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Friday Morning Notes

Don’t let above-freezing temperatures deceive you — Local police advise commuters to exercise caution as they head out today. Road conditions remain icy and local police have already responded to a number of crashes today. [Fairfax County Police Department]

When Wiehle-Reston East commuters were left in the dark — A few weeks ago, Metro commuters were left in the dark when several Silver Line trains weren’t running from Largo Town Center to Benning Road. Metro’s main spokesman won’t say why. [The Washington Post]

Last days to drop-off donations — Cornerstones’ Thanksgiving Food Drive is nearing to an end. The last day to drop off requested donations at a number of local donations is this Monday. [Reston Community Center]

In case you missed it — A car crash sent four people to the hospital yesterday morning. The driver of one car was trapped and was removed from the car. [Reston Now]

Photo by Twitter user @MrErrett

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Fairfax County Public Schools to Open Late Tomorrow

All Fairfax County Public Schools will open two hours late tomorrow (Friday), ushering in a second day of weather-related impacts on schools.

School offices and central offices will remain open. All county public schools were closed today due to snowy conditions.

Photo via Twitter user @MrErrett

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Multiple Vehicle Crash Sends Four to Hospital on Route 7

A car crash involving several cars on Route 7 sent four people to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries earlier this morning.

Units from Station 39 in North Point responded to the incident, which happened as icy and snowy conditions swept down on much of the area today.

The driver of one car was trapped and was removed from the vehicle.

No other information about the incident was immediately available.

Photos via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

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Updated: Winter Weather Advisory for Fairfax County Extended

Local police and law enforcement officials are advising commuters to exercise caution as they head out today. A winter weather advisory, which was initially in effect until 1 p.m. today, has been extended to 4 p.m.

Two roads in Reston, Fox Mill Road at Folkstone Drive and Wiehle Avenue at Inlet Court, which were closed earlier this morning, are now open, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. FCPD is maintaining a list of all closures in the county online.

Here’s more from social media:

This story has been updated.

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Thursday Morning Notes

Schools closed, Fairfax Connector continues normal service — Although Fairfax County Public Schools are closed today due to a wintry mix slowly descending onto the region, the Fairfax County connector will continue normal service today. [Fairfax Connector]

Vote on Reston Association budget expected tonight — The Board of Directors will vote on the final budget for the next year, as well as a planned $11 assessment increase. The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Other items on the budget include an update on the state of the environment in Reston and an executive session to discuss personnel and contractual matters. [Reston Association]

Another vote of note tonight — The Fairfax County Planning Commission is expected to vote on a plan by Woodfield Investments to replace a vacant office building at 1941 Roland Clarke Place with an apartment building. [Fairfax County Government]

A chance for gift giving — The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is seeking donations for its annual Toys for Tots campaign beginning Nov. 19. All county fire stations will accept donations through Dec. 12. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Update: Fairfax County Schools Closed as Wintry Mix Descends

(Updated at 8:10 a.m.)

Fairfax County Public Schools and school facilities will be closed today (Thursday) as a winter weather advisory has been put into effect for Fairfax County. Schools were originally only set for a two hour delay.

From 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. today (Thursday), the National Weather Service is warning residents throughout the Washington, D.C. area to expect up to one inch of sleet and snow, with ice accumulations of up to a tenth of an inch.

NWS says the icy conditions could mean slippery roads and sidewalk conditions in some areas. Here’s more from the NWS alert:

Be very careful if you venture outside tomorrow. Watch your first few steps in particular as your step or path may be coated with ice.
A Winter Weather Advisory means that periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Expect slippery
roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.

Fairfax County Government officials remind commuters and residents to take the following precautions as they head out today:

• Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter, checking that your lights, oil, antifreeze, brakes, tires and windshield wipers are in good shape.
• Ensure your headlights are on day or night during inclement weather.
• Leave a few minutes early when driving in inclement weather.
• Keep an eye out for black ice and be aware of potentially icy areas such as bridges.
• Create a safe stopping distance between your car and other vehicles.
• If it does snow, be sure to clear ice and snow from your car’s roof, hood and trunk – and especially from windows, mirrors and lights. Don’t try to drive before your car is defrosted!

Photo via National Weather Service

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Design Review Board Vote Sets ‘Snakeden’ Stream Restoration Project into Motion

Plans to restore roughly 800 linear feet of Lake Audubon’s streams were approved by Reston Association’s Design Review Board Tuesday night. The project, called Snakeden, would involve tree removal, stream construction and revegetation along RA’s parcels between Cedar Cove Cluster and Wakerobin Lane.

Meghan Fellows, the county’s manager of watershed projects, said a design team has been working on the project, with the input of RA, property owners and residents, for nearly three years.

“The stream is desperately in need of some assistance,” Fellows said at the DRB meeting, noting that portions of the area are degrading significantly.

Richard Newlon, the board’s chairman, said he hopes the project team will minimize the loss of trees by tweaking designs and implementation to conserve trees — even if it meant a minor tweak to save just one tree.

The project was challenged by the need to secure easements across private property and Reston Association property to construct the stream. Land rights for the project were obtained in June following a more than a year-long period of tree and stream surveys and conceptual planning.

After a cycle of revisions, permits were granted in October. After receiving final approval for designs, drawings and permits in the spring of next year, construction is likely to begin in the summer, Fellows said.

Overall, several sanitary crossings in the area are exposed and RA found that 40 trees are likely to fall down if no action is taken. Trees will be replanted during later phases of the project.

County staff estimates the project will cost under $1 million.

Photos via handout/Reston Association

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Deep dive into Reston sports — Bill Bouie gave a presentation on the history of sports, pioneers, players and playing fields in Reston’s sports. A complete recording of the event, which was organized by the Reston Historic Trust & Museum on Nov. 8, is available online. [YouTube/Reston Historic Trust & Museum]

The Lake House open house today — Reston Association continues its marathon of open houses today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents can enjoy light refreshments and chat with staff to learn more about multipurpose uses of the space. [Reston Association]

From Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins — In a note to Reston Now, Hudgins offered a few words about the coming of Amazon’s HQ2 to Crystal City: “As often partners in many regional endeavors, I am glad to acknowledge Arlington’s success and note that the entire Commonwealth is advantaged by the HQ2 announcement.  Look forward to Fairfax County continuing to work together for the betterment of the region and the Commonwealth.”

Photo by Twitter user @MrErrett

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Greater Reston Arts Center to Expand Classroom Art Experiences

Greater Reston Arts Center will expand its classroom arts immersion program in the coming months after receiving a grant from ARTSFAIRFAX. Fairfax County’s designated local arts agency.

Funding will help the organization boost its Emerging Visions program, which provides opportunities for K-12 students to directly engage with contemporary art in their classroom.

ARTSFAIRFAX, legally known as the Arts Council of Fairfax County, is a nonprofit organization that is funded by the county, corporations, foundations, individuals, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. It seeks to foster a dynamic and diverse local arts community.

“Over the years GRACE has become known and loved for its GRACE Art and Emerging Visions art enrichment programs,” said GRACE Executive Director and Curator Lily Siegel. “With the generous support of ARTSFAIRFAX we are now able to take the best parts of our existing programs, expand those in close conversation with FCPS, and make a greater impact on more young artists.”

GRACE offered the following information about Emerging Visions:

Emerging Visions provides art enrichment content to educators based on a GRACE exhibition. Focusing on one exhibition a year, GRACE–working directly with Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) art educators–will develop content and supporting concepts to integrate into classroom curriculum for each stage of schooling, K-12. Previously, the program was only available at the high school level and GRACE-produced content was more limited. The selected exhibition for 2018-19 is Green Is the Secret Color To Make Gold, featuring new work by Caitlin Teal Price, currently on view.

Student artwork will be exhibited as part of the Emerging Visions exhibition at GRACE in March 2019.

Photo by Charlotte Geary

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With Amazon’s HQ2 Decision, A Windfall Expected for Reston, Northern Virginia

Amazon’s decision to bring its second headquarters to Crystal City is sure to send an immediate and impactful jolt across Arlington, but what’s less clear is how the coming of the technology giant will impact Northern Virginia as a whole.

Although Reston is couched far from Arlington, the community could see a windfall from the new headquarters, which will be split between Arlington and Long Island City, especially with the community’s onboarding to the Silver Line and a planned expansion in development and redevelopment over the next two decades. 

Business leaders in the area portend the coming of Amazon will help expedite the transformation of communities like Reston from a federal government town to a technology corridor. That transition is already taking place with the coming of new headquarters like Leidos, a scientific research company, to Reston’s new developments.

Mark Ingrao, CEO and president of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, said secondary and tertiary businesses lured by Amazon’s foothold in Arlington may be enticed to set up shop in new and emerging developments in Reston around the Silver Line.

“It is going to be a prime opportunity to relocate here in an area that’s new and right on the Silver Line,” Ingrao told Reston Now.

Additionally, limitations in the amount and affordability of housing stock in Arlington could push some employees and residents to find housing in Reston’s transit station areas, which are in the process of major transformation and redevelopment. The move could also diversify Reston’s workforce, Ingrao said.

But the move is not without challenges, ushering in associated concerns about infrastructure and transportation impacts that have long plagued discussions about future development in Reston.

Ingrao is optimistic that the coming of tech giants like Amazon will help expedite county and state discussions about needed transportation infrastructure improvements and encourage officials to tackle them in a “more direct way.”

“At the end of the day, it should force local government and others to really concentrate on the infrastructure needs and get them addressed sooner rather than later,” Ingrao said.

Here’s more from what county officials and business leaders are saying about the decision.

“Having HQ2 in Northern Virginia will bring important jobs, business diversity and more innovative technology to the area,” said Gerald Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. “We look forward to continuing to work with Amazon Web Services to expand its presence here and are excited to collaborate with other innovative companies that will be putting down roots in Fairfax County soon.”

“We congratulate Arlington and Alexandria on being selected in the process for Amazon HQ2,’ said Buddy Rizer, director of Loudoun Economic Development. “We consider this a win for the entire region. Many of Loudoun’s highly educated professionals will join the Amazon workforce, and many of Loudoun’s wine country and other retail and recreation venues will become favorite destinations for Amazon employees throughout the Northern Virginia/DC Metro region. We will continue to market Loudoun County as a world-class location for global businesses like Amazon, and we look forward to making some exciting announcements about new Loudoun companies soon.”

Photo courtesy Crystal City BID

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Decreasing the chances of opioid addiction — The director of neurosurgery trauma at Reston Hospital Center is using a new technique to reduce the chances of opioid addiction following major surgery.

Nearby: Amazon HQ2 decision coming close — “New York City and Northern Virginia will be the homes for Amazon’s second and third headquarters, according to people familiar with the matter, ending a more than yearlong public contest that started with 238 candidates and ended with a surprise split of its so-called HQ2.” [Wall Street Journal]

An honorable retirement — Old Glory can sometimes get old, tattered and torn. If you need to dispose of an American flag, there are several available locations in the county to do so, including the Reston District Station, the lobby of the government center in Fairfax and the I-66 and I-95 transfer stations. [Fairfax County Government]

The report card is in for Comstock — Comstock Holding Companies reported total revenue of $14.9 million, as compared to $13.8 million around this time last year. [Global Newswire]

Updates about the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department — The annual report for the department, which offers an overview into programs, services, and progress, is out. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Photo by Gail Crockett

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Updated: Second Alarm Requested for Fire at Signature Apartments

Units remain on the scene of a kitchen fire on the 11800 block of Freedom Drive in Reston. No injuries have been reported

A second alarm has been requested and the fire is out and contained, according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

Crews are working on smoke removal, according to the department.

This story has been updated

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Reston Historic Trust & Museum Seeks Funds to Reinstall Lakeside Pharmacy Icons

The Reston Historic Trust & Museum has launched an online campaign to raise money to reinstall the lakeside pharmacy icon. Designed by Chermayeff and Geismar, a New York-based graphic design firm, the icons were inspired by 1960s pop art and Reston’s founder Bob Simon’s wish for whimsical art at Lake Anne Plaza.

The icons, which served as advertisements for the Lakeside Pharmacy, were removed in July to make way for new businesses to open up in the pharmacy’s former location.

The fundraising target is $15,000 to repair, clean and reinstall icons in a new permanent exhibit in the plaza. The new exhibit will be unveiled during the organization’s annual Founder’s day event on April 6.

The museum put out the following information about the historical significance of the icons:

The New York graphic design firm of Chermayeff and Geismar (now Chermayeff, Geismar & Haviv), was hired by Whittlesey & Conklin, the architects of the plaza, and together they created the storefronts on the plaza. While the main purpose of the Lakeside Pharmacy icons was advertising, the icons are characteristic of the 1960s Pop Art aesthetic and reflected Reston’s Founder Bob Simon’s wish for whimsical artwork on the plaza.

The building was a pharmacy for 44 years, closing in 2014. Since the building will soon be occupied by new businesses, the icons were donated to the Reston Historic Trust & Museum in order to preserve them. Currently, the icons are in storage until they can be cleaned and reinstalled. The installation is being designed by Jeanne Krohn of Krohn Design.

Photos by Charlotte Geary and Krohn Design

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What’s Going On In Reston This Weekend?

Ahead of Veterans Day on Monday, the Fairfax Jubil-Aires will perform patriotic a cappella barbershop tunes to honor those who currently serve or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The event is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. Below is a limited list of other events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.

  • Herndon High School’s advanced theatre class kicks off performances of The Diary of Anne Frank tonight at 7 p.m. and into the weekend at the school.
  • Celebrate international games week at Reston Regional Library with classic board games and some new options from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
  • Vera Kochansky presents her autobiography of her father, Boris, who lived through the Holocaust. The event is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. at Scrawl Books.
  • Caitlin Teal Price, a DC-based photographer known for her photographs of people, offers a talk about her work at Greater Reston Arts Center on Saturday from 3-5 p.m.
  • Donna Ulisse, a veteran songwriter and singer, performs during the Bluegrass Barn Series at Frying Pan Farm Park on Sunday at 7 p.m.
  • Build a machine powered by an electric motor that rolls and goes home from 2-3 p.m. on Saturday, at Reston Regional Library.
  • South Lakes High School students are raising money for the school’s band by organizing a mattress sale at the school on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Take a drive into the history of World War II with this six-part series led by Professor Harry Butowsky from 2-4 p.m. at Reston Regional Library.

Photo via Reston Town Center

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Town of Herndon Mayor Resigns from County Democratic Committee

Town of Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel severed ties with the Fairfax County Democratic Committee this week in response to “Trump-like” campaign signs that asserted candidates were “pretending to be Democrats.”

Merkel, a Democrat who has been served as the mayor since 2012, resigned from the committee a day after the election.

“I cannot in good faith be a part of a committee that condones such negative campaigning and untrue messaging about its own members, especially at the polls and with my constituents.  I consider myself a Democrat, particularly in the Trump era, but I will no longer be associated with the Fairfax County Democratic Committee,” Merkel wrote in a statement to Reston Now.

She said the signs were divisive in a written statement to the county committee and the Dranesville District Democratic Committee:

I must admit that I was most disappointed to arrive at the polls in Herndon yesterday to see the attached very large committee-approved signs asserting that there were candidates “pretending to be Democrats.”  This is appalling behavior, and I expected better of my party.   Many of the candidates running for town council were still dues-paying members of FCDC and the Dranesville committee on Election Day.  I wonder what our Congressman and Senator would think of seeing their signs seemingly associated with this kind of untrue, Trump-like “Fake News” scare tactic?  My guess is they would not appreciate it, particularly given that I was pleased to receive the personal endorsement of both Gerry Connolly and Tim Kaine, along with every other Virginia Democratic elected official that serves the Town of Herndon.  I think that speaks to years of relationships building and working together on behalf of the residents of Herndon.   

Additionally, I’m not sure if you are aware but  Herndon Voices, a PAC owned by one of your endorsed candidates, distributed materials at the polls endorsing known Republicans along with another non-FCDC endorsed candidate.  Does this set well with the committee and the required-for-endorsement pledge to only support the endorsed candidates?

In a statement to Reston Now, Dan Lagana, chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, said the signs were not authorized by the committee

“The signs were not authorized nor produced by the Fairfax County Democratic Committee. I wish Mayor Merkel the very best and want her to know that the door is always open. However, I strongly urge both the Mayor and Herndon Town Councilmembers-elect to set aside personal differences and work collaboratively on behalf of the residents of the Town of Herndon,” Lagana wrote.

Photo via Lisa Merkel

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