UPDATED: Fairfax County Public Schools Closed Friday

Updated at 6:55 a.m. — FCPS will be closed Friday.

Fairfax County Public Schools announced the closures this morning. School offices and central offices will open two hours late.

Earlier: Fairfax County Public Schools are taking no chances amid forecasts calling for a burst of snow during the Friday morning commute.

FCPS will open two hours late tomorrow, the school system announced Thursday night.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the area.

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM TO 3 PM EST FRIDAY… * WHAT…SNOW IS LIKELY. SNOW ACCUMULATION LESS THAN ONE INCH. THE BEST CHANCE FOR SNOW WILL BE BETWEEN 7 AM AND NOON FRIDAY. * WHERE…THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA. * WHEN…FROM 6 AM TO 3 PM EST FRIDAY. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…WITH SURFACE TEMPERATURES WELL BELOW FREEZING FRIDAY MORNING, EVEN MINOR ACCUMULATIONS OF SNOW COULD CAUSE UNTREATED ROADS TO BECOME ICY. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… DRIVERS SHOULD PREPARE FOR ICY TRAVEL FRIDAY MORNING, AND PLAN FOR EXTRA TIME TO TRAVEL. WHILE IT IS NOT CERTAIN THAT SNOW ACCUMULATION AND ICY TRAVEL WILL DEVELOP AT THIS TIME, THE POTENTIAL THREAT IS THERE. PLAN AHEAD. THE LATEST ROAD CONDITIONS FOR THE STATE YOU ARE CALLING FROM CAN BE OBTAINED BY CALLING 5 1 1. &&

VDOT is asking drivers to proceed with caution Friday morning.

VDOT asks that drivers be alert to potential wintry weather that may impact commutes Friday morning. Light snow and extremely low temperatures may cause icy conditions.

Crews continue working overnight to treat roads for refreeze from earlier this week, and will also be staged tomorrow morning to treat roads for more light snow.

Photo by Twitter user @MrErrett

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Q&A: Cofounder Shares How ‘Electro Fitness’ Studio Debuted in Herndon

Nestled away in Sport and Health at Worldgate Drive is a fitness studio with a surprising twist on exercising: Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS).

Co-founded by Connie and Pedro Ruiz, Personal20 started as an EMS franchise in Portugal before it came to the United States in 2017. The Herndon location at 13037 Worldgate Drive is the only one in the country, although that might change as Connie Ruiz eyes new markets for a possible expansion.

This is how it works: clients don special suits with 10 pairs of electrodes that provide electrical stimulation to the muscles as they work out for 20 minutes. During the sessions, the muscles feel tingly and prickly sensations.

The workouts, which are delivered by certified personal trainers or physiotherapists, are customizable to clients’ goals, ranging from weight loss to minimizing back pain issues. Personal20 claims the technology provides all of the benefits of a 90-minute workout in 20 minutes.

Ruiz told Reston Now that most of the prospective clients find out about Personal20 either through Sport and Health or from current clients. While “Electro Fitness” is a novelty in the U.S., Ruiz said that it has gained popularity in Europe, where professional soccer team athletes and celebrities have brought attention to EMS training.

Reston Now caught up with Ruiz to find out the details behind why “Electro Fitness” landed in Herndon.

Reston Now: Why Herndon?

Connie Ruiz: The demographics supported the brand positioning as a premium service for those with disposable income who are busy working executives and professionals who value exercise but are challenged with time.

RN: How many people can you accommodate now with the two stations per day?

CR: We can service about 28 trainings a day with our two stations. We just now have started considering a third station for the first semester of the year.

RN: Can you describe the very first time you tried electro fitness?

CR: The very first time I tried it was in Europe, after my husband wanted to start the concept however I was initially resistant. When I tried it, I gave up all my other exercise and only did Electro Fitness once a week. After the one month workout (four visits), I was amazed at the results. I got definition in my arms that I never had before and I even lost a couple of pounds.

RN: What’s your favorite part of the training?

CR: The effectiveness in a short time.  I love that I can do a 20-minute workout only twice a week and see body shape change and definition. I can even do one a week for maintenance.

RN: What keeps people coming back?

CR: The common thread that keeps people coming back is the effectiveness of the technology.  It really does deliver all the benefits of a 90-minute workout in only 20 minutes. Also, the clients enjoy the experience as that is what we focus on delivering.

Photos courtesy of Personal20

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Food Truck Vending Zone May Soon Arrive in Herndon Area

Updated at 11:35 a.m. on Feb. 5 — Corrects description of food truck proposal. 

After some success in Tysons, Fairfax County’s “mobile food vending zone” program could soon be expanding to the Herndon area.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on a proposed change to the Fairfax County Code that would allow two new locations for food truck vending at its meeting next Tuesday (Feb. 5).

The Herndon location is on Dulles Technology Drive near the Sunrise Valley Drive just south of the Dulles Toll Road. Another vending zone would be located in the Mount Vernon area.

Food trucks in the vending zones are required to meet the county’s permitting requirements. There is also a special agreement required to set up in the vending zones, which will be marked by signs. The cost to install new signs at both locations is estimated at $400.

Each vendor can only set up for a maximum of four hours any given day at any given location.

According to the agreement, food vending operations are prohibited from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. and before 9 a.m. on Sundays or federal holidays. The vendors are also responsible for making sure the areas around their truck are free of trash.

File photo

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Potential Snow Threatens to Make Roads Icy on Friday Morning

Updated at 3:55 p.m. — NWS issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Fairfax, saying snow accumulation less than 1 inch is likely between 7 a.m. and noon on Friday. From 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow, locals can expect surface temperatures “well below freezing.”

Earlier: The National Weather Service is warning drivers about possible icy roads Friday morning if snow hits Reston and surrounding areas.

NWS issued a Special Weather Statement Thursday afternoon to alert locals of possible snow tomorrow (Feb. 1).

More from the National Weather Service:

POTENTIAL WINTER COMMUTING HAZARD FOR THE BALTIMORE / WASHINGTON METRO AREAS FRIDAY MORNING…

There is a potential for hazardous commuting conditions for the Friday morning commute. A period of snow is POSSIBLE (a 30 percent chance south of Washington D.C. up to a 70 percent chance
in and north of Baltimore) Friday morning across the Baltimore / Washington metro areas. Snow may accumulate up to an inch for metro Washington D.C.. Snow may accumulate around an inch for
Baltimore with 1 to 2 inches possible north of Baltimore.

If this threat does materialize during the Friday morning rush-hour, many untreated roads could quickly turn icy. This could lead to dangerous traveling conditions, multiple accidents, and extensive delays.

If commuting Friday morning, be aware of the POSSIBILITY of significant travel disruptions. Plan ahead by allowing for extra travel time, and consider using public transportation and telework options.

Snow tomorrow would be an early kick-off to the Capital Weather Gang’s predictions that February will have above average snowfall.

Drivers are encouraged to monitor forecasts and plan extra travel time during the morning rush hour.

The Virginia Department of Transportation tweeted that it is watching the weather as well.

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Boston Properties Taps New Leasing Agent as Stores Shutter

Boston Properties, the owners of Reston Town Center, recently tapped Transwestern, a commercial real estate company, to provide leasing services for RTC.

The move comes amidst a flurry of recent business closures, from Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn earlier this month to nine retailers and restaurants last year.

“The new leasing engagement by Boston Properties comes at the same time as a major rebranding initiative at Reston Town Center,” Transwestern announced in a press release today (Jan. 31).

While the controversial paid parking has driven some of the businesses out of RTC, six newcomers are slated to open there later this year, including Peet’s Coffee and DC Row.

“This year will hold exciting changes for Reston Town Center,” Katie Yanushonis, the vice president of leasing at Boston Properties, said in the press release. “Our investment in the branding and placemaking of Reston Town Center will help maintain its place as the leading mixed-use development in the United States.”

Transwestern will be responsible for leasing RTC’s “urban core,” which consists of more than 2.5 million square feet of office space and 450,000 square feet of retail space in the mixed-use development.

“Significant” availabilities are expected in the next few years, partly from Leidos’ consolidation at 1750 Presidents Street, the press release says.

The upcoming Silver Line Metro station in Reston and the neighborhood’s changing shopping and dining scene are also expected to boost RTC’s attraction to employers, Transwestern said.

“Transwestern is honored to have the opportunity to lease the most important urban mixed-use project in all of the Washington region,” Senior Vice President Alex Hancock, who is leading the office leasing team with Executive Vice President Joe Ritchey, said in the press release. “Reston Town Center has always been a location with unparalleled ability to help organizations recruit, retain and maximize the productivity of their world-class workforces.”

Ritchey has worked on Reston Town Center for more than 29 years.

Image via Transwestern Commercial Services 

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Del. Ken Plum: Tax Season is Upon Us

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.

The arrival of W-2 forms in the mail reminds us, even if we may have momentarily tried to forget, that tax season is upon us. This is no ordinary tax year, however. Massive changes in federal tax laws will result in significant changes at the state level as well. No one can speak with authority as to what the differences will be for an individual taxpayer as the General Assembly has not revised state tax law to reflect the federal changes.

The situation we are in is not new. Anytime the Congress makes changes in federal tax policy, the state must adjust to those changes and decide whether to adopt the federal policy or to put in new state provisions. As a conformity state, Virginia has generally followed federal policy allowing taxpayers to file state returns using the information on their federal form.

The difference this year is that the federal changes are so massive that conformity is not realistic without major changes in the way state forms are filed. Adding to the fact that the forms may be different is that there are major differences between the way deductions and credits have been handled and what will constitute taxable income. High-income taxpayers that were the winners with the federal changes could significantly reduce monies to a state that is already struggling to meet its obligations to funding schools, mental health programs and other priorities.

Essentially, Gov. Ralph Northam proposed that additional revenues be used for investments in education, workforce development, expanded broadband and targeted tax relief to those who work at the lowest wages. Republicans have proposed a plan to return more monies to taxpayers, but there is strong concern that the Republican plan will make big dents in the state budget.

All agree that a decision needs to be reached soon for taxpayers to file their tax forms as soon as possible and as accurately as possible. In past years as many as 650,000 taxpayers have filed in the first 10 days of February.

I am the patron of a bill supported by Northam that would make a portion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refundable to taxpayers based on their income and family size. The current Virginia EITC set at 20 percent of the federal EITC does not allow for a refund of its full value as is done in 23 other states. Under the bill I introduced, it is estimated that as much as $250 million would be returned to the pockets of hard-working Virginians who are at the lowest pay levels. This helps not only those workers, but — since low-income residents typically spend that money on goods and services — it boosts the local economy as well.

There is a sense of urgency in the General Assembly that this issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible, because it impacts every household. Not only is there a great deal of confusion, but that confusion will be multiplied many times as people start to prepare their returns with incomplete directions. The challenge has been known for several months. Tax season is upon us. Our tax policy needs to be resolved now.

File photo

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Capitol Steps Fundraiser Nets $400,000 for Embry Rucker Community Shelter

The 36th annual Capitol Steps fundraiser performance on Sunday (Jan. 27) raised nearly $400,000 for Cornerstones to help families in the Embry Rucker Community Shelter.

The D.C.-based political satire group is known for mocking both sides of the aisle in songs and comedy skits. A sold-out crowd of 700 attendees came to this year’s annual benefit show at the Hyatt Regency Reston.

“Even though we live in one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, more than 1,000 men, woman and children — 30 percent of whom are children — are homeless in this community,” Jeff Detwiler, the president and chief executive officer of Long and Foster, said before Capitol Steps performed. “We believe that supporting Cornerstones in its mission makes us as a community stronger.”

Bob Van Hoecke, co-chair of the event, noted that some attendees may be experiencing stress from the longest partial federal government shutdown, which ended days before the performance. “Cornerstones is here for anyone in our community in need because of the funds we are able to raise tonight and throughout the year.”

Del. Ken Plum rallied the crowd for the annual “Empty the Shelter” Paddle Auction and then thanked them after they raised $100,000 for Cornerstones’ rapid re-housing programs.

At the end of the night, a total of $412,557 had been raised for the cause, according to information provided by Cornerstones — a sizable increase from recent years. (The annual benefit performance raised roughly $340,000 in 2018 and almost $300,000 in 2017.)

Photos by Chip McCrea Photography

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Thursday Morning Notes

Last day for MLK art exhibit — An art exhibit at RCC Hunters Woods that was created by Reston elementary school students for MLK Day is set to close today. [Reston Community Center]

Dollars and Sense — The free monthly group at Reston Regional Library focuses on business leaders and markets. Tonight’s 7 p.m. discussion will be about Tony Robbins’ “Unshakeable.” [Fairfax County]

Silver Line suit ends with $1 million settlement — “A contractor will pay $1 million to settle a civil case that it falsified test results for concrete panels it built for Phase 2 of the Silver Line Metro extension, the Justice Department announced Monday.” [The Washington Post]

Acquisition for Herndon business —  Herndon-based ePlus Technology, a provider of technology consulting services, recently acquired Virginia Beach-based IT consulting firm SLAIT Consulting. The acquisition is expected to help ePlus expand. [Virginia Business]

“Wicked Fairfax County” — Head to Scrawl Books for storytime and trivia at 7 p.m. from the author of “Wicked Fairfax County.” [Scrawl Books]

Photo via Marjorie Copson

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Two People Treated for Inhaling Smoke From Herndon House Fire This Morning

Two people are being treated for smoke inhalation after the Herndon house they were inside of caught on fire early this morning (Jan. 31).

Crews arrived at the house in the 12100 block of Westwood Hills Drive around 6:38 a.m., Fairfax County Fire and Rescue tweeted.

About two hours later, firefighters had the fire under control.

The three occupants in the home at the time of the fire were able to self-evacuate, according to the fire department. “Two transported for smoke inhalation,” the tweet said.

Photos via Google Maps and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Twitter

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Fairfax County Public Schools to Open Two Hours Late Tomorrow

Fairfax County public schools will open two hours late tomorrow (Jan. 31).

FCPS tweeted that tomorrow’s scheduled delay is due to dangerously cold conditions and the potential for icy spots. The county has been hit with snow, rain and gusty winds, this week, causing issues on local roads.

School offices and central offices will open on time tomorrow.

File photo

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More Icy Roads Possible as ‘Flash Freeze’ Hits Fairfax

Updated at 4:55 p.m. — NWS canceled the Wind Advisory that was set to last until 6 p.m.

Earlier: Locals should stay bundled up and cautious of icy roads as fast, freezing winds hit Reston and surrounding areas.

The National Weather Service issued a Special Weather Statement about a potential “flash freeze” and “intense snow” for this afternoon.

Untreated, wet roads and surfaces may become icy and create hazardous conditions for driving and walking.

More from the NWS:

FLASH FREEZE POTENTIAL THIS AFTERNOON FOR UNTREATED ROADS…

At 100 PM EST, an arctic front was crossing the region. The front will cross the Baltimore and Washington metro areas during the early and middle afternoon hours.

Temperatures behind the front will quickly drop about 10 degrees in less than 30 minutes and potentially cause a flash freeze of any untreated wet roads and surfaces such as roads, sidewalks, and
parking lots, causing treacherous travel or walking conditions.

Along the front a quick burst of intense snow is also likely. A quick snow accumulation of less than one inch is possible, mainly on grassy surfaces as road temperatures ahead of the front are
above freezing. Winds will gust up to 50 mph.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

Sharply colder temperatures following the snow may cause any water or slush to freeze on untreated roads and sidewalks. Reduced speeds and distance between vehicles is advised.

Be prepared for areas of blowing snow. This could lead to temporary very low visibilities and the potential for dangerous driving conditions. If you are traveling and encounter adverse
winter driving conditions, reduce speed and make sure headlights are on. Also be alert for icy areas after the front passes and temperatures fall.

Wind Advisory is also in effect until 6 p.m. tonight, along with a Wind Chill Advisory, which will last until 10 a.m. tomorrow (Jan. 31).

It’s important to stay warm as the temperature plummet.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue has tips for how to dress for the cold, including how to layer clothing appropriately. “Not dressing appropriately and staying outside too long in cold temperatures could lead to serious cold-related illness and injury such as hypothermia or frostbite,” the post says.

Animals also need to stay warm. Fairfax County tweeted a reminder to pet owners to bring their furry friends inside and provide adequate shelter to keep them warm.

File photo

This story has been updated

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‚ÄėDiva Central Accessory Drive‚Äô Kicks Off Ahead of Prom Season

As teens start picking out their dresses as prom season approaches, they’ll need to start thinking about accessories too.

Instead of asking for dress donations, the Reston Community Center wants people to drop off accessories for the “Diva Central Accessory Drive.”

The annual drive has amassed so many dresses in recent years that RCC says it doesn’t need to collect them for this upcoming Diva Central event.

Starting Friday (Feb. 1), locals can make tax-deductible donations by dropping off items at RCC Hunters Woods or RCC Lake Anne from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Mondays to Saturdays or from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.

Shoes, jewelry, handbags, shawls, scarves and other accessories are all desired for RCC’s prom and middle school formal dress giveaway.

The drive runs until Feb. 28.

Photo via Reston Community Center

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Pet of the Week: Olaf

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Olaf, who is an adult male Great Pyrenees available for adoption locally.

Here’s what his friends at Safe Haven Puppy Rescue have to say about him:

Gorgeous 2 year old Great Pyrenees with that all around magnetic personality. He is just a bundle of joy to be around.

For a pyr, he is on the smaller side — he is about 80 lbs. Olaf is fully vetted, including his microchip, vaccinations, neutered and dewormed.

Olaf prefers dogs his size but is also dog selective, and finds cats to be too tempting. So he will need a home with no smaller dogs or kitties for sure.

Are you and Olaf a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Reston Association Elections Committee Unveils Five Candidates

The Reston Association announced yesterday (Jan. 29) the five candidates certified by the Elections Committee to run for the open seats on RA’s Board of Directors.

The five seats up for election this year are uncontested. At least 10 percent of eligible voters are needed to make the results official.

Three candidates are incumbents. They are:

  • Catherine Baum for a one-year term as the Apartment Owners Representative
  • Caren Anton for a one-year term as the Hunters Woods/Dogwood Representative
  • John Mooney for a three-year term as the North Point Representative

Tom Mulkerin, a residential real estate agent, is running for a three-year-term At-Large seat. Mulkerin has served on the board of the Lakewinds II Cluster Association, according to his election statement of candidacy.

Aaron Webb, who has served on the board of the Lakeside Cluster, is running for a three-year term for the Lake Anne/Tall Oaks Representative, which is currently filled by Sherri Herbert.

Herbert said at the Board of Directors meeting last Thursday (Jan. 24 ) that she will not seek re-election.

Association members will receive ballots before the voting period begins. Voting starts March 4 and ends April 1.

The election results will be announced at the Annual Members’ Meeting in April.

Images via Reston Association/YouTube

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