by Karen Goff — December 19, 2014 at 5:00 am 0

On Fridays, we take a moment to thank our sponsors and advertisers.

Reston Serenity Smiles - Hoda Kazemifar, DMD, offers complete dental services for the entire family.

Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, the business community for the vibrant region.

Reston Station, Comstock’s mixed-use development and parking garage at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro stop.

The Avant, new luxury rentals in the heart of Reston Town Center.

The Harrison, brand-new apartments now leasing at Reston Town Center.

Berry & Berry, PLLC, Reston law firm specializing in federal employment, retirement, labor union, and security clearance matters.

Just Cats Clinic, Reston’s first cats-only vet practice.

Reston Real Estate, Eve Thompson of Long & Foster Real Estate specializes in Reston homes.

Becky’s Pet Care, offering friendly pet services in Northern Virginia.

Reston Community Center, Serving Reston’s recreational and cultural needs.

Cindy L. Beyer Design, Reston-based interior design firm with creative ideas for residential and commercial clients.

Van Metre Homes, handcrafted homes since 1955.

D.R. Horton Builders, America’s largest home builders.

Storm Fitness, offering personalized fitness training.

George Washington University, offering teacher licensure programs to fit your schedule.

Kalypso’s Sports Tavern, where you can find food and fun at Lake Anne Plaza.

Potok’s World Photography - Specializing in wedding and portrait photography and offering a 10 percent discount for weddings from December to through March 2015.

BloomPop - Connecting you online with unique floral arrangements from local shops.

by Karen Goff — December 18, 2014 at 4:30 pm 0

First Silver Line train pulls in to Wiehle-Reston East/Credit: Mike Heffner, Vita ImagesFairfax County closed on a $403 million federal loan on Thursday, ensuring that the county will be able to pay for its portion of Phase 2 of Metro’s Silver Line.

Fairfax County, which obtained the loan through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program, received the second- lowest interest rate in the history of the federal TIFIA loan program – a 2.73 percent interest rate.

The loan will also help keep tolls stable for Dulles Toll Road users through 2018. Without it, there was fear a greater portion of rail costs would be borne by toll road users.

The first phase of the Silver Line, which opened in July, runs from McLean to Reston’s Wiehle Avenue. The second phase of the $5.6 billion project, set to open in 2018, will have stops at Reston Parkway, Herndon, Route 28, Dulles International Airport and Ashburn.

The loan will cover about 45 percent of the county’s total estimated $915 million share for building Silver Line Phase 2. It offers a competitive interest rate and flexible repayment terms. The county may defer payments for five years after the project is finished. Because the Silver Line is expected to be completed in 2018, the county anticipates making payments starting in 2023.

 “With Phase 1 on track to meet or even exceed ridership projections, I am very pleased to have approved low-interest federal financing for Phase 2,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova said yesterday.

“The funds made available through the TIFIA loan keep the project on target for completion in 2018 and reduce costs for toll road users and taxpayers. The Silver Line is vital to the economic growth of Fairfax County, the region and the Commonwealth, and I am proud of the work we’ve done to make it a reality.”

Fairfax plans to use two county sources to repay the loan: money from the Dulles Rail Phase 2 Transportation Improvement District and Commercial and Industrial Tax Fund. The county will apply $218.2 million from this voluntary tax district and $185.1 million in commercial and industrial taxes.

Loudoun County also closed on its $195 million TIFIA loan on Thursday. In August, the metropolitan Washington Airports Authority closed on its $1.28 billion portion.

“Today marks another significant milestone for Rail to Dulles as we finalize a very complex financing package for the project,” Sen. Mark Warner said in a statement. “I congratulate all of our partners on this successful step.  Now we can shift our focus to completing construction as soon, as efficiently and as safely as possible.”

by Karen Goff — December 18, 2014 at 3:13 pm 1,919 4 Comments

Macaroni Grill Reston/File photoRomano’s Macaroni Grill at the Spectrum has closed its doors.

The restaurant, located at 1845 Fountain Dr., closed Thursday, a company spokesman said after the closure was first reported by Restonian.org. The spokesman did not give a reason why.

However, The Spectrum, like several other Reston shopping centers, is scheduled to undergo a major renovation in the next few years. The Spectrum is owned by Lerner Enterprises.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the overhaul in early 2013.

The future plan for The Spectrum includes 774,879 square feet of non-residential use; 1,422 multifamily residential units (with 12 percent set aside for affordable housing) in seven new residential buildings; 38 percent open space; underground and structure parking; LEED certifications; two new east-west streets and expanded bike trails and pedestrian access.

It will be divided this way:

Land Bay A (where Best Buy and The Container Store are located) is planned for 546 dwelling units, 255 hotel rooms, 172,000 square feet of office, and 62,500 square feet of retail uses.

Land Bay B (where PetSmart and On the Border are located) is planned for 643 dwelling units, 270 hotel rooms, and 48,650 square feet of retail uses.

Land Bay C (where Harris Teeter is located) is planned for 237 residential units and 134,896 square feet of retail and bank uses. Only Harris Teeter will remain — and expand into the current Office Depot space — in the redevelopment.

Additionally, Land Bay B will wrap around the planned 23-story office tower at Bowman Towne Drive and Reston Parkway. That building, which will contain retail and 18 stories of offices, was approved by the supervisors in September 2012.

A real estate source previously said that The Spectrum redevelopment could take 10 years, and that stand-alone buildings such as Macaroni Grill’s would likely be the first to go.

Macaroni Grill was one of the original tenants of The Spectrum, which opened in the mid-1990s.

by Karen Goff — December 18, 2014 at 3:00 pm 2 Comments

Hunters Woods Village Center A plan to provide extra lighting on the Reston Association paths near Hunters Woods Village Center is going to cost much more than originally anticipated, RA CEO Cate Fulkerson says.

RA has been talking about adding additional lighting on the paths for more than a year in the hopes that it would deter loitering, graffiti and crime. The association budgeted about $125,000 for the project.

However, the lighting has not been installed after new estimates show RA’s portion would be closer to $190,000, according to RA’s carryover budget for 2015.

Fulkerson said that RA is hoping Edens, the owners of the village center, would help share the new and hefty cost.

“The actual total cost is closer to $300,000,” Fulkerson said in an email. “We have not installed pathway lighting in many years, and the original estimate used in building the 2014/2015 Capital Budgets did not account for expenses related to Dominion Power’s engineering and equipment costs, which have increased considerably since the last time the Association installed pathways lighting.”

Fulkerson said RA is working on several ways to offset the costs.

“We continue to work with Edens to obtain their support in covering the costs associated with the installation,” she said. “In addition, we are exploring available grant opportunities to assist with or offset the cost.”

The $124,916 set aside for the project will carry over into next year. In total, RA will carryover $961,830 for the Hunters Woods lighting project, as well as a Fannie Mae pathway extension, Twin Branches connector and the South Lakes pathway connector. RA says the latter are in varying stages of completion.

Other carryovers include:

  • $184,962 for grading at Brown’s Chapel ball fields
  • $500,000 for Lake Anne Dam upgrades (delayed until 2016)
  • $135,000 for an outreach management project
  • $26,710 for renovations or replacement of the Pony Barn

by Jessica Storm — December 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm 225 2 Comments

Storm fitness

This is a sponsored column by Jessica Storm, ACSM Health/Fitness Specialist and NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist and owner of Storm Fitness – A Personal Training and Nutrition Company based in Reston.

Yes, losing weight without dieting is possible. In fact, it’s how I help my clients achieve their weight loss goals.  Just the mention of the word “diet” can send the brain and body into a frenzy mode.

First, you begin think of all the things you will need to deny yourself of in order to achieve your weight loss and you immediately swear off ever having any of those bad foods ever again. Then the cravings set in and the brain goes to work constantly thinking about all the food that you must deny yourself. This can really get depressing fast — who wants to live their life feeling this way?

Did you realize that the word diet has the word “die” in it? When we diet, we deprive ourselves. When we drastically overhaul how we have been living it is not sustainable.

I want my clients to live a full and happy life. I teach them how to be successful while not denying themselves of fun times and yummy foods. It is possible. It doesn’t need to be a struggle and it shouldn’t be. I have listed below a few tips that you can start to implement into your lifestyle right now. (more…)

by Karen Goff — December 18, 2014 at 11:00 am 774 14 Comments

Bank robbery at Sun Trust inside Hunters Woods Safeway/Credit: Tim BooneThree bank robberies in Reston in the last month have made some residents a little on edge.

One reader wrote to Reston Now yesterday saying this:

I’d originally planned on renting in Reston before moving to Virginia, but the posts on this page have more than changed my mind. 

I have to wonder if you’re aware of the perception outsiders have, looking in at Reston. From my view, based on this page, Reston is losing business, experiencing all types of crime, and has little if any highlights aside from the natural scenery. 

Fairfax County Police say crime in Reston is actually quite low.

For instance, FCPD’s Reston Station reported 654 assault incidents in 2013 (the most recent full year for which stats are available). That’s down from 765 in 2012, and the second lowest number of assaults among FCPD’s eight districts.

Reston’s relatively low crime rate, along with access to good jobs and schools, were among the criteria that earned it a spot in Money Magazine’s 2014 Top 10 Best Places to Live.

That is not to say Reston is crime-free. Other stats:

There were two homicides in the Reston District in 2013, the same as in 2012. In both 2013 cases, they were domestic in nature and not random crime.

Sex offenses: 32 in 2013, (30 in 2012)

Weapons charges: 58 (58 in 2012)

Property crimes: 2,527 in 2013, down from 2,705 in 2012. The 2013 number make it the second-lowest (behind the Sully District) in the county.

Some of the highlights:

  • Vandalism: 703 (899 in 2012)
  • Larceny 1,239 (1,274 in 2012)
  • Stolen cars 48 (59 in 2012)
  • Robbery 37 (27 in 2012)
  • Burglary 107 (79)

Do you feel Reston is a safe place to live? Are you concerned about crime? Take our poll.

Photo: Fairfax County Police cars converge at Safeway Hunters Woods after robbery of Sun Trust inside on Thursday/Credit: Tim Boone

by Karen Goff — December 18, 2014 at 9:00 am 6 Comments

Outdoor Bocce Court/Credit: Joy of BocceIt has been more than a year since the Reston Association Board of Directors approved a bocce court for Cabots Point Recreation Area. For nearly as long, the RA Board has been trying to start the process over — or abandon it all together.

RA President Ken Knueven has proposed to “direct staff, in light of the new cost information presented, to discontinue efforts in preparing a resubmission application to the Design Review Board for the installation of a bocce court and related accessible facilities at the Cabots Point Recreation Area.”

The board will discuss and vote on the proposal at its regular meeting — the last one of 2014 — Thursday evening at RA Headquarters.

The new cost information, as reported in Reston Now last week, is an estimate from a civil engineering firm. The says it will cost $14,000 to for a site review for the park.

Costs include:

  • Establishing survey control and accurate topography on site: $2,000
  • Developing a minor site plan for submission to Fairfax County. Requirements include, but are not limited to: siting of elements, grading (existing and proposed topography), possibly erosion and sediment control plan and narrative, stormwater management calculations and narrative, possible landscaping requirements: $10,000

Plan submittal and review to Fairfax County: $2,000

Additionally, RA documents say that materials to build the court will cost most than $4,000. However, RA says it can donate the 80 hours of labor costs ($1,884).

The RA Board voted unanimously on Dec 12, 2013 to authorize the construction of the 60-by-12-foot court at Cabots Point, which is RA Common Area land. However, there were conditions:

  • Final design and location of the court is to be reviewed and approved by the RA staff and the Design Review Board. The DRB approved the application in June.
  • Funding for the construction of the facility including but not limited to landscape materials, benches and a picnic table is to be provided by the Friends of Reston for Community Projects, Inc. The original estimate was the total cost would be $2,500, to be paid for by the Friends of Reston, which so far has allocated $1,500 for the project. RA has not earmarked any money for the bocce court.
  • Once the above required approvals and funding have been obtained, further move to authorize RA staff to: 1) perform the necessary site preparation and associated court construction, including the expenditure of costs associated with materials and labor; 2) provide ongoing maintenance of the facility; and, 3) promote bocce as a new recreational amenity for Reston.

Meanwhile, there has been considerable negative reaction from RA members, particularly those who live in clusters close to Cabots Point. Those residents say bocce will bring noise, traffic and garbage to the area off of South Lakes Drive, as well as impede on open space used for a variety of purposes.

Others have told the RA Board that they were not adequately notified of the planned project, proposed by South Lakes Director Richard Chew last December, before the board approved it. RA has since changed the process of getting member feedback before voting on a new project.

In the last year, RA Directors have twice proposed pulling the bocce plan and starting over. Both times, the board voted to move forward.

Photo: Outdoor Bocce Court/Credit: Joy of Bocce

by Karen Goff — December 18, 2014 at 8:00 am 2 Comments

Sculpture at Hyatt Park in Reston

Be Prepared — Making your holiday gift list? In honor of Winter Preparedness Week, Fairfax County has some useful ideas to keep everyone safe. [Fairfax County]

SACC Prices To Rise? — Fairfax County is considering changing the fees for School Age Child Care in its schools. A new sliding scale would increase fees for some and decrease for others, depending on income. [Fairfax Times]

Shopping Local (And Pretty) — Where to get some locally made Christmas decorations. [Modern Reston]

Give The Gift of Blood — Blood donors are needed this time of year, when donations typically dip due to people being busy with holiday plans. The Inova Bloodmobile will be at Reston Town Center on Tuesday, Dec. 23 from noon to 7 p.m. The bloodmobile will be located beside the Pavilion near Williams-Sonoma. On site registration. Schedule appointment time by calling 1-866-256-6372 or online at www.inova.org/donateblood.

by Karen Goff — December 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm 1 Comment

Basketball/file photoSouth Lakes High School’s boys basketball team enters the Washington Post poll as the No. 15 team this week.

The Seahawks are 5-1 after defeated Thomas Jefferson 46-25 on Tuesday. They upset former No. 13 Woodson 75-70 last week.

The team is led by Brandon Kamga, who is averaging 26 points per game. Kamga, a senior, has committed to play at Northeastern next year.

The girls team is also 5-1 after a 71-25 victory over Jefferson on Tuesday. They are led by senior Princess Aghayere (18 ppg) and Kamga’s sister, Brenda (16.2 ppg).

Swimming – The boys and girls teams both defeated Fairfax on Friday.  The boys won 175-134; the girls, 169-145.  Next up for the Seahawks is Stone Bridge on Friday at Ida Lee Park Recreation Center in Leesburg.

Indoor Track – With 20 athletes meeting conference, regional or state qualifying standards, the South Lakes High School indoor track team opened its season by taking the top two spots at the Liberty Elite Invitational Saturday at Liberty University. SLHS scored 61 points and placed atop the 31-team boys field and second  among the 26 girls teams in the competition.

Junior Eric Kirlew, who won the triple-jump in a state meet qualifying distance of 44-3.75. Senior Comfort Reed reserved a spot in the state meet with a 36-5.25 in the triple jump, finishing second overall.

The girls 4×400 meter relay team of senior Claire Nieusma, junior Golden Kumi-Darfour and sophomores Devyn Jones and Jessica Lister finished second in the race with a regional qualifying time of 4:12.72.

by Karen Goff — December 17, 2014 at 8:00 am 303 0

Cornerstones Home Wins New Roof – DryHome Roofing and Siding, a Sterling-based roofing company, has selected Cornerstones (formerly Reston Interfaith) as the recipient of a new roof through its annual Free Roof…


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