Top Stories This Week

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

  1. The Tasting Room Set to Close Next Month in Reston Town Center
  2. Crime Roundup: Herndon Woman Arrested in Connection with Husband’s Death
  3. Here’s the Latest on Penzance’s Planned Herndon Parkway Development
  4. DC Row Set to Open in Reston Town Center This Summer
  5. Herndon, Reston High School Students Win Peace Awards

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.

Image via Google Maps

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Reston Association Extends Deadline for Assessment Payments

If you were not looking forward to paying the entirety of the Reston Association assessment fee today (March 1) to avoid fees, you’re in luck.

The Reston Association announced on Twitter this afternoon that the assessment deadline was pushed to next Friday (March 8).

The decision is “due to recent inclement weather,” the tweet said. The 2019 annual assessment is $693 — a bump from last year’s $682 fee.

The discount on the pool and tennis passes has also been extended to the new date.

File photo

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Mardi Gras Party at Kalypso’s and More This Weekend in Reston

Mardi Gras is next week, and a celebration this weekend at a Reston restaurant wants to get locals ready for the annual carnival.

On Sunday (March 3), Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 Washington Plaza) will hold a Mardis Gras celebration with the Reston Historic Trust and Museum.

Local band Catchin’ Toads is set to perform, and a Mardi Gras mask parade will take place around 6:30 p.m.

The event runs from 4-7 p.m. and has a suggested donation of $20, which will go to the Reston Historic Trust and Museum’s Lakeside Pharmacy Icon Preservation Project.

Tomorrow (March 2)

  • Town Hall on Fiscal Year 2020 Budget (8:30-11 a.m.) — Locals in the Hunter Mill District can attend a town hall at Frying Pan Farm Park Visitor Center (2709 West Ox Road) to get more information on the proposed budget plan. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, County Executive Bryan Hill and Fairfax County Public Schools staff will give the presentations.
  • Herndon Community Roundtable (9-11 a.m.) — The Town of Herndon wants residents to share their thoughts and ask questions at a community roundtable at the Herndon Municipal Center (777 Lynn Street) this Saturday (March 2).
  • Spring Flea Market (9 a.m.-noon) — Looking for small appliances, books, jewelry, clothing, tools or toys? Find hidden gems to be take home at RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road).
  • Colvin Run Mill During Special Tour (10:30 a.m.) — Go to Great Falls for a hike around the 200-year-old working mill. The “Four Floor Tour Class” involves climbing steep stairs get to spots not seen on the regular mill tours. The tour may last up to two hours and costs $10 per person.

Sunday (March 3)

  • Reston 10-Miler (8 a.m.) — Head to the South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive) for the run. Friday (March 1) is the last day for the regular pricing at $50 before it increases to $55 this weekend.
  • Through the Eye of the Needle II” (all day) — A group exhibit by the Cotting Quilters at the Jo Ann Rose Gallery (1609-A Washington Plaza) ends Sunday.

Photo via Facebook

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Herndon Police Seek Help Identifying Suspect in Attempted Abduction

The Herndon Police Department is seeking the public’s help to identify a suspect in an attempted abduction back in September.

The sketches are of the same suspect as described by two different witnesses, according to the police department.

Police said a woman was walking home in the area of Elden and Locust streets at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 when a man tried to convince her to leave the area with him. When she refused, he grabbed her and tried to lead her away, but the woman was able to escape and run away, according to police.

The suspect then approached the woman a second time and attempted to carry her away. A witness intervened, prompting the man to leave the area to an unknown location.

The police say “the suspect is a Hispanic male, 20-23 years old, with short, black hair, facial hair, a black t-shirt, khaki/light brown shorts, and off-white shoes.”

Anyone who identifies the suspect should call the police department at 703-435-6846.

Image via Herndon Police Department 

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Reminder: Send Reston Now Your Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor

Have thoughts about Reston Now’s coverage of Reston, Herndon and Great Falls? Want to share your opinions about local issues?

Reston Now welcomes letters to the editors and op-eds of specific interest to the Reston, Herndon and Great Falls community.

The key difference is that an op-ed can be an opinion piece about a local issue, while a letter to the editor responds directly to a Reston Now story.

Please email it to [email protected] You are also welcome to contact us with your idea for feedback before submitting it.

While there is no word limit, we suggest under 1,000 words. Contributions may be edited for length, content and style/grammar.

Reston Now does not publish op-eds relating to a specific candidate running for political office — either from the candidate’s team or opponents.

Thank you to everyone who has submitted op-eds and letters to the editor already.

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GRACE Student Art Exhibit Debuts This Weekend

(Updated at 5:05 p.m. on March 4) Starting Saturday (March 2), a student art exhibition will be on display at the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE).

The exhibit features art by students at Fairfax County public schools, who are participating in GRACE’s education program called “Emerging Visions.”

GRACE reworked the program to include grades K-12, inviting elementary and middle schools to participate for the first time, according to a press release from the arts center.

“We are now able to take the best parts of our existing programs, expand those in close conversation with FCPS and make a greater impact on more young artists,” Executive Director and Curator Lily Siegel said in the press release.

In addition to the three longstanding participating FCPS high school schools — Herndon, Oakton and South Lakes high schools — the exhibit includes student art from Dogwood, Hunters Woods and Hutchinson elementary schools and Rachel Carson Middle School.

The exhibit is based on Caitlin Teal Price’ exhibit last year titled “Green is the Secret Color To Make Gold.”

GRACE worked with art educators at the schools to develop content and concepts to include into the curriculum, according to the press release. After educators, students and their families had the chance to view the exhibition and meet the curator and artist, students were able to respond to the theme by creating their own artwork.

FCPS released additional information about the students and their art on March 4:

One student, who is non-verbal, experiences art and, primarily painting, as a ritual or routine, according to this teacher. He makes repetitive marks with varying color and layers them to refer to different subject matter, such as a landscape. Another student has made at least one artwork a day for multiple years on topics from space-like environments to designs that involve flags of the world. South Lakes students shared their artist statements, explaining the process for creating their works.

[Another] student described the artwork as expressive of the mental illness she has been diagnosed with and says her work shows “that I’m locked inside myself and can’t get out of the emotions in my head.” She uses symbols indicative of psychological and emotional states. A team of two students uses found objects to which they apply paint, glue, and other materials, embracing their sense of humor and love of experimentation to provoke a sense of play and curiosity in their audience.

A third student uses her art to define herself through her own values and beliefs, not through the culture of her home country. She uses layering as a metaphor for memory and experience relevant to her life today. One student used a found piece of wood to which she responded with color and brush strokes ranging from tumultuous to more gentle; another uses her responses to daily events, observations, and feelings to create her paintings. One student submitted a photography display using a camera from a bin of broken cameras, kept by his teacher for spare parts, and fabricated a pinhole lens for the camera. Using a 30-second exposure, he took a series of photos that didn’t meet his expectations but he came to like for their abstract quality and colorful texture that “had a kind of painterly approach.”

Several free events are based around the exhibit.

The opening reception for the exhibit is set for tomorrow from 5-7 p.m. GRACE plans to host an open mic for kids on March 16.

The exhibition will be on display until March 30 at the gallery located at the Reston Town Center (12001 Market Street #103).

Photo via FCPS

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Here’s Where Four Candidates Stand on Reston Association Issues

Four of the five candidates for the five open seats on the Reston Association’s Board of Directors responded to 15 questions at a candidates’ forum Wednesday night (Feb. 27).

The questions came from a handful asked by the Elections Committee and 10 from audience members. The candidates are:

  • Caren Anton running for re-election to a one-year term as the Hunters Woods/Dogwood Representative
  • John Mooney running for re-election to a three-year term as the North Point Representative
  • Tom Mulkerin running for a three-year-term At-Large seat
  • Aaron Webb running for a three-year term for the Lake Anne/Tall Oaks Representative, which Sherri Herbert plans to vacate

Four main themes kept popping up — Reston’s density cap, resource management and programming, the board’s structure and responsibilities and community outreach. Here’s what the candidates had to say about each of those topics.

Resource management and programming

Anton emphasized that it is important to get information from RA members about which resources they use and don’t use and what they would like to see offered.

“Our facilities have been here for a long time, and we do a reserve study but I think it’s important to get input from our members and integrate into the budgeting process,” she said.

Webb echoed Anton, saying that data should drive resource management decisions. “I think there’s a large percentage of Reston that is happy with what we’ve got,” Webb said.

Mooney and Mulkerin said that a reserve study will help guide the RA’s asset management.

As for cutting back on nonessential programming, Webb and Mooney stressed that the financial viability of the association should shape the scope of programming, while Mulkerin and Anton stressed that programs not generating revenue shouldn’t be eliminated right away without trying to find alternative funding solutions

Mooney stressed that the RA should be ready “to divest ourselves of things that do not have value, but do a careful longterm look at it.”

RA’s structure and responsibilities 

Recently, the board started rethinking the power structure of RA’s key staff. A resolution before the board addresses specifically RA’s legal counsel, chief financial officer, director of finance, controller, chief operating officer and the authority of the board’s chief executive officer. Currently, RA’s bylaws say that the chief executive officer controls personnel and compensation schedules, along with hiring and firing responsibilities.

Webb and Mulkerin said they did not have knowledge about the current relationship between the CEO, CFO and board to comment.

Mooney said that because the CEO comes up with and implements the annual budget, the CFO is his “chief ally,” adding that defining the authority will help make sure that the board does not reach beyond its legal limits. Mooney said that the CEO should have daily direction of the CFO, while the CFO should have “ready recourse to the board and vice versa.”

“I do feel it is the CEO who does the hiring the firing of the CEO,” Anton said

An audience question about how the RA relates to the small tax district stumped the candidates.

PRC zoning ordinance amendment

A controversial zoning ordinance proposal for Reston recently has been the subject of many debates recently for Restonians.

The zoning ordinance would increase the maximum allowed population per acre in the Planned Residential Community (PRC) district — Reston’s primary zoning district — from 13 persons to any number up to 15, along with allowing residential development at a density of up to 70 dwelling units per acre in certain areas.

A question from the Elections Committee asked the candidates if they have evaluated the proposal, and, if so, what their conclusions are.

Webb admitted that he wants to learn more about the proposal, adding that he hasn’t seen “real numbers or even a real vision.”

“I think we want to keep Reston intentionally different from everything else that is going on,” Webb said. “It will take a lot of creativity to get everything to balance correctly.”

Meanwhile, Mulkerin said that he has been studying the proposal for the last three weeks and came to the conclusion that Fairfax County does not have infrastructure plans in place to support the increase.

Mooney said he supported the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s recommendation that the county’s Board of Supervisors reject the proposal and recouple the Reston Master Plan with the PRC zoning ordinance in tandem. “PRC depends on coordination between planning and zoning,” Mooney said.

Anton said that development will happen no matter what, yet the county needs accurate numbers to justify the increase.

In response to an audience question, everyone said they would vote “no” on raising the PRC cap, except Webb, who said he would “pass” on saying how he would vote.

Community outreach

One question from the audience asked the candidates how they would stimulate more communication between the Reston Association and its members.

Anton said that she would reach out more to the clusters. “I keep hearing that the clusters don’t feel like they are being heard,” she said, adding that more of a social media presence could help.

Webb added that people serving on the boards of the various clusters are already motivated and could help the RA rouse engagement among residents. He also echoed Anton’s social media idea.

“[RA President] Andy Sigle looks good on YouTube,” Webb said. “We need to keep up the digital presence and be more humanistic.”

Mooney said he wants to see more conversations with the clusters about their design guidelines to avoid covenants issues. He also stressed that the importance of reaching out to newcomers to “help them understand, appreciate and buy into the idea of a covenanted community.”

Adding to the previous comments on communicating with clusters, Mulkerin sad the RA should take a grassroots approach coupled with social media “to push thier buttons.”

Image via Reston Association/YouTube

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Friday Morning Notes

Delayed school opening — FCPS will open two hours late today, due to the wintry weather. [Reston Now]

Open mic poetry — Head to ArtSpace Herndon from 7-9 p.m. to hear poetry from Eric Pankey and Jennifer Atkinson, followed by an open mic for an hour. [ArtSpace Herndon]

First day of March — Final payments for the Reston Association’s assessment are due today to avoid late fees. [Reston Association]

“Time Stands Still” — The Reston Community Players are back on the stage at 8 p.m. tonight with their new production. [Reston Community Players]

Photo courtesy @greatfallsva/Instagram 

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