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Save the Date: ‘Flavors of Fall’ Returns to Reston Town Center in October

It’s not too early to begin planning for the fall. Flavors of Fall, a free annual festival that includes live entertainment, dancing and family activities, returns to Reston Town Center on October 6.

Admission and parking are free for the event. Restaurants will serve up samplings of their favorite falls menus. Tickets are $1 each or $20 for 24 tickets. Most food tastings require between one and five tickets.

Beer prices are five tickets for a 16-ounce, mainstream beer, six tickets for a 12-ounce craft beer and three tickets for a five-ounce craft beer.  Wine is six tickets for a five-ounce poor and one ticket per wine tasting.

More information on the event will be released soon. The event is produced by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce.

Photo via Facebook

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New Dessert Lounge Offers Mix of Indian and American Sweets

When Krishna Vooturi, an Ashburn resident originally from India, contemplated ideas for a new dessert business, he knew he wanted to bring a taste of Southeast Asia to Herndon. With the help of his brother-in-law and friend, Vooturi, he opened a new dessert spot on 348 Elden Street on Friday, July 27.

The shop, Dessert Lounge, offers a mix of Thai rolled ice cream, sundaes, crepes, and milkshakes. But the featured item is falooda, a cold dessert popular in India and Pakistan. The light pink dessert includes traditional ice cream, rose syrup, vermicelli, chia seeds and milk.

In contrast to its name, Dessert Lounge will offer hot beverages like coffee, sandwiches, and burgers to remain viable in the winter and for those craving a hot bite, according to Vooturi.

For the falooda and the traditional ice cream, also known as kulfi, he uses a popular brand in India and in the United States called Kwality. Ice cream flavors range from Indian-inspired items like rose petal and lychee to more typical flavors like tiramisu and vanilla.

“I personally am a big fan of falooda and I haven’t seen a lot of specialized places here. It’s a good opportunity to bring unique flavors to this place and have different people try different tastes,” he said.

Photos by Fatimah Waseem

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Updated: Body of Missing Man, 81, Found at Runnymede Park in Herndon

An 81-year-old missing man was found dead this morning in Runnymede Park (195 Herndon Parkway), according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Xuanfang Zhou was originally reported missing by his family after he went for a walk yesterday morning and didn’t return home. Patrol units and a K9 team were dispatched but were unable to find him.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, which is leading the investigation, there is no indication of criminal activity.

No further information was immediately available. The Herndon Police Department is also investigating the incident.

This story has been updated.

Photo via FCPD

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‘Road from Nowhere’ to Remain in Reston’s Master Plan

The “road from nowhere” is a household term among Restonians who are abreast of the day-to-day happenings in local development and land use. The conceptual road, which runs from the Isaac Newton Square property to American Dream Way, cuts straight through an open space resource that local grassroots groups are trying to protect from development: Hidden Creek Country Club.

There are no plans on the books to build the road. But the presence of the line in Reston’s Comprehensive Plan has some scratching there heads: Where did this road come from? And what does it mean for the golf course?

County officials say the road is entirely conceptual in nature, but could possibly be needed to improve connectivity if planned redevelopment happens in the Isaac Newtown Square area. The road could also relieve congestion at the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue by serving as an alternative route to Sunset Hills Road, according to Robin Geiger of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

Geiger stressed the road has not been designed and if it is — whether through private development or through a public project — the community will have multiple opportunities to provide their feedback. The county will also work through the potential impacts to the golf course or environmentally-sensitive land in the area.

No development applications have been submitted for the Isaac Newton property to date. In May 2016, however, an application to develop a nearby three-acre site at 11480 Sunset Hills Road into an apartment building was indefinitely deferred.

But grassroots groups like Rescue Reston, which actively led efforts to stop the redevelopment of Reston National Golf Course and pledge to do the same for Hidden Creek Country Club, want the planned road connection removed from the comprehensive plan’s map. Its presence suggests the disruption of the golf course, which is one of two in Reston that the plan intends to protect.

In February, then-Reston Association CEO Cate Fulkerson requested that the county remove the line from the Reston Master Plan. Similar requests from community members surfaced again in recent workgroup sessions with county officials this month.

But county staff have remained reluctant to remove the road, noting that the conceptual road shows the intention of connecting the grid of streets with American Dream Way.

As with any new roadway design, the county will work to minimize negative impacts on existing uses and the environment. In staff’s view, the planned road being shown as part of the conceptual street network does not negatively affect the viability of the Hidden Creek Golf Course,” Geiger said.

Despite assurances, some concerns remain, especially as Wheelock Communities engages with community stakeholders to determine the future of the golf course. No redevelopment plans have been formally proposed yet.

Photo via Google Earth

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Del. Ken Plum: In-Service Training

This is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

The only common requirement for holding elective office is that one be a registered voter in the state meaning then of course that you must be at least 18 years of age.

You do not need to be a resident of the district you hope to represent although you will have to move into the district if you win. The concept of a citizen legislature is that it is made up of people from all walks of life in the community who can collectively speak for the community at large.
Supposedly there would be no professional politicians–just regular every-day folks. Such an approach should work out well to have the community broadly represented.

In the past, because of laws and practices, most legislatures have been filled mostly with old white men. Recent years have seen a shift including in Virginia as more women are running for office and getting elected. This year has more women, young people, and people of color running than ever before.

With the diversification of who sits in the legislature the challenge becomes taking people of many different backgrounds, perspectives and constituencies and bringing them together to work for consensus on legislation to get a majority vote. While skills acquired in business and civic activities teach many of the soft skills of interpersonal relationships and team building that are transferable to a legislative body, there are unique differences that are important to recognize.

Most legislatures with whom I am familiar have orientation programs to acquaint new members with where the bathrooms are, rules of order in committee meetings and on the floor, and operating procedures around the capitol. Putting legislation together, developing a strategy for its passage, and keeping constituents back home happy are most often handled by the political party caucuses or helpful mentors.

Another source of in-service training I have found invaluable are conferences put together by professional associations, specifically the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). I am at their national conference this week. NCSL keeps up with what is happening in state capitols around the country and through publications, conferences and consultancy keeps legislators informed. The association is truly non-partisan, although its leadership–chosen from among state legislators across the country–maintain their party allegiance while the staff is able to stay out of the partisanship.

Virginia of course had the first representative legislature in the western world beginning in 1619. Not everyone followed the Virginia model however in writing their constitution of organizing their legislatures. I continue to be amazed as I work with colleagues from around the country as to the number of different ways that legislative bodies can organize themselves and do their business. No one has a corner on the best way to do the people’s business, but we can learn from taking a look at how other states conduct their business.

NCSL refers to the states as the laboratories of democracy. The description is appropriate as we all face mostly the same challenges. Our responses are different, however. By getting together for what some would call a conference, but what I think is more appropriately called in-service training, we can do a better job for the people we represent.

File photo

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Thursday Morning Notes

A flash flood watch is in effect — The watch will remain in effect through tonight. Multiple rounds of rainfall will be possible throughout the day. Saturated soil from previous rains may result in flash flooding. [National Weather Service]

Fair and carnival kicks off today — The 70th Annual 4-H Fair and Carnival kicks off today at Frying Pan Farm Park today through August 5. The event features four days of fresh air, farm fun and good times for friends, family and neighbors. Activities include fair food, 4-H exhibits, carnival rides, games and live entertainment. [Fairfax County Government]

If you’d rather not pay taxes — From Friday through Sunday, a sales tax holiday means you won’t have to pay taxes on things like school supplies, emergency supplies and energy star items. [Fairfax County Government]

Register for Reston Community Center programs — Registration is now open for Reston residents and employees to take part in RCC programs, classes and trips. [Reston Community Center]

The official version of events — A press release discusses the recent approval of the 4.1 million square foot Reston Crescent development, which will include Reston’s first Wegmans. [Fairfax County Government]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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