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A man was charged with forcible sodomy and rape of a woman in her Old Town apartment on Sunday, April 7, 2024 (via Google Maps)

A 47-year-old Alexandria man was charged with forcible sodomy and attempted rape against a woman in her Old Town apartment on Sunday.

The Alexandria Police Department said that the victim knows the suspect, but did not go further except to say that Antuan Bostick was arrested at around 8:10 p.m. on Sunday, April 7, after a neighbor called 911. The neighbor told the dispatcher that she could hear the victim screaming for help for up to five minutes.

Bostick is being held without bond and goes to court for the offenses on May 10. He was also charged in March with driving while intoxicated. He has also been found guilty for a number of drug and alcohol convictions back to 2018, according to court records.

Alexandria’s Department of Emergency Communications got the 911 call at 8:03 p.m., officers were dispatched at 8:06 p.m. and arrived at the scene at 8:10 p.m., according to APD. No weapon was found at the scene, and police said that the investigation remains active.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault and would like to talk or needs resources, contact the Alexandria Sexual Assault Hotline at 703-683-7273, where a trained advocate is available 24 hours a day.

Map via Google Maps

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If you have a friend who buys Powerball at this Safeway at 8646 Richmond Highway, the next round at the bar is on them (photo via Google Maps)

What a busy week in Alexandria.

This week’s top story was all about money, with a $1 million Powerball ticket getting sold in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County.

On Monday we reported that an Alexandria resident was charged after a loaded gun was allegedly found in his carry-on bag at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). The incident marked the third time last month that a firearm was confiscated from luggage at the airport.

Also Monday, Mayor Justin Wilson said in his monthly newsletter that the March 27 death of the Potomac Yard arena deal would likely mean a period of stagnation for that area of the city. Landowner JBG Smith, however, softened its stance after initially releasing a scathing opinion on the situation, and told the Washington Business Journal on Wednesday that it now envisions Potomac Yard as a tech corridor anchored by the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus.

In a Thursday poll, ALXnow asked whether Alexandria is better off without the Potomac Yard arena. The poll got more than 1,300 responses, with 65% voting “Yes,” 26% voting “No” and nearly 10% voting “I don’t know.”

Got a good spot to see the eclipse on Monday? Our second-most-read story this week showcases an eclipse viewing party being hosted by the city in Old Town.

The most-read stories this week were:

  1. Powerball ticket worth $1 million sold in Mount Vernon (7387 views)
  2. City of Alexandria hosting eclipse viewing party in Old Town (7375 views)
  3. Notes: Pizza and cocktail bar opening this week in Old Town (5997 views)
  4. Sign ordinance update tackling longstanding sign complaints from Alexandria businesses (5400 views)
  5. In wake of Potomac Yard arena implosion, Alexandria mayor says area will stay the same for ‘quite some time’ (5398 views)
  6. Alexandria gets federal grant for Duke Street transitway (4171 views)
  7. No arrest after woman stabbed in neck in Alexandria’s West End (3522 views)
  8. CIM Group sells apartment complex next to old Landmark Mall property for $225 million (3149 views)

Have a safe weekend!

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The 200 block of King Street in Old Town, Alexandria (staff photo by James Cullum)

(Updated 3:40 p.m.) To get a business improvement district (BID) approved for Old Town, proponents will need the support of 60% of properties in the proposed zone. But a new change could cut property owners who don’t engage at all out of that 60% requirement.

City Council member John Chapman said after outreach was done for the Old Town BID there were over 200 property owners that never responded either in favor or against the proposal.

Currently, not weighing in on the project is tantamount to not supporting it.

“Those business owners wanted to look at adjusting the way we were doing counting to not qualify those individuals for counting toward the percentage of property owners that were either for or against the BID,” Chapman said.

While the proposed BID would get a leg up by not counting absent property owners in that 60% requirement, previous attempts at getting the BID going have faced active community backlash at times.

While many on the City Council expressed their support for that change, Chapman said the city should do more outreach to those property owners first for “another opportunity to have their voices heard for or against the creation of a business improvement district.”

“The goal is to engage those individuals, if they remain not voting at all, that their property would not count toward whether or not we do a BID,” Chapman said. “We do not want those who do not engage with this process to count against this process.”

Others on the City Council generally expressed support for the change. City Council member Sarah Bagley said she’s heard from businesses that support the idea of the BID but have absentee owners who don’t weigh in one way or the other.

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Partial solar eclipse (photo via Geronimo Giqueaux/Unsplash)

On Monday, April 8, Alexandria Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities is hosting a gathering to watch the partial solar eclipse.

The viewing party is scheduled for 3-3:45 p.m. at the Old Town Pool (1609 Cameron Street).  The event will include eclipse glasses to view the event safely, along with arts and crafts for the family.

“There will be a partial solar eclipse visible in Alexandria on April 8,” the event listing said. “You will be able to see the shadow of the moon cross in front of the sun. Join us at the Old Town Pool picnic area to learn about why the fascinating phenomenon happens and get eclipse glasses, so you can look safely.”

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Sur La Table is reopening at 326 King Street. (staff photo by James Cullum)

It’s not uncommon to hear business owners in Alexandria lament that local sign ordinances can be onerous and unwieldy, but an update to an ordinance could be a sign that things are changing.

Eight years after the last update to the sign ordinance, the City of Alexandria is taking another crack at it.

The new sign ordinance update aims to improve the organization, clarity and consistency of how the city handles signage, as well as offering a little more regulatory flexibility.

Notably, digital signs and A-frame signs are currently prohibited unless approved by a special use permit, like the sign at The Birchmere.

For digital signs, city staff said at a meeting yesterday (Monday) that the city should consider things like aesthetics and safety in considering whether or not to allow digital signs, but also that “they’re able to communicate more information than the typical changeable copy signs.”

Regulatory limitations being considered include:

  • No effects, flashing or moving of individual images
  • Frequency image on screen can change
  • If freestanding, required to be a monument sign

Staff also said A-frame signs in the public right of way have also been a topic of discussion from businesses.

The current zoning ordinance does not allow A-frames in the public right of way, but the city could also consider issues of clutter, safety and accessibility in determining whether or not they should be allowed.

Some regulatory limitations proposed for A-frame signs include:

  • Clearly defined pedestrian walkways
  • Maximum distance from storefront
  • Display hours
  • Quality of materials
  • Liability insurance

Lastly, staff said painted wall signs and murals have also been discussed. Painted murals currently count against wall signage allotment, but that could change.

Staff said the murals create and aesthetic benefit — highlighting artwork at local yarn store fibre space as an example of beautifully done artwork contributing to the neighborhood — but there are concerns about legal issues around regulating the content of what can be painted.

Staff said there could be restrictions on what buildings can be painted — always a guaranteed brawl at the Board of Architectural Review — and a limit set on the maximum size of the mural.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a work session on the sign ordinance update on Thursday, April 4, at 7 p.m.

Another community meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 29, at 6 p.m. in City Hall, then the ordinance will go to the Planning Commission and City Council for public hearings in June.

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Cleanup planned at Windmill Hill Park (image via City of Alexandria)

April is Earth Month and anyone hoping to contribute locally can help out at an event in Old Town next week.

The City of Alexandria Department of Transportation and Environmental Services Stormwater Management Division is hosting a stream clean-up event at the shoreline of Windmill Hill Park on Saturday, April 6, from 9-11 a.m.

Participants will meet at S. Union Street and Gibbon Street for a sign-in and event briefing before walking to the shoreline.

According to the release:

The clean-up event is held during Earth Month, celebrated annually during the month of April. Eco-City Alexandria will be hosting events throughout the month to extend Earth Day celebrations and to continue its commitment to sustainability. Earth Month is recognized as an opportunity to empower residents to make a positive impact on the environment.

The City will provide gloves, bags, and first aid kits during the events. Participants are encouraged to dress appropriately, in long pants and covered footwear, and to bring water.

To register for the event or request more information, contact nolan.compton@alexandriava.gov.

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Madison and Riverside Place in Old Town (image via Google Maps)

(Updated 4:30 p.m.) The Alexandria Police Department arrested an adult man wanted for murder in Huntersville, North Carolina early this morning in Old Town.

Alexandria Police Department Communications Manager Tracy Walker said police received a “be on the lookout” notice and observed the suspect’s vehicle at 11:50 p.m. Police identified the suspect as 53-year-old Rahman Ferguson. He is being held in the Alexandria Adult Detention Center awaiting extradition.

Police began pursuing Ferguson, who stopped his vehicle and fled. Walker said a perimeter was established at Madison and Rivergate Place near Oronoco Bay Park. Support was called in from neighboring jurisdictions with canine units and a helicopter from Fairfax County.

Around 2:20 a.m. the Ferguson was located and arrested without incident, police said.

Image via Google Maps

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A smoking heating and air system has closed Bugsy’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar at 111 King Street for the foreseeable future, the restaurant owner told ALXnow.

Owner Bartolo Paz said that smoke came out of the furnace this afternoon after it was turned on by restaurant staff, that no one was hurt, and that there is minimal damage.

“They had to cut out some drywall and insulation,” Paz told ALXnow. “Nothing major.”

The Alexandria Fire Department responded to the commercial building fire call for service at around noon, according to dispatch reports.

A favorite sports bar in Old Town, Bugsy’s is named after Bryan Watson, the former defenseman with the Washington Capitals pro hockey team. Watson opened the business in 1983 as Armand’s Pizzeria & Grille with the upstairs bar, The Penalty Box. Watson sold the business to Paz in 2013, and died in 2021.

Paz said that he hopes to reopen the restaurant soon.

The restaurant released the following statement on social media:

Good afternoon,

Unfortunately earlier today we experienced a fire inside our building, everyone is okay but this has caused us to close down for the foreseeable future. We apologize for the inconvenience but we will keep everyone updated as soon as we get the updates ourselves and we look forward to opening back up as soon as possible so we can continue to provide all our customers with exceptional service. Thank you so much for understanding and we hope to see everyone soon.

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Pieces of 18th-Century ships waiting to be scanned (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated 11:15 a.m.) A new ‘windowfront exhibit’ about the Buried Ships of Robinson Landing is coming to Old Town early next month.

The exhibit features scale models of four 18th and 19th-century ships discovered during excavations of the Robinson Landing Site.

According to an event listing:

In 2018, archaeologists excavated the three historic vessels from the Robinson Landing Site, on the same block as the new exhibit. The scale models show what these ships may have looked like in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Archaeologists will join City officials to speak on the exhibit’s debut.

The exhibit is set to open on Saturday, April 6, at the corner of the Strand and Pioneer Mill Way. The ribbon-cutting will be that day at 1 p.m.

The models will be on display in Old Town. Three of the original ships have re-sunk in the pond at Ben Brenman Park as part of a preservation effort, while the third is still at Texas A&M undergoing conservation work.

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Windsor of Old Town (photo via Windsor of Old Town Salon & Day Spa/Facebook)

Windsor of Old Town Salon & Day Spa, along with the men-focused The Gentlemen’s Quarters, will be closing up shop in Old Town (107 S. Union Street) by the end of this month.

On Facebook, the company said it’s become “too challenging to continue” but that staff from the business will be moving over to Sugar House Day Spa and Salon nearby at 111 North Alfred Street.

“Donna and Stephen Windsor and the rest of our team at Windsor Of Old Town Salon & Day Spa [and] The Gentlemen’s Quarters would like to thank you for 43 wonderful years,” the business owners said on Facebook. “It has been an experience that we will cherish forever. As much as we have loved our time at 107 S. Union St., like many others it has become too challenging for us to continue.”

The company said that the Windsor of Old Town Salon and Spa staff will be starting at Sugar House Day Spa & Salon starting April 1.

“Sugar House is an establishment that has been servicing the Old Town community for over 25 years and we are excited for this new chapter,” the business said in a notice at Windsor of Old Town Salon & Day Spa. “We appreciate your understanding during this transition and we look forward to seeing you again at Sugar House Day Spa and Salon.”

Photo via Windsor of Old Town Salon & Spa/Facebook

Hat tip to Ryan Belmore

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