Beyer Lauds Supreme Court LGBT Decision — “This is such a big step forward. Employers shouldn’t be able to fire people because of who they are or who they love. After a long and difficult struggle by activists and civil rights organization, an historic decision and a great moment for the country.” [Twitter]
Former Mayor Silberberg Marched in D.C. on Saturday — “All around me, there were poignant reminders of all that had transpired in this location in recent days and weeks — handmade signs attached to the remaining fence and bouquets of flowers. And then that evening, there was breaking news about another tragedy, this time in Atlanta. Heartbreaking.” [Facebook]
Twig Junior Auxiliary Donates $100K to Inova Alexandria Hospital — “The Twig Junior Auxiliary of Inova Alexandria Hospital presented a check for $100,000 to Dr. Rina Bansal for the Inova COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness Fund during a May 22 ceremony held outside the hospital’s entrance.” [Gazette]
Feed The Fight ALX Gives Out 5K Meals to Health Care Workers — “Thank you for your continued support, and please continue to follow us in the coming months on Instagram @FeedtheFightALX. We are so grateful to all of our hospital teams and restaurant partners.” [Facebook]
City Recycles 700 Tons of Glass in First Year of Recycling Program — “The City just hit the 1-year mark for the glass recycling program. In that time, 700 tons of glass (1,410,560 lbs) has been recycled through the purple can glass drop-off program. You crushed it Alexandria!” [Facebook]
‘Mind The Mat’ Owner Gets Creative During Pandemic — “I was trying to be this super-serious fitness instructor on camera, and it was not working.” [Washington Post]
Recreation Centers Opening With Modified Schedule June 20 — “These changes are in place to follow the second phase of reopening. Senior-only hours will be introduced to help protect vulnerable persons on the community while providing an opportunity for exercise.” [Zebra]
Scholarship Fund Honoring Awardees With Individualized Social Media Posts — “We’ll be profiling a student each day this week…as they share their joy and gratitude with the Alexandria Community!” [Facebook]
Center for Alexandria’s Children Receives Face Mask Donation — “We received another donation of 100 adult masks and 100 children’s masks for our Learn & PlayGroup families! We are so grateful to Brooksie & Cas and Jenna Adams for investing so much time and energy into making so many great masks.” [Facebook]
Deal: Rent a Pedego Electric Bike, Get Second Rental Half Off — “Pedego Electric Bikes has the perfect solution for cabin fever. Rent one bike and get the second rental 50% off. Enjoy the outdoors, flowers and sunshine with the safest bikes and equipment from Pedego. This offer will be available until further notice.” [Visit Alexandria]
New Job: HR/Office Manager — “Small but busy security company in need of an experienced HR professional who can really multitask. Candidate should be comfortable screening, interviewing and on-boarding applicants.” [Indeed]
Uncertainty Lingers for Furloughed Alexandrians — “When Joy Phansond was furloughed from her job as sales coordinator at the Holiday Inn in Old Town, the temporary layoff was initially supposed to last until April 5. Then it was extended to May 5. Then it was extended again until June 5.” [Gazette]
Cinema Del Ray Canceled Due to Coronavirus — “Due to COVID-19, we must ensure the safety of our fellow community members by canceling Cinema Del Ray 2020. We greatly appreciate the support Cinema Del Ray has been shown in the past. We will be back next year, better than ever!” [Facebook]
Old Town Spanish Restaurant ‘La Tasca’ Files for Bankruptcy — “In the past two years, La Tasca has closed two locations in Chinatown and Clarendon.” [Washington Business Journal]
Food Trucks Lift Spirits in Cameron Station — “Rothschild started reaching out to various food truck vendors on March 25, and shortly thereafter she landed her first truck to visit the neighborhood, at the corner of Cameron Station Boulevard and Harold Secord Street – barbecue purveyor Smoking Kow. And neighbors were ready for a feast.” [Gazette]
Tenants and Workers United Raises $16K for Arlandria Community — “Many of our members have had their work hours reduced or been laid off completely. For the undocumented community, there is no social safety net: no unemployment benefits and no stimulus check from the federal government.” [actblue.com]
Contest: Alexandria Living Magazine Gives Away $600 in Merchandise — “Along with KH Giving, we can finally announce the winner of this week’s Mission Masks giveaway! Dixie won $600 worth of prizes including $250 in gift cards from Sweet Fire Donna’s, $100 from Chadwicks and $100 from Bastille and more! These gift cards are all purchased from local restaurants as a way to support them.” [Facebook]
Photos: Meal Distribution at William Ramsey Elementary — “Enjoy these photos of ACPS meal distribution at William Ramsey Elementary School. Thank you to volunteer and photographer, Chris Castillo.” [Facebook]
How Funeral Homes and Cemeteries are Coping in Alexandria — “Some immediate families of the deceased elect to have ceremonies recorded or live streamed for extended family and friends who cannot be present. Others are opting to hold a memorial service at a later date, when larger groups may be able to congregate, rather than a funeral with restricted attendees now.” [Alex Times]
‘La Brocante’ and ‘Top It Off’ Open This Weekend in Del Ray — “La Brocante and Top It Off are now both open on the weekends only (including TODAY until 5 p.m.), with social distancing measures in place (extra sanitizing, limits on the number of people in the stores, and face masks).” [Facebook]
‘Pacers Running’ Donates Shoes to ‘Together We Bake’ — “Thank you @runpacers and @on_running for giving running shoes to our TWB family! We’re excited to break in our shoes.” [Facebook]
New Job: Member Marketing Manager — “We are looking for someone passionate and analytical who loves product marketing. The purpose of this role is to help drive many stakeholders across many departments to inspire members to act on our top opportunities. If you love coordinating complex marketing campaigns, then this job is for you.” [Indeed]
Group to Sue City for Pollution Near Recycling Center — “After a 7 On Your Side Investigation aired about the amount of Styrofoam piling up along the banks of the Potomac River in Alexandria, Virginia, organizers with Advocates for Clean & Clear Waterways, a new non-profit, has informed the City it plans on suing.” [WJLA]
DASH Bus Requiring All Riders to Wear Face Masks — “Based on guidance from the Alexandria Health Department, the Alexandria Transit Company (DASH) will require all passengers to wear face coverings while using DASH buses beginning Monday, May 18, 2020. The measure will help protect DASH employees and passengers from contracting the COVID-19 virus and is consistent with the actions of the agency’s regional transit partners, including WMATA, Frederick Transit, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County Transit. This precaution will remain in effect until further notice.” [DASH]
Fire Department Responds to Eisenhower Avenue Commercial Fire — “Around 3 pm, units from AFD & @ffxfirerescue responded to a commercial bldg fire in the 5600 block of Eisenhower Ave. Units found fire in UPS trailer & outside storage area and extinguished. No damage to bldg itself. No civilian or firefighter injuries. Cause under investigation.” [Facebook]
Congressman Beyer Calls Federal Coronavirus Response a ‘Disaster’ — “Over 87,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19. South Korea, with a population of over 50 million, had their first case on the same day the United States did. The COVID-19 death toll in South Korea stands at 262. The federal response in this country has been a disaster.” [Twitter]
Video: Old Town Jumping on Friday Night — “Looks like @AlexandriaVAGov is open for business…” [Twitter]
Crowded Sidewalks in Old Town Saturday Night — “Crowded sidewalks in Old Town, Alexandria causing concerns tonight two weeks before Northern Virginia is set to reopen.” [Twitter]
Family Celebrate 80th Birthday at Goodwin House — “Sandy Connolly celebrated her 80th birthday at Goodwin House Alexandria with a socially distant visit from family members. Connolly and her husband Jim were able to view the May 7 celebration through a window as children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren held signs and left gifts in honor of the occasion.” [Gazette]
T.C. Williams High School Violinist Wins National Merit Scholarship — “Kudos to Chamber Orchestra violinist Leah Nickelsburg, who is the only TC Williams student to be awarded a National Merit Scholarship of $2,500 in this week’s announcement by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation! She was one of 68 recipients statewide who were judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.” [Facebook]
Kindergarten Registration Begins on Wednesday — “Due to the Governor’s stay-at-home order, 2020-21 kindergarten registration will take place completely online. All registration steps, including the enrollment form and providing documentation, must be completed for a child to be able to start school.” [ACPS]
Old Town Businesses Giving Portion of Proceeds to Nonprofits — “Alexandria’s stores and restaurants will give a percentage of their sales to the charities of the customers’ choice. For every lunch or dinner ordered OR purchase made, we will share those profits with clientele’s charity of choice located on the Spring2ACTion website.” [Facebook]
Fire Department Recognizes EMS Week — “Our EMS personnel are facing challenges every day, especially during a pandemic. Their compassion is admirable and their dedication to the profession and community is appreciated. Thank you for all that you do. Happy #EMSWeek. Stay safe and healthy Alexandria!” [Facebook]
Yates Dry Cleaning Donates Cloth Face Masks to Neighborhood Health — “The masks will be distributed to patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus and to their families. Need a mask? Yates has them for sale in both adult and child sizes.” [Facebook]
Kiskadee Starts Spring Sale by Appointment Only — “Kiskadee’s Spring Sale is happening now! Click below to sign up for a private shopping appointment.” [Facebook]
Video: Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub Opens Mini-Market — “Here is a little clip of our Market.” [Facebook]
New Jobs: Alexandria Health Department is Hiring — “The Alexandria Health Department (a division of VDH) is seeking candidates for Communications Officer, Senior Epidemiologist, and two Public Health Nurse positions in the areas of Sexual Reproductive Health and Tuberculosis/Newcomer Health.” [City of Alexandria]
Inova Hospital System Needs Blood Donations — “Starting this week, over 1,400 blood donors will be needed each week to make lifesaving donations. One blood donation can save up to three lives! Schedule your lifesaving donation with Inova Blood Donor Services online at www.inovabloodsaves.org or call 1-866-BLOODSAVES.” [Facebook]
Video: Alexandria Firefighters Thank Health Care Workers — “Station 203 members made a quick stop at Envoy of Alexandria today to thank healthcare workers.” [Facebook]
VDOT Asks Drivers to Slow Down on Interstate — “While many #stayhome and #socialdistance, there are fewer cars on our roads. That doesn’t mean safety goes out the window, though. PLEASE comply with posted speed limits. Let’s help keep each other safe #NoNeedForSpeed #SlowDown” [Twitter]
Rep. Beyer Defends Dr. Fauci Amid COVID-19 Criticism — “People in positions of power and influence trying to capitalize commercially and politically on treating Dr. Fauci like some kind of national villain as he literally works to save their lives is not a proud moment for this country.” [Twitter]
City Continues Series on Teleworking ‘Innovation’ By Citing 911 Operators — “After a successful one-month pilot, Alexandria became the first city in the United States to enable some staff to answer 911 calls from home. Rather than relying on employees’ home phone or internet connections, this remote setup uses wireless hotspots connected to a dedicated national public safety network called FirstNet. Regardless of the location, staff comply with the same strict confidentiality and quality assurance standards, and have access to the same computer-aided dispatch system that helps route public safety resources.” [City of Alexandria]
New Sheriff’s Deputy Sworn In at Alexandria Courthouse — “Congratulations and welcome to Deputy Fidelis Asonglefac who was sworn in yesterday! Deputy Asonglefac received his badge and Clerk of Circuit Court Greg Parks administered the oath of office at the courthouse.” [Facebook]
New Italian Restaurant Planned for Del Ray This Summer — “Piece Out LLC, which operates Café Pizzaiolo, St. Elmo’s and Markt2Market, is working on opening a from-scratch Italian restaurant at 2419 Mount Vernon Ave. The restaurant will initially focus on carry-out dining with plans to grow into a sit-down restaurant as the region starts to recover from the coronavirus crisis, according to owner Larry Ponzi. The restaurant will include pizza, house-made pasta and more. The company is very early in the planning process, Ponzi said, but he hopes to open the new Italian restaurant by mid-summer.” [Alexandria Living]
Alexandria Animal Hospital Now Open For All Appointments — “Whoop! We are excited to announce that we are now able to accept all appointment types. We will continue our curbside service and safety protocols to ensure the safety of our staff and clients. We’ll greet you outside and keep you informed during your pet’s visit. With safety in mind, we will continue to limit hospital traffic to associates only.” [Facebook]
Mount Vernon Community School Teacher Launches Youtube Channel — “Did you know that Mount Vernon Community School has many amazing dual language teachers? One of their music teachers, Mrs. Quesada-Sayler. has started a YouTube channel to provide more music lessons in Spanish and English. Check these out. They are awesome!” [Facebook]
Lee Fendall House Celebrates Museum Week — “Much has been said about the historic times we are living through now. Are you doing something to document them in your own way? Perhaps you are keeping a journal, taking pictures, or saving certain mementoes of life in quarantine?” [Facebook]
Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Center To Reopen Saturdays — “The City of Alexandria will reopen the Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Center for one day a week starting on Saturday, May 16. The limited opening is intended for residents who cannot store materials at home indefinitely for reasons such as moving. Others are encouraged to store materials until normal operations resume.” [Patch]
New Job: Administrative Specialist for Salvation Army National HQ — “Bachelors degree and at least two years’ of experience required. Knowledge of general office practices and procedures, effective and efficient record-keeping and bookkeeping practices, knowledge of proofreading symbols and basic mathematics. Ability to transcribe dictation and type information into a computer. Ability to scan documents and work with same. Ability to operate various office equipment including a telephone, Dictaphone, computer, scanner and adding machine.” [Indeed]
Northam Says Northern Virginia Will Ease Restrictions More Slowly — “Northam said that more information about ‘how this will work’ for Northern Virginia localities will be released on Wednesday.” [Reston Now]
Metro Phased Reopening Plan Includes Face Mask Requirement for Riders — “In the first phase, trains will run every 20 minutes and buses will operate on a Sunday schedule. Service will ramp up slowly from there. All riders will need to wear masks to board a bus or train in the WMATA system. (Right now, that’s just a recommendation and request, according to Metro’s website.)” [Alexandria Living]
Alexandria Salon Owner Cautions Against Reopening — “My colleagues and I think the Governor’s plan to allow salons to open is dangerous and shortsighted. It’s also worth mentioning that it seems the overwhelming majority with opposite opinion aren’t the professionals who have to do this work, based on the engagements I’ve had and observed in the comments section of the Governor’s Live streams. While that may not be an effective means of data collection, I think it speaks volumes– we are being excluded from the conversation about our own industries and our own lives.” [Alexandria Living]
DASH Adds Digital Displays for Riders at Bus Stops — “Thanks to the I-395 Commuter Choice funding, DASH is adding new digital displays to stops on the AT1 and AT9 to improve riders’ experience during essential travel. These signs display real time bus arrival information and helpful alerts.” [Facebook]
Scholarship Fund of Alexandria Online Auction Open Until May 30 — “We have received MORE THAN 150 Fantastic Auction Items, Expieriences, Packages, Gift Cards and One-of-A-Kind Opportunities from some amazing and generous local donors. This VIRTUAL SILENT Auction will help make up for our Canceled Spring Benefit Gala. ALL Proceeds Go to Helping Send T.C. Williams High School students with financial need to College.” [Facebook]
The Bishop Ireton High School Food Drive is on May 15 — “Spread the word! Looking forward to seeing you, even if for only a few minutes, socially distant. Thank you in advance!” [Facebook]
The Birchmere Reopening in June Schedules Performances in June — The upcoming schedule of performances includes Gaelic Storm, Steve Earl & The Dukes, and actor Kevin Bacon and his brother. [Facebook]
New Job: Digital Content Manager — “The Manager, Digital Content is responsible for the management and creation of content on AASLD’s (American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases) primary website and its related sites. This position will work with the Director, Digital Media to ensure AASLD’s websites are up-to-date, provide solid user experiences and follow best practices.” [Indeed]
Zebra Newspaper to Resume Printing in June — “The printing press rolls for us again in June, with your papers arriving around town and online June 8, 2020. But, the times, they are a-changin’ in terms of our distribution. We are adding more newspaper boxes to neighborhoods. If you want a box somewhere in particular, please let me know directly. You will start seeing them delivered in about 14 days.” [Zebra]
Road Paving Begins on Mount Vernon Avenue — “Mount Vernon Avenue will be under paving reconstruction for two weeks starting May 13, 2020.” [Zebra]
Taste of Del Ray, Other Community Events Canceled — “Taste of Del Ray and Well Ray in June as well as the Del Ray Music Festival will not happen in 2020. A decision on October’s Art on the Avenue, one of Del Ray’s largest events, has not been made. Art on the Avenue typically draws 75,000 people.” [Patch]
Former Councilman Fannon Named Alexandria Living Legend — “I have always been proud of Alexandria and was very fortunate to be born in such a great community… I was raised to be civic minded and to always contribute and give back to our fellow citizens.” [Gazette]
The city’s Hispanic population is largely located in Arlandria and leads with positive cases at 533 and four reported deaths.
“Our Latino community members are suffering disproportionately with COVID-19,” Casa Chirilagua said in an email. “Casa Chirilagua in Del Ray is a hub of support for the community. Their needs are great, but not anything we can’t address with concerted action.”
Donors are being asked to drop off donated items at 2610 Terrett Avenue and at Casa Chirilagua at 4109 Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray by this Thursday at noon.
The Christian nonprofit located in Arlandria works with more than 120 families living below the poverty line, and so far the nonprofit has also paid more than $25,000 in rent and utilities for families impacted by COVID-19. At this time, the 22305 ZIP code, which includes the Arlandria, Potomac Yard and Potomac West neighborhoods, had the largest number of reported cases at 360, with an estimated population of 16,095 residents.
Additionally, last Friday, local groups demanded that Virginia Governor Ralph Northam authorize supplying 10,000 testing kits to the Arlandria area, and provide housing for poor COVID-positive patients living in jam-packed housing. It is not clear how many people have recovered from the virus, and an accurate count on the number of cases is difficult to maintain in Alexandria since the highest infection rates are in the city’s poorest areas.
Casa Chirilagua also conducts a donation drive from 1-4 p.m. on Thursdays and a weekly food distribution every Thursday at 5 p.m.
Here is a list of what they are looking for:
The most commonly needed household items for families in the community are the following:
- Laundry Detergent
- Body Soap
- Dish Soap
- Cleaning Supplies such as Windex and All-Purpose Spray Cleaners
- Dental Floss
- Toilet Paper
- Paper Towels
The following food items are much needed in the community:
- Uncooked beans (black/pinto)
- Instant coffee
- Oil (canola, olive)
- Uncooked pasta
- Canned tuna/chicken
- Canned beans (black/pinto)
- Canned tomato sauce
- Canned soups
- Baby food
- Granola bars
- Maseca (corn flour)
- Packaged flour tortillas
- Packaged corn tortillas
- Baby formula
- Apple Sauce
Staff photo by James Cullum
Alexandria’s poorest areas have been hit hardest by the coronavirus, and local groups are demanding that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam respond by supplying 10,000 testing kits over the next 10 days and providing housing for COVID-positive patients who currently live in jam-packed residences.
“We urge the governor to come visit Arlandria and see it with his own eyes, leave the governor’s mansion, check it out and then take dramatic action necessary to stop or at least slow down the spread of this disease,” Jon Liss, co-director of New Virginia Majority said in a Friday afternoon tele-press conference with Tenants and Workers United.
The Virginia Department of Health is now providing data on cases by ZIP code, and revealed that Alexandria’s poorest areas have been hit hardest by the virus. The 22305 ZIP code, which includes the Arlandria, Potomac Yard and Potomac West neighborhoods, has the largest number of reported cases at 317 and an estimated population of 16,095 residents.
There is a Neighborhood Health COVID-19 testing site in Arlandria, although many residents have found it difficult signing up to become a patient to take a test.
Arlandria resident Asusena Esquivel is a Neighborhood Health patient and lives in an apartment with four other people. She and another resident she lives with were tested, although two others weren’t tested because they weren’t members of Neighborhood Health.
“All of us in the house will have not been working the last two months with no funding,” Esquivel said. “We are all going to get it regardless. We can’t avoid not getting it because we do not have the money, we do not have the funding, the resources, nor the privilege to live in ample space or go somewhere else if one of us is sick. It shouldn’t be like this.”
There is also the issue of freezing rent, and last week Tenants and Workers United also led a community-wide protest demanding that Virginia implement a rent freeze for workers affected by COVID-19. In April, the Alexandria City Council unanimously approved Councilman Canek Aguirre’s call for a rent freeze, formally calling on state and federal officials to put a potential moratorium on rents and mortgages and to suspend the reporting of negative credit information by credit bureaus.
Evelin Urritria, executive director of Tenants and Workers United, said that the poorest residents often live in overcrowded conditions and health care options are scarce.
“We’re thinking about opening up the state phase by phase. What is this going to mean for a community like Arlandria,” Urritria said. “This is a big issue, because at this point it’s not just you who is sick, it’s everyone in your entire family who is exposed to it and who will get sick, and we’re talking about one-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom apartments.”
BREAKING: We just hosted a press conference with New Virginia Majority about the devastating COVID-19 infection rate in Chirilagua. We're calling on Governor of Virginia to immediately address this crisis by expanding access to testing, ensuring tests and treatment are free, and providing housing so that residents can safely isolate. We need to protect our community before Virginia can safely reopen. Watch our video below – press conference starts at 1:23#KeepUsSafeVA #Chirilagua
Posted by Tenants and Workers United – Inquilinos y Trabajadores Unidos on Friday, May 8, 2020
Staff photo by James Cullum
Alexandria Police are investigating an assault that occurred at the 24 Hour Express Food Store in Arlandria on Wednesday night.
Police received the call at around 9:15 p.m. and found a man with non-life threatening injuries. The victim was transported to The George Washington University Hospital and was conscious when he spoke to police, according to scene commander Sergeant Mark Blackwell.
“There were witnesses,” Blackwell told ALXnow, adding that the suspect has been identified, but not arrested.
Police spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine said that the victim received a cut on one of his hands.
What prompted the incident is unclear, and the incident occurred outside the shop. Shop management have also supplied police of security footage of the incident.
NOTIFICATION :: The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a felonious assault in the 4000 block of Mount Vernon Avenue. Victim transported to local hospital with non life threatening injury. Expect police activity in the area.
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) May 7, 2020
Staff photo by James Cullum
T.C. Senior Wins $40K Scholarship — “What does it feel like to get a SURPRISE ZOOM CALL from U.S. Senator Mark Warner, Lisa Collis, and daughters Gillian, Eliza & Madison…telling you that you are the first recipient of the Collis Warner Family Scholarship worth $40,000? Just ask T.C. Williams High School Senior Foziya Mohammed! Mohammed received the call this afternoon…’I am shocked and excited! I was nervous I thought this was a call about some kind of problem with my scholarship application. I’m not nervous anymore! Thank you so much. I would tell all of the younger students at T.C. that hard work pays off!'” [Facebook]
Police Respond to Domestic Violence Service Call — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a weapon violation in the 1400 block of South Highview Lane. A helicopter is assisting and expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]
Local Reporter Gets Coronavirus Test — “To my surprise, the ER wasn’t crowded and I got in fast. With the social scene dead, the emergency room would be the most interesting thing I’d do that week. I kind of like the ER. You’re waited on, there’s a lot of hustle and bustle, and you generally feel you’re safe. Although this time was slightly different. The nurse wore a hazmat suit.” [Zebra]
Hops N Shine Hosting Virtual Beer Tasting Tonight — “This will be a Zoom meeting broadcast onto Facebook live for all to see. We welcome you to join us on Zoom to chat about how things are going for breweries, cideries, and restaurants around town, or if you just want to watch you can check it out on Facebook.” [Facebook]
T.C. Seniors Make Fox 5 DC Appearance — “T.C. Williams High School seniors TJ Horton & Amiya Chisolm on Fox 5 DC with Principal Balas this morning talking about the Titan #Classof2020 documentary we’re making. Don’t miss out – record your stories this Friday, May 1!” [Facebook]
New Job Posting: Virtual Insurance Agent — “The Financial Crisis Prevention Center is seeking highly motivated Benefits Analysts to meet with federal employees about their retirement benefits, supplemental insurance, annuities, and fringe benefit discount programs. Hiring immediately part-time and full-time sales representatives. Licensed and unlicensed positions available.” [Indeed]
Carpenter’s Shelter Gets Face Mask Donation — “Thanks to Elegance By Roya Bridal – Alexandria for these beautiful masks made by their atelier and donated to the shelter for the protection of our residents. We are appreciative of your, and all of our donor support for needed items such as masks, Clorox cleaning wipes, and sanitizer.” [Facebook]
Oakville Triangle Plan Comment Deadline is Today — “As a reminder, the online feedback portal for the applicant’s second online engagement posted on April 16 will remain open through tomorrow, April 30. Please take a few minutes to view the second presentation and provide comments.” [City of Alexandria]
Del Ray Cakery Makes Flower-like Cookie Bouquets — “Mother’s Day bouquets! 3 choices DM if interested. $15 each.” [Facebook]
There’s a 500-Piece Lee Fendall House Museum Jigsaw Puzzle — “Feeling PUZZLED about how to spend your time? How about a springtime image of Lee-Fendall House? These 500-piece puzzles are $18, and all proceeds support our preservation and education work. Message us on Facebook, email [email protected]
Old Town Book Club Goes Online This Saturday — “In this captivating story of crisis and survival, Emily St. John Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes: campgrounds for the near-homeless, underground electronica clubs, the business of international shipping, service in luxury hotels, and life in a federal prison. Rife with unexpected beauty, The Glass Hotel is a captivating portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.” [Old Town Books]
Alexandrian Creates Haiku Contest for Sister’s 70th Birthday — “Poring over the poems was the closest they were going to get to a family reunion. They picked their three favorites and sent the entire batch to the family to enjoy.” [Washington Post]
Lee Raynes says she’s got this one. There’s no dampening of her spirits, because the new owner of Bellies & Babies is on a spiritual journey and the pandemic is just a bus stop.
Raynes bought the Del Ray consignment shop from owner Dawn Luepke last fall and took over at the beginning of the year. She had two months of a mild winter’s worth of business before COVID-19 effectively shut down foot traffic along Mount Vernon Avenue and limited the number of customers she could let into the shop.
“I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” Raynes told ALXnow. “I have been on a journey of self-discovery for five years now, and it takes a long time to change. It doesn’t just happen.”
Now most of her sales are made on Facebook and Instagram, and she says more than 500 customers have established charge accounts so that they can make impulse buys should any item of interest pop up. She also recently closed the shop during the week except by appointment, and is open on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
The shop sells children’s toys and clothes at deeply discounted rates. The items are provided by more than 3,000 consigners.
“It’s just whatever people bring me I put out to the world,” Raynes said. “I am just a conduit.”
Raynes wants people to know her story, about how she left her marriage of 20 years, quit her career as the operations manager for a photography company and ventured into a new life. The 42-year-old native of Westchester County, New York, then started her own concierge service (which she hopes to integrate into Bellies & Babies), and now lives within walking distance from her shop with her nine-year-old son.
“I had to do a lot of self-work to figure out what it looks like to fix not being happy, you know? And so I went on a journey of trying anything,” she said. “I tried meditation, I tried acupuncture, lots of yoga, pilates, pretty much anything recommended.”
Raynes added, “A lot of it worked. I am much more spiritual, and I am far less judgmental than I ever used to be. I was unhappy in both my marriage and my work. So, I decided that I couldn’t change both in one year. I separated from my husband and then gave a year’s notice to my work and said, ‘I will train my protege.’ And that’s what I did. I separated from my husband and then I hired somebody to train and then that following year I left that job and decided to look at what I was good at, and what I enjoyed doing.”
One day last year, Raynes walked into Bellies & Babies and started talking to Luepke about the shop, and Luepke asked if she was interested in buying it. Raynes recalls the answer she gave as appreciative, yet unrealistic in tone, as if such a thing would never really happen. But the idea of owning the shop grew in her mind, and Raynes, who also received positive advice from her psychic on the matter, jumped at the chance when Luepke posted a note on social media announcing that she was selling.
“I love being saturated in this neighborhood. This is Del Ray,” Raynes said. “I mean, you can’t name one other place like it, not even Old Town. It’s not the same. I’ve always wanted to live near a city but not in a city.”
Raynes has taken a deep financial hit because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have taken a huge financial hit, and it sucks, but it isn’t gonna break me,” she said. “I look at the other people who were bidding on this company who were putting their life savings on the line. They were going in wholeheartedly and Dawn made the decision that it wasn’t the right fit. I find that fascinating, because had this pandemic hit, and one of those people were the ones that bought it they would be completely wiped out.”
Regardless of the circumstances, she said she’s happy with the decision to buy the shop.
“A lot of people are willing to settle. And I felt like I had settled enough. In my marriage, in my life, in my career. I was done with settling,” Raynes said. “I decided that I was no longer going to be an innocent bystander in my own life. I wanted to choose instead of just let life happen to me.”
In other words, she said that the shop has provided her with a sense of ownership.
“I chose this path, and I will move through it,” she said. “I think, really, sometimes you need a reality check of what is important. And I think that one thing the pandemic has taught us is priorities of what really is important. Is it money? Is it the store? Is it family? Is it friends? Is it the condition of your house? Is the fulfillment in your work? For me, it’s helping my neighbors. What is it for you?”
Tenants and Workers United Organizes Rent Protest in Arlandria Friday — “Join our Caravan. THIS FRIDAY at 4:30 P.M.” ️[Facebook]
Here’s an Updated List of Alexandria’s Nonprofit Needs — “This list is updated on a regular basis, so check back regularly to see the latest items needed to support our most vulnerable populations during this critical time. Thank you for caring for our community!” [Volunteer Alexandria]
‘Let’s Meat On The Avenue’ Requiring Customers Wear Face Masks — “As of TOMORROW [Wednesday], we will REQUIRE all patrons to wear masks. ‘Most everyone’s already on board, but we had a nitwit or two today.” [Twitter]
Taqueria Picoso Donates Tacos to Police — “Thank you so much #TaqueriaPicoso for dropping off tacos for our officers and dispatch! From left to right: Capt. Ladislaw, Taqueria Picoso employees, and Officer Cushing.” [Twitter]
City Housing Director Wins 2020 Regional Housing Leaders Award — “This month we are honoring Helen McIlvaine for leading the Office of Housing in the City of Alexandria, developing creative solutions in land use and zoning, and supporting a dedicated source of revenue to address the growing housing needs in the city.” [Facebook]
Revolutionary Fitness Hiring Gym Manager — “Under the direction and guidance of the CEO, the incumbent has the general responsibility of managing the day-to-day operations of Revolutionary Fitness.” [Indeed]
Del Ray Cakery Makes Hospital-Themed Cookies — “Thank you to all our healthcare professionals during this pandemic. We are truly grateful for your efforts!” [Facebook]
DASH Hosting Online Meeting to Discuss Future Service — “Join us live on Facebook at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday 4/29 for our Transit Development Plan Community Meeting to discuss potential changes to FY2021 service, including to the AT-4.” [Twitter]
Group Give Meals From ‘The Warehouse’ to Alexandria Hospital — “These are crazy, uncertain times right now and the least we can do is support our favorite independently owned restaurants and bring some food to healthcare professionals! Cheers to supporting local, supporting each other, and showing gratitude for our community! [Facebook]
Method Acting Used to Teach Polk Elementary Students the Scientific Method — “Hello children of Polk Elementary School. I am professor Brainstein, and Mr. Palmer has invited me to speak to you about the scientific method. First, I want you to feel welcome in my laboratory…” [wevideo.com]
Alexandria Nurse Speaking in Church Online Sermon Series at Noon — “As part of our Finding Hope sermon series, this week, we hear from our very own Caroline Cheek, an Emergency Room nurse, who shares how she has experienced hope in the last 6 weeks.” [Facebook]
Hunger Free Alexandria Has Urgent Need for Volunteers Today — “Urgent need for Thursday, April 23, 4:30-7:00 p.m. Hunger Free Alexandria is working with World Central Kitchen to feed our neighbors in need. Bring your mask and help with bagging pre-packaged food and distributing meals. Location is on Mount Vernon Avenue in Arlandria.” [Facebook]
State Legislators Reconvene in Richmond — “My “desk” at one of the most unusual legislative sessions in Virginia history. We begin at noon. You can watch us on the livestream. Virginia Transparency even during COVID-19!” [Mark Levine/Twitter]
Virginia Minimum Wage Increase Delayed to May 2021 — “Democrats had used the majorities they gained in last fall’s elections to push through an increase to the state’s $7.25-an-hour minimum wage, scheduling it to rise in stages until it reaches $12 by 2023. The initial increase was to take place in January but now will be delayed until May 1, 2021; the later increases will not be affected.” [Washington Post]
IDA Hosting Stanford Virtual Career Fair Today — “The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) is a not-for-profit organization that operates three federally-funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) supporting federal decision making: two serving the Department of Defense and one serving the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President.” [Indeed]
Washington Post Features Warwick Village — “Comprising 600 red-brick townhouses, the neighborhood offers families and first-time home buyers the convenience of living close to the amenities of Alexandria and the District in a friendly setting. Different paint colors, landscaping and indoor renovations make each house unique.” [Washington Post]
Alexandria Economic Development Partnership Launches New Website — ” With a clean format and simple navigation, our new website is replacing both of our old ones to make accessing information easier for our community. It also showcases our new brand: Alexandria- the Business of Bold.” [Facebook]
St. Stephens & St. Agnes Alum Now A Nurse in New Orleans — “Dr. Elizabeth Bellino ’94 works in the ER in New Orleans and her husband is an Anesthesiologist. She shared: “In these times, it amazes me how many friends from SSSAS have reached out to support us, whether it is a text, an email, or an offer to send masks. Feeling the support of community and family allows us to keep working during these times. Keep up the good work of keeping us all engaged and feeling like a community once again!” [Facebook]
West End Business Association Hosting Stress Management Webinar at 11 a.m. — “Mara Benner, President/Founder of Four Directions Wellness, LLC, will talk us through the stress we are all under and offer suggestions for reducing and managing that stress so that we can be productive in our lives, with our families and four our businesses.” [WEBA]
Hops N Shine Hosting Virtual Beer Tasting at 8:30 p.m. — “From Väsen Brewing Company we’ll be trying their May Rakau DIPA and The Everything Floats on Pineapple. From our friends at Vanish we’ll be tasting their Ghost Fleet and Wraith.” [Facebook]
Junction Bakery & Bistro is Now Delivering — “Neighbors! The new Junction Delivery van is gassed up & ready to rollllll … We bring it to you: groceries, breads & pastries, family meals, beer & wine — and yes, even our new craft cocktails! Cheaper than Uber Eats!” [Facebook]