News Briefs

News Briefs


<bt>In the budget article, "Rate Down, Taxes Up," [Gazette, May 5, 2005], a quote referring to Nigeria was incorrectly attributed to city council member Ludwig P. Gaines. A resident in the audience of the council meeting had made the comment.

<sh>Ugandan Basket Weavers

<bt>Master basket weavers from Uganda will demonstrate their talents at Ten Thousand Villages, 824 King St., Sunday, May 22, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Dorothy Nabakiiki and Joyce Nayiga transform banana leaves and raffia into handwoven baskets sold at the store.

"Ten Thousand Villages is the only import store in Alexandria where customers can interact with the artisans that create the products they buy," said Danwe N'Dikwe, store manager. "When customers hear our artisans stories first hand, they begin to understand and value the difference their purchases make in the lives of artisans around the world."

A fair trade enterprise, Ten Thousand Villages sells products handcrafted by skilled artisans in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Nabakiibi creates baskets for Uganda Crafts, a Ten Thousand Villages artisan partner. Nayiga teaches artisans working with the National Association of Women's Organization of Uganda new designs for basket making.

<sh>Buy Cherry Trees for Park

<bt>The City of Alexandria is inviting the public to come out and purchase 100 cherry trees for sale at the Ben Brenman Park, 4800 Duke St., at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 21. Each tree purchased will be planted in the park and can be dedicated by the purchaser. The event will feature a symbolic ceremonial planting of the first cherry tree by Mayor William D. Euille and Vice Mayor Redella S. Pepper.

The ceremonial planting kicks off Alexandria’s Cherry Blossom Festival, which is scheduled to be held in the spring of 2006 at Ben Brenman Park. The cost to purchase a tree is $75. Checks can be made payable to the Living Landscape Fund/WECBF. All purchases are tax deductible.

<sh>First Half of Real Estate Tax Due

<bt>Alexandria property owners, who do not pay their real estate taxes through a mortgage escrow account, should receive the first half 2005 real estate tax bill in the mail this week. The bills will reflect the real estate tax rate of $0.915 approved by City Council. To avoid late payment penalty and interest, property owners should pay the total amount shown on the tax bill by June 15. Owners who do not receive their tax bill in the mail should call the Treasury Division at 703-838-4777 before June 15 to receive a duplicate bill. Failure to receive a tax bill in the mail is not grounds for waiving penalty and interest or extending the due date.

For information on real estate assessments or the assessment appeals process, call Real Estate Assessments at 703-838-4646. For information on real estate tax and refuse fee payments, late payment penalty and interest or to request a tax bill, call the Treasury Division at 703-838-4777.

<sh>Affordable Homeownership Grant Program

<bt>Residents of the City of Alexandria, who meet the certain qualifications for the Affordable Homeownership Preservation (AHOP) Grant Program, may be eligible for a grant towards their second half 2005 real estate taxes. The maximum grant has been substantially increased for 2005. The application deadline for the 2005 AHOP Program is Sept. 1. For more information, contact the City’s Tax Services Branch, City Hall, 301 King Street, Room 1700, Alexandria, VA 22314, by telephone at 703-838-4570, or by email:

<sh>Tax Relief for Elderly or Disabled

<bt>City residents who are 65 years of age or older (or will become so during 2005) or permanently and totally disabled, may be eligible for the city’s Real Estate Tax Relief Program for Elderly or Disabled Persons. Applications for this program were due by April 15. However, applications will be accepted until the June 15 tax due date, provided “good cause” is shown for failure to file by April 15. For more information, contact the City's Taxpayer Services Branch, City Hall, 301 King Street, Room 1700, Alexandria, VA 22314, by telephone at 703-838-4572, or by email:

<sh>Commission Honored

<bt>Mayor William D. Euille and the members of the City Council issued a proclamation at the May 10 City Council meeting declaring May 21, "Commemoration Day" to honor Alexandria Commission on Person with Disabilities members who died during their term of service to the City of Alexandria.

The Alexandria Commission on Persons with Disabilities will dedicate a commemoration bench and memorial plaque in memory of these deceased commission members at Oronoco Bay Park during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, May 21, at 11:30 a.m. All are welcome to attend.

The bench and plaque will memorialize the contributions of John Duty Collins, III; Eunice K. Fiorito; Robert D. Holland, Jr.; Geoffrey M. Baynard; Felix Wedgwood-Oppenheim, and Barbara A. Gilley who served the community and volunteered their leadership and expertise towards the goal of improving the lives of persons with disabilities in the city.

Oronoco Bay Park is located on the Alexandria waterfront near the intersection of North Union and Pendleton Streets. The bench is located along the waterfront trail, overlooking the Potomac River.

For more information and to request reasonable accommodations, contact Mike Hatfield, the city’s disabilities resources coordinator in the Office of Aging and Adult Services, at 703-838-0711 or TTY 703-836-1493.

<sh>Schedule for Memorial Day

<bt>City government offices will be closed on Monday, May 30, in observance of Memorial Day.

The Treasury and Revenue Divisions of the Finance Department, which regularly open on Saturday mornings for payment of property taxes and parking tickets, will be closed on Saturday, May 28, and Monday, May 30.

The Alexandria Police Department will suspend enforcement of parking restrictions at metered spaces, as well as time restrictions in residential permit parking districts and other areas with signed parking time limits, on May 30. HOV restrictions on Washington St. and Route 1 will be lifted on May 30.

* City Schools will be closed on May 30.

* DASH bus service will operate on a Sunday schedule on May 30.

* City recreation centers will be closed on May 30 except for the Chinquapin Recreation Center, which will open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

* City libraries will be closed on May 30.

* Residential trash and recycling will not be collected on May 30. All collection services will be delayed by one day the week of May 30.

State offices in Alexandria, including the Circuit, General District, and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District courts, the Clerk of Court Office and the Alexandria Health Department, will be closed on May 30.

Call 703-838-4300.

<sh>Jazz Festival Scheduled

<bt>The Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities is sponsoring the City’s 28th Annual Memorial Day Jazz Festival on May 30 from 1 to 7 p.m. at Fort Ward Park, 4301 W. Braddock Road. Admission is free. Radio personality Vanniece Johnson of WJZW “Smooth Jazz” 105.9 will serve as the master of ceremonies. The festival will feature music by the Kaleidoscope Orchestra, Yvonne Johnson, the Larry Brown Quintet, Al Williams, the James Bazen Big Band, and others. For more information on the festival, call 703-883-4686.

<sh> College Survival 101

<bt>The Northern Virginia Urban League Young Professionals Network of Alexandria will host "College Survival 101," June 4 at George Mason University from 9 a.m.— 2 p.m. The program helps prepare minority and disadvantaged high school seniors for the academic and social challenges of college life. Call 703-980-6138 or visit