Post Content
Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Alexandria’s City Council unanimously approved releasing $657,629 to allow the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center to continue operating, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy about it.

Council was told that the detention center (200 S. Whiting Street) has seen a dramatic increase in usage over the last year, and that the center is pursuing a pilot program with National Capital Treatment & Recovery to introduce a substance abuse recovery program to the unit. They were also told that an unused portion of the facility was being studied for future use.

“I would say at least 50% of our children have experimented with fentanyl,” Johnitha McNair, the detention center’s executive director, told council. “It is highly addictive, so many of them come in with needs to have addiction and withdrawal and treatment services provided immediately.”

The fate of the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center has been uncertain for years. Last year, City Council placed the funds into a reserve account until city staff could provide recommendations that:

  1. Optimize capacity within Northern Virginia for Juvenile Secure Detention services
  2. Leverage available physical plant capacity for alternative uses
  3. Pursue new regional partnerships for use of facilities and staffing

Mike Mackey, director of the city’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Service unit, said that the center has reached its capacity of 46 youth over the past year. He also said that detention-eligible cases involving Alexandria youth increased 66% last year, and 100% involving Arlington youth.

“By comparison… in 2020 the average daily population was 12,” Mackey told Council. “In 2022 it was nine, and in this fiscal year the average daily population is 26. The center has seen the population go up to its capacity of 46. Today there are 38 youth 17 of whom are from Alexandria, 10 from Arlington.”

But Mayor Justin Wilson, before Tuesday’s vote to release the funds, chided Earl Conklin, chair of the detention center’s commission and Arlington’s director of court services, for not bringing concrete proposals on new programs and services at the facility to Council.

“Where’s the proposal?” Wilson asked. “If it requires capital investment, bring us something. I, for one, have been yelling asking for that for eight years, and all I hear is, ‘We have ideas. We’re talking about these ideas.’ Where’s a proposal? I mean seriously, if it requires some investment, if it requires something to drive that forward — help me help you —  what are we not doing to make that happen?”

Conklin replied, “I think the primary message the board has gotten was of closing the (detention) center.”

“That’s not true,” Wilson interrupted. “Let me be crystal clear. As the one who has been the instigator on this, I have never said that this is about closing the facility. It has always been about how do we optimize the capacity that we have in the region, and whether that means consolidation in Alexandria, consolidation in other jurisdictions, repurposing part of the facility, whatever, it’s not been about closing the facility.”

Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention center utilization (via City of Alexandria)

The detention center is regulated by the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice and overseen by the Juvenile Detention Commission, which is made up of two members from Arlington, one from Falls Church, and two from Alexandria. It first opened in 1958 and houses youth with serious offenses and behavioral issues from Alexandria, Arlington County and the City of Falls Church. The center saw a 72% reduction in the number of juveniles in the facility between 2006 and 2019, prompting a reduction of beds at the facility from 70 to 46 in 2016, according to a cost-benefit analysis by the Moss Group.

The facility is also home to an unlocked shelter for up to 14 at-risk children.

Deputy City Manager Yon Lambert told council that any proposed programming changes will be presented this fall. In the meantime, Lambert said that an assessment of the detention center will be submitted to the General Assembly in October.

“If we have any budget requests, then we can process it in the fall so that the staff and the (city) manager and council can determine if its viable,” Lambert said.

Vice Mayor Amy Jackson said that the facility needs to remain open.

We need it now more than we ever did,” Jackson said. “The numbers were decreasing. and then here we are. They’re increasing again more than they have in years.”


There’s nothing like numbing your aching body with a hot toddy after a long day on the slopes.

That’s the vibe that the owners of the Aspen on the Avenue popup (2312 Mount Vernon Avenue) have in mind. There’s a two-seat gondola parked outside the restaurant and bar greeting customers as they walk into a warm environment with a fake fireplace, a fake brick wall, lots of skis and two giant backlit photos of idyllic snowy scenes.

“Our gondola doesn’t go to Arlington,” joked popup owner Bill Blackburn of the Homegrown Restaurant Group. “It doesn’t go anywhere, but it’s great for selfies.”

“Mango” Mike Anderson, who owns the popup with Blackburn, found the gondola for sale at HomeGoods in Potomac Yard.

The popup is located between HRG’s other Del Ray restaurants, Pork Barrel BBQ and Holy Cow. It was previously The Sushi Bar for eight years before closing at the end of 2021. Since then, the space has changed concepts as a popup every few months.

“We get to create new concepts and decorate new restaurants and brands without having to deal with the back-of-the-house regulatory, mundane stuff that comes with opening a new restaurant,” Blackburn said. “I think it keeps us fresh.”

The bar menu includes craft cocktails, like the ski lemon meringuetini, a concoction made from Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Meyer lemon, Grand Marnier, lemon curd, Simple and brulee meringue, which is toasted at the bar with a torch. There are 11 appetizers on food menu, the most filling of which is the chicken chili bread bowl — Pork Barrel BBQ’s white chicken chili served in a bread bowl.

The seasonal popup will be open until late March and will reopen as a new concept in early April, Blackburn said.

Aspen on the Avenue is open Sunday to Wednesday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to midnight.

Rendering of concert venue at Monumental Arena development (image courtesy of JBG SMITH)

(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) The Virginia House of Delegates on Friday printed an updated version of the bill establishing the Virginia Stadium Authority, which would own and finance construction of the $2 billion Potomac Yard arena and entertainment district.

While the Senate version of the bill is still in the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations, the House version stipulates that a 15-member Virginia Stadium Authority board would be made up of:

  • Five members appointed by the governor
  • Two non-legislative members appointed by the House speaker
  • Three members from the Senate Rules Committee
  • Three members appointed by the Alexandria City Council
  • One member representing Arlington
  • One member representing Monumental Sports, the owner of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals

Alexandria City Council members were unanimously unhappy with the previous House version of the bill, which called for a nine-member Authority board, with six members appointed by the governor and three from Alexandria. The Council wants more city representation.

“We will continue to work through the legislative process to get legislation that works for Alexandria,” said Mayor Justin Wilson. “We have a ways to go before this goes to the governor’s desk.”

Additionally, the House bill also creates oversight of the Virginia Stadium Authority with a 14-member “The Sports and Entertainment Authority Oversight Commission.” The commission members include the Virginia House speaker, the president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate and 12 delegates on the Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission.

City Council Member Kirk McPike said that on one hand, the governor isn’t appointing a majority of the board anymore, which he said is a “step in the right direction.”

“But I still want to see more representation for the City,” McPike said. “Whatever bills make it to the other chamber at crossover (when they are considered by the other legislative body) will change significantly in the second half of the session, and the City will continue to work to ensure we have as strong a voice as possible on the potential stadium authority board.”

Alexandria Vice Mayor Amy Jackson agreed with her colleagues, and also agreed with Virginia President Pro tempore Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D-18), who tweeted on Feb. 10 that the bill is not on the Senate Finance and Appropriations docket because it is “not ready for prime time.”

“I agree with Wilson and McPike,” Jackson said. “I also agree with Senator Lucas, who said ‘We have a ways to go.'”

City Council Member Canek Aguirre doesn’t like the proposed makeup of the stadium authority.

“Not a fan of the new makeup, but will continue to work with the General Assembly to get something that works for Alexandria,” Aguirre said.


Good Tuesday morning, Alexandria!

🌦️ Today’s weather: Partly sunny skies are expected with a high around 48 and a northwest wind of 3 to 7 mph. Scattered rain showers will begin after 10pm on Tuesday night, mixing with snow after 4am. The nighttime forecast includes mostly cloudy skies, a low of approximately 36, and a calm wind shifting to the north at 6 mph after midnight. There is a 40% chance of precipitation.

🚨 You need to know

Moment of the house explosion in Bluemont (video courtesy Alex Wilson)

(Updated 12/6) It’s outside our coverage, but in case you missed it: there was a fiery explosion last night at an Arlington duplex.

Sister site ARLnow said the incident happened after a suspect in the home began repeatedly firing a flare gun over a nearby park. As a SWAT vehicle moved in, the suspect inside the house reportedly began to fire a weapon. Not long after, the building exploded in a massive fireball.

“As officers were attempting to execute a search warrant at the residence, the suspect discharged several rounds inside the home,” said ACPD. “Subsequently, an explosion occurred at the residence and officers continue to investigate the circumstances of the explosion.”

ARLnow reported that public records listed the resident of the address as James Yoo, who had also been posting paranoid messages on his Linkedin account about neighbors in the duplex unit.

The Arlington County Police Department said three officers reported minor injuries and Yoo is believed dead after human remains were found in the house.

📈 Monday’s most read

The following are the most-read ALXnow articles for Dec 4, 2023.

  1. UPDATED: Alexandria City High School evacuated due to bomb threat (7635 views)
  2. JUST IN: Two City Council members vie to replace Alexandria Mayor (7007 views)
  3. Notes: Alexandria police chief apologizes for earlier letter saying department will arrest people wearing ski masks (2895 views)

🗞 Other local coverage

📅 Upcoming events

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

Current Shirlington Transit Center (image via Google Maps)

Arlington calls for aid, and Alexandria will answer.

Alexandria’s City Council is scheduled to vote at a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 26, to support neighboring Arlington’s funding application for an expanded Shirlington Transit Center.

Arlington County is applying for funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to expand the transit center in Shirlington, a major hub for bus traffic.

“Arlington County has requested $11.6 million to fund the Shirlington Bus Station Expansion,” Director of Transportation and Environmental Services Adriana Castaneda wrote in a memo. “This station is the principal transfer point for Arlington Transit (ART) bus service, Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrobus service, and bus service (Routes 36A and 36B) in South Arlington.”

While the project is outside of Alexandria, Castaneda said Alexandria would benefit from the project as some of those added bus bays would serve the West End Transitway, which will stop at the Shirlington Bus Station.

“This capital project focuses on adding bus bays at the Shirlington Bus Station to meet future demand, including the space needed for future West End Transitway buses and any service improvements from Alexandria’s Transit Vision Plan, as well as expansion plans of Arlington Transit and WMATA,” Castaneda wrote.

The West End Transitway is a project that will connect transit facilities along the West End, from the Van Dorn Metro station up to Shirlington, passing through the redeveloped Landmark Mall site. The project is in the design phase, with construction scheduled for 2025-2026, opening sometime in late 2026.

Image via Google Maps


Alexandria and Arlington officials celebrated the ribbon cutting for the renovated West Glebe Road bridge today.

The nearly 70-year-old bridge suffered severe deterioration over the years and fully closed last summer, and partially reopened in March.

“For nearly 70 years, this bridge has played a critical role linking people to jobs, to resources, to emergency services and their loved ones that exist across boundaries in this Arlandria region of the National Capital Area,” Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said.

Dorsey continued, “And now with these improvements, we can look forward to another seven decades of this bridge, serving as both a metaphorical and an actual connecting of our two communities. And they will do so in a way that is much safer, much more accommodating of all modes.”

Mayor Justin Wilson said that the jurisdictions will need to come together to finish another connecting bridge between Alexandria and Arlington over the course of the next year — the Arlington Ridge Road/Mount Vernon Avenue Bridge.

“We look forward to coming back in a little while and celebrating the next one (bridge),” Wilson said. “I live close to both of these bridges, so I feel the pain that everyone is feeling. But we look forward to celebrating both of the bridges when they’re both done and in this great partnership between the two jurisdictions.”

Artist Vicki Scuri designed the arc and bubble patterns on the bridge.

“Enjoy the crossing, enjoy the moment and celebrate your communities,” Scuri said.

West Glebe Road bridge partially reopened (staff photo by James Cullum)

Alexandria and Arlington have been building bridges and celebrating outside the Arlandria Pizza Hut.

Leaders from both the Arlington County Board and the Alexandria City Council are scheduled to meet tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Arlandria Pizza Hut (1049 W Glebe Road) to celebrate the West Glebe Road Bridge ribbon cutting.

The ribbon cutting is scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m.

Several of the bridges between Alexandria and Arlington were in a rough state.

The West Glebe Road Bridge started undergoing repairs on the superstructure in May 2022. The bridge partially reopened to vehicle traffic earlier this year and all lanes reopened in July with work continuing on the bridge’s underside.

The scene of a shooting on the 800 block of W. Glebe Road (staff photo by James Cullum)

It’s been a scorching week in Alexandria, punctuated by two major crime events.

Someone was shot multiple times in an alley several blocks east of the Braddock Metro station last Saturday, followed on Monday afternoon by the city’s fifth homicide this year — the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old man on W. Glebe Road in Arlandria.

It is not believed that the incidents are connected.

The Alexandria Police Department is now looking for a silver Nissan Rogue allegedly linked to Monday’s shooting.

No arrests have been announced from either incident, and this week Mayor Justin Wilson, City Manager Jim Parajon and Police Chief Don Hayes asked for the community’s help in identifying the suspects.

Top stories this week:

  1. Alexandria ditching ‘pay and display’ parking meters citywide (32618 views)
  2. Notes: Many federal employees who report to work Alexandria are still mostly remote (7448 views)
  3. Del Ray Gateway project construction to start before end of year, city says (6510 views)
  4. Construction suspended for Holiday Inn Express at former Towne Motel site in Old Town North (5346 views)
  5. ACPS ignores Gov. Youngkin’s recommended policies on treatment of transgender students (4829 views)
  6. DEVELOPING: Man transported to hospital in critical condition after shooting in Arlandria (4747 views)
  7. Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza opening before end of year in Old Town North, owner says (3857 views)
  8. Duke Street affordable apartment complex ‘Witter Place’ could be ready by late 2025, developer says (3598 views)
  9. Arlington man busted for allegedly selling stolen car to Alexandria man on Facebook Marketplace (2509 views)

Have a safe weekend!

Daniel Ford (on right) and Victor Zabielski fly fishing at Four Mile Run. (Staff photo by James Cullum)

Alexandria is safe after a dumping incident in Four Mile Run in Arlington.

Arlington advised residents to stay out of stream runs along popular parks like Bluemont Park, Barcroft Park and the Shirlington dog park after a roll-off dumpster fell into a storm drain near N. Ohio Street, according to ARLnow.

“According to Arlington the discharge was from a roll-off dumpster at a single home construction site,” City spokesperson Camila Olivares said. “In the process of moving the dumpster, white liquid drained out into the right of way and nearby storm drain. They believe the product is likely paint.”

Olivares added, “Given the distance from the outfall to the County / City line, the plume will not be seen in Four Mile Run in Alexandria.”


Good Friday morning, Alexandria!

☀️ Today’s weather: On Friday, expect a mostly sunny and hot day with temperatures reaching near 100°F and heat index values as high as 107°F. There is a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm, accompanied by a light west wind of 5-8 mph. In the evening, chances of precipitation will drop to 30%, with showers and thunderstorms mainly occurring before 8pm. The night will be partly cloudy with a low of around 76°F and a south wind around 7 mph.

🚨 You need to know

An Arlington man was arrested in Alexandria on Tuesday for a shooting incident that occurred in Bailey’s Crossroads earlier this month, according to FFXnow.

Two women were injured by bullet fragments and debris when the suspect allegedly fired into the floor of the Lion’s Den Lounge at 5820 Seminary Road at around 4 a.m. on July 16.

The Fairfax County Police Department announced that the suspect, 25-year-old Arlington resident Abdulkerim Halid, was arrested Wednesday in Alexandria without incident.

“Two adult females were injured from bullet fragments and debris,” FCPD said. “They were taken to a nearby hospital for injuries not considered to be life-threatening. Halid was identified as the shooter, but he left the scene prior to police arrival.”

Halid was charged with reckless handling of a firearm and is currently in custody without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

📈 Thursday’s most read

The following are the most-read ALXnow articles for Jul 27, 2023.

  1. Arlington man busted for allegedly selling stolen car to Alexandria man on Facebook Marketplace (1755 views)
  2. Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza opening before end of year in Old Town North, owner says (1506 views)
  3. Most and least expensive townhouses sold in Alexandria (June 2023) (558 views)
  4. New report suggests low rents and amenities give Alexandria’s office market an edge over neighbors | ALXnow (355 views)

📅 Upcoming events

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


Subscribe to our mailing list