Stories for January 2012

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Tuesday, January 31

Oakcrest School Presents Seussical

Oakcrest School, an independent school for girls grades 6-12, is showcasing its Upper School Show, Seussical, the Musical, in the G. Lloyd Bunting, Sr. Theatre at Oakcrest on Friday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 3, at 11:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

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Three McLean Boy Scouts Earn Top Award

Langley High seniors earn Eagle Scout rank.

Years of hard work paid off for three McLean Boy Scouts who were awarded their Eagle Scout rank last weekend.

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Making Sandwiches for Those in Need

On Wednesday, Jan. 25, more than 100 Churchill Road second and fifth graders, their teachers and family members made sandwiches for Martha’s Table, a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C. that serves sandwiches to those in need.

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New Photographic Exhibit At Katie’s by Walt Lawrence

On Monday, Jan. 30, a new exhibit of my photography of Great Falls went on display at Katie’s Coffee House.

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Church To Present ‘High School Musical Jr.’

Centreville Presbyterian presents "High School Musical Jr."

One of the most popular movies in recent years is "High School Musical," and Centreville Presbyterian Church’s community theater is bringing the play to the local stage.

Turning the Trust Fund Into a ‘Piggy Bank’

What Will Washington Do about Social Security?

Our political leaders are once again looking at the Social Security Trust Fund as a source of money to tap when they desire to spend more than they can through other various tax and borrowing schemes.

Column: Repeat of a Sordid History

The Virginia General Assembly may be about to repeat an unfortunate chapter of its history by passing bills that will have the effect of suppressing voter participation.

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‘Something Special’ at Lake Anne Plaza

Reston Used Book Shop celebrates 34 years as a community resource.

In an era when bookstores nationwide are facing rising competition from Internet booksellers and new technology, Reston Used Book Shop, on Lake Anne Plaza, celebrated its 34th anniversary in early January.

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Garrett Is Officer of the Quarter

Honored by Sully District police and citizens.

Receiving praise for her exceptional accomplishments as a Sully District police officer, PFC Lauretta Garrett was honored recently as that station’s Officer of the Quarter.

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Three Centreville Schools Holding PJammin Day

Event honors teen, supports childhood-cancer research.

The McCaffreys have only lived in the Centreville/Clifton area for a year, but the local community has already embraced this family with both arms. And on Friday, Feb. 3, three schools are holding PJammin Day in honor of 13-year-old Andrew McCaffrey, who’s currently battling bone cancer.

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Local Teen Battles Cancer

Liberty Middle student overcomes obstacles on road to recovery.

Lisa McCaffrey describes her son Andrew, 13, as “an active, social kid who enjoys movies, video and board games and just hanging out with his friends. He’s a Boy Scout, likes being out and about and is very caring — he has a big heart.”

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Making the Most out of Winter

A survival guide for indoor and outdoor enthusiasts.

We all know the type. Those chipper, cheery souls who bound out of bed in sub-zero temperatures to embrace any opportunity to get outside. But for many people, it's a challenge to stay active during the winter months.

Two Choral Events at Centreville High

The sounds of music will fill the air at two upcoming choral events at Centreville High. One features four a cappella groups and the other spotlights the school’s choir students.

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Wellbeing: Cybercycling for Better Health

Exergaming — exercise combined with video games — might offer a greater cognitive benefit than traditional exercise alone.

The same staccato beeps and flashing graphics that keep some youth glued to video games might also boost cognitive function in senior citizens.

Editorial: About Halfway

Always entertaining, the high-stakes session of the Virginia General Assembly reaches new heights this month.

The user-friendly website for the Virginia General Assembly plus live-streaming of the legislative sessions might make you believe that most of the important decisions in Richmond are being made out in the sunshine.

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For people who smoke, January is a time to quit.

For people who have resolved to quit smoking, the new year’s resolution to quit marks both a challenge and an opportunity.

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Martin and Phyllis Cohen To Celebrate 50 Years

Martin and Phyllis Cohen (nee Feuer) of Fairfax will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Jan. 27, 2012.

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Lees Corner Elementary School Colonial Day

The fourth grade students at Lees Corner Elementary School turned in their jeans for knickers, bonnets, tri-corner hats and aprons to celebrate Colonial Day on Thursday, Jan. 19

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The Kelley Cares Mobile

Multi-Sensory room takes to the road.

The Kelley Cares Foundation unveiled its latest and largest project to date with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 21 at City Hall to officially open the Kelley Cares Multi-Sensory Mobile.

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Center Awards $1,000 to Middle School

The merchants of Franklin Farm Village Center in Herndon donated $1,000 to Rachel Carson Middle School as part of the shopping center's annual shopping spree promotion.

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Lees Corner Elementary School Winter Strings Concert

Demonstrating Strings Skills

The cafeteria at Lees Corner Elementary School was converted into a concert hall on Wednesday, Jan. 18, for the Music Department’s Winter Strings Concert; 142 children participated in the concert: 81 fourth graders, 36 fifth graders, and 32 sixth graders.

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MVCS Honored with Healthy School Award

Students win $1,000 for PE department.

The efforts of 115 Mount Vernon Community School students who braved the torrential rains and cold temperatures last Oct. 29 paid off when MVCS was honored Jan. 19 as one of the top five schools that participated in the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon Healthy Kids Fun Run.

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Larkin, Robertson Engaged

Mr. and Mrs. Michael William Larkin of Fairfax National Estates, Centreville, are proud to announce the engagement of their daughter, Kristin Joy Larkin to Ryan Nexsen Robertson, son of Dr. and Mrs. Charles Henry Robertson, Jr. of Richmond.

Local Man Convicted of Marriage Fraud

Centreville resident Yong Hyon Kim, 50, pleaded guilty last week in federal court to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and making false statements to federal agents.

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WFCCA Backs Pohanka Proposal

Green measures at forefront of Chantilly Honda dealership.

If all goes well, the Pohanka Automotive Group will someday build a new Honda dealership in Chantilly. But it won’t just be another business selling cars — it’ll be one chocked full of green, environmentally friendly elements.

Police: Senior Citizens, Beware of Scammers

A 91-year-old Fair Oaks man was upset and concerned recently when he got a call from his “grandson” who said he’d been arrested and jailed in Peru. So, as a loving grandparent, the man wired more than $13,000 in an attempt to help him.

Free Rocknoceros Concert Set for nZone

Children’s entertainers, Rocknoceros, will hold a free concert Friday morning, Jan. 27, at the area’s newest athletic facility, the nZone.

Police Seek Help in Identifying Robber

The Fairfax County Police Department, in cooperation with the Prince William County and Manassas Park police departments, is investigating a string of four, recent armed robberies involving a white female. Authorities believe the same person may have committed all of them.

Monday, January 30

City Students: No. 1 in Poverty

Superintendent proposes $236 million budget; more students eligible for free and reduced price meals.

Superintendent of Schools Morton Sherman unveiled his FY2013 budget on Thursday, Jan. 19, describing his plan as "about the best budget we could have come up with. It is the coalescing of the work we’ve done over the past four years."

Column: Seminary Valley

With our real estate tax bills freshly arrived, you might be wondering how recent home sales in Seminary Valley are going.

Column: Legislation Starts To Move Forward

The General Assembly completed its first full week of work this week.

Linda Graninger Davis

Linda Graninger Davis of Belle Haven died on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 at Mount Vernon Hospital of an aneurism. She was 93 years old.

Construction Work at Simpson Park

As part of the construction of Potomac Yard Park, Potomac Yard Development LLC will rebuild the restroom and storage building at Simpson Park, 426 E Monroe Avenue. PYD’s General Contractor, KT Enterprises, will demolish the existing building in January.

Column: A New Session for New State Senator

With the 2012 General Assembly underway, this is my first report as from Richmond as your new senator for the 30th Senate District.

Column: Racing Against the Clock When Heart Attack Strikes

About every 34 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack. On Nov. 18, 2011, that "someone" included Leesburg resident Richard Fleeman.

Column: Working To Improve Quality of Life

Working to create a better life for the next generation has always been a key component of our American values. There has always been a cost — whether in the form of laws or taxes, and today that is no different.

Column: Some Bills Move Forward, While Others Create a Stir

With the General Assembly session moving at its typical breakneck pace, several of my initiatives are moving forward, while others are creating a stir.

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Column: In Service to Their Community

The Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Summit participant attendance numbers increased this year with families from the community stopping in to help make sure the service projects were accomplished.

Column: All in the Family

In 1957, William’s* parents gave each of their sons a plot of land on North Quaker Lane on which to build a home. "I think we only had $.25 but we got a house built somehow," remembers William’s widow, Arminta.

Column: Budget Plan Invests in Community’s Future

I am honored to present to you my FY 2013 Proposed Operating Budget which is dedicated to the amazing students who attend Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS).

Letter: Fair and Balanced

I want to compliment the Alexandria Gazette Packet for its fair and balanced reporting on the ongoing saga of the Waterfront Plan.

Letter: Appreciative Foundation

The Kelley Cares Foundation would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our friends, relatives, volunteers and sponsors who have continued to support Kelley Cares since our formation six years ago.

Letter: Council Could Have Compromised

Last Saturday, City Council passed the Waterfront Plan and the Rezoning of three waterfront parcels to encourage development.

Letter: Insufficient Evidence

H. Jay Spiegel and Martin Tillett wrote complementary letters on voter photo IDs and voter fraud, published in your Jan. 19 edition. Mr. Spiegel’s citations were nearly perfect examples of the slippery definitions of ‘voter fraud’ cited by Mr. Tillett.

Letter: Inappropriate Recommendation

There they go again. At their December 2011 Council meeting, the MVCCA passed a resolution (by a vote of 14-0, barely 1/4 of the 55 MVCCA member associations) urging the County to amend its laws to make the County, rather than the homeowner, responsible for sewer line repairs under a public street.

Letter: Voter Fraud and Partisan Politics

With each historical effort to protect and extend the right to vote, both political parties have argued that expanding the franchise, whether through federal protections for voting rights or by reducing barriers, would lead to more voter fraud.

Letter: Help Make A Difference

Thank you so much for your recent call to volunteerism in your editorial on Jan. 5. As the new volunteer & community relations coordinator at United Community Ministries (UCM) in Alexandria, your powerful message of volunteerism’s impact rings particularly true for me and my agency.

Letter: Mockery of Government

The Alexandria City Council has voted on and passed the waterfront plan that has been opposed by the majority of the residents this council supposedly represents. Why has this majority body of Democrats even gone through the motions of public hearings and spend unknown amounts of taxpayers’ money while all along they have known how they would vote on the issue.

Letter: No to HOV Ramp

The Virginia Department of Transportation is proposing to remove large numbers of trees, and other vegetation, along I-395, between Seminary Road and Sanger Avenue. The removal is needed, says VDOT, to widen I-395, so that there will be room for ramp from the HOV lanes, going northbound, to connect to Seminary Road.

Letter: Flouting Public Opinion

I would like to thank Councilmember Alicia Hughes for standing by the citizens in Saturday’s waterfront vote, particularly in her remark that she sees her role as an elected representative to implement the public’s wishes on a matter where an informed public has formed a view.

Letter: City Needs Ombudsman

If ever there was a time for Alexandria to have an ombudsman, now is the time with the majority of Alexandria residents lack of trust with our elected officials and department administrators.

Letter: Small Area Plan Disaster

As some of you may know, I voiced an opinion about the proposed Arlandria Re-Development plan that praised the concept, the new tax revenue, the revitalization of the area and the addition of developer funded affordable housing units. As this letter progresses, please keep in mind that as the developer in Arlandria adds affordable units, it is not tearing a single one down.

Letter: Explaining Her No Vote

I voted against the Waterfront Small Area Plan and accompanying text amendment on Saturday. I want to clear up any misunderstanding on why.

Letter: Restore Pregnancy Prevention Funding

At the beginning of the Virginia General Assembly session earlier this month, Gov. Bob McDonnell unveiled his proposed $85 billion budget for the next two fiscal years. Buried way down in the massive document is a cut of $455,000 for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative which serves seven Virginia communities, including Alexandria.

Letter: A Lack of Leadership

I was not at all surprised, sadly, by the 5-2 vote in favor of the City’s waterfront plan on Saturday. What continues to astound me is the total disregard of the Democratic majority on City Council for citizens who don’t agree with them.

Letter: The Day City’s Democratic Party Died

As an activist labor Democrat on a national scale it pains me to admit that Alexandria’s Democratic Party produces elected mutants.

Letter: Later, Later

I am an Alexandria resident and retired librarian who also worked as a contractor with FEMA's flood insurance program. I was an opponent of Alexandria's Waterfront Development "Draft Plan."

Letter: Residents Ignored

There was a time when the opinions of civic associations would have carried some weight at City Hall.

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TC Drops Double-Overtime Thriller Against Woodson

Huggins scores 25, Moss 22 in defeat.

The T.C. Williams boys’ basketball team trailed Woodson by two points midway through the fourth quarter and was in search of a defensive stop when the Cavaliers passed the ball to Peter Murray, who was standing alone at the top of the arc. Murray, a reserve post who had yet to score, let fly from long range, burying a 3-pointer that left TC head coach Julian King slumping forward in disbelief in front of the Titans’ bench.

TC’s One-Woman Gymnastics Team

During West Potomac’s only home gymnastics meet of the season on Jan. 23, the Wolverines and Titans rotated through the competition as a group, checking in together at each event. Actually, there was only one Titan in the bunch — Grace Girard, the lone member of the T.C. Williams gymnastics team. And not only did the Wolverines accept her, they kind of enjoyed having her around.

Sports Briefs: Yorktown Boys Beat First-Place Edison

The Yorktown boys basketball team edged Edison 56-54 on Jan. 20 at YHS. Edison entered the contest atop the National District standings with a 7-0 record, including a 63-58 win over Yorktown on Dec. 13, but the Patriots started the second half of district play with a win over the previously unbeaten Eagles.

Whitman Attempting To Fill Ceccone’s Scoring Void

Vikings struggle offensively during loss to Walter Johnson.

With leading scorer Angelica Ceccone sidelined for nearly a month — and possibly for the remainder of the season — due to lingering effects of a knee injury suffered last season, Whitman has relied on a committee approach for picking up the offensive slack. On Friday, however, the Vikings didn’t have a player score more than six points as Whitman produced its lowest offensive output of the season.

District Gymnastics Meet Approaching

With the Patriot District gymnastics meet scheduled for Feb. 2 at Lake Braddock, several teams participated in their final tune-up meet at West Potomac on Jan. 23.

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Voorhees Leads West Potomac Gymnasts in Home Meet

Seniors Bell, Tupitza, Muir compete at home for final time.

West Potomac gymnast Marien Voorhees turned to a nearby Wolverines supporter and said "I’m scared" prior to her floor routine during the team’s lone home meet of the season on Jan. 23. Nerves were getting to the junior, who would attempt her first full layout of the year. As it turned out, Voorhees had nothing to worry about.

Sunday, January 29

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Sports Briefs: West Potomac Boys, Girls Swim Teams Win

In the last meet of the regular season, the West Potomac girls’ and boys’ swim and dive teams posted wins over the Lee Lancers on Jan. 20 at the Lee District Recreation Center.

Lake Braddock Boys Stumble Against West Potomac

Bruins suffer first Patriot District loss of season.

On a night when Lake Braddock squandered a fourth-quarter lead and committed 31 turnovers, the Bruins weren’t going to catch a break.

Potomac Sports Briefs

The Churchill girls basketball team defeated Walter Johnson 80-63 on Jan. 13, improving its record to 10-2 while extending its winning streak to nine games.

Wilson Clutch for Wolverines in Win over Bruins

West Potomac boys one game out of first in Patriot District.

West Potomac senior Tamaric Wilson made a name for himself intercepting passes as a defensive back for the school’s football team. On Jan. 17, it was basketball Wilson wrestled away from an opponent to lift the Wolverines to victory.

Saturday, January 28

Geenen’s Unselfish Play Leads Churchill to Victory

Senior grabs 15 rebounds against Walter Johnson.

Churchill senior Thomas Geenen, sporting long blue sleeves, squared up in the left corner and, with a smooth stroke, buried his first 3-pointer of the season during the second quarter against Walter Johnson on Jan. 13. After the game, Geenen, teammate Sam Edens and head coach Matt Miller each acknowledged the display of perimeter potency. However, Geenen’s biggest contributions to Friday’s victory over the rival Wildcats were prolonging possessions and finding ways to get quality shots for his teammates.

Friday, January 27

Letter: Meet Highest Standards

To the Editor: As a candidate in the Democratic primary for Virginia’s 8th congressional district, I read with particular interest Michael Pope’s article "Blind Trust" [The Connection, Jan. 11, 2012] on the disparity among candidates for ballot access.

Richmond Update: A New Session for New State Senator

With the 2012 General Assembly underway, this is my first report as from Richmond as your new senator for the 30th Senate District. As you may know, there has been serious conflicts in the organization of the Senate. With the make up of the Senate split 20 - 20 between Republicans and Democrats, a major dispute arose concerning committee assignments and the ability of the lieutenant governor to break ties.

Weekly Entertainment (Burke/Fairfax)

Weekly entertainment in the Burke/Fairfax area.

This Week in Potomac

Week in Potomac: West Montgomery Meeting, Kosher Bagel Shop to Open, Fire Volunteers Elect Board, Former C&O Ranger Killed, Sign Up for Organic Food

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Weekly Entertainment (Lorton/Springfield)

Weekly entertainment in the Lorton/Springfield area.

Nation’s River Is ‘Struggling’

Volunteers encouraged to join clean-up effort.

The Potomac River is struggling, according to the Potomac Conservancy’s State of Nation’s River. The Conservancy cites the challenge of protecting the river in a variety of settings in its annual report, which lowered the letter grade given to the health of the river late last year to a "D." Since 2007, the grade has been "D+."

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Appeal Filed over Oaklyn Tennis Bubble

West Montgomery County Citizens Association has formally challenged the Montgomery County Circuit Court ruling that permitted the Potomac Swim and Recreation Association to install and operate its tennis bubble on Oaklyn Drive.

Weekly Entertainment (Reston/Herndon)

Weekly entertainment in the Reston/Herndon area.

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3,000 Burgers

Potomac welcomes Five Guys Burger restaurant.

The new "Five Guys Burger and Fries" restaurant in Potomac Promenade shopping center is attracting a lot of attention — and customers. The burger chain is booming from the time it opens at 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.

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Weekly Entertainment (Vienna/McLean/Great Falls)

Weekly entertainment in the Vienna, McLean, and Great Falls area.

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Holy Child Leads Horse Competition

Competing against 16 other teams, Connelly School of the Holy Child's "riding tigers" tied for top honors at the recent JV horse show in the Inter School Horse Show competition. Competitions are held monthly at schooling barns, with 37 teams from the metropolitan area in the league.

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Tots in Transition

Shoe Train hosts transitional psychologist for walkers, parents.

The Shoe Train at Cabin John Mall will host Dr. Julie Bindeman on Jan. 30 as the first in a series of speakers on early childhood development. Bindeman, a clinical psychologist who practices in Rockville, notes that the transition from crawler to walker is the first major step toward autonomy.

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Workshops Aid Families with Special Needs

Experts guide families through process.

Maedi Tanham Carney says her oldest daughter was born with medical and cognitive issues that would prevent her from living independently. Like many parents of children with special needs, Carney worried about what would happen when she was no longer able to care for her child.

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Healthy Eating Option in Potomac

Local restaurant named one of healthiest in America.

Lunch hour at Founding Farmers in Potomac is bustling. Waiters hustle to serve ravenous midday diners. Orders for salads of Belgian endive and spinach sprinkled with blue cheese and balsamic onions roll into the kitchen. Pristine plates piled high with as much local and organic produce as possible roll out.

Letter: Out-of-Touch County Council

Finally, the Montgomery County Council issues a Request for Proposal to turn an organic farm on Brickyard Road into a soccer complex. Interesting timing. Only after a persistent uproar from the people whose communities would be impacted by such a complex, did the County Council issue this proposal.

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Sharpshooting Woodson Boys Beat T.C. Williams

Cavaliers knock down 13 3-pointers, including career-high six from Tommy Stepka.

The T.C. Williams boys’ basketball team trailed Woodson by two points midway through the fourth quarter and was in search of a defensive stop when the Cavaliers passed the ball to Peter Murray, who was standing alone at the top of the arc. Murray, a reserve post who had yet to score, let fly from long range, burying a 3-pointer that left TC head coach Julian King slumping forward in disbelief in front of the Titans’ bench.

Thursday, January 26

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Moderate Mutiny

Former governor wants to impose Virginia “talent economy” on Washington; increase bipartisanship.

With the sluggish economy at the forefront of voters’ minds this year, former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine hopes to put fiscal issues at the top of his campaign to fill the seat vacated by Democratic U.S. Sen. Jim Webb.

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Politics of Notification

Father takes his plight for increased parental notification to Richmond.

Steve Stuban can’t help but wonder if things could have turned out differently.

Council Notebook

Smoking is still legal in Alexandria, but it’s increasingly discouraged.

In Session

Now that congressional redistricting has moved through the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate, a picture of 2012 is beginning to take shape

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City Students: No. 1 in Poverty

Superintendent proposes $236 million budget; more students in poverty.

Superintendent of Schools Morton Sherman unveiled his FY2013 budget on Thursday, Jan. 19, describing his plan as “about the best budget we could have come up with. It is the coalescing of the work we’ve done over the past four years.”

Storyteller Becomes Author

Dr. Allan R. Gall has published his first book, "Of Mouse and Magic," for parents to read to their children.

Exploring the woods, escaping from snakes, befriending gophers. No adventure is too great when it comes to Manny the mouse, Allan Gall's protagonist in his first published children's book, "Of Mouse and Magic."

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McKay Hosts Open House

Supervisor Jeff McKay and his Lee District staff hosted about 200 people at the annual open house on Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Franconia Government Center.

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Dragon Dance at West Springfield

On Sunday, Jan. 22, the parents, students and educators of Wei Hwa Chinese School celebrated their opening at West Springfield High School.

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Good Night, Sleep Tight

Library program helps preschoolers settle down to read.

They came dragging their favorite blankets and clutching their favorite stuffed toys to hear librarian Twyla Turner read enchanting tales of sleepy trains, trucks and a menagerie of animals.

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Having Fun at Burke Lake Park

Area residents having fun at Burke Lake Park.

Time to Stuff the Bus

Local pantries need help restocking shelves to feed needy, homeless

Fairfax County’s annual "Stuff the Bus" campaign is off to a roaring start.

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West End Worries

Beauregard small-area plan raises concerns about displacing poor residents.

Like the street that bears his name, Confederate Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was difficult to manage.

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When the Weather Outside is Frightful…

…Check out Lorton Workhouse Arts for winter fun.

After the hoopla of the holiday season, your instinct may be to hibernate until spring.

Politics of Notification

Father takes his plight for increased parental notification to Richmond.

Steve Stuban can’t help but wonder if things could have turned out differently. Back in 2010, his son Nick was considered a model student at Woodson High School in Fairfax County.

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It’s Done, Sort Of

Controversial plan passes on 5-to-2 vote; opponents vow to overturn.

After hearing more than eight hours of heated testimony for and against a controversial plan to allow hotels and increase density at three sites on the waterfront, Alexandria City Council members cast a party line vote on the planning documen

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Protesting the Vote

Alexandria officials say City Hall is not open for business during a public hearing.

Is City Hall open for business during a public hearing? Alexandria officials say no, but that could be a matter litigated in the Alexandria Circuit Court.

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Herndon Girls Looking for Elusive First Win in District

Hornets have lost close games in Concorde to Westfield, Centreville, and Chantilly.

The Herndon High girls’ basketball team came up just short in a 49-46 overtime loss at Concorde District opponent Westfield last Friday night. Westfield, one of the better teams in the Northern Region, improved its record to 11-5 overall and 2-2 in district play. Herndon, meanwhile, slipped to 8-7 and 0-4.

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Stallions Defeat Wolverines in Patriot District Basketball

South County improves district mark to 6-4 with win.

The South County Secondary boys’ basketball team continued its impressive play of late with a 72-54 Patriot District home win over West Potomac this past Tuesday night, Jan. 24. The win was the fourth for the Stallions in their last five games and improved their record to 11-7 overall and 6-4 in district play.

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Oakton Remains Undefeated in Girls’ Basketball

Caroline Coyer becomes school’s all-time assists leader.

The Oakton High girls’ basketball team is annually a formidable team and one of the top outfits in the state of Virginia. The Cougars won region crowns in 2009 and 2010. Last year, after winning the Concorde District tournament title and then reaching the Northern Region tournament semifinals, they saw their season end with a round of four defeat to West Springfield High. That setback, which ended the Cougars’ season and prevented them from qualifying for the state tournament, was Oakton’s first and only loss of the season and ended their hopes of winning a third straight region crown.

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Westfield Boys Enjoying Outstanding Hoops Season

Bulldogs receiving numerous contributions over first four games of Concorde schedule.

The Westfield High boys’ basketball team continued a season in which it has emerged into one of the top teams in the Northern Region by defeating defending Concorde District champion Herndon, 73-62 in overtime, last Friday night, Jan. 20. The road victory improved the Bulldogs’ record to 13-3 overall and 4-0 in the district. Herndon, which went as far as the Northern Region semifinals last year, fell to 7-8 and 2-2.

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`Team Concept’ Going a Long Way for Fairfax Girls

Senior McNaughton leading Rebels basketball as Liberty schedule heats up.

The Fairfax High girls’ basketball team did not stay down for long following a 58-46 Liberty District loss to first place Madison High on Monday, Jan. 17. The setback, which snapped a three-game win streak for the Rebels, hardly had a lingering affect for Fairfax, which came back to win its next two district games on the road.

Wednesday, January 25

Seniors Scammed, Police Educate

Police say con-artists "aggressively" targeting seniors.

An 86-year-old Springfield area woman was told last week she had won the lottery. But there was a catch; she needed to wire money to the "caller" in order to collect her winnings.

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Fair Oaks Mall Sets Lunar New Year Celebrations

Fair Oaks Mall will host its 9th annual Lunar New Year celebrations on Saturday, Jan. 28 and Sunday, Jan. 29 as it honors the Chinese year 4710, the year of the dragon.

Letter: Welcoming the FBI

Letter to the Editor

As a high school senior there are many things that I am concerned about. Primarily, the anxiety associated with transitioning to college life.

Letter: Signs Needed for Burke Amtrak Station

Letter to the Editor

On Jan.18, Burke Centre celebrated its two-year anniversary of being an Amtrak Station after a 42 year gap of being an intercity train stop.

Richmond Diary: From Education to Transportation

Reflections on week two in Richmond.

State Sen. David Marsden (D-37) reflects on week two of the 2012 Virginia General Assembly Session.

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Scandal Highlights Child Sex Abuse

Fairfax County police say reports, concerns rose in wake of scandal.

The fallout from the Penn State child sex abuse scandal — arrests, firings and the disgrace of a sports icon — has also promoted a heightened awareness of child sexual abuse.

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Column: For All I Know…

Skipping my monthly targeted treatment (Avastin) because my kidneys are under stress might be a good thing. It might mean my body doesn’t need (it certainly doesn’t want) to be infused.

School Board Needs Public’s Input

Recently, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Dale presented the School Board with his proposal for next year’s budget.

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Oakton Out-touches Chantilly in Concorde Swim Meet

Win and Loss for Flint Hill Swimming

Oakton High School's varsity swim and dive teams took to the water against Chantilly High School on Friday night, Jan. 6 at Oak Marr Recreation Center. Oakton's boys and girls fought to the finish, and held tight to their undefeated record this season. The boys won 160-155, and the girls won 177-135.

Additional Manpower Boosts Herndon High Wrestling

Hornets have good showing over break at Loudoun Holiday meet.

One year has made a positive difference for the Herndon High wrestling team. Last winter, the Hornets had a skeleton line-up with just five varsity team members. This season that has all changed as Herndon has enough personnel to fill out each weight class in competitions. Wins have been hard to come by, but at least Herndon is able to compete at all of the weight classes.

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Frying Pan Hosts Music Series

Artists will examine history of music.

Musicians Katy Benko and Julie Crosson will perform at Frying Pan Farm Park’s Raise the Rafters winter music series. The series will examine the history of music from the birth of rock and roll, through it’s impact on social change and covering the impact women have had on the genre.

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Jewelry on Display

Community Center to host annual Jewelry showcase.

More than 40 jewelry designers will be on hand at the McLean Community Center Saturday, Feb. 4 for the fifth annual McLean Jewelry Showcase.

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Searching the Night Sky in Great Falls

Observatory Park hosts weekly viewings.

The winter skies are clear for the viewing at Observatory Park in Great Falls. Every Friday night through April 15 the park will host a viewing from 7 to 9:30 p.m. where prospective astronomers can bring their equipment to examine the night sky.

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Cycling For Affordable Housing

Oak Hill native to bike across country to raise money, awareness.

As a rower, most of Cassandra Patterson’s long trips are over water. But this summer, she will take to trails and roads from Portland, Maine to Santa Barbara, Calif. to raise money and awareness for those in need of affordable housing.

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Colvin Run Uses Service Learning

Volunteers package more than 25,000 meals at Stop Hunger Now event.

Colvin Run Elementary School Principal Stephen Hockett thought everything was all set for the school’s Stop Hunger Now event Saturday. Friday evening he was putting the finishing touches on the setup in the gym when the alert came out: Fairfax County Public Schools were closed Saturday.

Tuesday, January 24

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Town Hosts Metro Plan Update

Development process, traffic among questions at public meeting.

The Town of Herndon and its consultants, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., held a meeting Monday, Jan. 23 to update the public on the latest Metro development plan.

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Presenting Reston’s History

Historians present story of colonial Reston.

Long before Reston became the community it is today, it was almost an afterthought by those who owned the land. The Reston Historic Trust hosted a program about the early history of Reston Thursday, Jan. 19, featuring historians Karen Washburn and Ted McCord at the Reston Community Center Lake Anne.

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FACETS Provides Shelter

St. John Neumann hosts hypothermia prevention program.

St. John Neumann Catholic Church provided shelter to almost 40 people per night last week, as part of FACETS’ Hypothermia Prevention Program, which provides shelter for homeless people in the area during the winter months.

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Skating With the Stars

Ice Pavilion offers special skate events Fridays and Saturdays.

While the Reston Skating Rink is open until mid-March, Friday nights and Saturday mornings offer a different kind of experience on the ice.

McLean Edges Rival Saxons in Girls’ Basketball

Langley boys, meanwhile, remain unbeaten in Liberty play at 8-0.

In a girls’ high school basketball cross-town rival matchup last week, the McLean Highlanders edged the Langley Saxons, 40-38, in the Liberty District contest played at Langley High School. McLean, with the win, improved its overall record to 8-7 overall and 4-3 in the district. Langley, meanwhile, saw its record fall to 5-11 and 4-4.

Recognized for Outstanding Performance

Bruce L. Green, regional vice president of Weichert, Realtors, announced the Reston/Herndon office was recognized for outstanding performance in December.

Claudia Marie Chaillé, 68, of Reston, Dies

Claudia Marie Chaillé, 68 of Reston and Waimanalo, Hawaii passed away on Jan. 18, 2012.

Column: Soulless Ant Colony

That is what a reporter for Norfolk’s Virginian Pilot called Reston in a column recently.

Column: Hidden Candidates

Besides a race for President in 2012, we have elections for one-third of 100 U.S. Senate seats and all 435 seats in the House of Representatives.

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Dranesville Student Wins Helmet Competition

Nasim and Subia Khan drove all the way from Herndon to Richmond to celebrate their daughter’s achievement.

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Finding Winter Fun, Vienna-Style

Cold-weather activities abound if you know where to look.

It’s not just the children who need fun winter activities … grown-ups, families, everyone looks for things to do when it’s dark by 6 p.m. and cold outside.

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Bishop Ireton Boys Match Overall, WCAC Win Totals

Youthful Cardinals fall short against Bishop O’Connell.

Third-year Bishop Ireton boys basketball coach Neil Berkman said the team’s rebuilding process is proceeding as planned, calling the Cardinals a "program on the rise." On Jan. 16, however, Ireton was "dismantled" by an already established Bishop O’Connell program.

Column: Battles to Preserve Voter Access

Assembly is seeing numerous bills to limit participation at all levels of voting.

The 2012 General Assembly is in full swing. The committees are selected and legislation filed. Some of the sharpest battles are forming on the issue of voter access.

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Run-a-Thon Raises Almost $25K for New School Track

More than 600 students run in support of project.

After collecting final donations in early December, the Marshall Road Elementary School (MRES) PTA announced that it raised almost $25,000 in support of its initiative to build a new school track. P

Concetta "Connie" (Botte) Massa died Jan. 20, in Iowa City, IA

Concetta "Connie" (Botte) Massa, 97, who lived in Vienna for 40 years, died Jan 20, 2012 in Iowa City, Iowa, after a short illness.

John F. Ellis, 68, of Vienna, Dies

John Francis Ellis, 68, passed away peacefully while in the care of Coastal Hospice at the Lake in Salisbury, Md. on Jan. 18.

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Sports Brief: Alexandria

Erg Sprints Looking For Volunteers

Alexandria Sports Briefs: Erg Sprints Looking For Volunteers, SSSAS Wrestling Wins City Tournament, Episcopal Boys Improve to 11-1, TC Boys Snap 4-Game Losing Streak, TC Girls Beat Annandale, BI Girls Beat O’Connell

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Petersen, Keam Discuss Richmond Agenda

State Sen. Chap Petersen and Del. Mark Keam conduct Town Hall meeting at American Legion.

Transportation, transportation, transportation. While other topics, such as education funding, arose at the Jan. 21 Town Hall meeting conducted by Virginia Sen. Chap Petersen [D-34] and Del. Mark Keam [D-35], it was Vienna-area transportation problems – funding and execution of projects – that local residents voiced most concern and frustration over.

Vienna Kitchen Gets Spicy

Scientist turns her skills to blending spices.

Stepping into Deepa Patke’s Vienna kitchen is like walking into a parfumerie for foodies…Indian food foodies.

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Sports Brief: Arlington

Yorktown Swim and Dive Teams Beat Edison

The Yorktown swim and dive team traveled to South Run Recreation Center on Friday, Jan. 13 for a swim meet with Edison, emerging as the winner in both the boys’ and girls’ meets. Both teams are now 6-0 for the season.

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Chamber Installs 2012 Board

Lisa Huffman welcomed as new ViennaTysons Regional Chamber president.

On Jan. 19, the ViennaTysons Regional Chamber of Commerce [VTRCC] installed its 2012 Board of Directors in a luncheon program at Maggiano’s at Tysons Galleria.

Scouts Receiving Eagle Scout Honors

Three Boy Scouts from Troop 869 of Trinity United Methodist Church in McLean will receive their Eagle Scout awards at a Court Honor to be held on Jan. 29 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church

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Honoring Dr. King’s Legacy

The week before the holiday celebrated in his honor, Churchill Road students learned about Martin Luther King, Jr.

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VHSL Sets New Direction for Classifying Schools

At its Dec. 7 meeting, the Virginia High School League (VHSL), the governing body of high school sports in the state, voted to develop a new classification model for high school sports teams and leagues to be presented to the VHSL Executive Committee on Feb. 22.

Forum on Stopping Dating Abuse

"What's Love Got To Do With It? Healthy Relationships and Dating," an educational interactive program will be held Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. in the McLean High School auditorium (1633 Davidson Road in McLean).

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Cleaning Up at Churchill Road

Webelo Pack #665 coordinated a clean-up at Churchill Road School campus on Saturday, Jan. 14.

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Collage Workshop at Churchill Road

On Jan. 13, Churchill Road fourth graders participated in a collage workshop taught by McLean Project for the Arts ArtReach Director Sharon Fishel.

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Saving Dolphins in Great Falls

‘Dolphin Tale’ rescuer visits Forestville Elementary.

On Wednesday, Jan. 18, Aquatic first-responder and educator Brandon Paquin spoke to students at Forestville Elementary. Paquin is one of the marine biologists who helped to rescue and rehabilitate Winter, the dolphin featured in the film "Dolphin Tale.

PTA Reflections Program

The theme of the 2010/2011 PTA Reflections program was "Diversity means..."The PTA Reflections Program was described by its founder, Mary Lou Anderson, as "almost too simple." That simplicity—of asking children to express themselves artistically based on a common theme—is the foundation of this long-standing PTA program.

Monday, January 23

Weekly Entertainment (Vienna/McLean/Great Falls)

Jan. 25-Jan. 31

Weekly entertainment in the Vienna/McLean/Great Falls area.

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Test EDUCATION Jan. 10, 2012: Atelier Hosts Student Art Show

Students from Great Falls School of Art hold second annual show.

While preparing for the Great Falls School of Art’s second annual show, Director Ben Cheshire ran into one problem. “I came in a few days before the show to label everything, and I thought the artists who have studios here had taken up the walls,” he said. “That’s how high quality their work is.”

Letter: Unethical Behavior

Letter to the Editor: Unethical Behavior -- What else is the County covering up regarding its Brickyard giveaway?

Friday, January 20

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Preston Mulford Is Mourned

Local family patriarch dies at 82.

Well-known in the local area, the Mulfords have lived and operated the Mulford School here for decades. But on Jan. 6, the family’s patriarch, Preston Mulford, died at age 82.

Getting Help for Teen Substance-Abusers

If teens want to obtain drugs or alcohol in the local area, it’s fairly easy for them to do so. But it’s also just as easy to get them help for their addictions.

Roundups

Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012

News briefs for Centreville and Chantilly.

The Horrors of Heroin Use

Three local residents share their stories.

It’s not easy to stand in public and bear one’s soul about life’s most tragic moments, but that’s what Tayler Gibson, Greg Lannes and Greg Richter did recently. Addressing the Sully District Police Station’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), they described in detail how heroin had affected their lives.

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Chantilly High Presents Cinderella’s Untold Story

Children’s show is Jan. 27-29.

Although the story of Cinderella is one that’s well-known, leave it to Chantilly High to tell it in a new and hilarious way.

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Alliance Gets Several WATCH Nods

Nominated for community theater awards.

Two musical productions of the Centreville-based, community-theater company, The Alliance Theatre — “Hairspray” and “Little Shop of Horrors — have been nominated for a number of WATCH awards for last year's season.

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Yorktown Aquatic Center Opens

The newly completed Yorktown Aquatic Center held a ribbon cutting and grand opening on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 15.

“Flourishing After 55”

“Flourishing After 55” from Arlington’s Office of Senior Adult Programs for Jan. 30 - Feb. 4.

Little Theatre Earns 43 WATCH Nominations

'Hairspray' is top area production with 22 nods.

With an astounding 43 nominations, The Little Theatre of Alexandria led the way as the Washington Area Theatre Community Honors announced the nominees for the 2012 WATCH Awards Jan. 15 at the Birchmere Music Hall.

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Senior Skaters Have High Old Time at Iceplex

Weekly morning skate attracts seniors.

Question: Where can you find 40 people over 55 swooping in circles for an hour early Monday mornings? Answer: The top of an eight story parking garage leased from Arlington County which also serves as home to the Washington Capitals. Explanation: Ice skating.

'25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'

LTA production spells success.

It's an American institution that millions of children have suffered through — the spelling bee — and contestants in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee are preparing for the county championship in this lively production of the Tony Award-winning musical now playing at The Little Theatre of Alexandria.

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Taste the Challenge

1K wine walk promotes Crystal City shopping.

Long distance races require advanced preparation, determination and grit. 1K wine walks, on the other hand, require a willingness to step outside of boundaries and try new tastes.

Winfred Winans (Fred) Charlot Dies

Winfred Winans (Fred) Charlot, 49, died at his home in Buena Vista on Dec. 27, 2011 after battling esophageal cancer.

Insightful Technology

Advances in technology levels the playing field for people who are blind.

Ian Elliott is a contract specialist for Boeing, and knows how to read the fine print. Unlike many who deal in contracts, however, Elliott is legally blind.

Letter: Additional Work Needed

As a member of Alexandria’s Waterfront Work Group, I participated in the recently completed review of the City’s waterfront plan.

Time To Dig Deeper

It is time for the closing arguments for and against the City Waterfront Plan.

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Inked in Arlington

DC Tattoo Expo draws crowds and bodywork.

Ink aficionados from across the country crowded the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington for the second DC Tattoo Expo, held Jan. 12-15. Organizers estimated that twice as many people were in attendance as the previous year’s event.

A Concept, Not a Plan

I attended almost all of the meetings last fall of the Waterfront Plan Working Group appointed by Mayor Euille.

It’s About Quality of Life

Look around Alexandria. What percentage of Old Town is actually old?

Waterfront Plan Deserves Approval

It has been nearly three years since Alexandria kicked-off the Waterfront Small Area Plan-making process with a public forum at City Hall. In that time, I’ve had the privilege of participating as a member of the Waterfront Committee and Waterfront Plan Work Group. Today, however, I’d like to share my personal reasons for supporting the Waterfront Plan.

Don't BRAC Waterfront

It is until Jan. 21, anyway. That’s when the majority Democratic City Council will hold a final public hearing on the waterfront plan. Democrats on council appear to have already decided to give 8.5 acres of prime historic river shoreline away to developers for what amounts to little more then the gilded and glitzy promise of tax revenue and a "waterfront for all."

Make It Distinctive

Although I strongly support the city’s waterfront plan, I believe it has a major flaw: It does not provide enough funding for the features needed to transform the area into a truly vital, distinctive place.

Delay Vote

As a final City Council vote on the Waterfront Small Area Plan draws near, I wish to make several points to clarify issues and dispel myths about the Small Area Plan.

Increased Density

The jumble of letters in last week’s Gazette supporting the waterfront plan either ignores important facts, misrepresents facts or makes statements that are nonsensical in the context of the waterfront debate.

Tread Lightly

It seems everyone is "weighing in" on the proposed Alexandria waterfront plan.

Comparing Waterfront Plans

Recently a flyer concerning the Alexandria Waterfront is being circulated by CAAWP.

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United We Serve

Volunteer Fairfax mobilizes more than 1,100 residents to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.

Sitting together at large round tables, children and their parents cut out pink and red paper hearts, pasting them on cards for nursing home patients, or stuffed socks and blankets into kits for the homeless.

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‘Fears and Phobias’ Serves Up Diverse Views on Fear

New exhibit at Torpedo Factory runs through Feb. 19.

At the Tornado Factory's new exhibit, "Fears and Phobias," artists were given the opportunity to explore that which makes people afraid or anxious.

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Lake Accotink Bald Eagle

A pair of Bald Eagles are once again working on their nest at Lake Accotink Park in Springfield for the winter nesting season.

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Therapeutic Riding Program Acquires Permanent Home

Equine therapy nonprofit purchases Little Full Cry Farm in Clifton.

The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program (NVTRP) recently announced the purchase of Little Full Cry Farm, a 17-acre property located in Clifton.

Column: Session Ahead Includes Opportunities for Progress

Last week, Virginia's 100 state delegates and 40 state senators gathered in Richmond to begin the 2012 General Assembly session.

Counting the Homeless

… And making the homeless count.

Alexandria is often described as an affluent community. One recent report pegged the median income at $102,000, not the highest in the area, but not low.

Workhouse Theatre Kicks Off Inaugural Season

The Lorton Arts Foundation has announced the inaugural season of its own Workhouse Theatre. Based in the Workhouse Arts Center’s newly renovated building W-3, it is one of only three professional theater companies in Northern Virginia. Workhouse Theatre will launch its season with the play "ART" from Jan. 20-Feb 26, 2012.

Lake Mercer Bald Eagle

A number of Bald Eagles have been spotted recently at Lake Mercer in Fairfax Station.

State Legislature Begins with Bill on Personhood

As Virginia begins the 2012 Legislative session, many issues are at the forefront in the minds of the residents of the Commonwealth: jobs, transportation, and education.

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"Progeny" at GMU’s School of Art

Beginning Feb. 1, George Mason University’s School of Art and the African and African American Studies Program present "Progeny," a photography exhibition that is the first collaborative effort between Deborah Willis, an artist who received her doctorate in cultural studies from George Mason University in 2000, and her son, Hank Willis Thomas.

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A Computer for Every PVI Student

Paul VI announces laptop program for incoming freshman class.

The School Board of Paul VI Catholic High School and the Office of Catholic Schools of the Arlington Diocese recently approved Paul VI’s business plan to implement a student laptop program.

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GMU's Center for the Arts Presents Aquila Theatre 'Macbeth'

"Fair is foul and foul is fair" in this acclaimed British/American touring company’s rendering of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy. In this brutal and chaotic tale, nothing is as it seems and men combat their own madness and fates.

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Viewpoints: Volunteering on MLK Day

Residents of Fairfax County share their thoughts about MLK Day.

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Task Force Presents ‘Common Sense’ Proposals

Allowing schools to open before Labor Day part of task force recommendations.

Repeal of the "Kings Dominion law," which requires Fairfax County schools to obtain a state waiver to open schools before Labor Day, is high on the list of legislative priorities announced Monday, Jan. 16, by Governor Robert McDonnell.

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County Dribbles to Goal

County issues request for proposals for soccer fields on Brickyard Road farm site.

Council President Roger Berliner (D-1) looked to the colorful banners in Potomac Presbyterian Church — "peace, love, joy" — before he alerted more than a hundred angry citizens that Isiah "Ike" Leggett and the county would issue its request for proposals to build soccer fields on Brickyard Road the next day.

$2.4 Billion School Budget Proposed

Budget includes new positions, salary increases to address growing student population.

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Jack D. Dale presented a $2.4 billion budget proposal to the school board on Jan. 12, reflecting a nine percent – or $202.3 million increase - in next year’s operating budget.

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‘Surface Appeal’

At The Art Gallery

This month The Art Gallery of Potomac will present an art exhibition titled "Surface Appeal." The show will feature paintings by artists Millie Shott and Martha Spak.

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Robinson Stages Fashion Show

On Jan. 11, the students of the Robinson Secondary School DECA club, a chapter of an international organization aimed at preparing high school students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management, held its sixth annual DECA Fashion Show, showcasing the designs and fashion-stylings of DECA members at Robinson.

Richmond Diary: Re-writing the Rules

State senator reflects on the first week of the 2012 General Assembly session.

I packed up the car and stopped by a constituent’s house to pick up information regarding 100 percent disabled veterans whose homes are in trusts, and who are not receiving the intended property tax relief.

Thursday, January 19

Local Housing Market: 2011 Mirrors 2010

McLean and Great Falls housing wrap up for 2011.

The tallies are in for 2011 and in the real estate markets of McLean and Great Falls, 2010 turned out to be "fairer" in terms of the number of transactions compared to 2011, but just by small margins

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Chocolate Festival Comes to McLean

Inaugural festival to be held Jan. 29 at Community Center.

Like chocolate? The McLean Rotary club, along with the Governing Board of the Community Center, is calling all chocolate lovers to the McLean Community Center on Sunday, Jan. 29 from noon to 5 p.m. for the inaugural McLean Chocolate Festival.

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‘Patterns’ Exhibition Opens Online In New Show by Great Falls Artists

Fifty paintings, ceramics, sculptures, photographs, lithographs and other art pieces notable for their striking patterns will be on display through the end of January in an exhibition featuring works by 22 artists who live or work in Great Falls.

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Grand Re-Opening of Reston Sport&Health Club

Over 1,000 people enjoyed the Grand Opening Celebration of Reston Sport&Health Club, Monday, Jan. 9.

Letter: Oversight Responsibility?

Letter to the Editor regarding the unethical conduct of Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, for clandestinely re-purposing taxpayer-supported public school property located on Brickyard Road in Potomac without due public process.

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M.L.K Concert Rocks

Reston Community Orchestra gathers together and celebrates.

Saturday, Jan. 14 the Reston Community Orchestra, known for its interpretation of Baroque, Classical and Romantic music, had the audience jumping with its presentation of Spirituals and crowd pleasing Duke Ellington numbers.

Letter: Unsubstantiated Allegations

Letter to the Editor

In the past two months, John Lovaas ("Independent Progressive") published two columns alleging that the Fairfax County Police have killed several civilians without justification.

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Reston Community Players Garner WATCH Nominations

Three productions receive 15 nods for RCP.

The Reston Community Players garnered 15 nominations as the Washington Area Theatre Community Honors announced the nominees for the 2012 WATCH Awards Jan. 15 at the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria.

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Honey Ogens Bakes with Feeling

A hobby turns into a career.

Honey Ogens launched the Honey Bee Baking Company last year from her Glenolden Drive home. She began baking many years ago because it made her feel relaxed and happy. When her children, Matt and Elissa came home from school, she always had home-baked goods ready for them.

Column: Over a Cup of Coffee

My pre-session public hearings are always informative. The hearings help me gauge public opinion on a variety of issues. And constituents provide excellent suggestions on state government.

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Elden Street Players Garner 22 WATCH Award Nominations

"Ain't Misbehavin'" leads with 11 nods.

The Elden Street Players garnered 22 nominations as the Washington Area Theatre Community Honors announced the nominees for the 2012 WATCH Awards Jan. 15 at the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria.

A Spirited Musical

Elden Street Players present ‘Rooms, A Rock Romance.’

Youthful dreams and ambitions while searching for love makes for "a perfect little winter romantic musical; really an affectionate love letter to an audience," said award-winning veteran director Todd Huse of "Rooms, A Rock Romance." The next Elden Street Players offering is sweet and edgy as it tells "the tale of a relationship of two polar opposites" through music and lyrics.

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Potomac’s Matt Belford, Champion Skier — Now Teaches

He also heli-guides In Alaska.

Twenty-three years ago, The Potomac Almanac published the story of 14 year-old local skier Matt Belford. Fast-forward to 2012 where Belford splits his time between Jackson Hole Mountain Resort as an instructor and Rendezvous Mountain Lodge where he serves as a heli-ski guide, coaching adventure-seekers through the steep and deep powder of the Valdez mountain range.

Playtodaydc.com Launches Vienna Partnership

Website connects moms looking for activities with local groups and businesses.

It really wasn’t much of a leap for Vienna systems engineer and mom Elisa Kepner to apply her capacity planning expertise to creating a website that connects local mothers and businesses to one another.

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Tech Update for Baby Boomers

Town program runs workshops introducing technology to the "sandwich" generation.

Technology permeates the very core of our existence, from computers and phones that think they’re computers to social media.

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Reston Pays Tribute to MLK

Day of service, community service awards mark annual celebration.

Dozens of community members woke up early on their day off Monday to help the Reston Community Center with its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration. The day began with a march from Southgate Community Center to the Reston Community Center, featured a day of volunteer projects and ended with the presentation of community service awards.

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Chamber Hosts MWAA President

Jack Potter provides update on Dulles Metrorail.

The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority President Jack Potter at their newsmaker luncheon Wednesday, Jan. 11. Potter, who was selected as president last June, served as Postmaster General from June 2001 to December 2010.

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Langley Presents One Acts

Students direct, write 10 one act plays.

Students at Langley High School presented their annual One Act Plays Friday and Saturday, giving the students a chance to not only act, but write and direct the performances as well.

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Reaching the Unreachable

Inspirational "Man of La Mancha" arrives at Alden Theatre.

An enduring work of musical theater, the Tony Award-winning "Man of La Mancha" is coming to the Alden Theatre, courtesy of the McLean Community Players. Inspired by Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote," it is the musicalized quest of a knight daring to confront wickedness, trying to make the world better.

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Panel Addresses College Drinking

Unified Prevention Coalition hosts event at McLean High School.

The Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County and the McLean High School PTSA presented "Perils of the College Drinking Culture" Wednesday, Jan. 11. The program featured a panel of speakers who discussed the health and legal consequences of underage and binge drinking, as well as a short film.

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Neighbors Engage in Crime Prevention

GFCA hosts forum for homeowners, police.

The Great Falls Citizens Association and the Fairfax County Police Department spoke with homeowners associations around the community Tuesday, Jan. 10 at the Great Falls Library in an effort to improve communications between residents and the police, as well as discuss the idea of neighborhood watches.

Shopping Bags’ History

McLean resident's bag collection presents history ‘worth preserving and telling.’

To most people, the shopping bag is the most mundane of objects, used and then quickly forgotten about once the contents are removed.

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Panel Addresses College Drinking

Unified Prevention Coalition hosts event at McLean High School.

The Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County and the McLean High School PTSA presented "Perils of the College Drinking Culture" Wednesday, Jan. 11. The program featured a panel of speakers who discussed the health and legal consequences of underage and binge drinking, as well as a short film.

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Troop 673 Promotes Two Eagle Scouts

BSA Troop 673 of Great Falls held its first Eagle Court of Honor on Saturday, Jan. 7 at Great Falls United Methodist Church promoting the Troop’s two young members - Conner Max Pierce and Peter Michael Arcoria - as the most recent Eagle Scouts.

Great Falls History Revisited

Ken Garrett and Julia Runnels, who discussed local history dating as far back as the early 1700s at our January Society program, made the point very clearly: We live in a community that is teaming with historical significance. The Great Falls Historical Society has been performing the mission of identifying, documenting, and obtaining many historical designations to secure our history for future generations since its founding by Milburn Sanders in 1977.

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Undercutting King’s Dominion Law

Governor supports Northern Virginia’s plight to start schools before Labor Day.

Ever since Republicans gained a narrow one-vote majority in the state Senate, many in Northern Virginia have been fearing a loss of influence in Richmond.

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Living the Dream

Living the Dream

By the time 15-year-old Justin Cox was finished reciting the “I Have A Dream” speech from memory Monday afternoon, Jan. 15, at City Hall, several in the audience were holding back tears

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Cutting Back Between the Semesters

Proposal would cut back on ‘intersession’ classes at two schools, distribute money more broadly.

As School Board members prepare for the upcoming budget season, Superintendent Morton Sherman is suggesting the school system go back to the drawing board on “intersession” classes — the five weeks of instruction offered between semesters at the city’s two year-round schools

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Urban Renewal on the Waterfront

City Council poised to adopt controversial plan to increase density and allow hotels.

In the game of Monopoly, players that have four houses on each property in a color group can buy a hotel from the bank and plunk the red plastic piece down and start raking in cash.

Wednesday, January 18

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Column: Left To My Own Devices

And a lot of good it’s doing me. I may be able to do what I want, but I don’t really have a clue as to what it is I want to do – or can do.

Monday, January 16

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Democrats Launch Primary Campaign

Candidates are eager to win back two seats lost in the last election cycle.

Six candidates officially launched their campaigns this week at a meeting of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, and several more are expected in the coming weeks.

Thursday, January 12

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Plan Heads to Rocky Conclusion

Supporters have votes to pass plan, but opponents are plotting final stand.

The first rule in politics is knowing how to count. By almost any standard, that means that a controversial proposal to allow hotels and increase density at three properties on the waterfront is likely headed for approval.

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Allen Declares War on Unions

Former governor goes on the offensive against organized labor.

Hoping to capitalize on anti-union sentiment in Virginia this year, Republican George Allen is giving labor issues a starring role in his bid to recapture the Senate seat he lost to Jim Webb in 2006.

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01/11/12 Springfield Connection PDF

Download the Springfield Connection PDF Edition.

Wednesday, January 11

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Column: Write From The Heart

Obviously I find comfort in writing. Obviously I have some need to put down on paper that which is in my head. In fact, evidence suggests that cancer patients who write about their feelings have some kind of improved quality of life and/or longer life expectancy.

Home Organization for the New Year

Simple solutions for achieving and maintaining an organized home.

The holiday season is now a festive memory, and Yuletide decorations are packed away. The New Year offers an opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to get organized.

Friday, January 6

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Flint Hill School Transitioning to MacBook Air

Flint Hill School, whose advanced integration of technology into the teaching and learning process is earning national recognition, has announced that it is upgrading its existing 1:1 laptop program in Grades 5-12 from the current MacBook to the new, state-of-the-art 11" MacBook Air.

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Salvation Army Singers Serenade Great Falls Shoppers

Shoppers at Great Falls Safeway were in for a treat on Dec. 20, as they were serenaded by Salvation Army volunteers.

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Helping Neighbors, Respectfully

Area residents donate 23,746 hours to help Food for Others fight hunger.

"Volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization, and we view volunteers as our partners in the fight against hunger." — Roxanne Rice, executive director of Food for Others

Six High School Seniors Receive Award

On Nov. 16, the Optimist Club of Greater Vienna presented six High School Seniors with the Carol Waite Brennan award for scholastic excellence.

Week in Vienna

Events, awards and community information for Vienna and Oakton.

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Column: “Scanxiety”

The meaning being: the anxiety one feels waiting for, and awaiting the results of, a diagnostic scan.

Thursday, January 5

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Madison High Goes for the Gold

The James Madison High School Varsity Dance team took home the gold at the 2011 George Mason University Dance Team Invitational this past weekend.

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Vienna Police Note Common Crimes

Town Police Focus on Prevention

"The most common problem we had in 2011 is theft from unlocked vehicles." -- Public Information Officer Bill Murray

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Bombers’ Way to Give Back

Volunteering at Food for Others on Wednesday, Dec 14, the Vienna Bombers 13U Travel Baseball Team sorted a variety of foods into bags to be distribution-ready for clients.

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Helping Children in Kenya

Oakton private school raises $3,500 for school in Nairobi.

"We are very blessed to have such a responsive community. It’s just $3,500 to us, but it means the world to them." -- Marjorie Veiga, Dominion Christian School’s committee chair for mission projects

Opinion: Competitive Bidding Reduces Costs

Introducing Fair and Open Competition in Government Contracting Act.

HB 33 prohibits Virginia and recipients of state funding from requiring or prohibiting contractors to enter into union agreements, such as a project labor agreement (PLA), as a condition of winning any state-assisted construction contracts.

Week in McLean

Week in McLean: Town Hall Meetings, Honors & Events

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Honoring Mrs. Liappis

The Churchill Road Elementary School staff honored Margaret Liappis at a reception on Friday, Dec. 9. Liappis retired last year after 31 years of service in Churchill’s cafeteria.

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Master Minds Win Regional Tournament, Place Fourth in State

The "Master Minds" First Lego Robotics Team from Cooper Middle and Spring Hill Elementary Schools in McLean won the Division 2 First Lego League "Food Factor" Regional Tournament held Nov. 20 at George Mason University.

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Sending Gifts to the ‘Buddy School’

As part of their holiday celebrations, Churchill Road students participated in a variety of community service projects.

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Lewinsville Road Bridge Being Demolished

Starting on or about Tuesday, Jan. 3, the Capital Beltway HOT Lanes Project will begin removing the old Lewinsville Road Bridge.

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MCC, Water Rates to Mark 2012

Possible community center expansion, change in water providers on the horizon in 2012.

"We don’t want to make any decision about the future without first doing our due diligence." -- MCC Board President Kevin Dent

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Celebrating 100th Birthday

On New Year, McLean resident turns 100.

While we’re all celebrating the beginning of 2012, Margaret "Bunny" Ursin will be celebrating her 100th birthday. Bunny still leads a very active life, promoting the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise, and continually striving to help others.

Great Falls Resident Steven P. Mullins appointed to George Mason University Board of Visitors

Great Falls resident Steven P. Mullins, Chief Financial Officer and President of SPM Consulting, was appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell to a four year term on the George Mason University Board of Visitors.

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Gilbert Exhibits at the Great Falls Tavern, D.C. and Bethesda

Great Falls artist Robert Gilbert is starting 2012 with three parallel exhibits, one of which is an exhibit with 13 paintings at the Great Falls Tavern, 9835 Georgetown Pike in Great Falls through March 1.

Wednesday, January 4

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Reinvigorating the Arlington Way

Mary Hynes elected chairwoman of County Board.

One day, about 30 years ago, Mary Hynes became concerned when she learned that one of the school system’s programs was about to be cancelled.

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Santa Comes to St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church

On Dec. 20, St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church held their annual children’s Christmas party. Children were able to create Christmas crafts, have their pictures taken with the one and only Saint Nick, and enjoy a delicious hot dog dinner.

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Great Falls Looks Ahead to 2012

Great Falls Looks Ahead to 2012

Last year saw progress on several issues around Great Falls, issues that will affect residents for generations to come.