Reston, VA

Although cancellations of many major Reston events were announced this week, Reston Community Center’s summer concerts have returned to Lake Anne Plaza and Reston Station. 

The 2020 Summer Concert series is free to the public and features two different recurring concert series. The Take a Break series is held at Lake Anne Plaza on Thursdays from 7-8:30 p.m. The Summerbration Fab Fridays series is held at Reston Station on Fridays from 7-8:30 p.m, according to the Reston Community Center website. 

The dates and performances for Take a Break include:

  • July 30: Cheick Hamala Diabate
  • Aug. 6: Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet
  • Aug. 13: Mambo Combo
  • Aug. 27: Alfredo Mojica & Friends
  • Sep. 3: David Bach Consort

The dates and performances for Summerbration Fab Fridays include:

  • July 31: Far Away
  • Aug. 7: King Teddy
  • Aug. 14: Cristian Perez Band
  • Aug. 21: Seth Kibel Band
  • Aug. 28: Swingin’ Swamis
  • Sep. 4: Tobago Bay

RCC will be mandating social distancing protocol and masks to ensure COVID-19 safety at the venue, according to the website.  Additionally, patrons are requested to bring their own chairs or blankets for seating, and capacity will be limited due to social distancing. 

Photo via the Reston Community Center website

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Monday Morning Notes

Weather Alert for Today — The work week begins with hot and humid weather.  Afternoon showers and thunderstorms are also expected. Forecasters say some storms could be strong to severe, with damaging. Winds, large hail, and an isolated threat for flooding. [National Weather Service]

COVID-19 Count Begins Climb — “Both Virginia and the Northern Virginia region reported the highest daily number of new coronavirus cases in almost a month on Saturday, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Northern Virginia reported 256 new cases, and statewide 716 new cases were reported. Both numbers were the highest since June 7.” [Inside NOVA]

Virtual Town Hall for Return to School — The Fairfax County Public Schools System is hosting a downhill to discuss return to school options on today (Monday). A meeting in Spanish will be held on Wednesday. [FCPS]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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A forensic analysis by Ernst & Young (EY) has flagged concerns with past financial practices and decision making by the Lake Anne Reston Condominium Association.

LARCA President Senzel Schaefer said she initiated the review following a board vote after last year’s election brought a new slate of board members who committed to “change and fiscal responsibility.” In-fighting and contention over finances have marred the board leading up to and following the election. Schaefer said she hoped the review would shed light on financial mismanagement, ultimately putting the board on “a new path to financial solvency.”

The review calls on LARCA to establish better internal controls and accountability practices. E&Y reviewed spending and other activities of the previous LARCA board over the last three fiscal years.

Schaefer said the report — which she characterized as an audit — is critical to improving the financial standing of the association. She says she’s been targeted by a “small but vocal group” of people seeking to halt the audit and her work. A lawsuit has been served against her, she said.

“I repeatedly pointed out to these individuals and still believe that good governance starts with transparency of operations and finances and following our bylaws, which were not adhered to in the past, so I will not stop the audit because we need to know where operations broke down and how to fix them,” she said.

“The question should be: in light of our financial irregularity and operational failures; why would anyone be so opposed to an audit which would give us answers and a path forward?” she added.

Others contend the review offers an incomplete and misleading picture of LARCA’s past financial practices. They also state Schaefer acted unilaterally by approaching E&Y with strong allegations against the previous board. Schaefer denies those allegations, saying she acted with the consent of the board.

Karen Jarvis, a property owner at Lake Anne who stepped down from her role as chair of LARCA’s finance committee, said a request for significant additions, corrections, and retractions is in progress. Jarvis, who is a procurement compliance manager and a former finance manager, says that the report is based on limited documentation to E&Y — some of which she says is accessible in LARCA’s administrative office.

“We are still working with E&Y to get a final version signed off with corrections,” Jarvis said. “There were huge amounts of information that were not provided but are readily available.”

The draft report — which was posted publicly by a community advocacy group — was released on May 29 and presented to the membership in mid-June. The Fairfax County Police Department also expects to release a report about its investigation of LARCA by the end of July, according to Second Lieutenant Erica Webb.

When analyzing $2.68 million dispersed to the top ten vendors, EY found “limited written policies and procedures at LARCA,” including the lack of written bidding, contracting or payment requirements. It suggested considering rebidding for large vendors to ensure the most favorable market-competitive rates were secured.

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To celebrate the restaurant’s 10th anniversary, Kalypso’s Sports Tavern will be hosting a series of community events next weekend.

On both July 3 and 4, attendees can expect live music, party favors, free food samples and the eatery’s lineup of Italian and Greek dishes, a press release said.

Free celebratory music will kick off with a performance on Friday from Steel Drums with Josanne Franci from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Bongo District Trio from 6 to 9 p.m. On Saturday, Steel Drums with Josanne Franci will be performing again from 6 to 9 p.m.

The eatery is located at 1617 Washington Plaza. A spokesperson said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic,  staff managed to adhere to social distancing guidelines so guests can feel safe while enjoying themselves. Outside on the patio, the website said that it can comfortably hold 75 guests while in stage two of reopening.

Throughout the eatery’s history, they’ve hosted various events and other celebrations for regulars. For its fifth-anniversary party in 2015, the restaurant hosted a similar beach themed celebration.

“I still remember the day in 2010 when I saw the commercial sales listing and was surprised to see the opportunity. I drove over to Lake Anne immediately and fell in love with the lakefront property,” owner Vicky Hadjikyriakou said in the press release.

Photo courtesy Kalypso’s Sports Tavern

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More than 1,000 names of black people shot and killed by police in the last five years now don the sidewalks of Lake Anne Plaza.

Local residents spent much of Saturday morning chalking the names of 1,265 people with sidewalk chalk. Organizer Kaila Drayton, a said she wanted to take the time to honor individuals who lost their lives due to police brutality.

“I wanted to create a space where people from the local community could join in, help write names and have a conversation,” Drayton said. “The recent news of George Floyd’s death is both devastating and familiar to those of us in the black community.”

Drayton and two friends began around 8 a.m. on Sunday. The project took about four hours. A little over two dozen people gathered to help write the names and fill in some letters, including Black Lives Matter.

They also included a note about the project and a large message: “Reston, say their names.”

Lake Anne Village Center was the first village of Reston, a planned community. Founder Bob Simon sought to create an integrated community in the state before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In 2004, a bronze statue of Simon — dubbed “bronze bob” — was installed on a bench in Lake Anne Plaza.

It now includes a cardboard sign that reads “Black Lives Matter” around his neck. 

Photos via Kaila Drayton

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Local residents looking to get their farmers market fix and support small businesses can do so beginning next month.

Reston Farmers Market will return to the parking lot at Lake Anne Village Center on May 9 from 8 a.m. to noon. The Fairfax County Park Authority approved the opening of the market this week.

Organizers say the market will have a very different look and feel due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Layout stands will be spread out in order to practice social distancing at the parking lot (1609 Washington Plaza-W).

The following new rules are expected to be implemented:

  • Do not enter if sick
  • Keep at least six feet apart from other people
  • Everyone should wear a face mask or other facial covering
  • No pets are allowed
  • One customer at a stall at a time
  • Do not touch products and surfaces. Vendors should manage bag purchases
  • No on-site eating of purchases or sampling
  • Payment by credit or debit card preferred
  • Do not linger. Try to complete shopping as quickly as possible
  • Leave by designated exits only

“It will be important that all customers adhere to them in order to assure that the Reston Farmers Market be permitted to stay open to serve you and to protect the health and safety of everyone in the market,” said John Lovaas, co-market manager.

Opening dates for other farmers market in Fairfax County have not been determined, but are expected soon.

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Two months ago, Local VA, a gourmet dive bar, opened its doors at Lake Anna Plaza. The opening of the small business at 1633 Washington Plaza was marred by delays, but welcomed by customers and the Lake Anne community for its trendy aesthetic and varied menu.

But after a state order directed restaurants and other businesses to limit customers and shift to takeout and delivery, the recently-opened business is struggling to remain afloat. The owners say they’re in it for the long haul, despite financial setbacks.

When the nearly $350 billion stimulus package for small businesses launched, the owners said they immediately applied. One week later, the Small Business Administration assured them that a $10,000 forgivable loan would be on the way within three days of the receipt of a second application. The owners applied but heard nothing in return, despite multiple emails to the administration and their bank.

With federal funds exhausted for small business, Local VA is still optimistic about its future.

“Even when the pandemic forced us to switch to carry-out, your support kept us positive, enthusiastic and moving forward,” the owners wrote in a statement. “And now, we shall conquer this mountain, too. This is our room and its a livelihood for several good, caring and dedicated people.”

Local VA struggled to secure federal assistance is emblematic of other small businesses. The forgivable small business loan program quickly depleted in just under two weeks. It is possible that Congress will add additional money to the program, which was launched on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The business continues to take takeout orders.

“Be strong, be safe and let’s conquer this new world together,” the owners wrote.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Restonians broke from a 16-year-long tradition of celebrating Founder’s Day at Lake Anne Plaza this year.

With social distancing guidelines and a stay-at-home order in effect, the Reston Historic Trust & Museum encouraged residents to find ways to celebrate the birthday of Reston’s founder Bob Simon and the community’s founding.

Alexandra Campbell, the director of the trust and museum, said she was glad the community was able to find embody one of Reston’s founding principles — to live, work and play in the neighborhood — in a new but truly Restonian way.

“While we are sad we could not hold this event on the plaza and could not connect with the community face to face, it has been a reminder that we can enjoy Reston’s history every day in our own homes. The community reflected and celebrated Reston’s unique history with us in a variety of ways,” Campbell said.

Nonetheless, residents submitted videos uploaded social media posts showing how they celebrated Founder’s Day from home.

Foley Academy of Irish Dance, which was scheduled to perform during Founder’s Day, shared a performance from members at home.

Kristina Alcorn, author of “In His Own Words,” shared memories of her book project and friendship with Simon.

Reston Community Center also encouraged residents to enjoy a film created by Rebekah Wingert of Storycatcher Productions for Simon’s memorial in April 2016. The film was commissioned by Reston Community Center.

Nonprofit organization Cornerstones — which has been on the frontline of offering financial assistance and resources to people affected b yCOVID-10 — also wrote the following about Founder’s Day:

When Robert Simon founded Reston in 1964, his pioneering vision helped create a compassionate, thriving, and equitable community where everyone could live and work. Today, during this unprecedented economic and health crisis, our community’s resiliency and generosity remains a shining example of his legacy. We are proud to join the Reston Museum in celebrating Founder’s Day and thanking the many individuals, faith-based organizations, and community partners who have supported Cornerstones over the past 50 years. Our continued work together will help sustain neighbors hurting today and begin rebuilding stability, empowerment, and hope so everyone has a bright, healthy future in our community If you know someone who needs a hand-up, please encourage them to contact us at 571.323.9555 or visit cornerstonesva.org. We are ready to help!

Chuck Veatch, founding and current band member of the Reston Historic Trust & Museum, described this year’s founder’s day as the “most unusual” in Reston’s history. He encourages Rsetonians to continue to take part in celebrating the day.

This is our 17th Founder’s Day and marks my 56th year living working playing and or serving in Reston. I will miss welcoming everyone in person to Founder’s Day this year but really want to see how each of us celebrates in this the most unusual Founder’s Day in our history.”

Photo via YouTube

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While Reston’s annual Founder’s Day celebration will not take place in person, the Reston Historic Trust & Museum is still finding ways to make the community milestone and birthday of Reston’s founder Bob Simon special.

Founder’s Day will take place on Saturday, April 18. The museum, which organizes the annual celebration is asking Restonians to submit videos of up to 30 seconds showcasing how Founder’s Day is being celebrated in their home.

The museum suggests some ways to celebrate at home on its website.

Residents should tag the museum via Twitter or Facebook. Everyone who tags the museum will be entered tow in a personalized commemorative brick to be installed at Lake Anne Plaza next year. A winner will be selected on April 20.

Founder’s day is presented by Reston Historic Trust and Museum with support from Reston Community Center and Public Art Reston. It is hosted by Lake Anne Plaza.

File photo

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A new salon is coming to Lake Anne Plaza soon.

County permits indicate that the salon, which is listed as “My Salon” in documentation, will open up at 1613 Washington Plaza.

An application for interior changes was processed by the county on Feb. 12.

The space was previously occupied by Zen Nail and Day Spa, which moved a few doors down from its current location in 2018, a business representative told Reston Now. That spa is now located at 1635 Washington Plaza.

No word yet on when the new salon is expected to open.

Photo courtesy Zen Nail and Day Spa

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Lake Anne Plaza will welcome its first gourmet dive bar this week.

Local VA will hold its grand opening on Friday (Feb. 21) from 5-11 p.m.

The business takes the place of a Thai restaurant that closed last year at 1633 Washington Plaza.

The menu isn’t available to preview yet, but at a soft opening earlier four days ago, customers said the menu included steak frites, wings, macaroni and cheese, as well as other items.

Photo via Dylan Clark

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Editor’s Note: This article was updated with new information about the temporary closure and comment from the owner.

Kiln & Co., a paint-your-own-pottery studio that also serves up custard, has temporarily closed for renovations, according to company owner Sarah Selvaraj.

The company, which first opened at Lake Anne Plaza in 2017, plans to reopen by the spring or summer of this year. Selvaraj said it is not unusual for the business at Lake Anne to go on hiatus for the winter.

The Reston location was forced to close overnight on Sept, 11 last year due to water damage. “We might have a relocation within Lake Anne due to the infrastructure issues as indicated…  and if the real estate was sold,” she stated.

Here’s more from the company:

Lake Anne has been part of the Kiln & Co family ever since our first 2016 pop up covered by RestonNow’s Karen Goff on June 16, 2016. My relationship with Lake Anne dates back even before opening my first store. I have taken several sculpture classes and ceramic classes at the Reston Community Centre with amazing instructors like Guy Zoller and Marianne Cordyack that teach there to this day.

As of yesterday (Thursday), the company’s website lists the Reston location (1631 Washington Plaza-N) as “closed.” 

Late last year, the owner expressed concerns about the lack of upkeep and maintenance at the plaza and several businesses. 

File photo

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Patrons of Lake Anne Plaza can enjoy a “Small Crawl” on Saturday, Nov. 30.

During the event, participants can join a group crawl — or walk — around the plaza to enjoy samples from several businesses.

The walk begins at the bronze sculpture of Reston’s founder Bob Simon and takes participants to the following businesses, which will offer special selections from the products they offer:

The event takes place all day on Saturday in honor of Small Business Saturday.

File photo

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Lane and Ramp Closures This Week — Several ramp and lane closures are planned this week due to ongoing work on the extension of the Silver Line. Changes are planned along the Dulles Toll Road, Sunrise Valley Drive, Sunset Hills Road and Moran Road. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

County Plans to Repurpose Unused Parking Spaces at Malls — “A proposed Fairfax County amendment aims to lessen the parking requirements for large retail centers, allowing unused parking lots to be repurposed. It’s an issue the county has been talking about for the past year and a county report said there’s been a decline in shopping malls since the 1990’s.” [WUSA 9]

Reston Witches Rules the Water on Hallow’s Eve — A playful coven of Halloween witches on stand up paddle boards skim the waters of Lake Anne to kick-off an evening play and spooky brews. [The Connection]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The South Lakes High School PTSA is sponsoring a 0.5k run to help support the school’s food pantry this Sunday. From 3-5 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will go directly toward the pantry, which provides students in the SLHS pyramid food and toiletries.

The run is titled, “The Best 650 Steps You’ll Ever Take.”  The run begins and ends at the Lake Anne Brew House, with a stop in between for donuts and water.

To prepare for Halloween, organizers will be offering medals for the biggest team, best costume, most exuberant, best-dressed team and any other categories the judges “deem worthy,” according to organizers.

Registration is open online. Individuals can register as a student, adults, teams or families.

Raffle prizes include a diamond necklace with a value of $1,500 that was donated. Aspen Jewelry Designs. Other prices include a gift basket from Custom Ink, peanut putter basket, gift cards and a massage by Meg Donnelly.

The race is sponsored by Lake Anne Brew House, Reston Community Center, Restoration Church, Century 21 Redwood, CustomInk, Aspen Jewelry Designs, Dev Technology, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Del. Ken Plum, OmMade Peanut Butter, AKG Designs, and Friends of Lake Anne.

Photo via Roberta Gosling

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