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Sandy Modell

Posted on | September 14, 2016 | No Comments

The Mother of DASH Is Starting a New Chapter

By Kris Gilbertson

Tripp, Charlie, Kay K, Henry, and Scarlet with Sandy Modell. (Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photography)

Tripp, Charlie, Kay K, Henry, and Scarlet with Sandy Modell. (Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photography)

This is the story of how a young girl from Brooklyn, New York, grew up to create DASH, “the best bus system in the world,”—and where she’s going from here.

Sandy Modell was raised in the most urban of American environments, but on summer vacations upstate, she came to love the mountains, the animals, the tranquility of the countryside. Back home, she fed this love by collecting farm catalogs that promised a different life. Her dad encouraged her, but she says, “he was just placating me.”

This was the mid-1970s. New York City teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. Graffiti covered everything, fixed or moving. Sandy’s bike was stolen three times. “I decided one day that I really wanted to live in the country,” she says.

During her freshman year at Brooklyn College, the brother of a high school friend and his new wife set off on a cross-country quest to find the “perfect” place to live. When they reached Harrisonburg, Virginia, a town of fewer than 20,000 in the Shenandoah Valley, they went no farther. Over spring break, Sandy and her friend went to visit.

“I was in awe of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the farms. Even in upstate New York you don’t have that feeling of being surrounded by the mountains. I thought I died and went to heaven,” she says. “I made a goal that within a year, I wanted to live there.” Read more

To Grow a Bus System

Posted on | September 14, 2016 | No Comments

by Kris Gilbertson

Sandy Modell’s strategy for growing DASH has always included community involvement. Following are a few highlights of DASH/community projects through the years.

Paratransit Service

Just days on the job, Modell was asked to create a door-to-door paratransit system. She’d done this in Harrisonburg with cabs. Here, Diamond Cab Company provided senior taxi service, administered by Senior Services of Alexandria. She met with Mary Ann Ormes (SS) and Robbie Werth (DCC) and asked, would you like to run it? And would you like to take the calls? In three months, DOT service was established. “People think it’s called DOT for Department of Transportation,” says Modell, “but it was DASH and DOT. I was making a joke about us being Morse code.”

Through clever handling and vision, DASH now operates the King Street Trolley group of six hybrid trolleys that offer free rides up and down King Street to residents and tourists. (Courtesy of DASH)

Through clever handling and vision, DASH now operates the King Street Trolley group of six hybrid trolleys that offer free rides up and down King Street to residents and tourists. (Courtesy of DASH)

King Street Trolley

In 2008, Modell was part of the  task force planning how to deal with visitors from National Harbor flowing into Old Town. The consensus was to run a trolley up King Street—a red trolley—from the riverfront to Metro. And it would be free.

“We were still in the old building,” says Modell, “and didn’t have room for trolleys, so the City contracted the service with a private company that brought in these old rickety trolleys. They were never on time; they were not reliable. One smoked so bad, it turned the whole street into a fog. It just wasn’t quality service.

Read more

Fine Art Dolls to Visit Alexandria in July

Posted on | July 14, 2016 | No Comments

And Bring a Touch of Fantasy to Our City

By Kris Gilbertson

“Earth, Sky, Moon, Sun” by Karin Burfict (Austin, TX), (Photo courtesy of NIADA)

“Earth, Sky, Moon, Sun” by Karin Burfict (Austin, TX), (Photo courtesy of NIADA)

On July 18, the National Institute of American Doll Artists will convene its 2016 Conference and Doll Making School at the Sheraton Suites Old Town at 801 N. St. Asaph Street. Doll making classes, open only to conference attendees, are scheduled for the first three days. But what happens after that will bring a measure of magic to Old Town.

NIADA was founded in 1963 by a small group of doll artists, led by Helen Bullard of Tennessee. The doll community at that time only considered antique dolls to be art. Bullard organized her colleagues who were creating new dolls, and the group aimed to work together toward a common goal: recognition of original handmade dolls as fine art.

In the half century since, NIADA membership has grown to include more than 60 peer-elected artists from Europe, Japan, Korea, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, and U.S. states from New York to Hawaii. Subject matter ranges from realistic figures to anthropomorphic creations to somewhat abstract pieces that merely suggest the human form. But from the beginning in 1963 to present, every element of a doll must be created by the artist. Read more

Second Annual Alexandria Live Music Week

Posted on | September 29, 2016 | No Comments

9 Days of Live Music at More than 50 Venues

September 30-October 8th

alexandria-live-music-weekThe Alexandria music scene is set to be on full display once again during the Second Annual Alexandria Live Music Week scheduled for September 30th – October 8th. This year’s event will encompass all of Alexandria, VA, and will feature more than 200 performances in over 50 different venues. Alexandria Live Music Week will feature National, regional, and local bands of all genres including Bluegrass, Rock, Jazz, Country, Blues, Folk, Latin, etc.

Alexandria Live Music week kicks off throughout Alexandria on the evening Friday, September 30th, followed by a full schedule of music beginning at noon Saturday, October 1st, at Del Ray’s Art on the Avenue. During the week look for performances from national acts such as Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen, The Funky Meters, and El DeBarge as well as from locally renowned artists such as Judge Smith, The Janna Audey Band, Free Flowing Musical Experience, Farley Granger, and Rocky Guttman. Read more

Alexandria, Va. native serves aboard guided-missile destroyer in Pearl Harbor

Posted on | September 22, 2016 | No Comments

By Lt. Cmdr. David Daitch, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Marta Sheinis

Marta Sheinis

A 2012 West Potomac High School graduate and Alexandria, Virginia native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, USS Chung-Hoon.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Marta Sheinis is a gas turbine systems technician aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer operating out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Read more

Alexandrians Come Together to Build New Taney Ave Park

Posted on | September 20, 2016 | No Comments

 

More than 60 volunteers banded together to turn Taney Park into a functioning playground to serve over 1500 kids. (Courtesy photo)

More than 60 volunteers banded together to turn Taney Park into a functioning playground to serve over 1500 kids. (Courtesy photo)

On September 17, 2016, more than 60 RunningBrooke volunteers came together to help prepare a Taney Ave park for a new playground that will serve more than 1,500 kids, many of whom are from families that live well below the federal poverty line.

Volunteers dug holes and planted 20 Virginia-Native trees. They mulched walking paths, cleared invasive brush, and pruned existing trees. They cleared garbage and debris, including rusted old bikes, parts of a metal swing set, bags of trash and a rusted out road sign.  One volunteer, Diana W., said, “Each time I pick up a piece of broken glass, it makes me happy to know it’s helping make it a safe place for the kids who will be playing here.” Read more

Gone Too Soon: Barbara Fox Mason

Posted on | September 16, 2016 | No Comments

Barbara Fox Mason May 2, 1950 - September 4, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Barbara Fox Mason
May 2, 1950 – September 4, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of the founder and former Executive Director of The Child and Family Network Centers (CFNC), Barbara Fox Mason on Sunday, September 4th 2016. For 26 years, Mason worked tirelessly to create programs beyond preschool services for poor and under-served communities in Alexandria and Arlington. Read more

THE HEART OF ROCK AND ROLL

Posted on | September 16, 2016 | No Comments

Three recent Rock & Roll HOF inductees bring their rockin’ A-game to a sizzling summer triple bill.

By Steve Houk

heart-1If there was anything to come away with from last weekend’s Heart/Joan Jett & The Blackhearts/Cheap Trick triple bill out at Jiffy Lube Live (other than they raised the damn beer prices again), it’s that the heart of rock and roll is still alive and well and beating hard in three bands who were all FM radio darlings of the 70’s and 80’s. One thing that connects them is they were all recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame (Heart in 2013, and the other two last year), thus the cute “Rock Hall Three For All” label on the tour. Read more

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