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The weathervane on top of Alexandria’s City Hall. (Staff photo by James Cullum)

It’s going to be windy today in and around Alexandria.

The National Weather Service says that conditions will be clear, with wind gusts this afternoon up to 50 miles per hour. The wind advisory is in effect until 6 p.m.

“Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects,” NWS said in its advisory. “Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.”

The high temperature will be 66 degrees and the low will be about 47 degrees, according to NWS.

NWS says that Sunday will be calmer, with wind gust near 28 miles per hour, and a high temperature of 78 degrees.

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There is a power outage in the area of Seminary Road and N. Beauregard Street in Alexandria’s West End, April 12, 2024 (via Dominion Energy)

(Updated at 8 p.m.) More than 2,200 West End residents are without power after a transformer fire in the area of Seminary Road and N. Beauregard Street, according to Dominion Energy.

The Alexandria Police and Fire Departments responded to the transformer fire at around 4 p.m., and to direct traffic since the lights are down in the area, according to dispatches.

Dominion Energy says in their outage map that a crew has been dispatched to the area, and that crews are working to restore power by 10 p.m.

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Gunfire was reported in the area of N. Fayette and Wythe Streets in Old Town on April 10, 2024 (via Google Maps)

No arrests were made or injuries reported after a hail of gunfire was reported in the Braddock neighborhood of Alexandria on Wednesday night, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

Multiple 911 calls were made at around 8:40 p.m. with witnesses describing a man firing a gun approximately 25 times in the area of N. Fayette and Wythe Streets. The suspect was then seen getting into a gray four-door sedan with another suspect, the driver, which then sped south down N. Fayette Street and the east on Pendleton Street, according to dispatch reports.

Police found a blood trail, indicating that a person was injured in the incident, but no victims came forward or checked themselves into area hospitals, according to APD.

The Braddock area has experienced a rash of shootings over the years, prompting the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority and APD to erect surveillance cameras.

APD said that the incident remains under investigation.

Anyone with information on this incident can contact the APD non-emergency number at 703-746-4444.

Map via Google Maps

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Alexandria City Hall at 301 King Street was investigated this afternoon after a bomb threat was sent, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

The Arlington Police Department sent a K9 unit to investigate just before 12 p.m., and a sweep was conducted of the building, but it was not evacuated.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are sweeping the building and investigating a potential threat,” APD Communications Director Tracy Walker said. “But we have not evacuated the building.”

APD wrapped up its investigation of the building at 12:45 p.m.

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After a three-month renovation, Royal Restauraunt reopened to the public on Wednesday with an expanded menu and hours.

The favorite brunch spot was bought by Alexandria Restaurant Partners and Sloan Hospitality last fall, and after being up and running for three months closed in January. ARP refurbished the 123-year-old restaurant, added a 56-seat patio with a retractable awning, reupholstered the booths, built an inside bar and expanded its menu to include dinner.

“It’s a definitely a awesome growing area,” said partner Matt Sloan. “There’s been a lot of excitement people walking by, you know, there’s, there’s a good amount of foot traffic here.”

In Alexandria, ARP also owns Mia’s Italian Kitchen, Vola’s Dockside GrillRiverside Taco CompanyJoe Theismann’s RestaurantThe Majestic, Ada’s on the River and Barca Pier and Wine Bar. The company also owns a Mia’s Italian Kitchen and Café Tu Tu Tango in Orlando, Florida.

For Sloan, the move is the latest in a long collaboration with ARP. He was previously the general manager at ARP’s restaurant Ada’s on the River, and later left to open his own restaurant — Matt & Tony’s at 1501 Mount Vernon Avenue. He also leased Matt & Tony’s from ARP.

D.C.-based architect David Anthony Chenault designed the interior, paying homage to the diner’s history with some modern elements.

“The walnut-colored bar, featuring a sleek stainless-steel top, handmade Soho tiles, and lightly antiqued glass mirrors, is complemented by oversized canvas art,” ARP said in a release.

The restaurant previously closed after brunch, and it’s new hours are 7 a.m to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Royal Restaurant will hold a ribbon cutting on Monday, April 15, at 12:30 p.m.

According to ARP:

Royal’s menu retains its beloved 1904 classics such as The Royal BreakfastClassic Belgian Waffle with whipped butter and maple syrup, and the traditional Greek Omelet served with home fries and toast, ensuring longtime fans can still enjoy their favorite dishes. An array of new creations across all-day brunch, lunch, and, for the first time, dinner menus complement these staples.

Noteworthy additions to the all-day brunch selections include Crispy Fried Chicken Thighs with chorizo gravy and Steak & Eggs, marinated in guajillo for a spicy kick. Lunch and dinner “mains” include Country Fried Steak served with crispy potatoes and mole-spiced carrots, Prime Brisket Meatloaf with mashed potatoes, sweet and sour charred corn relish, burnt onion gravy and crispy onions, as well as a selection of savory starters, refreshing salads, and sandwiches like the “Club Sandwich” Torta on ciabatta, and the Green Chili Cheeseburger featuring roasted green chili, escabeche onions, bacon, sharp cheddar, and deli mustard piled heartily on a house ground chuck meat patty served on a warm brioche bun.

The new dessert menu invites guests to indulge in Roasted Apple Chimichangas and Ancho Chili Chocolate Mousse.

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Tim Beaty is the new District A School Board member (via ACPS)

Alexandria School Board Member Tim Beaty just won his special election in January, and now he tells us that he’s running for reelection in November.

Beaty won a special election on Jan. 9 to fill the District A seat vacated by former School Board Member Willie Bailey. He was sworn in days later, and said he would spend the next several months learning the intricacies of Alexandria City Public Schools before deciding on whether to run for reelection on Nov. 5.

“I was just at the Alexandria Democratic Committee meeting asking people to sign my petitions, and more than one person said, ‘Didn’t I just sign this for you?'” Beaty said.

Beaty ran on a platform of helping ACPS navigate the new and complex collective bargaining process with licensed teachers and staff. The school system is currently experiencing a staffing crisis, and Beaty says that a strong collective bargaining agreement will improve retention.

Last month, the School Board unanimously approved a collective bargaining resolution, laying the groundwork for a future agreement. Beaty believes he was an important contributor to the process, and said that now the hard work begins.

“Over the last few months, I have enjoyed my interaction with my colleagues on the School Board and with the senior staff in the division,” Beaty said. “I feel like I made a useful contribution, particularly during the debate about the resolution that enables union recognition and collective bargaining.”

Beaty continued, “I believe that this is a process that is going to benefit us, that’s going to be a process in which our employees feel more engaged, more respected, more listened to, and in the end through this process and leading to a collective bargaining agreement, I think we’re going to have a much better labor management relationship going forward. We need that. We need our employees to feel like they’re being listened to, that they have a voice.”

Beaty retired two years as the global strategies director for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He and his wife moved to the city 10 years ago, and until he was elected was a substitute teacher at two ACPS elementary schools.

He also voted with the School Board to ask the City Council for a tax increase to restore steps and fund teacher raises.

“Our staff is working very hard, and they need a raise,” Beaty said. “We live in an area that is expensive to live in — housing and other things. For them to be able to live a good life and be able to focus on doing a good job every day, we need to compensate them well. So, I was happy to move for funds above the superintendent’s proposed budget.”

District A includes Old Town, Del Ray, Potomac Yard and Arlandria. Incidentally, the filing deadline for School Board candidates is June 18, which is the same day as the Democrat and Republican primaries. So far, only one School Board candidate has filed paperwork to run — Alexander Scioscia in District B.

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Updated at 8:45 p.m. The Alexandria Police Department is investigating the posting of racist fliers in the Potomac Yard neighborhood of the city.

Four fliers were discovered posted in the 2100 block of Potomac Avenue on March 15, according to a resident who provided photos and information to ALXnow.

The resident notified the city of the “graffiti” via Alex311, and the fliers were subsequently removed from a light post and electrical box near Potomac Yard Park.

One of the fliers read in bold letters, “Strong families make strong nations,” a slogan used in fliers attributed to the white nationalist group Patriot Front.

Another flier is more explicit, reading: “Reclaim America: Patriot Front.”

ALXnow received word of more fliers and stickers posted around the area in February and March, and they were taken down by a longtime resident.

The group was formed after the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which found that more than 1,600 fliers attributed to the group have been found in Virginia alone.

APD said that no suspects have been identified, and posting hate speech and fliers is not a crime in Virginia.

According to the Anti-Defamation League:

  • Patriot Front is a white supremacist group whose members maintain that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them, and no one else.
  • Patriot Front justifies its ideology of hate and intolerance under the guise of preserving the ethnic and cultural origins of its members’ European ancestors.
  • Patriot Front spreads its hateful propaganda via the internet and by distributing banners, fliers, posters, and stickers.
  • Since 2019, Patriot Front has been responsible for the vast majority of white supremacist propaganda distributed in the United States.
  • One of the United States’ most visible white supremacist groups, Patriot Front participates in localized “flash demonstrations” across the nation.
  • While claiming loyalty to America as a nation, Patriot Front seeks to form a new state, one that advocates for the “descendants of its creators,” namely white men.

Alexandria’s Old Town and Del Ray neighborhoods were last peppered with racist fliers in 2017.

Map via Google Maps

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The failed Potomac Yard arena deal, transparency in government and affordable housing took the lead as top issues in the first mayoral candidate forum of the 2023 Democratic primary race.

The candidates — Vice Mayor Amy Jackson, Council Member Alyia Gaskins and former real estate developer Steven Peterson are vying to replace outgoing two-term Mayor Justin Wilson, and provided positions on a number of subjects Wednesday night to the Del Ray Citizens Association.

The Potomac Yard arena deal was sprung on the region in a surprise Dec. 13 press conference as a one-in-a-lifetime chance to move the Washington Wizards and Capitals from D.C. next door to the Potomac Yard Metro station.

Gaskins said that it was a mistake to rollout the arena deal as if it was a slam dunk, and that the city needs to work on its community engagement.

“This was not a done deal, as I think we all understand,” Gaskins said. “But the way it was rolled out I think is a huge learning moment for us, because far too many people thought it was and then they lost trust not only in the process, but they lost trust in their elected officials. And when we lose your trust we have failed.”

Del Ray is next to Potomac Yard, and DRCA is one of the next door neighborhoods that was against the arena project, according to a March survey.

Governor Glenn Youngkin envisioned a world-class venue and entertainment district that could potentially lower residential taxes in the city, but he lacked the political acumen to get Democrat legislators on board and the proposal died in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Peterson said that he’s running on a platform of transparency.

“I think that we saw firsthand that the arena deal was not approved due to the lack of transparency with the citizens,” Peterson said. “Essentially, trust was lost between the citizens and the state and local government officials.”

He continued, “The December announcement clearly caught a majority this area by surprise. There was never any transparency with the citizens or citizen input.”

Jackson is on her second term on City Council. An Alexandria native and T.C. Williams High School graduate, she said that she was against the arena early on, but that Potomac Yard still needs an entertainment district, and echoed statements by landowner JBG Smith’s CEO Matt Kelly, who said that the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus will be the anchor and that Potomac Yard’s future is as a tech corridor. She also said that she supports a 3-cent tax increase to pay for teacher raises.

“We still need an entertainment district,” Jackson said. “It needs to be a tech district.”

City Council has advertised a 4-cent tax increase in its budget deliberations.

The candidates spoke for less than an hour, establishing their platforms with 10-minute-long opening statements and two minute closing statements. The questions were sent to the candidates before the forum, and were focused on the arena, the school system, taxes, city services and protecting Del Ray as a historic neighborhood.

Jackson and Peterson agreed to protecting Del Ray’s historic character. Jackson she was against Council’s elimination of single family zoning, and Peterson said that he would reverse a slew of zoning reforms passed last year that are intended to increase the city’s affordable housing stock.

Peterson said that the city isn’t broken and has a lot to be proud of.

“Mayor Wilson has navigated the city through some challenging times,” he said. “There’s ways to address affordable housing but eliminating single family housing is not the solution in my opinion.”

Peterson also said that Del Ray should take its cues from Old Town’s historic district, which puts restrictions on homeowners to redevelop properties.

“Old Town has done a very good job and I think we need to help model Del Ray with what what is done in Old Town, because the historic nature is what’s made it successful and why people want to live there now,” he said.

Gaskins is seemingly the frontrunner in the race, having raised the most money, as of the last campaign finance disclosure deadline in December. She now claims to have raised $134,000, and also received the endorsements from three out of the four City Council Members seeking reelection — John Taylor Chapman, Kirk McPike and Sarah Bagley.

Gaskins said that her top priorities are creating a safer, more affordable and accessible city. If elected, she said that City Council would conduct monthly meetings with the Sheriff’s Office and Police department. She also said that she supports no more than a 2.5 cent tax increase in the upcoming budget.

“We’re going to develop action plans that we post on our website so that you can see what we’re working on and you can hold us accountable for delivering,” Gaskins said.

The Democratic primary is June 18, and there are a number of candidate forums between now and then.

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The Alexandria Police Department has identified the motorcyclist who died after crashing into a DASH bus on Tuesday night as 23-year-old city resident Kaden Olson.

The DASH bus driver was alone on the bus at the time of the crash, and announced it via dispatch at 5:07 p.m. He reported that the motorcyclist was speeding past the bus as it was turning onto N. Ripley Street.

The bus driver reported via dispatch that the motorcyclist was not moving. Minutes later, Olson was declared dead at the scene. Traffic was shut down in both directions of Duke Street and N. Ripley Street while APD investigated the crash.

The bus driver was not charged.

Traffic reopened at 10:40 p.m., police said.

According to APD:

The preliminary investigation of the APD Crash Investigation Unit has determined the DASH bus was traveling eastbound on Duke Street and making a left turn onto northbound N. Ripley Street when the motorcycle traveling westbound on Duke Street broadsided the bus.

Duke Street was closed in the area as the investigation proceeded and the scene was cleared, and streets were reopened near 10:40 p.m. The bus driver was not charged.

APD is asking for the community’s support in the investigation. If you have photos or videos from the incident, please use the links below to the community evidence portal by uploading materials there.

https://alexandriapdva.evidence.com/axon/community-request/public/busmotorcyclecrash

If you witnessed this incident of have information that could support the investigation, please call APD Detective Wesley Vitale at 703-746-6178 or [email protected].

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The political season is officially underway in Alexandria, as the three Democrat candidates for mayor will face off in their first forum on Wednesday. There are also a number of forums and meet-and-greets scheduled for the 11 Democrat City Council candidates and lone Republican candidate.

The Democratic and Republican primaries for City Council are on June 18.

The Del Ray Citizens Association will host the first event for its members via Zoom at 7 p.m. with the three mayoral candidates — Vice Mayor Amy Jackson, City Council Member Alyia Gaskins and former real estate developer Steven Peterson.

The event will run until 8:30 p.m.

The current list forums is below.

April 10 at 7 p.m. — Online Del Ray Citizens Association mayoral forum (members only)

April 15 at 6 p.m.Mayoral and Council candidate forum at Lost Dog Cafe in Old Town (808 N. Henry Street) hosted by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and the Alexandria Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee

April 17 at 7 p.m. —  Alpha Kappa Alpha and the League of Women Voters will host a mayoral forum via Zoom

April 24 at 6 p.m. — The Federation of Civic Associations will host a candidate forum at Alexandria Police Department headquarters (3600 Wheeler Avenue)

April 25 at 7 p.m. — The Alexandria NAACP mayoral debate. Location to be determined

May 2 at 6 p.m. — Tenants and Workers United and Grassroots Alexandria will host a candidate forum at 3801 Mount Vernon Avenue

May 7 at 7 p.m. — The PTA Council of Alexandria will conduct a candidate forum in the Alexandria City High School cafeteria (3330 King Street)

May 9 at 7 p.m. — Alexandria NAACP debate with council candidates. Location to be determined

May 11 at 7 p.m.VOICE candidates forum at Third Baptist Church of Alexandria (917 Prince Street)

May 13 at 6 p.m. — Del Ray Business Association candidate forum. Location to be determined

May 15 — North Ridge Citizens Association mayoral forum. Location to be determined

May 15 at 7 p.m. — The Lynhaven and Hume Springs Civic Association will conduct an in-person and Zoom mayoral forum at the Leonard “Chick“ Armstrong Recreation Center (25 W. Reed Avenue)

June 4 — The Chamber ALX mayoral debate will be held “in the evening” at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial

June 8 at 10 a.m. — The West End Business Association will hold a mayoral forum at Taqueria Picoso (1472 N. Beauregard Street)

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