Alexandria, VA

What a week in Alexandria.

With the region still reeling from the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol, Alexandria Police are mobilized and prepared to respond to security threats in the run up to the inauguration in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20. At this time it is not likely that a 6 p.m. curfew will be imposed on the city.

On the coronavirus front, the death toll in Alexandria now stands at 94, and the number of cases is 8,448 as of today, according to the Virginia Department of Health. This week, Governor Ralph Northam expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 65 years of age and older, in addition to anyone 16 and older with preexisting conditions.

Northam was in town on Tuesday in a vaccination event for Alexandria City Public Schools staff, and many called the event a turning point against the virus.

ACPS also postponed its partial reopening on Jan. 19 due to the virus, and School Board member Margaret Lorber took heat from the community (and later apologized) for supporting a cautious reopening by asking in a board meeting whether parents wanted their children alive or educated.

There was also a COVID-19 outbreak at the office of the Alexandria Clerk of the Court, leaving just four out of 22 employees working at the office.

Below are our top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. Alexandria Police Ask ATF to Help Stem 49% Surge in Gunfire Incidents
  2. American Physical Therapy Association to Open Next Week at Potomac Yard
  3. Alexandrians with Joe Biden Yard Signs Get Anonymous Letters Saying Biden is a Pedophile
  4. St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub Opens in North Old Town
  5. St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School Submits Plans for New Expansion
  6. Superintendent Says Reopening Plan Uncertain, School Board Member Lorber Takes Fire for Comments
  7. New Boarding House Planned Over Old Town Barber Shop
  8. Police Investigating Carjacking and Shooting
  9. Alexandria City Councilman Seifeldein Calls for Closure of Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center
  10. Alexandria Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker Announces Candidacy for 45th District Seat
  11. “Lipstick on a Pig” Heritage Development in Old Town Headed to Planning Commission

Have a safe weekend!

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Alexandria Police are reporting no known threats to the city in the run up to the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Wednesday, Jan. 20, and the city is not planning to impose 6 p.m. curfew that night.

Mayor Justin Wilson told ALXnow that he sees no reason that a curfew will be necessary, as the Alexandria Police Department has been working closely with federal and regional law enforcement partners.

“At this point, we see no reason that will be necessary,” Wilson said. “Our police have been working closely with federal and regional partners for months to prepare for this period and I am confident they will keep our community safe.”

The city will activate its Emergency Operations Center on Jan. 20, and residents are asked to virtually observe the swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden.

The governor imposed a 6 p.m. curfew on Alexandria and Arlington on Jan. 6 after the siege at the U.S. Capitol. The District will remain in a state of emergency until the day after Biden and Harris are inaugurated.

On Tuesday night, Police Chief Michael Brown briefed City Council on preparations in the run up to the inauguration, and said that the department’s civil demonstration unit is ready to be deployed.

Also this week, Alexandria Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker asked Alexandria hotels to cancel reservations for any members of the Proud Boys, an aggressive group that supports outgoing President Donald Trump.

See the full release from the city below the jump.

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Morning Notes

COVID-19 Deaths Now at 94 in Alexandria — “The latest update from the City on COVID-19: 2,929 Alexandrians vaccinated; 3 additional deaths (94 total); Positive tests up 80 to 8,387 in the City (637 in last 7 days); 7-day Positivity Rate up to 10.5% 2 new hospitalizations.” [Twitter]

Northam Says Virginia Ready for Inauguration — “Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said his state is ‘ready’ as the FBI warned of possible violent demonstrations at capitols across the country, ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.” [Twitter]

Mayor Says Volunteers Needed for Vaccination Efforts — “As we dramatically expand our vaccination effort and prepare for the long-haul, we will need many more volunteers. We need those with medical training and without to join our Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps. Please sign-up today!” [Twitter]

Ada’s On The River Opens on the Waterfront — “It was a dilapidated warehouse. We backed out a couple of times. We thought originally this might be too far south; it’s not King and Union, but it’s awesome. The pedestrian traffic is amazing.” [Alexandria Living]

Virtual Events Planned for George Washington Birthday Celebration — “This year marks the 289th anniversary of George Washington’s birth. Next month, his adopted hometown will introduce new and virtual events to celebrate. Unfortunately, because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the annual parade has been cancelled. But there are still exciting events planned for residents to enjoy.” [Zebra]

Alexandria Police Permanent Medication Drop-off Temporarily Closed — “The Permanent Medication Drop Box at Alexandria Police Headquarters will be closed from today, January 14 – January 25.” [Twitter]

Today’s Weather — “Mostly cloudy with some showers in the afternoon. High 53F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%… Rain early (in the evening)… then remaining cloudy with showers late. Low near 35F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Front Desk Clerk — “Borger Management, Inc. has an opportunity for a customer service enthusiast interested in working as a part-time Concierge from 3 PM – 11 PM Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays.” [Indeed]

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Less than a week before the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden on Jan. 20, Alexandria’s Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker is asking hotels in the city to cancel reservations for the Proud Boys.

In a letter to the Holiday Inn Alexandria-Carlyle, Bennett-Parker said that it rented rooms to members of the Proud Boys before the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol.

“It is my understanding that members of the Proud Boys, which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, stayed at your hotel during their insurrection attempt earlier this month,” Bennett-Parker wrote. “These anti-democratic groups are inciting violence and must not be welcome in our city.”

On Jan. 4, a protest at the Holiday Inn was canceled for security concerns after a notification was posted on the pro-Trump site thedonald.win and a commenter said that if any Trump supporters arrived early to the hotel that “it’s time to give them a show of force.”

Bennett-Parker asked that Alexandria hotels cancel reservations with anyone associated with the group. The hotel is located one block from the Eisenhower Avenue Metro station, and reservations can be made online.

“There is another planned armed militia insurgence from January 17, 2021, through January 20, 2021,” she wrote. “Please join me in condemning these right-wing terrorists by denying them lodging at your hotel. Your actions will send a message that there is no place for hate in Alexandria. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.”

Photo via Grassroots Alexandria/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Beyer Urges Senate to Remove Trump After House Impeachment — “Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to the United States, and a menace to the Constitution. The events of the past week, my conscience, my oath of office, and my duty to the people of Northern Virginia allow no other course than to vote for his impeachment. I urge the Senate to remove him from office as swiftly as possible.” [Beyer.house.gov]

Police Seeking Alexandria Man For Assaulting Woodbridge Boy — “Ian M. Simpson is wanted after police said he attempted to strangle an 8-year-old boy during after two arguments between the two relatives.” [Patch]

Police: Business Robbed on N. Quaker Lane Wednesday Morning — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a robbery from a business in the 1600 block of N. Quaker Lane. It happened around 5:45am. Expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]

WATCH: Governor Northam Gives State of Commonwealth Speech — “My 2021 State of the Commonwealth address is starting–watch live.” [Twitter]

Poll Opens to Select New Names for T.C. Williams High and Matthew Maury Elementary Schools — “Between now and Jan. 27, we are asking everyone to help us whittle down names that have been suggested by our students over the last month. Don’t like any of the options you see? The community will also be given another chance to make suggestions at this time.” [Zebra]

Casa Chirilagua Gets Desk Donations from Building Momentum — “Casa Chirilagua, a non-profit serving the Arlandria neighborhood in northern Virginia near Reagan National Airport, has been one of the largest recipients and distributors of the desks. Adriana Gómez Schellhaas, executive director of Casa Chirilagua, said the non-profit has distributed over 50 desks to homes and learning centers in their community.” [USChamber.com]

Today’s Weather — “Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. High near 55F. Winds light and variable… A few clouds from time to time in the evening. Low 31F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Experienced Servers at Mia’s Italian Kitchen — “We are searching for Experienced Servers to join our Team at Mia’s in OLD TOWN” [Indeed]

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A protest today (Jan. 4) outside the Holiday Inn Alexandria-Carlyle against supporters of President Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election was canceled for security concerns.

Protest organizers from Shut Down DC planned to hand out fliers and stickers and demonstrate against the Proud Boys and other Trump supporters who they call fascists and may be staying at the hotel at 2460 Eisenhower Ave. and are marching in D.C. on Wednesday.

The small event outside the hotel was canceled after a notification was posted on the pro-Trump site thedonald.win and a commenter said that if any Trump supporters arrived early that “it’s time to give them a show of force.” That comment was enough for the organizers to cancel the event.

Jonathan Krall of Grassroots Alexandria was among a handful of undeterred anti-Trump protestors who flashed signs and a banner reading, “Hey Holiday Inn — No Room For Fascists.”

“They only have to win once and our Democracy is finished,” Krall told ALXnow. “Of course they consider themselves patriots, but they are supporting Donald Trump and Donald Trump declared himself the winner of the election. And the only thing that’s keeping him from being a dictator is that the rest the government is not playing along.”

Protestor Glenn plans to march in a group against Trump in D.C. on Wednesday. The D.C. National Guard has been mobilized for the event.

“They’re stabbing and beating people up and not wearing masks,” Glenn said. “These are dangerous people.”

Photo with banner via Grassroots Alexandria/Facebook

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Mayor Justin Wilson says that a study by a conservative activist group alleging that 105% of the city’s voting population is registered to vote is “BS”.

Wilson wrote that a Judicial Watch study incorrectly calculated U.S. Census data from the American Community Survey (ACS) when it listed the city’s citizen voting age population at 105%, with 109,889 total registered voters and a total of 104,975 eligible voters. The study was picked up by Republican gubernatorial candidate State Sen. Amanda Chase, who said on social media that there needs to be “absolute integrity in our state electoral system.”

“Reports of deceased people, cats, dogs, voters voting multiple times, ghost votes etc are being reported across the Commonwealth and our great country and it must be rooted out,” Chase wrote on Facebook.

The actual ACS totals show that the city’s population is 159,428, and that there are 130,253 residents old enough to vote. There are also 112,736 total registered voters in Alexandria (104,859 active registered voters and 7,877 inactive registered voters), according to Angie Maniglia Turner, the city’s general registrar and director of elections.

Turner said that Mayor Wilson’s numbers were correct. She said she was not aware of the claims by Chase or Judicial Watch when ALXnow called. Judicial Watch also posted a statement earlier this month by its President Tom Fitton that, “Joe Biden is not president-elect.”

“I’m not aware of cats or dogs voting or any type of incident,” Turner said. “We had three individuals who cast ballots prior to passing away, but that is not abnormal. At the time their ballots were cast they were active registered voters and their votes were counted.”

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What a week full of news in Alexandria.

With city offices closed due to Veterans Day on Wednesday, there were still a number of big stories.

For the second week in a row, our top story was on a fraudulent mailer that was sent out to a number of residents before election day. In the story, households with Joe Biden signs posted in front yards were sent letters with a Northern Virginia postage mark stating that Biden is a pedophile.

On Monday, we reported the third murder in the city this year. Yousef Tarek Omar, a 23-year-old Texas man, was shot to death in the West End on the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 7. Police have released few details of the incident, except the victim’s name, the general time of the incident and that it occurred in the 4800 block of W. Braddock Road.

City Councilwoman Del Pepper announced on Tuesday that she will not seek reelection. Pepper has been on the Alexandria City Council since 1985.

“There’s really not much to say,” Pepper told ALXnow. “There’s a time for everything, and I just felt this was my time. I have enjoyed every minute that I’ve served on the City Council.”

We also covered the city’s recovery plan for parts of the city devastated by the pandemic, and it lists a number of programs and strategies for impacted residents and businesses.

On the coronavirus front, Alexandria surpassed 4,500 cases since the beginning of the pandemic in March. The number of fatalities is still 76, and Latino residents have the highest number of infections.

Additionally, our weekly poll got a lot of attention this week. This week we asked about Thanksgiving plans, and 60% of respondents said they were eating at home with their household, 30% are planning a small gathering with at least one guest, and 10% are planning a large gathering of family/friends.

  1. Alexandrians with Joe Biden Yard Signs Get Anonymous Letters Saying Biden is a Pedophile
  2. BREAKING: 23-Year-Old Shot to Death in City’s Third Murder of the Year
  3. ‘Clyde’s at Mark Center’ and Other Businesses for Sale in Alexandria
  4. Del Ray Staple Al’s Steak House for Sale After Owner’s Death
  5. The Waypoint at Fairlington to Break Ground Next Month
  6. Councilwoman Del Pepper Announces She’s Not Running for Reelection
  7. City Council to Consider Publishing Names of Delinquent Real Estate Taxpayers
  8. Upcoming Signage Plan Could Subtly Shape New Potomac Yard Skyline
  9. One Person Injured in West End Carjacking
  10. Alexandria Parents Start #OpenACPS Sign Campaign as School System Begins Partial Reopening
  11. Alexandria Surpasses 4,500 Cases of COVID-19, Counts Now Rising at Summer Pace

Have a safe weekend!

2 Comments

Morning Notes

Beyer Says Biden Needs Support — “President-Elect Biden must be given all the support he needs to take the helm of government, including swift consideration and confirmation of his team, so that he can take the country forward. We have no time to lose – there is serious work to be done.” [Twitter]

Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter Was on Jeopardy — “This picture is from years ago when I had the opportunity of a lifetime to appear on Jeopardy and personally meet Alex Trebek. He was as warm and engaging as you would think he was. Today we mourn his loss. He was a television icon and philanthropist who left the world a much better place. My heart goes out to the Trebek family and to the families of all who have been impacted by this terrible disease.” [Facebook]

Mayor Reminds Residents of Celebrating Biden Win Without Fireworks — “Just a reminder from your Mayor/Wet Blanket: Fireworks remain illegal in the City of Alexandria #CelebrateResponsibly” [Twitter]

City Recommends Celebrating a Virtual Thanksgiving — “The City and the AHD strongly urge those celebrating Thanksgiving to choose lower risk activities to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 outbreaks, rather than the traditional indoor gatherings and traveling.” [Twitter]

City Tearing Down Robinson Terminal North — “AlexRenew is demolishing the building as part of its much larger plans to improve Alexandria’s sewer and stormwater infrastructure.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria’s Tree Lighting Goes Virtual on Nov. 21 — “Alexandria’s annual Tree Lighting ceremony that rings in the holiday season will be a little different this year. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the event that usually takes place at Market Square will be held online on Saturday, Nov. 21.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Areas of patchy fog early. Partly cloudy skies. High 72F. Winds light and variable. A few clouds overnight. Areas of patchy fog. Low 54F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Development and Communications Specialist — “The Campagna Center’s (TCC) Development Specialist plays a vital role in ensuring that TCC’s donors feel good about their giving. The individual will act as the first point of contact for stewardship activities and donor requests, always presenting an amicable demeanor, a can-do attitude, and appropriately reflecting TCC’s mission and values.” [Indeed]

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It was a historic week in Alexandria.

Alexandrians overwhelmingly helped reelect U.S. Senator Mark Warner and Congressman Don Beyer, and 80% of voters chose Democrat former Vice President Joe Biden for president over incumbent Republican President Donald Trump.

Out top story this week was election-related. It turns out that before election day several Alexandria households with Joe Biden signs were sent letters with a Northern Virginia postage mark stating that Biden is a pedophile. The Chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee advised that anyone who receives such notes should call the police. The police, in turn, are sending along the information to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Additionally, 91 people participated in our weekly poll. This week we asked about election night plans, and 65% of respondents said they were staying home to watch the results, 24% had no eleciton night plans, 10% planned to protest that evening, and 1% were going to an election night event.

School News

Alexandria City Public Schools were back in action this week — sort of. While the ACPS opened in-person classes on Thursday, fewer than 10 students made it to class. There were about 60 students eligible to go back to school, since only kids with kindergarten through second graders with disabilities were allowed to attend Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School.

It was the first in-person public schooling in Alexandria since the pandemic shut down schools in March. ACPS plans to expand opening for all citywide special education students by December. Meanwhile, however, hundreds of parents want the school system to open and have started the #OpenACPS messaging campaign.

Also in school news, a two-year-long court battle was settled with the city and 15 Alexandria homeowners were settled regarding the addition of stadium lights to Parker-Gray Stadium at T.C. Williams High School.

The Week in Crime

The week started with news that there were two shootings in Alexandria over the weekend.

The was also the story of a 17-year-old on the run since last month after allegedly stealing a car in the West End. The juvenile, who later admitted stealing the car, was seen by the victim — a federal law enforcement officer — driving past his house, and the victim got into another of his cars and followed the suspect. The victim got the juvenile out of his car and held him at the scene until police arrived, and the juvenile left the area after being charged.

We also covered the story of the ‘Beltway Bank Bandit’. Freddie Lee McRae, 34, of Washington D.C., pleaded guilty to three counts of brandishing a firearm during a series of bank and shoe store robberies in and around Alexandria in 2018 and 2019. He will be sentenced on February 23, 2021, and faces up to life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 21 years in prison.

Health and Business

As of Friday there were 76 deaths attributed to the coronavirus in Alexandria, and the case count stands at 4,444, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Latino residents continue to lead the case count.

We also reported that longtime Del Ray staple, Al’s Steak House, is for sale since the owner passed away.

This week also saw fewer continued and initial unemployment claims in Alexandria.

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

  1. Alexandrians with Joe Biden Yard Signs Get Anonymous Letters Saying Biden is a Pedophile
  2. Del Ray Staple Al’s Steak House for Sale After Owner’s Death
  3. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  4. Braddock West Project Headed to Planning Commission Later This Year
  5. Identity Released of Old Town North Suspect Killed in Shootout
  6. Soft Opening for New Chicken Joint in North Old Town Today
  7. Alexandria Parents Start #OpenACPS Sign Campaign as School System Begins Partial Reopening
  8. Juvenile Allegedly Steals Car and is Tracked Down by Victim in the West End
  9. BREAKING: Massive Power Outage Reported in Alexandria
  10. The Alexandria Drive-In Just Kicked Off an Encore Series on Halloween
  11. Did You Know: The Tall Ship Providence Encountered a Ghost Ship in 1777

Have a safe weekend!

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