Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Beyer: We Must Protect the U.S. Postal Service —  “I have been in touch with local postal officials, who express their commitment to ensuring the timely delivery and return of all ballots. This could be an issue in many parts of the country, however, and I will be working with my colleagues to exercise constant vigilance and ensure that elections are fair and safe. My Northern Virginia colleague, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, serves as the chair of the Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations, and with his tireless leadership the House will do all it can to fix these problems and restore operations and service at USPS.” [Gazette]

Three City Parks Scheduled for Improvements — “Projects at or near Powhatan, Hooffs Run, and Brenman Parks to occur over next two months.” [Zebra]

City Holding Virtual 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony Online — “Alexandria’s ceremony is prerecorded and virtual to avoid a large gathering during the pandemic. It will include remarks from Mayor Justin Wilson, City Manager Mark Jinks, and representatives from the Alexandria Fire Department, Police Department, and Sheriff’s Office. There will also be a “Return to Quarters” bell-ringing ceremony.” [Patch]

Alexandria Wedding Showcase Goes Virtual — “Tune in virtually on Sunday, Sept. 13 to hear from a variety of vendors on trends, wedding industry changes, and what you need to know while planning your wedding during a pandemic.” [Alexandria Living]

Carlyle Concert Series Starts Friday — “Enjoy the Carlyle Farmers Market while you attend the Concert! Alcohol is available for purchase at select vendor stands and bar as well BYOB-Bring Your Own Beverage will be observed in designated area.” [Facebook]

Harvest Moon Yoga Tonight in Del Ray — “Shine on Harvest Moon! Free outdoor yoga in Del Ray returns every Wed. Sept. 9 – Oct. 14, 6:00 – 7:00 pm at the Del Ray Psych & Wellness lot, 1900 Mt. Vernon Avenue (Corner of E. Bellefonte) in the Heart of Del Ray.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy early. Scattered thunderstorms developing later in the day. High 81F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Scattered thunderstorms in the evening, then mainly cloudy overnight with thunderstorms likely. Heavy and torrential downpours at times. Low 72F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Dog Walker and Pet Sitter — “Are you a veterinary technician who has been pet-sitting under the table to supplement your income? Have you worried about your lack of insurance or back-up plan if you got sick? If so, then joining Cat Nanny Jess might be the answer to all your worries!” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

COVID Cases in Alexandria Jump by 21 — “The latest update from the City on COVID-19: Positive tests up 21 to 3,436 in the City; 7-day Positivity Rate down to 4.0%; 1 new hospitalization; Still safer at home, wash hands, wear masks and support our essential workers.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Democratic Committee Hosting Virtual Labor Day Picnic — “Thrilled to announce that the Biden Harris campaign’s National Political Director Erin Wilson will be joining the ADC as a special guest at our Labor Day Celebration!! You will not want to miss this unique opportunity to hear from Erin about the upcoming 2020 election!” [Facebook]

Former Mayor Silberberg Laments Loss of 150-Year-Old Tree at T.C. Williams High School — “You could almost hear a collective gasp throughout the city as the news spread. It didn’t have to be this way. Almost 3,000 Alexandrians, including me, had signed a petition to save the Witness Tree, which was so aptly named by McArthur Myers…In fact, with a little more creativity, the tree could have been a focal point of the stadium’s new design. The stadium’s architects should have been far more creative in using the tree as a centerpiece for its new plaza.” [Facebook]

Beyer Says Trump Trashed George H.W. Bush For Being Shot Down in WWII“Trump referred to former President George H. W. Bush as a ‘loser’ for being shot down by the Japanese as a Navy pilot in World War II (Bush escaped capture, but eight other men shot down during the same mission were caught, tortured, and executed by Japanese soldiers).” [Twitter]

Here’s How ACPS Will Virtually Track Attendance — “Every day counts when it comes to school… (F)ind out how we’re tracking attendance and what you can do to help your child be present and ready for learning at home.” [Facebook]

Alexandria Soccer Association Starts Nine-Week Course — “The Alexandria Soccer Association introduced ASA School+, a nine-week educational program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, according to a news release.” [Alex Times]

Story Time: Sheriff’s Deputy Reads ‘Ten Apples Up On Top’ — “We would not, could not resist another Dr. Seuss classic! So this week Deputy Sahar Sherzai is reading ‘Ten Apples Up On Top.'” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Sun and clouds mixed with a slight chance of thunderstorms during the afternoon. High 87F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%. At night, partly cloudy skies. Low 62F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Recruiting Manager — “The role of the Recruiting Manager will support the qualitative recruiting function across all aspects of qualitative market research projects including bid process, recruiting, vendor management, invoice reconciliation, through to project close process. Administrative tasks related to the function include (but not limited to); supporting the project bids process, drafting market research screeners, coordinating project scheduling between RAs and recruiting vendors, tracking of project recruiting documents and project consent forms, invoice reconciliation.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Judith Jones, Founder of At Home in Alexandria, Dies — “Jones was one of the three founders of At Home in Alexandria, a nonprofit that supports older adults. A former Alexandria resident, Jones was beloved by her family and friends and well-respected by her colleagues and students. A scientist and businesswoman, she served as a mentor to many.” [Alex Times]

Beyer Says Trump Incites Violence — “The country wants justice. The people want peace, reform, progress. They reject violence. Trump wants division. He celebrates brutality. He incites violence. Above all, Trump does not want to talk about his failure to keep Americans safe amid a pandemic that has killed 182,000.” [Twitter]

Police Warn of Phone Scam — “APD is aware of a telephone scam targeting people who are asked to provide money to remove criminal charges. If you are the victim of this scam and have been defrauded of money, please report by calling 703.746.4444 or by contacting the law enforcement agency where you live.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Heroes Honored at Valor Awards — “Sergeant Michael Vaccaro was awarded a Bronze Medal for placing himself at risk of death by going between citizens and a gunman who opened fire in Old Town in 2018. After defusing the threat, he performed life saving measures at the scene.” [Alexandria Living]

Blood Drive at Market Square on Thursday — “To help INOVA hospitals and their other facilities, INOVA Blood Donor Services will hold a blood drive at Market Square on Thursday, September 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — During the day, “Rain likely. High 76F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Rainfall around a quarter of an inch.” At night, “Rain likely. Low 69F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Rainfall near a half an inch.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Micro School Teacher — “SchoolHouse is a new, innovative education startup that helps families to form Learning Pods, and matches excellent teachers with those Pods. ” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Beyer Calls for Investigation Into Alleged Hatch Act Violations at Republican National Convention — “For those asking about next steps, Hatch Act violations are investigated and enforced by the Office of Special Counsel. @CongressmanRaja and I just requested such an investigation into potential violations at the Republican National Convention.” [Twitter]

King Street Development Projects Set to Break Ground — “The King Street Project, by Galena Capital Partners, is teed up for approval by the Alexandria City Council. The King Street Project includes plans for two developments in Old Town that would replace current parking lots.” [Alexandria Living]

Faith Pilgrimage Marching Through Alexandria Today — “A group or 30 religious leaders will be walking through Alexandria this week as part of a days-long walk from Charlottesville to the District.” [Alexandria Living]

National Archives Loans Alexandria Library Pieces for Women’s Suffrage Exhibit — “The celebration of the 19th Amendment continues at Alexandria Library’s Barrett Branch. On display through September 23 is an exhibit called ‘Rightfully Hers,’ on loan from the National Archives.” [Zebra]

Blood Drive Today at Lost Boy Cider — “The Inova bloodmobile will be at Lost Boys Cider (next to our headquarters at 317 Hooffs Run Drive) from 11-4!” [Facebook]

Sheriff’s Department Reads ‘I Feel Silly’ to Kids Online — “Feeling silly, excited or mad? Each day can bring different feelings. Join Deputy Alexis Turner as she reads “Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day” and then share how you’re feeling in the comments.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “During the day, mostly cloudy with a high of 93F. At night, some clouds. Low 74F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Front House Manager — “Supervises the dining room staff in proper service of residents during all meal periods. Assigns and coordinates duties of servers and hosts/hostess’. Maintains cleanliness of dining room and directs staff in the overall effective and efficient operation of the dining room.” [Indeed]

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Former Alexandria City Councilman Willie Bailey has done it again. Over the weekend, Bailey and a large collection of supporting organizations, groups and volunteers gave out more than 800 backpacks full of school supplies and thousands of books, with ice cream on the side.

Bailey, a deputy fire chief for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, was raised in Alexandria and says he’s just paying it forward.

“I’m just making sure these kids are able to succeed and do good and give back to society when they get old,” Bailey told ALXnow. “And that they remember what someone once did for them. That’s all.”

The distributions took place at Charles Houston Recreation Center on Saturday and outside T.C. Williams High School on Sunday.

Bailey was joined by representatives from the Alexandria Police and Fire Departments, Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority, the Sheriff’s office and the Departmental Progressive Club. The Alexandria nonprofit InspireLit was also on-hand and provided thousands of books for kids to take home.

ARHA representative Daynelle Diaz said that the supplies will have a major impact.

“We’ve had a lot of families that have either lost work or haven’t been able to work,” she said. “With no money coming in, this is a big relief, because even though kids are going to be online for school, they’re still going to need supplies. This is a great weight off their shoulders.”

City Councilman Canek Aguirre volunteered at the event and praised Bailey.

“My hat goes off to Willie Bailey,” he said. “Just because of the pandemic, and he doesn’t stop and he’s here to help fill an important need. We’re greatly appreciative to him for everything that he does for the city.”

Bailey also said that his annual coat drive is still happening this fall.

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Morning Notes

Levine Says Murder Suspect Should Have Stayed Behind Bars — “Simply put, I think the judge made a tragically wrong decision here.” [Blue Virginia]

Lynching Victim Honored in Old Town — “121 years to the day after a mob lynched young Benjamin Thomas, the successor of the Mayor who made a half-hearted plea for due process and the successor of the “City Sergeant” (@AlexVASheriff) who failed to project Benjamin, stood at the corner and laid wreaths in his memory.” [Twitter]

Eviction Proceedings Halted Until Next Month — “On August 7, Governor Ralph S. Northam (D-VA) announced that starting Monday, August 10, a statewide moratorium on eviction proceedings will go into effect. The moratorium, which passed by a 4-to-3 vote, runs through September 7.”  [Zebra]

School Board Approves Virtual Learning This Fall — “Students, unlike during the spring semester, will be graded on finished work. They will also receive simultaneous lessons in subjects, as if they were in the classroom.” [Zebra]

ACPS Kicks Off ‘Kindergarten Prep’ — “ACPS is adjusting the format of the traditional Kindergarten Prep summer session in response to the current pandemic.”
[Facebook]

Del Ray Company Donates Soap to Casa Chirilagua — “We are so grateful to Truly-Life Eco Gifts for donating 200 bars of handmade soap to Casa Chirilagua — even during these challenging times, our small businesses are so generous!” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Mostly clear. High, 92F, Low 73F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Automotive Finance Manager — “BMW of Alexandria has an opportunity for a motivated, hard-working, enthusiastic Finance Manager to join our team.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

ACPS Releasing Decision on School Year Today — “n many ways, Friday’s announcement will be just the beginning. Once the Virginia Department of Education approves our proposal that we are required to submit by Aug. 14, our hard work continues as we begin to prepare for implementation of our reopening plan. The week of Aug. 14, we will be sharing schedules, curriculum and expectations for both staff and students. I understand that you need information to plan for your lives and I understand that school is central to that process. ” [ACPS]

COVID-19 Cases Increase by 20 — “Positive tests up 20 to 2,779 in the City; 7-day Positivity Rate down to 5.3%; 0 new hospitalizations; New testing event held; Still safer at home, wash hands, wear masks and support our essential workers.” [Twitter]

Local Business Owner Jim Breeding Dies — The owner of Al’s Steak House passed away after a long battle with diabetes. [Zebra]

Beyer’s Office Accepting Nominations to Service Academies — “New: my office is preparing to open applications for Service Academy Nominations. Those interested in applying should go here for next steps.” [Twitter]

Gelatto Shop Opening Soon in Del Ray — “Del Ray Boccato is aiming to open its doors by the end of August or early September…” [Gazette]

Longtime Sheriff’s Deputy Retires — “Our best wishes and many thanks to Sergeant Linda Hentman! She’s retiring after 30 years of outstanding service to ASO and the people of Alexandria.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — There is a Flash Flood Warning in effect in Alexandria until 6 p.m. today. [Weather.com]

New Job: Social Media Associate — “The Social Media Associate will develop organic social media content, post on our clients’ social media channels, manage social media profiles, respond to comments, analyze reporting data, develop monthly reports, identify areas of opportunity for our clients, and assist with additional tasks as necessary.” [Indeed]

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The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office and Police Department released a statement yesterday supporting a new state law requiring law enforcement officials to ask drivers racial information during all traffic stops.

The Virginia Community Policing Act went into effect on July 1 and requires all state and local law enforcement officials to ask drivers their race, ethnicity, age and gender — in addition to tracking why the individual was stopped and if they were searched, arrested or given a warning.

“The law also explicitly prohibits law enforcement officers from engaging in bias-based profiling, defined as actions based solely on the real or perceived race, ethnicity, age, gender, or other noncriminal characteristics of an individual,” according to the city, which says that the police already collect this information. “Statewide data will be analyzed to determine the prevalence of bias-based profiling and complaints alleging the use of excessive force.”

The city has compiled annual traffic citation data for 2018 and 2019, and information on police use of force is available for 2019, according to a city release.

The city is currently developing a plan for a community police review board, and the process has been criticized by groups as being too insular. Activists in the city are also calling on greater data transparency over arrests and other confrontations, as 64% of all arrests last year in the city were of Black men.

Staff photo by Vernon Miles

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Morning Notes

Beyer Blasts McConnell for Holding Up Unemployment Extension — “The House passed a bill to extend unemployment benefits months ago, but Mitch McConnell blocked it. He just said the Senate will do nothing until next week — which would cause a lapse. Millions of American families are set to begin August with a huge loss of income as a result.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Firefighter on ‘Tough As Nails’ TV Show — “The whole experience was awesome. Easily one of the craziest things I’ve ever done. In a good way!” [Zebra]

Sheriff’s Office Welcomes Seven New Deputies — “The graduates are: Deputy Mary Jo Cummings; Deputy Shawn Harden; Deputy Cole Masterson; Deputy Nazirullah Qazei; Deputy Junius Smith; Deputy Djibril Sorgho; and Deputy DeVon Williams.” [Zebra]

Lost Boy Cider Owner Digs Into Cider History — “In 1,000 B.C., Alexander the Great discovered original growth apples in Kazakhstan. A study by MIT has traced the original growth apple trees back to one valley in the Tian Shan mountains. As the apples and their seeds moved through Asia and Europe in the B.C. Era, accompanying armies along their conquest trails, their popularity soared.” [Alex Times]

Reasons to Check out Alexandria Makers Market ‘Work/Shop Week’ — “Retail therapy is legitimate, and there’s no better time to check out these local brands! Usually, you can find these companies via their website, but now is the perfect time to see them in person.” [Alexandria Living]

New Job: Dog Walker/Pet Sitter — “Do you love dogs? Are you a college student, stay at home mom whose kids are in school during the day or retiree? Are you seeking a job you really enjoy- one that gets you out of the office and into the fresh air? Then, joining the Barkley Square Professional Pet Services may be the right job for you! Come work with us and get great pay, exercise, and work experience!” [Indeed]

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Alexandria Police Officer Jonathan Griffin has been charged with assault and battery for an unjustified use of force against a handcuffed resident in January, according to the city.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter said that 32-year-old, who was dismissed from the department after the incident, was charged with one count of assault and battery. The charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor and the maximum penalty is a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

The incident occurred on January 27, and Griffin arrested the victim for a health evaluation, according to a city release. Griffin joined the department in 2012 and was assigned to the Community Oriented Policing Unit.

“While escorting the individual in handcuffs, Officer Griffin used force to take the individual to the ground. The individual sustained multiple injuries on the front of his body as a result of the action,” the city said. “A subsequent investigation found that no force was necessary or justified.”

Griffin was placed on administrative leave on June 3 and was notified on June 26 that he was going to be fired and his case had been sent to Porter’s office, according to the city. His termination is expected to be finalized this month. Additionally, three supervisors who “failed to investigate the use of force promptly enough have also been disciplined,” the city noted.

Griffin was booked at the Alexandria Jail and was released pending his arraignment at the Alexandria Courthouse on August 4.

This is no surprise to us that these occurrences are happening in our city. We continue to demand to Alexandria City…

Posted by Tenants and Workers United – Inquilinos y Trabajadores Unidos on Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Photo via Alexandria Sheriff’s Office

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Representatives of Alexandria’s law enforcement community, in a Monday night Zoom meeting, said they welcomed a closer look in order to eradicate systemic racism in their respective departments.

Police Chief Michael Brown and Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Shelbert Williams discussed the work that their departments have done over the years and in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police. Mayor Justin Wilson also chimed into the conversation, which was moderated by city’s racial and social equity officer Jaqueline Tucker.

The meeting was requested by activist Tiffany Flowers, who tweeted to Mayor Justin Wilson about opening an online conversation regarding policing in the city.

“I felt like protesting wasn’t just enough,” Flowers said. “I felt like the best way to go about getting this reform that we’re seeking is to start reaching out to our city officials, and I just want to thank the city of Alexandria for being so helpful.”

Earlier this month, the city council unanimously passed a proposal by Councilman Mo Seifeldein to create a police review board.

“I think time will only be test of this, but what I sense is the courage in the community to deal with some of these issues,” Wilson said, adding that new laws going into effect on July 1 will add more equity to arrests made. “Those are changes that relate to marijuana, those are changes as it relates to shoplifting that really add more equity and will change the way that public safety addresses these crimes. I think these are long overdue changes and will help address in some ways some of the disparities that we see.”

A recent report from the Alexandria Gazette, for instance, found that Black males in Alexandria are arrested far more frequently than anyone else.

Brown said the department is looking at its data to find any elements of bias.

“Clearly, with the anger and the voices being heard across the country, including this city, we have to look at what we’re doing to make sure we’re doing it right and treating people with respect,” Brown said.

Williams, who is African American, said that it’s understandable that the community is angry.

“It’s tough to convince people that we’re doing what we need to do as law enforcement officers, to be fair, to understand that everyone’s human beings, and we should be treated with that same respect that we ask,” he said. “And with our officers, we’ve done that, in my opinion.”

Brown said that his department is currently 20.4% female, and the staff are 66% white, 18% African American, 5% Asian, 12% Hispanic and 2% other. He added that police are using tactics to deescalate situations, like a recent barricade situation in Potomac Yard, where a African American woman allegedly fired a handgun at officers from her home.

“Our folks used considerable restraint… in allowing the person eventually to get to the point where they fell asleep and were taken into protective custody without issue,” Brown said.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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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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