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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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Friday Morning Notes

Word on the street — StreetShares, a financial technology startup, has moved to new headquarters in Reston. It offers a marketplace to provide financing for small business. [Technical.ly]

Calling all volunteers — Reston Association is looking for volunteers to help out with the multicultural festival at Lake Anne Plaza on September 22. To volunteer, contact [email protected]. [Reston Today]

The weekender — Looking for things to do in Fairfax County this weekend? Local officials offer the following roundup of events in the area. [Fairfax County Government]

Summerbration concert tonight — Enjoy a free concert as part at Reston Station Plaza from 7-9 p.m. This week’s event The Swingin’ Swamis. [Reston Community Center]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Out of the fire — Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon received first-time accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums. Congrats on joining the list. [American Alliance of Museums]

Nearby: Two-year-old falls from apartment building — A child died in a fall from the 24th balcony of an apartment building in Fairfax County. The caregiver was in the apartment tending to another child at the time of the fall. [WTOP]

Off to college — Here’s some advice you can give to your kids before sending them off to college this year. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo by Wade Gilley, Sr. 

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Sharing common ground — Fairfax County officials have launched a new newsletter to keep the interfaith community informed of events and opportunities in the area. [Fairfax County Government]

Missing man found — Hassan Sultan, a 48-year-old missing endangered adult, was found today. He was last seen in the 2000 block of Maleady Drive in Herndon. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Problems with Alexandria’s Potomac Yard station — As the Silver Line makes its way into Virginia, there are some lessons to be learned about the need for well-designed entrances and information displays. [Washingtonian]

A hitchhiker on a Lake Anne boat (Photo by Beth Allgaier).

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Silver Line pleads guilty to falsifying concrete tests —  A contractor admitted to falsifying concrete quality tests for stations on the Silver Line extension to Dulles International Airport last week. The contractor, Andrew Nolan, 28, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and faces up to five years in prison. [The Washington Post]

LED lights the way — Fairfax County has entered into a new regional agreement with Dominion Energy that would convert existing streetlights into more energy-efficient LEDs. The company installs, owns and maintains most of the nearly 58,000 streetlights in the county. [Fairfax County Government]

Commuter alert: Lane and ramp closures — A number of lane and ramp closures are effect in Reston and surrounding areas, including Herndon Parkway, Sunrise Valley Drive and Sunset Hills Road through Aug. 11. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Photo by Mike James

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Wednesday Morning Notes

A word about panhandling — Last year, local police received about 2,100 calls related to panhandlers in the county. Here’s what you need to know about laws, public safety and steps you can take if you come across a panhandler. [Fairfax County Government]

Updates on a Herndon apartment fire — A fire sprinkler extinguished a fire in garden-style apartments on the 13600 block of Legacy Circle in Herndon late last week. No one was in the apartment unit that caught fire, but 20 people were in the building at the time. No one was injured. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Nearby: Facebook and Tysons — Facebook, Inc. is edging closer to a deal to open a 75,000-85,000 square foot office in Tysons. [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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