Reston, VA

An MS-13 gang member was sentenced to 28 months in prison for serving as a getaway driver in an armed robbery on the 1100 block of Elden Street.

William Pena, 27, who arrived in the United States illegally, drove several gang members from Maryland to Herndon to rob a store in the Town of Herndon of roughly $19,500, according to court documents. The incident happened on Aug. 18, 2017.

The men entered a neighboring restaurant and kept patrons and staff on the floor for several minutes before escaping from a. Rear exit.

Court documents state that Pene drove three of the armed robbers away from the scene and back to Maryland.

Here’s more on the multi-jurisdictional effort that led to the conclusion of the case:

The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Operation Blue Heat. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

This case is also part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said the case was a “prime example of our need for strong borders.”

After previously being deported, this admitted MS-13 gang member again illegally crossed our southern border to get back into the United States. Then, as we’ve seen so often, once back here in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area he continued his criminal activity and participation in MS-13.”

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Portions of Elden Street will be closed today (Thursday) around 5:30 p.m. due to a planned demonstration in Herndon.

According to the Herndon Police Department, access to Elden Street from side streets between Sterling and Monroe Drive will be blocked.

HPD is providing security and traffic control in order to “ensure a safe environment for lawful demonstrators.”

Herndon residents are expected to take part in a car rally that begins at Herndon Middle Middle School.

The event is intended to show solidarity with the black community following the killing of George Floyd, according to the event page.

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Reston Association Annual Meeting is Tomorrow — The annual meeting for members will take place via Zoom tomorrow at 7 p.m. After members’ comments, the results of this year’s board election will be announced. [Reston Association]

Grove Street Reopens After Accident — The intersection of Elden Street and Grove Street has reopened after an accident caused a shutdown in the area last night. [Herndon Police Department]

Local Transportation Meeting Moved — The Hunter Mill Transportation Advisory meeting, which was originally scheduled for today, has been postponed to May 27 from 8 to 10 a.m. [Walter Alcorn]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Friday Morning Notes

Wind Advisory in Effect Today — Day two of holding onto your hats continues today. The National Weather Service has issued an advisory from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. [National Weather Service]

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Member Tests Positive — A member of the department tested positive for the coronavirus and has not been to work since the symptoms began over three weeks ago. Although no other personnel have tested positive, 17 department members are under quarantine due to unrelated exposures. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

A Feature on The Elden Street Tea Shop — Rachel Eisenfeld, a town resident, reflects on how the Herndon community will get through the coronavirus crisis together. [Reston Patch]

School Lottery Deadline Extended — Registration for the Kindergarten Immersion Lottery and the Magnet School Lottery programs has been extended to Monday, May 4. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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State Gov. Ralph Northam recently ordered restaurants, bars, and gym to enforce a 10-person limit in their establishments.

Unlike DC and Maryland where restaurants were ordered to close earlier this week, many local restaurants are continuing operations. Some are open with reduced hours and while others are shifting entirely to carry out and delivery.

Small businesses are reporting financial distress as COVID-19 continues to spread. So far, the county’s health district has 16 confirmed cases — a number that’s expected to rise as more people receive tests.

Here’s a list of spots to check out for takeout and delivery options. Please note that restaurants are updating hours and policies on a daily basis.

Carryout and Delivery

  • Amphora: Reduced bakery hours on weekdays from 8 am to 6 pm and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call ahead for curbside delivery
  • Ariake: To-go orders only between 11:30 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Bobby’s Bagel Cafe: Carryout and delivery offered
  • CAVA: Some locations have closed, but the Reston location is open for pick up orders
  • CarPool Herndon: Carryout offered; 10-guest limit for dine-in
  • Charred: Customers can grab a $10 cheeseburger with chips and drinks all week.
  • Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant: Foodservice discontinued, but the tasting room remains open
  • Elden Street Tea Shop: Customers can place an order online
  • Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern: Delivery and pick-up only via Doordash. Free delivery is offered within a 10-mile radius. The kitchen is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
  • Lake Anne Brew House: A new “taproom to go” site was launched yesterday (Thursday)
  • Lucia’s Italian Ristorante: The restaurant is also open for dine-in
  • Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls — The owner tells us the Reston Town Center location is open from noon to 7 p.m. Carryout, curbside pickup and free delivery in RTC are available
  • Mission BBQ: Open for take-out and delivery only. Free delivery for all orders of $25 or more through March 31
  • Founding Farmers: Delivery and takeout offered, with first respondents. Current and formers employees get 50 percent off for curbside pick up orders.
  • Finn Thai: Open for dine-in, delivery and carryout
  • Glory Days (North Point and Fox Mill Locations) — Carryout, online ordering and delivery
  • Gregorio’s Trattoria: Open and also offering delivery and carryout
  • Kalypso’s Sports Tavern: Free delivery and takeout
  • Mezeh Mediterranean Grill: Pickup and delivery available. Buy one bowl, get one free.
  • Morton’s The Steakhouse: Takeout offered from noon to 8 p.m. daily. Half off of select wines with purchase of food.
  • Nando’s Peri-Peri: Delivery and carryout
  • Nordic Knot: Orders can also be placed online
  • North Italia: Delivery and carryout offered only
  • Silver Diner (11951 Killingsworth Avenue): Carryout, curbside, and delivery online available
  • Ted’s Bulletin: Dine-in is open “with strict sanitation and health checks,” according to the company
  • The Counter: Online orders open
  • The Melting Pot: Reduced hours from Sunday through Thursday, with an early closing time of 9 p.m.
  • The Counter: Online orders open
  • Virginia Kitchen: Open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Curbside service highly encouraged
  • Weird Brothers Coffee: The Worldgate Metro Plaza location is open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The roasting factory is open on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The coffee shop is also offering takeout, curbside delivery and local delivery

Temporary Closures

Help us update this list by commenting below with the name of the business and a link with details

Photo via Lake Anne Brew House/Facebook

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A new tutoring center plans to open in Herndon soon.

Huntington Learning Center, a nationwide company the offers tutoring for K-12, will open up at 366 Elden Street.

The center also offers test preparation services for the ACT, SAT, PSAT and other standardized assessments. The company has not yet indicated when it plans to open.

Other area centers are located in Ashburn, Sterling, and Centreville. More information about the company’s services is available online.

Image via Google Maps

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Three local businesses decided to partner on a brand new monthly book and tea pairing for people looking for book lovers and stay-cationers.

The program, which makes its debut on Wednesday (Feb. 26), allows people to pick up a predetermined book and tea pairing at Elden Street Tea Shop (714 Pine Street) for $34.95, according to Bridget Blakely, a spokesperson from Mascot Books.

“Three weeks after the pairing’s launch, readers are invited to participate in the novel-tea book club and discussion at the tea shop, ” Rachel Eisenfeld, the owner of Elden Street Tea Shop, said in a Q&A.

Each month, the tea for the pairings will be chosen by Elden Street Tea Shop while books will be chosen by Mascot Books and then supplied by Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive), according to Blakely.

For the first month, program participants will be able to read “Anna Incognito” while sipping a cup of Crème Earl Grey, Blakely said.

“We tried to do a good mix of fiction and non-fiction and caffeinated teas versus herbal teas,” Blakely said.

Going forward, a new pairing will be available at the end of each month, according to a press release.

Photo courtesy Bridget Blakely

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The Town of Herndon is exploring new transportation projects for South Elden Street, Central Elden Street, and the creation of the Metrorail Station Promenade as part of budget planning for capital projects.

In a draft proposal for the FY2021-FY2026 Capital Improvement Program — which creates a six-year schedule for public improvements — the town will pursue five new projects, in addition to 43 ongoing initiatives.

The Town of Herndon is exploring funding opportunities for transportation projects for South Elden Street, Central Elden Street, and the creation of a signature plaza area near the Herndon Metro Station as part of budget planning for capital projects.

In a draft proposal for the FY2021-FY2026 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) — which creates a six-year schedule for public improvements — the town will pursue 48 projects, including five new ones.

The signature plaza area with a public space that extends from the entrance of the Herndon Metro Station to Herndon Parkway is planned. The project, “Metrorail Station Promenade,” will include “rich streetscape and areas for outdoor activities” in order to activate the space.

The plan also includes updates to South Elden Street to replace the undivided five-lane street with a median and left-turn lanes, as well as new pedestrian and bicycle facilities. Pedestrian safety improvements to improve Central Elden are also planned. The town has submitted an application to receive state funding for this project.

Other new projects include security improvements for town facilities and updates to a police server room.

Staff noted that the $54 million total is a big jump from the FY20-25 CIP. But the total net increase is similar to previous years if town matching funds for more than $65 million for Elden Street and Spring Street are taken into account. The current $54 million.

In a memo to the town’s Planning Commission, staff noted that changes to the draft CIP are expected as the town manager finalizes the budget and makes recommendations to the Herndon Town Council.

The commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal today (Monday) at 7 p.m. in the Herndon Council Chambers Building (765 Lynn Street).

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr 

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Hanukkah begins this year on Sunday (Dec. 22) and will end on Monday (Dec. 30).

Multiple events happening around Herndon invite the community to celebrate and participate in holiday traditions.

The Chanukah Gelt Drop will take place at 5 p.m. at the Herndon Town Hall (730 Station Street). People can come and light the menorah while enjoying chocolate from the local fire department. There will be live music, hot drinks, donuts and latkas. Everyone is welcome to this free event.

The Chanukah Hop to the Donut Shop will take place from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at Duck Donuts (300 Elden Street) on Dec. 26 (Thursday). This event is hosted by Growing Jewish Families in Northern Virginia and will feature spinning dreidels, crafts and stories.

The Flip Like a Latke Trampolene Party invites families to Launch Trampoline Park (13348 Franklin Farm Road) from 4:30-6 p.m. for a menorah lighting with a surprise guest, food and raffles. This event is free but there is a suggested $10 donation. All are welcome. No synagogue membership or affiliation is required, according to the event page.

Photo courtesy Chabad Reston-Herndon

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The deadline to participate in Herndon’s Homecoming Parade is approaching.

Monday (Sept. 23) is the last day for organizations to register for representation in the parade on Saturday, Oct. 19. Those wishing to simply watch the parade may line up at 9:30 a.m. around Elden Street on the day of the parade.

“Into the Future” will be this year’s parade theme. Participants are welcome to join the parade with a vehicle-powered float, walking float or a group of people, the application form said.

There will be prizes for floats that demonstrate outstanding creativity and adherence to the theme for the following groups:

  • School Group
  • Performing Group
  • Civic Group
  • HHS Class Float
  • Show Group

Parade organizers want floats to be presentable from both sides, fit the theme and appeal to a wide variety of age groups.

Anyone wishing to volunteer and assist with the parade may sign up online.

More than 58 units and around 1,300 participants took part in the 2018 parade, according to the event website.

Photo via Herndon Parks and Recreation

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A community meeting next week will tackle proposed Fairfax Connector changes that would impact riders in Reston and Herndon.

Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) is seeking the public’s input on proposed service changes to six routes:

  • Route 396: a new route servicing Backlick North Park-and-Ride to the Pentagon
  • Route 306: GMU- Pentagon
  • Route 395: Gambrill-Pentagon Express
  • Route 640: Stone Road-Westfields Boulevard
  • Route 650: Chantilly
  • Route 950: Herndon-Reston

The proposed changes to the Herndon-Reston adjust the running time on Elden Street on Saturdays heading eastbound and westbound between 3-7 p.m.

FCDOT says that the proposed changes for all of the routes “will improve on-time performance.”

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at the cafeteria at Eagle View Elementary School at 4500 Dixie Hill Road in Fairfax on Thursday, Sept. 19.

“In addition to the community meeting, Fairfax Connector staff will connect with customers, in-person throughout September, on routes that are affected by the proposed service changes,” according to FCDOT.

People can submit comments until Oct. 1. After reviewing the feedback, FCDOT plans to bring the proposed changes to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors this fall.

If approved, riders can expect the changes to go into effect in January.

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Four storytellers will share their perspectives about life-changing events at an upcoming panel in Herndon.

After heartbreak and struggles, the authors and public speakers will gather on Saturday, Sept. 14, at Elden Street Tea Shop (714 Pine Street) to discuss their experiences.

The “Tea and Tales Storytelling” event will take place outside. People who register before Wednesday (Sept. 11) get free admission or pay a $5 admission fee at the door.

The theme of the evening will be “turning points.” Each speaker will discuss how tragedies and hardships in their past led them to their current lives. Attendees will hear from Danielle, Amy, Kristina and Jennifer throughout the night.

Danielle will speak on how her rough divorce changed the way she saw love. Amy and Kristina will discuss how medical challenges influenced them.

Jennifer will end things on a lighter note, talking about the new perspectives she got from trying improv, according to the speaker bios.

The event will run from 7-9:30 p.m.

Photo via Elden Street Tea Shop/Facebook

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Several minors were targeted in separate indecent exposure incidents in Herndon in late August on Elden Street.

On August 29, minor victims told police that a man they knew exposed his genitals to them on the 1200 block of Elden Street.

Jabril Mohamed, 47, of Herndon, was arrested for taking indecent liberties with a child and indecent exposure, according to the Herndon Police Department.

In a separate incident also on the 1200 block of Elden Street, a minor said a man she knew was recording her in her room while she was getting dressed. The incident happened on August 29.

Salvador Arnoldo Lima Reyes, 35, of Herndon, was arrested for creating an unlawful image of a minor.

Both men were taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center where they were being held without bond. The Town of Herndon released information about the incidents yesterday (September 3).

Photo via Herndon Police Department

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The Herndon Planning Commission unanimously approved an application to seek state funds for major improvements along Elden Street between Center Street and School Street on Monday (August 26).

At the meeting, the commission approved the $1.8 million project, would brings critical pedestrian improvements to the area. Improvements include wider sidewalks, new curb ramps, landscaping, new crosswalks and new pedestrian signals at the intersection with Grace Street.

The town is seeking federal funding for the project through a set-aside application that can only be used for projects that address unsafe conditions, are near local schools, and cary significant volume of traffic.

“It is a very treacherous walk and so this is a very much needed improvement for our downtown and for that important corridor,” said commission chairwoman Melissa Jonas.

The project adopted a new name — Central Elden Street Walkability Improvements — to capture the scope of the project with more precision.

“We wanted this name to kind of stand out,” said Michael Wallick, the town’s transportation planner.

Commissioners clarified that improvements at the intersection of Center and Elden street — which has a large number of accidents in comparison to other local intersections — will be addressed by another project.

One resident said the median along that road is not wide enough to accommodate delivery vehicles that pull up at the median to unload deliveries. The planned width of that median is 11 feet — one foot more than the minimum state requirement, said John Jay, a civil engineer with the town.

Jay also noted that putting utilities underground is too costly and would exceed the budgeted amount of up to $2 million.

Image via handout/Town of Herndon

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Monday Morning Notes

Safety Reminders as School Begins — As the first day of the school year begins today, state officials are reminding residents to be careful as more pedestrian and vehicular traffic returns to neighborhoods and around schools. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Elden Street Sidewalk Funding Goes Before Commission — The Town of Herndon’s Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on an application to seek state funding for improvements to the sidewalks of Elden Street. [Town of Herndon]

Reston Association Board to Review Budget — The board is expected to discuss and review the first draft of the 2020-2021 budget at its September 26 meeting, which takes place at RA headquarters at 6:30 p.m. [Reston Association]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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