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Morning Notes

Fairfax County police find two possible victims of ‘shopping cart killer,’ suspect in custody — “A plastic container found in the Huntington area near Route 1 on Wednesday (Dec. 15) contained the remains of two people that Fairfax County police believe to be the victims of a serial killer.” [FFXnow]

Harmony Place Mobile Home residents in Alexandria South demand repairs be part of upcoming sale — “Today, residents of Harmony Place… held a press conference at the park to demand significant health and safety improvements be made as a condition of the upcoming sale of the property.” [Zebra]

School Board discusses equity audit policy — “The Alexandria School Board discussed an equity audit policy revision overview at its Dec. 2 meeting, which related specifically to student discipline and conduct.” [Alexandria Times]

Rumored school violence TikTok challenge monitored in Alexandria — “Posts circulating on the social media app TikTok suggesting that school shootings will take place around the U.S. on Friday as part of a new “challenge” has drawn the attention of Alexandria City Public Schools and police.” [Patch]

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Well, it hasn’t exactly been a good news-heavy week in Alexandria.

There’s a possible serial killer in the area of Fairfax just south of Alexandria and the much-debated School Resource Officers have been removed from their posts pending an investigation into alleged inappropriate sexual messages to a former student, according to the Washington Post. A local juvenile was also killed in a fatal shooting this past weekend, though police said there’s no threat to public safety and the death is being considered an isolated incident.

Several City Council members were honored earlier this week after they finished their last City Council meeting. Among them was City Council member Redella “Del” Pepper, who retired after 36 years in office.

Top stories

  1. BREAKING: Alexandria City High School on lockdown after social media threats
  2. JUST IN: Pedestrian struck by car in Arlandria
  3. JUST IN: Minnie Howard campus evacuated after bomb threat
  4. BREAKING: School Resource Officers removed from Alexandria City High School after ‘serious complaint’
  5. Police investigating fatal juvenile shooting
  6. Police investigating shots fired in Braddock neighborhood
  7. Florence King, City Council candidate and Alexandria Living Legend, dies
  8. Alexandria got nearly $30 million in ARPA funding this year; here’s what the city’s been doing with it
  9. The Alexandria detention center population has been declining since 2011, here’s why
  10. Alexandria sees most single-day COVID-19 infections since February, Virginia surpasses 1 million cases
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Alexandria is about to embark on a public relations campaign in response to the 5 cent Plastic Bag Tax, which goes into effect next month.

In a meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 14, the City Council will consider the release of $30,000 from contingent reserves to the city’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services for outreach on the matter.

The tax goes into effect Jan. 1, 2022. According to the city, the collected taxes will be used for:

  • Environmental Cleanup;
  • Providing education programs designed to reduce environmental waste;
  • Mitigating pollution and litter; or
  • Providing reusable bags to recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC) benefits

“The City’s adopted FY (fiscal year) 2022 operating budget included $30,000 in Non-Departmental Contingent Reserves to develop and produce resources for graphics, advertisements, window clings, and to purchase reusable tote bags for distribution to low-income households,” the city said.

The Virginia General Assembly adopted Sen. Adam Ebbin’s (D-30th) legislation last year allowing localities to impose a bag tax. Neighboring jurisdictions Arlington and Fairfax County also adopted bag taxes.

The $30,000 would be spent in the following way:

  • $5,000 allocated for printing and postage (developing graphics, printing mailers, window cling stickers, notification letters for stakeholders);
  • $9,500 to purchase reusable bags for low-income households and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/ Women, Infants and Children (WIC) beneficiaries;
  • $8,000 in temporary staffing hours (hours for reusable bag distribution events, conducting street outreach to regulated businesses); and
  • $7,500 allocated for advertisements (social media, local newspapers, and/or bus shelters)
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Morning Notes

Arts commission criticizes proposed changes to Torpedo Factory — “The city’s proposals for the future of the Torpedo Factory Art Center have received criticism from artists, and during its Nov. 16 meeting, the city’s Commission for the Arts fired some warning shots as well.” [Alexandria Times]

Alexandria ranks third in national office conversions — “Number of office-to-apartment conversions: 955” [CNBC]

Holiday Card Lane returns to Del Ray — “Now much more than one street, the nationally-famous holiday cheer effort returns.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

LA Musician got her start in Mount Vernon — “Fort Hunt alumni Julie Gigante started playing the violin at age 5 and now is featured on an 11,000-square-foot mural in Los Angeles.” [Alexandria Gazette]

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Morning Notes

The story of Hybla Valley’s lost airport — “Every American with their own plane? Strangely enough, this was a widespread belief during most of the 1920s and ’30s — a motive which, at the time, led to the creation of Alexandria’s prestigious and unique Hybla Valley Airport.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

New sports field opens at Francis C. Hammond Middle School — “The new multipurpose futsal court at Francis C. Hammond Middle School was finally unveiled on Monday, Nov. 8.” [Zebra]

Alexandria warehouse sold for $9 million — “Washington, D.C.-based Lee & Associates has brokered the $9 million sale of a 28,000-square-foot warehouse at 619 S. Pickett St. in Alexandria to Terreno Realty Corp.” [Virginia Business]

City tree lighting scheduled — “The City invites the community to join Mayor Justin Wilson and a host of friends to welcome back the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday, November 20, at 6 p.m. in Market Square (301 King St.).” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

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Morning Notes

Chewish Deli expanding to King Street — “In paperwork filed with the City, Chewish Deli owner Gregg Linzey is requesting a permit to open up a store at 1640 King Street, which was most recently the site of a Dunkin Donuts.” [Zebra]

Profile of home with some famous former residents — “The Nordquists, who have both held prominent jobs in the federal government, purchased the home in 2004, but they aren’t the first dignitaries to reside there.” [Alexandria Times]

Fairfax home sets regional real estate sale record — “An Alexandria home that was listed for $60 million sold for $48 million in a cash transaction in late October. The home set a new record in the DC metro area for the most expensive home sold.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Volunteers recognized at senior services ‘drive-thru’ luncheon in Alexandria — “On Thursday, November 4, Senior Services of Alexandria held a ‘Drive Thru Thank You Luncheon’ at First Baptist Church to recognize its superstar volunteers.” [Zebra]

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Morning Notes

Torpedo Factory artist starts petition to save art spaces — “Some of these plans include reduce the number of individual artist studios in the building by up to 40%, as well as sweeping aside ALL artist studios on the first floor and replacing it with cheap money-making venues such as restaurants.” [Change.org]

Parental group protests outside National School Board association headquarters — “In Alexandria, Virginia Wednesday Moms For America protested the request by the NSBA to have the FBI investigate parents at some school districts in front of the NSBA headquarters.” [WJLA]

Matt Gillette’s Memorial Fund raises twice its goal — “In your generosity, please consider helping Abby and Baby E navigate this tremendously difficult time by contributing to this fund.  Every little bit helps.” [GoFundMe]

Mount Vernon church closes with a massive donation — “The closing of a church can be devastating to its members. But Messiah Lutheran Church in Alexandria decided to leave a remarkable legacy to its broader community when it recently shuttered.” [WJLA]

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Amana Bhuiyan, courtesy photo

(Updated 5:50 p.m.) Amana Bhuiyan wakes up at 4 a.m. at her home in the Huntington neighborhood of Fairfax and immediately starts driving Uber. Around 9 or 10 a.m. she’ll switch to Instacart or DoorDash. Then around 2 or 3 p.m., it’s working at Walgreens until closing until around midnight. Then, another few hours of late-night Uber before returning home to sleep for two or three hours before starting it all again the next day.

It’s an exhausting schedule, but Bhuiyan said it’s what it takes to try t try to raise the money necessary to pay to remove a painful tumor.

“It’s exhausting, but when you have something to fight for, we make it work,” Bhuiyan said, trying to remain upbeat.

Bhuiyan has a tumor just above her hip near the lower part of her spine, which it painfully rubs up against. The tumor is complicated by Bhuiyan’s hemihyperplasia, which means she has extracellular growth on one side of her body. As a last resort, Bhuiyan is running a GoFundMe campaign to try to help cover the medical costs for removing the tumor. The GoFundMe has currently raised $18,640 with a $30,000 goal, which Bhuiyan said would help put a dent in the $150,000 in medical debt from her surgeries and her mother’s paralysis.

“I was born with [hemihyperplasia] which made it so that my tumor was hard to diagnose,” Bhuiyan said.

For two years, Bhuiyan said she jumped from doctor to doctor, from recommendation to recommendation, but each time she said she was told the procedure would be too risky to try and fix. Finally, Bhuiyan found a plastic surgeon willing to work on it. Bhuiyan already had one eight-hour surgery where she said the doctor was able to remove 65% of the tumor. But now, even as Bhuiyan is struggling with the debt from the first surgery, Bhuiyan said the tumor is slowly growing back. Now, even on the nights where she does have a few hours to sleep, Bhuiyan said it’s difficult due to the pain caused by the tumor.

“I already, right now from the first surgery, have maxed out that credit card,” Bhuiyan said. “I had amazing credit. I had a 753 credit score, and now I’m down to 562. I’m not being accepted for any loans because I’m apparently borrowing too much.”

That first surgery ended up costing over $50,000, which Bhuiyan said was all out-of-pocket. Bhuiyan, like many service industry workers that provide the labor pool for major apps, has no health insurance through her jobs. She said she applied for Obamacare last year but never heard back, and makes just enough from all of her jobs that she falls into the gap not protected under Medicaid. But even if she had insurance, Bhuiyan said the tumor isn’t considered a medically necessary surgery and isn’t covered by insurance for plastic surgery.

“I’ve been trying to get it to the point where hopefully I can pay off enough of my debt to try to get a loan to pay off the rest of this surgery because just the surgeon fee is $23,000,” Bhuiyan said. “Because he is a cosmetic surgeon, they don’t take insurance. It’s all out of pocket.”

On top of that work, Bhuiyan is taking classes at George Mason University, and she eventually wants to be a doctor and help people. In the meantime, Bhuiyan hopes at the very least that more people can understand the living situation for those less financially well-off in the area.

“We live in an area where most people have insurance and work for the government, and we don’t really know what the bottom percent of people are going through unless you have someone in your life going through it,” Bhuiyan said. We don’t usually see it. If nothing else, I’m doing this so people can be educated about it.”

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Morning Notes

River Farm gets taken off the market — “Local residents cheered over email and text messages Wednesday after learning that the American Horticultural Society’s board — or what remained of it — decided not to sell its 27-acre property overlooking the Potomac River.” [Alexandria Living]

Northern Virginia AFL-CIO presents award to Rep. Don Beyer — “When the bus drivers in Alexandria – the DASH workers (who had been trying to unionize over decades, actually), Alexandria City hired a union buster and Congressman Beyer stepped in and was very forceful with his language in making the city aware that the DASH workers had a right to organize.” [Zebra]

Let’s Meat On The Avenue is restocked again after Saturday outage — “It wasn’t just restaurants impacted by Saturday’s #ArtOnTheAvenue outage. After having to toss much of their inventory, @LetsmeatDelRay is restocked and open! Picked up some beautiful pork chops for dinner. What’s your #artontheavenueafterparty stop today?” [Twitter]

Free food pop-up distribution points announced — “ALIVE! provides bags of food for specific neighborhoods or apartments, in collaboration with community partners, in the parking lot at each pop-up emergency food distribution location.” [City of Alexandria]

Today’s weather — “Mostly cloudy skies. High 77F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph… A few clouds. Low 63F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Lot attendant/Porter — “We have full and part time positions available.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Board members who backed sale of River Farm resign — “Five board members of the American Horticultural Society (AHS) who backed the sale of historic River Farm, including its chair, have resigned, the organization said Thursday. Their departure from the evenly split governing body leaves only members who have opposed selling the Potomac River property that once formed part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.” [Washington Post]

Alexandria Love Your Pet Day Festival is on Sunday — “One week to go until the Alexandria Love Your Pet Day Festival! Join us next Sunday, Oct. 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the spacious Oronoco Bay Park for this free event with something for everyone — including well-behaved, leashed pets! Enjoy amazing performances, meet adoptable animals, visit fantastic vendors or grab a drink in the Port City beer garden!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Health Department hosting free flu shot clinic Saturday — “The Alexandria Health Department will host a free flu shot clinic on October 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., inside Francis C. Hammond Middle School (4646 Seminary Road). Parking will be available. Flu shots will be provided at no cost, and proof of residency or insurance will not be required. The clinic will be open to adults and children ages 6 months and older. The Alexandria Health Department encourages all members of the community to get a flu vaccine. The higher dose version of the flu shot for seniors will not be available at the clinic, but may be available through a pharmacy or healthcare provider.” [City of Alexandria]

Today’s weather — “Mainly sunny. High 72F. Winds light and variable… A mostly clear sky (in the evening). Low 52F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Deputy sheriff — “Deputy Sheriffs primarily work in a direct supervision adult detention center, housing approximately 350 adult inmates. Deputies manage inmate living units, handle inmate discipline, respond to inmate requests, supervise inmates, and resolve problems. Other responsibilities of a Deputy Sheriff outside of the Detention Center include service of court papers; warrant execution, courthouse/courtroom security, prisoner transportation, community engagement and general law enforcement duties.” [Governmentjobs.com]

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