FYI Alexandria — October 2011
In This Edition...
Earthquake, Wild Weather Strike Alexandria
September was National Preparedness Month, and everywhere, people were being urged to be prepared and to make an emergency plan. Ironically, the City of Alexandria, and most of the Washington D.C. metro area, was struck within a three-week period by a rare earthquake, a hurricane, and flash flooding.
- The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 5.8 magnitude earthquake on August 23. The epicenter, Mineral Virginia, was 87 miles from Alexandria. The earthquake caused damage to two historic buildings: Gadsby’s Tavern Restaurant and Museum, and Alexandria City Hall. Gadsby’s Tavern and Museum were closed for about a week as repairs to the building’s chimneys were made.
- Later that week, Hurricane Irene, a Category 1 storm, barreled its way up the East Coast. Irene which was downgraded to tropical storm status by the time it reached Alexandria, caused power outages and downed tree limbs and power lines, but caused no major damage or injuries.
- Remnants of Tropical Storm Lee resulted in a week of heavy rains that resulted in flash flooding on September 8. Parts of Eisenhower Avenue and Pickett Street were closed due to standing water that evening, and the Alexandria Fire Department rescued 30 people from rising waters. No one was hurt; however, several businesses and cars were damaged.
Hopefully, Mother Nature is taking a breather and the City will not experience any major natural disasters anytime soon. To learn more about emergency preparedness, visit alexandriava.gov/Emergency. To learn more about the City’s history with earthquakes, visit alexandriava.gov/Historic.
City Earns “Walk Friendly” Status
Alexandria was recently recognized as a “Walk Friendly Community” by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC). The City won a Silver-Level “Walk Friendly” designation, which reflects Alexandria’s success in working to improve a wide range of conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access, and comfort.
PBIC recognized 10 communities for their commitment to improving walkability and pedestrian safety each year. For more information, visit alexandriava.gov/LocalMotion.
In Search of Holiday Tree
The City is seeking a donation of a Colorado Blue Spruce, Leyland Cypress, or other well-formed evergreen tree (about 25 to 35 feet tall) to serve as the City’s official 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 lighted during the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, November 25 at 7 pm in Market Square, where it will be displayed during the holiday season.
If you live in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and are interested in donating a tree, contact City Arborist John Noelle at 703.746.5499.
9/11 Remembrance: Ten Years Later, Triumph Over Tragedy
On September 9, the City of Alexandria paused to remember and reflect on the events of September 11, 2001 in a special ceremony held in the City Council Chambers. The event honored first responders, members of the military, volunteers, community members and memorialized those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Pictured left to right: Alberto Morales, 12th grader; Jenna Samara, 11th grader, Kyle Lang, 10th grader.
To date, 2,200 Department of Defense (DoD) jobs have been moved into the BRAC-133 Mark Center building. An additional 2,500 employees are scheduled to move in by December 31, 2011; and 1,600 employees will move in by September 30, 2012. Other updates include the following:
Security: On September 8, 2011, Mayor William D. Euille sent a letter to President Barack Obama expressing his concern about security around BRAC-133. A September 6 Time magazine article stated that antiterrorism experts “are increasingly anxious that something similar” to the Oklahoma City bombing could take place at the BRAC-133 Mark Center. He requested that Alexandria be treated as a full partner with the Department of Defense in addressing fire, emergency medical, and related public safety needs at BRAC-133.
Emergency Management Information Session: An emergency management information session, “BRAC-C3 Forum,” will be held Thursday, October 20 at 7 p.m. at Francis C. Hammond Middle School, 4646 Seminary Road. The purpose of the forum is to provide participants with an opportunity to discuss current response capabilities related to several external threats in proximity to the BRAC-133 Mark Center facility. Facilitated by City officials, the public forum will discuss emergency response to three potential threat scenarios. For more information, contact Mark Penn at 703.746.5256.
Transit/Traffic: Ridership on new DASH and WMATA bus routes serving the Mark Center has steadily increased as employees have begun moving into BRAC-133. DASH Bus express service between King Street and the Mark Center has served up to 465 DoD riders weekly (through September 16); and WMATA bus routes between the Pentagon and Mark Center has served up to 3,800 DoD riders weekly (through September 23). Alexandria Police are monitoring key intersections near the Mark Center building to ensure smooth traffic flow.
Parking District: A daytime restricted parking district has been established for BRAC-affected neighborhoods. Signage for approved blocks has been installed, and parking restrictions are being enforced on blocks where signage is posted.
For more information on BRAC-133, visit alexandriva.gov/BRAC. For regular updates on the BRAC-133 project, sign up for Alexandria eNews service and subscribe to the BRAC-133 News Bulletin.
Pay City Tickets or Taxes 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 71 locations, some with extended business hours. Global Express Bill Payment Centers (which include all Virginia area Shoppers Food and Pharmacy locations, 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 a list of Global Express walk-in payment centers, visit alexandriava.gov/Payments.
City Celebrates Citizenship Day
The City joined U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in recognizing 24 individuals as naturalized United States citizens at its Citizenship Day event. During the event, held in Market Square, honorees were sworn in and took the oath of allegiance for United States citizenship.
The September 13 event also recognized Constitution Day and National Citizenship Day, traditionally celebrated on September 17. On this day, civic and government groups across the country gather to discuss, honor, and celebrate the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship in the United States, and to honor both native-born and naturalized foreign-born citizens.
Get Your Pink On and Join the Walk to Fight Breast Cancer!
Lace up your tennis shoes and get ready to participate in the 18th Annual Walk to Fight Breast Cancer on Saturday, October 22 at 8 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.
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 alexcancerwalk.com. After Oct. 20, registration costs $40. You can walk on your own, or form a team to walk and raise money together! Prizes will be awarded to the individuals and teams that raise the most money for the Walk Fund.
You can also support the Alexandria Breast Cancer Walk Fund throughout the month of October by purchasing a pink t-shirt from Alexandria Fire and Rescue. All proceeds from the t-shirt sales will be donated to the Fund, and all Alexandria Fire Department employees will wear the shirts as part of their uniform every day in October. Shirt sizes range from Adult S-XXXL; short-sleeve shirts sell for $15 and long-sleeve shirts sell for $20. Stop by Station 201 (317 Prince St.) anytime to purchase your shirt.
All proceeds from the Walk and t-shirt sales 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 alexcancerwalk.com or by calling 703.746.5030.
City Selects New Town Crier!
The City of Alexandria has selected Benjamin Fiore-Walker as its new town crier. Fiore-Walker was one of a dozen candidates who competed in a “cry off” on Wednesday, September 7. The auditions, conducted before a panel of judges representing Alexandria tourism, historic resources, special events and City government. The candidates were evaluated on vocal strength and clarity, deportment, verbal and nonverbal communication, and interest in Alexandria. The public also had the opportunity to weigh in by voting for their favorites online.
Fiore-Walker, a resident of Alexandria, has experience working with the public, appearing in period costume, volunteering at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and promoting history as a tour guide. To view Fiore-Walker’s cry-out, and those of the other candidates, visit alexandriava.gov/TownCrier.
Be Prepared for the Flu!
You can help stop the spread of flu by
- Washing your hands
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue or sleeve
- Staying home when sick
- Getting vaccinated
Wondering About The Waterfront?
Want to learn more about the City’s Waterfront Small Area Plan? Want to get involved in the process? Here’s how:
- Visit alexandriava.gov/Waterfront to view the plan, and for comprehensive information about the Waterfront plan, meetings, and other news
- Attend Waterfront Plan Work Group meetings or view meeting videos and materials at alexandriava.gov/WaterfrontWorkGroup
- Share comments through the Waterfront Planning Comment Board or through City staff (contact Nancy Williams, Principal Planner, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.746.4666)
- Subscribe to the City’s free eNews service to receive updates, meeting notices and more information
Saturday, October 15
SENIOR CITIZENS LAW DAY
First Baptist Church of Alexandria
2932 King Street
9 a.m. – Noon (doors open at 8:30 a.m. for continental breakfast)
Join the Alexandria Bar Association and Senior Services of Alexandria for Senior Citizens Law Day 2011, an event featuring speakers and expert panels who will address the legal and financial challenges faced by seniors ages 65 and over. Discussion topics include estate and lifetime planning, long term care options, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans benefits, and other support services available. The workshop is open to seniors, adult children, caregivers, friends, and neighbors. Please RSVP by Thursday, October 13. For more information or for reservations, visit www.seniorservicesalex.org, or call 703.836.4414, ext. 10.
Saturday, November 5
TOP OF THE TOWN WALK AROUND
George Washington Masonic Memorial
101 Callahan Drive
9 a.m. – Noon
Get Healthy, Alexandria! In honor of Veteran’s Day, join Mayor Euille and the Wounded Warriors to walk in honor of all those who have served. Join a fitness walk, enjoy yoga, compete in a stair walk, cardio kick-boxing, play games on the YMCA’s moving playground, and more. For more information, visit alexandriava.gov/49946.