Reston, VA

No more than once a year, Reston Now surveys readers about potential changes to the site.

This year might be one of the more important years for the survey. Our eight-question 2021 Reston Now Reader Survey asks about potential new features, adjustments to our news coverage, and your satisfaction with our Reston reporting.

The survey should only take about 5 minutes to fill out. We would greatly appreciate if you would take the time to do so, and to help Reston Now better serve you in the process.

Thank you!

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Top Stories This Week


Before we head off into another weekend with COVID-19 abound, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. Confusion on COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Remains After County Opts Out of State System
  2. Reston Town Center May Face Trial Over Woman’s Severe Fall
  3. New Fitness Gym Opens in Reston Town Center
  4. Fairfax County’s COVID-19 Case Count Continues to Dip
  5. Reston Association Migrates to Cloud Infrastructure Amid IT Security Concerns

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your social distancing plans, or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

Photo via F45 Training

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There’ll be a public hearing next month regarding leasing Frying Pan Farm Park’s Ellmore Farmhouse to ServiceSource, a non-profit that engages disabled individuals in the community.

Earlier this week, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the March 23 hearing to discuss allowing Fairfax County Park Authority to sublease the 130-year-old, two-story, 3,300 square foot house at 2739 West Ox Road to ServiceSource as part of the county’s “Resident Curator Program.”

The terms of the lease allows the organization to transform the house into a “Community Integration Center” that would provide employment to its clients through an onsite café and handicrafts specialty store.

ServiceSource has programs across the country including theirs in Northern Virginia for more than 40 years, according to its website.

It was back in July 2019 when ServiceSource was first identified as a candidate to take over Ellmore Farmhouse.

The sublease would be for 29 years.

The ServiceSource – the “resident curator” – has proposed rehabilitating “by making ADA-compliant improvements and incorporating green-building designs in a manner that respects the heritage, historic features and appearance of the property,” reads the board agenda.

Under the lease, the resident curator also agrees to provide ongoing maintenance and property upkeep for the next nearly three decades in exchange for rent-free use.

The Resident Curator Program is managed by the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA). There are four properties in the program: Lahey Lost Valley in Vienna, Ash Grove also in Vienna, Hannah P. Clark House in Lorton, and Ellmore Farmhouse in Herndon.

In 2001, FCPA acquired Ellmore Farmhouse for inclusion in Frying Pan Park.

The house was first constructed in 1891 as a family home. William Ellmore, a prominent local politician who served on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisor, operated a dairy farm on the property as well until it was sold in 1945. It continued as a dairy farm for another decade before shutting down operations.

It went through several different owners, including a church, prior to being sold to FCPA.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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The Reston Historic Trust & Museum is seeking feedback from the community as it plans for the future.

The nonprofit organization has launched an online survey for people who are familiar with the museum for feedback on programs and exhibits, what Reston history topics are of interest and what the preferable format is to learn about Reston history.

The survey is comprised of 21 questions and is available to be filled out until March 17. A 10% discount on shop items is being offered to those who fill out the survey and provide their email.

The museum is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. as volunteers are available. It is also free of charge.

The organization conducts educational and public programming, exhibitions and public events. It also offers a number of online resources including a digital history map of Reston, a brief history of the town and kids activities.

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Although access to county libraries is currently limited, staff are still finding ways to for library patrons to enjoy services offered by the county’s library system.

Reston Regional Library recently launched a take-home laptop program that allows residents to borrow Chromebooks.  So far, the program is only in effect at the libraries at Reston, Sherwood, George Mason and Centreville.

To place a Chromebook on hold, customers must be age 19 or above and return the laptop to the same branch it was borrowed from. The laptops can be checked out for two weeks and cannot be renewed.

Library staff erase all personal data and reset the laptops once they are returned.

Here’s more from the library on things to know before taking part in the program.

Internet access/Wi-Fi is required to use the Google suite of tools. Internet access/Wi-Fi is not included with this laptop.

Chromebooks support the Google suite of productivity tools, including Docs, Sheets and Slides. These tools can access Microsoft office files, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

You can browse as a guest or use a Gmail account.

If you browse as a guest be aware that your documents and history will be immediately removed when the Chromebook sleeps, restarts or shuts down.

Laptop, cable and bag will be sanitized between borrowers.

Residents can place a hold on laptops online.

Photo via Fairfax County Public Library 

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Friday Morning Notes

Alcorn Seeks Intern — The Hunter Mill District Office is seeking a part-time summer intern to help with public service activities. The deadline to apply is March 1. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston House Fire Extinguished — A small fire broke out on the outside of a roof on the 11500 block of Greenwich Point in Reston yesterday evening. The fire was quickly extinguished and no injuries were reported. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Late Night Thieves Target Minority Business OwnersDetectives in Fairfax County are investigating a series of overnight commercial burglaries at minority-owned businesses located in Alexandria, Annandale, Falls Church and Springfield in Virginia. [WTOP]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Reston Town Center manager Boston Properties and security contractor MaxSent may have to face trial over a women’s 2018 lawsuit alleging she tripped, fell, and got hurt walking from the parking garage to the shopping center.

Camille Sedar fell down a short flight of stairs, landed face first, and lost consciousness. She was later diagnosed to have a concussion. The suit alleges she tripped due to loose, uneven bricks and “sagging” caulk at the top of the stairs causing the fall.

Sedar says she doesn’t remember the fall. Though witnesses didn’t actually see her fall, they saw her on the ground, hurt, and called for help, according to court documents.

Sedar won the appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit earlier this week, as first reported by Bloomberg Law.

The appeal centered on if there was enough “material” facts and evidence that lack of upkeep and maintenance could have caused the loose bricks and her fall.

Sedar provided photographic evidence, scuffed shoes, and an expert engineer witness saying large gaps due to loose bricks create tripping hazards.

The defense argued that it wasn’t on their clients to fix small “sidewalk irregularities,” which are visible to all and known to be avoided. Plus, it was “mere speculation” that these irregularities caused her fall in the first place.

However, a loose brick may not be immediately obvious and visible, argued the plaintiff, and therefore created a hazard.

Sedar also offered evidence that the shopping owners and property manager had knowledge of the hazard.

The court agreed there was enough evidence that the loose brick and sagging caulk could have created a tripping hazard and, therefore, the case could go to trial.

“We make no comment on which parties’ evidence is more persuasive. We only ask whether Sedar has provided ‘evidence beyond speculation’ that provides a sufficient basis for a reasonable inference of causation,” reads the court’s opinion. “We conclude that she has.”

Reston Now has reached out to each side’s attorneys but have yet to hear back as of publication.

Photo by R. Dawson/Flickr

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A hair salon and spa is replacing a hair salon in North Point Village Center.

Christie-Adam Salon and Spa, which is currently located in Great Falls, plans to open a new location at 1410 North Point Village Center, on March 2, a business spokesperson tells Reston Now.

The space was formerly occupied by KLS Studios, a hair salon that has plans to shift its operation to Tysons earlier this year.

Christie-Adam first opened in 1999 in Great Falls. The full-service salon and spa offers skin treatments, massages, hair cuts, hair dye treatments, and nail services.

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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.

One of the meaningful traditions that has evolved in the Virginia House of Delegates over the last couple of decades has been the celebration of Black History Month by having a speech each day on the House floor about famous Black persons and their struggles and accomplishments in the Commonwealth. According to History magazine, Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976 the month of February has been designated as Black History Month and is celebrated around the world, including in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Virginia has a unique role in Black history. The first enslaved Blacks arrived in Virginia in 1619, and the labors of these persons were central to the growth of the Virginia colony and then state. It was Black laborers who built the grand plantations’ homes and the institutions of higher education while themselves living in meager housing and refused entrance into public schools and colleges. It was Black slave labor that built the early Virginia tobacco economy while being denied all but the most limited income. Black persons supported the lifestyle of the most prominent Virginia families with no public recognition of their accomplishments. As significant as were Jefferson’s words that “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence, they did not apply to the slaves in his household nor to the Constitution that counted them as 3/5ths of a person.

The Emancipation Proclamation, the outcome of the Civil War and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment did not result in equality under the law for Black citizens. Under federal Reconstruction government about one hundred Black citizens were elected to public office between 1869 and 1890 including a Black congressman, but a swift reaction by conservative whites led to Jim Crow laws and voting laws that quickly curtailed the power of Black voters. The 1902 Virginia Constitution that included a literacy test and poll tax for voting limited the number of Black voters to such a degree that they did not regain their numbers at the turn of the century until the 1990s.

The recent history of voting in Virginia offers reasons to celebrate. There are more Black members of the Virginia General Assembly today than at any time since Reconstruction. There are two Black congressmen from Virginia. The Lieutenant Governor, the President of the Virginia Senate, and the majority leader of the House of Delegates are Black. The General Assembly has made historic strides in repealing Jim Crow laws, expanding voter participation and reforming criminal justice laws and practices that discriminated against persons of color. Virginia was the first state to have a Black governor, and for the nominations to run this fall there are at least two Black women and one Black man running for governor, two or more Black men running for lieutenant governor and at least one Black man running for the attorney general nomination. There are ample reasons to be celebrating Black history in Virginia this month and throughout the year.

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Trash collectors in Fairfax County will not pick up leaves, grass clippings, and other yard waste stored in plastic bags when the collection season begins on Monday (Mar. 1).

After holding a public hearing, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted 9-1 on Tuesday (Feb. 23) to officially prohibit the use of plastic bags for yard waste by amending its Solid Waste Management Ordinance, a move that supporters say is necessary to reduce pollution and make the county more environmentally friendly.

“To reverse climate catastrophe, each of us must make many small and large steps,” Faith Alliance for Climate SolutionsBoard Chair Eric Goplerud said when testifying at the public hearing. “Banning plastic bags to contain yard waste is a step that the Board of Supervisors can take to lead our community to care for our common home, the Earth.”

Fairfax County began transitioning away from using plastic bags for yard waste last year, encouraging residents to use compostable paper bags or reusable containers instead.

In an update to the board’s environmental committee on Oct. 27, county staff reported that about 51% of homes surveyed during the 2020 yard waste season were still utilizing plastic bags, but Fairfax County Director of Engineering and Environmental Compliance Eric Forbes says he is “hopeful and confident” that the bags can be eliminated after the past year of education and outreach.

Now that the ban has been approved, the county’s solid waste management program is encouraging private trash and recycling collection companies to notify their customers that waste in plastic bags will no longer be collected.

“We do not anticipate a hundred percent success rate in the beginning, but we will continue our outreach and collaboration with industry to help our community to reach compliance with the new requirements,” Forbes said.

Forbes acknowledged that compostable paper bags are slightly more expensive to buy than plastic bags. County staff found that paper bags designed to carry yard waste cost about 50 cents per bag, whereas plastic bags cost around 30 cents.

Yet, the overall cost of utilizing plastic may be greater, since the material is difficult to extract and can damage equipment during the composting process, pushing up costs for collectors and, by extension, customers, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay says.

While paper bags are preferable to plastic, Forbes noted that residents can avoid the costs of yard waste removal altogether by managing it on-site with backyard composting or allowing grass clippings to decompose on their lawn, a practice known as grasscycling.

McKay says he got 75 emails on the proposed ban, with an even split between supporters and opponents, but he believes it is time for Fairfax County to join the rest of the D.C. region, where some jurisdictions have required paper bags or reusable containers for more than a decade.

“We ultimately just have to decide whether we think this is a good idea or not,” McKay said. “…I think clearly, based on the testimony that we’ve heard today, based on where everyone around the region is, and frankly, based on where the science is, this is something that we must do now to help with our environmental challenges.”

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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