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Steve Hibbard

Stories by Steve

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Synetic Theater Offers Street Theater Camp

Synetic Theater and dog & pony dc are teaming up to offer a week-long intensive course in street theater for high school and college students at Synetic's new studio space in Crystal City. It runs March 10-15 and costs $350. Classes will culminate on Saturday, March 15 with public performances that take students from Crystal City to Freedom Plaza in the District. “This year, we are very excited to be working with dog & pony theater,” said Camp Director Elena Velasco. “They use social media and are very focused on audience reaction and audience relationships.” She added, “With dog & pony, it will be how we can invite the audience into the action ... How do we incorporate that into social media — Twitter, texting — how can we expand that performance circle.” Under the guidance of senior Synetic teachers and artists from dog & pony dc, students will study the disciplines of collaborative creation. Street theater offers a means of honing one's skills as an actor, and performers use their craft to empower their community and transform public spaces into arenas of artistic exchange.

”Next Fall” Opens This Weekend

The Port City Playhouse is staging “Next Fall” from Feb. 28 to March 15. The contemporary love story written by Geoffrey Nauffts is about two gay men in an up-and-down relationship in New York. The character of Luke is devoutly religious and his lover Adam is an atheist. The action revolves around their five-year relationship and how they make it work despite their differences. However, when an accident changes everything, Adam must turn to Luke's family for support. “I want to tell a realistic story about two people who love each other very much,” said Director Rob Batarla. “And that at the end of the day, the differences that you think really matter just don't really matter.” He added, “Although the story centers around a same-sex couple, the central theme is universal.” “Next Fall” opened off-Broadway in 2009 and was nominated for the 2010 Tony Award for Best Play. It also received a 2010 Outer Critics Circle Award as Best New American Play. According to Richard Isaacs, 50, of Old Town, who plays the role of Adam, one of the two leads, “All of the characters are in search of where they are in life. They seem to be looking for something, but they aren’t sure what they’re looking for. I think it’s about life’s journey and finding who you are in life.” Added Isaacs, “In this five-year relationship, they are trying to find a common connection and make the relationship work despite different theological attitudes … Some of the questions Adam asks Luke, I have asked these same questions in my own life.”

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Synetic Theater Stages ‘Twelfth Night’

Synetic Theater in Arlington is staging a no-dialogue, high-energy and acrobatic production of “Twelfth Night.” Shakespeare’s comedy, set in the silent film era, will run through Feb. 16. With a backdrop of the Roaring ’20s, “Twelfth Night” tells the tale of fraternal twins, Viola and Sebastian, separated in a strange new land.

‘The Wizard of Oz’ at Congregation Har Shalom

A cast of 51 performs classic on Jan. 25-26 in Potomac.

Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the movie, The Har Shalom Players of Potomac is skipping down the yellow brick road with its theater-in-the-round production of L. Frank Baum’s classic “The Wizard of Oz” on Jan. 25-26.

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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 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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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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Firehouse Subs Gives Gift

City of Fairfax Fire Station 403 receives forcible entry equipment.

Firehouse Subs on Main Street in Fair City Mall donated fire equipment to the City of Fairfax Fire Station 403 on Thursday, Nov. 7.

Finding Childcare Providers

Fairfax-based Infant Toddler Family Day Care turns 30.

The Infant Toddler Family Day Care Program of Fairfax helps parents find the best possible childcare provider in the area. It currently serves 360 children, and celebrated its 30th Anniversary on Oct. 13, with a dinner at the Fairfax Marriott.

Holiday Bazaar Returns to Vienna

80 vendors display their wares at Vienna Community Center.

The Vienna Woman’s Club held its 53rd annual Holiday and Harvest Bazaar Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Vienna Community Center.

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McLean Antiques Show a Success

1,200 visitors attend 37th annual show at Alden Theater in McLean.

About 1,200 visitors attended the 37th McLean Antiques Show where 50 dealers from up and down the East coast sold their wares at the Alden Theater in McLean on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 9-10.

Great Falls Boy Wins Essay Contest

Sidharth Muralidhar, 13, writes “For Love of Country—What Patriotism Means to Me.”

Sidharth (Sid) Muralidhar, 13, of Great Falls is being honored Oct. 17 for winning first place (gold) for his essay, “For Love of Country—What Patriotism Means to Me,” a contest sponsored by the Fairfax County Public Library System. He will receive $100 and a certificate at a reception at Robinson Secondary School.

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Complete the Circle Oct. 27

Our Daily Bread hosting food and toiletries collections, community event.

Our Daily Bread in Fairfax is hosting its third-annual “Complete the Circle” food-collection campaign and community event on Sunday, Oct. 27 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Fairfax High School practice field.

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Goodwill Fashion Show at Artisphere

Designer Tu-Anh Nguyen selects used clothing from Goodwill stores.

Arlington’s Artisphere featured the Fashion of Goodwill Runway Show and Gala on Tuesday, Sept. 24, which raised about $155,000 for the cause. With the theme “The Art of Fashion,” Vietnamese designer Tu-Anh Nguyen of Fairfax created the show from hand-selected items found at Goodwill of Greater Washington’s 15 retail stores.

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Library Opens at Mount Vernon Estate

$106.4 million building dedicated.

The $106.4 million Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington opened in Mount Vernon last Friday, Sept. 27, with much fanfare. Fred W. Smith, chairman of The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the largest donor, gave $70 million, including a $38 million lead gift, which was the largest single donation in Mount Vernon’s history. It was seed money to create the museum, foundation and education center. Funds were also collected by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, which came from 7,000 individuals, foundations and corporations from across America — not from any federal, state or local governments. “This is a place where scholars and leaders can visit from all over the world,” said Gov. Bob McDonnell, who referred to George Washington as only having a sixth-grade education — a man of “quiet faith, humility, and civility.” And one of the best whiskey makers in America.

The Arlington Players Presents ‘A Chorus Line’

Talented cast of 24 actors reveal their souls through song and dance.

Under the direction of Susan Devine, 56, of Fairfax, The Arlington Players is staging the iconic dance-musical “A Chorus Line,” through Oct. 12 at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center off Glebe Road in Arlington. The complex show features a cast of 24 actors, singers and dancers on a bare stage with only a wall-length mirror during their audition for a musical. The director Zach, played by formidable real-life director and actor Blakeman Brophy, moves freely through the audience, while running the auditions and putting actors through their paces. As the play progresses, Zach gets them to reveal their souls through song (“What I Did for Love,” and “I Can Do That”) and dance. Devine wanted to convey the feeling of Zach directing from an empty auditorium — even though he was moving around the audience. She said, “I wanted to make this feel like this was as real an audition as possible.”

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Offering Special Needs Training

Christ Presbyterian Church holds autism workshops for lay people on Oct. 18-19.

Christ Presbyterian Church is offering a free Special Needs Ministry Training Workshop Oct. 18-19, for Sunday School teachers, lay people, and volunteers who minister to children and youth with autism and other conditions. It features presentations from local ministry leaders, DVDs by experts, and training in classroom management. The workshops are at 12410 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway, Fairfax. “The goal is to bring awareness to the unique opportunity people have in ministering to families of special needs,” said Pastor Geoff McLean, 40. “We’re looking to build a cadre of folks to support each other in this kind of ministry.” McLean said a lot of people come to church and they find it an unwelcoming place if they have special needs. And because most folks are going through their own individual struggles, he wants to bring them together to be resources for each other. “So if they have an issue, they can talk to others and find ways to connect,” he said.

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Carlyle House Hosts Historic Fashion Show

15 models highlight styles from Colonial and Federal periods, 1753 to 1760s.

Living historians modeled 18th-century clothing at an Historic Fashion Show at the Carlyle House on Saturday, Sept. 21 — clothing that would have been worn by society maverick John Carlyle and his family in Old Town Alexandria. This year’s show focused on the Colonial, Federal and Civil War-era (1753 to 1860s), as well as the mid-19th century. “Our goal was to share the history of fashion that the Carlyle family would have been wearing and encountering among their peers,” said Helen Wirka, curator and site specialist at Carlyle House. The Carlyle’s home was the center of Alexandria’s wealth and politics from 1741 to 1780, according to Wirka. John Carlyle was a town founder, surveyor, justice of the peace, and building contractor. He hosted the Bread and Butter Ball, and entertained the likes of George and Martha Washington, Gen. Edward Braddock and five governors at his mansion. He married Sara Fairfax in 1747, and the couple had seven children. After Sara died, he married Sybil West in 1761; and they had three children.

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Light the Night Walk on Oct. 5

Fundraiser for 4-year-old girl named 'Ava B,' a leukemia survivor.

“Ava B” of Fairfax Corner was a typical 2-year-old when she fell ill with leukemia on Dec. 9, 2011. After having a fever for four days, her mom “Jeannie B” took to a doctor and ran a few tests. A hematologist then confirmed that she had Pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. (The family asked that their last name not be used.)

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St. James’ Episcopal Church Held 2013 Arts and Crafts Fair

St. James’ Episcopal Church in Mount Vernon held its 6th annual Arts and Crafts Fair on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, with 72 vendors offering hand-crafted items like musical instruments, jewelry, and paintings.

St. James Episcopal Turns 50

Potomac Church on Seven Locks Road travels the “Via Media” or Middle Way.

It’s been a busy time at St. James Episcopal Church in Potomac; the Fall Rummage Sale takes place Friday-Saturday, Oct. 4-5, 2013, the Blessing of the Animals is on Oct. 6, 2013, at 5 p.m., and the church just celebrated its 50th anniversary on Sept. 21 and 22 with a family dinner and concert by Jason Gray.

Senior Volunteers Stay Active

Fifty percent of Mount Vernon RECenter’s volunteers are senior citizens.

The Mount Vernon RECenter is known for its ice skating rink, massive indoor swimming pool and fitness center with spa and sauna. It has 46 volunteers who help greet guests, clean up the fitness room, landscape the grounds and assist people with adapted swimming and ice-skating. Exactly half of them are retired senior citizens over 50 who want to stay active while giving back to the community.

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Fairfax Library’s Book Sale a Success

The City of Fairfax Regional Library’s book sale was a huge success last Friday through Sunday. Its Children’s Book Sale the previous weekend was the best in the last three sales. On Friday, 1,600 people attended.

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South County Band Mentors Middle-schoolers

High-school and middle-school musicians perform pep tunes together.

South County High School Marching Band has a great mentoring program. During home football games, 72 musicians perform pep tunes along with 25 eighth-graders—tunes like “The Hey Song,” “Iron Man,” and “Living on a Prayer.” “Being in the band is hard work, but it’s fun,” said Marching Band Coordinator Gina Bartel, whose two sons, Kody, 16, (trumpet) and Ethan, 13, (chimes) are musicians in the band. Her husband is Randy Bartel of the Crosspointe community.

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Car Wash at Mark Twain Middle

About 70 seventh- and eighth-graders took part in a car wash at Mark Twain Middle School along Franconia Road in a fund-raiser for the school band on Saturday, Sept. 21. The funds will be used to buy instruments and uniforms for the school.

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Burke Library Book Sale a Success

Patrons donated about 8,000 books, including vintage books and bestsellers, to the Burke Centre Library’s book sale last Wednesday through Saturday, Sept. 25-58.

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Art of Movement Thrives at Workhouse

Lesley Spalding runs 15 exercise classes for 250 people a week.

The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton offers Art of Movement classes in vibrant formats that are “off the beaten path.” The fall season started Sept. 16 with 19 certified instructors teaching everything from Pilates to yoga to hula to zumba to jazzercise to “strong graceful body.” About 250 people of all ages can sign up for eight-week classes, six days a week, between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. The next session starts Nov. 11. “We’re always seeking and reaching out to make sure we’re on top of our game with the latest information,” said Program Director Lesley Spalding, 51, of Rolling Valley in Springfield. “We’re all certified in every aspect.”

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Car Show at Edison High

Junior class holds fundraiser with games, booths, bagpiper.

Edison High School’s junior class held a car show and community sale last Saturday, Sept. 14, as a fundraiser. The event brought out the community for games, booth vendors selling books and jewelry, inflatables and even a bagpiper.

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Agility Cats Perform at National Cat Show

Reston woman’s Abyssinian cats are famous for athletic prowess.

Cat trainer and breeder Lisa-Maria Padilla, 52, of Reston, appeared with her blue Abyssinian cats at the National Capital Cat Show at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly over the weekend, Sept. 7-8.

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Gros To Lead Glasgow Middle School

Doctoral candidate to mentor most ethnically diverse school in Alexandria.

On July 1, Penny Gros, 43, of Burke was named the new principal of Glasgow Middle School, an ethnically diverse school in Alexandria. It’s the best fit for the Spanish-speaking doctoral candidate in her 19th year in education. “This school is a perfect fit for my background, experience and passions,” she said. As a true melting pot, Glasgow Middle has 1551 students enrolled who were born in 65 different countries and speak 57 languages — Urdu, Spanish, Arabic, Vietnamese, among others. The school demographics are: 46 percent Hispanic, 24 percent White, 15 percent Asian, 11 percent Black, 31 percent ESOL. There are 16 percent of students in the Level 4/Advanced Academics program and 10 percent in the AVID program. And 75 percent of the students are on the free/reduced lunch program. In terms of student counts, Glasgow has 579 in sixth grade, 480 in seventh grade and 492 in eighth grade.

Agility Cats Perform at National Cat Show

Reston woman’s Abyssinian cats are famous for athletic prowess.

Cat trainer and breeder Lisa-Maria Padilla, 52, of Reston, appeared with her blue Abyssinian cats at the National Capital Cat Show at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly over the weekend, Sept. 7-8. The show featured 450 cats from 40 pedigreed breeds from around the world — Sphynx to Burmese to Maine Coons to Persians — plus hybrids, crossbreeds and mutations. There were six all-breed categories, two specialty rings, household pets in eight rings, plus a display of feline agility. In addition to the cat judging, vendors sold feline products, jewelry, food, and artwork. Cats were also available for adoptions.

Gros to Lead Glasgow Middle

Doctoral candidate to mentor most ethnically diverse school in Alexandria.

On July 1, Penny Gros, 43, of Burke was named the new principal of Glasgow Middle School, an ethnically diverse school in Alexandria. It’s the best fit for the Spanish-speaking doctoral candidate in her 19th year in education. “This school is a perfect fit for my background, experience and passions,” she said.

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Thousands Attend Burke Centre Festival

Free event provides entertainment, a wine garden and children’s activities.

Thousands attended the Burke Centre Festival last Saturday and Sunday at the Burke Centre Conservancy festival grounds. The free event off Burke Centre Parkway included live entertainment, bands, dancers, puppet shows, interactive wildlife shows, a wine garden, amusement rides, arts and crafts show, a blood drive, children’s activities and special appearances by the Angry Birds, SpongeBob and Elmo.

Chess Champ Wins by Strategy

At the age of 9, Fair Lakes Crossing resident is ranked 4th nationally.

At the age of 9, Aasa Dommalapati, a fourth-grader at Greenbriar West Elementary, competed against the top chess players in Brazil and Canada during the summer months. She is currently ranked fourth nationally in the girls U-9 category.

Insiders’ Tips: What are the best things about living in Burke?

Interviews conducted by Steve Hibbard at the Pohick Regional Library on Saturday, Aug. 17 in Burke.

“There is the Burke Lake Park where I go to play volleyball with friends. There’s Kingstowne for shopping and the movie theater.”

Insiders’ Tips: What are some of the best things about living here?

Interviews conducted on Friday, Aug. 16 at The Virginian senior living community along Route 50 in Fairfax.

“Since I lived by Wolf Trap, years ago, they used to have fireworks on July 4th. Living here in the Virginian, it’s convenient to stores and shopping centers. There are many activities at The Virginian—it’s your choice. Every day there’s something going on—exercise, Bingo, Bridge, card games and entertainment at night.”

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Sightseeing in the Area

See the sights in south Fairfax County.

Raising Awareness for Honey Bees

Tangles Salon in Burke holds party for National Honey Bee Day.

Tangles Hair Salon and Spa of Burke held a beehive party last Saturday, Aug. 17, in honor of National Honey Bee Day at the store in the Burke Commons shopping center next to Walmart.

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Learning About Vegan Cooking

Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton offers a variety of culinary classes.

Chef Kathleen Linton, 52, of Lorton teaches culinary arts classes at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton—everything from “Cajun-Louisiana Secrets” to “Cooking with Beers” to “Catch the Burger Craze.” Last Saturday, the specialist in Southern and Thai cuisine held a one-day workshop on vegan cooking. The cost was $65/Workhouse member; $75/nonmember, and $25 for the cost of food. For those who aren’t familiar with vegan, Linton explains: “Nothing with a mother. No milk, no dairy, no eggs, no meats and no cheese.”

David Fee to Lead Hunt Valley

Easy-going, approachable principal offers inclusive style of leadership.

After 18 years in education, David Fee was named new principal of Hunt Valley Elementary School in Springfield on July 1, taking over the position from former principal Pat Small who retired on June 30.

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Brotemarkle Named Principal of Terra Centre

As a relationship-builder, he plans to be visible to students and staff.

“He’s a very collaborative leader and he’s a great listener. He always seeks input from staff and parents when he makes decisions.” Dr. Mahri Aste, Ph.D., principal of Mosby Woods

Computer Clubhouse For Young Techies

Mount Vernon children in underserved areas learn technology skills.

The Computer Clubhouse at Gum Springs Community Center offers about 150 underserved children in the Mount Vernon area the chance to learn cutting-edge software and computer skills, filmmaking, blogging, Podcasts and robotics.

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Costco Prepares For Opening

Mount Vernon store to employ 200-plus and form local partnerships.

The new Costco is opening along Route 1 in Mount Vernon on Thursday, Aug. 8. The 140,000-square-foot warehouse club will employ more than 200 people, which brings the total number of Costco stores to 632 nationwide. Construction crews, vendors, landscapers, and store employees have been working around the clock for 13 weeks preparing for the grand opening, which included a VIP Open House Party on Wednesday evening.

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Growing Your Business in Springfield

Community Business Partnership coaches entrepreneurs.

Juli Monroe, author of The Enthusiastic Networker—Growing a Successful Business, told a group of 20 people last Friday, Aug. 2, how to get their books published at the monthly networking breakfast of The Women’s Business Center of Northern Virginia, located in Springfield.

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‘Collect for Kids’ Needs Donations

Deadline for collecting school backpacks and calculators is Aug. 12.

Our Daily Bread in the City of Fairfax is trying to increase its capacity to collect school supplies to help 2,000 students by partnering for the third year with the “Collect for Kids” Back-to-School program. That’s 1,217 more than last year’s 783 number of students who benefited. The deadline for cash donations, backpacks and scientific calculators is Aug. 12. “We’ve already purchased the supplies; we’re hoping to get the cash donations,” said Our Daily Bread Executive Director Lisa Whetzel. “If they can give us cash, we buy supplies in bulk.” A $30 donation will help two students with school supplies.

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Opportunity Neighborhood

Organization celebrates first anniversary with bus tour.

Opportunity Neighborhood, a group that helps children succeed in school and life, celebrated its first anniversary with an 11-stop bus tour targeting Mount Vernon schools and neighborhoods along Route 1. The tour highlighted the areas that are served by the organization which supports young people from “cradle to college to career.” The tour started at the South County Government Center, which houses Human Services agencies in Fairfax County.

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Classes Offer Liquified-Fun

Mount Vernon RECenter offers 13 water aerobics classes.

For people with joint or arthritis problems, the gentle resistance that water aerobics provides is the perfect remedy for fun and exercise.

Richardson to Lead White Oaks Elementary

New principal’s strength is in building new relationships.

At the age of 37, Ryan Richardson was named the new principal of White Oaks Elementary School in Burke on July 1. The school is projected to have 790 students and a staff of 75 in September.

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Mystical Arts of Tibet Visits Unity

Monks create elaborate mandala sand painting with multiple meanings.

For five days last week, Unity of Fairfax Church hosted The Mystical Arts of Tibet, a touring group of 11 Tibetan Buddhist monks who worked in shifts to create a mandala sand painting on a template etched on a 4x4-foot wooden platform. They are from the Drepung Loseling Monastery near Lhasa, Tibet, but cannot return due to Chinese oppression.

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Friends of W&OD Hold 10K Race

‘Green Race’ nets $3,500 for upkeep and maintenance of trail.

ome 320 runners took part in the seventh annual Friends of the W&OD 10K Race in the Town of Vienna on Saturday, July 27, helping to raise $3,500. The Washington area’s only “Green Race” started at the caboose at the old Vienna Train Station and proceeded along the 12-foot wide W&OD Trail.