Alexandria, VA

It was a cold and snowy week in Alexandria.

Our top story this week was on plans to redevelop the GenOn power plant in Old Town North. It looks like deconstruction of the plant will start in 2023 and developers are looking at converting it into an urban, mixed-use property with housing.

The short work week started with news that Alexandria reached 10,000 cases of COVID-19. The latest figures show that there are 10,113 cases and 104 total deaths in the city, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The city’s seven-day moving average is now 35.1 cases.

A 49-year-old homeless woman was found dead in Arlandria on Tuesday morning, and the mayor told us that homelessness is on the rise in the city. ALXnow is following up with the city on the issue.

Tuesday morning also brought news that Alexandria City Councilman Mo Seifeldein abandoned his run for mayor and will not seek reelection to council. Seifeldein was hired as a trial lawyer by the U.S. Department of Labor in Jan. 2020, and while he can finish out his term on council, he can not run unless he files as an independent candidate.

In other election news, the race for city council is starting to get crowded, as Bill Rossello, a co-founder of the Bring Integrity Back to Alexandria Facebook Group, just threw his hat into the ring.

On the vaccine front, the waiting list has surpassed 45,000 and it may be until late summer that the vaccine is widely available in the city. On Thursday, Mayor Justin Wilson also asked the governor to open vaccine eligibility for restaurant, personal care and retail workers.

More than 200 people responded to this week’s poll on power outages. There have been a number of outages over tha last year, and 73% of respondents reported experiencing an outage, while 26% report that their homes haven’t been impacted.

In case you missed them, here are some other important stories this week:

Here are our top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. Developers Lay Out Multi-Year Timeline for GenOn Plant Redevelopment
  2. BREAKING: Homeless Woman Found Dead on Mount Vernon Avenue
  3. Alexandria Boxer Troy Isley Goes Pro With Big Fight Next Week
  4. Seifeldein Not Running for Mayor, Leaving Alexandria City Council
  5. ALXnow’s Top Stories this Week in Alexandria
  6. Director of Finance: Alexandria’s Real Estate Assessments Are a ‘Tale of Two Markets’
  7. Local Business Owner Robbed of Car While Pumping Gas at Old Town Gas Station
  8. Torpedo Factory Overhaul Heads to City Council Next Month
  9. Snow: Up to 6 Inches of Snow and Ice Expected in Alexandria
  10. BREAKING: Alexandria Police Investigate Second Car Stolen While Owner Pumps Gas
  11. Local Facebook Watchdog Group Founder Bill Rossello Announces Run for City Council

Have a safe weekend!

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Six people in three rowhouses in Parkfairfax were displaced from their homes Thursday morning after an electrical malfunction in a bathroom exhaust fan, according to the Alexandria Fire Department.

Fire damage was contained to the bathroom of the home, which is the 1600 block of Preston Road. Damage was estimated at $80,000. The rowhouses share walls and neighbors from two other homes were affected by smoke and were displaced.

The smoke alarm in the damaged home went off just after 8 a.m. and a small fire was quickly extinguished, according to Alexandria Fire Department spokesperson Raytevia Evans.

“Six people total were displaced from three of the three units in that row,” Evans told ALXnow. “We asked them if they would like assistance from Red Cross, but they were able to find accommodations on their own.”

Map via Google Maps

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The owner of a hookah lounge has filed a special use permit to operate a hookah lounge and restaurant in the West End.

Diko Bar and Lounge would take over at the former home of the all-vegan Chez Hareg Cafe at 5245 Duke Street. The 1,200-square-foot location is next door to Shooter McGee’s, across the street from the Canterbury Square Condominiums and near the Alexandria Fire Station 208.

The location can accommodate 47 people inside, 18 people outside and has a 145-space parking lot. The SUP was requested for a new use at the space, which is the former home to Sangeet Alexandria Halal Meat and Grocery and Chez Hareg Cafe.

Owner Diko Woldehawariate could not be reached for comment, and details are scarce. The business has no website or social media. Woldehawariate wants to run it from noon to 2 a.m. seven days a week, according to the application. The menu includes beef and chicken shwarma, kabobs, Ethiopian dishes and desserts.

Public comments on the application are open until March 4, 2021, after which the application goes before the Planning Commission and then City Council for final approval.

Photo via Google Maps

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Police are currently investigating a body discovered in the area of Homes Run Parkway near Cameron Station.

Alexandria Fire Department spokeswoman Raytevia Evans said that around 9:35 a.m. they received a call and dispatched an inland rescue unit for the report of a possible body in the water.

Police are currently investigating scene and Evans said the fire department is standing by to remove the person once the investigation is completed.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Congress Needs to Pass COVID-19 Relief Bill — “Last week was the 44th week in a row in which more Americans filed new unemployment claims than in any week on record prior to 2020. Damage from delaying relief still hitting American families, which shows how important it is for Congress to move quickly on the next relief bill.” [Twitter]

Mayor Says Alexandria Needs More COVID-19 Vaccines — “My friend @JeffreyCMcKay is absolutely right. NoVa jurisdictions have been planning for administration of vaccinations for months. We have the staffing, volunteers, processes and community partnerships in place to vaccinate our population. We just need more vaccine doses.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Fire Department Protected Potomac During Inauguration — “#DCsBravest also played a key role in helping to protect the waterways during the inauguration. Our Fireboats worked in conjunction with @DCPoliceDept Harbor Division, @USCG @AlexandriaVAFD and other maritime assets.” [Twitter]

Democrat Kirk McPike Announces Run for City Council — “As our city recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need leaders who are ready for the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead. My experience on commissions that deal with housing affordability and the city budget, along with my work in legislative offices, have prepared me to serve on the City Council in these trying times.” [kirkmcpike.com]

ALX-OPOLY Game Available for Pre-Order — “You can now order ALX-OPOLY in any quantity! Explore one of our nation’s most fascinating cities from the comfort of your living room. No matter which space you land on, you’ll see how this city has charmed residents and visitors from around the world.” [ChamberALX]

Today’s Weather — “Sunny along with a few clouds (during the day). High 51F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph. A few clouds from time to time (in the evening). Low 27F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Dog Daycare Pack Leader — “We are looking for responsible individuals that love dogs but are also capable of working with a group of dogs in a dog daycare setting. YOU MUST HAVE EXPERIENCE EITHER IN A DOG DAYCARE OR VET. OWNING A DOG IS NOT THAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE. We are looking for an individual that is committed to dogs and their care. You need to be attentive – be able to follow a set of daily activities with the dogs, and be able to be on your feet for the majority of your work day.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Photos: Beyer Attends Presidential Inauguration — “It was a thrill for Megan and me to be at the inauguration of Pres. @JoeBiden and Vice Pres. @KamalaHarris.” [Twitter]

Former Beyer Chief Of Staff To Begin Job In Biden Administration — “(Tanya) Bradsher will take on the new role as the senior director for partnerships and global engagement. Previously, she served as the National Security Agency lead for the Biden-Harris Transition Team.” [Patch]

Mayor Tweets Excitement After Biden Inauguration — “‘My whole soul is in it!’ So excited for the era of @JoeBiden & @KamalaHarris to get started. Let’s do this.” [Twitter]

Propane Cylinder Catches Fire in Old Town North — “Units operating in the 600 block of E Abington for a damaged propane cylinder that caught fire earlier this afternoon. Units from station 204 and Hazmat station 209 quickly assessed and handled the incident. No injuries reported. An AFD fire marshal conducted the investigation.” [Twitter]

Free Online Job Training Courses Available — “The SkillUp® Alexandria City & Arlington County initiative is available to help residents take charge of their futures and get back to work. Designed with input from regional employers, the initiative provides recently laid-off workers as well as those who are employed and looking to change or advance in their careers free and unlimited access to more than 5,000 high-quality, Skillsoft online training courses for 180 days; the courses, used by many Fortune 500 companies, are presented in English and Spanish. The initiative enables workers to demonstrate the kind of initiative employers are looking for by upgrading their skills during this challenging time even while most bricks-and-mortar education and training providers remain closed.” [City of Alexandria]

College Loans Available for Immigrants — “Paying for college can be expensive, especially for DACA or TPS recipients, asylum seekers or undocumented. Learn about two renewable scholarship opportunities ranging from $2,000 to $33,000 for eligible immigrant students–first deadline Feb 1.” [Twitter]

Torpedo Factory Artists’ Work To Be Recognized in International Exhibition — “Ruth Gowell and Alison Sigethy are two glass artists who have studios at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. A new museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, Imagine Museum, showcases works made of glass. The work of these two artists has been selected for the museum’s upcoming exhibition, OpART/Glass. The honor is especially significant for two reasons. First, the museum hosts only one exhibition per year. Second, it is open to glass artists from around the world.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Sun and a few passing clouds (during the day). High 53F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph… Clear skies (in the evening). Low 33F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Team Member — “Toastique is a rapidly growing company looking for passionate new talent to help create smoothies, gourmet toast & juice while giving the customers an incredible experience the minute they walk through the door. Employees will be joining a team to attain a fun, clean, fresh environment for a gourmet toast and juice bar in the new SW waterfront area. We are focused on our unique concept that combines great taste, responsibly sourced ingredients, and a welcoming environment.” [Indeed]

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(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) The Alexandria Police Department said a portion of King Street is closed due to a gas leak.

“The Alexandria Police Department is assisting the Fire Department with a road closure in the 2500 block of King Street due to a gas leak,” police said in a press release. “Expect police and fire activity in the area.”

The fire department said callers reported a gas line was hit by a contractor in someone’s yard. Homes near the scene were not evacuated.

The portion of the street that’s closed is near Taylor Run, just north of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.

Image via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

WMATA Considers Closing Two Alexandria Metro Stations — “The 19 stations that could face closure include those that are within one mile of other stations and those that are seeing the lowest usage. In Alexandria, that means the Eisenhower Station and Van Dorn Street station are on the list.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Local Program Supports Artists With Disabilities — “Coletta Collections, an artisan program for people with disabilities, is helping Alexandrians celebrate the holidays safely and sincerely.” [Zebra]

City Looking for Firefighters — “If you’re interested in working for the vibrant City of Alexandria, we invite qualified candidates to apply for our Firefighter I position.” [City of Alexandria]

Watchdog Group FOIA Shows Internal Disagreement in City Over Seminary Road — “[Yon Lambert] said roads for ‘all users’ were more important than roads that met fire department response needs. More to come.” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Beyer says New White House Science Report is Misinformation — “This kind of ridiculous misinformation is something you would expect to see from the government of North Korea.” [Twitter]

Senator Amy Klobuchar Attends GOTV Event in Alexandria — “Glad to join @AlexVADems, @C_Herring, @AmyJacksonVA and Councilwoman Del Pepper at an early voting event in Alexandria, Virginia for Sen. Mark Warner and VA candidates up and down the ballot. Everyone, please make a plan and go vote!” [Twitter]

New Luxury Condos Near Amazon HQ2 and Virginia Tech in Alexandria — “Just minutes from Amazon’s new HQ2 complex in Northern Virginia, The FORTIS Companies of Washington, DC has broken ground on a 138-unit luxury condominium community called Dylan. Its planned 2022 delivery coincides with the highly anticipated opening of the new Potomac Yard Metro Station, a five-minute walk from Dylan’s front door. Dylan’s spacious one- to three-bedroom condos will average 1,200 square feet and will be priced from the $600,000’s to over $1 million.” [Zebra]

Upland Park Development Gets BDAC Approval — “On Monday evening, the Beauregard Design Advisory Committee (BDAC) hosted its the final meeting to discuss Phase 1 of the Upland Park development project, giving approval to the plans to build a new townhome community.” [Alexandria Living]

Fire Department Recommends Battery-Operated Candles this Halloween — “If you have fall/Halloween decorations, use battery-operated candles in jack-o-lanterns & keep all decorations away from open flames to prevent home fires. Read more about celebrating safely & preventing the spread of COVID-19 during your festivities.” [Twitter]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy (during the day). High 73F. Winds light and variable. Rain showers in the evening will evolve into a more steady rain overnight. Low 59F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall near a half an inch.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Document Control Specialist — “Use knowledge of the legal process and legal terms to analyze the content of legal documents and determine the status of investigative or court proceedings; recognize documents that are missing; and work with attorneys, paralegals, and legal assistants to obtain and organize documents for filing.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

City Recommends Staying Home for the Holidays — “The safest way to enjoy the holidays while COVID-19 remains in the community is to find ways to celebrate at home… For everyone’s safety, the CDC recommends quarantining for 14 days following all travel.” [City of Alexandria]

Voter Registration Deadline is Approaching — “There’s currently no line to vote at the Office of Voter Registration and Elections (132 N. Royal St.)! This option is available to all registered voters in Alexandria through Oct. 31. For days, times, other locations, and other voting options, visit alexandriava.gov/1720.” [Twitter]

Beyer Criticizes Trump for Not Wearing Face Mask — “Trump won’t say when he last tested negative for COVID-19. He won’t say if he is testing negative now. He’s about to start traveling across the country, holding huge rallies. #SuperSpreaderInChief” [Twitter]

Foundation Fitness Moves to New Location in Del Ray — “Attention!!! We have a new neighbor and we are pumped about it! Foundation Fitness has moved on down the road to a new UPGRADED space at 1901B Mount Vernon Ave. Go check it out tomorrow at their grand re-opening from 1-3pm! Don’t miss out on raffles, refreshments and special discounts!” [Facebook]

ACPS Hosts Third Community Read-In on T.C. Williams High School History — “Tune in to learn the real story behind “Remember the Titans” — riots, protests, systemic injustice, and a civil rights crisis in Alexandria, alongside the merger of our black and white high schools, our integration plan, and a winning football team.” [Facebook]

Watch: Fire Department Holds Virtual Wreath Laying Ceremony — “The Alexandria Fire Department, Ivy Hill Cemetery Historical Preservation Society and the Friendship Veterans Fire Association host the 50th Annual Ivy Hill Memorial Service and Wreath Laying Ceremony to honor the men and women of the Alexandria Fire Department who have died in the line of duty and members who have passed in the last 12 months.” [Youtube]

COVID-19 U.S. Honor Quilt on Display at Del Ray Artisans — “Help build HOPE by creating your own 10.5″x 10.5″ panel to add to HOPE sign and to be joined to the quilt. Free panel squares and information pamphlets are available in the entryway of the gallery. All media is fine. No sewing required. The art panels will be copied onto vinyl for display.” [Facebook]

Naomi Wadler’s Scarf is in the Smithsonian’s ‘Girlhood’ Exhibit — “The “two-movie scarf” became Naomi Wadler’s signature, and Naomi wore it during her history-making moment when the then fifth grader exploded on the national scene during the March 24, 2018 March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Areas of patchy fog early. Considerable clouds early. Some decrease in clouds later in the day. High 72F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph. A mostly clear sky (in the evening). Low 49F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Customer Experience Manager — “Responsible for leading Front End Operations.” [Indeed]

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