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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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‘Bake for Good’ Program Heading to McNair Elementary School

An upcoming program at a Herndon public school is going against the grain of conventional education by teaching students the value of community service and baking.

Students at McNair Elementary School (2499 Thomas Jefferson Drive) can expect the Bake for Good Program to arrive at their school next month.

Meant for fourth- to sixth-graders, the free program teaches students “the value of giving back to their community while learning to bake bread,” according to Fairfax County Public Schools. Representatives from King Arthur Flour, the sponsoring organization, will present the cross-curricular program, which has three main goals: learn, bake and share.

“Students will use practical applications of math, science, and comprehension skills while learning how they can make a positive impact in their local community,” according to the FCPS announcement.

Each student will then bake two loaves of bread — one to take home and one to donate to LINK, which provides emergency food and financial help to people in the western part of the county.

The program begins at McNair Elementary School on March 12.

Image via Google Maps

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Fundraising Starts to Help Family After Herndon Home Fire

A GoFundMe page is raising funds for the family displaced after a fire broke out in their home in Herndon yesterday.

The campaign, which was created and activated today (Feb. 1), aims to help Tim Gaffney’s family cover the costs of “small things that add up” — clothes, toiletries, shoes, coats and more — with the hope that insurance will cover the larger losses.

In just a few hours, the GoFundMe page has raised nearly $2,000.

The Red Cross has put the family up in a hotel, according to the fundraiser.

The GoFundMe page says the following:

January 31, 2019 Tim Gaffney woke to the smell of smoke. The entire garage was engulfed and it was quickly moving to the house. He woke Ryan and Tara and they were able to get out. Janeen and Sofia were in MA at a skating event.

Flash forward 24 hours and my oldest friend in the world and her family are homeless.

The Red Cross has put them up in a hotel and friends have rallied around them. But this is just day one.

Our hope of course is that insurance will cover the larger losses. House. Cars. Boat. It’s all the small things that add up. Clothes. Toiletries. Shoes. Coats.

We are asking for any help you can provide to get this family through the next really difficult months until they find their new normal.

Anyone not comfortable with sending money is more than welcome to send gift cards. Anything — I mean anything — will be so appreciated.

Thank you on on behalf of Tim, Janeen, Ryan, Sofia and Tara.

Firefighters had the fire under control in about two hours after arriving at the house in the 12100 block of Westwood Hills Drive around 6:38 a.m. on Jan. 31.

The three people in the home at the time of the fire were able to self-evacuate. Two of the occupants received treatment for smoke inhalation, according to the fire department.

Photo via @ffxfirerescue/Twitter

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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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Reston Restaurant Feeds 100 Dulles TSA Workers, Offers Discounts to Furloughed Employees

Updated at 10:45 a.m. — Includes information about feeding the TSA workers from Gaurang Shah.

Vapiano in Reston Town Center has been pitching in to help government workers as the partial federal government shutdown looms on without an end in sight.

The recent efforts stemmed from a desire to “take care of those who take care of us during this political standoff,” according to a press release.

Earlier this week, the Italian restaurant at 1875 Explorer Street offered 50 percent off for furloughed federal workers on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Gaurang Shah, the local behind the Reston Going Out Group on Meetup.com and a Vapiano regular, approached the restaurant with an idea: ask for food donations to serve to TSA workers.

Vapiano then created a menu of homestyle Italian meals. Shah told Reston Now that he pitched in supplies and other food, along with reaching out to a TSA Supervisor at Dulles International Airport who agreed with the proposal.

Shah said that hundreds of TSA workers came to the restaurant for the food.

Image via Vapiano/Twitter

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‘Time Stands Still’ Auditions and More This Weekend in Reston

There’s plenty to do around Reston this weekend in addition to the many events for Reston’s 34th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration.

If you’re looking to avoid the cold weather, plenty of indoor activities are scheduled for this weekend.

Tomorrow (Jan. 19)

Stuff the Bus (9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) —  Head Herndon’s Fox Mill Giant (2551 John Milton Drive) to support Helping Hungry Kids as a part of “Stuff the Bus,” which takes place at various locations around the county to benefit local nonprofit food pantries. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova will join the event at 11 a.m. to assist with the food collection and also discuss the county’s resources for people impacted by the federal government shutdown.

Fantastic Films at Reston: A Wrinkle in Time (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) — The Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) plans to show the 2018 movie, which is based on the classic book by Madeleine L’Engle, with warm cocoa.

“Time Stands Still” auditions (1-4 p.m.) — The Reston Community Players is looking for people to come audition for a show that examines the lives of one couple making a living out of documenting the horrors of war. The auditions, which will be held at 266 Sunset Park Drive in Herndon, will consist of cold readings provided that day. Auditions will also be held at the same time and place on Sunday.

Chess club (1-2:30 p.m.) — Locals can learn chess from experienced instructors at the Herndon Fortnightly Library (768 Center Street).

Sunday (Jan. 20)

Crys Matthews performance (2 p.m.) — Matthews, a singer-songwriter from Herndon, is scheduled to perform her songs at CenterStage at RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road). Tickets cost $15 for Reston residents.

Winter Restaurant Week ends (all day) — Sunday is the last day for locals to enjoy prix fixe menus at the four Reston restaurants that are participating in Winter Restaurant Week.

Photo via Reston Community Players/Facebook

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Chipotle to Fundraise for South Lakes HS Girls Basketball on Monday

Seahawks fans can head to the Chipotle in the South Lakes Village Shopping Center next week to help raise funds for South Lakes High School girls basketball.

The Chipotle at 11160 South Lakes Drive will donate 33 percent of proceeds for customers who display the flyer or mention the Seahawks.

The fundraiser runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday (Jan. 21).

South Lakes High School girls varsity basketball won their eighth consecutive game at Washington-Lee High School on Jan. 8.

Photo via South Lakes High School Basketball/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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Fundraising Starts for Family of Killed South Lakes HS Teen

GoFundMe page is raising funds for the family of the South Lakes High School student Marvin Daniel Cruz Serrano, who was struck and killed by a car nearly two weeks ago.

The campaign, which was created on Jan. 5 and activated today (Jan. 10), aims to help Serrano’s family and friends cover funeral costs and any other expenses.

People can also send donations to the Biblica Bautista Emanuel Church at 21770 Beaumeade Circle in Ashburn, Va., which will also disperse all of the funds raised to Serrano’s family.

The GoFundMe page says the following:

Friends and family of Daniel Serrano suffered a heart breaking loss on December 29 when Daniel was killed by a hit and run driver as he was attempting to cross South Lakes Drive in Reston, Virginia. Daniel had just exited the bus he was taking to return home after his work shift at a restaurant. Daniel was 16 years-old and attended South Lakes High School. He is remembered as a kind, generous and loving young man who will be greatly missed by his family and friends. Many have asked where to donate to help with funeral and other expenses. Donations can be made here or to Biblica Bautista Emanuel Church, 21770 Beaumeade Circle, Ashburn, VA 20147. The church will disperse all funds raised.

Reston Now previously reported that Principal Kim Retzer said funeral arrangements are still being planned.

The day after Serrano was killed by a driver while crossing South Lakes Drive, family and friends gathered at the spot for a vigil.

Fairfax County Police are still looking for the driver, who fled the scene, and are asking anyone with information to contact the Crash Reconstruction Unit witness phone line at 703-280-0543 or to submit a tip anonymously through Crime Solvers.

Detectives believe the sedan involved “may possibly be gray or silver, and it likely has significant front end damage.”

Photo via GoFundMe

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Realtors, Lake Anne Brew House Collect Donations for South Lakes HS Food Pantry

Updated at 2:35 p.m. — Includes updated numbers for the food pantry.

The holidays may be over, but one business at Lake Anne Plaza is continuing the season of giving and holiday spirit into 2019.

The Lake Anne Brew House (11424 Washington Plaza W.) hosted an ugly sweater fundraising party yesterday (Jan. 6) to benefit the food pantry at South Lakes High School.

Several realtors, including Rob Cox, Mary Miceli, Carol Welsh and Ben and Kristi Guidry from Long & Foster Real Estate, helped host the party, according to a Lake Anne Plaza Facebook post.

The Lake Anne Brew House credited Long & Foster in Reston with the idea for the party and sponsorship of the pizza.

The event collected non-perishable food items and personal products — along with a nearly $500 donation — for the school’s food pantry, where nearly 730 students can “shop” for food and toiletries.

The food pantry is designed to help close the hunger and nutrition gap for the 30 percent of South Lakes High School students who are on the free and reduced lunch program, according to the school. The food pantry distributes more than 175 bags of groceries and toiletries to more than 95 families each week.

Roberta Gosling, one of the founders of the pantry, told Reston Now that students from Langston Hughes Middle School, Terraset Elementary School and other South Lakes High school pyramid schools are coming to the pantry.

Since opening in March 2017, the food pantry has given out more than 8,000 bags of food, she said.

Photo via Lake Anne Plaza/Facebook 

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Embry Rucker Community Shelter to Get Quilts Sewn by Inmates

Reston’s Embry Rucker Community Shelter is set to receive later this month quilts made by inmates in a sewing program.

A class member who benefited from the shelter’s services at 11975 Bowman Towne Drive requested that quilts go there, according to Fairfax County.

The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office created the sewing class at the Alternative Incarceration Branch of the Adult Detention Center (10520B Judicial Drive) in July to offer inmates a marketable life skill and help cut back costs. The program kicked off after an investment of $3,600 paid for the sewing machines and equipment.

The Adult Detention Center has an average population of roughly 1,000 inmates, who all wear jumpsuits. The Sheriff’s Office usually spends about $12,000 per year repairing jumpsuits, with an average of 200 jumpsuits sent out every month at a cost of $5 each last year, according to the county. Replacing them is even more expensive at about $15 to $17 each.

Now, inmates repair all of the jumpsuits in-house.

The quilting program emerged to fill their spare time after the inmates consistently finished jumpsuit repairs before the end of each class period. Inmates use donated pieces of fabric to create the quilts.

Photo via Fairfax County

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South Lakes High School Clothing Closet Opens Today

The South Lakes High School Clothing Closet is asking for new and gently used clothing to help stock up today (Dec. 20) during its grand opening.

The store aims to have clothing available for its students “free of charge and of judgment,” according to the South Lakes High School Parent Teacher Student Association.

School leadership and the Distributive Education Clubs of America created the store to build off of the success of the food pantry at the school, according to the SLHS PTSA. Reston Now previously reported that since April 2017, the pantry has filled more than 2,500 orders and weekly order averages are also increasing.

Locals can drop off new or gently used clothing from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. today and tomorrow (Dec. 21).

The following clothing items are needed:

  • jackets
  • shirts
  • pants
  • “interview attire”
  • school spirit clothing
  • warm weather clothing

Drop-offs will be accepted in the main office at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive).

File photo

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Reston Farm Market to Sell Trees Until Christmas Eve

Do you need a holiday tree?

The Christmas Tree Market at the Reston Farm Market (10800 Baron Cameron Ave) will sell trees until 5 p.m. on Dec. 24.

Locals can also purchase ornaments, holiday gift baskets and treats.

Last week, Reston Farm Market announced it would donate 20 trees to the Next Steps Family Program, an 18-unit emergency shelter for families experiencing homelessness, managed by FACETS.

The trees were delivered last Thursday (Dec. 13) to the three community centers that FACETS operates.

The Reston Farm Market provides fresh, locally-sourced produce, dairy and other farm-fresh goods. It will close for the season from Dec. 25 to March 15, but customers can still order firewood products online for delivery.

Photo via Reston Farm Market 

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Two Restaurants Donate to the Herndon High School Marching Band

Diners can help support the Herndon High School Marching Band every Tuesday this month at Not Your Average Joe’s in Reston and every Sunday at Stone’s Cove KitBar in Herndon.

The marching band, called the Pride of Herndon, is fundraising for its trip to Normandy, France in June, where the band will represent the U.S. at the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

The band has several fundraising efforts underway to help cover the costs for the trip.

Not Your Average Joe’s at 1845 Fountain Drive will donate 15 percent of sales from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays in December to the band. Customers need to mention or show the flyer for seated and take-out orders.

Diners at Stone’s Cove KitBar (2403 Centreville Road) from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays will be given a card where they can select the band from a list of charities. Then, 10 percent of that guest’s check will get donated.

The Pride will honor WWII servicemen and women, veterans and active duty military and their families.

“As they march, the Pride will also be paying a special tribute to the brave men of the USS Herndon, the destroyer that led the Allied naval armada in the assault on France and the named for Commander William Lewis Herndon, after whom the Town of Herndon, Va. is also named,” the flyer says.

Photo via Herndon High School Band/Twitter

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