Virginia Marks Washington’s Day — The holiday known as Presidents’ Day in many places around the United States is called George Washington’s Day here in Virginia. Fairfax County is home to Washington’s Mount Vernon, and it offers an explainer for why the name of today’s holiday is different here. [Fairfax County]
League of Women Voters to Host Documentary Screening — “GerryRIGGED: Turning Democracy on Its Head” will be shown at an event jointly hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area and OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting. Two showings Thursday, at 4:30 and 7 p.m., will each be followed by a question-and-answer session. The event will be at the Fair City Mall in Fairfax. [League of Women Voters]
Local Fan’s Baseball “Free Agency” Subject of New Video — Andrew Volpe, of Reston, has made a short documentary film chronicling his father’s quest to find a new Major League Baseball team to follow. Michael Volpe’s journey in the 1990s was the subject of national news. [Fairfax County Times]
General Assembly Looks to Curtail Opioid Abuse — A number of bills that aim to fight opioid addiction have advanced to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s desk. Among them is a bill that would reduce the amount of pain pills health care professionals can prescribe, and one that would require all opioid prescriptions be handled electronically for monitoring purposes. [Roanoke Times]
Afghan Immigrant Shares Story — Today, he works out of government service provider SOS International’s headquarters in Reston, where he lives with his family. A mere two years ago, Naveed was an interpreter in his home country helping with counter drug-dealing operations. While he says daily life in Afghanistan is not the harrowing experience Americans may imagine, he is happy to have his family safe in the U.S. [Fairfax Times]
Community Services Discussion Slated — The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board says it is taking a “fresh look” at how it prioritizes mental health, substance abuse and developmental disability issues. The board wants to hear the opinions of citizens regarding what matters most to them and how they feel it should be handled. The board is hosting a series of community dialogues on the topic, the first of which is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Northwest Center in Reston. [Fairfax County]
Herndon Seeks Input on Proposed Budget — The Town of Herndon will host a public hearing Tuesday, Feb. 14, to discuss its FY2018 budget proposal. Comments may also be made online. [Town of Herndon]
Route 7 Getting Upgrades to Connect Communities — The widening of Route 7 will also include new trails and a tunnel that will connect Tysons Corner to Reston. The plans apply to a seven-mile stretch from the Dulles Toll Road to Route 193, and work is expected to be completed by 2025. [Greater Greater Washington]
Two Area Schools Get New Principals — Fairfax County Public Schools welcomed five new principals this week. Among the schools to receive them are Herndon High School and Herndon Elementary. Herndon High welcomes Elizabeth Noto and Herndon Elementary welcomes Teresa Fennessy. [FCPS News]
Track Work Will Disrupt Weekend Metro Service — Repairs to Metro tracks will mean disrupted Silver Line service this weekend, including some routes being replaced by shuttle buses. In addition, WMATA says Metro will shut down and buses will replace the Orange, Blue and Silver Line routes in downtown D.C. the weekend of Feb. 4-5. [WMATA News]
County’s Legislative Delegation to Hold Public Hearing — Fairfax County’s delegation to Virginia’s General Assembly will hold a hearing for public comment Saturday at 9 a.m. at the County Government Center (12000 Government Center Pkwy.). Speakers who wish give opinions on issues the General Assembly is likely to consider in its upcoming session can register in advance. [Fairfax County]
Virginia Macy’s Stores on the Chopping Block — After disappointing holiday sales, Macy’s announced this week that it will close more than 60 stores nationwide. On the list of closures are the stores in Alexandria and Lynchburg. In addition, the Tysons Corner store’s building has been sold, but Macy’s said it plans to keep the location open by leasing it back. [CNBC]
Where to Celebrate New Year’s in Reston — Where do you plan to ring in 2017? If you’d rather get out of the house than stay home and watch the ball drop on TV, there are a few places offering special celebrations and dinners. [Reston Patch]
Missing Teen Found Safe — Fairfax County police say that 17-year-old Elliot Byrum, who went missing from North Point Village Center in Reston Wednesday afternoon, was found safe Thursday afternoon, after being missing for more than 24 hours. [Reston Now]
Plan Ahead for Childcare on Snow Days — Fairfax County’s Office for Children (OFC) maintains a database of regulated child care programs in the area on its website, including many that offer the option of occasional or back-up care. OFC invites all local parents of school-aged children to browse the database and line up emergency care now for the inevitable snow days ahead. [Fairfax County OFC]
Virginia State Parks Present Free ‘First Day Hikes’ on Jan. 1 — The Commonwealth invites all to celebrate the first day of 2017 by visiting any of Virginia’s 37 state parks, with free admission. Officials are also reprising their annual photography contest — take a photo while hiking or visiting one of the state parks and post it online, and three winners will be selected. Prizes include gift certificates toward overnight stays and a year of free state park admission. [Virginia State Parks]
At Reston Now, we’re taking a break, too. We won’t publish Monday in observance of Christmas Day, but we’ll return with more local news Tuesday.
According to locals officials, here’s what’s closed in Reston around the Christmas holiday:
If you’re going away for vacation this holiday season, the idea of making some extra cash by renting out your home for a few days through a site like Airbnb might seem appealing. But make sure you check with the local rules and regulations, first.
The law in Fairfax County states that only owners of single-family homes can apply for a special permit that would allow them to rent out their domiciles like a bed and breakfast. That means people who own “attached homes” — such as apartments, townhouses and condos — are prohibited from renting out rooms.
Per the staff of the Reston Association, RA members must follow the same rules of the county.
Naturally, the duality means some locals aren’t happy. A blogger at Restonian recently wrote:
Apparently ‘Live, Work, Play, Get Involved’ doesn’t apply to peasants who own townhouses and condos. But – have a single-family home the rest of us can’t afford? Feel free to charge for visits. While this is more the fault of the county than the RA, we wonder what’s next.
RA CEO Cate Fulkerson said the association felt the need to clarify the regulations for RA members’ homes after some people complained.
“Reston Association is obligated to uphold its restrictive covenants. When we learned of home-sharing concerns from some of our members, the first task we undertook was to determine whether the homeowners [were] in compliance with state and local ordinances,” Fulkerson said in an email. “If we find that no approvals of licenses have been obtained, then we set out to work with the owner, in accordance with the Association’s Governing Document, to come into compliance.”
How do you feel about the rules? Weigh in by taking our poll below or letting us know how you feel in the comments:
Fairfax County Home Sales Flat, Unemployment Slightly Up — Between July and October of this year, home sales saw a tiny bump of 0.4 percent, homes were on the market for eight fewer days and home prices were up about 1.5 percent on average when compared to the same period last year. One area that went down, however, was jobs. September’s unemployment rate in the county was up about 0.1 percentage point from this time last year, bringing it to 3.3 percent. [Fairfax County]
Someone is Stealing Holiday Decorations in Reston — Someone is stealing Christmas decorations in one Reston neighborhood. Could it be the Grinch? [Reston Patch]
U.S. Attorney General Speaks at Interfaith Event — U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch delivered a keynote address during a meeting of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Monday morning. The gathering included included Muslims, Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists and Hindus. “When one is threatened, we are all threatened,” Lync said. “That’s the pledge we made as citizens.” [Reston Connection]
Members of the Reston Network Analysis Advisory Group are scheduled to gather in the lecture hall at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive) at 7 p.m., according to an announcement.
RNAG, created by Fairfax County’s Hunter Mill District supervisor, is a group of locals who seek feedback from people who are the most affected by local development and changes to the transportation system. Through the Reston Network Analysis, the county seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of pedestrian friendly streets and paths around the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, as well as the future Reston Town Center and Herndon stops.
The advisory group works with the county and the Virginia Department of Transportation to come up with ways to secure funding for Reston’s network and maintaining local roadways. This fall, RNAG expressed strong opposition to creating a special tax district, in which residents who live near the Metro stations would get taxed to help with road improvements.
A mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain is in the forecast for Fairfax County and the surrounding areas beginning late tonight and lasting through tomorrow morning, according to a winter weather advisory issued by the National Weather Service today.
The wintry precipitation is slated to come between midnight and noon Saturday. Snow and sleet are expected to come first, followed by freezing rain early Saturday morning. The precipitation likely will change to rain by noon.
Snow and sleet accumulation of less than one inch is possible, making roads and walkways slippery.
File photo via Twitter/George Mesthos
Fairfax County to Settle Overtime Pay Lawsuit — The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that fire captains are due the overtime pay that they have been denied for years. The county had reportedly long been denying overtime to fire captains, arguing that they are “executives and administrators” that are not owed overtime pay according to law. A number of Fairfax County fire captains filed a lawsuit in 2014 saying they deserve overtime pay because they are first-responders that do not operate solely as supervisors. The court has awarded Fairfax County fire captains a total of $7.85 million in back overtime pay. [Washington Post]
South Lakes Football Season Comes to An End — It has been a long and exciting season for the South Lakes High varsity football team, but unfortunately, the Seahawks lost to defending state champs the Westfield Bulldogs in the Region 6A semi-finals at Westfield Saturday. The Seahawks, which lost 42 to 12, entered Saturday’s game with a winning record of 12-1. [Reston Patch]
Get Photos In For Your 2017 Tennis and Pool Passes Now – Reston Association members must provide a photo for each member of their household that wants to have a pass for pools and tennis courts. RA says, you can start emailing those photos now to [email protected] with the subject line “Pass Photos.” Be sure to label each photo with the person’s name, and include the name of the primary person and address on the household account. Passes go on sale Dec. 15 through the RA’s new WebTrac system. [Reston Association/WebTrac]
Photo by David Cordts: South Lakes Seahawks varsity football, October 2016
The community center at 12125 Pinecrest Road is scheduled to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of its new soccer area Tuesday at 4 p.m.
“We are very excited to celebrate the opening of our new outdoor soccer court,” said Richard Cabellos, director of the Southgate Community Center, in a statement. “This has been an outstanding example of county-community engagement and participation in turning what was once a little-used tennis court into a highly-popular and exciting activity facility for kids and teens in the area.”
As Jennae Duarte of the county’s Neighborhood and Community Services explains, it was the kids that made it happen. (more…)
I grew up in Alexandria, VA and have lived here the vast majority of my life. I graduated from Edison High School in 2012, and will graduate from George Mason University this December. I am a Democrat and I oppose the Fairfax County Meals Tax. Here is why.
First and foremost, I understand that enrollment in schools has risen, and that teachers are severely underpaid. I understand the important role public education plays in America, ensuring that every child that works hard has the opportunity to succeed. What I do not understand is a Meals Tax.
Attending school at Edison, I had a number of friends that were growing up without parents in their household. No, the parents had not left them. They were working from early in the morning, sometimes before school started, to late at night, sometimes long after their children had slept.
Take my friend, we’ll call him Josh, his parents would drop him off long before school began, and he would walk home in the afternoon because his parents were working. For food, he was on the free-and-reduced meals program, and his parents would give him $5 for dinner since there was no time for them to cook during the week.
Josh’s story is typical. According to a report by the Commonwealth Institute, 8 percent of school-age children are growing up in poverty and 28 percent are on the free-and-reduced meals program. (more…)
Community members, corporate partners, faith communities and local officials will gather Wednesday night at South Lakes High School to kick off the new Reston Opportunity Neighborhood (ResTON) initiative.
Started by Fairfax County, the Opportunity Neighborhood movement aims to identify areas of need, and provide resources that will allow all children to gain a strong academic foundation, family resilience, and “a culture of engagement and success,” representatives said.
The first neighborhood to join Opportunity Neighborhood was Mount Vernon in the Alexandria area. Reston will be the second neighborhood to become part of the program.
Hunter Mill District County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins is a big proponent of ResTON initiative, and will be participating in Wednesday night’s kick-off event, along with Fairfax County School Board Representative Pat Hynes (Hunter Mill).
“I believe children need resources that will allow them to excel,” Hudgins said in an email. “Opportunity Neighborhood is about improving the lives of children and youth, by bringing together County services, school resources and our community partners in cooperative framework. Through this collaboration, we can provide families with a seamless pipeline of programs, services and supports.”
One example Hudgins offered was ensuring that all children have safe and reliable transportation to and from school, and to enriching community events and places like their local recreation centers.
“Lack of transportation can hinder a student’s ability to stay after school to get extra assistance from a teacher or participate in an activity that can shape life skills,” Hudgins pointed out.
“And by transportation, I mean it might not be a train or bus. It could be as simple as a sidewalk that allows a child to walk to their local community center,” she added. “RestON will enable us to identify these issues and bring all of our resources to help solve these broader community issues.”
The ResTON kick-off event takes place Wednesday, 7-9 p.m., at South Lakes High School, 11400 South Lakes Dr. in Reston.
Questions can be directed to Bill Threlkeld of Cornerstones at 571-323-9579 or [email protected].
Photo courtesy Cornerstones.
Capital Bikeshare officially launched in Fairfax County on Friday, with nine stations in Reston and eight in Tysons Corner now available to add another mode to the area’s multimodal transportation.
By the time local officials such as Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va 11th), County Supervisor Sharon Bulova, Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and Del. Ken Plum cut the ceremonial ribbon at Reston Station at 2 p.m., it was most certainly not biking weather as rain began to fall and wind began to blow.
Nonetheless, the bikeshare stations will now offer a new way to get around Reston, 24 hours a day, rain or shine. The county plans to have a total of 29 stations soon (15 in Reston), said county bicycle program manager Adam Lind.
“To be able to stand here with well on the way to 30 bikeshare stations in Fairfax County less than two years after the feasibility study is really a testament to the hard work and effort that went into this,” said Lind.
“Bikeshare is really another transportation option. It is really about solving that last mile of getting people from transit to where they live and work. That is why we concentrated bikeshare from here to the town center.”
Stations that opened Friday include the YMCA Fairfax County Reston; Reston Town Center Transit Station; Reston Regional Library; Reston Station; Temporary Road and Old Reston Avenue; Library Street and Freedom Drive (Reston Town Center); New Dominion Parkway and Fountain Drive (Reston Town Center); Sunset Hills and Old Reston Avenue; and Town Center Parkway and Bowman Towne Drive.
The Reston and Tysons bikeshare operations join the more than 400 stations in the Capital Bikeshare network.
Hudgins said Reston was a natural place to put Fairfax County’s first bikeshare system.
“Reston is a well-connected place,” she said. “We have the [Metro] station, the town center, the village centers and the W&OD Trail. In less than three miles, you can go any of those places. This will be a real connector.”
Hudgins said multimodal transportation has been on the minds of county officials since they started planning for Metro here years ago.
“When we started planing for transit, we said ‘we have got to find out how t0 connect people to transit. We knew that biking would be another option for us. When Reston developed under [founder] Bob Simon — I think he is up there cheering — our village centers are within three miles of transit. This kickoff is just the beginning for us.”
Visit Capital Bikeshare online to see membership options, rates and how to use the system.
Photos: Top. Del. Ken Plum (second from left), Supervisor Chair Sharon Bulova and Rep. Gerry Connolly among VIPS cutting bikeshare ribbon in Reston; Bottom, Bikeshare station at Reston Station.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins will be give an overview of a new Land Use process, Reston Land Use Launch, for the community at the Reston Planning and Zoning committee meeting on Monday, Oct. 17. The The public is invited. The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. at Reston Association’s offices, 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr.
Says Hudgins’ office:
The Reston Transit Station Areas (TSA) and nearby areas are experiencing a large number of development applications. It is challenging for residents to keep current with all the proposals.
This new step in the local process is an attempt to share these proposals with the larger community earlier in the land use process. The goal is to provide information on new applications after they have been filed with Fairfax County Planning Division and afford an opportunity for community engagement early in the process.
There has been community pushback recently, particularly on the redevelopment proposal for St. Johns Wood, that the public is not given adequate notice of redevelopment plans until it is deep in the process and about to get a final review by the Fairfax County Planning Commission and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
The Reston Planning and Zoning committee is an advisory committee organized by the Board of Supervisors. It evaluates the Reston land use applications and shares their comments and suggestions with the Supervisor and the Hunter Mill District representative to the Planning Commission. It does not have official approval capabilities.