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News Roundup

City Opens Mentor Foster Home

<bt>Alexandria officials last week celebrated the opening of the city’s first mentor foster home. The facility will provide live-in supervision and support for youth in foster care between the ages of 16 and 21, as a transition from foster care to independence.

While there, these young people must be enrolled in an educational or vocational training program and employed. An adult mentor will also live at the house and provide daily supervision. Mentors will also teach skills necessary for self-sufficiency in the community and serve as an advocate for the young people.

The program was approved last June after the Community Services Board decided to close the ARCH facility on North Columbus Street. ARCH, which provided residential care for elderly patients, could no longer function in the facility and decided to close its doors.

City Council entertained two proposals on how the city-owned home should be used. The Community Services Board proposed using the house for a Safe Haven program or homeless individuals with mental health issues and the Department of Human Services proposed using the house for a mentor foster home.

“This is a wonderful program and an excellent example of how we can begin to train the young people who are in the care of our Department of Human Services to be independent adults,” said Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille.

<sh>Police Seek Shooter

<bt>The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a shooting that left a 27-year-old city resident seriously injured. Police were called to the 900 block of North Alfred Street at around 11:40 p.m. last Friday night. They found the victim lying in a courtyard area, suffering from several gunshot wounds. He was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he remains in serious but stable condition.

There is no description of the suspect, but detectives believe that the victim knows who shot him. The investigation is continuing.

<sh>Woman Charged in Child Accident

<bt>Patricia Christensen, 50, of Alexandria, was charged with reckless driving after her vehicle struck a child who was getting onto a school bus. The incident occurred at around 7:30 a.m. last Friday. Police were called to the 300 block of Oronoco Street in response to a report of a child being hit by a car.

According to police, the child left his home and walked between two parked cars to cross the street and board the school bus, which was stopped and loading. Christensen passed the bus and struck the child who was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital by ambulance, treated for minor injuries and released.

“This doesn’t happen that often, but once is too many times,” said Amy Bertsch, a spokesperson for the Alexandria Police Department. “When people see a school bus, they need to slow down, because drivers can put on their red or yellow flashing lights at any time.”

The law requires drivers to stop for school buses when they are loading or unloading passengers.

<sh>Meeting to Cover Mt. Vernon Avenue

<bt>The Alexandria Planning Commission is hosting a public meeting on Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. in the basement of the Del Ray United Methodist Church, 100 E. Windsor Ave., to explore the growth and changes anticipated on Mount Vernon Avenue over the next decade. The meeting is an opportunity to review and discuss the ideas of the Mount Vernon Study Work Group that has been working on issues related to land use, parking, zoning, open space, transit, and retail. For more information, call Kimberley Fogle, Neighborhood Planning and Community Development, at 703-838-4666.