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AROUND TOWN/That Wondrous Time of the Year

Gale Curcio
By Gale Curcio
Posted on Dec 16,2010
Filed Under News , Community,
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Photo by Jay Palermino/for Local Kicks<br /> <br />Past Chamber Board Chair Rick Dorman; Burke & Herbert's VP of Marketing Toni Andrews and Past Chamber Board Chair and Burke & Herbert Chair Charlie Collum at the Alexandria Chamber’s Merry Membership Reception.
Photo by Jay Palermino/for Local Kicks
Past Chamber Board Chair Rick Dorman; Burke & Herbert's VP of Marketing
Toni Andrews and Past Chamber Board Chair and Burke & Herbert Chair
Charlie Collum at the Alexandria Chamber’s Merry Membership Reception.

By Gale Curcio

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - The Holiday "silly season" is now in full bore, leaving so many events, so little time.

That was the case last Thursday when Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille had to choose between the Merry Membership Reception put on by the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and the Carson Scholars Fund Gala thrown by his good friend Dr. Roy Heron.

Photo by Jay Palermino/for Local Kicks<br /> <br />Chamber member Nancy VanGulick; Hotel Monaco General Manager Robert Hannigan; Jay Palermino and Santa at the Alexandria Chamber’s Merry Membership Reception.
Photo by Jay Palermino/for Local Kicks
Chamber member Nancy VanGulick; Hotel
Monaco General Manager Robert Hannigan; Jay
Palermino and Santa at the Alexandria
Chamber’s Merry Membership Reception.

In the end, Mayor Euille attended the Carson event that was held at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington. This first-time event was sponsored by the newly formed DC Metro Chapter of Carson Scholars Fund.

“Kudos to my friend and personal physician, Dr. Roy Heron, for his dedication and commitment to the Scholars program, but, more importantly, his passion for providing funds to establish Academic Scholarships for students at TC Williams and the establishment of a Carson Library," Euille said.

“Both Ben Carson and Roy Heron are positive inspirations for our youth to grow both in knowledge and a sense of purpose.”

Launching the DC Metro Chapter of Carson Scholars Fund just a few months ago, Heron, his wife, Barbara Heron, and board members pulled it all together and put on the gala event last week.

At the end of evening, enough money was raised to create at least one scholarship and hopefully the beginnings of a Reading Room at T.C. Williams High School.
 
In addition to the money raised, Duffy Books in Homes USA pledged a donation of 10,000 books for the Reading Room.

Photo by Jay Palermino/for Local Kicks<br /> <br />The Alexandria Singers (Catherine Colosimo, Danielle McVey and Jennifer Jandis) at the Alexandria Chamber’s Merry Membership Reception.
Photo by Jay Palermino/for Local Kicks
The Alexandria Singers (Catherine Colosimo,
Danielle McVey and Jennifer Jandis) at the
Alexandria Chamber’s Merry Membership
Reception.

Euille presented The Trailblazer Award to Nelson Greene, Sr., the owner of Greene Funeral Home and former member of the Alexandria City Council.

Greene was honored for his work on civil rights in Alexandria. Among other things, he helped to create Senior Services of Alexandria. He also helped to found "The Secret Seven," a group organized to help black people in Alexandria.

Greene was fond of saying, “Whatever you see that you want to do, if it’s the right thing for you to do, then use good common sense and make the effort to do it. Don’t let others stop you.”

“Nelson mentored all of us in a quiet and direct manner," said one of Greene’s colleagues. "He is quiet, like Teddy Roosevelt was quiet. When others around him were upset, he kept his mind clear and the goals set. We relied on Nelson on keep us on target.”

Also honored was Jack H. Olender, president of the malpractice law firm, Jack H. Olender and Associates, PC.
 
Olender and his wife, Lovell, founded the Olender Foundation, which promotes opportunity and equality. The National Bar Association has honored them both as ‘Advocates for Justice.’

In attendance at the event was Dr. Ben Carson and his wife, Candy.
 

Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Max is unfazed by the shoppers around him during Eclectic Nature’s Open House.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Max is unfazed by the shoppers around him
during Eclectic Nature’s Open House.

 “A lot of people talk about education but don’t do anything about it," Carson said. "My mother was one of 24 children. She married at the age of 13 to a bigamist and only had a third-grade education.

“One day she looked around at people that were succeeding and asked, ‘What’s the difference? They read. I’m going to change the lives of my sons. They are going to turn off the TV and read books.’”

Carson said that started their daily visits to the library. At first, he wasn’t so excited to be missing time playing with his friends, but then he realized, “Between the covers of the books, I could be anybody and go anywhere. I realized that if it’s up to me, it’s up to me.”

Carson attended the Detroit Institute of Arts and got what he needed to propel him to Yale University. Today he is a full professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and he has directed pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for over a quarter of a century. His story was told in the movie, ‘Gifted Hands’ with Cuba Gooding. When asked how Cuba did portraying him, Carson said, “He did a good job.”

The Carson Scholars Fund supports two main initiatives: Carson Scholarships and Ben Carson Reading Projects. The Carson Scholars Fund scholarship program awards students who have embraced high levels of academic excellence and community service with $1,000 college scholarships.
 

Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Jerri Vlasho, Alexandra Downie and Fran Hicks find lots of treasures at Eclectic Nature’s Open House.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Jerri Vlasho, Alexandra Downie and Fran Hicks
find lots of treasures at Eclectic Nature’s
Open House.

The Ben Carson Reading Project initiative creates inviting and exciting reading rooms for students to discover the joy of independent reading.

To date, over 4,300 scholarships have been awarded across the country; award winners currently represent 42 states. Over 800 Carson Scholars have been recognized for their academic and humanitarian achievements in multiple years. Carson scholarship winners have attended over 200 colleges and universities, and have received over $800,000 in scholarship funds to help finance their education.

The Ben Carson Reading Project has also enjoyed similar success. Through partnerships with individuals and corporations, over half a million dollars has been invested into creating and maintaining Ben Carson Reading Rooms. More than 45 reading rooms have been established in schools across the country.  

For more information, visit www.carsonscholars.org or contact Dr. Roy Heron at 703-629-8996 or DCMetroCarsonScholars@gmail.com.

Well over 100 people attended the Chamber event at Union Street Public House. Santa made a guest appearance and guests enjoyed special drinks, great food and lots of networking.

Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Jody Wharton finds a fun martini glass at Eclectic Nature’s Open House.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Jody Wharton finds a fun martini glass at
Eclectic Nature’s Open House.

“A great time was had by all who attended the Chamber’s Merry Membership Holiday Party. About 150 members (and future members) enjoyed the libations and food of our host, Union St Public House. The presenting partner, NSourceIT gave away some awesome prizes- a Kindle and a digital video camera, among other cool stuff.

“We briefly recapped the year’s successes and celebrated reaching 865 members- that evening we added several more members to the roster. The positive Chamber energy is contagious. And our membership goal for next year is 1,000.  

“Our new chairman for 2011, ‘Mango' Mike Anderson, welcomed everyone and invited us all to his ‘non-gala’ the Chairman’s Tiki Ball on February 5, 2011 at the Hilton Mark Center- this is a must-attend event. No gowns or tuxes allowed that night- the dress code is Caribbean Chic.  

“It’s very exciting to have Mike as our Chair for next year. He’s a small business owner so he symbolizes a typical Alexandria Chamber member. He understands the challenges small businesses face and what it takes to do business with our City- he will be a great representative for us.”

For more information on the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, visit www.alexchamber.com.

Eclectic Nature
 

Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Christy Beal, Becky Menes and Terry Mahoney at Eclectic Nature’s Open House.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Christy Beal, Becky Menes and Terry
Mahoney at Eclectic Nature’s Open House.

Earlier in the week, Eclectic Nature Gift & Garden Center held an Open House. Shoppers enjoyed browsing through a selection of holiday decorations, vintage items, gift packages and much more.

 Owned by Christy Beal for over eight years, she originally carried all of her own merchandise both inside and out Eclectic Nature. After a couple of slow years, she invited dealers inside to help spread the costs.

Now, in addition to the interesting merchandise that Beal brings in herself, there are several dealers who bring in their own special collections.

Lane Palmisano is an artist whose aqua-drenched walls show off her small luminous oil paintings as well as Vincent Colvin’s eclectic sea encaustic paintings.
 
Charlotte Corcoran, an Alexandria-based surface designer and decorative artist, takes delight in applying color, pattern, and other creative embellishment to revive cast-off furniture and home accessories.

EcoBella Cosa is a partnership between Carol Crouse and Shay Weinblatt focused on highlighting useful and beautiful environmentally conscious products for home and gift.

Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Gay Stikeleather, Trish Boward and Elaine Flynn at Eclectic Nature’s Open House.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Gay Stikeleather, Trish Boward and Elaine
Flynn at Eclectic Nature’s Open House.

Lynn Gillis' passion for creating original art, interior design and visual display all combined with a love of gardening that resulted in the invention of Garden Glass Windows.

Other dealers include Gale Curcio, who recently opened Curcio Classics; Becky Menes, owner of The Vintage Cookie, who offers a range of vintage kitchen, dining, and party gear; and Coddy Eyre, the owner of Yard of Pearls, whose selection includes her handcrafted jewelry as well as vintage one-of-a-kind items and new items that marry the old with the new.

Eclectic Nature Gift and Garden Center is located at 1503 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301. For more information, 703-837-0500 or visit www.engiftandgarden.com

At the end of the week, the Alexandria Convention and Visitor’s Association (ACVA) held their annual Holiday Social Tourism Marketing Forum at the Athenaeum. The 2010 Superstar Awards were presented to members who have collaborated with ACVA in promoting Alexandria.

This year’s winners represent the historic sector, visual arts, hotel group sales, and visitor services. Amy Bertsch from the Office of Historic Alexandria received an award for her work providing extensive content about Alexandria for ACVA’s promotion of the city as a destination for the Civil War Sesquicentennial. Suzanne Bethel of The Art League and Lisa Schumaier of the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association were recognized for partnering with ACVA to create the Alexandria Art Experience, a new “local village” at the Alexandria Festival of the Arts.

Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Barbara Beach and Mary Jane Hall at Eclectic Nature’s Open House.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Barbara Beach and Mary Jane Hall at
Eclectic Nature’s Open House.

Travis Breen of Kimpton Hotels received the award for being one of the city’s strongest advocates for Alexandria’s meetings market, understanding the importance of selling the city first. Cynetra Bristol of Morris Visitor Publications was recognized for being an integral part of the Alexandria Visitors Guide delivery process, helping to distribute all 400,000 guides this year.

Following the award presentation, Mayor William D. Euille was presented with a portrait by Art League artist Steve A. Prince, created as a result of the Mayor's participation in the new Alexandria Art Experience at the Alexandria Festival of the Arts.

Suzanne Bethel of The Art League and Lisa Schumaier of the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association were joined by Art League Executive Director Linda Hafer at the podium as ACVA presented the portrait to the Mayor as a way to thank him for his support of the new endeavor.

For more information on the ACVA, visit www.visitalexandriava.com.


Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Joanie Stewart and Kate Goelz at Eclectic Nature’s Open House.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Joanie Stewart and Kate Goelz at Eclectic
Nature’s Open House.


Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Candy Carson and Jack Olender at the Carson Scholar Fund Gala.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Candy Carson and Jack Olender at the
Carson Scholar Fund Gala.


Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Barbara Heron, Jack Olender, Roy Heron, Candy and Ben Carson at the Carson Scholar Fund Gala.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Barbara Heron, Jack Olender, Roy Heron,
Candy and Ben Carson at the Carson Scholar
Fund Gala.


Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Howard Greene, Sr. receives the Trailblazer Award from Bill Euille at the Carson Scholar Fund Gala.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Howard Greene, Sr. receives the Trailblazer
Award from Bill Euille at the Carson Scholar
Fund Gala.


Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />The Honorable Mike Moore, Ambassador of New Zealand, with his wife and Bill Euille at the Carson Scholar Fund Gala.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
The Honorable Mike Moore, Ambassador of New
Zealand, with his wife and Bill Euille at the Carson
Scholar Fund Gala.


Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Winners of ACVA Superstar Awards: Amy Bertsch from the Office of Historic Alexandria, Suzanne Bethel of The Art League and Lisa Schumaier of the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association, Travis Breen of Kimpton Hotels, and Cynetra Bristol of Morris Visitor Publications.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Winners of ACVA Superstar Awards: Amy
Bertsch from the Office of Historic Alexandria,
Suzanne Bethel of The Art League and Lisa
Schumaier of the Torpedo Factory Artists’
Association, Travis Breen of Kimpton
Hotels, and Cynetra Bristol of Morris
Visitor Publications.


Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks<br /> <br />Mayor William D. Euille was presented with a portrait by Art League artist Steve A. Prince.
Photo by Gale Curcio/Local Kicks
Mayor William D. Euille was presented with a
portrait by Art League artist Steve A. Prince.







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