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Reston Community Center Adds Herndon Singer to Martin Luther King Jr. Show Line-up

Herndon resident Crys Matthews will perform her songs at the 34th annual Reston Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration.

The Reston Community Center recently added the singer-songwriter to its lineup of artists for the three-day event, which takes place from Jan. 19 to Jan. 21.

Matthews has gained national acclaim for her music, which blends Americana, folk, jazz, blues, bluegrass and funk. In 2017, she was the grand-prize winner in the NewSong Music Competition and won the People’s Music Network’s Social Justice Songs contest at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance.

“Crys Matthews is an important voice of her generation and will be an excellent addition to our weekend lineup,” Paul Douglas Michnewicz, the arts and events director for Reston Community Center, said in a statement. “Her perspective reminds us that our similarities are far more important than our differences.”

Matthews is scheduled to perform at 2 p.m. on Jan. 20 at CenterStage. Tickets cost $15 for Reston residents.

She also plans to conduct a workshop for students at Langston Hughes Middle School and South Lakes High School as an artist-in-residence in Reston.

Photo via Fairfax County

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What’s Going On In Reston This Weekend?

Ahead of Veterans Day on Monday, the Fairfax Jubil-Aires will perform patriotic a cappella barbershop tunes to honor those who currently serve or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The event is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. Below is a limited list of other events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.

  • Herndon High School’s advanced theatre class kicks off performances of The Diary of Anne Frank tonight at 7 p.m. and into the weekend at the school.
  • Celebrate international games week at Reston Regional Library with classic board games and some new options from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
  • Vera Kochansky presents her autobiography of her father, Boris, who lived through the Holocaust. The event is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. at Scrawl Books.
  • Caitlin Teal Price, a DC-based photographer known for her photographs of people, offers a talk about her work at Greater Reston Arts Center on Saturday from 3-5 p.m.
  • Donna Ulisse, a veteran songwriter and singer, performs during the Bluegrass Barn Series at Frying Pan Farm Park on Sunday at 7 p.m.
  • Build a machine powered by an electric motor that rolls and goes home from 2-3 p.m. on Saturday, at Reston Regional Library.
  • South Lakes High School students are raising money for the school’s band by organizing a mattress sale at the school on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Take a drive into the history of World War II with this six-part series led by Professor Harry Butowsky from 2-4 p.m. at Reston Regional Library.

Photo via Reston Town Center

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Fairfax County Seeks State Funds for Two Pedestrian Safety in Reston

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is asking for $550,000 in state grants to fund two pedestrian safety projects in Reston.

The county is seeking $385,000 to add a pedestrian refuge island and flashing beacons to an existing crosswalk across South Lakes Drive at the eastern intersection with Tanbark Drive near South Lakes High School. The second project would add a pedestrian refuge island and rapid flashing beacons to improve safety at an existing crosswalk at Bluemont Way and Discovery Street for $165,000.

In late October, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to request funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Pedestrian Safety Action Plan grant program, which funds targeted improvements in areas with the potential for pedestrian crashes.

If the state awards funding to the county, county staff will draft project administration agreements with state transportation officials. The funding proposal for Reston is part of a $2.6 million request to the state. VDOT will notify jurisdictions about projects that have been selected for funding this month. Construction on approved projects is expected to begin in April, with a completion date of December 2019.

Construction is intended to happen on an expedited schedule in order to get “maximum return” on limited funding, according to state officials. As a result, projects that require right-of-way or easement acquisition, roadway widening and the replacement or relocation of curb and gutter will not be considered by the state.

File photo

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Monday Morning Notes

Changes to Wiehle-Reston Metro service — From 5-6 a.m. this week, Silver Line service to Wiehle-Reston East begins at Stadium-Armory. Customers between Largo and Benning Road should use Blue Line Service, then transfer to the Silver Line at Stadium. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Safety tips for Halloween — As the day of trick-or-treating approaches, here are some safety tips to keep in mind for kids. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Planning by South Lakes JROTC — Students leaders at the JROTC program outlined their goals and plans for the year recently, including a planned Veterans Day dinner for area veterans on Nov. 16. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

A feature on Reston Farm Market — “The legendary Reston Farm Market brings the magic of celebrating time-honored fall fun to families. With an eye toward community focus, owner Bonita Weinstein strives every day, but especially when all things pumpkins rule Reston, to offer opportunities for everyone.” [The Connection]

Metropolis at CenterStage tonight — “Percussionist Tom Teasley performs his original live music accompaniment to a screening of Fritz Lang’s classic science fiction film Metropolis. In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.” [Reston Community Center]

Photo by Mark Bramer

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South Lakes HS Homecoming Parade Cancelled

Tonight’s South Lakes High School homecoming parade has been cancelled.

The high school cited safety and health concerns for the cancellations; the forecast tonight calls for heavy rain and cold temperatures, as a Nor’easter storm moves into the area.

Tonight’s South Lakes vs. Yorktown football game is still on for 7 p.m.

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Wanted: Volunteers For Chamber’s Annual Ethics Day

The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is seeking adult volunteers for its annual Ethics Day on Nov. 19.

Each November, typically before Thanksgiving, GRCC and other community organizations sponsor a day-long event for South Lakes High School seniors. Students are taken to the Sheraton Reston Hotel to learn about how to reach ethical decisions and how those decisions will impact their adult lives.

Students are guided through four different, real-life scenarios in order to reach ethical decisions. Adult guides will lead a group of between eight to ten students through the different scenarios.

Roughly 20 volunteer spots are still open. Those interested can register to be a table leader online.

File photo via GRCC

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Here Comes South Lakes High School’s Homecoming Parade

The South Lakes High School homecoming parade is scheduled for Oct.26 (Friday), and students are taking advantage of the opportunity to fundraise for a good cause.

The school’s leadership class will fundraiser for Hungry for Music, an organization that buys instruments for children who cannot afford their own. The class aims to raise $1,000 to purchase 20 instruments for an after-school program. Collection baskets and tables at homecoming activities will be open for donation throughout the week of the parade.

The parade, which is set for 5-6 p.m., will feature student organizations, class councils, clubs, team, community groups, elementary schools, and the school’s marching band, The Spirit of Reston. Student-built boats will reflect the theme of “Tune in to South Lakes.” Each grade will select a music genre and the grand marshall this year is SLHS teacher Chris Moorhead, according to information provided by the school.

The parade begins at 5 p.m. from Hunters Woods Shopping Center. It will continue north on Colts Neck Drive, turn east onto South Lakes Drive and finish at SLHS. A small food court will be set-up in the stadium-side parking lot with food trucks from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

The football game against Yorktown High School begins at 7 p.m. shortly after the parade. Admission is $5 and the Class of 1998 will also be on-site to celebrate their 20th reunion.

Photo via Lyn Fiscus

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Friday Morning Notes

Family splash tonight at Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center — Drop-in for a night of family fun at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. The entry fee is $13 for Reston residents and $26 for all others. Groups of six or more must pre-register. [Reston Regional Library]

Off to the jungle — Reston’s Gin Dance Company has been invited to perform at the 18th DUMBO Dance Festival, a prestigious dance festival in New York City. It’s the second year the modern dance company will perform at the festival. [The Connection]

New school sexual misconduct policy — The Fairfax County School Board adopted a new policy yesterday that attempts to reform institutional cultures and address the underlying causes of sexual misconduct. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

A stronger second half — The South Lakes volleyball team is looking for a stronger second half. What does that mean exactly? [The Connection]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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With New Cooking Classes, South Lakes High School’s Food Pantry Charts New Future

The food pantry at South Lakes High School is moving beyond the typical scope of community pantries that give students in need a chance to discreetely shop for food and toiletries. In the coming weeks, the pantry, which currently caters to students in the SLHS pyramid and is run by the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association, will begin offering cooking skills classes.

The after-school cooking workshops will give students a chance to learn more about healthy eating. Through eight sessions during the school year on Wednesday afternoons, students will learn how to make one recipe using healthy ingredients and meal kits that do not rely on processed ingredients, according to Roberta Gosling, one of the founders of the pantry.  The initiative is made possible by a $7,000 grant from the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation.

The idea began to take root when Alana Pudner, a Girl Scout, approached pantry organizers with a three-meal pack she prepared to earn her Silver Award. Students began ordering the meal kit, which includes ingredients for veggie chili, lentil stew, and a tuna pasta casserole, as part of their weekly orders.

To take that further, we also looked at some of the broader trends and felt that if we could help students learn to cook healthy, budget-friendly recipes that it would equip a broad group of people with life skills and take students a step closer to nutritious choices,” Gosling said.

Recipes will contain ingredients available in the pantry and through SNAP and WIC benefits. At the end of each session, students will get bags with recipes and ingredients, including a kitchen starter kit with basic tools like a cutting board, measuring cup, a pan, and spices used in multiple cuisines. Although the classes are open to all students at the school, organizers plan to market the class through the pantry to reach students most in need.  Each session will accommodate about 20 students.

Organizers are also making an effort to focus on foods from around the world. Shopping lists are available in English, Spanish and Arabic and participants will get a chance to try different cuisines in the classes.

Roughly 30 percent of all SLHS students experience food insecurity, according to pantry organizers and volunteers. Every Thursday, students in need turn in their shopping list for the week. Volunteers pack shopping bags and distribute them to students as they head out on Fridays. Students can also shop at the pantry on Thursdays from 3-6 p.m. and on Friday from noon to 3 p.m. The pantry is also open in the summer on Thursdays from 3-6 p.m.

Since April 2017, the pantry has filled more than 2,500 orders and weekly order averages are also increasing.

Now, pantry organizers and volunteers are looking for new ways to make the initiative more sustainable and comprehensive. On September 30, the school’s PTSA will partner with Lake Anne Brew House to present the “Do It Your Way 0.5K.” All proceeds from the event, which is set for 4-6 p.m. at Lake Anne Brew House, will go to the food pantry.

The pantry is led by Gosling, Abbe Pascal, Andy Sigle, Amy Shaw, and Sherri Pudner. Items in high demand include rice, beans, jelly, canned fruit, shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. Monetary donations are also accepted online.

Photos via Roberta Gosling

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South Lakes High School Food Pantry Receives Award from Washington Nationals Dream Foundation

The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation and Delta Airlines presented South Lakes High School’s food pantry with a “2018 Delta Dream Grant.”

The $7,000 award was given during an on-field ceremony at Nationals Park on August 21. Grants support nonprofits that provide services for children and teens in the Washington, D.C. area. Ten other recipients received awards in the program, including Martha’s Table, Capitol City Little League and Kid Power, Inc.

This year’s grants are dedicated to improving local programming focused on healthful nutrition, as well as the refurbishment of youth baseball fields and/or the purchase of substantial baseball equipment. We are confident that the 2018 Delta Dream Grants will go a long way to improve the lives of children and teens in the Washington, D.C. region,” said Tal Alter, Vice President, Nationals Dream Foundation & Youth Baseball Academy. 

The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation is a nonprofit organization created in 2005 to improve the lives of children and teens in the region.

The pantry at SLHS accepts toiletries, canned goods, boxed and dry goods, cooking oil, laundry detergent, and dish soap. Donations can be dropped off at the school’s main office during school hours.

Since March 2017, the pantry has distributed more than 4,500 bags of groceries to about 50 families per week. Students in the South Lakes High School Pyramid can shop for food and toiletries at the pantry.

 

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Friday Morning Notes

Lorton teen accused of killing Reston couple incompetent to stand trial — The teenager accused of killing his girlfriend’s parents in their Reston home in late December is incompetent to stand trial. The now 18-year-old Lorton teen was charged as a juvenile in connection with the murders of Buckley Kuhn-Fricker, 43, and Scott Fricker, 48, on December 22. A judge ruled that brain damage caused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound impacted the teen’s ability to understand the trial. [The Washington Post]

Back to school bash — Get your school spirit back to prepare for the return to school at Saturday’s event at South Lakes High School. Information about resources, programs and services will be available for the family. [Reston Community Center]

EXO-itement — The apartment building on 1807 Oracle Way is gaining more attention for its color-changing facade. [The Washington Post]

Uniting against crime — Local residents gathered in Reston neighborhoods to celebrate National Night Out, a nationwide crime-prevention event held the first Tuesday of August. [The Connection]

Summerbration concert tonight — Enjoy a world jazz concert tonight at Reston Station Plaza from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Parking is free from 6:30-9:30 p.m. [Reston Community Center]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Schools and Future Development Come Under Focus at PRC Workgroup Meeting

(Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 4:45 p.m. to remove unclear information about the number of total available seats in the South Lakes Pyramid.)

Local citizen representatives pressed county and school officials on how the school system will mitigate the impact of planned and future development on Reston’s public schools Tuesday night.

The meeting, the third in a series on the county’s proposal to increase the community’s population density, highlighted a major obstacle in managing increased school enrollment: limited and uncertain funding to meet future needs.

Kevin Sneed, who oversees design and construction services for the school system, said new development is not expected to generate many students because of the style of new multi-family units.

Two residential buildings recently built in Tysons generated only 21 students, Sneed said. Student enrollment from new residential development in Reston is expected to increase in the next 20-25 years, he said. Meanwhile, the school system must balance the need for renovations at several schools. 

The site for a new high school in the area — especially along the Dulles Suburban Corridor where McNair, Coates and Hutchison Elementary Schools are served — is critical. However, the school system is constrained by lack of funding to purchase a new property. And current plans to mitigate the future impact of development on schools likely will not kick in until development actually takes place, Sneed said.  Development may go live years after it is approved by the county, he said.

Stu Gibson, a former school board member of 16 years, said building capacity only once the students impact the system is a “disturbing” strategy. Gibson said he was concerned that the county is planning for additional residences before the infrastructure is in place to handle additional growth — a mode of operation that he said goes against Reston’s comprehensive plan.

Instead of purchasing land, the county and the school system are relying on proffers from developers and negotiating with applicants to see if land for a new high school can be provided, according to Leslie Johnson, the county’s zoning administrator. So far, those negotiations have been unsuccessful. But talks are underway on the county-level to change the formula used to determine how much developers pay based on the expected impact of the development on area schools.

Others worried that viable land for a new school may be limited, especially when parking lots and aging office parks that could be the site for a future school are redeveloped into mixed-use projects.

Johnson said the county is closely evaluating the impact of each development proposal on fire services, schools, parks and other public infrastructure.

“We are keeping track of the cumulative impact, but, at some point, there will be a trigger for some type of development,” Johnson said.

When and how that trigger comes forward remains unclear.

File photo

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Art Project by South Lakes High School Students Installed on Lake Thoreau

“Connie’s Quilt,” an art project by students at South Lakes High School, now blankets a portion of Lake Thoreau.

The structure was created by the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) club. It is made of galvanized metal, airplane cables, tubing, connectors and cable ties.

The project aims to represent community connections and the notion that the self-made man does not exist, according to Public Art Reston. Reston Association, Public Art Reston and SLHS partnered to make the project possible.

A series of videos about the project are available online:

Photos via Public Art Reston

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Feedback Sought on Proposed Toll Increases at Dulles Toll Road in 2019

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority will hold a public hearing in Reston on July 17 to hear feedback on proposed rate increases along the Dulles Toll Road.

Under the proposal, commuters would pay fifty cents more at ramp plazas and seventy-five cents more at the mainline plaza beginning in 2019. According to the MWAA, rate increases are necessary to fund the Silver Line extension project and improvements on the Dulles Toll Road.

The public hearing is scheduled for July 17 from 5-8 p.m. at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive). Two other hearings will be held at Spring Hill Elementary School in McLean and Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn.

Attendees are encouraged to comment on how the planned toll increase of $1.25 for a typical Dulles Toll Road trip should be allocated between ramp and mainline plazas. The MWAA is also seeking comments on whether toll plaza lanes that allow customers to pay with cash should be converted to “E-ZPass only” tolling.

Comments on other operational improvements, including whether or not credit cards should be accepted at toll plaza lanes, are also encouraged.

MWAA representatives will be on site to discuss the proposal. Translators will also be available at each public hearing. The public engagement period will run from July 2 through August 3. Comments can be submitted to [email protected].

The MWAA’s board is expected to vote on planned toll increase later this year.

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Tuesday Morning Notes

South Lakes High School pantry recognized — More than 700 students are on free and reduced lunches at South Lakes High School. A food pantry created by parents and students aims to address growing needs. [ABC7]

Give blood — More than 250 units of blood are needed daily to meet the needs of area patients. INOVA will hold a blood drive from 1:30-6 p.m. at Reston Regional Library today. [Reston Regional Library]

Three days left — Herndon’s Arts Crawl series has three dates left before the initiative, which features local artists and artisans who sell their artwork, ends. The event is free and open to the public. [ArtsSpace Herndon]

Nearby: Goodbye, biological gender — Fairfax County Public Schools’ curricula will no longer refer to “biological gender” as part of its official language. [Fairfax County Times]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill 

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