‘Lighted Letters’ at Kremlin Annex Protests Mark One-Year Anniversary

For the last year, local residents have held up large, lighted letters against the sky in front of the White House as part of the Kremlin Annex protests — a dramatic visual protest that has received national notoriety.

Protests began on July 16 last year when President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Protestors took issue with Trump’s acceptance of Putin’s assertions that he did not interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

Activists from Herndon-Reston Indivisible organized and sent teams of volunteers carrying lighted letters with key messages to the White House.  For the first four months of the initiative, protestors held up lighted letters every night. In mid-November, the initiative switched to three days per week. Following its one-year anniversary, letters light up the sky on Saturdays from 7:30-9 p.m.

Herndon-Reston Indivisible is a grassroots advocacy organization that aims to mobilize a progressive network to resist the Trump agenda, according to its website.

Organizers behind the visual protest said they were surprised by the attention received by their advocacy.  The visual appeal of their protest has earned a nod by the Grey Lady, the Washington Post, USA TODAY and Newsweek.

“In effect, they become our voice — and a loud voice at that,” said Nan Dearborn, a co-lead of the lighted letters initiative. “You just can’t miss the message when you have activists holding ‘treason’ or ‘corrupt’ or ‘racist’ in giant lighted letters right in front of the White House.”

The first night, volunteers held up letters spelling “liar” — a visual display that HRI co-founder Heidi Zollo said was “an instant hit.”

Since then, volunteers have made roughly 45 letters to spell out anything at short notice. The leaders of the initiative — Ginny Reed and Dearborn — scan the news and consider the number of volunteers to determine what word to hold up. On a typical night, the word of the night is unveiled when volunteers arrive at the White House.

One of the most memorable nights was when activists gathered for the “Close the Camps” protest. An energized crowd of protestors held up signs in the pouring rain in early July. The lighted letters also travel to other protests, including monthly vigils at the headquarters of the National Rifle Association.

Organizers expect to hold up the lighted letters every Saturday night so long as the Kremlin Annex protests continue.

Photo via Herndon-Reston Indivisible

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Next Week: 4-H Fair and Carnival at Frying Pan Farm Park

The 71st Annual 4-H Fair and Carnival returns to Frying Pan Farm Park next week from Thursday, August 1 through Sunday, August 4. The four-day event will feature carnival games, rides, food and fun for all ages.

On Thursday and Friday, parking is free and discounted tickets are available for unlimited rides. Passes start at $16 per person for unlimited carnival rides between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

In the evening, ride tickets cost $1. Friday’s feature event is Big Truck Night from 5-8 p.m.

Carnival rides are open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The 4-H Fair will also be on throughout the weekend as exhibitors display winning entries and get farm animals ready to show.

Parking is $10 on Saturday and Sunday.

More information about the event is available online.

File photo 

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Police Withhold Autopsy Information in ‘Suspicious’ Death Near Hunters Woods Plaza

Local authorities are declining to releasing an autopsy report on  24-year-old man whose body was found near Hunters Woods Plaza in late June.

A spokesperson for the state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said local police requested to withhold information about the cause and manner of death. Local police said the investigation was ongoing.

Jose Lorenzo Guillen Mejia of Reston was found around 1:45 a.m. on June 23 on a path between Hunters Woods Plaza and Breton Court. 

A spokesperson for the Fairfax County Police Department said the department did not have any releasable details about the incident, which is being investigated as a “suspicious” death.

Mejia’s body was found after FCPD investigated reports of multiple gunshots.

Photo by FCPD

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Reston Under Flash Flood Watch This Afternoon

Following a region-wide heatwave, a Flash Flood Watch has been issued for Reston and surrounding areas today (Monday).

The watch is in effect from the afternoon through late tonight, according to the National Weather Service.

Here’s more from the alert:

MULTIPLE ROUNDS OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING HEAVY RAINFALL ARE LIKELY. AREAL AVERAGE RAINFALL OF 1 TO 1.5 INCHES IS EXPECTED, WITH ISOLATED TOTALS OF 4 INCHES POSSIBLE. MUCH OF THIS RAIN MAY FALL IN SHORT PERIODS OF TIME  IN ANY ONE GIVEN LOCATION, RESULTING IN THE RISK FOR FLASH  FLOODING MONDAY AFTERNOON INTO MONDAY NIGHT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION.

The NWS encourages residents to monitor future forecasts in the event of changes.

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Monday Morning Notes

Lane and Ramp Closures This Week — A number of lane and ramp closures are planned this week along the Dulles Toll Road, Sunrise Valley Drive, Sunset Hills Road and Herndon Parkway. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

KBS Reit III Sells Reston Building — The company has sold off 11 assets totaling 3.4 million square feet of office space, including Reston Square in Reston. The transaction reportedly helped the company repay outstanding debt and retain 33 percent ownership interest in the purchaser. [Globe St]

DMV2Go at Reston Town Center Today — The mobile office on wheels brings DMV services to RTC from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. [Reston Town Center]

Photo by John Schnick

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