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Top ALXnow stories of 2021

Rather than an end-of-week wrap-up like we usually do, we at ALXnow figured it might be more fitting to do a look back at all the stories from the last year — our second full year of publication.

Thanks for reading and see you next year!

10. JUST IN: Banana Republic and Gap Outlet closing in Old Town on January 24

Earlier this month, national retailers Banana Republic and Gap Outlet announced they’d be closing for good on Jan. 24, 2022. Douglas Development purchased the buildings and now owns three of the four buildings at the intersection of Washington and King streets. As one commenter noted, according to Monopoly rules, they’re one building short of being able to put a hotel on the site.

9. JUST IN: T.C. Williams JV football team walks off field after alleged racial slur, spitting incident

Alexandria and Fairfax County school districts investigated allegations that members of the James W Robinson, Jr. Secondary School’s junior varsity football team spat at Alexandria players and said racial slurs at a game on April 5. Fairfax County Public Schools had a “stand-down” meeting with the sports team after to address the behavior.

8. Captain Sean Casey wins Democratic primary and is running unopposed for Sheriff in November

Alexandria Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Casey won the Democratic primary in June and was unopposed as he sailed into a election win in November. He will be replacing Dana Lawhorne, who is retiring after four consecutive terms as Sheriff.

7. Torpedo Factory plans could include cafe, maker-space, and ‘gloryholes’

In October, Diane Ruggiero, deputy director of recreation, parks and cultural activities, outlined plans for potential new additions to the Torpedo Factory, like a ground-floor cafe or humorously named glassblowing devices. The discussion was the start of the latest round in a long-running back-and-forth between the city and artists over what the future of the arts center should look like.

6. Go-go music star-turned Alexandria teacher ‘Sugar Bear’ in the spotlight after Oscars shoutout

Alexandria City High School teacher Gregory Elliott has a second-life as local go-go star Sugar Bear for the D.C. band Experience Unlimited. That second life was thrust into the limelight earlier this year when his song “Da’ Butt” from the Spike Lee film School Daze was featured at the Oscars. The band also put out a new album called Free Yourself. It’s pretty good.

5. UPDATED: Police responding to barricade situation near Alexandria City High School

A barricade situation near Woods Place and Quaker Lane, a few blocks from Alexandria City High School, started a little after noon on Nov. 23. Almost 24 hours and a few shots-fired at police later, the situation was resolved peacefully and the suspect was arrested. John Thomas Bey, a 52-year old resident of Alexandria, was been hit with several charges connected to his alleged role in a barricade situation — including unlawful discharge of a firearm in a school zone, attempted felonious assault, and malicious shooting into an occupied police vehicle.

4. UPDATED: Body found floating near Old Town pier

The body of what appears to be a woman was recovered from the Potomac River in late November. Foul play was not suspected.

3. BREAKING: Video shows brawl at Alexandria City High School cafeteria just two days after school starts

Just after school started in August, there were a series of brawls in some of the schools, including one at Alexandria City High School. Police weren’t dispatched to this fight, but were called in for three other incidents. A month later, a juvenile was shot at a McDonalds near Alexandria City High School, a popular post-school hang-out spot. The arguments over violence in schools culminated with the City Council returning school resource officers to Alexandria schools — though earlier this month those same SROs were removed pending an investigation into allegations of sexually inappropriate conversations with a former student.

2. BREAKING: Alexandria Police investigate drug distribution and possession at Episcopal High School

In just two days, a report about an investigation into drug distribution and possession at Episcopal High School became the second most-read story from the last year. Two students were “immediately withdrawn” after packages containing a cornucopia of illegal drugs were found in the private school’s mail room.

1. JUST IN: Rarity as American Viper Rattlesnake found in Old Town

The top story from 2021, at more than double the next closest story, was a rattlesnake found in Old Town. A venomous timber rattlesnake was picked up in Old Town by the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria in June. The animal was found at 400 block of Gibbon Street and the snake was safely removed from the scene and transported to a wildlife center in Northern Virginia.

Courtesy AWLA/Twitter

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