Alexandria, VA

There will be a candlelight vigil for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Old Town on Thursday night.

Ginsburg passed away at the age of 87 on September 18. She and served on the court for 27 years.

“We will meet in Market Square to pay tribute to the life and work of RBG,” the organizers wrote in the event announcement. “Battery operated candles will be distributed, and speakers will lead us in a moment of silence to reflect on RBG’s life, work, and service.”

The vigil will start at Market Square (301 King Street) at 7 p.m., and at 7:30 p.m. the group will walk down King Street to the Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies art installation at Waterfront Park.

The vigil will end at 8:15 p.m.

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Need a good laugh? On Thursday (September 17), Capital Laughs and Cry Baby DC are teaming up for COVID-friendly evening of outdoor stand-up comedy.

The show will be held in the parking lot area of The Loop (215 N. Payne Street) and will adhere to Virginia’s COVID guidelines. Tickets for the show cost $10 apiece and it starts at 8 p.m.

“For this show we’ll, again, be taking every precaution,” said comedian Jack Coleman, who runs Capital Laughs, in an email. “Currently, Virginia allows for outdoor gatherings of up to 250 people (or half capacity), so we’re limiting tickets to 50 — well below Virginia rules.”

Masks are required to attend, and customers will have their temperatures taken at the door.

“Nationally, stand-up has been destroyed,” Coleman said. “These shows won’t fix that, but we hope by giving this a shot in a responsible way we can help keep comics engaged and writing (and tbh sane) and audience members laughing (and tbh sane as well).”

Photo via Eventbrite

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A local church is offering the ultimate tech support: a divine blessing for local students’ laptops.

This Sunday, Sept. 6, at 5:30 p.m.,Trinity United Methodist Church (2911 Cameron Mills Road) is planning to host an Outdoor Blessing of the Chromebooks & Ice Cream Social (Social Distanced Edition).

“We invite you to join Pastor Grace and Hannah Day Donoghue for an end of the summer celebration,” the church said. “Anyone starting any kind of school is welcome to bring their Chromebook, or an item from their desk/school working space to be blessed for the new school year. We will pair this with individually wrapped ice cream, to take home with you!”

ACPS has distributed thousands of Chromebooks to students to prepare for the online-only start of the school year. Ecclesiastical accessories were not included distribution, but those hoping for some additional theology in their tech can sign up for the program online or contact Program Director Hannah Day Donoghue at [email protected]

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In years past, the Alexandria Old Town Art Festival has packed King Street full of art vendors. This year, that changes with a new venue to allow for some extra pandemic precautions.

The Old Town festival will be moving a little west to 300 John Carlyle Street in the Carlyle neighborhood on Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13.

The festival will run from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on both days.

“Carlyle is a mixed-use community within the Eisenhower East area of Alexandria and includes high-rise residential complexes, hotels and retail establishments,” the festival organizers said on the website. “The strong support we receive from the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Bureau contributes to the local crowd, and that support continues to its new location. All artwork is juried, which provides a higher level of quality, diversity and creativity of art on display, exemplifying the gifted artists in regions from all over the country.”

Art Festival is coming soon to John Carlyle Square Park! Mark your calendars for September 12th and 13th! Admission is free, masks are required. Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to the event dates.

Posted by Carlyle Council on Thursday, August 27, 2020

The porous movement in and out of the King Street festival that defined it in the past has also been replaced by the necessity of reserved time slots. Visitors will be required to reserve a time slot online to limit the number of attendees. Entrances and exits will also be monitored for one-way traffic, the site said.

According to the website, other pandemic restrictions include

• All attendees are asked to wear a mask upon entering the Festival, with the exception of children aged 2 and under.
• Social distancing is required between artists and patrons, and patron groups.
• Patrons are asked to stay home if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, awaiting test results for COVID-19, or show any symptoms of the virus.
• Guests are also asked to utilize hand-washing and sanitizing stations on a regular basis and avoid casual touching.

A list of exhibiting artists is available online, including painters, jewelers, and mixed-media artists.

Photo via Howard Alan Events/Facebook

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Alexandria is hosting an online open house this Wednesday to try to connect local families with an affordable range of child care options.

A virtual open house is scheduled for August 19 from 7-8:30 p.m. on Zoom. Participants can register online to receive a link to the Zoom call.

“The Open House on August 18 will virtually showcase just a few of the child care options in the City,” said Robin Crawley, the city employee running the program. “Programs across the City may offer both in-person and virtual options. While programs have already established their plans for in-person programming… virtual options are being considered as we continue to hear the voices of parents and their preferences.”

Crawley said families can identify their child care needs in an online survey to prioritize care based on location, time of day, age of children and preferred structure of care.

“As COVID-19 requires additional demands on our workforce to support our health care system and essential services, child care will be a vital part of Alexandria’s response,” the city said on its website. “The Department of Community and Human Services is partnering in a local Emergency Child Care Collaborative (ECCC) to assess needs and establish a system of emergency child care accordingly.”

The collaboration is aimed at finding child care for those who have no other options, like keeping family with a relative or other safe arrangements.

“There are public and private options for child care in the City,” Crawley said. “Out of pocket costs for families fall along a continuum. For instance, there is no out of pocket costs for publicly funded child care programs like the City of Alexandria Head Start Program, The Campagna Center Early Head Start Program and  ACPS Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) Program. Some programs like Child and Family Network Centers charge only a registration fee or family co-payment based on their established mission. Creative Play School along with other programs participate in a mixed delivery approach to child care costs which helps them to leverage local, state, and family funds in order to make child care affordable.”

Crawley said the goal was to work with various child care providers to create options affordable to various income brackets.

“Through a combination of for profit and non-profit programs, the City of Alexandria is committed to making equitable, affordable and quality child care options accessible for all families regardless of income or zip code,” Crawley said.

Alexandria City Public Schools is currently also trying to put together plans to offer child care during school hours.

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There will soon be a new beer in town.

On August 28, to commemorate the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech on the National Mall in 1963, a group of local entrepreneurs will unveil Rocket Frog’s newest socially conscious creation — “BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL” beer.

The 9% alcohol imperial stout includes vanilla from Goodies Frozen Custard and Treats and coffee from Swings Coffee Roasters, and will be unveiled at The Loop coworking space (215 N. Payne Street) in Old Town from 12-6 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will go to Black Lives Matter.

Tickets cost $15, which gets you a can of BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL beer, two hours to hang out at the event, and a souvenir glass. Food trucks will also be parked at the venue, and there will be a DJ.

Brandon Byrd, owner of Goodies, came up with the idea.

“Let’s just boil it down to the basics of what Dr. King was trying to inspire in everyone,” Byrd said. “Now in this uncomfortable time, there needs to be some inspiration, there needs to be some hope to establish positive energy.”

City Councilman John Taylor Chapman was on-hand at The Loop to discuss the event.

“As I heard the name, I was like, ‘Okay, this is going to be interesting,'” Chapman said. “You don’t always see organizations being so socially conscious. I think that’s really what I appreciate.”

David Hartogs, the owner of Rocket Frog, said that he’s made 350 souvenir glasses for the event. He also said that $12 of the $15 admission will go straight to BLM and that he is looking for a distributor to sell the beer in Alexandria.

“There’s nothing better than sitting down with different people and having beer and just talking about life, so that’s kind of where we come at with with our philosophy about who we are as a company,” Hartogs said.

Christopher Campagna recently opened The Loop, and this will be his first event.

“We’ve got a big, brand new warehouse space, and a big parking lot, so we can have a gathering and observe social distancing,” Campagna said.

Courtesy image

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Alexandria activists are planning another protest at the home of acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf this Sunday.

In an email, activists said to meet at the intersection of Preston Road and Valley Drive on Sunday, Aug. 9, at 10 a.m. for a rally outside the acting secretary’s home along the northern border between Arlington and Alexandria. The protest is planned to oppose Operation Legend, ICE abuses, and DACA restrictions and organizers asked participants to wear masks, bring signs and water.

An earlier protest two weeks ago drew crowds of activists, including City Councilman John Chapman, carrying signs and voicing opposition to Wolf and President Donald Trump.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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After getting a late initial start, the Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation is back on the water and looking for volunteers to help kayak along Alexandria’s northern border and do some cleaning.

The organization has had three kayak cleanups so far this season, starting in late June. Upcoming sessions are planned for Wednesday, July 29 at 4 p.m., and on both  Saturday, August 1 and Sunday, August 16, at 9 a.m.

“It’s been great,” said Kurt Moser, President of Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation. “Kayak cleanups are naturally distanced. You can’t really be that close, and we’re taking precautions on-shore and limiting the size of the groups.”

The kayak cleanups are limited to groups of ten. Moser said those spots fill up quickly but as of today (Tuesday) there were still open spots on the newly announced upcoming cleanups. Moser said the Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation has kayaks and all the necessary equipment available for anyone to come and use, though some prefer to use their own kayaks.

June and July are late in the season for theses cleanups to start, Moser said. The crews typically start kayaking along Four Mile Run cleaning in April or May, but Moser said it wasn’t clear at that point what was allowable.

As far as the impact of coronavirus on litter in the stream, Moser said it’s too soon to tell.

“We’re not finding as much as last year, but not sure if that’s a reflection of any substantial change,” Moser said. “Just the timing of things, like when we get big rainstorms, we see variability with that.”

But while it’s not clear what liter impact will be on Four Mile Run, Moser said the silver-lining to the pandemic has been an upsurge in public use and enjoyment of the park.

“The neat thing to see this year, and what’s been the silver lining of having had people staying at home and not doing their regular routine, is a lot of people are starting to realize there really is a great park resource at lower Four Mile Run,” Moser said. “People who didn’t realize the park was there or that there was a big loop trail, a lot of people didn’t know about that. The park has seen a tremendous uptick in usage. I view that as very good, it means more people care about the place.”

Moser said that could also come with some negative consequences, like more informal trails through parts of the park, but he said those were “okay problems” for an urban park to have.

“People are using the space and it’s proving their value to them,” Moser said. “It’s more than demonstrated its value. People use it a lot to get fresh air and settle their minds.”

Photo via Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation/Facebook

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If quarantine has you pining for the days of attending history lectures in Old Town, or if the new filmed version of Hamilton has put you in a revolutionary war mood, the recently reopened Lyceum (201 S. Washington Street) has a digital alternative planned tomorrow.

From  7-8:30 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday), the Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum is planning to history lecture with local author John Maass about the Battle of Guilford Court House. The lecture will be hosted on Zoom. Tickets are $6 with a code to the chat sent on purchase.

The battle was a Pyrrhic victory for British Lieutenant-General Charles Cornwallis, who suffered significant losses and was forced to abandon his campaign to maintain British control of the Carolinas.

“Please join us on Zoom as Dr. Maass recounts the bloody Battle of Guilford Courthouse and the grueling campaign in the South that led up to it,” The Lyceum said in the event listing, “a crucial event on the road to American independence.”

For those wishing to visit The Lyceum in person, the museum is currently requiring visitors to purchase advance $3 tickets for a time slot. Visitors are required to wash their hands on entering and wear a face mask. Tickets are valid for groups of no larger than 10 people.

Photo via The Lyceum/Facebook

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The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) is planning to sponsor COVID-19 testing later this week.

“ARHA will be sponsoring COVID-19 testing for residents of Ladrey (300 Wythe Street) and Annie B. Rose (399 Pendleton Street) buildings on Thursday, July 16, from 8-11 a.m. in the parking lot behind the building,” said Rose Williams Boyd, spokesperson for the organization.

Both Annie B. Rose House and Ladrey Senior Highrise Apartments are senior housing locations.

The testing is part of a joint partnership between ARHA, the City, the Alexandria Health Department and Neighborhood Health. Local seniors have been particularly vulnerable to the virus, with all but one of the city’s 57 deaths being locals over 50. The majority of those deaths have been in long term care facilities.

Boyd said there will be no cost for the testing with 275 kits available. If more testing is needed, Boyd said it could be continued on Saturday, July 18.

While there was early frustration from residents at some of the measures ARHA took to isolate residents in the early stages of the pandemic, some have since praised the organization for decisive action in response to COVID-19.

Photo via ARHA

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There are a number of planned demonstrations against police brutality and racism this week in Alexandria, including one tomorrow that had originally been a protest against rent.

The planned protest for rent cancellation at Southern Towers has been realigned to focus on longstanding racial inequity issues being protested nationwide.

“The planned action was originally focused on rent cancellation, as well as bringing demands of extended unemployment pay and health care to the Capitol,” said Sarah Jacobson, lead organizer with UNITE HERE Local 23. “Tomorrow’s action reflects the national outrage at the deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, David McAtee and James Scurlock and too many other Black people killed at the hands of police.”

While many protestors gathered in person, Jacobson, said the protest will be done in a car caravan. Jacobson said the protest is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at Southern Towers.

The caravan protest follows earlier protests in favor of canceling rent for residents during the pandemic.

The city is also scheduled to hold a town hall tonight (Tuesday) from 7-8:30 p.m.

“The town hall, ‘Facing Racism. Demanding Change.’ will honor Floyd, and provide an opportunity for residents to share their voices,” the city said in a press release. “The event will feature a panel of civic leaders, including Living Legend and Activist Joyce Rawlings; Councilman John Taylor Chapman; Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings Jr.; and Alexandria youth leader Kamryn Powell. The panel will be moderated by the City’s Race and Social Equity Officer, Jaqueline Tucker. Community breakout sessions will be held during the town hall to address next steps.”

Another program called NoVa Vigils to #EndWhiteSilence is scheduled tonight at 6 p.m. outside the Alexandria Police Station at 3600 Wheeler Avenue.

“Demonstrators bringing signs and practicing social distancing will be at two police headquarters in Alexandria and Fairfax County to hold vigils marking a week of action to end white silence,” said the organizers, Showing Up for Racial Justice Northern Virginia. “The demonstration is to show that George Floyd’s and Breonna Taylor’s murderers were not just rogue cops, but they represent underlying conditions of racist policing that manifest here in northern Virginia as well, as they did in the case of Natasha McKenna.”

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Local indoor play facility Scramble may be closed, but the facility is offering story time every Tuesday and Thursday to help families quarantined as home get through the pandemic together.

The books are live-read at 11 a.m. and include small craft activities that participants can do at home.

Late last year, Laurence Smallman, owner of Scramble, told ALXnow his focus is not just to offer physical activity but providing them with access to educational resources and intellectual stimulation.

Recent stories have included books like The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse and Build Me a Home.

The storytime also helps out the business while its doors are closed. Each story time reading also includes a link to the book on the Scramble website, where they can purchase the book or others fitting various themes.

Scramble is also offering virtual bedtime stories every Friday at 7 p.m.

Scramble isn’t alone in offering bedtime stories. The Alexandria Police Department is also running a virtual story time on Fridays during the pandemic at 7 p.m.

Staff photo by Vernon Miles

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