Twenty-five years ago, the husband-and-wife researchers, then working for the United States Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), were called to Reston, where monkeys in a lab at Isaac Newtown Square’s Hazelton Labs had contracted a puzzling new deadly disease.
That disease is now called Ebola Reston and the Jaaxs’ contributions were chronicled in the bestselling book, The Hot Zone.
The Jaaxes were part of the team that determined how Ebola Reston was spread (contact with an infected animal), why some humans tested positive but never got sick, and how to keep it from spreading and how to effectively disinfect the lab where hundreds of monkeys either died or were euthanized.
Ebola Reston remains the only one of the five forms of the disease that is not fatal to humans. Ebola Zaire is the strain that has killed close to 2,500 persons in West Africa this year.
One man, Thomas Eric Duncan, contracted the disease in Liberia. He traveled back to the U.S. and, after initially being sent home, was treated at a Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. He died on Oct. 8. Meanwhile, two nurses who treated Duncan also contracted the disease.
Jerry Jaax, who is now Kansas State University’s associate vice president for research compliance a well as a university veterinarian, says that the Dallas hospital — and all U.S. hospitals — need to be prepared for all possibilities.
“There was no real excuse for a major hospital not to have some meetings and a team of people to handle this,” he said in a phone interview on Monday. “It was inevitable that someone would walk off a plane and present at a U.S. emergency room. I would think they would at least have had a skeleton plan and basic equipment.”
Here is what else the Jaaxes had to say about Ebola Reston, Ebola in the U.S. and the future of the disease.
Q: Have things changed much in infectious disease since the late 1980s, when Ebola Reston was discovered?
Jerry Jaax: Yes and no. When the outbreak was discovered in Reston, there were only two kinds of Ebola. Zaire (the type that is affecting Africa now) and Sudan, which has a very high mortality rate. When we were called to Reston, Ebola had never been reported in monkeys.
When you look at all the angst in this county now, back then only 1 out of 1000 people had ever even head of Ebola. There wasn’t this tremendous response. There wasn’t the media coverage, which has really ratcheted up the fear.
In retrospect, it made what we were doing a lot easier. We were able to do our thing in relative anonymity. We absolutely were not ready for anything to happen. We really had to cobble together a response in a short period of time. We had to go down [to Reston] and not get people sick.
Yogiberry shops at South Lakes Village Center and at Reston Town Center have temporarily closed. The froyo spots have been in Reston since the fall of 2012.
Reston’s Yogiberrys, part of a network of shops in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, put up a sign last week that it will be closed for the winter.
Reads the signs at both Reston locations:
Dear Yogiberry Lovers,
We’re CLOSED for the WINTER but we’ll be back in MARCH.
See you then!
Even though the owners say they will reopen, current conditions do not bode well. Yogiberry, which had 11 area locations as of last year, recently closed in College Park, Pentagon City, Olney and Friendship Heights. according to Yelp listings.
This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate.
This past week, 11 properties went from Pending to Sold in Reston. Total inventory of homes for sale is 297 properties. Average days on market for this group of properties was 27. We currently have a four-month supply of houses on the market in Reston.
Here are a few of the properties that sold in the last week.
11554 HEMINGWAY DR. 4BR 3.5 Bath. List Price $699,500. Sold Price $675,000. Seller Subsidy $ 0
11675 NEWBRIDGE CT. 4 BR 2 Full, 2 Half Bath. List Price $459,999. Sold Price $450,000. Seller Subsidy $0
1869 CRESCENT PARK DR #115B. 3BR 2.5 Bath. List Price $599,990. Sold Price $595,000. Seller Subsidy $0
1869 CRESCENT PARK DR #115B. 2BR 2 Bath List Price $490,000. Sold Price $475,000. Seller Subsidy $0
1869 CRESCENT PARK DR #115B. 3BR 3.5 Bath List Price $525,000. Sold Price $514,000 .Seller Subsidy $0
11012 RACCOON RIDGE CT. 4BR 2.5 Bath. List Price $799,900. Sold Price $785,000. Seller Subsidy $18,000
11446 WATERVIEW CL. 3BR 3.5 Bath. List Price $595,000. Sold Price $585,000. Seller Subsidy $2,700
11716 DRY RIVER CT. 3BR 3.5 Bath. List Price $454,000. Sold Price $457,500. Seller Subsidy $0
2182 GREENKEEPERS CT. 3BR 2.5 Bath. List Price $399,900. Sold Price $399,900. Seller Subsidy $5,000
1704 RANDOM STONE CT. 3BR 3.5 Bath. List Price $530,000. Sold Price $541,000. Seller Subsidy $0
1369 PARK GARDEN LN. 3BR 2 Full, 2 Half Bath. List Price $620,000. Sold Price $636,000. Seller Subsidy $5,685
Click here for a detailed report of year-to-date Reston real estate market statistics.
This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Reston Town Center that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement, and private sector employee matters. They write biweekly on RestonNow.
The rules governing retirement benefits for divorced federal employees and their former spouses are detailed and complex. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the federal agency that processes court orders, which properly articulate awards of federal retirement-related benefits to the former spouses of federal employees. Therefore, federal employees and their spouses should consider the following general advice if they are facing a divorce.
- Be proactive. Federal employees and their spouses should be aware of the special rules governing federal retirement benefits while negotiating the terms of their divorce. We recommend utilizing a family law attorney who is familiar with these specialized regulations and consulting with a federal retirement attorney who can advise on these complex regulations. Far too often, OPM will deny court orders due to failure to meet the regulatory requirements. In such case, the parties will most likely need to seek an amendment to their court order in family court and submit the amended court order to OPM for processing.
- Cover your bases. Federal employees have a variety of different retirement benefits, many of which can be shared and/or assigned to former spouses after divorce by court order. The family law attorney should be aware of the types of benefits available, including: a monthly marital share apportionment (i.e., a portion of the federal retiree’s annuity); a survivor annuity benefit; a portion of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP); and coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) and the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) benefits plans. The parties to a divorce can decide the fairest division of these potential assets by familiarizing themselves with each of these types of federal benefits.
- Pre-retirement check. We recommend that federal employees meet with a federal agency benefits specialist well in advance of their desired retirement date to discuss their retirement. The federal agency benefits specialist should be able to provide guidance and instructions on how to properly complete retirement paperwork and provide a retirement benefits estimate for the federal employee.
In addition, if the federal employee and his/her former spouse wish to create a survivor annuity benefit, this should be done before the federal employee’s date of retirement. It is incredibly difficult, and often times prohibited, to make modifications post-retirement to a survivor annuity benefit. Therefore, we recommend that all potential issues with survivor annuity benefits be confirmed and corrected in advance of the official retirement date.
Given the unique rules that govern federal retirement benefits, it is highly recommended that federal employees utilize an attorney who is familiar with the proper division of federal retirement benefits in court orders.
Our law firm represents and advises federal employees in federal retirement and other employment matters. If you need legal assistance, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.
In the early 1960s, Reston founder Bob Simon and other planners got to work on what the community should look like — including village centers that would serve as the commercial and social hub of each of Reston’s villages.
Fifty years later, village centers at Hunters Woods, South Lakes, Tall Oaks and North Point generally don’t look like what was planned. Lake Anne Plaza does fit the mold better, but is also undergoing a separate revitalization process.
What ended up serving Reston were essentially suburban shopping centers, heavy on parking spots and light on common areas.
With the second phase of Reston Master Plan up for review, might it be time to revisit the original ideals and work into the comprehensive plan the ability, should a developer want to do so, to revamp the village centers?
That was the main question posed by Fairfax County planners and Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins to participants who came to South Lakes High School Saturday to talk about the future of Reston’s Village Centers.
The village centers served as the model of Simon’s planning, said Hudgins.
“Some have survived over the years, some have not,” she said. “So this text is important – how do you trigger change? It may not happen in short time frame, but we want to be able to get this input on how the community thinks it should move forward.”
Fairfax County planning staff said Saturday they hope to have the final document drafted by mid-2015. But changes could be decades away, if ever.
Whatever changes are incorporated into the plan will not be a regulatory document and any structural changes will have to eventually go through the Reston Association’s Design Review Board, as well as county planning and zoning and the Board of Supervisors. (more…)
Remembering Ralph Cosham Today – A memorial service will be held to celebrate the life of longtime Reston resident and acclaimed actor Ralph Cosham at the RCC CenterStage, 2310 Colts Neck Rd, on Monday, Oct. 20, 2014 at 7:30pm. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the American Heart Association in Ralph’s name.
What’s Up With Webb? — The New York Times devoted a lot of ink on Sunday to Reston native Alan Webb, who is transitioning from mile specialist to potential Olympic triathlete. [New York Times]
A Good Look At Fairfax County’s Economy — Dr. Stephen Fuller, Director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, will discuss the transition of the county economy and the development of key assets in the region at a forum on Thursday at 3 p.m. at the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce. [Fairfax County Chamber]
Photo: Fun at Latino Day at Southgate Community Center on Saturday/Credit: Gerry Connolly’s office
Looking to buy a new home? You can tour these Reston properties this weekend.
11135 Little Compton Dr.
3 BR, 2 full BA, 2 half BA Townhouse
Open Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.
11715 Great Owl Circle
3 BR, 3.5 BA Townhouse
Open Sunday 2 to 4 p.m.
1582 Moorings Dr.
3 BR, 2.5 BA Condo
Open Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.
1953 Weybridge Lane
4 BR, 3 BA Single-family home
Open Sunday 12 to 4 p.m.
1276 Vintage Place
2 BR, 3.5 BA Townhouse
Open Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.
1515 Church Hill Place
2 BR, 1.5 BA Condo
Open Sunday 1 to 3 p.m.
To find more available properties, check out the real estate page.
After Jackson’s Mighty Fine Foods & Lucky Lounge was named one of the top-earning independent restaurants in the country this week, Reston Now asked the owners why they think the business is such a hit.
Jackson’s familiar menu, reliable service and the spirit of its late executive chef — for whom the business was named — are key to the Reston Town Center eatery’s success, CEO Jon Norton said Friday.
“We focus really hard on our restaurants being approachable and not intimidating,” he said, referring to all 13 establishments in the Great American Restaurants group.
At Jackson’s — which opened in 2008 — customers feel equally comfortable bringing in business clients for lunch and their kids for dinner, Norton said.
The bustling, 260-seat restaurant was named in honor of chef Bill Jackson, who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and died shortly before Jackson’s opened, Norton said. He was 54.
“He was a character,” Norton said. “You’d always see him looking out from the kitchen after a dish was served, around a corner so no one could see him. If [the customer] had a good reaction, he’d have a smile on his face.”
Homages to the Great American Restaurants executive chef appear throughout the dining room. The “Little Rascals” mural near the kitchen shows Jackson with the characters of the comedy (it was a fan), and the menu still includes some of Jackson’s favorites, like the French dip sandwich, Norton said.
“We like to think that his spirit is still in the place.”
This is a sponsored post by veterinarian Elizabeth Arguelles, owner of Just Cats Clinic at Lake Anne Plaza. She writes weekly on Reston Now.
Halloween is fun for kids and adults, but it can be a dangerous day for cats. With increased traffic on the streets, noisy children that could scare your cat and lit pumpkins and decorations, Halloween poses additional risk to our furry family members. But with proper care and preparation, your cat can safely spend Halloween with the rest of your family.
Take these easy steps to keep your cat safe on Halloween:
- If your cat is an indoor/outdoor cat, make sure you start keeping it indoors several days before Halloween. It may take a while for your feline to adjust to staying inside, so it’s good to give it some time to get acclimatized.
- Whether your cat goes outside or is indoor-only, ensure it is in a separate room on Halloween night and away from activities. Of course, make sure that your feline has food, water, a litter box and everything else it might need. Being cooped up will be easier for your kitty if the room is a “safe zone,” complete with its favorite toy, treat or blanket. Feliway air diffusers might also help to calm your cat down. Be sure to visit the cat frequently so it does not feel punished.
- If you cannot confine your cat to a separate room, make sure it does not dart out when opening the door for trick-or-treaters. If your cat gets outside on a night with increased noise and activity, it may be difficult to get it back inside. Just in case, make sure your cat has proper identification. If your cat does escape, a collar with a tag and/or microchip can increase the chances it will be returned unharmed. Make sure your information associated with the microchip is current
- Keep your cat away from any bowls of Halloween candy. Chocolates of any kind, but especially the dark or baking varieties, can be fatal to cats. Candies that contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol can also cause problems. If you suspect your cat or any pets in your household have ingested anything toxic, please contact the ASPCA poison control hotline at 1-888-426-4435 and your veterinarian immediately.
- Popular Halloween decorations like pumpkins, candles or fake spider webs can be hazardous to your cat. Lit candles can be a burn hazard for a curious cat and a potential fire hazard for your home if your cat knocks it over. Substitute real candles with artificial candles that use batteries to create the same spooky effect without the additional risk. Additionally, anything that dangles is a potential hazard to your cat. Whether it’s fake spider webs, a string of lights or other hanging decorations, remember to keep it out of reach of your cat to prevent accidents or ingestion.
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