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Del. Ken Plum: A Budget Surplus?

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Newspaper headlines last week declared “State posts surplus of more than $500 million.” Such headlines about a “surplus” in Virginia’s budget appear with some regularity. I checked the meaning of “surplus” the old-fashioned way–in Webster’s Dictionary: “an amount or quantity in excess of what is needed.”

Hardly is the term surplus applicable to Virginia’s current situation. More accurately the excess cash the state had on the day it finalized its books should be termed an unappropriated balance or an amount of revenues received beyond the forecasted amount.

Why is the distinction I am making important? To suggest that the state has a surplus of money over what it needs is to totally discount unmet needs in the state that do not even make their way into budget consideration. It would be nice to have more money than needed allowing all taxpayers to get a refund. It is also important that the state not have to go into debt to meet current obligations.

A full assessment of the cost of government if the state met its clear obligations has never been made to my knowledge. Such an assessment would allow for an honest discussion of whether the state has a temporary receipt of cash beyond what it expected or has a surplus of cash beyond what it needs. I have ranted in this space before about my concern with the misleading way the state handles its budgeting.

I believe one example will make my point that there is no reasonable way the state could be considered to have a surplus when there are such outstanding unmet needs in the areas for which the state has a responsibility–that example is funding for public schools. On the same day that the half-billion dollar “surplus” was announced, The Commonwealth Institute issued a report, “State K-12 Funding in Virginia: Incremental Progress and Opportunities for Long-Term Solutions,” that found that if public schools were funded today at the same level they were in 2009 an additional three-quarter billion dollars would have been provided–all the surplus and about half that amount more.

Instead, school staffing in Virginia has declined by 1,242 positions while enrollment has increased by more than 50,000 students since 2009. A promise by the state to fund fifty-five percent of the cost of public schools with localities picking up the remaining forty-five percent has been flipped with localities having to pick up a much greater amount since the recession. Virginia ranks forty among the fifty states in the state funding it provides for public schools.

This example focuses on the inadequacy of the level of public school funding, but other examples could be given in the areas of mental health services and public health and safety. The conservative approach of forecasting revenue and the tight limitation on spending will keep Virginia with a more than balanced budget. If realistic state responsibilities were factored in, we could have a realistic balanced budget. Instead, we have underfunded programs and services with persons scratching their heads wondering how we could have a surplus with so much more left to do.

File photo

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Thursday Morning Notes

Silver Line delays — Dreaded Red Line maintenance that will shut down two stations until September begins this weekend. The Silver Line will run every 26 minutes this weekend between Wiehle and Ballston only. [DCist]

Nearby: JBG Smith and Amazon — The company, which has several projects in Reston, has benefited from the company’s status as a “perceived frontrunner for Amazon.com Inc’s second headquarters.” So, naturally, unfounded rumors that Jeff Bezos wants to acquire the developer are abound. [The Washington Business Journal]

‘Take a Break’ concert tonight — A mix of a capella, Motown, doo-wop and soul will come to Lake Anne Plaza today from 7-9 p.m. The concert by Part Harmony is free for all ages. [Reston Community Center]

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

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Reston Regional Library to Hold Trivia Night

Reston Regional Library will host a trivia night on books tomorrow (Thursday) from 7-8:30 p.m.

The event is made possible through “The Great American Read” grant from the American Library Association and PBS. The Great American Read an eight-part show that explores the power of reading.

Reston Regional Library is one of 50 libraries in the country selected to receive the grant and host programming around the show.

During tomorrow’s trivia night, individuals are encouraged to form teams with three to five people. The top teams will win book-related prizes.

The event is open to individuals ages 13 and up.

Photo via PBS

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Reston Multicultural Festival

Join us for a celebration that brings together the people of Reston to celebrate our rich medley of cultures. Everyone is encouraged to dress in attire from their own cultural roots and share the stories that we gather on the pathways of our lives. Reston Community Center presents the Reston Multicultural Festival; it is hosted by Lake Anne Plaza and co-sponsored by Reston Association, with partners from a variety of Reston-based organizations and businesses. Rain or shine. Check out www.restoncommunitycenter or call 703-476-4500 for more information.

First Look: Kensington Senior Development’s Assisted Living Facility Attains Design Approval

Kensington Senior Development’s planned assisted living facility is moving forward after receiving county approvals earlier this year.

The 65,000-square-foot building, which will include between two to three stories, is slated to take over existing development at 11501 Sunrise Valley Drive.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the 72-unit project on Feb. 20. Now, the developer has the approval of Reston Association’s Design Review Board.

At a DRB meeting on June 19, the panel sent the design back for revisions, including enhanced screening for the adjacent Wethersfeld Cluster, uniform windows and updates to the building’s color palette similar to initial designs. The DRB approved the project on Thursday.

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Ensure College Success with Strong Time Management and Academic Study Skills

1 in 4 college students don’t return to school after their first year according to research just released by the National Student Clearinghouse.

Many new college students struggle to adapt to the increased demands and pressures on their time, focus and productivity. Strong time management and smart study habits ensure academic success and set up a lifetime of accomplishment.

Completing college is the single most important factor for job security, increased earnings and overall career satisfaction.

Rising college student who attend the August 2018 Academic Success Lab offered by Anchored Focus Consulting master just-in-time, totally-practical tips and tools to defeat distraction, increase productivity and ensure success.

Over the course of three 90-minute sessions participants will examine the differences between high school and college environments, learn the secrets of the course syllabus, set up a calendar system and review useful productivity apps, discover personal energy drivers, and practice important academic skills for note taking, studying, organizing projects and writing assignments and acing tests.

Click here to learn more about Anchored Focus Consulting and get on the right track to college success!

Pet of the Week: Eddie

Becky's Pet Care

This is a sponsored post from Becky’s Pet Care, a professional pet care service in Northern Virginia.

Meet Eddie, a Terrier mix available for adoption locally.

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

This handsome little devil is approximately 3 years young and has the sweetest disposition ever! He’s a small guy, around 13 pounds and is just a joy to be around.

Eddie has done well with all the other canine friends he’s met and just wants to be loved. He is going to make a terrific companion to any human or other canine.

Eddie is fully vetted, including his microchip, vaccinations, neutered and dewormed.

Are you and Eddie 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.

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Art Project by South Lakes High School Students Installed on Lake Thoreau

“Connie’s Quilt,” an art project by students at South Lakes High School, now blankets a portion of Lake Thoreau.

The structure was created by the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) club. It is made of galvanized metal, airplane cables, tubing, connectors and cable ties.

The project aims to represent community connections and the notion that the self-made man does not exist, according to Public Art Reston. Reston Association, Public Art Reston and SLHS partnered to make the project possible.

A series of videos about the project are available online:

Photos via Public Art Reston

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Fairfax County Planning Commission Gives Nod to 36-acre Reston Crescent Project

Brookfield Property’s 36-acre Reston Crescent project will head to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for final approval on July 31.

Despite attempts to improve the developer’s commitment to affordable housing, the project, located on northwest corner of the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive, was given a green light by the Fairfax County Planning Commission on July 12. 

Brookfield’s plan for affordable housing would include 258 workforce housing at 70, 90, and 100 percent of the area median income — a rate lower than the county requirement of 80, 100 and 120 percent. In exchange, the developer wants to reduce its contribution to the county’s affordable housing fund. It plans to provide $2.6 million.

The four-million-square-foot project is the future home of Wegmans. Up to 1,721 residential units, 1.9 million square feet of office space, a hotel and 380,000 square feet of retail are planned on the site. Two existing office buildings will remain.

Brookfield contends it should not have to offer contributions to the housing fund for two existing office buildings on the site which were approved before the current project was filed with the county. Affordable housing contributions are calculated based on the square footage of the project’s non-residential elements.

Hunter Mill District Planning Commission John Carter said he supported the developer’s plan because increasing the level of affordability for residential units helps renters who may not otherwise be able to afford rents at higher percentages of the AMI.

However, staff from the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning said the AMI levels being proposed are similar to current rents of comparable projects in Reston’s Transit Station Area.

“We didn’t feel that the county was really benefitting from the levels being proposed,” said Mary Anne Tsai, a staff coordinator with the county’s Planning Division.

John Ulfelder, the planning commissioner for the Dranesville District, said the commission’s discussion about affordable housing warrants a closer look at the county’s policy. Ulfelder said a frequent concern cited by millennials entering the workforce is the lack of affordability areas in Reston’s Transit Station areas.

“Who are we trying to help with the policy?” Ulfelder said.

Carter also noted the developer has committed to meeting county requirements for the road fund and an athletic field, which will include a practice field and 50 parking spaces at the intersection of the Dulles Toll road and Hunter Mill Road.

The developer’s plan, as proposed, would not sufficiently meet Fairfax County standards at the intersection where the development is planned, according to staff from the Fairfax County Department of Transportation. 

Although Brookfield will alter the grid of streets and has committed to other road and traffic proffers, significant investment in other major improvements that will yield the greatest benefit — a more complex buildout of the grid of streets, the Soapstone Connector, and the Town Center Parkway underpass — is required to ensure the intersection has acceptable levels of service.

Handout via Brookfield Properties

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Need a minute? — Drivers paying tolls on I-66 inside the Beltway can save a lot of money by leaving just a few minutes earlier, according to a new study. [WTOP]

It’s summer restaurant week soon — So far, three restaurants are taking part in the Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week. [Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington]

Nearby: McLean residents push for Beltway on-ramp closure — “The ramp from Virginia Route 193/Georgetown Pike to the Inner Loop, just before the American Legion Bridge into Maryland, would be closed from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.” [WTOP]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Reston Community Center Releases 2018-2019 Lineup for Professional Touring Artists Series

Reston Community Center has released its 2018-2019 lineup for its Professional Touring Artists Series.

Ticket sales will open to Reston residents and employee within Small District 5 on August 1. Proof of residence of employment status may be required. Sales will open to the general public on August 8.

Box office business hours are from 4-9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and on Saturday from 1-5 p.m. The box office also opens two hours before the curtain time for each performance.

This year’s lineup includes a mix of old and new professionals, including DeRay Mckesson a civil rights activist.

“From world-renowned authors to dance nights with the stars, from sensational jazz concerts to hysterical stand-up comedy, from a Broadway legend to an opera diva  – the CenterStage couldn’t be more diverse or more timely,” said RCC Director of Arts and Events Paul Douglas Michnewicz.

The complete lineup, provided directly from RCC, for the 2018-2019 season is after the jump.

Photo via RCC

2018 National Heritage Award Fellows at the Reston Multicultural Festival

Saturday, September 22, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (performance times vary)

Lake Anne Plaza (Free and open to the public)

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) National Heritage Fellowships are the nation’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts. Fellows this year are Carolyn Mazloomi, African-American quilter, and Eddie Bond, Appalachian old time fiddler.

Mazloomi’s quilts have been exhibited in venues such as the National Civil Rights Museum and the Renwick Gallery. Her quilts often reference African-American history as well as African ancestry. Bond is an Appalachian old time fiddler and lead vocalist for the New Ballard Branch Bogtrotters, which derives its name from the original Bogtrotters, the famous Galax, VA-area band of the 1930s.

The Bad Plus: Never Stop II

Sunday, September 30, 7:00 p.m. ($20 Reston/$30 Non-Reston)

The Bad Plus came together at the end of the 20th century and has avoided easy categorization ever since, winning critical hosannas and a legion of fans worldwide with their creativity, unique sound and flair for live performance. 

Armistead Maupin, Best-selling author and LGBTQ activist

Sunday, October 21, 7:00 p.m. ($20 Reston/ $30 Non-Reston)

Armistead Maupin’s iconic Tales of the City series has blazed its own trail through popular culture. His new book is a memoir titled Logical Family, which grew out of his critically acclaimed one-man show of the same name and can be purchased prior to and after the performance. (Recommended for adults ages 18 and older; younger audience members must be accompanied by a parent or guardian).

Dr. Robert Sapolsky, acclaimed author, stress expert, biologist and neuroscientist

Wednesday, November 7, 8:00 p.m. ($20 Reston/ $30 Non-Reston)

Dr. Sapolsky is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and a research associate with the Institute of Primate Research at the National Museum of Kenya. He lectures widely on topics as diverse as stress and stress-related diseases, baboons, the biology of our individuality, the biology of religious belief, the biology of memory, schizophrenia, depression, aggression and Alzheimer’s disease. His book Behave can be purchased prior to and after the performance.

Holiday Gospel Extravaganza with The Legendary Ingramettes

Sunday, November 25, 3:00 p.m. ($15 Reston/ $20 Non-Reston)

Known as the First Family of Gospel Music in Richmond, VA, The Ingramettes’ commanding performances demonstrate their extraordinary depth of talent in American gospel music. The Ingramettes have received numerous awards, including the prestigious Virginia Heritage Award, and recently performed at the Virginia Folklife Festival and the Library of Congress.

Happy Vaudeville Holidays with Mark Brutsché

Saturday, December 1, 11:00 a.m. ($5 Reston/ $10 Non-Reston)

With Christmas just around the corner, Santa has gone missing! His elves are on the hunt, but can they find him before it is too late? Join “Mr. Vaudeville and Friends” in this hilarious adventure filled with music, mayhem and laughter for an afternoon of holiday-spirited fun. 

Lúnasa Christmas from Ireland with Special Guest Singer Ashley Davis

Saturday, December 15, 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. ($25 Reston/ $35 Non-Reston)

Internationally acknowledged as one of the finest traditional Irish instrumental bands, Lúnasa has performed across the globe since 1997. Featuring guest singer Ashley Davis and dancers, the band and their guests will create a musical, spoken word and entertainment tapestry taking the audience back to the Irish homeland in the days leading up to Christmas.

From Here to There: An evening with opera diva Elizabeth Bishop

Sunday, December 16, 7:00 p.m. ($15 Reston/$20 Non-Reston)

Critically acclaimed mezzo-soprano and Reston resident Elizabeth Bishop will present a thrilling evening on the theme of journeys, singing music from opera, classical song repertoire and American folk standards.

Reston Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration Keynote Address and Community Lunch

DeRay Mckesson, Civil Rights Activist, author of The Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope

Monday, January 21, 12:00 p.m. ($5 Reston/ $10 Non-Reston)

Spurred by the death of Michael Brown and the subsequent protests in Ferguson, MO, DeRay Mckesson has become a leading voice in the effort to confront the systems and structures that lead to the mass incarceration and police killings of black and other minority populations.Mckesson’s newly released book On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope will be available for purchase before and after his keynote address, and the author will sign books following the community lunch.

Dabke, choreographed by Zvi Gotheiner, in collaboration with dancers

In partnership with Dance Place

Thursday, February 7, 8:00 p.m. ($20 Reston, $30 Non-Reston)

Dabke is based on a Middle Eastern folk dance, a line dance often performed at weddings, holidays and community celebrations. This beautiful, modern interpretation of this cross-cultural favorite explores themes of solidarity, tradition and the universal nature of dance. After the performance, learn how to do the dabke in our Community Room, when the performers become your teachers as we all celebrate community through dance.

An evening with Broadway legend Baayork Lee

Saturday, February 9, 8:00 p.m. ($15 Reston/$20 Non-Reston)

From her Broadway debut in The King and I  to starring in the original production of A Chorus Line, Baayork Lee has worked alongside some of the most famous musical theatre artists of the past 70 years. Spend an evening with this delightful Broadway veteran as she discusses sustaining a creative career, her intergenerational work with the National Asian Artists Project and the state of Broadway today.

Yumi Kurosawa with special guest Anubrata Chatterjee

Wednesday, February 13, 8:00 p.m. ($15 Reston/$20 Non-Reston)

Koto visionary Yumi Kurosawa teams up with world-renowned tabla player Anubrata Chatterjee for a romantic program that brings together two exciting musical traditions, bridging the cultures of Japan and India.

Ranky Tanky

Sunday, March 3, 7:00 p.m. ($20 Reston/$30 Non-Reston)

Ranky Tanky released their eponymous debut in October of 2017. By December of that year, their album had soared to the No.1 position on theBillboard, iTunes, and Amazon Jazz charts. From playful game songs to ecstatic shouts, from heartbreaking spirituals to delicate lullabies, the “Gullah” musical roots of Charleston, SC, are “rank” and fertile ground from which these contemporary artists are grateful to have grown.

Contra-Tiempo presents: joyUS justUS

In partnership with Dance Place

Thursday, March 14, 8:00 p.m. ($20 Reston/$30 Non-Reston)

With an invigorating blend of physically intense and socially astute interpretations that push the boundaries of Latin dance as an expressive cultural and contemporary form, Contra-Tiempo brings salsa back to its roots as a mode of expression for the struggles of the working class. Learn how to salsa in the Community Room after the performance, where the performers become your teachers as we all celebrate the communal nature of dance.

Reduced Shakespeare Company’s The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged) [revised]

Wednesday, March 27, 8:00 p.m. ($25 Reston/ $35 Non-Reston)

Join these madcap men in tights as they weave their wicked way through all of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories and tragedies in one wild and memorable ride that leaves audiences breathless and helpless with laughter. In the spirit of Shakespeare himself, RSC shows contain some occasional bawdy language and mild innuendo. All children (and parents) are different, so we’ve chosen to rate our shows PG-13: Pretty Good If You’re 13.

Jazzmeia Horn

Saturday, March 30, 8:00 p.m. ($20 Reston/ $30 Non-Reston)

Jazzmeia Horn has a name that speaks for itself, capturing her very essence. With vocal confidence far beyond her years, the young singer arrives with a debut recording that serves as a clarion call proudly announcing the arrival of a confident musical talent with a bright future ahead of her, blessed with a name that carries its own destiny.

Liner Notes: A Musical Journey Through Hip-Hop’s Many Intersections

Sunday, April 7, 3:00 p.m. ($15 Reston/$20 Non-Reston)

This electrifying show combines live music, poetry and a multimedia design that enhances a medley of your favorite jams while bringing together generations of music lovers. Collide with music’s past and present through hip-hop samples and actual liner notes from your favorite LPs. featuring Paige Hernandez, Baye Harrell, Akua Allrich and Kris Funn’s Corner Store Jazz Quintet.

Trout Fishing in America

Saturday, April 13, 3:00 p.m. ($5 Reston/ $10 Non-Reston)

Trout Fishing in America is an eclectic folk/rock band best known for perceptive, funny and delightful music that has earned them a place in the hearts of kids and parents everywhere. 

Still Standing: A Musical Survival Guide to Life’s Catastrophes

with Anita Hollander, actress and disability rights activist

Wednesday, May 8, 8:00 p.m. ($15 Reston/ $20 Non-Reston)

Anita Hollander has established a highly successful career in New York and regional theatre, television and film despite having lost her leg to cancer. Still Standing has been presented at the Kennedy Center, The White House, Off-Broadway, Walt Disney World, throughout the United States and Russia. Stay afterward and learn about her views on disability as it’s depicted in modern media and theatre.

ETHEL with guest artist Robert Mirabal present

The River

Sunday, May 26, 7:00 p.m. ($15 Reston/$20 Non-Reston)

ETHEL and Robert Mirabal, Native American musician, instrument builder and three-time GRAMMY® Award winner, present their next evolution of the cross-cultural concert experience. The inspiration this time is “Water as the embodiment of Spirit, and its essential role in Life on Earth.” As delivered by these master performers, the effect is breathtaking, even ecstatic. Arrive early at 6:15 p.m. for a pre-show conversation with Robert Mirabal.

An Evening with Nancy Giles, CBS news commentator and comedian

The Accidental Pundette: Musings, Complaints, Shrieks and Sighs on American Politics

Saturday, June 1, 8:00 p.m. ($25 Reston/$35 Non-Reston)

For more than 14 years, Giles’ work on the Emmy Award-winning CBS Sunday Morning has received acclaim for its unique blend of common-sense wisdom, laugh-out-loud humor, and social and political commentary. 

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