Reston, VA

Local police discovered another swastika in Reston  after several others were found in North Point Village Center roughly one week ago.

Police found the chalk drawing on a wall in the Reston Metro Plaza parking garage.

Fairfax County Police discovered the graffiti on Wednesday around 10:08 a.m. after receiving a report.

The discovery comes one week after swastikas were spray-painted on sidewalks and buildings in North Point Village Center.

Both incidents are under investigation.

File photo

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A local nonprofit organization will host a town hall with Fairfax County officials to discuss issues of resilience and recovery as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cornerstones has planned the virtual event for Monday, June 8 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn and Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust are signed on as panelists, as well as Fairfax County Public Schools’ board members Melanie Meren (Hunter Mill District) and Elaine Tholen (Dranesville District).

Residents are invited to join the conversation about the county’s plans to rebuild economic stability and ensure the most vulnerable residents have the resources they need to regain independence and security.

The following topics will be discussed:

  • Affordable housing
  • Extending tenant rights through recovery
  • Family resiliency and sustainability after the crisis
  • Learning loss and the digital divide
  • Getting back to work and a living wage
  • Opportunity Fairfax and the COVID-19 divide

The facilitators are Casey Veath, principal of Veatch Commercial Real Estate; Tracey White, Vice President of Reston Hospital Center; and Kerrie Wilson, CEO of Cornerstones.

Members of the public can email their questions for consideration to [email protected]. Submissions must be received by Friday, June 5.

The meeting will take place via Zoom. Participants can register online.

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Meet Lucky Lucy, a female Retriever Mix available for adoption locally.

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

Are you looking for the perfect 1 1/2 year old pup that is already house trained, has manners and wants to please you and play… this is your girl.

She has a lot of energy and would love to have another dog to run and play with in a fenced yard. She is in a foster home and would love to find her forever family.

Lucy is spayed up to dates on all vaccines and is micro chipped.

Are you and Lucky Lucy a match?

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At a time when other industries are cutting back, Microsoft Corp. will invest $64 million to establish a new research and development hub in Reston Town Center.

The move will create 1,500 new jobs as the software giant occupies 400,000 square feet in Two Freedom Square (11955 Freedom Drive) in Reston Town Center. The company will retain 153,000 square feet of space it currently occupies at 12012 Sunset Hills Road.

Terrell Cox, Microsoft’s general manager said the company’s expansion in Reston will allow the company to “deliver even more solutions from a region known for its innovation and passion for technology.”

“One of Microsoft’s core principles is actively listening to our customers, so we can build and improve our technology based on their feedback. Being close to our customer base is extremely important to our ongoing collaborations,” Cox said.

Here’s how local and state elected officials responded to the news:

“Virginia, like the rest of the nation, is facing unprecedented job loss due to COVID-19, so this announcement couldn’t come at a better time,” said Governor Northam. “Microsoft Corp. and Virginia share a strong history, and we are proud that this major operation in Fairfax County will add to the company’s significant job count across our Commonwealth. Virginia is a leader in the information technology industry, and Microsoft’s continued investment here is a testament to our top-ranked business climate, infrastructure, and world-class workforce.”

Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill thanked Microsoft for its vote of confidence in Fairfax County and noted that he and Jeff McKay, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, have made diversification of the local economy a priority.

“We are very excited about Microsoft’s expansion in Fairfax County,” Hill said. “This investment further strengthens our reputation as a business-friendly community and showcases our ability to attract the country’s top companies, even in these turbulent times. Chairman McKay, the Board of Supervisors and I are thrilled with this news, as we continue to work to diversify our economy.”

“Microsoft can choose from any number of technology hubs for its operations, and we are so pleased that the company chose to expand its operations in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia,” said Victor Hoskins, President and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. “Because of our wealth of technology talent and the tech ecosystem here, this area is a great match for the company’s talent needs as well as its business goals.”

“Reston is proud to welcome Microsoft’s expansion in our Town Center,” said Senator Janet Howell. “Microsoft Corp. has been an important corporate citizen for many years. The decision to grow here is yet more proof that our region is a major technology hub.”

“I am thrilled that Microsoft has chosen to locate this significant operation and create 1,500 new jobs in Fairfax County,” said Delegate Kenneth Plum. “The Commonwealth and the County have a longstanding relationship with Microsoft, and this operation will only strengthen it. We look forward to welcoming the software development and R&D regional hub to the Reston Town Center.”

Microsoft will be eligible for a $22.5 million grant from the state once it completes the project. Some of that money will be used to fund partnerships with local colleges and universities to “develop the tech talent pipeline for cloud computing and related degrees to support its local expansion,” according to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

The company has been in Reston since 2002. The initiative is expected to go live in summer 2021.

Photo via Google Maps

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After closures promoted by COVID-19, golf courses around Reston and Herndon are starting to open back up with precautions.

The Herndon Centennial Golf Course, which has been closed since March, announced via press release that it will reopen today (May 27).

People looking to book a timeslot should reserve and pay online, the press release said, adding that only credit cards will be accepted and people may not use rain checks, gift cards or discounts at this time.

Due to social distancing suggestions, “the clubhouse, restrooms and Egg Karne Café will remain closed until further notice,” according to the press release.

The Reston National Golf Course remains open for guests but with altered requirements, according to the website.

Changes include face shields and new cleaning protocols for staff, removal of indoor seating, discounts for those who walk the course rather than use a golf cart, elimination of cash payment and elimination of walk-up reservations, the website said.

For members wishing to play at Hidden Creek Country Club, both the golf courses and tennis courts are open, the website said. But, the clubhouse will remain closed until further notice with the exception of take-out food.

Photo via Reston National Golf Course/Facebook

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Confusion Over Governor’s Mask Order — “At a briefing this afternoon, Gov. Ralph Northam emphasized that Virginia’s new indoor mask requirements weren’t intended to be criminally enforced. But the text of the order (released ~3 hours later) defines a violation as Class 1 misdemeanor.” [Virginia Mercury]

Police Arrest Naked Man in Parking Lot — Local police have arrested an Ashburn man who was running through a parking lot on the 2400 block of Centreville Road on May 22. Carlos Ashe, 35, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure and drunk in public. [Fairfax County Police Department]

County Staff Conduct Virtual Inspections — The Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health has been conducting virtual inspections for restaurant owners who are applying for permits for newly built or renovated establishments. [Fairfax County Government]

Foundation Pitches Funding to FCPS — “Ferrovial has contributed $67,500 to the Access for All Fund to support students in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Created by the Foundation in response to the pandemic and school closings, the Access for All fund is supporting Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) by assisting local food banks with food distribution to FCPS families, providing grocery gift cards to homeless and unaccompanied youth, delivering school supply kits, and providing technology access for distance learning.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Gov. Ralph Northam said today that Northern Virginia localities may start to roll back COVID-19 restrictions on Friday.

The rest of Virginia has already started phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan, but Northern Virginia officials asked for a delay, which Northam granted.

Now, Northam is pointing to the latest data on the virus, highlighting that the numbers have been “directionally correct” since Friday (May 22).

A joint letter from head officials in Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County, sent to Northam on Monday (May 25) said that they are preparing to start the first phase on Friday, including a note from their corresponding health directors.

“[The public health directors] have noted the regional attainment of four of the critical metrics and assessed the need for continued focus on expanding our contact tracing capacity and developing sustainable supplies of PPE,” the letter said.

Additionally, Jeff McKay, the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, released the following statement:

Northern Virginia’s Health Directors tell me that we have met four of the critical criteria required to move forward to Phase I of Governor Northam’s plan to reopen. One of the two areas we don’t meet is contact tracing, but we are finalizing a contract hopefully this week to provide recruitment and staffing for the hundreds of contact tracers and investigators that we will need to increase our capacity of contract tracing. The other is PPE and we have sufficient supply for hospitals, but are working to increase in other areas and hope the Governor will be able to help us do that. My colleagues and I have provided this information to the Governor and look forward to hearing his decision based on that data.

I share our community’s desire to reopen our businesses in the safest way possible. Fairfax County has made significant preparations should the Governor decide that Northern Virginia has met his criteria to reopen this Friday. Regardless, we will continue to monitor our local statistics to ensure Fairfax County doesn’t see spikes in cases and be transparent with the public on our progress.

Northam said that he has been communicating with the Northern Virginia officials.

“The virus clearly is still here, but overall, these numbers are trending in the right direction,” Northam said. “That is the assessment of our state team and it is the assessment of the health district directors across Northern Virginia.”

Northam said that he is “not comfortable” starting the second phase yet for the state and will reevaluate later this week.

“I want to emphasize that while phase 1 loosens some restrictions, it does not require any business or place of worship to open until they are comfortable that they can do so safely,” Northam said. “Just because you can open doesn’t mean that you have to open.”

Mask Controversy

Northam also responded to criticisms after photos surfaced of him without a mask at Virginia Beach this weekend, which intensified due to Northam saying on Friday that he planned to announce a statewide mask policy soon.

“People held me accountable, and I appreciate that,” Northam said. “In the future when I am out in the public, I will be better prepared.”

Northam said that “well-wishers” asked to take pictures with him while he was en route to speak to reporters. “I was not prepared because my mask was in the car,” he said.

Northam announced the face-covering rules today.

Starting this Friday (May 29), people age 10 and older will need to wear face-coverings when they are inside a public place, including retailers, barbershops, restaurants, public transportation, government building and place where people congregate. Exceptions include people who are exercising, eating or drinking or have a health condition that makes wearing a face-covering difficult.

“This is a matter of public health,” Northam said.

Image via Governor of Virginia/Facebook

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Local police are investigating a shooting that happened in a neighborhood on the intersection of North Shore Drive and Becontree Lane on May 22.

Two men shot at the SUV of a man and woman while they were driving in the neighborhood around 12:50 p.m.

No injuries were reported. Police believe both parties knew each other.

Although the suspects drove off in their vehicle, charges are pending, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Information about the incident was made public today (Tuesday).

File photo

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Financial hardship created COVID-19 has forced a local beauty spa and studio in North Point Village Center to shutter its doors.

Ellada Studio (1458 North Point Village Center) closed its doors after the owner struggled to pay $20,000 in monthly rent and other expenses. The owner told Reston Now that the business received no relief from its landlord despite promises of receiving a lower rate before the COVID-19 crisis.

In a May 15 letter to the tenant, Lerner Corp stated that the business’s “obligation to pay rent is unaffected by the current circumstances or any event of force majeure.”

“Then they changed their mind and demanded the difference and the dollars for the time [we were closed],” Aidana Ablyazova, the co-owner, told Reston Now. She partners with her mom, Nurgul, to run the business.

Although the U.S. Small Business Administration offered a $10,000 grant, that amount was nowhere near enough to cover half of the studio’s rent or payroll. The owner applied for other federal grants, but received nothing. The owner and employees will now move over to Taaj Beauty Lounge, a beauty salon in Tysons Corner.

“The business itself is dead,” Ablyazova said. “But my employees are coming with me and I’m going as an employee to now.”

She says it doesn’t make sense to rent or have a business during the public health crisis.

The mother-daughter duo first opened Ellada Studio at North Point Village Center in November 2016.

Hair Cuttery, which is located at 1434 North Point Village Center, also appears to have closed, according to a message posted on its storefront.

Photos by Laura Crielly

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