Art on the Avenue

What did you do with all the downtime you had on your hands during quarantine in 2020? Maybe you trained a new puppy. Maybe you learned to cook. Perhaps you even started a new exercise routine. Or, like many others, you might have just laid low and recharged in anticipation of “normal.” If you ask eleven-year-old Noura Barka what she did with all the time she had on her hands in 2020, she’d tell you she leveraged those hands in a big way – to create all kinds of crafts and artwork.

Celebrating 75 years of AWLA and a Pet-friendly Alexandria

Alexandria’s approach toward pets and their care has changed drastically over the last 75 years. Today, people think of animals as members of the family – and not just elements of their households. And this important change in collective perspective is due in large part to the work of animal advocacy and rescue organizations like the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA). AWLA celebrated its 75th anniversary in June.

ArPets: Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation Awarded Grant to Make More Space for Animals in Need

In a world crawling with millions (and millions) of homeless animals, the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation (LDCRF) is on a vital mission: to spare as many possible dogs and cats from suffering and unnecessary euthanasia. Since 2001, this Arlington-based nonprofit organization has placed more than 40,000 dogs and cats in loving homes; last year alone, Lost Dog rescued 2,747 pets through foster and adoption.

Needy Puppy Leads to a New Life

Fifteen years ago, Stella Hanly worked as a software consultant for a global corporation. She was relatively new to the United States from her native Northern Ireland, where she grew up surrounded by animals. However, at that point in her life, Hanly just couldn’t see how the travel demands of her corporate job would allow her to properly care for a pet. Everything changed when a friend – a veterinarian – made what was ultimately a life-changing request: would Hanly temporarily take in an abandoned puppy?

Virtual Library Meets Need for Escape for Alexandrians

Every week, hundreds of Alexandrians have counted on being able to walk through the doors of James M. Duncan Branch Library, a place that has proven to be much more than the thousands of books it makes available to patrons. Before the onset of COVID-19, young children (and their caretakers) looked forward to trips to Duncan Library for story time programs, and every day, students relied on its technology to tackle assignments.

Tom Susco Completes 8-Year Run

Despite how strong we are in personality, character – or even how powerful we seem physically – we are forever at the mercy of a functioning brain, a steadily beating heart, regular blood flow, and more. Arlington’s Tom Susco understands the fragility of life all too well. Twelve years ago, his younger brother Tim – who was just 25 years old at time – unexpectedly died after an aneurysm ruptured in his brain.

Paralympic Swimmer Competes on World Stage

Alyssa Gialamas first started swimming when she was just three years old. At the time, it was a form of physical therapy for the now 24-year-old Arlington resident, who was born with arthrogryposis – multiple contracted joints – in her legs and hands. Still, it wouldn’t be until years after her first dip in a pool that she’d even have a glimpse of her future as a world-class athlete and a member of Team USA. Gialamas is a gold medal winning member of Team USA, for that matter.

People: Political Scientist by Day and Writer by Night

Arlington mystery author Colleen Shogan was on her weekly Friday evening walk a few years ago when the idea for her first “whodunit” novel struck. “Seven or eight years ago, during my walk, my mind started to wander,” said Shogan, an Arlington-based political scientist and writer. “I’ve always read a lot of mystery books, so I remember thinking, ‘If I wrote a mystery book, what would the plan be?’

The Challenge of Finding a Compatible Kidney

Every single day is a struggle for Eduardo Barahona, who has been battling chronic kidney disease for more than seven years. As his kidneys gradually shut down, Barahona – an Alexandria resident – is in constant discomfort, and often in flat out pain. “In the last three years especially it’s gotten harder and harder to work,” Barahona, who works for local home renovation firm Harry Braswell, Inc., said. “I get dizzy spells, and I am not able to sleep through the night, so I’m not at 100 percent..."

Cookbook Keeps Raising Funds for Animals

Thirteen-year-old Miles Fazackerley has adored animals for as long as he can remember, and he’s loved cooking for as long as he’s been tall enough to see his kitchen countertop. Buoyed by these two passions, the young Alexandria native put together his own cookbook to raise money for two animal rescue non-profit organizations. Published in December of 2017, “Mixing it up with Miles” has raised more than $4,000 (and counting) collectively for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the

At Core of Civil Rights: A Spiritual Movement

No one in the world can succeed alone — not even heroes like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One critical member of this legendary figure’s team was Howard Thurman — a chaplain and “spiritual mentor not only to Dr. King, but to the entire Civil Rights Movement,” in the words of documentary filmmaker Martin Doblmeier. This year, Doblmeier’s Alexandria-based production company, Journey Films, released “Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story” — a documentary that chronicles Thurman’s life.

Examining Confluence of Religion and Journalism

Michael Gryboski has a few things in common with Scott Addison, the main character he created for his latest novel, “A Spiral into Marvelous Light” — the story of a writer tackling an article with a heated subject. Like Addison, Gryboski — an Alexandria native — is an experienced journalist with ties to the D.C. area. They both cover political issues of national impact and confront controversial topics.

Identifying Descendants of Civil War-era Freed Slaves

These days, it can be simple to discover more information about distant relatives. With Internet access, a computer, and a few keystrokes, you can accurately add a branch to your family tree. However, it’s not easy when any of your family tree’s branches are made up of relatives who had been American slaves. When websites don’t get the job done, you turn to a professional genealogist like Char McCargo-Bah, the Alexandria native who identified the descendants of 171 of the Civil War-era freed slaves...
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