New Bagel Cafe Coming to North Point Village Center

Within the last two months, two businesses in North Point Village Center — Great China and Jerry’s Subs and Pizza — abruptly closed.

Now, a new bagel cafe is planned in the space vacated by Great China (1484 North Point Village Center).

The county approved a permit for Bobby’s Bagel Cafe in the village center. Reston Now was unable to reach the owner for more information. The village center’s property manager did not immediately return a request for comment.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Following Sandy Hook Shooting, Dogwood Elementary School to Upgrade Security Equipment

The security systems of Dogwood Elementary School are expected to get an upgrade after state Gov. Ralph Northam awarded five Fairfax County Public Schools a state grant.

The $236,102 grant pays for video monitoring systems, mass notification systems, visiter identification technology, two-way radios and other security upgrades.  It was established through the School Security Equipment Grants program, which was passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2013 following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Four other schools were selected for the grant: Crestwood Elementary, Parklawn Elementary, Riverside Elementary and Whitman Middle School. The grant is given to schools that are most in need of modern equipment, cannot afford the equipment, or have a relatively high number of offenses.

This year’s grant favored elementary schools at the recommendation of Northam’s Students Safety Workgroup.

A local match of 25 percent is required of most divisions to accept the grant.

Image via Google Maps

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Rolls-Royce North America to Relocate Headquarters from Reston Town Center to Reston Station

Rolls-Royce North America has officially confirmed its plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from Reston Town Center to Comstock’s Reston Station development.

The move, which was first reported by Reston Now earlier this month, is expected to take place in early 2020.

The industrial technology company will move into the 16-story glass tower designed by architect Helmut Jahn, the first of three office towers at the Reston Station project near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

“Rolls-Royce has made its impact on the world throughout history and they continue to be a global force in business and manufacturing,” said Tim Steffan, Comstock’s executive vice president.  “Comstock understands the importance that the Rolls-Royce brand means to Reston Station and together our respective executive teams worked to make their new home here a reality.”

The company’s headquarters first opened in Reston Town Center in 2008. Other companies like Appian Corp. and Certipath have also recently announced plans to move their headquarters from the town center.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Legal Insider: What is a Whistleblower?

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.

We thought that an article on whistleblowing would be timely given the recent news involving the whistleblower complaint involving Ukraine. A whistleblower is simply an individual who learns of illegal or unethical activity (or waste, fraud and abuse) and reports it.

Most whistleblowers do not end up famous, but they often play a critical role in holding employers and the government accountable for engaging in illegal activities. Too often illegal activities are ignored by an employee for fear of retaliation. Some employees, however, take a stand at great risk to themselves. As a result, many whistleblower laws have developed over the years to protect these individuals.

Whistleblower Laws in the United States and Virginia

The United States has had whistleblower laws in effect since 1863 during the time of President Abraham Lincoln, who wanted to encourage individuals to report rampant fraud against the federal government in response to purchases during the Civil War. As a result, the False Claims Act (FCA) became law and encouraged private citizens to bring lawsuits against individuals and companies who were defrauding the government.

As an incentive, the whistleblower could receive a percentage of whatever the government recovered from the disclosure. The FCA is still in effect today, though numerous other federal and state laws cover different types of whistleblowers.

In 1989, the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) was enacted to protect federal employees who disclosed illegal actions by the federal government and waste, fraud and abuse. The WPA sought to protect federal employee whistleblowers who suffered retaliation for reporting these illegal activities. There are numerous other whistleblower laws at the federal and state levels that protect individuals who disclose different types of illegal activities, such as the Clean Air Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).

These are just some of the existing whistleblower laws that can protect individuals that make disclosures. Additionally, many states allow employees, either by statute or common law, the ability to challenge retaliation related to whistleblowing activities.

In Virginia, because the state has not yet enacted general state whistleblower protections for employees, the courts have allowed employees to bring whistleblower claims through common law. These are known as Bowman claims, after the case of Bowman v. State Bank of Keysville, 331 S.E.2d 797 (Va. 1985).

General Test to Qualify for Whistleblower Protection

The importance of being a whistleblower is that certain protections can then come into play after the disclosures are made. Generally, once a disclosure is made, an employer finds out who disclosed the illegal activity and are very unhappy with the employee. This often causes employer retaliation against the whistleblower.

Whistleblower protection laws usually follow the same 3-part test to determine if an employee can prevail on a retaliation claim. In general, this requires:

  1. That the individual had a good faith belief that their employer was engaging in illegal activities or waste, fraud and abuse and they reported it
  2. That the individual’s employer knew that the individual made such disclosures
  3. That the whistleblower suffered retaliation due to the disclosures

Depending on the statute involved, a whistleblower can receive legal protection from retaliation (the most common retaliatory action involves termination from employment), damages, back pay and attorney fees. Each statute is different so individuals should consult with an attorney if they believe that they may need whistleblower protection.

Conclusion

If you need assistance with whistleblower representation 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.

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Washington West Film Festival Comes to Reston Next Week

A charity film festival is coming to Reston next week.

The Washington West Film Festival will take place from Thursday to next Tuesday (Oct. 24-28) at various venues around Reston, offering patrons a chance to watch the works of upcoming filmmakers on the big screen and contribute to a charitable cause.

The festival will kick off with a “Star Wars Red Carpet” event at Bow Tie Cinemas (11940 Market Street) at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24. Tickets are free and admission is open to the public.

Since this event celebrates Anthony Daniels, attendees are encouraged to dress in costume as C-3PO — the humanoid robot Daniels’ played. There will be a prize for the attendee dressed in the most gold.

The charity festival was founded in 2011 by Brad Russell, according to the festival website. The festival gives all of its profits to charities, which differ from year to year. This year’s charity recipients are not listed on the website yet.

This year’s festival will feature around 30 films, ranging in genre and length. A schedule of showings and tickets can be found online.

Photo via Washington West Film Festival

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Priest Admits to Sexual Contact with a Minor at Reston Church

A Clifton-based priest has admitted to sexual abuse of a minor at Reston church.

According to a release by the Arlington Diocese, Father Christopher Mould told the Bishop of Arlington, Michael Burbridge that he had sexual contact with a minor between 1992 and 1995 at Saint Thomas à Becket Catholic Church in Reston. Mould was a parochial vicar at the time.

The release stated Burbridge reported the incident to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Here’s more from Bishop Burbridge:

Father Mould has expressed deep contrition for his actions, and he accepts that there will be serious and severe consequences for them.  

The Diocese of Arlington is fully committed to a zero-tolerance policy related to sexual abuse of minors. Any such incident is a grave sin and a profound betrayal of trust. I express my heartfelt regret to the individual who was harmed by Father Mould’s actions. As is the case with any instance of sexual abuse of a minor, I have ensured that the counseling services of our Victim Assistance Coordinator are available to anyone who may need them.

The Diocese encourages anyone who knows of any misconduct or abuse on the part of any cleric or employee of the Diocese to report it to the Virginia Attorney General hotline (VirginiaClergyHotline.com) and local police, and also to contact the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator at (703) 841-2530.  

I realize that this information is difficult for you to receive. While justice and a commitment to the protection of children and young people make these actions prudent and necessary, it also brings me sadness to know the impact they have on your community. 

Mould has since resigned as Pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Church and currently holds no church office. He is also barred from practicing priesthood, according to a statement by the Diocese.

File photo

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Monday Morning Notes

Updates on Route 7 Widening — “In September, crews continued installing storm sewer between Amanda Drive and Baron Cameron Avenue. Work also continued in the median to construct temporary eastbound lanes between Reston Avenue and Amanda Drive/Markell Court.[Virginia Department of Transportation]

Herndon Town Council Community Round Table This Wednesday — The council is hosting a roundtable to give citizens a chance to engage with council members informally on Wednesday (Oct. 23) from 7-9 p.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church (651 Dranesville Road). [Herndon Town Council]

A New HVAC System for a Local Family — “One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, Ashburn, joined Lennox’s Nationwide “Feel the Love” social responsibility campaign for the 2nd year in a row to assist a family in need. Installers from One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning volunteered their time to help the community as part of this program.” [Fairfax County Times]

Photo by Jay Westcott

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