Day: September 1, 2019

Business Profile

A Family Affair

By Bob Tagert A Family Affair With all of the interest about Amazon moving into Crystal City we thought it a good time to talk to some real estate people about the ins and outs of this booming market. There is no better place to start than talking to Lori Windsor, local Alexandrian and real estate professional for Craftmark Homes. Lori’s husband, Eric Yakuchev, and her son, Matthew McGinley, who also sell for Craftmark, joined us in the discussion. Growing up in Springfield, Lori has spent most of her life in Alexandria so she knows the area well. She has sold over 60 communities in her career in Northern Virginia with 37 being in Springfield, Arlington and Alexandria. Before Craftmark, she sold for Pulte at the Potomac Yard project. Eric has sold for Syntax before joining Craftmark, and they both met at Potomac Yards. Matt naturally went into real estate sales and is currently a pre-sales expert for the Craftmark projects. Together, these professionals have a lot of knowledge and skill. As is the case with these new home sales, when one project is nearly completed, like The Crest community, the sales managers are relocated to a new property. Lori is now the sales manager of Towns of South Alex, which is where we met for this meeting. The name Craftmark is relatively new to me so Eric explained, “Craftmark is a 25 year old privately held company. They have built over 8,000 homes and numerous communities throughout the Northern Virginia area. Their claim to fame was luxury and estate single family homes so they were definitely upper end but lately have become more diversified.” During the conversation, they all agreed that the Northern Virginia area is one of the top five housing markets in the United States. “I think…

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History, History Column

1957 Textbook-Fake News

Old Town Crier Written by ©2019 Sarah Becker Copyright ©2019 Sarah Becker 1957 Textbook-Fake News                                                                                   In 1950 the 81st Congress convened; government scientists worked on a hydrogen bomb and Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy condemned Communism.   Soviet-armed North Korean troops invaded South Korea; the U.S. Supreme Court upheld black Americans right to attend a state law school, and segregated Virginia ranked thirty-fourth in its financial support of education.  In Virginia education was mostly “neglected,” except for a 7th grade state-listed history book written to appeal to a “conservative rural audience.”    “What is most distressing about the product of the 1950 Virginia Textbook Commission—and the Virginia General Assembly that created it—is not the over-glorifying of Virginia’s heritage, but a lack of confidence in it or her people,” The Virginian-Pilot wrote in 1965.  “The concept of an arm of the government supervising the writing of history is precisely the sort of statism to which Virginia politicians object so vehemently in their own Federal Government.” President Donald J. Trump (R-NY) defines fake news as not true.  “False stories created to be shared or distributed for the purpose of…promoting or discrediting a public figure or political movement.”  Commission Chairman, former Virginia Delegate and a top-ranking member of the Byrd Organization Cecil W. Taylor, of Lynchburg, admitted the 7th grade textbook—Virginia: History, Government, Geography by Francis Butler Simkins—was “written with bias, glorification, and political cant.” In fact, the 7th grade history text was “‘purified’ by state censors” in an effort “to appeal to conservative Virginia’s point of view.”    “Dixie [the South] is…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

The Nickel Boys

The Nickel Boys By Miriam R. Kramer Two years ago Whitehead authored The Underground Railroad, a retelling of history in which the passage north for African-American slaves was a real railroad. In plumbing our racial history, he created a symbolic work with surrealist touches reminiscent of William Faulkner and Ralph Ellison. Winning the 2017 Pulitzer and National Book Awards for this novel, Whitehead untangled and rewrote one thread of the malignant history of racism in America. The Nickel Boys tells a similar but more realistic tale, relating the story of two Black boys sent to a reform school in Northern Florida in the early 1960s. One, Elwood Curtis, is an idealist, a straight-A student who worships the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and believes in the possibility of eventual equality between the races. Another, Jack Turner, is a cynic who has had to bounce from member to member of his family, taking odd jobs to survive. When arrested by the police, Elwood is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Turner has dropped his usual detachment and rebelled by throwing a cinder block through a white customer’s car window. According to its mission statement, their destination, the Nickel Academy, a segregated juvenile reformatory, provides “physical, intellectual, and moral training” so that its “pupils” can become men with integrity and honor. In reality it might as well have the words Arbeit Macht Frei nailed above the front door. Reformatories, concentration camps, and for-profit penitentiaries have long delighted in lofty, absurd proclamations that bear no resemblance to such institutions’ effects on the human beings contained within. After Elwood arrives, he naively applies his ideals to conditions within the system. Standing up for a black inmate who is being bullied, he falls victim to Superintendent Maynard Spencer, the very picture…

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Personality Profile

Rick “Cardo” Casey aka “Spring Break”

By Bob Tagert Rick “Cardo” Casey aka “Spring Break” Many of you may remember our friend Rick Casey from his days of writing “My Favorite Places” in the Old Town Crier. Rick had established himself within the hospitality business with his company Capitol Representation, and we shared office space at 112 South Patrick for many years. He was an Old Town resident back then and brought a lot of spontaneity to our gatherings on our popular patio and at our favorite watering holes. Rick was in town recently and I had the chance to reminisce with my friend and finally write about him. His path to the hospitality business was possibly predetermined since he grew up in Covington, Virginia, just 18 miles from the Homestead in Hot Springs and Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, which would one day both become his clients. When I asked what he learned in high school, he responded with that famous grin…”the three R’s: Readin, Rritin, and Road to Roanoke!” While in school Rick was a talented musician and began playing at the Homestead and would also work as a “Walker”. “I would escort the daughters and granddaughters of wealthy families to dinner.” At the time, Rick was only 15 and getting ready to go to college. “Sometimes I would get very interesting offers and on one occasion a family wanted me to marry their daughter,” he said. In 1973, Rick went to Madison College where he majored in pre-med. “Well, that lasted ten days”, he says, “I then changed my major to undeclared. I had 3 science labs and classes every day at 8:00…that wasn’t my style, especially organic chemistry, so I learned “drop-add”, and to stay on scholarship, I took badminton, racquetball, handball, Marriage and Family Relations and Military Science.” While Rick…

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From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Mallows Bay Ghost Fleet Declared Marine Sanctuary

By Chesapeake Conservancy Mallows Bay Ghost Fleet Declared Marine Sanctuary Local community partners, national conservation and preservation groups, and recreation and education advocates celebrated the designation of a new national marine sanctuary at Mallows Bay in the Potomac River. The sanctuary will take effect by the end of 2019 and will be the first designated in 19 years. This new sanctuary in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will protect the “Ghost Fleet” of more than 200 shipwrecks. “Mallows Bay contains the greatest, richest and most vibrant maritime artifacts of America’s ascendancy on the international stage,” said historian Donald G. Shomette, author of Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay. “It is a virtual calendar of over 250 years of history, including the very ships that made America the greatest shipbuilding nation on the planet. It is truly a national treasure.” “Mallows Bay is a unique place where we can immerse ourselves in our natural and cultural heritage by getting up close to history,” said Kim DeMarr, owner of Atlantic Kayak Company. “As someone who takes people out on the water every day, the national recognition and attention that comes from having a national marine sanctuary creates new opportunities to connect our community and visitors alike to the Chesapeake Bay watershed through fun, educational experiences while growing our outdoor recreation economy.” “Marine sanctuaries are our nation’s underwater living laboratories and outdoor classrooms,” said Diving With a Purpose Director Jay Haigler. “In partnership with students from Ocean Guardian schools in the area, we are already seeing young leaders empowered to become environmental stewards, to educate and engage people throughout their communities, and to inspire action and appreciation for our shared maritime heritage. That’s the true power of sanctuaries.” “This is a great day for the Chesapeake Bay. The first National Marine Sanctuary in the Chesapeake…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Hard at Work:  Service, Emotional Support, and Therapy Animals

Hard at Work:  Service, Emotional Support, and Therapy Animals By Cheryl Burns I have a coworker who never fails to bring a smile to my face. She has this remarkable gift — an amazing ability to make every person feel like they are special, important, and loved. The unsaid message seems to be: “You! It’s you! I was hoping I’d see you today! You are so great!” It is her natural tendency, but she’s also worked at it. After all, while she isn’t formally in that role when she joins her human at the office, Roxie is a trained therapy dog. This month’s column focuses on some special animals: service dogs, emotional support animals, and therapy animals. The groups are distinct and the terms have legal significance, but all are a testament to the beautiful connection between humans and animals. Service Animals Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.” These dogs — and the ADA only officially recognizes canine service animals, although some other laws like the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and some states (including Virginia) cover other species  — are trained to take a specific action to help their human. While seeing eye dogs are the most commonly known type, service dogs perform a variety of tasks from alerting a diabetic that his blood sugar is at a dangerous level, to warning an epileptic that a seizure is imminent, or reminding an individual to take her daily medicine.  The ADA does cover animals trained to respond in a specific manner to assist with a psychiatric disability, but it does not cover dogs that provide emotional support more generally. Service animals (and their humans) have…

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Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

Fresh Corn Dip

By Mr. Food Fresh Corn Dip What a novel dip to serve when you’re expecting company and what a good way to use up some of the last of the sweet corn in season! Our creamy, Fresh Corn Dip is made with super sweet corn and lots of flavorful add-ins, so you know it’s going to be addictive. Serve it in an edible bread bowl for a super change-of-pace from traditional dip recipes. What You’ll Need • 4 ears fresh corn on the cob, cooked (see Note) • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese • 4 scallions, sliced • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies, drained • 1/4 cup diced roasted red pepper • 1 cup sour cream • 3/4 cup mayonnaise • 1 tablespoon chili powder • 1 teaspoon cumin powder • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper • 1 (1-pound) round pumpernickel bread, unsliced What to Do 1. Using a sharp knife, remove corn from cob and place in a large bowl. Add cheese, scallions, green chilies, and roasted red pepper; set aside. 2. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients except the bread; mix well. Pour over corn mixture and toss until evenly coated. Refrigerate 2 hours, or until ready to serve. 3. Using a serrated knife, cut a hole in top of bread about 3 inches in diameter. Hollow out bread, leaving one inch of bread around sides. Spoon dip mixture into bread bowl. Cut bread top and hollowed out pieces into 1-inch chunks for dipping. Mr. Food Test Kitchen Tip! If you prefer, you can substitute 2 cups thawed frozen corn for the fresh. Here are 3 easy ways to cook corn on the cob: • Steam — Bring 1 inch of water to a boil, add husked corn, return to a boil, cover, and cook 3 to…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Annapolis, Maryland and the Wednesday Night Races

By Bob Tagert Annapolis, Maryland and the Wednesday Night Races I have sailed into Annapolis Harbor for many years, mostly on my sailboat but also on others including the 125 foot Schooner Alexandria. The sight of the U.S. Naval Academy has never failed to impress me as well as the sheer number of sailboats on the water. This is why Annapolis is known as the Sailing Capital of the United States. On this particular trip however, we would not be sailing, but were guests of Carl and Tulinda Larsen, longtime friends, aboard their 50 foot trawler, Skylark. Our destination was to anchor one end of the starting line for Wednesday Night Races and also serve as the committee boat. And more importantly , it was also a birthday get together for Tulinda and Lani. The Wednesday Night Races have been a time honored tradition in Annapolis for nearly 60 years and the Annapolis Yacht Club has been the host for every race. “What better way to break up the week than a relaxing evening out on the water?” said John Sherwood, a legendary Chesapeake Bay sailor and longtime Annapolis Yacht Club member, “I can’t imagine doing anything else on Wednesday night. It’s part of the weekly schedule.” Annapolis sailors do not take their sport lightly! In addition to the 130 or so sailboats that participated in the race, there were also dozens of spectator boats that lined the course to watch the competition as the boats hoist their colorful spinnakers and asymmetrical sails. The finish of the race can also be observed in Spa Creek from the comfort of restaurants like the Chart House and Carol Creek if the wind cooperates. But we were here to observe the race from the committee boat and learn a little bit about what…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

“True Stories from the Gallery World”

By F. Lennox Campello “True Stories from the Gallery World” “True Stories from the Gallery World” should be a book written by me about some of the most interesting, sometimes even weird experiences that I’ve had since I started selling art – initially my own art school assignments at the Pike Place Market in Seattle when I was an art student at the University of Washington. One of the key lessons which I learned there is that the trite saying “Art is in the eyes of the beholder” is very true. And I have empirical evidence to prove it. As I noted, I used to sell, trade and/or give away all of my art school assignments: ALL OF THEM, including the inexplicably senseless ones, such as the ones which one of my professors, maybe Alden Mason, or perhaps Jacob Lawrence assigned, where each student was handed a brown grocery paper bag filled with objects and stapled shut. In the “assignment”, we were supposed to “feel” the objects and use our mind’s eye to image or detect what the object was and then produce a charcoal drawing on newsprint. You can just imagine the vapid things which resulted from this assignment, but just like all my assignments, as soon as it was graded, I had it backed in a sturdy board, shrink-wrapped and on sale for around five bucks at the Pike Place Market. These beauties usually hung around for a few years, with thousands of visitors pawing them as they looked though all my offerings and passing on them. And then one day, someone would pick one up, hold it triumphantly in front of their faces with two extended arms and shout: “I love this!” Behind the metal tables at the Pike Place Market, I would smile warmly at the…

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Social Media Message

Honeymoon at Galaxycon

Honeymoon at Galaxycon By Ashley Rosson If you have been reading my column over the past 3 years, you would know that every year I attend Raleigh Supercon and share my experiences.  This past year the Supercon was bought out and changed to Galaxycon.  It is the one time of the year I stray from the “social media” banter, and let my inner “nerdness” shine. I usually only go to one or two days of the Con, but this year I went to all 4 days, and let me tell you, I could have been there for 4 more! This Galaxycon was extra special this year, because it was essentially my honeymoon, since I had married Stephen the Saturday before it started. As usual, the convention was full of people dressed as some of their favorite pop culture icons! After the success of the Marvel franchise, I saw way more than just one person dressed as an Avenger. The heart of GalaxyCon, and primary draw for many, is the lineup of celebrity guests. This year included George Takei, Tim Curry, Ron Perlman, John Cusack, John Cleese, Pauly Shore, David Tennant, Catherine Tate, and actors from, “The Office.” Attractions included cosplay wrestling, in which pro wrestlers dressed as fictional characters like Skeletor, Black Panther, Spider-Gwen and Bane, duked it out.  There was table-top gaming, console gaming, and viewings of classic animated TV shows from the 80’s, I went to the Care Bear showing myself! Throughout GalaxyCon, the floor of the Raleigh Convention Center is packed with vendors selling collectibles, comics, vintage toys, and props on one side and celebrities selling autographs and photo ops on the other. My husband, Stephen, surprised me with a photograph, autograph, and meet and greet with Tim Curry. Unfortunately, Tim Curry suffered a stroke a few…

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