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Locals Can ‘Adopt’ Fire Hydrants in Fairfax County

Residents and business owners can help firefighters potentially save lives by “adopting” fire hydrants.

Fairfax County’s “Adopt-A-Hydrant” program helps combat obstacles created by snow and ice during wintertime and weeds, leaves and shrubs in warmer weather.

Locals who adopt a fire hydrant pledge to keep it clear for firefighters to access in case of an emergency. For snowy weather, locals may need to clear a three-foot area around the hydrant and make a path to the road to ensure visibility and accessibility.

Locals can submit an online application to get one close to their home or business. A crew from the participant’s closest fire station will then deliver an “adoption certificate” identifying the hydrant.

The county encourages locals to take pictures with their adopted fire hydrants and share them on social media with #FCFRDHydrant. Because they are the property of the Fairfax Water Authority, people cannot paint, personalize or change the appearance of the fire hydrants.

Photo via Fairfax County

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Starting Friday: Free Holiday Lyft Rides to Combat Drunk Driving

Local nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) and ridesharing app Lyft are again partnering to offer free rides during the holiday season.

As part of an effort to combat drunk driving, WRAP will be sponsoring free Lyft rides starting this Friday (Dec. 14).

From 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., rides up to $15 are free with the use of a promo code. The user is responsible for any costs over $15. The offer will continue until Jan. 1.

Weekly codes will be posted at the Sober Rides website at noon on Dec. 14, 22, and 31. The weekly code is only valid for one ride.

According to the Virginia Highway Safety Office, there were 621 alcohol-related crashes in Fairfax in 2017, resulting in 331 injuries and 12 fatalities.

As the program is aimed at preventing alcohol related crashes, Lyft riders must be at least 21 years old to claim the offer. The code is valid for any rides inside the D.C. coverage area, which includes all of Fairfax County.

The SoberRide program operates during the December/January holiday season, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Independence Day and Halloween.

Image via Washington Regional Alcohol Program

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Lotte Plaza Market Opened in Herndon Centre Last Friday

Ethnic grocer Lotte Plaza Market officially opened last Friday (Dec. 7) in Herndon Centre.

Located at 490 Elden Street, Lotte Plaza Market joins a growing number of grocery options in Herndon Centre.

The shopping plaza is also home to MOM’s Organic Market. Sprouts Farmers Market grocery store is expected to take over part of the former Kmart space.

Lotte Plaza Market describes itself as “the premier source for Asian groceries in Maryland and Virginia.” It has seven locations in Maryland, five in Virginia and one “coming soon” to Orlando, Fla. — with plans to open 50 locations by 2020, according to its site.

Reston Now previously reported that Lotte Plaza Market was set to open earlier this year.

Photo via Lotte Plaza Market/Facebook

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Radio Host Raises $32,000 for Reston-based Fallen Patriots

Reston’s Children of Fallen Patriots (Fallen Patriots) received a large donation raised from a radio talk show host’s jewelry sales.

Laura Schlessinger, the host of “The Dr. Laura Program” on SiriusXM and the artist in residence for this Fallen Patriots’ Foundation Boutique, raised $32,000 from selling jewelry through her holiday boutique.

The boutique includes original jewelry and glass designs all handcrafted by Schlessinger.

The donation will help send children of fallen servicemembers to college, according to a press release.

“It’s truly an honor to have her partnership and the amazing support of her listeners,” Fallen Patriots Co-Founder Cynthia Kim said in a press release. “The mission of Fallen Patriots would not be possible without wonderful patriots like Dr. Laura.”

Schlessinger started supporting Fallen Patriot in 2017. Since 2002, Fallen Patriots (1818 Library Street, Suite 500) has provided roughly $26 million for college scholarships and educational counseling to more than 1,280 military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty.

The currently closed boutique will reopen for Valentine’s Day. People can still make donations online or by mail to the cause.

Photos via Children of Fallen Patriots

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Grand Opening This Afternoon for New Trail Cycling

Updated 2:30 p.m. — Elizabeth Kamp, owner of New Trail Cycling Studio, has specified that the opening is a private event

New Trail Cycling Studio, a new indoor cycling studio at Lake Anne Plaza (1641B Washington Plaza), is celebrating its grand opening this afternoon (Tuesday) in a private event from 4:30-6 p.m.

The grand opening will include finger food from Kalypso’s and a chance to win a five-pack of rides.

The indoor bicycling studio first opened its doors in early November with a series of preview classes. Participants can buy a pack of classes, from $22 for two classes for new riders to more expensive unlimited memberships. Riders receive free shoe rentals, towels and herbal washcloths.

The studio also offers specials — $65 for four rides for college students — and “Free New Trail 101” classes to teach proper form and explain cycling settings.

Photo via Facebook

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Reston Bicycle Club Raises Over $5,000 for Local Groups

As the year comes to a close, the Reston Bicycle Club topped $5,100 in donations to community projects that support bicycling.

“The Reston Bike club is proud to provide financial and member volunteer support to community initiatives that promote cycling for fun, exercise, and as a commuting alternative,” Club President Chip Magrogan said in a press release.

The club’s executive committee voted last week to donate to local bicycling organizations. Kelley Westenhoff, the vice-chairman of the Reston Bicycle Club, said the checks are in the mail.

TrailsforYouth.org, the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts and the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling will receive $1000 each, while $500 was donated to NOVA Cycling. Earlier this year, the club donated to the Be AMYazing Reston Youth Triathlon as well as the Reston Sprint Triathlon.

“2018 was our first year of formalizing donations with a grant application, etc. thus donations for past years are hard to track as they were on a more ‘as needed’ basis,” Westenhoff told Reston Now via email.

“That said, I’ve been on the board for two years, and was involved with some of the past donations, so I can say that this year’s total so far is the highest we’ve gone in a year — with the exception of some big projects we funded such as bike racks in Reston and the bike counter for [Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling],” Westenhoff added.

The club, founded in 1982, aims to promote bicycling around Reston and other nearby communities. Funding for philanthropy comes from club member dues and the club’s annual Century Ride, held in August.

Club membership includes social rides and training rides every day of the week from April through September and on weekends year-round. Membership costs $25 annually.

Photo via Facebook

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‘Elden Street Tea Shop’ Set for Grand Opening This Week in Herndon

Elden Street Tea Shop plans to celebrate its grand opening at a permanent spot in Herndon this weekend.

Rachel Eisenfeld, the tea shop’s owner, told Reston Now that the shop moved into its space at 714 Pine Street on Nov. 28 after one year as a pop-up open every Saturday at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center Street).

The tea shop is named after the historic street in Herndon that it initially planned to move to. But after the tea shop decided to switch its permanent location to Pine Street, Eisenfeld decided to not change the name as a way to pay homage to the popular Elden Street.

Eisenfeld described the Pine Street location as a cute and charming house that is part of Herndon’s historic district. “It fits a tea shop,” she said.

More than 60 varieties of loose leaf tea from across the world and locally are available at Elden Street Tea Shop, along with processed tea and “tea-to-go.” Customers can also purchase snack food made by local bakeries.

“We really want to be involved in the community,” Eisenfeld said. Part of that involvement includes donations.

Every quarter, Elden Street Tea Shop picks a handful of new charities or organizations in the Herndon community.

Customers can choose which ones they would like to donate to when they check out at the shop or online, along with nominating a charity for consideration. At the end of the quarter, a portion of the profits goes to the selected places.

The grand opening will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 15) with all-day events, a ribbon-cutting at 2 p.m. and special offers.

Eisenfeld said the tea shop will start hosting afternoon tea events in February and will continue to offer board games — Scrabble, chess, checkers, Risk and more — from its pop-up days with weekend game time.

Photo via Elden Street Tea Shop/Facebook

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Reston Then and Now: Lake Anne

With help from Fairfax County’s Historic Imagery Viewer, which offers aerial views of the county dating back to 1937, Reston Now has put together a review of how the Lake Anne area has evolved since the lake’s creation.

Like many of Reston’s lakes, Lake Anne is not natural. Photography from 1960 shows the open fields and forests just two years prior to the first development on the site.

According to the Walker Nature Education Center, the lake was first built in 1962 to compensate for the increased water runoff caused by new developments. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Lake Thoreau, Lake Audubon, and Lake Newport were also built across Reston.

While some of the water in the lake comes from underground springs, most comes from rainfall and surface runoff. The lakes store water as it flows through streams to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.

By 1976, ten years after it was founded, Lake Anne Village Center took the form is essentially remains in to this day. The center was designed by architect James Rossant to emulate the Italian coastal town of Portofino but with then-popular brutalist themes. The center was designed to be located within a half-mile of most homes in Reston at the time.

Over the next twenty years, the aerial photography shows development on the periphery around the central plaza, like new subdivisions built near Lake Newport to the north across Baron Cameron Ave. New residential developments also emerged on the south side of Lake Anne.

To the southwest, the Lake Anne Elementary School went through substantial upgrades in the 1990s, adding air conditioning throughout the building. In 2003, construction began on a $2.1 million addition and renovation of the school. Forest Edge Elementary School to the east also saw substantial growth between 1997 and 2017.

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Reston Restaurant Collecting Warm Clothing for Homeless Veterans

(Updated 4:50 p.m.) As it starts to get colder, some veterans and families around the region don’t have a home to take shelter in.

The Not Your Average Joe’s restaurant in the Reston Town Center is collecting unused, or gently used, sweaters and sweat pants as part of a “Sweats 4 Vets” program.

“We do have a homeless problem in Reston,” said Joe Becker, general manager at Not Your Average Joe’s. “It’s not front page news, but if you look around it’s there.”

Becker said the collection is a partnership with Northwest Federal Credit Union.

“Every fall, going into winter, we collect [sweat-clothes] for veterans,” said Becker. “We have hypothermia shelters in the area that we get these clothes out to.”

The collection is starting to fill up, and Becker’s goal is to have it overflowing. Normally the clothing is collected at the beginning of December, but Becker said the weather made him want to keep collecting for a few more weeks to get more sweat-clothes.

“It’s halfway full, so it’s getting up there,” said Robert DeSilva, a manager at Not Your Average Joe’s. “We prefer new items, but we will take slightly used [sweat-clothes] in all sizes and cuts.”

DeSilva said the collection will continue for two more weeks before the clothing is donated to local shelters.

“There’s plenty of veterans on hard times right now,” DeSilva said. “We need to take care of those who have taken care of us.”

Photo via Not Your Average Joe’s

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South Lake Village Center’s Construction Plan Set for Spring Arrival

Updated 11:20 — The Ping-Pong Tables were removed, from the project and the story.

Construction on new upgrades for the South Lakes Village Center could be coming next year.

The upgrades proposed by the Chevy Chase Land Company were approved by the Reston Association Design Review Board in June. Plans include upgrades like an amphitheater and a fire pit.

The upgrades are planned to help turn the aging commercial center into a local destination, though earlier this year residents nearby said they were concerned that the upgrades could lead to increased noise levels and vandalism.

Idrissa Sesay, assistant property manager of South Lakes Village Center, told Reston Now in an email that the company is still working on a construction timeline.

“Our marketing director informed me that we are working on the construction timeline now, but hoping to have [the construction timeline] complete this coming spring,” Sesay wrote.

According to the Design Review Board’s approval, the upgrades would add also add a bicycle rack and a bike repair station to make the area more bike accessible.

Photos via Chevy Chase Land Company
This story has been updated

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Restonian’s Travel Blog Highlights Big Trips on Cheap Budgets

(Updated 12:20 p.m.) Reston is home for Charles and Julie McCool, but more often than not you’ll find them on the road.

The Reston couple runs the travel blogs McCool Travel and Fun in Fairfax VA. Charles’ blog is dedicated to maximum travel with minimum expenses. Charles currently has 21,594 followers on Twitter, while Julie has 12,057 followers.

Emailing from a chair once occupied by Jimmy Buffet in Pascagoula, Charles shared some travel tips for Restonians hoping to see the world on a shoestring budget.

Charles said he worked in a cubicle office space in downtown Washington D.C. until 2.5 years ago. Since then, Charles says he’s been traveling full-time and working remotely.

“My personal budget was tight so I heavily researched ways to stretch my dollar but optimize my travel opportunities,” said Charles. “This year my wife and I have flown to Copenhagen and Ecuador for free (using credit card points).”

Charles also notes on the blog that links in the articles may be affiliate links which pay a commission, and that the site is an affiliate of Amazon’s advertising program, meaning the site earns advertising fees for links to Amazon.

Recent features on the McCool Travel blog include dining recommendations around Gettysburg and website recommendations to help prepare for trips. Julie McCool’s blog features more local free outings, like Ten Free and Fun things in Washington D.C.

One of Charles’ top recommendations is for travelers to be flexible.

“Being flexible is my number one rule of travel,” said Charles. “When someone locks in the idea of taking a certain trip at a certain time, that inflexibility often leads to higher prices. For instance, going to Disney World in mid-June (after school is out) or the Caribbean for Spring Break; those are peak travel experiences. Being flexible means, in these cases, maybe doing a road trip to US National Parks.”

On some of the more bare-bones trips, Charles says little touches like getting food from grocery stores instead of fine restaurants can help make a difference in the travel budget.

On a post about lodging, Charles recommends looking for house-sitting opportunities, volunteering, or working at a place that offers residence. Charles noted that farms, lighthouses, and resorts can all offer lodging for work in off-seasons.

If you have to pay for lodging, Charles says identifying which locations offer breakfast can help reduce meal costs, and inquiring about a refrigerator to store groceries can reduce that further.

Charles said his next big trip planned won’t be until a June cruise, but he’s looking into bicycling from Houston to Key West in March or April.

“You do not have to invent, or re-invent, the wheel,” said Charles. “No matter where you want to go, and how you want to do it, there is undoubtedly someone who has already done so (and most likely has a travel blog to talk about it). General suggestions include reading various travel blogs and websites (like mine), be involved in Facebook and Twitter discussions, find people doing what you want to do and ask them for advice.”

Photo via Twitter

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Reston Students Take Tech Questions to NASA

(Updated 3 p.m.) Gabe Aparicio, a 9-year-old Reston student, has been working on a project that involved 3D printing for space technology and had some questions. So who better to ask than a board of NASA experts?

A photo of Aparicio asking a question at a Nov. 29 meeting regarding commercial space traffic was NASA’s featured “Photo of the Day”.

“It was a really great opportunity to hear about the technology he only normally sees in movies,” said Sam Aparicio, Gabe’s father.  “It was quite a treat.”

Aparicio is a member of the “BrainStorm Troopers”, a team of students at the Nova Lab Robotics in Reston. The labs are a maker space in Isaac Newton Square that, among other activities, runs programs that help children learn about science and technology.

Laura Carey, one of the co-coaches for the team, said the name was chosen by the avid Star Wars fans in the group.

The BrainStorm Troopers are one of the Nova Lab Robotics teams working in the FIRST Lego League, a challenge for students ages 9-11 built around designing robotics with legos to combat a certain challenge. This year, BrainStorm Troopers’ challenge was called Into Orbit, tasking students with identifying challenges humans would face in deep space exploration and work on devising a solution.

“They use the Legos to build robots,” said Marybeth Haneline, President of Nova Labs. “For their research question they looked at 3D printing in space, so [Gabe] asked NASA about 3D printing.”

Haneline said students at Nova Labs Robotics were some of several teams throughout the region invited to NASA’s discussion of delivery of commercial payloads to the moon’s surface.

“They have been working all season long to understand what is the role of 3D printing in space exploration,” said Sam Aparicio. “It was really cool for him and his teammates to get validation that this is an area of great interest for NASA engineers. That was one of the highlights of the event.”

Sam Aparicio said Gabe’s involvement with BrainTroopers has not only been fun for a child who loves building with Legos but has also helped shape skills outside of science and technology.

“I’ve been enjoying seeing how this can translate into real-world problem solving,” said Sam Aparicio. “I think one of the big things, not just my son but all of the kids, is that they love learning about teamwork. In the school setting, harder for all of the kids to work on one problem… It’s just been fun for them to bond with other kids in trying to solve a big problem.”

Haneline said the Nova Labs Robotics teams are sponsored, in part, by donor corporations like BTI360 and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Haneline noted that Nova Labs Robotics is currently in a dedicated space in Isaac Newton Square, which is soon to be redeveloped, so the group needs to find a new home by the first of the next year.

“We’re looking for a corporate donor who might be willing to donate some space,” said Haneline.

Photo via NASA/Bill Ingalls

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Reston Historic Trust & Museum Begins Raising Funds for Lakeside Pharmacy Icons Exhibit

The Reston Historic Trust & Museum has raised $965 in three weeks with its fundraising campaign to reinstall the iconic, quirky pharmacy icons from the Lakeside Pharmacy.

The GoFundMe campaign launched on Nov. 8, Alexandra Campbell, the executive director of the Reston Historic Trust & Museum, told Reston Now.

The fundraising target of $15,000 will pay for repairs, cleaning and reinstallation of the 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.

“We’ve still got a long way to go,” Campbell said. “We have some time to get to the $15,000.”

Most of the 22 donations have been small, individual donations — seven people have given $25, while others have donated amounts between $10 to $100.

The icons served as advertisements for the Lakeside Pharmacy, a legacy Lake Anne Plaza store. 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 Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association donated the icons to the Reston Historic Trust & Museum after they were removed in July to make way for new businesses in the pharmacy’s former location.

“We’re really glad to help preserve and keep them here,” Campbell said about the icons.

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‘STRETCH’ Exhibit Coming to Greater Reston Arts Center

If you could do anything, what would that be?

The Greater Reston Arts Center selected five artists based on their answers to that very question for an upcoming exhibit called “STRETCH.”

The exhibit, slated for Dec. 15 through Feb. 9, will present new work by James Huckenpahler, Monroe Isenberg, Katie Kehoe, Melanie Kehoss and Harry Mayer.

The website provides a glimpse into what some of the artists plan to create.

Huckenpahler, a D.C.-based artist who works mainly in digital media, will make large digital prints of a three-dimensional landscape of his X-rayed laptop.

Isenberg, a sculptor and installation artist who mostly uses wood and steel, will create an immersive installation that “investigates the relationships that become apparent in the space between the spirit world and ourselves.”

For the exhibit, Kehoss, who focuses on light boxes, plans to explore the “origins of food-related phenomena related to the history of sugar.”

While specifics for the exhibit are not available yet, the website says Kehoe is currently diving into ecological concerns in places that are expected to go underwater due to climate change. Kehoe, who works in performance, interdisciplinary sculpture and drawing, documents herself carrying or wearing hand-made life-jacket, life ring, bodyboards and buoys made from salvaged materials.

Lastly, Mayer, who draws upon mundane experiences and humor to create his sculptures from construction materials, “proposes to give the viewer a visceral experience that encourages a sense of playfulness.”

“STRETCH” is curated by Don Russell, a guest curator, and Erica Harrison, the associate curator and festival director of the art center. This exhibit marks Greater Reston Arts Center’s third biennial exhibit with a guest curator supporting local artists.

The Greater Reston Arts Center plans to host a reception — free and open to the public — from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15.

Photo via Greater Reston Arts Center website

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Top Style by Kate Noda Hair Studio Moves to Lake Anne Plaza

A new hair salon arrived in Lake Anne Plaza last week.

Top Style by Kate Noda Hair Studio offers haircuts for women, men and kids; coloring; styling; makeup; and other services. The salon opened in Reston on Thanksgiving (Nov. 22), an employee told Reston Now.

The salon updated the address on its website from a location in Tysons Corner to the one at Lake Anne Plaza — 1641 N. Washington Plaza, Unit A.

A Facebook post in June said the salon would in Tysons until September and shows a video of the Lake Anne Plaza spot under construction.

Photos via Top Style by Kate Noda/Facebook

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