What a busy week in Alexandria.
Our top story this week was on a juvenile who was shot outside the McDonald’s at the Bradlee Shopping Center on Tuesday, Sept. 21. There have also been a number of concerning incidents at Alexandria City Public Schools, including a juvenile who was arrested for trespassing and assault and battery at Alexandria City High School.
Meanwhile, while the COVID-19 transmission rate remains high, public events are still happening in Alexandria.
- Connection Newspapers managing editor Kemal Kurspahic dies
- City Council approves new plastic bag tax for local grocery and convenience stores
- Electric scooter docks could replace some on-street parking in Alexandria
- City looks to state funding for Holmes Run Trail improvement and West End Transitway
- MacArthur Elementary shut down by water damage
- New Indian restaurant in Old Town eyes late October opening
- School Board to vote on transgender revisions in Alexandria City Public Schools
- ‘Fences’ is a triumph at The Little Theatre of Alexandria
- What’s the difference between Alexandria’s co-living policy and regular apartments?
- Government contractor in Alexandria under fire from Department of Labor for systemic racism in hiring practices
- Police: Juvenile shot at shopping center near Alexandria City High School
- Police dispatched three times for fighting at Alexandria City Public Schools in less than a month
- Police: Six hospitalized after overdoses on Alexandria-Fairfax border
- Poll: What do you think of Metro’s proposed Blue Line crossing to National Harbor?
- BREAKING: Flooding reported in Alexandria
- Interview: Port City Publius opens up about Alexandria
- BREAKING: Video shows brawl at Alexandria City High School cafeteria just two days after school starts
- Juvenile arrested for trespassing and assault and battery at Alexandria City High School
- Multiple violent charges dropped against Fairfax County man held without bond for assaulting police during arrest
- Preserving Arlandria’s affordability against gentrification could cost upward of $100 million
- JUST IN: One person injured after shots fired in West End Tuesday afternoon
Have a safe weekend!
Kemal Kurspahic, managing editor of Alexandria-based The Connection Newspapers and acclaimed former editor-in-chief of Oslobodjenje, Sarajevo’s daily newspaper, died last week after a stroke, Connection Newspapers reported.
Kurspahic, born Dec. 1, 1946, served as the Managing Editor of The Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia, 1997-2001 and again 2007-2021, the weekly paper said.
Kurspahic also served as the editor of Sarajevo daily newspaper Oslobodjenje from 1988 to 1994 and continued daily publication during the city’s three year siege. At the Connection Newspapers office, Kurspahic was a stoic presence who walked with a slight limp from a car crash after he was shot at by a sniper.
Kurspahic’s work in Sarajevo was the subject of Tom Gjelten’s Sarajevo Daily: A City and Its Newspaper Under Siege. The editor recalled his time during the siege in his book As Long as Sarajevo Exists.
While Kurspahic was focused on Northern Virginia coverage at The Connection Newspapers, getting to talk to Kurspahic about his decades of experience in international journalism and diplomatic work was a rite-of-passage for many new reporters at the newspaper.
The Connection Newspapers reported that Kurspahic was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, a Clark Fellow at Cornell University, and a Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Photo via Wikipedia Creative Commons
The City of Alexandria is sending a funding request to the state that could help create a better Holmes Run Trail Bridge and push the West End Transitway into its next phase.
At an upcoming City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 28, the Council is scheduled to review (item 14) a submission to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) for regional transportation funding in FY 2026 to FY 2027. The request is for funding from the NVTA’s 70% Program, which aims to reduce congestion and increase quality of life with projects of regional significance.
The City is seeking two $5 million grants for two longtime projects in the West End.
Part of the request is for more funding to the West End Transitway, a project that will bring bus rapid transit to the West End, from Van Dorn Metro station to the Pentagon with stops along the West End at locations like Southern Towers and the former-Landmark Mall. The West End Transitway had previously received $4.6 million from the program for the first phase of the project.
Now, the city is hoping for $5 million for part two, which would bring dedicated transit lanes and other transit adjustments to South Van Dorn Street and the Van Dorn bridge between Metro Road and McConnell Avenue.
The staff presentation noted that the dedicated transit lanes in phase two of the project would help increase travel choices in Alexandria and reduce single occupancy vehicle travel. Part of the overall goal of the project is to provide better transit access to the densely populated areas of the West End that aren’t near Metro stations.
The second $5 million request is to build a better crossing of Holmes Run Trail at Morgan Street. The new pedestrian and bicycle bridge would replace a current “fair weather crossing” at Holmes Run. The current crossing is a path that runs through shallow water that often becomes dangerous to cross during the city’s increasingly frequent flooding.
A city presentation said the improvement could create a more resilient, safer, and more reliable trail network — though parts of the trail still remain damaged from flooding in recent years.
Ready to buy a restaurant or salon 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:
- Alexandria-Falls Church nail salon — “Established, nice nail salon/spa with good income available for sale in the Falls Church, Alexandria area. Good rent. Potential for growth if adding more nail techs. Nail services comprise 80% of the business, the rest is hair services. Highly visible from main road. Good reviews. Nice and well decorated. Owner can stay and work on a part time basis. Staff will stay if new owner want.”
- Ultra Modern dental practice in Del Ray — “Ultra-modern dental practice in the heart of a high income, recession proof area located in the vibrant DelRay area of Alexandria near Old Town Alexandria, Pentagon City, National Landing, Potomac Yard, Arlington, and Crystal City. The office is located on the ground level of a multi-family project with excellent visibility on Mount Vernon Avenue (daily traffic count of 16.000 cars) and abundant garage parking available to patients and staff at no charge in close proximity to the office.”
- 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.”
- 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.”
- High-class Japanese restaurant with strong business — “The menu includes sushi, hibachi, and ramen. First generation owner since the business was founded, tons of the local customers and Japanese food fans from other places, the business can make $180k sales per month, lease can be extended indefinitely.”
- Well Established Dry Cleaning Business for Sale — “Dry Cleaners and sewing laundry for sale very safe and populated shopping center. Current owner planned to retire after 25 yrs of successful business. Customers and equipment’s well maintained.”
- 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.”
- Profitable fast-casual restaurant — “Great opportunity to own this fast casual restaurant in the heart of Alexandria. This restaurant is located in a busy shopping center along a heavy traffic road. The current owner of this restaurant is ABSENTEE and making approximately $140,000 a year. Menu can be converted to fit most concepts. Must see!”
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.”
Credit Union cuts ribbon on HQ in Alexandria — “United States Senate Federal Credit Union celebrated the opening of its flagship HQ branch in Alexandria with a ribbon-cutting Wednesday.” [Alexandria Living]
Weekend single tracking to impact Metro travelers in Alexandria — “Single tracking between the Braddock Road and National Airport (stations) will happen this weekend due to Potomac Yard Metro construction.” [Patch]
Shop and stroll with the Old Town Boutique District — “Pick up a passport at an Old Town Boutique District (OTBD) shop, then visit six stores to be entered to win a $500 gift card to an OTBD store of your choice, or visit twelve stores to be entered to win $1,000 gift card to an OTBD store of your choice. Stop by Hummingbird and Fontaine for a signature cocktail or mocktail during the stroll. Turn in your passport to the last store you visit. Winners will be selected on Monday, September 27. No purchase necessary to participate.” [Visit Alexandria]
Today’s weather — “A mainly sunny sky. High 74F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph… Clear skies. Low 54F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]
New job: Entry-level personal fitness trainer — “We are looking for coachable, enthusiastic, and dependable people who want to enter the field of personal training. No prior fitness experience or fitness education is required! We will hire and teach you everything you need to know to become a Certified Personal Trainer with The Perfect Workout!” [Indeed]
The city is looking to make its scooter pilot program permanent, but hopefully with some changes that make them less intrusive for local pedestrians and residents.
Victoria Caudullo, shared mobility planner for the City of Alexandria, spoke to the Waterfront Commission this week to discuss some of the ambitions and limitations of the scooter program moving forward.
Caudullo said that many of the elements of the existing program, like the requirement for 30% of the scooters deployed to be in designated “equity zones”, will remain intact going forward. Restrictions on riding on the waterfront and city parks will also remain in place.
One of the biggest goals of the plan moving forward, Caudullo said, is adding more parking corrals for the scooters. So far, corrals have not edged into on-street parking, but Caudullo said that’s a possibility being considered.
“We want to increase the number of scooter corrals, but there might be a time where the only option is to install them in on-street parking,” Caudullo said.
If the city wants to replace some on-street parking with scooter corrals, Caudullo said that would go through the Traffic and Parking Board.
The city is also hoping to increase “education and public engagement” in the future — polite city-speak for getting people to stop dumping their scooters on the sidewalk or private property.
“We’re encouraging companies to require users and deployment teams to take a photo after use,” Caudullo said, “specifically to reach people who are parking incorrectly every time.”
For local residents, some on the Waterfront Commission said the big frustration is not knowing what to do about scooters that are obstacles in the public right of way and park spaces. Some on the Waterfront Commission suggested potentially dropping the speed on scooters to zero in prohibited zones, but Caudullo explained that there’s concern this could further incentivize abandoning vehicles.
“That could lead to a potential build up, even more so than we see now, at the edge of the waterfront,” Caudullo said.
For others, making it easier for residents to report scooters parked errantly could fix the feeling of helplessness from some residents.
“When I walk outside and open my door on Saturday morning and there’s two Uber-line scooters laying across the sidewalk: literally, what do I do next?” said Waterfront commissioner Beth Gross. “There’s no phone number on there to call. Is the proper thing to do Alex311? I think there’s a missing piece that’s the actual step people are supposed to do… I think you’d get more support from people who don’t use them who find them a nuisance if there was a simpler way to address that concern.”
Caudullo said scooters should have contact information visible, but the city would be pushing to make that more visible.
“People are welcome to try and fix it themselves,” Caudullo said. “I know that’s not an ideal request. Barring that it would go to the company. I’m concerned to hear there was no phone number on the devices. There should be on the devices. That’s concerning to hear and I’ll look into that, but the idea is to reach out to the company using their phone number or their app. It’s not a perfect system. We’re trying to find a better way of doing this.”
Raina the cat is almost like a rooster.
Every morning, the 13-month-old female dilute calico cat greets the world with a high-pitched meow.
“Raina is the ultimate office buddy,” AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter told ALXnow. “She knows exactly when you need to be distracted from the computer (for your eyesight, of course!), when you need cuddling and when you just need to play with a wand toy.”
Hardter also says that Raina is one of the softest cats that you will ever pet.
Learn more about meeting Raina at AlexandriaAnimals.org/Adopt-
(Updated 12:10 p.m.) Douglas MacArthur Elementary School has been closed for today at least as crews work to clean water damage in the building.
The school, currently located in the former Patrick Henry facility on 4633 Taney Avenue, has been closed today from water damage and it’s currently unclear when the school will reopen.
“Douglas MacArthur Elementary School must be closed today to allow our facilities and maintenance team to clean up from water damage in the building,” Alexandria City Public Schools said on the school’s webpage. “Teachers will post resources and activities for students on Clever and Canvas by noon. More information will be communicated to families as it becomes available.”
A notification was posted on the Douglas MacArthur Elementary School Twitter page but has since been taken down.
“At this time, we have a contractor that has come in to assess damage and clean the building,” an ACPS official said. “That is all the information we have right now, and we will update families once more details become available.”
— DrainALX (@DrainALX) September 23, 2021
Photo via Google Maps
(Updated at 10:15 a.m. on Friday) A juvenile was arrested for assault and battery and trespassing at Alexandria City High School on Friday, September 10, according to the Alexandria Police Department.
“At ACHS this school year, there has been one incident where a juvenile was arrested for assault and battery and trespassing on September 10, 2021,” Alexandria Police said. “Due to the strict confidentiality of juvenile criminal justice records, we cannot provide further information to explain those charges or where the juvenile suspect or victim resides.”
Fighting in and around Virginia’s largest high school has been in the news lately.
A juvenile was shot after school outside of a McDonald’s at the Bradlee Shopping Center near ACHS on Tuesday, September 21. No arrests from that incident are reported.
A juvenile was also arrested after a fight at the McDonald’s at around 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, September 22.
Some say the violence is due to the defunding of school resource officers by City Council. Consequently, there will be a demonstration regarding SROs outside City Hall on September 28 (Tuesday) at 5 p.m.
Alexandria announces $7.1 million in funding for first-time homebuyers — “The City of Alexandria is pleased to announce the availability of Sponsoring Partnerships & Revitalizing Communities (SPARC) funds to provide eligible first-time homebuyers with permanent financing for their home purchase. SPARC is a special allocation to local governments to reduce first trust mortgage interest rates.” [City of Alexandria]
Six ways to celebrate Oktoberfest in Alexandria — “Port City Brewing Company’s Hefeweizen brew is a Bavarian-style wheat hale pouring hazy golden with fluffy white foam, tinged with aromas of clove and spice with a softer note of ripe banana. Pick up a four-pack via curbside pickup or Port City On Demand, or sip at an outdoor table at the West End headquarters.” [Visit Alexandria]
Today’s weather — “Showers likely along with a possible rumble of thunder in the morning, then partly cloudy late. High 72F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%… Partly cloudy skies (in the evening). Slight chance of a rain shower. Low 53F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]
New job: Play expert — “Play Experts provide engaging and educational services to children in their homes. A step above a typical caregiver, our Play Experts are trained in child development as well as positive-behavior systems. They understand the importance of developmentally appropriate and engaging play, as well as consistent structure and boundaries.” [Indeed]