Fairfax County Public Schools to Open Two Hours Late Friday

Public schools in Fairfax County will open two hours late tomorrow as wintry weather sweeps the county tonight and tomorrow morning.

FCPS announced the decision on Twitter around 6 p.m. today (Feb. 27) “based on the winter weather advisory in effect overnight.”

Locals can expect 1 to 3 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

File photo

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As Wintry Weather Returns, Locals Urged to Plan for Snow, Sleet

Tomorrow is the first day of March, yet wintry weather is making a comeback to the D.C. area as spring nears.

Locals in Reston and Herndon can expect 1 to 3 inches of snow and sleet later tonight and tomorrow morning.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory that will last until 10 a.m. tomorrow.

More from NWS:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 AM EST FRIDAY…

* WHAT…Snow and sleet expected. Total snow and sleet accumulations of 1 to 3 inches expected.

* WHERE…The District of Columbia, portions of central and southern Maryland and northern and northwest Virginia.

* WHEN…From 10 PM this evening to 10 AM EST Friday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning commute.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said in a snow update this afternoon that crews are pretreated roads throughout northern Virginia and will have crews staged along roads tonight.

VDOT asks that drivers to prepare ahead for impacts to the morning rush hour and to closely monitor the weather.

Photo via @billwhe67/Twitter

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2019 Reston Association Board Election: Meet Tom Mulkerin

Voting in the 2019 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 4 through April 1. This is the last candidate profile.

Featured here is Tom Mulkerin, who is running unopposed for a three-year-term At-Large seat.  

With the exception of minor formatting edits, the Q&A candidate profiles are published in unedited form. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words. 

How long have you lived in Reston? What brought you here?

I have lived in Reston for almost 29 years. My wife, Ruth, and I purchased our first home — a condo at Harbor Court. One day while driving in Reston on a sales call, I saw people boating on Lake Thoreau. It was love at first sight. Thankfully, I chose well. We fell in love with Lake Thoreau. After six years at Harbor Court, we moved a half mile around the lake to a townhouse in the Lakewinds II cluster, and we’ve been there ever since.

What inspired you to run for the board? 

I was inspired to run for the board by my sincere desire to be more involved in my community. I’ve spent over half my life in Reston, and I don’t anticipate ever leaving. I truly love Reston and want to have a say in the protection of its greatness.

Every day, multiple times a day, I am out and about with my dog, Franz. We are blessed to have it all in Reston — woods, trails, open space, lakes and a grocery store that meets everyone’s needs, to say the least. I witness and appreciate the impact RA has on our town. I want to better understand the challenges we, as a community, face, and to be part of the positive solutions residents should expect from RA. Reston is a special place, and I want to contribute to keeping it that way.

What is an example of an issue or subject that you believe the board has handled well?

RA’s support of Rescue Reston was obviously critical. The idea of a park in place of the golf course sounds great if you’re one of the homes facing the park; however, if you’re one of the homes facing new a development, that’s not so great.

I can’t imagine losing my view of Lake Thoreau to commercial development. I’ve also been impressed with the RA’s attention to stabilizing our annual assessment. I’ve actually experienced a rate decrease during my 29 years in Reston. I realize that won’t always be the case, but this is something that personally affects every Reston household and must be carefully managed with transparency.

What are the three biggest concerns facing Reston that you want to tackle?

My biggest concerns are:

  • updating roads and infrastructure to better serve Reston’s growing population
  • responsibly managing Reston’s natural resources (lakes, trails and streams)
  • maintaining and improving existing RA recreational facilities (pools and tennis courts)

How would you address those issues using your prior personal or professional experience?

As one of the new members on the board, it will initially be my job to listen, learn and work as part of a team. As a real estate agent, I must work with multiple parties to bring a transaction to a successful closing. I will use these same skills on the much broader challenges facing RA.

Working with the public requires a sensitive approach, and I have a good reputation when it comes to listening to all sides and working towards balanced solutions that benefit everyone. As I previously said, I live on Lake Thoreau, so I have been personally affected by RA decisions related to water quality, boat restrictions and design review.

I have also volunteered for more than 10 years on the Lakewinds II cluster Board, so I’m experienced with the issues facing our local clusters and their relationship to RA. I’ve worked with my neighbors to peacefully end disputes, and I know the challenge of fiscal responsibility while managing an association’s budget. This is a volunteer position, and I’m willing to put in the work on behalf of my fellow citizens.

You can read Mulkerin’s election statement of candidacy here

Photo via Reston Association

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Mascot Books Shares Favorite Books by Local Authors

Looking for some reading suggestions? Mascot Books has some recommendations for books by local authors.

The full-service hybrid book publishing company (620 Herndon Parkway #320) started in 2003 with a self-published book about a collegiate mascot. Since then, it has published more than 2,500 fiction, nonfiction, children’s and cookbooks since then, according to its website.

Reston Now asked Mascot Books to share some favorite books about Reston or written by local authors. Here’s what the staff recommended, along with reasons for why they are worth reading.

“Ruby Foo and the Traveling Kitchen: Finding the Foo Identity” by Tiffany Foo

Description: Ruby Foo may seem like your middle schooler, but in the kitchen, she turns into a culinary superhero called the Fantastic Foo! When a mysterious photograph leads her out of her own kitchen and into her grandfather’s, she must use her culinary skill and courage to uncover some long-hidden secrets about her family’s storied past.

Why we love it: Part history, part culinary adventure (and including several kid-friendly recipes!), “Ruby Foo” is perfect for chefs of all ages — she is as smart as she is fearless and is a great role model for middle school-age kids. Tiffany Foo is a Herndon resident.

“Reston A to Z” by Watt Hamlett

Description: “Reston A to Z” takes young readers on a tour of America’s first modern planned community. Guided by Robert E. “Bob” Squirrel (reminiscent of Reston’s beloved founder, Robert E. Simon), readers will undoubtedly recognize the town’s many landmarks in the photos of the places, activities and nature that make Reston a treasure to families.

Why we love it: Reston was one of the first planned communities in the state, and “Reston A to Z” does a great job not just showing off the local sites, but also talking about the history of this great town. We particularly love the piece about the town center — it’s amazing to see how it’s changed! Hamlett is a Reston resident.

“Hoos in the Kitchen” by Melissa Palombi

Description: Inspired by the flourishing food scene and endless pride of the University of Virginia, “Hoos in the Kitchen” features more than sixty recipes from members of the UVA community. This collection is perfect for UVA fans everywhere, with recipes designed to incorporate Virginia-based ingredients to those of international origins.

Why we love it: Melissa grew up in Reston and moved to Charlottesville to work for the University of Virginia. Hoos in the Kitchen does a great job of showing the local culture and community through food. We’d love to see a “Reston Kitchen” cookbook one day, too! Palombi was raised in Reston.

Photos via Mascot Books

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Del. Ken Plum: Sine Die

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.

Virginia’s state law-making body, the General Assembly, adjourned sine die — until another day — this past Sunday — one day later than its scheduled adjournment date. With more than 3,000 bills and resolutions considered, it is somewhat miraculous that the body came that close to its scheduled 45-day end date.

There were positive accomplishments. Legislation designed to curtail record levels of rental evictions was passed. Major reforms to the foster care program were enacted with Del. Karrie Delaney providing leadership in this area. The legal age for buying cigarettes and vaping products was raised from 18 to 21 — a remarkable achievement in a city that was once the cigarette making capital of the world.

A bill I introduced at the suggestion of the Chris Atwood Foundation passed and will increase the persons authorized to administer the miracle drug Naloxone that can save the lives of persons suffering from drug overdoses. The concern about coal-ash ponds has been resolved with a requirement that clean-up occur on the property of utility without transport and in ponds that are sealed at the highest level of environmental protection.

Revisions that were made to the biennial budget that we are now half-way through bring lots of good news. Monies were increased for public education, including districts that have the highest levels of poverty and most need. School counselors were increased in numbers, although not at the level sought by the governor. Most taxpayers will get some money back as a result of the impact of federal tax cuts on state revenue.

A resolution that could lead to a constitutional amendment if passed next year would result in a redistricting commission. While the commission is not as strong as I and the independent redistricting advocates had hoped, it will increase public input into the process of drawing legislative boundaries. A week of no-excuse absentee voting before elections that was passed is much less than in other states, but it will start the process of opening up elections in the future.

Up until the final hours of the session, it appeared that the current limitations on holding a phone while driving would be strengthened, but the bill died for failure to agree to language that would be enforceable.

The ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment that I thought was going to occur was defeated by a mostly partisan vote. When the legislation was passed by the Senate and defeated in a House committee, there was an effort to change the rules to allow a vote by the entire House. The rules change was defeated by a 50-50 tied vote with one Republican who had narrowly won re-election in 2017 voting with the Democrats.

All gun safety measures were defeated, including my bill to require universal background checks. My bills to raise the minimum wage and to establish an earned income tax credit system were also defeated.

I am available to speak to groups and organizations about the session; just email me at [email protected] Future columns will discuss the session further.

File photo

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Not Your Average Joe’s to Host March Fundraiser for Hungry Kids

Diners at Not Your Average Joe’s on select days in March can help raise money for a nonprofit that combats student hunger.

On the four Tuesdays in March, the restaurant (1845 Fountain Drive) will donate 15 percent of bills for diners who ask to have their meals support Helping Hungry Kids.

The nonprofit gives food packages to more than 400 elementary school students in Northern Virginia who don’t have enough food on the weekends.

Most of the 12 elementary schools that receive the packs are ones in Reston and Herndon, which include:

  • Clearview
  • Coates
  • Dogwood
  • Terraset
  • Aldrin
  • Armstrong
  • Forest Edge
  • Lake Anne
  • Hunters Woods

Each pack, which contains non-perishable food for two breakfasts, two dinners and several snacks, costs about $6, according to the nonprofit’s website.

File photo

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Poll: Where Should Reston Now’s ‘Then and Now’ Series Look Next?

Back in December, Reston Now kicked off a “Then and Now” series to highlight how areas in Reston and Herndon have changed over the decades.

With help from Fairfax County’s Historic Imagery Viewer, which offers aerial views of the county dating back to 1937, Reston Now puts together a review of how each area has evolved.

Our look into the Lake Anne area started the series, which has since explored Reston Town Center, Reston Station and Herndon’s Elden Street — to name a few.

A tip from a Reston Now reader led us to the intersection of Hunter Mill and Hunter Station roads where a small farmhouse was recently demolished to make way for a residential development.

Last week, we highlighted the struggling Tall Oaks Village Center, which is slated for redevelopment into a mostly residential neighborhood.

Now, we want your input for our March 8 story.

Have an idea for a spot that’s not listed? Tell us in the comments section below.

Photos via Fairfax County Historic Imagery Viewer

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Thursday Morning Notes

Diva Central Accessories Drive ends — A donation drive to collect shoes, jewelry, handbags and other accessories for the Reston Community Center’s annual prom and middle school formal dress giveaway ends today. [Reston Community Center]

General Assembly wrap-up — An infographic gives an easy breakdown on which bills failed and passed. [Virginia Public Access Project]

Pet hedgehog photo — Who doesn’t love pictures of pets? An article rounded up some pictures of Restonians’ pets. [Connection Newspapers]

Reston Hospital Center wins award — “Reston Hospital Center announced it is the first facility in Virginia to earn The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval(R) for Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement… Reston Hospital Center performs more than 1,000 total joint replacements every year.” [Reston Hospital Center]

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Town of Herndon Wants Locals’ Input at Saturday Roundtable


The Town of Herndon wants residents to share their thoughts and ask questions about anything they want at an upcoming roundtable.

The community roundtable is set to take place 9-11 a.m. at the Herndon Municipal Center (777 Lynn Street) this Saturday (March 2).

The town council members will be there to engage with residents. Sleepyheads can expect coffee.

Residents are invited to discuss any and all of their Herndon-related questions. At the Town of Herndon’s meeting last night (Feb. 26), councilmembers encouraged locals to come to the roundtable, along with asking for their input on the budget.

Image via Town of Herndon Government/Facebook

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Here’s the Latest on Penzance’s Planned Herndon Parkway Development

Six submissions later, a Penzance Properties development that was first submitted in 2015 moved forward at the Herndon Planning Commission meeting on Monday (Feb. 25).

The development would create an urban block with residential, office and retail space in three buildings at 555 Herndon Parkway, which is currently home to a suburban-style office building that was constructed in the early 1980s.

A high-rise office building and a high-rise residential tower with retail space and a garage would face a mid-rise residential building with retail space and above and below ground parking.

The plans include a publicly accessible plaza in the center and multi-modal streetscapes.

The development plans to have three entrances off of Herndon Parkway that will lead into a loop road surrounding the property.

The proposed development has been scrutinized at four Planning Commission and two Architectural Review Board meetings just since the start of this year, along with one community meeting. The presentation to the commission on Monday highlighted the changes that addressed concerns and suggestions from those meetings.

Some of the notable alterations include adding midblock pedestrian passages and revising the open space design. The architecture was also changed in response to comments by the ARB — new storefront designs have greater variation in the material use, texture and color and more vertical breaks and architectural elements were added to the previously monotone garage design.

While the mixed-use development hit several design snags and a zoning issue earlier this year, the project’s size and scale posed review challenges for the boards grappling with an unusually large development.

The team behind the project echoed why the project is such “a big deal for the town” — as the commission’s Chair C. Melissa Jonas described it.

“Herndon is a lot of things, but it’s not yet 275-foot-tall buildings,” Kenneth Wire, the land use attorney for the project, told the commission.

Wire said that the project will follow in the footsteps of Herndon’s unique identity by building upon the town’s streetscapes and signage. The central plaza will have a focal point, such as art or a water element, and the buildings will have decorative elements, he added.

“This has been a large process for the Town of Herndon to think about this area and what it means for our town,” Jonas said.

The project would take place in three phases of construction. As the proposal moves forward, it is possible that the Architectural Review Board may tackle the site plan for each phase separately.

The Herndon Planning Commission recommended approval of the development plan. Before the vote, Jonas thanked the Planning Commission staff, ARB and the community for their work on “this big application.”

“There is a love of this town and there is a lot of concern for change always for anyone,” Jonas said. “[Penzance] put in a lot of hard work into thinking about what we wanted to see.”

Renderings via Herndon Planning Commission

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2019 Reston Association Board Election: Meet Caren Anton

Voting in the 2019 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 4 through April 1. This week, we will continue posting profiles on each of the candidates.

Featured here is Caren Anton, who is running unopposed for re-election to a one-year term as the Hunters Woods/Dogwood Representative. 

With the exception of minor formatting edits, the Q&A candidate profiles are published in unedited form. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words. 

How long have you lived in Reston?  What brought you here?

I moved to Reston in 1989. My then husband and I had been living in Burke since 1983, and we wanted to relocate. We were familiar with Reston through involvement in theater programs at the Reston Community Center and were attracted to its beauty, diversity and strong sense of community. We also found that we had a wide variety of affordable housing options to choose from here. I am still living in the townhouse we bought.

What inspired you to run for the board?  

When the Hunters Woods/Dogwood seat became available last April, I decided to apply for the board appointment to fill the vacancy until the next election cycle. I was just completing my term on the Elections Committee, where I served as chair the last year. I felt that serving on the board was a good next step for me.

Also, it’s no secret that the board and RA were in a state of flux, and I was interested in being involved in helping to “steady the ship.”  Now with one year remaining on the three-year term, I want to continue the work I have begun to better serve the members. I am also very much looking forward to working with our new chief executive officer.

What is an example of an issue or subject that you believe the board has handled well?

I am proud to have been a part of the process that resulted in our hiring of Hank Lynch as RA’s new CEO. Under the leadership of President Andy Sigle and the board’s search committee, a series of interviews was professionally conducted and yielded an outstanding, successful candidate.

What are the three biggest concerns facing Reston that you want to tackle?

A big issue on the minds of many members is the fear of overdevelopment. The addition of Metro Reston has changed Reston and will continue to do so. It will no longer be the place it was 50 years ago, which I view as not all bad. Growth is inevitable and exciting. We just need to make sure we retain what is unique about us.

RA and various citizen groups continue to voice these concerns to Fairfax County and, fortunately, are being heard. Among many other serious concerns that need attention are inefficient covenants and Design Review Board operations and procedures that create dissatisfaction and frustration in our members. We also need to address our aging infrastructure and facilities.

How would you address those issues using your prior personal or professional experience?

Each director brings his or her unique strengths and experiences to the table. My “right brain/left brain” approach stems from my background as both an accounting and performing arts professional. In both of my careers, I have learned to interact closely with a wide variety of personalities in often stressful situations. I consider myself a keen observer of people, and I thrive on grassroots level engagement to gather information to assess the needs and expectations of the members.

I’m a you-can-catch more-flies with-honey-than-with-vinegar type of person, and I believe making any gains towards problem-solving will require healthy, civil interaction with my fellow board members, the Reston Association’s executives, the staff and the county.

You can read Anton’s election statement of candidacy here

Photo via Reston Association

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Town of Herndon Continues Work with Comstock on Downtown Plans

Comstock’s newest redevelopment plans for downtown Herndon are moving forward.

Town Manager Bill Ashton told the Herndon Town Council at its public session last night (Feb. 26) that the staff has finished reviewing the fourth resubmission of the site plans. The staff began the review at the start of February.

Now, the staff is preparing to send a consolidated list of questions back to Comstock.

“It’s something we’re working on diligently, but it’s deep in the staff weeds right now,” Ashton said.

The next step will involve the Heritage Preservation Review Board, he said.

At the meeting, the Town Council approved a special exemption to increase the number of nonresidents from four to seven in a 24-hour period at a home-based business.

The change affects a hair salon at 767 Monroe Street. The salon’s website says:

The salon is located in an English basement on a private residence. Please park in the driveway.  On the left side of the house you’ll see a fence gate, if it is closed please let yourself in, then follow the concrete sidewalk all the way around back where you’ll find a staircase down to the salon.

“We really want to make it easier for home-based businesses to thrive in Herndon,” Councilmember Cesar del Aguila said, urging locals to share any advice they may have.

The Town Council also approved an amendment to the town’s Comprehensive Plan to create a design concept for improvements on South Elden Street between Sterling Road and Herndon Parkway.

“I know this is the first step, and we need to secure the funding so we can get into the nitty-gritty with trash cans and raised medians,” Mayor Lisa Merkel said. “As the Metro station opens, this does need to be a more walkable and friendly area.”

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Pet of the Week: Lamp

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Lamp, a white and brown female kitten available for adoption locally.

Here is what her friends at Fancy Cats Rescue Team have to say about her:

Lamp loves to play with her siblings, run around the house and eat treats. Yes, she is VERY food motivated!

She will tolerate about anything as long as you give her a tasty treat afterwards. Her little kitty motor doesn’t seem to have an “off” position.

She purrs and purrs when her people are around. If it even seems like you are heading her way or about to pet her, she jumps to her feet and meets you with a headbutt. She absolutely loves her people and shows it with loud purrs, headbutts and snuggles.

Are you and Lamp 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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NextStop Theatre’s ‘Fallen Angels’ Premieres in Mid-March

A play about two women’s rivalry for the affections of a mutual lover is coming to Herndon’s NextStop Theatre (269 Sunset Park Drive) next month.

Fallen Angels” dramatizes sexual desire and frustration as two housewives prepare to meet with an “exotic” former lover. The show originally opened in London in 1925 and was considered amusing but scandalous for its depiction of sex and adultery — both subjects that were seen as obscene and disruptive.

Ticketing in advance is recommended, as ticket prices may increase as seating fills. Tickets range from $35 to $50. The show will run Thursday-Sunday from March 14 through April 7. Student and group tickets are available at a discount.

Photo via NextStop Theatre

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