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Week in Alexandria

A Lump of Bricks

Looking for the perfect holiday gift? King Street Gardens Park Foundation chairman Rodger Digilio has an idea — buy a brick. In the first group of sales, which ended last year, the foundation raised about $6,000 for the city to help pay for lighting, signage, irrigation and new plantings.

“It’s a great way of supporting the park and the city,” Digilio said during Saturday’s public hearing. “I like to urge people to give them to grandchildren.”

“Is that similar to getting coal in your stocking,” asked Vice Mayor Kerry Donley. “

“That was unkind,” Digilio responded. “But I’ll forgive you for your years of service.”

“I couldn’t resist,” Donley responded

“Is it true that you’re not coming back in the spring?” Digilio asked Donley, who did not run for reelection this year.

“It’s true,” responded the lame duck vice mayor.

A Bunch of Hot Air

Look! Up in the sky. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No. It’s a balloon, part of a process to help determine the location of the new Metro station at Potomac Yard.

“It’s to help us visualize the exact height of each location,” said Sandra Marks, acting deputy director for the Department of Transportation and Environmental Sciences. “This is a process that’s often used with cell towers.”

Balloon testing is scheduled between Nov. 19 and Dec. 7. During the tests, specialized balloons will be used so photographs and video images can be obtained of each of the alternative station locations. Balloons may be visible above the George Washington Memorial Parkway for about an hour. The idea is to get a better sense of where the station will be visible.

“The Park Service is obviously interested to see if it will be visible from the parkway,” said Marks. “So the tests will determine if the station will be visible from a number of locations.”

The tests are part of an environmental impact survey, which will help members of the Alexandria City Council determine one of three potential sites. Members of the next City Council will be making a final recommendation as early as this spring. City officials say they are looking at a number of factors, including funding, scenic easement, wetland degradation and noise.

Package Precautions

Are you expecting package deliveries this holiday season? If so, the Alexandria Police Department has a few helpful hints for the season, which traditionally sees a spike in package thefts from doorsteps and front porches during daytime hours. Between Nov. 1, 2010 and Jan. 15, 2011, for example, the police logged 12 package thefts. Last year during the same time period there were 17 package thefts.

Police officials recommend the following precautions:

Consider having packages delivered to another location, where someone is more likely to be present during delivery such as a workplace or a family member’s home.

Encourage family, neighbors and friends to pick up delivered packages as soon as possible after they are dropped off on your doorstep.

Track deliveries online and try to meet the arrival of the package.

Leave special instructions for where to deliver the packages, preferably out of sight from the road.

Consider having any valuable items insured.

Request a signature confirmation of delivery.

Always lock your doors and windows when leaving your home, even if just for a few hours.

Be neighborly, and take a moment to get to know your neighbors.

Most importantly, report any suspicious activity or persons in your neighborhood immediately by calling 911 for emergencies or 703-746-4444 for non-emergencies.