Reston, VA

The Town of Herndon is considering a plan to extend the due date for property taxes from July 28 to August 28. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted a similar proposal at its meeting on March 24.

The move is expected to cause some financial strain. The town’s cash flow relies significantly on property taxes, which amount to roughly 31 percent of the town’s general fund revenue.

“Extending the due date delays a significant cash flow for the town,” wrote Jennie Tripoli, the town’s finance director, in a memo. “The town’s debt service payment schedules were established to coincide with cash inflows from real property taxes.”

Tripoli also noted that the town would be able to cover a third-day delay in the revenue stream. Beyond that time frame, delays in additional general fund revenues could “interfere with the town’s ability to fund core services.”

The town government has not announced any furloughs, a town spokesperson told Reston Now in a statement. But part-time, seasonal and temporary positions related to currently suspended programs are under review.

The Herndon Town Council will consider the proposal at a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) at 7 p.m.

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A bicyclist was robbed as he riding on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail over Fairfax County Parkway last week, police said.

Stephen Rogata, 23, of Great Falls, was arrested and charged with attempted robbery and misdemeanor destruction of property on April 3 at around 3:27 p.m.

Police believe Rogata grabbed the man’s bicycle from the back. Rogata fled the scene after the victim, who suffered from minor injuries, called out for help.

Rogata is being held without bond. Information about the incident was released today (Monday).

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Espana

The Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Greater Washington Maestro Dimitar Nikolov Conducts the music of Spain by: ROSSINI, ALBÉNIZ, TORROBA, DE FALLA, CHABRIER.

Despite its temporary closure, a Reston-based makerspace challenged volunteers to supply hospitals and medical staff with lifesaving personal protective equipment.

Nova Labs, a local volunteer-based non-profit, used to serve as a place of ideation for kids and creative community members but decided to switch focus after health concerns from COVID19 shutdown non-essential businesses and gathering places in Virginia. Lab volunteers are now creating medical masks, plastic face shields and other essential equipment to keep people healthy, according to Margie Foster, one of the project’s coordinators.

Foster said she became involved after another member, Paul Chase, began tinkering with designs for face masks in his basement.

“I jumped in and was like ‘let’s make sure someone needs it, we are informed by the field and make sure we have places to donate it before we go all in,'” Foster said.

To keep volunteers safe and obey social distancing rules, Nova Labs sent 3D printers home with “altruistic” members who knew how to use them, so they can create the plastic pieces for face shields now required by nurses and doctors, Foster said.

Nova Labs isn’t the sole coordinator of this project though, Foster said. Micro Center in Fairfax and its manager Jeff Katz donated 50-kilogram spools of the colorful plastic filament to the cause, which would typically retail over $1,000.

Other volunteers include Eric Offerman from LaserThing.com and Brad Hess at makersmiths.org who have both been laser cutting plastic shields and donating materials as well.

To help with the assembly of the products, Nova Labs recruited local families who are looking for things to do now that schools are closed and some are off work.

Already, the group’s volunteers have managed to send over 550 face shields to Howard University Hospital and other area medical centers, according to Nova Labs Facebook page. In the coming weeks, Foster added that the team has the capability to branch out to adjust to new and unique needs.

In the early stages, some hospitals that originally agreed to use the personal protective equipment made by Nova Labs had to call the program coordinators back since their policies kept changing with uncertain guidelines regarding the ability to accept homemade equipment.

“A lot of the hospital policies are still trying to come up to speed with what is happening,” she said. “They are trying to change on the fly too.”

Going forward, Foster said she is concerned about what will happen as competition for the plastic face mask material intensifies. Already, producers of the shield material are backlogged with orders and prices keep rising due to high demand, according to Foster.

“We are in competition with like Pepsi,” she said. “They use the same material for their bottles.”

Still, team members associated with Nova Lab are dedicated to the cause, according to Foster.

“The bulk of this project has been funded out of pocket by the makers,” she said.

Those interested in helping the cause can donate online.

Photo via Nova Labs/Facebook

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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.

Virginia employees, if House Bill 123 is signed by Governor Ralph Northam or not otherwise acted upon by April 6, 2020, will have new rights to wages that are unlawfully unpaid.

Virginia House Bill 123 has been passed by both the Virginia House and Senate. The new legislation would create a private right of action for collecting unpaid wages in Virginia. House Bill 123 allows employees that have not been paid to sue an employer to recover their pay, in addition to damages.

Details of Employer Damages and Penalties

House Bill 123 permits Virginia employees to bring claims against employers that fail to pay wages and allows them to recover the wages owed, plus 8% interest from the date that the wages were due. Employees can also be awarded triple damages (3 times the amount of unpaid wages), their attorney’s fees and other costs if a court finds that the employer knowingly failed to pay the wages.

In our experience, most employers are aware that they did not pay wages owed to an employee. There is also a $1,000 civil penalty against the employe for a violation.

Example: Under the law, for example, if an employer fails to pay an employee $1,000 that they earned, they could be liable for that amount, plus 8%, potentially 3 times the wages that were not paid, along with attorney’s fees incurred by the employee, and a civil penalty.

The $1,000 that was unpaid could easily become a judgment against the employer for $5,000 to $8,000 by the time damages and fees are included. Then the civil penalty would also need to be added. If a court finds that there is a genuine dispute between an employer and employee, the employer would not be required to pay triple damages.

Criminal Penalties for Employer Apply

There are also criminal law penalties in the new law. Employers could be found guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail, if the wages owed are less than $10,000. Employers are to be considered guilty of a felony, punishable by a prison term of up to five years, if the value of wages owed is at least $10,000 or if the employer previously had been convicted of such a violation.

Criminal liability now only applies if the nonpayment of wages was willful with the intent to defraud. If signed by the Governor or allowed to become law, the legislation would take effect July 1, 2020.

Contact Us

If you are in need of employment law representation or advice, 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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Plans are in the works to secure more land to expand Reston Station.

Comstock Companies had purchased a six-story building in Commerce Metro Center, which is located at the south entrance of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, for $35.9 million.

The developer purchased two other buildings in the same park last year as it eyes the development of Commerce District, a new development district at Reston Station.

The company has already announced plans to build a new office building by world-renown architect Helmet Jahn as a companion to the current building he designed at the Wiehe-Reston East Metro Station.

The recently-purchased building, which is located at 11480 Commerce Park Drive, is occupied by tenants like Kittelson & Associates, Inc. and Young America’s Foundation.

Here’s more from Comstock on the purchase:

The Company currently has two additional Trophy-Class office towers currently under construction on Reston Metro Plaza, 1906 Reston Metro Plaza, 203,000 square foot building scheduled to deliver later this year, which is approximately 55%% pre-leased to Neustar, and 1902 Reston Metro Plaza, an approximately 225,000 square foot building that is scheduled to deliver in 2021 and is 100% pre-leased to ICF Global.

“This acquisition is consistent with our focus on select high-growth urban and transitioning “sub-urban” markets. The Reston Station neighborhood is at the forefront of the transformation taking place in the Dulles Corridor as a result of the arrival of Metro’s Silver Line” said Mr. Clemente. “Our objective in Reston is to create a world-class mixed-use and transit-oriented neighborhood that is consistent with Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan and that is a valued addition to the Reston community.”

So far, Reston Station’s first phase includes the BLVD Reston Station apartments and 1900 Reston Metro, the building designed by Jahn and anchored by Google Inc.

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The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to climb in Fairfax County.

As of today (Monday), cases rose by 14.5 percent from 426 on Sunday to 488.

Overall, statewide cases are nearing the 3,000-th mark. So far, there are 2,878 cases, a number that rested at around 1,000 cases just a week ago.

Arlington has the second-most number cases (203), followed by Loudoun County (188).

In the state, 51 people have died as a result of the respiratory illness, five of which occurred in the county.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now encouraging residents to wear face masks in order to prevent and slow community transmission.

Herndon Police Department officers are now wearing surgical masks and non-medical face coverings in public. The change, which went into effect over the weekend, is intended to protect officers and the community.

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Monday Morning Notes

Reston Community Players Win Big — The theatre company, which is based in Reston, won several awards in the 20th Annual Washington Area Theatre Community Honors. The group’s production “Time Stands Still” was selected for outstanding musical and other technical awards. [DC Metro Theater Arts]

Reston Hospital Centers Buys Former BBQ Restaurant — The Reston-based company has acquired 8240 Leesburg Pike, formerly the home of a Korean BBQ restaurant, with plans to retrofit the building for an emergency room in Tysons. [Washington Business Journal]

Number of COVID-19 Cases Continues to Climb — Fairfax County continues to have the highest number of cases. The state’s health department reported 426 confirmed cases yesterday (Sunday). Overall, there are more than 2,600 cases throughout the state. The illness has claimed the lives of 51 people. [Virginia Department of Health]

More Metro Service Reductions — Metro will close 9 p.m. every day. Metrorail will begin at 5 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Top Stories This Week

Before we head off into the first weekend with a stay-at-home order in effect, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. Trash, Recycling Changes in Fairfax County Start Today
  2. Fairfax County Schools to Begin Online Learning on April 14
  3. BREAKING: Northam Issues Stay-at-Home Order for Virginia
  4. As Testing Capacity Expands, Fairfax County Sees Jump in COVID-19 Cases
  5. Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Continue to Climb in Fairfax County

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 social distancing plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Instead of our typical Friday roundup of events, we’ve included ways that you can give from the comfort of your home or vehicle as the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold in the county, country and around the world.

Below is a list of a few local initiatives and organizations that are seeking funds and donations. If you have other suggestions, feel free to shoot us an email at [email protected].

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has launched a COVID-19 fund that aims to provide “flexible funding resources” for nonprofit organizations and other programs in the area. The fund primarily helps those impacted by the virus and its economic consequences.

In addition to funds, Cornerstones, a local nonprofit organization, has an Amazon wishlist for its Reston food pantry. The list is available online. If items are not available for shipment, Cornerstones encourages residents to find another distributed to get the items to the organization. Residents can also drop-off donations at 11484 Washington Plaza-W, Suite 120. Items that are needed include gift cards for grocery stores, gas station, and fast food restaurants; rice; beans; lentils; cooking oil; oatmeal; eggs; milk; Clorox wipes; disinfectants; spray bottles; and paper towels.

The Embry Rucker Community Shelter is also looking for essential items like underwear, shampoo and clothing online.

With school buildings closed, the South Lakes High School Pantry is also seeking donations online. The pantry is seeking items like pasta sauce, canned tomatoes, pasta, dry rice, beans, cereal, oil, granola bars, bar soap, toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste and maxi pads.

Fellowship Square is looking for volunteers to help with food delivery to low-income seniors at Lake Anne and Hunters Woods Fellowship Houses. Guidelines, which are in accordance with State Gov. Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home-order are available online.

Herndon-Reston FISH, which stands for Friendly Instant Sympathetic Help, is also collecting donations. The Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center (1086 Elden Street) and Connections for Hope Partnership (1141 Elden Street) are looking for cleaning products like bleach, Clorox wipes, spray bottles and paper towels. Both programs are operated under Cornerstones.

At Reston Hospital Center, residents can donate blood through the American Red Cross or make a financial contribution to HCA’s Hope Fund. The hospital is not currently accepting homemade masks.

Residents can also check in with the county’s Neighbor to Neighbor Program to help neighbors with services like grocery deliveries and check-in phone calls.

LINK, a volunteer-based Christian organization that offers emergency food to families in Reston, Herndon and Ashburn, is also seeking items via an Amazon wishlist.

Photo via SLHS Food Pantry/Facebook

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