Double Stabbing Under Investigation — Officers obtained arrest warrants recently against a woman they believe stabbed two men last month near Hunters Woods Plaza. [Reston Patch]
Redistricting, Tax Relief Options On Board Agenda — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will meet today to discuss big items like a tax relief package and a redistricting proposal. [Reston Patch]
Local Vaccine-hesitant Mom Gets Answers — WUSA 9 connected a Reston mom with a local hospital doctor and the head of the FDA’s vaccine committee to get her questions answered about the COVID-19 vaccine. [WUSA 9]
Big Donation Effort for Park Avenue Victims — The Herndon Police Department is no longer accepting donations for victims of the Park Avenue fire. Gift cards, however, are still being accepted. [HPD]
Robbery Under Investigation on Centreville Road — Two men stole personal property from someone on th 2400 block of Centerville Road on Nov. 30 shortly before 8 p.m. No injuries were reported, although the suspects threatened the victim with a knife. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
The community is banding together to raise funds for victims of the Park Avenue fire that sent nine residents to the hospital.
The fire ripped through five units of the apartments on the 800 block of Park Avenue. As a result, 44 were displaced. Two residents remain in critical condition as of Saturday.
So far, an online campaign has gathered nearly $15,000 to help families displaced by the incident. The campaign was jumpstarted by former Town of Herndon mayor Lisa Merkel and Megan Ferguson.
The fire was caused by a charging cable in the bedroom of an apartment, according to fire officials.
The Herndon Police Department had to halt accepting donations at the department’s lobby after an overwhelming amount of donations.
“Amazing! No other word to describe this community and its generosity. We have run out of space here at HPD HQ,” the police department wrote in a statement.
Now, the police department is only accepting gift cards. VISA, MasterCard and AMEX gift cards are needed to cover rent, bills, and groceries. The department is also accepting Target and Walmart gift cards.
Smoke alarms in the building were not working at the time of the incident, according to fire officials.
At Weird Brothers Coffee in the Town of Herndon, Paul Olsen and his staff became a satellite location to accept donations.
“As of [Sunday], Weird Brothers Coffee have collected enough clothing, personal hygiene items, diapers, snacks, and small toys and games for kids and books to fill our truck and take over to the Police Station five times,” Olsen told Reston Now.
The local coffee shop — which prides itself in its local roots — also raised $1,000 from sales on Saturday to help victims impacted by the fire.
“We have been very touched and amazed at the outpouring and speed of the support for all of these families. It is so wonderful to see a community come together in a time of need,” Olsen said.
With giving Tuesday on the horizon, the season of charity and gift-giving has arrived.
A number of local organizations have launched year-end campaigns and donations drives. We’ve rounded up some ways to help your neighbors and local nonprofit organizations.
Drop off new unwrapped toys, games, books, and gifts to any Fairfax County police station through Saturday, Dec. 11. The items will be donated to Fairfax Hospital, the Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center and other children in the community. The Town of Herndon’s police department is also participating.
Toys for Tots
The county’s fire and rescue department is taking part in the annual campaign. Residents can drop off unwrapped and new toys at any Fairfax County fire station through Sunday, Dec. 12.
Knitting Communities Together
Donate new or gently used handmade hats, gloves, mittens, scarves, and socks for adults and children. Items are distributed to local nonprofits like Cornerstones, Homestretch and ShelterHouse. Donations can be made through Jan. 5 at a number of locations, including the Herndon Senior Center in Herndon and the Pimmit Hills Senior Center in McLean.
Reston Winter Coat Closet
The Hunter Mill District Office and Cornerstones are collecting new or gently used winter coats and new hats, scarves and gloves for neighbors in need. Donations can be dropped off at the North County Governmental Center in Reston between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Dec. 11 and Jan. 8.
Reston Elf Store
The recently renamed Cathy Hudgins Community Center at Southgate and the Reston Teen Center are collecting a wide variety of items. Suggested donations include candles, robes, nail polish, home goods, gloves, shaving kits and flashlights. Donations can be dropped off through Dec. 10 at the center in Reston.
The county’s domestic and sexual violence services office is also accepting gift card donations. Mail cards by Thursday, Dec. 9, to Vanessa Cullers at the Domestic Violence Action Center or Gulira Alieva at Domestic and Sexual Violence Services.
The police department’s victim services division is also collecting gift card for child victims and witnesses of domestic and sexual violence. Residents can drop off gift cards or send them to Saly Fayez, Victim Services Section, 12099 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035.
Know of any other local opportunities to get into the giving spirit? Let us know in the comments below.
Seed Money Dedicated to Clean Up Lake Anne Plaza — A local foundation has donated $25,000 in seed money to help clean up Lake Anne Plaza. The beautification project is called “Lake Anne Rising.” [Reston Patch]
Reduced Metro Service to Remain — Metro plans to continue reducing service through Dec. 31 because it has not established a timeline to return the 7000-series fleet in the interest of safety. Nearly 75 percent of Metrorail stations have trains arriving at least every 10-12 minutes. Testing to determine if new inspection intervals are sufficient to safely return trains to service is underway this month. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]
Updates to County COVID-19 Dashboard Expected — The Fairfax County Health Department has updated its COVID-19 dashboard after it discovered that roughly 200 reported cases — mostly from last year — were incorrectly marked as hospitalized. While the individuals were seen at emergency department, they were not hospitalized. [Fairfax County Government]
Photo by David Taube
Reston Lease Gets Best Transaction Award — Boston Properties received the best transaction lease award for executing a lease with Volkswagen Group of America, which is headquartered in Reston. The award was given by the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. [NAIOP Northern Virginia]
Santa Comes to Town — Reston Association has set up a Santa-for-hire event. Residents can book Santa for a 30 or 60 minutes this holiday season. Bookings can be made through Dec. 31. [RA]
Fairfax County Police Department Collects Toys — The department is collecting toys for Santa’s Ride, which delivers toys to children in area hospitals and local charities. New and unwrapped toys, books, or games can be dropped off at any district station now through 9 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 13. [FCPD]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
Body of Missing Man Found — The body of Ganesh Chandrabhata, 60, who was last seen in the area of River Bend Park in Great Falls, was found over the weekend along the shore of the Potomac River in Prince George’s County in Maryland. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Reston Garden Club Celebrates 50 Years — The club celebrated its anniversary with three gifts, including a bench next to The Lake House and $500 for native plants at the Walker Nature Center. [Reston Association]
Attempted Robbery in Reston — A man and a woman attempted to rob a man while was he walking his dog on Sept. 21 along the 1200 block of Exbury Street. No injuries were reported. [FCPD]
Stuff the Bus Returns — The county government and local nonprofit organizations are collecting nonperishable food donations for the annual drive. The next drive takes place on Saturday at various locations between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]
An entity that launched to serve those in need over 50 years ago is celebrating its successes and looking at what’s ahead in order to help others.
What began as religious organizations coming together, the outreach once known as Reston Interfaith has evolved into community centers providing everything from recreational needs to social services, a 24/7 70-bed homeless shelter, over 100 affordable homes and more.
“The single-most-important thing we built is a reputation for reliable, low-drama services to our neediest neighbors,” said Larry Schwartz, chair of Cornerstones’ Board of Directors.
The homeless shelter now bears the name of Embry Rucker, a businessman turned pastor who sought to avoid building churches and instead focus on social services.
As the region changes, the nonprofit expects to double the housing stock it owns, which currently allows people to live in affordable housing while capping families’ costs at 30% of their income.
The Reston-headquartered organization has grown with its donors and volunteers, where before the COVID-19 pandemic it had around 6,000 people helping annually. Their efforts range from aiding Thanksgiving food drives to helping out with winter clothing campaigns.
During the pandemic, the organization also obtained $1.6 million in CARES Act relief to people in need, Schwartz said.
The pandemic was a factor in delaying the organization’s celebration of its 50-year milestone, causing a fundraising gala to be held during the organization’s 51st year now in 2021. It will take place virtually and in person on Sept. 30.
The organization is also highlighting its progress throughout the decades with a gallery of photos capturing key moments, including the opening of the Laurel Learning Center (11484 Washington Plaza West, Suite 200 in Reston) and its expansion with an infant and toddler day care named after former Reston Interfaith CEO Connie Pettinger.
“The families can afford quality childcare while they’re outside the home trying to build the home,” Schwartz said.
Cornerstones’ Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center (1086 Elden St.) at the Dulles Park Shopping Center serves as a one-stop-shop for social services ranging from financial counseling to legal services for immigrants and job training as well as housing a health care center.
While the organization has its roots with religious groups, it changed its name in 2013 as it’s sought to be more inclusive with businesses, civic and community organizations, foundations and other supporters. Nevertheless, the group noted the new name, Cornerstones, is one that “has meaning in many of our faith traditions,” a letter by CEO Kerrie Wilson said.
Currently, Wilson describes Cornerstones as being at the front end of responding to eviction challenges amid the pandemic and helping families stabilize and ensure they have the support they need.
She noted that policies put in place years ago as a country have influenced how people are stuck in poverty and created barriers for home ownership.
“We will continue to serve on the frontlines,” she said, “But I think the biggest additional change and emphasis for us has to be the work in changing policies and systems that will let us truly end hunger and ensure that all families … have that first chance at home ownership.”
Photo via Cornerstones/Instagram
Ida to Bring More Rainy Weather — “The remnants of what is now tropical storm Ida could dump up to 6 inches of rain to parts of northern Virginia and the District of Columbia early Wednesday into Thursday morning…In addition to heavy rain, the storm could bring tornadoes and flash flooding.” [Patch]
Fairfax County Police Gets New Leadership Team Member — “Brian J. Reilly, formerly of the Prince George’s County Police Department, started a new chapter today as the Fairfax County Police Department’s executive deputy police chief. In this new role, Reilly is responsible for the coordination of FCPD’s crime control strategies, policy and legislative initiatives and the implementation of a new data and evidence-based policing strategy that prioritizes community interaction with police officers throughout Fairfax County.” [FCPD]
Local Afghan Restaurant Donates Meals to Refugees — Kabobi by The Helmand, an Afghan fusion restaurant that opened in Dulles Station in 2019, is working with the nonprofit World Central Kitchen to provide home-cooked meals to refugees who have come to the U.S. after the Taliban took over Afghanistan’s government earlier this month. Anyone interested in volunteering can send a direct message to the restaurant to assist with packaging. [Kabobi/Instagram]
Friends of Reston to Hold 5K This Fall — “The inaugural Friends of Reston Fall 5K is coming soon! This video highlights the many ways you, your friends, family, co-workers, and business can get involved, and help support the Reston Youth and Enrichment Fund.” [Reston Association/Twitter]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
FY 2022 Budget Markup Approved — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a markup package for the county’s fiscal year 2022 budget yesterday (Tuesday) that includes a 1% pay raise for county government employees and an additional $15 million for Fairfax County Public Schools, partly to support compensation increases. [Fairfax County Government]
Virginia Reviewing New Mask Guidelines — The CDC released new guidance yesterday (Tuesday) stating that people who have been fully vaccinated don’t need to wear masks outdoors except when in a big crowd of strangers. Gov. Ralph Northam’s press secretary said in a statement that the governor’s office is reviewing the guidelines “to determine if and where we need to make changes” to Virginia’s mask requirements. [Office of the Governor]
New Police Chief Use-of-Force Record Scrutinized — Incoming Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis lost two lawsuits over his use of force when he worked in the Prince George’s County Police Department in the 1990s. In the first case, the plaintiff said Davis pulled him over without giving a reason and violently arrested him, while the second victim alleged that “Davis and other officers essentially kidnapped him for a night.” [NBC4]
Nonprofit Hits Record for Food Donations to Feed Students — Food for Neighbors received more than 21,000 pounds of food from over 1,200 households during its April 24th Red Bag Program food collection, including 5,547 pounds from 366 households in Herndon and Reston neighborhoods. [Patch]
Reston Defense Contractor Acquires Seattle-Based AI Company — SAIC announced on Monday (April 26) that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Koverse, a software company that “provides a data management platform enabling artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning on complex, sensitive data.” [Koverse]
Community Helps Reston Resident with Medical Expenses — A GoFundMe for Reston resident David Vlcek, who suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm, has raised more than $55,000, getting the fundraiser halfway to its $100,000 goal. Started by a family friend, the campaign funds will help defray medical costs not covered by insurance and pay for airfare for Vlcek’s parents, who need to travel from the Czech Republic. [Patch]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Northam to Extend School Year into Summer — Gov. Ralph Northam will announce a plan to extend the school year into the summer today. N details have been released, but the plan is intended to help students catch up. [Inside NOVA]
Reston Association Board to Meet Next Week — RA’s Board of Directors will hold a special online meeting on Monday evening to have a consultation with counsel. [RA]
Food and Coat Drives Set for Tomorrow in Reston — Cornerstones’ Coat Closet is accepting winter items from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at the North County Government Center while Stuff the Bus will have buses parked at the center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for donations. [Reston Patch]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Fairfax County is changing up its Stuff the Bus food drive this winter to support increased demand for food while accommodating challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Typically held twice a year, Stuff the Bus will kick off its 10th year of existence with buses parked at select locations throughout the county from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 30 and Feb. 6.
During the two-day food drive, community members can stop by the buses to donate nonperishable food that will help restock local food pantries, which have reported an uptick in the need for food and drops in volunteer rates during the pandemic.
To prevent the potential transmission of the novel coronavirus, donors should wear a mask or other face-covering when at a Stuff the Bus site, and Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) is directing people to place their donations directly inside the buses through their rear doors, rather than approaching the front door or the bus drivers.
Fairfax County is also encouraging people to make online monetary donations to the participating nonprofits in lieu of donating food in person.
According to the county, virtual donations give food pantries more flexibility, allowing them to purchase in bulk, stock up on fresh food, and obtain “culturally appropriate foods, which better meet the needs of the diverse communities they serve.” It is also less labor-intensive.
“Nonprofits often rely on the work of volunteers to sort and shelve donations,” NCS says. “The COVID-19 virus has greatly impacted volunteers’ ability to serve, especially older adults or those with pre-existing conditions.”
The Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Office will accept donations at 1801 Cameron Glen Drive. A complete list of all locations is available online.
Donations at the McLean Government Center will benefit LINK, which provides emergency food to people in the Herndon, Sterling, and Ashburn communities. The Patrick Henry Library drive will support Western Fairfax Christian Ministries on Jan. 30 and Cornerstones on Feb. 6.
The two Providence District locations — the supervisor’s office and James Lee Community Center — will support the Annandale Christian Community for Action on Jan. 30 and the Falls Church Community Service Council on Feb. 6.
A list of the most frequently requested food items can be found on the Stuff the Bus website.
Based on unemployment and poverty data, the Capital Area Food Bank estimates in its October 2020 Hunger Report that there has been a 48% to 60% increase in food insecurity in the D.C. region since the pandemic began.
Image via Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services
The First Responders Council of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce delivered meals to first responders during the holidays.
The annual drive, which has been in effect for the last 11 years, raised more than $6,000 for more than 500 meals in Reston last month. Food was purchased from local restaurants that are struggled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘Now more than ever the restaurants and First Responders are deservingly soaking up any bit of support from the community,’ GRCC wrote in a statement.
In previous years, food was donated by restaurant instead of being purchased.
Drive sponsors included the following :
- Dave & JoAnne Adams Group – Coldwell Bank Realty
- CST Group CPAs, PC
- Thompson Hospitality
- Chick-Fil-A – North Point Village
- Force Security Services, LLC
- Offit Kurman
- BluePrint Financial Group
- Pineapple Payments
- Edward Jones Investments – Gene Summerlin
- Maggie Parker
- Huey & Associates
- Fatech International
- Katherine & John Deming
- Ellen & Mike Jennings
- Allen & Jennifer Herzberg
County Considers Replacing Parking Lots with Affordable Housing — The county is considering a plan to swap some of its extra parking space at the Fairfax County Government Center for affordable housing. [Greater Greater Washington]
Cloth Mask Donations Exceed 2020 Goal — Fairfax County has exceeded its goal for cloth face mask donations for this year. Overall, 77,010 face coverings were donated and distributed this year after the county put out a call in May. [Fairfax County Government]
South Lakes Senior Organizes Toy Drive Remotely — Amanda Smith, a senior at South Lakes High School, planned a toy drive through the National Honor Society. Nearly 500 donated toys were taken to Arlington for Santa’s workshop. [Fairfax County Public Schools]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
This holiday season, Fairfax County Police Department’s Victim Services is raising donations for children of victims involved in violent crimes.
Victim Services at FCPD supports victims’ families in many ways, according to Supervisor of Hunter Mill District Walter Alcorn. This holiday season, the division will be working to eliminate some of the financial hardship for some families.
“The Fairfax County Police Department’s Victim Services Division provides critical services to child victims and witnesses of domestic and sexual violence,” Alcorn wrote in a recent newsletter.” Many of these children will not get to celebrate holidays this year due to the financial burden that comes with being a victim of crime.”
FCPD is accepting gift cards from stores for children of all ages, Alcorn says, from stores including:
- TJ Maxx
- Local restaurants
- Other clothing stores
Gift cards can be dropped off at the Reston District Police Station (1801 Cameron Glen Drive) or mailed to the station addressed as:
C/O Victim Services/ PFC Horita
Reston District Police Station
1801 Cameron Glen Drive
Reston, VA 20190
For more information about FCPD’s Victim Services, visit its website.
Photo via the Fairfax County Government website
The Quantico toy collection will run through Dec. 13. However, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Station collections are only running through Dec. 12. Individuals can leave small donations in collection boxes outside the front door of each station every day until 8 p.m.
These hubs will accept donations, however, they will not be distributing supplies, according to the campaign website.
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Stations collected around 12,000 toys last year. The entire Quantico campaign collected more than 108,000 toys that were distributed to more than 106,000 children.
Quantico’s Toys for Tots program is run by the U.S. Marine Corps with a mission to collect new toys for distribution to underprivileged children for Christmas. The non-profit aims to inspire these children to become responsible, productive and patriotic citizens through these gifts.
Those who are interested in donating but do not live near a Fire and Rescue Station can visit the Quantico website for a list of more donation centers.
Photo by Ryan Fields/Unsplash