Month: January 2019

Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

Go V Yourself!

by Lori Welch Brown Go V Yourself! Since I was a kid, I’ve been drawn to Valentine’s Day.  I love all the pink hearts, red Cupids, and especially the dark chocolate!  Note that I didn’t mention red roses or lingerie, but more on that later.  I especially love those sweet little Valentines in the tiny envelopes you handed out in grade school.  We would decorate a brown paper bag to collect them all in.  Oh, the memories.  I still scan the aisles of CVS to catch a glimpse of them.  Back in my day, they were mostly Mickey and Minnie and Pebbles and BamBam.  Now they are My Little Pony and Transformers.  Cute cards aside, I had my share of some not so very happy “Cupid” days mostly because said “Cupid” must have thought I had the plague for a decade or so.  I don’t recall many years when I was actually coupled up for the most romantic day of the year.  So I write this column every year not effusing grandiose thoughts on love, but more as a white flag offering, if you will, for the lonely hearts club. For some of you, walking past that card aisle is just plain painful.  I get it.  Maybe you just broke up with someone.  Maybe your person passed away.  Maybe you just went through a divorce.  Maybe you’re going through a dating drought.  Whatever the case, those cute little hearts are inducing your gag reflex and there’s no way to stop the influx of pink!  There are, however, some ways to lift your current grinch-like heart. Go rogue.  Stay in and watch the most anti-Valentine flicks you can find.  As every single person knows, Netflix can be the best date ever. Go old school.  Get out the construction paper, Elmer’s and…

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On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road

Our dear friend of many years, Charlene Lankford decided it was time to take a copy of the OTC with her on her yearly trip to Key West for the Off Shore Powerboat races.  She has been making the trek for about 12 years. Joining her are numerous friends and family from southern Maryland who make up a huge group from “The Maryland Powerboat” constituency.  She tells us that it’s a fun week – 3 days of races, a scooter poker run, a boat parade on Duvall Street and a few free days to just relax.

History, History Column

Mary V. Thompson: Researcher, Historian, Writer

by ©2019 Sarah Becker Mary V. Thompson Researcher, Historian, Writer Mount Vernon Research Historian Mary V. Thompson awaits the release of her second book, The Only Unavoidable Subject of Regret: George Washington, Slavery, and the Enslaved Community at Mount Vernon (2019). It comes on the heels of Thompson’s first, In the Hands of a Good Providence: Religion in the Life of George Washington (2008).  Mary and I first met in 1995; we are colleagues and she joins me for a Q&A.      Q1. Jamestown now celebrates 400 years of African-American history. The first 20 black Africans arrived in Jamestown in 1619, twelve years after the Colony’s founding. They came by ship, as human cargo, for sale as indentured servants. Yet George Washington, son of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington of Westmoreland County, Virginia, grew up with slaves. Explain the transition from indenture to slavery; the plantation practices that promoted slavery. A1. George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, into a world in which slavery was simply a fact of life. The first Africans had arrived in Virginia more than one hundred years earlier and new research has shown that, contrary to long-held beliefs, most were enslaved from the outset. The basic outlines of the legal status of Virginia slaves were clarified in the 1660s and 1670s, with the passage of legislation stating that: whether children born in Virginia were free or enslaved depended on the condition of their mother (1662); conversion to Christianity and subsequent baptism would not result in freedom for a slave (1667); masters would have almost total control over how their slaves were disciplined, and would not be prosecuted if a slave died while being punished (1669); and the government would police slaves and owners would be reimbursed for any slaves who were killed while…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Getting Ready to Guide

By Steve Chaconas Getting Ready to Guide Potomac River guides are busy. For me, it means ordering my 2019 Skeeter FX20 and 10 foot Power Poles. For long stays on the water with reliable cranking power, DEKA Batteries energize my rig. Capt. John Sisson’s new Ranger is being rigged with HUMMINBIRD electronics, Power Poles and a Mercury outboard. Capt. Michael Hall and Capt. George Martin are going through their rigs to recover from 2018. Capt. Mike’s 2016 Ranger Comanche 521C goes to MARE Marine for a top to bottom check up. He doesn’t neglect his Criswell Chevrolet Suburban either, readying it for long tows. Capt. George’s off-season boat care starts with a deep cleaning, carpet shampoo, and hull and bottom wax job. He replaces or fixes any vessel or equipment issues, including electronics, pumps, switches, and hinges. When the calendar clicked over to 2019, licensing expired. Every POTOMAC guide must keep Red Cross First Aid and CPR current, as well as charter insurance. Enrolling in a random drug-testing program is also required. MD and Potomac River Fisheries Commission Guide license renewals begin. USCG Captains licenses must be current. If not, a four-month process is required. Show time! Guides attend shows to promote sponsors, conduct seminars and book trips. Meeting and greeting local anglers takes a lot of energy, as floor time can be 10 hours straight. Having plenty of brochures and business cards to pass out, along with gear for demonstrations, needs preparation too! Websites and marketing begins now, although it never really ends. Updating email lists brings old clients back! Capt. Mike, a professional bass fisherman and USCG licensed guide, relies on social media to generate business, including posting videos and pictures on his Facebook pages and  Additionally, Capt. George,, updates his Google listing, creates new handouts for shows,…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

Debt Management Solutions

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce Debt Management Solutions Balancing debt repayment with investing goals takes some strategy and planning. Some consider investing as a first line of defense while paying down debt as a second. The debt dilemma The process for eliminating debt is anything but an easy-to-solve financial equation. Many people wonder if they should pay off their debt as quickly as possible or invest their money, letting debt payments run their course. The answer depends on whom you ask. Theories about balancing investing with debt vary widely. Some financial experts say freedom from debt is the most important goal. Others say it’s more about the math: Your money should go toward investing if your investments earn a higher rate of return than your debts cost you. Still others focus on the emotional aspect: How comfortable are you with a certain level of debt? Neither one nor the other Better yet, perhaps, is a balanced approach to wealth management. If you’re like most people, you’ll need to manage finances for both present and future needs. That means paying off some debt today while simultaneously investing with an eye on the future. Although your decisions should take into account your own needs and circumstances, consider the following guidelines for handling debt in light of investing goals: Save for a rainy day. Before paying down debt (beyond required payments) or settling on an investment strategy, make it your first priority to put funds aside for an emergency reserve. We recommend six months or more of living expenses; an absolute minimum is three months’ worth. These funds should be in traditional savings or very short-term, highly liquid, low-volatility investments. Put your future first. As a general rule, your long-term investment plan should take priority over applying extra amounts toward debt. Be…

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Alexandria Events January 2019

6th A Special Anniversary 4 – 6 pm George Washington’s Mount Vernon 3200 Mount Vernon Highway 703-780-2000 Join George and Martha Washington for an exclusive celebration of their wedding anniversary on Twelfth Night. This special evening tour of the Mansion includes a rare visit to the third floor and greeting the Washington’s in the New Room. After your tour, enjoy a reception with cake, music, and champagne at the Interpretive Center and take your picture with the couple. Athenaum Events 201 Prince Street 703-548-0035 3rd – 7 – 9 pm – Hidden History of Alexandria This groundbreaking history uncovers a long-forgotten period in the 19th century when Alexandria left the commonwealth of Virginia and became incorporated into the fledgling District of Columbia. It was an experiment that failed after half a century of neglect and a growing animosity between North and South. However, it was a fascinating time when cannons were dragged onto city streets for political rallies, candidates plied their voters with liquor and devastating fires ravaged the city. Please join us for this exhilarating talk! 6th – 2 – 4 pm – Artist Talk: Elizabeth Casqueiro – Re:Vision Exhibition 13th – 4 – 6 pm – Opening Reception for FAX Ayres/Photography Exhibition 11th ASO Presents: Bach, Brandenburgers & Brews 7:30 – 10:30 pm St. Paul’s Episcopal Church 228 S. Pitt Street 703-548-0885 Members of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director James Ross, present this special evening of Brandenburg Concertos in the intimate setting of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.  Hear the ASO’s rendition of concertos No. 2, 4 and 5 with principals from the ASO featured as soloists.  Stay after for a reception in Norton Hall to mingle with the musicians and enjoy delectable German food and beer. Food generously provided by Port City Brewery, the…

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From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

What Cool People Do

What Cool People Do by Molly Winans, SpinSheet Magazine Editor According to the NOAA website’s Thomas Point Light Station, the air temperature is 41 degrees Fahrenheit. The Bay, 42.6 degrees. It’s blowing 12 knots out of the northwest and gusting up to 14 knots. The sky is clear and expected to remain so. Would you like to go sailing right now on a one-man, 14-foot sailboat? Two dozen Laser sailors from Annapolis say “yes.” The most obvious first two questions would be, “Why?” and, “Are you crazy?” We tend to ask those questions of anyone at the extremes of a sport. This is not professional sailing here. We’re talking about recreational, Sunday afternoon sailing. Whether we—meaning the non-dinghy-frostbite-racing majority—are racing sailors or cruisers, who prefer “reasonable” weather, we shouldn’t just dismiss these hardcore frostbite sailors as crazy. They have something to teach us. There have been best-selling books on how to be happy; here’s the free, one-page cliff notes version for sailors. Do things you love, and you will make friends who share your passion. “I frostbite because the fleet is so gung-ho about it,” says Dorian Haldeman, Severn SA’s former Laser fleet captain and regular competitor. Charlie Pugh says, “We love to sail. We love to race. I think most of us agree that a day racing Lasers on the water will beat a day in the office no matter how bad the weather gets.” “The camaraderie is amazing,” says Ashley Love. “Of course, there is a lot of camaraderie,” adds Bob Tan. Funny how many times these one-man dinghy racers mention camaraderie. What drives these sailors from a racing perspective are the power and learning experience of relying on their own skills and wits to steer, trim, and navigate their own boats effectively around a race course. That…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, To the Blue Ridge

And They’re Off…..Let The Races Begin!

By Julie Reardon And They’re Off…..Let The Races Begin! Colonial Downs Thoroughbred Race Track is reopening in stages later this year in New Kent County. Since colonial times, Virginia has always been known as horse country. Over the years, some world famous race horses were foaled at some of the best nurseries in the racing business right here in Virginia, including Secretariat. However, the state lacked its own venue for live Thoroughbred racing on the flat, even though it hosted the two biggest steeplechase meets in the country – the Virginia Gold Cup in the spring and the International Gold Cup in the fall at Great Meadow in The Plains. That changed in 1997 when Colonial Downs first opened in New Kent and racing finally returned to the Commonwealth. Colonial Downs proved popular with Virginia horsemen, as well as those from nearby states for its state of the art dirt and turf tracks and modern facility. With off track wagering eventually being held at 10 locations statewide, purses were increased and money was put back into breeding and training farms. These farms, and the attendant jobs, had been steadily abandoning Virginia for greener pastures where purse incentives awarded breeders money for winners born in that state. An acrimonious disagreement between the wagering parlors – the Virginia Horsemen and Jacobs Entertainment, the owner of Colonial Downs – eventually caused the track to close in 2013. The horsemen, united under the umbrella group Virginia Equine Alliance, nevertheless, worked on rebuilding the off track wagering network and sought a venue that could host live Thoroughbred racing in the state. Since the track closed, they held a handful of Virginia-bred and Virginia-sired races in Maryland and at Great Meadow. Part of what had kept the track dark the past five years was the difficulty…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

What Am I Going to Do??

By Lani Gering What Am I Going To Do? As I write this column it is once again RAINING and is forecast to keep it up for another 36 hours. I cannot express how depressing the weather has been for me for the last two months and the fact that it rained primarily on the weekends really added insult to injury!  Some of my saving grace has been being able to head over to The Belvedere Lounge at the Gaylord and take in the nightly holiday happenings in the Atrium, checking out the Harbor tree lightings above the Plaza and the holiday themed light show on the Capital Wheel from the party room balcony of my condo and the fireworks that have been happening every Saturday up to Christmas regardless of the rain. What am I going to do now? The holidays are over and the lights are gone and no more fireworks through the pouring rain. I am definitely not a candidate for MAGfest at the Gaylord but I guess there isn’t really any reason I can’t still seek solace at The Belvedere and the people watching while it’s going on – there are definitely some characters that attend this gathering. Check them out via the link in the calendar listing in this section. I wrote about it in depth last January. Restaurant Week starts at the end of the month so that is something to look forward to. Will give me a chance to check out some places I don’t usually frequent and save some cash at the same time. It follows on the heels of Restaurant Week in Old Town Alexandria so you all might want to check out the great food across the river. There is always the option of making a commitment to sticking closer…

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Personality Profile

Sailor turned Beer Man

Casey Jones Sailor turned Beer Man One of the great things about the Old Town Crier over the past 31 years is the fascinating people we meet and then get to write about. Casey Jones is no exception. We ran into Casey sitting at the bar at Cedar Knoll Restaurant. We struck up an easy conversation and I told him about the Crier and he handed me his business card. Casey Jones is the CEO and founder of Fair Winds Brewing Company in Lorton, Virginia. I have been sailing for 30 years and am accustomed to the phrase “Fair Winds and Following Seas”. Curiosity got to me and I asked him if he was a sailor to which he replied, “Yes, and I used to teach sailing at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT.” The next phrase was, “Can I buy you a drink,” and the conversation took off. Casey Jones grew up in north Philadelphia and upon graduation from high school enrolled in the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He graduated in 1991 from the Academy and shipped out to Panama City, Florida where he worked in counter drugs. From there he was transferred to Coos Bay, Oregon. His job in the Coast Guard was a ship driver, or a black shoe…terms that I had never heard.  “I went from white sandy beaches and spring break to lumber jacks and fishing trawlers,” he says. After Oregon, Jones returned to Washington, D.C. to serve at headquarters. From there he worked on his graduate degree in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and then back to the Academy to teach. While attending the Academy, Jones also took up the game of rugby, which I also played. “It was a great time,” he says. “After I left…

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