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by RestonNow.com — October 5, 2017 at 5:00 pm 4 Comments

The South Lakes High School homecoming parade is scheduled for Friday, and students are taking advantage of the opportunity to support a good cause.

SLHS Leadership has teamed up with the Texas Association of Student Councils to collect funds for Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas, where students and their families are still trying to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

The SLHS homecoming parade will begin at 5 p.m. Friday at Hunters Woods Village Center. It will proceed down Colts Neck Road to South Lakes Drive to the high school, where is is expected to arrive between 6 and 6:30 p.m., and it will be followed by the South Lakes Seahawks’ homecoming game against Langley.

According to information provided by the school:

There will be people in the parade walking with a float collecting donations. Additionally, there will be a collection area at the football game. We wanted to do something for a particular place, rather than just collecting for general purposes. Student leaders have been in touch with the student council adviser at [Barbers Hill High School], who will distribute whatever is collected to families who have been most affected by the devastation.

Donations can be made in the form of cash, gift cards, or checks made out to South Lakes HS, with “Barbers Hill HS” written in the subject line. In addition to during the parade and game, donations can be dropped off at the main office of the school (11400 South Lakes Drive). Lyn Fiscus, SLHS Leadership teacher, is in charge of the donations.

The theme of the homecoming parade is “Channel Your Seahawk Spirit.” There will be floats created by each class, high school teams, honor societies, administration, the band, JROTC, the dance team, feeder elementary schools and more. Food trucks will be set up in the school’s stadium-side parking lot after the parade, to allow participants and spectators the opportunity to grab something to eat before the football game.

Image courtesy Lyn Fiscus, SLHS Leadership teacher

by Dave Emke — October 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm 29 Comments

(This article was edited at 4:30 p.m. to clarify information about the size of the potential store.)

Citing a pair of unnamed sources, the Washington Business Journal reports that grocery chain Wegmans has signed a letter of intent to put an urban-format store near the future Reston Town Center Metro station.

According to WBJ, the store would be built in the future Reston Crescent development, a 36-acre plot of land in the northwest corner of the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive. That’s across from Reston Association headquarters.

In May, the WBJ reported the Western New York-based chain was looking at a 23-acre property assemblage on Association Drive, near the intersection of Sunrise Valley Drive and Soapstone Drive. Among factors that may have burdened a deal for that site is the proposed Soapstone Connector, which would cut through the property.

The new report states the upscale grocer has committed to Reston Crescent developer Brookfield Properties. The store would be small for a Wegmans, similar in size to the store approved for Tysons at 80,000 square feet. (On its website, Wegmans says its stores range in size from “75,000 to 140,000 square feet.”)

Currently going through the County approval process, the 36-acre property is scheduled to be redeveloped to add up to 2,260 dwelling units, 1.18 million square feet of office space, up to 125,000 square feet of retail, and potentially a 160-room hotel. Six parks are also included in Brookfield’s plan. The WBJ report indicates a deal with Wegmans may mean the site plan will require a redesign to accommodate the grocery store.

There are more than 90 Wegmans stores in six states, ranging from Massachusetts to Virginia. The company has plans to open a store in DC soon, as well as for expansion into North Carolina.

Wegmans’ website shows two confirmed future locations in Fairfax County:

  • A Chantilly location, at Route 28 and Westfields Boulevard, is scheduled for a 2018 opening
  • The Tysons location, at the future Capital One Center near I-495 at Route 123, is listed as a “future site”

The nearest current locations are in Sterling (Dulles 28 Center) and Fairfax.

by Fatimah Waseem — October 5, 2017 at 2:45 pm 2 Comments

“A Bird in the Hand,” a nest-like sculpture made from tree saplings in Reston Town Square Park, will get a celebratory send-off on Saturday ahead of its removal next week.

The 14-foot-high sculpture, which rests across from the Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St. #103), was created by artist Patrick Dougherty in 2015 using ash, hickory, red maple, oak and willow saplings.

The center will celebrate the art piece’s impact in creating an immersive, magical experience since its installation, according to a release by the center:

“The work’s popularity with adults and children has been manifested in thousands of games of tag and hide and seek played within its woody realm. This project was a communal, participatory experience both through its funding and installation. Sculptor Dougherty spent weeks on-site constructing the sculpture in tandem with a team of community volunteers who contributed enormously to the creation process.”

The celebration is free and will include projects involving sticks and nests, and dance performances sponsored by the Reston Community Center. Artists from Gin Dance Company and GroundShare Arts Alliance will perform dances connected to the sculpture and a documentary film about the sculpture by director Rebekah Wingert-Jabi will play all day in the GRACE gallery, according to the release.

The installation must be removed because it was created from harvest samplings, which typically last for roughly two years, said Erica Harrison, GRACE’s associate curator and festival director. Preliminary discussions are underway to determine what will replace the sculpture in the spring of next year, she said.

The center hopes to bring a new installation that culminates its exhibition of artist Sue Wrbican’s work. Her art, which examines the relationship between time and space, is on display at GRACE through Nov. 18.

Early sponsorships for the future art installation have been secured from the Reston Town Center Association and the Reston Community Center, Harrison said. Final project approval is pending.

by Dave Emke — October 5, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

A series of airbag thefts reported recently near Herndon is part of a countywide and national trend, police say.

The past week’s crime recaps from the Fairfax County Police Department included four reports of airbags being stolen in the area, as well as one report of a stolen steering wheel. All of the reports came from the same area off Frying Pan Road, near Fox Mill and Coppermine roads.

Pfc. Emmilie Cherry, of FCPD’s media relations bureau, said there isn’t a lot of information available about the thefts, but they aren’t limited to this area.

“There have been thefts throughout the county of airbags being stolen from vehicles,” Cherry said. “We don’t know the exact reasons they are being stolen, but a guess would be re-selling it to auto-part stores.”

This isn’t the first time this issue has arisen. In the early months of 2014, the Washington Post reported, more than 50 such incidents took place in Fairfax County. It’s is an issue that has been of concern for as long as airbags have been an aspect of car safety, as evidenced by a 1995 New York Times article featuring the headline, “As Automotive Air Bags Become Common, So Does Stealing Them.”

As automobiles are laden with more expensive accessories, thieves have become more specialized and crafty, quickly outwitting both car owners and dealers. And air bags, which can fetch hundreds of dollars on the black market, have become a prized prey. They are easily removed, portable and sought by disreputable repair shops that can profit by installing the stolen part — in some cases in cars whose original bags were stolen.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau says airbags retail at about $1,000, while they can be purchased on the black market for between $50 and $200. The disreputable repair shop pockets the difference, the NICB says.

The NICB offers these tips to avoid becoming a victim of such fraud when an airbag is being replaced:

  • Use a reputable automobile collision repair shop that employs ASE-certified mechanics
  • Inspect the invoice to ensure the repair shop purchased the airbag from a manufacturer, dealer or recycler
  • If possible, inspect the airbag prior to installation. If new, it should be packaged in a sealed container from the manufacturer
  • The trim cover over the steering column should be the same color as the remaining trim interior. If not, it is an indication that the original airbag has been replaced
  • When you turn on your vehicle’s ignition, a red SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) indicator should light up and flash in the instrument panel display, indicating the airbag system is activated. No SRS light indicates a problem with the airbag system that could result in no airbag activation

Media reports from around the nation indicate the thefts often occur from Honda vehicles.

Image via Wikimedia user Janipewter

by Dave Emke — October 5, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

South Lakes High School football alumnus Deon King has been added to the active roster of a National Football League team for the third time.

The linebacker was promoted to the 53-man roster of the Cleveland Browns earlier this week. He had spent the first four weeks of the season on the team’s practice squad.

King, who signed with the Browns in June, was a member of the Dallas Cowboys during the 2016 preseason, but was released prior to the start of the regular season. He was signed by the San Diego Chargers and played in two 2016 games with them before they waived him midseason. He was added to the roster of the Indianapolis Colts, and he appeared in four more games with them that season.

In his six NFL regular-season games, King has recorded two tackles. In four preseason games with the Browns this year, King recorded nine tackles (including seven solo) and a fumble recovery.

According to his player profile on ClevelandBrowns.com, the 2011 SLHS graduate tallied more than 100 tackles and 10 sacks as a senior. He was also named All-District in the shotput.

At Norfolk State University, King won the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player at that collegiate level. He was the university’s first consensus First-Team All-America selection.

King and the Browns will seek their first win of the season Sunday against the New York Jets in a 1 p.m. kickoff at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.

Another recent SLHS football alumnus who played professionally is Thomas Mayo, a 2008 graduate who recorded 24 receptions for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League last season. He was a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders earlier this year, but was released in June.

Image via ClevelandBrowns.com

by Del. Ken Plum — October 5, 2017 at 10:15 am 99 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.

For many years, I have been involved in various demonstrations and vigils to bring attention to the sobering facts about gun violence in our society. I have always been astonished at the number of people taking part in these events who have personal stories to tell about the way gun violence has affected their lives.

There are parents involved in working to end gun violence whose children were either killed or wounded in the massacre at Virginia Tech. Parents of children who were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School travel the country telling their stories and campaigning for commonsense gun safety laws. Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who survived being shot in the head, campaigns against gun violence even though her wounds slow her down. Ask your friends or neighbors if they know anyone whose life was changed because of gun violence — you may be surprised at the numbers who say yes.

My involvement in the movement to end gun violence grows out of my service as an elected official who believes that my actions need to reflect my belief that the government has a responsibility as stated in our founding documents to protect life and liberty. I am also greatly concerned with the individuals and organizations who continue to distort our history and the meaning of our Constitution to try to make the case that gun rights are absolute even though there are qualifiers on all our other rights in the Constitution. The appeal that the right to bear arms is a protection of all our other rights presents a frightening prospect for our future with the extremism that has become so commonplace.

Last week, an incident reminded me that any one of us could without any notice become more aware of the dangers of gun violence than we could ever imagine. One of our children was on the way to a meeting in an office building when it became necessary to turn around because the building was ringed with police cars. Had the meeting been an hour earlier, our child would have been among those evacuated because an active shooter was on the loose. Some of those removed from the building were the children in its day care center.

For unknown reasons, the shooter decided to shoot only himself and not harm others. It is uncomfortable to realize had the timing or his motivation been different how many others would have suffered the trauma of gun violence. Now his family and acquaintances bear the pain.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are nearly 43,000 suicides per year, and almost exactly half those occur with firearms. Public service announcements attempt to educate people who have depressed family members or friends to keep firearms out of their easy reach. There is no time to reconsider or to seek help on personal issues once the trigger has been pulled. From 1999 through 2014, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased 24 percent, from 10.5 to 13.0 per 100,000 population, with the pace of increase greater after 2006. Everytown for Gun Safety reports its research shows that on an average day, 93 Americans are killed with guns, with seven of those being children.

How much more uncomfortable do we need to become before the public insists that commonsense gun-safety laws are passed?

by Fatimah Waseem — October 5, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Woman with Reston Ties Recounts Las Vegas Shooting — Courtney Robey was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival last weekend through her work with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, based in Reston. She told her hometown news station about what she experienced the night of the tragic mass shooting there. [WAJR]

Early-Bird Tickets on Sale for Reston Home Tour  Discount-priced tickets for the 16th annual tour on Oct. 14 are on sale through Saturday for $25. The tour focuses on six homes where owners have moved within the last few years and gain and gained a new perspective. Full-price tickets are $30. [Reston Historic Trust and Museum]

Local Ghost Stories — The Herndon Historical Society shares a trio of tales about the town’s visitors from beyond. [Herndon Patch]

County Fire and Rescue Promotes Escape Plans  — As part of National Fire Prevention Week, which begins Sunday, the department encourages residents to develop a home escape plan in the event of a fire. Department representatives will be available on Saturday, Oct. 14 at area fire stations, including Reston Station 25 (1820 Wiehle Ave.), to review plans and ask questions. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

‘Cupcake Ride’ Rolls Through Herndon — Herndon Parks & Recreation put on its first “Cupcake Bike Ride” recently. About 20 riders took part in the four-mile ride, which featured stops at bakeries and businesses. [Connection Newspapers]

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