County Remains Among Richest — U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2015 have Fairfax County’s median household income at $112,844, more than twice the national figure. The county trails only Loudoun County ($125,900) and the independent City of Falls Church ($122,092) in the national rankings. [WTOP]
Reston P&Z Committee Meets Tonight — The Reston Planning & Zoning Committee’s monthly meeting will be held tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). Matters to be discussed include JBG/EYA’s project near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. [Reston P&Z Committee]
Wanted: School Bus Drivers — Fairfax County Public Schools has 85 openings for bus drivers. A job fair will be held Friday, Aug. 11, at Stonecroft Transportation Center (4641 Stonecroft Blvd., Chantilly). [Fairfax County Public Schools]
Gas Grill Safety Tips — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue wants citizens to be safe when they fire up the grill to make summer meals. With that in mind, they shared a video from the National Fire Protection Association that includes tips on where to place the grill, how to turn it on safely and more. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Need for More Athletic Fields Broken Down — In Reston Association’s latest “Reston Today” video dispatch, land-use attorney John McBride talks about the requirement for athletic fields in Reston’s Transit Station Areas. The video shows five potential sites where they could be considered. [Reston Association/YouTube]
Transportation Authority Info Session — The public is encouraged to attend an informational meeting tonight with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, to learn about its Draft TransAction Plan and provide comments. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). [Northern Virginia Transportation Authority]
Another Potomac River Bridge? — The idea to ease traffic in the region has been debated since the 1950s, and the North Capital Region Transportation Planning Board will consider listing the bridge project at its July 19 meeting. [WTOP]
Cancellation of FBI Replacement Decried — Fairfax County was one of three finalists for a new FBI headquarters before plans were scrapped. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay, among others, say the decision to abort the project was driven by President Trump’s conflicts of interest. [Washington Post]
Flash Flood Watch in Effect Until 7 P.M. — Multiple rounds of rainfall will occur over the watch area, with the potential for torrential rain rates. Rainfall rates of 1 to 3 inches are expected in the strongest storms. [National Weather Service]
World Music Tonight at Lake Anne — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will continue tonight with a performance by Mystic Warriors. [Lake Anne Plaza]
Alzheimer’s Town Hall Slated — Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) will join community organizations from across Northern Virginia on July 10 for a town hall focused on Alzheimer’s. [Rep. Gerry Connolly]
Government Contractor To Be Acquired — Reston-based government IT contractor NCI Inc., which fired a top executive this year for embezzling millions of dollars in company money, will be acquired by private investor HIG Capital for $283 million. [WTOP]
Jazz Music Tonight at Lake Anne — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will continue tonight with a performance by contemporary Brazilian jazz band Origem. [Lake Anne Plaza]
Metro Employees to Thank Riders Today — Nearly 700 Metro administrative employees will be at Metrorail stations during the afternoon commute today to “personally thank” customers for “their support and continued ridership” during SafeTrack. [WMATA]
Connolly Goes After Nikki Haley — The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations had to defend herself Wednesday when Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) targeted her actions at the U.N. [Washington Free Beacon]
Single Tracking to Cause Long Metro Waits — Starting Saturday until closing time Sunday, Silver Line Metro trains will operate just every 26 minutes. Fare hikes are also in effect, with $2.25 the minimum to ride the Metro. There will be no track work on the Fourth of July. [DCist]
MOM’s Organic Market to Celebrate 30th Anniversary Sunday — All MOM’s Organic Market locations will celebrate the franchise’s 30th anniversary with tastings and family activities. Locally, there is a store at 424 Elden St., Herndon. [PR Newswire]
Fairfax Police Inform About Snake Safety — With warm weather, snakes become more active around the area, so it’s beneficial to know which snakes are venomous and which are harmless. [Fairfax County Police Department]
File photo courtesy Carole Burnett
That’s according to his own personal cover of Time magazine, which the U.S. congressman’s staff created in response to President Donald Trump’s current scandal.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that a slew of fake Time magazine covers featuring the president’s image hang in his golf courses. In response, Connolly tweeted out what may be the most noteworthy reaction yet.
— Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) June 27, 2017
Featuring a full headshot similar to the faux Trump cover, Connolly sprinkled the photo with headlines written in Trump’s linguistic style, such as “FITARA is a legislative smash!” (FITARA is a reform bill for federal information technology).
Jamie Smith, Connolly’s communications director, said that all credit for the tweet goes to the congressman.
“He saw the reports of Trump’s fake Time cover and thought this could be a fun way to highlight the absurdity of it,” Smith said. “We never expected it to go this viral. I guess we will have to hang our cover in our four offices.”
As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the post had more than 5,200 retweets and 19,000 likes, with hundreds of replies and notable comments.
Omg just noticed the headlines. Congressman, your social media person deserves a raise.
— Sarah Mimms (@SarahMMimms) June 27, 2017
I never realized we had such a celebrity in the @OversightDems!
— Raja Krishnamoorthi (@CongressmanRaja) June 27, 2017
We have a winner. No more submissions today. The Internet is now closed.
— TrumpsTaxes (@TrumpsTaxes) June 27, 2017
“The response has been incredibly positive,” added Smith, but there were a few left unimpressed.
Yawn. Nobody cares. Not even your constituents.
— The Mad Moderate (@MadMadModerate) June 28, 2017
U Need2 Stop Your Fake News Agenda!U will Need 2Apologize as CNN FallOut 4Lies!Try Work Instead of Attacking
— Sarah (@deltaweese) June 28, 2017
So, what do you think?
SLHS Class of 2017 Graduates Tonight — The event is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Bank Arena on the campus of George Mason University. [Fairfax County Public Schools]
Nationwide Vigils for Nabra Hassanen — The Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment has planned numerous vigils across the nation in honor of Nabra Hassanen, the Reston teen who was killed Sunday. Events are scheduled in DC, New York, Philadelphia, Boston and more. [WISE/Facebook]
Connolly Talks Issues — Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) held a town-hall meeting Monday night in Reston. Check out his Twitter feed to see what was discussed. [Gerry Connolly/Twitter]
Volunteers Sought for Century Ride — The 35th annual ride is scheduled for Aug. 27, and helpers are needed for planning, rest stops and cleanup. [Reston Bike Club]
Photo of Reston sunset courtesy Lizette Badillo Ryan
Update: Police Not Looking at Teen’s Death as Hate Crime — The Fairfax County Police Department says the killing of a 17-year-old Muslim girl from Reston is not being investigated as bias-motivated. We are continuing to follow this story and will provide more information as it becomes available. [Fairfax County Police Department/Twitter]
Connolly Hosting Town Hall Tonight — Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) will host a town-hall meeting at Sunset Hills Montessori School (11180 Ridge Heights Road) from 7-8:30 p.m. tonight. The congressman will provide a congressional update and then take audience questions. [Eventbrite]
County Seeks Volunteers for Attack Prep — The Fairfax County Health Department has robust plans in place to respond to a wide-scale bioterrorism attack. Volunteers are needed to help with a training exercise Saturday, July 29. [Fairfax County Health Department]
County Office for Children Gets Grant — The grant will allow the office to work with high-quality family child care programs in areas of Fairfax County with concentrated poverty to provide preschool services for eligible children. [Gov. Terry McAuliffe]
Herndon Woman Sees Central Asia — Cathy Alifrangis says her special birthday journey to Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan was filled with culture, history and pleasant surprises. [Washington Post]
Following President Donald Trump’s recent announcement to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, Fairfax County is joining the Mayors Climate Action Agenda.
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors endorsed joining more than 200 other municipalities nationwide in an effort to combat climate change. The three main takeaway points from the Mayors Climate Action Agenda are the development of a community greenhouse gas emissions inventory, the setting of near- and long-term emissions reduction targets, and the development of a climate action plan.
Ten years ago, Fairfax County was part of a similar agreement called Cool Counties. Cool Counties committed Fairfax County to cut the D.C. region’s greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
— Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) June 7, 2017
Through Cool Counties, the county has since reached its initial goal of cutting its per capita emissions by 10 percent. Helene Shore of local environmental activism group 350 Fairfax argues that this hasn’t been enough, but she’d glad the county has recommitted itself.
“We’d like to see 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. We wish that other mayors would hop aboard — it’s important that we address this at a local level and that local governments keep working towards renewable energy, since our central government won’t be doing much work it seems. We don’t have much time left and it’s important that we keep working forward.”
Fairfax County is encouraging residents to get involved, especially in reducing their electricity emissions. Residents can sign up for discounted solar panels, get expert advice on energy savings, checkout a thermal camera from the library and apply for a matching grant to fund any possible projects that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As the federal government inches closer to a possible shutdown at the end of the week, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) says the local economy would be severely affected if no agreement is found.
“As we witnessed during the 2013 Republican government shutdown, Northern Virginia’s economy would be significantly affected. That 16-day shutdown cost nearly $24 billion in lost economic output,” Connolly said in a prepared statement Monday. “It is a reckless way to govern that hurts all Americans and must be avoided.”
The 2013 shutdown is estimated to have cost more than $217 million per day in federal and contractor wages in D.C. metropolitan area. In addition to a large number of federal employees, Reston is home to many government contractors including Leidos, which said in a statement to investors earlier this year that a shutdown could “result in our incurrence of substantial labor or other costs without reimbursement under customer contracts, or the delay or cancellation of key programs, which could have a negative effect on our cash flows and adversely affect our future results.”
Connolly put the blame for a potential government shutdown squarely on the shoulders of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.):
“If Speaker Ryan wants to resort to hostage-taking over a border wall, then Republicans will own this shutdown,” the congressman said. “If he is willing to work with Democrats and pass a clean funding measure, however, then I am confident we can keep government open and working for our constituents.”
Board of Directors Election Winners Announced — David Bobzien, Eric Carr, John Mooney and Victoria White were announced Tuesday night as the winners of the Reston Association Board of Directors election. A full story will be posted later today on Reston Now. [Reston Association]
Report: Man Charged With Sexual Abuse Was Deported Felon — Media in D.C. reports that Oscar Perez Rangel, charged with sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl in Herndon, had previously been deported and was in the country illegally. [NBC Washington/WJLA]
Connolly: Hate Graffiti an Attack on Society — Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Fairfax) says of anti-Semitic vandalism at the Jewish Community Center and Little River United Church of Christ in Annandale that “an attack on one faith is an attack on all.” [Rep. Gerry Connelly/Facebook]
GMU Professor, Students to Perform in Reston — A free concert Thursday by Dr. Patricia Miller, director of vocal studies at George Mason University, and her advanced students will include performances from Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera “Iolanthe.” [Reston Community Center]
Reston’s voice in the House of Representatives, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), has announced that he has joined the growing list of Democratic members of Congress who will not be attending the Inauguration of President Donald Trump on Friday.
In a statement released Wednesday morning, Connolly said Trump has left the country with “open, bleeding wounds.”
“After long reflection I have decided that I cannot attend the inauguration of Donald J Trump on Friday. His behavior and harmful words during and after the campaign have left the country I love with open, bleeding wounds. Instead of binding those wounds, he has poured salt on them. Instead of unifying us, he has reveled in driving wedges between us. His disparagement of an entire religion; his racist rants about minorities; his resurrection of white supremacy; his ridicule of the disabled; his blatant misogyny and boasting of unwanted sexual advances; his intimidation of the press; his repugnant attack on civil rights hero John Lewis; and his disturbing defense of and advocacy for Vladimir Putin — a KGB thug — threaten our democratic institutions. How can I celebrate that? The sordid aspects of his behavior must not become the new normal for America or her presidents.”
Connolly joins more than 50 of his peers who have publicly announced they will not attend the ceremony.
As Virginians prepare to head to the polls tomorrow, Reston Now had a chance to ask a few questions of Reston’s representative in Congress, Gerry Connolly, who is running unopposed for re-election.
RN: What do you most hope to accomplish in your next term?
GC: Protecting and growing Northern Virginia’s economy has always been my top priority. In my next term, I will continue working to end sequestration, get better pay and benefits for federal employees, and give commuters more transportation choices.
Our local economy is a delicate partnership between the federal government and the private sector. My job is to foster that partnership so that both succeed. The good news is our local economy continues to be strong, with an unemployment rate under 4 percent and solid growth.
Over the next two years, I’ll continue working to ensure we attract the good-paying jobs of the future by building on our success in technology to become a national hub for cyber-security investment.
RN: What effect does the winner of the presidential election have on those priorities? Will they change at all depending on whether Clinton or Trump wins?
GC: For the first time in history, one of the two major parties has nominated someone who doesn’t respect the basic norms of our democratic system. He has sought to delegitimize the election results by claiming the vote-counting process is “rigged” and, in an unprecedented manner, signaled that Hillary Clinton’s presidency is illegitimate before it has even begun. (more…)
The sit-in is being led by Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a longtime civil rights leader who says “we have been silent for too long.”
“Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary,” said Lewis. “Sometimes you have to make a way out of no way. We have been too quiet for too long. “There comes a time when you have to say something, when you have to make a little noise, when you have to move your feet. This is the time. Now is the time to get in the way. The time to act is now. We will be silent no more.”
House Floor protest on no gun vote now joined by Senator Durbin of Illinois. Extraordinary event. Unprecedented — Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) June 22, 2016
Connolly, who represents Reston, said in a statement:
The violence must end. In the wake of these almost weekly tragedies, the response from Congress is as predictable as it is disappointing. We offer our thoughts and prayers. We hold a moment of silence; anything to distract from the central cause, and common instrument, of these crimes. How many more must die before Congress acts?
Today, I was proud to join Rep. John Lewis and House Democrats to once again call on Speaker Ryan to bring up a vote on the No Guns for Terrorist bill. Instead of acting, the House Majority decided to shut off the cameras to the People’s House.
Lewis wrote a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan demanding that he keep the House in session through its planned recess to debate and vote on gun control legislation.
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) June 22, 2016
“As the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history has underscored, our country cannot afford to stand by while this Congress continues to be paralyzed by politics,” wrote Lewis, according to CNN.
Other representatives joining the sit-in include Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson; Michigan Rep. Dale Kildee; Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond; Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes; and Connecticut Rep. John Larson.
Photo: Gerry Connolly/file photo
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D), Reston’s Congressional representative, said Metro’s response to the fatal smoke incident near the L’Enfant station last year was “appalling.”
Connolly’s remarks came in response to the National Transportation Safety Board’s report on the incident, which was released on Tuesday.
The report details a series of failures by the transit agency in the response to the Jan. 12, 2015 incident. Dozens of riders were injured, and one woman died.
Connolly said Metro is heading in the right direction under new General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, who “has taken commendable steps to right an agency reeling from crisis-to-crisis in his short time on the job, but he and his new safety team face a monumental task in tackling the institutional challenges that have been allowed to fester and erode not only the basic infrastructure but also rider and stakeholder confidence.”
Said Connolly in a statement:
It has been more than a year since the Yellow Line tragedy at L’Enfant Plaza, and today’s final report by the National Transportation Safety Board on its exhaustive investigation once again brings to the fore the painful and shocking memories of that day, which resulted in the death of Northern Virginia’s Carol Glover and injuries to dozens of other riders.
The NTSB’s findings show a systemic failure of Metro to instill a safety culture from its earliest days, leading to the steady march into mediocrity in which Metro now finds itself. From the lack of basic preventative maintenance to poor management of emergency response, the NTSB’s findings echo similar shortcomings uncovered by the FTA that have put at risk the safety of riders and Metro employees.
It is particularly appalling to learn Metro’s response to reports of smoke was to send trains loaded with passengers into a tunnel to investigate. I am relieved such an outrageous practice is no longer in place, but the mere fact it once existed speaks to the level of indifference to safety that had permeated the agency.
In this definitive report, NTSB has once again clearly made the compelling case that safety oversight would more appropriately be given to the Federal Rail Administration. Oversight is a three-legged stool: enforceable rules, inspections, and enforcement. I believe FRA, not FTA, can most expeditiously meet that challenge as Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia work to stand up the new Metro Safety Commission to provide more robust oversight and accountability.
Metro has been one of the National Capital Region’s greatest successes, but that investment has been allowed to stagnate. New General Manager Paul Wiedefeld has taken commendable steps to right an agency reeling from crisis-to-crisis in his short time on the job, but he and his new safety team face a monumental task in tackling the institutional challenges that have been allowed to fester and erode not only the basic infrastructure but also rider and stakeholder confidence.
It will once again take the combined effort of the local, state, and federal governments to restore Metro to a standard of safety and service for which the nation’s capital and its riders can be proud.
Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) and Mark Warner (D) also said they were “extremely disturbed” that many of the safety hazards have not yet been addressed.
“We urge Metro, the Federal Transit Administration, and regional authorities to move as urgently as possible to ensure that the problems identified in this report finally get fixed once and for all,” the senators said in a statement.
Smoke fills a Metro car on Jan. 12, 2015/Credit JRogers202 via ARLnow.com
“Together, we’ve made investments in education, transportation, and protected Northern Virginia’s economy,” Connolly told more than 1,000 supports at the Kena Shriners’ Temple for his 22nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day event. “We’ve fought hard for health care reform, affordable housing, environmental protections, Wall Street reform, and equality for all.”
“But there is still important work to be done,” he said. “We have to build on the progress we’ve made and continue to grow our economy. Congress needs to pass comprehensive immigration reform, make college more affordable, and enact sensible gun reforms that will keep our communities safe.”
Connolly, who is in his fourth term in Congress, was re-elected in 2014 with more than 57 percent of the vote. Prior to his election to Congress, he served 14 years on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the last five as Chairman.
Thus far, no Republican challenger has been named. The Virginia 11th Congressional District Republican Committee meets May 14, where it will most likely nominate a candidate for the House seat.
Rep. Gerry Connolly/file photo