Reston, VA

To slow the spread of COVID-19, the National Park Service closed the parking lots around Great Falls Park.

As of yesterday (April 6), people cannot to use the lots, the public bathrooms or water fountains at the park (9200 Old Dominion Drive), according to a press release. It is unclear if street parking will still be allowed.

The lot closure comes after parking filled up during weekends in March, Patch reported.

Instead, people are expected to find other parking arrangements where they can obey the 6-foot social distancing guidelines if they choose to go hiking.

According to a state mandate, people can only leave their homes for essential purposes such as shopping for necessities, seeking medical attention or socially-distanced outdoor exercise.

For people who want to stay home, Reston Now complied a list of other ways they can still stay active and fit.

Photo via NPS/Facebook

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Capital One is closing 37 branches across the country, including seven locations in the DC-area.

The Great Falls location is at 9863 Georgetown Pike in Great Falls Center.

The McLean-based banking giant is responding to changes in customer preferences, according to company officials.

Here’s more from the Washington Business Journal on the closures:

The bank is simply responding to changing customer preferences on how they manage their money, according to Capital One spokesman Derek Conrad, who noted the entire banking industry is being re-shaped to meet new digital demands — with Capital One balancing digital and in-person options.

“Our customers are increasingly engaging with us digitally. We continue to see steady growth in mobile banking, online banking, enhanced ATMs, remote deposit capture, etc., however, we know that many customers still value some physical presence to provide assurance, advice, and the ability to facilitate and support some transactions. We do too. Our goal is to deliver a compelling and optimal customer experience across all channels, not just one,” Conrad said in a statement.

Conrad also said the bank is working to make sure its digital evolution doesn’t inadvertently leave someone behind, and that it will continue to focus on bridging digital barriers to make sure people have access to online banking.

Locations in sterling (45545 Dulles Eastern Plaza) and Centreville (5613 Stone Road) are also set too close.

Photo via Capital One/Facebook

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Great Falls has taken a tiny hit in Bloomberg’s annual index of the richest place in the D.C. area.

The community ranks #20 on the list, down from #16 last year. Great Falls has an average household income of $311,255. Still, the average income of Great Falls rose by 2.7 percent over last year.

Bloomberg’s list is based on average household income and only includes places with at least 2,000 households.

The list includes nine places in the DC area as the richest places in America. McLean ranked 30th on the list, with an average household income of $292,323.

Although Virginia only has a few spots on the list, Maryland ranks sixth among states with six places that made it on the list. Unsurprisingly, Silicon Valley area towns nabbed three of the top five spots.

File photo

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Finn Thai plans on expanding from its original location in Reston to Great Falls.

The restaurant, which serves traditional cuisine from South East Asia, will take over the space currently occupied by Wild Ginger, according to Finn Thai’s owner Willy Chaokrajang. 

Currently, the new Finn Thai location is waiting for approval to serve wine and beer at 752 Walker Road, Suite A.

The eatery is expected to open in February, Chaokrajang said, adding that the location was chosen because he thinks it will be convenient for customers.

“The menu will be similar to what we have in Reston,” he added. 

Currently, the restaurant has three other locations scattered throughout the D.C. area.

Photo via Finn Thai/Facebook

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A two-car crash along Springvale Road has sent one person to the hospital with minor injuries and caused the road to close.

Fairfax County sent out an alert about the crash and road closure near the intersection of Parkerhouse Drive at 9:46 a.m. today (Friday).

Sgt. James Curry, a police spokesperson, told Reston Now that one person was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The road is currently closed in both directions, Curry said that it is expected to reopen soon.

Image via Google Maps 

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Great Falls Library has reopened after a one-day closure yesterday (Thursday).

According to Fairfax County’s website, the library was closed due to lack of heat. Normal operations have now resumed.

The library is open today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is located at 9830 Georgetown Pike in Great Falls.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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The new owners of Normandy Farm in Great Falls want to expand the current equestrian center on the property — with permission from Fairfax County.

The Youngkin family bought parts of the Normandy Farms property (681 Rossmore Court) in 2015 and 2019 before applying for the roughly 31 acres of land to be reclassified as an agricultural and forest district.

The family claims the land has no historical significance for the area but they hope to preserve the nine acres of forest on the property and enhance equestrian infrastructure on the property.

The land includes barns, indoor and outdoor riding arenas, boarding and training facilities, horse pastures, meadows and a pond, which is home to Canadian geese, a blue heron and turtles, according to county documents. The documents also noted that the family plans to maintain the natural importance of the land.

“The proposed application is in conformance with plan goals of preserving the rural character of this environmentally sensitive area,” the application said.

The Youngkin family requested a public hearing with the Fairfax County Agricultural and Forestal District Advisory Board and the Fairfax County Planning Commission to review their application, according to the documents, which likely won’t happen before spring 2020.

The Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to consider the application in February.

Image via Google Maps

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A ribbon-cutting ceremony will celebrate the completion of the Georgetown Pike Trail next week.

The new 4.2-mile-long pedestrian trail will allow passers-by to travel from River Bend Road westward to Seneca Road in Great Falls.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust and other Fairfax County officials will be on-site at the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Falls Bridge Lane at 11 a.m. to announce the completion of the project, according to a press release.

All community members are welcome to attend the free event.

The project began in 2001 and was completed in four parts, according to Fairfax County.

Image via Fairfax County

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A new restaurant that pairs grilled cheese and wine is expected to open soon in Great Falls.

Bites Wine and Grilled Cheese Bar plans to open a 2,064-square-foot restaurant at the recently redeveloped Great Falls Center in mid-November, a restaurant representative told Reston Now.

The Leesburg-based restaurant, which opened in late 2017, pairs grilled cheese and wine.

Photo by Jay Westcott

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A former landfill used by the CIA and the Russian embassy near Great Falls is looking to push past its complicated history and become protected agricultural land.

The current owners of Lockmoor farm (802 Utterback Store Road) went before the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Thursday (Oct. 2) to request that the county label the farm as an agricultural district — ultimately giving the owners a tax break as long as they do not develop the land. They plan to add goats, sheep, bees and possibly a vineyard to the property.

The landfill was in use from 1970 until 1989 and served as a place to dump old tree stumps, earning it the nickname “Stump Dump,” as well as a dumping ground for waste from the CIA and certain foreign embassies, according to a Fairfax County report.

Both the CIA and the Russian embassy used to dump garbage there.

“The Russians arrived every few months, paying the dump fee in cash or bottles of vodka,” according to the Washington Post. “A landfill employee would then call the FBI, whose agents would soon arrive to paw through the discards, usually restaurant receipts and parking tickets but once a stripped-down, brand-new Russian car.”

The almost 69 acres of land was also once a zoo with giraffes, zebras, kangaroos, gazelles, buffalos and other non-carnivorous creatures, according to Fairfax planners. The previous owner also wanted to bring lions and bears to the property, but Fairfax County wouldn’t allow it, Peter Murphy, the chairman of the Planning Commission, said. 

Evidence of the zoo can still be seen from underground enclosures at the base of the hill on the property.

Despite previous uses, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality determined that the land is fit for agricultural use because the soil and water meet safety and health requirements. VDEQ stopped monitoring the area in 2016 and now requests that the current owners maintain the landfill cap, which sits on the top of the hill. 

Partners John Nguyen and Hanna Chakarji bought the land two years ago in pursuit of their lifelong dream of farm ownership, Chakarji told the Planning Commission. 

“When the opportunity presented itself to purchase this property, we jumped, we grabbed it and have no intention of developing it,” Chakarji said. “We want to keep it in its present state, which is beautiful.”

The land is now divided into five parcels. Onlookers can spot the growing Tysons skyline in the background of the property, as the farm sits on one of the highest points in Fairfax County.

Currently, the men own several cows and ducks, 20 chickens and 49 goats. They sell the goats to local restaurants in D.C. and produce more than 1,000 pounds of tomatoes, which they donate to local churches, according to county documents.

Chakarji said their top priority is to integrate the sheep and bees, saying they understand that a vineyard and winery would take time.

“The winery is an afterthought, I’m sure it will take a lot of zoning,” he said, adding that his top priority is to preserve the farmland for his family. 

After an extensive discussion about goats, the Planning Commission recommended approval of the agricultural district proposal, which now heads to the Board of Supervisors next week.

“This was probably the most interesting agriculture and foresting districting we’ve had in a long time,” Murphy said.  

Images via Fairfax County

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A Great Falls home fire on Saturday, Sept. 28 was caused by an electrical event, according to investigators.

An investigation by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department found that the fire, which caused nearly $55,000 in damages, found that the fire was accidental in nature. It began on the outside of the one-story, single-family home after an electrical event linked to the outside flood. light.

Two residents, who were at home during the fire, were displaced. Red Cross assistance was offered but declined.

The fire happened at around 2:19 a.m. No civilian or firefighter injuries were reported

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A ceremony at the Great Falls Freedom Memorial will honor 9/11 victims on the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

“Six residents of Great Falls perished in the 9/11 attacks,” according to Great Falls Freedom Memorial.

The annual remembrance ceremony on Wednesday (Sept. 11) is set to start at 7 p.m.

Frank Sesno, the then-CNN Washington Bureau Chief on 9/11, will be the keynote speaker. The event will also have patriotic songs, a raising of the flags by the Boy Scouts and a candle-lighting, according to the Celebrate Great Falls Foundation.

In the case of rain, the event will get moved to the Great Falls Library (9830 Georgetown Pike).

Attendees can find parking in the library parking lot. While there will be limited seating, attendees are encouraged to bring portable chairs.

Photo via Great Falls Freedom Memorial/Facebook

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A new statewide progressive advocacy group for climate change is set to launch at Great Falls Library on Saturday (August 17).

The group, Earth Rise Indivisible, seeks to seeks to mobilize the public to address what it calls a “climate crisis.”

The science on the climate crisis is precise; climate change is happening, and can likely be attributed to human activities.  We are impacting every facet of life on our planet destructively.  However, we can take action to save our big blue marble.  Immediate action can stop or reduce potential adverse outcomes,” according to a press release issued by the organization today (Thursday).

The event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and features a vegetarian bag lunch, a celebratory happy hour at Old Brogue (760 Walker Road), skill-building workshops, yoga breaks and presentations by Climate Reality and Green New Deal VA.

Registration is open online.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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Eight Native American tribes from the state are set to take part in the Virginia Native American Festival at Riverbend Park in Great Falls next month.

The festival — which includes hands-on activities and live demonstrations — is set for Saturday, September 7 at the park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Demonstrations include storytelling, fire making, archery, spear throwing and making stone tools. Attendees will also get the change to help build a dugout canoe. Vendors will also be on-site to sell Native American crafts, pottery and jewelry.

Registration is $8 online and $10 at the gate.

The Rappahannock tribe dancers and drummers are also scheduled to perform at the event.

The festival is organized by the Fairfax County Park Authority and Riverbend Park, which is located at 8700 Potomac Hills Street in Great Falls.

Photo via Fairfax County Park Authority/Facebook

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Colvin Run Mill Historic Site’s barn will be renamed in honor of two local parks advocates.

The Fairfax County Park Authority voted on July 25 to rename the barn in honor of Robert and Marjorie Lundegard. The board described the Lundegards as advocates who were “a major influence in getting park recommendations for Colvin Run implemented.”

FCPA wrote the following about the couple:

Robert Lundegard and his wife, Marjorie, spent much of their retirement time volunteering and spearheading preservation fundraising efforts at Colvin Run Mill. After Mr. Lundegard’s death in May of this year, he was hailed as a park icon and an “amazing guy” who would be remembered for his love of parks, in particular, Colvin Run Mill Historic Site. He was known as a dedicated and visionary leader who saw the importance and value of educating the public, especially school children, about Fairfax County’s colonial and 19th Century heritage. He pushed for the restoration of the mill and miller’s house, efforts which led to today’s fully operational facilities.

The barn will officially be renamed the Marjorie and Robert J. Lundegard Education Center. Park staff will work with the Friends of Colvin Run Mill to schedule a public ceremony to celebrate the facility’s naming.

The couple raised more than $50,000 to support Colvin Run Mill’s capital improvement plan, which includes renovation of the Miller’s House on the site and the building of a planned visitor education center. They were among the first members of the Friends of Colvin Run Mill when it formed in 1997.

They also raised funds for the mill through a partnership with a local consignment shop in McLean and through Marjorie’s written work about mills in the region.

Photo via FCPA

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