Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Winter Weather Advisory in Effect for Alexandria — “A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect through 9 am Tuesday with expectations of mixed precipitation and possible accumulations of 1-2 inches of snow and ice. Expect slippery roads. Be prepared, slow down, and use caution while traveling.” [Twitter]

More Contagious Coronavirus Variant Found in Northern Virginia — “The Virginia Department of Health said in a news release Monday that the B.1.1.7 variant was confirmed in a Northern Virginia adult resident who reported no recent travel. As of Jan. 22, VDH said almost 200 cases of the variant have been found in the U.S. in 23 states.” [Patch]

Beyer Calls Incoming Treasury Secretary ‘Crisis-Tested Trailblazer’ — “Warmest congratulations to @JanetYellen, the first woman to hold the office of Secretary of the Treasury, on her bipartisan confirmation. Secretary Yellen is the kind of experienced, crisis-tested leader the country needs overcome this historic economic crisis.” [Twitter]

Levine Bill Banning Guns in Polling Places Passes House of Delegates — “My Safe Elections Bill (HB2081), banning guns at polling places, vote counting centers, and recount centers, has passed the House! This bill protects both voters and election workers from intimidation. Those with guns don’t make the rules. Voters do. [Twitter]

School Board Considers Affordable Housing on School Property — “At a work session Thursday evening, school board members discussed at length whether school properties, specifically the Minnie Howard Campus of Alexandria’s high school, could be a good place to build affordable housing.” [Alexandria Living]

Former Del. Van Landingham Endorses Bennett-Parker for 45th District Seat — “Today, I’m incredibly honored to announce Marian Van Landingham’s endorsement. She served the 45th District for 24 years as a Delegate, and has been a champion for better schools, better childcare services, and for a thriving and inclusive Alexandria.” [Twitter]

ALIVE! Food Distribution is this Saturday — “On Sat, Jan 30, 8:30-10:30 am, @ALIVE4AlexVA will distribute food in Cora Kelly Elementary School parking lot (3600 Commonwealth Ave) and parking lot B-1 of NOVA-Alexandria Campus (via Dawes Ave; map at alive-inc.org).” [Twitter]

Casa Chirilagua Needs Volunteers — “VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Fill grocery bags at our food pantry every other Tuesday from 4 to 6 pm (changed from Monday mornings). Email [email protected] to join in!” [Facebook]

New Job: In-Person After School Tutor — “Our current after-school instructor opportunities are for students of financially challenged families that are in need of affordable academic assistance.” [Indeed]

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Up to two inches of snow and almost an inch of ice are expected between now and 9 a.m., and the National Weather Service has declared a winter weather advisory to be in effect in Alexandria until 9 a.m.

According to NWS:

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for the Baltimore and D.C. metro areas through tonight and into Tuesday morning for snow and sleet accumulations up to two inches and ice accumulations up to a tenth of an inch.

DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…Tuesday through Sunday

There is a slight winter storm threat for Wednesday night and Thursday. If the threat materializes, it may cause travel disruptions.

Potential for gale force winds Thursday into Friday morning.

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The first phase of Virginia Tech’s massive Innovation Campus development is underway with the demolition of the Regal Potomac Yard movie theater, which closed in March due to the pandemic and never reopened.

The one-story theater first opened in 1998, and “is an example of a typical multi-screen movie theater built during the late 1990’s throughout the region,” according to a city staff report.

In its place will go a pump station that will handle sanitary sewer flows for Virginia Tech’s Sewer to Wastewater Energy Exchange system for the 1.9 million square-foot mixed use development. The pump station will be owned and maintained by AlexRenew.

Demolition of the theater started more than a week ago. A construction worker at the site said that the front section of the theater, which included the box office and concession stands, will likely be torn down by the end of the week.

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Alexandria City Public Schools has delayed its partial reopening for the week of Feb. 1.

Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. made the announcement today, and cited rising COVID-19 numbers and strained staffing resources as the reasons for the continued closure.

“Due to our current community transmission levels and school impact level, we have made the decision to delay the reentry of students who were set to return to schools the week of Feb. 1,” Hutchings announced. “As you may be aware, the number of positive cases and transmission rates in Alexandria have continued to remain at high levels.”

Students with disabilities from kindergarten to fifth grade, early childhood special education students and English learners in kindergarten to fifth grade were supposed to go back to school on Jan. 19, but the opening was delayed a week, and then pushed again to Feb. 1.

The remainder of the student groups are still listed to go back to school on February 9 and February 16.

ACPS listed the following data in the announcement:

  • Percentage of RT-PCR tests that are positive during the last 14 days: 10.1% – Highest Risk
  • Total number of new cases per 100,000 persons within the last 14 days: 599.9 – Highest Risk
  • ACPS staffing and capacity level: strained (50-75%)

Below is the new tentative timeline for the partial reopening of public school in Alexandria:

Photo via T.C. Williams Minnie Howard Campus/Facebook

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The classes may be smaller and the boxers may be masked, but local boxer Tony Suggs keeps the hits coming through coronavirus with a new Boxercise class.

Suggs, a local boxing star, has launched a new boxing class to help locals stay fit and focused.

“It started virtually on my own, just to give back to the community, ” said Suggs. “That started going really well, so when we went back to work with the city I was telling my managers how I thought a program like this was working.”

Suggs said the program was seeing active participation from both parents and kids. Suggs started with virtual sessions last summer but the first in-person, 45-minute sessions for local teens and young adults started two weeks ago.

“45-Minute HIT & Cardio” is offered every Thursday from 6-7 p.m. at the Charles Houston Recreation Center (901 Wythe Street). The class is available through the city website as class 313616. Enrollment to the class is $39 for city residents or $64 for non-residents.

Because of COVID precautions, the program is only allowed to have nine participants currently, with some parents exercising alongside their kids. If conditions improve in Alexandria, Suggs said he hopes to gradually open the class up to more participants.

“It’s high intensity training, but it’s really catering to the audience,” Suggs said. “I ramp it up for the kids and tone it down for the parents. We do step work, speed ladder, burpees, ab work, push ups, punching bag and hit the hand mitts.”

Beyond the boxing program, Suggs said he’s spent the last few months helping to train T.C. Williams athletes while school sports aren’t meeting to practice. Suggs says training for boxing can help enhance coordination for any other type of sport.

“It’s shut down and they want to stay in shape,” Suggs said. “I have a couple guys I’ve been voluntarily training.”

Suggs said training with masks on and being distanced can be difficult for young athletes, but ultimately Suggs said it could be a boon to those who get used to training in these conditions.

“It’s hard on the kids sometime,” Suggs said, “but being a boxer — training in high altitudes like Colorado Springs — I know how important it is to have thin air. That makes you better in shape.”

The city website described the HIT and Cardio training class as:

Ages 12 & up. Join us for a workout thats geared to get the heart pumping. This 45 minute class will include exercises like boxing movements, jump rope combinations, and mixed aerobics with resistance trainings. This class is ideal for teens and young adults.

Photo via Tony Suggs/Facebook

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Alexandria’s COVID-19 deaths are now at 101, and the number of cases has reached 9,121.

That’s five more deaths and 311 cases since this time last week, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The fatal victims were in their 60s, 70s and 80s.

“This grim milestone is an important reminder that COVID-19 is still active in Alexandria and that every resident has a role in stopping the spread, particularly to safeguard those at highest risk of severe illness and death,” according to the Alexandria Health Department. “While the arrival of vaccines offers hope that a return to normalcy is within reach, it may still be many months until the majority of Alexandrians are fully protected.”

Across Virginia, there have been 6,081 deaths and there are or have been 478,619 cases of the virus. There have also been 5.1 million PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and the state’s seven-day positivity rate is 12.6%.

According to Mayor Justin Wilson, the numbers are similar to what the city was experiencing over the summer.

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Though barely more than five minutes on a in a nearly six hour meeting, on Saturday the City Council finally did away with one of Alexandria’s more bizarre street names.

Toward the end of the meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to replace Swamp Fox Road with Hoffman Street, celebrating local developer Hubert Hoffman Jr., founder of the The Hoffman Company that developed much of the nearby area and for whom much of Eisenhower East is named.

The question of whether Swamp Fox Road was named for Revolutionary War guerrilla and slave owner Francis Marion attracted some discussion during the renaming process, but Councilwoman Del Pepper said the name was a legacy of the area’s boggy origins.

“This was called Swamp Fox and the reason was because it was truly a swamp,” Pepper said. “The only people who believed in it was Dayton Cook and Hoffman, because if all you have there is a swamp you have to dream big. It’s a most appropriate naming because Hoffman had a lot, if not everything to do with the development of that area, East Eisenhower.”

The City Council unanimously agreed to the change, though some lamented the loss of the strange name on a prominent road through the Hoffman Town Center.

“I just wanted to say Swamp Fox has always brought a smile to my face but I have no opposition to this,” said City Councilman Canek Aguirre. “It’s good to recognize Mr. Hoffman, but hopefully we can bring Swamp Fox back somewhere in the area.”

“We’re going to have to find another Swamp Fox somewhere,” Mayor Justin Wilson agreed.

Map via Google Maps

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Alexandria Police reported another shots fired call for service over the weekend in the West End, and there was also a serious crash with four cars in Old Town that sent two men to the hospital.

The shooting is the third in Alexandria this month, and occurred at around 5 a.m. on Sunday morning in the 200 block of Century Place in the West End near Holmes Run. Multiple shell casings were found at the scene, but no one was reported injured.

The recent string of shots fired calls remain under investigation, with police increasing patrols in an effort at curbing the 2020 uptick. Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to contact Sgt. Taylor at 703-746-6271.

There was also a four-car accident at the intersection of Duke and S. Patrick Streets in Old Town. The accident occurred at around 9 p.m. on Saturday night, and while police initially reported that there were life-threatening injuries, an update later proved that two men involved in the crash were injured but that their lives were not in danger.

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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Republican leader McCarthy Should Resign Over Capitol Siege Comments — “The reason McCarthy is trying to take back what he said about Trump’s obvious guilt — and now, absurdly, blaming ‘everybody’ — is McCarthy himself spread conspiracy theories and lies about the election, then led his caucus into an attack on our democracy. McCarthy should resign.” [Twitter]

Antonio Damiani of Tony’s Auto Service Passes Away — “Tony passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at Winchester Medical Center on Thursday evening, January 14, 2021 from complications of cancer he had battled for two years.” [Zebra]

Adult Mentors Needed — “Mentor one child, change two lives! The Alexandria Mentoring Partnership seeks adult mentors for children in need. Mentoring decreases risk factors associated with emotional well-being and success in school and life.” [Twitter]

City Seeks Public Comment on Wilkes Street Park Redesign — “The City of Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA) is seeking public comment for the proposed design of Wilkes Street Park. The proposed redesign of the 0.7-acre park was presented at the Park and Recreation Commission on Thursday, January 21, 2021. The community is encouraged to review the proposed park design and provide input via email until Wednesday, February 17, 2021.” [City of Alexandria]

Filipino Fast-Food Chain Jollibee to Open in Landmark-Area Shopping Center — “Wildly popular Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee has inked a deal to take over a shuttered Boston Market space at Plaza at Landmark, its second restaurant slated for the region that we know of.” [Washington Business Journal]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy with rain developing later in the day. High 42F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rain. Low around 35F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a half an inch.” [Weather.com]

New Job: LARGE FORMAT SIGNS – Digital Print Operator — “We are actively seeking experienced Print Operator for our large format digital print department. Ideal candidate to possess solid background in digital print production and signage along with a positive attitude, great organizational skills and strong hands on skill set.” [Indeed]

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It was a short, but news-filled week in Alexandria.

With Monday off in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we started the week running with a COVID-19 update. Cases of COVID-19 in the city now stand at 8,975 and fatalities are at 99. That’s an increase of three deaths and 165 cases since Tuesday, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Our top story this week was a story that was published before election day in November, when residents with Joe Biden for president signs in their yards received anonymous letters stating that Biden is a pedophile.

Our second most-read story was the widely reported plans to close Atlantis Pizzeria and Family Restaurant.

Wednesday, Jan. 20, brought worldwide attention to Alexandria’s neighboring jurisdiction of Washington D.C. for Biden’s inauguration, and while there were calls from members of the community for a 6 p.m. curfew, there were no reported incidents from protestors in Alexandria.

In fact, Alexandria Sheriff’s deputies and police officers helped during the inauguration by working with regional partners to shut down the 14th Street Bridge to traffic.

In case you missed them, here are a few important posts:

Here are our top stories of the week:

  1. Alexandrians with Joe Biden Yard Signs Get Anonymous Letters Saying Biden is a Pedophile
  2. Atlantis Pizzeria and Family Restaurant Closing on Jan. 24
  3. New Boarding House Planned Over Old Town Barber Shop
  4. Man Charged With DWI After Horrific Crash in West End Parking Lot
  5. Contested Parker-Gray Townhouse Returns to City Tomorrow
  6. Police Chief: Many Recent Shootings in Alexandria Are Related
  7. Curfew Not Likely for Alexandria on Inauguration Day, No Known Threats Detected
  8. BREAKING: Woman Gets Arm Amputated, Police Investigate if She Was Thrown From Car in West End
  9. Vice Mayor Bennett-Parker Asks Alexandria Hotels to Cancel ‘Proud Boy’ Reservations
  10. Local Business in Hot Water with City Architects After Unauthorized Paint Job
  11. COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Expanded, City Says Aggressive Calls to COVID-19 Hotline Not Tolerated

Have a safe weekend!

Photo via Atlantis Restaurant/Facebook

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