Newsletter

With summer heat in full swing, Covid cases are trending downward in Alexandria.

As of Monday (August 8), there are 39,692 reported cases, according to the Virginia Department of Health. There have been 196 deaths.

The seven-day average of new cases is now 54.1. At around the same period in July, the seven-day average of new cases was 70.9 — exactly the seven-day average on June 20.

The city currently has a Medium community level, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There have been 434 new cases reported so far this month. Below are monthly totals for 2022.

  • January — 12,822 new cases
  • February — 1,227 new cases
  • March — 593 new cases
  • April — 1,488 new cases
  • May — 2,900 new cases
  • June — 2,357 new cases
  • July — 2,396 new cases

The Alexandria Health Department’s last update was on June 21, to announce the availability of vaccine shots for kids older than six months of age. The city’s two-and-a-half-year-long state of emergency expired on June 30.

Vaccine Update

  • There are 24,138 unvaccinated Alexandria residents
  • About 77% of residents (120,881 people) are fully vaccinated
  • 85% (133,313 people) of residents got at least one dose
  • 61,950 residents got their first booster shot
  • 11,827 residents got their second booster shot

This month, VDH reported the following new cases in Alexandria:

  • 31 new cases on August 8
  • 32 new cases on August 7
  • 48 new cases on August 6
  • 68 new cases on August 5
  • 65 new cases on August 4
  • 69 new cases on August 3
  • 66 new cases on August 2
  • 55 new cases on August 1
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Woodbine Rehabilitation and Healthcare Facility (image via Google Maps)

The Woodbine Rehabilitation and Healthcare facility (2729 King Street) near Ivy Hill Cemetery is seeking permission from the city to build a new three-story addition to the healthcare complex, though the overall number of beds will stay the same.

Woodbine is a nursing home just off King Street in the Rosemont neighborhood. Woodbine Property 1, LLC has filed a request for a Development Special Use Permit to construct a new building that fronts King Street.

“The addition to the nursing home will help to facilitate additional private rooms while maintaining the total number of 307 licensed beds,” the application said. “The Applicant also proposes to increase the number of parking spaces from 143 to 154 to meet the required parking for the nursing home.”

The application said the new building will help Woodbine offer more private rooms, though the total number of beds at the facility won’t increase.

“In summary, the proposed addition will improve the patient experience at Woodbine Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center by reducing the number of quad- and triple-occupancy rooms and increasing the number of private rooms for patients,” the application said.

The project is scheduled to go to the Planning Commission on Thursday, Oct. 6.

Image via Google Maps

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If there’s a business you’re a particularly big fan of in Alexandria, you might be able to help them out by nominating them for The Chamber ALX’s Best in Business Awards.

The main catch is that the business in question has to be a member of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce to be eligible and can’t have won in the last five years. Previous winners are listed online.

“Each year The Chamber ALX honors businesses for their significant role in driving the Alexandria business community and economic growth,” the Chamber ALX said in a newsletter. “Winners will be announced, in person, at The Chamber ALX’s Best in Business Awards on October 27.”

The Chamber ALX will also award Cathy Puskar as Alexandria’s Business Leader of the Year during that ceremony.

The categories are:

  • Small business
  • Medium business
  • Large business
  • Association/Nonprofit
  • Rising Star (a business that’s been in operation for five years or less)

Nominations can be submitted through The Chamber ALX’s website.

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The Covanta Waste-to-Energy facility at the west end of Eisenhower Avenue has recently completed an overhaul that should make it less of a polluter.

The facility serves 400,000 residents and businesses in Alexandria and Arlington, the city said in a release. It incinerates household waste and generates steam for electricity production.

“In this way, Covanta processes and converts more than 350,000 tons of waste into energy,” the release said. “This waste would otherwise end up in landfills.”

But obviously, waste incineration has its own considerably negative environmental impact. The city’s release said new technology at the site has reduced the facility’s nitrogen oxide emissions by  50%:

With installation of its proprietary Low NOx (LN) technology now complete, nitrogen oxide emissions have been reduced by nearly 50%. The effort was part of a multi-year project at the Covanta Alexandria-Arlington Facility. By reducing the waste put in landfills, Covanta Alexandria has cut greenhouse gas emissions by 331,000 tons of carbon dioxide. That’s the same as taking 65,000 passenger vehicles off the road for one year.

The facility generated enough energy to power 15,000 homes year-round and recovers 11,000 tons of metal annually.

“Covanta is proud to manage our services and facilities in a way that prioritizes our communities, our businesses and our planet,” Covanta area asset manager Don Cammarata said in the release. “Today marks an important step in our work with the community to reduce our environmental impact and improve air quality.”

“The installation of this new NOx technology will even further reduce the emissions and improve air quality,” Mayor Justin Wilson said in the release. “This is an important effort to support the City of Alexandria in reaching our Environmental Action Plan 2040 goals.”

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As local kids prepare to head back to school, Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue and ARHA is hosting their annual School Supply Giveaway this weekend.

The event is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Charles Houston Recreation Center (901 Wythe Street) on Sunday, Aug. 14.

The program, which is led by School Board Member Willie Bailey, will offer school supplies for kids in need as well as a free haircut.

“A free haircut and school supply giveaway event will be happening in the Alexandria area,” the group said in a flyer. “Please note that kids must be present to receive their backpacks and school supplies!”

Additional booths will be set up throughout the gym to offer a variety of other services to local families.

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Morning Notes

Amazon brings new pilot program to D.C. region — “Amazon announced Monday that its Prime members in the Washington, D.C. area can now make same-day purchases from some of their favorite brands offered on Amazon.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

It’s Monday — Humid throughout the day. High of 91 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:17 am and sunset at 8:13 pm. [Weather.gov]

Archeologist and City Officials clash over amateur digs — “Although his excursions have yielded excitement from many community members, they’ve also raised the eyebrows of city officials.” [Alexandria Times]

Goodwin Living to Turn the Hermitage Northern Virginia into The View Alexandria — “August 1, 2022, Goodwin Living™ announced it has finalized the acquisition of Hermitage Northern Virginia (5000 Fairbanks Ave), a senior living community that is home to more than a hundred residents, employs more than a hundred team members, and offers independent living, assisted living and long-term care.” [Zebra]

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Another week down at ALXnow. Intrepid reporter James Cullum has been out on vacation so it’s been an exhausting one-man show, but we made it to Friday.

The top story this week was a new Metal Supermarkets opening just west of the city.

Also sneaking into the top ten was the announcement yesterday that Deputy City Manager Laura Triggs, who has been in that role since 2014, will resign at the start of September to focus on career coaching.

  1. Metal Supermarkets opening just outside Alexandria
  2. Maryland man pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter for Arlandria pedestrian death
  3. Alexandria Mayor outlines city strategies on fighting cut-through traffic
  4. Poll: How do you feel about Alexandria going back to regulating sidewalk usage for restaurants
  5. Landmark demolition closes DASH transit center
  6. Campagna Kids counselor charged with sexually assaulting a child
  7. Alexandria Restaurant Week returns this month with new dining and pricing options
  8. Alexandria’s Katrina Hill wins Jeopardy, competes again tonight
  9. Deputy City Manager Laura Triggs to resign next month
  10. Poll: How important is the Alexandria/Fairfax distinction to you?
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There are dozens of boards and commissions in Alexandria with vacancies, giving locals a chance to be in the room where it happens.

Some of the notable vacancies include:

  • Board of Architectural Review — 2-year term: One vacancy is up for consideration due to a citizen member resigning. The BAR meets twice a month to review development applications and determine appropriateness, but in Alexandria the BAR holds significantly more sway than in other localities.
  • Community Criminal Justice Board — 2-year term: Two vacancies are available on the Community Criminal Justice Board. This board oversees several programs and services used for the courts in diverting offenders from jail. The board also monitors and evaluates community programs, services and facilities to determine their impact on local offenders.
  • Environmental Policy Commission — 2-year term: Two vacancies are available for the Environmental Policy Commission, which advises and makes recommendations to the City Council on environmental issues ranging from land use to noise pollution.
  • Park and Recreation Commission — 3-year term: Two vacancies are available for the Parks and Recreation Commission, which advises the City Council on issues related to — hold onto your socks — parks and recreational activities.
  • Waterfront Commission — 2-year term: One vacancy is available for a representative from the Commission for the Arts. The Waterfront Commission helps shape policy in some of the city’s most high-profile issues, like flooding and the Torpedo Factory overhaul. But they also meet at 7:30 a.m. Yikes.

Interested applicants can submit their information online. The full list of vacancies is available on the city’s website.

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Body-worn camera (photo via Tony Webster/Flickr)

Rep. Don Beyer announced yesterday (Thursday)  that the Alexandria Police Department has officially been awarded $600,000 in federal funding to get the city’s beleaguered body-worn camera program off the ground.

The federal funding was allocated as part of a Department of Justice (DOJ) grant in the omnibus spending bill, which was approved in March pending the DOJ grant process. A spokesperson from Beyer’s office said the DOJ recently approved the grant, clearing the way for the money to get to the police department.

“I’m proud to announce that the DOJ’S Office of Justice Programs has awarded the funds to support this critically important initiative in our community,” Beyer said in a release. “Body worn cameras are an important and necessary tool for bringing more transparency, accountability, and trust in policing in our communities.”

The release noted that the Alexandria Police Department is the only full-service law enforcement agency in Northern Virginia without a body-worn camera program. While neighboring Arlington and Fairfax got body-worn camera program pilots up and running around 2016, a series of budget shortfalls and extensive finger-pointing between the police department and the city government meant Alexandria police officers only started wearing body cameras earlier this year.

Even the pilot program approved in this year’s budget was significantly scaled back to $2.2 million compared to the $13 million budget request from then-Police Chief Michael Brown.

Photo via Tony Webster/Flickr

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Flood Watch boundaries (via NWS)

The National Weather Service has issued an Areal Flood Watch for Alexandria with rain expected this afternoon and most of this weekend.

While it’s clear skies this morning, the forecast for rain comes after heavy rainfall last night.

“Avoid small streams and do not drive through water on roadways,” the City of Alexandria said in a release.

From NWS:

1020 AM EDT Fri Aug 5 2022

…FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM EDT THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH THIS EVENING…

* WHAT…Flash flooding caused by excessive rainfall is possible. […]

* WHEN…From 3 PM EDT this afternoon through this evening.

* IMPACTS…Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…
– Showers and thunderstorms will develop this afternoon and may last into the evening. Any thunderstorms will be capable of producing very heavy rainfall, with localized totals of two to four inches possible. Much of the rain may fall within a one to three hour period, making rapid rises in creeks and streams possible, as well as flash flooding in urban areas.
– http://www.weather.gov/safety/flood

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

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