Maybe a haunted hallway? (via Gregg Scott/Flickr)

Janie Daum sometimes wishes she never got involved investigating the paranormal and speaking with spirits.

“Most people that want to do it, they get obsessed with it,” she told FFX Now. “They want more. They want to be touched. They want to hear them. They want to see them. And that’s not always going to happen.”

Daum has been running Northern Virginia Paranormal out of her home in Vienna for about 12 years. She works with a medium to investigate all sorts of disturbances: ghostly run-ins at homes, moving furniture at department stores, odd happenings at old museums.

She specializes in electronic voice phenomenon (EVP), the recording of sounds that could be the voices of spirits.

“I’m still the kind of person that’s on the fence about a lot of things. There’s no just black and white,” Daum said. “There is just a lot of gray area and you just have to listen to what you’re hearing from the spirits, what you’re recording and playing back.”

Daum’s interest in the paranormal was sparked partly by her 18-year-old daughter. They watched the TV show “Paranormal State” together and decided to go on a trip to investigate a purportedly haunted bar in Long Island.

“I got an EVP from a man who said his name was Tommy,” she said. “And that kind of got me hooked.”

That wasn’t the first time, though, that Daum experienced something unexplainable. After her grandfather’s funeral, she spotted him walking down the hall of their home.

“There are little things in my life that kind of drew me to this direction,” she said.

Though she had some hesitations, Daum says her investigations stem from a desire to help folks in need, both those on this mortal coil and those that have left it.

“I always try and find out [the spirit’s] names, who they’re attached to, and if there’s any message that they need to get to a living being that is still walking the Earth, and if there’s a way we can help them,” she said.

Most spirits don’t mean any harm, she says. They are simply lost, stuck, or otherwise can’t go through to the light. However, spirits have the same character traits they did when they were alive.

“If they were an S.O.B. in life, they’re still an S.O.B. on the other side,” said Daum.

She prioritizes investigations for families with children. For instance, when a child repeatedly talks about a man who comes out of their closet and claims to be a doctor, that family needs her expertise.

“If it’s a repeating thing that is continuously happening, it’s not just a child’s imagination,” she said.

While Daum doesn’t like to reveal specifics out of respect for her clients’ privacy, she does more investigations in Loudoun County and rural Maryland than Fairfax County.

Fairfax County is more affluent with newer buildings, she explains. Plus, some are embarrassed about calling paranormal investigators.

“Even if they have issues, things happening that they can’t explain, they don’t want anybody to know about it,” Daum said.

That being said, she’s willing to share some stories about businesses that have since closed — like the Amphora Restaurant near her home in Vienna.

“I knew George[Bilidas] the owner and I was there after his death,” Daum said. “And he [was] there. He actually came and sat in the booth next to me and playing with a bunch of keys in his hand.”

There was also the time she got called to investigate the women’s restroom at the now-closed Lord & Taylor’s at Tysons Corner Center, which has recently been repurposed as a mass vaccination site.

“The woman who worked at the register there, which was just outside the ladies’ restrooms, would see the clothes on the racks move,” Daum said. “One customer was in the ladies’ bathroom and heard a chair being dragged across the floor.”

She went to the store and attempted to do EVP readings, but the music from the overhead speaker was too loud. When she asked to have it turned down, mall management wasn’t exactly on board.

Other cases have involved televisions randomly turning on at a teacher’s house in Fairfax, employees being bothered at a Fairfax County-owned building, and a Herndon neighborhood built on farmland.

“The farmer lost his land because of taxes,” Daum said. “He’s still around and he’s upset.”

After a bit of lull in 2020, she says calls for her investigative services have picked up again. She’s happy to help anyone who believes they have spirits in their home or workplace. Northern Virginia Paranormal can be reached via Facebook or by email at [email protected] or [email protected].

If you do encounter a spirit during this Halloween season or any other, Daum has some advice.

“We have to…always respect these spirits and treat them as if they’re a person. Some of them don’t even know that they’re deceased. Some of them think they’re still alive,” she said. “And they have feelings. You can hurt their feelings by the things you say to them. So, you do really have to be careful.”

Photo via Gregg Scott/Flickr

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Michael Delaney (via Courtney Park-Jamborsky)

The funeral for Michael Delaney, who went missing after walking out of Reston Hospital last year, is being held this Friday (Oct. 22) at 10 a.m. at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Reston.

In July, Delaney’s remains were found in the Sugarland Run area concluding a 14-month long search for him.

He served in the Navy for over a decade and was a Vietnam War veteran, as his obituary notes. During Delaney’s service, he or his crew received a number of commendations and medals. He was honorably discharged as a Lt. Commander in 1980.

Internment at Arlington National Cemetery will occur at a later date, notes the obituary.

In 1978, he married Dyanna R. Park, whom he met while attending Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington. They lived in Reston the rest of their lives where Delaney worked as a system analyst and for Fairfax County Public Schools.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.

On May 9, 2020, Courtney Park-Jamborsky dropped off her stepfather at the emergency room at Reston Hospital Center. He had fallen earlier in the day and suffered only a minor cut, but Park-Jamborsky wanted to be cautious. She, however, couldn’t enter the emergency room due to COVID-19 protocols.

“I stood at the sliding emergency room door at the hospital, and he stood there with me,” she told Reston Now earlier this year. “I felt like I was letting a five-year-old walk through that door without someone helping him. But I had confidence that [Reston Hospital] knew what they were doing. I never thought in a million years that he would disappear.”

She never saw her stepfather again. Delaney was officially reported missing two days later, as surveillance video showed him walking out of the facility at 9 p.m. on May 10.

Searches using helicopters, K9s, and rescue teams commenced but police couldn’t locate Delaney.

14 months later, his remains were found only a few miles from Reston Hospital. It remains unknown exactly how or when he died.

“Skeletal remains were found on July 10 which led our Search and Rescue team to the area of Sugarland Run. During that search, officers found the remains of what was later determined to be Mr. Delaney, which was confirmed by the Medical Examiner,” a Fairfax County Police Department spokesperson wrote to Reston Now in an email.

“It is unknown what occurred during the time that Mr. Delaney was reported to be missing, but detectives believe that he likely passed in days following his disappearance. Detectives do not suspect foul play in his death and the investigation is closed.”

The obituary notes that Delaney died on July 10. That’s not the actual day of death, however, but rather the date remains were found.

“It is [Office of the Chief Medical Examiner] practice to use the date found as the date of death instead of determining the actual date of death,” confirms an OCME spokesperson to Reston Now.

Delaney loved helping people, according to the obituary. He gave blood often, was a fabulous chef and a history buff. He enjoyed double-feature movies, the Vienna Inn, crossword puzzles, and football.

“He was, above all, a kind and gentle soul,” reads the obituary.

In July, Park-Jamborsky remained hopeful that her step-father would be found alive.

“Every day, I wake up in the morning and think ‘will today be the day that I get the call … that Michael’s body has been found or maybe he’s been found living with a loving family or a widowed woman that wanted to take care of him,” Park-Jamborsky said at the time. “But then I think this isn’t the movies.”

Those wishing to honor Delaney’s memory are being asked to make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association.

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A new spa salon concept will replace space vacated by Red Door, a spa that closed permanently due to the pandemic last year.

Privai, a luxury skin and body care company, will open at 11838 Spectrum Center in the DC area in early 2022, a company spokesperson tells Reston Now. The company will debut one of several locations that describes itself as one that focuses on “personalized wellness for the whole being.”

The business, known as Mynd Spa & Salon Inc. filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy in March just days after announcing a temporary closure of all locations on social media.

The first locations in the area will open at Westpoint and Bethesda. Locations in Tysons Corner, Gaithersburg and Fairfax Corner are expected to open early next year.

Here’s more from the company on their brand:

Founded upon the belief that everyone deserves “spa in a bottle” skincare products that provide accessible luxury and rejuvenation, Christina Stratton and Ilana Alberico developed the Privai line following the success of their spa and wellness management company, Innovative Spa Management (ISM SPA). This next evolution of the Privai brand brings their passion about self-care and personalized wellness to life in order to better serve individuals’ body, mind, and sense of self.

“We want to offer a place that truly realizes individual needs: from spa and body treatments to salon and beauty services. We understand that no two guests are alike, and it is this belief that inspires us to curate unique experiences, one’s antidote for respite and recharging,” Stratton said.

The spa will be managed by ISM SPA, a boutique spa management and wellness design firm.

Privay assumed the leases of Red Door locations across the DC area. The Reston location is roughly 4,000 square feet and will include spa services in addition to salon services like manicures, pedicures and hair treatments.

Image via Google Maps

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Fairfax County’s Confederate Names Task Force convenes for a meeting on Oct. 18 (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Though they have cropped up with increasing regularity both locally and nationally in recent years, conversations about how to handle symbolic reminders of the Confederacy remain as emotionally charged as ever.

That was evident in the most recent meeting of Fairfax County’s Confederate Names Task Force, which has been charged with determining whether the county should rename Lee and Lee-Jackson Memorial highways.

“We have a nice taste of different people from different parts of Fairfax that want to weigh in,” task force chair Evelyn Spain said. “We value all of their opinions on whether this end result comes to change the name or not change the name of Fairfax streets.”

The two-hour meeting at the Fairfax County Government Center on Monday (Oct. 18) followed the launch of a community survey last week. Postcards advertising the survey are expected to roll out to residents across the county starting this weekend.

Also accepting public comments by email, phone, mail, and at four upcoming listening sessions, the task force will use the input to inform its recommendation to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

“I don’t want people to be back here in 30 years because we made a wrong decision,” one member said.

The Financial Cost of Changing the Names

Changing the names of both highways could cost Fairfax County anywhere from $1 million to $4 million, Fairfax County Department of Transportation Director Tom Biesiadny told the task force.

According to FCDOT, there are 171 Lee Highway signs along the county’s 14.1-mile stretch of Route 29 and 55 Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway signs on 8.4 miles of Route 50.

The cost varies depending on each kind of sign, particularly ones on traffic light mast arms or other overhead structures. If a new street name is longer than the existing one, replacing the signs will require more work due to the added weight, Biesiadny explained.

“What we’re going to replace it with does matter,” he said.

Biesiadny also reported that, based on estimates from neighboring localities that have adopted new highway names, a name change would cost businesses about $500 each to update their address on signs, stationary, and legal documents, among other possible expenses.

Other jurisdictions are looking at providing grants to cover businesses’ costs, according to Biesiadny, who noted that the county would need to conduct a survey of businesses to get a more precise estimate.

What’s in a (Street) Name?

For the task force, however, the question of whether to rename the highways hinges less on money than on what the names say about a community’s values and identity.

In a facilitator-led discussion on street name criteria, several members cited inclusivity and reflecting Fairfax County’s increasingly diverse population as key concerns.

“There’s no reason that we need to keep telling these same limited truths,” Bunyan Bryant from Mason District said. “…We’re not bound forever and ever to that. Yes, there is this history some are wedded to, but that doesn’t represent us today.”

Some task force members said tying street names to history helps create a sense of place, even if that history is less-than-inspiring.

Ed Wenzel, one of four Springfield District representatives, noted that Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway was used by troops during the Civil War, which he said “had a tremendous impact” on Fairfax County.

“Gallows Road is grisly history, but I don’t think anyone would ask to change that name,” Braddock District member Robert Floyd said, citing the common but unproven impression that the street running from Tysons to Annandale once led to a gallows or hanging tree.

Others argued that Fairfax County has overly fixated on the Civil War at the expense of other people and events from its past, noting that the county has many historical sites commemorating that era, such as Ox Hill Battlefield Park.

“Remembering and learning about history is different from glorifying history,” said Dranesville District member Barbara Glakas, a member of the Herndon Historical Society. “I think we need to look at who we’ve been glorifying.”

Should the task force recommend changing the names in its report to the county board in December, a couple of members suggested eschewing people as namesakes, given the potential for controversy.

When asked, Biesiadny confirmed that simply calling the highways Route 29 and Route 50 is an option, pointing to Chesterfield County as an example.

In that case, the local board of supervisors approved Route 1 as the name for its segment of Jefferson Davis Highway in June, seemingly to avoid the moniker defaulting to Emancipation Highway as mandated by the Virginia General Assembly.

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Snow Days to Stay — The Fairfax County Public Schools System is resuming snow days this year after the pandemic changed the school system’s inclement weather policy. The first five snowy days will be traditional inclement weather days. But after that, the school system plans to have unscheduled virtual learning days “wherever possible.” [FCPS]

Metro Hires Consultants to Analyze Safety — The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Board of Directors plans to hire an external consultant to offer advice on safety. The move comes a week after the derailment of a Metrorail train on the Blue Line. [Reston Patch]

Reston Company Raises $4.5 Million in Seed Round — ForecastEra, Reston-based company, formally announced a new seed round investment of $4.5 million. The company offers a account planning, sales, revenue and demand forecast suite that is native to Salesforce. [InsideNOVA]

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Fairfax County Public Schools

School-based COVID-19 vaccination clinics for elementary school-aged children could be set up as soon as mid-November, Fairfax County Public Schools officials say.

As reported to the Fairfax County School Board at a work session yesterday (Tuesday), these targeted vaccination clinics will be available in evenings or weekends and have a parent or guardian present.

FCPS is also working with the Fairfax County Health Department to provide vaccination clinics during the school day that would require advance parental consent for students to participate. Those clinics are expected to be available after winter break, officials said.

With COVID-19 vaccine eligibility potentially expanding to children aged 5-11 in early November, FCPS is currently developing plans for providing testing and vaccinations to students.

Most families who responded to an FCPS survey of their vaccination plans intend to get the vaccine for their young children, according to results that school officials shared with the school board.

Of the 85,302 surveys sent to parents and guardians of children who will be in the 5-11 age range on Nov. 1, 35,801 (36%) were returned with responses. The survey was designed to determine what supports, if any, families need to access vaccinations for their children.

Survey results indicated that 76% of parents or guardians plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine for their child, with 80% of that group planning to do so as soon as it’s available. 12% of those surveyed are undecided, and 10% do not plan to get their child vaccinated.

According to Superintendent Scott Brabrand, “common reasons” cited for not getting vaccinated include “personal beliefs” regarding vaccinations, followed by the vaccines’ emergency-use authorization status. So far, federal health officials have only officially approved the Pfizer vaccine for individuals 16 and older.

The survey also revealed an even split on the challenges of obtaining a vaccination appointment, with 45% indicating that wait times have been a challenge and 44% indicating there were no challenges.

49% of those surveyed would not let their child get vaccinated during the school day without a parent or guardian present, while 35% would consider that possibility.

FCPS Department of Special Services Assistant Superintendent Michelle Boyd emphasized that, on top of the information provided by the surveys, officials will look at data on community transmission, vaccination rates, and other factors to guide their plans.

“We’re also using that health data to inform what might be the best locations and also taking into consideration what local vaccination opportunities are available in close proximity so that we can make sure that we’re building those bridges for folks who don’t have readily available resources that are within accessible distance,” Boyd said.

While FCPS has not mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for students, except those involved in athletics and some other extracurricular activities, school officials have strongly encouraged them for those who are eligible and are developing a plan for providing testing and vaccinations.

In addition to the school-based clinics, vaccinations will be made available through mass vaccine sites at the Government Center, South County Government Center, and Tysons Community Vaccination Center.

FCPS says it will provide transportation support for families to mass vaccination clinics, along with supervision and emotional support for students at clinics that take place during the school day.

Inova will provide pediatric vaccination clinics at the Inova Center for Personalized Health and Inova Cares Clinic for Children & Families. The nonprofit health system will also have informational packets and videos on vaccination available for families in multiple languages.

COVID-19 vaccinations for children are also expected to be available at many community sites, including medical homes, local pharmacies, and local health department offices. 80% of the 20 practices that the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics identified in the county as serving children plan to vaccinate in some capacity, according to FCPS.

FCPS will also offer optional screening testing starting next month to “promptly identify and isolate cases and quarantine those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 who are not fully vaccinated,” according to Boyd.

The optional screening testing for students who aren’t fully vaccinated will start with elementary students during the week of Nov. 8 before rolling out to middle and high school students the week of Nov. 15.

FCPS has partnered with third-party vendor Longview International Technology Solutions (LTS) to conduct the screenings.

All student testing will require parental consent. Parents and guardians will receive a link to register their child for testing, if they wish to do so.

While participation is optional for most students, it will be required for student athletes who are not fully vaccinated beginning the week of Nov. 1. Student athletes aged 12 to 15 will be tested every week, as will all student athletes 16 and older with a medical or religious waiver.

If a student athlete that is not fully vaccinated fails to participate in a weekly screening testing, they will be ineligible for participation in future activities until they provide a negative test result.

FCPS confirmed that its vaccination mandate for employees will take effect on Nov. 1. Staff that have not provided documentation of being fully vaccinated by then will be tested weekly.

According to a survey of FCPS staff, 97% of respondents said they are fully vaccinated. 92% of contracted employees responded to the survey. Those who have not responded will be included in the weekly testing, alongside those who are not fully vaccinated.

Brabrand said FCPS will continue to follow its 14-day quarantine guidance at this time, but will revisit the quarantine length in consultation with public health experts after a vaccine becomes available for children ages 5-11.

“Our plan to ensure the continuity of safe in-person learning is working, and it is my intention and that of our leadership team, working with our health partners, to continue to follow our public health guidance,” Brabrand said.

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The developer of a 300-unit apartment building near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station and along Hidden Creek Country Club plans to scale back parking at the site.

Golf Course Overlook LLC plans to reduce the amount of parking for the apartment building planned on the site by roughly 16 percent or 51 spaces.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the request by the developer at a meeting on Monday. The property is located on the west edge of Isaac Newton Square and next to Hidden Creek Country Club.

In a memo, staff noted that the special exception to reduce parking was justified because the property is within one-third of a mile of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.

“The expectation is that residents adjacent to public transportation will require less parking,” the memo states. “While residents may not give up vehicle ownership entirely, they are more likely to own less vehicles than residents in lower-density areas not well served by transit, thereby reducing parking demand.”

According to plans submitted to the county, 215 of the units have one bedroom while the remaining units have two bedrooms.

The developer plans to reduce the number of residential parking units from 407 to 356.  The county first approved the rezoning of the property in September 2019.

Roughly 3,4000 square feet of commercial space is also planned on the site, along with the nine-story apartment building. Commercial parking will be unaffected by the proposed change. 

All of Golf Course Plaza’s tenants have vacated and the developer plans to begin demolition this year, Reston Now previously reported.

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The Herndon Town Council meets on Tuesday during a work session (Via Town of Herndon)

Herndon is moving toward examining mixed-use possibilities near the pending Herndon Metro station and expects to use money from private landowners to “study” the area.

Under the agreement, certain property owners would pay the town up to $500,000 for planning consultant services for preparation of a Transit-Related Growth Area Plan, which the town has studied previously.

The new development area, within 1/4 to 1/2 miles of the Metro station, would cover area mostly north of Herndon Parkway from Haley M. Smith Park and also extend southeast of Herndon Parkway to the Fairfax County Parkway.

Two different property owners approached the town and proposed ideas for funding the hiring of consultants to create the plan, deputy attorney Lauri Sigler said yesterday during a town council work session.

According to the town:

The Town Manager received a letter dated May 5, 2021, in which Herndon Van Buren LLC and Herndon Hotel Ownership LLC, who are owners of several properties located in the Transit-Related Growth (“TRG”) Area, made a proposal to the Town where the property owners would provide the funding for the Town to hire a planning consultant for the preparation of a TRG Small Area Plan. The Town was also approached by an owner of additional properties, MBC Property Owners LLC, who is also interested in contributing funds for this effort. 

The town would hire a consultant or consultants through a request for proposals and contract directly with the consultants, Sigler said.

The town asked for proposals on Oct. 12, and they’re due Nov. 12. “According to the terms of the agreement,” the town must select the consultant no later than Jan. 31, Sigler said.

The town plans to appoint a seven-member advisory committee, consisting of two of those property owners funding the effort, two planning commissioners, a town planning staff member and two Town of Herndon residents.

Town manager Bill Ashton said the town would get varying points of view in advising how the project develops.

He said the advisory group is only advising on the “mechanics of how this is going to unfold” and added that the request for proposals identifies a “lot of collaboration … that’s going to be expected out of the consultant to collaborate with neighbors.”

“This advisory committee … will act as almost as a liaison with the consultant,” Sigler said. “They don’t have any, um, real voting rights to make final decisions, but they will help guide the consultant through the long planning process.”

The property owners would make the half million dollar payment in four installments, which would pay the consultant in phases. The plan is slated to take 18 months.

“Them paying the fee, does that create any sort of conflict of interest?” town council member Pradip Dhakal said.

Ashton said he’s very cognizant of the ethical ramifications of things like this. He said it’s an arm’s length transaction.

“They’re paying it,” he said. “We’re managing it.”

The town is slated to go before the town council for approval on Tuesday on its consent agenda, meaning there won’t be as much discussion than a regular board item.

Town Mayor Sheila Olem noted that it “doesn’t etch us in stone on anything.”

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Fairfax County’s logo on the government center (via Machvee/Flickr)

For the first time in decades, Fairfax County workers have collective bargaining powers.

The county Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance 9-1 yesterday (Tuesday) allowing unions to negotiate for pay, benefits, working conditions, scheduling, and more. The lone opposing vote came from Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity.

Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik called it a historic day, marking the first time in 44 years that collective bargaining is allowed for county government workers.

Collective bargaining will improve the county’s ability to retain employees and result in better services for the community, Chairman Jeff McKay said after the vote.

“Approving this ordinance allows us to go to the next step to work on and establish a collective bargaining agreement, something that I know our employees have been asking for for a very long time,” McKay said.

Virginia had banned collective bargaining for government workers since the state Supreme Court ruled against the practice in 1977.

That changed last year when the General Assembly passed legislation giving local governments the option to create ordinances recognizing their employees’ labor unions and allowing collective bargaining for public workers.

The ordinance doesn’t affect the county’s 24,000-plus public school employees. The school board would have to adopt its own collective bargaining ordinance for Fairfax County Public Schools. But the ordinance could act as a model for other local governments and the county’s school board.

The new state law and Fairfax County’s ordinance still restrict workers’ ability to strike. If government employees do so, they will be fired and prohibited from working for a governmental body in Virginia for one year.

In response to the state law, Fairfax County created a collective bargaining workgroup on Sept. 29, 2020 that included elected officials, employee group representatives, and county government and school staff.

The board’s personnel committee received its first draft of the ordinance on May 25 and spent the summer working to refine it. The board held a public hearing on Oct. 5 but deferred a vote on the matter to its next regular meeting.

David Broder, president of SEIU Virginia 512, which represents over 2,000 Fairfax County general government workers, celebrated the vote as a historic victory achieved after years of advocacy.

“Our union is thrilled to usher in a new era where employees and management collaborate to solve workplace issues, where workers have a real voice to improve their pay, benefits, and working conditions, and where every constituent in this community gets the quality public services we all deserve,” Tammie Wondong, president of SEIU Virginia 512’s Fairfax chapter, said in a statement. “Together, and with meaningful collective bargaining rights, we will transform Fairfax into a place where every working family can thrive.”

Other unions for groups ranging from firefighters and police to public works employees had advocated changes to the ordinance, including at this month’s public hearing.

Since then, the county made several changes to the proposed ordinance, such as having a labor relations administrator who assists with certifying elections and other matters be nominated by unions with 300 or more dues-paying members.

The administrator will be appointed by the county executive and confirmed by the Board of Supervisors.

The approved ordinance also extends collective bargaining abilities to more temporary employees than previously proposed. Rather than issuing a blanket exclusion, the ordinance only bans workers from participating if they’re employed by the county for four consecutive months or less.

In a move to appease unions, the ordinance will also allow employees to use county electronic systems to communicate employee organizing activities and other matters.

Another revision clarifies that the county would “at all times retain exclusive rights to establish the County budget and any tax levies,” where changes are in the sole and unfettered discretion of the board of supervisors.

But David Lyons, executive director of the Fairfax Workers Coalition, said his group remains dissatisfied with the final ordinance.

“None of the substantive changes we requested were addressed,” he said. “The bargaining units still are tilted towards wealthier white employees.”

In a letter to the board, Lyons argued that the changes to the ordinance, which he said were made last minute from Friday (Oct. 15) through Tuesday, “severely erode the labor/management relationship.”

Herrity argued in a statement after the vote that the ordinance is “particularly bad and will limit the ability of the County to provide quality, flexible, cost-effective service to our residents.”

He also alleged that influential unions wrote the ordinance in back rooms, a sentiment echoed by Lyons, who suggested that “corporate” unions and one unnamed large group unfairly influenced the process.

McKay dismissed those sentiments, saying his staff welcomes communication from all and detailing how the process lasted over a year with numerous meetings to gather input, from employee town halls to sessions with labor group representatives and stakeholders.

Photo via Machvee/Flickr

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Morning Notes

The Herndon Metro station (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Consulting Company to Expand in Reston — IT consulting firm Intact Technology will expand its headquarters in Reston by adding 40 new jobs and investing at least $700,000. The state competed with Maryland — the previous HQ — for the project. [Gov. Ralph Northam]

Shake It Up for International ShakeOut Day — Today at exactly 10:21 a.m., the largest earthquake drill ever is expected to take place. Registered participants will receive information on how to prepare for earthquakes and what steps to take during and after shaking. [Fairfax County Government]

Lake Anne Condo Board Election Need Intervention — That’s what a group of Lake Anne residents is telling Fairfax County officials. The property owners are asking the county to claim its proxy from Cheryl Terio-Simon, the landlord of property occupied by Reston Community Center. Elections are happening at the end of the month. [Reston Patch]

Photo by Jay Westcott

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The Washington West Film Festival returns for the 10th edition after postponing the event in 2020. (Photo courtesy Washington West Film Festival)

The 10th Washington West Film Festival is back in-person after being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will feature 31 films being shown from Thursday through Monday and expand its locations to include Bow Tie Cinemas in Reston Town Center, ShowPlace Icon in The Boro Tysons, Capital One Hall in Tysons Corner and CenterStage at the Reston Community Center.

The festival kicks off Thursday night with a single 7 p.m. showing of Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” at ShowPlace Icon in the Boro Tysons.

Friday’s films will begin with two blocks of short films at Bow Tie Cinemas. The first block will feature six short films focused on family bonds and the second block will consist of seven shorts documenting the journeys of characters intentionally seeking something.

The remainder of Friday’s films will begin with a double feature block entitled “Making Your Mark,” with documentaries “Love Reaches Everywhere” and “The Shoulders of Giants.” A second double feature will follow about individuals pushing their physical and emotional boundaries with a showing of “Against the Current” and “Last Know Coordinates.”

Capping Friday’s films will be the narrative film “I’M FINE (THANKS FOR ASKING)” with the short film “Are You Okay?” preceding it.

Saturday will mark the official closing night of the festival. It will begin with a 75th anniversary screening of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” and will be followed by “Five Years North” and “A Crime on the Bayou.” The evening will be capped by the Washington, D.C., premiere of the documentary “Mission: Joy – Finding Happiness in Troubled Times” and will be preceded by the short film “Alone Together.”

While the festival will close Saturday, Sunday and Monday will also feature a handful of other films.

The ShowPlace Icon will host three blocks of films on Sunday. The blocks will begin with a student showcase of films from George Mason University’s FAVS (Film and Video Studies) student festival. The day will finish off with a reshowing of Friday’s film blocks about family bonds and followed by the documented journeys of characters intentionally seeking something.

The final film on Monday will be “The Blackest Battle,” written D.C. theatre artist Psalmayene 24.

Tickets are still available for purchase on the festival website.

All proceeds of the event will be donated to four charities: Evans Home for Children in Winchester, Baltimore non-profit Blueprint, foster program Virginia Kids Belong, and The Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.

The full lineup of film blocks with their times and locations is below:

Thursday, Oct. 21

  • 7 p.m. – “The French Dispatch,” at ShowPlace Icon in The Boro Tysons

Friday, Oct. 22

  • 5:30 p.m. – “Shorts Program One: Family Bonds,” at Bow Tie Cinemas in Reston Town Center
  • 6 p.m. – “Shorts Program Two: Seek and You Will Find,” at Bow Tie Cinemas in Reston Town Center
  • 7 p.m. – “Making Your Mark,” at Bow Tie Cinemas in Reston Town Center
  • 8 p.m. – “Beyond the Limits,” at Bow Tie Cinemas in Reston Town Center
  • 9 p.m. – Short film “Are You Okay?” precedes “I’M FINE (THANKS FOR ASKING),” at Bow Tie Cinemas in Reston Town Center

Saturday, Oct. 23

  • 10:30 a.m. – “It’s A Wonderful Life,” at Capital One Hall in Tysons Corner
  • 1:30 p.m. – “Five Years North,” at Capital One Hall in Tysons Corner
  • 4:30 p.m. – “A Crime on the Bayou,” at Capital One Hall in Tysons Corner
  • 7:30 p.m. – Short film “Alone Together” precedes “Mission: Joy – Finding Happiness in Troubled Times,” Capital One Hall in Tysons Corner

Sunday, Oct. 24

  • 1 p.m. – Showcase of “best of” films from George Mason University’s FAVS (Film and Video Studies) student festival, at ShowPlace Icon in The Boro Tysons
  • 1:30 p.m. – “Shorts Program One: Family Bonds,” at ShowPlace Icon in The Boro Tysons
  • 4 p.m. – “Shorts Program Two: Seek and You Will Find,” at ShowPlace Icon in The Boro Tysons

Monday, Oct. 25

  • 7:30 p.m. – “The Blackest Battle,” at CenterStage in Reston Community Center
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Men helping at the Embry Rucker Community Shelter (Via Cornerstones)

The Reston-headquartered nonprofit Cornerstones is continuing to give free meals to those in need, thanks in part to federal money.

The money assists kids at the nonprofit’s Laurel Learning Center (11484 Washington Plaza West, Suite 200) as well as homeless people and others experiencing emergencies at the 24/7 Embry Rucker Community Shelter (11975 Bowman Towne Drive).

Kids receive hot lunches and two snacks per day, and the learning center is currently accepting additional families, adding to the 92 children there, Cornerstones spokesperson Margaret Anne Lara said in an email.

The community shelter serves three hot meals and a snack each day to guests.

The two facilities have been involved in the federal program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), for over 20 years. The U.S. Agriculture Department’s Food and Nutrition Service provides reimbursements to participating facilities.

“By participating in the CACFP, Cornerstones Laurel Learning Center and Embry Rucker Community Shelter can increase the quality of the meals served and provide more nutritious options,” Lara wrote.

Annual income for individuals must be at or below $16,777 for free meals and $23,828 for reduced price meals. Two-person household max incomes are $22,646 and $32,227, respectively, three-person households are $28,548 and $40,626, accordingly.

For larger families, add $5,902 for each family member for free meal income eligibility and $8,399 for each family member for reduced meals.

The nonprofit also operates one of the largest food pantries in northwest Fairfax County and provides other social services.

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A Reston resident and former South Lakes High School parent is using her interest in photography to fundraise for the school’s next public art sculpture on Lake Thoreau’s spillway.

Mary Prochnow, who recently retired from a career in systems engineering, has donated her nature photographs, for a calendar that can be purchased to help raise money for the students’ work. Each year, students from the school’s Science, Technology Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) club create a public art piece on the spillway.

“Knowing that funding this project is always a challenge and that it is entirely independently funded, I was looking for an easy way for anyone who enjoys the artwork to be able to help support the effort,” Prochnow said.

All proceeds from calendar purchases will go toward pushing materials for the sculpture, which will likely be installed in the summer of next year. Lake Thoreau Entertainment Association and Red’s Table, a restaurant, will cover the costs of printing the calendar.

Phoebe Avery, Public Art Reston‘s public art manager, said her organization was humbled by the support of Prochnow, her husband who runs the entertainment association and Ryan Tracy of Red’s Table, for supporting the students’ work.

“Along with our program partners at Reston Association, we have been gratified to watch the STEAM Team grow from four participants to more than 30 students each year,” Avery wrote in a statement.

Two SLHS students — Nava Mehrpour and David Raw — joined Public Art Reston’s public art committee to handpick several of 72 photographers by Prochnow for the calendar.

Marco Rando, an art teacher at the school and the STEAM teaam’s program advisor, said he was ecstatic that Prochnow offered to help fundraise for the effort.

“Using art to support art could not be a more appropriate concept. In addition, the suggestion to engage in an aesthetic gathering with STEAM students to choose her photos for the calendar was a beautiful layer of educational collaboration,” he said.

Rando and Public Art Reston did not immediately return requests for comment on what next year’s public art will look like or where the project is in the development phase.

Residents have until Oct. 31 to donate to the project in order to receive a calendar gift. A minimum donation of $20 is suggested.

The STEAM team has brought public art to life on the spillway, with projects like Spectrum in 2019 and Simon in 2016.

Photo via Public Art Reston

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Ovation apartments are being constructed by Centreville Road and the Dulles Toll Road. (Photo by David Taube)

Construction crews are moving forward on an affordable residential complex at Arrowbrook Centre by the Dulles Toll Road and Centreville Road.

As of Thursday, owner SCG Development reported it had completed 31% of the project, dubbed Ovation at Arrowbrook, setting its sights on an early 2023 completion.

“We will begin pre-leasing units at the end of 2022,” Jennifer Schneider, SCG vice president of development, said in an email.

The project will make 274 affordable apartment homes for households earning between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income. It will remain designated as affordable for at least 50 years.

The development will include 55 three-bedroom units and 15 handicap-accessible units.

It will be located next to Arrowbrook Center Park, a townhome and condominium community that Pulte will develop. A high-rise building with a hotel, offices, and condominiums is also planned on the site, Reston Now previously reported.

The development puts it next to a soccer field and the forthcoming Innovation Center Metro station. Other projects nearby going up by the transit stop include Passport apartments and Liberty Park condos and townhomes.

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Morning Notes

Metro Cuts Back Service for the Week — Expect reduced Metrorail service through at least the ned of this week as   officials continue their investigation of last week’s derailment. Silver Line trains will operate between Wiehle-Reston East and Federal Center SW only. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Southgate Community Center Gets New Name — The center was renamed after former Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, who helped transform the old county property into a new community center. [Reston Patch]

Appraisal Roadshow Returns — Reston Association’s annual appraisal roadshow returns on Saturday, Nov. 6. Attendees get to take part in a treasure hunt. [RA]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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