Newsletter

Morning Notes

Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza and Tap named in top 100 restaurants in U.S. — “Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza and Tap, owned by the Yates family of Alexandria, was just placed on OpenTable’s list of the 100 Best Neighborhood Gems in America for 2021.”[Zebra]

Retiring City Manager talks to Agenda Alexandria — “Retiring #AlexandriaVA City Manager Mark Jinks talks about his career in @ArlingtonVA and @AlexandriaVAGov, including everything from redeveloping Landmark Mall to building the Potomac Yard @wmata station @agendalexandria #AgendaAlexandria” [Twitter]

Former police chief named to ACPS Athletic Hall of Fame — “Former Police Chief Earl Cook (was) among the Legendary sports stars of Alexandria honored Sept. 18 as ACPS holds its Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 2 p.m. in the Alexandra City High School Gerry Bertier Gymnasium.” [Gazette]

Alexandria has secret Magnolia Bogs — “Despite their rich history and importance in the local ecosystem, many in the area are still unaware of the existence of these unique micro-ecosystems.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s weather — “Cloudy (during the day). High 81F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph… Cloudy in the evening, then off and on rain showers after midnight. Low near 70F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Delivery driver — “Deliver food in your bike or car from local restaurants to homes and offices around Downtown. Be your own boss! Decide when to work depending on availability and needs. Deliver all days of the week between 10:30am–10:30pm.” [Indeed]

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After more than 50 years of playing football early and in the dark, the Alexandria City High School Titans won their first game under lights at the newly renovated Parker-Gray Stadium.

After a years-long renovation project was completed, City and Alexandria City Public Schools leaders cut the ribbon on the stadium, bringing a close to generations of legal challenges that prevented the installation of the lights.

The Titans won the contest against Justice High School 34-7.

https://twitter.com/ACPSk12/status/1438986203018276868

https://twitter.com/AlexCityTitans/status/1438994713097515012

Photos via Elijah Walter Griffin, Sr.

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What an interesting week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

World champion sprinter Noah Lyles brought home his bronze medal from the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. In a frank, TED Talk-like speech at Alexandria City High School, Lyles talked about the importance of mental health as he struggled to perform at the games.

“A lot of people will look at the Olympics this year like something was different with the athletes,” said Lyles. “Well, it was a lot of difference because we had so much weight that we had to hold onto — about two years. I was no different.”

On the COVID-19 front, while the transmission level remains high in Alexandria, this week the city tied with Arlington for the lowest seven-day positivity rate in Virginia. Large outdoor public events are still happening, too, and on Monday, a vast majority of local elected officials and candidates converged for the Alexandria Democratic Committee’s annual Labor Day Picnic, which included an appearance by gubernatorial candidate, former Governor Terry McAuliffe.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Man arrested for spending spree after finding wallet in Bradlee Shopping Center parking lot
  2. COVID-19 Update: Alexandria ties with Arlington for lowest seven-day positivity rate in Virginia
  3. BREAKING: Pedestrian critically injured in Old Town car crash
  4. Mark Center development plans head to Planning Commission this week
  5. Alexandria Police union calls out years of executive mismanagement
  6. JUST IN: Suspects arrested after allegedly firing shots at Alexandria Police
  7. BREAKING: Video shows brawl at Alexandria City High School cafeteria just two days after school starts
  8. Mayor outlines upcoming plastic bag tax plans
  9. Village Brauhaus aims for rooftop expansion
  10. No injuries or arrests after shots fired in Old Town Sunday night
  11. Most expensive homes sold in Alexandria in August

Have a safe weekend!

Via Elijah Walter Griffin, Sr.

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Morning Notes

Gun used in murder belonged to suspect’s bondsman — “The homicide of Alexandria resident Karla Dominguez last summer sparked widespread uproar because her alleged murderer, Ibrahim Bouaichi, had been released on bond in April despite having been indicted for allegedly raping and assaulting Dominguez in October 2019. Now, new information reveals that the bondsman who posted bail for Bouaichi knew him beforehand and that both the vehicle and weapon Bouaichi used to commit the murder belonged to the bondsman, Man Nguyen.” [Alex Times]

Twenty years later, residents recall the September 11 attacks — “Two residents had been on the plane that hit the Pentagon and many more residents had friends and other people from their lives who had been killed or impacted by the attacks on New York City and the Pentagon and the crash in Pennsylvania. On Friday, Sept. 14, the city held a candlelight vigil at Market Square, with residents filling the area in front of city hall and overflowing onto King, Cameron and Fairfax streets.” [Alex Times]

River Farm negotiations continue despite developer interest — “The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust is claiming that a developer has given a letter of intent to purchase River Farm. The American Horticultural Society, which listed River Farm for sale in 2020, said it continues to only consider an offer from NOVA Parks.” [Patch]

Wegmans announces May 2022 opening in Carlyle — “Wegmans is building an 81,000 square-foot store in Alexandria just west of Hoffman Town Center off of Eisenhower Avenue. The grocery store at Carlyle Crossing is part of a mixed-use project on a 5-acre site.” [Alexandria Living]

Patrick Henry Recreation Center offers co-ed pick-up indoor futsal —  “All games have a running 8-minute clock, three goals to win, or the team ahead after 8 minutes stays on the floor. This drop-in program is free for City of Alexandria residents.Teens ages 12 to 15 meet every Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Adults ages 16 and up meet every Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.” [Facebook]

Today’s weather — “Mainly sunny. High 78F. Winds NNW at 10 to 20 mph… A mostly clear sky (in the evening). Low 56F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Watch officer — “The Watch Officer oversees the Department of Emergency & Customer Communications (DECC) call center operations and provides supervision to the department’s Public Safety Communications Supervisors. This position is responsible for monitoring, analyzing and assessing the potential impact that local and national threats may have on City-wide systems and resources; maintains communication with stakeholders including departmental staff, local and regional emergency communications officials, and the public; manages the department’s quality assurance program and accreditation program; and serves as the notification point-of-contact for information responsible for managing the Employee and Public Alerting System utilized by the City.” [Indeed]

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The pressure was on. After a COVID-delay of more than a year, Alexandria sprinter Noah Lyles was finally racing against the top runners in the world at the Tokyo Olympics. The gun fired, and 19.74 seconds later he was the winner of the bronze medal.

Lyles returned to his alma mater, Alexandria City High School, on Tuesday (September 7) to talk about his unexpectedly long journey to the Olympics. In a frank, TED Talk-like speech, he talked about the importance of mental health, and described talking about being depressed with his therapist.

“When 2020 started, it felt like a normal year,” Lyles said. “I’d just come back from doing a whole bunch of interviews and photoshoots with NBC and they’re talking about the Olympics, and ‘How we’re going to be plastering you everywhere. It’s gonna be the biggest thing that summer,’ and (I’m) like, ‘Yes! So excited, This is fun.”

Then COVID hit, Lyles said, and he was forced to put his plans on the back-burner and keep mentally and physically fit until the games were rescheduled.

“All that energy that we had built up in a 2020 year, we had to save on to that stress and that pressure and push it on for a whole other year,” he said. “A lot of people will look at the Olympics this year like something was different with the athletes… Well, it was a lot of difference because we had so much weight that we had to hold onto — about two years. I was no different.”

Lyles continued, “I was disappointed that I didn’t get what I wanted. And I was disappointed that it happened like that. I didn’t get to show my greatest self. I knew walking into Tokyo that I was ready to PR, but I didn’t get to show that. I didn’t have a team with me. And that hurt in the whole Tokyo experience. It was very emotional. And I always thought in my head four years ago, when I went through this, it was going to be others. I was going to be able to celebrate, I was gonna not be alone. But it felt very alone.”

Just weeks after the games, Lyles was asked to return to the track in the Diamond League Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon. At first, he says, he didn’t want to race and spoke with his therapist about it.

“She said, ‘I think you’re scared,'” Lyles recalled his therapist saying. “‘You don’t get defeated often. So, when you do, you didn’t know how to react.’ I said ‘You might have a point.'”

The 24-year-old ended up defeating his Olympic rivals and running the ninth-fastest 200 meters in history, clocking in at 19.52 seconds.

“I feel that even though we’ve been going through this 2020-21 year, and we’ve all been feeling a little bit of pressure that maybe this can help you guys out a little more,” Lyles said of his story.

The event was sponsored by the Lyles Brothers Sports Foundation, Lyles’ mother, Keisha Caine Bishop, also spoke at the event and said that she introduced mental health therapy to her children at a young age.

“We are huge advocates for mental health,” she said. “Sometimes we all need help.”

https://twitter.com/AlexCityTitans/status/1435335090998030343

Photos via Elijah Walter Griffin, Sr.

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What a busy week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

Alexandria City Public Schools reopened their doors to full-time in-person instruction on Tuesday, and there have been a few hiccups. On Friday, we published a video taken of a brawl inside Alexandria City High School, and a teenager was hit by a car while walking home from school in Del Ray on Thursday.

This week was dominated by crime stories, although other big events occurred, such as the City breaking ground on a new broadband network.

In our poll this week, we asked if readers agree with a proposed 5 cent tax on plastic bags. Out of more than 900 votes, 62% said it shouldn’t be implemented and 38% said it should.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Alexandria man arrested for beating up ex-girlfriend in Old Town North
  2. Fox put George Washington Middle School into a lock-in today
  3. Design realities could conflict with promises to speed up stormwater improvements in Alexandria
  4. City breaks ground on new broadband network
  5. Poll: Do you support the proposed 5 cent plastic bag tax?
  6. This Alexandria gym manager went rogue and launched a personal training business
  7. Alexandria kicks off Restaurant Week tomorrow
  8. Alexandria sees huge spike in COVID-19 cases in August, another death
  9. Poll: Have you been impacted by flooding in Alexandria?
  10. New Normal: ACPS fully reopens for first time since pandemic started
  11. Evolving COVID-19 decisions loom as Alexandria City Public Schools fully reopen next Tuesday

Have a safe weekend!

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What a week in Alexandria.

Public uproar over Sunday’s flooding spilled out throughout this week, which continued to be threatened by near-daily flash flood advisories from the National Weather Service.

Our top story was on Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, who criticized City Manager Mark Jinks on the city’s stormwater infrastructure. Mayor Justin Wilson says that multiple projects are underway and take time, and that the city is now looking into whether spot improvements and any other projects can be accelerated.

The group DrainALX has also gained popularity, as it continues to catalog stormwater issues and complaints. One Del Ray resident even told us that she’s turned to therapy after repeatedly spending thousands on a continually ruined basement.

Our weekly poll also found 55% of respondents (193 people) have experienced flood damage to their homes, 14% (74 people) have experienced other sorts of property damage and 31% (159 votes) have never had any property damaged by a storm in the city.

This weekend’s forecast is partly cloudy with a 50% chance of scattered thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon, followed by a 40% chance of thunderstorms Sunday night.

School issues

The week before school starts, the School Board unanimously approved Thursday night the requirement that ACPS staffers get the coronavirus vaccine.

“We do have authority to require testing and require vaccinations,” Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr. said at the board meeting. “However, there have been no cases where someone has contested that requirement. That has not occurred as of yet, and I’m sure it’s going to begin soon…”

In the meantime, Alexandria is also prepping COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city employees.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. As Alexandria looks to accelerate stormwater projects, Sheriff gives city manager a D-
  2. The Four Mile Run Bridge in Arlandria will not fully reopen until fall 2025
  3. Institute for Defense Analyses announces Potomac Yard move-in later this year
  4. Woman behind DrainALX campaign shares frustrations and hopes from locals after Sunday flood
  5. HUD Secretary Fudge visits Alexandria, says affordable housing is a Biden Administration priority
  6. New census shows Alexandria not majority-white
  7. Alexandria School Board to discuss mandatory vaccinations for staffers this week
  8. After rampant flooding over weekend, another Flash Flood Watch is in effect for Alexandria
  9. Poll: Have you gotten the infamous mite bite in Alexandria?
  10. Alexandria Fire Department struggling with staffing shortage and forced overtime
  11. Stuck in quandary, Del Ray flooding victim seeks therapy

Have a safe weekend!

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Troy “The Transformer” Isley was welcomed home to cheering supporters in Old Town Thursday, as the Olympic fighter signed autographs and talked about future bouts.

Isley got back to Alexandria from Tokyo last week, and says folks are treating him a little differently.

“I’ll call my friends, and their parents will be like, ‘Is that the Olympian on the phone?'” Isley said. “It’s like a dream come true. I fulfilled my dream.”

Isley, a middleweight, won in his Olympic debut against Vitali Bandarenka of Belarus on July 26. He lost his second fight against Russian Gleb Bakshi on July 29, which knocked him out of the tournament.

He has a 2-0 record since turning pro in February, and is a graduate of T.C. Williams High School. Isley is also one of three Titans competing in the Olympics, along with bronze medalist sprinter Noah Lyles and high jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend.

The 22-year-old started boxing with the Alexandria Boxing Club at an early age, and says he will get back to working out on Monday. After all, he just booked his next professional bout on October 23 in Atlanta, Georgia, and hopes to fight again in December.

“I’m pretty much on vacation now,” Isley said. “I’m definitely ready to get back in the ring.”

Isley’s father, Kevin Isley, said that his son’s performance at the games was inspiring.

“It was humbling for my family and me to see him live out his childhood dream,” Kevin Isley said. “Troy just stuck with it, stayed focused and all of his dreams have come through so far. The Olympics was fantastic, but he’s going to do a whole lot better now because he’s got a professional style.”

There were a bunch of young fighters in attendance at Charles Houston, including 12-year-old Mark Cates, who won a regional Golden Gloves tournament in 2019.

“I love hitting people in the face,” Cates said. “My plan is to go to Nationals, the Olympics and then go pro.”

Terriel Cooke, Sr. brought his son to meet Isley. His son won the 10 and under category at the U.S. Nationals last year.

“It’s great to see someone who started off here in Alexandria make it,” said the elder Cooke. “We’re so proud of Troy here. We were just stuck to the TV watching him the whole time. It’s amazing to see how he grew up to give back to his community.”

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Morning Notes

Booster shot preparations for adults made in Alexandria — “After a White House announcement that a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine could be available to adults as soon as Sept. 20, the City of Alexandria is preparing to administer the additional doses.” [Patch]

Efforts underway to educate public as city adjusts to marijuana legalization — “In order to spread awareness about the details of the bill and quell community concerns, the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria worked with the governor’s office to release a “Top 10″ list for youth and adults that concretely explains the new measure’s rules and regulations.” [Alextimes]

Behind the scenes at ‘The Loft’ with Lena’s seasonal transformations — “When the theme at the Loft at Lena’s changes for the season, it’s a top to bottom change. New menus are developed, staff don new uniforms and even the lighting is completely redone. The loft closes down on Sunday and is closed for four days before reopening in time for Friday dinner. During that time it’s a 24/7 process that involves the whole team at Lena’s.” [Alexandria Living]

Median home prices to rise steadily in Northern Virginia — “The median price of sold homes will continue its upward trend across Northern Virginia, but the rise in prices will slow down in the coming months, according to a new report from the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University (GMU-CRA) and the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR).” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s weather — “Rain showers in the morning with scattered thunderstorms arriving in the afternoon. High 79F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 80%. Locally heavy rainfall possible… Scattered thunderstorms in the evening, then variable clouds overnight with more showers at times. Low around 70F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 40%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Auto sales representative — “NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED!! WE WILL TRAIN YOU!! OURISMAN CHRYSLER / JEEP / DODGE / RAM NEEDS SALESPEOPLE!!…..one of Virginia’s most respected automotive groups is offering an opportunity to join their automotive sales team” [Indeed]

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What a hot week in Alexandria. Here is the rundown.

Our top story this week was on the five men arrested after shots were fired in Old Town last month. There were quite a few crime incidents to report on, in fact, including a man who was arrested in the Landmark area after shooting his cat and a man arrested for selling marijuana and illegally possessing a gun.

Weather-wise, temperatures were in the high 90s this week, as the city once again offered cooling centers for residents needing shelter from the elements.

On Friday, HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge visited The Spire affordable housing complex in the West End. Fudge briefly met Mayor Justin Wilson and Congressman Don Beyer (D-8th) for a tour of the facility, as she later touted the Biden Administration’s Built Back Better agenda.

Have you been getting mite bites? You’re not alone. According to our weekly poll, a vast majority of the 600+ respondents reported getting bitten.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Five arrested after shots fired in Old Town North
  2. Alexandria updates COVID-19 guidance as cases increase
  3. Alexandria Police say drug debt was behind West End murder
  4. Child neglect suspect arrested after evading Alexandria police for six months
  5. Alexandria opens up on details for new guaranteed basic income program
  6. Amy DuVall quit her career as an environmental lawyer in D.C. to bake Italian cookies in Alexandria
  7. Former ACPS administrator Tammy Ignacio says experience matters in School Board bid
  8. Poll: Have you gotten the infamous mite bite in Alexandria?
  9. Development on West End lot could signal the start of Mark Center overhaul
  10. Parker-Gray development asks for more density and less parking
  11. ACPS is not requiring staff to get vaccinated before school starts systemwide August 24

Have a safe weekend!

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