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by RestonNow.com February 8, 2018 at 3:25 pm 7 Comments

An armed man robbed a store in Herndon today at around 12:44 a.m., according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

The robbery happened at the 7-11 on 2501 McNair Farms Drive, Sgt. Lawrence Anderson told Reston Now.

The suspect showed a weapon and demanded cash as he approached the cashier to make a purchase, police said. He was last seen wearing a black jacket, blue jeans and sneakers.

This story was updated at 3:38 p.m. to include the verified location of the incident. 

by Fatimah Waseem February 8, 2018 at 2:00 pm 35 Comments

In an effort to encourage transparency and accountability, Reston Association’s board of directors is inching closer to adopting a new conflict of interest policy.

The board will consider a draft proposal at a special meeting tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. in RA headquarters. A tentative public hearing is set for Feb. 22.

Two independent reviews have called for a refined code of ethics over the last two years, including StoneTurn Group’s 2017 assessment of the controversial Lake House purchase. Since then, an ethics subcommittee began drafting an updated code of ethics to manage personal interests of RA officials that may conflict with RA interests.

The policy requires individuals to explicitly delineate economic interests and personal interests, a requirement that is currently “unclear” in the current policy, according to RA documents.

Updates also require individuals to disclose indirect interests related to family members, immediate relatives and close economic associates. Currently, a $500 threshold is set to trigger disclosure of material and immaterial requests.

The policy also lays out how they will handle conflict of interest disclosures at meetings. It also includes rules for handling failures to disclose a conflict of interest prior to a board vote. Directors must also disclose economic and affiliation interests annually.

RA’s policy was thrust into the spotlight in February last year. RA member Ed Abbott filed a complaint against former At-Large Director Eve Thompson, alleging Thompson did not disclose her ownership of Lake Anne Coffee House  and her husband’s presidency of the Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association. Thompson resigned in June.

Feedback by Abbott and others characterized the policy as pedantic, unnecessarily long and complicated, according to meeting materials. The board will review the policy at its Friday meeting and discuss changes.

The timeline for a public hearing and board adoption are not final, but the board could adopt the revised policies in March after a Feb. 22 public hearing.

Tomorrow’s meeting will not be streamed live, but a YouTube recording will be available on Monday at 5 p.m.

The draft policy is below:

RA Board Draft Conflict of Interest Policy by Fatimah Waseem on Scribd

by Fatimah Waseem February 8, 2018 at 12:00 pm 86 Comments

The Signature, a new 508-unit apartment building in the heart of Reston Town Center, will welcome a new retail tenant this year.

Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market, a gourmet market that says it offers restaurant-quality foods, imported cheeses and meats roasted in the Old Tradition, is set to open in the spring.

For Balducci’s, the new location at 11850 Freedom Drive is a homecoming. The store’s previous site in The Spectrum, just down the street from the current location, closed in 2005.

Construction crews are currently working on the site. An exact date on the store’s opening hasn’t been set yet, according to a company representative. Balducci’s has six other stores in Maryland, Virginia, New York and Connecticut.

The store is hiring for all positions. To apply, email [email protected]

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

by Del. Ken Plum February 8, 2018 at 10:15 am 10 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.

Every session of the General Assembly, I am reminded of how much the functioning of the legislature is like a roller coaster ride. Every ride on a roller coaster regardless of how big it may be starts off very slowly.

The steep climb at the beginning is followed by a sudden acceleration as the bottom seems to drop out when the coaster descends into the first drop. While your stomach is still in your throat you go through sharp turns followed by other drops that leave most of us with white knuckles holding on for dear life. There is a great sense of relief when it is all over.

A session of the General Assembly is kind of like that. The first couple of weeks are busy with opening preliminaries, bill drafting, and this year settling into temporary offices. As bills get introduced and assigned to committees that start to meet you get that sense that the bottom is about to drop out. Days get longer and busier as the need to be in more than one place at a time becomes the rule rather than the exception, and the schedule for each day gets longer. 

The final product of the session will not be known until the scheduled end of the session on March 10. In the meantime, I will update you on actions taken on the nearly 2,500 bills and resolutions that are moving down the track. Be aware that there are likely to be changes at the next sharp turn or sudden drop. 

Hopes that the session would be less partisan with a 21 to 19 split in the Senate and a 51 to 49 division in the House with Republicans controlling both houses were dashed early as mostly Republican-sponsored bills were approved along partisan lines. All gun safety bills were quickly defeated including my bill for universal background checks.

A bill to repeal the current prohibition on guns in churches was passed. Ironically its proponents testified that it would make churches safer! Bills intended to keep the environment cleaner were mostly defeated while some technical and administrative bills related to the environment were passed.

Under the Dillon Rule, localities have only the powers granted to them in their charters or in general law. Many bills have been passed as usual to grant specific authority to a given locality; these are referred to as “local bills.” Many “housekeeping” measures add to the session agenda as they make technical corrections to existing law.

An increasing number of animal-related bills are under consideration as are bills related to hunting and fishing. Major legislation to regulate electric utility rates and expand the use of renewables is still being negotiated. Certificate of Public Need (COPN) for hospitals is likewise being negotiated among stakeholders. 

The really big bill, the biennial budget, will be worked out among conference committee members and usually is one of the last bills to pass. The mystery of whether it will include an expansion of Medicaid has yet to be resolved. Many twists and turns are still ahead before the Assembly comes to its final stop for the year. Continue your advocacy on issues of concern to you. Check on the progress of bills of interest to you at lis.virginia.gov.

by Fatimah Waseem February 8, 2018 at 9:00 am 8 Comments

The Ball is Out of Reston’s Court – The United States Tennis Association is moving its headquarters from Reston to Prince William County. Plan to build a new 2023 complex are on the drawing board.  [Washington Business Journal]

Inspection Reports on Metro Flag Concerns – Are you a Metro rider? The Federal Transit Administration recently found several “radio dead zones” along the Blue and Silver lines. Some structural support pieces for gates are also showing signs of failure, the reports found. [WTOP]

Shout out to Susan Ungerer — The Herndon Rotary Club selected Ungerer as the citizen of the year. She founded Kids R First, a local nonprofit that helps get school supplies to low-income students. [The Connection]

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