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by Fatimah Waseem March 7, 2018 at 12:00 pm 62 Comments

Prepare for a sea of orange cones. With spring quickly approaching, Virginia Department of Transportation officials are gearing up for re-stripping, road redesigns, and new bike lanes on multiple Reston roads this year.

Roadwork will take place from April through November. The Virginia Department of Transportation is holding a public meeting on plans on Monday, March 19 at 7 p.m. in Terraset Elementary School‘s cafeteria.

In response to residents’ concerns about safety along the South Lakes Drive corridor, the county plans to redesign a strip between Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive by converting an outside travel lane to a buffered bike lane — a move the county hopes will address concerns about limited sight distance for vehicles turning onto Sunrise Valley Drive and pedestrian traffic.

Bike lanes on South Lakes Drive between Reston Parkway and Sanibel Drive would be extended. The county will keep one travel lane in each direction due to the limited projected impacts of future development on traffic in that area.

Other plans include adding or expanding bike lines on Bennington Woods Drive, Bowman Towne Drive, Explorer Street, Lawyers Road, Pinecrest Road and others. South Lakes Drive, Bluemont Drive and Fountain Drive are slated for redesigning.

A complete breakdown of plans in the Hunter Mill District is below:

  • Bennington Woods Drive: Addition of bike lanes.
  • Bowman Towne Drive: Addition of northbound bike lane, southbound shared line markings and striped parking lanes on both sides.
  • Bracknell Road: Addition of buffered bike lanes between Stevenage Road and commercial driveways.
  • Explorer Street: Addition of bike lanes. On-street parking on both sides of the street will remain.
  • Fountain Drive: Road redesign to “increase traffic safety.” There will be one travel lane in each direction, with one dedicated left turn lane and buffered bike lanes.
  • Stevenage Road: Addition of buffered bike lanes between Bennington Woods Road and the northern Home Depot driveway and Reston Parkway. Existing parking restrictions will not be changed. Timed parking will remain.
  • Temporary Road: Addition of bike lanes.
  • Walnut Branch Road: Addition of eastbound buffered bike lanes and westbound shared lane markings.
  • Lawyers Road: Extension of existing bike lanes west to Reston Parkway and upgrades to existing shoulders between Twin Branches Road to Hunter Mill Road to buffered bike lanes.
  • Pinecrest Road: Addition of buffered lanes between South Lakes Drive and Glade Drive. On-street parking will remain.
  • Ridge Heights Road: Addition of bike lanes. On-street parking will remain. “Extra wide” parking lanes will be provided for school bus parking.
  • Soapstone Drive: Addition of buffers to existing bike lanes.

In addition to attending the meeting, residents can submit online feedback. A complete list of impacted is online.

Photo via Fairfax County Government

by Fatimah Waseem November 27, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

Jurisdictions in Northern Virginia are collecting gently used and new coats and blankets for Syrian refugees in this year’s donation drive. The drive is powered by the Northern Virginia Relief Center, a nonprofit organization that aims to create a better life for people who come to Northern Virginia from around the world.

Since 2013, the drive has collected more than 100 tons of donations for Syrian and Iraqi refugees from jurisdictions like Fairfax County, Prince William County and Alexandria. Last year, 40,000 blanket and 33,000 winter coats were collected at over 100 drop-off sites throughout the country.

Donations will be accepted through Sunday at more than 30 locations. Local government drop-off locations will stop collecting donations at 5 p.m. on Friday.

In Reston, donations can be made at the Hunter Mill District Supervisor Office (1801 Cameron Glen Drive) Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. A complete list of all drop-off locations is also available online.

The organization is also accepting online donations. This year, all donations will be shipped to refugees located in Lebanon through a partnership with Paxton Van Lines and Maersk Line, according to the center’s website.

Photo via Northern Virginia Relief Center

by Dave Emke October 17, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Reston’s DRB Meets Tonight — Among items on the Design Review Board’s agenda are specific aspects of the upcoming redevelopment of Tall Oaks Village Center. [Reston Now]

Children’s Art on Display at RCC — The mixed media exhibit “The World in the Eyes of Children” is on display at Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road) until Nov. 5. [Reston Community Center/Instagram]

Body Camera Pilot Program Proposed by FCPD — If approved by the county Board of Supervisors next month, officers in the Mason and Mount Vernon districts may begin the 90-day program as early as February. [Fairfax Times]

New School in Herndon To Be Discussed — The Hunter Mill Land Use Committee will meet tonight at 7:30 p.m. at McNair Elementary School (2499 Thomas Jefferson Drive, Herndon). To be discussed is a proposal from the Fairfax County Board of Education to construct a new three-story school building on the site. McNair Elementary currently serves grades K-6. In the plan, the existing school would serve K-3 and the new building would take grades 4-6. [Hunter Mill Highlights]

Seahawks Up One in Post Poll — Following their 44-0 win over Washington-Lee last week, the South Lakes High School football team settles in at No. 13 in the area rankings. They had been ranked No. 14 the previous week. The 6-1 Seahawks return home Friday night to play McLean. [Washington Post]

by Jennifer van der Kleut December 8, 2016 at 8:35 am 0

sunrise-over-reston-via-twitter-by-jgs

Commercial Trucks Pulled Out of Service for Safety Violations — Fairfax County Police randomly chose 10 commercial trucks operating in Reston on Tuesday and inspected them for safety compliance. Authorities found 35 safety violations, and four trucks were taken out of service for “serious safety violations.” [FCPD]

Hernon Residents Show Holiday Spirit in Annual Home Tour — Residents throughout the area showcased some of their favorite holiday decorations during the annual Holiday Homes Tour of Herndon. [Reston Connection]

What Lurks in the Woods of Reston? — Local authors Eric MacDicken and Kristina S. Alcorn will sign copies of and speak about their new book, “Myths and Monsters of Reston, Virginia,” at Scrawl Books independent bookstore (11862 Market St.) at Reston Town Center this Sunday from 3-5 p.m. The book details “the phenomenal and frightening findings” of “what lurks in the woods of Reston.” [Scrawl Books]

Winter Coat Closet Open For Residents in Need  The annual Hunter Mill District Winter Coat Closet is now open for underprivileged local residents to come and get a warm winter coat if they cannot afford to buy one. Coats are available now through March 18 in the Community Room of the North County Governmental Building (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). The Closet is also in need of donations of new as well as clean, gently-used coats, jackets, hats, gloves, mittens and scarves through Feb. 16, 2017. [Cornerstones]

Photo of sunrise over Reston via Twitter user @JGS.

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by Karen Goff August 22, 2016 at 4:30 pm 7 Comments

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins at Feb. 29, 2016 meetingHunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins will host a community meeting on Sept. 8 to discuss the findings of the Fairfax County Police’s Ad Hoc Commission’s Police Practices Review.

In addition to the update, the forum will serve as an opportunity for the public to give their feedback on the Commission’s recommendations, including proposals related to independent oversight of the Fairfax County Police Department

The meeting will be held on Thursday, Sept. 8, 7 to 9 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church, 1625 Wiehle Avenue, Reston.

The Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission was established to engage the community in an open and transparent process to recommend changes that would help Fairfax County to achieve its goal of maintaining a safe community, ensuring a culture of public trust, and making sure county policies provide for the fair and timely resolution of police-involved incidents.

The commission was created by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in the months following the 2013 police shooting of John Geer in the Springfield District.

“The Board of Supervisors and the Police Department recognize the importance of maintaining that public trust and the importance of always reviewing policies and practices and seeking to improve,” Supervisor Chair Sharon Bulova said in March 2015 in announcing the review committee. “To that end, the Board of Supervisors is taking a hard look at the way Fairfax County handles significant police-involved incidents. ”

The report looks at (and makes suggestions for) use-of-force; recruitment and diversity; and communications, among other areas.

Read the final report of the commission on the Fairfax County website.

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins/file photo

by Karen Goff June 2, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

celebrate fairfaxJim Lewis and Michele Hymer “Cookie” Blitz have been selected as Hunter Mill’s Lord and Lady Fairfax as part of 2016 Celebrate Fairfax.

Each year, Fairfax County Supervisors select members of their districts who have demonstrated superior community service.

The Lords and Ladies will be honored at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on June 7, as well as at a special dinner reception that evening. Celebrate Fairfax is June 10-12 at the Fairfax County Government Center.

From Celebrate Fairfax:

James G Lewis, Jr. is the ultimate storyteller. He shares his expertise, talents, extensive knowledge, and enthusiasm for local history with all. In fact, in most conversations with Mr. Lewis, you can count on hearing, “I have a story about that.”

As an avid historian with an interest in the Hunter Mill Road corridor, Mr. Lewis not only reports the history, he discovers it. His explorations have uncovered sites of skirmishes, encampments, graves and structures from the Civil War era and before. He shares this history with the community through his popular lectures; bus, walking, and cemetery tours; and numerous books and publications.

He helped produce the documentary, “Danger Between the Lines”, shown on public television and winner of the County’s historical award.

He was instrumental with the research, applications and installation of several roadside markers that denote important historical events. Recently, Mr. Lewis expanded his repertoire of lectures to include talks on WWII milestones and events, which he shares around the county at no charge. With his enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge, he connects residents across generations to our rich local history.

Michele Hymer Blitz, or Cookie as she is affectionately known, serves as the Hunter Mill District appointee to the Fairfax Area Disability Services Board and past Board Chair, a position she has held since 2006.  Over her tenure, Hymer Blitz has proved to be a champion for County residents with disabilities, especially in employment and housing issues and is a member of the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee.

Along with her advocacy for individuals with disabilities, Cookie is completing a two year term as President of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, and is also a long time member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Additionally, she is a Trustee of the Jewish Federations of North America and serves as National co-chair of the Aging and Family Caregiving Committee. Hymer Blitz also enjoys volunteering at the Closet in Herndon and is a supporter of Cornerstones in Reston. In 2014, she was named one of 30 Social Justice Makers in VA by the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy.

by Karen Goff November 2, 2015 at 3:30 pm 13 Comments

"I voted" sticker. (Photo via Flickr/vox efx)Tuesday, Nov. 3 is election day. Do you know where your precinct is located?

Here is a primer for all things Election Day 2015.

If you are unsure of you polling place, put your address in this polling locator tool from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

You need an acceptable form of ID to vote. See a list of ID types from Fairfax County.

Get up to speed with this sample Hunter Mill District Ballot.

In the Hunter Mill District:

Supervisor — Incumbent Cathy Hudgins (D)  is running unopposed.

Virginia Senate — Incumbent Janet Howell (D) is running unopposed.

Virginia House of Representatives — Incumbent Ken Plum (D) is running unopposed.

Fairfax County School Board: Incumbent Pat Hynes is running for re-election against newcomer Mark Wilkinson.

There are also three At-Large School Board seats up for grabs. Here is who is on the ballot:

Additionally, Sheriff Stacey Kincaid is running for re-election against Bryan A. “B. A.” Wolfe; and Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon S. Bulova is being challenged by Arthur G. Purves and Glenda Gail Parker.

Voters will choose a new Soil and Water Conservation Director for the Northern Virginia District and a new Clerk of Courts.

Fairfax County voters will also be presented with bond issues — a $315 million school bond (which would aid in renovations for Herndon and South Lakes High Schools, as well and Langston Hughes Middle School), and a $151 facilities bond. Part of the facilities bond will go towards replacing the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Station at Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road, as well as a new animal shelter

by RestonNow.com October 14, 2015 at 3:00 pm 19 Comments

FCPS School Board member Pat HynesPat Hynes, first elected to the Fairfax County School Board in 2011, is running for re-election to the Hunter Mill seat on the board.

Reston Now sent questionnaires to Hynes and her opponent, Mark Wilkinson. Wilkinson’s has not yet been returned. The two candidates will participate in a forum in Reston on Oct. 24. The election is Nov. 3.

RN: Why do you want to serve on the school board?

PH: I am very grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to represent the Hunter Mill District on the school board for the past four years. My experience as the mother of two FCPS graduates, an FCPS teacher, a lawyer, and a community leader have served me well on the board and, I hope, have served the community well.

The current board has accomplished a good deal, including: later high school start times; full-day elementary Mondays; elementary class size caps; student-centered discipline reform; improvements in literacy and special education instruction; a comprehensive independent efficiency audit; and the hiring of the first-ever auditor general who reports directly to the school board.

Under this board’s direction, FCPS has taken a leadership role in the state and national conversation about better assessments, moving away from the high-stakes test score chase that has for too long dominated classroom instruction.

We have continuing challenges, however, including persistent achievement gaps, class sizes that are still too high in some schools, growing needs for space, and teacher pay that is not keeping pace in the region. Thanks to the efforts of the current board and Superintendent Karen Garza, I see progress on those and other challenges, and I hope the people of Hunter Mill will give me the opportunity to continue this important work.

RN:  What makes you uniquely qualified to serve the school board?

PH: As the only member of the current 12-member school board who has worked as a teacher in FCPS, I am uniquely suited to understand the interests of our employees. My colleagues on the board are very supportive of teachers, which I appreciate, but my time in the classroom gives me the experience to anticipate concerns and ask relevant questions. Having taught in both Vienna and Reston, I also have a network of local teachers and school-based administrators who know that I value their opinions and understand their needs.

(more…)

by Karen Goff June 9, 2015 at 4:30 pm 9 Comments

Graffiti at Herndon High SchoolFairfax County supervisors and school board members are speaking up in response to racist, profane and anti-semitic graffiti at Herndon High School last week.

There has since been similar incident at South Lakes High School, but a joint statement by Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and school board rep Pat Hynes and Dranesville Supervisor John Foust and school board member Jane Strauss was issued prior to Sunday’s SLHS vandalism.

No suspects have been charged.

The representatives say the behavior is “intolerable in our community.”

“It does not represent the inclusive community that we strive to make possible in Fairfax County,” the reps said.

Here’s the statement:

Last weekend, vile hate speech and derogatory symbols were found defacing property at Herndon High School. We stand together, all saying that this behavior is intolerable in our community. This action represents some of the worst intolerance that we have seen, and does not represent the inclusive community that we strive to make possible in Fairfax County.

This action is intended to demean and diminish members of our community. The symbols depicted at Herndon High School represent hate and inhumanity. We will not stand for this behavior in our school system, or in the greater Fairfax County community.

We will not allow our schools to become a platform for hatred and intolerance of any group or individual. Moreover, we must use this occasion in a positive way, to teach respect and tolerance and to demonstrate how the diversity of our county enriches all our lives.

This is a horrific example, but we must take it as an opportunity to further build an inclusive community for all.

Photo: Graffiti at Herndon High School

by Karen Goff March 31, 2015 at 10:55 am 7 Comments

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins addresses crowd at Silver Line opening/Credit: Jennifer Heffner, Vita ImagesWillie Hudgins, the husband of Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, is recovering at Inova Fairfax Hospital after he was badly injured in a fall on Friday.

Hudgins suffered serious injuries in the incident at his gym, aides to Hudgins said.

The Hudgins family has been residents of Reston since 1969. Hudgins has been the Hunter Mill Supervisor since 1999.

A statement from Cathy Hudgins’ office:

On Friday, March 27, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins’ husband, Willie Hudgins, suffered serious injuries related to a fall. He was rushed to INOVA hospital where he was stabilized and is continuing to undergo treatment.

Supervisor Hudgins wishes to extend her thanks to Fairfax County first responders and hospital staff for their assistance in this difficult time.

Additionally, we want to thank the community for their outpouring of prayers and support for the Hudgins family.

The Hunter Mill District Office continues to conduct business as usual and will update the Hunter Mill District website and Facebook page as further information is available.

We appreciate your concern and cooperation in this very private family matter. Thank you for respecting the family’s privacy during this difficult period.

Cathy Hudgins/File photo

by Karen Goff February 23, 2015 at 12:00 pm 3 Comments

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy HudginsHunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and other local leaders invite all Reston residents to the 2015 Hunter Mill District Community Summit on Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Frying Pan Park’s Visitor’s Center, 2739 West Ox Rd. in Herndon.

Come and hear about the Fiscal Year 2016 budget for Fairfax County and Fairfax County Public Schools, as well as get answers to questions you may have about area services and project.

Also scheduled to appear: Rep. Gerry Connolly; Fairfax County Chairman Sharon Bulova; Hunter Mill District School Board Member Pat Hynes; Fairfax County Executive Ed Long; Kerrie Wilson, Cornerstones CEO; Kate Hanley, Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board;  Jerry Poje, Human Services Council; Bill Bouie, Fairfax County Park Authority Chair; George Bergquist, Committee for Helping Others; Leila Gordon, Executive Director, Reston Community Center.

The highlight event is the Hunter Mill Huddle. The Huddle is a scrum of ideas and questions/answers from the leading Fairfax County policy-makers regarding the proposed budget, Human Services, North County service and facility development, and other informational topics about the Hunter Mill District.

In addition, the Department of Tax Administration will be providing one-on-one consultation to senior and disabled residents on tax relief opportunities and applications.

To RSVP or for questions regarding the meeting, contact the Hunter Mill District Office at (703) 478-0283, or email to [email protected].

Photo: Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins/File photo

by Karen Goff February 27, 2014 at 4:30 pm 0

Fairfax CountyInterested in what is happening in Fairfax County’s Hunter Mill District.

Then plan to attend the Hunter Mill District Community Summit Saturday at Herndon’s Frying Pan Park, 2709 West Ox Road.

Here are the highlights:

* Summit runs from 8 a.m. to noon and will feature presentations by Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and others.

* 9 a.m. — Hunter Mill virtual field trip.

* 10 a.m. — Budget presentation by County executive Ed Long; County priorities talk by Board of Supervisors chair Sharon Bulova; Schools report from Hunter Mill School Board rep Pat Hynes.

* 10:45 a.m. — “Hunter Mill Huddle,” a scrum of ideas from leading policy makers in the Hunter Mill District on such topics as human services, parks, planning, police, schools and transportation.

* 12 p.m. — Q & A and wrap up.

Representatives from the Fairfax County Department of Taxation will also be on hand to help citizens in tax consultations or to answer questions about real estate tax.

RSVP by email to [email protected] or call the Hunter Mill District Office at 703-478-0283.

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