Newsletter

Morning Notes

Murphy’s reserves table for Marines lost in Afghanistan — “Last night, Friday, August 27, Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub on King Street reserved a table and set 13 places in honor of the 13 soldiers lost in Afghanistan earlier this week.” [Zebra]

4.1 million meals given to ACPS students during pandemic — “In March 2020, Alexandria City Public Schools called on Volunteer Alexandria to help distribute meals to students who were suddenly learning from home due to the pandemic… By the middle of August, Volunteer Alexandria and ACPS had delivered 4,106,889 grab-and-go meals and snacks to Alexandria students and their families.” [Alexandria Living]

Everyone can ride for free on DASH buses starting soon — “Starting Sept. 5, Alexandria City High School (ACHS) students will no longer need to use an app or ID card to board DASH buses for free. All passengers, including adults, will be able to board for free at all times.” [Zebra]

Firefighters to collect ‘fill the boot’ donations starting Tuesday — “The campaign will be managed by the Alexandria Fire Fighters Local 2141 firefighters union.” [Patch]

Today’s weather — “Some clouds and possibly an isolated thunderstorm in the afternoon. High 92F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%… Partly cloudy early with increasing clouds overnight. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 73F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Traffic control flagger — “AWP is North America’s leading traffic control specialist. Our Protectors work outside every day to make sure customer crews, drivers and our own teams get home safely.” [Indeed]

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What an unexpectedly busy summer week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.

Our top story was on an Alexandria woman who claims she was roofied at a restaurant on the waterfront on the evening of July 9. A police report has been filed, and no charges have been made.

This week we sat down with acting Police Chief Don Hayes, who said that he’s thrown his hat in the ring with City Manager Mark Jinks to keep the top job. Hayes, a 40-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department took over after the sudden departure of Chief Michael Brown last month, and will have to contend against candidates in a national search.

The Tokyo Olympics also start this week, and the games will include three T.C. Williams High School graduates — sprinter Noah Lyles, high-jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend and boxer Troy Isley. In fact, Lyles just had a comic book biography published in the Washington Post. If you’re a fan of the Olympic games, check out this list of local restaurants celebrating with special events and meals.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Woman claims she was roofied at Old Town restaurant
  2. Residents protest against conditions at West End apartment complex
  3. Developers eye Beauregard redevelopment with West End upgrades on the horizon
  4. Former chef at ‘The Alexandrian’ opening new restaurant in Arlandria on Monday
  5. No injuries after shots fired in Braddock area on Wednesday
  6. DASH takes lessons from D.C., Baltimore and Oregon in eliminating bus fares
  7. ‘Call Your Mother Deli’ signs lease in Old Town
  8. After last month’s Democratic primary, Republican Darryl Nirenberg tops campaign donation leaderboard
  9. New city health improvement plan aims to fix inequities
  10. Poll: Have you been to the Winkler Botanical Preserve?
  11. Lee-Fendall House to throw speakeasy party to finance building repairs

Have a safe weekend!

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Alexandria Police are investigating a claim that a woman’s drink was drugged at Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge on the waterfront.

The woman filed a police report after the incident, which allegedly occurred on the evening of July 9 — the same night as the fireworks for the city’s birthday celebration. The woman reported the incident on NextDoor, and said she was sitting in the walkthrough area next to the Torpedo Factory Art Center when it occurred.

“I enjoyed a couple of Orange Crushes, scrolled on my phone and watched the crowd,” the woman reported. “I can’t tell you much of what happened after that, besides knowing now (Google maps tracker) that I miraculously walked the couple of blocks back to my apartment. My fiance returned home from work to find me a step inside of my apartment on the floor. I was unable to talk, stand, or remain conscious. I have complete amnesia of any of the events from receiving my last drink forward.”

The woman, who says she is a registered nurse, wrote that her condition persisted for 10 hours or so, that she did not go to the hospital and instead contacted her primary care physician.

“I am usually pretty aware of my surroundings,” she wrote. “I cannot tell you what happened, why, or anything like that, though I wish that I could. It is very highly unlikely that I had left my drink alone outside to go inside to the bathroom, etc. But it seems the only explanation is that something was slipped into my drink.”

The owner of Vola’s told ALXnow that they are working with police. He said no one has alleged any employees did anything wrong and that what occurred is still unclear.

What a hot week in Alexandria.

With temperatures hovering in the mid-90s, the week started with a power outage at a 17-story apartment building in Landmark area. The outage lasted five days and residents had to find accommodations until the building reopened Friday afternoon.

On the coronavirus front, Alexandria experienced a slight uptick, and the health department says unvaccinated residents account for a majority of new cases. There have been 39 new cases reported so far this month in the city, and 13 cases were reported on July 9. That was the biggest single-day jump since May 20, when 18 new cases were reported.

In school news, this week we spoke with Alexandria High School Principal Peter Balas, who said that his staff are ready to fully reopen for full-time in-person instruction when the 2021-2022 school year starts on August 24.

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Here’s the plan for Alexandria’s birthday celebration this weekend
  2. City Council approves massive high-rise project without affordable housing near Eisenhower Metro station
  3. ‘Call Your Mother Deli’ signs lease in Old Town
  4. Del. Mark Levine raises eyebrows with letter that passes buck on constituent service
  5. Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
  6. Alexandria City High School is ready to reopen at full capacity next month, principal says
  7. School Board Member Jacinta Greene faces reelection, wants race relations taught in ACPS
  8. Tropical Storm Elsa’s dregs tear through southern Alexandria
  9. Poll: Do you agree with reallocation of school resource officer funding?
  10. West End high-rise apartment building evacuated after power outage
  11. The Alexandria Police, Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department all want raises

Have a safe weekend!

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After taking a year off, the Around The World Cultural Food Festival will be celebrated later this month at Oronoco Bay Park on the Alexandria waterfront.

It’s the first year that the annual event will be hosted in Alexandria, and it will feature more than a dozen food, dessert and smoothie vendors making dishes from around the world.

“This pandemic changed our lives and the way we look at tomorrow in a drastic way,” wrote event organizers on Facebook. “We should never take anything for granted, so while we have this opportunity to host the event in a safe way for everyone- a large, spacious park, we hope to see you on July 31st at Oronoco Bay Park.”

Food trucks and vendors include:

The festival will also be held at Freedom Plaza in D.C. on August 28. Admission is free.

via Facebook

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Hotel Indigo garage, via Google Maps

Hotel Indigo (220 S Union Street) is hoping to turn its 69 parking spaces into a mutually beneficial arrangement for Old Town visitors.

Developer Carr Properties said it gave the required total of 69 parking spaces, but hasn’t gotten the expected usage since the hotel opened.  The developer said it’s hoping to change its permit to allow some of those spaces currently usable only by hotel visitors to be used by tourists and other Old Town visitors.

“Since the hotel became operational several years ago, the parking garage of 69 spaces has not been utilized as envisioned during the original DSUP process,” the applicant said in a Development Special Use Permit (DSUP) request to the city. “Additionally, since the original DSUP approval, the parking ordinance was amended to allow a minimum of .2 spaces per hotel room for areas within an enhanced transit area (applies to the Property).”

Carr Properties is hoping to bring Hotel Indigo in line with the current requirement for hotels.

“Because the existing garage is underutilized and less hotel parking is now required, the Applicant seeks to amend the DSUP approval (which included a parking reduction SUP) to allow for .2 spaces per hotel room instead of .58 spaces per room as originally approved,” the developer said. “For 120 hotel rooms, this rate would allow for 24 spaces for hotel and restaurant patrons (and employees); with 3 handicapped spaces to remain; and 42 spaces for third-party use.”

The garage would maintain its current valet service, but would add optional self-parking for non-hotel visitors. The public access could also be closed off if the hotel reaches higher levels of occupancy.

The change is docketed to go to the Planning Commission on Sept. 9. The applicant said the change to the 69 spaces could be to the shared satisfaction of the hotel and waterfront visitors.

“This tailored management will allow for the best utilization of the parking spaces by both hotel patrons and waterfront visitors,” the applicant said. “Ultimately, the Applicant anticipates that managing the parking this manner will fill an unmet parking demand that will be growing during the warm weather months, as the Alexandria waterfront continues to attract residents and tourists.”

Via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Bryan Watson, former NHL player, Bugsy’s Pizza founder, dies — “Watson founded Bugsy’s Pizza Restaurant and Sports Bar in 1983, crafting it into a favorite sports bar in Old Town Alexandria. It was initially known as The Penalty Box before adopting his nickname ‘Bugsy’s’. As reported by the Capitals, Watson displayed various artifacts, sweaters, equipment and photos at Bugsy’s and shared stories of his hockey career with customers.” [Patch]

Alexandria native serves with U.S. Navy Amphibious Squadron — “Lt. Anton Ekman is a 2011 graduate of Bishop Ireton High School and 2015 U.S. Naval Academy graduate. Today, Ekman serves as a cryptologic warfare officer.” [Zebra]

Townhomes proposed at former Topgolf and Ruby Tuesday in Kingstowne — “Developers has been attempting to find new uses for the site since 2016 when a mix of townhomes, multifamily units and 70,000 square feet of retail space were proposed.” [Alexandria Living]

Today’s weather — “Intervals of clouds and sunshine (during the day). A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 94F. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph… Partly cloudy (in the evening). A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 77F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

News job: Recreation coordinator — “In pursuit of service excellence, the Recreation Coordinator works closely with the Recreation Manager in developing, implementing, and overseeing free and fee-based programming at one of the City’s recreation centers.” [Indeed]

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The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will officially return to in-person performances with an hour-long program at Alexandria’s 272nd birthday celebration on Saturday, July 10, on the waterfront.

“We’re really excited to be there for the community,” Melinda Kernc, ASOs director of development and marketing, confirmed to ALXnow. “We did what we could during COVID, and now to meet in person is really exciting.”

The program on July 10 has been shortened to an hour (it’s usually an hour-and-a-half), and to discourage crowds there also won’t be cannon fire punctuating the symphony’s rendition of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture during the fireworks. Last year’s event, which usually attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Old Town, was held virtually.

ASO will also return for their first full season of shows starting the first weekend in October with Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at Northern Virginia Community College.

The symphony will release their upcoming show schedule in the next couple of weeks, Kernc said.

There will be five separate shows between October and April, and performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. at NOVA on Saturday nights and 3 p.m. the following day  the next day at George Washington National Masonic Memorial.

“We are planning for the first half of our season, which goes through December,” Kernc said. “We’re not going to have intermissions in order to keep people from congregating. Other than that, we’re planning to have full capacity in the Hall.”

The pandemic forced ASO to adapt, and musicians ended up playing virtual events, as well as more than a dozen at socially distant musical venues at The Rectory in Old Town and senior living facilities.

“We’ll continue to do community events when we can,” Kernc said. “We’ll also continue to do some kind of virtual event maybe once a year where we actually can put our concerts out, because we reached over 2,000 people with our Christmas performance, and that’s a bigger audience than our largest venue.”

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The Alexandria Fire Department has rescued a woman in a stalled car near the Alexandria waterfront, as the City contends with a continuing Flash Flood Watch and rising water levels.

The driver called 911 at 10:46 a.m. after getting stuck on Strand Street, and said that she couldn’t open her car door because of the rising water, according to AFD Senior Public Information Officer Raytevia Evans.

AFD’s Inland Water Rescue Team arrived at the scene at 10:51 a.m., and helped the driver out of her car.

“The water was at the door or vehicle and she couldn’t get out,” Evans said.

The Flash Flood Watch was issued yesterday and remains in effect throughout the evening.

High water levels have not been reported in other areas of the City, Evans said.

“High tide in the Old Town area was at around 11 a.m. this morning,” she said. “We’re monitoring the rest of the City, but right now we’re not seeing any abnormal water levels in some of the usual places where we get flooding, like around Cameron Run, or Eisenhower Avenue and Telegraph Road.”

The fire department is asking residents to stay informed on local weather patterns and to stay away from standing water.

“Make sure you’re paying attention to local weather reports about the flooding,” Evans said. “If you see standing water do not walk through it. Do not drive through it. We’re asking people to be careful. Stay vigilant. If you find yourself in a situation please to call 911.”

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Morning Notes

Sheriff Dana Lawhorne to receive Lifetime Valor Award — “In recognition of his retirement, we are pleased to honor Sheriff Dana Lawhorne with a Lifetime Valor Award at this year’s Valor Awards. Join us virtually, on June 22nd, to honor Sheriff Lawhorne’s 43 years of law enforcement service to Alexandria.” [Chamber ALX]

West End Business Association hosting 1 p.m. conversation with Mayor — “Take this opportunity to ask questions and connect with Mayor Justin Wilson about how he would continue to serve the city of Alexandria.” [WEBA]

Chinquapin Recreation Center closing for improvements June 26 — “The City of Alexandria’s Chinquapin Park Recreation Center and Aquatics Facility (3210 King St.) will close Saturday, June 26 through Monday, Sept. 6, for several planned facility improvements and annual cleaning.” [Zebra]

Vaccine Equity Clinic on Route 1 in Fairfax County offering free transportation — “The Health Department and Fairfax Connector have partnered to offer free transportation to those who want to get vaccinated at the clinic, located in the former Safeway site at 7451 Mount Vernon Square Center in Alexandria. Fairfax Connector’s Free Vaccine Shuttle will run along Fairfax Connector’s line in that region.” [Fairfax County]

Annual Waterfront Commission walk is today — “The walk will be in person starting at (5 p.m. at) the intersection of Oronoco and South Union Streets and will proceed south to Robinson Landing. The walk is anticipated to end at 6:30 p.m.” [City of Alexandria]

Fire Department conducting community meeting on restructuring today — “The Alexandria Fire Department (AFD) will implement an organizational restructure, effective Saturday, June 12, 2021. The goals of the changes are to improve service efficiency and response times across the City; reduce cost; increase safety on the roadways; and improve response preparedness for specialty teams such as the Technical Rescue, Hazardous Materials, and Inland Water Rescue teams. AFD Representatives will present the upcoming changes to the community and answer questions.” [City of Alexandria]

Today’s weather — “Rain showers in the morning with numerous thunderstorms developing in the afternoon. High 81F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%… Thunderstorms in the evening, then variable clouds overnight with still a chance of showers. Low around 65F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Ghost tour guide — “US Ghost Adventures, a national tour operation is seeking energetic storytellers to lead 90-minute walking tour groups downtown. This part-time position is ideal for self-motivated candidates looking for a fun way to make extra income in the evenings.” [Indeed]

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