Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Alexandria Featured in Profiles on Region’s Oldest Homes — “One of the interesting aspects of the Ball-Sellers House is that some of the original roof is protected under a later roof. That’s also the case with the oldest surviving house in Alexandria: 517 Prince St., or what’s known as the Murray-Dick-Fawcett House. The oldest part of the house dates to 1772. There is access to the space between the old roof and the roof that was later built above it at a less-severe pitch.” [Washington Post]

West End Contractor Wins Big Missile System Contract — “The U.S. Navy awarded Alexandria-based Systems Planning and Analysis Inc. (SPA) an $85 million contract to provide technical support for the Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missile system, the company announced this week.” [Virginia Business]

ACPS Food Distribution Closed for Thanksgiving Break — “ACPS food distribution sites will be closed this Wednesday, Nov. 25 and Friday, Nov. 27 for Thanksgiving Break.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Regal Hiring Staff Again — “Floor Staff team members are classified based on individual theatre needs, and/or employee availability, as either variable hour, part-time fixed, part-time regular or full-time hourly employees whose primary responsibility is ensuring our guests receive exceptional service.” [Glassdoor]

George Washington’s River Farm Listed for Sale — “River Farm, the 27-acre property once owned by George Washington that now serves as the headquarters for the American Horticultural Society, was officially listed on the open real estate market at $32.9 million on Nov. 13.” [Alexandria Times]

Staff photo by James Cullum

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The Halloween spooky season isn’t quite over. Tomorrow is Friday, Nov. 13, and Mount Purrnon Cat Cafe and Wine Bar (109 S. Alfred Street) wants you to spend the unlucky day watching House on Haunted Hill with a black cat.

“Black cats and popcorn are the only way to celebrate Friday the 13th,” the cafe said on its Facebook page. “Watch House on Haunted Hill and spend some time with our resident kitties. Popcorn and soda (or tea, coffee) included in ticket price!”

The program is scheduled to run from 7-9 p.m. and tickets are $30 per person. Popcorn and tea or coffee will also be available during the program.

Mount Purrnon — which opened in August — is a cafe guests can visit with adoptable cats who roam the building.

Photo via Mount Purrnon Cat Cafe/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Man Shot to Death in Georgetown — “Officers from the Second District responded around 2:56 a.m., to the 3300 block of Water St., N.W., for the sound of gunshots. They found Franklin Hernandez Arevalo, 19, of Alexandria, Virginia suffering from a gunshot wound. D.C. Fire and EMS determined Arevalo had died and transported him later to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.” [Patch]

Beyer Says Trump Trying to Steal Election — “This is simple: Donald Trump is openly trying to steal an election he lost. He will not succeed, but we will remember who went along with it. ‘I was just following orders’ will not be accepted as an excuse for attempting to overthrow the results of an American election.” [Twitter]

ALIVE! Free Food Distribution is this Saturday — “On Sat, Nov 14, 8:30-10:30 am, @ALIVE4AlexVA will distribute food in Cora Kelly Elementary School parking lot (3600 Commonwealth Ave) and parking lot B-1 of NOVA-Alexandria Campus (3320 Bisdorf Drive; map at alive-inc.org).” [Twitter]

Free Flu Shots This Wednesday — “Now is the time to get a flu shot! The next Alexandria Inova Cares Clinic for Families FREE flu shot clinic for uninsured people is Wednesday, Nov. 11, 3-5 p.m.” [Twitter]

Virtual Alexandria Film Festival Kicks Off Nov. 12 — “There are about 50 films in this year’s festival.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s Weather — “Intervals of clouds and sunshine (during the day). Areas of patchy fog. High around 75F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Partly cloudy skies during the evening will give way to cloudy skies overnight. Slight chance of a rain shower. Low 62F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Juvenile Detention Specialist — “The Detention Specialist work involves providing direct care to detainees in the custody of the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center. The primary responsibilities for the position are to provide security, safety and care for juveniles. The Detention Specialist shall receive direct supervision by the Assistant Shift Supervisor and Shift Supervisor.” [Indeed]

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It was a historic week in Alexandria.

Alexandrians overwhelmingly helped reelect U.S. Senator Mark Warner and Congressman Don Beyer, and 80% of voters chose Democrat former Vice President Joe Biden for president over incumbent Republican President Donald Trump.

Out top story this week was election-related. It turns out that before election day several Alexandria households with Joe Biden signs were sent letters with a Northern Virginia postage mark stating that Biden is a pedophile. The Chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee advised that anyone who receives such notes should call the police. The police, in turn, are sending along the information to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Additionally, 91 people participated in our weekly poll. This week we asked about election night plans, and 65% of respondents said they were staying home to watch the results, 24% had no eleciton night plans, 10% planned to protest that evening, and 1% were going to an election night event.

School News

Alexandria City Public Schools were back in action this week — sort of. While the ACPS opened in-person classes on Thursday, fewer than 10 students made it to class. There were about 60 students eligible to go back to school, since only kids with kindergarten through second graders with disabilities were allowed to attend Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School.

It was the first in-person public schooling in Alexandria since the pandemic shut down schools in March. ACPS plans to expand opening for all citywide special education students by December. Meanwhile, however, hundreds of parents want the school system to open and have started the #OpenACPS messaging campaign.

Also in school news, a two-year-long court battle was settled with the city and 15 Alexandria homeowners were settled regarding the addition of stadium lights to Parker-Gray Stadium at T.C. Williams High School.

The Week in Crime

The week started with news that there were two shootings in Alexandria over the weekend.

The was also the story of a 17-year-old on the run since last month after allegedly stealing a car in the West End. The juvenile, who later admitted stealing the car, was seen by the victim — a federal law enforcement officer — driving past his house, and the victim got into another of his cars and followed the suspect. The victim got the juvenile out of his car and held him at the scene until police arrived, and the juvenile left the area after being charged.

We also covered the story of the ‘Beltway Bank Bandit’. Freddie Lee McRae, 34, of Washington D.C., pleaded guilty to three counts of brandishing a firearm during a series of bank and shoe store robberies in and around Alexandria in 2018 and 2019. He will be sentenced on February 23, 2021, and faces up to life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 21 years in prison.

Health and Business

As of Friday there were 76 deaths attributed to the coronavirus in Alexandria, and the case count stands at 4,444, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Latino residents continue to lead the case count.

We also reported that longtime Del Ray staple, Al’s Steak House, is for sale since the owner passed away.

This week also saw fewer continued and initial unemployment claims in Alexandria.

Here are ALXnow’s top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. Alexandrians with Joe Biden Yard Signs Get Anonymous Letters Saying Biden is a Pedophile
  2. Del Ray Staple Al’s Steak House for Sale After Owner’s Death
  3. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  4. Braddock West Project Headed to Planning Commission Later This Year
  5. Identity Released of Old Town North Suspect Killed in Shootout
  6. Soft Opening for New Chicken Joint in North Old Town Today
  7. Alexandria Parents Start #OpenACPS Sign Campaign as School System Begins Partial Reopening
  8. Juvenile Allegedly Steals Car and is Tracked Down by Victim in the West End
  9. BREAKING: Massive Power Outage Reported in Alexandria
  10. The Alexandria Drive-In Just Kicked Off an Encore Series on Halloween
  11. Did You Know: The Tall Ship Providence Encountered a Ghost Ship in 1777

Have a safe weekend!

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The Alexandria Drive-In returned to Eisenhower Avenue with a double feature on Halloween night, and there will be a dozen movies running this weekend until Dec. 5.

The drive-in showed “The Mummy” and “Casper” on Halloween.

“Our second series of movies will hopefully provide some humor on Halloween, especially with the absence of trick or treating, lighten your heart and any worries you have while you and your neighbors enjoy a few hours together, apart from celebrating the winter season,” said Kelly Grant, Chief Operating Officer for ALX Community, who came up with the idea.

The drive-in launched in August and the first six shows sold out in four days. The shows can hold 215 cars in the Victory Center parking lot at 5001 Eisenhower Avenue, and tickets cost $35 apiece. Proceeds from the events go to ACT for Alexandria and Athena Rapid Response.

“It’s so incredible to see the city come out and celebrate movies, togetherness, and charity during a time when going to the movies and being together is nearly impossible,” said Allen Brooks, Chief Operating Officer of The Garden, which partners with ALX Community. “Not to mention that we’ve already given $30,000 to a local charity that is already being used to provide desks for free to kids in the city through Athena response.”

The food trucks at the drive-in include DC Slices, Chix N Stix, Lattimore’s Funnel Cakes, and Popped Republic.

The Schedule

  • Saturday, Nov. 7 — “Nanny McPhee” & “The Race” (Double Feature)
  • Sunday, Nov. 8 — “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw”
  • Saturday, Nov. 14 — “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Pitch Perfect” (Double Feature)
  • Friday, Nov. 20 — “Sea Biscuit”
  • Saturday, Nov. 21 — “How to Train Your Dragon” and “42” (Double Feature)
  • Friday, Dec. 4 — “The Bourne Identity”
  • Saturday, Dec. 5 — “The Grinch” and “Love Actually” (Double Feature)

Photos via ALX Community

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Morning Notes

Dominion Says Sunday Power Outage Caused by Broken Pole/Cross Arm — “Update: A broken pole/cross arm caused the failure. We have been able to isolate the problem and are hoping to everyone back on line very soon.” [Twitter]

Retro Candy Shop Opening in Fairlington — “If you’re into nostalgic candy that will take you back to your childhood days, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the opening of Rocket Fizz, Soda Pop & Candy Shop at Fairlington Centre in Alexandria, according to signs posted in the windows.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Film Festival Unveils 2020 Program — “The Alexandria Film Festival, which will debut virtually this year Nov. 12-15, announced on Tuesday its 2020 programming of 45 short and feature length fiction and nonfiction films.” [Gazette]

The Following Bills Are Due This Month — “Bills for the 2020 second half real estate tax, refuse fees and stormwater utility fees are due Nov. 16. Make payments online, by phone or mail, or in person. Those unable to pay due to COVID-19 may be eligible for payment arrangements.” [Twitter]

Check Out These Cool Pumpkin Carvings in Alexandria — “For some 20 years, Rick and Lynne White have carved the humble pumpkin into a work of art. Their festive Halloween display on Emerald Drive in Alexandria’s Waynewood neighborhood draws a crowd every year.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Abundant sunshine (during the day). High 49F. Winds WNW at 15 to 25 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph. Clear skies (in the evening). Low 38F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Move-In Coordinator at Goodwin House — “The move-in coordinator is responsible for the move-in process; provides support to marketing director and marketing associate. Establishes a professional, supportive and caring relationship with the independent living residents. Coordinates necessary paperwork and support services to ensure that the move-process is as pleasant an experience as possible for the resident. Serves as a resource person during the move-in process.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Free COVID-19 Testing Today in West End — “FREE COVID-19 TESTING! Tomorrow (Thursday) from 3 PM until 6 PM @NeighborhoodHth will be hosting another COVID-19 testing pop-up in partnership with the City. The event will be held at Burke Library at 4701 Seminary Road.” [Twitter]

Beyer Says Trump Has Made Fortune While in Office — “Donald Trump has a secret Chinese bank account, new properties in Scotland opened while he was in office, half a billion dollars owed to creditors like Deutsche Bank, licensing deals in Turkey, India, and the Philippines, and the Saudi government spent millions at his hotels.” [Twitter]

‘Top Chef’ Alum to Debut PLNT Burger Friday at Whole Foods — “In Old Town, you’ll find ‘Top Chef’ alum Spike Mendelsohn opening PLNT Burger Friday at Whole Foods at Carlyle, 1700 Duke St. The vegan fast-casual eatery serves up a variety of Beyond Burgers, a chili bowl, sweet potato fries, “blooms” fried onions and more. This will be the seventh PLNT Burger in the Northeast”.[Alexandria Living]

Port City Brewing Company Wins Beer Award — “WOW! We are so excited and honored to have won a Bronze Medal at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival for our Oktoberfest!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Drive-In Showing ‘The Mummy’ and ‘Casper’ on Halloween — “Announcing our movie lineup for Halloween Weekend!” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Areas of patchy fog early. Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. High 78F. Winds light and variable. Partly cloudy early (in the evening) with increasing clouds overnight. Low near 60F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Anthropologie Seasonal Customer Associate — “We are looking for individuals whose primary role will be to connect and engage with our customers in a socially responsible manner. Seasonal employees will typically work between 8 and 20 hours a week, with an average shift being 4 hours long. Please be prepared to discuss your holiday season availability.” [Indeed]

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With its sold-out inaugural season in the books, the Alexandria Drive-In has written ACT for Alexandria a $15,000 check and is planning a sequel.

“Alexandria Drive-In started as a dream to help raise funds for locally loved nonprofits and to provide our friends and neighbors safe family entertainment,” Kelly Grant, chief operating officer for ALX Community told ALXnow. “The generosity of our volunteers and sponsors has been overwhelming. The decision to schedule a second series has been made and will be announced next week.”

All of the shows sold out quickly, and the proceeds went to ACT for Alexandria and Athena Rapid Response.

Grant came up with the idea of offering safe entertainment for residents. She partnered with The Garden and the movies were shown in the parking lot of the Victory Center at 5001 Eisenhower Avenue.

ACT for Alexandria’s CEO Heather Peeler thanked the drive-in with a video on social media.

“ALX Community and The Garden did something amazing this summer,” ACT for Alexandria CEO Heather Peeler said. “The $15,000 donation that we’ve received from the Alexandria Drive-In movie theater couldn’t have come at a more critical time for our community.”

ACT for Alexandria thanks ALX Community and The Garden for presenting Alexandria Drive-In, a phenomenal opportunity for…

Posted by ACT for Alexandria on Friday, October 9, 2020

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Morning Notes

Kamala Harris’ Husband Douglas Emhoff Ecourages Voters in Alexandria — “Excited to welcome @DouglasEmhoff to Alexandria as he works to encourage voters to turn out and make his wife our next Vice President!34K+ ballots have been mailed.Nearly 8K in-person early voters….and we are just getting started!” [Twitter]

Councilman Chapman Takes Tour of Potomac Yard Metro Station Construction –“Some pictures from my tour this morning of the construction site of the Potomac Yard Metro!” [Facebook]

Art on the Avenue Goes Virtual This Weekend — “Happy October! While this year’s festival is different, we’re still working overtime to support local artists and maintain the creativity and spirit of this community festival that we all love. Our 25th anniversary festival kicks off online Saturday at artontheavenue.org!” [Facebook]

Casa Chirilagua Chosen for Pandemic Street Design Grant — “Very grateful for Casa Chirilagua to have been selected!” [Facebook]

Carlyle Council Showing ‘Jumanji’ Saturday Night — “Join us this weekend for our Saturday Cinema Series showing of Jumanji: The Next Level! Grab a movie bag special from Sweet Fire Donna’s, bring a chair or a blanket and enjoy the film!” [Facebook]

Michael’s Little Italy Calls For Unity Through Italian Food — “Maybe we’re all from different families, countries, political parties. But that doesn’t matter at Sunday dinner. As we approach this weekend, I have an idea: come together folks. We have pizza, pasta, wine, and each other. That is really all we need.” [Facebook]

Sheriff Reads Kids’ Story Online — “Sheriff Dana Lawhorne shares a new book with a very important message — Speak Up! When something really matters, one voice can indeed make a difference.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. High 68F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Clear (in the evening). Low 47F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Fitness Operations Manager — “The Operations Managers are dedicated to making the fitness experience at our clubs an exceptional one. They create a clean, fun and friendly environment by training and motivating their staff. They also generate revenue, keep a clean and well maintained club, all while providing great customer service.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Beyer says Trump ‘Unleashed’ the Coronavirus — “Vice Chair @RepDonBeyer during today’s hearing: ‘Donald Trump holds the vast power of the U.S. Presidency–but he has refused to use it. He has not contained the coronavirus, but has unleashed it. As a result, many more lives will be lost.'” [Twitter]

Police to Conduct Traffic Enforcement Campaign for Drivers at Crosswalks — “APD is committed to protecting vulnerable road users by raising awareness about pedestrian and bike safety. The Traffic Safety is preparing to conduct multiple traffic enforcement operations which intend to address unsafe pedestrian and driving behavior in, and around, City of Alexandria crosswalks.” [Facebook]

Mystery of WWII Uniform Solved in 24 Hours on Nextdoor — “On Sept. 13, 2020, Colonel Royal Gervais’s uniform — after residing in an attic through 14 years of tenants and 22 years of my mom’s ownership, then in our closet for 34 years — was returned in person to members of his family as they shared photos and memories of the Colonel with us.” [Alexandria Living]

Sur La Table To Close At End Of September in Old Town — “Sur La Table, a high-end kitchenware store that also hosts cooking classes, will close its Alexandria location at the end of September.” [Patch]

7 On Your Side Uncovers Trash Issues with Alexandria Recycling Drop-off Center — “The video was taken by Advocates for Clean and Clear Waterways. The fence belongs to the Virginia Department of Transpiration and is torn apart and rolled back.   At the bottom of the fence, there’s a homeless camp. 7 On Your Side cameras found the same issues.” [WJLA]

Tickets Available for Senior Services of Alexandria Virtual Oktoberfest Celebration — “Oktoberfest is coming Oct. 15 and for the first time it will be virtual! Join SSA for a fun evening featuring Port City beers, delicious German food and a virtual beer tasting and tour of the brewery. This annual event supports Meals on Wheels, Groceries to Go, and the Friendly Visitor Program!” [Facebook]

Outdoor ‘Black Panther’ Outdoor Viewing Party in Carlyle this Weekend — “Join us this Saturday for a night to remember Chadwick Boseman – Wear your tribute costume, bring your tribute figurine and enjoy our showing of Black Panther.” [Facebook]

ALIVE! Distributing Food This Weekend — “ALIVE! will distribute food at two drive-through sites on Saturday, September 26, 8:30-10:30 a.m., in the parking lots of Cora Kelly (3600 Commonwealth Ave.) and John Adams (5651 Rayburn Ave.) Elementary Schools. These distributions include bags of shelf stable groceries, chicken and eggs, while supplies last. To observe no-contact food distribution, residents are encouraged to drive through and remain in their cars. Walks-ups are permitted but should maintain 6 feet of physical distance, wear a face mask, and bring carts or reusable bags to carry food home.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Sunny skies (during the day). High 81F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.Partly cloudy during the evening followed by cloudy skies overnight. Low around 60F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Food Program Coordinator at ALIVE! — “ALIVE! is searching for a full-time, temporary Food Program Coordinator through at least December 31, 2020. Hours are non-traditional and require evenings and weekends. Health care and leave benefits available for full-time staff. Two part-time hires may job share this position.” [Facebook]

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Morning Notes

Today’s the First Day of School for ACPS — “Let’s focus on getting connected this week! Make sure you have access to technology and have completed your back-to-school forms.” [ACPS]

West End Development Could Add Hundreds of Affordable Housing Units — “Wesley Housing is requesting a pre-development loan of $400,000 to start the development process on ParcView II, a new affordable rental project on Holmes Run Parkway in Alexandria’s West End.” [Alexandria Living]

Child Abuse Reports Go Down 40% — “Typically, Alexandria Child Protective Services receives more case reports in the spring than any other time of the year. However, this spring reports were down 40 percent from the average in recent years.” [Alexandria Living]

Gong Meditation Today in Del Ray — “Join us each Tuesday from 6-7pm, September 1 through October 20. Relax and support your body, mind and spirit through sound, yoga and meditation. Take a break from today’s hectic and stressful environment and see how you can benefit from sound therapy.” [Facebook]

Volunteers Needed for Food Distribution This Thursday — “Help serve meals and groceries this Thursday, September 10 at the Charles Houston Recreation Center. A project from the Washington Street UMC, ALIVE!, ARHA, and Charles Houston Recreation Center – this event generally serves more than 150 families!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Drive-In Shows ‘Back To The Future’ —  “Remembering you have one of the sold out spots for Back to the Future this Saturday …  ” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “During the day, mainly sunny. High 88F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. At night, partly to mostly cloudy. Low 69F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Keyholder at FatFace — “Our Alexandria store is looking for a passionate supervisor to lead the team and establish the brand in the local area.” [Indeed]

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Hundreds of captivated Alexandrians watched a T-Rex scream on the big screen on Eisenhower Avenue on Saturday night, as a sold-out viewing of Jurassic Park kicked off the first show of the Alexandria Drive-In Theatre.

“We are over the moon,” Kelly Grant, Chief Operating Officer for ALX Community, told ALXnow on Saturday night. “The movie is playing, we’ve got over 215 cars all going and the food trucks are running.”

Sadly, all of the next five shows in the theatre’s first season are sold out. Next weekend is Back to the Future, followed a week after that by Trolls, then Field of Dreams, ET and Mamma Mia. The shows are held in the parking lot of the Victory Center at 5001 Eisenhower Avenue and food truck deliveries from Curbside Kitchen were made by couriers from Pedego Electric Bikes.

Grant said there is a waitlist of 600 people signed up for future shows. Proceeds (1,250 tickets sold at $30 apiece) will go to ACT for Alexandria and Athena Rapid Response.

“The funds are going to support everything from the racial equity work that we’re doing to COVID support work to the initiatives that we have right now to support arts organizations,” said ACT for Alexandria President and CEO Heather Peeler, who wants to see Black Panther next season in honor of its late star Chadwick Boseman.

Sally Tran watched the movie in the bed of her truck with her friends and family. The truck was outfitted with a mattress, cushions and blankets.

“I ordered tickets for every single weekend,” Tran said. “We got really lucky.”

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