A 54-year-old Alexandria woman died at the scene of a crash Friday, after veering her Dodge Ram off Interstate 95 in Hanover County and into a Volvo being repaired by its owner on the shoulder of the road. (Courtesy VSP)

“Candace S. Fields-Rogers, 54, of Alexandria, Va., was driving the Ram,” Virginia State Police reported. “She was wearing a seatbelt. She succumbed to her injuries onscene.”

The driver of the Volvo was underneath his car making repairs when the crash occurred near the 93-mile marker. He was sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. No one else was injured, and an investigation into the crash is ongoing, police said.

Fields-Rogers leaves behind a husband and two children. Last year, she launched a GoFundMe campaign to help her husband, a U.S. Army veteran with a traumatic brain injury. She raised $10,000 of her $50,000 goal for the still-open fundraiser.

Courtesy VSP

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It was a surprising week in Alexandria.

Our top story by far was on the venomous rattlesnake found in Old Town on Sunday. The timber snake, which also goes by the name American Viper, was discovered in the 400 block of Gibbon Street — a few blocks from the waterfront. It didn’t bite anyone, and was apprehended by the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria’s Animal Services team and later moved to a wildlife facility in Northern Virginia.

This Saturday, June 19,  is also Juneteenth, and the new federal holiday recognizes the end of slavery in the U.S. The City recognized Juneteenth on Friday, and most government offices and facilities were closed. This weekend, the Alexandria Black History Museum is partnering with Washington Revels Jubilee Voices — a group that preserves local Black traditions through a cappella music, dramatic performances and dance — for a virtual Juneteenth Celebration.

Meanwhile, in-person dramatic and musical performances are being planned for July. The Little Theatre of Alexandria is expanding capacity with their new lineup of shows, and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will resume in-person performing in a reduced program at the City’s birthday celebration on the waterfront on July 10.

In other good news, a pair of T.C. Williams High School Titans raised more than $4,800 to attend the Outdoor Nationals at the University of Oregon on July 1.

In this week’s poll, we asked readers how they think the millions of first allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds should be spent, as City Council will conduct a public hearing on how to spend it on Saturday. After a rash of flooding incidents last year, a majority of the respondents want the funds prioritized for waterway maintenance.

This Sunday is also Father’s Day, and a number of Alexandria businesses are offering unique specials.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. JUST IN: Rarity as American Viper Rattlesnake found in Old Town
  2. Captain Sean Casey wins Democratic primary and is running unopposed for Sheriff in November
  3. Woman assaulted by mob and pepper-sprayed in Old Town North
  4. Man dies of apparent overdose at coworking office in Old Town
  5. T.C. Williams High School’s final graduating class walks the stage
  6. Alexandria Fire Department rescues woman from stalled car, Flash Flood Watch in effect
  7. City launches Duke Street transit overhaul process
  8. For Taco Bamba owner, newly announced Landmark location is a homecoming
  9. Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
  10. Here’s what to do when you find dead birds amid recent epidemic
  11. Java Grill closed until further notice in Old Town

Have a safe weekend! 

Courtesy AWLA/Twitter 

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The pandemic is over, right? Not for Volunteer Alexandria.

The nonprofit is still in the thick of finding volunteers to assist with food distributions, in addition to vaccination pod workers and guardians at assisted living facilities.

“We are actually seen a decrease in new people registering…only 114 people, which is really low for us,” Volunteer Alexandria’s Executive Director Marion Brunken told ALXnow. “We are still in need of people who are able to donate time to assist with food and meal distributions – ALIVE!, ACPS, and CASA Chirilagua all need people to assist.”

Brunken said there were 224 registered volunteers in April and 187 in March, and that she is now looking at a 30% shortage in school meal distribution volunteers.

“We need hundreds of people per week,” Brunken said. “Because, tutoring, mentoring — those are so important. Seniors always need food delivered, no matter if the pandemic is over or not. More people are in need now than ever. We still deliver food. We still have after school programs, and now we’re going to the summer camps, so we need to staff those as well.”

Register to volunteer here.

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The Little Theatre of Alexandria is expanding capacity and easing restrictions, but you still have to wear face masks when the 2021-22 season begins next month with Neil Simon’s Rumors.

LTA is expanding capacity to 145 patrons in LTA’s 215-seat capacity venue at 600 Wolfe Street in Old Town. Face masks will still be required for members of the audience, and the plan is to return to full capacity in January.

“The seating capacity for Rumors, Fences, Wait Until Dark and A Christmas Carol will increase to 145 patrons per performance,” LTA’s spokesperson Rachel Alberts told ALXnow. “Up to 2 patrons will sit together with one empty seat between each pair. Masks will still be required for the new season. Starting with our January musical Bright Star and continuing with Blue Stockings and Prelude to a Kiss, our plan is to go back to full capacity seating with no social distancing.”

The Little Theatre reopened last September with socially distant performances. Their first show back after the shutdown — Love Letters — featured two married actors onstage, and only allowed 40 audience members. There were also no bathroom breaks, intermission or concessions.

“We anticipate that the situation will continue to evolve (presumably for the better), allowing us to further ease restrictions soon,” LTA said in a press release. “All audience members are required to wear face masks. If a patron removes his or her face mask, we will ask them to put it back on. If it happens a second time, we will stop the show and ask them to leave.”

LTA is requiring all staff to be vaccinated, including actors and crew, by August 17.

“Put plainly, if you want to work at LTA after August 17, you must be vaccinated and be prepared to prove it,” LTA said in the release. “The most important benefit, of course, is that everyone in the LTA community–employees, contractors, teachers, students, actors, designers and crew, and volunteers–can all be confident that working at LTA is safe!”

Courtesy LTA

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Morning Notes

Alexandria government drops mask requirement — “Starting on June 15, fully vaccinated visitors and employees who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear a mask or practice physical distancing in City of Alexandria government facilities. Individuals who wish to wear a mask or practice physical distancing may continue to do so. Those who have not been fully vaccinated should continue to wear a mask and maintain six feet of physical distancing in city government facilities.” [Patch]

Captain Gregory’s eyes expansion — “The popular spot is expanding, looking to add about a dozen more seats… They’ll make use of unused kitchen space and likely complete the additional space by the fall.” [Alexandria Living]

How NOVA’s esports program found unexpected success during the pandemic — “NOVA’s players come from throughout the region, but all 51 of them are united by their passion for and skill in video games.” [Alex Times]

Today’s weather — “Mostly sunny skies. High 88F. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph… Partly cloudy in the evening with more clouds for later at night. Low 71F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Child watch attendant — “The YMCA Alexandria invites you to apply for the Child Watch Attendant position. We are looking for a responsible and fun candidate to supervise the children and all activities by creating a fun, enriching, and safe environment for all children.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria’s history with slavery makes Juneteenth a particularly important holiday.

June 19 recognizes the emancipation of slaves in the United States, and the date is expected to soon be a federal holiday, even though Alexandria has recognized it since 2019.

But because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, the City is also recognizing Friday, June 18, as a holiday.

“We should all be looking at ways that we can help our community, especially in the context of a pandemic which has particularly ravaged communities of color,” said Audrey David, executive director of the Alexandria City Black History Museum, in a recent blog post, “Start by exploring the Black History Museum’s Preserving Their Names online only exhibition, released to coincide with the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, which features images of objects and digital photographs from the new Black Lives Remembered Collection.”

The Alexandria Black History Museum is also presenting a virtual performance on Saturday with the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices.

The holiday means most, but not all, City employees will have Friday off. Parking restrictions will also be lifted at legal parking spaces throughout the city, however Alexandria City Public Schools will be open.

What’s open

City-run facilities and services that will be open include:

Closures

The following City services are closed Friday:

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Updated at 12:30 p.m. Peter Edwards was found safe at an auto shop in the 400 block of S. Van Dorn Street.

Alexandria Police combed the West End for the missing 44-year-old man with severe intellectual disabilities.

Police said that Edwards was last seen at around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night in the 600 block of Shilling Street, which is near the Van Dorn Metro station. A police helicopter was also used to try and locate him.

“He’s not considered dangerous,” said APD senior communication officer Amanda Paga. “We don’t believe he took public transportation. He’s known to just kind of stay in the area.”

Paga said that this is the first time that Edwards has been able to get away unsupervised for an entire evening.

Edwards walks with a limp and is five-feet-two-inches tall and 120 pounds.

Police said he frequents the area of S. Van Dorn Street and Edsall Road, which is near the McDonald’s at 505 S. Van Dorn Street. Police tweeted a photo of Edwards standing in line at the McDonald’s at 11 a.m.

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At 56 pounds, Cornbread acts like a big puppy.

The 22-month-old brown and white, male bloodhound/boxer mix is looking for a new home via the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

“Cornbread is a fully-grown adult, but his boisterous demeanor and goofy antics make him seem just like an extra-large pup,” AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter told ALXnow. “Just like his bloodhound lineage, Cornbread loves to get on the trail of a good scent, and on walks, you will often find him with his nose to the ground. But when it’s time to play he is up and at ’em, focusing on his favorite people, toys and some silly fun, like a roll down the hill.”

Cornbread is available for adoption by appointment. Learn more about how to meet him at AlexandriaAnimals.org/Adopt-By-Appointment.

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Morning Notes

The Twig donates $150K to Inova Alexandria Hospital — “During their annual luncheon Tuesday morning, The Twig (Together We Ignite Giving), the junior auxiliary unit for Inova Alexandria Hospital, presented a $150,000 check to the institution as part of its $1 million pledge to renovate the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit.” [Zebra]

Amazon and Metro announce $125M plan to make 1,000 affordable housing units near Metro stations — “This represents another return on the region’s extraordinary investment in mass transit, as the partnership with Amazon will accelerate transit-oriented development, grow ridership, and keep our region competitive with other global economic centers,” said Metro Board Chair Paul Smedberg. “Amazon is stepping up to the plate with an unprecedented commitment to affordable housing in the National Capital Region.” [WMATA]

Sheriff’s deputies and police officers graduate from Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy — “The new law enforcement officers successfully completed 20 weeks of training, including emergency vehicle operations, firearms training, defensive and control tactics, crash investigation, basic legal training, and other important areas. Some Alexandria members of this class distinguished themselves, with Officer Stephen Weidman earning top honors in the Emergency Vehicle Operations Course and Officer Yadiel Nuñez having the second highest score in Firearms.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Sunny skies. High near 80F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph… Some clouds early will give way to generally clear conditions overnight. Low 58F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Bartender/Server/Runner — “The Old Dominion Boat Club is looking to hire servers, bartenders, and food runners. We have competitive pay and participate in a very healthy and robust tip share.” [Indeed]

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The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will officially return to in-person performances with an hour-long program at Alexandria’s 272nd birthday celebration on Saturday, July 10, on the waterfront.

“We’re really excited to be there for the community,” Melinda Kernc, ASOs director of development and marketing, confirmed to ALXnow. “We did what we could during COVID, and now to meet in person is really exciting.”

The program on July 10 has been shortened to an hour (it’s usually an hour-and-a-half), and to discourage crowds there also won’t be cannon fire punctuating the symphony’s rendition of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture during the fireworks. Last year’s event, which usually attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Old Town, was held virtually.

ASO will also return for their first full season of shows starting the first weekend in October with Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at Northern Virginia Community College.

The symphony will release their upcoming show schedule in the next couple of weeks, Kernc said.

There will be five separate shows between October and April, and performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. at NOVA on Saturday nights and 3 p.m. the following day  the next day at George Washington National Masonic Memorial.

“We are planning for the first half of our season, which goes through December,” Kernc said. “We’re not going to have intermissions in order to keep people from congregating. Other than that, we’re planning to have full capacity in the Hall.”

The pandemic forced ASO to adapt, and musicians ended up playing virtual events, as well as more than a dozen at socially distant musical venues at The Rectory in Old Town and senior living facilities.

“We’ll continue to do community events when we can,” Kernc said. “We’ll also continue to do some kind of virtual event maybe once a year where we actually can put our concerts out, because we reached over 2,000 people with our Christmas performance, and that’s a bigger audience than our largest venue.”

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