Virginia Cavalry FC, planned Loudoun soccer team, will also spend 2014 on the sidelines
Virginia Cavalry FC, a proposed minor league soccer team that had hoped to begin play in the North American Soccer League next year, has announced it isn’t going to make it in 2014, and will now set its sights on 2015.
The Cavalry join the long-awaited Loudoun Hounds minor league baseball team on the sidelines for next season, in the latest setback announced by the two teams’ ownership, VIP Sports & Entertainment. The Hounds on Monday announced what the State of NoVa told you in October, that they will not be ready for next season. In addition, the founder of VIP and the driving force behind the two teams, Bob Farren, stepped down last month as head of the operation. The Cavalry’s announcement was first reported by the Loudoun Times-Mirror.
The Cavalry hoped to join the NASL, which is the tier below Major League Soccer, and as recently as last month was negotiating with George Mason University to play some of its home games in Fairfax. That apparently didn’t work out, and in a statement released Friday, principal Cavalry owner Joe Travez said: “With a number of variables regarding our stadium and having exhausted numerous alternative Northern Virginia venues, it is best for the team and the League to wait one more year to begin play. This was a difficult decision, but we owe it to our fans and our club’s future to start in as strong a position possible. You only have one time to make a first impression.”
Ah yes, the stadium, Edelman Financial Field. Winter is here and we’re still not seeing much infrastructure, though on Monday team spokesman David D’Onofrio said the construction on the site, at One Loudoun near the intersection of Route 7 and the Loudoun County Parkway, is stadium-related. But now that both the Hounds and the Cavalry have postponed their debuts to 2015, the rush to build is now postponed as well. For now.
In other Cavalry news, the team has named former D.C. United goalkeeper Mark Simpson as its general manager. In October, The Post’s Steve Goff reported that U.S. soccer great John Harkes, who lives in Fairfax, was in talks to be the Cavalry coach. Simpson said in a news release: “We have worked long and hard to create the mission and vision of Cavalry FC and we are fully committed to putting a product on the field we can all be proud of and our fans can fully support.”
This is the first postponed season for the Cavalry, who were first announced in November 2012, and the third for the Hounds, who originally had hoped to begin play in the independent Atlantic League in 2012.
Horse fans come out to say goodbye to McLean’s Shadybrook Stables
Jim Moss was the kind of colorful character who made an impact on almost everyone he met. He called himself “the first black cowboy in Fairfax County,” and he ran a popular horse stable in McLean for many years while also teaching industrial arts in Fairfax County middle schools.
Shadybrook Stables, tucked into a hilly neighborhood on 5.5 acres off Old Dominion Drive, was popular with children who came to its day camps, generations of families who learned to ride there over 41 years, and prominent neighbors including Strom Thurmond, Dan Quayle and Joe Theismann. When Moss died in 2006, his wife, Helen, kept Shadybrook going even as the pastoral setting around them was overtaken by imposing mansions.
But Helen Moss said she couldn’t run Shadybrook forever. At 74, she is closing it down, and on Saturday, hundreds of fans of Shadybrook, and of Jim Moss, came by to say their goodbyes and buy some of the remaining equipment, from horse bits to fence gates.
“It’s sad. It’s like a second home,” said Gaby Wantula, 16, of Great Falls. She said she spent every Sunday and every day in the summers at Shadybrook, working and riding. “Everyone here is like family.”
Shadybrook was not “horse country”-style upscale, which was part of its appeal. “It’s the rare place where everyone’s not focused on what clothes you’re wearing or how fancy your stall is,” said Megan Glasheen, 47, of Alexandria. “It’s all about horses and horsemanship, very down to earth.”
Helen Moss joked that she was “going to be the most hated person in this area,” though she received nothing but hugs and good wishes Saturday. “I really wrestled with this, but I know Jim would understand.”
The demise of Shadybrook continues the steady decline of equestrian space in Fairfax, said Beverly Dickerson, who is president of Fairfax4Horses, “particularly those that are affordable, convenient places for people to take lessons. The big land areas are disappearing to development.”
Fairfax, which had more than 6,000 horses and 23,000 riders in a 2006 count, launched an equestrian task force, which issued a report last year calling on the county to ease zoning restrictions for horse facilities. Dickerson said that hasn’t happened yet. Helen Moss said she looked into the possibility of selling to someone who could keep a stable operating, but the zoning process was too daunting, and instead a developer is lined up to build two houses there.
Jim Moss grew up on a small farm in Louisa County, Va. When he found the McLean property in 1962, on then-unpaved Bellview Road, he was merely looking for a place to house his own horse, a stallion named Prince. The run-down lot was a former pig farm with one small red shack on it, Helen Moss said, and a woman in the District agreed to lease the land to the young couple. They had just moved to Springfield with their toddler son, Darryl, and Moss was teaching at Ballou High School in the city.
By 1964, the owner was ready to sell, and the Mosses bought the property. Jim Moss began teaching shop in Fairfax, at Whitman and Whittier middle schools, and finally Langston Hughes Middle School in Reston, where the family settled in the late 1960s. He bought a few ponies for the property and handed out business cards offering rides at the “Little Red Barn,” though soon he built more stalls.
“We never started out to have a business,” Helen Moss said. But when a cousin in Arlington County arranged for student campers to come over to Shadybrook for rides, Arlington officials checked it out. They informed Jim Moss he needed a business permit.
Moss went through the permit process with Fairfax, and in 1972 it granted him a special-use exemption for five horses in the area zoned for residential use. “That’s when we started to call it Shadybrook,” Helen Moss said, referring to a small creek at the back of the property.
Shadybrook started with pony rides and after-school pony clubs, and it grew to offer riding lessons and horses for parades and ceremonies.
At its peak, Shadybrook had about 40 horses. “He’d get wind of some kid who wanted a pony,” said Pam McAfee, who has trained horses and helped the Mosses since 1992, “and he’d build a stall just so they could ride here.”
Jim Moss retired as a teacher in 1988 and built a covered riding ring so lessons could be held year-round. But he never advertised. “He wouldn’t even put a sign up,” Helen Moss said. “It was just word of mouth, and it just grew and grew and grew.” At one point, Shadybrook had 1,000 riders per year, she said. And “he never had any employees,” McAfee said. “He did all of this himself. He cleaned every stall, he knew what every horse ate. He never wanted to let anybody else do it.”
So he ran summer camps, and grilled “Jim’s chicken” out back, and gave everyone nicknames, and faced every dilemma with the response, “We’ll work it out.” Whether it was a congressman or a carpenter, he treated everyone the same, his wife said.
Thurmond brought his family out but always told Moss, “I’ll just walk behind you, Jimmy” and didn’t actually ride, Helen Moss said. When Quayle, vice president at the time, came to ride, the Secret Service arrived first, sweeping the grounds and once slightly roughing up Moss’s son Darryl when he didn’t immediately identify himself.
Parents who stopped by Shadybrook on Saturday said their children learned responsibility and a work ethic and stayed away from malls and materialism. Teen riders said they bonded not only with the Mosses but also made lasting friendships with other young riders.
Darryl Moss told the story of driving down the highway one day in a truck with his father’s name on the side. A state trooper pulled behind him and turned on his flashing lights. Darryl Moss pulled over.
“He comes up and asks if I knew Jim Moss,” Darryl Moss said. “I said, ‘That’s my Dad.’ He said, ‘I got in so much trouble when I was in school. I wouldn’t be a state trooper today if it wasn’t for your father.’ ”email@example.com
George Mason to host C-SPAN’s historical archive
The long connection between Fairfax’s George Mason University and the hallowed television institution C-SPAN just got stronger. C-SPAN is giving the records, papers and many hours of historical interviews about C-SPAN’s creation and steady growth to the George Mason University Libraries for cataloging and public use, the two parties announced recently.
This does not mean GMU is getting the archive of C-SPAN’s 34 years of programming, executive chairman and TV personality Brian Lamb told me Thursday. That is already online through an outfit in Indiana, is available here, and has virtually every minute of C-SPAN’s programming since 1987. And it’s amazing. Go play with it sometime (after you finish reading this, of course). Or do serious research. I just watched a 1994 segment with The Post’s Walter Pincus on Iran-Contra. Very little has changed, as it shouldn’t, and it reminds you of C-SPAN’s importance as a means of mass civic education.
C-SPAN -- the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network -- launched in March 1979, funded by the cable television industry as a non-profit venture, and it continues so to this day, without any taxpayer money. The first thing it showed was a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives by then-Rep. Al Gore. But Lamb had been planning and developing it for four years prior to launch, as a way to show Congressional, federal and other public affairs programming. There are now three C-SPAN channels, a C-SPAN radio station and several websites.
The documents that went into creating and developing C-SPAN in its early years, and up through the present, are what will be archived by George Mason, which plans to create a website that will have a portal to the programming archives as well. Lamb said there will be video in these records too. In 1985, he said he sat down and did 25 hours of interviews about the creation and early years of C-SPAN. 25 hours. Well, we’d expect no less from C-SPAN. He said other original board members and people involved at the outset were interviewed as well, for indeterminate amounts of time.
“There’s a lot of stuff that’s been here for years,” Lamb said. “You could probably fill three or four moderately sized rooms. Newspaper clips, letters, all kinds of photos. The really interesting thing is the intellectual history. It’s going to be one of those things people will study in 50 years, when all of this has changed completely. This place came together step-by-step.”
C-SPAN’s ties to George Mason date back to 1981, when public policy professor Mike Kelley created the Capitol Connection wireless cable TV service, to provide cable programming to places which weren’t wired for cable. Lamb pointed out that Kelley got C-SPAN into the White House and other government headquarters during the early Reagan years, before the District was cable-ready. Lamb said Kelley, also a former director of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting board and a bluegrass DJ at WAMU-FM, was a significant player in Mason’s growth in the communications field. Kelley, a Fairfax City resident, died suddenly last month at the age of 71.
(Interesting side note about Kelley and C-SPAN: Multichannel News reported that in 1983, a group of students who had visited the White House then went to C-SPAN’s offices and discussed their meeting with President Reagan on-air with Lamb. C-SPAN Vice President Peter Kiley said Lamb was taking viewer calls and the operator’s voice said: “Hold, please, for the President.” Reagan had been watching and wanted to follow up on an answer he had given them. “One moment in C-SPAN history made possible by Michael Kelley and Capitol Connection,” said Kiley.)
Two years ago, George Mason’s libraries also became the permanent home for Lamb’s Booknotes Collection, featuring the books and notes Lamb kept for his long-running author interview program. University librarian John Zenelis said cataloging and making the new materials available will probably be a three-year project, and the materials will be of interest to a wide range of researchers and authors who want to examine a channel born at the beginning of the cable age, which “developed to be the premier network for public affairs in the United States,” as well as to Mason educators in a variety of politics and communications-related classes.
The collection contains board documents, correspondence, “a lot of memorabilia relating to Brian as well as the C-SPAN organization. It’s the artifacts that provide a window into the organization and how it has evolved over time,” Zenelis said. The records “really preserve, on behalf of the nation, a facet of our cultural and historical legacy.”
It will be interesting to see how Lamb gradually overcame the resistance to TV cameras in Congress, first in the House, much later in the Senate, and elsewhere around Washington and the nation. (But not in the federal courts.) (Argh.) It was C-SPAN’s success at showing government process, without being disruptive or sensational, which helped convince smaller governments across America to allow their own hearings and public meetings to be filmed or broadcast or streamed to the citizens who paid for them. Now many local and state government meetings can be seen online or on public access cable TV. It all started with C-SPAN. And that start will now be archived in Fairfax.
News for Degenerates, Vol. 4: Va. may never have casinos, doesn’t want jobs, revenue
Anyone’s fleeting hopes that a casino or two might someday rise in Virginia took a hammer blow to the teeth Saturday, courtesy of The Post’s J. Freedom duLac and this piece: Virginia resists the siren call of casinos as gambling halls proliferate across the country. Don’t read it, you’ll only get depressed.
So there are now just 10 states, and D.C., without casinos. The opposition in the Virginia General Assembly comes from Republicans who feel they know what is best for all of us, such as House Speaker William Howell (R-RoVa), who offered this fatherly wisdom to duLac: ”I think overall it has negative human impact that outweighs any potential economic impact,” Howell said. “I don’t think it’s the right thing for the commonwealth.”
Thousands of jobs? Hundreds of millions of dollars for schools, roads or other areas of a depleted budget? Personal responsibility? HA.
How do you think a statewide referendum on legalized casino gambling might go? You’re right, it would pass easily (a Hampton Roads study said 85 percent of adults approve of casino gaming). No one is forced to go to a casino, and the perceived negatives of casinos (increased crime and bankruptcies) are proven false. The perhaps millions of Virginians who might enjoy a night at the tables, or the slots, are denied by religious groups ever vigilant to battle those whose morals differ from theirs, and conservative legislators uninterested in the views of the majority. Virginia’s General Assembly has gone so far as to pass a resolution in 2003 calling on another state, Maryland, to turn down gambling so as not to tempt us poor ignorant Virginians, duLac reports. Del. Bob Marshall (R-NoVa) told duLac he actually hand-delivered the resolution to the Maryland speaker.
It is indisputable that casinos create many jobs and also pay hundreds of millions in taxes annually which can be used for education. And Virginia’s legislature has drastically reduced funding of public education at all levels. At the college level, Virginia reduced spending by 18 percent at four-year institutions between 1992 and 2010, and the state ranks 40th nationwide in higher education funding, the State Council for Higher Education for Virginia reports. The average per student appropriation in Virginia is $1,254 lower than the national average. In grades K-12, Virginia has reduced spending by 11 percent since 2008. NBC Washington reports that the average school teacher in Virginia makes $15,000 less than their counterpart in Maryland.
Do casinos create an army of gambling addicts? The 40 states currently offering casinos have not found this. The most definitive studies done on gambling’s impact have found that a little more than one percent of the population with access to casinos can be classified as “pathological gamblers.” I would guess the percentage of the population who can be classified as alcoholics, or drug addicts, or cigarette smokers is much higher. Numerous well-researched studies have found no connection between casinos and bankruptcy rates. Casinos themselves are not dangerous because they are rigorously self-policed, and organized crime hasn’t made a dent in the ownership of casinos because of the intense state regulation.
The two most definitive studies done on the impact of legalized gambling were done more than a decade ago. Congress formed the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, which issued a lengthy report in 1999. The following year, in response to a request from our own Rep. Frank Wolf (R-NoVa), the General Accounting Office produced another detailed report, “Impact of Gambling: Economic Effects More Measurable Than Social Effects.” The GAO report relied heavily on the national report from the previous year, but also a good deal of its own research, particularly looking at Atlantic City, which by then had lived with casinos for more than 20 years, in a city “about one-fourth the size of Dulles International Airport,” New Jersey’s top casino regulator wrote in a letter to the GAO.
That state regulator, James R. Hurley, also wrote that casino gambling “was much more successful than anyone ever anticipated” and that “We clearly believe that the positive impacts that casinos have generated far outweigh the perceived negative impacts.”
Both reports said that the amount of quality data on the social impacts of gambling was limited. Neither report could reach a conclusion on whether gambling increased family problems, crime, or suicide for the general population, or in Atlantic City. The number of pathological gamblers in the U.S. was estimated in various studies between 1.2 to 1.6 percent. That translated into 1.8 million to 2.5 million adults in 1999, whose assorted economic costs were estimated at $5 billion, compared with $110 billion for drug abuse and $166.5 billion for alcohol abuse. The NGISC study concluded that “communities with casinos are just as safe as communities that do not have casinos.”
On the other hand, unemployment rates drop in areas with casinos and the amount of money spent on welfare declines significantly, the reports found. Real estate taxes also dropped significantly in New Jersey as casino tax revenue flowed in.
Speaking of tax revenue, in 2012 Maryland received $218 million in commercial casino tax revenue, according to the American Gaming Association, and its casinos are just getting started. The state of Missouri, with a population of six million and casinos in place since the mid-1990s, raked in $471 million last year. I lived in Missouri for 14 years, from the time casinos were introduced to when they were up and running, and the social fabric was not shredded by their presence. They simply became another entertainment option, not sources of financial upheaval.
Virginia has a population of eight million. A research paper done in September by the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization looked at the possibility of casino revenue to fund road improvements there. They estimated 2,000 jobs would be created and $113 million in tax revenues would flow annually just from the Hampton Roads area.
Last year, the national pollster Peter D. Hart surveyed 210 elected officials and civic leaders in counties with casinos, excluding Nevada. Asked whether casinos brought in major problems such as crime and prostitution or hurt the community image, 88 percent said “No, that’s not the case.” Asked if they could go back to when casinos were first proposed in their area, would they vote for casinos, 76 percent said yes.
I’m not going to argue that there’s no negative impact at all to casinos. Problem gamblers in Maryland have destroyed their lives and their families, du Lac reported recently. In Atlantic City, many independent bars and restaurants were run out of business by casino bars and restaurants. There is some crime in and around casinos, as the Casino Watch blog documents, though these are large commercial centers and naturally attract some bad activity.
So even though Virginia has lottery gambling, which creates no jobs or entertainment, pari-mutuel wagering on horses at Colonial Downs and nine off-track betting sites where you can bet on horse tracks around the country, casinos have no chance while the General Assembly is disinclined to act. So those interested in the occasional game of cards, craps, roulette or slots must travel to Maryland, where duLac observes that close to half the license plates at Arundel Mills’s Maryland Live casino are from Virginia. I’ve been there, it’s fine, but expensive -- $10 per hand blackjack was the cheapest game on a weekday at noon, and it went up to $15 while we were there. That also involves navigating the north side of the Beltway, which is terrible except in certain time windows. West Virginia’s Hollywood Casino at Charles Town is also an option, particularly for those in western NoVa.
When last the News for Degenerates checked in on D.C., they were trying to sneak in some online gambling. But it turned out the whole “review” and “approval” process was short-circuited and the idea imploded. The Post’s Mike DeBonis informs me that the concept is no longer on the city council’s radar.
So Northern Virginians will now wait for a casino to come to Prince George’s County. Three destinations are proposed: National Harbor, Rosecroft Raceway and in Fort Washington on Indian Head Highway. For convenience sake, National Harbor is closest to NoVa, and is being developed by a Fairfax-based outfit, Peterson Companies. We’ll take our losses, I mean our gaming dollars, over to Maryland. Virginia, its schools and its roads, will get zero.
Earlier in News for Degenerates:
Vol. 1: Gettysburg nixes casino
Vol. 2: D.C. closer to online poker
Fairfax County adopts new noise ordinance after four years without one
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday adopted a new noise ordinance that will enable police to ticket residents with loud parties or incessant barking dogs, after the county had gone for more than four years without a valid noise law.
The supervisors said the law was merely a stopgap measure to remedy a void in enforcement, and a number of residents at the board meeting said it didn’t go far enough. Residents who live near a Reston dog park said it wouldn’t help them, and others who said they had normal dogs who bark occasionally said the law was too harsh. Residents who live near industrial parks or buildings with loud equipment also said it wasn’t sufficient.
Fairfax had to take action because of a 2009 Virginia Supreme Court ruling that threw out Virginia Beach’s noise ordinance. The court ruled that Virginia Beach’s law, which prohibited any “unreasonably loud, disturbing and unnecessary” noise deemed “detrimental to the life or health of persons of reasonable sensitivity,” was too vague and therefore unconstitutional.
Fairfax’s ordinance was similar, defining a violation as “any unnecessary sound which annoys, disturbs or perturbs reasonable persons with normal sensibilities.” So, Fairfax’s county attorneys advised the police in 2009 to stop enforcing it. Fairfax Supervisor Jeff C. McKay (D-Lee) said he had requested an amendment to the law not long after that, but the county administration did not move on it.
Although Fairfax police said they could resolve most noise complaints without a legal summons, the increasing number of complaints made them seek the enforcement tool in advance of the holiday season. The new law defines a noise violation as any sound “that is audible in any other person’s residential dwelling with the doors and windows to the other person’s residential dwelling closed.”
Under the new rules, a first offense would be a Class 3 misdemeanor that could come with a fine of not more than $500.
Residents who live near the Reston dog park said the new law “ignores the impact of noise coming from outside the neighborhood,” said Robert Sawicki. Animal noise in general is not defined, and Betsy McArdle of Springfield said she had a neighbor with a rooster that was up before dawn. She said she now sleeps in her basement, her husband can’t make business calls and her windows have been sealed.
The law also doesn’t address industrial noise. Frank Kalder of the Fairfax area said the fans at two office buildings force him to keep his windows closed at all times and “will probably drive me away.”
On the other hand, Nancy Furlong of Springfield noted that she has a dog who sometimes barks, and “I have a neighbor who complains. I think it needs to be addressed. I think it’s reasonable to expect that dogs do bark.”
The supervisors, who approved the measure unanimously, asked for more clarification on dog barking in particular, and Assistant County Attorney Cynthia Tianti said, “If the language is not tight enough, we can tighten it.” The county plans a more sweeping revision of its noise code, with more public outreach and hearings, early next year. Arlington is also revising its noise firstname.lastname@example.org