Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

ACPS enrollment goes down — “In September 2020 — the start of this school year — enrollment was at just 15,588, a decrease of 3 percent. Since September, ACPS has gained about 300 students, but had ACPS enrollment continued at its average growth rate of 2.86 percent per year (since 2014), enrollment would have been 16,521 students this academic year.” [Alexandria Living]

Goodwin House and George Mason University partner for memory study — “The study will involve Goodwin House Alexandria and Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads residents, as well as seniors who participate in Goodwin House at Home.” [Zebra]

Simon Pearce Store to open in Alexandria — “Vermont-based glassware-maker Simon Pearce is opening a store at 721 King St., according to signs posted on the building. The space was formerly home to Papyrus, the greeting cards and gift wrap store.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy skies in the morning will give way to cloudy skies during the afternoon. High 69F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph… Cloudy skies early (in the evening), followed by partial clearing. Low near 45F. Winds NNW at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Tour Guide — “The George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, is seeking a Tour Guide. The Memorial is a National Historic Landmark and one of the region’s most memorable museums. Our tours are one hour in length, and explore the many rooms and galleries of the museum while explaining important aspects of George Washington’s history and the American Masonic heritage. Tours are learned from a script, so memory skills are important. Also essential are good customer service skills, comfort speaking before large groups, and cash register skills. The shift is 8:30 to 5:30 with a half hour lunch break. Both weekday and weekend shifts are available.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria and Bailey’s Crossroads-based Goodwin House Incorporated has partnered with George Mason University (GMU) to help improve memory retrieval and other cognitive abilities for seniors.

According to a press release, GMU is initiating a study of Goodwin House’s StrongerMemory program, which specializes in delaying or slowing the symptoms of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and/or dementia.

The press release noted some strong findings in the initial portion of testing.

  • Participants were motivated to participate in the program due to fear of memory loss because of experiences of family members and friends. Others indicated that they had observed themselves becoming forgetful, whether due to normal aging or another reason.
  • Participants perceived “being cognitively fit” as just as important as being “physically fit” to prevent cognitive impairment and reported a self-perception of being “less foggy” and able to remember things differently than they could before starting the program.
  • Participants were eager to continue the program and have begun integrating what they have learned from the StrongerMemory program into their daily lives.

“Participants in the initial study were highly motivated to integrate StrongerMemory into their daily lives and showed willingness to complete the activities to stay cognitively fit,” said Catherine Tompkins, associate dean for faculty affairs at George Mason University. “Our initial interviews show satisfaction, enthusiasm and commitment to the StrongerMemory program.”

Photo courtesy Goodwin House

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Morning Notes

Usain Bolt compliments Alexandria’s running phenom Noah Lyles — “He talks the talk, but I’m looking forward to seeing how he’s going to match up – because he’s proven that he has the speed, just throughout the circuit and the way he’s running.” [USA Today]

City Council votes against Braddock West development — “A request by West Street Acquisitions, LLC to build a large multifamily residential building across the street from the Braddock Road Metro Station were denied in a 4-3 vote by City Council on Saturday.” [Alexandria Living]

Goodwin House residents recall activism — “As a college student, Dr. Drue Shropshire Guy was immediately inspired when he heard the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They drove him to take part in campus sit-ins while studying at Ohio St. University. These demonstrations were meant to shed light on segregation in the local community.” [Zebra]

City collecting mulch orders for April delivery — “Remember all those Christmas Trees collected in January and the leaves collected in the fall? Orders for wood and leaf mulch are being accepted for April delivery. Visit alexandriava.gov/Mulch to place your order.” [Twitter]

Today’s weather — “Rain (during the day). High near 60F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall around a half an inch… Thunderstorms during the evening giving way to periods of light rain overnight. Low 42F. Winds NNE at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 90%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Server — “HomeGrown Restaurant Group is a family-owned group and initially established its roots in Alexandria in the early 1990s. We currently have six locations spanning five different concepts. We are looking for servers to join our team that are well organized, customer service oriented, and have an overall positive attitude.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Bilbo Baggins Now for Sale — “Longtime Alexandria restaurant and pub Bilbo Baggins has closed its doors for good. The cozy eatery, which opened in 1980, closed in the spring when COVID-19 first struck. Since then, the family-owned restaurant has not reopened and the nearly 4,000-square foot property is now for sale for $2.8 million.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Reminder: Illegal Starting Jan. 1 to Hold Cell Phone While Driving — “Starting January 1st, the ‘Hands-Free’ law will go into effect. The law makes it illegal to hold a cell phone while driving.” [Twitter]

Goodwin House Residents and Staff Receive Vaccine — “Earlier today, some residents and staff at Goodwin House Alexandria received the vaccine. Before the end of 2020, it is estimated that 125 residents and employees will be vaccinated.” [Zebra]

What’s Open and Closed on New Year’s? — “A week after Christmas, residents will get another holiday with the arrival of 2021. Some services in Alexandria will be closed or modified for the New Year’s holiday.” [Patch]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Morning Notes

Virginia Tech Students Help Design Oakville Triangle — “A group of local Virginia Tech students in an architecture studio class got the opportunity to reimagine a small section of Alexandria this semester.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Carolers Serenade Goodwin House Staff — “The carolers arrived in Dickensian costumes  as a trio and sang classic as well as beautiful newer arrangements of traditional Christmas carols, well-known winter favorites, and gems of Channukah pieces with gorgeous harmonies.” [Zebra]

Expected Snow Closes ACPS, but Virtual Learning Continues — “On Dec. 16, virtual learning will continue, but ACPS buildings and grounds are closed. All programs and services at ACPS school buildings and facilities are canceled, including meal distribution, child care programs offered by ACPS partners, and the Tech Help Desk.” [Patch]

Del Ray Street Goes Big for Holidays — “Just take a walk down East Luray Avenue. For a few blocks on East Luray west of Mount Vernon Avenue, more than two dozen houses are decorated not only with lights but also with brightly painted 4-by-6-foot plywood sheets.” [Washington Post]

City Seeking 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 initiatives for the City primarily via capital project planning and financing…” [Glassdoor]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Morning Notes

Dominion Says Sunday Power Outage Caused by Broken Pole/Cross Arm — “Update: A broken pole/cross arm caused the failure. We have been able to isolate the problem and are hoping to everyone back on line very soon.” [Twitter]

Retro Candy Shop Opening in Fairlington — “If you’re into nostalgic candy that will take you back to your childhood days, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the opening of Rocket Fizz, Soda Pop & Candy Shop at Fairlington Centre in Alexandria, according to signs posted in the windows.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Film Festival Unveils 2020 Program — “The Alexandria Film Festival, which will debut virtually this year Nov. 12-15, announced on Tuesday its 2020 programming of 45 short and feature length fiction and nonfiction films.” [Gazette]

The Following Bills Are Due This Month — “Bills for the 2020 second half real estate tax, refuse fees and stormwater utility fees are due Nov. 16. Make payments online, by phone or mail, or in person. Those unable to pay due to COVID-19 may be eligible for payment arrangements.” [Twitter]

Check Out These Cool Pumpkin Carvings in Alexandria — “For some 20 years, Rick and Lynne White have carved the humble pumpkin into a work of art. Their festive Halloween display on Emerald Drive in Alexandria’s Waynewood neighborhood draws a crowd every year.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Abundant sunshine (during the day). High 49F. Winds WNW at 15 to 25 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph. Clear skies (in the evening). Low 38F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Move-In Coordinator at Goodwin House — “The move-in coordinator is responsible for the move-in process; provides support to marketing director and marketing associate. Establishes a professional, supportive and caring relationship with the independent living residents. Coordinates necessary paperwork and support services to ensure that the move-process is as pleasant an experience as possible for the resident. Serves as a resource person during the move-in process.” [Indeed]

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Updated 9:30 p.m. — A UMDGC representative noted that the program is available for staff, not for residents. The article and headline have been updated

Alexandria senior care facility Goodwin House — a non-profit organization offering housing for seniors — has announced a new partnership with the University of Maryland Global Campus that will allow staff and their families access to affordable college degrees.

“The alliance brings together [University of Maryland’s] pioneering online degree programs and commitment to low cost, accessible higher education and [Goodwin House’s] commitment to expand support for staff who want to grow their skills and credentials,” Goodwin House said in a press release.

Goodwin House manages two locations: one in Alexandria’s West End at 4800 Fillmore Ave and one at Bailey’s Crossroads in Fairfax County.

The partnership is the first of its kind for UMDGC. The program will allow the nearly 1,000 employees at Goodwin House, along with their spouses and dependents, to waive the university’s application fee and take classes at discounted tuition rates.

“Goodwin House’s mission focuses on older adults and also on those who support their success – our employees,” said Rob Liebreich, President and CEO of Goodwin House, in the press release. “As part of our growing dedication to our staff to enhance their skills, we are ecstatic to align with the world-renowned University of Maryland Global Campus and make online college education more affordable for our staff.”

The classes will be available entirely online, UMD said, with discounts on digital resources.

Photo courtesy Goodwin House

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Realtors Predict Strong Summer — “The first few months of 2020 were very strong in the local real estate market. Contracts slowed significantly in the second half of March and in April, said Dave Hawkins, COO of McEnearney Associates, before the rebound started in May. June should be even stronger for local real estate activity.” [Alexandria Living]

St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School and Goodwin House Embark on Senior Companion Program — “They talk like old friends, but they have never met in person; three months ago, they didn’t even know about each other.” [Washington Post]

Bicycle Shops Report Sales Increase Amid Pandemic — “Alexandrians have been flocking to bicycle shops in recent months, looking to stay fit, avoid public transportation and have fun while social distancing. As a result of the increased demand, bike shops are among the few retailers that have flourished during the pandemic.” [Alex Times]

AlexRenew’s FY 2021 Budget Affected by COVID-19 — “The FY21 budget includes reductions in operational expenses, deferral of capital projects, and a reduction in the previously-approved rate increase of 11 percent to 6.6 percent.” [Zebra]

City Shares Resources to Cope With Racism-Related Trauma — “There are links to mental health counseling, virtual therapy, and meditation.” [Zebra]

Houses of Worship Consider Reopening — “For some churches, including St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Old Town, the risk of giving the Eucharist contributed to the decision not to reopen.” [Alex Times]

Mount Vernon Estate Reopens to the Public — “Your safety and the safety of our staff is paramount as we open our doors again. There will be additional safety measures in place when you visit to limit the spread of the coronavirus.” [Alexandria Living]

New Job: Design Center Manager — “Must have experience as a florist.” [Indeed]

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Local seniors who once marched for Civil Rights rallied over the last week to show their support for a new generation they see as carrying on the torch in an ongoing fight against racism and injustice.

Seniors at both Goodwin House communities — in Alexandria (4800 Fillmore Avenue) and Bailey’s Crossroads (3440 S Jefferson Street) — that couldn’t attend local vigils and rallies decided to host some of their own in their facilities.

Staff said at in Alexandria nearly 80 residents and staff gathered in our courtyard area for a silent vigil held to honor George Floyd, whose death in Minneapolis sparked international protests. At the Bailey’s Crossroads, residents couldn’t leave the facility but made signs that decorated the nearby street to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

At the Alexandria location, a chaplain offered a prayer and song, followed by 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence. Staff said the ceremony was broadcast on the internal TV channel for those residents are who are unable or uncomfortable leaving their apartments.

The vigils and surrounding activities started with a group of advocates in the Bailey’s Crossroads facility called the Silver Panther Huddles.

“We started after the Women’s March on Washington, to do advocacy works,” said Carol Lewis, one of the organizers and a resident of the Bailey’s Crossroads facility. “One of the women in that group had the idea of doing something to honor George Floyd, but she was in quarantine. She had to stay in her apartment and couldn’t take it over, but word got passed along to the rest of the women in the huddle.”

Protesting injustice is something many of the residents of Goodwin House were familiar with long before they moved into the senior-care facility.

“We had people in our 80s, or in our 90s, and some were some of the people here were working on Civil Rights things in the ’40s and ’50s,” said Margaret Sullivan, one of the lead organizers of the vigil. “We had people who had been at the March on Washington when MLK spoke, but we also had with us some of our younger staff members who have come to the United States as children and were both participating in their own right and watching people who had done it before. We were in a sense keeping on with the work and passing it on.”

Lewis said many of those in Goodwin House spent their formative years protesting. Lewis recalled her own involvement with the Poor People’s March on Washington and traveling, against the wishes of her parents, to anti-war protests in the ’60s.

“Many of the women on the huddle and live here were part of the earlier protests and the Civil Rights movements,” Lewis said. “One of the first things Margaret [Sullivan] did when she opened the vigil was to ask about people who did this work in the ’40s and there were a couple of hands, more from the ’60s.”

Sullivan said that when the director of Goodwin House found out that the residents at the Bailey’s Crossroads facility were planning a vigil, they stepped in to help coordinate the activity with the Alexandria location. Sullivan noted that it was also a chance for employees at the facility who have been unable to attend the marches in D.C. to show their support.

“A member of the staff said afterward how pleased she was to see this at her work,” Sullivan said. “Another member of the staff was very clear before we started said that she, as a young black woman, wanted to go down to the (National) Mall and the White House and march. She and many of the other staff members who had been involved in Goodwin House and Civil Rights things for years had not gone because they didn’t want to bring the virus back, but they were as determined to be a part of this and to keep silence and honor George Floyd and speak out for justice as we were.”

Lewis said that many old residents said similarities to the fights they experienced in their lifetime, from Civil Rights to demonstrations in support of the gay, lesbian and transgender communities.

“What I sensed this time around, with these vigils and protests, there seems to be a real chance for change,” Lewis said. “Of course I thought that in the ’60s too.”

Sullivan joked that many seniors wanted to break out of the facility and march nearby in support, but that concerns about the still lingering COVID-19 — which has been particularly fatal in Alexandria’s senior care facilities — kept them from doing so.

“We’re all old and creaky, a good number of us are in walkers and wheelchairs, but for me and for a lot of the people here, it was a chance to do something — to be involved again,” Lewis said, “and to let people know that this didn’t happen yesterday. Racism isn’t new and it wasn’t new in the ’60s either. It goes way back. It was a very somber experience, but quite touching.”

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