Santa at Lake Anne/Courtesy Jingle on Lake Anne

Santa Claus himself will visit Reston this weekend, but he won’t be riding with his usual reindeer or sleigh. Instead, the all-knowing, all-seeing Christmas wizard will arrive on a barge.

St. Nick’s visit is part of Jingle on Lake Anne, an annual family-friendly holiday festival. The big day is set to include carolers, drinks, shopping and cookie decorating this year.

Jingle on Lake Anne is free and will take place rain or shine.

Here is the schedule of events for Saturday, Dec. 3:

  • 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. — Farmers and craft Market
  • 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. — Gifts from the Heart shopping event and reception
  • 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. — Cookie decorating/beer garden/mulled wine/activities
  • Noon — Santa arrives by barge
  •  Noon to 2:00 p.m. — Pictures with Santa
  • 6:30 p.m. — Tree Lighting and caroling

Photo: Santa on a barge/Courtesy Jingle on Lake Anne


Fairfax County Police A man armed with a gun robbed the Sunoco gas station at 11190 South Lakes Dr. last night, Fairfax County Police said.

The robbery happened around 8 p.m. yesterday. A man entered the gas station displayed a gun to an employee and took an undisclosed amount of cash, police said. The employee was not injured during the robbery.

Authorities dispatched a police helicopter and several squad cars to look for the suspect, who is described as a black man, about six feet tall and 200 pounds, wearing a dark hooded jacket, a scarf and white gloves.

Several readers wrote to us to report hearing or seeing the helicopter. One reader told us they saw four police cars speeding toward the gas station.


Fire Destroys Home in Great Falls

Home burned down in Great Falls Sunday, photo courtesy of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue

A fire destroyed a home just north of Reston early yesterday morning.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue crews rushed to the 1000 block of Northfalls Court in Great Falls just after 2:30 a.m. on Sunday.

When firefighters arrived, they found a two-story home engulfed in flames. Nobody was inside the home during the blaze, the department said. Additionally, nobody was injured fighting the fire.

“Investigation into the fire determined that the fire started in a second floor bedroom area with the exact cause still under investigation,” Fairfax County Fire and Rescue said.

The $726,250 home is a complete loss.

Photo courtesy Fairfax County Fire and Rescue


Lily Siegel, photo courtesy of GRACEThe Greater Reston Arts Center has a new leader.

Lily Siegel is now the center and gallery’s executive director and curator, GRACE announced in a press release earlier today. Siegel is scheduled to begin her new position on Dec. 5.

The center’s former executive director and curator, Holly Koons McCullough, left for the Arlington Arts Center earlier this year.

“Together with the terrific Board of Directors and staff, I will promote that development through a robust exhibition program that includes local and international artists shown side-by-side,” Siegel said in a statement. “We will expand the scope of educational programing, both in regional schools and in the gallery, by emphasizing the promotion of art to enrich community. The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival will continue to grow by broadening the opportunities for artists and the public to get involved.”

More about the new appointment from GRACE:

Read More


Fire on St. Trinians CourtFirefighters have shut down part of Sunset Hills Road near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station due to a reported gas leak.

Sunset Hills Road between Metro Center Drive and Wiehle Avenue is currently closed to traffic, according to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue officials.

Though nobody has been injured or sickened by the leak, authorities are advising people nearby to stay indoors as a precaution.

“They are checking some buildings,” said Fairfax Fire and Rescue spokesman Bill Delaney. “But nobody complaining of any illnesses.”

Workers struck and ruptured a gas line about two miles away from that area yesterday.

We’ll update this story as we know more.

File photo


Fairfax County Fire Rescue(Updated at 1:42 p.m.) A portion of the W&OD Trail was shut down this morning after workers struck and ruptured a six-inch gas line there.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue officials said the trail was shut down near the 12100 block of Sunset Hills Road around 9:15 a.m. this morning.

The situation was “under control” shortly after it began, fire officials said. Workers with the gas company stopped the leak around noon today.

“The trail was shut down as a precaution,” said Fairfax Fire and Rescue spokesman Bill Delaney.  “Everything seemed to be pretty benign.”


090216restonfatalposssuspvehicleThe Fairfax County Police Department today released a photo of a car they believe is connected to the fatal hit-and-run crash that happened on North Shore Drive Sunday.

Someone behind the wheel of a car hit and killed 76-year-old Hung Soon Seo at the intersection of North Shore Drive and Village Road some time before 5:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon, police said.

Seo was crossing North Shore Drive at a four way intersection when she was hit by a vehicle that did not stop, according to authorities.

Fairfax police plan to canvass the area near North Shore Drive and Village Road this Sunday 5 p.m. in search of more information about the car, now believed to be a yellow Ford Escape with possible front end damage on the driver’s side.

Though the car was previously thought to be a newer model black Nissan Altima, “new information has determined that the initially thought to be the suspect vehicle may instead be a witness to the hit and run,” according to an update from FCPD earlier this week.

Police released the following flyer about the upcoming search:


Photo via Fairfax County Police Department


I-66 traffic/ARLnowGetting ready to celebrate the upcoming Labor Day holiday? Here’s something to temper your mood: you might also want to get ready to spend more time stuck in traffic later this month.

You might have heard the term “Terrible Traffic Tuesday,” which refers to the supposedly awful traffic on the Tuesday after Labor Day, when kids are back in school and workers are back from vacation.

But researchers at the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, a planning board for the Washington, D.C. area, say that Terrible Traffic Tuesday is actually not that terrible on average. It’s the days after and the following week that are more congested than at any time in August.

TPB calls it the “September Shock.”

SeptShock2016TerribleTuesday2015_full-630x420“Expect to see more traffic and increased travel times,” the organization said. “For everyday travelers, the extra delay can add up to hours of extra time spent in the car each week. Regionally, added up across all travelers, it amounts to a drain on productivity and economic competitiveness.”

“The annual jump is so consistent from year to year that the TPB analysts say it’s one of the most predictable and pronounced traffic events the region sees. Their analysis also revealed that September is consistently one of the region’s top two or three worst traffic months.”

TPB’s full report is available online.

One interesting and perhaps counterintuitive observation: the increase in traffic is “mainly a morning phenomenon” — there’s only a relatively small increase in traffic during the afternoon rush hour.

The “shock” may not also affect the area equally. Some roads see worse traffic than the regional average, while others could even experience slight improvements, researchers said.

Maps provided by TPB show that across the area, the most severe increases in traffic congestion — upwards of 50 percent increases travel times — typically happen later in the morning rush hour, around 8-10 a.m., on major routes and highways.


Reston Regional Library

What do Fairfax County residents want to see at their local library? The answer to that question will be revealed during a public meeting next week.

Consultants hired by the Library Board of Trustees are slated to reveal the findings of a recent public engagement project during a meeting at the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway) on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m.

The public engagement project, which began last December, collected input regarding “perceptions about the library; the types of services that will meet current and future community needs, interests and concerns; and how the library can better communicate its value to the residents of Fairfax County,” according to officials. County residents provided feedback through telephone and online surveys, community forums, focus groups and interviews.

The meeting will include time for attendees to speak or ask questions about the initiative and its findings.

For those who can’t make it to the meeting, the program will be streamed live and televised on Fairfax County Government Channel 16.


Fairfax County Police (Updated at 3:08 p.m.) Fairfax County Police are looking for the person who drove into a woman and killed her on North Shore Drive last night.

Someone behind the wheel of a car hit and killed 76-year-old Hung Soon Seo at the intersection of North Shore Drive and Village Road some time before 5:15 p.m. yesterday, police said.

Seo was crossing North Shore Drive at a four way intersection when she was hit by a vehicle that did not stop, according to authorities.

Though police initially believed the car was a newer model black Nissan Altima, “new information has determined that the initially thought to be the suspect vehicle may instead be a witness to the hit and run,” according to an update from FCPD.

Emergency personnel rushed Seo to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where she was pronounced dead about 11:30 p.m. yesterday.

Authorities have urged anyone with information to contact them.


Fairfax County Police Fairfax County Police are searching for the person who fired a bullet through a 9-year-old girl’s bedroom window in Herndon last night.

The incident happened on the 2100 block of Monaghan Drive in Herndon last night around 10:30 p.m., according to authorities.

Police said the girl was lying in her bed when she heard a “loud noise” outside. When she went to the window to look out, she “felt something on her arm; possibly glass fragments,” police said.

The girl told her parents, who found a hole in the window and called the police. Officers later found a bullet lodged in the child’s mattress.

It’s unclear where the gunshot may have originated. Police are still looking for possible suspects.

Read the full release from Fairfax County Police below:

Officers responded to the report of a bullet that had been fired through the window of a home in the 2100 block of Monaghan Drive in Herndon on Tuesday, July 5, at around 10:30 p.m. According to the caller, his 9-year-old daughter was in her bedroom, lying on her bed when she heard a loud noise outside. She went to the window to look out and suddenly felt something on her arm; possibly glass fragments. The child then informed her parents who investigated and found a hole in the window where the little girl had been standing. Officers processed the scene and found a bullet lodged in the child’s mattress. A canvass of the neighborhood was conducted and the area was searched. There is no suspect information at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Crime Solvers electronically by visiting or text-a-tip by texting “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES(274637)** or by calling 1-866-411-TIPS(8477), or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.


Morning Notes

meadow in Reston

Unemployment Down in Fairfax County — Fairfax County’s unemployment rate clocked in at 2.6 percent in April, the lowest since September 2008, according to officials. The number of unemployed Fairfax County residents decreased to 16,333 in April.  [Fairfax County]

South Lakes High School Graduates Row ‘Dragon Boat’ — Meet four brothers and recent graduates of South Lakes High School who help man the “dragon boat” with the Capital City Dragons rowing team. [Reston Connection]

New Exhibition Planned at Reston Art Gallery & Studios — The work of nine artists is slated to appear in an upcoming exhibition at the Reston Art Gallery & Studios (11400 Washington Plaza) between July 7 and Aug. 3. The “Summer Group Show” will include original paintings, prints, handcrafted jewelry, mobiles, and stabiles, and will kick off this Sunday with a reception at the studio.


School for TomorrowSchool for Tomorrow, a non-traditional private school based in Rockville, Md., will open a Reston location in late August for students in grades 6-12.

The school has signed a lease for 11480 Sunset Hills Rd., about a half-mile from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. It aims to aims between 10 and 40 registered students by its the time it opens its doors, said Reston Head of School Laura DeLima.

Once enrolled, students won’t be taking regimented classes like trigonometry or civics, says DeLima. Instead, they’ll learn about “conceptual” subjects that stress an array of skills and projects instead of memorizing facts and formulas.

“It’s very heavy on concepts and writing skills, problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, and creativity,” says DeLima. “But it also has a broad range of disciplines that we encourage like geography, psychology, and neuroscience.”

At the beginning of each trimester, School for Tomorrow students work with teachers to develop a customized learning plan. Though they have growth goals to achieve, those goals are developed by what a student is interested in doing or achieving. And they’re not entirely academic in nature. For example, a student might strive to grow emotionally in some way.

“We include emotional, social, and physical wellbeing and hold them to be as important as academic growth,” DeLima says. “Students are not only assessed on an academic basis, but also in their growth on things like resilience and self-esteem.”

That’s not to say students won’t be learning some of the usual textbook. Literature, economics, politics, culture, and math are all still in the school’s curriculum. What’s different is the way in which students learn those subjects, says DeLima.

For instance, a typical assignment might have students planning an environmentally friendly utopian city or working through problem-based courses. Students are free to work through problems however they see fit, so long as it meets the course goal. Along the way, they’re free to take breaks, eat lunch when they please, and collaborate openly.

That freedom is also part of the natural learning process, says DeLima.

“It’s much more engaging that way,” she says. “The reality of life is that we move between kinds of thinking all the time.”

School for Tomorrow was founded in 2009, and its Rockville location now has more than 80 registered students. And DeLima says the school is growing fast. She estimates the Reston location could hit 100 students by 2020.

Annual tuition for the school is $32,500, but financial aid will be offered on a case-by-case basis, the school says. The school day runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., which SFT says it more aligned with the sleep clock of teenagers.

The school will host an informational panel of current students, parents, and teachers at the new Reston location on April 26 at 5 p.m.


More than 330 people plunged into 33-degree waters on Saturday at the eighth annual Freezin’ for  Reason Virginia Polar Dip at Reston’s Lake Anne Plaza.

The event raised more than $100,000 for Camp Sunshine, a Maine sleepaway summer camp for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

To take the plunge, participants donated at least $100. This year, jumpers raised a record-setting $111,000, which is enough to send 56 families to the camp.

On Friday night, event organizers used chainsaws to carve a square-shaped hole in the four-inch ice that covered Lake Anne. Despite daytime temperatures in the mid-40s, the hole was again frozen over by noon Saturday. Shortly before the 2 p.m. starting time, divers in cold-water wetsuits spent fifteen minutes clearing the ice.

Then, kids and adults — some wearing viking costumes, superhero getups, and swimwear — lined up on Lake Anne Plaza’s dock to take the plunge. Which each splash, the crowd of more than 400 people cheered and clapped.

After emerging from the lake, the jumpers were given a hot towel and invited inside the Reston Community Center to regain feeling in their fingers and toes.

Jumper and Fairfax resident Tammy Sankner, 44, whose team raised more than $1,600, says she took the plunge for her children.

“Our kids are cancer kids, so we formed a team to show our kids we’d do anything for them,” says Sankner.

Scott Doeden, a 43-year-old from Stephens City, Va., plunged into the frigid waters dressed as a tutu-wearing Batman.

“The water is a shock,” says Deoden. “I didn’t really panic, but I thought, I gotta get out, now.”

“Team Viking” captain Duff Means, 37, of Sterling, says Saturday marked his family’s fifth time jumping. Means, whose team raised $1,530, described the experience as diving head-first into a slushie.

“I’m always happy to support Camp Sunshine,” he says.

The last to leap into Lake Anne was Virginia Polar Dip founder Gail Toth, who helped start the local event after her daughter attended the camp.

“The whole community, all of Reston and the surrounding area, has been so supportive of the event and it has grown so much,” says Toth. “It’s really inspiring to see how generous people are and how much they really want to help.”


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