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Let’s try ‘1980s champions’ for $1M, Alex

Clue: When the “Jeopardy! Battle of the Decades Tournament” begins next week, this Reston man, a champion from the 1980s, will return to the stage to defend his title.

Answer: Who is Mark Lowenthal?

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Jeopardy!” which premiered Sept. 10, 1984, the popular television game show is bringing back 45 champions from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s to vie for a million-dollar grand prize.

The ’80s Week airs Feb. 3-7, with Lowenthal appearing Feb. 6. He faces off against Phoebe Juel of Cranberry Township, Pa., and Frank Spangenberg of Douglaston, N.Y. In all, 15 champions from the ’80s will compete, including Tom Cubbage and Jim Scott, both of Arlington.

“I am excited for our viewers to see contestants from the early years of our show back in action,” said host Alex Trebek. “Even though this group first played the game decades ago, they’re just as sharp and competitive now as they were then.”

Lowenthal, a retired intelligence officer with the federal government who as a student played intramural College Bowl, first appeared on the show in 1988, during season 5. His total winnings? $154,901.

Contestants from “Jeopardy!’s” first decade (1984-1993) will compete in five stand-alone games during ’80s Week, the first of three preliminary rounds. The winner of each game will advance to the next round.

Preliminary rounds continue March 3-7 with contestants from the show’s second decade (1994-2003), and March 31 to April 4 with contestants from the third decade (2004-2013). The winners from those rounds will return May 5-17 for quarterfinals, semifinals and a two-day final.

Lowenthal appeared nonplussed about his chances of winning the grand prize. “Win or lose,” he said, “I’m a ‘Jeopardy!’ champion.”

“Jeopardy!” is produced by Sony Pictures Television. The show airs locally at 7:30 p.m. on WJLA-TV. For more, visit

ArtSpace Herndon selects first director

The Herndon Foundation for the Cultural Arts has announced its choice for new executive director of ArtSpace Herndon: Lawrence “Larry” Verbiest. He began work Jan. 21.

Verbiest is the foundation’s first executive director. He served a 22-year career as an officer in the U.S. Army and as a consultant managing large program management contracts during the past eight years. Verbiest has considerable writing and speaking experience, and strong technical skills and experience managing large budgets. He has worked with staff and volunteers across a wide range of age groups, backgrounds and levels of expertise.

Verbiest earned a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, a master’s degree in international policy studies from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point.

“Lawrence comes to us with outstanding education and experience credentials,” said HFCA Board President Harlon Reece. “His operational management and team building skills and his strategic insight will make him an immediate asset to our organization.”

DMV native embraces NOVA audiences

A Jamaican sound system may be foreign to Northern Virginia, but that concept inspired hip-hop artist Matta Fact, a DMV native, to put together a concert series in Fairfax called “The Sunshine Sound System.”

News flash: For those who grew up thinking DMV stands for Department of Motor Vehicles, the acronym now refers to the metro areas of D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

In the 1940s, Jamaican sound systems brought communities together to dance and enjoy music. Matta Fact plans on re-creating this harmonious vibe with his concert series. After the successful premiere of his new music video, “Powerful City,” Matta Fact is ready to deliver a brand-new experience to DMV audiences.

Signed to Myself LLC — or S2M — will host The Sunshine Sound System monthly, starting Feb. 7, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Red Zone Grill, 10560 Main St. in Fairfax. To support local radio, 25 percent of each ticket sold to a George Mason student will be donated to the WGMU Alumni Foundation. Matta Fact also is collecting donations for the fund at

The Red Zone is equipped with lounge areas, pool tables, food, seating and free parking. For more, visit

Winning orators vie for scholarships

Students from McLean, Trinity Christian, South Lakes and Robinson high schools competed Jan. 12 in the annual American Legion Oratorical Scholarship Program, sponsored by Post 270 of McLean.

The winner, Hayley Snowden from Trinity Christian, received a $270 prize from post Commander Glenn Yarbrough. The runner-up, Ruth Sangree from McLean High School, will represent the post if Snowden is unavailable for future Legion competitions.

Contestants were required to deliver a prepared oration of eight to 10 minutes on the U.S. Constitution and a three- to five-minute oration on an assigned topic. Winners of the elimination rounds received awards. College scholarships of $18,000, $16,000 and $14,000 will be awarded to the first- through third-place finishers in the national finals.

Military salutes

• Air Force Airmen 1st Class Amanda Quintana and Jonathan McWhite, Air Force Airmen Dylan Dry and Nathaniel Runyon, and Air National Guard Airmen 1st Class Dillon Moisen and Andrew Richardson graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, Texas.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Quintana earned distinction as an honor graduate. The daughter of Maureen Quintana and granddaughter of Daniel Scanlan, both of Reston, is a 2009 graduate of South Lakes High School.

McWhite, son of Cherylann McWhite of Centreville and Paul McWhite of Philadelphia, Pa., is a 2010 graduate of Centreville High School. He earned an associate degree in 2013 from ITT Technical Institute in Chantilly.

Dry earned distinction as an honor graduate. The son of Thomas Dry of Alexandria is a 2011 graduate of Thomas Alva Edison High School.

Runyon, son of Shelly and Daniel Runyon of Alexandria, is a 2011 graduate of Lansing High School in Lansing, Kan.

Moisen, son of Kraig Moise of Fairfax and Gloria Garcia of El Paso, Texas, is a 2012 graduate of Montwood High School in El Paso.

Richardson, son of Susan and Stuart Richardson of Vienna, is a 2011 graduate of James Madison High School.

• Army Spec. Raimond Kwarteng has graduated from Basic Combat Training at Fort Leonard Wood in Waynesville, Mo. Kwarteng, son of Sam Kwarteng and Felicia Owusu, both of Alexandria, is a 2008 graduate of Mount Vernon High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 2012 from Chowan University in Murfreesboro, N.C.

Student art contest

Herndon Town Council Member Grace Han Wolf, ArtSpace Herndon and the Council for the Arts of Herndon invite Herndon parents to submit photos of their children’s artwork celebrating African American History Month. Entries must feature original art or photos created by students ages 5 to 13, and must reflect the African American History Month theme.

Photos will be posted in an online gallery at, and One winning entry will be selected and displayed as the Facebook cover photo Feb. 21-28.

Submit photos of artwork to, along with the parent’s name and email address and the child’s name, school and grade. Original artwork will not be returned. Submission deadline is Feb. 19; a winner will be announced Feb. 20. He or she will receive a $25 VISA gift card and a $25 gift certificate to Clay Café Studios of Chantilly.