Alexandria, VA

Hundreds of Alexandrians, including U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) went to the polls for in-person early voting on Friday, September 18.

There were 518 cast ballots as of 12:30 p.m. at the city’s Office of Voter Registrations and Elections. There were reportedly around 50 people waiting in line for the office to open at 8 a.m.

Warner, who is running for reelection against Republican Daniel Gade, said that the long lines and turnout are indicative of the importance of this election.

More than a quarter of Alexandria’s 107,000 registered voters have already applied by mail to vote in the upcoming election.

Paul Alan Friedman, an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention for former Vice President Joe Biden, was in the front of the line to vote and said that the nation is facing a crisis.

“Trump is a barrier to our ability to tackle climate change, COVID-19, creating jobs and fixing our infrastructure in an environmentally sound way, which would address climate change and jobs,” Friedman said. “That’s why I made a special effort to be the first person to vote against Trump and Pence in Alexandria, and vote for the wonderful alternative team of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”

The ballot for the November 3 election includes races for president and vice president, one U.S. Senate seat, the 8th Congressional District and two Virginia Constitutional amendments.

The deadline to vote in-person absentee is 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 31.

IN-PERSON EARLY VOTING begins today Virginia! You have several options to vote safely and securely this year. However you choose to cast your ballot, it’s critical that you vote and make your voice heard.

Posted by Senator Mark Warner on Friday, September 18, 2020

About 500 at noon and 786 at about 2:15pm, and this line hasn’t signed in yet. Things are going steady and well for the first day of early/absentee voting in Alexandria.

Posted by Jack Powers on Friday, September 18, 2020

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Morning Notes

Beyer Co-sponsoring Legislation to Impeach U.S. Attorney General — “Accusing political opponents of “sedition” then morphing into an arch libertarian when Trump cronies are indicted. Attacking career prosecutors for doing their jobs. AG Barr is a menace to the rule of law–I’m cosponsoring legislation to begin impeachment proceedings against him.” [Twitter]

Absentee Voting Begins Today in Alexandria — “The ballot includes contests for President and Vice President of the United States, one member of the U.S. Senate, the member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the 8th Congressional District, and two amendments to the Constitution of Virginia.” [Patch]

King & Rye Opens in Alexandria — “Check out @Alexandrian_VA’s new restaurant, King & Rye. This downtown restaurant opened earlier this month, and features a large outdoor patio, intimate terrace, and full bar serving specialty cocktails. The perfect location for a private event.” [Twitter]

Douglas MacArthur Elementary School Rebuild Comes in Over Budget — “City Council approved a development special use permit on Saturday for the Douglas MacArthur Modernization Project, which is currently $5 to $7 million over budget. The project, which involves demolishing the existing Douglas MacArthur Elementary School and rebuilding a new one, will increase the school’s capacity from 558 to 850 students.” [Alex Times]

Alexandria Police Conduct Deescalation Training — “Yesterday APD’s Tactical Training and Response Unit conducted officer safety and deescalation training with the Traffic Safety Section. These training’s teach ways to stabilize situations so that more time, options, and resources can be called upon.” [Twitter]

Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub Celebrates Half-Way to St. Patrick’s Day — See Irish music on a Facebook Live performance from Thursday night. [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “During the day, partly to mostly cloudy. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 74F. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph. At night, a few clouds. Low 49F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Marketing Manager — “Develop and manage strategic, comprehensive marketing campaigns for NSBA (National School Boards Association) revenue- generating products, services and events.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

A Quarter of Alexandria Voters Have Requested Mail-In Ballots — “Over a quarter of Alexandria’s registered voters have applied for a ballot by mail for this November’s election (!!!). Ballots will be mailed out beginning next week when in-person early voting also begins. You can apply online today for a mail ballot!” [Twitter]

Seven Alexandria Students Make National Merit Scholarship List — “Students from Alexandria area high schools have been named 2021 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, taking the first step in securing a scholarship in the competitive program.” [Patch]

Beyer Criticizes Trump for Complaining Over Scandals — “You were recorded admitting you deceived the entire country about the danger of a virus that has killed more Americans than all wars since WWII combined. Can’t lie your way out of this one.” [Twitter]

ACPS Needs Donations for School Supplies — “While this year is considerably different because of the coronavirus pandemic, students still need essential supplies. ACPS is asking for community support. However, instead of donating physical items, they request that interested parties donate funds electronically.” [Zebra]

Alexandria Police Officer Appointed to State Board — “Governor Ralph Northam announced on September 4 that he has appointed Alexandria Police Officer Bennie L. Evans to the Commonwealth of Virginia Criminal Justice Services Board.” [Facebook]

Here’s Seven Things to do in Alexandria This Fall — “Enjoy a cruise aboard the tall ship Providence or set out for the new cat café or coming-soon dog bar. Contemplate new outdoor artwork like the ‘Come Together’ mural in Old Town. Mask up and visit just-opened independent businesses including the D.C. area’s first zero-waste sustainable grocer plus the national eco-conscious brand Patagonia, coming to King Street in September. Twelve new restaurants will tempt you with takeout or outdoor seating. Don your face mask and discover what’s new in Alexandria.” [Visit Alexandria]

Workforce Development Center Offers Job Counseling — “Are you recently unemployed or want to change your career and don’t know where to start? We are now offering free one-on-one Job Search Coaching to help Alexandrians who have experienced job loss during the pandemic.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Thunderstorms likely during the day. Potential for heavy rainfall. High 83F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 80%.Thunderstorms likely in the evening. Then a chance of scattered thunderstorms later on. Low 73F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 80%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Scholarship Fund of Alexandria Assistant Director — “The qualified applicant will be eager to support the organization’s effort to help Alexandria high school students obtain college scholarships and college and financial aid advising. This position is full-time, year-round and provides an opportunity to work in a small, dynamic, mission-driven, collegial nonprofit organization.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Beyer: We Must Protect the U.S. Postal Service —  “I have been in touch with local postal officials, who express their commitment to ensuring the timely delivery and return of all ballots. This could be an issue in many parts of the country, however, and I will be working with my colleagues to exercise constant vigilance and ensure that elections are fair and safe. My Northern Virginia colleague, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, serves as the chair of the Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations, and with his tireless leadership the House will do all it can to fix these problems and restore operations and service at USPS.” [Gazette]

Three City Parks Scheduled for Improvements — “Projects at or near Powhatan, Hooffs Run, and Brenman Parks to occur over next two months.” [Zebra]

City Holding Virtual 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony Online — “Alexandria’s ceremony is prerecorded and virtual to avoid a large gathering during the pandemic. It will include remarks from Mayor Justin Wilson, City Manager Mark Jinks, and representatives from the Alexandria Fire Department, Police Department, and Sheriff’s Office. There will also be a “Return to Quarters” bell-ringing ceremony.” [Patch]

Alexandria Wedding Showcase Goes Virtual — “Tune in virtually on Sunday, Sept. 13 to hear from a variety of vendors on trends, wedding industry changes, and what you need to know while planning your wedding during a pandemic.” [Alexandria Living]

Carlyle Concert Series Starts Friday — “Enjoy the Carlyle Farmers Market while you attend the Concert! Alcohol is available for purchase at select vendor stands and bar as well BYOB-Bring Your Own Beverage will be observed in designated area.” [Facebook]

Harvest Moon Yoga Tonight in Del Ray — “Shine on Harvest Moon! Free outdoor yoga in Del Ray returns every Wed. Sept. 9 – Oct. 14, 6:00 – 7:00 pm at the Del Ray Psych & Wellness lot, 1900 Mt. Vernon Avenue (Corner of E. Bellefonte) in the Heart of Del Ray.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy early. Scattered thunderstorms developing later in the day. High 81F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Scattered thunderstorms in the evening, then mainly cloudy overnight with thunderstorms likely. Heavy and torrential downpours at times. Low 72F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Dog Walker and Pet Sitter — “Are you a veterinary technician who has been pet-sitting under the table to supplement your income? Have you worried about your lack of insurance or back-up plan if you got sick? If so, then joining Cat Nanny Jess might be the answer to all your worries!” [Indeed]

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Alexandria has put another summer work week to rest.

As the City Council enjoys a legislative break, the School Board conducted a virtual meeting to discuss the renaming process for T.C. Williams High School. Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr., and the board advocate a public engagement process that could result in the board voting to change the name this December, followed by a vote on a specific name next spring. A group of community activists, however, believe that the name should be taken off immediately, since ACPS acknowledged Williams was an avowed racist and segregationist.

This week, readers also responded to stories about public safety, local businesses, entertainment, real estate listings and an update on absentee ballot requests.

Not included in this week’s list is Friday’s story about an increased police presence in Old Town after an uptick in violent crime.

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

Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.

  1. Fire Department Says $1 Million in Damages and 21 People Displaced in West End Fire
  2. Lena’s in Del Ray Applies for Large Second-Floor Expansion and To-Go Alcohol Sales
  3. New Convenience Store ‘Old Town Mini Mart’ Coming to King Street
  4. Police Investigating ‘Shots Fired’ Report in West End
  5. Man Arrested for Forging Over $10,000 in Checks from Alexandria Dentist
  6. Del Ray Shell Station Robbed on Saturday
  7. ACPS Still Cutting Down 150-Year-Old Tree, Preparing for Parker-Gray Stadium Renovation
  8. Drive-In Movies Coming to Alexandria on August 29
  9. Truck Lit on Fire, Stripped of Identification at City Impound Lot
  10. Listing of the Day: 428 N Washington Street
  11. Alexandria Sees Record High Absentee Ballot Requests

Have a safe weekend!

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The City of Alexandria is looking locals to help run the upcoming election in November.

“There are 30 precincts in the City of Alexandria, each requiring a minimum of 5 election officers,” the city said on its website. “These officers are needed to maintain a high level of service throughout Election Day… More than 200 election officers are needed to conduct each election (and as many as 500 for the Presidential Election). Alexandria enjoys an excellent reputation for conducting honest and efficient elections. The City needs your help to maintain this tradition.”

As a presidential election, high voter turnout is expected, though the city has also seen a record number of absentee ballots requested.

Election workers are required to report for work at 4:45 a.m. on election day and prepare the polls for voting. They are tasked with setting up voting equipment and verifying voter registrations during the day, then closing the polling place down and certifying the results to the precinct.

Election workers are also required to attend a training session before the election.

The work is paid, with $225 for chief officers, $150 for assistant chief officers, and $125 for election officers. There’s also a small $25 stipend for attending the training.

To qualify, election workers must:

  • You are a registered voter in Virginia.
  • You are civic-minded with basic computer user skills.
  • You must attend a training class prior to Election Day.
  • You must be available to work the entire day on Election Day.
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In 2016, Alexandria’s Office of Voter Registrations and Elections sent out 1,668 absentee ballots by mail in September. This year, there are 18,498 applicants already signed up.

“We have definitely seen a large increase in absentee by mail ballot requests,” said Angie Maniglia Turner, Alexandria’s new General Registrar. “[As of] this morning we’ve had 18,498 applications processed and they’re coming in every moment. This year is going to be very unique.”

Turner said the main question her office has received so far has been voters wondering where their ballots are. Turner said that the first round isn’t sent out until mid-September. The deadline to register for an absentee ballot is Oct. 23 at 5 p.m. That’s when the registration has to be physically received by the Office of Voter Registrations and Elections, so Turner advised those hoping to vote absentee to send in their request as soon as possible.

While there have been concerns about how long it could take for absentee votes to be tallied, Turner said that Virginia law allows election offices to do something called pre-processing.

“That means we can process absentee ballots and do everything we’d do on election day except tallying,” Turner said. “That allows us an opportunity to ensure we can get all of these processed in time.”

The state is also currently reviewing whether dropbox voting will be allowed, though no decision has been made yet.

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The list of pivotal Alexandria women is long, and starting this weekend a new local nonprofit will lead the city in honoring the 100 year anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Living Legend Pat Miller recently founded Alexandria Celebrates Women with the goal of honoring Alexandria’s women of the past, present and future.

“Great women, they never give up,” Miller told ALXnow. “Because if you can’t get it done one way you find another way to do it. That is exactly what happened with the suffragists. They never gave up, even when they were in jail.”

Women’s suffrage came to a head in 1917 when more than 70 women were jailed, beaten and force-fed at the Occoquan Workhouse. Reports of their severe treatment largely influenced the passage of the Amendment, including the story of Lucy Burns, who was force fed through her nose and spent a “Night of Terror” with her hands cuffed above her head.

“Their case was heard at the Alexandria courthouse, and the judge found that they had every right to protest and were released,” Miller said. “They went back to exactly what they had been doing, and they had the political momentum behind them.”

Alexandria Celebrates Women will lead a bike ride on Saturday, August 15. The free, family-friendly event will start at 7:30, 8:00 and or 8:30 a.m. to accommodate small groups of eight riders or fewer. The event will begin near the Office of Voter Registration and Elections (132 North Royal Street) in Old Town. The 14-mile route will go through trails and neighborhood streets.

The 19th Amendment passed on August 18, 1919, and at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18, 2020, Mayor Justin Wilson will issue a city proclamation to mark the occasion in an outdoor ceremony at the Kate Waller Barrett Library. Barrett was a social and voting rights activist throughout her life and was the president of the National Council of Women.

Additionally, artists in the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Studio 311 are creating an exhibit to honor the centennial, in addition to including a life-size historic picture of suffragists.

“When you just think about the women in the city, how many women head up a department and organization?” Miller said. “It’s overwhelming and we’re not honoring them, we’re not showing how much we appreciate what they do. That’s all changing.”

Courtesy image

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Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson warned that this November’s election could look very different from elections in the past, and encouraged residents to request mail-in ballots if possible.

“We absolutely encourage residents to vote by mail if they can or take advantage of some of the in-person absentee voting that will become available,” Wilson said in a town hall meeting last night. “This is the first election in Virginia history where no excuse is required for absentee balloting.  You can say you would like a mail ballot and you can get one.”

While the number of polling places was limited for the Republican primary, Wilson said they will try to have as many open for the November general election as possible. As a presidential election, Wilson said it was likely to see high levels of voter turnout.

Wilson said if a resident applies for the ballot, they will get it in late September. Once the ballot is received, Wilson said voters should fill it out and turn it back in as quickly as possible.

“Fortunately we have an election where there is not a lot of doubt for most voters on where they are going,” Wilson said, “so hopefully they can make decisions quickly.”

One issue that remains unclear is whether Alexandria can implement some form of dropbox voting. It’s an issue Wilson said the state legislature is likely to rule on.

“Some jurisdictions have said it’s legal, others say it isn’t,” Wilson said. “I think this could be really beneficial for us. I know residents are worried about the U.S. mail and the security of ballots.”

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Morning Notes

Alexandrian Killed in D.C. Shooting — “Metropolitan Police identified Montrell Lucas, 18, of Alexandria, as one of two victims who were killed Tuesday night. Police responded to the 1600 block of Maryland Avenue Northeast around 8:46 p.m. for a report of a shooting and found three victims.” [Patch]

D.C. Company Sends Out Incomplete Ballot Applications — “Judith, a city of Alexandria resident, received the letter, which includes a partially completed application for a mail-in voting ballot and a pre-addressed and prepaid envelope to send the application to her registrar’s office. But her ballot application would have gone to the wrong address.” [NBC4]

Inova Reveals Design for New Healthplex in Oakville Triangle — “Oakville Triangle, located on the opposite side of Route 1 from the new Virginia Tech Innovation Campus and the Metro, will see new residential, some retail and public open space adjacent to Mount Jefferson Park. The new Inova Healthplex will feature an emergency room as well as other outpatient services and medical services.” [Alexandria Living]

Annual Classic Car Show Postponed to 2021 — “After careful consideration, the Old Town Festival of Speed & Style Board of Directors have made the difficult decision to not move forward with the re-scheduled September event.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Mixed clouds and sun with scattered thunderstorms. High 84F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 60%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Alexandria Police are Hiring — “Interested in applying for our department? Register for our upcoming tests using the link below!” [Twitter]

New Job: Land Acquisition Manager — “If you’ve been involved in land acquisition/development for a publicly-traded homebuilder we would like to connect. We are developing residential and mixed-use communities for the future.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria’s Congressman Don Beyer is still working from home, and he’s not happy. He says is office is constantly inundated with calls from constituents angry about a host of issues.

“Did you watch that farce of a speech in the Rose Garden?” Beyer asked ALXnow over the phone. “It was pretty outrageous. You know, it depends on the day, but generally the phone rings off the hook from constituents. Ninety percent of our calls are from people upset with what’s happening with the White House, and since there is a new outrage every day – it’s literally day by day.”

Beyer said the biggest most recent issue was the U.S. turning away visas for international students — a policy which the administration just reversed. Now he says the voters in the 8th Congressional District are worried about mail-in voting and not wanting to stand in line for hours on election day in November.

“Trump definitely seems to be spiraling out of control,” Beyer said. “He’s afraid he’s going to lose. My fear will be Trump’s allegations of cheating when there is little cheating going on. Yes, we know that many of the swing states with Republican governors are trying to suppress the vote, but that’s not a new phenomenon. Georgia, for example is the saddest, by cutting the number of voting machines in Democratic precincts.”

Beyer added, “Biden is going to beat him by many millions of votes, and I hope and expect the Electoral College. But the balance of power depends on respect for the law. Donald Trump has no respect for the law. He has ignored Congress in every possible way. I have constituents every day who ask me to do something about it. What else do you want me to do? He was impeached in the House, and that took a while.”

Well before the pandemic, Beyer’s Twitter account was a daily outlet for his criticism against the president. The coronavirus added fuel to his fire, and without any votes this week in the House, Beyer is stuck at home.

“We’re setting new records for recorded coronavirus cases every day,” Beyer said.

Additionally, unemployment will soon be slashed, as the Senate did not pass an extension of the $600 weekly unemployment boost legislation. Beyer has since condemned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Twitter.

“A third of Kentucky adults are on unemployment insurance,” Beyer said. “In Virginia, we had 800,000 people apply, which is 10% of the total population. In 15 days the payments going out will go from $837 to $237. I don’t know anybody who can survive on that every week.”

Beyer, who is a former Lieutenant Governor, said that he is not worried about ACPS making the right decision regarding reopening school this fall.

“Let’s not be worried about grades,” Beyer said. “Look at the CDC guidelines. When you put children together you risk a viral explosion. The local school systems have figured it out. Fairfax County has given them the option to go to school or not or engage in distance learning. Fairfax County figured it out pretty well, and so will Alexandria.”

File photo

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Morning Notes

GoFundMe for Abysinnia Raises Money After Face Mask Incident— “From the two waves of giving, the campaign has raised more than $15,500 of a $20,000 goal.” [Alexandria Living]

Fitness Centers Reopen Cautiously — “Now that the state is in phase three of reopening, fitness studios are allowed to open at 75% capacity, although there must still be 10 feet of distance between each client, which limits smaller studios.” [Alex Times]

New Ice Cream Shop Coming to Del Ray — “Del Ray Boccato is anticipated to open in August at 2400 Mount Vernon Avenue, according to the Del Ray Business Association. The business will offer homemade gelatos, empanadas, pastries, gelato shakes and coffee.” [Patch]

New Football Coach at T.C. Williams High School — “Welcome to our new Head Varsity Football Coach, Rodney Hughey! Hughey comes to T.C. Williams High School after 10 years at Livingstone College in North Carolina, where he was the Defensive Coordinator and Assistant Head Coach.” [Facebook]

Longtime Voter Registrar Retires — “When Anna Leider began serving as an election official, Alexandria had 67,400 registered voters and 24 polling places. Today there are now 98,200 registered voters and 30 polling places, and she has helped manage over 40 elections, including four presidential ones plus three statewide or regional recounts.” [Zebra]

Del Ray Vintage & Flea Market Saturday — “The Del Ray Vintage & Flea Market is back this Saturday! Special guest vendor: MV Big Flea. Take a stroll down to the corner of Bellafonte & Mount Vernon Ave (parking lots of DelrayPsych & Salvation Army to find some treasures & to support local businesses on the block.” [Facebook]

New Job: Dog Walker — “Anyone who has experience as a veterinary assistant, kennel assistant, kennel attendant, worked at an animal shelter/rescue, worked at a dog daycare/boarding facility, please apply!” [Indeed]

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