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Report: Road Salt Hurts Reston Streams, Environment

Road salt may have a hand in the recent spikes of chloride concentrations in Reston streams, along with a slew of environmental issues.

Doug Britt, a member of the Reston Association’s Environmental Advisory Committee, recently examined environmental harm caused by de-icing agents including sodium chloride and dove into results from monitoring Difficult Run and Sugarland Run with fellow Restonians.

Britt wrote that measurements of the chloride concentrations at the two sites were taken before this year’s first storm and then again after road salting for the first two snowstorms. He found that the chloride concentrations at both sites increased fourfold from the first measurement, which he said was within the normal range for North American streams.

The monitoring efforts were a part of a larger program initiated by the Izaak Walton League of America to encourage “citizen scientists” to examine local streams before and after road salting.

Britt, a Virginia Master Naturalist member, wrote that higher chloride concentrations in lakes and ponds can halt the bottom and top waters from mixing, which then leads to less oxygen in deeper areas. Too much chloride can reach toxic levels for aquatic life.

“Although there are a number of alternative de-icing agents available, sodium chloride as a brine solution appears to have the least negative environmental impact when considering the full life cycle of its production and application,” the report says. “Sodium chloride, nevertheless, can generate a host of environmental problems.”

Britt’s report analyzed several of those impacts, which included:

  • water quality
  • soil
  • pets
  • wildlife
  • roadside vegetation
  • infrastructure

Britt says that these environmental concerns aren’t unique to Reston.

“Chloride concentrations in Fairfax County surface waters have steadily increased for the past 25 years, consistent with the use of de-icing agents,” Britt wrote.

Britt ended his report on information about the next step: action.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is currently developing a Salt Management Strategy planning process aimed at keeping chloride levels below the amount that starts to ruin the water, the report says.

The department also had had in a 2018 report included suggested options to optimize de-icing agents and the way they are applied to reduce environmental impacts, Britt wrote.

“Meanwhile, as individuals and business owners we should be cognizant of the potential environmental impacts associated with the application of de-icing agents,” Britt wrote, adding that it is important to balance public safety with environmental damage.

Photo via Reston Association

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Democrat Ibraheem Samirah Wins 86th District Seat

Democrat Ibraheem Samirah, a dentist from Herndon, was sworn into the Virginia House of Delegates this morning after winning the election for the 86th District Seat.

He joins Del. Sam Rasoul as the second Muslim — they are both Democrats — in Virginia’s General Assembly, according to a press release from his campaign.

Samirah, who is the son of Palestinian refugees, was separated from his father in middle school when his father was barred from re-entering the U.S.

The special election yesterday (Feb. 19) to fill now-State Sen. Jennifer Boysko’s former seat was the first time Virginia voters took to the polls after a series of scandals erupted in the state, starting with unearthed racist photos on Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook.

The scandals continued with sexual assault allegations against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and with Attorney General Mark Herring’s admission that he wore blackface. News reports revealed that Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R-James City County) was a top editor of a yearbook that included photos of people in blackface and racial slurs.

Before the special election, Samirah faced attacks after a conservative website published two of his social media posts from five years ago, including one where he said sending money to Israel was worse than sending it to the Ku Klux Klan, according to news reports.

Samirah apologized for the posts, which he said were used in “a slander campaign questioning my views on Israel and my Jewish friends,” in a two-page statement posted on Facebook.

“I am so sorry that my ill-chosen words added to the pain of the Jewish community and I seek your understanding and compassion as I prove to you our common humanity,” the statement said.

Samirah was just shy of receiving 60 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results from Virginia’s Department of Elections.

Republican Gregg Nelson, a U.S. Air Force veteran, received 34 percent of the votes and Connie Haines Hutchinson, a former vice mayor of the Herndon Town Council who ran as an Independent, received almost 6 percent of the votes.

In total, 6,283 people voted in the special election.

Boysko took to Twitter to congratulate Samirah on his win.

Samirah ran a campaign focused on healthcare, transportation and education.

Now in office, Samirah is planning “to build on the 2018 Virginia Medicaid expansion and bringing healthcare costs down across the state by ensuring that the healthcare marketplace is competitive and accessible to all,” according to the press release.

Photos from the Virginia House Democrats on Twitter show Samirah being sworn in today.

Photo via Samirah for Delegate/Facebook

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Pet of the Week: Lilllian

Meet Lillian, a black Labrador Retriever puppy who is available for adoption locally.

Here is what Lillian has to say about herself:

I am a young girl at just about 8 weeks and I current weigh 7 pounds. I am looking for a furever family who would like to bring my fluffy self home.

It would be great if my new family would take me on walks or let me run around in a fenced in yard. I would also love some toys to play with and a nice warm bed to sleep on if its not too much to ask.

As I am still a young girl I will likely do well in just about any type of home, be it as an only child or as a canine sibling to human, canine, and maybe even kitty siblings.

Are you and Lillian 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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Snowstorm Sparks Closures, Altered Schedules Around County

Winter weather today means not just kids are enjoying a snow day. Several offices and services are closed or have altered schedules today as a mix of snow, rain and sleet hits Fairfax County.

Transportation 

The Fairfax Connector is running on a Saturday schedule today.

Metro trains will run every 12 minutes, while buses are on a “severe snow service plan” with only limited service on major roadways.

Fairfax County

Fairfax County government offices are closed, along with golf courses and county parks.

The Fairfax County Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court are closed as well.

The county’s Planning Commission won’t meet tonight.

Reston

The Reston Animal HospitalReston Community Center and Reston Association offices including the Walker Nature Center and Central Services Facility are closed.

The open house for Lake House for today has been canceled.

The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce canceled its events for today.

Herndon

HealthWorks in Herndon will be closed.

If you live in Herndon, don’t expect your recycling to get picked up today. Mayor Lisa Markel posted on Facebook that recycling will be collected on Thursday instead.

Items from the Town of Herndon’s previously planned meetings for the Architectural and Heritage Preservation review boards are now moved to the March 20 public hearing.

The Town of Herndon’s offices and the Herndon Community Center are closed.

Photo via @billwhe67/Twitter

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Region’s 117 Offers Handpicked Valentine’s Day Menu

Region’s 117, nestled in the Shenandoah Valley at Trilogy®at Lake Frederick, just 90 minutes outside of Washington, D.C., will offer a special handpicked, seasonal Valentine’s Day menu.

“We wanted to give our regulars, including residents of the community and our neighbors, something a little different for dinner, while also giving first-time customers a way to get to know us,” said Executive Chef Brian Whitson. “And we want to make your Valentine’s dinner at Region’s something memorable.”

The specials, which will be offered alongside the restaurant’s current menu, will be available beginning February 14-16. Guests will be able to choose between two appetizers, pan-seared scallops and Sicilian flatbread; three entrees, Atlantic salmon, dry-aged boneless beef short rib and crispy Southern-fried cauliflowers; and two desserts, Belgium bittersweet mocha tart and beignets.

As with Region’s other seasonal menus, its Valentine’s Day specials feature fruits, vegetables and meat from Virginia and other area farmers such as heirloom tomatoes, buttermilk cream, baby arugula and aged prosciutto. Region’s also continues to offer a wide selection of white and red wines from wineries ranging from Front Royal to Charlottesville.

Located on site at Trilogy at Lake Frederick, an exclusive 55-plus resort-caliber community, the restaurant has views of the picturesque 117-acre Lake Frederick and the surrounding Shenandoah Valley, adding another romantic element to couples celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Unlike other active-adult communities run by homeowners’ associations, Trilogy at Lake Frederick and its lifestyle programming are run by a resort management team to provide a top-quality experience.

Wednesday Morning Notes

It’s snow joke — Heavy snow can be a health risk. The fire department has safety tips for shoveling snow. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Blockchain investment — “Fairfax County Retirement Systems has released details about its investment in a blockchain fund, seemingly to quell fears about the Virginia municipality’s two pension funds taking on exposure to cryptocurrency.” [CoinDesk]

Profile of a Restonian — “A Reston native and 2008 McLean High School graduate is serving at the U.S. Naval Submarine Training Center Pacific (NSTCP) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.” The Fairfax County Times profiled Lt. Michael Hughes, who is a Navy submarine officer within the U.S. Pacific Fleet area of operations. [Fairfax County Times]

County chair contender — Alicia Plerhoples announced on Friday that she suspended her Fairfax County School Board campaign to run for the Board of Supervisors’ chair instead. [Mailchimp]

Clarabridge nears revenue goal — “In the two years since the veteran software executive took over as the third CEO of the Reston company, [CEO Mark Bishof] has reorganized the workforce, reached profitability and topped $80 million in revenue on the way to $100 million — buoyed by what he said is the recent strength in the customer experience industry.” [Washington Business Journal]

Theatre nabs nominations — Herndon’s NextStop Theatre Company received two Helen Hayes nominations — the James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Jacob Yeh in “East of Eden” and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play for Mary Myers in “45 Plays for 45 Presidents.” [Washington Theatre Guide]

Photo via @billwhe67/Twitter

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Plows Out in Force on Snow-Covered Reston Roads

Snow plows are working to clear roadways this morning after a snowstorm began earlier this morning.

A traffic camera facing westbound at the snow-covered intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunset Hills Road shows more trucks with snow plows than cars this morning.

Still, drivers can expect some slow-moving traffic on the Dulles Toll Road and major roads in Reston and Herndon with spots of congestion near intersections.

Fairfax County wants locals to stay off the roads, especially with low visibility near the Reston Parkway.

The National Weather Service’s Winter Storm Warning is in effect until 7 p.m.

The warning says that “travel will be very difficult, especially during the morning commute. The hazardous conditions could also impact the evening commute.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation wants locals to stay off of the roads. “Pockets of heavier snow may limit visibility and stick to the pavement, and a mix of freezing rain may quickly make roads slick,” VDOT said in an update at 6 a.m.

Images via Virginia 511, Google Maps

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Reston Real Estate: Bentana Woods

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

Bentana Woods is one of those Reston neighborhoods that makes you forget you live in a bustling urban area.

Built in1972 by Bennett of Virginia, this community is located in the Tall Oaks section of Reston, Virginia — about 1 mile from the Wiehle Metro Station, a quick walk into Lake Fairfax Park and short drive to Reston Town Center or Lake Anne Plaza. The location is fantastic, which makes the fact that these townhouses are charming and well-designed even better.

Bentana Woods is actually two separate clusters — Bentana Woods Cluster has 48 homes while Bentana Woods West has 108 homes. More than 50% of the neighborhood lands are common areas with open grass, tot lots and stands of trees — trees that the National Wildlife Federation has certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat.

The townhomes feature 3 to 4 bedrooms with about 1,700 square feet of living space.

It will be interesting to see the new construction come up in the location of the old Tall Oaks Shopping Center. I think it will bring some positive exposure to this wonderful neighborhood.

If you want to be close to the action, but feel like you’re living in a National park, Bentana Woods is the Reston neighborhood for you!

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Crime Roundup: Reston Man Charged for Valentine’s Day Assault

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Reston man on Valentine’s Day after he allegedly assaulted a woman in Sterling.

Deputies responded around 1 p.m. on Valentine’s Day to the 400 block of Bailey Court — the area where a female reported that a man she knows unlawfully entered her residence twice that day.

The man woke up the woman after entering her home in the morning and then fled with the woman’s purse after another resident in the home confronted him, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.

“He then returned later in the day and again entered the home unlawfully,” the report says, adding that the man grabbed the woman and would not allow her to use her phone to call for help.

“The suspect then pushed the victim and a brief altercation ensued” before the man fled the area, police say.

Police arrested 20-year-old Chester S. Wesley of Reston and charged him with two counts of burglary, two counts of simple assault, trespassing, stalking, petit larceny, grand larceny, abduction and robbery.

Wesley is being held at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center on no bond.

The Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston District Station reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARCENIES:

11100 block of Saffold Way, wallet from vehicle

6500 block of Springfield Towne Center, cell phone from location

12100 block of Sunset Hills Road, wallet from location

STOLEN VEHICLES:

11000 block of Saffold Way, 2014 Hyundai Sonata

Herndon police are trying to find the armed robber who took off with an undisclosed amount of cash from a Herndon business.

The robber entered the business in the 1100 block of Crestview Drive shortly after midnight on Feb. 10, according to the Herndon Police Department. The suspect then “displayed a weapon and indicated to the victim he wanted cash” before getting away.

“The suspect is described as possibly a black male, wearing all black, a mask, and gloves,” according to the Herndon Police Department.

The case is currently under investigation.

Herndon police say an unknown number of suspects broke a basement window and entered a Herndon home in the 800 block of Locust Street sometime between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8. Nothing was reportedly taken from the home. Police are currently investigating the case.

File photo

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Locals Urged to Stay Off Roads Wednesday as Snowstorm Hits

Updated at 4:35 — FCPS tweeted that its schools will be closed tomorrow. 

Earlier: This time tomorrow, locals in Reston and Herndon can expect snow, sleet and ice from a winter storm slated to hit late tonight.

Forecasts predict that snowfall will start between 3-5 a.m. on Wednesday (Feb. 20) before transitioning into freezing rain with sleet during the late afternoon. Snowfall is then expected to return before rain hits Wednesday night, according to Fairfax County Emergency Information.

The storm will likely leave between 4-6 inches of total snow accumulation and ice, posing risks for road safety.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning today ahead of the harsh, wintry weather.

More from the NWS:

WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM TO 7 PM EST WEDNESDAY…

* WHAT…Heavy mixed precipitation expected. Total snow accumulations of 3 to 6 inches and ice accumulations of up to one tenth of an inch expected.

* WHERE…The District of Columbia and portions of central Maryland and central and northern Virginia.

* WHEN…From 1 AM to 7 PM EST Wednesday. Snow will overspread the area early Wednesday morning and mix with and change to sleet and freezing rain during the late morning and early afternoon hours Wednesday. Precipitation will change to plain rain Wednesday evening. The heaviest snow is likely Wednesday morning.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travel could be very difficult. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet and ice will make travel very hazardous or impossible.

When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery, increasing your risk of a fall and injury.

The Capital Weather Gang is uring workers to telecommute tomorrow morning. But if commuters do decide to hit the roads, they should “expect very difficult conditions,” the D.C.-area weather group tweeted.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said in a snow update this afternoon that crews have pretreated interstates and major routes throughout northern Virginia and that trucks get set up along roadways tonight so they will be ready to plow and treat roads tomorrow as needed.

Still, VDOT wants locals to “plan now to avoid driving through the day Wednesday and after the storm until conditions have improved.”

Some places have already started announcing closures on Wednesday.

The Reston Animal Hospital and HealthWorks in Herndon will be closed, and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce canceled its events for tomorrow.

If you live in Herndon, don’t put out your recycling tonight. Mayor Lisa Markel posted on Facebook that recycling will be collected on Thursday instead.

Whether you stay bundled inside or venture outdoors, stay safe and send Reston Now any pictures that you snap of the snow to [email protected] or tag us (@restonnow) on social media.

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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