It was a historic week in Alexandria.
Alexandrians overwhelmingly helped reelect U.S. Senator Mark Warner and Congressman Don Beyer, and 80% of voters chose Democrat former Vice President Joe Biden for president over incumbent Republican President Donald Trump.
Out top story this week was election-related. It turns out that before election day several Alexandria households with Joe Biden signs were sent letters with a Northern Virginia postage mark stating that Biden is a pedophile. The Chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee advised that anyone who receives such notes should call the police. The police, in turn, are sending along the information to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Additionally, 91 people participated in our weekly poll. This week we asked about election night plans, and 65% of respondents said they were staying home to watch the results, 24% had no eleciton night plans, 10% planned to protest that evening, and 1% were going to an election night event.
Alexandria City Public Schools were back in action this week — sort of. While the ACPS opened in-person classes on Thursday, fewer than 10 students made it to class. There were about 60 students eligible to go back to school, since only kids with kindergarten through second graders with disabilities were allowed to attend Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School.
It was the first in-person public schooling in Alexandria since the pandemic shut down schools in March. ACPS plans to expand opening for all citywide special education students by December. Meanwhile, however, hundreds of parents want the school system to open and have started the #OpenACPS messaging campaign.
Also in school news, a two-year-long court battle was settled with the city and 15 Alexandria homeowners were settled regarding the addition of stadium lights to Parker-Gray Stadium at T.C. Williams High School.
The Week in Crime
The week started with news that there were two shootings in Alexandria over the weekend.
The was also the story of a 17-year-old on the run since last month after allegedly stealing a car in the West End. The juvenile, who later admitted stealing the car, was seen by the victim — a federal law enforcement officer — driving past his house, and the victim got into another of his cars and followed the suspect. The victim got the juvenile out of his car and held him at the scene until police arrived, and the juvenile left the area after being charged.
We also covered the story of the ‘Beltway Bank Bandit’. Freddie Lee McRae, 34, of Washington D.C., pleaded guilty to three counts of brandishing a firearm during a series of bank and shoe store robberies in and around Alexandria in 2018 and 2019. He will be sentenced on February 23, 2021, and faces up to life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 21 years in prison.
Health and Business
As of Friday there were 76 deaths attributed to the coronavirus in Alexandria, and the case count stands at 4,444, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Latino residents continue to lead the case count.
We also reported that longtime Del Ray staple, Al’s Steak House, is for sale since the owner passed away.
This week also saw fewer continued and initial unemployment claims in Alexandria.
Here are ALXnow’s top stories of the week in Alexandria:
- Alexandrians with Joe Biden Yard Signs Get Anonymous Letters Saying Biden is a Pedophile
- Del Ray Staple Al’s Steak House for Sale After Owner’s Death
- Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
- Braddock West Project Headed to Planning Commission Later This Year
- Identity Released of Old Town North Suspect Killed in Shootout
- Soft Opening for New Chicken Joint in North Old Town Today
- Alexandria Parents Start #OpenACPS Sign Campaign as School System Begins Partial Reopening
- Juvenile Allegedly Steals Car and is Tracked Down by Victim in the West End
- BREAKING: Massive Power Outage Reported in Alexandria
- The Alexandria Drive-In Just Kicked Off an Encore Series on Halloween
- Did You Know: The Tall Ship Providence Encountered a Ghost Ship in 1777
Have a safe weekend!
In 1777, the original Tall Ship Providence found something eerie off the coast of New York — an abandoned, rudderless ghost ship full of rich clothing, bread and even a dog.
“We came within pistol shot and hailed her, but received no answer,” noted Marine Captain John Trevette in his diary.
Trevette was ordered to inspect the ship with his Marines, and found “all the beds and all the trunks full of rich clothing, and chests with keys in them.”
Incidentally, Alexandria is a great place to tell ghost stories. There are ghost and graveyard tours, a ghost tour pub crawl, and on Friday, October 30, the Tall Ship Providence will host Halloween story time at 11:30 a.m. and noon.
The Tall Ship Providence, located on the Alexandria waterfront, is a replica of the first naval warship commissioned by the Continental Congress in 1775.
Below is the story from Tall Ship Providence shipmate AB Barlow:
Virginia Tech Announces Advisory Board for Innovation Campus — “The board consists of company leaders along with several tech pioneers. Members include Sanju Bansal, founder and CEO of Hunch Analytics; Dave Calhoun, president and CEO of Boeing; Ted Colbert, executive vice president of Boeing; Joe DeSimone, professor at Stanford University and executive chairman and co-founder of Carbon; Lynne Doughtie, former chairman and CEO of KPMG; Regina Dugan, CEO of Wellcome Leap; Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm; Russ Ramsey, board chair of Greater Washington Partnership; Kathy Warden, CEO, of Northrop Grumman Corporation; Glenn Youngkin, co-chief executive officer of The Carlyle Group.” [Patch]
Beyer: Trump and Republicans Should Feel Same Urgency With COVID-19 as Ginsburg Replacement — “Imagine if Donald Trump and Senate Republicans felt this urgency about responding to a pandemic that has now killed over 200,000 Americans. 4 months ago the House passed a bill to help American families and boost the economy. Mitch McConnell said he didn’t feel any ‘urgency.'” [Twitter]
Volunteers Honored in Virtual Ceremony — “On Saturday, August 29, New Hope Housing (NHH) – an Alexandria nonprofit that helps homeless families and individuals – recognized a group of volunteers at its Annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast.” [Zebra]
Little Theatre of Alexandria Auditioning for ‘A Christmas Carol’ — “LTA’s A Christmas Carol for 2020 will be the most unique ever. It will feature live, virtual, and animated elements. We are looking for a family who can portray Mr. Cratchit, Mrs. Cratchit, and Tiny Tim. Tiny Tim will also portray Turkey Boy and Boy Scrooge. These three characters will participate in Zoom rehearsals in October and three rehearsals at LTA in early November, with a taping date of Saturday, November 15.” [Facebook]
Tall Ship Providence Gets Repaired — “Our Providence team has had a very busy weekend! While in the boat yard, they have sanded the hull to prepare it for a new coat of paint and performed other routine maintenance in preparation for the scheduled Coast Guard inspection.” [Facebook]
Today’s Weather — “Sunny skies (during the day). High 72F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Clear skies (at night). Low 54F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Global Trade Group Command Media Manager — “Manage of Global Trade Group (GTG) Command Media throughout the lifecycle of drafting to final posting in the corporate electronic library. Reviews draft policies and procedures submitted by corporate trade segments/functions and non-trade functions to ensure alignment with corporate GTG trade-related command media. Recommends changes to ensure alignment with GTG trade policies and procedures. Maintains GTG
records relating to trade policies and procedures, tracks status of all command media submitted to GTG by the Policy Review Board (PRB) and ensures suspense deadlines are met.” [Indeed]
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]
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]
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
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]
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]
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]
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.