Newsletter

What a challenging week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

Alexandria track star Noah Lyles won the bronze medal in the 200 meters at the Tokyo Olympics, garnering congratulations from around the country, including locally by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Mayor Justin Wilson. Also this week, Lyles’ mom and brother held a watch party at his alma mater, Alexandria City High School.

This week, we also spoke with Alexandria boxer Troy “The Transformer” Isley, who said competing in the Olympics was a ‘dream come true.” Tynita Butts-Townsend, the third T.C. Williams High School graduate to participate in the games, did not make it past the first round of the high jump.

“I thought I would feel more crappy about getting last at the Olympics, but then I read that sentence again…IM STILL AN OLYMPIAN!” Butts-Townsend tweeted.

On the coronavirus front, with the City recommending residents wear masks indoors, this week the School Board voted to make it mandatory that face masks be worn when school starts later this month.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Parks Department braces for strain on system when Minnie Howard field closes down
  2. Alexandria reports 204 COVID-19 cases in July, a big jump over last month
  3. Alexandria City High School to host Olympics watch party to cheer on alumnus Noah Lyles
  4. ALXnow’s top stories this week in Alexandria
  5. GoFundMe launched for Will Nichols, retiring manager of St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub in Del Ray
  6. With ACPS expecting enrollment increase, Alexandria Mayor explains where kids come from
  7. Report details life of Black Alexandrians post-Civil War in home slated for redevelopment
  8. Noah Lyles to race for gold medal in 200 meters at Tokyo Olympics
  9. 18-year-old arrested for firing gunshots at West End apartment building
  10. EXCLUSIVE: Halal slaughterhouse opens, gives away free chickens for first two days in business
  11. Heritage project skirts denial at Board of Architectural Review meeting

Have a safe weekend!

Via Tcwtitantrack/Facebook

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Morning Notes

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]

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As Alexandria approaches its second spring and summer with COVID, the city is starting to put out details on limited selection of recreational programs that will be available to the public.

Registration for spring programs launched today with a variety of camps and sports clubs open to enrollment.

Those interested in registering can do so online or in-person by calling the Registration and Reservation Office at 703-746-5414 to schedule an appointment.

According to a press release, the city is planning to release the full slate of summer programming on Wednesday, March 24. Registration will open on Wednesday, April 7, for City residents and on Friday, April 9, for nonresidents.

“Programs will meet all health guidelines for staff, participants and spectators, including symptom screening; use of face masks; enhanced cleaning between activity periods; and physical distancing protocols specified for each type of program,” the city said. “To ensure participant safety and prevent the spread of COVID-19, indoor locations will have limited capacity.”

Private programs, like electronics and welding clubs at a West Eisenhower maker space, have announced similar summer plans that will also have limited indoor capacity based on state regulations.

There are also disability accommodations for summer and spring programs, with more information available by contacting [email protected]alexandriava.gov or 703-746-5504 for Virginia Relay 711.

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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Republican leader McCarthy Should Resign Over Capitol Siege Comments — “The reason McCarthy is trying to take back what he said about Trump’s obvious guilt — and now, absurdly, blaming ‘everybody’ — is McCarthy himself spread conspiracy theories and lies about the election, then led his caucus into an attack on our democracy. McCarthy should resign.” [Twitter]

Antonio Damiani of Tony’s Auto Service Passes Away — “Tony passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at Winchester Medical Center on Thursday evening, January 14, 2021 from complications of cancer he had battled for two years.” [Zebra]

Adult Mentors Needed — “Mentor one child, change two lives! The Alexandria Mentoring Partnership seeks adult mentors for children in need. Mentoring decreases risk factors associated with emotional well-being and success in school and life.” [Twitter]

City Seeks Public Comment on Wilkes Street Park Redesign — “The City of Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA) is seeking public comment for the proposed design of Wilkes Street Park. The proposed redesign of the 0.7-acre park was presented at the Park and Recreation Commission on Thursday, January 21, 2021. The community is encouraged to review the proposed park design and provide input via email until Wednesday, February 17, 2021.” [City of Alexandria]

Filipino Fast-Food Chain Jollibee to Open in Landmark-Area Shopping Center — “Wildly popular Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee has inked a deal to take over a shuttered Boston Market space at Plaza at Landmark, its second restaurant slated for the region that we know of.” [Washington Business Journal]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy with rain developing later in the day. High 42F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rain. Low around 35F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a half an inch.” [Weather.com]

New Job: LARGE FORMAT SIGNS – Digital Print Operator — “We are actively seeking experienced Print Operator for our large format digital print department. Ideal candidate to possess solid background in digital print production and signage along with a positive attitude, great organizational skills and strong hands on skill set.” [Indeed]

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COVID-19 has definitely put a damper on the already slimmed-down list of winter activities, but there are still dozens of activities residents can start registering for next week.

Registration is offered through the City of Alexandria’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities will begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 9, for City residents and on Friday, Dec. 11, for nonresidents. Winter registration applies to programs taking place January through March 2021.

Programs currently offered include a table game tournament (like ping pong and air hockey), dance classes, hula hoop classes and other socially distanced activities.

“Get ready for a flurry of fun this winter with a variety of in-person options for all ages, plus new virtual programs,” the city said in a press release. “View a complete list of winter programs online. Due to potential schedule and capacity adjustments from COVID-19, a printed or online program guide will not be produced for the winter program season.”

The city said in the press release that health guidelines include symptom screening, face masked, enhanced cleaning and physical distancing protocols. Be sure to register early, because the city noted that limited COVID-19 capacity meant indoor activities will have a smaller capacity than usual.

Photo via City of Alexandria/Facebook  

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A suite of new improvements could be coming to the Schuyler Hamilton Skate Park and Luckett Field just off Duke Street at 3540 Wheeler Avenue.

The Planning Commission is docketed to review the new safety improvements at the park at the June 2 meeting.

Among improvements planned is new lighting for the skate park.

“Although the skate park is currently not lighted, many young skateboarders use the park after dark, particularly during late fall and winter months,” the parks department said in its application. “Other areas of the park, including the ball fields, are lighted through 10 p.m. The lighting from those areas does not reach the skate park.”

The application says the new lights would be user-activated by pressing a button and would stay lit for one hour unless activated again. The lights would not be able to turn on past 10 p.m.

There are seven new lights planned, each at a maximum of 25 feet up.

Planned improvements also include a new netting system around the ballfield, which would extend above the six-foot fence surrounding the facility.

“The netting provides additional safety to users, spectators and vehicles in the adjacent parking lots from balls topping the existing fence,” the application said.

Two new batting cages are also proposed for the baseball field.

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ALIVE! gave out 30,716 pounds of food to more than 1,000 Alexandria households on Saturday, and now its shelves are nearly empty.

The 50-year-old nonprofit’s next distribution of food will not be until the end of May, although ALIVE! will continue providing food to local pantries between now and then, said Executive Director Jennifer Ayers.

“People can continue to rely on ALIVE! to supply local pantries and community nonprofits,” Ayers told ALXnow. “We are working on increasing inventory and we have seen our referrals for home delivery triple since the shelter in place, and requests for financial support are rising.”

Food pantries around the city are still open, and Ayers encouraged residents to visit Hunger Free Alexandria to see the locations of food distribution points. Ayers is encouraging those who want to help to donate to the organization through the Spring2ACTion online fundraiser on April 15.

So far, ALIVE! has received $20,000 from the city to buy 17,000 meals worth of bulk food. The city also found storage space for the nonprofit to house all of the food. There were other notable donations in recent days, including $1,000 in gift cards from Elizabeth’s Counter.

Last Saturday, families received four bags of food at the drive-thru distributions at John Adams Elementary School and Cora Kelly School.

“A huge thank you to everyone in the community,” Ayers said. “This is truly a community effort.”

Ayers gave a shout-out to the following organizations and volunteers for their support:

  • Alexandria Transportation and Environmental Services
  • The Alexandria Police Department
  • The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office
  • The Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Volunteer Alexandria
  • Caring Transitions
  • The Salvation Army
  • Your Dog’s Best Friend
  • Affordable Signs
  • Minuteman Press of Alexandria
  • Del Ray Farmer’s Market
  • Elizabeth’s Counter
  • Old Blue BBQ
  • Lancaster Food LLC
  • Fresh Produce Association
  • Great Harvest Bakery
  • Jen Walker Team
  • Pat Miller
  • Alexandria City Public Schools
  • The Alexandria Department of Community and Health Services

Photo via Alive!/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Port City Brewing Co. Closes Tasting Room — “Effective Sunday, March 15, 2020, we will be closing our Tasting Room until further notice. We are doing this to help the community try to get a handle on the spread of Coronavirus.”[Facebook]

ACPS Provides Food Access Update — “Starting Monday, Alexandria City Public Schools will be providing emergency meals at no cost for any child under 18 and any family who needs it.” [ACPS]

DASH Modifies Bus Routes — “Beginning Thursday, March 19, DASH will operate on an “Enhanced Saturday” schedule weekdays in order to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 among our employees, riders and community.” [DASH]

Alexandria Library Open, Taking Social Distancing Measures — “As of Saturday, March 14, 2020 the Alexandria Library will be canceling all Library programs, events, outreach activities, passport services, proctoring, and meeting room reservations through Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Meeting rooms will not be available for use. Computers and seating will be reconfigured, with fewer available for use.” [Alexandria Library]

Recreation Dept. Suspends Events Until March 21 — “All indoor programs, classes and activities produced by RPCA are suspended Saturday, March 14 through Saturday, March 21. This includes afterschool programming and the Out of School Time program. Credits will be issued for any missed activities during this time. Throughout the one week programming break, RPCA will continue to evaluate which services can be offered going forward and will provide an update prior to March 21.” [RPCA]

‘Maximum Telework’ for Federal Employees — “OPM Finally Announces: ‘Federal offices in the Washington, DC area status: Open with maximum telework flexibilities.'” [PoPville]

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Morning Notes

Questions About Homicide Arrest at T.C. — “Because Aly’s arrest was part of an ongoing criminal investigation, Virginia State Police, the lead law enforcement agency on the case, haven’t released details about his connection to the crime. But some parents and students have sought answers to different questions: Why did the arrest take place at school, and what happened at the school that day?” [Alexandria Times]

Rec Registration Starts Next Week — “Registration for spring and summer classes and activities offered by the City of Alexandria’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities will begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18 for City residents and Friday, March 20 for nonresidents. Spring and summer registration applies to classes, leagues and activities occurring April through August 2020.” [City of Alexandria]

Controlled Burn Leads to Hazy Sunday — Across much of the D.C. area Sunday afternoon, smoke from a controlled burn at Marine Corps Base Quantico led to temporary hazy conditions outside and a “campfire” smell. [ARLnow]

“Moonlight and Magnolias” at Little Theatre Until March 21 — “It’s Hollywood, 1939. Legendary film producer David O. Selznick is five weeks into shooting ‘Gone with the Wind’ when he realizes the script is awful and the director doesn’t have a clue. He has a few short days to replace them and restart shooting or the production will shut down.” [Gazette]

Nominations Open For Chamber of Commerce’s 40 Under 40 — “The 40 under 40 class celebrate 40 outstanding leaders and innovators who either live or work within the city of Alexandria. The nomination period closes March 13, 2020. Go to www.thechamberalx.com/young-leaders-network.html to nominate a leader for this honor.” [Alexandria Living]

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Morning Notes

Presidential Primary Day in Alexandria — Today is Super Tuesday, the presidential primary day in Virginia and 13 other states across the U.S. Here in Alexandria, polls are open from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. [City of Alexandria]

New Development Near Braddock Road Metro — “CRC Cos. LLC is pitching a plan to redevelop several single-family homes across from the Braddock Road Metro station into a new mixed-use building. The Arlington-based real estate firm submitted plans to Alexandria officials last week for a seven-story, 177-unit building along North West Street, bounded by Madison Street and Wythe Street. The proposal also calls for a small space set aside for ground-floor retail.” [Washington Business Journal]

Meeting Planned for Tot Lot Renovations — Alexandria’s parks department “will renovate Woodbine Tot Lot  in partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation mid-March through mid-April. A community pre-construction meeting with City staff and the contractor is scheduled for Saturday, March 7 at 10 a.m. at Woodbine Tot Lot (1509 Woodbine St.). Make-A-Wish Foundation America approached the City of Alexandria with a wish from Whitaker, a local four-year-old undergoing cancer treatment.” [City of Alexandria]

A Tale of Two Kindnesses — A man who stopped to help a family in need in Alexandria was, soon thereafter, helped by the same family when it turned out that he was in need of assistance, too. [Alexandria Living]

Trampoline Park Opens in West End — “Get Air, an indoor trampoline park with a variety of activities, has opened at 340 South Pickett Street in Alexandria. The venue has thousands of square feet of trampolines, including vertical trampolines, a trampoline dodgeball area, trampoline lanes for slamball, tightrope walking challenge, and a foam pit.” [Patch, Alexandria Living]

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