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Ramen and Rice Restaurant Coming to Herndon Centre

Updated 10:45 a.m. – Ramen and Rice will be opening in Herndon (482 Elden St) early next year.

Sirinda Liw, owner of Ramen and Rice, said despite the company name being Oki Bowl of Herndon the restaurant shares no connection to the chain located in Washington, D.C.

“It’s going to be fusion ramen,” said Liw, “much tastier than regular ramen.”

Ramen and Rice will be located in Herndon Centre between The Deli and the Nail Villa. Additionally, the ABC permit in the window indicates the location will be serving wine and beer.

Liw said the construction process is still in discussion with a planned opening in January or beginning February. The interior is still vacant and decorated as Tipicos Gloria, a closed Central American eatery.

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Poll: Should Voters Select Six Candidates for the Herndon Town Council Race?

Town of Herndon residents will be asked to select candidates for the Herndon Town Council on the ballot tomorrow. But language on the ballot states that voters are only required to select up to six candidates, leaving voters with the option to select candidates they feel particularly passionate about without filling out all available slots.

The option, which has garnered questions from voters, prompted Town of Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel to address the issue earlier today. Merkel, who is running unopposed, is backing only four candidates: Jennifer Baker, Bill McKenna, Grace Wolf Cunningham and Joseph Plummer.

There are several ways to look at that. Voting for just the candidates you believe in may make sense in this kind of election when the top six vote getters are the winners. Recent elections have been very close. (Even the Virginia House of Delegates was essentially decided by one vote in one house district!) At times in the past Council seats have been decided by as few as 4 votes. What if you voted for the four or five candidates you really believe in, but then felt like you had to use up your last vote or two, and cast votes for candidates that you weren’t 100% behind? And then one of the “second choices” manages to beat one of your top choices by a vote or two? In essence you contributed to your favorite actually losing the seat. Sounds crazy, but it could happen. Food for thought, I guess.

Town of Herndon residents, take the following poll to indicate how you plan to handle the issue on Election Day. 

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Cow Attempts Daring Escape During Lunchtime Stroll in Herndon

A cow’s lunchtime stroll raised some eyebrows last week when the Black Angus cow, named Hokie, sped off onto a Route 28 exit ramp from her new home in Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon.

The 1,200-pound heifer, which had been purchased by the park from Virginia Tech just two days before the incident, was under routine quarantine at the farm when she suddenly jumped over a 3.5-foot tall wagon during stall cleaning and bolted through the Herndon area, surprising onlookers as she jumped over guard rails and jersey walls to evade capture.

According to the Fairfax County Park Authority, the help of some “agile” drivers resulted in the capture of the cow on an exit ramp roughly 2.5 miles from the park. Drivers used their cars to help emergency personnel corner the cow on the ramp, with one driver raising his hands on the opposite side of the ramp to prevent Hokie from jumping over the wall.

Help was also lassoed in from the Fairfax County Police Department and the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, who promptly joined in the hot pursuit.

The Fairfax County Park Authority offered the following thanks in a Facebook post following the incident:

“Thanks to the entire community for coming together to ensure the safe return of our newest cow. Farm staff is working to acclimate Hokie to her new home and have increased security measures to prevent the surprisingly nimble cow from escaping again. 

Photos via Fairfax County Park Authority

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Herndon Auto Care to Leave Elden Street Next Weekend

Another local business is leaving Elden Street.

Herndon Auto Care, which offers auto and light truck repair and maintenance services, will move from its current location at 1131 Elden Street to its sister shop in Sterling, the Dulles Shell Service Center. The address of the new location is 45410 Holiday Drive.

A business representative told Reston Now that the move was prompted by lease expiration.

“In the new lease, the landlord was asking for a substantial increase in monthly rent, which we could not accommodate,” the representative said. “The property has been listed for rent with a real estate company for other use[s].”

Photo via Herndon Auto Care

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Giant Food is Coming to Centreville Road in Herndon

Giant Food is opening a new location in Herndon, according to an announcement by the company today.

The new grocery store is located at 2425 Centreville Road and will open on Nov. 9. It takes up space formerly occupied by Shoppers.

The company issued the following statement announcing the opening:

“Our team is very happy to have the opportunity to invest in two new stores in Virginia, a market Giant has had a presence in for 77 years,” said Gordon Reid, president of Giant Food. “Both stores in Herndon and Alexandria will feature excellent selections and offerings for shoppers, such as a delicious hot food bar, larger produce department, expanded ethnic and international food selections and full-service deli, seafood, meat and floral departments. These stores are an exciting piece of our ongoing expansion and improvement initiatives.”

Customers who shop at 1228 Elden Street will not experience any interruption in service due to the opening, according to company officials.

However, the company does plan to shutter the Elden Street location at Elden Street Marketplace soon.

Photo by Garlon Cheng

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Town Officials Mull Pedestrian Safety, Road Improvements to South Elden Street

Planning is underway for a host of improvements along South Elden Street in anticipation of the adoption of a concept plan next year.

The improvements will be partly financed through a $65,000 grant by the Virginia Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment in order to ensure transportation needs are addressed as more development happens along Elden Street between Herndon Parkway and Sterling Road. Anticipated changes will also make the stretch of the road more accessible and safe for pedestrians and vehicles.

Changes include increasing the visibility of crosswalks; updating ramps, signals and crosswalks for ADA compliance, adding bus stop shelters, widening existing sidewalks by three feet, and installing pedestrian refuge areas in medians.

A concept plan will be presented to the Town of Herndon Planning Commission on Nov. 19, with a public hearing set for Dec. 3. The town council will likely adopt plan next year. The town must spearhead planning this month in order to avoid repaying grant funds to the state.

Photos via handout/Town of Herndon

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Sameride Ride-sharing App Offers New Reston-Arlington Route

Sameride, a ridesharing app that allows drivers and passengers to offer and request rides, has launched a new route from Herndon, Reston and Loudoun County to Arlington and the District.

More than 140 commuters are registered for the service, which allows app drivers and passengers to offer or request rides before taking off for their commute. Unlike taxi services, Sameride is an on-demand carpool service that helps connect drivers and drivers commuting on the same route.

Commuters can carpool on express lanes between Park & Ride commuter lots and their offices. The company, which first launched a route between Woodbridge and Tysons Corner, serves around 250 commuters. Company officials estimate the service can help customers who commute between the Herdon-Monroe Park & Ride lot and Rosslyn Metro Station $300 on rider’s fares or $590 on express lanes tolls on a monthly basis.

Andriy Klymchuk, a company representative for Sameride, said demand for a carpool matching service from Reston and Herndon has grown.

“This demand is due to the conversion of I-66 into high-occupancy toll express lanes, new residential constructions in the area and expansion of Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride lot. The same is true for Loudoun County commuters,” Klymchuk said. “In addition, Reston area serves as a hub for Sameride commuters coming on 267. Some commuters drive from as far as west of Leesburg and pick-up riders at the commuter lots near Reston.”

Klymchuk offered the following information about how the company differs from other ridesharing services:

Think about it as a commute sharing. You and your neighbor happen to work in the same location and you agree to ride to work together. With Sameride you do the same but through the app that allows you to create on-demand carpools. You can choose to be a driver or a rider, set your pick-up time and locations, commute once or daily, create ride requests or offers a few hours or a week before your commute. Drivers benefit from using HOT express lanes toll-free and riders benefit from getting a free commute. Both parties benefit from getting to the office and back home faster.

The app is available on iOS and Android.

Photo via Sameride

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Friday Morning Notes

The historic designation debate — In this opinion piece, the writer explores two historic designation issues in Herndon and Reston. [Greater Greater Washington]

Trout fishing season is here — You heard that right. The Fairfax County Park Authority invites you to fish for trout at Lake Fairfax Park. Season passes are available. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Tishman Speyer sheds some land — The Pinkard Group paid $3.15M to acquire the 3.3-acre parcel at the corner of the Dulles Toll Road and Monroe Street in Herndon, part of the Woodland Park East development, from Tishman Speyer. [Bisnow]

Climate change in schools — Well, not in schools. The Fairfax County School Board passed a resolution last night calling on state and federal action on climate change. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

In the time machine — Flavors of Fall brought beer, wine, food and fun to Reston Town Center last weekend. Mercia Hobson offers a recap here.  [The Connection]

Photo by Lindi Mallison

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Fairfax Real Estate Developer Accused of Multimillion-Dollar Real Estate Fraud in Herndon

The CEO of Kiddar Capital, a Falls Church asset management firm, is accused of lying about the size and value of his company and defrauding investors about a $33 million office building in Herndon, according to charges filed in federal court. 

Todd Elliott Hitt, 53, was charged with securities fraud and surrendered to the FBI on Friday.

According to court documents, which were unsealed on Friday, Hitt raised nearly $11 million by falsely claiming to buy the building near a planned Herndon Metro stop. He spent around $9 million to purchase the 4.8-acre office building and relied on bank loans for the remaining balance on the purchase.

Prosecutors say Hitt was involved in an alleged $16 million scheme to defraud investors.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also found Kiddar claimed to be a global firm with $1.4 billion under management in London, Houston, and Florida, but in reality, the local company only had one office in Falls Church and managed far less than $1 billion.

They also noted that Hitt failed to disclose to investors his “extravagant spending,” which included leasing private jets and buying sports tickets and jewelry.

The complete release can be found online.

Photo via Kiddar Capital

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Proposed McMillen Farm Subdivision in Herndon Moves Forward

Despite concerns about transparency, the Fairfax County Planning Commission has recommended approval of a new subdivision at McMillen Farm last week.

Tradition Homes, LLC, requested 5.76 acres of land east of Dranesville Road be rezoned from one residential dwelling unit per acre to three residential dwelling units per acre to allow for the construction of 13 homes.

Lots range in size from 11,650 square feet to 25,840 square feet along a new cul-de-sac connected to Dranesville Road. The site was home to McMillen Farm, listed as a heritage resource on the Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites since February 1996.

Still unclear is the ultimate fate of Coomber Hall, a dairy barn county documents say date back to 1850. It was remodeled in 1968 to serve as a school of music and dance. However, since April 2017 the Hall has been classified as an unsafe structure due to significant damage to the roof and walls.

In response to public discussion on Sept. 20 concerning the historic buildings at an earlier meeting, attorney Shane Murphy said historic preservation measures on the site would include the hay barn.

“In my view, the overall revisions are appropriate and important revision steps [that address] the concerns raised by the Planning Commission,” said John Ulfelder, a planning commissioner representing Dranesville District.

But Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, a planning commissioner representing Providence District, said state legislation limiting discussion of rezoning conditions left him unable to fully question the development proposal’s plans for historic resources on the site.

“The norms and practices of this commission are to freely, openly and transparently ask questions of staff, applicant and speakers,” said Niedzielski-Eichner. “I was not confident… I could craft questions without running afoul of new proffer laws. I was disturbed staff and colleagues both referenced proffer law as constricting our ability to engage applicant on land use matters.”

Niedzielski-Eichner abstained, but the remaining eleven planning commissioners voted to approve the rezoning. The rezoning application now goes to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors but has not been docketed for a meeting.

Photo via Newmark Grubb Knight Frank

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New Hotel in Herndon Opened with Amazon HQ2 In Mind

MCR, the owner of a new Courtyard by Marriott near Dulles International Airport, is motivated by the potential of a possible newcomer in the area: Amazon’s HQ2.

The owner is marketing the 187-room hotel, which is located at 13717 Sayward Blvd., with Amazon packages in the foreground in promotional materials. The company converted the former Sheraton hotel into a Courtyard.

“We developed the Courtyard by Marriott Dulles Airport Herndon with Amazon.com in mind,” said Tyler Morse, CEO and Managing Partner of MCR and MORSE Development. “In our hotel, the area’s tech workforce will have flexible spaces and free lightning fast Wi-Fi to stream, shop and work online.”

Amazon is expected to make a decision on the location of its second headquarters by the end of the year. Northern Virginia is among the 20 finalists, including the 26-acre Center for Innovative Technology campus.

The hotel includes a restaurant called The Bistro and a fitness center.

Photo via MCR

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Nominations Sought for Herndon Good Neighbor Award

If the person next door is always ready to lend a helping hand or make your day better, Town of Herndon officials want to hear from you.

The town is accepting nominations for its Good Neighbor Award. The deadline for submissions is Oct.15.

Only town residents can nominate a family member, friend or neighbor how “makes noteworthy contributions toward the quality of life” in local neighborhoods, according to the town. Recipients must be residents of the Town of Herndon and cannot have performed acts of good neighborliness for paid employment.

The town mayor and council will recognize Good Neighbor Award recipients at a future public meeting and all recipients will receive a commemorative gift.

Nominations can be submitted online and forms are also available at the Herndon Municipal Center and the Herndon Community Center.

The award is part of the town’s Cultivating Community initiative, which aims to encourage beautification and the enrichment of quality of life in the town’s neighborhoods.

Photo via Town of Herndon Government

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Updated: Police Believe Missing Teen Likely in Herndon

Update: The missing teen was found on Monday night.

Earlier:

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public to help find a Sterling teen who left his school bus stop on Sept. 20.

Bryan Ortega-Henriquez, 15, was last seen around 7:30 a.m. on Thursday. According to sheriff’s deputies, he did not go to school. He is described as a white male, 5’11” tall with a weight of 189 pounds. He has black hair, brown eyes and wears glasses.

Sheriff’s deputies believe he is likely in the Herndon area with his friends and recently moved to Sterling from Herndon. He was in contact with his family on Sept. 21 but has not returned home.

Anyone with any information should call Detective P. Roque at 703-777-1021.

Photo via LCSO

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