Mason’s Famous Lobsters to Open Next Week in Reston Town Center

Finishing touches are underway at Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls, an Annapolis-based restaurant, ahead of its opening next week.

The restaurant’s sign was installed over the weekend at the new location at 11939 Democracy Drive, the former location of Red Velvet Cupcakery.

Malcolm Gilbreath, who runs the Reston location and is a Reston resident of 16 years, said he’s excited to bring a new enterprise to Reston Town Center.

“We’re in town center all the time and we’re excited to be a part of the whole community,” Gilbreath said.

There will be indoor seating at the restaurant, which is around 800 square feet. Gilbreath also plans to incorporate gluten-free lobster rolls and is working with local bakeries to have their items on the menu. More details on the grand opening are expected in several days.

The restaurant would be the first Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls branch in Virginia. The company has four locations in Maryland, one in Delaware and another in South Carolina. The Reston location’s menu is modeled after the Delaware location.

Photo via Art Display Co.

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New Harvest Festival Coming to Lake Anne Plaza

In an effort to find more ways to activate Lake Anne Plaza with community programming, a new free harvest is coming to the plaza on Saturday (Oct. 27).

The free festival offers holiday tips, treats, live music, wine and beer and collection of fall-related products from the eleven eateries and shops at Lake Anne Plaza, according to Rachel Piering, who is helping organize the festival.

The Lake Anne Plaza business[es] are working towards adding more events to the annual calendar – as a collective. We are doing more to make Lake Anne Plaza an anchor for activities in Reston. We wanted to add at least one more event to the lineup before the end of the year,” Piering told Reston Now.

The event will take place at the waterfront of the plaza from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Event organizers offered the following information about specials during the festival:

Café MontmartreVirginia wine pairing and specials on Vienna Lager and Devils Backbone IPA

Chesapeake ChocolatesFree wine tasting featuring Virginia wines from 2pm-4pm. Virginia treats and chocolate apple dipping and first annual Fall for Peeps Display. 

Kalypso’s Sports TavernSpecials on all Virginia wine and beer plus wine pairing/tasting

Kustard & CoBuy one get one Seasonal Harvest Flavored Pumpkin scoops

Lake Anne Brew House20% off growlers refills and special prices on seasonal beers

Lake Anne Coffee House and Wine BarDinner special inspired by Virginia Wines and Beers.

New Trail Cycling StudioSneak Peak of New Space, Membership Discounts and Bike Trail Maps

Reston Historic Trust & MuseumHappy Birthday Museum! Fall refreshments and sale on mugs, t-shirts, and memberships.

Reston Art Gallery and StudioHosting a fall craft project for kids from 10am-Noon.

Reston’s Used Book Shop: Sale on all Virginia Books and books about wine.

Small Change Consignment80% Off Halloween Costume Sale and extra 20% off toys and books.

The festival is produced by the Lake Anne Merchants Committee.

File photo

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Washington West Film Festival Kicks Off On Thursday in Reston

The eighth annual Washington West Film Festival returns to Reston and other nearby locations this Thursday through Monday. This year’s theme is “Story Can Change the World.”

The festival showcases new films from around the world and aims to bring filmmakers and actors together for conversation in Reston. All net box office proceeds will go to Kids in the Spotlight and the Robert Duvall Children’s Fund.

Opening night on Thursday kicks off with a 7 p.m. screening of My Indiana Muse, a story about an artist who tackles a project that will take more than a decade to complete. The screening at Bow Tie Cinemas (11940 Market Street) will be followed by a reception with light appetizers and drinks.

The festival was founded in 2011 by Brad Russell, who sought to bring films to the area that focus on creating inspiring stories, not just watching them.

To view the full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit the film festival’s website. Other screenings are planned in Arlington, Sterling and Stone Ridge.

Photo via Washington West Film Festival

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Legal Insider: The Statement of Reasons Leading to Security Clearance Determinations

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.

Many individuals come to us when they receive a document referred to as a Statement of Reasons (SOR) which federal agencies issue to individuals when considering the denial of their security clearance. A SOR can be issued to federal employees or government contractors currently holding or seeking a security clearance.

What is a Statement of Reasons?

A SOR lists the factual basis for potentially denying an individual’s security clearance. The SOR will list individual security concerns and provide the individual an ability to formally respond.

Typically, a federal agency will issue the SOR to the individual following the development of a security clearance concern. Subsequently, this security concern will be reviewed by the federal agency’s security office and either be cleared or proceed formally through the clearance adjudication process.

The SOR is the key document to analyze when attempting to avoid an adverse security clearance decision. For federal employees, agencies will generally attach the SOR to a cover letter that references the agency’s intent to revoke eligibility for the employees’ security clearance and provide it directly to the employee. For government contractors, the government will typically issue the SOR through the employer’s security officer.

The following is an example of a SOR issued for a federal employee based on personal conduct:

STATEMENT OF REASONS

Guideline E, Personal Conduct: Conduct involving questionable judgment, lack of candor, dishonesty, or unwillingness to comply with rules and regulations can raise questions about an individual’s reliability, trustworthiness, and ability to protect classified or sensitive information. Of special interest is any failure to cooperate or provide truthful and candid answers during national security investigative or adjudicative processes.

  1. a. On September 26, 2018 after a fellow employee accused you of theft in the office you engaged in aggressive physical conduct towards him and were subsequently detained by law enforcement.
  2. On September 27, 2018 you falsely recorded the amount of hours you worked on your weekly time sheet.
  3. On October 23, 2018, you lied to investigators when you falsely stated that you worked all of the hours you claimed on your weekly time sheet on September 27, 2018.

How to Respond to a SOR

If an individual receives a SOR, the key for a potential successful defense involves being able to refute the specific factual allegations or to mitigate them. This process begins with hiring an attorney to assist the individual in their response.

In the example above, since it is often the case that mistakes are made in SOR’s or that information is outdated, the first step is to determine from the individual whether the allegations themselves are true, i.e. whether they actually engaged in physical conduct, falsely recorded hours on their time sheet and/or was truthful with investigators during the investigation.

Accordingly, if the facts turn out to be true, the next task is to find out what mitigating factors could be helpful in explaining why the person should still be granted a security clearance.

To do this, one must review the National Security Adjudicative Guidelines for potential conditions that can mitigate the corresponding security concerns. Additionally, the Whole-Person Concept provides overall mitigation factors for security clearance matters.

For instance, in the example above, after reviewing the Adjudicative Guidelines and the Whole-Person Concept, there may be an argument that the issues raised were isolated incidents and do not reflect the overall character of the person.

Similarly, it would also be helpful to understand whether the employee reported the incidents to security officials prior to their discovery. Additionally, letters of character, charitable work, prior military service and/or good work performance can often help to demonstrate mitigation.

Overall, the key to responding to the SOR is to start with the factual allegations, provide a full synopsis of all facts involving each allegation, and then review the corresponding potential mitigating factors. Taking these steps will begin the process of properly preparing an effective response to the SOR.

Conclusion

We represent federal employees and government contractors in security clearance cases. Should you need assistance in a security clearance matter, please contact us by telephone at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page. Please also visit and like us on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

Many individuals come to us when they receive a document referred to as a Statement of Reasons (SOR) which federal agencies issue to individuals when considering the denial of their security clearance. An SOR can be issued to federal employees or government contractors currently holding or seeking a security clearance.

What is a Statement of Reasons?

A SOR lists the factual basis for potentially denying an individual’s security clearance. The SOR will list individual security concerns and provide the individual an ability to formally respond.

Typically, a federal agency will issue the SOR to the individual following the development of a security clearance concern. Subsequently, this security concern will be reviewed by the federal agency’s security office and either be cleared or proceed formally through the clearance adjudication process.

The SOR is the key document to analyze when attempting to avoid an adverse security clearance decision. For federal employees, agencies will generally attach the SOR to a cover letter that references the agency’s intent to revoke eligibility for the employees’ security clearance and provide it directly to the employee. For government contractors, the government will typically issue the SOR through the employer’s security officer.

The following is an example of a SOR issued for a federal employee based on personal conduct:

STATEMENT OF REASONS

Guideline E, Personal Conduct: Conduct involving questionable judgment, lack of candor, dishonesty, or unwillingness to comply with rules and regulations can raise questions about an individual’s reliability, trustworthiness, and ability to protect classified or sensitive information. Of special interest is any failure to cooperate or provide truthful and candid answers during national security investigative or adjudicative processes.

  1. a. On September 26, 2018 after a fellow employee accused you of theft in the office you engaged in aggressive physical conduct towards him and were subsequently detained by law enforcement.
  2. On September 27, 2018 you falsely recorded the amount of hours you worked on your weekly time sheet.
  3. On October 23, 2018, you lied to investigators when you falsely stated that you worked all of the hours you claimed on your weekly time sheet on September 27, 2018.

How to Respond to a SOR

If an individual receives a SOR, the key for a potential successful defense involves being able to refute the specific factual allegations or to mitigate them. This process begins with hiring an attorney to assist the individual in their response.

In the example above, since it is often the case that mistakes are made in SOR’s or that information is outdated, the first step is to determine from the individual whether the allegations themselves are true, i.e. whether they actually engaged in physical conduct, falsely recorded hours on their time sheet and/or was truthful with investigators during the investigation.

Accordingly, if the facts turn out to be true, the next task is to find out what mitigating factors could be helpful in explaining why the person should still be granted a security clearance.

To do this, one must review the National Security Adjudicative Guidelines for potential conditions that can mitigate the corresponding security concerns. Additionally, the Whole-Person Concept provides overall mitigation factors for security clearance matters.

For instance, in the example above, after reviewing the Adjudicative Guidelines and the Whole-Person Concept, there may be an argument that the issues raised were isolated incidents and do not reflect the overall character of the person.

Similarly, it would also be helpful to understand whether the employee reported the incidents to security officials prior to their discovery. Additionally, letters of character, charitable work, prior military service and/or good work performance can often help to demonstrate mitigation.

Overall, the key to responding to the SOR is to start with the factual allegations, provide a full synopsis of all facts involving each allegation, and then review the corresponding potential mitigating factors. Taking these steps will begin the process of properly preparing an effective response to the SOR.

Conclusion

We represent federal employees and government contractors in security clearance cases. Should you need assistance in a security clearance matter, please contact us by telephone at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page. Please also visit and like us on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

0 Comments

New Plan for Hook Road Recreation Area Revitalization Proposed

After a year-long review and public engagement period, members of a working group charged with developing the master plan for Hook Road Recreation Area will pitch their recommendations on how the area should be upgraded this week.

The area, which has remained largely unchanged since tennis and baseball amenities were added in 1973, was identified for major revitalization in 2016 after a review of facility enhancements approved by Reston Association’s Board of Directors.

Members of the 16-person working group, which was created by the board, will present their conceptual plan at RA’s board meeting at 6:30 p.m. at RA headquarters. The board will consider a motion to allocate $50,000 in next year’s budget for architecture and engineering of the conceptual master plan. Full cost estimates and phasing of future improvements would be determined following the analysis.

Design consultant Dewberry held three public roundtable discussions on the project — a process that flagged areas of concern, areas of use and areas to improve. Based on a public online survey and a survey mailed to households nearby the facility, Dewberry found that the areas were primarily used for “passive recreation,” with most respondents leaning toward using the park as is with minimal changes. After considering four concepts, the working group selected a final plan, which prioritizes traffic calming, baseball upgrades, internal paths, a ring path, and a natural playscape.

Road upgrades, which are subject to state approval, include roadway bump-outs at the west intersection of the property and a crosswalk. Upgrades to the baseball field and the construction of a permanent pavilion and bathroom is also recommended. Currently, one portable bathroom serves the entire park. Paths would be added near the baseball field. Other components of the plan include a natural enhancement for seating along Fairway Drive, tree preservation, a natural playscape for children with the “fewest manmade elements as possible,” and pathways as narrow as possible while remaining compliant with ADA and RA guidelines, according to the plan.

A live stream of the meeting will be available on YouTube.

Photo via handout/Reston Association

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Monday Morning Notes

Developments on development — It’s no secret that mixed-use development is on the way. Reston Association’s acting CEO Larry Butler gives an update on development issues in the community. [Reston Association]

The big drop — Virginia’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.9 percent. The rate decreased for a third consecutive month. [Governor Ralph Northam]

Frost advisory in effect — You’ll likely notice some frost on your windshield today. An advisory is in effect through 10 a.m. Frost could harm sensitive outdoor vegetation. [National Weather Service]

Photo by Flickr user vantagehill

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