Month: July 2016

Go Fish

Somethings’s Fishy

One of the most frequently asked questions about the Potomac River is, “Can I eat the fish?” Well, you may not want to. In addition to urban runoff and sewage spills, there’s this. Dominion Power owns and operates the Possum Point Power plant located between Quantico Creek and the Potomac River. Power plants were located close to water systems for water to heat to produce electricity and to cool power generators. The plant burned coal from 1955 to 2003. Coal ash is disposed of in five retention “ponds”, basically holes in the ground, holding over a billion gallons of toxic coal ash and contaminated water. Coal ash contains metals that are toxic at high levels, including lead, arsenic, chromium, selenium and vanadium.\ Although switching to natural gas in 2003, the ponds are still being used to store millions of tons of this toxic slurry just a few feet from Quantico Creek. Some ponds were lined to prevent toxin leaching. Quantico Creek water samples show the presence of coal ash pollutants. In 2014, the Potomac Riverkeeper Network discovered all five ponds were seeping directly into the creek or leaching coal ash waste into local groundwater around the facility, resulting in groundwater contamination and illegal surface water discharges from the site. This is when the ash hit the fan. Complaints were filed in advance of Dominion applying for a permit to drain the ponds into Quantico Creek by the Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC), Maryland, the Potomac Riverkeeper (PRKN), and Virginia State Senator Scott Surovell. After a brief notification period, comments protesting the permit to allow the wastewater to flow began, but Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) found the Dominion process to be adequate. Apparently determining toxic chemicals can be diluted in the Potomac watershed. The PRKR reported that earlier this year, prior…

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Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

Castle Hill Cider

A refreshing alternative along Virginia’s wine trail. Castle Hill earned a place in the history books on June 3, 1781, when Jack Jouett set off on his perilous 40-mile ride to Charlottesville to warn Thomas Jefferson of an impending British raid. As the story goes, it was at Castle Hill that owners Dr. Thomas and Mrs. Walker succeeded in delaying British forces, providing time enough for Jouett to fulfill his mission and save the day. Today Castle Hill continues to make history as a world class event center and producer of artisan hard ciders. Located a short distance east of Charlottesville along the wine trail of Central Virginia, Castle Hill’s cidery and event center is spectacularly set among 600 acres of meadows, ponds and orchards with mountain vistas. In the cidery at Castle Hill, ciders are meticulously produced in small batches, using traditional and modern methods, and boast a crisp, contemporary style in a range of flavor profiles. Favorites among the assortment are the classic off-dry Celestial, a balanced blend with a firm tannin structure and notes of spice and citrus; the extra-dry Terrestrial, with notes of apple and peach and a clean, refreshing dry finish; and the fruit-forward, semi-dry Serendipity, with a hint of sweetness. Recently introduced and very popular is the fortified Big Pippin cider, with notes of fresh ginger on the nose, hints of vanilla and caramel on the palette, and a lengthy finish. Awards for Castle Hill’s ciders are many and include Silver medals for the Celestial and Ancient Orchard ciders at the 2016 Great Lakes International Cider competition and ‘Best Cider’ at the 2016 Virginia State Fair for the Serendipity. Castle Hill Cider is available to taste or purchase by the glass or bottle in the tasting room in Keswick. An assortment of specialty breads,…

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Beauty & Health, Spiritual Renaissance

Manifesting the Life of Your Dreams: It’s Easier than you Think!

Manifesting the Life of Your Dreams: It’s Easier than you Think! By the time you read this I will be living in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains in Tucson, AZ! 21 years ago I made my first trip to Arizona and I fell in love. As a Northeastern native, this was a shock and surprise to me. Yes. It’s hot – my first trip was mid-July and it didn’t deter me one bit from falling madly, deeply in love with the landscape and southwestern lifestyle. You see, people consistently tell me and my hubby that we’re being brave for moving clear across the country and him without a solid job offer. It’s not so much brave as it is answering the calling of our hearts. I’m also asked what happens if we find out we don’t like it there. The answer is simple – we move back to DC or somewhere else. Since when did we get this idea that we’re meant to ignore our longings to shift and change our lives and our living situation? Staying put is great if that is your highest desire, but if you are called to fulfill a dream- whether it’s starting a business, getting married, pursuing a creative project or moving across the country – why do you stop yourself? I find many people feel righteous in what they define as their stability. Yet they’re mistaking stability for rigidity. Staying for the sake of staying is not the way I want to live my life. Neither is leaving simply for the sake of stirring the pot. Each of us knows what our true longings and desires are, and we’re the only ones who can make them come true. Simply wanting to make your dream come true isn’t enough of course. You’ve got…

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Featured Post, High Notes

Green & Gold: And Then The New Crow Came

Green & Gold: And Then The New Crow Came Tucked away in the farthest corner of North America is the magnificent island of Newfoundland. You may remember that I spent a summer up there in 2014, soaking up the culture and even laying down some roots. While much of Newfoundland’s music, landscape, and culture is reminiscent of a slightly more raucous Ireland, there is far more to discover once you really start paying attention. One such discovery is the music scene, particularly in St. John’s. Newfoundland has a rich musical heritage that goes back to the original settlers, who brought folk songs from their native English and Irish lands. This tradition can be heard today in Shanneyganock, Irish Descendants, Ryan’s Fancy, and Buddy Wasisname & The Other Fellers, as well as the late great Ron Hynes, Newfoundland’s answer to Bob Dylan. But that’s only one side of the story. Any time spent in St. John’s, at the listening stations in Fred’s Records, or anywhere near George Street will reveal a self-contained, thriving music scene, every bit as inspired as those found in Athens, Seattle, San Francisco, Halifax, and Boston. Some of these bands, such as Great Big Sea, The Once, and Hey Rosetta have found success off the island but, really, geographical isolation has kept most of these artists in town. This isolation has kept them from becoming big rock stars but it’s also created a scene that is diverse and about as true to itself as one could get. Every band sounds wildly different, yet they all still scream “St. John’s”. Whether it’s the Celtic punk of Rogues or the mellow folk of the Domestics, the laid-back island vibe of Baytown, the stoner metal of Sheavy, the quirky songwriting of Thom Coombes, or the post-punk sounds of London Above,…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

Circling the Sun

Circling the Sun By Miriam R. Kramer Africa is not for the weak. When I lived in Africa as a child, I went on safari in Kenya and Tanzania. A hungry mongoose targeted my brother as the smallest and therefore weakest member of our group, causing us to grab him and retreat to the top of a table. A monkey grabbed the food out of my hand and then nimbly leaped off me and onto a tree branch. At night elephants brushed by our huts as they followed traditional paths to water. I saw firsthand that humans living on these harshly beautiful stretches of grassy savannah, cooler highlands, lakes, and forests always encounter the predators and prey inhabiting them. At some point early colonial settlers had to decide whether they would find the strength to eke out an existence by farming the land and raising livestock, refusing to become prey to either the wild or personal circumstances. Paula McClain’s book Circling the Sun gorgeously depicts the remarkable horse trainer, farmer, aviator, free spirit and inadvertent feminist pioneer Beryl Markham. Markham decided not to become prey as she matured from child to adult in the British East Africa Protectorate of the 1920s, suffered and found happiness while facing huge challenges, and wistfully watched her colonial home change as it became Kenya. As McClain notes, Markham’s parents moved to the British East Africa Protectorate from England, where her mother could not grow accustomed to the hardships involved in starting a farm in the isolated area of Njoro. She took Beryl’s frail brother Dickie back to England when Markham, then Beryl Clutterbuck, was a small child, leaving her under the care of her farming, horse-training father. Through benign neglect, Beryl grew up a wild urchin running free with her best male friend from…

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Behind the Bar, Featured Post, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar- Jon Wilcox

  Jon Wilcox The Wharf 119 King Street 703-836-2836     How did you get started in the bartending business? I was in college and needed a flexible job that paid well. I started tending bar and absolutely loved it! What is your biggest bartender pet peeve? It’s a toss up – tapping your glass on the bar or snapping your fingers….big no no’s if you want a drink! What is the cleverest line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink? Cleverest line….hmmmm…a guy came into the bar one time and said he’d take pictures of me and put them in an old town magazine if I made him a Pisco Sour…it worked! Sound familiar Crier??? What is the best/worst pick up line you have ever heard at the bar? They’re all bad! Be confident, be yourself, and go say, ‘HI!’ Tell us about an interesting encounter you have had with a customer(s). Interesting encounters??? It’s like Vegas….what happens at the bar, STAYS at the bar! If you could sit down and have a drink with anyone in the world – past or present – who would that be? Chris Farley….SNL….c’mon!         Jon serves up a Pisco Sour – Peruvian brandy, egg white, fresh lime juice and simple syrup   Jon is behind the bar everyday except Wednesday and Thursday and takes Sunday off during Redskins season! If you would like to see your favorite mixologist featured in this space, send contact information to

Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

The Barbell Lunge

By Ryan Unverzagt Welcome to another edition of From the Trainer. July’s exercise of the month is the Barbell Lunge. This particular exercise challenges your balance, core, and leg strength. The starting position is shown in Figure 1. The barbell will rest on the upper back as you take a long stride forward. Lower your body toward the floor by bending your front knee and hip to about 90 degrees. As this happens, shift your body weight to the front leg (Figure 2). Avoid leaning forward at the waist but make sure your knee stays over the toes and aligned with the front foot. Without pausing at the bottom, push forcefully up and backward. Body weight will then shift back to the “trail leg” to bring you back to start position. Try at least 10 reps on each leg. Variations to this lunge include alternating legs on each repetition or stepping backward to perform a reverse lunge. If you choose to reverse the lunge, make sure you shift your weight to the front leg first, and then step backward. Keep body weight on the front leg while the trail leg is used for balance. Another variation is the walking lunge in which you keep moving forward with each lunge. You could also hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides instead of using the barbell on the upper back. Either way you choose to do the lunge, it will provide the challenge and intensity you’ve been looking for! Until next month…..enjoy the Barbell Lunge.

Beauty & Health, Spiritual Renaissance

Is your lack of self-care affecting your profitability?

By Peggie Arvidson Is your lack of self-care affecting your profitability? This month let’s talk about Self Care, shall we? I’m in the business of helping people like you; connect with other people – primarily so that you can get paid for helping other people. I’m adamant about the power of self-care in this process. I don’t believe we can ever help anyone else at a deep level if we’re not willing or able to honor ourselves with that same level of love, compassion and care, you know? This is true even if you don’t work for yourself. Make sure your needs are met and provide care for yourself in order to have a successful and financially meaningful life. Some of you know my story from success, to rock bottom, to where I am now. I’ve done some spying into my own psyche lately to see what was happening under the surface that contributed to those material highs and lows. What I see is a direct correlation to how much I liked myself. Oh, I always knew what I was supposed to say and do from a self-talk and spiritual perspective. I went through motions like a good practitioner, but when things were really tough financially, I know that I carried the guilty belief that if I didn’t make money, I wasn’t worthy. It’s interesting to note that I’ve always been very materially motivated. I got my first job, baby-sitting, when I was 11 or 12. I used some of my money to invest in a babysitter’s class through the American Red Cross, so that I would be the most sought after babysitter in my neighborhood. And I was. I just knew in my bones that having my own money was my ticket to calling my own shots. This idea…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Gallery Beat

By F. Lennox Campello I am often asked, usually by friends outside the art cabal, and by people who become interested in collecting art, but have never collected artwork, what they should “collect.” “What should I buy Lenster?” “How do I start?” And thus, I would like to answer this question in this month’s column. Many years ago, I formed an educated opinion on this subject based on empirical observations. And in my opinion, for most of us (not the Rubells, Saatchis and the de la Cruzes), there are really only two basic rules to start an art collection: Collect what you like, and… 2…..Whenever possible, buy the original. That’s clear, right? Buy and collect only what you like, what attracts your eyes, brain, guts… and what interests you personally, and is within your economic means. If you like the work of a particular artist, or a specific kind of prints (like Japanese woodcuts), or drawings (such as figurative drawings), then focus your collection in those areas. This also comes with a caveat, as a lot of excessive attention is often placed on a “focused” collection. A diverse collection may make less sense to some than a focused one, but it only has to make sense to you! After all, it is your collection. It has also been my experience, that the more affluent a “beginning collector” is, the higher the probability that he/she will get swindled into spending a lot of money for wall décor and fancy frames. Since most of us are not affluent, the high end of the commoditized art market is not where I’m focusing this post. For those affluent folks: if the “gallery” has large realistic paintings of cigars resting on wine glasses, or the artwork comes with an “option” for a rococo frame, run…

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Caribbean Connection

Hamilton the West Indian (not the Musical)

Hamilton the West Indian (not the Musical) by Jeff McCord If not for a hurricane that devastated St. Croix in 1772, Alexander Hamilton may never have moved to North America, never fought with Washington in the Revolutionary War and not served as America’s first Secretary of the Treasury. And, there would be no Tony-award winning musical based on this founding father’s life. Fortunately for Broadway musicals, on August 31, 1772 a hurricane did strike the then Danish West Indian island of St. Croix where young, impoverished Alexander Hamilton spent his most formative years. The storm was biblical in strength. A journalist’s account, found by National Park Service historian William Cissel, described its impact on what is now the largest U.S. Virgin Island: “All the houses near shore were torn even to the foundations . . . The wall around the [Danish] King’s store house, which was above a yard thick, was tumbled down to the ground and hurled a hundred yards off . . . [The sea] swelled up to 70 feet above the usual height . . . In Christiansted, 460 houses were thrown down . . . All the ships were cast ashore, 50 or 100 yards [up] on the land.” It was 16 year-old Hamilton’s story on this storm that caught the attention of the Danish Governor. He led the business community to raise money to send the prodigy to King’s College (now Columbia University) in New York. In the Royal Danish American Gazette, Hamilton wrote: “It began about dusk from the North. . . and raged very violently till ten o’clock. Then ensued a sudden and unexpected interval, which lasted about an hour. Meanwhile the wind was shifting round to the South West point, from whence it returned with redoubled fury and continued so ’till near…

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