Reston Executive Confirmed Dead After Annapolis Fire

Photo via AP/Capital Gazette, Glenn A. Miller

The head of a Reston cybersecurity firm, his wife and four grandchildren are confirmed to have died in the blaze that destroyed an Annapolis-area mansion.

Don and Sandy Pyle and their grandchildren Charlotte, Katie, Lexi and Wes Boone, who ranged in age from 6 to 8, were positively identified by the Anne Arundel County medical examiner, officials announced this afternoon.

The blaze that reduced the Pyles’ $6 million home to rubble was caused by an electrical failure that set a 15-foot Christmas tree alight within minutes, Anne Arundel County Fire and Police chief Allan Graves at a press conference. The tree had been cut more than 60 days prior to the overnight fire Jan. 19.

“When they’re dry, they burn quickly,” Graves said, noting investigators were still working to identify other factors that may have contributed to the size and speed of the accidental fire.

Fire alarms sounded in the Pyles’ home about 3:30 a.m., federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent Bill McMullan said. Authorities were notified within three minutes.

“It’s a tragic accident that occurred at the absolute worst possible time — when the Pyles and their grandchildren were sleeping,” he said.

The family was previously announced to be missing, and then presumed dead.

Donald Pyle, 56, was hired last fall as chief operating officer at ScienceLogic, a Reston-based firm that monitors networks for private and government clients, including the Department of Defense.

He was remembered on his company’s website as having a “vivacious spirit, thirst for life, and love of family.”

“Humble and brilliant, Don possessed a special leadership quality that lifted others to seek accomplishments beyond what they originally thought possible,” the statement from ScienceLogic CEO David Link said.

Photo: Firefighters at home of Reston-based ScienceLogic CEO Donald Pyle. Photo via AP/Capital Gazette, Glenn A. Miller

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Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food’s Secret to Success? Approachability

Jackson's Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge (Photo via Flickr/dad)After Jackson’s Mighty Fine Foods & Lucky Lounge was named one of the top-earning independent restaurants in the country this week, Reston Now asked the owners why they think the business is such a hit.

Jackson’s familiar menu, reliable service and the spirit of its late executive chef — for whom the business was named — are key to the Reston Town Center eatery’s success, CEO Jon Norton said Friday.

“We focus really hard on our restaurants being approachable and not intimidating,” he said, referring to all 13 establishments in the Great American Restaurants group.

At Jackson’s — which opened in 2008 — customers feel equally comfortable bringing in business clients for lunch and their kids for dinner, Norton said.

The bustling, 260-seat restaurant was named in honor of chef Bill Jackson, who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and died shortly before Jackson’s opened, Norton said. He was 54.

“He was a character,” Norton said. “You’d always see him looking out from the kitchen after a dish was served, around a corner so no one could see him. If [the customer] had a good reaction, he’d have a smile on his face.”

Homages to the Great American Restaurants executive chef appear throughout the dining room. The “Little Rascals” mural near the kitchen shows Jackson with the characters of the comedy (it was a fan), and the menu still includes some of Jackson’s favorites, like the French dip sandwich, Norton said.

“We like to think that his spirit is still in the place.”

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UPDATE: Sick Woman at Inova Fairfax Hospital Does Not Have Ebola

Ebola Virus/Credit: CDC

Update at 5:20 p.m. — The woman who vomited on a tour bus near the Pentagon Friday morning and set off quarantines across the region does not have Ebola, Fairfax and Arlington health department officials said Friday evening.

“Based on the public health investigation, which included the travel history of a woman who became ill this morning in a Pentagon parking lot, and on questioning of her by medical staff, medical authorities are confident that she does not have Ebola,” officials said in a statement.

(Updated at 5:00) A woman vomiting on a tour bus near the Pentagon Friday morning is being evaluated for possible symptoms of Ebola at Fairfax Inova Hospital.

County health officials said the woman is being kept in isolation while they get information about her health and travel history. Local health departments are working to find every person who had contact with the woman.

“The patient was immediately isolated and is undergoing triage in consultation with the Fairfax County Health Department,” Inova said in a statement. “Based upon that evaluation, a decision will be made by the health department as to whether the patient meets the criteria to be tested for the Ebola virus.”

The Centers for Disease Control will determine whether the woman should be tested for Ebola, Fairfax County Health Department officials said about 3 p.m.

The woman, whose age was not released, became ill on a tour bus in the Pentagon’s south parking lot about 9:10 a.m. Friday, according to a statement from Arlington County. When medics learned she had recently arrived from Africa, a hazardous materials team was called out of “a complete abundance of caution,” Pentagon Force Protection Agency spokesman Chris Layman told ARLnow.com.

The woman was initially taken to Virginia Hospital Center but did not exit the ambulance. The Arlington County Fire Department then transported her to Fairfax Inova Hospital, Arlington officials said. A news chopper photographer posted photos of emergency vehicles and an orange protective tent outside the 3300 Gallows Rd. hospital about 12:15 p.m.

Two officials with knowledge of the incident, plus the woman’s boss at a public relations firm, said they do not believe the patient had recently traveled outside the U.S., The Washington Post reported. Rather, the woman was suffering from a “severe illness” and might have boarded the wrong bus, her boss said.

The bus the woman briefly rode was quarantined for four hours near Barracks Row in D.C. and D.C. police closed an entire block, the Post reported. D.C. Department of Health officials told U.S. Marines and others on board — who had no contact with the woman — to take their temperatures twice a day for the next three weeks and report any irregularities.

An Inova representative said Thursday that he was “absolutely confident” the facility could treat Ebola patients. Officials said then that they planned to open a separate Ebola unit next week.

A Loudoun county inmate who had recently traveled in West Africa was taken to Inova Loudoun Hospital on Thursday after she was found to have a low-grade fever, the Post reported. The middle-aged woman “didn’t meet the threshold for Ebola testing,” the hospital said in a statement Friday morning. “All safety precautions and protocols were in place” at the Loudoun hospital, they said.

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‘Help the Homeless’ Walk Will Start at Shelter on Sunday

10th annual community walk (Photo via Facebook/Cornerstones)(Updated at 7 p.m.) Reston residents can get some exercise this weekend and help needy people at the same time.

The Reston-based service organization Cornerstones will hold its 11th annual Help the Homeless Community Walk on Sunday to raise funds for locals the group has placed in their own homes.

Funds raised by the walk will buy essentials like food and household items for people who have moved into stable homes, spokeswoman Angela Suarez said.

“Fairfax is such a wealthy county, but we actually have a lot of homeless families. We have homeless families who are sleeping in their cars. We have homeless families who are sleeping in the woods,” she said. “And we can help them.”

The organization oriented toward self-sufficiency and helping clients get back on their feet sees people coping with unemployment, disabilities and aging, Suarez said.

Cornerstones, formerly called Reston Interfaith, runs the 70-bed Embry Rucker Community Shelter. The nonprofit found homes for 18 families and another 28 individuals between July 1 and Sept. 30, Suarez said.

More than 1,200 people are homeless in Fairfax County on a given night, Cornerstones says. Nearly a third of these are children.

Check-in for the 2-mile walk is set to begin at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, with the walk starting at 1:30 p.m. Adults age 18 and older pay $25, kids age 17 and younger give $20, and families with three or more walkers give $50. Walkers will start at the shelter (11975 Bowman Towne Dr.), head to St. Anne’s Episcopal Church (1700 Wainwright Dr.) and loop back.

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Friday Morning Rundown

Community Theater — The Reston Community Players’ 2014 season begins Friday with the first performances of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” The actor who plays Schroeder said the musical is great for kids and adults. “The characters are ageless, and the appeal is universal.” [Broadway World]

Restaurant Inspections — The Sheraton Reston Hotel and the Reston National Golf Course were recently cited for “critical violations” by the County Health Department. Records show the hotel’s dishwashing machine did not meet standards and the golf course did not keep foods at proper temperatures. [Reston Patch]

Weekend Metro Service — Silver Line trains will operate less frequently from 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday night, with trains running every 16 minutes. Normal service is every 12 minutes. [Metro]

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Reston-Area Hospitals Say They’re Prepared for Ebola

Ebola poster (Photo via CDC)As more rigorous screenings for Ebola began at Dulles International Airport on Thursday, local hospitals said they’re ready to handle patients.

Reston Hospital Center is giving health care workers gowns and goggles, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends, officials told WTOP. Staff will use respirator masks while in contact with people who could have the virus, and will follow World Health Organization guidelines.

Inova Fairfax Hospital will open a separate Ebola unit next week that can isolate as many as 12 people, WTOP reported. Inova Health System Chief Medical Officer Loring Flint said he was “absolutely confident” the facility could treat Ebola patients.

No cases of Ebola have been found in the Washington, D.C. region. Thomas Eric Duncan, the first ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S., had a three-hour layover at Dulles on Sept. 20, before he fell ill.

“The risk of Ebola spreading widely in the United States is low,” county officials said in a statement released Wednesday. Officials reminded residents that the virus is transmitted only by touching blood or bodily fluids of an infected person, touching contaminated objects or touching infected animals.

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Latino Festival to Bring Music, Soccer to Southgate on Saturday

Bolivian dancers (Photo via Flickr/parivero)Dancers, musicians and singers are headed to the Southgate Community Center this weekend for the Latino Festival of Reston.

The fifth annual event scheduled from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday will include a youth soccer tournament this year for the first time.

The festivities are a chance to honor many Reston residents’ roots, Southgate assistant director Christine Hodgson said.

“Reston is so diverse. This is a chance for us to celebrate the Latino culture, which is strong and rich in this area,” she said.

Nearly 13 percent of Reston residents identify as Hispanic or Latino, according to the 2010 Census.

Bolivian and Peruvians dance groups will perform, several bands will play, a Zumba instructor will be on hand and students learning Spanish at the Herndon Senior Center will lead a singalong.

A soccer tournament for seventh through 12th graders will start at 10:30 a.m. and run until 4 p.m. Members of the winning team will win t-shirts and futsal balls, which are smaller and heavier than an ordinary outdoor soccer balls and bounce less.

The festival and game sponsored by Reston Community Church, Reston Teen Center and the youth soccer school AC Cuigini will take place at the Southgate Community Center at 12125 Pinecrest Rd.

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Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food Among Top-Earning Restaurants Nationally

Jackson's at RTCOne of Reston’s go-to restaurants is nationally ranked.

Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge is among the top-grossing independent restaurants in the country, according to the trade publication Restaurant Business. Jackson’s brings in an estimated $11.2 million in annual sales, making it No. 86 on a list of the top 100 earners.

The 260-seat Reston Town Center eatery — which won the Best Happy Hour honors in Reston Now’s Best Reston Business Awards — serves an estimated 41,500 meals annually, the rankings say.

Only one other Virginia restaurant beat Jackson’s sales; Mike’s “American” in Springfield ranked No. 62, with estimated sales of more than $12.8 million. Both are run by Great American Restaurants.

At the top of the list were Tao Asian Bistro in Las Vegas, grossing $64.6 million, and Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach, earning $35.3 million. Old Ebbitt Grill in D.C. came in No. 3, bringing in more than $26.6 million a year.

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Thursday Morning Rundown

World Police & Fire Games Cross-Country (Photo via Flickr/Trevor Mills) (Updated at 9:25 a.m.) Ebola Screenings Start at Dulles — Travelers coming from ebola-affected countries will be subject to additional screening at Dulles International Airport starting Thursday. Travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will answer questions about their health, have their temperatures taken and receive information about ebola symptoms. [Fairfax County]

Disaster Survivor Actors Needed — The Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is seeking victim actors who can help trainees practice their skills. “Perfect for drama classes, students needing community service hours, retired persons, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and anyone interested in disasters.” [Fairfax County CERT blog]

World Police & Fire Games — Athletes worldwide are preparing for the police and firefighter “Olympics” coming to the area June 26 through July 5, 2015. A new video shows the route cross-country athletes will run around Lake Fairfax Park. [Fairfax 2015 World Police & Fire Games]

Earthquake Drill at 10:16 a.m. — To be ready in the event of an earthquake, the county wants locals to “drop, cover and hold on” no matter where you are at 10:16 a.m. [Fairfax County]

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South Lakes High Girls’ Basketball Team Getting Pumped for Season

South Lakes High School Girls' Basketball Team (Photo courtesy of Christy Winters Scott)

Reston’s top-ranked girls’ basketball team is ramping up for the season after big wins last year.

Players on the varsity team at South Lakes High School are training now, and tryouts will be held on Nov. 10, said Coach Christy Winters Scott.

“We lost eight seniors from last season, so we’re looking to remodel what we had,” Winters Scott said. “We’re looking for heart, hustle, effort, execution and passion for the game.”

The Seahawks won 23 of 26 games last year and beat James Madison High School in Vienna for the Liberty Conference 6 title in February.

To get up to speed before the team’s first scrimmage Nov. 18, players are gutting out rigorous workouts with the school’s track team, said Winters Scott, a Reston resident and native who was the 1986 All-Met Player of the Year on the school’s undefeated team. The athletes are sprinting, doing “explosive” work to develop speed, jumping hurdles and lifting weights during 90-minute workouts several times a week.

Winters Scott — who calls WNBA games for the Washington Mystics and is a color analyst for Comcast SportsNet, ESPN and Fox Sports –said she teaches her players to give it all they’ve got.

“You see the kids pushing the limit and going after what they want in life,” she said. “Twenty points per game will come if those things are in place.”

Team sports help girls test their potential, Winters Scott.

“Girls who have been active in athletics are more successful in business or as a mom, or both,” she said. “You never know what’s inside unless you tap in. Athletics forces you to tap in.”

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Small Fire Breaks Out at Reston Metro Station

Fairfax County Fire RescueFirefighters rushed to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station Wednesday morning after smoke was reported inside.

Fairfax County firefighters responded to the station about 11:10 a.m. and found a small fire in the electrical room of the station. It was extinguished within minutes and access to the station was not closed, a department spokesman said.

What started the fire was not immediately known.

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Vie de France Bakery Closing in Plaza America

Vie de France (Photo via Flickr/Stefano Fulgoni) (Updated at 5:40 p.m.) The French bakery in Plaza America will serve its final croissant this weekend.

Vie de France Bakery will close its 11642 Plaza America Dr. location on Saturday, management said, noting the company is seeking to reopen in Reston or nearby.

“We’re looking for a location now,” bakery director Francoise Cuzor said Wednesday. “The lease expired and Vie de France is taking this opportunity to relocate the Plaza America shop to another center.”

The bakery has operated in the 13-acre shopping center that includes Whole Foods Market, Ann Taylor Loft and Michaels for more than 15 years, manager Sonia Alvarenga said.

The leasing agent for Plaza America, Atlantic Realty Associates, did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the closure.

Vie de France has other locations in Kensington, Potomac and Rockville, Maryland, and near the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station.

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Wednesday Morning Rundown

Storm (Photo via Flickr/house of cards)Food Truck With Homemade Bacon — Food truck fans can look out for the Bacon N’ Eds truck at Reston Station Plaza. Chef Ed Hardy, previously of the Rockville restaurant Quench, will serve banh mi, biscuit sandwiches, homemade bacon and more. [Eater]

Ebola Screenings in Schools — Fairfax County Public Schools are screening sick students for ebola. When students are ill at school, they will be asked if they or anyone in their families have traveled to West Africa. [Fox 5]

Stormy Weather — A flood watch is in effect until 8 p.m. The forecast calls for up to 2 inches of rain, wind gusts up to 24 mph and possibly a thunderstorm. [National Weather Service]

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Crime Report: Range Rover Stolen at Reston Town Center

Range Rover (Photo via Flickr/David Guo) A 1999 Range Rover was reported missing from Reston Town Center, Fairfax County Police said.

The vehicle was last seen on the 1800 block of Discovery Street, according to the FCPD’s police blotter for Oct. 9. Additional information on how the car was taken from near the Hyatt Regency Reston and Panera Bread was not immediately available.

In other crime news from Reston District Station through Monday, Oct. 13:

LARCENIES

  • 2300 block of Soapstone Drive, merchandise stolen from a business
  • 800 block of Constellation Drive, tools stolen from a business
  • 11600 block of Stoneview Square, cash and property stolen from a home

STOLEN VEHICLE: 13200 block of Keach Place, a 2004 Cadillac was stolen

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Lake Anne, Crescent Development Renderings Released

The future look of the Crescent Apartments and Lake Anne area is coming into focus.

Lake Anne Development Partners has released dozens of new images in a revitalization plan document. The designs show an expanded plaza, a larger farmers market and a “pedestrian mew” strip of greenery between townhouses.

Fairfax County selected LADP to redevelop the 16-acre site after a yearlong request for proposals process. Overhauling the county-owned Crescent affordable housing complex, rebuilding the farmers market and creating additional office and retail space is slated to take 10 to 12 years, David Peter, president and CEO of LADP’s parent company, Republic Land Development, has said.

Historic designation prevents big changes to the retail and residential components of Lake Anne plaza.

The Reston Association approved a controversial land swap in late 2013, trading an acre of RA’s land at Lake Anne for a parcel along Baron Cameron Avenue, as well as financial incentives and improvements. A parking garage will be built on the site.

LADP will present the designs to the RA’s Design Review Board at 7 p.m. Oct. 21. For the full set of renderings, see LADP’s website.

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