What a hot week in Alexandria.
With temperatures hovering in the mid-90s, the week started with a power outage at a 17-story apartment building in Landmark area. The outage lasted five days and residents had to find accommodations until the building reopened Friday afternoon.
On the coronavirus front, Alexandria experienced a slight uptick, and the health department says unvaccinated residents account for a majority of new cases. There have been 39 new cases reported so far this month in the city, and 13 cases were reported on July 9. That was the biggest single-day jump since May 20, when 18 new cases were reported.
In school news, this week we spoke with Alexandria High School Principal Peter Balas, who said that his staff are ready to fully reopen for full-time in-person instruction when the 2021-2022 school year starts on August 24.
- Chef Justus Frank is focusing on family with Elo’s Italian Pop-Up in Del Ray
- Mayor pushes for state-level building safety reform after Florida disaster
- Bilingual Montessori prechool to open in Rosemont church
- RiverRenew construction throughout Old Town to start this fall
- ARHA documents outline affordable housing organization’s shift toward rental-assistance
- Alexandria Drive-In to be discontinued after ‘Shrek’ this weekend
- Hotel Indigo in Old Town seeks to open private garage to waterfront visitors
- Planning Commission to review turning Old Town parking garage into townhouses
- Former chef at ‘The Alexandrian’ opening new restaurant in Arlandria on Monday
- Developers eye Beauregard redevelopment with West End upgrades on the horizon
- New city health improvement plan aims to fix inequities
- Here’s the plan for Alexandria’s birthday celebration this weekend
- City Council approves massive high-rise project without affordable housing near Eisenhower Metro station
- ‘Call Your Mother Deli’ signs lease in Old Town
- Del. Mark Levine raises eyebrows with letter that passes buck on constituent service
- Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
- Alexandria City High School is ready to reopen at full capacity next month, principal says
- School Board Member Jacinta Greene faces reelection, wants race relations taught in ACPS
- Tropical Storm Elsa’s dregs tear through southern Alexandria
- Poll: Do you agree with reallocation of school resource officer funding?
- West End high-rise apartment building evacuated after power outage
- The Alexandria Police, Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department all want raises
Have a safe weekend!
The short-lived resurgence of drive-in movie screenings in Alexandria during the pandemic seems to be winding down as the organizers of the Alexandria Drive-In announced the event will be discontinuing after this Saturday’s screening of Shrek.
The closing marks the end of short-lived fad when movie theaters were unsafe due to COVID-19. The Alexandria Drive-In launched last August with Jurassic Park and within four days all six initially scheduled movies were sold-out.
Alexandria wasn’t alone. Tysons, Arlington, and D.C. all featured drive-in movie screenings over the last year, but many ongoing drive-in series have been discontinued as locals return to movie theaters.
The Alexandria Drive-In will be discontinued after this Saturday night’s performance of Shrek.
With life returning to normal and movie theaters and entertainment venues coming back, event organizers decided to shut down the operation.
“As vaccination numbers rise and we are, thankfully, able to return to our new normal; celebrating in person with friends and families, attending events, and even going back to movie theaters, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue the Alexandria Drive-in after July,” organizers from The Garden wrote on the drive-in website.
The effort launched with Jurassic Park last August in the parking lot of the Victory Center at 5001 Eisenhower Avenue, and the first several shows were completely sold out.
“We loved the Drive-In,” said founder Kelly Grant of ALX Community. “It was the best example of a community coming together.”
Grant would later win the city’s Philanthropist of the Year Award for her effort, since more than 12,000 people safely saw movies on the big screen again. More than $150,000 was also donated to ACT for Alexandria, the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria and Athena Rapid Response.
Shrek will start at 9 p.m. and tickets are $40 per car.
‘Ghost kitchen’ could be headed to Alexandria — “Commercial kitchens like the one proposed are also known as ghost kitchens and they allow restaurants and food entrepreneurs to prepare delivery orders. Ghost kitchens grew in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic when many traditional restaurants were forced to close and the demand for take-out increased.” [Alexandria Living]
Face masks required at public and private schools until July 25 — “To address potential gaps in critical prevention measures at schools this summer, the State Health Commissioner, Dr. Norm Oliver, issued a Public Health Emergency Order effective July 1, requiring children and adults aged 5 and older to wear masks in public and private K-12 schools through July 25. The requirement applies to individuals regardless of vaccination status. The mask order also applies on school buses. Individuals are not required to wear masks when outside on school property, however the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recommends that unvaccinated individuals aged two and older wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings.” [City of Alexandria]
Del Ray featured in movie — “A new movie that recently premiered at the Brooklyn Film Festival filmed several scenes at local businesses in Del Ray. Kringle Time, a satirical comedy film about a singing snowman ‘that has nothing to do with Christmas,”‘was written and directed by Matthew Lucas, a former American University student and Arlington resident.” [Zebra]
City Council to vote on replacement services for SRO funding Tuesday — “City Council on Tuesday evening will consider how to spend the nearly $800,000 that used to fund the School Resource Officer program.” [Alexandria Living]
Today’s weather — “Sunshine and some clouds [during the day]. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 96F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph… A few clouds [in the evening]. Low 73F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New job: Assistant teacher — “The Campagna Early Learning Center Assistant Teacher is responsible for assisting the Teacher in planning and implementing age-appropriate curriculum for the children in the classroom in accordance with the program policies, guidelines and philosophy.” [Indeed]
Alexandria Black History Museum director speaks on anniversary of George Floyd’s murder — “Yes, there have been changes – Diversity and inclusion training are being taught in universities and the American workplace, some racists are being held accountable, corporations have promised new more transparent hiring procedures that would add African Americans to leadership positions, TV shows and advertisers have hired people of color in record numbers and The Oscars are not quite so #OscarsSoWhite anymore. All of this is meaningful, but it must be more than a quick fix. Everyone needs an ally, but being a true ally goes deeper than the protests. To be a real ally, you need to be there for the hard work, the messy work, and the unpleasant conversations about race and racism. You need to turn the mirror inward and make the personal changes that will help make your community a better place.” [Zebra]
Local chef appearing on FOX baking competition tonight — “Erinn Roth still can’t believe she was chosen to compete on FOX’s new baking competition show. ‘Crime Scene Kitchen’ premieres this Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET… The contestants are allowed to explore a kitchen that was recently used to bake a specific treat. They must use their baking skills and the clues left behind to determine what was baked and then they have two hours to recreate what they think it was. At the end of each episode, after two rounds, a team is eliminated.” [Alexandria Living]
Roy Rogers to reopen year and a half after Belle View Shopping Center fire — “The Roy Rogers in the Belle View Shopping Center will celebrate its long-awaited grand re-opening on June 1, the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce announced. Located at 1506 Belle View Blvd., the restaurant closed in October 2019 following a devastating multi-alarm fire that spread along the roofline of the shopping center. An investigation by the Fairfax County Fire Marshal’s office determined that fire began in a walk-in cooler at Yido Ramen and Sushi, which had opened just days before. [Alexandria Living]
Old Hat Bar opening delayed in Old Town by staffing challenges — “Residents eager to see Old Hat Bar open its doors in Old Town Alexandria will have to wait a little longer. The gastropub was set to open Friday, May 21 at 112 N. Saint Asaph Street, the former location of King Street Blues. But like other businesses in the food service industry, Old Hat Bar faces staffing challenges.” [Patch]
City to Host Town Hall on Anti-Asian Violence — The City of Alexandria invites the public to attend a virtual Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Town Hall, “Contextualizing Anti-Asian Violence in the Age of COVID,” on Thursday, May 27, at 7 p.m. The virtual panel discussion focuses on the wave of racial incidents and attacks directed toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel features Elisabeth Chan, Sue Jean Cho, John Min, and Alexander Purrugganan, faculty members of Northern Virginia Community College. Their presentation will be followed by an interactive question and answer session. The presentation is free, but attendees must register.” [City of Alexandria]
PHOTOS: Alexandria Fire Department train on the Potomac River — “Yesterday, some of our first responders participated in swift water boat operator training. #traineveryday #stayready” [Twitter]
Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy in the morning followed by scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. Gusty winds and small hail are possible. High 93F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%… Scattered thunderstorms in the evening. Partly cloudy skies overnight. Low 68F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.” [Weather.com]
New job: Crew at AMC Theatres — “AMC amazing. That’s the promise we deliver to nearly 35,000 associates, 240 million guests domestically, and 350 million guests worldwide each year. AMC has propelled industry innovation since 1920, and we continue to innovate by delivering premium sight and sound, new and improved food and beverage options, and diverse content in our state-of-the-art theatres.” [Indeed]
Suit alleging admissions discrimination at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology moves forward — “More than 70 percent of the student body at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is Asian American; Black and Hispanic students have been woefully underrepresented there for decades. At a hearing Friday in Alexandria, lawyers for the Fairfax County School Board urged a judge to toss out the lawsuit. They argue that the new admissions policies are race-neutral. But the judge ruled that the parents’ group made a compelling claim that the board’s true motivation was to increase Black and Hispanic representation at the expense of Asian Americans.” [WAVY.com]
Alexandria Symphony Orchestra extends contract for Maestro James Ross — “The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (ASO) announced that Music Director James Ross received a contract extension through the 2023-24 season. Ross has been at the helm of ASO since 2018. He is the fifth music director in ASO’s 78-year history.” [Zebra]
Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office tackling workplace stress with wellness challenge — “May is National Employee Health and Wellness Month. For the first time, my office has fully embraced that designation by implementing our ‘Mindful May Wellness Challenge.’ In addition to providing our employees with advice on mindfulness, we have constructed a month of activities and events designed to focus on employee wellness.” [AlexTimes]
Alexandria Drive-In announces June movies — “Tickets are $40 per car, and food trucks will be on-site each night providing delish, savory, and sweet concessions with online ordering through Goodfynd! Proceeds from the movie series will benefit local Alexandria charity, ATHENA Rapid Response Innovation Lab.” [Alexandria Living]
New sign unveiled in Del Ray for hero Rocky Versace — “Alexandria’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Del Ray bears Versace’s name and now, through the efforts of the Friends of Rocky Versace and the City of Alexandria, that narrative was unveiled May 15 during an Armed Forces Day ceremony at the local landmark.” [Gazette]
Local businesses struggle adapting to new mask guidance — ‘”My fear is that people will say they’re vaccinated when they’re not vaccinated and then just walk around unmasked,’ said Nicole McGrew, owner of the clothing and accessories boutique Threadleaf in Old Town Alexandria.” [NPR]
This Friday is the deadline to request a ballot by mail — “Last day to request a ballot by mail for the June 8 Democratic Party Primary Election. Applications must be received in the Voter Registration Office by 5pm. Applications may be submitted online (http://elections.virginia.gov) or by mail, fax (703.838.6449) or email ([email protected])” [City of Alexandria]
Today’s weather — “Overcast with rain showers at times. High around 70F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%… Rain showers early with overcast skies late. Low 59F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.” [Weather.com]
New job: Surveillance investigator — “DigiStream Investigations, a fast-growing private investigations firm, seeks a full-time Surveillance Investigator to work under general supervision, investigating suspicious worker’s compensation claims from various corporate clients in the state of Virginia. This autonomous position is both journalistic and investigative in nature, and centers around obtaining quality video footage and detailed report rendering on the activities captured by the investigator.” [Indeed]
Kelly Grant made it happen.
Last year, after five months of an exhausting pandemic, Grant struck oil after launching the Alexandria Drive-In. The effort raised more than $100,000, with more than 12,000 people safely seeing movies on the big screen again. Proceeds from the films went to ACT for Alexandria, the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria and Athena Rapid Response.
“It’s incredibly moving to watch the power of community make lasting impacts in our city,” Grant said. “Keep an eye out for ALX Community’s future community initiatives, as we continue to serve and support the wonderful people, small businesses, and communities that make Alexandria the place we love and call home.”
The Drive-In has since gone into its second season.
Alexandria launches pop-up recreation — “Stationed at various outdoor locations throughout the city, including parks and schools, the Pop-Up Rec will encourage people of all ages to get physically active. There will also be some indoor activities. Look for the Pop-Up Rec every Monday, Thursday and Saturday.” [Zebra]
Struggling veterans find new home in Alexandria — “Operation Renewed Hope Foundation opened a new home in Alexandria for Northern Virginia veterans struggling with homelessness on March 9, according to a news release.” [Alex Times]
Alexandria Drive-In proceeds on March 27 go to students — “JOIN the Alexandria Community in *Remembering* The Titans at the Alexandria Drive In March 27. All proceeds support college scholarships for the Class of 2021 Titans” [Twitter]
Today’s weather — “Sunny (during the day). High 64F. Winds ENE at 5 to 1… A few clouds overnight. Low 41F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New job: Bartender and server — “We are a waterfront restaurant and event venue in North Old Town Alexandria seeking qualified servers/bartenders to join our professional family. You must be experienced, personable, and have a passion for hospitality!” [Indeed]
All proceeds from the Alexandria Drive-In go to charity, and on Thursday (March 4) the nonprofit cut a check for $20,700 to the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria.
“I have never been more inspired with this community coming together as we did with the Alexandria Drive-In,” said Alexandria Drive-In founder Kelly Grant, who is a partner at Alx Community. “Its impact will have a ripple effect on our community for years to come; this check of over $20,000 is just the start. We are proud to help so many young students receive college scholarships and be able to reach their full potential.”
All proceeds from the drive-in, which returns tonight (Friday) with Jurassic Park, go to Athena Rapid Response Innovation Lab and the Scholarship Fund. The money will provide college scholarships for Class of 2021 graduates from T.C. Williams High School.
“On behalf our student scholars, we are incredibly grateful to the Drive-In and organizing partners ALX Communityand The Garden for selecting SFA as one of the charities that benefited from this past season,” said Rosie Wiedemer, SFA Relationship Manager. “We are so thankful to Garden COO Allen Brooks, also a Titan alum and former SFA scholarship recipient, and to Kelly Grant, COO of ALX Community for bringing the SFA in as a participating charity so that together we can send more Alexandria students with financial need to college.”
The Alexandria Drive-In Theatre is returning with 10 movies in March, including cult classics like Jurassic Park, The Princess Bride and Remember the Titans.
“Since the launch last August, the Alexandria Drive-In has quickly become a community staple, providing families and households with a safe activity during such a difficult time,” said Allen Brooks, Alexandria Drive-In co-founder. “The nostalgia of drive-ins mixed with the desire to be around others safely is something special, and we’re happy to be able to bring the community back together while fundraising for the Athena Rapid Response Innovation Lab as well as the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria.”
“I have never been more inspired with this community coming together as we did with the Alexandria Drive-In,” said Grant. “With ALX Community opening its third location, we are excited that Athena Rapid Response is going to carry the torch and continue the Alexandria Drive In. Stay tuned for many new community based initiatives that ALX will pioneer in 2021.”
Each screening can hold 215 cars, and tickets cost $40 per car. The movies are screened in the Victory Center parking lot at 5001 Eisenhower Avenue.
The March Movie Lineup is below:
- Friday, March 5, 7:00 p.m. — Jurassic Park
- Saturday, March 6, 6:30 p.m. — The Princess Bride
- Saturday, March 6, 9:30 p.m. — Black Panther
- Friday, March 12, 7:00 p.m. — Back to the Future
- Saturday, March 13, 6:30 p.m. — Despicable Me
- Saturday, March 13, 9:30 p.m. — Karate Kid
- Friday, March 19, 7:30 p.m. — Goonies
- Saturday, March 20, 7:30 p.m. — Into the Spider Verse
- Friday, March 26, 7:30 p.m. — Get Out
- Saturday, March 27, 7:30 p.m. — Remember the Titans