Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Beyer says Trump ‘Unleashed’ the Coronavirus — “Vice Chair @RepDonBeyer during today’s hearing: ‘Donald Trump holds the vast power of the U.S. Presidency–but he has refused to use it. He has not contained the coronavirus, but has unleashed it. As a result, many more lives will be lost.'” [Twitter]

Police to Conduct Traffic Enforcement Campaign for Drivers at Crosswalks — “APD is committed to protecting vulnerable road users by raising awareness about pedestrian and bike safety. The Traffic Safety is preparing to conduct multiple traffic enforcement operations which intend to address unsafe pedestrian and driving behavior in, and around, City of Alexandria crosswalks.” [Facebook]

Mystery of WWII Uniform Solved in 24 Hours on Nextdoor — “On Sept. 13, 2020, Colonel Royal Gervais’s uniform — after residing in an attic through 14 years of tenants and 22 years of my mom’s ownership, then in our closet for 34 years — was returned in person to members of his family as they shared photos and memories of the Colonel with us.” [Alexandria Living]

Sur La Table To Close At End Of September in Old Town — “Sur La Table, a high-end kitchenware store that also hosts cooking classes, will close its Alexandria location at the end of September.” [Patch]

7 On Your Side Uncovers Trash Issues with Alexandria Recycling Drop-off Center — “The video was taken by Advocates for Clean and Clear Waterways. The fence belongs to the Virginia Department of Transpiration and is torn apart and rolled back.   At the bottom of the fence, there’s a homeless camp. 7 On Your Side cameras found the same issues.” [WJLA]

Tickets Available for Senior Services of Alexandria Virtual Oktoberfest Celebration — “Oktoberfest is coming Oct. 15 and for the first time it will be virtual! Join SSA for a fun evening featuring Port City beers, delicious German food and a virtual beer tasting and tour of the brewery. This annual event supports Meals on Wheels, Groceries to Go, and the Friendly Visitor Program!” [Facebook]

Outdoor ‘Black Panther’ Outdoor Viewing Party in Carlyle this Weekend — “Join us this Saturday for a night to remember Chadwick Boseman – Wear your tribute costume, bring your tribute figurine and enjoy our showing of Black Panther.” [Facebook]

ALIVE! Distributing Food This Weekend — “ALIVE! will distribute food at two drive-through sites on Saturday, September 26, 8:30-10:30 a.m., in the parking lots of Cora Kelly (3600 Commonwealth Ave.) and John Adams (5651 Rayburn Ave.) Elementary Schools. These distributions include bags of shelf stable groceries, chicken and eggs, while supplies last. To observe no-contact food distribution, residents are encouraged to drive through and remain in their cars. Walks-ups are permitted but should maintain 6 feet of physical distance, wear a face mask, and bring carts or reusable bags to carry food home.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Sunny skies (during the day). High 81F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.Partly cloudy during the evening followed by cloudy skies overnight. Low around 60F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Food Program Coordinator at ALIVE! — “ALIVE! is searching for a full-time, temporary Food Program Coordinator through at least December 31, 2020. Hours are non-traditional and require evenings and weekends. Health care and leave benefits available for full-time staff. Two part-time hires may job share this position.” [Facebook]

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Morning Notes

(Updated 8/7) Upcoming Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend Canceled — “The coronavirus has canceled one of Alexandria’s most beloved traditions this winter.” [Alexandria Living]

Beyer Blames Trump for Coronavirus Response Failures — “The White House is simultaneously blaming state governments for Trump’s failed pandemic response and blocking federal assistance to support state and local governments.” [Twitter]

Fire Department: Use Flashlight, Not Candle if Power Goes Out — “Tropical Storm #Isaias is expected to bring heavy rain and wind gusts that may cause power outages. If you experience an outage, use a flashlight for emergency lighting instead of candles to prevent a possible fire. Be prepared. Be informed. Be ready.” [Twitter]

City Suspends Trash and Recycling Today — “Due to expected impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias, the City of Alexandria has suspended its curbside trash and recycling collection for Tuesday, August 4.” [Zebra]

Ebbin Pledges to Fight for Marijuana Legalization in 2021 — “In 2020, six years of hard work paid off in major reform to our criminal justice system by decriminalizing possession of marijuana. In 2021, I’m ready to do the hard work to legalize cannabis in Virginia the right way.” [Facebook]

Silver Diner to Open August 12 — “The 6,500-square foot restaurant is part of West Alex, a new $185 million mixed-use community at the corner of King and North Beauregard streets, anchored by an in-the-works Harris Teeter grocery store and Array, a 278-unit apartment building.” [Alexandria Living]

New Farmers Market in Carlyle Starts Friday — “The Carlyle Vitality Initiative is hosting a new Farmer’s Market at John Carlyle Square Park, starting on August 7th! We can’t wait to see you this weekend!” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Thunderstorms. Potential for heavy rainfall. Low 71F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Activities and Volunteer Coordinator — “At Sunrise, our Activities & Volunteer Coordinator is responsible for leading the day to day activities and programs for a Sunrise Senior Living community.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Beyer Lauds Supreme Court LGBT Decision — “This is such a big step forward. Employers shouldn’t be able to fire people because of who they are or who they love. After a long and difficult struggle by activists and civil rights organization, an historic decision and a great moment for the country.” [Twitter]

Former Mayor Silberberg Marched in D.C. on Saturday — “All around me, there were poignant reminders of all that had transpired in this location in recent days and weeks — handmade signs attached to the remaining fence and bouquets of flowers. And then that evening, there was breaking news about another tragedy, this time in Atlanta. Heartbreaking.” [Facebook]

Twig Junior Auxiliary Donates $100K to Inova Alexandria Hospital — “The Twig Junior Auxiliary of Inova Alexandria Hospital presented a check for $100,000 to Dr. Rina Bansal for the Inova COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness Fund during a May 22 ceremony held outside the hospital’s entrance.” [Gazette]

Feed The Fight ALX Gives Out 5K Meals to Health Care Workers — “Thank you for your continued support, and please continue to follow us in the coming months on Instagram @FeedtheFightALX. We are so grateful to all of our hospital teams and restaurant partners.” [Facebook]

City Recycles 700 Tons of Glass in First Year of Recycling Program — “The City just hit the 1-year mark for the glass recycling program. In that time, 700 tons of glass (1,410,560 lbs) has been recycled through the purple can glass drop-off program. You crushed it Alexandria!” [Facebook]

‘Mind The Mat’ Owner Gets Creative During Pandemic — “I was trying to be this super-serious fitness instructor on camera, and it was not working.” [Washington Post]

Recreation Centers Opening With Modified Schedule June 20 — “These changes are in place to follow the second phase of reopening. Senior-only hours will be introduced to help protect vulnerable persons on the community while providing an opportunity for exercise.” [Zebra]

Scholarship Fund Honoring Awardees With Individualized Social Media Posts — “We’ll be profiling a student each day this week…as they share their joy and gratitude with the Alexandria Community!” [Facebook]

Center for Alexandria’s Children Receives Face Mask Donation — “We received another donation of 100 adult masks and 100 children’s masks for our Learn & PlayGroup families! We are so grateful to Brooksie & Cas and Jenna Adams for investing so much time and energy into making so many great masks.” [Facebook]

Deal: Rent a Pedego Electric Bike, Get Second Rental Half Off — “Pedego Electric Bikes has the perfect solution for cabin fever. Rent one bike and get the second rental 50% off. Enjoy the outdoors, flowers and sunshine with the safest bikes and equipment from Pedego. This offer will be available until further notice.” [Visit Alexandria]

New Job: HR/Office Manager — “Small but busy security company in need of an experienced HR professional who can really multitask. Candidate should be comfortable screening, interviewing and on-boarding applicants.” [Indeed]

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One attempted solution to a trash problem in Alexandria has allegedly created another, though the city said it’s working to manage the problem.

In response to the increased demand for recycling services at homes in Alexandria, the city has been encouraging residents to take their surplus recycling materials to a facility at 4251 Eisenhower Ave.

A local duo calling themselves Advocates for Clean & Clear Waterways cleaned 110 trash bags from Hunting Creek and said they identified the source of the pollution as the Alexandria Recycling Center. Video taken at the site shows holes in the fence through which trash was being dumped down the hill.

The Video showed the hillside littered with trash bags, styrofoam and more.

“Unfortunately, this is where our pollution is coming from,” said Caleb Merendino, who along with Benjamin Swanson runs Advocates for Clean & Clear Waterways. “Everything upstream from this point is pretty clean… [but] from the recycling center down we’re seeing the reason that our waterways are so polluted.”

Merendino said part of the problem was the lack of trash can at the recycling center, leaving residents dropping off trash to find alternative means of disposal. The other problem was large holes in the fence where those residents stuffed their trash through.

“Alexandria, what the heck is going on?” Meredino said. “We’re at a recycling center. You’re trying to pretend, but I don’t see any results. We have a broken fence. You are the reason our waterways are polluted… Alexandria is to blame, and everyone should be furious.”

“Virginia DEQ and the City of Alexandria have been promptly notified, and Alexandria is to blame for much of the garbage flowing into our local waterways,” said Swanson.

City of Alexandria spokesman Craig Fifer said the damage to fences was found and repairs were made immediately, but pushed back on the characterization of the recycling center as the source of the pollution.

“We also inspected the area around the fence, and we are confident that the facility is not a major source of pollution in waterways,” Fifer said. “The waterway near the Eisenhower Avenue facility is the main stem of Cameron Run, but the residents who shot the video generally collect trash from the downstream tidal portion of Cameron Run called Hunting Creek. Hunting Creek receives surges of water (and debris) from the entire Potomac River watershed with changes in the tide. This means trash found in the Potomac River and Hunting Creek is generally from upstream of Alexandria. The recycling drop-off facility and surrounding area is not a significant source of trash in Hunting Creek, but its location upstream from Hunting Creek may create that appearance.”

Fifer said like other localities in the region, the city is trying to figure out how to handle the 30% increase in volume of trash and recycling since the pandemic started.

“Because we have had to limit curbside collection to the contents of the City-provided bins (i.e. no loose or bagged trash on the curb) and suspend collection of bulk, metal and yard waste, our drop-off facilities have also had large increases in volume,” Fifer said. “In particular, we’re seeing a significant increase in cardboard shipping boxes and food takeout containers because people are shopping more from home.”

Fifer added, “These materials take up more volume in trash and recycling than other items, filling bins faster. Compounding these challenges, we are seeing a significant increase in illegal dumping at our recycling drop-off centers, both of non-recyclables and of items while the centers are closed. All this is why there is much more litter on the pavement at drop-off centers now than a few weeks ago.”

Fifer said additional resources have been directed to the recycling drop-off facilities, including cleaning the facility five days per week.

Photo via Advocates for Clean and Clear Waterways/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Suggestion of Affordable Housing at School Sets Listserv Ablaze — “A contractor for Alexandria’s public schools set off an online firestorm by accidentally including a rendering of an apartment building with affordable units in a presentation about modernization plans for an elementary school… the mistake occasioned a ‘3 day+ rager‘ about affordable housing, racism, and–because this is Alexandria–dockless scooters, the halal chicken slaughterhouse, and a ‘road diet’ imposed on a different leafy neighborhood.” [Washingtonian]

Pushback on (Actual) Affordable Housing at School Proposal — “Members of the MacArthur Advisory Committee and the community were left scrambling last week after the city indicated it would be exploring affordable housing on the Douglas MacArthur Elementary School site. The announcement that the city would not only be exploring co-location options, but also providing funding to Alexandria City Public Schools for an architectural exploration of potential housing options, surprised members of the advisory committee.” [Alexandria Times]

Neighbors Decry Church Expansion Plans — Nearby residents are speaking out against and appealing Alexandria Presbyterian Church’s expansion plan, expressing concerns about the size of the planned building and the possibility of increased traffic. The proposal, however, does not go beyond what standard zoning allows for the site and thus is unlikely to be nixed on appeal. [Patch, Alexandria Times]

Alexandria Glass Drop-off Deemed a Success — “Fairfax County said this month that the glass coming from dedicated collection bins in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County and elsewhere in Northern Virginia has been of sufficiently high quality that, in addition to being crushed and used as construction materials, some is now going to a processing facility and is being recycled into new glass products, like bottles and fiberglass.” [ARLnow, Fairfax County]

Child Car Seat Inspections This Weekend — “Come this Saturday’s (Jan 25) FREE APD Child Car Seat Safety Inspection (from 8AM-12PM). Make sure your child’s car seat is installed properly! Open to everyone–you don’t need to be a Alexandria City resident. There will be covered parking in case it rains.” [Twitter]

Old Town Restaurant Makes Mag’s Top 20 — Nasime, at 1209 King Street, is No. 13 on Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants list. The magazine wrote: “This sliver of a Japanese dining room in Old Town serves a single five-course menu — a great value — each night.” [Washingtonian]

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Morning Notes

Seminary Road Saga Continues — Despite suggestions “that the Alexandria Fire Department had significant input into the Complete Streets Design Guidelines and whether to narrow Seminary Road, documents obtained by city residents under the Freedom of Information Act reveal this was not the case.” [Alexandria Times]

Sushi Restaurant Coming to ‘West Alex’ — “Sushi Jin Next Door, which opened its first restaurant in Silver Spring in 2006 and now has a second location in Woodbridge, is opening a third location in Alexandria, Virginia. The new location will be part of the West Alex mixed-use development at King Street and North Beauregard Street.” [WTOP]

New Glass Recycling Bin Now Open — “Alexandria residents wanting to recycle glass now have a fifth bin as an option. MOM’s Organic Market at 3831 Mt. Vernon Avenue is the location of the new purple recycling bin. The city ended curbside glass recycling on Jan. 15, citing increasing recycling costs and the lack of glass-sorting facilities in the region.” [Patch]

ACPS To Buy Five Electric School Buses — “Under the terms of the grant, Dominion Energy will pay the additional costs towards each of the five buses that ACPS was already scheduled to buy this summer, allowing ACPS to upgrade them to electric vehicles. The goal is to have the new electric buses on the roads in time for the start of the 2020-21 school year in September.” [ACPS]

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Morning Notes

Bar Owner to Lead St. Pat’s Parade — “The Ballyshaners have selected John Brennan, owner of Daniel O’Connell’s Restaurant and Bar as Grand Marshal of the 2020 Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Brennan, of Kilkenny, Ireland and an Old Town homeowner has been an active member of Alexandria’s business community since opening Daniel O’Connell’s in 2006.” [Zebra]

Recycling Collection Still Delayed — “City recycling collection remains delayed due to winter weather earlier this week. Residents that did not receive collection service on their normal day will receive service on the following day.” [Twitter]

Old Town Store Expands to Tysons — “A new Tysons Corner Center store is selling hand-crafted furniture and accessories for people decorating in a French Regency-style. Tradition de France opened in November on the first level of the mall by Lord & Taylor and is the second location for the Alexandria-based, family-owned business.” [Tysons Reporter]

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(Updated 10:30 a.m.) Your Christmas tree was beautiful, but it’s 2020 and it’s time for the tree to go.

Starting today (Thursday), Christmas trees placed on residential streets will be collected by the city. Pick up will run until Friday, Jan. 17.

Trees must be placed at the regular waste collection point by 6 a.m. on the scheduled refuse collection day.

Trees set out for recycling must be stripped or ornaments, tinsel and tree stands. The trees should also not be placed in plastic bags, which will contaminate the mulch. The trees are ground up into mulch that can be picked up by residents in the spring.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Some Alexandria residents scheduled for a Thursday curbside recycling pickup had their bins collected today due to a post-holiday rush at the place where the recycling is dropped off.

“The City of Alexandria is experiencing temporary curbside recycling service delays due to heavy volumes and wait times at the recycling facility following the holidays,” the city said via email Thursday. “The delays may affect some customers who have curbside recycling collection scheduled for today.”

“Customers whose recycling was not collected today will receive pickup service [Friday],” the city said.

Separately, Alexandria’s Dept. of Transportation & Environmental Services is reminding residents that curbside Christmas tree pickup will start next Thursday, Jan. 2.

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Last week it was announced that Alexandria would follow in the footsteps of neighboring jurisdictions in discontinuing curbside glass collection in recycling bins.

Glass will still be recycled and reused, but only if you drop it off at a designated collection bin. Otherwise, starting Jan. 15 glass will go into the trash and wind up where it had been going anyhow, since China closed its doors to the world’s refuse and the market for glass recycling evaporated: a landfill.

On Twitter, Mayor Justin Wilson pushed back on the suggestion that there is much the city could do to keep recycling curbside-collected glass, given the realities of the recycling market in the U.S., but left open the possibility of restoring curbside glass recycling in the future.

Part of the problem with collecting glass in curbside bins with other recyclables is that sorting it is difficult, compounded by the fact that glass shatters, contaminating the other recyclable materials. That raises the costs of recycling overall. Plus, recycling glass into new bottles and glass products is one of the least efficient and environmentally-positive forms of recycling, limiting the upside.

There are, however, options for reusing and recycling glass. Glass bottles could be collected, washed and reused, though that also has tradeoffs. Glass can be crushed and turned into construction material — as the city is doing with the drop-off bins. And glass that’s collected by itself in glass-only curbside bins is more viable for recycling — though that comes with increased collection costs and is less convenient for residents.

Do you agree or disagree with the city’s glass recycling decision and, if given the option, would you pay more to have glass recycled in the future?

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(Updated at 11:50 a.m.) Alexandria will no longer collect glass curbside for recycling, starting next year.

Starting Jan. 15, if you’re hoping to get your glass recycled rather than just tossed out with the trash, you’ll have to take it down to the purple bins at one of four facilities in southern Alexandria.

According to the city, glass recycling can be dropped off at:

Only glass bottles and jars — of any color — can be dropped off, though they have to be emptied and rinsed first. The change reflects the reality that single-stream recycling of glass is no longer feasible from an economic and environmental standpoint.

“Currently, glass collected for recycling by our contractors is ending up in landfills due to a variety of issues, including recycling contamination, rising recycling costs, and lack of a regional glass processing capacity,” the city said.

For residents who don’t want to take a trip to the big bins, glass should be tossed out in the trash starting Jan. 15.

After China stopped accepting some recyclable materials from the United States, the cost of recycling in the United States skyrocketed and left localities nationwide grappling with what to do with costly waste.

Alexandria is just the latest locality to ditch glass. Arlington County eliminated glass recycling in April, though like Alexandria several locations were designated as drop-off locations to be sent to Fairfax County, where the glass is crushed and used in road and other projects. Prior to the change, Arlington said, glass placed in curbside recycling bins was just being sorted and ultimately sent to landfills — not recycled.

According to the city website:

The City is actively monitoring the market for a viable option to recycle glass and working with our neighbors to propose and advocate for innovative solutions. While glass is still accepted in the blue recycling bin, the City has partnered with Fairfax County and established four drop-off centers to improve the recyclability of glass. Glass separated at these centers will be hauled to a processing plant in Fairfax County to be recycled into gravel and sand that can be used locally. These end products can be used in landscaping, construction projects, and even remanufactured into new glass items.

On Twitter, some residents were upset with the announcement from Mayor Justin Wilson last night, though the mayor pushed back on the assertion that Alexandria can do much to solve the larger glass recycling problem. Still, curbside glass collection could eventually be restored, Wilson said.

Photo via City of Alexandria

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