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!
Bill Blackburn is feeling fine after participating in the second round of a COVID-19 clinical trial.
The Alexandria restauranteur says he felt a sense of duty by being one of 30,000 people tested in the Phase 3 study to see whether mRNA-1273 can boost immune systems and create antibodies to kill the coronavirus.
“I was motivated by helping the greater good,” the 42-year-old Blackburn said. “Somebody has to do this.”
Blackburn’s wife works in clinical trials and signed him up.
“I told her I’d love to be involved in that, that I’d be a guinea pig,” Blackburn said. “I got a phone call about six weeks ago and they did some phone screening about my health, my weight, occupation and my lifestyle. Then they called me the next day and said that I met the profile for this study.”
Blackburn, who is a co-owner of the Homegrown Restaurant Group, twice drove out to Meridian Clinical Research in Rockville to get injections. Half of the participants received a placebo.
Dr. Brandon Essink, principal investigator and medical director at Meridian, called the study one of the most “important and impactful clinical research studies in our lifetime.”
Blackburn says he’s feeling healthy, and isn’t experiencing any side effects, which include headaches, swelling glands, fevers and joint pain.
“They call me twice a week, and I have an app on my phone where they send me messages to check my temperature and other things,” Blackburn said. “I am feeling 100% normal. I am experiencing no side effects.”
Beyer Co-sponsoring Legislation to Impeach U.S. Attorney General — “Accusing political opponents of “sedition” then morphing into an arch libertarian when Trump cronies are indicted. Attacking career prosecutors for doing their jobs. AG Barr is a menace to the rule of law–I’m cosponsoring legislation to begin impeachment proceedings against him.” [Twitter]
Absentee Voting Begins Today in Alexandria — “The ballot includes contests for President and Vice President of the United States, one member of the U.S. Senate, the member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the 8th Congressional District, and two amendments to the Constitution of Virginia.” [Patch]
King & Rye Opens in Alexandria — “Check out @Alexandrian_VA’s new restaurant, King & Rye. This downtown restaurant opened earlier this month, and features a large outdoor patio, intimate terrace, and full bar serving specialty cocktails. The perfect location for a private event.” [Twitter]
Douglas MacArthur Elementary School Rebuild Comes in Over Budget — “City Council approved a development special use permit on Saturday for the Douglas MacArthur Modernization Project, which is currently $5 to $7 million over budget. The project, which involves demolishing the existing Douglas MacArthur Elementary School and rebuilding a new one, will increase the school’s capacity from 558 to 850 students.” [Alex Times]
Alexandria Police Conduct Deescalation Training — “Yesterday APD’s Tactical Training and Response Unit conducted officer safety and deescalation training with the Traffic Safety Section. These training’s teach ways to stabilize situations so that more time, options, and resources can be called upon.” [Twitter]
Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub Celebrates Half-Way to St. Patrick’s Day — See Irish music on a Facebook Live performance from Thursday night. [Facebook]
Today’s Weather — “During the day, partly to mostly cloudy. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 74F. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph. At night, a few clouds. Low 49F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Marketing Manager — “Develop and manage strategic, comprehensive marketing campaigns for NSBA (National School Boards Association) revenue- generating products, services and events.” [Indeed]
Lee Raynes has been humbled by community support after her Del Ray home burned down on Saturday, September 12.
At around 7 p.m., Raynes, who owns Bellies and Babies Consignment Boutique on Mount Vernon Avenue, was on her front porch when she smelled smoke. At first she thought it was her dinner burning in the oven, but knew it was more serious after opening the front door of her house.
“The fire marshal told me that it was my drier in the basement, which wasn’t even on,” Raynes told ALXnow. “The biggest problem is that the structural integrity of the house is compromised, because the cross beams on the main level are charred. It looks like I will have to tear down to foundation and rebuild.”
Raynes’ 10-year-old son was not home at the time, and their 16-year-old cat died in the fire.
Within 48 hours, the Del Ray Business Association organized a GoFundMe campaign for Raynes that has since raised more than $11,000.
“Thankfully, Lee and her 10-year-old son are both safe,” the DRBA said. “However, Lee left the house with only the clothes on her back; the family lost their cat in the fire; and their home suffered significant damage in the floorboards on the main level and smoke damage on the third floor… We are in awe of Lee’s constant upbeat attitude despite everything 2020 has thrown at her.”
Raynes said she’s looking at silver linings.
“This community raised $10,000 in less than 12 hours, and I don’t even know 75% of people on that list,” she said. “It’s been very humbling. I started my store to help the community and to feel like they have a village, and it’s me who’s now thriving from the village.”
NOTIFICATION :: The 2600 block of Randolph Avenue and cross streets are closed due to a structure fire. Please avoid the area and watch for police direction. Expect police and fire personnel in the area. @AlexandriaVAFD
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) September 12, 2020
Beyer Condemns Trump for Coronavirus Statement on Blue States— “This is quite simply one of the most appalling and inhuman statements ever uttered by an American President.” [Twitter]
Chewish Deli Set to Open First Permanent Location — “When Linzey stumbled upon the Pendleton Carryout Co. space for sale this summer at 807 Pendleton St., he wasn’t exactly looking for a store location. But, Linzey knew that if a spot in Old Town ever opened up, he would want to take it.” [Alexandria Living]
Alexandria EMS Captain Appointed to State Board — “EMS Captain Lisa Simba was recently appointed to the State EMS Advisory Board by Gov. Ralph Northam. Capt. Simba has been with AFD for more than 30 years.” [Twitter]
Art League Offering Online Classes — “All skill levels are welcome. Select from more than 50 classes.and workshops. They range from basic painting and drawing instruction to computer-based digital illustration and GIF creation. Classes meet via Zoom. In between sessions, students can stay in touch through Google Classroom or by email. And because classes are virtual, students do not have to be in the Alexandria area to participate.” [Zebra]
Today’s Weather — During the day, cloudy with occasional showers. High 74F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%. At night, periods of rain. Low 63F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a half an inch.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Foundation Relations Manager — “Supports the National Military Family Association Development department in the development and implementation of a comprehensive foundation grants development program.” [Indeed]
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]
The pandemic has sure been stressful, and there’s a new online program in Alexandria that was founded by former U.S. navy SEALs to help folks become mentally tough.
Chriss Smith, Jr., who also owns Trident Crossfit (410 Calvert Avenue), was a member of the SEALs for a dozen years, and has gone from toning bodies to toning minds. Smith has 12 strategies to help customers not only cope with stress, but to thrive under pressure. In June, he and a number of former SEALs, intelligence officers and neuroscientists launched Trident Mindset, a step-by-step year-long mental toughness program.
“We define mental toughness is the ability to be calm, effective and happy during any situation,” Smith told ALXnow. “Whether you’re experiencing high stress, fatigue, pain, setback, failure, loss, any type of challenge, we think that to become mentally tough is to be able to be calm, effective and happy during adversity.”
The program, which costs $39 per month for a regular membership and $499 for an intense mentorship experience, is intended to make clients resilient to fear and stress with 12-step program that includes establishing micro goals, breathing control, stoicism, meditation, mindfulness and visualization.
“Most people fail because they let they listen to that voice in the back of their head saying, ‘Stop, this hurts. This is suffering. I don’t want to go any further. I don’t do the hard things in life,'” Smith said. “That voice is very loud for them. Mental Toughness gives you an opportunity to quiet that voice and listen to the voice inside that says you can do tough things, you can accomplish many things.”
Smith said that his program is intended to create a long lasting change in his clients.
“”We’re not about making you feel good for five minutes while you’re using the program, and then going back to normal life, ” Smith said. “We’re about creating a profound paradigm shift in the way that you view and relate to challenge. Now you’re someone who thrives during challenge rather than someone who becomes bothered by it and anxious and overwhelmed.”
Stress is decreasing your team's performance, happiness, and unity. Take action to combat workplace stress and unlock…
It’s a tough time for many businesses around the city, but there are also opportunities.
We a look through Alexandria listings of the website BizBuySell and found a number of businesses for sale. Many of the businesses are restaurants, which have taken a significant hit in the last several months due to the pandemic.
The website aggregates numerous business sale listings. The names of the businesses and their locations are generally left out of the listing.
Reasons for selling, when provided, typically do not mention economic hardship, but more often involve the owner retiring or not having time to actively manage the business.
Here are some that are currently listed in Alexandria:
- Fitness Center/Personal Training Gym — “This is a franchised 24 hour fitness center, located in one of the most lucrative areas of the country. Just down the road from the new Amazon HQ, this business has been profitable for more than 10 years. If you’ve ever wanted to get into the fitness business, this will be your best opportunity. Second nearby location also available.”
- Absentee-Owner Gourmet Pizza & Italian With Loyal Following — “This high-visibility restaurant has long been a destination and neighborhood favorite with locals – it continues to enjoy a following as a gourmet take-out option for pizza and all Italian cuisine favorites. Purchased in 2019 as a decades-old chef-owned establishment, the new owner invested in a complete turn around, nearly doubling sales and converting the business model to absentee ownership. Owner has refrained from applying for PPP or other SBA loans so that new owner might be able to take advantage of those opportunities.”
- Beautiful Hair & Nail Spa for Sale/ Price reduced — “Great opportunity!!! Serious Inquiries only. Beautiful and well established Hair & Nail Spa for Sale in a very busy shopping center. Seller is retiring after many successful years in the business. Beautiful & Very efficiently designed. 6 years old Spa. Established, loyal customers. Reasonable rent & excellent location. 10 Hair stations, 5 Dryers, 3 Shampoo stations, 8 Manicure Tables, 8 Pedicure chairs, 3 Waxing rooms, 2 Facial Rooms, 1 Body scrub. There is plenty of room to expand. Room to grow by improving social media and other marketing and adding massage service.”
- Restaurant & Bar Approved for Hookah MRB VA 943 — “HOOKAH CAN BE ADDED. APPROVED BY LANDLORD. Profitable restaurant, bar & lounge for sale in Alexandria. Hookah will drastically increase sales and profits. Currently patrons can enjoy live bands, dancing, DJs and karaoke nightly. With a capacity of 370, this 2 level establishment is perfect for private events, birthdays or work outings. The first floor is separated into two rooms with a dining area, bar and dance floor with stage/DJ booth while the 2nd room has a large bar, DJ booth and dance floor. The top floor is used for the current owners office, as well as storage, bathrooms and employee lounge.”
- Unique Restaurant for Sale in VA — “Unique Restaurant- 9,970 SF. Price Reduction. This business must be visited to be appreciated. It offers 9,970 sf with 2 full dining rooms (70 seats in each dining room) and 3 bars (100 bar seats in total). It is one of the few locations in the area that can accommodate multiple, large, separate dining events (private parties, fundraisers, etc. There is a huge kitchen with new compressors on all refrigeration, 3 walk-ins and a large basement for storage. They are currently open 6 days. This year sales are averaging 48-51K/wk with consistent growth ($2.7 mil. in gross sales projected for this year) with a net profit of approx. $265,000.00.”
- Sandwich Shop/Deli Alexandria Va — “I have a client who is ready to retire and has a sandwich shop/deli ready to sell. NO BROKERS. Substantial net positive cash flow after 31 years in business. Excellent old town location. Extended Lease. Business currently operates 6 days per week for breakfast and lunch until 6 so opportunity to extend hours and days under current SUP. No alcohol but license possible. Delivery and growing catering business add to profits. Accountant attested books. Must have a friendly personality to be successful. Employees likely to stay. NDA required for confidentiality. Great opportunity for hard working entrepreneur.”
- Mexican Restaurant and Bar — “This Profitable Mexican Restaurant for Sale has been open and operating profitably for eight years. The location is on a high traffic road and surrounded by residential. This is a turnkey situation on a restaurant that has been grossing in excess of $840,000 annually with profits to an absentee owner of $80,000 annually. Nice full service bar. Outdoor Seating!! Great opportunity for a new on hand owner/operator to take this business to the next level. “
- 5 Days Open Deli in office Complex — “Italian gourmet deli sandwich shop running 5 days (7AM ~9PM). Nestled in a well known office and residential complex.”
- Established & Well-Known Hair Salon in Old Town Alexandria — “Great opportunity to own a well-known hair salon that has been established for over 30 years in Old Town Alexandria. The business is ideally located on a prominent thoroughfare with excellent street visibility. The salon owners have done an excellent job building a successful salon with reliable revenue and cash flow over the years. There is a stable client base, but there is also plenty of room to grow and expand the business.”
- Asian Restaurant and Sushi Bar for Sale — “Established Business for Sale. Owner is looking to retire from business. All equipment is owned and in good condition, except the dishwasher is leased. Asking price is negotiable, send your offers!”
- Specialty Gift & Souvenir Boutique in the Heart of Old Town Alexandria — “Unique opportunity to own a specialty gift and souvenir shop in the heart of the Old Town Alexandria. The boutique is located in a high traffic part of Old Town and has been a destination shopping destination to both locals and tourists for decades.”
See more Alexandria listings here.
Beyer Negates Trump’s Coronavirus Claims — “Nearly 194,000 Americans have died in a pandemic Trump lied to the country about. As Dr. Gottlieb points out, the coming cold weather months bring danger of new spread of the virus. Even after seven months of this Trump still has no strategy to keep Americans safe.” [Twitter]
Former Mayor Silberberg Says Taylor Run Restoration Will Hurt Environment — “Recent soil testing from Taylor Run, analyzed by Brookside Laboratories, showed a negligible amount of phosphorous in the soil of the stream bank. Restoration of Taylor Run will therefore have a questionable impact at best on the watershed – but the restoration work will have a devastating impact on the habitat and tree canopy surrounding the stream.” [Alex Times]
Kids Who Volunteer Can Get Scholarship — “Volunteering makes a difference. Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) are recognizing the efforts Virginia youth have made to help in their communities during the pandemic.” [Zebra]
Salon Monte Opens in Old Town — “On the waterfront to cut the ribbon for @MonteDurham‘s Salon Monte! Welcome! (Insert joke about me at a hair salon—> Here)” [Twitter]
Board of Architectural Review Rejects Heritage Development — “If you’ve run out of shows on Netflix and you’re looking for some drama-filled entertainment, head to the city’s webcast archive and watch the Board of Architectural Review’s latest meeting.” [Alex Times]
Today’s Weather — “Cloudy early, becoming mostly sunny in the afternoon. High near 80F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph. At night, Clear. Low 54F. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Account Executive — “CareClix, a Northern Virginia based company and the world leader in the Telemedicine Space is seeking a few select individuals to join our Resellers and Independent Account Executive salesforce. Successful candidates in this position can expect first year commissions of lower middle to high six figures.” [Indeed]
Feeling hungry? This week, Alexandria Restaurant Partners launched its Unlock ARP membership program, and for $30 participants will receive a key fob that will unlock discounts and off-menu dishes at a number of their restaurants in the city.
The program is intended to boost business for ARP’s numerous restaurants in and around the city, including Mia’s Italian Kitchen, Vola’s Dockside Grill, Riverside Taco Company, Joe Theismann’s Restaurant, Palette 22 and The Majestic (which is scheduled to soon reopen).
As of Tuesday, there were 350 membership slots available out of the 500 that will be allowed to participate at this time.
It costs $30 to join, and this month members can get 99 cent draft beers at Theismann’s and a complimentary starter. Those who sign up will receive email discounts.
ARP was one of the first restaurant chains to announce that they were closing all of their locations because of the pandemic, and has also raised thousands for its employees and city nonprofits.
A Quarter of Alexandria Voters Have Requested Mail-In Ballots — “Over a quarter of Alexandria’s registered voters have applied for a ballot by mail for this November’s election (!!!). Ballots will be mailed out beginning next week when in-person early voting also begins. You can apply online today for a mail ballot!” [Twitter]
Seven Alexandria Students Make National Merit Scholarship List — “Students from Alexandria area high schools have been named 2021 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, taking the first step in securing a scholarship in the competitive program.” [Patch]
Beyer Criticizes Trump for Complaining Over Scandals — “You were recorded admitting you deceived the entire country about the danger of a virus that has killed more Americans than all wars since WWII combined. Can’t lie your way out of this one.” [Twitter]
ACPS Needs Donations for School Supplies — “While this year is considerably different because of the coronavirus pandemic, students still need essential supplies. ACPS is asking for community support. However, instead of donating physical items, they request that interested parties donate funds electronically.” [Zebra]
Alexandria Police Officer Appointed to State Board — “Governor Ralph Northam announced on September 4 that he has appointed Alexandria Police Officer Bennie L. Evans to the Commonwealth of Virginia Criminal Justice Services Board.” [Facebook]
Here’s Seven Things to do in Alexandria This Fall — “Enjoy a cruise aboard the tall ship Providence or set out for the new cat café or coming-soon dog bar. Contemplate new outdoor artwork like the ‘Come Together’ mural in Old Town. Mask up and visit just-opened independent businesses including the D.C. area’s first zero-waste sustainable grocer plus the national eco-conscious brand Patagonia, coming to King Street in September. Twelve new restaurants will tempt you with takeout or outdoor seating. Don your face mask and discover what’s new in Alexandria.” [Visit Alexandria]
Workforce Development Center Offers Job Counseling — “Are you recently unemployed or want to change your career and don’t know where to start? We are now offering free one-on-one Job Search Coaching to help Alexandrians who have experienced job loss during the pandemic.” [Facebook]
Today’s Weather — “Thunderstorms likely during the day. Potential for heavy rainfall. High 83F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 80%.Thunderstorms likely in the evening. Then a chance of scattered thunderstorms later on. Low 73F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 80%.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Scholarship Fund of Alexandria Assistant Director — “The qualified applicant will be eager to support the organization’s effort to help Alexandria high school students obtain college scholarships and college and financial aid advising. This position is full-time, year-round and provides an opportunity to work in a small, dynamic, mission-driven, collegial nonprofit organization.” [Indeed]
When one door closes another opens, and that’s definitely the case with The Company of Books, Del Ray’s new used book store is turning the page and replacing the Book Bank in Old Town. The new store opened at 1712 Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray a little less than two weeks ago.
The Del Ray location is still a little empty, and books and shelves are being brought in daily. Readers might find a few noticeable differences between the new and the old book stores. For one thing, the Company of Books is a nonprofit and its founder and Executive Director Rachel Baker wants to use future profits toward community events.
“We definitely are not looking at expanding into more locations, and our goal is to give back to the community in a way that can be helpful, and mean something,” Baker told ALXnow.
The Book Bank, which is an Alexandria staple that has sold used books for decades at 1015 King Street, will be closing its doors for good on September 20. The store will be offering sales of up to 50% off before the closure, and even before discounts the average cost for a book is $6.
There was some controversy with the new store, as a neighbor in Del Ray reported that one of its board members was taking books from little free libraries to sell in the store. Baker said that the books were recycled back into the little free libraries and that she has thousands of books for sale.
“The profit margin on a secondhand bookstore is incredibly small, and it definitely requires volume and you cannot make any kind of income taking books from little free libraries and reselling them,” she said.
The store will also start accepting used book donations on October 15.
Photo via The Company of Books/Facebook