Good Thursday morning, Alexandria!
⛅️ Today’s weather: There is a 20% chance of brief showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening, with mostly sunny weather and a high of 89°F. Light winds will shift from east to south in the morning. On Thursday night, the chance of showers continues with partly cloudy skies, a low of 73°F, and southwest winds around 8-10 mph.
🚨 You need to know
Fairfax County announced last week that an application portal is opening next month for its Economic Mobility Pilot, which provides payment to eligible households, optional financial coaching, and supportive resources. The goal of the program is to promote economic stability and secure social capital for those in need. The pilot will pay $750 to 180 eligible families for 15 months.
The program consists of:
- A monthly payment of $750 to 180 eligible families for 15 months.
- Freedom of choice for the families to use the cash as they deem necessary.
- Optional financial coaching and the opportunity to increase their social networks through virtual or in-person events.
To qualify, applicants must be employed, have one child 16 or younger living in the household, and have an income somewhere between 150% and 250% of the Federal Poverty Level. Applicants also, obviously, need to live in Fairfax County.
According to the release:
While Fairfax County is a great place to live, work, learn and play, persistent racial and social inequities remain, which result in significant disparities in community outcomes. To confront these realities, Fairfax County has embraced a vision of One Fairfax: A declaration that all residents deserve an equitable opportunity to succeed.
Alexandria started its equivalent, the Alexandria Recurring Income for Success and Equity program (ARISE), earlier this year. Alexandria’s program gave 170 participants $500 per month over a 24-month period.
📈 Wednesday’s most read
The following are the most-read ALXnow articles for Aug 16, 2023.
- Woodrow Wilson Bridge opening scheduled Thursday night (6255 views)
- Alexandria activating new speed cameras as school year kicks off (6255 views)
🐦 Tweets of note
The City of Alexandria is working on a grant application for curb extensions near Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School, which would make it safer for our families to walk to and from school. Share your thoughts by Aug. 27, 2023: https://t.co/1j3P8eCTVZ pic.twitter.com/OFsOiKk6PD
— Samuel W. Tucker ES (@SamuelWTuckerES) August 15, 2023
📅 Upcoming events
Here is what’s going on today in Alexandria, from our event calendar.
- No events today. Have one to promote? Submit it to the calendar.
Good Friday morning, Alexandria!
☀️ Today’s weather: On Friday, expect a mostly sunny and hot day with temperatures reaching near 100°F and heat index values as high as 107°F. There is a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm, accompanied by a light west wind of 5-8 mph. In the evening, chances of precipitation will drop to 30%, with showers and thunderstorms mainly occurring before 8pm. The night will be partly cloudy with a low of around 76°F and a south wind around 7 mph.
🚨 You need to know
Two women were injured by bullet fragments and debris when the suspect allegedly fired into the floor of the Lion’s Den Lounge at 5820 Seminary Road at around 4 a.m. on July 16.
The Fairfax County Police Department announced that the suspect, 25-year-old Arlington resident Abdulkerim Halid, was arrested Wednesday in Alexandria without incident.
“Two adult females were injured from bullet fragments and debris,” FCPD said. “They were taken to a nearby hospital for injuries not considered to be life-threatening. Halid was identified as the shooter, but he left the scene prior to police arrival.”
Halid was charged with reckless handling of a firearm and is currently in custody without bond at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.
📈 Thursday’s most read
The following are the most-read ALXnow articles for Jul 27, 2023.
- Arlington man busted for allegedly selling stolen car to Alexandria man on Facebook Marketplace (1755 views)
- Pupatella Neapolitan Pizza opening before end of year in Old Town North, owner says (1506 views)
- Most and least expensive townhouses sold in Alexandria (June 2023) (558 views)
- New report suggests low rents and amenities give Alexandria’s office market an edge over neighbors | ALXnow (355 views)
📅 Upcoming events
Here is what’s going on today and this weekend in Alexandria, from our event calendar.
- 11:00 am Saturday: Beats, Bites and Brews in Old Town Alexandria
The price of riding on the Metro might go up and so could your tax bill.
Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson said that the region will experience collective pain by bailing out the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority from its projected $750 million budget deficit.
Wilson said there are no solutions that the city can afford to take off the table.
“We will have to determine ways to reduce the cost structure, the stakeholders will have to chip in and riders will likely bear some of the cost,” Wilson told ALXnow. “It’s going to involve some pain all around.”
WMATA gets billions annually from Alexandria, D.C., Maryland, other Northern Virginia jurisdictions and the federal government. Alexandria’s commitment this year is $56.6 million in operating dollars and $16.6 million in capital contributions.
“Following the exhaustion of federal relief funding in FY2024, Metro expects an operating deficit of $750 million in FY2025,” Metro announced in a budget presentation. “This is more than a one-year challenge. The deficit is projected to continue its growth through FY2035 even with continued ridership recovery.”
Metro Board Chair Paul C. Smedberg, a former member of the Alexandria City Council, said that the region needs a reliable transit system.
“Customers would see longer waits, constant gridlock, higher fares and reduced operating hours and the region’s economy could stagnate,” Smedberg said.
Without a funding increase from Alexandria and its neighbors, WMATA reported “unprecedented operating deficits” will force it to make drastic cuts to rail, bus, and paratransit services across the region.
“Balancing the budget with service cuts would require eliminating two-thirds of Metro’s existing service, with no service after 9:30 p.m.,” WMATA announced last month. “All but 37 of 135 bus lines would no longer operate, customers would wait 20-30 minutes for trains on all lines, and MetroAccess would serve a much smaller area with less hours.”
In his monthly newsletter, Wilson said a “reckoning is afoot” for the transit system now that federal subsidies have dried up and ridership is inching toward pre-pandemic levels.
As of May, Metrorail and Metrobus ridership was 50% and 88% of pre-pandemic levels, respectively, according to WMATA.
“Transit is essential to our region’s economy and our quality of life, but the financial model that has supported its existence for a generation is upside down,” Wilson wrote. “The work ahead requires defining a new model to sustain transit for another generation.”
Metro laid out these drivers for the $750 million deficit:
- Jurisdiction Subsidy Credit: At the onset of the pandemic, Metro provided support to jurisdictions in the form of a subsidy reduction and forgone three percent increases. Had Metro not provided this support, the jurisdictional subsidy would be $196 million higher in FY2025.
- Decreased revenue since the pandemic: Overall ridership is forecasted to be approximately 25 percent below pre-pandemic levels in FY2025. In addition, shorter distance and weekend trips, which result in less revenue than long distance weekday trips, have seen the fastest recovery. These changes and related impacts to parking and advertising revenues are expected to continue to keep revenue below pre-pandemic levels in the short and medium term. FY2025 total revenue is expected be approximately $288 million below pre-pandemic levels.
- Inflation and collective bargaining agreements: Historic inflation caused by the pandemic and related supply chain impacts made everything more expensive, raising Metro’s personnel and non-personnel costs. The vast majority of Metro’s workforce which operates and maintains the system participates in collective bargaining. Metro must comply with mandated annual increases under the terms of the respective collective bargaining agreements, which indexes compensation levels to inflation. This cost growth is responsible for $266 million.
Erinn Roth credits her mother with everything.
Roth spent 24 years in the U.S. Army before starting Ms. Jo’s Petite Sweets in Alexandria in 2016. She literally had a dream about making cupcakes before retiring from the Army as a lieutenant colonel and told her parents she wanted to make desserts for a living.
“I told my parents that I was going to retire from the Army to cook cupcakes, and my mom said I should do it, that I’d be successful,” Roth said. “About a month later she and my father were on vacation and she passed suddenly. Our family dynamic changed. We were all like little planets orbiting around my mother.”
Roth started her catering business in ALX Community (201 N. Union Street), after attending the pastry school at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg and participating in entrepreneurship programs at Cornell University, Georgetown University and the WeWork/Bunker Labs Veterans In Residence Program.
“I’m from Mississippi, where your reputation is based on how well you can cook,” Roth said. “Desserts are my passion, although I cook everything. My mother was my greatest influence, but everyone in my family cooked, and food was the center of family gatherings, whether they were weddings, birthdays, celebrations and even funerals.”
She named her company after her mother Jo Bradford Hardaway.
“My favorite part of my new life is when people ask me whether I’m Mrs. Jo, and I can tell them about my mom,” Roth said.
The business got a big boost in 2021, after Roth got runner-up in Crime Scene Kitchen, a reality cooking show on FOX. Last year, she opened Mrs. Jo’s Petite Eats Patisserie & Cafe (7940 Jones Branch Drive) in Tysons Corner.
“I didn’t foresee myself being a business owner being a chef,” Roth said. “I look at life a lot different now. I see the shades of green in trees. I see sunrises and sunsets differently, and I try to stay in the moment.”
Roth manages her business in Alexandria and wants to open more locations in the future.
“I call this my first location,” she said of her cafe. “But yes, I would love to another location particularly overseas at U.S. military bases. There are huge American communities that don’t have cake makers, and I’d love to be able to offer that for that community.”
Images via Facebook
Alexandria Police arrested two men last month and, according to affidavits, recovered a large number of illegal narcotics, cash and other items.
The investigation into the suspects began in November, according to a recently released search warrant affidavit.
The Alexandria Police Department conducted the investigation for more than four months, and during that time APD observed one of the suspects “conduct hand-to-hand transactions in the parking lots of restaurants in the nearby area of the Seminary Road apartment,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.
One of the suspects, a 38-year-old Prince William County man, was arrested in the apartment during the execution of the search warrant. His roommate, a 41-year-old Washington D.C. man, was arrested that same day in the 4900 block of Seminary Road in Alexandria, and was allegedly in possession of 20 fentanyl pills, according to the search warrant affidavit.
Alexandria and Fairfax County Police found the following in their apartment in the 5600 block of Seminary Road in Falls Church:
- Approximately 134.8 grams of crack cocaine
- Approximately 12,955 fentanyl pills
- Approximately 1.8 grams of MDMA (ecstasy)
- Several hundred Adderall pills
- Approximately 50-100 Xanax pills
- $26,954 in U.S. currency
- Three digital scales
- Multiple cell phones
- Gun ammunition and a magazine
Both suspects are convicted felons. The 38-year-old suspect was charged with possession of a weapon other than a firearm by a convicted felon, two counts of possession with intent to distribute Schedule I/II drugs and two counts of selling/distributing Schedule IV drugs. The 41-year-old suspect was charged with two counts of selling Schedule I/II drugs.
Both suspects are being held without bond and go to court on April 12.
An industrial park on Vine Street, squeezed between the Van Dorn Street Metro station and the Beltway, could be replaced with a new mixed-use development — and a new potential connection to the Van Dorn Metro station.
The development plans, however, hinge on hopes that the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) express lane plans don’t bleed over onto the site.
The development proposed is just a smidge south of the Alexandria border with Fairfax at the Van Dorn Street Metro station. Plans submitted to Fairfax County shows the current industrial park could be replaced with offices and a hotel on the west end of the site and apartments with ground-floor retail on the eastern end, per a map of the proposed development.
The project would build a new pedestrian access to the Metro from the south and a potential pedestrian/vehicular connection to the opposite side of the Beltway, though what form those connections could take are vague in the development plans.
The plans propose minimal on-site parking requirements both because it is so close to the Van Dorn Street Metro station and to encourage Metro use.
The main thrust of the amendment is a request that requirements for access across the Beltway be kept flexible as the development works around the VDOT’s plans for the area.
The amendment notes that the comprehensive plan is very specific in its recommendation of a bridge over the Beltway connecting the site to Oakwood Road, but that could be complicated by the VDOT plans to add express lanes on I-495. With the site sitting so close to the Van Dorn Street intersection, VDOT’s changes to the interchange — like potential road widening or toll infrastructure — could interfere with any plans to build a bridge at the site.
“The schematic in Exhibit A does not show the bridge from Oakwood Road across the Beltway because of the potential such an alignment may never materialize depending on the final HOT Lanes design,” the application said. “The comprehensive plan text proposed with this nomination, as described below, provides flexibility for how such access could be provided in the future.”
The application asked for flexibility to adapt transportation plans for the site to VDOTs plans for the corridor.
Image via Google Maps
The Arden, a 126-unit residential development just south of Alexandria, is opening early next year.
The development from housing nonprofit Wesley Housing is set to host a grand opening on Jan. 13, marking the completion of a major affordable housing project for an area in desperate need.
“The celebration marks the completion of 126 affordable units,” a release from Wesley Housing said, “including 10 efficiencies, 26 one bedrooms, 76 two bedrooms, 14 three bedrooms, and 11 fully accessible units in the transit-oriented neighborhood.”
The development has two-bedroom units available to lease starting at $1770 and studio apartments starting at $1435. The units are available to those making 80% of the area median income or below. In Alexandria, the area median income for one person is $99,700, or $113,900 for two people.
“Resident amenities include a community room, outdoor courtyard patio, bike storage, on-site laundry facilities, garage parking, and free in-unit and common area Wifi, to name a few,” the release said. “In addition, the ground floor hosts 7,500 sq. ft. of office space, where Wesley Housing’s new main office will be located.”
Women’s Equality Day is around the corner, and Alexandria is included in a regional historic bike ride to recognize the fight for women’s rights.
The free bike ride is sponsored by the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Alexandria Spokeswomen and Alexandria Celebrates Women.
Perhaps Susan B. Anthony put it best when she said:
Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.
The ride starts at the Braddock Road Metro station at 9 a.m. on Saturday, August 27 — the day after Women’s Equality Day.
The initial 6.2-mile route goes through Annie Rose Avenue and Ruby Tucker Park in Potomac Yard, Judy Lowe Neighborhood Park and Pat Miller Neighborhood Square in Del Ray, the Nancy Dunning Memorial in Potomac West, Shirley Tyler Unity Park in Lynhaven and Cora Kelly School in Arlandria.
In 1917, 32 suffragists were freed from the Occoquan Workhouse (now the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton) after a trial at the federal courthouse in Alexandria. The women were tortured and force-fed while in prison.
In recognition of their struggle, the bike ride continues at 10:45 a.m. from the Franconia-Springfield Metro station to the Lucy Burns Museum at the Workhouse Arts Center. Admission to the museum is $5 and includes a guided cellblock tour.
“The round-trip route is approximately 23 miles, with a mix of bike lanes and roads,” event organizers said. “Participants are encouraged to wear (and/or decorate your bike) with the colors of the women’s suffrage movement — purple, gold and white.”
The final segment of the ride starts at noon,and runs 1.3 miles between the Lucy Burns Museum and the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial. The cyclists will then get lunch at Brickmakers Cafe before returning to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station.
Women’s Equality Day is coming up. BPAC is celebrating by cohosting a ride with Alexandria Spokeswomen and Alexandria Celebrates Women. Sat. 8/27 at 9 a.m. Three ways to participate! Details at https://t.co/G5DMmfHOYS.
— Alexandria Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee (@AlexandriaBPAC) August 14, 2022
Photo via Pedego/Facebook
One of the very first stories on ALXnow discussed — maybe too snarkily in hindsight — the distinction between the City of Alexandria and the areas of Fairfax south of Cameron Run sometimes referred to as Alexandria.
This past week, two businesses opening this month — a cannabis dispensary and a metal supermarket — identified themselves as “Alexandria” branches of their respective chains despite the fact that both are opening in Fairfax.
The root of the issue is that the Post Office’s broad zones identify neighborhoods like Fort Hunt or Mount Vernon as “Alexandria” despite the fact that they fall outside of the city’s borders. Critics say the misnomer has created several problems, from misunderstandings about where a crime or fire took place to a Target accidentally sending $1 million in tax revenue to the wrong locality. But defenders of “Alexandria, Fairfax” have repeatedly chimed in saying the name is a point of pride for many south of Cameron Run.
At any rate, it’s a slow news week and we’re trying to fill story slots in the rundown, so chime in below with your thoughts:
Metal Supermarkets is exactly what it says on the tin: a one-stop shop for all metal needs for professionals ‘ore’ hobbyists.
“Metal Supermarkets stores specialize in the sales and distribution of all types and ranges of metal,” the shop said in a press release, “including hot and cold rolled, aluminum copper, brass and stainless in bars, tubes, angles, channel, sheet and plate to meet the needs of a wide and diverse variety of customers that require these essential products.”
The release said Metal Supermarkets aims to be an ironclad metals supplier for local manufacturers, machinists, maintenance and repair shops and more.
The new shop is scheduled to open at 6460 General Green Way on Monday, Aug. 29. The store will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The new Fairfax location is the fourth Metal Supermarkets in Alexandria.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to open a second Metal Supermarkets location,” Theresa Lora, owner of Metal Supermarkets Alexandria, said in the release. “The pandemic made running our first Metal Supermarkets store in Beltsville, Maryland a little challenging, but we had a great staff that helped make things easier. Now, we have an incredible staff at the Alexandria location that will provide the same tremendous support to area businesses and the Alexandria community.”
Image via Metal Supermarkets/Facebook