Alexandria, VA

If you’re finishing what feels like the longest week in American history with a need for a strong drink and a bit of distraction, the city is hosting an event next week that might help take your mind off things.

The Alexandria-Caen Sister Cities Committee and the Office of Historic Alexandria is hosting a “Beaujolais Nouveau Virtual Tasting Party” as a celebration and study of French wines. The virtual event is scheduled from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19.

“You are cordially invited to join us on Thursday, November 19th for a special tasting of French wines, culminating with the 2020 Beaujolais Nouveau,” the city said on an event listing. “In one evening, learn how to taste and pair French wines from a variety of styles such as effervescent sparkling wine, crisp delicious whites, bold red wines and of course the delicious Beaujolais Nouveau. Award winning wine educator and author Robert Cavanaugh leads this tasting with special tips on holiday wines, seeking out great values, and fun ways to make your food and wine pairings easier.”

The event listing noted that the Wegman’s in Alexandria (7905 Hilltop Village Center Drive) will have the wines available at the wine desk the day of the tasting.

Tickets for the tasting are $15 and the session will be held on Zoom.

The city release notes that the wines being sampled are:

Sparking: Henri de Villamont Cremant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé (Burgundy). Pairs with salads, sushi and charcuterie.

White: La Chapelle du Bastion Picpoul de Pinet (Languedoc). Pairs with seafood, pork and poultry.

Red: Chateau Des Aladeres Corbieres Selection Vieilles Vignes

(Languedoc-Roussillon). Pairs with beef, pasta and veal.

Beaujolais Nouveau: Henry Fessy Beaujolais-Villages 2020 (Beaujolais). Pairs with lamb, steak, and brie.

Photo via Hermes Rivera/Unsplash

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Morning Notes

Virginia Voter Registration Deadline Extended to Thursday Night — “BREAKING: Virginia’s voter registration deadline has been extended until Thursday, October 15 at 11:59pm. If you still need to register or update your information, you can do it online at vote.virginia.gov–you can also register and vote early at your registrar’s office.” [Twitter]

City Asks for Feedback on Adding Affordable Housing to Arlandria — “At a virtual meeting Tuesday night (another meeting is set for Wednesday night), members of the Alexandria Office of Planning and Zoning presented their vision to improve affordable housing in the Arlandira-Chirilagua area.” [Alexandria Living]

Parker-Gray Memorial Walkway Unveiling Oct. 24 — “The City of Alexandria and the Alexandria African American Hall of Fame will unveil the Parker-Gray Memorial Walkway on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 2-3 p.m. during a dedication ceremony. The event, which will take place at the Wythe Street entrance of Charles Houston Rec Center (901 Wythe St.), will be streamed live online.” [Zebra]

The Old Town Cocktail Virtual Happy Hour is Tonight — “Join Old Town Business Association on October 15th for our first Virtual Happy Hour featuring cocktails crafted by Jon Schott of The People’s Drug, ‘Around the Block’ with Victoria Vergason of The Hour, and their guests Scott and Becky Harris, owners of Catoctin Creek Distillery.” [Visit Alexandria]

R&B Heating and Air Conditioning celebrates 40 years — “The company’s focus on certain HVAC offerings, specifically the Unico system that’s meant to be installed in older, traditional homes without the need for remodeling, has also helped R&B carve out a niche in Alexandria and D.C.” [Alex Times]

Today’s Weather — “Sunny skies (during the day). High 77F. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph.Partly cloudy skies early will give way to occasional showers later during the night. Low near 55F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Strategic Communications Specialist — “Design, develop, produce and consult on a variety of internal and external communications materials and media. Apply specific functional and working or general ind us try knowledge. Develop or contribute to solutions to a variety of problems of moderate scope and complexity. Work independently with some guidance and review or guide the activities of junior employees, as needed.” [Indeed]

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A 21-year-old Delaware woman was charged with three counts of felonious hit-and-run and one count of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs after allegedly hitting three cars in Old Town.

Niyah Selena Ranson was arrested by Alexandria Police on Sept. 24 at around 6:45 p.m., and is being held without bond in the Alexandria jail.

She is accused of first hitting a vehicle going east at the intersection of King Street and N. Columbus Streets after allegedly running a red light.

The driver “failed to stop and check on those occupants, instead fleeing east on King at a high rate of speed before running a red light at Washington (Street) and striking another vehicle,” according to a search warrant affidavit.

Again, Ranson allegedly drove away and her car was disabled and hit a vehicle at the intersection of Duke and South Columbus Streets, according to police.

“In lieu of checking on passengers, she sat on the ground and told witnesses to leave her alone,” noted the affidavit. “She then ran from the scene before being apprehended down the street by officers, where medics described her as alternating between combative and catatonic.”

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It’s the end of another work week in Alexandria!

There was a lot of crime this week, as police responded to multiple shots fired incidents in the Parker Gray area on September 2. There was also another carjacking in the West End — the latest in a recent uptick that prompted Mayor Justin Wilson to ask the public for help in reducing the number of vehicle-related thefts.

But there is also some good news to report, as businesses are opening in the city despite the daily pressures of the pandemic. This week we took a look inside The Company Of Books used book store in Del Ray, and we covered the city’s new Wellness District, which is providing a number of free programs and discounts for the recently expanded Wellness Month.

Also this week, Alexandria City Public Schools cut down a 150-year-old tree to make way for a concession stand. The move was criticized by activists and former Mayor Allison Silberberg. With the destruction of the tree, the renovation project for the Parker-Gray Stadium has now officially begun.

What stories impacted you this week? Let us know in the comments.

Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.

  1. Alexandria Woman Uninjured in Tuesday Carjacking at Gunpoint in Potomac Yard
  2. Beatley Central Library Closed Until Further Notice Due to ‘Emergency Conditions’
  3. Police: Three Alexandria ABC Stores Broken Into, High-End Liquor Stolen
  4. Police Investigating Multiple Gunshots Fired in Parker Gray/Braddock
  5. Alexandria’s COVID Positive Testing Rate Lowest in Region
  6. Halal Slaughterhouse Construction Begins, Opening Reset to Mid-November
  7. Update: Chalk Graffiti Decrying Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf Sprayed In Front of Wrong House
  8. Braddock ‘Elizabeth’s Counter’ Last of Regional Chain After Bankruptcy Filing
  9. Police: Three Alexandria ABC Stores Broken Into, High-End Liquor Stolen
  10. North Potomac Yard Plans Going to Planning Commission, Board of Architectural Review
  11. ACPS Cuts Down 150-Year Old Tree to Make Way for Concession Stand

Have a safe weekend!

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Alexandria Police are investigating smash-and-grab incidents at three ABC stores that occurred at night on August 25 and 26.

“We have had three instances of ABC stores burglarized,” APD spokesman Lt Courtney Ballantine told ALXnow. “All high end liquor. Fairfax (County) has had similar incidents.”

The following stores were broken into after hours.

Ballantine said that there are multiple suspects and no descriptions are available.

As previously reported, there has been a 12% increase in the number of larcenies in the city this year. A surge in violent incidents in Old Town has also prompted APD to increase their presence on the street.

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There will soon be a new beer in town.

On August 28, to commemorate the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech on the National Mall in 1963, a group of local entrepreneurs will unveil Rocket Frog’s newest socially conscious creation — “BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL” beer.

The 9% alcohol imperial stout includes vanilla from Goodies Frozen Custard and Treats and coffee from Swings Coffee Roasters, and will be unveiled at The Loop coworking space (215 N. Payne Street) in Old Town from 12-6 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will go to Black Lives Matter.

Tickets cost $15, which gets you a can of BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL beer, two hours to hang out at the event, and a souvenir glass. Food trucks will also be parked at the venue, and there will be a DJ.

Brandon Byrd, owner of Goodies, came up with the idea.

“Let’s just boil it down to the basics of what Dr. King was trying to inspire in everyone,” Byrd said. “Now in this uncomfortable time, there needs to be some inspiration, there needs to be some hope to establish positive energy.”

City Councilman John Taylor Chapman was on-hand at The Loop to discuss the event.

“As I heard the name, I was like, ‘Okay, this is going to be interesting,'” Chapman said. “You don’t always see organizations being so socially conscious. I think that’s really what I appreciate.”

David Hartogs, the owner of Rocket Frog, said that he’s made 350 souvenir glasses for the event. He also said that $12 of the $15 admission will go straight to BLM and that he is looking for a distributor to sell the beer in Alexandria.

“There’s nothing better than sitting down with different people and having beer and just talking about life, so that’s kind of where we come at with with our philosophy about who we are as a company,” Hartogs said.

Christopher Campagna recently opened The Loop, and this will be his first event.

“We’ve got a big, brand new warehouse space, and a big parking lot, so we can have a gathering and observe social distancing,” Campagna said.

Courtesy image

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King’s Ransom — an Old Town cocktail lounge in a spot many locals may remember as the speakeasy PX — had the distinct misfortune of opening in mid-February, scarcely a month before a global pandemic would shut down nearly every business in Alexandria.

The restaurant at 728 King Street is back, however, and has announced a series of new social distancing-friendly activities, including a series of cocktail classes.

“We’ve launched a series of unique classes that take place every Tuesday night,” the restaurant said in an email. “There are two seatings of 10 people each. Guests get to chat with Jon Schott and Alex Taylor (cocktail gurus) in addition to a representative from the featured spirt. The classes include four unique cocktail courses with food pairings.”

The next class is on Tuesday, July 28, and will feature cocktails made only with local ingredients and Catoctin Creek, a brewing company from Purcellville, Virginia.

“Join King’s Ransom and Catoctin Creek for a special evening as we welcome back our neighbors,” King’s Ransom said. “Guests will enjoy 4 courses paired with cocktails using local ingredients and executed with molecular mixology. Catoctin Creek Spirit Specialists will share the distillery’s history including a chance to sample their #InThisTogether Infinity Barrel Rye.”

Tickets are $75 per person. Details on the cocktails, and tickets, are available online.

Photo courtesy King’s Ransom

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Morning Notes

Beyer Blasts McConnell for Holding Up Unemployment Extension — “The House passed a bill to extend unemployment benefits months ago, but Mitch McConnell blocked it. He just said the Senate will do nothing until next week — which would cause a lapse. Millions of American families are set to begin August with a huge loss of income as a result.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Firefighter on ‘Tough As Nails’ TV Show — “The whole experience was awesome. Easily one of the craziest things I’ve ever done. In a good way!” [Zebra]

Sheriff’s Office Welcomes Seven New Deputies — “The graduates are: Deputy Mary Jo Cummings; Deputy Shawn Harden; Deputy Cole Masterson; Deputy Nazirullah Qazei; Deputy Junius Smith; Deputy Djibril Sorgho; and Deputy DeVon Williams.” [Zebra]

Lost Boy Cider Owner Digs Into Cider History — “In 1,000 B.C., Alexander the Great discovered original growth apples in Kazakhstan. A study by MIT has traced the original growth apple trees back to one valley in the Tian Shan mountains. As the apples and their seeds moved through Asia and Europe in the B.C. Era, accompanying armies along their conquest trails, their popularity soared.” [Alex Times]

Reasons to Check out Alexandria Makers Market ‘Work/Shop Week’ — “Retail therapy is legitimate, and there’s no better time to check out these local brands! Usually, you can find these companies via their website, but now is the perfect time to see them in person.” [Alexandria Living]

New Job: Dog Walker/Pet Sitter — “Do you love dogs? Are you a college student, stay at home mom whose kids are in school during the day or retiree? Are you seeking a job you really enjoy- one that gets you out of the office and into the fresh air? Then, joining the Barkley Square Professional Pet Services may be the right job for you! Come work with us and get great pay, exercise, and work experience!” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Longtime Bishop Ireton Teacher Dies — “It is with sadness but also with great faith in our Lord that we share that Mr. Ron Umbeck, a beloved faculty member at Bishop Ireton for more than 50 years, passed away earlier this evening. He is now at peace in Heaven and we are sure that he met St. Peter with a math book, a crossword puzzle, an It’s Academic prep sheet and a Bishop Ireton pin. He loved this school, but more importantly, he loved his students and his Bishop Ireton family.” [Facebook]

Mayor Talks About Coronavirus on PBS — “My thanks to ⁦@AlexandriaVAGov⁩ Mayor ⁦@justindotnet⁩ for spending time with us to talk #Virginia re-opening, concerns about virus spread, and how he’s balancing the two. Our report, produced by ⁦@courtneyknorris, on ⁦@NewsHour⁩ tonight…” [Twitter]

NVTA Provides $195 Million to Duke Street, Richmond Highway Projects — “Two major roadway projects in the Alexandria region received funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. The Duke Street Transitway received $75 million, which completes its funding request.” [Alexandria Living]

Fairlington United Methodist Church Warns of Scammers — “Scammers are out in full this summer. Please either a) ignore emails like this or b) report it to your email provider. This is not Janine’s email address, nor does she sign her emails Rev Janine Howard (nor does she break all sorts of grammar rules…) [Facebook]

Photographer Helps Unemployed Residents With Headshots — “Alexandria photographer Sam Fatima wants to do his part to help turn things around. He has partnered with Headshot Booker and Brookfield Properties for a new initiative aimed at helping the unemployed have a fresh start.” [Zebra]

Virtual Pub Craw Starts Wednesday — “In 2020 the 7th Annual Port City Old Town Pub Crawl is going virtual! Throughout July join Port City and our friends in Old Town as we celebrate good food and beer all month long.” [Facebook]

DASH Installing Digital Displays — “We’re busy installing new digital displays that show bus arrival info and alerts. We’ve installed more than 30 so far.” [Facebook]

New Job: Server — “Chadwicks Restaurant is currently looking to fill FULL- and PART-TIME server positions. Must be honest, hardworking, and capable of working well with others. Experience not a priority.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Mayor Hosting Weekly Virtual Town Hall Tonight — “Thursday evening (May 14th) beginning at 8 PM, I will be hosting another virtual Living Room Town Hall Meeting. ‬‪We will discuss the City’s on-going response to the COVID-19 outbreak and address any questions you might have. ‬‪Please post questions and join us Thursday night!‬” [Facebook]

Volunteer Alexandria Needs Household Donations — “Can you donate some canned goods, diapers, or kitty litter? During COVID-19, there is a great need for a variety of goods — many of which you may have around the house or be able to pick up in your next shopping trip.” [Facebook]

Alexandria City Public Schools Not Making Staff Reductions — “While these budget reductions will impact some of our employees’ take-home salary, we are fortunate to not be required to implement a reduction in our workforce at this time. It is important that we understand the budget reduction recommendations that were presented last week may potentially increase in the near future if we do not see an uptick in our economy and revitalization of dollars appropriated to ACPS from city, local, state, and federal funding sources.” [ACPS]

Congressman Beyer Calls President ‘Compulsive Liar’ — “This isn’t complicated. Dr. Fauci is a highly decorated scientist and doctor, a respected medical expert who spent his life leading American efforts to fight infectious diseases. Trump is a compulsive liar who suggested we could fight COVID-19 by injecting people with bleach.” [Twitter]

Scholarship Fund Auctioning Guitar Signed by ‘Collective Soul’ — “Along the way during our Virtual Auction to Support Scholarships we’ll be highlighting some of the amazing and unique donations we received this year. CHECK OUT this QUINTESSENTIALLY ’90s Fender Electric Guitar Signed by COLLECTIVE SOUL. Dude, rock on, this is some quality ’90s memorabilia here…” [Facebook]

Virginia Theological Seminary Hosting Virtual Commencement Ceremony at 10 a.m. — “Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the recording of our 197th Commencement Ceremony, which will be broadcast on our website, here on Facebook, and on YouTube at 10:00 a.m. EDT tomorrow, May 14. Join us in honoring the Class of 2020!” [Facebook]

‘Mind The Mat’ Hosting Virtual Prenatal Pilates Today at 6 p.m. — “No experience necessary! Start at any stage of your pregnancy. Our prenatal program is designed for pregnancy not modified for it. This course was developed by Megan Brown, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Pilates Instructor and mother of two.” [Facebook]

Buskey Hard Cider Offers Delivery in Alexandria — “Orders for the NOVA Zone run between Ruther Glen, up I-95 up to Arlington and out to Winchester. It’s a big territory! Delivery schedule for this week: start delivering on Friday, and continue subsequent days based on orders! Orders must be placed by 11:59pm on Thursday night.” [Buskey Cider]

Alexandria Library Offers Remote Academic Journal Access — “JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization established with the assistance of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It provides access to more than 12 million academic journal articles, books, and primary sources in 75 disciplines.” [Zebra]

New Job: Digital Communications Manager — “The ideal candidate has a mix of technical and creative acumen with the ability to think critically and strategically about communications while helping our association move forward with modern communications techniques.” [Indeed]

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Social distancing got you feeling a little stir crazy? A few Alexandria businesses are hosting quarantine-friendly online activities to help keep you connected to your neighbors and favorite local establishments.

Hops N Shine, a Del Ray bar with an ongoing fundraiser for laid-off employees, is hosting a virtual beer tasting on Thursday (April 30). The tasting, hosted by Hops N Shine on Facebook live, will feature the Ashburn-based Old Ox Brewing Company and four beers — the Festival, Hoppy Place, and two more yet to be named.

To participate, Hops N Shine encourages viewers to join in by buying their own selection.

Lost Boy Cider is hosting a similar happy hour discussion every Wednesday at 4 p.m. with industry insiders discussing the state and taste of all things cider. This week Jay Brandish, retired Navy veteran and founder of Red Clay Ciderworks in North Carolina, is the featured guest.

For those with children, there are other youth-friendly activities sponsored by the city. The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is hosting a weekly animal talk on Saturday mornings, from 9:30-10 a.m. The series is aimed at elementary school-aged children and helps teach them about crafts and careers related to caring for animals.

The Alexandria Police Department is also running a weekly virtual storytime at 7 p.m. on Fridays. This week’s book is Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle.

Image via Lost Boy Cider/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Goodwin House Conducting Virtual Job Fair for Servers at 1 p.m. — “When you join our team, you’ll also be working at one of the Top Workplaces in the Washington, D.C. area according to The Washington Post. Our pay is highly competitive, we offer outstanding benefits and we provide opportunities for growth and excellent perks such as access to our swimming pools and fitness facilities.” [Indeed]

Old Town Sign to Stay on Theater — “Patagonia will “fix up” the sign so it looks a little bit better and to prevent further water damage to the marquee. Patagonia will put up its own sign underneath the marquee.” [Alexandria Living]

Mayor’s Social Media Habit Positively Recognized During Pandemic — “Every time the mayor gets takeout for his family — most Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays these days — he tries to documents his meals for more than 4,500 followers on Twitter. For Wilson, it’s a small way to raise visibility for Alexandria restaurants struggling to stay in business while Virginia enforces a dine-in ban to battle the spread of the novel coronavirus.”  [Eater DC]

Mount Purrnon Cat Cafe & Wine Bar Opening This Summer — “Originally, we were hoping to open in early May. Obviously that isn’t happening, nor can it while there is a stay at home order enacted. Our current target is now mid-summer. We greatly hope that life will be starting to normalize somewhat by then.” [Facebook]

Casa Chirilagua Video Shows Expressions of Thanks for Support — “We are just grateful. As you may know, we are without work because of the virus. I’ve been out of work for three weeks, and my brother the same. And we are just, you know, trying to wait this thing out. Thank you so much for the collaboration to help. It was so welcome at this time.Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” [Facebook]

Fairlington United Methodist Church Hosting Daily Online Worship at Noon — “Do you have questions about your faith and our world? Let us know what those questions are in the comments below and we will explore some of them during noontime gatherings this week. Everyone is invited to come to a short devotional, check-in, and prayer at noon every weekday!” [Facebook]

Tech On Tap Urban Gardening Webinar at 4 p.m. — “Get your hands dirty with Urban Gardening! Gardening can be a great stress reducer. Don’t think you have the space for a garden? Wondering which plants you can or should grow? Gardening is the perfect social distancing activity – feeding a revival of interest in food production and gardening as a recreation, outdoor exercise form and community-building tool. Alexandria Economic Development Partnership can help you get started!” [Facebook]

Cidery Owner Participating in Lost Boy Cider Zoom Chat at 4 p.m. — “Chuck Shelton is joining Tristan on Zoom for Wednesday’s happy hour. Chuck is the co-founder and cider maker at Albemarle Ciderworks in Virginia. Widely recognized as one of Virginia’s premier cideries with a tremendous history in heirloom cultivation.” [Facebook]

At Home happy Hour at 5 p.m. With Pork Barrel BBQ Bartender— “Don’t forget to get your tickets for @Home HH with Kristina tomorrow night from 5-6PM! Kristina will be teaching you how to make two craft cocktail classics.” [Facebook]

Volunteer Alexandria Needs Help Transporting Food — “Volunteers needed to transport a generous donation of food from Great Harvest Bread Company to local organizations. Morning and afternoon shifts available Tues, Wed, Thurs, and Fri.” [Facebook]

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