Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Arlandria Champion Kevin Beekman Passes Away — “It is with great sorrow that we announce that Kevin Beekman, an Arlandria hero and force behind the Four Mile Run Conservancy and Farmer’s Market, lost his battle with amyloidosis on August 24. Kevin was part of the fabric of Arlandria.” [Zebra]

Beyer Says Republican National Convention is Corrupt — “The White House is not the property of Donald Trump or the Republican Party, it belongs to the American people. These actions cheapen the office and degrade the nation. This convention, like the person at its core, is fundamentally corrupt.” [Twitter]

Coronavirus Cases Reach 3,333 in Alexandria — “Positive tests up 9 to 3,333 in the City 7-day Positivity Rate up to 5.9%. One new hospitalization.” [Twitter]

Live Outdoor Concert Tonight Honoring Anniversary of March on Washington — “A program of vibrant, meaningful and historic music, presented by prominent Washington Artists on the anniversary weekend of the March on Washington.” [Visit Alexandria]

ALIVE! Warns of Scam Calls — “Periodically ALIVE! seems to be the target of scammers. Please know that ALIVE! staff and leaders will never ask you to purchase gift certificates in specific amounts or at specific places, or make unusual personal requests. Please contact us directly if in doubt of any request.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — During the day, “More clouds than sun. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High around 90F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.” At night, “Scattered thunderstorms during the evening, then cloudy skies overnight. Low around 75F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Tour Guide — “We specialize in performing haunted pub tours. Think ghost tour combined with Pub Crawl and there you have it.” [Indeed]

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After getting a late initial start, the Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation is back on the water and looking for volunteers to help kayak along Alexandria’s northern border and do some cleaning.

The organization has had three kayak cleanups so far this season, starting in late June. Upcoming sessions are planned for Wednesday, July 29 at 4 p.m., and on both  Saturday, August 1 and Sunday, August 16, at 9 a.m.

“It’s been great,” said Kurt Moser, President of Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation. “Kayak cleanups are naturally distanced. You can’t really be that close, and we’re taking precautions on-shore and limiting the size of the groups.”

The kayak cleanups are limited to groups of ten. Moser said those spots fill up quickly but as of today (Tuesday) there were still open spots on the newly announced upcoming cleanups. Moser said the Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation has kayaks and all the necessary equipment available for anyone to come and use, though some prefer to use their own kayaks.

June and July are late in the season for theses cleanups to start, Moser said. The crews typically start kayaking along Four Mile Run cleaning in April or May, but Moser said it wasn’t clear at that point what was allowable.

As far as the impact of coronavirus on litter in the stream, Moser said it’s too soon to tell.

“We’re not finding as much as last year, but not sure if that’s a reflection of any substantial change,” Moser said. “Just the timing of things, like when we get big rainstorms, we see variability with that.”

But while it’s not clear what liter impact will be on Four Mile Run, Moser said the silver-lining to the pandemic has been an upsurge in public use and enjoyment of the park.

“The neat thing to see this year, and what’s been the silver lining of having had people staying at home and not doing their regular routine, is a lot of people are starting to realize there really is a great park resource at lower Four Mile Run,” Moser said. “People who didn’t realize the park was there or that there was a big loop trail, a lot of people didn’t know about that. The park has seen a tremendous uptick in usage. I view that as very good, it means more people care about the place.”

Moser said that could also come with some negative consequences, like more informal trails through parts of the park, but he said those were “okay problems” for an urban park to have.

“People are using the space and it’s proving their value to them,” Moser said. “It’s more than demonstrated its value. People use it a lot to get fresh air and settle their minds.”

Photo via Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Restaurant Partners Reopening Two More Locations in May — “Alexandria Restaurant Partners will reopen two of its restaurant concepts, Riverside Taco Company and Vola’s Dockside Grill, on May 5.” [Patch]

Del Ray Cafe Gets PPP Loan, Hiring Back Employees — “Our PPP loan came through and we’re bringing back our employees! Starting tomorrow, Friday, April 24th, we will be offering Brunch for carryout every day from 9am-2:30pm. Order from our modified Brunch menu on our website www.delraycafe.com.” [Facebook]

Reminder: ALIVE! Food Distribution on Saturday — “ALIVE! will distribute food from Truck-Trunk at two Drive-Thru food distributions this weekend, April 25 from 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. or until supplies run out at the parking lots of Cora Kelly and John Adams Elementary Schools. People who walk to the site are asked to observe social distancing.” [Facebook]

Councilman Seifeldein Wishes Muslims a Blessed Ramadan — “Ramadan Mubarak to all those observing the month of fasting. I wish you a blessed month of reflection. May you find internal peace and enlightenment.” [Facebook]

ALIVE! Thanks Islamic Center for Halal Chicken Donation — “We are fortunate to have Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center Fruitful Planet and Gate Gourmet as Community Partners. Each provided wonderful high quality food for our families enrolled at the ALIVE! Child Development Center tomorrow when then drive-thru to pick up learning packet. Also EXTRA thank you to Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center for their continued donation of halal chicken, a welcome food item for Muslim families in need in Alexandria City, especially at the start of Ramadan!” [Facebook]

City Hiring Assistant City Manager for Public Private Partnerships — “As a member of the City Manager’s Senior Leadership Team, the Assistant City Manager for Public Private Partnerships reports to the City Manager and a Deputy City Manager and is responsible for leading the overall public private partnership (P3) initiatives for the City primarily via capital project planning and financing, leveraging of City assets and resources to implement City facility, City infrastructure, economic development related public sector and private sector projects, as well as facilitating the development and implementation of alternative service delivery strategies.” [LinkedIn]

Beyer Introduces Legislation To Encourage COVID-19 Test Innovation — “Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), today introduced the Point-of-Care Testing Prize Competitions Act, legislation designed to harness the power of scientific innovation in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in consultation with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to rapidly launch prize competitions encouraging the development of a point-of-care COVID-19 test capable of producing accurate results in under 30 minutes for multiple samples.” [beyer.house.gov]

Trinity United Methodist Church Food Drive on Sunday — “Reminder if you go to the grocery store this week that Trinity United Methodist Church will be collecting non-perishable goods in our parking lot at the corner of Cameron Mills & Allison St. each Sunday afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00 and will continue doing so until the church building reopens.  The current needs include the following: Canned meats (tuna, chicken, spam, ravioli, soups containing meat); Pasta, rice, dry beans; Canned tomato products (sauce, tomato paste, whole/diced/crushed tomatoes); Canned vegetables, fruits, beans; Cereal; Powdered drink mix; Powdered iced tea mix; Coffee; Tea bags; Peanut butter, jelly; Salad dressing – Italian and Ranch preferred; Dish soap, “pot scrubbers”; Toothpaste and Deodorant.” [Trinity UMC]

Virtual Happy Hour at 5 p.m. With Pork Barrel BBQ Bartender — “Social distancing doesn’t have to stop you from having a good happy hour. Join us for a virtual happy hour series to stay connected to the social scene, enjoy great cocktails and have some much needed fun. You’ll be hosted live by top bartenders in the area. Once you register, you must send $10 to your bartenders Venmo and then you’ll receive; a list of the cocktail ingredients, a music playlist curated by the bartender, and a link to the virtual HH. On the day of – get camera ready to meet new friends and make some fab cocktails.” [Eventbrite]

Sweet Fire Donna’s Offers Sunday Brunch — “Sunday Funday Brunch from Sweet Fire Donna’s! Pre-Order by Saturday, 10PM! Add on a Titos Bloody Mary with Two Shrimp Cocktail for $8.95!” [Facebook]

Maryland Lyric Opera Donates to Alexandria Hospital — “When the Maryland Lyric Opera realized their season was over, they wanted to do something to help others. They redirected funds towards a huge purchase of face masks, leveraging the connections of one of their Chinese American producers. They’ve since made major donations of face masks to several hospitals, assisted living facilities and homeless shelters. We are incredibly grateful for their support in providing face masks for our #InovaHeroes!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Times Conducts Mask Contest — “The readers who are able to identify the most mask-wearers will win local restaurant gift cards. This week, we’ve included six photos. To enter the competition, email your best guesses to [email protected] It’s okay if you can’t identify all six people. The person to accurately identify the most mask-wearers will win a $50 gift card to Del Ray Cafe. Happy guessing!” [AlexTimes]

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At long last, the Four Mile Run Wetlands Bridge is just about ready to open.

The bridge is scheduled to open on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 2 p.m. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned on the east side of the bridge, closest to the parking lot at 3700 Commonwealth Avenue, with comments from city officials and partners, as well as an overview of park improvements by city staff.

The event is planned to occur rain or shine.

The 120-foot bridge is the final link in a one-kilometer loop through the Four Mile Run Park. The trail currently dead-ends at the bridge, but once opened, will connect the park to Route 1 and the Mount Vernon Trail.

“The installation of the bridge is a significant element of the Four Mile Run Restoration Plan, which improves connectivity throughout the park,” according to a press release. “The bridge provides access to the wetlands, which were restored in 2016 for walking, passive enjoyment, and ecological education programming.”

Map via City of Alexandria

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The Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation was announced as the recipient of a $10,000 grant from Dominion Energy to help local students learn about Four Mile Run — the creek that runs between Alexandria and Arlington.

The funding goes to the Nature Explorers and Restorer Project, which aims to help local elementary and middle school-age children in Arlandria and other surrounding communities, according to a press release.

“Exploring nature up close and improving things by hand, kids build a personal relationship to land, water, and community that makes them happier, healthier, and stronger in their environmental stewardship,” Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation President Kurt Moser said in the press release. “Dominion’s support allows us to provide quality programming where kids make scientific observations, protect natural lands, and discover the miraculous urban ecosystem here at Four Mile Run.”

Participants in the program learn about various aspects of the local ecosystem and use scientific equipment to make observations and keep a journal. The grant will help pay for equipment like binoculars and microscopes, as well as the mud boots and gloves necessary for work in the muddy waters along Four Mile Run.

The Four Mile Run Conservatory is a non-profit established in 2016 to promote natural restoration and advocacy following years of work to return to the wetlands to their natural state.

“Since its founding, the Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation has engaged more than 450 volunteers in over 3,000 hours of service at lower Four Mile Run, planting more than sixty trees, removing four tons of litter, and documenting over 165 species of flora and fauna,” the group said in the press release.

In August, the group led a series of kayak cleanups where volunteers in kayaks collected 155 pounds of trash, primarily plastic bottles.

A Fall Hawk Walk is planned on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 10 a.m. Guests are invited to bring binoculars and field guides to watch for migrating hawks and other avian residents of the park.

Photo courtesy Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation

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Due to a reported oil spill near the Arlington/Fairfax County border, Alexandrians are being encouraged to avoid the waters of Four Mile Run.

In a press release today, the city says people and pets should steer clear of the stream for the next 24-48 hours. Fishing is also being strongly discouraged.

More from the City of Alexandria:

On Thursday, Oct. 31, Arlington County Hazmat Crews were dispatched to the 4200 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive near Barcroft Park for a chemical odor, upstream from the City of Alexandria. Arlington County has advised residents and visitors to avoid contact with — and keep their pets out of — Four Mile Run downstream of Columbia Pike for the next 24 to 48 hours.

The Arlington County Fire Department and the Arlington Department of Environmental Services determined that the source originated upstream of Arlington County, in a neighboring jurisdiction. Crews placed boom filtering devices in the water at various locations along Four Mile Run to contain the released product. People should not fish in the stream or have any contact with the water until further notice. The Arlington advisory to avoid all contact is considered an extra precaution to allow the effect of the discharge to be diminished by natural flushing of the streams. Drinking water is not affected by the incident.

Anyone who has been in Four Mile Run and is experiencing medical symptoms, such as sore throat or eye irritation, should seek medical attention.

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A bridge spanning the last gap on the Alexandria side of the Four Mile Run Trail has been put into place, but the trail remains impassable for pedestrians.

“The bridge installation does complete the restoration project in this portion of the park,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities. “The installation is complete and its opening is pending final inspections. We anticipate it being open in two weeks.”

The trail starting at Mount Vernon Avenue currently dead-ends at an unnamed tributary with no connection to the other half of the trail, which runs to Route 1 and connects with Arlington and the Mount Vernon Trail.

The bridge was installed on Sept. 11, but orange construction barriers prevent access to the bridge on both sides of the trail.

The bridge is the final piece of a restoration project for Four Mile Run that started in 2006. The wetlands park officially opened in 2016 but work has continued since then on naturalizing the stream bank.

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