Morning Notes

Cattails by a lake (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Masks Now Required in County Facilities — “Beginning Monday, Aug. 9, all employees and visitors — regardless of vaccination status — will be required to wear a mask while inside all Fairfax County facilities to help stop the spread of COVID-19…The rise in COVID-19 cases has resulted in the Fairfax Health District moving from moderate to substantial community transmission. This is due to the on-going spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Former FCPS Student Gets Olympic Gold — The U.S. finished first in the men’s 4×400 meter relay at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Saturday (Aug. 7), besting the Netherlands and Botswana. Former South County High School student Trevor Stewart helped Team USA reach the finals by leading the qualifying round on Friday (Aug. 6). He was not in the final heat but will still bring home a gold medal. [Olympics]

General Assembly Reaches Deal on COVID-19 Relief Spending — Virginia’s Senate and House will vote today (Monday) on a deal that negotiators reached late Friday for how to spend $4.3 billion in American Rescue Plan funds. Changes from Gov. Ralph Northam’s original plan include the addition of one-time bonuses to sheriff’s deputies, a boost to Medicaid rates for workers who serve individuals with disabilities, and a requirement that the Department of Motor Vehicles reopen for walk-in services that had been halted during the pandemic. [The Washington Post]

NoVA Science Center Eyes 2022 Groundbreaking — The Fairfax-based Children’s Science Center hopes to break ground next year on its long-planned Northern Virginia Science Center in Loudoun County. The project has expanded from its original design, necessitating a relocation to a site that will accommodate an “expansion wing with a dome theater for large-format films and potentially even a planetarium contemplated for a future phase.” [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Team USA runner and former Fairfax County Public Schools student Trevor Stewart (courtesy USATF)

Updated at 4:20 p.m. on 8/8/2021Trevor Stewart will bring home a gold medal after the U.S. won the final men’s 4×400-meter relay on Saturday (Aug. 7), beating the Netherlands, which won silver, and Botswana, which got the bronze medal in the event.

Earlier: Lead-off runner Trevor Stewart helped his team secure the top qualifying spot in the 4×400 meter relay today (Friday) at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which could mean another medal for him in his first Games.

A former South County High School student, Stewart ran 44.79 seconds for Team USA’s combined time of 2:57.77, the fastest time posted for the Olympic Games in Tokyo not only for the Americans in their qualifying heat, but also against a second qualifying heat of eight other teams.

The event’s final race will take place at 8:50 a.m. EDT tomorrow (Saturday).

The Lorton native’s time was slightly faster than his other lead-off leg for the 4×400 meter mixed relay, where Team USA won a bronze medal last Saturday (July 31). This year marked the first time that the Olympics featured the event, where men and women compete together.

“When you believe in yourself, anything can be accomplished,” the 24-year-old said in an Instagram post published on Aug. 1 after the race.

In the mixed relay race, Stewart and teammates Kendall Ellis, Kaylin Whitney, and Vernon Norwood finished with a collective time of 3:10.22. They replaced another American team that was initially disqualified. The U.S. was allowed to continue after the decision was appealed and overturned.

During the men’s qualifying race, which aired live this morning due to Tokyo’s 13-hour time difference, Stewart handed off the baton to former college teammate Randolph Ross, but the two had a slight hiccup in which Ross reached for the baton twice.

Stewart, who has been asthmatic since childhood, helped his North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University team win NCAA championship titles earlier this year, running the 4×400 meter race in 44.67 seconds and 44.17 seconds indoors and outdoors, respectively. He finished his college career with the A&T Aggies anchoring those races.

That team also included Ross, who will be a sophomore at A&T when classes begin Aug. 18.

Ross was the only teammate continuing with Stewart on the U.S. men’s 4×400 Olympic team as their other teammates moved forward with their home countries: Akeem Sirleaf represented Liberia and Daniel Stokes represented Mexico.

Stewart isn’t the only former FCPS student competing in this year’s Olympics. Other local athletes include swimmer Andrew Seliskar, discus thrower Chioma “CiCi” Onyekwere, shooter Lucas Kozeniesky, and West Potomac High School graduate Keyshawn Davis, who will be in contention for the boxing gold medal on Sunday (Aug. 8).

Photo courtesy USATF

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Left to right: Olympic athletes Andrew Seliskar, Chioma “CiCi” Onyekwere, and Trevor Stewart (via University of California — Berkeley, University of Maryland, and North Carolina A&T)

Several Olympians competing on the world stage in Tokyo this summer can trace parts of their athletic journeys back to Fairfax County.

Swimmer Andrew Seliskar, discus thrower Chioma “CiCi” Onyekwere, and runner Trevor Stewart all qualified for the 2020 Olympics, which will take place from July 21 to Aug. 8.

The games were delayed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they will be held without spectators after Japan announced on Friday (July 9) that it would enter a fourth state of emergency starting today (Monday) due to rising cases of the virus.

Seliskar, who graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in 2015, is taking on his first Olympics after two previous qualifying attempts at ages 19 and 15, including one where he “narrowly missed” a semi-final spot.

As a student, he broke a national high school record for the 100-yard butterfly in 2014 near Richmond with 53.24 seconds, and he won four national titles swimming at the University of California in Berkeley before becoming a professional swimmer.

The 24-year-old McLean native told Fairfax County Public Schools that he relishes his competitions against high school rivals.

“Those were great memories, and for my swimming career, those are some of the best ones,” he said.

He also told WJLA-TV that his Olympic dream began swimming with a youth swim team, the McLean Marlins.

Heats for the men’s 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay are scheduled for 6-8:30 a.m. EDT on July 27, and the final will air from 9:30 p.m. EDT on July 27 to 12:05 a.m. EDT on July 28.

Robinson Secondary School graduate Onyekwere will represent Nigeria at the Olympics, since she is a dual citizen of that country and the U.S.

“I feel like Nigeria made me the person I am today, so it’s so nice to give back in some kind of way and represent them,” she told FCPS.

The Michigan-born former University of Maryland athlete currently holds Nigeria’s discus throw record of 63.3 meters, which she set in April in Chula Vista, California, as part of the Nigerian Olympic Trials.

The 27-year-old engineer works for Ford and relocated back to Fairfax County last fall to be with family amid the pandemic, FCPS noted.

The qualifying round for the women’s discus throw is 8:30 p.m. EDT July 30, and the final is 7 a.m. EDT Aug. 2.

Stewart, who graduated from South County High School in 2016, will run the 4×400-meter relay race for Team USA.

His teammates include a fellow student at North Carolina A&T State University. The pair were part of a 4×400 relay team that won national titles this year for the indoor and outdoor track seasons, capping his senior year.

The 24-year-old switched from karate to track and field when he was in ninth grade. To prepare for the upcoming games, he has turned to prayer and meditation, according to FCPS.

“I worked hard for this,” he told FCPS. “There’s always room for improvement, but I’ve made it right now. I’ve made it right here.”

Heats for the men’s 4×400 meter relay are slated for 7:25 a.m. EDT Aug. 6 and 8:50 a.m. EDT Aug. 7 for the final.

The Tokyo Olympics will feature a total of 339 events across 33 sports. They will be broadcast and live-streamed in the U.S. by NBC.

Photo composite via University of California — Berkeley, University of Maryland, and North Carolina A&T

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Thursday Morning Notes

Recognition for Frank de la Fe — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors honored the Restonian for his service on the county’s planning commission for 16 years. [The Connection]

Mom defends son who faces murder charges — The 17-year-old Lorton teenager who has been charged with the murders of Scott Fricker, 48, and his wife Buckley Kuhn-Fricker, 43, has been called an alt-right killer. But his mother told says her son has struggled with mental health issues for years. [The Washington Post]

A response to school shootings and gun violence — South Lakes High School seniors held a voter registration drive in their U.S. history class. [The Connection]

Walk for the Walker Nature Center — The 15th annual walk to benefit the center, which offers environmental education, is set for April 14. Registration is open online. [Walker Nature Center]

USA Today highlights local Olympian — March is Girls Sports Month, so the news outlet featured Reston’s own Maame Biney, an Olympic short track speed skater. [USA Today]

Photo by Ruth Sievers

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Monday Morning Notes

Windstorm cleanup continues — The storm left a path of tree limbs, uprooted trees and downed wires. Reston Association staff it could take up at least a month to clean up. [Reston Association]

Some schools still don’t have power — Students in Reston are back in session, but some Fairfax County Public Schools are closed today. Reston residents didn’t have power for more than two days near Lake Newport Road. [Reston Patch]

Reston Olympian makes history — Maame Biney wrapped up her junior career by becoming the first woman in the country to earn an overall medal in 21 years at the Word Junior Short Track Championships yesterday. [Team USA]

Support Herndon Track & Field with a salad — The team is hosting a fundraiser today from 6-10 p.m. at Cava (1815 Fountain Drive). Mention this fundraiser and get the Herndon Hornets some extra cash. [Herndon Track and Field]

Photo by Doug Errett

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Body Cameras Go Live This Week— Police officers in the Reston police district will be equipped with body cameras beginning this week. During the six-month pilot program, cameras will record anytime officers respond to a scene and during routine traffic stops. [NBC 4]

Maame Biney Looks Forward to Beijing 2022 — Over the weekend, Biney finished last in the 1,500-meter short-track speedskating heat. She also finished fourth in the quarterfinals for the 500-meter race.  The 18-year-old made history by becoming the first black woman to make the U.S. Olympic speedskating team. [The Washington Post]

Meet Reston Association Board Candidates — There are four open seats on RA’s board of directors. E-meet the 13 candidates who are running by watching their online videos. [RA]

Hiccups on the Metro Line This Morning — Metro trains did not share a track on the Blue and Silver lines this morning. Backups were caused by a report of smoke. [The Washington Post]

Photo by Twitter user @MrErrett

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Maame Biney, a Reston teen whose infectious spirit, electric smile and notable speed has grabbed national attention, did not advance in the 500-meter quarterfinal at the Winter Olympics.

At the games earlier this morning, Biney, 18, began with a slow start and was unable to to recover.

But the speedskater’s time to shine in PyeongChang isn’t over. She has another chance to compete in the 1,500-meter race on Saturday at 5 a.m.

Biney’s journey to the United States began when she left her mother in Ghana to join her father. NBC News mapped her story in a video linked below.

She is the first black woman to qualify for the U.S. Olympic speedskating team.

Photo via NBC Nightly

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Tuesday Morning Notes

The largest yoga studio in the District area just opened in Reston – Beloved Yoga: A Sanctuary for All celebrated its grand opening on 11109 Sunset Hills Road over the weekend. [WTOP]

Firing up some love for Reston Olympian Maame Biney – Fire Station 39 in North Point is showing Biney, a short-track speed skater, some love on their entrance sign. She advanced to the 500-meter Olympics quarterfinal over the weekend. [Fairfax County Fire Department]

Class on Insight Meditation and Mindfulness Practices Today — Steady your mind with this guided class on insight meditation, an art that aims to cultivate natural wisdom and compassion. The class will take place atUnitarian Universalist Church in Reston (1625 Wiehle Avenue) from 7:30-8:45 p.m. Newcomers are welcome and registration is free.

If you’re feeling adventurous – Reston’s Tropical Smoothie Cafe is offering a “red hot love” smoothie in celebration of Valentine’s Day through Wednesday. We’re told it’s a mix of green apple, white chocolate and cinnamon candies. [Tropical Smoothie Cafe]

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Monday Morning Notes

“Naturally Yours Valentines” Today at Walker Nature Center — Celebrate Valentine’s Day by making a card, enjoying tasty treats and taking home a special gift made from natural materials. The program, which runs from 10-11 a.m., is for toddlers between 18 and 35 months . Can’t make it today? Don’t worry. There’s another session tomorrow: same time, same place. [Reston Association]

Reston Olympian Advances in Speedskating Round — “Biney advanced to the quarterfinal of the 500m despite late pressure from Kim A-Lang. Biney finished with a time of 43.665 seconds, good for second in her heat.” [NBC 4]

County Eyes Other Uses for Office Buildings — “Reston Association’s Land Use Planner, Kelsey Steffen, explains how Fairfax County is forming a policy amendment that would allow for vacant or underutilized office buildings to be converted for other uses, such as retail and residential.” [Reston Today]

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Friday Morning Notes

Reston’s African American History Explored — “Rev. LaVerne Gill’s book profiles individuals who went through the struggles of early Reston and still love it and believe in it.” [The Connection]

Seven Black Athletes Making History at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics — Originally from Ghana, Reston-based Maame Biney “is the first black woman to make the Olympic speedskating team and the second-ever African-born athlete to represent the U.S. in the Winter Olympics.” [NBC News]

Metrorail is No Longer the Second-Busiest Rapid Transit System in the Country — “Metrorail’s ridership is clearly lower than that of legacy rapid transit systems, due to basic decisions made during the design of the system.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Search for Armed Man Who Robbed Gas Station Ongoing — The Fairfax County Police Department continues to seek the public’s help to identify a masked man who police believe robbed a gas station on 11410 North Shore Drive last month.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

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Monday Morning Notes

Reston Community Leader, Civil Rights Advocate Remembered — “The letters and cards that Rev. Frederick Lowry’s family received after his death kept circling back to the same sentiments: how kind he was, how much he cared, his sense of humor,” writes Angela Woolsey. Lowry died due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease on Dec. 25. He was well-known for his 14-year tenure as director of the Community Ministry of Fairfax. [Fairfax County Times]

Ten Things You Should Know about Olympic Speedskater Maame Biney — The Reston native is headed to the Olympics. The 17-year-old speedskater is the first black woman to land on a spot on the U.S. Olympic speedskating team. [NBC4]

County Hosts Community Meeting on Plans to Convert Empty Office Buildings into Other Uses — The county is holding a meeting today at 6 p.m. in the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway) to discuss a comprehensive plan amendment that would allow empty office buildings to be converted for other uses. An attempt to carve a special exemption for Reston when the first phase of the amendment was introduced failed last year. [Fairfax County Government]

Build a Birdhouse Tomorrow at Walker Nature Center — Children between the ages of 7 and 12 can get their hands busy tomorrow from 11 a.m. to noon at the center. Attendees will practice basic woodworking skills by constructing a birdhouse. Tickets are $7 for Reston members and $9 for all others. [Reston Association]

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

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A player from Vienna who played in Reston is among the roster for Team USA’s Olympic hockey team, which will vie for gold in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

Garrett Roe, a 29-year-old former member of the Reston Raiders, a local hockey club, was selected for the roster, which was unveiled on New Year’s Day. He plays as a forward for EV Zug in Switzerland. He played in seven seasons of professional hockey from the American Hockey League.

According to the Washington Post, Roe’s father, Larry, is the founder of the Club. In an interview with the Post, he said his son always had an “extra little sense for the game.”

“Some players have a sense for the game. Some players are talented. Some players have both, and that’s Garrett,” he said.

Last year, the National Hockey League barred its players from playing in the games, which conflict with the league’s season schedule. The change opened up opportunities for players in less professional leagues to participate in the games.

Photo via Team USA Hockey

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Over the weekend, Maame Biney, a Reston native, became the first black woman to qualify for the U.S. Olympic speedskating team.

The 17-year-old native of Ghana won to two short track trials in Kearns, Utah on Saturday. According to the Associated Press, Biney set a “blistering pace” by taking an early lead.

Biney will be the youngest member of Team USA’s women speedskating team. She is the second black speedskater on a U.S. Olympic team.

Shani Davis, 35, was the first black athlete to win an individual gold medal at the Winter Olympics. He was 19 when he qualified for a short track team in 2002.

Biney immigrated to the United States from Ghana when she was five years old. The Washington Post reports she grew up around Reston’s Dominion Speedskating Club, where she first began practicing to learn the sport.

The 2018 Winter Games will take place in February in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Photo via Associated Press

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Thursday Morning Notes

ABC7 Features Reston Athlete — Rose Pleskow, a Reston resident born with intellectual disabilities and epilepsy, was featured on  the TV channel. She won the bronze medal in the 1500 meters race in the Special Olympic World Games in 2011. Pleskow now competes internationally in open water swimming. [ABC7]

Rich Kleinfeldt and Yuniko Rogers to Perform at CenterStage Today — The artists will perform at CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road) from 2:15 – 3:30 p.m. as part of a collaboration between will join us for our free Meet the Artists Series at the CenterStage tomorrow, 11/9, from 2:15 – 3:30 p.m. [Reston Community Center]

South Lakes High School to Perform ‘Almost Maine’ — Students will perform John Cariani’s classic romantic comedy on Nov. 16 and 17 at 7 p.m. and on Nov. 18 at 2 p.m and 7 p.m.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students. [South Lakes Theatre Arts]

Greater Reston Arts Center Selects Volunteer of the Year — The arts center selected Nicola Shelley as the volunteer of the year. The award recognizes a volunteer that commits personal time and resources to support the center’s programs. Nicola is the lead art coordinator at Buzz Aldrin Elementary School. [Greater Reston Arts Center]

Photo via ABC7/WJLA
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Matthew Centrowitz Jr., whose accomplishments as a runner include a gold medal in the 1,500 meters at the 2016 Olympic Games, will visit Reston Town Center next week for an event with Potomac River Running.

Centrowitz and his father, fellow Olympian Matthew Centrowitz Sr., will be at the Reston Town Center pavilion Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 6:30 p.m. to share their stories and sign copies of the elder’s new book, “Like Father, Like Son: My Story on Running, Coaching and Parenting.”

Centrowitz Sr. was a member of the U.S. Olympic Team in 1976 and 1980, while he son has done so in 2012 and 2016. The gold medal won by Centrowitz Jr. in Rio de Janeiro last year marked the first time an American had accomplished that feat in the 1,500 meters since 1908.

At Reston Town Center next week, the Centrowitzes will share their Olympic experiences and offer running advice. The event is free, but space is limited. Those who wish to attend should visit www.prraces.com to register.

According to an event schedule released by Potomac River Running:

6:30 p.m: Take your seats in the RTC Pavilion

7 p.m.: The Centrowitz Duo present a comedic, yet informative clinic and share adventures from their Olympic experiences

8 p.m.: See the Gold Medal in person and get your booked signed or photos taken with the legendary father and son team

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