Arrests Made in Online Predator Sting — Ten men have been arrested in sting operations intended to identify predators who use the Internet to exploit children. The arrests were made since Dec. 23. [Sun Gazette]
Reston Association to Hold Special Meeting — The association’s Board of Directors will meet with its information technology committee on Jan. 5 to discuss IT-related matters. The meeting takes place via Zoom and starts at 6:30 p.m. [RA]
Local Organizations Given Funding for Afghan Resettlement — The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has awarded $60,000 in grants to six local organizations to help resettle Afghans. Awardees include Herndon-Reston FISH, Inc. and the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia. [The Connection]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Afghan Evacuees Tax Northern Virginia Hospitals — The recent influx of Afghanistan evacuees through Dulles International Airport has taken a toll on the region’s hospitals, leading to issues with keeping track of patients and rising costs. As of yesterday (Tuesday), Fairfax County has taken 219 Afghan patients to local hospitals and will ask the federal government to pay the estimated $300,000 in personnel and transportation costs that it has accrued so far. [The Washington Post]
Food Starts Reston Apartment Fire — The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department responded to the 1800 block of St. Francis Street in Reston Town Center around 1 p.m. yesterday after getting reports of smoke issuing from the 16th floor of an apartment building. One person was checked for injuries from the fire, which appeared to have been started by food cooking on a stove. [Patch]
Deer Archery Program Returns This Weekend — “The Fairfax County Deer Management Archery Program begins Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 and runs through Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022…The archery program began in FY 2010…to reduce and stabilize the white-tailed deer population in Fairfax County in efforts to minimize safety and health hazards and other impacts related to an overabundance of deer.” [Fairfax County Police Department]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Ida to Bring More Rainy Weather — “The remnants of what is now tropical storm Ida could dump up to 6 inches of rain to parts of northern Virginia and the District of Columbia early Wednesday into Thursday morning…In addition to heavy rain, the storm could bring tornadoes and flash flooding.” [Patch]
Fairfax County Police Gets New Leadership Team Member — “Brian J. Reilly, formerly of the Prince George’s County Police Department, started a new chapter today as the Fairfax County Police Department’s executive deputy police chief. In this new role, Reilly is responsible for the coordination of FCPD’s crime control strategies, policy and legislative initiatives and the implementation of a new data and evidence-based policing strategy that prioritizes community interaction with police officers throughout Fairfax County.” [FCPD]
Local Afghan Restaurant Donates Meals to Refugees — Kabobi by The Helmand, an Afghan fusion restaurant that opened in Dulles Station in 2019, is working with the nonprofit World Central Kitchen to provide home-cooked meals to refugees who have come to the U.S. after the Taliban took over Afghanistan’s government earlier this month. Anyone interested in volunteering can send a direct message to the restaurant to assist with packaging. [Kabobi/Instagram]
Friends of Reston to Hold 5K This Fall — “The inaugural Friends of Reston Fall 5K is coming soon! This video highlights the many ways you, your friends, family, co-workers, and business can get involved, and help support the Reston Youth and Enrichment Fund.” [Reston Association/Twitter]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Thousands of Afghan Refugees Arrive At Dulles — About 14,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan since the Taliban’s takeover on Aug. 15 have arrived in Virginia through Dulles International Airport, according to Gov. Ralph Northam, who called the effort “one of the largest airlifts in history” on Friday (Aug. 27). The federal government has set up a COVID-19 vaccination site for the new arrivals, just 20 of whom have tested positive so far. [WTOP]
New Survey on Countywide Strategic Plan Opens — Fairfax County is seeking more community input on its proposed Countywide Strategic Plan, which will serve as a guide for the county’s priorities over the next 10 to 20 years. A fourth community survey is now available in multiple languages until Sept. 24, with the Board of Supervisors expected to take action on a final plan in October. [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]
Man Arrested for South Lakes BB&T Robbery — A man believe to be behind the Tuesday morning robbery of the BB&T Bank in South Lakes Village Shopping Center was arrested in Richmond, according to the weekly crime report. The suspect was arrested on Thursday (Aug. 26) on unrelated charges but now also faces two counts of robbery. He is awaiting extradition to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. [Patch]
Fairfax County Police Recruit Two New Canines — Bloodhound pups Duke and Luna will soon start a year-long training program to prepare them to join the Fairfax County Police Department’s K-9 unit, which currently consists of 28 dogs, including three other bloodhounds, and 15 human officers. The dogs will help the department find “critically missing people,” including people with dementia, children, and individuals who might be suicidal. [The Washington Post]
Reston Association to Hold Listening Sessions Next Month — “Reston Association will be hosting a series of Listening Sessions, one for each district, over the coming weeks on Zoom. These meetings will allow the Board to engage with each district and listen to the concerns, comments, and suggestions members have for RA.” [RA/Twitter]
(Updated at 9:35 a.m.) Hurunnessa Fariad knows what it’s like to be an Afghan refugee.
She fled Afghanistan with her family in the 1980s while the country was under Soviet occupation. While the circumstances were certainly different three decades ago, her emotions upon seeing another exodus in the wake of the Taliban’s recent takeover are comparable to her own experiences.
“The sentiment of leaving your home, leaving everything behind…and coming to a country where you don’t know anything, you don’t know the culture, you don’t know the people, you don’t know who’s going to help you — it’s terrifying,” she said.
Today, Fariad works as outreach coordinator at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society — also known as the ADAMS Center — in Sterling. It’s the second-largest Muslim community in the country and serves people across Fairfax and Loudoun counties.
She also serves as the center’s Afghan lead, working with Lutheran Social Services to help those who have evacuated Afghanistan to make a new home in the U.S., joining many non-profit and faith-based organizations across the region.
The ADAMS Center is currently collecting funds to help with both immediate needs, such as gift cards to Target or Walmart that can be used to purchase basic items, and long-term needs for housing, jobs, and education.
Fariad says the center was collecting individual items, like toiletries and hygiene items, but they got “inundated” and need time to sort through all of the donations.
“The funding is going to keep going on for a while because there’s so many people coming in that they’re going to need help,” she said.
Additionally, the ADAMS Center is putting together a list of local residents who speak Dari and Pashto and can act as translators. They are sharing that list with both Virgina Gov. Ralph Northam’s office and the federal government.
As of yesterday (Tuesday), more than 6,000 people and 44 dogs have arrived at Dulles International Airport in the last week, according to an email from state officials to local partners.
A Fairfax County spokesperson confirmed that the county is providing support for resettlement efforts, primarily assisting with health, human services, and public safety needs.
“Currently, the county is supporting a Department of State operation for people evacuated from Afghanistan and arriving at Dulles International Airport. Some of these individuals are being supported temporarily at Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly,” the county spokesperson wrote. “The center has the capacity to support more than a thousand individuals.”
The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management also helped set up cots at Northern Virginia Community College, according to The Washington Post. Community members are being asked not to go to any of these hosting sites.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay visited the Dulles Expo Center yesterday, saying in a newsletter that he was “touched to hear the human side of what we are seeing on the news.”
“While we can’t be sure how many people will ultimately relocate to Fairfax County, I want to be clear that we look forward to welcoming all who want to join our diverse community,” he wrote. Read More
Metro Changes Coming Next Month — A host of service changes, including more rail and bus service, longer hours, free bus transfers, and a flat $2, one-way train fare on weekends, will take effect starting on Sept. 5. Approved by Metro’s board of governors in June, the alterations are intended to lure riders back as students return to school and more white-collar workers return to offices. [WTOP]
Virginia Prepares to Welcome Afghan Refugees — Gov. Ralph Northam said on Twitter yesterday that he is coordinating with the federal government to accept “thousands more” Afghan citizens and their families at Fort Lee. 8,650 refugees from Afghanistan have settled in Virginia over the past six years. [DCist]
NoVA Fine Arts Festival Roster Revealed — The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival has unveiled a lineup of more than 200 artists who will compete in 10 categories from Sept. 10-12 at Reston Town Center. After last year’s cancellation, this year’s festival will have several health precautions in place, including hand sanitation stations, vaccination requirements for volunteers, and encouragement of social distancing and face mask-wearing in artist booths. [Tephra ICA]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
A blanket and coat drive for refugees fleeing Syria kicks off on Saturday (Nov. 10). The drive, which is organized by the NOVA Relief Center, will run through Dec. 8.
Donations collected this year will go to three refugee camps in northern Jordan, with shipping costs covered by Paxton Van Lines and Maersk.
Drop-off locations are available throughout the region. Options in Herndon and Reston include the following:
- Office of Supervisor Cathy Hudgins North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive)
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1515 Poplar Grove Drive) – Sundays only
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Franklin building (2727 Centerville Rd. Herndon, VA 20171) – Sundays only
- Oak Hill Elementary School 3210 Kinross Circle Herndon, Virginia Town of Herndon Town Hall (777 Lynn Street Herndon)
- The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany (3301 Hidden Meadow Drive)
- Congregation Beth Emeth (12523 Lawyers Road)
All sizes and fabric are accepted for the blanket and coat drive, but items must be clean and in new or gently-used condition. Interested residents can also donate funds for the drive, allowing the center to purchase high-quality blankets and coats in bulk and at non-profit discounts.
The drive is in its fifth year of operation. NOVA Relief Center is a non-profit organization that aims to improve the quality of life for refugees abroad and in northern Virginia.
Photo via NOVA Relief Center
Jurisdictions in Northern Virginia are collecting gently used and new coats and blankets for Syrian refugees in this year’s donation drive. The drive is powered by the Northern Virginia Relief Center, a nonprofit organization that aims to create a better life for people who come to Northern Virginia from around the world.
Since 2013, the drive has collected more than 100 tons of donations for Syrian and Iraqi refugees from jurisdictions like Fairfax County, Prince William County and Alexandria. Last year, 40,000 blanket and 33,000 winter coats were collected at over 100 drop-off sites throughout the country.
Donations will be accepted through Sunday at more than 30 locations. Local government drop-off locations will stop collecting donations at 5 p.m. on Friday.
In Reston, donations can be made at the Hunter Mill District Supervisor Office (1801 Cameron Glen Drive) Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. A complete list of all drop-off locations is also available online.
The organization is also accepting online donations. This year, all donations will be shipped to refugees located in Lebanon through a partnership with Paxton Van Lines and Maersk Line, according to the center’s website.
Photo via Northern Virginia Relief Center