FYI Alexandria — September 2010
In This Edition...
Alexandria Weathers Severe Storm
In a year already marked with wild weather, on August 5 an unprecedented summer storm ripped through the City with 70 mph winds, toppling trees, causing widespread power outages, and damaging homes and property. In response, City Manager James K. Hartmann declared a local emergency.
The Alexandria Fire Department estimates that at the peak of the storm, downed utility lines and fallen trees closed about 50 streets. Hundreds of residents had no power for days. More than 120 homes are known to have sustained damage. Of those, 10 were deemed uninhabitable and two homes were declared destroyed. As of late August, the total estimate for property damage was $5.8 million. Cost estimates for damage to City park structures, sidewalks, and other property are still being assessed. It will be months before the full extent of the damage and costs are known.
Debris generated by the storm was massive, totaling more than one-half acre and 25 to 30 feet high —enough to pile Market Square with limbs 25 feet high. City crews and contractors helped to collect debris; Dominion Virginia Power, with crews from North and South Carolina, Maryland, and Georgia, helped restore power within days. As a result, regular trash and debris collections resumed within about two weeks.
“This was a collaborative effort,” said Mayor William D. Euille. “Everyone, from City staff, to Dominion Power, to our own residents, who volunteered to help clear their streets, checked on their neighbors, pitched in and performed a Herculean effort to getting the City back to normal,” said Mayor William D. Euille. “We could not have done this without the caring, patience, and assistance of everyone involved.”
During the storm, hundreds of trees were lost, and more than 150 City trees removed as a result of storm damage. This damage, coupled with that of the February 2010 storms, have depleted the City’s tree canopy. Residents can help the City replenish Alexandria’s trees by 1) making a donation to the Living Landscape Fund of Alexandria; 2) requesting a street tree through the Street Tree Planting Program; 3) purchasing a tree from the October 23 Tree Sale. For more information, call or visit alexandriava.gov/Recreation.
The City Celebrates Citizenship Day, Welcomes New Americans
The City of Alexandria joined the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in recognizing 25 individuals as naturalized United States citizens at its Citizenship Day event on Tuesday, September 14. During the event, honorees took the oath of allegiance for United States citizenship.
Three members of the military were among the candidates for naturalization: Airman Raymond Kamau Kiari, who hails from Kenya; Marine Sergeant Salvador Amilcar Arbujo Recinos, a native Guatemalan who served in Iraq; and native Brazilian Army Private First Class Bruno Guimaraes Carvalho, who led the Pledge of Allegiance at the ceremony. When asked what becoming a United States citizen meant to him, Carvalho said, “Becoming a U.S. citizen is the culmination of a long-held dream, and my chance to finally be able to proudly call myself an American.”
Are You Ready?
It has been a record year for weather emergencies, and the hurricane and flood season is here. Do you have a family emergency plan? If not, make one now and learn more about preparedness at www.ReadyVirginia.gov. For info on hurricane and flooding preparation, visit alexandriava.gov/Hurricane.
Pay City Taxes or Tickets at a Location Near You!
If you’ve ever gone to City Hall to pay taxes or a parking ticket in cash, you know that it can be a real inconvenience, especially near tax due dates when lines may be especially long. In an effort to make paying your taxes easier, the City has teamed with Global Express Bill Payment Centers to offer off-site, cash payment centers throughout Northern Virginia at no additional cost to the public.
If you are a City resident, own a business in the City, or have received a parking ticket while in Alexandria, you can use cash to pay parking tickets, personal property taxes, decal fees, real estate taxes, business license taxes and business personal property taxes at any one of more than 50 locations, some with extended business hours. Global Express Bill Payment Centers (which include all Northern Virginia Shoppers Food and Pharmacy locations, and markets, convenience stores, dollar stores and check-cashing stores) accept cash payments only. Spanish-language assistance is available in some locations.
Walk-in payment centers can be a convenient way to make cash payments that previously required a trip to City Hall during business hours. Just walk up to a retail payment center service desk and tell the clerk you want to pay a City of Alexandria tax bill, decal fee, or parking ticket. Provide your tax account or parking ticket number, pay with cash, and be sure to keep your receipt.
With the City’s new off-site cash payments program, you can have peace of mind that your payment has been made on time. The City of Alexandria will credit your account using the date and time on the receipt. All payments should be posted by the next business day. For the location of Global Express walk-in payment centers, visit www.global-express.net/StoreLocator or call Global Express at 1.800.989.6669 and choose option 6.
Teen Wellness Center: Empowering Teens to Lead Healthful Lives!
More than a year ago, the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS), Alexandria Health Department, Community Services Board, parents and community representatives discussed the possibility of transforming the Adolescent Health Center, by housing the facility at a new location in T.C. Williams High School. On September 1, with the transformation complete, and a new vision to “empower teens to lead healthful lives” guiding the delivery of health services, the new Teen Wellness Center (TWC) opened its doors to serve youth ages 12 to 19.
The mission ensures “each and every Alexandria teen succeeds – physically, emotionally, socially and academically, by collaboratively providing an easily accessible wellness center at T.C. Williams High School.” Through the transformation and relocation, the TWC will provide accessible services, increase opportunities for health education, and encourage all Alexandria teens to work toward overall health and well being. The space for the new center, renovated this summer by Alexandria City Public Schools and the Alexandria Health Department, has a public entrance directly off King Street, and student access from inside T.C. Williams.
For general information about the Teen Wellness Center, or to make an appointment, call 703.746.4776.
What’s New in Alexandria
There’s a new way for residents to get news about upcoming events, and information about what’s going on in the City. What’s New in Alexandria is a five-minute, biweekly video featuring the latest events and activities going on around town. You can watch it online at alexandriava.gov or view it on the City’s Facebook page. What’s New also airs at regular intervals every day on the City’s cable channel 70. Tune in and stay informed about what’s happening in the City of Alexandria!
Mark Your Calendars for the Walk to Fight Breast Cancer
Lace up your tennis shoes and get ready to participate in the Seventeenth Annual Walk to Fight Breast Cancer on Saturday, October 23 at 8:00 a.m. The Walk is jointly sponsored by the City of Alexandria and the Inova Alexandria Hospital Foundation. Walkers can choose from a 1.5K/3.5K/5K walk or run, and the Walk route is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. The Walk will begin and end at the AMC Hoffman Center Theaters, located at the intersection of Eisenhower Avenue and Swamp Fox Road in Alexandria. Prizes will be given to participants who raise the largest amount in pledge dollars.
Registration costs $30 for adults and $15 for children, if pre-registered by October 20, and can be completed online using electronic check payment or credit card at www.alexcancerwalk.com. On-site registration will cost $40.
All proceeds from the Walk support the Alexandria Breast Cancer Walk Fund, which has helped over 5,000 uninsured Alexandria women receive free mammograms and other diagnostic screenings since its inception in 1994. All information, including registration and location details, is available at www.alexcancerwalk.com or by calling 703.746.5030.
A Safe Haven for Homeless Alexandrians
The Alexandria Community Services Board (CSB) held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Safe Haven, which opened on July 1. The Safe Haven is a nationally recognized program model that provides permanent housing and services for homeless individuals with a mental illness.
Located on North Patrick Street, the building contains three apartments and a lobby with CSB staff offices. The apartments will provide 12 people with housing that promotes the highest functioning and quality of life. The Safe Haven was named “Riley’s Place” in honor of Mary Riley, a community volunteer and former CSB Chair who was involved in every aspect of planning and advocacy for the program. Mary became legendary in Alexandria for her devotion to making the Safe Haven a reality.
The CSB developed a Safe Haven Neighborhood Advisory Committee to facilitate communication between the program and the neighbors. Supervision, supportive services, facility management and security will be provided at the Safe Haven 24 hours a day.
Funding comes from the City of Alexandria, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Medicaid, the State of Virginia, and client fees. More information is available at alexandriava.gov/MHMRSA.
City Seeks Holiday Tree
The City is in search of a Colorado Blue Spruce, Leyland Cypress or other well-formed evergreen tree, approximately 25 to 35 feet tall, to serve as the City’s official 2010 Holiday Tree. The City will remove the tree from the donor’s property in mid-November and grind the stump at no cost. The tree will be decorated and displayed at Market Square, throughout the holiday season. The Holiday Tree will be lighted during the City’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 26, at Market Square, 301 King St. The ceremony will feature entertainment, caroling, and a special visit from Santa Claus. Persons in the Washington metropolitan area interested in donating a tree should contact John Noelle, City Arborist, at 703.746.5499 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bringing a City Stream Back to Life
Recent storm damage left many trees, branches, and large amounts of debris in parks throughout the City. Strawberry Run, in Fort Williams Park (located north of Duke Street between Fort Williams Parkway and Donelson Street) was no exception. However, the stream, which suffered years of erosion and was surrounded by dying trees and a forest choked by invasive plants, would have been in much worse shape had stream restoration not taken place over the last several months. Because the City’s toolbox approach to improving water quality includes stream restoration, Strawberry Run has been restored to its former beauty and additional erosion avoided. This is the first major project completed as part of the City’s ongoing efforts under the Eco-City water quality initiatives and fulfills the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Act.
The Strawberry Run project was a public-private partnership between the City and Calvert Homes. The City encourages such partnerships, and looks forward to working with private organizations to implement future stream restoration efforts. For more information, contact the City’s Office of Environmental Quality, 703.746.4065.
Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Collection Site
and Recycling Drop-off Site
3224 Colvin St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Hours: Monday & Saturday (Except holidays), 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Art on the Avenue
Saturday, October 2
10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Mt Vernon Avenue in Del Ray
Celebrate the 15th anniversary of this regional, multicultural arts and music festival! Free. www.artontheavenue.org
Alexandria Arts Safari & Museum Open House
Noon - 4 p.m.
Torpedo Factory Art Center
105 N. Union St.
Come to the fifteenth annual Alexandria Arts Safari, a festival of hands-on arts and crafts activities for children and their families plus archeological fun. Free. More info: 703.838.4565 or www.torpedofactory.org
Family Fall Festival
Saturday, October 16
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Armistead Boothe Park
520 Cameron Station Blvd.
Join your friends and neighbors in the park for a family-friendly festival filled with fall frolic! Call the Events Hotline for more info: at 703.746.5592 or visit alexandriava.gov/Recreation.
Death at the Carlyle House
Saturday, October 30
4 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Carlyle House Historic Park
121 N. Fairfax St.
In fall 1780, death visited Carlyle House and claimed the life of town founder John Carlyle. Step back in time and be part of his historic funeral and learn abour mourning practices in early America. Advance reservations, $15, day of event $20. More info: call 703.683.3451. Sponsored by Alexandria’s Footsteps to the Past.