Alexandria, VA

This weekend was a pleasant surprise for Pat Miller, an Alexandria Living Legend and board member of the Del Ray Business Association. While trick or treating was discouraged due to the pandemic and Halloween expected to be relatively quiet this year, Miller said the neighborhood’s scavenger hunt saw surprisingly active participation.

“It went amazing,” said Miller. “We got over 60 scavenger hunt forms filled out. All these people were walking around, looking and looking in Del Ray.”

Miller said it was a larger response than the the scavenger hunt has ever gotten.

“Everybody has been in their home and secluded,” Miller said. “It was nice, even just as their family, to go out and do something where they could walk up and down the avenue. It was the right thing at the right time, that’s what we were hearing.”

Miller said without trick or treating, kids in the neighborhood had nothing to dress up for. A scavenger hunt around town offered an alternative.

“I believe there were 24 things they had to identify from the business windows,” Miller said. “It was something that may have been kind of hidden. A lot of them were related to decorations.”

Miller said there will likely be another scavenger hunt around Christmas, with details hidden in painted windows across Del Ray.

Visit Del Ray also hosted its annual decorations contests; including homes, pets, and group costumes. The home at 4 W. Custis Avenue took home first prize in home decorations with a spooky summoning display. A Tiger King family costume won first place in the group costumes and a squirrel in a witch hat took home first place in the pet costume category.

Photos via Visit Del Ray/Facebook

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The Alexandria Drive-In returned to Eisenhower Avenue with a double feature on Halloween night, and there will be a dozen movies running this weekend until Dec. 5.

The drive-in showed “The Mummy” and “Casper” on Halloween.

“Our second series of movies will hopefully provide some humor on Halloween, especially with the absence of trick or treating, lighten your heart and any worries you have while you and your neighbors enjoy a few hours together, apart from celebrating the winter season,” said Kelly Grant, Chief Operating Officer for ALX Community, who came up with the idea.

The drive-in launched in August and the first six shows sold out in four days. The shows can hold 215 cars in the Victory Center parking lot at 5001 Eisenhower Avenue, and tickets cost $35 apiece. Proceeds from the events go to ACT for Alexandria and Athena Rapid Response.

“It’s so incredible to see the city come out and celebrate movies, togetherness, and charity during a time when going to the movies and being together is nearly impossible,” said Allen Brooks, Chief Operating Officer of The Garden, which partners with ALX Community. “Not to mention that we’ve already given $30,000 to a local charity that is already being used to provide desks for free to kids in the city through Athena response.”

The food trucks at the drive-in include DC Slices, Chix N Stix, Lattimore’s Funnel Cakes, and Popped Republic.

The Schedule

  • Saturday, Nov. 7 — “Nanny McPhee” & “The Race” (Double Feature)
  • Sunday, Nov. 8 — “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw”
  • Saturday, Nov. 14 — “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Pitch Perfect” (Double Feature)
  • Friday, Nov. 20 — “Sea Biscuit”
  • Saturday, Nov. 21 — “How to Train Your Dragon” and “42” (Double Feature)
  • Friday, Dec. 4 — “The Bourne Identity”
  • Saturday, Dec. 5 — “The Grinch” and “Love Actually” (Double Feature)

Photos via ALX Community

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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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What an intense week in Alexandria.

Our top story was on the massive power outages that affected tens of thousands of residents on Friday, October 23. Without providing specifics, Dominion Energy told City Council this week that outages in Alexandria and Arlington were “unique,” and caused by a piece of equipment that failed at its Glebe Road substation. City Councilors responded that there have been at least eight outages since May.

Monday started with news that an Alexandria Police officer was shot in Old Town and that the 27-year-old suspect was found shot to death near a construction site.

Police were called to the Holiday Inn & Suites in Old Town North after reports that shots were fired in the lobby of the hotel. Police chased two suspects on foot and a shootout ensued. The officer was shot in the lower body and was later released, and the other suspect later turned himself in to police.

On the coronavirus front, there are now 74 deaths in Alexandria and there are now or have been more than 4,200 cases since the pandemic began in March. Latino residents continue to lead the case count. This week the Alexandria Health Department reported that majority of recent coronavirus cases in Alexandria might be the result of contacts at home, indoor gatherings and eating out.

Restaurant-wise, we reported the soft opening of a new chicken joint in North Old Town.

Additionally, the Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies art installation at Waterfront Park will be taken down next month at Waterfront Park, and the installation will temporarily be moved outside of Old Town Pool (1609 Cameron Street).

We also reported that more than 50% of Alexandria voters have already cast their ballots.

Additionally, more than 240 people participated in our weekly poll. With Halloween on Saturday, this week we asked about trick-or-treating plans, and 38% of respondents are not celebrating Halloween this year, 31% are not trick-or-treating but have other plans, 17% plan to trick-or-treat with modifications, and 14% plan to trick-or-treat as usual.

Here are ALXnow’s top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. BREAKING: Massive Power Outage Reported in Alexandria
  2. BREAKING: Virginia State Police Seek Alexandria Man After Police Shootout
  3. School Board Shelves Plan to Reopen Schools in 2021, Students with Disabilities Transitioning Back Next Month
  4. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  5. Here’s Where Alexandria Residents Might be Getting COVID-19
  6. BREAKING: Shooting Suspect In Custody, Police Announce
  7. Police: Man Killed in Car Crash on N. Van Dorn Street
  8. Identity Released of Old Town North Suspect Killed in Shootout
  9. Police: Shots Fired in Braddock Area on Monday Night
  10. The Chewish Deli Opens New Location in Old Town
  11. Police Assist Man With Psychotic Episode in West End

Happy Halloween!

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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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In 1777, the original Tall Ship Providence found something eerie off the coast of New York — an abandoned, rudderless ghost ship full of rich clothing, bread and even a dog.

“We came within pistol shot and hailed her, but received no answer,” noted Marine Captain John Trevette in his diary.

Trevette was ordered to inspect the ship with his Marines, and found “all the beds and all the trunks full of rich clothing, and chests with keys in them.”

Incidentally, Alexandria is a great place to tell ghost stories. There are ghost and graveyard tours, a ghost tour pub crawl, and on Friday, October 30, the Tall Ship Providence will host Halloween story time at 11:30 a.m. and noon.

The Tall Ship Providence, located on the Alexandria waterfront, is a replica of the first naval warship commissioned by the Continental Congress in 1775.

Below is the story from Tall Ship Providence shipmate AB Barlow:

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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Trump is Suppressing Votes — “Donald Trump wants to illegally stop Americans – including members of our military serving overseas – from voting. The counter to this is simple: vote.” [Twitter]

Mayor Defends Kamala Harris’ Dancing After Criticism — “I am a ‘younger’ elected official and I frequently dance (and sing) to Mary J. songs (more ‘Just Fine’ than ‘Work That’) and I cannot wait until next year when we have a Vice President who does too.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Restaurant Partners Adds Air Purification Technology — “The Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization technology purifies the air by attacking and killing viruses, mold spores and bacteria, according to ARP. Created by Global Plasma Solutions, it is the first air purification solution to test effectively neutralize the coronavirus and achieves a 99.4 percent reduction within a half hour.” [Patch]

Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy Gala Tonight — “ACAP will host a virtual community event (today), Oct 29, 5:30 pm, featuring a celebration of its 20th anniversary and the release of annual teen pregnancy data by the Alexandria Health Department.” [Twitter]

Virtual Paint Night Tickets Available to Benefit Volunteer Alexandria “Join Alexandria Living Magazine and local acrylic artist Kellie Sansone for a virtual painting class, where participants will paint a pineapple — a symbol that means ‘welcome’ and is used quite often in Alexandria. The majority of proceeds will benefit Volunteer Alexandria, a local organization that matches volunteers of all ages with opportunities here in Alexandria. The cost of your ticket includes supplies in addition to the class!” [Alexandria Living]

Greenstreet Gardens Has an Influx of Pumpkins — “Still need carving #pumpkins ? We have lots to choose from!” [Twitter]

Today’s Weather — “Periods of rain. Potential for heavy rainfall (during the day). High 63F. Winds E at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 100%. 1 to 2 inches of rain expected. Considerable cloudiness with occasional rain showers (in the evening). Low 47F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Sales and Marketing Manager — “Looking for marketing manager to develop and maintain social media platforms. To increase brand awareness. Responsible for posts, create email campagins. Working to create advertising, special offers, special events. Create photography and video posts. Copy, write and proofread all marketing materials. Need at least 2-3 years experience. [Indeed]

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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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Door-to-door greeting and candy distribution is a classic staple of Halloween night, but the City of Alexandria and health officials warn it might be one of the worst activities to do amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Alexandria proposed celebrating with alternatives, like scavenger hunts around the home or Halloween movie night with the family. A classic Del Ray celebration has already committed to going virtual. Others have proposed maintaining trick-or-treating but with modifications to encourage distancing.

If you plan on going door-to-door, though, know that many responders to another ALXnow poll said they would likely not distribute candy this year.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Alexandria is asking local drivers to be particularly mindful of safe driving this week as children, who may not adhere as closely to regulations as adults, take to the streets to trick or treat.

While traditional trick or treating has been discouraged this year in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it’s still likely that this weekend will see a noticeable uptick of children on city streets. City Council declared this week as “Pedestrian Safety Awareness Week” in early October in light of the potential risk.

“The last week of October and the first weekend of November coincides with Halloween and children are considered vulnerable road users that are more severely affected by crashes,” the city said in a proclamation, “and November 1st is when Day Light Savings ends, and sunset arrives an hour earlier during Standard Time.”

There is also a new law in Virginia for drivers to bear in mind.

“Alexandria Families for Safe Streets and the Alexandria Police Department want to remind drivers about a recent Virginia Traffic Law that requires drivers to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, instead of just yielding,” said Mike Doyle, founding member of Alexandria Families For Safe Streets. “Drivers must come to a full stop for pedestrians in any marked and unmarked crosswalks and remain stopped until the pedestrian passes your vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk, the driver of any other approaching vehicle may not pass the stopped vehicle.”

According to the proclamation, there were 184 vehicle/pedestrian crashes in Alexandria between 2017 and 2019, with 20 serious injuries to pedestrians and 8 pedestrians killed. Crashes have been more likely to occur in the fall and winter months as a result of the shorter days and inclement weather.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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The annual Lee Street gathering with trick-or-treaters isn’t happening this Halloween, and the city is recommending low-risk activities.

“While the spread of COVID-19 remains a threat, residents are encouraged to find safe ways to enjoy Halloween and Dia de los Muertos,” according to the city.

The city is recommending the following events low-risk events for Saturday, October 31.

  • Del Ray Halloween Traditions – With the annual parade canceled due to COVID-19, residents can participate in a number of Halloween-themed contests online, including house decorating, group or pet costumes, and a scavenger hunt.
  • West End Drive-Thru Trunk-or-Treat – Families can dress in costumes while remaining in vehicles to drive through the Shiloh Baptist parking lot to receive pre-bagged treats.
  • Dia de los Muertos Virtual Requiem Concert – To remember the lives of those lost in the battle against COVID-19, the New Orchestra of Washington and Choral Arts will perform Brahms’ Requiem to embrace the spirit of celebrating, not mourning, the lives of those lost.
  • Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Dia de los Muertos Virtual Weekend – Online live events that feature educational and celebration with traditional music, mask-making, paper marigold demonstrations (including links to download and make your own), a reading list for children, and opportunities to remember loved ones.

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Morning Notes

Free COVID-19 Testing Today in West End — “FREE COVID-19 TESTING! Tomorrow (Thursday) from 3 PM until 6 PM @NeighborhoodHth will be hosting another COVID-19 testing pop-up in partnership with the City. The event will be held at Burke Library at 4701 Seminary Road.” [Twitter]

Beyer Says Trump Has Made Fortune While in Office — “Donald Trump has a secret Chinese bank account, new properties in Scotland opened while he was in office, half a billion dollars owed to creditors like Deutsche Bank, licensing deals in Turkey, India, and the Philippines, and the Saudi government spent millions at his hotels.” [Twitter]

‘Top Chef’ Alum to Debut PLNT Burger Friday at Whole Foods — “In Old Town, you’ll find ‘Top Chef’ alum Spike Mendelsohn opening PLNT Burger Friday at Whole Foods at Carlyle, 1700 Duke St. The vegan fast-casual eatery serves up a variety of Beyond Burgers, a chili bowl, sweet potato fries, “blooms” fried onions and more. This will be the seventh PLNT Burger in the Northeast”.[Alexandria Living]

Port City Brewing Company Wins Beer Award — “WOW! We are so excited and honored to have won a Bronze Medal at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival for our Oktoberfest!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Drive-In Showing ‘The Mummy’ and ‘Casper’ on Halloween — “Announcing our movie lineup for Halloween Weekend!” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Areas of patchy fog early. Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. High 78F. Winds light and variable. Partly cloudy early (in the evening) with increasing clouds overnight. Low near 60F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Anthropologie Seasonal Customer Associate — “We are looking for individuals whose primary role will be to connect and engage with our customers in a socially responsible manner. Seasonal employees will typically work between 8 and 20 hours a week, with an average shift being 4 hours long. Please be prepared to discuss your holiday season availability.” [Indeed]

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