Another single-day record for new COVID cases was set in Alexandria today, and the understaffed Alexandria Fire Department has made “vital changes” to contend with rising infections among staffers, including the temporary suspension of annual leave.
There were 460 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Alexandria on Today (Dec. 30), a 22% jump over the previous record of 376 cases set on Christmas day.
“During this time, we will temporarily suspend the authorization of annual leave,” AFD leadership wrote in a Monday email to City Manager Mark Jinks. “The Alexandria Fire Department is implementing vital strategic changes in response to the highly transmissible Omicron variation of the COVID-19 virus and the current staffing challenges. AFD is experiencing an increase in daily positive cases.”
The department currently has 22 members who are non-operational due to COVID, and 29 confirmed infections in the last month. While the number of infections is relatively low, AFD is currently understaffed by 23%, with 281 first responders working in a department that needs 347 to be fully staffed.
Consequently, long-standing staffing issues at the department have resulted in first responders working exorbitant overtime hours.
“Over the last three months, I’ve worked 1,004.25 hours,” AFD Captain Sean Europe told City Council in the public comment portion of a recent meeting. “That means I’ve worked, on average, close to 80 hours per week. Eighty hours a week as a firefighter. I don’t even know if that’s legal. I’m working twice as much, while getting paid less, than the people doing the exact same job just up the road.”
Department-wide over the last three months, AFD staff have worked more than 6,200 forced overtime hours and 10,500 of voluntary overtime.
Europe says he has 42 days of paid annual leave that he can’t use because of staffing.
“I want to take a vacation, to spend time with my family and friends – but we’re so short staffed I can’t,” he said.
The International Association of Firefighters’ Local 2141 union stated that suspending annual leave is a move that should be made in the collective bargaining process, on which it says the city is dragging its feet. The union also says that the city’s proposal for compensation and staffing increases isn’t enough.
“We hired a labor relations agency, and they put forward that nothing that is up for negotiation through collective bargaining be changed,” Jeremy McClayton, an organizer for the union, told ALXnow.
Other moves by APD include:
- Taking fire Engine 205 (serving Old Town, Del Ray and Potomac Yard) out of service.
- The Advanced Life Support (ALS) provider from Engine 205 will relocate to Truck 205, converting Truck 205 to an ALS suppression unit.
- Ambulance 204 will be placed in service on a 24-hour three shift schedule, and holdovers will be used to maintain staffing
Fire Chief Corey Smedley said over the summer that he was concerned with the number of hours his staff have worked.
“Some of them were working up to 72 hours straight, and that was not safe,” Smedley said. “I cannot continue and I did not continue to allow them to put themselves and for us to allow them to put themselves into harm’s way.”
After a five-month-long national search, the Alexandria City Council officially hired James F. Parajon as Alexandria’s next city manager on Wednesday night.
Parajon, the deputy city manager of Arlington, Texas, will start work on Jan. 18 and take over for retiring City Manager Mark Jinks.
“A nationwide search for our next City Manager was shaped by input from Alexandria residents, business owners, and City staff to find the right combination of strengths, experience and qualities to lead Alexandria’s City government,” Mayor Justin Wilson said.
Parajon was hired in a 5-1 Council vote in a special meeting, and Councilman Mo Seifeldein was the lone member who voted against him. Councilman John Taylor Chapman was late to the meeting and missed the vote.
Wilson continued, “With input through surveys, town halls and review panels, City Council sought to find a candidate who would reflect our values and we found that in Jim Parajon. We look forward to working with Jim, City staff and Alexandrians to accomplish great things together.”
Parajon was interviewed last month by three advisory committees made of city staff, department heads, and other representatives chosen by council. He will spend the next several weeks working on the Fiscal Year 2023 budget with Jinks and city staff.
“I’m very honored that the mayor and council put their trust in me to run this organization, and I’m so looking forward to getting to work,” Parajon told reporters Wednesday afternoon.
Jinks, who sat in the rear of Council Chambers as Parajon was voted in, said that there is a steep learning curve for the job.
“This upcoming budget will be his budget,” Jinks said. “That’s why he’s already started working on the budget before physically working here.”
The city will soon announce opportunities for community members to meet Parajon next month.
Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, an outspoken critic of Jinks, was on one of the committees that interviewed Parajon.
“I was impressed with his well-rounded career,” Lawhorne said. “[Parajon is] a consensus builder. He manages staff from in front of the desk, not behind the desk.”
The city manager is the highest-ranked public employee in Alexandria, and makes more than $250,000 a year.
Parajon started work in Arlington, Texas, in 2006, as the city’s director of Community Development and Planning. For the past seven years his official title has been deputy city manager for Asset Management, Communications and Legislative Affairs, Economic Development, E-sports Stadium, Fire, Libraries, Office of Strategic Initiatives, Handitran and the Municipal Airport.
Parajon’s resume also includes stints as a planner for the city’s of Raleigh and Cary, North Carolina, as well as for URS Corporation and Buchart Horn Inc.
Leaving Texas for Alexandria
Parajon, who is married with two grown children, says he wasn’t thinking about leaving Texas until September. That’s when he visited Alexandria for the first time and walked the streets of Old Town and Potomac Yard with his son.
“I went to the farmer’s market, went to a cocktail competition on the waterfront and just saw some of the vibrancy and some of the different neighborhoods,” Parajon said. “I said, ‘Geez, this is a really a community that really seems to be highly engaged and very involved and that’s different.'”
Parajon won’t say whether he’s a Republican or a Democrat, and said that the disclosure is a personal one. He did, however, say that his daughter is working on former Democrat Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s gubernatorial campaign in Texas.
“I would not have chosen Alexandria if it did not align with my personal interests, my personal beliefs,” he said. “I can tell you just when we get a chance to sit down together, I think it’s very clear what I am.”
A native of Poughkeepsie, New York, Parajon received his degree from Dickinson College and master’s degree in regional planning at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Parajon plans on moving to the city with his wife, Elizabeth.
Learning the issues
Parajon said by moving from Arlington, Texas, that he is leaving one of the most diverse cities in the country, and that he was drawn to Alexandria for its vibrant diversity.
Out of the last 18 city managers in Alexandria, however, 16 of them have been white males. Parajon says his track record includes multiple reorganizations to “inject more diversity into our leadership teams,” and that, under his leadership, diversity programs in Arlington were honored this year by the National League of Cities.
“Yes, I’m a white guy,” Parajon said. “What I would ask is that people give me a chance and engage with me and understand my perspectives.”
Parajon says he’s still wrapping his head around city issues, including supporting local businesses impacted by COVID-19.
“Well, the first thing is I need to talk to those small businesses,” he said. “I need to understand what are the issues that they’re confronting. Is it labor issues? Is it issues of supply? Is it issues that a customer base has changed dramatically? Once you understand those things then we can start to think about what are the opportunities that might present themselves to address those issues. Small business is the lifeblood of a city.”
Parajon was noncommittal when asked if he conceptually supports dedicated taxes on one particular industry, such as the meals tax, which helps pay for affordable housing.
“I’m really looking forward to understanding a little bit more about the details of that (the meals tax) as well as some of the various revenue streams that come into the city as well as the expenditures,” he said. “That’s all part of that budget process that I need to get up to speed with fairly quickly.”
In the meantime, Alexandria first responders are struggling to maintain service levels and say they need raises. The issue could lead to a tax increase.
Parajon says he needs to learn more on the issues.
“Honestly, it’d be presumptuous of me to really answer in detail what I might do there, because I really need to learn and listen and pay attention and understand all the dynamics that have led to this point,” he said.
After a five-month-long national search, the Alexandria City Council will select a new city manager at a special meeting on Wednesday night (Dec. 1).
“Yes, we will be choosing a city manager,” Mayor Justin Wilson confirmed to ALXnow.
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m.
The new candidate will have been vetted this month through three advisory committees made up of city staff, department heads, and other representatives chosen by council. The city manager is the highest-ranked public employee in Alexandria, and makes more than $250,000 a year.
City Council contracted with talent acquisition firm POLIHIRE to find candidates after City Manager Mark Jinks announced his intent to retire in June. The names of the final candidates for the position have not been announced.
The new manager is expected to begin work in December/January.
A veritable who’s who in Alexandria will interview the final candidates looking to succeed retiring City Manager Mark Jinks.
On Tuesday night, City Council approved the formation of three advisory committees that will interview the final candidates selected after a five-month-long national search.
“We appreciate all the folks from both staff and and from the community who have been willing to step up and help us advise us through this process,” Mayor Justin Wilson said.
The city manager is the highest-ranked public employee in Alexandria, and makes more than $250,000 a year.
Council unanimously approved the formation of a stakeholder (citizen) committee, with two representatives chosen by each Council member, and two employee committees, the latter two made up of rank and file city staff and leadership.
Councilman Canek Aguirre said that there is no Latino representation in the committees.
“Our city is 18% Latino, and yet with the two employee committees, there’s virtually no Latino representation,” Aguirre said. “I know that we have Latino staff here in the city. So, I just want to bring that to the attention of my colleagues, and I know (there is) some work that we have to do in that area.”
The interview process for candidates will conclude this month and a new city manager will soon after be announced, according to the city. City Council contracted with talent acquisition firm POLIHIRE to find candidates after Jinks announced his intent to retire in June, and the new manager is expected to begin work in December/January.
Members of the Ad Hoc Committees and the Council member who chose them are below.
- Agnes Artemel – (Councilmember Pepper)
- Jennifer Atkins – (Councilmember Chapman)
- Kevin Harris – (Vice Mayor Bennett-Parker)
- Matt Harris – (Councilmember Seifeldein)
- Nishita Henry – (Councilmember Jackson)
- Matt Keough – (Councilmember Jackson)
- Merrick Malone – (Councilmember Chapman)
- Nicole McGrew – (Vice Mayor Bennett-Parker)
- Michelle Millben – (Mayor Wilson)
- Ericka Miller – (Mayor Wilson)
- Mindy Lyle – (Councilmember Pepper)
- Ingris Moran – (Councilmember Aguirre)
- Honorable Joe Sestak – (Councilmember Seifeldein)
- Antonio Tamariz – (Councilmember Aguirre)
- Rick Aslanian, Department of Transportation & Environmental Services (T&ES)
- Carrie Beach, Planning & Zoning Department (P&Z)
- Shawn Brown, Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA)
- Allyson Coleman, Department of Human and Community Services (DCHS)
- Kadira Coley, Department of Finance/Retirement
- Audrey Davis, Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA)
- Capt. Patrick Evans, Alexandria Fire Department (AFD)
- Barbara Farrington, Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA)
- Kevin Greenlief, Department of Finance/Revenue
- Brian Hricik, Alexandria Fire Department (AFD)
- Travis MacRae, City Attorney’s Office
- David Miller, Office of Human Rights
- Sgt. Charlette Mitchell, Alexandria Police Department (APD)
- Tarrence Moorer, Department of Transportation & Environmental Services (T&ES)
- Dr. Grace Page, Department of Human Resources/Wellness (DHR)
- Marvin Paz, Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA)
- Rebecca Pica, Department of Information Technology Services (ITS)
- Emily Poly, Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
- Keia Waters, City Clerk’s Office
- Dana Wedeles, City Manager’s Office (CMO)
- Arthur Wicks, Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
- Liz Williams, Office of Historic Alexandria/Gadsby’s Tavern (OHA)
- Matt Wise, Department of General Services (DGS)
- Joanna Anderson, City Attorney
- Rose Dawson, Director, Libraries
- Pamela Dudoff, Organizational Effectiveness Consultant, Office of Organizational Excellence (OOE)
- Kate Garvey, Director, DCHS
- Renee Gordon, Director, Department of Emergency and Customer Communications
- Dr. Alicia Hart, ACPS
- Don Hayes, Acting Chief, Alexandria Police Department
- Jen Jenkins, Acting Director/CHRO, Department of Human Resources (DHR)
- Yon Lambert, Director, T&ES
- Dana Lawhorne, Sheriff
- David Lord, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney
- Helen McIlvaine, Director, Office of Housing
- Karl Moritz, Director, Planning and Zoning
- Greg Parks, Clerk of the Court
- Vanetta Pledger, Director/CIO, Department of Information Technology Services
- Gloria Sitton, City Clerk
- Corey Smedley, Chief, Alexandria Fire Department
- Jim Spengler, Director, RPCA and OOE
- Terry Suehr, Director, Department of Project Implementation (DPI)
(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) The Alexandria Health Department is working community partners to begin scheduling coronavirus vaccine appointments for kids ages 5-11 by this week, according to its newly hired Director, Dr. David C. Rose.
“We’re in the process of making sure that we and our partners within the community — the pharmacies, the providers — everyone has what it is they need,” Rose told ALXnow in a recent interview. “We’re going to be making sure that appointments are available on a rolling basis when supply becomes available.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11.
“Understand this is all kind of happening within the last 24 hours,” Rose said. “We are working to ensure that we have everything so that people can go to our website and to the vaccine website for parents to make those appointments for their children.”
The vaccine is now available for the new age group.
“Parents and guardians have multiple options for getting 5-11 year olds vaccinated, including AHD vaccine clinics, pharmacies and pediatrician’s offices,” AHD reported. “Pediatric vaccine appointments at AHD clinics will be available on a rolling basis as supply becomes available, so please be patient. It may take several weeks to receive the supplies needed to vaccinate the more than 12,000 youth in Alexandria.”
The Department continued, “AHD will continue to coordinate with community partners to host vaccine events at schools on weekends and throughout the community during the week. Visit alexandriava.gov/
Health Department Director starts work
Rose started work this week, and is spending his first days meeting with City Manager Mark Jinks, other department heads and his own staff. He takes over for Dr. Anne Gaddy, who became acting director after the sudden departure of former Health Director Dr. Stephen Haering in April.
“I have to compliment Dr. Gaddy, who’s been an acting health director in guiding us through the challenges now, and her able leadership and her capacity to bring me up to speed,” Rose said. “She’s a wealth of information and a very trusted leader within the health department and within the city.”
Jinks, in a press release, thanked Gaddy and welcomed Rose to the role.
“Dr. Gaddy’s able leadership as Acting Director has been key to Alexandria’s ability to respond quickly and nimbly to the COVID-19 pandemic in our community,” Jinks said. “She has excelled in all aspects of this role, particularly in assuming responsibility for planning, organizing and administering Alexandria’s vaccination processes.”
Gaddy has resumed her previous role as deputy health director.
Excited to welcome Dr. Rose to lead public health in our City!
We are lucky to have his leadership at the helm of the Alexandria Health Department at this challenging time.
Thanks to Dr. Gaddy for her leadership during this transition.https://t.co/Db16Gv5TmS
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) November 1, 2021
Rose, a board-certified pediatrician, was previously the child welfare medical director for the Maryland Department of Human Services. He was also the deputy health officer for public health for the Anne Arundel County Department of Health; a senior deputy director for the District of Columbia Department of Health; and the assistant commissioner for communicable diseases and epidemiology for the Baltimore City Health Department.
Rose said his understanding of the inner-workings of government and ability to bring parties together is why he was hired.
“This is a great team here in Alexandria, what you have in terms of the partnerships between the city and state health department and the citizenry,” he said. “They are really engaged with the department…. I think my ability to work with all these individual parties together is why I was chosen, and hopefully I’ll be able to live up to that.”
Rose said he has already spoken with leadership at Alexandria City Public Schools, and will look at work that’s already been done through the Community Health Assessment and the Community Health Improvement Plan 2025 (CHIP).
The CHIP is a blueprint to address poverty, mental health, and housing policies and systems in the city. It shows that the average life expectancy in the city’s heavily Hispanic Arlandria neighborhood is 78, while more affluent area of Old Town has a life expectancy of 87. Numerous priorities in it include improving affordable housing opportunities, expanding mental health resources, and reducing poverty.
Rose lives in Columbia, Maryland, and commutes two hours a day back and forth to Alexandria — time spent listening to Walter Mosley mysteries and nonfiction sociological books, he says.
“Audio books make the commute enjoyable,” he said. “It’s definitely time I spend organizing my day.”
Via City of Alexandria
At an upcoming Alexandria City Council meeting on Tuesday (Oct. 26), City Manager Mark Jinks is scheduled to present a planned mid-year pay increase for city employees, though local unions that have been pushing for pay adjustment say it’s far from enough.
According to the docket, the proposal will be to restore a compensation initiative that had been eliminated last year because of COVID-19 revenue losses.
The report notes that the plan is to:
- Implement the compensation initiatives eliminated in the FY 2021 budget
- Provide a one-time $1,000 bonus for full-time employees and pro-rated for part-time employees
- Provide funding for Deputy Sheriff positions one-time bonuses where state funding was not provided
The compensation initiative is a 1.5% rate boost to all city pay scales, with increases for various positions like captains and lieutenants in the Police Department and Sheriff’s Office, as well as for the deputy fire chiefs and chief deputy sheriffs.
The item also “indicates that compensation will be a priority for funding consideration as part of planning for the upcoming FY 2023 proposed City operating budget.”
In response to competitive pressures and in recognition of the dedicated work of Alexandria’s public servants, Council will be considering a package of rare mid-year pay adjustments, including an across-the-board salary increase, bonuses and targeted increases for public safety. pic.twitter.com/jZN3UhOTR5
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) October 20, 2021
Earlier this week, the Alexandria Committee of Police, IUPA Local 5, and Alexandria International Association of Firefighters Local 2141 attacked city leadership over employee pay and funding for programs within those departments. City officials answered that these concerns were being blown out of proportion as a collective bargaining technique.
“This suggestion is almost as insulting as the 1.5% pay increase that the City Manager has proposed to solve our understaffing problem,” the union said in another joint press release. “Our members have been underpaid for years, and the City’s own benchmarks show that they aren’t meeting the promise of paying at the midpoint of our regional comparators.”
The release pointed to Montgomery County’s $10 per hour premium pay for frontline workers as an example — though Montgomery County police have also expressed disgruntlement over pay issues. The unions also criticized Jinks for using a 2019 study indicating comparative pay between Alexandria and other jurisdictions rather than one from last year that showed that gap had further worsened.
It was a busy fall week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.
Our top story this week was on a plan to completely close off the 100 block of King Street as a pedestrian-only zone. The plan has been in the works since 2019, and was put into action last year. ALXnow’s poll on the subject had very one-sided results, showing 91% (791 votes) in favor of a permanent change.
There was a momentous groundbreaking this week, as city leaders converged for the $454.4 million RiverRenew Tunnel Project. The project is a major overhaul to replace Old Town’s combined sewer system and prevent 120 million gallons of combined sewage from flowing into the Potomac River.
School violence has become a major issue in Alexandria, as videos of fights at schools are surfacing on the internet, there have been arrests at Alexandria City Public Schools, and protests in front of City Hall on Monday and Tuesday this week.
As for the Alexandria juvenile who was shot in the upper body at the McDonald’s in the Bradlee Shopping Center last week, police say that there have been no arrests yet.
- AlexRenew breaks ground for massive Old Town RiverRenew project
- BREAKING: A bunch of student fights were recorded at George Washington Middle School and put on Instagram
- Last year’s Alexandria City High School class had the highest graduation rate and the lowest student dropout rate ever
- Union says low staffing within Alexandria Fire Department threatens to shut down a fire station
- Upcoming Alexandria City Council and School Board election forums announced
- School Board Chair Meagan Alderton says ACPS leadership will be challenged by high Board turnover
- First apartment building in massive Carlyle Crossing redevelopment starts pre-leasing
- DASH and city leaders celebrate launch of bus system overhaul
- Alexandria starts distributing COVID-19 booster shots
- City Manager lays out plan to push back on evictions in Alexandria
- City looks to permanently ‘pedestrianize’ a block of King Street
- UPDATE: Alexandria man charged with homicide after stabbing at BJ’s Wholesale Club in Landmark area
- Total Wine is taking shape in Potomac Yard
- ALXnow’s top stories this week in Alexandria
- Man buys luxury car with fake driver’s license at Lindsay Lexus of Alexandria
- Protestors rally to return police to Alexandria schools, but officials say behind-the-scenes talks have stalled
- Man arrested for posting lewd photos of Alexandria stepsister on Twitter
- Firecracker shuts down Alexandria City High School football game
- Adoptable Chihuahua Dory only weighs 3.5 pounds
- Mayor Wilson: Potomac Yard construction delay ‘could have nothing to do with Metro station’
- Police: Juvenile shot at shopping center near Alexandria City High School
Have a safe weekend!
After the end of the eviction moratorium, Alexandria’s City Council is looking to step up protection for locals facing eviction.
According to a docket item for tomorrow’s (Tuesday) City Council meeting, city staff are recommending that the city fund new services and positions aimed to support Alexandria households going through the eviction process.
The proposed supports are:
- Two service navigators and two housing relocator positions ($307,000)
- Storage assistance for household belongings ($50,000)
- Additional legal services to assist those at risk for eviction ($50,000)
The service navigators provide support through outreach, including door-to-door knocking, community events, and outreach at properties with higher rates of eviction, a memo by City Manager Mark Jinks said. The service navigators also help applicants through completion and submission of rental relief applications. Housing relocators, meanwhile, help displaced residents secure stable housing — a service Jinks said is not currently available except at emergency shelters.
The suggestions came out of the city’s Eviction Prevention Task Force, which started last year and is comprised members of various city departments and outside organizations, like Tenants and Workers United and Christ Church.
“The housing crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has sharply increased the risk of long-term harm to renter families and individuals, disruptions of the market affordable housing market and the potential for foreclosure and bankruptcy, especially among small property owners,” Jinks wrote in the memo. “Following eviction, a person’s likelihood of experiencing homelessness increases, mental and physical health are diminished and the probability of obtaining employment declines. Eviction is also linked with respiratory disease, which could increase the risk of complications if COVID-19 is contracted. Instability, like eviction, is particularly damaging to children, who suffer in ways that impact their educational development and well-being.”
Even before the moratorium expired, some local landlords were starting the eviction process and laying the groundwork to evict tenants. Unemployment skyrocketed to record highs last year, though unemployment figures have gradually improved over the last year. In late August, the Supreme Court invalidated a federal eviction moratorium that would have halted evictions in some places through Oct. 3. The memo noted that Legal Services of Northern Virginia have provided legal assistance to 1,031 individuals through courthouse outreach and the Office of Community Services and the Office of Housing have assisted 3,717 households to successfully apply for rental assistance.
“The immediacy of this halt in the eviction moratorium has created devastating impacts to some households in our community, with an increase of eviction filings,” Jinks wrote.
The memo noted that since the pandemic started, 2,135 residential “Unlawful Detainer Summons” — which initiates the eviction process — have been filed. Of those, 599 (28%) were found in favor of the landlord and 1,307 (61%) were dismissed or classified as non-suited. In total, 283 writs of eviction have been issued.
“These cases could have been stopped by the CDC moratorium anywhere along the process,” Jinks wrote. “With the moratorium lifted, approximately 134 households are believed to be at immediate risk of eviction.”
Jinks wrote that for local residents that have been struggling to pay rent through the pandemic, the worst could still be ahead.
“The overall trends in the data do not indicate that there is an uptick at this time in eviction filings, but rather that there were many households over the past year and a half that started the eviction process but were legally protected by the CDC moratorium,” Jinks said. “Now that the moratorium has ended, staff anticipates that the pipeline will begin to move again, and the City will experience an increase in residents who need assistance in applying for state rental assistance and to find new housing, and who will require other resources.”
The positions will be funded by the American Rescue Plan Act for the next 12 months — $357,000 for City staffing plus eviction storage costs plus Legal Aid Justice Center $60,000. The memo noted its likely that the program will need an additional $500,000 in the next tranche of ARPA funding in the FY 2023 budget.
Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza and Tap named in top 100 restaurants in U.S. — “Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza and Tap, owned by the Yates family of Alexandria, was just placed on OpenTable’s list of the 100 Best Neighborhood Gems in America for 2021.”[Zebra]
Retiring City Manager talks to Agenda Alexandria — “Retiring #AlexandriaVA City Manager Mark Jinks talks about his career in @ArlingtonVA and @AlexandriaVAGov, including everything from redeveloping Landmark Mall to building the Potomac Yard @wmata station @agendalexandria #AgendaAlexandria” [Twitter]
Former police chief named to ACPS Athletic Hall of Fame — “Former Police Chief Earl Cook (was) among the Legendary sports stars of Alexandria honored Sept. 18 as ACPS holds its Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 2 p.m. in the Alexandra City High School Gerry Bertier Gymnasium.” [Gazette]
Alexandria has secret Magnolia Bogs — “Despite their rich history and importance in the local ecosystem, many in the area are still unaware of the existence of these unique micro-ecosystems.” [Alexandria Living]
Today’s weather — “Cloudy (during the day). High 81F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph… Cloudy in the evening, then off and on rain showers after midnight. Low near 70F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.” [Weather.com]
New job: Delivery driver — “Deliver food in your bike or car from local restaurants to homes and offices around Downtown. Be your own boss! Decide when to work depending on availability and needs. Deliver all days of the week between 10:30am–10:30pm.” [Indeed]
The Alexandria City Council, on Tuesday, will likely extend its local emergency declaration until January 31, 2022.
The declaration, which was first approved by Council in March 2020, has been continually updated every six months, and finds that “the emergency continues to exist and will exist into the future.”
There are now 13,209 reported cases and 142 deaths due to COVID-19, which is an increase of 215 cases since this time last Tuesday. There were 43 new cases were reported on Thursday, September 10, making for the largest single-day jump since April 12, when 48 new cases were reported.
Alexandria’s seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is at 3.4%, and the city is experiencing a high level of transmission for the fourth straight week, according to the Virginia Department of Health. In fact, the only localities in Virginia not seeing high transmission are Manassas Park and Fairfax City, which are both seeing moderate transmission.
There have also been 70 cases reported in Alexandria City Public Schools since last month.
VDH says that unvaccinated Virginians make up a majority of new cases. So far, 87,839 residents have been fully vaccinated and 100,982 residents have been partially vaccinated. More than 64% of residents over the age of 18 have been vaccinated, and so have nearly 78% of seniors.
Additionally, the Alexandria Health Department has developed a Fall/Winter 2021 Vaccine Strategic Framework to administer third doses and booster shots.