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Retired Alexandria City High School principal John Porter (on left) and Sheriff Dana Lawhorne in Del Ray (courtesy photo)

Retired Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne and former Alexandria City High School principal John Porter have been named the grand marshals of the 48th annual Alexandria Turkey Trot.

Lawhorne retired last year after a 43-year career in law enforcement in the city, and Porter was a teacher for Alexandria City Public Schools for more than 20 years and the principal at ACHS (back when it was named T.C. Williams High School) for 22 years.

“It is an honor to announce that two of Alexandria’s most loved community members, Dana Lawhorne and John Porter, are this year’s grand marshals,” said Del Ray Business Association board member Gayle Reuter. “Both are lifelong Alexandrians who have dedicated their lives to public service.”

The five-mile race on Nov. 23 through the heart of Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood is expected to draw upward of 6,000 participants. It will start at 9 a.m. outside George Washington Middle School (1005 Mount Vernon Avenue).

On race day, the doors at GW Middle School will open at 7:30 a.m., followed by the invocation and announcements at 8:45 a.m. The race will start at 9 a.m., followed by an awards ceremony at 10 a.m.

Participants are asked to register and pick up their racing materials before the race.

Participants and spectators are also asked this year to donate two non-perishable food items on race day to support ALIVE!

“Most needed items include rice, dry beans, boxed mac and cheese, canned vegetables, canned soup, canned fruit, canned tuna and/or chicken, or boxed/bag baking mixes,” DRBA said in a release. “Last year, ALIVE! received 1,168 pounds of food and a $6,000 check from the Del Ray Business Association to support their food program.”

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A cloudy day in Old Town (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Alexandrians traveling for the holiday should be aware the area will likely see some rain this week, but things should clear up on Thanksgiving.

The National Weather Service said rain will likely start on Tuesday after 10 a.m.

According to the forecast:

Rain, mainly after 10am. High near 54. East wind 7 to 12 mph increasing to 13 to 18 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.

The forecast calls for rain continuing into the night with temperatures around 48 and high winds.

On Wednesday, there’s a roughly 20% chance for rain before 10 a.m. in the area with partly sunny skies.

Thanksgiving day, however, should be sunny with a high near 55.

Rain could be returning after that, though, with a 40% chance of precipitation throughout Friday.

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Meals on Wheels volunteer Susanne Young (via Senior Services of Alexandria/Facebook)

(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Senior Services of Alexandria needs help delivering food to families with children this upcoming Thanksgiving week.

Volunteers need to pick up and deliver meals in the morning throughout the week.

“Volunteer drivers must use their own vehicle and have a valid driver’s license and current insurance requirements,” according to Visit Alexandria. “Volunteers should also possess the ability to lift 10-20 lb. containers into your vehicle and should be able to climb stairs, if necessary.”

To volunteer, email [email protected].

Meals on Wheels volunteers are needed until Dec. 1.

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The Alexandria Health Department is advising residents to take COVID-19 tests before and after traveling this Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

“Everyone has a role in keeping COVID-19 out of holiday gatherings,” AHD said in a release, and advised unvaccinated residents to skip traveling altogether. “If travel is unavoidable, get a COVID-19 test 1-3 days before and 3-5 days after travel. Those who are fully vaccinated should still monitor themselves for symptoms after travel or large gatherings and get tested if needed.”

AHD continued, “During gatherings, take steps to increase ventilation and consider using masks or maintaining physical distance if unvaccinated individuals or people at high risk of severe illness are attending.”

Alexandria has experienced “Substantial” COVID-19 transmission since the week beginning October 17, before which the city saw “High” transmission for two months. The city saw “Low” and “Moderate” transmission levels from May to June this year — the lowest the city has experienced since the beginning of the pandemic.

There are still 37,404 unvaccinated residents, and AHD says they account for a majority of new cases.

COVID-19 in Alexandria

As of today (Wednesday, November 24), cases stands at 14,728, up 157 cases since this time last week, according to the the Virginia Department of Health. There have also been two more deaths since last week, bringing the death toll to 154.

The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 people is 11.3, up from 9.5 last week. That’s still much lower than in mid-September, when the seven-day average was 36 cases for every 100,000 residents.

The seven-day average of positive COVID-19 tests is also up — now 3.2% versus 2.9% last week.

There have also been 62 cases reported within Alexandria City Public Schools in November. There were 77 cases reported in ACPS in October.

Vaccine update

About 38% of Alexandria’s 5-17-year-olds (6,735 people) have been fully vaccinated, according to VDH.

Additionally, 72% (94,456) of residents older than 18 are fully vaccinated, as are about 84% (16,195) of seniors. Additionally, 22,945 residents have gotten booster shots.

The City recently announced a number of upcoming vaccine clinics for residents, including children ages 5-11. Booster shots are also available for residents 18 and older.

Find vaccine providers in Alexandria here. If you feel sick, get tested.

Via CDC/Unsplash

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Thanksgiving turkey prepared in a restaurant (Flickr photo by Sarah Lou)

Thanksgiving is scheduled for later this week, so do you have any travel plans for this upcoming week?

Last year, during some of the peak COVID-19 numbers, a majority of poll respondents said they weren’t planning to travel for the holidays. Last year, the vaccines had not been approved yet and daily cases were trending upwards. The latter is true again this year, but it’s generally much safer to be around family provided everyone takes some precautions.

Photo via Sarah Lou/Flickr

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The 2019 Turkey Trot, photo via Visit Del Ray/Facebook

After COVID shut it down last year, the annual Alexandria Turkey Trot is gobbling up parts of Del Ray later this week.

The Turkey Trot is scheduled for Thanksgiving Morning (Thursday, Nov. 25) at 9 a.m. The event is put together by DC Road Runners and the Del Ray Business Association. The five-mile run/walk is scheduled to take trotters through Del Ray, starting and ending at George Washington Middle school. Dogs and strollers are allowed and will have their own starting area separate from the runners.

Drivers in the area can expect temporary road closures along Mount Vernon Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue during day.

“In the spirit of the holiday, runners and spectators are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to support ALIVE!, the oldest and largest private safety net in the City of Alexandria, VA dedicated to fighting poverty and hunger,” the Del Ray Business Association said in the Facebook post.

Those interested in joining the Turkey Trot can register online. Standard registration is $25, with $20 registration for children ages 13-20 and $10 for children under 13.

Photo via Visit Del Ray/Facebook

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Morning Notes

School Board discusses SRO return, updating police MOU — “…the School Board discussed the short-term, and potentially long-term, future of the [School Resource Officer program] at a meeting on Nov. 11.” [Alexandria Times]

Restaurants in Alexandria offer Thanksgiving packages to go — “You can explore multi-course Thanksgiving menus and special to-go offerings from a variety of Alexandria restaurants.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Bells are ringing for Del Ray’s annual holiday and business decorating contest in Alexandria — “In the Del Ray section of Alexandria it means the Annual Holiday Home and Business Decorating Contest is about to begin.” [Zebra]

Alexandria mom frustrated with school violence caught on video — “More violence was reported at schools in Alexandria, Virginia — all caught on video. The 7News I-Team has been all over this major issue for weeks.” [ABC7]

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Alexandria non-profit ALIVE! is looking for help to put together Thanksgiving baskets for locals in need.

The non-profit is looking to fill 150 baskets by Sunday, Nov. 7.

ALIVE! needs the following items:

  • Canned pumpkin
  • Canned yams
  • Corn
  • Cornbread mix
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Gravy
  • Canned or packaged turkey or mushrooms
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Green beans
  • Mac and cheese
  • Pie crust
  • Stuffing

Donations can be dropped off tomorrow (Saturday) from 9 a.m. to noon at the ALIVE! food warehouse (801 S. Payne Street).

Photo via Alive!/Facebook

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Local nonprofit Casa Chirilagua is planning to keep with the spirit of Thanksgiving by distributing meals to those in need, but needs some public help for setup and distribution.

“We are distributing 500 meals for Thanksgiving on Wednesday, Nov. 25,” said the organization, which provides assistance in the Chirilagua and Arlandria neighborhood. “The setup will begin at 1:30 p.m. and the distribution will begin at 2:00 p.m.”

Casa Chirilagua needs volunteers to help

  • Setup tables
  • Organizing the boxes
  • Helping manage the line
  • Make sure people are remaining socially distanced,
  • Handing out boxes
  • Taking tickets
  • Handing out masks
  • Cleanup

The organization asked that those who volunteer make sure they have not been exposed to COVID-19 before they volunteer, that they haven’t experienced any symptoms of respiratory illness within the last 14 days, and that they don’t live with someone who is considered at risk.

Volunteers can sign up through the Volunteer Alexandria website.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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Unlike many of his Latino neighbors in Arlandria, Realtor Brett Rice has had a solid year and is giving back in a big way. On Wednesday, Nov. 25, which is the day before Thanksgiving, Rice and Alexandria Restaurant Partners will give away 500 meals worth about $35,000 to the community.

“The pandemic hasn’t been bad for everyone, and people are buying second homes and vacationing, and I just want to do something that will help the community,” Rice told ALXnow.

Each meal will feed a family of four, and there’s no news yet as to what’s on the menu.

“This year has been very good for his business and he feels lead to give back to neighbors who have had a hard year,” said Casa Chirilagua Executive Director Adriana Gómez Schellhaas. “We are certainly on board.”

Alexandria Living Legend Pat Miller has set up a page for donations.

Rice, who lives in Del Ray, also owns Arlandria Floors, and said that his business was at rock bottom during the height of the pandemic, although his troubles pale in comparison with the city’s poorer residents. He came up with the idea two weeks ago while hanging out with his friend Murray Bonnit, who has joined in the effort.

“I haven’t had to struggle to pay bills, and I haven’t lost my family members, and I think people forget around here how affluent we live in Del Ray,” he said. “We can’t live in this bubble with a lot of talk and no action.”

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