Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Survey Shows Discontent Among APD Officers — “A survey that the Times acquired from a former Alexandria Police Department officer revealed that several APD officers are unhappy with Police Chief Michael Brown and the culture of the department.” [AlexTimes]

Nearly 1K Families Supported in ALIVE! Food Distribution — “929 households were served at today’s ALIVE! Food Distribution! Thanks to all those from @Volalex, @AlexVASheriff, @AlexandriaVATES who helped in the hot weather today to supply groceries,(meat,eggs,produce and more) masks and hand sanitizer to people in need.” [Twitter]

Police Warn of Phone Scam — “If you receive a call, the individual says that there are warrants for your arrest. Next, instructions are given on how to pay a large sum of money. Then your call is forwarded to another person who explains a ‘surety voucher.'” [Zebra]

New Fire Station Construction is Coming Along — “The @AlexandriaVAFD Station 203 is coming along on the corner of Cameron Mills & Monticello….getting ready for its close-up! [Twitter]

Today’s Weather — It will be mostly sunny throughout the day, with a high temperature of 97 degrees. [Weather.com]

New Job: Freelance Photographer/Videographer — “We need someone with a strong work ethic who can go to job sites pre remodeling, during work, and at completion to take photographs and a short video clip for uploading to youtube.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Senior Communities Taking Extra Precautions — “In Alexandria specifically, we are screening visitors as they come in the door. We’re checking temperatures, [and] doing questionnaire work.” [WAMU]

NOVA Shifts to Remote Learning — “With growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, Northern Virginia Community College, NOVA, is shifting to remote learning for all students beginning March 18. All classes will be cancelled March 16-17 to allow for the transition, according to a statement from the school.” [InsideNova]

Lost Boy Cider Posts Covid-19 Protocol — The microbrewery posted on social media a number of measures it’s taking to protect customers from the coronavirus, including a “Fresh air intake system [not recirculating],” and the assurance that all surfaces are being cleaned with anti-viral agents per shift. [Instagram]

Senior Services of Alexandria Gala Postponed — “SSA’s top concern in all things is the health and well-being of Alexandria’s older adults and those who support them. We feel that any risk, no matter how small, is not worth the potential consequences given the populations we serve.” [Zebra]

Chamber Extends 40 Under 40 Deadline — The annual program recognizes 40 outstanding leaders and innovators under the age of 40 living or working in the city, and the nomination deadline has been extended from March 13 to March 20, 2020. [Chamber of Commerce]

Port City Brewery in Running For USA Today’s Top 10 — “We have been nominated by @USATODAY for #BestBreweryTour on the @10best list! Help us secure our spot and be named one of the 10 Best Brewery Tours in the USA! Voting ends March 17!!” [Twitter]

Alexandria Students Awarded By C-SPAN — “Amal Sharif, Alex Conkey and Ben Janusz, students at T.C. Williams High School are honorable mention winners and will receive $250 for the documentary, ‘Which Side of the Story Will You Be On?’ about asylum seekers. Andrew Caslow, a student at Episcopal High School, is an honorable mention winner and will receive $250 for the documentary, ‘America in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.'” [Zebra]

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A literal last-second shot helped T.C. Williams claim a boys basketball division title for the first time in more than decade.

The buzzer beater came Friday night as T.C. was tied 42-42 with West Potomac. Star senior TJ Horton received a quick pass and launched a shot from near the three-point line with just a second to go to clinch the win.

Fans stormed the court as T.C. captured its first Gunston District championship in more than 10 years.

More on the moment from social media:

The boys are not the only T.C. team seeking playoff glory this season. The girls basketball team will be hosting a first round game against Fairfax High School in the regional tournament tonight.

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Has a New Fire Chief — “After a nationally competitive recruitment effort, City Manager Mark B. Jinks has appointed Corey A. Smedley as fire chief for the City of Alexandria, effective immediately. Chief Smedley, who has served as acting fire chief since the retirement of Robert C. Dubé in June, will be the first African American to serve as permanent fire chief in Alexandria’s history.” [City of Alexandria]

Dog’s Artwork Sells at Auction — “A new artist has captured the attention of local art lovers selling 20 pieces of art in less than an hour at an auction. All it took has a little tail wagging, and the dog nicknamed Ricasso had a collection of masterpieces. Rico, a dog staying at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria for 15 months, raised more than $4,000 to help shelter pets like him at the sold-out Dec. 6 event.” [Patch]

ACPS Year in Review — Alexandria City Public Schools has released a video recounting some of the top local school-related headlines of 2019. [ACPS]

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Some residents are downright angry at what they describe as major traffic backups caused by recent changes to Seminary Road.

Last month the city repaved and re-striped a portion of Seminary Road, changing it from two vehicle travel lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction, a center turn lane and two bike lanes. Some construction activity is still underway but people who opposed the project from the outset have wasted no time in decrying what they say is a significant increase in traffic as a result.

Last night NBC 4 reporter Adam Tuss covered the controversy during an evening news broadcast.

“Get rid of these stupid islands, get rid of these bike lanes,” local resident Phil Cefaratti told Tuss. “People on my side are very, very frustrated… we’re basically calling on City Council, especially the mayor, do to something about this.”

Cefaratti echoed other residents who call the result of the changes a “traffic nightmare” and Seminary a “parking lot” during rush hour, saying it now takes up to 20 minutes to go a mile at times.

Tuss also interviewed a resident who was happy about the changes, saying it’s a safety improvement. Some took to Twitter after the broadcast to voice similar views.

City staff told Tuss and previously told the City Council that they expect the daily delays to ease as work concludes and some signal timing changes are implemented.

“While we understand that delays are frustrating, the corridor is still under construction and all of the components that work together to make this project work are not yet complete,” Hillary Orr, deputy director of Transportation and Environmental Services said in a memo. “While there have been some increased queues during the peak half-hour in the morning, we are still generally seeing vehicles able to get through a signal in one cycle.”

Opponents of the changes, meanwhile, are continuing to speak out and have formed a Facebook group to coordinate and gripe. One recent post on the exceedingly active Facebook group says that Mayor Justin Wilson has agreed to watch observe traffic congestion with residents on an as-yet undetermined weekday morning.

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Morning Notes

T.C. Grad Sets Sprinting Record —  “T.C. Williams High School graduate and adidas professional athlete Noah Lyles is your new IAAF World Athletics champion at 200 meters. His winning time in Doha, Qatar, was 19.83 seconds, with a reaction time of 0.168 seconds.” [MileStat]

5G Antenna Applications Streaming In — “#AlexandriaVA received 50 applications for small cell wireless facilities this year. Green dots on this map show the 43 applications that were approved. Ten were in the historic district, and the Board of Architectural Review approved three applications.” [Michael Pope/Twitter]

Port City Goes Czech — “We had a wonderful evening @CzechEmbassyDC with @evanrail, we goulashed, we picked sausaged and we pilsnered four ways: @Pilsner_Urquell on draught and in bottle, Czechvar and @PortCityBrew Bohemian Pilsner brewed with Czech hops.” [DC Beer/Twitter]

New Headstone for Former Fire Chief — “For over 100 years, Alexandria Fire Chief George Pettey lay in an unmarked grave in Bethel Cemetery, located on Wilkes Street in Old Town. But that changed August 30, when a headstone was dedicated to Chief Pettey, who died April 15, 1911 while carrying out his firefighting duties.” [Zebra]

Video: Salvadoran Refugees and ACPS — “On the morning of December 24, 1980, 12-year-old Ana Bonilla-Galdamez boarded an airplane from El Salvador for the US, fleeing the terrors of civil war… In the 1980s, nearly 5,000 people from just one Salvadoran village, Chirilagua, settled in Arlandria. Ana now works for ACPS as a Family Engagement Specialist at T.C. Williams.” [ACPS]

Note on What We Cover — You might notice that we do things a bit different here on ALXnow. In addition to our local government and community coverage, we focus a bit more closely on businesses opening and closing, with periodic updates on businesses that are of particular local interest. Also, you can expect us to do more breaking news coverage, from fires to crashes to significant police incidents. Two things we won’t do much of: general obituaries or school sports coverage, except when something is really big news locally.

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