Morning Notes

Boston Properties Makes Progress in Reston — The Boston-based real estate firm has signed 11 office leases at Reston Town Center, which signals that the company is picking up business this year. [Washington Business Journal]

Permit Process Begins Early — The county is encouraging residents to beat the rush for outdoor permits from the county. Permitting for summer projects like decks and screened porches tend to be busy, county officials warn. [Fairfax County Government]

Widow of Bob Simon Acquitted from Misdemeanor Charge — Cheryl Terio-Simon, the widow of Reston’s founder Bob Simon, was acquitted of a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery. The incident happened in October outside of Reston Community Center. [Reston Patch]

Possible Winter Weather On the Way — Some snow may be possible this week. Snow could develop on Friday and into Saturday this week. [Ready Fairfax]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Fallow deer are seen on snowy ground at Roer’s Zoofari in Reston (Courtesy Roer’s Zoofari)

Many animals at Roer’s Zoofari had a chance to frolic in the winter landscape change that recently and suddenly overtook the region.

While the storm caused crashes, power outages and dangerous conditions, video showed a group of llamas running over the snow-covered ground at the Reston landmark near Lake Fairfax Park last week.

“Most of the animals at the zoo don’t even mind the cold, they’re frolicking and going about their business as usual,” Roer’s Zoofari CEO Vanessa Roer said.

Llamas, native to South America, can handle extreme colds, and Roer’s Zoofari animals have seen similar cold spells, but they’re unusual.

“It’s a little cold and wet, but it’s all worth it to know personally that the animals I care for are warm, well-fed, and healthy,” lead zookeeper Eliott Hamblin said last week, adding that it seemed better than the heat.

In a warning about the weather not related to the zoo, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals noted that pets are especially vulnerable in the cold and could die if left outside.

PETA said dog owners should take precautions when walking their pets outside in the cold.

“[Booties] will protect their sensitive paw pads from the frozen ground,” PETA spokesperson Megan Wiltsie said. “Keep walks short in cold weather, especially for shorthaired dogs.”

Virginia law prohibits leaving dogs tethered outside when the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit or amid certain weather hazards.

Many of the animals at the zoofari were seen following a hay tractor, while a red kangaroo and cheetah appeared a little apprehensive to the winter wonderland.

Hamblin noted that the majority of animals find the snow very enriching.

“Our bison love frolicking through it while kicking up their hooves,” Hamblin said.

Photo courtesy Roer’s Zoofari/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Sunset at a snowy Lake Thoreau (photo by Marjorie Copson)

Snow Closes Schools Again — Fairfax County Public Schools are closed again today (Friday) as the school system anticipated snowfall overnight into this morning. This is the last allotted traditional snow day of the year. The National Weather Service projected snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches for the D.C. region. [NWS]

New Reston Fire Station Gears Up for Service — Some Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel spent Thursday moving. The department gave a sneak peek inside its new Reston fire station yesterday, as staff moved to the new location from a temporary station. [FCFRD/Twitter]

More COVID Testing Centers Coming to Virginia — Gov. Ralph Northam announced $5 million for new COVID-19 community testing centers, which will be near or on the same property as existing mass vaccination centers that have been operating since October, including one in Tysons. [Governor’s Office]

Police Shoot Man Who Aimed Bow and Arrow — A 50-year-old Chantilly man was charged with attempted aggravated murder of a police officer after he aimed a compound bow at officers Tuesday, prompting one to shoot him, the Fairfax County Police Department says. The man’s injuries were not life-threatening, and no officers were injured. [FCPD]

Parents Group Press for In-person Teaching —  “COVID is not going away,” members of the Fairfax County Parents Association said in a statement released Jan. 2. “We must learn to live in a world where COVID exists, and where children are still receiving access to a robust, in-person education.” [Inside NoVa]

Get Free Coffee for Blood Donations — In exchange for a blood donation, the American Red Cross will hand out coupons for a free pound of Dunkin’ Donuts packaged ground coffee that can be redeemed at Dunkin Donuts in the Reston area. To schedule a donation, download the Red Cross Blood Donor app or visit RedCrossBlood.org. [Patch]

One Year Since Capitol Was Stormed — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeffrey McKay joined many marking the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack, releasing a statement. “It is important for all of us to remember across the political spectrum, that democracy is something we must always defend.” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Reston Town Center sign during Monday’s snowstorm (photo by Ed Schudel)

State of Emergency Declared for Snow — “Governor Ralph Northam today declared a state of emergency in advance of a winter storm that is predicted to bring snow and other winter weather to many parts of Virginia. This storm, expected to arrive Thursday evening into Friday morning, comes on the heels of a storm Monday that left more than a foot of snow in some parts of the Commonwealth.” [Office of the Governor]

Reston Company Sponsors NASCAR Driver — The technology contractor Leidos is teaming up with basketball legend Michael Jordan’s racing team to become the official sponsor for Bubba Wallace, the only full-time African American driver in NASCAR. Wallace’s new Leidos No. 23 car will debut at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, in March. [WTOP]

Cornerstones Highlighted in ‘State of the County’ Address — Community partnerships have been vital to Fairfax County’s COVID-19 response over the past year, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said earlier this week. The Reston-based nonprofit Cornerstones is among the groups involved, providing primary medical care, dental care, pharmacy assistance, and COVID-19 testing. [Patch]

County Seeks Farmers Market Vendors — Applications for farmers and other producers to serve as vendors at the Fairfax County Park Authority’s farmers markets will be open from Jan. 21 to Feb. 11. The county operates 10 markets, including the Lake Anne Village Center market in Reston and one by the Red Caboose in Old Town Herndon. [FCPA]

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Morning Notes

Sunrise over Audubon (courtesy anonymous)

See Snow Photos from Around Reston — “That’s the other thing about winter storms. They make everything look so beautiful. Here are some of the photos readers from the Reston area submitted to Patch.” [Patch]

Metro Announces Changes in Response to Omicron — Rising COVID-19 infections among Metro employees have fueled a staffing shortage, prompting the transit system to reduce weekday bus service to its typical Saturday schedule starting on Jan. 10. WMATA will also let bus drivers bypass potential riders who aren’t wearing a mask. [DCist]

Break-in Reported in Herndon — Sometime overnight from Dec. 30-31, an “unknown number of subjects” broke glass doors and windows of a building in the 800 block of Ferndale Avenue, which could be either the Herndon Community Center or St. Joseph Catholic Church and School. Nothing appears to have been taken, but the case remains under police investigation. [Herndon Police]

Summer Camp Registration Begins Next Week — “Registration for summer camps begins Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. The Fairfax County Park Authority offers more than 1,000 summer day camp options for kids ages 3 to 17 at dozens of locations at Rec Centers, nature centers, historic sites, lakefront parks, golf courses and schools.” [FCPA]

Water Mine Hiring Season on the Way — “Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole has a splashtastic summer job opportunity! From lifeguards and park attendants, more than 200 positions need to be filled. Virtual interviews start Jan. 15; open hires start in March.” [FCPA/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Lake Audubon Place after snow (photo by Marcia Cunningham)

Reston on Low End of Snow Totals — Around 5 inches of snow were measured in Reston and 4.5 inches in Herndon yesterday (Monday) from the season’s first winter storm. Estimated accumulations varied across Fairfax County, from 3.5 inches in Sterling to 11.8 inches in Franconia. [NWS]

Fairfax County Government Opens Late — “Fairfax County Government will open at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 4, with unscheduled leave granted for employees.” [Fairfax County Government]

FCPS Closed For Day Again — Fairfax County Public Schools has extended winter break for a second day, with school facilities closed and all activities on school grounds canceled. As of last night, FCPS expected to have COVID-19 testing sites open for staff but not students, though the schedule is expected to be finalized today (Tuesday). [FCPS]

Fairfax Connector Operates Limited Service — “As wintry weather and icy conditions continue to impact Fairfax County and the National Capital Region, Fairfax Connector will be operating Saturday service on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.” [FCDOT]

Reston Hospital Pauses COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate — While many area health care systems have maintained requirements that employees get vaccinated against COVID-19, HCA Healthcare Inc., the company that owns Reston Hospital Center, has paused its mandate after a federal court ruling in November. A spokesperson says the vaccine is still strongly encouraged, and a majority of staff have gotten vaccinated, but a specific number was not provided. [Washington Business Journal]

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The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory at 8:43 a.m. today for much of the D.C. area, including Fairfax County.

Precipitation started falling early this morning and could result in up to an inch of snow accumulation. The alert will remain in effect until 3 p.m.

Here is the full alert:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 3 PM EST THIS AFTERNOON…

* WHAT…Rapid onset of snow which will result in snow covered roadways. Snow accumulations of up to one inch.

* WHERE…Portions of central and northern Maryland and northern Virginia.

* WHEN…Until 3 PM EST this afternoon.

* IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions will impact the morning or evening commute.

“Slow down and use caution while traveling,” the NWS said. “When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery, increasing your risk of a fall and injury.”

Photo by Jessica Fadel on Unsplash

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Friday Morning Notes

Reston Community Center to Open Late — The center’s facilities will open at 9 a.m. today. Water aerobics classics that start before then in the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center are canceled. [RCC]

Detectives Issue Warning about Texas License Plate Scam — ”Detectives with our Organized Crime and Intelligence Bureau are warning unsuspecting motorists of vehicle registrations being illegally sold involving the issuance of temporary Texas state license plates. Late last year detectives learned that Latinos Solutions Inc., formerly located at 7202 Poplar Street, Suite F, in Annandale, was fraudulently distributing temporary Texas license plates. After a lengthy and complex investigation, detectives arrested Karla Lopez, 25, of Woodbridge. ” [FCPD]

Fairfax Connector Returns to Regular Service with Detours — ”As wintry weather is expected to continue to impact Fairfax County and the National Capital Region, Fairfax Connector will operate full service with established detours tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.  As road conditions improve, detours will be lifted on a route-by-route basis, or system-wide.” [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Local closures are in effect today as snow continues to fall in the Reston area today.

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect through early Friday morning, with the possibility of three to six inches o of snow and one-tenth t one-quarter inch of ice is also expected.

Fairfax County government offices and courts are closed today and all employees have been given emergency leave.

The Fairfax Connector will operate a on holiday weekend service schedule. If road conditions get worse, service may be reduced further.

All Fairfax County Public Schools and central officers are also closed today. In-person and virtual learning is also canceled.

Today’s school board meeting will take place virtually at 7 p.m.

Here’s more from the Fairfax County Department of Transportation on recent changes.

Routes 231232335351393394395396 422432461494495556585599624634697698699722724 and 985, which will not operate 

Route 980 will run every 12-15 minutes instead of every 6-8 minutes.

Passengers are encouraged to check the status of routes online before heading to a bus stop. If a bus is on detour, the county’s BusTracker will not reflect real-time estimated arrival information.

The county has also cancelled all COVID-19 vaccine clinics administered directly the Fairfax County Health Department for today. Residents will receive an email with a re-registration link for the upcoming week.

Reston Association’s member services office is also closed for appointments today. Members can call or email RA for more information.

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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The D.C. metropolitan area, including Fairfax County, could get up to six inches of snow in a storm expected to arrive early tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

The region is now under a Winter Storm Warning, a step up from the Winter Storm Watch that the National Weather Service issued yesterday afternoon.

Issued at 10:24 a.m., the warning will take effect at 3 a.m. on Thursday and stay in place until 6 a.m. Friday. The NWS says there will be heavy snow mixed with sleet and freezing rain, forecasting three to six inches of snow and one-tenth to one-quarter inch of ice accumulation.

More details from the alert are below:

* WHEN…From 3 AM Thursday to 6 AM EST Friday. Snow will begin between 3 and 5 AM. Snow will change to a mixture of sleet and freezing rain during the late morning and early afternoon hours.

* IMPACTS…Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice. Travel could be nearly impossible. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Snow Thursday morning will be heavy at times with snowfall rates around 1 to 2 inches per hour possible along with visibility reduced to around one-quarter mile at time.

Warning that the storm is expected to have “significant road impacts,” the Virginia Department of Transportation is advising residents to prepare to stay home and avoid nonessential travel tomorrow and on Friday.

VDOT says its crews are finishing pretreatment of about 2,000 lane miles of interstates and primary roads in Northern Virginia. About 3,000 pieces of equipment will be ready tonight to treat roads, and plowing will start once two inches of snow have accumulated.

“Additional equipment and crews are on standby to report, including to handle downed trees or limbs from ice,” VDOT said in a news release.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department suggests testing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they work, charging cell phones and tablets, and using a flashlight or other battery-powered device if power goes out.

Photo by Doug Errett

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More snow is expected later this week.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for most of the region from late Wednesday night through late Thursday night.

Snow accumulations of five or more inches and total ice accumulations of more are possible.

More from the alert is below.

IMPACTS…Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice. Travel could be nearly impossible. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… Monitor the latest forecasts for updates on this situation.

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for the region this weekend.

The National Weather Service says that heavy ice is possible from Saturday morning through Sunday morning.

More from the alert is below.

* WHAT…Heavy icing possible. Total snow accumulations of up to one inch and ice accumulations of one quarter of an inch possible.

* WHERE…The District of Columbia, portions of central and southern Maryland and northern Virginia.

* WHEN…From Saturday morning through Sunday morning.

* IMPACTS…Power outages and tree damage are possible due to the ice. Travel could be nearly impossible.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… Monitor the latest forecasts for updates on this situation.

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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As a new wave of snow accumulation is set to fall on Reston and the surrounding areas, Reston Association is clarifying its policies regarding snow removal.

In preparation for potential snow accumulation, the Reston Association (RA) issued a press release noting that “the responsibility for snow removal in Reston is shared” among Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), RA, cluster associations, individual residents and businesses.

Some RA members said they were alarmed that pathways were not cleared earlier this month.

In a letter to RA, Steven Graul, a Reston resident, wrote that Lake Anne Plaza was ‘caked thick with ice’ and remained ‘impassable and dangerous’ for more than a week.

‘It’s simply unacceptable for RA to be excusing their lack of resources for the failure on this issue. This needs to be a community priority and take precedent over other wasteful programs, which provide little or no community benefit, except perhaps to sustain the size and cost of the RA machine itself,’ he wrote.

RA is responsible for plowing snowfall on the 55 miles of pathways it owns and maintains and the access areas to village centers. Members of RA’s Central Services Facilities (CSF) will plow the pathways when snowfall reaches over two inches, according to the association’s site.

Mike McNamara, the Director of Maintenance for RA, will ultimately make the call whether or not to plow the pathways after conferring with CSF crew and mechanics.

On Feb. 3, RA turned to Twitter to explain why snowfall was not cleared from pathways. RA stated that due to a lack of snow, CSF crews could not utilize snowplows because it would risk damaging the pathways and plows. RA did state that hand crews were dispatched to clear snow.

In addition to four plows that can be used, RA’s site advises it has CSF members “to clear walkways, stairs and certain smaller pathways around community buildings and other high traffic areas in the community.”

The association’s site says that each of the four runs of pathways takes between four and five hours to clear.

While RA’s policies are to clear paths as possible, it does not guarantee that pathways will be completely clear after each storm. This is a result of changing temperatures, and hilly areas and heavily shaded locations that are vulnerable to refreezing. Hand crews and other personnel will inspect each area after a storm to address pathways as needed, according to RA.

RA also encouraged residents in its press release to shovel sidewalks and other pedestrian walkways. The association also advised that clusters could hire private contractors to remove snow from parking lots as well as other common areas.

Though RA doesn’t maintain roadway sidewalks, it will work to provide access to schools as much as possible through its pathways.

To report a dangerous section of pathway to RA, members may call the CSF’s main number 703-437-7658 or email [email protected]

VDOT is responsible for clearing snow from all state-maintained roads. VDOT’s road-clearing priority roads include interstates and most primary roads, snow emergency routes and heavily trafficked roads, and other residential roads. The department also offers a virtual map that residents may check to gauge the plowing status of their neighborhoods.

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Prepare for more snow in the region later tonight and into tomorrow.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for most of the region. The advisory is in effect from 7 p.m. today through 10 a.m. tomorrow.

NWS expects snow accumulations of between one to three inches. More from the alert is below.

IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… Slow down and use caution while traveling.

When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery increasing your risk of a fall and injury.

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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More snow may be on way as the previous week’s storm melts away.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for most of the region. The watch is in effect from late Saturday night through Sunday afternoon.

Heavy snow with total accumulations of five or more inches is possible.

More from the alert is below.

* WHERE…THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND PORTIONS OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN MARYLAND, NORTHERN VIRGINIA, AND EASTERN WEST  VIRGINIA.

* WHEN…FROM LATE SATURDAY NIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

* IMPACTS…PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS FOR UPDATES ON THIS SITUATION

Photo by Doug Errett

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