Newsletter

Morning Notes

First Lady Jill Biden is teaching at Northern Virginia Community College — “Starting the week of Labor Day, Biden will be spending every Tuesday and Thursday for 13 weeks on the Alexandria campus of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), according to a class schedule available to students.” [Washington Post]

ACPS needs crossing guards — “Volunteers are needed immediately to help our elementary students get to school safely due to a shortage of crossing guards. Can you help? If so, complete this volunteer application!” [Twitter]

Chinquapin pool reopens — Chinquapin Park Recreation Center and Aquatics Facility staff members are thrilled to welcome back customers! Following an extended summer closure for facility improvements, the center is now open for public use. For more information, visit alexandriava.gov/12352. [Facebook]

DASH sets up pop-up teams outside bus stops — “Our pop-up teams are still out at stops throughout our network and ready to help you make your trips on the #NewDASHNetwork or answer your questions. Come see us!” [Twitter]

Here’s the calendar for dog swims at Alexandria pools — “Treat your pooch to an end-of-summer dip in a City of Alexandria public pool. Alexandria Annual Dog Swims allow friendly dogs of all sizes to enjoy swims on Saturday, September 18 from 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. at Warwick Pool (3301 Landover St.) and on Sunday, September 19 from 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. at Old Town Pool (1609 Cameron St.). Tickets are required for all dog handlers to attend.” [Zebra]

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum needs volunteer tour guides — “Training is free but completing this online application is required. Following submission, a staff member will make contact to provide more details.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy (during the day). A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 87F. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph… Thunderstorms during the evening followed by occasional showers overnight. Low 67F. SSW winds shifting to NW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Temporary bilingual COVID-19 vaccine promoter — “The Vaccine Promotor(a)/CVN will engage with residents of underserved communities to provide education about COVID-19 and the importance of vaccination. The Promotor(a) will work with Neighborhood Health’s COVID-19 Outreach team to plan an overall outreach strategy and provide support to other vaccine-related activities.” [Indeed]

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This coming Monday, September 6, is Labor Day and a number of city government offices and facilities will be closed.

The biggest event of the three-day weekend will be the day before Labor Day — Sunday, September 5. The annual Old Town Festival of Speed & Style will bring crowds to marvel at classic and beautiful rides along King Street.

City services will shift to a holiday schedule the next day. Trash collection will move to Tuesday, parking enforcement at metered spaces will be lifted, and it will be your last chance to enjoy public pools.

The city has listed the following closures and other changes planned for the week of September 6.

Resource Recovery: Residential refuse and recycling will not be collected September 6. Collection services will be delayed by one day during the week of September 6: Monday’s collection will be on Tuesday; Tuesday’s collection, on Wednesday; Wednesday’s collection, on Thursday; and Thursday’s collection, on Friday. Visit Resource Recovery for more information. The Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection Center (3224 Colvin St.) will be closed Monday, September 6.

Animal Shelter: The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (4101 Eisenhower Ave.) will be open weekend hours by appointment on September 6. To make an appointment, visit AlexandriaAnimals.org/Adopt-By-Appointment or call 703.746.4774. For an animal emergency, call 703.746.4444.

Health Facilities: The Alexandria Health Department (4480 King St.), the Flora Krause Casey Health Center (1200 N. Howard St.) and the Teen Wellness Center at Alexandria City High School (3329 King St.) will be closed September 6.

Historic Alexandria: On September 6, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum (105-107 S. Fairfax St.) will be open regular hours, from 1 to 5 p.m. All other City museums will be closed. For more information, visit alexandriava.gov/Historic and follow Historic Alexandria on social media or call 703.746.4554.

Hotlines: All emergency hotlines operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including the child protective services hotline at 703.746.5800; the domestic violence hotline at 703.746.4911; the emergency services for mental health or substance abuse crisis hotline at 703.746.3401; the adult protective services hotline at 703.746.5778; and the sexual assault hotline at 703.683.7273.

Libraries: All Alexandria Library branches and the Alexandria Law Library (520 King St.) will be closed September 6. Visit the Alexandria Library website for more information.

Parking: On September 6, the Alexandria Police Department will suspend enforcement of parking restrictions at metered spaces, residential permit parking districts and other areas with posted parking time limits. This suspension of enforcement applies only to the restrictions at legal parking spaces and does not permit parking in any location normally prohibited (for example, no-parking zones, loading zones or spaces for persons with disabilities). Temporary no-parking signs will be enforced September 6.

Impound Lot: The City’s Impound Facility (5249 Eisenhower Ave.) will be closed September 6. The Impound Facility is closed every Saturday and Sunday and on all observed City holidays. Fees will continue to accrue on Saturdays and Sundays but not on holidays.

Recreation and Arts Centers: On September 6, the Charles Houston (901 Wythe Street) and Patrick Henry (4653 Taney Ave.) recreation centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N. Union St.) will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Chinquapin Park Recreation Center & Aquatics Facility (3210 King St.) and all other facilities will be closed. Visit alexandriava.gov/Recreation for more information.

Outdoor Pools: Old Town Pool (1609 Cameron St.) and Warwick Pool (3301 Landover St.) will be open from 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. September 6. Visit alexandriav.gov/Aquatics for more information.

Schools: All Alexandria City Public Schools and administrative offices will be closed Friday, September 3 and Monday, September 6.

Courts: On September 6, the Alexandria Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, Alexandria Circuit Court, Alexandria General District Court, Alexandria Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court and Court Service Unit (520 King St.) will be closed.

Department of Motor Vehicles: All Virginia DMV locations in Northern Virginia (including 2681 Mill Rd.) are open by appointment only. Many DMV services are available either online or by visiting dmvNOW.com/appt to schedule an appointment. Walk-in services are not available at this time.

Transit:  On September 6, the Alexandria Transit Company’s fare-free DASH bus service will operate on a Sunday schedule. The free King Street Trolley will operate from King Street Metro to Alexandria City Hall/Market Square, with service every 15 minutes, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Visit dashbus.com for more information.

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Morning Notes

City hosting The Fund for Alexandria’s Child virtual gala — “The Fund for Alexandria’s Child (The Fund) will host its second virtual gala on August 12, at 8 p.m. to benefit at-risk children and children in foster care. The public is invited to attend the interactive and inspiring event featuring a live auction, prizes, a raffle, entertainment, special guests and more, all from the comfort and safety of home.” [City of Alexandria]

Alexandria public pools update — “Memorial Pool will be closed on… Thursday, August 5 due to a maintenance issue. Warwick Pool and Old Town Pool remain open. Visit alexandriava.gov/Aquatics for operational hours at RPCA’s three outdoor pools.” [Twitter]

Alexandria introducing flood mitigation grant program — “On Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 7 p.m., the city plans to hold a virtual information session. This webinar will introduce the new Flood Mitigation Pilot Grant Program, meant to offer financial assistance to homeowners who have installed flood mitigation measures on their property.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Sunshine (during the day). High 88F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph… Partly cloudy skies (in the evening). Low 68F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Flag football and soccer coaches — “Kids in Motion is hiring sports coaches to teach super fun summer classes for kids ages 8-10 years old. Classes run during week days from 3;30-4:30 throughout Springfield and Alexandria. During sports classes, we coach kids using basic drills and work them up to scrimmaging. Payment is $40-50 per class depending on the location.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Galactic Panther Art Gallery to open on King Street in Old Town — “Galactic Panther, a new art gallery at 1303 King St. in Alexandria, will open in early August. The art gallery is a partnership between internationally-exhibiting artist Eli Pollard and Erik Meundel, who is the current owner of ESP Tea & Coffee.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Fire Department graduates three recruit schools — “The Alexandria Fire Department officially graduated Recruit School 49 on Thursday, July 22, and Recruit Schools 50 and 51 on Friday, July 23 at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial after postponing the ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. AFD welcomed and celebrated 45 new firefighter/EMTs.” [Patch]

Longtime Alexandrian librarian dies at age 100 — “Gladys Howard Davis, who was born on June 7, 1921 and raised in Alexandria, Virginia, where she was one of ten children born to Ezekial and Elizabeth “Winnie” Pollard Howard, was a witness to history and significant changes in her hometown where she helped educate generations of Alexandrians during her 60-plus years of service to the Alexandria Library system. She passed away July 10, 2021.” [Zebra]

Hot? Alexandria reopens cooling centers — “Looking to cool off? The City offers several locations as options to residents who may not have cooling in their homes, including recreation centers and libraries, as well as assistance for adults 60+ and some low-income households.” [Twitter]

Today’s weather — “Mainly sunny. High 94F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph… A mostly clear sky. Low 72F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Temporary pool operator — “In pursuit of service excellence, the Temporary Pool Operator provides facility monitoring for an aquatic environment for patrons of all ages and background. This position will ensure the safety of all patrons, ensure proper pool chemistry, repair and inspect pool pumps, filters, and plumbing, provide exceptional customer service, and other duties assigned. Pool operators also perform as lifeguards and must have lifeguard credentials. Pool Operators are the aquatics shift leader and provide direction to lifeguards on their shift.” [Indeed]

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What an unexpectedly busy summer week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

Our top story was on an Alexandria woman who claims she was roofied at a restaurant on the waterfront on the evening of July 9. A police report has been filed, and no charges have been made.

This week we sat down with acting Police Chief Don Hayes, who said that he’s thrown his hat in the ring with City Manager Mark Jinks to keep the top job. Hayes, a 40-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department took over after the sudden departure of Chief Michael Brown last month, and will have to contend against candidates in a national search.

The Tokyo Olympics also start this week, and the games will include three T.C. Williams High School graduates — sprinter Noah Lyles, high-jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend and boxer Troy Isley. In fact, Lyles just had a comic book biography published in the Washington Post. If you’re a fan of the Olympic games, check out this list of local restaurants celebrating with special events and meals.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Woman claims she was roofied at Old Town restaurant
  2. Residents protest against conditions at West End apartment complex
  3. Developers eye Beauregard redevelopment with West End upgrades on the horizon
  4. Former chef at ‘The Alexandrian’ opening new restaurant in Arlandria on Monday
  5. No injuries after shots fired in Braddock area on Wednesday
  6. DASH takes lessons from D.C., Baltimore and Oregon in eliminating bus fares
  7. ‘Call Your Mother Deli’ signs lease in Old Town
  8. After last month’s Democratic primary, Republican Darryl Nirenberg tops campaign donation leaderboard
  9. New city health improvement plan aims to fix inequities
  10. Poll: Have you been to the Winkler Botanical Preserve?
  11. Lee-Fendall House to throw speakeasy party to finance building repairs

Have a safe weekend!

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Alexandria’s public swimming pools are open, but residents will need to arrive early if they want a chance to cool off.

City pools close at 3:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday — as opposed to 7 p.m. in previous years — and on a recent hot weekend residents were kept out and asked to sign waitlists due to capacity issues.

“It has not been uncommon in normal operating years and with staff levels, that on the hottest days in the summer, occasionally the pools would reach capacity and patrons could not enter,” said Andrea Blackford, a senior communications specialist with the city.

Warwick Pool (3301 Landover Street) is open for lap swimming and open swimming every Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7:45 p.m., but closes at 4:45 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Old Town Pool (1609 Cameron Street) is open Monday to Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7:45 p.m., closes at 5:45 p.m. on Friday and at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

“City pool hours for summer 2021 are challenging for several reasons,” Blackford said. “First, the number of individuals that may be within the pool area are determined by the pool’s occupancy load and the number of staff needed to safely monitor aquatic activities.

Blackford continued, “Second, due to the closure of Chinquapin for planned maintenance this summer and the relocation of learn-to-swim programming, camps and other community programs, and the region-wide shortage of available lifeguards, the City has had to adjust normal open swim operating hours. Third, because of the lifeguard shortage, the centers cannot be extended for longer hours in the day. The City is actively recruiting lifeguards, and schedules will be adjusted if possible.”

Via Brian Matangelo/Unsplash

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Morning Notes

Simon Pearce Glassware store opens Friday in Old Town — “Vermont-based glassware-maker Simon Pearce will open its doors Friday at their new store in Old Town Alexandria at 721 King St., according to a spokeswoman for the company. The space was formerly home to Papyrus, the greeting cards and gift wrap store.” [Alexandria Living]

Family raises $70K+ in GoFundMe campaign for mother with cancer — “Our lives changed forever three weeks ago when our mom was unexpectedly diagnosed with an advanced cancer known as metastatic adenocarcinoma. The diagnosis took us completely by surprise. Three months ago, she was walking five miles a day, eating a pescetarian diet, going on her own day trips. She started reporting shortness of breath and fatigue in late March, but doctors were unable to diagnose these symptoms as cancer until early June.” [GoFundMe]

Alexandria Library expands hours and capacity — “As of July 6, all library locations are open on Fridays, while Beatley Central Library and Duncan Branch Library are open Sundays as well. Libraries have increased to 50 percent occupancy including staff. Limited volunteers may return at the discretion of the building managers. Meeting rooms remain unavailable, and most library programs continue virtually. Covered drinks are permitted but not food.” [Patch.com]

Goodies Frozen Custard and Treats makes it official with ribbon cutting — “Excited to cut the ribbon and welcome Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats officially to Alexandria! A local business with an adaptive reuse of a historic building, and…really tasty!” [Facebook]

Today’s weather — “Generally sunny despite a few afternoon clouds. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 97F. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph… Generally fair. Low around 75F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Summer lifeguards — “Applicants must be punctual, responsible, able to take/follow directions and multitask. Prior experience is not necessary but a current Lifeguard certification is required. Certification courses are available for selected candidates.” [Indeed]

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Athlete on the T.C. Williams Swim and Dive Team (photo via T.C. Williams High School/Facebook)

Despite the unanimous vote of approval to install a new pool at the Alexandria City High School’s Minnie Howard campus, even the most positive of voices on City Council last night were lukewarm about how they got there.

The Council voted 7-0 in favor of setting aside $12 million in funding, down from $19 million proposed earlier, with Alexandria City Public Schools diverting some funding from a solar panel project.

Like a parent scolding his child for reckless spending, City Manager Mark Jinks warned that the pool proposal is coming in after the budget has already been approved.

“This is a project that is not in the CIP (Capital Improvement Program),” Jinks told Council. “When the School Board made its request, we all acknowledged that pool capacity needs to be expanded… my proposal is to renovate Chinquapin, change the depth of the pool, and shorten it slightly for the right competitive length.”

Jinks said this would allow the city government and ACPS to determine, at a later date, whether to put a pool in somewhere else with greater access — considering the proposed school would be just a few blocks away from the existing Chinquapin Park Recreation Center and Aquatics Facility (3210 King Street), the only other indoor aquatics center in the city.

Jinks also warned that diverting up-front funding from the solar panel projects and opting instead towards privatized sources of funding is a short term budget trick that doesn’t save money in the long term, because the business investing in those solar panels up-front will want that money back from output in the future.

“This is using money that was supposed to be used to buy solar panels and put that into the pot,” Jinks said. “It won’t save us money long-term. It’s a budget tactic that works in the short-term but doesn’t help long-term.”

ACPS would also, Jinks said, face an additional annual operating cost of $1-1.5 million and likely up to $5,000 in capital maintenance expenses. While some pools make some of that cost back in fees and being rented out for private events, Jinks says that complicates the idea that this pool is being funded with equity in mind.

Ultimately, the timing of Chinquapin’s announced closure for cleaning– from June 26-Sept. 6 — helped sway some on the City Council toward funding another pool. City Council member john Chapman said angry public emails have flooded in after the closure was announced.

“I do understand and do believe the city has a number of other priorities,” Chapman said. “If we are forced to push, we will push a pool out of the way like we have before. Whether revenues are down or another project that will require our more immediate attention… I’ve seen that be done. That’s what’s leaning me to support a pool. It’s not that this is the perfect thing. I’m not overly excited for the late addition… but I don’t see another tangible alternative to say ‘we’re not going to do one at Minnie Howard, but instead of that we’re going to do this.'”

Jinks said funding for the pool would come in large part from issuing general obligation bunds for a set amount of money, with the City putting its foot down and saying that’s as much as it will provide.

The move was met with praise from ACPS leadership.

“I am truly overjoyed and thankful with the unanimous vote from City Council to provide funding for the aquatics facility at the Minnie Howard Campus,” School Board member Jacinta Greene told ALXnow. “For far too long Alexandria’s aquatics facilities have not met the needs of our ACPS student athletes or the overall community. Now our swim teams will be able to practice and compete in their own regulation size pool and the community can benefit from an additional pool for aquatics activities.”

Photo via T.C. Williams High School/Facebook

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A new city announcement today is already making waves: outdoor pools will open next month.

According to the city website, the city’s outdoor pools will reopen on Saturday, June 26, through Labor Day, September 6.

Pools were reopened last year, but with significant restrictions and wait lists for time slots. The only pandemic restriction noted this time around is 10′ physical distance between swimmers.

According to the city, the reopening pools are:

  • Old Town Pool (1609 Cameron St.) — This complex includes a 25-yard pool with a diving well. A separate training pool is available for children up to 42 inches tall. Easily accessible by ramp, the training pool has a depth of 1 to 3 feet. For added convenience, a parking lot, picnic area and tot playground are adjacent to the pool.
  • Memorial Pool at Charles Houston Recreation Center (901 Wythe St.) — This small pool can accommodate a maximum of 45 guests at one time. Due to its smaller size, access is limited to Alexandria residents 13 years of age and younger, and their parents or guardians.
  • Warwick Pool (3301 Landover St.) — This shallow, 25-yard pool features an accessible sloped entry pool and six swimming lanes. The pool is conveniently located adjacent to Landover Park, which features a playground.

Also opening is the interactive fountains at Potomac Yard Park’s playgrounds at 2501 Potomac Avenue. The parks feature 36 water jets with programmed sequences and lighting for nighttime effects. Shoes must be worn when using the fountain.

The water park is open every day from 10 a.m.-9 p.m., May 29 to Sept. 6, and then will close an hour earlier from Sept. 7 through Oct. 15.

Photo via Brian Matangelo/Unsplash

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School Board chair Meagan Alderton is pushing for the last-minute addition of an aquatics facility to the planned Alexandria City High School expansion, noting that the addition would help toward rectifying a longstanding racial disparity.

Alderton said Alexandria is guilty of the same nationwide disparity in swimming proficiency, with lack of access to pools for Black Americans creating disproportionately white aquatics sports teams. It’s a disparity Alderton said the city can start to push back against with a new pool at the Minnie Howard expansion planned as part of the high school overhaul.

“You only need to look at the swim team or crew team to know something isn’t right,” said Alderton. “These teams aren’t diverse and don’t represent he populations we serve. We need to be teaching Black and brown students how to swim. We need to be teaching elementary students how to swim. We need to be encouraging these students to participate in aquatics.”

Part of the challenge, though, is that the school request will be coming in late in the budget process, nearly a month after Alexandria’s City Council approved this year’s budget.

The pool had been included in earlier concept review, but hadn’t made the final cut for the budget process after analysis showed the pool would cost $1.2 million to offset the energy requirements of the pool keep the school at its Net Zero goals.

“Funding for pool is not in the School CIP,” said City Manager Mark Jinks. “That funding is not currently available. To change that, it would need to come forward as request from School Board to Council to change that number. That assumes that pool cannot be built for dollar amount set aside for Minnie Howard.”

Superintendent Gregory Hutchings said the schools would be moving forward with that request as soon as possible, saying a final decision would need to be made by the School Board sometime in the first week of June.

“Our design team asked for [a decision] by the beginning of June,” said Erika Gulick, director of capital programs. “We are already in the DSUP process. [The current] iteration currently includes a pool. Where Pre-K ends up going depends on the pool.”

ACPS staff said a they were aiming for a final decision at the June 9 School Board meeting, but Jinks said that’s too late. A submission from the School Board should come in no later than June 1.

While acknowledging the challenge of the late change, Alderton said if the city is committed to its goals of racial equity, it will find a way to make it happen.

“We are, indeed, asking the city to provide additional dollars to provide this facility for the Minnie Howard site,” Alderton said. “I find it hard to think there will be racial equity without investing dollars in communities that have historically been denied access… Consider it reparations for People of Color, because it’s long overdue. It has been so hurtful to watch and this school board is ready.”

Photo via T.C. Williams High School/Facebook

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