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by Dave Emke — June 23, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Last Day of School — Today is the final day of the 2016-17 Fairfax County Public Schools year. Congratulations to all the students and enjoy your time off!

Fourth of July Schedule in Herndon — It’s only a couple weeks away. Get ready for the July 4 celebration in Herndon, which will take place at the Herndon Community Center and will culminate with fireworks choreographed to music. [Town of Herndon]

SLHS Students Get Arduino Kits — STEM Engineering students at the school recently received Arduino kits. An Arduino consists of a physical programmable circuit board and a piece of software that is used to write and upload computer code. The kits were funded by a $4,000 grant from AIS Inc. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

‘Field Guide’ to Ticks — Fairfax County has provided a list of need-to-know information about ticks, which have been out with great force this season. [Fairfax County]

Metro Work in Evening Hours — After 10 p.m. tonight, Saturday and Sunday, the Silver Line will only run from Wiehle-Reston East to Ballston. This is due to work on the Orange and Silver lines. [WTOP]

by Dave Emke — June 20, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

SLHS Class of 2017 Graduates Tonight — The event is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Bank Arena on the campus of George Mason University. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Nationwide Vigils for Nabra Hassanen — The Women’s Initiative for Self Empowerment has planned numerous vigils across the nation in honor of Nabra Hassanen, the Reston teen who was killed Sunday. Events are scheduled in DC, New York, Philadelphia, Boston and more. [WISE/Facebook]

Connolly Talks Issues — Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) held a town-hall meeting Monday night in Reston. Check out his Twitter feed to see what was discussed. [Gerry Connolly/Twitter]

Volunteers Sought for Century Ride — The 35th annual ride is scheduled for Aug. 27, and helpers are needed for planning, rest stops and cleanup. [Reston Bike Club]

Photo of Reston sunset courtesy Lizette Badillo Ryan

by Dave Emke — June 18, 2017 at 8:25 pm 12 Comments

(This article was updated at 9:05 p.m. with information that the girl is believed to be a South Lakes High School student, and again at 9:45 p.m. after police confirmed the girl was from Reston.)

Police say a body found this afternoon is likely that of a Reston teenager who went missing after an overnight activity in the Herndon area, and a Sterling man is in jail facing a murder charge.

Tawny Wright, spokesperson for the Fairfax County Police Deparment, said during a media briefing that officers responded at about 4 a.m. Sunday for a report of friends who couldn’t find a member of their group. Officers initiated a search for a 17-year-old girl in the area of Dranesville Road and Woodson Drive, near an unidentified facility the teens had left.

“Our investigation has determined that she was out walking with her friends when, for some reason, they got into a dispute with a man driving a car,” Wright said. “We’re looking into the details of exactly what happened, but for some reason, the man got out of the vehicle and he assaulted one of the group.”

Wright said the girl who was assaulted was the missing teenager, whom she did not identify. After a search that was assisted by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, the grisly discovery was made at about 3 p.m. Sunday.

“Remains of a female were found in a pond off of Ridgetop Circle,” Wright said. “Detectives unfortunately do believe that was our victim, but the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will confirm the remains’ identity and determine the exact cause and manner of death.”

South Lakes High School sent an email Sunday evening saying it is believed the girl was a student there. Principal Kim Retzer wrote:

“Police are investigating the death of a teen who was reported missing earlier today. It’s believed that the missing teen is one of our students and while we await further news about this very sad incident, I would also ask that you refrain from engaging in rumor and speculation on social media about today’s events.

I wanted you to be aware of these developments and to inform you that we will have crisis counselors at the school beginning tomorrow morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family.”

(more…)

by Dave Emke — June 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm 20 Comments

Students who will be graduating from South Lakes High School next week walked familiar halls this morning to provide inspiration to the community’s youth.

In a new tradition, seniors were able to visit their elementary school alma maters and celebrate with the kids there. Schools documented via social media the occasion, which was described as a moving experience for all involved.

“This is the first year for this Graduate Walk but it went so beautifully that we hope to make it a yearly tradition,” said Emily Burrell, spokesperson for South Lakes High School. “It was an emotional experience for the soon-to-be graduates and their elementary teachers. And the elementary students were thrilled to celebrate the graduates. They even made signs in the South Lakes colors. There were tears of joy all around.”

Students who did not attend an elementary school in Reston were allowed to choose which school they visited, Burrell said.

South Lakes High School’s seniors will graduate during a ceremony Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Bank Arena on the campus of George Mason University.

Photos courtesy South Lakes High School

by Dave Emke — June 13, 2017 at 10:15 am 1 Comment

Deon King, a 2011 graduate of South Lakes High School, is once again on an NFL roster.

King signed a free-agent contract Monday with the Cleveland Browns. A linebacker, King joins the Browns for their veteran minicamp, which begins today in Berea, Ohio.

Undrafted out of Norfolk State, where he won the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player at that collegiate level, King signed last year with the Dallas Cowboys. He was released from the Cowboys during final cuts, and he was later picked up by the San Diego Chargers. After playing two games with the Chargers, he was let go. The Indianapolis Colts added him to their roster off the waiver wire, and he appeared in four more games with them.

King recorded two tackles in the six NFL games he played in his rookie season. He was released by the Colts last month.

by Dave Emke — June 13, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Polls Open for Primary Election — You can vote between now and 7 p.m. in the gubernatorial primary election, choosing the candidates who will face off in November. If you aren’t sure where your polling place is, check out the Virginia Department of Elections website. [Washington Post]

Record-High Temperatures Continue — Yesterday’s high of 95 tied the record, and today may be even hotter. [Washington Post/National Weather Service]

Reston Native Has Success as Baseball Coach — Troy Allen, a 1994 graduate of South Lakes High School, led the State College HS Little Lions on a deep run in the Pennsylvania state baseball playoffs this year. Allen was a basketball and baseball star at SLHS and played collegiately at George Washington University. [Centre Daily Times]

Nominations Still Open for Business Awards — We continue to accept submissions for our 2017 Best Reston Business Awards. Look over the 17 categories and get your business on the list of nominees. [Reston Now]

by Kalina Newman — June 9, 2017 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Urban Planner: Reston ‘Not Like Its Plan’ — A Harvard University Graduate School of Design urban planning professor comparing the planned community of Columbia, Maryland, to Reston: “Columbia’s development stuck more closely to its original plan than did that of Reston,” which is “not like its plan in a lot of ways.” [Baltimore Sun]

Metro Continues To Be Understaffed  Commuting to work and hear the dreaded “train will be moving momentarily?” WMATA says it’s due to overwhelmed Rail Operations Control Center workers, and it needs to hire 33 more people in order to get things sorted out. [WTOP]

Temperatures Will Roast Us  Buckle up and stay cool. Weather forecasts starting Sunday predict scorching heat through Wednesday. Triple-digit heat indexes are predicted along with potential record-breaking temperatures. [Washington Post]

County Police Warning of Fake Gold — A Fairfax County man is out $9,000 after con artists targeted him in an elaborate scam. Mandarin-speaking scammers seem to be preying on the Chinese community by selling them fake gold. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Volunteers Sought for All-Night Grad Party — South Lakes High School’s graduating seniors will attend a post-graduation party from 10:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. — unless they don’t get enough volunteer chaperones. Anyone interested in helping out will need to participate in a training session next week. [South Lakes PTSA/Signup Genius]

Photo courtesy Reston Association

by Kalina Newman — June 8, 2017 at 4:00 pm 3 Comments

For some athletes at South Lakes High School, the student-athlete lifestyle won’t end at graduation.

From ten different sports, 29 varsity athletes from the South Lakes Seahawks will play in college.

Playing baseball, Noah Luckenbaugh will continue his career at the College of Holy Cross in Massachusetts. Dillon Suzuki will play at the United States Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut, where he will also wrestle.

Marcus Cherry will play basketball at the Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia.

College football players will include Andrew Funaki at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and David Kroll at the University of Delaware.

There will be four South Lakes lacrosse players playing in college. Matt Hughes will play at Mercer University in Georgia; Taylor Newman-Farr will play at St. Joseph’s in Pennsylvania; Chris Sherbert will play at Virginia Wesleyan University; and JC Sipher will play at Denison University in Ohio.

Soccer players include Abby Alexa for Davis & Elkins in West Virginia; Jared Brewer for Penn State-Harrisburg; Conor Gill for Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania; Jenna Hirshfeld for Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts; and Jacob Schuh for Bridgewater College in Virginia.

Jazmyn Stokes will play softball for Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.

Five swim and dive athletes will continue their careers in college. Megan Carney will swim at University of Mary Washington in Virginia; Gianmichel D’Allesandro will swim at UNC-Wilmington; Ben Gryski will swim at the University of Massachusetts; Emily Landeryou will swim at the United States Military Academy in New York; and Paige Sogandares will swim at the College of Wooster in Ohio.

The sport with the most SLHS athletes moving on to college is track and field, with six. Naomi Brindley will run at Radford University in Virginia; Erin Gray will run at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia; Devyn Jones will run for the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado; Timiebi Ogobri will run at The Citadel in South Carolina; Dimarcus Vilcheck will run for Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina; and Arianna Spencer will run at Linn University in Florida.

Two SLHS volleyball players will play in college. Kristin Allgaier will play at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and Charlotte Vollmers will play at Hollins University in Virginia.

In addition:

Photo via South Lakes HS Athletics on Twitter

by Dave Emke — June 7, 2017 at 9:30 am 7 Comments

Backpacks Checked Out at Festival — Herndon Police say abandoned backpacks Friday and Saturday at the Herndon Festival brought out the department’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit. No threat was found in either case. [Herndon Police Department]

SLHS Student-Athletes Honored — Spring sports players at South Lakes High School were honored Monday night for their performances on and off the field. [South Lakes Athletics]

Official Name Change for RTC Street — The private street at Reston Town Center that is home to The Avant, CVS, Barcelona and Bartaco is officially known as Town Square. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, as an administrative item, approved a name change to Town Square Street. [Fairfax County Board of Supervisors]

Area Player to Go High in MLB Draft — Ashburn’s J.B. Bukauskas, a Stone Bridge High School grad and a star pitcher at the University of North Carolina, is projected to be picked in the Top 7 of next week’s Major League Baseball Draft. [EIN Presswire]

by Dave Emke — June 6, 2017 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

Reston Rider Tackling Country by Bike — Len Forkas talks about the perils of riding cross-country on a bicycle in 11 days, and about why he’s doing it again: to help raise $1 million for a children’s charity during the annual Race Across America event. [Bicycling]

Reminder: Community Center Pool Closed — The Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center is closed through Friday as soil testing is conducted around the pool. [Reston Community Center]

SLHS Team Finishes Fifth in State — Freshman Hannah Waller finished third in the 100 meters and fourth in both the 200 meters and 4×400 meter relay in leading the South Lakes High School girls team to a fifth place finish at the state track and field championship June 2-3. [Press Release]

Virginia Leaders Continue Climate-Change Fight — In reaction to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, both Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring on Monday said Virginia is joining coalitions that remain committed to the agreement. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

by Dave Emke — May 31, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Three More Pool Hours Each Day — Lake Newport Pool is opening each weekday at 10 a.m. and will continue to do so through June 23. The pool, which is open until 7 p.m., had been originally scheduled to open at 1 p.m. each day. The pool is closed on Fridays. [Reston Association]

Meeting on RTC North Project Tonight — Proposed redevelopment of Reston Town Center North will be the topic of a community meeting hosted by the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services along with Supervisor Cathy Hudgins from 7-9 p.m in the cafeteria at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive). [Fairfax County DPWES]

SLHS Runners Heads to States This Week — The South Lakes High School track and field team will participate in the state championships Friday and Saturday in Newport News. Last weekend, the team had strong performances at the North Region championship, including a record-tying effort by freshman Hannah Waller. [Reston Patch]

Reckless Gun Discharge at Chantilly Chick-fil-A — Fairfax County Police reports a 38-year-old woman was struck in the hand by a stray bullet while walking in the restaurant’s parking lot Tuesday afternoon. [FOX 5]

File photo courtesy Carole Burnett

by Dave Emke — May 23, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

LeAnn Rimes Headlining Tysons Concert Series — Nine concerts are planned in June and July at The Plaza at Tysons Corner Center. Highlights include LeAnn Rimes (July 28) and James Arthur (June 22). [Tysons Corner Center]

SLHS Sports Teams Have Big Week — Boys tennis and boys soccer both have playoff matchups tonight, while varsity baseball and outdoor track and field have their regional events later this week. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

New Herndon Official to Start June 1 — Tammy L. Chastain has been hired as the town’s new deputy director of Public Works. [Town of Herndon]

Real Estate Professional Marks 40 YearsCarol Welsh marked the anniversary with Long & Foster’s Reston office last week. She is an active member of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors. She is a lifetime member of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors’ Million Dollar Sales Club and Top Producers Club. She is also a member of the Founder’s Club of the Long & Foster Gold Team, and she is an accredited staging professional. [Long & Foster]

County Libraries Sharing Backpacks — The packs include a parking pass for Virginia State Parks, items to help kids explore the outdoors and much more. There are 32 available for loan from the county’s library branches. [Fairfax County]

by Dave Emke — May 22, 2017 at 11:30 am 1 Comment

Ten graduating South Lakes High School seniors recently became the first honorees of a new scholarship fund that could give them up to $16,000 over a four-year college career.

The Reston Scholarship Fund of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia awarded $4,000 scholarships to each of the students during a ceremony Saturday at Reston Town Center. The Fund plans to award the same amount in each of three subsequent years the student remains in college and continues to demonstrate need and merit.

Twenty-nine students applied for the scholarship, said Elizabeth Blankespoor on behalf of the Fund.

“We hope that as word spreads and we get more donations, the number of scholarships will increase in future years,” she said. “It is our firm belief that money should not stand between our students and a good education.”

Students honored with the scholarship funding, and the schools they will attend in the fall, are:

  • Daniel Ennis, University of Minnesota
  • Omer Gorashi, University of Maryland
  • Amna Kayani, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Dounia Lazreq, George Washington University
  • Emmeline Mejia, Bridgewater College
  • Joelle Nkwantchoa Toundji, Christopher Newport University
  • Razan Salih, Virginia Tech University
  • Rabiya Sharieff, New York University
  • Aditya Sorot, University of Virginia
  • Qianyi Yang, James Madison University

Speakers at Saturday’s award ceremony included Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax); Kim Retzer, SLHS principal; Cheryl Simon, widow of Robert Simon; and Gil Blankespoor on behalf of the Fund.

Students’ GPAs, financial need, essays and recommendations were all considered in the process of the six-member selection committee. The students will also be awarded certificates during South Lakes’ annual Seniors Award Ceremony on June 8.

Gil and Elizabeth Blankespoor founded RSF in 2016 when they received 501(c)(3) status. They joined forces with the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia this year.

The Fund relies entirely on donations to make the scholarships possible. Donations, which are tax-deductible and used fully for the scholarships, can be made online at CF for Nova’s website or by mail to Reston Scholarship Fund — CF of Nova, 2003 Lakeport Way, Reston, VA 20191.

For more information about the scholarship, email [email protected] or call 703-620-6061.

Photos by Elizabeth Blankespoor/Reston Scholarship Fund

by Dave Emke — May 22, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

No Charges Against Officer In Herndon Shooting — The Fairfax County police officer who shot and killed 32-year-old Mohammad Azim Doudzai, ending a chaotic hostage/barricade situation in January, will not face charges. The Fairfax County Police Department will conduct an internal investigation in accordance with its standard operating procedures. [Fairfax County]

Firm Invests in Breast Milk — Reston-based venture firm PROOF and its investors are putting $3.25 million into Prolacta Bioscience Inc., which uses breast milk to make products for premature, critically ill babies. PROOF has also invested in drone delivery company Zipline, legal research and publishing startup Casetext, and beauty products data and marketing company Memebox. [Washington Business Journal]

Local Students Honored at FBLA Conference — At the recent 2017 Virginia Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) State Leadership Conference, held in Reston, a number of local student took home accolades. Among the winners were South Lakes High School students Davi Meran (first place, securities and investments); Ian Hughes (third place, economics); Ayah Elnafe, Jennifer Alvarez and Rabia Mohamednur (third place, public service announcement); Juhi Chandrabhatha, Rachel Kessler and Jesse Lynch (third place, global business); Conor Gill, Jarius Johnson and Noah Goldstein (fourth place, business ethics); and Ahmed Rabani (fifth place, sales presentation). From Herndon High School, winners were Adam Asif (first place, advertising), Cyril Antoney (second place, organizational leadership) and Rahbar Chowdhury (second place, spreadsheet applications). [Fairfax County Public Schools]

by Dave Emke — May 18, 2017 at 11:05 am 1 Comment

(This article was edited at 3:25 p.m. Thursday after additional information was released through a statement by the school principal.)

Students and staff at South Lakes High School were evacuated Thursday morning after a chemical scare that administration says may result in criminal charges.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, Principal Kim Retzer said the evacuation just after 10 a.m. was prompted after “some type of aerosol was apparently discharged in the hallway in the vicinity of the library.”

“As a precaution, five students and one teacher were taken to Reston Hospital for treatment. They have all been released. Others affected by the spray were treated at the scene. The fire department quickly responded and we were allowed to return to the building about 50 minutes later to resume normal operations. The fire department and hazmat team determined that the odor was not related to our on-going construction.”

Retzer said her office, with the assistance of a school resource officer and the Fairfax County Public Schools Office of Safety and Security, is conducting a “thorough investigation” of the incident to “identify the individual or individuals responsible.”

“Appropriate disciplinary consequences will be assigned in response to this very serious event and criminal charges are also a possibility.”

The principal also commended students and staff for their cooperation during the incident.

“The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority and we will continue to be diligent in our efforts to provide a safe learning environment.”

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