Lieutenant Governor in Reston Tonight — Ralph Northam, Virginia’s lieutenant governor and a Democratic candidate for governor in the 2017 election, will be a guest speaker tonight at a meeting of Herndon-Reston Indivisible. Other speakers will be Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax) and Del. Jennifer Boysko (D-Fairfax/Loudoun). The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at Sunset Hills Montessori School (11180 Ridge Heights Road). [Herndon-Reston Indivisible]
Bulova: ‘Painful Cuts’ in Proposed Federal Budget — The chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors says she is hopeful the local congressional delegation will address what she sees as a number of problems with the Trump administration’s budget proposal, unveiled last week. [Sharon Bulova/Facebook]
Arrests Made in Chantilly Gun Store Heist — Two 23-year-old men and a 19-year-old man have been arrested in connection with the theft of 35 guns from a Chantilly store earlier this month. The men are also charged in the theft of firearms from two shops in Fredericksburg. They each face up to 10 years in prison. [U.S. Department of Justice]
Digital Marketing Agency Opens New Office — Baltimore-based Jellyfish has opened a new office at RTC West (12120 Sunset Hills Road). The office will house more than 20 employees and serves as the development and technology hub for the agency. Five job openings are available. [Jellyfish]
A number of restaurants and other businesses across D.C. and the nation are closed or operating on restrictions today as part of the “Day Without Immigrants.” The protest is part of an effort to show the impact immigrants have on daily lives of Americans, and was spawned out of President Donald Trump’s new immigration policies.
At least two Reston restaurants are showing their support. Sweetgreen (11935 Democracy Drive) is closed for the day, as are all of the company’s 18 locations in the Metro area.
“Our diversity is what makes this family great, and we respect our team members’ right to exercise their voice in our democracy,” reads signs posted on the restaurant’s doors Thursday. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and hope you understand our commitment to our people.”
Meanwhile, PassionFish (11960 Democracy Drive) says its menu options may be limited Thursday as part of the protest.
Due to today’s observance of #ADayWIthoutImmigrants, some of our menu items are limited & seating may be modified. Thanks for your suppport!
— PassionFish Reston (@PassionFishRest) February 16, 2017
A representative for PassionFish owner Passion Food Hospitality said the Reston restaurant is “not particularly affected” and “most staff” would be working Thursday.
“[Management is] supportive of their staff on whichever decision they choose,” said spokesperson Meg Malloy.
Trump Wine Flying Out the Door — As grocery chain Wegmans faces scrutiny for selling Trump Winery products, wine stores around D.C. are reporting booming sales. In Reston, The Wine Cabinet (1416 North Point Village Center) says they’ve sold more than 10 cases since Election Day — and they could have sold more, co-owner Mike Mackie said, if they hadn’t run out. [The Hill]
Area Couple on the Road Performing Show — Sam and Susan Simon are presenting “The Actual Dance,” the true story of their journey through Susan’s breast cancer diagnosis, this weekend in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. Susan Simon is the former marketing director at Tall Oaks of Reston. [Elmira Star-Gazette]
ArtSpace Herndon Kicks Off Concert Series — Guitarist-songwriter Parthenon Huxley played with indie rocker and violinist Ben Hoyt as Herndon’s arts district began its 2017 concert series last weekend. In addition to original music, the performers played love songs from ELO and the Beatles. [Reston Connection]
About two dozen employees of Comcast’s offices at Reston Town Center took to the streets Thursday afternoon to protest President Donald Trump’s actions on immigration. The rally was one of a number nationwide by the telecommunications company’s Technology and Product team.
Holly Bazemore, the company’s director of elastic cloud strategy and deployments, was part of the rally Thursday at the corner of New Dominion Parkway and Reston Parkway. She said shutting the nation off from immigrants would have a devastating effect on companies like Comcast.
“Diversity is what makes innovation, and innovation is what makes great products,” she said. “We’re here to say that our products wouldn’t be as wonderful without our diverse teams — we can’t [be diverse] with this immigration ban.”
Bazemore said simultaneous rallies took place outside Comcast offices in New York, Washington, Denver and the Silicon Valley, as well as at the company’s corporate headquarters in Philadelphia.
Employees of Comcast in Philadelphia are walking out in protest against trumps immigration order. pic.twitter.com/hk69WdH088
— Bianca Portillo (@BiancaAmarilis) February 2, 2017
— Tajha C-L (@TajhaLanier) February 2, 2017
The employees were protesting personally, Bazemore said, not on behalf of Comcast; however, she added, the company allocated time to any workers who wished to participate in the hourlong rally.
Comcast spokesman John Demming responded to technology news website Technical.ly about the rallies:
“We understand that some of our employees are concerned and we respect their desire to express their opinions. Our primary focus is to make sure that all of our employees feel safe in their jobs, including while traveling.”
The rallying employees in Reston on Thursday received a lot of feedback, positive and negative, from passing motorists as they chanted and raised their signs, but they remained undeterred.
“We are all together for the same cause, all over the country,” said Dwarkesh Marakna, a DevOps engineer at the Reston office.
Amid a political climate growing more divided by the day, a local group looking to stand up for what they believe is reporting big growth.
According to information provided by Herndon-Reston Indivisible, about 300 people attended a meeting the group held Thursday night at Sunset Hills Montessori. Eileen Minarik, the school’s founder and owner, offered up the space.
“People are not just coming to meetings — they’re doing things,” Minarik said. “It’s been really gratifying to see the number of people who are out here, not to be anti-someone, but to be pro-social justice.”
The group is following the suggestions of the Indivisible Guide, developed by former congressional staffers as “a practical guide for resisting the Trump agenda.” Hundreds of such groups have formed across the nation, including more than 150 within a 100-mile radius of Reston.
Members of the group participated in the Women’s March on Washington earlier this month, as well as in a protest Sunday outside the White House. Now, as protests regarding President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration continue at nearby Washington Dulles International Airport, members of the group’s base have taken part.
The executive order has prompted outrage from a number of the area’s representatives on Capitol Hill, including Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who addressed protesters at the airport this weekend.
The Herndon-Reston group is also asking members to call Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Democratic Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner to urge them to “publicly oppose and filibuster” any Trump nominee to the Supreme Court.
In the 2016 General Election, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton took about two-thirds of the vote in Virginia’s 11th Congressional District, which includes Herndon and Reston.
Minarik said Herndon-Reston Indivisible’s meeting last week was its second, and the turnout was about twice as large as for the first. The group’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 6:30 p.m. at Sunset Hills Montessori (11180 Ridge Heights Road).
Photo via Herndon-Reston Indivisible
Weather Changes Schedules for Kids — Schools in Fairfax County are on a two-hour delay today due to the winter weather that struck overnight. The weather is expected to continue to fluctuate throughout the week, with highs around 50s projected for the next two days, followed by a return of winter heading into the weekend. [Fairfax County Public Schools]
Governor to Be in Reston This Week — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is scheduled to travel to Reston on Wednesday morning. The governor’s official schedule for this week includes the visit to StreetShares, in Isaac Newton Square, to announce finalists for the Veteran Small Business Awards. [Governor’s Office]
Airport Protesters Decry Immigrant Ban — Washington Dulles International Airport saw a number of protesters at the international terminal over the weekend. The demonstrators were there to show their support for immigrants after President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning international travelers from a number of Muslim countries. [Washington Post]
Closings Today for Inauguration Day — The 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, is being inaugurated today in Washington. As the nation watches, government offices and a number of other facilities are closed today. Schedules for other services may also be affected. [Patch]
Young Students Get Chance to See History Up Close — Today is another big day in American history. Earlier this week, elementary school students in Reston were “visited” by past historical figures including Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, as they learned about the early days of the nation. [Reston Connection]
Seahawks Basketball, Swim/Dive Teams Have Busy Week — The following are results from recent days for South Lakes High School basketball and swim/dive teams: [South Lakes Athletics]
Boys basketball: beat James Madison, 56-51; beat Washington-Lee, 56-51; lost to Hayfield, 82-80
JV boys basketball: lost to James Madison, 58-49; beat Washington-Lee, 64-47; beat Hayfield, 68-49
Girls basketball: lost to James Madison, 44-34; beat Washington-Lee, 46-44
JV girls basketball: lost to James Madison, 40-31; beat Washington-Lee, 34-23
Freshman girls basketball: beat Hayfield, 31-27
Co-ed swim and dive: beat Langley girls, 163-149; lost to Langley boys, 173-136; beat Washington-Lee girls, 196-118; beat Washington-Lee boys, 183-132
You may have heard the nation’s 45th President, Donald Trump, will be inaugurated Friday on the National Mall.
In celebration of the historic event, Reston Station Plaza is hosting a series of festivities including entertainment and games.
Beginning at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the plaza (1904 Reston Metro Plaza, at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station), patriotic displays will include live music and presidential trivia. The fun is scheduled to wrap up at 7:30 p.m.
On Friday, events are scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. and Inauguration Day coverage will be displayed on a big-screen television throughout the morning. A Donald Trump impersonator is also expected to be part of the show.
For updates, watch the event’s Facebook page.
Those who are planning to use the Metro to travel to D.C. for the inaugural events are being encouraged to plan ahead and use caution on what is expected to be an extremely crowded day. Metro is once again selling commemorative SmarTrip cards for the event, and Wiehle-Reston is one of a number of stations at which special card sleeves will be distributed.
The morning of Nov. 9, Margot Lebow was beside herself.
“The day after the election [of President-elect Donald Trump], most of us were in the dark in fetal positions,” the longtime Reston resident said.
Lebow and friends Donna Shaffer and Susann Gerstein simply could not believe the direction the nation had turned in. So they made plans to gather at Cafe Montmartre in Lake Anne Plaza for a “hug.”
But Shaffer thought more people might be in need of a place to gather and talk. So she posted the invite on Facebook.
“We had about 45 people who showed up, and many of them we’d never seen before,” Shaffer said.
At that meeting — and a subsequent one that had an even greater turnout — teachers, children, immigrants and more were given a platform to speak and share their concerns about what the future may bring.
“That kicked off a very powerful discussion,” Gerstein said.
So was born a community activism group the women say is designed to show support for those who feel threatened — and to make sure the principles laid out by Reston founder Robert E. Simon are remembered and followed.
“The wonderful thing about this, honestly, is that it isn’t just old-time Restonians putting our arms around each other,” Gerstein said. “It’s the second and third generation in this community who really do understand what the value system was that created this community.”
Simon, who in 1961 purchased 6,750 acres that would become Reston, founded the community on seven principles — among them, that the importance and dignity of each individual be a focal point of community development.
The women who gather at Cafe Montmartre considered themselves longtime friends of Simon. They said they fear a new zeitgeist that normalizes bullying, mistreatment of others and political incorrectness will result in the “importance and dignity of each individual” being forgotten.
“In a personal sense of what’s right and what’s wrong, the morality of this coming administration is truly frightening,” Lebow said. “Everything is contrary to what we believe as a community, to what we believe as individuals.”
The women say their group isn’t rooted in politics, but rather in ensuring a proper sense of community is maintained in Reston. A separate group, Herndon-Reston Indivisible, has been founded to tackle purely political issues.
Lebow said the idea that Restonians look out for their fellow community members — no matter what race, religion or background — cannot be lost.
“That value system must persevere,” Lebow said. “That concept that is Reston needs to be expanded globally, or at least nationally.”
The women say they continue to plan the future of their group and hope to have more information about upcoming meetings soon. Their goals include continuing to support local charitable organizations including Cornerstones in their efforts.
“It’s really just about respecting people who are different than you,” Gerstein said. “In Reston, you really can put your arms around your neighbors and believe that somehow it will be all right.”
Jesse Bonfeld, Lebow’s husband, said the group understands how important it is to make sure everyone’s voices — not just the loudest — are heard.
“What really drove this was the realization that there are now people in power who have given the bully pulpit to a minority in this country whose values are diametrically opposed to what Bob Simon’s values were,” he said. “That is really the bottom line.”
Pictured: From left, Donna Shaffer, Margot Lebow, Susann Gerstein and Jesse Bonfeld meet at Cafe Montmartre in Lake Anne Plaza on Wednesday evening.
When tens of thousands descend upon the National Mall on Saturday for the Women’s March on Washington, many will be adorned with pink knitted hats. A large number of those hats, products of the worldwide Pussyhat Project, will have filtered through a home on Lake Newport Road in Reston.
The house, which looks quiet from the outside, is filled with bustling action as women of all ages work hard to prepare hats that are arriving every day. Boxes upon boxes of the hats, knitted by concerned people from around the world, are stacked in the home’s basement in various stages of the organizational process.
College student Molly McKnight and her mother, Carrie, volunteered to make their Reston home the hub for the hats. Family friends, including Jeanne Robertson and Diane Brown, are among the dozens of volunteers who have assisted with the project.
“We’re the grunt work,” said Robertson, who was processing hats in the basement Wednesday along with Brown. “There are a lot of friends who are here to help.”
Stefanie Kamerman, the project’s D.C. organizer, is coordinating the effort. She said the final days have been hectic, as many hundreds of hats — some days as many as 2,000 — have been showing up through the mail every day.
“We are hoping to distribute them at the march successfully,” Kamerman said. “We are trying to get the hats from Point A to Point B, to get them to the women who are marching on the 21st.”
Between 200,000 and 500,000 women are expected to participate in the event Saturday, Kamerman said. About 60,000 hand-crafted hats have been donated to the project so far, she said. The collection site on Lake Newport Road has been operating since early December.
Politically, Kamerman said she considers herself a Libertarian. She said concerns about women’s issues that arose during the election of soon-to-be President Donald Trump led her to fight for the female voice.
“It’s not necessarily that we’re anti-Trump; we’re just trying to take back those infamous words he said on the ‘Access Hollywood’ video,” Kamerman said, referring to audio from 2005 that emerged prior to the election in which Trump used vulgar terms to describe his treatment of women.
According to the project’s website, its name is in part a reference to one of those terms used by Trump — and its goal is to “reclaim the term as a means of empowerment.”
Each hat that is donated is accompanied by a note from its knitter, which includes not just a name and a hometown, but a list of women’s rights issues most important to him or her.
“Being involved [in this project] has opened my eyes to a lot of women that are hurting, and who don’t feel like their voices are being heard,” Kamerman said.
More than 50 volunteers are working for the project across the United States, Kamerman said, with about half of them having worked from the Reston site at some point during the past month.
“It’s helping other women get something that is special,” she said. “We’re all working together for something amazing.”
Kamerman said she and many of the other volunteers will be attending the march Saturday, both to support the cause and to see the fruits of their labor.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what we’ve been working so hard for coming together,” she said. “It’s been an amazing experience.”
Kamerman said she is hopeful her 8-year-old daughter, who has been helping with the project as well, will lead the next generation of activism.
“I wanted to raise her in a world where she will continue the good fight for women and men across the nation, regardless of who they love or what they believe or who they are,” she said.
Reston’s voice in the House of Representatives, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), has announced that he has joined the growing list of Democratic members of Congress who will not be attending the Inauguration of President Donald Trump on Friday.
In a statement released Wednesday morning, Connolly said Trump has left the country with “open, bleeding wounds.”
“After long reflection I have decided that I cannot attend the inauguration of Donald J Trump on Friday. His behavior and harmful words during and after the campaign have left the country I love with open, bleeding wounds. Instead of binding those wounds, he has poured salt on them. Instead of unifying us, he has reveled in driving wedges between us. His disparagement of an entire religion; his racist rants about minorities; his resurrection of white supremacy; his ridicule of the disabled; his blatant misogyny and boasting of unwanted sexual advances; his intimidation of the press; his repugnant attack on civil rights hero John Lewis; and his disturbing defense of and advocacy for Vladimir Putin — a KGB thug — threaten our democratic institutions. How can I celebrate that? The sordid aspects of his behavior must not become the new normal for America or her presidents.”
Connolly joins more than 50 of his peers who have publicly announced they will not attend the ceremony.
The Sierra Club’s Virginia Chapter and the Sierra Club NOVA Hub organize monthly “Climate Action Night” events in Reston. Kelsey Crane, Northern Virginia program coordinator for the Club, says this month’s meeting — the time and date of which are in flux — will discuss major fears regarding the incoming Trump Administration.
“We are going to be looking at some of the terrible climate deniers that Trump has in important positions and how we can work with our senators to have them block those nominations and stand up for the environment,” Crane said.
In November, Virginia was one of 18 states to pledge support of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, is a strong opponent of the legislation.
U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) of Fairfax County called the pick of Pruitt part of a “Cabinet of Horrors” being assembled by Trump:
“The decision to appoint an individual who has repeatedly tried to stymie and rollback important environmental regulations — and a climate change denier no less — to head the very agency charged with protecting public health and safety is reckless, cynical and must be opposed.”
The Sierra Club is asking its supporters to show their displeasure with Pruitt’s nomination by petitioning Senate. They contend the Clean Power Plan offers an “unprecedented opportunity” in the effort to “reduce harmful carbon pollution by increasing our use of energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
Another Sierra Club petition exists to ask senators to block the nomination of Trump’s Secretary of State choice, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson.
Crane said the Club is concerned about protecting not just the Clean Power Plan, but other existing efforts to battle greenhouse gases, including the nation’s participation in The Paris Agreement.
“This is our first meeting of the year to really get together and strategize what are the biggest priorities we can put our attention and our efforts onto to protect our environment against what could be a disastrous administration,” Crane said. “[We’ll be looking at] how we can build a strong base of advocates and people who can do outreach in our community, to our media and to our decision makers.”
Local Climate Action Nights are usually held at the Reston Regional Library, Crane said, and they are open to the public. For further information about this month’s meeting and other local efforts, contact Crane at 703-438-6246 or [email protected].
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was in Herndon on Monday at an event organized by the Retired American Warriors political action committee.
Some of the highlights:
Trump says cybersecurity has to be a major priority. [CBS]
Trump: Military suicides happen to service members who ‘can’t handle it.’ [CNN]
Trump angers with suggestion that vets with PTSD are weak. [Washington Post]
See the full video above.
A woman featured in a Sunday New York Times piece detailing presidential candidate Donald Trump’s history with women took issue with the story on Monday, saying she never had a bad experience with the billionaire and does not believe he ever mistreated women.
But before Rowanne Brewer Lane made the talk show rounds on Monday, before she was in the front page NYT story Sunday and before she dated Trump in 1990, she was Rowanne Brewer of Reston. She attended Herndon High School, graduating in 1982.
Brewer Lane is a former model who dated Trump for several months starting in late 1990. She said yesterday said her words were twisted in the Times article, which used interviews to show a pattern of troubling personal behavior towards women by the Republican presidential candidate.
The Times story said Trump asked Brewer Lane to change into a bikini shortly after meeting her at a pool party at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. According to the article, he then introduced her to the crowd outside, saying, “That is a stunning Trump girl, isn’t it?”
“They spun it to where it appeared negative,” Lane said on Fox News. “I did not have a negative experience with Donald Trump.”
According to a Washington Post story in 1990, Brewer Lane moved from Reston to Maryland after high school. She was a “Star Search” model and was the 1988 Miss Maryland, as part of the Miss U.S.A. contest.
The Post story also reports Brewer once worked as a bartender at Clyde’s and Da Dominico in Tysons Corner and the Dome in Washington.
Photos: Top, Brewer Lane Monday on MSNBC; Middle – with Donald Trump in 1990/People.com; Bottom – at Herndon High, early 1980s – Facebook.