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Reston Now Weekend Discussion Topics

We’ve reached the end of August and the Labor Day holiday is nigh. Before we head off into the big three-day weekend, though, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

The following articles were the five most-clicked links on Reston Now this past week.

  1. Fairfax County School Board Vote is Tuesday (Karen Keys-Gamarra won the election.)
  2. Mouthpiece for Reston Town Center Merchants Says His Business Is on the Outs
  3. Arrest Made After Attempted Robbery in Hunters Woods Parking Lot
  4. Now Open: Coopers Hawk Winery and Restaurant on Sunset Hills Road
  5. Arrest Made in Attempted Sexual Assault Earlier This Month Near Tall Oaks

This week also saw the first community input meeting on the Hook Road Recreation Area project from Reston Association, which came with controversy along with the beginning of the discussion. We will continue to follow that process as it progresses over the next several months.

And in late-breaking news Friday, At-Large Director Ray Wedell informed Reston Now that he will resign from the RA Board. We’re continuing to follow that story and will provide more information when it becomes available.

In addition, the week marked the one-year anniversary of an unsolved hit-and-run pedestrian death on North Shore Drive. Police are still looking for information.

Feel free to discuss these topics and anything else that happened locally this week. Have a great weekend!

File photo courtesy Joy Every

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Lake Anne Jazz & Blues Festival Canceled Due to Rain Forecast

The Lake Anne Jazz & Blues Festival has gone off for 10 years without a hitch, but the 11th time isn’t so lucky.

Lake Anne Plaza has announced that the festival, which was scheduled for Saturday from 1-9 p.m., is being canceled due to rain in the forecast.

According to the Lake Anne Plaza Facebook page:

JAZZ FESTIVAL CANCELLED TOMORROW: Due to declining weather conditions we’ve made the very painful decision to cancel the Jazz & Blues Festival for 2017. This has been a tough decision to arrive at but in the end we think this is the best thing to do. We did look at the possibility of shifting the event to Sunday but the logistics of that are not surmountable both in terms of permit limitations, (ABC Licenses, County Permits, Fire Marshall, etc.) equipment rental and musician schedules.

This is only the 1st time in 11 years that we’ve actually canceled the festival so the Labor Day weekend has been good to us. I know we’re all disappointed. Thank you for your support- we’ll look forward to the planning of the 2018 festival.

The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang says there will be possible downpours Friday evening, followed by showers and isolated storms Saturday.

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At-Large Director Ray Wedell Steps Down from Reston Association Board

(This article was updated at 4:35 p.m. after confirmation of Wedell’s resignation was received from Sherri Hebert.)

With about eight months remaining in his term, Reston Association At-Large Director Ray Wedell has resigned from the Board.

In a statement provided to Reston Now, Wedell spells out the reasons for his decision; however, his statement does not give an effective date of the resignation. Reston Association Board President Sherri Hebert said she contacted Hebert to confirm his decision and was told his resignation is effective immediately.

The often-outspoken Wedell has been at odds with other Board members throughout his tenure and, recently, he found himself at odds with fellow Restonians over comments he made regarding the future Hook Road Recreation Area project. This controversy came to a head at a public meeting Tuesday night that at times turned ugly.

Wedell was elected to the Board in 2015. His full statement of resignation, as submitted to Reston Now, can be read below:

LETTER OF RESIGNATION FROM THE RESTON ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS FOR TERM ENDING IN APRIL, [2018]

RAY WEDELL
At Large Director

This letter is submitted to Reston Now’s Dave Emke. Dave has been that rare breed of good journalist and good person, who has always been thorough and fair in his presentation and reporting. Therefore, I trust him to provide the unabridged content without any editorial commentary in support or opposition to me or my reasoning.

Background

I have been an at-large Reston Association Board member for the past 2 1/2 years. It is a volunteer position, and it takes large chunks of hours from my personal and professional time. I remember the first time I met Bob Simon was only months before his death, and I believe we became good friends. He asked me at our first meeting, “Why do you want to do this? It seems everybody has their own reasons, and I am always curious what drives people to take these positions.” Finding the “why.” Always a required first step if one wants real success.

Why

I cannot answer for anyone else on why they do this. Personally, I feel no sense of “power” in being a Board member. There was not much particularly enjoyable about always trying to “fight the good fight” against entrenched forces. But it had its rewards. I tried, and sometimes succeeded, in making a difference in some communities and some operations. I have a level of authenticity that is unquestioned; or if anyone questions it, they should be the one under scrutiny. And there were successes, some of which were clearly against all odds, such as driving the Reston Association to take a unified position against the St Johns Wood (SJW) project. In that one, I converted from a massive internal attack against me for even trying, to a 9-0 Board vote to do exactly what I said we should do. Thank you to the SJW people for making this issue a priority and having the guts and intelligence to stay with it. Situations like this are rewarding, and kept me involved despite scales being tipped in the other direction most of the time.

But the successes have been outweighed by the frustrations. And the time commitment required to cover the multitude of issues is just overwhelming, especially when established interests that need reform are too emboldened to be reformed. There was great hope in the new Reston Board (Board 53), and early on it appeared that significant progress would be made to move the Reston Association forward in this tech-enabled world. However, several recent events lead me to believe that it is simply the nature of the beast for people in these positions to gravitate toward similar operational styles of their predecessors; that is, previous rhetoric and narrative to be “change agents”  remains the talk, but falling back on old ways of doing business soon becomes the walk. In the process those who continue to push for the positive changes so many Restonians seek are often caste as devils: outliers who are simply rabblerousing misanthropes. With so many great things going on in my life, I simply need to take the positive path and extricate myself from that which leads me to sometimes need a Snickers Bar.

The Hook Road Fiasco, and Other Upcoming Points of Disagreement

Awhile back, Dave Emke wrote a piece based on a long paper I wrote to try to save the Hook Road Park from oblivion, as one member stated to me. As a resident of Hook Road for seven years, I love the park. When RA first launched a proposal to perform a massive overhaul of Hook Road Park (they will deny this, but those who follow the situation and can put two + two together know that I am right), I was the lone Reston Association Board member to challenge this upcoming fiasco. This was in March, 2017, and is well-documented. But now the person who supported the people’s interests with his volunteer time is castigated publicly by those who have absolutely no idea what his position is. Those with personal interests that will lead to major expenditure take to the attack and seem to win this round. I sometimes have a Biblical bent, so you will have to forgive me if this insults you. But the incident reminds me of that haunting quote, “Give us Barabbas.”

The aftermath of this has led to many friends asking me this simple question: “Ray, why are you doing this? Reston Association will never change. They don’t WANT to change. They will try to devour anyone who attempts to force accountability and who recommends better ways to do things that may threaten their jobs. You have so any more important things to do; so many people to work with who appreciate your efforts, your intelligence,,your candor, your sense of humor. You won’t change anything at RA, no matter what style you adopt. And they don’t pay you anyway.”

But I look at the upcoming budget issues. I look at the obvious disparity in how assessments are collected among different groups in Reston, making “One Reston” a nice slogan, but only a slogan. I see a budget that already has cooked into it ludicrous plans that do not serve the public interest, and all sorts of “okie-dokes” to make people think their assessments are really going to go down, despite no reforms of any operations and more internal silos being created. And I tell my friends, “Someone needs to be there to point these things out.”

But one good friend defeated my position with such force that I cannot deny its truth: “Look, Ray. All of the things you just cited are more frustrations you will endure, more time you will have stripped from your life. And you will not only lose the fight, but in the process of trying to do what you think is right, you will be attacked mercilessly. How can you not see this? Let them go make these crazy decisions. I put this choice in front of you: 1) You can have dinners with friends, meet with more clients, and enjoy what you enjoy doing while probably making more money, OR 2) you can use that same time trying to be ‘a man of the people,’ and in the process, frustrating yourself to no end. How many people out there REALLY understand how hard you work to get things right for them? 3? 4? Choice 1 is CLEARLY the one you need to make.”

He is right. So Choice 1 it is.

BUT……..

This public service thing keeps popping up in my head. There are four RA Board seats up for election next spring. IF all four seats could be won by those who can both talk the talk and walk the walk with regard to reform, while bringing RA into the tech-enabled world of 2017,  then perhaps it would be both fun and rewarding to make that run. I will keep my options open.

Thanks

To those who know me and have supported me over the past 2 ½ years. The long-lasting bonds of friendship with such people are so important. Perhaps that will make the past 2 ½ years worthwhile after all.

Cc: Sherri Hebert, RA Board President

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Community Input Process for Hook Road Project Begins with Calls for Fiscal Responsibility

During a community meeting earlier this week (video) on a future Hook Road Recreation Area capital project, residents provided their thoughts on what should — and should not — be done at the park.

Hook Road Recreation Area was selected by RA’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee as the pilot project for “full-facility enhancement” after multiple facilities were evaluated in 2016. The idea is to take a facility that has pieces of replacement work in the plans in the capital reserve study and, instead, consider comprehensive work to upgrade the facility all at once.

Tuesday’s meeting was a kickoff to the project, sharing information with the community and beginning the process of gathering input. In between tense moments at the meeting, many residents of the community said they appreciated the effort Reston Association is undertaking to engage the community from the very start of the process.

“We all know, living in Reston, things change,” said John Pinkman, of Rescue Reston. “Things have to improve if we want to keep our property values as high as they are, [so] I really encourage this process.”

Dan Pennington, president of the Orchard Green Cluster Association, asked for clarification on what has been identified by Reston Association staff as “aging components” of the park that require attention. Garrett Skinner, RA’s capital projects director, said everything at the park falls into that category.

“Nothing has been replaced — in terms of the tennis court, the ballfields, the multipurpose court — since 1975,” Skinner said. “Many of these features are all kind of due for rehab around the same time, and this will be a good opportunity to look at everything as one facility instead of the previous methodology for us, [which was] just to fix little things as they’re needed.”

Concerns about parking and restroom facilities at the park are among those that have been brought up in one way or another regarding the project. Upgrades to facilities including the baseball field have also been mentioned by community members.

At Tuesday’s meeting, design consultant Dewberry was introduced to members, and its representatives shared information about the studies that have been done so far and how community input will be used as the project continues to be studied and eventually decided upon. A representative of PRAC also shared information, as did Skinner.

The question was raised of whether the fact that $50,000 has already been allocated from the Repair & Replacement Reserve Fund to develop plans for Hook Road means a “very large” project is being envisioned.

“What you saw tonight from Dewberry, all of that work, that’s where we allocated that $50,000 — all the data gathering, all the community input, all the research they’re doing,” said Sherri Hebert, president of RA’s Board of Directors. “There is no design [yet]. It could be anything from a small little thing to whatever the community wants. There’s nothing out there yet.”

Saying the current RA board is “very conservative” when funds are concerned, Hebert said a large-scale project is not anticipated.

“What will be different this year is an iterative process between the Working Group … and the Board,” Hebert said. “It’s not going to come back with this big project. … Nothing will be a surprise with the community.”

The Hook Road Working Group will be tasked with making a proposal to the RA Board on the project’s scope early next year. Applications for the group are currently being accepted, and interviews will take place in October.

Hook Road Recreation Area has about $122,000 in as-is maintenance expenditures scheduled through 2020, RA CEO Cate Fulkerson said previously. Skinner said full replacement of every aspect of the park would cost around $620,000. Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer of the RA Board, said no budget is currently set aside for the proposed capital project.

In the wake of recent controversies including the Tetra/Lake House purchase, residents such as Laurie Dodd said they are thankful RA is taking a more serious approach about incorporating the community in discussions such as this.

“I would rather spend $50,000 on getting community input and participation in the plan than run the risk of bad decision-making,” she said. “Democracy and public participation cost money, so I think we need to let the light shine on RA processes.”

Many residents who spoke said that while the park has a lot of strong qualities as it sits, they are not averse to thinking about ways it can be improved.

“[The park] works really well, and there’s an adage of ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,'” said Jay McCracken, of South Shore Drive. “But we have to be open to change as well.”

Not everyone is convinced, though.

“It’s a beautiful green space, and RA maintains it very well,” said Tom Brady, of the Waterford Square Condominiums on Fairway Drive. “[Now RA is] spending $50,000 to plan for something that really doesn’t need to be done, especially because Reston Association ratepayers are feeling more and more squeezed.”

Anna Lowit, of Hook Road, said the park is a treasure of the community and that is extremely well-used, but there are maintenance needs and upgrades that can be made. However, she said any changes that are made should be a focus on needs, not on wants.

“[We must] make fiscally responsible decisions — not that we’re sitting on money that we can spend, and we can spend it so let’s just buy something,” she said. “Upgrading and maintaining the things that we have is the best way to spend our money.”

Future community work sessions and roundtable events on the project have been tentatively scheduled for Oct. 4, 10 and 24. Members who would like to receive updates about the process can join the mailing list by emailing [email protected].

Aerial photo of park courtesy Dewberry

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Redskins Legend Dexter Manley To Be Part of North Point Village Center Fall Event Next Week

North Point Village Center will celebrate the arrival of fall and the football season next weekend with a special event featuring a Washington Redskins great.

Two-time Super Bowl champion Dexter Manley will participate in the Fall Kick-Off event at the plaza Saturday, Sept. 9. The former All-Pro defensive end will meet fans at Glory Days Grill (1400 North Point Village Center) from noon to 2 p.m. that day.

The plaza’s celebration, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will also feature carnival games, roaming characters for kids, a DJ playing music, a moon bounce and more. The event also advertises “great savings, free food, prizes [and] giveaways.”

Video from last year’s event, which featured an appearance by former Redskins running back Clinton Portis, is available on property manager Lerner’s YouTube channel.

For more information about this and other events at North Point Village Center, check its website.

Image from 2016 event via Lerner/YouTube

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What’s Going On Around Reston This Weekend?

It’s the end-of-summer party known as Labor Day Weekend. Over the next three-plus days, there will be plenty of chances to get out and give summer its well-deserved sendoff.

There are several marquee events in the area this weekend, beginning with the kickoff of the JamBrew series tonight in Herndon. Aslin Beer Co. will be pouring frosty mugs, Weird Brothers Coffee will be offering tasty drinks, Lake Anne Brew House/Nordic Knot Pretzels “will be vending fresh baked soft pretzels to the masses,” and there will be much more. Live music will be offered from DJ Cihad, Todd Wright and Tammy Gann, and Turtle Recall. The free event is slated for 6-10 p.m. at the Herndon Town Green (777 Lynn St.).

(Lake Anne Plaza’s Jazz & Blues Festival has been canceled due to rain in the forecast.)

Over at Lake Anne Plaza, the 11th annual Lake Anne Jazz & Blues Festival will go down from 1-9 p.m. Saturday. The lineup of musicians for the festival includes many well-known names in the local music community. The eight hours of music will include performances by Cheick Hamala Dibaté, Sam Gunderson, John Lee & Michael Pavone, Integriti Reeves, Mykle Lyons (sextet), Gigi MacClaughlin, Kriss Funn and Crush Funk Brass.

On Monday in Herndon, the town’s annual Labor Day Festival will feature Virginia wine tastings, craft beers, live music, a craft show, food vendors, lawn games and more. Eight craft brewers will offer tastings, and eight wineries are participating as well. There will also be live music throughout the event and much more. Admission for those participating in sampling wine and beer will be $20, which includes a glass for wine and three complimentary beer tastings. Anyone who won’t be purchasing alcoholic beverages will be admitted for $5, and children 12 and under will be admitted free. The event is slated for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Herndon Town Green (777 Lynn St.).

The weekend weather forecast calls for a chance of rain Saturday, a partly sunny day Sunday and then a gorgeous Labor Day holiday. Get out there and make the most of it!

Listed below are some other events that will also be taking place this holiday weekend.

(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.)

  • Reston Association is hosting a chartered bus trip to the National Book Festival at the Washington Convention Center on Saturday. All ages are welcome, but children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Cost is $18 for RA members and $23 for non-members. The bus will depart from RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive) at 9 a.m. Saturday. Registration can be done through Webtrac, by emailing [email protected] or by calling 703-435-6577.
  • Reston Association will have four pools — Lake Audubon, Lake Newport, North Shore and Ridge Heights — open Saturday, Sunday and Monday. North Shore and Ridge Heights will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day; Lake Audubon and Lake Newport will be open from noon to 7 p.m.
  • The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
  • Lake Anne is also hosting Sunday Yoga on the Plaza each week, at 9:30 a.m.
  • Surf Reston is offering the chance to paddleboard to the sounds of the Lake Anne Jazz & Blues Festival from 1-3 p.m. Saturday. Advance registration is required. In addition, there will be SUP yoga from 9-11 a.m. Saturday.
  • Unitarian Universalist Church (1625 Wiehle Ave.) will show the film “A Five-Star Life” tonight beginning at 8:30 p.m., preceded at 8 p.m. by a social and snack opportunity.
  • Many restaurants and bars in Reston will have live music this weekend. These include: Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) from 7-10 p.m every Friday and Saturday night; Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St.) every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) every Friday from 6-10 p.m.
  • Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St.) will also have a pregame party Sunday in anticipation of that evening’s college football game between Virginia Tech and West Virginia at FedExField. The restaurant will also charter a bus to the game, leaving at 3:30 p.m., with tickets starting at $29.99. (Note: That price only includes the ride and the party, not tickets to the game itself.)
  • Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music from Olivia & The Mates tonight from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and from Sam Gunderson during those hours Saturday night.
  • Mr. Knick Knack will provide “unique, heart-centered music” for children Monday from 10:30-11:15 a.m. at the Reston Town Center pavilion. Parking will be free at the Town Center for the Labor Day holiday.
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Permit Processed to Demolish North Point Burger King Building, Make Way for Chick-fil-A

Plans to tear down the former Burger King at North Point Village Center and replace it with a Chick-fil-A appear to be moving forward.

Fairfax County earlier this week processed a permit application for demolition of the former Burger King restaurant at 1494 North Point Village Center. The demolition must be done to make room for the new Chick-fil-A, which will be more than 1 1/2 times the size of the current building on the site.

The new Chick-fil-A was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in March 2016. It will be the second Chick-fil-A in Reston, along with the existing location at 12160 Sunset Hills Road, about 2 1/2 miles away. Another chicken restaurant, Boston Market, sits next to the North Point site.

We have reached out to North Point property manager Lerner Retail for more details about when the demolition process will begin and how long it will take. We will provide that information when it is made available.

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Friday Morning Notes

Dominion Rates Going Down as of Today –The net impact of the changes for the monthly bill for the typical Dominion Energy residential customer is a decrease of 1.1 percent, lowering the typical bill from $117.20 to $115.65, which is 30 cents lower than in February 2015. [Dominion Energy]

Bechtel Selected to Complete Georgia Nuclear Plant Expansion — Bechtel has been chosen by Georgia Power to complete construction of a two-reactor expansion of a nuclear power plant near Augusta, Georgia. These will be the first new units built in the U.S. in the last three decades. [Markets Insider]

King, Browns Finish Preseason Undefeated — Deon King, a South Lakes High School graduate, recorded one tackle Thursday night as the Cleveland Browns shut out the Chicago Bears, 25-0. The Browns finish the preseason with a 4-0 record. In the four games, King recorded nine tackles (including seven solo) and a fumble recovery. ESPN’s roster projection has him making the cut and being part of the 53-man regular-season squad. [ESPN]

Fairfax Crew Making Rescues in Flooded Texas — Fairfax Fire and Rescue provided an update Thursday of its efforts to help with rescue operations in flood-ravaged southeast Texas. They have helped save six people and two pets from flooded areas, and they have also assisted an owner with accessing and retrieving three more pets. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Last Day to Get Comments In on BikeShare Locations — Comments on plans for 10 new Captial BikeShare stations in Reston, including nine south of the Dulles Toll Road, must be in by close of business today. [Fairfax County Department of Transportation]

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Thanks to Our Sponsors and Advertisers

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

Reston Station, Summerbration will offer something to watch, listen to, taste and enjoy all summer long.

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.

Reston Town Center, offering more than 50 shops, 30 restaurants, an 11-screen cinema and more.

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.

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

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.

Lofts at Village Walk, urban townhome condominium designs at The Village at Leesburg.

Towns of Lansdowne Square, a collection of 23 luxury urban townhomes in downtown Lansdowne.

Tall Oaks Assisted Living, assisted living, memory care and more senior care services.

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