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Financial Study: Fairfax County is the Best Place to Retire

A new study says that Fairfax County is one of the best places in Virginia to retire.

The rankings were compiled by financial website Smartasset.com, which used factors like healthcare access, the number of retirement-focused recreational centers and overall tax burden, to determine the best places to retire in Virginia.

The website wrote the following description about Fairfax County’s retirement-friendliness:

If you’re looking to retire in the great outdoors, Fairfax County may be the perfect place for you. The region houses many national parks, including Great Falls National Park and Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s first sanctuary for bald eagles. You can also visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

You’d also have more than 300 miles of hiking trails to tackle as you stay active. In fact, the Fairfax County Park Authority runs more than 400 parks among more than 20,000 acres. Some feature wildlife preserves and working farms. But nature isn’t Fairfax’s only perk. You also have more than 200 regional shopping centers. And don’t worry too much about your wallet. The region’s mid-range 16.7% tax burden falls well below that of major cities. So it would behoove you to invest in tax-advantaged savings vehicles like a 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA). And where can you use your hard earned savings? At tons of recreation centers, including an ice-skating rink and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. You also have more than 800 playgrounds you can bring the grandkids to. And if you need it, Fairfax has more than 13 medical centers per 1,000 people. Overall, Fairfax County is definitely the place to retire in if you love the outdoors and still want some action in your life

Other areas that made the list include Falls Church (#2), which was described as a welcome sport for outdoor enthusiasts, and Vienna (#7), which was described as a place best-suited for art lovers.

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Save the Date: Fall Bazaar in Reston Set for Oct. 13

A fall bazaar, which will feature a mix of craft jewelry, decor, candles, and homemade baked goods, is set for Oct. 13 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Christian Church (11400 North Shore Drive).

A silent auction will also take place during the event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is the second year the free event has taken place.

Family activities include Zumba by the YMCA, book readings for children and an activity led by Beloved Yoga.

Event organizers are no longer accepting applications from vendors. For more information, email [email protected].

Flickr pool photo via J0nathan

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Volunteers Sought for Halloween House and Trick-or-Treat Trail

As Halloween inches closer, Reston Association is looking for volunteers for its Halloween House and Trick-or-Treat Trail.

The events are set for Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Walker Nature Center.

Participants between age 3 and above will get the chance to meet a creative cast of characters and live animals along the trail and inside the center, which will be transformed into a Halloween House that night.

The event will take place from 7:30-8:45 p.m. and includes carnival-style games, jack-o-lanterns, and light effects. Participants are encouraged to wear “non-scary” costumes, according to organizers.

“This is not a horror show or haunted house,” RA cautions.

Tickets are required for all adults and children who enter the event, although children under one can be carried in a baby carrier and do not require a ticket. Trick-or-treat bags are included in the price of admission. Tickets, which are $12 for RA members and $15 for all others, can only be purchased in advance online. If the event is sold-out, a waiting list will be available.

Those interested in volunteering should email [email protected].

Photo via Reston Association

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Cafe Rio Coming Soon to Former McDonalds Space

Cafe Rio, a Mexican grill, will take up space in the former location of McDonald’s in Herndon. The fast food restaurant closed earlier this year.

According to Town of Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel, the restaurant will occupy space near the Virginia Kitchen at 330 Elden Street.

The opening date of the new restaurant is not yet known, Merkel said.

The restaurant offers burritos, salads, enchiladas, quesadillas, nachos and other Mexican staples. Cafe Rio has multiple locations in Virginia, including Falls Church, Burke and Fairfax.

Photo via Yelp/Cindy K.

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Del. Ken Plum: Who Are You?

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis 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.

Beginning on October 1, Virginians will be able to obtain through the local offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles a REAL ID that complies with federal regulations to prove their identity. While having state-issued, federally-approved identification to prove who you are is offensive to many, the practical use of the REAL ID will result in most if not all complying with its requirements.

The REAL ID came about from recommendations of the 9/11 Commission studying ways to improve security to prevent other horrible terrorist acts from happening. Half of the September 11 hijackers had received driver’s licenses in Virginia. Congress passed an act to help prevent terrorist attacks and to reduce the number of licenses issued to undocumented residents. It established the requirements for states to follow in issuing driver’s licenses, and the program is implemented by the Department of Homeland Security. Under the congressionally passed law, states are required to issue licenses only to applicants who provide in-person proof of their identity and legal U.S. residency. The new cards must use the latest counterfeit-resistant security features.

Half the states are now in compliance with the new federal law, and others like Virginia have been working hard to put the new system into place. Beginning in the fall of 2020, persons who want to board a commercial flight must present a REAL ID or an alternative form of acceptable identification. Likewise, persons entering federal facilities must present a REAL ID. The DMV-issued credential will meet the requirement of REAL ID and will allow holders to access federal buildings, including military installations, and board commercial flights.

Obtaining a REAL ID when you renew your driver’s license is voluntary. That is what I intend to do. I do not want to have to remember to make a special trip to the DMV in the future to prove my identity for a REAL ID when I can do it as part of renewing my driver’s license.

To get a REAL ID you must apply in person and provide DMV with physical documentation of identity, such as an unexpired U.S. passport or a U.S. birth certificate and provide your legal presence through the same documentation. And yes, there is an additional one-time fee of $10 to help pay for the new cards. Hopefully you can visit a DMV office when they are not too busy. But you do need to go in person and take the time to meet the requirements.

Important news for those who do not drive and hence do not have a driver’s license: You can get a REAL ID through the same process just described to use for entering federal facilities, boarding commercial flights and voting.

Need more information? The DMV website is filled with full details. Check my interview with Commissioner Rick Holcomb of the DMV on YouTube after October 10 or watch it on Reston Comcast Channel 28 for public service programming or Verizon Channel 1981 at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 23 or at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 24.

File photo

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Thursday Morning Notes

Not so thrilled with Metro — Real estate development icon and attorney John Hazel, 87, thinks that Metro is a political failure. Hazel plays a leading role in developing Fairfax County and Northern Virginia. [Washington Business Journal]

Meet the artist event this afternoon —  Cabaret singer Beverly Cosham will perform selected songs from the Great American Songbook and other favorites. Cosham has won numerous awards for her musical performances. [Reston Community Center]

Reston Corner development under consideration — The Fairfax County Planning Commission will consider a proposal to rezone office property allow residential development on the southwest corner of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive, along with more office space. [Fairfax County Government]

Lots to do at the library — Reston Regional Library has several events of note today, including a downsizing seminar planned for tonight and a book club for millennials.

Photo by Ray Copson

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