Hunter Mill District Candidates to Discuss Affordable Housing

Cornerstones, a nonprofit organization that helps individuals overcome tough economic times, is hosting a forum on affordable housing next month for candidates running for the Hunter Mill District Supervisor seat

The event, which takes place on Monday, May 13 from 7-9 p.m. at Heritage Fellowship Church (2501 Fox Mill Road), was organized in response to the “housing affordability crisis” in Fairfax County, according to Cornerstones. More than 44 percent of renters and 22 percent of homeowners spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, according to the county’s strategic plan.

Candidates for the Hunter Mill District Supervisor seat will answer questions about affordable housing and economic development in Fairfax County from a panel of businesses and community leaders. A meet and greet reception will follow the question-and-answer period at 8:30 p.m.

Rev. Debra Haffner of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston will moderate the event. The forum is free and open to all, but attendees should register online. Hunter Mill District residents can submit questions about affordable housing to [email protected]. Questions will be selected prior to the event.

The Hunter Mill District Supervisor election is set for June 11.

Photo by Reston Association

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Best of Reston Honorees Celebrated at 28th Annual Event

The 28th annual Best of Reston Awards celebrated honorees for their philanthropy and volunteerism in the Reston and Herndon communities last Thursday night.

The event, held in partnership by Cornerstones and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, raised $504,660 for Cornerstones, a local non-profit. 

The honorees for 2019 are:

Del. Ken Plum said that he and State Sen. Janet Howell “always look forward to coming to Best of Reston, because, although we are heavily involved in the community, it always is the case when we come here we meet wonderful new people that we hadn’t known about.”

Photos via Chip McCrea Photography

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Honorees Unveiled for 2019 Best of Reston Awards

The finalists were recently announced for the 2019 Best of Reston Awards.

A reception hosted by Cornerstones, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and SOS International LLC (SOSi) on Tuesday (Feb. 19) unveiled the honorees.

An awards gala will take place on April 4 to celebrate the honorees:

SOSi presented Cornerstones with a $50,000 check at the event. The community nonprofit also received a $100,000 check from Bob and Lisa Van Hoecke.

Started nearly three decades ago, the annual Best of Reston Awards recognize individuals, businesses and community groups that have helped Reston and Herndon through philanthropy and volunteering.

The gala on April 4 is set to be held at the Hyatt Regency Reston (1800 Presidents Street).

Photo via Chip McCrea Photography

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‘Galentine’s Party’ Fundraiser and More This Weekend in Reston

Valentine’s Day is come and gone, but Scrawl Books plans to keep spreading love with a fundraiser this Sunday (Feb. 17).

The post-Valentine’s “Galentine’s Party” — which originated from an episode about female friendship on the show “Parks and Recreation” — will benefit Cornerstones and the Laurel Learning Program.

Authors Orly Konig and Erika Marks will discuss books, writing and life, according to the event description. The fundraiser will also have raffles and giveaways.

Interested? The fundraiser runs from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at 11911 Freedom Drive. Scrawl Books asks for a $10 suggested donation at the door.

Tomorrow (Feb. 16)

  • Raptors Up Close (11 a.m.-noon) — Locals can join naturalists at the Walker Nature Center for programs designed for a mix of ages. Participants will be able to take an exploratory hike, explore outside or participate in an indoor Nature House program to learn about the natural world. Costs range from $7 to $9 per person.
  • Glowing LED Artworks (2-3 p.m.) — Observe light and sculpture using LED’s, batteries and art materials. and then create your own at the Reston Regional Library. The event is for kids ages 6 to 11.
  • Astronomy Festival (6 p.m.) — The Observatory at Turner Farm Park in Great Falls will have guided stargazing, telescope viewing and listening to ancient stories about constellations around a campfire. Hot chocolate and snacks will also be available for purchase. The cost is $8 per person if you register online before the event and $10 at the door.
  • Stage Reading “Haint So” (7:30-9:30 p.m.) — The original work explores “the rich tradition of folklore, superstition and the mystical spirits of the dark mountains in Virginia,” according to the event description. Intrigued? Register for the ArtSpace Herndon event.

Sunday (Feb. 17)

  • Walk or run (8 a.m.) — Join the group for either a 3- or 6-mile walk, a 10-mile run or a 12-mile trail run. Bring your running shoes to the South Lakes Village Center.
  • Herndon Library Board Games (1-2:30 p.m.) — Adults are invited to play classic board games. No registration is necessary.
  • Full Moon Nature Hike and Campfire (5:30-7:30 p.m.) — Locals can explore nature while a naturalist guide will point out signs of creatures in the woods at Riverbend Park in Great Falls. Participants can enjoy a campfire with s’mores after the hike. The cost is $9 per person.

File photo

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Domestic Violence Action Center Opens in Herndon

A newly opened domestic violence action center in Herndon will provide free advocacy services every Friday.

Fairfax County recently announced that the Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC) began offering services last Friday (Feb. 1) at the Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center (1086 Elden Street), which is a collaborative effort between the county, Cornerstones and the Connections for Hope Partnership.

“A crucial component for engaging victims in services is access to the necessary resources available to them,” Kevin Ochs, the advocacy services supervisor for the Fairfax County Domestic and Sexual Violence Services, said in a press release.

The services, which will include an onsite victim advocate who speaks English and Spanish, will be available every Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some of the services DVAC offers are:

  • Court Attire Program with a selection of clothing for court hearings and job interviews
  • crisis intervention, emotional support and options counseling
  • education about the criminal and civil justice systems
  • emergency shelter
  • housing information and referrals
  • short-term case management

DVAC also has locations in Alexandria and Fairfax staffed by county agency and community nonprofit partners.

Locals’ heading to the DVAC location at the Historic Courthouse in Fairfax “presented challenges for victims of domestic and sexual violence and stalking, with safety being a prominent issue,” according to the county.

Now, people can walk-in, make appointments and also call the Herndon location.

Image via Google Maps 

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Capitol Steps Fundraiser Nets $400,000 for Embry Rucker Community Shelter

The 36th annual Capitol Steps fundraiser performance on Sunday (Jan. 27) raised nearly $400,000 for Cornerstones to help families in the Embry Rucker Community Shelter.

The D.C.-based political satire group is known for mocking both sides of the aisle in songs and comedy skits. A sold-out crowd of 700 attendees came to this year’s annual benefit show at the Hyatt Regency Reston.

“Even though we live in one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, more than 1,000 men, woman and children — 30 percent of whom are children — are homeless in this community,” Jeff Detwiler, the president and chief executive officer of Long and Foster, said before Capitol Steps performed. “We believe that supporting Cornerstones in its mission makes us as a community stronger.”

Bob Van Hoecke, co-chair of the event, noted that some attendees may be experiencing stress from the longest partial federal government shutdown, which ended days before the performance. “Cornerstones is here for anyone in our community in need because of the funds we are able to raise tonight and throughout the year.”

Del. Ken Plum rallied the crowd for the annual “Empty the Shelter” Paddle Auction and then thanked them after they raised $100,000 for Cornerstones’ rapid re-housing programs.

At the end of the night, a total of $412,557 had been raised for the cause, according to information provided by Cornerstones — a sizable increase from recent years. (The annual benefit performance raised roughly $340,000 in 2018 and almost $300,000 in 2017.)

Photos by Chip McCrea Photography

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Capitol Steps Benefit Performance to Bring Laughs This Sunday

The Capitol Steps are back in Reston this Sunday (Jan. 27) for the troupe’s 36th annual benefit performance for Cornerstones.

The D.C.-based political satire group is known for mocking both sides of the aisle in songs and comedy skits. The troupe has recorded more than 35 albums since Senate staffers started Capitol Steps in 1981 according to the website.

The show starts at 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Reston (1800 Presidents Street). Tickets start at $100.

Proceeds from the performance benefit families in the Cornerstones’ Embry Rucker Community Shelter. In recent years, the annual benefit performance has raised more than $300,000.

Photo via The Capitol Steps/Facebook

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Tips for your winter wardrobe — If you find dressing for the cold challenging, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue has a handy infographic about how to layer up appropriately. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Wine and wooden sign stenciling — Learn how to make a wooden sign, starting with a precut piece of pine wood, while sipping wine. The class at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center Street) runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight. [ArtSpace Herndon]

JAG sells residential part of Tall Oaks Village Center — Jefferson Apartment Group announced on Friday that it closed on the sale of the residential portion of the planned redevelopment of the center to Stanley Martin Homes. Back in October demolition began on a portion of the property, and construction of the residential project is slated to begin this summer. [Bisnow]

Town of Herndon deems a house concert series is in violation — The host of The Crib house concerts received a violation notice taped to his front door from the town for the Nov. 17 concert in his home, saying that the activity was “an indoor entertainment use” not permitted on the property. The owner has appealed the violation decision. [Herndon Connection]

Winter coat closet — With the winter weather here to stay, now’s the time to donate any unwanted coats, hats, gloves, mittens and scarves to the Hunter Mill District Winter Coat Closet, which is run jointly by Cornerstones and the Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Office. Locals can drop off items at 1801 Cameron Glen Drive on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. [Cornerstones]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Friday Morning Notes

Candle making workshop for kids — Bring your kids to the Walker Nature Center to learn where wax comes from and how to dip a pair of candles. Kids can decorate their candles while parents enjoy music and food. The event goes from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.and costs $12 for Reston Association members/$16 for non-members [Reston Association]

Free Reston and Fairfax Encore Chorales concert — The two chorales will perform holiday classics and seasonal favorites at United Christian Parish (11508 North Shore Drive) tonight at 7:30 p.m. [Encore Creativity for Older Adults]

Looking to donate to some local organizations? — This roundup has more than three dozen suggestions for Northern Virginia nonprofits to donate to, including Cornerstones in Reston and Touching Heart in Herndon. [Connection Newspapers]

Nigerian American sues Dulles Internal Airport, Reston Hospital Center — Ikechukwu “Ike” Owunna alleges he was subjected to more than 12 hours of alleged racial profiling, false imprisonment and other violations at the airport and battery and medical neglect en route to Reston Hospital Center. The hospital was dismissed in November, but the hospital employees could remain defendants in the battery allegations. [The Washington Post]

Photo via Marjorie Copson

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Music and a coat drive — The Reston Chorale will perform George Frideric Handel’s Messiah tonight at 7:30 p.m. at St. John Neumann Church. Locals are encouraged to bring new or gently used coats or new hats, gloves, scarves or socks, which will fill Cornerstone’s Coat Closet, to receive $5 off of the ticket. [Reston Chorale]

Holiday fire safety PSA — The county’s Fire and Rescue Department has safety tips for open-flame candles for Hanukkah celebrations. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Design Review Board meeting — The Reston Association’s Design Review Board will meet tonight at 7 p.m. to review pending applications. [Reston Association]

 

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App Fighting Food Waste Looks to Expand Reach Around Reston

An organization combatting food insecurity with an app is looking to serve more people in and around Reston

Food Rescue US uses an app to target local sites around the country, including Victorville, Calif.; Miami, Fla.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and New Haven, Conn.

Here’s how the app works — restaurants, grocers and food providers can list surplus food for donation. Then, volunteers follow directions in the app for picking up and dropping off the food to receiving agencies like food pantries and community kitchens, which indicate in the app what they need.

Kate Urbank, the D.C. site director for Food Rescue, told Reston Now that the D.C.-area community started in October 2016. Since then, the efforts have helped redistribute nearly one million pounds of food. “We get hundreds of pounds a day,” Urbank said, adding that donors include Capital One and Boeing.

Last year, Food Rescue started bringing food to the Embry Rucker Community Shelter from mortgage giant Freddie Mac, which has food prepared by FLIK Hospitality.

The Reston nonprofit Cornerstones (11150 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 210), which provides support for people in need of food, shelter, affordable housing and other services, helps to operate the shelter at 11975 Bowman Towne Drive.

Volunteers pick up food five days a week from Freddie Mac and then drop off at the shelter twice a week. As the site director, Urbank operates the app, determining the type of food, amount and proximity for volunteers to take to receiving locations.

The app has had the “hottest growth” in Northern Virginia, which currently has 50 active volunteers with five from Reston and two from Herndon, Urbank said.

“I’m very open to branching off the Northern Virginia piece,” Urbank said. “It’s so ripe.”

Urbank said that she met with Food for Others, an organization in Fairfax that helps distribute food., as she looks to expand the efforts in Northern Virginia. Last week, she hired a woman in Tysons who will help with community outreach in the area.

Ultimately, Food Rescue US aims to reach all 50 states, Urbank said.

Photo via iTunes store

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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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