Washington West Film Festival/Credit: WW Film FestivalNorthern Virginia moviegoers will be taken back to 1955 and to the hills of Austria, among dozens of other destinations, at the fifth annual Washington West Film Festival.

The festival runs from Oct. 21-27, with movie showings at Bow Tie Cinemas Reston Town Center and other Northern Virginia locations.

The festival kicks off on Oct. 21 with a screening of the Back to the Future trilogy at 7 p.m., said Reston outreach coordinator Andy Sigle. Oct. 21, 2015 is where Marty McFly and Doc Brown landed when they time traveled in Back to the Future.

The film festival will also hold a red carpet showing of the first film on Sunday, and actor Christopher Lloyd, who played Doc and Bob Gale, one of the trilogy’s writers, are expected to attend, Sigle said.

The festival will also feature a 50th anniversary screening of The Sound of Music at The Barns of Wolf Trap on Oct 24 at 7:30 p.m.

The festival includes more than 45 other films, including featured, independent and short films and documentaries. Among the highlights: a showcase of films by George Mason University students; a documentary about Matt Rutherford, the first person to sail alone around North and South America; and a documentary My Friend Ed, about longtime actor Ed Asner the reality behind heroes vs celebrities.

See the full schedule and purchase tickets on the Washington West website.

This year, the festival is trying to reach further in the Reston community, Sigle said. Sigle says there will be streetlight banners at Reston Town Center drawing greater awareness for the event.

“We’re trying to be much more out front with people in the Reston Town Center.”

The festival is reaching out to parts of the Reston community that usually do not attend the festival, such as those living near the Southgate Community Center, Sigle said.

To remedy that, there will be a free screening (donations accepted) at Southgate of Coach of the Year, a movie about a swim team struggling to practice without having a pool, at the center. Two short films, Taking Flight and The Gift, will also be shown.

“We’ll take the film festival to that area of Reston instead of hoping that area will come to us,” Sigle said.

The proceeds of this year’s festival will go the Robert Duvall Children’s Fund.

“It is kind of cool that the festival combines the love of the arts and philanthropy,” Sigle said.


Reston Community CenterThe indoor pool at Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road) will be closed next week for emergency repairs.

The Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center will be closed from Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. to Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. The pool will reopen to the public on Oct. 5 at 6 a.m.

The needed repairs come from a mistake made while the pool was re-caulked, during a “traditional” maintenance period from Aug. 24 to Sept. 13.

“The mixture of ingredients used for this specialized compound went wrong and the seal is not satisfactory. As a result, the pool will need to be drained, caulking removed and replaced as quickly as practicable,” Reston Community Center said in a statement.

Weekday swim classes will make up missed classes during the week in between swim lesson sessions. Weekend classes will only miss one class, and the RCC will give students a one-time “free-swim” pass.

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Fairfax County Police carFairfax County police stations will collect expired medications next Saturday as part of annual event encouraging people to clean out their medicine cabinets.

Fairfax police stations will collect old, used and expired drugs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 26 as part of Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout. Reston residents can drop off their used medications at the Reston District Station (1801 Cameron Glen Drive).

“Safe handling and disposal of unused or expired medications prevents abuse, accidental poisonings and helps protect the environment,” police said in a statement.

Needles and medications using pressurized canisters, like asthma inhalers or nasal sprays, will not be accepted.

“Disposal is free, convenient, confidential and safe,” according to the event flyer.

The event is sponsored by the United Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County and the Fairfax County government.


"We Make Reston" (Courtesy of RCC)More than 150 black-and-white photos of Reston residents will be exhibited around the area as part of a larger discussion about diversity.

The photos are part of “We Make Reston,” an INSIDE OUT project, brought to Reston by the Initiative for Public Art Reston (IPAR) and Reston Community Center. The photos will be officially unveiled during the Reston Multicultural Festival, with an accompanying discussion about diversity on Sunday.

Photos are exhibited around Reston at the Lake Anne sea wall, Comstock Partners’ fencing wall at the Wiehle-Reston Metro Station and South Lakes High School. There is also an exhibit inside the Jo Anne Rose Gallery.

“It [“We Make Reston” wall] is diverse, playful, and exudes adventure and love – all crucial parts of the essence of Reston,” said Leila Gordon, the executive director of the Reston Community Center.

The Initiative for Public Art Reston and the Reston Community Center received more than 300 photos of Reston residents. Of the 300, 169 were selected to be displayed on the three walls.

“A book of all the submissions that met criteria will be made available to the public at the festival and online,” Gordon said.

To be considered, all photos had to be a black and white, vertical portrait. Comstock Partners, who joined in with IPAR and RCC to provide the Metro station and banner locations, also had a team of photographers take portrait shots of Reston residents.

“People should be intrigued and delighted [about the wall],” Gordon said. “And yes, I am sure there will be some surprises.”

Photo courtesy of RCC


"Closed" signs on Saladworks doorsSaladworks in Plaza America has permanently shut its doors.

The restaurant, which boasted it had “America’s best salads,” posted signs on its doors notifying customers of the closure. The signs recommend customers visit other locations in Richmond or College Park, Maryland.

The owner of the Reston branch of Saladworks decided to close the store, said Jena Henderson, a spokeswoman with the company.

Henderson could not say what the specifics reasons were for closing the Reston location.

“We love the Reston market and the people of Reston and are so grateful for their patronage over the years,” Henderson said. “We certainly have this earmarked as a market we would like to have a presence in in the future.”


Reston residents can now text 911 to report an emergency.

The new text message program is designed to be used in situations where a person cannot call 911 due to a medical emergency or safety concerns. Text to 911 is available throughout Fairfax County.

“The three primary reasons why Text to 911 has become so valuable is that it allows the person that is unable to hear or is hearing impaired, a person that is in a precarious situation where it is not in their best interest of safety to voice a 911 call or where, perhaps, a person is injured and unable to voice a 911 call, it now provides them an opportunity to using a smart device to text a 911 call,” said Steve Souder, director of Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications.

Sample 9-1-1 text

People can also text 911 if they are in an area with limited cell reception and cannot complete a call.

“Voice calls are still the best and preferred method for most people to contact 911. Remember this important phrase: Call if you can. Text if you can’t,” Fairfax County said in a statement.

Text to 911 is supported by carriers Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint and only works with English text messages at the moment.

To use Text to 911, a person types 911, without dashes, into the recipient field in a text message. In the body of the text, include people should include their location and the services they require.

The full Text to 911 instructions, after the jump.

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Reston Multicultural Festival/RCC file photoThe Reston community will be able to get a taste of the world with the return of the annual Reston Multicultural Festival on Saturday.

The free festival runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Lake Anne Plaza, rain or shine, and features live music, food and arts from different countries, including India, Ghana, Mexico and Bolivia.

“The Reston Multicultural Festival is an annual event that brings together the people of Reston to celebrate our rich medley of cultures,” the Reston Community Center said on the event page.

The event kicks off with the annual naturalization ceremony, where new United States citizens will take an Oath of Allegiance.

“It’s inspiring, emotional, and affirming of our country’s greatness. When you start your festival experience on such a grace note, the day is set for you for discovery and fun,” said Leila Gordon, executive director of the Reston Community Center.

There will be live music, dance performances and demonstrations throughout the festival. Hungry attendees will be able to fill up on food from multiple cultures, including Thai, Mexican, Peruvian, Indian and Vietnamese.

“Each year, new entertainers, crafts people, organizations and food vendors participate,” Gordon said. “The inclusion of National Heritage Fellows means there are master artists new to the festival each year in addition to local favorites. The Multicultural Book Fair that was begun two years ago is a new crowd favorite and involves new titles for 2015.”

This year the Multicultural Festival will also look at diversity in the Reston community through the new “We Make Reston” photo wall. The Reston Community Center is holding a discussion on diversity at the Jo Anne Rose Gallery, where part of the exhibit is held, on Sunday from 2-4 p.m.

“This will give both participants and those interested in the exhibit an opportunity to talk about the public art project and our community’s diversity,” Gordon said.


Flowers and candle at statue of Bob Simon at Lake Anne(Updated at 2 p.m.) Flowers, candles and cards were placed at the statue of Bob Simon at Lake Anne Plaza to honor the Reston founder who passed away yesterday.

Simon died peacefully at his home in Reston. He was 101.

An outpouring of support and condolences flooded RestonNow comments, Twitter and Facebook, with news of his passing picked up on Facebook’s national trends. Multiple people stopped by his statue on Tuesday morning to take pictures of the statue, say their goodbyes and share memories of seeing Simon around Lake Anne Plaza and Reston.

“I think the first time I spoke to him, he was riding a bicycle — an indoor bicycle at Sport and Health [gym] in Reston,” said Nancy Busse, a Reston resident since 1970.

Simon cared about the community and she enjoyed seeing him walking around the plaza, Busse said.

“He still was invested in this community right up until he died,” she said. “Pretty extraordinary.

Other Reston residents agreed, many also commenting on how he lived a good 101 years.

“He gave me a good life,” said one Reston resident who has lived in the area since 1980.

Flowers began appearing on Simon’s statue last night, despite the evening rain. Among the flowers were cards for his family, candles and a martini glass from Mayor of Herndon Lisa Merkel.

Flowers, candles and a martini glass at the statue of Bob Simon

“I brought him a martini glass with flowers because he was known for his martinis,” Merkel said. “He said the secret of life is one martini a night.”

Merkel first met Simon after being elected mayor of Herndon. Simon and Merkel would meet for breakfast and were working on on a project together when he died, she said.

“The first time we got breakfast, he wanted to take me to Lake Anne Plaza, and we walked all around and he told me about the whole process. It was like walking around with a legend,” Merkel said.

The news of Simon’s death spread quickly yesterday, with articles appearing in local and national papers, including the Washington Post and New York Times. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe took to Twitter to share his condolences.

“Saddened by the passing of Reston founder Bob Simon. He was a true visionary and entrepreneur of his time,” McAuliffe said.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) also used social media to share his memories with Simon, releasing statements on Twitter and Facebook.

“In Bob Simon, Virginia has lost a visionary who recognized all humans ought to be able to live together and be neighbors. I was honored to celebrate his 100th birthday in Reston last year and I know his legacy will live on in the community he created and loved. My thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Kaine said on Facebook.

Simon was innovative in creating Reston, said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) in statement, adding that Simon’s creation of the first racially integrated housing development in Virginia made him a “civil rights pioneer.”

“The Northern Virginia region owes much of its character and success to Bob. I feel this loss sharply and shall miss his dedication, his laugh and his friendship. A local giant is gone from our midst,” Connolly said.

A candlelight vigil will be held on Friday, Sept. 25, at 6:45 p.m. in Lake Anne Plaza. The first 300 people to attend will receive a vigil candle, according to Kat Toussaint of Around Reston Publications.

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Metro SIlver Line Map/Credit: MetroMetro riders commuting to D.C. from Virginia are having a slow morning, after a fire in the District caused a wave of delays on the Blue, Silver and Orange Lines.

A fire at a substation owned by Metro, near RFK Stadium in Southeast D.C., at approximately 7:30 a.m. this morning closed the Stadium Armory and Potomac Metro stations.

As a result, Metro has suspended service between the Eastern Market and Minnesota Avenue stations on the Orange Line and the Eastern Market and Benning Road stations on the Silver Line.

Trains on the blue line are running only between the Franconia and Rosslyn stations. Riders are being told to transfer at Rosslyn to the Orange or Silver Lines to continue their trip.

Metro is warning riders that there will be delays on all three lines.

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