Stories for December 2013

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Tuesday, December 31

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Top Vienna Sports Moments of 2013

Here is a look at the top Vienna sports moments of 2013.

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Top Burke,Springfield, Fairfax, Fairfax Station Sports Moments of 2013.

Here is a look at the top Burke, Springfield, Fairfax, Fairfax Station sports moments of 2013.

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Top Centreville and Chantilly Sports Moments of 2013

Here is a look at the top Centreville and Chantilly sports moments of 2013.

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Top Mount Vernon Sports Moments of 2013

Here is a look at the top Mount Vernon sports moments of 2013.

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Top Alexandria Sports Moments of 2013

Here is a look at the top moments in Alexandria sports for 2013.

Monday, December 30

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Supervisors Make Predictions for 2014

Q&A with Supervisors Pat Herrity (R- Springfield) and Jeffrey McKay (D-Lee).

Q: What were some successes of 2013? A: Transportation updates. The Fairfax County Parkway will have interstate level traffic in the next 10 years, if not already. We need to work on the long-term solution. I was able to get the Board of Supervisors to pass the requested corridor improvement study. We’ve got the study underway for the Pope’s Head Road interchange on the parkway, and those are both really big things. I also asked the Board to take a look at Braddock Road and changing it into a primary road.

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Albo Looks at Year Back, Year Ahead

Q&A with Del. Dave Albo (R-42).

Q: What do you think was a major success of 2013? A: The transportation bill was not only the most important bill of 2013, but the second most important bill we’ve passed in my twenty years in the General Assembly. We found a solution that lets us keep 100 percent of our money.

Herrity’s Top Local Issues for 2014

Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) talks about what he believes will be the top issues this year in Fairfax County:

Letter: Sleep Deprived

My name is Andrew and I am in 7th grade at South County Middle School. I am contacting you today about an important issue: FCPS high school start times. Because of where I live, I would have to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to get to the bus stop. I feel sleep deprived now waking up at 6:30 a.m. I would lose another hour in high school. I understand that the FCPS school board is considering a change in the start time. I am all for this change. It has been proven that sleep deprived teens get worse grades and are more accident-prone while driving. If the start time gets pushed back, FCPS students will be happier, safer, and they will get better grades. Please join me in support of pushing high school start times back.

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Locals Donate to Toys for Tots

Implementing an idea from Phil Williams of the Clifton-Hoadly-Area-Pancake-Society, Gary Binge (president of the Kena Shrine Antique Car Club in Fairfax) and Clifton’s Jim Chesley co-chaired the first annual NoVA Cruise & Collection of Toys for Tots.

Local Dental Office Joins U.S. Marines Toys for Tots Literacy Program

Dr. Travis Le of Fairfax joined the U.S. Marines in an all out campaign against poverty and illiteracy in our own society through the U.S. Marine Toys for Tots Literacy Program. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty over 16 million children in the United States live below the federal poverty level.

Members of 100+ Women Who Care Donate $3,800 to Our Daily Bread

Our Daily Bread has received $3,800 from the members of 100+ Women Who Care Northern Virginia to help ease the plight of low-income residents in the Fairfax County. The nonprofit was selected by the members of 100+ Women Who Care during the organization’s Nov. 7 meeting.

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Field Trip Grant Program Exposes Children to Nature

Grant brings local elementary and middle schools to Hemlock Overlook Regional Park in Clifton.

The Dominion Foundation’s grant of $10,000 to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority will allow for children from local elementary and middle schools to attend field trips at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park in Clifton as part of the Field Trip Grant Program.

Delegates Make Predictions for 2014

Q&A with delegates David Bulova (D-37) and Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41).

Q: What were some successes in 2013? A: The big one from last year was transportation, and it would be great to keep that momentum going into 2014. I see 2014 as being a potentially very productive year and a way to differentiate Virginia from the federal government and the gridlock we are seeing up there.

Benny is Back!

Arriving soon for your entertainment.

Jack Benny was a classic comedian of stage, screen, radio and television. He spanned decades and generations. He is even considered a forerunner of what is now called situation comedy. Some suggest that the comic styles of Jerry Seinfeld and Kelsey Grammar ("Frasier") have Benny-like qualities. Soon there will be a golden opportunity to see him again. Well, not "the" Jack Benny, but award-winning actor Tim Newell in a one-man performance of "Mister Benny" at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia in a production for all audiences, non-members and members alike.

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Fairfax Symphony Orchestra Promises ‘Intense, Personal, Intimate Experience’

Concerts at GMU’s Harris Theater to celebrate the 100th birthday of Benjamin Britten.

Have you heard? The next performance of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra (FSO) chamber series, will be in a special location; the Harris Theater at George Mason University.

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Supervisor Looks at Year Ahead

Q&A with Supervisor John Cook (R-Braddock District).

Braddock District Supervisor John Cook, left, thinks that education funding should be a top priority for Virginia legislators this section.

When Books Are Outlawed and Knowledge Discouraged

Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" comes to Center for the Arts.

Continuing a series of enthralling professional touring theater productions, George Mason University's Center for the Arts is presenting "Fahrenheit 451" by renowned science fiction and fantasy writer Ray Bradbury. It is another in an "amazing assortment of performances," said Tom Reynolds, Center for the Arts director of artistic programming.

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Wrapping up Joy for Christmas

Students, Scouts, police brighten holiday at Hanley Shelter.

The children living in the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter may not have many possessions; but on Christmas Day, they had presents. The gifts were donated by a variety of groups, including the Fair Oaks District Police Station and Chantilly High’s photography students.

Column: Legislative Resolutions

Legislation that is proposed for consideration by the General Assembly is called a bill. A bill that has passed the House of Delegates and the Senate and has been signed by the Governor in identical form becomes a law on July 1 after the adjournment of the legislative session and is included in the Code of Virginia. To know what the laws of the Commonwealth are, go to the Code at http://leg1.state.va.us/000/src.htm. Bills that will be voted on at the legislative session beginning on Jan. 9 can be reviewed at the same website.

The Reston Metro Lottery Issue

Real estate tips.

Not a week goes by that I don't have someone ask me what the impact of the Silver Line means for our local home prices in Reston. I hear things like "Should I wait for the Wiehle Metro Station to be completed before we sell?" or "How will the Metro effect my homes value when it opens?" These are all valid questions and deep down what I think they want me to tell them is that they’ve hit the Metro Lottery and their home’s value is going to spike, just like it did in 2005.

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South Lakes Choral Department Presents Winter Concert

Reston students display their musical skills.

The Little Theatre in Reston’s South Lakes High School was packed the evening of Thursday, Dec. 19 as families and friends gathered to hear the music of the South Lakes Choral Department.

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Blockbuster Musical Arrives at CenterStage

Reston Community Players present ‘Les Miserables.’

Megawatt electric energy filled the Reston Community Players (RCP) rehearsal hall. Cast members and technical crew were in the midst of the groundwork for the area community theater premiere of the multi Tony-Award winning musical "Les Misérables."

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Diva Central Prom Dress Drive Begins Jan. 3

Items will be given away to Reston-area teens at March 8 prom dress giveaway event.

The 12th Annual Diva Central prom dress drive kicks off on Friday, Jan. 3, when Reston Community Center will begin collecting dresses, shoes, jewelry, handbags, shawls and other accessories for students in the greater Reston area. Donations are tax deductible and may be dropped off daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., at the Reston Community Center Hunters Woods facility through Friday, Feb. 7. All donations are appreciated but should be in good condition, no older than five-years-old (circa 2009), and should be dry cleaned before donation. If dry cleaning is not possible, please indicate at the time of drop-off. Dress donations will benefit students in Fairfax County and other surrounding areas.

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‘What’s Better than Helping Someone Have a Home?’

Reston company’s employees help Habitat renovate a house.

Not everyone has the money to buy a home. But thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia (HHNV) and some willing volunteers from a company in Reston, a family will be able to buy a house in Centreville at an affordable price. On a recent weekday, 15 people were hard at work renovating and repairing it to make it livable. Built in 1971, it’s a two-story, three-bedroom house.

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Local Leaders Eye Transportation, Development Plans in 2014

Reston to celebrate 50th anniversary, Simon’s 100th birthday in April.

Silver Line construction and future development projects top local leaders’ lists for the most pressing issues of 2014. Reston is preparing for the opening of the Wiehle – Reston East station in the second quarter of the New Year, and community members are both excited and concerned about potential congestion around the new station on Wiehle Avenue. "We need to make sure that around the stations we are developing in a way that allows for an urban community to grow while maintaining the town feel of Reston," said Reston Citizens Association (RCA) president Colin Mills.

Joy of the Season Shared At Herndon Police Station

Herndon Police host Cops & Kids outreach event.

"It is serving the community well … it is reinforcing the wholesome fabric of the town, and families are strengthened by this," said Herndon resident and Town Council member Charlie Waddel. He was referring to the Greater Herndon Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 64 Cops & Kids Program event held Saturday, Dec. 21.

‘30 Years 30 Artists’ At ArtSpace Herndon

Art exhibit promotes traditional printmaking art.

Last Monday artists and volunteers were setting up the new art exhibit at ArtSpace Herndon, "30 Years 30 Artists." In conjunction with the "30 Years 30 Artists" exhibit, the Northern Virginia Community College’s Loudoun campus students are showcasing seven students’ printmaking in a display called "NOVA Student Printmakers." The students’ exhibit includes etchings, lithographs, linocuts, and original hand-pulled prints.

ArtSpace Herndon Fine Art Photography Competition

ArtSpace Herndon invites photographers from Virginia, D.C,, Maryland, and West Virginia to participate in the 2014 ArtSpace Herndon Fine Art Photography Competition. The competition is open to fine art photographers aged 18 or older working in any medium (digital or analog, color or monochrome), and using any printing technique – they care about well-done art more than the specific medium, technique or format. Fine art photography of any subject is welcome; there is no required theme for entries.

Saturday, December 28

Oakton Survives Host Mount Vernon in Holiday Tournament Semifinal

Potential Cougar blowout turns into a narrow barnburner as Majors’ comeback bid falls short

The Oakton boys' basketball team beat Mount Vernon.

South County Boys' Basketball Edges Langley

Stallion coach Hess faces former school in Holiday classic

South County beat Langley during the Mount Vernon holiday tournament.

Friday, December 27

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Spiritual Wellness in the New Year

What is it and how does one achieve it?

As we begin a new year, many are focused on their spiritual health and well-being. In fact, the National Wellness Institute names spiritual wellness as one of the seven dimensions of overall wellness. It’s essential in life, say experts.

Cures for Cabin Fever

Creative ideas for housebound parents and children.

Winter brings frigid temperatures, icy roads, snow and often school closures. While sledding and building snowmen are fun, hazardous weather conditions mean much of the time is spent indoors, and soon the novelty of time off can become cabin fever. Local child education experts offer activity suggestions for filling those long winter days. Susan Friedman, executive editor for digital content at the National Association for the Education of Young Children and a Bethesda resident, suggests parents encourage a child’s natural curiosity. "In the same way that school classrooms have activity centers, parents can create boxes that focus on different activities like playing dress up with clothes, hats and neckties," she said. "You can create a box with art supplies and a box with games or puzzles."

Editorial: Looking to Hear from Readers in New Year

As local, weekly newspapers, the Connection’s mission is to deliver news readers need close to home, to help readers enjoy great local places and events, to advocate for community good, to call attention to unmet needs, to provide a forum for dialogue on local concerns, and to celebrate and record milestones and events in community and people’s lives. To succeed at any of that, we need your help.

New Deputy Chief of Police Selected

Chief of Police Jim Morris has announced the appointment of Daniel Janickey as Vienna’s new Deputy Chief of Police. He will succeed Captain Mike Miller, who retired on Oct. 1, after serving 29 years with the Vienna Police Department. Janickey was selected from among 103 candidates. "Dan has over 24 years of local law enforcement experience and brings with him a very diverse resume of accomplishments," said Chief Morris. "He will be a great addition to the Town of Vienna Police department and the community." Commenting on Chief Morris’ selection, Town Manager Mercury Payton said, "This selection for Deputy Chief is indicative of the Town’s commitment to excellent service. I expect that Dan will immediately assist the Chief in advancing the goals for the department."

Vienna’s Top Stories of 2013

Sequestration and two-week-plus federal government shutdown in October of 2013 loomed over the local economy as thousands of federal employees were furloughed during the shutdown. Essential personnel did show up but with no bonus compensation even after furloughed federal employees were paid for their time not working. Essential personnel were heard to grumble on social media about the inequity.

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A Look Ahead at 2014

Elected officials discuss the year 2014 in Vienna.

What’s the outlook for 2014? The economy, health care and federal government take center-stage in the theatre that is Northern Virginia and Vienna, specifically. Here’s what some of the area’s elected officials see through the looking glass.

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A Year in Review, Things to Look for in 2014

Supervisor John w. Foust (D-Dranesville) reflects on most important events in McLean and Great Falls in 2013 and 2014.

Supervisor John W. Foust (D-Dranesville): *TRANSPORTATION FUNDING PLAN HB2313 - A significant event affecting the community in 2013 was the passage of HB2313 with bi-partisan support. This bill was the first comprehensive transportation plan passed in Virginia in 27 years.

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Sen. Favola Shares Legislative Priorities

State Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31) highlights the following legislative priority issues: *Safety Net: Retain McDonnell’s $1.6 M for extension of subsidies to foster youth and adopted youth until the age of 21. *Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) --- Index benefits to the COL Adjustment as determined by the Department of Labor (Need Budget Amendment as well). This helps women and children. Families stay an average of 3 years on TANF. The caseload has been decreasing in Virginia and $5M was shifted in the last biennium from TANF block grant dollars to funds General Fund services.

Comstock to Chair House Science And Technology Committee

Delegate Barbara Comstock (R-34) was named Chairwoman of the House Science and Technology Committee by Speaker Bill Howell (R-28). Howell said, "Barbara Comstock is one of the brightest and most energetic lawmakers in the General Assembly. She has worked tirelessly on issues important to Northern Virginia and the entire Commonwealth. For years she has been a leader on issues related to economic development and technology. This experience and knowledge will make her a great Chairwoman."

Achievements Remain High At Langley, McLean Pyramids

Janie Strauss, Fairfax County School Board, Dranesville Representative "Major events – 2013: *Dr. Karen Garza has become the new FCPS Superintendent *Voters approved the 2013 school bond "Student academic achievement remains high in the McLean/ Langley pyramid schools. Our schools are ranked among the tops in the nation in terms of academics, arts and extracurricular accomplishments. A few individual recognitions: Jason Cui from Langley was a Siemens Science Fair winner; Alex Stone, from McLean High, was named a YoungArts winner by the National YoungArts Foundation; Langley girls volleyball team won the state championship.

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SHARE Celebrates Holiday

SHARE, Inc., local community relief organization, hosted its annual Holiday Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 7, in the McLean Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.

Advocating for ‘Placemaking’

Elizabeth Morton, president, McLean Revitalization Corporation (MRC) *Some 2013 highlights:

Tysons Transformation Will Impact McLean

Most important happenings in and around McLean in 2013 and 2014.

Sally Horn, president, McLean Citizens Association: *Board of Supervisors (BOS) approved interim parking at the McLean Metro stop. A priority for MCA, the interim lot (which will provide surface parking for up to 10 years) promises to enable more McLean residents, especially those who do not have access to bus service or safe pedestrian pathways to Metro, to use Metro and help to remove cars from our roadways.

To Be! In McLean

January Is Shakespeare Month at The Alden.

Never "Too Much of a Good Thing," The Alden in McLean has declared January 2014 "Shakespeare Month" and has pulled together a month-long celebration of the Bard which will include films, a discussion with local experts and two performances by the acclaimed American Shakespeare Center on Tour. Prices vary and some events are free. The Alden is located at 1234 Ingleside Avenue, inside the McLean Community Center.

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Colvin Run Elementary Students Donate Food for Those in Need

Boxes of non-perishable food that filled the trunks of eight large SUVs were donated on Monday, Dec. 16, by Colvin Run Elementary School families to a local Fairfax County elementary school.

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Ground Water Cleanup Plan Presented in Great Falls

Potential contamination of local wells from a spill at former Exxon gas station discussed.

The Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA) hosted two meetings on Dec. 17, to update Great Falls residents on the plan to clean up contamination from a spill of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) that had occurred at the Exxon gas station that was located at 9901 Georgetown Pike.

Great Falls in 2013: The Most Important Issues

Eric Knudsen, President, Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA): 1) The start, and hopefully the finishing, of the Walker Road Diet project. This is the first major change to the center of town since the Safeway shopping center was put in.

Thursday, December 26

Vienna, Oakton Home Sales: November, 2013

Vienna, Oakton Home Sales: November, 2013

Springfield Home Sales: November, 2013

Springfield Home Sales: November, 2013

Reston Home Sales: November, 2013

Reston Home Sales: November, 2013

Potomac Home Sales: November, 2013

Potomac Home Sales: November, 2013

Mount Vernon Home Sales: November, 2013

Mount Vernon Home Sales: November, 2013

McLean Home Sales: November, 2013

McLean Home Sales: November, 2013

Oak Hill, Herndon Home Sales: November, 2013

Oak Hill, Herndon Home Sales: November, 2013

Great Falls Home Sales: November, 2013

Great Falls Home Sales: November, 2013

Fairfax Home Sales: November, 2013

Fairfax Home Sales: November, 2013

Centreville Home Sales: November, 2013

Centreville Home Sales: November, 2013

Chantilly Home Sales: November, 2013

Chantilly Home Sales: November, 2013

Clifton, Fairfax Station and Lorton Home Sales: November, 2013

Clifton, Fairfax Station and Lorton Home Sales: November, 2013

Burke Home Sales: November, 2013

Burke Home Sales: November, 2013

Arlington Home Sales: November, 2013

Arlington Home Sales: November, 2013

Alexandria Home Sales: November, 2013

Alexandria Home Sales: November, 2013

Classified Advertising December 25, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Saturday, December 21

Callaghan Leads Langley to Second Consecutive Victory

Saxons senior guard scores career-high 28 points

The Langley boys' basketball team beat Chantilly on Friday night.

Friday, December 20

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Children's Connection 2013

Annual children's issue showcases artistic talent of local students.

We asked principals and teachers from local schools to encourage students to contribute their stories and artwork for our annual Children's Issue. The responses as always, was enormous. While we were unable to publish every piece we received, we did our best to put together a paper of a balanced sampling of submitted stories, poems, drawings, paintings and photographs

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Streetcar Issue Dominates Political Landscape in Special Election for Arlington Board

Four candidates vying to replace Chris Zimmerman.

Where do they stand on the streetcar? Do they approve of the recent direction of the county government? What kind of accomplishments would they like to make?

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New Year’s Eve

First Night makes Alexandria the place to be.

Billed as the largest family-friendly New Year's Eve party in the greater Washington area, more than 100 live performances will take place throughout Old Town as part of First Night Alexandria, a day-long event filled with entertainment and culminating with a fireworks finale over the Potomac River along the waterfront.

Santa's Helpers

SSSA students donate to Firefighters and Friends toy drive.

Students from St. Stephens and St. Agnes Upper and Middle School donated more than 300 toys and gift cards as part of the 2013 Firefighters and Friends annual Holiday Toy Drive.

Deck the Halls

Vintage ornaments recapture holiday magic for Old Town resident.

The Christmas tree as we know it today dates back to the 16th century. But until the mid-1800s, they were mostly decorated with edibles like fruits and nuts. That's when German entrepreneurs based in the glassblowing center of Lauscha had the idea to begin producing decorative tree ornaments made out of blown glass.

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Recognizing Citizenship

Lee District Association of Civic Organizations’ holds 58th annual banquet.

Public servants and civic activists were recognized at the Lee District Association of Civic Organizations’ 58th annual Lee District Banquet on Dec. 11 at the Springfield Hilton.

DiCenzo Has Bright Vision for Fairfax

Getting to know the high school’s new theater director.

As theater teacher and director at Fairfax High, Erich DiCenzo is exactly where he wants to be. "I have a bachelor of fine arts in musical theater and dance and was a professional actor for eight years, so this is a second career," he said. "I knew I wanted to perform forever, but not make it my living."

Laura Angela Marcantonio, Ryan Lee Stiles Engaged

Mr. and Mrs. Palmer Marcantonio of Virginia Beach are happy to announce the engagement of their daughter, Laura Angela, to Ryan Lee Stiles. Ryan is the son of Ms. Audrey Stiles of Williamsburg and Mr. Ronald Stiles of Virginia Beach.

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Del. Filler-Corn Co-hosts Open Resources Forum

How to provide students new education resources at no charge.

On Dec. 2, Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41) co-hosted a forum with David Anderson, executive director for Higher Education, Association of American Publishers and Nada Dabbagh, professor and director of Division of Learning Technologies, George Mason University to discuss new technologies and affordable options for higher education textbooks. This forum brought together several important stakeholders involved with higher education and the development and usage of textbooks.

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What More Could FBI Want?

Virginia leaders tout merits of Springfield site for FBI HQ relocation.

A high-ranking delegation of Virginia politicians gathered in Springfield Tuesday morning in a renewed effort to convince the Federal Bureau of Investigation to relocate its headquarters to a warehouse site in Springfield. The move in the high-stakes, highly competitive regional competition comes after site selection guidelines eliminated almost all other Northern Virginia locations.

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In Harmony With Celebration Singers

Springfield show choir has been going strong 40 years.

The all-volunteer Celebration Singers performed their final holiday concert of the year on Sunday, Dec. 15 at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Springfield. The group started at Springfield Methodist Church in the 1960s by the name of the Wesleyan Singers. Some of the ladies have been singing together for 40-plus years. And through the years, membership has reached 66 people, but has since dwindled to 18.

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A Year in a Fast Lane

2013 was a big year for transportation projects in Northern Virginia.

Construction dominated the scenery on I-95/395 between Garrisonville Road (Route 610) in Stafford County and Turkeycock Park near Edsall Road in the north as the 95 Express Lanes project crews advanced work in the 29-mile construction corridor keeping the project on-track to open to traffic in early 2015.

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Food Assistance Cuts Affecting Locals

Cuts to the food stamp program are hitting local beneficiaries and food banks.

Melinda Anderson, 50, of Alexandria is feeling the extra pinch to her federally-subsidized food budget. "I have had to eat less and hit up more food banks in the area just to survive," she said while collecting her monthly food allotment from the Fairfax-based food-bank Food for Others. "I’m visiting three [food banks] a month now."

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Reston Chorale Brings Music to Reston Town Center

Despite winter weather Reston Chorale singers keep spirits bright.

On Saturday, Reston resident Ellen Torzilli joined 24 friends and fellow members of the Reston Chorale to sing at Promenade in Reston Town Center. There were afternoon shows outdoors on both Saturday and Sunday between the Mon Ami Gabi restaurant and Pitango Gelato.

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Lopez Studios Inc. Sends Students To 2014 Junior Theater Festival

The famed "Thoroughly Modern Millie" once traveled to the Big Apple to explore the world outside her little town of Salinas and make her dreams come true. From Jan. 17-19 a group of 11 talented young performers from Lopez Studios, Inc. Performing Arts Preparatory School will travel to Atlanta, Ga., to make their own dreams come true at the 2014 Junior Theater Festival and to portray the classic Broadway hit featuring Millie.

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Reston Town Center Ice Skating Pavilion Donates $5,697.50 to Reston Character Counts! Coalition

Reston Town Center Ice Skating Pavilion raised a record-breaking donation of $5,697.50 for Reston Character Counts! Coalition during the rink’s opening weekend in early November.

Column: Term Limited

In a couple of days Governor Bob McDonnell will present a proposed budget to the General Assembly for the next two years. Early announcements about what it contains have been good: critically needed funding for mental health and restoration of funding to education programs. What is unique about the budget is that Governor McDonnell will not be around to defend or to implement it. The Constitution of Virginia limits the governor to one term. A governor can run a second time as Mills Godwin did in the 1960s, but the terms cannot be successive.

Column: What Interest Served Bailing Out Crumbling Utility?

Once upon a time, I am told, Reston Lake Anne Air Conditioning (RELAC) actually provided a relatively competitive cooling service to 500 residences around Lake Anne using chilled water delivered through a maze of underground pipes. It was the 1960s and air conditioning was still in its infancy. Compared with today’s A/C systems, RELAC at its best would be like an original Polaroid compared with a 2014 digital camera.

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Crowds Enjoy Reston Ice Rink

The Ice Skating Pavilion in Reston Town Center is a hot destination.

The temperature was holding pretty steady in the lower 30s, there was ice off the rink as well as on it, and the occasional snow flurry drifted about Reston Town Center on Saturday, but none of those potential obstacles kept the Ice Skating Pavilion from being plenty packed. Although there were a few skaters with obvious skills making the rounds, it seemed that the majority were more suited to the novice category, judging by the numbers of flailing arms, "derriere skaters" and the amount of time the staff spent helping would-be Apolo Ohnos and Ashley Wagners regain their skates and their balance. It was also pretty obvious that no matter what level of expertise each skater brought to the arena, everybody was having fun.

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Painters Unite to Make Friday the 13th Someone’s Lucky Day

Friday, Dec. 13 was anything but unlucky for one Reston family, tenants in one of the 53 townhouses owned by Cornerstones Housing Corporation in Reston, Herndon and Centreville, that are rented at affordable rates to persons earning half or less than the area’s median income.

Herndon Holiday Train Show Attracts Crowds

Train enthusiasts enjoy Train Show at Herndon Municipal Center.

"I have tons of train equipment, which I have kept since I was 5-years-old," said Larry Aronson, a Herndon resident visiting the train display at Herndon Municipal Center on Saturday with his daughter and his grandson. "It is nice to have layouts like this that can put on a display like this." On both Saturday and Sunday, hundreds of members of the community stopped by to see the model trains. Displaying their model trains were members of the Northern Virginia NTRAK and the Potomac Module Crew. Herndon Chamber of Commerce and the Herndon Historical Society sponsored the train show.

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Herndon Elementary Holds Reflections Ceremony

Herndon Elementary School celebrated their Reflections participants on Wednesday, Dec. 4. PTA Reflections is part of the National PTA art competition in which participants enter in various artistic mediums. The theme this year was "Believe, Dream, Inspire." HES is very proud of the effort the students put into their artwork. A special thanks to the Reflections Committee Chair: Pavithra Rajesh.

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Retiring Flags – Respectfully

Eagle Scout project retires American flags in Herndon.

We’ve all seen images of the American Flag being burned in protest both here and abroad, but did you know that burning the Flag is also done when it is "retired" after being deemed unserviceable? And that it is done so in a ceremony marked with respect and honor?

Letter: Parents Advocate for Class Size Caps

On Saturday, Dec. 7, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent’s (Dr. Karen Garza) conducted a "Listening Tour" meeting at Cooper Middle School in McLean. Many parents who spoke at the meeting were concerned about large class sizes in their children’s schools. This is not a problem in most FCPS schools - the average elementary school class in FCPS has only 21-22 students, and plenty of FCPS elementary schools average 20 or fewer students per class.

Teaching Love of Music in Vienna

Hyun-Mi Chung, owner of Elite Piano Academy, is announcing the third anniversary of her studio in Vienna. Chung has brought her 28 years teaching experience to Vienna to the delight of her many students who share the desire to learn. She expresses her gratitude to the students and their parents for their support during this time. Chung, a graduate of Juilliard School (B. M. & M. M.), the first woman pianist to have recorded all 35 Beethovens Sonatas, has a love of music that has been the motivation for her dedication to teaching. Since coming to Vienna, she has maintained a class of 50 students in a six day-a-week schedule. In addition, she has held two recitals per year (one per semester) for her students at the Vienna Presbyterian Church.

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Vienna/Oakton Students Perform in The Nutcracker

On Dec. 11 through the 15, 16 students from Vienna/Oakton elementary, middle & high schools took the stage to perform in the Conservatory Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker. Performances took place at the Reston Community Center’s CenterStage.

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Fundraising for a Good Cause

The fourth graders at Vienna Elementary School raised $2,156.09 to donate to Jill’s House, a respite facility for children with special needs, by selling wrist-bands the students made. They also collected loose change at school and from friends. The students’ aimed to raise $500, but they ended up raising much more.

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A Visit from St. Nick

Vienna’s traditions shine during holidays and, in December, it shines an awful lot. Traditional activities and events abound, from the Church Street Stroll to Santa visits. Every year, Santa takes time out of his busy toy-making schedule to stop by the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department’s pancake breakfast. He turned up there again on Dec. 14 to the cheers of young children. He listened to wish-lists and sat for photos and seemed to know the names of many of the children and their parents. Parents rushed to take photographs.

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Santa Run Begins

Vienna Volunteer Fire Department volunteers cruise Vienna neighborhoods in antique fire engine.

In most places, people go to events. In Vienna, occasionally, events go to the people. And the annual Santa Runs, operated by the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department and volunteers, is an event that goes out to the people, the whole Vienna community, for a full week leading up to Christmas. The 2013 Santa Run kicked off on Dec. 15 with drives through side streets off Beulah Road near Meadowlark Gardens.

Vienna Celebrates "First Night" on New Year’s Eve

Vienna Business Association and Town of Vienna debut family-focused New Year’s Eve celebration on Historic Church Street.

First Night Vienna is planned to be the best family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration the community has ever seen.

Dr. James Edward ‘Jay’ Manning, III, 78, Dies

Northern Virginia mourns the loss of a leader in education, former Langley High principal.

Northern Virginia has lost a towering presence in the community – an athlete, distinguished educator, and champion of every student.

Thursday, December 19

John Foust Announces Campaign to Represent Residents of 10th Congressional District

Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) announced the start of his campaign to represent the residents of Virginia’s tenth congressional district issuing the following press release:

Family Science Night at Colvin Run Elementary

Colvin Run Elementary School (CRES) hosted its second annual Family Science Night on Dec. 6, with hands-on experiments from the Children's Science Center's Museum Without Walls Mobile Labs.

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Christmas Celebrated At Colvin Run Mill

Santa and carolers visits historic park.

At historic Colvin Run Mill Park Santa Claus made a visit to the miller’s office from 3 to 6 p.m. Despite damp, overcast weather on Saturday, spirits stayed bright as visitors came by to see Santa and hear carolers from the Virginia 49th Infantry, participate in crafts, or join in a marshmallow roasting.

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Oprah Winfrey Wears Jorge Adeler ‘Rock Candy’ Ring

The cover of the January 2014 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, features a Jorge Adeler one-of-a-kind "Rock Candy" ring.

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Local Lego Team Wins Grand Champions Award

A local, Great Falls-based, FIRST LEGO League Team Positive Aftermath won the 1st Place Grand Champions Award at the VADC Championship Tournament held at James Madison University, Harrisonburg on Dec. 7-8, 2013.

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Join Generations of Great Falls Families for ‘Christmas Eve at the Nutcracker Club’

Performances Saturday, Dec. 21, and Sunday, Dec. 22, at the Waddell Theater on the Loudoun Campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

The first cast of the "Gingerbread Cookie" dance were the youngest dancers in the company when The School of Theatrical Dance [SOTD] in Great Falls first staged "Christmas Eve at the Nutcracker Club" in 2006. Now those dancers are in the Level 8 Ballet class that SOTD Director Theresa D"Alessandro says she created, "in response to their talent and technical accomplishment." When one of those dancers, Dylan Murphy of Great Falls, was a member of the Level 7 Ballet class a couple of years ago, she said, "The Winter Show is a great tradition. The show is a lot of fun.

Backwards Thinking

Considering that I’ve been cancer-centric now for nearly five years, one would have thought I might have learned and totally embraced an alternative concept: forward living – and less thinking about past causes and their possible current effects. Certainly cancer causes physical manifestations and symptoms that are diagnosable and indicative of trouble. But it’s the unseen effects that in some cases cause as many difficulties. What I am referring to is the mental and emotional toll a terminal diagnosis and short term prognosis can have on the patient’s perspective on life and living, and what’s presumptively thought to be left of it.

Preserve 3-2-1 for Housing

Housing for all income levels near transit supports vibrant communities and job growth, reduces traffic.

In the latest edition of The Herrity Report, Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity proposed "redirecting developers’ $3 per square foot contribution for buying rent-controlled housing units into a trust fund to pay for public school renovation and construction."

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Home for the Holidays: Surviving a Long Trip

Keeping children entertained on lengthy airplane rides.

Liz Henry is nervous about her upcoming flight to San Francisco. It’s not TSA regulations or long lines that are causing her anxiety, however. It is traveling alone with her three children — all of whom are under the age of 6.

Teaching Children To Be Charitable

Experts say modeling, nurturing are keys to raising generous children.

Elena Santiviago walked her 6-year-old son down the aisle of a grocery store near her Arlington home. They picked up five boxes of toothpaste and two bottles of mouthwash, several bars of soap and a few sticks of deodorant. The shopping trip was part of a school project in which students fill holiday stockings with personal hygiene items for the homeless.

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Art Educator Releases Two Books

Stories offer children and parents innovative ways to explore art.

Elizabeth Augenblick Smith, 10, spent a recent Saturday afternoon gluing strips of brightly hued tissue paper to create a collage. There were no rules or guides to follow.

Classified Advertising December 18, 2013

Read the lastest ads here!

Wednesday, December 18

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Holiday Sibling Shop Spreads the Spirit of Giving

FACETS hosts a traditional Holiday Sibling Shop.

FACETS, a non-profit in Fairfax that helps those affected by poverty, hosted a Holiday Sibling Shop on Dec. 16 at the Ragan Oaks Community Center that allowed children living in an affordable housing community to shop for donated gifts to give to their siblings during the holiday season. According to James Wilson, a community advocate for FACETS, the Holiday Sibling Shops not only give children the chance to shop for gifts, but also reduce stress the families may face.

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Centreville Football Beats Oscar Smith for 6A State Championship

Wildcats finish 15-0, ranked No. 15 nationally by USA TODAY.

The Centreville football team defeated Oscar Smtih 35-6 in the VHSL 6A state championship game on Dec. 14.

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Cartoon: This is the ACTUAL Congress

This is the ACTUAL Congress

Langley Boys' Basketball Coach Newman Gets First Win

Saxons defeat Fairfax to improve to 1-4.

The Langley boys' basketball team snapped a four-game losing streak.

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Alexandria Schools See Rising Poverty In the Classroom

City has the highest rates of students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch in region.

In the last decade, the percentage of Alexandria students who live in poverty has grown from 50 percent to 56 percent. That's the largest percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch in the region, according to a recent analysis by the Washington Area Boards of Education.

Tuesday, December 17

West Springfield’s Berglund Reaches 1,000 Career Points

Spartans start season 5-0.

West Springfield senior guard Amy Berglund reached 1,000 career points on Dec. 7 against Madison.

Saturday, December 14

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McLean Girls' Basketball Cruises to Victory Against Langley

Highlanders pull away with 35-3 run.

The McLean girls' basketball team improved to 4-0 with a win over Langley on Friday.

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McLean Boys' Basketball Beats Rival Langley in Overtime

Highlanders senior Sullivan leads all scorers with 17 points.

The McLean boys' basketball team evened its record at 2-2 with a win over Langley on Friday.

Thursday, December 12

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Spreading Holiday Cheer

Wine shops from around the region give their suggestions for bottles to bring to holiday parties.

Holiday season means parties, hostess gifts, office Secret Santas and other occasions where many people bring a bottle of some spirit or other to spread good tidings. So what to pick up? What's right? What kind of wine goes with what kind of food? And where to go for some good advice?

‘Tis the Season

Greed, ghosts and redemption in LTA’s ‘A Christmas Carol.’

It’s a tale nearly as old as time: The miserly Ebenezer 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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Let There Be Light

'A Christmas Story' wins Best in Show.

Crowds lined Alexandria's waterfront Dec. 7 as nearly 40 boats cruised the Potomac River to take part in the 14thAnnual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights.

Classified Advertising December 11, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Robert Werth of Springfield Takes Reins of National Transportation Organization

Robert M. Werth, of Springfield, a leader in accessible transportation for more than three decades, has taken the helm of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) as its new president.

Area Roundups

Police responded to the report of a crash on Wednesday, Dec. 4 shortly after 11 p.m. Brian Benjamin Blaine, 30, of Manassas, was driving his 2001 Honda S2000 convertible southbound on the Franconia-Springfield Parkway, approaching Spring Village Drive.

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Making Runners, Walkers Happy

Last-minute holiday gift ideas at local business in Springfield.

Metro Run and Walk in Springfield, a locally owned and family-operated store, has a variety of gifts available for runners and walkers at a discounted price, starting with the 13 Days of Christmas sale on Dec. 13.

Letter: Grateful Locally

Your Op Ed piece ["Shop Locally, Shop in Fairfax," Connection, Nov. 21-27, 2013] prompted me to share my story of how important small businesses are in my community.

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Last-minute Holiday Gift Ideas

Local businesses in Fairfax Station and Lorton offer variety of choices.

For those looking to give the gift of relaxation this holiday season, Shapes Salon and Day Spa in the Fairfax Station shopping center on Ox Road is a great place to start. Shapes is decorated for the holiday season, and manager Amy Jordan said that the salon has holiday specials that are popular.

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A Taste of Braddock Holiday Party

Hundreds attend party hosted by Braddock District Supervisor John C. Cook.

Hundreds of people came out for the Annual Taste of Braddock Holiday Party on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at Braddock Hall in the Kings Park Library. Supervisor John C. Cook and his staff greeted guests who dined on food donated by Braddock-area businesses. Free food was provided by Café Rio, Milano’s, Hunan West, Wegmans, Smith & Clarkson’s, Aladdin's Eatery, among others.

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Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

Local business in Fairfax provide a range of choices.

Shoppers looking to shop consciously with fair trade principles in mind will find their goal reached at Fair Trade Winds located in Old Town Fairfax.

Week in Fairfax

What's happening in the Fairfax area.

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Helping Homeless Pets Find Homes

Join in the holiday spirit of giving and help save lives with the ‘Twelve Days of Adoptables,’ a partnership between the Washington Humane Society and the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. These organizations are joining forces to get the word out about some very special pets.

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Gift Baskets from Great Harvest

Local business in Burke offers last-minute gift ideas.

At Great Harvest Bread Company in Burke, customers can eat a freshly made bakery sandwich and complete some last-minute holiday shopping at the same time. The local bread and other baked-goods company, which also has a location in Lorton, provides a variety of gift baskets and products like baked goods and tea towels for a last-minute holiday shopper on any budget.

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Here They Come A-Wassailing

Robinson Singers selected to perform Candlelight Christmas concerts with The Washington Chorus.

While most of their peers are anxiously counting down the days until winter break, the 36 members of the Robinson Singers elite vocal group are focused on a different goal: performing with the renowned Washington Chorus at the Kennedy Center and Music Center at Strathmore.

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Mario Rubio Sworn In as Chairman

Realtors Association holds installation ceremony for new board.

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NCAR) installed their 2014 Board on Dec. 5 at a ceremony held at the association’s Fairfax headquarters. Out-going Chairman Jon Wolford of McEnearney Associates hosted the proceedings, which included a number of awards and recognitions in addition to the official swearing in of the new officers.

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Alexandria's Debt Has More Than Doubled Over Last Decade

City officials are on the verge of violating their own debt ceiling.

In the last decade, the city's debt has more than doubled from $200 million to more than $500 million — a burden that is becoming increasingly difficult for the city to manage, especially considering plans for Alexandria to finance the construction of a new Metrorail station at Potomac Yard.

New Approach to Mental Health

Reforms in wake of tragedy involving state senator's son.

Advocates for mental health services have been calling for improved services and increased funding for years, although the issue has been pushed aside year after year.

Wednesday, December 11

Gifts for the Foodie in Your Life

Local gourmets share their favorite products for the food lovers on your list.

Whether you’re shopping for a seasoned cook or a budding culinary enthusiast, buying presents for a foodie can be a daunting task. What’s the best pan? The coolest gadget? The latest trend in desserts? Local gourmets come to the rescue with culinary goodies to entice even the most discerning of food aficionados.

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Opening Up

Open floorplan plus cathedral ceiling equals Mclean ranch stylishly re-invented.

Assess a circa-1952 ranch on a shady street in McLean with an eye towards maximizing value. Among the shortcomings: rooms that are too small and dark; a kitchen that hasn't been remodeled in 25 years. A tiny breakfast room. A rear grade too steep for an addition. A front elevation with no visible front door.

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Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille May Join McAuliffe Administration, Prompting Special Election

Mayor headed to Richmond this week to interview for two positions.

Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille may be joining the new administration of Democratic Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe in the next few weeks, leaving the city of Alexandria and opening the door to a special election for mayor early next year.

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Vola Lawson Dies at 79

Former City Manager was a trailblazer for women, minorities.

In the midst of the turbulent race relations of the 1960s, a proper Southern Belle from Atlanta joined the Urban League in picketing Alexandria's City Hall, where the Confederate flag still flew proudly above Market Square. Little did the young bride know just how much her courage and leadership would help shape the next five decades of the city's history.

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Centreville Football Team Headed to State Championship Game

Wildcats beat Westfield in 6A North region final.

Centreville will face Oscar Smith in the big-school state championship game for the second time in three seasons.

Holiday Décor: Make It Sparkle

Local designers offer suggestions for home decorating.

’Tis the season for decking the halls. Whether your style is traditional and colorful, muted and demure or metallic and glittery, three local designers offer distinct holiday decorating ideas to spark your creativity.

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Come Home to a Luxury Bedroom

Local designers unveil inviting spaces that are perfect for dreaming of sugarplums.

Bedrooms are no longer just for sleeping, at least according to some local designers. They’re for relaxing and watching television, but they’re also for reading and for eating a lazy weekend breakfast. In fact, some modern bedrooms are probably larger than their owners’ first apartments. Three local tastemakers unveil master bedrooms that are so opulent and amenity-filled that it’s surprising their owners ever want to leave.

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A New Luxury Kitchen for the Holidays

Designers describe the perfect spaces for baking, cooking and entertaining.

With the holiday season in full swing, many people are finding themselves spending more time in the kitchen. Whether you hate to cook or love it, it can be more enjoyable when done in the kitchen of your dreams, complete with state-of-the-art appliances and custom-made marble topped islands.

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Cartoon: Take Heed

Take Heed

A "Scancer" Update

Since you asked, or rather indulged me the past few weeks by wading through my two "Scanticipation" columns anticipating a result, I am happy to finally share that result with you: "Stable and better." These are the exact words e-mailed to me by my oncologist in response to my post-Thanksgiving inquiry about my CT Scan completed on the 27th.

Editorial: Happy Holidays, Safely

SoberRide safety net, 1-800-200-TAXI.

Holiday party season is well under way, along with winter weather advisories. It’s up to individuals to make good decisions about celebrations that involve alcohol and how to handle transportation.

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Tysons Plan Debated

Follow-up dialogue with County staff on Phase I, Land Use.

As part of the Tysons Plan Amendment Process, a follow-up meeting on Dec. 4 was held by the Fairfax County Planning Staff with the public at Freedom Hill Elementary School. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss proposed changes to Phase 1 of the Tysons Plan. Implementation of the Tysons Development Plan began in 2010, after a 5 year planning process.

Additional Tests Delay Completion of Silver Line Phase 1

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced that additional tests are needed on Phase 1 of the Silver Line, focusing on software updates related to the Automatic Train Control System, before the project can be turned over to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Ellie McFadden, 8, of Great Falls Wins Northwest FCU Video Contest

To mark the launch of the Credit Union’s new YouTube channel, along with its Facebook and Twitter pages, Northwest Federal invited members to create 60-90 second videos that show why they love their credit union. Ellie McFadden, 8, of Great Falls won 1st Place and $500 in Under age 18 category. Jennifer Riebling, 17, of Fairfax won 2nd Place and $250.

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Lady Statesmen Gymnasts Win Third Place in Season Opener

The George C. Marshall Lady Statesmen Gymnastics team kicked off their 2013-14 season with a third place finish in a six-team contest at Washington & Lee High School in Arlington.

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Holiday Art Show and Sale Moves to Wolf Trap

This year the annual Great Falls Studios Holiday Art Show and Sale will be held at the Center for Education at Wolf Trap on Dec. 14 & 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Because of this new larger venue more than 30 members are able to participate in this event. The Center is located at 1645 Trap Road in Vienna.

Ron Glass Named Top Producer at Long & Foster

Ron Glass, a commercial broker with Long & Foster Real Estate’s Commercial sales office, located in Vienna, has been named top producer for September 2013. Long & Foster is the largest independent residential real estate company in the United States.

Holiday Musical Comes to Alden Theatre

Theatre IV’s production of “The Shoemaker and the Christmas Elves” will be presented at The Alden in McLean, as part of its McLean Kids Performance Series, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14. Tickets are $15, $10 for McLean tax district residents. The theatre is located at 1234 Ingleside Avenue, inside the McLean Community Center.

Teen Center Offers Winter Break Trips

The Old Firehouse Teen Center (OFTC), a satellite program of the McLean Community Center (MCC), is offering day trips for 5th through 9th graders during Fairfax County Public Schools’ winter break. The center will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The trips will depart and return from OFTC, which is located at 1440 Chain Bridge Road.

McLean High Student Dances with Encore

Performing in upcoming holiday show, ‘Switching Christmas.’

When a precocious, young girl changes places with a playful elf at the North Pole, things are bound to go awry and only Santa can save the day. That’s the premise of Encore Theatrical Arts Project’s new holiday show, “Switching Christmas,” and one of the performers is McLean High senior Emma Konnick.

Great Falls Celebration of Lights

Dozens watch Santa and Mrs. Claus light the Great Falls Christmas Tree.

The Great Falls Village Centre was the site for the annual Santa and Mrs. Clause lighting the Christmas Tree after arriving by lighted, antique fire truck on Saturday, Dec. 7. The event included a performance by the Great Falls Village Green Day School, pony rides, a petting zoo, a bonfire, hot apple cider and hot chocolate. — Steve Hibbard

Jingle on Lake Anne Plaza Draws Crowds

Local art showcased at Reston Community Center.

There was a heavy turnout at Reston’s Lake Anne Plaza on Saturday. Two events were being held in conjunction with each other, one the reception at Lake Anne Reston Community Center for the Gifts from the HeART Exhibit.

Mosby and Rangers Topic of Great Falls Senior Center January Event

The Great Falls Senior Center (GFSC) event for January will focus on the Civil War in Fairfax County. GFSC members have shown particular interest in local Civil War history.

Column: Busy Time!

President Franklin Roosevelt once tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to always be later in November, but he was stopped by merchants who wanted maximum time to sell their goods before Christmas. In those days holiday shopping started the day after Thanksgiving rather than the increasing practice of starting on Thanksgiving evening. However the schedule is arranged, the last month of the year turns out to be very busy for most everyone, but especially for members of the legislature.

Online Launch for 2013 Wish List Project

Being a Wish List “Angel” easier than ever before in 14 year history of The Wish List Project

With a little help from her friends, Great Falls resident Ginger Mahon, founder of The Wish List Project, has taken The Wish List high-tech. A Wish List “Angel,” donor Lissa Perez, assisted Mahon with building online sign up capability for The 2013 Wish List Project on the website “SignUp Genius.” Perez is a Great Falls resident and partner at Deloitte & Touche, LLP.

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Bobbie Kilberg Honored as Business Hall of Fame Laureate

The 2013 Washington Business Hall of Fame Laureate and Northern Virginia Technology Council President and CEO Bobbie Green Kilberg with Virginia Governor Bob O’Donnell and Junior Achievement student and student at George C. Marshall High School Matt Colwell.

Holiday Fun for Everyone

Season highlights sparkling winter wonderland to Santa visits.

The weather outside may not be frightful, but it sure has that wintry feel to it. Fortunately, there are seasonable activities and events that warm up December days and brighten December nights.

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Herndon Lights Christmas Tree

Families gather at event hosted by Town of Herndon and Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Despite cold weather, scores of people showed up to hear the singing of Christmas carols at the Town Square in downtown Herndon. Eileen Curtis, president of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce, greeted everyone on Saturday evening, Dec. 7.

Garza Holds Listening Tour

Schools Superintendent visits Cooper Middle School in McLean.

Fairfax County Schools Superintendent Karen Garza, Ph.D., held a Listening Tour on Saturday, Dec. 7, at Cooper Middle School in McLean where more than 100 residents of the Dranesville District shared their concerns about local schools. The meeting, which was attended by local teachers, principals and parents, included School Board Rep. Janie Strauss (Dranesville).

Colonial Day at Churchill Road

On Friday, Dec. 6, Churchill Road fourth graders stepped back in time to the 19th century and participated in the school’s annual Colonial Day. This immersion into the life styles and customs of the colonial days marked the culmination of the fourth graders’ social studies unit on Colonial America.

Vienna’s Karin’s Florist Named Best in America

Vienna’s Karin’s Florist has been named the Best Florist in America by the hit daytime show “Steve Harvey” as part of its first annual Neighborhood Awards. Airing on Friday, Nov. 29, the “Steve Harvey” Neighborhood Awards recognize the unsung individuals and businesses who exemplify excellence in their communities. Categories this year include: Best Daycare Provider, Best Principal, Best Bus Driver, Best Police Officer, Best Deli, Best Bakery, Best Pizzeria, Best Florist, Best Steakhouse and Best Coffee Shop. Viewer votes determined both the nominees and the final winners. “Steve Harvey” is a nationally syndicated daytime show - check local listings for time and channel.

Herndon Community Center Holds Annual Arts and Crafts Show

Local artists and entrepreneurs arrive for Sunday show despite snow.

More than 50 local artists came to the Herndon Community Center located at 814 Ferndale Avenue for the 35th Annual Arts and Crafts Show. Kevin L. Mitchell, resident of Fredricksburg arrived with a display of handcrafted wire sculpture figures. "Over the years I discovered my artistic voice, and I started bringing my works to comic conventions this year," said Mitchell. He has a variety of designs in his catalog from sports figures to science fiction themed figures.

The Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna Receives Wells Fargo Donation

The Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna (SCOV) was recognized by the Vienna Branch (Maple Avenue) of Wells Fargo Bank for their outstanding commitment to seniors in the community. SCOV was also the recipient of a donation $1,000 for their work addressing vital community needs. Thirty-three other local agencies and schools were also honored at Wells Fargo Bank’s “South Potomac Days of Giving” breakfast 2013 held earlier in the month. SCOV serves seniors in the Oakton, Vienna, Dunn Loring, Merrifield and portions of Fairfax and Reston areas.

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‘Old Fashioned Holiday’ at Frying Pan

Brisk weather was not a deterrent to the hundreds who came out to celebrate the ‘Old Fashioned Holiday on the Farm’ at Frying Pan Farm Park on Dec. 7. Hundreds enjoyed the holiday music, pictures with Santa, close-up meetings with farm animals, roasted marshmallows, crafts, food, hayrides and pony rides.

Highlanders Hold Holiday Bazaar

Fundraiser offers school spirit wear and arts and crafts at McLean High School

The Highlander Holiday Bazaar was held at McLean High School on Saturday, Dec. 7. — Steve Hibbard

Boy Scout Troop 55 Celebrates 35 Years

Scouts will host a cooking demonstration this Saturday.

Boy Scouts from Troop 55 in Great Falls experienced rappelling down cliffs, spelunking in caves, skiing down mountains, canoeing in rivers, backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, traversing white water rapids and improving their marksmanship. These are just a few of the activities that the boys enjoyed as they developed their skills in leadership, responsibility and community service.

McLean Holiday Crafts Show a Hit

Featured 70 fine American artisans from across the country.

The 31st Annual McLean Holiday Crafts Show was held Dec. 6, 7 and 8 at the McLean Community Center. The event featured 70 artisans from across the country in a juried show with paintings, glass, gourmet foods and jewelry, among other things. —Steve Hibbard

Humanity at Its Finest

To the Editor: Thank you to the ladies and police of Vienna who gave support and encouragement to a handicapped old lady whose walker tipped and she ended up waiting an hour in the street for an ambulance. This was kindness and comfort way beyond the call of duty. Thank you for examples of humanity at its finest. Gratefully, Clare Schwartz Oakton

McLean Hosts ReinDog Parade

Dog owners display spruced up pooches in their holiday finest.

McLean’s finest pooches donned holiday apparel and paraded around during the 17th Annual ReinDog Parade Saturday at the Langley Shopping Center in McLean. Dignitaries included Santa on a fire truck, Peggy Fox of WUSA-TV Channel 9, and Supervisor John Foust. The dogs were judged in the following categories: small, medium, large and other (one cat). Celebrity judges included Dr. Kate Salkeld, DVM; Dr. Craig Felton, DVM; and Supervisor Foust. The entry fee was two cans of dog food that was donated to the Humane Society of Fairfax County.

Madison High Senior Olivia Staton to Appear on NPR's From the Top

James Madison High School senior, Olivia Staton, 16, will appear on a national broadcast of From the Top on NPR, the pre-eminent showcase for America’s best young classical musicians, hosted by acclaimed pianist Christopher O’Riley. The episode will air locally on 90.9 FM on Dec. 22 at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, December 10

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Wakefield Boys’ Basketball Beats T.C. in Memorial Game

Warriors win despite shooting 9-for-30 from the free-throw line.

The Wakefield boys' basketball team opened its season with a 56-51 win over T.C. Williams.

Monday, December 9

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Shop ‘Til You Drop

More than 30 female artisans will showcase their crafts Dec. 8 at the 16th Annual Women’s Holiday Art Show in support of the City of Alexandria’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Services.

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43rd Scottish Walk Weekend

Be prepared as pipes, plaid and pageantry fill the streets of Old Town Dec. 7 during the 43rd annual Scottish Walk Parade, the centerpiece of a weekend of holiday events that includes a Holiday Marketplace, Designer Tour of Homes and Taste of Scotland cocktail reception.

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Thinking Small

White House Drug Czar visits Holy Cow.

White House Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske paid a visit to Del Ray's Holy Cow restaurant Nov. 30 as part of President Barack Obama's initiative to support “Small Business Saturday.”

Let There Be Light

The City of Alexandria held its annual Holiday Tree Lighting in Market Square Nov. 29. Entertainment and a visit from Santa were part of the festivities that signaled the official start of the holiday season. For a complete schedule of holiday events, including free concerts to be held in Market Square, visit www.visitalexandriava.com.

Toys for Tots

Firefighters partner with Marine Corps in annual toy drive.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department will once again partner with the U.S. Marine Corps in the annual Toys for Tots program and are asking residents to drop off new, unwrapped toys at their neighborhood fire station.

Saturday, December 7

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Woodson's Bowles Scores Career-High 25 Points in Win over Fairfax

Junior point guard returned to Woodson after planning to transfer.

The Woodson boys' basketball team evened its record at 1-1 with win over Fairfax.

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Robinson Boys' Basketball Outlasts Edison in Double-Overtime Thriller

Rams make 14 3-pointers, including eight from senior guard Bynum.

The Robinson boys' basketball team opened its season with a 95-91 victory against Edison.

Friday, December 6

Vienna Dentists to Host Dentistry From The Heart Event

On Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, Vienna Smiles, located at 2553 Chain Bridge Road, Vienna, will host a Dentistry From The Heart (DFTH) event to provide free dental service to those in need based on a first-come first-serve basis from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is the dental practice of Hisham Barakat, DDS and Jennifer Babbio, DDS. For more information, call 703-938-0212.

Thursday, December 5

Whitman Girls’ Basketball Has Visions of Winning at UMBC

Vikings lost by one point in last season’s state semifinals.

The Whitman girls' basketball team will face Good Counsel on Friday.

Newman Enters First Season as Langley Head Boys’ Basketball Coach

Collier, Callaghan are Saxons’ top returning athletes.

The Langley boys' basketball team will take on Stuart on Friday.

Alcorta Wins Foot Locker South Regionals

Lake Braddock’s Christen, Kunc advance to nationals.

The Football Locker national cross country meet is this weekend in San Diego.

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Esherick Returns as Yorktown’s Top Scoring Threat

Senior point guard Leano will be asked for leadership.

The Yorktown boys' basketball team lost to Woodson in the opening round of last year's regional tournament.

T.C. Williams Figures to Benefit From Increased Depth

Titans won district title last season with roster small in numbers.

The T.C. Williams girls' basketball team won its season-opener against Bishop Ireton.

Mount Vernon Girls’ Basketball Stumbles in Season Opener

Majors lose to strong Centreville team, 60-32.

The Mount Vernon girls' basketball team is off to a 0-1 start.

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Centreville Girls’ Basketball Thumps Mount Vernon in Opener

Wildcats prove to their coach they have the desire to win.

The Centreville girls' basketball team beat Mount Vernon, 60-32.

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Westfield Beats Lake Braddock with Improbable Comeback.

Bulldogs overcome 13-point deficit in game’s final six minutes.

Westfield will face Centreville in the 6A North title game on Saturday.

Tux the Penguin Loves Teachers

The Friends Huge Used Book Sale is Thursday, Dec. 5 – Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Richard Byrd library.

Can the Richard Byrd library mascot, Tux the Penguin, do something special for our local teachers and their students? He thinks so. He talked with the Friends and they have created an event everyone will love - Educators Night - as part of their upcoming sale.

Jean Landreville Named New Executive Director at Greenspring

Jean Landreville has been named the new Executive Director at Greenspring, an Erickson Living retirement community in Springfield. She joined Erickson Living in 2005 and has 18 years of experience in the senior housing and health care industries.

A Riotous Farce

The Lady from Maxim’s at West Springfield’s stage.

After waking up from a night of drunken debauchery, Dr. Petypon spins a web of lies to keep his unsuspecting wife and uncle from discovering the notorious dancer found in his bed the next morning. A delightful romp, The Lady from Maxim’s showcases a slew of talented performers and pokes fun at everything from provincial life to the medical profession on the West Springfield High School stage.

Adding Personal Touch to Fairfax Station Railroad Museum

Wreaths hung outside the museum feature cuttings from members’ houses.

On Nov. 26, members of the Dominion Valley Garden Club didn’t just gather at the Fairfax Station Railroad Museum for a history lesson; they wanted to spruce it up – quite literally. For the past eight years, the women’s group of nearly 50 active members has helped decorate the exterior of the museum with fresh green wreaths. Their work is usually complemented with interior halls-decking by the Clifton Community Women’s Club.

Tales of Triumph

Dominion Power's Johnson launches new book.

Sherman Parker was only 14-years-old when he was selected as one of two African American students to desegregate King George County schools in rural Virginia in the 1960s. Shunning a police escort, he still remembers the angry crowds that greeted him on his first day of school.

MinuteClinic Opens Walk-in Medical Clinic Inside CVS/pharmacy Store in Fairfax

MinuteClinic, the largest provider of retail-based medical clinics in the United States, has opened a new walk-in clinic inside the CVS/pharmacy store in Fairfax at 3921 Prosperity Ave. It is the twenty-third location in the Northern Virginia.

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Encore Dancers Present ‘Switching Christmas’

Fairfax High student is in new, holiday show.

When a precocious, young girl changes places with a playful elf at the North Pole, things are bound to go awry and only Santa can save the day.

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‘It’s Not OK to Turn a Blind Eye to Bullying’

Fairfax High students pledge to stand by each other.

Children of all ages get bullied and bully others, themselves. It’s not true of all children, but it’s true of enough of them that Fairfax County and City of Fairfax schools want to do something about it.

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Fairfax High’s Musicians Perform at VMEA Event

For the first time in Fairfax High’s history, the school band’s Wind Ensemble was chosen to perform at the Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA) convention. This year’s event was held Friday, Nov. 22, at The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va.

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Small Business Saturday: Different Shops, Different Turnouts

The Bike Lane in Springfield and The Picket Fence in Burke experienced two versions of the national event.

Following the controversial additional shopping hours on Thanksgiving, the typical fray on Black Friday, and the online melee of Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is positioned in a highly competitive shopping storm.

Volunteer Opportunities in Fairfax County

Volunteer positions around the area.

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Local Non-profit Faces Decrease in Donations

Our Daily Bread is in need of sponsors for their holiday program, which helps local families struggling to make ends meet.

Our Daily Bread, a non-profit that provides assistance to low-income members of the community, has seen a decrease in donations since last year, making it difficult for them to meet the needs of their holiday program.

Sweet Saturday

Cupcakes Actually in Fairfax offered free cupcakes as a gift with purchase.

“There was Black Friday, and that’s great for small businesses,” said Braddock District supervisor John C. Cook. But, he continued, “This makes it a really nice day to celebrate small, independent businesses where you get a different shopping experience, an alternative to going to the malls.”

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Long-Shuttered Waterfront Food Court to Get a New Lease on Life

Planning Commission approves new waterfront dining proposal.

It's been more than two years since the waterfront Food Court shut its doors, the culmination of a long and steady decline over the last decade as vendors abandoned the building and the facility began falling into disrepair. Now the building may have a new lease on life.

Democrats Shut Out of Power in Senate

Even if Democrats win in two special elections, control over committees is unlikely.

Don't expect Democrats to take control over state Senate committees anytime soon, even if the party manages to hold both of the seats where special elections are now underway.

Classified Advertising December 3, 2013

Read the latest ads here!

Wednesday, December 4

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Reston Shelter Unveils New Mosaic

Embry Rucker Community Shelter dedicates mosaic project.

The Embry Rucker Shelter in Reston celebrated the completion of a mosaic project which began in April 2013.

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Holiday Parade Returns To Reston

Holiday season celebrated in Reston Town Center.

Activities at Reston Town Center continued throughout Black Friday, with thousands of people participating or observing holiday themed events. Among the events were the Gingerbread Man Mile for Kids, the annual holiday parade, and the evening Christmas tree lighting and sing along.

GRACE Names New Director

Holly Koons McCullough appointed Executive Director for the Greater Reston Arts Center

The Board of Directors for the Greater Reston Arts Center announced the appointment of Holly Koons McCullough as the Center's Executive Director. McCullough, who currently serves as the Center's Curator, will keep that responsibility as well.

Column: Unmet Needs Can Lead to Tragedy

The recent tragic stabbing of State Senator Creigh Deeds by his son who then took his own life brings to attention the importance of the mental health system and its very fragile condition in Virginia.

Column: Trading a Pontoon Boat for a River Boat

Once we had closed the Reston Farmers Market regular season and assisted in organizing the extended Fall Farmers Market at Lake Anne, co-Market Master Fran and I decided a change of scenery was in order. We traded in our pontoon boat on Lake Anne for a river boat cruising up the Danube with old friends.

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Chanukah Celebrated At Herndon Town Square

Menorah lit as community celebrates Festival of Lights.

There was a festive atmosphere on Sunday night as members of the community came to the Herndon Town Square to celebrate Chanukah.

Performing at All American Bowl

Herndon High senior Blake Morgan will perform in premier football game.

Herndon High School senior Blake Morgan was honored at the school auditorium with the presentation of an All-American Bowl jacket from local soldiers, in the company of friends, family, fellow band mates and students. "We are thrilled Blake is representing us," said Herndon High Band Director Kathleen G. Jacoby.

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Ring In Holiday Season with Gifts from Potomac Village

So much, so near.

The shopping season is here — and it’s time to find special gifts for everyone on your list. But instead of rushing to the mall, or heading to the outlets, this year, shop in Potomac.

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Life Turns on a Dime

After ‘hitting a wall of sand’ on the beach on July 23, 2013 Tucker Winfrey of Herndon and his family have been ‘overwhelmed by the goodness and generosity of the people around them.’

After ‘hitting a wall of sand’ on the beach on July 23, 2013 Tucker Winfrey of Herndon and his family have been ‘overwhelmed by the goodness and generosity of the people around them.’

New Year’s Eve Celebration at ArtSpace Herndon

A New Year’s Eve Celebration is an ArtSpace Herndon signature event. The celebration, on Tuesday, Dec. 31, from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. in historic downtown Herndon, features live music and family-friendly activities both inside and outside the gallery.

‘Dress Up Herndon’ Contest Announced

Town of Herndon residents are invited to deck the halls, hang wreaths, string lights – and nominate their own or their neighbors’ homes for the annual "Dress Up Herndon for the Holidays" Neighborhood Decoration Contest, sponsored by the town’s Cultivating Community Initiative.

Obituary: Dr. Abolghassem Ghaffari

Dr. Abolghassem Ghaffari, who had taught at Harvard and Princeton Universities, died Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 at 10:55 p.m. in Los Angeles. He was 106 years old.

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Good Neighbor Awards Presented

The Town of Herndon’s annual Good Neighbor Awards were presented on Tuesday, Nov. 26, by Mayor Lisa Merkel and the Herndon Town Council to recipients Dr. Soo Kang and Jung Kang, and Mike and Carol Fleming. Recipients were nominated by town citizens for their kindness and neighborliness. From left: Jung Kang, Mayor Merkel, Soo Kang, Carol Fleming, Mike Fleming, Tooran Shadman (Cultivating Community member, the volunteer group that judges all nominations and selects winners).

Obituary: K Warren Easley

K Warren Easley, 89, beloved husband of the late Margaret Mary (2004), and a Potomac resident for over 50 years, died peacefully on Nov. 19, 2013, at ManorCare Potomac, from complications of Parkinson's and pneumonia.

Tribute: In Memory of Earl E. Shaffer

Arlington attorney affected many in his decades of service.

The recent passing of Earl E. Shaffer, attorney at law, marks the end of an era. Most everyone knew Shaffer in some capacity — either as an attorney, acting Commonwealth’s Attorney or a substitute judge — because he served in all three capacities during his decades-long career. Shaffer touched many people’s lives throughout his tenure as a professional and public servant.

Commentary: WMCCA Opposes Rezoning of Tennis Club

As a follow-up to the well-attended November General meeting, on Nov. 24 WMCCA sent a letter to Francoise Carrier, chair, Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

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‘Must-see’ Absurd Nonsense

1st Stage presents ‘Noises Off.’

Good news. The cure for doldrums or just a plain-old bad mood is here. It is playing at 1st Stage, where a merry, talented band of actors take the audience on a frenetic, joyful, ride into the farce "Noises Off." The actors literally throw themselves into the production. They are unselfconsciously fearless in their pratfalls, spot-on with their comic timing and bring on a happy, silly bliss.

Week in Vienna

Thing happening around Vienna.

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Church Street Holiday Stroll in Vienna

Hundreds come out to music, marshmallows and winter magic.

Hundreds of people strolled along Church Street on Monday evening, Dec. 2, during the annual Church Street Holiday Stroll between Lawyers Road and Mill Street. Highlights included local singing groups performing holiday carols, a petting zoo, marshmallow-roasting on open fires, hot chocolate and a visit with Santa.

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Warrior Canine Connection Celebrates First Graduation

Vienna’s Patty Kennedy honored.

The graduation ceremony was like every other commencement. It included a graduation speaker, honored guests, the National Anthem, an invocation and a crowd of spectators cheering as the grads took their places on stage. They were proud to have just completed their schooling and ready to enter the next phase of their lives, meet more challenges and discover new horizons.

Jon T. Thew of Reston Dies

Jon T. Thew, beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother and friend, passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday, Nov. 24. Jon was originally from the Hudson Valley area of New York. He has resided in Reston, Va., since 1992. Jon had a 30-year career at IBM and worked as a consultant until he retired in 2001. Jon was an active member of Vienna Presbyterian Church.

Handcrafters Guild Arts & Crafts Show Comes to Vienna

Thanksgiving weekend tradition draws shoppers from throughout region.

The Northern Virginia Handcrafters Guild Arts & Crafts Show annually takes over the Vienna Community Center for three days of the Thanksgiving weekend.

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Holiday Gifting from Toys to Acts of Kindness

The spirit of the season is giving of love.

There’s still plenty of time to buy gifts for family and party hosts. There is even time to buy a gift or two for someone without the means to reciprocate. Here are a few ideas from local shops, restaurants and resources. And, please, remember that gifts do not have to come in wrapping to be welcomed and appreciated.

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The Latest on Biscuit

The little Shih Tzu finds a loving home in Oakton.

Biscuit, the little Shih Tzu who survived on his own for more than two years in the Franconia Community and was rescued by Fairfax County Animal Control Officer Enna Lugo, staff and volunteers of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, has been adopted and is adjusting well to life in his new home. After being rescued last April, he spent several months in foster care with Officer Lugo and was adopted in August by Faisal and Rashid of Oakton, and their two school-age children, Julia and Sam.

Langley High Orchestra Presents Russian Concert

The Langley HS Orchestra will present their winter concert on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Langley HS Auditorium. The concert is a collaboration of two of Langley's largest programs—Russian and Orchestra.

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Cartoon: S.S. Eminent Domain

S.S. Eminent Domain

Weichert, Realtors’ Recognizes the McLean/Dolley Madison Office, Top Associate

Bruce L. Green, regional vice president of Weichert, Realtors, announced the McLean/Dolley Madison office was recognized for outstanding performance in October.

Week in McLean

McLean Holiday Homes Tour Kicks Off Thursday, 9:30 a.m.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5, will kick off the McLean Woman’s Club’s Holiday Homes Tour, set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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McLean Stores Offer a Variety of Holiday Gift Ideas

"The staff at Child’s Play Toys have a great working knowledge of all the games, books and toys, and know what is appropriate for each age group," said customer Michele Hopkins.

Madeira Students Invited to People of Color Conference

The Madeira School has 15 community members scheduled to attend the annual National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference (PoCC) and Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) in Washington, D.C. from Dec. 5-7.

Cantata for Community

Brian E. Wilhour composes the Christmas Cantata, which he will conduct on Sunday, Dec. 8, at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in McLean.

"In high school I was convinced I didn’t want to be a musician at all. That was the last thing I wanted." That’s Immanuel Church Music Director Brian E. Wilhour, reflecting on his 15 years at Immanuel, and having written 15 major choral and orchestral works.

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Brightening Soldiers’ Holidays

Great Falls teens send packages to servicemen and women deployed overseas.

Great Falls Interact, a youth Rotary Club for high school students, held a service event on Saturday, Nov. 23, in Great Falls.

White House Ornaments on Sale to Benefit Artemis House

Great Falls Friends and Neighbors club is selling White House Ornaments to benefit Artemis House, an emergency shelter in Fairfax County for victims of domestic and sexual violence, often mistreated women and children.

Promoting Giving at Forestville

Forestville PTA donates Thanksgiving dinners to sister school in Herndon.

The Forestville Elementary PTA has collected more than 80 Thanksgiving Baskets this year for distribution to families in need at Dranesville Elementary in Herndon. The Annual Food drive is part of a 10 year partnership between the two "Sister Schools" and is a favorite Forestville seasonal tradition.

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Best of Both Worlds, Holiday Gifts and Local Connections

Holiday on Parade at The Saddlery, Great Falls Nails & Spa, and Great Dogs of Great Falls.

The Saddlery at 731-E Walker Road in Great Falls is well-stocked with reasonably priced holiday gifts that range from Patricia Barta custom designed Greek leather and cubic zirconia magnetic clasp bracelets to equestrian themed items like Breyer horses, including the 2013 holiday horse, "Holiday on Parade."

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Speaking a Language of Art

Camille Speer Of Great Falls wins award for filmmaking.

Camille Speer, a resident of Great Falls and a senior at Langley High School, discovered her passion for producing films in the Fairfax Academy Professional TV Production class.

$8 Million Shortfall in Arlington

Budget official says the forecast is difficult but manageable.

Arlington County is facing a $8 million shortfall heading into the next budget season, which will unfold over the next few months as County Board members consider the county manager's proposed budget early next year.

Tuesday, December 3

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Warhawks Welcome Return of 6-Foot-2 Koshuta

Post player missed sophomore season due to torn ACL.

The Madison girls' basketball team opens its season tonight at Oakton.

The Holiday Blues: Cope and Prevent

Mental health experts say being realistic and seeking support can help you avoid holiday stress and depression.

While the holiday season is filled with parties, shopping, decorating and other festive activities, mental health experts say it often brings unwelcome guests as well: stress and depression. While they can be difficult to manage when one is in the midst of a bout, with a few strategies one may be able to prevent both before they ruin the holiday season.

Combating Holiday Stress

Local experts suggest turning to yoga and meditation to relax.

Marybeth Montoro says her entire body relaxed as she lay stretched out on a yoga mat for savasana, a relaxation pose, at Pure Prana Yoga Studio in Alexandria, while her yoga instructor guided the class through a breathing practice.

Staying Fit During the Holidays

Staving off extra pounds during the season of sweets.

Patty McAndrews works out with a trainer twice a week at of TRUE Health and Wholeness in Arlington. She found that restarting her fitness regimen about two months ago has strengthened her abdominal muscles and toned her body.

Holiday Recipe Makeovers

Strategies for keeping traditional treats healthy

When Alice Jenkins saw her doctor two months ago, he diagnosed her with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and suggested she change her diet and lose about 30 pounds. Lawson, 45, started a diet program and has lost nine and a half pounds, but now that she’s in the midst of the holiday season, she’s concerned about losing the strides that she’s made with her dietary changes. "I have a large family and we get together a lot during the holidays," said Lawson, who lives in Alexandria. "There is always sweet potato pie, macaroni and cheese, and deep fried turkey."

"Scanticipation" Not So Much

As much as last week’s column, "Scanticipation" was about my looking forward – in a non-foreboding way, to my scheduled CT Scan on the 27th and the presumptive positive (not negative) results, having to write a column for this week before having received those results makes this writing effort particularly challenging.

Every Tweet Counts

How Republican Brian Schoeneman earned wrath of his party by making sure every vote counted in county.

On the morning of Nov. 6, the day after the general election, it appeared that Republican Mark Obenshain had eked out a razor-thin victory over Democrat Mark Herring to become Virginia’s next Attorney General. Like most hotly-contested political battles, the close race generated even closer scrutiny.

Editorial: Who Will Be Hurt?

Innovations, changes and cuts designed to help the budget should be subject to analysis of how they will affect those on the short end of the economic and digital divide.

As Fairfax County faces a tight budget year and Fairfax County Public Schools consider significant cuts, clearly some changes are going to affect services on the ground. As various proposals emerge, there should be some specific analysis of how changes, innovations and cuts would affect the poorest one-third or so of the county’s residents specifically.

Monday, December 2

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Annual Holiday Design Event Supports Garden Club Programs

Arlington’s Rock Spring Garden Club held its fourth annual Holiday Design Event on Thursday, Nov. 21, attracting a sold-out crowd of more than 200 to watch experts demonstrate how to craft a variety of floral arrangements for Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.

Letter: Time To End TCW's Marching Mandate

Letter to the Editor

One of the most common explanations for why talented Alexandria musicians drop out of band before high school is a little known but antiquated school mandate that in order to participate in T.C. Williams High School band programs students must join the marching band.