What a week it’s been in Alexandria.
The pandemic seemed inescapable this week, and much of our coverage was related to dealing with the coronavirus.
Five more fatalities related to the virus were reported by the Virginia Department of Health, and the death toll now stands at 67. There are now or have been 3,671 cases in the city since the first case was reported in March.
The week also began with our coverage of City Council’s passage of a face mask ordinance requiring residents to wear masks in public places. While there is no fine for noncompliance, the new law takes effect on October 1.
There was some heartwarming news. City residents helped a Del Ray business owner raise more than $10,000 after her house burned down on September 12.
We also covered the Little Theatre of Alexandria’s newest COVID-friendly in-person show. Additionally, Alexandria restauranteur Bill Blackburn participated in a COVID-19 vaccine trial this week, and Alexandria resident Ann Samuels safely celebrated her 100th birthday.
The Alexandria City School Board also accepted a name change proposal for Matthew Maury Elementary School. Now with the virtual school year in full swing, we also published a poll on how folks think school is going so far and saw mixed results.
Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.
- ‘Lipstick On A Pig’: BAR Rejects Heritage Old Town Proposal
- Just Listed in Alexandria
- ThePoopBrothers: ‘Fearless’ Del Ray Kids Created New Business Over Summer Break
- UPDATED: Flooding Reported in Parts of City After Heavy Rain
- Man Struck by Bullet While Driving in West End
- Alexandria Hospital Nurse Wins First-Ever Nightingale Award
- Juvenile Arrested After Shots Fired in Arlandria
- City Council Passes Mask Ordinance, and There’s No Fine for Noncompliance
- New Alexandria Boxing Club Works Out Every Sunday at Jones Point Park
- Monte Durham’s New Hair Salon is Opening Saturday in Old Town
- Alexandrian Ann Samuels Turns 100 Years Old
Have a safe weekend!
Dawson Saint Jour wants to be the Tony Robbins of boxing. Every Sunday, the coach with Hiit Hard Training is at Jones Point Park with his coaches and boxers, shouting motivational aphorisms while punches are thrown and footwork is improved.
“When life knocks you down, try to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up,” Saint Jour recently told ALXnow, quoting motivational speaker Les Brown. “Another favorite of mine is, ‘Don’t just go through it but grow through it.'”
For the last three years, Saint Jour and his team of boxing coaches took their talents to the business world with a corporate wellness program. But the pandemic changed the way offices work, and now with more clients working from home Saint Jour is looking to open a physical location in Alexandria.
For the time being, however, that means weekly workouts at Jones Point every Sunday from 1-4 p.m. It costs $20 for one class and $65 for four classes.
“We’ve been doing corporate wellness since 2017, and due to the COVID restrictions we had to stop offering our program at the on-site facilities,” Saint Jour said. “We wanted to continue offering these programs to individuals, and we’ve been stuck in our homes for months and months with no way to relieve stress.”
Coach Devon Davies started boxing five years ago and has worked with Saint Jour since October.
“I was going through some personal stuff in my life and I was looking for something to sort of wake me up and feel like a part of a community again and that’s when I got into boxing,” Davies said. “Dawson has changed my life. These people become your family and you know they have your back, and you have confidence in yourself to stand up and defend yourself and have passion for people you love.”
Courtesy photos and video
Amine Ballafrikh was wrapping up one of his daily workout videos at Jones Point Park on Thursday, July 2, when an unidentified man went on a racist rant and threatened to shoot the two-time North American Lightweight Muay Thai champ.
Ballafrikh, who is also the number three Muay Thai lightwight in the world, fought his way out of Moroccan slums to be a U.S. citizen. He trains every day at Jones Point Park, and was filming a video at the end of a workout and speaking in Arabic when a man nearby began a racist and threatening tirade.
“I’m going to shoot you,” the man was filmed telling Ballafrikh. “That’s right, Jack.”
Ballafrikh looked shocked by the comment and asked the man if he was okay.
“Yes, I’m talking to you asshole,” the man replied. “Get your ass out of my country, bitch.”
Ballafrikh again asked the man who he was talking to and if he was okay.
“Who else am I talking to?” the man replied and yelled obscenities at the fighter.
Ballafrikh later filmed the man brandishing a large hunting knife at the park and cutting strips of paper to show the knife’s sharpness. He later called the police and said he is going to send them the videos. He has not seen the man at the park since the incident.
“I have never experienced anything like that over the last eight years I’ve been in the United States,” Ballafrikh told ALXnow. “If he did this to a child or someone who can’t defend themselves, he would basically step on them. I hope they find him, because a man like that can really hurt someone.”
Alexandria Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine said that anyone who feels threatened to call the police.
“It’s a sensitive time right now, and at any point if you feel threatened you need to call the police, because we will investigate it,” Ballantine said.
Warning: video contains explicit language
A new bike campus is all painted and ready to go under the Alexandria side of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
The smooth pavement between the bridge pylons has long been a popular spot for bicyclists on the Mount Vernon Trail or visiting Jones Point Park, but the new signs and lanes on the ground can help new cyclists learn the rules of the road and practice in a safe environment.
At a grand opening ceremony, scheduled for Saturday (Dec. 7) at 10:30 a.m., instructors from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) will be available to help teach cyclists of all ages about rules on the street and bicycling techniques. A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 11 a.m.
According to the Facebook page:
WABA is excited to announce the completion of the Alexandria Bike Campus at Jones Point Park! The bike campus will serve as a dedicated space for people of all ages to learn how to ride a bicycle safely, comfortably, and confidently. WABA will be celebrating the completion of the Alexandria Bike Campus with a ribbon cutting on Saturday, December 7 at 11:00 a.m. at Jones Point Park in Alexandria, VA.
We invite you to bring your family and your bicycles to the ribbon cutting and to participate in a demonstration of the bicycle campus. WABA instructors will show how the campus can be used to teach new cyclists of all ages and how even experienced cyclists can learn and practice new skills. Our instructors will be at Jones Point Park at 10:30 AM – we hope to see you then!