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Monday Morning Notes

Last day of Cornerstones food drive — Residents can drop off non-perishable food and other items, including toilet paper, at various locations around Reston to help families in need. [Reston Community Center]

Meditation workshop — Adults and teens can learn and practice meditation techniques in this workshop with facilitator Neil Goodman. [Reston Regional Library]

Managing fall foliage PSA — Reston Association wants residents to keep leaf debris in mind as they enjoy fall while it lasts. [Reston Today]

Don’t count on Yellow — Due to a 14-day capital improvement project, there won’t be any Yellow Line service from Nov. 26 through Dec. 9. Crews are planning to make structural repairs and upgrades to the Yellow Line Bridge over the Potomac River. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Art Exhibit to Raise Money for Cornerstones Ahead of Holiday Shopping Event

Ahead its annual holiday and gifts shopping event, Reston Community Center Lake Anne is organizing an exhibit to benefit Cornerstones, a local nonprofit organization.

Artists will display and sell original artwork in the Jo Ann Rose Gallery from Nov. 26 through Jan. 7. A holiday gift shopping event will follow on Dec. 1, turning the facility into a marketplace with food and gifts from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entries fees and 10 percent of sales will be donated to Cornerstones.

The exhibit will include work in a variety of mediums, including watercolor, oil, mixed media, collage and photography. Artists will donate 10 percent of proceeds from sales during the shopping event and throughout December. Cornerstones helps operate the Embry Rucker Community Shelter, Laurel Learning Center, and community services outreach.

The event has raised $13,700 for the nonprofit organization since the first exhibit was held in 1999. For more information, contact Gloria Morrow.

File photo

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Reston Community Center Children’s Fall Flea Market is This Weekend

Reston Community Center will present its annual Children’s Fall Flea Market this Saturday from 9 a.m. through noon at RCC Hunters Woods.

Attendees can browse several tables for gently-used toys, books, games, video, and other child-friendly items. Junior merchants between the age of six and 13 will sell the items.

The event is open to all. Admission is one non-perishable item for Cornerstones’ Thanksgiving Food Drive, which kicks off today.

Vendor spots are still available. Single-size, 3’x6′ tables cost $10 for Reston residents $15 for all others. Shared tables that measure 3’x9′ with two or more merchants are $15 for Reston residents and $23 for all others. Registration is open online.

For more information, contact RCC’s youth program director Debbie Heron at [email protected].

Photo via Reston Community Center

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Thursday Morning Notes

Thanksgiving food drive kicks off today — Reston Community Center, Cornerstones, and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce are seeking non-perishable food and other items for the food drive. Requested donations and drop-off options are available online. Donations will be collected through Nov. 19. [Reston Community Center]

Decisions on decisions for Fairfax County Planning Commission tonight — The commission kicks off November with decisions on the Midline project on the north side of the Dulles Toll Road, east of Wiehle Avenue, as well as Woodfield’s plan to replace offices with multi-family units on the opposite side of the toll road. [Fairfax County Government]

Meet the artist event canceled tonight — A performance by Luke Frazier scheduled for this afternoon at CenterStage has been canceled due to an artist injury, according to organizers. Plans are underway to reschedule the performance in the spring. [Reston Community Center]

If you thought it was just the young folks — In Fairfax County, one in seven Medicare beneficiaries leave hospital care with an opioid prescription. Of that number, 42 percent remain on opioids three months later, according to county data. [Fairfax County Government]

Meet the author event at Scrawl Books — Young adult author Jessica Spotswood returns for a conversation about her Cahill Witch Chronicles series and short story collection. Special guest Nura Behgoman from Herndon High School’s book club will also join Spotswood. [Scrawl Books]

Nearby: Information sought on Farea sisters’ disappearance — Local police are looking for information about two sisters from Fairfax County who were found dead in New York several days ago. [Fairfax County Police Department]

(Photo of Lola, a local cat caught “wondering why our azaleas are blooming in late October,” snapped and submitted by Gretchen Bock)

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Holiday Helpers: Donations Sought for Thanksgiving Food Drive

Three local organizations are working together once again on the annual Thanksgiving Drive, which helps families in need of food. Individuals, businesses and organizations are encouraged to drop off non-perishable food and other essential items as several drop-off points throughout the area.

This year’s drive, which is organized by Reston Community Center, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and Cornerstones will run from Thursday (Nov. 1) through Nov. 19.

Cornerstones, a local nonprofit organization that helps neighbors in overcome tough economic times, is in need of the following items:

  • Toilet Paper
  • Baby Wipes
  • Hygiene Items
  • Condiments
  • Cooking Oil
  • Dry Beans
  • Canned Meats
  • Flour, Sugar, etc.
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Canned Fruit
  • Soups, Chili, etc.
  • Coffee, Tea, etc.
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Boxed Potatoes
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Heavy Duty Clear Plastic Bins (approx. size of file boxes)
  • Shelf Stable Milk (evaporated, condensed, dry, soy, etc.)

Drop-off locations, as listed by RCC, are below:

  • RCC Hunters Woods
    2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston
  • RCC Lake Anne
    1609-A Washington Plaza, Reston
  • Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce
    1886 Metro Center Drive, Suite 230, Reston
  • Access National Bank
    1800 Robert Fulton Drive, Suite 105, Reston
  • Hunter Mill District Office
    1802 Cameron Glen Drive, Reston
  • JBG/Arboretum
    12700 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston
  • JBG/RTC West
    12100, 12110,12120 Sunset Hills Road, Reston
  • LePort Montessori Herndon
    13251 Woodland Park Road, Herndon
  • Long & Foster Realtors
    2100 Reston Pkwy, Suite 102, Reston
  • Reston Association – HQ
    12001 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston
  • Reston Association – CSF
    12250 Sunset Hills Road, Reston
  • Reston Association – WNC
    11450 Glade Drive, Reston
  • State Farm Insurance
    11868 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 200, Reston
  • Tall Oaks Assisted Living
    12052 North Shore Drive, Reston
  • The Harrison at Reston Town Center
    1800 Jonathan Way, Reston
  • Washington Hilton Dulles
    13869 Park Center Road, Herndon
  • YMCA Fairfax County Reston
    12196 Sunset Hills Road, Reston

Photo via RCC

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Donations Sought for School Supplies and Backpack Drive

Fairfax County Public Schools has partnered with Collect for Kids, an umbrella organization for an annual school supply and backpack drive.

Donations are requested for the drive, which will provide supplies for students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals. Around 55,000 county students qualify for the program.

There are two ways to support the drive. Monetary donations are being collected online in order to purchase supply kits in bulk. Backpack donations can be dropped off at any Apple Federal Credit Union location in Fairfax County, Cornerstones, Britepaths and Western Fairfax Christian Ministries.

Monetary donations are accepted year-round and backpacks are accepted through August.

For more information, contact Kathy Ryan at 571-423-1206 or [email protected].

Photo by Cornerstones

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First-Ever Reston Pride Festival to Celebrate Local LGBTQ Community

The Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston is sponsoring the first-ever Reston Pride Festival on June 2 from 2-6 p.m.

The family-friendly, alcohol-free event aims to support and celebrate Reston’s LGBTQ community, said the Rev. Debra Haffner, a minister at UUCR.

Her son, Greg Tartaglione, will emcee and perform as Mama Celeste, a drag performance artist, at the festival. Mama Celeste will also host Oakland’s first drag festival this month.

As someone new to Reston, I was surprised to discover that despite Reston’s founding commitment to diversity and inclusion, there had never been a Pride festival in Reston. I am delighted by the enthusiastic response and support we are receiving for Reston Pride, often from groups and organizations that have never spoken out before on LGBTQ issues,” Haffner said.

The festival, which takes place at UUCR, includes more than 10 performers, presentations by area political and faith leaders, exhibits, booths, food, and music.

Reston Community Players will perform “Rock the Ages and “Hairspray” at the festival. State Del. Ken Plum and state Sen. Janet Howell will speak alongside Lisa Merkel, the mayor of the Town of Herndon.

Eighteen cosponsors are supporting the event, including six churches and synagogues,  Cornerstones and the YMCA.

To volunteer, email [email protected]. The complete program is available online.

Photo via Myers Public Relations

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Contributions Sought for Winter Coat Closet This Month

The Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Office (1801 Cameron Glen Drive) will be collecting winter coats and cold weather items for the annual Winter Coat Closet drive this month.

Donations will be accepted through Jan. 31 at the office. Acceptable donations include new or clean, gently used men’s, women’s and children’s coats, hats, gloves and scarves.

The closet will remain open through March 8 in the community room of the North County Government Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive) on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 4 to 7 p.m.

The drive is in partnership with Cornerstones, a non-profit organization that promotes self-sufficiency by providing support and advocacy for people in need of shelter, affordable housing, food, childcare and other services.

For more information, contact Andy Sigle at 571-323-9553.  

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As Temperatures Dip, Local Shelter Offers Additional Shelter Services

As temperatures dip and the risk of hypothermia increases, local cold weather and hypothermia prevention programs are coming into full swing.

Beginning this month, all three of Fairfax County’s emergency centers that serve single adults instituted a “no turn-away policy.” Through March 31, the North County Human Services Building on 1850 Cameron Glen Drive will be open to individuals through the hypothermia prevention program.

Additional sleeping space will also be available at the Cornerstones’ Embry Rucker Community Shelter, a 70-bed residential shelter, throughout the winter season. Services include hot dinner, breakfast, bagged lunches, showers, laundry, bus tokens and basic self-care supplies.

On Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m., the organization will also provide employment services at the main shelter. The shelter, which opened in 1987, has 42 beds for families, 28 beds for unaccompanied adults and 10 beds for cold weather overflow.

If an unsheltered individual is seen at night who may be at risk of hypothermia, the Fairfax County non-emergency phone line accepts calls at 703-691-2131. Emergency personnel will determine the shelter most suitable for the individual as needed.

For more information, contact Cornerstones at [email protected] or [email protected] 

To volunteer or donate, please contact Susan Alger at [email protected].

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Nominations Open for 2018 Cornerstones of Our Community: Best of Reston Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Cornerstones of Our Community: Best of Reston Awards, presented by Cornerstones and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. Nomination forms are due by 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3.

According to information provided by Cornerstones:

Awardees will be selected for working selflessly without consideration of recognition to improve communities served by Cornerstones and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. Nomination applications can be found at www.cornerstonesva.org/BOR. Finalist selections and notifications will be completed by early January 2018.

In 2018, finalists will not be broken into categories, as they have been in previous years. Rather, they will be recognized collectively as “Best of Reston Finalists.” According to Cornerstones, this will enable them “to consider the merits and diversity of community service, volunteerism and/or philanthropy, whether demonstrating an immediate impact or sustained over a period of time, without the restrictions of being defined by a category.”

The 2017 awards event raised more than $515,000 for Cornerstones, in support of the organization’s strategies of starting individuals on a pathway to sustainable living-wage employment, and to identify and address other barriers to move from surviving to living prosperous, healthy lives. Highlights from last year’s event are available at Cornerstones’ website.

The awards have been given out each year since 1992.

The 2018 ceremony will be held Thursday, April 12 at the Hyatt Regency Reston (1800 Presidents St.).

Anyone with questions about the nomination or selection process can contact to Likitta Crawley at [email protected] or by calling 571-323-9570.

Image from 2017 Best of Reston Awards courtesy Chip McCrea Photography

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‘Back 2 School Bash’ on Saturday Designed to Help Kids Get Ready for Fall

An event this weekend will help get kids ready for that dreaded time of year — the end of summer and the return to the classroom.

The “Back 2 School Bash” is an opportunity for families to receive important information to help prepare children of all ages and grades for the coming school year. Students and parents will have the chance to learn about resources, programs and services provided by community agencies and partnerships that will help with the transition.

The free event will feature local schools, government and nonprofit providers of services, resources and activities for Reston community members. It is co-sponsored by Fairfax County Public Schools, Cornerstones, Reston Community Center, YMCA Fairfax County Reston, and Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Service.

The event is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive).

Due to construction at the high school that is limiting parking, Fairfax Connector is offering free shuttles to the event. One shuttle will run between Dogwood Elementary and SLHS, and a second will run from Forest Edge Elementary School to Lake Anne Elementary School to SLHS. The first pick from Dogwood and Forest Edge will be at 10:45 a.m.

For more information, contact LaTanja Jones, collaboration and outreach director at Reston Community Center, by calling 703-390-6158 or emailing [email protected]. You can also follow the event’s Facebook page.

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Backpack Drive Allows Any Student Who Needs One to Get One

The school year in Fairfax County isn’t quite over yet, but schools are already looking forward to the generosity of the community to help equip students next year.

John Torre, Fairfax County Public Schools spokesperson, said schools involved in the Cornerstones Back to School Drive look forward to being able to provide backpacks and other supplies to any students that need them.

Cornerstones provides services for lower income families in the southwestern Fairfax County. The backpack drive is part of a partnership with Kids R First to provide the supplies to Reston-Herndon area students who qualify for free and reduced meals at school.

“The number of backpacks requested does not always match directly with the number of students in the free and reduced-price meals program because backpacks typically last for more than one year,” Torre said. “Students do have the option to not accept the donated item. The staff member may ask for a few extras to keep on hand for new students or as replacements for a worn-out item.”

Cornerstones community resource associate Nate King said that even though the official drive doesn’t start until August, donations are already coming in.

“It’s going really well, we have probably 50 backpacks already donated out of what we need,” said King.

Cornerstones is still waiting to get a quote from the schools to determine the exact number of backpacks they’ll need for this year, although they believe it will match last year’s number, 3,500.

“The basic idea behind the backpack program is that if a student needs one, they get one,” Torre said. “Of course, [that] depends on the generosity of the donors.”

In addition to backpacks, Cornerstones is accepting donations for underwear for elementary school aged kids and Payless ShoeSource gift card donations of $25.

Those interested in donating can register online or order bags online and have them shipped to the Cornerstones (11150 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 210) directly from Amazon for free.

For more information about the drive, call King at 571-323-9569 or email [email protected].

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Cornerstones Again Collecting Backpacks for Thousands of Students

Cornerstones is once again gearing up to collect thousands of backpacks to give out to students at local schools.

The annual drive is a partnership between Cornerstones and Kids R First. Nate King, community resource associate for Cornerstones, said the program collected about 3,500 backpacks last year and is aiming for the same number this year.

“We generally get a really good turnout,” King said. “It’s a combination of individuals, religious groups and businesses that help us out.”

Anyone wishing to participate in the drive is asked to register online to let Cornerstones know how many backpacks they or their group will be donating. Backpacks are being collected for elementary, middle school and high school students, with the high schoolers being the age of the greatest need.

Backpacks can be delivered to Cornerstones (11150 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 210) the week of Aug. 7-11. Volunteers will sort them out by schools, colors and sizes in the week that follows, and they will be distributed to the schools the week after that.

In addition to backpacks, Cornerstones is also requesting donations of new underwear for elementary school-age children, and Payless ShoeSource gift card donations of $25.

Donations go to all schools in the greater Reston-Herndon area, King said.

For more information about the drive, call King at 571-323-9569 or email [email protected].

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Reston Comes Up Big in Virginia Living’s Annual Best of Virginia Awards

Reston businesses, services and events were the recipients of nearly two dozen honors in Virginia Living magazine’s 2017 Best of Virginia awards.

According to the Eden Stuart, the magazine’s assistant editor, the awards issue, which is on newsstands today, is a “statewide guide to all that is ‘best’ in Virginia — from dining to shopping to doing.” More than 50,000 ballots were cast in a reader survey to find the honorees in 106 categories, Stuart said.

Lake Anne Plaza was particularly honored, with five businesses selected as being among the best of the best in the Northern Virginia region. Those winners include Lake Anne Brew House (first place, Best Local Craft Brewery); Lake Anne Coffee House and Wine Bar (first place, Best Locally Owned Coffee Shop); Reston’s Used Book Shop (second place, Best Book Store); Small Change Consignments (first place, Best Children’s Clothing Store; second place, Best Consignment Shop); and Chesapeake Chocolates, Wine, Gifts and More (third place, Best Chocolatier).

“Please join us in saying congrats to these awesome Plaza merchants,” reads a post on Lake Anne Plaza’s Facebook page celebrating the honors.

In addition, the Reston Farmers Market at Lake Anne Plaza was honored with a second-place award for Best Farmers Market.

The full list of honorees from Reston in the 2017 Best of Virginia awards are:

FIRST-PLACE HONOREES

Taste of Reston
Best Food Festival

Edibles Incredible Desserts (11917 Freedom Drive)
Best Bakery
Best Chocolatier
Best Dessert Menu

Bacon N’ Ed’s
Best Food Truck

Lake Anne Brew House (11424 Washington Plaza W.)
Best Local Craft Brewery

Lake Anne Coffee House and Wine Bar (1612 Washington Plaza N.)
Best Locally Owned Coffee Shop

Life Time Fitness (1757 Business Center Drive)
Best Gym

CST Group (10740 Parkridge Blvd.)
Best Accounting Firm

Small Change Consignments (1629 Washington Plaza N.)
Best Children’s Clothing Store

Austin-Weston, The Center for Plastic Surgery (1825 Samuel Morse Drive)
Best Cosmetic Surgery Practice

The Eyewear Gallery at Reston Town Center (11900 Market St.)
Best Eye Care Provider

Miye Wire LLC (1818 Library St.)
Best Financial Planning Firm

AKG Design Studio
Best Kitchen Design Firm

Davelle Clothiers (11921 Freedom Drive)
Best Men’s Clothing Store

Virginia Therapy & Fitness Center (1831 Wiehle Ave.)
Best Physical Therapy Group

SECOND-PLACE HONOREES

Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival
Best Art Event

Cornerstones
Best Charity

Reston Farmers Market
Best Farmers Market

Small Change Consignments (1629 Washington Plaza N.)
Best Consignment Shop

Reston’s Used Book Shop (1623 Washington Plaza N.)
Best Book Store

THIRD-PLACE HONOREES

Chesapeake Chocolates, Wine, Gifts and More (11426 Washington Plaza W.)
Best Chocolatier

Trader Joe’s (11958 Killingsworth Ave.)
Best Grocery Store

The Wine Cabinet (1416 North Point Village Center)
Best Wine Shop

Image courtesy Virginia Living magazine

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Community’s Top Contributors Honored at ‘Best of Reston’ Ceremony

The community’s best were honored Thursday evening during the 26th annual Best of Reston Awards Gala, a partnership between Cornerstones and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce.

Twenty-two finalists for the awards were announced earlier this year, and honorees at the gala included:

  • Small Business Leader Award: The CST Group
  • Civic/Community Organization Awards: Women Giving Back, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
  • Large Business Service Award: Odin, Feldman and Pittleman, P.C.
  • Individual Community Leader Award: Bill Keefe
  • Family Service Award: Vincent and Gillian Sescoe

In addition, the Vade Bolton-Ann Rodriguez Legacy Award, presented for only the third time since its inception, went to Herb Williams-Baffoe. According to Cornerstones, the award “honors acts of volunteerism and leadership that motivate and inspire a new generation of leaders and create a legacy of service. Herb was recognized because he inspires us all, and shows the power of believing in our youth and what that does for their self-belief.”

The Robert E. Simon Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Vicky Wingert “for her lifetime commitment to Reston values, for cementing the legacy of Bob Simon and for capturing the history and future of Reston,” according to Cornerstones.

A check for more than $515,000, representing funds raised through this year’s Best of Reston, was presented to Cornerstones to support the organization’s strategies of starting individuals on a pathway to sustainable living-wage employment, and to identify and address other barriers to move from surviving to living prosperous, healthy lives.

“Cornerstones counts on your support of its work to stabilize those who are struggling, empower those who may not have a voice, and bring hope to our community,” said Charlene Wheeless, Bechtel principal vice president and a 2016 Best of Reston honoree who co-chaired the event along with Doug Bushee. “Now more than ever we need organizations who work to ensure everyone has access to food, shelter and opportunities for a stronger future.”

Kerrie Wilson, Cornerstones CEO, said community support has helped the organization made great strides toward curtailing homelessness.

“We believe that our job is to end homelessness — not just manage it — by developing housing that is affordable for people over their lifetime,” Wilson said. “We are so grateful for the incredible support that helps Cornerstones and its partners to reduce homelessness in our community by 47 percent in the past eight years.”

For more photos from Thursday evening’s gala, visit photographer Chip McCrea’s website.

Photos courtesy Chip McCrea Photography

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