970s. While the Vietnamese led the way, the biggest impact on our community has been the second wave of Indian, Pakistani, and Korean immigrants who have sought out new lives in Fairfax County.

Opinion: American Conversations from Nepal

Although it is a little over six years since I first landed in the USA from Nepal, it is not too early to say that I am living the dream. For me, the American dream is not about amassing money and living in luxury, but about living freely and fully in mutual harmony in a community. It is about happily raising a family in a peaceful and safe environment, giving kids the best education possible, and adapting to the American culture of “giving.”

Letter: Saving the World, or at Least Fairfax County

I’ve lived here my entire life. I’ve ventured through trails all over Northern Virginia, I’ve gazed upon the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, I’ve sat next to the awesome power that makes up the tidal region of the Potomac River, I’ve stalked trout lying in a stream bed, slowly making their way up to the surface and back down once again.

Editorial: Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas

Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas

We are a nation of immigrants, to invoke the title of John F. Kennedy’s posthumously published book; undeniably a nation descended from immigrants and a nation greatly augmented by immigration. From this perspective, with the first immigrants motivated by the search for religious freedom, even Christmas is a religious holiday of immigrants.

Business Matters

Two Alexandria landlords are vying for their properties to become the new home of the National Science Foundation, a prize the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership has identified as valuable goal for the city.

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Upcoming Zoning Decision on Beauregard Pits Tenants Against Council

West End residents are 'frustrated and angry.'

As residents of the West End gathered this week to celebrate Human Rights Day, a spirit of defiance was in the air.

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Historic Chapel at Virginia Theological Seminary Rises from the Ashes

Seminary reaches compromise with neighbors to retain ruins of historic chapel.

When God appears to Moses in the Book of Exodus, a bush is described to be on fire yet not consumed by flames. The same could be said for Immanuel Chapel at the Virginia Theological Seminary.

Herdon Teen's Death May Lead to Legislation Targeting Texting While Driving

Bill targets drivers using handheld device for something other than verbal communication.

Kyle Rowley was on his way home on a Sunday night in 2011 when he ran out of gas near the border between Loudoun County and Fairfax County.

Council Notebook

They fought like cats and dogs. They pounded their fists of the dais at City Hall. On several occasions, they raised their voices at each other.

Wednesday, December 12

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TC’s Bunduka Wins 126-Pound Title at NOVA Classic

Three Alexandria schools participated in the 2012 FinalAutoPrice.Com NOVA Classic Dec. 7 and 8 at Fairfax High School.

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Local Grapplers Thrive at NOVA Classic

South County, Lake Braddock and West Springfield among schools to produce at least one individual champion.

Strong Defensive Effort Leads Robinson Boys’ Basketball to Victory

Rams limit rival Lake Braddock to season-low 41 points.

The Robinson boys' basketball team defeated Lake Braddock, 55-41, on Dec. 7.

Butler Leads Bruins to First Win

Senior finishes with 23 points, 23 rebounds against Robinson.

The Lake Braddock girls' basketball team defeated Robinson, 43-25, on Dec. 7.

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West Potomac Boys’ Basketball Rallies to Beat TC

Wolverines overcome 10-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Titans.

The West Potomac boys' basketball team defeated T.C. Williams, 54-51, on Dec. 11.

Washington-Lee Gymnastics Team Sets Bar High

Generals beat McLean, Marshall, Lee, Wakefield at Monday meet.

The Washington-Lee gymnastics team defeated host McLean and three other schools in a meet on Dec. 10.

Week in Fairfax

Find out what is going on this week in Fairfax.

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Mount Vernon Athletic Club Awarded

The Mount Vernon Athletic Club was honored at USTA/Virginia Tennis 2012 Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon on Oct. 20 at The Country Club of Virginia in Richmond.

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Making Spirits Bright

FACETS helps children give presents to their siblings.

No matter people’s income levels, their children still want presents at Christmastime.

Obituary: Joseph Paul McNulty, 26, Dies

Joseph Paul McNulty, 26, died on Wednesday, Dec. 5, after a nearly two-year battle with cancer.

Letter: West Springfield Coach Biddison Retires

Letter: For over 20 years Coach JT Biddison has been coaching football in the Northern Region, for the past four years he has been the head coach at West Springfield HS.

Neighborhoods: Taylor Run

Carrying on a tradition started by the late Marion Galland in the late ‘60s when she threw a party to thank all those who helped her win an election, Sherry Brown, Harlene Clayton, Vola Lawson, Lucy Thomson, Marian Van Landingham, Lois Walker and Krista Watters threw a party for several hundred active Alexandria women.

Neighborhoods: Old Town

Almost quietly, Old Town preservationists and collectors have become major players in the Washington Winter Show — perhaps the major antiques extravaganza in the Capital Region and a must go and see.

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Talent Show at William Halley

After School Program presents end-of-semester show.

Students of the Hornet’s Nest After School Program at William Halley Elementary School put on an informal performance show to wrap up the program for the fall semester on Thursday, Dec. 6.

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Brief: Santa Gives Gift of Respite

Special needs, children of veterans and wounded warriors share Christmas cheer.

Brief: Santa delivered gifts to each of the 23 children in attendance at the annual holiday party for children with disabilities and their families as well as families of veterans, active military and wounded warriors on Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Centreville Moose Lodge in Fairfax.

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Brief: Mayor Silverthorne Speaks at Fairfax Rotary Club Meeting

Brief: The Rotary Club of Fairfax welcomed City of Fairfax Mayor Scott Silverthorne as its keynote speaker at the Dec. 3 membership meeting at the American Legion Hall.

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Holiday Favorites at GMU

American Festival Pops Orchestra to present “Holiday Pops: Songs of the Season.”

Under the direction of founder and artistic director Anthony Maiello, Northern Virginia’s very own 60-member American Festival Pops Orchestra (AFPO) will soon be performing a sparkling musical celebration befitting the Holiday Season at the Mason Center for the Arts.

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Brief: Cats and Dogs Find Homes at Fairfax Farrish Subaru

Brief: The Humane Society of Fairfax County (HSFC) kicked off its “Home for the Holidays” campaign on Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Farrish Subaru Dealership in Fairfax County.

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Greenspring Helps to Fill the Wagon

During the first week of December, residents and staff at Greenspring retirement community collected approximately 2,000 lbs. of donations for the third annual “Fill the Wagon” food drive.

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Democratic Women of Clifton Spread Holiday Cheer

DWC collects coats, toys and gift cards for local nonprofits.

Every child needs a little Christmas, but some Fairfax County parents don’t have the means to provide it.

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Taste of Braddock Kicks off Holiday Season

Eighteenth annual event draws more than 300 for food, fun, holiday cheer.

Braddock Supervisor John Cook (R-Braddock) hosted the 18th Annual Taste of Braddock event in Braddock Hall, welcoming more than 300 members of the community, including Sharon Bulova, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41) and Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34).

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Project Pearly Whites

Fairfax foundation launches campaign to raise money for children who need dental care.

Imagine a child sitting in school with a toothache so bad he needs a root canal.

Brief: Animal Shelter to Host an Open House

Brief: Are you interested in snuggling a downy, soft kitten? Exercising an energetic hound? Or answering questions about reptiles, rabbits or many other animals in the Fairfax County Animal Shelter?

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Column: No Free Lunch on Transportation Funding

Column: Next month, the General Assembly returns to Richmond, and transportation funding will be on the agenda.

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Ballet Arts Ensemble Presents ‘Nutcracker’

Kailey Leinz of Burke to star in the "Nutcracker in a Nutshell."

The Ballet Arts Ensemble of Fairfax will perform “Nutcracker in a Nutshell,” a condensed version of the classic holiday ballet, on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 3 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 16, at 3 p.m., at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall at the Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria campus, at 3001 North Beauregard St.

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Santa Takes a Fire Truck Ride Through Burke

Sleigh bells are ringing in Burke. Starting this week, the Burke Volunteer Fire Department will be riding through the Burke community with Santa.

Northern Virginia Players Present Disney’s Little Mermaid

Portion of proceeds benefit Hurricane Sandy victims.

In a magical kingdom under the sea, the beautiful young mermaid Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above.

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Bill Focuses on Dense Breast Tissue

Local doctor advocates for lifesaving legislation.

Norbeck Country Club’s lush greens were pulsing with positive energy for women’s health on Saturday, Dec. 8. Eighty-six women and men gathered for Coffee, Tea & Brem to hear recognized international leader in breast radiology, Dr. Rachel Brem, director of the Breast Imaging and Interventional Center and vice-chair of Radiology at George Washington University Medical Center, speak about technology that is currently available for early detection of breast cancer and what should be available with a particular focus on surveillance for women with dense breast tissue.

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Brief: Sun Design Opens McLean Office

Brief: After 25 successful years of growth in the region, a Burke-based Sun Design Remodeling, Inc., has now opened its second Northern Virginia office.

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Wounded Warriors Train Service Dogs for Vets

Warrior Canine Connection program also helps trainers.

Before Marine Sgt. Jon Gordon became involved in training service dogs for his fellow wounded warriors, he slept little more than 5 hours a week. He seldom spoke with anyone and rarely left his home except for treatment sessions. He had been kicked out of group therapy sessions time after time, and was unable to participate in his young daughter’s life.

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Fairfax County's Holiday Season

A collection of events to fill your days with cheer.

Make every last day of the year a festive one, be warmed by the holiday spirit of the season and spend time with friends and family--Fairfax County has something for everyone to take joy in before the year is up.

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National Multiple Sclerosis Society Honors Pearlman

National Volunteer Hall of Fame inductee’s dedication praised.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, approximately 400,000 Americans have multiple sclerosis. Every week 200 more people are diagnosed with the disease — more than one person every hour — and there is no known cure.

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Combining Taste and Nutrition

Potomac resident expands “Oat My Goodness.”

Potomac’s Shoreh Vojdani was amazed when her daughter’s friends at George Washington University wanted to purchase her home-made granola.

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MCPAW Named Potomac ‘Charity Of The Year’

Still raising funds for new animal center.

Montgomery County Partners for Animal Well-Being (MCPAW) was selected as the Potomac “Charity of the Year” by the Potomac Chamber of Commerce. The organization was recognized for their dedication to providing needed funds for the new Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center.

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Gold Award Project

Kayla Mason, 17, a member of Girl Scout Troop 3288, has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award — the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn.

Students at Kennedy Center

Roxanne King and Kyra Smith, both 15, of Alexandria, were selected from more than 100 dancers to be part of the Kennedy Center’s tap performance, “JUBA! Masters of American Tap!” at the Eisenhower Theater on Dec. 7.

Women, Art and Shopping

Pottery, handcrafted clothing, scarves, hats, jewelry, purses were just a few of items on display and for sale at the annual Alexandria Commission for Women and the Friends of the Commission annual holiday gift market. Proceeds from the market benefit the Alexandria Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Programs. Toys were also collected for clients of the Alexandria Battered Women’s Shelter.

Crisis of Governance and Leadership

This is the third in a series of columns, coordinated by former council member Lonnie Rich, that includes other past city leaders writing on governance and politics. Alexandria’s reputation for good governance has been severely tarnished over the last few years in large part because there has been too little debate about issues of real concern to the community. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the situation will change for the better with the re-election of Mayor Euille and the election or re-election of six Democrats, the majority of whom seem to share Mr. Euille’s one-shoe-fits-all vision for Alexandria.

Multiple Benefits of Mentoring

This article was submitted by Leigh Hoyer and Luisa Reyes from Wright To Read, an educational program that promotes literacy through the tutoring and mentoring of elementary school students and through outreach to the Alexandria community. Mentee Roxana Lara spoke about the value of having a mentor: "Sometimes you can't find the right words to say, or maybe you just can't find the right way to say it. But I want to give thanks to someone who helped me so much in life. I am very grateful for Ms. Kathy's tutoring and mentoring. Now I am reading much better. I see things much differently than before, thanks to her."

Dallas, Not Washington

Dallas, Not Washington

“Born and bred” in Alexandria, 70-year-old Elaine* loves the Del Ray home she has lived in for more than 50 years. Bought for $15,000 with her husband, it holds many great memories. Growing up, Elaine and her family lived in rental properties throughout the city, first on Powhatan, then Wythe, and finally on Walnut.

Chamber Hosts Newsmaker Business Lunch

Former U.S, Rep. Tom Davis was the guest speaker at the Mount Vernon-Lee Chambers Newsmaker Business lunch pn Thursday, Dec. 6 at the Belle Haven Country Club. Davis spoke of the ongoing political debate on the looming fiscal cliff and repercussions it may have locally. New members to the chamber — Sandy McMaster of Fischer McMaster Homes with McEnearney Real Estate, Tara Ghavam of Patient First, Jube Shiver of the Shiver Management Group and Tricia Mikos with the Mount Vernon Gazette — were introduced.

Volunteer Opportunities for Seniors

Senior Services of Alexandria is teaming with Volunteer Alexandria to spread the word about volunteer opportunities for seniors in our community. Both SSA and Volunteer Alexandria are committed to inspiring and mobilizing people to volunteer and build a better community for all Alexandrians, including our seniors since they are a vibrant part of our city.

Holiday Revels with a Safety Net

A serious backup, but seriously, make a plan ahead of time.

There is a little life in the economy this year, and that is quite likely to allow some to be the life of the party. You know the drill, the five-to-seven or six-to-eight drop-in happy hour, you've been invited to five of them, and you could attend an infinite number of these between now and the second day of 2013.

ACVA’s 2012 Superstar Awards

Washington introduced as new tourism chief.

The Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association presented the 2012 Superstar Awards at its December Tourism Marketing Forum Dec. 7 at Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, using the occasion to formally introduce Patricia R. Washington as the new president and CEO of the city's tourism agency. “I am excited to be in Alexandria,” Washington said.

What Labor Center Means to the Workers

Finding safety and security.

More than Centreville Immigration Forum members and local dignitaries participated in the Centreville Labor Resource Center’s one-year anniversary. The workers did, too, and were happy to be there.

Ringing in the Holidays

Fran Vaughan directed the advanced handbell choir at Browne Academy in a holiday concert on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 9, at the Beatley Library in Alexandria. The students performed a variety of holiday classics to a standing room only gathering. Students included Mustafa Beidas, Erika Walton, Hailey Chauncey, Kye Smith, Reese Gayle, BJ Ramkissoon, Danica King, Charles Nygeres, Isabella King, Jayla Muse, Madison Manning, Carson McKenzie and Cate and Ryan McGlynn.

‘We’ve Created a Community Here’

Centreville Labor Resource Center celebrates one-year anniversary.

When the Centreville Labor Resource Center (CLRC) opened a year ago, it was with high hopes that it would become a safe and successful place for local day laborers to meet with employers to obtain jobs. It started slowly, at first. But as people became more familiar with the center and the caliber of its workers, word spread and more employers came there — instead of to the streets — to hire them.

Tree Lighting In Del Ray

Thousands of luminaries lit the walkways up and down Mount Vernon Avenue on Friday evening, Dec. 7. Neighbors and visitors gathered in the Del Ray Farmers Market parking lot at Oxford Avenue to watch Santa light the holiday tree. Kate Moran led those gathered in holiday songs. The tree was donated by Mike Anderson and thanks went out the Cathy Puskar for her help with decorating logistics.

Curtain Up

Everything old is new again at Old Town Theater.

For nearly a century, The Old Town Theater served as a venue for entertainment ranging from vaudevillian stage shows to silent films, puppet shows and contemporary Hollywood blockbusters. But after the marquee dimmed and the doors were boarded up earlier this year, the Alexandria landmark is once again ready for its close up.

Bazaar Benefits Kenyan School

English students at T.C. Williams High School, inspired by a presentation from the former headmaster of the Losengeli School in Kenya, John Isindu, held a fundraiser in the school cafeteria on Thursday afternoon, Dec. 6. The students chose to showcase an international bazaar featuring food, music, costumes and dance from their native countries.

Guilty Plea in Handyman’s Death

Second person convicted in May 2010 Centreville homicide.

Nothing will restore Jose Cardona to life or return him to his family. But his loved ones will at least have a measure of justice now that the second of the three men involved in his death has been convicted. In June, Reynard Prather was sentenced to 30 years in prison. And last Friday, Dec. 7, in federal court, Tasheik Ashanti Champean, 46, of Suitland, Md., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and use of a firearm in a crime of violence causing death.

Chantilly Students Make Honor Choirs

Several Chantilly High choral students were recently selected for two honor choirs.

Christmas in Camp

Fort Ward Museum & Historic Sites held its annual Christmas in Camp on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 8. The camp depicts army life during the winter of 1863. Historian and writer Kevin Rawlings appeared as the patriotic Santa depicted in an engraving by artist Thomas Nast.

‘The Food Was Fabulous’

Chantilly High team wins culinary challenge.

Five stars are given to America’s top restaurants, and at a recent culinary competition, a student team from The Chantilly Academy captured the top prize, the Five Star Award.

Beauregard’s Human Rights Issue?

Upcoming zoning decision on Beauregard pits tenants against council.

As residents of the West End gathered this week to celebrate Human Rights Day, a spirit of defiance was in the air. Even though members of the Alexandria City Council have already approved the controversial Beauregard small-area plan, residents here are hoping that elected officials will hold off on rezoning the land until safeguards can be put into place to ensure low-income residents aren’t displaced by redevelopment.

Business Matters

Blinded by Science

Blinded by Science Two Alexandria landlords are vying for their properties to become the new home of the National Science Foundation, a prize the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership has identified as valuable goal for the city. But AEDP president Val Hawkins acknowledges it will be difficult battle.

Centreville High Spotlights Student Achievement

CVHS Spotlights Student Achievement

Centreville High School is pleased to announce that More than 900 Centreville High School students achieved perfect or near-perfect scores for the first quarter of the 2012-2013 school year.

Council Notebook

Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye They fought like cats and dogs. They pounded their fists of the dais at City Hall. On several occasions, they raised their voices at each other.

Rising from the Ashes

Seminary reaches compromise to retain ruins of historic chapel.

When God appears to Moses in the Book of Exodus, a bush is described to be on fire yet not consumed by flames. The same could be said for Immanuel Chapel at the Virginia Theological Seminary.

Letter: Welcoming Place

To the Editor: Bonnie Hobbs did a great job covering the Nov. 12 grand opening of the Bull Run Elementary School Family Center. I hope the community recognizes the great effort and coordination done by Bull Run staff to make the center a warm and welcoming place for families. Mary Shepherd Family and School Partnerships Specialist Fairfax County Public Schools

Robert E. Lee’s Portrait Re-Dedicated in City Chambers General R.E. Lee Camp #726 organized funding of painting’s restoration.

Ceremony At The Alexandria City Chamber

It is the portrait across the room from George Washington’s painting in Alexandria’s City Council Chambers. This handsome oil painting bears the likeness of Robert Edward Lee, a son of Virginia and that of Revolutionary War hero “Light-Horse Harry” Lee III, a West Point graduate and superintendent of that institution, who ultimately made one of the most crucial and most difficult decisions in his life as a colonel in the U.S. Army when he resigned his commission to serve as the general for the Army of Northern Virginia in the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

Letter: Letters to the Editor-Conflict Not So One-Sided

To the Editor: In "Dodging Rockets from Gaza" (Arlington Connection, Nov. 27), George Meek describes his "fact-finding" trip to Israel/Palestine with Interfaith Peace Builders. While there, he volunteered with the International Solidarity Movement.

Miracle on 23rd Street Celebration

More than 100 neighborhood children and their families along with staff and clients of Linden Resources participated in the annual tree lighting ceremony at Linden Resources on 23rd Street last Friday evening, Dec. 8.

On Parade

The holidays began in the Town of Clifton Saturday, Dec. 1, with a parade of horses and riders decorated in Christmas finery. Sponsored by the Clifton Horse Society, it traveled up Main Street, went through town and along Chapel Street to a field where participants and spectators gathered for cookies and the awarding of prizes.

Decorating Trees and Fundraising

Georgetown Jingle supports MedStar Georgetown University Hospital’s pediatric cancer programs.

A few local designers are using their talent to bring holiday cheer to some local pediatric cancer patients. Arlington resident Allie Mann, a senior designer at Case Design/Remodeling, Inc., and Alexandria resident Allison Priebe Brooks, owner of Queen Bee Designs, were among the tastemakers selected to participate in the Georgetown Jingle, a fundraising effort for pediatric oncology programs at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington.

Making Spirits Bright 12/12/2012

FACETS helps children give presents to their siblings.

No matter people’s income levels, their children still want presents at Christmastime. So each year, FACETS holds Sibling Shops, enabling children to peruse a variety of toys, games and other items, select gifts for their brothers and sisters and have them wrapped.

The Community Comes Through

Members of Stone Middle School's National Junior Honor Society and other volunteers worked at the Saturday, Dec. 8, Panther Drop-off. Area residents brought new toys and clothes to the school for Our Neighbor's Child to distribute for Christmas to local families in need.

Helping Those in Need

Local teen collects items for the poor and homeless.

In this season of giving, even the generous heart of just one person can make a big difference in other people’s lives. Westfield High junior Nick O’Connell knows this firsthand because he’s now in his fifth year of doing just that.

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Arlington Officials and Army Leaders Negotiating Land Swap

Cemetery would get land to expand; county would get site for heritage center.

The ghosts of the Civil War are still haunting Arlington National Cemetery, where county government officials and the U.S. Army are negotiating a land swap that could save the long-planned Arlington Heritage Center.

Tuesday, December 11

Potomac Entertainment Calendar, Dec. 12, 2012

Email community entertainment events to Deadline is Thursday at noon. Photos and artwork encouraged.

Brief: Barclay Selected as President of County Board of Education

Christopher S. Barclay was unanimously selected by his colleagues Dec. 11, to serve as president of the Board of Education for the second time. Philip Kauffman was also unanimously selected as vice president. Both officers will serve a one-year term. Barclay replaces Shirley Brandman, who has served as president for the past year.

Brief: School Superintendent Proposes $2.22 Billion Operating Budget

Superintendent Joshua P. Starr released his recommended operating budget for Fiscal Year 2014 this week — proposing a $2.217 billion budget for FY 2014, which is a $48.95 million increase over FY 2013 — about 2.3 percent.

Brief: Firefighters Collecting Toys

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service and local fire and rescue departments are again collecting toys for needy families and underprivileged children during the 2012 holiday season.

Potomac School Notes, Dec. 12, 2012

Email announcements to Deadline is Thursday at noon. Photos are welcome.

Potomac Bulletin Board, Dec. 12, 2012

Email announcements to Deadline is Thursday at noon.

Week in McLean

Find out what is going on this week in McLean.

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Offering Gifts from the HeART

Local artists and Reston Community Center come together for a good cause.

The Reston Community Center at Lake Anne hosted Gifts from the HeART on Saturday, Dec. 8. Gifts from the HeART featured works from 20 local artists as well as more than 85 pieces of artwork on the walls of the Jo Ann Rose Gallery and pieces in the 3-D case displays.

Week in Reston

Find out what is going on this week in Reston.

Week in Herndon

Find out what is going on this week in Herndon.

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Brief: Alarmed Over ‘Fiscal Cliff’

Virginians rally in Reston to end Bush tax cuts for wealthy.

Dozens of Virginians gathered on Saturday to rally for an end to the Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent.

Letter: Hiking Taxes and Tolls

Letter: “Most political commentators,” Del. Plum (D-36) nebulously says [“Never Say Never,” Reston Connection, December 5-11], “would agree . . . that the no tax pledge has made it difficult . . . to get agreement on a financial plan that would reduce the deficit and help with economic recovery.”

Letter: Bill Developers for Tysons Infrastructure

Letter: The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has just given the residents of Tysons Corner a lump of coal in their Christmas stockings.

Column: Preparing for the Holidays

Column: The holiday season is busy for most everyone regardless of faith and family traditions and the holidays we choose to celebrate.

Column: County Failing to Preserve Natural Resource Areas

Fairfax County has done a pretty good job of setting aside parkland for public use for athletics and recreation, but gives short shrift to preserving and protecting natural resource areas so vital to a healthy environment.

Letter: Saving the World, or at Least Fairfax County

Letter: I’ve lived here my entire life. I’ve ventured through trails all over Northern Virginia, I’ve gazed upon the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, I’ve sat next to the awesome power that makes up the tidal region of the Potomac River, I’ve stalked trout lying in a stream bed, slowly making their way up to the surface and back down once again.

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Brief: Hurricane Sandy Impacts Herndon High Student

Brief: Herndon High School student Nick Nagy's family including his grandfather and aunt live in Lavallette, N.J. He has gone down there every summer since he was born.

Brief: Celebrate New Year’s Eve at ArtSpace Herndon

Brief: ArtSpace Herndon will host Historic Herndon’s traditional, family-friendly New Year’s Eve Celebration on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Brief: Friedrichs Named Executive Director of Council for the Arts of Herndon

Council for the Arts of Herndon (CAH) chose a new executive director, Signe Friedrichs, in November.

Brief: Herndon Resident Completes 14-day Expedition

Brief: Kristen Joyce, 21, of Herndon, recently completed a 14-day expedition in the Teton Valley with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).

Brief: Herndon Firm Receives Engineering Award for Rush Hour Traffic Study

Brief: Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson (JMT) has received a Merit Award in ACEC Virginia’s Engineering Excellence Awards competition for its work on developing complex analysis models of five popular commuter corridors for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

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Sikhs Bring Foundation of ‘Service to Others’

Fairfax Station temple active in community outreach.

On a recent Thursday evening, Ajaib Singh, 78, one of the founding members of the Sikh Foundation of Virginia, politely escorts a visitor to the area where one removes shoes and dons a headscarf.

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Dynamic and Diverse

New immigrants bring religious diversity to Fairfax County.

At the intersection of Hooes Road and Silverbrook Drive, on the dividing line between Lorton and Fairfax Station, is the largest Hindu structure in three states.

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Bienvenido! Huān yíng! Welcome!

Chantilly Bible Church thrives on diversity by providing outreach to immigrants.

Pastor Isaac Huang vividly remembers the day he landed in the United States from Taiwan. It was Jan. 7, 1982, and Huang, 25, was looking forward to studying computer science at Old Dominion University.

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Being Muslim in Fairfax County

Immigrants face the challenge of balancing Islamic faith and American culture.

Over the years, Muslims from different countries migrated and settled in the Fairfax County area; however, the children of immigrant parents often struggle the most because they have to balance their Islamic faith along with the influence of American culture.

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Making Their Voices Heard

Caroling about "fiscal cliff" at Tysons Corner Center.

On Monday, Dec. 10, a group of 30-40 residents of Northern Virginia and beyond met by the entrance of California Pizza Kitchen in Tysons Corner Center in preparation to go caroling.

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Buying Gifts in McLean

McLean offers a variety of local shopping options for the holidays.

For those who try to avoid crowded malls this time of year, McLean offers a host of local shopping options. There

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Christmases Past

Neighbors share traditions and memories of the holiday season.

Some Vienna neighbors shared their recollections with Vienna-Oakton Connection readers.

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Brief: Langley High Choirs to Present Holiday Concert

The Langley High School Choral Department will present their annual holiday winter concert on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the school's auditorium (6520 Georgetown Pike).

Brief: Performing The Nutcracker

Brief: Classical Ballet Theatre (CBT) congratulates its talented dancers on another outstanding Nutcracker production: pictured are seniors Kristen Wolaver of Langley High School and Kaley Thornton of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

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Brief: McLean Symphony to Present Holiday Concert

Classical Guitarist Benjamin Beirs takes part in a Musical Celebration of the Season.

The McLean Symphony and Maestro Dingwall Fleary present their annual holiday concert on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 3 p.m. in the McLean Community Center’s Alden Theatre.

Letter: Taking Chances On ExpressLanes

Letter: The way the ExpressLanes system is set up at this time, there is no way that we can know the traffic conditions on Route 495 prior to entering the highway.

Letter: Goals More Than Met

Letter: To the McLean, Vienna and Great Falls communities: The Woman’s Club of McLean would like to express its gratitude for your support of the club’s 46th annual Holiday Homes Tour and MarketPlace.

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McLean Woman’s Club Homes Tour a Success

A ribbon-cutting ceremony kicked off last week’s 46th annual Holiday Homes Tour sponsored by the Woman’s Club of McLean.

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Planning for Future of McLean Central Park

Master plan aims to integrate park, Dolley Madison Library, McLean Community Center.

The Fairfax County Park Authority kicked off the master planning process for McLean Central Park Tuesday, Nov. 27, hosting a public input meeting at Churchill Road Elementary School.

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Promoting ‘A Greater Falls’

Great Falls women initiate an effort to support local businesses.

I once asked my uncle who was a priest in Washington, D.C. if there was a soup kitchen where I could volunteer.

Friday, December 7

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Helping Families in Need

Our Neighbor’s Child collecting toys, clothing.

With only a week left until packaging day, the volunteers of Our Neighbor’s Child are working to make sure local children’s Christmas wishes come true.

Our Neighbor’s Child Toy Drives Yield Many Gifts

Our Neighbor’s Child (ONC) held toy drives last Saturday, Dec. 1, outside two local Walmarts and both were big successes. Holly Cameron organized the one staffed by Creative Dance Center’s (CDC) competitive dance team at the Dulles Expo Center store, and Phyllis White organized the one at the Fair Lakes store manned by members of Phase Cheer & Dance. And both volunteers were delighted with the results.

Brief: Church Hosts Community Feast

Mount Olive Baptist Church in Centreville is kicking off this season of giving with a festive, family-style dinner for its neighbors in the community. It’s set for this Saturday, Dec.8, from noon-4 p.m., in the church banquet hall at 6600 Old Centreville Road.

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Ho-Ho Holiday Show

Westfield High presents annual children’s program.

The Grinch, Charlie Brown, Frosty the Snowman — these characters and more will be onstage to delight children during Westfield High’s 13th annual Ho-Ho Holiday Show. Entirely student-directed by seniors in the theater program, it’ll be presented Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 15-16, at 2 p.m. in the school theater. Tickets are $5/person and $12/groups of four.

Luukkonen, Landgren Wed

Cassie Jean Luukkonen and Garrett Charles Landgren were married July 7, 2012.

Brief: Center To Host Holiday Food Drive

For the third year, The Women’s Club Fitness Center and Day Spa ( have teamed up with Saint Timothy's Church (Saint Vincent de Paul Society) and Western Fairfax Christian Ministries to host a holiday food drive which will benefit their Holiday Basket Project. This project aids those within the Chantilly community and surrounding areas who are less fortunate.

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‘The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow’

Stone Middle presents iconic musical, “Annie.”

Annie, Daddy Warbucks, even Sandy the dog — they’ll all be on stage when Stone Middle School presents the much-loved musical, “Annie Jr.” Show times are Thursday, Dec. 13, at 3 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 14, at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Dec. 15, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $7 at the door, except for the Dec. 13 show, which is pre-sale only during school lunches, Dec. 10-12.

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Joyful Noise at Chantilly High

School presents Holiday Spectacular and Tiny Tots show.

A musical feast for the ears and eyes, Chantilly High’s Holiday Spectacular will take the stage Thursday-Friday, Dec. 13-14, at 7 p.m. in the school theater. Living up to its name, this annual event features more than 300 choral, band, orchestra and theater students joining together to entertain the community.

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School Opens Family Center

Bull Run Elementary creates welcoming climate for parents.

On the surface, it’s a beige trailer in a parking lot outside Bull Run Elementary. But inside, it’s both a haven and a source of information for parents. And on Nov. 12, it was officially dedicated as the Bull Run Family Center.

Fire Causes $100,000 Damage

Fire officials peg unattended candle as culprit.

A townhouse fire Sunday afternoon in Centreville’s Newgate community caused an estimated $100,000 damage, according to fire officials. They say an unattended candle in the kitchen caused the blaze.

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Paying It Forward

Leukemia survivor raises money for hospital that helped him.

When Centreville’s Daniel Shank-Rowe was 9, he was diagnosed with leukemia. But he was successfully treated at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., and is now in remission.

Centre View Roundups, Dec. 5, 2012

Roundups: Two Hospital ATMs Skimmed; Chantilly High Craft Fair; Encore’s Christmas Show;; Police Collect Children’s Gifts; CAC: Holiday Safety Tips; Free Carseat Inspections; Centreville Elementary Seeks Grant; Holiday Lighting Safety Tips; Adopt a Shelter Animal; Christmas Tree Fire Safety; Home Child-Care Facilities; WFCM Seeks Food, Volunteers; Meals on Wheels Volunteers; and Women's Self Defense Program.

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2012 Turkey Trot Yields Success

Just like the Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie, this year’s Virginia Run Turkey Trot is history. But the good it’ll do for others will last a long time into the future.

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Recording History

World War II Veterans share experiences with West Springfield High students.

World War II Veterans from Greenspring retirement community were interviewed by local students for the “Meet the Veterans” video project. Just days before National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, 12 World War II veterans from Greenspring retirement community in Springfield visited the National World War II Memorial to record their war memories.

Classified Advertising Dec. 5, 2012

Read the latest ads here!

Thursday, December 6

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Potomac River Needs Help

Pollutants identified, solutions mandated for Potomac River with ‘barely passing’ grade.

The Potomac Conservancy released its sixth annual State of the Nation’s River on Nov. 15, handing the Potomac River’s health a “D” or “barely passing grade.”

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Churchill’s Own Singer Songwriter

Mackenzie Testa pursues singing and dancing career.

Mackenzie Testa, a Churchill High School sophomore, is gearing up to make it big in the pop music industry.

Potomac Calendar, Dec. 5, 2012

Email community entertainment events to Deadline is Thursday at noon. Photos and artwork encouraged.

Potomac Bulletin Board, Dec. 5, 2012

Email announcements to Deadline is Thursday at noon.

Long Branch At 40

The juvenile eastern rat snake watched the activity from the confines of its cage as visitors passed by during Long Branch's 40th birthday celebration in November.

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Woodson Bigs Show Perimeter Touch Against Robinson

Cavaliers open season with 17-point win against the Rams.

The Woodson boys' basketball team defeated Robinson, 68-51, on Nov. 30.

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Food Drives in High Gear

Collecting food to match growing needs of underemployed.

The Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) is entering its major holiday drive time, during which it will run more than 350 food drives between now and the end of the year, as the number of families needing food assistance in Arlington is on the rise.

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Blast 24 To Salute American Bandstand

A tribute by Churchill’s choral director to an icon.

American Bandstand — the TV show that legitimized rock and roll, turned new artists into household names, and made the iconic Dick Clark famous — will be celebrated this December by Winston Churchill High School’s Blast 24: American Bandstand.

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New Milestone for No Blitz

Arlington-based band celebrates EP release at Vienna’s Jammin' Java Saturday night.

This Saturday marks a milestone for the Arlington-based band No Blitz. Having been together for a little over a year, the four-piece band is releasing their first EP, Never Satisfied, complete with a headlining spot at Jammin' Java.

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Entertainment Brief: ‘A Trip to the Moon’

Synetic Theater presents this whimsical, original piece, directed by Natsu Onoda Power and based on the 1902 silent film by Georges Méliès, will delight and inspire.

Entertainment Brief: Holiday Guys, Holiday Follies at Signature

Signature is pleased to announce the addition of Holiday Guys to this season's holiday programming.

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Nova Payton electrifies in Signature Theatre production.

Known for its magical staging of big Broadway productions, Signature Theatre has taken on Michael Bennett’s Tony Award winning “Dreamgirls” in a high-voltage production that leaves no doubt as to why Signature possesses a Tony of its own.

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Bishop Ireton Boys’ Basketball Hoping to Surprise WCAC

Cardinals start season with wins against Episcopal, Fairfax.

The Bishop Ireton boys' basketball team defeated Fairfax, 73-53, on Dec. 3.

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‘Jolly Fat Man’s Run’ To Benefit Operation Second Chance

Annual fun run/walk returns Dec. 15.

For the past 17 years, Capital Crescent Trail enthusiasts have been shocked to see the “Jolly Fat Man” — and a pack of his followers — racing and walking down the trail.

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South Lakes' Kamga Shows Potential in Defeat

Sophomore point guard scores 20 points in two-point loss to Oakton.

The South Lakes boys' basketball team opened its season with a 51-49 loss to Oakton on Nov. 29.

Youth Promotes Awareness of Rocket Attacks in Israel

Project seeks 12,000 rubber bands.

How much is 12,000? While searching for a bar mitzvah project, Mory Gould of Potomac discovered that more than 12,000 rockets have fallen on Israel since 2001.

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Gala To Support Israeli Montessori Schools

Alef Bet Montessori School merges languages and cultures.

On the evening of Dec. 6, the Alef Bet Montessori School will present “Education – Passport to the World” — a gala which will be held at the Potomac home of Amy and Alan Meltzer.

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Langley Dominates Centreville in Opener

Head Coach Hess said Saxons will try to capitalize on team’s “beef.”

The Langley boys' basketball team will try to capitalize on its size this season.

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Victorian Workshops

The Clara Barton National Historic Site in Glen Echo offered free Victorian holiday greeting card workshops last weekend.

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Oakton's Tribble Hits a Game-Winner

Senior guard hits game-winner from perimeter in closing seconds at South Lakes.

The Oakton boys' basketball team is off to a 3-1 start.

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L.C. Bird RB Robertson Torches Oakton

Senior rushes for 426 yards, five touchdowns in playoff win.

The Oakton football team ended its season in the state semifinals.

Mount Vernon Ends Oakton’s 34-Game Winning Streak

Shannon’s 26 points lead Majors to 68-52 victory at Oakton.

The Mount Vernon girls' basketball team is off to a 2-0 start.

Immigration Assistance Organizations

A list of some local non-profit organizations that provide immigration assistance, also provided by Fairfax County at

Opinion: Immigrants and Today’s Faith Response

The presence of increasing numbers of immigrants is a challenge to the Fairfax County faith community commitments. The challenge is to be a faith community with open arms. Historically the churches in the United States have been immigrant churches. Who among us cannot trace one’s ancestors back to a country outside the U.S.? The church’s care and concern for countless European immigrants is well known. Today, we the faith community are called to welcome immigrants with similar hospitality.

Editorial: Holiday Revels With a Safety Net

A serious backup, but seriously, make a plan ahead of time.

You know the drill, the five-to-seven or six-to-eight drop-in happy hour, you've been invited to five of them, and you could attend an infinite number of these between now and the second day of 2013. And there are many other varieties of holiday festivities, many involving more than a drink or two. So make a plan.

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Santa Takes a Fire Truck Ride Through Burke

Sleigh bells are ringing in Burke. Starting this week, the Burke Volunteer Fire Department will be riding through the Burke community with Santa. To find out if your neighborhood is on Santa’s “nice” list, visit the Burke Volunteer Fire Department's Website at

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Should Fairfax County Create New Transportation Impact Fee?

Gridlock at Kings Crossing creates movement for solution.

Nowhere is the idea of a transportation impact fee more popular than the clogged Route 1 corridor, where the Wal-Mart at Kings Crossing has added to the gridlock that has long plagued the region.

Week in Alexandria

After almost two decades as the chief prosecutor in Alexandria, Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Sengel says he won’t run again in 2013.

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Use of Food Stamps Skyrocketing in Northern Virginia

Program doubles in Arlington, triples in Fairfax and quadruples in Alexandria.

The use of food stamps is skyrocketing in Northern Virginia, and the spike isn’t just about the recession.

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Raw Politics: Alexandria Officials to Roll Out Sewer Master Plan

Proposal would fund fix to lingering problems as well as handle demands of development.

Lately, it seems that city officials have their minds in the gutter — literally.

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A New Direction for the Alexandria School System

Seven new School Board members augur change.

The past few years have been chaotic at the Beauregard Street headquarters of the Alexandria City Public School system, which has struggled to cope with failing test scores as a parade of administrators have come and gone.

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Failing Alexandria School Waits for Turnaround

After years of failing test scores, Jefferson-Houston to select external turnaround partner.

More than a decade of failing test scores and a revolving door of administrators have taken their toll on Jefferson-Houston School, which the Virginia Department of Education was identified as a “priority school” back in August.

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Neighbors Trump County Officials in Public Art Selection

Cherrydale and Maywood selected public art as part of development process.

Neighbors don’t usually get to select public art for their neighborhood, but few neighborhoods have the rich history and active civic associations of Cherrydale and Maywood.

Wednesday, December 5

Nega Makes Triumphant Return to Wakefield Basketball

Coach Bentley, friend Moore helped Nega turn his life around.

Ermias Nega turned his life around to get back on the court for the Wakefield boys' basketball program.

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Letter: Something Special

For those of you who may have missed it, last Friday night's Varsity Football game between West Springfield High School and South County Secondary School proved to be more than just a game.

Week in Fairfax

Hit-and-run arrest, driver damages police headquarters, two hospital ATMs skimmed, help cheer up sick children, holiday lighting safety tips, and home child-care facilities

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The Fairfax Mosaic of Holiday Fun

The Mosaic District offers a tapestry of shopping, dining and entertainment for the holidays.

Since its official opening in September, the Mosaic District in Fairfax has created a buzz among local shoppers.

Letter: Another Look At Diversity

In reading “Embracing Our Diversity” by U. S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, in the Nov. 22, 2012 edition of The Connection, I nearly choked when I came to his third paragraph in which he made the following statement: “I tell them that America, a country of immigrants, is a place of opportunity where you can pursue your dreams and raise your families without fearing that somebody's government is going to tell you what to think, how to express yourself, what to believe or how to worship.” My question to the representative is this: What rock have you been living under for the past two years?

A Premiere of Hilarity and Weight

The Hub Theater presents “How I Paid for College.”

"My life is a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle I have to put together while wearing mittens" is one of the off-beat lines that powers "How I Paid for College," by Helen Hayes Award-winning playwright Marc Acito. The premiere play opens Friday, Dec. 7, at the ever-adventurous Hub Theater in Fairfax.

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‘The Food Was Fabulous’

Fairfax student’s team wins culinary challenge.

Five stars are given to America’s top restaurants, and at a recent culinary competition, a student team from The Chantilly Academy captured the top prize, the Five Star Award.

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Cappies: Meeting Anne Frank

West Springfield High School’s production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” captures personal account of war horrors.

Memories of the horrors of World War II and Nazism are quickly starting to fade, and teens are finding it even harder to relate to the constant fear many Jews faced in the wake of the conflict. Yet these emotions came to full realization in West Springfield High School’s version of Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett’s “The Diary of Anne Frank,” newly adapted by Wendy Kesselman.

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Human ‘Jean’ Therapy Helps Homeless

Fairfax County kicks off second annual Jeans Day on Dec. 14.

Everyone knows that gene therapy can help scientists treat a number of debilitating diseases, but what about human “jean” therapy?

Letter: Cost of Social Services Programs

To the Editor: The Obama administration actions have been increasing dependency instead of creating jobs, upward mobility and self sufficiency.

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Annual JAMtech Inspires Students

Alexandria-based firm Carney, Inc. is showing local high school students interested in technology — including online gaming, graphics, computer programming and social media — how to turn their passion into careers.

Board Selects Appointees to Election Commission

Bi-partisan group will review election process.

On Tuesday, Dec. 4, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors appointed representatives to the Bi-partisan Election Process Improvement Commission, which was created by the board after long lines were reported across various voting precincts during the most recent election.

Turkeys Needed for Holiday Distribution

250 gobblers needed for Rising Hope Christmas baskets.

Busy Sarah Heckman, sparkling with angelic calm as she goes about her duties at Rising Hope Mission Church, currently has no fears about her ability to distribute 350 Christmas turkeys to hungry Mount Vernon area families.

Fairfax Symphony Orchestra Receives Grant to Reach New Audiences

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced that the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra is one of 153 not-for-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Challenge America Fast-Track grant.

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‘Cold War II’ at South Run

CrossFit Liberation of Lorton hosts Mid-Atlantic region competition.

There’s still another hour to go before sunrise, and it’s a numbing 30 degrees Fahrenheit inside the Field House at South Run Rec Center. And yet, hundreds of competitors continue to stream inside, dragging coolers, gym bags, bedrolls and cases of water—anticipating two full days of pushing themselves to their physical and mental limits.

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Police Promote ‘Safe December’

How to get drunk drivers off the roads?

A demonstration showcasing the training of officers in getting drunk drivers off the roads was provided by the Fairfax County police on Friday, Nov. 30, in preparation for their annual campaign, “Safe December.” PFC Bistline kicked off the demonstration with a brief presentation, hitting on key points in training, as well as guidelines in detecting and apprehending drivers under the influence.

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LTA’s ‘A Christmas Carol’

Opening night of the holiday classic welcomes families from the Georgetown Hospital Pediatric Oncology Center

It’s a tale as old as time: The miserly Ebeneezer Scrooge is ethically and emotionally transformed after being haunted by visits from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come in the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol,” now playing at The Little Theatre of Alexandria.

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Designers Decorate Christmas Trees to Raise Funds

A few local designers are using their talent to bring holiday cheer to some local pediatric cancer patients.

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Mount Vernon House Fire Displaces Family

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units responded to a house fire, Thursday, Nov. 29, at approximately 3:10 p.m. in the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County.

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Thompson Earns Research Grant

Dr. Robert Thompson, son of Ted and Lynn Thompson, has been awarded a Marsden Fund Fast Start grant totalling $345,000 over three years to continue his work on transformation optics and cloaking.

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Working Together on Toy Drive

Occasionally Cake partners with Firefighters and Friends Toy Drive.

When Sabrina Campbell volunteered to help put together a tribute to local police and firefighters, she had no idea the event would lead to a chance meeting with Capt. Willie Bailey, founder of the Firefighters and Friends Holiday Toy Drive.

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Scottish Walk Celebrates 42 Years

Pipes, plaid and pageantry filled the streets of Old Town during the 42nd annual Scottish Walk Parade.

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Celebrating St. Clement

The 68 students at St. Clement preschool and junior kindergarten donned their togas and headed down the hall to lunch on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Neighborhood: Seminary Valley

The results are in for the Brookville-Seminary Valley Civic Association election, held this past October.

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Shop ‘Til You Drop

Dec. 9 Holiday Market to benefit women’s programs.

More than 30 female artisans will showcase their crafts Dec. 9 at the 14th Annual Women’s Holiday Art Show in support of the City of Alexandria’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Services.

Letter: Lack of Listening

To the Editor: I attended the first "What's next Alexandria" community dialogue meeting on Thursday, Nov. 15. Needless to say, this was not a "kumbaya" moment by some residents in attendance and I know I requested that the agenda be changed wherein Mayor Euille said "no" and another resident attempted to state that it appeared there would be no public input and no residents in attendance would be heard until several future meetings had been completed.

Letter: Pedestrians As Targets

To the Editor: City hall is seriously considering turning Union Street into a “shared street” where automobiles, tour buses, and bicycles will comingle with pedestrians. Has city hall lost its marbles?

Letter: True Culprits Of Dysfunction

To the Editor: Former Councilman Lonnie Rich decries the long period it takes for council to vote on some issues [“Sometimes, Just Vote and Move on,” commentary, Nov. 29].

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Day Shifts, Night Shifts On the Road to Success

An Indian immigrant’s story: Making it and giving back.

When the chain pharmacy he worked for opened a drive-through pharmacy, it was the final straw for Amit Shah of Fairfax.

Letter: Not a New Problem

To the Editor: The only thing that Union Street unites is congestion due to the conflicts between pedestrians, motor vehicles and bicycles at the most constricted downtown intersection at the approach to the Alexandria waterfront.

Letter: Let’s Restrict Motor Traffic

To the Editor: As an Old Town resident with travel experience in Europe, I agree with the comment that the idea of vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians all sharing space hasn't worked in Europe and is fading out to near nonexistence.

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Boats Light the Potomac in Annual Parade

The 13th Annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights lit up the Potomac River Dec. 1 as 40 boats cruised from the Washington waterfront to Old Town to compete in 11 categories in the traditional seafaring holiday display of lights.

Letter: Give Mason His Due

To the Editor: The Bill of Rights, one of the most important bulwarks of our freedoms, was the product of the wisdom and determination of George Mason IV of Gunston Hall, a proud native Alexandrian.

Obituary: Dr. Teh-chang Shih

Dr. Teh-chang Shih, who served the Alexandria community for 32 years as a staff internist at Inova Alexandria Hospital — from 1970 until his retirement in 2002 — died at home in Alexandria on November 27, 2012.

Letter: Tribute To Sengel

To the Editor: I extend my sincere appreciation and gratitude to retiring Commonwealth's Attorney Randy Sengel for his tireless and exemplary service to our community.

Letter: Enforce Current Zoning Regulations

To the Editor: As Michael Lee Pope’s article entitled “Fee Could Make Impact” (Nov. 29, Mount Vernon Gazette) correctly explains, Fairfax County does not ask developers for transportation infrastructure improvements for “by right” projects.

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Building a Better Life

An Afghan immigrant’s story: From Soviet war to American Dream.

“Personally, I never think anyone is better than me, and I never think I’m better than anyone,” Bob Zahory of Centreville chuckles as he offers up another pomegranate lemonade.

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Santa Paws

Old Town School for Dogs continues AWLA tradition.

As owner of The Old Town School for Dogs, Carlos Mejias can answer just about any canine question asked of him, save for one.

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Living Life in ‘The Dream Land’

Jorge Adeler shares his story of the American Dream coming true.

The American Dream has been shared for generations—some call it an idea; others call it a reality. Many people come leaving behind former lives in search for better ones, not only for themselves but also for their children.

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Social Programs Adapt To Fulfill Immigrant Needs

Fellowship House, Interfaith help immigrants on their way to self-sufficiency.

A visitor to Hunter’s Woods Fellowship House in Hunter’s Woods Square in Reston could hear 21 different languages.

Maryland Youth Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

Maryland Youth Ballet’s professional students and children from the academy are preparing for the 23rd season of The Nutcracker.

Tuesday, December 4

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Cooper Students Assemble Kits for Hurricane Relief

On Tuesday, Nov. 20, Cooper Middle School students worked together to assemble Hygiene Kits as part of nation-wide Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts.

Brief: Intelsat to Relocate to Tysons

The company will bring more than 430 employees to local economy.

Brief: Governor Bob McDonnell announced that Intelsat, the world’s leading provider of satellite services, will relocate its U.S. headquarters to the Tysons Corner area of Fairfax County from its current location in Washington, D.C.

Viewpoints: What do you like most about the holiday season?

Residents answer the question, "What do you like most about the holiday season?"

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New Milestone for No Blitz

Arlington-based band celebrates EP release at Vienna’s Jammin' Java Saturday night.

This Saturday marks a milestone for the Arlington-based band No Blitz. Having been together for a little over a year, the four-piece band is releasing their first EP, Never Satisfied, complete with a headlining spot at Jammin' Java.

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‘Best Friends’ Parade in McLean

Annual ReinDog Parade attracts hundreds to downtown McLean.

McLean's annual ReinDog parade attracts hundreds of residents and their dogs downtown for a day of fun.

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McLean Kicks Off Holiday Season

McLean kicks off the holiday season with the McLean Winter Parade.

Letter: Tax Cuts for Richest Don’t Help Small Business

Letter: I’m a small business owner/operator and an engineer by trade, so I make my business and economic decisions based largely on facts and numbers.

Column: Never Say Never

Column: “Never say never” is an old admonition that suggests we do not know what the future holds that might predict our future actions.

Brief: Reston Station Wins Top Planning Award

Brief: Davis Carter Scott was awarded the first NAIOP Northern Virginia Master Planning Award of Excellence for Reston Station.

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Unleashed by Petco Opens in Reston

New pet store offers greater options for pet owners.

Pet owners now have a new pet store option in Reston. Unleashed by Petco had its grand opening at Hunter’s Woods Plaza over the weekend.

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Reston Chamber Celebrates 30 Years of Success

Anniversary gala brings community together.

It was a veritable who’s who of Reston Saturday night, Dec. 1, as the Reston Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 30th anniversary at the Sheraton.

Sweetening Soldiers’ Holidays

Herndon area children share their trick or treat haul with service members.

Sometimes a sweet act of kindness unfolds so spontaneously and quickly that it seems to happen by magic.

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Holidays on the Farm

Frying Pan Farm Park hosts old-fashioned holiday celebration.

Four thousand people came to celebrate the season at Frying Pan Farm Park, for the park’s annual Old-Fashioned Holiday Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 1.

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Brief: Herndon, Oak Hill Students Perform in The Nutcracker

Conservatory Ballet celebrates 40 years of holiday magic.

Brief: More than 30 elementary, middle and high school students from Herndon and Oak Hill will dance in the Conservatory Ballet’s 40th anniversary production of the holiday classic, “The Nutcracker.”

Brief: Red Cross Fundraiser Nets $92,000 in Three Hours

Brief: In three hours, the third annual “In The Bag” silent auction of designer purses raised $92,000 to benefit the American Red Cross of the National Capital Region.

Silver Line Faces ‘Daunting Issues’

Challenges planners face before cars get rolling.

In August, 2013, 55 years after construction began on the Dulles International Airport, the first phase of a $7 billion Metrorail connection between Washington, D.C. and Dulles will be completed that will extend rail travel to five stops in Tysons Corner and Reston.

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’Tis the Season for Joyfulness

"Altar Boyz" at Tysons’ 1st Stage.

There is a joyful noise full of tight harmonies backed by spot-on keyboards and percussion with lyrics full of universal positive messages at 1st Stage.

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Brief: Yankees Win Vienna Little League Fall Majors Championship

Brief: On a cold, raw Nov. 1 evening, Vienna Little League’s Fall Majors-level baseball championship was played on Black Field in Nottoway Park.

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Brief: A Witness to History

Vienna resident Richard C. Kirkland, an 89-year-old veteran pilot, author and artist, joined the Army after the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941, and flew 103 combat missions in the famous Flying Knights fighter squadron with America’s greatest ace, Major Dick Bong.

Brief: Virginia Interfaith Center Honors John Horejsi

Brief: The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy in Richmond has honored John Horejsi, a Vienna resident and founder and coordinator of Social Action Linking Together (SALT), as one of the top 30 Social Justice Makers in Virginia.

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Interfaith Service Brings Community Together

The Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna sponsors the annual interfaith worship.

Linnea Nelson, director of Religious Exploration at the Universalist Unitarian Congregation of Fairfax, spoke at the 14th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Worship, sponsored by The Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna (SCOA), hosted this year by Emmanuel Lutheran Church on Nov. 20th and attended by members of Methodist, Unitarian, Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist and other denominations.

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Brief: Langley High Orchestra Presents German Orchestral Music

Brief: The Langley High School Orchestra will present its next concert on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. in the Langley HS Auditorium. “An Evening of German Orchestral Music” will feature music of German composers.

Letter: Opposing Tysons’ Service District Tax

Letter: As a member of the Tysons Land Use Task Force involved in writing the Comprehensive Plan, and speaking on behalf of existing residential neighborhoods in the area, I am compelled to express total opposition to the Planning Commission's recommendation to fund 50 percent of Tysons Transportation costs from a "service district tax" on existing residential property owners.

Letter: Tax Cuts for Wealthiest: Not Right and Not Smart

Letter: Right now in D.C., our representatives are trying to find a solution to keep us from going over the fiscal cliff.

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Ball in the House Comes to Alden Theatre

Group brings musical entertainment “a cappella.”

An evening of lively, fun a cappella style singing will be in store for audiences at the Alden Theatre.

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Brief: Churchill Road Students Win Scrabble Championship

Brief: On Saturday, Nov. 17, Churchill Road fifth graders and Scrabble team members Tanner Iverson and Ethan Pham won first place in Division B of the 2012 DC School Scrabble Championship at Janney ES in Washington, D.C.

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Brief: McLean High School Performs for Elementary Schools

Brief: The award-winning McLean High School Theatre Company is taking a new holiday show on the road.

Great Falls Farmers Market Opens for Winter

The Great Falls Farmers Market vendors and local shoppers requested a year-round farmers market in Great Falls, and this past Saturday, Dec. 1, the first winter market day opened.

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Talking About Gifts

Talking About Gifts: See what these Great Falls Village Centre stores are selling for the holidays!

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Great Falls Kicks Off Holidays

Annual tree lighting event is once again a community favorite.

The annual Great Falls tree lighting ceremony was off to a brisk but cheerful start Saturday evening as families, friends and community members piled onto the open field to celebrate the much anticipated tree lighting ceremony.

Brief: The Great Falls Historical Society’s Old-Fashioned Christmas

The officers and board of directors of the Great Falls Historical Society welcome the entire community to join them on Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the historic Great Falls Grange to enjoy the fine musical talents of more than 50 Cooper Middle School Chorus and Orchestra members in a performance of seasonal music.