Tobi needs a new set of wheels. The five-year-old Mini-Australian Shepherd was born without front legs, and his Alexandria owner has launched a GoFundMe campaign so that he can get a $2,350 wheelchair.

Alexandria resident Paige Bradford adopted Tobi from The Humane Society of North Texas in 2018. She’s an elementary school special education teacher in Arlington, and said that Tobi is also an emotional support animal.

“Tobi’s an active dog,” Bradford told ALXnow. “He loves people, and I actually don’t think he knows that he’s a dog.”

Tobi has been using a wheelchair that was outfitted for him in Texas, but it is ill-fitting and his spine is starting to deteriorate, Bradford said.

“Toby has been a nice bridge in terms of helping kids to see that being different isn’t bad,” Bradford said. “Now in virtual learning, Tobi is like another member of my class.”

Bradford found Bionic Pets, a Sterling, Virginia-based company that makes custom prosthetic devices for pets. Tobi has since been outfitted for a $2,350 brace and a wheelchair.

Bradford launched the GoFundMe campaign on Tuesday (March 23) and has raised more than $500. She said that any monies raised in excess of the amount she needs for the cart will be donated to Bionic Pets to help another animal.

“This cart would would help to give him more stability,” she said. “It’s custom made to him, and it would account for the fact that his chest cavity is crooked. This would have padding in all the right spots, so there isn’t any rubbing or irritation and it’s guaranteed for life.”

Courtesy photo

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Morning Notes

City Council to condemn bigotry against Asian Americans — “On Tuesday evening Council will be considering a resolution condemning the disturbing rise in anti-Asian American bigotry and violence in our country. We stand with our Alexandria AAPI community and we will continue to work to #StopAsianHate” [Twitter]

Total Wine store might be coming to Alexandria — “The typical Total Wine & More store carries more than 8,000 different wines from every wine-producing region in the world. The typical Total Wine & More also carries more than 2,500 beers, from America’s most popular brands to hard-to-find microbrews and imports, and more than 3,000 different spirits in every style and price range.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Gazette $10K short of fundraising goal — “We at the Gazette Packet/Local Media Connection are so grateful for the 500 people who have pitched in more than $38,000 to get us this far. It has made all the difference. Many more people have helped by sharing our appeal, by telling us why our efforts matter to them.” [Gazette]

Today’s weather — “Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. High near 50F. Winds N at 15 to 25 mph. Higher wind gusts possible… Clear skies (in the evening). Low near 30F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Store manager trainee at Aldi — “As a Store Manager Trainee, you’ll train on all aspects of successfully running a store in preparation for running for your own store. You’ll be involved in supervising day-to-day store activities, ensuring overall store performance, identifying staffing needs, managing schedules and developing operational action plans while mentoring and developing the team.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Volunteers needed at Casa Chirilagua — “Casa Chirilagua Volunteers are needed to help collect, sort, organize, and distribute donations. Casa Chirilagua needs volunteers to help tutor/mentor children and adults virtually and in-person during
their Kids Club, Teen Club, Mentoring program, Spanish Tutor program, and Adult English Classes.” [Volunteer Alexandria]

Bishop Ireton is raffling off a Ford Escape — “Want to win a brand new 2020 Ford Escape (courtesy of Ourisman Chrysler Jeep Dodge of Alexandria)? You’re in luck! We’re raffling off a brand new car to support the BI Annual Fund. There are only a few raffle tickets left so don’t delay!” [Facebook]

DASH bus drivers have spare face masks just in case — “#MaskUp for every DASH trip and while you wait for the bus. If you cannot delay your trip to obtain a mask, simply ask your operator for one when you board the bus.” [Facebook]

Former Mayor Silberberg on panel with Attorney General Mark Herring on Thursday— “Please Join Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, Prince William County Supervisor Andrea Bailey, Fmr. Mayor of Alexandria Allison Silberberg, State Senator Ghazala Hashmi, State Senator Jennifer Boysko, and Delegate Wendy Gooditis for a Women’s History Month discussion.” [Facebook]

Stomping Ground closed Tuesday to get employees tested for coronavirus — “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we are reporting that a kitchen member on our staff has tested positive for COVID-19. Out of an abundance of caution we will be closed today to get our entire staff tested at both @stompbiscuits and @bageluprising and to sanitize buildings. It makes us wary as our team has gone and continues to go above and beyond recommended safety protocols. The city of Alexandria website does not require us to report it unless another employee tests positive. If that is the case we will continue to be transparent with our guests. Please be safe and we will keep you posted on our progress.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy (during the day). High 58F. Winds light and variable… Light rain developing after midnight. Low near 45F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 60%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Sushi helper — “The Handover is hiring sushi assistants willing to work hard and be open to learning new skills. We are a small restaurant looking for candidates with the ability to accurately prep, cut vegetables, prepare maki rolls and follow chef’s direction. Both full- and part-time positions are available. Competitive hourly pay commensurate with experience level.” [Indeed]

New job: DASH bus mechanic — “Join the DASH team! DASH is seeking a B Mechanic to join our Maintenance team! We strongly encourage anyone interested to apply: https://bit.ly/3t4hUUa.” [Facebook]

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Most of all, what Hard Times Cafe (1404 King Street) staff said they’ll miss about Mike Dankwa is his ever present smile and deep-bellied laugh.

In a GoFundMe raising support for Dankwa’s family — organized by Cindy MacIntyre and Hard Times owner Richard Kelly — MacIntyre said Dankwa was an optimistic and cheery presence at the restaurant.

Last Friday, Feb. 19, Dankwa died as a result of complications from COVID-19, Zebra first reported.

“Mike succumbed to COVID-19 on Friday the 19th and leaves behind his lovely wife, Gina; three children and a large extended international family,” MacIntyre said. “Originally from Ghana, he settled in Woodbridge, VA over a decade ago… We hope you will join us with a generous donation to help cover the cost of Mike’s funeral and to support his family as they deal with this unexpected tragedy.”

Dankwa had been at hard times since 2002, working as assistant manager while studying at George Mason University.

“Mike was the friendliest, most positive person at Hard Times,” Kelly said in the post. “He was always there for his staff and our many customers who loved to come visit with him.”

The post noted that Dankwa enjoyed golf and hockey, and was an avid fan of the Washington Capitals.

“It’s heartbreaking to post this but Mike Dankwa the long time GM at Hard Times in Old Town passed away last Friday after a month long battle with Covid,” MacIntyre said. “Mike wasn’t just my Boss during my years there he became someone I considered a friend. He leaves behind his wife, a young son and a daughter in college… He will be truly missed.”

At time of writing, the GoFundMe has raised $4,020 of its $50,000 goal.

Photo via GoFundMe

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Morning Notes

GoFundMe Raises $29K for Family of Bishop Ireton Student — “It is with a heavy heart that the BI community mourns the death of our fellow classmate Andrew Benson, who was taken from us much too soon. He was one of the nicest people we knew and was a member of the BI varsity soccer team. He played fullback  and was an avid soccer player and was one of the hardest workers on the team. He always had a smile on his face and he never failed to make you smile with a joke or make a stressful or hard day a little better.  Please donate if you can or remember him in your thoughts and prayers. All proceeds go to the family and to help with funeral arrangements.” [GoFundMe]

Holy Cow Honors Sue Kovalsky with ‘Burger of the Moment’ — “Sue, we appreciate you! This #BOTM is for you.” [Facebook]

Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter Announces Reelection Bid — “I hope that you will join us online for our campaign kick-off on Wednesday, March 3rd at 7:00 p.m. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about how you can be involved in this campaign and our vision of criminal justice reform.” [Facebook]

Virtual Open House on FEMA Flood Map Update Process — “The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is updating its flood maps of Alexandria and has requested that the City of Alexandria provide community outreach assistance. The City will host a virtual open house on March 1, from 7 to 8 p.m. Residents and businesses are encouraged to participate to learn more about the update to the floodplain maps.” [City of Alexandria]

Bennett-Parker Gets More Endorsements in Race for 45th District Seat — “I’m honored to announce I have been endorsed by Arlington County Board, Vice-Chair @kcristol and Board Member @libbygarvey! Both have an impressive record of public service and I look forward to continuing to work with them on the issues that are important to our region.” [Twitter]

ALIVE! Free Food Distribution Set for Saturday — “On Sat, Feb 20, 8:30-10:30am, @ALIVE4AlexVA will distribute food in Cora Kelly Elem School parking lot and parking lot B-1 of NOVA-Alexandria Campus (map at alive-inc.org, if college closes due to weather, distribution cancelled).” [Twitter]

Today’s Weather — “Intervals of clouds and sunshine (during the day). High 36F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph… Cloudy (in the evening). Snow showers developing after midnight. Low 28F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 80%. Snow accumulating 1 to 3 inches.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Real Estate Photographer — “Nova Virtual Tours, Inc. provides photography, videography, aerials, and interactive 3D Virtual Tours to all industries. We work closely with realtors in the Northern Virginia area to provide them with marketing tools and media to sell their listings, and we also work with commercial clients in many different industries within NoVa and beyond.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Images of Capitol Siege Should be Viewed by Everyone — “These images of one of the darkest days in our nation’s history are disturbing. But these things happened, and we cannot erase these events, their causes, or their meaning. Everyone should watch this.” [Twitter]

Pat Malone, Cancer Survivor to ‘Stand Up To Cancer’ for 24 Hours Straight — “Patrick J. ‘Pat’ Malone, a seven-year cancer survivor, and 20-year Air Force veteran will ‘stand up to cancer’ for 24-hours straight, during his Seventh Annual Stand Up To Cancer.” [Zebra]

City Says There Was Error in Vaccine Scheduling — ” AHD has recently identified an internal process error that resulted in several hundred people within the 65-74 age group receiving appointment phone calls out of order. To ensure that no one was skipped due to this error, AHD sent emails for appointment scheduling on Sunday, February 7. Many people who have already scheduled appointments or received vaccines were contacted, and those who received the email unnecessarily should ignore it. The link cannot be used to schedule second doses and it cannot be used by others. As of February 8, AHD has contacted everyone ages 65-74 who pre-registered for their first dose by 7:30 a.m. on January 12.” [City of Alexandria]

South Alex Construction Moving Along One Year After Fire — “One year ago on Monday, a large fire caused $48 million in damages to the South Alex development, which was under construction at the time. Now, developer Combined Properties and architect, Hord Coplan Macht, are getting closer to opening, despite the setback.” [Alexandria Living]

Former Mayor Kerry Donley Endorses Alyia Gaskins for City Council — “I am happy to support Alyia as she launches he campaign for City Council. Alyia has a solid background in public finance and community activism, which will be important as she serves Alexandria on City Council. Alyia represents the enthusiasm of a new age of the Alexandria community which will be important for years to come.” [Twitter]

Today’s Weather — “Partly cloudy skies in the morning will give way to cloudy skies during the afternoon. A few flurries or snow showers possible. High 43F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph… Cloudy with snow (in the evening). Low 32F. Winds light and variable. Chance of snow 80%. Snow accumulating 1 to 3 inches.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Private Piano Teacher — “Old Town Music School, an old fashioned preparatory Music School in Old Town Alexandria for over 20 years, is expanding and hiring a community of professional musicians/teachers who offer a nurturing, positive and personal approach to piano lessons. Students are beginning through advanced intermediate levels. Seeking out-going, motivated and fun teachers to join our faculty.” [Indeed]

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The Connection Newspapers, like many local news organizations across the country, has been hit with a drop-off in advertising during the pandemic. Now, with the network of local papers on its last legs, the Alexandria Gazette Packet has gotten a groundswell of support from the community it’s covered for around 200 years.

The GoFundMe fundraiser aimed at helping to save the paper has earned $10,982 of its $50,000 goal since it launched on Christmas Eve.

The fundraiser has received support from 174 donors, from an anonymous $500 donation to donations as small as $5.

The Alexandria Gazette Packet, which has a lineage dating back to the Virginia Journal’s founding in 1784, is part of the Connection Newspapers network covering Northern Virginia and part of Maryland. The paper has covered everything from breaking news to local community profiles and has several featured editions throughout the year on things like local pets or a newcomer’s guide to the city.

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After working as close partners through the pandemic, the City of Alexandria and community non-profit ACT for Alexandria have come together to launch a new program called the Alexandria Resilience Fund.

The new fund focuses on allocating funding to organizations dedicated to addressing the racial inequalities exhibited in coronavirus’ impact. The fund looks specifically to support nonprofits that have histories of supporting marginalized communities in Alexandria.

The Fund made grants up to $50,000 to 57 organizations from October to December 30, 2020.

“The City of Alexandria has designated CARES Act funding to establish the Alexandria Resilience Fund, in partnership with ACT for Alexandria,” ACT for Alexandria said on its website. “This effort builds on the significant investment and support provided by the ACT Now COVID-19 Response Fund.  This new Fund will support the health and sustainability of local nonprofit organizations that are addressing ongoing and emerging human service needs of City residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

ACT for Alexandria listed additional criteria for the fund on its website:

  • Nonprofit must have the immediate ability to carry out proposed programs/services.
  • Nonprofit must be able to demonstrate how the grant request addresses direct costs incurred due to COVID-19.
  • Nonprofit must demonstrate how this funding request will impact City of Alexandria residents who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
  • Nonprofit must be committed to addressing racial equity and demonstrate deep, trusted relationships with communities that have been marginalized and disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

So far, the Resilience Fund has raised a little over $1 million, with a goal of $1.5 million.

The ACT Now COVID-19 Response Fund has now re-branded as the Alexandria Resilience Fund., which is distributing money into our community to support the many needs this crisis has created,” Mayor Justin Wilson said in his newsletter. “Please join me in supporting this fundraising effort.”

Image via ACT for Alexandria

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Morning Notes

Beyer Calls Trump ‘Super Spreader in Chief’ — “The Super-Spreader-In-Chief strikes again. From coast to coast he visits American communities spreading dangerous aversion to science and public health precautions. He brings large groups of people together under unsafe conditions in state after state, and this is what results.” [Twitter]

Halloween Weekend Events in Alexandria — “While Alexandria police are not planning to close down Lee Street for the annual Halloween party, there are lots of activities Halloween weekend.” [Alexandria Living]

ACT for Alexandria’s #ArtsALX Fundraiser Extended to Nov. 6 — “We are still fundraising to save the arts! 100% of donations will directly support artists in Alexandria. Donation portals open thru Friday, Nov. 6.” [Twitter]

Two Alexandria Restaurants Make Washingtonian’s List for Cozy Escapes — “The Yates family went above and beyond when reimagining the outdoor space at Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap during the pandemic. The 5,200 square-foot set-up has cabanas–hung with Moroccan lanterns–for parties of ten or less; pergolas glowing with string lights; and a new beer garden ringed around a fire pit… Pick (at Del Ray’s Evening Star Cafe) between two homey outdoor areas at this Alexandria mainstay: the Front Porch, where you can sip a bourbon slush by a fire-pit table, and the new, roomy Back Yard.” [Washingtonian]

ALIVE! Hosting Food Distribution Event on Halloween — “The event will be held at two drive-through sites: the parking lots of John Adams Elementary (5651 Rayburn Ave.) and Cora Kelly Elementary (3600 Commonwealth Ave.). Residents can pick up food at either location from 8:30-10:30 a.m. or until supplies last.” [Zebra]

Animal Welfare League of Alexandria Gets Pets Displaced by Zeta — “We are so glad we were able to welcome a group of dogs and cats from @LASPCA last night. In preparation for the landfall of Hurricane Zeta, The Louisiana SCPA needed to make extra room in their shelter so they could help animals displaced by the storm.” [Twitter]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy skies (during the day) . High 53F. Winds NNW at 10 to 20 mph. A few clouds from time to time (in the evening). Low 37F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Deputy Clerk — “The Deputy Clerk (Grade 7) is assigned operational responsibilities and ensures court’s instructions are executed and legal papers are prepared with accuracy and in accordance with appropriate policies and procedures.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria has identified hundreds of families, older adults and kids with disabilities who are eligible to receive gifts in the Fund for Alexandria’s Child Holiday Sharing Program.

The deadline to send in gift cards and donations is November 13, and all contributions are tax-deductible.

“The holiday time can be stressful for those experiencing financial or emotional stress,” according to the city. “This is especially true for low-income families, older adults and children in foster care.”

The city identified 450 families, 100 older adults and adults with disabilities, and 120 kids in foster care who will benefit from the annual program.

“We’ve made some changes this year to keep people safe,” said Fund Coordinator Krystal Fenwick. “But one thing hasn’t changed — Our community needs to reach out and support people in need, especially during this holiday season.”

The Fund for Alexandria’s Child is asking for the following no-contact participation:

  • Sponsor children and teens in foster care, older adults and adults with disabilities, or a family by providing gift cards to designated grocery stores and businesses (learn more about guidelines around sponsorships)
  • Make a donation by credit card online to meet unfulfilled needs or wishes
  • Make a donation via check payable to “The Fund for Alexandria’s Child” or to the “DCHS Senior Fund” and mail to: Holiday Sharing Program, 2525 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301
  • Ask family, friends and colleagues to join you in sponsoring
  • Ask an employer to match your contribution
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