It was a quick week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.
On the COVID front, the city’s DASH bus service announced that one of its drivers passed away from complications from the virus.
Meanwhile, Mayor Justin Wilson believes that the city has met its 80% vaccination threshold, while Virginia Department of Health data says about 65% of residents over the age of 16 are partially vaccinated. The Alexandria Health Department, which just launched a COVID-19 test and vaccine pilot at T.C. Williams High School, says the data does not take into account city residents vaccinated in Washington, D.C., and Maryland.
It’s also July 4 weekend, and in this week’s poll we asked whether readers plan on traveling, with 67% of respondents voting to stay home, 27% opting to travel by car and just 6% traveling by air.
- City Council to specify when local dogs are allowed to bark
- Woman shot in Landmark Area Monday night
- New mixed-use development headed to the heart of Chirilagua
- Alexandria’s unemployment rate has been cut in half since May 2020
- Alexandria’s Sportrock Climbing Center is packed with business after Biden visit
- Alexandria eyes bus rapid transit and bike lanes for Duke Street
- Alexandria Police looking for driver in fatal hit-and-run
- Basilica of St. Mary bridge and expansion designs move forward
- Military spouses ask Sen. Tim Kaine to help with childcare in Alexandria roundtable
- Alexandria Reggae band FeelFree gets political in latest single
- Alexandria teaching racial and social equity with 30 day challenge
- Visit Alexandria website gets most views ever as businesses slowly climb back
- King Street Trolley service to return next Monday
- Researchers call out shoddy craftsmanship in buried 18th century Alexandria ship
- Man suspected of raping 12-year-old stepdaughter in Landmark area flees to El Salvador
- Landmark Mall plan approved as Planning Commission demands better environmental considerations
- Alexandria leaders acknowledge serious security issues with elimination of school resource officer funding
- Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
- Alexandria eyes bus rapid transit and bike lanes for Duke Street
- Parker-Gray tiny lot home moves forward with some unique challenges
- Alexandria woman dies after veering off road on Interstate 95
- City talks strategy on making Chirilagua/Arlandria neighborhood Amazon-proof
- UPDATE: Man taken into custody as West End apartment barricade situation ends peacefully
- BREAKING: California man arrested for West End murder, indicted with 16 others in massive racketeering conspiracy
Have a safe weekend!
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine got an earful on military family needs at a roundtable he hosted Tuesday morning at the National Military Family Association in Alexandria.
Facing few childcare options, one military spouse had to take three years off of work as a physician’s assistant to take care of her young children.
“I have three kids that will have to go to different (childcare) places,” the woman said. “Because in this area it’s really hard, at least in my experience, to find childcare from infant through the lower elementary ages. So, I’m going to be driving around or finding a nanny for my youngest, which is on the plus side of $20 an hour is what we’re finding, which is cost prohibitive.”
On-base childcare options are scarce, as an estimated 65% of U.S. military families are forced to pay for childcare out of their pockets.
Kaine wrote the Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act, which was introduced into the Senate last month. He’s trying to get the Act attached to the massive National Defense Authorization Act, which Congress will be considering later this summer. As active duty military spouses experience high rates of unemployment, Kaine said he at least hoped the pandemic has taught employers that their workers can largely work from home.
“if we can help families with children have more knowledge in their pocket, and we can fund more childcare — those would be two big things,” Kaine said.
The Act would help military spouses get jobs with the expansion of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, in addition to the creation of flexible spending accounts so that childcare expenses are paid with pre-tax dollars.
One Space Force officer living in Alexandria said that her civilian husband was kept from taking jobs that required travel, since getting childcare was too difficult.
“In the space force between 30 and 40% of our missions are in 24/7 facilities,” the officer said. “There’s an assumption that a spouse is always going to be there to pick up the slack.”
Kaine, the former Virginia Governor and Mayor of Richmond, was a missionary in Honduras and never served in the military, although one of his sons is a U.S. Marine reservist. He is also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, as well as the Foreign Relations and Budget Committees.
“I’m sort of hoping that maybe a silver lining of the last year has been people realized, ‘Wow, a lot of folks can do really great work, even if they’re not in the same zip code as the office.’ And I know it’s been a challenge for military spouses, this move phenomenon — ‘I’d rather not hire this person even though they may be the more qualified because they’re probably gonna have to move somewhere.’ Well, employers are much more comfortable now with realizing we have a whole lot of great employees who were doing their work for home for last year and they were being very productive.”
Alexandria to Get Johnson & Johnson Vaccines Next Week — On Saturday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. Adding a third vaccine to Alexandria’s pandemic response is significant and will ultimately mean that more vaccines are available to protect more people… Johnson & Johnson vaccines will become available in Alexandra starting later this week.” [City of Alexandria]
Beyer, Kaine Introduce ‘The Cost of Police Misconduct Act’ — “Most Americans have no idea how much cities and counties they live in spend on police misconduct because cases are often settled in secret. The Cost of Police Misconduct Act would make these costs public, which we hope and believe would help save lives.” [Twitter]
Council to Vote on 2-Hour Heavy Vehicle Parking Limit — “In response to community concerns re long-term heavy vehicle parking in commercial areas, staff is proposing a 2-hour heavy vehicle parking limit ordinance (except for loading/unloading)” [Twitter]
St. Patrick’s Day Parade Canceled — “This year would have been the 40th annual parade. In 2020, the March 7 parade was the last major event in Alexandria before COVID-19 restrictions began to be implemented.” [Patch.com]
National Park Service Predicts Peak Cherry Blossom Bloom — “The National Park Service (NPS) just released its 2021 cherry blossom peak bloom prediction for 2021: April 2 – April 5. The prediction varies year to year based on weather conditions, but it is typically between the last week in March and the first week of April, according to the NPS Bloom Watch webpage.” [Alexandria Living]
Today’s Weather — “Mainly sunny (during the day). High 59F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph… A mostly clear sky (in the evening). Low 37F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Dog Walker/Pet Sitter — “Pay ranges from $350 to $650 per week, depending on the number of dogs scheduled for that week. Must have a valid driver’s license and must be able to safely transport numerous dogs in your vehicle.” [Indeed]
Senators Kaine and Warner Urge GSA to Begin Transition Process — “An orderly and peaceful transition process is critical as the country continues to grapple with the loss and far-reaching impacts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.'” [Twitter]
Beyer Asks Residents to Stay Home — “Being tired of the pandemic won’t make it stop, we need to be as careful as possible right now.” [Twitter]
Virtual Restaurant Touchdown Wings & Burgers Opens — “Touchdown Wings & Burgers runs out of Joe Theismann’s Restaurant. In mid-October, ARP opened Touchdown Wings & Burgers, a new brand for the organization.” [Alexandria Living]
Alexandria Library Gets Grant for Climate Change Programming — “By receiving the grant, Alexandria Library has committed to becoming a Climate Resilience Hub.” [Zebra]
Casa Chirilagua 5K Extended to November 11 — “GREAT NEWS! Christ the King Church has extended the Casa Virtual 5K to November 11! You now have 2.5 more weeks to register and participate. This is one way you can support the Chirilagua families that face so much adversity with strength and courage. Can you help us reach our 1,000 km goal?” [Facebook]
Today’s Weather — “Rain early…then remaining cloudy with showers in the afternoon. Morning high of 65F with temps falling to near 55. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch. Cloudy skies. Low 48F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Dog Trainer/Instructor — “Olde Towne School for Dogs, the premiere dog training company located in Alexandria, VA serving the D.C. metropolitan area, is looking to hire new full-time trainers to our high energy team in a fast-paced and dog-filled environment!” [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]
Sen. Kaine and Wife Anne Holton Test Positive for Coronavirus Antibodies — “After testing positive for the flu earlier in the year, the state’s junior senator said in a statement he experienced new symptoms in late March. He initially thought the symptoms were flu remnants and a reaction to a high pollen count. But when his wife developed fever and chills, then congestion and a cough, they went to health providers in early April.” [Patch]
Police Chase Ends With Suspect Falling 25 Feet Off Beltway — “A man behind the wheel of what Virginia State Police thought was a stolen Ford Expedition rammed two police vehicles on the Capital Beltway, lost control, slammed into a Jersey Wall and then ran across the interstate, jumped over another wall and fell 25 feet Wednesday night.” [WTOP]
Indoor Mask Mandate in Effect Today Throughout Virginia — “Effective at midnight tonight (this morning) Executive Order 63, requiring the wearing of face coverings while inside buildings, becomes effective.” [Facebook]
Lower King Street to Be Closed Off Through Phase 1 — “This week, members of the Alexandria City Council adopted emergency zoning regulations, relaxing the rules as part of a new experiment to get a sense of how people can avoid dining indoors while maintaining social distancing rules. One of the most noticeable changes will be on lower King Street, where city officials are planning to close the 100 block to traffic through the duration of Phase One.” [Gazette]
ACPS Students Can Opt Out of Online Summer School — “All students will be expected to participate in summer school; however, any family who does not wish for their student to participate can opt-out.” [ACPS]
Suspect Beat Veterans’ Motorcycles With Hammer Outside Alexandria Hotel — “It was like 17 bikes and somebody come in an SUV, got out of an SUV with a hammer and decided to get down through there and start busting our bikes up.” [NBC 4]
Del Ray Cafe Prepares for Phase 1 Reopening — “Phase 1 re-opening starts tomorrow We will open our porch with two tables beginning tomorrow at 9am. Please call 703-717-9151 for a reservation or curbside pickup. We have submitted our application to the City for temporary use of our parking lot for outdoor dining and expect approval before the end of next week.” [Facebook]
Alexandria Farmers’ Markets to Resume On-Site Sales — “Vendors will be required to use enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures, and there will continue to be no food preparation, food sampling, or on-site dining allowed.” [City of Alexandria]
New Job: Temporary Firework Stand Manager — “Location managers are paid a salary based on the number of days they work. This is a great opportunity to make between $1,600 – $2,200 in a 2 week period!” [Indeed]
Schools Preparing for Coronavirus — “ACPS has partnered with the Alexandria City Health Department and local first responders to form a COVID-19 Task Force Planning Committee to work closely to monitor this evolving situation. We plan to provide updates as we progress with this planning and work.” [ACPS]
Reminder: Primary Day is Tomorrow — “On Tuesday, March 3, there will be a Democratic Party presidential primary election in the City of Alexandria. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.” [City of Alexandria]
Business Robbed in Old Town on Sunday — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a commercial robbery in the 800 block of South Washington Street. Expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]
Resident: Parking Is Too Sparse in Old Town — “Personally, I have consciously put off or cancelled Old Town plans several times because the parking crisis made visiting a business or meeting up with friends impossible with my own vehicle. I believe our city planners should consider building a public parking deck or similar facility somewhere in the neighborhood in order to alleviate the impossibly high demand on our limited parking situation.” [Gazette Packet]
Pedestrian Struck on Patrick Street — APD responded yesterday around 4 p.m. to a pedestrian reportedly struck on N. Patrick Street at Madison Street. The road was blocked temporarily. The pedestrian was taken to a local hospital; the nature of his or her injuries is not currently known. [Twitter]
Remembering a Local Legend — “Many African Americans in Alexandria, Virginia, fondly remember Phillip Bell by his nickname ‘Chick.’ He owned Lewis Funeral Home at 311 North Patrick Street. Phillip ran a professional funeral business for many years on Wolfe and Patrick Streets.” [Gazette Packet]
T.C. Student Attends SOTU — “Nicole Rosario-Flores, a Junior ROTC member at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, was invited by Sen. Tim Kaine to be a guest at the State of the Union. News4’s Drew Wilder spoke to Rosario-Flores about the honor.” [NBC 4, Patch]
A T.C. Williams student and JROTC cadet will be attending tonight’s State of the Union address at the Capitol with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).
Kaine invited Nicole Rosario-Flores after meeting with cadets at the high school last month and discussing his bipartisan war powers resolution, intended to limit the president’s ability to deploy troops without Congress’ approval.
The senator said in a statement, below, that “it’s important to hear from young people who have a large stake in this debate.” Alexandria City Public Schools, meanwhile, tweeted that the school system is “thrilled” that Rosario-Flores will be able to take in such a unique experience.
Today [Monday], U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced that his guest at Tuesday’s Presidential State of the Union Address will be Alexandria, VA native and JROTC Cadet Nicole Rosario-Flores. On January 10th, Kaine met with Cadet Rosario-Flores and other JROTC cadets at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria. Kaine talked to the students about his years-long efforts to reclaim Congress’s constitutional duty to weigh in on whether the nation goes to war, including his bipartisan war powers resolution to prevent further escalation of hostilities with Iran.
“I’m excited Cadet Rosario-Flores will join me as my State of the Union guest on Tuesday,” said Kaine. “I was so impressed with her and all the T.C. Williams High School JROTC cadets I recently met with to discuss my bipartisan war powers resolution. The legislation is about ensuring we don’t send our troops into harm’s way unless there’s a carefully reached consensus in Congress that war is in the national interest. Any time we’re in the middle of a discussion about matters of war and peace in Congress, it’s important to hear from young people who have a large stake in this debate.”
“I am thrilled and honored to be Senator Tim Kaine’s guest at the State of the Union Address. I am equally grateful for the JROTC program at T.C. Williams High School that is truly one of a kind, has opened doors for me and given me the opportunity to attend such an important event as this one. Having the opportunity to witness the way our government functions first hand will definitely be something that I will always remember,” said Cadet Nicole Rosario-Flores.
We're thrilled to announce that @TCWJROTC Cadet Nicole Rosario-Flores will be Senator @timkaine's guest at the Presidential State of the Union Address tomorrow evening. More to come about this exciting experience! #TitansRising @TCWTitans #SOTU2020 #SOTU https://t.co/oycFUJZVGX pic.twitter.com/0atfZ4fti4
— Alexandria City Public Schools (@ACPSk12) February 3, 2020
Photo via @ACPSk12/Twitter
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) was careful with his words at T.C. Williams High School on Friday.
The lawmaker spoke for more than an hour to JROTC students about his war powers resolution, which would limit the president’s ability to strike against foreign countries without congressional approval. Kaine said that the Trump administration’s Jan. 3 assassination of Qasem Soleimani outside Baghdad International Airport was based on U.S. intelligence that fell “far short of what I view as an imminent threat.”
“It’s not just the striking Soleimani, though. It’s doing it in Iraq, a nation that’s an ally when they have objected to it and doing it without informing Congress or any congressional authorization. It’s the combined weight of all of those together that has made this so controversial,” Kaine said, adding that he has taken out all reference to President Trump in his resolution. “I’m trying to, you know, maximize the support [for the bill.]”
Kaine introduced a war powers resolution last week in the Senate, which would limit the president’s ability to conduct such strikes against foreign countries. The resolution, he said, will likely go to the Senate floor after the upcoming Democratic Presidential debate on Tuesday, Jan. 14., when three of the candidates will be able to vote in its favor. A similar bill just passed the House of Representatives.
Cadet Command Sergeant Major Andy Ramirez is planning on joining the U.S. Military after graduating from T.C. this year, and said that meeting Kaine was the opportunity of a lifetime. He also called the recent U.S. action in Iraq “very concerning.”
“Having the Senator, who is so well informed of what’s going on around the world, to be conducting a whole conversation with high school students, it’s just a great opportunity to be a part of it. For us to be able for us to be able to have a voice, talk to the Senator about things that are happening, like in Iran,” Ramirez said. “Like, it affects everybody, not just people in the military, but their family and friends.”
Kaine believes he has solid support from Senate Democrats, and from at least two Republican Senators, Rand Paul (KY) and Mike Lee (UT).
“We have a good relationship with Iraq that have been purchased with an awful lot of American blood and treasure,” he said. “Now Iraq is asking us to leave. If we leave Iraq, my prediction is that Iran is going to get more powerful there.”