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(Updated 4:50 p.m.) Under President Donald Trump, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch says that America resembled repressive regimes she’d seen overseas.

On Monday (May 9), Yovanovitch spoke about her memoir “Lessons From The Edge” at Pat Miller Square in the heart of Del Ray. The book documents her 33-year Foreign Service career that culminated with her being fired by Trump as the ambassador to Ukraine and her congressional testimony during his first impeachment.

“When I came back to the United States, I experienced… the smear campaign that was launched against me and other things,” Yovanovich said, “that felt like I was seeing some of the same things in the United States that I’d seen overseas, that we had a president who was using his office for personal gain, and the presidency is the highest office in the land.”

Yovanovitch worked for five presidents throughout her career, and began her ambassadorship of Ukraine under President Barack Obama in 2016. She served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, and retired from the State Department in 2020. She is now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a non-resident fellow at Georgetown University.

“Fast forward to the insurrection on January 6, and it was really very sobering that one of the things that I realized was we do have strong institutions, but they need us as much as we need them,” Yovanovich said. “We need people who are not just smart and competent, but people who are ethical, who work with integrity, and who will do the work of the people in the United States. And again, do it with integrity. When asked to do something that is wrong, they will say no, not because they are just loyal to the president of the the United States, they’ll say no because they are critical thinkers.”

Despite her disbelief over Trump’s election, for two years under the Trump administration she was largely left alone, she wrote. That was until 2019, when she said she became the target of a smear campaign by the administration to get her fired. She wrote that oligarchs and corrupt government officials will use disinformation to destroy competitors so effectively that the lies become more believable than the truth, and that the same tactics were being employed against her from Washington, D.C.

“I was being hung out to dry,” Yovanovitch wrote. “I had served five previous administrations, both Republican and Democrat. I had never seen anything like this.”

Five months after being removed from her post, Yovanovitch testified before the House Intelligence Committee during Trump’s first impeachment. As she testified, then-President Trump tweeted about her disparagingly, and Yovanovitch said it was “very intimidating.”

In her book, Yavonovich describes herself as an introvert, a behind-the-scenes operator who, before 2019, “never would have believed that anyone other than my family would find my story of interest,” she wrote. “But the reaction to my testimony changed that, and so I started writing, thinking that perhaps others might have something to gain from the story of my Foreign Service journey.”

Mayor Justin Wilson said that Alexandria is lucky to have public servants like Yovanovitch as a resident.

“The fragility of our democracy requires it that women and men are willing to stand up and defend it and defend it with courage,” Wilson said. “Oftentimes that integrity and that courage is buried somewhere deep in a bureaucracy that never sees the light of day. Nobody ever understands what actually happened. But sometimes that courage is required, not only to stand up to some of the most totalitarian regimes in the world, (but) sometimes even to the leader of the free world.”

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(Updated on Feb. 11) Fans of the “Goodnight Moon” classic children’s book are in for a treat, as there’s a new Goodnight Moon Room installation at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.

The project in Studio 9 is led by longtime Torpedo Factory artist Lisa Schumaier, who said she wants to give visitors a literary hug.

“When your parents get you on their lap or at night when you’re ready to go to bed, they’ll read a book to you, and it just gives you this cozy feeling,” Schumaier told ALXnow. “For me, when I have something bad happen, I can pick up a book and I feel that snuggle from my parents. I feel that snuggle from the book.”

The installation, based on the book by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, includes the painting of the cow jumping over the Moon, the bunny, the red balloon, and even a fake fireplace.

“I have this weird love of fake fireplaces,” Schumaier said. “People just give them to me.”

As a mixed media artist, Schumaier said that she ordinarily gets odd gifts from friends and art fans.

“People give me weird stuff,” she said. “Like, I recently got a kimono. And bottle caps. Most people just give me bags and bags of bottle caps.”

The paintings in the installation were created by Torpedo Factory artists Tracie Griffith Tso, Judy Heiser and Chris Cardellino. On the bookshelf are banned books, including “The Catcher In The Rye”, “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “Beloved”.

The installation opened on Saturday, Dec. 4, and closes on Sunday, February 20.

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Morning Notes

The fight to preserve Douglass Cemetery — “While the location’s rich past and personal connection served as an emboldening force for Johnson, he said he’s sorry that anyone’s final resting place could wind up in such a dilapidated state.” [Alexandria Times]

Advice from Old Town Books’ Ally Kirkpatrick — “We talked to Ally Kirkpatrick, founder and owner of Old Town Books, about curling up with a good read when the weather gets cold and finding the perfect book to give as a gift.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

City of Alexandria Receives Perfect Score on 2021 Municipal Equality Index — “The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation and Equality Federation Institute have announced that the City of Alexandria is one of 110 cities in the U.S. to receive the maximum possible score of 100% on the 2021 Municipal Equality Index (MEI)” [Zebra]

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Morning Notes

Old Town Books to open ‘Juniors’ pop-up shop — “Old Town Books is opening a winter pop-up shop called Old Town Books Juniors this month.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Public invited to help lay wreaths at Alexandria National Cemetery Dec. 18 — “On Saturday, Dec. 18 — the same day as the wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery — there is another gathering planned for Alexandria National Cemetery.” [Zebra]

Lindsay Volvo development project starts — “Heavy equipment was hard at work destroying the remainder of the former Lindsay Motor Car Company Cadillac dealership on Quaker Lane Tuesday afternoon.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

COVID precautions urged for holidays in Alexandria — “Northern Virginia’s health directors anticipate a winter surge in COVID-19 cases and are recommending certain precautions for the holidays.” [Patch]

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Morning Notes

Alexandria seeks input on phase II revision of noise ordinance — “On May 15, the Alexandria City Council adopted phase I technical revisions of the City’s noise ordinance. The City is now seeking public input on a phase II revision that would address policy issues associated with land use, noise levels and changes with noise sources. The objective is to finalize this revision for Council consideration by the end of 2021.” [City of Alexandria]

Alexandria author writes book on 19th century Scottish migrant — “First-time author Ellen Hamilton has spent years working on the story of William Gregory, who settled here in Alexandria in 1807. Now, her first book, ‘A Scottish Migration to Alexandria’, is going into print.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Health Department to offer free flu shots — “In an effort to ensure that the community has access to the influenza vaccine, the Alexandria Health Department is hosting a free clinic on Saturday, Oct. 2 at Hammond Middle School from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Rain showers in the morning with scattered thunderstorms arriving in the afternoon. High 79F. Winds SE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%… Scattered thunderstorms in the evening, then mainly cloudy overnight with thunderstorms likely. Potential for heavy rainfall. Low 68F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Temporary bilingual COVID-19 vaccine promoter — “. The Vaccine Promotor(a)/CVN will engage with residents of underserved communities to provide education about COVID-19 and the importance of vaccination. The Promotor(a) will work with Neighborhood Health’s COVID-19 Outreach team to plan an overall outreach strategy and provide support to other vaccine-related activities.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Del Ray Italian restaurant to close — “Rosemarino D’Italia will close its doors after Wednesday, July 28 at its Alexandria location in Del Ray, after serving up Italian cuisine to its customers for the past eight years there, according to manager Edward Camacho.” [Alexandria Living]

Work starts on new Athleta store in Old Town — “Construction has started on the former La Tasca restaurant on King Street as the building owners make space for a store for Gap, Inc. athletic brand Athleta.” [Alexandria Living]

Harry Potter birthday tours this Saturday at Apothecary Museum — “In honor of Harry’s birthday, the Apothecary Museum is offering a special tour for families (and adults who missed their Hogwarts’ letter) that will explore the old Apothecary and the historic muggle medicines that inspired the Herbology and Potions of Harry’s wizarding world. Tours are every 30 minutes from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Recommended for fans ages 8 and older.” [City of Alexandria]

Today’s weather — “A mix of clouds and sun in the morning followed by cloudy skies during the afternoon. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 91F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph… Some clouds early will give way to generally clear conditions overnight. Low 71F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Temporary enrichment and fitness instructor — “In pursuit of service excellence the Enrichment and Fitness Instructor provides youth, adult, and senior leisure classes at various recreation centers through the City of Alexandria. In this role, you will have the opportunity to ensure that the goals are met to provide a safe, fun, structured and engaging atmosphere for all our customers.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Pastor gives back to honor son’s cancer survival — “Porras, pastor at Beverley Hills Community UMC in Alexandria, is participating in the 10-week Man/Woman of the Year Campaign for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society in the DC metropolitan area.” [Patch]

Restaurant Revitalization Fund registration to open in Alexandria — “The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, part of the American Rescue Plan Act stimulus package, will provide emergency assistance for qualifying businesses with revenue losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible restaurants will receive funding to match their pandemic-related revenue loss:up to $5 million per physical location, or a total of $10 million per business. The funds will not have to be repaid as long as businesses use them for approved purposes by March 11, 2023.” [Patch]

NOVA Parks, Northern Virginia Conservation Trust make another offer for River Farm — “he organizations are trying to purchase River Farm, the 25-acre estate currently owned by the American Horticultural Society.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria chef wins awards for cookbook — “Alexandria author Kimberly Cataldo Thompson has reason to celebrate. Her debut cookbook, “Amen to the Garden: Dandelions to Dinner,” won a 2020 NYC Big Book Award. The book – the first in the ORGANIC GARDEN GIRL® series – has also been recognized as a Distinguished Favorite in the Cookbook category.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Cloudy (during the day). High around 85F. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph… Considerable cloudiness (in the evening) with occasional rain showers. Low 58F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Delivery driver — “This position is ideal for a student, stay-at-home parent, or retiree looking for consistent and part-time hours.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Police Provide Guidance on Indecent Exposures in Del Ray — “The Police department encourages anyone who is a victim or witnessed these incidents to call 9-1-1.  If you live in the neighborhood, please review your security cameras and call police if there is suspicious activity.” [City of Alexandria]

City Hall Walk-in Payment Hours Expanded — “Beginning Monday, March 1, in-person services are now available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.” [City of Alexandria]

Little Theatre of Alexandria Presents ‘The Revolutionists’ — “Come watch as four sassy women lose their heads in this irreverent, girl-powered comedy set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror.” [Gazette]

‘Port City Publius’ Bashes Anti-Establishment Facebook Group — “The group is a tinpot dictatorship in which comments and posts that don’t share the narrow worldview of the moderators are routinely deleted and removed, and the offending poster evicted from the membership. This authoritarian intolerance for diverse and divergent viewpoint–not to mention an outright manipulation of the discourse in the group (‘IT’S CANCEL CULTURE!!’ comes the ironic scream from the cover of the CPAC brochure most of these people probably have laying on their kitchen counter)–is pretty hypocritical for a group allegedly concerned with integrity.” [Port City Publius]

Former Delegate Krupicka Publishes Poetry Book — “”It took a while, but I fell into routine of writing poems inspired by grace and the need for grace in life. Fast forward a few years and I had a good number of poems. Enough for a collection. Well, here it is. This project took close to five years in total to write, edit and then get the nerve up to publish.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy. Periods of rain early. High 54F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%… Some clouds early will give way to generally clear conditions overnight. Low 27F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Full Time Nanny for 1 Child — “We are looking for a nanny who can watch and care for our five-month-old daughter while both parents are working from home, ideally one who can start as soon as possible. Nanny would be responsible for ensuring that the baby gets fed, has playtime, and takes naps on a reasonable schedule; takes her outside as weather permits; and helps ensure she is hitting her developmental milestones. We are taking our COVID precautions seriously, and since the nanny would effectively become part of our bubble, we would want to work with someone who is also diligent about our daughter’s safety. The nanny must also be Infant CPR certified.” [Indeed]

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Old Town Books has found a new home.

The lease for the shop, which started as a pop-up at 104 S. Union Street in September 2018, expires at that location next March.

Staff told ALXnow that the shop needs more space, and found it at 130 S. Royal Street.

“We’re very excited for more space, as things hopefully get more back to normal in the next few months,” bookseller Angie Sanchez said.

The new location is the former Gallery Lafayette, which closed in September after more than 40 years in business.

Old Town Books recently thanked its customers for helping it weather the pandemic.

“We’re grateful our customers are flexible and patient as we try to stay open and healthy, both mentally and physically,” owner Ally Kirkpatrick wrote on Facebook. “Thanks to you all, Old Town Books is here to stay for future generations.”

Photo via Old Town Books/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Beyer Says People Will Suffer Without Unemployment Insurance Program Extension — “”We’re making a deeply fundamental mistake not reauthorizing all our unemployment insurance programs. When we take the money away, that’s what’s been propping up consumer spending and the ability of people to get by.” [Twitter]

City Opens Additional Locations for Absentee Voting — “Absentee voting will be available at the Charles Beatley Library (5005 Duke St.) from October 23 through October 31, except Sundays. Absentee voting will also be available at Minnie Howard School (3801 W. Braddock Rd.) and George Washington Middle School (1005 Mt. Vernon Ave.), on Saturdays, October 24 and 31, only.  All three locations will have ballot drop boxes available during voting hours, which vary according to the list below.” [City of Alexandria]

West End Business Association Hosting PPP Loan Meeting — “The West End Business Association (WEBA) will host a virtual Lunch and Learn on Monday, October 26, 12:30-2 p.m., to help small business owners learn how to prepare for the PPP loan forgiveness application process. A panel of local experts will offer advice and guidelines to both the simple and the advanced applications. Registration is free for WEBA members and $10 for guests.” [City of Alexandria]

City Celebrating 20th Anniversary of the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy — “The virtual event will feature an annual summary of pregnancy data by the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) and a proclamation by Mayor Justin Wilson. Teen pregnancy in Alexandria has dropped 76% since 2000 to an all time low. This reflects good choices by teens, supported by evidence-based approaches to prevention from ACAP, City agencies and community partners, including Alexandria City Public Schools and AHD’s Teen Wellness Center.” [City of Alexandria]

Classical WETA’s Nicole Lacroix Narrates Alexandria Author’s New Thriller — “Nicole Lacroix can be heard every weekday afternoon on Classical WETA 90.9 FM. She has that familiar, soothing voice that tells listeners the stories behind their favorite pieces. Now she has a part-time gig: audiobook narrator. Recently, she completed her recording of Alexandria author John Adam Wasowicz’s new thriller, ‘Slaters Lane.’ On Wednesday, October 21, she will headline a virtual discussion of her work on the book from 7-8 p.m.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy skies early will become partly cloudy later in the day. Areas of patchy fog. High 79F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Clear skies with a few passing clouds (in the evening). Low near 60F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Alexandria Environmental Health Outreach Specialist — “Alexandria Health Department (AHD) is seeking an experienced, self-motivated candidate to join our Environmental Health Outreach Specialist position. This position will investigate bite reports to prevent the spread of rabies within our community, manage mosquito complaints, and be responsible for championing outreach efforts within the City.” [Indeed]

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