Weather Alert: Severe Thunderstorm Warning In Effect Until 9:45 p.m.

A severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for the area until around 9:45 p.m. today (Thursday).

The National Weather Service says damaging winds could cause damage to trees. A tornado watch also remains in effect until midnight.

Here’s more from the alert:

HAZARD…60 mph wind gusts.

SOURCE…Radar indicated.

IMPACT…Damaging winds will cause some trees and large branches to fall. This could injure those outdoors, as well as damage homes and vehicles. Roadways may become blocked by downed trees. Localized power outages are possible. Unsecured light objects may become projectiles.

In the event of a tornado, residents are encouraged to move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building.

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Ideas Sought for Public Art at Innovation Center Metro Station

The county is seeking proposals for a permanent, 3D public artwork at the Innovation Center Metro Station‘s garage.

The artwork must integrate with the larger public space in the project at 2435 Innovation Center Drive.

The Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services has budgeted $100,000 for the project, which should “evoke the spirit of 21st century urban living, creative inspiration and a sense of community.”

The artwork would be located in the pocket park on the southeast corner to the Metro garage.

Here’s more from the county about the project:

The Innovation Center development will be a new transit-oriented development just south of the Dulles Toll Road, adjacent to the Innovation Center Station, one of six Metrorail stations being built in the Silver Line’s second phase. The overall 14.6-acre site consists of the 5.5-acre footprint for a County-constructed Metro commuter garage, kiss-and-ride spaces, pocket park, and Metro plaza with the remaining 9.1-acres to be developed by a private developer. Fairfax County has partnered with the private developer to clear and grade the nearly 15-acre undeveloped site before installing stormwater infrastructure, building a road network, erecting streetlights, constructing public space, and landscaping. The infrastructure will serve the overall development including the Metro Station Garage.

The design of the Innovation Center Metro Garage and adjacent development envisions a site-specific artwork to evoke the spirit of 21st century urban living, creative inspiration, and a sense of community. The artwork may address local themes or landmarks of the surrounding area. The work should be visible from the street and the Metro Plaza, just north of the pocket park and kiss-and-ride. The artwork shall be accessible to the general public of all ages and ability levels, and shall not impact planned infrastructure, easements, trees, and critical root zones. The artwork may engage visitors by being tactile or interactive; may be an identifiable landmark or gathering spot on the site; may offer opportunities for environmental education; or may engage site features such as trees or topography to provoke a spatial experience.

Applications are due by Friday, Nov. 8. Three semi-finalists will be selected by a committee with representatives from the county.

More information about submission guidelines is available online.

File photo

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Reston Community Orchestra to Kick Off 32nd Season This Weekend

Reston Community Orchestra kicks off its 32nd season this Saturday (Nov. 2) at 4 p.m. at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods.

The ensemble, which is composed of volunteers, aims to enhance the culture of the community by presenting diverse symphonic music.

Maestro Dingwall Fleary has served as the music director and conductor of the ensemble since 1995.

The orchestra offers free concerts in an effort to fulfill its pledge, “Great music for a great community.”

The show, which is free and open for all, kicks off at 4 p.m. Donations are appreciated.

Photo via Reston Community Orchestra

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YMCA in Reston Celebrates 20th Anniversary With Fundraising Gala

The YMCA Fairfax County Reston is hosting a fundraising gala in celebration of its 20th anniversary.

This year’s annual gala will be held at the YMCA (12196 Sunset Hills Road) from 6-11 p.m. next Saturday (Nov. 16) and feature a dinner party, silent auction and after-party, according to the event page.

“Our mission ensures that no one is turned away from access to ‘Y’ programs and membership,” the page said.

Last year, the gala raised $280,000 for the center, according to the  YMCA’s website.

Individual tickets start at $150 and sponsorships start at $1,000.

Image via YMCA Fairfax County Reston

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Del. Ken Plum: More Than Just Voting

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Readers of this column no doubt have next Tuesday, November 5, marked as election day on their calendars. You are exceptional. If history holds true, fewer than half of registered voters will vote. Getting people to register is a year-round activity but getting registered voters to actually cast a vote is a crunch-time activity for the last couple of weeks before the election.

Tired of all the robo-calls? Slick postcards in the mailbox? Contentious debate on the news media? Endless social media posts? Much of that activity is directed to reminding people to vote and to gain a competitive advantage, but it oftentimes turns off folks who are cynical about the electoral process or who are confused by it all.

Historically there have been many efforts to suppress the vote by passing laws that prevent various classes of people from qualifying to register or that add to the complexities of voting that discourage people from going to the polls. Virginia’s history is filled with numerous examples of laws that reduced the franchise. Literacy tests that were unreasonable or unfairly administered, poll taxes that not only charged for voting but included a time schedule for collection that only insiders could meet, and unusually long residency requirements are but a few examples. For much of our history in Virginia, the majority party in control of state politics worked to keep people from voting!

Against that backdrop of individual cynicism and confusing election laws, what are we who understand the importance of elections to do to increase participation in voting? I believe we need to get past the old adage that it is not polite to talk about politics and religion. Leaving religion for another discussion, I believe more than ever that we need to have a more inclusive discussion that might inevitably lead to a debate about politics and government in our state and in our nation. Keep it civil is the first rule but be sure to end the discussion with a reminder to friends, family and neighbors to vote. Our government is no better than voters decide.

Between 6 am and 7 pm Tuesday, November 5, polls will be open for voting in Virginia. If you are not sure where to vote, go to fairfaxcounty.gov/elections. You can find where your polling place is but also what is on the ballot. All seats in the House of Delegates and the State Senate are up for election as are Constitution officers (for Fairfax that is the sheriff and the Commonwealth’s attorney). At the Fairfax County level, voters elect the chairman of the Board of Supervisors, the supervisor to represent their magisterial district, three at-large School Board members and a School Board member for their magisterial district, three members of the Soil and Water Conservation District Board, and a question on issuing school bonds.

There are few surprises in how I intend to vote. School children often ask me if I vote for myself, and I can assure you that I do. I will be voting for Senator Janet Howell; for Sheriff Stacey Kincaid; for Commonwealth’s attorney Steve Descano; for Board of Supervisor chairman Jeff McKay; Walter Alcorn for Hunter Mill supervisor; Melanie Meren for Hunter Mill School Board representative; for School Board at-large Karen Keys-Gamarra, Abrar Omeish, Rachna Sizemore Heizer; and for Soil and Water Conservation Board Gerald Peters, Chris Koerner, and Monica Billger; and yes on the school bond issue.

If you need to vote early, get absentee voting information at Elections. See you at the polls with your friends and neighbors on Tuesday. Now more than ever, it is important to vote and to take someone to the polls with you!

File photo

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Global Consulting Firm to Move Headquarters to Reston Station

Global consulting firm ICF International Inc. has inked a full-building lease at Comstock’s Reston Station, according to a company release.

The firm will occupy 1902 Reston Metro Plaza, an eight-story, 250,000-square-foot office building at the mixed-use development atop the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station. The company plans to relocate its headquarters of three decades in Fairfax by the end of 2022.

The glass and steel building, which sits on top of parking and restaurant space, is expected to be complete by 2021.

“We are confident that Reston Station has everything we need to provide one of the best employee experiences in the Washington D.C. metro area,” said John Wasson, Chief Executive Officer of ICF. “Having our global headquarters in the heart of a rapidly expanding technology corridor directly supports our strategic growth plans and provides so many more conveniences to our employees.”

ICF is the latest tenant to join the development. Search engine giant Google has moved into Reston Station’s first office building and other companies like Neustar, Rolls-Royce North America, British Telecom and Spaces by Regus are also in the pipeline.

“We look forward to welcoming ICF and its entire team to the Reston Station neighborhood,” said Christopher Clemente, CEO of Comstock Companies. “Comstock is committed to creating a world-class development that provides world-class companies a remarkable neighborhood and an attractive platform for our tenants to recruit and retain talent needed to grow their business.”

ICF is a global consultancy and digital services provider that has more than 7,000 employees.

Photo via Comstock

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Thursday Morning Notes

Collect for Kids Campaign Exceeds Goals — The annual campaign, a drive for backpacks or school supplies for students in need, raised more than $28,400 this year. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Campus Commons Moves Forward — “The Campus Commons project near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro stop is moving forward after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors gave the final okay. It is the latest in a rash of approvals to redevelop office parks close to the Silver Line, but this particular project has provoked a new wave of opposition against long-planned changes–like new housing and offices–in Reston.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Fun at Reston’s Halloween House — “Children three through ten years of age delighted in Reston Association’s non-ghoulish Halloween House and Trick-or-Treat Trail at Walker Nature Center, held Oct. 25-26. Even though the association added more tickets for this year’s event, according to Katie Shaw, Nature Center Manager, advance times sold out once again before the weekend.” [The Connection]

Photo via Flickr/vantagehill

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Election Roundup: Local Races to Follow on Election Day Next Week

The election is less than one week away for Fairfax County voters. 

While Democrat Walter Alcorn won the primary seat for Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, who is retiring, there are still plenty of local races to follow.

The makeup of the Fairfax County School Board is expected to change considerably, with nine contested seats. Six district seats and the chair are contested on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. 

Two candidates are running for the seat of Pat Hynes, who currently holds the Hunter Mill District seat on the school board. Earlier this year, Hynes said she would not seek reelection after serving on the 12-member board for the last seven years.

Reston Now will be covering the race for the chair of the Board of Supervisors, the Commonwealth’s Attorney, the at-large seat for the school board, and the Hunter Mill District Seat for the school board.

Chairman of Board of Supervisors

Fairfax County School Board — Hunter Mill DistrictLaura Ramirez Drain

Fairfax County School Board — At-Large Seats (voters choose three)

Commonwealth’s Attorney

Absentee voting, which is offered at 10 locations, runs through Saturday, Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. Polling locations are available on the county’s website.

Residents will also vote on a number of bond referendums for schools, including planning funds for a new “Silver Line” elementary school.

Election returns will be posted by the Virginia Department of Elections online. Stay tuned for more information and coverage next week. 

File photo

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‘Matilda’ Coming to NextStop Theatre in Herndon

A production of “Matilda” is coming to NextStop Theatre in November.

“Matilda” will debut on Thursday (Nov. 14) beginning around 7 p.m. at 269 Sunset Park Drive. Performances will run through Dec. 22.

“Based on the beloved Roald Dahl novel, ‘Matilda’ is the story of an extraordinary little girl who decides to fight back against tyrannical adults,” a press release said.

Tickets typically range from $40 to $55 dollars. Event organizers suggest that people get their tickets in advance because they are expected to sell out.

Image via NextStop

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Reston Environmental Study Wins Fairfax County Award

Reston environmentalists received an award from Fairfax County last week.

The Reston Annual State of the Environment (RASER), a report compiled by nine people, won an Environmental Excellence Award from Fairfax County.

The report covers air, water, forests, meadows, wetlands, landscaping, urban agriculture, wildlife, hazardous materials, light and noise pollution and education in the Reston region, the Fairfax County website said. RASER was founded in 2017 and consists of professionals and citizen scientists who volunteer their time to synthesize the 325 data sources, the website said.

From the 2018 report, the group said Reston should focus on improving urban forests and community access to nature, which they say improves wellbeing for people in the area. The group sent in an application for the Biophilic Cities Network Program and drafted a pledge that residents can take to become more nature-friendly.

Based on other findings, they followed through on a biological diversity study in the area, called a BioBlitz, which cataloged more than 600 species of plants, animals and organisms.

“Through these and other actions, the RASER Working Group has established a strong foundation for the assessment and enhancement of Reston’s ecological resources and helped to create well-connected urban landscapes where nature and community members can thrive,” the Fairfax County website said.

In total, the report took volunteers more than 2,000 hours to complete, according to the website.

The nine members primarily responsible for compiling the report were invited to a ceremony on Tuesday (Oct. 22).

Photo via Fairfax County

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Pet of the Week: Coal and Lacey

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Coal and Lacey, a black male Labrador and a female Pit Bull mixed breed available for adoption locally.

Here’s what their friends at Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation have to say:

Coal and his buddy Lacey are like peanut butter and jelly, gin and tonic or Bert and Ernie — you just simply can’t have one without the other!

Coal’s two loves in life are Lacey and tennis balls! He plays fetch like a pro and is a complete gentleman bringing the ball back and dropping it right at your feet. Lacey loves rolling in grass, playing with toys, head scratches and Sunday morning strolls in good company.

Coal and Lacey are well-mannered house guests and good with small children. They get along with some other dogs, but would really prefer to be the only two in the home. Coal and Lacey are great walking companions, travel well in the car and are perfect on the leash.

Coal and Lacey lost their lifetime home when their owner passed away and have not yet found the right fit in a new home. This incredibly special duo and bonded pair are looking for a final, forever home where they can grow old together feeling safe and loved.

Coal and Lacey are so beloved that their adoption will be FREE thanks to a member of the Coal and Lacey fan club who couldn’t keep them in their home, but wanted to help them find their final forever home!

Are you, Coal and Lacey a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of eight Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Town of Herndon Seeks Applicants for Local Committees, Boards

The Town of Herndon has a number of openings for local advisory committees, boards, and commissions.

Town residents are encouraged to apply to open positions in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) — which aims to promote safe walking and bicycling in the town — and the Fairfax County Athletic Council. One resident will represent the town on the athletic council, which is an advisory body that sets policies and priorities to improve sports programs in the county.

Middle and high school students can also serve on the Herndon Youth Advisory Council, which advises the council on issues and decisions relevant to youth. Students who either live in the Town of Herndon or attend Herndon Middle and Herndon High schools are encouraged to apply.

Town of Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel said the youth council is a critical way to engage Herndon’s youth, especially as the town’s population increases in number and diversity.

“This is a great way for middle and high school students to develop lifelong habits of community activism,” Merkel said. “The voices of our young people are important and need to be heard.”

Applications are available online and at the clerk’s office in the Herndon Municipal Center (777 Lynn Street).

Image via Town of Herndon

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Bestselling Author to Discuss Iranian Revolution at Reston Community Center

The Iranian American bestselling author of “Reading Lolita in Tehran” comes to Reston Community Center’s CenterStage next month.

Author Azar Nafisi is set to discuss her book and other work — which offers a portrait of the Islamic revolution in Iran and its effect on one university professor and her students — on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m.

Copies of her books, including “The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books,” will be available for purchase and signing after the event.

Nafisi is a fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and has taught at Oxford University and several universities in Tehran.

Tickets are $15 for Reston residents and $20 for all others. More information about the event is available online.

Photo via Twitter/Azar Nafisi

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Appraisals Roadshow Set for Election Day — Bring one personal valuable and appraisal experts will offer information on what the item is worth and what can be done with the treasure. The roadshow is set for Tuesday, Nov.  5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Reston Association’s headquarters. [Reston Association]

Shop for a Cause at Scout and Molly’s Boutique — “October is shop-for-a-cause month at Scout and Molly’s boutique in Reston, Virginia. Their goal is to support local women fighting breast cancer. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Scout and Molly’s Boutique will be donating a portion of all of their proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. This foundation largely supports women fighting breast cancer and breast cancer survivors.” [Local DVM]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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