South Lake Drive Park basketball court (courtesy of Fairfax County Park Authority)

The Fairfax County Park Authority is seeking feedback from residents on proposed improvements to the basketball court at South Lakes Drive Park in Reston.

Below is a list of the proposed improvements, according to the park authority’s website.

  • Repaving the court surface
  • Installing perimeter paneling and gates
  • Adding combination futsal/basketball goals
  • Constructing an ADA accessible pathway

The improvements at 11951 South Lakes Drive are part of a broader initiative to meet the increasing demand for sports facilities across the county, per the county’s website.

“The Park Authority is committed to improving recreational opportunities for a diverse array of recreational opportunities, including relatively young sports with a rapidly growing interest such as pickleball and futsal,” spokesperson for the park authority Ben Boxer told FFxnow.

Earlier this month, the park authority announced that the basketball court at McLean Central Park is also undergoing renovations.

According to Boxer, the upgrades are financed through multiple channels, including park authority maintenance budgets, ARPA funds, grants and additional third-party sources.

The survey, which was published last week, will remain open until 5 p.m. on May 10.

Read more on FFXnow…

Earn top dollar with full benefits!

When you join the Electrical Alliance, you get to contribute to the biggest projects in the area, all while earning top dollar and employer paid benefits.

As an Electrical Alliance worker, you get:

  • Salary Range $11.50 — $54.00/Hour
  • Paid Apprenticeship
  • Continuing education to advance within the industry
  • Safer working conditions and top-tier safety training
  • Full Family medical care, eye care, dental care, and EAP programs
  • Paid time off
  • Employer Paid Retirement Benefits: Pensions and Annuity

The preceding sponsored post was also published on

Written by Mina Lucks, Synergy Design & Construction

While adopting sustainable changes may seem overwhelming at first, taking small and intentional steps in our interior environment is an easy way to care for our outdoor environment. 

In this blog, we explore the use of sustainable practices and eco-friendly materials that harmonize with modern design trends. 

Repurpose and Reimagine

By choosing to remodel, you’re already making a positive impact! Preserving and restoring an existing home is a more sustainable option compared to buying or constructing a new house. 

During your remodel, embrace creativity and think outside the box. Consider switching up items’ functions or giving them new life in another space. Maybe the living room lamp would work better in the kid’s room, or instead of discarding old sinks and towel racks, repurpose them into unique pieces for your garden, such as plant holders. 

Once you know you’re ready to part with something, try giving it to a friend, donating, or recycling before sending things to the landfill. There are many great resources to choose from — these are several of our go-to’s: 

Eco-Friendly Materials  

Modern design offers a wide range of eco-friendly materials that achieve wonderful quality and aesthetics.  

Popular sustainable materials include reclaimed wood, recycled glass, bamboo, and so much more. You might be surprised by options like countertops made with post-industrial scrap waste and recycled paper. Not only are these materials stunning, but they also offer a great alternative to granite, which is non-renewable and fossil fuel-heavy due to long-distance transportation. 

Even paint choices can have environmental and health impacts. Opting for low or zero-VOC paints instead of traditional ones reduces air pollutants and promotes a healthier indoor space. Low VOC paints, with lower concentrations of harmful chemicals, are especially beneficial for children, the elderly, and those with asthma or allergies. 

Sustainable Practice of Embracing Natural Light 

Embracing natural light is a sustainable practice that doesn’t require a full-scale renovation. 

If you’re ready for a more transformative remodel, replacing windows without mullions is a popular trend that increases light in a space. Look at this before and after to notice the change! 


You can also consider taking down walls to open an area and flood it with daylight, reducing the need to use your lights. This enhances the sense of openness and interconnectedness throughout your home. 

Check out how we removed a fireplace wall to create an open-concept space with abundant natural light and better connection to the backyard. 


Create a Sustainable Home with Synergy 

Eco-friendly materials and practices and modern living go hand in hand, and we encourage you to take an active role in planning for a sustainable future! 

If you’re looking for guidance, Synergy Design and Construction’s Founder and Certified Green Professional, Mina Lucks, has the expertise to help you navigate the world of sustainable design. 

Reach out today to get started with Synergy!  

The preceding sponsored post was also published on

Fairfax County Courthouse (staff photo by James Jarvis)

An au pair linked to a fatal shooting last year in Herndon has been officially charged with murder.

On Monday (April 15), a grand jury indicted Juliana Peres Magalhaes, a 23-year-old live-in au pair from Brazil, on charges of second-degree murder and use of a firearm, according to a press release from Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano.

Magalhaes was arrested last year for her alleged involvement in the fatal shooting of 39-year-old Joseph Ryan at the Herndon home of her employers, Christine and Brendan Banfield.

Christine Banfield was allegedly killed by Ryan, who reportedly stabbed her. The nature of the relationship between Ryan and Christine Banfield remains unclear, though it has been suggested they may have been having an affair.

At a preliminary hearing last month, a Fairfax County judge ruled there was sufficient evidence for Peres Magalhaes’ case to proceed to trial.

During the hearing, prosecutors proposed that the deaths of Ryan and Christine Banfield may have been part of a conspiracy involving Peres Magalhaes and Brendan Banfield, who were allegedly also having an affair at the time.

The evidence presented at the hearing included several framed photographs of Brendan Banfield and Juliana Peres Magalhaes embracing, along with a woman’s robe hanging off a dresser, all found in Brendan Banfield’s bedroom seven months after the shooting, at the time of Peres Magalhaes’ arrest.

Prosecutors also alleged that Brendan Banfield and Peres Magalhaes visited a shooting range in Ashburn a few months before the incident and had replaced their personal cell phones just days before the shooting. Brendan Banfield returned to the range a month later to purchase a handgun, though it has not been confirmed if it was used on Ryan.

According to prosecutors, Brendan Banfield initially shot Ryan after he allegedly saw him stab his wife. Peres Magalhaes then allegedly shot Ryan a second time, resulting in his death. Prosecutors argued that the second shot was unwarranted as Ryan was already incapacitated after the first shot.

Peres Magalhaes has not been convicted. Instead, a majority of grand jurors, distinct from a trial jury, agree with the judge that there is sufficient evidence to advance her case to trial.

A trial date is expected to be set on Thursday, April 18.

Read more on FFXnow…

The Red Bird is now serving up six tiers of hot chicken in Reston.

The halal hot chicken chain has joined the roster of restaurants in South Lakes Village Center (11120 South Lakes Drive) after opening its first Northern Virginia franchise location in Vienna five months ago.

The Red Bird did not respond to a request for comment by press time. The company has previously said it also has plans to open in Arlington, Falls Church and Ashburn.

The Reston location is currently open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., while the Vienna spot (282 Cedar Lane) is open until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday (and until 9 p.m. on Sunday).

The chicken sandwiches and tenders range from mild to extra hot and comes with a three-inch potato roll.

The chain aims to serve a range of diners, from a college student to a “big-time baller,” per its website. Its sandwich is priced at $4.99, and a single tender goes for $3.29.

Hot chicken, which was first popular in Black communities in Nashville, has seen increased prevalence in recent years.

South Lakes Village Center also features Mediterranean bistro Cafesano, Lakeside Asia Cafe, Red’s Table and a Chipotle. The Red Bird was expected to open in February, per the shopping center’s Facebook page.

South Lakes Village Center is also in the midst of a spring concert series. This Saturday (April 20), acoustic duo Duck Chuck Goose will perform from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Photo via VARedBird/Instagram

Read more on FFXnow…

Morning Notes

‘That Thing” quesadilla from Taco Bamba at Fair Lakes (courtesy of Greg Powers)

5 Fairfax Restaurants nominated for RAMMY awards — “Fairfax City-area restaurants are among the finalists for the 2024 RAMMYs, the regional restaurant and food service awards held by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW).” [Patch]

Ribbon cut on new Vietnam exhibition at George Mason University — “To mark the beginning of a broader academic connect between George Mason University and leading universities in Viet Nam, the Costello College of Business at George Mason University and University Libraries officially opened a special exhibition…” [GMU]

Fairfax County school making prom season more affordable — “Schick and the students’ efforts have resulted in the shop now offering students plenty of choices, with the chance to take home a dress for free. The shop has become so big that it’s attracting kids from D.C., Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, she said.” [WTOP]

It’s Tuesday — Expect a mostly sunny day with a high around 75 and a northeast wind at 6 mph, shifting to the south in the afternoon. Tuesday night brings a 40% chance of showers after 2am and a mostly cloudy sky with a low of 56. The south wind will persist at 6 mph. [NWS]

Andy’s Pizza hiring for new location in Point 50 shopping center — “A ‘We’re Hiring’ sign has been placed on the front of the Andy’s Pizza location in the Point 50 shopping center, an indication that the restaurant may soon be opening in the former home of Matchbox Pizza.” [Patch]

Read the comments

Approaching storms on the radar as of 2 p.m.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has just been issued, as some strong storms approach Fairfax from the northwest.

Fairfax, the District and other neighboring counties — as well as points west, south and east — are all covered by the watch, which is in effect until 10 p.m.

The National Weather Service says large hail, frequent lightning, and scattered wind gusts up to 70 mph are possible with the storms that are developing.

The earliest arriving storms can currently be seen on radar, over Loudoun and Montgomery counties.

More, below, from NWS via social media.

Read more on FFXnow…

Firefighters at Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Station 25 shared a cheeky message welcoming the new bridge at the Washington and Old Dominion Trail.

“We Wiehle like this new bridge,” said a note on the message sign outside the fire station.

Construction on the 147-foot-long bridge started in March 2023 and the new pedestrian bridge was installed this weekend over Wiehle Avenue. The new bridge replaced an at-grade crossing over the street.

While the bridge is now in place, it isn’t scheduled to open for use until mid-June.

Photo via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department/Facebook

Read more on FFXnow…

A home-based golf instruction facility is planned in Great Falls (image via Google Maps).

A home-based golf instruction facility is coming soon to a half-acre of land on 1051 Kelso Road in Great Falls.

Next Level Golf — a local golf instruction company — hopes to open a golf instruction facility that “fosters golf development for individuals of all backgrounds and abilities, including veterans, individuals with PTSD, disabilities and juniors/adults interested in the sport,” according to the application, which was filed last week.

The company plans to install a green and bunker area for golf lessons. The applicant emphasized that that the company has no intention of installing a driving range or golf course — only a specialized facility focused “solely on golf development activities.”

“The utilization of the land will not pose any harm or distraction to neighboring properties, streets, or roads, and will maintain the agricultural stability of the area. The proposed short game area will span approximately 1/2 acre and will be designed specifically for putting, chipping, and pitching practice within a designated 15,000 square foot area. No chemicals other than those required for normal lawn maintenance will be used, ensuring minimal environmental impact and preserving the integrity of the soil,” the application states.

Next Level Golf also plans to use a portion of a home’s garage — roughly 700 square feet — to install golf simulators that allow indoor training options.

The addition requires a special permit and special permit amendment. The application is in the early stages of the county’s review process and has not yet been formally accepted for review.

Image via Google Maps

Read more on FFXnow…

Live Fairfax is a bi-weekly column exploring Fairfax County. This recurring column is sponsored and written by Sharmane Medaris of McEnearney Associates. Questions? Reach Sharmane at 813-504-4479.

Spring is a magical time in the D.C. Metro area, where cherry blossoms bloom, temperatures warm up, and outdoor activities abound.

Whether you’re a local Fairfax resident aspiring to become a D.C. tourist or just ready for some spring fun around the area, there are plenty of exciting things to do and explore during this vibrant season.

Become an Outdoor Explorer

Take advantage of the mild weather to explore the region’s parks and outdoor spaces. Visit Great Falls Park for breathtaking views of the Potomac River and hiking trails, or head to Shenandoah National Park for a day of scenic drives and wildlife spotting. Additionally, local parks like Burke Lake Park, Rock Creek Park, and Theodore Roosevelt Island offer serene settings for picnics and outdoor recreation near Fairfax County.

Become the Historian of the Family or a Museum Junkie

Spring is an ideal time to explore the area’s wealth of museums and historic landmarks. In Fairfax County check out the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center, Reston Museum, Lucy Burns Museum, Gunston Hall, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate.

Of course, you can also wander through world-class museums in D.C. that are free, such as the National Museum of American History and the National Gallery of Art, to immerse yourself in art, culture, and history. Don’t forget to visit iconic landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Capitol Hill for a glimpse into the nation’s past and present.

Outdoor Dining and Farmer’s Market Guru

Indulge in the diverse culinary scene of Northern Virginia and D.C. by dining al fresco at local restaurants and cafes. Many establishments offer outdoor seating options, allowing you to savor delicious meals while soaking up the sunshine. Additionally, explore the vibrant farmers’ markets in the area, such as Mosaic, Fairfax City, Reston, Eastern Market and Dupont Circle, to sample fresh produce, artisanal goods, and gourmet treats.

Outdoor Festivals and Events

Spring brings a flurry of festivals and events to the region, celebrating everything from music and art to food and culture. Attend the Virginia Gold Cup, a beloved horse racing event held in May, or explore neighborhood festivals like the Manassas Spring Carnival, Earth Day Fairfax, Shipgarten’s Sour & Gummies Festival, and Reston StreetFest. Check local event calendars for the latest happenings and plan your spring itinerary accordingly.

With its array of outdoor activities, cultural attractions, and culinary delights, spring in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. offers something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re admiring flowers blooming, exploring historic landmarks, or indulging in local cuisine, make the most of this season in our area!

Sharmane Medaris | Live Fairfax | | [email protected] | @soldbysharmane | 813-504-4479 | 374 Maple Avenue Suite 202, Vienna, VA 22180

The preceding sponsored post was also published on

Reston Association (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

New members of Reston Association’s Board of Directors officially took over following the first board meeting after the election.

The new board formally elected its officers following a month-long election and annual meeting this week, where the results were announced.

Izzy Santa and Jalal Mapar will fill two vacant at-large seats on the board, beating out Darin Skelly for the three-year position.

Incumbent Jennifer Jushchuk — who ran unopposed for the South Lakes District seat — was reelected with no fanfare.

Margaret Perry, also an incumbent, triumphed over Carolina Mejia and Lynda McCann-Ovington to serve a two-year term for the apartment owners’ position.

Mapar was formally named board president — a position previously held by John Farrell.

At last night’s meeting, Mapar urged the board to set aside personal agendas and maintain its responsibility to the community.

“We need to put our personal agendas aside and focus on working as a team to serve the community. We all need to do this together,” he said.

Robert Petrine stepped down from the board at the conclusion of his term but accepted the nomination to continue to serve as the board’s treasurer. 

Read more on FFXnow…


Subscribe to our mailing list