Hunter Mill School Board Rep Won’t Seek Reelection

Hunter Mill District Representative Pat Hynes announced today (Jan. 9) that she won’t seek reelection to the Fairfax County School Board.

Hynes has been a member of the 12-member board for the last seven years. Previously, she was an elementary school teacher in the county’s public schools from 2002 to 2011 and has worked as a lawyer with Simpson, Thacher and Bartlett in New York City and community organizer, according to her bio.

The announcement arrived in her newsletter. In one section, she wrote:

As you may know, my current term as your school board member expires at the end of 2019. It has been the privilege of a lifetime to represent the welcoming, resilient, creative people of Hunter Mill for the last seven years. But I’ve decided not to seek reelection after this term. My first calling is the classroom and I’ve been teaching full time in Arlington these last two years. (The law does not allow me to serve on the board and teach in FCPS at the same time.) I was hopeful that I might be able to balance the time commitments of both jobs, but it really is not reasonable and I find myself stretched too thin too often. I look forward to the next year of work and progress on your behalf, but I also think it’s time for someone else to step up. I’m sure we will all be engaged in the November election and I have no doubt Hunter Mill will choose an excellent new school board member.

Her term expires at the end of 2019.

Until then, she outlined in her newsletter several school board issues on her radar, including climate change and equity.

With Virginia’s General Assembly starting today, Hynes said “we are fortunate here in Hunter Mill to have state representatives who fight for public education and other critical needs of families and communities.”

File photo

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VDOT Moves to Crack Down on Thomas Avenue Cut-Through Traffic

Thomas Avenue’s days as a conduit for cut-through traffic trying to get to Route 7 might be numbered.

At a meeting next Wednesday (Jan. 16) at Dranesville Elementary School, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will host a meeting about plans to limit cut-through traffic at the congested street north of Herndon.

Currently, the narrow residential street is clogged with traffic during rush hour trying to get around congestion on Algonkian Parkway to Route 7.

At the meeting, VDOT will present potential solutions and gather feedback from locals. Proposals include restricting right turns during weekday peak morning traffic.

The meeting will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with the presentation beginning at 7 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, a meeting will be held the following Tuesday.

The public comment period will run until Jan. 28.

Photo via Google Maps

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Four Businesses Left Woodland Park Crossing in Herndon Last Year

Updated at 9:45 a.m. — Includes information from Starbucks and Virginia ABC.

Four businesses closed up shop in Woodland Park Crossing in Herndon last year, adding to its list of retail vacancies.

The mixed-use development, which includes a Harris Teeter and UFC Gym, currently has nine vacant retail spaces, according to a list from Rosenthal Properties.

Marion Myers, a spokeswoman for Rosenthal Properties, told Reston Now that some of the closures were not surprising. “It’s normal in the retail cycle when leases come up for renewal for there to be churn,” she said.

While the development saw several closures in 2018, it has upgrades in store for this year.

“We are working to improve the customer experience at Woodland Park Crossing,” according to Rosenthal Properties, adding that upgrades include LED lighting along with more parking and a new green space that will get added in the first quarter of 2019.

The Starbucks closed last year at 2309 Woodland Crossing Drive, which Myers said was a part of Starbucks’ larger plan to shutter 150 stores in fiscal year 2019.

A spokeswoman for Starbucks told Reston Now that the Woodland Park Crossing location, which closed on Nov. 30, was “special to our customers and our partners.” Now, those customers can go to the nearby store at 2465 Centreville Road, and the partners have been relocated to other nearby stores, she wrote in an email.

“As part of Starbucks standard course of business, we continually evaluate our business to ensure a healthy store portfolio,” the spokeswoman said. “After careful consideration, we determined it was best to close the store at [Woodland Crossing Drive].” She added that Starbucks expects to grow its store numbers by 3 to 4 percent in the U.S. at a rate of 550 new stores per year.

Cleaners located at 2310 Woodland Crossing Drive, Suite 1 closed at some point last summer, according to employees at businesses near the former cleaners.

Next Day Blinds at (2976 Highland Crossing Drive, Suite A) closed its doors on Nov. 21 and now services Herndon customers out of the Sterling, Va. location, according to its website.

“We are still here for you, for life. We look forward to seeing you in Sterling,” the website says.

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority relocated its store at 12950 Highland Crossing Drive, Suite B to the Village Center at Dulles (2435 Centreville Road) on Aug. 22, Dawn Eischen, a spokeswoman for the Virginia ABC Authority, told Reston Now. “We chose the new location because of potential profitability and better parking,” she wrote in an email.

Next to the parking lot, an existing building that used to house a Capital One bank branch that closed in 2016 is currently getting torn down, Myers said. The demolition started last fall and is slated to wrap up this quarter, she said.

Between 1,135-square-foot to 6,512-sqaure-foot retail spaces are cuurently available for lease, along with 2,589-square-foot and 4,641-square-foot office/retail spaces.

“We are currently looking for the right mix of retail and restaurants and feel it’s worth being strategic, even if it takes some time,” according to the commercial real estate company. “There are new leases in the pipeline, but they cannot be discussed until finalized.”

Image and map via Rosenthal Properties

This story has been updated

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Pet of the Week: Oakley

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Oakley, a labrador retriever available for adoption locally.

Here is what her friends at Safe Haven Puppy Rescue have to say about her:

Ms. Oakley is a gorgeous Labrador retriever who is very affectionate and gets along great with others.

She is approximately 60 pounds and about 2.5 years old.

She is sure to make a great addition to any family with her classic Labrador personality.

Are you and Oakley 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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Del. Jennifer Boysko’s State Senate Win Opens Up 86th District Seat

The Virginia House of Delegates has an opening for a seat that represents Herndon.

Del. Jennifer Boysko, a Democrat currently representing the 86th District, won the special election yesterday (Jan. 8) to take over the 33rd District seat in the State Senate vacated by Jennifer Wexton when she became a Congresswoman.

Boysko won with just under 70 percent of the vote, while her opponent, Republican Joe May, received about 30 percent. With Boysko moving to the State Senate, voters will get choose who will fill her district seat, which includes Herndon.

Several Democratic candidates announced they will vie for the seat, including:

The Democratic candidates will vie for the spot at the primary on Saturday (Jan. 12).

Herndon residents who are registered voters in the 86th District can vote between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Dranesville Elementary School (1515 Powells Tavern Place).

File photo

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Del. Ken Plum: Time for Further Evolution in Virginia

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 Virginia General Assembly will convene for its annual session at noon today. The opening session will no doubt note that a form of representative government first met at the church at Jamestown 400 years ago. I am honored to have served nearly 10 percent of the span of existence of the Assembly.

The events of 400 years ago are being observed through a coordinating body, American Evolution, that in its publicity states that “1619 was a pivotal year in the establishment of the first permanent English colony in North America. It was the year of the first representative legislative assembly in the New World, the arrival of the first recorded Africans to English North America, the recruitment of English women in significant numbers, the first official English Thanksgiving in North America, and the development of the Virginia colony’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit.”

I encourage constituents to participate in the events of the year for I believe they form an excellent starting point for an understanding of where Virginia is today and most importantly where Virginia is headed.

Some historians and public relations experts would proclaim what happened in Virginia in 1619 as the birth of democracy in America. Certainly, it was a small step, but that was 400 years ago. It is time to take another step in our evolution to a more democratic phase in our government. Namely, it is time for the people of Virginia to pick their legislative representatives rather than their representatives picking them. I am referring to the process of redistricting legislative boundaries after the federal census that is often referred to as “gerrymandering.”

In 1982 I introduced what I believe to be the first bill in Virginia to create a nonpartisan and independent legislative redistricting commission. The Democrats who overwhelmingly controlled the General Assembly at the time dismissed the idea for they were firmly in control. When the Republicans took the majority in the General Assembly years later, they also rejected my proposal because they were now in control.

I am pleased with the growth of awareness on the part of the public that the current partisan-controlled system of dividing up the population into legislative districts serves the legislators’ interests instead of their constituents and the issues important to them.

The General Assembly must act in this session to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot in time for a commission to be organized to do redistricting after the 2020 census. Thanks to all associated with OneVirginia 2021 for the advocacy they are doing to bring about this evolution of democracy in the Commonwealth.

Plan to visit the General Assembly during this session that runs five days a week through Feb. 22. All committee meetings are open to the public. Legislator offices are just across Bank Street from the Capitol, and I am always pleased to see constituents. Let’s make sure that when the history of the 2019 session is written that a major step in representative government will have taken place.

File photo

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Herndon High School on Track with Renovations Set for Fall Debut

The Herndon High School is on track with its renovations as the school works to have new additions open by the time the 2019-2020 school year kicks off.

Assistant Principal Jim Hannon told Reston Now that the school plans on having the north addition ready for students and staff for the start of the new school year in the fall.

The 74,000-sqaure-foot addition will house the science and world languages departments, along with new classroom space for the mathematics, computer science, career and technical education and English as a second language (ESOL) programs.

Meanwhile the front addition will have the main office and Student Services Office on the main level with a new 18,000-square-foot library on the second floor, he said. That addition is also slated to be ready for the start of the 2019 school year.

“We are very excited about the pace of work, the progress and the coordination between Fairfax County Public Schools Design and Construction, Hughes Group Architects and the general contractor — Grunley Corp.,”  Hannon wrote in an email.

The rest of the project includes renovating locker rooms, art rooms, the gym, music rooms, the cafeteria, the stadium press box and tennis courts. 

This is the school’s first renovation since 1991.

By the 2022-2023 school year, more than 100,000 square feet of space will have been added to the school.

Photos via Jim Hannon

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Fine arts photography collection closes — The “La Lumiere DuBois VII” exhibit by Michael DuBois, who highlights his love of nature, closes today at the Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. [Reston Community Center]

Swearing-in ceremony — The Herndon’s mayor and Town Council will be sworn in tonight at 7 p.m. at the Herndon Municipal Center Lobby. [Herndon Connection]

Former county attorney and RA Board of Directors member died — David Bobzien, who was the Fairfax County attorney for 23 years and a member of the Reston Association Board of Directors, died on Dec. 30 at The Johns Hopkins Hospital after battling leukemia. A memorial mass will be held on Feb. 8. starting at 10 a.m. at St. John Neumann Catholic Community. [Adams-Green Funeral Homes and Crematory]

Reston loses conference due to government shutdown — The Institute of Navigation has decided to postpone the Cognizant Autonomous Systems for Safety Critical Applications Conference originally scheduled to take place Jan. 28-29 in Reston because of the partial federal government shutdown, which impacted some of the speakers and attendees. The conference has been rescheduled for Sept. 16-17 in Miami. [GPS World]

Photo via Matt Paulson/Instagram

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