Del. Ken Plum: Historic Election Results in Virginia

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.

The November 5 elections in Virginia produced results of historic proportions. The House of Delegates that has had a Republican majority since 2000 was flipped to a blue Democratic majority of 55 Democrats to 45 Republicans. As recently as the election for 2014-2016, Democrats in the House had dropped to 32 members. The turn-around came decisively in amazing political time; there will be a recount in only one seat the Democrats won. The Senate that had a Republican majority before the election flipped to blue with 21 of the 40 Senate seats now being held by Democrats.

The General Assembly when it convenes in January will have a Democratic majority in both houses. In addition, as a result of elections held in 2017 Democrats occupy all statewide offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. The historic level of Democratic wins is not only about party, it is about representation. There will be more women in the General Assembly than ever before in Virginia’s history. In the House of Delegates there will be 30 women in the 100-member legislative body. In the Senate there will be 11 women in the 40-member body bringing the total number of women to 41 in the General Assembly. While the number is small relative to the proportion of women in the total population, the number of women in the legislature is a huge increase when compared to past years when it could be counted on the fingers of one’s hands. The number of women running this year in both parties was at a historic level of 85.

There were other historic changes in the oldest continuous legislative body in the western world celebrating its 400th anniversary this year. A Muslim woman will join the Senate as the first ever elected to that body. The number of African Americans in the General Assembly will increase to the highest number since Reconstruction. The first ever Indian American man was elected to the House of Delegates.

The new members of the legislature have already indicated their willingness to make history. The Democratic caucus of the House met this past weekend and chose as its Speaker-designee, Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, the first woman to ever serve as Speaker of the House of Delegates in the 400 years of its history. She will be elected formally by the entire House when the General Assembly convenes in January. Adding to this historic moment, she will assume the leadership position, considered the most powerful in Virginia government next to the governor, with the least seniority of anyone ever taking the position in the modern day. She will be the first Jewish Speaker serving along with the Senate majority leader who is also Jewish. While I had hoped to become Speaker myself, I fully support Eileen who is amazingly smart and talented and will do everything I can to ensure her success.

The electorate broke through many hurdles in its votes this election year. Some results called historic today will become commonplace in the future as the General Assembly reflects more the demographics of the state as a whole. I have always felt honored to serve, and with the historic results of this election year I feel even more honored. Thank you, voters!

File photo

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Reston Association to Host Final Public Hearing on 2020 Budget

The Reston Association is set to hold a final public hearing for the Reston 2020-2021 budget next week.

The meeting will take place at RA Head Quarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive) beginning at 6:30 p.m. next Thursday (Nov. 21) and will be a chance for community members to share their concerns and grievances with the RA Board of Directors before they vote on the budget.

In 2020, Reston is expected to roughly raise $19 million in revenue with the operating budget, and operating costs are only expected to add up to $16 million, leaving a $3 million surplus, according to RA documents.

“Through these meetings, the board identifies revenues and expenses that should be added or eliminated based on the association’s strategic goals,” according to the RA website.

Photo via Reston Association

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Thursday Morning Notes

Reston Holiday Parade Nominated Again on USA Today’s “10 Best” List — “Reston Holiday Parade, voted one of USA Today’s “10 Best” each year since 2016, is nominated again for the fourth year in a row. The USA Today poll is now open for 2019… The “10 Best” winners will be announced on Friday, December 13.” [Reston Town Center/USA Today]

Registration for 2020 Reston-Herndon Little League Now Open — Registration is now open for next year’s programs. Currently, the organization is offering a $25 off discount for early bird registration. [Reston-Herndon Little League]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Ravel Dance Studio Presents “The Nutcracker”

The Ravel Dance Studio will present the magical holiday tradition of a Nutcracker Ballet. It is Christmas Eve at the Stahlbaum family home. Clara, the young daughter has received a Nutcracker from her Uncle Drosselmeyer. Later that evening she falls…

Bestselling Author David Baldacci to Discuss New Book in Herndon

New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci is set to discuss his work at Herndon Middle School next week.

Baldacci will introduce his new novel, “A Minute to Midnight,” which features the story of FBI agent Atlee Pine. The event, which is organized by Bards Alley Book Store and Reston Regional Library, takes place in the auditorium on Tuesday, Nov. 19 from 7-8 p.m.

A giveaway of 100 free signed copies of the book is planned for the event. Copies of the book must be preordered online or by calling 571-459-2653.

Here’s more about the author from his website:

David published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996. The feature film adaptation followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 38 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers, and several have been adapted for film and television. His novels are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with over 130 million worldwide sales. David has also published seven novels for younger readers.

A lifelong Virginian, David received his Bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, after which he practiced law in Washington, D.C.

Attendees are also encouraged to bring new or gently used books for donation at the event. The book drive is part of the author’s feeding b body and mind initiative, a with distributes books to food banks across the country.

More information about the event is available online.

Photo via Facebook

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Photos: Langston Hughes Middle School Renovation Targets 2021 Completion

The $39 million renovation of Langston Hughes Middle School (11401 Ridge Heights Road) could be completed as early as August 2021.

The project, which began earlier this year, is in the first phase of construction. So far, the parking lot and bus loop were partially completed of the summer.

Originally constructed in 1979, the expanded school is set to be 189,000 square feet and serve 1,250 students, according to Hughes Group Architects. Fairfax County Public Schools officials estimate the project will be mostly completed by August 2021. 

The first phase of the project, which runs through December 2020, will include a two-story addition with an administration office, library, science and technology classrooms, communications and electrical rooms, as well as parking and other site work.

The second phase, which runs from January 2020 through December 2020, will improve the north entry point, renovation classrooms, and create a lecture hall and collaborative space. Demolition of the existing library and the north entry area is planned.

The final phase of the project, which runs through January 2021 through August 2021, will include upgrades to the performing arts and drama area, the gym, and locker rooms.

The project includes a central court called the “Hall of Nations” — a collaborative and flexible space meant to serve as an auditorium, a classroom or a breakout space.

Photos via FCPS

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Police Investigate Business Robbery at Worldgate Drive

Local police are looking for a male suspect involved in a robbery at a business on the 1300 block of Worldgate Drive.

Officials from the Herndon Police Department said the business was robbed at around 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6. Police did not disclose the name of the business.

Surveillance video shows that a man entered the business through a back door and took cash from two registers. There were no signs of forced entry.

A description for the suspect has not been issued. The case is under investigation.

File photo

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Station on Silver Brings Refined Apartment Living and Silver Line Access to Herndon

The long awaited day is drawing near, Metro’s Silver Line extension is nearing completion this summer and the luxury apartments at Station on Silver are perfectly poised at the Dulles Innovation Center station in Herndon to provide quick access to the best of the D.C. Metropolitan area.

The community offers best in class amenities including a stunning rooftop deck complete with fire pit, hammocks, outdoor TV, cornhole and vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Additional outdoor lifestyle amenities showcase 2 courtyards with grilling areas and abundant lounge seating, plus a resort swimming pool with chaise lounges immersed in the sunshelf.

Residents enjoy the state-of-the-art fitness center and yoga studio with a WELLBEATS virtual workout system, clubroom with shuffleboard, billiards and foosball, in addition to a media room with gaming system and large flat screen for movies. If all these entertainment zones add up to too much fun, residents can also get more productive hosting meetings in the conference room or working from home in the cyber café. There also is an on-site pet spa for your four-legged best friend.

Adding to the lifestyle offerings, Station on Silver hosts an extensive resident event calendar to keep social calendars full. The activities range from Winedown Wednesdays, yappy hour for pets, game nights, Sunday bubbly brunch and weekly Zumba classes.

The community offers a selection of floorplans including studio, one and two bedroom apartments, each with top of the line finishes including quartz counters, stainless steel appliances, sleek plank flooring, spa-inspired bathrooms and built-in bookshelves.

Next stop: home. View the floor plans, availability, amenities and photo gallery online.

Station on Silver is at 2340 Carta Way in Herndon. Call 571-350-3848.

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Pet of the Week: Desmond

Meet Desmond, a male Hound available for adoption locally.

Here is what his friends at Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation have to say about him:

Don’t let Desmond’s age fool you… it’s just a number! This sweet boy can do zoomies in the yard with the best of them. Desmond can be a little shy when first meeting new people, but once he gets to know you he is full of love and snuggles.

He has great leash manners and loves to go for long walks through the park. He’s also thrilled to go on car rides and loves to stick his head out the window! You’ll make Desmond’s day if a car ride involves a stop at Starbucks for a puppuccino (aka a cup of some sweet, sweet whipped cream)!

While Desmond has been friendly and playful with most female dogs we’ve introduced him to, he is not a fan of other male dogs, and is looking to be your one and only pet in a quiet, adult-only home.

Desmond’s adoption fee has been sponsored! One of his fans has pre-paid his adoption fee, so his new family won’t have to.

Are you and Desmond 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 eight 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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Third Phase of Halley Rise Development Moves Forward

Brookfield Properties is seeking approval for the third phase of Halley Rise, a 4.1 million square foot project on the north side of Sunrise Valley Drive between Edmund Halley Drive and Reston Parkway.

The proposal, which was previously known as the Reston Crescent, received approval from the county in July 2018.

Brookfield plans to remake the 36-acre site into eight urban blocks, including 1.5 million square feet of new office space, 1,721 residential units, a 200-room hotel and 380,000 square feet of retail.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission will consider Brookfield’s plan for the third phase of development at a meeting on Nov. 20.

The developer is seeking to build a 19-story building with 550,00 square feet of office space and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail uses.

An eight-level parking garage is located behind the building and a neighborhood park with a fire pit and seating areas is planned in front of the building.

The first building, which will include an urban-format Wegmans, is currently under construction. It will occupy the ground floor of a seven-story building with 380 units and 1,000 parking spaces.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

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