Reston, VA

With Passover and Easter quickly approaching, religious organizations and state officials are encouraging people to find alternatives to large group celebrations.

Easter Sunday falls on April 12 and Passover begins on Thursday (April 9) and ends on April 16 this year — around when statisticians hypothesize COVID-19 will peak in the D.C. area.

To obey state mandates and keep their followers healthy, religious groups such as St Joseph Catholic Church and the Congregation Beth Emeth in Herndon decided to host celebrations digitally and provide guides for stay-at-home worship.

For Christians, Easter is a celebration of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, while Passover is a Jewish holiday to commemorate the liberation of the Children of Israel who were led out of Egypt by Moses.

Fairfax County released a statement reminding people that it is illegal to gather in groups of 10 or more and requested that people celebrate at home with immediate family members.

“Consider the use of technology to gather people virtually in your home to have shared meals,” the statement said. “Through various media platforms, communal sharing and celebration of religious observances can continue while keeping each other safe.”

Similar recommendations will be in place for Ramadan, which begins later in the month.

The Virginia Department of Health also released a public service announcement, primarily echoing Fairfax County’s statement.

“While the Passover Seder often includes extended family and friends, it is by tradition a ceremony of the home,” the Virginia Department of Health said. “The essence of the Seder can be the same: sitting with your family around the dining room table to remember the exodus.”

“The purpose of Jumu’a is to gather the entire community together in one place for prayer and since that cannot be done safely, imams are asking each person to pray in their own home,” according to the Virginia Department of Health.

The New York Times published an article exploring how added stress from the pandemic might influence people’s mindsets and emotions during the spring holiday season.

The article’s author encouraged readers to celebrate through family activities like video chatting, reading to one another, playing games and signing.

Congregation Beth Emeth held it’s first digital Passover celebration this morning and will host another tomorrow (April 9) at 9 a.m., the website link. People can tune in at the link listed on the group’s website, which also listed places locals can order kosher groceries and celebratory supplies.

St Joseph Catholic Church is hosting an online Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday night (April 11) at 8:30 p.m. as well as an Easter morning Mass in Spanish at 12 p.m. and English at 10 a.m. Links can be found on the church’s website.

Photo via Olivia Snow/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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This is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Since many of her friends had told her there was no Santa, eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon had no idea when she wrote to the editor of the New York Sun asking if there was a Santa Claus that his editorial response to her would become the most quoted newspaper editorial ever. The editor’s response to her question was “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.”

For residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia the question has arisen with the announcement of every biennial budget, Is there a Santa Claus who can provide the resources for making progress in the state? The answer last week was clearly, “Yes!” and his name is Governor Ralph Northam. The Governor presented a budget for the next two years that will warm many hearts and respond to many unmet needs.

Among the many improvements in programs and services, Governor Northam observed “But perhaps the smartest investment we can make is in our children and their education.” His budget proposals include an additional $1.2 billion for public education, one of the largest investments the Commonwealth has ever made in education from early childhood through high school. Beyond that investment the Governor has proposed free community college for those with a financial need who are enrolled in programs leading to jobs. More school counselors and teacher raises are also included in his proposed budget.

The affordable housing program will receive an additional $63 million in funding under the Governor’s budget. Community Services Boards will receive much needed additional funding to respond to the people who are having mental health crises. The Governor has also proposed a state-based marketplace for the nearly 400,000 Virginians who buy health insurance on their own rather than through an employer. A state system can help keep premiums down.

The Governor is proposing to raise the cigarette tax which I have also proposed several times over the years. Even with an increase Virginia will have the lowest tax on cigarettes except for North Carolina. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in Virginia, and it directly causes more than $3 billion in yearly health care costs.

On transportation the Governor proposes an increase in the gas tax to raise money for improvements. To offset the increases, the Governor has proposed to save drivers $150 million per year by eliminating annual vehicle inspections that have not been shown to increase public safety. One of the greatest advancements in transportation improvements for Northern Virginia was announced days after his speech on the budget. Expansion of the Long Bridge across the Potomac River between Arlington and D.C. will take place over the next several years greatly expanding rail transit in the region.

With whatever holidays you celebrate, may they be filled with happiness, good health and joy! I look forward to serving you in the new year.

File photo

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The holiday season is here which means there are important closures around the area to keep in mind.

All Fairfax County government offices will be operating on a half-day schedule on Dec. 24 and be closed on Dec. 25.

For those who take public transit, the Fairfax Connector will operate on a normal schedule on both Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) and New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31), according to a Fairfax County Department of Transportation press release.

On Christmas Day (Dec.25) and New Year’s Day (Jan. 1) the buses will operate on a Sunday schedule. Times for specific busses can be found online.

Metro riders can also expect trains to run on a varied schedule during the holidays.

  • Dec. 24: 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 25: 8 a.m. t0 11 p.m.
  • Dec. 31: 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Jan. 1: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The United States Postal Service will be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

All Reston Association offices, including the Central Services Facility and Nature House, will be closed Tuesday through Friday (Dec. 24-26). Offices will close at 1 p.m. on Dec. 31 and remain closed on Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day, according to the RA website.

Reston Community Center at Lake Anne will be closed on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) through New Year’s Day (Jan. 1) and will reopen on Jan. 2.

The Reston Community Center at Hunters Woods will be open from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. It will be closed on Christmas. On New Year’s Day, the center will be open from noon to 5 p.m.

In Herndon, town offices will close at noon on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) and be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, according to a press release.

Trash will be collected on Tuesdays — Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 — instead of Christmas and New Year’s Day in Herndon.

The Herndon Community Center will have varied hours throughout the week:

  • Tuesday (Dec. 24): 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday (Dec. 25): closed
  • Thursday (Dec. 26): 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Tuesday (Dec. 31): 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday (Jan. 1): closed
  • Thursday (Jan. 2): 6 a.m. 10 p.m.

For golfers, the Herndon Golf Course also has a limited schedule — and if the weather cooperates.

  • Tuesday (Dec. 24): 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday (Dec. 25): closed
  • Tuesday (Dec 31): 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday (Jan. 1): 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Due to holiday festivities, Reston Now won’t be publishing on Dec. 25 or Jan. 1. We will be pushing on a shortened schedule today from tomorrow (Dec. 24) to next Tuesday (Dec. 31).

Photo courtesy Reston Town Center 

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Safety Tips for Candles — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue has advice on how to prevent fires this holiday season. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

New Tenants at Reston Station — “During 2019, Comstock Holding Companies, Inc., has announced the signing of more than 500,000 Sq. Ft. of new office leases in the Reston Station development, which covers nearly 40 acres surrounding the Wiehle-Reston East Station on Metro’s Silver Line… Most recently, Solar Winds signed a lease covering 16,349 Sq. Ft. at 1900 Reston Metro Plaza.” [GlobeNewswire]

Where to Dine Out on Christmas — Here are some restaurants that will be open on Dec. 25 around the Reston area. [Reston Patch]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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People across the U.S. are expected to hit record levels for traveling this holiday season.

According to AAA, 115.6 million people across the U.S. will travel between this Saturday and New Year’s Day — roughly 104 million will drive while around 7 million flying and 4 million taking trains, buses or cruise ships.

For the D.C. area, AAA forecasts the worst travel day will be Thursday (Dec. 26) between 4-6 p.m.

“For the 104.8 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts only marginal delays throughout the holiday week,” according to AAA.

Let us know if and how you plan to travel this holiday season.

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Local nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) and ridesharing app Lyft are again partnering to offer free rides during the holiday season.

As part of an effort to combat drunk driving, WRAP will be sponsoring free Lyft rides starting next Friday (Dec. 20).

From 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., rides up to $15 are free with the use of a promo code. The user is responsible for any costs over $15. The offer will continue until Jan. 1.

Weekly codes will be posted on the Sober Rides website at noon on Dec. 20, 27, and 31. The weekly code is only valid for one ride.

According to the Virginia Highway Safety Office, there were 621 alcohol-related crashes in Fairfax in 2017, resulting in 331 injuries and 12 fatalities.

“More than a third of all U.S. traffic fatalities during the holiday season in 2018 involved drunk drivers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” WRAP’s President Kurt Gregory Erickson said in the press release.

As the program is aimed at preventing alcohol related crashes, Lyft riders must be at least 21 years old to claim the offer. The code is valid for any rides inside the D.C. coverage area, which includes all of Fairfax County.

The SoberRide program operates during the December/January holiday season, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Independence Day and Halloween.

Image via Washington Regional Alcohol Program

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Restonians have banded together to launch “Light Up Reston,” a community-wide initiative that aims to encourage residents to support charities and decorate homes for the holidays.

The initiative aims to show residents’ community spirit and raise funds for Public Art Reston, Friends of Reston, and Cornerstones. It draws inspiration from Lake Thoreau Entertainment Associations’ “Festival of Lights,” which raises money for local charities and brings lights to the lake.

This year, residents — some friends and others strangers — decided to spread the initiative throughout the.

With expanding this effort across Reston, we are hoping to raise holiday spirit as well as  awareness of these wonderful Reston based charities by raising $25,000,” said Mary Prochnow, one of the organizers.

So far, $400 has been raised as the initiative kicks off. Last year’s “Festival of Lights” raised more than $8,500 for local charities.

Residents can donate funds to charities by contributing the dollar amount used to put up holiday decorations, the number of homes decorated in your neighborhood, or the number of times residents’ have thought about falling off a ladder while putting up lights.

Melissa Romano, who is also helping organize the initiative, said Restonians involved in lighting up Reston were drawn by their common desire to promote “great events in Reston.”

Photo via Charlotte Geary Photography

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The Lake Anne Merchant Professionals Association will once again host Jingle on the lake on Saturday, Dec. 7.

Attendees can enjoy holiday music, take part in cookie decorating and participate in other activities around the plaza. Santa Clause is expected to arrive by boat at noon and he’ll stay at the Reston Used Books Store to hear the wishes of tiny tots and take photos.

All day long, stores at the plaza will offer materials to write a letter to Santa, which can be mailed of the “North Pole Mail Service” inside Chesapeake Chocolates. The store will also offer free wine tasting and hot chocolate from noon to 3 p.m.

The Reston Farmer’s Market and Reston Craft Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon. Cookie decorating starts at 10 a.m. at Teapot and Cake. An adult choir performance is planned from 10:30-11 a.m.

More information about the event is available online.

Photo courtesy via Jingle on Lake Anne

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Friday Morning Notes

Britepaths Seeks Volunteers — The Fairfax-based nonprofit organization is seeking volunteers to sponsor families in need throughout the county. Sponsors are matched with families and may opt to provide a December holiday meal and gifts for children under 18. [Britepaths]

First African American Appointed as State Fire Marshal — “Governor Ralph Northam today announced the selection of Virginia’s new State Fire Marshal, Garrett Dyer. Garrett Dyer will oversee the law and code enforcement branch of the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP), and lead more than 28 inspectors and administrative support staff. The Virginia State Fire Marshal’s role is to implement and enforce the fire code.[Office of the Governor]

Toy Drive in Reston Town Center Kicks Off This Month — RTC’s “Toys for Tots” drive will run from the last week of November through the first week of December. The program is held in partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Toys will be collected in building lobbies. [Reston Town Center]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Monday is Veterans Day — a chance to celebrate the servicemen and women who currently or previously served in the United States Armed Forces.

Across Herndon and Reston, certain businesses or offices are altering hours in remembrance or even offering perks for veterans.

The Town of Herndon will host a remembrance ceremony on the Town Green at 11 a.m. in coordination with the American Legion Post 184.

Founding Farmers (1904 Reston Metro Plaza) is offering a 50% discount on brunch, lunch and dinner for those who bring along a military ID or wear their uniform. The Department of Veterans Affairs compiled a list of other chain locations offering discounts or free things for servicewomen and men.

The Herndon Community Center will operate from 6 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. and also offer free admission for retired veterans and active military personnel with military ID.  The Reston Community Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., according to its website.

The Fairfax County government offices and Fairfax County Public Libraries will be closed in remembrance, according to their website.

Fairfax County Public Schools will be open and teachers are encouraged to lead students in Veterans Day oriented activities.

Across the county, all neighborhood and community service centers will be closed.

Trash collection from the county will run on a normal schedule, although the offices will be closed, according to the website. Locals are advised to put their trash and recycling out by 6 a.m. for timely collection.

Fairfax County animal shelters are closed on Mondays, the website said.

Some Fairfax Connector routes will operate regular weekday service, while others won’t run at all.

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Columbus Day, a federal holiday that is also a workday for some, is on Monday. Here’s a look at what is open and what is closed for the holiday.

Fairfax County government offices and public schools are closed. Local libraries will also be closed on Monday. No in-person absentee voting will be offered at the Fairfax County Government Center. Reston Association offices, including the Walker Nature Center and Central Services Facility, will also be closed in observance of the holiday.

Reston Community Center Hunters Woods and Lake Anne are open, but check if your individual class or event is scheduled. Fairfax County parks and RECenter are also open.

Meanwhile, Metro will run on a Saturday schedule and Metrobus will operate on a modified Saturday schedule. MetroAccess and paratransit services will operate on a regular schedule.

File photo

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From 5Ks to champagne toasts, there are plenty of events around Reston on New Year’s Eve if you’re still scrambling to put together plans for this Monday.

Monday (New Year’s Eve)

Kalypso’s New Year’s Eve Party
Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 Washington Plaza N)
Time: 4 p.m.-2 a.m.

Kalypso’s is hosting a cover-free New Year’s party with free party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Four-course meals are available at the restaurant for $39.95, with advance reservation suggested.

New Year’s Eve at Jimmy’s
Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern (697 Spring St)
Time: 5 p.m.-2 a.m.

The New Year’s celebration at Jimmy’s features a five-course meal for $39 for early seating or $49 for those who want to stay all night. DJ and dancing start at 10 p.m.

Field Shaman’s New Year’s Eve Bash
Red’s Table (11150 S Lakes Dr)
Time: 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

Red’s Table will host a New Year’s celebration will feature a selection of classic and indie rock with the bands Field Shaman Trio and Good for Sunday.

New Year’s Eve Party
PassionFish (11960 Democracy Dr)
Time: 10 p.m.-1 a.m.

The lounge area of PassionFish will be transformed into a party spot with an open bar, a variety of seafood and a DJ. Tickets for all-night partiers are $125 or $50 for those who just want to stay for dinner.

Tuesday (New Year’s Day)

New Year’s Day Pajama Brunch
Mon Ami Gabi (11950 Democracy Drive)
Time: 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

For the early risers, this New Year’s Day brunch will feature French cuisine classics like Crème Brûlée French Toast and Classic Quiche Lorraine.

PR Series: New Year’s Day 5k
Reston Town Center (11900 Market St)
Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

If you’re looking to start 2019 a little healthier, a 5k around the Reston Town Center will be held on Tuesday morning with music and food available after the race. Tickets are $35 until Dec. 31.

Photo courtesy PR Running

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Holiday movie time at the library — Christmas and Hanukkah might be over, but locals can still enjoy the Disney holiday movie “Frozen” starting at 10:30 a.m. today at the Herndon Fortnightly Library. [Herndon Fortnightly Library]

Dulles Toll Road hikes start next week — Starting Jan. 1, prices are scheduled to increase from $2.50 to $3.25 at the main toll plaza and from $1 to $1.50 on ramps, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. [Tysons Reporter]

Beware of burglaries — Fairfax County Police are reminding residents to lock their doors after a wave of burglaries hit the McLean, Reston and Fair Oaks Districts. [Tysons Reporter]

Vote for Reston, Herndon theatre — The Reston Community Players and NextStop Theatre Company have several nominations for the BroadwayWorld Washington, D.C. Awards, including “Best Actor ina Community Theatre Production.” Voters have until Dec. 31 to pick the winners. [BroadwayWorld]

Last day to apply for the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival 2019 — Applicants can submit up to two applications by midnight tonight consisting of “original, well-conceived and expertly executed” works made within the last five years for the festival, which will be held in Reston. Art categories include ceramics, digital & multimedia art, furniture and more. The late fee is $60. [Zapplication]

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The votes are in.

The annual Reston Holiday Parade nabbed fifth-place nationwide in a USA Today holiday parade contest, according to results released today.

Reston’s slot put it ahead of the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade in Alexandria, Va. and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

Last year, the parade in Reston ranked sixth place. In 2016, it came in fourth overall.

Top honors went to America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. The city has been hosting the parade since 1924, according to USA Today. 

The complete rankings are as follows:

  1. America’s Thanksgiving Parade – Detroit
  2. Sparks Hometowne Christmas — Sparks, Nev.
  3. Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade — Gatlinburg, Tenn.
  4. Ford Holiday River Parade — San Antonio
  5. Reston Holiday Parade — Reston, Va.
  6. Scottish Christmas Walk Parade — Alexandria, Va.
  7. Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade — Newport Beach, Calif.
  8. Mayor’s Annual Christmas Parade — Baltimore
  9. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — New York
  10. San Diego Bay Parade of Lights — San Diego

USA Today said a panel of experts whittled down a long list of nationwide events to come up with the initial top 20, which were put up to readers’ votes to determine the top 10 holiday parades in the country.

Photo via Lesnick Photo

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