Wednesday Morning Notes

Absentee Voting Begins This Friday — Absentee voting for the general election in November begins on Friday, Sept. 20, at the Fairfax County Government Center. An additional nine satellite absentee voting locations will open on Thursday, Oct. 17. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston’s Place as a ‘Radical Suburb’ Tonight at Reston Community Center Lake Anne – “Author Amanda Hurley speaks about her book Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City. American suburbs were once fertile ground for utopian planning, communal living, socially conscious design and integrated housing. Hurley’s talk will discuss and compare Reston with other communities.” [Reston Community Center]

Walk to School Day Set for Oct. 2Students and employees are encouraged to bike or walk to school and work on October 2.  Parents are encouraged to accompany their children to school, and to work with their school and PTA or PTO to assemble bike trains or walking groups for the event.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo by Jay Westcott

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Lake Anne Plaza Business Owner Protests Hanging of Historic Pharmacy Icons on Damaged Wall

The owner of a business at Lake Anne Plaza has filed a cease-and-desist order urging the Reston Historic Trust & Museum and the Lake Anne Condominium Association to temporarily halt the installation of the historic Lakeside Pharmacy icons on a damaged wall at the plaza.

Sarah Selvaraj, the owner of Kiln and Co., says that installing the icons — which where removed last year from their original location at the plaza — could cause further damage to the wall near her business. She says the board has not adequately maintained the wall or addressed her concerns about the damage, which she says has stalled her ability to install a much-needed air conditioning unit in her business for almost two years.

“The internal structure of the wall is already deteriorating and the addition of any signage or other load-bearing material to the wall is going to further add pressure and cause significantly more damage to the wall… the ramifications of this would be significant and detrimental to all property with exposure to or supported by the Wall and their property owners,” wrote Maria Simon, managing partner of The Geller Law Group.

A spokesperson for the Reston Historic Trust & Museum said the museum is expected to provide a statement on the issue sometime today. The board did not respond to a request for comment from Reston Now. The icons — which served as advertisements for the former Lakeside Pharmacy — were expected to be installed over the weekend, according to an email received by Reston Now.

The letter also asserts that the board has “ignored repeated requests to make any repairs.”

“When such harm occurs, the LARCA Board and the Reston Museum will be facing significant liability to all parties who have been harmed as a result.”

Selvaraj says she is concerned about a pattern of issues related to maintenance and repairs at the plaza and its businesses.

Her business — a shop that combines the worlds of pottery and custard — is currently closed due to structural damage. A pipe burst last Wednesday caused major damage to the shop. It’s unclear when the business will reopen.

She says operating the Reston location of her business is especially challenging. Kiln and Co. has other locations in Vienna and Falls Church.

“When you look at the empty storefronts at the plaza, you walk around and wonder why. Then, when you own a business here, you no longer wonder.”

Photos via Sarah Selvaraj

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‘Dog Daze’ Water Park Event and More This Weekend in Reston

As summer draws to a close, the annual Dog Daze event is tomorrow (Sept. 7).

Community members are invited to bring their dogs to the Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive) and let their friendly four-legged friends take a dip in the community pool.

All ages are welcome to attend, though dog handlers must be 18 or older. This event runs from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

A $10 d0nation is suggested for the Fairfax County Animal Shelter and the Fairfax County Park Foundation. There will be prizes and treats for both people and their pets.

Saturday (Sept. 7) 

  • 2019 Craft Market Season (8 a.m.) — Local vendors can show off their arts while community members check out the nearby farmers market. This event is free and will be located at Lake Ann Plaza
  • Elephant and Piggy Day (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) — This free event will take place at the Reston Regional Library Branch and feature lifesize characters from Mo Willems’ “Elephant and Piggy” series. Families are welcome to stop by to meet the characters and take a selfie.
  • Wine Tasting at Balducci’s (2-5 p.m.) — The restaurant is having a wine tasting event with its new private stock from California. Participants can get 25% off when buying 12 or more bottles.
  •  Author Peter Kageyama (8 p.m.) — Author Peter Kageyama will speak at the Reston Community Center about how Reston fits into his version of an ideal city.  Tickets are $15, and his books are available for purchase before and after the presentation.

Sunday (Sept. 8) 

  • 18th Annual Herndon Rotary Car Show (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) — Sponsored by the Herndon Rotary International, this show will feature cars of various makes and models. The event is free for everyone, and there will be prizes offered for registered participants who bring their cars. Later in the day, there will be a panel discussion. It will be held at 777 Lynn Street.
  • Beehive: The 60’s Musical” (showings at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.) — This 60s’ themed performance highlights six women and groups who made an impact on music including the Shirelles, Supremes, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Janis Joplin.
  • Healthy Kids Running Series (3:30 p.m.) — This fun-run event will feature 50- and 75-yard dashes, the quarter-mile, the half-mile and the one-mile run for kids ages 2-14. Top-performing kids in each category will receive a trophy. Registration is $10 on-site at YMCA Fairfax County Reston.
  • Lake House Open House (3-5 p.m.) — Community members are invited to the lake house for a social gathering with their neighbors. Light refreshments will be served and people can learn about how the space can serve them.
  • Country Dance (5:30-8:30 p.m.) — This event invites community members 18 years of age or older to join in a social dance session featuring line dancing, swing and two-step. Tickets are $5 for Reston residents. It will take place at the Reston Community Center.

Photo via Fairfax County

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Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta Boasts Big Turnout

A record number of teams competed in the Reston Historic Trust & Museum’s third annual Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta over the weekend.

This year, 56 teams assembled bright, duct-taped boats to compete in the race on Saturday – the largest number of teams to take part in the event Designs ranged from a large pinwheel to Slinky from Toy Story.

In addition to watching the race, attendees had the chance to run on a life-size human hamster wheel to make a snow cone, as well as fun with super. soakers.

Five Fairfax County public schools took part in the race, as well as several nonprofits, businesses, and families.

Lake Anne Brew House won first place in the navigator category with the fastest time of 1 minute and 45 seconds. Lake Anne Coffee House & Wine Bar took the “the titanic award” and the school winner was “Hunters Woods Elementary School.” From the crop of merchants, Lake Anne Brew also took first place in the “merchants” category. The complete results are below:

Skipper:

  1. Marty Boys
  2. Ehrlich
  3. Eighty-Fifty Nine

Cadet:

  1. Yellow Submarine
  2. Swim Team Kids
  3. The Wild Sloth

Navigator:

  1. Lake Anne Brew House
  2. RHOA’s Ark
  3. Hunters Woods Elementary

Registration for the next race is expected to open in early 2020. This year’s title sponsor was Griffin Owens Insurance Group.

Photo courtesy Charlotte Geary Photography

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Roots Music Festival and More this Weekend in Reston

Six folk, bluegrass and blues bands are in the lineup for the fourth annual Lake Anne Roots Music Festival.

The festival, which features a beer and wine garden and fun for the whole family, is set for tomorrow (Saturday).

The event kicks off with the opening of taps at 11:30 am. Performances will take place through 8 p.m.

The event is sponsored by Friends of Lake Anne and Reston Community Center. It will take place at Lake Anne Plaza (1609 Washington Plaza).

Saturday (July 13)

  • Fairy Festival (10-11:30 a.m.) — Explore a woodland trail with fairy house and help build a fair house from natural materials.
  • Bookworms Club (11 a.m.) — Young readers can take part in the weekly club at Scrawl Books. Each week, readers explore a new theme with picture books. Members who attend ten sessions receive a free book.
  • Summer STEM (10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) — Children between ages two and nine can learn how to build structure with a mix of materials at Reston Regional Library.
  • Summerbration Fun Brunch (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) — Enjoy Motown and rock at Reston Station Plaza. The event is free and open for all ages.
  • Family Fun Entertainment Series with Guava Jelly (10-10:45 a.m.) — The pair performs music infused with a “lively island feel” at Reston Town Square Park. The event is free and open for all ages.

Sunday (July 14)

  • Jennifer Ryan at Scrawl Books (2 p.m.) — The author of “The Spies of Shilling Lane” will be on-site for a book signing. This is Ryan’s second novel.
  • Summerbration Fun Brunch with a Stilt Walker, a Juggling and a Face Painter (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) — Enjoy a performance by a trio at Reston Station Plaza. The event is free for all ages. Parking is also free on weekends in the Metro Parking garage.
  • Sunday Afternoon Dance (2:30-4:30 p.m.) — Dancers of all skills levels can dance the afternoon away at this drop-in event. Registration is $5 for Restonians and $10 for all others.
  • Art in the Park with GRACE (5:30-7:30 p.m.) — Greater Reston Arts Center and the Reston Community Center welcome visitors to take part in creative art activities for all ages.

Photo via Lake Anne Plaza/Facebook

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Monday Morning Notes

Flash Flood Warning in Effect — A flash flood warning is in effect for the area until 11:15 a.m. today. Drivers are encouraged to avoid flooded roads or roads with standing water. [Fairfax Alerts]

Lane and Ramp Closures This Week — Several roads, including Herndon Parkway, Edmund Halley Drive, and Sunrise Valley Drive will be closed for several hours this week due to construction on phase two of the Silver Line. All lane and ramp closures depend on the weather. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

The End of Small Change Consignment at Lake Anne Plaza — Susann Gerstein, owner of Small Change Consignment at Lake Anne Plaza, closed her business, which opened in late 1981. [The Connection]

Man Arrested for Threatening Reston Hospital Center Staff — Brian Baker, 47, was arrested on July 2 fro assault and disorderly conduct. Police said he threatened hospital staff and spat on a police officer. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Lake Anne Roots Music Festival Returns on July 13

Six folk, bluegrass and blues bands are in the lineup for the fourth annual Lake Anne Roots Music Festival.

The festival, which features a beer and wine garden and fun for the whole family, is set for Saturday, July 13.

The event kicks off with the opening of taps at 11:30 am. The following bands are scheduled to play through 8 p.m.:

  • 1 p.m.: Katie & Kelly
  • 2 p.m.: Annie Stokes
  • 3 p.m.: Minks Miracle Medicine
  • 4 p.m.: The High & Wides
  • 5 p.m.: The Woodshedders
  • 6 p.m.: Two Ton Twig

The event is sponsored by Friends of Lake Anne and Reston Community Center. It will take place at Lake Anne Plaza (1609 Washington Plaza).

Photo via Lake Anne Roots Music Festival

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Small Change Consignment Says Goodbye to Historic Lake Anne Plaza After 37 Years of Business

Small Change Consignment, a relic of Reston’s history and Bob Simon’s vision for the community, is closing its doors at historic Lake Anne Plaza on Saturday.

The children’s consignment shop — home to hundreds of items and the hearts of consigning families — has cemented its role in the community as a place to buy used clothing and a community gathering place. On a recent Wednesday evening, customers and friends came in to say goodbye to owner Susann Gerstein, 70, who has operated the shop for the last 37 years.

A group of teenagers lined up empty hangers in rainbow form — an organizational style Gerstein loves. She spent most of the night on Tuesday packing away clothes and coordinating donation drop-offs with local nonprofits.

Not much has changed since three young mothers and friends  started the venture on Nov. 21, 1981 in the vacant offices of an optician across the lake. The friends embraced the dark interior — with its Marimekko wallpaper and lime green carpeting. Gerstein’s husband built wooden clothing stands. Gerstein stitched hand-sewn clothing tags.

The paint was still drying when the store first opened. From the first day, customers embraced the business as a place to buy used clothes, chat over the racks and build community. The store has averaged 1,200 consigning families annually.

Eighteen years later, the shop moved to its current location, giving it a bigger space to work with. Gerstein’s paper ledger and the same Rolodexes from its opening day sit on the counter.

“Friendships grow for me here and they’ve grown for me too,”Gerstein said. “That’s the hardest part of saying goodbye.” She said the store brought out the extroverted side of her otherwise introverted personality.

Rents, which had been steadily increasing over the years, skyrocketed this year, making it hard to make ends meet, Gerstein says.

“I tried and we just couldn’t make it work,” she said.

She describes herself as a Reston booster and a big believer in Simon’s vision. Her involvement with Cornerstones, a nonprofit organization that promotes self-sufficiency; the Reston Historic Trust & Museum; and other organizations is clear in the store. She was the founding president of the Reston Museum and helped found the Reston Historic Trust for Community Revitalization.

A Cornerstones donation jar sits on the counter and Gerstein often donates clothing to local nonprofits and domestic violence victims through various community partnerships.

Politics entered her shop following the November 2016 presidential election. Gerstein put up a sign, “Stop Tearing Families Apart” in the window of her storefront. She began selling “Hate Has No Home Here” signs. A fabric banner of children holding balloons — which was made by the friend in the original space — hangs from the ceiling. On weeknights, she tries to ride with members of Herndon-Reston Indivisible to hold lighted letters at the White House several times a month.

“I wanted my store to be a safe space for everyone. Some people didn’t like it but everyone knows where I stand,” Gerstein said.

After receiving calls from Doug Bernstein from popular toy-making company Melissa & Doug for years, Gerstein began having the toys in her shop. She stopped taking used toys after federal regulators raised questions about the quality of plastic and lead used in toys. Her husband built a Melissa & Doug grocery stand, which children often played with as their parents shopped in the store.

Gerstein says running the shop, which she has done since 2002, has been extremely fulfilling and exhilarating. As her last day of business comes near, she hopes to spend more time volunteering in the community, which she did not realize she would warm up to after moving from New York City in the late 1970s. Her grandchildren and three children plan to come from the city for a send-off on Saturday.

On a recent evening, she gazed across the lake to where Simon’s monumental figure sits on a bench. She says she’ll keep her website’s domain running if she finds another place like Lake Anne for the next generation of consigning moms.

“It’s so hard to let go.”

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New Pottery Studio Opening in Reston This Month

A new pottery studio is coming to Reston at the end of the month.

TealNest Pottery will host a grand opening on Saturday, June 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 11704 Bowman Green Drive.

The owners — Heidi Pommer of Reston and Charlotte Knight of Fairfax — learned the art of pottery after taking classes at Reston Community Center at Lake Anne.

Now, they hope to pass on what they’ve learned through Scandinavian-style, boutique pottery. Their work is characterized by clean lines and calming colors.

The studio will host lessons on wheel and hand-building pottery techniques.

Here’s more from the owners:

TealNest Pottery offers potters at all levels, with seven wheels, large hand-building area, wall-slab roller, oval kiln, and beautiful glazes. “We encourage everyone to bring their unique talents and imaginations to create personalized and high-caliber pottery pieces that treasure and share! And we invite our ceramics community to join us as we collectively raise our skills to the next level.

Guests who attend the grand opening will receive a $25 gift certificate for a future class.

Photos via Heidi Pommer

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Thursday Morning Notes

Take a Break Concert Tonight — It’s officially dance night with Radio King Orchestra at Lake Anne Plaza from 7-9 p.m. The concert is free and open for all ages. Attendees will also get the change to learn some dance moves. [Reston Community Center]

Local Students Earn College-Sponsored Merit Scholarships — Joshua Nielson of Herndon High School won a National Merit Brigham Young University Scholarship and Arabella Jariel of South Lakes High School won a National Merit Harvey Mudd Scholarship. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

New Look for Fairfax Alerts Traffic Notifications — The new format for traffic alerts allows users to look through a map to pinpoint the exact geolocation of traffic incidents. The update also standardizes how information about the location address, incident type and impact appear to users. [Fairfax County Emergency Information]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Reston Live and More This Weekend in Reston

CORE Foundation hosts “Reston Live,” a music festival featuring live bands, a talent competition, local market and foods vendors, on Sunday.

The event, which takes place at Lake Anne Plaza from 3-8 p.m., will also include a magic show and face painting. Attendees should bring their own lawn or tailgate chair to enjoy the festival.

So far, the following performers are confirmed:

  • Actress and singer Sissy Sheridan
  • Magician Derek Jasper
  • Singer and songwriter Lindsey Hirchfeld
  • Catchin Toads

More information is available online.

Tomorrow (May 25)

  • Bookworms Club (11 a.m.) — Bookworms will dive into “The Little Red Fort” and “Fort Building Time” at this weekly book club at Reston Regional Library. Young readers will then get the chance to build something themselves to take home.
  • College Application Essay Workshop (3-4 p.m.) — College applicants will learn more about what college admission officers expect during this free essay workshop at Reston Regional Library.
  • A Star-Spangled Salute (7-8:30 p.m.) — Bring a lawn chair and enjoy a free patriotic concert at Reston Town Center’s Pavilion. The event features The Reston Chorale and Brass of the Potomac. You can also support troops serving overseas by donating items for the Chorale’s Operation Care Package drive.

Sunday (May 26)

  • Bird Walk through Stratton Woods (7:30-10:30 a.m.) — Adults can take a stroll through Stratton Woods. Walks are sponsored by the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia and The Bird Feeder store. No registration is required. Attendees should park at Stratton Woods Park.

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Thursday Morning Notes

Reston Association to Treat Algae in Lake Anne and Lake Thoreau — RA’s aquatic consultants will treat blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, with algaecide on Friday (May 24). There will be no restrictions on fishing or boating following the application. [Reston Association]

Deadline for Study on Fairfax County and Franconia-Springfield Parkways Extended — Residents now have until June 3 to submit comments about the long-range study, which provides recommendations for 2040 and beyond for the corridor. The plan also considers whether changes should be made to the county’s transportation plan. [Fairfax County Government]

A Review of ‘The Accidental Pundette’ — Nancy Giles, a commentator and comedian, offers an evening of tongue-in-cheek humor and insight on June 1 at CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road). Tickets are $25 for Restonians and $35 for all others. [The Connection]

Photo via Reston Association

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Lake Anne Plaza to Host Second Annual Reston Pride Festival

After a successful inaugural event last year, the Reston Pride Festival is moving from its small home in the Unitarian Universalist Church to Lake Anne Plaza. The event is set for June 1 from 2-7 p.m.

“Last year’s response was so great that we opted for this new location and businesses and the plaza have been very supportive and involved,” Amiee Freeman, one of the festival’s organizers told Reston Now.

Delta Knyght, a DC-based drag entertainer, and Ken Williamson, minister of music for Washington Plaza Baptist Church and a former Las Vegas entertainer, will emcee the event. Elected officials scheduled to speak include Del. Ken Plum and Del. Danica Roem, according to event organizers. Interfaith leaders from the United Christian Parish, the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation and Restoration Church, will also give remarks at the event.

“Our hope is that this event will not only be awareness-raising, but also a fun and engaging expression of inclusion,” Freeman said.

Last year’s event attracted more than 1,200 people and was co-sponsored by more than 20 community organizations. The event is the brain child of Rev. Debra Haffner, a minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston and co-chair of Reston Pride.

She says the festival aims to “break silence in the greater Reston/Herndon area about LGBTQ+ people and issues.”

“We are thrilled that so many organizations are working together to bring the community the second Pride festival and to launch what we hope will be an annual event,” she said.

Photo by Debra Haffner

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‘Gourmet Dive Bar’ Coming to Lake Anne Plaza This Summer

Signs portending the opening of Local VA at Lake Anne Plaza have raised some eyebrows on what the new business will bring to the plaza.

The business takes the place of Singh Thai, a locally owned Thai restaurant that left the plaza it called home for nine years earlier this month.

Owner Dylan Clark described Local VA as a “gourmet dive bar, unpretentious and comfortable with a neighborhood appeal.” Clark says the service will be “relaxed, very friendly and correct, creating an informal, comfortable environment.”

In an effort to ensure most ingredients are sourced locally, Clark said he is working with brewers, farmers, bakers and other purveyors in the state. The opening date is not final, but Clark hopes to open by June 1.

Singh Thai closed in March after the chefs, the owner’s parents, decided to retire and move back to Thailand.

Photo by Eve Thompson

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