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by Dave Emke — September 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

As the Reston Association Board of Directors continues to work on the 2018-19 budget, RA members are encouraged to participate in a budget-development community meeting next week hosted by RA’s treasurer.

Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer and RA Board at-large director, will facilitate the meeting Thursday, Sept. 14 from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). According to information provided by Reston Association, members “are invited to share their thoughts and comments on issues related to next year’s budget.”

Two more budget work sessions, open to the public, are slated for Monday, Sept. 18, from noon-5 p.m. and from 7:30-10 p.m. Members will also have an opportunity to discuss the budget with the Board of Directors at the Oct. 15 Lake House open house.

The final draft of the 2018-19 budget is to be presented at the Board’s Sept. 28 meeting. There will then be a pair of public hearings on the budget in late October, as well as a community input opportunity at the Oct. 15 Lake House open house event. Approval of the operating and capital budgets, and the 2018 assessment rate, is scheduled to take place at the Board’s November meeting.

The 2018-2019 budget development process began in February with the adoption of the biennial budget development calendar.

by Dave Emke — September 7, 2017 at 2:45 pm 13 Comments

Bonita Weinstein and her husband, Lowell, took over ownership of the Reston Farm Market (10800 Baron Cameron Ave.) on Aug. 1 and immediately realized they had a lot of work to do.

“When we took on this project, I just thought ‘Yeah, we’ll get in there and we can do it quickly,'” Weinstein said. “We’ve been working on this place for a month now.”

The full renovation project at the business near Leesburg Pike is still in progress, as crews could be seen on the site Thursday morning working to set the new patio and continuing to revamp the barn’s interior. Bonita said they are getting ready for a “soft opening” Tuesday, with a grand-opening celebration scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23.

A website that celebrates the “original” Reston Farm Market gives some information about its history. It opened in 1976 and was under the guidance of its founder, Hall Kern, through 1997. It has been owned by several different people since, Weinstein said, and she and her husband are hopeful they will usher in its return to prominence.

“In recent years, the reviews weren’t so great,” she said. “It was run down, but my husband said, ‘We can make it nice [again].'”

The Weinsteins are owners of Seasonal Celebrations garden centers. They have nine locations in the region, including in the Fox Mill and Sugarland Crossing shopping plazas. Bonita said they have high hopes of bringing the success they’ve had with those stores to the Farm Market.

“When people come here, they’re going to be shocked that it’s totally different,” Weinstein said. “We’ve put a lot of money into revamping this place.”

The renovated market will sell fresh produce from local farmers, pies, dairy products, garden supplies and more. Fall decorating supplies including pumpkins and gourds will be available, as will mums and firewood. Christmas trees will be sold when the season arrives.

Kids’ favorites including train rides, moon bounces and an expanded petting zoo will also be on the premises. Parking for the property has been expanded, Weinstein said, and Hoggmeister BBQ will provide a food truck on the weekends.

“This place is going to be totally different from what it has ever been,” she said. “I think this place is going to be extraordinary, I really do.”

The grand-opening event Sept. 23 will include a DJ, face painting and more. Food trucks will provide items for purchase, including ice cream, Weinstein said.

The Reston Farm Market is scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day beginning Tuesday. Weinstein said it will be open through December, and will reopen in March for the spring season.

For more information, call 703-759-0000.

by Dave Emke — September 7, 2017 at 1:30 pm 4 Comments

The 34th annual Reston Triathlon is coming up Sunday morning, and volunteers are still needed to help make the event go smoothly.

According to information provided by event organizers:

We are looking for a few good men and women to be a part of our 34th annual Reston Triathlon race. So…join us, on September 10th, by volunteering at our local community race. Bring yourself and your spirit of volunteerism and enthusiasm to add to the excitement of the event!

Volunteers can sign up online to help in a variety of ways. Generally speaking, setup volunteers will start at about 5 a.m., swim volunteers will start around 6 a.m., bike volunteers will get to work around 7 a.m., and run volunteers will start at about 8 a.m. that morning. At the end of the event, around 11 a.m., volunteers will be needed for cleanup after the awards presentation.

Help is specifically needed along the bike course, an organizer tells Reston Now.

Registration to participate in the event is closed. Those taking part will swim 1,500 meters in Lake Audubon, bike 40 kilometers on area roadways and run 10 kilometers on Reston pathways, ending at the South Lakes High School stadium.

For more information about the event or how you can help, email [email protected].

File photo of 2016 event courtesy Christin Photography for Reston Association

by Dave Emke — September 7, 2017 at 11:30 am 4 Comments

Reston Association is asking members interested in taking over for Ray Wedell, who has vacated his seat on the RA Board of Directors, to put their names in the hat.

Anyone interested in serving out the remainder of the term of the at-large seat, which runs through April, is asked to submit a statement of candidacy by noon Friday, Sept. 22. Completed applications can be sent in by mail (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20191-3404); by email to the board’s assistant secretary, Sabrina Tadele ([email protected]); or in-person at RA headquarters.

Certified candidates will meet with the board at its Thursday, Sept. 28 meeting to discuss interests and qualifications.

Wedell stepped down last week, citing in his statement that his “successes have been outweighed by the frustrations.” He had served on the board since 2015 and was also on the Board Operations Committee, which is responsible for reviewing and setting board agenda items each month.

RA is issuing the call for candidates after receiving “unanimous consent” from the Board of Directors to do so. The seat is one of four that will be up for vote in the 2018 election.

by Del. Ken Plum — September 7, 2017 at 10:15 am 9 Comments

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Virginia’s population of 8,382,993 makes it the 12th largest of the states, but the median family household income of $66,262 in the Commonwealth makes it the eighth wealthiest state in the country.

With that introduction of statistics at my most recent State of the Commonwealth Breakfast, one might expect that nothing but good news would follow. Rather, what followed was a list of what might best be described as missed opportunities.

While overall numbers are impressive, the wealth of the state is not uniformly enjoyed. There clearly is a “golden crescent” in the state that runs from Northern Virginia, where it is most bright, south to Richmond and east to Hampton Roads, where it loses some luster. The crescent, if considered by itself, would be one of the wealthiest and best educated in the country. With few exceptions, outside the crescent Virginians are struggling with incomes of one-half to one-third of that in its richest regions. Virginia as a state is doing well, but there are many within the state who are suffering. It would be impossible to replicate the advantages that Northern Virginia has being situated next to the nation’s capital, nor can the misfortunes of the death of industries like tobacco, coal and textiles be easily reversed. Given our overall wealth, there is a legitimate question as to whether we are doing as well as we should.

In public education funding, for example, the state direct aid per student has fallen. According to the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, per student funding of $5,966 in 2009 (in FY 17 dollars) is projected to be $5,326 in 2018. The result is that a greater share of education funding has been shifted to localities. In the 2008-09 school year, the state provided 44.1 percent of public school funding; in the 2015-2016 school year, the state share dropped to 41.3 percent. In past decades when Standards of Quality (SOQ) for schools were first adopted, the expectation was that the state would fund 60 percent of education costs. At the same time funding has decreased, the SOQs have been reduced. In 2016, localities spent $3.5 billion above the required local effort to fund the operation of its schools.

The news does not get much better in other areas. Virginia’s Medicaid program is the 48th stingiest among the states in providing benefits to those in need and one of the most difficult for which to qualify. At the same time, Gov. McAuliffe reminded the legislative money committees that he has “called for Virginia to expand Medicaid for three and a half years now. In that time, we have forever forfeited a whopping $10.4 billion of our federal tax dollars. We have missed an opportunity to cover 400,000 low-income Virginians.”

How can we be so rich as a state and yet so poor in funding programs? Since 2004, Virginia has ranked in the lowest five states in state and local revenue as a percentage of personal income. In state and local revenue as a percentage of gross state product, Virginia ranks 49th. Our state sales tax rate is 41st lowest among the states.

The state of the Commonwealth is that we get what we pay for.

by Dave Emke — September 7, 2017 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Virginia Task Force 1 on Heads Toward Irma — Just one day after returning from Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts, the crew left Wednesday for Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama to prepare to help those affected by Hurricane Irma. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Free Concert Tonight at Lake Anne — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will continue tonight from 7-9 p.m. with a show from the The Barretones, a bluegrass group. [Lake Anne Plaza]

$3M Lottery Ticket Sold in Sterling Unclaimed — If you bought a Mega Millions ticket at the Giant in the Cascades Marketplace (21000 Southbank St., Sterling), make sure you look closely at it. A ticket that matched the first five numbers for Tuesday’s drawing (11-17-59-70-72), missing only the Mega Ball, was sold there and has not been claimed. Whoever holds the ticket also bought the Megaplier option, meaning it is worth a $3 million prize. [Virginia Lottery]

Alston’s Strong Play Earns Accolades — In its high school football notebook this week, the Washington Post sings the praises of South Lakes Seahawks running back Spencer Alston, who it says is the focal point of an offense that has scored 42 points in each of its first two games. [Washington Post]

Reston Town Center ‘Dog Days’ Re-Scheduled — After rain Wednesday didn’t allow the event to take place, Reston Town Center’s “Dog Days” is now being planned for Monday, Sept. 11, from 4-7 p.m. [Reston Town Center/Twitter]

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