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Morning Notes

Mother of teen killed in attempted carjacking speaks out — “A mother is mourning the death of her 18-year-old son, who was fatally shot Friday in Alexandria, Virginia, after police say he and three other teens tried to carjack a man at a gas station and the man opened fire.” [NBC]

It’s Thursday — Rain in the morning. High of 81 and low of 62. Sunrise at 5:54 am and sunset at 8:19 pm. [Weather.gov]

Senior living facility The Landing opens in Potomac Yard — “Congratulations to the Landing, a cutting-edge senior living facility, that officially opened today in Potomac Yard.” [Twitter]

When do pools open in Alexandria — “Ready for pool season to begin? Here are the options for city pools and others near Alexandria.” [Patch]

Alexandria has had at least one unit out of service every day — “THE COUNT: The city of Alexandria has had at least one fire department unit out of service everyday for 279 days straight.” [Twitter]

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The William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center (Photo via City of Alexandria)

(Updated 5:30 p.m.) Alexandria law enforcement is investigating the death of Anthony Mouf, a 25-year-old Fairfax County man in Alexandria’s William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center

Anthony Moaf, photo via Alexandria Sheriff’s Office

According to a city release, Mouf was found suffering from an apparent medical emergency alone in his cell in the jail’s booking area.

“The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office and the Alexandria Police Department are investigating the in-custody death of a federal inmate at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center,” the release said. “Around 8:10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 18, deputies discovered an inmate suffering an apparent medical emergency alone in his cell in the booking area of the jail.”

The release said deputies immediately requested 911 assistance and called for assistance from medical staff and began administering emergency treatments. Medics from the Alexandria Fire Department responded and provided treatment, but Mouf died at 8:44 a.m. — about a day-and-a-half after he was arrested.

“Because this is an in-custody death, the Alexandria Police Department is conducting the death investigation,” the release said. “The Sheriff’s Office will conduct a review of the incident to ensure all policies and procedures were followed.”

The death comes less than a week after inmate deaths were reported in a DC jail, at least one of which is believed to be caused by an overdose.

H/t to Alan Henney

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Alexandria parents should consider breastfeeding and using cow’s milk for short periods during the nationwide baby formula shortage, according to the Alexandria Health Department (AHD).

Those were just a couple of the department’s recommendations since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recall of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formulas produced at the Abbott Nutrition factory in Sturgis, Michigan — the largest producer of infant formula in the country.

Four children got bacterial infections because of formula made at the Abbot plant and two children died. Now more than 40% of the country’s baby formula supply is now out of stock. The Abbot factory is now set to reopen in two weeks, and it will take up to two months for products to reach grocery store shelves around the country.

Many Alexandria parents have turned online to find baby formula, with one resident even creating the NOVA Baby Formula Finding Network Facebook group, which now has 2,200 members.

If no formula is available, the Alexandria Health Department recommends feeding your baby whole cow’s milk for short periods.

“If you are still pregnant but will deliver soon, please give extra consideration to breastfeeding,” AHD advised. “Most women can breastfeed, and you are likely to avoid the formula shortage altogether.”

AHD provided the following dos and don’ts if parents are struggling to find baby formula:

DOS:

  1. Do contact your baby’s physician or healthcare provider with any questions, especially if your baby is on a restricted diet or has any medical conditions.
  2. Do call ahead to nearby stores to find the ones that have formula before you travel.
  3. Do check smaller markets and drug stores when big box stores and supermarkets are out.
  4. Do consider buying formula online if you can afford it, only from well-established distributors and pharmacies.
  5. Do buy only a 10-14-day supply each time. It appears unlikely that the supply is going to run out, and hoarding will only make shortages worse.
  6. Do consider alternate or store-brand formulas if your baby is not on a restricted diet and has no major health problems.
  7. Do check local social media groups for tips or help finding formula in your area.
  8. Do contact the Alexandria Health Department or the Alexandria WIC office at 703-746-4998 for recommendations or resources.

DON’TS:

  1. Don’t purchase formula online from private vendors or auctions. You won’t know what you’re actually getting, and there is little or no control over pricing.
  2. Don’t purchase formula from foreign or overseas locations. These products will not be FDA cleared, and may contain contaminants or ingredients inappropriate for your baby.
  3. Don’t feed homemade formula from a recipe. Even if only safe ingredients are used, these formulas will not provide adequate nutrition.
  4. Don’t water down or dilute your existing formula as your baby will not get adequate nutrition.
  5. Don’t feed your baby any plant-based milks as they lack many key nutrients.
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Hermitage Northern Virginia, image courtesy Goodwin House

Alexandria-based Goodwin House Inc., a non-profit organization built around senior living, has acquired the West End senior living community Hermitage Northern Virginia with plans to undergo an expansion in the coming years.

While the current operator of Hermitage will remain in place until August 1, after that the facility will become part of Goodwin House.

Rob Liebreich, President and CEO of Goodwin House, said the acquisition of one not-for-profit of another is unusual for fortuitous because Goodwin House plans to keep staffing and pricing at Hermitage intact.

“It’s unusual for two non-profits to have this interaction,” Liebreich said. “[Hermitage] could have been bought by a developer or sold to a for-profit, but as not for profit, we can keep those residents in mind.”

There are currently around 100 residents in Hermitage, but Liebreich said the plan is to increase that to around 135.

“Going to take a good amount of work, but it’s a good product already and we think we can elevate that in the market,” Liebreich said.

Liebreich said talk about the acquisition started around three years ago. For Hermitage, it will be a chance to take advantage of the deeper well of resources available from the larger Goodwin House organization, which operates facilities in Alexandria and Bailey’s Crossroads. Meanwhile, Liebreich said the acquisition also gives Goodwin House Inc. a chance to expand its mission into middle-income residents.

“We’ll be able to serve more older adults in ways we haven’t been able to,” Liebreich said. “[Hermitage] is at a price point lower than what we currently offer and they offer a different amenity package. We’re excited to learn that model.”

Liebreich said many seniors are stuck in a “middle market” where they don’t qualify for government assistance programs but can’t afford the expenses of many senior living facilities.

Current monthly rates at The Hermitage are:

  • Assisted living rental rates range from $3,675 to $7,660
  • Long term care rental rates range from $9,900 to $13,100
  • Some residents pay additional fees for extra services.

Those rates represent an increase by the current operator, which will take effect in June, but Liebreich said there are no plans to increase the rates above that.

Liebreich said Goodwin House also plans to increase the pay structure for Hermitage staff to offer a “competitive living wage” and offer additional benefits, like an educational program.

The full press release is available below the jump:

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Alexandria and Arlington will start clearing debris and dredging Four Mile Run in September, and the project will close sections of the park from the public for four to six months.

The City and County maintain a shared flood-control channel in the lower portion of the nine-mile-long stream, and have partnered to dredge Four Mile Run since 1974.

“The work that is upcoming will be maintenance work and it will include dredging or removing some of the soil and rock deposits, which will restore the channel to the capacity so that it can pass a 100 year storm, or a storm that has a 1% chance of happening every year,” Aileen Winquist, Arlington’s stormwater communications manager, said in a community meeting Tuesday night (May 17).

The work area includes portions of Four Mile Run Park and Lower Long Branch, near Arlington’s Troy Park. The project will not impact the Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market.

It will take up to six months to dredge at Four Mile Run Park and about a month to dredge the area around Troy Park, Winquist said.

The Four Mile Run dredge project includes shutting down the Four Mile Run Park parking lot along Mount Vernon Avenue for dredging equipment, as well as closure and detour of a section of the park trail.

Four Mile Run Park is also undergoing a trail bridge replacement near the baseball fields.

Maps via Arlington County

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A 33-year-old Alexandria man was briefly arrested last month after allegedly threatening that he would shoot and kill a woman unless she returned cash and jewelry to his mother.

The incident occurred on April 28 (Thursday), at around 8:45 p.m. in the 200 block of S. Reynolds Street in the Landmark area. The victim answered a knock at her apartment door and spoke briefly with the suspect, who allegedly told her that he had a gun and would kill her if she did not return his mother’s money and jewelry, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Ten days earlier, on April 18 (Monday), the victim was questioned by police for using at least 16 checks and allegedly stealing jewelry. The victim told police that she used the checks mistakenly because she is illiterate, but denied stealing any jewelry, according to a search warrant affidavit.

The suspect was arrested for threatening to extort money on May 9 and released on the same day on $1,200 unsecured bond. He goes to court for the offense on June 3.

Via Google Maps

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To those grumbling about the sudden Yellow Line delays because of the lapsed certifications: hold onto your butts, it’s going to get worse this fall.

The City of Alexandria is preparing for a Yellow Line shutdown in Alexandria later this year due to bridge and tunnel rehabilitation and bringing the Potomac Yard Metro station into the system.

The rehabilitation work will cause an 8-month shutdown of the Yellow Line between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza, from September 10 to next spring. Between Sept. 10 and Oct. 22, there will be no Metro service south of the National Airport station.

According to plans (Item 6) docketed for review at the Tuesday, May 24, City council meeting: Blue Line trains will be running frequently from the airport with a replacement “Yellow Line” route running to New Carrollton during the September-October.

The city plans do note that if the 7000-series trains remain out of service, the trains will be running less frequently than currently planned.

During that time, a series of free shuttles will replace Metro service south of National Aiport.

According to the city that will entail:

  • Free Yellow Line Replacement Shuttles – Local and Express
  • Free Blue Line Replacement Shuttles – Local and Express
  • Free Downtown Connection Shuttles
  • Free Airport Connector Shuttle
  • Weekday Metrobus Alternatives

For the longer period, from October to spring, the Yellow Line portion in Alexandria will be operating as a branch of the Blue Line. The plans optimistically expect the new route from Huntington to New Carrollton to take around 15 minutes longer than the current route.

Throughout both shutdowns, city plans indicate there will be more shuttles running over the Potomac to get Blue Line riders into D.C.

The presentation for the May 24 meeting indicates that there are some options being presented to the City Council to boost transit accessibility during the shutdown, including restoring bus route 11Y and offering additional bus service.

“Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation will provide 80% of costs for City mitigation efforts,” the city plans said.

The total cost to the city for mitigation efforts is estimated to be around $120,000.

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Morning Notes

Tabletop gaming shop coming to Old Town North — “Large ‘Coming Soon!’ signs are up in the windows of a store at the corner of Wythe and North Washington streets — and gamers should be pretty excited.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

It’s Wednesday — Rain overnight. High of 73 and low of 55. Sunrise at 5:55 am and sunset at 8:18 pm. [Weather.gov]

Alexandria City High School boys’ lacrosse finishes strong — “The Alexandria City High School boys’ lacrosse team finished their regular season by defeating Fairfax High School, 13-1, at Stalnaker field on May 5.” [Alexandria Times]

City Council fields questions about COVID-19 policy and more  — “The panel discussion was moderated by Ann Harbor, Chair of the Chamber’s Government Relations Committee. Questions addressed topics of concern from COVID-19 to affordable housing, to flooding and climate change and transportation and more.” [Zebra]

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2121 Eisenhower proposal, image via SK+I Architecture

A last-minute disagreement between city staff and developers of a new development in Carlyle raised concerns about fairness in the city’s development process.

There was little indication before the City Council meeting (item 12) on Saturday, May 15, that the development at 2111 and 2121 Eisenhower Avenue would take up two hours of discussion and argument.

At the public hearing, the project faced both criticism from affordable housing advocates for its lackluster contribution and an 11th hour objection from staff over a technical development detail that amounted to a $1 million fee discrepancy.

The central question was whether or not the above-ground parking space at the site qualified as part of the square footage of a building for purposes of things like the developer contribution to affordable housing.

Vagueries and disagreement in what the city was asking from the developer led City Council member Kirk McPike to describe the whole issue as “Calvinball” — a reference to the game played in Calvin and Hobbes where the rules are inconsistent and change mid-game.

The staff report recommended approval, and there was no discussion of this issue at the Planning Commission.

“In recent days it’s become clear that there’s a difference of opinion between the applicant and staff on how to apply the $5.46 per square foot toward the above-ground parking portion of the residential development,” said Karl Moritz, Director of Planning and Zoning. “First, I do need to apologize to the applicant for the extreme lateness in bringing this issue to our collective attention … but staff’s view is that the Eisenhower East Plan is clear on what the contribution applies to and even more clear on what is exempt.”

Moritz said the condition applies to development built above ground and developments approved under the previous plan are exempt. The plan also exempts commercial development because the market for commercial development is challenging. Finally, the plan exempts bonus density applied to affordable housing.

Moritz said part of the analysis is what value is being created by the upzoning that the plan is providing — the increase in value that each property owner is getting.

Attorney Cathy Puskar represented applicant Mid-Atlantic Realty Partners and not only expressed disagreement with staff’s conclusion that the parking should qualify as square footage to be factored into the developer contributions, but said the process by which the issue was raised was unacceptable.

“We often have issues that come up at the last minute before we come to you at City Council and it’s always unfortunate but we’re able to work through it,” Puskar said. “In this instance it’s not only unfortunate it’s egregious. I received a call 23 hours before this hearing telling me that high-level staff at planning and zoning had a different interpretation of our obligation on the developer contribution than had been discussed during the small area plan, than had been agreed to, and has been documented in the conditions.”

Puskar said the disagreement amounted to a $1 million additional fee to pay the city.

The vagueness of the rules and their implementation in the development sparked some frustration from the dais.

“We’re voting on this language, we all agree on the language, but nobody agrees on what the language means,” McPike said. “There’s kind of a Calvinball aspect to this.”

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Alexandria Hyundai has been taking up space on three blocks of Mount Vernon Avenue for 21 years, and owner Kevin Reilly is submitting a plan to be able to stay on the Avenue for at least 20 more.

Hyundai wants upgrades at their dealerships, Reilly says, and that means he has to build a service drive-thru lane and service reception areas.

“What I’m asking for is to continue on the avenue essentially, that’s what it comes down to,” Reilly said at a recent Del Ray Business Association meeting.

The issue is that Reilly’s dealership runs against the city’s Mount Vernon Avenue Business Area Plan, which calls for a more walkable community with more mixed use retail and housing.

“(Automobile dealership) uses are inconsistent with the Potomac West Small Area Plan and with the existing zoning that does not allow automobile-oriented uses such as automobile dealerships. Although it is unlikely that either dealership property will redevelop in the foreseeable future, mixed-use buildings, with ground floor retail and residences or offices above would be compatible with adjacent residences and would complement the Historic Core and the nearby retail area at Mt. Vernon and Monroe Avenues.”

The plan includes:

  • A 770 square foot canopy to a 1,730 square foot service reception addition
  • A 1,500 square foot service reception area to their showroom lot in the 1800 block of Mount Vernon Avenue
  • The addition of four New Electrify America electric vehicle spaces with fast chargers for public access

Reilly, who is a former Del Ray Business Association president, says that the four New Electrify America electric vehicle chargers are a gift to the community.

“It takes 30 minutes or so to charge your vehicle,” Reilly said. “What do you do with 30 minutes? You’re walking up and down the Avenue and availing yourself of all the wonderful businesses here.”

Alexandria Hyundai’s plan goes before the Planning Commission on June 7 and City Council on June 18. If approved, Reilly anticipates six-to-eight months for construction.

Via Google Maps

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