Morning Notes

A childcare group gathers at a playground (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Google Announces Vaccine Mandate — Google, which employs more than 420 people in Virginia, has extended its work-from-home policy through Oct. 18, but COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for workers who return to offices. A spokesperson told Reston Now that the pandemic has not affected the tech company’s real estate plans, which include an expansion at Reston Station. [CNBC/NBC4]

E-Scooters Spotted in Reston Town Center — At least 15 rentable, battery-powered Bird scooters have been set up in Reston Town Center as part of the company’s Fairfax County deployment. Restonian deems RTC “actually a decent place for these scooters” and looks forward to using them to “effortlessly scoot from the Apple Store to the former site of the Macaroni Grill to pay our #respects some day in the not-so-distant future.” [Restonian]

Taste of Reston Will Be “Reimagined” — The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is turning its annual Taste of Reston food festival into a single-day event with reduced capacity that will unfold throughout Reston, rather than the usual multi-day affair at Reston Town Center. With more pressing issues weighing on patrons and restaurants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a cancellation last year, the chamber feels “this is the time to reimagine how we produce future Taste of Reston events.” [Patch]

Herndon Police Chief Advocates for Mental Health Resources — As president of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police & Foundation, Herndon Police Chief Maggie DeBoard joined other law enforcement and mental health professionals on Tuesday (July 27) to urge the state to allocate more resources to mental health services. She argued that police shouldn’t be tasked with handling mental health issues. [Patch]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce logo (courtesy Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce)

The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce will host a panel tomorrow morning (Wednesday) to help employers help navigate questions about whether they can require COVID-19 vaccinations as more workers return to offices.

Co-sponsored by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and the accounting firm Miller Musmar, the hour-long discussion will be lead by attorney Maureen E. Carr, a shareholder of the law firm Bean, Kinney & Korman. She specializes in employment law and commercial litigation.

According to the event description, Carr will go over the legal rules and implications of businesses requiring their employees to get vaccinated:

Attendees will learn:

  • How to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (?ADA?), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (?Title VII?), and other federal, state, and local employment laws.
  • The latest Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) COVID-19 guidance to address vaccination issues.
  • Potential legal consequences of requiring employees to be vaccinated.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued new guidance on May 28 stating that federal laws do not prevent employers from requiring all employees to be vaccinated in order to enter a physical workplace.

“In some circumstances, Title VII and the ADA require an employer to provide reasonable accommodations for employees who, because of a disability or a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance, do not get vaccinated for COVID-19, unless providing an accommodation would pose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business,” the guidance said.

The Washington Business Journal reported yesterday (Monday) that a survey conducted in February by an employment law firm found that less than 1% of responding employers were requiring vaccinations, with another 6% saying they planned to implement a mandate in the future.

However, there are some signs that businesses could be warming up to the idea, particularly after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by workers over a Texas hospital’s vaccination requirement.

“Employment law attorneys say more businesses are now seriously considering vaccine mandates than they were three months ago,” the WBJ said. “They anticipate the number of employers implementing a mandate will climb in the months to come, with health care providers likely to lead the way.”

The Reston Chamber event will take place from 8:30-9:30 a.m. tomorrow. Registration is required by 8 a.m. the day of the talk to receive the Zoom link. Chamber members can participate for free, while non-members pay a $15 fee.

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Morning Notes

Taking a walk on North Shore Drive (Photo via vantagehill/Flickr)

Fairfax County Commemorates COVID-19 Losses — The Northern Virginia Regional Commission held a COVID-19 Remembrance Ceremony at the Fairfax County Government Center last night to recognize the more than 2,350 lives that have been lost to the pandemic. The ceremony streamed live on Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay’s Facebook page.

Sunset Hills Road Sidewalk Closes for Reston Station Construction — “Beginning yesterday, June 8, the sidewalk on Sunset Hills Rd. near the intersection of Wiehle Ave. will be closed long-term due to the ongoing Comstock construction projectSee the map for closure area and alternative pedestrian route.” [Hunter Mill District News]

County Board Approves PIVOT Grant Program — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday (June 8) to create a new grant program that will use $25 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to support businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will focus on the hotel, food service, retail, and arts and culture industries with applications scheduled to open from June 23 through July 9. [Fairfax County Government]

Democratic Primary Favors Moderates over Progressives — Three of the Virginia General Assembly’s most outspoken Democrats lost their seats on Tuesday (June 8), as voters largely opted for more moderate candidates backed by the party’s establishment. The upset incumbents included Herndon Del. Ibraheem Samirah as well as Prince William’s Del. Lee Carter and Del. Mark Levine of Alexandria. [Virginia Mercury]

Reston Chamber Offers Grants to Business — The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce’s nonprofit subsidiary INCspire Education Foundation is launching a BizMaker Grant Program to “promote inclusive entrepreneurship and a diversity of economic opportunities for businesses committed to job creation and revenue generation within Fairfax County.” [Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce]

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Morning Notes

Cicadas Light Up Local Weather Radar — Weather radars in the D.C. area, including one in Sterling, have been picked up a lot of activity in recent days that the National Weather Service believes stem from insects, including the Brood X cicadas that have been making noise around the region since early May. [Capital Weather Gang]

Connolly Cross Country Trail to Partially Close — “Starting on Monday, June 21 and continuing through July 9, 2021, the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail will be closed between mile markers 3.2 and 3.8 in the Difficult Run Stream Valley Park north of Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) while crews perform maintenance on the Potomac Interceptor sanitary sewer. Signs and barricades will be in place to alert the public.” [Route 7 Corridor Improvements/VDOT]

Reston Chamber Hosts Valor Awards — The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, which is serving as host for the first time after taking over from the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, announced the recipients of the 43rd annual Fairfax County Valor Awards yesterday (Tuesday). The awards recognize heroic acts by first responders from the county’s public safety agencies as well as the Town of Vienna Police Department and Virginia State Police. [Patch]

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The First Responders Council of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce delivered meals to first responders during the holidays.

The annual drive, which has been in effect for the last 11 years, raised more than $6,000 for more than 500 meals in Reston last month. Food was purchased from local restaurants that are struggled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Now more than ever the restaurants and First Responders are deservingly soaking up any bit of support from the community,’ GRCC wrote in a statement.

In previous years, food was donated by restaurant instead of being purchased.

Drive sponsors included the following :

  • Dave & JoAnne Adams Group – Coldwell Bank Realty
  • CST Group CPAs, PC
  • Thompson Hospitality
  • Chick-Fil-A – North Point Village
  • Force Security Services, LLC
  • Offit Kurman
  • BluePrint Financial Group
  • BEI
  • Pineapple Payments
  • Edward Jones Investments – Gene Summerlin
  • Maggie Parker
  • Huey & Associates
  • Fatech International
  • Katherine & John Deming
  • Ellen & Mike Jennings
  • Allen & Jennifer Herzberg
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On Nov. 19, The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce held its 2020 Awards for Chamber Excellence (ACE), recognizing the most engaged businesses, members and committees of the Chamber community over the last year.

In past years, awardees are honored in June at an annual membership meeting luncheon, according to a press release from the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce.

However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the luncheon could not take place. Instead, the Chamber held a virtual event to recognize and appreciate the honorees for their hard work and contributions. 

The 2020 ACE Award Winners are:

The full list of ACE sponsors and nominees can be viewed on the award website

The 2020-2021 Chamber Board of Directors was also announced after being confirmed by membership in June.

Image courtesy of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce

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The Reston Community Center is working with the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, Reston Association, and Cornerstones to expand its Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive this year.

The drive is introducing two “Stuff the RA Camp Van” events this month, according to a press release from the RCC, encouraging people to bring non-perishable food and other items to the RA Camp Van. The van will be open at these places and times:

  • Saturday, Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the SunTrust Bank parking lot at South Lakes Village Center.
  • Saturday, Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. next to the BB&T Bank at North Point Village Center.

The Annual Thanksgiving Drive as a whole will run through Nov. 23. There are collection boxes at RCC facilities, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and other drop-off points, according to the release. People are encouraged to donate non-perishable food and gift cards, amongst other things. 

“The impact of COVID-19 has been profound, and the challenges faced by families struggling to meet their commitments during the pandemic are enormous,” said Leila Gordon, the RCC Executive Director. “We know that keeping our community strong and safe depends on the generosity of those who have the ability to give. We are very grateful for all the support people can offer.” 

Those looking to volunteer can sign up to be a Volunteer Loader on Nov. 24 or 25, or a Volunteer Food Sorter on Nov. 26 or 27. The events will be held with social distancing, mask-wearing, and smaller group sizes.

Photo via the RCC website

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Phase Two of Election Week to Continue — From this morning to Friday at noon, localities will process mail ballots that were received by 7 p.m. yesterday but not counted that night and hose delivered by USPS and postmarked by Election Day. [Virginia Public Access Project]

Thanksgiving Food Drive Underway  Reston Association is teaming up. With Cornerstones, Reston Community Center, and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce to help families need. Donations of non-perishable food and other items can be brought to the SunTrust Bank parking lot (11180 South Lakes Drive) on Nov. 7.  A second donation site is planned at North Point Village Center. [RA]

Herndon Man Arrested in Connection with Robbery — “Mohamad Alie Bangura, 30, of Herndon, VA, was arrested for the robbery of a fellow passenger on public transportation. Additionally, Bangura was charged with disorderly conduct and public intoxication. He was transported to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center where he was held without bond.” [Herndon Police Deprartment]

Photo via Marjorie Copson

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The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce has opened registration for its Annual Pumpkin 5K and Movement Challenge. 

The month-long fitness celebration offers four different challenges encouraging good health for the community to participate in: a one-mile run/walk, a 5K run/walk, the “Halloween 13” consisting of a 13-mile virtual run around Reston, and several moving minutes challenges of 500, 700 or 1,000 minutes, according to the event’s website

The 5K challenge can be completed by run, walk, swim or bike. Additionally, after registering for one event, all events are unlocked — meaning those who want to participate in multiple challenges can. Registration is available on the website for $30. 

For those who aren’t interested in the races, the three different moving minutes challenges log exercise activity over the course of the month until reaching one of the time goals. Participants can choose any physical activity of their choice to log, from golf, to yoga, to a game of pickleball. 

Participants are also able to create teams to go head-to-head with their neighbors, according to the website. The challenge is also handing out gear, including a commemorative short-sleeved shirt, a commemorative medal, a printable custom bib and more. 

Local businesses looking to promote their products are encouraged to sponsor the 5K, and can do through the website

Photo via the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce

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Another major event in Reston has been canceled due to health concerns posed by COVID-19.

The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce decided to cancel this year’s Taste of Reston, the largest outdoor food festival in Northern Virginia, due to the pandemic.

“Taking everything into account, this decision supports the community’s efforts to keep us safe and healthy during these unprecedented times,” according to a press release.

Taste of Reston is expected to return to Reston Town Center next summer on Father’s day weekend on June 18 and June 19.

This year’s festival was originally expected to take place in late September. 

Late last month, the Greater Reston Arts Center announced that it is also canceling the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival this year due to similar concerns.

Photo by Don Renner

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The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce has elected its 2020-2021 Board of Directors.

Dee Kakar, vice president at M&T Bank, will begin his term as board chairman. He replaces Maggie Parker, senior vice president of community relations  at Comstock, who ended her year of leadership. Tom Madden of Visual Impact Productions will take over as chair-elect. Parker will continue in to serve on the board in her new position as secretary.

“The 2020 – 2021 year will be a challenging yet defining year for businesses and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce,” Kakar said. “I am committed to the challenge of furthering the conversation on diversity, social injustice, and inclusion. We will invent new ways of promoting business and continue our history of being a leader in the Dulles Corridor.” 

A complete breakdown of this year’s Board of Directors is below:

  • Matt Clary, law offices of Matt Clary
  • Kendal Coleman, CST
  • Charles Kapur, GRCC
  • Joe Becker, Not Your Average Joe’s
  • Matt Brennan, Brennan and White
  • Iris Britt, Iris Britt Consulting
  • Steve Coniglio, Hidden Creek Country Club
  • John Deardorff, Reston Hospital Center
  • Michael Delpierre, Conversion
  • Bailey Edelson, JBG Properties
  • Jame Estep, John Marshall Bank
  • Mike Franz, SOSi
  • Leila Gordon, Reston Community Center
  • Bob. Hicks, Bean Kinney & Korman
  • Mike Jennings, BEI
  • Andy Klaff, Newmark Knight Frank
  • Alex Lane, Northwest Federal Credit Union
  • Hank Lynch, Reston Association
  • Jeff Makhlouf, Sheraton Reston
  • Colin May, KME.digital
  • Mike Misleh, Veatch Commercial
  • Shane Murphy, Reed Smith LLP
  • Andrew Painter, Walsh., Colluci, Lubuley & Walsh
  • Chris Pharo, Leidos
  • Kenyetta Price, Boston Properties
  • Anne Rosenblum, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority
  • Laura Siko, Northern Virginia Community College
  • Kevin Taylor, CDB-X
  • Gordon. Thrall, ,Geurnsey Office Supplies
  • Monica Tressler, Sandy Spring. Bank
  • Tyson Warren, Hyatt Regency Reston
  • Carrie Welch, Comfort Works
  • Charlene Wheeless, Charlene Wheeless, LLC
  • Kerrie Wilson, Cornerstones

Charles Kapur, president and CEO of GRCC said the chamber has been “blessed with corporate citizens” who accepted nominations to serve as members of the board.

Each year, the chamber’s membership elected the chair-elect and new and re-appointed members of the Board of Directors. This year’s slate was unanimously approved by GRCC’s membership, Kapur said.

Photo via Myers Public Relations, LLC

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To help startups and small business owners, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce decided to host free online “business success” webinars.

These online events will teach people how to manage various challenges, covering issues like prolonged teleworking and financial strife, according to a press release.

Each event will be held through Zoom, a free digital teleworking software.

“These are free webinars designed to provide education around issues that are on the minds of people and businesses right now as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” the press release said. “They have also adapted their popular Business Education Series (BES) to a webinar format.”

Though the seminars kicked off on March 27, there are several more scheduled in the next couple of days.

On Wednesday (April 1) people will be able to attend the digital seminar “Practical Tips for Prolonged Teleworking“from 1 until 2 p.m.

A seminar on “Financial Advice for Yourself, Your Business, and Details on SBA Loans” will be hosted on April 3 from 1 until 2 p.m.

To finish off the series, “How to Maintain Wellness (Physical, Mental and Nutritional) When it Matters Most” will be held from 1 until 2 p.m. on April 7.

People can visit the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce‘s website for more information on upcoming digital events.

Photo courtesy Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce 

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Thursday Morning Notes

Donations Sought for Diva Central Dress Drive — Reston Community Center is looking for formal dresses, shoes, jewelry handbags, and accessories for the annual prom and middle school formal dress giveaway. Donations will be accepted through Feb. 29. [Reston Community Center]

It’s All Business for Reston Chamber’s New President — “When Mark Ingrao, the former CEO and president of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce announced he was leaving in June 2019, the Chamber went on a national search to find his successor. In the end, the organization opted to choose someone from within — Charles Kapur, a local banker who was then serving as the Chamber’s chairman of the board.” [Reston Patch]

Accident Closes Spruce Street in Herndon — An accident that happened around 4:30 a.m. this morning has prompted the closure of Spruce Street. Drivers should use Locust Street or Vine Street to detour around the accident scene. [Herndon Police Department]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The latest tenant to open near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station is celebrating its opening at an event next week.

M&T Bank, which is located at 1886 Metro Center Drive, plans to hold a grand opening on Wednesday, Jan. 22.

The company says the new location will “include more business bankers to meet the needs of local small-business customers and feature a new design intended to improve the customer experience by removing barriers between customers and bank employees.”

Customers of the M&T’s former branch at Wiehle Avenue are encouraged to visit the larger branch at Reston Station, the company says.

Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce President Charles Kapur will attend to share a few remarks. 

Image via Google Maps

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The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce relocated to new offices earlier this month.

Chamber officials celebrated the move from Suite 150 to Suite 230 at 1886 Metro Center Drive at a ribbon-cutting event on Friday, Jan. 10. The organization is responsible for managing business growth and development in the Dulles Corridor.

Late last year, the chamber named Charles Kapur, a banking professional, as president and Chief Executive Officer.

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