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Week in Alexandria

Estranged and Injured

What happens when you mix raw emotions and firearms? Sometimes people get injured.

Such was the case this week on Holmes Run Parkway, where a 35-year-old man went to the house where he once lived to pick up personal items from his estranged wife. According to the Alexandria Police Department, he was shot shortly before 7 a.m. Wednesday morning. Police say he was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition after being shot at least once in the stomach.

"There were multiple shots fired," said Lt. Mark Bergin. "Not to be too grim about this, but he had blood all over him so we weren't about to determine exactly how many wounds he had."

The man was taken to Polk Elementary School, where a Medevac helicopter was waiting. From there, he was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital, which has a Level 1 trauma center. Meanwhile a 23-year-old male who was visiting the home Wednesday morning was treated on the scene for a gunshot wound to the hand before being interviewed by detectives and eventually transported to Inova Alexandria Hospital for further medical treatment.

"We're still investigating to determine the cause," said Bergin.

Mixed Economic Picture

The hand that gives also takes away.

That's the story with Alexandria's economy in recent months, according to the city's most recent financial report. The number of new construction permits is 433 percent higher this year compared to last year, and their value is 69 percent more. Budget officials say this represents the first year-over-year increase in permit values of the year. The number of multi-family construction permits is 61 percent higher than last year, and their average value is 32 percent more. That represents the first year-over-year increase since September 2012.

That's the good news. The bad news is that city leaders are always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

"Staff recommends cautious optimism as the second quarter 2013 office vacancy data to be released in July could diminish the positive impact of these changes," wrote City Manager Rashad Young.

Mark Your Calendars

Summer is here, and it's a great time to learn about the history of Alexandria.

First, there's the Community Open House at the Alexandria Black History Museum slated for July 20 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature a discussion of prominent African-Americans in Alexandria with Living Legends founder Nina Tisara as well as several Living Legends board members. It will also feature a book signing for "African Americans of Alexandria, Virginia: Beacons of Light in the Twentieth Century," a new book written by Char McCargo Bah, Christa Watters, Audrey Davis, Gwendolyn Brown-Henderson and James Henson. Proceeds from the sale of this book benefit the Alexandria Black History Museum.

Next, there's the celebration of Harry Potter's birthday at the Alexandria Apothecary Museum on July 31 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visitors will learn about uses for Dragon’s Blood, Unicorn Root and Mandrake Root as they encounter real-world apothecary counterparts to the world of Harry Pottter. For 141 years, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary offered a variety of potions that were mixed and sold as "cure-alls" in their time. Entrance fee is $6 per person at the door.

Then there's Tavern Day, scheduled for Aug. 3 at Gadsby's Tavern. The free open house will invite guests into Alexandria’s five-star hotel of the 18th century, a place where George Washington celebrated his birthday and Thomas Jefferson celebrated his inauguration. This year, Tavern Day will highlight 18th century science experiments by Project Enlightenment, McLean High School’s reenactment society.

And don't forget about Friendship Firehouse Festival on Aug. 4. The annual festival, organized by the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association, features antique firefighting equipment, craft booths, displays by Alexandria merchants and live music. Children will receive free fire helmets and will be treated to a supervised visit inside a city's firetrucks.