What an unexpectedly busy summer week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

Our top story was on an Alexandria woman who claims she was roofied at a restaurant on the waterfront on the evening of July 9. A police report has been filed, and no charges have been made.

This week we sat down with acting Police Chief Don Hayes, who said that he’s thrown his hat in the ring with City Manager Mark Jinks to keep the top job. Hayes, a 40-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department took over after the sudden departure of Chief Michael Brown last month, and will have to contend against candidates in a national search.

The Tokyo Olympics also start this week, and the games will include three T.C. Williams High School graduates — sprinter Noah Lyles, high-jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend and boxer Troy Isley. In fact, Lyles just had a comic book biography published in the Washington Post. If you’re a fan of the Olympic games, check out this list of local restaurants celebrating with special events and meals.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Woman claims she was roofied at Old Town restaurant
  2. Residents protest against conditions at West End apartment complex
  3. Developers eye Beauregard redevelopment with West End upgrades on the horizon
  4. Former chef at ‘The Alexandrian’ opening new restaurant in Arlandria on Monday
  5. No injuries after shots fired in Braddock area on Wednesday
  6. DASH takes lessons from D.C., Baltimore and Oregon in eliminating bus fares
  7. ‘Call Your Mother Deli’ signs lease in Old Town
  8. After last month’s Democratic primary, Republican Darryl Nirenberg tops campaign donation leaderboard
  9. New city health improvement plan aims to fix inequities
  10. Poll: Have you been to the Winkler Botanical Preserve?
  11. Lee-Fendall House to throw speakeasy party to finance building repairs

Have a safe weekend!

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While owning up to an ounce of marijuana is now legal in Virginia, there’s been a delayed reaction in Alexandria.

Since July 1, it’s also been legal to grow up to four plants and to gift up to an ounce.

Del Ray resident Devin Fraley has been growing in his back yard for more than a year.

“Last summer somebody gave me a seed,” Fraley said. “I just put it into the ground next to our tomatoes. We grow small plants, and it was kind of fun to watch it grow between the peppers and tomatoes. It broke during a rainstorm in the fall, and we harvested it and I gave the buds to my mother-in-law. This year we decided to do the same thing. We have one plant, and we are not growers.”

Not much has changed from a behavioral or law enforcement standpoint, acting Police Chief Don Hayes told ALXnow.

“There’s still not enough evidence to see how it’s gonna sway what we do one way or the other,” Hayes said, adding that the department hasn’t received many pot-related calls for service. “Only time will tell.”

One incident caused concern in Old Town last Sunday, July 18. A woman was walking her puppy in Founders Park near the waterfront when it ate some discarded marijuana.

“Someone dropped marijuana in the park earlier and she ate it sending us to the veterinary emergency room,” the woman wrote on Nextdoor. “This was a touch and go situation. She is fine now. This is just a cautionary note – so (be) on the lookout. The Vet said they are seeing a lot more of this recently and honestly they seem to know what was wrong almost immediately.”

Fraley said his neighbors still won’t talk about marijuana.

“This is still illegal federally,” he said. “If you have a federal job, it’s not okay for you to partake in. I’m sure there are other people doing it, but it’s still something that you wouldn’t want to talk about because you have a very valuable crop that can be stolen easily. Even though it’s legal, people still aren’t talking about it.”

In Old Town, resident Fawn Lee said that legalization has started to remove the negative stigma around pot.

“It feels easier to talk about it as a part of my life, as something that relieves my stress and anxiety,” Lee said. “It also means that I can talk about it without fearing repercussions for my daughter’s school or anyone else that cares for her or is around her in any capacity, because it’s no longer illegal.”

While the recreational sale of marijuana is three years away, possession of more than an ounce, but less than a pound, is still a civil penalty of $25. Possessing more than that is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.

Alexandria says marijuana will “keep you from doing your best” and warns against deteriorating IQs, school performance and quality of life.

“Studies also consistently show that individuals that use marijuana are less likely to graduate from high school or college and more likely to be unemployed,” the City said in a release.

Fraley recently found a downside to growing.

“The plant is doing fine, but I think it’s a male which means it doesn’t have any hallucinogenic properties, so it’s really just garbage,” he said.

via Wesley Gibbs/Unsplash

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Ready to buy a pastry shop in Alexandria?

The latest listings on BizBuySell show all kinds of businesses for sale in and around Alexandria. Many are restaurants, which have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.

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

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. Specialty Cafe, Bakery, and Bavarian Pastries — “This 32-year old neighborhood old pastry shop and cafe is standing tall with rapidly rebounding sales. Because of its fiercely loyal customer base and with increasing economic optimism, the owners are confident that 2021 sales will easily exceed 2020 which was up 4% over 2019 through mid-March (before Covid took hold).”
  2. Dry Cleaner & Laundry close to Amazon’s new Headquarters — “! Current well equipped 5,000 s.f. facility (Grandfathered in the region, which normally limits new dry cleaners to 3,000 s.f. maximum). Enjoys high 11′ ceilings in the production & conveyor areas. Can easily increase revenue by adding route sales and/or company pickup stores or commercial locker locations. Business is very well known & highly respected in their market area.”
  3. Beautiful Modern Laundromat for Sale — “Beautiful modern laundromat in a great location! 21st century laundromat with card system, customized folding tables, modern design, with high-powered energy efficient machines. Location is about 4000 SF located near many current and upcoming apartment complexes. Long-term 10 tear lease with 5 year option. This place is fully card operated and can be easily managed from home with one visit a week.”
  4. Free standing auto repair — “Busy Five bay, free standing auto repair business located on major road in the City of Alexandria. Densely populated high income area. This shop stays busy with a healthy fleet business as well repeat and new customers. Priced at only $150,000.”
  5. Hair salon for sale — “Established over 32 years, 17 with current owner. Located in a major brand grocery anchored shopping center. Good demographics. Exclusive right in the shopping center for hair and nail operations but focus on hair services right now. Staff and seller will stay if new owner desires. Currently 5-day operation but can expand to 6 or 7 to increase revenue. Excellent opportunity for both owner operators and/or investors.”
  6. Beautiful Hair & Nail Spa for Sale/Price Reduced — “Great opportunity!!! Serious Inquiries only. Beautiful and well established Hair & Nail Spa for Sale in a very busy shopping center. Seller is retiring after many successful years in the business. Beautiful & Very efficiently designed. 6 years old Spa. Established, loyal customers. Reasonable rent & excellent location. 10 Hair stations, 5 Dryers, 3 Shampoo stations, 8 Manicure Tables, 8 Pedicure chairs, 3 Waxing rooms, 2 Facial Rooms, 1 Body scrub. There is plenty of room to expand. Room to grow by improving social media and other marketing and adding massage service.”
  7. Riverview Festival restaurant — “Located right off a river; Increasingly richer demographics as luxurious condos are sprung up in a few blocks; Lease is solid and firm; Customers are turned away as the Restaurant has become the center of evening culture in town. Sales is way above 2019 level. Take your challenge and soar through as the opportunity allows a lot of rooms to grow. Established 30 years.”
  8. Fast casual dine in & carry out MRB VA 1017 — “Fast casual dine in & carry out Mexican restaurant in a high traffic shopping center. This restaurant needs an updated menu with a hands on owner to manage daily business and take this location to the next level. The current Mexican menu can be changed to fit most concepts. Great layout for almost any type of fast food restaurant. All furniture, fixtures and equipment are in great working order.”
  9. 30 Year Old Deli — “Clean and well run Deli in office park with schools and healthcare facilities as neighbors. The business has been operated absentee for several years and has produced a profit of $45,000+ for the owners. A owner operator can expect to earn $90,000+.”
  10. Specialty pizza in high-volume high-income area — “A neighborhood success centered around its high-quality stone oven with an array of alternative Mediterranean main courses, sandwiches and desserts, . The owner has created several of these locations in Northern Virginia and is ready to spin this one off to stand on its own while he focuses on bringing others to maturity.”
  11. Fast casual dine in & carry out MRB VA 1017 — “Fast casual dine in & carry out Mexican restaurant in a high traffic shopping center. This restaurant needs an updated menu with a hands on owner to manage daily business and take this location to the next level. The current Mexican menu can be changed to fit most concepts. Great layout for almost any type of fast food restaurant. All furniture, fixtures and equipment are in great working order.”
  12. Profitable Sandwich Shop in Prime Location MRB VA 1013 — “This profitable turn key deli located in a prime location of Alexandria VA is for sale to any qualified buyer. Surrounded by retail and residential on a main road with heavy walking traffic. This restaurant has a very strong following and highly rated on google reviews. The restaurant was completely renovated in 2016 with all brand new furniture, fixtures & high end equipment. The current owner averages a $50,000 cash flow plus salary while working limited hours. Do to family circumstances, the owner needs to sell. We are now looking for a new owner/operator to bring this business to the next level.”
  13. Award-winning pastry shop, cafe and catering — “Business is booming as life returns to normal! Mother’s Day 2021 was a record breaking sales day for this Pastry Shop and Cafe. In March 2020, the owners received 3 written purchase letters of intent but did not sell as Covid took hold, and the entire Country shut down. However Covid had not prevailed, and this 32-year old neighborhood old pastry shop and cafe is standing tall with rapidly rebounding sales. Because of its fiercely loyal customer base and with increasing economic optimism, the owners are confident that 2021 sales will easily exceed 2020 which was up 4% over 2019 through mid-March of their respective years.”
  14. Well-established deli for sale — “Located in a great neighborhood, among many loyal customers. Serving over 40 years. Turnkey operation. Doing quite well during the pandemic. Plenty of room to improve. Currently has no marketing and delivery service. Not serving beer and wine. Seller will train new owner for a reasonable time period.”
  15. Coin Laundry/Laundromats — “No Exception, Non-Disclosure must be signed in person meeting, No emailing signing. We can meet at anywhere in Fairfax county to sign NDA with appointment.”
  16. Absentee-Owner Gourmet Pizza & Italian With Loyal Following — “This high-visibility restaurant has long been a destination and neighborhood favorite with locals – it continues to enjoy a following as a gourmet take-out option for pizza and all Italian cuisine favorites. Purchased in 2019 as a decades-old chef-owned establishment, the new owner invested in a complete turn around, nearly doubling sales and converting the business model to absentee ownership. Owner has refrained from applying for PPP or other SBA loans so that new owner might be able to take advantage of those opportunities.”
  17. Mexican Restaurant in High Traffic Shopping Center – Can Convert! — “Great opportunity to take over an established restaurant in a high traffic shopping center. There is unlimited upside potential with this nicely equipped kitchen and fully built out space. A new owner could keep it as the current Mexican/Latino restaurant format or convert it to a new concept. The restaurant has excellent online reviews and is very popular with locals in Lorton, Fort Belvior, Springfield, and Newington area. This opportunity is priced to sell and it won’t last long”
  18. Auto Garage in Landmark Area — “OWNER FINANCING!! Auto repair sales only. 3 technicians. VA Safety/Emissions Inspection. Located in the I-395/Landmark Corridor. Business value at $325K and Real Estate value at $1,850,000.00.”
  19.  Taco Place For Sale — “Great location in Alexandria, very favorite Mexican restaurant, nice location, open kitchen with low rent 4800 nnn, 6 days operation.”
  20. Asian Restaurant and Sushi Bar for Sale — “Established Business for Sale. Owner is looking to retire from business. All equipment is owned and in good condition, except the dishwasher is leased. Asking price is negotiable, send your offers!”
  21. Two Optometry Practices — “Two established Optical/Optometry stores for sale. Both locations have street frontage visibility, are located in upscale parts of town, and have high sales and cash flow.”

via BizBuySell

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Morning Notes

Taser, pepper spray used by Arlington police to restrain Alexandria man — “Arlington County Police used a taser and pepper spray against an Alexandria man Wednesday after he resisted arrest at a Pentagon City business, according to the daily crime report. Officers were dispatched around 12:17 p.m., to a business in the 1100 block of S. Hayes Street for the report of a trespassing. The officers learned that the business wanted to ban Dupree Stringfellow, 27, of Alexandria. During their investigation, police determined there was an active warrant for Stringfellow’s arrest.” [Patch]

Alexandria’s The Italian Place rolling out eatery in Merrifield — “The Italian Place had planned to welcome customers to its new spot at 2985 District Avenue (Suite 190) this Saturday (July 24), but the grand opening will be delayed to August because more time is needed to prepare, owner and CEO Adriana Penachio-Sifakis says.” [Tysons Reporter]

Alexandria Police Department entrance exam is on July 26 — “Do you want to join the APD family and serve the City of Alexandria? We just added a new date for the written exam. The next test is this Monday, July 26, at 5:00 p.m.” [Twitter]

Mayor averages 5-6 hours of sleep every night — “I usually do 5-6 hours a night. I try to be in bed by 2 most nights and usually up a little after 7. If I run in the morning, I usually go out around 6, so I try to be in bed a little after midnight. I’m sure this sleep schedule is not remotely healthy for me!” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy skies (during the day). High 87F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph… Partly cloudy skies (in the evening). Low 68F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Store manager — “Come work with us at Spencer’s & Spirit Halloween, where you’ll be working with the best and brightest colleagues as you help us deliver the most fun experience and product possible to our guests. We’re fast-paced and take our work seriously, but we always have a good laugh at the end of the day. Walk through our stores or the halls of our corporate office and you’ll see firsthand that we’re laidback and irreverent. We’re firm believers in being true to YOU, so tattoos and piercings are as common as water cooler convos. Whether it’s critiquing our new exclusive costumes or quality testing newly implemented software technology, our teams understand the importance of working collaboratively to challenge status quo and achieve our goals. We keep pushing ourselves to go above and beyond and are looking for top talent to become a part of our team!” [Indeed]

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A new luxury condominium community in Potomac Yard has reportedly sold 30% of its properties — without any of its 138 units yet built.

The FORTIS Companies of Washington, D.C. owns the Dylan property, and is selling one-to-three bedroom condos for between $600,000 and $1.2 million. The condos have been designed by Lessard Design International of Vienna and Akseizer Design Group in Alexandria, and will be built next year. In the meantime, interested buyers can see a fully-sized model at their sales gallery at 2316 Richmond Highway.

Over the next several years, Potomac Yard will completely transform into a bustling commercial district home to a new Metro station, the massive Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, and a revamped shopping center — all next door to Amazon’s HQ2 development in Crystal City.

The new Dylan development will be located adjacent to Potomac Yard Park.

“As we anticipated, the excitement around Amazon’s HQ2 and Virginia Tech is generating strong interest in Dylan,” said FORTIS Vice President Matt Bunch. “Dylan’s convenient, walkable location is a big draw. It is just a five-minute walk to the new Potomac Yard Metro Station opening early next year, which will connect residents to Regan National Airport just one stop away. Residents also will have walkable access to a variety of new shops, restaurants, employment centers, and recreational options within Potomac Yard and on Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus.”

Bunch continued, “We recognize that many residents will appreciate the option of working from home, so we ensured that 80 percent of Dylan’s plans include generously sized dens or home offices. Dylan also will feature an onsite business center for those residents who want to meet clients, take calls privately, or just get some work done outside of their homes.”

Courtesy The FORTIS Companies 

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It’s taken Don Hayes 40 years to get to the top of the mountain, and the acting chief of the Alexandria Police Department wants to keep it that way.

It’s been a less than a month since Hayes took over after the sudden departure of Chief Michael Brown, who gave three weeks notice and pulled up stakes for the West Coast to handle family matters. Now with a national search underway for Brown’s replacement, Hayes has let City Manager Mark Jinks know that he wants the job.

“They’re gonna do a process, and I’m going to put my hat in the ring and we’ll see what happens there,” Hayes told ALXnow in a recent interview at police headquarters.

Hayes’ rise in the department has been steady, becoming a sergeant in 1996, a lieutenant in 1999, a captain in 2013 and then being named assistant chief under Brown in 2019.

Since taking the reins, Hayes has used early evenings making the rounds to communities in a trust-building effort. His department has been plagued by compensation issues, low morale, rising crime throughout the city resulting from pandemic and other challenges that have stretched both the APD budget and the nerves of officers.

“I go around to communities because they know me,” Hayes said. “And I know them. But what is happening, because of the national narrative, is that I believe that there’s a lack of trust in some communities, with the police department.”

He also recently named Captain Dennis Andreas as his acting assistant chief.

“I believe that what you’re going to see is leadership by example,” Hayes said. “I believe that when the officers see that their leaders are out there in the neighborhoods, getting to know them, they’re going to follow suit.”

Hayes is married with two adult children, and has lived in the city for 30 years. A native of Washington, D.C., Hayes followed his older brother Clarence into the U.S. Air Force, where he became a military police officer. After being discharged and returning home four years later, he kept on a uniform by joining the Alexandria Police Department in March of 1981. He has a degree in business and finance from Norfolk State University, a Master’s degree in management and leadership from Johns Hopkins University and a Master’s in divinity from Liberty University.

Hayes has been the pastor at Oakland Baptist Church for the last 15 years. He’s taken a break sermonizing every Sunday since taking the acting chief role, but says he’ll return to the pulpit this fall.

“I believe in leadership by inclusiveness,” he said. “I don’t make decisions in a silo. I bring the leadership team together, we discuss our options and we make the best informed decision that we can.”

Hayes also says his staff are working with Alexandria City Public Schools on drafting a new memorandum of understanding since City Council defunded the school resource officer program. He said he hopes the new MOU will be ready before school starts on April 24.

“Students are going to be students, and we will have things in place to ensure that schools are safe,” he said.

Hayes, who is the second Black man to lead the department after Chief Earl Cook, said he was fortunate to be able to work with Al Beverly, the first-ever Black Alexandria police officer. Beverly, who joined the department in 1965, passed away last year.

“I remember (Beverly) telling me the story about how, at one point time, he didn’t know what side he was on because he wasn’t accepted by the police department,” Hayes said. “And he wasn’t accepted by his community, because he thought that they had pretty much turned on him. But he stuck it out because he wanted to blaze the trail for people like myself, that one day I would be able to join his police department and make an impact.”

Hayes continues, “When I think about the conversations that I used to have with him and talk to him and now to be able to sit in the seat… to actually make decisions to try to make this police department the best that it can be, it’s really sobering. It’s a challenge.”

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No one was injured after gunfire damaged a business and an apartment building in the Braddock area on Wednesday evening.

Alexandria Police said that the incident occurred at around 6:35 p.m. Multiple shell casings were recovered in the 800 block of N. Henry Street in Old Town North and no suspects have been arrested.

“Detectives are actively following leads in this ongoing investigation,” police said in a news release. “Anyone with video or information about the incident is urged to contact Investigator Matthew Barnickle at [email protected] or call the police non-emergency line at 703-746-4444.”

Callers can remain anonymous.

Last month, police reported success in combating a surge in shots fired incidents.

via Google Maps

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If you’re a fan of squirrels, you’ll love Bobby, the two-year-old gray chinchilla. Weighing in at just over one pound, this lovable rodent is looking for a new home in Alexandria via the Animal Welfare League.

“Because of their thick fur, chinchillas don’t bathe, at least in water,” AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter told ALXnow. “Instead, chinchillas should take dust baths several times a week to keep their coats clean.”

Since they’re rodents, chinchillas are herbivores and their teeth grow continuously. They are also nocturnal.

“Pet chinchillas who receive proper care can live 10 years or more,” Hardter said. “If you have questions about how to care for chinchillas, the team at the AWLA is happy to answer your questions.”

Learn more Bobby here.

Courtesy AWLA

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Morning Notes

ACT For Alexandria CEO wins nonprofit leadership award — “As nonprofit leaders in Greater Washington, Mike Di Marco, Kahina Haynes, and Heather Peeler are invested in improving and advancing their organizations–and themselves. This year, we’re excited to announce them as our fourth annual David Bradt Nonprofit Leadership Awardees. (They) will each receive up to $15,000 to attend an intensive executive training program of their choice.” [The Community Foundation]

City recommends monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms regardless of vaccination status — “Although the vast majority of new COVID-19 cases are among unvaccinated people, those who are fully vaccinated can still contract COVID-19 and are more likely to experience mild illness. Anyone experiencing the following symptoms should get tested: fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; new loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; or diarrhea. Protect yourself and others by getting vaccinated. Find your shot online today.” [City of Alexandria]

ALIVE! gets $100K Safeway grant — “@Safeway Foundation awarded ALIVE! a $100,000 grant to help connect individuals in Alexandria, VA with federal meal programs this summer. The grant is part of Safeway Nourishing Neighbors Community Relief Initiative to fight food insecurity.” [Twitter]

Today’s weather — “Intervals of clouds and sunshine (during the day). High near 85F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph… Partly cloudy (in the evening). Low near 65F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: $200 a day tour guide — “Spirited Tours LLC provides day-long winery and brewery tours to D.C. residents and guests who’d like to explore Virginia’s countryside. Seeking a responsible, punctual, and social tour guide/driver to help with winery and brewery tours on weekends. Must be comfortable driving large groups (driving minivan or 15 passenger van).” [Indeed]

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Karin Purugganan still can’t believe it. It’s been two months since she started her own family counseling firm in Del Ray, and she’s completely booked with kids and families.

“When you look at your family, is it functioning the way you want?” Purugganan said. “If it’s not, how can we change that? If there’s friction between two family members, how are we addressing that?”

Purugganan, an Alexandria native and T.C. Williams High School graduate, opened wonderologie counseling and wellness at 2312 Mt. Vernon Avenue in May, and now has 19 clients. That’s enough to keep her busy until the fall, she says.

“This pandemic opened parents’ eyes to mental health concerns with their kids,” she said. “A couple of my clients actually did great. The social isolation was perfect for them and they needed a break from school. For the majority of my other clients it’s been really really stressful, and my caseload is full and everyone I refer to is full.”

Mental health issues have risen nationwide due to the pandemic, with adults and children reporting adverse mental health, substance use and other effects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Purugganan also has five kids, and completely left her life as a respiratory therapist after her husband Alex had a heart attack a few years ago. She ended up going back to school and getting a degree in educational psychology from the University of Virginia and a graduate degree in education and human development from the George Washington University.

“It made us realize we had been ships passing in the night,” Purugganan said. “This doesn’t even feel like work now, because I enjoy it so much. I used to work nights and he would work days to make extra money. We were just really burning the candle at both ends, and it made us realize it wasn’t sustainable.”

Purugganan uses a lot of toys and games to interact with her clients.

“You will see a lot of toys in my office,” she said. “It can be really tricky for me to try to figure out how to give them all the tools they need to be as cohesive as possible and happy.”

Courtesy wonderologie

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