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‘The Wolves’ and More This Weekend in Reston

Sunday is your last chance to watch NextStop Theatre Company’s final performances of “The Wolves” — a comedy about the lives of high school girls at their daily soccer warm-ups.

Written by Sarah DeLappe, the play was a recent finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

The show tonight (Feb. 22) starts at 8 p.m. at 269 Sunset Park Drive. Tomorrow, the curtain rises at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. The last two shows on Sunday start at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets cost between $35-$60, depending on the demand.

Tomorrow (Feb. 23)

  • All Gardeners’ Meeting (10 a.m.-noon) — Users of Reston’s community garden plots can attend the annual All Gardeners’ meeting, which will include two guest speakers and light refreshments, at the Reston Association’s headquarters. Discussion topics will include soil management, gardening with return on investments and gardening tips.
  • Bored out of your Gourd (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) — Head over to Frying Pan Farm Park to make a birdhouse out of gourds the farm grew last year. The program costs $14 per person.
  • Book Talk with Ralph Savarese (4:30-6:30 p.m.) — The author will join a panel of nonspeaking autistic students at ArtSpace Herndon.
  • Reston Runners Annual Meeting and Dinner (6 p.m.) — The running group will meet at RCC Hunters Woods Village Center.

Sunday (Feb. 24)

  • Meet Jason Michael Primrose (12:15 p.m.) — Jason Michael Primrose will introduce his latest sci-fi creation at Scrawl Books.
  • Bird Walks (8-11 a.m.) — Beginning and expert birders are invited to search for birds around Reston. The walks start at the Lake Newport tennis courts.
  • Maple Syrup Boil-Down (noon-2 p.m.) — Head to Colvin Run Mill to learn how sap is boiled down into syrup. Participants will get to taste some maple syrup. Tickets cost $5 per person.
  • Annual NOVA Band Jam (4:30 p.m.) — Support the South Lakes High School at their performance at Ned Devine’s in Herndon. Tickets cost $5 for students and $10 for adults.

Photo via NextStop Theatre Company/Facebook

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Reston Association Vacates Tall Oaks Village Center Easement

The Reston Association’s Board of Directors voted in favor of vacating its existing pathway easement at the Tall Oaks Village Center at the request of the site’s developer.

The site is currently getting redeveloped by Stanley Martin Companies into a residential community that will include a public green space next to commercial space and a new pathway.

Since the approved development plans require public access throughout the site, the developer asked RA to give up its existing easement, which RA has had since the original development of the site.

RA’s pathway easement spanned the underpass from the Tall Oaks pool through the commercial area and extended to the northeast area near the Tall Oaks Fellowship House, according to the meeting’s draft agenda.

The discussion and vote on the developer’s ask was one of the fastest agenda items tackled at the meeting yesterday (Feb. 21), taking roughly 30 minutes.

Image via Reston Association/YouTube

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RA to Weigh Developer’s Ask With New Path at Tall Oaks Redevelopment

The Reston Association’s Board of Directors is set to consider at its meeting Thursday night a developer’s request that the RA vacates its existing pathway easement at the Tall Oaks Village Center site.

Stanley Martin Companies currently is redeveloping the former village center into a residential community with townhomes and condominiums. Part of the new project will have a public green space next to commercial space and a new pathway.

Since the approved development plans require public access throughout the site, the developers now want RA to give up its existing easement because the planned path is located elsewhere.

“Since the original development of the Village Center, Reston Association has had a pathway easement through the site, starting at the underpass from Tall Oaks Pool, through the commercial area and extending to the northeast near the Tall Oaks Fellowship House,” according to the draft agenda.

Additionally, Stanley Martin has also said that the homeowners’ association for the site will take care of the new walkway, which takes away RA’s maintenance obligations. RA staff estimates that vacating the easement will result in long-term budget savings.

The board is also set to vote on a series of questions that will give the RA’s Governance Committee further guidance for changing the power structure of RA’s key staff.

The resolution before the board will address specifically RA’s legal counsel, chief financial officer, director of finance, controller, chief operating officer and the authority of the board’s chief executive officer. Currently, RA’s bylaws say that the chief executive officer controls personnel and compensation schedules, along with hiring and firing responsibilities.

The RA is also scheduled to discuss the recent contentious PRC zoning ordinance amendment, which the county’s Planning Commission recently recommended that the county’s board deny, along with the monthly report from the treasurer.

The meeting starts at 6:30 at the Central Services Facility (12250 Sunset Hills Road).

Photo via Reston Association/YouTube

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Report: Road Salt Hurts Reston Streams, Environment

Road salt may have a hand in the recent spikes of chloride concentrations in Reston streams, along with a slew of environmental issues.

Doug Britt, a member of the Reston Association’s Environmental Advisory Committee, recently examined environmental harm caused by de-icing agents including sodium chloride and dove into results from monitoring Difficult Run and Sugarland Run with fellow Restonians.

Britt wrote that measurements of the chloride concentrations at the two sites were taken before this year’s first storm and then again after road salting for the first two snowstorms. He found that the chloride concentrations at both sites increased fourfold from the first measurement, which he said was within the normal range for North American streams.

The monitoring efforts were a part of a larger program initiated by the Izaak Walton League of America to encourage “citizen scientists” to examine local streams before and after road salting.

Britt, a Virginia Master Naturalist member, wrote that higher chloride concentrations in lakes and ponds can halt the bottom and top waters from mixing, which then leads to less oxygen in deeper areas. Too much chloride can reach toxic levels for aquatic life.

“Although there are a number of alternative de-icing agents available, sodium chloride as a brine solution appears to have the least negative environmental impact when considering the full life cycle of its production and application,” the report says. “Sodium chloride, nevertheless, can generate a host of environmental problems.”

Britt’s report analyzed several of those impacts, which included:

  • water quality
  • soil
  • pets
  • wildlife
  • roadside vegetation
  • infrastructure

Britt says that these environmental concerns aren’t unique to Reston.

“Chloride concentrations in Fairfax County surface waters have steadily increased for the past 25 years, consistent with the use of de-icing agents,” Britt wrote.

Britt ended his report on information about the next step: action.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is currently developing a Salt Management Strategy planning process aimed at keeping chloride levels below the amount that starts to ruin the water, the report says.

The department also had had in a 2018 report included suggested options to optimize de-icing agents and the way they are applied to reduce environmental impacts, Britt wrote.

“Meanwhile, as individuals and business owners we should be cognizant of the potential environmental impacts associated with the application of de-icing agents,” Britt wrote, adding that it is important to balance public safety with environmental damage.

Photo via Reston Association

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Snowstorm Sparks Closures, Altered Schedules Around County

Winter weather today means not just kids are enjoying a snow day. Several offices and services are closed or have altered schedules today as a mix of snow, rain and sleet hits Fairfax County.

Transportation 

The Fairfax Connector is running on a Saturday schedule today.

Metro trains will run every 12 minutes, while buses are on a “severe snow service plan” with only limited service on major roadways.

Fairfax County

Fairfax County government offices are closed, along with golf courses and county parks.

The Fairfax County Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court are closed as well.

The county’s Planning Commission won’t meet tonight.

Reston

The Reston Animal HospitalReston Community Center and Reston Association offices including the Walker Nature Center and Central Services Facility are closed.

The open house for Lake House for today has been canceled.

The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce canceled its events for today.

Herndon

HealthWorks in Herndon will be closed.

If you live in Herndon, don’t expect your recycling to get picked up today. Mayor Lisa Markel posted on Facebook that recycling will be collected on Thursday instead.

Items from the Town of Herndon’s previously planned meetings for the Architectural and Heritage Preservation review boards are now moved to the March 20 public hearing.

The Town of Herndon’s offices and the Herndon Community Center are closed.

Photo via @billwhe67/Twitter

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Reston, Herndon and Fairfax County Presidents’ Day Closures

Presidents’ Day is coming up on Monday (Feb. 18). Whether or not you plan to spend the day remembering past U.S. presidents, check this list if you’re planning to visit government facilities around Fairfax County.

Fairfax County 

Fairfax County’s libraries and courts will be closed.

The county’s public schools will be closed.

The Fairfax Connector will be running on a holiday weekday schedule and some routes won’t operate.

Colvin Run Mill Historic Site will be closed, while Frying Pan Farm Park will remain open.

County trash and recycling collection will not have any changes to the collection schedule next week.

Reston

The Reston Association offices, including the Central Services Facility and Nature House, will be closed.

Reston Community Center will be open.

Herndon

Town of Herndon government offices will be closed.

Refuse will not be collected and will resume service on Tuesday (Feb. 19).

The Herndon Community Center will be open from 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Classes will be held as scheduled.

The Herndon Centennial Golf Course will be open from 8 a.m. to until dark.

DMV and more

All Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) customer service centers will be closed.

Metrorail will be running on a weekend schedule, while Metrobus service will operate on a Saturday supplemental schedule, with some late-night trips canceled on select routes.

Speaking of closed offices, Reston Now will be on a break as well on Monday.

File photo

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Candidate Forum for RA Election Slated for Last Week of February

In 13 days, locals will get a chance to hear from the candidates running for the five open seats on Reston Association’s Board of Directors.

The seats up for election this year are uncontested.

The forum gives Restonians the opportunity to “meet the candidates for the 2019 Board of Directors election in this debate-style candidates’ forum,” according to the Reston Association. It is slated to start at 6:30 p.m. at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive) on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

Three candidates are incumbents, including Apartment Owners’ Representative Catherine Baum, Hunters Woods/Dogwood Representative Caren Anton and North Point Representative John Mooney.

Tom Mulkerin, a residential real estate agent, is running for a three-year-term At-Large seat. Aaron Webb, who has served on the board of the Lakeside Cluster, is running for a three-year term for the Lake Anne/Tall Oaks Representative, which is currently filled by Sherri Herbert.

The forum will take place just a few days before the voting period begins on March 4. Voting will end on April 1, and the election results will be announced at the Annual Members’ Meeting later that month.

File photo

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Open chair — Want to run the Reston Association’s Fiscal Committee? The chair position is open and accepting applications. [Reston Association]

Northam appoints Reston man — Gov. Ralph Northam recently announced more appointments to his administration, which include Michael Rush, a Reston resident and senior vice president of the Association of American Railroads, to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission. [Virginia Governor]

Great Falls historian and civic activist dies — “Kathleen J. Murphy brought her intellect and passion to initiatives that improved the community, friends said. Murphy, who died Jan. 2 at age 71, was president of the Great Falls Historical Society from 2011 to 2017 and was ‘absolutely dedicated to preserving the history of Great Falls, which is a very historical area,’ Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville) said” at a recent Board of Supervisors meeting. [Inside NoVa]

Read to a therapy dog — Head to the Reston Regional Library this evening for kids to read to a therapy dog during 15-minute sessions. [Fairfax County]

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Friday Morning Notes

Updated at 9:05 a.m. — “STRETCH” closes Saturday (Feb. 9).

“STRETCH” closes today — GRACE’s third biennial exhibition closes today with a curator’s talk at 3 p.m. Co-curators Erica Harrison and Don Russell will discuss the process of organizing “STRETCH” and its major themes, followed by a Q&A. The talk is free. [GRACE]

Black History Month exhibit — The Reston Museum is celebrating Black History Month with a new exhibit showcasing how the Reston community combated racism during the 1960s and celebrated African American arts and culture with the creation of the annual Black Arts Festival. [Reston Museum]

RA is hiring — Want to join Member Services at the Reston Association? Check out the recently posted job openings. [Reston Assocation]

Cupid’s arrow hits Great Falls restaurant  — OpenTable recently unveiled its “100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America” ahead of Valentine’s Day next week. French restaurant L’Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls made the list. [Cision]

New bank for Great Falls — “The founder and former CEO of a prominent Reston bank is building a new one. Meet Trustar Bank.” The bank, which is awaiting FDIC approval, will be based in Great Falls. [Washington Business Journal]

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Newly Started Colvin Run Stream Valley Restoration Expects Summer Completion

Stream restoration efforts are underway at Colvin Run Stream Valley at Wiehle South.

The Reston Association released a video on Tuesday (Feb. 5) detailing the project’s progress, which is expected to be finished by the summer.

Construction crews are working on small sections of the stream at a time as they use track equipment and various sizes of rocks to raise the bottom of the stream, according to the video. The rock is meant to reconnect the stream with the flood plain.

The Reston Association is working with the Wetland Studies and Solutions Inc., a consulting group that has designed and restored streams for Reston before. The Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank is funding the project.

Once the project is finished, the area will be stabilized with erosion netting and native plant seeds will be planted sometime in the fall, according to the video.

Until then, caution signs mark the walkable paths around the work site, which will only be closed during construction hours.

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New Private Preschool Now Open on North Village Road

Primrose Schools, a private preschool franchise, expanded its reach with a newly opened location in Reston.

The school announced on Instagram last Monday (Jan. 28) that the Reston location officially opened. Neighboring the North Hills tennis courts and pools, Primrose School of Reston takes the former site of the North Village KinderCare at 1309 N. Village Road.

The new facility is part of a franchise that has more than 400 schools in 29 states and is accredited through AdvancED. The Reston one is the 16th Primrose School in Virginia, with nearby ones in Chantilly and Ashburn. The schools in the D.C. area provide year-round full and part-time education for infants and children as young as six weeks old, according to the website.

The school, which is owned by Rina Patel and Beau and Urvi Athia, was originally expected to open in the fall, Reston Now previously reported

Earlier last month, the Reston location faced criticism concerning the size and color of its red plastic fire truck.

Reston Association’s Design Review Board ultimately OK’d the playground equipment, along with signs for the school.

The school will host an open house on Saturday (Feb. 9). A grand opening is set for April 6.

Images via Google Maps, Primrose Schools and Reston Association/YouTube

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Tuesday Morning Notes

W&OD run — The Reston Runners will be enjoying the warmer weather with a 50-minute run or walk at 6:30 p.m. tonight. They plan to meet at the OneLife Fitness Gym in Isaac Newton Square. [Reston Runners]

Tai Chi — Instructor Jeffery Edwards teaches a class once a week for six weeks on Tai Chi, an ancient “internal” martial art and mind-body discipline rooted in Chinese tradition. Participants can try out the weight-bearing callisthenic from 7-8 p.m. at the Glade Recreation Area for $70 for Reston Association members and $90 for nonmembers. [WebTrac]

Reston startup expansion — Reston-based software company GoCanvas was recently acquired by private equity firm K1 Investment Management for more than $100 million. Currently headquartered at Reston Town Center, the acquisition is meant to help GoCanvas double in size. [Washington Busines Journal]

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Reston Association Elections Committee Unveils Five Candidates

The Reston Association announced yesterday (Jan. 29) the five candidates certified by the Elections Committee to run for the open seats on RA’s Board of Directors.

The five seats up for election this year are uncontested. At least 10 percent of eligible voters are needed to make the results official.

Three candidates are incumbents. They are:

  • Catherine Baum for a one-year term as the Apartment Owners Representative
  • Caren Anton for a one-year term as the Hunters Woods/Dogwood Representative
  • John Mooney for a three-year term as the North Point Representative

Tom Mulkerin, a residential real estate agent, is running for a three-year-term At-Large seat. Mulkerin has served on the board of the Lakewinds II Cluster Association, according to his election statement of candidacy.

Aaron Webb, who has served on the board of the Lakeside Cluster, is running for a three-year term for the Lake Anne/Tall Oaks Representative, which is currently filled by Sherri Herbert.

Herbert said at the Board of Directors meeting last Thursday (Jan. 24 ) that she will not seek re-election.

Association members will receive ballots before the voting period begins. Voting starts March 4 and ends April 1.

The election results will be announced at the Annual Members’ Meeting in April.

Images via Reston Association/YouTube

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Op-Ed: Nine Questions to Start the Primary Campaign

This op-ed was submitted by John Farrell, who is a Reston resident. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now. We publish article and opinion contributions of specific interest to the Reston community. Contributions may be edited for length or content.

With the announcement that Cathy Hudgins will not seek re-election and the entry of at least four (and maybe more) people in the June 11 primary to succeed her, it seems appropriate to propose an agenda for the candidates to address over the coming weeks as they knock on our doors and ask for our support.

The Hunter Mill District hasn’t had a primary for supervisor in many decades. And given Hunter Mill’s voting history, it’s reasonable to expect that whoever wins the June Democratic primary will be the next Hunter Mill Supervisor.

What follows is offered as a start of that conversation. Happy to see others add their questions.

1.  Should the Hunter Mill Supervisor lift the PRC ordinance’s 80,000 person population cap on Reston to 100,000 or higher?

The Planning Commission held a five hour hearing on raising the cap last Wednesday (Jan. 23). Few of the 30 some odd speakers spoke in favor of raising the cap.

2.  Should the Hunter Mill Supervisor use the county’s zoning power to end or reduce paid parking at Reston Town Center?

3.  Should Reston National Golf Course or Hidden Creek Golf Course be redeveloped for housing or preserved as a central part of Reston’s open space plan?

It’s been quiet on the RNGC front lately, but the owners of Hidden Creek have been holding focus groups trying to find any community support for redevelopment of that property and adjacent projects that it has recently acquired.

4. Should high-rise housing be allowed to replace North Point or Hunters Woods shopping centers?

The Reston Master Plan allows 50 units per acre as a redevelopment option for those shopping centers. The pending PRC amendment would raise that number to 70. Should this high-rise option be preserved or eliminated?

5. Which recreational facilities are maintained better: County Park Authority facilities or Reston Association’s facilities?

There are only four Fairfax Park Authority facilities in Reston, but they are badly in need of maintenance or improvement.  Neither South Lakes Drive Park nor North Point Park has water to keep the grass ball fields alive in the summer or provide in-door sanitation facilities.  Yet over the last decade, millions of proffer dollars have been promised to the Park Authority. What should that money be used for in Reston?

6. The Tysons Master Plan calls for office developers to make proffer donations for recreational facilities. Should the same be expected of commercial developers in Reston?

The tenants and guests of the commercial developers will use Reston Association’s trails and other amenities. Should they contribute to their renovation?

7. Should proffer donations by developers for recreation facilities go exclusively to the Park Authority to be used anywhere in the county or go to Reston Association for use in Reston?

Developers’ attorneys report to me that even when they write proffers to give recreational proffer money to RA, the current supervisor’s staff directs them to rewrite the proffer for the money to go to the Park Authority with no strings requiring the money to be used in Reston.

8. Should Reston Association have a prominent voice in land use decisions in Hunter Mill?

The turn-out for RA elections will approach the turn-out in the June Democratic primary in Reston. Isn’t RA as legitimate a voice of our community as the McLean Citizen Association is in McLean? MCA is entirely voluntary and yet has virtual veto power over McLean land use application with the Dranesville Supervisor.

What would RA’s Design Review Board have had to say about the Blue Monster next to Plaza America or the Azkaban Apartments at the corner of New Dominion and Reston Parkways? They were never asked.

9. Should four-lane roads be reduced to two-lane roads, and the closed lane devoted to the exclusive use of bicyclists?

South Lakes Drive is getting horrible reviews from locals and the suicide lanes on Lawyers, Soapstone and Colts Neck are inviting head-on collisions and traffic jams when folks try to make overlapping left turns.

No doubt there are other questions that these candidates should answer. So let’s hear them but keep it to issues they can do something about.

— John Farrell

Photo via Len Spoden Photography

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Jigsaw puzzle — For $15, locals ages 55 and older can enjoy Reston Association’s “Puzzle Day” with 500- and 750-piece puzzles to choose from at RA headquarters from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants can work individually or as a member of a team as the timer ticks away. Coffee and lunch will be provided. [WebTrac]

Avoid the roads during rush hour — With rain and snow expected later today, the Virginia Department of Transportation wants commuters to stay off of the roads during rush hour. Freezing conditions will likely make the roads slick with ice. [VDOT]

Pajama party — The Herndon Fortnightly Library plans to host a pajama party storytime from 7-7:45 p.m. People of all ages can come in their PJs, listen to bedtime stories and make simple crafts. [Fairfax County]

Great Falls parcel remains untouched — Nearly 470 acres of mostly undeveloped land in the middle of northwest Great Falls will remain classified as an agricultural-and-forestal district. “The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Jan. 22 unanimously granted a 10-year extension of that status to the site at 219 Seneca Road, which has been under that designation since 1981.” [Inside NoVa]

Vaping PSA — Fairfax County Public Schools now has a student-focused webpage that provides information about vaping risks, resources and videos featuring FCPS students. [FCPS]

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