Name of Center Changes

Last week, the Alexandria City Council approved changing the name of the Alexandria Black History Resource Center to the Alexandria Black History Museum, to better reflect the institution's mission.

Officials said "resource center" is a designation often used in schools and has in many cases replaced "library." It is important that the institution is recognized as a museum for accreditation purposes, for loans from other collections and for the general ability to focus on collections, programs and education, according to a city press release.

The use of the term "museum" refers to institutions that interpret objects, educate the public, and preserve collections and buildings. The institution's mission is to "enrich the lives of Alexandria's residents and visitors, to foster understanding among all cultures and to stimulate appreciation for the diversity of the African American experience."

Free Taxi Rides on July 4

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program will offer free taxicab rides to revelers throughout the region during the Fourth of July holiday, the country's deadliest for alcohol-related traffic deaths, according to the organization.

The Independence Day SoberRide program begins at 4 p.m. Sunday and runs through 4 a.m. Monday.

During this 12-hour period, area residents ages 21 and older who celebrate with alcohol can call the toll-free SoberRide phone number at 800-200-TAXI (8294) and get a free ride home (up to a $50 fare). AT&T Wireless users can call #-TAXI for the same service.

SoberRide is offered in Alexandria; Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Montgomery, Prince George's and eastern Loudoun counties; and the District.

Assessment Appeals Due

Today is the last day this year to file an appeal with the Alexandria Board of Equalization and Assessment Review. Previously, the last day was July 15.

Each year, the Alexandria Department of Real Estate Assessments appraises each parcel of real estate in the city to assess its estimated fair market value. These values are used by the Department of Finance to bill for and collect the real estate tax.

Alexandria residents who believe the city made a mistake in appraising the value of their property can find appeal forms at the Department of Real Estate Assessment's Web site, For more information, call the Department of Real Estate Assessment at 703-838-4646.

Pedestrian Tunnel to Open

The Duke Street Concourse, an underground pedestrian walkway that connects the King Street Metro station to the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) campus, is scheduled for a "soft" opening today.

A dedication ceremony for the concourse will be held at 9 a.m. July 17. The Concourse will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

The concourse was constructed as a safe way for the thousands of pedestrians expected from John Carlyle Street and the PTO to cross Duke Street to the King Street Metro station without conflicting with vehicular traffic.

Alexandria Design Contest

The Alexandria Commission for the Arts has issued a call for artists to create a design emblematic of the second annual Alexandria Festival of the Arts, to be held Sept. 11-12. Shirts and posters emblazoned with the winning design will be sold at the festival, with proceeds benefiting the Alexandria Commission for the Arts.

The winning artist will receive $500.

Entries must be received by July 12. They may be submitted by mail to the commission's offices at 1108 Jefferson St., Alexandria, Va., 22314; or by e-mail to

The image should be presented in 81/2-by-11-inch format. Concept statements and examples of multiple image applications are encouraged. People may submit up to three designs. Name and contact information should be attached to every entry.

Entries will be judged on quality and sophistication of expression, conceptual development, typography (if and where applicable) and flexibility of application.

The commission reserves the right to alter or excerpt all entries, and the design may be reproduced for multiple uses. For more information, call Patti North-Rudin at 703-549-5250.