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by RestonNow.com — April 3, 2017 at 4:00 pm 4 Comments

After a successful pop-up venture at Lake Anne Plaza, a shop combining the worlds of pottery and custard will open a permanent location there.

Kiln & Co. set up at the former home of Lakeside Pharmacy last summer. According to a press release, it “immediately became a community favorite.” It plans to open for good Saturday, in conjunction with Founder’s Day festivities at the plaza, at 1631 Washington Plaza N., next to Small Change Consignment.

The new location of Kiln & Co. is the former home of children’s store Baby Blossom, which closed last year. Company owner Sarah Selvaraj has purchased the space.

The Vienna-based business offers paint-your-own pottery, sculpture, wheel and handbuilding work through a variety of classes, workshops and summer camps. And in addition to its “Kustard & Co.” custard, it sells cakes, shakes and other treats.

To celebrate, the first 50 people in line at 10 a.m. Saturday will receive a free “Krazy Kustard Shake” and a chance to win free shakes for a year. All kids 12 and under will receive an ice cream scoop bowl they can paint on site, which they will be able to later bring back for $2 refills. And any kids who are painting pottery Saturday will receive a free kid’s scoop.

For more information, visit Kiln & Co.’s Facebook page.

by Dave Emke — April 3, 2017 at 2:45 pm 35 Comments

A new restaurant that opened Monday at Reston Town Center is offering fast meals in a familiar space.

Hen Penny is now open at 1820 Discovery St., offering chicken sandwiches, salads and more to its customers. Wesley Albright, the restaurant’s assistant manager, said the Southern country-fried chicken restaurant uses a special recipe to give its meat a unique taste.

“It’s a special flour that we use, and we put all our chicken in a pressure cooker so it keeps it really nice and juicy and moist,” he said. “Our menu is pretty small, but we have excellent food here.”

Hen Penny is a spinoff of Pheast Food Group’s Hen Quarter restaurants in Alexandria and Silver Spring. Ashraf Mokhtar, the restaurant’s general manager, said the company hopes to open 20 to 25 more locations of Hen Penny in the future.

The location is the former home of burger restaurant BRB, which Pheast Food Group closed in January with a plan to bring a “new concept” to the space. That new concept is the only place like it in the Town Center, Albright said.

“When it was BRB, there’s tons of places you can go and get burgers,” said Albright, who served in the same position at that restaurant. “But around here, this is the only place that has this type of chicken.”

The restaurant is not validating parking, Albright said, but he encouraged use of online and pickup orders for people who want to get in and out quickly. Albright said regular customers had been asking for updates about the location since BRB closed and there was already a healthy crowd in the eatery during the early lunch hour Monday.

“We have a lot of regular guests here — a lot of people who work in the Town Center, live in the Town Center, people who come across the street from the offices,” he said.

The restaurant is providing free samples at its front door as it celebrates its opening. In addition, Mokhtar said special discounts can be provided for catering orders.

by Dave Emke — April 3, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Reston Association is turning to crowdsourcing in the effort to map and identify native plants and uncommon wildlife.

Patricia Greenberg, RA’s environmental resource supervisor, says work has been done in the past 18 to 24 months to assess 800 acres of open space for abundance of invasive species and encroachment on natural areas. She says with the help of the community, much more can be done.

The community’s help is being enlisted through a free smartphone app called iNaturalist. By signing up for the Reston Bioblitz group within the app, information users provide regarding plants and wildlife in Reston will be shared with RA’s Environmental Resource Department as they work to map the area’s natural landscape.

“Volunteers can help by mapping and identifying the sensitive or rare native plants and wildlife that exist throughout Reston,” Greenberg said. “Mapping these special natives will help determine where staff should focus their work to suppress invasive plants and protect native species.”

Work done at the sites prioritized through the mapping effort will include removing invasive plants, installing and protecting native species, and restoring habitat throughout Reston’s woods.

Greenberg said anyone who is willing to snap photos for the app is able to participate in the project. No expertise is required, as any photos that are uploaded can be examined and identified through the app by a naturalist.

“We’re asking for people to get this app on their phone, take a walk in Reston, see plants or wildflowers, and take photos through the app,” she said. “I’m hoping to have a great reaction and a lot of feedback and involvement.”

Greenberg said similar efforts in Arlington, Alexandria and the National Park Service have been successful. She also said her department works with Fairfax County’s Master Naturalists to gather such information, but more help is always a good thing.

“Basically, we’re just trying to get people out and about,” she said. “It takes a certain type of person.”

For more information about the Bioblitz effort, contact Greenberg at [email protected] or 703-435-6552.

Top photo courtesy Reston Association; screencap via iNaturalist app

by Dave Emke — April 3, 2017 at 11:30 am 40 Comments

Reston National Golf Course has been advertised for potential redevelopment, but a lot would need to happen for that to take place, Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins is reminding constituents.

In a statement to media Monday morning, Hudgins said an interpretation of the property’s status made by Fairfax County’s Department of Planning and Zoning is “clear and concise.”

“According to the interpretation, the process is clear and concise and must be followed in order for development other than a golf course or open space to be considered for the property,” Hudgins said.

The interpretation of the golf course property by Fairfax County Planning and Zoning reads:

“Based on the previous approvals, the redevelopment of the property from a golf course to residential uses would first require an amendment to the Reston Master Plan which is part of the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan, as well as obtaining both Development Plan Amendment approval and Planned Residential Community Plan approval from the Board of Supervisors.”

According to Hudgins’ office, the supervisor made the statement Monday in response to the recent advertisement of the property by developer ARA Newmark as well as a recent article on real-estate news site GlobeSt, which quoted specific rumored sale prices and development values for the property. Hudgins believes the characterization of the property as a “by-right, mixed-use development opportunity” could be misleading to some residents, who may believe its redevelopment to be “a done deal,” her office stated.

Activist group Rescue Reston, which fought against a previous attempt to redevelop the property, has stated it will “mobilize [its] allies and supporters as necessary to oppose any attempt to amend the Comprehensive Plan that would threaten our open space.”

by RestonNow.com — April 3, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

The 14th annual Nature House 5K run/walk is slated for Saturday at the Walker Nature Center (11450 Glade Drive).

The event, open to all ages, benefits the Friends of Reston. The course mostly consists of paved walkways in neighborhoods as well as pathways at the Nature Center and through Glade Stream Valley Park.

The course is very similar to that of the Reston Sprint Triathlon, according to RA Parks & Recreation Director Larry Butler, making this a “great warmup race.”

T-shirts will be given to all pre-registered participants, and to walk-in registrants as supplies last. Post-race festivities will include an awards ceremony and a prize drawing, in addition to the presentation of overall and age group medals and prizes.

Registration is $30 for ages 13 and up, $20 for those 12 and under. Walk-in registration will begin Saturday at 7 a.m., with the race to start at 8.

The Friends of Reston is a nonprofit organization that works to support Reston Association in performing charitable, educational and scientific purposes. The Nature House, gifted to RA in 2009, is its flagship project.

Photos via Active.com registration page

by Dave Emke — April 3, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Former Assistant Principal Passes Away — Bill Weaver, a longtime assistant principal at South Lakes and Herndon high schools, died last week at the age of 83. Weaver was also a former football coach at George Mason and James Madison high schools. [Southern Maryland Online]

Community Meeting Tonight on Temporary Fire Station — Residents are invited to come to the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive) tonight at 7 p.m. to learn about the county’s plan for Reston’s temporary fire station, and to share their thoughts. [Reston Now]

County Fire Welcomes New Recruits — After 28 weeks of training, new members of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue graduated from training Friday evening. Some began work the next morning, while others started on the job today. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Police: Watch for Signs of Gang Activity — The Fairfax County Police Department says certain types of graffiti can be an indicator of increased gang presence in a community. In addition, they are sharing tips for parents to look for in kids who may be at risk. [WTOP]

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