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In five years, Jason Ellis wants Momentum Collective, Inc. to be a charter school teaching kids the arts in Northern Virginia.

The nonprofit resumed programming in October, after a two-year Covid hiatus, and are one again teaching low and moderate income children how to sing, dance and act in summer camps and after school at the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Ruby Tucker Center. About 90 elementary school-aged kids have participated since programming resumed, and the plan is to eventually bring back middle and high school kids.

Ellis, who founded the nonprofit six years ago, is a former program and resident and community services director with ARHA. He’s a director, actor, singer, dancer and writer.

“I’m about empowerment,” Ellis told ALXnow. “We have empowered our kids with a sense of urgency so that they can be in control of their own lives and destiny and make good choices.”

Momentum Collective, Inc. partners with Alexandria City Public Schools’ Link Club program, the city and ARHA to work with kids after school and in the summer.

“There aren’t a lot of opportunities for kids, particularly Black and brown kids in under-resourced families, who don’t have the financial resources to participate in meaningful arts enrichment programming within the city,” Ellis said. “We created the organization specifically to target kids within the city of Alexandria to have access to arts enrichment programs for free.”

Ellis was also the head of school for the YouthBuild Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. from 2018 to 2019. It’s an experience that has shifted the focus of the organization.

“We have a five year plan to start a charter school for middle school youth,” Ellis said. “For now, though, our short-term plan is to expand our programming into other recreation centers, particularly like on the West End, because that’s always a underserved area of the city.”

Momentum Collective is conducting a creative writing workshop in September at Jefferson Houston Recreation Center. The workshop is open to Alexandria children, and cash awards will be presented to the winners.

“Then we’re actually going to stage their writing productions from our winners,” Ellis said.

Ellis and his team use technology to motivate their students.

“Kids are very interested in performing,” he said. “By nature they reach they want to showcase something, which is why they’re constantly on TikTok and Instagram. So,  if I say I’m going to be working on something that you can put on TikTok, they get it — that’s the end result for them and that’s what they want to work toward. If I give them a script and tell them we’re going to put a web series on YouTube, they get excited about that, because that’s what they’re familiar with.”

Via Facebook

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A new coffee/bubble tea shop is being planned for 411 Cameron Street in Old Town, according to a special use permit (SUP) filed with the city.

The location was previously home to antique store Time Juggler.

The owners of the 595-square-foot shop are listed as My Huynh and Randal Phillips.

The SUP says that the business would be open seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and serve coffee, non-alcoholic drinks and gelato.

Calls to the owners were not returned.

Via Google Maps

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Mars Rodeo plays at First Thursday in Del Ray, July 7, 2022. (staff photo by James Cullum)

The Del Ray Music Festival isn’s happening for the third year in a row, but an upcoming bar crawl next Saturday (August 20) hopes to make up for it.

The second annual Bands & Brews: Del Ray Summer Bar Crawl is back, and will feature more than 20 local acts at Del Ray restaurants.

Del Ray Business Association President Lauren Fisher hopes that the music festival can return next year. In the meantime, she says the day will be full of activity.

“People can look forward to a fun filled day of great cocktails and live music over 18 venues,” Fisher told ALXnow. “Pat Miller Square will feature an alcohol free zone where families can listen to music, take photos, and engage in kid activities -chalk art and an instrument petting zoo.”

The bar crawl will be held from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Participants will be transported on a trolley, and musicians will perform at the restaurants and Pat Miller Neighborhood Square.

The first 250 registrants will get a swag bag, and advance tickets cost $15 per person. Tickets at the door cost $20. Participants must be 21 years of age.

The schedule is below:

  • Lena’s Wood-fired Pizza & Tap — Tobago Boy Band, 12 to 3 p.m.
  • Matt & Tony’s Restaurant — John Shreiner and Maddie Assel, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Northside 10 — Jonathan Mitchum, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Bella Napoli — Ashleigh Chevalier, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • The Garden — Buskateers (Duo), 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Barkhaus — Sally and the Mander, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Los Tios — Ocho De Bastros (Latin pop), 1 to 4 p.m.
  • St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub — Madie Cantrell, 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Cheesetique — Kevin Pace Quartet (Jazz), 2 to 5 p.m.
  • Evening Star Cafe — Stereobouncers, 2 to 5 p.m.
  • Hops N’ Shine — Erin McDonald, 2 to 5 p.m.
  • Kaizen — The Summer of George, 2 to 5 p.m.
  • Del Ray Pizzeria — Squid Inc. (Reggae), 2 to 5 p.m.
  • Piece Out — LowBall, 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Elo’s Italian Restaurant — Janna Audey, 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Pat Miller Square — Mars Rodeo (Cover band), 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Lena’s Wood-fired Pizza & Tap — The Walkaways, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Cheesetique — The DC Radiohead Jazz Project, 4 to 6 p.m.
  • St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub — Neal Learner, 4 to 6 p.m.
  • SpiceKraft — Lucas Mason, 4 to 6 p.m.

An after-party will be held at Pork Barrel BBQ from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and feature DJ BOB.

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Chance is full of cheerful energy.

The four-year-old terrier mix is up for adoption with the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, and is up for all forms of exercise.

“Chance’s unique red and fawn coloring and his trademark grin make him one of the AWLA’s most distinctive-looking pups,” said AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter. “But his people-friendly personality is what makes him so wonderful.  Whenever you say his name, his tail starts wagging.”

Learn more about Chance and schedule time to meet him by emailing [email protected] or calling 703-746-4774 (opt. 2).

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Chewish Deli is open at the former Dunkin’ Donuts shop at 1640 King Street in Old Town. (staff photo by James Cullum)

Bagel lovers have a new spot two blocks from the King Street Metro station to get their fix. Chewish Deli softly opened its second brick-and-mortar at 1640 King Street in Old Town on Monday (August 8), offering a traditional Jewish deli cuisine of hand-rolled water bagels, hot pastrami sandwiches, and more.

Owner Gregg Linzey says he will hold a grand opening at some point, although he didn’t have a grand opening party for his first location at 807 Pendleton Street in the Braddock area in October 2020 — in the middle of the pandemic. The company was founded as a food truck seven months before that, and Linzey was forced to find a new space after the truck got into a crash and was taken out of commission.

Linzey, a former certified financial planner, says he found out about the King Street location while getting a haircut.

“It was a good opportunity, a great location,” he told ALXnow. “My barber, actually, opened up a shop in the same building and told me about the space while he was cutting my hair. I contacted the guys here. It worked out well. We’re looking forward to having this space next to the Metro and having dining inside.”

The 1,350-square-foot space is the former longtime home of a Dunkin’ Donuts.

“We came here thinking that the Dunkin’ Donuts was still here,” Tracie Middleton said. “My daughter and I peeked in and we thought, ‘Our taste buds are ready. Why not? We’ll try it.'”

As for further expansion, Linzey says he’s taking things slow. The company is having trouble procuring to-go containers and paper coffee cups.

“That is still not 100% decided,” he said. “Running from one location to two is a big change. My plan is to relax a little bit and get both locations running a little more autonomously. We’re trying to figure out our logistics and ordering, and we’re still running into issues with shortages on certain things, which is a bigger challenge now that we have two locations instead of one.”

Linzey lives in Old Town. He’s a native of Haverhill, Massachusetts, and spent years traveling to Brooklyn and eating fresh bagels with his grandmother.

“We’re really the only local bagel shop that puts ourselves out there as New York-style,” he said. “Our bagels are as good as they are because we’re not trying to do anything fancy. We boil them and use malt syrup for the sweetener.”

It costs between $2 and $4 for a cup of coffee, $2 for a single bagel and up to $10 for a bagel sandwich.

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Want to lend a helping hand? Alexandria is full of summer volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer Alexandria’s website lists plenty of ways for residents to give back.

Here’s a roundup of some of the opportunities this summer:

Distribute food for ALIVE! — “Assist ALIVE! feeding food insecure City of Alexandria residents in local Alexandria neighborhoods throughout the city during weekdays. Volunteer roles include bagbing food, handing out perishable and nonperishable items, breakdown after the distribution, load and unload the truck.”  Click Here to sign up.”

Sexual Assault Center hotline operator — “The Sexual Assault Center (SAC) offers support to victims of sexual assault and their families and friends. Trained volunteers and staff are available 24 hours a day to provide crisis intervention and emotional support, advocacy with medical, police, and court systems, short-term individual and group counseling, and information and referrals. In addition to services for individuals, the staff is also available to provide training, information, and presentations to local schools and organizations. The Sexual Assault Center offers information and support for sexual assault (i.e. rape, attempted rape, fondling, indecent exposure, etc.) survivors and their family and friends, sexual harassment and stalking victims, and individuals of any age, race, ethnicity, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability, etc. Click HERE to learn more.”

Mentor for girls — “Space of Her Own is looking for mentors to build long lasting bonds with 9- to 11-year-olds through art projects after school.
Information sessions are scheduled at August 9 and 10 at the Lee Center. Click HERE to sign-up.”

Volunteer for Back to School Community Day — “On Saturday, August 27, UNCUT Youth needs volunteers to setup, breakdown, and provide support for their event – a day of food, games, raffles, and giveaways. Click HERE to sign-up.”

Youth sport coaches — “Coach an assigned group of children and focus on skill development, safety, fair, play, sportsmanship and fun. Work to esatblish and improve team unity and spirit. Click HERE to learn more.”

Tour guide at Carlyle House — “Carlyle House Historic Park, a colonial house museum in Old Town Alexandria, seeks volunteer docents to give public tours of the building. Carlyle House Docents commit to volunteering at least 2 weekday shifts per month or 1 weekend shift per month. Click HERE to express interest.”

Mentoring and tutoring at Casa Chirilagua — “The Arlandria-based organization Casa Chirilagua is seeking volunteers for its after-school programming. Click HERE for a full list of opportunities.”

Job counselor at Together We Bake — “Are you looking for a meaningful way to get involved with TWB? We are recruiting volunteers to act as Job Counselors for our upcoming sessions. This is a great opportunity to work one-on-one and build impactful relationships with Team Members while helping them discover and expand their career goals. Click HERE to learn more.”

Alexandria Symphony Orchestra concert volunteer — “The ASO needs your help to usher at performances and perform other duties. You can watch the performance once patrons are seated. Come hear this great orchestra if you love symphony. Click HERE to learn more.”

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A 23-year-old Prince William County man was arrested on July 23 (Saturday) after police found him asleep in his car on the wrong side of the road on Yale Drive.

The incident occurred at around 4:15 p.m. The investigating officer found a silver Toyota facing the wrong way on Yale Drive in the oncoming traffic lane. The driver was unconscious but breathing in the driver’s seat, police said in a search warrant affidavit.

“The vehicle was in drive, the engine running, with lights on, and (the suspect’s) foot (was) on the break and the break lights illuminated,” police said in a search warrant affidavit. “While at the window, I observed the driver with a light blue circular pill on his lap, a dollar bill and a credit/debit card. There also appeared to be a white powdery substance sprinkled on his lap.”

The officer activated a personal red/blue emergency light on his uniform and announced himself.

The officer reported that the driver woke up in a panic and lethargically grabbed at items in the vehicle. The driver refused commands to lower the window or unlock the car door.

“He then grabbed a phone and yelled, ‘I need to call my mom,'” police reported in the search warrant affidavit. “I announced ‘Police,’ several times and ordered him to open the door. He continued to refuse all commands given to him and never opened his door. I then informed him he was under arrest for obstruction and he continued to refuse commands.”

The rear driver’s side door to the suspect’s car was broken, and back-up officers popped the lock on the door. The suspect refused to get out of the car and was removed by multiple officers.

The driver was released on $2500 unsecured bond the same day. He was charged with driving while intoxicated, resisting arrest, possession of Schedule I drugs and possession of Schedule IV drugs.

Via Google Maps

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There was a crash in the area of N. patrick and Montgomery Streets in the Braddock area on July 29, 2022. (Via Google Maps)

A 27-year-old Washington, D.C. man is being held without bond after allegedly crashing his car into a Metro Bus in the Braddock area and ditching a “ghost gun.”

The incident occurred at around 4:45 p.m. on July 29 (Friday) in the area of N. Patrick and Montgomery Streets — just a few blocks from the Braddock Road Metro station. No one was injured in the crash.

The Metro Bus Driver told police that the driver of a black Nissan was driving “extremely fast” westbound on Montgomery Street and “blew through an intersection hitting the Metro Bus,” according to a search warrant affidavit.

“”There was significant damage done to the Nissan showing a crash at a dangerous speed,” police said in the search warrant affidavit. “(The driver) admitted to driving the vehicle when it crashed at a dangerous speed… consuming alcohol, and smoking marijuana approximately 30 minutes before operating the vehicle. (The driver) stated he was coming from D.C. to go to his girlfriend’s house.”

A witness then told police that the driver of the Nissan took a gun from his glove compartment and threw it in a bush in the 900 block of N. Patrick Street.

“I was able to recover that firearm, which is not serialized,” police said in the search warrant affidavit. “(The driver) denied knowledge of the firearm, but admitted to me he is on probation for firearms.”

The driver was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, driving without a license, intent to distribute marijuana and driving while intoxicated. He goes to court on August 31.

Via Google Maps

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A 34-year-old Maryland man faces multiple charges after driving toward police on the wrong side of the road in the West End.

At around 11:30 p.m. on July 27 (Wednesday), an Alexandria Police officer was driving his cruiser in the area of South Van Dorn Street and South Pickett Street when a black Audi sedan without lights on headed toward him on the wrong side of the road.

“While driving northeast on South Pickett Street, I witnessed a black sedan driving towards me with no headlights on,” police detailed in a search warrant affidavit. “The driver, a white male with a hat, leaned out the window and yelled something as I passed by and got got close enough to a divider that he appeared he was going to hit it.”

While transporting the driver to booking, the Maryland driver allegedly denied ever driving the car, which was registered in his name.

“When I initially entered my vehicle after (the driver) had been placed in the back, I could smell the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage,” police reported in a search warrant affidavit. “He additionally said, ‘It’s not my fault I had a terrible week.'”

The driver refused all field sobriety tests and was then arrested for resisting arrest, refusing a blood/breath test and driving while intoxicated (second offense). He was released on July 28 on a $1,500 unsecured bond.

The driver goes to court on August 31.

Map via Google Maps

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Ready to go into business in Alexandria?

The latest listings on BizBuySell show all kinds of companies for sale in the city.

The website aggregates numerous business sale listings, and the names and locations are generally left out.

Reasons for selling, when provided, typically do not mention economic hardship, but more often involve the owner retiring or not having time to actively run the business.

Here are some that are currently listed:

  1. Dog Boutique Accessories and Food — “Incredible dog boutique store in charming and wealthy Old Town Alexandria. The business has been growing since inception in 2010.The high visibility location draws in hundreds of customers each week. This business does NOT sell or re-home dogs.”
  2. Nail salon — “Established, nice nail salon/spa with good income available for sale in the Falls Church, Alexandria area. Good rent. Potential for growth if adding more nail techs. Nail services comprise 80% of the business, the rest is hair services. Highly visible from main road. Good reviews. Nice and well decorated. Owner can stay and work on a part time basis. Staff will stay if new owner want. 1,700 square feet. Current lay out has 6 pedicure chairs, 8 manicure tables, 2 hair stations, 2 shampoo stations, 2 rooms for facial/waxing services. Owner prefers cash but can provide short term financing with substantial down payment. Priced to sell. Don’t miss this opportunity.”
  3. Former hair salon in Fairlington — “Formerly a hair salon by the name of Primary Colors, a hair salon that was in business for twenty years. Now the space is open, and is still built out to be a hair salon, but the space can also be altered to become a different business.”
  4. Deli with R.E. property — The owner is retiring after 30 years in business. The restaurant is open five days a week for breakfast and lunch.
  5. Well-established laundromat — “All Washer and Driers in Excellent condition. NO Coin! Card only! Owner stops by the store once a week. 50 washers, 52 Driers.”
  6. Profitable restaurant for sale — “Great location, great visibility, long lease term, plenty of parking spaces, in a busy shopping center with many other businesses that crowded with customers on the daily basic, this restaurant is built up from the cold cell condition with new kitchen equipment, freezer, cooler, HVAC….., that’s clean and presenting a long useful life for new owner to do business in years to come without any major upgrading. This restaurant can be converting to other cuisine given there is no other restaurant of that cuisine is currently operated within the shopping center.”
  7. Profitable High Volume Bakery & Cafe MRB VA 1107 — “By purchasing this Bakery, Café, and Catering Company that is for sale in a very busy shopping center in Fairfax County, Virginia and you will be ready for business your first day! This well-known operation produces $1.8 million from its multiple foodservice revenue streams. It is Fully Equipped and gives you the opportunity to serve up a full restaurant menu, special occasion cakes, sweet treat pastries, and baked goods, including gluten-free items, sugar-free treats, and food for allergy-sensitive patrons.”
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