Newsletter

What a week in Alexandria.

Public uproar over Sunday’s flooding spilled out throughout this week, which continued to be threatened by near-daily flash flood advisories from the National Weather Service.

Our top story was on Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, who criticized City Manager Mark Jinks on the city’s stormwater infrastructure. Mayor Justin Wilson says that multiple projects are underway and take time, and that the city is now looking into whether spot improvements and any other projects can be accelerated.

The group DrainALX has also gained popularity, as it continues to catalog stormwater issues and complaints. One Del Ray resident even told us that she’s turned to therapy after repeatedly spending thousands on a continually ruined basement.

Our weekly poll also found 55% of respondents (193 people) have experienced flood damage to their homes, 14% (74 people) have experienced other sorts of property damage and 31% (159 votes) have never had any property damaged by a storm in the city.

This weekend’s forecast is partly cloudy with a 50% chance of scattered thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon, followed by a 40% chance of thunderstorms Sunday night.

School issues

The week before school starts, the School Board unanimously approved Thursday night the requirement that ACPS staffers get the coronavirus vaccine.

“We do have authority to require testing and require vaccinations,” Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. said at the board meeting. “However, there have been no cases where someone has contested that requirement. That has not occurred as of yet, and I’m sure it’s going to begin soon…”

In the meantime, Alexandria is also prepping COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city employees.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. As Alexandria looks to accelerate stormwater projects, Sheriff gives city manager a D-
  2. The Four Mile Run Bridge in Arlandria will not fully reopen until fall 2025
  3. Institute for Defense Analyses announces Potomac Yard move-in later this year
  4. Woman behind DrainALX campaign shares frustrations and hopes from locals after Sunday flood
  5. HUD Secretary Fudge visits Alexandria, says affordable housing is a Biden Administration priority
  6. New census shows Alexandria not majority-white
  7. Alexandria School Board to discuss mandatory vaccinations for staffers this week
  8. After rampant flooding over weekend, another Flash Flood Watch is in effect for Alexandria
  9. Poll: Have you gotten the infamous mite bite in Alexandria?
  10. Alexandria Fire Department struggling with staffing shortage and forced overtime
  11. Stuck in quandary, Del Ray flooding victim seeks therapy

Have a safe weekend!

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Troy “The Transformer” Isley was welcomed home to cheering supporters in Old Town Thursday, as the Olympic fighter signed autographs and talked about future bouts.

Isley got back to Alexandria from Tokyo last week, and says folks are treating him a little differently.

“I’ll call my friends, and their parents will be like, ‘Is that the Olympian on the phone?'” Isley said. “It’s like a dream come true. I fulfilled my dream.”

Isley, a middleweight, won in his Olympic debut against Vitali Bandarenka of Belarus on July 26. He lost his second fight against Russian Gleb Bakshi on July 29, which knocked him out of the tournament.

He has a 2-0 record since turning pro in February, and is a graduate of T.C. Williams High School. Isley is also one of three Titans competing in the Olympics, along with bronze medalist sprinter Noah Lyles and high jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend.

The 22-year-old started boxing with the Alexandria Boxing Club at an early age, and says he will get back to working out on Monday. After all, he just booked his next professional bout on October 23 in Atlanta, Georgia, and hopes to fight again in December.

“I’m pretty much on vacation now,” Isley said. “I’m definitely ready to get back in the ring.”

Isley’s father, Kevin Isley, said that his son’s performance at the games was inspiring.

“It was humbling for my family and me to see him live out his childhood dream,” Kevin Isley said. “Troy just stuck with it, stayed focused and all of his dreams have come through so far. The Olympics was fantastic, but he’s going to do a whole lot better now because he’s got a professional style.”

There were a bunch of young fighters in attendance at Charles Houston, including 12-year-old Mark Cates, who won a regional Golden Gloves tournament in 2019.

“I love hitting people in the face,” Cates said. “My plan is to go to Nationals, the Olympics and then go pro.”

Terriel Cooke, Sr. brought his son to meet Isley. His son won the 10 and under category at the U.S. Nationals last year.

“It’s great to see someone who started off here in Alexandria make it,” said the elder Cooke. “We’re so proud of Troy here. We were just stuck to the TV watching him the whole time. It’s amazing to see how he grew up to give back to his community.”

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Morning Notes

Booster shot preparations for adults made in Alexandria — “After a White House announcement that a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine could be available to adults as soon as Sept. 20, the City of Alexandria is preparing to administer the additional doses.” [Patch]

Efforts underway to educate public as city adjusts to marijuana legalization — “In order to spread awareness about the details of the bill and quell community concerns, the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria worked with the governor’s office to release a “Top 10″ list for youth and adults that concretely explains the new measure’s rules and regulations.” [Alextimes]

Behind the scenes at ‘The Loft’ with Lena’s seasonal transformations — “When the theme at the Loft at Lena’s changes for the season, it’s a top to bottom change. New menus are developed, staff don new uniforms and even the lighting is completely redone. The loft closes down on Sunday and is closed for four days before reopening in time for Friday dinner. During that time it’s a 24/7 process that involves the whole team at Lena’s.” [Alexandria Living]

Median home prices to rise steadily in Northern Virginia — “The median price of sold homes will continue its upward trend across Northern Virginia, but the rise in prices will slow down in the coming months, according to a new report from the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University (GMU-CRA) and the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR).” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s weather — “Rain showers in the morning with scattered thunderstorms arriving in the afternoon. High 79F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 80%. Locally heavy rainfall possible… Scattered thunderstorms in the evening, then variable clouds overnight with more showers at times. Low around 70F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 40%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Auto sales representative — “NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED!! WE WILL TRAIN YOU!! OURISMAN CHRYSLER / JEEP / DODGE / RAM NEEDS SALESPEOPLE!!…..one of Virginia’s most respected automotive groups is offering an opportunity to join their automotive sales team” [Indeed]

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Alexandria’s Troy Isley won his Olympic debut on Monday against middleweight Vitali Bandarenka, and his boxing club at home is eager that he win a medal.

The Olympic games have been Isley’s dream since he boxing at the Alexandria Boxing Club when he was eight years old.

“Everything is one punch at a time in this sport, and Troy is definitely going to get a medal,” Alexandria Boxing Club coach Jeffrey “Steady” Johnson told ALXnow. “He looked really good.”

Isley, a middleweight, is one of three T.C. Williams High School graduates in the Tokyo Olympics, along with sprinter Noah Lyles and high-jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend. After launching his pro debut earlier this year, Isley (now 2-0 professionally) and teammates Keyshawn Davis and Duke Ragan are the first-ever pro boxers to fight for Team USA in the Games.

In his Team USA bio, Isley lists Kay Koroma and Dennis Porter as his coaches. Porter, the founder of the Alexandria Boxing Club, passed away earlier this year.

Johnson said that Isley’s fame has led to a waiting list for kids to be trained.

“We got started with the Alexandria Boxing Club after Sugar Ray Leonard won the Olympic gold medal in 1976,” he said. “Boxing really blew up in the area. That’s why we started. Now we’ve got a waiting list for a while.”

Isley, who lists Leonard as his favorite boxer of all time, next faces Russia’s Gleb Sergeyevich Bakshi on Thursday.

https://twitter.com/USABoxing/status/1419859904387424262

via Twitter

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It was a cold and snowy week in Alexandria.

Our top story this week was on plans to redevelop the GenOn power plant in Old Town North. It looks like deconstruction of the plant will start in 2023 and developers are looking at converting it into an urban, mixed-use property with housing.

The short work week started with news that Alexandria reached 10,000 cases of COVID-19. The latest figures show that there are 10,113 cases and 104 total deaths in the city, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The city’s seven-day moving average is now 35.1 cases.

A 49-year-old homeless woman was found dead in Arlandria on Tuesday morning, and the mayor told us that homelessness is on the rise in the city. ALXnow is following up with the city on the issue.

Tuesday morning also brought news that Alexandria City Councilman Mo Seifeldein abandoned his run for mayor and will not seek reelection to council. Seifeldein was hired as a trial lawyer by the U.S. Department of Labor in Jan. 2020, and while he can finish out his term on council, he can not run unless he files as an independent candidate.

In other election news, the race for city council is starting to get crowded, as Bill Rossello, a co-founder of the Bring Integrity Back to Alexandria Facebook Group, just threw his hat into the ring.

On the vaccine front, the waiting list has surpassed 45,000 and it may be until late summer that the vaccine is widely available in the city. On Thursday, Mayor Justin Wilson also asked the governor to open vaccine eligibility for restaurant, personal care and retail workers.

More than 200 people responded to this week’s poll on power outages. There have been a number of outages over tha last year, and 73% of respondents reported experiencing an outage, while 26% report that their homes haven’t been impacted.

In case you missed them, here are some other important stories this week:

Here are our top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. Developers Lay Out Multi-Year Timeline for GenOn Plant Redevelopment
  2. BREAKING: Homeless Woman Found Dead on Mount Vernon Avenue
  3. Alexandria Boxer Troy Isley Goes Pro With Big Fight Next Week
  4. Seifeldein Not Running for Mayor, Leaving Alexandria City Council
  5. ALXnow’s Top Stories this Week in Alexandria
  6. Director of Finance: Alexandria’s Real Estate Assessments Are a ‘Tale of Two Markets’
  7. Local Business Owner Robbed of Car While Pumping Gas at Old Town Gas Station
  8. Torpedo Factory Overhaul Heads to City Council Next Month
  9. Snow: Up to 6 Inches of Snow and Ice Expected in Alexandria
  10. BREAKING: Alexandria Police Investigate Second Car Stolen While Owner Pumps Gas
  11. Local Facebook Watchdog Group Founder Bill Rossello Announces Run for City Council

Have a safe weekend!

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Alexandria boxer Troy Isley has just gone professional and is headed into a fight next Saturday with something to prove.

“I’m feeling good,” Isley said. “I’m ready. I’m eager and getting anxious.”

Isley recently signed a multi-year contract with Top Rank, a boxing promoter, and has his first fight on Saturday, Feb. 13. For Isley, it’s part of a hopeful comeback after narrowly missing a chance to compete at the Olympics.

“I didn’t get to go to the Olympics, don’t have quite the following I would, but I still have a good following with three years on the team,” Isley said. “I’m still well known. Right now, I’m using that chip on my shoulder. I’ve got to win… I’ve been going all out, working hard, and it’s giving me that extra push. It didn’t come through on the Olympic dream, I gotta make this.”

Isley started boxing as a child with the Alexandria Boxing Club but said it wasn’t until late in high school when he started seriously considering it at a career path.

“It’s not that I didn’t believe in myself, I was confident when I got in the ring — but when I got on the team senior year was when [it sunk in],” Isley said.

While coronavirus has shut down athletic activities, Isley got relatively lucky: he needed about a year to recover from shoulder surgeries near the start of the pandemic.

“It didn’t quite impact me as bad,” Isley said. “I had to get two shoulder surgeries, so I was rehabbing and recovering. It didn’t really do anything from me, I had to recover anyway. It really came right in time.”

Isley said boxing gave him an avenue he’d never expected to success, and said he hopes others in Alexandria can come out of the pandemic with similar passions they can believe in and stick to.

Photo via Top Rank Boxing/Facebook

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Dennis Porter, the longtime head coach of the Alexandria Boxing Club, passed away on Jan. 7, 2020.

The trainer of such Alexandria champions as 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist Shakur Stevenson and former IBF World Featherweight Champion Eric Aikens was 59 years old and died of a heart attack.

“He was a demanding guy. He had that force behind him, like a drill instructor. You listened to him, because you could hear him all over the building,” said Alexandria Boxing Coach Jeffrey “Steady” Johnson. “He was one heck of a guy, to give this much of his life to a program. It doesn’t happen often when a guy can do it for 30 years.”

Porter is survived by his wife, Crystel, children Dennis, Jr. and Timothy, and a number of grandchildren. He was memorialized by his fighters in the gym the day after his passing.

“There were guys I hadn’t seen since the ’80s,” Johnson said. “It made me tear up, because around here it’s all about family. It was a beautiful thing to see.”

Iesha Kenney became a national amateur champion under Porter.

“He always pushed me further than I thought possible,” Kenney said. “He was an all-around good guy and he was always here.”

Porter’s funeral will be held on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 11 a.m. at Antioch Church of Christ (1120 Queen Street).

Photos courtesy Alexandria Boxing Club

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