It was a historic week in Alexandria.

Alexandrians overwhelmingly helped reelect U.S. Senator Mark Warner and Congressman Don Beyer, and 80% of voters chose Democrat former Vice President Joe Biden for president over incumbent Republican President Donald Trump.

Out top story this week was election-related. It turns out that before election day several Alexandria households with Joe Biden signs were sent letters with a Northern Virginia postage mark stating that Biden is a pedophile. The Chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee advised that anyone who receives such notes should call the police. The police, in turn, are sending along the information to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Additionally, 91 people participated in our weekly poll. This week we asked about election night plans, and 65% of respondents said they were staying home to watch the results, 24% had no eleciton night plans, 10% planned to protest that evening, and 1% were going to an election night event.

School News

Alexandria City Public Schools were back in action this week — sort of. While the ACPS opened in-person classes on Thursday, fewer than 10 students made it to class. There were about 60 students eligible to go back to school, since only kids with kindergarten through second graders with disabilities were allowed to attend Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School.

It was the first in-person public schooling in Alexandria since the pandemic shut down schools in March. ACPS plans to expand opening for all citywide special education students by December. Meanwhile, however, hundreds of parents want the school system to open and have started the #OpenACPS messaging campaign.

Also in school news, a two-year-long court battle was settled with the city and 15 Alexandria homeowners were settled regarding the addition of stadium lights to Parker-Gray Stadium at T.C. Williams High School.

The Week in Crime

The week started with news that there were two shootings in Alexandria over the weekend.

The was also the story of a 17-year-old on the run since last month after allegedly stealing a car in the West End. The juvenile, who later admitted stealing the car, was seen by the victim — a federal law enforcement officer — driving past his house, and the victim got into another of his cars and followed the suspect. The victim got the juvenile out of his car and held him at the scene until police arrived, and the juvenile left the area after being charged.

We also covered the story of the ‘Beltway Bank Bandit’. Freddie Lee McRae, 34, of Washington D.C., pleaded guilty to three counts of brandishing a firearm during a series of bank and shoe store robberies in and around Alexandria in 2018 and 2019. He will be sentenced on February 23, 2021, and faces up to life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 21 years in prison.

Health and Business

As of Friday there were 76 deaths attributed to the coronavirus in Alexandria, and the case count stands at 4,444, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Latino residents continue to lead the case count.

We also reported that longtime Del Ray staple, Al’s Steak House, is for sale since the owner passed away.

This week also saw fewer continued and initial unemployment claims in Alexandria.

Here are ALXnow’s top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. Alexandrians with Joe Biden Yard Signs Get Anonymous Letters Saying Biden is a Pedophile
  2. Del Ray Staple Al’s Steak House for Sale After Owner’s Death
  3. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  4. Braddock West Project Headed to Planning Commission Later This Year
  5. Identity Released of Old Town North Suspect Killed in Shootout
  6. Soft Opening for New Chicken Joint in North Old Town Today
  7. Alexandria Parents Start #OpenACPS Sign Campaign as School System Begins Partial Reopening
  8. Juvenile Allegedly Steals Car and is Tracked Down by Victim in the West End
  9. BREAKING: Massive Power Outage Reported in Alexandria
  10. The Alexandria Drive-In Just Kicked Off an Encore Series on Halloween
  11. Did You Know: The Tall Ship Providence Encountered a Ghost Ship in 1777

Have a safe weekend!

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Voted 80% for Joe Biden — “The vote total in Alexandria, as of Wednesday morning, was 65,201 or 80.4 percent for Biden, the former Vice President; 14,251 voted for Trump.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Reaches Complete Count in 2020 U.S. Census — ” The Bureau’s Crystal City Area Census Office, which includes all of Alexandria, was the only such office in the Washington, D.C. metro region to count 100% of households by the time data collection ended on October 15. Because almost 74% of Alexandria households completed the census questionnaire by mail or online, census workers had to visit fewer households in person.” [City of Alexandria]

Here’s Updated COVID-19 Guidance from Alexandria — “Everyone has a role in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Take immediate action by wearing a mask, reducing unnecessary travel, maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance from others and staying home when sick. Below are specific guidance and resources based on setting or need.” [City of Alexandria]

Vegan PLNT Burger Restaurant Opens Inside Whole Foods — “Co-founder and chief culinary director for PLNT Burger, Spike Mendelsohn (of ‘Top Chef’ fame) was in town recently to open the hip new vegan burger joint inside the Whole Foods store at 1700 Duke Street and on opening day gave away 100 free burgers to the first people in line.” [Zebra]

Waterskiing Santa Going Virtual This Year — “The show was originally scheduled to run on Christmas Eve this year but organizers announced that they decided to cancel the live event for safety reasons. Instead, a recording will be available for viewing on Dec. 20 so families can “stay home, get some hot chocolate and popcorn and cozy up while watching the Waterskiing Santa,” organizers said on the event’s Facebook page.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s Weather — “Except for a few afternoon clouds, mainly sunny. High 69F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Partly to mostly cloudy (at night). Low 48F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Scholarship Program Assistant — “The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, a national nonprofit in Alexandria, Virginia, seeks a Scholarship Program Assistant to become part of the Scholarship Program team. The Scholarship Program Assistant works closely with the Assistant Director, Scholarship Programs to support the needs of the department and the \Foundation and its various stakeholders. S/he is responsible for supporting the Department in an overall administrative capacity and to provide support in the day-to-day functions of the Department and team.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Virtual Opening Thursday for New Alexandria Townhomes — “Winchester Homes will host a virtual grand opening Thursday, Nov. 5, for Bren Pointe, a new 97-unit townhome community opening in Alexandria.” [Alexandria Living]

Indoor Sports Leagues Cancelled for 2021 Winter Season — “All indoor leagues organized by the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities (RPCA) are cancelled, including youth and adult basketball, adult volleyball, youth sports affiliate Alexandria Soccer Association’s indoor futsal league, and social sport gymnasium rentals. Small group sports classes, which are lower risk activities, will continue and will follow federal, state, and local guidelines for the safety of participants and staff. ” [City of Alexandria]

City Council to Hold Virtual Budget and Planning Retreat — “The Alexandria City Council will hold a virtual retreat meeting on November 7, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., to discuss the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Operating Budget process and develop the City Council Work Program for calendar year 2021.” [City of Alexandria]

Alexandrian Gets His 70-year-old Mom to Vote for the First Time –“I want [Joe] Biden because he cares about the people. Trump doesn’t care about us. He thinks this virus is just going to go away. This world is chaos. This world is nuts.” [Washington Post]

Free Flu Shots Available — “Now is the time to get a flu shot! Get info on Inova Cares Clinic for Families FREE flu shot clinics for uninsured people this month (first Alexandria clinic is Nov. 4) and low-cost shots to eligible residents at the Alexandria Health Department at alexandriava.gov/115055.” [Twitter]

Today’s Weather — “Sunny skies (during the day). High 67F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph. Mostly clear (in the evening). Low 46F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Member Service Representative — “The Member Service Representative position plays a key role in support of the YMCA mission by ensuring the reliable and consistent delivery of outstanding customer service to members and guests at the front desk at YMCA Alexandria, located at 420 E. Monroe Ave. Alexandria, VA. This is a great part time position with a varied work schedule.” [Indeed]

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Updated at 9 p.m. — U.S. Senator Mark Warner and Alexandria’s Congressman Don Beyer have won reelection.

With 2,241 of 2,285 precincts reporting, Warner appeared to be down 43% to 57% against his opponent Republican Daniel Gade, although NPR called the race for Warner shortly after polls closed.

The Associated Press called the race for Beyer at 8:10 p.m.

Beyer defeated Republican Jeff Jordan to retain his seat for a fourth term. With 141 out of 171 precincts reporting, Beyer led with 129,088 votes (71.3%) to Jordan’s 51,647 votes (28%), according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

Mayor Justin Wilson Congratulated Beyer on social media.

But it might take time to determine the outcome of some races.

“Absentee ballots may be accepted until noon on November 6th. Therefore, results are incomplete,” according to the Alexandria Office of Elections. “Results will be certified on November 16th.”

There have been 65,000 absentee ballots collected in Alexandria so far, and the deadline for the Office of Elections to count those ballots is Friday, and they have to submit the official results to the Virginia State Board of Elections by next Tuesday.

See earlier election coverage below the jump.

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Homegrown Restaurant Group is donating lunch to all election officials in Alexandria today.

With 30 polling stations in the city, that’s about 600 lunches.

“There’s all this nervous energy and we’re all at home today, anxiously awaiting,” said Chelsea Anderson, marketing director for the Homegrown Restaurant Group. “This is probably the most controversial election of all of our lives, and it’s nice to get out and expend some of that energy on some bipartisan good.”

Anderson has been delivering meals to polling precincts all day, and was briefly aided in the morning by Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson.

Homegrown Restaurant Group owns Pork Barrel BBQHoly Cow Del RayThe Sushi BarWhisky & OysterSweet Fire Donna’s and Tequila & Taco.

According to Anderson, the story goes that Group owners Mike Anderson and Bill Blackburn were discussing how they could help during the election. Blackburn wanted to volunteer at a polling place, but has two young kids at home and couldn’t devote the time. So, he recommended to Anderson that they contribute food from Pork Barrel BBQ to the poll workers at Mount Vernon Community School. Mike Anderson then upped the ante and suggested donating meals to every poll worker in the city.

“We just divvied up the meals between the restaurants, and we got a couple volunteers,” Anderson said. “Danielle, my older sister who is in the family business, she delivered lunches; our executive chef Mason from Whisky & Oyster delivered lunches; Jim Miller from Pork Barrel; Bill (Blackburn); Mike and Donna (Anderson), and we even had some help from Justin Wilson, as well.”

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It’s election day, November 3, 2020. Here’s what you need to know about voting today in Alexandria.

On the ballot for Nov. 3 is the race for president and vice president, a U.S. Senate and Congressional seat and two proposed Constitutional Amendments.

The polls opened at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. More than 50% of Alexandria voters have cast their ballots so far, and the Alexandria results and statewide results will be posted after polls close tonight.

Need a ride to vote? Both the Alexandria Democratic Committee (703-549-3367) and Alexandria GOP (571-281-7042) will drive you to the polls.

What To Expect At The Polls

Voters on November 3 should expect to find foot markers to encourage social distancing inside and outside polling precincts.

Additionally:

  • Polling officers will be separated from voters by plexiglass, and will not touch any identification
  • Voters will be required to wear face masks, and the Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps will be on-hand to make sure masks are worn properly. They will also have free masks
  • Voters who can’t go into a polling precinct can vote curbside
  • Ballots will be placed in one-time use manila folders

Polling Place Changes

See a sample ballot below the jump.

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Morning Notes

Beyer Slams Trump Before Election — “He has run the most corrupt presidential administration in history.” [Twitter]

Free COVID Test Pop-Ups Twice a Week — The City is continuing our targeted COVID-19 testing initiative in partnership with @NeighborhoodHth into November. Starting tomorrow, our free testing pop-ups are now scheduled twice a week!” [Twitter]

Alexandria Fire Department is Hiring — “The Alexandria Fire Department is now hiring for the Firefighter/EMT position. The application process is open through Wednesday, Nov. 4. No previous experience needed.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Deputy Shoots Self in Leg During Training — ” An Alexandria Sheriff’s Office deputy accidentally shot himself in the leg Friday morning at the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy in Ashburn, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.” [Patch]

Today’s Weather — “Sunny skies (during the day). High near 60F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph. Clear skies (in the evening). Low near 40F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Pet Care Specialist — “We are looking for dedicated animal lovers to join our growing company! We offer a competitive benefits package including health insurance, supplemental insurance, IRA, and smartphone for full-time VIP client routes. Applicants MUST have a car, internet access, and basic computer skills to be considered for employment.” [Indeed]

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What an intense week in Alexandria.

Our top story was on the massive power outages that affected tens of thousands of residents on Friday, October 23. Without providing specifics, Dominion Energy told City Council this week that outages in Alexandria and Arlington were “unique,” and caused by a piece of equipment that failed at its Glebe Road substation. City Councilors responded that there have been at least eight outages since May.

Monday started with news that an Alexandria Police officer was shot in Old Town and that the 27-year-old suspect was found shot to death near a construction site.

Police were called to the Holiday Inn & Suites in Old Town North after reports that shots were fired in the lobby of the hotel. Police chased two suspects on foot and a shootout ensued. The officer was shot in the lower body and was later released, and the other suspect later turned himself in to police.

On the coronavirus front, there are now 74 deaths in Alexandria and there are now or have been more than 4,200 cases since the pandemic began in March. Latino residents continue to lead the case count. This week the Alexandria Health Department reported that majority of recent coronavirus cases in Alexandria might be the result of contacts at home, indoor gatherings and eating out.

Restaurant-wise, we reported the soft opening of a new chicken joint in North Old Town.

Additionally, the Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies art installation at Waterfront Park will be taken down next month at Waterfront Park, and the installation will temporarily be moved outside of Old Town Pool (1609 Cameron Street).

We also reported that more than 50% of Alexandria voters have already cast their ballots.

Additionally, more than 240 people participated in our weekly poll. With Halloween on Saturday, this week we asked about trick-or-treating plans, and 38% of respondents are not celebrating Halloween this year, 31% are not trick-or-treating but have other plans, 17% plan to trick-or-treat with modifications, and 14% plan to trick-or-treat as usual.

Here are ALXnow’s top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. BREAKING: Massive Power Outage Reported in Alexandria
  2. BREAKING: Virginia State Police Seek Alexandria Man After Police Shootout
  3. School Board Shelves Plan to Reopen Schools in 2021, Students with Disabilities Transitioning Back Next Month
  4. Republican Jeff Jordan Running Uphill Battle Against Incumbent Rep. Don Beyer
  5. Here’s Where Alexandria Residents Might be Getting COVID-19
  6. BREAKING: Shooting Suspect In Custody, Police Announce
  7. Police: Man Killed in Car Crash on N. Van Dorn Street
  8. Identity Released of Old Town North Suspect Killed in Shootout
  9. Police: Shots Fired in Braddock Area on Monday Night
  10. The Chewish Deli Opens New Location in Old Town
  11. Police Assist Man With Psychotic Episode in West End

Happy Halloween!

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A number of Alexandria residents with political signs supporting Democrat Joe Biden for president have received disturbing anonymous letters in the mail stating that Biden is a pedophile, and that anyone who votes for him is condoning pedophilia.

“You may have preciously heard about or seen video clips/photos documenting Joe Biden’s ‘sniffing’ obsession,” reads a typed letter from ‘A Concerned American’. “It’s likely you thought he was creepy, but laughed it off. But have you actually watched the videos of Joe Biden inappropriately kissing, groping, and even grinding (yes, grinding) on small children?!”

The letter lists links to Youtube videos.

The letter continues, “I assume you don’t support pedophilia — no normal person would. But, if you’re rooting for a pedophile to be the next leader of the free world — despite the videos — I hate to say it, you do condone pedophilia and the inappropriate touching, and groping of small children.”

One Alexandrian who has two Biden signs in their front yard received the letter in the mail on October 25. The letter has a Northern Virginia postmark and no return address. The resident said a number of neighbors with Biden signs have also gotten the same letter.

“I voted long ago by mail like most people,” the resident told ALXnow. “This would never deter me from voting.”

Clarence Tong, chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, is advising residents who receive the letters to contact the Alexandria Police non-emergency number at 703-746-4444.

“This is very disturbing,” Tong said. “We encourage anyone who receives harassing behavior like this to report it to the Alexandria Police Department.”

Photo via Alexandria Democratic Committee/Facebook

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With a week to go before the Nov. 3 election, more than 50% of registered Alexandria voters have cast their ballots.

At the close of business on October 26, the Alexandria Office of Voter Registrations and Elections reported 24,739 absentee ballots by mail and 27,150 in-person absentee ballots cast — totaling at 51,889 votes out of 103,000 registered voters in the city.

“In the 2016 election, we had a total of just over 20,000 voters vote in-person absentee, and by mail absentee,” Angie Maniglia Turner, the city’s general registrar and director of elections, told ALXnow. “We have not been working remotely, so it’s just been a lot of social distancing. The city’s been very supportive in making sure we have lots of space to get that social distancing to protect all our volunteers and staff.”

On the ballot for Nov. 3 is the race for president and vice president, a U.S. Senate and Congressional seat and two proposed Constitutional Amendments.

The city recently added three voting locations for in-person absentee voting, and the deadline to vote in-person absentee is 5 p.m. on October 31.

What To Expect On Election Day

Voters on November 3 should expect to find foot markers to encourage social distancing inside and outside polling precincts. Other changes include:

  • Polling officers will be separated from voters by plexiglass, and will not touch any identification
  • Voters will be required to wear face masks, and the Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps will be on-hand to make sure masks are worn properly. They will also have free masks
  • Voters who can’t go into a polling precinct can vote curbside
  • Ballots will be placed in one-time use manila folders

Door Knocking, Campaign Literature And Politics

The pandemic changed the game for Alexandria Democrats and Republicans in their outreach efforts. But both groups are still door knocking and dropping literature at homes around the city. There is one major difference, aside from politics, about election night plans: Democrats will have virtual election night watch parties, while Republicans are still planning on the traditional route of watching the returns inside a yet-to-be-chosen Alexandria restaurant.

“COVID kind of turned campaigning on its head,” Clarence Tong, chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, told ALXnow. “We adapted to that with voter engagement on the phones, and canvassing, lit drops and mailers… There has never been more voter enthusiasm than this year, and I think a lot of it’s in response to Trump.”

Sean Lenehan, chair of the Alexandria GOP, said that there is a “silent majority” of Republican voters in Alexandria.

“I think a lot of people that are voting and supporting the president are just avoiding political conversations with their neighbors,” Lenehan said. “They want to keep things neighborly, but at the end of the day we’ll see the numbers come through.”

Alexandria has overwhelmingly voted for Democratic candidates for president for decades, including 76% for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and 70% for Barack Obama in 2012. Alexandria has also chosen a Democrat for the 8th Congressional District seat since former U.S. Rep. Jim Moran defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Stanford Parris in 1990.

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