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No one was injured after shots were fired in the West End on Monday night (September 20).

Alexandria Police tweeted that they investigated a shots fired call for service in the 5400 block of Richenbacher Avenue at around 8 p.m.

No one was arrested and evidence was collected at the scene. The incident occurred in a residential area near the Willow Run Pool and the Winkler Botanical Preserve.

Anyone with information on the incident can call the police non-emergency line at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

Via Google Maps

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Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza and Tap named in top 100 restaurants in U.S. — “Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza and Tap, owned by the Yates family of Alexandria, was just placed on OpenTable’s list of the 100 Best Neighborhood Gems in America for 2021.”[Zebra]

Retiring City Manager talks to Agenda Alexandria — “Retiring #AlexandriaVA City Manager Mark Jinks talks about his career in @ArlingtonVA and @AlexandriaVAGov, including everything from redeveloping Landmark Mall to building the Potomac Yard @wmata station @agendalexandria #AgendaAlexandria” [Twitter]

Former police chief named to ACPS Athletic Hall of Fame — “Former Police Chief Earl Cook (was) among the Legendary sports stars of Alexandria honored Sept. 18 as ACPS holds its Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 2 p.m. in the Alexandra City High School Gerry Bertier Gymnasium.” [Gazette]

Alexandria has secret Magnolia Bogs — “Despite their rich history and importance in the local ecosystem, many in the area are still unaware of the existence of these unique micro-ecosystems.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s weather — “Cloudy (during the day). High 81F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph… Cloudy in the evening, then off and on rain showers after midnight. Low near 70F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Delivery driver — “Deliver food in your bike or car from local restaurants to homes and offices around Downtown. Be your own boss! Decide when to work depending on availability and needs. Deliver all days of the week between 10:30am–10:30pm.” [Indeed]

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AHDC’s proposed Arlandria housing development (image via AHDC)

Update 9/21 p.m. — A previous version of the article had a typo in Division Chief Carrie Beach’s quote

Housing preservation is a central pillar of the plan to save Arlandria-Chirilagua from the anticipated gentrification stemming from Amazon’s HQ2. Last week, city staff told the Planning Commission that effort will likely require at least $100 million from public and private sources to preserve or expand affordable options in the area.

“Diversity and culture is a thread that weaves its way through the entire plan,” said Carrie Beach, the division chief for neighborhood planning and community development. “The proposed housing policy at its core strives to preserve the ability of existing residents to stay in their neighborhoods.”

Beach said that the economic analysis of the housing situation in Arlandria gives the city an idea of what they can reasonably expect in terms of community benefits stemming from additional density and private development. Beach said private sources of support, like developer contributions in exchange for added density, will have to be supplemented by non-profits and federal grants.

“In this case, housing affordability is the highest priority, biggest price tag, and largest portion of community benefits,” Beach said. “The maximum we can expect from private sources… will have to be supplemented by many other sources.”

One of the biggest projects currently planned to that end is the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation’s proposed 500-unit affordable housing structure in Arlandria. Beach said the proposed AHDC project represents a significant investment in affordable housing in the area, but it’s still just a start.

Currently, Beach said the city is estimating $100 million dollars in “community benefit dollars” from both public and private sources to help invest in expanding Arlandria’s affordability.

“The housing challenges in the Arlandria community are immense and require nothing less than an all hands on deck approach,” said Tamara Jovovic, a planner with the Office of Housing. “We set an ambitious affordable housing target with the 2020 housing contributions policy update: an expectation of 8% of net new development to be affordable at 60% [of area median income]. Here, it’s 10% of new development at 40-50% area median income (AMI).”

Jovovic said that the realities of trying to finance units make producing anything at 30% AMI nearly impossible.

“We heard loudly importance of 30% AMI units, but to be candid, challenge of producing 30% AMI units is immense,” Jovovic said. “To boil it down to the economics of the building, 30% AMI rents can’t cover costs of operating building, much less cost of building [financing].”

Jovovic said that the city is working with the Department of Housing and Urban Development for permission to prioritize existing Arlandria residents — something typically not allowed under fair housing law, but Jovovic said the city is applying for an exception.

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The Fort Ward Museum is planning to reopen next weekend with a live cannon fire demonstration to kick things off.

While many of Alexandria’s museums and historic have reopened over the last few months, Fort Ward remained closed for renovations to the museum.

An email from the Office of Historic Alexandria noted that the museum will officially reopen on Friday, Oct. 1.

“Fort Ward Museum will resume open hours to visitors in October,” the city said. “The Museum will be open weekly beginning Oct. 1.”

The museum will be open Fridays from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

“Visitors are required to wear masks indoors to comply with City of Alexandria public safety regulations and the number of visitors at one time will be limited to ensure social distancing protocols,” the city said. “The preserved and partially restored Union fort and the Fort Ward Park grounds are open to the public daily and can be visited when the Museum is not open to the public.”

The following day, Fort Ward is scheduled to host a Civil War Artillery Day. Masks and social distancing are encouraged.

“Learn about the role and equipment of Civil War artillerymen in the Defenses of Washington on Saturday, October 2, when Fort Ward Museum presents Civil War Artillery Day,” the city said in an email. “This free living history program is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will appeal to Civil War enthusiasts of all ages… The program features reenactors from the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery, a Union regiment that was stationed at Fort Ward during the Civil War. The unit will interpret the duties and soldier life of typical artillerymen assigned to forts in the Washington area. Activities will include cannon firing demonstrations in the restored Northwest bastion of the fort at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., artillery equipment displays, interpretive talks, and camp life scenarios.”

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The U.S. Department of Labor has filed an administrative complaint against a janitorial government contractor operating in Alexandria for discriminating against Black and white job applicants in favor of Hispanic applicants.

The Department of Labor filed the complaint against New York-based ABM Janitorial Services on September 15, although the investigation into the contractor began in 2015. Three compliance reviews were made at ABM locations — one in Baltimore, Maryland, and two in Alexandria in the 100 block of Claremont Avenue.

In Alexandria, the government determined that the contractor has “engaged in racially discriminatory hiring practices, failed to preserve and maintain its personnel and employment records, failed to conduct adverse impact analyses, and failed to develop an auditing system,” according to court records.

The entry-level jobs pay $10 to $11 an hour, and the minimum qualifications are being 18 years of age and having a legal right to work in the U.S.

“Many hiring managers claimed to prefer applicants with cleaning experience, but many cleaners hired (in Alexandria) lacked cleaning experience,” the complaint alleges. “The hiring managers regularly hired inexperienced Hispanic applicants for job openings while rejecting experienced Black applicants for those openings.”

The contractor’s cleaning services for the U.S. Army from 2015 to 2018 amount to more than $174 million, and it also has a $68 million contract with the General Services Administration that runs until 2023, according to court records.

The investigation also found that white applicants were discriminated against in favor of Hispanic applicants at a Baltimore location.

Despite repeated requests from the U.S. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the government says that the company has not shown evidence that it changed its hiring practices. The complaint asks the court to cancel all of AMB Janitorial Service’s government contracts and prevent it from working with the government again until the noncompliance is remedied.

“We will work in conjunction with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to ensure that federal contractors administer their federal contracts without discriminating against applicants and employees,” said U.S. Labor Department Solicitor Seema Nanda in a statement. “We will continue to use all available resources to ensure every applicant can seek employment free of discrimination and bias, and when we find evidence of discrimination we will pursue these alleged violations in court.”

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601 Oronoco Street

This past week, 81 homes sold in Alexandria, according to Homesnap.

These ranged from a nearly $6 million 6 BD/4.5+ BA single-family home with a grand foyer to a 1 BD/1 BA condo with a one-of-a-kind floor plan.

Taking a quick look at the market, as of Sept. 12, there were 148 new listings, giving us a total of 481 homes for sale — down slightly from last month. The median list price is $495,000.

A few of the most recently sold properties in Alexandria include:

In the market? Check out Just Listed properties in Alexandria.

Image via Google Maps

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This weekend, the Alexandria City Council unanimously approved a new five-cent tax on plastic bags — though with some grumbling that Arlington had beat them to the punch by a few hours.

The tax will only be applied to grocery stores and convenience stores, not restaurants or other businesses, and is similar to taxes implemented in D.C. and other localities across the country. Groups collecting trash around the area reported a three-quarter decrease in the amount of plastic bags being picked up and overall decreased plastic bag use — though some of those results have been brought into question.

There were two public speakers at the meeting, both of whom endorsed the tax.

“The bag tax is an effective and inexpensive way of reducing plastic pollution,” said Michael Olex, vice-chair of the Environmental Policy Commission. “It’s effective, as demonstrated in other communities such as D.C. It’s inexpensive because consumers, once they acquire bags, aren’t spending any money. Stores purchase less bags, so their costs can go down. Cities and other entities are spending less money cleaning up pollution. I urge the council to adopt this measure both for citizens of Alexandria and the environment.”

Public speaker Al Clark said the bag tax proposal should be an easy choice, particularly in the face of other harder environmental choices the city will face down the line.

“Obviously this has been a long-time coming, something we’ve been talking about for a while,” Wilson said. “Going back… Tim Lovain was advocating for this for years, long before it was really popular, and [we] looked at him kind of funny when he did but he was certainly right on this. Unfortunately we are the third to adopt it in the region by a matter of hours (beat by Arlington and Fairfax).”

Arlington adopted a similar tax a few hours earlier, and Fairfax bagged the approval a week earlier.

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After more than 50 years of playing football early and in the dark, the Alexandria City High School Titans won their first game under lights at the newly renovated Parker-Gray Stadium.

After a years-long renovation project was completed, City and Alexandria City Public Schools leaders cut the ribbon on the stadium, bringing a close to generations of legal challenges that prevented the installation of the lights.

The Titans won the contest against Justice High School 34-7.

https://twitter.com/ACPSk12/status/1438986203018276868

https://twitter.com/AlexCityTitans/status/1438994713097515012

Photos via Elijah Walter Griffin, Sr.

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Morning Notes

Community town hall on City Manager position on Wednesday — “Alexandria City Council will hold a hybrid town hall meeting to receive input from the community about the qualities and values that should be considered in the hiring of the next City Manager. The town hall meeting will be held at City Hall in Council Chamber (301 King St.), from 7 to 9 p.m. and community members will be able to participate either in-person or online.” [City of Alexandria]

Fall fest honors heroes at Greenstreet Gardens — “Greenstreet Gardens kicks off its annual Fall Fest this weekend with a special bonus: All heroes get in free.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy skies (during the day). High near 80F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph… Mainly cloudy (in the evening). Low 63F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Garden center associate — “Looking for team members to help water plants, load mulch, unload trucks, assist customers and general garden center duties, Must be a team player with a great attitude. We will train you!” [Indeed]

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What a week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

Our top story this week is about Ricardo Roberts, a District B candidate for the Alexandria School Board. Roberts, who intends to sue the school system, wants cameras in classrooms and “examples” made of unruly kids.

On Tuesday, Governor Ralph Northam joined dignitaries in Alexandria for the groundbreaking of the first of Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus buildings. Virginia Tech plans on opening the first of three academic buildings in 2024, paving the way for a tech-centric campus next door to Amazon’s HQ2 development in Crystal City.

Also on Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to extend the state of emergency to January 31, 2022.

On Thursday, parts of the city were flooded during a brief thunderstorm. Thanks to Kerrin Nishimura for sending us flooding photos of the Braddock area.

In this week’s poll, we asked about a potential Metro line crossing over to National Harbor. Of the nearly 700 responses, 62% of respondents think it’s a great idea, 23% need to hear more about it, and 15% think it’s a bad idea.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Alexandria School Board candidate wants cameras in classrooms and ‘examples’ made of misbehaving kids
  2. West End trail project derailed by stalled development
  3. With high hopes and small class sizes, The Linder Academy opens in Old Town
  4. Alexandria City Council to likely extend state of emergency to next year
  5. Poll: What do you think of Metro’s proposed Blue Line crossing to National Harbor?
  6. Multiple violent charges dropped against Fairfax County man held without bond for assaulting police during arrest
  7. Landmark redevelopment’s community management up for review at City Council tonight
  8. Alexandria seeking state-funding to make fare-free buses long-term
  9. West End apartment complex looks to replace parking with barking
  10. BREAKING: Video shows brawl at Alexandria City High School cafeteria just two days after school starts
  11. Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus breaks ground in Potomac Yard

Have a safe weekend!

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