Newsletter

What a challenging week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

Alexandria track star Noah Lyles won the bronze medal in the 200 meters at the Tokyo Olympics, garnering congratulations from around the country, including locally by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Mayor Justin Wilson. Also this week, Lyles’ mom and brother held a watch party at his alma mater, Alexandria City High School.

This week, we also spoke with Alexandria boxer Troy “The Transformer” Isley, who said competing in the Olympics was a ‘dream come true.” Tynita Butts-Townsend, the third T.C. Williams High School graduate to participate in the games, did not make it past the first round of the high jump.

“I thought I would feel more crappy about getting last at the Olympics, but then I read that sentence again…IM STILL AN OLYMPIAN!” Butts-Townsend tweeted.

On the coronavirus front, with the City recommending residents wear masks indoors, this week the School Board voted to make it mandatory that face masks be worn when school starts later this month.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Parks Department braces for strain on system when Minnie Howard field closes down
  2. Alexandria reports 204 COVID-19 cases in July, a big jump over last month
  3. Alexandria City High School to host Olympics watch party to cheer on alumnus Noah Lyles
  4. ALXnow’s top stories this week in Alexandria
  5. GoFundMe launched for Will Nichols, retiring manager of St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub in Del Ray
  6. With ACPS expecting enrollment increase, Alexandria Mayor explains where kids come from
  7. Report details life of Black Alexandrians post-Civil War in home slated for redevelopment
  8. Noah Lyles to race for gold medal in 200 meters at Tokyo Olympics
  9. 18-year-old arrested for firing gunshots at West End apartment building
  10. EXCLUSIVE: Halal slaughterhouse opens, gives away free chickens for first two days in business
  11. Heritage project skirts denial at Board of Architectural Review meeting

Have a safe weekend!

Via Tcwtitantrack/Facebook

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A 30-year-old Alexandria woman was arrested last month and charged with making threats and domestic assault and battery against her roommate in the Landmark area.

The suspect was booked and released on July 14, and her court date is not yet publicly listed.

The victim showed police numerous threatening texts, including one reading “Plan your funeral”. Another showed a photo of a long rifle resting on the child seat of the suspect’s 2016 green Jeep Compass.

The suspect allegedly broke the door chain of the front door and attacked the victim.

“(The suspect) attacked (the victim) who was eventually able to pin (the suspect) to the ground and call 911 for assistance,” police said.

A search of the suspect’s car found a single empty bullet casing and more.

“The child seat that the long rifle was laying across in the picture (the suspect) sent to (the victim) to threaten her is currently present inside of (the suspect’s car) that is currently in Alexandria Police Department custody,” police said in the search warrant.

The Alexandria Sexual Assault Center and Domestic Violence Program is available 24/7 to listen and help at 703-746-4911.

“If you are a neighbor and know that an abusive incident is occurring, call the police immediately,” the city said. “Calling the police is simply the most effective way to protect the victim and children from immediate harm.”

Via Google Maps

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What a hot week in Alexandria.

With temperatures hovering in the mid-90s, the week started with a power outage at a 17-story apartment building in Landmark area. The outage lasted five days and residents had to find accommodations until the building reopened Friday afternoon.

On the coronavirus front, Alexandria experienced a slight uptick, and the health department says unvaccinated residents account for a majority of new cases. There have been 39 new cases reported so far this month in the city, and 13 cases were reported on July 9. That was the biggest single-day jump since May 20, when 18 new cases were reported.

In school news, this week we spoke with Alexandria High School Principal Peter Balas, who said that his staff are ready to fully reopen for full-time in-person instruction when the 2021-2022 school year starts on August 24.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Here’s the plan for Alexandria’s birthday celebration this weekend
  2. City Council approves massive high-rise project without affordable housing near Eisenhower Metro station
  3. ‘Call Your Mother Deli’ signs lease in Old Town
  4. Del. Mark Levine raises eyebrows with letter that passes buck on constituent service
  5. Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
  6. Alexandria City High School is ready to reopen at full capacity next month, principal says
  7. School Board Member Jacinta Greene faces reelection, wants race relations taught in ACPS
  8. Tropical Storm Elsa’s dregs tear through southern Alexandria
  9. Poll: Do you agree with reallocation of school resource officer funding?
  10. West End high-rise apartment building evacuated after power outage
  11. The Alexandria Police, Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department all want raises

Have a safe weekend!

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Developments in Beauregard, via City of Alexandria

With the city hoping Landmark development and the West End Transitway will help turn the Van Dorn corridor into a new commercial hub, developers near the Mark Center are hoping to cash in.

According to Maya Contreras, principal planner for Alexandria, plans are in the works to add new density to a stormwater pond near the Hilton (5000 Seminary Road) and to a site originally planned to be an office space, but will likely become something else.

“The request is for amendments to [Coordinated Development District] (CDD)#4 that would add density to both the Hilton site (5000 Seminary Road) and [Institute for Defense Analyses] (IDA) site (4880 Mark Center Drive) and add additional uses to the CDD, as the ownership of 4880 Mark Center Drive is interested in uses at their site not currently permitted,” Contreras said. “The applicant also requests a Master Plan Amendment (MPA) in connection with the project and a subdivision to allow creation of a new parcel to be carved out of the Hilton site.”

Contreras said in a meeting of the Beauregard Design Advisory Committee that Hilton is looking to develop the pond into a pad site — a parcel of land suitable for development — though Hilton is planning to sell the location rather than develop it for a hotel use.

Similarly, Contreras said the IDA site next door to the new Alexandria Health Department building could be developed as something other than office space.

“A pad site is a site where a building can be constructed,” Contreras said. “Right now IDA pad site is a legal lot: there could be a building built there. Right now on the Hilton site is where their stormwater pond is. There was no anticipation of a building going there, a lot has to be created for something to go there.”

As part of the new development, Contreras said the city hopes to make the Winkler Botanical Preserve more accessible to the public. The park featuring nature trails and a waterfall is tucked away and somewhat inaccessible at the moment.

The new development comes at the city is working through plans to establish some form of bus-rapid transit as the West End Transitway. The Transitway likely won’t have dedicated lanes throughout the corridor, but Contreras said the city is looking into priority signaling and other options to help increase reliability.

But some on the committee shared concerns that the planned consolidation of bus stops in Alexandria may have hurt the very area the city is trying to make more transit accessible.

“DASH has decreased its service at Seminary and Beauregard,” said Fatimah Mateen, a member of the Beauregard Design Advisory Committee. “There used to be the AT-9, but  that’s been discontinued. And I’ve heard Metrobus is not going to bring back the 16-L. We have a lot of housing coming into that particular area but we’re losing [bus] service, and I think that’s going to be a big problem.”

Contreras said that some of the stops have been consolidated, but city planners are working with the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services to keep them appraised of how much residential is expected to develop in the area down the road.

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After an underground electrical malfunction caused an early morning power outage on Monday, July 12, the management of the 17-story Key Towers Apartments says the building is likely to reopen at the earliest on Friday, July 17.

Until then, residents in the 140-unit Landmark area building have to find alternate accommodations, and its owner is advising residents to keep their receipts.

“Right now we’re testing the transformers in every individual unit,” said Gina Ramos, general manager for the property. “We let residents in and out of their apartment four-at-a-time on Monday and Tuesday until 10 p.m. We’re telling everyone to keep their receipts.”

The 1960s-era building is empty, Alexandria Fire Department Senior Public Information Officer Raytevia Evans told ALXnow.

Resident Adie Ballantyne has lived at Key Towers for two years, and is staying with friends in a nearby apartment building.

“I’m going to demand a reduction in my rent next month,” she said. “I feel bad for my neighbors who got put out. Luckily I have friends who live close by.”

Dominion Energy determined that a privately owned underground transmission line went down. The outage occurred during a heat wave, and the city opened the Patrick Henry Recreation Center for residents.

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An electrical malfunction has prompted the required evacuation of a 17-story apartment building in the West End.

The power went out at Key Towers at 6060 Tower Court shortly before 5 a.m., and the city’s DASH bus service is helping transport evacuated residents to a cooling center at Patrick Henry Recreation Center, which is just over two miles away. There are 140 units in the 1960s-era building and Monday’s temperature is expected to reach the mid-90s.

“Evacuation is required and is being ordered by the Fire Marshal’s Office,” AFD Senior Public Information Officer Raytevia Evans told ALXnow. “Dominion Energy is on-scene now, and they have been for a while along with us. The building has been evacuated because the power had to be cut in order to make those repairs on what they’ve discovered.”

Dominion determined that a privately owned underground transmission line went down, Evans said.

“The property managers have their private contractors on scene as well,” Evans said, adding that that the city’s Office of Emergency Management is working with the property manager to inform residents that the building will be without power for “a while”.

Courtesy Google Maps

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It was a quick week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

With summer in full swing, three Alexandria athletes have made it on the U.S. Olympic Team — sprinter Noah Lyles, high-jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend and boxer Troy Isley.

In other sporting news, Old Town businesses beat Del Ray in a controversial softball game Wednesday, adding fuel to the fire of an intense rivalry.

It’s been super hot out lately, and the City urged caution and reminded residents to take advantage of special cooling centers.

On the COVID front, the city’s DASH bus service announced that one of its drivers passed away from complications from the virus.

Meanwhile, Mayor Justin Wilson believes that the city has met its 80% vaccination threshold, while Virginia Department of Health data says about 65% of residents over the age of 16 are partially vaccinated. The Alexandria Health Department, which just launched a COVID-19 test and vaccine pilot at T.C. Williams High School, says the data does not take into account city residents vaccinated in Washington, D.C., and Maryland.

It’s also July 4 weekend, and in this week’s poll we asked whether readers plan on traveling, with 67% of respondents voting to stay home, 27% opting to travel by car and just 6% traveling by air.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Researchers call out shoddy craftsmanship in buried 18th century Alexandria ship
  2. Man suspected of raping 12-year-old stepdaughter in Landmark area flees to El Salvador
  3. Landmark Mall plan approved as Planning Commission demands better environmental considerations
  4. Alexandria leaders acknowledge serious security issues with elimination of school resource officer funding
  5. Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
  6. Alexandria eyes bus rapid transit and bike lanes for Duke Street
  7. Parker-Gray tiny lot home moves forward with some unique challenges
  8. Alexandria woman dies after veering off road on Interstate 95
  9. City talks strategy on making Chirilagua/Arlandria neighborhood Amazon-proof
  10. UPDATE: Man taken into custody as West End apartment barricade situation ends peacefully
  11. BREAKING: California man arrested for West End murder, indicted with 16 others in massive racketeering conspiracy

Have a safe weekend!

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An adult woman suffered non-life threatening injuries after being shot in the 400 block of S. Reynolds Street in the West End on Monday night.

Alexandria Police tweeted that the incident occurred at around 11 p.m., and that there is no known threat in the area.

The shooting occurred near the intersection of S. Reynolds Street and Edsall Road, which is near S. Van Dorn Street.

Police released no other details, and will not answer any of ALXnow’s questions on the incident.

Courtesy Google Maps

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A 32-year-old Alexandria man fled to his native county of El Salvador last month, after allegedly raping his 12-year-old stepdaughter in the Landmark area.

The girl gave birth to a boy on June 10.

Her mother told police that the last time she spoke with her husband was on May 8, when he called and said that he was going fishing. The stepfather never returned, and his wife later received a text from his brother showing her husband with his sister in El Salvador, according to a police search warrant affidavit.

The girl told police that her stepfather raped her three times — twice in their apartment in the 200 block of S. Reynolds Street in the Landmark area and once at their previous apartment in Manassas. She said that he threatened to kill her mother if she told her about the incidents, and forced her to say that she got pregnant by another student, according to police.

Alexandria Police later found that the suspect deactivated his Facebook account, and that he flew on an early morning Avianca Airlines flight to El Salvador.

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This fall, a little space just off Little River Turnpike will become the latest spot for small regional chain Taco Bamba. For the restaurant owner, the restaurant will also be a full-circle return to where his culinary career got started.

The Landmark neighborhood will be the seventh Taco Bamba, Chef Victor Albisu said in a press release. The Taco Bamba will open at 6259 Little River Turnpike. The restaurant will feature and indoor/outdoor bar and a seasonal patio area.

The site is significant for Albisu, who grew up in nearby Annandale and worked in his mother’s market in the Landmark neighborhood.

“”I haven’t been this excited about opening a Taco Bamba since we debuted our first location eight years ago this month,” Albisu said. “I worked at my mother’s Latin market in Landmark while growing up in nearby Annandale where I graduated from high school. I got an early education in global cuisine between my mom’s store and the area’s delicious Italian, West African, Korean, and Middle Eastern restaurants. And I have fond memories of spots like Generous George’s, Starvin Marvin, and H I Ribsters. It’s a community that is close to my heart and I can’t wait for Taco Bamba to be a part of it.”

The restaurant will feature the usual mix of tacos and tostadas, but the Landmark location will have an exclusive empanada on its menu. Albisu said the restaurant will also have specific types of tacos for the Landmark location that honor other nearby local restaurants and some old favorites that have since closed.

The Taco Bamba bar will have cocktails with a focus on agave drinks.

Albisu said he hopes the restaurant will draw from other surrounding neighborhoods, like Bailey’s Crossroads, Lake Barcroft, Cameron Station and other parts of Alexandria when it opens sometime this fall.

Courtesy Google Maps

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