Stories for May 2020

Stories for May 2020


Saturday, May 30

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: I Received 100% of the Vote

Voting Nov. 5th last year seems like a long time ago especially since our current departure from the norm. But it is true, I actually did get 100% of the vote. On a single ballot.

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Privatize Alexandria’s Public Works Department?

Alexandria’s public works department, T&ES, is a force unto itself. Responsible for streets and sewers primarily, it’s disconnected from the public which pays its salaries and funds its projects. It's time for our city council to privatize this organization.

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People at Work: WoofPurrfect Refocuses Pet Product to Fighting Coronavirus

Susan O’Malley chases her brown tabby, Mikey, across the hardwood floor in the dining room overlooking the Potomac with a bottle of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide to clean up Mikey’s mess. “He is really my bad boy.”

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City of Alexandria Tests 3,000 for COVID-19

Free sites held in areas hardest hit by coronavirus.

The Alexandria Health Department collected more than 3,000 samples from local residents during two free COVID-19 community testing events held May 25 in areas hardest hit by the coronavirus.

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Remembering the Fallen in Alexandria

Memorial Day ceremonies scale back during COVID-19.

The ceremonies were unofficial and scaled back. But on Memorial Day, the gatherings were just as somber and determined that the sacrifice of America’s fallen veterans would not be forgotten.

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Sunny Skies Bring Out Holiday Crowds in Alexandria

Stay-at-home restrictions to be lifted May 29.

The skies were too sunny, the weather too tempting as scores of people flocked to Old Town over the Memorial Day weekend despite the city’s stay-at-home order that is technically still in effect amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alexandria Man on FBI Most Wanted List Indicted on Terrorism Charges

A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging an Alexandria man with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to al-Shabaab, a terrorist organization operating in Somalia.

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Springfield’s Daventry Neighborhood Honors Fallen

The Daventry neighborhood in West Springfield continued its long-standing tradition of honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation in a Memorial Day service.

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‘Today We Honor Those That Made the Ultimate Sacrifice’ in Fairfax City

American Legion Post 177 holds Memorial Day ceremony.

Normally, Fairfax City officials, residents, and various politicians gather for a Memorial Day ceremony. This year, COVID-19 prevented it from happening, but a small group from American Legion Post 177 still made the day special.

Distance Learning: Both Stress and Relief in Springfield

West Springfield High School students on handling the switch to online learning.

Since March 13, Fairfax County Public Schools have been closed and converted to online classes in response to COVID-19. Like many other FCPS high schools, West Springfield High School classes are now held twice per week through Blackboard Collaborate, an online video conferencing platform.

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Fairfax County Park Authority Makes Partial Reopening Play

After a surprise late Tuesday afternoon announcement from the Fairfax County Park Authority, maintenance operations crews were at work Wednesday morning, May 20, removing barriers from park parking lot entrances and returning them to storage sites.

Inova to Build New Hospital in Springfield

Facility to complement Mount Vernon.

Inova Health System plans to expand its services to the Springfield community on recently acquired property adjacent to the current Inova Springfield HealthPlex.

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‘It Felt Good to Be Recognized and Appreciated’ in Fairfax County

County thanks its Public Works employees with food.

National Public Works Week was May 17-23; and as COVID-19 has revealed whose labor is essential – not just in a crisis, but every day – Fairfax County celebrated workers in a category that doesn’t immediately spring to mind.

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Chantilly High Grad Is New Firefighter

Chantilly High grad Christopher Wolf is among 53 new recruits who recently graduated from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department (FCFRD) Basic Training.

Friday, May 29

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Potomac Author Uses Novel Approach for Book Launch

Just in time for a good summer read, Potomac author Aimee Agresti planned to introduce her new novel, The Summer Set, in all the usual ways.

Opinion: Commentary: Unemployment Crisis Throughout the Commonwealth

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic that is not health-related remains the ongoing unemployment crisis throughout the Commonwealth.

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Fairfax County Budget Affects Lives

The large budget adopted at the recent Board of Supervisors meeting has a very real effect on the lives of workers and taxpayers in Fairfax County.

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Parents Rally to Fill Arlington Food Gaps

It began with the discussions at the regular Wednesday morning mom’s meeting at Kenmore Elementary and morphed into an effort to provide food to needy families in Arlington.

Potomac High School and College Seniors Please Share

High school and college seniors are invited to tell their graduation story for the Potomac Almanac’s June 10 issue.

Potomac Community Village Offers Programs Open to Public

Potomac Community Village is sponsoring two programs for the community in early June.

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Coronavirus in Arlington Week 11

Life goes on in Arlington through sign language.


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Alexandria’s Week in Coronavirus

OPENING NOW: Northern Virginia will open into Phase 1 on Thursday, May 28.

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Potomac’s Week in Coronavirus

200,000: Maryland surpassed 200,000 tests and completing testing of 3.5 percent of the state’s population, and now has the capacity and supplies to offer testing to Marylanders who may have been exposed to the disease even if they do not have symptoms.

Thursday, May 28

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Arlington’s Week in Coronavirus

OPENING NOW: Northern Virginia will open into Phase 1 on Thursday, May 28.

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Mourning Amid COVID-19 in Arlington

Arlington National Cemetery restricts Memorial Day observances.

Masks were worn. Distances were kept. At Arlington National Cemetery, only those with family passes were allowed to enter the hallowed grounds May 25 to observe Memorial Day and pay tribute to fallen veterans.

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Arlington Graduates: Can’t Rain on Their Parade

Graduates cobble together a memorable event despite virus.

A few ebullient graduates, keeping social distance, came to the Marymount campus on Saturday to pose for “graduation pictures,” even going so far as to throw their mortar boards in the air and catch them to simulate one of the great joys of finally receiving a degree.

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Claudia Morales Is Arlington’s 2020 Foster Parent of the Year

Arlington's foster parent program will face major need post-pandemic.

How often does a young, single, professional person have the desire and capacity to become a foster parent? Claudia Morales of Arlington did. Nine times. Morales was officially approved in 2015 to become a foster parent, and since then she has had 9 children join her family.

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Honoring Fallen ‘in a Smaller Way’ in Herndon, Reston Area

Memorial Day 2020

Michael Cutler is 2nd Vice Commander and Avenue of Flags coordinator at The Wayne M. Kidwell American Legion Post 184 Herndon-Reston. In preparation for Memorial Day Observances, he and others usually gathered at dawn at Chestnut Grove Cemetery in the Town of Herndon. In two-person teams, in all types of weather, Veterans and volunteers dropped poles into the ground. Then they raised the 64 casket flags in their care donated by families of interred veterans, creating an Avenue of Flags, a patriotic feature flanking the entrance into the cemetery: 2020 was different.

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Lake Anne House Senior Housing Project in Reston Closes

Long-awaited $86 million project commences this summer.

Christy Zeitz is CEO of the Fellowship Square Foundation (Fellowship). The nonprofit organization owns and operates the two aging 1970s era buildings that make up the Lake Anne Fellowship House on North Shore Drive in Reston. On Friday, May 22, Fellowship and Enterprise Community Development (Enterprise) announced they closed on the innovative $86 million development plan for the New Lake Anne House in Reston, built along North Shore Drive near the intersection with Village Road.

Opinion: Commentary: Hate Has No Place Here

The outpouring of generosity in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic has been incredible. I continue to learn of people who have responded in remarkable ways to the needs that have been brought on by the quarantine or that have been recognized as a result of our having to stay home.

Wednesday, May 27

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Al Fresco Pandemic

Restaurants eye parking lots and sidewalks as potential outdoor dining spots.

In normal times, the parking lot behind the Del Ray Cafe gives the restaurant a competitive advantage. Drivers can turn off East Howell Avenue and pull into one of the dozen spaces behind the 1925 house that’s been repurposed into a thriving restaurant. These days, the parking lot is giving the restaurant a different competitive advantage, one that nobody saw coming a few months ago.

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Swastikas Amidst Pandemic in Reston

Cowardice feeds hate crime.

"Hate is contagious," said Rabbi Michael G. Holzman of Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation in Reston. "We have to address it before it spreads.

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Park Goers Take Advantage of Openings on Memorial Day Weekend

At parks along the Parkway, many enjoyed the sunshine as relief from the quarantine days.

Parks open in Mount Vernon

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Park Goers Return to Burke Lake Park

Locals dotted the spaces on Memorial Day weekend as relief from the quarantine days.

Park opens Memorial Day

Northern Virginia Teens Weigh in on Reopening the Region

Missing ‘normal life,’ cautious about reopening too early.

The Northern Virginia area is set to start phase one of reopening this Friday, May 29; local high school and college students weigh in on the matter, many saying they don’t think the region is ready to go back to normal.

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Orange Line Stations Closing All Summer

Metro’s platform project continues; riders urged to seek other routes.

Last summer it was the blue line’s turn; this summer it’s the orange line stations closing, part of WMATA’s Platform Improvement Project. The Vienna, Dunn Loring, and both East and West Falls Church Metro Stations, as well as all Silver Line service, will be closed from May 23 through Sept. 7, WMATA said. West Falls Church Metro Station will remain open as both Silver and Orange Line trains can pass through the closed stations but will not stop at them.

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New Mayor to Work for #OneVienna

Linda Jane Colbert grew up in Vienna and looks at her new position as an opportunity for all.

In a local election last week, Vienna now has a new mayor, Linda Colbert, who has deep roots in the town and a few goals in mind that surround her campaign slogan of “#OneVienna.”

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Helping Combat Loneliness in Northern Virginia

Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna-Reston-Herndon adjusts its services to continue serving the elderly from a distance.

Despite COVID-19 related closures and social distancing measures, Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna-Reston-Herndon continues to serve the elderly community through a new no-contact food delivery program and virtual classes.

Alden Theatre in McLean Surveys Patrons

McLean Community Center survey addresses COVID-19 health and safety concerns.

What will performing arts venues be like once they are permitted to re-open? How will venues meet the safety and health concerns of patrons and performers given the COVID-19 virus?

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Great Falls Looks Forward to 2025

Great Falls Citizens Association releases ‘Looking Forward to 2025’ survey.

In its first survey since 2007, the Board of Directors and Committee Chairs of the Great Falls Citizens Association, a 100 percent volunteer 501(c)4 organization without paid staff, released findings of its Looking Forward to 2025 Survey, meant to gather feedback from the community on what was important to them and where the Association should direct its efforts and resources now through 2025.

Tuesday, May 26

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Organizing Boxes of Old Photos

The daunting project can be broken down into smaller tasks.

Stacks of boxes containing thousands of photographs line the walls of the basement in Alice Denson’s Fairfax home. For the past five years, the 73-year old mother and grandmother has promised herself and her family that she would begin the monumental task of sorting and organizing the photos.

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Fairfax County’s Week in COVID-19

Northern Virginia will open into Phase 1 on Thursday, May 28.

OPENING NOW: Northern Virginia will open into Phase 1 on Thursday, May 28.

Opinion: Column: Time Will Have Been Told

In two days I will have completed four weeks on my low iodine diet (no chocolate, no salt, no dairy, no bread) with four days remaining until my one-night hospital admission and subsequent seven-day medical quarantine at home.

Reduced Budget For Fairfax County Public Schools

The Fairfax County School Board has approved the revised Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 21) budget. The budget, revised due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reduced the previously recommended transfer increase from Fairfax County from $85.5 million to $7.3 million and includes a reduction of $4.8 million from the state. Along with other budget cuts, the total amount of the FY 21 budget was reduced by $67.0 million.

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Local TraceX Team Develops Contact Tracing App

Since late February, our small team of UVA and Notre Dame students has been working on developing an early model of a bluetooth-based contact tracing app called TraceX.

Wakefield and Lorton Farmers Markets Scheduled to Open

Two more Fairfax County Farmers Markets will open next week. The Wakefield Market in Wakefield Park will open for the season on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, and the Lorton Market at the Lorton VRE parking lot will open on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

Monday, May 25

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Neighborhood Health Holds Its First COVID-19 Free Community Testing Event in Arlandria

Neighborhood Health, a local non-profit community health center serving primarily low-income and uninsured populations, has just completed its first community COVID-19 testing day in the Arlandria neighborhood of Alexandria, where 236 residents received free COVID-19 tests on Saturday, May 16.

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‘We Will Never Forget’ in Alexandria

Amid COVID-19 restrictions, fallen officers remembered.

A tribute to Alexandria’s fallen law enforcement officers was held May 15 at Waterfront Park and Alexandria Police Department headquarters as part of a scaled down National Police Week due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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Breaking Tradition in Alexandria

Drive-by celebration for new graduate.

When Juliana Mitchell entered the College of William and Mary four years ago, she envisioned a traditional graduation day taking place in historic Williamsburg.

Saturday, May 23

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Surviving COVID-19 in Alexandria

Life after the coronavirus.

In early March, 18-year-old Ana Murphy came down with a sinus infection. But as her symptoms persisted, her parents, Gregg and Monica Murphy, both became ill. It was then that the family began to suspect that this was not a normal seasonal virus.

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Out and About in Fairfax County

Through the stay at home order, work and leisure activities continue for many area essential workers and residents.

Opinion: Commentary: Where Should the NVTA Spend $500 Million of Your Money?

Now is the time to help direct transportation funds to our community.


Opinion: Commentary: Don’t GO (Yet), But Still “Visit”

Just as I reported to you about our nonprofits and local small businesses, our many historic, cultural and arts sites in the Mount Vernon District are currently closed to visitors. Our favorite sites are using their time to create virtual experiences to engage their visitors in new ways and leading fundraising efforts to offset lost revenue.

Opinion: Commentary: Early Economic Impact of COVID-19

Virginia is gradually and cautiously opening up after the coronavirus lockdown. However, we must navigate a rough fiscal road ahead due to a precipitous drop in tax revenues due to the economic impact of this crisis.

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Alexandria Needs a Plan to Re-open

I commend the efforts to flatten the curve of the pandemic by the city of Alexandria and its residents but we must also prepare for a just re-opening of Alexandria's economy. Alexandria, like the rest of Virginia and the DC Metro Region adhered to stay at home orders, and asked businesses to close and citizens and local government alike have tried to reduce the number of cases of the CoronaVirus. Critical to reopening, like flattening the curve, is testing for coronavirus and the antibody, as well as preparation for contact tracers. But we must also continue to encourage social distancing and the wearing of masks.

Good. Works. Alexandria.

Local businesses unite to aid nonprofits.


Opinion: Commentary: One Night In Del Ray: A 2020 Retrospective

On May 29, 1970, a young black man was murdered in a convenience store in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria. The young man, Robin Gibson, was just 19. The white store manager who shot Gibson later admitted to planting a knife near his body to make it appear as though Gibson had attacked him. The manager pleaded guilty to manslaughter and served less than 1 year in prison for his crime.

Harmon, Ross Join Incumbents on Fairfax City Council

Meyer and School Board members all re-elected.

Fairfax City re-elected its mayor, City Council and School Board incumbents, Tuesday, May 19, and added Joe Harmon and Tom Ross to the Council, replacing Jennifer Passey and Michael DeMarco who chose not to run. And despite the pandemic, which caused many to vote by mail, more votes were cast than in 2018.

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‘Great Value for Citizens’ Tax Dollars’ in Fairfax City

City adopts budget for FY 21.

It wasn’t the bright, hopeful document they’d expected to pass before COVID-19 gripped the nation, but last Wednesday, May 13, Fairfax City Councilmembers approved the City’s FY 2021 budget.

Detectives Investigate After Decomposed Body Found in Fairfax Station

Detectives are investigating after a body was discovered May 16 evening in a wooded area near the 7500 block of Lee Chapel Road in Fairfax Station. Officers responded shortly after 5 p.m. when a hiker found a body in an advanced stage of decomposition. The body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner where an autopsy will determine cause and manner of death. Identification is pending further investigation and next of kin notification.

Centreville Man Charged in Female Jogger’s Assault

Fairfax County police have arrested a 21-year-old Centreville man in connection with an assault last week on a woman jogging in Franconia. He is Vincent Wesley, and police charged him with malicious wounding and strangulation.

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New Trail in Flatlick Stream Valley Park in Chantilly

The Fairfax County Park Authority will soon begin work on a new trail in Flatlick Stream Valley Park in Chantilly. This project will entail paving some 1,250 feet of new asphalt trail, along with a concrete fair-weather crossing.

Friday, May 22

Potomac Home Sales: April, 2020

In April, 2020, 54 Potomac homes sold between $1,800,000-$499,000.

Potomac Home Sales: April, 2020

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‘More Traffic Will Go Down Galesbury’ in Chantilly

VDOT’s proposals for Route 50 intersections.

Under normal traffic conditions, the two-mile segment of Route 50 between Route 28 and Stringfellow Road in Chantilly is clogged during the morning and evening rush. It also averages 71,000 vehicles a day and has a high number of crashes.

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Culpepper Garden Beats the Odds on Coronavirus in Arlington

Low-income senior facility has no cases yet, as of this week.

Culpepper Garden low-income retirement property on Henderson Street in Arlington has so far escaped the coronavirus raging through other senior living facilities nationwide.

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Amazon Partners with Freddie’s to Provide 10,000 Meals in May in Arlington

A caravan of cars packed full of food donations pulls up in hospital parking lot C at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 14 to deliver 350 lunches as part of a partnership between Amazon and Freddie Lutz, owner of Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant.

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Yarnbombing Adorns Potomac Footbridge

Bridge Decorations Remind Walkers to Smile During Hard Times.

First to appear on the railings of the footbridge on Falls Road just across from Falls Bridge Road were two large yarn balls. Soon other items were hanging along the railings and people started to notice.

Thursday, May 21

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Alexandria Week in Coronavirus

More 89,000 deaths in United States, more than 275 cases in Alexandria in one week, but most of Virginia eases restrictions.


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Arlington Week in Coronavirus

Virginia begins to open despite adding more than 6,000 cases and 150 deaths in one week; Arlington up to 1,638 cases and 77 deaths.

Arlington and Northern Virginia will continue stay-at-home restrictions despite most of Virginia transitioning to Phase One of Governor Ralph Northam’s “Forward Virginia” reopening plan.

West Montgomery County Citizens Association: How Will Residents Be Heard During Pandemic?

Saving trees at Swains Lock; another proposed senior living facility; silly walks?


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Friends Find Ways to Meet and Stay Safe in Potomac

Where there is a will, there is a way, and three high school friends wanted to visit in person in spite of the rules about social distancing. So, Sophie Shapiro, Sheerin Naimi and Maya Rosenberg planned a get together by meeting in the parking lot of Potomac Library Saturday afternoon. “We haven’t met since March,” the Churchill graduates said.

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Burke Community on Parade for Veteran’s 100th Birthday

Lots of honks, waves and social distancing.

100 Birthday

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Potomac Week in Coronavirus

Maryland passes 40,000 cases; cases increased more than 6,000 last week in the county, but state reduces restrictions; county takes an exemption.


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Furloughed and Waiting

Uncertainty lingers as furloughed workers hope temporary layoffs come to an end.

When Joy Phansond was furloughed from her job as sales coordinator at the Holiday Inn in Old Town, the temporary layoff was initially supposed to last until April 5. Then it was extended to May 5. Then it was extended again until June 5. She suspects that it’ll be extended again until July at least because the hotel business in Alexandria has been slammed by the collapse of tourism, trade shows and conventions.

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Appetite: Food Trucks Lift Spirits, Bring Community to Cameron Station

It’s a tale as old as time: Communities finding common ground with food, sharing meals together, looking forward to events that center on a family meal, a special occasion.

Wednesday, May 20

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Keeping Nursing Home Residents Safe

On behalf of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), I’d like to thank all those who work in nursing facilities -- doctors, nurses, food preparers, housekeepers, and others -- for their unwavering dedication to compassionately caring for the vulnerable residents who are relying on them during the COVID-19 pandemic. These facilities have been on the front lines of the pandemic, and our hearts are with all of those who have been affected by this virus and their families.

Opinion: Column: Time Will Tell

Nearly three weeks into my low iodine diet, in preparation for my hospital overnight on May 28 when I will get my radioactive iodine therapy, to be followed immediately by a medical quarantine at home for a week, I wouldn't say I'm thriving. More like persevering. I can't really satiate eating "rabbit" food, and what culinary pleasures I can enjoy, I can only have them in small quantities and infrequently at that. I won't give you a list, but just consider what any 10-year-old likes to eat.

Fairfax County Parks Reopening Begins in Time for Memorial Day Weekend

The Park Authority has begun reopening of parking lots and parks in the park system to be open for the Memorial Day weekend. Park Authority staff will begin the process of clearing barricades and opening parking lots at all 427 parks for the community on Wednesday, May 20 through Friday, May 22. These parks will reopen for limited use in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines from the Virginia Governor’s office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Fairfax County School Board Celebrates Class of 2020

Superintendent Scott Brabrand releases Board decisions.

Superintendent Scott Brabrand dashed any remaining hopes of summer in-person commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020. After receiving results from high school students and parents on his Survey on Graduation Preferences, Brabrand said the School Board agreed on his recommended approach. They committed to celebrating the seniors "in the safest and most personalized manner possible."

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Fairfax Week in Coronavirus

Fairfax County cases increase more than 1,600 in last week, and Virginia rises more than 6,000 cases as most of the state eases restrictions.


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Parental Burnout on Distance Learning During COVID-19

How to survive until the end of the school year.

Whether deciphering algebraic equations and trying to teach them to a disinterested child or helping with a science experiment during a Zoom conference call, for parents who are trying to homeschool their children during the current COVID-19 pandemic, the struggle is real. Last fall, some parents developed a plan to deal with the academic burnout that occurs as the school year neared an end. Little did they know that the plan they created would be themselves.

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Stay-at-Home Order Allows More Time for Road Construction in Virginia

When traffic is down, the crews extend time with lane closures, resulting in project progress.

The quarantine that seems to have no end is having some positive impacts. With most businesses closed and most people staying home most of the time, rush hours have been minimal, gas use is down, local streets are becoming the roads less traveled. For road crews, this is time to pick up the pace.

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Fairfax County School Board Considers Fall 2020 Options

Three back-to-school scenarios presented.

What might school look like to children in Fairfax County Public Schools this fall — remote learning or social distance learning with masks and temperature checks? Which students would schools bring back first — the older ones or most vulnerable? And what might students face when they get there — a climb back to grade level or multi-age classes?

Fairfax County Supervisors Approve Budget Plan, Fairfax RISE

Highlights of May 12 Board of Supervisors meeting.

Some of the first words Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay Fairfax County Board of Supervisors said at the May 12 Board of Supervisors meeting were for county families; in particular, those who lost loved ones or had family members hospitalized with the coronavirus. "If we could keep them and their entire families in our thoughts and prayers," McKay said. "As a reminder, our County flag continues to fly at half-staff, throughout the County at our facilities, in honor of the residents who sadly died as a result of COVID-19 and in recognition of our many essential workers who are responding to the pandemic," he said.

Opinion: Commentary: The Story of 22305 Is Not Unique to Alexandria

As the coronavirus spreads and more testing is performed, anxious residents are demanding more information regarding the rate of infection in their communities.

Tuesday, May 19

Opinion: Commentary: Beyond Equality to Equitable Funding of Our Schools

Passing by the elementary and high schools I attended as a youngster was a small yellow bus carrying about six children to a school 12 miles away in Luray. They were black children who by the constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia were prohibited from attending school with white children.

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A Click Worth $40K for South Lakes High School Senior

Awarded ‘Opportunity Scholarship’ in monthly drawing.

One little click set Imani Irons of Herndon and senior at South Lakes High School in Reston on a path that eventually led her to be among 25 students who, after completing six key college planning steps, each at valued dollars, the College Board awarded $40,000 in its chance Opportunity Scholarships Program.

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Remediate, Demo then Build in Herndon

Comstock edges toward redevelopment of Historic Herndon.

Comstock Herndon Venture LC has yet to ink its purchase of 4.675 acres of town-owned land in the Herndon Historic District after it and the Town signed a Comprehensive Agreement approximately two and a half years ago for the Herndon Downtown Redevelopment Project, a partnership between the Town and Comstock Herndon Venture LC.

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College Students Prevail Despite Coronavirus Impacts

McLean, Vienna area college students reflect on how the health crisis affects their lives, studies.

Part one in a series. The coronavirus pandemic forced in-person education to come to a halt in March across the country. College students not only had in-person courses moved online, but many had to travel back home for the remainder of the semester, and faced a number of new difficulties.

Vienna Police Highlights May 8 – May 14, 2020

The following summary contains various incidents of general interest as well as vehicular crashes handled by the Town of Vienna, Virginia Police Department from May 8 – May 14, 2020.

The Alden in McLean Announces ‘Drive-Thru Drama’

Live performances you can experience from the comfort and safety of your car.

The Alden in McLean presents “Drive-Thru Drama,” a new model of live theater in the era of COVID-19. “Drive-Thru Drama” is a social-distancing theater format that allows people to enjoy a live theater performance from the safety and comfort of their own cars.

Cause of Great Falls House Fire Under Investigation

On Tuesday, May 12 at 2:53 a.m., units were dispatched for a reported house fire in the 800 block of Walker Road in the Great Falls area of Fairfax County.

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Virtual 5K Race for a Good Cause

Langley High sophomore organizes virtual race for CIS NOVA.

As the Coronavirus outbreak has caused everyone to be confined to their homes, many have turned to exercise to keep busy and healthy. Will Navas, of Great Falls, a sophomore at Langley High School, is using it to raise money for children in his community by organizing a virtual 5k race that donates all proceeds to Communities in Schools of Northern Virginia (CIS NOVA).

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‘Facilitating Connections’ in Quarantine in Great Falls

Siblings start charitable initiative during COVID-19 pandemic.

It only took two days of quarantine for Isabel and Nathaniel Mathew of Great Falls to become restless. After Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced on March 23 that all schools would remain online for the rest of the school semester, the Langley High School siblings didn’t know how they were going to spend their newfound free time. That is, until they figured out a way that they could give back to those in the community who have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.

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Helping Community Stay Safe in Great Falls

Brooke Dawn, 15, a Great Falls resident, student at The Madeira School, and Kawasaki Disease survivor, loves to ride her bike and take walks to keep her heart healthy. When she does, she loves to read the different uplifting messages written on brightly colored stones left by others.

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Great Falls Helps with ‘Stuffing the Bus’ in Reston

Stepping up ‘Stuff the Bus’ COVID-19 style.

For nine years, the Stuff the Bus food drive served to fill the quickly emptying food pantry shelves of local Fairfax County nonprofits. On Saturday, May 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Fairfax County Government and the community came together once again to support the biannual campaign.

Monday, May 18

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First Physical Gathering Since COVID for Mount Vernon Church

Washington Community Church holds two services on Mother’s Day.

The Washington Community Church in Mount Vernon held back to back Mother's Day drive in worship services on Sunday. Live music, gift bags for mothers, and a sermon from Pastors Steve and Zury Bradcovich atop a makeshift stage on a rented flatbed truck.

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Play On: ASO Trio Serenades Goodwin House Residents

Residents of Goodwin House Alexandria were treated to a special performance by members of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra during a May 7 musical program led by ASO Music Director James Ross.

40 Under 40: Alexandria Chamber Announces 2020 Honorees

The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce has announced the 2020 class of 40 Under 40 honorees. This is the fifth class of honorees in the program, which was established in 2016 to recognize individuals under the age of 40 who are outstanding in their fields and shaping the future of the city.

The Other Alexandria: A Family’s Devastation of Influenza Pandemic: Bessie Evans Baltimore Carter

World War I ended in November of 1918, but another world devastation began. The 1918 Influenza “flu” known to many as the Spanish Flu was an invisible enemy that killed more people than World War 1. An enemy that did not carry guns nor grenades but was deadly.

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On the Rocks in Alexandria

Sophie Richardson, a 6th grade student at St. Stephens/St. Agnes School, is brightening up the Vauxcleuse neighborhood near Inova Alexandria Hospital with rocks painted with uplifting messages for her neighbors to find.

Saturday, May 16

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Island Vacation Inspires Kitchen Remodel in Alexandria

A dark and cramped kitchen gets sunny makeover.

During a vacation to the Maldives, Lesli and Daniel Creedon found inspiration for the design concept behind their newly remodeled kitchen. The family, which includes two 15-year-old children, wanted to capture the aesthetic of the powder-white sand and glass-blue lagoons that characterize the strand of islands.

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A Socially Distant Celebration: Family Marks 80th Birthday at Goodwin House

Sandy Connolly celebrated her 80th birthday at Goodwin House Alexandria with a socially distant visit from family members.

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Frank Fannon, Living Legend

It is heartening to see a citizen as solid as Frank Fannon recognized as a "Living Legend." Given the time and effort this Alexandrian has dedicated to making his community a better place, no one can question the appropriateness of the honor.

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Wrong Approach for Stream Restoration

The biggest problem with the so-called natural channel design approach to stream "restoration" for us in the greater Washington, D.C. region is that it is planned and implemented in completely the wrong places: small order, interior forested, upper headwater streams and wetlands.

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Dismayed

I was dismayed to read the very one-sided and mostly inaccurate version of an event taking place in my neighborhood.

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Role of Local Newspapers?

Local newspapers play an important role in our community life because they identify local issues that are often overlooked by national news but which nonetheless impact our day-to-day lives. We look to local newspapers to provide a balanced presentation of these local issues.

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Plan Many Years in the Works and Supported by Majority of the Community

[My Gazette was delivered late this issue; but I write anyway, to object to the "reporting" cited below.] The value of a community newspaper lies in its ability to treat local issues in some depth and with fairness and accuracy.

Opinion: Commentary: Battling the Coronavirus – Efforts Must Be Expanded

It has been four months since the Centers for Disease Control confirmed the first case of coronavirus disease, called COVID-19, in the United States. As of May 11, over 800 Virginians have died, 3,200 hospitalized and over 25,000 Virginians have tested positive for this virus. Only about 1.7% of Virginians or 147,000 have been tested. Our hospitalization rate has continued to climb with over 1,500 people currently in the hospital. The rate of infection has slowed, but this virus has hit our community very unevenly.

Opinion: Commentary: FY 2021 – The COVID-19 Budget

This is not the budget any of us were hoping to approve this year.

Tuesday, the Board adopted the County Executive's amended FY 2021 Budget proposal. While this is not the budget any of us were hoping to approve this year, it is necessary as we pivot to address the needs created by COVID-19.

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Save Our Pick-up Spaces

Back in March, the Mayor's office offered reserved spaces for pickup and carryout to every restaurant in the City. For those who weren't open for a while and may have forgotten, all you have to do is call the Mayor's office and they’ll make it happen.

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Warehouse Design Charettes No Longer Appropriate

I noted that prior to this unfortunate COVID Crucible, the Old Town North (OTN) City Planning Commission venue for the OTN small area plan (SAP) was scheduled to be held 23 March, at St Paul's Church on S. Pitt St in Old Town South.

Opinion: Commentary: Senior Communities: Need vs. Want

As the Coronavirus seems to have many Seniors in its crosshairs, all of our local communities are scrambling to keep residents safe. Many of them report cases of Covid, and are making enormous efforts to both care for those affected, and protect the rest of their residents. Most are on “lockdown” of one sort or another, with virtually all restricting both visitors and meal settings.

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: ‘Dubious Agreement’

Today's article [5/7/20 Mount Vernon Gazette, page 4] by Mike Salmon about the Hollin Hills Project is very well written, explaining carefully the issue.

Opinion: Commentary: Have You Filled Out Your Census?

I am sure, and certainly hope, that you have heard a lot about the decennial census in the last few months, not only from my office but from many sources. I have some good news if you have not yet completed your census: the original July 31, 2020 deadline has been extended three months to give you even more time to fill it out and get counted!

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‘Circumstances Have Changed, and They’re on the Frontline’ in Fair Oaks

First responders salute healthcare heroes at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital.

It’s nice to be appreciated – and, last Tuesday, May 5, at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, local first responders let healthcare workers there know exactly how much they’re valued. At the 6:30 p.m. shift change, staff members walked outside and were greeted by fire engines, police cruisers, a gigantic American flag and about 100 first responders applauding them and holding signs and banners of appreciation.

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Robots Bring Meals to Fairfax Residents

There’s a robot invasion in downtown Fairfax! Well, no, not really; but friendly robots delivering delicious meals to City residents have definitely become part of the local scene.

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Golf Courses Get Opening Green Light in Fairfax County

Members happy to return to the greens.

When Fairfax County Park Authority announced its phased reopening would open golf courses on May 8, Laurel Hill Golf Club members Kelly Towns, of Burke, and Jim Poodiack, of Springfield, were among the first to get tee times. Towns enjoyed coming during work breaks before the club closure due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Friday, May 15

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Chantilly Native Volunteering for Better Community

Toora Arsala, 30, has spent the past 20 years working with community festivals and political candidates to improve his community.

For 30-year-old Chantilly-native Toora Arsala, volunteering has become a way of life. He first started volunteering in high school as part of the Best Buddies organization. From there Arsala started volunteering in various other organizations and does what he can to help his community.

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‘Seeing What We Mean to the Community Is Gratifying’ in Fair Oaks

First responders salute healthcare heroes at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital.


Thursday, May 14

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This Week in Coronavirus: Alexandria

Will Phase One begin Friday? Alexandria Mayor and chairs of Fairfax and Arlington Boards respond.


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This Week in Coronavirus in Fairfax County

Virginia surpasses 25,000 cases; Phase I being discussed while numbers of cases and deaths continue to rise.


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Now, For Something Completely Different

At the GW Community School, distancing doesn’t mean disconnecting.


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Chirilagua in Crisis

More than half of those tested in low-income Hispanic neighborhood are positive for COVID-19.

Azucena Esquival lives in a cramped apartment in the Arlandria neighborhood of Alexandria, where the problem of community spread isn’t just theoretical. The pandemic is in her household. Earlier this month, she tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Another adult in her household paid $300 to get a test, which was also positive. They are living with two people who have not been tested. None of them are currently working, and they have no source of income.

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This Week in Coronavirus in Potomac

More than 200 cases in Potomac, more than 1,500 deaths in Maryland. County officials say they will be deliberate and thoughtful when lifting restrictions.


Wednesday, May 13

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Dream Home Becomes a Reality in Potomac

Home designed to accommodate the interests of an active family of five.


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Pastries by Randolph Reopens with a New Normal in Arlington

‘We sold out the 85 mousse cakes.’


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In Arlington: Round and Round and Round and.......

Josh Babb runs marathon on his street for Columbia Baptist Church food pantry.


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Cheering for Healthcare


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Front Line Medical Staff Get New Tennis Shoes

Local athletic shoe companies donate special shoes to medical staff Impacted by COVID-19.

New shoes for medical workers.

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Litter Trap Installed on Little Hunting Creek

Pilot program conducted on an area creek suffering from trash infestation.

Litter Trap

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Crystal City BID Debuts #LoveNationalLanding

New art initiative designed to inspire and uplift launches with unveiling of painted storefronts.


Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing and American Legion Post 139 Celebrate Terwilliger Place Construction Start

Veteran-serving development will create 160 affordable apartments and a new Post facility.


Tuesday, May 12

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Hunkered Down to Opening Up in Virginia

Northern Virginia leaders urge regional approach to reopening state.


Northern Virginia Reopening Should Occur When Metrics Met

Regional mayors and chairs send letter to Gov. Northam.


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Comfy Kitchen Amid COVID-19

A gloomy, dark space gets a light and bright update.


Opinion: Commentary: The First Great Depression


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Col. ‘Bob’ Honored in Herndon on 100th Birthday

Drive-by birthday parade for centenarian, retired fighter pilot Col. Robert A. Shawn.


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Curtis Knocking Presents ‘Happy Half-hours’

Local band started half-hour live performances of classic rock through their Facebook page.


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Vienna Teen Helps ‘Heroes of COVID’

High School junior organizes national initiative to feed frontline COVID-19 health care workers.


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Final Weeks of College in Quarantine

McLean college senior, Volunteer EMT reflects on life in pandemic time.


Monday, May 11

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‘An American Hero’

Gary Powers Jr. details U-2 incident.


Saturday, May 9

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Living Legends of 2020

Frank Fannon IV


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Great Harvest Bread


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CARES Cash to Alexandria

City to receive as much as $27 million from feds.


The Nature of Covid

A poem by Anne Holloway


South County Junior Elected to School Board


Seven Running for Fairfax City Council

Candidates in their own words.


‘None of Us Really Know How this Will Play Out’ in Fairfax City

City continues to grapple with FY 21 budget.


Friday, May 8

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Hunger Rising

Applications for food stamps skyrocket in Alexandria as local economy tanks.

Recent weeks have seen a dramatic spike in the number of people in Alexandria with no resources to put food on the table for their families, leading to a skyrocketing number of applications for food stamps as unemployment numbers climb and people in Alexandria suddenly find themselves in an awkward position — asking for help from the government just to buy groceries. Officials at the Alexandria Department of Community and Human Services say applications to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have more than tripled since February, before the novel coronavirus pandemic prompted Gov. Ralph Northam to issue a stay-at-home order and shut down most of Alexandria’s economy.

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This Week in Coronavirus in Mount Vernon

Phase I would ease some limits on business and faith communities, and would transition the stay at home directive to a “safer at home” guideline, especially for those in vulnerable populations.


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This Week in Alexandria Coronavirus

Alexandria approaches 1,000 reported coronavirus cases and Virginia surpasses 20,000, but Phase I recovery could come May 15.


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Opinion: Commentary: Local Small Business Owners – We’re Here for You


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Life Goes On: Wedding


Maryland Primary Election Turns to the Mail

Ballots will be mailed to all registered voters, and come with a postage-paid return envelope.


Thursday, May 7

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Mount Vernon Farmers Market To Open in May

It could pave the way for more as the county could gradually reopen.

Some Farmers Markets to open in May

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Creek Plan in Hollin Hills Generates Push Back

Some residents say County plan is unnecessary and expensive.

Hollin Hills creeks

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Parade for Mac McConnell’s 99th Birthday

Social distancing in place, but the smiles prevailed.


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This Week in Coronavirus in Potomac: Thank You to Heroes

Montgomery County surpasses 5,000 Covid-19 cases, Potomac 150 cases, while health care workers continue to sacrifice their health for our loved ones.


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Nursery to Nursing Home, Up to 120 Beds in Potomac

Will the community have the ability to participate in the public process during Covid-19 pandemic?


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Neighborhood Weekly Tells the Story of COVID-19 Life in Arlington

Teenager starts her own paper to keep herself and neighbors engaged.


Opinion: Commentary: Now Is Not the Time To Put Off Vaccinations

Pediatricians report a 30-76 percent decrease in administering routine childhood immunizations.


Arlington Police Briefs


Wednesday, May 6

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Reston, Mount Vernon and Burke Farmers Markets to Open in May

It could pave the way for more as county gradually reopens.


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NoVA Legislators Lasso Outdoor Tethering Law

New tethering restrictions go into effect July 1.


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Virtual Fitness Classes Offer Options

Online choices for those who want to get or stay in shape.


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‘Don't Forget About Us’ in Fairfax County

County supervisors hold public budget hearings.


Make Every Day Mom’s Day

Mother’s Day can be every day during quarantine.


Tuesday, May 5

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Kicking Off National Nurses Week and Hospital Week 2020 in Reston

A ground and air salute to healthcare workers at Reston Hospital Center.


Opinion: Commentary: A New Normal


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Herndon Cares, Deliciously

First Baptist Church of Herndon spearheads a new program.


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Mourning the Passing of Darryl “Smitty” C. Smith, Sr.

Herndon and Purcellville Police Departments say goodbye to the man with a big heart.


Poetry Corner


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'Fair Winds and Following Seas'

Presentation and drive-by parade held for Commander Franco Neto, United States Navy, Retired.


Monday, May 4

‘Service Above Self’ in Alexandria

Rotary awards $65k to local nonprofits.


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Heroes Honoring Heroes in Alexandria

First responders turn out to applaud health care workers.


Opinion: Commentary: Hazard Pay in Honor of Frontline Workers in Fairfax County

We are putting our lives on the line; Hazard pay honors our sacrifices.


Friday, May 1

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Loan Sharks in the Water

Lawmakers crack down on predatory lending, although reform won’t happen for eight months.

The LoanMax on Mount Vernon Avenue in Arlandria is open for business during the pandemic, and colorful signs in the windows announce in English and Spanish that the car-title lender remains open during a stay-at-home order — offering loans at 200 percent annual interest during a time when unemployment claims in Alexandria are skyrocketing. Those kinds of interest rates will be illegal under the Fairness in Lending Act, which Gov. Ralph Northam signed last week after lawmakers signed off on some last-minute changes. But the ban on such high-interest lending won’t take effect until New Years Day 2021, which means high-interest lenders have eight months to engage in an unprecedented lending spree during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

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Opinion: Commentary: What Happened in Richmond During Reconvene

Legislating in a pandemic … it’s complicated.


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This Week in Alexandria in Coronavirus

United States passed one million Covid-19 Cases, and more than 50,000 deaths, while here at home, business task forces, hunger, more medicaid, expired licenses and more.