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Friday Morning Notes

Family splash tonight at Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center — Drop-in for a night of family fun at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. The entry fee is $13 for Reston residents and $26 for all others. Groups of six or more must pre-register. [Reston Regional Library]

Off to the jungle — Reston’s Gin Dance Company has been invited to perform at the 18th DUMBO Dance Festival, a prestigious dance festival in New York City. It’s the second year the modern dance company will perform at the festival. [The Connection]

New school sexual misconduct policy — The Fairfax County School Board adopted a new policy yesterday that attempts to reform institutional cultures and address the underlying causes of sexual misconduct. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

A stronger second half — The South Lakes volleyball team is looking for a stronger second half. What does that mean exactly? [The Connection]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Lanes reopen after fatal crash — Lanes are starting to reopen after a fatal accident in the eastbound direction of Interstate 66 happened earlier this morning. One person was killed in the crash. [WTOP]

Save the date, bookworms — The Friends of the Reston Regional Library will host its semi-annual fall book sale on Thursday, September 27 through Sunday, September 30. [The Friends of the Reston Regional Library]

And save your pool passes, too — All adult, child, and all-season guest pool passes are renewable online, so don’t forget to keep the passes at the end of the season. Tennis, pickleball and aqua fitness passes are also renewable online. [Reston Association]

“What We Do for Love” discussion tonight at 7 p.m. — In this discussion led by Dr. Rewa Burnham of Trinity Washington University, attendees will discuss the following theme: what we do for love. Each discussion is based on an episode of the PBS show “The Great American Read.” [Reston Regional Library]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Saturday: Take Your Dog for a Swim

The dog days of summer deserve a day just for the dogs before the pool season ends.

Reston Association is hosting a Dog Paddle on Saturday in the North Hills Recreation Area from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

People are not permitted in the water with the dogs and a current dog license is required. In order to participate, dogs must remain under control or will be asked to leave without a refund. RA may ask specific patron or dog owners to leave.

A waiver is required on side and admission is $10 the day of the event. Participants can register in advance online via RA’s Webtrac system where tickets are $6 for RA members and $8 for all others.

Photo by Sammy Monaghan for RA

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Celebrate the Summer Season at Exo Apartments’ First Annual Pool Party

Join Exo Apartments on Wednesday, August 22nd from 4-7 p.m. and dive into summer.

Enjoy summer sips from local brewery Lake Ann Brew House. Snack on fresh baked pretzels and local food truck bites. Explore all that Exo has to offer, and snag summer essential giveaways along the way.

DJ Alkimist will be supplying the sounds of summer while you relax poolside. Swimsuits not required, but highly recommended. Grab your free ticket to the first annual pool party here!

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Reston Association to Continue Discussions on Recreational Facilities’ Cost and Usage

As the mid-year point before next year’s budget cycle approaches, Reston Association’s Board of Directors and staff will discuss how to approach a comprehensive analysis of RA’s recreational facilities.

The analysis, requested by Director Julie Bitzer in March, would be the first comprehensive examination of RA’s recreational facilities in 13 years.

Larry Butler, acting CEO and senior director of land use and planning, said the last study was done in 2005 and examined issues like cost utilization trends, usage, maintenance, repairs and suggested upgrades.

Staff recommended hiring a consultant to complete the study due to limited staff resources over the next two-to-three months and ongoing summer projects like the Hook Road working group and the lakes, docks and boats working group.

The board will hold a work session on June 5 to discuss the scope of the analysis, whether a consultant is needed to complete it and better define the goals and scope of the work.

Other recreation-related decisions may be more pressing.

Board members suggested a timely decision on the future of Lake Thoreau pool, which Director Sherri Hebert said was “falling into the lake,” was necessary. Hebert said an expenditure of $1 million is estimated to bring the aging pool up to go code. No decision on the future of that pool has been reached.

The longterm examination will guide the board’s budget decisions on replacement, repairs and upgrades to facilities.

Photo by Mike Collins

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Friday Morning Notes

A little extra planning for the weekend — Not planning to dine out? Carrabba’s Italian Grill (12192 Sunset Hills Road) is launching its own food delivery service. [Reston Patch]

And a little early planning for Easter — Frying Pan Park and Lake Fairfax Park are hosting several events in late March, including an eggspectular “Eggstravaganza.” [Fairfax County Government]

Chimney causes Reston townhouse fire — Heat escaping from gaps in a chimney caused a townhouse fire over the weekend. No injuries were reported, but damages are estimated at around $65,000.  [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

In rumor mill this week — Restonians have asked us if Reston Association plans to close Lake Thoreau. Their head spokesman says Reston Association’s staff plan to discuss details of a future demand analysis of RA pools at the board’s May 7 meeting.

(Editor’s Note: This post was updated at 9:50 a.m. to clarify the subject of discussion by RA staff at the board’s May meeting)

Flickr pool photo via vantagehill

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$1.8 Million Renovation of Reston Association Pools Up for Discussion in Budget

Major upgrades to swimming pools are proposed in the budget that is under discussion by the Reston Association Board of Directors.

Expenses for work on the RA pool facilities included in the proposed 2018-2019 Capital Projects List total: $362,378 for swimming pools and $287,639 pool buildings in 2018; and $972,209 for swimming pools and $158,256 for pool buildings in 2019.

All 15 RA pool facilities have projects listed in the proposed list. By far the most expensive is work on the Lake Thoreau pool, totaling just over $1 million.

The $1.8 million in proposed work on all pool facilities equates to 26.6 percent of the $6.7 million funding allotted for the Capital Projects List. The proposed budget also allots a total of $2.9 million for the Repair and Replacement Reserve (RRR) Fund, out of the $14.3 million in total overall expenses.

Some other big ticket items on the project list include:

  • $2,321,359 for lakes, ponds and dams
  • $465,000 for boat docks at Lake Anne and Lake Thoreau
  • $406,658 for tennis courts
  • $379,318 for asphalt trails
  • $313,658 for vehicles and equipment

The next opportunity for Restonians to provide feedback to RA directors about the biennial budget is this Sunday. The RA is hosting a “community drop-in” at the Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Ave.) from 10-11:30 a.m.

The RA Board has been discussing the budget since this summer in order to reach agreement before a November deadline. Sridhar Ganesan, RA Board at-large director and treasurer, questioned the various costs of the swimming pool facility repairs during some of those discussions, including at a special budget session last month (video).

“Plumbing in one facility isn’t going to be the same costs as the other, just because of the differences in configuration and size,” Garrett Skinner, RA director of capital improvement planning and projects, said in response. “All of those numbers were also vetted through contractors. Especially the pool buildings and swimming pool members. We had contractors come out and go physically through each one of the sites, look at what we have scheduled that needs to be done and determine costs based on that.”

Skinner, who was hired in January, also emphasized that some of the repairs were not anticipated in the association’s capital reserve study the was last performed in 2015. The study tracks needed maintenance and upgrades for RA-owned facilities. Instead, the repairs on the swimming pool facilities were proposed to be done during the next two years because the systems had broken down in some way.

“We’re doing it because it wasn’t in the reserve study for example; you’re doing it because something broke down?” Ganesan asked.

Skinner said Ganesan was correct, adding that the maintenance is necessary.

“Not all of these things were appropriately identified in the reserve study, but we still have to maintain them and repair them,” he said.

The first public hearing on the proposed budget will be Oct. 26 during a regular board meeting. A second hearing is scheduled Oct. 30 during a special meeting of the board. The board will vote on the budget and the annual member assessment rate Nov. 16 during a regular board meeting.

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Some Reston Association Pool Hours May Be Reinstated in 2018

Some pool hours that were lost in the 2017 schedule may return in 2018, after recommendations from Reston Association’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC).

During their special budget session Monday afternoon (video), the Reston Association Board of Directors voted to guide staff toward listening to PRAC’s recommendations when setting guidelines for the 2018 pool schedule.

The recommendations are to:

  • Prior to Memorial Day: reinstate Monday-Friday weekday hours at the two open pools
  • Memorial Day through end of school: ensure there is one pool in each district available by 10 a.m. on weekdays
  • Through mid-August: reinstate the “closed day” to just once a week at most pools, as opposed to twice a week
  • Mid-August through first day of school: continue to adjust operating hours at certain pools based on member feedback, and continue to reopen additional facilities for Labor Day weekend.

The suggested changes would add $2.88 to the projected assessment rate for 2018, RA staff has calculated. Restoring all of the pool hours that were cut in this year’s schedule would tack on an additional $1.60.

“The recommendation that is before you, by the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, was worked on with staff,” CEO Cate Fulkerson said, addressing a director’s question about concerns with finding seasonal workers for the pools. “Staff believes that it can achieve [these changes, but] it does not believe it can go back to the full-scale set of hours that we had in 2016.”

Members provided feedback about pool hours during listening sessions held by RA directors in May and June. In addition, member feedback on the issue was collected during a feedback session with the Board earlier this month. Fulkerson said about 25 members attended and shared their thoughts.

Director Julie Bitzer (South Lakes District) is the Board’s liaison to PRAC. She said she believes the recommended changes address the majority of comments that were received about the schedule.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the Reston Association Board of Directors voted to give their backing to:

  • paying off the Lake House loan from reserves (reducing $8.66 in projected 2018 assessment rate), as well as ending afterschool and other programming there (reducing between $3.31 and $6.80 in projected 2018 assessment rate)
  • adding two seasonal workers to assist with litter pickup efforts (adding $1.93 to projected 2018 assessment rate) and purchasing 10 more trash cans at a cost of $900 each (adding 43 cents to projected 2018 assessment rate)
  • making accessibility improvements to Walker Nature Center, at a cost of $30,000 (adding $1.42 to projected 2018 assessment rate), along with $50,000 to be contributed by Friends of Reston
  • appropriating $2.9 million to the 2018 Repair, Replacement & Reserve Fund

The Board also discussed the potential of adding a post-DRB project approval inspector, whose job would be to “ensure that members have built their DRB approved projects in accordance with the plans and specifications submitted to the DRB for approval.” Adding the position would have a $2.65 impact on the projected 2018 assessment rate. The Board chose to defer making a guidance decision on that position until their Sept. 28 meeting.

Directors also discussed a member request to stop mowing medians, which would save RA about $54,860 and reduce the 2018 assessment rate by $2.60. Directors agreed that as the Virginia Department of Transportation would only do the work three times a year, as opposed to the 16-18 times a year it is done by RA, discontinuing the effort at the local level would seriously harm the appearance of the community. The Board voted not to back the recommendation.

All votes at Monday’s meeting were for guidance purposes only as the second draft of the budget is compiled. No official decisions have yet been made.

Board guidance on the second draft of the 2018 budget must be completed at their Sept. 28 meeting. Another community budget session is slated for Sunday, Oct. 15, followed by public hearings on Oct. 26 and Oct. 30. The budget is to be approved, and the assessment rate set, during the Board’s Nov. 16 meeting.

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Friday Morning Notes

‘Fill The Boot’ Campaign Sets All-Time Record — In its Labor Day Weekend campaign to raise money for the Greater Washington MDA and for Hurricane Harvey relief, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue raised $631,278.65. That is the highest total raised by any municipality in the history of the campaign. Half a million dollars from the drive will be donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, while the other $131,278.65 went to the disaster relief fund. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Pool Schedule Input Session is Sunday — The Reston Association Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee will be available on Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon during an open house at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Avenue) to collect member input on the 2017 pool schedule, as well as thoughts and suggestions about what should be done in 2018. [Reston Now]

Inmate Dies After Medical Event in County Jail Cell — Detectives are investigating the death of a 53-year-old inmate who suffered a medical emergency in her cell on Aug. 31. The inmate died Thursday at a hospital in Fairfax. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Canned Food Will Be Connected at Football Game — At tonight’s high school football game between South Lakes and Oakton, being played at OHS (2900 Sutton Road), fans are encouraged to bring canned food to be donated to hurricane victims. [South Lakes Student Government Association]

Nuclear Fuel Developer Signs New Deal — Reston-based nuclear fuel developer Lightbridge Corp. has signed a binding agreement with a North Carolina company for a joint venture to commercialize and manufacture a new line of advanced metallic fuel for nuclear plants. [Washington Business Journal]

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What’s Going On Around Reston This Weekend?

It’s the last weekend in August, and school starts Monday.

It’s not even Labor Day yet, but it’s an unofficial end of summer.

With that comes the end of many of the events that have defined the season in Reston. Reston Station’s “Summerbration” series ends this weekend, as does Reston Town Center’s summer concert series.

This also marks the end of the season for much of Reston Association’s swimming pool schedule. North Shore and Ridge Heights pools are the only locations where daily hours will continue after this weekend, though Lake Audubon and Lake Newport pools will open for Labor Day Weekend.

Kids and families, take advantage of these last two days before the school bell rings Monday.

Below are many of the fun events that are going on this weekend, for the young ones and the adults alike.

(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the 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.)

  • The “Summerbration” comes to a close this weekend at Reston Station. Tonight from 7-9 p.m., The Swingin’ Swamis will perform. Saturday night from 8:30-10:30 p.m., there will be a free screening of “The Little Mermaid.” The Summerbration events are in the plaza outside the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. (Note: To receive free parking for these events, parking tickets need to be validated by personnel on the plaza. Find the sign that reads “Parking Validation Here.”)
  • Saturday night, Reston Town Center’s summer concert series wraps up with a show from David Akers and the Soul Shakers from 7:30-10 p.m. at the pavilion (11900 Market St.). Parking at RTC is free on the weekends.
  • Hours for humans at Dogwood and North Hills pools may have ended, but there’s still fun to be had there for their four-legged friends. Reston Association will host two “Dog Paddle” events this weekend, at Dogwood Pool (2460 Green Range Road) on Saturday and at North Hills Pool (1325 North Village Road) on Sunday. Each day, the events will go from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost to register is $4 for dogs of Reston Association members and $6 for dogs of non-members.
  • Potomac River Running will put on the sixth-annual South Lakes 10K on Sunday at 7:30 a.m., beginning at SLHS (11400 South Lakes Drive).
  • Reston Bicycle Club’s 35th annual Century ride will roll off at 6:30 a.m. Sunday from the pavilion at Reston Town Center. Three hundred slots are being held of same-day walk-ups. In addition to the 100-mile ride, there are 31- and 62-mile routes available.
  • The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
  • Lake Anne is also hosting Sunday Yoga on the Plaza each week, at 9:30 a.m.
  • Interested in stand-up paddleboarding? Surf Reston is offering sessions this weekend on Lake Anne. Advance registration is required. In addition, there will be SUP yoga from 9-11 a.m. Saturday.
  • Many restaurants and bars in Reston will have live music this weekend. These include: Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) from 7-10 p.m every Friday and Saturday night; Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St.) every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) every Friday from 6-10 p.m.
  • Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music from Revelator Hill tonight from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Saturday night, DJ Kram will play Top 40 hits.
  • Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor square off Saturday night in one of the most anticipated professional fights in history. Many sports bars in Herndon, Tysons, Sterling and elsewhere in the area will be showing it on the big screen.
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Opportunity to Speak Out About Pool Schedule To Be Provided Next Month

Reduced pool hours in the 2017 schedule drew the ire of many in the Reston community.

Now that the season is nearing its end, those members and others will have the opportunity to share feedback from their summer experiences.

The Reston Association Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee will be made available on Sunday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to noon during an open house at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Avenue). They will be collecting member input on the 2017 pool schedule, as well as thoughts and suggestions about what should be done in 2018.

This year, no pools were open on weekdays prior to Memorial Day. (In 2016, both the North Shore and Ridge Heights pools were open from 1-7 p.m. each weekday beginning May 14.) Through June 23, only four pools were open on weekdays, with one (Glade) open only three hours a night.

In addition, as school is starting next week — one week earlier than in past years — North Shore and Ridge Heights will be the only two pools open the week preceding Labor Day, from 4-7 p.m. each evening. However, RA has announced that Lake Audubon and Lake Newport pools will both be opened for Labor Day weekend.

North Shore and Ridge Heights pools will remain open on weekends and weeknights through Sept. 24.

Mike Leone, communications director for Reston Association, told Reston Now in April that the 2017 schedule was developed as part of an effort to “identify significant cost savings.”

“During the 2017 budget development process, the Board directed staff to identify significant cost savings in the budget to accommodate other strategic goals. Based on facility usage data collected over the past three years that shows a decline in pool attendance as well as feedback from the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors approved pool schedule options by which the proposed aquatics budget could be reduced while still serving the interests of the membership as a whole.”

Members brought up concerns about the pool schedule during general member input sessions earlier this year. Those suggestions are being considered by the RA Board of Directors as part of their budget process.

Anyone who has input to share but is unable to attend the Sept. 10 event is invited to email comments to [email protected].

The Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee is scheduled to make a report on the issue to the Board of Directors at a budget work session Sept. 18.

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Monday Morning Notes

Enjoy the Eclipse! — Remember to keep your eyes safe as you check out the celestial display this afternoon. If you take any photos during the event, share them with us at [email protected] and we will consider publishing them this afternoon. [Fairfax County/YouTube]

New Labor Day Pool Hours — Lake Audubon, Lake Newport, North Shore and Ridge Heights pools will be open Labor Day weekend, until 7 p.m. each day. [Reston Association]

In-Custody Death at Adult Detention Center — A 46-year-old male inmate was found unresponsive at about 7:30 p.m. Friday, and he was pronounced dead about 45 minutes later at Fairfax Hospital. An investigation is underway. [Fairfax County Police Department]

School Board Candidates’ Forum This Week — A special election to fill the vacant At-Large seat on the Fairfax County School Board is Aug. 29. A candidate forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area, is scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at McLean High School. [LWVFA]

Reston Station Building Lights Get Thumbs Up — Last week, we asked what you think about the new lighting on the 1900 Metro Plaza building. Nearly three-fifths of our readers said they like the color-changing display; while only about a quarter said they don’t. [Reston Now]

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With Repair Work Complete, Lake Audubon Pool to Reopen Saturday

Good news for swimmers: After being out of action last weekend, Lake Audubon Pool will re-open Saturday.

Mike Leone, Reston Association communications director, says Dominion Energy has finished its work to repair damage to a drainage pipe caused by a subcontractor. The damage was caused when the worker was digging a trench between junction boxes, said Laura Kowalski, Reston Association’s deputy director for recreation.

“Lake Audubon Pool has been repaired and will open [Saturday] on its regular schedule,” Leone said Friday morning. “Dominion Energy and their contractors repaired the damage and the bathhouse will be cleaned and sanitized today so it’s ready for member use tomorrow.”

The problem was first discovered when standing water was found in the bathhouse last week. A blockage in the drainage pipe was later cleared by Roto-Rooter Plumbing and Drain Service, but a crack in the pipe was found that forced the pool to be closed until repairs were completed.

The work was done at no cost to Reston Association, Leone said.

The pool will be open from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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RA: Dominion Energy Working to Remedy Lake Audubon Pool Issue

Lake Audubon Pool was closed last weekend, and it remains unknown when it will again be available for fun in the sun.

A broken drainage pipe discovered last week resulted in the facility being shut down until further notice. Laura Kowalski, Reston Association’s deputy director for recreation, says a subcontractor of Dominion Energy caused the damage while digging a trench between junction boxes.

“Dominion is working toward getting that piece remedied, so that we can open the facility,” Kowalski said, adding that recent rain will likely delay the effort.

The Lake Audubon Swim Team has been relocated to another pool, Kowalski said. According to its website, all practices will be at Newbridge Pool “until further notice.” Kowalski said the facility may change again in the future.

No re-open date for Lake Audubon Pool is yet available, Kowalski said, but there has been “regular contact” with the power company to try to push the work forward.

In addition, last weekend the pools at Golf Course Island, North Hills and Uplands went down due to maintenance issues. Kowalski said those problems have been attended to and the pools will be reopened next weekend for regularly scheduled hours.

“With any organization that has outdoor facilities, there are issues that arise as a result of not being in operation over the winter months,” Kowalski said. “A lot of those things are detected early and they are taken care of before the pool is even open, that’s wave one. Wave two is once the facility has people and staff, then other issues arise, and that’s pretty normal for each year.”

Kowalski said there are 33 bodies of water at Reston Association facilities — pools, spas and spray features. Backup motors for each type of facility are kept in stock and replenished as necessary.

For more information about available Reston Association pools, check the 2017 pool schedule.

“There are so many facilities in Reston for people to go to,” Kowalski said. “There really is something else very close by [if there is a pool closure].”

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Lake Audubon Pool Needs ‘Significant Repairs’ Thanks to Broken Drainage Pipe

Pool season has just arrived, but one Reston Association facility is already splashed out — and RA says Dominion Power may be to blame.

The Lake Audubon Pool is closed indefinitely and needs “significant repairs” because of a broken drainage pipe, Reston Association has announced. According to RA:

The problem was first discovered when standing water was found in the bathhouse. A blockage in the drainage pipe was later cleared by Roto-Rooter Plumbing and Drain Service, but a crack in the pipe was found Thursday morning that will require significant repairs to the pipe and possibly the power line that runs near the drainage pipe.

Reston Association has contacted Dominion Power about the electrical line and is investigating whether recent work near the site by the utility company may have contributed to the pipe being damaged.

The pipe will need to be dug up and the electrical line removed before the new pipe can be installed. Roto-Rooter’s equipment is currently stuck on the other side of the electrical line. RA is waiting on a proposal from the plumbing company for the digging up and repairing of the pipe. The association is also exploring how the pipe was damaged and whether it can seek reimbursement for repair costs.

Reston Association says the pool will not re-open until the pipe has been repaired and properly tested.

Lake Audubon Pool was scheduled to be open weekends from noon to 7 p.m. each day, with weekday hours beginning June 24.

Photo courtesy Reston Association

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