A customer uses a handheld credit card reader (via Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash)

Fairfax County is slated to send additional funding to businesses that suffered the most during the COVID-19 pandemic, but a Black nonprofit says more can be done.

The Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce has repeatedly been neglected in the development of major business grant programs connected to Fairfax County, the nonprofit’s executive director Sheila Dixon says.

“I would have thought we would have had the opportunity to be at the table,” she said.

The county says it’s committed to working with more than 55 chambers, including minority chambers, multicultural groups, and other community and business support groups in multiple languages with its most recent financial assistance initiative.

A working group of local minority business owners is also trying to make changes and build bridges. A webinar co-hosted by the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia on June 23 seeks to address the needs of minority-owned businesses and how they can be helped.

The group has reached some conclusions and recommendations about equitable recovery across the region and is sharing data, according to the event description. Georgetown University adjunct professor Melissa Bradley, who also co-founded a business mentoring service called Ureeka, is the keynote speaker.

The county has noted these kinds of inequities. A consultant report for the county completed in January detailed how low-income and minority households faced greater difficulties in the workforce, along with women, who have been held back by affordable child care challenges.

Those findings came from working with businesses and a roundtable of minority chambers. The Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce was invited to give input and was also asked to participate in a survey about impacts and recovery, according to the county.

Fairfax County’s Relief Initiative to Support Employers (RISE) program, which gave grants to small businesses and nonprofits, dedicated at least 30% of funding to businesses owned by women, minorities, or veterans. Those businesses ended up with 72% of the approximately $53 million of RISE funding, according to the county.

“We are building on and expanding those efforts,” county spokesperson Wendy Lemieux said in an email, adding that the county is committed to extensive outreach with businesses, particularly ones owned by women and people of color affected by the pandemic.

Unlike the RISE program, the county’s new PIVOT grant program didn’t include any provisions explicitly dedicating funds to often marginalized groups when the Board of Supervisors passed it last week.

Meanwhile, the Black chamber of commerce has shared the PIVOT grant information, but it’s also continuing its own initiatives to help businesses recover from the economic effects of COVID-19.

The organization recently launched an outreach called BTRNow (Build Thriving Returns Now) that provided an online workshop for kid entrepreneurs this spring, held a “Caring through COVID” panel discussion on Monday (June 14), and is currently carrying out a listening tour, among other programming.

Dixon says a lot of the chamber’s members have pivoted amid the pandemic and have been thriving.

But she also noted that there can be disparities, and various Black businesses might be reluctant to apply for resources if they’re skeptical that the support will materialize, even if race is considered as a factor in applications.

“It will be interesting to see if people feel more comfortable,” Dixon said. “We are building up and scaling up our businesses and providing them with the education and the resources that are available within the community.”

Photo via Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

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Three individuals stole cash from people in a car last night (June 15) at the 2200 block of Winterthur Court, approximately the same location as a fatal shooting in March.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, three people ranging in ages from 20 to 37 years old approached the victims’ car near the Hunters Woods area around 11:04 p.m. and demanded money. One person entered the car and took cash before all three people ran away.

Officers found the three individuals, all of them Reston residents, in an adjacent neighborhood with the assistance of a police helicopter, FCPD confirms to Reston Now. They were detained and charged with robbery.

The 2200 block of Winterthur Court is the same location as where Santos Antonio Trejo Lemus, 40, of Reston, was shot and killed in March while walking near his home. Police have yet to identify the man who shot Lemus beyond saying that the person was male.

FCPD has offered a cash reward of $2,000 for tips and information related to the homicide.

The FCPD says it does not have any new information to release at the moment about the murder, and the department is still asking anyone who has information to call police or submit tips anonymously.

A reader who alerted Reston Now about last night’s police activity said that they were driving up Reston Parkway at around 11:20 p.m. when they saw parked police cars with their lights flashing at several intersections, including Glade Drive, South Lakes Drive, and Colts Neck Road.

They also noted that a helicopter was circling overhead in the Hunters Woods and Reston National Golf Course areas.

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If you’re passing a cyclist or group of riders in a vehicle, you’ll soon have to change lanes a lot more.

A new law going into effect July 1 will require drivers to switch lanes if they can’t maintain three feet of distance when passing cyclists.

The Fairfax County Police Department says this means motorists may have to cross double yellow lines, imploring people to “share the road.” Police told Reston Now that they hope people will abide by the new legislation and help keep everyone safe on roadways.

“I think it’s going to be huge in the long run,” Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling President Bruce Wright said Monday while stopping during a bicycle ride on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. He acknowledged that the change may require some education.

Wright says the new law means that vehicles will generally need to shift lanes, because lanes in the state are typically 11 or 12 feet wide.

“In effect, almost every lane in Virginia will require a motorist to safely pass,” he said.

The state law was adopted in February after General Assembly legislators removed a provision that would have allowed cyclists to treat stop signs like a yield sign.

Some states, including Delaware, allow the so-called “Idaho stop” for bicycle riders. Like Virginia, Washington, D.C., considered the stop-as-yield measure but also declined to adopt it.

The new law also ends a requirement for cyclists to file into a single lane when being passed.

Tensions between cyclists and drivers played out on the county police department’s Facebook post about the issue. Several people noted cyclists should obey traffic laws, too.

Wright says those online arguments between cyclists and drivers are similar to honking as well as dangerous behaviors on the road.

“There’s so much animosity, and it’s aggressive,” Wright said.

Some people on social media questioned whether double yellow lines should ever be crossed.

Current law already allows drivers to cross double yellow lines when passing others, including cyclists, skateboarders, and scooters. Another provision involves giving enough distance to mopeds, animal-drawn vehicles, and more when drivers pass them.

Pedestrian and bicycle safety is a persistent concern in Fairfax County, where seven pedestrians and two cyclists have died in car crashes so far this year. Whether these new laws help alleviate those issues remains to be seen.

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The Fairfax County seal adorned on the Fairfax County Government Center (Courtesy of Machvee/Flickr)

(Updated, 12:20 p.m.)  The Fairfax County Government Center, where county policy is created and official functions take place, is an imposing, modern-looking building. Above the main doors is the county seal: a royal-looking crest with lions, a horse, and the date “1742.”

Unlike the building, the seal is of a different time. Adopted seven decades ago, it bears a version of the coat of arms belonging to Thomas Fairfax, the sixth Lord Fairfax and a slaveholding British loyalist who once owned much of the land that makes up Fairfax County today.

As neighboring counties and cities reexamine their logos and symbols, it seems like only a matter of time before Fairfax County faces its own questions.

When asked if there’s been discussion about further research into the county logo, representatives of the Fairfax County History Commission said it’s not on the agenda or a priority right now.

The commission is currently undertaking an inventory of local African American history after completing one about Confederate names on public places.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay wrote in a statement to Reston Now that officials are listening to the community but have yet to hear about any issues with the county seal.

America was unfortunately built in part through the oppression of people of color. We cannot separate this history from Fairfax County, but we can listen to the community on what symbols are continuing to create divisiveness and inequity. Symbols of the Confederacy, for example, do not speak to the County’s values today, so we are working to remove these through the proper processes. Currently, there are ongoing efforts to change road names as well as other Confederate symbols and the Board previously took action to remove the monument of John Quincy Marr from the courthouse. We have not heard from our community members that these same messages are felt from the County seal. We continue to invest significant resources into our historically underserved communities to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to thrive in Fairfax County.

The county selected the seal as its logo in 1949 ahead of an impending visit from the then-Lord Fairfax. It won over a dozen other seals belonging to the Fairfax family due to “its clarity when reproduced,” according to historical documents from Fairfax County Public Library’s Virginia Room.

A county flag with the seal was unveiled on June 13, 1968, the day before Flag Day, in response to repeated requests for a flag from county schools.

“We probably ought to have a Betsy Ross here to get the flag ready for Flag Day,” said Gil Shaw, the flag’s creator and the county’s director of information services at the time. “But the coat of arms of Thomas Lord Fairfax will soon fly over the lands he once owned and which became Fairfax County in 1742.”

Early colonial Virginia land history is admittingly a bit confusing due to the limited availability of written records and a lack of variety in names.

“The famous one, for our purposes, was the sixth Lord Fairfax,” explains Steve Harris-Scott, an assistant professor in George Mason University’s history department and an expert on colonial Virginia history.

“The nobles generally passed on their names to their first-born son, so when they took over the title, they were all the same names,” he said. “There was a Thomas Fairfax, first Lord Fairfax, then there was Thomas Fairfax, the second Lord Fairfax, etcetera.”

The sixth Lord Fairfax was born in England in 1693 to the fifth Lord Fairfax and Catherine Culpepper.

Through his mother’s side, he inherited about 5 million acres of land in 1710 known as the “Northern Neck,” which encompassed today’s Fairfax County. Taken from the indigenous people who had lived there for centuries, the land was a gift to Catherine’s father, Thomas Culpepper, from the restored King Charles II for his support during the English Civil War.

“[This land] is essentially bordered by the Rappahannock [River] on the south and the Potomac on the north,” Harris-Scott said.

However, Fairfax spent most of his life in England and didn’t move to Virginia until 1742, the date on the county’s logo. He also may never have resided in what is now Fairfax County, according to Harris-Scott. Read More

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Morning Notes

An orange day lilly (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Police Seek Help in Search for Missing Lorton Woman — Fairfax County police are offering a $20,000 reward for information about the disappearance of 72-year-old Lorton resident Emily Lu, who was last seen at an Aldi in Woodbridge on June 3. Homicide detectives are now involved in the case, as police suspect foul play. [WTOP]

Woman Robbed at Herndon ATM — “Town of Herndon Police are investigating a robbery that took place recently at an ATM on Elden Street, according to the weekly crime report. Around 8:30 a.m., on June 5, a woman told police she was at an ATM in the 300 block of Elden Street when to people approached her and demanded money.” [Patch]

Attorney General Nominees Hold First General Election Debate — Incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring and Republican challenger Jason Miyares each presented the other’s vision as “radical wrong turns” for Virginia in a debate yesterday, the first since the Democratic primary wrapped up last week. Herring highlighted his support for police reform and stricter gun regulations, while Miyares criticized his opponent as having “a criminal first, victim last mind-set.” [The Washington Post]

Reston Community Center Recognizes Volunteers — “We love our RCC volunteers! Thank you for all that you do to build community. We enjoyed being with you June 12 for the Volunteer Appreciation celebration.” [RCC/Instagram]

Reston Hospital Gives Scholarships to Local Students — South Lakes High School students Virag Ellen Murphy and Emma Lynch are among 16 high school seniors in Fairfax and Loudoun counties to receive scholarships from Reston Hospital Center. The hospital’s medical staff awards $13,000 in scholarships every year to local high schools in support of students who plan to pursue a career in health care. [HCA Virginia]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Parents who have spent the last year calling for a five-day return to school for Fairfax County Public Schools students are circulating petitions to remove three Fairfax County School Board members.

They are Springfield District representative Laura Jane Cohen, Dranesville District representative Elaine Tholen, and At-Large Member Abrar Omeish.

“Our petitions are all about the board ignoring science, dismissing the wishes of parents to have kids in school, and putting politics (unions) before our children,” the Open FCPS Coalition group told Reston Now. “We have people of all walks of life — young and old, with kids and without kids signing. People were afraid to sign at first because they didn’t want to get involved. But as more time passed, and people got disappointed about the school board lying to us, they started signing.”

They admitted that the campaign faces long odds. According to Ballotpedia, Virginia has seen just one successful recall campaign in at least the past decade, with the majority of efforts — including one against former Mason District School Board representative Sandy Evans — failing to reach a circuit court.

This parent coalition has been around since November and started distributing petition templates to other counties around that time. But the momentum did not pick up until mid-February, members said.

“December and January, people still weren’t getting out much and if they were, it wasn’t to come and sign a petition,” the group said. “Many people who sign now sign because of other things that they are frustrated with, but we are just glad people are recognizing our efforts.”

The Open FCPS Coalition describes itself as a bipartisan organization.

According to the Virginia Public Access Project, donor records show that its largest gifts have come from former Republican governor candidate Pete Snyder and N2 America Inc., a conservative group that has been vocal in school reopenings. Its largest expenditure has been for signature collection services, an expense that went to a center-right door-to-door voter contact firm with ties to N2 America.

“Anyone who wants to donate is welcome to…If the Dem party wants to donate we surely will take it,” the group said. “But it seems that though many Dems have signed and silently support, some are afraid to stand up for open schools. Thankfully we have Dems in our group who are bold and brave and know that nothing about the recall is personal or about politics. It is about what is moral.”

Coalition members aimed to collect enough signatures to recall at least one school board member by the end of this school year, which concluded on Friday (June 11).

The coalition chose Cohen, Tholen and Omeish after watching school board meetings and determining only one member had a record of voting and speaking that prioritized reopening over other issues: Braddock District representative Megan McLaughlin, according to the group’s website.

So, members narrowed down their targets to the two members who were elected with the fewest number of votes — Cohen and Tholen.

“Based on this discovery, the voters in their districts would likely provide the most support for the removal effort,” according to the website.

When reached for comment, Tholen said she centers all her work and decision-making on what is best for students.

“I am busy at this point fulfilling my job as a school board member,” she said. “I am closing out this school year, celebrating our class of 2021, planning for summer programs and preparing for fall when we will welcome all students in person five days per week.”

Cohen, meanwhile, said that her “focus is, has been, and always will be ensuring our students have the best opportunity to be successful in our schools.” Read More

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Herndon Town Council on Jan. 29, 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic (via Town of Herndon)

The Herndon Town Council will resume in-person meetings next month after 15 months of virtual meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first in-person meeting since last March will be held on July 6.

“The Herndon Town Council is resuming in-person meetings due to the greatly improved state of the pandemic in Fairfax County, as the decrease in infections and increase in vaccinations make it safer to gather in person,” said Anne Curtis, chief communications officer for the Town of Herndon.

Seats will be spaced six feet apart, and masks will be required for unvaccinated attendees to comply with CDC guidelines.

Public hearings and work sessions will still be available for viewing via live stream, but interactions via WebEx will be discontinued. Those who wish to address the council must do so in person.

“While I am so appreciative of my colleagues on council, town staff and town citizens for their forbearance during this extraordinary time, I don’t think any of us expected we’d be meeting online for more than a year,” Herndon Mayor Sheila Olem said. “I am excited to see faces and to recapture the energy that is only found in person. I hope citizens will come out and participate as we resume our in-person sessions.”

The first in-person meeting will be on July 6 at 7 p.m. at the Herndon Community Center (814 Ferndale Ave.). The first in-person public hearing will be on July 13 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers located at 765 Lynn Street.

More information on upcoming meetings can be found on the Town of Herndon website.

“The council is looking forward to greater citizen involvement in their meetings, as the opportunity for in-person testimony on issues that come before the council resumes,” Curtis said.

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Silver Line test trains (Photo by Chuck Samuelson/Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project)

Metro service changes announced last week — including increased services, late night hours, and reduced fares — are being praised by many in the community.

On Thursday (June 10), the Metro Board approved a host of improvements with the intention of luring back riders after more than a year of reduced services and free-falling ridership.

The changes include more frequent service during both peak and non-peak times, extending operating hours until 1 a.m. on weekends, a flat $2 weekend rate, and free transfers between bus and rail.

The changes will take effect starting Labor Day weekend, the traditional end of the summer.

“These are all very positive changes,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn told Reston Now. “The only thing that made these service improvements possible is the money from our federal partners. Because Congress stepped up and delivered, we’re able to make these service improvements and, frankly, do what needs to be done to help build back ridership.”

Metro received nearly $723 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds, including $193 million from the American Rescue Plan enacted in March. These funds not only prevented severe cuts, but allowed Metro to increase services while cutting fares.

Local labor unions are also pleased with the changes, including ATU Local 689, which represents more than 10,000 regional transit workers and said it “strongly supports” the service increases.

“We know that public transit is a safe and effective way for riders to get where they need to go, but we have to do the work to rebuild rider confidence,” ATU Local 689 President Raymond Jackson wrote in an email to Reston Now. “The first step to this is making sure that passengers know there will always be a bus or train there for them when they need it. That requires full service. We’re proud that WMATA took this step.”

Alcorn says that, during the pandemic, cuts to service were a “significant hardship” for those who couldn’t work from home, like hospitality workers, who often need rail and bus service at different times than those in other industries.

“We realized that, in the middle of the pandemic, that there’s still a lot of folks that depend on transit to get to work and to do what they need to do to get around,” Alcorn said.

John Boardman is executive secretary and treasurer for Local 25, a union that represents about 7,000 people who work in hotels, casinos, and restaurants in the D.C. metro region. He says expanding services is inherently beneficial to their members.

“Our jobs are not 9 to 5 jobs. They start early in the morning and can go late into night,” Boardman said. “More transportation and longer hours helps our workforce. Reliable transportation is one of the issues that affects people’s ability to get back to work.”

Increased service and fare cuts will also greatly benefit those most vulnerable in the community, such as the clients the D.C. Reentry Action Network, a regional organization that assists people being released from prison.

“Any reduction in the cost of transportation would contribute greatly to reducing the already tremendous hurdles one faces when returning home,” founder Paula Thompson told The Washington Post.

Metro admits it could still take years for ridership to return to pre-pandemic levels. A graph presented at the transit agency’s June 10 board of directors meeting estimates that even by the end of 2024, ridership may still be off by as much as 25% from late 2019 levels.

But it’s hoped that these changes could at least spur gradual growth. Read More

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Reston Association Day Camp kids having fun at Lake Anne Plaza.

The Friends of Reston is raising $15,000 to help send kids to camp.

The nonprofit arm of the Reston Association has commenced its annual fundraiser to give “economically disadvantaged children” a chance to attend Reston Camps this summer.

The goal is to raise $15,000. That covers the cost for about 27 children to experience a full two-week session of camp, including transportation and a camp t-shirt, a Friends of Reston spokesperson tells Reston Now.

For a two-week session, it can cost upwards of $510 per camper.

“This year, more than ever, children need the opportunity to meet new friends, explore their community, and have fun while learning new skills — Reston Camps provides this, and more,” Friends of Reston Executive Director Kia Cole-Hines writes in a press release. “FOR is grateful for all the donors who make this possible for children whose families are unable to afford this experience.”

Parents who wish to potentially take advantage of the scholarships for their kids can do so by applying through Reston Association’s camp registration process. Eligibility is determined during the application process.

Those that qualify for school lunch assistance are potentially eligible for the camp scholarship program, FOR spokesperson confirmed.

The Friends of Reston Camp Scholarship Fund was first established in 2001. Each year, individuals and businesses from across Reston provide contributions between $10 to $2,000 to the fund.

This year, Red’s Table in South Lakes Village Center is helping by asking diners to round up their payments for meals to the nearest dollar, with the extra change going to the camp scholarship fund.

“We are proud to support this campaign and hope Red’s Table can provide a significant contribution with the help of our customers,” Red’s Table owner Ryan Tracy stated in the press release. “As native Restonians, we’re very aware of the benefits of RA’s Reston Camps and want to help with making it possible for children in need through the Friends of Reston Scholarship Fund.”

Contributions can be made by donating online and by writing “Camp Scholarships” in the payment notes. Contributions can also be sent via mail.

While this fundraiser will be taking place through July, donations for the scholarship can be accepted all year round.

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Morning Notes

Purple flowers in outdoor planter at Lake Anne Plaza (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Local Birds Suffer from Mysterious Ailment — “People should refrain from feeding birds until scientists determine the cause of a mysterious ailment that has blinded and killed hundreds of birds in Maryland, Virginia and the District since at least late May, a federal agency said Monday.” [The Washington Post]

Dogwood ES to Hold Meeting on Principal Selection — Dogwood Elementary School will hold a virtual meeting today (Tuesday) at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the process for selecting a new principal with staff, families, and community members. The meeting will be conducted through BlackBoard. [Dogwood ES]

Herndon IT Firm Officially Bought by Booz Allen — “McLean, Virginia-based Booz Allen Hamilton, already the largest government IT contractor in the D.C. region, has completed its acquisition of Herndon-based Liberty IT Solutions for $725 million…Liberty IT Solutions has a backlog of more than $2 billion in IT modernization work. Booz Allen says the acquisition will immediately increase revenue growth and earnings.” [WTOP]

Reston Software Company to Be Acquired — “Investment firms Blackstone and Vista Equity Partners have reached an agreement to acquire Reston-based higher education software company Ellucian, according to an announcement from the companies released Monday…Ellucian provides enterprise resource planning software products such as student information systems, data analytics tools and graduation-tracking platforms for more than 2,700 higher education customers in more than 50 countries representing more than 26 million students.” [Virginia Business]

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A “We’re open” sign in a business window (via Clay Banks on Unsplash)

Arts organizations, museums, and hotels are some of the key targets for Fairfax County’s new initiative to get money to those in need, and informational sessions are providing help.

Approved by the county board last week, the PIVOT program will provide financial grants to small businesses as well as other recipients, and webinars about the effort will begin at 1 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) in English and at 2 p.m. Thursday (June 17) in Spanish.

Links to the webinars can be found on the Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives website.

“Fairfax County is committed to helping businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic,” Board of Supervisor Chairman Jeff McKay said in a news release. “Through the PIVOT grant we will help those businesses who saw the greatest financial impact regain their momentum so they will be able to thrive in the reopening marketplace.”

Federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act is supporting the program with $25 million to the county.

Applications can be submitted online through a grant portal that will be open from June 23 to July 9. The money is being administered through the nonprofit Latino Economic Development Center, said Rebecca Moudry, director of Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives.

The areas targeted will give relief to food services, lodging, retail, services, amusements, arts organizations, museums, and historical sites.

Potential monetary awards for individual businesses and nonprofits include the following:

  • $18,000 for restaurants with less than $3.5 million in annual receipts or gross revenue per establishment
  • $12,000 for retail, services, and amusements with less than $3.5 million in annual receipts or gross revenue per establishment
  • $10,000 for large arts organizations, museums, and historical sites with annual receipts or gross revenue greater than $100,000
  • $5,000 for smaller arts organizations
  • $1,500 for food trucks that don’t belong to a restaurant
  • $400 per room to hotels with a minimum of 10 rooms

The money will go to businesses that have no more than 500 employees, among other criteria. Nonprofits don’t have an eligibility restriction regarding the number of workers they have.

The new outreach comes after the county ended its Fairfax Relief Initiative to Support Employers (RISE) program last year, distributing around $53 million, one of several financial outreaches by the county.

The PIVOT grants will go to hotels first, then to other organizations if demand is too great. The county could also add to the funding in the future.

Photo via Clay Banks on Unsplash

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The Fairfax Health District has officially surpassed the halfway mark for COVID-19 vaccinations.

According to the Fairfax County Health Department’s data dashboard, 50.9% of all Fairfax Health District residents have now received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That amounts to 602,101 residents, including 63.1% of all people 18 and older.

713,791 people living in the district, which includes Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, have gotten at least one vaccine dose. That is 72.7% of adults and 60.3% of the total population.

The county announced on Friday (June 11) that its vaccine clinic at the Fairfax County Government Center is now accepting walk-ins from noon to 4 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, and from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

The clinic will be closed this Friday (June 18), since county employees will have the day off in observance of Juneteenth. However, it will be open on Saturday, which will mark the 156th anniversary of the day when the last enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, learned that the Civil War had ended.

Walk-in appointments are also available at the Tysons Corner Center mass vaccination site, which is now open until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That state-run clinic will close on June 26.

The Tysons Community Vaccination Center and county health department clinics appointments can be scheduled through the Vaccine Administration Management System. People can find appointments at other locations, including grocery stores, pharmacies, and private health care providers, through vaccines.gov.

Meanwhile, the number of new COVID-19 infections coming in has slowed to the point where the Fairfax Health District actually has fewer total cases now than it did when Reston Now provided an update last Monday (June 7), according to Virginia Department of Health data.

Fairfax County COVID-19 cases over the past 90 days as of June 14, 2021 (via Virginia Department of Health)
All Fairfax County COVID-19 cases as of June 14, 2021 (via Virginia Department of Health)

That doesn’t mean no new cases have been reported, as six cases were recorded on Thursday (June 10).

However, 20 cases have been subtracted over the past week, including six today (Monday), which the county health department has said happens when there are duplicates or cases that actually occurred in another district.

As a result, Fairfax County is now averaging -2.9 cases per day for the past seven days.

As of today, 78,013 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the district compared to 78,034 cases a week ago. One more person has died from the disease transmitted by the novel coronavirus, and 10 more people have been hospitalized, bringing the totals up to 1,134 deaths and 4,131 hospitalizations.

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Reston Pride 2019 (Photos via Chip McCrea Photography)

Monday, June 14

  • Fairy Houses (1:30-4:30 p.m.) — Kids can join this four-day summer workshop at Herndon’s Monroe Street Studio to build eco-friendly fairy houses. Using recycled materials like egg cartons and empty glass containers, design a home for magical, little flying creatures.

Tuesday, June 15

Wednesday, June 16

  • LGBTQ Icons at Congressional Cemetery (8 a.m.-8 p.m.) — D.C.’s Congressional Cemetery is believed to be the only cemetery in the world with a dedicated LGBTQ section. Take a self-guided tour to pay respects to some of the most important gay rights activists in history, some of who are buried here.

Thursday, June 17

  • Summer Garden Tour and Tea (1 p.m.) — Take a tour of Green Spring Gardens in Lincolnia with a master docent and enjoy its beautiful summer flowers. Afterward, pick up a box filled with sandwiches, pastries, and cookies for an afternoon tea in the gardens.

Friday, June 18

Saturday, June 19

  • Reston Pride (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) — Celebrate Pride Month and Juneteenth in-person at Lake Anne Plaza. There’ll be music, dancing, and drag performances, complete with recognitions of last year’s Reston Pride Award winners.
  • Juneteenth at Frying Pan Park (12-2 p.m.) — The Herndon park hosts a family-friendly celebration that will allow all to hear, see, sample, and create crafts commemorating this day. Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz will talk about her book “Bound to the Fire: How Virginia’s Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine” with food vendors highlighting African American cuisine.

Sunday, June 20

  • Mount Vernon Craft Beer Festival (6-9 p.m.) — Taste beers from across the region while experiencing Mount Vernon after hours. This annual festival will feature 32 craft beers, beer-making demonstrations, and live music.

Via Chip McCrea Photography

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Dominion Energy construction project at W&OD Trail at Wiehle Avenue (courtesy of Dominion Energy)

Preliminary work necessary for the eventual construction of a new pedestrian bridge on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail over Wiehle Avenue has begun.

Dominion Energy began work on an electric transmission line located at the W&OD Trail at the site on June 1 as part of the initial steps required to accommodate the eventual bridge, according to the company.

Additional elements of this work will require Dominion to remove existing structures, install new structures, and relocate transmission facilities.

Also, as part of this project, detours have been established between Isaac Newton Square and Michael Faraday Court from June to September for safety precautions.

The detours will remain in place when crews are not working. While some weekend work may be necessary during the course of the project, the current working hours for it are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., according to Dominion.

Detours will direct trail users to either paved or gravel sections of the trail, which will be contingent on the work being performed at the time.

The gravel trail will be temporarily closed for a couple of weeks in June as improvements are made to it for trail users during the company’s construction efforts. Work will begin on the paved portion following the improvements on the gravel trail.

Construction on Dominion’s project is expected to last through August, with restoration of the work areas concluding by late August. This project is anticipated to be complete by September, at which point the detours will be removed.

Construction of bridge project itself is tentatively scheduled to begin in Summer 2022 and be complete in summer 2023, according to Fairfax County’s project site.

The bridge will replace the existing at-grade crossing at the site. The project is planned as a measure to improve vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian access near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, which was noted by Reston Metrorail Access Group’s plan.

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Morning Notes

Van Gogh bridge at Lake Anne (photo via vantagehill/Flickr)

Gun Discharged in Reston — According to Fairfax County police, a homeowner in the 1700 block of Torrey Pines Court reported hearing gunshots around 2:49 a.m. on Thursday (June 10). The individual found damage to a car and property, but no injuries were reported. Officers located cartridge casings nearby. [FCPD]

Teen Injured in Herndon Car Crash — A 14-year-old boy was hit by an SUV at the intersection of Centreville Road and Parcher Avenue in Herndon on Friday (June 11). The boy was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, police said. [FCPD/Twitter]

County Health Department Took on New Roles during Pandemic — The Fairfax County Health Department ceased in-person inspections of food establishments, pivoting instead to a virtual process intended “to minimize possible COVID transmission between Health Department staff and restaurant employees.” Other staff in the food safety program shifted responsibilities, such as working call centers or supporting vaccination clinics. [Fairfax County Times]

How Northern Virginia Is Spending COVID-19 Relief Funds — “Fairfax County, Virginia’s most populous jurisdiction, expects to receive $200 million of Rescue Plan funds over the next two years, officials there said. So far, $50 million of that has been dedicated to specific uses: to help the hard-hit hospitality industry and, over the longer term, to preserve and create more affordable housing in the county, officials said.” [The Washington Post]

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