Election Officers Needed for Primary Election in Reston and Herndon

Fairfax County needs election offices for the June 11 Democratic primary election.

The Fairfax County Office of Elections is looking for officers to serve in Reston and Herndon for the primary, during which voters will select a candidate for the Hunter Mill District Supervisor seat.

Election officers must complete a three-hour training before they can work at polls. Training classes will be offered through late May. Officers are paid $175 for a full day, although officers can also volunteer their time.

Bilingual election officers who can speak Korean and English or Vietnamese and English fluently are also needed.

For more information on becoming an election officer, visit the Fairfax County Office of Elections, or call at 703-324-4735, TTY 711.

File photo

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County Takes ‘Short Breather’ After PRC Proposal Deferral

It’s been a quiet two months since the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to indefinitely defer the consideration of the hotly debated Planned Residential Community district proposal in early March.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and the county’s planning staff plan to discuss future steps in an internal meeting by early May, according to a legislative assistant for the Hunter Mill District. The office deferred questions on the proposal and next steps until discussions have taken place and new leadership for the Planning and Zoning Department are updated about the process thus far.

The proposal, which would have increased the maximum allowed population acre in PRC  from 13 to up to 15 people, was put on hold on March 5 at the request of Hudgins. She said she wanted to work with the community to address concerns about the redevelopment of village centers, managing growth with infrastructure improvements, and misinformation in the community.

County officials will likely examine the future of Reston’s village centers before reconsidering the PRC proposal — a plan suggested by the Fairfax County Planning Commission. Hudgins also concurred with the suggestion.

No other information about the future of the proposal was released as the county takes “a short breather,” the legislative assistant told Reston Now.

File photo

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Flash Flood Watch In Effect Through Saturday Morning

After pleasant weather earlier this week, expect conditions to get wet and windy today.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch starting from noon today (Friday) until 5 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday) for Fairfax County.

Isolated thunderstorms are expected to begin in the late morning today, with rain accumulations of up to a half-inch. The main storm front is expected after 4 p.m., with as much as two inches of rain possible across the county.

High winds of 11 to 15 miles per hour, with gusts as high as 30 miles per hour are also expected. Keep an eye out for hail too.

Here’s from Fairfax County Government:

A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. You should monitor weather forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

If you encounter water on roadways, please remember — Turn Around, Don’t Drown! It is never safe to drive or walk into flood waters.

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Cars from Train Near Wiehle-Reston East Detach While Moving — Commuters were appalled Monday night when cars from a train approaching Wiehle-Reston East separated on the track. The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission is now investigating the incident. In a statement, the commission said the first of two cars of a six-car train uncoupled while the train was moving. An investigation is underway.  [Washington Metrorail Safety Commission]

How Reston Became the Place for Tech Expansion — “Sandwiched between major roadways within its close proximity to the nation’s capital, Reston has grown to become a noteworthy technology town in Northern Virginia. Located in an area often dubbed the “Silicon Valley of the East,” Reston continues to see significant growth in the technology sector.” [ICS Blog]

County Responds to Public Record Requests — The volume and complexity of Freedom of Information Act requests continues to increase. Last year, the county received 8,459 FOIA requests, an average of 34 requests per working day. [Fairfax County Government]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Thursday Morning Notes

Reston Association Volunteer Service Awards Next Week — “Two individuals were named as Volunteers of the Year. Doug Britt, who has been instrumental in collecting environmental data, and Cindy Metcalf, who coordinates and leads class instruction on how to start a garden, both won the top honor.” [Reston Association]

Penzance’s Plans for 555 Herndon Parkway — The District-based developer is out with new renderings for its planned development just one tenth of a mile away from the entrance of Herndon Metro Station. [Town of Herndon Government]

Community Emergency Response Guide — The new guide offers tips on how community partners and neighbors should collaborate during an emergency.  [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Joe Heflin

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Here’s What to Do in an Active Shooter Situation, According to Fairfax Police

“Nothing in your hands. Obey commands.”

The Fairfax Police Department has released a short video via Facebook Live giving instructions on what to do if you find yourself in an active shooter situation.

Lt. Brian Ruck, a police officer from the Franconia District, said most shootings are over in around 10 minutes, ending either in “self termination” or law enforcement intervention. Ruck said most shootings are a single shooter, though law enforcement often gets reports of a second shooter in the chaos as a shooting starts.

Ruck encouraged people to follow the “Run, Hide, Fight” policy recommended by the Fairfax County Police Department.

“It’s a decision based model,” said Ruck. “Every situation is different, dynamic and complex. Unfortunately [we] can’t give viewers an exact answer to what they should do.”

If possible, Ruck says anyone in an active shooter situation should do their best to flee the area.

“Running away from the bad situation is ideal,” Ruck said. “But they may have to hide if they can’t. Barricade the door. The last phase is fight. If you have to fight for your life, that’s what you need to do.”

Even once the police arrive, that isn’t always a guarantee of safety. In November, security guard Jemel Roberson was killed in Chicago by police who mistook him for the shooter. Ruck said it’s important to when police show up to empty your hands, show them to police officers and obey commands.

“Get on the ground and have nothing in your hands,” said Ruck. “Expect them to shout at you and have weapons drawn. People see that and it’s traumatic, but officers are going in with intention of stopping a threat… Nothing in your hands. Obey commands.”

If you’re hiding, Ruck says to remain in hiding until the police come and find you.

In the meantime, Ruck encouraged people to be aware of escape routes, hiding spaces, and potential weapons around them.

“Play the ‘what if’ game,” said Ruck. “If I had to fight for my life right now, what around me could I use to defend myself? How could I get out of here? What’s an alternate exit? Not just at work, do it at home with your kids.”

Ruck also encouraged anyone who knows of someone who shows signs of mental distress and might become violent to contact the police. Ruck said a common misconception is that police’s only response is to arrest the person in question. Ruck said police could also help respond to a mental crisis and get the person to care they need.

“We’re told frequently afterwards that people saw the signs, that there was someone exhibiting certain symptoms,” said Ruck. “These people were projecting this and no one called… if you see something, say something.”

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Design Review Board Vote Sets ‘Snakeden’ Stream Restoration Project into Motion

Plans to restore roughly 800 linear feet of Lake Audubon’s streams were approved by Reston Association’s Design Review Board Tuesday night. The project, called Snakeden, would involve tree removal, stream construction and revegetation along RA’s parcels between Cedar Cove Cluster and Wakerobin Lane.

Meghan Fellows, the county’s manager of watershed projects, said a design team has been working on the project, with the input of RA, property owners and residents, for nearly three years.

“The stream is desperately in need of some assistance,” Fellows said at the DRB meeting, noting that portions of the area are degrading significantly.

Richard Newlon, the board’s chairman, said he hopes the project team will minimize the loss of trees by tweaking designs and implementation to conserve trees — even if it meant a minor tweak to save just one tree.

The project was challenged by the need to secure easements across private property and Reston Association property to construct the stream. Land rights for the project were obtained in June following a more than a year-long period of tree and stream surveys and conceptual planning.

After a cycle of revisions, permits were granted in October. After receiving final approval for designs, drawings and permits in the spring of next year, construction is likely to begin in the summer, Fellows said.

Overall, several sanitary crossings in the area are exposed and RA found that 40 trees are likely to fall down if no action is taken. Trees will be replanted during later phases of the project.

County staff estimates the project will cost under $1 million.

Photos via handout/Reston Association

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Tuesday Morning Notes

What you should know before heading to the polls — View your sample ballot online, which includes a public safety bond referendum and two state constitutional amendments. Voters should bring their photo identification and plan ahead, as poll locations will be very busy during peak commuter hours. [Fairfax County Government]

Solidcore is coming to Reston — The DC-based fitness chain, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary, is opening 125 studios by 2022 and one of them will be located in Reston. [Washingtonian]

Reston Town Center Farmers Market canceled today — Due to inclement weather, the second-to-last farmers market in Reston Town Center has been canceled. Next week is the last day to take advantage of the market, which began this fall. [Reston Town Center]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Thursday Morning Notes

Thanksgiving food drive kicks off today — Reston Community Center, Cornerstones, and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce are seeking non-perishable food and other items for the food drive. Requested donations and drop-off options are available online. Donations will be collected through Nov. 19. [Reston Community Center]

Decisions on decisions for Fairfax County Planning Commission tonight — The commission kicks off November with decisions on the Midline project on the north side of the Dulles Toll Road, east of Wiehle Avenue, as well as Woodfield’s plan to replace offices with multi-family units on the opposite side of the toll road. [Fairfax County Government]

Meet the artist event canceled tonight — A performance by Luke Frazier scheduled for this afternoon at CenterStage has been canceled due to an artist injury, according to organizers. Plans are underway to reschedule the performance in the spring. [Reston Community Center]

If you thought it was just the young folks — In Fairfax County, one in seven Medicare beneficiaries leave hospital care with an opioid prescription. Of that number, 42 percent remain on opioids three months later, according to county data. [Fairfax County Government]

Meet the author event at Scrawl Books — Young adult author Jessica Spotswood returns for a conversation about her Cahill Witch Chronicles series and short story collection. Special guest Nura Behgoman from Herndon High School’s book club will also join Spotswood. [Scrawl Books]

Nearby: Information sought on Farea sisters’ disappearance — Local police are looking for information about two sisters from Fairfax County who were found dead in New York several days ago. [Fairfax County Police Department]

(Photo of Lola, a local cat caught “wondering why our azaleas are blooming in late October,” snapped and submitted by Gretchen Bock)

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On the Ballot: $182 Million Public Safety Bond Referendum

Fairfax County voters will be asked to vote on a $182 million public safety bond question on Election Day (Nov. 6).

If approved, the county will sell general obligation bonds to fund renovations, expansions, and the replacement of fire, police, sheriff and court facilities.

The heftiest of the bond referendum is nearly $73 million to replace four fire and rescue departments, which are located in Mount Vernon ($16 million), Fairview ($16 million), Gunston ($13 million) and Seven Corners ($13 million). Each facility is at least 37 years old. An additional $15 million will be used to expand another volunteer fire station.

Roughly $59 million would be allocated to renovate and upgrade the Mason District Police Station ($23 million), renovations to the Criminal Justice Academy ($18 million), and upgrades to a police evidence storage building, which is used to store evidence for the court system.

The courts and adult detention center would also see an additional $50 million in funding. Security systems and major building systems in all three wings of the center need to be replaced, along with nearly $5 million for upgraded lighting, ADA-friendly facilities, and technology updates to the Jennings Judicial Center.

More information about each project is available online.

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Columbus Day: What’s Open, What’s Closed

Columbus Day, a federal holiday that is also a workday for some, is on Monday. Here’s a look at what is open and what is closed for the holiday.

Fairfax County government offices and public schools are closed. Local libraries will also be closed on Monday. No in-person absentee voting will be offered at the Fairfax County Government Center. Reston Association offices, including the Walker Nature Center and Central Services Facility, will also be closed in observance of the holiday.

Reston Community Center Hunters Woods and Lake Anne are open, but check if your individual class or event is scheduled. Fairfax County parks and RECenter are also open.

Meanwhile, Metro will run on a Saturday schedule and Metrobus will operate on a modified Saturday schedule. MetroAccess and paratransit services will operate on a regular schedule.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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County Completes $14 Million Renovation Project of Reston-Herndon Bus Garage Facility

Ahead of the completion of phase two of the Silver Line project, a nearly $14 million renovation project of the Reston-Herndon bus garage facility on 268 Spring Street is complete.

County officials said the facility will help support Fairfax Connector bus operation in Reston and Herndon as the Silver Line project brings more demand to the area.

The project was funded through revenue from the commercial and industrial tax and general obligation bonds. A ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the new facility was held today (September 19).

Staff now have a working environment that is safer, more efficient, and more comfortable than before,” county officials wrote in a statement.

The renovation project includes the following:

  • An existing bay was closed to create a new drive-through bus wash
  • Addition construction for exterior tire storage
  • Upgrades to vehicle lifts and service equipment
  • Creation of automated parts storage system
  • Modernization of drivers lounge and administration areas
  • Addition of new fueling station
  • Replacement of bus parking lot surface with heavy-duty concrete
  • New parking lot for staff

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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New Battery-Operated Bikes Coming to Capital Bikeshare in Reston

New black, battery-operated bikes are coming to Reston’s Capital Bikeshare fleet tomorrow (September 5) through a pilot program by Fairfax County Government.

Roughly 80 bikes will be added to Reston and Tysons Capital Bikeshare locations through a program called Capital Bikeshares Plus. The new pedal-assist bicycles, called e-bikes, allow users to get a small boost and make it easier to pedal uphill and across longer distances.

With the pedal assist feature of e-bikes, shared active mobility will be accessible to a greater variety of riders,” said Fairfax County Bicycle Program Manager Nicole Wynands. “We hope that e-bikes will open the door for more Fairfax County residents and visitors to enjoy the many benefits of getting around by bicycle.”

The new bikes are black and marked with a lightning bolt symbol in the Capital Bikeshare app. But unlike traditional bikes, the e-bikes must be powered on before the start of the trip. Current Capital Bikeshare members can use the bikes at no additional charge.

The pilot program will run through November. County officials expect they will “integrate seamlessly” with the existing Capital Bikeshare system in the county.

Photo via Capital Bikeshare

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What’s Open, What’s Closed on Labor Day

As we head into Labor Day weekend, here’s a look at some area closing for the holiday. 

Public schools, libraries, county offices, the county’s animal shelter, Circuit Court, General District Court, and Reston Community Center will be closed.

Fairfax Connector bus service will operate on a Sunday schedule. The Metrorail system will be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and will also run on a Sunday schedule. Parking will be free at Metro parking facilities and off-peak fares will be in effect. Metrobus will also run on a Sunday schedule.

Most county parks will be open. Frying Pan Farm Park is open but the visitor’s center will be closed. Reston Association offices, including the Central Services Facility and the Walker Nature Center, will also be closed, but RA pools will be open on Labor Day weekend. 

The hours of pools are as follows:

  • North Shore heated pool & spa: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Ridge Heights heated pool: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Lake Newport 50-meter pool: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
All Reston Association offices, including the Nature House and Central Services Facility, will be closed Monday, Sept. 3.

Photo via DKrebs Via Flickr Creative Commons

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Panel on Housing Diversity in Herndon Set for September 5

The Herndon Planning Commission will host a panel discussion on the preservation and enhancement of the town’s housing diversity on September 5. Panelists, which will include Fairfax County Officials and Shelly Murphy, CEO of Wesley Housing, will discuss how to preserve and protect housing diversity in the area.

The event is designed to help the town prepare for the arrival of the Silver line is 2020. The discussion will begin at 7 p.m. in the Herndon Council Chambers (765 Lynn Street).

Other panelists include Tom Fleetwood, director of the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community development and Cynthia Bailey, deputy county attorney.

“Our aim is to listen, learn and then recommend to the Town Council appropriate goals and objectives toward maintaining the housing diversity that is a hallmark of neighborhoods in Herndon,” said Planning Commission Chair Melissa Jonas.

Jonas hopes the event will help the commission better understand the benefits of housing diversity and navigating pressures created by Metro’s arrival.

The event is free and open to the public.

Photo by Cornerstones

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