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Del. Ken Plum: What is Your Opinion?

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.

The opening of the 2019 session of the General Assembly is rapidly approaching! Just a little over a month away!

This session, held during the 400th anniversary of the founding of a representative legislative body in Jamestown in 1619, is shaping up to be a transitional — if not a transformative — one. The heightened awareness of the public on issues and the widened interest in public participation in civic matters add to the importance and significance of the General Assembly meeting this coming year beginning on January 9.

While I gather information on issues of public concern throughout the year from talking with individuals and groups, I have found that leading up to the legislative session is a time when others want to step up and make their opinions known.

That’s why Senator Janet Howell and I sponsor a community meeting twice each year and encourage public testimony. As has been announced in my newsletter and on social media, we will be meeting with constituents Wednesday evening, December 12 from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne. All are welcome. No advanced registration is required.

Likewise, you can make your views known to the entire Northern Virginia delegation on January 5. Pre-registration is recommended as there are many people who offer testimony at that event.

Another option of sharing your views with me is through my online Legislative Survey. Access the survey through my website, www.kenplum.com and click on Legislative Session Survey (top right). The information gathered through the survey is helpful to me not as a poll, but as an opportunity for anyone to express an opinion.

Polling information is valuable to get the overall pulse of the community. The most recent poll of Virginia voters on issues that primarily affect the Commonwealth was conducted by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. The poll found that 81 percent of Virginians sampled support ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

There is a strong advocacy effort underway throughout the state to make Virginia the 38th and final state needed to ratify the amendment. As a supporter of the ERA throughout my legislative career, I look forward to the amendment getting out of committee and being voted on by the entire legislature.

My effort going back to the beginning of my legislative career to establish a nonpartisan redistricting process to draw legislative boundaries has the best chance of approval ever. Nonpartisan redistricting has the approval of 78 percent of voters. Amending the constitution requires legislative approval of two sessions of the General Assembly and a referendum of the voters in order to pass. Passage of an amendment this year is critical to having a process in place for redrawing district lines based on the 2020 census.

The poll found that 49 percent of Virginians sampled support an across-the-board tax cut. At the same time, there is support for increasing funding for education programs at all levels.

Please let me know your opinion on issues of importance to you.

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Watch the ghosts from Christmas Past, Present and Future — Join the Reston Association on a chartered bus trip at 12:45 p.m. to see the performance of “A Christmas Carol” at Ford’s Theatre. RA members pay $60, while non-members pay $70. [Reston Association]

Town hall with Del. Ken Plum and Sen. Janet Howell — The two politicians will host a town hall from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne. [Del. Ken Plum]

Herndon real estate startup aims to be the “Credit Karma of homes” — UpsideDoor decided to trash the brokerage model it launched in 2015 and instead gather data about homeowners to help match them with companies providing home services. The company is also embarking on a new fundraising effort. [Washington Business Journal]

Reston Hospital Center acquires second Mazor X System — The Virginia Institute of Robotic Surgery at Reston Hospital Center is the first in the nation to have two of these robotic spine surgery systems at one hospital location. [Reston Hospital Center]

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Reston Then and Now: Lake Anne

With help from Fairfax County’s Historic Imagery Viewer, which offers aerial views of the county dating back to 1937, Reston Now has put together a review of how the Lake Anne area has evolved since the lake’s creation.

Like many of Reston’s lakes, Lake Anne is not natural. Photography from 1960 shows the open fields and forests just two years prior to the first development on the site.

According to the Walker Nature Education Center, the lake was first built in 1962 to compensate for the increased water runoff caused by new developments. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Lake Thoreau, Lake Audubon, and Lake Newport were also built across Reston.

While some of the water in the lake comes from underground springs, most comes from rainfall and surface runoff. The lakes store water as it flows through streams to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.

By 1976, ten years after it was founded, Lake Anne Village Center took the form is essentially remains in to this day. The center was designed by architect James Rossant to emulate the Italian coastal town of Portofino but with then-popular brutalist themes. The center was designed to be located within a half-mile of most homes in Reston at the time.

Over the next twenty years, the aerial photography shows development on the periphery around the central plaza, like new subdivisions built near Lake Newport to the north across Baron Cameron Ave. New residential developments also emerged on the south side of Lake Anne.

To the southwest, the Lake Anne Elementary School went through substantial upgrades in the 1990s, adding air conditioning throughout the building. In 2003, construction began on a $2.1 million addition and renovation of the school. Forest Edge Elementary School to the east also saw substantial growth between 1997 and 2017.

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Santa Claus is Coming to Town Soon for ‘Jingle on Lake Anne’

 

Looking to get into some holiday spirit? Lake Anne Plaza is preparing to host its classic event, “Jingle on Lake Anne,” on Dec. 1.

The event at 11609 Washington Plaza kicks off with a craft market at 8 a.m., followed by cookies and kids’ crafts. Adults and children can make ornaments and decorate cookies while listening to the Lake Anne Elementary School students’ perform.

At noon, Santa and his elves will arrive via boat and paddle across the lake for photo opportunities.

The events throughout the day are as follows:

  • 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Craft market
  • 10 a.m. to noon:  and kids’ crafts
  • 11 a.m. to noon: Lake Anne Elementary School chorus and orchestra
  • Noon: Santa arrives and pictures are taken
  • Noon to 2 p.m.: Music on the plaza

The event is sponsored by Lake Anne merchants.

Photo by Ken Knueven via Facebook

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Art Exhibit to Raise Money for Cornerstones Ahead of Holiday Shopping Event

Ahead its annual holiday and gifts shopping event, Reston Community Center Lake Anne is organizing an exhibit to benefit Cornerstones, a local nonprofit organization.

Artists will display and sell original artwork in the Jo Ann Rose Gallery from Nov. 26 through Jan. 7. A holiday gift shopping event will follow on Dec. 1, turning the facility into a marketplace with food and gifts from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entries fees and 10 percent of sales will be donated to Cornerstones.

The exhibit will include work in a variety of mediums, including watercolor, oil, mixed media, collage and photography. Artists will donate 10 percent of proceeds from sales during the shopping event and throughout December. Cornerstones helps operate the Embry Rucker Community Shelter, Laurel Learning Center, and community services outreach.

The event has raised $13,700 for the nonprofit organization since the first exhibit was held in 1999. For more information, contact Gloria Morrow.

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What’s Going On This Weekend in Reston?

The Hindu Festival of Lights, known as Diwali, lights up Reston Regional Library with a cultural fair on Saturday.

The event will include games, music, food, arts and crafts and other activities. Attendees of all ages are invited to the fair, which runs from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Below is a limited list of other events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.

  • In the mood for a little theater? Performances of Hairspray continue today and this weekend on CenterStage at RCC Hunters Woods. Tickets are $28 for adults, $24 for seniors 65 and older, and $24 for students and youth under 18.
  • Junior merchants will sell a variety of gently-used toys, books, and other child-friendly items on Saturday at the Children’s Fall Flea Market at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
  • You can also kickstart your morning with a beer run near Lake Anne Brewhouse from 9:45-10:30 a.m. All ages and paces are welcome.
  • On Saturday, Reston Community Orchestra will kick off the season with their opening concert at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods at 4 p.m. The concert is open to attendees of all ages.
  • Sing books with Miss Emily on Saturday at Reston Regional Library from 10:30 to 11 a.m. The event is co-sponsored by Friends of Reston Regional Library.
  • Blue Sky Puppets present folktales with puppets Chester, Buster, and Suzy Pig on Saturday from 2-3 p.m. at Reston Regional Library. The event is also cosponsored by Friends of Reston Regional Library.
  • Reston Association needs volunteers to help monitor stream conditions from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. No prior experience is required and all ages are welcome.
  • The Lake House will be open for community drop-in time and light refreshments from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday as part of a series of open houses.
  • Maria Gianferrari reads her book “Operation Rescue Dog” at Scrawl Books on Saturday at 11 a.m. The story is about a girl who goes on a quest to find a rescue dog she plans to adopt.
  • International games week kicks off on Sunday with the chance to play a few classic board games at Reston Regional Library from 1-5 p.m.
  • Professor Harry Butowsky also continues his six-part lecture series on the history of World War II on Sunday at the Reston Regional Library from 2-4 p.m.
  • On Sunday, Gina Clowes will perform as part of Frying Pan Farm Park’s Bluegrass Barn Series. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door.

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New Harvest Festival Coming to Lake Anne Plaza

In an effort to find more ways to activate Lake Anne Plaza with community programming, a new free harvest is coming to the plaza on Saturday (Oct. 27).

The free festival offers holiday tips, treats, live music, wine and beer and collection of fall-related products from the eleven eateries and shops at Lake Anne Plaza, according to Rachel Piering, who is helping organize the festival.

The Lake Anne Plaza business[es] are working towards adding more events to the annual calendar – as a collective. We are doing more to make Lake Anne Plaza an anchor for activities in Reston. We wanted to add at least one more event to the lineup before the end of the year,” Piering told Reston Now.

The event will take place at the waterfront of the plaza from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Event organizers offered the following information about specials during the festival:

Café MontmartreVirginia wine pairing and specials on Vienna Lager and Devils Backbone IPA

Chesapeake ChocolatesFree wine tasting featuring Virginia wines from 2pm-4pm. Virginia treats and chocolate apple dipping and first annual Fall for Peeps Display. 

Kalypso’s Sports TavernSpecials on all Virginia wine and beer plus wine pairing/tasting

Kustard & CoBuy one get one Seasonal Harvest Flavored Pumpkin scoops

Lake Anne Brew House20% off growlers refills and special prices on seasonal beers

Lake Anne Coffee House and Wine BarDinner special inspired by Virginia Wines and Beers.

New Trail Cycling StudioSneak Peak of New Space, Membership Discounts and Bike Trail Maps

Reston Historic Trust & MuseumHappy Birthday Museum! Fall refreshments and sale on mugs, t-shirts, and memberships.

Reston Art Gallery and StudioHosting a fall craft project for kids from 10am-Noon.

Reston’s Used Book Shop: Sale on all Virginia Books and books about wine.

Small Change Consignment80% Off Halloween Costume Sale and extra 20% off toys and books.

The festival is produced by the Lake Anne Merchants Committee.

File photo

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County Board Approves Lake Anne Fellowship House Redevelopment

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved the redevelopment of Lake Anne Fellowship House, a 240-unit project that offers affordable housing for seniors.

County officials and the development team called the approval, granted on Tuesday (Oct. 16), a win for seniors seeking affordable housing in Reston. For years, community partners and Fellowship Square Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and maintains the current buildings, have contemplated ways to replace the aging buildings with a new facility.

All affordable units, currently distributed between two aging buildings built in the 1970s, will be replaced with a new 240-unit building along North Shore Drive near the intersection with Village Road. The eight-story apartment building is 200,000 square feet and includes a garage. The plan also adds 36 market-rate townhouses to the west side of the property that will help finance the construction of senior housing.

Lake Anne’s current tenants will stay in their apartment during the two-year construction of the new building. After residents move, the old buildings will be torn down and converted into townhouses.

“The residents are excited and they are looking forward to a brand-new facility,” said Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, adding that the addition of townhouses “brings in another neighbor to the community to coalesce with this current group of citizens and those that will come in the future.”

The project is led by Fellowship Square Foundation and the Community Preservation and Development Corp., a nonprofit real estate developer. The development team navigated through many difficult issues to bring the project to fruition, including preserving the number of affordable units and maintaining housing for all current tenants, according to Lynne Strobel, representative of Fellowship Square Foundation. A previous partnership with Novus Residences failed to gain traction in 2004.

The need for the project intensified recently as subsidies from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development expired or will expire within the next five years, Strobel said. The current buildings were also becoming difficult and costly to maintain, she said.

The units offer different levels of affordability, with the first tier beginning at 50 percent of the area median income or about $41,050 per person. The plan also includes eight publicly-accessible parks and transportation improvements. The development team plans to dedicate land for the future alignment of Village Road, which will include a new northbound lane, an eight-foot-wide raised median and 10-foot sidewalks on both sides of the road.

Michael Scheurer, a Fellowship Square Foundation board member, said the redevelopment effort was complicated, difficult and serves as a growing number of aging residents in Reston in need of affordable housing opportunities. The foundation has another 220-unit affordable senior housing project that is undergoing renovations.

“You can see that we have a longterm and substantial investment in the community,” Scheurer said.

Photos via handout/Fairfax County Government

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‘Before I Die’ Display Returns to Lake Anne Plaza

Two bold black and white chalkboards are up at Lake Anne Plaza, challenging passers-by to write down what they wish to do or achieve before they die.

The public art installation, called Before I Die, is a temporary public art installation as part of the run-up to the 12th annual Jazz and Blues Festival at the plaza this Saturday (September 1). The festival is free and open to all ages.

The community project was started by artist Candy Chang in New Orleans. Chang created the project to examine the way “the wall of our cities can help us grapple with death and meaning as a community today.” After undergoing grief and depression following the loss of a loved one, Chang covered a crumbling house in her neighborhood in New Orleans with chalkboard paint and stenciled the prompt, “Before I die I want to.” Since then Before I Die walls have popped up in more than 70 countries, including China, Brazil, Kazakhstan and South Africa.

So far, the display in Reston includes wishes and goals like building a business, climbing a mountain and adventuring all over. It will be on display until September 10.

Photos via Public Art Reston

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Tuesday Morning Notes

First day of school — Fairfax County Public Schools are back in session today. Local police are reminding commuters to be wary of school traffic and buses. [Herndon Police Department]

Reston 101 — In case you need a basic primer, Mercia Hobson offers a brief description of the Planned Residential Community and its five village centers. [The Connection]

Something different at the end of the tunnel — Lake Anne students and staff painted a community circles mural at the entry to a tunnel on Fairway Drive on August 17. [Patch]

Nearby: Man who exposed himself found — Local police have found a man who exposed himself to a woman in a church parking lot over the weekend. Police released an image of the suspect yesterday. [WJLA, Fairfax County Police Department]

Photo by Ruth Sievers

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Registration for Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta Closes This Week

After pre-registered spots claimed by team’s competing last year filled up, time is running out to register for the second annual Cardboard Boat Regatta.

The event, hosted by the Reston Historic Trust & Museum, will be held on August 11. Registration closes tomorrow (July 20).

Participating teams construct a life-size cardboard boat that competes in timed heats. During last year’s inaugural event, 20 teams and more than 65 individuals took part in the event.

During last year’s regatta, 30 pre-registration slots filled up for this year’s event. This year, 60 spots are available. To sign up online, visit the museum’s website.

Photo via Nova Labs

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Cardboard Boat Regatta Returns to Lake Anne in August

For the second year, homemade cardboard boats will compete in the popular regatta at Lake Anne. All proceeds from the event on August 11 will go toward the Reston Historic Trust & Museum.

Participating teams of all ages will construct and decorate a life-size cardboard boat, which will compete in timed heats. Team members will row to a designated buoy and back to the docks.

Last year, 20 teams and more than 65 individuals participated in the event. The event is presented by the museum and the lead sponsor is Griffin-Owens Insurance. Other sponsors include Reston Association and Aperture.

Registration for the event is not open yet. During last year’s regatta, 30 preregistration slots were filled for this year’s event. A waiting list with 20 additional slots is available online. Registration will be opened to the public when the number of maximum competing teams is determined by organizers.

More information about the event is available online.

Image via Nova Labs/Facebook

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Reston Association Working Group Kicks of Meetings on Lakes, Docks and Boats

A Reston Association working group created to analyze rules governing lakes, docks and boats kicked off it meetings on June 13 (Wednesday).

RA’s board of directors formed the group on March 22 in response to residents’ concerns about outdated boating policies, enforcement issues and overall usage of local lakes. The group will provide recommendations to the board in November.

During the first meeting, members received information on Reston’s lakes, as well as the type and number of boats and docks currently allowed.

The group’s objectives include identification of the environmental impact of docks and boats, a review of current rules and policies and whether or not rules infringe on lakeside property owners’ use of their properties.

The presentation given to the working group is linked here.

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Reston Community Center to Hold Annual Prom Dress Giveaway

Teens can save money this prom season by attending the Annual Diva Central Prom Dress Giveaway at the Reston Community Center Lake Anne.

The event will be held on March 24 (Saturday) from noon until 6 p.m. The free event is open to all middle and high school students who are in need of a prom or spring formal dress and accessories. There is a limit of one dress per person.

RCC opened up donations for dresses and accessories in February and received hundreds of dresses. Volunteers will be available to help teens select their perfect prom or formal look, and a makeup artist will also be available from 4 to 6 p.m.

“School dances are becoming increasingly expensive experiences for middle and high school students. We hope to lessen that financial burden by giving local teens the opportunity to create their entire prom or dance look for free,” said LaTanja Jones, RCC’s collaboration and outreach director, in a press release.

Photo via Reston Community Center

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Reston Artist’s Exhibit ‘Lost in the Woods’ Begins at Lake Anne

Lake Anne’s Jo Ann Rose Gallery (1609-A Washington Plaza) will display the work of a local artist from January 9 through February 4.

The exhibit by Rudy Guernica, a Reston-based artist who studied at Maryland Institute College of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, is titled “Lost in the Woods.” It features paintings inspired by hiking local trails and digital art created by passing photos through art filters from graphic programs that transform source photos into artistic media and styles.

Guernica says his work questions the perception of the creative process and the role of the camera and computers in making artwork.

The exhibit is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and on Sundays form 9 a.m. to 8 pm. A reception to launch the exhibit is set for Jan. 14 from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

The artist can be reached at [email protected] His work can be viewed online.

Photo courtesy of Rudy Guernica

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