Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Mayor: Council to Accelerate Sewer Capacity Projects — “Our ’16 Storm Sewer Capacity Analysis identified 90 areas where the system does not meet our CURRENT design standard of a 10-year storm. Our Stormwater Utility Fee was implemented in ’18 to fund capacity and environmental compliance. Council will now discuss how to accelerate.” [Facebook]

Beyer Attacks Trump’s Environmental Stance — “Trump’s climate change strategy is the same as his pandemic strategy: play it down and pretend it isn’t happening. There are a record number of named storms in the Atlantic and the west coast is on fire.” [Twitter]

Anonymous Donation Helps Expand SNAP Double Dollars Program — “A $10,000 anonymous donation to help fight food insecurity during the pandemic will help the City expand SNAP Double Dollars program, which allows SNAP customers who visit participating Alexandria farmers’ markets to receive up to $20 in double dollars to purchase eligible food products at the markets.” [Facebook]

Environmental Council of Alexandria Decries Taylor Run Restoration Plan — “We’ve got our work cut out for us to make sure that the City doesn’t continue to promote so-called “eco” policies that actually come at the expense of the environment and efforts to reverse global warming.” [Facebook]

Tall Ship Providence Sails Away for Inspections — “And, they’re off… Bright and early this morning, Providence headed out on a voyage to Georgetown, MD for a scheduled haul out and Coast Guard inspection. They’ll inspect the hull, complete any necessary maintenance, and she’ll get a new coat of bottom paint. Please join us in wishing our Captain and crew “Fair winds and following seas.” Providence will return home by the end of September. We look forward to welcoming you back aboard for tours and cruises!” [Facebook]

Classic Car Show in Old Town September 19 — “This Saturday you can head to the parking lot of the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum for a classic car show featuring a variety of Packards and other ‘orphan’ vehicles.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “During the day, mainly sunny. High 73F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph. At night, clear. Low 54F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Spanish Language Teacher — “You must have previous tutoring/teaching experience, and minimum Bachelor’s degree.” [Indeed]

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A regional gas tax usually goes to supporting the capital funding for WMATA, but data presented at the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission meeting last night showed that regional gas spending has taken a nosedive in the last few months.

Starting in March, gas tax revenue started to dip below $3 million. While the gas tax revenue has fallen to $2 million in March in years past, by June it had plummeted far below that. For the entire region, roughly $500,000 was collected in gas tax revenue, compared to over $3 million in February.

In Alexandria, gas tax revenue fell from over $150,000 in May to under $50,000 in June.

The tax is calculated from sales two months earlier, meaning the June figures reflected the dive in funding from April, shortly after the stay-at-home order was issued.

The tax was increased this year to 20.2 cents per gallon starting July 1, and is scheduled to increase over the next three years to 28.2 cents per gallon.

 

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Alexandria Police are investigating another violent carjacking yesterday in the West End of city, this time in the 3400 block of Berkeley Street near Northern Virginia Community College.

The incident occurred at around 6 p.m. in a residential area across the street from the Alexandria Gateway shopping complex. The unknown suspect approached the victim with a gun and took their car. No one was injured in the incident.

The carjacking is the latest in an uptick in vehicle thefts that have occurred in the city this year.

Last month, Mayor Justin Wilson asked the public to help prevent a rising trend in vehicle-related thefts. As of August 11, there were 179 vehicle thefts, which is an increase of 34 over last year. There have also been 379 thefts from vehicles, which is an increase in 69 events over 2019.

In July, a West End carjacking ended with a crash in Fairfax County, and on July 14, a man was hospitalized after a carjacking in Old Town.

Map via Google Maps

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Alexandria Police are investigating another violent carjacking in the city.

The victim is an adult female and was approached early on Tuesday morning at The Reserve of Potomac Yard apartment complex by an unidentified man with a gun in the 3700 block of Richmond Highway.

The victim was not injured and the suspect drove away in her car, which has not been recovered, according to police.

The area is across the street from the Potomac Yard Center, which is home to retail stores, restaurants and the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus development. It is also less than a mile from where a woman barricaded herself in her apartment in June and fired on police.

Earlier this month, Mayor Justin Wilson cautioned the public over a rising trend in vehicle-related thefts. As of August 11, there have been 179 vehicle thefts, which is an increase of 34 over last year. There have also been 379 thefts from vehicles, which is an increase in 69 events over 2019.

Last month, a West End carjacking led to a police chase that ended with a crash in Fairfax County. On July 14, a man was hospitalized after a carjacking in Old Town.

Map via Google Maps

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With vehicle thefts on the rise, Alexandria Police are investigating a violent carjacking in the West End that injured two men and led to a car chase and crash in Fairfax County.

The incident occurred on July 25 around 5 p.m. Two men parked their cars at their homes in the 300 block of South Whiting Street. The two cars, a black 2014 Toyota Camry and a black 2012 Chevrolet Impala were parked at S. Whiting Street (facing Stevenson Avenue) and their owners were unloading them. The engines were left running with the keys inside and were unlocked, according to police.

Two men in face masks then approached them. One of the men pointed a gun at one of the victims and asked that they give him money, according to a search warrant affidavit.

The second suspect also had a gun and asked for money from the other victim “several times before striking him in the face with the grip and magazine well of the gun” before taking his cell phone, according to police.

The suspects then drove away in both cars.

The Camry was recovered the next day after a chase with Virginia State Police in Clifton that ended with it crashing and two male suspects fleeing the scene on foot. The female driver was taken into custody and later interviewed at the hospital by police.

According to the affidavit, the driver told police that she drove because she was nervous letting her two companions get behind the wheel. She also said that the trio were driving to the beach. The investigating officer then asked her about the gun and she “stated she wanted an attorney and the interview was terminated.”

Inside the Camry, police found a Glock handgun and several wallets. One of them had an identification belonging to the victim of another carjacking that occurred approximately the week before in the city “with similar suspect descriptions,” notes the affidavit.

On July 30, there was also a violent carjacking in Old Town. A man was approached by three men who asked for a ride. When he refused, the man was beaten unconscious and woke up in the hospital.

Alexandria Police would not respond to questions regarding this incident. It is not clear if the Impala has been recovered.

Earlier this month, Mayor Justin Wilson appealed to the public for help in lowering a rising trend in vehicle-related thefts. As of August 11, there have been 179 vehicle thefts, which is an increase of 34 over last year. There have also been 379 thefts from vehicles, which is an increase in 69 events over 2019.

Map via Google Maps

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Worried about driving and parking with expired tags? Alexandria is suspending its vehicle registrationsafety inspection and emissions inspection requirements through October 31, and any parking tickets issued after July 19 will be voided and payments will be refunded.

“This follows the City’s prior suspension of enforcement, from mid-March through July 19, of the requirement to display a valid state safety inspection sticker while parked,” notes a city release. “Any parking tickets that were issued by the City for safety inspection violations after July 19 will be automatically voided, and any payments will be automatically refunded by October 16.”

Vehicle registrations can also be renewed online.

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle locations throughout the state were closed from March 18 to May 18 due to coronavirus, prompting action from Governor Ralph Northam to extend the deadline on license renewals. That deadline has also been extended to October 31.

Alexandria’s DMV at 2681 Mill Road reopened on June 22. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.

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Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson on Monday asked residents to lock up their cars, as the number of stolen vehicles and thefts from vehicles has already eclipsed last year.

“Car thefts and thefts from cars are up considerably in the city,” Mayor Justin Wilson wrote on social media. In the vast majority of these cases cars are left unlocked with valuables in sight and keys in the car.”

Wilson’s message, which he shared on Facebook and Twitter, shows a LexisNexis map of Alexandria littered with little green cars to indicate individual crime events.

Alexandria Police reported the following for grand larceny auto (GLA) and larceny from an auto. There have been 179 vehicle thefts so far this year, which is an increase of 34 over last year. There have also been 379 thefts from vehicles, which is an increase in 69 events over 2019.

“With the pandemic, people leave their cars parked for weeks and months,” APD spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow. “The numbers will go down if folks do some preventative stuff, like not leaving their cars running and taking valuables out of your car.”

‪Car thefts and thefts from cars are up considerably in the City.‬‪In the vast majority of these cases cars are left…

Posted by Mayor Justin Wilson on Monday, August 10, 2020

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Morning Notes

Levine Says Murder Suspect Should Have Stayed Behind Bars — “Simply put, I think the judge made a tragically wrong decision here.” [Blue Virginia]

Lynching Victim Honored in Old Town — “121 years to the day after a mob lynched young Benjamin Thomas, the successor of the Mayor who made a half-hearted plea for due process and the successor of the “City Sergeant” (@AlexVASheriff) who failed to project Benjamin, stood at the corner and laid wreaths in his memory.” [Twitter]

Eviction Proceedings Halted Until Next Month — “On August 7, Governor Ralph S. Northam (D-VA) announced that starting Monday, August 10, a statewide moratorium on eviction proceedings will go into effect. The moratorium, which passed by a 4-to-3 vote, runs through September 7.”  [Zebra]

School Board Approves Virtual Learning This Fall — “Students, unlike during the spring semester, will be graded on finished work. They will also receive simultaneous lessons in subjects, as if they were in the classroom.” [Zebra]

ACPS Kicks Off ‘Kindergarten Prep’ — “ACPS is adjusting the format of the traditional Kindergarten Prep summer session in response to the current pandemic.”
[Facebook]

Del Ray Company Donates Soap to Casa Chirilagua — “We are so grateful to Truly-Life Eco Gifts for donating 200 bars of handmade soap to Casa Chirilagua — even during these challenging times, our small businesses are so generous!” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Mostly clear. High, 92F, Low 73F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Automotive Finance Manager — “BMW of Alexandria has an opportunity for a motivated, hard-working, enthusiastic Finance Manager to join our team.” [Indeed]

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It was a busy week in Alexandria.

Alexandria Police apprehended the suspect in the city’s only murder this year, and he is currently in the hospital suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Additionally, violent crime events are happening throughout the city, and in the Parker Gray neighborhood of Old Town and in the West End in particular. This week saw the fourth shooting in Old Town in less than a month.

The number of coronavirus cases continues to climb, as well, and the president of Inova Alexandria Hospital discussed some of her concerns in the days ahead.

Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.

  1. BREAKING: Alexandria Police Ask for Public Help in Finding Man Wanted for Murder
  2. Alexandria’s COVID-19 Death Count at 60, Hospital Concerned About Rising Cases
  3. BREAKING: Police Investigating Homicide in West End Residential Community
  4. BREAKING: Murder Suspect Was Released After COVID-19 Court Delay, Allegedly Kills Former Girlfriend Before Trial
  5. Alexandria Police Chief Criticized by Staff Over Officer Fired for Unjustified Use of Force
  6. Activists Protest at Alexandria Home of Acting DHS Chief Chad Wolf
  7. Police Investigate Fourth Shots Fired Call in Old Town in Less Than a Month
  8. ACPS to Cut Down 150-Year-Old Tree This Month to Make Way for Concession Stand
  9. Man Injured in Violent Carjacking in Old Town
  10. BREAKING: ACPS Announces Online-Only School in the Fall
  11. West End Silver Diner Opens Next Week but Harris Teeter Won’t Open Until Next Year

Have a safe weekend!

Photo via Alexandria Police Department

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Morning Notes

Alexandrian Killed in D.C. Shooting — “Metropolitan Police identified Montrell Lucas, 18, of Alexandria, as one of two victims who were killed Tuesday night. Police responded to the 1600 block of Maryland Avenue Northeast around 8:46 p.m. for a report of a shooting and found three victims.” [Patch]

D.C. Company Sends Out Incomplete Ballot Applications — “Judith, a city of Alexandria resident, received the letter, which includes a partially completed application for a mail-in voting ballot and a pre-addressed and prepaid envelope to send the application to her registrar’s office. But her ballot application would have gone to the wrong address.” [NBC4]

Inova Reveals Design for New Healthplex in Oakville Triangle — “Oakville Triangle, located on the opposite side of Route 1 from the new Virginia Tech Innovation Campus and the Metro, will see new residential, some retail and public open space adjacent to Mount Jefferson Park. The new Inova Healthplex will feature an emergency room as well as other outpatient services and medical services.” [Alexandria Living]

Annual Classic Car Show Postponed to 2021 — “After careful consideration, the Old Town Festival of Speed & Style Board of Directors have made the difficult decision to not move forward with the re-scheduled September event.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Mixed clouds and sun with scattered thunderstorms. High 84F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 60%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Alexandria Police are Hiring — “Interested in applying for our department? Register for our upcoming tests using the link below!” [Twitter]

New Job: Land Acquisition Manager — “If you’ve been involved in land acquisition/development for a publicly-traded homebuilder we would like to connect. We are developing residential and mixed-use communities for the future.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Acting Homeland Security Chief Should Resign — “Ordering the occupation of US cities, seeking the escalation of violence, and intentionally risking American lives over peaceful protests and graffiti is unfathomable and unacceptable. Acting Secretary Wolf must resign immediately or be fired.” [Twitter]

Del Ray Used Book Store to Open in August — “Piles and boxes of thousands of donated books crowd Donald Alexander’s house as he prepares to turn his vision for a used bookstore in Del Ray into reality.” [Alexandria Living]

Police Report Carjacking on Edsall Road — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a carjacking in the 6000 block of Edsall Road. There were no injuries. Expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]

ACPS Staff Discussion on Reopening Today at 12:30 p.m. — “In order to be able to hear voices from across every school during the Reopening Community Chats, ACPS has asked for representation from various staff groups across the school division to serve as conduits for feedback and questions from their school, department, office or facility.” [ACPS]

Food Drive at Trinity UMC Wednesday — “Thank you to all who have and are continuing to contribute to the food drive for Rising Hope United Methodist Church, which takes place each Wednesday from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church.” [Rising Hope UMC]

Metro Expanding Operations in Mid-August — “Metro will add more buses, more trains, and more hours of service beginning on August 16, restoring most service to pre-Covid levels while maintaining a strong response posture to Covid-19. Metrorail will add 15 hours more service per week, with opening times returning to normal and the system closing two hours later each night in anticipation of potential increases in ridership after Labor Day.” [Facebook]

New Job: Nanny — “MyWoosah provides personalized childcare solutions for busy families across the country. Our services include childcare, transportation, home management, and nanny share.” [Indeed]

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As Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles offices undergo phased reopenings, Governor Ralph Northam on Thursday announced an extension for residents who need to get renewals for identification cards and driver’s licenses.

Northam said that the licenses and IDs that need to be renewed before July 31 can be renewed by August 31.

“In recent days, our DMVs have been slowly reopening a small number of customer service centers with appointments and other protective measures,” Northam said in a press conference. “Because there is a lot of demand for these services, I am extending the time Virginians have to renew expired licenses or ID cards. If your license or ID expires before July 31, you will have until August 31 to renew it.”

That’s good news for Alexandria resident Amy Billing, who spent more than four hours trying to book an appointment to get her license renewed. She couldn’t get the renewal online because of the DMV stipulation that license alternating renewals must be done in person. She wasn’t able to get anyone on the phone and reached out to DMV via Twitter.

“At this time, the closest office to northern Virginia capable of handling your transaction is our (Fredericksburg or Harrisonburg) location which is just over an hour away,” DMV Communications responded to Billing. “DMV has opened 14 customer service centers statewide for specific, appointment-only services. Governor Northam has delayed the implementation of his reopening plan in northern Virginia due to continued public health concerns in that region. More DMV locations will open in phases through mid-summer.”

Alexandria’s DMV is currently closed. The department says on its website that it will open in phases through mid-summer. The following offices will be opening on Monday:

  • Arlington (4150 South Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington, VA 22206): Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Franconia (6306 Grovedale Drive, Alexandria, VA 22310): Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Leesburg (945 Edwards Ferry Road NE, Leesburg, VA 20176): Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Prince William/Manassas (11270 Bulloch Drive, Manassas, VA 20109): Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Tysons Corner (1968 Gallows Road, Vienna, VA 22182): Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

“We’re hoping to be opening offices every Monday, from here until we’re all back open,” DMV spokesperson Jessica Cowardin told ALXnow.

According to DMV: “An office can only reopen once it has been prepared to provide adequate social distancing and clear plastic partitions have been installed on front counters creating a safe separation between customers and employees.”

Billing, who works at the University of Maryland, made an appointment for June 18 at a DMV service center in Portsmouth, Virginia, which is near Virginia Beach. She will have to take a vacation day from work to make the trip.

“I have enough leave to not have a problem, but obviously I don’t want to be using it for that purpose,” she said. “But booking the appointment was like winning the jackpot.”

Despite the governor’s extension, Billing said she will likely keep her appointment.

“If I let it go, I’m not sure how easy it would be to book an alternate date,” she said.

Find more DMV locations and book an appointment here.

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