Wednesday Morning Notes

Honoring the Greatest Generation — Students from Herndon High School’s marching band reflect on their travels to Normandy, France, where they performed in the festivities commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day. [Fairfax County Public Schools via YouTube]

HawkEye 360 Closes on $70 Million Deal — The Herndon-based company, which uses formation-flying satellites, closed on a $70 million financing round led by Airbus, which bases its North American operations in Herndon. [DC Inno]

StreetShares Raises $30 Million — The Reston-based company raised nearly $30 million in fresh debt funding. The company specializes in small-business loans to veterans. [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via Dario Piparo/Flickr

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Local High School Students to Receive School-Issued Computers This Fall

Students at Herndon and South Lakes high schools will go home with a school-issued laptop in the fall as part of a new countywide initiative when schools begins in late August.

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) plans to issue a computer to all high school students in the county through FCPSOn. By 2023, all students in the county could go home with laptops.

School officials say FCPSOn will transform learning for students and educators by providing “equitable access to meaningful learning experience and technology to support their learning.”

Devices will not replace teachers. Teachers are supported through ongoing, dynamic professional learning for teachers that will result in purposeful, collaborative student learning experiences,” FCPS wrote in a statement.

SLHS and HHS staff plan to distribute laptops during Teacher Advisory classes during the first week of school. A community meeting to discuss the initiative is planned for August.

The program requires an annual $50 fee for high school students. The fee covers technology support services and the potential costs of replacing equipment in need of repair.

FCPS also allocated $4.3 million in the fiscal year 2020 budget for the initiative. The budget was approved on May 23.

Students can use their own laptop instead of a county-issued laptop, but they must receive approval from their school to do so.

A pilot program first began in 2016 for schools in the Chantilly Pyramid.

More information about the rollout of the program in Reston and Herndon will be available over the summer.

Video via FCPS

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Thursday Morning Notes

Parents Respond to Herndon High School Porn Case — Concerned parents gathered this week to discuss the case of a former Herndon High School drama teacher who is accused of possessing child pornography and unlawful filming. Police believe Raphael Schklowsky may have also set up two cameras at the school. [WUSA 9]

Fireworks Safety Demonstration Tomorrow — As the Fourth of July approaches, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is hosting a demonstration on how to safety use fireworks. The demonstration is set for 10 a.m. at the Fire and Rescue Training Academy. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Free Yoga at Reston Station — Beloved Yoga will offer free yoga lessons today (Thursday) from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the plaza. [Reston Station]

Registration Deadline for Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta — The deadline to register a boat to participate in the event is on Monday, July 1. The event is set to take place at Lake Anne on Saturday, August 10. [Reston Historic Trust & Museum]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Police: Former Herndon HS Teacher Recorded Illicit Videos of Students in School

A former Herndon High School teacher recorded dozens of illicit videos of students with hidden cameras around the school for more than a year, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

During a news conference on Wednesday (June 19), police said Raphael Schklowsky, 36, of Reston will face additional charges in connection with filming multiple students. Schklowsky is currently in jail due to previous charges for unlawful filming and possessing child pornography.

Maj. Ed. O’Carroll, commander of FCPD’s Major Crimes Bureau, said that FCPD has not determined the new charges yet. He says female students were filmed while undressing.

“The case remains active. Detectives have been working diligently on this case and our other important cases to bring justice and closure,” he said.

So far, police contacted nine people after identifying them from photos of videos taken by the former drama teacher. Videos were taken between May 2017 and June 2018, according to O’Carroll.

Some photos were taken outside the area, including New York, O’Carroll said. Authorities in other jurisdictions are conducting their own investigations.

Charges against Schklowsky have slowly built up as police discover new details about the investigation. Previously, police discovered over 3,500 videos on various devices.

At a hearing in May, he was charged with 20 felony counts of possession of child pornography and one felony charge of unlawful filming.

He has been on leave since his arrest, according to a spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools. His next court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 6.

Any individual who think they may have been recorded by Schklowsky should call the police at 703-246-7800.

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Local Police Identify Juvenile Victims Unlawfully Recorded by Former Herndon HS Teacher

Local police have new leads on a pornography and unlawful recording case involving a former drama teacher at Herndon High School.

The Fairfax County Police Department is holding a press conference at 4 p.m. today (Wednesday) after they identified juvenile victims unlawfully recorded by Raphael Schklowsky.

Schklowsky, who already had earlier charges related to unlawful filming, is facing 20 felony charges of possession of child pornography and one felony charge of unlawful filming. 

Detectives discovered more than 3,500 videos on multiple electronic devices, police said. Schklowsky, 36, was originally charged with four misdemeanor counts of unlawful filming on April 8. 

Schklowsky has been on leave since his April 8 arrest. He was initially charged in early April when a woman told police she found a hidden camera inside an air conditioning vent in a home where she was working. Detectives found evidence of unlawful filming and arrested Schklowsky.

No other information was immediately available.

Photo via FCPD

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Pride of Herndon Returns from D-Day Celebrations in France

Herndon High School’s band took part in the 75th anniversary of D-Day celebrations in Normandy — returning with enhanced appreciation of the crew members who served on the USS Herndon during the invasion.

Several students dressed in original uniforms worn by USS Herndon sailors and the band also took a flag that flew on the USS Herndon.

Band members marched through the American Cemeteries in Brittany and Omaha Beach and performed in the D-Day Musical Salute to Liberation.

Varun Natarajan, a Herndon High School junior and a member of the band, said the experience increased his appreciation for those who sacrificed their lives during the invasion, as well as the unique role the USS Herndon played.

“We heard some very impactful speeches by people who participated in D-Day. Hearing the veterans describe D-Day gave me a new sense of perspective on what the invasion was like, and how intense the fighting was. Three students from our school also got to speak about what this means to them,” Natarajan said.

Photo via Herndon Band/Facebook

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Monday Morning Notes

Pride of Herndon Band Leaves for D-Day Celebrations Tomorrow — “The Herndon High School band of Herndon leaves Tuesday to participate in 75th D-Day celebrations in Normandy. Band members will carry pictures and stories of crew members who served on the USS Herndon during the invasion.” [WTOP]

Candidates for Fairfax County Board of Supervisor Discuss Stances on Cycling Issues  The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling caught up with two candidates running for the seat of Hunter Mill District Supervisor. Candidate Walter Alcorn says he hopes to “accelerate existing plans to enable non-motorized access to transit stations and work centers” while candidate Maggie Parker discusses how biking is “a great equalizer.” Other candidates did not respond immediately to requests for comment. [Fairfax County Alliance for Better Bicycling]

Last Day for “LOVE” Letters in Reston Town Center Tomorrow — The iconic letters sign will leave RTC tomorrow as they tour 11 different sites in Fairfax County to celebrate the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s 50th anniversary of “Virginia is for Lovers!” [Reston Town Center]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Pride of Herndon Heads to Normandy for D-Day Anniversary

Herndon High School’s marching band heads to Normandy, France on Tuesday (June 4) to take part in a parade marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The parade, which organizers say celebrates the “liberation of Europe,” is set for June 13

The Town of Herndon gets its name from U.S. Navy Commander William Lewis Herndon, who died in 1857. Two U.S. Navy ships were named the USS Herndon after the commander as well.

The first ship with that name was given to Great Britain before the U.S. took part in World War II and the second ship, nicknamed the Lucky Herndon, led major assaults on D-Day.

Planning for the trip has been underway for months. The band has raised around $600,000 for the trip through a combination of community events, sponsorships and donations.

As they perform, band members wearing original USS Herndon dress blues will carry a
marching banner that pays tribute the Lucky Herndon. In addition, students will carry photographs of each of the 301 men who served on board on D-Day.

File photo

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BREAKING: Herndon HS Drama Teacher Faces 20 Charges of Possession of Child Pornography

Raphael Schklowsky, a drama teacher at Herndon High School, faces 20 felony charges of possession of child pornography and one felony charge of unlawful filming. 

Detectives discovered more than 3,500 videos on multiple electronic devices, according to the Fairfax County Police DepartmentSchklowsky, 36, was originally charged with four misdemeanor counts of unlawful filming on April 8. 

He was charged with the additional offenses today when he attended a hearing at the Fairfax County Courthouse. He is now being held on no bond.

Schklowsky has been on leave since his April 8 arrest. He was initially charged in early April when a woman told police she found a hidden camera inside an air conditioning vent in a home where she was working. Detectives found evidence of unlawful filming and arrested Schklowsky.

Photo via FCPD

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Herndon HS Students Showcase ‘Mind, Heart and Vision’ in Upcoming Exhibit

Art students at Herndon High School have been busy preparing their senior theses. Some of their work will be on display in an upcoming ArtSpace Herndon exhibit next week.

The 9th annual exhibit, “Mind, Heart, Vision,” will include media like fine art photography, graphics and studio art. The school and ArtSpace Herndon partnered to make the exhibit, which displays juried artwork in a professional gallery, possible.

A reception is set for April 24 (Wednesday) from 6-8 p.m. Art will remain on display from April 23 (Tuesday) through May 11 (Saturday). The exhibit is located at 750 Center Street.

Artwork will be available for purchase.

Image via ArtSpace Herndon

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Town of Herndon ‘Crescent’ Eyes Remaking by 2035

A 4.2-square mile town once blanketed by dairy farms is poised for remaking as the oncoming train approaches next year. And much of that remaking is in the hands of eight property owners whose nine parcels eclipse to create a crescent at the door of the future Metro station on 12530 Sunrise Valley Drive.

So far, the parcels, which have slowly slipped into suburban malaise, are relics of what town officials hope will soon be a bygone era. But if the pace of development thus far is any indication, it’s no surprise that Stanley Martin’s residential project, called Metro Square (625 Herndon Parkway), was the first to break ground. It is now nearing completion and prices for two-to-three bedroom condos start from $519,000.

It wasn’t until earlier this month that the kind of project that planning officials hoped will help remake the town got the necessary approvals to move forward by the county.

A major development came this week: Nearly four years after Penzance first submitted plans, the company is moving forward with redeveloping a stodgy office building into an urban block with retail, a garage, a mid-rise residential building, a high rise residential tower and a high rise office tower. A total of 475 residential units will be built.

Town officials and developers hope the Penzance project will set the stage for an unprecedented volume of high density development. A revised application by Quadrangle, the owners of the land to the east of Metro known as Fairbrook, is also expected in the coming weeks. The low-intensity project would bring a mixed-use center to the greenfield area. Not much of it is developable due to the presence of flood plain and resource protection areas.

Still, even as phase two of the Silver Line opens next year, the development contemplated by the Town of Herndon’s transit-oriented plan will live its full glory on paper for now. Dennis Holste, the town’s economic development manager, says the area slated for major transit-oriented development — the Herndon Transit-Oriented Core (HTOC) — will likely be built out by 2035.

Given the stagnant demand for office space — a woe whisking its way down phase two of the Silver Line — Holste says residential development is likely to go in first. He predicts the office sector will pick up as new tenants enter the market. Big names like Google — which recently announced plans to move into Reston Station — would be major game changers.

Bracing for impact

The slow place of development could mean more time to manage growing pains. Already, congested roads and overcrowded schools are a concern. A major $105 million renovation of Herndon High School is nearing completion.

Most public amenities are planned on the Fairfax County side of the station, which has an entrance between 575 and 593 Herndon Parkway. The other side is privately owned. The Virginia Department of Transportation is leading an effort to redesign Spring Street between Fairfax County Parkway and Herndon Parkway. Planning officials are now looking into buying the right-of-way needed to make the project possible.

Following that project, a redesign of Elden Street is planned. Though off the path of Metro, officials hope pedestrian connections and the reputation of a redeveloped downtown will bring riders to the area. Pull-off areas are also planned along Herndon Parkway near the Metro station to allows cars to pull off from traffic and pick up or drop off commuters.

The town is also working with the Fairfax Connector to add bus routes to “make certain that as many people as possible have access to bus service to Metro.” said Lisa Gilleran, the town’s director of community development.

‘Not another Tysons’

In county meetings, town officials often stress that the Town of Herndon will not be another Tysons or another Reston after the Silver Line weaves itself into the town’s fabric.

So what will the character of the area surrounding Herndon’s Metro station be? Most officials hope the area’s small town vibe will remain preserved.

“Unique in Northern Virginia, Herndon has an historic downtown with an authentic “sense of place” within one mile of the metro station; this complements the higher density alternatives available around our metro station. Factor in other parts of Herndon, such as our vision for the South Elden area, and Herndon is uniquely positioned to offer existing and prospective businesses several options for growth and development,” Holste said.

Much of that character could come from a wide promenade that will greet riders as they exit Metro and extend up to Herndon Parkway. The pedestrian-friendly gateway hasn’t been designed yet. Town officials hope to pay tribute to Herndon’s history by including signs about the area’s significance.

Gilleran also says that much of Herndon’s uniqueness could come from having a mix of developers create an urban block.

“Individual developers will build each of these blocks, whereas in some cases, one developer will own more than 38 acres,” Gilleran said. “We’re trying to weave independent development into a fabric that gives you a sense of wholeness. We’re creating the pallet.”

They also plan to put in a raised cycle track along Herndon Parkway in lieu of putting bike lines in the street.

Much remains up in the air. The town is planning to jumpstart discussions about an area slated for transit-related growth – also known as the TRG – beyond the auspices of Metro. That process, which would set development goals for around 100 acres north of the downtown core, could begin as early as the summer.

Photo via Town of Herndon/Handout

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Friday Morning Notes

Herndon Teacher Charged with Unlawful Filming Previously Recorded Woman — “The Herndon High School teacher charged with the unlawful filming of a woman inside his home had previously recorded another woman under the same circumstances. Court records obtained Thursday by ABC7 show that the 19-year-old woman, an au pair, said she went to police after finding out about the hidden camera inside an air conditioning vent at the home when a former au pair who worked there said the suspect did the same thing to her.” [ABC7]

The Value of Moscow Tonight — A new comedy about three adult sisters who are forced to live together after their lives have fallen apart takes the stage at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center Street) tonight. Registration is open online. But beware: the show contains strong language and what the organizers call “comedic violence.” [ArtSpace Herndon]

County Workers Push for Cost of Living Standards — “Some county workers are batting an eyebrow at the county’s proposed Market Rate Adjustment which acts as a cost of living adjustment, and the county’s proposed budget isn’t going to fully fund. With it not being fully funded, this could cost workers to lose out on hundreds of dollars annually. Some workers say it will impact them largely.” [Local DVM]

Beacon Roofing Supply Branches Out — The company, which is headquartered in Herndon, opened five new branches in the first half of its fiscal year. Fun fact: it’s the largest publicly traded distributor of residential and commercial roofing materials in the country. [Citybizlist]

File photo

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Cell Tower Proposed on Herndon High School Property

The county is considering a proposal to bring a new telecommunications facility with a 124-foot monopole and a fenced 91-by-35 foot compound to Herndon High School.

Milestone Communications Inc. is working with Fairfax County Public Schools to build the telecommunications facility on school property and lease space to wireless providers in the county, according to an application accepted by the county on April 4.

If approved, the monopole and compound would sit on the north side of the football field, just west of the visitors’ bleachers and between two existing stadium light poles. Spring antennas will be located on a platform on top of the monopole and a six-foot tall rod will extend from the tower.

It’s not the first time Milestone has worked with FCPS to build a cell tower. The company has similar projects at South Lakes High School and Herndon Middle School. Len Forkas, the company’s president said the company is committed to informing the community about the project in a transparent manner.

“We’re super excited about being able to improve services and we look forward to the whole process to obtain necessary approvals,” Forkas told Reston Now.

The compound area will be closed off by a 10-foot tall chain link fence in an attempt to create “a solid visual barrier,” according to the application. To go forward, the county must rezone land designated for general public use to the proposed public use of telecommunication facilities.

“The proposed use is benign and will not generate noise, light, dust, glare, vibration, fumes or odors. The traffic generated will be very minimal. The proposed use does not present a threat to the public health, safety or welfare and will not impact radio, television or telephone reception. It will have no negative impact upon the air and water quality, nor will it impact any existing environmental features on the subject property,” according to the submission.

Forkas also said football fields are ideal locations for cell towers because they already have tall lights.

The company says the new facility is necessary to boost coverage along Dranesville Road, Wiehle Avenue, the Fairfax County Parkway and residential communities around the high school site. Currently, Sprint’s coverage in the area is “weak,” according to the application. The tower will also accommodate up to five telecommunications carriers.

The administrative office of FCPS has approved the location on the site, according to the application.

A hearing before the Fairfax County Planning Commission is set for Oct. 2.

Photo of equipment on Lake Braddock High School property via Len Forkas

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Film on Reston Takes CenterStage Tonight — Dive into the story of how Reston founder Robert Simon envisioned Reston and fought to keep his original principles strong during the film screening of “Another Way of Living: The Story of Reston VA” tonight at 7 p.m. at CenterStage. The event is free and open for all ages. [Reston Community Center]

High Honors for Herndon High School Freshman — The student, Claire, was recognized by the Town of Herndon as the Distinguished Teen Volunteer for 2019. She contributed more than 400 hours of service since 2017. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Reston Students Win Big at Virginia Odyssey of the Mind — Students from six Fairfax County schools, including several competitors from Reston, earned top honors at the state competition over the weekend. The contest encourages students to solve complex problems. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

A Recap of Founder’s Day — Reston Historic Trust & Museum organized the 2019 Founder’s Day Celebration over the weekend with a day-long event to mark the 55th anniversary of Reston’s founding. [The Connection]

File photo

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BREAKING: Herndon HS Theater Director Charged With Unlawful Filming

Updated at 9:42 p.m. — The teacher has been placed on leave, according to a spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools.

Fairfax County Police have arrested Raphael Schklowsky, the theater director for Herndon High School, on charges of unlawful filming at a Reston home.

A woman told police she found a hidden camera in an air conditioning vent at a home on the 1800 block of Cranberry Lane in Reston, where she was working, according to a crime report.

FCPD arrested and charged Schklowsky, a 36-year-old Reston resident, with four misdemeanor counts of unlawful filming after detectives conducted an investigation and “found evidence of unlawful filming.”

He was held at the Adult Detention Center on a $5,000 bond.

Photo via FCPD

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