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by Fatimah Waseem November 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

It’s the end of another week, but before we head out for the weekend, these were our most read stories this week.

  1. Man Found Unconscious on W&OD Trail Identified
  2. Herndon Police Need Help Identifying Suspect in Burger King Robbery
  3. Nando’s Opens in RTC West Today, Grand Opening Set for Saturday
  4. New Editor Takes Helm at Reston Now
  5. Proposal to Shift $552,000 to Tennis Projects Draws Concern

Feel free to discuss anything of local interest below or send story ideas to [email protected].

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Have a great weekend!

by Fatimah Waseem November 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm 14 Comments

Reston Association’s board of directors passed its $18 million budget Thursday evening. The board set an annual assessment rate of $682, a $10 decrease from last year’s fee.

According to a press release, this year is the first time the assessment has been reduced from the previous year. The assessment rate is calculated based on the bottom line of the capital and operating budget.

The board reinstated most pool hours to 2016 levels, according to the release. The body also directed TA staff to increase non-assessment revenue, which includes proffer and easement income, by 10 percent while cutting operating costs by 5 percent.

The release also noted several “cost-cutting” measures allowed the board to decrease the fee including:

  • Increasing health insurance co-payments for all employees
  • Approving in-house counsel in order to reduce reliance on outside legal services
  • Pay off the loan for The Lake House, which RA purchased two years ago
  • The addition of 429 new residential units that will be a source of additional revenue

The approved capital budget, which allocates $3.5 million for this year and $2.2 million for next year, includes roughly $399,000 for tennis court improvements and $465,000 for boat dock improvements, especially for replacing a dock at lake Anne.

The annual assessment is due by Jan 1. For more information on the budget, visit RA’s website.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor November 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm 3 Comments

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.

It is time to find out what’s back, what’s new and what needs to stay in 2017. These are your top trends for kitchen design in 2018:

French Door Ovens — Love french doors? We have seen the benefits of the french door refrigerators for years. Now, the trend is moving to french door ovens. French door ovens allow you to bake, cook and not bend down to lift that heavy casserole out of the oven.

Induction cooking — This year it is all about being more energy efficient. With many homes in Reston being electric stoves, this is a game changer. Induction cooking cooks things faster and more evenly as it is an electromagnetic field that heats the stovetops evenly while keeping it cool to the touch. With the new magnets stickers, you do not need to buy a whole new set of pots and pans.  

White appliances/slate appliances — Whether you prefer white appliances because they stand the test of time in their stylish design or sleek and easy to clean slate appliances are you a 2018 trendsetter. Something to remember when choosing white verse slate, white reflects lights and makes a smaller kitchen look larger. Slate appliances are known for their smudge-proof surfaces and stand up to constant family use.

Bluetooth connected appliances — Bluetooth connected appliances came into the market in 2015, but in 2018 the appliance companies are taking it to the next level.  GE’s version of Bluetooth, called ChefConnect™, allows its Profile Series range to speak to the microwave, synching up clock times and automatically turning on vents and lights when the cooktop is in use. Just drop the food in the stove and go nap!

Wallpapers that are mixed with geometric prints — Yes! Wallpaper is back and it’s not your grandmother’s wallpaper. Give your space a modern feel by adding classy, colorful or funky geometric shapes on wallpaper. You can do this with a plain wallpaper and geometric art or a focus wall of eye-pleasing mixed colors wallpaper.

Gold, brass, copper faucets and hardware — Metals also takes center stage in 2018. Aged brass, copper and rose gold are hot. If you are not looking for a full update on your kitchen or bathroom, but you want to add some bling? A quick switch of fixtures or hardware will keep you trendy, without breaking the bank.

Dekton –– Looking for a close to perfect countertop? Dekton may be your answer. It is heatproof, scratch and stain resistant. The countertops are made from a proprietary blend of quartz, porcelain and glass. It’s thin and can be used indoor and outdoor even as wall panels.  

Build in and concealed appliances — Save space by adding built-in appliances into your kitchen cabinets with taking counter space. Not happy with appliances colors? Get a panel and hide it. This trend opens new worlds for designs; appliances can now stand alone as a stylish statement piece or disappear into the surrounding cabinetry.   

Steam ovens over microwave cooking — Microwave ovens are so 2017,  so it is time to upgrade to a steam oven. The benefits of steam cooking are cooking quickly like in a microwave but not losing the nutrients and moisture.

Tile — Like microwaves subway tile need to stay in 2017. Shapes and colors are taking over. Stick to Zellige, tainted glass, terra-cotta, geometric cement, grid colored, terrazzo or color penny tiles.

by Fatimah Waseem November 17, 2017 at 11:30 am 23 Comments

All garage parking will be free in Reston Town Center from Saturday through Nov. 26 due to the holiday season.

Garage parking is free on weekends, federal holidays and after 5 p.m. Parking activation is not required.  Street parking is free on Sundays only for up to 2 hours. On weekdays, only the first hour of garage parking is free.

On typical days, garage parking is free on Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. The first hour is free during the rest of the day, with parking activation required from 3:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is free on weekends.

Paid parking went into effect Jan. 3 at RTC, requiring $2-per-hour payment in garages all day Monday through Friday, and $3-per-hour payment for street parking Monday through Saturday.

On June 5, parking became free in garages between 5 p.m. and 3:30 a.m., and one hour of free parking is also offered during the day.

For more information on parking, visit RTC’s website.

by Fatimah Waseem November 17, 2017 at 10:15 am 3 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar. Know of other events in the area? Comment below.

 

by Fatimah Waseem November 17, 2017 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Touching Heart Hosts Movie Watch Party Tonight — The group will host a movie watch party for the release of the movie, “Wonder,” today at 7 p.m. at Bowie Tie Theater. Funds will help fund initiatives to create secure housing facilities for albino children in Tanzania. The movie is based on the New York Times bestseller. [Touching Heart]

Reston-based Company Opens Offices in Mumbai, India — Graphus, Inc., cloud applications cybersecurity company opened a new office in India which will focus on research, development, sales, marketing and expanding the company’s customer base in India. [Graphus, Inc.]

Fairfax Board Offers Same-Day Screening for Mental Health and Substance-Use Concerns — The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board is providing same-day, in-person screening for all ages. Individuals seeking assistance can walk-in without any appointment to the Merrifield Center to address any concerns. [Fairfax County Government]

Mark Your Calendars: Cookies with Santa at The Lake House — Reston Association recently posted a video detailing an event in early December that features cookies with Santa. [Reston Association via YouTube]

by Fatimah Waseem November 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm 4 Comments

As holiday festivities are abound, the 27th annual Reston Holiday Parade is set for Nov. 24 at 11 a.m. The half-mile parade will include Macy’s-style balloon, music, dance, community groups, antique cars and more.

The parade, which takes place along 11900 Market St. will also welcome the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Clause in a horse-drawn garage. Jingle bells will be distributed to people along the route of the one-hour parade.

Between 12:30 and 4:30 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Clause will be available for photos. Mini-train rides will also run during this time.

The Clauses will then participate in a tree lighting and sing along between 6 and 6:30 p.m. Horse drawn carriage rides will also be offered to the community following the lighting until 10 p.m. Proceeds from photos and rides will benefit local charities, according to Reston Town Center.

USA Today readers ranked the parade the fourth best holiday parade in the country last year. The parade has taken place since 1991, rain or shine.

To register as a volunteer, visit RTC’s website.

File photo.

by Fatimah Waseem November 16, 2017 at 2:45 pm 6 Comments

In a draft letter to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Catherine Hudgins, Reston Association President Sherri Hebert has proposed a series of amendments to Reston’s Master Plan, a document that lays out a vision for the planned community.

The suggestions broadly push for more mechanisms to ensure public infrastructure matches the pace of development.

Some have estimated that the Reston Plan will result in more than doubling the current number of residents, not counting increases in employment population and visitor/pass through populations. If commensurate planned infrastructure can no longer be provided, then the level of residential development must be reduced to maintain the balance between land use and infrastructure,” she wrote.

A summary of each recommendation is below:

  1. Add an overall residential population cap that includes affordable housing units and work-force housing.
  2. Clearly state Reston’s village centers, except Lake Anne and Tall Oaks, will have the same land uses as they have today.
  3. Add periodic plan updates that tie specific development milestones with infrastructure improvements. A similar method to condition development on the availability of public infrastructure was included in the Tysons Master Plan.
  4. Request the Reston Network Analysis Advisory Group to review its transportation network analysis assumptions and methodology.
  5. Establish a realistic plan to increase the scope of recreational activities in Reston. The plan should account for space and funding.
  6. Add clearer statements that assertively state infrastructure capacity must increase as new development rather than “lag decades behind.”
  7. Establish a realistic plan for increased school capacity in Reston.
  8. Remove a “grid of streets” road connection between American Dream Way and Isaac Newton Square because it hurts environmentally sensitive areas and the Hidden Creek Golf Course.
  9. Change the dwelling unit density of lands with the high-density multi-family zoning from an unlimited amount to the maximum number of units per acre necessary to accommodate the two parcels that designation covers.

The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive) to discuss the draft letter. The meeting will also be streamed on Reston Association’s YouTube channel.

by Fatimah Waseem November 16, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Two Reston-based software companies are one of the 500 fast-growing technology companies in United States, according to Deloitte’s annual ranking of the country’s fastest growing companies.

The ranking, Technology Fast 500, places LookGlass Cyber Solutions, Inc. at 105th place. The company is involved in the cyber intelligence industry.

GoCanvas came in at 197th place. The technology company provides mobile apps and forms for data collection and sharing. It has one office in Reston and another in Sydney, Australia.

Winners are ranked based on the percent of fiscal year revenue growth between 2013 and 2016. LookGlass Cyber Solutions, Inc. grew to 1,326 percent while GoCanvas grew by 528 percent.

“Winners underscore the impact of technological innovation and world class customer service in driving growth, in a fiercely competitive environment. These companies are on the cutting edge and are transforming the way we do business,” said Sandra Shirai, vice chairman of Deloitte. 

The fastest-growing technology company that snagged the top title was Donuts, Inc, a Washington-passed company that is a global registry for domains. It experience a growth rate of 59,093 percent.

A complete list of rankings is available online.

by Fatimah Waseem November 16, 2017 at 11:30 am 19 Comments

A zoning change to allow for more development and accommodate population growth was discussed during The Kojo Nnamdi show Wednesday — a conversation that painted the ongoing issue as a microcosm of a perennial debate on how to manage development, growth and public infrastructure.

Leslie Johnson, zoning administrator for Fairfax County, said the zoning change, which would increase the population density per acre from 13 to 16, along with a host of other changes that implement the Reston Master Plan, a planning document that lays out the vision for the area, said Fairfax County officials are working hard to ensure development matches the pace of public infrastructure.

She also noted the county is aware of the need to preserve already stable residential neighborhoods that surround areas along the Metro that are targeted for growth.

“We can’t stop development waiting for the roads to be built,” Johnson said, adding that the county recently developed a funding plan for road infrastructure and developers are helping in tandem.

Johnson noted that the zoning change was consistent with master plans adopted in 2014 and 2015. She also said she was encouraged by vehement opposition that surfaced in two community meetings earlier this year.

“It’s a good sign that people are engaged because we get criticized for not engaging enough. I think peoples’ voices need to be heard,” she said.

Nimbyism is not the rallying point for people opposed to the zoning change, according to some residents.

Terry Maynard, co-chair of Reston 20/20, a citizen activist group that is against the proposal, said many people are opposed to the scope of development, not development itself.

Absent adequate public infrastructure for current residents, allowing more population density in pockets in Reston damages residents’ quality of life. He also noted projections about population increases as a result of the zoning change do not account for growth from affordable housing units and bonus density allowed for some developments.

“The Reston Master plan is very weak in defining infrastructure needs for the community in sharp contrast for a similarly-prepared plan for the Tysons area,” he said.

The cart-before-the-house argument has been echoed in community meetings.

But, to some extent, the zoning change is an exercise in how open communities are to change, especially as the county is in “a state of transition” in anticipation of Metro, which the county has been preparing for for the last 20 years, Johnson said.

Amendments to the zoning change are expected. The county is leaving the board with the flexibility to determine what population density between 13 and 16 per acre is most feasible, she said. Johnson also said the county was open to changing the maximum number of residential units allowed per acre.

A round of public hearings are expected to begin early next year.

Virginia, unlike Maryland, is a conditional zoning state, which means it lacks the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, a mechanism that attempts to manage growth by ensuring adequate roads, schools and public facilities are in place as development occurs. APFO laws vary by state and county.

A complete recording of the show is available online

by Del. Ken Plum November 16, 2017 at 10:15 am 12 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.

The recent election in Virginia brought about significant changes in the partisan composition of the House of Delegates. While the election of Dr. Ralph Northam as governor and attorney Justin Fairfax as lieutenant governor along with the re-election of Attorney General Mark Herring kept the executive branch of government in Democratic hands, election results in the 100 House of Delegates districts were dramatically different.

Republicans went into the election with a strong advantage controlling 66 of the 100 seats. It appears with some recounts to take place that they will end up with 51 seats or maybe even tied with Democrats at 50 seats each.

No one that I know predicted such a major shift; some refer to the outcome of the election as a political tsunami. It was not simply that Republicans lost 17 seats when the most optimistic prediction was that Democrats would gain maybe ten or so seats. The majority party went into the election with a 66 to 34 advantage; they ended the election with the possibility of only a one member advantage or depending on the recount of votes a tie with Democrats.

Beyond the number of seats lost, the majority party lost their caucus whip, chairs of three major committees and two members of the Appropriations Committee including one of its conferees. Their caucus chairman seemed to have lost until a transposition of numbers was discovered that allowed him to hang on by a thread.

I served during the term beginning in the year 2000 when a power sharing agreement was reached allowing an evenly split body to go forward with its business. I thought the system worked effectively as there was a process for working together. In such an arrangement there can be an emphasis on solving problems rather than simply getting credit.

Most encouraging during this election cycle was the gain in the number of people voting in the election. The experience over many decades was that about 75% of voters go to the polls in presidential election years and less than 50% in years when the governor is elected. That number increased to about 60% this year.Those people who decided to go to the polls made the difference especially in the House of Delegates races.

A further exciting outcome of this election was the dramatic diversification of the membership of the House that had been dominated by white men throughout its history. Most of the losses of incumbents came about by women candidates defeating them. Not only are there more women, there are two Latino and two Asian women, the first transgender woman, and a lesbian. There will be more diversity in the General Assembly than ever before in its history. The Commonwealth will be better for it.

The challenge will be to bring the new members quickly into the process and embrace the strengths that diversity brings. The institution can accommodate the changes that the bloodless revolution of 2017 brought about to the degree that the leadership will permit it.

by Fatimah Waseem November 16, 2017 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

RA Board of Directors To Set Next Year’s Budget Tonight — Reston Association’s board of directors will meet at 6:30 p.m. at RA headquarters to discuss a broad swath of motions, including capital and operating budgets for next year. The meeting can be viewed live here[Reston Assocation]

Purchase Poinsettias for South Lakes High School Seniors Graduation Party — Decorate your home and office this holiday season with poinsettias. SLHS is raising money to finance an all-night seniors graduation party. Orders must be received by Nov. 21 and will be ready for pick-up from SLHS on Dec. 1. Medium bundles are $15, large bundles are $25 and a hanging basket is $30. [SLHS]

Cleveland Browns Sign Reston Native Deon King to Active Roster — The 6-0, 220 pound second-year player out of Norfolk State was originally signed by Dallas as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in four games for the browns this season while spending five weeks in the practice squad. [247 Sports]

Drones on Parkland: What Do You Think? — The Fairfax County Park Authority is seeking public input on the possibility of expanding the use of drones on county parkland. During the first half of the year, the authority launched an internal study on the topic. Currently, drone pilots can take off and land at Poplar Ford Park only. The authority is considering expanding to other parks. The meeting will take place on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at Oak View Elementary School. [FCPA]

by Fatimah Waseem November 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm 36 Comments

As Reston Association’s board of directors finalize the budget for next year, a proposal by a board member to shift nearly $550,000 from the upkeep of baseball, softball and soccer fields to tennis projects is drawing ire from some Restonians.

Mike Sanio, board secretary and at-large board member is seeking to move $551,780 in funds to help fund eight tennis capital projects, including $514,700 in currently proposed funding for baseball, softball and soccer fields. The remaining $37,080 would come from last year’s deferred dollars.

Sanio urged RA to reprogram funds to fully address “the historic shortage of money” to maintain RA’s tennis courts, noting that the program provided a nearly 74 percent recovery rate for operating costs this year. In an Oct. 30 email, he questioned why RA subsidizes programs that it does not operate, including $155,000 for backstops and fencing at Browns Chapel. The current $127,000 two-year capital budget for tennis largely covers color coating.

“Our core recreational responsibilities are to sufficiently fund swimming, tennis, pathways, playgrounds, multipurpose courts, and lakes. It is not to fund sports run by independent organizations that have their own sources of revenue,” he wrote. 

Local community groups, including the Reston-Herndon Little League, plan to oppose the recommendation. 

“We are very concerned over the potential motion to reprogram funds from baseball, softball and soccer entirely over to tennis. We strongly believe there is enough funds to make sure members of our community can play on safe playing surfaces no matter which activity they choose to partake in. While we have always advocated for baseball fields to be improved, we would never do so at the complete expense of another activity that so many children and members of our community enjoy. We are hopeful that the RA board feels the same way,” said Tim Jones, the league’s president.

The board will meet on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the proposal, which is a fraction of RA’s overall capital and operating budgets. The board is also set to pass those budgets this Thursday.

The board will formally decide on a motion to review each of Sanio’s requests and provide a report to the board about the feasibility of funding prioritized projects to the board by February. Staff noted RA’s capital projects team has not yet reviewed projects suggested by Sanio.

Mike Leone, RA’s director of communications and community engagement, said the board aware of the community’s concerns and noted that final versions of the motions, the draft versions of which are available online, have not been finalized.

By a 3-2 vote in late October, the board approved up to $295,000 in improvements for North Hills tennis courts in response to concerns like limited lightning in the evenings and major cracks that run along the court. White and Bowman voted against the line item.

The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). The meeting will also be streamed on Reston Association’s YouTube channel.

by Fatimah Waseem November 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

Olivia Beckner, a senior at South Lakes High School and state champion in the Liberty District, Region D and CA in cross country, signed with Syracuse University this week.

Beckner led the SLHS girls cross country team to its first district championship since 2001 earlier this year. She also helped the team finish third in the regional games and advance to the state championship.

Just last week, Beckner won the state title after finishing second last year. Beckner has also competed in SLHS indoor and outdoor track and field teams. There, she was named an 11-time All-State competition and was also named to the Washington Post All-Met team.

Beckner’s skill is well-documented in the record books of SLHS. In January, Beckner capped off the regular season with a school record in the mile at the Virginia Showcase Invitational indoor track and field meet in Lynchburg. She ran a 4:45.30 mile.

Photo courtesy of SLHS/Valerie Lister

Pet of the Week: Scully

by RestonNow.com Sponsor November 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm 1 Comment

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

Meet Scully, a domestic short hair and tabby (orange) cat available for adoption locally.

Here is what her friends at Little Buddies Adoption and Humane Society have to say about her:

Scully is a sweet little girl. Loves affection and cuddling. She also enjoys playtime with her many small toys to bat around the floor.

(Note: Little Buddies has adoption events every Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. at Pet Valu in the North Point Village Shopping Center.)

Are you and Scully 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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