Fairfax County Public Schools to Open Late Tomorrow

All Fairfax County Public Schools will open two hours late tomorrow (Friday), ushering in a second day of weather-related impacts on schools.

School offices and central offices will remain open. All county public schools were closed today due to snowy conditions.

Photo via Twitter user @MrErrett

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Multiple Vehicle Crash Sends Four to Hospital on Route 7

A car crash involving several cars on Route 7 sent four people to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries earlier this morning.

Units from Station 39 in North Point responded to the incident, which happened as icy and snowy conditions swept down on much of the area today.

The driver of one car was trapped and was removed from the vehicle.

No other information about the incident was immediately available.

Photos via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

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Reston Expansion Planned for Capital Bikeshare Over the Next Two Years

A little over two years after Capital Bikeshare launched in Fairfax County, the program is planning to expand across Reston. But details on where the new stations, which were proposed last year, are pending.

According to Nicole Wynands, Bicycle Program Manager for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, the bike-share expansion is planned for late 2019 or early 2020.

“We are still working on the exact locations,” said Wynands, “but additional stations are planned to be added in both North and South Reston.”

A list of sites in Reston had been proposed last year, but Wynands said further study found some of the sites did not meet federal criteria for grant funding.

“The previously proposed stations [were] a concept proposal which [is] always subject to final engineering,” said Wynands. “We have since conducted surveys and developed preliminary design concepts. As the expansion is funded through a federal grant, each location has to meet a long list of criteria stipulated by federal requirements, state requirements and operator requirements. The surveys revealed that some of the originally proposed stations did not meet all siting criteria, so alternative sites are being considered.”

Additionally, Wynands said sites are being reconsidered based on proximity to new bike trails built through Reston over the last year.

“We will be able to announce the new station locations after we have received all needed permits,” said Wynands. “We are still planning on adding up to 11 new stations in Reston”

At its busiest, typically during June, Wynands said there were 1,861 trips starting or ending in Reston. Capital Bikeshare also recently implemented a pilot project to add new battery-operated bikes to Reston. The program will continue through the end of the month.

Wynands said the most popular stations in Reston are the ones at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, followed by the Reston Town Center Transit Station and the Sunset Hill Road/Isaac Newton Square Station.

“The system is designed primarily to cover the first and last mile between the origin/destination and transit,” said Wynands. “This is evident in the popularity of the bike share station at Wiehle Metro, which serves both as an origin and a destination for commuters in the morning and afternoon, as people working near Reston Town Center are arriving by Metro and continuing their trip to Reston Town Center via the W&OD, while at the same time Reston Town Center residents commute via the W&OD to the Metro station to continue their trip to Tysons, Arlington or DC.”

The station with the lowest use is at North Shore and Cameron Crescent, a station which primarily serves as an overflow to the busy Lake Anne station down the hill at North Shore and Village Road.

According to Wynands, the system is continuing to grow in ridership, with a seven percent year-over-over growth recorded thus far.

“It takes a few years for a new system to establish itself, and we expect additional growth through the expansions as we will serve additional riders and destinations.”

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1901 Group to Expand Footprint in Reston with 225 New Jobs

IT services firm 1901 Group (2003 Edmund Halley Drive) will bring more than 200 jobs to Reston in the next three years as part of a $4 million expansion.

The Reston-based company, which provides internet technology services for the public and private sectors, plans to bring 225 more jobs to Reston, along with 580 new jobs to Montgomery County by 2021, according to an announcement released today (Nov. 15). The additional 805 jobs across both counties are part of the company’s expansion of its corporate footprint in Reston and IT operations center in Blacksburg, the press release said.

1901 Group’s growth in the two counties will result in “tremendous” opportunity for the state’s citizens, State Gov. Ralph Northam said.

“With one of the largest technology talent pools in the nation, Virginia’s thriving IT industry promises high anticipated growth and upward mobility for employees,” Northam said, adding the decision reflects Virginia’s ability to compete for major projects.

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to secure the project for Virginia, according to the press release. VEDP will support 1901 Group’s recruitment activities through the state-funded Virginia Jobs Investment Program, which provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs.

Founded in 2009, the company provides internet technology services for public and private sectors, offering infrastructure, applications management and security services through the IT-as-a-service delivery model. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce recognized the company as one of its “Fantastic 50” in 2016.

1901 Group anticipates future growth after experiencing a substantial increase in the federal government’s use of its services, according to the press release.

“1901 Group’s revenue in the federal market has increased thirty-fold in the last six years,” said Sonu Singh, CEO of 1901 Group. “Much of this growth can be attributed to operating in the Fairfax region, which has a strong technology focus and great access to talent.”

The announcement comes days after Amazon chose to locate its second headquarters to Crystal City — a decision that business leaders in the area said will transform communities including Reston into a technology corridor. Secondary and tertiary businesses lured by Amazon’s Arlington presence may entice new and emerging developments in Reston around the Silver Line, Mark Ingrao, CEO and president of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, previously told Reston Now.

Photo courtesy 1901 Group

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Full Trial on Nabra Hassanen Murder Goes to Court Early Next Year

Darwin Martinez Torres, 23, accused of raping and murdering Nabra Hassanen, 17, of Reston, will be going to trial in January.

According to the Fairfax Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, motions for the case are scheduled for Nov. 29 and the date for the full trial in January has not been established yet.

Torres’ seven-count indictment includes charges of rape and capital murder.

Prosecutors in the case plan to introduce evidence that Torres was a member of MS-13, though the police are not saying that the crime was gang-related, according to the Washington Post.

Hassanen was attacked when she was returning from the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center in Sterling after a pre-dawn meal in June 2017. Fairfax County police say Hassanen was attacked with a baseball bat before she was abducted, sexually assaulted, and killed. Her body was found in a pond near Torres’ apartment and police believe the crime was not motivated by Hassanen’s religion, but was a road rage incident.

The Washington Post also reports that Torres’ defense team is alleging that Torres is intellectually disabled as a result of toxins in a gold mine near where he grew up in El Salvador. If Torres is found to have significant mental issues, he cannot receive the death penalty.

Photo via FCPD

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Del. Ken Plum: A Bloodless Revolution

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.

Thomas Jefferson’s election as President of the United States is referred to as a “bloodless revolution” because in the major shifts of power in world history it occurred without the violence that marked previous changes in who controlled government. While electing a president has caused some consternation over time, the rule of law has been followed rather than having a resort to physical engagement determine the outcome.

While I and others had hoped for a giant blue tsunami wave to occur with the outcome of the 2018 mid-terms elections, a more apt description of the outcome might be that a wave of blue change came upon the land. Leading that change was the first outcome announced by the media with the election of Democrat State Senator Jennifer Wexton to the House of Representatives defeating incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock by a landslide and flipped a district that had been Republican for nearly forty years. Not only did Congresswoman-elect Jennifer Wexton get an overwhelming share of the popular votes, but she assembled an army of volunteers like that seldom seen in elections. She won in the best tradition of the bloodless revolution with volunteers who carried her message door to door.

Downstate in Congressional District Seven an earlier voter revolution had swept the Republican House Majority leader out of office in a primary and replaced him with a true-blue Tea Party candidate. That candidate went on to win the general election only to find himself defeated this year by a first-time Democratic candidate Abigail Spanberger. The incumbent Republican Dave Brat has spent most of the campaign seeming to dodge any engagement with Spanberger who would challenge his right-wing economic theories that had left most people shaking their heads to understand him.

Joining Wexton and Spanberger as winning Democratic candidates was Elaine Luria who won in District Two in the Virginia Beach area against former Navy Seal and incumbent Scott Taylor. In a district that has a strong military presence, Luria was able to flip the district from red to blue.

At the end of the evening of vote counting, Democrats that had been outnumbered in Virginia’s congressional delegation seven to four found themselves in a majority of seven to four. A state that was once considered red has Democrats not only in all of its statewide offices but now as seven of its congressional representatives. A congressional delegation that had only one woman ended with three.

In the Senate, former Governor of Virginia Tim Kaine who represents Virginia along with Senator Mark Warner in the United States Senate easily defeated a strong Trump advocate, Corey Stewart, by landslide numbers. The next step for Democratic gain comes with the state elections in 2019. With the State Senate and the House of Delegates being controlled by a single vote in each, it is reasonable to expect that the blue wave will continue throughout the state.

The shift in power in the U.S. House of Representatives was a bloodless revolution with a major shift in power. Looking ahead, the Senate seats up for election in 2020 could bring the tipping point.

File photo

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Dulles Toll Road Hikes to Start in January

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors voted Wednesday (Nov. 14) to increase rates on the Dulles Toll Road for the first time since 2014.

The hike will raise the toll from $2.50 to $3.25 at the main toll plaza and from $1 to $1.50 on ramps, starting in January. The rate increases are necessary to fund the Silver Line extension project and improvements on the Dulles Toll Road, according to the MWAA.

The decision came “after careful consideration of public input received at the three toll rate public hearings held this summer, the public comments received on-line and the recommendation of the Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee,” said Warner Session, chairman of the Airports Authority Board.

In 2014, an agreement froze increases before tolls rose again to continue funding Silver Line construction. “Under the contract governing construction of the Silver Line, the Airports Authority is required to use revenues from the toll road to help fund the [Silver Line] project,” according to a Nov. 14 MWAA press release, adding that other funding includes Fairfax and Loudoun counties, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Airports Authority and the federal government.

Last month, a federal appeals court in Richmond affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the tolls helping to fund the Silver Line construction.

MWAA held a public hearing in Reston back in July to hear feedback on the proposed rate increases. The Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee reviewed and recommended the rates adopted by MWAA’s Board, according to the press release.

The next expected toll rate increase is planned for 2023.

Photo via MWAA 

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Updated: Winter Weather Advisory for Fairfax County Extended

Local police and law enforcement officials are advising commuters to exercise caution as they head out today. A winter weather advisory, which was initially in effect until 1 p.m. today, has been extended to 4 p.m.

Two roads in Reston, Fox Mill Road at Folkstone Drive and Wiehle Avenue at Inlet Court, which were closed earlier this morning, are now open, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. FCPD is maintaining a list of all closures in the county online.

Here’s more from social media:

This story has been updated.

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Thursday Morning Notes

Schools closed, Fairfax Connector continues normal service — Although Fairfax County Public Schools are closed today due to a wintry mix slowly descending onto the region, the Fairfax County connector will continue normal service today. [Fairfax Connector]

Vote on Reston Association budget expected tonight — The Board of Directors will vote on the final budget for the next year, as well as a planned $11 assessment increase. The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Other items on the budget include an update on the state of the environment in Reston and an executive session to discuss personnel and contractual matters. [Reston Association]

Another vote of note tonight — The Fairfax County Planning Commission is expected to vote on a plan by Woodfield Investments to replace a vacant office building at 1941 Roland Clarke Place with an apartment building. [Fairfax County Government]

A chance for gift giving — The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is seeking donations for its annual Toys for Tots campaign beginning Nov. 19. All county fire stations will accept donations through Dec. 12. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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