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Crime Roundup: Reston Teen Arrested for Fire, Vandalism in Vienna

Vienna and Fairfax County Police arrested a 13-year-old Reston resident and a 14-year-old Vienna resident last Wednesday.

The pair was charged Nov. 28 with a series of crimes, including setting fire to a Vienna restaurant in October.

The boys were charged with both felony and misdemeanor crimes, including arson.

The Oct. 14 fire destroyed most of the building for the Marco Polo Restaurant, which had been vacant. There were no injuries. The site is set for redeveloped as a retail and townhouse complex.

The teens were also charged with the vandalism of several buses in the rear parking lot of the restaurant on Sept. 9.

Police said other charges are also being filed in relation to a Nov. 4 vandalism of two historic government-owned buildings near Lahey Lost Valley Park in Vienna, which caused several thousand dollars in damage.

The pair is being held in the Fairfax County Juvenile Detention Center.

The Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston District Station reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARECENIES:

1700 block of Business Center Drive, watch from location

1100 block of Dranesville Road, ornaments from residence

12800 block of Graypine Place, wallet from location

1700 block of Whitewood Lane, wallet from vehicle

STOLEN VEHICLES:

None reported

Photo via FCPD

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Reston Real Estate: Selling In Reston? Start Now to be Ready for the Spring Market

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

I don’t typically hold to the notion that one time of year is better for selling your home versus another. For as long as I’ve been selling real estate, I have always had at least a couple of transactions around the winter holidays, but conventional wisdom says that there is something magical about spring.

As of this writing there are 87 days until spring. I have two listing appointments this week with sellers that want to go over what they should do to get their property ready for the spring market.

They’ll be surprised when they find there is a long list of “to do’s” to get a house ready for the market.

The first place to start is by cleaning. I don’t the mean the vacuum & dusting kind of cleaning. I mean the scrub the grout with a tooth brush kind of cleaning. I mean you do your best imitation of your crazy Aunt Saddie with the obsessive compulsive cleaning disorder kind of cleaning.

Some clients opt for hiring a cleaning crew; if you’re going to do that you should de-clutter your house before bringing in a cleaning professional. And if your “to do” list includes painting, save the professional cleaning for the last item on your list.

So what does the typical seller “to do” list look like?

  • Reduce contents of all closets by half. Stuffed closets speak to prospective buyers — they say “this house doesn’t have enough storage.” This may not be the case; maybe you’re just really bad about getting rid of the excess we all seem to accumulate.
  • Neutralize your home. Pre-pack most of your personal items like family photos, your ceramic frog collection and other things that can distract buyers from seeing the house.
  • Be prepared to put furniture and other items in storage.
  • 50% of the houses I see prior to listing need to be painted — go neutral.
  • Clean everything — every, nook, cranny, light switch cover, door jamb, door knobs, everything.
  • Do not overlook the utility areas of your home, they should be thoroughly cleaned and organized including the area around the furnace and water heater.

A super clean and orderly home says “I have been well maintained.” A clean house reduces buyer anxiety.

One of the first things I do for clients after signing a listing agreement is to drop off 100 office sized boxes to be used to de-clutter, or as we like to call it, pre-packing.

A home that is free of clutter makes room for the prospective buyer to mentally picture themselves with their own possessions in that home; which in turn helps to move the buyer from thinking to acting…writing a contract.

The more you can do to clean, organize, neutralize, paint and upgrade, the faster your home will go from being on the market to sold.

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County Approves $4 Million Grant for Appian’s Move to Tysons

Cloud computing company Appian Corporation will receive $4 million from Fairfax County for the company’s expansion and new headquarters in Tysons Corner.

The Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors approved the Development Opportunity Fund grant from the Commonwealth at its meeting on Tuesday (Dec. 4).

The funds will pay for the leasing, improvements, equipment and operation of Appian’s Tysons Corner facility (7950 Jones Branch Drive), which is expected to lead to 600 new jobs there.

News of the company’s move from Reston to Tysons first broke in April.

Currently, Appian is headquartered at 11955 Democracy Drive, Suite 1700 in Reston Town Center.

Fairfax County competed with another jurisdiction for the expansion of Appian’s headquarters, according to county documents.

As part of the grant, Fairfax County must provide a local match which will be in the form of the Lincoln Street project, a roadway improvement which is already planned and funded in the county budget. The road improvement was identified by coordinating with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

Additionally, the county will provide an estimated funding of $288,000 from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority will monitor Appian’s performance metrics agreed upon for the grant funding, updating the Office of the County Executive annually on the number of jobs and capital investment achieved during that time.

Photo via Appian/Facebook

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Board of Supervisors Clash Over Community Input for Proposed Zoning Changes

Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors disagreed about community input on contentious proposed zoning changes, before authorizing public hearings early next year on the changes at their meeting today.

The proposal, which would increase the population density in Reston, has sparked a backlash from community groups, including the Reston Association, Coalition for a Planned Reston and Reston 2020.

County planning officials have argued that the change is needed to put into action Reston’s Master Plan, which allows for future growth over the next 40 years.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust vented frustration at the Dec. 4 meeting that Reston residents have not heard back from the county regarding the public hearings for the zoning proposal.

In response to Foust’s concerns, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins said that locals have had plenty of opportunities to get the desired information.

County officials began small workgroup sessions hosted by the Coalition for a Planned Reston, a grassroots organization, and the Reston Association in July to discuss the controversial plan.

“Yes, there are some questions that people have,” Hudgins said. “Those questions have been answered before or are not relevant to this.”

Hudgins stressed that consideration of the proposed zoning changes is moving forward because of the work, including 13 follow up meetings since May and regular meetings with the Reston Association, already done.

Hudgins praised the “noble” staff for answering community questions.

Braddock District Supervisor John Cook said that verbal responses from staff to locals are not enough, adding that the community would benefit from written questions and answers available online.

“I don’t think it’s enough to have oral questions,” Cook said. “Not everyone can get to public meetings.”

Cook added that community input must have limits. “It’s fair to have a cut off date for questions,” he said.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission has 100 days from the referral — the staff report published Dec. 4 — to take action on the zoning proposal. The Board of Supervisors authorized public hearings on the zoning changes for 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 and at 4:30 p.m. on March 5.

“The clock starts today,” Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay said.

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Restonian’s Travel Blog Highlights Big Trips on Cheap Budgets

(Updated 12:20 p.m.) Reston is home for Charles and Julie McCool, but more often than not you’ll find them on the road.

The Reston couple runs the travel blogs McCool Travel and Fun in Fairfax VA. Charles’ blog is dedicated to maximum travel with minimum expenses. Charles currently has 21,594 followers on Twitter, while Julie has 12,057 followers.

Emailing from a chair once occupied by Jimmy Buffet in Pascagoula, Charles shared some travel tips for Restonians hoping to see the world on a shoestring budget.

Charles said he worked in a cubicle office space in downtown Washington D.C. until 2.5 years ago. Since then, Charles says he’s been traveling full-time and working remotely.

“My personal budget was tight so I heavily researched ways to stretch my dollar but optimize my travel opportunities,” said Charles. “This year my wife and I have flown to Copenhagen and Ecuador for free (using credit card points).”

Charles also notes on the blog that links in the articles may be affiliate links which pay a commission, and that the site is an affiliate of Amazon’s advertising program, meaning the site earns advertising fees for links to Amazon.

Recent features on the McCool Travel blog include dining recommendations around Gettysburg and website recommendations to help prepare for trips. Julie McCool’s blog features more local free outings, like Ten Free and Fun things in Washington D.C.

One of Charles’ top recommendations is for travelers to be flexible.

“Being flexible is my number one rule of travel,” said Charles. “When someone locks in the idea of taking a certain trip at a certain time, that inflexibility often leads to higher prices. For instance, going to Disney World in mid-June (after school is out) or the Caribbean for Spring Break; those are peak travel experiences. Being flexible means, in these cases, maybe doing a road trip to US National Parks.”

On some of the more bare-bones trips, Charles says little touches like getting food from grocery stores instead of fine restaurants can help make a difference in the travel budget.

On a post about lodging, Charles recommends looking for house-sitting opportunities, volunteering, or working at a place that offers residence. Charles noted that farms, lighthouses, and resorts can all offer lodging for work in off-seasons.

If you have to pay for lodging, Charles says identifying which locations offer breakfast can help reduce meal costs, and inquiring about a refrigerator to store groceries can reduce that further.

Charles said his next big trip planned won’t be until a June cruise, but he’s looking into bicycling from Houston to Key West in March or April.

“You do not have to invent, or re-invent, the wheel,” said Charles. “No matter where you want to go, and how you want to do it, there is undoubtedly someone who has already done so (and most likely has a travel blog to talk about it). General suggestions include reading various travel blogs and websites (like mine), be involved in Facebook and Twitter discussions, find people doing what you want to do and ask them for advice.”

Photo via Twitter

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Hanukkah Celebrations Planned in Reston and Herndon This Weekend

Two Hanukkah celebrations are planned for Reston and Herndon this weekend.

This year, the Jewish holiday began at sunset on Sunday (Dec. 2) and ends on Monday, Dec. 10.

NextStop Theatre will host “A Kosher Christmas Cabaret” on Saturday (Dec. 8) at 8 p.m.

The website calls the cabaret a “celebration of Jewish culture and the community’s extraordinary resilience, through humor and heart.”

The show features Jordan Friend, Alani Kravitz and Ben Lurye with Elisa Rosman at the piano. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Tree of Life Synagogue community. NextStop Theatre is located at 269 Sunset Park Drive.

A giant menorah lighting and ice skating will take place on Sunday (Dec. 9) at the Reston Town Center. The free event organized by Chabad of Reston-Herndon will include music, donuts, a raffle, dreidels and latkes, starting at 4:30 p.m. While admission is free, ice skating costs $12.

Photo via Chabad of Reston-Herndon

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Music and a coat drive — The Reston Chorale will perform George Frideric Handel’s Messiah tonight at 7:30 p.m. at St. John Neumann Church. Locals are encouraged to bring new or gently used coats or new hats, gloves, scarves or socks, which will fill Cornerstone’s Coat Closet, to receive $5 off of the ticket. [Reston Chorale]

Holiday fire safety PSA — The county’s Fire and Rescue Department has safety tips for open-flame candles for Hanukkah celebrations. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Design Review Board meeting — The Reston Association’s Design Review Board will meet tonight at 7 p.m. to review pending applications. [Reston Association]

 

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