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ALXnow will be running a series of City Council candidate interviews through the local election filing deadline on April 4.

(Updated 2/15) After the tumult of the pandemic, Alexandria City Councilman Canek Aguirre thought this term would be a breeze.

Turns out it’s been anything but, with the city’s controversial upending of its residential zoning policies and welcoming of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals to Potomac Yard.

Now running for a third three-year term, Aguirre is touting a number of successes and says that the $2 billion Potomac Yard arena deal is “fragile,” but that it’s a net positive for the city.

“We can’t be stuck holding a bag with a bunch of debt,” Aguirre said. “I think that’s there’s still some questions around that. I just want to say this deal is very fragile. There’s a lot of different pitfalls.”

Aguirre wants more city representation on the Virginia Stadium Authority board, which would own and finance the arena. He also says that new taxes created for and generated from the site will potentially help pay for city services and keep residential property rates steady.

Transportation is the biggest portion of this that can completely fold the entire deal,”  Aguirre told ALXnow. “Not just funding but also making sure that we’re thinking outside the box to make adjustments to different modes across the region and across the area, because this isn’t just affecting Alexandria, it’s also Arlington and south Fairfax County. And honestly, because this potentially draws people from the entire region, how do we put protections in place for the community, for Del Ray and Arlandria, not just for parking, but also for housing.”

Like his colleagues, Aguirre was sworn in virtually after winning his second election in 2021. Now with nearly two terms under his belt, he is among the more senior members of Council, along with John Taylor Chapman (four terms), Vice Mayor Amy Jackson (two terms) and outgoing Mayor Justin Wilson (five terms).

“I was joking with Chapman and Wilson shortly after the 2021 election that this term was going to be easy,” Aguirre told ALXnow. “During the pandemic I didn’t take a day off for like a year-and-a-half, practically.”

Aguirre says that the city’s ARISE Guaranteed Income Pilot is his proudest achievement, providing $500 a month to 170 randomly selected participants for two years. He also said that the next mayor needs to be a communicator who can run a tight meeting.

“Definitely need a good communicator, someone who is collaborator, someone who’s willing to bring people together, who’s going to listen to everybody, try and bring all the ideas to the table,” said Aguirre, adding that he has not decided on whether to make an endorsement. “Personally, this is just my own thing, I like someone who knows how to run a tight meeting. You don’t want to be keeping people forever at meetings, and so being able to have a good meeting is as important to me as well.”

Aguirre announced that he’s running for reelection to the Alexandria Democratic Committee on Feb. 5.

“We’ve made some great strides together to meet collective bargaining agreements, Landmark Mall finally coming back to life, the first fare-free bus system in the region, and, oh, by the way, the largest electric bus fleet in the Commonwealth,” Aguirre told the ADC. “We opened a new metro station, we fully funded our schools and… all the while we still had time to do a guaranteed basic income pilot here in the city.”

He continued, “I don’t want to stop now. I want to keep on going. I want to keep on fighting for all you keep on fighting for our democratic values. So I’m humbly asking your support. I’m humbly asking for your vote.”

A first generation son of Mexican immigrants, Aguirre was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Latino studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For the last eight years has been chair of the Virginia Board of Social Work, and through City Council is the i

Aguirre is also the lone Latino running in this year’s June 18 Democratic primary, and says he’s looking out for the interests of the city’s fastest growing demographic. There are nearly 30,000 Latino residents in the city today (about 18% of all residents), about triple the number in 1990, according to the city.

“Even though I represent Alexandria, there’s a larger burden, if you will, representing for the region in the state, a growing demographic,” Aguirre said. “That’s not lost on me.”

Aguirre said in his next term he wants DASH bus service to continue to be free for riders, and for it to expand into Arlandria.

“That’s very important to me,” Aguirre said. “A huge pet peeve of mine is that the bus doesn’t go all the way down Mount Vernon Avenue. It basically stops at E. Reed Avenue and then doesn’t service the rest of Arlandria.”

Alexandria has also experienced a crime surge since the pandemic, and Aguirre said that the city’s search for a new police chief will help reduce crime.

“With the Chief retiring, we’re gonna have an opportunity to try and find somebody new and I think that’ll definitely be not just a priority, but something that’s drilled home with the next person in charge,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre’s campaign kickoff will be held at El Cuscatleco Restaurant (3819 Mount Vernon Avenue) on Feb. 17 from 1 to 3 p.m. Alexandria’s Democratic primary is on June 18.

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Hops n Shine (photo via Hops N Shine/Facebook)

Del Ray/Arlandria bar Hops N Shine (3410 Mount Vernon Avenue) is celebrating its five-year anniversary tomorrow (Saturday) with live music, craft activities, and a local beer tasting.

The bar’s anniversary party is scheduled to run from 1-8 p.m. on Saturday, with arts and crafts for kids from 1-6 p.m. and live music from 2-6 p.m.

The event listing said it would include sample beers from Lost Rhino, Dynasty, City State, Cigar City, and Oskar Blues as well as a selection of new sandwiches.

The bar launched in 2019 and became a staple of the Arlandria/Del Ray area with events like packed trivia nights.

It’s occasionally been a victim of its own success in the past: facing scrutiny from the Planning Commission and backlash from neighbors over noise violations.

Photo via Hops N Shine/Facebook

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The Virginia ABC store at 3815 Mount Vernon Avenue in Arlandria (via Google Maps)

Liquor store thefts jumped more than 200% in Alexandria in 2023, according to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority.

There are six Virginia ABC stores in Alexandria. The store with the most incidents is the Arlandria store at 3815 Mount Vernon Avenue in the Del Ray North Shopping Center, which saw 43 incidents of theft last year, up from just eight reported incidents in 2022. The store with the highest amount of theft is at 501 Montgomery Street in Old Town North, which saw 23 incidents.

Virginia ABC said that there were a total of 100 reported thefts from Alexandria stores last year, versus 31 thefts in 2022, an increase of 222%. The increase in thefts isn’t just being felt in Alexandria, but throughout Virginia.

“Sometimes there were more than two thefts in one day,” an employee of the Arlandria store tells ALXnow. “They just walk in, take bottles and walk out. We don’t stop them, we just call police and they come in and review the security footage and sign insurance forms.”

Virginia ABC does not employ security guards in its network of 400 stores, and is undertaking a “multi-pronged approach to address retail and internal theft,” according to Pat Kane, a public relations specialist for Virginia ABC.

“No product in our store is worth risking the safety of our team members and customers,” Kane said. “Virginia ABC values its relationships with local law enforcement. Staff are trained to gather actionable information to generate usable suspect information and leads.”

Kane said the changes include:

  • Emphasizing staff interaction with customers
  • Minimizing the quantity of high-theft products that are placed on shelves at any one time
  • Moving products for maximum visibility by staff members
  • Enhancing camera systems
  • Ensuring the sight lines of camera systems
  • Lowering inventory levels at stores
  • Adding additional in-store staff

The Alexandria Police Department said that liquor store thefts pose a significant risk to the public, and that any suspicious activity should be reported by calling 911.

“Larceny with intent to sell or distribute stolen products is a felony and can result in jail time,” said APD Communications Manager Tracy Walker. “APD is aware of this crime trend occurring nationally and within our community and we make patrol of these store areas a part of our daily field operations and the broader strategy to suppress retail robberies.

Thefts from Virginia ABC stores in Alexandria in 2023 and 2022 (via Virginia ABC)

Via Google Maps

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Alexandria Police lights (staff photo by James Cullum)

Alexandria Police Department is investigating two incidents of gunfire Sunday night, though no one was reported injured.

Eight-to-10 gunshots were reported just before 9 p.m. in the parking lot of the shopping center in the 4000 block of Mount Vernon Avenue. The victim told police that he got into an argument with a Hispanic male in the parking lot and that the suspect fired his handgun at him, striking his car, according to the police scanner.

Two hours after the shooting, APD tweeted that the investigation is ongoing and that the entire block was shut down.

At around 11 p.m., a bullet was fired into the window of a home in the 400 block of N. Armistead Street in the West End.

Anyone with information on these incidents can contact the APD non-emergency number at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

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A teenager was injured and robbed at gunpoint in the 3800 block of Executive Avenue on Jan. 8, 2024 (via Google Maps)

A juvenile male sustained minor injuries after being pistol-whipped and robbed in Arlandria on Monday night.

At around 11:18 p.m., the victim was robbed by two males outside of an apartment building in the 3800 block of Executive Avenue, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

One of the suspects allegedly struck the victim in the head with his handgun, and the suspects then stole the juvenile’s shoes, car keys and phone, according to the police scanner.

“No arrests were made,” said APD Communications Manager Tracy Walker. “The teen declined to be transported for medical treatment.”

APD says that the incident remains under investigation.

Anyone with information on this incident can reach out to the APD non-emergency line at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

Via Google Maps

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(Updated 1/9) A set of Complete Streets changes for Mount Vernon Avenue through Arlandria is headed through city review starting later this spring.

The City of Alexandria released a set of ‘preferred alternatives’ for changes to several Mount Vernon intersections. One of the biggest changes will be to the intersection with Glebe Road.

The staff report says the angle of the current intersection encourages drivers to take fast turns and multiple people have been killed walking on those intersections.

The preferred alternative is a roundabout with an odd, elongated shape meant to suit the intersection better.

The roundabout aims to reduce vehicle speeds and reduce the opportunity for crashes, with large pedestrian refuge areas installed at every crossing.

North of the Glebe Road intersection, twelve parking spaces would be removed at the intersection with Russell Road to make way for curb extensions and green space, with a bus shelter on the east side of Mount Vernon Avenue.

Smaller curb extensions would also be installed at the intersections of Four Miles Road and Executive Avenue with Mount Vernon Avenue.

The proposals were scheduled to go to the Traffic and Parking Board for a public hearing on Monday, Jan. 22, but the city said in a release that the consideration was deferred to an unspecified date this spring.

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Police at Tiger Market & Bakery in Arlandria (staff photo by James Cullum)

A man was taken to the hospital after stumbling into Tiger Market & Bakery (3903 Mount Vernon Avenue) with apparent stab wounds.

Scanner traffic indicated the incident happened around 4:40 p.m. Alexandria Police Department (APD) Communications Manager Tracy Walker told ALXnow a suspect fled the scene in a vehicle after allegedly stabbing a man in Arlandria.

Walker said the wounds appear to be non-life threatening, but the victim was taken to a hospital for medical care.

Walker said there is moderate police presence at the scene as APD investigates the stabbing.

Image via Google Maps. James Cullum and Vernon Miles contributed to this story.

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Gunfire was reported in the 800 block of W. Glebe Road on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023 (via Google Maps)

No one was injured after gunfire was reported in Arlandria late Tuesday night, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

At around 11 p.m., APD was notified about a loud argument between a man and a woman in the 800 block of W. Glebe, and the caller said that the man wore a red jacket, pulled out a handgun, fired it into the air and that the woman then screamed, according to the APD scanner.

The caller told police that the suspect fled the scene on foot in the direction of Florence Drive, which is near Four Mile Run Park.

Anyone with information on this incident can contact the APD non-emergency number at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

Map via Google Maps

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A robbery was reported at the Tobacco Hut (3500 Mount Vernon Avenue) in Arlandria.

Robbers in black puffy jackets and ski masks reportedly took around $400 from the store and implied that they had weapons, according to the police scanner.

Scanner traffic indicated the suspects left the scene in a car.

The 3500 block of Mount Vernon Avenue has seen multiple robberies in the last year, though those robberies generally favor the more lucrative Wells Fargo bank next door.

James Cullum and Vernon Miles contributed to this story

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The man talking to police was stabbed in the 4000 block of Mount Vernon Avenue on Sunday night, Oct. 29, 2023 (staff photo by James Cullum)

The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a stabbing that allegedly occurred in Arlandria on Sunday night.

APD was initially dispatched at 10:45 p.m. to the 4000 block of Mount Vernon Avenue for a report of a motor vehicle crash. The incident was recategorized as a stabbing, and police interviewed a man who was allegedly stabbed while riding his bicycle, according to the police scanner. The victim was interviewed by police at the scene.

The 4000 block of Mount Vernon Avenue was briefly swarmed by police cruisers and an ambulance, as well as a K-9 officer.

ALXnow has reached out to APD for details on this incident.

Anyone with details on this incident can contact the APD non-emergency line at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.

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