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Police at the Bradlee Shopping Center where an 18-year old was stabbed and killed on May 24, 2022. (staff photo by James Cullum)

(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) Alexandria Police were at the scene of Tuesday’s brawl prior to the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Luis Mejia Hernandez, according to video of the incident obtained by ALXnow.

Hernandez was stabbed during a brawl with 30-50 teenagers in the McDonald’s parking lot. A video of the incident obtained by ALXnow showed police cruisers at the scene and an officer attending to Hernandez immediately after he was stabbed.

Mayor Justin Wilson says it will take a citywide effort to protect kids.

Wilson said that he has been in constant contact with Alexandria City Public Schools leadership and the police. On social media, he wrote that he first checked to see that his son was at the school and not at the shopping center.

“Parents and members of our community have used their voices to demand solutions, implemented immediately,” Wilson wrote. “That is also my reaction as a parent.”‘

Wilson said that those ideas include hiring more police officers, hiring more mental health counselors, more gang prevention, and security training around school facilities.

“It requires city, schools, non-profits and the community all rowing in the same direction,” Wilson told ALXnow.

A GoFundMe campaign has so far raised more than $12,000 for Hernandez’ family. No arrests have been made yet.

In-person school was canceled at ACHS on Wednesday — the day after the incident.

“A Titan was murdered,” Vice Mayor Amy Jackson told ALXnow. “There’s still a lot of video that has to be looked at by police.”

https://twitter.com/Gabriel3lias/status/1529421663019974656?fbclid=IwAR3nl6Rxrm__JHW9Z8xkdihSnWQ9RwM9JXyMqEYGwlCHExrGQrSMrqbxNgU

Alexandria School Board Member Kelly Carmichael Booz tweeted that she was gutted by the news of the day, and that there will be “more to say and more actions to take to fight for the safety of our children, and likely a lot of unhelpful finger-pointing.”

“Tonight I put my kids to bed and gave them a hug and a kiss and sang our songs,” Booz tweeted. “Tonight a family in Alexandria cannot put their son to bed and 18 families in Texas have empty beds with kids the same age as my own. I’m gutted. I grieve for the families.”

City Councilman Canek Aguirre tweeted that “Action is needed. Thoughts and prayers are not enough.”

The Alexandria Council of PTAs sent out the following note:

Our hearts break for the loss of the Alexandria City High School student today and we stand with their family, all students, teachers, staff, and community members who need support today.
We also hold all of the community members in Uvalde, Texas in our hearts and minds and recognize the impact that event has on our own community members.
If you or anyone you know needs mental health support during these times, a reminder that ACPS school counselors are available and you can also call your school for help. Additionally, this resource from the National Association of School Psychologists: https://www.nasponline.org/…/mental…/addressing-grief
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Tea served at Lady Camellia (photo via Lady Camellia/Facebook)

Six months after Lady Camellia Pastry and Tea Room first announced it was looking to move into Alexandria, the owners seem to have found their new waterfront home.

According to a special use permit, Macaron Bee is applying to move into 225 Strand Street. Restaurant owner Deborah Kim said while the name on the special use permit is Macaron Bee, the location will be Lady Camellia Pastry and Tea Room.

The tea room, once described by Washington City Paper as “a six-year-old’s tea party fantasy“, had been located in Georgetown before it closed last year.

Kim said plan is to open late this year.

“[We’re opening] towards the end of the year; sometime in the fall,” Kim said. “We’re trying to serve British-style afternoon tea and high tea dinner.”

Image via Lady Camellia/Facebook

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Meet other local mothers to be, laugh, share and develop a confident mindset as you navigate pregnancy and prepare for parenthood together.

5 weekly Monday night sessions, starting in mid-June. $250 total per person. Facilitated by Sarah Moore, LPC, a local mom and licensed therapist who specializes in maternal mental health.

Free individual Zoom meet and greet beforehand. Check out Sarah’s practice at www.sarahmoorelpc.com and email [email protected] for details.

Submit your own Community Post here.

Police at the Bradlee Shopping Center where and 18-year-old was stabbed and killed on May 24 (staff photo by James Cullum)

Alexandria Police are working overtime to conduct high visibility patrols at school zones in the city.

The increased coverage is in response to Tuesday’s fatal stabbing of a 18-year-old Luis Mejia Hernandez. in the McDonald’s parking lot of the Bradlee Shopping Center — which is in walking distance from Alexandria City High School’s two campuses.

No arrests have yet been made in connection to Tuesday’s incident, and police could provide no other updates.

“Currently, we have officers working overtime to conduct high visibility patrols at various Alexandria city school zones throughout the city,” Alexandria Police spokesman Marcel Bassett told ALXnow. “We’re just consistently evaluating to see if we need more, what we can do to improve, and then we’re building on our relationships we have with the Alexandria City Public Schools.”

ACHS is the largest high school in Virginia. More than 4,000 students attend the school, and the McDonald’s at Bradlee is a popular lunch and after school spot for students.

A juvenile was shot at the McDonald’s last September, and another juvenile was arrested after a man was injured in a fight in the restaurant last October.

The Arlington County Police Department is also increasing patrols around school zones, according to ARLnow.

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Rendering of the unit block of King Street with street closure, image via City of Alexandria

Alexandria’s King Street pedestrian zone initiative is getting a boost this weekend as the zone’s size will double for the next few months.

The pilot was approved by the City Council in April and will run from this Friday, May 27, through Monday Sept. 5 — Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day weekend.

The pedestrian zone will be expanded to temporarily convert the unit block of King Street, between Union Street and the Strand, into a car-free zone with in-street dining similar to the zone on the 100 block of King Street. A release from the city said it will be closed to all vehicular traffic except emergency and municipal maintenance vehicles. Visitors are also encouraged to walk their bicycles and scooters in the area.

There’s precedent for the pilot project to become permanent if it goes well. The pedestrian zone on the 100 block of King Street started as a pilot project in 2020 but became permanent in 2021.

The full city release is below the jump:

Read More

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This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Lisa Groover with McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Lisa at 703.919.4426 or email [email protected] You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What sort of previous experience do I need to become a real estate agent?

Answer: I knew I wanted to be in real estate when I was in college, and a young agent was extremely uncommon. For that reason, I went into the hotel business, was a meeting planner, and sold promotional products before I started my fourth career.

Now, we are seeing new agents right out of school (or soon thereafter) — especially when other members of their family are in the industry. I am thrilled to have been contacted by a senior from Alexandria City High School who wanted to intern with an agent as part of her Senior Experience. She will be heading off to Virginia Tech in the fall to major in Environmental Economics; however, as one of her first careers, she would like to take part in real estate.

We have attended McEnearney’s business meetings, training sessions, open houses, closings, and she even already met with our recruiter!

According to Effirata Berasu, “Working with Lisa has been the best experience to learn about the world of real estate!”

Quite a few agents are like me in that they have been in one or more fields prior to entering real estate. I always like to ask my fellow agents what they did before they got into the business. In addition to previous sales roles, you would be surprised at some of the other answers, such as bankers, attorneys, teachers, nurses, photographers, writers, engineers, interior designers, construction contractors, home inspectors, technology fields, landscapers, and so many more.

For me, my previous experience taught me to be a collaborator, a good listener, a creative resource, and a detail-oriented professional. Others bring skills from their former lives that they continue to use, allowing for the right agent for everyone.

Since buying or selling a house can be extremely stressful, it is important to work with someone that is the right fit for you and your lifestyle or personality. Select an agent that makes you feel comfortable.

We just had a workshop on different personality styles and how they work with other similar or entirely different types of people. It was interesting to identify the traits for the “power,” “party,” “peace,” and “perfection” categories. Are they risk takers that are more bottom-line oriented? Or people that don’t like change and, therefore, are slower in making decisions? Do they rely on the present, future, or need information from the past to establish their next steps? Is data a key factor, or do they count on a gut reaction?

I love the testimonial from a client that chose to work with me after interviewing several other agents.

“Lisa is a joy to work with and is highly flexible and collaborative. Her ability to use the latest marketing technology effectively brought us a buyer in two days. Her warm personality and excellent interpersonal skills turned a stressful time into a truly enjoyable experience. Our thanks and appreciation for Lisa as a partner in selling our home in Old Town Alexandria.” – Jasper Womach and Marilynne Black

When people ask me how they can get started, I share my personal experience. Before I was licensed, I went to 5-10 open houses every weekend to learn about neighborhoods, price ranges, home styles, staging, and how the agents interacted with the attendees. When I became an agent, I worked 39 out of 52 weekends holding open houses for other agents until I established my own listings. In addition to the post-licensing education that is required once you pass your test and “hang” your license with a firm, I did my best to attend as many workshops and training sessions as possible in order to hit the ground running. Having a designated McEnearney mentor for my first 6 months allowed me to gain real-life knowledge from an extremely experienced and well-respected agent. We continue to collaborate and even share a storage unit for our staging items.

My best advice for a new agent is to ask questions!

Good luck!

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703.549.9292

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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Nando’s Peri-Peri is reopening in the Hoffman Town Center this summer.

The  South African multinational fast food chain opened at 702 King Street in 2010, and closed in March after its lease expired. At the time, staff told ALXnow that it’s challenging to do business in a building that is 186 years old.

The new store at 2462 Mandeville Lane will be able to accommodate up to 10 staffers at a time and about 130 patrons, according to a special use permit that was filed with the City. The restaurant will have 78 indoor seats

This August, Nando’s will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Via Google Maps

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After its annual winter and spring hiatus, Goodie’s Frozen Custard & Treats is officially reopening its doors in Old Town on Thursday (May 26).

Owner Brandon Byrd says that most of his costs have increased by more than 100% due to inflation, but he isn’t raising prices.

“I’m not raising prices,” Byrd told ALXnow. “Eggs, heavy cream, sugar — the cost has gone up, but we’re not making our treats any less affordable.”

Goodies officially opened its doors to the public in the the 1930s-era ice house at 200 Commerce Street over Memorial Day weekend last year. The shop sells one flavor — vanilla — and customers choose from a myriad of toppings. Snacks include rum cake, cinnamon rolls and doughnuts.

The shop will be open Thursday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., or whenever they sell out. Byrd says that the public should follow the latest for the frozen custard shop on its Instagram page.

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Morning Notes

What’s the difference between flood watch and flood warning? — “Watch: Have a way to get weather updates. Flooding is possible. Warning: Flooding is happening or about to happen. Take action!” [Twitter]

It’s Wednesday — Overcast throughout the day. High of 65 and low of 57. Sunrise at 5:50 am and sunset at 8:24 pm. [Weather.gov]

Alexandria Girl Scouts win awards — “Girl Scout troop 60065 participated in multiple projects aimed at improving the Alexandria waterways and environment.” [Patch]

ACPS wins $2.3 million for electric buses — “Alexandria City Public Schools has been awarded $2,325,000 by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for the purchase of 10 new electric school buses.” [Patch]

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Karina Lipsman, the Republican nominee for the 8th Congressional District, holds a campaign sign (via Fairfax County Republican Committee/Facebook)

Local Republicans nominated Arlington resident Karina Lipsman on Saturday to seek the U.S. House seat currently held by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.).

Early voting is underway for the primary to determine whether Lipsman faces Beyer or his primary challenger, Victoria Virasingh, in the November general election. The 8th District encompasses Arlington, Alexandria, the City of Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County.

At the local GOP’s ranked choice convention, Lipsman earned 61.5% of the votes in the first round of vote counting, according to a press release on her campaign website.

Votes for Lipsman came out ahead of other Republican hopefuls as the slate of candidates sought to catch the wave that elected Gov. Glenn Youngkin. Alexandria resident Kezia Tunnell received 19.12% of the vote, and the 2020 nominee Jeff Jordan received 15.92%. Two other candidates, McLean resident Monica Carpio, and Heerak Christian Kim, a registered nurse and former public school teacher, did not break 2.5%, the release stated.

Lipsman was nominated “to take on the progressive establishment” in the 8th District, an email from Arlington GOP read. The seat has been held by a Democrat for decades, including by Beyer who won a crowded primary for former Congressman Jim Moran’s seat in 2014 and the general election later that year.

Lipsman fled Ukraine when it was still under Soviet Union control and came to the United States with her mother and grandparents, according to her campaign website. They didn’t speak English, survived on food stamps and lived in low-income housing in Baltimore. When she was 18, Lipsman became a U.S. citizen.

https://twitter.com/KarinaCongress/status/1525243734480367617

She received a bachelor’s degree in economics while she was working full-time in the financial industry, and later earned a master’s in engineering from Johns Hopkins, according to the website. She’s worked in the national defense industry for over a decade.

Her website outlines priorities like supporting law enforcement, opposing tax increases, stopping illegal immigration and her stance against abortion.

She says she supports school choice and community colleges, technical schools, and vocational training programs. She also wrote, “We must fight the dangerous voices that call for lowering educational standards in the name of equity.”

After her nomination, Arlington Democrats posted to Twitter calling her an “extreme right candidate,” linking to a recording of her allegedly saying “Fauci should be jailed” at a candidate forum.

Lipsman’s website she mentions extremists and divisive politics. “Let’s be honest — there are loud extremists on both sides, who benefit from dividing our country, and we cannot let that happen,” it reads. “Divisive politics are poisonous and we must work together to overcome the gridlock on the critical issues that are facing our country.”

After living in Arlington for more than 10 years, she says she understands the issues facing the community.

“As your congresswoman, I will engage with you directly and represent your interests and put solutions for our district before partisan politics,” her website reads. “I will advocate for common-sense policies that fight crime, reduce inflation, ease transportation and improve our educational standards.”

Photo via Fairfax County Republican Committee

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(Updated at 10:45 p.m.) A teenager from Alexandria City High School was killed during a “large fight” at the Bradlee Shopping Center McDonald’s, police say.

According to scanner traffic, the incident started around 12:21 p.m. with a call about a brawl happening at the McDonald’s at 3646 King Street. Police said one person was stabbed and critically injured, then pronounced dead at the hospital.

“We responded to a large group fight in the 3600 block and King Street,” said Alexandria police spokesman Captain Courtney Ballantine. “During the fight, an 18-year-old was critically injured and transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. We confirmed it was a male and we confirmed that it was an ACHS student. We do not have any suspect information. It’s still ongoing.”

In a message this evening, ACHS Principal Peter Balas told the school community the student killed was senior Luis Mejia Hernandez.

Today is a day of great sadness at Alexandria City High School (ACHS). I am saddened to share with you the news of the passing of one of our Titan seniors from the Class of 2022, Luis Mejia Hernandez. Luis died today, May 24, 2022 and he will be greatly missed by the Titan community, especially in the International Academy.

Today, the administrative and support teams met with teachers and staff who work with Luis. In addition, the administration met with all ACHS staff at the end of the school day to discuss the incidents of the day. On behalf of the entire Titan staff, I would like to express our deepest condolences and sympathies to Luis’ family and loved ones. Luis will be deeply missed, and will always and forever be a Titan.

Balas said that ACHS will have an asynchronous virtual learning day tomorrow (Wednesday).

“Transitioning to virtual learning for our students tomorrow will allow our school community the time and space to grieve and process this loss,” Balas said. “We will have support team members from the schools, Department of Student Services & Equity and the City’s Department of Community and Human Services available on site for anyone who needs that support.”

Hernandez’s death marks the city’s second homicide of 2022. A teenager was also killed in an attempted carjacking in Potomac Yard earlier this month.

Police said around 30-50 people were involved in the fight outside the McDonald’s.

“So many people were involved we’re still trying to weave through the video and witnesses to determine what we’re looking at,” Ballantine said. “What we’re looking at is 30-50 people.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Escobar at 703-746-6819. Callers can remain anonymous.

The Bradlee McDonald’s has seen its share of fights before, with one person injured in a fight there last year and a juvenile shot last September.

The nearby Alexandria City High School campuses were placed in “secure the building” status and later had a staggered dismissal as a result of the incident.

According to ACPS:

Due to an ongoing police investigation of an incident off campus, the secure the building status at the King Street and Minnie Howard Campuses of Alexandria City High School (ACHS) will not be lifted until 3:15 p.m. this afternoon, May 24, 2022. This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution for the safety and security of our students and staff. Please refrain from coming to pick up your students prior to 3:15 p.m. Families who pick up their students from school at the regular time should expect delays.

In addition, we will be conducting a staggered afternoon dismissal of students today starting at 3:15 p.m. This means that students will be dismissed in smaller groups and led by staff to exit the school building. Please expect delays and note that students may get home from school later than usual. All after-school activities are also canceled and ACHS students are expected  to go home immediately after dismissal.

The safety and security of our students and staff is the most important priority. Thank you for your partnership and patience while we focus on getting students and staff out of the building in a safe and timely manner.

We will continue to communicate to provide families with the most up-to-date information.

Alexandria’s DASH network also tweeted that buses would temporarily not be running to the Bradlee Shopping Center.

https://twitter.com/DASHBus/status/1529178557288783874

James Cullum contributed to this story

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