Weekend Discussion Topics

Before we head off into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. Sprouts Farmers Market to Bring 140 Jobs to Herndon This Year
  2. Elden Corner Center in Herndon Nears Final Construction in February
  3. Four Businesses Left Woodland Park Crossing in Herndon Last Year
  4. Langston Hughes Middle School Begins Renovations, Expansion
  5. Fundraising Starts for Family of Killed South Lakes HS Teen

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

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Uncle Julio’s Fights Paid Parking with Suit Against Boston Properties

Another Reston Town Center restaurant is joining the fight against paid parking just months after the settlement of the first lawsuit challenging Boston Properties’ controversial parking system.

Uncle Julio’s filed a suit against Boston Properties and several affiliated limited liability companies for at least $5 million over the paid parking, the Washington Business Journal reported today (Jan. 11).

The Tex-Mex restaurant at 1827 Library Street claims in the suit that it has lost approximately $1 million in sales annually since paid parking was implemented in January 2017, according to the article.

Uncle Julio’s is suing RTC’s owners on several counts, including breach of contract and conspiracy, according to the story. Boston Properties has not yet responded to the lawsuit, which was filed on Dec. 21 in Fairfax County Circuit Court.

Nearly two months ago, Boston Properties and Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge settled a dispute over the developer’s paid parking system. Jackson’s filed its suit, which also alleged breach of contract, in March 2017, Reston Now previously reported

Boston Properties continues to face an uproar from many local businesses and residents. In 2018, nine businesses closed at RTC, with several owners and employees telling Reston Now that the paid parking drove customers away.

In December alone, two restaurants — Hen Penny and Obi Sushi — left.

This year doesn’t look any better. Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn, which are both operated by Williams-Sonoma Inc, are set to close at RTC later this month.

Image via Google Maps

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Reston Then and Now: South Lakes

This week on Then and Now, we’re going back to our roots as seeing how Reston’s iconic lakes have changed over the years. With help from Fairfax County’s Historic Imagery Viewer, which offers aerial views of the county dating back to 1937, Reston Now has put together a review of how the area around Lake Thoreau and Lake Audubon has evolved since the lake’s creation.

Like Lake Anne, there was no “South Lakes” in photography from 1960. Reston as a planned community was founded in 1964. Before that, much of what is the South Lakes were forests with a few cut-through roads. Interestingly, where Lake Audubon would be built later there was a large pond.

Lake Thoreau and Lake Audubon were built as reservoirs collecting the runoff created by the rapid urbanization nearby. Lake Thoreau was built in 1970 and Lake Audubon was built in 1971, though from the aerial photography there wasn’t much of a “lake” about Audubon until the late 1980s.

One of the earliest large scale developments in the area was the South Lakes High School, which opened in 1978 on 600 acres of land with an “open classroom” design.

The school was not broken into individual classrooms, a plan teachers and students discovered early on was ineffective and distracting. They wound up building temporary barriers until more permanent ones built in 2006 killed the open classroom idea for good.

Langston Hughes Middle School was originally an intermediate school for South Lakes High School, but in 1980 it was officially renamed the Langston Hughes Intermediate School, then Langston Hughes Middle School in the early 1990s.

By 1980, new residential developments had sprung up along the northern and southern edges of Lake Thoreau.

In 1984, the South Lakes Shopping Center opened, marking the last major shift in the area, though the design of that area could be undergoing some visible changes.

Between 1990 and 2017, most of the changes to the area involved the filling in of residential developments in the vicinity of the lake. In 2006, South Lakes High School also expanded and the aforementioned open-space classroom model was eliminated.

If you enjoyed this piece, check out our Then and Now coverage of:

If there are any places in Reston you would like to see covered as a Then and Now feature, let us know in the comments.

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Updated: Fairfax County Braces for First Snow of 2019 This Weekend

Updated at 4:45 p.m. — Includes information from Fairfax County Public Schools.

Fairfax County is reminding locals of winter safety tips as the first snowfall of the year is anticipated to appear this weekend.

The National Weather Service forecast expects 3 to 4 inches, with snow moving into the area most likely after 1 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 12) afternoon. By nightfall, about half of an inch will probably be on the ground, a Fairfax County Emergency Information post says.

Locals can expect temperatures tomorrow in the low to mid-30s with calm winds. Overnight, a steadier snowfall is expected to bring another 2 to 4 inches with temperatures in the upper 20s with a light wind of 5 miles per hour.

On Sunday (Jan. 13), snow should continue and then taper off by around 1 p.m. with temperatures in the low to mid-30s again. Winds may reach 5 to 8 mph. Additional snow showers on Sunday evening may occur, but aren’t expected to add to the accumulation.

In a video posted today (Jan. 11), Courtney Arroyo from the county’s Emergency Management Office urges residents to prepare by imagining the worst case scenario.

Her advice includes:

  • making a communications plan including out of town contacts
  • having alternative plans for work, daycare and elder care
  • stocking up on items to survive at home for up to 72 hours, including nonperishable food, water, medications and any supplies for pets and children
  • staying off of the roads

“Don’t get blindsided,” she says.

Meanwhile, Fairfax County Public Schools tweeted that all activities scheduled in Fairfax County public schools and school grounds are canceled beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday and all day Sunday.

Photo via Charlotte Geary

This story has been updated

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Performance Bicycle Shop to Close in Plaza America Shopping Center

Performance Bicycle Shop is closing at 11634 Plaza America Drive in the Plaza America Shopping Center.

The Reston location’s plans to shut down comes nearly two months after its parent company filed for bankruptcy in November.

An employee at the store was not able to share any information about the closing date. The store currently has sales with 30 to 50 percent off items.

Performance Bicycle Shop started as a bicycle catalog company in 1982. Currently, the national chain sells bikes, bike gear, accessories and cycling apparel in more than 20 states across the country.

Image via Google Maps

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Reston Community Players Present ‘Superior Donuts’ Next Week

The curtain rises on Reston Community Players’ production of “Superior Donuts” next week.

The comedy kicks off Reston Community Players’ first show of the year by taking audiences on a visit to a small donut shop in Chicago’s historic and diverse Uptown neighborhood.

What’s the show about? Reston Community Players gave this plot description:

Arthur Przybyszewski (Michael Kharfen), a burnt-out hippie owner of a fading Chicago donut shop, has lost interest in life because of guilt over avoiding military service and a failed marriage. When a charismatic young African-American man named Franco Wicks (Bryce Monroe) talks his way into a job, Arthur begins to recover his spark. He encourages Franco’s goal of publishing the next Great American novel. When the would-be novelist’s past catches up with him, Arthur finds more than his livelihood may be in danger. A comedy-drama from the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Letts of “August: Osage County,” “Superior Donuts” explores the challenges of accepting the past and the redemptive power of friendship.

Director Seth Ghitelman said he wants people to come away from the show with a better understanding of what it means to be a friend and to be an American.

“On the surface, it’s a funny play about a rundown donut shop in Chicago and the characters that pass through, but on a deeper level, it speaks about the people in a community that is going through changes,” he said.

Ghitelman says the play embodies the American Dream and the American experience. “We share a common dream that success is available to everyone, and I think it is the right time to remember what we Americans share in common and embrace, not repulse, the diversity of our people,” Ghitelman said.

The full cast is the following:

  • Tel Monks as Max Tarasov
  • Mattie Cohan as Officer Randy Osteen
  • Matthew McCarthy as Officer James Bailey
  • Sally Cusenza as Lady Boyle
  • Michael Kharfen as Arthur Przybyszewski
  • Bryce Monroe as Franco Wicks
  • Ian Brown as Luther Flynn
  • Michael King as Kevin Magee
  • Tice Rust as Kiril Ivankin

Performances will be held at the Reston Community Center’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road) at 8 p.m. on Jan. 18, Jan. 19, Jan. 25, Jan, 26, Feb. 1 and Feb. 2. A matinee will be held at 2 p.m. on Jan. 27.

A champagne reception will follow the show on its opening night next Friday (Jan. 18).

Parents, be advised: the production is rated PG-13 for language and violence.

Photos via Reston Community Players 

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Reston Association Honors the Memory of Former President

(Updated at 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 14) The Reston Association is honoring the memory of David Bobzien, a former president of the RA who succumbed to cancer in December.

“David was a great steward of Reston,” RA President Andy Sigle said in the homeowners’ association’s newsletter sent today (Jan. 11).

Sigle highlighted Bobzien’s service to the Reston community. “Much of his time was spent volunteering, be it for his church, Reston Runners, the Reston Triathlon or for the legal community in Virginia,” Sigle said. “His time on the RA board really showed what a professional David was and that whatever he chose to pursue he did it passionately and diligently.”

After serving as a captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps at Fort Meade, Md. for four years, Bobzien became an associate with Fitzgerald and Smith in Fairfax, Va. He then served as assistant counsel in the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility from 1979 until 1992.

He was the president of the Virginia State Bar from 2004 to 2005 — the first local government attorney to serve in that capacity. He was also a past president of the Local Government Attorneys of Virginia, Lawyers Helping Lawyers, the Virginia Law Foundation and the Fairfax Law Foundation.

He also served as a Virginia State Bar Delegate to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, on the ABA Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence and as chairman of the Virginia Law Foundation’s Virginia CLE Committee.

In June of 2016, he retired after 23 years as the county attorney for Fairfax.

Bobzien was first elected to serve a three-year term as the RA apartment owners’ representative in 2017 before accepting the role as president. In May last year, he resigned from his position as RA president after revealing he has recently been diagnosed with cancer.

“My hope is to get through this so that I can continue to enjoy the people and pathways that [my wife] Cathy and I fell in love with when we moved to Reston in 1975,” Bobzien said at the time of his resignation, the newsletter wrote, adding that he publicly revealed the nature of his illness so that he might help others in similar situations.

Bobzien died at the age of 72 on Dec. 30 at The Johns Hopkins Hospital after battling leukemia, according to his obituary.

He is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter-in-law, three grandsons, a granddaughter, a sister-in-law, niece and four nephews.

A memorial mass will be held on Friday, Feb. 8, at St. John Neumann Catholic Community (11900 Lawyers Road). The family will receive friends at the church from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. prior to the mass and reception in the church hall. Interment at Arlington National Cemetery will happen at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Bobzien’s name to either the Fairfax Law Foundation or the Virginia Law Foundation.

RA Chief Executive Officer Hank Lynch said the association will contact family members to discuss ways to honor and recognize Bobzien’s service to Reston.

Photo via Reston Association 

This story has been updated

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After House Fire in Herndon, Fire Department Spotlights Hoverboard Hazards

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue wants to educate locals on how to prevent hoverboards issues after an overcharged hoverboard battery caused a Herndon house fire last week.

Firefighters responded to the reported fire in the 2600 block of Meadow Hall Drive around 12:33 a.m. last Wednesday (Jan. 2.).

The fire was out upon the fire department’s arrival, causing roughly $1,000 in damages, according to the fire department.

Fire investigators determined that the fire started by accident in the home’s basement after a third party replacement charging adapter overcharged the battery.

The fire department published a video today (Jan. 11) by Captain Tim Palmer, who provides steps hoverboard owners can take to prevent a fire like the one from last week.

“The fire occurred overnight, and fortunately for the occupants a working smoke alarm sounded near the hoverboard and awake them, allowing them to evacuate the home,” Palmer said about the Jan. 2 fire.

Palmer suggested that owners contact the manufacturer for an approved replacement if the hoverboard’s original charger becomes damaged, worn out or lost. “We also suggest never charge your overboard or device when you are not present or overnight when you can’t monitor the device being charged,” Palmer said.

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Friday Morning Notes

MLK art exhibit opens — An art exhibit by Reston elementary school students debuts today at RCC Hunters Woods ahead of Reston’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations planned for next week. The exhibit will run through Jan. 31. [Reston Community Center]

Gymboree music — Discover melody and rhythm in songs at the Reston Regional Library with two dance sessions cosponsored by the Friends of the Reston Regional Library. Gymboree Music I runs from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. for ages six months to 18 months with adults. Gymboree Music II from 11:15 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. is meant for kids ages 18 months to two-year-olds with an adult. [Reston Regional Library]

Deltek expands industry reach — The Herndon-based provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses recently announced it acquired Avitru, a content and software company. Deltek’s acquisition will expand its offerings to the architectural, engineering, construction and facility operations industry. [citybizlist]

Reston startup secures funding — Reston-based LifeFuels, which makes portable beverage makers, secured its Series-A funding. [Cision]

County expands drug disposal boxes at police stations — Fairfax County announced this week the expansion of the Prescription Drug Take Back Box Program Countywide, where locals can drop off prescription medications at boxes at district police stations. [Supervisor Pat Herrity]

Photo via Marjorie Copson

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