After nearly four years on the job, Barbara Gordon, Alexandria's chief public information officer, is stepping down to pursue other interests.

"I'm not retiring," Gordon said. "This is 100 percent my choice to leave. . . . I've been in an intense job for four years, and I thought it was a good time in my life take a break."

Gordon, who is stepping down July 1, hopes to relax, do a little writing and spend more time with her husband, Randy, a communications executive for a trade association, and her two college-age children.

She said her biggest challenges were enduring the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel in 2003 -- when the city was flooded and residents were without water and power for days -- and dealing with the international media horde that descended on the federal courthouse for the proceedings in the case of terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui.

"It's been an incredible four years," Gordon said.

Gregerson Gets GOP Nod

Local Republicans have finally chosen their candidate to take on the winner of Tuesday's hotly contested Democratic primary for the 45th District seat in the House of Delegates. Six Democrats are vying to replace Del. Marian Van Landingham, who announced last year that she had a recurrence of cancer and would not run for reelection. The district includes most of eastern Alexandria and a handful of precincts in Arlington and Fairfax.

Christopher J.T. Gregerson, 55, a defense consultant and retired Navy commander, has announced that he will be the Republican candidate this fall. Gregerson, who lives in Alexandria, says rising property taxes and transportation are his key issues. He is thinking about backing a plan to increase use of biodiesel fuels as a way of easing the area's congestion and air quality woes.

"The Democrats are saying whoever wins the primary is going to win," Gregerson said of his decision to run. "What kind of democracy is this? There has to be a choice."

Police Dogs Have Their Day

An invitation emblazoned with a German shepherd and the commands "Come. Stay. Eat." beckoned philanthropic Alexandrians to attend the city's first major police foundation fundraiser last month.

Among the lucky beneficiaries? The city's police dogs -- both active-duty and retired -- who, we're told, need canine health insurance. The city has nine active-duty police dogs and three that are retired.

The May 22 barbecue, which was emceed by NBC weekend "Today" weatherman Sean McLaughlin, brother of Alexandria Police Foundation Chairman Shawn McLaughlin, drew more than 250 attendees.

The $75-a-head fundraiser was supplemented by an auction offering unusual opportunities. You might be surprised to learn that a day shadowing Police Chief Charles E. Samarra brought in $2,200, some $200 more than the winning bid for a day on the "Today" show set in New York.

All in all, the event netted a whopping $28,000. Officials say several thousand dollars will be used to help the pooches. The remainder will be used to establish an endowment for the nonprofit foundation, which was established in 2002 to provide resources to improve officer performance, morale and effectiveness.

Those efforts include scholarship grants to police officers, research and study efforts designed to improve law enforcement services, and yes, the purchase of medical insurance for the city's police dogs.

"We're what I'd call a very low-key foundation," Shawn McLaughlin said. "We've purposely tried not to compete with other charities."

Still, $28,000 is a whole lotta kibble.