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by Dave Emke — February 15, 2017 at 5:00 pm 56 Comments

An 18-year-old from Reston is among those charged in connection with the killing of a Gaithersburg teen found dead over the weekend in Springfield.

Cindy Blanco Hernandez, of the 11900 block of Winterthur Lane, is among four adults and six juveniles charged with abduction and gang participation in connection with the death of 15-year-old Damaris Reyes Rivas.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, it is believed Rivas was held against her will before she was taken to Lake Accotink Park, assaulted and killed. Police believe this happened on or around Jan. 8.

Rivas had been reported missing in Montgomery County in early December. The girl’s body was found in the 7100 block of Wimsatt Road in Springfield on Saturday, and her death was ruled a homicide Monday after an autopsy.

Others charged in the case include Wilmer A. Sanchez-Serrano, 21, of no fixed address; Aldair J. Miranda Carcamo, 18, of Springfield; and Jose Castillo Rivas, 18, of Springfield. Three 17-year-olds, two 16-year-olds and a 15-year-old have also been charged.

Police say additional charges are pending further investigation, and that detectives are working with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Anyone with further information about the case is asked to contact the Fairfax County police at 703-691-2131, use Crime Solvers or text “TIP187” plus a message to CRIMES(274637).

by Dave Emke — February 15, 2017 at 4:15 pm 7 Comments

The agenda for the Feb. 21 meeting of Reston Association’s Design Review Board includes discussion of the redevelopment of a Sunrise Valley Drive property into an assisted-living facility.

Applications by Kensington Senior Development LLC to establish the facility next to the Sunrise Valley Convenience Center were accepted for Fairfax County staff review in November. The site (11501 Sunrise Valley Drive) is currently the home of the Good Beginnings Preschool, a private preschool, day care and kindergarten.

Kensington Senior Development filed a Planned Residential Community (PRC) plan concurrent with a Special Exception for an assisted-living facility on the 1.8-acre property, which is about 675 feet east of the intersection with Soapstone Drive.

A Fairfax County Planning Commission public hearing on the project is scheduled for July 19.

Kensington Senior Development operates a facility in Falls Church, and also has locations in Maryland, New Jersey, New York and California.

Map via Fairfax County

by Dave Emke — February 15, 2017 at 3:30 pm 18 Comments

Fairfax County Police carPolice say a sales arrangement through Craigslist turned criminal Tuesday night at Reston Town Center.

According to a report from the Fairfax County Police Department, a Craigslist user agreed to a meeting in the 11900 block of Freedom Drive at about 7:45 p.m. to negotiate the sale of cellphones.

“The suspects arrived and as the victim was showing one suspect a cellphone, another suspect tried to steal the other phones. The victim struggled with the suspects until one of them produced a handgun and threatened the victim. The suspects fled with several phones and the victim was not injured.”

The suspects were described by police as black men, 25-30 years old. One was around 6 feet tall and 220 pounds, and they were both wearing dark clothing. The suspects left the scene in a silver Mercedes Benz sedan, according to the report.

Fairfax County police began offering a “safe zone” for Craigslist exchanges at the Sully District Station last year; at the time, police said the program “would likely expand to other police station parking lots” in the future.

The Herndon Police Station also offers a “safe zone” for such transactions.

by Dave Emke — February 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm 4 Comments

Reston Town Center logoReston Town Center will host family-friendly events each Saturday in March, to benefit Opportunity Neighborhood: Reston.

The first such event is scheduled for March 4, from 1-4 p.m., and will include free rides on a vintage carousel, free s’mores and hot chocolate, and a performance by the Fairfax Jubil-Aires.

Future events, according to information provided by Town Center owners Boston Properties, will feature complimentary music, pet adoption, balloon artists, carriage rides, funnel cakes, RTC mascot “Resty the Dog,” mini train rides, caricature artists and more.

Opportunity Neighborhood: Reston began in October. It is part of a countywide movement that aims to identify areas of need and provide resources that will allow all children to gain a strong academic foundation, family resilience, and a culture of engagement and success. It was developed and launched by planning partners including Cornerstones, Leadership Fairfax, Reston Association, Reston Community Center, YMCA Reston/Fairfax County, Fairfax County Public Schools and various county departments.

“Opportunity Neighborhood: Reston (RestON) is about community partners working together to foster the health and wellbeing of the next generation. We are grateful to Boston Properties for choosing to support RestON through their March weekend family events at Reston Town Center,” said Toni Francis-Bowie, director of Opportunity Neighborhoods. “When we invest wisely in children and families, the next generation will pay that back through a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship.”

For additional information about Opportunity Neighborhood: Reston and these upcoming events at Reston Town Center, contact Cornerstones CEO Kerrie Wilson at 571-323-9571 or [email protected].

Pet of the Week: Beauty

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — February 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Pet of the Week - Beauty

This is a sponsored post from Becky’s Pet Care, a professional pet care service in Northern Virginia.

Meet Beauty, a black Domestic Short Hair cat.

Here is what her friends at Little Buddies Adoption and Humane Society have to say about her:

Beauty is a very sweet young lady. When her foster mom was bedridden after having surgery on her foot, Beauty would lie by her side on the couch. Beauty loves to play with other cats. She currently lives in a foster home with 6 other cats and gets along well with them. Beauty is a bit shy with strangers, but once she feels safe and comfortable, she is a loving young lady. Beauty was about 6 months old the first part of February.

Are you and Beauty a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

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 RestonNow.com — February 15, 2017 at 11:30 am 33 Comments

Lake Newport Pool/Credit: Mike CollinsThis is an op/ed submitted by Adam Huftalen, a Reston resident. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now.

As we do each year, my wife and I paid our Reston Association assessment this week.

Typically, after we’ve paid our dues, we reflexively take the opportunity to purchase our annual pool and tennis passes — our family’s favorite RA benefit. This year, however, we were taken aback by an unsettling new RA requirement that would-be pool-goers provide RA with digital photos of each family member, including children, to be stored in an RA database. The logic, as I learned after a call to RA, is that the database would allow RA employees to retrieve photos on demand to visually verify paid-up pool and tennis users.

RA exercises considerable authority to impose on its members in the name of cluster design uniformity or infrastructural upgrading, and does so often at great expense and questionable necessity. This new imposition, however, is akin to an inverse Reston Association photo ID. It is an unnecessary, perturbing and frankly outrageous invasion of personal privacy.

Events of the past year have unequivocally illustrated that we live in an era of digital uncertainty, one in which we struggle with vexing issues like hacking and identity theft. Sadly, no amount of precautionary behavior can be air-tight. But for those of us who go out of our way to protect our privacy online, this needless invitation of additional risk, especially for children, is unconscionable.

Some may argue that thousands of RA members already willingly provide digital images of themselves either on social media or for health club memberships. But to suggest that RA’s new requirement is analogous to making a personal choice about posting on Facebook or joining a gym is mistaken.

For one thing, choosing to post on social media or join a gym with a photo requirement is just that, a choice. RA members have no choice to pay their annual assessment, lest a lien be placed on their property. While voluntarily purchasing the additional pool passes is also a choice, suggesting that this is the same as the scenarios above also misses the point.

Aquatics and tennis represent roughly 13 percent of RA’s total expenses. Since a portion of each RA member’s required annual assessment is used to maintain pools and tennis courts, RA members make compulsory, not just voluntary, payments for their pools and tennis courts. Because of these compulsory payments alone, we deserve access to those facilities. The additional user fee for passes is reasonable, but making access to passes contingent on providing RA with a digital photo of one’s children is an unreasonable and startling invasion of privacy.

I can certainly appreciate the desire for RA to ensure that only those who have purchased a pool pass can use Reston’s pools, but surely there must be a better way of achieving that without invading the privacy of children. One alternative could be to require adult pool and tennis users to present a picture ID, such as a driver’s license, when signing into use those facilities. Under the circumstances, it’s unclear how such a simple solution could have been cast aside before moving forward as proposed.

Moreover, one need only consider the trouble with which multinational corporations and even the United States Government (each with far deeper pockets than RA) have struggled to secure customer or employee personal information to become anxious about RA’s ability to secure similar information. And this says nothing of the questionable cost involved with equipping seasonal employees with the technology necessary to access the proposed photo database; a cost that will no doubt be borne by assessment-paying RA members in 2018.

Plainly speaking, I consider this proposal to be a deeply disturbing invasion of privacy. I not only question the wisdom and judgment of requiring children’s photos to be placed in a RA database for the purposes of using a community pool, but also the legal authority with which RA could pursue such a requirement. One must wonder if the RA Board has considered the risk and likely consequences of a security breach.

Each year, my family proudly pays our RA assessment knowing that we generally get an excellent return on investment for the money we contribute. Unfortunately, this ill-conceived new requirement places an unwelcome invasion of privacy between my family and our desire to take advantage of RA’s most attractive member benefit: its pools and tennis courts. Worse still, it exhibits a clear and unacceptable disregard for personal privacy on the part of the RA Board.

I strongly encourage the Board to reconsider this new rule before the 2017 pool season begins.

Adam Huftalen

Reston, VA

by Dave Emke — February 15, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

Princess Aghayere/Don E. Felice - Penn Athletics

Princess Aghayere is making a name for herself during her sophomore season on the University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team.

The 2015 South Lakes High School graduate was named the Ivy League Player of the Week for her performances last week on the hardcourt. She posted a career-best 21 points during a Friday victory over Columbia, and followed it up the next day with a 12-point performance in a win over Cornell.

Some of her highlights from the weekend’s action can be seen on the Ivy League Sports YouTube channel.

On the season, Aghayere is averaging 5.6 points per game, tops among the team’s non-starters.

During her career at South Lakes High School, Aghayere earned first-team All-Conference recognition three times, and was second-team All-State twice. She also lettered in cross country and volleyball.

Aghayere is enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences at Penn, on a pre-med track. In a video released by the school earlier this year, she discussed her background and her goals for the future.

The defending Ivy League champions, the Quakers are undefeated (7-0) in conference play so far this season.

Photo via Don E. Felice/PennAthletics.com

by Dave Emke — February 15, 2017 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Morning Notes

Police: Reston Woman Rammed Vehicle During Argument — Police in Herndon say 24-year-old Kimberling Serrano had her two kids in the car when she followed a man after an argument and intentionally struck his vehicle three times. [Herndon Police]

Students Honored for Musical Talents — Top Fairfax County vocal and instrumental students were recognized recently during the annual James A. Bland Music Competition, co-sponsored by the Reston Lions Club and Reston Community Center. Among the honorees was Lauren Spar from South Lakes High School. [Reston Connection]

Skydiver from Reston Hurt in Florida — Nikolay Likhachev suffered a head injury and a compound leg fracture after an accident near Daytona Beach. Likhachev had successfully completed more than 200 jumps, according to the incident report. [Daytona Beach News-Journal]

Redistricting Reform Rejected in Richmond — Bills that advocates hoped would stop gerrymandering in Virginia were voted down in committee Tuesday. One of the measures — a constitutional amendment stating that “no electoral district shall be drawn for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring any political party, incumbent legislator or member of Congress, or other individual or entity” — was sponsored by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax), of Reston. [The News Leader]

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