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by RestonNow.com — October 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm 59 Comments

Major upgrades to swimming pools are proposed in the budget that is under discussion by the Reston Association Board of Directors.

Expenses for work on the RA pool facilities included in the proposed 2018-2019 Capital Projects List total: $362,378 for swimming pools and $287,639 pool buildings in 2018; and $972,209 for swimming pools and $158,256 for pool buildings in 2019.

All 15 RA pool facilities have projects listed in the proposed list. By far the most expensive is work on the Lake Thoreau pool, totaling just over $1 million.

The $1.8 million in proposed work on all pool facilities equates to 26.6 percent of the $6.7 million funding allotted for the Capital Projects List. The proposed budget also allots a total of $2.9 million for the Repair and Replacement Reserve (RRR) Fund, out of the $14.3 million in total overall expenses.

Some other big ticket items on the project list include:

  • $2,321,359 for lakes, ponds and dams
  • $465,000 for boat docks at Lake Anne and Lake Thoreau
  • $406,658 for tennis courts
  • $379,318 for asphalt trails
  • $313,658 for vehicles and equipment

The next opportunity for Restonians to provide feedback to RA directors about the biennial budget is this Sunday. The RA is hosting a “community drop-in” at the Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.) from 10-11:30 a.m.

The RA Board has been discussing the budget since this summer in order to reach agreement before a November deadline. Sridhar Ganesan, RA Board at-large director and treasurer, questioned the various costs of the swimming pool facility repairs during some of those discussions, including at a special budget session last month (video).

“Plumbing in one facility isn’t going to be the same costs as the other, just because of the differences in configuration and size,” Garrett Skinner, RA director of capital improvement planning and projects, said in response. “All of those numbers were also vetted through contractors. Especially the pool buildings and swimming pool members. We had contractors come out and go physically through each one of the sites, look at what we have scheduled that needs to be done and determine costs based on that.”

Skinner, who was hired in January, also emphasized that some of the repairs were not anticipated in the association’s capital reserve study the was last performed in 2015. The study tracks needed maintenance and upgrades for RA-owned facilities. Instead, the repairs on the swimming pool facilities were proposed to be done during the next two years because the systems had broken down in some way.

“We’re doing it because it wasn’t in the reserve study for example; you’re doing it because something broke down?” Ganesan asked.

Skinner said Ganesan was correct, adding that the maintenance is necessary.

“Not all of these things were appropriately identified in the reserve study, but we still have to maintain them and repair them,” he said.

The first public hearing on the proposed budget will be Oct. 26 during a regular board meeting. A second hearing is scheduled Oct. 30 during a special meeting of the board. The board will vote on the budget and the annual member assessment rate Nov. 16 during a regular board meeting.

by RestonNow.com — October 11, 2017 at 2:45 pm 7 Comments

Those seeking justice for the murder of Nabra Hassanen, whose death rattled the Reston community this summer, will have their first day in court this week.

A preliminary hearing for the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s prosecution of murder suspect Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, will be on Friday in Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.

Judge Kimberly Daniel will preside over the hearing for the court, according to Rae Ann Stein, who works for the Fairfax County Court Services Administration in records management. The Juvenile and Domestic Relations court has jurisdiction over juvenile matters, including offenses committed by adults against juveniles under the age of 18.

Torres is charged with killing 17-year-old Hassanen of Reston on June 18 in what the Fairfax County Police Department calls a deadly case of road rage. She was a sophomore at South Lakes High School.

Police say Hassanen was part of a large group of teenagers walking and biking on Dranesville Road at about 3:40 a.m. after a Ramadan service at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society. The suspect allegedly approached the group in a car and argued with a teenage boy. The group scattered, but police say Torres caught up a short time later armed with a baseball bat. Hassanen was struck and taken in the car. Her body was discovered later that day in a Sterling pond.

Torres, who is a citizen of El Salvador and was living in Sterling without legal permission, had a detainer request lodged against him by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Hassanen was laid to rest as a martyr of her Muslim community on Wednesday, June 21. Later that same day, the community packed into Lake Anne Plaza for her vigil.

Torres was incarcerated at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bail, according to police. Authorities are seeking the harshest punishment, while many in the community are calling for the murder charges to be elevated to a bias-related crime.

by RestonNow.com — October 11, 2017 at 1:30 pm 4 Comments

Calling all Halloween fanatics.

“If you have a theatrical spirit and are 16 or older, we have an opportunity for you,” Ha Brock, Volunteer Reston manager for the Reston Association, said in a new YouTube video.

The Halloween House & Trick-or-Treat Trail will be at the Walker Nature Center on Friday, Oct. 27, and Saturday, Oct. 28. Hours are 6-7:15 p.m. and 7:30-8:45 p.m., rain or shine. The gate opens 15 minutes prior to the start times along Glade Drive or at the Glade Pool. Children ages 3 and up are welcome.

All times are sold out, but the RA is registering those who wish to be added to a wait list. Tickets are $10 per RA member and $12 per non-RA member. Get on the wait list by registering online at www.restonwebtrac.org.

In the meantime, RA is looking for volunteers to help make the event fun for the kids.

“Right now, my only need is characters for Friday and Saturday,” Brock told Reston Now. “They will be dressed up.”

Costumes, makeup and props will be provided to volunteers, so Brock says they don’t need to bring anything.

“A script is also provided,” she said.

No memorization is needed. Each station inside of the house and outside on the trail will be based on a theme and volunteers will be given talking points and suggested dialogue.

“They can ad lib to set the mood with the kids and families,” Brock said. “It’s all about having fun.”

Volunteers must participate in an orientation on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the nature center from 6-7 p.m. Those interested must also pre-register by contacting Brock by email at [email protected] or by calling her at 703-435-7986.

The event is not a horror show or a haunted house, but the RA suggests families bring flashlights.

Halloween is on a school night this year, Tuesday, Oct. 31. However, neighborhoods are not limited to setting their official trick-or-treat hours, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. But the police department does have tips for trick-or-treaters. Brendan Murphy, Crime Prevention Officer with the FCPD, answered some questions during a Q-and-A about Halloween safety that are archived online.

The RA event at the nature center isn’t the only fun activity scheduled:

  • Lake Anne Plaza will host its annual Halloween event on Saturday, Oct. 28, beginning at 12:30 p.m. That event will include live music, a pet costume contest and more.
  • For $10 per person, county residents can also enjoy a Halloween Campfire for children 3 and up at Lake Fairfax Park on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. “Enjoy a ghoulish ghost haunt and enjoy ghost stories and s’mores by the campfire,” the event registration page says. “S’mores ingredients will be provided. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult.”

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

A Syrian opposition filmmaker, who resides in Reston, was apparently the target of an assassination attempt Tuesday in Istanbul.

According to the Middle East Eye, Muhammad Bayazid was stabbed in the chest while meeting potential investors for his new film project, which focuses on Syria’s notorious Tadmor prison. The film tells the story of a Syrian-American man unjustly imprisoned and tortured there.

The prison was destroyed by the Islamic State in 2015.

Bayazid’s LinkedIn page shows he lives in Reston and is owner of DC-based LightArt Media Productions.

He and his wife, Samah Safi Bayazid, have a short film scheduled to be shown in Reston later this month as part of the Washington West Film Festival. “Fireplace” will be shown Oct. 27 and 28 at Bowtie Cinemas (11940 Market St.). Bayazid and his wife are advertised to be participating in question-and-answer sessions following the screenings.

According to the description of that film:

Inspired by true events. It is Christmas Eve in Syria. A small kid plays hide and seek with his dad, picking the most unexpected place to hide — the fireplace. As a jet fighter bombards the house, the fireplace stands. But now, the child finds himself trapped and alone.

Bayazid is in intensive care following the attack, the BBC reports.

Pet of the Week: Cheese

by RestonNow.com — October 11, 2017 at 10:15 am 4 Comments

This is a sponsored post from Becky’s Pet Care, a professional pet care service in Northern Virginia.

This week’s Reston Pet of the Week is Cheese, the newly adopted sister of a memorable Pet of the Week from earlier this year, Kevin.

Here is what Cheese’s owner, Mark, had to say about her:

When we first found Cheese, I wanted to name her “Oriole.” I wanted to give something positive — anything positive — to my other cat, Kevin, an Orioles fan, after the dumpster fire of a season they had this year. I figured giving her a sister whose coat matched the flames of the Orioles’ season might somehow give Kevin some solace.

But then my fiancée vetoed that idea (she prefers the Nats), and after Googling “orange things,” I found a picture of Old Bay Cheese Puffs. Close enough. And so, Cheese inherited her name.

Cheese is more like a dog; she plays all the time, she cuddles excessively, and she loves to lick your skin. My fiancée, a “dog person” at heart, has developed a special bond with Cheese, and the two can often be found napping about the house together. After a few days of posturing and bouts of hissing, Kevin warmed up too, and the two are often heard scampering around the house together.

It feels like home with those two kitties. It feels happy. It feels complete for now. We are very lucky to have added Cheese to the family. To many more laps around the house, Cheese!

 Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

by Dave Emke — October 11, 2017 at 9:00 am 22 Comments

Biden To Be in Reston on Saturday — The former Vice President will host a roundtable discussion on workforce development Saturday in Reston along with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam. The event, to be held at Reston Town Center co-working space Refraction (11911 Freedom Drive), will highlight Northam’s jobs plan. [NBC Washington]

Police Help Young Drivers — Officers help teenage drivers learn how to handle themselves on the roadway and what to do in certain situations during the “Youthful Driver Program” every Saturday at the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Vienna, Herndon Among Top 5 Virginia Towns in Survey — A website for business professionals ranked incorporated cities and towns in Virginia based on factors including poverty level, unemployment rate and median household income. It names Vienna the “Most Successful” in the state, with Herndon coming in at No. 5. [Zippia]

County’s Fall Book Festival Kicks Off — The county’s library system is offering residents the opportunity to meet numerous authors today through Saturday as part of the “Fall for the Book” festival. [Fairfax County Public Library]

Community Center To Host Cabaret Singer — Beverly Cosham will perform Thursday afternoon at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road). [Reston Community Center]

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