Reston, VA

Ordinary Days” will open at NextStop Theatre next month.

From Feb. 20 through March 15 at NextStop Theatre (269 Sunset Park Drive), people can enjoy a production that walks viewers through the lives of four young New Yorkers discovering how their paths intersect.

The event page described “Ordinary Days” as “A simple yet heartfelt story about how we search for and make connections in an increasingly chaotic world.”

This specific production was directed by Jay Brock and will star Bobby Libby, Sarah Anne Sillers, Carl Williams and Anna Phillips-Brown.

Ticket prices range from $44-55 and can be reserved online.

Image via NextStop Theatre

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As Lisa Merkel wraps up her final term as the Town of Herndon’s mayor, she took a moment to reflect and talk to Reston Now about her experiences in office.

Merkel made town history as the first woman elected into the position in 2012 after serving as Herndon’s vice mayor during the 2010-2012 term.

According to Merkel, her decision to not seek re-election wasn’t based on any specific motive, besides a wish to spend time with her family and dedicate more time to volunteering around the community.

“I still plan on being involved in the town,” she told Reston Now.

Merkel told Reston Now her accomplishments include implementation of the Metrorail Expansion Project, the ongoing development of downtown Herndon and the establishment of the Economic Development Department.

“I’m really proud we’ve embraced the business community,” Merkel said, adding that — due to her efforts — the tax rate is now split evenly between residential and commercial incomes.

Many of the local businesses even give back to the community by acting as sponsors for official events like the annual holiday parade, which Merkel said is the largest event of the year.

In a press release, Merkel said her other key achievements include marking June as LGBTQ Pride Month, adding Circulator buses to Herndon Station, providing online and on-demand Town Council meeting access and approving construction plans for a new fire station.

“Sometimes it’s really the smaller things that get attention,” Merkel told Reston Now, adding that small projects make a huge difference in the town and help to develop a sense of place.

She gave examples of adding tables and umbrellas to the Town Square, lights on the W&OD Trail and gateway signs to announce entry into the town. The tables and umbrellas, especially, gave people a fun and welcoming place to gather, she said.

Merkel has faced some roadblocks, though, during her time in office.

She said she had trouble communicating with the public that development projects in the town won’t threaten the small community feel, which she said is at the heart of Herndon’s identity.

“There was a fear that if we started building like that at the Metro station, it would trickle into downtown,” Merkel said. “We had to reassure people that Herndon won’t be a bunch of highrises.”

During her final months in office, Merkel said she hopes to oversee the groundbreaking on the downtown Herndon project and continue to work on installing underground utilities around town.

Going forward, Merkel said she won’t endorse any particular candidate for the upcoming election. But she hopes the next mayor will be an effective listener, willing to consider other perspectives on topics and won’t be afraid to seek counsel on issues they aren’t familiar with.

She encourages anyone passionate about their community to run, regardless of their political experience.

“Don’t mix national policy issues with town issues because we don’t have jurisdiction over those things,” Merkel said. “You don’t want to alienate any of your constituents with issues that don’t relate to the job. That’s been my philosophy.”

Photo via Lisa Merkel

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After serving her fourth term in the Town of Herndon, Mayor Lisa Merkel announced she doesn’t plan to seek reelection in 2020.

Merkel holds the title as Herndon’s first female mayor after she was elected to the position in 2012 during a three-way contested race, according to a press release.

She said in a video published this morning (Jan. 2) that she is pleased with everything accomplished during her time in office and that she is proud of her role in Herndon’s development.

She said her accomplishments included the announcement of June as LGBTQ Pride month, introduction of circulator buses to Herndon Station, the implementation of online and on-demand council meeting access, approval of construction plans for a new fire station and the establishment of the Economic Development Department, according to the press release.

“I’m anxious to see the next generation of leaders step up to serve,” Merkel said. “Fresh faces and new perspectives are what make a town like ours thrive.”

Going forward, Merkel said she plans to spend more time with her children and family.

Photo via Facebook

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(Updated) In the holiday spirit, the Reston Town Center Holiday Performances this weekend are among several events bringing together people from around the community.

The free event tomorrow (Saturday) will feature two performances. People can listen to the Northern VA Ukulele Ensemble. The last performance of the season will feature Rick Landers playing guitar from 3-3:45 p.m.

The performances are set to take place between Market Street and Democracy Drive.

Tomorrow (Saturday)

  • 4th Annual Children’s Winter Wonderland (11 a.m.-2 p.m.) — The kids’ wonderland event will take place at the Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road). Families will be able to enjoy crafts, refreshments, face painting, games and a visit from Santa.
  • SBC December Gala (1-3 p.m.) — This event features ballet and musical performances at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive). Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for kids.
  • Cissa Paz Music (6:30-9:30 p.m.) — Artist Cissa Paz will perform Brazillian music at the Lake Anne Coffee House & Wine Bar (1612 N. Washington Plaza).
  • Christmas Party Ho-Ho-Hoedown (8 p.m.-midnight) — Sully’s Pour House (754 Elden Street) is hosting a holiday celebration with a white elephant gift exchange, raffle and an ugly sweater contest.

Sunday (Dec. 22)

  • Christmas Orchestra (9-10 a.m.) — This free event at the Herndon United Methodist (701 Bennett Street) gives community members a chance to listen to live instrumental music from their fellow community members.
  • Bootcamp, Brunch and Booze: Indoor Winter Series (9-11 a.m.) — This event features a workout from Fitness 2 Go along with brunch from LoKL Gourmet at 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive. Tickets are $25.
  • Storytime Social (11 a.m.) — Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive) invites families to a reading of “Let the Children March.” This free event includes snacks and coffee for the adults.

Photo via Reston Community Center Facebook

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Hanukkah begins this year on Sunday (Dec. 22) and will end on Monday (Dec. 30).

Multiple events happening around Herndon invite the community to celebrate and participate in holiday traditions.

The Chanukah Gelt Drop will take place at 5 p.m. at the Herndon Town Hall (730 Station Street). People can come and light the menorah while enjoying chocolate from the local fire department. There will be live music, hot drinks, donuts and latkas. Everyone is welcome to this free event.

The Chanukah Hop to the Donut Shop will take place from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at Duck Donuts (300 Elden Street) on Dec. 26 (Thursday). This event is hosted by Growing Jewish Families in Northern Virginia and will feature spinning dreidels, crafts and stories.

The Flip Like a Latke Trampolene Party invites families to Launch Trampoline Park (13348 Franklin Farm Road) from 4:30-6 p.m. for a menorah lighting with a surprise guest, food and raffles. This event is free but there is a suggested $10 donation. All are welcome. No synagogue membership or affiliation is required, according to the event page.

Photo courtesy Chabad Reston-Herndon

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Local police are investigating after CVS Pharmacy in Herndon was robbed over the weekend.

Police believe the location at 2525 Centreville Road was robbed on Saturday, Dec. 14 at around 7:55 p.m.

The suspect implied she had a handgun and demanded cash, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

FCPD indicated the woman is around 40 years old and was wearing dark clothing. 

Photo via Google Maps

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Seeing Santa is a Christmas tradition, and there are lots of places in the Reston area where people can meet him and possibly snap a few photos.

Roe & Co. Portrait Studio is hosting a session with Santa from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 14) at their Reston studio (11985 Market Street). People are invited to come and take photos of their families with Santa. Picture packages start at $25.

For people over the age of 21, there will be a Santa-themed bar crawl on Saturday (Dec. 14) from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. beginning at the Reston Town Center (11900 Market Street). Coordinators ask that people bring gifts for Toys for Tots.

The Winter Wonderland at Worldgate Herndon (13037 Worldgate Drive) features a free meet and greet party with Santa on Saturday (Dec. 14). There will be hot cocoa, snacks, an igloo and games on-site. The event will run from 1 until 4 p.m. but attendees must arrive by 3 p.m. if they would like a photo with Santa.

People in Herndon have the chance to take a wagon ride with Santa at Frying Pan Farm Park (2709 West Ox Road) on Sunday (Dec. 15) from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 and people can help themselves to hot cocoa and roast marshmallows after the half-hour ride.

The following Sunday (Dec. 22), Santa will make an appearance on Sunday at the Reston Farmers Market (10800 Baron Cameron Avenue) from 2-4 p.m. Admission is free and attendees are welcome to take photos.

If anyone doesn’t get the chance to see Santa in person, people are always welcome to track his whereabouts on Christmas Eve thanks to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Photo via Friends of Frying Pan Park/Facebook

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The LA Fitness coming to Herndon is going to open earlier than previously expected.

The center at 494 Elden Street is now expected to open on Jan. 16 at the recently remodeled Herndon shopping center, according to a company representative.

Kristhian Reyes, the general manager of the location, originally thought the fitness studio was going to open around early February.

“Our Herndon location will be the biggest location in the state of VA,” Reyes said on Facebook.

Those interested in membership can preregister online. Memberships cost roughly $45 per month and personal training will be available on-site for an extra charge.

Photo by Jay Westcott

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A fire that happened at a home in the Town of Herndon on Monday (Nov. 4) was caused by a malfunctioning kitchen light.

Local fire and rescue crews extinguished the fire in the single-family home. Two residents who were home at the time of the incident were not injured.

Fire investigators determined the fire was accidental in nature and started in the kitchen ceiling light fixture. The cause of the fire was an electrical event in the light fixture.

Residents of the home accepted assistance from the Red Cross.

The fire caused roughly $93,750 in damages.

File photo

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A production of “Matilda” is coming to NextStop Theatre in November.

“Matilda” will debut on Thursday (Nov. 14) beginning around 7 p.m. at 269 Sunset Park Drive. Performances will run through Dec. 22.

“Based on the beloved Roald Dahl novel, ‘Matilda’ is the story of an extraordinary little girl who decides to fight back against tyrannical adults,” a press release said.

Tickets typically range from $40 to $55 dollars. Event organizers suggest that people get their tickets in advance because they are expected to sell out.

Image via NextStop

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A new chicken restaurant coming to the VY at Reston Heights will serve up food with a Peruvian flair.

Chicken Rico plans to open a new location at 11830 Sunrise Valley Drive, according to Fairfax County records.

It is unclear when the location will open for business since a company spokesperson declined to share any details, but those curious about the chain can check out the other location in Herndon (1254 Elden Street).

The chain offers customers fast food options including baked chicken, fried plantains, rice, various grilled meats and more, according to its Facebook page.

Chicken Rico is one of several eateries coming to the apartment building, including My Home Thai, Reston Kabob and California-based chain BurgerIM.

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Fairfax County is seeking more feedback from commuters who use the Fairfax Connector.

A new round of meetings will give community members another chance to provide critiques for plans for the future of the Fairfax Connector and the Silver Line Metrorail expansion around Reston and Herndon, according to a press release.

People who want to give feedback can attend any of the three upcoming meetings, which are all accessible from the Fairfax Connector.

  • Herndon Middle School Cafeteria (901 Locust Street) on Thursday (Oct. 28) from 7-9 p.m.
  • Ox Hill Baptist Church (4101 Elmwood Street) on Friday (Oct. 29) from 7-9 p.m.
  • Reston Community Center at Lake Anne (1609-A Washington Plaza) on Saturday (Nov. 2) from 10 a.m.-noon

Anyone unable to attend the meetings in person may give feedback online. The form will be open from Oct. 23 until Nov. 30.

Comments can also be mailed to Fairfax County Department of Transportation, 4050 Legato Road, Suite 400, Fairfax, VA 22033.

Feedback from the meetings will be synthesized and converted into another design to “provide better access to destinations, improved travel times, increased schedule reliability and more dependable service,” the press release said.

This final plan will be available in early 2020 for a final round of critiques.

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The author of “Hidden History of Herndon” will speak in Reston next month.

Barbara Glakas will be at the Jo Ann Rose Gallery (1609-A Washington Plaza N.) to discuss her book and answer questions from the audience on Nov. 13 from 7-9 p.m.

The event will be hosted by the Reston Historic Trust and Museum, which aims to foster community engagement and knowledge of local history.

This event is free and will cover a range of Herndon and Reston history from her book that features “firsthand accounts to tell little-known stories of the people, places and events that shaped the history of the Town of Herndon,” according to a press release.

Photo courtesy Reston Historic Trust and Museum

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A 5k in Herndon this weekend aims to end people driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

From 9 a.m. until midnight this Saturday (Oct. 12), the Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5k will raise money to prevent underage drinking, help victims and support educational outreach. The race will start at the Herndon Police Department (397 Herndon Pkwy #300).

The organization was started in 1980 by a mother who lost her daughter to a drunk driving incident, according to the organization’s website. The organization boasts helping nearly 1 million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors.

So far, the event has raised more than $1,800 with 22 participants, according to the event page.

People can register or donate online.

Image via Facebook

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New residential infill development could be coming to the end of Floris Lane in Herndon.

A Virginia-based property owner is seeking to develop roughly 13 acres of land with 25 single-family homes. The proposed development, which was accepted by the county for review last week, would include 40 percent open space.

Developer Christopher Land LLC notes that the development, which is called the Reserve at Spring Lake, would complete an “existing and established residential development pattern” in the area, according to a Sept. 27 application.

The project site is surrounded by other single-family homes, including the Borneham Woods and Spring Lakes Estate West communities. Asphalt trails are also proposed to connect sidewalks within the community and the community’s lake.

A public hearing before the Fairfax County Planning Commission is tentatively set for May 2020.

Photo via handout/Fairfax County Government

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