Volunteers make repairs to Clifton woman’s home

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Dixie Dawson ascends her new wheelchair ramp, assisted by Beth Walters of Sun Design. 

Christmas arrived almost two weeks early for Dixie Dawson.

A group of about 50 volunteers — most of whom are employees of Sun Design, a Burke-based home-remodeling company — spent Saturday repairing Dawson’s home and constructing a new deck and wheelchair ramp for her.

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Washington Post, December 17, 2015

Teen’s nonprofit tutors hundreds of kids

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Arvind Chava (left) tutors Katherine Fonseca, 10

Arvind Chava believes that a good education is the pathway to a better life. And the 17-year-old high school senior is doing something about it — not only for himself, but also for hundreds of children in southeastern Fairfax County.

Two years ago, he started STEMWISE, a nonprofit organization that provides after-school tutoring and online classes to about 400 children, many of whom are from low-income families. Through the program, Arvind and about 50 of his classmates at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology help children with math and science at 10 community centers.

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Washington Post, December 9, 2015

Blankets and coats for refugees in Turkey

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Northern Virginia officials are uniting again this year in an effort to help the growing numbers of those who have fled war-torn Syria and taken refuge in Turkey.

For the past two years, local officials and volunteers have organized drives that collected more than 43,000 blankets for delivery to refugees in Turkey. This year, as the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey has swelled to more than 2 million, the drive is being expanded to include new and “gently used” winter coats, as well as blankets and cash donations.

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Washington Post, November 22, 2015

Fairfax “foodraiser” brings in tons

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Hoisted above the crowd by a crane, photographer Daniel Dancer (left) directs volunteers into position for an aerial photo in which they form the Complete the Circle logo.

For five years, Our Daily Bread has set a goal of raising 10,000 pounds of donations for its annual fall food drive. This year, for the first time, the Fairfax nonprofit group reached that target.

More than 1,500 people were at Fairfax High School on Sunday for the Complete the Circle “FoodRaiser,” bringing 11,143 pounds of food and other household items that will be distributed to people in need, organizers said. The donations will go to clients of Our Daily Bread and the Lorton Community Action Center, which was a partner in the event for the first time.

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Washington Post, November 12, 2015

Bringing “magic” to medicine

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Dr. Anthony Felice (left) entertains patient Bernie Terry with a card trick.

When Anthony Felice meets with his patients, most of whom have cancer or blood disorders, he often uses a tool seldom found in medical textbooks or offices: a deck of cards.

A specialist in oncology and hematology, Felice is a skilled magician who has found a way to work his hobby into his medical practice. Since opening his office in Reston in 1995, he has discovered that entertaining his patients with card tricks is an effective way to relieve tension and take their minds off their medical problems.

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Washington Post, November 5, 2015

Fairfax slavery indexing project

In 1799, a 40-year-old man named Aleck was working as a carpenter at Lexington Plantation on Mason Neck. Kate, a 50-year old woman with impaired vision, was working in the plantation’s main house.

Aleck and Kate might have been forgotten if their names had not been recorded in a will book at the Fairfax County courthouse. Both were slaves owned by George Mason V, son of the statesman George Mason of Gunston Hall, and their names were recorded in an inventory of his property.

A project now underway in the Fairfax Circuit Court Historic Records Center is making personal information about Aleck, Kate and thousands of other enslaved people more accessible by creating an index of slaves mentioned in the county’s will and deed books.

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Washington Post, October 21, 2015

Preventing concussions in H.S. sports

A two-year push to prevent concussions and other injuries in Fairfax County high school sports is showing encouraging results, according to data released by the school system.

Statistics collected by Fairfax County public schools indicated that the number of injuries sustained by football players declined by 16 percent over the past year, and the number of concussions by 28 percent. There were similar declines in the incidence of concussions and other injuries among lacrosse players.

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Washington Post, October 15, 2015

A glimpse into an astronaut’s life

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Forget packing for a jaunt to the beach. Kids visiting the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly are setting their sights on a much more ambitious destination: Mars.

At the Astronaut Academy, the latest offering in the TechQuest program at the Northern Virginia offshoot of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, children are using an alternate-reality game to get an idea of what it’s like to be an astronaut.

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Washington Post, October 4, 2015

Falls Church Episcopal rebuilds

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Rev. John Ohmer, Rector of The Falls Church Episcopal

When the Rev. John Ohmer was named rector of the Falls Church Episcopal in September 2012, he faced the challenge of rebuilding a historic church that had lost most of its membership in a split with conservatives, primarily over the issue of ordaining openly gay clergy.

In late 2006 and early 2007, more than 90 percent of the 2,200 members of the church — which dates to Colonial times — voted to leave the Episcopal church and form the Falls Church Anglican.

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Washington Post, September 16, 2015

Sully Historic Site celebrates anniversary

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Exactly 40 years after the Sully Historic Site in Chantilly reopened after a major restoration, Fairfax County officials and visitors gathered to celebrate.

As children played centuries-old games on the lawn, tossing beanbags and rolling hoops, Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully) headlined a series of speakers who acknowledged those who rescued the historic house from demolition and restored it to its original appearance.

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Washington Post, September 10, 2015

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A jet descends above a 19th century one-room schoolhouse at the Sully Historic Site.