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FCPD Investigating Possible Weather-Related Deaths Outside Reston Senior Facilities 

 

Fairfax County detectives are investigating three weather-apparent deaths — two of which happened outside senior facilities near Reston.

The first Reston-area death occurred last Monday (Jan. 14).

Police arrived within six minutes of the initial call at 5:59 p.m. to a CPR in progress at the Brightview Nursing Home (10200 Colvin Run Road), according to the report. The staff at the nursing home told police that 88-year-old resident Joan Ackley had been missing for approximately two-and-a-half hours before she was located outside of the facility.

A week later on Jan. 21, police responded around 3:30 p.m. to a Critical Missing Person call at the Sunrise at Reston Town Center, an assisted living facility at 1778 Fountain Drive.

Staff said that 86-year-old Ida Wolk of Reston had a scheduled wellness check, but hadn’t been seen for almost three hours, according to the report.

During a search of the building and surrounding areas, one the officers “looked out a window in the rear of the building and saw the woman laying outside in the snow,” according to the report.

Police wrapped her in warm blankets and took her inside the facility until the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department arrived and transported her to a local hospital where she later died.

Both cases are active death investigations and are awaiting results from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Police are urging locals to check on vulnerable family and friends and to call the police non-emergency number if they spot anyone who appears confused or inappropriately dressed outside during the cold weather.

More from the Fairfax County Police Department:

Detectives from our Major Crimes Bureau are investigating after what appears to be three weather-related deaths. In the past nine days, officers have been called to three separate incidents involving exposure to the cold weather and we are asking for your help in preventing any further weather-related tragedies.

On Monday afternoon, around 3:30, our officers were sent to a Critical Missing Person call at the Sunrise at Reston Town Center assisted living facility, located at 1778 Fountain Drive.  The staff at Sunrise had a scheduled wellness check for an 86-year-old resident, Ida Wolk, of Reston who hadn’t been seen for almost three hours and could not be located after an extensive search.  Numerous officers started a methodical search of the building and surrounding areas. As one of our officers was clearing the third floor, he looked out a window in the rear of the building and saw the woman laying outside in the snow.  Officers rendered immediate aid; wrapping her in warm blankets and taking her inside the facility until the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department arrived.  She was transported to a local hospital where she died.  The case remains as an active death investigation, pending the results from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

On Monday morning, around 11:30, our officers were sent to the 9800 block of Clifford Drive for a trespassing call.  A resident had found a homeless person sleeping on top of the washing machines in the laundry room of the apartment complex.  Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department arrived on the scene and pronounced the 47-year-old-man, Kenneth Perez, no fixed address dead.  The case remains as an active death investigation, pending the results from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

On Monday, January 14, at 5:59 p.m., our officers were sent to a CPR in progress at the Brightview Nursing Home, located at 10200 Colvin Run Road, in Reston.  Our officers arrived within six minutes of the initial call. According to the staff at the nursing home, 88-year-old resident Joan Ackley had been missing for approximately two and a half hours.  She was located outside of the facility.  The case remains as an active death investigation, pending the results from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Please check on vulnerable family, friends and neighbors during the cold weather. If you see someone who appears confused and/or not properly clothed for the weather sleeping outside or in a place without heat when temperatures are below freezing, they may be at risk of hypothermia –  please call the police non-emergency number, 703-691-2131. For more information please visit Fairfax County’s Hypothermia Prevention Program.

For ongoing updates, please read our blog and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @FairfaxCountyPD.

Map via Google Maps

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Flood Watch Issued for Fairax

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a Flood Watch today (Jan. 23) for late tonight through Thursday afternoon for Fairfax and much of the D.C. region.

NWS anticipates the heaviest rain to fall overnight and Thursday morning.

NWS expects around 1 inch of rain, with 1.5 to 2 inches possible.

NWS encourages locals to monitor later forecasts and to stay alert for possible Flood Warnings. Residents should prepare to take action if they live in areas prone to flooding.

More from the National Weather Service:

FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH
THURSDAY AFTERNOON…

The Flood Watch continues for

* Portions of Maryland, The District of Columbia, and Virginia,
including the following areas, in Maryland, Anne Arundel,
Carroll, Central and Southeast Howard, Central and Southeast
Montgomery, Charles, Frederick MD, Northern Baltimore,
Northwest Harford, Northwest Howard, Northwest Montgomery,
Prince Georges, Southeast Harford, and Southern Baltimore. The
District of Columbia. In Virginia, Arlington/Falls
Church/Alexandria, Eastern Loudoun, Fairfax, Northern
Fauquier, Prince William/Manassas/Manassas Park, Southern
Fauquier, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Western Loudoun.

* From late tonight through Thursday afternoon

* Rain will overspread the area this evening and overnight. The
heaviest rain is expected overnight and Thursday morning. Total
rainfall amounts around 1 inch are expected, with isolated
higher amounts of 1.5 to 2 inches possible.

* Excess runoff from a nearly frozen ground and saturated soils
will cause the potential for streams and creeks to rise out of
their banks as well as potential flooding in low lying urban
areas.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Flood Watch means there is a potential for flooding based on
current forecasts.

You should monitor later forecasts and be alert for possible
Flood Warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding should be
prepared to take action should flooding develop.

File photo

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GOP Candidate Enters the Race for the 86th District Seat

The Fairfax County Republican Committee nominated Gregg Nelson for the now-State Sen. Jennifer Boysko’s vacated seat, which represents Herndon and parts of Fairfax and Loudoun counties.

The announcement followed the committee’s meeting on Saturday (Jan. 19) to nominate a candidate, nearly one month away from the special election for the 86th District seat.

Nelson, a U.S. Air Force veteran, worked in the federal government. Currently, he runs a small business focused on natural disaster damage assessment.

“For too long, the rights and interests of ordinary citizens have been ignored. I’m running to give the hardworking men and women of our district a voice in Richmond,” Nelson said.

Nelson lives in Fox Mill with his wife.

“He’s exactly the right man for the job,” Tim Hannigan, the committee’s chairman, said in a statement. “He’s a small business owner and a real-world problem-solver. If voters want someone who’s ready and willing to get things done, Gregg Nelson is their candidate.”

Nelson will face Democrat Ibraheem Samirah in the special election set for Feb. 19.

Images via Fairfax County Republican Committee

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Board of Supervisors Ends Prickly, Decades-Long Debate Over Pet Hedgehogs

Despite strong opposition to hedgehogs as suitable pets, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved adding them to the list of commonly accepted pets, along with chinchillas and hermit crabs.

Yesterday’s decision ends a nearly 20-year-long push to legalize the prickly animals as pets.

Strong concerns about pet owners’ abilities to care for them dominated the public testimony before the supervisors voted.

While hedgehogs seem trendy, that doesn’t mean they are ideal pets, Christine Anderson, a member of the county’s Animal Services Advisory Commission, said. She then listed several reasons, including their risk of spreading salmonella, their high maintenance care and potential animal abandonment.

Others argued that it’s not so much the animals, but rather the humans who are the main problem.

Chris Schindler, the vice president of field services at the Humane Rescue Alliance in D.C., argued that exotic animals often suffer from poor care, highlighting a disturbing news report about 15 hedgehogs found in a trash can in Ocean Beach, Calif.

After the novelty of the impulse purchase wears off, people often don’t like hedgehogs’ noisy, aggressive and destructive behaviors, he said.

“It’s easy to think ‘What’s the harm?'” Schindler said. “When wild species are kept as pets, it’s the animals who suffer the most.”

While several supervisors acknowledged the potential risks for hedgehogs and humans, ultimately they argued that people armed with resources and education can make the right pet ownership decisions.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said she cautiously supports the proposal. “This has come to us quite a few times, and with that in mind, maybe it is time,” she said, adding that she wants to the county to monitor the impact of the change.

Hedgehogs first popped up in a proposal to add them to the list of commonly accepted pets in 2001, Casey Judge, a senior assistant to the county’s zoning administrator, said in a presentation. Ever since then, the county has continued to receive inquiries from residents about them, she said.

Fairfax County now joins Loudoun County with allowing all three pets. Meanwhile, Arlington County only allows chinchillas and hedgehogs.

Fairfax City and Falls Church either do not allow or are unclear about the three animals.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals that require space, exercise and room temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure they do not start hibernating, according to the Hedgehog Welfare Society. Judge said that care for chinchillas is similar to rabbits, while care for hedgehogs is similar to ferrets.

Two students argued in the animals’ defense, saying that other pets, such as lizards, also require special care and that their pet care costs are comparable to dogs.

The student from Longfellow Middle School said that breeders ensure that future owners have the training and resource materials needed to help them take care of hedgehogs.

In response to Gina Marie Lynch, from the Human Society of Fairfax County, saying that hedgehogs breed like rabbits, the student said that hedgehogs will fight if left in the same space. “If you don’t want babies, don’t keep a male and female together.”

The student from Sandburg Middle School pointed out that the county won’t have to worry about escaped or abandoned hedgehogs becoming an invasive species. Since African pygmy hedgehogs can’t hibernate, they would not survive the cold weather.

While the three animals are unique pets that require special care, Chairman Sharon Bulova said that she does not expect everyone to go out and buy them.

“I frankly don’t think that this action will open up a floodgate of many, many situations where people will adopt a hedgehog or a chinchilla, but some people will,” Bulova said.

Images via Planning Commission and Kelly W.

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Reston Herndon Little League Registration Open!

Reston Herndon Little League (RHLL) is dedicated to providing the best youth baseball experience in Northern Virginia. Our league is open to all children whose home or school is located in Reston and Herndon, as well as parts of Chantilly, Oak Hill and Vienna.

Starting with our BlastBall and T-Ball divisions (for children as young as 4 years old), all the way though our Majors division (up to 12 years old), Reston-Herndon Little League has programs for a wide range of ages and skill levels. Our trained, volunteer coaches and staff are committed to developing a player’s on-field skills while emphasizing the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship and community.

Reston-Herndon Little League is committed to giving back to the community and offers scholarships to those in need. Players who qualify for free or reduced-price meals at school are eligible to receive a full RHLL scholarship. To apply, be sure to select “Scholarships” at registration checkout.

Reston-Herndon Little League (RHLL) se dedica a proporcionar la mejor experiencia de béisbol juvenil en el norte de Virginia. Nuestra liga está abierta a todo niño(a) que vive o asiste a la escuela en Reston y Herndon, y ciertas areas de Chantilly, Oak Hill y Vienna.

Comenzando con nuestras divisiones de BlastBall y T-Ball (para niños desde los 4 años de edad), hasta nuestra división de Majors (hasta los 12 años de edad), Reston-Herndon Little League tiene programas para una amplia gama de edades y niveles de habilidad. Nuestros entrenadores (voluntarios calificados) y personal están comprometidos a desarrollar las habilidades de los jugadores en el campo, a la vez enfatizando la importancia del trabajo en equipo, la deportividad y la comunidad.

Reston-Herndon Little League apoya a la comunidad y ofrece becas para que todos puedan participar. Los jugadores que califican para comidas gratuitas o a precios reducidos en la escuela son elegibles para recibir una beca completa de RHLL. Cuando registre a su hijo(a), asegúrese de seleccionar “Becas” en el proceso de pago.

Wednesday Morning Notes

Third FCPS hiring event for furloughed workers — After two previous events to help furloughed federal employees, Fairfax County Public Schools will hold its third hiring event today from 5-7:30 p.m. at the FCPS Administration Center in Merrifield. [Tysons Reporter]

Senior movie day — The Reston Association’s “Meet Me at the Movies” will screen “Operation Finale” — a 2018 American historical drama — at 10 a.m. with free refreshments. Tickets are free for people age 55 and older. The monthly movie event is done in cooperation with the Bow-Tie Cinemas at Reston Town Center and is sponsored by Tall Oaks Assisted Living. [WebTrac]

Aslin moving to Alexandria — Herndon’s Aslin Beer Co. plans to open a production facility and a 3,500-square-foot tasting room in the city’s West End neighborhood. The beer company recently faced hurdles with design plans for a tasting room it wanted to open in Herndon. [Alexandria Living Magazine]

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Crime Roundup: Drunk Reston Man Arrested on MLK Day

A drunk Reston man was arrested for allegedly trespassing at a restaurant in Ashburn on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

A sheriff’s deputy responded around 12:14 a.m. to the 20000 block of Easthampton Plaza for reports of a man refusing to leave the restaurant.

The man, a 24-year-old Reston resident, was arrested and charged with public intoxication, according to the report. He was released from the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center on an unsecured bond. 

In a separate incident, a sheriff’s deputy responded to Potomac View Road and Benedict Drive in Sterling on Thursday (Jan. 17) at 8:38 p.m. to assist Loudoun EMS with a disorderly subject inside an ambulance.

While the deputy was speaking with the EMS crew, Edwin A. Rivera-Ardon, 27, of Herndon struck the deputy, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.

Rivera-Ardon was arrested and charged with public intoxication and assault on law enforcement. He is being held at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center without bond.

The Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston District Station reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARCENIES:

11900 block of Bowman Town Center Drive, backpack and tablet from location

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, cell phone from residence

2100 block of Centreville Road, merchandise from business

2400 block of Centreville Road, merchandise from business

1400 block of Lake Fairfax Drive, purse from vehicle

1800 block of Michael Faraday Drive, laptop computers from business

10300 block of Mountington Court, purses from residence

12900 block of Park Crescent Circle, watch from business

1600 block of Reston Parkway, tools from business

2400 block of Ridgehampton Court, license plates from vehicle

11200 block of Roger Bacon Drive, wallet from location

12000 block of Sunset Hills Road, wallet from vehicle

12100 block of Sunset Hills Road, property from location

STOLEN VEHICLES:

None reported

At 12:43 a.m. on Saturday (Jan. 19), a Fairfax County police officer stopped a 2018 Toyota Rav4 after it was seen driving off the shoulder on westbound Leesburg Pike by Trotting House Lane.

When the officer got out of his car, the driver sped away, according to the report. The officer chased the car until the driver suddenly stopped near the 9500 block of Brian Jac Lane and took off into the woods.

Police did not find the driver after an extended search and are following up on leads to identify the driver.

Several residential burglaries happened recently in Reston.

A Reston homeowner awoke around 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday (Jan. 16) to the sound of footsteps in the basement of a house in the 1500 block of Regatta Lane and found a door ajar, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

“It was later determined that bags were removed from a closet and rummaged through,” according to the report.

On Friday (Jan. 18), someone broke in and ransacked a house in the 9700 block of Middleton Ridge Road between 8;30 a.m. and 11:20 p.m. Cash and other items were reported missing, according to the report.

Then, on Sunday (Jan. 20), someone broke in and ransacked a house in the 1500 block of Victoria Farms Lane at 4:30 p.m., but nothing was taken.

File photo

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Malfunctioning Extension Cord Sparks Reston House Fire on Sunday

A malfunction with an extension cord caused a fire at a Reston home during the afternoon on Sunday (Jan. 20).

Firefighters saw smoke showing from the front of a two-story, single family home after they arrived around 1:24 p.m. to the 2000 block of Beacon Place, according to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.

The firefighters “quickly extinguished a fire in the garage area,” according to the post. Fire investigators determined the fire started by accident when a malfunctioning extension cord “ignited ordinary combustibles in close proximity.”

One person inside the home discovered the fire in the attached garage after smelling smoke inside the home, followed by the smoke alarms going off.

The two people inside the home at the time of the fire were able to self-evacuate unharmed before the fire department arrived.

Damages from the fire cost approximately $25,000.

Map via Google Maps. Images via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue

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Two Candidates Enter Race for Hunter Mill District School Board Seat

With the incumbent stepping down, two candidates are running for the Hunter Mill District seat on the Fairfax County School Board.

Earlier in January, Hunter Mill District Representative Pat Hynes said that she won’t seek re-election. Her term expires at the end of 2019.

Laura Ramirez Drain’s campaign is focused on the Family Life Education curriculum, school boundaries and the FCPS budget. Melanie Meren, a self-described “Fairfax County parent leader,” wants to promote “strong education.”

Both Meren and Drain point to their experiences as parents of children who are either currently attending or went to Fairfax County public schools as one of the reasons why they are running for the seat.

Drain said on her website that “running for school board means for her protecting the children and the community while also guiding them to stand up and speak out for what they believe in.”

Meren’s website says that “after years of advocating as a parent and professional in education policy and communications, she believes she can accomplish more as an elected leader. She wants to advance solutions that evolve our system to meet the needs of our students and communities now — and plan for future expected needs.”

Meren’s career has focused on education public policy and programming. She worked at the U.S. Department of Education and as an independent communications consultant at MKM Strategies.

Meren has also been involved with advocacy and community organizations.

She began co-leading the #IamFCPS grassroots campaign after a $75 million budget cut hit FCPS in 2015. The campaign secured $60 million of the proposed cuts, resulting in educator pay increases and measures to help address growing class sizes, according to her website. She is also currently a member of the Fairfax County School Board’s Human Resources Advisory Committee.

Drain has more than 20 years of sales experience with information technology products and solution-based services, including with Verizon and AT&T. She is also the chief executive officer and founder of Random Words Marketing Group. She relocated from Mexico to the U.S. in 1999 with the Hewlett-Packard Corp. and became a U.S. citizen in 2008, according to her website.

Since 2011, she has produced and hosted “Cafe Latino Radio,” a bilingual talk radio show, and in 2015, she launched Cafe Latino TV — both shows focused on sharing success stories from small business owners and people from local nonprofits over a cup of coffee.

This Saturday (Jan. 26) she plans to host a “meet and greet” from 3-5 p.m. at Glory Days Grill (1400 North Point Village Center).

Photos via Melanie Meren and Laura 4 School Board/Facebook

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Letter: Business, County Interests Push Density Despite Community Calls for Balanced Growth

This letter was submitted by Terry Maynard, who resides in Reston. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now. We publish article and opinion contributions of specific interest to the Reston community. Contributions may be edited for length or content.

As a Restonian who has worked hard on Reston planning and zoning for more than a decade, I was stunned by the letter mentioned in a recent Reston Now article. It was signed by 17 people — many of whom are associated with the leadership of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce (GRCOC) — to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins.

One of the most stunning claims in the letter was that “Reston’s Comprehensive Plan was the product of a five-year planning process involving the full community.” The fact of the matter is that the Reston community was marginalized throughout this timeframe, and its contributions were opposed by developers and ignored by the county.

No community representative, then or now, has opposed reasonable residential and commercial development in the transit station areas. They have objected and continue to object to the excessive development proposed by private and county land use interests.

Only six of the two dozen primary members of the RTF studying Phase 1 for the transit station areas were Reston residents who represented the interests of Reston residents. They included representatives from three community organizations — Reston Association, Reston Citizens Association and Alliance of Reston Clusters and Homeowners — and three independent “at large” residents.

The Task Force recommended 27,932 dwelling units — homes for about 59,000 people — in the station areas based on a study of multiple density and mix scenarios — a development level community representatives could live with. That was set at 27,900 when the Board of Supervisors (BOS) approved the Phase 1 plan in early 2014 — a number Reston community representatives could live with.

Then that Phase 1 planned station area dwelling unit number was raised by more than half to 44,000 dwelling units — 92,000 people — in mid-2015 by the BOS in the process of approving the Phase 2 plan without any community involvement or even foreknowledge. Yet the county insists it only revises plans every five years.

Community involvement in Reston planning was even more limited during Phase 2 for Reston’s suburban areas.  It included only four county-led and controlled community meetings and an open house. It was agreed that residential areas should remain “stable,” but the redevelopment of Reston’s village centers drew controversy. Draft county language to require a comprehensive plan amendment to redevelop village centers was dropped from the Board-approved mid-2015 Reston Master Plan because it would make the redevelopment approval process more cumbersome. This effectively shut off public comment on critical changes and eases development.

No meaningful commitment was made in the Reston Master Plan to provide needed infrastructure on a timely basis, despite the GRCOC letter saying, “The Plan requires that infrastructure be ‘phased’ with development.” In fact, that is illegal in Virginia and the RMP planning principles say it “should occur with development.” Language about specific infrastructures–transportation, schools, parks, etc., is vague and the proposals are inadequate.

Moreover, no meaningful funding has been committed to building any of the so-called “planned” infrastructure elements, which are all generally inadequate against even county policy standards, excluding the library where a $10 million bond funding may disappear in 2022.

Now the county is proposing to amend the Reston Planned Residential Community (PRC) zoning ordinance to increase allowable community-wide population density from 13 to 15 people per acre in suburban Reston and increase the allowable density on a single PRC property designated “high density” from 50 to 70 dwelling units per acre, including the village centers and several so-called “hot spots.” In its staff report on the proposed zoning density change, the county calculates roughly a quadrupling of planned housing in the village center areas from less than 1,500 to 5,800.

It also identifies three suburban residential “hot spots”– Saint Johns Wood, Charter Oaks and Fairway — for high-density redevelopment that would more than double the number of dwelling units to 1,863 residences.

The bottom line is that Restonians have had — and continue to have — limited access to the planning and zoning process throughout and their contributions and concerns have almost universally been ignored.

The cumulative effect of the new zoning in the station areas and the prospect of increasing the Reston PRC zoning density would be to allow Reston’s population to triple from its current 63,000 people to more than 180,000. At the same time, there is little or no assurance of the arrival any time soon of needed infrastructure that would maintain Restonians’ quality of life as a model planned community.

Now it is imperative that Restonians rise up and stop the county’s ill-considered PRC density increase proposal driven by Supervisor Hudgins. Attend the Planning Commission hearing on the PRC amendment at 7 p.m. on Jan. 23 in the Fairfax County Government Center wearing a yellow shirt. The presence of hundreds of Restonians will be as great a message to the Planning Commission as the testimony of Reston’s representatives and residents.

— Terry Maynard

File photo

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