A Little Abracadabra Could Come in Handy

The Prince William County School Board may not have a money tree -- which would come in handy now that the Board of County Supervisors has snubbed a request by school officials to pursue an $8.4 million school renovation program -- but it does have a magician.

Odis M. Price (Coles) can pull rabbits out of hats. Price, who runs a magic club for children, also can find money in the most unlikely places. During a School Board tour of some Montgomery County schools last week, Price found a 50-cent piece behind the ear of board member Ilona Salmon (Occoquan).

Now if he could just repeat that trick millions of times, he could solve the schools' financial problems.

Price also might use his talents at School Board meetings to make certain members appear and disappear during crucial votes.

There are many thorny issues in the current debate over realigning the boundaries for three of the county's high schools, not the least of which has to do with athletics.

Under all the options being considered, only ninth graders would be affected next year, which means that a family with teen-agers might have them attending different high schools.

Marumsco Hills resident Ed Lucke put the problem, and the resulting parental dilemma, succinctly at a public hearing last week on the boundary changes: "Who do you root for when Woodbridge plays Gar-Field?"

Speaking of cheering for Gar-Field, three girls from the school's crew team did themselves proud Saturday at the Mid-Atlantic Erg Sprints, held at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria.

Angela Kerby, 17, came in second in the Women's Junior 2,500-meter event with a time of 10:1. Laurie Noonan, 16, and Lisa Busch, 16, placed fourth and sixth, respectively, in the finals of the women's youth 1,500-meter race.

For the uninitiated, an ergometer is a machine that approximates the motion and difficulty of rowing, and it gives a readout on how far and fast the rower would be moving on the water. It's the instrument of torture that rowers use during the winter.

Looks as though Gar-Field may be a power on the Occoquan this spring. Look out, Titans.

When Col. Charlie Deane, the county's deputy police chief, moved last fall, his former neighbors near Independent Hill didn't have to worry that their streets would be less safe with him gone.

Four other police officers still live within hollering distance of one another in the area, known affectionately to some as "Cop Alley" and to others by a less cordial name.

"I was the first to move in there in 1970," Deane said. "Then some of my coworkers decided to move in the same area."

Asked about neighborhood crime, Deane laughed and said: "Zero percent crime." -- Alice Digilio and Pierre Thomas