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by Fatimah Waseem January 18, 2018 at 11:45 am 1 Comment

Two teenagers have been charged in connection with a robbery and attempted robbery in Sterling last month, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.

Jordan McNally, 18, of Herndon, and a minor from Centreville were charged with robbery and attempted robbery on Friday. McNally was also charged with contributing to the delinquency of the minor.

Deputies believe the teens were involved in two incidents near the 22300 block of S. Sterling Boulevard on Dec. 23.

According to a Dec. 27 report about the incident, two suspects demanded cash from a man and his son as they walked a business in the area. One suspect appeared to brandish a box cutter during the incident.

That same day, the suspects approached a teenager in the same shopping center. One suspect demanded cash while showing a possible firearm in his waistband. A small but undisclosed amount of cash was taken by the suspects, according to the report.

McNally is being held on no bond at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center and the juvenile is being held at the Loudoun County Juvenile Detention Center.

Booking photo of Jordan McNally via Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office

by Fatimah Waseem January 18, 2018 at 11:30 am 5 Comments

Fairfax County officials are pushing back against a move by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to charge for weekend parking at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

Beginning Feb. 5, WMATA plans to charge a $2 fee parking for Metro users who park in the Metro garage or lot on Saturdays. Parking is currently free at the 2,300-space garage, which is owned by Fairfax County.

“Over the past several years, WMATA’s image has been significantly tarnished. Charging for parking on Saturdays, especially when there are so many reasons not to charge, will not improve WMATA’s image,” county staff wrote in a statement.

The county’s Board of Supervisors, which must approve approve parking changes before they are instituted, will consider the matter at a Jan. 23 meeting. The county currently contracts with WMATA to remotely monitor parking garage gates and fare collections while WMATA maintains equipment and processes SmarTrip and credit card payments.

County staff charging fees could decrease weekend ridership — especially when demand for parking is already low on weekends.

“WMATA may actually lose more many from lost rail fares than it gains from the new parking fee,” according to a statement.

Staff listed other reasons to oppose the parking fee:

  • Requires additional costs to maintain equipment and oversee personnel.
  • Discourages new riders, who often try Metro on weekend, from using the service.
  • Is inconsistent with the region’s goal of providing alternatives to single-occupant vehicles.
  • Discourages Metrorail trips, ultimately increasing weekend congestion and air pollution.
  • Makes an already challenging commute for weekend riders — who often deal with delays due to maintenance work on weekends — even harder.

In a statement, WMATA said charging for weekend parking will “allow Metro to maximize utilization of parking facilities without increasing the daily parking rate for Metro customers on weekdays.”

WMATA is also planning to extend the hours of parking fee collections on weekdays — a move the county officials support. Charges for parking will begin at 7:30 a.m. instead of 9:30 a.m. On Fridays, fees will continue through 2 a.m. instead of 1 a.m.

Additional fees collected through the change will generate additional revenue that will help pay off debt service payments on bolds sold to fund additional Metrorail parking. The garage was built by Comstock Partners’ through a public-private partnership with the county.

Comstock’s Reston Station development, a major mixed-use project, sits above the garage.

File photo.

by Del. Ken Plum January 18, 2018 at 10:30 am 3 Comments

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

One of the first tasks in a new session of the Virginia General Assembly is to decide who is going to run the show. In the Senate of Virginia, the decision is made by the voters of the Commonwealth when they elect the Lieutenant Governor whose principal duty is to preside over the Senate. In the House, the Speaker of the House is the presiding officer who is elected by the members of the House.

The political party with the most members has control of the House and elects the Speaker. Republicans control of the House is 51 to 49 this session, a sharp drop in the 66-34 control of recent years. The closeness of the balance of power led to some meaningful discussions that should result in more transparency in the operation of the House.

My interest in becoming the presiding officer of the House by being elected Speaker was well known. Once the two disputed delegate elections where decided in favor of the Republicans there was no way I could reasonably expect to win. Only the Republican who had worked in his party and in the legislature for decades was nominated, and he was elected unanimously. That helped the session get underway in a cooperative spirit. There will be ample opportunity for debate when the many bills that reflect the issues before the General Assembly are considered. 

What does a Speaker wannabe do when his party does not gain control of the legislative body? I have decided for myself that if I cannot be the formal Mr. Speaker of the House of Delegates then I can return to my role as Mr. speaker (small “s”) speaking out on tough issues that some may want to duck, and I can speak out on institutional practices that are not transparent or fair.

In this way, I can best serve my constituents and the long-term interest of the Commonwealth. I can also serve as a mentor to the many new exciting members that are joining the House of Delegates, and I can help to reduce any feelings of intimidation they might be experiencing. Certainly the legislature provides experiences that are not replicated in any other role in life.

The techniques of mass communication through phone calls, postcards, rallies, opinion writings, and other practices that were so successful in helping to get candidates elected can be utilized in the legislative process to help influence the outcome of legislation. I have already been seeing groups shifting from advocacy for individual candidates to advocacy for issues. On issues like expansion of health care and independent redistricting, a strong public voice and advocacy are necessary for success.

There will be more opportunities for the public to follow the legislature in real-time this year than ever before. Video streams of meetings of House Full Committees can be accessed online. Download an instruction sheet at Live Stream Instructions.

You can contact me in Richmond by using regular email, [email protected], or by calling my local telephone number 703-758-9733 that will ring in my Richmond office.

File photo

by Fatimah Waseem January 18, 2018 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

Winter Sky Stargazing on Friday — Join the Walker Nature Center  from 7-8:30 p.m. to learn more about the stars and folklore associated with celestial objects. Individuals, families and couples are welcome. Children must accompanied by a registered adult.  [Reston Association]

Central Services Facility Renovations Continue — In a recent Reston Today video, Garrett Skinner, Reston Association’s director of capital improvement planning and projects, provides an update about renovations to the facility on 12250 Sunset Hills Road. The warehouse facility will be completed by late July. [Reston Today via YouTube]

Reston-based Company Pays $1.7 Million to Settle Overcharged Government Contract — Accenture, which is located in Reston, alerted the government that overcharges were caused by unauthorized purchases of copy toner “surreptitiously” made by a subcontractor on the contract, according to a statement. [U.S. Dept. of Justice]

Flickr pool photo via vantagehill

by RestonNow.com January 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm 9 Comments

Total Wine & More is eying open day at Plaza America.

Hiring has begun for all positions at the beer, wine and spirit purveyor, which will be located on 11620 Plaza America Drive.

Although hiring is in full-swing, a corporate office representative declined to indicate when the store will open. It was expected to open by the end of last year, according to the Washington Business Journal.

“At this time, the exact dates and locales have not been finalized,” the representative wrote in a statement.

The store will replace Staples, which closed in October after opening in 2011.

According to the Total Wine & More website:

Our typical store carries more than 8,000 different wines from every wine-producing region in the world, including more than 2,000 wines not available in any other store. The typical Total Wine & More also carries more than 2,500 beers, from America’s most popular brands to hard-to-find microbrews and imports, and more than 3,000 different spirits in every style and price range.

Total Wine & More is also located in Sterling, Fairfax and McLean.

Photos by Fatimah Waseem

Pet of the Week: Noel

by RestonNow.com Sponsor January 17, 2018 at 1:30 pm 1 Comment

Meet Noel, a Terrier mix puppy available for adoption.

Here is what his friends at Safe Haven Puppy Rescue have to say about her:

Adorable little Noel and her sister Nova are unique pups, a blend of terrier breeds including Boston, Rat and maybe Jack Russell. They are both incredibly adorable 8 week old super sweet little wire-haired terrier mixes that weigh about 5 lbs and we believe will only get to about 30-ish pounds full grown.

Noel is an absolutely delightful, happy, bouncy pup that loves to romp and play, but also loves to curl up for a little love and one on one time. She is truly a natural born lover just like her sister!

The face on both these girls are just priceless…I mean I can’t even begin to tell you what absolutely unbelievably cute faces these sweeties have! Noel loves to be scratched, snuggle up and kiss all over your face every chance she gets!
Noel would love nothing more than a family to love and a home to call her own. Can you give Noel her forever home?

Noel is microchipped, up to date on vaccines and her adoption fee is $355. Thank you for opting to rescue and considering Noel for your next forever pup!

Are you and Noel a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

by Fatimah Waseem January 17, 2018 at 11:00 am 5 Comments

Two suspects in ski masks repeatedly punched a male victim as he walked towards a business in the Dulles Park Shopping Center on Sunday, according to the Herndon Police Department’s weekly press report.

The victim said the suspects used a stun gun on him and stole a red Adidas backpack valued at $60. The suspects fled on foot and the victim was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital.

Police are investigating the incident and issued the following description of the suspects: a black male wearing dark sweatpants, a sweatshirt and red shoes and a white or hispanic male wearing dark sweatpants, a sweatshirt and black shoes.

In a separate incident, Fairfax County police spotted two men attempting to open doors of several cars parked near the 1300 block of Murray Downs Way on Friday at 4 a.m.

One man fled from police, but David Crevontay Pugnitti Webb, a 20-year-old Reston resident, was caught. He was charged with vehicle trespass and obstruction of justice, police said.

FCPD also reported the following crimes over the past week:

LARCENIES: 

2200 block of Astoria Circle, packages from residence

11700 block of Briary Branch Court, camera and wallet from vehicle

2500 block of Centreville Road, beer from business

2300 block of Colts Neck Road, property from business

1400 block of Flynn Court, wallet from vehicle

11900 block of Killingsworth Avenue, wallet from business

11200 block of Lagoon Lane, cash from vehicle

11900 block of Market Street, merchandise from business

11100 block of South Lakes Drive, liquor from business

11400 block of Sunset Hills Road, wallet from business

11600 block of Vantage Hill Road, laptop bag and laptop computers from vehicle

1800 block of Wiehle Avenue, cigarettes from business

STOLEN VEHICLE: 

11900 block of Democracy Drive, 2010 GMC SUV

Anyone with information about any of the crimes reported by FCPD should call 703-691-2131 or 1-866-411-TIPS(8477), or text “TIP187” plus the message to CRIMES(274637).

Photo via FCPD

by RestonNow.com January 17, 2018 at 9:00 am 0

Registration for Reston Youth Triathlon Begins Today — Individuals interested in participating in the race on May 13 can register online at 7:30 p.m. today. Last year’s event included swimming in the heated Ridge Heights pool, biking near South Lakes High School and running on Reston Association paths. [Reston Youth Triathlon]

Clique Expands to Australia — A Dulles-based entrepreneur is expanding his technology company, Clique, to Australia. The company, which has offices in Reston, offers high-definition voice quality where consumers and businesses want it. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

Open House at The Lake House Today — Operating under extended hours, the facility (11450 Baron Cameron Avenue) will be open for community drop-in time from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. Light refreshment will also be available. [Reston Association]

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

by RestonNow.com Sponsor January 16, 2018 at 4:00 pm 14 Comments

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

When Your Cluster Board Won’t Keep Things Up…

Living in a townhouse means that you live in very, very close proximity to your neighbors. It also means that what your neighbors do or don’t do will have an impact on you and on your home’s value.

I recently showed a great townhouse in the Lake Anne area. The place itself was in fairly good shape — it needed some updates but generally it wasn’t too bad. What stopped the buyer wasn’t that the home needed a new kitchen, it was that the areas of the property that are owned in common, the parking lots, sidewalks, retaining walls, large trees and even light poles all needed attention, everything looked under cared for and a little worn.

uneven concreteI started looking more closely; the buyer was right. The asphalt in the parking area was in kind of shabby condition at best, the sidewalks needed power washing, the light poles were peeling, the trees needed trimming and a few significant retaining walls were in bad shape.

The buyer asked me to get information about how the Cluster Board was going to address these issues. The listing agent relayed there was no active plan in place to address any of the issues my buyer identified. End result; the buyer just couldn’t get comfortable with the lack of action on obvious maintenance issues and so decided to keep looking.

Neglecting your property has consequences. Next to location, condition is the next single biggest factor in determining if your property will fetch a price at the top of your market range or at the bottom of your market range. When you live in a townhouse this means that it’s not only the condition of your home that counts; it’s the condition of all of the property you own in common with your neighbors.

So, what do you do when the “powers that be” don’t or won’t take action to address maintenance issues?

I think the first thing to do is to read and understand your Cluster Bylaws and to know your Cluster financials. Most Cluster Bylaws state specifically that the Board is directly responsible for maintaining the commonly owned parts of the property in a way that keeps it safe and that maintains and enhances the property values. It’s important to know your Cluster financials because if the Board has been under reserving, (not saving enough for repairs, replacement and maintenance), the problem is bigger than just inactivity.

The next thing to do is to get involved. Cluster Boards are notoriously over committed. Volunteer to get bids for work that needs doing, organize a Cluster clean up day and be willing to participate on committees. Do not just be a person that complains.

And If That Doesn’t Work…

It’s time for a Coup. Organize your like minded neighbors, identify candidates and get them elected to the Board. In most communities this isn’t too difficult to do. I think that 99% of what doesn’t get done is really a function of inertia and a lack of leadership. (more…)

by RestonNow.com Sponsor January 16, 2018 at 2:00 pm 0

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John V. Berry and Kimberly H. Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Plaza America in Reston that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By Kimberly H. Berry, Esq.

When an employee has been accused of engaging in workplace misconduct, the employer will sometimes conduct an administrative or internal investigation. Some reasons why employers investigate employees include discrimination complaints, threats against others, safety problems and workplace theft.

Purpose of Workplace Investigations

The purpose of workplace investigations is for the employer to gather relevant evidence regarding the employee’s alleged misconduct and determine whether the misconduct warrants a disciplinary or an adverse action (e.g., termination or significant suspension) within the requirements established by law, policy or regulation or with respect to the employer’s own liability.

Occasionally, these types of investigations can lead to a potential criminal investigation. Depending on whether the employer is federal, the District of Columbia, Virginia or involves a private employer, a supervisor or other designated investigator may be asked to conduct an investigation regarding the facts at issue. Employees may then be asked to provide verbal or written responses to questions regarding the alleged misconduct.

Duties to Cooperate

During an investigation, an investigator (often a law firm) will be hired to conduct a workplace investigation. They will review documents related to the investigation and/or interview witnesses, depending on the investigation. Employees, depending on their particular employer, may have a duty to fully cooperate with an assigned investigator or can decline to participate in the investigation unless they are ordered to do so.

For example, federal employees may decline to participate in an administrative investigation if it is voluntary. Refusing to cooperate with an investigation or providing false statements or answers during an investigation can be grounds for disciplinary action. Providing false statements, if made to a federal or other law enforcement investigator, can also subject an employee to potential criminal penalties.

Employer Risks in Not Conducting Investigations

Internal or administrative investigations can also involve risks for the employer. Inadequate workplace investigations may raise questions regarding the accuracy of the results or whether the employee was treated fairly. In addition, the employer may not like what the investigation uncovers and will have an obligation to resolve or address issues, such as a systemic problem or legal impropriety.

Consider Legal Advice if Serious

Prior to providing information to an employer, depending on the severity of the issues under investigation, it can be important for an employee to discuss with an attorney the issues associated with the information being sought by the employer and the employee’s role in the matter being investigated.

An attorney familiar with administrative or internal investigations can provide legal advice to assist an employee in preparation for responding to questions about his or her actions in the matter being investigated. In addition, an attorney, in many circumstances, can often accompany the employee during any investigative interviews.

Our law firm represents and advises employees on employment-related matters in the District of Columbia and Virginia. 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.

by RestonNow.com January 16, 2018 at 12:07 pm 0

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Fairfax County and most of the D.C. area from 9 p.m. through 9 a.m. tomorrow.

Forecasters say around an inch of snow is possible overnight tonight, potentially complicating tomorrow’s morning commute.

The advisory “means periods of snow will
cause primarily travel difficulties,” according to the NWS.

by Fatimah Waseem January 16, 2018 at 12:00 pm 23 Comments

Doug Meeker calls himself a corporate refugee. His son’s diagnosis with autism in 2003 pushed him off the corporate bandwagon and into the launch what he calls a “quest”: Life Sherpa.

The Reston-based app turns smartphones into personal trainers, giving young adults with executive functioning challenges like his 15-year-old son a step-by-step behavioral training program to traverse their day.

The concept is inspired by the Sherpas, an ethnic minority group in Eastern Nepal who have helped travelers like Edmund Hillary — the first person to climb Mt. Everest — navigate the treacherous mountain terrain.

The app’s main objective is to help young adults gain life skills as they transition into adulthood. It has drawn a diverse team of organizers, including members in Romania and India, who are united in their effort to help young adults overcome executive functioning challenges.

“The thing that keeps parents up at night is what happens they become adults. We can teach job skills to this population all day long, but… if they don’t have the basic life skills, it’s very hard to retain the job skills,” Meeker said. “The question comes down to this: How can we help this population gain more self-reliance?”

The app allows caregivers, therapists, counselors, school administrators and other stakeholders involved with the user to remotely monitor and measure their client’s progress.

But Meeker says the app’s goal was never to replace in-person human interaction critical to people’s success.

“What we really want to do is help the innovators scale their efforts. The more we can help them do that, the more we can free up resources to help more kids,” Meeker said.

Close to 100 clients are registered on the platform since its soft launch last in February last year.

Meeker said he believes the app will be successful because it draws on individual’s skills like close attentiveness to detail and the ability to solve complex problems.

The app also generates metrics and analytics to track client’s progress — departing from the days when clipboards and stopwatches were the primary tools for recording progress. Life Sherpa also uses consistent phrases and directions that are critical for successful behavioral therapy, he said.

Meeker hopes the app will continue to help young adults like his son — who is also a cancer survivor — transition into adult life.

“This is a personal quest. It’s all about creating ways for the individual to be independent and still be connecting to the people that are supporting them,” he said.

Photo courtesy of Doug Meeker

by Fatimah Waseem January 16, 2018 at 9:00 am 8 Comments

Grand Opening of Nordine Salon Set for Feb. 1 – Nordine Salon & Day Spa opened late last year at 11389 Reston Station Boulevard after moving from Reston Town Center in 2016. The full-service salon’s grand opening will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. For more information, contact the owner, Nordine Elbassi, at 703-707-6444. [Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce]

Box-A-Rama at Reston Association — Children will have the chance to construct anything they can imagine out of boxes of all sizes on Saturday at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive) from 9 a.m. to noon. Tickets are $10 for Reston residents and $15 for all others. [Reston Association]

Technology Company in Reston Investigates RapeParabon Nanolabs is helping investigators develop a description of a suspect in the rape of a woman last August. The tool, Snapshot, uses phenotyping to determine the suspect’s features through crime scene DNA. [WNPV]

Photo courtesy of Heather Shaw Menis 

by RestonNow.com Sponsor January 12, 2018 at 4:15 pm 0

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

I have just returned from #KBIS18 which is the National Kitchen and Building Show of 2018 in Orlando, Florida. My expertise in creating functional and fabulous small kitchens was what brought me down there, but after being there, my head is buzzing with so many ideas to share with all of you.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my experiences and what I learned from other national and international designers. 

In the meantime, in this week’s post, I am sharing some of my Facebook Live posts so you can see some of the beautiful products out there to help your home not only feel more luxurious, and functional.

Global Designs — It’s a big world out there, and someone has to design it. As a panelist In this workshop, we discuss some of out throughs on how designers can work anywhere thanks to the internet. We also discuss global design has changed the way we think of design in 2018.  Find out my thoughts and ideas on Global Designs here: Here we go guys, going global.

The Galley Kitchen  — The Galley Kitchen can have a big impact on a small kitchen space. Galley Kitchens were created to solve the age old problem of fitting the most functionality into a small kitchen. The brand is known for taking a sink and creating a multi-functional kitchen prep and serving area. You can learn more about The Galley Kitchens here: Tips for small spaces from #Kbis2018

Kitchen Hoods — The trend of kitchen hoods are changing. They are no longer big boxes that are unattractive. They are circular and created to match your kitchen’s style. You can learn more about the different kitchen hoods now offered here: Fabulous Hoods

Showers — What would you do if you had a personal waterfall in your home or brought outside moss indoors? These were the themes of the showers we saw. If waterfalls and nature doesn’t appeal to you, then we also saw some fully functional and beautiful show heads that were all about getting the water pressure for your perfect hot shower. You can see all the shower heads here: Showers! The bold look of KOHLER #kbis2018

Fire Pits — The show had some beautiful fire pits that were a combo of fire pits and waterfalls. Some of the fire pits for your backyard can also have additional seating for guests at your next outdoor event. You can learn more about Fire Pits here: Live from #kbis2018

by RestonNow.com January 12, 2018 at 1:00 pm 0

Before we head off into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

The following articles were the five most-clicked links on Reston Now this past week.

  1. Vehicles Crashes in to Trader Joe’s
  2. Mediterranean Restaurant in Reston Town Center Closes
  3. Thursday Morning Notes
  4. New Details Surface in the Murder of Reston Couple
  5. M & S Grill in Reston Town Center Closes

Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans or anything else that’s happening locally. Our normal publication schedule will resume on Tuesday, barring any breaking news.

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip. Have a great weekend!

Photo via Twitter @stultzat

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