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by Dave Emke — January 19, 2017 at 11:30 am 6 Comments

When tens of thousands descend upon the National Mall on Saturday for the Women’s March on Washington, many will be adorned with pink knitted hats. A large number of those hats, products of the worldwide Pussyhat Project, will have filtered through a home on Lake Newport Road in Reston.

The house, which looks quiet from the outside, is filled with bustling action as women of all ages work hard to prepare hats that are arriving every day. Boxes upon boxes of the hats, knitted by concerned people from around the world, are stacked in the home’s basement in various stages of the organizational process.

College student Molly McKnight and her mother, Carrie, volunteered to make their Reston home the hub for the hats. Family friends, including Jeanne Robertson and Diane Brown, are among the dozens of volunteers who have assisted with the project.

“We’re the grunt work,” said Robertson, who was processing hats in the basement Wednesday along with Brown. “There are a lot of friends who are here to help.”

Stefanie Kamerman, the project’s D.C. organizer, is coordinating the effort. She said the final days have been hectic, as many hundreds of hats — some days as many as 2,000 — have been showing up through the mail every day.

“We are hoping to distribute them at the march successfully,” Kamerman said. “We are trying to get the hats from Point A to Point B, to get them to the women who are marching on the 21st.”

Between 200,000 and 500,000 women are expected to participate in the event Saturday, Kamerman said. About 60,000 hand-crafted hats have been donated to the project so far, she said. The collection site on Lake Newport Road has been operating since early December.

Politically, Kamerman said she considers herself a Libertarian. She said concerns about women’s issues that arose during the election of soon-to-be President Donald Trump led her to fight for the female voice.

“It’s not necessarily that we’re anti-Trump; we’re just trying to take back those infamous words he said on the ‘Access Hollywood’ video,” Kamerman said, referring to audio from 2005 that emerged prior to the election in which Trump used vulgar terms to describe his treatment of women.

According to the project’s website, its name is in part a reference to one of those terms used by Trump — and its goal is to “reclaim the term as a means of empowerment.”

Each hat that is donated is accompanied by a note from its knitter, which includes not just a name and a hometown, but a list of women’s rights issues most important to him or her.

“Being involved [in this project] has opened my eyes to a lot of women that are hurting, and who don’t feel like their voices are being heard,” Kamerman said.

More than 50 volunteers are working for the project across the United States, Kamerman said, with about half of them having worked from the Reston site at some point during the past month.

“It’s helping other women get something that is special,” she said. “We’re all working together for something amazing.”

Kamerman said she and many of the other volunteers will be attending the march Saturday, both to support the cause and to see the fruits of their labor.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what we’ve been working so hard for coming together,” she said. “It’s been an amazing experience.”

Kamerman said she is hopeful her 8-year-old daughter, who has been helping with the project as well, will lead the next generation of activism.

“I wanted to raise her in a world where she will continue the good fight for women and men across the nation, regardless of who they love or what they believe or who they are,” she said.

For more information about the Pussyhat Project, visit its website, Facebook page or Twitter account.

by Dave Emke — January 19, 2017 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Lake Anne - Jan. 18, 2017

Reston Orthopedic Practice Honored for Community Work — Ortho Virginia was recently recognized by Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna for its continued support of the nonprofit, volunteer-based organization. [Reston Connection]

Yoga Studio Organizes Buses for Women’s March on D.C. — Maryam Ovissi, the owner of Beloved Yoga (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive), has booked transportation for 57 people to the event Saturday on the National Mall. [Patch]

Silver Line Progress ‘Steady,’ Project Officials Say — In recent weeks, the project’s design-­build contractor has reported “significant progress” on the aerial guideways that will carry the tracks through Washington Dulles International Airport. Engineers also say at-­grade track work on Phase 2 of the project, which recently began, is “a very important milestone.” [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

by Dave Emke — January 18, 2017 at 9:45 am 23 Comments

Rep. Gerry Connolly/Credit: U.S. CongressReston’s voice in the House of Representatives, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), has announced that he has joined the growing list of Democratic members of Congress who will not be attending the Inauguration of President Donald Trump on Friday.

In a statement released Wednesday morning, Connolly said Trump has left the country with “open, bleeding wounds.”

“After long reflection I have decided that I cannot attend the inauguration of Donald J Trump on Friday. His behavior and harmful words during and after the campaign have left the country I love with open, bleeding wounds. Instead of binding those wounds, he has poured salt on them. Instead of unifying us, he has reveled in driving wedges between us. His disparagement of an entire religion; his racist rants about minorities; his resurrection of white supremacy; his ridicule of the disabled; his blatant misogyny and boasting of unwanted sexual advances; his intimidation of the press; his repugnant attack on civil rights hero John Lewis; and his disturbing defense of and advocacy for Vladimir Putin — a KGB thug — threaten our democratic institutions. How can I celebrate that? The sordid aspects of his behavior must not become the new normal for America or her presidents.”

Connolly joins more than 50 of his peers who have publicly announced they will not attend the ceremony.

by Dave Emke — January 18, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Morning Notes - Winter

SLHS Grad Featured in UPenn Video — Princess Aghayere, a 2015 graduate of South Lakes High School, is a basketball player at the University of Pennsylvania. In a new video from the university, she talks about moving to the United States as a child and about her future plans in the field of medicine. The Reston native is the daughter of Anthonia and Roland Aghayere. [University of Pennsylvania]

Dog License Renew Deadline Approaching — Fairfax County dog owners are reminded that their $10 renewal fee is coming up at the end of the month. [Fairfax County]

Local College Students Named to Top Academic Lists — The following students from Reston are among those named to Dean’s Lists at their respective schools in the Fall 2016 semester.

  • BELMONT UNIVERSITY: Wesley Edens, Collin Hanley
  • HARDING UNIVERSITY: Mitchell Thomas
  • JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY: Emily Barbaro, Lauren Canal, Kylie Chichester, Olivia Gentilcore, Susan Patrick
  • UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT: Haley Brazier

In addition, five students from Reston were named to the President’s List at JMU: Jacqueline Angel, Elizabeth Barnes, Valerie Beacham, Daniel Gurley and Claire Swinko.

by Dave Emke — January 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm 9 Comments

For some, this was just a three-day weekend.

But for 100 Reston volunteers of all ages, Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend provided an opportunity to give back to their community. Reston Association and Reston Community Center partnered with Southgate Community Center, Cornerstones and The Closet on several community service projects Saturday.

Among the projects completed by volunteers were an outdoor cleanup; the sorting of donated toys and preparation of bagged lunches for the residents of the Embry Rucker Community Shelter; and the organization of the Southgate Community Center library and kitchen.

“Volunteers demonstrated that we each have the power to make our community a stronger and more vibrant place to live, work, play and get involved,” said Ha Brock, Reston Association’s volunteer supervisor. “Many thanks to everyone that participated in the National Day of Service.”

Brock says it’s not too late to volunteer.

“If you would like to continue to get involved, Reston Association offers a variety of opportunities in our community,” she said.

More information about Reston Association’s volunteer program is available at their website.

by Dave Emke — January 17, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Morning Notes - Winter

Snow Removal Efforts Highlighted in Video — In its latest “Reston Today” dispatch, Reston Association shined a spotlight on the work done by its maintenance crews to clean up snowfall. [Reston Association/YouTube]

NAACP President Stresses Value of Equality — The current political climate of the nation is a reminder that “all man are created equal” is still to many just words on paper, says new Fairfax County NAACP President Kofi Annan. [Fairfax County Times]

County Firefighters Offer Tips for Winter Months — More than 900 people in the United States die in home fires each winter, according to information shared by Fairfax County Fire and Rescue. With that in mind, officials are providing information regarding how to keep your home safe during this season. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

by Dave Emke — January 16, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Morning Notes - Winter

Suspect Information Released in Sunday Stabbing — Police have released a description of the suspect in a double stabbing on the soccer fields near South Lakes High School. The suspect is described as a heavy-set Hispanic male with short hair, in his early 20s. He may drive a blue Subaru STI. [Fairfax County Police Department/Twitter]

Many Places Closed for Martin Luther King Day — Schools, the library, government offices and more are closed today for the holiday. Other services may also be affected. [Patch]

Students Interested in Firefighting Have Opportunity — The High School Firefighter Program is designed to teach Fairfax County students how to battle blazes safely and effectively. A recent open house showcased the program for interested teens and parents. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

by Dave Emke — January 15, 2017 at 4:40 pm 37 Comments

Updated 10:35 p.m. Sunday to include suspect description from Fairfax County Police Department

Two men in their 20s were stabbed in an argument during a pickup soccer game Sunday afternoon near South Lakes High School.

Police say the two men, ages 22 and 23, who were stabbed were transported to Reston Hospital Center. The injuries to the 23-year-old were first deemed to be life-threatening, but the man’s status later improved to stable.

The suspect in the stabbing has not yet been apprehended, but Fairfax County Police spokesperson Tawny Wright said there is no threat to the community at large.

“The suspect and the two victims were somehow acquainted,” she said. “An argument erupted related to the game.”

No students from the high school were involved, Wright said.

“From what we got from the initial investigation, there were two groups of people using the field,” she said. “During one their games, an argument erupted between a small group of them. It escalated until someone pulled out a cutting instrument.”

Wright said the 23-year-old was cut in the upper body and suffered a serious injury. The 22-year-old was cut in the leg.

The suspect is described as a heavy-set, short-haired Hispanic male in his early 20s.

Photos courtesy Van Applegate/FOX 5 DC

by Dave Emke — January 13, 2017 at 1:30 pm 12 Comments

Willard's BBQ in Reston

A new barbecue joint is on the horizon in Reston.

Work continues on Willard’s BBQ at 11790 Baron Cameron Ave., in the Home Depot Shopping Center. A representative at the barbecue restaurant’s flagship location in Chantilly said the Reston location is expected to open “in a few more weeks,” but could not provide any further information.

According to information provided by Fairfax County, the building permit for the restaurant was applied for in June and issued in October.

The restaurant’s menu includes a variety of barbecue sandwiches and ribs, along with a full assortment of specialty items and sides.

The upcoming Reston location formerly housed Quality Carpet One Floor & Home.

by Dave Emke — January 13, 2017 at 10:15 am 13 Comments

Reston recycling bin via Friends of Reston

More than a dozen new recycling bins are being installed around Reston in the attempt to reduce trash in the community.

Reston Association says it has purchased 13 custom-made recycling bins, designed to fit the “Restonesque” style approved by the Design Review Board.

According to information provided by Reston Association:

RA staff will install the bins in high-use areas throughout the community, including sports fields and recreational facilities. RA is working on additional strategies to reduce trash and increase recycling.

Mike Leone, RA’s communications director, said local businesses sponsor the cost of the bins.

“We are always seeking individual and business donors to fund the purchase of new recycle bins,” Leone said. “The Friends of Reston, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit volunteer organization of Reston Association, works with our staff doing the fundraising for the purchase of more bins.”

The “Adopt a Bin” program is an attempt to drum up support for the recycling effort in the community. Donations can be made in any amount. For a $1,000 donation, an individual or company can have their name or company logo placed on a plaque on the bin.

RA crews service the bins and deliver their contents to the Fairfax County collection site.

by Dave Emke — January 13, 2017 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

W&OD Trail -- January 12, 2017

Metro Board Members to Hold Forum in Reston — The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce will host Virginia’s WMATA Board delegation Wednesday, Jan. 25 for a public discussion about Metro’s budget. Subjects will include the decision-making process when it comes to increasing fares and reducing train frequency. [Northern Virginia Transportation Commission]

Fairfax County Schools FY2018 Budget Proposed — A $2.8 billion budget for county schools would include $44 million for an average step increase of 2.5 percent for all eligible employees, including teachers and non-teachers. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Sunrise Valley Elementary School Teacher Earns Grant — Six Fairfax County Public Schools teachers, along with five schools, were recently awarded grants from Apple Federal Credit Union. Among them was Sara Balcanoff at Sunrise Valley Elementary School. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Number of Local Events Honor Dr. Martin Luther King — Don’t forget there will be plenty to do in Reston this holiday weekend. Scheduled activities include special speakers, performances and community service projects. [Reston Now]

by Dave Emke — January 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm 43 Comments

Glade Pool/File photo

Reston residents applying for pool and tennis passes for the coming season are being asked to include photographs — even for children as young as 1.

The new rule for 2017 is meant to increase security, but one resident who contacted Reston Now wonders if it might have the opposite effect.

“Requiring photo[s] of children seems like quite a liability to me,” the resident, a father of two young children, said in communication with Member Services that he shared. “If someone hacks [RA’s] systems they have pictures of all of our children and now knows where they live so they can choose which one to kidnap.”

Photos will only appear in RA’s database, not on the physical card, explained Laura Kowalski, RA’s deputy director of recreation.

I do understand the concern about the kids, but [photos are] not being shared,” she said, adding that she is confident about the security of the system.

Kowalski said photos were printed on passes “many years ago,” but that practice was phased out. In recent years, a few residents have raised concerns about having their addresses printed on them. She said questions about security were taken into account before the new system was settled upon.

When we researched and finally landed on the new registration system with Vermont Systems… we listened to what members’ concerns were about security, as well as how we could mitigate sharing of passes,” Kowalski said.

In 2014, passes being sold on Craigslist to non-residents drew RA’s attention. Passes are not transferable, according to Reston Association rules. Kowalski said she has encountered situations in the past where she knew passes were being misused.

“I’ve been in a pool helping someone by popping in that day, and saying [to a patron] ‘Hi, how are you?'” Kowalski said. “They show me the pass and I think, ‘Huh. I know this person, and you’re not that person.'”

Mike Leone, RA’s communications director, said the new system — including the photo registration — is designed to stop such transfers.

“Under the old system, pass swapping was a concern and RA had no way to prevent it,” he said. “So the new system provides a better, more secure system ensuring only those with a pass can get into the pool facility.”

RA’s new WebTrac online registration system is being used to sell and register pool and tennis passes. Swiping devices are being installed in all 15 RA pool facilities to handle the new system.

Residents will show their pass upon entering a facility. It will be scanned, and the pass holder’s picture will then be displayed to the staff member on duty. If it doesn’t match, entrance will be denied.

“The new system provides greater accountability, reporting data and enhanced member satisfaction and convenience,” said Mike Leone, RA communications director. “Once they have the new pass card, they won’t have to wait in long lines here at RA to obtain their annual passes, which has been the case every year in the past as pool season approaches.”

The concerned resident, though, said he has a simpler solution to the problem.

“Just require that adults bring [photo] ID,” he said. “The TSA doesn’t even require ID for children under 18 and they’re trying to stop terrorism.”

by Dave Emke — January 12, 2017 at 1:30 pm 20 Comments

The permitting process for a new Chick-fil-A in North Point Village Center continues.

Fairfax County records show the application to build the new free-standing restaurant was processed last month.

The new restaurant will replace the former Burger King at the location (1494 North Point Village Center), which closed in 2014. It is planned to be more than 1 1/2 times the size of the old building, which will be torn down in the process.

Another chicken eatery, Boston Market, sits next door to the site.

The new Chick-fil-A was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors last spring. It will be the second Chick-fil-A in Reston, along with the existing location at 12160 Sunset Hills Road, about 2 1/2 miles away.

by Dave Emke — January 12, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Lake Anne Plaza -- Jan. 10, 2017

Metro to Operate on Saturday Schedule for MLK Day — Trains and buses will be moving at different times than usual Monday as the federal holiday is observed. [WMATA]

Traffic Management Solutions Firm Sets Up in Herndon — All Traffic Solutions plans to add 25 employees and create up to 86 new jobs over the next three years, and invest more than $100,000 in its new headquarters at Worldgate Centre. [Fairfax County EDA]

Nominations Open for Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards — The deadline to submit applications to honor outstanding volunteers in any organization, club, school, library or neighborhood is Feb. 3. [Volunteer Fairfax]

Catherine HemleppSilver Alert Issued for Woman Last Seen in Fairfax County — Police are looking for 80-year-old Catherine Hemlepp, pictured here. She is believed to be in a maroon 2017 Ford Escape, with Pennsylvania license plate WR9679P. She was last seen wearing an orange vest, flowered pants and a white hat. She and her husband were traveling from Pennsylvania to South Carolina when they became separated Tuesday. [Virginia State Police/Twitter]

by Dave Emke — January 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm 31 Comments

Orange parking garage, Reston Town Center

While public response to paid parking at Reston Town Center remains decidedly negative, the number of people who have downloaded the ParkRTC app continues to grow.

Rob Weinhold, a spokesperson for Town Center owner Boston Properties, reports that more than 42,000 downloads of the app have been made as of Wednesday morning. That number is up significantly from 28,000 on Jan. 3, the day paid parking went into effect.

Parking in the Town Center had been free since it opened in 1990. Since the paid-parking initiative began last week, it now costs $2 per hour in parking garages and $3 per hour on the street. Parking in garages is free on weekends; street parking is free on Sunday only.

Visitors who do not wish to use the app can use pay stations at the entrances to each garage.

In the week since paid parking began, at least one business — The Bike Lane — has publicly announced its intention to leave the Town Center.

In addition to concerns over the cost of parking itself, dissenters have brought up questions about privacy and app security. Town Center officials have responded to those queries, saying the app is perfectly safe to use.

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