Newsletter

Morning Notes

Credit Union cuts ribbon on HQ in Alexandria — “United States Senate Federal Credit Union celebrated the opening of its flagship HQ branch in Alexandria with a ribbon-cutting Wednesday.” [Alexandria Living]

Weekend single tracking to impact Metro travelers in Alexandria — “Single tracking between the Braddock Road and National Airport (stations) will happen this weekend due to Potomac Yard Metro construction.” [Patch]

Shop and stroll with the Old Town Boutique District — “Pick up a passport at an Old Town Boutique District (OTBD) shop, then visit six stores to be entered to win a $500 gift card to an OTBD store of your choice, or visit twelve stores to be entered to win $1,000 gift card to an OTBD store of your choice. Stop by Hummingbird and Fontaine for a signature cocktail or mocktail during the stroll. Turn in your passport to the last store you visit. Winners will be selected on Monday, September 27. No purchase necessary to participate.” [Visit Alexandria]

Today’s weather — “A mainly sunny sky. High 74F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph… Clear skies. Low 54F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Entry-level personal fitness trainer — “We are looking for coachable, enthusiastic, and dependable people who want to enter the field of personal training. No prior fitness experience or fitness education is required! We will hire and teach you everything you need to know to become a Certified Personal Trainer with The Perfect Workout!” [Indeed]

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What an unexpectedly busy summer week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

Our top story was on an Alexandria woman who claims she was roofied at a restaurant on the waterfront on the evening of July 9. A police report has been filed, and no charges have been made.

This week we sat down with acting Police Chief Don Hayes, who said that he’s thrown his hat in the ring with City Manager Mark Jinks to keep the top job. Hayes, a 40-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department took over after the sudden departure of Chief Michael Brown last month, and will have to contend against candidates in a national search.

The Tokyo Olympics also start this week, and the games will include three T.C. Williams High School graduates — sprinter Noah Lyles, high-jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend and boxer Troy Isley. In fact, Lyles just had a comic book biography published in the Washington Post. If you’re a fan of the Olympic games, check out this list of local restaurants celebrating with special events and meals.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Woman claims she was roofied at Old Town restaurant
  2. Residents protest against conditions at West End apartment complex
  3. Developers eye Beauregard redevelopment with West End upgrades on the horizon
  4. Former chef at ‘The Alexandrian’ opening new restaurant in Arlandria on Monday
  5. No injuries after shots fired in Braddock area on Wednesday
  6. DASH takes lessons from D.C., Baltimore and Oregon in eliminating bus fares
  7. ‘Call Your Mother Deli’ signs lease in Old Town
  8. After last month’s Democratic primary, Republican Darryl Nirenberg tops campaign donation leaderboard
  9. New city health improvement plan aims to fix inequities
  10. Poll: Have you been to the Winkler Botanical Preserve?
  11. Lee-Fendall House to throw speakeasy party to finance building repairs

Have a safe weekend!

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A D.C. man was booked into jail and released on bond for malicious wounding and domestic-related offenses after a harrowing incident against the mother of his children and her boyfriend in Old Town North.

Devin Denny, 31, was booked and released on bond on June 14, after allegedly breaking into the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority apartment at 905 N. Patrick Street on the evening of May 29.

The mother of Denny’s child was with her boyfriend when Denny and another male suspect, who has not been arrested, allegedly broke into the apartment and then kicked in the bedroom door. The victims told police that Denny then fished around his pants as if he had a firearm, but that the other suspect told him, “We are not here for that,” according to a search warrant affidavit.

The suspects then allegedly beat up the woman’s boyfriend, and the woman was then hit by blows as she tried to intervene. Denny then allegedly went into the kitchen and got a large knife, began swinging it at her and told her that he was going to stab her, according to police.

The woman told police that Denny swung the knife several times, but missed her, and then went back to punching her. She said that she was able to escape, but that both suspects then chased her around the hallways of her building.

Both victims escaped with scratches and bruises. Denny’s court date is June 29.

Courtesy Google Maps

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A 25-year-old Prince George’s County woman was arrested on May 18 for allegedly attacking the father of her child with pepper spray and a knife in the Braddock area of Old Town.

Mishawanda Blount was arrested and released on a personal recognizance bond after the incident in the 800 block of N. Patrick Street. She was charged with domestic assault and battery, attempted injury by caustic substance and destruction of property.

The home is located on Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority property, and police found video footage supporting the victim’s claims that he was attacked by Blount and that she also damaged his car.

Police ended up contacting Blount by getting her phone number from the victim.

“Despite physical evidence and video footage, Ms. Blount denied committing the offense and being in the state of Virginia at the time of the offense,” according to a search warrant affidavit.

Map via Google Maps

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Within the rather obscure confines of the Board and Architectural Review staff report this week resurfaced a long-simmering discussion: what is the cultural identity of the Parker-Gray neighborhood in 2021.

For years a historically Black neighborhood, Parker-Gray draws its name from the the Parker-Gray School that educated the city’s Black children when the the city’s school system was still divided by segregation.

But another identity for the area has slipped into colloquial use over the last few decades: the Braddock neighborhood, or sometimes the Braddock Metro neighborhood after the nearby Metro station and the adjacent, eponymous road. With the Metro station as a common point of reference, rather than a school over 40-years demolished, Braddock has also become a more popular name for the area for developers.

But as noted in the Board of Architectural Review report, there’s a risk that new development can erase more than just the name Parker-Gray, but the distinct cultural legacy of the neighborhood, particularly with developments capitalizing on the more common red brick appeal of Old Town to the south. “Braddock” is increasingly worked into the names of local developments, like the controversial (for other, non-name reasons) Braddock West development.

While much of the district is still listed as Parker-Gray in city documents — officially called the Parker-Gray Historic District — city records also refer to the area as the Braddock Metro neighborhood, specifically in regards to the Braddock Metro Neighborhood Plan. Outlets like the Washington Post have referred to the area as both the Braddock neighborhood and Parker-Gray neighborhood as well. ALXnow is likewise guilty of using both.

Are the names interchangeable to you or do they refer to different places/contexts within the area? Vote below and sound off in the comments.

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What a week in Alexandria. Here are some of the highlights.

The Alexandria City Council on Wednesday approved its Fiscal Year 2022 $770.7 million budget on Wednesday, and it includes a 2 cent real estate tax reduction. It’s the first time that’s happened in 15 years, and the budget also fully funds Alexandria City Public Schools’ request and includes a 1% raise for city and state employees.

But perhaps the biggest news of the week came with City Councilman Mo Seifeldein’s proposal to eliminate School Resource Officer funding from the budget. The effort was supported along by Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, Councilman Canek Aguirre and Councilman John Taylor Chapman, who voted along with the group after failing to save the program in a last-minute effort.

Crime stories dominated many headlines, and Police Chief Michael Brown spoke with us this week about his department’s efforts to reduce destructive elements throughout the city. More from that interview will be published next week.

In this week’s poll, we asked about the importance of political endorsements for local candidates. Out of 222 responses, 48% (107 votes) don’t consider endorsements while voting; 39% (86 votes) said endorsements influence their decision; and 14% (29 votes) feel that endorsements hold a lot of sway.

Election stories

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Parking issues plague Potomac Yard, city looks to create residential parking district
  2. Knife pulled on woman who chases would-be thieves in Old Town
  3. D.C. man arrested after 130 mph chase leads to crash on Interstate 495
  4. Police: Armed robberies occur minutes apart in Del Ray and Arlandria
  5. Two injured in hit-and-run in Old Town, driver leaves car and flees on foot
  6. Too noisy? City Council is considering revising Alexandria’s noise ordinance
  7. Alexandria City Council to end School Resource Officer program at Alexandria City Public Schools
  8. Alexandria man arrested for firing gun at 7-Eleven door near Braddock Road Metro station
  9. Here’s the order that City Council candidates will appear on the ballot for the June 8 democratic primary
  10. JUST IN: Power outages across Alexandria as strong winds hit the city
  11. What’s next for GenOn and the rest of Old Town North?

Have a safe weekend!

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A 20-year-old Gainesville woman was arrested last month after allegedly breaking into a home in Old Town and fighting with a witness who is set to testify against her boyfriend in a murder trial.

Essence Amir Heard was arrested on the early morning of April 9 after allegedly breaking into a home in the 800 block of Montgomery Street in the Braddock area. Hours before, the murder suspect called the victim, who has a child with him, after he was informed that his trial would be moving forward after court delays due to COVID-19, and that she would be subpoenaed as a witness.

“After learning of this, he repeatedly called (the victim) from jail cursing and threatening her,” police said in a search warrant. “On the phone during these conversations was Ms. Essence heard, his current girlfriend.”

Later that night, the victim awoke to hear loud banding on her front door, and heard her name being screamed. She dressed and went to her living room and then saw Heard allegedly assaulting two other women with closed fists inside the house.

“All four girls were then involved in a physical fight until they were able to get Ms. Heard outside,” police said in the search warrant. “Once there, they told her they were calling the police, and she walked away.”

Heard was found at the intersection of Madison Street and N. Alfred Street, and as she was arrested told officers that she left her phone in the victim’s house.

Heard was charged with entering a house to commit assault and battery and was released that same day. She was later arrested on April 23 on a fugitive from justice charge and was transferred to another jurisdiction, according to the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office.

Heard goes to court for the offense on May 14.

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Morning Notes

(Update at 10:30 a.m. Blue and White Carryout is still open. The tweet from a local news outlet was incorrect.)

City Council Rescinds Vote on Braddock West Development — “The matter will be taken up again for public hearing and vote on May 15, but a pending lawsuit by an Alexandria resident may delay a final decision.” [Alexandria Living]

West End Harris Teeter opening early this summer — “The new store, 62,000 square feet in size, will be located at West Alex, the new development that also includes Array, an apartment building and the Silver Diner restaurant that opened on the corner of King and N. Beauregard streets.” [Alexandria Living]

Southbound King Street exit on Interstate 395 closed for 2 weeks — “Drivers along King Street (Route 7) in Alexandria can expect a new temporary traffic pattern at I-395 beginning Monday morning, May 3, weather permitting, for work as part of the rehabilitation of the King Street Bridge over I-395, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Showers early then scattered thunderstorms developing later in the day. High 73F. Winds S at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%… Scattered thunderstorms in the evening. Partly cloudy skies overnight. Low around 65F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Bilingual medical assistant — “Functions as a member of a program team by performing and documenting results of selected tests and measurements, maintaining adequately supplied workstations, maintaining a clean work environment, and promoting timely and efficient patient flow through the clinic. Has primary responsibility for the collection, processing, and recording of laboratory testing. Gives immunizations and other injectable medications under the supervision of the physician, nurse practitioner or registered nurse. Assists with patient treatments during clinical sessions.” [Indeed]

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A 50-year-old Alexandria man is being held without bond in the city jail for allegedly firing a bullet that struck the door of a 7-Eleven near the Braddock Road Metro station.

Melvin Farmer was booked into jail on April 15 — three days after the incident — and charged with attempted malicious wounding and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. He was previously convicted of six felonies, including breaking and entering, malicious wounding and being a fugitive from justice.

No one was injured in the incident, which occurred at around 8:30 p.m. at the 7-Eleven at 421 E. Braddock Road, which is next door to Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap and across the street from George Washington Middle School.

Security footage from a nearby surveillance camera captured Farmer allegedly urinating on the side of the building, and then walk into the store. Farmer then “appears to get into an argument with another known subject near the register of the 7-Eleven and continue to argue outside of the store,” according to a police search warrant affidavit.

Farmer is then seen walking back to his silver minivan to retrieve a handgun, according to police.

“The other male is seen walking and then running while Farmer proceeds to raise his right hand in what appears to be a shooting motion,” police reported. “An ashtray portion of a trash can is seen jumping from its resting location.”

Police said that Farmer then entered the store with what appeared to be a gun in his right hand, and that he quickly looked around and walked out. He was then seen getting into his minivan and driving away.

Police recovered a shell casing near where Farmer’s minivan was parked, and a lead slug near the trash can.

Farmer was arrested at the Best Western in Springfield, and was scheduled to check out of his room on April 16, according to police. He goes to court for the incident on May 18.

Map via Google Maps

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Alexandria Police are investigating a bullet that struck the door of a 7-Eleven near the Braddock Road Metro station.

No one was injured in the incident, which occurred at around 8:30 p.m., according to police. A bullet hit the door of the business at 421 E. Braddock Road.

The 7-Eleven is next door to Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap and across the street from George Washington Middle School. It is also a half mile from where shots were fired in Old Town last week that led to a chase, four arrests and a suspect death.

Map via Google Maps

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