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by RestonNow.com — March 10, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

Fairfax County Park Authority trail markerLooking for something to do this weekend? Here is a sampling of what’s available in Reston and Herndon:

  • Reston Community Players’ opening performance of “Rock of Ages” is tonight at 8 p.m. at CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road). They will also take the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets for each performance of the show, which will run through April 1, are $25.
  • The ice skating pavilion at Reston Town Center will have its final day of the season Sunday.
  • Reston Town Center is hosting “Family Fun Saturdays” throughout March to benefit Opportunity Neighborhood: Reston. This week, there will be dog adoptions with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; a fire truck and police car “see inside” event from 1-3 p.m.; a balloon artist from 1-4 p.m.; live music from 2-4 p.m.; and “free sweet treats” beginning at 1 p.m., while supplies last.
  • Potomac River Running (11911 Democracy Drive) will present its Lucky Leprechaun 5K, set to begin at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. The event will also include a kids’ fun run, and there will be a post-race celebration at World of Beer (1888 Explorer St.)
  • Other events at Reston Town Center this weekend include Girl Scout cookie sales, an Easter cookie class for junior chefs at Williams-Sonoma, wine tasting at Il Fornaio and live music at World of Beer.
  • The reception for Joan Kelly’s “New Directions” at Reston Art Studio and Galleries (11400 Washington Plaza W.) will be from 2-4 p.m. Sunday. Works are primarily acrylic paintings on paper.
  • The documentary film “Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age” will be shown Sunday at 3 p.m. at CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road). Admission is free.
  • Mentalist and magician Derek Jasper will present “Epiphany” at NextStop Theatre Company (269 Sunset Park Drive) tonight at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; tickets for the two-hour show are $25.
  • Students at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive) will present their annual student showcase at 7 p.m. tonight. Tickets are $5.
  • ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center St.) will offer Cornucopia of Inspirations — HOPE, an afternoon of upcycling discarded treasures, from 2-4 p.m. Saturday. The event is for students in grades 1-5. Admission is $25.
  • Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) will present a lecture on the evolution of the Loudoun/Fairfax county line from 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday. Local historian Jim Lewis will tell the story. The lecture series on World War I will continue Sunday at 2 p.m. as well. For kids, there will be a showing of Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” at 11 a.m. Saturday and a young-adult writing workshop Saturday at noon.
  • The Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston (1625 Wiehle Ave.) will be host to a discussion of LGBT issues at 11:30 a.m. Sunday. The Rev. Dr. Debra Haffner, sexologist and author, will be the speaker.
  • Kalypso’s (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music from The Jones from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. tonight. DJ Kram will play the hits Saturday night.
  • Congregation Beth Emeth (12523 Lawyers Road, Herndon) will offer “Purim Palooza!” from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. A moon bounce, crafts, food, carnival games and more are planned.
  • A special nonprofit art exhibition, part of a partnership between International Association for Self-Proclaimed Artists and Writers (IASPAW) and Building Futures Thailand, will be presented Sunday from 1-5 p.m. at The Avant at Reston Town Center (12025 Town Square St.).

by Dave Emke — March 10, 2017 at 2:45 pm 70 Comments

atlargegroup

A half-dozen residents have thrown their hats in the ring for an At-Large seat on the Reston Association Board of Directors, and they faced the community Thursday in a candidate forum at RA headquarters.

Roberto Anguizola, Eric Carr, Mike Collins, Charles Dorfeuille, Ven Iyer and HeidiAnne Werner are all vying for the three-year term on the board. The forum provided them an opportunity to tout their abilities, as well as their goals if they should be elected.

mikecollinsWhen contemplating the 2018-19 Reston Association budget, which will be approved later this year, candidates said there is a wide number of factors that must be considered. Collins, who was an RA board member from 2010-2013, said it is important for the board to get back to fundamentals.

“We’re not doing the very basic thing we have to do, and that’s maintaining our facilities to the best of our ability,” he said. “That’s going to require laser-like focus by the board, they are going to have to be intimately familiar with our operations, and they have to just say no.”

Dorfeuille, an eight-year resident and a member of the Community Engagement Advisory Committee, advocated for a line-by-line analysis of the budget that separates essential items from non-essential.

“We are spending too much for what I believe we as a community are being given,” he said. “What is non-essential, we look at in the line-by-line review of what we can reduce or what we can de-prioritize.”

veniyerIyer, also an eight-year Reston resident and the president of a technology business, said the budget must be brought in line without continuing the trend of increasing assessments.

“Our assessments have nearly doubled in the last 15 years — this is not sustainable and it is not warranted,” he said. “In another 30 years, the Reston as we know it now will only be affordable for the wealthy top.”

Carr, a former cluster president with over 20 years of nonprofit and government management experience, said a long-term capital plan is needed so the RA board can “get [its] arms around” the existing capital assets that need to be addressed.

“We think about these 40-, 50-year assets we own in two-year budget cycles,” he said. “That doesn’t make sense and it’s very hard to project into the future, and we continue to get surprised when pools fall into disrepair or when pathways need maintenance.”

wernerWerner, a lifelong Restonian who works as an association manager, said natural environments need to be protected from development. She added that services, programs and facilities available to Reston Association members need to be optimized.

“This really is to put a focus on our facilities, to make sure they are in the proper maintenance and attractive for members to use,” she said.

anguizolaAnguizola, a trial attorney who has lived in Reston since 2008, said his top priority would be to address aging infrastructure in the community. He touted partnerships with nonprofit groups and businesses as a way to achieve that goal without increasing assessments.

“Most of the recreational facilities and amenities in Reston were built in the late ’70s, early ’80s,” he said. “They need attention, and that’s going to cost money to keep them at the level everyone expects them to be at.”

Collins said the board must do a better job of managing its staff and analyzing its needs in the effort to keep costs down.

“The board needs to have firm controls on the budget from the get-go, they need to be willing to get into the details, get behind the top-level numbers and again, say no,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t need a new truck, we don’t need a new computer system. I hate getting into the weeds like that, but apparently we need to do it.”

(more…)

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — March 10, 2017 at 1:30 pm 2 Comments

In the Design Studio with Anna banner

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact her at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

Spring is right around the corner, and most people take time to do some extra cleanup and organize their homes, inside and out. Here are a few tips on how best to organize your kitchen.

STEP ONE: First things first, take everything out of the cabinets! Crazy, I know, but this mayhem is in the name of order! By pulling everything out you can inventory what you have.

Do you really need 15 cookie sheets? You know some of them may have seen better days, time to toss! How about boxed food that is about to expire or you will never eat and it’s just collecting dust and taking space? Those are great items to donate to the local shelter.

Don’t be scared to toss things that you do not use. Most kitchens are short on storage, so there is no point in holding onto your dishes from college or an extra pizza cutter.

In The Design Studio -- March 10, 2017STEP TWO: Group all the items by their use and then frequency. Sort and group all the baking goods together, all the baking sheets, glasses and so on. Now, sort them by how often you use then. If you have more than one set of glasses but only use one on a daily basis, keep that one aside.

STEP THREE: Before you jump into putting everything back, make sure to look at your work space and where everything is located. Spices are best by the stove or close to where you do most of you prep. Serving dishes should be away from your cooking zone and handy to all house members without bumping into the cook, so is the silverware and glassware.

Think about and maximize your efficiency in the kitchen by minimizing the number of steps you need to take. There is no point storing your cooking utensils on the side of the island if your main prep area is by the stove.

In The Design Studio -- March 10, 2017STEP FOUR: Use clean containers to group items together and store them upright so you can see what’s in them. Take an extra step to label them, if it’s unclear what’s inside. You can use larger containers to store and organize plastic containers and lids. Also, use the same system to organize your fridge!

STEP FIVE: Now you can start putting things back.

I like moving from the top down. Place all the items that you rarely use in the top cabinets, where they are hard to reach and you don’t need to get to them every day, then work your way down to the items that you use every day and place them on the two bottom shelves of the wall cabinets. Use the bottom cabinets for the bigger items, such as pots and pans.

In The Design Studio -- March 10, 2017Create your own zones, such as a coffee and tea station, but storing the coffee mugs above the coffee machine and all the supplies on the shelf above or the drawer below. If you are remodeling, consider great accessories such as this one for your k-cups. Some other rollouts can be added — check out Rev-a shelf for great ideas to transform the inside of your cabinets.

For more ideas and gadgets checkout out Pinterest board: Maximizing kitchen storage with accessories.

Have your own fun ideas? Share with us!

by RestonNow.com — March 10, 2017 at 12:30 pm 65 Comments

Park Free RTC protestThe following open letter by Aaron Gordon of the Reston Merchants Association is offered in response to the open letter penned by Boston Properties that appeared on Reston Now on March 3.

Dear Fellow Community Members,

Reston is a unique place. Besides living, working and playing here, we are a close-knit group, brought together by the desire to know each other and to be part of a distinct community. Boston Properties’ implementation of a paid parking system is tearing the fabric of who we are, how we choose to live and what we do within Reston.

For 26 years, we have enjoyed the ability to park in Reston Town Center, meet friends or be alone, go to work, walk around, shop (or not), dine and take advantage of the entertainment opportunities. The Town Center has been a formal and informal gathering place, a place that often costs nothing to use, but provides much enjoyment.

Sadly, Boston Properties’ decision to install paid parking has turned a once vibrant community into just another mall.

Boston Properties has given many excuses over the past year for its decision to institute paid parking. Excuses like parking convenience and combatting Metro commuters. Don’t let them fool you … the truth is there is only one reason to charge for parking — profit.

Ray Ritchie, Executive Vice President of Boston Properties, set out his case back in 2011, when in a shareholders call, he laid out just how much money the company would make by charging us for parking. Ritchie outlined that the paid parking plan would make Boston Properties $8 million per year and would be worth $130 million of additional value to the company.

On March 3, 2017, Boston Properties, in an open letter to the community published in Reston Now, stated that their three primary goals for activating paid parking include protecting parking rights for the RTC tenants and visitors, enhancing the parking experience of tenants, visitors and patron and augmenting revenues dedicated to reinvestment in the Reston community.

In the same letter, Boston Properties listed a series of reasons attempting to validate their paid parking program. We find many of these justifications to be inaccurate and offensive and underscores Boston Properties’ overreach.

Paid parking will help manage unwarranted commuter parking.
Commuter parking was never the issue. It is easily solvable by instituting 3-4 hours free parking and charging commuters. Also, Boston Properties lumps overnight and out-of-town parking into this category. This is different from commuter parking. Boston Properties’ paid parking plan is an overreach designed to add revenue for the company.

Boston Properties is committed to assisting retailers during this period.
There is not “regular communication” and “open and honest dialogue.” Rather, Boston Properties gives the same automated answer to everyone, which is to say that it will take months to analyze the situation and right now it is too early to formulate any conclusions.

Paid parking is not having the adverse impact that has been reported.
Why would merchants be so upset if their numbers were not down dramatically?

Boston Properties’ statement is not accurate. Of course paid parking and the onerous parking system has had, and is having, an adverse effect. Most of the retailers have indicated that paid parking has been a disaster for business and projected sales are down dramatically. We are losing long-time customers who may never return. If this continues, many merchants have indicated that they will not be in business long.

Each retailer chooses whether or where to validate parking.
We find it galling that Boston Properties is actually attempting to muddy the waters and place the parking fiasco on the merchants of Town Center!

Boston Properties, which already charges some of the highest rent in the area, now wants its merchants to pay them for validation as well. Validation is extremely costly for every merchant and not workable for stores whose standard items are low value like coffee, baked goods or ice cream. Many merchants simply don’t make enough revenue to pay additional fees for parking. Additionally, it is absurd to expect guests and shoppers to have to figure out which retailer participates in the validation program and where, if the store participates, they may park.

No retailers have closed as a result of paid parking.
Two stores, Origins and BGR Burger, have recently closed and one said that the new paid parking was the “nail in the coffin.” At least one other store has indicated that it will leave when its lease is up in a year. And, new merchants are already shying away from RTC due to the disastrous impact of paid parking.

Boston Properties has already made a number of changes based on customer feedback, including offering: free parking in garages on weekends, holidays and special event days; doubling the number of parking ambassadors, primarily at night to assist retail shoppers; installing additional onsite educational signage; adding a list of validating retailers to the ParkRTC app; regularly updating FAQs on the website.
There is much confusion about this. As it turns out, free parking does not include street parking. It was also not free on MLK Day. And “special event” means any day that Boston Properties deems special, usually an event they are running to benefit their brand.

The “parking ambassadors” are unfriendly and not helpful, and seem to be on hand mostly to warn you that you must pay. They are not knowledgeable about the system and generally can’t help guests figure it out.

Educational signage? The signage is not succinct and/or user-friendly. One customer — an astronaut! — was having trouble figuring it all out in a timely fashion, and complained to the proprietor of the store she was in.

Stop adding things to the app. Treat all retailers the same. Give everyone the same advantage in attracting shoppers. We want everyone to succeed.

As for updating the app, you can update it every day and people still won’t care. People want free and safe parking.

The ParkRTC app is secure to use, and most daily parkers are paying using the app.
The app gets a terrible 1 1/2 stars out of 5 on its reviews from the app store. Users say they don’t trust it, and many wonder why Boston Properties needs all this information about RTC patrons.

Boston Properties remains dedicated to nonprofit fundraising.
Yes, Boston Properties scheduled its last nonprofit fundraiser to coincide with the rally residents and merchants organized against paid parking at the same time on the same day. They did everything they could to limit the protest, including restricting the group from rallying on Reston Town Center property.

Boston Properties remains committed to this paid parking model which they believe meets the objective above.
The longer this situation goes on, and with no negotiating with Boston Properties, the more people will go elsewhere, the harder it will be to bring them back and the community as a whole will become less desirable.

Boston Properties will continue to support our community’s strategic plan.
If the plan is to destroy Reston Town Center, this is the path to take. If the plan is beyond making more revenue, providing conveniences, services, and a gathering place for people to live, work and play, Boston Properties must reconsider the parking program they have implemented.

Aaron Gordon
Reston Merchants Association
[email protected]
www.gofundme.com/reston-merchants-for-free-parking
www.facebook.com/restonunited/
www.facebook.com/RTCparkingfee/
twitter.com/hashtag/ParkFreeRTC?src=hash

by Dave Emke — March 10, 2017 at 11:30 am 2 Comments

Hunters Woods/Dogwood candidate forum

Syazana Durrani and Victoria White, candidates for the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District seat on the Reston Association Board of Directors, squared off in a candidate forum Thursday at Reston Association headquarters.

White, a contracts administrator who has lived in Reston since 2004, said she has become distressed with the way the RA board has operated in recent years.

“The big commitment I’m going to make is to find out why we aren’t making good decisions within the RA, why we’re not meeting our budget line items such as at the Lake House, and what I can do to help preserve green space within Reston Association lands and in our community in general,” she said.

Syazana DurraniDurrani, a six-year resident, described Reston as a charming place with an unmatched sense of community she wants to help grow and prosper.

“We need to keep beauty in the green space, beauty in the people, beauty in the community, beauty in the association,” she said. “When we work together, I think that’s when we are our best.”

White said bringing “civility” back to the board is a goal of hers.

“When you go to a board meeting, at times there is a lack of civility among board members and a lack of civility between the board and the community,” she said. “I’d like to bring it back to where there is a modicum of respect between the two.”

When asked about the need for pedestrian lighting in the area, including around Hunters Woods Plaza, White said she is “not necessarily a fan” of the idea.

“I worry about the animals that live in the woods and how the light would impact their sleep cycles,” she said. “I also wonder about the safety benefits from having lights — as anybody who walks through lights on a lighted path at night knows, when you’re under the light you see everything around you, but when you reach the end of the light you can’t see what’s two feet in front of you.”

Victoria WhiteWhite said additional patrols by Fairfax County Police Department officers are necessary to increase safety and decrease crime in the area. Durrani said CCTV could be used to make problem areas more safe, and she also believes cluster associations should be engaged in public safety.

“Just getting together, I think, and helping one another — that’s what community is about,” she said.

Both candidates spoke about the Pony Barn proposal, which is currently on hold, saying that it is the type of project Reston Association must be more careful when undertaking.

“How in the world [did we go] from a $30,00 budget that suddenly went up to $350,000?” White said. “These are things that made we want to get interested [in becoming a board member].”

“Everyone loves a beautiful butterfly garden,” Durrani said. “But I don’t think right now we need something like that.”

Director Ray Wedell’s proposal for tiered assessments based on property values was something both women said they can get behind — at some point in the future.

“As time has marched on, the difference between the high end and low end of property values in Reston has gotten further and further apart,” White said. “This is definitely something we should be discussing; however, I think maybe we should be discussing it a little bit further down the road, because we do have some very pressing issues.”

Durrani said the proposal is in line with her goal of continuing Reston’s sense of community for all.

“The vision that I have for Reston is all within our fingertips — the brilliant minds, the passionate communities, the efficacy of the symbiotic relationships,” she said. “I see the discussion, the proposal of the tiered assessments, really mirrors that.”

The candidates also answered questions on better member outreach, future capital improvements and more. The forum can be viewed in full on Reston Association’s YouTube channel.

The candidate who wins the race will serve a three-year term on the board. Voting will continue through April 3 and can be done by mail or at reston.org.

by Dave Emke — March 10, 2017 at 10:15 am 18 Comments

Retired detective Bruce Wiley/FCPD(This story was updated at 12:15 p.m. after more information was released by the Fairfax County Police Department.)

A retired Fairfax County Police Department detective had crime come into his Reston home earlier this week.

According to FCPD, retired detective Bruce Wiley was awakened at about 3 a.m. Wednesday by “suspicious noises in his house” in the 1700 block of Beaver Circle. From the police release:

“He grabbed a flashlight and a collapsible baton and went to investigate. He found the intruder, who was wearing a full black mask over his face, in the process of stealing items from the home. Wiley pointed the flashlight at the suspect and told him to get on the ground. The suspect did not comply with Wiley’s commands, as he repeated his commands, Wiley closed in on the suspect, struck him once with the baton and took him to the ground. Meanwhile, Wiley’s wife called police.”

Officers responded took the 17-year-old suspect into custody.

Police say Wiley was a detective on the force for 28 years before retiring in 2010.

“During his tour of duty, Wiley responded to every type of call for service imaginable, from a cat stuck in a tree to a murder scene. He dealt with crime victims with sensitivity and compassion, and investigated crimes with tenacity and dogged determination, but he never thought that he would someday be a crime victim himself.”

Police say Wiley has used his “extensive job knowledge, training and experience to train other law enforcement officers in use-of-force situations.”

Another break-in at the home had been reported to have happened last week between 11 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday. Small electronic items were stolen in that case, police reported. A Fairfax County Police Department spokesperson said police “have reason to believe the same suspect might be involved.”

Picture of Wiley courtesy Fairfax County Police Department

by Dave Emke — March 10, 2017 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Morning Notes - Lake Thoreau

Have Coffee with a Cop — The Herndon Police Department is inviting community members out to Virginia Kitchen (450 Elden St.) on Monday morning for coffee and conversation. [Herndon Police Department/Facebook]

Metro Rate Hikes Get Approval — As expected, the Metro Finance Committee voted Thursday to increase rates and reduce rush-hour service. The Board will make the final vote March 23 on what would be Metro’s first rate hike in three years. [WTOP]

County Seeking Input on New Website — As Fairfax County has plans to update its website, it is inviting feedback from the community in the process. The county has devised four example pages of possible new designs, as well as surveys to find out what is most important to users. [Fairfax County]

Local Artist’s Work Displayed at NYC Gallery — The art of Herndon-based Lisa Tureson is being exhibited at New York’s Touchstone Gallery through April 2. “Scribbles” was inspired by street art in Denmark. [Reston Connection]

by RestonNow.com — March 10, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

On Fridays, we take a moment to thank our advertisers and sponsors:

Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, the business community for the vibrant region.

BLVD, Comstock’s apartments at Reston Station.

AKG Design Studio, boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales.

Berry & Berry, PLLC, Reston law firm specializing in federal employment, retirement, labor union, and security clearance matters.

Reston Real Estate, Eve Thompson of Long & Foster Real Estate specializes in Reston homes.

Reston Carpet Cleaning, local cleaning service.

Becky’s Pet Care, offering friendly pet services in Northern Virginia.

Reston Community Center, serving Reston’s recreational and cultural needs.

MakeOffices, shared work spaces with five area locations, including Reston.

Boofie O’Gorman, Top Producer Realtor at Long & Foster Reston.

Goldfish Swim School, specializing in children’s swim lessons year-round.

Small Change Consignment, serving Reston’s kids for more than 30 years.

A Cleaning Service, professional residential and commercial cleaning.

Reston Montessori, private co-educational school for children ages 3 months to sixth grade.

Kalypso’s Sports Tavern, providing great food and drink at Lake Anne Plaza.

All Spice Cafe & Catering, bringing flavor to your events.

Bright Horizons at Commerce Metro Center, new child care facility in Reston.

Susannah Palik, residential Sales Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate.

Inform Fitness, personal training studio that offers results with 20-minute workout.

Fusion Academy, accredited private middle and high school for grades 6-12.

Reston Children’s Center, providing care, preschool and private education and summer camp enrichment.

Ryan Homes — Westmoore, Loudoun County’s hottest new Metro community in the heart of Ashburn.

Knutson Brambleton, Loudoun County urban townhomes with yards in the sky.

Knutson Crescent Place, urban townhomes in Leesburg — Loudoun’s authentic town center since 1758.

Eric Carr, John Mooney and Victoria White, candidates for the Reston Association Board of Directors.

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