Show Featuring Music from Rogers & Hammerstein Starts NextStop’s Season in Herndon

The first show of NextStop Theatre Company’s season, “A Grand Night for Singing,” recently opened.

The musical revue, based on the music from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, takes both the least known and the most popular hits from the playwright duo and gives them new meaning. Rodgers and Hammerstein were the minds behind popular musicals like “The Sound of Music” and “The King and I.”

The show is one of two shows chosen by Evan Hoffmann, producing artist director, to show the “power of catharsis” in theater.

“This season debut is such a fun evening of theatre with remarkably talented singers,” Hoffmann said in a press release. “It fills the theatre space with joy–both from the music and from our patrons. In our ‘Point and Counterpoint’ season, it’s a great match in our ‘catharsis pair’ to the play ‘Disgraced,’ which comes next in September.”

The company has converted their warehouse performance space into a “club-like environment” that opens the setup to be explored and even features a bar on stage.

Led by director Michael J. Bobbitt, the cast and crew include Matthew Hirsh, Karen Vincent, Katherine Riddle, Sarah Anne Sillers and Marquise White. The production team includes Elisa Rosman, Bobby Libby, Jason Arnold, Reid May, Laura Moody and Jessica Dubish.

The theater is located at 269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon. The show runs until Aug. 20, with performances on Wednesdays through Sundays. Ticket prices change with performance popularity, ranging from $17.50 to $55. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 866-811-4111.

Pictures courtesy Lock and Company

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Salon Nordine’s Return to Reston Slated for September

One year after leaving Reston, Nordine Elabassi’s Salon Nordine & Day Spa is set to come back in September.

The new Reston Station location (11389 Reston Station Blvd.) comes as a replacement to the spa’s former Reston Town Center location, which closed last September. The spa operated at its first Reston location for 15 years before its lease ended, and spokesperson Heather Shaw Menis said part of the decision to not re-up was because of client complaints about parking.

The Reston Station location will provide three hours of validated parking for customers who use the garage, Menis said.

Elabassi thought a new location would allow for a fresh start, Menis said. She says his “sixth sense” for real estate has helped him place his salons in popular districts in the area.

“He foresees Reston Station being a really high-end, high-energy mix of great businesses, residences and office buildings,” Menis said.

The new location joins the spa’s existing locations in Merrifield’s Mosaic District and Gainesville.

According to a press release, the salon will feature eight hair stations, a color bar that seats six, three manicure and pedicure stations, and three state-of-the-art spa treatment rooms. Some of Salon Nordine’s most popular stylists from the RTC location will also be returning.

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Book Launch Event for Kwame Alexander’s ‘Solo’ Slated for Next Week

Children’s author and Reston resident Kwame Alexander and co-writer Mary Hess Rand will launch their new book, “Solo” at Scrawl Books next week.

The book, written in poetic verse, is about a 17-year-old boy named Blade Morrison. Blade tries to deal with his addict father and finds solace in his forbidden girlfriend. When he discovers a family secret, he sets out on a trip around the world.

Scrawl Books and the Newbery Medal-winning Alexander have partnered together throughout the years for school visits, book signings and other events, said Scrawl owner Rachel Wood.

“Kwame has been very supportive of us since we’ve opened,” Wood said. “It’s a really cool cooperative relationship, where we can promote new authors, and authors can find community.”

Next week’s event is open to kids 12 and up, though Alexander says younger children who are mature are welcomed.

Singer/songwriter Randy Preston will be also be part of the event, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2.

Scrawl Books is located at 11862 Market St. in Reston Town Center. For more information, visit its website.

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For Fourth Year, SLHS STEAM Team Has Public Art Display on Lake Thoreau

For the fourth year in a row, South Lakes High School’s STEAM Team Art Club has designed an art display for Lake Thoreau.

The STEAM Team (science, technology, engineering, art and math) was challenged with creating a kinetic work of art that included natural elements and enriched their community. They came up with “Althea,” which they say represents all aspects of human rights.

The sculpture is made up of rings that rotate randomly, like the “constantly evolving nature and complexity of human rights.” There are concentric circles to depict orbital paths of the planets in the solar system. This is supposed to “reinforce how deeply connected humans are to each other.”

Students were involved in every step of the project with the help of art teacher Marco Rando. They presented three concepts to Public Art Reston and considered their input when they choose the design. The students then produced digital and physical three dimensional models, that were also presented to the board for approval. The Reston Association Design Review Board provided feedback on the final design.

The sculpture is made of galvanized metal, plywood, wire rope and spray paint. It is being displayed on the 19-square foot concrete spillway on Lake Thoreau, visible from South Lakes Drive.

The South Lakes students who worked on Althea were Samantha Busch, Carson Bush, Harrison Cahn, Jonathan Doctor, Isabella Emmons, Yanis Gribi, Christian King, Amirah Kirwan, MacKenzie Krider, Catherine Lashley, Darja Loidap, Phoebe Liu, Leah Moyer, Kimi Nacu, Lucy Nguyen, Saeed Louis Razavi, Morgan Ryan, Victoria Slaski, Jeremy Southern and Lily Vogel. Alumni Jefferson Frost, Margaret Lashley and Josh Rodriguez also assisted.

Previous projects have been “Pyramid of Light” (2014), “Nothing Twice” (2015) and “Simon” (2016).

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Reston Swimmers Team Up to Help South Lakes High School Food Pantry

Opposing swim teams in Reston joined together this weekend to raise supplies for the South Lakes High School food pantry.

At the final dual meet for the Reston Swim Team Association season, the Ridge Heights Sharks asked their opponents, the Glade Dolphins, if they would like to join together to give back to the community. Many of the swimmers and coaches are alumni of SLHS or attend feeder schools.

“They were really eager to support this effort to bring awareness to hunger in our community and supporting a cause really near to their hearts,” said organizer Leslie Sogandares.

Kudos to the Glade Dolphins and Ridge Heights Sharks for conducting a food drive for the SLHS food pantry at their last meet of the season. Well done!

Posted by Reston Swim Team Association on Sunday, July 23, 2017

The pantry, which is open Thursdays from 3-6 p.m. during the summer, provides canned goods and toiletries for the community.  They are accepting donations, which can be dropped off at the school’s main office (11400 South Lakes Drive) from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day.

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Virginia Department of Education Reconsidering Standardized Testing, Accreditation

The Virginia Department of Education is considering changing the benchmarks required for graduation and school accreditation.

The board is looking at lowering the verified credit requirement for students to five credits for both standard and advanced diplomas. The credits would come from math, science, reading, writing and social studies courses.

The department has scheduled meetings to get the input of communities around the state. The first meeting was held recently in Fairfax County, the Fairfax Times reported.

Currently, students must earn nine verified credits for an advanced diploma and six credits for a standard diploma. Verified credits are earned in classes that culminate in a Virginia Standards of Learning exam, also referred to as the SOLs.

The state wants to move towards “authentic performance assessments” instead of the traditional standardized exams for social studies and writing. One critique over the past few years, from students, parents and even teachers, is that the exams don’t allow students to demonstrate all of their knowledge.

The move away from standardized testing would also change the way schools are accredited. Schools earn their accreditation based on student performance on the SOL — 75 percent of students must pass the language arts exams and 70 percent have to pass the math, science and history exams for a school to be accredited.

The system described in the proposal would create three classifications for schools. Level I schools would be those “at or above standard,” Level II schools would be those “near standard or improving,” and Level III schools would be those “below standard.” The drop-out rates, chronic absenteeism, College and Career Readiness Index, would be scored.

Schools that are below standard would have the opportunity for accreditation under the new system. Level III schools would get accreditation, but would have to improve their performance within three years before losing accreditation.

The last meeting will be in August. The board is expected to review its plan in November before finalizing it at the end of the year.

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What’s Going On Around Reston This Weekend?

Music fans have a big day ahead of them Saturday, as the first Lake Anne Roots Music Festival will bring an afternoon filled with great tunes.

The festival will be headlined by The Woodshedders, a local favorite who has played numerous festivals around the region. According to their Facebook page, they “bring together the diverse influences of American Country, Rhythm & Blues, Old-Time, Bluegrass and Gypsy Jazz.”

The free event is slated for noon-6 p.m. Saturday. In addition to the music, there will be a plaza-wide beer and wine garden, art vendors and more. The festival is sponsored by Lane Anne Merchants and the Reston Community Center.

There are lots of other things going on this weekend too. Here are some fun things that are happening around Reston this weekend:

  • Reston Station’s “Summerbration” series continues tonight at 7 p.m. with a free concert by New Line Brass Band. Tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m., head to a free outdoor showing of “The Secret Life of Pets” on the plaza. The Summerbration events outside the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station will continue through the end of August. (Note: To receive free parking for these events, parking tickets need to be validated by personnel on the plaza. Find the sign that reads “Parking Validation Here.”)
  • Reston Town Center’s summer concert series continues Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. with Chuck Redd and the International Jazz All-Stars. The show will take place at the Town Center’s pavilion.
  • There will be an opening reception Sunday from 2-4 p.m. for Reston Community Center’s July exhibit, “Nature’s Allure.” It is on display through July at the Jo Ann Rose Gallery (1609 Washington Plaza N.).
  • The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
  • Reston Museum (1639 Washington Plaza N.) is hosting is “Reston Stories” exhibit through July. The Reston Historic Trust and Museum has been collecting residents’ stories and preserving them for future generations. The collection includes stories about volunteering in Reston, the Fountain at Lake Anne Plaza, the early history of Reston and the amazing connections we make in our community.
  • Lake Anne is hosting Sunday Yoga on the Plaza each week, at 9:30 a.m.
  • Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp” remains on display at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through August.
  • The Family Fun Entertainment Series at Reston Town Center presents Rockneceros at 10 a.m. Saturday.
  • Many restaurants and bars in Reston will have live music this weekend. These include: Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) from 7-10 p.m every Friday and Saturday night; CraftHouse (1888 Explorer St.) every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) every Friday from 6-10 p.m.
  • Heritage Fellowship Church (2501 Fox Mill Road) will host its annual cookout Saturday beginning at noon.
  • 24 FIT Reston will hold the Reston Stair Challenge from 3-4 p.m. Sunday at the Purple Garage (11900 Market St.) at Reston Town Center. According to the event’s Facebook page, “We basically go up, across and down the stairwells, with maybe a few surprises thrown in. The challenge really comes from the endurance aspect as we strive for at least 5 to 7 full laps in approx. 1 hour duration.”
  • Tonight, join the Walker Nature Center for a screening of an action-adventure movie “Mission Blue.” There is a suggested donation of $5 a person.
  • The Reston Community Center will host its Sunday Art in the Park series this Sunday from 3-5 p.m. at the Greater Reston Arts Center. This weekend’s theme is Stencils and Prints. Create your own unique artwork by layering and printing with stencils. Work with pre-made stencils or try your hand at making your own.
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Herndon Will Light Up the Sky Tuesday Night for Fourth of July

If the fireworks Saturday night at Lake Fairfax Park weren’t enough for you, the Town of Herndon has you covered.

Herndon’s annual Fourth of July celebration is scheduled for Tuesday night at Bready Park (814 Ferndale Ave.). Free games, bingo, and children’s arts and crafts start at 6:30 p.m. There will be entertainment throughout the night, leading up to the fireworks show at 9:30 p.m.

Traffic will be rerouted during the event. Ferndale Avenue will be closed to through traffic from Vine Street to Barton Oaks Place once the event parking lots are full, and it will remain closed until the conclusion of the fireworks. Additional parking will be available at Herndon Middle School, Herndon Centennial Golf course and Herndon Community Center.

Cars that are parked at the Herndon Community Center will not be released until the fire marshal clears the area an hour after the fireworks show.

Eventgoers are encouraged to leave their pets at home and to leave the fireworks to the professionals. Blankets and lawn chairs are allowed, but no alcohol or glass containers. Bags and coolers may be searched.

In the case of inclement weather in the evening, the fireworks may be delayed or postponed until Wednesday night.

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Annual Firecracker 5K for the Troops Set for Tuesday Morning

The eighth annual Firecracker 5K for the Troops will be held at Reston Town Center on Tuesday morning.

The Independence Day race is a part of Potomac River Running store’s PR Race Series. The store will make a financial donation to the USO Metro in honor of the military branch with most participants.

If you haven’t yet registered, that’s OK: you can still sign up tomorrow morning at the event, which will start at 8 a.m. at 11911 Democracy Drive. The run is not dog- or stroller-friendly.

There will be a fun run on Market Street following the 5K. All Tot Dash finishers will receive a bib and medal.

Cash awards will go to the top 3 overall male and female finishers ($300, $200, $100). The top master runners will receive $100. Awards will also be presented for the top 3 in each age group.

The event will last all morning, with live music and refreshments after the race.

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What’s Going On Around Reston This Weekend?

There are some big events this weekend in Fairfax County, highlighted locally by the 27th annual Taste of Reston festival, tonight (3-11 p.m.) and Saturday (noon to 11 p.m.) at Reston Town Center.

The event is put on by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and features fine cuisine, family activities, live entertainment, beer and wine, cooking demonstrations from local chefs, and much more. Parking at Reston Town Center is free all day today and Saturday.

Down in Fairfax on Saturday, the county will be celebrating its 275th anniversary with a big event at the Historic County Courthouse (4000 Chain Bridge Road). Lord Nicholas Fairfax, a direct descendant of the county’s name-bearer, will be the guest of honor during the event, which will also include live entertainment, children’s activities, historical presentations and much more. The event is slated for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

And if you’re looking for something to do with dad this Father’s Day, the Fairfax County Park Authority has you covered:

  • Take dad to the Antique Car Show at Sully Historic Site (3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly) from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Come see more than 400 antique and classic cars. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $7 for children.
  • Dads can tour the mill at Colvin Run (10017 Colvin Run Rd, Great Falls) for free on Sunday when they bring one of their kids. The tours will run from noon to 3:00 p.m.
  • Dads and kids between ages 2 and 6 can pretend to be penguins, wolfs and beavers as they learn about dads in the wild at the Hidden Oaks Center (7701 Royce Street, Annandale). The program is from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and costs $6 per child.

That’s far from all there is to do this weekend, though. Here is just a sampling of the many events you can enjoy:

  • Reston Station’s “Summerbration” series continues tonight at 7 p.m. with a free concert by The Bad Influence Band. Tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m., visit for a free outdoor showing of “Bad Moms” on the plaza. The Summerbration events outside the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station will continue through the end of August. (Note: To receive free parking for these events, parking tickets need to be validated by personnel on the plaza. Find the sign that reads “Parking Validation Here.”)
  • The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
  • Terraset Elementary School (11411 Ridge Heights Road) will have its first student-run farmers market event from 4:30-6:30 p.m. today.
  • Reston Town Square Park will be hosting Nicolo the Jester as a part of their Family Fun Entertainment Series Saturday morning at 10 a.m., for a free show. It’ll be fun for all ages as Nicolo brings a blend of poetry, music, juggling, comedy, character acting and audience participation.
  •  This Sunday at 7 p.m., the Shenandoah Conservatory Brass Quintet will be performing at Reston Town Square Park as a part of the Sunday Art In The Park series. The group will be playing selections spanning from Handel to Fats Waller.
  • Reston Museum (1639 Washington Plaza N.) is hosting is “Reston Stories” exhibit through July. The Reston Historic Trust and Museum has been collecting residents’ stories and preserving them for future generations. The collection includes stories about volunteering in Reston, the Fountain at Lake Anne Plaza, the early history of Reston and the amazing connections we make in our community.
  • Work out with Athleta in the Reston Town Center Pavilion Sunday morning from 11 a.m. to noon.
  • Lake Anne is hosting Sunday Yoga on the Plaza each week, at 9:30 a.m.
  • Tonight from 7-8 p.m. at Walker Nature Center (11450 Glade Drive), bring the kids out for the Walking Stick Workshop. Prices are $7 for children, $9 for adults.
  • Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) continues its series of live music tonight from 6-10 p.m. Afterward, let the live music continue at Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St.) from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
  • Urinetown: The Musical” is being performed at NextStop Theatre Company (269 Sunset Park Drive) through June 25. Performances this weekend are tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. and a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday. General admission tickets start at $40.
  • Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp” remains on display at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through August.
  • Kalypso’s (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music tonight at 9:30 p.m.
  • Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) has live music from 7-10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night. This weekend’s performers are Jason Morton (Friday) and Jason Masi (Saturday).
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Terraset Elementary Students Gearing Up to Host Farmers Market Event

As the school year comes to a close, activities are in full swing at Terraset Elementary School.

Friday, from 4:30-6:30 p.m., the school will hold its first farmers market.

The event will showcase students’ work throughout the year. On display will be a student-designed storefront garage sale featuring gently used toys, books, clothing, and recycled and repurposed items. The school’s Hydroponics Team will be selling the plants they’ve been cultivating throughout the year and members of the Green Team will sell room sprays, healthful fruit drinks and combined essential oils that they’ve made.

The underground, green school focuses on getting kids outside and learning about their environment. The students created their own business plan to organize the event.

“The event is run by the children, it’s not all the adults. I’m really proud of them,” said Jann Canestra, the outdoor learning coordinator.

Canestra runs the school’s Green Hour, where every child goes outside for an hour each day. She says the kids are enthusiastic about getting outside the classroom.

Principal Lindsay Trout will be on the grill for the event, which is open to both students and community members. The school is located at 11411 Ridge Heights Road.

Photo courtesy Fairfax County Public Schools

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Backpack Drive Allows Any Student Who Needs One to Get One

The school year in Fairfax County isn’t quite over yet, but schools are already looking forward to the generosity of the community to help equip students next year.

John Torre, Fairfax County Public Schools spokesperson, said schools involved in the Cornerstones Back to School Drive look forward to being able to provide backpacks and other supplies to any students that need them.

Cornerstones provides services for lower income families in the southwestern Fairfax County. The backpack drive is part of a partnership with Kids R First to provide the supplies to Reston-Herndon area students who qualify for free and reduced meals at school.

“The number of backpacks requested does not always match directly with the number of students in the free and reduced-price meals program because backpacks typically last for more than one year,” Torre said. “Students do have the option to not accept the donated item. The staff member may ask for a few extras to keep on hand for new students or as replacements for a worn-out item.”

Cornerstones community resource associate Nate King said that even though the official drive doesn’t start until August, donations are already coming in.

“It’s going really well, we have probably 50 backpacks already donated out of what we need,” said King.

Cornerstones is still waiting to get a quote from the schools to determine the exact number of backpacks they’ll need for this year, although they believe it will match last year’s number, 3,500.

“The basic idea behind the backpack program is that if a student needs one, they get one,” Torre said. “Of course, [that] depends on the generosity of the donors.”

In addition to backpacks, Cornerstones is accepting donations for underwear for elementary school aged kids and Payless ShoeSource gift card donations of $25.

Those interested in donating can register online or order bags online and have them shipped to the Cornerstones (11150 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 210) directly from Amazon for free.

For more information about the drive, call King at 571-323-9569 or email [email protected].

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Company’s Volunteer Work Helps Revitalize Lake Newport Pool

Over 80 Deloitte employees worked June 9 to revitalize Lake Newport Pool.

The volunteers replaced benches inside the facility, removed invasive plants around the entry of the pool, and landscaped. The work was part of the professional services firm’s Impact Day, which involves projects around the world in efforts to show their commitment to the local communities around their offices.

“Without their help, it usually staff takes a week or two, even months, to complete these projects,” said Ha Brock, Reston Association volunteer coordinator.

The event was captured through the hashtag #ImpactThatMatters on social media.

Brock says there are many ways to contribute to important work being done around Reston throughout the year, through programs like Reston’s Habitat Heroes. The group works from March through November removing invasive plants from wildlife.

Habitat Heroes meets every fourth Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon. The next event is Saturday, June 24 at South Lakes High School.

Images via Volunteer Reston on Facebook

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Voters Trickle Into the Polls for Virginia Gubernatorial Primary Election

There’s still time to vote in Virginia’s primary election. Polls opened this morning and will remain open until 7 p.m.

At the North County Human Services Center, one of several polling places in Reston, voters were in and out in only a few minutes. The official Fairfax County election Twitter account reported low turnout as of 2 p.m., with only 8.6 percent of registered voters having cast their ballots.

The candidates on the ballot for governor are Democrats Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello and Republicans Ed Gillespie, Corey Stewart, and Frank Wagner. For lieutenant governor, Republican candidates are Glenn Davis, Bryce Reeves and Jill Vogel; Democratic candidates are Justin Fairfax, Susan Platt and Gene Rossi.

Quite a few voters in Reston were vocal about their motives. Many came out because they are dissatisfied with the current administration and believe voting may be the solution.

“I think the midterm elections and statewide elections are very critical to the national issues,” said one voter.

But some don’t see it as a partisan issue. Some voters just wanted to see some return to normalcy in American politics.

“[Government] is focused on the wrong thing,” another voter said. “If I can send a message at the local level, that’s a start.”

Others are of the thought that voting is their duty as a citizen.

“If we don’t speak up and let people know how we feel by our votes, then we are subject to somebody else telling us what to do,” one man said.

If you need to know where your polling place is, check the Virginia Department of Elections. You will need to show a photo ID before casting your ballot.

You can also track the local results of the election on the county website.

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Crime Roundup: Two Unlawful Entry Incidents With No Theft

The Fairfax County Police Department reports of two cases of unlawful entry in Reston this past week.

The first was in the 2200 block of Castle Rock Square, between the morning of June 1 and night of June 3. Investigators believe the intruder entered the apartment by forcing their way through a door. Nothing was stolen from the residence.

The second was in the 11000 block of Villaridge Court, at around 2:20 p.m on June 8.  The homeowner told police that her spare key was in the door, which was slightly opened. Some items in the home were moved, but nothing was taken.

In other crime reported recently by FCPD:

LARCENIES:

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, property from vehicle

11500 block of Leesburg Pike, merchandise from business

12900 block of Centre Park Circle, medication from residence

1500 block of Crowell Road, property from residence

1800 block of Fountain Drive, credit cards from business

12500 block of Rock Ridge Road, license plates from vehicle

11900 block of Killingsworth Avenue, purse from business

2400 block of Masons Ferry Drive, package from residence

11100 block of South Lakes Drive, beer from business

STOLEN VEHICLES:

11900 block of Winterthur Lane, 1993 Honda Civic

Anyone with information about any of the incidents reported by FCPD should call 703-691-2131 or 1-866-411-TIPS(8477), or text “TIP187” plus the message to CRIMES(274637).

Also last week, a Reston man police say had been drinking was arrested in Loudoun County. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office says it responded to calls of a drunk and disorderly man at 11:11 p.m. on June 8 in the 44000 block of Riverside Parkway in Leesburg. Eugene D. Shaw, 45, was charged with being drunk in public and was transported to the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center.

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