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Students Create ‘Blessing Bags’ to Remember Nabra Hassanen, Slain Muslim Teen

As the one year mark of the tragic slaying of Nabra Hassanen approaches, local students are coming together to remember the South Lakes High School student.

Hassanen, a Muslim, was killed near the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque in Sterling.

Family and loved ones will gather on Saturday (April 14) — what would have been Hassanen’s 18th birthday — to package “blessing bags” with items like water bottles, deodorant, food and shampoo. Bags will be distributed to the homeless in D.C., organizers said.

Police believe Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, followed a group of teens as they walked and biked back to the mosque at around 3:40 a.m. during Ramadan, the prescribed month of fasting for Muslims.

Torres later caught up with the group in a parking lot, according to police, and struck Hassanen with a baseball bat before abducting her in his car. He then allegedly assaulted Hassanen a second time before dumping her body in a pond next to his apartment complex.

Organizers hope to preserve Hassanen’s love for charity projects and her caring nature through the initiative.

Afnan Abdelmeguid, a 17-year-old West Springfield High School student and event organizer, said Hassanen was like a sister to her. After meeting Hassanen nearly a decade ago, Abdelmeguid recalls the pair quickly became close friends, spending yearly holidays together and taking part in an annual Islamic spring camp.

In her absence,  Abdelmeguid wants to keep her giving nature alive. She also hopes it will help her and the local community heal as the one year anniversary of the high-profile case approaches and as Ramadan begins next month.

Other organizers include Abdelmeguid’s cousins, Shatha and Maysoon Ibrahim.

“She was very kind to everyone and was always smiling. She always cared about our problems and was always there to talk to you when you needed someone to talk to,” Abdelmeguid said.

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Teen Job Fair to Come to Reston on April 21

Teens and young adults in Reston can attend the free job fair at South Lakes High School on April 21 to meet potential employers and get tips on building their resumes.

More than 40 potential employers have signed up to meet young job seekers at the event, according to Connection Newspapers, one of the sponsors of the job fair. Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, Reston Chamber of Commerce and Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity will also be sponsoring the event

The event will be from 11 a.m. to  1 p.m. and is aimed toward student job seekers between the ages of 16 and 18 who are looking for full-time employment, internships, after school employment, volunteer opportunities and seasonal work. Younger students may seek volunteer work and attend the resume building workshop.

Pre-registration is encouraged and teens can sign up here. Businesses interested in setting up a free booth can register here.

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One Day After Election, Vacancy on Reston Association Board Surfaces

Victoria White stepped down from Reston Association’s Board of Directors Wednesday (April 11).

The vacancy comes just one day after four new board members were elected to serve on the nine-member board.

She stood alongside her colleagues on the newly formulated board at the conclusion of RA’s annual member meeting on Tuesday (April 10) when results were announced.

White who served as the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District representative resigned because she no longer lives in the district she represents, according to a statement by RA. She also served on RA’s covenants committee and the board governance committee.

RA will issue a call for candidates to fill the open seat, which expires in April 2020. The board will consider possible candidates at its May 24 meeting.

Information on when and how RA was made aware of the need for the change was not immediately available.

At a meeting on Wednesday, David Bobzien, formerly the board’s vice president, was elected board president. Sridhar Ganesan, formerly the board’s treasurer, was elected vice president.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Photo via Reston Association

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Thursday Deals & Events in Reston

Every weekday, we highlight deals and events around Reston, with help from Tim’s Reston Directory. Some require a coupon or have more instructions, so be sure to click the link for details and any additional requirements.

Follow Tim’s Reston Directory on Twitter and Facebook and visit TIMS.US for a comprehensive monthly calendar of deals and events around Reston.
Interested in special promotion as the deal or event of the day? Have a deal or event tip? Email Tim at [email protected]!

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Del. Ken Plum: New Neighbor

Del. Ken Plum/File photo

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.

On a recent early morning walk from my home in the South Lakes area of Reston I met a new neighbor that I learned lately moved into the area weeks ago. I would not call the new neighbor friendly; he seemed to be more disinterested in me although his family acted a bit jittery with me being around. While he may not have been interested in me, hundreds have been interested in and curious about him. A photo I took of him that I posted on social media has elicited nearly 400 reactions. I continue to use the male pronoun, but truthfully I am not sure of the neighbor’s gender.

I introduced the new member of our community on social media as being an albino deer, but I was quickly corrected. The almost white deer did not have the pink eyes, pink nose, and pinkish hooves of an albino deer. One neighbor suggested that he was probably a piebald deer. Although I grew up in rural Virginia where there is a lot of wildlife, I had never heard of a piebald deer. That sent me to the internet where I learned that contrary to popular belief, a piebald deer is not a cross between a normal whitetail deer and an albino. The origin of the word “piebald” comes from “pie” meaning “mixed up” and “bald” meaning “having a white spot.”

Piebalds have various amounts of white and brown patches similar to a pinto pony, and they have normal brown eyes and nose with black hooves like a normal whitetail deer. Their coloration is due to a rare inherited genetic defect that fortunately affects less than one percent of the white-tailed deer population because it also may result in the deer having short legs, scoliosis of the spine, internal organ deformities and other health conditions.

At the risk of turning this story into another diatribe on my part about the importance of diversity in our community and the need to welcome all, I will end with an acknowledgement that some people do not want another someone in the community who may eat their flowers. It does make me appreciate our trails and natural areas where we can see our animal neighbors. When you see our pielbald deer near Snakeden Branch Trail or wherever else in Reston, take a photo if you can and share it on my Facebook page, Kenneth R. Plum. We want him to feel welcome. You might want to call him by the name I understand Terraset Elementary students have given him: Blanca.

By the time you are reading this column I will be back in Richmond for the serious work of the legislature of passing a budget for the next biennium. The outstanding issue to be resolved is the expansion of Medicaid to nearly 400,000 Virginians who do not have health care even though taxes are being collected in Virginia to pay for the program. I support the Governor in his insistence that we approve the expansion. Thanks to all the citizens who have been calling and writing supporting the program. I will be back with details on the budget issue as soon as it is resolved.

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Thursday Morning Notes

I-66 slows traffic — Major construction for the toll project will create sluggish conditions, so all rides between Loudoun County Transit stops and the Wiehle-Reston East stations will be free. [WTOP]

R-E-S-P-E-C-T — Spencer Alston, a lacrosse player at South Lakes High School, received the 2018 Lou Peterson “Respect the Game” award. [The Connection]

Walk it off — Hundreds walked together at Walk MS Reston at Reston Town Center earlier this month. A total of $177,109 was raised in order to end multiple sclerosis. [The Connection]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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