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Herndon Animal Medical Center Seeks Expansion

After more than 30 years of business in the Herndon community, the Herndon Animal Medical Center is gearing up for an expansion.

In a proposed before the county up for a vote by the Town of Herndon’s Planning Commission tonight, the center is seeking a special exception to allow a veterinary clinic in land zoned for office and light industrial uses. If approved, the new clinic would move to 360 Herndon Parkway.

“Our current space limits our ability to see patients and practice easily with modern equipment and modern handling techniques,” wrote Kristan Gutowski, the center’s owner.

The building will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday; between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; and between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday. The clinic, which employs 15 people, could expand its hours to accommodate more clients and patients.

Gutowski said the new facility will allow staff to continue practicing a handling technique called “Fear Free” that aims to reduce patient anxiety by separating patients from each other in separate exam rooms away from other animals and noises. The move will also allow the center to avoid odors from its current neighbor, a boarding facility that Gutowski said has “negatively affected” the center’s work environment.

We do everything we can to control an unpleasant odor that can occur with pets,” Gutowski said.

Town of Herndon staff recommended approval of the project.

Photo via Town of Herndon Government

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County Officials Mull How to Boost Housing Affordability

County officials are seeking the public’s feedback on how to increase housing affordability in Reston and surrounding areas.

At a meeting on September 20 (Wednesday), Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Tom Fleetwood, director of the Fairfax County’s Department of Housing and Community Development, will discuss the second phase of the county’s Housing Community-wide Housing Strategic Plan.

The meeting will take place in the lecture hall at South Lakes High School from 7-9 p.m.

The second phase of the plan aims to offer ways resources can”act as a catalyst for new affordable housing production and quality affordable housing preservation and rehabilitation,” according to the county.

The overall plan, recently adopted by the Board of Supervisors, was drafted by county staff and a group of stakeholders, including nonprofit leaders and the business community, to pitch strategies to address future housing needs. The policy is designed to reinforce the county’s economic development strategies and approaches to ensure racial and social equity across all county services.

The plan seeks to end homeless in a decade, provide affordable housing to special needs population, meet affordable housing needs for low-income, working families and increase workforce housing through creative partnerships and policy arrangements.

Phase one of the plan includes 25 short-term strategies that can help create more housing options without major policy changes or significant revenue sources. Phase two of the plan will offer longer-term strategies to develop new tools, policies, and resources to boost affordable housing options.

File photo

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Farmers Market to Begin in Reston Town Center Tomorrow

A farmers market is coming to Reston Town Center starting tomorrow (September 11) through September October 23. Every week, the market will be located at the pavilion, with the exception of October 9, when it will be located at Town Square Park.

Items available for purchase include produce, kettle corn, pastries, meats, salsa, honey, and smoothies. The hours of the market are between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Other area farmers markets will remain open through early December. The market at Lake Anne is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon through December 1 at Lake Anne Plaza.

The Reston Farm Market (10800 Baron Cameron Avenue) is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. A fall festival, which will include face painting, a petting zoo, a train raid, balloons and a petting zoo, is set for Saturday, September 22 to celebrate the market’s anniversary.

Photo via Reston Town Center

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Legal Insider: Elon Musk’s Use of Marijuana Raises Question of Whether Clearance Rules Apply Equally to All

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John V. Berry and Kimberly H. Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Plaza America in Reston that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

Billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, was recently videotaped smoking marijuana on the Joe Rogan talk show. According to reports, Mr. Musk holds a security clearance as part of his CEO role at SpaceX, a major government space contractor.

As a result, news reports first indicated that the U.S. Air Force has started an investigation into Mr. Musk’s alleged drug usage due to his holding of a security clearance.

Later, news reports indicated that there was not necessarily an investigation but that the U.S. Air Force was attempting to evaluate what to do about the issue. The question is whether or not the same rules governing every other clearance holder involving drug usage will apply to Mr. Musk if he did smoke marijuana.

My suspicion is that the answer will be no.

We often represent and defend individuals who have engaged in one-time or other minor illegal drug use (yes, the federal government still considers marijuana an illegal drug no matter where it is consumed).

Many individuals who engage in minor drug use may still lose their security clearance over even one usage, depending on the circumstances. The ultimate result will likely highlight the distinction between high level individuals and other clearance holders (the other 99%).

This sort of double standard was recently seen at the White House where the President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, apparently had so many foreign contacts that he had to amend his clearance submission (SF-86) multiple times (something that isn’t usually permitted for others).

The type of contacts that Mr. Kushner admitted to having, if they had involved just about anyone else, would have barred them from obtaining a security clearance.

We often represent individuals from Pakistan, Egypt, India or Taiwan, where having just a few relatives from their home country, or owning small amounts of property in that country can disqualify them from holding a security clearance.

It seems that there are now two sets of rules for security clearance holders and applicants. Those that are important or well-connected and then the rules for the rest of us. I find this to be troubling and very wrong.

In a case like Mr. Musk, it might usually take a year or perhaps over a year, for a person to be able to mitigate having engaged in even a one-time drug use issue. The point of having a system for adjudicating security clearances is to have ensure that everyone, a billionaire, the son-in-law of the President of the United States and Jim Jones (a GS-13 civilian employee for the Department of the Army) all live by the same rules.

Hopefully, the next President will see fit to take action in order to make the security clearance rules apply equally to all of us regardless of wealth or position.

We represent federal employees and government contractors in security clearance cases. We can be contacted at www.berrylegal.com or by telephone at 703-668-0070. Please also visit and like us on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Coming Soon: Thai Restaurant to North Point Village Center

Finn Thai Restaurant and Bar, a Thai restaurant, is coming soon to North Point Village Center.

The restaurant has one location in Purcellville and a second location in Martinsburg, West Virginia. It will take up space formerly occupied by Payless. (1466 North Point Village Center), which closed in April last year after the company announced plans to file for bankruptcy.

A restaurant representative from the Martinsburg location told Reston Now that the opening day could be several weeks from now. But an exact date was not known yet, the representative said.

Photo by Twitter user 

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Monday Morning Notes

Walmart Labs adds jobs — The company is planning to double its workforce at its Reston office and is seeking software engineers and data scientists to build new platforms for the company. [DC Inno]

Voting now open for Reston Community Center preference poll — Five candidates are running for three positions on the nine-member Board of Governors. A candidates’ forum will be held tonight at 6:30 p.m. at RCC Hunters Woods. [Reston Community Center]

Two men arrested in connection with a string of larcenies — “Two northern Virginia men are in custody after a multi-jurisdictional investigation, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office authorities announced Friday afternoon. The men, Edward L. Campbell, Jr., 25, of Ashburn, and Craig Nipper-Duval, 22, of Herndon, are suspected of being involved in a rash of larcenies from vehicles in Loudoun County and the Town of Herndon.” [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

Flooding threat in Northern Virginia late in the week — “Hurricane Florence is expected to become a major hurricane on Monday as Virginia prepares for a major flooding threat later this week. As of 5 a.m. Monday, Florence was 625 miles southeast of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph. Rapid strengthening is expected, and Florence could become a major hurricane Monday morning. It is expected to remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday.” [Inside NOVA]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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