Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Longtime Bishop Ireton Teacher Dies — “It is with sadness but also with great faith in our Lord that we share that Mr. Ron Umbeck, a beloved faculty member at Bishop Ireton for more than 50 years, passed away earlier this evening. He is now at peace in Heaven and we are sure that he met St. Peter with a math book, a crossword puzzle, an It’s Academic prep sheet and a Bishop Ireton pin. He loved this school, but more importantly, he loved his students and his Bishop Ireton family.” [Facebook]

Mayor Talks About Coronavirus on PBS — “My thanks to ⁦@AlexandriaVAGov⁩ Mayor ⁦@justindotnet⁩ for spending time with us to talk #Virginia re-opening, concerns about virus spread, and how he’s balancing the two. Our report, produced by ⁦@courtneyknorris, on ⁦@NewsHour⁩ tonight…” [Twitter]

NVTA Provides $195 Million to Duke Street, Richmond Highway Projects — “Two major roadway projects in the Alexandria region received funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. The Duke Street Transitway received $75 million, which completes its funding request.” [Alexandria Living]

Fairlington United Methodist Church Warns of Scammers — “Scammers are out in full this summer. Please either a) ignore emails like this or b) report it to your email provider. This is not Janine’s email address, nor does she sign her emails Rev Janine Howard (nor does she break all sorts of grammar rules…) [Facebook]

Photographer Helps Unemployed Residents With Headshots — “Alexandria photographer Sam Fatima wants to do his part to help turn things around. He has partnered with Headshot Booker and Brookfield Properties for a new initiative aimed at helping the unemployed have a fresh start.” [Zebra]

Virtual Pub Craw Starts Wednesday — “In 2020 the 7th Annual Port City Old Town Pub Crawl is going virtual! Throughout July join Port City and our friends in Old Town as we celebrate good food and beer all month long.” [Facebook]

DASH Installing Digital Displays — “We’re busy installing new digital displays that show bus arrival info and alerts. We’ve installed more than 30 so far.” [Facebook]

New Job: Server — “Chadwicks Restaurant is currently looking to fill FULL- and PART-TIME server positions. Must be honest, hardworking, and capable of working well with others. Experience not a priority.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

City Releases Annual Homeless Data — “The 2020 Annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count revealed 207 persons experiencing homelessness (i.e., unsheltered and in temporary shelter made available by homeless services providers) in the City of Alexandria.” [City of Alexandria]

Alexandria Police Release 2019 Traffic Stop Data — “The vast majority of traffic stops — 80 percent — occur on weekdays, with Tuesday and Wednesday being the most common days.” [Alexandria Living]

Carpenter’s Shelter Gets Hydrated — “Did you know today (Tuesday) is National Hydration Day? Thanks to Trezur C of Tres Outreach for donating twenty five cases of water to keep our residents nice and cool during these hot summer days!” [Facebook]

Fire Department Conducting Virtual Station Tours — “So instead of in person tours and visits, we thought we would provide a couple of virtual station tours for the community, especially those who are frequent visitors at their neighborhood stations and couldn’t drop by during the past few months. First up, Fire Station 206, located at 4609 Seminary Road…our tech rescue station.” [Facebook]

ALX Community Hosting COVID Coping Workshop June 25 — “Hosted by Elena Jimenez, founder of Execute Your Destiny, this series offers a rare opportunity to navigate the current social and racial climate in search of new perspectives and solutions.” [Eventbrite]

New Job: Part-Time Dance Teacher — “Looking for experienced dance and acro teachers. Openings on weekdays and Saturday. Primarily classes for children aged 3 and older.” [Indeed]

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With schools being closed for the duration of the school year and Alexandria still in lockdown until the end of May, Alexandria City Public Schools highlighted the annual faculty awards in an online post celebrating the support staff, teacher, and principal of the year.

ACPS announced the winners on Monday, May 18.

  • Andrew (William) Sharpe: 2020 Support Staffer of the Year
  • Ashley Sandoval: 2020 Teacher of the Year
  • PreeAnn Johnson: 2020 Principal of the Year

ACPS also released some fun facts about the ACPS award recipients.

Sharpe is not only a building engineer at T.C. Williams High School Minnie Howard Campus and an employee for 36 years, he is also a class of ’78 Titan who holds the school record for longest kickoff return for a 96-yarder set in 1978.

Sandoval, a physical education teacher at Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology, arranged for swimming lessons for every fourth grade student in her school.

Johnson, principal of James K. Polk Elementary School, has worked in Alexandria schools for 35 years and led the school to winning the Let’s Move Active Schools National Award.

ACPS highlighted Sharpe in a post on Monday and Sandoval in a post today (Wednesday), with an upcoming message that will honor Johnson on Friday.

The schools also recognized and celebrated National Merit Scholar Leah Nickelsburg. Nickelsburg, a senior at T.C., was awarded $2,500 by the academic organization that recognizes excellence in students across the U.S.

ACPS also announced more plans for graduation on Saturday, June 13. A virtual ceremony will be streamed starting at 9:30 a.m. on ACPS TV Channel 71, Facebook Live and the ACPS website.

“While our school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have upended our traditional ending to a school year, we have been hard at work trying to plan the most meaningful and special ways to recognize you while also being responsible to ensure our duties to prevent the spread of any disease and ensure public safety and health,” said T.C. Principal Peter Balas.

The keynote address is scheduled to be given by world champion sprinter Noah Lyles, a 2016 T.C. graduate who is part of the US Olympic team that was originally scheduled to compete in Olympics in Tokyo, Japan this summer.

Photo via @CKelemPE/Twitter

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Faced with a $7.4 million reduction in funding from the city and $4 million lost from the state, Alexandria City Public Schools is faced with dire cuts that will keep staffing levels but leave teachers with reduced pay.

“We are facing a global pandemic, but that does not change our priorities,” Superintendent Gregory Hutchings said at a virtual meeting on Friday. “We are staying true to actual budget priorities that were approved by the board as we make these revisions.”

The largest cuts come from the $5.5 million elimination of the annual step increase, which City Manager Mark Jinks implied would be necessary in his budget presentation to the City Council.

Two of the other major cuts are a general reduction in non-personnel expenditures for $1.8 million and the elimination of new positions for $1.4 million.

The non-personnel expenditures represent a 5% cut across the board, with principals and chiefs assigned to make those cuts within their schools and departments.

Hutchings said that 29.8 fulltime employees were planned to be hired in the budget initially, which was reduced to 13.7 in the new budget.

“Our goal is to not have a reduction in force,” Hutchings said. “Right now, we’re not recommending having a reduction in force. That’s a huge benefit for us. Some school divisions are having those discussions right now.”

Hutchings warned, though, that this could change if the economic downturn continues.

“I don’t want to say we will never have a reduction in force,” Hutchings said. “Realistically, if this economy continues to have a downturn… that’s going to be a very tough decision that we may have to make in the next few months.”

The reductions in the budget will also have an impact on pay for teachers. While salaries aren’t planning to be cut or enhanced, Hutchings said increasing health premiums means employees will see a decrease in take-home pay.

For a teacher who has a master’s degree and United Healthcare — which Hutchings said is the majority of teachers in the school system — take-home pay will decrease by $213 over the next year.

“[We’re] making decisions in the best interest of staff members and students,” Hutchings said. “We are proposing something that is preventing people from losing their jobs due to COVID-19.”

On the capital project side, the budget includes the deferral of the T.C. Williams High School renovation, though the 2024 opening date is still included in the project.

The budget is planned to be discussed throughout May, with final adoption scheduled for Friday, June 5.

Top photo by Jay Westcott, graph via ACPS

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Morning Notes

Family Says Lack of Information Contributed to Nurse’s Death — “Some family members who have loved ones at Silverado are also upset, complaining they are being kept in the dark. A woman whose mother is at the facility asked that News4 conceal her identity. She says families need more information about the outbreak such as how many staff and residents have tested positive and how many have died.” [NBC4]

Beyer Blames President for U.S. Coronavirus Outbreak— “Tens of thousands of Americans – over 73,000 – have now died from a pandemic that has hit our country so much harder because this President ignored warnings from health officials over and over again. This is so dangerous.” [Twitter]

City Partners With AT&T and FirstNet so 911 Dispatchers Can Work at Home — “Under this innovative approach, Alexandria’s remote dispatchers are using equipment that includes a laptop, headset and smartphone, FirstNet hotspot, mobile router with computer aided dispatch, and other necessary hardware. The hotspot with its FirstNet connection is critical to the operation.” [FirstNet]

Former Alexandria Teacher Adopting Child in India When COVID-19 Struck — “The Mosiers flew to India in March to pick up their daughter. The country locked down before they could leave.” [New York Times]

Volunteer Alexandria Puts Out Call For Face Masks — “Homemade Masks Needed! With personal protective equipment in critically short supply. Catholic Charities urgently needs masks for staff, volunteers, and the vulnerable populations they serve.” [Facebook]

Jefferson Houston School Introduces Principal Candidate Finalists — “Our search for the next Head of School for the Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School is down to two finalists: Dr. Ingrid Bynum and Dr. John McCain. Both candidates have considerable experience in the education field.” [ACPS]

ICYMI: Taverna Cretekou is Open for Carryout — “Call us 703-548-8688 for daily specials and for placing orders. Limited menu , reduced prices, half off for all the wines and free dessert with each entree!” [Facebook]

Watch: Alexandria Symphony Orchestra Trio Performs at Guest House — “The Alexandria Symphony Brass Trio featuring Maestro Jim Ross, horn, Gil Hoffer, trumpet and Bryan Bourne, trombone thrills residents of Goodwin House retirement community with a socially distanced concert in the courtyard. ASO’s first live in-person concert since February. Sunshine and live music– you could see the smiles even under the masks!” [Facebook]

Virtual Funeral Sunday for Hard Times Cafe Founder — “The family of Fred Parker, an Alexandria Living Legend who founded the iconic Hard Times Cafe in Alexandria, Virginia, is planning a virtual ZOOM Memorial on Sunday, May 10, at 3 p.m.” [Zebra]

NOVA Juvenile Detention Center adapts to COVID-19 — “The center took certain precautions early on to prevent the virus from spreading within the facility, McNair said. In the first week of March, staff increased cleaning regimens for the facility. Over the next few weeks, the center restricted all in-person visits to the facility.” [Alex Times]

Family Beats Quarantine Blues With Themed Dinners — “The first week, their 11-year-old daughter chose to theme the meal after one of Netflix’s biggest social distancing-era hits: the documentary series, ‘Tiger King.’ The second week, their son chose a sports theme. The three kids wore their favorite jerseys, Organek dressed up as a soccer mom and her husband, who has gone all out for every family dinner, dressed up as a 1970s news anchor to interview his kids.” [Alex Times]

New Job: Grant Officer Position Pays $50K-$60K — “Responsible for managing donor client relationships and the international/domestic grant making programs they support. In addition to providing excellent customer service, the officer will be responsible for maintaining expertise in international grant making, donor-advised fund and restricted fund regulations, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regulations and practices along with CAF America validation protocols.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Mayor, Sheriff Hand Out Diplomas to High School Seniors — “Yesterday, we announced three more deaths [from covid-19]. We have 26 deaths in the city. Every day, it’s another shoe falling. But this, this is something so positive.” (Washington Post)

Alexandria Economic Development Partnership Creating Local Business Grant Program — “AEDP will pull $2 million out of its ‘Alexandria Investment Fund,’ local incentive cash for retaining and attracting businesses, and then pair that money with federal funding the city received through the CARES Act.” [Washington Business Journal]

Burke & Herbert Bank Starts Borrowers Assistance Helpline — “You are not alone in any financial challenges you’re facing. If you cannot make your loan or mortgage payment, we need to know so that we can put a new plan in place to assist you.” [Facebook]

Visit Del Ray Launches Online Spring Pop-Up Market — “With social distancing restrictions in place, the Del Ray Business Association is moving its spring pop-up retail market online. Shop local with local artisans and home-based businesses and find the perfect gift for Mother’s Day!” [Facebook]

ALIVE! Receives More Contributions from Businesses – “Thank you to Democracy Federal Credit Union for stopping by the ALIVE! Food Warehouse this week with a big check! Donations support our purchase of food to distribute people in need. Also another thanks to Former Delegate Rob Krupicka Elizabeth’s Counter Alexandria for his continual support to ALIVE!” [Facebook]

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week — “With the abrupt end to the physical school year, our teachers have done even more to continue education with virtual classrooms and learning at home lessons. All to ensure every student at Hammond has the tools they need to reach their full potential.” [Facebook]

City Launches #SpreadCheerALX — “Messages posted on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the hashtag #SpreadCheerALX may be selected by the City to be reproduced as signs for others to display. The City will request permission to reproduce messages in advance. Selected submissions will be printed, displayed on City property, and made available to residents who would like a sign for their yard or window.” [Zebra]

Porch Party Planned for Thursday in Del Ray — “The Del Ray Business Association is proud to present the first-ever First Thursday: Porch Party from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 7. In the spirit of Del Ray’s summer street festivals, the event features a wide range of activities that promote community while maintaining social distancing standards.” [Facebook]

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Morning Notes

Hard Times Café Founder Passes Away — “Sad news. @HardTimesFun founder Fred Parker passed away last night. He was a very special friend and an icon in #AlexandriaVA. Thank you Fred for so many memories. You will never be forgotten #RIP” [Twitter]

Birchmere Joins Group to Lobby Congress for Coronavirus Relief — “With large gatherings forbidden throughout the country, the live music industry has ground to a halt, closing revenue streams and putting things like rent and payroll payments in jeopardy. More than 450 venues across the U.S. are banding together under the new group called the National Independent Venue Association to present one voice to lawmakers.”  [Washington Business Journal]

Potomac Coffee Donates to Carpenter’s Shelter — “Thank you, Potomac Coffee, for your incredibly generous donation of 200lbs of VERY aromatic coffee! As one of the many local businesses hard hit by the pandemic, we appreciate your giving spirit during these tough times!” [Facebook]

Presbyterian Cemetery Closes — “Thank you all for your comments. The cemetery tried to keep open after the city closed all parks and dog parks, but we were completely overwhelmed. Over the past four weeks we had people driving in from DC, MD and other parts of Virginia to exercise their dogs. Not only were we overrun, but people were not following the rules, were belligerent and at times threatening to staff. That and numerous other issues gave us no choice except to lock the gates and keep everyone out. Since this is the first time in years we are closed, the cemetery will tackle some much needed maintenance issues and needed enhancements and hope to open again once the COVID-19 crisis passes. We hope everyone understands and know that we appreciate your support.” [Facebook]

‘The Old Town Shop’ is Selling Disposable Face Masks — “The Old Town Shop carries DISPOSABLE FACE MASKS: 2 masks to a pack, and $5 per pack. The BFE 95 triple layer protective masks have a waterproof outer layer and a breathable inner layer. The 3D tensile design fully fits an adult face. Material is non-woven fabric with a flexible plastic nose bridge and elastic ear covers.” [squaremktg.com]

Video: Alexandria Firefighter Recruits Train in Smokehouse — “A pandemic doesn’t stop other emergencies from happening. The AFD Training Division continues to prepare our new members to respond to the call.” [Facebook]

Sheriff’s Office Talks With ACPS Third Graders — “With Alexandria City Public Schools closed, we’re finding new ways to stay connected with students. Today [April 24] Lieutenant Sean Casey and Deputy Morgan Garner joined Mr. Holland’s third graders for their lunch bunch via Zoom. They discussed online safety and did a fun demonstration showing the importance of proper hand washing.” [Facebook]

Riverside Gardens Families Play Dress-up — “It became something to look forward to. We’d all wonder, what will the Ferrys do tonight? For five nights we had ‘must-see Facebook!'” [Zebra]

Alexandrians Pitch ‘Burro’ Gardening Tools on Shark Tank — “Mollie Thorsen and her father, Bob, have come a long way with their innovative gardening tool, the original Little Burro.” [Alexandria Living]

City Sets Up Yard Waste Collection Site on Eisenhower Avenue — “The new facility will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays. You must show an ID with a City of Alexandria address.” [Alexandria Living]

Today is a Teacher Work Day for ACPS — “REMINDER: Monday, April 27 is a Teacher Work Day. Enjoy your weekend!” [Facebook]

Carol and Ryan Bailey Named Alexandria Living Legends — “Carol says she has spent her life paving the way for Ryan. She and her family still live in the house her grandfather bought in Del Ray in 1900. It has a historical marker on the front column and a sign in the front yard that says, ‘Spread Kindness, Build Community.'” [Gazette]

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Morning Notes

T.C. Boys Advance in Tourney — “TC Varsity Vs Robinson regional quarterfinal take the win 49-47. Next round, Friday, 2/28 5:45 @ Fairfax HS.” [Twitter]

Donation to Support School Sensory Room — “Daniel MacDonald was just six-years old when he passed away in 2018, but thanks to a $10,000 donation from his family, he has left a legacy at Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School that will benefit other children.” [ACPS]

Award Winning Teacher Highlighted on TV — “See @TCWTitans teacher Kimberly Wilson on @ABC7News! This year she was named National Teacher of the Year by the Association for Career and Technical Education.” [WJLA, Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Lead in Soil Near Oronoco Bay Park — “Research for the Combined Sewer Overflow remediation project uncovered a mysterious cache of lead along the waterfront… It was during exploration at CSO-001, the outfall near Oronoco Bay Park, that RiverRenew came across the lead… RiverRenew is taking extra precautions to remove the impacted soil.” [Alexandria Times]

T.C. Teacher Goes Extra Mile — T.C. Williams 11th grade English teacher Corrina Reamer, who teaches immigrant and international students with limited English proficiency, has raised money for a library of 1,000 books “so her students would learn to love reading.” [Washington Post]

Mag Lists Alexandria Traffic Concerns — “In the past month, we asked Alexandria residents to answer this question: ‘What is your biggest concern about transportation and/or commuting in the Alexandria area, and what do you think should be done to make it better?’ Here are the responses we received.” [Alexandria Living]

Local Robotics Team Advances to State Tourney — “The St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School Upper School robotics team Thunderstone advances to states! They competed January 11-12 at the Salem Qualifier and finished the day as the top-ranked team and captained the winning alliance.” [Zebra]

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