Local Police Rescue Lost Hikers and Dogs at Seneca Regional Park

Local police helped rescue two lost hikers and two dogs earlier this month.

Ashley Finch, her sister, and two dogs — Lucille and Bo — were lost at Seneca Regional Park in Great Falls after dark.

With only one low-battery phone, the hikers texted 911 at the direction of local emergency staff.

After receiving the text, officers pinpointed their location and texted them a map to guide them toward a nearby house.

The rescue was complicated because of challenging terrain, limited phone service and limited police radio coverage. Both hikers and the dogs were not injured.

“The hikers were then able to work their way toward our helicopter and officers, using their phone flashlight to signal where they were — despite being blanketed by tree foliage and darkness,” the Fairfax County Police Department wrote on Facebook.

When Finch asked how to thank FCPD for their help, the department decided to arrange a union at the dispatch center “so everyone involved would get a chance to meet under less dire circumstances.”

FCPD did not indicate what day the incident occurred.

Photos via FCPD/Facebook

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County Board OKs Thomas Avenue Cut-Through Traffic Restrictions

The Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors greenlighted cut-through restrictions on Thomas Avenue today (June 4).

The restrictions would end Thomas Avenue serving as a conduit to get to Route 7 and the resulting traffic jams during rush hour along the narrow residential road.

Back in January, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) presented potential solutions and gathered feedback from locals concerning ways to limit cut-through traffic at the congested street that lies north of Herndon.

Now, VDOT can install a “No Right Turn” sign from southbound Algonkian Parkway onto westbound Thomas Avenue between 7-10 a.m.

This change has been in the works for almost three years, starting in 2016 with the county board endorsing a resolution to VDOT requesting that the avenue get considered for measures that reduce its volume of cut-through traffic.

Photo via Google Maps

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Public Comment Sought on ‘Connect Route 7’ Project

A $313.9 million project is underway to improve almost seven miles of Route 7 between Reston Avenue and Jarrett Valley Drive. But before construction begins later this year, state transportation officials are courting public comment on the “Connect Route 7” project, which has been contemplated since 1975.

The project, which should be complete by July 2024, widens the road from four to six lanes, adds a 10-foot wide shared-use path on both sides, and improves several intersections along the corridor.

A public meeting on the project is set for May 7 from 7-9 p.m. at Forestville Elementary School (1085 Utterback Store Road) and on May 14 during the same time at Colvin Run Elementary School (1400 Trap Road). Experts will be on hand to answer questions about the project.

It’s possible that more than 500,000 square feet of noise barriers could be installed along the corridor, according to VDOT. Property owners will be surveyed to determine if noise barriers will be constructed.

The project will not be completed until July 2024. Utility relocation could take until the summer of 2023 and right of way acquisition will likely be complete by early 2021, VDOT says.

These improvements will increase capacity, improve safety and traffic flow, and enhance mobility for cyclists and pedestrians, all in conformity with Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan.”

Map via VDOT

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Great Falls Preschool Program Seeks to Expand Programs

Village Green Day School, a private preschool in Great Falls, is expanding its infant care programs in celebration of its 40th anniversary this year.

The school will offer a new infant program this summer in response to growing parental demand for expanded programs, according to Jason Lody, the Executive Head of School.

“As we reflected on our current community’s needs, we also identified a growing need for infant care in Great Falls and its surrounding communities. Because of this we will start a dedicated infant care program with an environment inspired by the Montessori philosophy and use of the Creative Curriculum to support the child’s development during their time here,” Lody told Reston Now.

Although county approval is pending — the school must modify its special exemption with the county — the expanded program is expected to open its doors on August 26.

No changes to occupancy or the number of on-site employees are proposed. But the school is seeking to restrict the enrollment age from two months to three months. The school does not enroll children who are older than one year.

Lody offered the following description about the program:

Village Green’s Infant Program is designed to provide a stimulating environment where each child is provided an individual routine that supports physical, literacy, language, health, and social/emotional learning.  Guided by standards from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) our infant program allows for each child to experience relationship with caring adults who are specially trained teachers with experience in infant care.

The school’s application is set for a hearing before the Fairfax County Planning Commission on July 17, followed by a vote by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on July 30.

Photo via Jason Lody

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New Education Shelter to Open at Riverbend Park

A new shelter designed to support environmental education programs will open in Riverbend Park in Great Falls this spring. Residents can also reserve the shelter for community gatherings and events.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for Saturday, April 27. The $864,000 project — financed through voter-approved park bonds —  also includes 18 new parking spaces and enhanced stormwater management.

Judy Pederson, a spokeswoman for the Fairfax County Park Authority, told Reston Now the new outdoor education shelter “serves a vital role in outdoor education for local school children,” allowing residents to host up to six classes simultaneously. Previously, the park’s facilities only allowed three classes to be held at once — two indoors and one outdoors.

FCPA hopes the new shelter will meet growing demand for additional educational facilities. Buses can also park near boat trailer parking spaces in the lower waterfront parking, Pederson said.

Photo via Fairfax County Park Authority

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Scrawl Books Shares Favorite Books by Local Authors

(Updated at 10:45 a.m. on April 8) Scrawl Books, an independent bookstore in Reston, wants readers to pick up books written by local authors.

The book store first opened in 2015 at Wiehle Metro before moving to its current spot in Reston Town Center at 11911 Freedom Drive.

Along with its broad selection of titles for kids, teens and adult, Scrawl Books hosts weekly events to bring book lovers together for social hours, story time for kids and book clubs.

Reston Now asked Scrawl Books to share some favorite books about Reston or written by local authors. Here’s what the staff recommended, including two authors from Great Falls — L. M. Elliott and Angie Kim, and another book by Reston author Kwame Alexander.

“Hamilton and Peggy” by L. M. Elliott  

Description: L. M. Elliott has researched and written several historical fiction novels for Young Adults, but they are fantastic reads for anyone who loves a great story, history and suspense.

Why we like her: Her book “Hamilton and Peggy” tells about a relatively unknown figure from the Hamilton narrative, Peggy Schuyler. Through Peggy, Elliott proves that girl power was always a thing — even during the Revolutionary War.

The book costs $17.99 at Scrawl Books.

“Miracle Creek” by Angie Kim 

Description: This debut author’s first book, “Miracle Creek” hits the shelves in April, and it is an outstanding, character-driven drama. The story is told through a murder trial, but delves deep into the back story of each character and offers several different perspectives on a controversial medical treatment, cultural differences and our perceptions or misperceptions of people and circumstances.

Why we like her: Her characters are fascinating and the mystery holds up right to the end.

The book costs $17.99 at Scrawl Books.

“The Undefeated” by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Description: The Newbery winner composes novels in verse and poems for a younger audience (mostly middle grade and Young Adult), but his work is so compelling that readers of all ages find it difficult to resist and impossible to forget.  His latest book, “The Undefeated” is based on a poem about black life that originally aired on ESPN and made an incredible impact.  The book is even better!

Why we like him: His writing style is unique and his ability to tell a story is amazing. His support of the local community is immeasurable, and he goes out of his way to inspire kids (and adults) to read and write.

The book costs $17.99 at Scrawl Books.

Photos via Scrawl Books

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Wednesday Morning Notes

“Explore the Universe” — A program at Turner Farm Park in Great Falls will offer people ages 9 to 18 an opportunity to learn about stars and galaxies; dark matter and dark energy; and the physics that helped shape the universe from 7:30 to 8:25 p.m. The cost is $8 per person. [Fairfax County]

Students heading to All-Virginia Honor Groups Concert — Four students from South Lakes High School and six from Herndon High School have been named along with more than 200 students from Fairfax County public schools to the 2019 All-Virginia Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Chorus, and Orchestra. The groups will perform on Saturday, April 6, at the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond. [FCPS]

Absentee voting map — The Virginia Public Access Project has a data visualization showing where Virginians cast the most absentee ballots. [VPAP]

License plate database — “A Fairfax County judge on Monday ordered the Fairfax police to stop maintaining a database of photos of vehicle license plates, with the time and location where they were snapped, ruling that ‘passive use’ of data from automated license plate readers on the back of patrol cars violates Virginia privacy law.” [The Washington Post]

Photo courtesy Tim Boone

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Grilled Cheese Bar Coming to Great Falls Center

Great Falls Center will soon have a restaurant that focuses on pairing grilled cheese and wine.

Renaud Consulting, a commercial real estate company, recently unveiled that Bites Wine and Grilled Cheese Bar recently signed a lease for a 2,064-square-foot spot at the recently redeveloped shopping center.

The Leesburg-based restaurant, which opened in late 2017, makes its sandwiches on bread from The French Bread Factory in Sterling, according to its website.

Great Falls will be the restaurant’s second location, John Marigliano, a senior vice president at Renaud Consulting, told Reston Now.

Marigliano said that the restaurant is currently going through the permitting process for the spot at 9908 Georgetown Pike. He expects the restaurant to open sometime in June or July.

Photo via Facebook

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Friday Morning Notes

Reston fire earlier today — Updated at 2:15 p.m. — Firefighters were on the scene of house fire in 2500 block of Freetown Drive around 2 a.m. The fire is now out. “Two occupants were home at [the] time. Fire in wall, quickly extinguished. Fire accidental. Cause: electrical event within [the] main electrical panel in [the] basement. No civilian or firefighter injuries. Damages: $5,000.” [Fairfax Fire and Rescue]

Development finds financing — “Rooney Properties secured $29.1M in preferred equity from Parse Capital for the 407-unit Faraday Park development… The project, branded as Faraday, will consist of two seven-story multifamily buildings with 10K SF of ground-floor retail at 1831 Michael Faraday Drive in Reston.” [Bisnow]

Playdate Cafe — The Great Falls Library is hosting a playdate from 10 a.m.-noon for kids under the age of 5 accompanied by an adult. [Fairfax County]

Photo courtesy Adam Smith

 

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Planning Commission Advances Great Falls Assisted Living Facility

The Fairfax County Planning Commission supported a plan to add an assisted living facility in Great Falls at its meeting last night (March 14).

The 62-unit assisted living facility would be run by IntegraCare at 1131 Walker Road — right above Leesburg Pike and close to Colvin Run Mill. Verity Commercial is partnering with IntegraCare for the development.

The 33,429-square-foot-facility aims to fill a growing need in the community — about 35 percent of the Great Falls population is age 55 or older, according to Verity Commercial.

The new facility would also serve the local community in another way. “One of the problems in Great Falls is we have a limited amount of meeting space,” Dranesville District Planning Commissioner John Ulfelder said.

He requested that small groups have access to the facility’s meeting space when it is not being used for the facility’s programming.

The building’s design is meant to have an intimate feel, with short corridors and scattered communal areas.

The facility also plans to include a theater with a system for the hearing impaired, a demo kitchen and auto door opening where residents wear a bracelet that only lets them open their own doors.

Outside, a 10-foot trail along the front of the facility would connect to Colvin Run Road so that the residents may enjoy nearby eateries.

“It’s an outstanding proposal, an outstanding facility,” Ulfelder said.

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Where to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Around Reston, Herndon

Looking for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations? You’re in luck.

Whether you want to enjoy a pint of Guinness or dance an Irish jig, locals in Reston, Herndon and Great Falls have a variety of events to choose from.

Reston

The Foley Academy of Irish Dance will give a dance performance and lessons at the Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) on Saturday (March 16) from noon-1 p.m. All ages are welcome to attend.

Over at Reston Town Center (11911 Democracy Drive), a Lucky Leprechaun 5K will take place at 8 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day. Registration costs $40 until Friday (March 15) and then the price hikes up to $45. Online registration will remain open until 7:30 a.m. on the morning of the race.

The Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 N. Washington Plaza) plans to host a St. Patrick’s Day Weekend that kicks off on Friday (March 15) with a classic and modern rock performance. On Saturday, the tavern will have face painting from noon-4 p.m. before the Irish dance demonstration by the Foley Academy of Irish Dance begins.

The schedule for the Irish holiday itself is packed:

  • DJ Crisis Panic: noon-8 p.m.
  • face painting: noon-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.
  • Irish dance demonstration by Foley: starts at 4 p.m.
  • Sam Gunderson & the Cactus Groove: 8 p.m.-midnight

The Lake Anne Brew House (11424 W Washington Plaza) will offer an Irish brunch on Sunday from 11 a.m.-noon. The menu will feature new twists on Irish favorites for $39.

Herndon

Over in Herndon, Ned’s Devine (2465 Centreville Road) will throw a party starting at 10 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day featuring back to back live acoustic acts, Irish dancers and party favors.

Performances include:

  • Brian Franke: noon- 3 p.m.
  • Laura Farrell: 3-6:30 p.m.
  • Levi Stephens: 6-9 p.m.
  • Screaming Monkeys: starting at 9:30 p.m.

P. J. Mulligans (2310 Woodland Crossing Drive) will feature Irish food and music over the weekend. On Saturday, a midnight Guinness toast will kick off St. Patrick’s Day.

Great Falls 

The Old Brogue (760 Walker Road) will celebrate its 38th anniversary with four shows and a pub bash.

Reservations are required for the four concerts by Tam McGeady and the Mostly Irish Band. The shows include food and range from $40 each for the two lunch-time shows to up to $50 for the last of the two evening performances.

Diners over the age of 21 also have the option of enjoying all-day entertainment by Ted Garber in the pub where traditional Irish beers will be served from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. There will be a $10 cover charge.

Photo courtesy PRRacing

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Crime Roundup: Great Falls Homeowner Finds Broken Window, Trespassing Evidence

A Great Falls homeowner found on Sunday (March 10) a broken rear window and evidence that people had been inside the home, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Police said that nothing of value was taken because the house in the 9700 block of Mill Run Drive was vacant.

The Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston District Station reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARCENIES:

1800 block of Cameron Glen Drive, cash from vehicle

2500 block of Centreville Road, wallet from location

2200 block of Colts Neck Road, jewelry from residence

2200 block of Colts Neck Road, bag and jewelry from residence

12800 block of Fantasia Drive, medication from residence

12000 block of Greywing Square, airbag from vehicle

12000 block of Greywing Square airbags from vehicle

12000 block of Greywing Square airbag and steering wheel from vehicle

11400 block of Heritage Commons Way, wallet from residence

1200 block of Lamplighter Way, license plates from vehicle

1400 block of North Point Village Center, merchandise from business

11600 block of North Shore Drive, medication from residence

1200 block of Reston Avenue, electronic device from vehicle

10100 block of Walker Lake, pistols from residence

2200 block of White Cornus Lane, airbags from vehicle

1800 block of Wiehle Avenue, beer from business

11900 block of Winterthur Lane, airbag from vehicle

STOLEN VEHICLES:

None reported

File photo

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Peet’s Handing Out Free Coffee and More This Weekend in Reston

Before its opening next week at Reston Town Center, the coffeehouse chain will hold a free pre-opening gathering where locals can get a free cup of coffee from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. tomorrow (March 9).

As part of the celebration, Peet’s will be collecting in-kind donations for Shelter House, a non-profit organization that provides crisis intervention, safe housing and supportive services to homeless families and victims of domestic violence.

Locals can donate the following new and unopened items:

  • diapers (sizes 4, 5 and 6)
  • pillows
  • toiletries
  • pots, pans and silverware
  • $5 Visa or American Express gift cards

In addition to the Saturday event, Peet’s at Reston Town Center (11830 Freedom Drive) will keep collecting donations during the first full week of its opening.

Tomorrow (March 9)

  • Run or walk (8 a.m.) — Lace up your sneakers and join the Reston Runners for either a 3-mile walk or 5-mile run, starting at 11120 South Lakes Drive.
  • Colvin Run Mill During Special Tour (10:30 a.m.) — Go to Great Falls for a hike around the 200-year-old working mill. The “Four Floor Tour Class” involves climbing steep stairs get to spots not seen on the regular mill tours. The tour may last up to two hours and costs $10 per person.
  • Bookworms Club (11 a.m.) — Scrawl Books will have authors Mary Quattlebaum and Joan Waites bring their animal tales, followed by an art project with the authors.
  • Chinese Dance Workshop (2-3 p.m.) — Kids can enjoy a performance by the Xuejuan Dance Ensemble and learn about China’s different ethnic groups at the Herndon Fortnightly Library. Attendees will receive a short dance lesson.
  • Astronomy Festival (6 p.m.) — Head to the Observatory Park at Turner Farm for guided star gazing and listening to ancient stories about the constellations around a campfire. Tickets are $10.

Sunday (March 10)

  • Reston Friends Mystery and Adventure Sale (1-5 p.m.) — get ready to investigate the wide selection of titles available at the Reston Friends Mystery and Adventure Book Sale at the Reston Regional Library.
  • Youth Art Month Exhibit Reception (2-4 p.m.) — Enjoy a reception for an exhibit including Reston elementary school student art at the Jo Ann Rose Gallery.
  • Sunday Afternoon Dance (2:30-4:30 p.m.) — Dancers can do the foxtrot, swing, cha-cha and waltz at RCC Hunters Woods. Tickets cost $5 for Restonians.
  • Sunday Country Western Dance (5:30-8 p.m.) — get your boots on for some line dancing, two-step, shuffle and swing at RCC Hunters Woods. Tickets cost $5 for Restonians.
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Mardi Gras Party at Kalypso’s and More This Weekend in Reston

Mardi Gras is next week, and a celebration this weekend at a Reston restaurant wants to get locals ready for the annual carnival.

On Sunday (March 3), Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 Washington Plaza) will hold a Mardis Gras celebration with the Reston Historic Trust and Museum.

Local band Catchin’ Toads is set to perform, and a Mardi Gras mask parade will take place around 6:30 p.m.

The event runs from 4-7 p.m. and has a suggested donation of $20, which will go to the Reston Historic Trust and Museum’s Lakeside Pharmacy Icon Preservation Project.

Tomorrow (March 2)

  • Town Hall on Fiscal Year 2020 Budget (8:30-11 a.m.) — Locals in the Hunter Mill District can attend a town hall at Frying Pan Farm Park Visitor Center (2709 West Ox Road) to get more information on the proposed budget plan. Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, County Executive Bryan Hill and Fairfax County Public Schools staff will give the presentations.
  • Herndon Community Roundtable (9-11 a.m.) — The Town of Herndon wants residents to share their thoughts and ask questions at a community roundtable at the Herndon Municipal Center (777 Lynn Street) this Saturday (March 2).
  • Spring Flea Market (9 a.m.-noon) — Looking for small appliances, books, jewelry, clothing, tools or toys? Find hidden gems to be take home at RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road).
  • Colvin Run Mill During Special Tour (10:30 a.m.) — Go to Great Falls for a hike around the 200-year-old working mill. The “Four Floor Tour Class” involves climbing steep stairs get to spots not seen on the regular mill tours. The tour may last up to two hours and costs $10 per person.

Sunday (March 3)

  • Reston 10-Miler (8 a.m.) — Head to the South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive) for the run. Friday (March 1) is the last day for the regular pricing at $50 before it increases to $55 this weekend.
  • Through the Eye of the Needle II” (all day) — A group exhibit by the Cotting Quilters at the Jo Ann Rose Gallery (1609-A Washington Plaza) ends Sunday.

Photo via Facebook

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