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Updated at 6 p.m. Old Town residents and business owners are up in arms for not being officially notified of a route change for the George Washington Birthday Parade on Feb. 20 (President’s Day).

The parade will shut down large sections of Old Town North and Old Town near the King Street-Old Town Metro station, restricting parking and vehicular access for residents and businesses. The parade will start at 1 p.m. at the intersection of Pendleton Street and Fayette Street, and marchers will walk south down Fayette Street, hang a right on King Street and then end at the foot of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial at King Street and Commonwealth Avenue.

The new route was chosen by the volunteer-led the George Washington Birthday Parade Committee to recognize the 100th anniversary of the parade, which is the biggest annual parade celebrating George Washington in the world. The parade is traditionally held east of Washington Street near City Hall in the Old Town Historic District, but this year’s event will commemorate the construction of the Memorial in 1923, which saw then-President Calvin Coolidge, Chief Justice William Howard Taft and Virginia Governor E. L.Trinkle laying the cornerstone.

In November, the Committee submitted a request to the city to change the route. That request was approved on Jan. 24, and two days later parade organizers publicly announced that the parade will happen on Feb. 20, and that a number of side streets will also be closed.

“As with any large-scale event of this magnitude, a months-long process was necessary to assess the best approach,” Ebony Fleming, the city’s director of the Office of Communications and Public Information, told ALXnow. “While we are honored our city is home to such notable celebrations, we recognize how changes, and even temporary road closures, can be an inconvenience to our residents and business owners, especially on a holiday weekend. We will continue promoting the new parade route and ask impacted Alexandrians for their grace and flexibility as we prepare to welcome excited visitors for this historic occasion.”

The parade will be held between 1 and 3 p.m., and parking restrictions and access will be lifted no later than 5 p.m.

“If it’s such a big deal — the 100th anniversary — don’t you want to let people know?” said an Old Town resident who will be affected by the parking. “I haven’t heard anything about this parade at all.”

Parade spokesperson Bud Jackson said that the new route is a one-time experience, and acknowledged the inconvenience for residents and businesses. Jackson said that parade volunteers will soon be going door-to-door to inform those affected about the change.

“Like most parades, the George Washington Birthday Parade has always included portions of residential neighborhoods and inconvenienced some businesses,” Jackson told ALXnow. “We acknowledge that this year’s one-time only parade route change will inconvenience some residents and businesses.”

But many residents and business owners are either unhappy about the late notice or unaware of changes to the route.

“Certainly the organizers knew it was the 100 anniversary of this event for quite some time,” a business owner told ALXnow. “Perhaps even for the last 100 years. Why did the City allow them to change the route well after event permits were submitted and approved? Why were impacted residents and businesses not notified? Would a for profit organization like Pacers be given the same leniency? I don’t think so.”

The parade will also restrict vehicular access to a number of housing complexes, including The Asher (620 N. Fayette Street), The Henry (525 N. Fayette Street), The Prescott (1115 Cameron Street), 1111 Belle Pre Apartments (111 Belle Pre Way), as well as Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority properties.

“I didn’t know about (the new parade route) and none of the residents that I spoke with knew about it either but I haven’t heard any complaints,” said Kevin Harris, president of the ARHA Resident Association.

Another Old Town business owner said they will be losing up to $7,000 in business.

“We already have events and staff scheduled for February,” the business owner said. “Federal holidays are typically huge retail sales days. This will be a $5,000-to-$7,000 hit on our business. This is why notifying impacted businesses is required in the permitting process.”

Parade traffic and parking restrictions

While the parade starts at Pendleton and N. Fayette Streets, all parking on nearby side streets will be cleared by 9 a.m., according to organizers.

  • The bridge at King Street and Commonwealth Avenue will be cleared by 5 a.m.
  • All vehicles parked on the street will be towed between the 100 and 900 blocks of N. Fayette Streets (at the intersection with Braddock Place)
  • All vehicles parked on N. Payne Street will be towed
  • All vehicles parked on N. West Street from the intersection at King Street to Princess Street will be towed
  • All vehicles parked on Queen Street and N. Fayette Street
  • All vehicles parked on Princess Street, starting at the intersection with N. Fayette Street and going down to the intersection with King Street
  • Traffic will be shut down (except for residents) on King Street to Janneys Lane
  • Traffic will be shut down on Callahan Drive (except Amtrak station traffic and buses)
  • Traffic will be shut down on Diagonal Road and portions of Daingerfield Road (except buses and local traffic)
  • Traffic will be shut down on Sunset Street, Russell Road and Cedar Street near the intersection of King Street and Commonwealth Avenue
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As rainfall travels down the hills of the Parkfairfax neighborhood, the momentum sweeps it past the slim gutters meant to catch the water, propelling it further downhill to devastating effect. But fortunately, with a surge of political and financial interest being poured into flood mitigation over the last few years, stormwater isn’t the only thing gaining momentum.

Among the larger flooding infrastructure projects going around the city are a handful of smaller “spot improvements” that could play a big role when the next major storm hits.

In the Parkfairfax neighborhood, the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services has been installing 13 inlets that the city hopes will help catch some of the stormwater the current storm drains aren’t getting.

Last week, civil engineers Brian Rahal and Ehsanullah Hayat were overseeing the inlet project, the largest of the stormwater spot improvements in the city to date.

“The biggest problem with this area is it’s steep,” said Rahal. “The inlets were put in decades ago and are small, so the gutters get filled with runoff quickly.”

Every flooding issue needs its own diagnosis and in Parkfairfax — unlike Old Town’s massive stormwater infrastructure project — Rahal said the issue isn’t one of capacity.

“There’s capacity here, but we need to get [the water] in,” Rahal said.

The city is installing 13 inlets: nine are redone inlets designed to make the current storm drains significantly larger and four are completely new inlets. The larger inlets are designed to divert more of the stormwater that momentum currently carries past the antiquated ones built decades ago in Parkfairfax. Last year, the city worked on around seven inlet projects across the city.

“That should capture most of it,” Rahal said. “That should drastically reduce the impact.”

Stormwater also tends to have a snowballing effect, where water can flow down to the same locations from different locations and the problems can quickly escalate. The intersection of Holmes Lane and Martha Custis Drive, where a few of the new inlets are being installed, is one such confluence of watersheds.

Rahal has worked in stormwater management in Alexandria for 12 years and said the increase in flooding problems has been gradual but increasingly noticeable.

“It increase really started in rainfall around 2010, but we started noticing it in 2015,'” Rahal said. “It was spotty, then we had record rainfall in 2018 and in 2019 we had the big storms.”

There was torrential flooding across the region in 2019, but Alexandria’s seen continued heavy rainfall every year since. New rainfall records were set in Alexandria last July.

The battering of the city from back-to-back flooding caused intense public scrutiny of the city’s stormwater mitigation, drawing backlash from sources ranging from the former sheriff to a locally popular Twitter account. The city worked to fast-track flood mitigation projects, but the speed of progress was limited by the design process.

Rahal said the stormwater utility fee helped give the city the resources it needed to move more quickly on some of these projects.

“That really changed the narrative,” Rahal said. “In 2014 we were concerned about the water quality mandate and focused more on water quality, then the narrative shifted to a higher priority for flood mitigation.”

Now, Rahal said the city is juggling larger and longer-term infrastructure projects with shorter-term spot improvements.

“We’ve taken a two-pronged approach,” Rahal said. “There are big projects that take time and we’re busy designing them, but at the same time we’re making spot improvements as much as we can in the time we have to affect change.”

Looking at the slim inlets they’re replacing, Rahal says he thinks back to their initial installation and has to remember how much the rainfall levels have changed since they were installed.

‘They had no way of knowing the stormwater issues we’d face,” Rahal said, “so it’s up to us to mitigate them.”

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Cloud is a 10-year-old black and brown medium-haired cat searching for her forever home.

Currently up for adoption at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, she has a decade of best friend experience and has learned so much as a housecat, according to AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter.

“Cloud isn’t a crazy kitten who will be climbing your curtains,” said Hardter. “She enjoys the calmer things in life, from a warm comfy bed to the lap of her human best friend.”

This lovely lady also enjoys bird and squirrel watching, so a home with a window perch would be especially appreciated.

Cloud’s adoption fees have been paid and she’s ready for her forever home!

Interested in learning more about Cloud and meeting her? Schedule at time to see her by emailing [email protected] or call 703-746-4774.

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A Lorton man was arrested on DWI charges after allegedly crashing into four cars at the intersection of S. Patrick Street and Gibbon Streets on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023 (via Google Maps)

A 23-year-old Lorton man was charged with driving while intoxicated after allegedly crashing into four cars in Old Town.

The crash occurred near the intersection of S. Patrick Street and Gibbon Street at around 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21. Three people suffered minor injuries and went to the hospital, and the driver was released later that day.

The driver failed a field sobriety test, refused medical attention and admitted to police that he drank four Modello beers before the crash, according to a recently released search warrant affidavit.

“I shouldn’t have driven tonight,” the suspect allegedly told police, according to the search warrant affidavit.

The suspect was charged with driving while intoxicated (first offense) and goes to court on Feb. 2.

Map via Google Maps

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Good Tuesday morning, Alexandria!

Today’s weather: Light rain in the morning and afternoon. High of 51 and low of 33.
Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 42 and low of 32. Sunrise at 7:16 am and sunset at 5:29 pm.

🚨 You need to know

The law firm representing the client that challenging Alexandria’s minority-owned business grant also has ties to former President Donald Trump’s tax returns case and a co-founder helped strike down parts of the Voting Rights Act, Patch reported.

The law firm Consovoy McCarthy PLLC is representing Alexandria-based engineering firm Tridentis, which claimed racial discrimination based on the fact that the white ownership is excluded from a city grant program benefitting Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) owned businesses.

One of the founders, William Consovoy, represented Trump in the tax returns case and was involved in challenging parts of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. Consovoy died earlier this month.

The lawsuit says the Equal Protection Clause prohibiting discrimination based on race protects the business owner, who sought to apply for the program but was excluded on the basis of being white.

Kevin Harris, founder of the Alexandria Minority Business Association, called the law firm a sign that the case was political theater.

“Tellingly, Tridentis has hired Consovoy McCarthy PLLC as their legal counsel for this suit.” said Harris. “I think that shows pretty clearly what their end-goal is.”

Multiple attempts to reach Tridentis went unanswered.

The grant program, which has been set to release applications on Thursday, Jan. 26, has been postponed.

📈 Monday’s most read

The following are the most-read ALXnow articles for Jan 30, 2023.

  1. Fire alarms didn’t go off during Saturday’s high-rise apartment fire in the West End (1282 views)
  2. Man arrested with stolen car after keys taken from unlocked West End apartment (475 views)
  3. Notes: Teen shot and killed in West End hotel (318 views)
  4. Outdoor dining permits on King Street could be extended after scheduling problem (303 views)

🗞 Other local coverage

🐦 Tweets of note

📅 Upcoming events

Here is what’s going on today in Alexandria, from our event calendar.

  • No events today. Have one to promote? Submit it to the calendar.
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The Alexandria Fire Department confirmed that fire alarms in a high-rise West End apartment building didn’t go off during a two-alarm blaze on Saturday and residents say they were notified to evacuate by the property manager via text message.

Residents were notified of a fire on the fourth floor of the Pavilion On The Park building at 5340 Holmes Run Parkway at around 10 a.m., which was the same time that the Alexandria Fire Department was dispatched to the scene.

“The fire alarm system did not function at the time of the incident,” AFD confirmed to ALXnow. “Upon further investigation, fire marshals determined that the system had been shut off by the main power switch. The switch was turned back on and the alarm system reset and restored to service. Fire marshals instructed management to have the alarm system checked to ensure there are no faults or malfunctions.”

Property manager Rosewood Management could not be reached for comment.

The fire started at around 10 a.m. in a closet in unit 414, an empty three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment that sold last month. Flames and smoke quickly spread to the fifth and sixth floors. Residents tried to activate a number of fire alarm stations in the building, but none of them worked, according to multiple residents.

“It’s incredible,” said one resident. “The fire alarm didn’t go off and we got a text from the building telling us to evacuate.”

The fire was deemed accidental in nature, with “probable cause determined to be spontaneous ignition from discarded rags and painting materials,” according to AFD.

One person was injured due to a “physical hazard” at the scene and was treated at the hospital for a non-life threatening injury, according to AFD. It is not clear the exact number of affected residents being relocated, and Rosewood Management is not assisting with their relocation, according to AFD.

“This was a condominium, so residents are making their own relocation arrangements as needed,” AFD said.

After the blaze, unit 414 was condemned, and apartments 114, 214, and 314 (directly below unit 414) were deemed uninhabitable due to water damage. Rosewood later texted residents at around 7 p.m. that it would be testing the fire alarm and there was no need to evacuate.

The Fairfax County Fire Department assisted AFD in extinguishing the blaze.

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(Updated 1/31) The City of Alexandria is looking to extend the duration of King Street Outdoor Dining (KSOD) permits after an unusual circumstance in scheduling meant the permits issued by the city would only be valid for a couple of months.

After the Covid emergency status expired in September 2022, the City of Alexandria began issuing permits for businesses along King Street to operate in the sidewalks. The program is a continuation of a more flexible approach to outdoor dining brought on by the pandemic.

The problem is: the city’s annual sidewalk permits were effective from April 1 to March 31 of the following year. The permits Alexandria was issuing last year were based on that system, meaning permits granted after the change in September would only be valid until the end of March — just five months after they were issued.

As the city gets its ducks in a row to streamline the whole process, city staff have suggested that the city push the expiration of those permits back to next fall.

According to a staff report:

In the meantime, the KSOD permits granted after October 1, 2022 will expire on March 31, 2023… Staff proposes a text amendment to Section 6-804(F) to allow time for the development of a new one-application process, which aligns with the existing annual September 30 deadline of the parklet program, and also eliminates the need for restaurant operators to reapply for a new sidewalk dining permit before the existing March 31 deadline, less than six months after their most recent approvals.

The permit extension (item 2) is heading to the Planning Commission on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

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The owner of car stolen from the 200 block of N. Ripley Street says that his keys were stolen from his unlocked apartment in the early morning of Jan. 2, 2023 (via Google Maps)

A 25-year-old Alexandria man faces multiple charges after being found with a stolen car and allegedly running away from police earlier this month.

The car owner told police that someone must have entered his unlocked apartment and gotten the keys to his 2015 white Honda CRV between midnight on Jan. 1 and 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 2, according to a search warrant affidavit. The Honda owner then checked a GPS tracker, which showed it parked a mile-and-a-half away in the 5600 block of Derby Court in the Mark Center area.

Police went to the address and found the male suspect getting a black jacket out of the backseat of the stolen Honda. The suspect “took off running” when he saw police, according to the search warrant affidavit.

Police could not confirm whether the suspect arrested was the same as the person who stole the car.

“(The officer) was unable to find any information on who stole the vehicle at this time and (the suspect) was not currently driving the vehicle when it was located,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.

The suspect was arrested and charged with driving on a suspended/revoked license, public intoxication, entering a stolen vehicle, preventing law enforcement from making an arrest and possession of Schedule I/II drugs. He was released from jail on Jan. 6 on a $2,500 unsecured bond and goes to court on Feb. 23.

Map via Google Maps

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Good Monday morning, Alexandria!

Today’s weather: Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 55 and low of 39.
Tomorrow: Possible light rain in the morning and afternoon. High of 51 and low of 33. Sunrise at 7:17 am and sunset at 5:28 pm.

🚨 You need to know

The big news over the weekend was the fatal shooting of a teen in a West End hotel room on Friday night.

A 17-year-old Arlington resident was charged with possession of a firearm by a minor after fatally shooting another 17-year-old in the Courtyard By Marriott Pentagon South (4641 Kenmore Avenue).

There were reportedly multiple juveniles in the room when the 17-year-old male victim was shot in the chest. The victim was transported to the hospital where they died.

The teen who allegedly shot the other teen was found two blocks away at 4800 Kenmore Avenue, according to dispatch recordings.

This is the first shooting death of 2023 in Alexandria. APD did not respond to requests for comment on this incident.

This incident remains under investigation and APD asks anyone with related information related to contact APD Detective Matthew Kramarik via at 703-746-6650 or by email at [email protected]. Callers can remain anonymous.

🗞 Other local coverage

🐦 Tweets of note

📅 Upcoming events

Here is what’s going on today in Alexandria, from our event calendar.

  • No events today. Have one to promote? Submit it to the calendar.
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A teen was shot to death at a hotel room in the West End on Jan. 27, 2023 (via Google Maps)

(Updated at 10:30 p.m.) A 17-year-old Arlington resident has been charged with possession of firearm by a minor, after another 17-year-old was fatally shot in a West End hotel room.

The shooting occurred at around 11:30 p.m. on Friday night in a room in the Courtyard By Marriott Pentagon South (4641 Kenmore Avenue), according to dispatch. Multiple juveniles were in the room when the 17-year-old male victim was shot in the chest.

The juvenile suspect was charged with being a minor in possession of a firearm. He was found two blocks away in the 4800 block of Kenmore Avenue, according to dispatch recordings.

This is the first shooting death of 2023 in Alexandria. APD did not respond to requests for comment on this incident.

This incident remains under investigation and APD asks anyone with related information related to contact APD Detective Matthew Kramarik via at 703-746-6650 or by email at [email protected]. Callers can remain anonymous.

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