A sampling of this week's important, interesting and fun stories concerning Alexandria and its people.
From the City of Alexandria Patch sites
McDonnell Talks School Takeover Law at Alexandria Forum — By Drew Hansen, Old Town Alexandria Patch
Gov. Bob McDonnell says there is broad agreement in Virginia about increasing rigor, resources and classroom performance in K-12 education, but different ideas on how to get there.
One idea from the governor’s office—the creation of a state body that can take over specific struggling schools—has been greatly maligned by the Alexandria School Board.
Members of the board want to maintain local control of Jefferson-Houston School, which has lost accreditation and is in line for takeover from the new Opportunity Educational Institution.
New Coffee Shop in the Works for Del Ray — By Drew Hansen, Del Ray Patch
There’s little doubt that Del Ray runs on coffee, but can it support another coffee shop?
Dan Bender and Sara VanderGoot, co-owners of Del Ray’s Vital Body and Mind Therapies, have submitted a permit application to transform the former Mind and Media office located at 2016 Mount Vernon Ave. into Seva Cafe.
According to a sample menu filed with the application, Seva Cafe will offer coffee, espresso, tea, salads and smoothies.
Craig Patterson Indicted on Murder, Gun Charges in Shooting of Julian Dawkins — By Drew Hansen, Del Ray Patch
An Alexandria grand jury returned an indictment Monday charging Arlington County sheriff’s deputy Craig Patterson with one count of murder and one count of use of a firearm in the commission of murder in the May shooting of Alexandria resident Julian Dawkins.
A trial date has not been set.
The maximum penalty for the murder charge is life in prison, while the firearm charge carries a mandatory three-year sentence, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter.
Periodic Closures Scheduled for Portion of Mount Vernon Trail — By Drew Hansen, Old Town Alexandria Patch
NRG Energy, owners of the closed Potomac River Generating Station on the Alexandria waterfront, will perform maintenance on a section of the Mount Vernon Trail located behind the coal plant (near mile marker 11) from Aug. 19 to Sept. 6.
There will be periodic closures of the trail during this period while equipment and materials are moved across the trail.
Route 1 BRT Taking Shape in Alexandria — By Drew Hansen, Del Ray Patch
After some confusing sod removaland more than a year of construction, elements of the Route 1 Bus Rapid Transitway are beginning to appear just east of Del Ray.
Textured concrete designs invoking the old rail ties of Potomac Yard are popping up where seven stations will be located along the 0.8-mile section of bus-dedicated lanes in Alexandria. The BRT will ultimately traverse a 5-mile route connecting Braddock Road Metro station with Pentagon City Metro station. About 80 percent of the route will be in dedicated right-of-ways.
A Fresh Start on North Columbus Street — By Derrick Perkins, Alexandria Times
Local developer William Cromley is headed back to the drawing board after meeting with critics of his plan for a rundown parking lot on the 300 block of N. Columbus St.
Cromley received the blessings of the board of architectural review and planning commission to transform a roughly 8,000-square-foot parking lot, which is adjacent to the Barrett Library branch, into five townhouses. But neighbors flocked to the meetings in opposition of what resident Eli Bronstein testified was a potential “monolith across the street.”
Police License-Plate Database Comes Under Fire — By Erich Wagner, Alexandria Times
Lt. Mark Bergin knows first-hand how databases compiled by electronic license-plate readers can help find suspects quickly.
“I remember I was working on the street when it happened. We received a lookout from another jurisdiction on a suspect involved in a violent domestic, where he basically beat the crap out of some relative,” said Bergin, who doubles as a spokesman for the Alexandria Police Department. “We had the description and the license plate, so we put that into our system. … One of our sergeants searched to see where we had seen that car lately, and we located the vehicle and subsequently located the guy.”
But a recent report by the American Civil Liberties Union provoked greater scrutiny on the practice in which law enforcement agencies keep vast databases that effectively track where motorists park.
Waterfront Hotel Proposal Resurfaces — By Derrick Perkins, Alexandria Times
Carr Hospitality is back at it again more than a year after the company floated — and then promptly shelved — a plan for turning a waterfront warehouse into a boutique hotel.
Earlier this month planning department staff received the company’s reincarnated design for 220 S. Union St. Changes include an uncovered alleyway between the proposed hotel and the neighboring property as well as decreasing the number of rooms to 120.
New English School Opens In Alexandria — By AlexandriaNews.Org
Alexandria City residents Susanna and Maria McPhilomy recently opened an English school, Forum Intensive English Center, in Old Town Alexandria that offers affordable and effective English language training to local immigrants in the D.C. metro area. The new school opening is timely considering Obama’s new immigration proposal may require 11 million undocumented workers to learn English.