Crime Roundup: Police Believe String of Larcenies Not Connected

This week, the Fairfax County Police Department did not report any major incidents. However, a string of larcenies involving items taken from cars over a three-day period caught our attention.

According to FCPD, the incidents are not connected.

“We do not believe these incidents are connected, based on locality and the items that were taken,” a spokesperson for FCPD told Reston now.

The following minor incidents were reported by FCPD over the last week:

LARCENIES:

2100 block of Centreville Road, merchandise from business

11400 block of Cypress Point Court, registration stickers from vehicle

1300 block of Deep Run Lane, license plate from vehicle

12600 block of Fantasia Drive, license plate from vehicle

11900 block of Freedom Drive, merchandise from business

2500 block of Farmcrest Drive, bicycle from residence

11500 block of Links Drive, electronic device from vehicle

2500 block of Peter Jefferson Lane, laptop computer from vehicle

11100 block of South Lake Drive, food from business

12000 block of Town Square Street, cell phone from vehicle

1400 block of North Point Village Center, merchandise from business

1100 block of Walker Road, sign from property

11000 block of Villaridge Court, purse from location

STOLEN VEHICLES

None reported

File photo

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Friday Night Live! Kicks Off 25th Season This Week

Herndon’s signature outdoor concert series, Friday Night Live!, will kick off its 25th season this Friday. Since the first concert event on June 16, 1995, the series has become the longest-running free outdoor concert series in the DC area.

The season runs every Friday through August 23, with the exception of May 31, the day of the Herndon Festival. The Herndon Town Green, which is behind the town’s municipal building at 777 Lynn Street, will once again come to life with local acts from across the East Coast from 6:30-10:30 p.m. On a typical night, most bands play rock and roll covers. Some nights have themes like country and yacht rock.

The series, which is produced by the Herndon Chamber of Commerce, was created to promote downtown Herndon as a destination to visit and live. Since debuting in 1995, the town has put on 398 shows with over 525,000 fans attending. The title sponsor is Volkswagen Group of America.

“We couldn’t hold this event without our hard-working volunteers and the support of our corporate sponsors,” said Doug Downer, the event’s founder and chairman. “If you’ve never been, come on down to the Town Green on a Friday this summer to experience friends, fun, and a true sense of community.”

Food from local restaurants will be available on site and event organizers will offer beer, seltzer and wine. Proceeds will benefit the Chamber of Commerce and a portion of tip money from alcohol sales will go to Herndon High School’s after-prom and all night alcohol-free grad parties.

More information about the weekly outdoor concert series is available online. A schedule is also available on the event’s website.

Photo by Laura Poindexter

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Merkel: Meals Tax Increase Not An ‘Easy Decision’

The Town of Herndon’s 1.25 percent increase in its meal tax has generated some backlash from local residents — prompting Town of Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel to clarify why the tax was increased from 2.5 to 3.75 percent last week.

In a statement on Saturday (April 27), Merkel said the increase was necessary to cover an unexpected $1 million shortfall in revenue from business professional occupancy license taxes. The estimated price tag for several capital projects also spiked, she said.

The increase could bring around $900,000 in revenue to cover funding for road projects, hiring an assistant town attorney, parks and recreation events, and connecting crosswalks that are unsafe and not ADA-compliant, Merkel said.

“I know raising taxes isn’t popular and it is not a vote that I took lightly,” she said. “If you go back and look at all the discussions, staff reports and PowerPoints, you will that it was not a flippant decision.”

Merkel said her nine years of experience on the council demonstrates that raising taxes is not a go-to approach. Ultimately, the move could generate cost savings, Merkel said. The town currently outsources legal work that the town attorney cannot take on at a high rate, she said.

“With Metro and the growth we are facing in the area the town is dealing with many more complicated legal issues than in decades past when we were a much sleepier little town,” she said.

Merkel’s entire statement is below:

Tuesday night the Council voted to pass our FY2020 budget. For the first time in many years the council raised the meals tax by 1.25%. I understand that many do not favor this decision and I want you to know that I certainly did not make the decision lightly. I think my record on council for the past nine years demonstrates that I am not someone who looks immediately to raising taxes whenever there’s a tough budget before us, so I hope you’ll read along to see my reasoning for my vote supporting this increase.

The additional revenue generated will be funding road projects for the most part. The town suffered a very unexpected $1million shortfall in BPOL (Business Professional Occupancy License taxes) revenue this budget cycle, and several road projects that have been in the CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) for years have had a significant increase in their estimated costs. After a lot of grappling our Town Manager suggested a 1 cent meals tax increase to offset the difference (1 cent meals tax is approximately $900k of revenue.) BPOL is paid mostly by people who do not reside in the town (it is business professional occupancy license fees and is based on gross receipts of the business, the larger the business, the larger the fee. Most of our Herndon businesses are 10 employees or fewer, so you can surmise that a very large company is the reason behind this loss of BPOL revenue) Meals tax is also paid mostly by people who do not live in the town, but use our roads, police, etc. Herndon is an employment center where more than 17,000 people come to work every day, and the biggest portion of our meals tax comes from the M-F lunch crowd.

It was NOT an easy decision for me. The additional .25 that was added was a result of trying to cover some unfunded priorities that were important to the town – some parks and rec events related to the farmers market and family fun days and connecting some sidewalks and completing crosswalks that are currently unsafe and some that are not ADA compliant.

It will also allow us to hire an assistant town attorney which will ultimately save the town money because now we are outsourcing some legal work that the Town Attorney cannot take on, and that is at a MUCH higher hourly rate. With Metro and the growth we are facing in the area the town is dealing with many more complicated legal issues than in decades past when we were a much sleepier little town.

I know raising taxes isn’t popular and it is not a vote that I took lightly. If you go back and look at all the discussions, staff reports and PowerPoints you will see that it was not a flippant decision. Honestly, without the $1million dollar BPOL shortfall I would have likely voted against this increase, because it wouldn’t have been necessary. And I do support the projects these monies will fund. Which is ultimately why I decided to support it.

I understand that not everyone is happy with the meals tax increase; that’s just how these things go. I will still be supporting our local Herndon restaurants because this is home, and I love our local restaurant scene. Did you know that restaurants receive a 6% rebate for remitting the meals taxes they collect on our behalf on time? (This is a fairly typical practice in the commonwealth) and the large majority take advantage of this.

Please remember that since 2010 Herndon’s real estate tax RATE has not increased. In fact we decreased it once in 2011. Every single surrounding jurisdiction has raised their RE rate multiple times during that time frame, even as assessments have increased. I am proud of the fact that Herndon has worked to not put our property owners in that situation.

If you’ve read this entire post, Thank you. If you would like additional information on the discussions and reasons behind this difficult decision I’d be happy to hear from you and share more of my perspective. Thanks again for joining me in caring about our hometown. 

Photo via Town of Herndon

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Reston Real Estate: Links Pond Cluster, South Reston

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

Developed in 1974 by Jeffery Sneider & Company, the Links Pond Cluster of townhomes in South Reston features 3-level, 4-bedroom brick and siding homes.

The 67-home neighborhood borders Reston National Golf Course, and features the pond for which the cluster is named. It’s a common sight in the summer to see people spending lazy days fishing in the pond.

One of the things I love most about this neighborhood is that it feels like a little touch of country in the heart of Reston.

This is a great community for young families. The schools — Terraset Elementary, Langston Hughes and South Lakes High School — are all close. And as the children grow, there is plenty of parking to accommodate your needs as the number of cars you have grows. Each home has one assigned parking space, with plenty of additional parking on South Lakes Drive.

With easy access to the Reston Association paths, it’s easy to get out for a run or walk. Links Pond is close to both South Lakes Village Center and Hunters Woods Village Center, home to the Reston Community Center. Residents also have easy access to the Toll Road and the Wiehle metro.

As with every cluster that is part of Reston Association, Links Pond residents have access to the RA pools and tennis courts — nearby Glade pool with its waterslide is a favorite for kids!

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Public Comment Sought on ‘Connect Route 7’ Project

A $313.9 million project is underway to improve almost seven miles of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive. But before construction begins later this year, state transportation officials are courting public comment on the “Connect Route 7” project, which has been contemplated since 1975.

The project, which should be complete by July 2024, widens the road from four to six lanes, adds a 10-foot wide shared-use path on both sides, and improves several intersections along the corridor.

A public meeting on the project is set for May 7 from 7-9 p.m. at Forestville Elementary School (1085 Utterback Store Road) and on May 14 during the same time at Colvin Run Elementary School (1400 Trap Road). Experts will be on hand to answer questions about the project.

It’s possible that more than 500,000 square feet of noise barriers could be installed along the corridor, according to VDOT. Property owners will be surveyed to determine if noise barriers will be constructed.

The project will not be completed until July 2024. Utility relocation could take until the summer of 2023 and right of way acquisition will likely be complete by early 2021, VDOT says.

These improvements will increase capacity, improve safety and traffic flow, and enhance mobility for cyclists and pedestrians, all in conformity with Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan.”

Map via VDOT

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Names Revealed for Reston Town Center’s Peregrine Falcons

Two weeks ago, Reston Now kicked off an attempt to name the two peregrine falcons in Reston Town Center. About 60 name suggestions and more than 850 votes later, one option clearly stood out: Free and Parking.

“Free parking” is a reference to Boston Properties’ paid parking at RTC, oftentimes serving as a rallying cry for protests against RTC or as an inside joke among Restonians. Reston Now frequently finds calls for free parking in comments under articles about business closures at RTC.

The shift from free parking to the ParkRTC paid parking initiative at RTC began at the start of 2017. In June 2017, Boston Properties, RTC’s owner, changed its paid parking structure to allow for more free parking, following a major outcry from tenants and customers.

Even with the changes, the controversy has still continued to this day, including boycotts and two lawsuits by restaurants — one ended in a settlement.

With 64 percent of the vote, the Reston Now Readers’ Choice Award for Falcon Names goes to Free and Parking — the falcons’ new nicknames. But for the official name, upon further reflection, it was clear that the regal birds deserved a more befitting, less joke-y name.

So like Boaty McBoatface before it, “Free” and “Parking” will be how the birds are remembered by many, but the clear second place winner in the voting — “Robert” and “Anne,” a reference to Reston’s founder Bob Simon and Lake Anne — will become the falcons’ actual names.

Happy name day, Robert and Anne.

Photo courtesy Boston Properties

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Farmers and Makers Market Kicks Off Today — Local farmers and artisans will sell a mix of items in Reston Town Center today. The market is open Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through November. [Reston Town Center]

County Weighs More Housing for Amazon Workers — “Fairfax County officials are weighing new steps to beef up their investments in affordable housing programs, with the promise of even more ambitious spending next year. The Board of Supervisors’ budget committee signed off on the changes at an April 26 meeting, ensuring they’d be included when officials vote on a full spending plan for fiscal year 2020 next month.” [Washington Business Journal]

South Lakes High School Sophomores Learn About Careers — Around 50 career professionals came to the high school to talk to sophomore about education, training, and career experiences. The event was coordinated by the career center and local parents. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

County Guide: It’s Snake Season — “Fairfax County is home to an array of snake species, most of which are non-venomous and pose no threat to people. Among the most frequently observed resident snakes are the Eastern rat snake, Eastern garter snake, Dekay’s brown snake, Northern water snake and Northern ring-necked snake; common and important predators in our ecosystems. These snakes, and others, are beneficial and provide a valuable service in our communities in the way of pest control.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via Charlotte Geary 

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Reston Real Estate: Just Sold

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

The past 10 days the Reston real estate market has seen an assertive increase in settled and pending transactions.

Just over 30 properties changed hands and 26 properties entered went under contract. It’s an active market, especially under $500,000 price point.

Here are a few of the recent sales in Reston:

1555 Regatta Lane
3 BR/3.5 BA
List Price: $925,000
Sold Price: $925,000

 

 

1737 Quietree Drive
2 BR/2.5 BA
List Price: $379,900
Sold Price: $392,000

 

 

11520 Links Drive
4 BR/2.5 BA
List Price: $530,000
Sold Price: $525,000

 

 

11463 Waterview Cluster 
4 BR/3 BA
List Price: $549,000
Sold Price: $540,000

 

 

11660 Mediterranean Court
4 BR/2.5 BA
List Price: $597,700
Sold Price: $600,000

 

 

Click here for more information on Reston Real Estate.

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Reston Association Completes Upgrades to Pools Ahead of Summer Season

Restonians returning the Reston Association’s pools will see several upgrades this season, especially at the Lake Newport Pool (11601 Lake Newport Road).

That pool, which opens May 25, closed last summer for several improvements, including a new pool plaster surface, new pool tiles, and new sinks, countertops and flooring tiles in the bathhouse. Plumbing was also redone for the bathhouse system, according to Nate Wheeler, RA’s aquatics facility supervisor.

A new 50-meter lane was also added to the pool, which will be open from noon to 8 p.m. on weekends and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. The pool is closed on Fridays.

Wheeler said that this year has been a “big year” for spas as well. New plaster surface was installed at the spas at Glade, North Hills, and Hunters Woods. The spa at North Shore was rebuilt to address an underground leak.

The circulation equipment for the fountain at Uplands was replaced as well, Wheeler said.

“We’re looking forward to having people enjoy the bright colors and smoother operations all summer,” he said.

Pool passes can be renewed online. This year’s pool schedule is also available on RA’s website. The aquatics facilities at North Shore and Ridge Heights are the first to open this season on May 11.

Photo by Reston Association/YouTube

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Winning Team from Sunrise Valley ES Gears Up for Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

Students from Sunrise Valley Elementary School are getting ready for the final round of an international educational competition that encourages students to solve complex problems.

The local team advanced to finals after winning first place in the northern Virginia regional tournament of Odyssey of the Mind by a 48-point margin in early April.

Odyssey of the Mind provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members solve problem from building mechanical classics to presenting their interpretation of literary classics. World finals will be held May 22 through May 24 in Michigan.

“Each of the seven girls on the team have put in hundreds of hours since September to earn a spot at Worlds,” said Valentina Golac, who is working with the team. “Their school and community is very proud of them.”

The team has launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance their trip to Michigan for the world finals. So far, they’ve raised $1,411 of their $10,000 goal.

Participating countries  include China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Poland and Uzbekistan.

Photos via Valentina Golac

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RCC Seeks Entertainers for 2019 Reston Multicultural Festival

Reston Community Center is seeking performing arts groups of all ages and cultures for the 19th annual Reston Multicultural Festival. The event takes place on Saturday, September 28 at the historic Lake Anne Plaza.

Applications are due by June 14. Interested groups or individuals should submit RCC’s entertainment application form, which is available online.

All application packets should include audio and video sampling the group’s work. Instead of requiring auditions, RCC will use submission materials to select artists. Samples should be recent and represent work that the individual or group will perform.

The festival’s entertainment committee will review submissions using criteria like artistic merit, production value, evidence of authentic traditions and forms of specific cultures, and overall merit of the performance to the festival. Performances geared toward a specific religion are allowed, but the act should not “proselytize or overtly promote any faith over another,” according to event organizers.

Material should also be suitable for all ages and free of content would be “inappropriate for a diverse, multicultural and multigenerational audience,” according to RCC. Special consideration will be given to Reston-based organizations.

Artists selected for the festival will be notified by July 12. Art vendors, community organizations and food vendors must also submit applications by June 14.

Photo by Reston Community Center

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Spring Festival Set for Saturday at Walker Nature Center

It’s that time of year again: the Walker Nature Center will host Reston Association’s annual Spring Festival on Saturday from 1-5 p.m.

The festival is free and features entertainment, craft-making, display from local environmental groups and other activities. It will take place at the center (11450 Glade Drive)

Attendees can also rent canoes and kayaks on Lake Audubon for $5 for thirty minutes. A native plant sale and fishing activities are also planned.

This year’s entertainment schedule, which is sponsored by Reston Community Center, is packed with an animal show from 1:30-2:15 p.m., a mad science interactive show from 2:45-3:15 p.m., and Bob Brown Puppets from 4:15-4:45 p.m.

Song Garden, the Stewart Sisters and Lindsey Hirshfield will play acoustic music throughout the event. Parking is available along Glade and Soapstone Drives and near the Glade Pool.

Photo by Volunteer Reston

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New Monthly Event Aims to Bring Remote Workers to Lake Anne Plaza

Starting this Friday (May 3), a monthly series will encourage remote employees to bring their work to Lake Anne Plaza.

Lake Anne Brew House will have high-speed wi-fi available for people who decide to work there from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on the first Friday of each month.

“This event is the perfect solution for remote employees looking for a collaborative environment to connect with a new coworking network,” the brewery wrote on Facebook.

Workers based in offices can also take advantage of the recurring event to shorten their time working in a cubicle.

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Monday Morning Notes

Reston Developer Focuses on Affordable Housing in Campaign for Board Chair — Timothy Chapman, one of four Democrats running to succeed Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Sharon Bulova, says expanding affordable housing is a key component of his campaign platform. Chapman grappled with homelessness growing up and is the co-founder of BrunoClay Management, a construction contractor based in Vienna. [Fairfax County Times]

Herndon Police Department Says Goodbye to K9 Leon — Leon was medically retired in February after losing a battle to cancer on Thursday.  [Herndon Police Department]

Review: Another Reason to See ‘Annie’ by Reston Community Players — “There’s an old adage in performance that you should never work with children or animals since they tend to steal the show. Reston Community Players do not shy away from this challenge with their excellent production of the musical ‘Annie,’ now playing at the Reston Community Center through May 18.” [Reston Community Players]

 Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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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. Señor Ramon Taqueria to Open New Location in Reston
  2. Cleanup Underway After Tornado Touches Down in Reston
  3. Pupatella Pizzeria is Coming to Reston Next Year
  4. Town of Herndon ‘Crescent’ Eyes Remaking by 2035
  5. National Weather Service: Five-Minute Tornado Classified As ‘Weak’

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.

Photo via Fairfax County Government/handout

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