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2200 block of Main Line Blvd (image via Google Maps)

Washington D.C. resident Dykwon Perry Davis has been indicted by a multi-jurisdictional jury on two felony charges: abduction with intent to defile and attempted rape.

Davis is charged with the attempted abduction in the Potomac Yard neighborhood earlier this month. On Feb. 3, Davis allegedly attacked a woman who had just parked her car on the 2200 block of Main Line Blvd and attempted to pull her into an alley. Davis allegedly tried to remove the woman’s pants but she was able to fight him off.

The Alexandria Police Department (APD) — the lead investigative agency — said a suspect was arrested a few days later.

According to a release from the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney:

These charges will be tried before the Circuit Court for the City of Alexandria. The Abduction charge carries a potential maximum penalty of life in prison. The Attempted Rape charge carries a potential maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Davis is currently in the custody of the Washington, D.C., Department of Corrections, pending extradition to Virginia to face these charges. A trial date will be set after Davis is arraigned.

The D.C. Department of Corrections told ALXnow it does not release booking photographs to the press.

Image via Google Maps

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There’s a new hair salon in Del Ray and it’s named after a Taylor Swift song. Enchant Hair Co. opened at 2202 Mount Vernon Avenue in January, and it’s named after Swift’s song Enchanted.

“I love Taylor Swift,” owner Monica Frias told ALXnow. “She’s like a reflection of my personality.”

The salon is the former home to Kiskadee, a boutique that closed in 2022. Frias toured the two-level building last October, signed the lease in November and spent two months renovating the interior and moving in equipment.

Frias grew up in the area and is a Mount Vernon High School graduate. At Mount Vernon, she took cosmetology and after graduating got her cosmetology license and started working in hair salons. It took her eight years to open her own business, which to this point has gotten a soft launch. She says that she’s working on a new website for the salon and will hold a grand opening and ribbon cutting sometime in March.

“I’m still really young, but I’m very good business-wise,” Frias said. “Right now, since I don’t have as many stylists as I eventually want to get, I have to do a lot of physical work to myself. I work all day here behind the chair and then I go home to like another three, four hours of editing videos, working on marketing for the salon, or working on my social media.”

Frias is active on social media, with more than 5,500 followers on Instagram and more than 55,000 followers on TikTok.

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A pedestrian tries to cross Duke St. at N. Jordan St. (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The Vision Zero goal of zero roadway deaths and severe injuries is daunting, but the City announced that it closed 2023 with zero traffic fatalities.

In a release, the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES) noted that one year with zero fatalities does not a trend make or mean that the city should roll out the Mission Accomplished banner.

“For the first time since the City of Alexandria’s Vision Zero goal of eliminating roadway deaths and severe injuries was adopted in 2017, the City has ended the year with zero fatalities,” T&ES said in the release. “While this does not necessarily indicate a trend or suggest that the City’s goal has been accomplished, it is a major milestone that demonstrates Vision Zero is achievable.”

T&ES said there were still “over a dozen severe injury crashes” last year.

According to the release:

The people affected by these crashes are parents, children, spouses, siblings, friends, neighbors, and colleagues, and these crashes can bring lifelong pain, disability, and trauma. Some victims of severe crashes may also succumb to their injuries later on. In at least one case in 2023, a crash victim is still fighting for their life in an intensive care unit. Roadway safety improvements can help prevent these kinds of tragedies.

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Good Thursday morning, Alexandria!

☀️ Today’s weather: Expect sunny skies and a high temperature of around 47 degrees, accompanied by a northwest wind ranging from 10 to 14 mph with gusts reaching up to 23 mph. As for Thursday night, the skies will be mostly clear, and the temperature will drop to around 31 degrees. The northwest wind will be at about 6 mph and will turn light and variable after midnight.

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Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin speaks at the announcement of a new arena for the Washington Wizards and Capitals in Potomac Yard in Alexandria, Dec. 13, 2023 (staff photo by James Cullum)

If a backroom deal goes through in Richmond, Hampton Roads drivers could get toll relief while Potomac Yard gets the new arena.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Gov. Glenn Youngkin has privately offered $322 million in tunnel toll relief in Hampton Roads to Senate Finance Chair Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, one of the biggest opponents to the Potomac Yard arena. Lucas had previously requested $92 million in toll relief in the State Senate budget.

Lucas has been one of the leading voices against the arena in Richmond and recently killed two bills to bring the Washington Wizards and Capitals to Alexandria. Lucas also removed language from the budget necessary to create the framework for the arena.

📈 Wednesday’s most read

The following are the most-read ALXnow articles for Feb 28, 2024.

  1. Alexandria Amtrak station is the second busiest in the Southeastern United States (2395 views)
  2. Alexandria city manager says widening imbalance in tax base puts city in financial peril (1150 views)
  3. ACPS targets 2026-2027 school year for middle and elementary school redistricting (741 views)

📅 Upcoming events

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

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Real estate tax base distribution (image via City of Alexandria)

Depending on how you cut it, the residential tax base comprises either 82% of the city’s revenue or 62% — but either way, Alexandria leaders said that’s a precarious balance for a local government’s budget.

It’s an issue that came up in both the city budget discussion and an update on the Potomac Yard Arena development at a City Council meeting last night.

The incongruity in those numbers comes from multi-family residential developments, which are required by state law to be classified as commercial developments. If multi-family residential were classified with the rest of residential developments, the residential tax base would comprise 82% of the city’s revenue.

The gulf between how much of the city’s revenue comes from residents vs commercial property has widened over the years and City Manager Jim Parajon said it puts the city’s financial security at risk.

“The imbalance between commercial and residential is a risk factor in this and future year’s budgets,” Parajon said. “A healthy Alexandria economy must include quality commercial growth to avoid greater tax burdens placed on residents or cuts to services.”

Director of Finance Kendel Taylor said earlier in the meeting that for 29 years city leaders have been talking about that gulf and watching it widen.

“When we talk about doing something from a catalytic perspective, changing our tax base to have more commercial tax base… with outsiders paying revenue for services to relieve pressure on people living in our homes and apartments, this is what we’re talking about: changing the trajectory of this chart,” Taylor said.

At the meeting last night, Parajon proposed a general fund operating budget of $911.3 million as well as a $2.33 billion 10-year capital improvement program for FY 2025-2034. The budget comes with no proposed changes in real estate tax, personal property tax or other tax rates. However, even the tax rate remaining the same will mean a roughly $30 per month tax increase for the average Alexandria residential household.

The budget fully funds the Superintendent’s Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) operating budget and 10-year CIP. It does not, however, include an additional $11 million requested by ACPS, which Parajon said would require cutting services and programs or raising the tax rate by two cents.

One smaller item of note was $250,000 to step up the city’s cybersecurity. The Alexandria Library was hit with a cyberattack last year and Parajon said the city’s faced multiple attempted hacks.

“This continues to be a threat to the city,” Parajon said. “This past year there were numerous examples of people trying to hack into our system. The ITS Director did a great job defending [the city] but they need more tools.”

According to a release from the City of Alexandria, there will be more budget hearings at:

On Thursday, February 29 at 7 p.m. at Charles E. Beatley, Jr. Central Library, City Manager Parajon will present the proposed FY 2025 Budget to the public.

To ask questions and provide feedback, please attend the following public meetings:

  • Monday, March 11: FY 2025 Budget Public Hearing
  • Saturday, March 16: Budget Public Hearing
  • Saturday, April 13: Add/Delete Public Hearing
  • Wednesday, April 24: Tax Rate Public Hearing
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The Amtrak and VRE station (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Amtrak said last year was one for the books for train travel around Virginia and the Alexandria station had the state’s second-highest ridership in the southeastern United States.

Just behind Richmond at 424,617 riders, Alexandria Union Station had 327,285 riders in 2023.

“The tremendous growth in ridership is a result of the substantial investments North Carolina and Virginia are making to expand and improve passenger rail,” Amtrak Vice President Ray Lang said in a release. “Customers are taking advantage of a sustainable way to travel to the many destinations our network offers.”

The third-highest ridership in the region was in Charlotte, North Carolina, with 281,220 riders. The next highest in Virginia was the Norfolk station at 232,530 riders.

“Richmond is not just the capital of Virginia, it’s the epicenter of the East, connecting the Southeast and the Northeast by rail,” DJ Stadtler, Executive Director of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA), said in the release. “All three of these stations — Richmond-Staples Mill, Alexandria, and Norfolk — offer Virginians access to rail service connecting the Commonwealth with the rest of the east coast.”

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(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) With a handful of schools exceeding 110% utilization, the Alexandria School Board is moving forward with a lengthy redistricting process to redraw elementary and middle school boundaries.

The School Board, which is now starting its redistricting process from scratch, wants any changes to go into effect at the beginning of the 2026-2027 school year, according to School Board Vice Chair Kelly Carmichael Booz.

On Tuesday, the ACPS Redistricting Steering Committee held a work session to map out its priorities, which include capacity reassignments in schools, as well as a balanced distribution of students riding on buses and participating in special programs.

“The new timeline right now is targeting the 2026-2027 school year, not 2025-2026,” Booz said at the meeting.

A number of elementary schools have more than 110% utilization, including John Adams, Mount Vernon, Patrick Henry, and Samuel W. Tucker Elementary Schools, according to a 2023 boundary analysis.

At the same time, enrollment at Cora Kelly, Douglas MacArthur, George Mason, and William Ramsay Elementary Schools is below 90%.

Alexandria City Public Schools is required by law to conduct a boundary analysis every five years or if a school opens. The analysis was initiated due to the opening of the new Douglas MacArthur Elementary School opened in August.

It’s been six years since the last shift of elementary school boundaries impacted approximately 1,351 students, according to ACPS. That 2018 redistricting was the result of a year-long process.

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Alice Ball, who created a treatment for leprosy (image via University of Hawaii)

March is Women’s History Month and there are events across the city discussing women who helped shape Alexandria.

Events include a lecture by Jane Plitt, Director of the National Center of Women’s Innovations, on how women shaped the world of healthcare, from curing leprosy to developing cataract eye surgery, but it took years for their role in the field to be recognized.

“She will be sharing the buried stories of a number of women who were innovators in health care including Dr. Patricia Bath (cataract eye surgery), Dr. Katalin Kariko (mRNA development), Dr. Svetlana Mojsov (Ozempic), Chemist Alice Ball (cure for leprosy), and Drs. Doudna and Charpentier (genome editing technology),” the event listing said. “These women fundamentally altered health for so many of us, and yet struggled to be recognized for their roles.”

The lecture is scheduled for Sunday, March 10, from 12:30-2:30 p.m.

A tour later that month at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum (105-107 S. Fairfax Street) will examine the role of midwives in the city beyond just delivering babies.

Events include:

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Mango Mike Anderson in Del Ray (staff photo by James Cullum)

He’s not remotely Irish, but Alexandria restaurant owner “Mango” Mike Anderson is the grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday.

A local celebrity of sorts, Anderson will lead the parade down King Street and to the reviewing stand on Royal Street in the heart of Old Town.

“I have been devoted to Alexandria for more than 50 years, not only as a homeowner but as a business owner,” Anderson said. “I hear there’s going to be 25,000 people there. It’s just terrific to have this kind of honor. I truly consider Alexandria to be my hometown.”

Turns out that this is the second consecutive parade where Anderson is the grand marshal, since he’s a Living Legend of Alexandria. All of the Living Legends were honorary parade marshals at the George Washington Birthday Parade earlier this month.

“Alexandria is the greatest,” Anderson said. “You’ve got history, proximity to the nation’s capital, and the great variety of people who live in the city. Almost everybody who lives in Alexandria is pretty passionate about it, which you can see at the city council meetings. This stuff creates a great community, and I also happen to be a proud member of this city’s restaurant community.”

Anderson is co-owner of the Homegrown Restaurant Group, which includes Pork Barrel BBQHoly Cow Del Ray, Del Ray’s pop-up bar, Whisky & OysterSweet Fire Donna’s and Tequila & Taco. He moved to Alexandria in the early 1970s and opened his first restaurant, Irish-themed Shooter McGee’s in 1979. He later owned and operated the Caribbean-themed Mango Mike’s in the West End for nearly 20 years.

Bill Blackburn is Anderson’s partner, and said that he doesn’t like to do things small, or simply.

“One of Mike’s favorite sayings is, if you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly,” Blackburn said. “I think he lives by those words. He doesn’t like to do anything small. From 30-foot-tall palm trees at Mango Mike’s to 30-foot tall Christmas trees in Del Ray, he’s always going bigger.”

Anderson, who is married to Donna (of Sweet Fire Donna’s), is known for creating outlandish spectacles, including scouting for the Del Ray Christmas tree by air (he’s a pilot and owns two small planes) and paying for it to get cut down, delivered and erected every year. His itch to open new restaurants is tempered, he says, by the seasonal transformations at the Del Ray pop-up bar. Right now it’s an Aspen-themed ski lodge with a gondola parked out front.

Few city events, however, are as spectacular as a parade, and Anderson said that he was always jealous of Pat Troy, the founder of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and owner of the now-closed Ireland’s Own bar in Old Town.

“I was always pretty jealous of Pat,” Anderson said. “He was able to put together this terrific parade that’s transcended him and has lasted 41 years. I’m just so pleased to be a part of it this year.”

The Ballyshaners announced Anderson as parade marshal in January.

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Good Wednesday morning, Alexandria!

⛈️ Today’s weather: Expect rain and a possible thunderstorm after 4pm with a high near 68, accompanied by breezy south winds reaching 16-20 mph and gusts up to 37 mph. Precipitation chances are 90%, with new rainfall amounts between a quarter and half-inch. By Wednesday night, anticipate rain and a potential thunderstorm before 7pm, followed by a chance of rain until 10pm, with a low around 31. Winds will shift to the northwest, blowing at 15-25 mph with gusts up to 47 mph, and precipitation chances drop to 80%. New rainfall amounts will be less than a tenth of an inch, with higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

🚨 You need to know

Loading zone at 218 N. Lee Street (image via Google Maps)

Businesses might find it a little easier to set up loading zones.

Patch reported that the Alexandria Traffic and Parking Board approved a new streamlined process for loading zones, allowing the Transportation and Environmental Services director to approve them administratively.

This means that businesses don’t need to go through a public hearing process to add rideshare, takeout, and delivery drop-off zones, though on-site signage is required to allow the public to weigh in before the approval.

Image via Google Maps

📈 Tuesday’s most read

The following are the most-read ALXnow articles for Feb 27, 2024.

  1. Alexandria Republicans join opposition to Potomac Yard arena (1348 views)
  2. Here’s what to know for this weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Alexandria (1123 views)
  3. Gaza ceasefire resolution ruffles feathers in Alexandria City Hall (802 views)

📅 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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