Office Depot closing (Photo via tip)

Before we head into a weekend, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on the site in recent days.

  1. Red Velvet Bakery opening Saturday, first 200 people get free cupcake
  2. Another tenant will leave The Spectrum by the end of the year
  3. From dish washer to owner, local immigrant brings pizza spot to Reston
  4. Pet business moving to nearby spot in Reston
  5. Residential development by Reston golf course eyes demolition this year

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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Elisa Rosman of NextStop Theatre Co. (Photo via NextStop Theatre Co.)

After reopening its doors for the first indoor production during the pandemic in August, Herndon’s NextStop Theatre Company plans to scale back its programming schedule for this fall due to risks posed by the Delta variant of COVID-19.

The theatre company will postpone two of its three planned productions due to a resurgence of cases in the area. Producing artist director Evan Hoffmann noted that the company is balancing the objectives of reviving live theatre in the Dulles Corridor while protecting the health and safety of the community.

“We were devastated to have to make the difficult decision to postpone our original plans for this Fall. Like so many others, we truly believed that our community was turning the page on Covid and ready to get back to normal,” Hoffman wrote in a statement. “But the health and safety of our community remains our highest priority and we will not compromise on that commitment. We remain ready and eager to return to full-scale productions when conditions seem right. But in the meantime, we are excited to have created a path forward that makes live theater possible and keeps safety at the forefront.”

NextStop plans to present four new and smaller productions. Next week, “A Familiar Melody” revives nearly two dozen songs from popular Broadway and movie musicals. The production will run on weekends from Oct. 1 through Oct. 17.

Descriptions of each show, as provided by NextStop, are below:

Just in time for Halloween, NextStop will stage The Turn of the Screw. Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the story by Henry James, this classic ghost story depicts the trials of a young governess, haunted by ghosts while caring for two orphaned children on a remote estate in the English countryside. This innovative adaptation is a spine-tingling, tour de force for two actors and will be directed by Christopher Richardson. The Turn of the Screw will run weekends from October 22 through November 7, 2021.

In November, the laughs will return to NextStop with the hilarious, one-woman comedy Fully Committed by Becky Mode. This devastatingly funny show follows a day in the life of Samantha, an out-of-work actress who works the red-hot reservation line at Manhattan’s number-one restaurant. Coercion, threats, bribes, histrionics–a cast of desperate callers will stop at nothing in their zeal to land a prime reservation or the right table. NextStop favorite Jaclyn Young (Crimes of the Heart, The Wedding Singer, The Sidekick’ Cabaret) will take on forty roles in less than eighty minutes, under the direction of Jennifer Redford. Fully Committed will have a limited, two weekend run from November 12-21, 2021.

Finally in December, NextStop will celebrate the holiday season with Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) by John K. Alvarez, Michael Carleton, and James FitzGerald. In the tradition of NextStop’s hit production of 45 Plays For 45 Presidents, this fast, furious, and slightly irreverent look at holiday classics and traditions puts three performers to the test. Santa Claus, Rudolph, the Grinch, and just about every other seasonal character you can think of make an appearance in this racy comedy that will have you laughing all the way to the New Year! Producing Artistic Director Evan Hoffmann will direct. Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) will run weekends from December 3-19, 2021.

Performers will remain at least six feet from the audience at all times and each production will run for between 75 to 90 minutes in order to avoid the need for an intermission.

All attendees are required to wear a mask while in the building and provide proof of vaccination. A nearly 50 percent reduction in capacity will also be enforced.

Full refunds will be provided if a show is canceled or if attendees are uncomfortable with attending a live performance.

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Morning Notes

Lake Anne Plaza (Photo via vantagehill/Flickr)

Multiple Vehicles Broken Into in Town of Herndon — On Saturday, someone broke into at least eleven vehicles and took items. All vehicles were unlocked. [Herndon Police Department]

County Executive and Health Director Honored by Park Board — The Fairfax County Park Authority Board honored Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill and the health department’s director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu with the Chairman’s Choice Awards. [Fairfax County Government]

Statewide Showcase of Bands Comes to Herndon HS — Herndon High School will host the kick-off of the annual marching band competition season at a special event n Saturday. Over 25 bands from the region will perform throughout the day. [The Pride of Herndon]

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A new pizza restaurant is opening in Lake Anne plaza by early December.

And it’s owned by Yasser Baslios, an Egyptian immigrant who first began as a dish washer at the restaurant shortly after he came to the United States with little to nothing in 1998.

Baslios, who comes from a family of businessmen, plans to open Deli Italiano at 1631 Washington Plaza. The restaurant has other locations in Leesburg, Sterling, Great Falls, Arlington and Burke.

He believes that business is about giving back — not just making money. He also benefited from this ethos when he started working as a dishwasher at the Deli Italiano location in Great Falls as a dishwasher.

With no language, savings, or support, Baslios said he was keen to learn everything. Staff would help him learn English by assigning him ten words daily to help learn the language. He says the previous owner, who retired in 2002, offered him leadership opportunities after seeing his desire to learn and grow.

Arriving in hopes of better financial means, Baslios did not immigrate to the United States to become a dishwasher. He left his work as a teacher and businessman in Egypt in search of better opportunities.

The Reston location will be much smaller than other locations, but Baslios hopes that won’t have any bearing on community partnerships and business.

“We’re really excited to be part of the community. We don’t just say that. We mean that,” Baslios said.

The business donates meals on Christmas and Thanksgiving and also organized a pie drive, Baslios said.

He hopes to continue to use his business to touch lives, just as it bolstered his.

The Coptic Christian, who often refers to his faith and ideals, saved up enough to support his family after he moved up the ranks at Deli Italiano. His humble start as a dishwasher in 1999 — one year after he immigrated to the United States — continues to inform his business practices.

“To me, this is not a job. It’s about touching people’s lives. It’s a mission.”

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Morning Notes

Fairfax County firefighters use a hose and ladder in a drill outside the Vantage Hill condominiums (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Flood Watch in Effect — A flood watch is in effect though the afternoon today. So be on the lookout for potential flooding. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Herndon Man Allegedly Uses Belt to Restrain Student — A music teacher from Herndon tried to restrain a disruptive student with his belt at an elementary school Sept. 15 in Fauquier County, police said. The 23-year-old was charged Monday with assault, battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and he was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. [Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office]

Reston Multicultural Festival Returns — The annual festival, which is organized by Reston Community Center, returns to Lake Anne Plaza on Saturday. [WUSA9]

Feedback on Bus Service Sought — The county’s Department of Transportation is seeking the public’s feedback as it explores ways to improve the Fairfax Connector’s bus service. [Patch]

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PassionFish (Photo by PassionFish)

A local employee was selected as employee of the year during this year’s RAMMYS.

The awards, which are organized by Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington. Fully vaccinated guests attended the in-person ceremony over the weekend at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Ruben Avila of PassionFish in Reston Town Center was named employee of the year by a panel of judges. But more than half to the awards were based on public votes.

The awards honor the accomplishments of organizations and individuals integral to the local foodservice and restaurant community.

A complete list of the winner is available online. Silver Diner, which has a location in Reston, was recognized for being a technology trailblazer.

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Morning Notes

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

Senior Movie Day Returns — Reston Association’s senior movie day returns to Bow Tie Cinema in Reston Town Center today. Doors open at 9:15 a.m. and the movie — Queen Bees — begins at 10 a.m. The event began in 1994 and was paused roughly 18 months ago due to the pandemic. [Reston Today]

Police Chief Issues Alert After Overdoses — The Fairfax County Police Department’s police chief alerted the community yesterday after six people overdosed in one morning in Falls Church. All six adults ranged from 23 to 35 years of age. [Fairfax County Police Department]

County Community Transmission Still High — COVID-19 transmission in the county is still high, although more than 62 percent of the county’s population is fully vaccinated. The county’s health department offered an update to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors this week. [Fairfax County Government]

An Update on Early Voting — So far, more than 2,600 people have voted in person so far during the first three days of early voting. Three voting sites are open during weekdays in the county. [Fairfax County Government]

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East Elden Street (Image via handout/VDOT)

The widening of Elden Street from four to six lanes  — a roughly $40.6 million project — is expected to begin in late 2022.

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to widen the street between Herndon and Fairfax County parkways. Along the street, bike lanes are planned from Monroe Street to Herndon Parkway, in addition to cycle tracks from Herndon Parkway to Fairfax County Parkway.

VDOT will also replace culverts over Sugarland Run with a new bridge to improve stream flow and reduce flooding. Overhead utilities along Elden Street will be buried between Monroe Street and Fairfax County Parkway.

Right-of-way acquisition kicked off in 2019 and is expected to wrap up by the end of the fall, according to Murphy.

Construction for the underground utility duct bank will begin in late 2022. But the actual widening, bicycle improvements, and construction of the bridge won’t kick off until early 2025, according to Mike Murphy, a spokesman for VDOT.

“The costs and schedules are estimates and subject to change as the design progresses and schedules are refined,” Murphy wrote in a statement to Reston Now.

Most of East Elden Street is a fore-lane undivided road. Few dedicated left-turn lanes result in major backups and traffic congestion. Changes are expected to improve access to businesses and the future Herndon Metrorail Station.

A host of other pedestrian and road improvements are planned in the Town of Herndon. In May, the town council awarded a contract to the Ashburn Construction Corp. for a new signal and sidewalks at the Elden -Monroe Street intersection.

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A local mental health practice is on the move.

Dr. Goldberg & Associates plans to open move into a larger location by Nov. 1, a business representative tells Reston Now.

The mental health and psychological services business has five locations, including one in Reston, McLean and Vienna.

It’s currently housed in a smaller office at 1800 Faraday Drive, Suite 206. The practice’s office manager says the new location — 11495 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 202 — is much larger than the current Reston location.

The practice will have seven treatment rooms. The current location only has one location. The clinic is still waiting for building permits from the county to continue with the renovation project.

More information about the practice is available online.

Photo via Dr. Goldberg & Associates/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Vaccine Mandate In Effect for Chamber Events — The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is requiring attendees of in-person events to show proof of vaccination. Fully vaccinated attendees will not be required to wear a face mask. While some exceptions may be made, attendees who are not vaccinated can provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of the event. [Reston Patch]

Polo Tennis Court Closed — The tennis court will be closed for refurbishments beginning today. Repairs are expected to take between two and three weeks. [Reston Association]

Local Elementary School Earns High Honors — Sunrise Valley Elementary School has been named the 14th best elementary school in Fairfax County, according to a national ranking. [Reston Patch]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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2018 Reston Multicultural Festival (Photos courtesy Reston Community Center)

Monday, September 20

  • Technology Help (4-6 p.m.) — Volunteers at Reston Regional Library are available to answer questions about technology. Half-hour slots are open for reservations.

Tuesday, September 21

  • (un)disclosed — It’s the last day to enjoy this exhibit, which features the work of Judith Pratt. Visitors can drop by until 5 p.m. at the Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art.

Thursday, September 23

  • Putting the Animals to Bed (6:30 p.m.) — Learn how Frying Pan Farm Park staff put the animals to bed. Bring a flashlight or lantern for this twilight tour. The cost is $10 per person.
  • Girl Power Book Club (7-8 p.m.) — The book club is celebrating its third anniversary this month by returning to in-person meetings. Middle-grade and young adult readers are invited. This month’s book is The Dire Days of Willoweep Manor.

Friday, September 24

  • Friday Night Live! (6:30 p.m.) — This free outdoor concert series returns this Friday. This week’s show features Screaming Monkeys.

Saturday, September 25

  • Reston Multicultural Festival — The annual festival is back at Lake Anne Plaza after a hiatus last year. The festival will include entertainment, shopping, and food.
  • Storytime (11 a.m.) –Laura Renauld reads from her Woodland Friends series at Scrawl Books in Reston Town Center.

Sunday, September 26

  • NatureFest (1-5 p.m.) — This family friend event features animals, plans and insects that live in Runnymede Park. Attendees can move between different natural stations. Free parking is available at the Herndon Police Department.
  • Talladega Nights (7 p.m.) — Enjoy a free screening and popcorn at Reston Metro Plaza. The movie starts at sundown.
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Reston Association is turning to the public to guide the future of the Shadowood Recreation Area.

The area, which is on Springwood Drive, houses an aging 20-meter pool that has been closed for two years. The 15-question survey asks residents about future plans for the aging facility. Options include renovation, replacing with a different recreational amenity, or reopening as is.

Shadowood is among four pools — including Golf Course Island, Newbridge and Tall Oaks — that are on the bill for repurposing due to low usage. Staff made the suggestion in May.

In-person open houses are planned at the closed pool on Sept. 25 at 11 a.m. and Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. A virtual meeting via Zoom is also planned on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. The survey will remain open through Nov. 1.

Suggested new uses for the pool include a park with a picnic area, playground, basketball court, sand volleyball, and a pavilion and grill.

RA is poised to spend around $40 million to run, maintain and address capital improvement needs on its 15 pools and more than 50 tennis courts.

The discussion follows a long-anticipated evaluation of RA’s recreational facilities. The study by the Recreational Facility Work Group found a major increase in funding is needed to address capital improvement work at decades-old facilities.

In an email, Mike Leone, RA’s spokesman, told Reston Now that RA’s Board of Directors will meet with the workgroup to review survey findings and other community feedback.

While no firm timeline has been set, the feedback will guide the development of next year’s capital and operating budgets.

“The board is interested in learning what members would like to see happen with the pool and that recreation area,” Leone said.

Pool usage has dropped by over 37 percent over the last decade, according to the workgroup. Over the last ten years, it has cost around $9.6 million to maintain and operate four of the now-closed pools with the least frequent usage as of 2019.

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Morning Notes

County to Deploy Mobile COVID-19 Testing — The county is deploying a mobile lab to provide testing in several locations beginning tomorrow. Individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms can get tested. Sites selected to boost access to testing in areas with a higher number of cases. [Fairfax County Government]

Volunteers Needed for Multicultural Festival — Reston Community Center is looking for volunteers to help set up the Set. 24 event, along with parking attendants, activity assistants, and survey takers. [Reston Association]

Fairfax County Police Chief Tap Executive Deputy — Brian Reilly, formerly of the Prince George’s County Police Department is officially Fairfax County’s executive deputy police. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Photo via vantagheill/Flickr

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Raydean (standing) and Mickey (in chair) Patterson with the Huey (Photo courtesy of Hunters Woods at Trails Edge in Reston)

Before we head into a weekend, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on the site in recent days.

  1. Reston Vietnam vet discovers his old helicopter at Smithsonian museum
  2. Wiehle Metro station shutdown set for October with possible Silver Line Phase 2 hand-off on the horizon
  3. Microsoft and Facebook keep Reston Town Center plans despite return-to-office delays
  4. Pet of the Week: Brown Sugar, an affectionate boy who likes to think he’s a lap dog
  5. Herndon man sentenced for peeping incident at Lake Fairfax bathhouse

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at new[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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Office Depot closing (Photo via tip)

Another tenant plans to shutter its doors by the end of the year at  The Spectrum, a master-planned retail complex at Reston Town Center.

Office Depot, which is located at 11816 Spectrum Center, will close on Nov. 13, a company representative told Reston Now.

The company has been closing stores throughout the country after first quarter sales in 2019 fell by two percent. The losses came from the company’s IT and consulting services arm, known as CompuCom. The retail division is composed of Office Depot and OfficeMax stores.

Earlier this year, Starbucks also announced plans to leave the retail center. In 2020, Best Buy also left a major vacancy in the area.

Lerner Enterprises, a Maryland-based company, plans to redevelop the plaza into a mixed-use project. But a timeline for the proposal has not yet been determined.

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