Newsletter

Jones Point Park live-action roleplayers fight with foam swords, create community — “It is Sunday at Jones Point Park, and today is the day Marcus finds glory on the battlefield.” [Alexandria Times]

Yunnan by Potomac Noodle House honored on 2022 Yelp 100 list — “The Alexandria restaurant is one of the top 100 restaurants in the country, according to Yelp.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Penthouse unit with exposed brick lists for $1.4M in Alexandria — “Would you pay $1.4 million for this penthouse unit? This residence features industrial loft design and rooftop views of the Potomac.” [Patch]

Carr pitches redevelopment of entire block in Alexandria’s Old Town North — “Carr Companies is exploring a major redevelopment in Alexandria’s Old Town North.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Police are investigating a grand larceny from a local glasses business in the city’s West End.

The incident took place at the Bauer’s Optical (4680 King Street) in Shoppes at Summit Centre, a shopping center in the northwest corner of Alexandria.

A witness told ALXnow that three men came in and broke through the glass display in the store, stealing glasses inside before fleeing.

The larceny follows a similar smash-and-grab in Arlington last week, but Alexandria Police public information officer Marcel Bassett said it was too early to say if there was a connection between the crimes.

Police said on social media there were no injuries reported at the time.

Alan Henney, James Cullum and Vernon Miles contributed to this story

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Three years after Alexandria’s School Board voted to stick with one high school, plans are headed to Alexandria’s City Council that could help shed light on what that one high school system looks like.

As a quick refresher: the Minnie Howard campus currently hosts 9th-grade classes but will be expanded to act as a larger satellite campus for Alexandria City High School with a total of 1,600 students.

The current school will remain in operation while the new school is built to the east in areas that are currently athletic fields. Once the new building is constructed, the current Minnie Howard building will be removed and replaced with new athletic and recreational facilities, along with a bus loop and parking.

“The DSUP submission seeks to provide additional classroom space for the growing high school population, as well as community meeting space, public recreation space and address site
circulation for pedestrians and motorists,” a staff report said. “The new five-story high school will be approximately 313,355 square feet and is designed for a capacity of approximately 1,600 students in grades 9th through 12th and 200 faculty.”

The report said the intention is for both campuses to function as one high school, with students in all four grades attending each campus.

“A typical student day will vary depending on course offerings at each campus and student’s course selection,” the report said. “Students may spend full or half days at one campus or travel back and forth. Both the Minnie Howard and King Street campuses will offer some of the same and some varying class options.”

A shuttle service will connect the two campuses, potentially running after each class period. Transportation for staff and teachers between campuses has not yet been determined, the report said.

Recreational fields at the new school will include a synthetic turf — with lighting baked into the approval — and tennis/pickleball courts, basketball/futsal courts and a grass practice area. After some contention, the final designs include two pools in a two-story aquatics facility. The pools at the school and gymnasium will be accessible to the public after school hours and on weekends.

Last April, the City Council approved a pinwheel concept for the school.

“The core of the pinwheel will consist of a three-story atrium topped by a two-story atrium space above,” staff explained in the report. “This will function as the heart of the school and center of circulation between the three wings and between the five different floor levels.”

The school will also have a fairly unique approach to student dining to break up Alexandria City High School’s notorious lunchtime crowds.

“The new high school will be introducing a new concept to student dining,” the report said. “In lieu of a single large cafeteria, smaller dining spaces will be provided on each floor so students will be able to dine in smaller groups and lunch hour capacity can be accommodated at the same time. Food will be prepared in a single kitchen and then delivered to each floor.”

The staff report recommends approval of the project’s request for a master plan amendment and other zoning requests.

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Monique Miles, photo via Monique Miles for City Council

Among the slate of new officials being picked for statewide positions under Governor Glenn Youngkin is a familiar face among Alexandria Republicans: former City Council candidate Monique Miles.

Miles was tapped to serve as deputy attorney general for Government Operations and Transactions, a division that represents executive agencies, state boards, authorities and commissions in all legal matters.

Miles is an attorney in Alexandria and was recognized by the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce’ 40 Under 40 list in 2019. Miles ran for City Council in 2015. As a candidate, Miles advocated for more public-private partnerships in schools and cuts to non-essential city services. Miles founded Old Towne Associates, P.C. in 2013.

“I am excited and honored, and look forward to serving the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Miles said in a press release from the Alexandria Republican City Committee (ARCC).

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Alexandria Sheriff Sean Casey says the recent actions of a deputy against a YouTuber outside the city jail are “inconsistent” with its policies and procedures.

In a video that posted today (Jan. 20), an Alexandria Sheriff’s Deputy asked that “Constitutional activist” Sean Paul Reyes of Long Island Audit not film outside the city jail. Reyes tells the deputy that he is an independent journalist exercising his First Amendment rights, and then refuses to provide the deputy with his full name.

“This is a public area,” Reyes tells the deputy. “I haven’t committed a crime.”

After refusing to provide his name, the deputy says, “Well, I can also detain you, if you like.”

Casey said that he is aware of the video, and that a full inquiry is underway.

“The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office is aware of the Youtube video posted on January 20 documenting an interaction between a deputy and a member of the public,” Casey posted on social media. “We are actively investigating this incident and understand the public’s concern. Based on our initial review of the video, the actions of the deputy are inconsistent with our policies and procedures. A full inquiry is underway.”

Reyes, who has 182,000 subscribers, and filmed dozens of other videos with law enforcement around the country.

“We’re here today to peacefully exercise our First Amendment right to film in public and publicly accessible areas to promote transparency and accountability within our government and to ensure that our public servants respect our rights and treat us with respect,” Reyes said.

The deputy later drove away from the jail.

“Oh, thank you for leaving, deputy,” Reyes says as the deputy drives away. “Appreciate it. Please just go.”

The Sheriff’s Office did not comment further.

Via Youtube

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Alexandria went to the dogs long ago, and has been listed as one of 70 cities in the country as a Better City for Pets by Mars Petcare.

The certification takes a number of factors into account, including the number of dog parks, veterinarians, and pet-related businesses. There are an estimated 80,000 pets in the city with a population of 160,000.

“As the operator of the city’s only open-access animal shelter and a resource for domestic and wild animals as well as pet owners, we’re thrilled by this designation and will continue the efforts to keep Alexandria the amazing community it is, for both pets and people,” Animal Welfare League of Alexandria spokesperson Gina Hardter told ALXnow.

Mars Petcare also gave AWLA also received awarded a Vision Award grant, which will fund housing opportunities for pets in their shelter.

“On behalf of the people and pets in the City of Alexandria, we are grateful to be recognized as a BETTER CITY FOR PETS,” Mayor Justin Wilson said in a statement. “The grant received from Mars Petcare will help the AWLA discover how it can better help all pets and families in our city.”

Alexandria was also named a Top 5 Best City for Dog Lovers in the U.S. 2021 by LawnStarter and one of the Most Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations in the U.S. 2019 by Expedia.

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The Landing in Potomac Yard, photo via The Landing/Facebook

Senior living facility The Landing (2620 Main Line Blvd.) in Potomac Yard is scheduled to open sometime within the next month or two, and with it comes a handful of the rare affordable assisted living units.

Last week, the city announced that seven affordable one-bedroom assisted living units will be available in The Landing.

“An Auxiliary Grant provides financial assistance to help cover the cost of room, board, and assistance with activities of daily living for low-income aged, blind, and/or disabled individuals,” the city’s press release said.

Staff at The Landing said the project is planned to open sometime in February or March and is currently taking reservations.

The Landing will be a mix of independent and assisted living units in the heart of the planned redevelopment of the Potomac Yard neighborhood. The development will include a spa, salon and fitness center.

Photo via The Landing/Facebook

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Morning Notes

White House to distribute free N95 masks: where to get them in VA — “Virginia residents will be able to pick up free N95 masks at the same places they got vaccinated against COVID-19.” [Patch]

Suspect in ‘brutal’ Alexandria slaying claims innocence, says victim was friend — “The man accused of killing a 23-year-old woman in Alexandria, Va., last month denies his involvement in the crime, saying he was a friend of the victim.” [Washington Post]

Alexandria to apply for $6 million grant for firefighters — “The city is working on a grant application to fund additional firefighters in Alexandria.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Man acquitted by insanity in 2013 cop shooting admits torching Prince William Co. therapist’s home — “In 2018, an Alexandria judge released Bashir from a mental hospital with conditions. Eight months later, he was charged with setting fire to the home of a Prince William County therapist he was seeing five days a week and lying on a criminal history check that allowed him to illegally get a gun.” [WTOP]

Alexandria Fire Department nominates deputy chiefs — “Alexandria, Virginia’s fire department named its deputy chiefs of administration and operations Wednesday.” [WTOP]

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Alexandria City Public Schools will provide synchronous, virtual learning Thursday after a Winter Weather Advisory warned there may be 2 to 3 inches of snow in the morning.

Class times will include live instruction through Zoom and independent work. All essential personnel must still report to schools, if it is safe to do so.

ACPS advised parents to check students’ Canvas or Clever account no later than 8 a.m. Thursday for specifics about their schedule.

ACPS has implemented virtual instruction for some inclement weather days this year, possibly making snow days a thing of the past. Fairfax County Public Schools similarly announced it would go virtual Thursday as well. And in Arlington, a full school closure was announced for tomorrow, using its last traditional allotted snow day.

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The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Alexandria and its neighbors ahead of snow expected tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

The advisory is set for 6 a.m.-1 p.m. on Thursday morning, with the city expected to get two-three inches of snow in the morning with a chance for more in the afternoon.

If it does snow, it will be the third snow of the year for Alexandria. The city received a fairly light dusting this past weekend that followed a severe snowstorm earlier this month.

See the full advisory below:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM TO 1 PM EST
THURSDAY…

* WHAT…Snow. Snow accumulations of up to two inches with locally
higher amounts around three inches possible.

* WHERE…The District of Columbia, portions of central, northern
and southern Maryland, and central and northern Virginia.

* WHEN…From 6 AM to 1 PM EST Thursday.

* IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous
conditions will impact the morning commute.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Precipitation will start as rain and then
switch over to snow during the Thursday morning commute.
Instructions: Slow down and use caution while traveling. When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery, increasing your risk of a fall and injury.
Target Area:
Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria
Fairfax
Prince William, Manassas, Manassas Park
Southern Fauquier
Spotsylvania
Stafford

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