Herndon Fire Causes $6K in Damages — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue units responded to a passerby’s report of a building fire in the 2400 block of Centreville Road around 7:22 a.m. yesterday (Monday). Investigators determined that the fire, which was seen on a countertop, was caused by an electrical event involving a power strip. There were no reported injuries, but the damage was estimated to be $6,000. [Patch]
Police Seek Assistance in Finding Great Falls Burglary Suspects — The Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston Station is seeking to identify two men who reportedly caused more than $20,000 in damage to a house in the 800 block of Hortense Place in Great Falls on June 12. Detectives have not yet determined if the incident is related to incidents involving damage to two homes in the same block on July 12. [Patch]
Virginia to Use COVID-19 Relief Funds for School Ventilation — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wants to allocate $250 million of the state’s federal coronavirus relief money to projects that will improve air quality in public schools. In a statement Monday, the Democratic governor said the state funding would be matched with another $250 million in local funds for an investment that would allow for the completion of nearly all Virginia school divisions’ currently planned projects.” [Associated Press/WTOP]
Reston Hospital Completes First Spinal Implant Using AI and Augmented Reality — “Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR), top surgeons at Virginia Spine Institute deliver personalized spinal implants to a 17 year old patient. Spine Surgeons Dr. Ehsan Jazini and Dr. Christopher Good performed the procedure at Reston Hospital on Monday, July 26, 2021.” [Virginia Spine Institute]
Reminder: Weigh In On Future of Reston Parking — “Help us determine the future of parking in Tysons and Reston. We want to hear from residents, commuters, employees and patrons about how you use parking in these areas. Take our managed parking survey, open now through July 31.” [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]
Virginia Expected to Lift Mask Requirement in Schools — Virginia is reviewing updated federal guidance saying that in-person learning should be prioritized even if not all mitigation strategies can be adopted. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says masks should still be worn indoors by anyone not fully vaccinated, especially when social distancing isn’t possible. [Richmond Times-Dispatch/Danville Register & Bee]
Fairfax County Police Investigate Herndon Stabbing — A dispute between “three juvenile acquaintances” on July 3 in the 2000 block of Huston Place resulted in one of the individuals stabbing another in the upper body. The victim was taken to a hopsital for injuries that were not life-threatening. [FCPD]
New County Public Works Director Begins Job — Starting today (Monday), the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services has a new director, as Christopher Herrington succeeds Randy Bartlett, who retired in June. Herrington’s past experience includes serving as senior environmental policy officer for the City of Austin in Texas. [Fairfax County Government]
Herndon Police Chief Appointed to State Board — Herndon Chief of Police Maggie DeBoard has been appointed to Virginia’s Forensic Science Board, one of several new appointments announced by Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday (July 9). The Department of Forensic Science provides laboratory services to law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, medical examiners, and other agencies that conduct criminal investigations. [Office of the Governor]
Photo via Sam Moon Sami/Facebook
Virginia State of Emergency Ends Tonight — The public health emergency that Virginia has had in place since March 2020 due to COVID-19 is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. today (Wednesday). Gov. Ralph Northam’s office has said the order will not be renewed, but ambiguities about mask-wearing could be addressed in a General Assembly special session scheduled for Aug. 2. [WTOP]
Northam Signs Voting Access Legislation — Virginia’s governor formally signed several bills on Monday (June 28) intended to make it easier for people to vote. Changes include allowing localities to open polling places on Sundays during early voting, requiring localities to provide drop-off locations for absentee ballots, and enabling first-time voters to register for an absentee ballot by mail. [WTOP]
Public Input Sought on Regional Housing Plan — Fairfax County is participating in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ effort to develop a Regional Housing Equity Plan to identify and address racial disparities in housing. COG will host three workshops in July to discuss the history of race and housing and get community perspectives on the issue. [Fairfax County Housing and Community Development]
Sorrento Leasing Tours Delayed — The 306-unit apartment building at 1925 Roland Clarke Place in Reston will not open for leasing tours on July 1 as previously expected. Sorrento Senior Business Manager Curtis Schaeffer tells Reston Now that the date has been pushed back, likely to mid-to-late July, as some work still needs to be done, including the installation of furniture, before the leasing team moves into the building. [Sorrento]
(Updated at 1:05 p.m.) Masks are coming off in Virginia, as COVID-19 case levels continue to fall and vaccinations become more widespread.
As of midnight on Saturday (May 15), people who have been fully vaccinated — meaning that at least two weeks have passed since they got all necessary vaccine doses — are no longer required to wear face masks indoors, except inside health care facilities, on public transit, or in congregate settings such as homeless shelters.
“This has been a long road, our community has worked hard to slow the spread of COVID-19 and it has paid off,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a statement. “Our case numbers have been steadily dropping while our vaccination rates continue to increase.”
Gov. Ralph Northam updated the Commonwealth’s mask mandate on Friday (May 14) to align with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which cited the vaccines’ proven effectiveness at protecting people from COVID-19 and becoming seriously ill if they do get infected by the novel coronavirus.
Northam also announced last week that Virginia will lift all remaining capacity and distancing rules on May 28, rather than June 15 as previously planned.
“Virginians have been working hard, and we are seeing the results in our strong vaccine numbers and dramatically lowered case counts,” Northam said. “That’s why we can safely move up the timeline for lifting mitigation measures in Virginia. I strongly urge any Virginian who is not yet vaccinated to do so — the vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your community from COVID-19.”
COVID-19 cases have continued to decline in Fairfax County since the county was averaging 194.4 new cases over the past seven days on April 13.
The Fairfax Health District, which also includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, reported just 16 new cases today, bringing its total for the pandemic to 77,666 cases. 4,091 people have been hospitalized due to COVID-19, and 1,108 people have died from the disease.
Fairfax County is now averaging 34.3 new cases per day for the past week — the lowest seven-day average since it was at 30.3 cases on April 1, 2020, when cases just started coming in. The district’s current seven-day testing positivity rate of 2% is the lowest that it has ever been.
The promising downward trends in COVID-19 cases and testing have been complemented by an ongoing vaccination campaign that opened up to 12 to 15-year-old adolescents last Thursday (May 13).
With no vaccine approved yet for younger children and most older students still not vaccinated, Virginia is still requiring masks to be worn in schools in accordance with the CDC’s recommendations.
Fairfax County Public Schools spokesperson Lucy Caldwell told Reston Now on Saturday that the school system will communicate information to families, staff, and the rest of the community this week.
McKay says Fairfax County anticipates that children as young as 2 will become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine later this year.
“Our goal is to reach at least 70% vaccination rates for all adults residing in Fairfax and we are making great progress in reaching that goal,” McKay said. “While there will still be challenges ahead and while we still have work to do to get people vaccinated, we feel good about the data.”
Northam stated on Friday that over 63% of Virginia’s adult population has now received at least one dose of vaccine, and he remains confident that that number will reach 70% by July 4, the target set by President Joe Biden.
McKay’s office says Fairfax County is also “committed” to reaching the 70% goal by July 4, stating that opportunities for people to get vaccinated are now “widely available throughout our community” and that supplies are at levels to meet demand.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, Fairfax County has administered more than 1 million doses so far. 602,926 residents — 52.5% of the population — have gotten at least one dose, and 454,263 residents — 39.6% of the population — have been fully vaccinated.
The Fairfax County Health Department received 58,500 doses from the state during the week of May 10-16.
Photo by robinreston, graph via Virginia Department of Health
Virginia Declares State of Emergency Over Gas Supplies — Gov. Ralph Northam gave the state and local governments increased flexibility and funding yesterday (Tuesday) after a ransomware attack disrupted the Colonial Pipeline, which provides 45% of the East Coast’s gasoline supply. 7.5% of the state’s 3,880 gas stations reported running out of fuel, a shortage primarily attributed to panic buying. [WTOP]
ABC Stores Will Resume Pre-Pandemic Hours on Friday — “After more than a year of reduced operating hours in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) stores will return to pre-pandemic operating hours on May 14, 2021. All stores will open by 10 a.m. every day, apart from some stores which regularly open later on Sundays…Closing times vary by store.” [Virginia ABC]
Herndon Robbery Suspect Still Unidentified — An armed robbery of a business in the 1000 block of Elden Street on Thursday (May 6) is still under investigation. Police say “an unknown subject” entered the business shortly before 10 a.m., displayed a weapon, and demanded money. The business and amount of money taken have not been disclosed. [Herndon Police Department]
Fairfax County Warns About “Phone Spoofing” Scam — Multiple Fairfax County residents have reported receiving calls from 703-324-1000 saying that their data has been compromised and they need to set up fraud protection. While the number appears to be from the MyFairfax online portal, it is a scam, and the county says people should not call any secondary number or give out their personal or county information. [Fairfax County Government]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Virginians who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are officially free to go outside and visit fully vaccinated friends without wearing a face mask.
Gov. Ralph Northam announced yesterday (Thursday) that he has amended the state’s public health rules to conform with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that loosens mask-wearing and social distancing protocols for people who are fully vaccinated, meaning two weeks have passed since they received their last required vaccine dose.
Released on April 27, the CDC’s new recommendations state that fully vaccinated people face “minimal risk” of contracting or transmitting COVID-19 when engaged in outdoor activities such as exercising or eating outside. They also likely face little risk from small, private indoor gatherings and visits to public indoor spaces with other fully vaccinated people.
The CDC emphasizes that masks should still be worn indoors when unvaccinated people are present, especially if they are at increased risk of severe illness from the novel coronavirus, and in crowded outdoor settings like concerts or sporting events where maintaining social distancing is difficult.
“The CDC’s recommendations underscore what we have said all along — vaccinations are the way we will put this pandemic behind us and get back to normal life,” Northam said. “Our increasing vaccination rate and decreasing number of new COVID-19 cases has made it possible to ease mitigation measures in a thoughtful and measured manner. I encourage all Virginians who have not yet received the vaccine to make an appointment today.”
Touted as another incentive for people to get vaccinated, the new CDC guidelines came out amid news reports that COVID-19 vaccine demand has slowed in some parts of the country to the point where state and local governments are declining shipments.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay told Tysons Reporter yesterday that that has not been the case in the county, which has only just gotten enough supplies to meet demand.
As of April 29, 529,402 Fairfax County residents — or 46.1% of the total population — had received at least one vaccine dose, and 334,568 residents — 29.2% of the population — had been fully vaccinated, according to Virginia Department of Health data, which does not include some doses administered by the federal government.
Statewide, more than 3.7 million Virginians — 57% of the adult population — have now gotten at least one dose, and 2.5 million Virginians are fully vaccinated, or 39% of the adult population, according to Northam.
Fairfax County officials say they will support the new guidelines in Northam’s amended executive order.
“We will continue to follow the guidance put out by the state and follow the data, just as we always have,” McKay said in a statement. “I know everyone is looking forward to seeing their loved ones again without fear of spreading COVID. Getting vaccinated will be necessary to do so however, so I recommend that everyone make an appointment as soon as possible.”
With high school football games nearing an end and spring sports like baseball starting up, Northam also announced yesterday that he has accelerated plans to ease capacity limits on outdoor recreational sports, which are now permitted up to 1,000 spectators, effective immediately.
Northam says he anticipates removing all capacity limits in mid-June “as long as the Commonwealth’s health metrics remain stable and vaccination progress continues.”
(Updated at 9:55 a.m.) Virginia will further loosen restrictions on social gatherings and some businesses on May 15, Gov. Ralph Northam announced yesterday afternoon (April 22).
“Vaccination numbers are up, and our COVID-19 case numbers are substantially lower than they were earlier this year,” Northam said in a video message. “So, we have been able to begin easing some mitigation measures.”
Changes include increasing capacity for both outdoor and indoor entertainment venues to 50%, though indoor venues will be capped at 1,000 people. Both outdoor and indoor venues were previously limited to 30% capacity.
Per the executive order, the entertainment venue category includes concert venues, performance art venues, movie theaters, museums, bowling alleys, escape rooms, zoos, and trampoline parks.
In addition, indoor recreational sporting events will be allowed more spectators with an increase of up to 50% capacity or 250 people, whichever is less. Outdoor recreational sporting events can go up to 50% capacity or 1,000 people.
Public and private social gatherings will be able to host up to 100 people if they’re indoors or 250 people if they’re outdoors. Masks must still be worn, and six feet of social distancing must still be maintained.
Restaurants will be able to sell alcohol after midnight again. Northam also amended Virginia’s guidance earlier this week to let restaurants resume bar service, effective immediately, provided the patrons are six feet apart.
Late-night and 24-hour restaurants will no longer have to close their dining room between midnight and 5 a.m., either. Self-service buffets will also be allowed to reopen.
“I’m optimistic that we will be able to take more steps in June,” Northam said. “We are working to significantly ramp up vaccinations even further and aim to reduce capacity limits in June, hopefully all the way.”
The governor also took the time to announce that children 12 and over could potentially be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as this summer.
“Research is moving forward and it’s looking like vaccinations may be available for children age 12 and over as soon as this summer,” Northam said. “That will make it easier and safer for when school starts up again in the fall.”
Along with the rest of Virginia, Fairfax County moved to Phase 2 on Sunday (April 18), making all adults 16 and over eligible for a vaccine, but getting an appointment continues to be a challenge, particularly at local pharmacies. Some readers have told Reston Now that they have had luck finding slots at the new Tysons mass vaccination site, which is now listed as an option in Vaccine Finder.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisor Chairman Jeff McKay says the latest easing of public health restrictions reflects the encouraging trends that the county has been seeing, with COVID-19 cases declining and vaccinations on the rise.
As of today (Friday), the county is currently averaging 141.6 new cases over the past week, which is down from the spring 2021 high of 194.4 cases on April 13. 484,617 residents have received at least one vaccine dose, and 297,704 residents have been fully vaccinated, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
“Our population in Fairfax County is very eager to be vaccinated and have acted with care this last year,” McKay said in a statement. “Of course, we will keep an eye on the data as we move forward, we know we aren’t out of the woods yet. We need everyone to be smart, but generally everything is moving in the right direction.”
Northam has set May 31 as the target date for all adults who want a vaccine to be able to get one, but Fairfax County officials have not committed to that yet.
Even with the easing of restrictions, Northam reiterated that some mitigation strategies still need to continue.
“We all need to wear masks, keep social distancing, and we all need to keep encouraging each other to get a shot,” he said.
Photo via Governor Ralph Northam/YouTube
Northam Signs Bill Legalizing Marijuana Possession — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday signed a bill legalizing simple possession of marijuana beginning this summer, making it the first Southern state to do so…The bill, signed a day after April 20 — marijuana’s unofficial holiday — allows anyone in the state 21 or older to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana beginning July 1.” [CNN/WTOP]
Fairfax County Judge Orders Former D.C. Firefighter’s Release — “A former D.C. firefighter will be released from a Virginia prison this week after a Fairfax County judge Tuesday vacated his 2019 conviction on drug and gun charges, which were based on falsehoods told by a former Fairfax County police officer now under state and FBI investigation.” [The Washington Post]
Reston Banking Company Plans to Go Public — John Marshall Bancorp, Inc., the parent company of John Marshall Bank, announced yesterday (Wednesday) that “it intends to become a publicly-traded company, including potentially listing its shares on the Nasdaq or NYSE stock exchange. The Company anticipates becoming a publicly-traded company within the next twelve to fifteen months.” [Business Wire]
Fairfax County Tax Relief Workshop Today — “Join our virtual tax relief workshop: April 22, 10:30 a.m. to noon. Learn how to apply for real estate or car tax relief if you’re a senior or person with disabilities.” [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]
Leidos Lands Customs and Border Patrol Contract — “Reston-based Fortune 500 company Leidos Holdings Inc. announced Tuesday it has been awarded a $480 million contract by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to provide multi-energy portal (MEP) systems for nonintrusive inspections of commercial vehicles at land and sea ports of entry.” [Virginia Business]
Last Chance to Join Frying Pan Farm Photo Contest — “TOMORROW (April 22) is the last day to submit pictures for our photo contest! Pics can be from 1/1/2019-now, taken at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, VA. Proceeds from the contest will help support the farm.” [Friends of Frying Pan/Twitter]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Fairfax County Clears COVID-19 Vaccine Waitlist — The Fairfax County Health Department’s vaccine waitlist is now at zero, according to its data dashboard. That means everyone who registered before the county entered Phase 2 on April 18 has now been invited to schedule an appointment. The department registered a total of 435,981 people. [FCHD]
Northam Raises Capacity Limits for School Performances — “Northam said the spectator cap for school performances, including musicals, is increasing to a maximum of 100 attendees for indoor venues — a substantial boost from the previous limit of 50. Outdoor venues will be allowed to welcome up to 500 people.” [WTOP]
Herndon Police Make Arrest in Two-Year-Old Robbery Attempt — A 20-year-old Herndon man has been charged with multiple counts of robbery, assault by mob, and gang participation, among other charges, for an incident that took place on June 18, 2019. According to police, two people had tried to grab a man’s cell phone while he was going for a walk but ran when the robbery attempt proved unsuccessful. [Herndon PD]
Herndon Contractor Buoyed by Space Rover Work — “By spring, coming off a successful mission to help NASA land the Perseverance on Mars and having acquired two big-name companies — a section of Northrup Grumman and Perspecta — Peraton will soon employ 24,000 people and bring in $7 billion in revenue.” [Inside NoVA]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Fairfax County is committing to expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults by April 18, as long as there is sufficient supply, county officials tell Reston Now.
This comes on the heels of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s announcement earlier today (April 1) that all individuals in the Commonwealth over the age of 16 should be eligible for the vaccine starting Sunday, April 18.
“I know that our residents are looking forward to getting vaccinated and to be able to again spend time with their loved ones,” Fairfax County Board pf Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a statement to Reston Now. “Fairfax County is ready and prepared to move forward to meet the Governor’s and President Biden’s deadlines. I’m excited that we can continue to open eligibility and vaccinate even more people.”
The April 18 goal is ahead of the May 1 deadline set by President Joe Biden in mid-March for making all American adults eligible for the vaccine.
Governor Northam’s press release notes that this is because the state is making solid progress on delivering the vaccine to currently eligible populations.
“Nearly every Virginian in the highest risk groups who has pre-registered for a vaccination appointment has received one, and those still on the pre-registration list will receive appointment invitations within the next two weeks,” the governor’s office said.
The release also says that nearly 4 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the Commonwealth. More than one in three adults have gotten at least one dose, and one in five are fully vaccinated.
21 out of 35 Virginia’s health districts have also moved to Phase 1c, which encompasses additional essential workers like food servers and construction workers.
After opening eligibility for all people in Phase 1b earlier this week, Fairfax County officials now say that the plan is to move to Phase 1c sometime next week to meet Northam’s target date as well as Biden’s expectation that 90% of adults in the U.S. will be eligible to get vaccinated by April 19.
“To meet these goals, Fairfax County plans to open registration for Phase 1c early next week and transition to Phase 2 by the governor’s deadline,” the Fairfax County Health Department said in a newly published blog post.
The health department previously predicted that the county would enter Phase 1c in mid-April.
According to the county dashboard, 363,601 people have been vaccinated by the county health department or one of its partners — a nearly 10% jump from two weeks ago.
That’s approximately 32% of the county’s population, which is slightly lower than the overall percentage of Virginia residents who have been vaccinated based on the governor’s release.
As for when those eligible to register will get appointments and actual shots, that remains to be seen. The health department is currently making appointments for people who registered on March 24 and has gotten its waitlist down to less than 30,000 people.
Earlier in March, Virginia’s Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said that everyone who wants the vaccine should be able to get their first dose by May 31.
However, Fairfax County could not commit to that goal at the time. A health department spokesperson Reston Now on Tuesday that the pace of vaccine administration will depend on “many factors,” including the number of doses that the county gets from the Virginia Department of Health.
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.
Virginia made history last week: The Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam signed the bill that made Virginia the first state in the south and the 23rd state in the nation to end the death penalty! I made the nearly four-hour trip to the Greenville Correctional Center in Jarrett where the “death chamber” is located to be at this momentous occasion when another of my legislative goals was realized.
While some have justified the death penalty as an appropriate “eye for an eye” punishment and a deterrent for other crimes, the history of the death penalty is much more complex. Virginia executed more people than any other state having executed 1,390 people over its 413 years. Its uneven application among the states and within the state itself is astounding. Virginia executed 94 women over its history, twice as many as the state with the next most executions of women. Of those, 78 were Black, 11 were White and five were of unknown race. Sixteen children below the age of 18 were executed including a slave girl about 12 years old who was hung in 1825. In 2005 the United States Supreme Court declared that the execution of those under the age of 18 at the time of their crime was cruel and unusual punishment and hence unconstitutional. It followed an earlier decision in a Virginia case that found that executing an intellectually disabled person as the state was poised to do was unconstitutional.
Until the first electrocution in 1908, executions in Virginia were carried out by hanging making them not unlike the lynchings of Blacks that had occurred throughout the South. From 1900 until the U.S. Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional in 1977 for crimes in which no one was killed, Virginia executed 73 Black defendants for rape, or attempted or armed robbery that did not result in death, while no White defendants were executed for those crimes.
Other numbers show how the death penalty was more an act of White supremacy than for public safety. Between 1900 and 1999, there were 377 executions and of those 296 were Black persons and 79 White persons. For murder there were 304 executions, 223 Black and 79 White persons. For rape 48 Black persons and for attempted rape 20 Black persons executed, and in both instances no White persons were executed.
One of the most unbelievable stories in the history of the death penalty in Virginia was the execution of five Black defendants on February 2, 1951, and the execution of two more Black men on February 5, 1951, accused of raping a White woman. An all-White jury meted out the punishment after trials that lasted one day per defendant.
We cannot rewrite this dark chapter of Virginia’s history, but we must learn from it. Too many laws in the past were written to maintain White supremacy rather than protect the public equally. The General Assembly has made major strides at ridding the Code of Jim Crow laws. We can see the repeal of the death penalty as a major step in moving Virginia forward as a more just state.
Herndon Police Cites Drivers for Violating Cellphone Ban — The Town of Herndon Police Department says its officers issued 22 citations last week for violations of Virginia’s new law against driving while using mobile devices. The ban took effect on Jan. 1 of this year and imposes a $125 fine for a first offense, followed by $250 for a second offense. [Herndon PD/Twitter]
Northam Signs Deal to Expand Virginia’s Railroads — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a $3.7 billion deal Tuesday with Amtrak and CSX Transportation that officials say will break loose a major East Coast chokepoint and allow for a dramatic expansion of passenger and commuter rail.” [NBC4]
Lawsuit Filed over Virginia Guidelines Supporting Transgender Students — Conservative groups are suing the Virginia Department of Education over its new policy requiring school districts to accept students’ gender identities and provide access to facilities and programs in accordance with those identities. The policy took effect on March 6 after the General Assembly passed a law last year directing the department to develop guidelines. [The Washington Post]
Reston Nonprofit to Benefit from Jersey Mike’s Purchases Today — “Jersey Mike’s Subs store at 2254 Hunters Woods Plaza in Reston is donating 100 percent of sales to Cornerstones on Wednesday…The effort is part of the sandwich franchise chain’s Month of Giving, which has raised $32 million for local charities since 2011.” [Reston Patch]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
(Updated at 5:05 p.m. on 4/2/2021) Fairfax County Seeks Public Input on Police Chief Search — “Next Tuesday, April 6, @SupervisorLusk and I are holding a public input session on the selection of our new Police Chief. Provide your comments on what you hope to see in our next police chief ahead of time or live.” [@JeffreyCMcKay/Twitter]
Northam Signs Free Community College Legislation — Signed in Alexandria, the bill creates a “G3” program that makes community college tuition free for low- and middle-income students who pursue jobs in high-demand fields. The initiative has $36 million to cover tuition, fees, books, and support services for eligible students who attend two-year public institutions in Virginia. [Office of the Governor]
Cornerstones Monthly Food Giveaways Draw Lines — A recent food giveaway hosted by the Reston nonprofit Cornerstones illustrates the still-urgent need for food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is increasingly straining nonprofits and volunteers. [The Washington Post]
Advocates Raise Concerns about Training on Restraint and Seclusion Policy — “Parents were pleased that in addition to banning seclusion in all schools by 2023, the school system promised to train staff on alternative methods to physical restraint and seclusion. But several founders of the Fairfax County Special Education PTA have raised concerns that staff did not receive comprehensive training before students returned to classrooms in person earlier this month.” [Inside NoVA]
Reston Restaurant Delivery Company Integrates with DoorDash — Waitbusters LLC has augmented its delivery service by adding an integration with DoorDash Drive, a move that the Reston-based company says will allow it to serve more locations, give customers and restaurants more options, and ensure drivers are available “almost 100% of the time.” [Restaurant News]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Virginia to Further Ease COVID-19 Restrictions in April — “As COVID-19 vaccinations continue to rise in Virginia, certain sports and entertainment venues may begin to operate with additional capacity and indoor and outdoor gathering limits will increase starting Thursday, April 1…More than two million Virginians, or approximately one in four people, have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.” [Gov. Ralph Northam]
Fairfax County Board Adopts Resolution Condemning Anti-Asian Racism — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously yesterday to adopt a resolution condemning “all bigotry, harassment, and hate violence directed at Asian Americans in our community.” [Chairman Jeff McKay]
Access to DC Cherry Blossoms Limited — The National Park Service will limit pedestrian and vehicle access to the Tidal Basin, East Potomac Park and West Potomac Park during the peak of the bloom period. [Patch]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
County Seeks Help with Vaccinations — The county’s health department is hiring roughly 250 vaccinators. Interested candidates should have experience vaccinating and hold a current license or multistate licensure privilege. [Fairfax County Government]
Reston Association Election Underway — Voting ends on April 2 at 5 p.m. Four candidates are running for two at-large seats and one person is vying for the South Lakes District seat. A 10 percent quorum is required for the results of the election to be considered valid. [Reston Today]
Local Organizations Receive Homeless Reduction Grants — Twelve projects in the Northern Virginia area received a total of $2.1 million in state grants from the Virginia Housing Trust Fund. Reston-based nonprofit organization Cornerstones received $100,000 to fund housing stabilization case management. [Patch]
State Bans Single-Use Styrofoam — Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a bill into law that bans the use of Styrofoam cups and food takeout containers. Food chains with 20 or more locations cannot package or dispense food in the containers beginning July 2023. [Patch]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr