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by Katherine Berko — July 11, 2017 at 5:00 pm 7 Comments

A state grant will foot half of the $14,590 bill for a recent hazard analysis of Lake Anne Dam.

A $7,295 grant from the Virginia Resources Authority will be put toward the evaluation, which was completed by consulting engineers GKY & Associates. Reston Association helped bring this grant to fruition.

RA says that prior to seeking the grant money, it had three potential construction solutions to bring the dam into compliance with state regulations, which would have cost between $2 million and $4 million. But according to RA:

Additional and more recent guidance provided by the state allows for evaluating certain aspects of the dam, including the spillway capacity and downstream impacts. RA opted to pursue an evaluation under this new guidance, which could result in a solution without excessive costs associated with extensive renovations to the dam.

The grant is part of a decision by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to provide $1.15 million for dam safety and floor management statewide. In a press release, McAuliffe cited the importance of the grant money and how “dam failures can be tragic for families and economically devastating for communities.”

“For almost the entirety of [Lake Anne] dam’s existence, it’s been considered a significant hazard dam,” said Larry Butler, RA’s senior director for Parks, Recreation and Community.

Butler explained that over the past few years, as the state changed dam safety regulations, Lake Anne’s dam was re-classified as a high hazard dam.

“More than half of the dams receiving funding are classified as high hazard, meaning they pose the greatest risk to life and property upon failure and are a priority for the Commonwealth,” said Clyde E. Cristman, director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, in the state press release.

Lake Anne was one of the dams to receive their grant as part of a 50/50 matching program. The other half of the evaluation’s cost will come from RA’s capital budget.

by Dave Emke — July 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

Phones get jammed during emergency situations.

It’s scary and frustrating for people trying to get in touch with loved ones — but for first responders trying to communicate with each other, it’s downright dangerous.

Tuesday, Virginia became the first state to try to amend that situation by joining the FirstNet communications network. Being developed by AT&T, it is a secured broadband network that provides fast and reliable interoperability for first responders.

“You cannot ask men and women to put on that uniform, to put their lives on the line, and not give them the tools they need to keep themselves safe,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe during a ceremony Tuesday at FirstNet headquarters on Sunrise Valley Drive in Reston. “Today, we’re giving all those first responders the tools they need to be safe.”

McAuliffe was joined at the ceremony by fire and police chiefs from across Fairfax County, as well as by representatives of FirstNet and AT&T. T.J. Kennedy, president of FirstNet, said the network’s capacity will be built out over the next few months to allow non-AT&T users to join FirstNet as well.

According to the FirstNet website:

The FirstNet network grew out of and addresses a 9/11 Commission recommendation calling for interoperable communications for all U.S. first responders. With the FirstNet network, first responders will have access to fast, highly secure and reliable communications whenever they need them. This will help first responders stay safe while they help others during both day-to-day operations and disaster response and recovery, and when securing large events.

Richard Bowers, chief of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, said he is proud that Virginia is the first state to be “first in, all in, to opt in” to the network.

“In the past, first responders were not able to communicate over the commercial wireless networks during significant incidents as the networks became congested and overwhelmed,” Bowers said. “As a responder to 9/11, along with many of my other colleagues that are here today… we had that very problem.”

First responders in the FirstNet network will have special SIM cards in their cellphones that will allow them to stay connected on their own dedicated system. Bowers said the network represents one of the most important transformational changes in public safety communications in decades.

“FirstNet will enhance services and save lives of our citizens and first responders,” he said. “What a key point in all of today’s information that’s being shared.”

McAuliffe, who is chair of the National Governors Association, said he is hopeful many other states will soon join the network as well.

“I do hope that my fellow governors take heed,” he said. “Leaving here today, if something were to happen, I now in my conscience know that we have done everything we possibly can to keep our first responders safe.”

by RestonNow.com — July 11, 2017 at 2:45 pm 4 Comments

If you’ve ever needed the services of a lawyer, you know it might be an intimidating experience.

Whether it’s for legal assistance, divorce proceedings, criminal representation or any other type of need, finding the perfect law firm for you is of the utmost importance. There are plenty of attorneys here in Reston ready to assist you.

Today, we open the voting for our 2017 Best Reston Business award in the Best Legal Practice category. This poll will be open through 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 18. After that, the top two vote-getters will advance to final voting, which will take place in early August.

We have four firms from which to choose. Remember, all businesses were asked to self-nominate for the honor this year.

So who has been there for you in your time of need? Cast your vote below.

Check back each weekday through July 26 for another category’s ballot.

OTHER POLLS

Open through July 20: Best Arts/Entertainment Venue
Open through July 21: Best Builder/Remodeler/Contractor
Open through July 24: Best Child Care/Preschool
Open through July 25: Best Financial Business
Open through July 26: Best Fitness Business
Open through July 27: Best Real Estate Agent

by Katherine Berko — July 11, 2017 at 1:30 pm 1 Comment

If you ever had that fantasy of cracking an egg on the sidewalk and watching it sizzle to perfection, this week may be your chance to make that a reality.

Today, the National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for Fairfax County and other Northern Virginia areas. This outlook applies to the coming days as well. In the next few days, the mercury will be way up on the thermometer — even nearing the triple-digit zone.

While your instinct may be to throw some “floaties” in the pool and stock up on bottles of rosé for the fridge, you may want to keep an eye out for symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

According to the National Weather Service, symptoms of heat exhaustion include feeling faint or dizzy, sweating excessively, cool, pale or clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, a rapid, weak pulse, and muscle cramps. It is recommended that anyone experiencing those symptoms should go indoors to a cool place, drink water, and take cool showers or use cold compresses.

Signs of heat stroke include throbbing headaches; the absence of sweating; a body temperature above 103 degrees; red, hot, dry skin; nausea or vomiting; a rapid, strong pulse; and the potential to lose consciousness. Should a person encounter this scenario, they must call 911 immediately.

For those who do not have air conditioning in their house, Fairfax County recommends going to the movies, visiting shopping centers or going to one of the county’s designated cooling centers — including Reston Regional Library and the Southgate Community Center.

The county also recommends that citizens:

  • Drink plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Take several breaks from the heat, especially midday when the sun is hottest.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing, and sunscreen. Remember that you should reapply sunscreen every three to four hours.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Check on friends or neighbors during extremely hot days and have someone do the same for you.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars.

Cornerstones, a nonprofit organization in Reston, offers short-term emergency financial assistance to people who need help with their cooling bills.

So, keep cool and carry on.

by Eve Thompson — July 11, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. Contact her on Reston Real Estate.

I spend a lot of time talking about all the amenities Reston has to offer, and you could easily fill all of your free time doing everything. But I would be remiss if I did not point you to the NOVA Parks.

I sometimes get so focused on my life at Lake Anne, I forget the incredible resources we have in Northern Virginia. The park authority maintains many of them.

NOVA Parks is a nonprofit that represents three counties and three cities — Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, the City of Alexandria, the City of Falls Church and the City of Fairfax. NOVA Parks staff, volunteer board members appointed from each jurisdiction and friends of the regional parks have worked together to preserve more than 12,000 acres of the rolling and wooded Virginia countryside, creating a priceless legacy for future generations. We are truly blessed that way back in the ’50s, regional leaders has the foresight to protect the Northern Virginia Wilderness.

NOVA Parks provides so many things to do, I can’t possibly list them all. So I’m just going to share my favorite. That is Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, also known as a little slice of heaven.

The gardens consist of 95 acres of ornamental display gardens and unique native plant collections. I particularly love the fairy garden, but all of the gardens are beautiful and fun. You can sit on a bench in your favorite spot, or meander along the walking trails, discovering local flora and fauna (be careful of nesting geese… they don’t appreciate visitors and they will charge you). The Atrium contains an indoor tropical garden. I’ve been to several events there, and the space is amazing. Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is also home to the annual Winter Walk of Lights, a spectacular holiday light show featuring dozens of illuminated displays.

What is really nice is you can buy an annual pass for only $45 for the entire family! I think that is one of the best deals around. Of course, if you don’t want a pass, you can buy single tickets — $5 for an adult, $2.50 for seniors and children 7 to 17, children under 7 free.

by Katherine Berko — July 11, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

A pair of Herndon residents are facing charges after separate alcohol-related incidents in Loudoun County over the weekend.

Just before 3 a.m. Saturday, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the intersection of Waxpool Road and Loudoun County Parkway in Ashburn for a report of a disabled vehicle. When they arrived, they charged the driver — 32-year-old Alok K. Choubey — with DWI. Choubey was released from the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center on a personal recognizance bond.

The next night, at about 2:16 a.m., a patrolling LCSO deputy found a 33-year-old Herndon man asleep in a common area at the One Loudoun shopping center. The man was charged with being drunk in public and taken to the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center, where he was released on a personal recognizance bond.

Meanwhile, the Fairfax County Police Department reported the following crimes in recent days:

LARCENIES:

1600 block of Becontree Lane, property from residence

13300 block of Feldman Place, property from vehicle

11500 block of Hearthstone Court, laptop computer from vehicle

10300 block of Lawyers Road, property from residence

1600 block of Reston Parkway, merchandise from business

2300 block of Soapstone Drive, liquor from business

1000 block of Utterback Store Road, property from vehicle

11600 block of Vantage Hill Road, wallet from vehicle

STOLEN VEHICLES:

None reported

In addition, as we reported last week, FCPD is investigating the painting of a swastika on a wall in the 11600 block of Hunters Green Court.

Anyone with information about any of the crimes reported by FCPD should call 703-691-2131 or 1-866-411-TIPS(8477), or text “TIP187” plus the message to CRIMES(274637).

by Katherine Berko — July 11, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Brabrand’s First Day as FCPS Superintendent — Monday marked Dr. Scott Brabrand’s first day as Fairfax County Public Schools superintendent. A former Herndon High School teacher, Brabrand is contracted for his new position through the 2020-21 school year. Brabrand tweeted during his first day on the job: “Excited to reconnect w/ old faces, get to know new ones, and talk about our shared vision to engage, inspire, and help our kids thrive.” [Scott Brabrand/Twitter]

Leesburg Hazmat Incident Mucks Up Flights — An evacuation at a Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control center in Leesburg delayed hundreds of flights around the region Monday night, including at Dulles. [Washington Post]

Fired Airport Worker Fighting for Wages — Swartha Tujare of Reston, a 67-year-old former Dulles Airport employee, was fired in December for striking for wage raises for airport workers. Tujare is having difficulty paying her bills, so she is trying to get her employer, Huntleigh USA, to pay her $8,000 in lost wages. [WUSA]

FCPS Taking Feedback on Mathematics Material — From now through July 30, FCPS is encouraging Fairfax County residents to provide their opinions on the proposed textbooks and online materials for the proposed Mathematics Basal Resources. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Free Yoga Tonight — The recurring event, Summerbration Yoga, will take place today from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Reston Station. [Reston Station]

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