Kelly Grant made it happen.

On Tuesday, Grant, the chief operating officer of the ALX Community coworking office in Old Town, received Volunteer Alexandria‘s business philanthropist of the year award.

Last year, after five months of an exhausting pandemic, Grant struck oil after launching the Alexandria Drive-In. The effort raised more than $100,000, with more than 12,000 people safely seeing movies on the big screen again. Proceeds from the films went to ACT for Alexandria, the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria and Athena Rapid Response.

“It’s incredibly moving to watch the power of community make lasting impacts in our city,” Grant said. “Keep an eye out for ALX Community’s future community initiatives, as we continue to serve and support the wonderful people, small businesses, and communities that make Alexandria the place we love and call home.”

The Drive-In has since gone into its second season.

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It was quite a week in Alexandria.

Our top story this week was on a man who allegedly crashed his car headfirst into the Verizon store near Potomac Yard. The suspect was later arrested in North Carolina.

The week was full of big news. Former Mayor Allison Silberberg announced her candidacy against Mayor Justin Wilson for the June 8 Democratic primary, and ALXnow has learned that the Del Ray Business Association is planning a debate.

One of our favorite stories this week was on Tobi, the Alexandria dog without front legs who needed a new $2,350 wheelchair. Within a day of posting the story, Tobi’s GoFundMe goal was reached. The fundraiser has since raised $3,590, and Tobi’s owner says the excess funds will be donated to help another disabled pet get a wheelchair.

As of noon Friday, our unscientific poll on mayoral candidates had 1,111 votes, but only 537 views. Former Mayor Allison Silberberg trailed by a large percentage for the first several hours, but she later received a surge of votes that led to her getting 589 votes, or 53%, to Wilson’s 432 votes, or 39%. Republican candidate Annetta Catchings, who also announced her mayoral candidacy this week, got 90 votes, or 8%.

Other important stories:

ALXnow’s top stories:

  1. BREAKING: Man rams car into Verizon Store near Potomac Yard
  2. Waterfront Commission tries to avert ‘Disneyland-like’ development in Old Town
  3. Flight attendant Annetta Catchings running for Alexandria mayor as a Republican
  4. Chadwicks going double-decker on outdoor dining at upcoming BAR meeting
  5. BREAKING: Former Mayor Silberberg rematch as she enters democratic primary for mayor
  6. City Councilman Seifeldein quits meeting after argument with mayor
  7. Three men tied up and robbed in West End
  8. GoFundMe launched to get wheelchair for Tobi, an Alexandria dog with no front legs
  9. Just Sold in Alexandria: March 23, 2021
  10. Republican J.D. Maddox announces run for 45th District seat
  11. Al’s Steak House to endure under new management

Have a safe weekend!

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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Trump Defense Weak During Senate Impeachment Hearing — “The House Managers established that Trump lied about the election, inspired the attackers to come to DC, directed them to the Capitol, and did nothing for hours to stop their violent attack. Senate Republicans objected, strenuously, to details of a phone call. And nothing else.” [Twitter]

CVS Starts Offering COVID-19 Vaccines in Alexandria and Fairfax County — “People interested in a vaccine are allowed to register through both the city or county health departments and through CVS at the same time, but local health department officials are pleading with people who get their vaccine through CVS to remove themselves from the health department waiting lists so others can get vaccinated faster.” [Alexandria Living]

ALIVE! Free Food Distribution Canceled — “The ALIVE! Trunk to Trunk Food Distribution scheduled for February 13 has been CANCELED due to forecasted weather conditions and the safety of residents, staff and volunteers. Instead, the distribution events will take place on February 20 at the same locations and times.” [Twitter]

Stracci Pizza Truck Brings Roman-Style Pizza to Del Ray — “Thomas Cardarelli, chef and owner of Stracci Pizza, (pronounced stráh-chee) always wanted to start something of his own — a high-tech, casual pizzeria. Then, the pandemic hit. His friend asked: ‘Why not get a food truck?'” [Alexandria Living]

Travel + Leisure Profiles Manumission Tour Company — “Explore different stories in Alexandria Virginia’s history of slaves who ran away to freedom using the underground railroad. Join us as we walk around Alexandria Virginia with John Chapman from Manumission Tours and explore some of these historical moments.” [Youtube]

Casa Chirilagua Revamps Food Pantry — “Casa Chirilagua brings access to non-perishable food items and cleaning products to the community through our pantry. With new shelving and reorganization, we can now hold hundreds of pounds of food and cleaning products. So far we’ve distributed 2,241 grocery bags of pantry items, valued at over $196,000. This could not be possible without your support!” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy with a mixture of rain and snow in the morning. Temps nearly steady in the mid to upper 30s. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precip 70%… Cloudy (in the evening). Low 26F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Real Estate Photographer — “Shoot anywhere from 2 to 4 properties per day.Deliver consistently excellent images up to company standards.Upload raw images to development services. Additional opportunities and pay are available for shooting night photography and weekends.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Polk Elementary Crossing Guard Dies — “It is with a heavy heart that we share that our beloved Charlotte Mills Ross, passed away peacefully January 31, 2021 at the age of 95. Mrs. Ross served for 50 years as our school crossing guard. She welcomed and protected generations of Polk Owls at the same corner, rain or shine. How blessed we are to have been able to have her for 50 years as a treasured legend of our community. The walkway from our gym to our fifth grade wing was named ‘Ross Walk’ in her honor, upon her retirement.” [Facebook]

Beyer Thanks 11 Republicans for Voting to Remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from Committees — “My thanks to the 11 Republicans who joined us tonight to hold Marjorie Taylor Greene responsible for encouraging political violence against our colleagues. There should have been more. The resolution just passed with bipartisan support.” [Twitter]

City Real Property Tax Assessments Increase 2.7% — “On Tuesday evening, City Council will be receiving our 2021 Property Assessments. We will be seeing two very divergent stories: a residential tax base growing at the healthiest rate in some time and the commercial tax base shrinking quicker than we have seen in quite a while.” [Twitter]

Bishop Ireton Collects Donations Supporting Catholic Charities — “Thanks to the generous support of students, families and faculty, moms and babies will be receiving items through The Baby Closet, Mary’s Shelter and Birthright. These organizations serve the poorest of the poor and affirm the Catholic belief that life should be supported from conception to natural death. Thank you to everyone who donated!” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy early with partial sunshine expected late. High 54F. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph… Partly cloudy skies (in the evening). Low near 30F. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job:  Campagna Center Head Start Teacher — “The Teacher creates, maintains, and manages an attractive, warm, and challenging learning environment for young children, incorporating developmentally appropriate learning activities that meet the needs of the group as well as those of individual children. The Teacher collaborates with all staff to facilitate the utilization of needed services to the children and their families. The Teacher is responsible for keeping accurate reports and records for each child and ensuring that all of the necessary forms are completed and properly maintained.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Mayor Asks Residents to Shovel Snow — “Grab your shovel and help us make it safe for pedestrians around our City. Sidewalks must be cleared by Thursday at 3 PM! @Volalex is back supporting our ‘Snow Buddy’ program for those who need assistance or can assist.” [Twitter]

Beyer Criticizes Trump’s Lawyers — “Trump’s lawyers misspell “United States” right at the beginning and somehow it only gets worse and more amateurish from there.” [Twitter]

Governor Urges Virginians to Recognize Black History Month — “Virginia native Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded #BlackHistoryMonth in 1926 to help recognize the achievements and contributions of Black Americans. Black history is American history–this month, and every month, let’s continue working to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate it.” [Twitter]

Del. Levine Firearm Bill Passes House — “My Safe Capitol Bill just passed the House! The bill bans firearms in the Capitol, Capitol Square, and state government buildings. If you want to lobby us, use your voices. Threaten our re-election, not our safety. Guns have no place in the public square.” [Twitter]

Former Del. Krupicka Endorses Bennett-Parker for 45th District Seat — “As a former Council Member and a former Delegate for the 45th district, I know that local government experience in Richmond is crucial and that’s why I know Elizabeth will be the best candidate to serve the residents of Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax. Her deep commitment to the environment and our public schools and students are traits that I know will make her an effective Delegate. We need her leadership in Richmond and I am proud to endorse her.” [Elizabethfordelegate.com]

ALIVE! Gets Donation From Scottish Group — “Mike Bible and Rick Cady, representing the Alexandria Scottish Rite, presented a check to Jennifer Ayers of ALIVE! in Alexandria, VA for $2,350 on January 19, 2021. This will help with providing food to the local Alexandria community.” [Twitter]

Former Mayor Euille Among Senior Services of Alexandria Award Honorees — “Senior Services of Alexandria is pleased to announce that it will honor three individuals who have made significant contributions to the Alexandria community through their work, activism and philanthropic efforts at its 2021 Virtual Annual Gala. They are Barbara Anderson; William D. Euille and C. Eugene Steuerle. A special honor will be given to Kate Garvey, Director of Alexandria’s Department of Community and Human Services for her leadership of the City and non-profit agencies’ responses to the global pandemic.” [Zebra]

New Job: Police Crime Analyst — The Alexandria Police Department is looking for a Police Crime Analyst to join our team. You’ll play an important role in our investigations and operations. [Twitter]

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Neighborhood Health just got a $20,000 boost to improve its telemedicine capabilities from Medicaid health plan company Anthem’s HealthKeepers Plus. The donation will allow the nonprofit to buy laptops and tech accessories.

Neighborhood Health, which has provided free COVID-19 tests and other medical services for more than 40,000 patients throughout Alexandria during the pandemic, mostly provides care for low income residents.

“The additional equipment allows our teams to further reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for both our staff and our patients by offering more virtual visits from home instead of the office,” said Eduardo Mantilla-Torres, Outreach & Enrollment Manager for Neighborhood Health. “This will help lower the number of staff needed on-site and the number of people in the office in general, allowing for a safer distribution of services.”

With telemedicine being the new normal, Anthem’s Thomas Rayner, director of marketing and member engagement, said that the company is “happy to support efforts that provide better healthcare access for Virginia’s low-income residents.”

Photo via Anthem

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Morning Notes

Beyer Urges Senate to Remove Trump After House Impeachment — “Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to the United States, and a menace to the Constitution. The events of the past week, my conscience, my oath of office, and my duty to the people of Northern Virginia allow no other course than to vote for his impeachment. I urge the Senate to remove him from office as swiftly as possible.” [Beyer.house.gov]

Police Seeking Alexandria Man For Assaulting Woodbridge Boy — “Ian M. Simpson is wanted after police said he attempted to strangle an 8-year-old boy during after two arguments between the two relatives.” [Patch]

Police: Business Robbed on N. Quaker Lane Wednesday Morning — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a robbery from a business in the 1600 block of N. Quaker Lane. It happened around 5:45am. Expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]

WATCH: Governor Northam Gives State of Commonwealth Speech — “My 2021 State of the Commonwealth address is starting–watch live.” [Twitter]

Poll Opens to Select New Names for T.C. Williams High and Matthew Maury Elementary Schools — “Between now and Jan. 27, we are asking everyone to help us whittle down names that have been suggested by our students over the last month. Don’t like any of the options you see? The community will also be given another chance to make suggestions at this time.” [Zebra]

Casa Chirilagua Gets Desk Donations from Building Momentum — “Casa Chirilagua, a non-profit serving the Arlandria neighborhood in northern Virginia near Reagan National Airport, has been one of the largest recipients and distributors of the desks. Adriana Gómez Schellhaas, executive director of Casa Chirilagua, said the non-profit has distributed over 50 desks to homes and learning centers in their community.” [USChamber.com]

Today’s Weather — “Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. High near 55F. Winds light and variable… A few clouds from time to time in the evening. Low 31F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Experienced Servers at Mia’s Italian Kitchen — “We are searching for Experienced Servers to join our Team at Mia’s in OLD TOWN” [Indeed]

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Animals need their stockings stuffed too.

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) is inviting supporters out on Thursday, Dec. 24, to donate to cats, dogs, and other pets at the facility.

“You can participate in person or remain physically distant while helping to fill the AWLA van with holiday goodies that will keep homeless animals entertained all year long!” the AWLA said.

Items can be delivered to the AWLA from an online list, which will be used to stuff the van. Participants can also sign up “in-pawson” for a 10 minute window to stuff the van full of goodies.

“Sign up for a 10-minute window during which you and your ‘family group’ can come by the AWLA to stuff the van with the help of an ‘AWLA elf’ and meet an adoptable animal who will benefit from your generous holiday donations,” the AWLA said. “All activities will be held outside the AWLA in our parking lot, and all participants must wear masks. (Please note that for safety reasons, participants will not be able to enter the building). Two different family groups will have time to visit with an adoptable animal and stuff the van during each 10-minute window, all while staying at a safe physical distance from each other.”

Image via AWLA/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Women Create At-Home Escape Room — “Escape Notice Games will be releasing a second game titled “Spies of Liberty” in the spring of 2021. This game will be based on George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring and players will have to solve 15 puzzles to help Washington defeat the British.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Local Churches Organize 20 Ton Food Drive — “The truck came across the country with twenty tons of food items like pasta, flour, black beans, corn, soup, peaches, pasta sauce, pancake mix, peanut butter, mayonnaise, green beans, and more!” [Zebra]

Mayor Critiques “Herd Immunity” Suggestion — “If we apply the current US death rate of 1.9% to that case total, we will lose another 1,400 Alexandrians during that time, on top of the 82 that we have sadly lost already.” [Twitter]

Duncan Branch Library Looking for New Aide — “Duncan Branch Library The Alexandria Library is looking for enthusiastic individuals to join the Circulation team with the Alexandria Library. The ideal candidates will have exceptional customer service skills and the desire to contribute to a busy neighborhood library.” [City of Alexandria]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Morning Notes

ACPS Eyes Late January as Earliest Date for In-Person Classes — “Frustrated parents are continuing to push Alexandria City Public Schools officials to reopen schools for in-person instruction, but the earliest possible date for some students will be in the second half of January” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Free Coffee for Frontline Workers at Alexandria Starbucks — “Front-line workers can get free coffee throughout December from Starbucks locations throughout the United States, including these three in Alexandria.” [Patch]

Where to Donate in Alexandria for Giving Tuesday — “There are plenty of nonprofits and causes to support in Alexandria, from national organizations based in the city, to organizations helping Alexandrians.” [Patch]

Caregiver for Seniors Sought — “At Sunrise, our Care Manager is responsible for providing the highest degree of quality care and services to a consistent group of residents and their families in our assisted living and reminiscence neighborhoods.” [Sunrise Senior Living]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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