Alexandria, VA

It’s the end of another work week in Alexandria!

There was a lot of crime this week, as police responded to multiple shots fired incidents in the Parker Gray area on September 2. There was also another carjacking in the West End — the latest in a recent uptick that prompted Mayor Justin Wilson to ask the public for help in reducing the number of vehicle-related thefts.

But there is also some good news to report, as businesses are opening in the city despite the daily pressures of the pandemic. This week we took a look inside The Company Of Books used book store in Del Ray, and we covered the city’s new Wellness District, which is providing a number of free programs and discounts for the recently expanded Wellness Month.

Also this week, Alexandria City Public Schools cut down a 150-year-old tree to make way for a concession stand. The move was criticized by activists and former Mayor Allison Silberberg. With the destruction of the tree, the renovation project for the Parker-Gray Stadium has now officially begun.

What stories impacted you this week? Let us know in the comments.

Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.

  1. Alexandria Woman Uninjured in Tuesday Carjacking at Gunpoint in Potomac Yard
  2. Beatley Central Library Closed Until Further Notice Due to ‘Emergency Conditions’
  3. Police: Three Alexandria ABC Stores Broken Into, High-End Liquor Stolen
  4. Police Investigating Multiple Gunshots Fired in Parker Gray/Braddock
  5. Alexandria’s COVID Positive Testing Rate Lowest in Region
  6. Halal Slaughterhouse Construction Begins, Opening Reset to Mid-November
  7. Update: Chalk Graffiti Decrying Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf Sprayed In Front of Wrong House
  8. Braddock ‘Elizabeth’s Counter’ Last of Regional Chain After Bankruptcy Filing
  9. Police: Three Alexandria ABC Stores Broken Into, High-End Liquor Stolen
  10. North Potomac Yard Plans Going to Planning Commission, Board of Architectural Review
  11. ACPS Cuts Down 150-Year Old Tree to Make Way for Concession Stand

Have a safe weekend!

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Updated 5:40 p.m. — According to Anton Murray, spokesman for Alexandria Libraries:

Due to an incidence of COVID-19 with a staff member at the Beatley Library, the Library has been closed for 1-3 days for deep cleaning. The nature of that staff member’s role in the library requires little to no significant direct contact with the public or other staff. Based on investigation to date (including contact tracing) by the Health Department no quarantine recommendations were needed for other staff or the public.

Holds pickup and due dates will be extended during this closure period.

Earlier: Two weeks after it started to reopen to the public, the Charles E. Beatley, Jr. Central Library has closed do to what has only been described vaguely as “emergency conditions.”

The Alexandria Library system announced on Twitter that the location would be closed until further notice.

A spokesperson for the city said the city could not provide additional information at this time on why the library was closed.

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Morning Notes

Beyer Calls for Investigation Into Alleged Hatch Act Violations at Republican National Convention — “For those asking about next steps, Hatch Act violations are investigated and enforced by the Office of Special Counsel. @CongressmanRaja and I just requested such an investigation into potential violations at the Republican National Convention.” [Twitter]

King Street Development Projects Set to Break Ground — “The King Street Project, by Galena Capital Partners, is teed up for approval by the Alexandria City Council. The King Street Project includes plans for two developments in Old Town that would replace current parking lots.” [Alexandria Living]

Faith Pilgrimage Marching Through Alexandria Today — “A group or 30 religious leaders will be walking through Alexandria this week as part of a days-long walk from Charlottesville to the District.” [Alexandria Living]

National Archives Loans Alexandria Library Pieces for Women’s Suffrage Exhibit — “The celebration of the 19th Amendment continues at Alexandria Library’s Barrett Branch. On display through September 23 is an exhibit called ‘Rightfully Hers,’ on loan from the National Archives.” [Zebra]

Blood Drive Today at Lost Boy Cider — “The Inova bloodmobile will be at Lost Boys Cider (next to our headquarters at 317 Hooffs Run Drive) from 11-4!” [Facebook]

Sheriff’s Department Reads ‘I Feel Silly’ to Kids Online — “Feeling silly, excited or mad? Each day can bring different feelings. Join Deputy Alexis Turner as she reads “Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day” and then share how you’re feeling in the comments.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “During the day, mostly cloudy with a high of 93F. At night, some clouds. Low 74F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Front House Manager — “Supervises the dining room staff in proper service of residents during all meal periods. Assigns and coordinates duties of servers and hosts/hostess’. Maintains cleanliness of dining room and directs staff in the overall effective and efficient operation of the dining room.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria commemorated the 100 year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment on Tuesday with a socially distant ceremony outside the Kate Waller Barrett Library.

Mayor Justin Wilson read a city proclamation that recounted the dozens of suffragists who were imprisoned, tortured and ultimately released from the Occoquan Workhouse after their case was thrown out in the federal courthouse in Alexandria.

“For a lot of the women who live in the city of Alexandria, it took several more decades until we provided universal suffrage and universal franchise for everyone,” Wilson said. “We certainly commemorate that history, that this was the beginning of what was a longer struggle for a lot of women and that work continues on today.”

Women’s suffrage came to a head in 1917 when more than 70 women were jailed, beaten and force-fed at the Occoquan Workhouse. Reports of their severe treatment largely influenced the passage of the Amendment, including the story of Lucy Burns, who was force fed through her nose and spent a “night of terror” with her hands cuffed above her head.

Councilwoman Amy Jackson said that it’s important to pay it forward.

“Days like this fill me with personal pride,” she said. “We got here on the shoulders of others, like Del Pepper. She’s been on council 35 years, and some times she was the only woman on council.”

Pepper said that there was a time when the city was run by women, with Mayor Patsy Ticer and City Manager Vola Lawson.

“I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” Pepper said. “The ladies that I’m talking about offered a vision for a meaningful path forward.”

Gretchen Bulova, director of the Office of Historic Alexandria, is working with Alexandria Living Legend Pat Miller to install a marker in the next couple of months outside the courthouse in Carlyle.

“It’s the women’s community who have helped to preserve and save this community and build the experience you see here today,” Bulova said. “Alexandria has a really strong record of doing that. And it’s because people are willing to put themselves out there.”

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After months of limited curbside service, Alexandria’s libraries have reopened today with some safety modifications.

The protective measures are standard for what many other locations have been doing to open indoor operations safely as the city still struggles with coronavirus.

“Each customer will have their temperature taken; will be issued a face covering if they did not bring one; and must maintain 6 feet of distance from others at all times,” the city said in a press release. “Face coverings are required for all customers over age 10 at all locations.”

The libraries will only be open at 25% capacity and customers will only be allowed up to two hours inside the building, though they can return 30 minutes after departure if space is available. The library website noted that furniture has been removed or reconfigured for appropriate distancing, and asked that visitors not move furniture unless staff is consulted.

“Plastic shields and signage have been installed, and all high-touch areas will be disinfected regularly,” the city said.
“All library online programs and curbside pick-up will continue, while meeting spaces will not be available for use.”

According to the city website, library hours are as follows:

Beatley Central:
Sun:  Closed
Mon:  11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Tues:  11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Wed:  11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Thurs:  11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Fri:  Curbside Only
Sat:  11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Talking Books:
Sun:  Closed
Mon:  11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Tues:  Closed
Wed:  11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Thurs:  11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Fri:  Closed
Sat:  Closed

Burke Branch
Sun:  Closed
Mon:  11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Tues:  Closed
Wed:  11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Thurs:  Closed
Fri:  Curbside Only
Sat:  11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Barrett Branch
Sun:  Closed
Mon:  11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Tues:  Closed
Wed:  11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Thurs:  Closed
Fri:  Curbside Only
Sat:  11 a.m.-5 p.m.

DUNCAN BRANCH
Sun: Closed
Mon: Closed
Tues: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Wed: Closed
Thurs: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Fri:  Curbside Only
Sat: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

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Morning Notes

Former Councilman Bob Calhoun Dies — “Bob Calhoun, a former Republican state senator and city councilor, died on Aug. 6 of prostate cancer. He was 83.” [Alex Times]

ACPS Staffer at John Adams Elementary Registration Site Tests Positive for Coronavirus — “The site has currently been closed for cleaning and ACPS will follow all guidelines for ensuring that our facilities are clean and safe prior to reopening. The risk to anyone who was in contact with this individual at the school site has been deemed low, due to the specific circumstances of this case, including proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and physical distancing.” [Facebook]

Alexandria Libraries Reopening on Monday — “The library will move into phase three of its reopening plan by allowing the public to access physical locations. Curbside pickup will remain available on days when libraries are open, and curbside-only service will be offered on Fridays.” [Patch]

Poet Laureate Seeks Poems for BLM Display at Athenaeum — ” We continuously celebrate the creativity of our diverse population in the DMV region and plan to launch an online digital gallery, Speak Your Truth | Black Lives Matter, an exhibition that aims to represent the depth and diversity of the DCD/MD/VA region and its reflections on the activities associated with BLM. ” [Facebook]

Commonwealth’s Attorney Seeks Candidates for Advisory Board — “The purpose of the Board is to provide the Commonwealth’s Attorney with diverse community input and ideas regarding criminal justice reform, and strategies for addressing criminal activity. The Board will consist of five to 10 people who live or work in the City of Alexandria.” [City of Alexandria]

Casa Chirilagua Fundraiser Starts Monday — “For every gift of $50 you will receive a stationary set of 8 original notecards made from Teens Club students’ art (up to four sets). Check out these beautiful cards and keep an eye out for the giving link starting on Monday next week!” [Facebook]

National Night Out Canceled — “Due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and in order to protect the health of our residents and employees, the City of Alexandria has cancelled the National Night Out 2020 celebration scheduled for October 6, 2020.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Scattered showers and thunderstorms. High near 85F. Winds NE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Fitness Manager — “As a Fitness Manager with XSport Fitness, you are the face of the Fitness Department! You are a leader to your personal training staff as well as an assistant to the club General Manager. You will be responsible for building a high-performance team and the financial performance of your club’s fitness department.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Beyer Warns of Trump Election Conspiracy in November — “Trump’s threat to defy the will of the American people by refusing to accept election results in November is particularly alarming given what is happening in Portland. Trump is not a king. All who swore an oath to defend the Consit(u)tion must reject this, regardless of party.” [Twitter]

November Election Less Than 100 Days Away — “Election day is just a little over 100 days away. For the first time in Virginia history, you can request a ballot in the mail with no excuse required!” [Twitter]

More Alexandria Playgrounds Reopen — “The City of Alexandria announced this evening that its playgrounds as well as those on Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) property have reopened to the public. They were shuttered in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.” [Zebra]

Seazante` Williams Oliver Named Principal at George Mason Elementary School — Oliver is a familiar face around George Mason. She has served at the school as assistant principal since 2012, and just last month, became interim principal. She assumes the duties of principal on July 20. [Zebra]

Library Hosting Virtual ‘Rocknoceros’ Concert at 11 a.m. Today — “Children will enjoy bopping along to Williebob and Boogie Bennie’s catchy tunes. All ages.” [Alexandria Library]

ARHA Board Meeting This Wednesday — “The meetings will immediately convene in Executive Session to discuss important matters.” [City of Alexandria]

New Job: Dog Walker/Pet Sitter — “We are currently hiring exceptional pet sitters and dog walkers to join our wonderful team. This position is fun and rewarding as you get to enjoy the outdoors, get exercise and be loved by amazing local dogs, cats and other companion animals!” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Governor Announces Moratorium on Rent Evictions — “The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia has granted my request for a temporary moratorium on all eviction proceedings in the Commonwealth through June 28–this action will help keep thousands of Virginia families in their homes amid the ongoing public health crisis.” [Facebook]

Alexandria’s Noah Lyles Reaching National Stardom — “Lyles, who turned 22 last week, might be on the cusp of his own full bloom, from track and field’s next big thing to the face of the sport in America.” [Washington Post]

Frank Fannon Named Living Legend of Alexandria — “From his volunteer position at Agenda: Alexandria, long-time resident and chairman Frank Fannon stays on top of issues that matter to the residents of the city without directly taking sides.” [Zebra]

Office of Historic Alexandria Offering Survey Over Digital Program — “Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey about what you would like to see from OHA digitally in the coming months.” [Facebook]

Port City Brewing Co. Hosting BeerYoga — “BeerYoga classes return virtually with Melody Abella starting weekly this June! It’s a donation-based class and 100% of the money raised from the June classes will go to AGLA – Serving Northern Virginia LGBTQ and Allies in honor of PRIDE month.” [Facebook]

Video: Bishop Ireton High School Creating Diversity & Inclusion Council — “Good morning from the Bishop Ireton Head of School, Kathleen McNutt, on Monday, June 8, 2020 featuring a special message about racial justice and Bishop Ireton’s plans to create a Diversity & Inclusion Council.” [Facebook]

Alexandria Library to Offer Curbside Service — “Residents may be able to start picking up previous holds curbside starting, likely, on June 15.” [Alexandria Living]

Hilton Alexandria Mark Center Hosting Weddings for $1,000 — ” Wedding must take place by December 31, 2020. Offer does not include taxes or service charge. Offers cannot be combined or transferred. Call your romance specialist and director of romance and catering Fatima Ayari at 703.845.7667 for details.” [Facebook]

New Job: Assistant General Manager at Old Navy — “You’re responsible for driving profitable sales growth through all aspects of the store including; customer and product operations, merchandising, and talent development. You are responsible for supporting the execution of the store strategy to achieve performance goals.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria’s library system is currently in the process of preparing for the first phase of reopening, but for many Alexandrians it could still be a while before you’re able to go and check out books.

In the video town hall last night (Thursday) where he also addressed the city’s coronavirus testing, Mayor Justin Wilson also offered a glimpse at what’s ahead for the city’s libraries.

“Going into phase one, [the libraries] are bringing staff back, organizing all of the holds placed over the last several months,” Wilson said. “The expectation is around June 15, people can pick up held books at the library.”

The Alexandria library’s phased reopening plan said the library will be offering curbside pickup for books. In the meantime, the library has a new selection of electronic options to help residents through the quarantine.

Once the city enters Phase 2 of reopening, which could be June 5 for the rest of the state, Wilson said Alexandrians will likely be able to start placing a hold on new books and going to pick them up.

Wilson said it won’t be until Phase 3 when the public parts of the library start to reopen to the public. Even then, the phased reopening plan notes that the library will be limited to 25% of its full capacity.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Morning Notes

Mayor Hosting Weekly Virtual Town Hall Tonight — “Thursday evening (May 14th) beginning at 8 PM, I will be hosting another virtual Living Room Town Hall Meeting. ‬‪We will discuss the City’s on-going response to the COVID-19 outbreak and address any questions you might have. ‬‪Please post questions and join us Thursday night!‬” [Facebook]

Volunteer Alexandria Needs Household Donations — “Can you donate some canned goods, diapers, or kitty litter? During COVID-19, there is a great need for a variety of goods — many of which you may have around the house or be able to pick up in your next shopping trip.” [Facebook]

Alexandria City Public Schools Not Making Staff Reductions — “While these budget reductions will impact some of our employees’ take-home salary, we are fortunate to not be required to implement a reduction in our workforce at this time. It is important that we understand the budget reduction recommendations that were presented last week may potentially increase in the near future if we do not see an uptick in our economy and revitalization of dollars appropriated to ACPS from city, local, state, and federal funding sources.” [ACPS]

Congressman Beyer Calls President ‘Compulsive Liar’ — “This isn’t complicated. Dr. Fauci is a highly decorated scientist and doctor, a respected medical expert who spent his life leading American efforts to fight infectious diseases. Trump is a compulsive liar who suggested we could fight COVID-19 by injecting people with bleach.” [Twitter]

Scholarship Fund Auctioning Guitar Signed by ‘Collective Soul’ — “Along the way during our Virtual Auction to Support Scholarships we’ll be highlighting some of the amazing and unique donations we received this year. CHECK OUT this QUINTESSENTIALLY ’90s Fender Electric Guitar Signed by COLLECTIVE SOUL. Dude, rock on, this is some quality ’90s memorabilia here…” [Facebook]

Virginia Theological Seminary Hosting Virtual Commencement Ceremony at 10 a.m. — “Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the recording of our 197th Commencement Ceremony, which will be broadcast on our website, here on Facebook, and on YouTube at 10:00 a.m. EDT tomorrow, May 14. Join us in honoring the Class of 2020!” [Facebook]

‘Mind The Mat’ Hosting Virtual Prenatal Pilates Today at 6 p.m. — “No experience necessary! Start at any stage of your pregnancy. Our prenatal program is designed for pregnancy not modified for it. This course was developed by Megan Brown, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Pilates Instructor and mother of two.” [Facebook]

Buskey Hard Cider Offers Delivery in Alexandria — “Orders for the NOVA Zone run between Ruther Glen, up I-95 up to Arlington and out to Winchester. It’s a big territory! Delivery schedule for this week: start delivering on Friday, and continue subsequent days based on orders! Orders must be placed by 11:59pm on Thursday night.” [Buskey Cider]

Alexandria Library Offers Remote Academic Journal Access — “JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization established with the assistance of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It provides access to more than 12 million academic journal articles, books, and primary sources in 75 disciplines.” [Zebra]

New Job: Digital Communications Manager — “The ideal candidate has a mix of technical and creative acumen with the ability to think critically and strategically about communications while helping our association move forward with modern communications techniques.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Mayor Marries Couple in Socially Distant Ceremony — “Alanis sang about rain on your wedding day. I’m not sure she envisioned THIS.‬ ‪It was such an honor to put on real pants (first time in weeks!), grab my mask and walk to Parkfairfax to marry a wonderful couple whose original plans were scrambled.‬ ‪Congrats!‬” [Facebook]

‘Mind The Mat’ Hosting Virtual Meditations at 9 a.m. — “Join MtM Monday-Friday mornings for this free 15 minute guided mediation to start your day off right.” [Facebook]

Volunteer Alexandria Hosting Responsiveness Class — “Be prepared, not scared. Know what to do until help arrives. Two classes are available: Tuesday, April 21, 6 to 10 p.m. and Saturday April 25, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. You’ll learn how to recognize violent activities, provide immediate rescue tactics, and report them to 9-1-1 efficiently.” [Facebook]

Del Ray Psyche & Wellness Starts 10-Day Challenge — “The purpose to continue to implement strategies and habits that will increase positive well-being, during the pandemic and throughout life. Each person who participates for all 10 days and comments on the post will receive a special gift from Del Ray Psych. If you wish to participate, please join our group below and comment on the post, ‘I’m in!'” [Facebook]

West End Business Association Hosting Fitness Webinar — Alan Gulledge, the founder of TriFit Evolution will discuss the how exercise can boost physical and mental health, establishing an effective fitness routine and working out with minimal equipment at home. The presentation will be conducted from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and costs $5. [WEBA]

‘Meggrolls’ Gets Southern Living Magazine Mention — “It’s an extraordinary time. Thousands of hard-working small business owners are digging deeper than they’ve ever thought they were able, to find a safe path through a seemingly insurmountable journey. It’s an incredible feeling to know that others are so willing to help. Thank you @southernlivingmag for sharing the word that Meggrolls is open for businessand we’re gonna stay that way as long as we’re able❤️❤️” [Facebook]

Jack Taylor’s Alexandria Toyota Reveals Raffle Grand Prize — “Need SOMETHING to Look Forward To??!! YOU can STILL Enter our GRAND PRIZE Jack Taylor’s Alexandria Toyota Raffle to W-I-N $25,000 OR a 2020 Toyota RAV-4
$100 for a CHANCE to WIN…DRAWING L-I-V-E Online MAY 30th at 8pm. Watch for Details on How To Tune-In! All funds collected HELP Send T.C. Williams High School Class of 2020 Kids to COLLEGE.” [Facebook]

Sen. Ebbin Hosting Virtual Town Hall Tonight — “Join us for AYD’s virtual town hall on April 21st at 7 pm with Virginia State Senator Adam Ebbin interviewed by AYD President Dan Matthews on the impact of COVID-19 on Virginia Legislation.” [Facebook]

Alexandria Library Increases Online Music Catalog — “Freegal Music is a digital music service offering downloads and streaming. Through a partnership, city library branches can offer the service to patrons for free. All that is needed for access is a library card.” [Zebra]

ACPS School Nurses Send Message to Students in Photo Collage — “This is so cool. Thank you to some of our frontline people. Nurses are awesome.” [Facebook]

City Releases Two Week Repaving Schedule — “Some overnight work on heavily traveled streets may be necessary. Residents on affected streets are notified in advance and temporary ‘No Parking” signs are displayed. Heavy equipment is used and there will be some noise that carries to surrounding streets.” [Facebook]

Kim’s Cleaners Donates Masks to Police — “Today Officer Ignacio stopped by Kim’s Cleaners in Old Town to pick up 50 facemasks from Mrs. Kim! Every bit helps and is appreciated! #socialdistancing” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

City Hotlines Available to Stem Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault — “During a crisis like COVID-19, the risk for intimate partner and domestic violence increases. The City of Alexandria Sexual Assault Center and the Domestic Violence Program want survivors and victims to know they are not alone. Both programs are open during the COVID-19 health crisis, hotlines are available 24/7 and advocates are ready to listen and help.” [Facebook]

Gov. Northam Extends Executive Order by Two Weeks — “That means that gatherings of more than 10 people will remain banned, and entertainment and recreation and personal care businesses will remain closed, until at least May 8. In addition, restaurants are limited to carry-out or delivery orders only.” [Alexandria Living]

West End Business Association Hosting Online Happy Hour at 4 p.m. — “Each person will be able to give their one-minute introduction and should also answer two questions: 1) What do you have to offer that might help other businesses through these times? 2) As your own bartender, what cocktail (or mocktail) are you drinking?” [WEBA]

Alexandria Hospital Staff Working Out to Stay Healthy — “Dr. West leads a team of Inova Health System nurses in some quick exercises you can do throughout the day. Try 10 of each and increase as you can.” [Facebook]

Alexandria Library Offers Temporary Access to Rosetta Stone — “The award-winning interactive approach has been used by millions of learners around the world and now is accessible in the library–or anywhere, anytime. This vital resource includes 30 languages to meet a range of cultural interests. Learning is structured around core lessons to build reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills and also includes focused activities to refine grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and more.” [Zebra]

Restaurant Teams With Carpenter’s Shelter to Give 60 Families Meals — “We are committed to raising $600 weekly to provide meals for 60 local families every week over the next three months, at cost to us. This initiative helps us keep the lights on and provides badly needed hours for our employees! Donate today and become part of the solution!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Author Publishes Children’s Book — “Alexandria author J.R. Becker has a new children’s book coming out in June, called “This World Was Made for Me!” that deals with the environmental issues in an informative but whimsical way.” [Alexandria Living]

Office Assistant/Bookkeeper Job Available — “Join a small, stable IT consulting business where you can apply and expand your accounting, finance, and business operations skills. We are looking for a capable, proactive, detail-oriented person with a can-do attitude to support the day-to-day operations of our business. Excellent opportunity for growth as your capabilities develop.” [Indeed]

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