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A mini-satellite by a Herndon startup is getting special attention from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

HawkEye360, a data-analytics company that launched in 2015, will partner with the museum in an upcoming exhibit. The company uses satellites to gather data from across the world, the company’s chief operating officer Rob Rainhart told Reston Now.

The group was approached by the Smithsonian representatives after learning about the HawkEye360’s new Pathfinder satellite, which Rainhart said is leading the industry when it comes to small satellite data collection. Pathfinder was officially launched in December 2018 and uses geo-location to collect data.

HawkEye360 has already built the lifesize model and handed it off to the Smithsonian, Rainhart said, adding that he is excited for the company’s work to be included at a permanent exhibition at the museum.

Patrons will be able to visit the exhibit which includes the “microwaved size” model, sometime starting in 2025, according to the press release.

HawyEye360 was partially chosen to be included in the Smithsonian’s new exhibit because of the company’s effort to be a leader in refining the”space 2.0″ revolution, Rainhart said. Currently, the company has three satellites orbiting the earth — all pulling the data that served roughly several dozen customers in both the private and public sectors.

Scientists and engineers at the company use a unique class of radio frequency data to learn about the world, a press release said. Rainhart added that this is what helps to set the company apart from competitors — along with the new data sets that the company brings to the market.

“It’s a really innovative, high-tech startup that’s growing really fast,” Rainhart said. He says that the company also helps to monitor things like illegal fishing or maritime activity, as well as things like providing a visual view of an area after natural disasters.

Going forward, the company wants to launch 18 satellites and are on track to launch three more in September.

With roughly 60 employees, Rainhart said that the company hopes to grow and continue working with clients across the globe.

Photo courtesy HawkEye360

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Next month in Herndon, fans can check out a production of “Noises Off” at the NextStop Theatre Com pany.

The production is a play within a play and allows viewers to “witness all the behind-the-scenes antics as an eccentric group of actors try to survive rehearsals, performances and each other,” a press release said.

Tickets range in price from $35 to $50 and showtimes will run from April 2- 26 at 269 Sunset Park Drive.

This comedy was written by Michael Frayn and will be directed by Evan Hoffmann, according to the event page.

Tickets can be purchased at the door but event organizers suggest patrons buy them ahead of time.

Photo courtesy NextStop

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Homeowners in the Herndon area looking to install new hardwood floors will have another retail option with the grand opening of District Floor Depot.

The showroom (1051 Elden Street) is expected to open in April, according to a customer representative.

The shop will offer customers six different hardwood floor styles including traditional, distressed, luxury resilience, renewable, reclaimed and exotic, according to the website.

The varieties vary in cost, and prices can be found online.

Other District Floor Depot locations include two in D.C. at 1600 Rhode Island Ave NE and 1306 Good Hope Road SE, the website said.

Photo via District Floor Depot/Facebook

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New stores and businesses are preparing to open at Herndon’s latest retail development.

The Elden Corner Center development (902 Alabama Drive) includes space for eight commercial relators, a spokesperson for Capital Realty Advisors said, adding that all of the storefronts — except for one — are already rented out.

According to the spokesperson, tenants will include:

  • Bodega El Paisa, a grocery and market
  • Paraiso Latino Restaurant and Bakery
  • an apparel store
  • Serenity Spa, a body massage business
  • Boost Mobile
  • Madina Pollo Rico

Boost Mobile will be the first business to open in the shopping center, the spokesperson said, adding that it is expected to open by the end of the month.

The last spot available for lease “has been built out for [a] hair salon use,” according to the representative, but can also be used for other retail use.

“Some of the stores are almost ready to open up, while others are just beginning to do their custom build-outs, but everything should be open by the end of this year,” landlord and owner Sanjay Bajaj said in a press release.

Photo courtesy Elden Corner Center

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Before Esther Hanes died from cancer last year, she handed down the Cinnamon Tree to a new owner, who is now moving the shop to a larger spot in Herndon. 

The dance supply shop is moving down the street to a vacant spot at 305 Spring Street after 42 years at 1108 Herndon Parkway, according to Caitlin Kenney, the shop’s new owner.

People are invited to celebrate a grand opening on Saturday (March 7) from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. after a soft opening on Friday (March 6).

The grand opening party will include music, a swag bag for the first 25 customers, specialized fittings and other promotions, according to Kenney, who is in the midst of party planning.

The new location will include over 2,000 square feet of space, Kenney said, adding that the shop will now also include costume consignments.

The shop carries dance clothing for men, women and kids, and everything sold at the Cinnamon Tree will be professional brands, according to Kenney, who said she prides herself about the items’ quality.

“I don’t want my name on something that will fall apart,” she said.

As a little girl, Kenney said she was a regular and often visited with her own mother.

Kenney began working at the shop when she was 14 and said Hanes, the shop’s founder, was eager to keep her on board. She often spent time at the shop and worked various shifts when Hanes was feeling ill later in her life.

When Hanes retired, almost giving up her business after she had been diagnosed with cancer, Kenney stepped in to defend the shop and offered to take ownership.

Hanes almost closed the shop because of a drop in sales from online shopping, Kenney said. “I wasn’t willing to let the business go,” she said.

Today, people still stop by the shop to check-in on Hanes, Kenney said, adding that the elderly woman had a huge impact on the community around her and always knew how to make a welcoming impression on customers.

With the upcoming grand opening, Kenney said she is excited for the overdue move, saying that “the landlord just did a huge facelift on the exterior of the building and it’s stunning.”

The shop’s hours of operation will be Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to  7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., according to the shop’s newsletter.

Photo courtesy Caitlin Kenney

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Three local businesses decided to partner on a brand new monthly book and tea pairing for people looking for book lovers and stay-cationers.

The program, which makes its debut on Wednesday (Feb. 26), allows people to pick up a predetermined book and tea pairing at Elden Street Tea Shop (714 Pine Street) for $34.95, according to Bridget Blakely, a spokesperson from Mascot Books.

“Three weeks after the pairing’s launch, readers are invited to participate in the novel-tea book club and discussion at the tea shop, ” Rachel Eisenfeld, the owner of Elden Street Tea Shop, said in a Q&A.

Each month, the tea for the pairings will be chosen by Elden Street Tea Shop while books will be chosen by Mascot Books and then supplied by Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive), according to Blakely.

For the first month, program participants will be able to read “Anna Incognito” while sipping a cup of Crème Earl Grey, Blakely said.

“We tried to do a good mix of fiction and non-fiction and caffeinated teas versus herbal teas,” Blakely said.

Going forward, a new pairing will be available at the end of each month, according to a press release.

Photo courtesy Bridget Blakely

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The three outdoor tennis courts at Bready Park (814 Ferndale Avenue) are set to get a facelift.

The Town of Herndon plans to work with Bishop’s Tennis, Inc. to resurface and repair the courts. A cushioned hardcourt surface man will be installed and nets on the court will also be replaced.

At a meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 18), the Herndon Town Council discussed the $140,259 bid from the company.

A town spokesperson told Reston Now that the project would begin in August after summer camps are finished for the season. Typically, it takes between one to two weeks to complete resurfacing and repair projects.

Image via Google Maps

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After a challenge from her sister, a local teenager decided to write a poetry book based on alcoholic drinks — without having a sip of booze herself, according to the publisher Mascot Books.

The Drink Selection; With Something To Nibble On” by Herndon resident Nisha Shankar is a collection of poems exploring various situations around wine, hard liquor and beer, according to the book’s description.

The book is currently available for pre-sale and costs around $18 on Amazon. An official release date is set for March 3, according to a press release.

“She is an amazing artist but did not originally set out to write a book of poems about alcoholic beverages,” the publisher said about Shankar.

In the acknowledgments of the book, Shankar thanks her dad for turning her into a young whiskey connoisseur and her sister for encouraging her to step up to the challenge.

“I know it wasn’t a suitable topic, but you guys loved it and encouraged me to write more,” she continued.

The 80-page book comes in hardcover for the time being and also can be purchased at Barnes & Noble, according to the press release.

Photo via Adam Jaime/Unsplash

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(Updated 2/14/2020) Presidents’ Day is Monday and that means closures around the area.

All Fairfax County government offices, public schools and public libraries will be closed, according to the county website.

Trash and recycling will be collected on a regular schedule if community members are customers of Fairfax County, the website said, which added that people with a private company should contact the company directly.

Both Reston community centers at Lake Anne and Hunters Woods will be open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Monday, according to the website.

In the Town of Herndon, recycling will be collected on Tuesday (Feb. 18) instead of Monday, the town’s website said.

The Herndon Community center will be open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., according to the site, which added that its government offices will be closed.

Regarding public transportation, the Fairfax Connector will be running on a Holiday Weekend Schedule on Monday.

The Metro will be running on a Saturday schedule from 5 a.m. until 11:30 p.m., according to the WMATA website.

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Love is in the air, and these local events can help people get in the Valentine’s Day spirit.

Here’s where to find themed events in Reston and Herndon this week.

Reston

People hoping to enjoy a professionally cooked meal at home can order a special take-out dinner for two from Founding Farmers. For $65, people can enjoy three courses with two sides, a rustic white boule, dessert and two unscented glass votive candles, according to the website.

People should order by today (Wednesday, Feb. 12,) at 3 p.m. and pick up the meal on Thursday (Feb. 13) between 2-7 p.m. at the Reston location (1904 Reston Metro Plaza).

Beer My Valentine at Lake Anne Brew House (11401 N. Shore Drive) on Friday (Feb. 14) offers people over the age of 21 a special flight and pretzel drizzled in chocolate from 4-10 p.m.

The 55+ VDay Ride and Coffee Hour in Reston will take place at the New Trail Cycling Studio (1641 N. Washington Plaza) from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Friday. Participants will be able to take an exercise class and then head to the Lake Anne Coffee House after to relax.

A Valentine’s Show at Café Montmartre (1625 Washington Plaza) will take place from 7:30-10:30 p.m. on Friday with an open mic and dancing. People interested can call 703-904-8080 for tickets.

Herndon

People with a sweet-tooth can attend the Valentine Cake Decorating Workshop at Amphora Bakery (294 Sunset Park Drive) in Herndon. For roughly $70, people can learn to bake and decorate a themed cake. This event will take place from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday (Feb.13).

Parents’ Valentine’s Night Out allows Herndon parents to take a break by offering a babysitting service from 6-9:30 p.m. on Friday. The cost is $35 per child, and people can register online. This is an official event that’s sponsored by the town.

Valentine’s Day Singles Mixer in Herndon at Breakers Sky Lounge (2445 Centreville Road) lets people meet potential dates while playing pool, darts, and karaoke. This event is free and open to the public on Friday from 7-10 p.m.

The Valentine’s Winter Brew Fest will take place from 1-8 p.m. at Mile 20 (783 Station Street) on Saturday (Feb. 15), letting guests taste-test beers from several local breweries. Tickets are $18 per person, $27 for two people or $5 for entry and only one sample. There will be music, karaoke and booths from businesses at this event.

People with a passion for art can gather for a paint and sip event at Pinot’s Palette (12976 Highland Crossing Drive) from 6-8 p.m. on Friday. The theme will be Van Gogh. The event costs $40.

Photo by Laura Ockel/Unsplash

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The Herndon Town Council wants community members to provide feedback on the proposed budget at its fourth annual roundtable event later this month.

People with ideas for the fiscal year 2021 budget are invited to gather at the Herndon Municipal Center (777 Lynn Street) on Saturday (Feb. 29) from 9-11 a.m., according to the town’s website.

The budget must be adopted by June 20, according to a press release, which added that the budget will include upcoming programs, ideas for the town and community priorities.

“This is a chance for council members and citizens to engage in an informal way, outside of the public hearing forum,” the press release said.

Anyone with specific questions can email the town manager.

Photo via Herndon Town Council/Facebook

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Early next week, Town of Herndon residents have the chance to share their opinions on the upcoming budget for the Fiscal Year 2021.

The public hearing will take place on Tuesday (Feb. 11) at 7 p.m. at the Mary Ingram Council Chambers (765 Lynn Street). Residents can speak their minds on matters regarding programs and services that the budget supports, according to a press release.

“As we consider resource allocation for the next fiscal year, we encourage citizens to share with us their views on programs and services that are most important to them,” Lisa Merkel, the town’s mayor, said.

Anyone who cannot attend in person may also submit feedback online.

A draft of the budget is expected to be delivered to the town council by April 1, according to the press release, which added other public hearings will be held on April 14 and 28.

Image via Town of Herndon

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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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