Left to right: Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling President Bruce Wright, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn and Reston Bike Club Vice Chairman Joel Kuester team up to promote the upcoming Tour de Hunter Mill community bicycle ride (courtesy Hunter Mill District Office)

The annual Tour de Hunter Mill bicycle ride will kick into full gear early next month with new routes designed to show off sights and amenities throughout the district.

Registration is now open for the fourth iteration of the May 5 community bike ride, which was introduced in 2021 by Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn.

The event will feature two brand-new routes — one spanning 16 miles and the other covering 27 miles — that both begin and end at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive) in Reston, with a rest stop at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court) in Wolf Trap.

This year’s routes will incorporate portions of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail and, for the first time, a new shared-use path along Route 7 (Leesburg Pike), according to Alcorn’s office.

The 10-foot-wide path is part of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Route 7 widening, which is redesigning key intersections and adding a lane in each direction from Reston Avenue to Jarrett Valley Drive just outside of Tysons.

Though VDOT is targeting July 31 for completing the overall project, the trail is already functional enough for cyclists and pedestrians to use — at least between Reston Avenue and Towlston Road, according to Brian Worthy, a spokesperson for Alcorn’s office. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be scheduled for late May.

“I’m excited that this year’s Tour de Hunter Mill will take advantage of the newest bike trail in the district — the new shared-used path along both sides of Leesburg Pike,” Alcorn said in a statement to FFXnow. “It will allow bikers to get from Reston all the way into Tysons safely, and it expands the transportation options for traveling safely along this busy corridor.”

Co-sponsored by the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling (FABB), Reston Bike Club and Reston Community Center, the Tour de Hunter Mill costs $30 for adults, but children 15 and under can participate for free, as long as they’re accompanied by an adult.

The fee includes custom Tour de Hunter Mill socks for at least the first 165 registrants and a $5 donation to FABB, a volunteer, nonprofit organization that advocates for bicycling to be “safe, accessible and commonplace in Fairfax County for all ages, abilities and skill levels.”

The event will begin at 8 a.m. with riders checking in at a welcome table. After some opening remarks, the 27-mile ride will start at 8:30 a.m., and the shorter route will follow at 8:45 a.m. Once they finish, cyclists will be able to enjoy “food & fun” at the North County Governmental Center from 10 a.m. to noon, according to the registration page.

In a promotional video for the Tour de Hunter Mill, Reston Bike Club Vice Chairman Joel Kuester expressed hope that next year’s routes will utilize the new W&OD Trail bridge over Wiehle Avenue, which was installed earlier this month and is slated to open for use in June.

“Tour is a great way for folks to get out and experience the local roads, the trails and so on, so they know how to get around by bike,” FABB President Bruce Wright said in the video.

Read more on FFXnow…

Heming, a mixed-use apartment building in Tysons, at sunset (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

FCPS Prevails in Sexual Assault Lawsuit — “A jury on Wednesday rejected a woman’s lawsuit seeking tens of millions of dollars from Virginia’s largest school system over allegations that she was raped multiple times as a middle schooler.” The former student claimed “school officials at Rachel Carson Middle School in Reston ignored her complaints,” which Fairfax County Public Schools lawyers argued had been fabricated. [NBC4]

Woodlawn Chicken Restaurant Reopens in New Spot — “Su Pollo, a Peruvian charcoal chicken restaurant long located on Richmond Highway in Woodlawn, officially reopened April 23 at its new location at Engleside Plaza…The restaurant made the move to a new space due to the future Richmond Highway widening project,” which will replace its original site with a stormwater facility. [On the MoVe]

Chick-fil-A Kiosk Planned at Reston Hospital — “The owner of Reston Hospital Center has been working to create an ‘indoor food truck’ concept, with Akeno Sushi open for lunch two days a week and, we recently learned, Chick-fil-A on two other days.” The kiosk will be open to the general public, with sushi available on Mondays and Tuesdays and Chick-fil-A on Wednesdays and Thursdays. [Washington Business Journal]

Hybla Valley Apartments to Maintain Affordable Status — “SCG Development and the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) announced the financial closing and preservation of Creekside Village Apartments” on Tuesday (April 23). The 319-unit complex will get a “comprehensive renovation…to include energy efficiency upgrades to building interiors and exteriors.” [FCRHA]

Renovation Underway at Annandale Office Building — “A small restaurant and an office will share a building undergoing renovation on the corner of Annandale Road and Poplar Street.” The tenants will include Shawarma Taco, which also has a location at Springfield Town Center, and the accounting firm Olwan, Ghannam & Associates, which is run by the building’s owner. [Annandale Today]

Pony Rides Coming to Oakton Park — “The Greater Oakton Community Association is bringing ponies to the Oakton Community Park! The pony rides on May 4 will last about 8 minutes. Parents must accompany children and stay on-site during the ride. Register today!” [Supervisor Dalia Palchik/Twitter]

It’s Thursday — Expect partly sunny skies with a high near 61 and a north wind of 6 to 8 mph. At night, the weather will be partly cloudy, and temperatures will drop to around 43, accompanied by a southeast wind at around 6 mph. [NWS]

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SEIU member and Fairfax County employee Ellisa Green speaks at a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors budget hearing on April 17, 2024 (courtesy of SEIU Virginia 512)
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors faces tough decisions ahead of next week’s budget markup session, following demands from local unions to increase county employees’ wages.Last week, dozens of county employees from various departments gathered at a series of public hearings to protest the 2% market rate adjustment (MRA) included in the county executive’s proposed fiscal year 2025 budget — asking instead for an increase of at least 4%.

Every year, the county compares its salaries against similar jobs in the area to ensure pay is competitive. Though the full market rate adjustment was estimated at over 4%, County Executive Bryan Hill proposed allocating roughly $24 million for a 2% increase for FY 2025, citing revenue constraints.

Many county employees who attended the April 16-18 public hearings on the advertised budget, which will take effect on July 1, argued that wouldn’t be enough to keep up with the cost of living.

Lauren Tumbleson, a social services worker and member of SEIU Virginia 512, a union for general county employees, said she is considering leaving her job to care for her 4-year-old son, as child care costs would be too high without a bigger pay raise.

“Not fully funding the MRA this year will have a direct impact on our daily lives,” she said during the April 17 hearing.

Other SEIU members and representatives from the Fairfax Workers Coalition (FWC) said that without the pay raises, departments will continue to experience staff turnover, reducing the quality of services to residents.

FWC member Marie Kenealy, a veteran parole officer at the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, noted that inadequate staffing and training puts at risk both the safety of the staff and their ability to help youth in the judicial system.

“We are part of the courts, but we do not have the protections afforded to law enforcement,” she said on April 17. “…At times, we escort violent offenders without adequate protection or training. At times, we are confronted with gang violence, aggression, exposed to fentanyl, and we’re often conducting home visits where we know firearms are likely present.”

Without fair wages and improved conditions, the court risks losing experienced personnel, Kenealy said.

Many local educators called on the Board of Supervisors to fully fund Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Michelle Reid’s $3.8 billion budget request — including an additional $254 million to adequately compensate the public education system’s employees.

Jennifer Ives, a special education teacher at James Madison High School in Vienna, said she knows several experienced colleagues who have left to take higher paying jobs in surrounding counties.

Ives argued that funding the superintendent’s request could mean less staff turnover, because teachers may be able to afford to live closer to where they work.

“The increase could help us find one of the cheaper rentals in the area and maybe I could have a 30-minute commute instead of an hour and a half,” Ives said. “I’d be able to sleep in past 5 a.m. and maybe get home an hour before dinner.”

When Hill presented his budget proposal in February, supervisors lamented that the burden of funding FCPS falls too heavily on the county due to limited funding from Virginia.

Earlier this month, Governor Glenn Youngkin proposed budget amendments that, according to WTOP, would reduce funding for FCPS by nearly $17 million for FY 2025 and $24 million in fiscal year 2026.

Regardless of the state budget, though, Fairfax County School Board Chair Karl Frisch argued the county needs to ensure the school system can pay its employees competitive wages at a time when enrollment and demand for services is increasing countywide.

“Our budget request does not include new initiatives,” Frisch said during the board’s April 16 hearing. “We are focusing on what is needed to continue ensuring excellence in our schools.”

Read more on FFXnow…

The Reston community yard sale in fall 2023 (photo by Sean Bahrami/Reston Association)

(Updated at noon) Reston’s popular community yard sale is temporarily moving down the road.

More than 3,000 people are expected to attend the biannual event when it returns this Saturday (April 27), according to Reston Association, the organizer.

Typically held every spring and fall at RA’s headquarters, the yard sale will relocate to the Farm at Halley Rise (12010 Sunrise Valley Drive) for this weekend due to “construction activity” at its usual spot (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

The office building where RA leases space is getting its rooftop HVAC units replaced, according to an RA spokesperson.

“The Community Yard Sale is not only a great place to find bargains, but also it provides a wonderful sense of community,” RA Community Events Supervisor Ashleigh Soloff said. “Families look forward to this event all year, and neighbors come out to chat and browse the items for sale. It’s a wonderful way to meet neighbors, meet new friends and pick up some great deals.”

RA says the community yard sale has become one of its most anticipated events since it began 29 years ago.

Vendor space for this weekend’s iteration has sold out, with more than 90 local families planning to hawk their home décor and furniture, clothing, toys and other goods.

The yard sale will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Located across the street from Wegmans, the Farm at Halley Rise was introduced in 2022 and features vegetable, herb, fruit and native flower gardens, beehives, a rain garden and a meadow. The farm is run by Up Top Acres, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing food insecurity.

Read more on FFXnow…

Morning Notes

Virginia bluebells bloom in Reston (photo by Marjorie Copson)

Clifton Family Mourns Sons Killed in Fire — “When Fairfax County firefighters found two boys inside a fiery Virginia house earlier this month, 6-year-old William was shielding his younger brother, 3-year-old Zachariah, from the flames. Both boys were pulled from the fire and died days later, but their father says that heroic story has given the family faith.” [WTOP]

Fairfax Court Clerk Warns About Scam Email — An email purportly from the “Florida County Circuit Court” that asks the recipient to appear in Fairfax County Circuit Court on May 14 is part of a phishing scam, court clerk Chris Falcon says. He warns “those who receive the e-mail to delete it and not open its attachment.” [Gazette Leader]

Virtual Reality Pop-Up Lets Drivers Test Safety Skills — “A Chevy Camaro parked inside Springfield Town Center in Fairfax County on Sunday let shoppers test whether they are safe drivers. The traveling exhibit is part of the Street Smart campaign from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety.” [WTOP]

Nutley Street over I-66 to Close Overnight Friday — “Southbound Nutley Street over I-66 and associated I-66 ramps will be closed for bridge joint repairs during the overnight hours Friday, April 26. The southbound side of the roadway between Virginia Center Boulevard and Saintsbury Drive will be closed to thru-traffic between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.” [VDOT]

Preserved Cherries Found at George Washington’s Mount Vernon — “The legend about George Washington chopping down a cherry tree may have been a myth, but the bigger story may be about archaeologists’ recent real-world discovery of cherries perfectly preserved in 18th century bottles of liquid in the cellar of the Mount Vernon Mansion. The two upright and sealed bottles were discovered in a pit beneath a brick floor laid in the 1770s, according to an April 22 press release.” [On the MoVe]

Annandale Preschool Celebrates 75th Anniversary — “Hundreds of people with ties to Sleepy Hollow Preschool came back April 20 to celebrate the school’s 75th anniversary…The event also honored Debbie Brown, who has been with Sleepy Hollow Preschool (SHPS) for 30 years — as a parent, teacher, and since 2006, the school’s director until her retirement in 2023.” [Annandale Today]

It’s Wednesday — Expect scattered showers in the early morning, clearing up to a mostly sunny sky with a high near 70 degrees. The night will be partly cloudy, maintaining a low temperature around 43 degrees and accompanied by a north wind at about 10 mph. [NWS]

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Marc Smith will serve as the new Herndon economic development director starting in May (courtesy Town of Herndon)

The Town of Herndon is getting a new director of economic development.

Marc G. Smith will assume the position starting on May 13, the town announced today (Tuesday). He will succeed previous economic development manager Dennis Holste, who was appointed to that newly created position in 2013 and vacated the job last year to move to his native Florida.

Previously the senior business development manager for Arlington County, Smith will be responsible for promoting Herndon as a destination for new businesses, maintaining relationships with existing ones, and leading initiatives “related to economic development and business vitality,” according to a Town of Herndon press release.

He will also serve as the town’s liaison to Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce and other organizations involved in the commercial sector.

“Marc brings an exceptional mix of experience and expertise to his new role,” Town Manager Bill Ashton said. “He has held both county- and state-wide positions throughout the Commonwealth, which have resulted in solid connections as well as deep knowledge of Virginia’s commercial landscape. Herndon’s business community will be well-served with Marc in this key position.”

According to the town, Smith’s prior work in Arlington involved oversight of a team responsible for attracting and retaining businesses. Their efforts brought in $28 million in investments and 6,400 new jobs, including a net addition of 650 jobs with CoStar Group relocating its headquarters to Rosslyn from D.C.

More from the town on Smith’s resume:

He also managed the county’s lead generation and business development portfolio and created a new strategic plan for the division. Previously, Smith was a business manager for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), the economic development authority for the Commonwealth, where he developed and executed lead generation strategies and served as project manager for significant prospects, amounting to $7 billion in capital investment and 9,400 new jobs; and served as business development officer for Stafford County, where he oversaw business attraction, development and expansion. He holds a BS in Political Science with a minor in History from Radford University.

Read more on FFXnow…

Morning Notes

Reston (staff photo by Scott Brodbeck)

Demolition begins at burned hust of Oud Resto and Hall — “The site of the Main Street restaurant that burned down in 2020 is where Ox Hill Companies will build a seven-story mixed-use development with condos, retail spaces, and a drive-thru bank. The company said a Truist Bank regional branch will be relocated to the new building.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Driver in crash that killed two Oakton High School students only had learner’s permit — “Usman Shahid, who police say was driving a BMW at 81 miles per hour southbound on Blake Lane just before the crash, only had a learner’s permit at the time. Virginia law requires that drivers must be 21 or older, or 18-years-old and accompanied by a legal guardian or sibling when they’re driving. At the time of the crash, Shahid was 18 and a resident of Fairfax County.” [Patch]

Students at Annandale Terrace Elementary School plan Arbor Day tree planting — “Students, faculty and staff at Annandale Terrace Elementary School are gearing up for a big Arbor Day celebration on April 26, 2024, at 8:50 a.m. The event will take place simultaneously with the County’s 41st consecutive year being designated a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.” [Fairfax County]

Firefighter sustains minor injury in Loudoun County warehouse fire — “A significant warehouse fire in Sterling drew a fire department response, causing one firefighter to be evaluated for heat exhaustion Monday afternoon.” [Patch]

It’s Tuesday — Frost is expected in the early morning until 8am, followed by sunny skies and a high temperature of around 71 degrees. The light southwest wind will shift to the south at 6 to 11 mph during the morning. Scattered showers are likely after 2am Tuesday night, accompanied by increasing clouds and a low temperature of about 56 degrees. The south wind will blow at 9 to 13 mph, gusting up to 20 mph, with a 50% chance of precipitation. [NWS]

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OmBaked CBD Boutique at Lake Anne Plaza in Reston (staff photo by James Jarvis)

OmBaked CBD Boutique at Lake Anne Plaza in Reston is hosting a holistic health fair next month.

The event , Scheduled for May 19, aims to promote sustainability and environmental stewardship, according to a press release. It will feature local vendors showcasing eco-friendly products and practices, along with educational exhibits on the importance of preserving natural resources.

Located at 11414 Washington Plaza, the boutique opened late last year and offers a variety of cannabidiol products focused on holistic wellness.

According to the owner, Radhika Murari, all profits from the event will go to Earth Sangha, a local native plant nursery involved in conservation efforts in Northern Virginia for over 30 years.

Del. Karen Keys-Gamarra and Hunter Mill Supervisor Walter Alcorn are also expected to attend, discussing their health initiatives.

Read more on FFXnow…

Morning Notes

Boaters and geese can be seen in the distance on Lake Accotink (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Man fires gun at dog, Fairfax County police say — “Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) said they received a report of a man firing a gun at a dog in Annandale on Thursday morning.” [DC News Now]

Fairfax County libraries hosting used book sales this spring — “There’s no need to spend a fortune on brand-new books — various Friends of the Library groups throughout Fairfax County are holding used book sales this spring that can help you stock your bookshelves for a lower price, all while supporting the library.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Footwear retailer New Balance opens in Mosaic District — “Specializing in one-on-one service, New Balance Mosaic District offers a wide variety of footwear and apparel.” [Patch]

All Virginia drivers required to have insurance by July 1 — “All Virginia drivers will be required to have vehicle insurance starting on July 1, ending the Uninsured Motorists Fund.” [WAVY]

It’s Monday — Expect sunny skies and a high near 64 accompanied by a northwest wind at 7 to 9 mph during the day. The night will be mostly clear with the temperature dropping to around 40. The northwest wind will decrease to around 5 mph and become calm as evening approaches. [NWS]

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Morning Notes

Beaver munching on grass by Walney Pond in Chantilly (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Shake Shack proposed for Kamp Washington Shopping Center — “Fairfax City Board of Architectural Review approved exterior designs for two new restaurants planned for the former Just Tires location.” [Patch]

A Fairfax County school bus crashes into a DMV — A Fairfax County school bus struck the relatively new Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles building on Braddock Road Thursday morning when another driver failed to yield, forcing the bus driver to swerve off the road, Fairfax County police said. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Poetry in the Parks coming to Turner Farm Park Observatory — “April is National Poetry Month, and ArtsFairfax and the Fairfax County Park Authority are kicking off a summer of fun poetry events to get you inspired. Poetry in the Parks is a series of poetry readings and workshops, created by Fairfax County Poet Laureate Daniella Badra, that will span from April 27 to August 17.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

The Peterson family, of Fairfax-based Peterson Cos., donates $20 million to Inova Health System — “Inova Health System just landed another substantial donation from big names in Greater Washington’s real estate world, putting the system closer to its $75 million fundraising goal.” [Washington Business Journal]

It’s Friday — Expect showers after 2pm, with mostly cloudy skies and a high near 65 degrees. The southeast wind will blow at 6 to 8 mph, and there’s a 30% chance of precipitation. For Friday night, showers are likely in a mostly cloudy setting and a low temperature of around 54 degrees. The southeast wind will be around 6 mph before transitioning to a northwest wind after midnight, with a 50% chance of precipitation. [NWS]

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Taim Mediterranean Kitchen is officially open in Reston (Photo courtesy taim).

Taim Mediterranean Kitchen in Reston has permanently closed just four months after its opening.

The New York-based chain, known for its falafel, initially held a grand opening at 11692 Plaza America Drive in Reston on Dec. 6. However, the restaurant suddenly closed this month without warning.

The closure of Taim Mediterranean Kitchen in Reston was not announced on the company’s social media accounts, but Google has marked it as “permanently closed.” When FFXnow contacted its sister restaurant in D.C., a manager confirmed that the closure is permanent.

The owner did not respond to a request for more information by press time.

Taim has 13 eateries along the eastern seaboard, nearly all of which are in New York. There is one location in D.C., and another was planned for Vienna, although there have been no updates on its opening.

None of the company’s other locations appear to have closed, according to Google.

Read more on FFXnow…


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