FCDOT Seeking Locals’ Input for Fairfax County Parkway Changes

Locals in Reston will have a chance to provide feedback this week to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) on a study looking at the Fairfax County Parkway from Route 7 to Route 1.

FCDOT is working with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) on the “Fairfax County and Franconia-Springfield Parkways Alternatives Analysis and Long Term Planning Study,” which stretches 31 miles and consists of 83 intersections and 17 interchanges.

Some questions that the study wants to address include:

  • the degree to which existing intersections should be considered for conversion to interchanges or under/overpasses
  • how transit should be integrated into the corridor
  • whether tolling and or HOV lanes on the parkways should be planned
  • bicycle/pedestrian mobility

Ultimately, the study will provide recommendations for 2040 and beyond and will consider whether or not changes should be made to the county’s current transportation plan.

The meeting is set to take place on Thursday (March 28) at the Armstrong Elementary School (11900 Lake Newport Road).

The meeting will start with a presentation at 7 p.m. followed by a question and answer period at 7:30 p.m. and time for public input activities at 8 p.m. The Reston event is one of three public information sessions — the other two are at Fairfax and Springfield.

Locals will be able to give their feedback to the FCDOT study team in person. For people unable to attend the meeting, FCDOT will upload the meeting presentation to the study webpage by Thursday, April 4, and accept feedback through an online survey until midnight on Monday, May 6.

The input is meant to guide the study team to determine which improvements will be developed for screening and testing.

Courtesy via VDOT

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Jazz Singer Jazzmeia Horn Talks Upcoming Album Ahead of CenterStage Show

Ahead of her tour stop at Reston Community Center, Grammy-nominated jazz singer and songwriter Jazzmeia Horn shared with Reston Now details on her upcoming album and when Restonians can expect to see her again.

Horn told Reston Now her 2017 album “A Social Call,” which earned her a Grammy nomination in 2018, was a bold, political statement. Her next album “Love and Liberation” will explore how the act of love is a liberating choice, adding that listeners can expect some love songs.

Horn’s own self-love story came from accepting her deeper voice. Now, she wants to encourage her daughters to embrace their individuality.

The album is set to debut this summer.

Horn is also working on plans for a world tour. While she said she doesn’t think she’ll back at RCC this year, Restonians might see her next year on the second half of her tour.

She is set to perform on CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road) at 8 p.m. on Saturday (March 30). Tickets cost $20 for Restonians and $30 for everyone else.

“I want everyone to have a great experience — to have an openness and to enjoy the music and be free,” Horn said.

Photo by Jacob Blickenstaff

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Town of Herndon’s Spring Clean-Up Week Begins Soon

Now that winter is gone, the Town of Herndon has made plans for its annual spring clean-up.

The town-wide spring clean-up week is set to run from Monday, April 8, to Friday, April 12. Residents will be able to discard large or bulky items on the curb for pick-up on their scheduled trash collection day.

Items that will get picked up include:

  • appliances without their doors
  • furniture
  • vehicle parts and plumbing fixtures under 50 pounds
  • tires
  • some smaller building materials

Residents should not place loose yard waste, auto parts weighing more than 50 pounds, large quantities of building materials, brick, electronics and household hazardous waste outside — those items will not get picked up.

Photo via Google Maps

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Legal Insider: Types of Leave for Virginia Employees

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

By John V. Berry, Esq.

This article covers the availability of different forms of leave for Virginia private sector employees under Virginia law.

Vacation or Annual Leave

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, private sector employers are not required to provide employees with vacation or annual leave benefits, whether they are paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide this type of leave to employees, however, it must comply with the terms of the employer’s established policy or employment contract.

A private sector employer must pay an employee for accrued annual/vacation leave upon separation from employment if its policy or contract provides for such payment. The courts in the Commonwealth of Virginia have not provided much guidance with respect to leave rights, so an employer is generally free to mostly develop their own annual leave/vacation leave policy.

This means that even if there is a vacation/annual leave policy, the employer could make it a “use or lose” policy or deny payment of annual leave if the employer’s policy is silent on the issue.

Sick Leave

There is no requirement for employers to provide private sector employees with sick leave benefits, whether they are paid or unpaid under Virginia law. However, if an employer chooses to provide sick leave benefits to employees, it must comply with the terms of the employer’s established policies or applicable employment contract.

That said, an employer in Virginia is still subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other federal laws regarding sick leave that must be given to an employee. Generally, under FMLA, the federal law provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year.

Bereavement Leave

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the law does not require private-sector employers to give  employees bereavement leave. Bereavement leave is taken by an employee usually due to the death of a close relative.

An employer may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice it maintains. Generally, however, there is no entitlement to bereavement leave.

Holiday Leave 

In terms of holiday leave, Virginia law also does not require private employers to provide this type of leave to employees. This applies to both paid and unpaid leave. In fact, Virginia employers can require an employee to work holidays.

A private-sector employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular pay rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under the governing overtime laws (e.g., Fair Labor Standards Act). If an employer chooses to provide either paid/unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of their established policy or employment contract.

Jury Duty Leave

In Virginia, a private sector employer is not required to pay an employee for time spent on jury duty. However, there is a provision of the Virginia Code which makes it against the law for an

employer to discharge or take any other adverse action against an employee for jury duty service if the employee has given reasonable notice of their required service.

In addition, an employer cannot require an employee to take sick, annual or vacation leave when responding to a jury summons or service on the jury if reasonable notice to the employer has been given.

Military Leave

Similar to federal law, under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), Virginia has laws that protect the employment status of the men and women who serve in the armed forces.

Virginia law prohibits employers from discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee because he or she is a member of the Virginia National Guard, Virginia State Defense Force or naval militia. The Virginia law covers all public and private employers, regardless of size. An employer that violates this provision can be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Voter Leave

The Commonwealth of Virginia does not have a law that requires an employer to grant its employees leave, paid or unpaid, to vote. This should be changed, in the author’s opinion, but that is the case today. However, Virginia law does require an employer to provide an employee time off to serve as an election officer if the employee has given reasonable notice of the need for leave.

Such leave need not be paid by the employer. The leave does not need to be paid. A Virginia employer that fails to allow an employee to take time off to serve as an election officer can be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Conclusion

If you are in need of employment law advice or assistance, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Missing Endangered Older Adult

A 72-year old woman from Reston has been missing for over a month; a report has been filed with Fairfax County. If you have seen Candace Noonan or know anything about her whereabouts, please report it to the Fairfax County police at 703-556-7750 or 703-246- 7800 (Detective Thornton; Case # 2019-0380061).

Weird Brothers Coffee Saving Coffee Grounds for Gardeners

Weird Brothers Coffee is saving up its coffee grounds and chaff for gardeners.

“Just bring your own bucket and scoop and help yourself!” the Herndon coffee shop posted on Instagram.

Weird Brothers Coffee is a disabled-veteran-owned, small-batch coffee roaster at 321 Sunset Park Drive that was started by two brothers.

Gardeners can use coffee grounds as fertilizer, help alter pH levels of the soil, deter pests and attract worms, according to CNET.

Photo via Weird Bros Coffee/Instagram

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EXCLUSIVE: Herndon Man Charged in Connection with White Nationalist Group’s Posters

(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) A Herndon man is facing charges after Vienna police say he was caught placing posters for a white nationalist group around the town, Reston Now has learned.

Last Saturday afternoon, a caller told police that two men were placing posters on light posts at a shopping center at 180 Maple Avenue, according to Vienna police.

Officers responded and observed one of the men placing a Patriot Front poster on a Town of Vienna utility box in the area of Nutley Street and Maple Avenue, Vienna officials told Reston Now.

Patriot Front is identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as a “white nationalist hate group.” It was described as a “political activist organization” in Vienna’s weekly crime report; an inquiry from Reston Now confirmed that Patriot Front was the group behind the posts.

Police issued a summons to a 21-year-old Herndon man, Brendan Smith, for destruction of property, according to a town spokesman. The man was released on his signature, the report says.

Earlier this year, Patriot Front tweeted that its “activists” put up the posters around Herndon and Reston in January and then in Reston again in February and March. Posters were also recently placed around Vienna and Arlington, according to the group’s social media account.

The posters include slogans like “reclaim America” and “better dead than red.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Patriot Front broke off from the alt-right group Vanguard America in the aftermath of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va.

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Top Stories This Week

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

  1. Jinya Puts Reston Town Center Spot Back on Website
  2. Fairfax Police Discover Guns Used in Robberies, 450 THC Vape Pens in Herndon Man’s House
  3. Reston P&Z Committee to Take Up High-Rise Condominium Proposal Along New Dominion Parkway
  4. Public Art Reston Picks Artist to Transform Colts Neck Road Underpass
  5. Here’s the Progress on the VY at Reston Heights Retailers

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

Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

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Apple Store’s ‘Music Lab’ and More This Weekend in Reston

Apple is bringing the beats to its Reston Town Center store tomorrow.

People can sign up to explore how to make beats in GarageBand, a digital audio workstation, on iPads. Producer Swizz Beatz and “Apple Creatives” will show participants how to create their own vibes, ranging from hip-hop to EDM to  R&B beats.

People can bring their own iPads or have one provided to them.

The event runs from 3-4:40 p.m. at 11949 Market Street.

Tomorrow (March 23)

  • All Gardeners’ Meeting (10 a.m.-noon) — All users of community garden plots in Reston can attend the annual All Gardeners’ meeting at the Reston Association’s headquarters. The meeting will include discussions on soil management, gardening with return on investments and gardening tips.
  • Dog Tales (10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.) — Kids ages 5 to 12 can read to a trained therapy dog for 15-minute sessions at the Herndon Fortnightly Library. Kids can bring their own books or choose one from the library.
  • Fundamentals of Figure Drawing (2:30-4:30 p.m.) — Participants can pay $200 for an eight-week drawing at ArtSpace Herndon. This week’s session, taught by John Koebert,  will focus on human figure drawing using a live model in the studio.

Sunday (March 24)

  • Walk or run (8 a.m.) — The Reston Runners will go on a 3- and 6-mile walk and a 10-mile run. The group will meet at North Point Village Center.
  • History of World War II (2-4 p.m.) — Harry Butowsky from George Mason University will present the second part of his six-part lecture series at the Reston Regional Library.
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