Community Raises Money for Family of Hit-and-Run Victim — A GoFundMe started on Friday (Sept. 3) by the sister of Reston resident Andrew Willingham, who was killed in a hit-and-run incident on Fairfax County Parkway last week, has received more than $257,000 as of 7:30 p.m. yesterday (Wednesday). The money will go toward helping Willingham’s wife and two sons with expenses, including a future college fund. [Patch]
County Launches Data Hub for Reston Parks — “You can now access the latest information on urban parks and athletic fields associated with redevelopment in the Reston Transit Station Areas through the new Urban Parks Activity Hub. The new online hub is one of three components of the Reston Data Visualization project created by the Department of Planning and Development in coordination with the Park Authority.” [Fairfax County Government]
Herndon Police Chief With Rare State Award — “Chief [Maggie] DeBoard and Executive Director Dana Schrad were recognized by the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police & Foundation with the 2021 Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement Award…This award recognizes an individual’s conspicuous act or achievement in the performance of their duty that results in an exceptional and responsible contribution to the law enforcement profession here in VA.” [Herndon Police/Twitter]
Reston Contractor CEO Recalls Company’s 9/11 Origins — Reston-based defense technology contractor EverWatch Corp. CEO John Hillen says his life “is very oddly wrapped up with 9/11.” His experience in downtown New York City on Sept. 11, 2001 propelled him from Wall Street to the State Department under the George W. Bush administration, and his company now provides tools for defense missions that directly stem from the attacks. [Washington Business Journal]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
The Fairfax County Police Department is still investigating the fatal hit-and-run crash that took place on Fairfax County Parkway in Reston earlier this week.
According to an update published by the department this morning (Friday), officers responded to the intersection at Walnut Branch Road just after 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Sept. 1) after receiving a report that an SUV had run a red light and hit a car.
The SUV driver fled the scene after the crash and has still not been located, despite an extensive search that included the FCPD’s K9 unit and a helicopter.
The driver of the car — a 2013 Volkswagen Passat — has been identified as Andrew Willingham, 37, of Reston. He died Wednesday in the hospital where he was transported after the crash by responders from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.
According to the FCPD, its Crash Reconstruction Unit detectives have determined that Willingham was trying to make a left turn from northbound Fairfax County Parkway onto Walnut Branch when the crash occurred.
Though Willingham had a green arrow, the driver of a 2006 Chevrolet SUV “disregarded the red signal” when he arrived at the intersection while traveling south on Fairfax County Parkway. The SUV drove through the intersection and hit the car.
“Detectives believe speed may have been a factor in the crash and continue to investigate to determine if alcohol was also a factor for the driver of the SUV,” Fairfax County police said. “Speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors for the driver of the car.”
As reported on Wednesday, police say the SUV driver was described as a heavy-set Hispanic man who was between 5 foot, 6 inches and 6 feet tall. He reportedly wore a black, short-sleeved shirt over a white undershirt.
“He was also described as having a beard and shaggy hair,” the FCPD added in its update today.
The FCPD advises anyone who witnessed the crash or might have information about it to contact its detectives at 703-280-0543. Information can also be submitted anonymously through the department’s Crime Solvers tip line online or by phone (1-866-411-TIPS).
(Updated 3:35 p.m.) Mark Sugden, a familiar face to customers and employees of the Target on Sunset Hills Road in Reston, has died, family and friends have told Reston Now.
Known for his ever-present smile and balloons, Sugden had been a constant sight at the back of the Target parking lot for the last six years. He usually sat on the curb and waved at passersbys, who sometimes stopped to hand Sugden money or groceries.
Sugden had been experiencing homelessness, and a GoFundMe had been set up to help with the costs of staying in a nearby hotel. He also suffered from bipolar disorder, depression, and several other physical limitations, as he told Reston Now back in May.
Despite these challenges, Sugden continued to have a positive attitude.
“He was just a really, down-to-earth, good person. He always treated everybody well,” his brother George Sugden told Reston Now. “[He was] one of those things that’s pretty rare these days — a good soul.”
A memorial and tribute was set up this morning (Thursday) in his honor in front of the Sunoco station on Sunset Hills Road. It’s expected to be there for at least the next few days for those who would like to pay their respects, friend David Ritter tells Reston Now.
There may also be a remembrance service at a later date, but the logistics are still being figured out, Ritter notes.
According to the original GoFundMe page, Sugden died on Aug. 27. The Fairfax County Police Department confirmed the death, though a cause is not immediately known. FCPD does not suspect foul play.
A new fundraiser has been launched to help with funeral costs. The goal is to raise $2,000.
Ritter met Sugden a few years ago and was immediately struck by Sugden’s positivity. He believed that attitude rubbed off on everyone Sugden met.
“It never ceases to amaze me how Mark affected people,” Ritter said.
Once, when it was snowing during the winter, Ritter went to check on Sugden and make sure he had everything he needed. When Ritter arrived, he found a line of cars already waiting to give supplies and food to Sugden.
In May, Reston Now joined Sugden for about an hour at his usual spot between the Target and Sunoco on Sunset Hills Road. Six people in cars stopped to say hello and help him out.
Each time, Sugden greeted them with a wave, a smile, and a thank you.
“Your smile makes me happy,” one woman told Sugden. After she drove away, Sugden said, “I love to see them smile back.”
Over the last several days, both Ritter and George have been hearing from the community about how much Sugden meant to them.
“[From] the stories and the people I’ve met in the last 24 hours, it’s obvious that he touched a lot of people without really going out of his way,” George said. “It was just the way he was.”
Fairfax County police are on the lookout for a man who was involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash on Fairfax County Parkway in Reston.
Officers are currently on the scene at the Walnut Branch Road intersection, the Fairfax County Police Department reported at 8:41 p.m. today (Wednesday).
The crash apparently involved two vehicles. One driver was taken to the hospital, where he ultimately died. The driver of the other car that police say instigated the encounter left the scene on foot.
Police describe the driver as a “heavy” Hispanic man with long hair who was wearing a black shirt.
Officers on scene of a fatal hit & run crash on FFX County Pkwy at Walnut Branch Rd, Reston. One person, driver, taken to the hospital where he succumbed to injuries. Driver of striking car ran from scene on foot. Officers searching for Hispanic man, heavy, blk shirt, long hair. pic.twitter.com/qyFHv7E9ER
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) September 2, 2021
NoVA Child Dies From COVID-19 — “Today, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that a child in the Northern Region with COVID-19 has died. VDH will disclose no further information about the child to protect privacy and out of respect for the patient’s family. This is the first reported death of a child in the Northern Region with COVID-19 in Virginia.” [VDH]
Fairfax County Task Force Returns From Haiti — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department responders who deployed to Haiti as part of the Virginia Task Force One Urban Search and Rescue team came home on Wednesday (Aug. 25). The 65-member task force landed at Dulles International Airport after 11 days of supporting the disaster response to the Aug. 14 earthquake that devastated the island nation. [WTOP]
Charges Anticipated in Herndon Stabbing — As of 5:45 p.m. yesterday (Thursday), the suspect in a stabbing that occured that morning in the 1000 block of Elden Street in Herndon had not yet been apprehended, but a police department spokesperson said they “do not believe he poses an immediate danger to our community.” Charges are expected to be filed in the case today (Friday). [Patch]
FCPS Sees Decline in Test Participation — “Fairfax County and Virginia schools as a whole saw declining participation in the spring 2021 Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. At Fairfax County Public Schools, participation rates fell by an average 20 percent in reading, mathematics, and science. Around 50,000 tests were refused this year, compared to over 500 in 2018-19.” [Patch]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Lit Candles Start Fire in Herndon Storage Unit — Three Public Storage units sustained fire and smoke damage after unattended, lit candles placed too close to combustibles fueled a blaze on Friday (Aug. 20). Fairfax County and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority units responded to the 2900 block of Centreville Road around 2:11 p.m. The fire resulted in approximately $165,000 in damages but no injuries or displacements. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]
Herndon Man Tries to Bring Loaded Gun on Plane — A man from Herndon will be fined after Transportation Security Administration agents prevented him from bringing a loaded handgun onto a flight at Dulles International Airport. Officials said it was the 10th handgun seized at the airport so far this year after 19 such incidents in 2019. [The Washington Post]
County Police Dog Dies from Cancer — Fairfax County Police Department K9 Silas died of cancer on Saturday (Aug. 21), the department said yesterday (Monday) in a Facebook post. Joining the FCPD as a puppy in 2013 with his brother Bolt, Silas was diagnosed last fall and began receiving radiation and chemotherapy treatments. He responded well, living beyond expectations and continuing to help police track down critically missing people. [Patch]
RA Urges Continued Caution Around Lake Algae — An algae bloom that emerged at Lake Audubon in July was determined to be not harmful, but Reston Association says residents should remain cautious in their use of the lake until little to no algal colonies are present. More information about how to help prevent future blooms can be found through the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District. [RA/YouTube]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Reston Woman Dies After Car Crash — Stephanie D. Garcia, 29, of Reston died at Fairfax Inova Hospital on Aug. 8 from injuries she sustained the previous day in a two-car crash on I-95 at the 169-mile marker in Springfield. Reportedly not wearing a seatbelt, Garcia was thrown from her car when another vehicle struck it head on while she was making a U-turn. The other driver was transported to a hospital for treatment of serious injuries. [Virginia State Police]
D.C. Restaurant Week Returns — The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s summer D.C. Restaurant Week kicked off yesterday (Monday) and will last through Sunday (Aug. 15), with many participants again offering to-go options. Reston-area venues include Founding Farmers, Makers Union, The Melting Pot, and more. [Viva Tysons]
Construction on Autumnwood Pickleball Courts Begins — “Construction has begun on the permanent pickleball courts at the Autumnwood Recreation facility. Pickleball players have been temporarily moved to courts 3 and 4. Tennis will no longer be played at Autumnwood until the new pickleball courts are finished in September. When construction has been completed, tennis will resume at Autumnwood.” [RA News]
General Assembly Approves COVID Relief Plan — “The General Assembly on Monday approved a spending plan for $4.3 billion in federal coronavirus relief money, with lawmakers leaving about $1.1 billion unappropriated so it is available for future needs if the pandemic worsens…The plan calls for using $800 million of the American Rescue Plan money to replenish the state’s unemployment trust fund, $700 million for rural broadband, $411 million on clean-water projects, $353 million for small-business relief and $250 million for school ventilation systems.” [The Washington Post]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Unattended Candle Causes Herndon Fire — An unattended candle that was left burning caused a house fire in the 400 block of Pickett Lane in the Town of Herndon on Tuesday (Aug. 3), displacing seven people and producing approximately $50,000 in damages. No humans were injured, but a dead dog was found on the second floor during search and rescue operations. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]
Herndon Police ID Vehicle Involved in Shooting — A vehicle involved in a shooting incident in the 900 block of Alabama Drive on Monday (Aug. 2) has been identified, along with its occupants, the Herndon Police Department said. No injuries were reported, but anyone with additional information can contact police at 703-435-6846. [Patch]
Nearby: Local Football Team Bans Racist Costumes — “As the Washington Football Team continues to move away from its former identity, the franchise announced on Wednesday that Native American-inspired headdresses and face paint will be banned from FedEx Field. The rule is included in the team’s 2021 season protocols for the stadium in Loudoun County, which will reopen at full capacity for the upcoming season.” [DCist]
Frying Pan Farm to Offer Free Ice Cream — “The Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park invites the community to enjoy free ice cream while supplies last on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, starting at 7 p.m. at Frying Pan Farm Park, located at 2709 West Ox Road in Herndon. Ice cream will be available to visitors attending the U.S. Army Band’s ‘Swamp Romp’ concert.” [Fairfax County Park Authority]
Virginia General Assembly Convenes for Special Session — “The General Assembly returns on Monday to the Capitol it left 17 months ago as the coronavirus first gripped Virginia…Legislators meeting in a scheduled two-week special session have just two tasks on their to-do list, both highly consequential: allocating $4.3 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds and appointing a slew of judges to the state’s second-highest court.” [The Washington Post]
Fairfax County Man Arrested for Participating in Capitol Breach — “A Fairfax County, Virginia, man was arrested on six charges Thursday after a high school acquaintance tipped off the FBI about his alleged participation in the Capitol riot on January 6…[Luke Wessley] Bender faces six counts, including a felony count of obstruction of Congress that carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.” [WUSA9]
Reston Community Center Candidate Filing Now Open — “Help your community by becoming a candidate for RCC’s Board of Governors. Candidate filing for the 2021 RCC Preference Poll is now open. Please download the candidate handbook and candidacy statement from our website and return by August 15.” [RCC/Facebook]
Reston Community Remembers Local Humanitarian — Described as a “pioneer, humanitarian, and entrepreneur,” longtime Reston resident Burton “Burt” Emmanuel Lamkin died on June 24 at the age of 86. Though he went to California a few years ago to be closer to family, he and his wife Kathryne were among the first African Americans to live in Reston when they moved there in 1966, and he was heavily involved in the Rotary Club of Herndon. [Connection Newspapers]
Photos: Reston Association Hosts Annual Tennis Tournament — “The 2021 Reston Simon Cup tennis tournament was held from mid through late July. Men’s and women’s singles and doubles matches were played at the Lake Newport tennis courts.” [RA/Facebook]
COVID-19 Capacity Limits End in Virginia — Virginia officially lifted all capacity and social distancing requirements instituted for COVID-19 on Friday (May 28). Masks are still required in some settings, including in schools and on public transit, and the Virginia Department of Health says people who are not fully vaccinated should still wear a face covering and practice social distancing in public settings. [Fairfax County Health Department]
Police Investigate Fatal Great Falls Car Crash — “Around 10:53 p.m., Salavdro Alvarez Perez of Maryland, 24, was driving alone and heading east on Georgetown Pike when his 2021 Toyota Corrolla left the road, hit a fence and mailbox, then flipped over, according to police. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Detectives from the Crash Reconstruction Unit believe alcohol may have contributed to the crash and are investigating whether speed was also a factor.” [Patch]
Amanda Drive in Great Falls Reopens Tomorrow — “On or about Wednesday, June 2, 2021, drivers will experience traffic pattern changes on side streets between Utterback Store Road and Riva Ridge Drive as Amanda Drive reopens to traffic at Route 7. All residences, businesses and other public facilities will remain accessible…As a reminder, the Route 7 speed limit has been reduced to 45 miles per hour in active work zones between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive.” [VDOT]
The Water Mine Opens After Weather-Related Delay — The Water Mine in Reston officially kicked off the summer 2021 season on Memorial Day (May 31), but the opening was delayed until noon due to “low temperatures.” The water park will be open on the weekends until June 12, when operating hours expand to seven days a week. [Fairfax County Park Authority]
Extent of In-Person Learning Varies Across D.C. Region — About 60% of the roughly 700,000 students in the D.C. area have been learning entirely online since March 2020. The number of students who have received some in-person instruction over the past year ranges from nearly 60% in Arlington and about half of all students in Fairfax County to just 28% in D.C. and Prince George’s County. [The Washington Post]
Man Charged in Reston Condo Murder — 24-year-old Alexander Jahelka has been charged with second-degree murder after police found his father, 66-year-old Kenneth Jahelka, suffering from stab wounds in a condominium in the 11800 block of Shire Court on Saturday (May 22). This is the eighth homicide that Fairfax County has seen this year and the third in Reston. [FCPD]
Dead Body Found on Herndon Golf Course — “Detectives from the Herndon Police Department believe that man whose body’s was found Friday morning [May 21] at Herndon Centennial Golf Course had died accidentally, according to Lisa Herndon, HPD spokeswoman…A golf course employee found the body in a pond on the property and contacted police, according to Herndon. HPD identified the body as that of an adult male.” [Patch]
BLM Banner Stolen from Reston Church Again — Unitarian Universalist Church members noticed that the church’s Black Lives Matter banner was missing again on Thursday (May 20). Installed in September, this was the church’s second BLM banner after one raised last June in response to the racial justice protests spurred by George Floyd’s murder was also stolen. [Patch]
Reston Association Reviewing Updated COVID-19 Guidelines — “Until the review is completed, RA will continue to require the use of masks, a pool reservation sign-up system and social distancing at all RA facilities, including pools. RA will inform members of any changes in operating procedures due to the governor’s order as soon as possible. The association’s first priority is to ensure the safety of our employees and members.” [RA News]
Reston Singer Releases New Single — “Emerging singer-songwriter Amanda Cunningham of Reston shares her struggle with personal accountability, power when forming close friendships, and self-esteem in her newest single, “Pattern” (2021). Originally a self-described pop/rhythm and blues [R&B] singer, Cunningham recently admitted her voice and lyrics are turning more country.” [The Connection]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Reston Contractor to Develop National COVID-19 Hotline — “Reston-based government services company Maximus has received a potential $951 million contract to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 national surge support and vaccine assistance hotline.” [Virginia Business]
Reston Farmers Market Opens to Crowds — Reston Farmers Market opened for the spring on Saturday (May 2) “to brisk business” at Lake Anne Village Center. Even with most COVID-19 health protocols still in place, at least 1,900 customers attended, up from 809 customers on the first day of the 2020 season, according to founder John Lovaas. [Patch]
Local Band Teacher Dies — Coates Elementary School Principal Jesse Kraft announced yesterday (Monday) that Kelsey Burch, the school’s fifth and sixth-grade band teacher, had died after a year-long battle with cancer. Before joining Coates four years go, she led the band program at Sunrise Valley Elementary School in Reston for a decade. Sunrise Valley will name its band room in her honor. [Coates Elementary]
Fairfax County Parks Open Registration for Summer Classes — Registration for summer classes, events, and programs from the Fairfax County Park Authority, including at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, begins today. Online registration is available, and spaces in each program are limited. [Friends of Frying Pan/Twitter]
Reston Hospital Named Among Top 100 in U.S. — “Reston Hospital Center has been named to the Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals list. This is the first time Reston Hospital Center has been recognized with this honor as one of the top performing community hospitals in the U.S.” [Reston Hospital Center]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Wind Advisory in Effect — The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for the D.C. area, including Fairfax County, starting at noon today (Friday). In effect until 2 a.m. Saturday, the alert says to expect northwest winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 55 miles per hour. Gusts could blow around unsecured objects and bring down tree limbs, potentially leading to power outages. [NWS]
More Witnesses Come Forward in Sexual Battery Case — Additional victims and witnesses have contacted Herndon police about massage therapist Zachary Nelson Guzman-Orellana, 39, of Leesburg, who was arrested on April 21 on a charge of aggravated sexual battery. Police encourage any other victims or people with further information to call 703-435-6846. [Herndon Police Department/Twitter]
Rush Hour Toll Increase on Dulles Greenway Barred — Virginia’s State Corporation Commission approved a 25-cent increase for non-peak hour tolls on the Dulles Greenway but ruled that peak tolls can’t be raised now due to uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic. State legislators recently passed a law requiring the Virginia Department of Transportation to approve future toll increases on the privately operated road. [WTOP]
About 160,000 Virginians Miss Second Vaccine Dose — Virginia Department of Health data indicates that nearly 10% of Virginians who received a first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines didn’t return for their second one in the recommended time frame. Scheduling challenges and anxieties about side effects that tend to be heavier with the second dose could be factors. [Virginia Mercury]
Reston Engineering Firm to Go Public — “Reston engineering firm Bowman Consulting Group Ltd. is planning to go public, and recently priced its shares for an initial public offering that could raise up to $49.5 million.” [Washington Business Journal]
Conservatory Ballet Founder Dies — “It is with great sadness that the Conservatory Ballet of Reston announces that Founder and former Director Julia Cziller Redick passed away on April 18, 2021. Mrs. Redick founded The Conservatory Ballet in Reston in 1972 and remained as Director of the school for close to 50 years.” [Conservatory Ballet Foundation/IssueWire]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
True Food Kitchen Opens at Reston Town Center — True Food Kitchen officially opened its doors at Reston Town Center yesterday (Wednesday) after a more than two-year wait. Located in a 7,798-square-foot space at 11901 Democracy Drive that was previously M&S Grill, the restaurant was previously expected to open in August 2020 before getting delayed and announcing an April 28 opening in March. [The Burn]
Key Reston Planner Dies at 93 — Glenn William Saunders Jr. died on April 1 at his home on Singer Island, Florida. The civil engineer served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War before working as an engineer for the cities of Alexandria and Fairfax. He was hired by Reston founder Robert E. Simon in 1961 to help plan, design, and build the planned community. [Patch]
Fairfax County Could Expand Outdoor Classrooms — Fairfax County Public Schools has been running outdoor learning pilots at five schools since the start of the 2020-2021 academic year with the goal of expanding classroom capacity and reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Using federal relief funds, FCPS has purchased a total of 215 tents, each costing around $4,300, as of late April and anticipates expanding the program in the fall. [The Washington Post]
Fatal Drug Overdoses Up During Pandemic — “Last year was Virginia’s worst on record for fatal drug overdoses. In 2020, nearly 2,300 people died from drugs in the state, according to a new report from the Virginia Department of Health. That’s a 41% increase from the year before, which was already record-breaking.” [The Virginian-Pilot]
Reston Breweries to Celebrate American Craft Beer Week — “With three breweries in or near Reston, the Brewers Association is urging craft beer drinkers to support local breweries as American Craft Beer Week approaches. The 15th annual weeklong observance will run from May 10-16 this year.” [Patch]
Fairfax County Reconfigures COVID-19 Call Center — “The Health Department has implemented a new call center system to better meet the needs of our residents during the upcoming transition to Phase 2 and beyond. As we work to implement this new system, wait times for callers may be longer than expected.” [Fairfax County Health Department]
Virginia Woman Died After Receiving Johnson & Johnson Vaccine — “Virginia health officials say a woman who died a few weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is among six cases nationwide that prompted a pause in use of the one-dose shots. The woman’s death last month had similarities to the blood-clotting problem that halted distribution of the vaccine Tuesday, said Dr. Danny Avula, the state’s vaccination coordinator.” [Inside NoVA]
U.S. Labor Secretary Visits Reston Business — Labor Secretary Marty Walsh held a discussion at Vantage Point Consulting’s Reston office on Friday (April 9) to talk about President Biden’s jobs plan and how it could help recent veterans and others transition back into the workforce. Vantage Point provides career readiness services and is owned by a veteran. [Patch]
Herndon Police Welcomes Support Dog — “Herndon Police Department is proud to announce K9 Bragg has joined the family, serving as HPD’s first certified facility dog. Bragg, a Labrador Retriever, was graciously gifted to HPD from Mutts With A Mission, a 501(c)(3) based in Portsmouth, VA, that specializes in training dogs to serve the needs of first responders, veterans, and wounded warriors.” [Herndon Police/Facebook]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr