Wind Advisory Takes Effect Tonight — Winds could reach 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, potentially blowing down tree limbs and creating power outages, the National Weather Service warns. Its Wind Advisory for Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County, will be in effect from 10 p.m. today (Thursday) to 10 a.m. tomorrow. [NWS]
Herndon Police Welcomes New Officer — Officer Stephen Ferrigno joins the Herndon Police Department with three years of previous law enforcement experience. [HPD]
Appraisal Roadshow Returns — The annual event, which is organized by Reston Association, returns on March 5 at 11 a.m.. at the association’s headquarters. Registration is now open. [RA]
Local Zoo Celebrates National Bird Feeding Month — Roer’s Zoofari in Reston is celebrating National Bird Feeding Month. The zoo has several bird-related events planned and is currently home to 12 different bird species. [Roer’s Zoofari]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
The Herndon Police Department is warning residents of a parking ticket scam, which comes after the town passed sweeping parking restrictions.
The fake ticket, which is blue, urges residents to pay $50.
A spokesperson for the Herndon Police Department told Reston Now that it is unclear how widespread the issue is at this point.
“Until we can determine who created the fake ticket and placed it on the vehicle, the only thing we can do is education the public on the fact that this is a scam,” said Lisa Herndon, a spokeswoman for HPD.
So far, only on citizen sent in a check for payment after receiving the fake ticket on their vehicle.
Residents who receive the parking ticket should report it to HPD by calling 703-435-6846.
In late January, the town’s council restricted how close drivers can park to drivers and doubled down on parking of commercial vehicles in neighborhoods.
The "parking ticket" shown was found on a vehicle parked on Locust Street. This IS NOT a legitimate parking ticket from HPD or the @TownOfHerndon. If you receive one on your vehicle, please report it to us by calling 703-435-6846. #HerndonPD pic.twitter.com/s63SzCBGSV
— Herndon Police (@HerndonPolice) February 11, 2022
Herndon Police Warn of Scam — After reports of a scam, the Herndon Police Department is reminding residents that town employees do not request access to homes in order to check water quality or for any other reason. Water meters are always checked outside and town employees always present proper identification. [HPD]
Local Businesses Make Best Workplaces List — County-based companies dominated Virginia Business magazine’s 12th annual list of 100 best places to work in Virginia. Reston-based Troika Solutions came in at number two. [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]
Spanish Captioning Available for Public Meetings — Beginning Feb. 8, Spanish closed captions will be available for all public meetings and live events on the county’s governmental channel. [Fairfax County Government]
Reston Man Charged with Assault for Punching Window — City of Fairfax police charged a Reston man with assault Tuesday afternoon in Old Town. The victim said the man walked up to a car, pushed the passenger side of the window and cursed at them. [Reston Patch]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
Reston Fire Results in $255,000 in Damages — A house fire in the 1200 block of Shaker Drive caused roughly $255,000 in damages. The fire started in the floor wiring, according to fire investigators. No injuries were reported. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]
Talks End on Gupta Project — The Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association says that it is disappointed the Gupta Family Foundation has discontinued discussions over a $250,000 beautification project at Lake Anne plaza. [Reston Patch]
Outreach on Parking Changes in Herndon Begins — The Herndon Police Department has launched a campaign to promote changes to the town’s parking code. No parking is allowed within five feet to either side of a public or private driveway, recreational vehicles cannot park in one place for more than 72 hours, and commercial vehicles cannot be parked in residential areas. [Herndon Police Department]
Future of Great Falls Grange Hall Contemplated — The Fairfax County Park Authority is coordinating a meeting with stakeholders to discuss the future of the hall and Forestville Schoolhouse. [Fairfax County Government]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
Business Burglarized in Herndon — Local police are looking for a man who may have robbed a business on the 700 block of Elden Street on Jan. 18. Police recently released a video of the subject. [Herndon Police Department]
Bingo Activity Results in Backlash — A high school lesson plan that included an activity called Privilege Bingo has resulted in backlash against the Fairfax County Public Schools system. The activity marked several demographics as privileged. [Local DVM]
Reston Athlete Competes for Olympic Gold — Maame Biney is gearing up for this year’s Olympics in Beijing. The Restonian is the first black woman to compete on a U.S. short track speed skating team. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Photo by Terry Barans
While police dogs are often seen in detecting drugs and explosives, one by the name of Bragg in Herndon is known for another area: comforting people.
Bragg assists officers, dispatchers and department staff following stressful situations and in counseling sessions, interviews and roll calls as a facility dog. He can sense increases in one’s heart rate and can get help when needed, part of a repertoire of 50-plus commands.
Recently, the town applauded two lieutenants and the canine, who were part of a group of town workers who received Outstanding Performance Awards. Town manager Bill Ashton presented the awards on Dec. 7 to thank them for going above and beyond in their service.
“In this challenging year, the creativity and innovation demonstrated by these employees made our workplace safer, our employees healthier and our team spirit stronger,” Ashton said in a statement. “Often, leaders emerge in times of trial. Each employee recognized by these awards exemplifies leadership in the truest, best sense of the word.”
Lts. Jay Carson and Mark Dale, who joined the department last year, developed a comprehensive wellness program for the police department to help officers cope with stressful incidents and contribute to positive mental health. The town noted that they created the program in eight months and it includes a contracted police psychologist, annual wellness checks, peer support teams, meditation training, a dedicated wellness/meditation room, the addition of Bragg and more.
The department announced the addition of Bragg in April after the Labrador Retriever spent two years receiving specialized training from the nonprofit Mutts With A Mission. Nowadays, he can be seen in areas of the Herndon Police Department and community events, where he serves as a four-legged ambassador.
“He is a big calming presence,” police spokesperson Lisa Herndon told Reston Now, noting the department also brings him out to farmers’ markets, community events involving kids and Target.
His first deployment was responding to the police station in June following a tragedy involving the murder of a mother and her two young children at their Herndon apartment at the hands of a romantic partner who committed suicide, according to police.
Bragg is now an additional element who can sit in on meetings to provide another layer of support.
In the community, he’s used to help put children at ease and show that police are there for them, the department said. The department’s spokesperson also noted that police in the town want to be seen as welcoming to immigrants and Herndon police don’t check immigration status.
Capt. Steven Pihonak, Bragg’s handler, brings him to work each day, and Bragg lives with the lieutenant and his family.
“Bragg really has the best of both worlds; he gets to help the men and women of the Herndon Police Department by day and go home with me and be a carefree dog at night,” Pihonak previously said in a statement.
Police Chief Maggie DeBoard said Bragg is an important part of the health and wellness program to help ensure officers and staff have the resources to remain emotionally well and focus on serving the community
Double Stabbing Under Investigation — Officers obtained arrest warrants recently against a woman they believe stabbed two men last month near Hunters Woods Plaza. [Reston Patch]
Redistricting, Tax Relief Options On Board Agenda — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will meet today to discuss big items like a tax relief package and a redistricting proposal. [Reston Patch]
Local Vaccine-hesitant Mom Gets Answers — WUSA 9 connected a Reston mom with a local hospital doctor and the head of the FDA’s vaccine committee to get her questions answered about the COVID-19 vaccine. [WUSA 9]
Big Donation Effort for Park Avenue Victims — The Herndon Police Department is no longer accepting donations for victims of the Park Avenue fire. Gift cards, however, are still being accepted. [HPD]
Robbery Under Investigation on Centreville Road — Two men stole personal property from someone on th 2400 block of Centerville Road on Nov. 30 shortly before 8 p.m. No injuries were reported, although the suspects threatened the victim with a knife. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
The community is banding together to raise funds for victims of the Park Avenue fire that sent nine residents to the hospital.
The fire ripped through five units of the apartments on the 800 block of Park Avenue. As a result, 44 were displaced. Two residents remain in critical condition as of Saturday.
So far, an online campaign has gathered nearly $15,000 to help families displaced by the incident. The campaign was jumpstarted by former Town of Herndon mayor Lisa Merkel and Megan Ferguson.
The fire was caused by a charging cable in the bedroom of an apartment, according to fire officials.
The Herndon Police Department had to halt accepting donations at the department’s lobby after an overwhelming amount of donations.
“Amazing! No other word to describe this community and its generosity. We have run out of space here at HPD HQ,” the police department wrote in a statement.
Now, the police department is only accepting gift cards. VISA, MasterCard and AMEX gift cards are needed to cover rent, bills, and groceries. The department is also accepting Target and Walmart gift cards.
Smoke alarms in the building were not working at the time of the incident, according to fire officials.
At Weird Brothers Coffee in the Town of Herndon, Paul Olsen and his staff became a satellite location to accept donations.
“As of [Sunday], Weird Brothers Coffee have collected enough clothing, personal hygiene items, diapers, snacks, and small toys and games for kids and books to fill our truck and take over to the Police Station five times,” Olsen told Reston Now.
The local coffee shop — which prides itself in its local roots — also raised $1,000 from sales on Saturday to help victims impacted by the fire.
“We have been very touched and amazed at the outpouring and speed of the support for all of these families. It is so wonderful to see a community come together in a time of need,” Olsen said.
(Updated at 9:28 a.m.) Two residents have suffered life threatening injuries and seven others were taken to a local hospital after a fire broke out at garden apartments on Park Avenue in the Town of Herndon at around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Eleven apartment units on the 800 block of Park Avenue are considered uninhabitable and 44 residents were displaced.
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department described a dire scene at the site of the fire. A mother and three young children evacuated one unit by tying bedsheets together to make a makeshift rope.
Occupants jumped out of third story windows above the second floor unit where the fire initially started.
One rescue crew rescued three residents via a ladder. The four occupants in the apartment where the fire started self-evacuated safely.
The Herndon Police Department advised that a lengthy closure between Station and Grace streets was expected. The area opened up several hours after the incident.
The fire was caused by an electrical event involving a charger cable, according to the fire department.
Damages amount to $287,500. There were no working fire alarms in the building where the fire started.
Photo via Herndon Police Department
An overturned car has prompted the closure of both sides of Herndon Parkway between Spring Street and the Herndon Police Department.
Local police encourage residents to avoid the area and find an alternate route.
TRAFFIC ALERT: Both sides of Herndon Pkwy are closed between Spring St and Herndon PD (397 Herndon Pkwy) for an overturned vehicle. Please find an alternate route. Updates as available. #herndonpd pic.twitter.com/6pJNFkMxs4
— Herndon Police (@HerndonPolice) December 1, 2021
Local police are looking for a man who reportedly fired a gun at Sully’s Pour House in the Town of Herndon on Nov. 6.
The man allegedly flashed a gun in the pour house after a bouncer told him the business could not seat his party of 10 people — which included three children — after 10 p.m. All guests must also be above the age of 21 after 10 p.m.
According to Sully’s Pour House, staff attempted to call the police after a woman in the party assaulted the manager. The man reportedly flashed his weapon and was taken off of the property.
The man and woman reportedly then ran on Elden Street and fired a gun into the crowded restaurant, which is located at 754 Elden Street in the heart of downtown Herndon.
No injuries were reported. The pour house closed during the night of the incident and reopened the following day.
In a Facebook post detailing the incident, the business posted the following after describing the incident:
Please note this is the Spark Notes Version and only the information the public needs to know at this moment- this is still under investigation with the police department )
Thankfully NOT A SINGLE PERSON WAS INJURED. This is NOT BEHAVIOR WE TOLERANT. This is NOT acceptable.
We love Herndon. We Love our Sully’s Family. This is NOT who we are- This is NOT who HERNDON is.
Be Kind, Spread Joy.
Please help us Figure out who this person is. Please contact Herndon Police if you know anything- even if you *Might* know something. Not only did this person endanger EVERY SINGLE PERSON in our establishment that night. They endangered the children they were with as well.
Please share. Please help us find out who this is.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Herndon Police Department at 703-435-6846.
HPD is seeking the public’s help in identifying the subject in these photos; he is suspected a firing a gun into an occupied business in the 700-block of Elden Street last Saturday, Nov 6. If you can ID the subject or you were there when it happened, call HPD at 703-435-6846. https://t.co/zEvhkYdwq9
— Herndon Police (@HerndonPolice) November 14, 2021
Photo via Herndon Police Department
Reston Man Arrested in Connection with Regional Robberies — Police have arrested a Reston man in connection with a series of robberies at convenience stores in Loudoun and Fairfax counties. Bresner Porres, 30, was arrested after a multi-jurisdictional effort and was charged with three counts of robbery at 7-Eleven stores in Sterling. [Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office]
Search Underway for Missing Herndon Woman — Local police are seeking the public’s help to find a woman who went missing on Nov. 9. Joey Sitek, 28, is 5’5” and roughly 120 pounds. Police believe there is an immediate concern for her well-being. [Herndon Police Department]
Tephra Hires New Associate Curator — The Tephra Institute of Contemporary art has hired a new associate curator and festival director. Hannah Barco had a similar position at the School of Art Institute of Chicago. [Tephra]
Photo by Majrorie Copson
Herndon Middle School was temporarily on a lockdown earlier this afternoon after a report that someone displayed a gun during a fight near the school, according to police.
According to the Herndon Police Department, reports were received that a middle schooler displayed a handgun during a fight between an unspecified number of middle-schoolers.
The incident is reported to have happened off-campus near the 900 block of Alabama Drive, which is located roughly half a mile from the school.
The lockdown was lifted around 4 p.m. today, a staff member told Reston Now.
HPD says officers are continuing to investigate. No other information was immediately released.
INCIDENT ALERT: Herndon Middle School was on lockdown after reports of an OFF CAMPUS altercation (near 900-blk Alabama Dr) between what appeared to be middle school-aged juveniles, one of which displayed a gun. Officers continue to investigate. Details as available. #herndonpd pic.twitter.com/m5XtXG9TB2
— Herndon Police (@HerndonPolice) November 4, 2021
Image via Google Maps
Herndon Police Chief Maggie DeBoard says that the lack of beds in mental health facilities is compounding a mental health crisis and taking much-needed local officers off the streets for extended periods of time.
Currently, law enforcement officers must transport mentally ill individuals who are a danger to themselves and others to a state facility for treatment if a temporary detention order is issued. Those orders, which are issued by a magistrate, can last for up to 72 hours, tying up police officers who often have to sit with the individual until a bed is found.
“It is a significant drain on staff,” said town attorney Lisa Yeatts.
At a meeting before the Herndon Town Council earlier this month, DeBoard encouraged the town council to support state legislation that would prohibit the issuance of temporary detention orders when space is not available at a state health facility.
Often, state facilities do not have beds. And when they don’t, police officers must stay alongside the individual until a bed is available or the temporary detention order is lifted.
In one instance last month, two Herndon police officers — one of whom was certified but in training — had to transport a man who voluntarily agreed to come with police for mental health evaluation from his home. While on the interstate, the man began strangling himself in the backseat of the police car with the seatbelt.
Police pulled over, de-escalated the situation by force, and tried to find a bed for the man for 23 hours.
Eventually, they found a bed in Petersburg — nearly 141 miles from the Herndon Police Department. In another case, police officers had to travel to Roanoke with a person in a mental health crisis.
DeBoard noted that the crisis is complex and cannot be explained by a shortage of beds alone. State funding for private transportation, limited local resources, lack of coordination between mental health facilities and law enforcement were identified as other factors.
In July, five of the state’s eight mental health hospitals were closed to new admissions. The facilities were ordered to reduce their bed capacity and consolidate staff because of a workforce crisis that caused a “dangerous environment where staff and patients are at increased risk for physical harm,” according to Alisan Land, commissioner of the state’s Department of Behavioral Health and Departmental Services.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and Foundation stated that law enforcement did not create this problem and cannot solve it alone. In a statement earlier this year, the organization wrote the following:
Mental health professionals have shared that it isn’t whether the person has insurance that determines whether a bed is found. The critical problem hospitals are facing is the growing number of violent persons in mental health crisis that the hospitals and mental health facilities can’t accommodate and that present a great risk for staff. We can empathize but law enforcement can’t solve this problem.
The state’s mental hospitals have been struggling for years to handle a spike in admissions. State law requires them to admit patients after eight hours if a bed can’t be found at another facility, including private ones.
Councilmember Signe Friedrichs said that she has seen the local health impact of this crisis. She got involved in a situation when an individual was screaming on the streets of the town, creating a stressful situation for the individual, the business owner involved, police officers called, and a taxi driver asked to come to the scene.
“All of these things are cascading and causing more difficulty for the police,” Friedrichs said.
The problem will require a solution with a coordinated effort from the state as it is a statewide challenge, DeBoard said.
Yard Waste Piles Up in Fairfax County — Fairfax County collects solid waste and recycling for about 10 percent of its residents. Some residents say the job just isn’t getting done. The county says an unprecedented labor shortage is to blame. [NBC4]
Herndon Police Investigate Burglary — Someone broke into a home on the 1000 block of Elden Street on Sept. 25 some time between 3-11:30 p.m. The case is under investigation. [Herndon Police Department]
Town of Herndon Releases Annual Report — Town Manager Bill Ashton presented the town’s annual report for the fiscal year. He offers details on how the town responded to the pandemic. “From a town operations perspective, COVID-19 forced us to quickly adapt and pivot to new ways of doing things,” Ashton writes. [Town of Herndon]
Local Pumpkin Patch Options — Michael O’Connell from Patch rounds up some local options for visiting pumpkins patches, including Reston Farm Market and Cox Farms. [Reston Patch]