It was a historic week in Alexandria. Here are some of the highlights.
President Joe Biden visited the Neighborhood Health COVID-19 vaccine site at Virginia Theological Seminary on Tuesday, just before announcing that the date for adults to get access to the vaccine has been moved to April 19.
The Alexandria School Board, on Thursday night, voted to change the name of T.C. Williams High School to Alexandria City High School.
The School Board also voted unanimously to reduce the distancing requirement in ACPS schools from six feet to three feet, all the while community support is growing to expand in-person instruction to more than the current two days a week. Summer school is currently planned to begin in July and will be four days a week, and ACPS is planning on reopening to five days a week at the beginning of the next school year.
Our top story was on the T.C. Williams Titans junior varsity football team walking off the field after an incident with the Robinson Rams on Monday night. Robinson Rams players allegedly spit at and made a racial slur against T.C. players. The incident has prompted Fairfax County Public Schools to announce a “stand-down” meeting for all athletic teams and coaches to discuss “appropriate behaviors required to play sports in FCPS.”
Additionally, six Alexandria Police officers were placed on administrative duties after a chase suspect died while in custody. Police responded to a call for shots fired in the 800 block of North Patrick Street, and multiple buildings and vehicles were struck. The driver of the vehicle crashed on Interstate 295, and then jumped over an overpass barrier and fell more than 20 feet and was tased by police, arrested and later died.
- Alexandria aims to adjust vaccination efforts as city moves into next phase
- Alexandria Police employees give department mixed reviews
- Planning Commission approves controversial subdivision, plants potential loophole for future denial
- City says Taylor Run alternatives could cost far more than current estimates
- Crime increase prompts ARHA to install security cameras in Old Town
- City looks to Landmark Towers deal to save Arlandria
- ‘Beltway Bank Bandit’ sentenced 21 years for robbing Alexandria banks and area businesses
- Man arrested for threatening to burn down City Hall
- Wilson wins Alexandria Democratic Committee straw poll, Gaskins takes top spot over incumbents
- JUST IN: T.C. Williams JV football team walks off field after alleged racial slur, spitting incident
- BREAKING: Shots fired in Old Town leads to chase that ends in D.C.
- JUST IN: President Biden set to visit Alexandria vaccination site Tuesday
- National Park Service announces George Washington Parkway to go on a diet
- Neighborhood Health vaccinating thousands at sites in Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax County
- JUST IN: Woman arrested after fight on King Street Metro station platform
- UPDATE: $8,500 reported stolen in terrifying West End robbery
- JUST IN: President Biden visits COVID-19 vaccine site at Virginia Theological Seminary
- COVID-19 update: Alexandria moves into vaccination phase 1C
- JUST IN: Six Alexandria Police officers put on administrative duties after chase suspect dies
- Fairfax County man arrested for three burglaries, released three days later
Have a safe weekend!
Police Investigate More Shots Fired — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a “shots fired” call for service in the 5400 block of Richenbacher Avenue. Expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]
Local Businesses Hopeful for Holiday Shopping Season — “Victoria Vergason, owner of a vintage barware store, says holiday shoppers this season could make or break some small businesses. ‘[It] is a very, very critical time for small businesses to be able to make their profits and run into the next year,’ she said.” [WUSA9]
PNC Looking for New Potomac Yard Branch Manager — “As a Branch Manager within PNC’s Retail organization, you will be based in Alexandria, VA at the Potomac Yards @ Giant branch.” [PNC]
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
This was a big week for Alexandria.
Our top story this week was the Alexandria School Board’s decision to reopen schools for students with disabilities, while the future reopening of school for elementary, middle and high schoolers remains in doubt.
Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. said that the only feasible option for reopening schools — based on distancing and staffing constraints — would be for students to rotate to in-person schooling only one day per week. Hutchings also appeared on CNN and said that ACPS is not likely to fully reopen until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus.
We also reported that the Alexandria City Council approved plans for Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus and the North Potomac Yard development plan, virtually paving the way for the college to open its doors to hundreds of students by 2024.
“This is a very significant set of decisions for the city, and is really going to shape, not just a portion of our city, but really the entirety of our city for a long period of time to come,” said Mayor Justin Wilson.
On the coronavirus front, there are now 75 deaths in Alexandria and there are now or have been more than 4,100 cases since the pandemic began in March. Latino residents continue to lead the case count.
Governor Ralph Northam and Virginia Transportation Secretary Shannon Valentine were in the city on Monday to unveil a team of new zero emission DASH electric buses.
We also reported that the City Council unanimously approved naming the 1000 block of Montgomery Street in Old Town “Earl F. Lloyd Way” in honor of the first Black man to ever play in the National Basketball Association.
Restaurant-wise, we spoke with one of the owners of a pizza and burger joint that is taking over the former location of Pizzeria Paradiso on lower King Street. The Chewish Deli is also now open in Old Town, and the owner of Del Ray Boccato says that his gelato shop will soon open.
Additionally, more than 175 people participated in our weekly poll. With the November 3 election around the corner, this week we asked about voting plans, and 65% of respondents voted by mail/absentee, 31% plan to vote on election day, and 4% are not voting.
Here are ALXnow’s top stories this week in Alexandria:
- School Board Shelves Plan to Reopen Schools in 2021, Students with Disabilities Transitioning Back Next Month
- City Releasing Torpedo Factory Draft Action Plan Today
- City Council Approves Virginia Tech Innovation Campus and North Potomac Yard Development Plan
- Alexandria Student Called N-Word in Online Forum, and Not By Another Student
- Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
- The Chewish Deli Opens New Location in Old Town
- One Arrested After Attempted Armed Robbery in Alexandria’s West End
- Report: ACPS Superintendent Sends Child to Bishop Ireton High School
- Female Suspect Flees, Nothing Taken in Attempted Old Town Bank Robbery
- Alexandria and Arlington Want a New Future for the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center
- Alexandria Courthouse Deep Cleaned After Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19
Have a safe weekend!
Nothing was taken in an attempted robbery at the BB&T Bank at 300 S. Washington Street on Tuesday, October 11.
At around 4:45 p.m., which is 15 minutes before the bank closes, a woman walked into the bank and handed a teller a note demanding money. Nothing was taken and the suspect fled the scene, according to Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine.
No suspect description is available.
The bank is located two blocks south of King Street. It is one of a half dozen banks along Washington Street, which bisects the George Washington Memorial Parkway between Mount Vernon and Washington, D.C.
A 28-year-old Fairfax County man was arrested yesterday and released on bond for allegedly altering checks he received for construction work at the office and home of an Alexandria dentist.
The suspect was arrested on Monday and subsequently released on bail after being charged with forgery and uttering.
The suspect is accused of adding more than $10,000 to 10 checks he received between last year and this year and then depositing them at Burke and Herbert Bank.
The man allegedly completed work at the dentist office in the 5200 block of Duke Street, and then at the victim’s home in Fairfax County during 2019 and 2020.
He is also allegedly seen in three Burke and Herbert Bank video recordings depositing altered checks in the months of April, May and June, according to police.
Alexandria Businesses Get Millions in Federal Loans — “The vast majority of the loans in Alexandria were less than $150,000, helping small businesses keep their employees instead of laying them off. About 600 of the loans in Alexandria were worth more than $150,000, and about 100 of those were for more than $1 million. Top-dollar loans went to patent lawyers, information-technology professionals and commercial contractors. Only three of loans in Alexandria were in the coveted top bracket, which range from $5 million to $10 million.” [Gazette]
Beyer Tweets Potential Unemployment Losses of Every State — “At least 200,000 workers in Virginia will lose nearly two thirds of their weekly income at the beginning of August unless Mitch McConnell allows the Senate to pass an unemployment extension in the next few days.” [Twitter]
Fairlington United Methodist Church Blesses 1,000 Face Masks — “Over 1,000 face masks, most of them homemade, were blessed and donated by the FUMC community to Alive! Alexandria. Alive! will hand them out at their rapidly growing food distribution sites.” [Facebook]
Commonwealth’s Attorney Gives Opinion on New Laws — “At the beginning of this month, a litany of new laws went into effect. In this article, I’ll provide a synopsis of changes to the code that citizens should know about.” [AlexTimes]
New Italian Restaurant Opens in Del Ray — “Piece Out LLC, which operates Café Pizzaiolo, St. Elmo’s and Markt2Market, opened a from-scratch Italian restaurant at 2419 Mount Vernon Ave. Piece Out will initially focus on carry-out dining with plans to grow into a sit-down restaurant as the region starts to recover from the coronavirus crisis, according to owner Larry Ponzi.” [Alexandria Living]
Apothecary Museum’s Harry Potter Event Goes Virtual — “Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum’s Harry Potter birthday celebration, a favorite for visitors in Alexandria, will move online due to the pandemic.” [Patch]
New Job: Retail Cheesemonger — “Everyone’s favorite Cheese & Wine Shop is hiring retail sales associates (“cheesemongers”) for all locations. Part-Time and Full-Time available.” [Indeed]
Fairlington UMC Warns Against Phishing Scam — “Remember the phrase ‘fishers of men?’ We have PHISHERS again. They are sending emails and TEXTS from ‘Janine Howard’ asking you to go out and buy ebay cards for them. Don’t do it. If you’d like to make charitable donations, call or go to our website.” [Facebook]
Burke & Herbert Bank Issues More Than 1,100 PPP Loans — “Today Burke & Herbert Bank, which has been serving the northern Virginia business community for more than 167 years, announced that nearly 1,100 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans totaling approximately $136 million in aid for local businesses have been approved for the Bank’s customers. As a result, an estimated 10,000 individuals in the local community will remain employed or return to the businesses’ payroll.” [Zebra]
Inova Alexandria Hospital Gets ‘A’ Safety Rating — “We are so proud Inova Alexandria Hospital was awarded an ‘A’ for The Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Safety Grade for the 4th consecutive time and we are thrilled that all five Inova hospitals were awarded an ‘A.’ Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Grade is a national distinction which recognizes achievements in protecting patients from harm and providing safer healthcare.” [Facebook]
Rotary Club Awards $65K to Local Nonprofits — “The grants seek to improve the lives of children, youth, seniors and those with special needs in the Alexandria community. The grants are traditionally presented at the organization’s annual Contributions Day Luncheon in mid-June. Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, recipients were notified earlier this month and funds were dispersed in an effort to quickly support the needs of each nonprofit.” [Gazette]
ACPS Releases Info on Buying Graduation Caps and Gowns for Virtual Graduation — “Total cost for the cap, gown, and tassel (includes tax and shipping) is $44.47. The cap, gown, and tassel will then be delivered to your home. If you pre-ordered your cap and gown, Herff Jones will be shipping them out next week. You should receive it by May 15!” [Facebook]
Sheriff’s Office Recognizes National Nurses Week — “Today marks the start of National Nurses Week. We work closely together every day so we know how awesome our nurses are but this year, we really can’t say ‘thank you’ often enough!” [Facebook]
Historic Map Comparisons Reveal 18th Century Waterfront Expansion — “This 1749 map shows the minimally altered shoreline of the city running in a gentle arc from West’s Point to the north down to Point Lumley. This 1798 map shows dramatic changes to the shoreline. In 50 years, Alexandrians created several blocks of new land along the Potomac River, changing both the physical landscape and the City’s economic prospects.” [Facebook]
Alexandria Living Magazine Participating in Face Mask Contest — “Alexandria Living Magazine has teamed up with Mission Masks by KH Giving to encourage more Alexandria residents to wear masks while supporting local businesses and nonprofit organizations. Plus, purchasing a Mission Mask will earn you an entry into a raffle where you can win prizes valued at up to $15,000, including jewelry, local restaurant and retailer gift cards, wine from Sonoma Cellar and much more.” [Facebook]
New Job: Harris Teeter Hiring Customer Service Management Assistant — “Supervise up to 120 associates in the Customer Service Department [cashiers, baggers, customer service clerks] and accounting office. Is responsible for assisting the Department Manager with the overall direction, coordination, and evaluation of these departments. Carry out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with Harris Teeter’s policies and standards.” [Indeed]
It’s Hurricane Preparedness Week — “It’s Hurricane Preparedness Week, and @AlexandriaVAGov is urging the community to be prepared for a potential land-falling storm or hurricane. Making preparations now is the best way to protect yourself, your property and your loved ones.” [Twitter]
Virginia Theological Seminary Panel Discussion on Vacation Bible School at 3 p.m. — “Vacation Bible School is a flagship event for Christian formation and discipleship in many churches. As we live into the COVID-19 pandemic, folks are wondering how to move forward. Do we cancel altogether? Should we offer the full programming via Zoom? Would people use activity bags for pick-up at the church? We feel ourselves wondering, ‘NOW WHAT?'” [Eventbrite]
Alexandria Symphony Orchestra Trio Performing at Goodwin House at 4 p.m. — “Residents will open their windows at 4:00 p.m. to be treated to a 30-minute program performed by a trio of brass players led by ASO Music Director James Ross. Some residents will also enjoy the concert via limited seats on Goodwin House Alexandria’s rooftop. Thursday’s Courtyard Concert is just one activity Goodwin House Alexandria has planned to keep residents in high spirits, while maintaining social distancing. Many Goodwin House Alexandria residents are subscribers to the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra.” [ASO]
Del Ray Conducting Community Porch Party at 6 p.m. — “The Del Ray Business Association is proud to present the first-ever First Thursday: Porch Party from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 7. In the spirit of Del Ray’s summer street festivals, the event features a wide range of activities that promote community while maintaining social distancing standards. Wear your mask, keep proper social distancing, and participate in these community activities.” [Facebook]
Oakville Triangle Virtual Meeting at 6 p.m. — “The third online engagement opportunity will include a live presentation by the applicant via a Zoom meeting on Thursday, May 7 beginning at 6 p.m. where the community may ask questions directly in the online forum. A link to the virtual meeting can be found below and will also be posted to the project website with accompanying materials prior to May 7. A recording of the meeting and an online feedback portal for community comments will be posted to the project website following the live presentation.” [City of Alexandria]
Mayor, Sheriff Hand Out Diplomas to High School Seniors — “Yesterday, we announced three more deaths [from covid-19]. We have 26 deaths in the city. Every day, it’s another shoe falling. But this, this is something so positive.” (Washington Post)
Alexandria Economic Development Partnership Creating Local Business Grant Program — “AEDP will pull $2 million out of its ‘Alexandria Investment Fund,’ local incentive cash for retaining and attracting businesses, and then pair that money with federal funding the city received through the CARES Act.” [Washington Business Journal]
Burke & Herbert Bank Starts Borrowers Assistance Helpline — “You are not alone in any financial challenges you’re facing. If you cannot make your loan or mortgage payment, we need to know so that we can put a new plan in place to assist you.” [Facebook]
Visit Del Ray Launches Online Spring Pop-Up Market — “With social distancing restrictions in place, the Del Ray Business Association is moving its spring pop-up retail market online. Shop local with local artisans and home-based businesses and find the perfect gift for Mother’s Day!” [Facebook]
ALIVE! Receives More Contributions from Businesses – “Thank you to Democracy Federal Credit Union for stopping by the ALIVE! Food Warehouse this week with a big check! Donations support our purchase of food to distribute people in need. Also another thanks to Former Delegate Rob Krupicka Elizabeth’s Counter Alexandria for his continual support to ALIVE!” [Facebook]
It’s Teacher Appreciation Week — “With the abrupt end to the physical school year, our teachers have done even more to continue education with virtual classrooms and learning at home lessons. All to ensure every student at Hammond has the tools they need to reach their full potential.” [Facebook]
City Launches #SpreadCheerALX — “Messages posted on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the hashtag #SpreadCheerALX may be selected by the City to be reproduced as signs for others to display. The City will request permission to reproduce messages in advance. Selected submissions will be printed, displayed on City property, and made available to residents who would like a sign for their yard or window.” [Zebra]
Porch Party Planned for Thursday in Del Ray — “The Del Ray Business Association is proud to present the first-ever First Thursday: Porch Party from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 7. In the spirit of Del Ray’s summer street festivals, the event features a wide range of activities that promote community while maintaining social distancing standards.” [Facebook]
Victory Center Property Sold to Townhouse Developer — “Winchester Homes plans to build 138 townhouses ranging from 1,700 SF to 2,600 SF on the site. Winchester has built over 20,000 residential units across the Mid-Atlantic, including six communities that have opened in the last year. The deal comes after the Alexandria City Council in May approved a rezoning of the site’s 7-acre eastern parking lot that allows for a mix of uses. Two weeks later, Stonebridge acquired the property from PGIM Real Estate for $43M.” [Bisnow]
Alexandria Woman Arrested for Breaking Quarantine in Hawaii — “Kauai police arrested 31-year-old Desiree Marvin of Alexandria and 36-year-old Hawaii resident Adam Schwarze after they ignored orders to immediately self-quarantine.” [Alex Times]
Burke & Herbert Bank Responds to Limit on PPP Loans — “The Bank also has many applications in various stages of completion that had not yet been entered into the SBA system. While the SBA no longer is allowing us to submit applications to them at this time, we believe that it is in our customers’ best interest to continue finalizing these applications, collecting all required information and documentation, and readying them for immediate entry should new funding become available. Please continue to work with your banker to ensure that we have a complete application package ready for your business.” [Burke & Herbert]
Polk Elementary School Student Pens Inspiring Message — “This virus spreads. So can kindness. We’re in this together!” [Facebook]
Cheesetique Thanks Delivery Driver — “This is why it’s no exaggeration when I say that Malcom’s arrival is heralded with shouts, cheers, and sighs of relief from my team. And he’s out there EVERY DAY. He’s doing the heavy lifting to ensure that folks like us can take things the last 10 feet. Thank you to all of those ‘behind-the-scenes’ heroes who keep our businesses running. Thank you, Malcolm, for being there… with our cucumbers.” [Facebook]
Amtrak PD Officer Provides Pizza for Alexandria Police — “Ofc. Cameron Dux (AmtrakPD) is on a crusade to thank police officers during the pandemic. He delivered Valentino’s Pizza to our agency.” [Twitter]
RunningBrooke Launches Move2Learn-At-Home — “In an effort to make these as widely-accessible as possible, RunningBrooke videos can be viewed on ACPS-TV, RunningBrooke’s YouTube channel, multi-“classroom” Zoom fitness sessions, the RunningBrooke website and on social media platforms.” [Alexandria Living]
Junction Bakery & Bistro Delivering Soon — “Check it out, folks — our new Junction Delivery is almost ready to launch! We bring it to you: groceries, breads & pastries, family meals, and beer & wine — and pssst … cocktails coming too . Cheaper than Uber Eats!” [Facebook]
Carpenter’s Shelter Needs Food — “With the opening of the Safety Shelter at the Charles Houston Recreation Center, our food needs have expanded. We would like to thank our amazing community for jumping right in and helping to fulfill our needs within an incredibly short window. As of right now all of our meals are covered for the Safety Shelter through April 24th!” [Facebook]
Center For Alexandria’s Children Gets Face Mask Donation — “We received these cloth masks from Brooksie & Cas! Thank you so much for making and sending these to us. We are very grateful to you for helping to keep our team members safe. #StaySafe #StayHome #MasksForAll” [Facebook]
As the COVID-19 pandemic has rocked Alexandria’s economy, Virginia’s oldest banking institution — Burke and Herbert Bank — has approved nearly 400 U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program loans to small businesses, and there are 600 still pending, according to bank president and CEO David Boyle.
“We’ve approved just about 400 loans,” Boyle told ALXnow. “We have about 1,000 applications, so we have 600 or so that are still pending in various forms and we started actually closing and funding loans this week. So the money’s actually finding its way into the borrowers’ checking accounts and such this week.”
Boyle said the bank has pooled staff resources to attend to the loan applications. Additionally, the bank has frozen principal and interest payments for some business borrowers, in addition to freezing mortgage payments for other customers.
“Most disaster plans are set up for a week or two of disruption, and we’re now in week three or four of this with another three or four weeks potentially to go,” Boyle said. “People are signing up for digital banking services in record numbers. So, it’s changing the way the consumer is dealing with the banks as well.”
Boyle added, “We’re being as accommodating as we can be for these folks with the understanding that this is going to pass and there will be some return to some sort of economic positive economic flow at some point.”
Burke and Herbert was founded in 1852 and operates 25 branches throughout Northern Virginia, including its flagship location at 100 South Fairfax Street in Old Town. The bank has been forced to close its lobbies, and branch locations are only open for customers who make appointments. Additionally, Boyle said, about 35 staffers [about 7% of his workforce] have taken extended medical leaves to take care of their families, and most staff are working remotely at home.
“We were not hit flat-footed,” Boyle told ALXnow. “There are things that are not the same, but it’s not too dissimilar from a natural disaster or a problem that interrupts our business.”
Boyle said that traditional lending is still going on at the bank, and that it will withstand this economic crisis.
“We have the dry powder, if you will, to withstand some very tough economic stress, and the bank has been around since before the Civil War, survived World Wars and depressions,” Boyle said. “It’s a very conservative company and very well capitalized and very liquid. If our customers needed their money for whatever reason in a George Bailey scenario, we have a way to meet those needs. If there is a desire for our customers to take large sums of money out of the bank we can meet those needs.”
Still, Boyle said that he’s spending a lot of sleepless nights worrying about how COVID-19 is impacting customers, employees and the bank.
“If this went on for another three months, six months… Most economic downturns last 18 to 36 months and we’ve weathered how many of those so we’re going to be fine,” Boyle said. “We’re gonna be fine and we may find ourselves at some point having to be a little more restrictive on lending.”
We’re here for you during this challenging time. If you’re a Burke & Herbert Bank consumer or small business loan…
Staff photo by Jay Westcott