Reston, VA

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn is inviting locals to join his upcoming virtual event with Fairfax County’s police chief.

Alcorn plans to host the virtual town hall with Chief of Police Edwin Roessler Jr. from 7-8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1.

Hunter Mill District residents can join in the discussion on the police department and the community by asking questions or providing input on policing topics, according to an email from Alcorn’s office. People who cannot attend the event live can email questions to the Hunter Mill District Office.

Participants will have a number of ways of joining the town hall, which will be hosted on Webex.

People can either register to attend via Webex, watch on YouTube Live or listen in by calling 1-408-418-9388 and using the access code 129 359 7948.

Once the event ends, the YouTube video will be available on the Hunter Mill District website sometime on Thursday evening, according to the email.

Alcorn photo via Supervisor Walter Alcorn/Facebook, Roessler photo via Fair

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With the COVID-19 pandemic restricting many recreational activities, Frying Pan farm Park is turning to a new kind of tour.

The park, which is located at 2739 West Ox Road, is offering a driving tour of the farm. Residents will get the chance to see animals “up close and personal,” according to the farm. An audio tour will also be offered.

Here’s more from the park on the tour:

Here is your chance to cruise the park like the farmer! Load the family up in the old pickup truck (or minivan!) and come to enjoy Frying Pan Farm Park like never before as you tour the park from the comfort of your car. Enjoy a custom audio tour on your smart phone while driving the park and learn about history, farming, and other parts of Frying Pan Farm that you may not have known about! Price $25 per car.

The cost of $25 per vehicle. Registration is open online for four sessions on Saturday, June 20.

Photo via Yvonne Johnson

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The organizers of a Black Lives Matter protest over the weekend are turning to virtual platforms for an online protest this weekend.

Between 9 a.m. tomorrow (Friday) and through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Herndon residents are encouraged to post photos on Facebook in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, with a specific focus on Herndon-related issues.

The online protest is organized by the leaders of last Saturday’sone-mile march through Downtown Herndon that culminated in the town’s green. Protestors took a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed down with his knee onto George Floyd’s neck, resulting in his killing.

A car rally also took place one week ago in order to protest police brutality and support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Participants can share photos, artwork, videos and other visual work. The goal of the project is to create an online slideshow that encapsulates local voices surrounding “social and systemic racial injustice in this country,” according to the organizers.

Photo by Logan Weaver/Unsplash

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The Herndon Farmers Market will reopen on Thursday, June 18 as stay-at-home guidelines are relaxed throughout the Northern Virginia region.

The weekly market will take place in front of the caboose on the 700 block of Lynn Street from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Residents can begin pre-ordering from vendors online. Patrons can also pick up orders.

The market would join a handful of others that will open next week, including McLean Farmers Market.  The Reston Farmers Market was among the first to open in early May.

The following shopping guidelines are also in effect to avoid spreading COVID-19:

  • No more than 2 family members in the market
  • Face covering strongly recommended
  • No pets
  • Keep a 6-foot distance from others
  • One customer per stall
  • Do not touch surfaces. Let vendors bag purchases.
  • Credit or debit card payments preferred
  • No on-site eating of purchases or sampling
  • Do not linger. Get in and get out quickly. 
  • Leave by exits only

The county also offered the following advice:

When possible, shoppers are encouraged to preorder their items directly from the local vendors. Go to the Farmers Markets website and click on the Vendor Preorder List for a list of all market vendors and their ordering policies. You can also click on an individual market for details on the vendors at that market and preordering instructions.

At the markets, customers are asked to comply with all COVID-19 safety procedures, including limiting shoppers to two persons per household, wearing facial coverings, and maintaining 6 feet of distance from others. There may be a waiting line, and there will be a one-way path through the markets. To give everyone the best shopping experience possible, please consult the 2020 Market Guidelines infographic before your visit.

Photo via Town of Herndon

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Tomorrow (June 9), a Reston Chick-Fil-A and the CORE Foundation are partnering to collect food and shoes for people in need.

The drive, which is one of several set to take place in the area, will run from 5 to 7 p.m. at Chick-Fil-A  (1494 Northpoint Village Center) and those who donate will receive a special offer from the eatery, according to the Facebook page.

For those who are unable to make the specific hours, people can still drop donations outside in a bag on a designated table or at the drive-through, according to the post.

“Your donation of canned goods and pantry items as well as gently used shoes will be delivered to Supporting Seniors in Place, Helping Hungry Kids and other food pantries,” the Facebook page.

The CORE Foundation, an organization based in Reston, helps small entrepreneurs reach their goals, according to its website, but also runs other fundraisers and support efforts.

Next week, the drive will be held at Glory Days in Reston, according to Mark Moody, a CORE Volunteer.

“If successful, we will continue this year-round to help keep our pantries stocked,” he said.

Photo via Chick-Fil-A/Facebook

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Reston Association canceled its camp program for the summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now residents can bring a piece of the camp experience into their homes with RA’s “Reston Camps in a Box” program.

Residents within RA boundaries can request that a box be delivered to their residence at no charge. Residents outside RA’s boundaries must pay the cost of shipping.

Boxes have different themes and include a nature activity, arts and crafts, a science experiment, a rainy day project, fitness ideas, and more. The kit also includes a link to connect with a camp staff member virtually.

The kits will be available on a staggered basis based on the following schedule.

  • Aloha to Summer (June 15)
  • Party in the USA (June 29)
  • Anything Goes (July 13)
  • Exploration (July 27)
  • Camp Finale (August 10)

Local organizations are finding new ways to transform the summer camp experience. Earlier this month, the Greater Reston Arts Center announced its first digital summer art camp.

Photo via Mariah Hewines/Unsplash

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A local nonprofit organization will host a town hall with Fairfax County officials to discuss issues of resilience and recovery as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cornerstones has planned the virtual event for Monday, June 8 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn and Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust are signed on as panelists, as well as Fairfax County Public Schools’ board members Melanie Meren (Hunter Mill District) and Elaine Tholen (Dranesville District).

Residents are invited to join the conversation about the county’s plans to rebuild economic stability and ensure the most vulnerable residents have the resources they need to regain independence and security.

The following topics will be discussed:

  • Affordable housing
  • Extending tenant rights through recovery
  • Family resiliency and sustainability after the crisis
  • Learning loss and the digital divide
  • Getting back to work and a living wage
  • Opportunity Fairfax and the COVID-19 divide

The facilitators are Casey Veath, principal of Veatch Commercial Real Estate; Tracey White, Vice President of Reston Hospital Center; and Kerrie Wilson, CEO of Cornerstones.

Members of the public can email their questions for consideration to [email protected]. Submissions must be received by Friday, June 5.

The meeting will take place via Zoom. Participants can register online.

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To help fill the South Lakes High School Food Pantry, Lake Anne Brew House (11401 North Shore Drive) is hosting a luau themed food drive over Memorial Day Weekend.

People are encouraged to bring items to the brewhouse from May 21 through 24. The location will be accepting donations on Thursday and Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m., according to the event page.

Requested items include canned goods, nonperishable things like beans and rice or toiletries and personal care products.

Food and donations will go to vulnerable members of the community, the event page said, adding that customers are also encouraged to pick up to-go food and drink since a portion of the proceeds will also go towards the cause.

Image courtesy Lake Anne Brewhouse

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One of the most popular food festivals in Northern Virginia is getting delayed by a few months to reduce the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus.

Instead of its original date in June, Taste of Reston will be held on Friday and Saturday (Sept. 25-26) at Reston Town Center, according to a press release.

“Planning for this year’s event includes the qualities that Taste of Reston is renowned for — plenty of food and beverage tastings, activities for all ages, and live music — while being thoughtful of physical distancing,” the press release said.

Still, guests can expect the same level of entertainment and quality from years past, the press release said.

“The 30th annual Taste of Reston will offer two days of numerous food vendors, local wineries, three beer zones with craft and seasonal brews, a sponsor showcase, and live entertainment on four stages.”

Admission and parking will be free, according to the press release, which added that guests can purchase food and drink tickets for $1 each or 24 for $20.

Photo via Chip McCrea on Taste of Reston/Facebook

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity has become increasingly common. Community members will have the chance to ease the burden by donating non-perishable goods to an upcoming campaign.

Stuff the Bus, a typically biannual effort, organized collections dates on Saturday (May 16) and Tuesday (May 19) from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. to help fill the requests of local food banks, according to the event page.

“Unlike past years, the buses will not be parked in grocery store parking lots. Instead, buses will be parked in less-frequented lots,” the page said.

Around Reston, people can find a donation area at Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Office (1801 Cameron Glen Drive), which will benefit Cornerstones, according to the event page.

In Great Falls, people can stop by the Great Falls Library (9830 Georgetown Pike).

“Because of the extraordinary events taking place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for food has surged in Fairfax County, so Stuff the Bus is again stepping up to feed hungry people,” the event page said.

Photo by Austin Kehmeier/Unsplash

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This year’s Reston Youth Triathlon, an annual event organized by the CORE Foundation, will proceed for its 10th anniversary, but with a twist.

Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, the nonprofit organization will host a virtual duathlon where races will complete a run-bike-run course. Parents will determine where their children will complete the race using distance requirements set up by the organization.

Racers will select the day and time they wish to complete the race between May 10 and May 17. All times will be reported to the Facebook event page.

All registered racers will receive a race shirt, medal, and a tenth-anniversary commemorative headband, which will be distributed at a date. Registration is open online. The virtual duathlon also includes two new categories: an age bracket for 16-to-19-year-olds and a family team relay that’s open for all ages.

A breakdown of course requirements is below:

The Be AMYazing Reston Youth Triathlon was founded by youth and is coordinated by Amy’s Amigos, a group of 12-year-olds who offered support for their friend, Amy Boyle, as she battled brain cancer. The group, which was founded in 2008, held the first Reston triathlon for children in May 2011 following Boyle’s passing.

To date, the event has raised $125,000 for Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation.

Photo by Paul Thomas

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This May, Reston residents are invited to go outside and participate in a month-long stay-at-home chalk art challenge.

Participates of all ages are asked to model drawings after a weekly theme posted by Public Art Reston, a press release said, adding that the first theme will be announced next Monday (May 4) on Facebook.

“Get creative with your community throughout the month of May by making chalk drawings at home on your driveway, sidewalk, or whatever safe paved space you can find,” the event page said.

Once completed, participants are encouraged to submit their photos by posting a picture on social media using hashtags #AtHomeChalkArt and #PublicArtReston or emailing it to Reston Public Art.

Organizers ask that people respect social distancing guidelines while creating the art outside, make sure kids are supervised and avoid nude or lewd images.

For those unfamiliar with chalk-art, the press release suggested a list of tips for best results including making a preliminary drawing of the plan, applying a few layers of chalk, blending colors for a new effect and using a plastic tarp to cover the art in case of rain.

“If you want your proportions to be correct, you might consider drawing a grid over the drawing/photocopies using a ruler and thin marker,” the press release said.

Participants are expected to use their own supply of chalk and tools and the challenge will conclude on May 31.

Local businesses and organizations are also encouraged to apply, the page said.

Photo via Sam Haddad/Unsplash

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn plans to hold another virtual town hall on the proposed budget for the next fiscal year.

The budget town hall, which also took place earlier this month, is set for Friday (April 24) at 12:30 p.m.

In a newsletter, Alcorn stated that the “lunch tie discussion” will also feature Melanie Meren, the school board member for the Hunter Mill District, and Christina Jackson, director of the county’s Department and Budget.

Details on how to participate will be released soon.

The coronavirus pandemic has driven major changes in the proposed budget, including elimination of tax rate increases. The budget assumes that no net increase in the county’s revenues is expected.

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The number of unemployment claims in Fairfax County skyrocketed last month, according to the most recent unemployment numbers.

Claims jumped from a mere 145 the week of March 14 to 4,345 the following week. As of March 28, that number ballooned to 12,109 claims. The latest numbers offer a glimpse into the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as thousands of county residents lose their jobs.

The county’s unemployment insurance claims data are similar to the statewide picture. The number of claims filed during the week ending on March 28 was 110,397 higher than the comparable 2019 week, representing a 5,000 percent increase.

The Virginia Employment Commission says initial claims measure the clear economic impact of the COVID-19 virus. Although many areas are reporting layoffs in service-related industries like accommodation and food services, the commission notes that there are indications that layoffs “are bordering to affect a wider range of industries.”

Photo by Evan Wise/Unsplash; Map via Virginia Employment Commission

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Updated April 8 — To fix a typo and include donation times for April 8. 

Across the country, hospitals and medical facilities are dealing with an emergency blood shortage but the YMCA of Reston and American Red Cross teamed up to host a drive.

Beginning today (April 8) people can stop by the YMCA Fairfax County Reston (12186 Sunset Hills Road) from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. to donate blood, according to a press release.

Other donation dates throughout the month include April 15 and 27  from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the press release said.

Potential Donors can sign up online and search by sponsor code “YMCA DMV” or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

People must show government issues identification at the time of donation.

“Added precautions are in place to ensure the safety of all donors and staff which includes donor temperature checks before entering the drive, spacing beds 6 feet apart where possible, using aseptic scrubs on arms, using sterile collections sets, and wiping down donor-touched areas,” the press release said.

Photo via LuAnn Hunt/Unsplash

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