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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.”

by Dave Emke — May 18, 2017 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Hot Weather Continues Today — The DC area had weather hotter than nearly anywhere else in the country Wednesday, including a record high of 91 at Dulles International Airport. Temperatures are expected to be similar today and Friday. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue has issued information to help people avoid heat-related illness. [Washington Post]

Bicycle Commuting Up in DC, But Not Here — A report shows that the nation’s capital now has the third-highest percentage of bicycle commuters among major cities in the nation, 4 percent. The number has nearly doubled from 2010. However, in Fairfax County, only about 0.3 percent of commuters ride to work. The difference is in part due to lacking infrastructure, says the Fairfax Alliance for Better Biking. [WTOP]

Cicadas Making Early Entrance — Thousands of the bugs have already turned up in the region, four years ahead of their regular schedule. The 17-year cycle on Brood X means this is just a precursor of a major emergence in 2021. [WAMU]

SLHS Track Teams Tops Again — The boys and girls track teams at South Lakes High School have won their conference championships. It’s the seventh title in a row for the girls and the fourth for the boys. [Press Release]

Commentary: Increased Class Sizes Will Hurt — An advocate for Class Size Matters says Fairfax County Public Schools’ plan to increase average class size by half a student per room will have “a negative impact on students’ ability to learn and succeed, and on teachers’ ability to teach.” An online petition is opposing the increase. [Reston Connection]

by Dave Emke — May 17, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Record Highs Possible Today — The National Weather Service is predicting high temperatures in the low 90s for the entire region today. The record high at Dulles International Airport for this day in history is 89, set in 1986. [National Weather Service/Twitter]

First RA Board District Meeting Tonight — Residents of the South Lakes District are invited to attend a meeting with their representative on the Reston Association Board of Directors, Julie Bitzer, tonight from 7-8:30 p.m. at Terraset Elementary School (11411 Ridge Heights Road). [Reston Association]

SLHS Grad Honored for Social Activism — Ainsley Eakins, a 2014 graduate of South Lakes High School, has been honored with the Wesleyan University’s Social Activism Award. It is given for exemplifying the spirit of social activism and helping constructive social change happen. According to her LinkedIn page, Eakins is a member of a Student Advisory Committee task force assigned to develop a student resource center for marginalized groups on campus. [Wesleyan University]

File photo via Fabio Rossi/Flickr

by Dave Emke — May 16, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

SLHS Students Help at ‘Senior’ Prom — Members of Interact (pictured) recently volunteered at the Senior Senior prom, an annual dance and lunch for senior citizens, and a favorite club activity. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Water Main Break Still Affecting Herndon Parkway — A water main break Monday afternoon on Herndon Parkway between Spring and Grove streets is still being patched this morning. The inner loop is open to one-way traffic; the outer loop remains closed. Water service restoration is underway and is expected to be completed later this morning. Drivers are advised to use alternate routes. [Town of Herndon/Facebook]

Lake Fairfax Picnic Areas Closed Weekdays — Several picnic areas at Lake Fairfax Park will not be available on weekdays through June 30 because of the ongoing stream restoration project at the park, which has been delayed by weather. Rental areas will remain available on weekends. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Photo courtesy Fairfax County Public Schools

by Dave Emke — May 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Up in Minnesota, the Macalester College Scots are heading to their first NCAA Division III baseball championship tournament, thanks in large part to a local player.

The Scots are going to the tournament after winning the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship Saturday. Jared Abelson, a 2015 graduate of South Lakes High School, started the title game with a leadoff single and scored on a hit by the next batter, setting the pace in a 13-5 win over Bethel University. Abelson ended the game 2-for-5 with an RBI, and he ended the three-game playoff tournament with a .500 batting average.

The sophomore’s playoff performance was no fluke. Abelson, who plays center field and catcher, finished the MIAC season sixth in the conference in batting average (.371), hits (53), runs scored (35) and on-base percentage (.451).

In 2014, Abelson told the South Lakes Sentinel why he loves playing baseball.

“It’s all about overcoming obstacles. The beauty in baseball is that you don’t have to be 6’5″ to be the best player. Anyone can be great; you just have to be the hardest working guy, especially in the offseason.”

According to his profile on the Macalester College Athletics website, Abelson is 5 foot 9.

Abelson and the Scots start the 56-team tournament Thursday night in Whitewater, Wisconsin, with a game against Concordia University Chicago.

Photo via Macalester College Athletics

by Dave Emke — May 15, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Tenants Unhappy at Cosmopolitan — Residents of the luxury apartment building in Reston Town Center (1855 St. Francis St.) say the property management company is slow to respond to complaints and address safety concerns. They are organizing in the attempt to get the building’s owners to treat them better. [Fairfax County Times]

SLHS Alumnus Named to Virginia High School Hall of Fame — Among the inductees this year is Alan Webb, a 2001 graduate of South Lakes. Webb, who competed in the men’s 1,500-meter competition at the 2004 Summer Olympics, set a new U.S. high school record for the 2,000-meter race while at South Lakes, and was the first high school student to run a sub-4 minute mile in indoor track. In his senior year, he was named High School Athlete of the Year by Track and Field News. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Great Falls Fire Department Marks 75 Years — A product of civil defense in World War II, the volunteer fire department was founded May 5, 1942. There were 29 founding members, mostly farmers and shopkeepers. Great Falls historian Karen Washburn shares more details about its history in a 4-minute video. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

SoccerFest Coming to Lake Fairfax — The tournament, June 24-25, is open to children and adults of all skill levels. Early-bird registration pricing is available through May 26, and registration will close June 16. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

by RestonNow.com — May 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

It’s another busy weekend in Reston, with plenty of fun activities on the agenda.

The weather hasn’t been pretty for several days now, though, and it looks like rain will be prevalent again Saturday. We recommend you check the status of any scheduled outdoor activity before heading out.

Here is just a sampling of things to do in the area this weekend:

  • Reston Association’s Community Yard Sale, originally scheduled for Saturday, has been rescheduled for Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to noon at 1900 Campus Commons Drive. Eighty-five families will be selling a variety of items. In case of rain, call 703-435-6577 that morning to check the event’s status.
  • It’s pool season in Reston. The North Shore and Ridge Heights pools are scheduled to open for the season this weekend, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.
  • The Reston Community Players will continue their staging of “Private Lives” this weekend. Performances will be tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m., along with a 2 p.m. performance on Sunday. Tickets are $21, or $18 for students with ID and senior citizens. Shows take place at CenterStage at the Reston Community Center (2310 Colts Neck Road).
  • The Reston Farmers Market is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
  • The South Lakes High School “Spirit of Reston” Marching Band will hold a rummage sale Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the school (11400 South Lakes Drive). The event is slated to be held on the east side of the school, along Seahawks Drive; however, it will be moved inside if the weather does not cooperate.
  • The seventh annual “Be Amyazing!” Reston Youth Triathlon is scheduled for Sunday morning. It consists of a swim at Ridge Heights pool, a bike ride on roads near South Lakes High School and a run on Reston Association paths. Lengths are different for each age group.
  • Langston Hughes Middle School (11401 Ridge Heights Road) is presenting “Willy Wonka Jr.” this weekend. The show will be performed tonight at 7 p.m., and at 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday.
  • The NOVA Tour de Cure fundraising event of the American Diabetes Association is scheduled for Saturday, rain or shine, beginning at Reston Town Center.
  • Reston Chorale will present its “A Season to Remember” show, celebrating 50 years of the group, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive). Tickets at the door will be $30. Those 62 and over will be admitted for $25; youth 17 and under will be admitted free, as will active military.
  • Events at Reston Town Center this weekend include live music tonight from 6-10 p.m. at Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) and from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. tonight and Saturday at Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St., formerly World of Beer); wine tasting at Il Fornaio (11990 Market St.) Saturday from 3-5 p.m.; a Mother’s Day brunch at Mon Ami Gabi (11950 Democracy Drive) Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and more.
  • Lake Anne Brew House (11424 Washington Plaza W.) will host a special Mother’s Day “She’s Crafty” women’s beer event from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sunday.
  • Frying Pan Farm Park (2739 West Ox Road, Herndon) has a free Spring Farm Day planned for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The event will included hand-churned ice cream samples, a dairy exhibit, children’s activities and crafts, blacksmithing, and antique equipment demos.
  • Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp” remains on display at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through August.
  • Lake Anne is hosting Sunday Yoga on the Plaza each week, at 9:30 a.m.
  • Saturday from 2-3:30 p.m. at Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive), local historian Jim Lewis will share the story of Japan’s secret plans to attack the U.S. mainland during World War II.
  • Kalypso’s (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music tonight, 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., from Bushmaster with Gary Brown. DJ Kram will play Top 40 hits Saturday night.
  • Vinafera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) has live music from 7-10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night. This week they have Hilary Veltri tonight and Jason Masi tomorrow night.

by RestonNow.com — April 28, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

The last weekend in April is expected to bring hot weather, pushing the high 80s or even the low 90s. Summer is still almost two months away but it looks like this weekend will be a good early taste of it.

There are plenty of fun activities on the agenda for this weekend, whether you want to play outside or you’d rather be inside where it’s cool.

Here is just a sample of the events going on around the area this weekend.

  • Saturday marks the opening day of the Reston Farmers Market at Lake Anne Plaza. From 8 a.m. to noon, vendors will be offering their goods as the 20th season of the market kicks off. The Pink Armoire fashion bus will be a special guest this week.
  • Tonight, from 5:30-8 p.m., will be the Empty Bowls fundraiser at Floris United Methodist Church (13600 Frying Pan Road, Herndon). Proceeds go to Food for Others. Tickets will be $30 at the door.
  • The Mighty Mile kids’ race will be Sunday beginning at 8 a.m. at Reston Town Center. Kids ages 6-14 will run one mile; 4- and 5-year-olds will run a half-mile; and kids under 4 will participate in the Tot Dash.
  • South Lakes High School Theatre is performing “Beauty and the Beast” this weekend and next. This weekend’s shows are tonight and Saturday at 7 p.m., and at 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets at the door are $10-$12.
  • Reston Children’s Center (11825 Olde Crafts Drive) will host its Spring Carnival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It will include food, bounce castles, raffles and prizes, face painting, and carnival games.
  • The Mercury Fountain at Reston Town Center will be turned on for the season during a ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday. The event will include refreshments, family festivities and a dedication honoring Relay for Life.
  • Other events at Reston Town Center this weekend include Independent Bookstore Day at Scrawl Books (11862 Market St.), a cooking class at Il Fornaio (11990 Market St.), and live entertainment at World of Beer (1888 Explorer St.) tonight and Saturday.
  • Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp” remains on display at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through August.
  • The Reston Friends Semi-Annual Book Sale is going on all weekend at Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive).
  • The Meeting House at Frying Pan Farm Park (2739 West Ox Road, Herndon) served as a field hospital, encampment and picket post during the Civil War. From 1-3 p.m. Sunday, re-enactors, exhibits and a special guest speaker will share information about the lives of those soldiers.
  • Reston Association will host an open house at The Lake House on Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • First Blooms” by artist Dorothy Donahey will be on exhibit at Reston Art Gallery and Studios (11400 Washington Plaza W.), one last weekend. The gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
  • This will be the last weekend for “A Respite from Chaos” at Reston Community Center’s Jo Ann Rose Gallery (1609 Washington Plaza N.).
  • NextStop Theatre Company (269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon) is performing “Boeing, Boeing” through May 7. Performances this weekend are tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m., 2 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday, and a 7 p.m. showing Sunday. Tickets are $35-$55.
  • Lucky Dog Animal Rescue will have its “Puppy Palooza” on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. at Pet Valu (11160-E South Lakes Drive).
  • Kalypso’s (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music tonight, 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., from Holly Montgomery Band. DJ Kram will play Top 40 hits Saturday night.
  • Vinafera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) has live music from 7-10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night in April.

by RestonNow.com — April 26, 2017 at 2:45 pm 1 Comment

South Lakes High School Theatre will present its spring musical, “Beauty and the Beast,” beginning Friday night.

More than 100 actors, singers, musicians and technical crew from the South Lakes Performing Arts Department will be featured in the show. Maria L. Harris is the director.

Performances will be Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m.; and at 7 p.m. next Thursday through Saturday. Tickets are $8-$10 presale and $10-$12 at the door.

In addition, there will be two Disney-themed special events related to the show: a “Princess Tea” to meet the cast following Saturday’s matinee and a “Prince’s Ball” following the Friday, May 5 show. Tickets to each event are $5.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the South Lakes Theatre Arts Department’s website or call 703-715-4589.

Videos courtesy South Lakes High School Theatre

by Dave Emke — April 26, 2017 at 9:00 am 7 Comments

Full-Scale Terror Response Exercise Today — Fairfax County is one of six sites in the DC Metro area participating in a drill today “designed to prepare for the possibility of a complex coordinated terror attack in the region.” The county’s exercise site is the former Lorton Reformatory prison site. [Fairfax County Emergency Information]

Amazon to Move Into Herndon Office Tower — One Dulles Tower (13200 Woodland Park Drive) will be leased out by Amazon Web Service, the Washington Business Journal first reported. That building is just across the Toll Road from Amazon’s facility on Worldgate Drive. [Bisnow]

BXP First-Quarter Earnings Down from 2016 — Boston Properties, owner of Reston Town Center, announced Tuesday that profits are down 8.9 percent from the first quarter of 2016. Revenue fell 5.1 percent. In addition to the DC region, BXP has properties in Boston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. [Nasdaq]

Seahawks Soccer Team Ranked in Region — The South Lakes High School boys’ soccer team, 6-2-2 so far on the season, is ranked No. 8 in the Washington Post’s Metro region Top 10. The team next plays Thursday night at Hayfield. [Washington Post]

Golf Tournament Will Benefit Families of Heroes — The 47th annual HEROES Inc. golf tournament will be July 13-14 at Twin Lakes Golf Course in Clifton. The event benefits the HEROES scholarship fund, which provides financial aid and professional counsel to the surviving family members of law enforcement officers and firefighters who have been killed in the line of duty. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

by Dave Emke — April 25, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

J.McLaughlin Now Open at Reston Town Center — The new clothing store at 11932 Market St. opened to the public Monday. [Reston Town Center/Facebook]

Thermal Cameras Available for Home Inspections — Fairfax County residents can now reserve thermal imaging cameras for loan from any branch of the Fairfax County Public Library. The county says it is making the cameras available so that residents can inspect their home or business for hot and cold spots, which can indicate energy-saving opportunities. [Fairfax County]

SLHS Runner Takes Meet MVP Honors — Olivia Beckner (pictured) ran the 800 meters in 2 minutes, 16.03 seconds and the 1,600 meters in 5 minutes, 1.35 seconds on her way to winning the Most Valuable Female Track Athlete award at the recent Lake Braddock Hall of Fame Invitational. The SLHS track team next competes in the Penn Relays, Thursday through Saturday at the University of Pennsylvania. [Press Release]

Reston Man Up for Bowling Board — Adam Mitchell is one of four candidates for three seats on the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Board of Directors. Mitchell has been a board member for Nation’s Capital Area USBC since 2014, and is a current Virginia State Youth Director. The vote will be done this week during the group’s annual convention in Las Vegas. [USBC]

Photo of Olivia Beckner courtesy South Lakes High School track and field

by Dave Emke — April 24, 2017 at 11:30 am 2 Comments

For 23 students from South Lakes High School, spring break was a chance to travel to an exotic place — and also to help make the world a better place.

The students traveled to Ecuador during this month’s break to participate in a Fairfax County Public Schools service learning trip. Working with nonprofit organization Me to We, the students helped build classrooms in an indigenous community.

The SLHS students made up nearly half of the 48 total FCPS students on the trip. They were accompanied by SLHS Spanish teachers Sandra Rebello, Ana Viamonte and Kirsten Hope.

The students spent two days doing construction work at a school in the remote Amazon Basin village of Kanambu.

“Students who attend this school come from many communities and many have to walk over 6 hours to get to school,” Rebello said. “Students who live far away will stay at the school for the week and return home every Friday.”

Local students who traveled there were able to see the boarding accommodations of the school, which Rebello said were “extremely poor,” with no beds. About 400 students attend the school.

In addition to their work on the service project, local students spent a few days in Baños de Agua Santa, a town with 60 waterfalls. They were able to swim in thermal baths, Rebello said. Students also visited the equator and Yunguilla, a sustainable development community in the cloud forest.

“Our Seahawks were amazing and represented our school well,” Rebello said of the trip.

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