The Alexandria Black History Museum (902 Wythe Street) has just secured a substantial new grant that will help the museum digitize much of its collections.

The museum announced yesterday that it will receive a $243,356 grant from the IMLS Museum Grants for African American History and Culture. The grant will help fund digitization and interpretation for four of the museum’s archival collections.

Audrey Davis, director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, said in the press release that the museum will be digitizing documents, objects and other material from some of Alexandria’s most Black historic figures, such as:

The process will involve creating and updating catalog records along with scanning or photographing collection items.

One of the end-stages of the project will be an exhibition on Kendrix’s work, scheduled to open in spring 2023.

“We are excited and honored to be a 2021 recipient of the IMLS Museum Grants for African American History and Culture,” Gretchen Bulova, Director of the Office of Historic Alexandria, said a press release. “Support from IMLS permits us share Alexandria’s vibrant African American history with new and wider audiences as well as educate future generations about Black excellence and achievement in Alexandria.”

The goal is to develop an online exhibition space that will help explore themes of civil rights and equality in the city’s history.

“By digitizing these collections,” said Davis. “We will be able to provide increased public and research access, improve collections care by reducing future handling, and ensure best practices in collections management. It will also enable the Museum to develop future learning opportunities and programming for life-long learners, families, and school-age students.”

Courtesy ACPS

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Morning Notes

Alexandria announces modified out of school time school year recreation program — “The City of Alexandria will offer a modified Out of School Time Program (OSTP) for elementary school aged children enrolled in kindergarten through fifth grade for the 2021-22 school year. The after-school recreation program is scheduled for August 23, 2021 through June 10, 2022, from 2:30 to 6 p.m. at the Charles Barrett; Charles Houston; Mount Vernon; Leonard “Chick” Armstrong; Nannie J. Lee; Patrick Henry; and William Ramsay recreation centers, and at the Ferdinand T. Day; John Adams; and Douglas MacArthur elementary schools.” [City of Alexandria]

Council candidate Patrick Moran testifies for bringing back School Resource Officer funding — “Moran calls for the full implementation of body cameras for Alexandria Police Department (APD) officers and for corrective action to protect Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) students’ safety in 2021-22 School Year.” [YouTube]

Senior center gets upgrade — “St. Martin de Porres Senior Center on Taney Ave. has served Alexandria’s seniors for 45 years. During the pandemic, the site has been closed. This provided HomeAid Northern Virginia (HANV) with an opportunity to undertake a $44,000 upgrade of the facility.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Mostly cloudy skies (during the day). High near 80F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph… Cloudy skies (in the evening). Low 61F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Floral clerk at Balducci’s — “As a Floral Clerk, some of your duties will include stocking the department with fresh flowers, potted plants, balloons, and other floral merchandise. You will design and create custom floral arrangements and make product recommendations for our customers’ special occasions. Your job will be to provide customers with exceptional customer service.” [Indeed]

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What a week in Alexandria. Here are some of the highlights.

The Alexandria City Council on Wednesday approved its Fiscal Year 2022 $770.7 million budget on Wednesday, and it includes a 2 cent real estate tax reduction. It’s the first time that’s happened in 15 years, and the budget also fully funds Alexandria City Public Schools’ request and includes a 1% raise for city and state employees.

But perhaps the biggest news of the week came with City Councilman Mo Seifeldein’s proposal to eliminate School Resource Officer funding from the budget. The effort was supported along by Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, Councilman Canek Aguirre and Councilman John Taylor Chapman, who voted along with the group after failing to save the program in a last-minute effort.

Crime stories dominated many headlines, and Police Chief Michael Brown spoke with us this week about his department’s efforts to reduce destructive elements throughout the city. More from that interview will be published next week.

In this week’s poll, we asked about the importance of political endorsements for local candidates. Out of 222 responses, 48% (107 votes) don’t consider endorsements while voting; 39% (86 votes) said endorsements influence their decision; and 14% (29 votes) feel that endorsements hold a lot of sway.

Election stories

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Parking issues plague Potomac Yard, city looks to create residential parking district
  2. Knife pulled on woman who chases would-be thieves in Old Town
  3. D.C. man arrested after 130 mph chase leads to crash on Interstate 495
  4. Police: Armed robberies occur minutes apart in Del Ray and Arlandria
  5. Two injured in hit-and-run in Old Town, driver leaves car and flees on foot
  6. Too noisy? City Council is considering revising Alexandria’s noise ordinance
  7. Alexandria City Council to end School Resource Officer program at Alexandria City Public Schools
  8. Alexandria man arrested for firing gun at 7-Eleven door near Braddock Road Metro station
  9. Here’s the order that City Council candidates will appear on the ballot for the June 8 democratic primary
  10. JUST IN: Power outages across Alexandria as strong winds hit the city
  11. What’s next for GenOn and the rest of Old Town North?

Have a safe weekend!

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A new report from the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership showed that the 22314 zip code — Old Town and Carlyle — received more funding in business grants than the rest of Alexandria combined.

A breakdown of grant dollars by zip code showed that Old Town and Carlyle businesses received $3.5 million in grant funding. The next closest was the 22304 zip code in the West End, totaling $1.1 million.

That funding would be centered in Old Town isn’t too surprising, considering that’s where roughly 50% of the city’s businesses are located. AEDP President and CEO Stephanie Landrum told ALXnow last year that’s also where around 60% of the grant applications come from, despite an effort by the organization specifically to reach out to non-Old Town businesses and encourage them to apply.

The rest of Alexandria, combined, received $2.4 million in grants.

In total, AEDP distributed $6.4 million in federal and local grant funding to 648 Alexandria businesses.

The grants were fairly evenly split between male and female-owned businesses — 46% and 44% respectively — with 9% not identifying their gender and 1% identifying as trans or non-binary.

Roughly 74% of the funding went to businesses with less than 25 employees, which were a focus of AEDP’s grand campaign.

The report also showed that 47% of businesses that received grants were white-owned, followed by 21% as Asian-owned businesses. Black-owned businesses in Alexandria comprised 11% of grant funding, and Hispanic or Latino-owned only 8%.

Overall, the report also took stock of the pandemic’s devastating impact on local businesses:

  • 81% of small businesses reporting very-to-extreme disruptions to business operations
  • 77% of small businesses reporting year-over-year revenue declines
  • 9.9% Alexandria unemployment rate in April 2020 (an increase of 7.9% from April 2019)
  • $30.2M projected loss of business and consumer-based tax revenue in the City

Photos via AEDP

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Students Win C-SPAN Documentary Contest — “Five Alexandria students are winners in C-SPAN’s 2021 StudentCam competition. The national contest, in its 17th year, encourages middle and high school students to create short films on subjects of national importance. T.C. Williams High School’s Helen Russell, Alison Avelar, and Elena Gutierrez will receive $250 as honorable mention winners for the documentary, ‘Dear Mr. President: History, or Progress?’ about the renaming of schools, statues, and monuments.” [Zebra]

Some Alexandria Museums to Open in March — “The Alexandria History Museum will reopen on March 25, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and Alexandria Archaeology Museum will reopen on March 26, and Friendship Firehouse Museum will open on select Saturdays.” [Patch]

Textile Company ‘Tulusa’ in Running for $50K FedEx Grant — “I went from being a solopreneur to providing work for 10 people. In less than a year, we’ve sold and donated over 13,000 masks. After the initial burst of mask-making, I now employ four people, all of whom lost jobs because of the pandemic. And I want to keep growing, expanding our line to include wallpaper, melamine servingware and even more products that will make your home a beautiful place to be. That’s where you can help.” [Facebook]

Local Baker Starts Bake-at-Home Cookie Delivery Service — “It occurred to me there is something perfect about having a single warm cookie when you want it and on demand. What if I could make this dough and make it available for customers to order in small batches?” [Alexandria Living]

Last Days to Try Cozy Loft at Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap — “Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap, located at 401 E. Braddock Road, converted a 4,500 square-foot space on a second story of their restaurant into an Aspen-style resort. it gives diners a chance to experience a world away from their own. And the fact that reservations have been full many days speaks to how much the space means to customers.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy skies. Slight chance of a rain shower. High around 70F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph… Partly cloudy during the evening followed by cloudy skies overnight. Low around 40F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Driving Instructor — “Driving Instructor needed for OldTownDrivingSchool.com. We are looking for a patient, enthusiastic Driving Instructor to teach high school students. Must obtain a Virginia driving instructors license. Skills as a teacher or coach a plus.” [Indeed]

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As cases start to rise again nationwide and in Alexandria, the City Government Community Recovery Plan Team has put out a proposed coronavirus recovery plan that’s headed to the City Council tomorrow (Tuesday).

The recovery is put together into a series of 10 recommendations covering different parts of the community that were devastated by coronavirus.

The first recommendations mainly involved building digital access within the city. Recommendation one involved improving the quality and affordability of Internet access, primarily through a variety of partnerships. The city is working on a digital divide survey and outreach program to determine the scale of the problem. Recommendation two would expand the electronic documentation options.

The plan also recommends creating an inventory of minority and immigrant owned businesses in the city. While the city did put forward a business grant program in response to the pandemic, most of the applicants were from Old Town.

“(Alexandria) currently does not have an inventory of the minority and immigrant owned businesses in the City, making it difficult to ensure program implementation, such as the Back to Business Grants, reach these owners,” the recovery team said. “Project would develop a mechanism for collecting and mapping minority and immigrant owned businesses in order to provide greater assistance and track metrics.”

Other similar recommendations included expanding English as a second language services and more inter-departmental coordination on programs reaching out to underrepresented population groups.

Increasing access to affordable housing, one of the flashpoints for conflict during the pandemic, is also featured prominently in the plan.

“The demand for eviction prevention and housing stability assistance is expected to continue to grow with the gap in extended unemployment benefits, particularly after the CDC moratorium on evictions ends after 2020,” the recovery team said. “The City will potentially need to provide financial assistance through supplemental resources once CARES ACT and CDBG COVID grant funds are depleted.”

Among potential methods of assisting those facing eviction were:

  • Extensions of property tax due dates and other relief
  • Enhanced access to counseling and assistance to secure loan modifications
  • Local funding to emergency rental assistance programs
  • Enhanced landlord-tenant counseling and mediation
  • Continued support of DCHS’s Eviction Prevention and Housing Stability Assistance program

“Without continued assistance, the City’s most vulnerable populations face dire instability and potential loss of shelter,” the recovery team said.

Other recommendations in the plan included:

  • Financing food security programs
  • Increased bus frequency in high-demand areas
  • Establish “community wellness” hubs
  • Maintain advance supply of PPE for local health workers.

The recommendations of the plan are scheduled to be presented to the City Council meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) at 7 p.m.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Morning Notes

Beyer Criticizes Trump’s Position on Michigan Governor Abduction Plot — “Trump has now responded. This is just sick.” [Twitter]

Voter Registration Deadline Approaching — “The deadline to register to vote in the November 3 elections or update voter registration information is Tuesday, October 13.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Makes Forbes’ Weekend Getaway List — “Alexandria tops the list of @Forbes‘ fall weekend getaways. See what they recommend.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Tutoring Consoritum Needs Tutors — “Once ATC confirms that you will be a tutor (we will send you an email), 2) complete the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) volunteer application.” [Alexandriatutors.org]

Alexandria Symphony Orchestra Announces Grant Winners — “The grant-funded projects, which must be completed by June 2021, will aim to accomplish one of a number of specific goals, according to a news release.” [Alex Times]

Today’s Weather — “Intervals of clouds and sunshine (during the day). High 72F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph. Mainly cloudy (in the evening). Low 58F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: District Manager — “District Managers are responsible for managing all facets of the optometric office operations within the designated district, including but not limited to; the daily operation of an office, including personnel management, budgetary controls, inventory controls while maintaining the highest level of patient service.” [Indeed]

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The second round of the Alexandria Back to Business (ALX B2B) grant program opens at the end of September, and $2.4 million is available for qualifying small businesses and nonprofits to cope with financial losses related to the pandemic.

“The program criteria for Round Two has been expanded so additional types of businesses and nonprofit childcare providers will be eligible to apply for a grant,” according to the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, which is receiving the applications. “Grants will be awarded in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the number of employees working for the business.”

City Council approved the funding at its meeting on Tuesday, September 8. The application period will start on Wednesday, September 30, at 8 a.m. and end on October 5 at noon. All submissions must be made online and businesses that received a grant in round one are ineligible.

To qualify for a grant, businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • 25% negative revenue impact attributable to the COVID-19 health emergency
  • Licensed business in the City of Alexandria
  • Physical location within the City of Alexandria
  • In operation as of March 14, 2020
  • For-profit small business
  • Any entity (for-profit or nonprofit) that provides full-day or part-day childcare services to children 0-13 years of age and is licensed or regulated by a local ordinance or state licensing body
  • Business is current on all local business taxes or is on a payment plan with the City
  • Not currently involved in business bankruptcy proceedings
  • Intend to remain operating in Alexandria through December 31, 2020
  • Between 0 – 100 employees
  • Locally owned and operated
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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Trump Supported Murder of Portland Protestor — “In televised comments yesterday Donald Trump called for extrajudicial murder and later expressed his desire to remain in office past term limits imposed by the Constitution. Today members of the party that supposedly backs ‘limited government’ pretend not to know what he said.” [Twitter]

Second Round of Business Grants Available — “Applications for a second round of Alexandria Back to Business grants will begin Sept. 30 for qualifying small businesses and nonprofits to offset costs related to reopening or rescaling.” [Twitter]

Free COVID-19 Testing Today in Alexandria — “Free COVID-19 testing in Alexandria,VA on September 16, 2020.Please read flyer for more details. [Twitter]

Braddock West Developers Seek Community Input — “During their presentation, the team behind Braddock West provided details of their proposed plan for the lot located at 727 N. West St. directly across the street from the Braddock Road Metro Station. They intend to tear down 10 existing single-family homes and replace them with a 7 story residential building with retail space on the ground level and an underground parking garage.” [Alexandria Living]

Lena’s Wood Fired Pizza and Tap Selling Kits for National Pizza Day — “On Sept. 20 only, Lena’s will offer their Family DIY Pepperoni Pizza Kit for families to make together at home to celebrate the holiday commemorating this crowd-pleasing favorite food. The kit is available for take-out or delivery via LenasWoodfire.com.” [LenasWoodFire.com]

Today’s Weather — “During the day, a mainly sunny sky. High 77F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. At night, a few clouds from time to time. Low 62F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Police Officer — “It’s your lucky day! APD has added new dates for police tests: 9/22 at 5 PM, 9/26 at 9AM, and 9/26 at 12PM. You must register in advance Bring your drivers license and a second original ID- US passport, social security card or birth certificate.” [Twitter]

New Job: Part Time Office Assistant — “Del Ray Artisans nonprofit is seeking an Office Assistant. This is a paid position for 12 hours per week, with a set schedule (Thursday and Friday 12-6pm). Position entails assisting the Office Manager with general office work with emphasis on organizational skills. Working knowledge of Microsoft Office / Google Docs required in an all-Mac OS environment. Del Ray Artisans strictly follows the ALX Promise Program, keeping visitors and staff safe during this pandemic.” [Facebook]

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The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) has won a $10,000 grant to help provide assistance to pet owners who might not otherwise be able to afford veterinary care for their animals.

The Mars Petcare Better Cities for Pets program is funded by Mars Petcare and administered by the Humane Society of the United States. The AWLA said funds from the grant will allow the organization to assist pet owners in the community to address urgent or chronic veterinary concerns.

“The AWLA already goes above and beyond to help animals in our facility,” Joanna Fortin, Director of Community Programs, said in a press release, “and we want to be able to extend that same level of care to animals throughout the community. This generous grant from Mars Petcare will mean we can help cherished pets receive much-needed care, regardless of owners’ income level.”

The funding will go towards the AWLA’s Community Programs department, a wing of the shelter founded last fall that found heightened use as the city faced widespread unemployment during the pandemic.

“As the pandemic affected budgets across the region, Fortin and her team have been able to provide pet food and supplies to pet owners in need through the Pet Pantry, which has donated more than 7,000 pounds of goods across the community since April,” the AWLA said in the press release. “The Pet Pantry complements other AWLA programs aimed at pet wellness, including accessible spay/neuter vouchers for low-income families, Pet Care Fairs and Drive-Up clinics to provide no and low-cost vaccinations and AniMeals for pets of senior citizens on fixed incomes.”

The AWLA said the community programs aim to make sure every pet in the city can be cared for as it needs.

“Every pet deserves to be healthy and safe, and every pet owner deserves the resources needed to care for their pets,” said AWLA Executive Director Stella Hanly. “Our Community Programs team strives every day to make that possible for animals across Alexandria. As a nonprofit, we don’t always have the funds to help everyone, but this grant will give us the opportunity to help more pet owners in need, and help those pets stay in homes where they are loved.”

Photo courtesy Animal Welfare League of Alexandria

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