Lake Anne Plaza ‘Small Crawl’ Set for Next Week

Patrons of Lake Anne Plaza can enjoy a “Small Crawl” on Saturday, Nov. 30.

During the event, participants can join a group crawl — or walk — around the plaza to enjoy samples from several businesses.

The walk begins at the bronze sculpture of Reston’s founder Bob Simon and takes participants to the following businesses, which will offer special selections from the products they offer:

The event takes place all day on Saturday in honor of Small Business Saturday.

File photo

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Strike Against Metrobus Contractor Could Impact Fairfax Connector Service

A strike against the contractor of Metrobus could affect service by the Fairfax Connector.

The union that represents Fairfax Connector drivers indicated that a strike is possible amid an ongoing labor dispute with Transdev, the operations contractor of the Fairfax Connector service.

In a release the county warned that ongoing negotiations for a new labor agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1764 could result in service delays. Currently, no impact to service is anticipated.

Here’s more from the county:

The Fairfax Connector operations contractor, Transdev, is currently negotiating a new labor agreement with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1764, which represents Fairfax Connector drivers and mechanics.Even though Fairfax County is not a party to any labor negotiations between Transdev and labor unions, Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) has encouraged negotiations in good faith with the goal of completing a new contract prior to the expiration of the current one on November 30, 2019.  

FCDOT strives to provide effective communications and excellent customer service to our customers. We understand that you depend on us to take you where you need to go with reliable service. If the current negotiations are not successful and labor action occurs, FCDOT will communicate with passengers about service impacts and travel alternatives. 

The county offers updates about Fairfax Connector service online. Residents can also sign up for email service alerts through the county’s BusTracker.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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County Looks to Sell Land to Comstock Near Wiehle-Reston East

The county is planning to sell a roughly one-acre parcel of land north of Reston Station Boulevard.

Under the proposal, which will be considered by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors tomorrow (Tuesday) will consider selling off the land so it can be integrated in the rezoning of Reston Station Promenade, a mixed-use project by Comstock that was approved in April last year.

The sale of the land would “enable a more efficient redevelopment” of that project, according to the county.

If approved, the developer would pay roughly $3 million for the parcel and offer a density transfer of roughly 147,690 square feet to the plaza area near the county-owned Wiehle-Reston East garage.

County officials estimate that transfer would bring in a rental stream of roughly $8.6 million from Comstock, which currently pays an annual base rent of $2.9 million for its leases with the board at Reston Station.

Rents will increase as Comstock builds more pieces of its mixed-use project under a 99-year lease between the developer and the county.

An appraisal states the sale area has a value of roughly $10.8 million.

County staff recommend approval the sale, which would result in more density near the Metro Station, simplify the ownership structure  of Reston Station Promenade.

Approval of the sale will require amending the lease with Comstock.

One major change in the lease includes a requirement for Comstock to permit electoral campaign and voter registration activities on the plaza near the entry to the north entrance of the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station.

Earlier this year, free speech advocates and candidates seeking office raised concerns about Comstock’s restrictions on campaigning and electioneering at the plaza, which is considered a public space. County Concerned about civil rights violations, Board Chairwoman Sharon Bulova threatened legal action if Comstock did not take steps to allow campaign activities on the plaza.

The board is expected to make a decision on the sale tomorrow. More information about the proposal is available online.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government

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Reno of the Month: When Bad Painting Happens to Good People

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Nothing brings a home remodel or simple project to freshen up your home together more than beautiful paint. However, with the ever increasing number of gorgeous colors and types of paint available, it can be daunting knowing where to begin — or even knowing what to use. Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

  • Preparation is KEY. Clean your walls and repair any nail pops or other imperfections if at all possible
  • Primer helps even out the surfaces and prevents a blotchy appearance. Stain-killing primers both prime and seal surfaces
  • When it comes to the actual paint finish to use, it depends on what your project is. Our go-to is flat/matte paint. It wipes clean, tends to show less imperfections and can be more easily “touched-up” than other paint finishes

Download our FREE “Paint Finishes” Tip Sheet to help you get started on making the right choice of paint finish for your home.

Colors, Colors Everywhere…

You’ve prepped your walls and decided which paint finish you want. Now you’re standing in a local hardware store completely overwhelmed by the array of colors. How do you make a choice?

  • First, decide which tones you like. Do you like grey tones vs. brown? Green tones over blues? Even white paint comes in different tones, so if you want a warmer feeling, use white paint with a cream or brown tone rather than grey or blue.
  • Take lots of color swatches home and tape them on your walls. What looks one color in the store will look completely different depending on the lighting in your home. Narrow your choices down.
  • Got your shortlist? Then spend a few dollars on getting sample paint pots to bring home and try them on your walls. Color swatches and actual paint color are sometimes completely different, so it’s worth a little expense upfront to make the right choice rather than buying enough to paint a room and discovering it’s nothing like the sample once you put it on your walls.
  • If you like bold colors and are planning to stay in your home, we say go for it. Statement colors are visually impactful and just plain lovely to look at. Use sparingly — consider painting one or two walls or strategically use accent color. Too much bold color in a room can make it feel smaller than it really is.
  • If in doubt or you are thinking of selling your home in the near future, go with neutrals. You may love cobalt blue, but sometimes other people can’t see beyond bold colors to imagine their furniture in the space. Use throws, pillows and other accents in the room instead. These can be switched out as the mood strikes you rather than having to do another paint job.

Using a Paint or Home Remodeling Contractor

It’s important to have realistic expectations when either hiring a painting contractor or a home remodeler for a project that involves painting. For example, unless you are having new drywall or crown moulding installed, imperfections are going to show after the painting is complete. Remember that dent you put in your baseboards with the vacuum cleaner? Or that nick in the wall when you were moving a piece of furniture? Those aren’t going to magically disappear with a new paint job.

New recessed lighting or new lighting fixtures will also show up imperfections you just didn’t realize were there because brighter/better lighting will make them more obvious. Unless you point out the areas that just plain bug you beforehand, contractors can’t give you a smooth, blemish-free end result. Even with patching or repairs, it just isn’t possible to give you a “new drywall” finish. For this reason, some home remodelers no longer include paint in their scope of work. This is because it can be a hassle trying to manage expectations about the paint finish in your home.

This month’s featured remodel is a McLean Kitchen remodel. The original green and blonde wood color scheme had to go! Use of Benjamin Moore “Ballet White” in matte on the kitchen walls and refinishing the solarium structure in the same color (but in semi-gloss) keeps the look consistent and allows the rooms to flow from one to another. It also makes the space feel much larger without being cold.

At Synergy, we believe in providing a full service design/build experience. That’s why we include painting in the scope of every project we work on. We want you to have a turn-key experience, with nothing left to do after the dust settles except relax! Ready to renovate happy? Get in touch!

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Legal Insider: Security Clearance Cases Focus on Foreign Connections

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.

A common concern for security clearance holders and applicants involves foreign influence.

A significant portion of security clearance appeals typically focuses on this very issue. With respect to foreign influence, the Government is chiefly concerned with an individual’s loyalty or ties to another country over those to the United States.

The rules regarding foreign influence and security clearance cases are set forth in Security Executive Agent Directive 4 (SEAD 4), Guideline B, which discusses the foreign influence concerns that could lead an individual not obtaining or in losing a security clearance.

Examples of Foreign Influence Issues

Some brief examples of issues that might come up to cause the Government concern in potentially denying a security clearance follow:

Example 1 — U.S. citizen was born in India. She has recently inherited a home worth $75,000 and other assets of $50,000 in India. The individual’s parents and family also still live in India.

Example 2 — U.S. citizen born in Taiwan has family that still lives in Taiwan and extended family in China. The individual also has received health benefits from Taiwan in the past.

Example 3 — U.S. citizen’s brother is a general in the Iraqi forces. The risk of having a close relative in such a high foreign position causes a significant security concern for the U.S. Government. See DOHA Case.

Example 4 — U.S. Citizen had 6 relatives in the Philippines. The large number of relatives in the Philippines caused security concerns for the individual in their security clearance matter. See DOHA Case.

Specific Security Concerns Involving Foreign Influence

There are numerous examples of foreign influence issues that can arise when seeking a security clearance. According to SEAD 4, Paragraph 7 the guidelines define serious foreign influence issues as involving the following types of issues:

7(a) contact, regardless of method, with a foreign family member, business or professional associate, friend, or other person who is a citizen of or resident in a foreign country if that contact creates a heightened risk of foreign exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion

(b) connections to a foreign person, group, government, or country that create a potential conflict of interest between the individual’s obligation to protect classified or sensitive information or technology and the individual’s desire to help a foreign person, group, or country by providing that information or technology

(c) failure to report or fully disclose, when required, association with a foreign person, group, government, or country

(d) counterintelligence information, whether classified or unclassified, that indicates the individual’s access to classified information or eligibility for a sensitive position may involve unacceptable risk to national security

(e) shared living quarters with a person or persons, regardless of citizenship status, if that relationship creates a heightened risk of foreign inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion

(f) substantial business, financial, or property interests in a foreign country, or in any foreign-owned or foreign-operated business that could subject the individual to a heightened risk of foreign influence or exploitation or personal conflict of interest

(g) unauthorized association with a suspected or known agent, associate, or employee of a foreign intelligence entity

(h) indications that representatives or nationals from a foreign country are acting to increase the vulnerability of the individual to possible future exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion

(i) conduct, especially while traveling or residing outside the U.S., that may make the individual vulnerable to exploitation, pressure, or coercion by a foreign person, group, government, or country

Mitigating Security Concerns

Even when security concerns relating to foreign influence arise, there are often ways of mitigating them and enabling the clearance holder or applicant to still obtain/retain a security clearance. According to Paragraph 8 of SEAD 4, an individual may be able to still hold a security clearance if they can prove mitigating details, as defined below:

8(a) the nature of the relationships with foreign persons, the country in which these persons are located, or the positions or activities of those persons in that country are such that it is unlikely the individual will be placed in a position of having to choose between the interests of a foreign individual, group, organization, or government and the interests of the United States

(b) there is no conflict of interest, either because the individual’ s sense of loyalty or obligation to the foreign person, or allegiance to the group, government, or country is so minimal, or the individual has such deep and longstanding relationships and loyalties in the United States, that the individual can be expected to resolve any conflict of interest in favor of the U.S. interest

(c) contact or communication with foreign citizens is so casual and infrequent that there is little likelihood that it could create a risk for foreign influence or exploitation

(d) the foreign contacts and activities are on U.S. Government business or are approved by the agency head or designee

(e) the individual has promptly complied with existing agency requirements regarding the reporting of contacts, requests, or threats from persons, groups, or organizations from a foreign country

(f) the value or routine nature of the foreign business, financial, or property interests is such that they are unlikely to result in a conflict and could not be used effectively to influence, manipulate, or pressure the individual

Having counsel to assist a clearance holder in establishing proof of mitigation in foreign influence cases under Guideline B is critical. These are not cases that should be handled without a lawyer.

Conclusion

If you are in need of security clearance representation or advice, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Shared-Use Path on Route 7 in Reston Temporarily Closes for Repairs

Users of the bicycle and pedestrian lane on Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Reston Parkway will have to find another route.

The section of the sidewalk will be closed for repairs, which are expected to begin today (Monday, Nov. 18).

The repairs are expected to last until April 2020 and will maintain utility lines and “earthworks,” according to the Virginia Department of Transporation (VDOT).

VDOT asks that people temporarily avoid the path and follow directions from roadwork signs.

The construction will only affect the “right of way” land owned by Fairfax County and not residents unless permission is granted from property owners.

Image via VDOT

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Paddywax Candle Bar Opening Next Week in Reston Town Center

A new DIY candle making experience is coming to Reston — just in time for the holidays.

Paddywax Candle Bar is coming to Reston Town Center (1816 Library Street) with a grand opening next Saturday (Nov. 23) and will allow customers to design their own candles.

Participants can choose their own container and scent combinations before an instructor assists them with the rest of the process. There are more than 2,000 possible combinations, according to a press release.

The candle making classes cost $40 which includes a take-home candle, which is available for pick-up three hours later.

Premade candles at the shop cost around $12-25.

Paddywax Candle Bar first opened its doors in Nashville, and the Reston shop will mark the company’s 8th location in the U.S.

Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase during candle making classes for guests over the age of 21.

Participants are also eligible for 20% off their purchase of candles, greeting cards, hair accessories, personal care items and textiles after their class.

Photo via Paddywax Candle/Facebook

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Monday Morning Notes

Traffic Changes on Dulles Toll Road and Sunset Hill Road This Week — Lane closures are scheduled beginning today (Monday) through Friday, Nov. 22, along the eastbound and northbound Dulles Toll Road and eastbound Sunset Hills Road near the future Reston Town Center Metro Station. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Owner of Public Interest Registry to Sell Organization — The owner of Reston-based Public Internet Registry, which oversees customers in the .org domain, is set to sell the organization to a private equity company. [Washington Business Journal]

Free Locking Devices Available for Medications, Firearms — The county is offering free cable and trigger locks ad locking medication boxes. Individuals interested in the items can email [email protected] for more information. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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