Morning Notes

Mayor and family attend Nats game canceled after shooting outside stadium Saturday — “We’re okay and on the Metro home, but baseball games should not be called because of a shooting. This is effed up and we all know it. We just don’t want to do anything about it.” [Twitter]

Intertribal Creatives Collective provides home for native artists — “Step into the new Intertribal Creatives Collective in Old Town Alexandria, and you’ll find yourself in a Western-style trading post with a touch of modern-day cool.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Internet cost assistance available for Alexandria residents — “Need help paying for internet access? The Emergency Broadband Benefit gives discounts up to $50/month for those eligible and discounts on computer/ tablet purchases.” [Twitter]

Today’s weather — “Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. High 89F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph… A few clouds (in the evening). Low 69F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Nose model — “I am looking to hire someone to model her nose while rubbing it, picking it, and making silly faces. Must be 18.” [Indeed]

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It was a quick week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

With summer in full swing, three Alexandria athletes have made it on the U.S. Olympic Team — sprinter Noah Lyles, high-jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend and boxer Troy Isley.

In other sporting news, Old Town businesses beat Del Ray in a controversial softball game Wednesday, adding fuel to the fire of an intense rivalry.

It’s been super hot out lately, and the City urged caution and reminded residents to take advantage of special cooling centers.

On the COVID front, the city’s DASH bus service announced that one of its drivers passed away from complications from the virus.

Meanwhile, Mayor Justin Wilson believes that the city has met its 80% vaccination threshold, while Virginia Department of Health data says about 65% of residents over the age of 16 are partially vaccinated. The Alexandria Health Department, which just launched a COVID-19 test and vaccine pilot at T.C. Williams High School, says the data does not take into account city residents vaccinated in Washington, D.C., and Maryland.

It’s also July 4 weekend, and in this week’s poll we asked whether readers plan on traveling, with 67% of respondents voting to stay home, 27% opting to travel by car and just 6% traveling by air.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Researchers call out shoddy craftsmanship in buried 18th century Alexandria ship
  2. Man suspected of raping 12-year-old stepdaughter in Landmark area flees to El Salvador
  3. Landmark Mall plan approved as Planning Commission demands better environmental considerations
  4. Alexandria leaders acknowledge serious security issues with elimination of school resource officer funding
  5. Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
  6. Alexandria eyes bus rapid transit and bike lanes for Duke Street
  7. Parker-Gray tiny lot home moves forward with some unique challenges
  8. Alexandria woman dies after veering off road on Interstate 95
  9. City talks strategy on making Chirilagua/Arlandria neighborhood Amazon-proof
  10. UPDATE: Man taken into custody as West End apartment barricade situation ends peacefully
  11. BREAKING: California man arrested for West End murder, indicted with 16 others in massive racketeering conspiracy

Have a safe weekend!

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Amid questionable calls and weather-related issues, Old Town businesses are claiming victory in Wednesday night’s softball battle against Del Ray.

Old Town Team Captain Trae Lamond of Chadwicks said his team won in a text message to ALXnow, and that he put the John Porter Cup in the trunk of his car after everyone scattered to avoid bad weather.

“We won,” Lamond told ALXnow. “The cup is ours.”

The score at the bottom of the fourth inning was 20-14 when storm clouds gathered, the wind picked up and the game was called at Little Simpson Field. The winner was still unclear for hours after the game, as Del Ray cried foul after being pitched a practice safety ball, or sponge ball, the entire first inning.

Old Town scored six runs in the first and Del Ray was scoreless for the first two innings.

Del Ray team captain Bill Blackburn of Pork Barrel BBQ initially said that the game was a no contest, since Old Town got four at-bats and his team only got three. He also said it was strange that the game was called not long after a home run by Del Ray’s Jesse O’Connell.

“The real injustice was for the fans of Alexandria, who lost out on what was shaping up to be the softball game of the century,” Blackburn said. “Del Ray was getting into a groove and was mounting a comeback to make up for the questionable ball issue in the first inning.”

Blackburn conceded after the umpire, Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, called it for Old Town in a text to ALXnow.

“Blackburn is complaining because he couldn’t hit the ball over the fence on a little league field,” Lawhorne said, adding that the “sponge ball” incident was beyond his reach. “I don’t provide the balls. I just provide a fair and balanced judgement of the actions of the players.”

As previously reported, Del Ray won the first competition in 2018, Old Town won in 2019 and the contest was postponed in 2020.

The team rosters are below.

Old Town

Del Ray

Batboys

  • Sam Youngblood
  • JoeMonroe Blackburn
  • Lily Youngblood

Courtesy Elijah Walter Griffin Sr/Griffin Vision Photography

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Morning Notes

New Virginia laws on marijuana, death penalty take effect today — ” Virginia lawmakers voted earlier this year to end executions, marking a dramatic change in direction for a state that has executed the most people in the nation’s history. Only two men remain on death row in Virginia. Their sentences will be commuted to life in prison without parole. The state will also legalize simple possession of marijuana, effective July 1, and allow adults to grow up to four marijuana plants per household.” [Patch]

Rare bird visits Huntley Meadows Park — “A Roseate Spoonbill, which the Audubon Society describes as “gorgeous at a distance and bizarre up close,” landed in Huntley Meadows this week, drawing hundreds of local nature photographers. The bird is far from its normal home in Florida, Louisiana, Texas and other parts of the far Southeastern United States. No one is sure why this spoonbill came so far north, but a recent tropical storm in the Southeast may have sent many birds flying for safer locales.” [Alexandria Living]

New lights installed at Armistead Boothe Park — “The existing pole lights at Armistead Boothe Park’s tennis and basketball court were removed and replaced with a modern energy savings LED lighting system. Work started in June 2021 and is anticipated to be completed in mid-July 2021. Take a moment and check them out!” [Twitter]

Fire Department says fireworks are illegal and unsafe — “Did you know it’s illegal to use or sell any fireworks, including sparklers, in the city limits of Alexandria? Nationwide, fireworks cause thousands of injuries and fires each year, and 36% of those injured are under 15 years old.” [Twitter]

Today’s weather — “Scattered thunderstorms in the morning becoming more widespread in the afternoon. Storms may contain strong gusty winds. High 87F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%… Showers and thundershowers in the evening, then overcast overnight with occasional rain. Low 67F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Locally heavy rainfall possible.” [Weather.com]

New job: Temporary COVID POD flow staff — “Are you a hardworking individual who is eager to join our efforts to augment and expedite vaccinations in the community? Does your passion drive you to commit to a cause that could have a positive impact on many? If this is you, we invite you to apply to one of our temporary City of Alexandria Vaccination site opportunities.” [Indeed]

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What was an intense week in Alexandria. Here is the rundown.

History was made, as the new marquees at Alexandria City High School and Naomi L. Brooks Elementary Schools were unveiled this week, and the name changes to T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School will go into effect July 1. It’s a victory for civil rights, as the namesakes of both old schools had backgrounds steeped in racism. Maury was a Confederate leader and Williams was an ACPS superintendent who worked intently against racial integration.

City Manager Mark Jinks on Tuesday also announced his intention to retire at the end of the year. Jinks, who made the announcement to City Council, hinted to ALXnow last month that he was seeking retirement. Today (Friday, June 25) is also the last day for retiring Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown, who will be moving to the West Coast to deal with family matters. Assistant Chief Don Hayes is taking over as acting chief until a national search narrows down a preferred candidate for the job.

Law enforcement events also dominated this week’s coverage. On Tuesday, first responders saved a woman experiencing a mental health crisis who was dangling perilously off the Monroe Avenue Bridge, followed by news Wednesday that a suspect was arrested for a West End murder along with 16 others in a massive racketeering conspiracy. On Thursday, a barricade situation in the West End ended peacefully.

In this week’s poll, when asked whether transit improvements would make residents more likely to take the bus, 48% said they don’t take the bus often and won’t likely change their habits; 38% said they don’t often take the bus, although transit improvements might change that; and 14% said that they already frequent the Metro and DASH bus systems.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Alexandria woman dies after veering off road on Interstate 95
  2. Man suspected of raping 12-year-old stepdaughter in Landmark area flees to El Salvador
  3. JUST IN: Thieves break into more than 60 vehicles in West End
  4. JUST IN: Rarity as American Viper Rattlesnake found in Old Town
  5. Massive redevelopment of West End apartment building has neighbors worried about street parking impact
  6. UPDATE: Alexandria first responders save suicidal woman on Monroe Avenue Bridge
  7. City Council emphasizes marketing funding for Alexandria’s ‘Hot Girl Summer’
  8. Mother and boyfriend allegedly beaten by knife-wielding ex in Old Town North
  9. With eviction moratorium expiring, city pushes renters and landlords toward rental assistance
  10. Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
  11. BREAKING: California man arrested for West End murder, indicted with 16 others in massive racketeering conspiracy

Have a safe weekend!

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Old Town and Del Ray businesses are back at it again, and the competition for supremacy will be on full display at next Wednesday night’s Old Town-Del Ray Softball Battle.

Mayor Justin Wilson will throw out the first pitch at 6:30 p.m., as the two teams from Del Ray and Old Town businesses will play for bragging rights and the John Porter Cup, a trophy that was metal crafted by Torpedo Factory artist Chris Erney. It is unclear whether Porter, the former principal of T.C. Williams High School, will make an appearance at the event.

It’s the third-ever softball battle between the competitors, as Del Ray won in 2018, Old Town won in 2019 and then the teams had to take a break in 2020 because of the pandemic.

That didn’t stop Del Ray’s team captain Bill Blackburn from competing against Old Town’s team captain Trae Lamond in an oyster eating contest last year, and it resulted in a 103-103 draw after Whiskey And Oyster ran out of oysters.

This year’s contest will be held at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park.

“We’re thirsty to drink from the John Porter Cup,” Blackburn told ALXnow. “Of course, that’s one drink at a time, and we’ll sanitize between drinks… Del Ray has been eager to regain the cup for two years, since we missed our chance to take it back last year. So, there’s a lot of desire, there’s a fire in our bellies.”

Lamond, in a Zoom meeting with Visit Alexandria earlier this week, said that Del Ray cheated in 2018.

“We’re going to destroy them,” Lamond said. “I’m predicting we win by double digits again this year. There you go. We can bet through a variety of channels that are all now available on our apps on our phones.”

Blackburn was ejected from the game in 2018 for arguing against a call by the umpire, Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, who will once again be officiating with his deputies. He scoffed at the notion that his team cheated in the 16-15 nail-biter win in 2018.

“I don’t recall that,” Blackburn said. “In fact, we won despite poor officiating from Dana Lawhorne, and I was ejected from the game. And this is when I was fairly pleading my team’s case.”

There will not be any food trucks at the event, and fans are encouraged to bring takeout from an Alexandria restaurant.

Courtesy Visit Del Ray/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Council defers on School Resource Officer funding reallocation — “On Tuesday, Alexandria City Council deferred a decision on releasing funding for school resource officers for other positions at Alexandria City Public Schools. The decision is scheduled for a July 6 public hearing.” [Patch]

Levine agrees to pay for primary mailer on House letterhead — “Levine, who lost both his primary contests, said in an interview he saw the mailing as an “informational letter” explaining the unique circumstances of why he was appearing on the ballot twice. He said he still doesn’t think it clearly qualified as campaign advertising, but agreed to reimburse the clerk’s office to clear up the matter after others complained.” [Virginia Mercury]

Paving wrapping up on Commonwealth Avenue — “Commonwealth Ave should be finished by the end of the week (striping and speed cushions to follow) Paving continues on West Glebe Rd.” [Twitter]

Injured Titan soccer player makes $5,000 GoFundMe goal — “Mahmoud is a goalie and was playing a soccer game when he collided with someone, he got 2 fractures in the lower jaw, dislocated TM joint, and he lost 2 teeth with damaged gums. The surgical procedure required 6 screws and wiring to hold the jaw together, he won’t be able to eat or talk for 6 weeks to heal. The donation would help a lot with the medical bills.” [GoFundMe]

Alexandria Aces return — “The COVID-19 pandemic may have resulted in empty stands and untouched uniforms last year, but the Alexandria Aces are finally back for their 13th season in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League – with a few adjustments.” [Alex Times]

Today’s weather — “Intervals of clouds and sunshine (during the day). High 83F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph… Partly cloudy skies during the evening will give way to cloudy skies overnight. Low 71F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Multiple positions available at the Chart House — “$500 Sign-On Bonus – $100 once training is complete and $100 every 30 days for 4 months. This isn’t just your next job – it’s your opportunity to be part of an amazing team that delivers on our promise to meet and exceed our guest’s experience the moment they walk through our doors!” [Indeed]

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Last year, Jake Marshall thought his baseball career was over. The pandemic shut down the league he played with in California and he returned to Alexandria to set up a home construction business. But a chance connection has given him a second shot at that dream.

The 27-year-old Marshall lives in Arlington and runs his construction company out of ALX Community in Old Town, and recently signed to play with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs — a professional baseball team based out of Waldorf, Maryland. Marshall joined the team as second-string catcher, though he’s also been designated hitter more frequently than he expected.

While it started as overwhelming, Marshall said getting back into professional baseball has felt settling and comforting. From 2018 to 2020, Marshall played on a semi-professional team in Napa Valley in California, but the league shut down when the pandemic hit.

“When the pandemic hit, I thought my career was over,” Marshall said. “I thought it was fun, and great, but now it’s time to go build houses. That league shut down, along with basically every other independent league. I was like ‘you know what, this is a good time for a break.’ I played for two years and had fun. I was at peace with it being the end. Then when this opportunity came up I was like ‘wow, I can’t turn this down’ because it was a team I always wanted to play for.”

His return to baseball came as a result of a little networking and a lot of luck.  In California he met Kent Blackstone, another player who is from the DC Metro area. Blackstone ended up becoming the second baseman for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in 2019.

“When this season rolled around, he was like, ‘You should come around to the stadium, catch a couple pitches and hang out,'” Marshall said. “It was about being in the right place at the right time.”

One of the coaches was there and Marshall ended up breaking camp with the rest of the team.

Marshall said he’s put his home remodeling business on hold because the team plays six days a week and he doesn’t want the rest of his construction team to be left waiting around for him.

The team is very competitive, with lots of former big leaguers who Marshall said he’s been learning a lot from.

“It’s the little things,” Marshall said. “You learn how to walk and talk and be a professional baseball player, but there’s nuanced details that each new higher level brings you that you didn’t think about before.”

Marshall said he’s learned a lot from Daryl Thompson, a former MLB player and star pitcher for the Blue Crabs.

“We have a pitcher, Daryl Thompson, who played for Reds in the big leagues,” Marshall said. “Pitchers usually have three-to-four different pitches. He said he had 30. I was like ‘what the hell are you talking about, that’s impossible?'”

Marshall said Thompson explained that he considers the different locations of where he’s pitching to as altogether different pitches, even if they’re the same “type” of pitch.

Marshall is now traveling with the team, and says he starting to feel more natural again.

“It’s been fantastic,” Marshall said. “It’s a great organization. We’ve been in the season two-and-a-half weeks for about 20 games.”

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Morning Notes

Residents keep reporting sick birds, officials investigating — “In late May, wildlife managers in Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia began receiving reports of sick and dying birds with eye swelling and crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs. No definitive cause of death is identified at this time.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Aces open season at Frank Mann Field — “The Alexandria Aces took on the Gaithersburg Giants June 8 in the opening game at Frank Mann Field, losing to their Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League rivals 10-7. Sheriff Dana Lawhorne threw out the ceremonial first pitch with his grandson Ryan Kaskela and team owner Frank Fannon joining him on the mound. Pitcher Chris Knight from George Washington University opened the game with Matt Stone, a catcher at Georgetown, behind the plate. The team roster consists of more than 40 elite college baseball players from across the country.” [Gazette]

Office-to-residential development trend continues at Transpotomac Plaza in Old Town North — The proposed project known as TideLock would convert three existing brick office buildings at 1033, 1055 and 1111 N. Fairfax St. into residential buildings and create a new arts and retail building. The site is 1.38 acres or 60,123 square feet in size. The office buildings were formally occupied by the American Physical Therapy Association before they moved to their new office building in Potomac Yard.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s weather — “Sunshine along with some cloudy intervals (during the day). High 86F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph… Scattered showers and thunderstorms (in the evening). Low around 65F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%” [Weather.com]

New job: Autism behavior technician — “CARD Behavior Technician Trainees will be enrolled in the CARD Behavior Technician Training Program which is an Applied Behavior Analysis training program designed to prepare individuals to successfully conduct therapy sessions with CARD patients. Behavior Technician Trainees must complete all coursework and pass all required exams in order to be eligible to move into the Behavior Technician I position. Behavior Technician Trainees report to the CARD behavior analysts. This is an hourly, non-exempt, part-time or full-time position.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria’s Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities (RPCA) is planning an overhaul of recreational park on Eisenhower Avenue to add new sports fields and other amenities.

Joseph Hensley Park at 4194 Eisenhower Avenue — just west of the Animal Welfare League — is currently an open field mostly occupied by a central baseball diamond. The new design will feature two baseball diamonds and a soccer field with synthetic turf.

According to the project website:

The proposed design plan has a number of amendments to the endorsed 2014 Joseph Hensley Park Improvement Plan. The proposed design plan will maintain diamond and rectangular athletic uses on site and upgrade the facilities. The proposed design plan will address stormwater and site drainage issues, increase parking capacity, upgrade the sports lighting, upgrade the two natural turf diamond fields, convert the rectangular field to synthetic turf, and improve site circulation and ADA access. The project will replace the current restrooms, add a play space, add a second park shelter, and add a multi-use court/performance space.

The project will have a phased implementation, with the first phase including the lower baseball diamond and new parking, along with other stormwater and accessibility improvements, as well as replacement of the existing restrooms.

The project is scheduled to go to the Planning Commission for review on Tuesday, March 2.

Image via City of Alexandria

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