Alexandria, VA

It’s the end of another work week in Alexandria!

There was a lot of crime this week, as police responded to multiple shots fired incidents in the Parker Gray area on September 2. There was also another carjacking in the West End — the latest in a recent uptick that prompted Mayor Justin Wilson to ask the public for help in reducing the number of vehicle-related thefts.

But there is also some good news to report, as businesses are opening in the city despite the daily pressures of the pandemic. This week we took a look inside The Company Of Books used book store in Del Ray, and we covered the city’s new Wellness District, which is providing a number of free programs and discounts for the recently expanded Wellness Month.

Also this week, Alexandria City Public Schools cut down a 150-year-old tree to make way for a concession stand. The move was criticized by activists and former Mayor Allison Silberberg. With the destruction of the tree, the renovation project for the Parker-Gray Stadium has now officially begun.

What stories impacted you this week? Let us know in the comments.

Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.

  1. Alexandria Woman Uninjured in Tuesday Carjacking at Gunpoint in Potomac Yard
  2. Beatley Central Library Closed Until Further Notice Due to ‘Emergency Conditions’
  3. Police: Three Alexandria ABC Stores Broken Into, High-End Liquor Stolen
  4. Police Investigating Multiple Gunshots Fired in Parker Gray/Braddock
  5. Alexandria’s COVID Positive Testing Rate Lowest in Region
  6. Halal Slaughterhouse Construction Begins, Opening Reset to Mid-November
  7. Update: Chalk Graffiti Decrying Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf Sprayed In Front of Wrong House
  8. Braddock ‘Elizabeth’s Counter’ Last of Regional Chain After Bankruptcy Filing
  9. Police: Three Alexandria ABC Stores Broken Into, High-End Liquor Stolen
  10. North Potomac Yard Plans Going to Planning Commission, Board of Architectural Review
  11. ACPS Cuts Down 150-Year Old Tree to Make Way for Concession Stand

Have a safe weekend!

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Morning Notes

COVID Cases in Alexandria Jump by 21 — “The latest update from the City on COVID-19: Positive tests up 21 to 3,436 in the City; 7-day Positivity Rate down to 4.0%; 1 new hospitalization; Still safer at home, wash hands, wear masks and support our essential workers.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Democratic Committee Hosting Virtual Labor Day Picnic — “Thrilled to announce that the Biden Harris campaign’s National Political Director Erin Wilson will be joining the ADC as a special guest at our Labor Day Celebration!! You will not want to miss this unique opportunity to hear from Erin about the upcoming 2020 election!” [Facebook]

Former Mayor Silberberg Laments Loss of 150-Year-Old Tree at T.C. Williams High School — “You could almost hear a collective gasp throughout the city as the news spread. It didn’t have to be this way. Almost 3,000 Alexandrians, including me, had signed a petition to save the Witness Tree, which was so aptly named by McArthur Myers…In fact, with a little more creativity, the tree could have been a focal point of the stadium’s new design. The stadium’s architects should have been far more creative in using the tree as a centerpiece for its new plaza.” [Facebook]

Beyer Says Trump Trashed George H.W. Bush For Being Shot Down in WWII“Trump referred to former President George H. W. Bush as a ‘loser’ for being shot down by the Japanese as a Navy pilot in World War II (Bush escaped capture, but eight other men shot down during the same mission were caught, tortured, and executed by Japanese soldiers).” [Twitter]

Here’s How ACPS Will Virtually Track Attendance — “Every day counts when it comes to school… (F)ind out how we’re tracking attendance and what you can do to help your child be present and ready for learning at home.” [Facebook]

Alexandria Soccer Association Starts Nine-Week Course — “The Alexandria Soccer Association introduced ASA School+, a nine-week educational program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, according to a news release.” [Alex Times]

Story Time: Sheriff’s Deputy Reads ‘Ten Apples Up On Top’ — “We would not, could not resist another Dr. Seuss classic! So this week Deputy Sahar Sherzai is reading ‘Ten Apples Up On Top.'” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Sun and clouds mixed with a slight chance of thunderstorms during the afternoon. High 87F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%. At night, partly cloudy skies. Low 62F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Recruiting Manager — “The role of the Recruiting Manager will support the qualitative recruiting function across all aspects of qualitative market research projects including bid process, recruiting, vendor management, invoice reconciliation, through to project close process. Administrative tasks related to the function include (but not limited to); supporting the project bids process, drafting market research screeners, coordinating project scheduling between RAs and recruiting vendors, tracking of project recruiting documents and project consent forms, invoice reconciliation.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria City Public Schools today cut down a 150-year-old oak tree to make way for a concession stand as part of the renovation of Parker-Gray Stadium at T.C. Williams High School.

“Shame,” Alexandria activist MacArthur Myers told ALXnow. “A crime has been committed.”

There were more than 2,850 signatures on a Change.org petition to save the “Witness Tree,” but the school system said that saving the tree was not feasible given site constraints and that 31 trees will be planted along the T.C. property line.

“Happy to report the renovation project is underway this morning at the Parker-Gray Memorial Stadium,” wrote the T.C. Williams High School Football Boosters in a Facebook post. “Thank you Alexandria City Public Schools for making this happen for the students and residents of the city!”

Tree removal marks beginning of the stadium improvement project

Happy to report the renovation project is underway this morning at the Parker-Gray Memorial Stadium. Thank you Alexandria City Public Schools for making this happen for the students and residents of the city! @TCWSports #TitanPride

Posted by T.C. Williams High School Football Boosters on Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Courtesy photos

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A petition to keep a 150-year-old oak tree from being torn down at T.C. Williams High School for the construction of a concession stand has gotten nearly 1,000 signatures.

“Some Alexandria citizens have already stepped up to say they will protect the tree, some even going so far as to say they will chain themselves to it,” notes the Change.org petition. “Let us show them our support and tell the city and school board NO to killing this tree.”

The tree was reportedly supposed to be cut down last week, but is still standing. ACPS did not respond to ALXnow’s calls for comment on the situation, and if it is possible to scuttle plans to cut it down.

“Much consideration has been given to finding a way to save this tree which unfortunately is positioned in the middle of the site where the concession and restroom area will be,” ACPS spokeswoman Julie Allen told ALXnow in a statement last week. “When planning, the goal was to locate this facility as far as away from the neighborhood on Woods Avenue as possible to minimize its impact on residents. Although we understand and agree that losing a mature tree is regrettable, 31 new trees and other landscaping will be planted.”

There will also be a demonstration near the construction site on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

“This project is not essential, especially when we don’t have students in schools, nor do we have football teams or fans allowed to attend games,” Alexandria activist Paul Alan Friedman wrote on Facebook. “No later than the end of August it will be gone if we don’t act. In about a week, it will be under control of the company hired to cut it down. There must be another way.”

Save the Tree at TC! (TC Williams High School)Join us! Meet up with us at the gate next to our WITNESS TREE and…

Posted by Paul Alan Friedman on Monday, July 27, 2020

Photo via Boyd Walker/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Big Tree Falls Hard on Russell Road — “Tracey Cain was in Ohio visiting family when her husband Patrick McLaughlin called from their home at 2912 Russell Road this morning at 3 am. ‘The big tree in the front yard just fell down. It’s blocking the whole road. It’s pulled down a power line, and now it looks like no Thanksgiving for Russell Road,’ was the news.” [Zebra]

School Board Shrinking? — “The Alexandria City School Board is considering decreasing the number of members on the board and increasing the length of the terms they serve. A majority of school board members said they were in favor of these changes at a school board work session on Nov. 14.” [Alexandria Times]

Long-Running Turkey Bowl Game — “When they were in elementary school, the athletic field next to James K. Polk Elementary School, in Alexandria, Virginia, was much more expansive. But for two dozen friends who play an annual football game there, it seems to take longer to reach the end zone 30 years later.” [WTOP]

Nearby: Kwanzaa Celebration Later This Month — “Looking for a venue to sell your products during Kwanzaa? We have a few spaces available at or Ujamaa Kwanzaa Celebration. The Marketplace is open from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and is a part of our 4th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration.” [Patch]

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