Reston Association to Host ‘World’s Largest Swimming Lesson’

Reston Association will host the 10th annual “World’s Largest Swimming Lesson” at Lake Newport this month.

The event, which is set for Thursday, June 20, is a global public relations event that encourages the worldwide aquatics industry to build awareness about water safety and awareness.

The initiative was started by the World Waterpark Association in 2010, according to its website. It is set for 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

In a Reston Today video, Willa Suter, RA’s aquatics program manager, hopes the event at Lake Newport will be a success.

Video via Reston Today/YouTube

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Registration Now Open for Reston Youth Superhero Splash and Dash

Registration is now open for kids interested in participating in the CORE Foundation’s second annual Reston Youth Superhero Splash and Dash.

The event, which is set for Sunday, Aug. 18, gives kids a chance to show off their swimming and running skills. Registration is open for children between age 6 and 15.

The pool swim takes place at the Lake Audubon pool and the run course takes place on a nearby section of Reston pathways.

Organizers say the event focuses on “participation rather than competition and making every athlete feel like a superhero.” All participants will receive a medal, goodie bag and other swag. Athletes can also enjoy snow cones and finish line snacks.

Volunteers will be dressed like superheroes. The event is sanctioned by USA Triathlon and made possible through a partnership with the Reston Association.

Registration is $30 and a $10 USAT membership fee. Online registration opened late last week.

Photo via CORE Foundation

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Pool Closures Continue as Reston Association Looks to Hire More Lifeguards

Several of Reston Association’s 15 pools will be closed for the second weekend in a row due to a shortage of lifeguards. The association is working actively to hire more lifeguards and closed some pools this weekend due to safety precautions.

After closures over Memorial Day weekend, all aquatics facilities except Lake Thoreau pool, were open as scheduled during the weekdays. Lake Thoreau’s pool opened Thursday evening after shattered glass was found inside the pool over the weekend. RA believes the pool was vandalized.

The following pools will be closed tomorrow (June 1):

  • Autumnwood
  • Golf Course Island
  • Lake Audubon
  • Newbridge
  • Shadowood

The following pools will be closed on Sunday (June 2):

  • Dogwood
  • Golf Course Island
  • Shadowood
  • Tall Oaks

In a statement, RA’s CEO Hank Lynch apologized for the closures.

“Like many community and recreational associations in our area, RA is trying to meet the challenge of hiring staff for various summertime positions,” he wrote.

RA will host one or two job fairs to hire staff for its pools, typically high school and college students. The organization adjusts its seasonal pool schedule to coincide with the availability of students who are off from school. Interested applicants can apply online.

Photo by Leslie Sogandares

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Reston Youth Triathlon Set to Return for Ninth Annual Fundraiser

The yearly triathlon just for kids is back.

The ninth annual Reston Youth Triathlon will take place Sunday, May 12, at the South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive).

The triathlon includes athletes swimming in the heated Ridge Heights pool, biking near South Lakes High School and then running on Reston Association paths before finishing at the school’s stadium.

The triathlon is open to kids ages 6 to 15 with different distances for the triathlon’s three parts based on age groups. Registration opened on Jan. 16.

The fundraising “Be Amyazing!” triathlon began three years after “Amy’s Amigos” was founded in 2008 to honor Amy Boyle, who was battling brain cancer.

In past years, the triathlon has raised $125,000 for the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation, which helps social entrepreneurs and small organizations.

The event is coordinated in conjunction with the CORE Foundation.

Photo via Core Foundation

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New Year, New Pool: What’s in Store for RCC’s Aquatics Center

The Reston Community Center kicked off the more than $5 million renovation of the Reston Community Center’s Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center today (Jan. 2).

Contractor Branch & Associates started the work today on the project, which will update the 40-year-old aquatics center with two pools.

After the final open swim time ended yesterday, the process of draining the pool began.

That process starts with neutralizing the pool water for several days to allow chlorine to dissipate before slowly draining the water, ensuring that it does not erode stream banks downstream of the pool.

“Draining the water is a controlled process to avoid overwhelming any part of the surrounding environment,” RCC’s Executive Director Leila Gordon who said that the team will follow strict environmental standards throughout the process.

In addition to Gordon, the project team includes Branch Project Manager Bill Ruschaupt, RCC’s Deputy Director John Blevins and Martha Sansaver, Karen Davis and Geoff Kimmel from DPWES.

Branch & Associates was selected as the contracting firm for the project after Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services opened a pre-bid qualification process in October.

RCC chose mosaic artist Valerie Theberge to create a mosaic artwork installation for the large wall areas adjacent to the pool overlook area.

Gordon said that the new artwork by Theberge — the artist behind the Glade Drive underpass and a mosaic water feature at Dogwood Pool — will “add to Reston’s wonderful public art collection.”

The renovated facility, designed by RRMM-Lukmire Architects, will include a 25-yard lap pool with zero-depth entry, a warm-water therapeutic pool, updated infrastructure systems and a new roof. It is slated to reopen in the fall.

During the construction period, Reston patrons can receive discounted rates, which are offered through RCCs’ partnership with the YMCA Fairfax County RestonReston Association and Herndon Community Center.

Renderings via Reston Community Center

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Photos and Results: A Rainy 35th Annual Reston Triathlon

The results of the 35th annual Reston Triathlon are in the books. The community race, which happened on Sunday, drew contestants and participants despite the rain.

A harmful algae bloom on Lake Audubon, discovered on Thursday, forced Reston Association to cancel the swim portion of the triathlon. As of Monday (September 10), RA advises against touching the water, which has algae that can produce toxins that are lethal to livestock, fish, and people.

The overall winners in the male division were:

  1. Sean Pinkney, 34: 2 hours, 3 minutes, 16 seconds
  2. Jacob Gilden, 30: 2:07:25
  3. Noah Kennedy, 21: 2:07:30

In the female division, overall winners were:

  1. Raquel Torres, 37: 2 hours, 10 minutes, 17 seconds
  2. Ekaterina Pinkney, 34: 2:23:26
  3. Kristine Wooten, 30: 2:28:18

In the individual age groups, the winners were:

  1. Sean Pinkney, 34, Male: 2 hours, 3 minutes, 16 seconds
  2. Jacob Gilden, 30, Male: 2:07:25
  3. Noah Kennedy, 21, Male: 2:07:30
  4. Bryan Rivera, 34, Male: 2:08:25
  5. Andrew Gyenis, 24, Male: 2:08:54
  6. Raquel Torres, 37, Female: 2:10:17
  7. Kevin Wright, 29, Male: 2:11:33
  8. Wiehan Peyper, 32, Male: 2:16:52
  9. Paul Cutler, 50, Male: 2:18:31
  10. Ryan Luczak, 17, Male: 2:18:31

Neil Medoff and Rich Uhrig also received an award for perfect attendance. They attended every Reston Triathlon for the last 35 years.

Photos via Reston Triathlon/Facebook and Brian Kent

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Renovation of Reston Community Center’s Aquatics Center On Track

The renovation of the Reston Community Center’s Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center is on track to begin in January. The center’s roof will also be replaced, adding an expense of roughly $300,000 to the overall $5.5 million budget.

Construction costs have been driven up due to last year’s hurricane seasons, which created labor and material shortages and the impact of the Trump administration’s actions on tariffs. According to the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, construction costs have increased between 16 and 20 percent.

Despite changes in construction costs, the project is expected to remain on-budget, according to Leila Gordon, RCC’s director. Expected cost increases will be absorbed by using $45,000 previously allocated to replace the building’s hot water heater and year-end surpluses.

“Our reserves profile will remain well in excess of $1 million for both FY19 and FY20,” Gordon said.

Thus far, the pool will remain open until construction begins. Patrons will be given information about the project and other swimming options in September.

Gordon said she is confident the pool will offer a “modern, mechanically efficient environment” to serve patrons for the next couple of decades. Reston patrons can use the Herndon Community Center by paying 10 percent more than Herndon residents — a decrease from the usual 25 percent upcharge.

The Board and staff remain convinced that this renovation project is going to be of great benefit to the community – nearly doubling our present service capacity for different aquatics programming and service options,” she said.

Construction is expected to be complete in October of next year.

Renderings via Reston Community Center

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Save the Date: First Annual Reston Youth Splash and Dash

The first annual Reston Youth Splash and Dash will offer kids between the ages of 6 and 15 an introduction to a triathlon with a combination of swimming and running.

The event, presented by CORE Foundation in cooperation with the Reston Association, will take place on August 26 (Saturday) at 8:30 p.m. in the Lake Audubon Pool.

Organizers indicated the purpose of the event is participation rather than competition. An “aquathlon” combines running and swimming.

Participants will receive a goody bag and medals. Snow cones will be provided by Kona Ice. All proceeds from the event will benefit “Kids Helping Kids,” a program that creates opportunities for low-income youth to participate in triathlons. Participants will determine how to fundraise, whether through a personal fundraising company and by creating a lemonade stand.

Children who are five years old will participate in a 50-meter swim and a 1k run. Participants between the age of 6 and 10 will take part in a 100-meter swim and a 1k run while participants between the age of 11 and 15 will take part in the 200-meter swim and 2k run.

Registration is open online.

Photo via USA Triathlon

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31st Annual Jim McDonnell Lake Swim Returns to Lake Audubon

The Reston Masters Swim Team will host the 31st annual Jim McDonnell Lake Swim on Sunday at Lake Audubon.

The swim has been held every Memorial Day weekend since 1988, according to the team’s website. In 1999, it was named in honor of McDonnell, a founding member of the team who was on the committee that first organized the swim. McDonnell died from lymphoma in 2016.

Reston Masters is excited to host the 2018 U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS) Middle Distance Open Water National Championship,” said Reston Masters President Brian Evans. “Our 2-mile swim is the kickoff race of the USMS championship series and we are ready to deliver a top-notch, well-organized experience for JMLS competitors.”

Up to 200 swimmers will vie for national champion status. Swimmers take part in a two-mile open water loop around Lake Audubon. This year, two visually impaired swimmers are competing, along with a young woman trying to qualify for the U.S. Special Olympics

A practice swim will take place on Saturday.

Proceeds from this year’s event will be donated to Lymphoma charities. In the past, recipients have included Herndon-Reston Fish, Inc. and the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

More information about the event is available online.

Here’s more about the event from the organizers:

Swimmers of all abilities compete every year. This year’s field includes elite swimmers like 66-year old Shirley Loftus-Charley, a USMS All-American and All-Stars champion and record holder, who is competing in her 31st consecutive JMLS.

Swimmers in the 30-34 year age group will be watching out for distance swimmer and triathlete Shannon Greene. Shannon has placed first in the 1-mile race three times, and has taken first in the 2-mile twice.

“You can expect to see some fast swim times,” said Evans.

One swimmer is hoping to score a qualifying time to compete with Special Olympics USA, and two visually impaired swimmers are also taking on the challenge.

Competitors will swim counter-clockwise around buoys over a 1-mile course. Those swimming the 2-mile race will make the trip twice.

Photo by Ryan Dawson

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Get Info on Water Safety, Local Swim Lessons For the Kids This Weekend

Get your kids swim-ready this weekend with all the water safety tips your family needs, along with information about both private and group swim lessons in Reston.

May is National Water Safety Month, and Reston Community Center (RCC) is kicking it off with a day full of important safety information, as well as help determining what level your child is at with his or her swimming skills, in order to figure out which lessons are best to sign up for.

The RCC Water Safety Day event will take place at the Ridge Heights Pool, 11400 Ridge Heights Road, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, May 5.

“We want all kids in Reston to be safe around water; it’s especially important in our community as Reston is justly renowned for the abundance of pools, streams and lakes available here for everyone to enjoy,” says RCC Aquatics Director Matt McCall.

RCC offers Level 1 and 2 swim classes for Reston residents ages 6 to 12 free of charge during the months of July and August. Information on the classes will be provided at Water Safety Day, and families can register their children online via WebTrac. Two- and four-week group swimming lessons are also offered beginning in June. Registration for these classes begins the week of May 7. Families can also sign up for private lessons according to their own schedules.

RCC also works with the Reston Association to offer a Drowning Education Awareness Program (DEAP) throughout the year, including two land-based water safety awareness programs for youth and civic organizations, which are offered free of charge to the community.

McCall says RCC is also working to organize CPR classes off-site. Groups of residents interested in organizing one for their neighborhood can call 703-390-6150 to arrange to have RCC staff come speak to them about the possibility.

Meanwhile, bring the kids to RCC’s Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center (2310 Colts Neck Road) anytime in the month of May to pick up a free water safety coloring and activity book and a water safety pledge.

File Photo: Ridge Heights Pool

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Some Reston Association Pool Hours May Be Reinstated in 2018

Some pool hours that were lost in the 2017 schedule may return in 2018, after recommendations from Reston Association’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC).

During their special budget session Monday afternoon (video), the Reston Association Board of Directors voted to guide staff toward listening to PRAC’s recommendations when setting guidelines for the 2018 pool schedule.

The recommendations are to:

  • Prior to Memorial Day: reinstate Monday-Friday weekday hours at the two open pools
  • Memorial Day through end of school: ensure there is one pool in each district available by 10 a.m. on weekdays
  • Through mid-August: reinstate the “closed day” to just once a week at most pools, as opposed to twice a week
  • Mid-August through first day of school: continue to adjust operating hours at certain pools based on member feedback, and continue to reopen additional facilities for Labor Day weekend.

The suggested changes would add $2.88 to the projected assessment rate for 2018, RA staff has calculated. Restoring all of the pool hours that were cut in this year’s schedule would tack on an additional $1.60.

“The recommendation that is before you, by the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, was worked on with staff,” CEO Cate Fulkerson said, addressing a director’s question about concerns with finding seasonal workers for the pools. “Staff believes that it can achieve [these changes, but] it does not believe it can go back to the full-scale set of hours that we had in 2016.”

Members provided feedback about pool hours during listening sessions held by RA directors in May and June. In addition, member feedback on the issue was collected during a feedback session with the Board earlier this month. Fulkerson said about 25 members attended and shared their thoughts.

Director Julie Bitzer (South Lakes District) is the Board’s liaison to PRAC. She said she believes the recommended changes address the majority of comments that were received about the schedule.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the Reston Association Board of Directors voted to give their backing to:

  • paying off the Lake House loan from reserves (reducing $8.66 in projected 2018 assessment rate), as well as ending afterschool and other programming there (reducing between $3.31 and $6.80 in projected 2018 assessment rate)
  • adding two seasonal workers to assist with litter pickup efforts (adding $1.93 to projected 2018 assessment rate) and purchasing 10 more trash cans at a cost of $900 each (adding 43 cents to projected 2018 assessment rate)
  • making accessibility improvements to Walker Nature Center, at a cost of $30,000 (adding $1.42 to projected 2018 assessment rate), along with $50,000 to be contributed by Friends of Reston
  • appropriating $2.9 million to the 2018 Repair, Replacement & Reserve Fund

The Board also discussed the potential of adding a post-DRB project approval inspector, whose job would be to “ensure that members have built their DRB approved projects in accordance with the plans and specifications submitted to the DRB for approval.” Adding the position would have a $2.65 impact on the projected 2018 assessment rate. The Board chose to defer making a guidance decision on that position until their Sept. 28 meeting.

Directors also discussed a member request to stop mowing medians, which would save RA about $54,860 and reduce the 2018 assessment rate by $2.60. Directors agreed that as the Virginia Department of Transportation would only do the work three times a year, as opposed to the 16-18 times a year it is done by RA, discontinuing the effort at the local level would seriously harm the appearance of the community. The Board voted not to back the recommendation.

All votes at Monday’s meeting were for guidance purposes only as the second draft of the budget is compiled. No official decisions have yet been made.

Board guidance on the second draft of the 2018 budget must be completed at their Sept. 28 meeting. Another community budget session is slated for Sunday, Oct. 15, followed by public hearings on Oct. 26 and Oct. 30. The budget is to be approved, and the assessment rate set, during the Board’s Nov. 16 meeting.

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Friday Morning Notes

‘Fill The Boot’ Campaign Sets All-Time Record — In its Labor Day Weekend campaign to raise money for the Greater Washington MDA and for Hurricane Harvey relief, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue raised $631,278.65. That is the highest total raised by any municipality in the history of the campaign. Half a million dollars from the drive will be donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, while the other $131,278.65 went to the disaster relief fund. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Pool Schedule Input Session is Sunday — The Reston Association Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee will be available on Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon during an open house at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Avenue) to collect member input on the 2017 pool schedule, as well as thoughts and suggestions about what should be done in 2018. [Reston Now]

Inmate Dies After Medical Event in County Jail Cell — Detectives are investigating the death of a 53-year-old inmate who suffered a medical emergency in her cell on Aug. 31. The inmate died Thursday at a hospital in Fairfax. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Canned Food Will Be Connected at Football Game — At tonight’s high school football game between South Lakes and Oakton, being played at OHS (2900 Sutton Road), fans are encouraged to bring canned food to be donated to hurricane victims. [South Lakes Student Government Association]

Nuclear Fuel Developer Signs New Deal — Reston-based nuclear fuel developer Lightbridge Corp. has signed a binding agreement with a North Carolina company for a joint venture to commercialize and manufacture a new line of advanced metallic fuel for nuclear plants. [Washington Business Journal]

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What’s Going On Around Reston This Weekend?

It’s the last weekend in August, and school starts Monday.

It’s not even Labor Day yet, but it’s an unofficial end of summer.

With that comes the end of many of the events that have defined the season in Reston. Reston Station’s “Summerbration” series ends this weekend, as does Reston Town Center’s summer concert series.

This also marks the end of the season for much of Reston Association’s swimming pool schedule. North Shore and Ridge Heights pools are the only locations where daily hours will continue after this weekend, though Lake Audubon and Lake Newport pools will open for Labor Day Weekend.

Kids and families, take advantage of these last two days before the school bell rings Monday.

Below are many of the fun events that are going on this weekend, for the young ones and the adults alike.

(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the 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.)

  • The “Summerbration” comes to a close this weekend at Reston Station. Tonight from 7-9 p.m., The Swingin’ Swamis will perform. Saturday night from 8:30-10:30 p.m., there will be a free screening of “The Little Mermaid.” The Summerbration events are in the plaza outside the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. (Note: To receive free parking for these events, parking tickets need to be validated by personnel on the plaza. Find the sign that reads “Parking Validation Here.”)
  • Saturday night, Reston Town Center’s summer concert series wraps up with a show from David Akers and the Soul Shakers from 7:30-10 p.m. at the pavilion (11900 Market St.). Parking at RTC is free on the weekends.
  • Hours for humans at Dogwood and North Hills pools may have ended, but there’s still fun to be had there for their four-legged friends. Reston Association will host two “Dog Paddle” events this weekend, at Dogwood Pool (2460 Green Range Road) on Saturday and at North Hills Pool (1325 North Village Road) on Sunday. Each day, the events will go from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost to register is $4 for dogs of Reston Association members and $6 for dogs of non-members.
  • Potomac River Running will put on the sixth-annual South Lakes 10K on Sunday at 7:30 a.m., beginning at SLHS (11400 South Lakes Drive).
  • Reston Bicycle Club’s 35th annual Century ride will roll off at 6:30 a.m. Sunday from the pavilion at Reston Town Center. Three hundred slots are being held of same-day walk-ups. In addition to the 100-mile ride, there are 31- and 62-mile routes available.
  • The Reston Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lake Anne Village Center.
  • Lake Anne is also hosting Sunday Yoga on the Plaza each week, at 9:30 a.m.
  • Interested in stand-up paddleboarding? Surf Reston is offering sessions this weekend on Lake Anne. Advance registration is required. In addition, there will be SUP yoga from 9-11 a.m. Saturday.
  • Many restaurants and bars in Reston will have live music this weekend. These include: Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) from 7-10 p.m every Friday and Saturday night; Crafthouse (1888 Explorer St.) every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; and Tavern64 (1800 Presidents St.) every Friday from 6-10 p.m.
  • Kalypso’s Sports Tavern (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music from Revelator Hill tonight from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Saturday night, DJ Kram will play Top 40 hits.
  • Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor square off Saturday night in one of the most anticipated professional fights in history. Many sports bars in Herndon, Tysons, Sterling and elsewhere in the area will be showing it on the big screen.
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Opportunity to Speak Out About Pool Schedule To Be Provided Next Month

Reduced pool hours in the 2017 schedule drew the ire of many in the Reston community.

Now that the season is nearing its end, those members and others will have the opportunity to share feedback from their summer experiences.

The Reston Association Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee will be made available on Sunday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to noon during an open house at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Avenue). They will be collecting member input on the 2017 pool schedule, as well as thoughts and suggestions about what should be done in 2018.

This year, no pools were open on weekdays prior to Memorial Day. (In 2016, both the North Shore and Ridge Heights pools were open from 1-7 p.m. each weekday beginning May 14.) Through June 23, only four pools were open on weekdays, with one (Glade) open only three hours a night.

In addition, as school is starting next week — one week earlier than in past years — North Shore and Ridge Heights will be the only two pools open the week preceding Labor Day, from 4-7 p.m. each evening. However, RA has announced that Lake Audubon and Lake Newport pools will both be opened for Labor Day weekend.

North Shore and Ridge Heights pools will remain open on weekends and weeknights through Sept. 24.

Mike Leone, communications director for Reston Association, told Reston Now in April that the 2017 schedule was developed as part of an effort to “identify significant cost savings.”

“During the 2017 budget development process, the Board directed staff to identify significant cost savings in the budget to accommodate other strategic goals. Based on facility usage data collected over the past three years that shows a decline in pool attendance as well as feedback from the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors approved pool schedule options by which the proposed aquatics budget could be reduced while still serving the interests of the membership as a whole.”

Members brought up concerns about the pool schedule during general member input sessions earlier this year. Those suggestions are being considered by the RA Board of Directors as part of their budget process.

Anyone who has input to share but is unable to attend the Sept. 10 event is invited to email comments to [email protected].

The Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee is scheduled to make a report on the issue to the Board of Directors at a budget work session Sept. 18.

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Thursday Morning Notes

RA Board Meets Tonight — The Reston Association Board of Directors will hold its monthly meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). The meeting will also be streamed live on RA’s YouTube channel. [Reston Association/YouTube]

Free Concert Tonight at Lake Anne — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will continue tonight with a performance by rockabilly group Four Star Combo. [Lake Anne Plaza]

Herndon Man Killed in Maryland Crash — Hui Xu, 34, was struck head-on by a wrong-way driver at about 2 a.m. Wednesday on Route 50 near Annapolis. [NBC Washington]

Swim League Marks 35 Years — In an event Saturday, the Herndon Swim League celebrated the anniversary with a championship competition, an all-star swim, an alumni swim and the handing out of scholarships. [Connection Newspapers]

Connector Seeks Feedback on Possible Changes — Two meetings will be held in August to discuss proposed changes to Fairfax Connector routes and to gather community responses. One of the routes up for discussion is Route 551 (South Lakes Drive). [Fairfax Connector]

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