Alexandria Police are investigating a claim that a woman’s drink was drugged at Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge on the waterfront.

The woman filed a police report after the incident, which allegedly occurred on the evening of July 9 — the same night as the fireworks for the city’s birthday celebration. The woman reported the incident on NextDoor, and said she was sitting in the walkthrough area next to the Torpedo Factory Art Center when it occurred.

“I enjoyed a couple of Orange Crushes, scrolled on my phone and watched the crowd,” the woman reported. “I can’t tell you much of what happened after that, besides knowing now (Google maps tracker) that I miraculously walked the couple of blocks back to my apartment. My fiance returned home from work to find me a step inside of my apartment on the floor. I was unable to talk, stand, or remain conscious. I have complete amnesia of any of the events from receiving my last drink forward.”

The woman, who says she is a registered nurse, wrote that her condition persisted for 10 hours or so, that she did not go to the hospital and instead contacted her primary care physician.

“I am usually pretty aware of my surroundings,” she wrote. “I cannot tell you what happened, why, or anything like that, though I wish that I could. It is very highly unlikely that I had left my drink alone outside to go inside to the bathroom, etc. But it seems the only explanation is that something was slipped into my drink.”

The owner of Vola’s told ALXnow that they are working with police. He said no one has alleged any employees did anything wrong and that what occurred is still unclear.

Morning Notes

Virginia extends ‘cocktails-to-go’ laws for another year — “During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many restaurants were shuttered, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) created a safe and secure way for restaurants to offer cocktails to go with a meal. The General Assembly has now continued this practice in statute for one year.” [Zebra]

Republican mayoral candidate Catchings announces she won’t get education endorsement — “I will not be receiving the endorsement from APACE – Alexandria Political Action Committee for Education. What matters most is that I receive the support from Alexandria parents and citizens for School Choice !!” [Twitter]

Alexandria Restaurant Week returning Aug. 20-29 — “For 10 days (including two weekends), diners can enjoy specials from 60+ restaurants throughout Alexandria including Old Town, Del Ray, Carlyle, Eisenhower and the West End. Participating restaurants will be offering special $49 in-person and/or to-go dinner for two and select restaurants will also be offering a $25 in-person and/or to-go dinner for one.” [Alexandria Living]

‘Queens On King Street’ is back — “After a hiatus of more than a year due to the pandemic and COVID-19 restrictions, Alexandria’s Queens on King Street group will reconvene on Tuesday, July 13th at The Light Horse from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The occasion will also serve as the group’s five-year anniversary. In 2015, co-founders Timothy McCue, Nathan Sell, and Alex Rodriguez-Rozic created Queens on King Street to provide a space for LGBTQ+ individuals that live, work, or just love to visit Old Town Alexandria.” [Visit Alexandria]

VDOT seeking feedback on Little River Turnpike improvement plan — “Give input on a study assessing potential Rt 236 (Little River Tpk) improvements from I-495 in Annandale to I-395 in Alexandria! View a presentation and take our online survey (also available in Spanish and Korean) through 7/28.” [Twitter]

Today’s weather — “Sunny skies (during the day). Hot. High near 95F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph… Clear skies (in the evening). Low around 75F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Manager — “Dolci Gelati is a small, customer-focused cafe and gelato shop in the heart of Old Town, Alexandria. We strive to serve the very best in innovative coffee drinks, gelatis, and various other pastries and desserts.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Virginia Tech Innovation Campus gets $50M commitment from Boeing — “Boeing’s multi-year gift will help the campus provide scholarships to students and recruit faculty to the Innovation Campus.” [Patch]

Coalition launches video series to encourage youth to be alcohol free — “The Substance Abuse and Prevention Coalition of Alexandria (SAPCA) has launched a prevention campaign featuring a series of short videos created by T.C. Williams High School students that encourage youth to be alcohol free.” [City of Alexandria]

Chamber ALX announced 40 Under 40 honorees — “We are looking forward to celebrating these individuals at our 40 Under 40 Awards celebration, presented by Beyer Subaru, on July 15.” [Chamber ALX]

Alexandria-based podcast breaks boundaries and builds connections — “Two local women start a podcast to tackle tough issues and find community and transformation along the way.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Commission on Persons With Disabilities seeking award nominees — “The Alexandria Commission on Persons with Disabilities is seeking nominees for various awards and a scholarship.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Thunderstorms likely (during the day). Gusty winds and small hail are possible. High near 75F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%… Some clouds early will give way to generally clear conditions overnight. Low 48F. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Temporary environmental educator — “In pursuit of service excellence, the Recreation Leader II/Environmental Educator will greet and assist Nature Center patrons; deliver impromptu programs for visitors; conduct nature-based programming; assist in the care of the Nature Center’s live animals and plants; and support the administrative needs of the organization. The candidate will work under the supervision of the Recreation Leader IV. This position is located at the Jerome ‘Buddie’ Ford Nature Center, 5750 Sanger Avenue in Alexandria, VA 22311.” [Indeed]

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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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