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Lori Baker

Stories by Lori

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Pioneering Change For Autism

University of Virginia seminar studies tension between “The Science & Lived Experience of Autism.”

Despite a recent surge in attention and research over the past decade about autism, controversy exists.

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Spring Hill Elementary Celebrates Earth Day

Students recognize Earth Day with performance, art, and fashion competition.

Earth Day at Spring Hill Elementary School is a big event. Students start well in advance planning and practicing performances, creating original artwork, or designing outfits made of recycled materials.

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McLean Loves its Pets

Pets connect owners to the wild world around them.

When it comes to pets, McLean is much like other communities. Our pets are pampered, doted on, and loved. And with good reason. According to these McLean pet owners, the unconditional love they give in return is immeasurable.

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Celebrating Art at Holly Hill

McLean Project for the Arts celebrates a year of visual arts at its annual spring benefit.

Rainstorms drenched Northern Virginia last Thursday night, but the stormy weather did not dampen the spirits of hundreds of local art patrons. In fact, the skies cleared just long enough for McLean Project for the Arts to celebrate with nearly three hundred supporters during its annual spring benefit at the historic Hickory Hill estate in McLean.

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Local Students Spice it Up

Students from McLean, Robinson, and Woodson High Schools compete in culinary competition.

Student chefs from the Fairfax County school culinary program gathered last Thursday afternoon for the second annual Real Food for Kids Culinary Competition. The contest allowed students from the county’s four culinary academies to compete for a chance to have their vegetarian entrées used in the county’s school lunch program.

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A Time to Share

McLean’s community service group meets needs during the busiest time of year, and year round.

This time of year it is not uncommon to worry about meals, entertaining visiting relatives, or finding the time to shop and decorate. But for some members of the community, the worries are more basic.

Focus on Food Crisis

Marshall HS sponsors My First Model UN Training Conference.

Next week 250 middle and high school students will gather at Marshall High School for the 10th annual My First Model United Nations Training Conference. The conference will run all day on Oct. 19, and will feature morning training sessions, afternoon model United Nations conference sessions, and lunch. For students who hold any interest in international relations, it is not to be missed, according to Marshall High School senior Samuel Carpenter. Carpenter is a member of Marshall’s Model UN Team, and is helping to organize the event.

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Small Church, Rich History

McLean’s Shiloh Baptist Church celebrates 140th anniversary.

Late in the 19th-century, three figures converged in Northern Virginia, leading to the creation of one of McLean’s first African American churches. Cyrus Carter was a local pastor whose goal was to establish four black churches in Northern Virginia. The plan was to organize churches in Chesterbrook, Vienna, Arlington and in west McLean where Shiloh Baptist Church now stands. In 1873, Carter was able to broker a deal with local landowner, Charles Elgin, and Shiloh Baptist Church was born. “At the time, there were no black churches. Although this is where the majority of African Americans were living in those days, who were free,” said Pastor Robert Cheeks. “They migrated to this area as D.C. was beginning to grow. This was a predominantly African American community,” he said. Carter recognized the need for the community to have a place to worship. And after securing the necessary property, which still stands at the intersection of Lewinsville and Spring Hill Roads, Carter and the new congregation needed a place to worship while they raised money to start building a church. “It was difficult in that time, right after slavery, for people to save their money,” said long-time member Archie Borgus. But they were able to raise the capital, and the cornerstone was laid in 1887.

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Garage Sale of the Season

Area treasure hunters visit McLean Community Center’s semi-annual flea market.

Longtime friends Nancy McCormick, Jeanne Nelsen and Liz Rothrock, who jokingly call themselves “poker widows,” have always looked for ways to have fun while their husbands played poker. Recently, the friends of 26 years have discovered that they love to sell their wares at the MCC semi-annual flea market. “This is our fourth time here,” said Nelsen. “We’ve gotten the same booth several times. We have an absolute blast.” Not only do they have fun, they typically make up to $300 in a four-hour day.

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Great Theatre in Great Falls

Traveling Players Ensemble presents two plays at Madeira School.

The Great Falls-based Traveling Players Ensemble concluded two of its summer programs last weekend with two productions at the Madeira School. The nearly full auditorium was treated to Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” as well as an original work, “Ariadne’s Thread,” written by TPE visiting director, Judy W. White.

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Shakespeare in the Park

The Traveling Players Ensemble presenting “Much Ado About Nothing” at The Madeira School.

The Traveling Players Ensemble will present Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” Friday, Aug. 9 at The Madeira School in Great Falls.

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Sounds of Summer Fun

McLean students enjoy Summer Strings Camp.

The strings students, made up of mostly rising fifth and sixth graders, packed up their instruments, adjusted their masks and robes, and said goodbye to their orchestra director, who was dressed as a rock star. They had just completed one of their final rehearsals before the students of this summer strings camp would present a concert open to their parents and the public.

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Walking, Biking to School

Chesterbrook Elementary School held a walk/bike to school day last week, which served two purposes. The primary purpose was to encourage families and students to enjoy the benefits of walking and biking. Fresh air, sunshine and exercise all helped bring smiles to the faces of the many students who walked or biked to school last Friday.

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Vienna Farmers’ Market Opens in New Location

Spring produce and family activities marked opening day.

Opening day of the Vienna Farmers Market—in its new home on Center Street—looked as much like a spring fair as it did farmers’ market. May 4 was sunny and warm and shoppers turned out by the dozens and dozens to enjoy the initial rites of spring, from baseball at Waters Field to the food and fun at the farmers market. Operated and sponsored by the Optimists Club of Greater Vienna, the farmers market found a welcome on the grounds of Faith Baptist Church, across the street from Waters Field and caddy-corner from the firehouse.

Oakcrest School Announces Artwork of the Year Awards

Oakcrest School recently announced the winners of the Artwork of the Year Awards at Fine Arts Night: Grace Allen, seventh grade, won among middle schoolers and Jane North, 12th grade, at the upper school level.

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Teacher of the Year

Longfellow Middle School CTE teacher recognized by the Southern Business Education Association.

Search the faces of Helene Safford’s students, and you won’t find one look of boredom. No signs of restlessness or clock-watching either. In fact, the expressions on the seventh and eighth graders’ faces in Safford’s speech arts class portray nothing but enthusiasm. On a recent Monday afternoon, the computer-lined classroom featured students milling about, and the noise level was high. But Safford wouldn’t have it any other way. The students were working in groups, consulting with their peers and with Safford on a broadcasting technology project.

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Spring Hill Students Win Earth Day Awards

The school celebrates Earth Day with a multi-media celebration and contest.

Spring Hill Elementary School kicked off a new tradition this year for Earth Day. The entire student body shared their own interpretation of the importance of Earth Day through a school-wide art show and talent contest. The students created a variety of artistic creations, ranging from visual art to poetry and performance art. The celebration concluded with a recycled-goods fashion show.

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Revisiting History at Freeman Store

Vienna celebrates as National Register of Historic Places marker is unveiled.

Late last year Vienna’s Freeman Store building was honored with inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Last Saturday, Vienna residents, local dignitaries, town council members and passers-by gathered at the historic site to watch the unveiling of the new plaque

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Pets Matter in McLean

Mclean residents love their pets.

It was nearly seven summers ago that the Allen family met the runt of a littler of toy poodles from a Maryland breeder. From the moment she arrived at their McLean home, “Summer” was part of the family. “She just means everything to our family,” said Melissa Allen, who shares the home with her husband John and their three daughters.

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Promoting Arts in McLean

McLean Project for the Arts’ only surviving founder, Nancy Bradley, shares stories of its origin.

Fifty years ago, long-time resident Nancy Weyl Bradley, along with five local artists, made a decision that would permanently change the cultural landscape of McLean. They noticed a lack of opportunity for artists and those who appreciate art in the community. And it wasn’t long before the group of six women artists, most of whom were studying at American University, came up with the idea of opening an art gallery in McLean. It was not intended to be a vanity gallery to show their own works, but a true gallery to showcase the works of local artists.

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Pride on Display at Chesterbrook

Chesterbrook Elementary celebrates with third annual International Night.

Chesterbrook Elementary School celebrated the international heritage of its students and families last Friday at its third annual International Night.

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Fifth Graders on a Hero’s Journey

Spring Hill Elementary students work with professional theater director to create their own works.

The students in Danny Seagraves’ fifth grade class know their grammar. They know spelling, math, and social studies too. These are all teachable subjects, according to the Spring Hill Elementary School teacher. But one concept that just can’t be taught, says 20-year teaching veteran Danny Seagraves, is creativity.

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Winter Fun in McLean

McLean residents share how they like to spend winter days in McLean.

“I have a lot of friends who go skiing and snowboarding on the weekends. That’s really big. Other than that, it’s kind of cold.

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Buying Gifts in McLean

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

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

Viewpoints in McLean: What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day?

Residents of McLean answer the question, "What are you grateful for on this Thanksgiving Day?"

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Stop Hunger Now in McLean

Volunteers assemble 250,000 meals for Haitian children.

Last Saturday nearly 1000 volunteers gathered at McLean’s Lutheran Church of the Redeemer to assemble more than 250,000 pre-packed meals.

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An Instrumental Program at Oakcrest School

McLean independent girls’ school enjoys its musical reputation.

When music teacher Anne Miller came to Oakcrest School 11 years ago, there was no formal music program.

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Memories of Summer

Young adult novel by Shannon Greenland lets readers enjoy the last few moments of summer.

If you are a teen, or a parent of one, longing to indulge in one last burst of summer, you’re in luck: Former McLean author Shannon Greenland recently published “The Summer My Life Began,” a tribute to the long days and many free hours of summer.

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A Pathway for Today’s Heroine

McLean’s Alianna Maren celebrates one year of ‘Unveiling: The Inner Journey.’

Last week, McLean author, Alianna Maren’s living room was filled with fascinating women. There were old friends, and new friends, several of whom edited or contributed to her recent book, "Unveiling: The Inner Journey."

A Roadmap for the Inner Self

McLean author celebrates one year of ‘Unveiling the Inner Journey.’

McLean resident and author, Alianna Maren, is celebrating an anniversary. This month marks one year since her groundbreaking book, "Unveiling: the Inner Journey," was published. And she is inviting all of McLean to join the celebration.

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Congressional Club Hosts Sixth Annual AT&T National

Tiger Woods is back in town. The sixth annual AT&T National golf tournament is scheduled to be played at River Road’s Congressional Country Club June 28 - July 1.

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MPA Celebrates 50 Years

McLean Project for the Arts holds spring benefit at historic Salona.

What better place to celebrate fifty years of art in McLean than the community’s most historic landmark? On May 10, artists, art supporters, local politicians, staff and volunteers of the McLean Project for the Arts gathered on a clear cool evening at Salona, the historic McLean home of Karen and Dan DuVal.

‘Oh My Son’ in McLean

Professional opera to be performed at McLean’s Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.

McLean theatre and opera fans are in for a treat. A highly-acclaimed production of "Oh My Son," a dramatic opera about the life of Jesus, will be performed at McLean’s Lutheran Church of the Redeemer on May 20.

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Wounded Warrior Visits Langley School

Navy Lieutenant Brad Snyder shares a message about service and perseverance with middle-schoolers.

Navy Lieutenant Bradley Snyder wasn’t able to run the Marine Corps marathon with his friends last fall. He was recovering from wounds sustained while serving in Afghanistan. So while they ran it without him, wearing "Brad Snyder" t-shirts, he made a plan. He said, "well alright, next year I’m going to run with you guys."

Growing Up in a Virtual World

The effects of today’s technologies on the lives of teenagers.

Until recently, we didn’t know that the average teenage girl sends or receives a staggering 4,050 text messages per month. That boils down to at least one message every seven minutes during her waking hours. This is a problem, said Dr. Leonard Sax, well-known author and psychologist, not just because of the amount of time spent, but because this and other research findings show that today’s teenage girl is hyper-connected to her peers; and she is more disconnected than ever from herself.

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McLean Sisters Honored for Charitable Work

Rachel and Kelsi Okun are presented with Jefferson Award for Public Service.

McLean sisters Rachel, 16, and Kelsi Okun, 13, love treasure hunts.

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Race Fans Gather in McLean

McLean Cub Scouts participate in annual Pinewood Derby.

There were only a few tears among the cheers and smiles at the recent Cub Scout Pinewood Derby in McLean. The boys of McLean’s Cub Scout Pack 1144 are familiar with the possibilities for victory or disappointment.

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Miss Virginia Comes to Longfellow Middle

Elizabeth Crot addresses seventh and eighth graders, helps kick off anti-bullying week.

A little more than ten years ago, Elizabeth Crot was the typical middle school student.