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by Kalina Newman July 17, 2017 at 4:00 pm 4 Comments

Walking down a path in the area and spot a small, hand-painted rock?

Don’t ignore it, because it was probably placed there for a good reason — for you to find it.

Herndon Rocks-Painted Rock Share! is a new Facebook group meant for Herndon-area residents to craftily paint rocks and leave them for others to find, share and trade. Since starting last month, it has grown to more than 200 members who are engaged in the family activity, which is growing in popularity across the country.

In Herndon, even the mayor is in on it. On Sunday, Lisa Merkel posted in the group, “OMG. I love this!!! How can I help promote it?”

The details of the painted rocks range from simple designs to elaborate small paintings, such as those pictured above, which were painted by the niece of the group founder, who goes by the name “Monet Flower” on the site.

On the Facebook page, Flower describes the group as “meant for people to paint rocks and then hide them around town, in public places or on the edge of property.” Participants are requested to put a note on the back of their rocks directing those who find them to take a picture and post it on the Facebook page before re-hiding the rock.

Group member Melory Mika is hoping that the group will grow and develop throughout the community.

“Our goal is that we want to give families a real-life treasure hunt and bonding time,” Mika said.

She said that given the relatively small number of people currently in the group, and the fact that everyone can’t be painting rocks all at once, it might be a little hard at first to find these painted objects.

“Since we are a new group, we are working hard in creating our hidden treasures at the moment,” Mika said. “Once we have grown and more people become involved, finding these will become easier.”

While the group may be new, the craze isn’t. Participation in rock-painting groups has exploded across the country in recent months. Reston Now editor Dave Emke even stumbled upon a painted rock on the W&OD Trail near Town Center Parkway a few months ago.

Someone left this piece of good advice on a W&OD signpost today. #RestonVA #WODTrail

A post shared by Dave Emke (@emkedave) on

Flower said she became hooked on the pastime when she discovered it through her grandchildren while visiting them in Southern California.

“For me it’s about a nice way for the community to get outside, participate in a craft activity, and share in fun,” she said. “It’s an inexpensive way to get outside in nature and connect with other Herndonites.”

No matter the age, Mika said, everyone and anyone is welcome to join, paint, discover and trade with Herndon Rocks.

“It’s hard to find 100 percent family-friendly things for all ages, but rock finding and painting is great for everyone,” she said.

Images via Herndon Rocks on Facebook

by RestonNow.com July 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm 14 Comments

Today, we open the voting for our 2017 Best Reston Business award in the Best Child Care or Preschool category. This poll will be open through 5 p.m. Monday, July 24. After that, the top two vote-getters will advance to final voting, which will take place in early August.

Cast your vote below.

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

OTHER POLLS

Open through July 25: Best Financial Business
Open through July 26: Best Fitness Business
Open through July 27: Best Real Estate Agent
Open through July 28: Best Local Shop
Open through July 31: Best Fast-Casual Restaurant
Open through Aug. 1: Best Sit-Down Restaurant

by RestonNow.com Sponsor July 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Plaza America that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By Kimberly Berry

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a retirement savings and investment plan for federal employees and members of the uniformed services. It was established by Congress in 1986 as part of the Federal Employees’ Retirement Systems Act. The TSP offers the same types of savings and tax benefits that a 401(k) plan offers to private sector employees.

In April 2017, on the TSP’s 30-year anniversary, a bill was offered by Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) to bring the TSP’s terms more up-to-date with similar programs. Specifically, the legislation seeks to expand investment and withdrawal options. Last week, the Washington Post published a helpful Q&A that provided more details regarding the TSP’s new investment options. For instance, one of the TSP’s five funds, tracking international stocks, will be broadened in 2019 to include emerging markets and Canada. The TSP is also working toward allowing account holders to invest in funds outside of what’s currently offered.

Additional bills pending before Congress also allow for more withdrawal options post-retirement, including for federal workers and servicemen and women still employed and at least 59 ½ years of age. Since current withdrawal options are limited, it is hopeful that these changes will allow participants more flexibility and freedom regarding their retirement savings.

Most TSP issues that we handle in our federal retirement practice involve withdrawal guidelines and requirements, including issues involving federal retirees who are divorced and ordered to divide their retirement benefits, including TSP benefits, with a former spouse. In addition, federal employees and uniformed servicemen and women leaving employment for retirement or other reasons may keep TSP accounts open. However, they cannot add to their TSP accounts post-retirement or separation, but TSP monies can be transferred to an IRA or other tax-favored plans. The transfer rules, including deadlines, can often be complicated and difficult to understand, but we hope that the legislation allowing for additional investment and withdrawal options will help bring more financial stability as well as a better understanding of the rules involving federal retirement plans.

If you need assistance with a federal employment, federal retirement or TSP issue, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also like and visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

by Dave Emke July 17, 2017 at 11:30 am 8 Comments

Dr. Tuliza Fleming, curator of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, will visit Reston this weekend for a discussion with artist Radcliffe Bailey.

Bailey is an Atlanta-based mixed media artist whose work is currently on view at both the museum and the Greater Reston Arts Center, where his exhibit “The Great Dismal Swamp” will be through Aug. 18. According to GRACE, Bailey’s work “layers imagery, culturally resonant materials and text to explore themes of ancestry, race and memory.”

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened to the public last September and was visited by 1 million people within its first few months. It features exhibits about African-American struggles, triumphs, activism, entertainment and much more.

The free event will take place at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road). The formal discussion will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience.

RSVP is required and can be made by emailing William Parker at [email protected].

Image via Wikimedia user Fuzheado

by Dave Emke July 17, 2017 at 10:15 am 11 Comments

An application has been filed with Fairfax County to bring another new restaurant to the Hunters Woods Village Center.

Under the permit name “Mingtong Huang,” the application for a new restaurant at 2260-B Hunters Woods Plaza was processed earlier this month. Attempts to reach the applicant and plaza management for additional information about the incoming restaurant have been unsuccessful.

The site at the plaza, between Rite-Aid and Buffalo Wing Factory, was most recently the home of Mathnasium. Prior to that, it housed Reston Tailoring for nearly 30 years.

Several new restaurants have already opened in the plaza this year, including Kung Fu Tea, King Pollo and Pista House Indian Cuisine.

by Dave Emke July 17, 2017 at 9:00 am 7 Comments

County Remains Among Richest — U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2015 have Fairfax County’s median household income at $112,844, more than twice the national figure. The county trails only Loudoun County ($125,900) and the independent City of Falls Church ($122,092) in the national rankings. [WTOP]

Reston P&Z Committee Meets Tonight — The Reston Planning & Zoning Committee’s monthly meeting will be held tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). Matters to be discussed include JBG/EYA’s project near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. [Reston P&Z Committee]

Wanted: School Bus Drivers — Fairfax County Public Schools has 85 openings for bus drivers. A job fair will be held Friday, Aug. 11, at Stonecroft Transportation Center (4641 Stonecroft Blvd., Chantilly). [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Connolly Plans Telephone Town Hall Tonight — Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) will answer questions by phone tonight beginning at 8 p.m. [Rep. Gerry Connolly/Twitter]

Gas Grill Safety Tips — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue wants citizens to be safe when they fire up the grill to make summer meals. With that in mind, they shared a video from the National Fire Protection Association that includes tips on where to place the grill, how to turn it on safely and more. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

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