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by Dave Emke — April 28, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

Nearly 1,400 volunteers contributed more than 24,000 hours of time to Reston Association’s volunteer program in 2016.

All that work was honored during a ceremony Thursday evening at The Lake House, and the most outstanding of those volunteers were specifically recognized as winners of the 2017 Volunteer Reston Service Awards.

Honorees were:

  • Volunteer of the Year: Leanna Kirkland

Kirkland was honored for her work serving in a wide variety of volunteer roles, including at the Multicultural Festival, Spring Festival, Nature House 5K, the Martin Luther King Day of Service, Halloween House and Trick-or-Treat Trail, and Maker Faire NOVA.

  • Youth Volunteer of the Year: Emily McGrath

A student at South Lakes High School, McGrath was honored for her contributions to the Multimodal Transportation Advisory Committee.

  • Youth Group Volunteer of the Year: Chantilly High School Key Club

The club participated in nearly all Habitat Heroes events during 2016, and worked to clean up Snakeden Branch Upper. They also volunteered their efforts to the Martin Luther King Day of Service

  • Adult Group Volunteer of the Year: RA volunteer photographers (William O’Brien, Kristina Alcorn, LeRoy Wallin, Colena Turner and Anna Kulyk)

The volunteer photographers were celebrated for their work to help document and provide exposure for numerous Reston Association programs and events.

  • Family Volunteer of the Year: Charlie and Julie Bond

The Bonds help maintain the grounds and building at the Walker Nature Center, and they provide seasonal displays for the Nature House each year.

  • Group Volunteer of the Year: Natural Areas Assessment Team (Mike Horton, Don Coram, Farideh Mirmirani and Doug Britt)

The team was honored for giving their time to inspect and assess the health of Reston’s open space.

  • Community Partner of the Year: U.S. Geological Survey

USGS hosts Reston Association’s Science Summer Camp, which had 60 children in attendance in 2016.

  • Community Volunteer of the Year: Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee (Tara Cranford Teague, Mary Shedlock, Tyrone Gillum, Michael Batt, Elaine Killoran, Aaron Diamond and David Nielsen)

The committee was recognized for its effort to collect feedback, identify and engage facility users, research best practices and present comprehensive findings to the Board of Directors.

In addition, Reston Association Board of Directors members whose time on the board recently ended — Dannielle LaRosa, Ellen Graves, Lucinda Shannon and Jeff Thomas — were also recognized for their service.

“Volunteering and community service are deeply rooted in our community’s core values thanks to our founder Robert E. Simon Jr.,” said Cate Fulkerson, Reston Association CEO. “Every year, hundreds of volunteers support RA’s mission by serving on the RA Board of Directors, one of our many advisory committees and work groups, helping with special events and programs or participating in cleanup projects at Reston lakes, in neighborhoods or along pathways. Volunteers are truly the backbone of Reston.”

Anyone interested in learning more about Volunteer Reston should contact Ha Brock at [email protected] or 703-435-7986.

Images in gallery at top courtesy Reston Association/Sean Bahrami

by Dave Emke — April 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm 1 Comment

An indoor trampoline park plans to open in Franklin Farm Village Center later this year.

In a press release, Rhode Island-based Launch Trampoline Park says it plans to begin work on the facility in the summer. The park will “provide kids of all ages with endless fun, whether it is bouncing on trampolines, playing dodgeball in mid-air or falling into a massive foam pit,” the release states.

According to a permit issued by Fairfax County, the facility will be located at 13348 Franklin Farm Road, off Fairfax County Parkway. That’s the former location of Sears, which closed last year.

A website for the local park doesn’t provide a lot of information yet, but it does say it will be a 35,000-square foot indoor facility with 16,000 square feet of connected trampolines. Information provided by Franklin Farm Village Center owner Rappaport shows the former Sears building at 24,420 square feet.

Launch Trampoline Park was founded in 2012 by entrepreneur Robert Arnold and former New England Patriots cornerback Ty Law.

by Dave Emke — April 28, 2017 at 11:30 am 12 Comments

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation has put three possibilities on the table as it looks toward adding bike lanes and sharrows to a 2-mile stretch of Glade Drive during the re-paving process this year.

The options were presented to residents Thursday evening during an open house at Hunters Woods Elementary School. People were able to ask questions of FCDOT staff regarding the plans and were invited to fill out comment forms to rank the options and give additional feedback.

The stretch of Glade Drive in question is a 1.93-mile portion between Glade Bank Way and Twin Branches Road. Alternatives for striping the road, which will take place in conjunction with re-paving efforts by the Virginia Department of Transportation this year, are:

  • Parking and sharrow on north side, bike lane (no parking) on south side
  • Parking and sharrow on north side, bike lane (no parking) on south side except from Old Trail Drive to Quartermaster Lane, in the area of Glade Pool, Walker Nature Center and the Quartermaster Soccer Field (parking remains and sharrows are added on both sides in that section)
  • Parking remains on both sides with sharrows added in each direction — no bike lane is added

Adam Lind, FCDOT’s Bicycle Program manager, said the options were the result of information that was gathered from the community during a November meeting.

“We gathered feedback about how many people were interested in bicycling, walking, parking, driving — whatever their priorities were,” he said. “We did get a lot of feedback from people, on all the streets, that bicycling was high up there.”

Based on that feedback, possibilities for other Reston roads — Colts Neck Road, North Shore Drive and Twin Branches Road — were presented at a separate community meeting in March. However, Lind said, Glade Drive received a proportionally large amount of feedback and “deserved its own priority” through Thursday’s separate presentation.

Local resident Ernie Day said he is an avid bicyclist. However, he said, he believes giving riders more access to roadways is dangerous to both them and drivers.

“I can understand that people want to ride and be safe, but I would suggest to you if you’ve ever lived on Glade — like I have — it’s not going to be safe,” he said. “For the everyday riders, we don’t need to block off traffic permanently. The streets are not easily enlarged.”

Jeff Anderson, president of the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling, said he passed five cyclists along the stretch of Glade Drive on his way to Thursday evening’s meeting. He said the option of putting a south-side bike lane on the entirety of the stretch of road would be the best choice for the community.

“Having on-again, off-again bike lanes isn’t always the best thing for cyclists or motorists,” he said. “There’s not a lot of cars parking on the south side on a daily basis. I think it’s a happy medium — you get a bike lane on one side, and you get the sharrows [on the other].”

Lind said all comments received at Thursday’s meeting, as well as during previous meetings, will be analyzed by FCDOT before they decide how to proceed. He said any residents who were unable to attend Thursday’s meeting but who would still like to provide feedback are welcome to email comments to [email protected] through May 11.

by RestonNow.com — April 28, 2017 at 10:15 am 3 Comments

Food left cooking on a stove ended up causing a fire that has four people out of a home in Herndon.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue units responded before 2 a.m. Thursday to a reported townhouse fire in the 800 block of Sycamore Court. When they arrived, they found smoke showing from the front of the three-story, end-unit house. The fire was found in the first-floor kitchen and quickly extinguished, fire officials say.

The three adults and one child who were in the home at the time of the fire all were able to get out after smelling something burning. One was transported to a hospital for evaluation, and Red Cross assistance is being provided.

Damages as a result of the fire were approximately $25,000.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue offers the following safety tips to help avoid kitchen fires and other calamities:

  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
  • Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking. Long, loose sleeves are more likely to catch on fire or get caught on pot handles.
  • Keep things that can catch fire such as dish towels, curtains or paper at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Do not leave cooking food unattended. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • Turn pot handles inward, facing the wall to prevent burns caused by overturning or spills.
  • Pot holders or oven mitts prevent burns when handling hot dishes.
  • Regularly clean your cooking equipment so that there are no cooking materials, food items or grease accumulation.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Do not remove the lid until it is completely cool.
  • If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you and your clothing. Have the oven serviced before you use it again.

by Dave Emke — April 28, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Reston-Based Software Company Looking to Grow — Oracle is seeking new talent in the effort to outpace the competition in fields such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality. [Fairfax County EDA]

Crane Removal to Affect Toll Road Traffic — Eastbound traffic on the Dulles International Airport Access Highway will be detoured onto the Toll Road tonight through Monday morning as the tower crane at the future Herndon Metro station is disassembled and removed. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Town of Herndon Adopts $51M Budget — The budget, approved this week by the Herndon Town Council, features no tax rate increases. It also includes resources to support development of a first-class arts facility to act as an economic driver for the downtown. [Town of Herndon]

Civil War Stories at Frying Pan Park — The Meeting House at Frying Pan Farm Park (2739 West Ox Road, Herndon) served as a field hospital, encampment and picket post during the Civil War. From 1-3 p.m. Sunday, re-enactors, exhibits and a special guest speaker will share information about the lives of those soldiers. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

by RestonNow.com — April 27, 2017 at 1:30 pm 1 Comment

The Reston Community Center Board of Governors will meet Monday to began the decision-making process on the FY19 budget outline.

Possible timelines for capital projects, including the proposed renovation of the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center, will also be discussed Monday and at the board’s June 5 meeting. A detailed status report regarding the potential project will be presented at the board’s annual public hearing on June 19.

The renovation proposal calls for using the existing footprint of the aquatics center for a six-lane, 25-yard lap pool with an attached family pool, as well as a separate warm-water therapy pool. Leila Gordon, RCC executive director, said she believes the project could cost up to $4 million.

All meetings will be held at Reston Community Center’s Hunters Woods location (2310 Colts Neck Road). The regular meetings slated for Monday and June 5 will be at 8 p.m.; the annual public hearing for programs and budget June 19 is set for 6:30 p.m.

Each meeting is open to the public, and residents who wish to attend are asked to RSVP by emailing [email protected]Written comments or questions can also be submitted to the same address; commenters are asked to include their full name and address.

by Dave Emke — April 27, 2017 at 11:30 am 3 Comments

A future office tower at Reston Town Center may soon have a tenant in line, a Boston Properties executive said.

“We are now in dialogue with a tenant for 100 percent of our proposed new development in Reston Town Center, 17Fifty,” said Doug Linde, Boston Properties president, during the company’s quarterly earnings conference call Wednesday.

The 270,000-square foot, 17-story office building will be constructed at the corner of Presidents and Market streets. No further information was provided about the nature of the potential tenant.

Linde also said there are “multiple tenants competing” for a 38,000-square foot block of space at Reston Town Center.

Also during the conference call Wednesday, BXP CFO Michael LaBelle said the company is expecting big things from The Signature, currently under construction at Fountain Drive and New Dominion Parkway. The mixed-use development, which will be anchored by a Balducci’s grocery store, will have 508 residential units and nine levels of underground parking when it opens next year.

LaBelle called the development one of the “most significant projects in our pipeline.”

Site plan via CBRE/Reston Town Center

by Dave Emke — April 27, 2017 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

Top Reston Volunteers to Be Honored — An awards ceremony to recognize individuals, families, groups and businesses who make a significant contribution to the Reston community through volunteer service will be held tonight from 6:30-9 p.m. at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.). [Reston Association]

Meeting on Glade Drive Bike Lanes Tonight — The Fairfax County Department of Transportation will host a community meeting tonight from 6:30-8 p.m. at Hunters Woods Elementary School (2401 Colts Neck Road) to discuss potential changes to Glade Drive, including the addition of bike lanes and sharrows. [Reston Now]

Fairfax Corner Art Festival (Sponsored) — Fairfax Corner will transform into an outdoor art showcase during the 2nd Annual Fairfax Corner Art Festival this weekend. Monument Corner Drive will feature more than 100 national and international artists, arranged in pop-up gallery style and filled with all mediums of fine art. Admission is free and it’s taking place this Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 4100 Monument Corner Drive, Fairfax. [Howard Alan Events]

Reston Couples Find Business Success with Mat — Gerald and Michelle Zingraf, along with Ben and Camille Arneberg, have made about 6,000 sales of their new product, TerraMat, since February. The ergonomic anti-fatigue desk mat is designed to provide exercise, stretching and therapeutic massage for the feet of those who spend hours at a time standing at a desk. [Fairfax County EDA]

Red’s Table Has New Top Chef — Adam Stein has left Red’s Table to open his own D.C. restaurant, The Eleanor. Kevin Ettenson, 28, is the new executive chef at Red’s Table (11150 South Lakes Drive). Among his plans are an emphasis on housemade pastas and an expanded late-night menu. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

by Dave Emke — April 26, 2017 at 12:30 pm 73 Comments

In response to a question during the company’s quarterly earnings conference call Wednesday, Boston Properties CEO Owen Thomas said the paid-parking situation at Reston Town Center will continue to be evaluated.

Thomas was asked about “an interesting article” about the situation and tenants’ concerns about business being down. In response, the CEO said:

“We did implement paid parking at Reston Town Center at the beginning of the year. As you know, Reston is an urban location, it has structure parking primarily, and there is going to be the arrival of mass transit to the region. It’s certainly not uncommon for areas with this kind of density to have paid parking. We are utilizing a state-of-the-art parking system that is being used in cities all over the U.S., and actually the use of these systems is growing around the U.S. In Reston specifically, the system has been adopted by 140,000 users so far. Now that being said, as you suggest, certainly not all of our customers — some, but certainly not all of our customers — have expressed some concerns about the system or simply having to pay for parking, and we are continuing to evaluate our execution and make adjustments to ensure that Reston remains a preeminent location for business and residents in Northern Virginia.”

Merchants in the Town Center have reported business to be down as much as 40 percent since paid parking went into effect Jan. 3, and an organized protest of the system in March drew hundreds of participants. Jackson’s restaurant has filed a lawsuit over the implementation, and other businesses have threatened the same; however, Boston Properties says it is confident it will prevail in any legal battles.

by Dave Emke — April 26, 2017 at 11:30 am 3 Comments

Numerous county residents were honored recently for their dedication to servitude for the benefit of the community at large.

The annual Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards, presented by Volunteer Fairfax, honor individuals, groups and organizations that have given outstanding volunteer service through a broad range of activities and programs. At an awards ceremony Friday in Springfield, this year’s honorees were honored in 19 categories, ranging from youth volunteer to senior volunteer and many in between.

Among the award recipients were 10 community champions, one from each county district chosen by that district’s supervisor. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins chose to honor Maria and Raul Garza-Chapa, supporters of Reston Community Center programs that serve active seniors.

Carolina Calderon received the Intégrate Volunteer award for her work with Cornerstones. The award recognizes the contributions of a bilingual Hispanic volunteer.

Seven volunteers at the Reston Regional Library were also honored with Benchmark 250 awards, marking 250 hours of volunteer service. Recognized were Diane Brown, Hank Brown, Wendell Driggers, Mark McGowan, Paul Toxie, Nicholas Wenri and Tom Wright.

“Volunteerism is valuable and vital to our community here,” said Elise Neil-Bengtson, Volunteer Fairfax CEO. “We have over 41,000 hours put in by over 15,000 volunteers, and the value of that in the community is over $1 million. That’s huge, but it goes beyond that.”

For a full list of award winners and nominees, visit the Volunteer Fairfax website.

Photos of Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (Hunter Mill District) with Maria and Raul Garza-Chapa (top), and Carolina Calderon (bottom) via Volunteer Fairfax/Facebook

by Dave Emke — April 26, 2017 at 9:00 am 7 Comments

Full-Scale Terror Response Exercise Today — Fairfax County is one of six sites in the DC Metro area participating in a drill today “designed to prepare for the possibility of a complex coordinated terror attack in the region.” The county’s exercise site is the former Lorton Reformatory prison site. [Fairfax County Emergency Information]

Amazon to Move Into Herndon Office Tower — One Dulles Tower (13200 Woodland Park Drive) will be leased out by Amazon Web Service, the Washington Business Journal first reported. That building is just across the Toll Road from Amazon’s facility on Worldgate Drive. [Bisnow]

BXP First-Quarter Earnings Down from 2016 — Boston Properties, owner of Reston Town Center, announced Tuesday that profits are down 8.9 percent from the first quarter of 2016. Revenue fell 5.1 percent. In addition to the DC region, BXP has properties in Boston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. [Nasdaq]

Seahawks Soccer Team Ranked in Region — The South Lakes High School boys’ soccer team, 6-2-2 so far on the season, is ranked No. 8 in the Washington Post’s Metro region Top 10. The team next plays Thursday night at Hayfield. [Washington Post]

Golf Tournament Will Benefit Families of Heroes — The 47th annual HEROES Inc. golf tournament will be July 13-14 at Twin Lakes Golf Course in Clifton. The event benefits the HEROES scholarship fund, which provides financial aid and professional counsel to the surviving family members of law enforcement officers and firefighters who have been killed in the line of duty. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

by Dave Emke — April 25, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

Safe disposal of unused and expired medications is the goal of Saturday’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, and local dropoff points are available.

The Fairfax County Police Department is encouraging anyone looking to get rid of prescription drugs to visit a district station between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday. (The Reston District Station is located at 1801 Cameron Glen Drive.) Only pills and liquids will be accepted; no needles or pressurized canisters.

According to FCPD, safe handling of unused and expired medication prevents accidental poisoning, protects the environment and prevents drug abuse.

The Herndon Police Department (397 Herndon Parkway) is also asking residents to bring their medication in Saturday, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., for proper disposal. Needles and liquids cannot be accepted by HPD.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been promoting Drug Take-Back Day for 12 years. It says studies show that many abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

“Prescription drug abuse is a huge problem and this is a great opportunity for folks around the country to help reduce the threat,” Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg has said. “Please clean out your medicine cabinet and make your home safe from drug theft and abuse.”

There are many other collection sites available Saturday. Search the DEA website for more locations.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

by Dave Emke — April 25, 2017 at 2:45 pm 41 Comments

The Fairfax County Department of Planning & Zoning will host a community meeting next week to discuss proposed zoning ordinance changes that could increase the residential density limit in Reston.

The current zoning ordinance limits residential density in Reston’s Planned Residential Community District, which encompasses most of the community, to an average of 13 people per acre. The Comprehensive Plan for Reston was updated by Fairfax County in 2014 and 2015, guiding redevelopment in Reston’s Transit Station Areas, Town Center and village centers.

The community meeting will be held Wednesday, May 3 at 7 p.m. at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive).

A representative for Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ office said the county DPZ is reviewing data to determine what changes to the ordinance may be necessary to accommodate for the growth approved by the changes to the plan. The meeting May 3, as well as a Reston Planning & Zoning Committee meeting May 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the same location, are opportunities for the community to share their thoughts, she said.

Map courtesy Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning

by Dave Emke — April 25, 2017 at 1:30 pm 6 Comments

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors at their meeting Tuesday morning marked up the proposed FY2018 budget, and the current real estate tax rate remains.

Upon approval of the budget, the real estate tax rate will remain at the FY 2017 level of $1.13 per $100 of the assessed value of the home, as proposed by the county executive. (The average Reston real estate assessment has gone down by 0.33 percent in 2017.) Board chairman Sharon Bulova said the stable rate “ensure[s] Fairfax County continues to be an affordable place to live for seniors and families.”

At the board’s Feb. 28 meeting, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (Hunter Mill District) supported an amendment that would have raised the advertised real estate tax rate to $1.15 per $100. The amendment, introduced by Supervisor Kathy Smith (Sully District), failed by a vote of 7-3, with Supervisor Daniel Storck (Mount Vernon District) casting the third vote in favor.

Changes in the marked-up $4.1 billion budget include:

  • an additional $1.7 million in funding for Fairfax County Public Schools above the amount in the county executive’s proposed budget, for a total transfer of $2.17 billion (52.8 percent of the budget)
  • just under $2 million and 18 new positions to support the second year of the county’s Diversion First initiative, which helps divert individuals with mental illness from jail into mental health treatment
  • more than $13 million in reductions and nine position eliminations, resulting from agency reductions and continued savings in fuel and retiree health expenses

The marked-up budget was approved by an 8-2 vote of the Board, with Smith and Storck dissenting.

The board is expected to officially approve the budget May 2, and it will go into effect July 1.

by Dave Emke — April 25, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

J.McLaughlin Now Open at Reston Town Center — The new clothing store at 11932 Market St. opened to the public Monday. [Reston Town Center/Facebook]

Thermal Cameras Available for Home Inspections — Fairfax County residents can now reserve thermal imaging cameras for loan from any branch of the Fairfax County Public Library. The county says it is making the cameras available so that residents can inspect their home or business for hot and cold spots, which can indicate energy-saving opportunities. [Fairfax County]

SLHS Runner Takes Meet MVP Honors — Olivia Beckner (pictured) ran the 800 meters in 2 minutes, 16.03 seconds and the 1,600 meters in 5 minutes, 1.35 seconds on her way to winning the Most Valuable Female Track Athlete award at the recent Lake Braddock Hall of Fame Invitational. The SLHS track team next competes in the Penn Relays, Thursday through Saturday at the University of Pennsylvania. [Press Release]

Reston Man Up for Bowling Board — Adam Mitchell is one of four candidates for three seats on the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Board of Directors. Mitchell has been a board member for Nation’s Capital Area USBC since 2014, and is a current Virginia State Youth Director. The vote will be done this week during the group’s annual convention in Las Vegas. [USBC]

Photo of Olivia Beckner courtesy South Lakes High School track and field

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