News for Thursday, January 9, 2014

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Winter Concerts Wow Audiences At Herndon High

Herndon students display their musical skills.

In December, students in the Herndon High choir and band were very active. Members of the Herndon High School Band "Pride of Herndon" went to Hawaii to represent Virginia in the 2013 Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade. The Pride of Herndon was awarded Grand Champion honors for their performance. The Herndon High School Choir Department has also been busy with choral groups putting on performances for the holiday season. This included an evening show on Dec. 7 at Herndon Town Square by The Herndon High School Madrigals and Herndon Brass Quintet.

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Wolf to Retire After 34 Years in Congress

Supervisor John Foust running for Democratic nomination, Republican nominee still up in the air.

After 34 years of representing constituents in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10) announced Dec. 17 that he would not seek reelection to the House of Representatives seat he has occupied for 17 terms. Wolf expressed his appreciation toward his family, staff and all of his constituents who supported his efforts in office.

2013: Banner Year in McLean and Great Falls

The total number of home sales in McLean and Great Falls is up in 2013 over 2012. Further every market segment is up year over year except for that in the under $750,000 category. The reason I believe that this segment fell short in terms of number of sales is due to lack of supply. Current inventory level is less than one month for homes to purchase for under $750,000 in McLean/Great Falls, which includes condos. Economists and other experts that analyze the real estate market typically consider a balanced market to be a 6-month supply, thus the current lower price market in McLean and Great Falls is in a seller’s market cycle. This is in line with market conditions experienced throughout 2013.

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First Night Welcomes 2014

Fireworks and Fun Hunt highlight New Year's Eve celebration.

Revelers from as far away as Paris celebrated the New Year in Alexandria as a dazzling display of fireworks lit up the waterfront to signal the arrival of 2014.

Association of Retirees Elects Officers

Dutzman honored for 15 years of service.

More than 70 members and guests joined Police Chief Earl Cook and Fire Chief Adam Thiel in attending the annual Alexandria Retired Police, Fire and Sheriff's Association holiday celebration Dec. 12, where the 2014 officers were sworn in for the coming year.

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‘Curtain Up!’

Edelen shines in Signature Theatre production of "Gypsy."

She was always more tease than strip, and ever since she first shared the stage with Tessie the Tassel Twirler in the 1920s, she was determined to be famous for more than feathers and falsies. She was Gypsy Rose Lee, the queen of burlesque, whose 1959 memoirs inspired the award-winning Broadway musical "Gypsy," now playing at Shirlington’s Signature Theatre.

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Alexandria's New Book Shelf

DreamDog Foundation creates citywide literacy program.

Passionate about sharing the gift of reading, the DreamDog Foundation intends to get books into the hands of every child in need in the City of Alexandria through its new literacy program called Alexandria's Book Shelf.

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Suspicious Death in Springfield

Serena Hansken-Vierimaa, 41, was found dead in her home on New Year’s Day.

Serena Hansken-Vierimaa, 41, of Springfield was found dead by police responding to reports of shots fired in a home on the 7100 block of Healy Drive on New Year’s Day. According to a report released by the Fairfax County Police Department Public Information Office, officers attempted to call the home several times and knocked on the door, but were unable to gain access until 9 p.m.

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Long-time Springfield Resident Shares His Story of Flying

Raymond Gilbert, who served in World War II, will turn 90 later this month.

As long-time Springfield resident Raymond Gilbert prepares to turn 90 years old on Jan. 23, he will continue working on his autobiography and reflect on his time in World War II and as a value engineer for the Department of Defense.

Republican Women of Clifton Launches New Year Speakers Program

The Republican Women of Clifton (RWC) launches its New Year program with two speakers: Louisiana state senator Elbert Guillory, who will talk about the "Presidential Report Card, a review of the President's Performance on National Policy," and Peggy Nienaber, Chief of Program for Faith and Action as well as President of the Capitol Hill Executive Service Club, whose topic is "Changing the hearts and minds of elected officials on Capitol Hill."

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Fairfax Water to Supply City of Fairfax Residents

The City of Fairfax completed the sale of its water utility to Fairfax Water, beginning the process of merging these two water systems.

Shelter Offers ‘Pet Haven’ Services

Many people may not be aware that domestic violence and animal abuse are connected. People may stay in dangerous and traumatic situations in fear of leaving their pets behind to an abusive spouse or partner. The Fairfax County Animal Shelter is launching an expansion of the "Pet Haven" program offering emergency housing, food, supplies and care for pets in domestic violence situations.

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Fairfax Academy Presents Eighth Annual MCT Fest

Original music created by students at Fairfax Academy will be featured at the eighth annual Musical Computer Technology (MCT) Fest on Friday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m. at the Sherwood Community Center in the City of Fairfax. Fairfax Academy is one of six high school academies in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).

Leadership Fairfax to Host Annual Supervisors Breakfast

The Leadership Fairfax 23rd Annual Board of Supervisors Breakfast will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 7 - 9:30 a.m. at Hyatt Fair Lakes in Fairfax.

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Starting the New Year with a Hike

Area residents spend New Year’s Day at Mason Neck State Park.

Park rangers led visitors of Mason Neck State Park through a series of hikes on Jan. 1 as part of America’s State Parks First Day Initiative. Mason Neck hosted three hikes on New Year’s Day, each of varying difficulty. Interpretive Ranger Kevin Koons led eager hikers on the third guided hike of the day, which included an easy one-mile walk along the Bay View Trail, providing views of marshlands and Belmont Bay. Koons said the park is famous for its bald eagle sightings.

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Legislators Head to Richmond, Address Upcoming Session

Proposed bills and priorities include ethics reform and ABC Transformation.

As the General Assembly convenes on Jan. 8, several delegates from Fairfax County have written bills that tackle some of the issues they believe are important to Virginians. Del. Dave Albo (R-42) proposed a bill that would get rid of the Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s three person board and would replace them with five citizens with business experience who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state legislature. Members of the current three-person board make six-digit salaries and are appointed by the governor. Albo’s plan would make the position part time and would pay 50 dollars per day.

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Debate Over Residential Studio Units Continues

Housing advocates, Fairfax County supervisors, area residents address affordable housing.

Fairfax County residents have yet to agree on the specifics of residential studio units and are continuing the debate on several aspects of the proposed amendment. As of Jan. 6, the Planning Commission proposed amendment defines residential studios as efficiency units that make up a multiple-family residential building, or part of a building, in which 80 percent of the units must be for those who do not make more than 60 percent of the median income of the area. In the Washington, D.C. area, that is $45,000.

Problem-solving on 2014 Agenda

I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with my Board colleagues and Braddock residents on a number of important issues. Here are some of the key issues that will affect Fairfax County residents in 2014.

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‘Mr. Mac’ Nominated for Grammy Award

Glen McCarthy vying for first-ever music-educator honor.

Glen McCarthy played trumpet in high school; but when his parents gave him a guitar for graduation, it changed the trajectory of his life. He’s played guitar in bands ever since then – yet what’s defined him most, he says, is being a guitar teacher.