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Financial Study: Fairfax County is the Best Place to Retire

A new study says that Fairfax County is one of the best places in Virginia to retire.

The rankings were compiled by financial website Smartasset.com, which used factors like healthcare access, the number of retirement-focused recreational centers and overall tax burden, to determine the best places to retire in Virginia.

The website wrote the following description about Fairfax County’s retirement-friendliness:

If you’re looking to retire in the great outdoors, Fairfax County may be the perfect place for you. The region houses many national parks, including Great Falls National Park and Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s first sanctuary for bald eagles. You can also visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

You’d also have more than 300 miles of hiking trails to tackle as you stay active. In fact, the Fairfax County Park Authority runs more than 400 parks among more than 20,000 acres. Some feature wildlife preserves and working farms. But nature isn’t Fairfax’s only perk. You also have more than 200 regional shopping centers. And don’t worry too much about your wallet. The region’s mid-range 16.7% tax burden falls well below that of major cities. So it would behoove you to invest in tax-advantaged savings vehicles like a 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA). And where can you use your hard earned savings? At tons of recreation centers, including an ice-skating rink and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. You also have more than 800 playgrounds you can bring the grandkids to. And if you need it, Fairfax has more than 13 medical centers per 1,000 people. Overall, Fairfax County is definitely the place to retire in if you love the outdoors and still want some action in your life

Other areas that made the list include Falls Church (#2), which was described as a welcome sport for outdoor enthusiasts, and Vienna (#7), which was described as a place best-suited for art lovers.

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Coalition for a Planned Reston Requests County to Hold Off on PRC Zoning Amendment

After a round of meetings with county officials about a plan to increase Reston’s population density, the Coalition for a Planned Reston is asking Fairfax County officials to hold off on officially proposing the amendment until specific issues raised in the meetings are addressed.

A series of workgroup sessions concluded on July 30 regarding the proposal, which would increase the overall per person density in Reston’s Planned Residential Community from 13 to 16 people per acre.

CPR is requesting the following actions, agreed upon by stakeholders involved in the discussions, go into effect:

“Clarification and correction of the Reston Master Plan (RMP), identification of additional information that the County intends to share with the public, and acknowledgment of areas that require further dialogue.”

No dates for the formal introduction of the proposal have been set yet. CPR plans to hold a community meeting after Labor Day to discuss the outcome of the county meetings and seek additional community feedback.

File photo

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Happy people — “Fairfax County was recently rated as the fourth happiest place to live in America, per a study by smartasset.com.” [Fairfax County Times]

Tonight: Tom Sawyer by Impressions Theatre — In this event for children between the ages of six and 12, Tom and Huck’s adventures take them to Paris, Rome and Egypt. The event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the George Mason Regional Library. [Reston Regional Library]

Road closures in effect due to flooding — Multiple road closures are popping up throughout the county due to flooding. The Fairfax County Police Department is tweeting updates. [Fairfax County Police Department]

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Monday Morning Notes

(Updated 1:36 p.m. to remove an event that has already passed)

Warming up to solar? – Fairfax County is holding a free information session today, and will be offering real estate tax credits, solar energy systems discounts, and more to home and business owners. (WTOP)

The throwback comments section – A Reston resident had their Letter To The Editor published in The Washington Post. The topic? The split between Reston and the rest of Fairfax County about density and proposed growth. (The Washington Post)

That’s a lot of butts – Reston business Waitbusters hit 50,000 customers seated since launching their software about a year ago. (Restaurant News)

Everyone’s a critic – A theater review of Reston Community Player’s Thoroughly Modern Millie. Sounds like it was a good time. (Maryland Theatre Guide)

We’re taking a hiatus – Our morning newsletter will be taking a break through May 10, as the editor is away. ARLnow’s assistant managing editor, Bridget Reed Morawski, will be stepping in to cover Reston.

The photo in the morning newsletter was provided with a caption that it is a Great Blue Heron. Another reader has chimed in to say that it is actually a Great Green Heron. Additionally, the Reston editor will be returning May 10, not May 8.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user vantagehill.

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Thursday Morning Notes

The healthiest county — Fairfax County was ranked the third healthiest county in Virginia, following Loudoun and Arlington counties. [WTOP]

Heads up for tomorrow’s Metro commute — Silver Line trains will operate every 24 minutes to due to concrete structural repairs. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

‘Cat On a Hot Tin Roof’ hits the roof — The play by Reston Community Players is listed as the top show of the week by one online magazine. [Maryland Theatre Guide]

A generous donation — Brandon Guyer, a former member of the Reston Herndon Little League and a baseball outfielder for the Cleveland Indians, donated bats to the league. [Reston Herndon Little League]

An oops moment — Good Morning America incorrectly stated a major walkout near a highway happened at South Lakes High School yesterday. Have doubts? Check out the tweet for yourself. [Good Morning America]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Seedling Sale Begins This Month for Northern Virginia

The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District is holding its annual seedling sale for Northern Virginia residents starting this month.

Two seedling packages are being offered for sale. The shrub and small tree package is on sale for $16.95 with 10 seeds, and the tree package features six seedlings for $11.95.

The native seedling sale helps to clean up the water and air. It also helps to prevent soil erosion by keeping the soil in place, said Lily Whitesell, a watershed specialist.

This year’s seedling packages are deer tolerant. Some of the species featured in the seedling packages are less palatable to deer and are fast growing so they can handle some deer as well.

“Across Fairfax County, we’ve really seen a lot of the understory of wooded areas be decimated by deer. We hope this will also help regenerate that growth,” Whitesell said.

Some of the featured plants include Eastern redbud, pawpaw, shortleaf pine, silky dogwood and witchhazel.

“The redbud is of interest to a lot of people because it has a really beautiful spring blossom. A lot of people this time of year are really thinking about the witchhazel because it has a very cool flower in the winter,” Whitesell said.

To keep the seedlings cheap, they are bought in bulk. If someone were to buy the same seedlings sold by the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District at the store, it would cost somewhere between $20 and several hundred dollars, she added.

Customers have until April 11 to order seedlings and can pick them up at the Packard Center in Annandale on April 20 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. or on April 21 from 9 a.m. to noon.

File photo.

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Crime Roundup: Herndon Man Charged with Grand Larceny

On Friday at around 8:18 a.m., the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report about an ongoing larceny at a store on the 46200 block of Potomac Run Plaza.

Cristian Hernandez-Mejia, a 32-year-old resident of Herndon, was charged with grand larceny after police caught him as he attempted to flee by foot to a nearby hotel. He is being held at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center on no bond.

On Wednesday, Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston District Station also reported a burglary on the 12900 block of Park Crescent Circle. Someone entered the residence at around 8:30 a.m. and stole electronics, according to the report.

Meanwhile, in Fairfax County, FCPD’s Reston District Station reported the following crimes in the past week:

LARCENIES:

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, wallet from vehicle

1500 block of Church Hill Place, documents from residence

11800 block of Freedom Drive, cell phone from building

9800 block of Georgetown Pike, liquor from business

1700 block of Port Plaza, parts from vehicle

11800 block of Sunset Hills Road, wallet from vehicle

12700 block of Thunder Chase Drive, purse from vehicle

1600 block of Reston Parkway, property from business

900 block of Walker Road, property from construction site

11900 block of Winterthur Lane, purse from business

STOLEN VEHICLES:

None reported.

As we reported earlier in the day, Fairfax County Police are investigating the stabbing of a male juvenile on Friday in the Hunters Woods Plaza. The victim is recovering from the non-life threatening injury.

Anyone with information about any of the crimes reported by FCPD should call 703-691-2131 or 1-866-411-TIPS(8477), or text “TIP187” plus the message to CRIMES(274637).

Herndon Police Department’s weekly press report has not yet been released. This story will be updated. 

File photo

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Friday Morning Notes

Touching Heart Hosts Movie Watch Party Tonight — The group will host a movie watch party for the release of the movie, “Wonder,” today at 7 p.m. at Bowie Tie Theater. Funds will help fund initiatives to create secure housing facilities for albino children in Tanzania. The movie is based on the New York Times bestseller. [Touching Heart]

Reston-based Company Opens Offices in Mumbai, India — Graphus, Inc., cloud applications cybersecurity company opened a new office in India which will focus on research, development, sales, marketing and expanding the company’s customer base in India. [Graphus, Inc.]

Fairfax Board Offers Same-Day Screening for Mental Health and Substance-Use Concerns — The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board is providing same-day, in-person screening for all ages. Individuals seeking assistance can walk-in without any appointment to the Merrifield Center to address any concerns. [Fairfax County Government]

Mark Your Calendars: Cookies with Santa at The Lake House — Reston Association recently posted a video detailing an event in early December that features cookies with Santa. [Reston Association via YouTube]

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Bikeshare Marks First Anniversary in Fairfax County, More Locations on the Way

Fairfax County is celebrating the first year anniversary of Capital Bikeshare this month as more stations in Reston are on the horizon.

County officials laud the program as a success. According to the Capital Bikeshare’s website, more than 1,000 people have signed up to become members and more than 27,150 miles have been travelled overall. More than 10,000 trips have also been taken with the bikes.

Adam Lind, the county’s bicycle program coordinator, said the county sees the program as a success so far, especially compared to counties like Montgomery County in Maryland and Fairfax County overall.

“Memberships and trips taken have continued to increase and we expect this to continue as we expand bikeshare to new areas of Reston and the county,” Lind said.

Currently, there are 15 stations installed in Reston. Within the next few months, a new station will be on the way near the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. A dozen additional stations are planned for next year in 2019, 11 of which will be funded by a federal grant and pone of which will be funded by a development. Ten of these stations are planned on the south of Toll Road, he said.

Funding is also available for expanding Bikeshare to the west of both sides of the Toll Road within phase two of the Silver Line extension.

The most popular stations are at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station and the Reston Town Center Transit station is the 2nd most busy. The county expects bikeshare to continue to grow as more bike infrastructure is built in the community.

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Monday Morning Notes

Biden Stumps for Northam in Reston — During a roundtable discussion Saturday in Reston Town Center along with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam, the former Vice President emphasized the importance of state politics at a time when he said the federal government has faltered in its responsibilities. Current Vice President Mike Pence was also in Virginia on Saturday, joining Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie on the campaign trail in Abingdon. [The Hill]

‘Light the Night’ Raises Funds for Leukemia Research — The walk Friday night at Reston Town Center was part of a campaign expected to raise $3 million in the fight against blood cancers. [FOX5]

County’s Earners On Par with Manhattan’s, Nation’s Wealthiest — Forbes magazine analyzed U.S. Census data to determine where the highest wage-earners in the nation live. Fairfax County tied with Manhattan for the highest percentage of resident full-time workers making over $75,000, at 49.2 percent. [Forbes]

Police Auditor, Review Panel Taking Complaints — Use of excessive force, abusive language, harassment, reckless endangerment and more concerns about Fairfax County police officers can now be submitted using an online form. [Fairfax County]

King Gets on the Stat Sheet — The Cleveland Browns fell to 0-6 on the season with a 33-17 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday, but South Lakes High School football alumnus Deon King did get on the stat sheet. Playing on special teams, King recorded a tackle of Texans’ punt returner Will Fuller V in the third quarter of the game. [ESPN]

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Friday Morning Notes

Golf Fundraiser Pays Legal Fees in Open Space Fight — Rescue Reston’s recent event at Reston National Golf Course raised money to go toward paying off the $153,000 in legal fees the group has incurred fighting its battle to protect the course from development. [Connection Newspapers]

County Celebrates High-Rise Construction Safety — “The cranes in Reston and Tysons are the most dramatic sign that parts of our county are changing into a more urban environment. Before these new high-rise buildings are built, years of planning go into making sure they are safe for the occupants and the community.” [Fairfax County]

Firefighters Support Breast Cancer Awareness — In an effort to heighten awareness in the fight against breast cancer, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department employees have been authorized to wear FRD-issued pink T-shirts while on duty from Oct. 9-23. The shirts are worn as a symbol of support and recognition for all those who have been touched by breast cancer. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Preparedness Event Slated for Saturday — The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management is partnering with numerous county agencies and other partners, such as the American Red Cross, to host a Preparedness Awareness Weekend (PAW) event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Providence Community Center (3001 Vaden Drive, Fairfax). [Fairfax County Emergency Information]

Digital-Media Company Moves Into New Town Center Home — Intermarkets, a Reston-based digital-media company whose portfolio includes The Drudge Report and The Political Insider, is now headquartered on the 11th floor of Reston Town Center’s One Freedom Square. [Virginia Business]

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Herndon Center Pitched for Amazon’s Second Headquarters — As other jurisdictions make similar bids, local officials will make a combined offer for Amazon’s headquarters to be located on the 26-acre Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon. [Washington Business Journal]

Reston Man Killed in Plane Crash Remembered by Industry — Steven B. Zaboji, who died Saturday in a plane crash near Front Royal, is being remembered as “one of the most iconic manufacturer sales representatives in the consumer electronics industry.” He was the owner of Balaton Marketing, which represented the Yamaha line of electronics and other well-known brands. [Strata-Gee.com]

RA Seeks Volunteers for Halloween Event — Reston Association is looking for volunteers to help with the “Halloween House & Trick-or-Treat Trail,” the Walker Nature Center’s annual Halloween event. The program runs on Oct. 27-28 from 5-9:30 p.m. [Reston Association]

Public Art Reston to Celebrate 10th Anniversary — The nonprofit organization, which formed in 2007, will celebrate its 10th anniversary Nov. 9 with a fundraising event, which will include live music, refreshments, a live auction and a raffle. Public Art Reston’s mission is to inspire a new commitment to public art in order to support community arts and culture in Reston. [Public Art Reston/Facebook]

Registration for Free Disaster-Preparedness Training Open — The Fairfax Fire and Rescue Department is providing free Community Emergency Response Team training, a program that trains residents on disaster response skills like fire safety, light search and rescue and disaster medical operations. The program takes place on Mondays and Wednesdays from Nov. 6 through Dec. 6, from 7-11 p.m. each night. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

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Friday Morning Notes

Date Announced for 2018 Polar Plunge — The 11th annual Virginia Polar Dip at Lake Anne will take place Saturday, Feb. 3. [Lake Anne Plaza/Facebook]

Boston Properties Residential Project Nears Completion — Designed as a gateway to Reston Town Center, The Signature apartments on Freedom Drive and New Dominion Drive are set to become available in January. The 508-unit project will include two towers, two six-story buildings, a specialty grocer and 4,600 square feet of retail. [Washington Business Journal]

Children Left in Car Rescued by Police — The Fairfax County Police Department says a 26-year-old Falls Church woman brought her three children (ages 5, 6 and 7) to work but left them in the car because she didn’t want to bring them inside. FCPD was called to the scene and got the kids out of the car. They were taken to the hospital for treatment of heat exhaustion, and their mother was hit with three counts of felony child abuse. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Fairfax County Promotes Domestic Violence Awareness Month — On a monthly basis, domestic violence hotlines in Fairfax County receive 200 calls and victims request 75 family abuse protective orders. The county is encouraging residents to help prevent and end domestic violence by volunteering with the county’s Office of Women and Domestic and Sexual Violence Services. Volunteers work on special events, help run a 24-hour hotline, among other duties. [Fairfax County Government/Facebook]

Fairfax County Worker Found Not Guilty in Fatal Stabbing — Kempton Bonds, 20, was found not guilty Wednesday of fatally stabbing 35-year-old Tyonne Johns, a caterer at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Chantilly. Bonds was working as a seasonal employee with the Fairfax County Park Authority when the incident occurred last year, according to officials. [FOX 5]

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Open Houses Scheduled at All Fire Stations — In celebration of Fire Prevention Week, all Fairfax County Fire and Rescue stations will be hosting an open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14. Citizens are invited to meet firefighters, see the fire trucks, join in the activities and learn about fire safety. Local stations include Reston (1820 Wiehle Ave.), North Point (1117 Reston Ave.), Herndon (680 Spring St.) and Fox Mill (2610 Reston Parkway). [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Farm Harvest Days Coming Up — Watch the cider press in action, milk a goat, shell corn, peel apples, meet the farm animals, see traditional farm demonstrations, take a wagon ride, hop on the carousel and more during the annual Farm Harvest Days, Oct. 14-15 at Frying Pan Farm Park (2709 W. Ox Road, Herndon). [Fairfax County Park Authority]

County Helping Residents Combat Scammers — This week’s Fairfax 50+ Podcast concerns the county’s new Silver Shield Anti-Scam Campaign, which works to protect older adults by sharing critical information to help them avoid being scammed. [Fairfax County/Soundcloud]

Car Tax Is Due Friday, But Why? — Some historical reference for why Virginia residents must pay an annual tax on their vehicles. [WTOP]

Walking Tour of Colvin Run Planned — The first phase of the Colvin Run restoration project, within Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive), was completed in August. A walking tour of the 2,220 restored feet of the stream is slated for 10 a.m. Friday. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

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Del. Ken Plum: Celebrating Fairfax County at 275 Years

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Fairfax County is celebrating the 275th anniversary of its formation, when in 1742 it was split off from Prince William County to be a separate county encompassing what we now know as the current county plus Loudoun and Arlington counties and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax. It was named for Thomas, sixth Lord Fairfax, who had a proprietary of 5,282,000 acres. For a time a part of the county that is now Arlington County and the City of Alexandria was a part of the 10 square miles that made up the District of Columbia, until those jurisdictions were returned to Virginia.

Fairfax County is compared today with jurisdictions throughout the country as it leads in economic growth and development in many ways. That national comparison was not always appropriate. In its early years, it was a struggling community, raising tobacco with the labor of enslaved black persons. By 1749, the county’s population was 28 percent enslaved persons; by 1782, that number had reached 41 percent.

The county’s early fame came from its two most important residents: George Mason, who wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the Virginia Constitution and whose work led to the Bill of Rights in our national Constitution; and George Washington, who as our first President brought the country together and whose service in office set important precedents that continue today.

Surprisingly, Fairfax County voted with the South to secede from the Union leading up to the Civil War. While the County was not the scene of major military battles, there were many skirmishes and an almost constant flow of troops passing through it. After the war and Reconstruction, investments started to flow to the county that helped its recovery. Although still an agricultural community at that time, the following decades brought significant changes that led to the community as we know it today.

Not surprisingly, one of the big issues was transportation. In the early years most settlements were along the rivers that provided a means for transporting tobacco and crops. As inland developments occurred, there was no governmental mechanism for building roads. Those that were in place were narrow without a hard surface. New turnpikes supported by tolls included the Little River Turnpike, Columbia Turnpike, Leesburg Turnpike and Falls Bridge Turnpike. The start of railroads before the Civil War accelerated with the electric trolley lines that followed. It is estimated that as many as a million passengers or more were carried per year by the Washington, Alexandria and Mt. Vernon electric railways that ran 30 trips per day.

The growth of the federal government after the Great Depression and the World Wars brought huge growth to Fairfax County. Its population of 40,000 grew to 98,000 in 1950, and by 1970 was 454,000. It is now approaching 1.2 million people. Recognized as among the best places in the country to live and to start a business, we have clearly left behind our humble beginnings.

It is worthwhile to remember our history and the 275th anniversary provides many different opportunities. (www.fxva.com/275/)

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