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Del. Ken Plum: A Warning Too Dire to Ignore

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

For those who like to plan where will you will be and what you will be doing in twenty years a complicating factor that has for too long been ignored must be considered: climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change brought together by the United Nations issued a report earlier this month, written and edited by 91 scientists from 40 countries and based on a review of more than 6,000 scientific reports, predicting much more dire consequences of climate change much earlier than previously had been expected.

Conditions that have been visibly happening with much more regularity in recent years of intense rains and hurricanes, droughts, excessive heat, flooding, and wildfires will be getting worse. Forget retirement to that beach house you have been fixing up; there is a high probability it may be under water as the beach disappears. Rising costs of living may eat into our retirement savings yielding them inadequate.

What about life for our children and grandchildren? What will it be like? The evidence presented is too compelling to ignore. To sustain a future quality of life for our posterity we must take aggressive action now.

As reported in The New York Times, the authors found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels by 2040 inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty. The new report shows that many of the most serious changes will come much earlier than expected.

The report said that to prevent 2.7 degrees of warming, greenhouse pollution must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. The use of coal as an electricity source would have to drop from nearly 40 percent today to less than 7 percent. Renewable energy such as wind and solar, which makes up about 20 percent of electricity generation, would have to increase to as much as 67 percent.

While the report talks about the science involved, the politics of the issue present the greatest challenge. With a federal administration filled with climate-change deniers and with a pledge to bring back coal for greater energy production, there seems to be a great likelihood that the United States will indeed withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. (Under the terms of the agreement, the U.S. wouldn’t actually be able to withdraw until November 2020.) The administration also may eliminate more regulations that were put in place to reduce climate change if those regulations stand in the way of greater business profits.

Until sanity returns at the national level, it is important that actions–as small as they may seem–be taken at state, local, community and family levels to preserve our climate and our planet. We have a responsibility to our children and others to live our lives in a way that recognizes the clear and present dangers our planet faces. The warning is too dire to ignore.

File photo

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Thursday Morning Notes

If you want a promotion — If you’re interested in learning how to land a promotion, you can attend this event tonight as part of a young professionals series open to members and guests. [Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce]

Did someone say indoor inflatables — Reston Community Center is offering a drop-in program with indoor inflatables and oversized toys on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10-11:30 a.m. Parents must supervise their kids (and unfortunately, the equipment is only game for the little ones). [Reston Community Center]

County schools host digital citizenship week  — “This week is Digital Citizenship Week in our county schools and it’s important for parents/guardians to help children become safe, ethical, responsible and respectful digital citizens.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Kit Allgaier

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Sameride Ride-sharing App Offers New Reston-Arlington Route

Sameride, a ridesharing app that allows drivers and passengers to offer and request rides, has launched a new route from Herndon, Reston and Loudoun County to Arlington and the District.

More than 140 commuters are registered for the service, which allows app drivers and passengers to offer or request rides before taking off for their commute. Unlike taxi services, Sameride is an on-demand carpool service that helps connect drivers and drivers commuting on the same route.

Commuters can carpool on express lanes between Park & Ride commuter lots and their offices. The company, which first launched a route between Woodbridge and Tysons Corner, serves around 250 commuters. Company officials estimate the service can help customers who commute between the Herdon-Monroe Park & Ride lot and Rosslyn Metro Station $300 on rider’s fares or $590 on express lanes tolls on a monthly basis.

Andriy Klymchuk, a company representative for Sameride, said demand for a carpool matching service from Reston and Herndon has grown.

“This demand is due to the conversion of I-66 into high-occupancy toll express lanes, new residential constructions in the area and expansion of Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride lot. The same is true for Loudoun County commuters,” Klymchuk said. “In addition, Reston area serves as a hub for Sameride commuters coming on 267. Some commuters drive from as far as west of Leesburg and pick-up riders at the commuter lots near Reston.”

Klymchuk offered the following information about how the company differs from other ridesharing services:

Think about it as a commute sharing. You and your neighbor happen to work in the same location and you agree to ride to work together. With Sameride you do the same but through the app that allows you to create on-demand carpools. You can choose to be a driver or a rider, set your pick-up time and locations, commute once or daily, create ride requests or offers a few hours or a week before your commute. Drivers benefit from using HOT express lanes toll-free and riders benefit from getting a free commute. Both parties benefit from getting to the office and back home faster.

The app is available on iOS and Android.

Photo via Sameride

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BASIS Independent McLean

At BASIS Independent McLean, students are inspired to learn at the highest international levels in a nationally recognized curriculum. Part of the lauded BASIS Curriculum Schools network, which includes the top 5 schools in the country according to U.S. News…

T-Mobile Installation on Waterford Square Condominium Flatly Rejected Again

Reston Association’s Design Review Board unanimously shot down T-Mobile’s plans to install cell phone equipment on the roof of Waterford Square Condominiums Tuesday night — noting that the company’s tweaked plans did little to address residents’ concerns about the equipment’s incompatibility with the building.

T-Mobile proposed to install cell phone equipment on the building, igniting vehement opposition from residents’ who argued the equipment was extremely visible, damaged the building’s character and posed possible health concerns.

Richard Newlon, the DRB’s chair, said T-Mobile’s plan, which was similar to plans rejected by the board in April, did little to address the panel’s concerns about the visibility of the equipment. Panels are around 12 feet high and 10 feet wide.

“It was clear in April that this kind of design is not going to get approved by this board and it’s the same design,” Newlon said. “It’s almost embarrassing to be sitting here saying the same thing again and I don’t want to be… six months from now… saying the same thing again.”

DRB members also worried that installing cell phone equipment on a residential building could lead to similar proposals by other service providers. The redevelopment of Lake Anne Fellowship House prompted T-Mobile to remove its equipment from the rooftop and scout for other locations in Reston.

More than 25 people, including condominium residents and neighbors of the building, opposed the plan on Tuesday. Some noted that their stance was not indicative of mere opposition to change, adding that residents of the condominium were exploring the possibility of installing solar panels on the roof.

“We’re not trying to live in the past,” one resident, who lived in the building for roughly 20 years, said.

Ed Donahue, T-Mobile’s legal representative, said the company had attempted to strike a compromise by scaling back the structure from the edge of the roof and installing plastic, brick-like screening for the equipment. Donahue also noted that possible health concerns and zoning were outside of the DRB’s purview.

“We are in full compliance of the federal guidelines as we are on the thousands of sites in Virginia,” Donahue said, comparing T-Mobile’s plans to a similar installation at the Heron House.

Other DRB members said that T-Mobile failed to convince the board how the cell phone equipment and towers would be compatible with the architectural integrity of the building.

“I still see that it’s visible and it does detract from the architecture and the roofline,” said Grace Peters, a DRB member.

The equipment by other companies displaced by development at the Lake Anne Fellowship House have not yet proposed plans for reinstallation to other sites.

Photo via handout/Reston Association

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Announcing The Whittle School & Studios/Northern Virginia Tysons Open House Nov. 18

Northern Virginia and DMV-Area Families: An innovative and global preschool-Grade 12 school is coming to DC next year – The Whittle School & Studios! Aimed at educating and nurturing curious, compassionate global citizens, The Whittle School is the brainchild of entrepreneur Chris Whittle, American media and education leader, former chairman of Esquire Magazine and founder of Whittle Communications and Avenues: The World School as well as Edison Learning.

The School’s philosophy and curriculum are based upon best practices from countries around the world, with an emphasis on personalized education, experiential learning, and immersive language and cultural knowledge acquisition. From the start, The Whittle School will open a second campus in Shenzhen, China, and over the next 10 years will open campuses in leading cities around the globe. As one school with many campuses, Whittle is a modern, innovative concept that will develop smart, engaged, well-rounded and globally-minded students sought after by top universities and colleges.

Amongst the different Whittle educational offerings, there will be a strong boarding component for Upper School with both full boarding and 5-day boarding options. This allows families to make the best choices for them and their students, balancing school and family life. The campus, a collaborative learning hub, will open in September 2019 at the former Intelsat building in Washington, DC, offering students access to the City as a valued educational tool. For 5-day boarding students, transportation will be offered to and from the School on a weekly basis.

To learn more about The Whittle School, please visit our website at https://www.whittleschool.org.
You may also contact Matthew Pohl, Director of Enrollment Strategy, [email protected], 646-851-5260.

*** No. VIRGINIA OPEN HOUSE: Sunday November 18, 4pm, Ritz Carlton, Tysons
Come meet members of our leadership team and learn about our vision for a modern, global preschool-Grade 12 school with campuses around the world, launching in Fall 2019 in Washington, D.C. and Shenzhen, China. ***
RSVP: nova.whittleschool.org

In Herndon House Fire, Glitchy Laptop Causes Nearly $94,000 in Damages

A glitchy laptop caught fire on Monday and caused $93,750 in damages to a Herndon home, according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

The fire happened on Monday (Oct. 15) just before 1 p.m. on the 13100 block of Weather Vane Way in Herndon. Fire and rescue crews extinguished the fire, which started in a bedroom on the second floor of the two-story, single-family home. Damages were limited to the bedroom and no one was injured, according to the department.

One adult was home at the time of the fire. When she smelled smoke and heard crackling noises, she discovered a fire on the top of the bedroom’s bed.

Fire department officials said the fire was “accidental in nature.” Three adults were displaced because of the incident. Red Cross assistance was declined.

Photos via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

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Pet of the Week: Sophie

Meet Sophie, a labrador retriever mix available for adoption locally.

Here is what her friends at Safe Haven Puppy Rescue have to say about her:

Sophie is an amazingly sweet, friendly and well behaved for such young puppies.

Sophie is good in her crate, being quiet but loves visits from anybody willing to pay her a little attention. She has the cutest way of lifting her paw as if she is coyishlly waving at you!

Sophie is not a wild child, but is playful as a puppy should be. Most of all, she would like her very own home with a family to love.

Are you and Sophie a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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New Members Appointed to Reston Community Center’s Board of Governors

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors appointed three members to Reston Community Center’s Board of Governors Tuesday (Oct. 16).

Incumbents Lisa Sechrest-Ehrhardt and William G. Bouie were appointed to the board alongside newcomer Richard Stillson. Sechrest-Ehrhardt had the most votes in this year’s preference poll with 1,426 votes. Stillson had 1,221 votes while Bouie had 1,194 votes. Other candidates were Gerald Zavala (1,036 votes) and April Tan (755 votes).

Three-year terms for the newly-appointed members begin on Nov. 5. Zavala, who unsuccessfully ran for a board seat, will leave the board after serving for six years, including four as treasurer.

RCC offered the following background information about the new members:

William G. Bouie has served on the RCC Board since 2003, and served as the Board Chair from 2006 until 2008. He is also the current chair of the Fairfax County Park Authority Board, and vice chair of the Board of Directors for Public Art Reston. He has served in formal and informal roles in many other community organizations, including the Wolf Trap Associates Board of Directors, Reston Hospital Board of Trustees, Reston Little League, Reston Youth Baseball, Reston’s YMCA Board of Management, Friends of Reston and the United States Olympic Committee’s Project Gold, among others.

Lisa Sechrest-Ehrhardt has served on the RCC Board since 2012. She is a professional social worker and diversity trainer. In addition to her experience as a former RCC employee, Lisa and her family have participated in numerous RCC programs as patrons. Her experiences as an educator and communicator have focused on celebrating diversity and engaging community members of all backgrounds.

Richard Stillson is a 46-year Reston resident and longtime International Monetary Fund staffer. He was the first president of the advocacy group Reston 2020 and was former chair of Reston Association’s Lakes Committee. He has been active at RCC as an instructor of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) courses.

RCC is governed by a nine-member board that is appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors after residents and businesses of Small District 5 note their preferences in an annual poll. The board is responsible for key oversight functions, including strategic planning, community relations, fiduciary oversight and policy administration.

Logo via Reston Community Center

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Cycling on — New Trail Cycling Studio, which is scheduled to open soon, is hosting an open house for visitors to take a sneak peek at progress on Oct. 27. [New Trail Cycling Studio]

Feedback sought on Metro parking and fare changes — Metro is considering increase fares for peak service by about $1. The change is intended to “respond to market trends and improve the customer experience,” especially when it comes to covering the “extraordinary” costs of providing rush-hour service and staffing to support large-scale regional events. [Washington Metropolitan Area Authority]

A local project that changed Greater Washington — This article posits that Reston Town Center is a project that changed the area and continues to “rack up accolades” as a model for national development. [Washington Business Journal]

Nearby: Former sheriff’s deputy arrested — A former Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office Deputy was charged with carnal knowledge of an inmate and one count of sexual battery. The inmate said she was sexually assaulted by the deputy in December 2016 or January 2017. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Reston Association Launches New System for Home Resale Documents

Reston Association has launched a new system for members to request resale disclosure documents. The system, which is run through a partnership with WelcomeLink, went into effect on Monday (Oct. 16).

Individuals seeking to purchase resale disclosure documents must set-up an account with WelcomeLink.

Ways to improve the process for requesting and managing resale disclosures have been on RA’s radar for several months. The documents detail design or maintenance violations observed during inspections by staff.

Users of the new system must confirm the address for which they seek documents and orders can be processed using a credit card, debit card or check.

Only owners or the owners’ authorized agent can purchase and review resale disclosure documents — the fees for which are determined by state law.

Photo by Reston Association

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