Fall Clean-Up Week in Herndon is Two Weeks Away

The Town of Herndon is kickstarting the annual fall clean-up week in October.

The week, which is designed to encourage residents to place large or bulky items outside for curbside pick-up, will happen from October 7-11.

Items that can be placed outside for curbside pick-up include appliances, furniture, vehicles parts and plumbing fixtures, tires, and a limited amount of building materials.

Only two tires can be disposed of per household and vehicle parts and plumbing fixtures must be under 50 pounds. Building materials cannot exit one cubic yard, with lengths under four feet.

The pick-up service, which is set for the same day of scheduled trash collection, does not include yard waste and electronics.

Items must be placed on the curbside by 7 a.m. on residents’ scheduled trash day.

For questions and concerns, email [email protected].

Photo via Patricia Valerio/Unsplash


Paddywax Candle Bar to Open in Reston Town Center in the Winter This Year

Nashville-based candle company Paddywax is bring its do-it-yourself candle-making workshops to a new location in Reston Town Center.

Paddywax Candle Bar is expected to open in the winter this year, according to the storefront’s signage (1816 Library Street). Patrons can create their own candles during workshops while enjoying food and drinks.

It fills space formerly occupied by The Tasting Room Wine Bar, which left RTC in March this year.

The business has been rapidly expanding in the last year, with new locations coming to Madison, Wisc., Philadelphia, and the District. Paddywax currently has location in Texas, Tennessee and North Carolina.

Photo via The Candle Bar/Facebook


With New Funding, Long-Awaited Path Lights Near Hunters Woods Under Consideration

After a proffer from the developer of Hunters Woods at Trails Edge, a long-awaited project to bring path lights near Hunters Woods Village Center is coming closer to reality.

The Reston Association Board of Directors is considering installing 16 poles and lights near the village center and repurposing ball field behind Reston Community Center that is no longer used by the Reston-Herndon Little League.

RA received $81,300 via a proffer from IntegraCare, the developer of the senior living community. Plans to improve lighting in the area have been in the works since as early as 2013, but were hampered by limited funding.

The cost of the project increased over the last several years. Previous cost estimations did not account for expenses related to Dominion Energy’s engineering and equipment costs.

The first stretch of pathway lights is expected to cost around $100,000. At the request of the Hunters Woods Neighborhood Coalition, RA is also considering repurposing the ball field.

RA plans to use the remaining balance of funds to study, design and consider repurposing the ball field. Overall, RA has $124,916 to complete the overall project — after accounting for costs related to completing tree surveys and preliminary design work.

Larry Butler, RA’s Chief Operating Officer, is expected to discuss the issue at a board meeting on Thursday, Sept. 26.

In draft agenda materials, RA staff noted that the installation of the first stretch of path lights does not preclude additional projects in the future.

Photo via Reston Association/handout, File photo


Legal Insider: States Start Non-Compete Agreement Reform

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

Several states (not Virginia yet), have made moves to restrict the using unreasonable non-compete agreements with employees. Our practice has shown us that Virginia non-compete agreement reform is needed.

We have represented employers and employees in our practice and have found that many non-compete agreements in Virginia are extremely over broad and unreasonable.

What are Non-Compete Agreements?

A non-compete agreement is simply a contract between an employee and an employer in which the employee agrees not to enter into competition with the employer during or after employment.

Reasonable non-compete agreements are helpful and often necessary for employers to hire individuals without risking that they will then lose their customers if an employee leaves and tries to take clients with them. However, these types of agreements have started to get completely unreasonable.

Currently, non-compete agreements have not been restricted by Virginia law but regulated through the courts. Employees in Virginia who sign non-compete agreements can be held to them only if they pass this three-part test:

  • Is the restriction reasonable in the sense that it is no greater than is necessary to protect the employer in some legitimate business interest?
  • From the standpoint of the employee, is the restraint reasonable in the sense that it is not unduly harsh and oppressive in curtailing his legitimate efforts to earn a livelihood?
  • Is the restraint reasonable from the standpoint of a sound public policy?

Paramount Termite Control v. Rector, 380 S.E.2d 922 (Va. 1989).

However, the problem with the status quo is that employers have the upper hand, for the most part, with these types of agreements and enforcement. Take for example an employee making $50,000 a year, who signed an unreasonable non-compete agreement but is threatened by a large law firm and faced with massive legal expenses in challenging it.

In short, it is time for Virginia to provide safeguards for employees in this area.

Examples of Abuse for Non-Compete Agreements

Reform for non-compete agreements is needed due to a number of abuses occurring in Virginia and elsewhere. Some examples of the types of abuses seen:

  • A physician works in Reston, Virginia and signs a non-compete agreement which bars her from practicing medicine for 3 years in the tri-state area forcing her to move to another region to obtain work.
  • A restaurant worker, making minimum wage, is required to sign a non-compete agreement prohibiting them from working for other restaurants in a 10-mile area.
  • An unpaid office intern for a government contractor is required to sign a non-compete agreement prohibiting them from working for another government contractor for a period of 3 years.
  • A new program manager is hired by a company and signs a non-compete agreement. Two weeks later the employer determines that the hire is not a good fit and terminates the employee. Despite the fact that there is no misconduct or cause for the firing the employee is unable to work for a similar employer for 2 years.

Some States Begin to Change Non-Compete Agreements

There is hope for reform. Many states have begun changing non-compete agreement law. Washington, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and other states have led the way in attempting non-compete agreement reform. These states have not adopted a uniform approach, but provide some good ideas for Virginia.  Some examples:

Wage Requirements — New Hampshire bars the use of non-compete agreements for those making less than $14.50 an hour. Washington restricts non-compete agreements to those employees that make over $100,000 a year. Maine prohibits non-compete agreements for those making a wage at or below 300% of the federal poverty level.

Trial Period Before Non-Compete is Binding — Maine has enacted a law providing that an employee must have worked for the employer for a period of 1-year or 6 months after signing the agreement (whichever is later) for a non-compete agreement to be enforceable.

Non-Compete Invalid if Fired Without Cause or Laid Off — Massachusetts law prohibits the enforcement of a non-compete agreement against an employee who has been terminated without cause or laid off. This is critical because the worst case scenario is where an employee has been terminated without any misconduct but then is barred from obtaining a new job in the same field for a significant period of time.

Leveling the Field for Employees — As I mentioned, it is often the case that employers often feel free to have their law firms send threatening letters to employees arguing that they cannot work in the same field even if a non-compete agreement is completely unreasonable. Faced with this, many individuals feel that they cannot challenge an agreement that is otherwise unlawful.

Washington has done a good job on this front. The Washington statute is very good and it has a number of other employee protection mechanisms such as requiring an employer to pay an employee’s legal fees and damages should they seek to enforce an unreasonable non-compete agreement.

Suggestions for Non-Compete Reform in Virginia

Non-compete agreement reform is seriously needed in Virginia because these types of agreements have been becoming more unreasonable in recent years. I would recommend that Virginia enact a statute that combines some of the different approaches used by the other states listed above. An example of a new Virginia statute that could start to fix the problem follows:

  • Workers making less than $75,000 should be excluded from non-compete agreements
  • An employee could not be held to a non-compete agreement if they were not employed for at least a year by the employer or terminated or laid off without misconduct
  • Employees faced with an employer that seeks to enforce an unreasonable agreement should be penalized by having to pay the employee’s legal fees and a small amount of damages

This proposal could be modified, but Virginia should take some action to change what has become an uneven field for employees faced with unreasonable non-compete agreements.


If you need assistance with a non-compete agreement or other employment issues, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.


Town of Herndon, Cornerstones Partner to Offer Homeowners Workshop

The Town of Herndon is working with Cornerstones to provide a free workshop for owners.

The workshop, which is set for Sunday, Oct. 6, will guide attendees through the many issues of owning and maintaining a home.

The event is set to take place at Herndon Community Center from 1-3 p.m. Contractors, housing specialists, real estate brokerage and attorneys will present information about preventive maintenance, home repairs, foreclosure prevention, and legal documents.

Attendees can RSVP by emailing [email protected]. Space is limited.

Cornerstones is a local nonprofit organization that helps resident overcome economic challenges.

Image via Google Maps


‘Hamilton and Peggy!’ Author to Speak in Reston Next Week

An author, history buff and former journalist will speak in Reston next week about her recent historical novel.

Laura Elliott will be at Sunrise Senior Living (1778 Fountain Drive) on Tuesday (Oct. 1) to give a presentation on her novel “Hamilton and Peggy!: A Revolutionary Friendship,” which explores the friendship between American historical figures Peggy Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton.

The event is part of “Creative Conversations” at the senior living facility, with similar talks scheduled through 2020, according to Connection Newspapers. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

Elliott began her writing career as a journalist and was a senior writer with Washingtonian where she said she wrote about women’s issues. Later in her career, she decided to become a novelist and has written nine novels so far, she told Reston Now.

She said she decided to write the novel after learning about their friendship — Peggy helped Hamilton by acting as a “wingman” to help Hamilton court her sister, Elizabeth.

Elliott said that many of her readers first became interested in the topic after hearing about the popular Broadway musical “Hamilton.”

“It’s amazing how much history they fit into the musical,” Elliott said.

She will tailor the presentation to the audience, understanding that some of the seniors at the living community may be veterans, she said.

“The thing about seniors is that they know their history,” Elliott said. “I really do try to gauge what interest the audience most and leave time for questions.”

Looking forward to the future, Elliott said she is discussing with her publisher another book focusing on other prominent figures from the era. She told Reston Now she is considering writing a novel about John Laurens, who was a soldier during the Revolutionary War.

Photo via Facebook


Monday Morning Notes

Changes at the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride — “Beginning September 23 through November 2019, Fairfax Connector bus service at the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride will be relocated to a temporary stop on Sunrise Valley Drive. The relocation of service is due to necessary construction on the bus loop.” [Fairfax County Government]

Refunds for Metro Riders — “Late in the morning rush hour, thousands of Metro commuters experienced delays Friday Metro says it had to begin single-tracking after one of its train operators reported a metal object on the track just west of the Foggy Bottom station… Metro said under its “Rush Hour Promise” program riders with a registered SmarTrip card will automatically receive a refund if they were delayed ten minutes or more. Metro said if your card is not registered, as long as you register it before midnight tonight you will receive the refund.” [WJLA]

UMAI Ramen Reopens Today  The new ramen and rice restaurant opened at 482 Elden Street on Saturday. After all items on the menu were sold out that day, the restaurant plans to reopen today. [UMAI Ramen and Rice Bowl]

Photo by Jay Westcott


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