Newsletter

What a week in Alexandria.

Public uproar over Sunday’s flooding spilled out throughout this week, which continued to be threatened by near-daily flash flood advisories from the National Weather Service.

Our top story was on Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, who criticized City Manager Mark Jinks on the city’s stormwater infrastructure. Mayor Justin Wilson says that multiple projects are underway and take time, and that the city is now looking into whether spot improvements and any other projects can be accelerated.

The group DrainALX has also gained popularity, as it continues to catalog stormwater issues and complaints. One Del Ray resident even told us that she’s turned to therapy after repeatedly spending thousands on a continually ruined basement.

Our weekly poll also found 55% of respondents (193 people) have experienced flood damage to their homes, 14% (74 people) have experienced other sorts of property damage and 31% (159 votes) have never had any property damaged by a storm in the city.

This weekend’s forecast is partly cloudy with a 50% chance of scattered thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon, followed by a 40% chance of thunderstorms Sunday night.

School issues

The week before school starts, the School Board unanimously approved Thursday night the requirement that ACPS staffers get the coronavirus vaccine.

“We do have authority to require testing and require vaccinations,” Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. said at the board meeting. “However, there have been no cases where someone has contested that requirement. That has not occurred as of yet, and I’m sure it’s going to begin soon…”

In the meantime, Alexandria is also prepping COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city employees.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. As Alexandria looks to accelerate stormwater projects, Sheriff gives city manager a D-
  2. The Four Mile Run Bridge in Arlandria will not fully reopen until fall 2025
  3. Institute for Defense Analyses announces Potomac Yard move-in later this year
  4. Woman behind DrainALX campaign shares frustrations and hopes from locals after Sunday flood
  5. HUD Secretary Fudge visits Alexandria, says affordable housing is a Biden Administration priority
  6. New census shows Alexandria not majority-white
  7. Alexandria School Board to discuss mandatory vaccinations for staffers this week
  8. After rampant flooding over weekend, another Flash Flood Watch is in effect for Alexandria
  9. Poll: Have you gotten the infamous mite bite in Alexandria?
  10. Alexandria Fire Department struggling with staffing shortage and forced overtime
  11. Stuck in quandary, Del Ray flooding victim seeks therapy

Have a safe weekend!

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Troy “The Transformer” Isley was welcomed home to cheering supporters in Old Town Thursday, as the Olympic fighter signed autographs and talked about future bouts.

Isley got back to Alexandria from Tokyo last week, and says folks are treating him a little differently.

“I’ll call my friends, and their parents will be like, ‘Is that the Olympian on the phone?'” Isley said. “It’s like a dream come true. I fulfilled my dream.”

Isley, a middleweight, won in his Olympic debut against Vitali Bandarenka of Belarus on July 26. He lost his second fight against Russian Gleb Bakshi on July 29, which knocked him out of the tournament.

He has a 2-0 record since turning pro in February, and is a graduate of T.C. Williams High School. Isley is also one of three Titans competing in the Olympics, along with bronze medalist sprinter Noah Lyles and high jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend.

The 22-year-old started boxing with the Alexandria Boxing Club at an early age, and says he will get back to working out on Monday. After all, he just booked his next professional bout on October 23 in Atlanta, Georgia, and hopes to fight again in December.

“I’m pretty much on vacation now,” Isley said. “I’m definitely ready to get back in the ring.”

Isley’s father, Kevin Isley, said that his son’s performance at the games was inspiring.

“It was humbling for my family and me to see him live out his childhood dream,” Kevin Isley said. “Troy just stuck with it, stayed focused and all of his dreams have come through so far. The Olympics was fantastic, but he’s going to do a whole lot better now because he’s got a professional style.”

There were a bunch of young fighters in attendance at Charles Houston, including 12-year-old Mark Cates, who won a regional Golden Gloves tournament in 2019.

“I love hitting people in the face,” Cates said. “My plan is to go to Nationals, the Olympics and then go pro.”

Terriel Cooke, Sr. brought his son to meet Isley. His son won the 10 and under category at the U.S. Nationals last year.

“It’s great to see someone who started off here in Alexandria make it,” said the elder Cooke. “We’re so proud of Troy here. We were just stuck to the TV watching him the whole time. It’s amazing to see how he grew up to give back to his community.”

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Morning Notes

Booster shot preparations for adults made in Alexandria — “After a White House announcement that a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine could be available to adults as soon as Sept. 20, the City of Alexandria is preparing to administer the additional doses.” [Patch]

Efforts underway to educate public as city adjusts to marijuana legalization — “In order to spread awareness about the details of the bill and quell community concerns, the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria worked with the governor’s office to release a “Top 10″ list for youth and adults that concretely explains the new measure’s rules and regulations.” [Alextimes]

Behind the scenes at ‘The Loft’ with Lena’s seasonal transformations — “When the theme at the Loft at Lena’s changes for the season, it’s a top to bottom change. New menus are developed, staff don new uniforms and even the lighting is completely redone. The loft closes down on Sunday and is closed for four days before reopening in time for Friday dinner. During that time it’s a 24/7 process that involves the whole team at Lena’s.” [Alexandria Living]

Median home prices to rise steadily in Northern Virginia — “The median price of sold homes will continue its upward trend across Northern Virginia, but the rise in prices will slow down in the coming months, according to a new report from the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University (GMU-CRA) and the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR).” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s weather — “Rain showers in the morning with scattered thunderstorms arriving in the afternoon. High 79F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 80%. Locally heavy rainfall possible… Scattered thunderstorms in the evening, then variable clouds overnight with more showers at times. Low around 70F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 40%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Auto sales representative — “NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED!! WE WILL TRAIN YOU!! OURISMAN CHRYSLER / JEEP / DODGE / RAM NEEDS SALESPEOPLE!!…..one of Virginia’s most respected automotive groups is offering an opportunity to join their automotive sales team” [Indeed]

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Alexandria’s Troy Isley won his Olympic debut on Monday against middleweight Vitali Bandarenka, and his boxing club at home is eager that he win a medal.

The Olympic games have been Isley’s dream since he boxing at the Alexandria Boxing Club when he was eight years old.

“Everything is one punch at a time in this sport, and Troy is definitely going to get a medal,” Alexandria Boxing Club coach Jeffrey “Steady” Johnson told ALXnow. “He looked really good.”

Isley, a middleweight, is one of three T.C. Williams High School graduates in the Tokyo Olympics, along with sprinter Noah Lyles and high-jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend. After launching his pro debut earlier this year, Isley (now 2-0 professionally) and teammates Keyshawn Davis and Duke Ragan are the first-ever pro boxers to fight for Team USA in the Games.

In his Team USA bio, Isley lists Kay Koroma and Dennis Porter as his coaches. Porter, the founder of the Alexandria Boxing Club, passed away earlier this year.

Johnson said that Isley’s fame has led to a waiting list for kids to be trained.

“We got started with the Alexandria Boxing Club after Sugar Ray Leonard won the Olympic gold medal in 1976,” he said. “Boxing really blew up in the area. That’s why we started. Now we’ve got a waiting list for a while.”

Isley, who lists Leonard as his favorite boxer of all time, next faces Russia’s Gleb Sergeyevich Bakshi on Thursday.

https://twitter.com/USABoxing/status/1419859904387424262

via Twitter

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Morning Notes

Alexandria boxer Troy Isley to compete in Olympics — “Troy Isley, 22, is a middleweight boxer from Alexandria, a T.C. Williams High School alumnus and part of the Alexandria Boxing Club. He secured his spot on the Olympic team on June 7, USA Boxing confirmed.” [Patch]

Alexandria Police helped chase down suspect Friday — “Alert:: APD assisted PG County Police and Fairfax County Police with chasing down a suspect. The chase originated in PG County and came through our city via Fairfax County. No injuries to report. The suspect was taken into custody.” [Twitter]

Emmy Squared Opens in Old Town — “After a soft opening this weekend, Emmy Squared will open its doors Wednesday, June 30 at 124 King St., in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, near the waterfront.” [Alexandria Living]

New uses coming to original Mount Vernon High School — “The building was originally built in 1939 on land that used to be part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate. It was used as a high school until 1973 and then a middle school until 1985. The building was then leased to the Islamic Saudi Academy in 1989 until that school relocated to a new building in 2016.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s weather — “Sunny (during the day). Hot. High 94F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph… Clear skies (in the evening). Low 74F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Tour guide — “Seeking a responsible, punctual, and social tour guide/driver to help with winery and brewery tours on weekends. Must be comfortable driving large groups (driving minivan or 15 passenger van). Clean driving record is a Must!” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

ACPS opens contest for students to design new logo for renamed T.C. Williams High School  — “T.C. Williams was named after Thomas Chambliss Williams, ACPS superintendent of from the mid-1930s until 1963. Williams was a known segregationist who argued that Black and white students learned differently and should remain in separate schools.” [WJLA]

The Old Town Shop Celebrates Four Years — “Over the past four years, the store has introduced a variety of Virginia goods, including the world-famous Hubs peanuts. More locally, the shop features a variety of local, curated artisan items that are normally offered only at the Alexandria Farmers’ Market. Featured vendors include Truly Life (bath and body items), Capital Candles (soy candles), Watermelan Designs (jewelry), Together We Bake (granola and trail mix) and Napier Farms (jams & jellies).” [Alexandria Living]

Metropolitan School of the Arts to give virtual performances of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ — “ALEXANDRIA, VA-Tchaikovsky composed “The Sleeping Beauty” from 1888 to 1889. It is the longest of his three ballet scores. Based on the Charles Perrault fairy tale, Disney adapted the work for an animated movie released in 1959. The Metropolitan School of the Arts (MSA) in Alexandria will showcase their own adaptation from 12 a.m. on May 8 to 12 p.m. on May 9.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy skies (during the day). Slight chance of a rain shower. High around 65F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph… A mostly clear sky (in the evening). Low 43F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Group fitness boxing instructor — “An Inner Champion lives inside us all at every fitness and skill level. It’s just waiting to be released. Mayweather Boxing + Fitness – Old Town West in Alexandria, VA will offer an authentic experience for those who want to learn from Floyd Mayweather’s techniques and training regimens, while getting in the best shape of their lives in a high-intensity group fitness setting.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Coronavirus vaccine eligibility expandedEvery Virginian 16 and older will be eligible for the #COVID19 vaccine by April 18–but several health districts have already expanded vaccinations to all adults or will be doing so in the coming days.” [Twitter]

Alexandria expanding vaccine phase 1C — “AHD follows the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) guidance that considers a frontline essential workers’ vaccine eligibility based upon their workplace location. This means that there are Alexandria residents working in essential frontline roles outside of the city limits of Alexandria who have yet to be vaccinated as a result of their employer jurisdiction’s supply availability. Therefore, before moving to Phase 2, AHD will offer vaccine appointments to all Alexandria residents who work in Phase 1 industries, regardless of their workplace location. If you are an essential frontline worker in Phase 1a, 1b, or 1c living in Alexandria and have not yet received a vaccine appointment, pre-register online or update your pre-registration record to ensure that the job category in your profile is correct.” [City of Alexandria]

Wilson announces endorsement list in reelection bid — “I am proud to have the support of so many elected and former elected officials who know the challenges of governing not just in the good times, but in times of struggle, and have been a part in building longstanding solutions for Alexandrians.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Sunny (during the day) along with a few clouds. High 79F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph… Partly cloudy (in the evening). Low 52F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job Boxing instructor — “An Inner Champion lives inside us all at every fitness and skill level. It’s just waiting to be released. Mayweather Boxing + Fitness – Old Town West in Alexandria, VA will offer an authentic experience for those who want to learn from Floyd Mayweather’s techniques and training regimens, while getting in the best shape of their lives in a high-intensity group fitness setting. We are currently recruiting for Instructor(s) to join the excitement and be a part of our tight-knit community at the Old Town West location.” [Indeed]

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It was a cold and snowy week in Alexandria.

Our top story this week was on plans to redevelop the GenOn power plant in Old Town North. It looks like deconstruction of the plant will start in 2023 and developers are looking at converting it into an urban, mixed-use property with housing.

The short work week started with news that Alexandria reached 10,000 cases of COVID-19. The latest figures show that there are 10,113 cases and 104 total deaths in the city, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The city’s seven-day moving average is now 35.1 cases.

A 49-year-old homeless woman was found dead in Arlandria on Tuesday morning, and the mayor told us that homelessness is on the rise in the city. ALXnow is following up with the city on the issue.

Tuesday morning also brought news that Alexandria City Councilman Mo Seifeldein abandoned his run for mayor and will not seek reelection to council. Seifeldein was hired as a trial lawyer by the U.S. Department of Labor in Jan. 2020, and while he can finish out his term on council, he can not run unless he files as an independent candidate.

In other election news, the race for city council is starting to get crowded, as Bill Rossello, a co-founder of the Bring Integrity Back to Alexandria Facebook Group, just threw his hat into the ring.

On the vaccine front, the waiting list has surpassed 45,000 and it may be until late summer that the vaccine is widely available in the city. On Thursday, Mayor Justin Wilson also asked the governor to open vaccine eligibility for restaurant, personal care and retail workers.

More than 200 people responded to this week’s poll on power outages. There have been a number of outages over tha last year, and 73% of respondents reported experiencing an outage, while 26% report that their homes haven’t been impacted.

In case you missed them, here are some other important stories this week:

Here are our top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. Developers Lay Out Multi-Year Timeline for GenOn Plant Redevelopment
  2. BREAKING: Homeless Woman Found Dead on Mount Vernon Avenue
  3. Alexandria Boxer Troy Isley Goes Pro With Big Fight Next Week
  4. Seifeldein Not Running for Mayor, Leaving Alexandria City Council
  5. ALXnow’s Top Stories this Week in Alexandria
  6. Director of Finance: Alexandria’s Real Estate Assessments Are a ‘Tale of Two Markets’
  7. Local Business Owner Robbed of Car While Pumping Gas at Old Town Gas Station
  8. Torpedo Factory Overhaul Heads to City Council Next Month
  9. Snow: Up to 6 Inches of Snow and Ice Expected in Alexandria
  10. BREAKING: Alexandria Police Investigate Second Car Stolen While Owner Pumps Gas
  11. Local Facebook Watchdog Group Founder Bill Rossello Announces Run for City Council

Have a safe weekend!

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Alexandria boxer Troy Isley has just gone professional and is headed into a fight next Saturday with something to prove.

“I’m feeling good,” Isley said. “I’m ready. I’m eager and getting anxious.”

Isley recently signed a multi-year contract with Top Rank, a boxing promoter, and has his first fight on Saturday, Feb. 13. For Isley, it’s part of a hopeful comeback after narrowly missing a chance to compete at the Olympics.

“I didn’t get to go to the Olympics, don’t have quite the following I would, but I still have a good following with three years on the team,” Isley said. “I’m still well known. Right now, I’m using that chip on my shoulder. I’ve got to win… I’ve been going all out, working hard, and it’s giving me that extra push. It didn’t come through on the Olympic dream, I gotta make this.”

Isley started boxing as a child with the Alexandria Boxing Club but said it wasn’t until late in high school when he started seriously considering it at a career path.

“It’s not that I didn’t believe in myself, I was confident when I got in the ring — but when I got on the team senior year was when [it sunk in],” Isley said.

While coronavirus has shut down athletic activities, Isley got relatively lucky: he needed about a year to recover from shoulder surgeries near the start of the pandemic.

“It didn’t quite impact me as bad,” Isley said. “I had to get two shoulder surgeries, so I was rehabbing and recovering. It didn’t really do anything from me, I had to recover anyway. It really came right in time.”

Isley said boxing gave him an avenue he’d never expected to success, and said he hopes others in Alexandria can come out of the pandemic with similar passions they can believe in and stick to.

Photo via Top Rank Boxing/Facebook

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The classes may be smaller and the boxers may be masked, but local boxer Tony Suggs keeps the hits coming through coronavirus with a new Boxercise class.

Suggs, a local boxing star, has launched a new boxing class to help locals stay fit and focused.

“It started virtually on my own, just to give back to the community, ” said Suggs. “That started going really well, so when we went back to work with the city I was telling my managers how I thought a program like this was working.”

Suggs said the program was seeing active participation from both parents and kids. Suggs started with virtual sessions last summer but the first in-person, 45-minute sessions for local teens and young adults started two weeks ago.

“45-Minute HIT & Cardio” is offered every Thursday from 6-7 p.m. at the Charles Houston Recreation Center (901 Wythe Street). The class is available through the city website as class 313616. Enrollment to the class is $39 for city residents or $64 for non-residents.

Because of COVID precautions, the program is only allowed to have nine participants currently, with some parents exercising alongside their kids. If conditions improve in Alexandria, Suggs said he hopes to gradually open the class up to more participants.

“It’s high intensity training, but it’s really catering to the audience,” Suggs said. “I ramp it up for the kids and tone it down for the parents. We do step work, speed ladder, burpees, ab work, push ups, punching bag and hit the hand mitts.”

Beyond the boxing program, Suggs said he’s spent the last few months helping to train T.C. Williams athletes while school sports aren’t meeting to practice. Suggs says training for boxing can help enhance coordination for any other type of sport.

“It’s shut down and they want to stay in shape,” Suggs said. “I have a couple guys I’ve been voluntarily training.”

Suggs said training with masks on and being distanced can be difficult for young athletes, but ultimately Suggs said it could be a boon to those who get used to training in these conditions.

“It’s hard on the kids sometime,” Suggs said, “but being a boxer — training in high altitudes like Colorado Springs — I know how important it is to have thin air. That makes you better in shape.”

The city website described the HIT and Cardio training class as:

Ages 12 & up. Join us for a workout thats geared to get the heart pumping. This 45 minute class will include exercises like boxing movements, jump rope combinations, and mixed aerobics with resistance trainings. This class is ideal for teens and young adults.

Photo via Tony Suggs/Facebook

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