Bao Bao Passed Through Reston on Journey Home — The famed panda born at the National Zoo left D.C. for good Tuesday, heading off to live her life in China. She was transported by truck from Washington up the Dulles Toll Road to the airport, where she left on a FedEx 777. [Reston Patch]
SLHS Girls’ Basketball Team Falls in Playoffs — The South Lakes Seahawks girls’ hoops team was defeated Tuesday night in the first round of the 6A North Region championship, falling to T.C. Williams by a score of 51-43. [Alexandria News]
Qur’an Spiritual Retreat Slated for March — The Al-Madina Institute is readying to hold its annual conference, bringing leading scholars to examine both the external and internal dimensions of the Qur’an. The event will be held March 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency (1800 Presidents St.) in Reston. [Al-Madina Institute]
Bills Targeting Student Debt Fail in Richmond — A number of bills designed to help students refinance student loans or increase oversight of lenders have died in the General Assembly. One such bill, which would have created a “Borrower’s Bill of Rights,” was sponsored by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) of Reston. It failed to advance out of a legislative committee. [Virginia Gazette]
(Updated 2:15 p.m. after the victim in Route 28 crash was identified by authorities.)
Crash Leaves Woman Dead on Route 28 — A fatal single-car collision at about 2 a.m. in the northbound lanes near the Dulles Toll Road interchange left the road closed for several hours. Gabrielle Perry, a 22-year-old from Leesburg who was a passenger in the vehicle, was killed. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said the driver, 26-year-old Andre Glenn of Sterling, is facing a DUI charge. [Washington Post]
SLHS Swimmers Break Records at States — Gianmichel D’Allesandro, Michael George and Anna Redican (pictured) all set individual Seahawks records last week at the state championships. The boys’ 200-yard medley relay team, consisting of Hunter Ellis and Tyler Ellis along with D’Allesandro and George, also set a record. The event also marked the end of coach Scott Brown’s 23rd and final season with the team. [South Lakes High School]
‘Sisterhood’ Event Promotes Togetherness Among Cultures — The Reston Chapter of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom recently co-hosted a unity vigil for Muslim and Jewish women. The event took place in McLean last week. [McLean Connection]
Photo of sunrise this morning at Reston National Golf Course via Twitter user @JonnyMacGolf
The Fairfax County Executive’s new budget removes funding for youth with intellectual disabilities leaving Fairfax County Public Schools in 2017.
The people of Fairfax County are not that uncaring. You are not that selfish. I know because I have seen how amazing you are. But the County’s budget introduced Tuesday cut all funding for the youth with intellectual disabilities who will be leaving the school system this year.
The state has a program called the Medicaid Waiver, which provides support to Virginia individuals with developmental disabilities, enabling them to live and thrive in our community. But there are over 11,000 Virginians on the wait list for those services. My daughter, Beth, who has Down syndrome, has been on that wait list for years.
Because Fairfax County is a caring community, for years and years the Board has chosen to provide some support to those waiting for the waiver so that they can continue to be active after leaving FCPS. Each year, a new group of students graduates, and the county has realized that FCPS has invested and believed in them and we shouldn’t now abandon them to the sofa. The County has provided some support so these young people can continue to stay active, safe and, hopefully, find employment in the community.
This year, my daughter Beth leaves FCPS. Tuesday, we were heartsick to be told the County Executive did not think she or her graduating classmates were important enough to make the budget. But I know this is not true of our community.
Beth was born here and has always lived here. She was included in Terraset Elementary, Langston Hughes Middle, and South Lakes High School — with the support of amazing teachers and classmates. She was in a Reston Girl Scout Troop for over 10 years, earning her Gold Award — with the support of leaders and community members. She was on the SLHS Swim Team for four years and the Glade Gators for 13 through the support of cheering coaches, parents and friends. She was a part of a wonderfully inclusive SLHS Choral Program with Ms. G, and Dance Program with Ms. Girdy. She was “Defying Gravity” as she danced at Broadway Night. She was twice SLHS Homecoming Princess.
All along the way, the Reston community has supported her. She could have done none of it alone.
So I know that Fairfax County is a caring community. Can you please let the County Executive Ed Long (703-324-2531) know that we are? More importantly, please let the Board of Supervisors know that the budget must include support for these young adults as it has in the past.
Beth has spoken to Supervisor Cathy Hudgins. We know that she cares. Let her and the other supervisors know that we value these young people with intellectual disabilities and will support them.
Mary Nell Clark
Member Assessment is Due March 1 — In case you’ve forgotten, there is only a week and a half left to pay member assessments. Reston Association’s Member Services office will be open additional hours (Saturday, Feb. 25, from 9 a.m.-noon; and Wednesday, March 1, from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.) if you need to take advantage of them. Fees can also be paid online. [Reston Association]
South Lakes High Track & Field Stars Advance to States — Olivia Beckner, Sean Casey, Ronak Cuthill, Mary Gregory, Sophie Halkett, Devyn Jones, Alex Loukili, Timiebi Ogobri, Aly Rayle, Peter Sepulveda, Jack Watkins and Dont’a Whitley will all represent the Seahawks at the state Indoor Track and Field Championships next weekend in Hampton. [Reston Patch]
Metro Call Center Hours Reduced Starting Next Month — Citing a five-year decline in call volume, Metro’s Customer Information Call Center will cut its hours of availability beginning March 1. Metro says fewer customers are using the call center as they rely more on sources of information including mobile apps and social media. [WMATA]
Princess Aghayere is making a name for herself during her sophomore season on the University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team.
The 2015 South Lakes High School graduate was named the Ivy League Player of the Week for her performances last week on the hardcourt. She posted a career-best 21 points during a Friday victory over Columbia, and followed it up the next day with a 12-point performance in a win over Cornell.
Some of her highlights from the weekend’s action can be seen on the Ivy League Sports YouTube channel.
On the season, Aghayere is averaging 5.6 points per game, tops among the team’s non-starters.
During her career at South Lakes High School, Aghayere earned first-team All-Conference recognition three times, and was second-team All-State twice. She also lettered in cross country and volleyball.
Aghayere is enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences at Penn, on a pre-med track. In a video released by the school earlier this year, she discussed her background and her goals for the future.
The defending Ivy League champions, the Quakers are undefeated (7-0) in conference play so far this season.
Photo via Don E. Felice/PennAthletics.com
Police: Reston Woman Rammed Vehicle During Argument — Police in Herndon say 24-year-old Kimberling Serrano had her two kids in the car when she followed a man after an argument and intentionally struck his vehicle three times. [Herndon Police]
Students Honored for Musical Talents — Top Fairfax County vocal and instrumental students were recognized recently during the annual James A. Bland Music Competition, co-sponsored by the Reston Lions Club and Reston Community Center. Among the honorees was Lauren Spar from South Lakes High School. [Reston Connection]
Skydiver from Reston Hurt in Florida — Nikolay Likhachev suffered a head injury and a compound leg fracture after an accident near Daytona Beach. Likhachev had successfully completed more than 200 jumps, according to the incident report. [Daytona Beach News-Journal]
Redistricting Reform Rejected in Richmond — Bills that advocates hoped would stop gerrymandering in Virginia were voted down in committee Tuesday. One of the measures — a constitutional amendment stating that “no electoral district shall be drawn for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring any political party, incumbent legislator or member of Congress, or other individual or entity” — was sponsored by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax), of Reston. [The News Leader]
“I actually was able to get an internship with Disney World, which was my dream job,” she said. “I was offered a regular full-time position, but I ended up getting sick.”
After a long series of doctor’s visits, Katz was diagnosed in 2014 with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), a condition that causes an increased heart rate when standing upright — resulting in dizziness, migraines and more. Because of it, Katz was forced to give up her photography position at Disney World and return home to Reston to her parents, Gina and Bert.
Now 25, Katz finds herself traveling down a new path in life, raising awareness for rare diseases and chronic illnesses. She has started an awareness campaign called Spoonspirations — the name of which is a reference to “spoon theory,” a term coined by lupus patient advocate Christine Miserandino about how sufferers of such conditions must ration their energy.
“She wanted a way to describe it to people who don’t have a chronic illness, so they could understand,” Katz said. “Basically, it’s kind of like if you get up to walk the dog, you use three spoons out of your 12 total spoons for the day.”
Through Spoonspirations, Katz is using her love of art to spread the word about chronic illness. Katz studied graphic design as well as photography, and she has designed a number of different pieces of apparel for various related causes.
She is raising money for research in the process, as all proceeds from sales of the clothing are given to chronic illness organizations. In 2016, she said, she raised $8,000 that was donated in large part to Dysautonomia International and the Dysautonomia Support Network, organizations she became acquainted with through her personal journey.
This year, Katz has become involved with rare disease advocacy organization Global Genes. She will travel to Southern California at the end of the month to participate in a fashion show for the organization as part of World Rare Disease Day.
“Everyone is walking in honor of someone who has a rare disease,” she said. “I’m the only one walking who actually has a rare disease.”
Katz is hopeful that she will be able to make more connections during the event to help her expand Spoonspirations and raise more awareness for the hundreds of millions worldwide suffering from chronic illnesses.
“Rare diseases affect approximately 350 million people worldwide and often times are invisible,” she said. “So you never know who might be affected.”
Photos courtesy Nisa Katz/Spoonspirations
Looking for something to do this weekend? Here is a sampling of what’s available in Reston:
- The South Lakes High School Chorus is presenting its Broadway Night event tonight and Saturday.
- Reston Town Center events this weekend include a kids’ cooking class at Il Fornaio, cartoon skate at the ice pavilion, Super Bowl festivities at American Tap Room and Mon Ami Gabi, and more.
- Potomac River Running will be putting on its For The Love Of It 10K, beginning at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive), Saturday morning.
- Reston Community Players will close out their run of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” tonight and Saturday at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road).
- Project-based charter school Ideaventions Academy (12340 Pinecrest Road) will be holding an open house Saturday.
- Art exhibitions “CUT” and “Springtime in Winter” remain on display at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market Street) and Reston Art Gallery & Studios (11400 Washington Plaza W.), respectively.
- Del. Ken Plum will be at Lake Anne Coffee House (1612 Washington Plaza N.) on Saturday morning to discuss issues with his constituents.
- Red’s Table (11150 South Lakes Drive) won’t just be offering beer specials Sunday during the Super Bowl, but it will unveil its new bison chili as well.
- Kalypso’s (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will host a Super Bowl party Sunday, featuring regional foods from New England and Atlanta. A raffle will also be held to benefit Camp Sunshine.
Dinner Held to Support Police Families — A group in Great Falls raised over $5,000 for Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), an organization that supports families of officers killed on the job. 2nd Lt. Anthony Lampe of the Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston District Station addressed a dinner audience, talking about his department’s recent brush with violence against police. [Reston Connection]
South Lakes Girls Win at the Buzzer — The Seahawks’ varsity girls basketball team won with a last-second layup last week. Alivia Damper passed to Kendra Williams, who scored the winning basket just before time expired as South Lakes beat McLean, 51-49. [DMVStream.com]
Seahawks Player Headed to Delaware — Sticking with SLHS sports, football player David Kroll is a top college recruit on the offensive line. He was planning to play for the University of Richmond, but he has now changed his plans and is committed to the University of Delaware. [Washington Post]
The South Lakes High School track teams are once again on the top of the heap in the Liberty Conference. The boys closed out their ninth consecutive title this weekend at the championships in Landover, Maryland, while the girls took their sixth straight.
Junior runner Olivia Beckner, who had already set multiple new records earlier this season, won both the 1,000 meters (2:55.67) and 1,600 meters (5:04.44) in meet-record times. She also won the 3,200 meters (10:47:17) in school and conference record time.
Senior Devyn Jones won the 300 meters in 42.72 and finished third in the 500 meters (1:20.52) and fifth in the triple jump (33-08.75). She won the 55-meters hurdles in conference record time on the first day of the championships, as well as finishing second in the long jump and sixth in the high jump that day.
Jones was part of a SLHS sweep of the 500 meters. The race was won by junior Aly Rayle (1:19.62), followed by freshman Mary Gregory’s second place finish of 1:19.69. Rayle and Gregory teamed with sophomores Sophie Halkett and Cara Hutson to win the 4-by-400 meter relay in 4:09.53.
The Seahawks also won the top three spots in the 1,000 meters with Beckner leading the way, followed by Halkett (3:05.81) and sophomore Jordan Anderson (3:07.76).
On the boys’ side, seniors Timiebi Ogobri and Don’ta Whitley had outstanding performances for the Seahawks.
Ogobri, who successfully defended his 55-meters title on Day 1, won the 300 meters in 36.54. Sophomore Stevie Jones was third (37.19) and Whitley finished fifth (37.43). Ogobri was also fifth in the triple jump (39-04.00) and teamed with Jones, sophomore Nicky Napolitano and junior Carson Frutchey for third in 4-by-200 meter relay (1:35.34). Whitley was second in the triple jump (42-01.75), second in the 500 meters (1:08.61), sixth in the high jump (5-08.00), and teamed with senior Dimarcus Vilcheck and juniors John Eggeman and Houston Nelson for third in the 4-by-400 meter relay (3:38.21).
Senior Peter Sepulveda was third in the 1,600 meters (4:36.57), followed by juniors Alex Loukili (4:37.35, 4th) and Sean Casey (4:38.76, 5th). Loukili ran a 2:40.55 for third in the 1,000 meters while Casey finished fifth with a 2:46.85.
South Lakes will next compete in the 6A North Region Indoor Championship on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover.
For the second consecutive year, the South Lakes High School Robotics Team has advanced to the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge Virginia State Championship. The team, called the <C://>Hawks, participated in the North Central Virginia Qualifying Tournament that took place at Orange County High School on Jan. 14.
Months of preparation put the team on solid ground to contend for the top awards. Their robot, Duchess, performed well on the field, managing the challenges without breakdowns. In their engineering notebook, members of the team’s art department recorded all the activities, including not only software and robot construction progress, but all the outreach activities of which the team has been part.
The <C://>Hawks promoted and expanded their team within the SLHS community and brought their robots and expertise to various community activities such as local Lego League teams and the NOVA Maker Faire. For these efforts, the team was honored with the competition’s Connect Award.
The Inspire Award is given to the team that demonstrates respect and gracious professionalism, is an ambassador for FIRST programs, and demonstrates and documents their work in their community. The <C://>Hawks took second place for this award.
The team will next participate in the FIRST Tech Challenge Virginia State Championship, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 25 in Lynchburg.
Bechtel and Orbital ATK are sponsors of the South Lakes High School Robotics Team.
Photo courtesy South Lakes High School Robotics Team
Closings Today for Inauguration Day — The 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, is being inaugurated today in Washington. As the nation watches, government offices and a number of other facilities are closed today. Schedules for other services may also be affected. [Patch]
Young Students Get Chance to See History Up Close — Today is another big day in American history. Earlier this week, elementary school students in Reston were “visited” by past historical figures including Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, as they learned about the early days of the nation. [Reston Connection]
Seahawks Basketball, Swim/Dive Teams Have Busy Week — The following are results from recent days for South Lakes High School basketball and swim/dive teams: [South Lakes Athletics]
Boys basketball: beat James Madison, 56-51; beat Washington-Lee, 56-51; lost to Hayfield, 82-80
JV boys basketball: lost to James Madison, 58-49; beat Washington-Lee, 64-47; beat Hayfield, 68-49
Girls basketball: lost to James Madison, 44-34; beat Washington-Lee, 46-44
JV girls basketball: lost to James Madison, 40-31; beat Washington-Lee, 34-23
Freshman girls basketball: beat Hayfield, 31-27
Co-ed swim and dive: beat Langley girls, 163-149; lost to Langley boys, 173-136; beat Washington-Lee girls, 196-118; beat Washington-Lee boys, 183-132
Olivia Beckner is fast, and she has her name all over the record books to prove it.
The South Lakes High School junior set her second school record of the month recently, eclipsing by nearly four seconds an SLHS top time for the mile that had stood for 29 years.
The record-setting performance came at the Virginia Showcase Invitational indoor track and field meet last weekend at Liberty University in Lynchburg. Her time of 4 minutes, 55.58 seconds beat out the previous mark of 4 minutes, 59.44 seconds set by Anne Evans during the 1987-88 season.
Earlier this month at a meet in New York, Beckner ran the 1,000 meters in 2 minutes, 54.06 seconds. That surpassed the record of 2 minutes, 58.47 seconds she had set last year as a sophomore.
Beckner leads the five-time defending Liberty Conference champion Seahawks into the conference championship, beginning today and concluding Jan. 28 in Landover, Maryland.
The SLHS boys are no slouches either. They enter the championship with eight consecutive titles under their belts.
Photos courtesy South Lakes High School/Mary Ann Magnant
SLHS Grad Featured in UPenn Video — Princess Aghayere, a 2015 graduate of South Lakes High School, is a basketball player at the University of Pennsylvania. In a new video from the university, she talks about moving to the United States as a child and about her future plans in the field of medicine. The Reston native is the daughter of Anthonia and Roland Aghayere. [University of Pennsylvania]
Dog License Renew Deadline Approaching — Fairfax County dog owners are reminded that their $10 renewal fee is coming up at the end of the month. [Fairfax County]
Local College Students Named to Top Academic Lists — The following students from Reston are among those named to Dean’s Lists at their respective schools in the Fall 2016 semester.
- BELMONT UNIVERSITY: Wesley Edens, Collin Hanley
- HARDING UNIVERSITY: Mitchell Thomas
- JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY: Emily Barbaro, Lauren Canal, Kylie Chichester, Olivia Gentilcore, Susan Patrick
- UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT: Haley Brazier
In addition, five students from Reston were named to the President’s List at JMU: Jacqueline Angel, Elizabeth Barnes, Valerie Beacham, Daniel Gurley and Claire Swinko.
Updated 10:35 p.m. Sunday to include suspect description from Fairfax County Police Department
Two men in their 20s were stabbed in an argument during a pickup soccer game Sunday afternoon near South Lakes High School.
Police say the two men, ages 22 and 23, who were stabbed were transported to Reston Hospital Center. The injuries to the 23-year-old were first deemed to be life-threatening, but the man’s status later improved to stable.
The suspect in the stabbing has not yet been apprehended, but Fairfax County Police spokesperson Tawny Wright said there is no threat to the community at large.
“The suspect and the two victims were somehow acquainted,” she said. “An argument erupted related to the game.”
(1/2) Officers on scene of stabbing report: 11400blk S Lakes Dr, Reston. Two victims, one life-threatening. pic.twitter.com/g1Ymb1taWl
— Fairfax Co. Police (@fairfaxpolice) January 15, 2017
(2/2) Initial investigation indicates 2 groups were playing soccer when an argument began & escalated. More details to follow as available.
— Fairfax Co. Police (@fairfaxpolice) January 15, 2017
No students from the high school were involved, Wright said.
“From what we got from the initial investigation, there were two groups of people using the field,” she said. “During one their games, an argument erupted between a small group of them. It escalated until someone pulled out a cutting instrument.”
UPDATE: No suspect arrested yet. Police believe this is an isolated incident. No threat to the public. pic.twitter.com/Q9BvaVYPSq
— Van Applegate (@VBagate) January 15, 2017
Wright said the 23-year-old was cut in the upper body and suffered a serious injury. The 22-year-old was cut in the leg.
The suspect is described as a heavy-set, short-haired Hispanic male in his early 20s.
Suspect description: Hispanic/early 20s/heavy set/short hair. May drive a blue Subaru STI. Have info? 703-691-2131. No Further Details (NFD)
— Fairfax Co. Police (@fairfaxpolice) January 16, 2017
Photos courtesy Van Applegate/FOX 5 DC