The roster of candidates vying for Herndon Town Council and Town Mayor has been released ahead of elections on November 6.
Lisa Merkel, the town’s current mayor, is running for reelection. No other candidates are running.
Five incumbents are running for six seats on the Town Council for one-year terms. Those candidates are Jennifer Baker, Grace Cunningham, Signe Friedrichs, William McKenna and Sheila Olem.
In the race, five newcomers are hoping to challenge incumbents for their seats: Cesar Del Aguila, Pradip Dhakal, W.J. Kenis, Jr., Joseph Plummer and Roland Taylor.
Town residents must register to vote by 5 p.m. on October 16. Applications must be mailed to the General Registrar (12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 323). Online applications will be accepted through 11:59 p.m.
The Town of Herndon’s Council will consider a proclamation to officially recognize June as “LGBTQ+ Pride Month” at a public hearing tonight at 7 p.m. in the Herndon Council Chambers Building (765 Lynn Street).
The proclamation intends to “recognize the difficulties and prejudice the LGBTQ+ community has worked to overcome,” in addition to recognizing the work of advocates who fight for equality for all people.
The Town Council is also considering launching a Smart Cities pilot program in Herndon. Through the agreement with Vivacity D.C. Inc., a Delaware-based corporation, the town will evaluate smart city technologies, including remote-controlled LED lights with radio capabilities in downtown Herndon in an effort to reduce electricity and maintenance costs.
Upgraded infrastructure, to be installed by the end of the year, would allow the town to provide free public WiFi, improve mobile coverage and county pedestrian traffic, according to the draft pilot project agreement.
Specifically, Vivacity DC, Inc. will build a wireless network in the downtown area, replace 10 street light poles with LED smart poles, and upgrade 10 existing street light poles with LED lighting. The project also includes the installation of an electric vehicle charging station.
Town Council public hearings are webcast and are cablecast live on Herndon Community Television (HCTV).
A roof collapse in downtown Herndon forced several businesses to close over the weekend. According to the Herndon Police Department, the roof collapse happened on 764 Elden Street on Saturday (June 10).
Sully’s Pour House, an Irish pub, will remain closed until the issue, which owners described as a “sudden structural mishap,” is resolved. All other businesses in the building will also remain closed, according to a spokesperson for the police department.
“We are extremely grateful that not a single person was hurt during this,” the business wrote on Facebook.
No injuries were reported and the road has since reopened.
The town’s building official declared the building unsafe after inspecting it, a spokesperson for the town’s government told Reston Now.
Building owners are required to submit a plan to the town indicating how they will make the building safe, after which town officials will re-inspect the building, the spokesperson said.
This story will be updated.
Photos via Sully’s Pour House
The Town of Herndon is aiming to become Virginia’s first dementia-friendly community in order to spread awareness about the impact of the disease on individuals.
Using a toolkit to engage community members, town officials and community partners aim to develop respect and inclusion of people with dementia. A dementia-friendly community also has services and resources throughout all community areas that promote quality life, educates people with dementia and their families and promotes engagement with the community.
There are 38 other communities in the Dementia Friendly America network, an initiative that includes more than 30 organizations to foster dementia friendly communities across the country.
Toni Reinhart, the owner of Comfort Keepers, a Herndon-based home health care service, is leading a team of community leaders throughout each phase of the initiative.
“With her to drive to enhance community awareness for persons with dementia and 16-year commitment to serving the Herndon-Reston area, her passion for senior care would only serve greater purposes statewide,” said Herndon Mayor Lisa C. Merkel.
Photo via DFAHerndon.org
The Herndon Town Council passed a $60.2 million budget for next year, a nearly 18 percent increase over last year.
The budget package, which was approved Tuesday night, holds the line on taxes. The general fund budget increased moderately by 1.7 percent to $35.2 million.
A significant portion of the spending boost is tied to the development of downtown Herndon and vehicle and pedestrian access improvements.
The budget includes $2.7 million for improvements on Van Buren Street and Herndon Parkway, $730,000 for improvements at the intersection of Herndon Parkway and Spring Street and $900,000 for improvements at the intersection of Elden Street and Monroe Street. An additional $500,000 is included for downtown parking and an arts facility.
Local officials are considering adding a second story to the Herndon Community Center to create more space for fitness activities and storage. The project also includes plans to upgrade locker rooms and a reconfigured entrance to address issues with HVAC system in the current lobby.
Funding for a 4,000-square-foot nature center at Runnymede Park is also included in the budget.
The complete budget will be available online by July. 1
Jeff Davidson, a councilman in the Town of Herndon, died Saturday after suffering injuries from a car accident in late March.
The announcement was made by the Town of Herndon’s Mayor Lisa Merkel.
“The Council and I are keeping his family in our thoughts,” Merkel wrote in a Facebook post.
Police said Davidson was injured in a crash on Catoctin Hallow Road in Frederick, Md.. The car he was driving crashed into a guardrail and drifted into a southbound lane. The car then crashed into a pick-up truck, police said.
The other driver was not injured.
Davidson lived in Herndon since 1986 and retired from federal service, with a position as a leader and manager at the U.S. Department of Defense, according to his website.
Information on funeral arrangements have not yet been made public.
Photo via Jeff4Herndon
Herndon’s Town Manager William Ashton III has proposed a $60.2 million budget for fiscal year 2018 — a nearly 18 percent increase over the previous budget.
The majority of the increase is the result of $6.5 million for the water and sewer fund and $1 million for parking linked to the redevelopment of downtown Herndon.
Modest revenue growth is projected over the next year, Ashton said. The budget reflects a nearly three percent increase in assessed property tax values. The town’s real estate tax rate will remain at $0.2650 per $100 of assessed value.
In the proposal, funding is allocated for the Town of Herndon’s ongoing partnership with Comstock for the redevelopment of downtown. It includes $500,000 this year for an interior build-out of an 18,000-square-foot arts center, $2.9 million to relocate overhead utilities underground and $1.4 million for street improvements along Van Buren Street from Herndon Parkway north to Spring Street.
The overall six-year plan for the capital budget includes $3 million for the construction of a new nature center at Runnymede Park, $3.3 million for vehicle and pedestrian access to the Herndon Metrorail Station, and $4.3 million for a second-story addition to the Herndon Community Center.
A summary of the budget is available online.
Town of Herndon officials are seeking feedback from residents and business on satisfaction with town services and programs through next month.
The town is working with Priority Metrics Group, a market research and consulting firm based in South Carolina, to seek opinions on the conditions of streets and parks, satisfaction with special events, amenities, and town facilities.
Surveys of businesses will be conducted in the same time frame and will include questions on the town’s commercial sector.
Citizens will be randomly selected for the telephone survey and results will be presented to the HerndonTown Council and on the town’s website. The last citizen survey was conducted nearly four years ago.
Windstorm cleanup continues — The storm left a path of tree limbs, uprooted trees and downed wires. Reston Association staff it could take up at least a month to clean up. [Reston Association]
Some schools still don’t have power — Students in Reston are back in session, but some Fairfax County Public Schools are closed today. Reston residents didn’t have power for more than two days near Lake Newport Road. [Reston Patch]
Reston Olympian makes history — Maame Biney wrapped up her junior career by becoming the first woman in the country to earn an overall medal in 21 years at the Word Junior Short Track Championships yesterday. [Team USA]
Support Herndon Track & Field with a salad — The team is hosting a fundraiser today from 6-10 p.m. at Cava (1815 Fountain Drive). Mention this fundraiser and get the Herndon Hornets some extra cash. [Herndon Track and Field]
Photo by Doug Errett
Rahim Barak, a 58-year-old father of five, was killed by Taliban insurgents during a chaotic siege at Kabul’s largest hotel last month. It was the first time the U.S. citizen, who lived in Herndon for the last 17 years, visited his home country in 30 years.
Three other U.S. citizens were killed in the Jan. 20 attack. Insurgents stormed the Intercontinental Hotel, a prominent hilltop hotel often visited by foreign guests and envoys. Barak was found with a single gunshot to the head. Others were found with burnt bodies and missing body parts. Hundreds of other guests spend the night hiding in rooms, unsure if they would survive the night.
Minutes before the incident, Barak had taken a photo with two friends as they dined at the hotel. The picture is the last possession his family has of him when he was alive.
Political turmoil and conflict caused by the Soviet Union’s invasion of the Afghanistan pushed Barak to flee from his home. He sought refuge in Peshawar, Pakistan and came to the United States in the late 1980s to build a new life for himself and his family.
Leaving behind his studies in law, Barak took up a motley of jobs at a pizza restaurant, Dulles International Airport, Marriott and a movie theater, working long hours and six days a week at one point. Family members and friends remember him for his loving personality and generous nature.
Barak later married his wife of 22 years and had five children. The youngest is six. Most recently, he worked as a cab driver and a travel agent.
His eldest son, Fawad Barak, 21, describes his father as a “people’s champ” who was always ready to offer a helping hand and sacrificed his life “for the betterment of his family, children, and loved ones.”
“There were very few moments where he was able to enjoy the fruits of his labor but most of his life, especially since the war in Afghanistan, he aimed to seek a better life for his family and children,” his son said. “I remember my father would always tell me that the sweat, toil and tears that he put in for his family will soon be relieved when his eldest child graduated from college and so forth with his other children following his footsteps.”
His father’s dream is now coming close to reality. His eldest son is wrapping up his junior year at George Mason University. In meantime, his son hopes to pass down the dreams and passions that drove his father’s hard work to his siblings.
“I am blessed and grateful to have been in a presence of such a beautiful human being, and most of all for him to be my father will be the greatest honor bestowed upon me while I’m on this earth,” he said.
Barak is survived by five children and his wife. Hundreds attended funeral services at All Dulles Area Muslim Society center in Herndon several weeks ago. He was known for regularly attending pre-dawn prayers at the mosque.
“The amount of love and support from the community we have received and the attendance at his funeral services displays a true testament of his character and who he truly was,” his son said.
A LaunchGood campaign for the family has raised $11,343 since it was launched on Feb. 1.
Photos via Fawad Barak
Modernization of Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance Underway — Last year, the county launched a major initiative to update its 40-year-old zoning ordinance. The first community meeting on the project, “zMod,” is set for tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway). [Fairfax County Government]
Teenager Charged in Killing of Reston Couple Taken to Detention Center — The 17-year-old Lorton teenager charged with killing a Reston couple in late December and then turning the gun on himself has been transferred from the hospital to Fairfax County’s juvenile detention center. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Smoke Alarm Alerts Occupants to Herndon Townhouse Fire — Local firefighters contained a townhouse fire on the 2400 block of Corn Crib Court in Herndon on Sunday. Seven occupants in the house at the time of the fire safely evacuated the house. Damages are estimated at $50,000. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]
Jordan McNally, 18, of Herndon, and a minor from Centreville were charged with robbery and attempted robbery on Friday. McNally was also charged with contributing to the delinquency of the minor.
Deputies believe the teens were involved in two incidents near the 22300 block of S. Sterling Boulevard on Dec. 23.
According to a Dec. 27 report about the incident, two suspects demanded cash from a man and his son as they walked a business in the area. One suspect appeared to brandish a box cutter during the incident.
That same day, the suspects approached a teenager in the same shopping center. One suspect demanded cash while showing a possible firearm in his waistband. A small but undisclosed amount of cash was taken by the suspects, according to the report.
McNally is being held on no bond at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center and the juvenile is being held at the Loudoun County Juvenile Detention Center.
Booking photo of Jordan McNally via Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office
The commission will vote on a proposal by the Fairfax County School Board to add three new buildings to the current site. The school is operating at 115 percent of its capacity, according to current capacity utilization rates,
Plans, reviewed by the county’s Dept. of Planning and Zoning in late December, call for a 3,500-square-foot art studio with a canopy at the front of the school.
A two-story building would be attached to the back of the building, with classrooms and administrative offices on the main level and library and science labs on the second level. A courtyard will rest between the school and the two-story building. Another one-story building will include about 1,350 square feet with an expanded cafeteria.
The number of parking spots will increase from 115 to 153, including new parking that will replace existing multi-purpose courts and 38 spots along Seahawks Drive.
The project is expected to cost roughly $41.7 million in construction-related expenses.
At the meeting, the commission will also hear public testimony on a plan to reduce the age requirement for McNair Senior Apartments (13430 Coppermine Road), which houses 139 independent living units on roughly three acres.
The applicant wants to reduce the minimum age of residents from 62 to 55 and change the project’s official classification from “housing for the elderly” to “independent living facilities.”
New Year’s Eve Glow Skate at Reston Town Center — Glow sticks will be available from 6 – 11 p.m. on New Year’s Eve at the RTC Ice Skating Pavilion’s ‘Glow Skate.’ [Reston Town Center via Facebook]
‘Color Me Happy’ at Reston Regional Library on Jan. 10 — Relax, unwind and color your cares away at the library’s adult coloring session. Coloring pages and pencils will be provided. The session takes place from 7 – 8:30 p.m. in Reston Meeting Room 2. [Fairfax County Government]
A Look Inside: One Reston Town Center — Akridge, a commerical real estate company, plans to deliver an “iconic landmark” at 1760 Reston Parkway that include a six-story atrium lobby, an outdoor plaza on the seventh floor and a rooftop lounge and terrance. [Washington Business Journal]
Where to Eat, Shop and Explore in Reston and Herndon — The Washingtonian breaks down the best place to have a bite or swing by shopping the local area. Top picks include ArtSpace Herndon, Frying Pan Farm Park, Herndon Historic Walking Trail and Scrawl Books. [The Washingtonian]
Home share, a nationwide housing program, is offered in just 16 states, according to the National Shared Housing Resource Center. The program, which allows individuals to exchange housing for help in the home, is coming to Fairfax County soon.
GraceFul Homeshare, a family-owned organization that offers in-home care for seniors and older adults with disabilities, is in the process of establishing a home share program for Herndon and Reston. The organization is currently seeking homeowners interested in participating, tenants and volunteers.
The system allows homeowners to offer accommodation to a homesharer who agreed to provide money and/or help with household tasks in exchange for housing. Advocates say home sharing is an efficient use of existing housing stock, helps preserve the fabric of the neighborhood and lessen the need for care services and long term institutional care.
Examples of homesharers include senior citizens, people with disabilities, working professional and individuals at risk of homelessness.
Interviews and background checks will take place before introductions are arranged. Each part will pay an application fee. If the application is accepted and a match is made, the homework will pay a fee for the service.
For more information about the program, email Dan Flavin at [email protected] for more information. GraceFul serves Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington counties in Virginia, Maryland’s Montgomery County and surrounding areas.