Alexandria, VA

Catholic University of America (CUA) is planning to open up a new branch in Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood.

According to an application headed to the Planning Commission in September, CUA is hoping to renovate the second floor of 2050 Ballenger Avenue to create a new location specifically for students in Alexandria, Arlington, and other Northern Virginia locations.

The building is currently home to the Carlyle Club and Atlantic Union Bank on the ground floor.

“The premises will be renovated into a space including six classrooms that can each accommodate between 15 to 30 students, a computer laboratory and ancillary breakout rooms,” CUA said in its application. “The space will also include offices for a small number of staff and faculty to meet with students or prepare for class. The space will not include any laboratory, research or library facilities.”

According to the application, most programs would be offered on weekday evenings and occasional daytime events, such as small academic conferences.

“Courses would be taugtht by part-time, adjunct faculty members from the community, who would not have a full=time presence at the subject site outside of class meeting times,” CUA said.

The application is scheduled to be reviewed at the Sept. 1 Planning Commission meeting.

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Morning Notes

The Del Ray Vintage and Flea Market is Happening — “We are BEYOND excited about having our July Del Ray Vintage & Flea Market AND we are hosting the MV Big Flea! The best of both worlds … come safely shop the flea market, see our new vendors and help support Mount Vernon Community School when you purchase from the MV Big Flea booth! Saturday, July 11th from 9am-1pm.” [Facebook]

New Driving Laws Take Effect July 1 — “On Wednesday, July 1, a new law takes effect in Virginia requiring drivers to stop for pedestrians. Further, the driver may not move until the person walking in their lane has passed safely.” [Zebra]

Marijuana Decriminalized July 1 — “ON JULY 1, VIRGINIA JOINS 26 states and Washington, D.C. in ceasing to jail people for possessing small amounts of cannabis. Gov. Ralph Northam signed SB 2 into law in May. Possession of up to an ounce of marijuana will be punishable by a civil fine of up to $25 instead of a criminal charge that could mean up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine. The bill prohibits employers from requiring applicants to disclose marijuana possession charges.” [Gazette]

Report: More Parents Considering Homeschooling for Their Kids — “The number of families considering homeschooling is skyrocketing according to Anne Miller, executive director of Home Educators Association of Virginia. Miller said their office has been flooded with calls from parents interested in homeschooling, and their Facebook group Homeschooling in Virginia has welcomed nearly 3,500 new members since the virus hit.” [Alexandria Living]

Sheriff’s Deputy Retires — “Our heartfelt thanks and best wishes to Master Deputy Saeed Shakoor! He is retiring after more than 26 years of dedicated service to ASO and the people of Alexandria. We’re sure going to miss you, Deputy Shakoor!” [Facebook]

Lorton Community Action Center Donates to ALIVE! — “This 788 pounds combined with other produce supports 220 food-insecure seniors in the City of Alexandria.” [Facebook]

Port City Brewing Co. Re-Releases Derecho Lager — “Derecho Lager® is named after a violent storm that barreled through the DC Metro region on June 29th, 2012, leaving the brewery without power for five days. Unable to control fermentation temperatures, a tank of freshly brewed pilsner was at risk of being lost. Realizing the beer would not meet the guidelines of a Bohemian Pilsner, we decided to experiment with the beer – keeping fermentation temperatures on the warmer side, and dry-hopping with Centennial hops. These non-traditional techniques paid off, and the result was the creation of our first American Lager!” [Facebook]

New Job: Wax Center Manager — “European Wax Center in Alexandria is currently seeking a sensational Center Manager with passion, determination and a commitment to excellence that will help take our center to new heights.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Beyer to Introduce Legislation for Law Enforcement to Wear Identifying Badges — “We don’t do secret police in the United States of America. I will introduce House legislation in the next few days to require uniformed federal officers to identify themselves by wearing badges. Next step will be working for broad support in the House. More soon.” [Twitter]

Tenants and Workers United Gives Food and Supplies to 400 Families — “Today we gave food, needs, and diapers to almost 400 families!! This was possible by Arlington Calvary United Methodist Church. Our community greatly appreciates this support during these difficult times!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Back to Business Grant Application Deadline at 5 p.m. — “Applications for the ALX B2B Grant are open (as of Thursday, June 4th at 8:00AM EDT), and will close Monday, June 8th at 5:00 PM (EDT).” [AEDP]

Del. Herring Thanks Inova Alexandria Hospital Workers — “Thank you @InovaHealth Alexandria for this display of unity & caring for our community. #WhiteCoatsforBlackLives” [Twitter]

Vice Mayor Sends Message of Solidarity With Black Leaders — “I have a responsibility to use my platform to speak up about these issues. The best way to do that is to amplify the voices of black leaders in our community. If you haven’t already done so, please listen to and read their words. And then take action.” [Elizabeth Bennett-Parker]

ACPS Announces Collection and Return of School Materials — “The school closures related to COVID-19 and the Governor’s stay-at-home order have forced us to make a new plan of how we collect students’ school materials and also allow our students to get personal belongings from their lockers or classrooms.” [ACPS]

Alexandrian Named National Eagle Scout Runner-Up — “Noah Ventura, an Alexandria resident and rising senior at Gonzaga College High School, has been named the American Legion’s Eagle Scout of the Year Runner-Up for 2020. As a recipient of the award, he is receiving a $2,500 college scholarship.” [Zebra]

Local Filmmakers Selected for Alexandria Symphony Series — “The films will accompany music by American composers performed “live to picture” by the orchestra as part of ASO’s 2020-2021 season on November 7 and 8, 2020. The works will also be screened as part of the Alexandria Film Festival on November 12-15.” [Zebra]

Reminder: Here’s a List of ACPS Free Food Distributions — “ACPS has multiple distribution meal site locations throughout Alexandria for all ACPS students and children over the age of two.” [ACPS]

New Job: Contact Tracer — “The Contact Tracer is an entry level public health professional responsible for identifying and contacting individuals who may have come in contact with persons recently diagnosed with an infectious disease associated with an outbreak or pandemic.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

High School Student Assaulted Walking Home — “The assault occurred near the intersection of Russell Road and Rosecrest Avenue in the Del Ray/Rosemont neighborhood. The victim was a member of the T.C. Williams High School baseball team.” [Alex Times]

Officers Complain of Toxic Work Culture at Alexandria Police Department — “There are employees, including some who resigned after allegedly being subjected to retribution, who blame Chief Michael L. Brown for establishing an environment without discipline or accountability, where misconduct is swept under the rug. They say that under Chief Brown’s leadership, problems have gotten worse, which has fueled retirements and resignations from the department.” [Alex Times]

Vigil for Victims of Police Brutality Tonight in Arlandria — “Let’s join in solidarity with our Black community. Please bring a candle, poster, or other tribute to honor the lives lost at the hands of police. We will gather in the parking lot behind TWU’s building at 3801 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. For everyone’s safety, please wear a face covering.” [Facebook]

fibrespace Gives May 31 Profits to ‘Innocence Project’ — ‘Thanks to your shopping, we sent almost a thousand dollars today to this incredible organization who is working to exonerate the innocent and reform our broken criminal justice system.” [Facebook]

George Mason Elementary Donates Books to Community Lodgings — “The principal, Mr. O., was so generous to collect the books and spread them around the lawn at Fifer so that families could select books while maintaining a safe distance from one another.” [Facebook]

Virtual Concert Saturday Benefiting Senior Services of Alexandria — “100 percent of your contributions to the Löwball virtual tip jar for our June 6th webcast will go to support SSA Meals on Wheels program.” [Facebook]

Wesley Housing Closes on Affordable Housing Near Huntington Metro — “Located at 2317 Huntington Avenue, The Arden will be a seven-story building at the intersection of Huntington Avenue and Biscayne Drive.” [Zebra]

New Job: Brand and Public Relations Specialist — “The Specialist, Brand and Public Relations is a core member of the SHRM Brand and Communication team with responsibilities to support national TV commercials, brand activations, PR campaigns and earned media to amplify SHRM’s thought leadership and reputation.” [Indeed]

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Christina Pelliccio wants to make the world a cleaner place, and the high school senior was just awarded the Earth Day Scholarship by the National Society of High School Scholars.

Pelliccio, who lives in the city of Alexandria and attends West Potomac High School, plans on studying environmental science this fall at the University of California at Berkeley.

“This work is really rewarding and that alone continues to motivate me,” Pelliccio told ALXnow.

The $500 scholarship is given to students who are deeply passionate about the environment. Pelliccio, who routinely organizes and hosts cleanup events along the Potomac River, and at her school worked to install water bottle filling stations and recycling bins. Additionally, she is the local chapter leader of Think Ocean, a nonprofit youth-led network of student environmentalists around the world, and sits on the Mount Vernon Environmental Advisory Committee in Fairfax County.

Pelliccio said that succeeding on environmental issues is about making a string of little victories.

“It’s definitely a big challenge, the environmental issue,” she said. “It’s definitely not going away any time soon, but I just think that we have to be optimistic and keep pushing and just take in the little victories, even if they are small they can help motivate you and they are really rewarding.”

Courtesy photo

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A study of the mold problems at George Washington Middle School has found that the school will require extensive mitigation work expected to cost at least $120,000.

At a School Board meeting on Friday, May 29, an information item detailed the full extent of the mold issues found in the school. The report described extensive staining and foul odors in older parts of the building, with each instance categorized by room. While most classrooms had less than 300 spores per cubic meter, classroom A 216 had 1,960 spores.

“Safety and Security obtained a contractor to perform a non-invasive (in accessible areas) mold assessment survey to evaluate concerns of moisture intrusion or visible suspected mold growth within GWMS on February 29 and March 7, 2020,” the staff report said. “Fungal spore air and surface samplings were taken from numerous locations throughout the building. Based on the assessment findings, a total of 42 recommendations were made”

Among those recommendations were eleven that will require professional mold mitigation, 30 that require further HVAC contracted or staff work, and one that will require an assessment by an asbestos abatement professional.

According to the study:

Based on our observations, visible mold, discolorations and/or water staining were observed on ceiling tiles, thermal system pipe insulation, and/or ceiling plaster in selected areas throughout the school. Elevated levels of individual fungal spores were detected in the surface swab samples collected from various locations with suspected visible mold growth throughout the school.

Based on New York City Department of Health, OSHA, and US EPA guidance, small areas of mold (up to one square foot) can be cleaned up by either custodial or contract personnel using proper protective equipment. Larger areas of fungal growth should be addressed by professional contractors with trained personnel using appropriate engineering controls and work practices.

“The current estimated magnitude of cost is ~$120k. It is likely that this amount will increase,” the staff report said. “The Offices of Educational Facilities and Maintenance and Custodial Services is in the process of reviewing cost estimates, completing procurements and working with staff/contractors to initiate mitigation work, some of which is anticipated to begin during the first week of June.”

Concerns about mold in the school have lingered for years and been the subject of extensive testing, particularly after students were able to prove there was mold growing in their classroom.

The staff report said the plan is for all work to be completed before school starts again in September, but said the condition of mold in the school could vary based on environmental factors like temperature and humidity.

“There are currently no accepted regulatory standards or guidelines with respect to acceptable fungal levels inside buildings,” the staff report said. “Surface samples are generally qualitative in that they reflect the type and quantity of mold present only at the sampled location at the time the sample was collected.”

The report noted that George Washington Middle School is not alone in needing extensive renovations.

“ACPS’ aging facilities have been in sore need of attention for many years,” the staff report said. “Since FY 2017, there has been a heightened financial commitment by the city to help ACPS address both capacity and non-capacity capital modernization, replacements and repairs. Mitigating and addressing other affects of system-wide deterioration to not only meet compliance but to ensure the health and safety of staff and students is a high priority… While these efforts are significantly improving [conditions] within GWMS, the future will require an ongoing program of monitoring and response in areas most impacted.”

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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For Alexandria City Public Schools students this year, summer school is not exactly optional.

ACPS announced last week that students will be expected to participate in a summer learning program to compensate for time lost in classrooms in the latter half of the 2019-2020 academic year. Parents who do not want their children to participate will be required to submit a form explaining why they want to opt-out of the summer program.

“Academic loss during COVID-19 is real,” the school division said in its website. “This year, it has the potential to be combined with summer learning loss. It is important that we as a school division do everything within our power to ensure students’ learning needs are being met, especially during these unprecedented times. Therefore, to minimize summer learning loss, we are offering summer learning and enrichment for all students.”

All students are expected to participate and most classes, except a handful of programs at T.C. Williams High School, will be free.

The summer school will take place from July 6-31, with classes Monday-Thursday. Pre-K through eighth-grade classes will be held from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. while high school classes will be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Individual summer program guidelines are available for:

According to the website:

The goal of summer learning is to engage, enrich, and prepare students for the anticipation of September 2020 and is based on the following principles:

  • Engaging content paced to afford students the opportunity to self-monitor and receive feedback and coaching. Feedback and coaching are essential for student success in the virtual context.
  • Preparation for the next grade level for all rising sixth grade students and secondary students through boost/prep course.
  • Pre-K through fourth grade students will continue using learning kits and Chromebooks with an additional feature of virtual check-in or phone support for our pre-K through second grade students.
  • Feedback and grading are essential to Summer 2020. Students will receive feedback and coaching or grades for credit-bearing courses that will go on transcripts.

Photo via ACPS/Facebook

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While T.C. Williams High School students aren’t gathering in-person to celebrate graduation, local celebrations are being held including a special lighting of the George Washington Masonic Temple.

“On Saturday, June 13, 2020, we encourage all residents of the most wonderful City of Alexandria to light up their homes in red, white and blue to support the graduating Class of 2020 from T.C. Williams High School,” Principal Peter Balas said in a newsletter. “I am excited to announce that the George Washington Masonic Temple will be illuminated in red, white and blue on June 13 in recognition of our graduates. Let’s light up the whole city!”

ACPS has a website set up for a virtual graduation event that day — featuring a comically outdated dab — but there are few other details so far.

Balas said locals should try to light their homes up red, white and blue to honor graduates on June 13. Those who participate are also encouraged to share their pictures with Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) via @ACPSk12 on Twitter using the #TCW2020 hashtag, or post on the ACPS Facebook page.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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ALIVE! gave out 90,000 pounds of food to hungry Alexandrians in the month of April, and will conduct it’s next mass food distribution on Saturday, May 30.

“That’s three times our monthly average,” ALIVE! Executive Director Jennifer Ayers told ALXnow.

ALIVE! is also distributing food for COVID-19 positive residents.

“For people who are in mandated quarantine who test positive for COVID and are food insecure, we’re supplying food for them,” Ayers said. “Like today, we provided food for the Alexandria Health Department to deliver to 80 individuals who are COVID positive.”

The “truck-to-trunk” food distribution will be held at ALIVE! from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the parking lots of Cora Kelly School and John Adams Elementary School. People who walk to the site are asked to observe social distancing.

ALIVE!, which gave out 13,000 pounds of food at its distribution on April 27, is also giving food to more than 500 individuals stuck at home, as opposed to an average of about 200 families before the crisis. Additionally, the nonprofit is delivering meals to more than 20 homeless individuals being housed in hotels in the city.

Throughout the month, $1 will be donated to ALIVE! with every purchase of a reusable $2.50 community bag at the Giant Food at 3131 Duke Street.

ALIVE! has received a lot from the community since the pandemic struck, including $145,611 from 491 donors in the Spring2ACTion campaign on April 15, and, most recently, $7753.40 from Alexandria Little League. Ayers said that now is the time to donate to the nonprofit.

“People are giving right now, and that’s important,” Ayers said.

Essential Program – Home-Delivered Frozen Meal Program for City Residents 60+ – Alexandria has set up a new…

Posted by ALIVE on Friday, May 8, 2020

Photo via Alive!/Facebook

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Gabriel Pineda thought his Eagle Scout project was going to be easy, until he got to George Mason Elementary School and saw that the old ma of the United States painted on the blacktop that he remembered was completely gone.

At first, the 17-year-old wanted to do a touch-up project on the map he played on as a young boy, but it was removed when the playground was resurfaced a couple of years ago. Instead, Pineda decided to completely repaint the entire 35-foot square map from scratch.

“(W)hen I was there I always liked the map. It was colorful, it was bright and fun to play on,” Pineda said. “We also learned where the states are, so I decided I wanted to put it back onto the blacktop for the kids, so that they could have that as well.”

Pineda, who plans to study marine biology this fall at Ferrum College, got the approval of his Scout troop and then met with George Mason Elementary Principal Brian Orrenmaa, who jumped at the opportunity and helped convince the school PTA to pay for the stencil.

“I think any elementary school has a goal of having a lasting impact with their students,” Orrenmaa said. “I was very thankful for him willing to help, so I approved it fairly quickly.”

The new map will also be geographically correct. Its predecessor inaccurately located Alaska and Hawaii in the Gulf of Mexico.

Pineda lives down the street form the school and plans to have the map finished by the end of the month. He is now getting help from a half dozen or so of his co-Scouts and his family, all of whom are wearing protective face masks and plastic gloves. He’s also installing a six-foot-tall ruler near the playground at the school so that students can measure their heights.

So far the primer has been laid, and the map will be painted in non-toxic concrete and patio paint in red, blue, green, purple and orange.

“When I’m home from college on a break or something I can still go and see it (and say), ‘Hey, I did that,'” Pineda said. “Once this whole pandemic is over I can go to the playground and see the kids playing on something I did.”

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Morning Notes

Tenants & Workers United Rent Protest Today at 4:30 p.m. — “Join our Caravan or take Action from home this Friday at 4:30PM. The caravan will be from 5pm and will go though Arlandria-Chirilagua to send the message to FREEZE RENTS in VIRGINIA. Don’t have a car?? You can take action from your window/balcony by: Wearing Red or swinging any red cloth; Make a sign with a message to the property managers to cancel rent; Make noise with your pots & pans! Take pictures or videos and use #CANCELRENTVA on social media.” [Facebook]

Inova Nurse Recruitment Team Gives Thanks With Photo Collage — “Our Inova Careers Nursing Recruitment team wanted to show support to our frontline workers who are making an incredible sacrifice to keep us all safe!” [Facebook]

Homegrown Restaurant Group Raises More Than $10K For Staff — “We are thrilled and so appreciative of the outpour of love and support we have already received from the community. If you have the financial means to donate, every dollar helps! If you do not, another way you can help is to share this fundraiser on social media!” [GoFundMe]

Here’s Visit Alexandria’s List of Mother’s Day Deals — “While the holidays look much different this year, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate Mother’s Day from home. Purchase the perfect Mother’s Day gift from one of Alexandria’s independent boutiques. Treat the lady in your life to a special meal ordered from one of Alexandria’s restaurants. Keep reading to learn about special offers from local businesses.” [Visit Alexandria]

New Job: Digital Communications Manager — “Support the Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Membership in developing and implementing the digital side of an integrated strategic communications plan to advance NARFE’s [National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association] mission, and broaden awareness of its programs and services.” [Indeed]

Mason & Greens Grocer Opens Online-Only in Old Town — “Like many small businesses still operating while most of the country is staying home, the Marinos elected to keep customers out of the store and offer online ordering only. They moved up their website launch so that customers could order online at www.masonandgreens.com, then pick up their orders at the store.” [Alex Times]

Wholistic Hound Puppy Training Video Tutorial at 5 p.m. — “Wholistic Hound Academy’s Puppy Experts will be on Facebook Live to answer your questions, provide sound advice on everything from socializing your puppy to house training and nipping and biting. We can help to you successfully navigate life with your pandemic puppy.” [Wholistic Hound]

Trinity UMC Collecting Food Sunday — “Reminder if you go to the grocery store this week that Trinity United Methodist Church, located at the corner of Cameron Mills & Allison St., will be collecting non-perishable goods in our parking lot each Sunday afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00 and will continue doing so until the church building reopens.  The food is delivered to Rising Hope United Methodist Church to support their food pantry for the homeless and low-income families.” [Trinity UMC]

Yates Dry Cleaning Offering Wash and Fold Service — “Between full-time jobs, homeschooling and keeping the house somewhat clean, we know you have a lot on your plate right now. If your laundry is piling up, let us take care of it with our Wash & Fold Service! Sign up for our Free Pickup & Delivery Service and you won’t even need to leave your home! We’ll pickup your bag of laundry and return it clean and folded.” [Facebook]

Del Ray Farmers’ Market Open Saturday by Per-Order Only — “Vendors will NOT be offering items for sale at the market – only pickup of preorders is permitted. The list below is changing as we speak and we will do our best to keep it current, so please check back often.  Please also follow our Facebook page for updates.  Thank you for your continued support of our vendors.” [Del Ray Farmers’ Market]

Kids Dress Up Like Super Heroes for School Chat — “It’s Super Hero Day and Ms. Hellmuth just had a great 1:1 writing conference with Spider-Man!” [Facebook]

Junction Bakery & Bistro Delivering to Area Hospitals — “On Saturday, May 2nd, we will be taking part, proudly, in this vital effort — delivering 150 hot meals to the hard-working & dedicated staffs at Prince George’s Hospital + Howard University Hospital. Please help support this dearly needed project.” [Facebook]

Most Alexandria Ice Cream Shops Open for Takeout — “Try to hit up every one of the frozen treat spots on the map. Pace yourself! There are 15 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so aim for an average of two per week, which will leave you some time to revisit your favorites at summer’s end.” [Alexandria Living]

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Morning Notes

Tenants and Workers United Organizes Rent Protest in Arlandria Friday — “Join our Caravan. THIS FRIDAY at 4:30 P.M.” ️[Facebook]

Here’s an Updated List of Alexandria’s Nonprofit Needs — “This list is updated on a regular basis, so check back regularly to see the latest items needed to support our most vulnerable populations during this critical time. Thank you for caring for our community!” [Volunteer Alexandria]

‘Let’s Meat On The Avenue’ Requiring Customers Wear Face Masks — “As of TOMORROW [Wednesday], we will REQUIRE all patrons to wear masks. ‘Most everyone’s already on board, but we had a nitwit or two today.” [Twitter]

Taqueria Picoso Donates Tacos to Police — “Thank you so much #TaqueriaPicoso for dropping off tacos for our officers and dispatch! From left to right: Capt. Ladislaw, Taqueria Picoso employees, and Officer Cushing.” [Twitter]

City Housing Director Wins 2020 Regional Housing Leaders Award — “This month we are honoring Helen McIlvaine for leading the Office of Housing in the City of Alexandria, developing creative solutions in land use and zoning, and supporting a dedicated source of revenue to address the growing housing needs in the city.” [Facebook]

Revolutionary Fitness Hiring Gym Manager — “Under the direction and guidance of the CEO, the incumbent has the general responsibility of managing the day-to-day operations of Revolutionary Fitness.” [Indeed]

Del Ray Cakery Makes Hospital-Themed Cookies — “Thank you to all our healthcare professionals during this pandemic. We are truly grateful for your efforts!” [Facebook]

DASH Hosting Online Meeting to Discuss Future Service — “Join us live on Facebook at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday 4/29 for our Transit Development Plan Community Meeting to discuss potential changes to FY2021 service, including to the AT-4.” [Twitter]

Group Give Meals From ‘The Warehouse’ to Alexandria Hospital — “These are crazy, uncertain times right now and the least we can do is support our favorite independently owned restaurants and bring some food to healthcare professionals! Cheers to supporting local, supporting each other, and showing gratitude for our community! [Facebook]

Method Acting Used to Teach Polk Elementary Students the Scientific Method — “Hello children of Polk Elementary School. I am professor Brainstein, and Mr. Palmer has invited me to speak to you about the scientific method. First, I want you to feel welcome in my laboratory…” [wevideo.com]

Alexandria Nurse Speaking in Church Online Sermon Series at Noon — “As part of our Finding Hope sermon series, this week, we hear from our very own Caroline Cheek, an Emergency Room nurse, who shares how she has experienced hope in the last 6 weeks.” [Facebook]

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