Alexandria, VA

What a week it’s been in Alexandria.

The pandemic seemed inescapable this week, and much of our coverage was related to dealing with the coronavirus.

Five more fatalities related to the virus were reported by the Virginia Department of Health, and the death toll now stands at 67. There are now or have been 3,671 cases in the city since the first case was reported in March.

The week also began with our coverage of City Council’s passage of a face mask ordinance requiring residents to wear masks in public places. While there is no fine for noncompliance, the new law takes effect on October 1.

There was some heartwarming news. City residents helped a Del Ray business owner raise more than $10,000 after her house burned down on September 12.

We also covered the Little Theatre of Alexandria’s newest COVID-friendly in-person show. Additionally, Alexandria restauranteur Bill Blackburn participated in a COVID-19 vaccine trial this week, and Alexandria resident Ann Samuels safely celebrated her 100th birthday.

The Alexandria City School Board also accepted a name change proposal for Matthew Maury Elementary School. Now with the virtual school year in full swing, we also published a poll on how folks think school is going so far and saw mixed results.

Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.

  1. ‘Lipstick On A Pig’: BAR Rejects Heritage Old Town Proposal
  2. Just Listed in Alexandria
  3. ThePoopBrothers: ‘Fearless’ Del Ray Kids Created New Business Over Summer Break
  4. UPDATED: Flooding Reported in Parts of City After Heavy Rain
  5. Man Struck by Bullet While Driving in West End
  6. Alexandria Hospital Nurse Wins First-Ever Nightingale Award
  7. Juvenile Arrested After Shots Fired in Arlandria
  8. City Council Passes Mask Ordinance, and There’s No Fine for Noncompliance
  9. New Alexandria Boxing Club Works Out Every Sunday at Jones Point Park
  10. Monte Durham’s New Hair Salon is Opening Saturday in Old Town
  11. Alexandrian Ann Samuels Turns 100 Years Old

Have a safe weekend!

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The Alexandria City School Board next month will hold a bi-annual review on its memorandum of understanding with the Alexandria Police Department.

“We’re looking at our collaboration with the Alexandria Police Department,” ACPS Executive Director of Communications Helen Lloyd told ALXnow. “We’re making sure that it’s a public review process.”

School resource officers were reassigned to the APD patrol division when the pandemic shut down the school system in mid-March for the remainder of the school year. The MOU would continue the agreement to provide officers at T.C. Williams High School and other ACPS schools when buildings eventually reopen.

“As a general practice, unless there is a clear and imminent threat to safety, requests from school staff for SRO or other law enforcement assistance are to be channeled through a school administrator,” according to the 2018 MOU. “SROs are responsible to lead the investigation and questioning of students related to suspected violations of criminal law.”

In 2018, a SRO was fired after discharging his firearm inside his office at George Washington Middle School. The officer was later rehired by Police Chief Michael Brown. The officer is no longer an SRO.

The MOU continues, “Whenever practical, arrests of a student or staff member should be accomplished outside of school hours in order to not disrupt the educational process or school setting.”

Sometimes that isn’t possible. In February, a T.C. Williams High School student was arrested during school hours and charged with murdering two people.

The public hearing on the MOU will be held virtually at 4 p.m. on October 1, and the updated document must be signed by Brown and the superintendent by November 2, 2020.

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Bill Blackburn is feeling fine after participating in the second round of a COVID-19 clinical trial.

The Alexandria restauranteur says he felt a sense of duty by being one of 30,000 people tested in the Phase 3 study to see whether mRNA-1273 can boost immune systems and create antibodies to kill the coronavirus.

“I was motivated by helping the greater good,” the 42-year-old Blackburn said. “Somebody has to do this.”

Blackburn’s wife works in clinical trials and signed him up.

“I told her I’d love to be involved in that, that I’d be a guinea pig,” Blackburn said. “I got a phone call about six weeks ago and they did some phone screening about my health, my weight, occupation and my lifestyle. Then they called me the next day and said that I met the profile for this study.”

Blackburn, who is a co-owner of the Homegrown Restaurant Group, twice drove out to Meridian Clinical Research in Rockville to get injections. Half of the participants received a placebo.

Dr. Brandon Essink, principal investigator and medical director at Meridian, called the study one of the most “important and impactful clinical research studies in our lifetime.”

Blackburn says he’s feeling healthy, and isn’t experiencing any side effects, which include headaches, swelling glands, fevers and joint pain.

“They call me twice a week, and I have an app on my phone where they send me messages to check my temperature and other things,” Blackburn said. “I am feeling 100% normal. I am experiencing no side effects.”

Courtesy photo

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Morning Notes

Beyer Co-sponsoring Legislation to Impeach U.S. Attorney General — “Accusing political opponents of “sedition” then morphing into an arch libertarian when Trump cronies are indicted. Attacking career prosecutors for doing their jobs. AG Barr is a menace to the rule of law–I’m cosponsoring legislation to begin impeachment proceedings against him.” [Twitter]

Absentee Voting Begins Today in Alexandria — “The ballot includes contests for President and Vice President of the United States, one member of the U.S. Senate, the member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the 8th Congressional District, and two amendments to the Constitution of Virginia.” [Patch]

King & Rye Opens in Alexandria — “Check out @Alexandrian_VA’s new restaurant, King & Rye. This downtown restaurant opened earlier this month, and features a large outdoor patio, intimate terrace, and full bar serving specialty cocktails. The perfect location for a private event.” [Twitter]

Douglas MacArthur Elementary School Rebuild Comes in Over Budget — “City Council approved a development special use permit on Saturday for the Douglas MacArthur Modernization Project, which is currently $5 to $7 million over budget. The project, which involves demolishing the existing Douglas MacArthur Elementary School and rebuilding a new one, will increase the school’s capacity from 558 to 850 students.” [Alex Times]

Alexandria Police Conduct Deescalation Training — “Yesterday APD’s Tactical Training and Response Unit conducted officer safety and deescalation training with the Traffic Safety Section. These training’s teach ways to stabilize situations so that more time, options, and resources can be called upon.” [Twitter]

Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub Celebrates Half-Way to St. Patrick’s Day — See Irish music on a Facebook Live performance from Thursday night. [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “During the day, partly to mostly cloudy. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 74F. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph. At night, a few clouds. Low 49F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Marketing Manager — “Develop and manage strategic, comprehensive marketing campaigns for NSBA (National School Boards Association) revenue- generating products, services and events.” [Indeed]

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The second round of the Alexandria Back to Business (ALX B2B) grant program opens at the end of September, and $2.4 million is available for qualifying small businesses and nonprofits to cope with financial losses related to the pandemic.

“The program criteria for Round Two has been expanded so additional types of businesses and nonprofit childcare providers will be eligible to apply for a grant,” according to the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, which is receiving the applications. “Grants will be awarded in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the number of employees working for the business.”

City Council approved the funding at its meeting on Tuesday, September 8. The application period will start on Wednesday, September 30, at 8 a.m. and end on October 5 at noon. All submissions must be made online and businesses that received a grant in round one are ineligible.

To qualify for a grant, businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • 25% negative revenue impact attributable to the COVID-19 health emergency
  • Licensed business in the City of Alexandria
  • Physical location within the City of Alexandria
  • In operation as of March 14, 2020
  • For-profit small business
  • Any entity (for-profit or nonprofit) that provides full-day or part-day childcare services to children 0-13 years of age and is licensed or regulated by a local ordinance or state licensing body
  • Business is current on all local business taxes or is on a payment plan with the City
  • Not currently involved in business bankruptcy proceedings
  • Intend to remain operating in Alexandria through December 31, 2020
  • Between 0 – 100 employees
  • Locally owned and operated
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Morning Notes

Beyer Condemns Trump for Coronavirus Statement on Blue States— “This is quite simply one of the most appalling and inhuman statements ever uttered by an American President.” [Twitter]

Chewish Deli Set to Open First Permanent Location — “When Linzey stumbled upon the Pendleton Carryout Co. space for sale this summer at 807 Pendleton St., he wasn’t exactly looking for a store location. But, Linzey knew that if a spot in Old Town ever opened up, he would want to take it.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria EMS Captain Appointed to State Board — “EMS Captain Lisa Simba was recently appointed to the State EMS Advisory Board by Gov. Ralph Northam. Capt. Simba has been with AFD for more than 30 years.” [Twitter]

Art League Offering Online Classes — “All skill levels are welcome. Select from more than 50 classes.and workshops. They range from basic painting and drawing instruction to computer-based digital illustration and GIF creation. Classes meet via Zoom. In between sessions, students can stay in touch through Google Classroom or by email. And because classes are virtual, students do not have to be in the Alexandria area to participate.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — During the day, cloudy with occasional showers. High 74F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%. At night, periods of rain. Low 63F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a half an inch.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Foundation Relations Manager — “Supports the National Military Family Association Development department in the development and implementation of a comprehensive foundation grants development program.” [Indeed]

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Four more COVID-19 deaths have been reported in Alexandria, bringing the death toll from the virus to 66. Three of the deaths occurred last month, and the most recent casualty was reported today by the Virginia Department of Health.

Three of the fatalities occurred in August and went unreported for a month until a periodic review of vital records, according to the city.

There are now or have been 3,628 cases and 305 hospitalizations in the city since the first case was reported on March 11.

Demographic, Age and Sex Breakdown

Latino residents are the hardest hit with 1,704 reported cases, followed by Black residents with 743 cases, white residents with 705 cases, Asian or Pacific Islander residents with 130 cases, 83 cases classified as “other” and four native American cases.

There are or have been 1,885 women (with 34 deaths) and 1,731 men (with 32 deaths) in Alexandria with the virus. The only age group that has not experienced a death so far are children and teenagers.

  • 80+     — 29 deaths, 116 cases
  • 70-79 — 19 deaths, 128 cases
  • 60-69 — Three deaths, 276 cases
  • 50-59 — 12 deaths, 459 cases
  • 40-49 — One death, 640 cases
  • 30-39 — One death, 847 cases
  • 20-29 — One death, 667 cases
  • 10-19  — Zero deaths, 259 cases
  • 0-9     — Zero deaths, 225 cases

Testing Update

There have also been 35,474 (polymerase chain reaction) tests administered in the city so far, 4,462 antibody tests and the city’s seven-day positivity rate is now at 5.2% and stands behind Arlington County.

  • Arlington County has 3,779 cases, 146 deaths and a 3.8% seven-day positivity rate
  • Fairfax County has 20,035 cases, 585 deaths and a 6.3% seven-day positivity rate
  • Loudoun County has 6,532 cases, 119 deaths and a 8.3% seven-day positivity rate
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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Trump Supported Murder of Portland Protestor — “In televised comments yesterday Donald Trump called for extrajudicial murder and later expressed his desire to remain in office past term limits imposed by the Constitution. Today members of the party that supposedly backs ‘limited government’ pretend not to know what he said.” [Twitter]

Second Round of Business Grants Available — “Applications for a second round of Alexandria Back to Business grants will begin Sept. 30 for qualifying small businesses and nonprofits to offset costs related to reopening or rescaling.” [Twitter]

Free COVID-19 Testing Today in Alexandria — “Free COVID-19 testing in Alexandria,VA on September 16, 2020.Please read flyer for more details. [Twitter]

Braddock West Developers Seek Community Input — “During their presentation, the team behind Braddock West provided details of their proposed plan for the lot located at 727 N. West St. directly across the street from the Braddock Road Metro Station. They intend to tear down 10 existing single-family homes and replace them with a 7 story residential building with retail space on the ground level and an underground parking garage.” [Alexandria Living]

Lena’s Wood Fired Pizza and Tap Selling Kits for National Pizza Day — “On Sept. 20 only, Lena’s will offer their Family DIY Pepperoni Pizza Kit for families to make together at home to celebrate the holiday commemorating this crowd-pleasing favorite food. The kit is available for take-out or delivery via LenasWoodfire.com.” [LenasWoodFire.com]

Today’s Weather — “During the day, a mainly sunny sky. High 77F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. At night, a few clouds from time to time. Low 62F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Police Officer — “It’s your lucky day! APD has added new dates for police tests: 9/22 at 5 PM, 9/26 at 9AM, and 9/26 at 12PM. You must register in advance Bring your drivers license and a second original ID- US passport, social security card or birth certificate.” [Twitter]

New Job: Part Time Office Assistant — “Del Ray Artisans nonprofit is seeking an Office Assistant. This is a paid position for 12 hours per week, with a set schedule (Thursday and Friday 12-6pm). Position entails assisting the Office Manager with general office work with emphasis on organizational skills. Working knowledge of Microsoft Office / Google Docs required in an all-Mac OS environment. Del Ray Artisans strictly follows the ALX Promise Program, keeping visitors and staff safe during this pandemic.” [Facebook]

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DASH increased their services today to 80% of its pre-pandemic service levels, and several of its routes have gone back to their regular routes.

The city’s transit service is currently seeing 35% ridership, according to Whitney Code, DASH’s marketing and communications manager.

“Of course we want to keep up with ridership and passenger loads, and as Virginia and the rest of the country opens up, we will continue to see increased ridership,” Code told ALXnow. “We want to make sure that we’re scheduling our people responsibly, and we want to make sure that we’re paying attention to the trends of other regional partners that we work with, like Metrobus and the Fairfax Connector.”

The move follows the Arlington and Fairfax bus lines resuming full service in late August.

Trips are still free for passengers, and drivers have extra face masks to give away.

“We have a limited supply of face masks that we can give our riders if they board our buses and don’t have them,” Code said. “DASH is continuing to take the coronavirus seriously and we are continuing to take the health of our customers and employees seriously.”

The King Street Trolley, which takes customers from the King Street Metro station to the waterfront, remains  suspended until further notice.

According to DASH:

  • The AT1 Plus, AT2, AT3/4, AT5, AT7, AT8, AT9, & AT10 will return to regular service.
  • The AT2XAT3AT4 and AT6 will operate on modified weekday schedules due to continued low ridership.

DASH will increase service levels to approximately 80% of pre-COVID service beginning tomorrow. https://www.dashbus.com/modifiedweekday

Posted by DASHBus on Monday, September 14, 2020

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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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ALIVE! has given away hundreds of thousands of pounds of food since the onset of the pandemic, and on Monday the nonprofit got an additional boost with the donation of a large refrigerated shipping container.

The trailer was a gift from AMX Leasing, which is a part of Abilene Motor Express. It was arranged by Alexandria Living Legend Marion Moon, the CEO of the Convention Tradeshow Freight Specialists.

“Marion came to us and asked, ‘What do you need?’ and we replied, ‘Refrigeration,’ and Marion delivered,'” said ALIVE! Executive Director Jennifer Ayers. “Marion saw a need for us to have the right tools to expand our operations to serve more Alexandrian’s in need.”

The shipping container will be housed at the AlexRenew property at 1800 Limerick Street. The container will give ALIVE! much-needed refrigerated space and storage.

Richmond-based Abilene Motor Express has seen strong business over the last several months.

“Due to that, when Marion reached out with the opportunity to help others that have been affected more than us we were more than happy to help,” said Alan K. Jones of Abiline Motors.

Ayers said that food insecurity is rising with the pandemic.

“We distributed over 170,000 pounds of food last month without refrigeration,” she said. “By having the extra storage space, our logistics will be more efficient and we will be able to distribute more fresh foods like meat, eggs, produce, and dairy to more people – providing more nutrition to people in need.”

Courtesy photos

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Alexandria has seen an increase of 86 cases since this time last week, and the city’s seven-day positivity rate is no longer the lowest in the region, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

There have been 62 deaths in the city due to the virus (unchanged since last week) and there are or have been 3,613 cases of coronavirus in the city since the first case was reported on March 11.

There have also been 34,982 (polymerase chain reaction) tests administered in the city so far, 4,442 antibody tests and the city’s seven-day positivity rate jumped from being the lowest in the region at 4.3% to 5.8% and stands behind Arlington County.

  • Arlington County has 3,741 cases, 145 deaths and a 3.8% seven-day positivity rate
  • Fairfax County has 19,854 cases, 582 deaths and a 6.1% seven-day positivity rate
  • Loudoun County has 6,449 cases, 118 deaths and a 8.0% seven-day positivity rate.

“The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) remind everyone that you are safest at home,” according to a city news release. “Older adults and persons with underlying medical conditions are at greater risk for severe disease and are advised to minimize potential exposures as much as possible.”

Demographic, Age and Sex Breakdown

Latino residents are the hardest hit with 1,702 reported cases, followed by Black residents with 738 cases, white residents with 698 cases, Asian or Pacific Islander residents with 129 cases, 82 cases classified as “other” and three native American cases.

There are or have been 1,881 women (with 34 deaths) and 1,721 men (with 28 deaths) in Alexandria with the virus.

  • 80+     — 27 deaths, 116 cases
  • 70-79 — 18 deaths, 126 cases
  • 60-69 — Three deaths, 276 cases
  • 50-59 — 12 deaths, 457 cases
  • 40-49 — Zero deaths, 637 cases
  • 30-39 — Zero deaths, 841 cases
  • 20-29 — One death, 666 cases
  • 10-19  — Zero deaths, 258 cases
  • 0-9     — Zero deaths, 225 cases

Cases By ZIP Code

The areas of the city with the leading number of cases are the 22304, 22305 and 22312 ZIP codes, which include the West End and Arlandria, Potomac Yard and Potomac West neighborhoods.

Some of the areas share jurisdictions between Alexandria and Arlington and Fairfax Counties:

  • 22301 — 132 cases, 2,820 people tested (Estimated population 15,171)
  • 22302 — 379 cases, 5,016 people tested (Estimated population 20,238)
  • 22304 — 1,113 cases, 10,592 people tested (Estimated population 54,003)
  • 22305 — 751 cases, 4,445 people tested (Estimated population 16,095)
  • 22311 — 661 cases, 5,393 people tested (Estimated population 16,898)
  • 22312 — 946 cases, 6,369 people tested (Estimated population 6,901)
  • 22314 — 360 cases, 6,713 people tested (Estimated population 47,826)

Photo via CDC/Unsplash

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