About alexandrianews.org

Jim Boissonnault, Carla Branch and Rodger Digilio founded alexandrainews.org in January, 2008, because they believed Alexandria needed an independent, hyperlocal, online media outlet that covered issues of importance to and about Alexandria. Because there were two other local weekly publications in Alexandria, the three founders decided to begin alexandrianews.org as an all-volunteer experiment. Jim designed the site and hosted it on a server in his Del Ray basement; Carla provided content with the help of a dedicated group of interns and other volunteers; and Rodger obtained business licenses, represented alexandrianews.org at local business organizations and associations and wrote editorials.

After 16 months, the volunteer experiment seemed to be working. We had set a target of 11,000 based on the circulation number of hard-copy, competing newspapers in Alexandria. The site grew from 1,200 unique monthly visitors in January, 2008, to 12,000 unique monthly visitors by the end of that year. We had reached our initial target.

In May, 2009, Rodger established alexandrianews.org LLC and provided much-needed funding. Jim updated the site’s design and moved it to a commercial host. Carla hired a reporter and a photographer.

Alexandrianews.org’s priority continued to be providing timely, accurate information to and about Alexandria. Local nonprofit organizations got free advertising and the site’s Announcement section grew steadily, as did the Arts and Style section. Carla and the staff covered Alexandria’s public and private schools, their sports and academics; City Council and City departments; public safety and notable criminal and civil cases in State and Federal Court.

Jim continued to volunteer his time managing the technical aspects of the site, including designing ads for nonprofits and paying customers. Rodger continued to manage key business aspects of the online paper, representing alexandrianews.org with business organizations and civic associations. By the beginning of 2011, Jim, Carla and Rodger began discussing the possibility of alexandrianews.org transitioning to a nonprofit organization. As the site grew, Rodger continued to provide funding for freelance writers and photographers and to write weekly editorials.

In February, 2014, alexandrianews.org became a nonprofit corporation and elected six members to the first Board of Directors and later, a seventh. The first Board Chairman, A. Melvin Miller, died in May, 2015. His daughter Ericka joined the Board later that year.

For the first 11 months of 2017, AlexandriaNews monhtly statistics show the paper has grown far beyond our early modest target of 11,000 unique visitor. The monthly average statistics to date for 2017 are:

  • 59,303 unique visitors
  • 130,243 visits
  • 686,736 page views
  • 2,737,192 hits

Board Members

Jim Boissonnault
Jim Boissonnault has lived in Alexandria for over 20 years. He and his wife have raised two children, both of whom attended Alexandria City Public Schools. Jim has served on the School Board Budget Advisory Committee and volunteered at Lyles Crouch. In addition to civic activism, Jim has also provided free web services to local and international green organizations. He is an avid backpacker, regularly spending weekends in Shenandoah National Park. Jim has over two decades of IT experience to AlexandriaNews having worked for various Telecom, IT and Satellite companies in Metropolitan area.

Carla Branch
Carla and her husband moved to Alexandria in 1984. Their three children attended Alexandria City Public Schools, all graduating from T. C. Williams High School. Carla began her volunteer activities in Alexandria when her children entered school. Fluent in Spanish, she realized that there were many parents who did not speak English and who could not communicate with teachers and other school staff. For more than a decade, she served as a translator for parent/teacher conferences, IEP meetings and other school activities where interaction between English-speaking staff and Spanish-speaking parents was required. She also worked with the principal of an ACPS elementary school to start the City’s first Hispanic parent group.

Carla worked with a T.C. girls’ basketball coach to revive the Girls Basketball Booster Club and served as its president for three years. She was also a member of various other middle and high school booster clubs and PTAs.

Carla has worked as a reporter covering Alexandria for over 18 years. She loves reading, music, sports and all things WVU Mountaineers.

Rodger Dilgilio
Rodger has lived in Alexandria for more than five decades and has been a civic, business and political leader in the City for nearly all of that time. After ten years in federal government service, Rodger left to fulfill his dream to restore and redevelop historic properties in Old Town.

He formed OTV, Inc. and his first project was to convert the nursing student residence of the old Alexandria Hospital into the Swann-Daingerfield Condominium. Other restorations include: Courts Condominium at 1006-1016 Prince Street; the Bank of Alexandria at 133 North Fairfax Street; the Cotton Factory at 515 N. Washington Street; the Doniphan Building at 101 N. Columbus; Durant House at 708 Pendleton and the Coca Cola Plant at 1500 King Street.

The first project Rodger redeveloped in Del Ray was the Post Office building at the corner of Howell and Mount Vernon Avenue. He also built Potomac Town Square on Mount Vernon Avenue.

Rodger served as the first Chairman of the City of Alexandria Alcohol and Drug Abuse Control Coordinating Committee, was Vice Chairman of the Northern Virginia Drug Abuse Task Force, a member of the Virginia Drug Abuse Control Council, and a member of the Virginia Substance Abuse Advisory Council. He was a member of the Alexandria Jail Study Committee; a member of the City’s Budget and Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee; a member of the board of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and a member of the City Manager’s Economic Round Table. He was both an appointed and an elected member of the Alexandria School Board which included serving as Chairman. Rodger was a member of the Alexandria Early Childhood Commission, a member of the Northern Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association and a board member of the Alexandria Crew Boosters Club. Rodger is currently serving with the Healthy Families Alexandria Resource Development Committee and a member of the King Street Gardens Park Foundation.

One of Rodger’s hobbies is buying, selling and collecting old cameras.

Rebecca Schiedel
Rebecca (Newsham) Schiedel was one of the earliest members of alexandrianews.org, serving as a high school intern during the creation of the site. She contributed stories on education, sports, crime, local government, and all other happenings in Alexandria. After graduating from T.C. Williams in 2008, Rebecca attended the University of Virginia, where she studied psychology and sociology. During her undergraduate years, she served her community as a resident advisor and a crisis hotline volunteer. Rebecca retuned to Alexandria each summer to work for alexandrianews.org, and she also completed internships with the city’s Domestic Violence Program and Victim-Witness Assistance Program.

Rebecca graduated from UVA in 2012 and returned to Alexandria for work as a research assistant for Mathematica Policy Research, a social policy research firm. She continued the spirit of service that she developed at UVA by volunteering for the ALIVE! food bank and the Commonwealth Island Medians Adopt-A-Park Program. Rebecca currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she is a doctoral student in Drexel University’s clinical psychology program. As part of her studies, she conducts forensic assessments for individuals involved in the criminal justice system. She remains involved in alexandrianews.org as the secretary for the site’s board of directors. 

Claire Eberwein
Claire Eberwein moved to Alexandria in 1984 to attend law school at Georgetown University. Prior to that she had worked in Ohio for the City of Cincinnati’s Office of Architecture and Urban Design for five years after graduating from the University of Michigan with two B.S. degrees in Architecture and Natural Resources. Following law school, Claire worked for a K Street law firm in the District and later as Project Manager for real estate development firms in Loudoun County and Arlington.   

Claire has served the Parkfairfax Community, where she and her husband reside and raised their family, as a member of the Board of Directors in the 1990’s and has chaired and continues to volunteer with various Parkfairfax Committees. She has served the City of Alexandria as a member of the Economic Opportunities Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals, the Alexandria School Board as member, vice-chair, and chair, and as a member of City Council from 2000-2003 during which she was a member of the Development Policy and the Chesapeake Bay Committees of the Metro Area Council of Governments. She has also served on the Alexandria Waterfront Committee, the Arlington-Alexandria Waste to Energy Task Force, and the Sister Cities Committee. Claire was invited and gave guest lectures on Leadership in Public Office to students at the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management along with former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, former US Representative Pat Schroeder, and Alan Fleishman, Chief of Staff to then Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. After her City Council service, Claire served on the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and their Government Relations Committee. She also co-chaired the United Way’s Residential Campaign in 2004. In addition to her volunteer activities, Claire currently designs and manages construction projects on family investment properties in Michigan and Virginia.

Claire’s husband Greg Vogt is retired from being in charge of international projects at SCS Engineers, an environmental engineering and construction firm. Their daughter Amara is attending graduate school at De Paul University in Chicago studying sustainable urban development. Their son Caleb is working on his doctorate in neuroscience at Cornell University.

Ericka M. Miller, Ph.D.
Born and raised in Alexandria, Ericka Miller is currently Vice President of the national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller, placing exceptional leaders in mission-driven nonprofit organizations. Before rejoining the firm, she was Chief of Membership, Governance, and Higher Education at the College Board. Previously, she was Senior Advisor to Secretary Arne Duncan at the U.S. Department of Education.

Prior to her service in the presidential administration of President Barack Obama, Ericka was Vice President for Operations and Strategic Leadership at the Education Trust, a nationally recognized research and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting high academic achievement of all students, kindergarten through college. Ericka was also President and Chief Operating Officer of the McKenzie Group (now part of American Institutes for Research), a comprehensive education consulting firm with a 20-year history of providing evaluation and technical assistance services to school districts, institutions of higher education, federal agencies, foundations, and other public and private organizations.

From 1997 through 2000, Ericka served as Legislative Assistant to former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, advising the senator on all elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education policy issues. Before her time on the Hill, Ericka was Assistant Professor of English Literature at Mills College, in Oakland, California. Prior to launching her career in education, she was an editor at the Washingtonian magazine.

Ericka holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Georgetown University and master’s and doctoral degrees in English Literature from Stanford University. She is a member of Leadership Greater Washington’s class of 2004, and she has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria and the Family Legends of Alexandria Advisory Board.

Ericka joined the alexandrianews.org Board of Directors in 2015.

Lynn Hampton
Lynn Hampton is President of Lynn Hampton Associates, a consulting firm in Alexandria, Virginia. Lynn Hampton Associates was established in November 2011 following her retirement as Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Since June 2012, Lynn has worked as an intermittent advisor for the US Treasury’s Office of Technical Assistance to assist in redeveloping airports in El Salvador, Paraguay and Ukraine.

Lynn received her B.S. and M.B.A. from the University of Louisville and is a Certified Public Accountant. She is a frequent speaker on topics of Finance and Debt Management, nationally and internationally. She has testified to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and to the U.S. Congress on infrastructure development and tax-exempt financing. She has published articles in professional journals on airport privatization, airport capital construction, ICAO policies, banking practices, risk management and labor relations. Lynn has provided training in civil airport management to the staff of international airports.

Lynn is committed to the Alexandria and Washington DC community. She was First Vice President of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital. Lynn was the Treasurer of the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria and is Secretary of the Industrial Development Board of the City of Alexandria, VA. She served on the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board and the Board of Directors of the Government Finance Officers Association. She is a past Chair of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, a past Chair of the Economic Committee of the Airport Council International of North America, past Chair of the Airport Council International-World Airports Economics Committee, past Chair of the Board of Trustees of Vantage Trust. Lynn has hosted three international students through the American Field Service program.

Lynn joined the alexandrianews.org Board of Directors in 2016.

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