Reston, VA

Fairfax County Public Schools will have a virtual start to the year. But a new program launched by Fairfax County will offer full-day, on-site programming for children in elementary and middle school.

The program, “Supporting Return to School,” aims to ensure that “all families have equitable access to the services they need to support children’s virtual learning,” according to the county.

Here’s more from the county on the initiative:

SRS will provide support for children’s active and engaged learning during the FCPS virtual academic day and promote children’s social, emotional and physical development. In addition to participating in distance learning, children will have opportunities to explore, engage, relax and enjoy activities that follow the SRS 2020-21 program curriculum, The Great Outdoors: Road Trips Through the Americas. What a perfect time for a virtual journey and to spend real time outdoors!

Enrollment begins on August 24 and space is limited. Each classroom will have a group of no more than 10 children who stay together every day. The program takes place on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in 37 FCPS schools.

A sliding fee scale is available for income-eligible families. Breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack will be provided.

Photo via Unsplash

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Reston Association‘s Board of Directors will hold a special meeting next. Week to discuss budgetary matters.

The board will meet on Wednesday, Aug. 19 to discuss the formation of the fiscal year 2021 budget.

RA CEO Hank Lynch is set to offer information about assumptions related to the budget, which will be formed with the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Laura Kowalski, RA’s director of recreation and environmental education, will also present information about her department’s request for parks and recreation.

The meeting is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. Log-in information is available online. RA’s fiscal committee will also participate in the meeting.

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Friday Morning Notes

Former Land Planner in Reston Dies — John Veatch worked in Reston’s. Land planning office in the 1960s and helped execute Bob Simon’s vision for Reston. He passed at the age of 80 in Ashburn. [Reston Patch]

Fairfax County Historic Sites Resume Programming — “The Fairfax County Park Authority’s historic sites will begin programming once again, bringing the magic of local history outside, inside and virtually with a focus on family tours, safety and limited indoor access.” [Fairfax County Government]

Community Assessment on Substance Abuse Underway — The Fairfax Prevention Coalition is conducting a community assessment on substance abuse and hosting a series of virtual community focus groups to seek input. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Metro’s services are gearing up for a return to a new normal.

More buses, trains and expanded hours of service are planned to begin this Sunday (Aug. 16), restoring most service to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Metrorail plans to add 15 hours of more service per week. Opening times will also return to normal, with the system closing two hours later each night in anticipation of ridership increases after Labor Day.

The system is expected to restore roughly 75 percent of its pre-pandemic service beginning August 23. Buses would operate until midnight and weekday service would return with 174 routes.

The opening of six Fairfax County stations on the Silver Line — including Wiehle-Reston East — is also on track to open on Sunday.

Here’s more from Metro on the planned service changes:

Metrorail will open at 5 a.m. weekdays, 7 a.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. on Sundays and close daily at 11 p.m.

Weekdays Red Line trains will operate every 5 minutes during peak periods and 12 minutes off-peak; all others lines every 8 minutes during peak periods and 15 minutes off-peak.

On weekends Red Line trains will operate every 12 minutes; all other lines every 15 minutes.

Six stations west of Ballston re-open – McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, Spring Hill, Wiehle-Reston East and West Falls Church.

Arlington Cemetery Station remains closed as Arlington National Cemetery is currently closed to the general public. 

Face masks or covering are required to travel on Metro, including at stations, trains, buses and MetroAccess vehicles.

Metro also warns that social distancing may be impossible due to projected ridership increases. Customers can consider traveling during off-peak hours.

Photo via Fairfax Connector

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State crews are on the scene of the intersection of Reston Parkway and Baron Cameron Avenue.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, traffic lights at the intersect are “on flash.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation is on the scene to investigate the issue. It is unclear when normal operations will resume.

No other road closures or traffic impacts have been reported due to rain expected today and through tomorrow.

FCPD encourages residents to periodically check its roundup of weather-related road closures online.

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Reston Association is encouraging residents to avoid contact with Lake Thoreau after a major algae bloom has taken over parts of the lake.

Lab testing is underway to determine if the algae bloom is harmful. Residents should avoid contact with the water until algae concentrations return to “acceptable levels,” according to a statement released by RA last night (Wednesday).

It’s unclear if the bloom was directly caused by RA’s recent treatment of the lake for Hydrilla, an invasive plant that had taken over roughly 30 percent of the lake. Typically, algae blooms thrive when there are more nutrients available for algae growth.

Some RA members criticized the association for attempting to treat the lake late in the summer season.

I’m at a loss how the RA dumped a bunch of chemicals into a healthy lake without thinking through the consequences of the outcome,” one RA member wrote on Facebook.

Others called the issue a “man-made” problem.

“The algae bloom is due to the irresponsible decision to treat the entire lake at one time for hydrilla growth very late into the season when temperatures were at an all time high! This is not a natural occurrence but a man-made problem,” an RA member wrote.

Jeannine Santoro said she’s at a loss for how “RA dumped a bunch of chemicals into a healthy lake without thinking through the consequences of the outcome.”

Here’s more from RA told Reston Now on whether the Hydrilla treatment caused the bloom:

Algae blooms can be caused as a result of multiple factors. This includes water temperature, air temperature, amount of nitrogen and phosphorous present in the lake, amount of rain, and runoff from the Watershed that can carry fertilizers. The main sources of nutrients are runoff from the watershed and phosphorous released from the anerobic zone of the lake. Anerobic decomposition releases phosphorous. While the hydrilla may be contributing, it is not the causal factor.

RA acknowledged that summer is not the best time period to treat the lake. But the association wanted to see if the grass carp would impact the Hydrilla plant before using herbicide management methods. The dying hydrilla is expected to sink to the bottom of the lake and decay in the next few weeks.

Harmful algae can cause skin rashes and gastrointestinal illnesses. Anyone concerned about the effects of exposure to a bloom should contact the Virginia Harmful Algal Bloom hotline at 1-888-238-6154.

In previous years, RA stocked more grass carp — a freshwater fish species — to help control the plant. But after the fish proved ineffective, RA hired a contractor to treat the Hydrilla, which has floated to the surface after the July 29 treatment.

RA believes the blue-green algae bloom happened as Hydrilla plant began to die, creating conditions primed for the bloom to thrive.

“The blue-green algae bloom in Lake Thoreau has the potential, if concentrations are high enough, to provide microsystins, which can be harmful to both humans and pets,” RA wrote in a statement.

The decomposing Hydrilla on the surface of the water will sink to the lake bottom and decay within the next few weeks. For this reason, the association is not removing the decomposing hydrilla.

RA currently has no plans to treat the bloom until more appropriate conditions — cooler air and water temperature — occur. Treating the bloom as the Hyrdilla plant dies could compromise the dissolved oxygen levels at the lake and put aquatic life in danger.

In the future, RA hopes to explore better ways to manage aquatic plants on the lake.

One option includes treating the plants easy in the season when they begin to come up. This would require three low-dosage treatments — a decision that must “must be made way before the plants are a problem,” RA said.

RA did not treat the water earlier this year because the grass carp were stocked in 2018.

Photos courtesy Jeannine Santoro and staff

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The Herndon Police Department is investigating a robbery that happened on the 500 block of Early Fall Court earlier this month.

Four suspects approached the victim at around 4:35 p.m. on August 4 and attempted to rob the individual, police said.

The suspects fled when the victim got the attention of residents outside of their home, according to the Herndon Police Department. The incident is under investigation.

HPD is also investigating an Aug. 9 stabbing on the 200 block of Elden Street.

John Patrick Murphy, 45, of Herndon, was arrested for attempting to stab someone he knew, according to HPD. He is being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bond.

Information about both issues was released late yesterday (Wednesday) in HPD’s weekly crime report.

Photo via Herndon Police Department

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A potentially dangerous area along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail now has improved safety.

NOVA Parks installed flashing beacons at the intersection of Hunter Mill Road and the W&OD Trail over the summer.

“When activated by trail users attempting to cross Hunter Mill Road, the push-button flashing beacons provide an additional visual indicator to oncoming drivers to slow down and watch for pedestrians and cyclists crossing the road,” said Brian Nolan, director of planning and development for NOVA Parks.

The project was completed earlier this month for roughly $80,000, Nolan told Reston Now.

Flashing beacons are a common, low-cost fix to improve safety. The Federal Highway Administration has issued interim approval to use the devices. State and local agencies must receive permission prior to installing flashing beacons.

Photo via W&OD Trail/Facebook

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Thursday Morning Notes

Hunter Mill Road Reopens After Flooding — Hunter Mill Road, which was closed in both directions at Hunter Station Road, is now open. The road closed due to high water late last night. [Fairfax County Police Department]

County Schools Looking for Teachers — Fairfax County Public Schools has begun hiring teachers and other staff for a number of positions. Two job fairs will be held on August 19. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Wiehle Pedestrian Crossing Study Group to Meet Today — The Wiehle Pedestrian Crossing Study Group will meet virtually today via Zoom at 9 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Several local faith-based groups are partnering to take part in a car rally for racial justice.

Congregants from area churches will gather on Wednesday, Aug. 26 for the rally, which is intended to raise awareness about “persistent and pervasive racial inequities that have led to violence and discrimination against people of color,” according to event organizers.

Amanda Andere, an event organizer, said all community members are invited to attend the event, which builds on the momentum of national, state and local protests following the death of George Floyd.

As a church we have been in reflection to our response to the continued racial justice awakening since May and have been asked by local faith leaders to do something as one of the original Black churches in Reston. We feel the call for racial justice needs continued attention,” Andere said.

So far, the following congregations are set to take part in the rally:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Christian Church
  • St. Thomas a’ Becket Catholic Church
  • Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation
  • Reston Unitarian Universalists Congregation
  • Washington Plaza Baptist Church 
  • Rev. Jerome 

The event takes place from 6-7 p.m. in the parking lot of the St. Thomas à Becket Church (1421 Wiehle Avenue).

As a church we have been in reflection to our response to the continued racial justice awakening since May and have been asked by local faith leaders to do something as one of the original Black churches in Reston. We feel the call for racial justice needs continued attention.”

Photo via of Herndon Car Rally via Deborah Smith Reilly/Facebook

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JINYA Ramen Bar will open in in Reston Town Center this Friday (August 14).

The restaurant is takeout and delivery online due the COVID-19 pandemic at the new location (11964 Market Street). Orders can be placed online or via common delivery platforms like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub. Indoor dining is expected to resume in the fall. Items on the menu include mini tacos, rice bowls, ramen, curry, and salads.

For the first 10 days of business, the RTC location will offer a pork-based ramen bowl called Tonkotsu Black Ramen for $10. Other special crisis include $8 for three cocktails and $8 for chicken tenders with beers.

Here’s more from the company on the special items being offered:

The Tonkotsu Black Ramen boasts a satisfying pork broth simmered for 20 hours, balanced with fresh thin noodles and garlic oil, and topped with pork chashu, kikurage, green onion, nori dried seaweed, seasoned egg, garlic chips, fried onion and spicy sauce. JINYA provides a wide range of ramen bowls in addition to salads, rice and curry bowls, mini tacos, and small plates. 

JINYA’s selected cocktail specials include the Garden of Todai-Ji with matcha-infused tequila, rose water, basil, simple syrup, lime and prosecco. The other two options are the JINYA Manhattan with Filibuster Boondoggler Whiskey and the Purple Dragon Mule. 

The Reston location will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday through Sunday.

The chain has several locations across the country, including Fairfax, North Bethesda, and the District.

Photo via JINYA

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Report on Oral Health in Virginia — “Gaps in oral health access and utilization between lower-income and higher-income Northern Virginians are as profound as they were a decade ago, report cites.” [Northern Virginia Health Foundation]

Cornerstones to Host Forum on Economic Stability — The Reston-based nonprofit organization is hosting a forum with elected officials on economic recovery in Northern Virginia after the COVID-19 pandemic. The forum takes place online tomorrow (Thursday) at 5:30 p.m. [Cornerstones]

Coronavirus Collides with Cardboard Boat Regatta — “Reston Historic Trust & Museum canceled its fourth annual Cardboard Boat Regatta due to the coronavirus pandemic. In its place the organization presents the 2020 Cardboard Challenge during the entire month of August.” [The Connection]

Reston Association Announces More Pool Openings — Season four, which runs from August 24 through September 7, will feature the pools at Glade, Golf Course Island, Lake Newport and Ridge Heights. The pools at Lake Newport and Ridge Heights will be open for season five from September 8-20. [Reston Association]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Work on the county’s new Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) is currently underway.

Now, Fairfax County officials are seeking the public’s feedback on the plan through a series of virtual public meetings.

The three meetings will aim to facilitate conversations on the count’s climate change management goals.

The CECAP Task Force will incorporate the public’s feedback into their final draft of the policy. The task force is composed of stakeholders from associations, businesses, and other organizations, in an effort to reduce the county’s greenhouse gas emissions rate.

Here’s more from the county on the plan:

The Fairfax County Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) development process is administered by the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination with support from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Fairfax County-based management consulting firm ICF. The plan, which will be the first of its kind for the county, will include a greenhouse gas inventory as well as targets for greenhouse gas reduction in the coming years.

The CECAP will also include actions and strategies to help mitigate climate change and to reduce the impact of climate-related events on county residents and businesses. At the conclusion of the development process, a final plan will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for adoption. 

The schedule for the meetings is below:

Log-in and registration information is available in the links above.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Another Reston Town Center restaurant has closed its doors.

Le Pain Quotidien, a French-style coffee shop and bakery, has closed its location at 11909 Democracy Drive.

The restaurant first opened in November 2017.

According to The Burn, a hyperlocal news blog, Le Pain Quotidien did not reopen after the first wave of coronavirus-related closures.

The company has slowly begun to reopen locations in New York and the West Coast.

A company representative did not immediately return a request for comment.

Photo via Le Pain Quotidien

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A temporary statewide moratorium on eviction proceedings will remain in effect from this week through Sept. 7, according to a Virginia Supreme Court Order.

The move comes amid an ongoing Congressional stalemate over the next economic relief package.

In a statement on Monday (Aug. 10) Gov. Ralph Northam said the decision is necessary to ensure all Virginians maintain “safe, stable housing” as the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic continues. He hopes to work with the Commonwealth’s General Assembly this month to craft more permanent legislative protections for homeowners and tenants.

So far, the state has pumped $50 million via the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) specifically for households facing eviction or foreclosure due to the pandemic. A number of county-based resources to navigate the issue are also available online.

The end of the federal moratorium on evictions, which expired last month, and the lapsing of the $600 weekly boost to unemployment benefits, has left many renters in peril.

Roughly 27 percent of adults in the country missed their rent or mortgage payment in July, according to a nationwide survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. Roughly 34 percent of renters said they were unsure how they would make their August payments.

Given this economic backdrop, do you think Northam should further extend the temporary ban on eviction proceedings? Let us know in the comments below. Also, we’d love to hear from readers on their experiences with paying rent, mortgages, and interactions with landlords.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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