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Friday Morning Notes

Metro from the future — Future SmarTrip options may include key fobs and stickers. For now, hang on to those cards. [WTOP]

Cycling on down memory lane — Green Lizard Cycling in downtown Herndon celebrated its fifth anniversary this month. Congrats from your neighbors! [The Connection]

Only going up from here — The population is booming in Northern Virginia but shrinking in many rural localities. You’ll never guess where Reston falls in the mix. [Capital News Service]

Young at art — High school artists explore the theme of “becoming” at the Greater Reston Arts Center’s new exhibition. [Fairfax County Times]

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Seedling Sale Begins This Month for Northern Virginia

The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District is holding its annual seedling sale for Northern Virginia residents starting this month.

Two seedling packages are being offered for sale. The shrub and small tree package is on sale for $16.95 with 10 seeds, and the tree package features six seedlings for $11.95.

The native seedling sale helps to clean up the water and air. It also helps to prevent soil erosion by keeping the soil in place, said Lily Whitesell, a watershed specialist.

This year’s seedling packages are deer tolerant. Some of the species featured in the seedling packages are less palatable to deer and are fast growing so they can handle some deer as well.

“Across Fairfax County, we’ve really seen a lot of the understory of wooded areas be decimated by deer. We hope this will also help regenerate that growth,” Whitesell said.

Some of the featured plants include Eastern redbud, pawpaw, shortleaf pine, silky dogwood and witchhazel.

“The redbud is of interest to a lot of people because it has a really beautiful spring blossom. A lot of people this time of year are really thinking about the witchhazel because it has a very cool flower in the winter,” Whitesell said.

To keep the seedlings cheap, they are bought in bulk. If someone were to buy the same seedlings sold by the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District at the store, it would cost somewhere between $20 and several hundred dollars, she added.

Customers have until April 11 to order seedlings and can pick them up at the Packard Center in Annandale on April 20 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. or on April 21 from 9 a.m. to noon.

File photo.

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Reston Philanthropic Club to Celebrate ‘Big Give’ in November

The Giving Circle of HOPE, a philanthropic club founded by Reston women in 2004, will celebrate another year of giving and grant distribution at its second annual Big Give on Nov. 9.

Representatives from area nonprofit organizations will pitch their projects at the event, which will take place at Refraction Reston (11911 Freedom Drive) from 6:30 – 9 p.m. Attendees will vote on which program to support. 

The organization selected three nonprofits to present their ideas: Fairfax CASA, an organization that works with abused and neglected children referred by the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court; BRAWS, which provides women in shelters with undergarments and feminine hygiene products; and NAMI Northern Virginia, a local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

GCH says the event marks the culmination of this year’s grant-making season. In a press release, organizers said they hope the event will empower the community to embrace the power of collective giving.

“Understanding the needs of the underserved in Northern Virginia and making a difference with a small philanthropic investment collectively creates positive change.  This event gives a voice to the issues, while also providing a transformative impact through the community we create among ourselves and those we serve,” said Cyndi Shanahan, GCH’s governance chair.

The keynote speaker is Catherine Read, a strategist and advocate for DC-area nonprofits, according to the release. In 2007, Read launched Creative Read Inc., a consultancy that helps professionals use online marketing and social media to grow their businesses.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased on the organization’s website. Voting members do not have to buy tickets to attend.

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VDOT Working on Repairing Winter’s Damage

Pothole/Credit: State Farm InsuranceIt’s pothole season in Northern Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says it has filled more than 10,000 potholes in Fairfax and surrounding counties as of late last week. Crews are using a “cold” and “hot” mix asphalt, with both mechanized and hand work to fill the holes.

Crews also have the mechanized “pothole killers” that shoot a temporary asphalt patch. VDOT owns two “Python 5000s,” which make a permanent patch with a scraper and roller in about two minutes. There are only a handful of Pythons in use in the United States, with about 30 total in operation, says VDOT.

Crews are also using Aquaphalt, a fast-drying material that creates a durable, permanent patch.

VDOT also says it will start a $168 million paving project in April that will further improve roads and rides for drivers across the region.

“This is the largest paving season we’ve seen in Northern Virginia,” said Branco Vlacich, VDOT’s district maintenance engineer, said in a statement. “We estimate crews will place about one million tons of asphalt and four million linear feet of pavement markings this spring.”

Vlacich says the $168 million in paving includes “31 lane miles of interstates, almost 50 lane miles of primary routes as well as extensive paving on secondary roads and neighborhood streets of almost 1,000 lane miles. Crews are also extending the life of more than 110 lane miles with preventative maintenance such as latex and sealing.”

See roads scheduled for paving in Northern Virginia, see this interactive map on VDOT’s website.

Regarding potholes, VDOT asks drivers to continue to be alert to lane closures for patching. Crews in northern Virginia are on the road from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays, and may work other times outside of rush hours.

Drivers can report potholes to VDOT online or to operators 24/7 at VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623).

VDOT is responsible for the vast majority of roads in Fairfax County. Some roads are maintained by the county, however. If you see damage on a county road, call 703-877-2800. In Reston, many residential streets are maintained privately. If there is damage on your street, contact your homeowners association.

For more information on how potholes form and what to do if your car sustains damage, visit this VDOT page.

Have you seen any potholes that still need attention in Reston? Tell us in the comments.

Photo: Pothole/Credit: State Farm Insurance

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Governor Declares State of Emergency As Snowstorm Approaches

Snow in Reston on Jan. 21/Credit: Robbie Nolan

Update, Tuesday 5:20 p.m. — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency for Virginia. This  an authorizes state agencies to be ready to assist local governments in responding to the major snow storm that is forecast to hit the Commonwealth Wednesday.

Update, Tuesday 9:30 a.m. — Current forecasting models say as little as three inches or as many as 20 may fall in the Metro D.C. area. The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang breaks it down.

Original story: 

The biggest snowstorm of the season may be on the way for Northern Virginia.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the area from Wednesday evening through Thursday evening.

The event could bring as much as five or more inches of snow. The NWS expects to update the forecast Tuesday, and Reston Now will report any changes.

Here is the full forecast from the NWS:

… WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY EVENING THROUGH THURSDAY EVENING…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY EVENING THROUGH THURSDAY EVENING.

* PRECIPITATION TYPE… SNOW AND SLEET

* ACCUMULATIONS… THE POTENTIAL FOR 5 OR MORE INCHES OF SNOW AND SLEET.

* TIMING… SNOW IS EXPECTED TO MOVE IN FROM THE SOUTH WEDNESDAY EVENING. SNOW MAY MIX WITH SLEET AND RAIN LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND THURSDAY. THE SNOW COULD BE HEAVY AT TIMES WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND THURSDAY.

* TEMPERATURES… IN THE MID TO UPPER 20S 20S WEDNESDAY NIGHT… SLOWLY RISING INTO THE LOWER AND MIDDLE 30S THURSDAY AFTERNOON.

* WINDS… NORTH 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH.

* IMPACTS… ROADS MAY BECOME SNOW AND SLEET COVERED AND SLIPPERY. TRAVEL MAY BE DANGEROUS WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND THURSDAY. HEAVY WET SNOW COULD LEAD TO SOME POWER OUTAGES.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.

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