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by Kalina Newman — June 29, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Jazz Music Tonight at Lake Anne — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will continue tonight with a performance by contemporary Brazilian jazz band Origem. [Lake Anne Plaza]

Metro Employees to Thank Riders Today — Nearly 700 Metro administrative employees will be at Metrorail stations during the afternoon commute today to “personally thank” customers for “their support and continued ridership” during SafeTrack. [WMATA]

Connolly Goes After Nikki Haley — The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations had to defend herself Wednesday when Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) targeted her actions at the U.N. [Washington Free Beacon]

Single Tracking to Cause Long Metro Waits — Starting Saturday until closing time Sunday, Silver Line Metro trains will operate just every 26 minutes. Fare hikes are also in effect, with $2.25 the minimum to ride the Metro. There will be no track work on the Fourth of July. [DCist]

MOM’s Organic Market to Celebrate 30th Anniversary Sunday — All MOM’s Organic Market locations will celebrate the franchise’s 30th anniversary with tastings and family activities. Locally, there is a store at 424 Elden St., Herndon. [PR Newswire]

Fairfax Police Inform About Snake Safety — With warm weather, snakes become more active around the area, so it’s beneficial to know which snakes are venomous and which are harmless. [Fairfax County Police Department]

File photo courtesy Carole Burnett

by Dave Emke — June 28, 2017 at 4:30 pm 4 Comments

Work has begun to take down a six-story office building at 11720 Sunrise Valley Drive, making room for 54 townhomes in what will soon be a bustling residential area.

Located just east of JBG’s Reston Heights development, the 69,000-square-foot building was bought by Rooney Properties in 2013. A sale of the property to Toll Brothers was reported in April.

The new development is planned to have a quarter-acre pocket park located north of a private street that will run through the center of the property. The park will include benches, a butterfly garden, public art and more.

Developers also plan to build six-foot sidewalks along Sunrise Valley Drive and Roland Clarke Place to help make pedestrian connections to Silver Line Metro stations. The plan also incorporates a separate, 10-foot wide path for bicycles along Sunrise Valley Drive.

The entrance to the community will be on Roland Clarke Place. The developers have a dedicated right of way for a future traffic signal at the corner of Sunrise Valley and Roland Clarke.

The destruction of the building comes about nine months after the American Press Institute building, just across Roland Clarke Place at 11690 Sunrise Valley Drive, was brought down. Sekas Homes is now working to construct 34 townhouses and 10 condos on that site, forming the future Sunrise Square cluster.

The frames of the first row of townhomes there are in place, and signage in front of the property advertises an August move-in date for new tenants. Rooney Properties owns that development as well.

by Dave Emke — June 28, 2017 at 3:35 pm 3 Comments

Following a Washington Post report that the man accused of killing 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen last week is involved with MS-13, county police say otherwise.

In a media alert Wednesday afternoon, the Fairfax County Police Department says there is no credible information to link 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres, a Salvadoran national living in Sterling, with any gang.

“Homicide detectives investigating the murder of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen looked into whether the suspect, Darwin Martinez Torres, is a gang member or affiliated with gangs, but have found no credible information to support any connection. The case remains active and we will release additional information as we can. Martinez Torres remains at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.”

Using information received from a Loudoun County woman, the Washington Post reported Tuesday that Torres “had punched, choked and sexually assaulted [the woman] and was a member of the MS-13 street gang.” The newspaper also cited Loudoun County Child Protective Services documents that “were read to a Washington Post reporter.”

FCPD has worked to combat rumors throughout its investigation into the brutal killing last Sunday morning. It has also repeatedly shot down community insistence that the Muslim teen’s slaying was hate-motivated. Rather, they’ve said, Torres was experiencing extreme road rage when he drove onto the curb, exited his vehicle with a baseball bat and attacked.

Nabra’s violent death has struck a chord within the community at large. A crowd in the thousands came out for a vigil in her honor last week at Lake Anne Plaza.

by Kalina Newman — June 28, 2017 at 2:30 pm 21 Comments

Gerry Connolly is winning so much he’s tired of winning.

That’s according to his own personal cover of Time magazine, which the U.S. congressman’s staff created in response to President Donald Trump’s current scandal.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that a slew of fake Time magazine covers featuring the president’s image hang in his golf courses. In response, Connolly tweeted out what may be the most noteworthy reaction yet.

Featuring a full headshot similar to the faux Trump cover, Connolly sprinkled the photo with headlines written in Trump’s linguistic style, such as “FITARA is a legislative smash!” (FITARA is a reform bill for federal information technology).

Jamie Smith, Connolly’s communications director, said that all credit for the tweet goes to the congressman.

“He saw the reports of Trump’s fake Time cover and thought this could be a fun way to highlight the absurdity of it,” Smith said. “We never expected it to go this viral. I guess we will have to hang our cover in our four offices.”

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the post had more than 5,200 retweets and 19,000 likes, with hundreds of replies and notable comments.

“The response has been incredibly positive,” added Smith, but there were a few left unimpressed.

So, what do you think?

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — June 28, 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.

This week’s Reston Pets of the Week are Wrangler and Blue, a pair of dogs who love to cuddle.

Here is what their owner, Kelly, had to say about them:

Wrangler and Blue are sisters residing in Reston. They are the best foster sisters around and help dogs with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue find forever homes.

Blue is a 4-year-old Bay Retriever mix and loves to get attention from any human she can and steal her sister’s tennis balls for a good game of chase. She is an avid swimmer and love hiking and going on walks and runs.

Wrangler is a 2-year-old Pit Bull/American Bulldog mix. She is obsessed with playing fetch and is also really into anything water-related. She works hard to end breed discrimination by being a certified therapy dog through Pet Partners. We work with the Heeling House and kids with special needs.

They are big-time Steelers fans and sport their jerseys on Sundays. At the end of the day, Blue and Wrangler are happy to cuddle up on top of one another for a much-needed cuddle puddle.

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

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

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

by Kalina Newman — June 28, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

For kids who love movies and swimming, pools around the area are offering the perfect evening summer activity.

Reston Association’s “Dive-In Movie” series starts Thursday, when the Lake Audubon Pool (2070 Twin Branches Road) will stay open after hours, from 8:30-10 p.m., for a screening of “The Secret Life of Pets.” Movies will continue on select evenings throughout the summer at various other pools in Reston.

The event is free and the venue will provide popcorn and drinks. Families are encouraged to bring their own pool floats so they can relax while they watch.

Anybody is welcome to come. If they don’t have their pool passes, they can sign up as a guest,” said Ashleigh Soloff, Reston Association events coordinator. “Kids like the event because they like to be at the pool at night when the pools are usually closed. We have the pool lights on so they can still swim.”

Soloff said the movie will be canceled, though, in case of rain.

For future movie titles and locations, or for weather-related updates, email [email protected] or call 703-435-6577.

by RestonNow.com — June 28, 2017 at 10:15 am 21 Comments

This letter was submitted by Reston resident Bruce Ramo, of Reclaim 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.

Last week, Reclaim Reston, a grassroots citizens group of concerned Reston residents, asked the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to issue a moratorium on proposed zoning amendments that increase density limits and the approval of new development applications not currently in process.

Our group, Reclaim Reston, and the many friends and neighbors with whom we have discussed the proposed zoning amendments to increase density in Reston, recognize the County’s priority is economic development. We welcome compatible re-development in Reston and the new and diverse neighbors that it will bring.

However, we think that the County’s push for greater density will overwhelm the current plans and funding for the schools, parks, roads and other infrastructure needed to support new and current residents. Fairfax County Superintendent Cathy Hudgins has been emphatic in asserting that Restonians should simply accept the fact that infrastructure will lag population. We should not allow that to happen to Reston.

The re-development process for Reston and the other portions of Fairfax County is a labyrinth frequently navigated by large developers in lockstep with their high-end legal counsel and County staff. One needs no more than a random peek at one of the news bulletins posted by the County to understand the symbiotic relationship of developers and the County.

For example, last fall the County announced approval by the Board of Supervisors of a relatively modest project called “Lofts at Reston Station” that will consist of 12 town homes and a 32-unit apartment building on a 1.58 acre-site near the Wiehle Metro stop. Here is a portion of the County’s statement (emphasis added):

As the second largest office market in the county, Reston features many low-density, suburban office parks are ripe for redevelopment. We reworked its land use plan two years ago to encourage more mixed use development and housing near the rail stations.

The Lofts join other approved and proposed development around Wiehle.

Under construction now, Reston Station will erect 1.3 million square feet in homes, offices and shops with direct access to the station.

The self-congratulatory tone of the announcement is a “tell” for Fairfax County’s insatiable appetite for greater density in Reston and corresponding higher tax revenue for the County. Reading through the Staff Recommendations and approvals for this and other projects you will see numerous zoning exceptions and modifications as well as developer-friendly calculations. For example, the County frequently approves modifications of open space requirements, reductions in required parking spaces and setbacks, or deviations from the tree preservation targets.

And as for those developer-friendly calculations, how realistic are the estimates of the number of students to be added by each development? According to those calculations a 500 unit multi-family high-rise will yield only 57 students, elementary school through high school. Such calculations are the basis of the developers’ proffers to “offset the impact of new student growth” at approximately $12,000 per student. Lower calculations of the number of new students reduce the developers’ costs and increase the likelihood that the citizens of Reston will be stuck with over-crowded schools and the tab for school expansions.

Similar developer-friendly calculations by the County also understate the impact to existing infrastructure, such as roads and parks, as is well documented in the recent report by the Reston 20/20 Committee (The Proposed Reston PRC Zoning Amendment: The County’s Rush to Ruin Reston). Also, keep in mind that the developers do not pay their promised “proffers” until the issuance of the first “Residential Use Permit” when their projects are suitable for occupancy. Thus, the funds to help fund infrastructure are not available to the public until new residents are moving in, essentially guaranteeing that the supporting public infrastructure will lag far behind the impact of the higher density.

The sharp increase to the Reston density cap being pushed by the County planning and zoning staff would empower the County to keep approving developer-friendly re-development applications without reasonable attention to the infrastructure needed to support the new residents. Restonians can push back by signing the Reclaim Reston petition to insist that the County keep development and infrastructure more closely aligned.

by Kalina Newman — June 28, 2017 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

Torres Linked to Previous Attack, Gang — A week before Darwin Martinez Torres was arrested and charged with murdering Nabra Hassanen, a woman reported he had punched, choked and sexually assaulted her. She also claims he is a member of the MS-13 street gang. [Washington Post] (Editor’s Note: The Fairfax County Police Department later said there is “no credible information” to support gang ties.)

Brew House To Host Beer Rally Tonight — Teams of three will run three laps around Lake Anne. Each lap is a mile and a half, and contestants can either run one lap each or all three laps together. There will be prizes raffled and a chance for free drinks. [Lake Anne Brew House/Facebook]

Reston Hospital Center Gives Out Scholarships  Last week, the medical staff of Reston Hospital Center awarded $15,000 worth of scholarships to 15 Fairfax and Loudoun County high school seniors. Hasmah Hussain, from  South Lakes High School, was one of the recipients. [Reston Hospital Center]

Modified Bus Schedule for July 4  Fairfax Connector buses will run on a Saturday schedule on July 4. [Fairfax County Goverment]

E. Ethelbert Miller at Greater Reston Arts Center  Writer and literary activist will come to the Greater Reston Arts Center at 6 p.m. Thursday. Miller has been the editor of poetry magazine Poet Lore for 10 years, and he is the author of several collections of poetry and two memoirs.  [Greater Reston Arts Center]

by Dave Emke — June 27, 2017 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

A freshly surfaced track will be waiting for South Lakes High School students when they return to school at the end of August.

Work on the project began earlier this month and is expected to continue through mid-August, South Lakes Athletics reported on Twitter. The account has been providing updates on the work as it progresses.

The track and the stadium are both fenced off during the project. It’s the first time resurfacing has taken place in about a decade, said Linda Sarabia Jones, SLHS director of student activities.

Camps that have in past years met on the field are taking place on the upper turf fields of the campus this summer, Jones said.

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