Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Dominion Says Sunday Power Outage Caused by Broken Pole/Cross Arm — “Update: A broken pole/cross arm caused the failure. We have been able to isolate the problem and are hoping to everyone back on line very soon.” [Twitter]

Retro Candy Shop Opening in Fairlington — “If you’re into nostalgic candy that will take you back to your childhood days, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the opening of Rocket Fizz, Soda Pop & Candy Shop at Fairlington Centre in Alexandria, according to signs posted in the windows.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Film Festival Unveils 2020 Program — “The Alexandria Film Festival, which will debut virtually this year Nov. 12-15, announced on Tuesday its 2020 programming of 45 short and feature length fiction and nonfiction films.” [Gazette]

The Following Bills Are Due This Month — “Bills for the 2020 second half real estate tax, refuse fees and stormwater utility fees are due Nov. 16. Make payments online, by phone or mail, or in person. Those unable to pay due to COVID-19 may be eligible for payment arrangements.” [Twitter]

Check Out These Cool Pumpkin Carvings in Alexandria — “For some 20 years, Rick and Lynne White have carved the humble pumpkin into a work of art. Their festive Halloween display on Emerald Drive in Alexandria’s Waynewood neighborhood draws a crowd every year.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Abundant sunshine (during the day). High 49F. Winds WNW at 15 to 25 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph. Clear skies (in the evening). Low 38F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Move-In Coordinator at Goodwin House — “The move-in coordinator is responsible for the move-in process; provides support to marketing director and marketing associate. Establishes a professional, supportive and caring relationship with the independent living residents. Coordinates necessary paperwork and support services to ensure that the move-process is as pleasant an experience as possible for the resident. Serves as a resource person during the move-in process.” [Indeed]

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Dominion Energy representatives say that the massive power outages that affected thousands of homes in Alexandria and Arlington last Friday (October 23) were “unique,” and caused by a piece of equipment that failed at its Glebe Road substation.

“This was a unique. Typically, you might experience an outage on one single circuit,” Tim Sargeant, Dominion Energy’s external affairs manager in Northern Virginia, told City Council on Tuesday night. “Needless to say the outage occurred on multiple circuits.”

Sargeant reported that at around 7 p.m., a piece of equipment at the station failed, which caused an outage to 16,504 customers.

“Electric service was restored to 11,247 customers within one minute with the remaining customers restored in increments ranging from 53 minutes to 80 minutes,” Sargeant said. “After the first restoration, approximately 8,000 customers experienced multiple moments of brief service interruptions during the next two hours.”

Then at around 9:15 p.m., another outage affected 8,017 customers after Dominion rerouted electric service to other circuits.

“The additional load on the circuit triggered protective devices that interrupted service as a precaution, as service was restored one of those customers in increments of 18 minutes, 14 minutes, and seven minutes,” Sargeant said, adding that Dominion will send the city a report on recent outages.

City Councilman John Taylor Chapman said that power outages in Alexandria have been too frequent.

Mayor Justin Wilson, for instance, listed outages on social media on May 10June 17, July 7, July 22, August 2, August 8, October 12 and October 17.

“That does seem like a lot of outages for a pretty short amount of time,” Chapman said. “We definitely want our residents to believe that they have reliable power.”

Wilson said that he getting carryout at a restaurant on Mount Vernon Avenue when the lights went out.

“I did watch two restaurants right in front of me close down, because they just gave up because of power going on and off and customer after customer walking up and being told to go away,” Wilson said. “To have a Friday night off, it’s heartbreaking for them. That’s a lot of lost revenue.”

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Thousands of Alexandria residents are in the dark Friday night due to a massive power outage.

At 8 p.m., the utility company was reporting over 12,750 customers without power. As of 8:20 p.m., that number had gone down to 6,846.

More than 3,500 customers are also without power in parts of Arlington, across the Alexandria border.

The neighborhoods affected include Del Ray, Potomac Yard, and Fairlington. Some have reported the power flickering.

Power restoration is currently estimated between 10 p.m.-1 a.m., according to Dominion’s website. The cause of the outage is a malfunctioning circuit at a substation, according to a company spokeswoman.

Update at 9:35 p.m. — Alexandria police are reminding residents to treat dark traffic signals as a four-way stop.

“Dominion Power has reported a major power outage throughout the City of Alexandria,” APD said. “This outage has resulted in many intersections without power. Treat all intersections that are without power as a four way stop. Please stay alert and drive safely.”

Update at 9:15 p.m. — Power was briefly restored but is back off, according to a Dominion spokeswoman. A number of residents https://twitter.com/PeggyDomEnergy/status/1319808138497896448from around the city said on Twitter that they are still without power.

More via social media:

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Going to the dentist can be expensive, and a grant from Dominion Energy will help Alexandria kids keep those pearly whites glistening.

Dominion’s charitable foundation announced this week that it awarded $1.6 million to more than 200 organizations in 13 states, including $15,000 to the Alexandria City Public Schools Wellness on Wheels (WOW) bus, a mobile dental unit that provides primary dental care to students in schools across the city.

“Preventive oral care is not just about your teeth. It’s critical to overall physical, emotional and mental health,” said former ACPS Health Services Coordinator, Dr. Barbara Nowak. “A cavity left untreated is a dangerous thing. It’s an infection in your tooth and if you don’t treat it, it can cause additional damage — especially because of the proximity to the brain. It can lead to an abscess caused by a bacterial infection and this, left untreated, could be life threatening.”

The WOW Bus, which has been operating since 2014, is managed by Alexandria nonprofit Neighborhood Health. Over the course of 70 days during the 2018-2019 school year, licensed dental professionals treated 568 ACPS students, according to the school system. There were also 956 procedures, which include extractions, fillings, cleanings and root canals.

“We are pleased to support our nonprofit partners as they work to make positive impacts in our communities,” said Hunter A. Applewhite, president of the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, in a statement. “These grants are intended to support the most basic needs — food, shelter and medical care for our neighbors in need.”

Earlier this month, students at the T.C. Williams High School International Academy were treated by the mobile clinic for the first time. Among them was Gabriel, a Guatemalan student who had not received dental care in two years.

“The last time I went to the dentist, I had to miss my last block and I missed some school work that I had to make up,” Gabriel told ACPS Express. “I don’t like to miss my classes. In Guatemala it’s expensive to pay for school, but here it is free.”

ACPS currently provides WOW Bus services to John Adams Elementary School, William Ramsay Elementary School, Patrick Henry Elementary School, James K. Polk Elementary School, Cora Kelly School, Mount Vernon Community School, Samuel Tucker Elementary School, Jefferson Houston School, Ferdinand T. Day School and both T.C. Williams High School campuses.

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Morning Notes

Seminary Road Saga Continues — Despite suggestions “that the Alexandria Fire Department had significant input into the Complete Streets Design Guidelines and whether to narrow Seminary Road, documents obtained by city residents under the Freedom of Information Act reveal this was not the case.” [Alexandria Times]

Sushi Restaurant Coming to ‘West Alex’ — “Sushi Jin Next Door, which opened its first restaurant in Silver Spring in 2006 and now has a second location in Woodbridge, is opening a third location in Alexandria, Virginia. The new location will be part of the West Alex mixed-use development at King Street and North Beauregard Street.” [WTOP]

New Glass Recycling Bin Now Open — “Alexandria residents wanting to recycle glass now have a fifth bin as an option. MOM’s Organic Market at 3831 Mt. Vernon Avenue is the location of the new purple recycling bin. The city ended curbside glass recycling on Jan. 15, citing increasing recycling costs and the lack of glass-sorting facilities in the region.” [Patch]

ACPS To Buy Five Electric School Buses — “Under the terms of the grant, Dominion Energy will pay the additional costs towards each of the five buses that ACPS was already scheduled to buy this summer, allowing ACPS to upgrade them to electric vehicles. The goal is to have the new electric buses on the roads in time for the start of the 2020-21 school year in September.” [ACPS]

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Alexandria’s lights are about to shine a little differently than most folks in the city might be used.

The City of Alexandria is working with Dominion Energy to retrofit the city’s streetlights with new LED lights. Currently, 150 lights have been swapped out, with the goal of replacing 2,500 by summer 2020. The city will have to replace 12 lights per day to reach that goal by June 20, the start of summer.

The new lights last five times as long as incandescent lights and reduce energy consumption by 90 percent, according to the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services. The city also said the new lights are brighter, will save money and help align with the Eco-City Alexandria and Vision Zero goals.

After years of delays that frustrated some regional leaders, LED light fixtures are being installed throughout the area, with new LED lights coming to Arlington and Tysons as well.

Photo via City of Alexandria

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The Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation was announced as the recipient of a $10,000 grant from Dominion Energy to help local students learn about Four Mile Run — the creek that runs between Alexandria and Arlington.

The funding goes to the Nature Explorers and Restorer Project, which aims to help local elementary and middle school-age children in Arlandria and other surrounding communities, according to a press release.

“Exploring nature up close and improving things by hand, kids build a personal relationship to land, water, and community that makes them happier, healthier, and stronger in their environmental stewardship,” Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation President Kurt Moser said in the press release. “Dominion’s support allows us to provide quality programming where kids make scientific observations, protect natural lands, and discover the miraculous urban ecosystem here at Four Mile Run.”

Participants in the program learn about various aspects of the local ecosystem and use scientific equipment to make observations and keep a journal. The grant will help pay for equipment like binoculars and microscopes, as well as the mud boots and gloves necessary for work in the muddy waters along Four Mile Run.

The Four Mile Run Conservatory is a non-profit established in 2016 to promote natural restoration and advocacy following years of work to return to the wetlands to their natural state.

“Since its founding, the Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation has engaged more than 450 volunteers in over 3,000 hours of service at lower Four Mile Run, planting more than sixty trees, removing four tons of litter, and documenting over 165 species of flora and fauna,” the group said in the press release.

In August, the group led a series of kayak cleanups where volunteers in kayaks collected 155 pounds of trash, primarily plastic bottles.

A Fall Hawk Walk is planned on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 10 a.m. Guests are invited to bring binoculars and field guides to watch for migrating hawks and other avian residents of the park.

Photo courtesy Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation

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Update at 4:40 p.m. — The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria and Port City Brewing have both reopened. AWLA will be open for business and adoptions until 7 p.m. The storm-related outage near Inova Alexandria Hospital is still ongoing.

Earlier: Some 250 Dominion customers in Alexandria are still in the dark following yesterday’s storms.

That’s down from the nearly 4,000 outages reported in the city last night, primarily in the West End, but the remaining outages are causing some problems.

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria says it is “closed until further notice” due to an ongoing outage at its headquarters at 4101 Eisenhower Avenue. The shelter is not taking any additional animals from Alexandria animal control, per scanner traffic.

“Our power is out currently, though we have a backup generator so that we still have the functions essential to our animals’ (and staff’s) health and safety,” AWLA spokeswoman Gina Hardter tells ARLnow. “However, the outage limits the capabilities of some of our customer service functions, which is why we are currently closed for business.”

“Our team is working hard to make sure that the animals are safe and comfortable until power is restored, and we will announce on our website and social media when we reopen for business,” Hardter added.

Port City Brewing is also affected by the outage. Power is expected to be restored to Port City, AWLA and other affected Dominion customers along Duke Street and Eisenhower Avenue by 5 p.m., according to the utility company’s website.

For another storm-related outage near Inova Alexandria Hospital, affecting just over 100 Dominion customers, restoration is currently estimated between 6-11 p.m.

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The power is out in part of Alexandria’s Seminary Hill neighborhood.

Dominion is reporting just under 1,400 customers without electricity as a result of a broken pole, according to the company’s outage map.

The power is expected to be restored between 3-6 p.m., just in time for Halloween trick-or-treating. (Though expected severe storms will bring the possibility of additional outages tonight.)

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(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) Amid a Wind Advisory for the D.C. area, more than 2,600 Dominion customers are currently without power in Alexandria.

As of 1:30 p.m. Dominion reported 2,654 households and businesses without electricity in the city.

“Our @DominionEnergy crews are working to get the power back on!” a Dominion spokeswoman said via Twitter. “High winds bringing down trees & branches have caused many outages.”

The largest outage in Alexandria was just north of Holmes Run, near N. Van Dorn Street, where firefighters had earlier responded to a report of a small brush fire after an electrical transformer blew. Traffic signals were also said to be dark in the area.

Posted by Sam Cook on Thursday, October 17, 2019

A smaller outage, involving around 200 Dominion customers, was reported just west of Del Ray, near St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School.

Power should be restored in both areas by 7-9 p.m., according Dominion’s website.

The outages are also prompting at least one school and two recreation center closures in the city.

The Wind Advisory is in effect until 6 p.m., with gusty winds expected to continue this afternoon.

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