Newsletter

It was a cold week in Alexandria.

With bits of snow and temperatures hovering at around freezing, our top story this week was on Allison Priebe, the local business owner who was robbed while pumping gas in Old Town. Police later released suspect photos and advise anyone pumping gas to keep their keys with them and lock their vehicles.

On the coronavirus front, Alexandria is now at 9,903 cases and no new deaths, which is an increase of about 150 cases since Monday’s report. Meanwhile, as the city contends with a growing vaccine waiting list, the Health Department is warning residents of COVID-19 vaccine scams.

More than 260 people participated in our weekly poll. This week we asked about voting in the upcoming City Council and mayoral elections, and 87% plan on voting in the primary and general election; 6% only plan on voting in the primary; 5% aren’t voting and 1% will only vote in the primary.

In case you missed them, here are some other important stories this week:

Here are our top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. Local Business Owner Robbed of Car While Pumping Gas at Old Town Gas Station
  2. BREAKING: Large Power Outage Reported in Old Town
  3. ACPS Releases Semifinalist Names for T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School Renaming
  4. Just In: ‘QAnon Shaman’ from Capitol Siege Transferred to Alexandria Jail
  5. Poll: What Do You Think of the Proposed Heritage Development in Old Town
  6. Mayor: Brace Yourselves, It Could be End of Summer Before City Moves into Next Vaccine Phase
  7. BREAKING: Councilman Mo Seifeldein Running for Alexandria Mayor, Hatch Act Conflict in Question
  8. Alexandria Sheriff: Jailed ‘QAnon Shaman’s’ Organic Food Request is Normal
  9. Just In: James Lewis Files Paperwork to Enter City Council Race
  10. Photos: The Regal Potomac Yard Movie Theater is Being Torn Down
  11. City Councilman’s Virtual Super Bowl Party Ambushed by Racists and Nazi Trolls

Photo via Alexandria Police

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Police Participate in Honoring Fallen Capitol Police Officer — “APD participated in the memorial service for fallen U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Our officers rendered honors for Ofc. Sicknick, and joined the escort from the U.S. Capitol to Arlington National Cemetery. Our prayers are with his family and friends.” [Twitter]

Free COVID-19 Self-Testing Kiosks Available Around City— “Visit a Curative COVID-19 self-testing kiosk in Alexandria for a free test. Tests do not require government ID; service available in English and Spanish. Make an appointment at Curative.com. Walk up testing also available. For more info: alexandriava.gov/114730.” [Twitter]

Beyer Challenges House Republicans Over Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene — “Instead Greene uses her official position to double down on dehumanizing rhetoric. She claims she is a victim, and is raising money off the outrage over her calls for violence. Republicans can reject her violent ideology or accept it. That is the choice they have to make now.” [Twitter]

DASH Says All Riders Must Wear Face Masks Starting Feb. 8 — “Effective Monday, February 8, passengers without a mask will not be permitted on any DASH bus. In accordance with federal law, all passengers are required to wear a face mask that covers both the nose and mouth while awaiting, boarding, traveling on or disembarking any DASH bus to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Passengers who refuse to wear a mask will not be permitted to board any DASH bus. If a passenger removes their mask after boarding, they will not be allowed to continue their trip and must disembark the bus as soon as safely possible. DASH maintains a supply of masks on every bus for passengers without masks who cannot delay their trip to obtain one. If a passenger does not have a mask, they are encouraged to ask the operator for one when boarding the bus.”

Mayor Tours Shuttered Power Plant Before Community Meeting — “Next week (the 11th), the new owner of the former power-plant site on Alexandria’s northern waterfront will be holding a community meeting to discuss redevelopment plans. I had an opportunity to walk the site and discuss the future of this important location.” [Twitter]

City Says Essential Workers Should Pre-Register for Vaccine Waitlist — “Individuals in the Phase 1b frontline essential worker categories should pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine waitlist by filling out this form. Those who have already completed the form should not fill it out again. Duplicates require additional staff time to clean and sort, and will not result in faster vaccination. AHD is simultaneously vaccinating those who are ages 65 and older and Phase 1b frontline essential workers.” [City of Alexandria]

Fish Market Gets Help from Barstool Fund — “The Fish Market, a family-owned business restaurant and raw bar in a centuries-old building, has been in business on lower King Street for 45 years. After submitting a video to apply for the Barstool Fund, the restaurant was chosen as one of the small businesses to receive money to help keep it open.” [Patch]

City Wins Award for Carpenter’s Shelter Development — “The City has received the 2020 Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award for supporting the construction of The Bloom/Carpenter’s Shelter, an innovative project that co-locates 97 affordable housing units with a homeless shelter.” [Twitter]

Today’s Weather — “Sunny, along with a few afternoon clouds. High 48F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph… Cloudy with occasional rain after midnight. Low 37F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Professional Dog Walkers — “As a Dog Walker with Fur-Get Me Not you can expect flexible scheduling, paid training, 24/7 support from both our office staff as well as our on-call managers– and more. Most dog walks are between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm, typically on a recurring schedule Monday-Friday. We compensate at $8.75 per 25-minute visit, and offer two walks per hour to maximize your earning ability — and all of our walks are one-on-one so you can develop great relationships with the dogs on your route!” [Indeed]

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Dominion Energy representatives say that the massive power outages that affected thousands of homes in Alexandria and Arlington last Friday (October 23) were “unique,” and caused by a piece of equipment that failed at its Glebe Road substation.

“This was a unique. Typically, you might experience an outage on one single circuit,” Tim Sargeant, Dominion Energy’s external affairs manager in Northern Virginia, told City Council on Tuesday night. “Needless to say the outage occurred on multiple circuits.”

Sargeant reported that at around 7 p.m., a piece of equipment at the station failed, which caused an outage to 16,504 customers.

“Electric service was restored to 11,247 customers within one minute with the remaining customers restored in increments ranging from 53 minutes to 80 minutes,” Sargeant said. “After the first restoration, approximately 8,000 customers experienced multiple moments of brief service interruptions during the next two hours.”

Then at around 9:15 p.m., another outage affected 8,017 customers after Dominion rerouted electric service to other circuits.

“The additional load on the circuit triggered protective devices that interrupted service as a precaution, as service was restored one of those customers in increments of 18 minutes, 14 minutes, and seven minutes,” Sargeant said, adding that Dominion will send the city a report on recent outages.

City Councilman John Taylor Chapman said that power outages in Alexandria have been too frequent.

Mayor Justin Wilson, for instance, listed outages on social media on May 10June 17, July 7, July 22, August 2, August 8, October 12 and October 17.

“That does seem like a lot of outages for a pretty short amount of time,” Chapman said. “We definitely want our residents to believe that they have reliable power.”

Wilson said that he getting carryout at a restaurant on Mount Vernon Avenue when the lights went out.

“I did watch two restaurants right in front of me close down, because they just gave up because of power going on and off and customer after customer walking up and being told to go away,” Wilson said. “To have a Friday night off, it’s heartbreaking for them. That’s a lot of lost revenue.”

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The enormous power plant in North Old Town has been shut down for nearly a decade, but plans have finally emerged to break the property up into smaller parcels for redevelopment.

The Potomac River Generating Station, more commonly known around Alexandria by its former name GenOn — which still adorns the building’s signs — was decommissioned in 2012.

The property’s owner, the Potomac Energy Power Company (PEPCO), is scheduled to bring a plan forward at the March 3 Planning Commission meeting to divide the property into three parcels..

The first lot, by far the largest at 818,944-square-feet, would encompass the administrative building and the power plant itself. Two smaller lots, 121,285-square-feet and 164,734-square-feet respectively, would be located at the western end of the property. Lot three would run along E. Abingdon Drive.

Following years of cleaning up the property, plans approved in 2017 would see the power plant redeveloped and turned into a pedestrian-friendly, urban neighborhood, as reported by the Washington Business Journal. An arts district and a waterfront park are also included in city plans for the area.

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