Reston, VA

Today is the last day for reporter Ashley Hopko at Local News Now, our parent company.

Hopko joined Reston now a year ago as part of the Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship. During her fellowship, Hopko covered a wide range of stories from profiling locals helping vulnerable populations during the pandemic to interviewing county officials.

“While writing for Reston Now, I loved feedback — both the negative and positive — from commentators because it showed that they were engaged in our work,” Hopko told us about her experience reporting hyperlocal news. “We have the chance to amplify the concerns of community members and call out oddities.”

Hopko split her time between Reston Now and our sister site Tysons Reporter for most of her fellowship. When not reporting for the two sites, Hopko worked on a media project documenting the challenges Mexican journalists face, which won first place in the fellowship’s competition.

“The biggest takeaway from my fellowship with Poynter-Koch was the importance of transparent reporting and how to help people become media-literate,” Hopko said. “By properly crediting sources and links, people can learn to seek accurate information and form their own opinions on key topics.”

Photo by Rob Wallace/courtesy Ashley Hopko

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Several local fireworks and festivities for Independence Day have been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

The Town of Herndon has already called off its fireworks display. Fireworks are still set to take place in D.C., though.

Fairfax County has advice for using fireworks safely and determining which are illegal and legal.

Let us know in the poll below what you plan to do for the Fourth of July.

Photo by Sheri Hooley on Unsplash

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Top Stories This Week

Before we head off into another weekend with a stay-at-home order in effect, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. JUST IN: Homicide Investigation Underway After Woman Found Dead in Reston Home 
  2. Reston Town Center Sees Dining Changes as Restrictions Ease 
  3. Death Investigation Underway in Reston Neighborhood (5.2k)
  4. Reston Residents Call for Removal of Confederate Monument in Fairfax 
  5. Report: Fairfax County Police Disproportionately Use Force on Black Individuals 

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your social distancing plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

Photo by R. Dawson/Flickr

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Since 2013, Reston Now has been reporting news about the Reston and Herndon areas. Recently, we started providing additional coverage of Great Falls.

Keep up with our coverage by signing up for our email subscriptions.

The afternoon email — sent at 4 p.m. — rounds up the most recently published stories and sponsored content on our site. Our morning email is currently on a hiatus.

You can also opt in to receive emails we send on behalf of local businesses and nonprofits. If you opt-out, you’ll still receive an occasional event or offer-related email as part of your subscription.

Note: we will never share your email address with a third-party.

Thank you to everyone who has signed up for our email subscriptions already!

If you would like to continue reading Reston Now and you’re able to give us a few bucks a month, we would greatly appreciate you contributing to our coverage via PayPal or joining our Patreon.

Not receiving emails or want to change your subscriptions? You can re-enter your email in the subscription sign-up, which will then pop up a message saying that email is already subscribed. The message will prompt you to update your profile, which will then send you an email that will let you manage your subscriptions.

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Local News Now is the company behind the site you’re reading. We aren’t usually very visible or vocal, preferring to let the reporting of our Northern Virginia local news brands — ARLnow, ALXnow, Tysons Reporter, Reston Now — speak for itself.

LNN does not endorse candidates nor publish editorials. But today we would like to make the following statement, the first of its kind in our company’s 10-year history.

Black lives matter.

We are far from the first company to state this incontrovertible fact, but it bears repeating. Black lives matter and the threat from systemic racism and racial injustice needs to be addressed by urgent policy reforms and an honest ongoing discussion.

To that end, our sites will continue our local reporting on matters related to inequitable policies, misconduct by those in authority, and the concerns of marginalized communities. We will keep reporting without fear or favor, with a facts-first approach that illuminates and informs.

We believe that impartiality can coexist in journalism with deeply held principles. For instance, belief in free speech, our democratic system, and the importance of small business is widely held among U.S.-based local news publications, including ours. We do not try to “balance” election stories by saying that some do not believe in democracy and fair elections. It’s just a given that elections are a positive part of our society.

Likewise, we also believe that Black lives matter and believe in LGBTQ equality, and do not feel the need to provide a counterpoint to either in our reporting. The worth of a human life and equal treatment under a law are objectively positive things. There’s no debate, no second side that needs to be heard in order to be impartial.

We recognize that there has been room to evolve our approach to local news over the years. More about some of the changes we have implemented can be found here. We will continue to evaluate our reporting and approach to covering the community as we move forward.

Today is Juneteenth, which celebrates the emancipation of remaining enslaved persons at the end of the Civil War. We are giving our employees — who have tirelessly covered the pandemic and protests over the past few months — the afternoon off as a time of reflection. We hope that our readers also use this opportunity to reflect on the challenge of achieving racial justice in this country, including here at home.

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Top Stories This Week

Before we head off into another weekend with a stay-at-home order in effect, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. Fairfax County Sees Spike in COVID-19 Cases Over Weekend
  2. Hundreds Line Reston Parkway in Support of George Floyd, Racial Justice
  3. UPDATE: ‘Demonstration of Solidarity’ Planned in Reston for George Floyd
  4. Northern Virginia Enters Phase Two Friday: Here’s What That Will Look Like
  5. BREAKING: Northam Says N. Va. is Ready to Move Into Phase Two of Reopening

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your social distancing plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

Photo by Nick Papetti

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Since 2013, Reston Now has been reporting news about the Reston and Herndon areas. Recently, we started providing additional coverage of Great Falls.

Keep up with our coverage by signing up for our email subscriptions.

The afternoon email — sent at 4 p.m. — rounds up the most recently published stories and sponsored content on our site. Our morning email is currently on a hiatus.

You can also opt in to receive emails we send on behalf of local businesses and nonprofits. If you opt-out, you’ll still receive an occasional event or offer-related email as part of your subscription.

Note: we will never share your email address with a third-party.

Thank you to everyone who has signed up for our email subscriptions already!

If you would like to continue reading Reston Now and you’re able to give us a few bucks a month, we would greatly appreciate you contributing to our coverage via PayPal or joining our Patreon.

Not receiving emails or want to change your subscriptions? You can re-enter your email in the subscription sign-up, which will then pop up a message saying that email is already subscribed. The message will prompt you to update your profile, which will then send you an email that will let you manage your subscriptions.

Subscribe to Reston Now

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Top Stories This Week

Before we head off into another weekend with a stay-at-home order in effect, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. On Day One of Reopening, Customer Leaves $1,000 Tip at Reston Restaurant (24.5k)
  2. Roundup: Town of Herndon Restaurants Now Open for Expanded Outdoor Dining (3.5k)
  3. ‘Demonstration of Solidarity’ Planned in Reston for George Floyd
  4. Stanley Martin Proposes Redeveloping Herndon Parkway Offices into Residential Development
  5. PHOTOS: Community Car Parade Honors South Lakes High School’s Class of 2020

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your social distancing plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Gov. Ralph Northam said today that Northern Virginia localities may start to roll back COVID-19 restrictions on Friday.

The rest of Virginia has already started phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan, but Northern Virginia officials asked for a delay, which Northam granted.

Now, Northam is pointing to the latest data on the virus, highlighting that the numbers have been “directionally correct” since Friday (May 22).

A joint letter from head officials in Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County, sent to Northam on Monday (May 25) said that they are preparing to start the first phase on Friday, including a note from their corresponding health directors.

“[The public health directors] have noted the regional attainment of four of the critical metrics and assessed the need for continued focus on expanding our contact tracing capacity and developing sustainable supplies of PPE,” the letter said.

Additionally, Jeff McKay, the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, released the following statement:

Northern Virginia’s Health Directors tell me that we have met four of the critical criteria required to move forward to Phase I of Governor Northam’s plan to reopen. One of the two areas we don’t meet is contact tracing, but we are finalizing a contract hopefully this week to provide recruitment and staffing for the hundreds of contact tracers and investigators that we will need to increase our capacity of contract tracing. The other is PPE and we have sufficient supply for hospitals, but are working to increase in other areas and hope the Governor will be able to help us do that. My colleagues and I have provided this information to the Governor and look forward to hearing his decision based on that data.

I share our community’s desire to reopen our businesses in the safest way possible. Fairfax County has made significant preparations should the Governor decide that Northern Virginia has met his criteria to reopen this Friday. Regardless, we will continue to monitor our local statistics to ensure Fairfax County doesn’t see spikes in cases and be transparent with the public on our progress.

Northam said that he has been communicating with the Northern Virginia officials.

“The virus clearly is still here, but overall, these numbers are trending in the right direction,” Northam said. “That is the assessment of our state team and it is the assessment of the health district directors across Northern Virginia.”

Northam said that he is “not comfortable” starting the second phase yet for the state and will reevaluate later this week.

“I want to emphasize that while phase 1 loosens some restrictions, it does not require any business or place of worship to open until they are comfortable that they can do so safely,” Northam said. “Just because you can open doesn’t mean that you have to open.”

Mask Controversy

Northam also responded to criticisms after photos surfaced of him without a mask at Virginia Beach this weekend, which intensified due to Northam saying on Friday that he planned to announce a statewide mask policy soon.

“People held me accountable, and I appreciate that,” Northam said. “In the future when I am out in the public, I will be better prepared.”

Northam said that “well-wishers” asked to take pictures with him while he was en route to speak to reporters. “I was not prepared because my mask was in the car,” he said.

Northam announced the face-covering rules today.

Starting this Friday (May 29), people age 10 and older will need to wear face-coverings when they are inside a public place, including retailers, barbershops, restaurants, public transportation, government building and place where people congregate. Exceptions include people who are exercising, eating or drinking or have a health condition that makes wearing a face-covering difficult.

“This is a matter of public health,” Northam said.

Image via Governor of Virginia/Facebook

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Top Stories This Week

Before we head off into another weekend with a stay-at-home order in effect, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. Body Found Near Lake Anne Plaza
  2. UPDATED: Swastikas Discovered at North Point Village Center
  3. Cause of Reston Townhouse Fire Under Investigation
  4. Reston Association Reconsiders Finances, Priorities Due to Pandemic
  5. County Seeks $69 Million for Critical Soapstone Connector

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your social distancing plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below. Our regular publishing schedule will resume on Tuesday due to Memorial Day.

Photo via Chalk Hooligans/Twitter

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Calling all local photographers: Reston Now is looking for your photos of Reston, Herndon and Great Falls.

Whether you’re a photography pro or just love snapping pictures with your smartphone, we are always looking to include seasonal photos in our Morning Notes on weekdays or reshare pictures on our social media accounts.

As we also followed the advice of public health experts, we’re especially interested to see your photos of social distancing (or lack thereof) in the area.

To send us your photos, email us at [email protected], tag us in your photo on social media or join our Reston Now Flickr page.

You will always receive credit for the photo — either with your username or actual name.

Thank you to photographers who have already sent us photos.

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Top Stories This Week

Before we head off into another weekend with a stay-at-home order in effect, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. Fairfax County Releases More Zip Code Data on COVID-19 Cases 
  2. Reports: Bear Spotted in Reston 
  3. Airbags Stolen from a Dozen Cars in Herndon Apartment Complex
  4. JUST IN: Northam to Delay Northern Va.’s First Reopening Phase 
  5. Northam: Northern Va. May Ease Restrictions ‘More Slowly’ as Virginia Reopens 

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your social distancing plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

Photo via Megan Marie

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Since emergency orders in Virginia went into effect several weeks ago, most local and county bodies have opted for online meetings.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors dove into its budget for the coming year and courted public comments virtually. Reston Association also transitioned its annual members’ meeting to an online platform, with members given the chance to provide live comments almost seamlessly. After sorting through kinks and technical issues, other bodies and organizations will continue online meetings in the coming weeks.

Do you think the county and other local entities should continue virtual meetings, even after COVID-19 pandemic concerns subside? Some contend that online meetings are easier to attend and result in more streamlined decision-making. Still, online meetings represent an equity barrier for those without access to certain technology and do not allow residents and groups to fully participate in the public engagement process.

Let us know what you think in the poll below.

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Tuesday Morning Notes

New PPP Data — “Small businesses across D.C., Virginia and Maryland have seen about $8.96 billion worth of loans approved so far in the second round of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, according to new data from the agency… Virginia businesses were approved for 54,989 loans totaling $4.34 billion.” [Washington Business Journal]

COVID-19 Cases Rise as Testing Increases — “Virginia added nearly 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the daily report Monday morning, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 25,070. The increase of 989, the second highest since the pandemic was first reported in the state in early March, came after a surge in testing, with 9,801 new tests reported.” [Inside NoVa]

Funding to Feed Kids — “Fairfax County Public Schools has received $50,000 in grant funding from No Kid Hungry, a national campaign to end childhood hunger in America, and Nationals Philanthropies, the official charitable arm of the Washington Nationals baseball team.” [Inside NoVa]

Metro May Limit Operations Until 2021 — “As states start to reopen their economies, Metro has crafted its plan to slowly ramp service back up — but don’t expect pre-pandemic levels of service until sometime in early 2021.” [DCist]

FCEDA Head Tapped for COVID-19 Group — “Victor Hoskins, President and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), is one of 45 experts tapped to serve on the Washington, D.C.-area’s COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force. Hoskins is the only member on the task force representing one of the region’s economic development organizations.” [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]

Photo by vantagehill/Flickr

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Since 2013, Reston Now has been reporting news about the Reston and Herndon areas. Recently, we started providing additional coverage of Great Falls.

Keep up with our coverage by signing up for our email subscriptions.

The afternoon email — sent at 4 p.m. — rounds up the most recently published stories and sponsored content on our site. Our morning email is currently on a hiatus.

You can also opt in to receive emails we send on behalf of local businesses and nonprofits. If you opt-out, you’ll still receive an occasional event or offer-related email as part of your subscription.

Note: we will never share your email address with a third-party.

Thank you to everyone who has signed up for our email subscriptions already!

If you would like to continue reading Reston Now and you’re able to give us a few bucks a month, we would greatly appreciate you contributing to our coverage via PayPal or joining our Patreon.

Not receiving emails or want to change your subscriptions? You can re-enter your email in the subscription sign-up, which will then pop up a message saying that email is already subscribed. The message will prompt you to update your profile, which will then send you an email that will let you manage your subscriptions.

Subscribe to Reston Now

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