Reston, VA

Wednesday Morning Notes

Alcorn to Host Budget Town Hall — Hunter. Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn is hosting a town hall on Friday at 12:30 p.m. to discuss the updated budget for the next fiscal year. Residents can take part by submitting Facebook Live comments, emailing video, and calling in during the meeting. [Patch]

Letter from Reston Association Hank Lynch — Lynch says that the core business of the association continues. Work on capital projects,  including the dredging and dock replacement at Lake. Staff are making contingency plans for later starts for various events and activities. [Reston Association]

Herndon Village Network Answers the Call — The network, which is part of the county’s Neighbor to Neighbor program, has offered volunteer rides for older adults. Recently, the network coordinated grocery drop-offs for residents. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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For National Volunteer Week, the Reston Association is celebrating local do-gooders.

Roughly 1,400 individuals contributed 6,900 hours of volunteer time to community projects last year, according to the website. The RA chose to recognize several individuals for their work in 2019 with the annual Reston Service Awards.

Instead of an in-person reception due to concerns over COVID19, the RA said it will celebrate award winners by highlighting their “outstanding” work on social media accounts and electronic campaigns.

All of the winners are a part of Volunteer Reston. “The mission of Volunteer Reston is to enhance Reston Association’s services and programs by matching the talents of individuals and groups of all ages, interests and skills to a variety of engaging projects and endeavors,” the website said.

Detailed bios of award winners can be found online.

Individual award winners include:

  • Surekha Sridhar for Volunteer of the Year
  • Kevin Alegre for Youth Volunteer of the Year
  • Susan Beffel and Irwin Flashman for Volunteers Over 55

Group award winners include:

“Volunteerism is deeply rooted in Reston’s history and was one of the core principles of Reston founder Robert E. Simon Jr.,” the RA press release said.

Photo via Reston Association

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Despite its temporary closure, a Reston-based makerspace challenged volunteers to supply hospitals and medical staff with lifesaving personal protective equipment.

Nova Labs, a local volunteer-based non-profit, used to serve as a place of ideation for kids and creative community members but decided to switch focus after health concerns from COVID19 shutdown non-essential businesses and gathering places in Virginia. Lab volunteers are now creating medical masks, plastic face shields and other essential equipment to keep people healthy, according to Margie Foster, one of the project’s coordinators.

Foster said she became involved after another member, Paul Chase, began tinkering with designs for face masks in his basement.

“I jumped in and was like ‘let’s make sure someone needs it, we are informed by the field and make sure we have places to donate it before we go all in,'” Foster said.

To keep volunteers safe and obey social distancing rules, Nova Labs sent 3D printers home with “altruistic” members who knew how to use them, so they can create the plastic pieces for face shields now required by nurses and doctors, Foster said.

Nova Labs isn’t the sole coordinator of this project though, Foster said. Micro Center in Fairfax and its manager Jeff Katz donated 50-kilogram spools of the colorful plastic filament to the cause, which would typically retail over $1,000.

Other volunteers include Eric Offerman from LaserThing.com and Brad Hess at makersmiths.org who have both been laser cutting plastic shields and donating materials as well.

To help with the assembly of the products, Nova Labs recruited local families who are looking for things to do now that schools are closed and some are off work.

Already, the group’s volunteers have managed to send over 550 face shields to Howard University Hospital and other area medical centers, according to Nova Labs Facebook page. In the coming weeks, Foster added that the team has the capability to branch out to adjust to new and unique needs.

In the early stages, some hospitals that originally agreed to use the personal protective equipment made by Nova Labs had to call the program coordinators back since their policies kept changing with uncertain guidelines regarding the ability to accept homemade equipment.

“A lot of the hospital policies are still trying to come up to speed with what is happening,” she said. “They are trying to change on the fly too.”

Going forward, Foster said she is concerned about what will happen as competition for the plastic face mask material intensifies. Already, producers of the shield material are backlogged with orders and prices keep rising due to high demand, according to Foster.

“We are in competition with like Pepsi,” she said. “They use the same material for their bottles.”

Still, team members associated with Nova Lab are dedicated to the cause, according to Foster.

“The bulk of this project has been funded out of pocket by the makers,” she said.

Those interested in helping the cause can donate online.

Photo via Nova Labs/Facebook

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn is encouraging residents to give back to their communities as growing concerns about the coronavirus prompt event cancellations and working remotely.

Alcorn, who represents Vienna and Reston on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, took to social media last week to let local organizations and nonprofits know that his office wants to connect them to volunteers and needed assistance.

“Whenever we have the opportunity to step up and help, we should,” Alcorn said. “There’s a lot of concern in the community.”

As of Sunday, March 15, the Virginia Department of Health says there are 10 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Fairfax County — a number that officials say is expected to grow.

Alcorn said that local organizations are expecting higher demands for food and assistance, especially from people who work in the service industries who have limited or no sick leave and for seniors, who are at a higher risk of getting more severely ill from the virus.

“The anxiety level, particularly for seniors, is very high,” he said, noting that there is a “sizable” elderly community in the Hunter Mill District. “I think we can do a lot as we get through this public health challenge by reaching out to our more vulnerable communities and our neighbors and let them know that we care.”

By Friday (March 13), Alcorn’s office had created a “How to Help Your Neighbors” list on the Hunter Mill District page on the Fairfax County website.

“Locally, specifically in Hunter Mill, we’re focusing on giving folks something to do,” he said, adding that his office is helping to connect people who want to help with organizations that need extra volunteers.

Expecting a higher demand for underresourced families, Cornerstones, a local nonprofit organization that aims to promote self-sufficiency, is looking for donations to help with meal delivery and its food pantry.

Embry Rucker Community Shelter, which is run by Cornerstones, is seeking donations of tissues, hand sanitizer and cleaning products, Alcorn said.

The Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center and Connections for Hope Partnership in Herndon are also looking for cleaning products, he said.

Several organizations, like Second Story in the Vienna area, are asking for gift cards instead of volunteers.

Other opportunities on Alcorn’s list in the Reston area include “non-contact” drivers needed for Meals on Wheels deliveries in the Lawyer’s Road area and donations to Reston-based Shelter House.

People interested in the local organizations’ opportunities focused on the coronavirus can also check out Alcorn’s email newsletter and social media accounts.

“You can contact any of the organizations or call [my] office,” he said. “We’re going to continue expanding the list of needs.”

Alcorn emphasized “one overall need that also we want to make sure gets out there” — blood donations.

“A lot of folks donate blood to Inova,” he said. “We don’t want to get into a situation where [there’s] a low blood supply.”

Additionally, Alcorn is urging people to take “normal precautions,” like practicing good hygiene and frequent hand washing.

“My hope and expectation are that our community will rise to the occasion,” he said.

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A new volunteer tradition aims to keep the Hunters Woods neighborhood clean.

The first annual Hunters Woods Clean-Up Day will take place on Sunday (Nov. 3) beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the Hunters Woods Fellowship House (2231 Colts Neck Road). Volunteers will improve the appearance of the neighborhood, according to the event’s Facebook page.

The event is sponsored by the Hunters Woods Neighborhood Coalition, which will provide the supplies for volunteers including gloves and trash bags.

During the event, volunteers will clean neighboring areas ranging from Hunters Woods at Trails Edge to Hunters Woods Village Condominiums.

All community members are welcome to swing by help the cause.

After the event, snacks and hot drinks will be provided for volunteers, according to the event page.

Image via Google Maps

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With the holiday season approaching, organizations are setting up campaigns to help those in need.

The Reston Community Center teamed up with the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and Cornerstones to collect food and basic necessities, while Food For Neighbors is sponsoring an online fundraiser to provide meals for those struggling with food insecurity.

On the Food For Neighbors’ website, anyone can donate money to help feed families. They are asking for amounts in $50 increments, which will provide a meal for one family.

Under the RCC, there are more than a dozen locations where people can drop off non-perishable items, including food, paper towels, plastic bins and hygiene items.

They are looking for food items that are unopened, unused and unexpired, including coffee, tea, canned products, oatmeal, dry beans and rice, peanut butter, jellies, flour, sugar, condiments and cooking oil.

Volunteers can sign up online to sort the items.

Below, is a list of locations where people can drop off new items.

  • RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road)
  • RCC Lake Anne (1609-A N. Washington Plaza)
  • Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce (1886 Metro Center Drive, Suite 230)
  • Atlantic Union Bank (1800 Robert Fulton Drive, Suite 105)
  • Hunter Mill District Office (1801 Cameron Glen Drive)
  • Guide Post Montessori Herndon (13251 Woodland Park Road)
  • Long and Foster Realtors (2100 Reston Pkwy, Suite 102)
  • Reston Association — HQ (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive)
  • Reston Associaton — Central Services Facility (12250 Sunset Hills Road)
  • Reston Association — Walker Nature Center (11450 Glade Drive)
  • State Farm Insurance (11868 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 200)
  • Tall Oaks Assisted Living (12052 North Shore Drive)
  • The Harrison at Reston Town Center (1800 Jonathan Way)
  • Washington Hilton Dulles (13869 Park Center Road)
  • YMCA Fairfax County Reston (12196 Sunset Hills Road)

Photo via Facebook

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The Reston Association recently unveiled the winners of the Volunteer Reston Service Awards, which recognize people, groups and community businesses who helped serve the community through various volunteer projects each year.

Doug Britt, who has helped collect environmental data, and Cindy Metcalf, who coordinates and leads classes on how to start a garden, both nabbed the top honor as “Volunteers of the Year.”

Here are the rest of the winners for the different categories:

  • 55+ Volunteer: Don Coram
  • Group Volunteer Service: Southgate Community Center Advisory Council
  • Community Partner of the Year: Public Affairs Support Services, Inc.
  • Committee and/or Work Group Volunteer of the Year: Pony Barn Working Group

A reception on April 18 at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Avenue) will celebrate the volunteers.

Photo via Facebook

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You may have noticed some new faces this February around McNair Elementary School (2499 Thomas Jefferson Drive).

About 15 volunteers from Fannie Mae’s Reston office have been helping out at the school.

“As a new partner, the firm has offered to provide volunteers on a monthly basis as a way to give back to the Reston and Herndon communities,” according to Fairfax County Public Schools.

The volunteers have been busy supporting read-aloud initiatives and the school’s holiday luncheon, according to FCPS.

The school community can expect the volunteers to help through the end of the year.

Image via Google Maps

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Calling all Fairfax County volunteers — nominations recently opened for the 2019 Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards.

Established in 1993, the awards honor individuals, groups and organizations that have volunteered through a broad range of activities and programs that primarily benefitted the Fairfax County community.

The nominees are required to have completed their service hours in either Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, the Town of Herndon, the Town of Vienna or the City of Falls Church, unless nominated for the RSVP Competitive Award.

Individuals and groups can be nominated in one of 14 competitive categories and four non-competitive categories. Some of the categories are broken down by “youth,” “adult” and “senior” awards.

The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, Feb. 8, at 5 p.m.

All nominees will receive a complimentary invitation to Volunteer Fairfax’s annual county-wide volunteer recognition event, which takes place on April 24 at the Waterford in Springfield.

Photo via Volunteer Fairfax 

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Do you know an avid volunteer? Nominations opened today (Jan. 4) for the Reston Association Volunteer Reston Service Awards.

Each year the awards recognize people, groups and community businesses who helped serve the community through various volunteer projects.

Nominees are not required to live in Reston, but must have volunteered for at least one year in Reston and contributed either 30 volunteer hours as an individual or 50 hours as a group during 2018, according to the guidelines.

Categories include the following:

  • Youth Volunteer
  • 55+ Volunteer
  • Youth Group Volunteer
  • Family Volunteer
  • Group Volunteer Service
  • Community Partner of the Year
  • Committee and/or Work Group Volunteer of the Year

Locals have until 5 p.m. on Feb. 8 to submit nominations with a completed form, a narrative up to 400 words, a reference and supplemental materials. Submissions can be sent via email to [email protected] or by mail to 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive.

The 2018 award winners will be unveiled at a ceremony from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 18 at The Lake House (11450 Baron Cameron Avenue).

Photo via Reston Association

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Herndon PD Plays Soccer with Students — In what has become an annual tradition, on Monday the Herndon Police Department took on eighth-grade students from Herndon Middle School in a soccer match. HMS led 2-0 at halftime and was able to stave off an HPD comeback effort to win, 3-2. [Herndon Police Department/Facebook]

Changes Possible for Section 8 Program — The Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development will host a listening session tonight from 6:30-8 p.m. at Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) to discuss how current and future federal budget reductions are expected to have a significant impact on the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. [Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority]

‘CarFit’ Helps Seniors in Vehicles — A Fairfax County Police Department program provides a checklist to help older drivers be more comfortable and safe as they drive. In an 8-minute video, the program is explained and demonstrated. [Fairfax County Police Department/Facebook]

RSVP Seeks New Volunteers — The region’s largest volunteer network for people 55 and older will hold an orientation event for prospective volunteers on Tuesday, Nov. 7, at 1:30 p.m. at Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive). [RSVP Northern Virginia]

Buses Will Be on Holiday Schedule Monday — If you plan to ride the Fairfax Connector on Columbus Day, make sure you’re aware of any route changes that may be in effect. [Fairfax Connector]

Image courtesy Herndon Police Department on Facebook

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Monday Morning Notes

2 Dead in Great Falls Crash — A 26-year-old Annandale man and a 23-year-old Great Falls woman were killed in an automobile crash at about 7 p.m. Saturday in the 10500 block of Beach Mill Road. A 15-year-old girl, reported by the Washington Post to be the woman’s sister, also suffered life-threatening injuries in the crash. The Post says the two victims were Virginia Tech students who planned to marry. [Fairfax County Police Department/Washington Post]

County Promoting Car-Free Commuting This Week — Fairfax County is encouraging residents to go car-free for a day and try an alternative to drive-alone commuting during Try Transit Week. Participants will be eligible to win prizes include SmarTrip cards and more. [Fairfax County Department of Transportation]

Volunteers Needed for Reston Expo — Volunteers are needed to assist with setup, parking, children’s activities and more at Sept. 30’s Reston Expo. Everyone who signs up to volunteer will receive lunch, snacks, drinks and a volunteer T-shirt. To volunteer, or for more information, contact Ha Brock at [email protected] or call 703-435-7986. [Volunteer Reston]

FCPD Warns of Jury Duty Scam — Once again, the Fairfax County Police Department says, crooks are scamming money from residents through calls claiming a jury duty appearance has been missed. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Herndon Seeks Nominees for Good Neighbor Award — Residents can nominate a family members, friends or neighbors who make noteworthy contributions to improve the quality of life in their neighborhood. [Town of Herndon]

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The 34th annual Reston Triathlon is coming up Sunday morning, and volunteers are still needed to help make the event go smoothly.

According to information provided by event organizers:

We are looking for a few good men and women to be a part of our 34th annual Reston Triathlon race. So…join us, on September 10th, by volunteering at our local community race. Bring yourself and your spirit of volunteerism and enthusiasm to add to the excitement of the event!

Volunteers can sign up online to help in a variety of ways. Generally speaking, setup volunteers will start at about 5 a.m., swim volunteers will start around 6 a.m., bike volunteers will get to work around 7 a.m., and run volunteers will start at about 8 a.m. that morning. At the end of the event, around 11 a.m., volunteers will be needed for cleanup after the awards presentation.

Help is specifically needed along the bike course, an organizer tells Reston Now.

Registration to participate in the event is closed. Those taking part will swim 1,500 meters in Lake Audubon, bike 40 kilometers on area roadways and run 10 kilometers on Reston pathways, ending at the South Lakes High School stadium.

For more information about the event or how you can help, email [email protected].

File photo of 2016 event courtesy Christin Photography for Reston Association

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For the second consecutive year, one Reston resident has gone above and beyond in the effort to remove an invasive plant from the community.

In each of the past five years, Reston Association’s Habitat Heroes program has held the Garlic Mustard Challenge to encourage the uprooting of the plant. Garlic mustard is a widespread and aggressive non-native plant species that kills off native plants, which eliminates ground cover or food sources for local animals. According to information previously provided in Reston magazine:

Because it has few enemies in Northern Virginia, garlic mustard can completely dominate a forest floor in less [than] five years by displacing hundreds of native plants, ferns and wildflowers. Garlic mustard also damages local insect populations. For example, several butterfly species lay eggs on garlic mustard because it resembles their native “host” plant, but the larvae die because they cannot eat garlic mustard.

This year, volunteers in Reston pulled 3,080 pounds of the plant during the four-month challenge. One woman, Patricia Wagner, did her part and more. Wagner was the winner of the challenge in the individual category, pulling 2,636.5 pounds of the plant. She also won the competition in 2016, when she pulled 2,360 pounds.

In the small group category, CA Technologies won for the fourth consecutive year. This year, they pulled 166.6 pounds.

In the large group category, Reston Environmental Action also was a four-year repeat winner. This year, they pulled 277 pounds.

Image via Volunteer Reston

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Monday Morning Notes

Flash Flood Watch in Effect — The National Weather Service says multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms are expected today with localized heavy rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour possible. [NWS Alert]

RA Budget Work Session Tonight — The Reston Association Board of Directors will meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive) for a work session on the 2018-2019 Capital Projects & Budget Plan, as well as the Five-Year Strategic Capital Projects Plan. [Reston Association]

Volunteers Needed for Senior Olympics — The Northern Virginia Senior Olympics is looking for volunteers ages 16 and over to support the games, Sept. 9-20. The annual event is a celebration of fitness, camaraderie and living healthy longer. Over 50 events are scheduled at 20 venues. Anyone interested in helping should email [email protected] or call 703-403-5360. [Northern Virginia Senior Olympics]

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