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Poll: Are You Affected by the Government Shutdown?

The partial federal government shutdown is nearing the two-week mark with no immediate end in sight.

Parts of the federal government shut down on Saturday, Dec. 22, after Congress and the White House failed to reach a spending deal. It remains unclear if or when the White House and congressional Democrats could negotiate a deal as President Donald Trump keeps a firm stand for $5 billion to pay for a border wall.

Yesterday (Jan. 2), Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo closed, joining National Parks around the country, according to news reports. Even though people got very concerned very quickly after the zoo’s beloved live “panda cam” went dark, the pandas and other animals will continue to get fed.

One place not affected by the shutdown — the Newseum — is offering federal workers who show their badge free admission.

Trump’s third government shutdown is impacting locals and visitors in the Washington, D.C.-area from furloughed federal workers to surprised tourists. (The longest government shutdown was 21 days during Bill Clinton’s presidency, in case you were curious.)

Now, on day 13, let us know if your work or D.C. plans have been affected by the shutdown.

File photo

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Reston Real Estate: Just Listed

justlistednew

This is a sponsored post by Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate.

In my last post about the year in real estate I talked about how the low housing inventory didn’t seem to be driving buyer panic or seller over-confidence.

The market behavior is balanced but very active. As one would expect in this post-holiday week there are very few new listings and only 106 active properties on the market.

What I think is interesting is that 55 properties went into Pending status over the past 30 days and more than half of those did so in the last two weeks!

There are buyers out there looking, so if you’re thinking of selling it might be a good time to clean out the closets and call your agent.

Here are a few of the new listing this week:

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School CIP Leaves New High School and Additions Unfunded

The Fairfax County Public School’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), scheduled for review later this month, still leaves a planned nearby high school unfunded as local crowding increases.

The new high school is planned for somewhere along the Dulles Suburban Corridor to take students coming up through McNair, Coates and Hutchison elementary schools.

The high school’s location has not been selected yet, and school officials at prior meetings said they are relying on proffers from developers and negotiations with applicants to see if land for a new high school can be provided.

While South Lakes High School sits at 92 percent capacity, the surrounding Herndon, Madison and Oakton high schools all exceed 100 percent capacity. The CIP’s school capacity chart for the 2018-2019 school year shows Oakton High School at 131 percent capacity. The school year 2023-24 projections show South Lakes High School’s capacity increasing from 92 percent to 97 percent.

The CIP also notes that capacity enhancement additions will be needed at Madison High School to accommodate for the forecasted capacity needs, though those additions remain unfunded.

The high school planned for the western party of the county to relieve schools around Oakton and Herndon is not the only new school lacking funds. A new elementary school along the Metro’s Silver Line also remains unfunded.

As plans move along for greater levels of residential density in Reston, local residents expressed concerns at meetings last year that FCPS is waiting until new development starts to overcrowd the schools before taking action to address capacity. School officials stated that the new developments are not anticipated to bring in high numbers of new students.

A public hearing for the CIP will be held next Tuesday (Jan. 8) before a final decision, which is scheduled for Jan. 24.

Photo via FCPS

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RCC Adds Civil Rights Activist to Martin Luther King Jr. Event Lineup

Activist and author DeRay Mckesson will deliver the keynote address at the 34th annual Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday celebration.

The Reston Community Center recently added the civil rights activist to its lineup for the three-day event, which takes place from Jan. 19 to Jan. 21.

Mckesson is an organizer, activist and author of “On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope,” which debuted in September. He has focused on confronting the systems and structures behind mass incarceration and police killings of black and other minority populations, according to his bio.

He will deliver this year’s keynote address at noon on Jan. 21 at RCC Hunters Woods. Afterward, attendees can enjoy a family-style community lunch in RCC’s Community Room. Following the lunch, Mckesson will sign copies of his book, which will be available for purchase.

RCC’s Executive Director Leila Gordon said Mckesson’s own experiences will inspire his call for others to tackle issues “with integrity, commitment and awareness.”

“DeRay Mckesson speaks with urgency and the poignancy of his own lived experience,” Gordon said in a press release “He is among the new wave of leaders emerging to tackle the persistent issues of injustice, inequity and racial disharmony that infect and poison the American experience.”

Tickets for the lunch and keynote address cost $5 for Reston residents and employees.

Photo via Spitz

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Del. Ken Plum: Politics and Policies in 2019

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.

Four hundred years ago colonists representing each of the 20 or so plantations in Virginia met together in the church at Jamestown Island to take care of the business of the new colony. The upcoming meeting of the General Assembly which will convene in the Jefferson-designed Capitol in Richmond at noon on Jan. 9 is likely to be historic as well with the enormity of the issues before it. These issues will be taken up in view of the election in November of this year when all members of the House of Delegates and State Senate will be on the ballot.

Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment illustrates what I mean. For 40 years, the Virginia General Assembly has refused to pass a resolution supporting the ERA. This year is different in that Virginia would be the 38th state to ratify the amendment and barring court challenges would be the final state needed for making the ERA a part of the Constitution. Some public opinion polls show popular support of the amendment as high as 80 percent, and supporters of the amendment have never been better organized. A large demonstration of supporters has been planned for the opening day of the session.

A recent story posted on www.fauquier.com about three delegates who spoke before the Fauquier Chamber of Commerce about the issues in the upcoming session illustrates the challenges facing the legislature. The story reported the ERA score as “one for, one against, and one undecided.” The one against is Del. Mark Cole who chairs the Privileges and Elections Committee to which the bill has been assigned and which has defeated or refused to hear the resolution in past legislative sessions. There is little surprise that Cole, who is one of the most conservative members of the House, would continue his opposition. Whether he can refuse to have the resolution taken up to keep vulnerable delegates from having to vote on it will be part of the drama of the session.

Supporting passage of the ERA is Del. Elizabeth Guzman who is in her first term and who was part of the defeat of 15 Republicans in the last election. She has shown herself to be a progressive and effective leader who will not allow opponents a way to duck the issue.

Attempting to stand in the middle as undecided is Del. Michael Webert who in the past would have been counted as an opponent. The report says, “he needs to study the proposed ratifying legislation.” More likely is that he needs to study the changing demographics of his district to see if he could be re-elected after voting against the ERA. Webert also has a record of helping defeat commonsense bills to prevent gun violence as part of a subcommittee that defeats all such bills. He will need to explain his votes to the new constituents in his changing district.

All 140 members of the legislature will be measuring their re-election prospects after voting on the ERA. Constituents need to continue to let legislators know their support of the ERA. As for me, I will be supporting the ERA as I always have in the past.

File photo

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Police Searching for Suspects in Robbery on New Year’s Day

Police are looking for two men in connection with a robbery that occurred on New Year’s Day.

Around 1:30 p.m., two men began fighting with a food delivery driver who was delivering an order to an apartment at the 11600 block of Stoneview Square, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

The food delivery driver stopped fighting when one of the men displayed a knife, according to the report. The two men then went through his pockets and took an undisclosed amount of cash.

“The men were described as possibly black or Hispanic, in their early 20s, wearing all dark clothing,” according to the report.

The food delivery driver was not injured, police say.

Image via Google Maps

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Thursday Morning Notes

Christmas tree disposal — Still haven’t gotten rid of your tree yet? Trees less than 8 feet can be collected outside of single-family and townhouse communities for the first two weeks in January for recycling. [Fairfax County]

Spoof musical comedy opens today — The curtain will rise tonight for NextStop Theatre Company’s “[title of show],” a musical about four friends writing a musical about four friends writing a musical. Intrigued? Tickets start at $40 for the 8 p.m. performance in Herndon. [NextStop Theatre Company]

Scandal with the synagogue — Administrators deny allegations by families saying that the Congregation Beth Emeth in Herndon ignored their son’s reports of bullying and ousted them as an act of retaliation for publicly criticizing the congregation. The synagogue’s board of directors voted revoked their membership in November after an alleged confrontation that they claim occurred at the synagogue with another parent and congregant. [Fairfax County Times]

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