Top Stories This Week

Who else is enjoying the 75-degree weather right now?

Before we head off into the weekend with temperatures dipping back into the 50s, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now this week.

  1. Here’s Why You’re Seeing ‘Store Closed’ Signs at Reston Town Center’s Vapiano
  2. Victoria’s Secret Gone for Good at Reston Town Center
  3. Google Starts Renovation Work at Reston Station Office Building
  4. Herndon Tech Company Serco to Add 200 Jobs
  5. Wooboi Chicken’s Chef Talks Secret Menu, Spiciest Nashville Hot Chicken Waiver

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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Cabaret at Lake Anne Plaza and More This Weekend in Reston

What good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play — “Come to the Cabaret!” at Lake Anne Plaza.

The performance will be held at the Washington Plaza Baptist Church (1615 N. Washington Plaza). The suggested $10 door donations will go toward the church’s upcoming 2019 annual Christmas concert.

Attendees can also snack on some light refreshments and food.

The show starts at 7 p.m.

Tomorrow (March 16)

  • Family Art Day (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) — Join GRACE for a free celebration of Youth Art Month on St. Francis Street. Families can look at student artwork in the exhibit and participate in art-making activities.
  • Herndon Library Board Games (1-3 p.m.) — Adults can play classic board games at the Herndon Fortnightly Library.
  • Youth Arts Showcase Explosion (6 p.m.) — The Reston Chapter of The Links, Incorporated is set to perform for free at the Kennedy Center.
  • Common Ground: Candice Bostwick & Friends (7-9 p.m.) — You can enjoy jazz and pop music at ArtSpace Herndon for $20.
  • Time Stands Still” (8 p.m.) — Saturday is the last evening to watch the Reston Community Players’ production of a play about a couple making a living out of documenting the horrors of war.

Sunday (March 17)

  • History of World War II (2-4 p.m.) — Dr. Harry Butowsky from George Mason University will present the first part of his six-part lecture series on “World War II: On Our Way, USA 1939-1942” at the Reston Regional Library.
  • Once Upon a Time–Princesses & Lollipops (4 p.m.) — The RCC Hunters Woods’ free annual concert will feature music from Disney movies and theater favorites played by the Reston Community Orchestra. Girls can go dressed up in gowns, crowns and tiaras. The afternoon will include singing, dancing, a parade of princesses, a raffle of two baskets and the presentation of the RCO Community Service award.

Sunday is also St. Patrick’s Day — Reston Now has a separate list of local events in Reston, Great Falls and Herndon.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr 

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Town of Herndon Grapples with How to Revamp Ethics Code

Updated at 9:15 a.m. on March 18 — A previous version of this story incorrectly said “Vienna” instead of “Herndon” officials. This has now been corrected. 

Some Herndon Town Council members are pushing for more robust ethics guidelines, but there’s disagreement about how best to go about doing that.

While councilmembers have agreed that revising the code of ethics is a positive step toward ensuring ethical behavior of future councils and erasing a perception that the council skirts rules, they have different ideas on what should get changed or added.

At a March 5 meeting, Councilmember Pradip Dhakal suggested borrowing from other codes of conduct, and analyzing omissions in the current code, may solve current gaps. (Councilmembers said they have been looking at the ethics codes from the Town of Amherst and Williamsburg as examples to emulate.)

Breadth and specificity dominated the March 5 debate, with some councilmembers raising concerns that trying to list every single unethical behavior could end up missing some things and creating a policy that no one would read.

For the sake of appearances, having a longer ethics code might raise some eyebrows if it’s overly detailed, one councilmember said.

“I’d be like what kind of crap is going on if they need this level of detail?” said the councilmember, who could not be positively identified on an audio recording of the meeting.

While some of the councilmembers expressed support for the current policy’s simplicity, others argued that a more in-depth code will clear up any confusion.

“We are coming from different backgrounds and sometimes common sense is uncommon,” Dhakal said. “My common sense may not be yours.”

Other possibilities floated at the March 5 meeting included defining “ethical behavior” and adding some definitions and rules that are in the state code. Creating guidelines for social media and online conduct also came up as a possible addition to the code of ethics or as a separate set of guidelines.

Vice Mayor Sheila Olem and councilmembers Cesar del Aguila and Signe Friedrichs have led the effort to revise the code.

Unethical, sketchy, and uncomfortable behavior among Herndon officials are some of the main reasons behind the push to strengthen the code. The councilmembers shared stories of unnamed former town officials who publicly berated staff, grabbed a staffer in a sexual manner, and solicited jobs from other elected officials in the performance of their official duties.

The code of ethics is currently located in Article I of the second chapter under the Herndon Town Code.

Reston Now saved you the trouble of hunting it down:

Sec. 2-5. – Code of ethics for the members of the town council and council appointed board and commission members.

(a) Members of the town council and council appointed board and commission members shall perform their duties to the very best of their abilities and demonstrate integrity, honesty, and ethical behavior in the conduct of all town business.

(b) Members of the town council and council appointed board and commission members shall treat the public, town staff and each other in a courteous manner and shall at all times refrain from abusive conduct, threatening or intimidating language or gestures, personal charges, or verbal or written attacks concerning the character or motives of other members of the town council, town boards and commissions, town staff, or the public.

(c) Members of the town council and council appointed board and commission members shall bring any concerns about the performance of a council appointee to the entire council. Concerns about the performance of a town employee shall be discussed privately with the town manager.

(d) Members of the town council and council appointed board and commission members should direct significant requests for information or discussions concerning town business to the town manager, who directs the day-to-day operations of the town and its employees.

(e) Members of the town council and council appointed board and commission members shall fully comply with the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, Code of Virginia, §§ 2.2-3700, et seq. and the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act, Code of Virginia, §§ 2.2-3100–2.2-3131, as applicable.

“One of our citizens came to a public hearing and said, ‘Pass it now!'” Mayor Lisa Merkel said at the end of the March 5 discussion. “I don’t think we need to rush into it, but [we’re] making movement in the right direction and making sure it reflects what we all really want to see in there.”

The Town of Herndon is still working on the code. At the town’s public session on Tuesday (March 12), del Aguila said that the code of ethics “is certainly coming to fruition.”

Image via Town of Herndon

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Planning Commission Advances Great Falls Assisted Living Facility

The Fairfax County Planning Commission supported a plan to add an assisted living facility in Great Falls at its meeting last night (March 14).

The 62-unit assisted living facility would be run by IntegraCare at 1131 Walker Road — right above Leesburg Pike and close to Colvin Run Mill. Verity Commercial is partnering with IntegraCare for the development.

The 33,429-square-foot-facility aims to fill a growing need in the community — about 35 percent of the Great Falls population is age 55 or older, according to Verity Commercial.

The new facility would also serve the local community in another way. “One of the problems in Great Falls is we have a limited amount of meeting space,” Dranesville District Planning Commissioner John Ulfelder said.

He requested that small groups have access to the facility’s meeting space when it is not being used for the facility’s programming.

The building’s design is meant to have an intimate feel, with short corridors and scattered communal areas.

The facility also plans to include a theater with a system for the hearing impaired, a demo kitchen and auto door opening where residents wear a bracelet that only lets them open their own doors.

Outside, a 10-foot trail along the front of the facility would connect to Colvin Run Road so that the residents may enjoy nearby eateries.

“It’s an outstanding proposal, an outstanding facility,” Ulfelder said.

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Here’s the Status on the Reston Association Board of Directors Elections

(Updated at 9:50 a.m.) The Reston Association recently released the results of the first two weeks of the Board of Directors elections, which are currently in progress until April 1.

Here are the percentages of the returned votes for the first two weeks:

  • At Large: 6.38 percent
  • Hunters Woods/Dogwood: 5.23 percent
  • Lake Anne/Tall Oaks: 5.32 percent
  • North Point: 7.64 percent

“Although this year’s five seats are uncontested, a quorum of 10 percent of eligible voters needs to be reached to make the election results official, so it’s important that all members vote,” Mike Leone, RA’s director of communications and community engagement, told Reston Now.

The received ballots include 984 ones submitted electronically and 425 paper ones.

Leone said that he was not surprised by the results so far. “Week one and two results represent mostly those members who cast their vote electronically. Over the next few weeks we will also see paper ballots returned along with more electronic votes,” he said.

Three candidates are incumbents:

  • Catherine Baum for a one-year term as the Apartment Owners Representative
  • Caren Anton for a one-year term as the Hunters Woods/Dogwood Representative
  • John Mooney for a three-year term as the North Point Representative

Tom Mulkerin, a residential real estate agent who has served on the board of the Lakewinds II Cluster Association, is running for a three-year-term At-Large seat.

Aaron Webb, who has served on the board of the Lakeside Cluster, is running for a three-year term for the Lake Anne/Tall Oaks Representative, which is currently filled by Sherri Herbert.

The results will get announced at the Annual Members’ Meeting in April.

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Friday Morning Notes

“Storytime Social” — Moms, dads, caregivers and kids are invited to Scrawl Book’s social hour at 11 a.m. today. There will be coffee for the adults. [Scrawl Books]

Reston business news — Reston-based trucking software developer Trucker Tools raised more than $3 million from a single investor toward a $5 million Series B equity round. The company will partner with J.J. Keller & Associates for truck-location data in its app. [Cision]

Movie time — The Reston Regional Library’s Great Decisions Series asks locals to the film produced by the Foreign Policy Association and then participate in the roundtable discussion on current events and U.S. foreign policy options.  The topic for March is “Nuclear Negotiations: Back to the Future.” [Fairfax County]

No Rammys for Reston — “The nominations are in for the 2019 RAMMY awards, and unfortunately, Reston restaurants were completely shut out.” [Reston Patch]

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