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Flyer calls for help for Ukrainians (via Northern Virginia Regional Commission)

Northern Virginia is coming together to help Ukrainians struck by war.

Local leaders and community members, organized by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, will launch a donation drive at the Fairfax County Government Center on Wednesday (March 23), collecting items through April 15 to send to refugees in Ukraine and Poland.

Alexandria Vice Mayor Amy Jackson will be among others at the donation drive’s launch on Wednesday, along with Fairfax County and Manassas leaders, according to a media advisory.

The donations will be accepted at over 30 locations — from libraries to supervisors’ offices and more — starting Wednesday (March 23). The event will be broadcast at 10 a.m. on the Fairfax County government’s Facebook page.

Requested items include new and gently used coats as well as new blankets, gloves, and pairs of sweat or heavy socks. More information about the drive, including a list of collection sites, can be found at helpukrainenova.org. In Alexandria, there will be two sites — one at City Hall and the other at Beatley Central Library.

The items will be boxed together with help from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Oakton congregation. Paxton Companies, a North Springfield moving business, will then shrink wrap boxes and transport them to Wilmington, North Carolina.

A business that wishes to remain anonymous will ship the donations overseas, bringing the supplies to trucks in Antwerp and a non-governmental organization that has a supply chain on the ground, NVRC executive director Bob Lazaro said.

The campaign came together after local elected leaders reached out to NVRC, seeking to replicate a similar effort by the area in 2013 to help Syrian refugees who fled a civil war that’s still continuing.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24. The war has now killed thousands of people — including at least 902 civilians — destroyed cities, and threatened the country’s sovereignty, causing over 3 million refugees to flee to neighboring countries.

The United Nations’ human migration agency reported that 3.3 million people in Ukraine have been displaced. Every minute, 55 more Ukrainian children become refugees, the United Nations Children’s Fund has estimated.

“Our residents don’t want to stand by — they want to help,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a statement. “As we uplift and offer support to our residents of Ukrainian descent here in the County, we can also aid in efforts abroad, sending much needed supplies to the millions of displaced Ukrainians taking refuge in Poland.”

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Morning Notes

Pandemic sounds death knell for Alexandria dry cleaners — “Gary and Chong Whitesides had for the past three decades run a dry-cleaning business in Alexandria… but the pandemic eventually shut them down, too.” [Washington Post]

Robots take over Hybla Valley Denny’s — “A handful of Denny’s restaurants nationwide, including one in the Alexandria area, has hired robots.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

One dead, two badly injured in Duke Street crash — “One person died and two others were badly hurt in a five-vehicle crash that closed a section of Duke Street in Alexandria, Virginia, for more than eight hours in the overnight hours.” [WTOP]

IndoChen opening on King Street — “IndoChen is opening a second location inside the Hyatt Centric Hotel at 1625 King St. near the Old Town metro station.” [Zebra]

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A 20 year-old Alexandria man was shot to death in his car in Lincolnia, and a 20-year-old Fairfax County man and a 17-year-old alleged accomplice have been arrested for his murder.

The body of Ahmed Hasheem Ebrahim has still not surfaced since it was put in a dumpster on January 16, according to Fairfax County Police. He was last seen leaving his home for a friend’s house the previous evening, Saturday, January 15. Ebrahim’s car was found on January 18 in Alexandria and towed to an impound lot.

Detectives found blood inside the car, and then discovered that Joel Antonio Sarabia, 20, of Fairfax, was seen driving Ebrahim’s car shortly after his disappearance. Sarabia was arrested for unauthorized use of a vehicle and driving without an operator’s license, and detectives found that he knew the victim.

“Sarabia and a 17-year-old associate planned to rob Mr. Ebrahim on Jan. 16. Sarabia shot Mr. Ebrahim in the upper body while Mr. Ebrahim was in his vehicle in a parking lot near the 6200 block of Lachine Lane in Lincolnia,” Fairfax County Police said in a press release. “Sarabia and his associate then drove the victim in Mr. Ebrahim’s vehicle until they disposed of his body later on Jan. 17 in a dumpster.”

Sarabia, who is being held without bond in the Fairfax County jail, was later charged with first degree murderrobbery resulting in deathconcealment of a dead body and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He was arrested with a firearm, and police are searching for a second gun, “which is believed to be in the City of Alexandria,” according to Fairfax County Police.

The juvenile, who is being held in the Juvenile Detention Center, was arrested on January 25 and charged with robbery resulting in death and concealment of a dead body.

The dumpster where Ebrahim’s body was placed has been identified, but the body has not been found, police said.

“Detectives identified the dumpster where Mr. Ebrahim’s body was disposed,” police said. “They have since been in contact with the disposal services company to determine the potential location where Mr. Ebrahim’s body may have been taken. Detectives have coordinated several searches with our Search and Rescue Team to locate Mr. Ebrahim.”

This is the second murder of the year in Fairfax County.

Anyone with information on this incident is urged to call Fairfax County detectives at 703-691-2131, or call 911. Callers can remain anonymous.

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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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