Newsletter

Morning Notes

Board members who backed sale of River Farm resign — “Five board members of the American Horticultural Society (AHS) who backed the sale of historic River Farm, including its chair, have resigned, the organization said Thursday. Their departure from the evenly split governing body leaves only members who have opposed selling the Potomac River property that once formed part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.” [Washington Post]

Alexandria Love Your Pet Day Festival is on Sunday — “One week to go until the Alexandria Love Your Pet Day Festival! Join us next Sunday, Oct. 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the spacious Oronoco Bay Park for this free event with something for everyone — including well-behaved, leashed pets! Enjoy amazing performances, meet adoptable animals, visit fantastic vendors or grab a drink in the Port City beer garden!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Health Department hosting free flu shot clinic Saturday — “The Alexandria Health Department will host a free flu shot clinic on October 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., inside Francis C. Hammond Middle School (4646 Seminary Road). Parking will be available. Flu shots will be provided at no cost, and proof of residency or insurance will not be required. The clinic will be open to adults and children ages 6 months and older. The Alexandria Health Department encourages all members of the community to get a flu vaccine. The higher dose version of the flu shot for seniors will not be available at the clinic, but may be available through a pharmacy or healthcare provider.” [City of Alexandria]

Today’s weather — “Mainly sunny. High 72F. Winds light and variable… A mostly clear sky (in the evening). Low 52F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Deputy sheriff — “Deputy Sheriffs primarily work in a direct supervision adult detention center, housing approximately 350 adult inmates. Deputies manage inmate living units, handle inmate discipline, respond to inmate requests, supervise inmates, and resolve problems. Other responsibilities of a Deputy Sheriff outside of the Detention Center include service of court papers; warrant execution, courthouse/courtroom security, prisoner transportation, community engagement and general law enforcement duties.” [Governmentjobs.com]

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Multiple violent charges against a 25-year-old Fairfax County man have been dismissed in court, although the man remains in the Alexandria jail without bond after allegedly assaulting police during his arrest.

The suspect was arrested on July 27 for carjacking, assault and battery, brandishing a firearm and and assaulting police.

The victim reported to police that the suspect pointed a gun at her head, pistol-whipped her with a handgun and forced his way into her car at Armistead L. Boothe Park in the Cameron Station neighborhood, according to a search warrant. There was also a male passenger in the car with the victim, and both of them told police that they bailed out of the car a short time later.

The female victim also told police that the suspect also stole $400 in cash. The handgun allegedly used in the incident was discarded in a back yard in the 200 block of Medlock Lane, and it was later found by a resident and turned in to police, according to the affidavit.

The suspect was arrested less than a mile away outside the 7-Eleven at 30 S. Reynolds Street. He was later positively identified by the female victim.

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Morning Notes

Gun used in murder belonged to suspect’s bondsman — “The homicide of Alexandria resident Karla Dominguez last summer sparked widespread uproar because her alleged murderer, Ibrahim Bouaichi, had been released on bond in April despite having been indicted for allegedly raping and assaulting Dominguez in October 2019. Now, new information reveals that the bondsman who posted bail for Bouaichi knew him beforehand and that both the vehicle and weapon Bouaichi used to commit the murder belonged to the bondsman, Man Nguyen.” [Alex Times]

Twenty years later, residents recall the September 11 attacks — “Two residents had been on the plane that hit the Pentagon and many more residents had friends and other people from their lives who had been killed or impacted by the attacks on New York City and the Pentagon and the crash in Pennsylvania. On Friday, Sept. 14, the city held a candlelight vigil at Market Square, with residents filling the area in front of city hall and overflowing onto King, Cameron and Fairfax streets.” [Alex Times]

River Farm negotiations continue despite developer interest — “The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust is claiming that a developer has given a letter of intent to purchase River Farm. The American Horticultural Society, which listed River Farm for sale in 2020, said it continues to only consider an offer from NOVA Parks.” [Patch]

Wegmans announces May 2022 opening in Carlyle — “Wegmans is building an 81,000 square-foot store in Alexandria just west of Hoffman Town Center off of Eisenhower Avenue. The grocery store at Carlyle Crossing is part of a mixed-use project on a 5-acre site.” [Alexandria Living]

Patrick Henry Recreation Center offers co-ed pick-up indoor futsal —  “All games have a running 8-minute clock, three goals to win, or the team ahead after 8 minutes stays on the floor. This drop-in program is free for City of Alexandria residents.Teens ages 12 to 15 meet every Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Adults ages 16 and up meet every Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.” [Facebook]

Today’s weather — “Mainly sunny. High 78F. Winds NNW at 10 to 20 mph… A mostly clear sky (in the evening). Low 56F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Watch officer — “The Watch Officer oversees the Department of Emergency & Customer Communications (DECC) call center operations and provides supervision to the department’s Public Safety Communications Supervisors. This position is responsible for monitoring, analyzing and assessing the potential impact that local and national threats may have on City-wide systems and resources; maintains communication with stakeholders including departmental staff, local and regional emergency communications officials, and the public; manages the department’s quality assurance program and accreditation program; and serves as the notification point-of-contact for information responsible for managing the Employee and Public Alerting System utilized by the City.” [Indeed]

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

Alexandria City Public Schools reopened their doors to full-time in-person instruction on Tuesday, and there have been a few hiccups. On Friday, we published a video taken of a brawl inside Alexandria City High School, and a teenager was hit by a car while walking home from school in Del Ray on Thursday.

This week was dominated by crime stories, although other big events occurred, such as the City breaking ground on a new broadband network.

In our poll this week, we asked if readers agree with a proposed 5 cent tax on plastic bags. Out of more than 900 votes, 62% said it shouldn’t be implemented and 38% said it should.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Alexandria man arrested for beating up ex-girlfriend in Old Town North
  2. Fox put George Washington Middle School into a lock-in today
  3. Design realities could conflict with promises to speed up stormwater improvements in Alexandria
  4. City breaks ground on new broadband network
  5. Poll: Do you support the proposed 5 cent plastic bag tax?
  6. This Alexandria gym manager went rogue and launched a personal training business
  7. Alexandria kicks off Restaurant Week tomorrow
  8. Alexandria sees huge spike in COVID-19 cases in August, another death
  9. Poll: Have you been impacted by flooding in Alexandria?
  10. New Normal: ACPS fully reopens for first time since pandemic started
  11. Evolving COVID-19 decisions loom as Alexandria City Public Schools fully reopen next Tuesday

Have a safe weekend!

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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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Minnie Howard field, via Google Maps

As the city and schools prepare for the process of overhauling Minnie Howard as part of the expanded Alexandria City High School, the Parks Department braces to go two years without access to one of the city’s most well-equipped fields on the school grounds.

At a meeting of the School Board and City Council, Jack Browand, division chief of Parks and Cultural Activities, fielded questions from City Council member John Chapman and Mayor Justin Wilson about how the city will fare without one of the most heavily used fields.

“[Activities] will be redistributed throughout the system,” Browand said, “but as everybody is aware, there isn’t another site like Minnie Howard.”

Browand said activities will be put on other fields, more will be pushed to weekends, and the city will do its best to utilities the existing infrastructure — but Browand said there’s no getting around the fact that fact that it’s going to hurt.

The strain on other parks should be relieved, somewhat, by plans to add a synthetic turf and lighting to Armistead L. Boothe Park (520 Cameron Station Blvd). Browand said the city hopes to have that field online by early 2022 to relieve the stress when construction starts at Minnie Howard around the same time.

Browand said the significance of Minnie Howard is in both its size and amenities.

“Minnie Howard has a restroom facility, parking, synthetic turf and lights,” Browand said. “Not every field has all of those attributes. There are fields with synthetic turf but no light, or fields that are grass but with lighting, and you have to be mindful of pushing the limits to those with maintenance.”

It isn’t a simple thing, Browand said, to add lights to an existing field.

Tell us about it,” Wilson quipped.

Browand said lighting isn’t as important in the summer, but activities in the fall and winter often require lighting with earlier sunsets. Browand also said the the Parks Department cannot use the lighting at the Parker-Gray Stadium at Alexandria City High School per agreement with neighbors.

“This field is going to go offline next spring,” Browand said. “It’s going to take a little time for us to consider lighting existing facilities that don’t have lights, that’s not going to be a short process, but we are looking at every avenue and we may resort to renting lights, because the need will change throughout the year.”

Options being considered are adding temporary lights at the Francis C. Hammond Middle School and Jefferson-Houston, both synthetic fields with ample parking, but no lights.

Browand said options will be presented to the Parks and Recreation Commission later this month.

“We’re going to have to get creative,” Browand said.

Photo via Google Maps

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Two years after historic floods wiped out swaths of the Holmes Run Trail, Alexandria is hosting a community meeting next week to provide an update on long-term repair efforts.

Parts of the trail in Dora Kelley Park have been inaccessible since flooding in 2018, but much of the rest of the trail has been in a state of disrepair since floods in 2019 undermined the structural integrity of two of the bridges and three stretches of trail.

A community meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 28, at 6:30 p.m. at the Patrick Henry Recreation Center (4653 Taney Avenue). The city said meeting will include a restoration schedule and planned restoration activities, as well as an opportunity for the public to ask questions.

:As part of the design phase of the restoration project the City will study how the flood impacted Holmes Run and determine how the trail, bridges, and slopes should be modified/stabilized to minimize potential damage from future flood events,” the city said in a press release.

Three sites along the trail, including the two bridges, are listed on the city website as Tier 1 repairs — repairs that are most essential and should be prioritized.

“Tier 1 repairs are the most complex and costly to complete due to the structural damage caused by recent floods,” the website notes. “Unfortunately, these are not quick fixes, and substantial civil and structural engineering is required to ensure these repairs are sustainable and not subject to damage by future flood events.”

These repairs are funded with the design phase scheduled to start in September 2021.

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Morning Notes

NOVA Parks pledges $800K to maintain River Farm, if sale goes through — “Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has taken steps to sweeten the offer it made on the historic River Farm property. Nova Parks Executive Director Paul Gilbert announced that the regional park authority has pledged $800,000 toward maintenance and improvement of the property should the American Horticultural Society, the current owner of River Farm, approve the sale.” [Alex Times]

Alexandria hosting Around the World Cultural Food Festival July 31 — “The biggest outdoor food festival in the D.C metro area will happen on Saturday, July 31. And this year’s edition will be held in Alexandria. Enjoy food, music, and an experience highlighting cultural diversity at Oronoco Bay Park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.” [Zebra]

Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery dedication ceremony this Saturday — “Join Historic Alexandria in honoring Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial’s inclusion in the African American Civil Rights Network (AACRN). The free dedication will include a wreath laying by the 31st Masonic District, a reading by representatives of the United States Colored Troops (USCT), and remarks by Reverend Taft Quincey Heatley. The ceremony will take place rain or shine.” [City of Alexandria]

Today’s weather — “Except for a few afternoon clouds, mainly sunny. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High near 90F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph… Mostly clear skies (in the evening). Low 67F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Part-time chess coach — “As a chess coach for us, you are the core of what we do! You provide a welcoming environment for elementary school children and instruct them on the game. Typically, you teach a group of 10 – 20 children (ages 5-11). You bring all the equipment (provided by us) and teach according to our curriculum, ensuring that you personalize and adjust your teaching to each kid and each group of kids as needed.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Two ARHA residents receive $6,000 college scholarships — “Two Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) residents have been awarded $6,000 scholarships for the upcoming school year, thanks to the Resident Scholarship Program from the Housing Authority Insurance (HAI) Group. This is the second consecutive year Natasha Cross has been selected for the funding… Yonael Tekleberhan, a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in Business is the second awardee.” [ARHA]

The Italian Place is opening a location in Fairfax — “We are getting closer and closer to the grand opening on July 24th of the new Mosaic District location. 🤩 If you haven’t registered yet, head over to our website to do so! We hope to see you all there!” [Facebook]

Del Ray Citizens Association hosting community pizza party Thursday — Come on out and join us this Thursday July 22 from 5 – 7pm at Del Ray Pizzeria, where the DRCA will be hosting a Del Ray Citizens Association Meet & Greet Pizza Party! Hang out with your fellow Del Ray superfans and enjoy some pizza, salad, tots, fries, and special happy hour pricing. DRP has set us up in the bar space, so we can enjoy some much-needed air conditioning. For those who may feel more comfortable socializing outdoors, we’re also working to set up a ‘spillover’ table in the Lot behind the restaurant.” [DRCA]

Park and recreation center signs replaced — “The signs at Ruby Tucker Park, Fort Williams Park, and Mt. Vernon Recreation Center were replaced with City standard signs last week. The signs were replaced to update addresses or broken and missing signs. Look out for new signs coming to Shirley Tyler Unity Park and William Ramsay Recreation Center coming this fall.” [Facebook]

Today’s weather — “Sunshine and some clouds (during the day). High 92F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph… Considerable clouds early (in the evening). Some decrease in clouds late. Low 72F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Package delivery driver — “UPS is accepting applications for temporary, seasonal full-time Package Delivery Drivers. This is a physical, fast-paced, outdoor position that involves continual lifting, lowering and carrying packages that typically weigh 25 – 35 lbs. and may weigh up to 70 lbs. A DOT physical exam is required. Package Delivery Drivers must have excellent customer contact and driving skills.” [Indeed]

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After taking a year off, the Around The World Cultural Food Festival will be celebrated later this month at Oronoco Bay Park on the Alexandria waterfront.

It’s the first year that the annual event will be hosted in Alexandria, and it will feature more than a dozen food, dessert and smoothie vendors making dishes from around the world.

“This pandemic changed our lives and the way we look at tomorrow in a drastic way,” wrote event organizers on Facebook. “We should never take anything for granted, so while we have this opportunity to host the event in a safe way for everyone- a large, spacious park, we hope to see you on July 31st at Oronoco Bay Park.”

Food trucks and vendors include:

The festival will also be held at Freedom Plaza in D.C. on August 28. Admission is free.

via Facebook

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