BREAKING: Herndon HS Theater Director Charged With Unlawful Filming

Updated at 9:42 p.m. — The teacher has been placed on leave, according to a spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools.

Fairfax County Police have arrested Raphael Schklowsky, the theater director for Herndon High School, on charges of unlawful filming at a Reston home.

A woman told police she found a hidden camera in an air conditioning vent at a home on the 1800 block of Cranberry Lane in Reston, where she was working, according to a crime report.

FCPD arrested and charged Schklowsky, a 36-year-old Reston resident, with four misdemeanor counts of unlawful filming after detectives conducted an investigation and “found evidence of unlawful filming.”

He was held at the Adult Detention Center on a $5,000 bond.

Photo via FCPD

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BREAKING: Reston Man Killed in Pedestrian Crash in Fairfax

A Reston man was killed as he crossed a road in Fairfax around 6 a.m. today (April 9), police said.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, Ralph Johnson, 63, was crossing Lee Jackson Memorial Highway near Alder Woods Drive when the driver of a 2017 Toyota Highlander hit Johnson as he was walking in the road.

Police said Johnson was not walking in a crosswalk and that “alcohol may have been a factor” for Johnson. He was taken to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

The driver, who was traveling westbound on Lee Jackson Memorial Highway at the time, remained on the scene.  Police believe the driver was not speeding and alcohol was not a factor. The incident tied up traffic earlier this morning.

Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact the police department’s crash reconstruction unit at 703-280-0543.

File photo

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Reston Community Players Ending Theatre Season With “Annie”

The classic story of a young orphan girl in search of her parents in New York City who gets selected to stay at wealthy Daddy Warbucks’ residence is coming to Reston in two weeks.

The Reston Community Player’s production of the Broadway musical “Annie” will conclude the nonprofit theatre group’s 52nd season.

“How can you not love a spunky little girl who, against all odds, keeps hope alive and looks forward to a better tomorrow?” Director Sue Pinkman said in a press release. “Each year, another generation of little girls gets to know this classic character.”

The role of “Annie” will be shared by two actresses. The full cast is the following:

  • Kylee Hope Geraci, Eva Jaber as Annie
  • Doug Marcks as Daddy Warbucks
  • Jennifer Redford as Miss Hannigan
  • Claire Jeffrey as Grace Farrell
  • Joshua Redford as Rooster Hannigan
  • Emily Jennings as Lily St. Regis
  • Richard Durkin as Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • Nathan Ramee as Bert Healy
  • Jane Keifer as Molly (orphan)
  • Della McCahill as Tessie (orphan)
  • Elizabeth Cha as Kate (orphan)
  • Madelyn Regan as July (orphan)
  • Elenora Fiel as Duffy (orphan)
  • Eliana Redford as Pepper (orphan)
  • Whimsy as Sandy
  • Ensemble: Marissa Dolcich, Richard Durkin, Andy Gable, Aidan Goggin, Earle S. Greene, Kate Keifer, Kirk Kaneer, Nathan Ramee, Katie Pond, Jennifer Stevens, Sara Watson

Performances will be held at the Reston Community Center’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road) at 8 p.m. on April 26-27, May 3-4, May 10-11 and May 17-18. Matinees will be held at 2 p.m on May 5, May 11-12 and May 18.

The production of the family-friendly musical is appropriate for all ages.

Photo courtesy Reston Community Players

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Bombay Velvet to Open in RTC West Next Week

Bombay Velvet, an Indian restaurant, will open at RTC West (12100 Sunset Hills Road) on Monday (April 15). The 2,500-square-foot restaurant, which the owner describes as “upscale,” can seat 100 guests between 22 indoor tables, three outdoor tables and one bar.

Rajiv Chopra, the chef and owner, is also behind other food ventures in the area like Punjabi By Nature and dessert shop Evergreen Sweets.

“We knew there was an opportunity to fulfill a missing need for a fine dining Indian establishment in the DMV,” Chopra said in a written statement. “Our new world approach to traditional cooking paired with our elegant food presentation gives us hope that locals and visitors who come into Bombay Velvet will expand their palates and try new regional Indian dishes that they have never experienced before.” 

The menu includes dishes like “Calangute Beach Surf ‘N’ Turf” — a spicy chicken chorizo with Goan balchao shrimps — and “Khosla Ka Ghosla” — a dessert with vermicelli and dates. The restaurant takes its interior design inspiration from 1970s Bombay and 1930s American households.

Bombay Velvet is open from Sunday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to midnight.

Photos via Bombay Velvet

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Artist Creating Mosaic Public Art for RCC’s Aquatics Center Revamp

(Updated) Reston will welcome a new public art piece when the Reston Community Center debuts its newly renovated Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center in the fall.

RCC chose mosaic artist Valerie Theberge to create mosaic artwork for two large wall panels adjacent to the pool overlook area.

RCC’s Executive Director Leila Gordon told Reston Now that having Theberge on board from the start of the renovation, which will update the 40-year-old aquatics center with two pools, allows for the engineers, designers and the artist to plan how the wall with the art will look and get used, with conversations ranging from color palettes to electrical engineering decisions.

Theberge has been working with the project team, which includes RCC’s Deputy Director John Blevins and Martha Sansaver, Karen Davis and Geoff Kimmel from the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services and the contracting firm Branch Builds — previously named Branch & Associates.

Currently, Theberge is in the preliminary design stages for the art, which will occupy two main panels that are about 50 square feet each.

“I keep getting snapshots of what’s going to come and it keeps percolating, because we have been talking about this for a year,” she told Reston Now. “It will be strong and vocal.”

Unlike her previous mosaic art at the Glade Drive Underpass and the Dogwood Pool, Theberge says this piece is influenced by its different location, one that she describes as indoors, focused on people instead of nature and “white, clean, quiet.”

“The other ones are very earth-centered and this is very water-centered,” Theberge said, adding that she plans to add “sparklers” so that viewers will feel movement in the art.

In a group interview with Reston Now, Theberge and Gordon shared different elements that stand out to them about the aquatics center, including the contrast between the water’s buoyancy and the hard surfaces on the ground, the windowless cave-esque location, the polarity between the exterior and interior worlds and the action of people stripping off layers of clothing before they get into the water. While some of those evocative ideas might sound harsh or vulnerable, Gordon emphasized that “it is hard to be hostile in the presence of art.”

Once Theberge has a design, she said she will build the two pieces in her studio before they get bolted onto the wall.

Once installed, community engagement activities and art workshops will allow Restonians to respond to the art. “It’s not one monolithic swimming community. There are families. There are older adults. There are swim teams, and every one of those groups of people have different desires,” Gordon said.

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Reminder: Send Us Your Photos

Calling all local photographers: Reston Now is looking for your photos of Reston, Herndon and Great Falls.

Whether you’re a photography pro or just love snapping pictures with your smartphone, we are always looking to include seasonal photos in our Morning Notes on weekdays or reshare pictures on our social media accounts.

To send us your photos, email us at [email protected], tag us in your photo on social media or join our Reston Now Flickr page.

You will always receive credit for the photo — either with your username or actual name.

Thank you to photographers who have already sent us photos.

File photo

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After County Lawsuit, Town of Herndon Moves to Finalize Airbnb Regulations

Renewed discussions are underway on how to regulate Airbnb-style rentals in the Town of Herndon following an unsuccessful legal challenge by residents to Fairfax County’s recently established regulations.

The Herndon Planning Commission took up the issue at a work session on Monday (April 8). If approved, the new zoning ordinance would require residential property owners seeking to rent out their homes to limit guests to six adults for terms of no longer than 90 days. A $200 zoning permit, valid for two years, and an associated inspection will be required before property owners can operate a short-term rental.

Town officials first considered ways to regulate short-term rentals late last year. The commission directed zoning staff to research best practices regarding regulations and monitor the legal challenge to Fairfax County’s zoning ordinance, which is similar to the town’s proposal.

In the latest draft, zoning staff removed a condition requiring residential property owners to maintain a guest log. The new proposal also defines who constitutes a permanent resident, according to David Stromberg, the town’s zoning administrator. The draft also stipulates the following:

  • Operators must provide proof of permanent residency.
  • Events like weddings, concerts, parties and banquets associated with a short-term rental are prohibited.
  • Operators must provide two off-street parking spaces. The county’s ordinance requires one off-street parking space.
  • Recreational vehicles are not allowed.
  • One rental contract is allowed per night.
  • There is no limit on the number of nights where a portion of the unit can be rented if the primary resident is present.
  • Operators must provide safety equipment like smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors.

Late last year, 36 Fairfax County residents sued the county for overreaching its authority on regulating short-term lodging rentals. The county’s motion to dismiss was granted, although the plaintiffs can come back to the court with an amended petition, according to town officials.

Efforts to regulate the burgeoning industry were set into motion two years ago when the state’s General Assembly approved legislation allowing localities to regulate short-term rentals. Permit fees and the maximum number of nights allowed per unit vary across jurisdictions. Arlington County sets a limit of 180 nights and has a $63 permit for one year whereas Loudoun County allows unlimited nights and requires no permits.

Photo via Airbnb

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DC Row to Fill Appalachian Spring’s Former Reston Town Center Spot

DC Row is getting work done on its future Reston Town Center location ahead of an expected summer opening.

A building permit indicates that the rowing-focused fitness studio recently started interior alterations at 11877 Market Street. A spokeswoman for Boston Properties confirmed that DC Row will occupy the former spot of Appalachian Spring, which closed last January.

DC Row’s General Manager Brittany Brunch previously told Reston Now that the Reston spot will offer similar classes to the ones currently at the D.C. location (790 Maine Avenue SW), along with happy hour events for corporations and more time slots during the day for moms.

Locals can expect a pop-up before the grand opening, which has not been announced yet.

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Needle felting — From 7-9 p.m. participants can learn how to make creations through needle felting, which involves poking gathered wool with a special barbed needle. Andrew Black, a Reston resident and artist, will lead the workshop. [ArtSpace Herndon]

RA election results — The Annual Members’ Meeting from 7-9 p.m. at the Reston Association’s headquarters will include the election results for the Board of Directors and update members on new initiatives, programs and opportunities. The meeting will be live-streamed on YouTube. [YouTube]

Development size ranking — The Washington Business Journal has compiled square footage numbers for developments in the D.C. area. Based on metro-area square footage under construction, Orr Partners of Reston nabbed fifth place at 2.75 million square feet, and The Ardent Company of Reston ranked 11th at 1.93 million. [Washington Business Journal]

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