Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Mayor: Council to Accelerate Sewer Capacity Projects — “Our ’16 Storm Sewer Capacity Analysis identified 90 areas where the system does not meet our CURRENT design standard of a 10-year storm. Our Stormwater Utility Fee was implemented in ’18 to fund capacity and environmental compliance. Council will now discuss how to accelerate.” [Facebook]

Beyer Attacks Trump’s Environmental Stance — “Trump’s climate change strategy is the same as his pandemic strategy: play it down and pretend it isn’t happening. There are a record number of named storms in the Atlantic and the west coast is on fire.” [Twitter]

Anonymous Donation Helps Expand SNAP Double Dollars Program — “A $10,000 anonymous donation to help fight food insecurity during the pandemic will help the City expand SNAP Double Dollars program, which allows SNAP customers who visit participating Alexandria farmers’ markets to receive up to $20 in double dollars to purchase eligible food products at the markets.” [Facebook]

Environmental Council of Alexandria Decries Taylor Run Restoration Plan — “We’ve got our work cut out for us to make sure that the City doesn’t continue to promote so-called “eco” policies that actually come at the expense of the environment and efforts to reverse global warming.” [Facebook]

Tall Ship Providence Sails Away for Inspections — “And, they’re off… Bright and early this morning, Providence headed out on a voyage to Georgetown, MD for a scheduled haul out and Coast Guard inspection. They’ll inspect the hull, complete any necessary maintenance, and she’ll get a new coat of bottom paint. Please join us in wishing our Captain and crew “Fair winds and following seas.” Providence will return home by the end of September. We look forward to welcoming you back aboard for tours and cruises!” [Facebook]

Classic Car Show in Old Town September 19 — “This Saturday you can head to the parking lot of the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum for a classic car show featuring a variety of Packards and other ‘orphan’ vehicles.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “During the day, mainly sunny. High 73F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph. At night, clear. Low 54F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Spanish Language Teacher — “You must have previous tutoring/teaching experience, and minimum Bachelor’s degree.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

A Quarter of Alexandria Voters Have Requested Mail-In Ballots — “Over a quarter of Alexandria’s registered voters have applied for a ballot by mail for this November’s election (!!!). Ballots will be mailed out beginning next week when in-person early voting also begins. You can apply online today for a mail ballot!” [Twitter]

Seven Alexandria Students Make National Merit Scholarship List — “Students from Alexandria area high schools have been named 2021 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, taking the first step in securing a scholarship in the competitive program.” [Patch]

Beyer Criticizes Trump for Complaining Over Scandals — “You were recorded admitting you deceived the entire country about the danger of a virus that has killed more Americans than all wars since WWII combined. Can’t lie your way out of this one.” [Twitter]

ACPS Needs Donations for School Supplies — “While this year is considerably different because of the coronavirus pandemic, students still need essential supplies. ACPS is asking for community support. However, instead of donating physical items, they request that interested parties donate funds electronically.” [Zebra]

Alexandria Police Officer Appointed to State Board — “Governor Ralph Northam announced on September 4 that he has appointed Alexandria Police Officer Bennie L. Evans to the Commonwealth of Virginia Criminal Justice Services Board.” [Facebook]

Here’s Seven Things to do in Alexandria This Fall — “Enjoy a cruise aboard the tall ship Providence or set out for the new cat café or coming-soon dog bar. Contemplate new outdoor artwork like the ‘Come Together’ mural in Old Town. Mask up and visit just-opened independent businesses including the D.C. area’s first zero-waste sustainable grocer plus the national eco-conscious brand Patagonia, coming to King Street in September. Twelve new restaurants will tempt you with takeout or outdoor seating. Don your face mask and discover what’s new in Alexandria.” [Visit Alexandria]

Workforce Development Center Offers Job Counseling — “Are you recently unemployed or want to change your career and don’t know where to start? We are now offering free one-on-one Job Search Coaching to help Alexandrians who have experienced job loss during the pandemic.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Thunderstorms likely during the day. Potential for heavy rainfall. High 83F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 80%.Thunderstorms likely in the evening. Then a chance of scattered thunderstorms later on. Low 73F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 80%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Scholarship Fund of Alexandria Assistant Director — “The qualified applicant will be eager to support the organization’s effort to help Alexandria high school students obtain college scholarships and college and financial aid advising. This position is full-time, year-round and provides an opportunity to work in a small, dynamic, mission-driven, collegial nonprofit organization.” [Indeed]

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Ever wonder what it feels like to sail around the Potomac River in a sloop of war? The Tall Ship Providence, which is a replica of the first naval warship commissioned by the Continental Congress in 1775, is open to the public for tours and cruises.

Tall Ship officially opened to the public over the July 4 weekend, and it was a fitting opening date for the 110-foot, 12 gun sloop of war. The replica, which was unveiled in time for the 1976 Bicentennial, is almost exactly like the original Providence, with the exception of an engine, electricity and some air conditioning in the Captain’s quarters.

Once on the ship, visitors will meet commanding officer Captain John Paul Jones (actor Jeremy Lawrence, who never breaks character), who will provide them with a tour of the ship and talk about how cramped life could be on such a small vessel with more than 70 other sailors. The sleeping arrangements, for instance, are uncomfortably close, as the galley was completely filled with hammocks.

“Indeed, that is a lot of men for a ship this size,” Jones said in a Scottish brogue. “But we must carry that many men so we can carry prize crews. Whenever we take a ship, we have to send sailors over to sail her into the nearest friendly port.”

The original Providence was destroyed to keep it from falling into the hands of the British in 1779, but throughout its tenure broke through a British naval blockade at Newport, captured 16 enemy ships and disrupted the fishing industry in Nova Scotia, which was a British food source.

The ship, which is sailed by a professional crew of five, has graced the Alexandria waterfront since arriving last summer. It took a little under a year to get U.S. Coast Guard and other inspections finished to ensure that the vessel was shipshape and ready to receive visitors.

Two hour-and-a-half-long cruises are currently available on Fridays and Saturdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and then from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The latter cruise includes beer and wine and light snacks.

“If all those sell out, we will then open up on Sunday and Thursday for cruises,” Clair Sassin, executive director of the Tall Ship Providence Foundation, told ALXnow. “In terms of charters, we’re open any day for a charter.”

The Tall Ship Providence Foundation also operates a visitor center and gift shop at One Cameron Street — underneath the Chart House Restaurant. The ship is ALX Promise certified, and the crew disinfects it after each voyage.

History lovers also can tune in every Tuesday with #TallShipTuesdays, which include stories from Jones and historical interpreters.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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Morning Notes

Mayor Decries Hate Incidents in Alexandria — “‪Two sad examples of hate in our community this week. ‬This is not who we are as a City. We reject those that would spew hate and target members of our community.‬ ‪I hope that any violation of the law will be addressed aggressively by City, State and Federal officials, as applicable.‬” [Facebook]

Beyer Says Trump Doesn’t Care About Children — “Trump’s approach all along has been to pretend a miraculous end to the pandemic is just around the corner. He doesn’t have a plan. He isn’t going to lead. He doesn’t care about making schools safe for children and educators. It’s so important to get this right.” [Twitter]

The Tall Ship Providence Now Open — “Tall Ship Providence is open for Private Tours, Private Lunchtime Tours, and Happy Hours.” [Tall Ship Providence]

Food Distribution at Charles Houston Recreation Center on Thursday — “ALIVE!, in coordination with Washington Street United Methodist Church, Royal Restaurant, ARHA, and the City of Alexandria, will distribute bags of shelf-stable groceries and boxes of produce on Thursday, July 9 from 4 pm – 5:30 pm, or until supplies run out, at the parking lot of Charles Houston Recreation Center.” [ALIVE!]

There’s a New Phone Support Line for Alexandria Parents — “Phone lines are answered from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Monday through Friday. Assistance is available in English and Spanish. The person will be there simply to listen or provide guidance on more complex issues.” [Zebra]

Old Town Ghost Tours Are Back — “Follow an 18th century costumed guide by lantern light through the charming streets of Alexandria’s historic district, Old Town. On this entertaining tour you’ll hear ghost stories, legends and folklore.” [Visit Alexandria]

New Job: Dog Daycare Supervisor — “We are looking for individuals that are responsive to our customers, but also that are able to follow the rules and monitor staff that are directly supervising the dogs in our care. You will be on your feet a good majority of the day so please don’t apply if that is a problem.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Sen. Kaine Features T.C. Senior Graduation Speech — “Thank you to Mathieu from T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria for encouraging the Class of 2020 to be leaders and always lend a helping hand.” [Facebook]

Beyer Calls on U.S. Attorney General to Resign — “The Attorney General is the top law enforcement officer in the country, the leader of an agency meant to protect Americans’ constitutional rights. Barr betrayed that mission by ordering the violent and systematic violation of peaceful protesters’ rights. He should resign.” [Twitter]

Departmental Progressive Club Raises Funds for Community — “Members of the Departmental Progressive Club joined forces to raise more than $1,600 to donate to Carpenter’s Shelter and the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority.” [Gazette]

Tall Ship Providence Foundation Shows Solidarity — “Our social media is blacked out in solidarity with our Black colleagues, friends and the community. We believe that Black Lives Matter.” [Facebook]

Virtual Job Fair on Thursday — “Looking for a job? Register and attend a free online event for job seekers on Thursday, June 4, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Attendees will meet the Ajilon Professional Staffing team and learn more about immediate COVID-19 contact tracing employment opportunities in Virginia.” [City of Alexandria]

New Job: Sous Chef — “This position is a hands-on Sous Chef working the line with fellow team mates. The ideal candidate will be able to work independently, create specials and supervise staff when the chef is not present.” [Facebook]

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Morning Notes

City Helps World Central Kitchen Give Out 1,250 Meals — “On May 14, City staff and volunteers distributed 1,250 hot meals to 350 families in the third food distribution organized in Alexandria by World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit food distribution organization founded by chef José Andrés. Local nonprofit ALIVE! also distributed 800 pounds of food at the event. This food distribution will take place again at Casa Chirilagua on May 21 and Ramsay Elementary School on May 28.” [City of Alexandria]

10,000 Maniacs Show at The Birchmere Rescheduled to November — “his show has been RESCHEDULED AGAIN, now for Friday November 20, 2020! All 3/20/20 & 5/31/20 tickets will be honored on the new date. Refunds available through Ticketmaster if you cannot attend the new date. If you purchased at The Birchmere Box Office, please hold on to your tickets until we reopen. Tickets for 11/20/20 on sale now!” [Birchmere]

Old Town Books Raising Funds to Stay Afloat — “I never thought I would be turning to crowd funding to keep the store open. This fundraiser is to cover payroll, rent, and fixed costs during the shut down. It will keep the store open through the next very uncertain year while we adapt our business model to continue operating through the COVID-19 outbreak. I want Old Town Books to be here when the clouds part, and I hope you do, too.” [GoFundMe]

Here’s the Latest from the Old Town Boutique District — “The Old Town Boutique District kindly asks for you to continue to hold hands with us and support us little guys any way that you can. We love our loyal shop local community and we still need you.” [OTBD]

Tall Ship Providence Hosting Virtual Tours on Tuesdays — “Every week, historic re-enactors talk about Providence, life aboard the ship and much more in a series of videos, online discussion and other virtual features.” [Alexandria Living]

North Potomac Yard Virtual Community Meeting at 7 p.m. — “The Virginia Tech Foundation and JBG SMITH will host a virtual community meeting to provide information regarding transportation, open space, sustainability and community benefits.” [City of Alexandria]

Sixth Grader Leaves Colorful Rocks in Neighborhood — “Sophie Richardson, a 6th grade student at St. Stephens/St. Agnes School, is brightening up the Vauxcleuse neighborhood near Inova Alexandria Hospital with rocks painted with uplifting messages for her neighbors to find.” [Gazette]

Virtue Feed and Grain Donates Meals to D.C. Nonprofit — “We are grateful for the partnership & hope to continue giving back to our community.” [Facebook]

Pedego Electric Bikes Gets Colorful Shipment of Helmets — “We just received a shipment of new Thousand helmets! Refilling some favorites and adding a few new awesome colors. Come and get them while they last!” [Facebook]

The Art League is Offering Online Courses — “Check out our new online classes to help keep you connected to each other and your creativity. Connect to online classes using Zoom, a video-conferencing platform that is simple and easy to use. And stay in touch with your classmates and teacher with Google classroom.” [Art League]

New Job: Alexandria Health Department Communications Officer — “The AHD Communications Officer is a key member of AHD’s Population Health team comprised of the Population Health Manager, Health Planner, and HIV/AIDS Prevention Coordinator. The Communications Officer reports directly to the Population Health Manager, is AHD’s principal communications subject matter expert, and provides oversight of AHD’s internal and external communications.” [Indeed]

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Former Virginia Senator John W. Warner has agreed to let the Tall Ship Providence Foundation to use his name for its recently approved visitor center complex.

“As the only Secretary of the Navy to serve in the Navy and Marine Corps, combined with his 30-years of service in the Senate, we are thrilled to recognize his contributions to our country,” Clair S. Sassin, the foundation’s executive director, said in an email.

While the naming of the visitor’s center is a positive development, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the foundation. The programs/communications director and the marketing director were recently let go and the capital campaign for the project will have to be pushed to the end of the year, Sassin said.

City Council approved the L-shaped, 5,300 square-foot floating pier on March 14. The pier will be home to two 17-foot-tall cottages, both 768 square feet, to accommodate visitors with a theater area for historical presentations, a gift shop, restrooms and a ticket office. The new complex will open on a floating pier at Waterfront Park in 2022, and in the meantime will operate at its current location at Founders Park.

In the meantime, Sassin is working on creating online content to tell the stories of the Providence, and is participating in the upcoming Spring2ACTion fundraiser on Wednesday.

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The Alexandria Planning Commission unanimously approved a new maritime center for the Tall Ship Providence on Tuesday night.

If passed by city council, the 18th-century replica ship will be docked at a new floating pier at Waterfront Park.

The proposed, L-shaped, 5,300 square-foot floating pier would be located in the center of the southern portion of the park. The pier would be home to two 17-foot-tall cottages, both 768 square feet, to accommodate visitors with a theater area for historical presentations, a gift shop, restrooms and a ticket office.

Additionally, a security gate would be installed where the gangway meets with the floating pier.

“We’re very excited to have a home for the Tall Ship Providence. That’s been in the works for quite some time now,” Cathy Puskar, an attorney for the Alexandria-based Tall Ship Providence Foundation, told the commission.

The ship sailed into Alexandria last summer and is still awaiting inspection approval by the U.S. Coast Guard before it can start welcoming visitors. It has been docked on the waterfront at a pier just north of the Torpedo Factory for several months, and plans call for it to open to the public as soon as that inspection is complete.

Speaking before the Planning Commission, Old Town resident Mike Budinski said he is concerned that the new pier and cottages will block the view of the Potomac.

“I think the so-called cottages, basically they’re quite large buildings, actually, their footprint is actually larger than my house in Old Town, and they’re tall, so they’re going to have a silhouette,” Budinski said. “I’m down there all the time, even at dawn almost every morning. What’s funny is that on Saturday, Sunday and even Monday mornings is how you see all the chairs lined up on the bulkhead, on the break wall aimed at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. People really love that view of the southern corridor.”

The pier would be able to accommodate a maximum of 150 people at one time, and groups of 25 would rotate between the two cottages and the ship, according to a city staff report. The Tall Ship Providence Foundation also wants to serve beer, wine and mixed drinks on the new pier.

You might have also noticed that there is an existing pier at Waterfront Park. Under the proposal, the pier, which is used by the Alexandria Seaport Foundation, would be removed.

According to a filing, plans for the pier include:

  • Cottage #1 would include two single-occupancy restrooms and storage space
  • The sewage from the restrooms will be held in a storage tank under the structure
  • Cottage #2 would include a ticket office, gift shop and theater area to provide information on maritime history and the ship
  • The pier would extend 126 feet from the shoreline and into waters controlled by the District of Columbia
  • The shoreline for this area is part of the city’s future Flood Mitigation Implementation project and Waterfront Improvements plan. As such, the structures are proposed to be temporary until future flood mitigation efforts begin
  • The roof of the cottages will be covered with solar panels or solar roof tiles
  • Hours of operation would be from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and holidays
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It was quite a year in Alexandria. It’s safe to say that 202o will be just as busy, but in the meantime let’s take a look at the top stories from the last year.

1. The Seminary Road Diet 

Few local transportation stories have gotten as much attention as City Council’s 4-3 decision on the Seminary Road diet. The move seems simple enough — consolidating from four to two lanes in both directions between N. Quaker Lane and Howard Street with a turn lane in the middle and bike lanes on both sides. Public discord over the change prompted the creation of a Facebook page, which has dramatically turned up the temperature on the issue, even leading to City Councilwoman Amy Jackson to publicly call for a complete reversal on the decision and restart of the process.
See: More Work on Seminary Road This Spring If the State Will Pony Up the Cash
More: Virginia Theological Seminary Weighs In Favor of Seminary Road Diet


2. Legendary Titans Pass Away 

Alexandria lost a number of inspiring figures in 2019, including members of the state championship-winning 1971 T.C. Williams High School football team. The team, who were immortalized in the 2000 film “Remember The Titans” starring Denzel Washington, lost coach Herman Boone, assistant coach Bill Yoast and players Petey Jones and Julius Campbell.


George Washington Middle School. (File photo)

3. ACPS fully Accredited for First Time in 20 Years

It took two decades, and in September Alexandria City Public Schools system announced that all of the city’s public schools reached their state mandated benchmarks to be fully accredited for the 2019-2020 academic year. Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings said that the success didn’t come by chance and that it took six superintendents and a lot of “planning, preparation and dedication for all students to experience success regardless of their life circumstances” to get ACPS where it is today.


4. Ground Broken at Potomac Yard Metro Station

After decades of finalizing plans and making deals, ground was finally broken in December for the construction of the Potomac Yard Metro station. The plan is to open the $320 million station by spring 2022, and while development will result in the demolition of the Regal Potomac Yard movie theater, the area will positively be booming with the eventual addition of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, a new mixed-use redevelopment, Amazon HQ2 in Crystal City and much more.

“This has been a quarter-century in the making,” Mayor Justin Wilson said at the groundbreaking. “This is a big… deal.”


5. Alexandria’s Summer Metro Shutdown 

Did you have to get creative in your commute over the summer? You weren’t alone. Thousands of commuters in the area were forced to make alternate plans so that Metro could make crucial improvements to all of the station platforms south of the Reagan National Airport station. The shutdown meant expanded Metro and DASH bus routes, morning trolley rides from the King Street station, Potomac Riverboat Company Water Taxi ferries from the Alexandria Waterfront into the District and more. The renovation is part of a $300-$400 million project to rebuild 20 outdoor platforms throughout the Metro system. Once reopened, commuters were introduced to new speakers for clearer public announcements and emergency notifications, stainless-steel platform shelters, passenger information display screens and energy-efficient LED lighting.

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