Before we spend the weekend recovering from the Democratic primary election, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on the site in recent days.

  1. Most expensive homes sold in Reston in May
  2. Reston’s Pica Deli closes after three decades due to COVID-19
  3. Herndon’s ‘Friday Night Live!’ concert series releases schedule for summer return
  4. What Reston and Herndon residents need to know about Tuesday’s primary
  5. Silver Line Phase 2 will open no earlier than February 2022, MWAA says

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip. Photos from around the Reston and Herndon area are also welcome, with credit always given to the photographer.

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

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Fairfax County School Board Member-at-Large Abrar Omeish addresses the reaction to her tweet criticizing Israel at the board’s May 20 meeting (via FCPS/YouTube)

(Updated at 5:30 p.m.) Abrar Omeish doesn’t regret taking a stand on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, but if she could go back, she might have expressed her opinion a little differently.

The at-large Fairfax County School Board member sparked a heated local debate about one of the most contentious subjects in global politics last month when she recognized Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that concludes a month of fasting, with a tweet decrying Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as “apartheid and colonization.”

As the board’s only Muslim member and the first Muslim woman elected to a school board anywhere in Virginia, Omeish says she felt a responsibility to speak up about the escalating violence that, at that time, had killed 10 people in Israel, including two children, and 192 people in Gaza, including 58 children.

Her May 13 tweet was part of the larger #EidwithPalestine hashtag that went emerged after Israeli security forces stormed the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem amid tensions over Palestinians being evicted from the city’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

“The idea was [Muslims] celebrate [Eid], but it’s bittersweet because we can celebrate while mourning and knowing that our Holy Land is being disrespected and people are being killed in their efforts to defend it,” Omeish told Reston Now. “…Being, like you said, the only Muslim voice, I felt tremendous pressure, and it’s not like I didn’t anticipate backlash.”

That backlash came from expected sources, given the school board’s decidedly Democratic makeup, as the Fairfax County Republican Committee chair called for Omeish’s resignation or removal and endorsed a parent-led campaign to recall her and other school board members that originally stemmed from frustrations with pandemic-related school closures in the fall.

However, the tweet also drew some criticism from colleagues and allies.

Hunter Mill District School Board Representative Melanie Meren said in a tweet on May 14 that she was “aghast” and “appalled,” calling Omeish’s sentiments alienating to members of the community, including herself, and a setback to Fairfax County Public Schools’ equity-related efforts.

“Rebuilding of relationships will need to happen,” Meren said.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington nixed plans to honor Omeish for supporting the recognition of additional religious holidays in the FCPS calendar. Four other school board members were still honored at the advocacy group’s annual membership meeting on May 20.

“The language Ms. Omeish used in this Tweet is deeply offensive and inflammatory to all who support Israel,” JCRC President Ronald Paul and Executive Director Ron Halber said in a joint statement on the decision. “…It is irresponsible of her to use her public platform to publicly advance controversial political views that target and marginalize Jewish students and their families and divide our community.”

The letter went on to say that conversations about why JCRC found Omeish’s comment offensive were unproductive as she “continued to stoke the flames of division and acrimony” by not removing the tweet or taking “affirmative steps to try to stem the vitriolic, hateful rhetoric on social media triggered by her remarks.”

For her part, Omeish says JCRC’s statement was “a complete mischaracterization” of how she approached their interactions, saying that she “got yelled at on the phone aggressively” and has “been threatened by JCRC multiple times” about her stance on Israel.

“They told me, if you don’t take this down, we will post a statement about you and it’s not going to be pretty,” she said. “They would say things like that to me, and for me, I’m like, look, I respectfully reject the threat. I’m not going to change my position because you’re scaring me.”

Halber and JCRC Associate Director Guila Franklin Siegel disputed Omeish’s characterization of their interactions in a statement to Reston Now:

“We took no pleasure in having to rescind Ms. Omeish’s award. But there is no place for the divisive and offensive language she used in her May 13th Tweet or for her insulting insinuations about the JCRC. We never have and never would threaten anyone. Ms. Omeish stands out among the thousands of elected officials and interfaith leaders from every background who have successfully partnered with the JCRC in nearly a century of community-building. We hope Ms. Omeish undertakes the hard work necessary to understand how her hurtful language impacted members of the Jewish community, including our children in FCPS schools. For the benefit of the entire FCPS community, we hope to be able to work with Ms. Omeish in the future to pursue unity, equity, and mutual respect in Fairfax County.”

Omeish got another opportunity to engage with Jewish leaders, as she promised in a follow-up tweet, at a roundtable convened on May 23. Read More

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Rainy Lake Anne Plaza (via vantagehill/Flickr)

The rain just keeps coming.

While a Flash Flood Warning issued yesterday (Thursday) for the D.C. region, including Fairfax County, was canceled ahead of schedule at 7:15 p.m., the National Weather Service has extended the Flash Flood Watch that was set to end at midnight through today (Friday).

Issued at 3:03 a.m., the new alert will be in effect through this evening, as showers and thunderstorms are expected to bring two to four additional inches of rain to the area.

Here is the full alert:

…FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING…

The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has expanded the

* Flash Flood Watch to include portions of Virginia and West Virginia, including the following areas: in Virginia, Clarke, Eastern Loudoun, Fairfax, Frederick VA, Page, Shenandoah, Warren and Western Loudoun. In West Virginia, Berkeley, Eastern Grant, Eastern Mineral, Eastern Pendleton, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Western Grant, Western Mineral and Western Pendleton.

* Through this evening

* Additional showers and thunderstorms capable of producing heavy rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 additional inches are expected to re-develop early this morning and persist into this afternoon.

* More heavy rainfall may cause additional flash flooding.

The weather has already dampened one parade in Reston, as the Reston Community Center canceled the second concert in its “Take a Break” series last night. The band Justin Trawick and the Common Good was scheduled to perform at Lake Anne Plaza from 7 to 9 p.m.

The concert series, one of several that RCC programmed for this summer, will resume next Thursday (June 17) with Origem, which the community center describes as “Brazilian jazz with a twist.”

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Morning Notes

Rain in Reston (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Government Center Opens for Vaccine Walk-ins — Starting today (Friday), the Fairfax County Government Center COVID-19 vaccination clinic will offer walk-in appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine. First-come, first-served walk-in appointments will be available from 12 to 4 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays and 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. [Fairfax County Health Department]

Metro Board Approves Fare and Service Changes — The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board of Directors approved a number of fare and service changes yesterday intended to attract riders back. The changes include a flat $2 fare for weekend train rides, a 50% discount on day and weeklong rail and bus passes, and a commitment to running trains every five to 10 minutes during peak hours. [DCist]

Reston Community Center Launches Strategic Plan Survey — “RCC is drafting its next five-year Strategic Plan. We want to hear from you in order to best serve the community. Please click above to take a short survey on RCC’s facilities, programs, collaboration efforts, communications and more. Your input will be used to make sure the 2016-2021 Strategic Plan considers as many different perspectives as possible.” [RCC]

Terraset Principal Awarded by FCPSTerraset Elementary School Principal Lindsay Trout was named Fairfax County Public Schools’ Outstanding Principal for 2021 in a ceremony held at Jiffy Lube Live on Wednesday (June 9) that recognized more than 700 of the school system’s employees. Trout was highlighted for creating “the concept of #TerrasetTogether to provide a safe place for children to be their authentic selves; for families to share their celebrations and their struggles and for staff to elevate their passion for teaching.” [FCPS]

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Rain at Lake Anne Plaza (Photo via vantagehill/Flickr)

The Flash Flood Watch that took effect at noon today (Thursday) has now been upgraded to a Flash Flood Warning for Fairfax County.

The National Weather Service says an additional one to two inches of rain could fall in the affected areas, including Reston and Herndon, until 8:15 p.m.

Here is the full alert, which was issued at 5:05 p.m.:

* Flash Flood Warning for…
Central Fairfax County in northern Virginia…
Southeastern Loudoun County in northern Virginia…
The Western City of Alexandria in northern Virginia…
The City of Fairfax in northern Virginia…
The City of Falls Church in northern Virginia…

* Until 815 PM EDT.

* At 505 PM EDT, Doppler radar indicated thunderstorms producing heavy rain across the warned area. Between 1 and 3 inches of rain have fallen. Flash flooding is ongoing or expected to begin shortly.

HAZARD…Life threatening flash flooding. Thunderstorms producing flash flooding.

SOURCE…Doppler radar.

IMPACT…Life threatening flash flooding of creeks and streams, urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses.

The NWS advises against traveling, noting that the majority of flood deaths occur in vehicles.

“A Flash Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring,” the NWS said. “If you are in the warned area move to higher ground immediately. Residents living along streams and creeks should take immediate precautions to protect life and property.”

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District Floor Depot is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony this month for its new showroom in Herndon (Photo by Yusuf Mehmetoglu)

More than a year after it originally planned to open, District Floor Depot has set a date for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the launch of its new store in Herndon.

The hardwood flooring retailer had anticipated opening its new showroom at 1051 Elden Street back in April 2020, but the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic derailed those plans, according to District Floor Depot Managing Partner Yusuf Mehmetoglu.

The new store has been welcoming customers since Oct. 12, when it had a soft opening, but the ribbon cutting was canceled to ensure the event would be in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guidelines, Mehmetoglu says.

Now, District Floor Depot will finally get to introduce itself to downtown Herndon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. on June 24.

“We opened the District Floor Depot Herndon location to help customers make great design choices and to make the best flooring options accessible to them at a great price,” Mehmetoglu said.

This is District Floor Depot’s third store. The retailer opened its original location at 1600 Rhode Island Avenue in D.C. in April 2017, followed by a second spot in the District at 1306 Good Hope Road SE.

A fourth store in College Park, Maryland, is currently in the works, according to the company’s website.

In addition to selling various types of flooring, including hardwood, vinyl, and bamboo, District Floor Depot provides related accessories and services, such as restorations, stains and finishes, moldings, and cleaning products.

Refreshments will be served at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and attendees will also be able to enter to win gift cards and floor cleaning kits, Mehmetoglu says, adding that he’s thankful for the Town of Herndon and all residents and businesses that have already stopped by the showroom.

“We offer top quality flooring including everything from hardwood to bamboo and reclaimed to vinyl,” Managing Partner Mani Pahlevanpour said in a press release. “We are committed to providing our customers with the best flooring options at the best prices, without compromising quality or customer service.”

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The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for the D.C. region, including Fairfax County, that will take effect at noon today (Thursday).

Set to expire at midnight, the advisory warns of the potential for two to four inches of rain to fall within a short period of time:

* From Noon EDT today through this evening

* A cold front will drop southward into the area today. This front will become the focus for slow moving thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. Because of the slow motion and ample moisture in the atmosphere, storms may drop 2 to 4 inches of rain a short period of time, resulting in flash flooding.

* Heavy rainfall in a short amount of time can result in rapid rises of water in streams, creeks, and urban areas.

The Baltimore-Washington NWS says the Flash Flood Watch is primarily in effect for the the northern and central parts of the region, but flooding could occur almost anywhere, and the risk could extend to tomorrow (Friday).

“A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to Flash Flooding. Flash Flooding is a very dangerous situation,” the NWS said. “You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.”

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Morning Notes

Taking a walk on North Shore Drive (Photo via vantagehill/Flickr)

Fairfax County Commemorates COVID-19 Losses — The Northern Virginia Regional Commission held a COVID-19 Remembrance Ceremony at the Fairfax County Government Center last night to recognize the more than 2,350 lives that have been lost to the pandemic. The ceremony streamed live on Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay’s Facebook page.

Sunset Hills Road Sidewalk Closes for Reston Station Construction — “Beginning yesterday, June 8, the sidewalk on Sunset Hills Rd. near the intersection of Wiehle Ave. will be closed long-term due to the ongoing Comstock construction projectSee the map for closure area and alternative pedestrian route.” [Hunter Mill District News]

County Board Approves PIVOT Grant Program — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday (June 8) to create a new grant program that will use $25 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to support businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will focus on the hotel, food service, retail, and arts and culture industries with applications scheduled to open from June 23 through July 9. [Fairfax County Government]

Democratic Primary Favors Moderates over Progressives — Three of the Virginia General Assembly’s most outspoken Democrats lost their seats on Tuesday (June 8), as voters largely opted for more moderate candidates backed by the party’s establishment. The upset incumbents included Herndon Del. Ibraheem Samirah as well as Prince William’s Del. Lee Carter and Del. Mark Levine of Alexandria. [Virginia Mercury]

Reston Chamber Offers Grants to Business — The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce’s nonprofit subsidiary INCspire Education Foundation is launching a BizMaker Grant Program to “promote inclusive entrepreneurship and a diversity of economic opportunities for businesses committed to job creation and revenue generation within Fairfax County.” [Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce]

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Reston Hospital Center plans to invest $70 million over the next three years to expand its facilities (Courtesy of Reston Hospital Center)

Reston Hospital Center has committed $70 million to a series of new initiatives that are expected to roll out over the next three years.

Building off of a multi-year expansion of the hospital’s campus near Reston Town Center that finished in early 2020, the projects aim to “expand service capacity, modernize facilities, and introduce state-of-the-art technologies to help meet the growing healthcare needs in the region,” the HCA Virginia Health System, which includes Reston Hospital, said today (Wednesday) in a press release.

The projects include a new, freestanding emergency room in Tysons that will serve as an extension of its existing services and a 13,000 square-foot expansion of the Inpatient Rehabilitation Center, which will go from 18 to 30 beds.

On top of the upcoming changes, Reston Hospital also started utilizing an augmented reality system to conduct spinal surgeries in October.

Here is a full breakdown of the new initiatives:

New Freestanding Emergency Department: Reston Hospital has commenced construction on a new standalone emergency room (ER), at 8240 Leesburg Pike. Located in the heart of Tysons, VA near the intersection of Route 7 and Route 123, this nearly 14,000 square-foot facility will be conveniently positioned within walking distance to both the Greensboro and Tysons Metro stations. The emergency department will be an extension of Reston Hospital Center and is targeted for a Q1 2022 opening. Upon launch, the 11-treatment room, state-of-the-art ER will be staffed with board-certified emergency room physicians and nurses, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year and offer the same services provided in an emergency room that is housed within the walls of a hospital.

Inpatient Rehabilitation Center Expansion: Reston’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Center will expand from 18 to 30 beds to support patients recovering from various debilities, including stroke, spine and brain tumors, traumatic brain injuries and other neurological conditions. This project will add 13,000 square feet to the all-private unit; construction will begin in late 2021, with an expected completion date in early 2023.

Facility Renovation and Modernization: Funds will be reinvested in the facility’s remaining patient care areas including women’s care services to refresh and modernize finishes; elevating the patient experience across the hospital. The project will also provide improvements to the hospital’s physical plant and infrastructure to improve system safety and reliability.

Surgical Technology Enhancements: Reston is continuing to enhance one of the region’s most advanced surgical service portfolios with significant investments in key areas including robotic surgery and augmented reality-guided surgery. These emerging technologies will enhance surgical patient experience through reduced hospital stays and shorter recovery times across many surgical specialties including bariatric (weight loss), colorectal, general, gynecologic, hepatobiliary (pancreas and liver), neuro, orthopedic, spine, thoracic (lung), and urological surgeries, among others.

Advanced Stroke Care: Reston has enriched their accredited primary stroke treatment program by opening its neurointerventional suite in the fall of 2020. The service is offered in partnership with the nationally-regarded neurovascular team from Medstar Medical Group.

Technology Upgrades: Additional funding has also been spent or earmarked for updates to cancer treatment technology for radiation therapy and diagnostic imaging system upgrades.

“These service expansions, investments and improvements are critical in helping us to continue delivering on our commitment as a premier specialty hospital, as well as being recognized as the healthcare provider and the employer of choice in the Northern Virginia region,” HCA Healthcare Northern Virginia and Reston Hospital President and CEO John Deardorff said.

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Morning Notes

Cicadas Light Up Local Weather Radar — Weather radars in the D.C. area, including one in Sterling, have been picked up a lot of activity in recent days that the National Weather Service believes stem from insects, including the Brood X cicadas that have been making noise around the region since early May. [Capital Weather Gang]

Connolly Cross Country Trail to Partially Close — “Starting on Monday, June 21 and continuing through July 9, 2021, the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail will be closed between mile markers 3.2 and 3.8 in the Difficult Run Stream Valley Park north of Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) while crews perform maintenance on the Potomac Interceptor sanitary sewer. Signs and barricades will be in place to alert the public.” [Route 7 Corridor Improvements/VDOT]

Reston Chamber Hosts Valor Awards — The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, which is serving as host for the first time after taking over from the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, announced the recipients of the 43rd annual Fairfax County Valor Awards yesterday (Tuesday). The awards recognize heroic acts by first responders from the county’s public safety agencies as well as the Town of Vienna Police Department and Virginia State Police. [Patch]

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(Updated at 11:10 p.m.) Del. Ken Plum easily defeated his first primary opponent in more than two decades today (Tuesday), earning 75% of the vote, according to the Virginia Department of Elections’ unofficial results.

Plum has served as delegate for Virginia’s 34th House District, which encompasses Reston, since 1982, but he faced a rare Democratic challenger this year in data analyst and political newcomer Mary Barthelson, who announced her candidacy in March.

Plum will now face his first Republican challenger since 2011 in November’s general election, when he will vie for the seat with veteran and security consultant Matt Lang.

Herndon voters got a more competitive primary, as challenger Irene Shin eked out a victory in the 86th House District race over incumbent Del. Ibraheem Samirah, who was seeking his second full term in office.

After Fairfax County took a while to count absentee ballots, all 17 precincts were finally reported just after 11 a.m. Shin received 3,415 votes — or 51.7% — while Samirah got 3,185, or 48.3%, making the race the closest of the night that resulted in an incumbent defeat.

In the statewide races, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe handily won the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination, receiving more than 60% of the votes cast — roughly three times as many votes as his nearest competitor, former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, who was seeking to become Virginia’s first Black, female governor.

Carroll Foy received about 20% of the vote, followed in descending order by state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, and Del. Lee Carter, who also lost his seat representing the 50th House District.

McAuliffe will compete in November’s general election against businessman Glenn Youngkin, who won the Republican gubernatorial nomination in an “unassembled” convention in May.

The Democratic ticket will be completed by Del. Hala Ayala (D-51st District), who beat six other candidates to snag the lieutenant governor nomination, and Attorney General Mark Herring, who bested challenger Jay Jones as he seeks a third consecutive term in the position.

The Republican Party nominated former Del. Winsome Sears for lieutenant governor and Virginia Beach Del. Jason Miyares for attorney general.

In its unofficial returns, the Fairfax County Office of Elections reported a voter turnout of 11.1%, a relatively low rate that’s not especially unusual for an off-year primary. The 2017 Democratic primary, the last year with a gubernatorial race on the ballot, saw a 13.4% turnout.

According to the county, 21,493 voters — 2.9% of the electorate — cast absentee ballots either by mail or in-person, while 60,999 people went to the polls on the day of the primary. In comparison, the 2017 Democratic primary saw just 7,105 absentee voters compared to 86,931 primary day voters.

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As the spread of COVID-19 abates, Fairfax County is exploring a variety of ways to help local businesses recover from the pandemic’s economic impacts.

In addition to creating a new grant program that will provide financial relief to small businesses and nonprofits, the Board of Supervisors voted today (Tuesday) to license and pursue a trademark for a new “Made in Fairfax” logo that businesses could use to indicate that their products were made in the county.

The board’s vote gives the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Development authority to execute licensing agreements that would let local businesses include the logo in their marketing. The county will also apply for a trademark registration from the Commonwealth of Virginia, which would enable the county to protect its brand.

Officials say the logo will be a useful promotional tool not just for the businesses that use it, but also for the county as it seeks to build a vibrant local economy.

“This is an innovative approach,” Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk said. “This is how we differentiate ourselves. This is how we make Fairfax County a leader in new areas as well.”

The Made in Fairfax program launched in June 2018, growing out of a Small-Scale Production Initiative that the county started to identify ways to better support and bring visibility to local manufacturers and entrepreneurs.

Initially, the program focused on revising Fairfax County’s comprehensive plan and zoning code to make them friendlier to what the county calls “maker” businesses — manufacturers that work on a small scale to produce anything from food and beer to clothing and furniture.

Drafted during the early stages of the Zoning Ordinance Modernization Project but as a separate effort, the new zoning rules permit production businesses in most commercial zones within the county, instead of restricting them to industrial areas, according to Doug Loescher, the program manager for Fairfax County’s Community Revitalization Office.

“We recognized that we probably had small-scale production businesses in Fairfax County, but they were not very visible,” he said. “…Our hope was that, by being in commercial shopping centers and retail areas, they can be more visible, and we can support them better.”

The county also created a Made in Fairfax network and directory that now consist of more than 125 businesses. About half of them provide food products, but there are also woodworking shops, candle makers, and even a blacksmith.

While Loescher says his office hopes to also work with larger Fairfax County-based businesses, Made in Fairfax primarily concentrates on small businesses that are more isolated and lack their own marketing resources. Most participants are working solo or have fewer than 10 employees.

The county developed the new logo with the help of a committee of maker businesses as part of a larger branding effort to promote the Made in Fairfax Network.

For the most part, the only criterion for businesses to be eligible to license the logo will be that they need to have a production facility located in Fairfax County. The county also reviews makers that register for the network to ensure “there’s no problems with what they’re producing, that it’s not illegal or improper in some way,” Loescher says.

Though the Made in Fairfax program was established prior to the pandemic, Loescher says the past year has illustrated why it’s necessary for the county.

“There’s a recognition by people about how important it is to actively support small, independent, local business enterprise, and this is just another way of doing it,” Loescher said. “It’s a fairly small program, but I think symbolically, we hope it communicates to the business sector and to the community that we value these businesses and that we want to support them.”

Photo courtesy Fairfax County

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Morning Notes

Primary Voter Turnout Expected to Follow Pre-Pandemic Trends — “While tens of thousands of Virginians already voted early ahead of the primary election on Tuesday, the turnout for people casting ballots in person is expected to look more like it did before the coronavirus pandemic. ‘I suspect that the bulk of the voters will be voting tomorrow as they traditionally have,’ said Fairfax County General Registrar Scott Konopasek. [WTOP]

Public Housing Application Period Opens — “The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) is now accepting new tenant applications for selection to the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program waitlist. The RAD program, formerly known simply as “public housing,” provides 1,060 units of publicly owned housing to low-income households…Applications must be completed online between 8 a.m. on June 7 and 11:59 p.m. on June 13.” [Fairfax County Government]

Virginia Sees Overall Drop in Violent Crime — “Virginia saw a slight decrease in violent crime in 2020 compared to 2019, according to the state police’s annual crime report. The number of homicides in the state, however, increased by 23.4 percent. Across the state, there were 15,713 violent crimes reported in 2020 compared to 16,018 violent crimes in 2019, a 1.9 percent drop.” [Patch]

Reston Museum to Revisit Encounter with Former First Lady — “Join the Reston Historic Trust & Museum for a special all-virtual program on July 13, 2021 from 6-8 p.m. commemorating Lady Bird Johnson’s 1967 visit to Reston. Special guest Julia Sweig, author of Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight, will provide insight into Lady Bird Johnson and her involvement in urban planning projects, democratic access to nature and more.” [Reston Historic Trust and Museum]

Fairfax County Fire Department Awarded — Fairfax County Fire Chief John Butler is a co-recipient of the Excellence in Virginia Fire Services Award from the 2020 Governor’s Fire Service Awards for helping launch a Field Available Component Transfusion Response (FACT R) program, which uses 9-1-1 resources to deliver blood transfusions to trapped individuals. A county firefighter was also named Career Firefighter of the Year. [FCFRD]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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While a day still hasn’t gone by without at least one new COVID-19 case since March 20, 2020, Fairfax County’s daily count stayed in the single digits during the entire first week of June, the first such stretch of the pandemic.

With the addition of eight cases today (Monday), the county has recorded 35 new cases total over the past week and is now averaging just five new cases per day for the past seven days — the lowest weekly average since March 24, 2020, when it was at 4.9 cases.

The Fairfax Health District, including the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, has now reported 78,034 COVID-19 cases during the pandemic, according to the Fairfax County Health Department. 4,121 people have been hospitalized by the respiratory disease, and 1,133 people have died, five of them this month.

To commemorate all of the people who have died in the Northern Virginia region, the Fairfax County Government Center will host a COVID-19 Remembrance Ceremony at 6 p.m. on Wednesday (June 9).

With case levels declining, the county health department announced on Friday (June 4) that it will no longer operate community COVID-19 testing sites, though residents can still get a test through pharmacies, urgent care centers, and other health care providers. The county will also provide testing at its health department clinics for people who exhibit symptoms.

Fairfax County health officials say the slowing spread of the novel coronavirus is the result of rising COVID-19 vaccinations.

“We are not seeing the level of COVID-19 cases compared to a few months ago and are attributing this trend to the number of residents who are getting vaccinated,” FCHD Public Health Emergency Management Coordinator Jesse Habourn said. “However, we are still seeing transmission of COVID-19 in our community so residents who need testing should utilize the vast number of options available in our community or make an appointment at one of our clinic sites.”

701,553 Fairfax Health District residents have now gotten at least one vaccine dose. That amounts to 77.6% of people 18 and older and 59.3% of the district’s total population.

Notably, FCHD’s vaccine data dashboard shows that at least 50% of all eligible age groups have received at least one dose, ranging from 55.8% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 up to 92.8% of adults between 75 and 84 years old.

Overall, 48.7% of Fairfax Health District residents — 575,878 people — have been fully vaccinated, including 63.7% of adults.

While thousands of vaccinations are still administered per day in Fairfax County, demand has started to level out in recent weeks, as shown by the chart below. In response, the Virginia Department of Health plans to close its mass vaccination site at Tysons Corner Center on June 26 as it pivots to smaller, more mobile clinics.

Photo via CDC on Unsplash; charts via Virginia Department of Health, Fairfax County Health Department

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Morning Notes

Fairfax County Mass Vaccine Site Adds Evening Hours — The community vaccination center at Tysons Corner will extend its operating hours to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting tomorrow (June 8). The site is scheduled to close on June 26 as Virginia focuses its COVID-19 vaccine campaign on smaller, more mobile clinics instead of large-scale, standing sites. [Tysons Reporter]

Police Pursuit Town Hall Set for Thursday — The Fairfax County Police Department will hold a virtual town hall on Thursday (June 10) to get community input on proposed changes to its policy on vehicle pursuits. The new policy will place more limits on the kinds of situations when officers can engage in a pursuit in response to safety concerns. [Jeff McKay/Twitter]

Sterling Regal Movie Theater Sold to Homebuilder — “A team led by Willard Retail has sold the site of the shuttered Regal Countryside multiplex in Sterling for $22 million to Beazer Homes, more than a year after winning approval from the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to redevelop the property as a 166-unit stacked townhome development.” [Washington Business Journal]

Democrats Make Final Primary Push — “Armies of door-knockers are fanning out across Virginia neighborhoods this weekend as Democrats make their final campaign push before selecting nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in primary elections on Tuesday…Democratic voters will select their statewide candidates to go up against a Republican slate that was chosen by convention a month ago, setting the stage for what could be the most expensive Virginia gubernatorial election ever.” [The Washington Post]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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