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by Fatimah Waseem October 24, 2017 at 2:45 pm 1 Comment

The seventh annual Washington West Film Festival returns to Reston and other locations this Wednesday through Saturday with the theme “A Story Can Change the World.” 

The festival showcases new films from around the world and brings filmmakers and actors for conversation to Reston. All net box office proceeds help address issues like hunger, illness and limited organization, according to the festival’s website.

On Wednesday at 5 p.m., there will be a free screening of Deep — Mare Nostrum at Refraction (11911 Freedom Drive). The movie is a narrative about a woman who trains to dive in the hopes of avenging her brother’s honor, who died in a diving championship.

The premiere for Corridor Four, a movie that paints a portrait about a 9/11 first-responder, will take place Thursday at 7 p.m. at Bow Tie Cinemas (11940 Market St.). A reception and question and answer session with the filmmakers will follow the screening.

Friday’s schedule is packed with a happy hour with festival guests at Bow Tie Cinemas at 4:30 p.m. Highlights include:

  • Short Film Screenings — Darkness and Light (Bow Tie Cinemas, 5 p.m.) A collection of five short films will begin screening the theater. The films center around the concept of light finding a way to shine through darkness. 
  • Short Film Screenings — Leading Ladies (Bow Tie Cinemas, 6 p.m.): A second collection of six short films about leading ladies will begin, followed by a question and answer session with filmmakers.
  • Clive Davis — The Soundtrack of Our Lives (Bow Tie Cinemas, 7 p.m.): This profile examines the life of Clive Davis, a legendary music man, and explores the cultural revolution of music from the 60s to the rise of hip hop.
  • Family Shorts Showcase (Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, 7:30 p.m.): A free, family-friend screening of fun short films.
  • What Haunts Us (Bow Tie Cinemas, 8 p.m.): This story follows six men from the same year in high school who committed suicide.

Screenings on Saturday run from noon through 9:30 p.m. Highlights include:

  • American Veteran (Bow Tie Cinemas, noon): This documentary explores challenges faced by veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who survived because of advanced medical technology that did not exist in previous wars
  • Free Concert: (Reston Town Center Pavilion, 5 p.m.): The event features composer and guitarist W.G. Snuffy Walden and vocalist Sara Niemietz.
  • Modern Family (Bow Tie Cinemas, 7 p.m.): Guests can watch a free, advanced screening of a new episode of the show as it begins its ninth season.
  • King of Peking (Bow Tie Cinemas, 9 p.m.): This international narrative explores the story of a former projectionists who encourages his young sown to start a pirate movie company.

To view the full schedule, including other events in Arlington, and to purchase tickets, visit the festival’s website.

Photo: Washington West Film Festival

by Dave Emke October 19, 2017 at 9:00 am 5 Comments

Quake Drill Set for This Morning — The Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake drill, scheduled for 10:19 a.m. today, is an effort to help families and organizations be prepared to survive and recover quickly from big earthquakes. [Fairfax County Emergency Information]

Looking Back at the Reston Home Tour — Six private residences in Reston were opened up to visitors last weekend as part of the Reston Home Tour, which benefitted the Reston Historic Trust and Museum. [Connection Newspapers]

Crash at Reston Kiss and Ride — A Twitter user posted a photo this morning of a vehicle that struck a pillar at the Wiehle-Reston East parking garage. [Twitter/@CompSciGuy31415]

Herndon Town Council Celebrates Veterans — Town residents are encouraged to honor Veterans Day with appropriate events and activities, and take time to pause in silent tribute to veterans. [Connection Newspapers]

Junior Farmer Event at Frying Pan Park — On Thursdays in October, kids are invited to help farmers with their work while exploring subjects such as caring for farm animals, tinkering with farm machinery and the importance of crops and gardens. The topic for tonight’s event at the park (2709 W. Ox Road, Herndon) is harvest time. [Fairfax County]

by Dave Emke October 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm 11 Comments

An approved plan for massive development of the Commerce Executive Park near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station may be at a fork in the road, the Washington Business Journal reports.

According to the WBJ, JBG Smith is marketing the 12-acre property Commerce Executive Park to prospective buyers. JBG Smith took ownership of the property — south of the Dulles Toll Road and at the northwest corner of the Sunrise Valley Drive/Wiehle Avenue intersection — from Vornado Realty Trust earlier this year as part of the recent merger of JBG Cos. and Vornado’s D.C. business unit, Charles E. Smith.

The three existing six-story office buildings would remain in the redevelopment plan, but the rest would be transformed into a live-work-dine-shop destination for those who want to be close to Metro and Reston’s busy business corridor. The new buildup would include towering buildings that would be among the tallest in Reston:

  • a 22-story, 275-foot-tall office building
  • a 24-story, 255-foot-tall residential building with up to 300 dwelling units
  • a 14-story, 165-foot-tall hotel with 175 rooms
  • a 7-story, 100-foot-tall residential building with up to 200 dwelling units

The plans also include a total of 1.5 acres of open space, with small parks, bicycle tracks and a promenade along the businesses, and would feature public art including a water feature.

According to the WBJ report, the fact that CBRE is marketing the properties for JBG Smith doesn’t necessarily mean a sale is imminent or will even happen at all.

by Dave Emke October 12, 2017 at 1:30 pm 20 Comments

New residents are beginning to move into Aperture (11410 Reston Station Blvd.), which is described as “not just an apartment building, but an artistic expression.”

Mike Henehan, senior vice president of Bozzuto Development Company, said the leasing process began last month and about 14 units in the 421-unit building are being moved into already. The finishing touches are being put on the building, with hopes for hundreds more residents moving in during the coming months.

“We didn’t want to do another high-rise — we wanted to do something that was a little cool,” said Reston developer Chuck Veatch, who has owned the property since 1978. It was previously the home of a mini-storage facility and retail strip center. “One of the things that we talked about was tying it in with a lot of art and a lot of photography.”

Veatch, who came to Reston in 1964 and was involved in its original development, is also chairman of the board and contributing editor for Nature’s Best Photography magazine. With that in mind, the building features the overarching theme of nature photography, with numerous stunning photos out of the Nature’s Best archives displayed throughout.

“We gave [the design team] all of the winners that have been in our exhibits down at the Smithsonian, and they went through and decided what they wanted to use in the building,” Veatch said. “The corridors all have Nature’s Best photography in them, and what they did was pick a theme for each floor.”

Sculptor Zachary Oxman also has works displayed inside and outside the building, including the 11-foot-tall “Convergence” that was unveiled last month. Architecture firm KTGY designed the building, and its interior design was envisioned by award-winning designer Rebecca Jones.

The building offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom dwelling units. There are three courtyards, with amenities including a saltwater pool, outdoor cooking stations, a pet-play area and more. Also included are a full gym, an extensive lounge area, a library and other features.

Orangetheory Fitness will soon open as Aperture’s first retail tenant. Veatch said a second retailer, which will be a restaurant, is in the works.

The goal is to cultivate a sense of camaraderie among residents, Veatch said.

“We want Aperture to be a place, a community,” he said. “There will be a lot of programming and all kinds of cool stuff here for people to do.”

Aperture residents will also be part of a larger community, as members of Reston Association.

Tours of Aperture will be included as part of the Reston Home Tour, taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Prospective residents are also invited to schedule their own visit to learn more.

by Dave Emke September 29, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

24-Minute Wait Times for Metro This Weekend — Silver Line trains will run only between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston, every 24 minutes, to coordinate with the work on the Orange and Blue lines. [DCist]

Theater Costumes Available — NextStop Theatre Company will hold its annual costume sale Saturday from 7-11 a.m. at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center St.). According to the theater, items available include “wedding dresses, to furs, to Cinderella’s ball-gowns, to stunning men’s suits” along with sweaters, vintage jeans and other items. [NextStop Theatre Company/Facebook]

Ted’s Bulletin Owner Will Sell — The future of the chain, which includes a restaurant in Reston Town Center (11948 Market St.), is unclear as Matchbox Food Group prepares to sell it to &pizza co-founder Steve Salis. [Washington Business Journal]

Transformers Fans Descending Upon Reston — TFcon, a “Transformers” fan convention, is being held for the 16th time. It has been held almost exclusively in Toronto area; however, this year, it is being held at the Hyatt Regency Reston (1800 Presidents St.) today through Sunday. [TFcon]

by Dave Emke September 14, 2017 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Lake Anne Concert Series Ends Tonight — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will wrap up tonight with a show from Texas Chainsaw Horns, an R&B group, from 7-9 p.m. [Lake Anne Plaza]

Reston Association Budget Meeting Tonight — Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer and RA Board at-large director, will facilitate a budget-development community meeting tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). According to information provided by Reston Association, members “are invited to share their thoughts and comments on issues related to next year’s budget.” [Reston Now]

Meeting on Fairfax County Parkway Trail Crossing Tonight — The County Department of Transportation has slated a community meeting to discuss options for improving safety at a trail crossing of a Dulles Toll Road ramp. The meeting is tonight from 6:30-8 p.m. in the cafeteria of Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive). [Reston Now]

Changes Coming to South Lakes Bus Route — To address crowding associated with South Lakes High School ridership, Fairfax Connector will shorten headways on some afternoon trips on Route 551 beginning Sept. 30. [Fairfax Connector]

2017 Virginia Tax Amnesty Program Begins — Until Nov. 14, delinquent individual and business taxpayers can pay back taxes with no penalties and half the interest. [Gov. Terry McAuliffe]

No More ‘Wiley’-Reston East? — In a tweet responding to a rider’s question, Metrorail says it is “exploring ways” to fix automated voice announcements that mispronounce the name of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. [Metrorail Info/Twitter]

File photo courtesy Karen Raffel

by Dave Emke July 31, 2017 at 9:00 am 21 Comments

Silver Line Struggling to Maintain Riders — Phase 1 of Metro’s Silver Line expansion fueled an unprecedented building boom in areas adjacent to its five stations, the Washington Post reports. However, the line has struggled to attract riders in the three years since it opened. Only the Wiehle-Metro East station is even close to projected ridership numbers. [Washington Post]

Remembering Bob Simon — In a piece for an English-language Indian newspaper, Manish Nandy remembers the stories Bob Simon told him during daily walks around Lake Anne. [The Statesman]

‘White Liberals Give Themselves Too Much Credit’ — In an opinion piece for an “intersectional feminist” magazine, a Restonian looks back on the death of Nabra Hassanen, saying that hate lives here and everywhere. [Wear Your Voice]

Work Today at Park & Ride — The access road to the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride will have daytime lane closures for paving from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. Drivers should watch for flaggers, who will help direct traffic around the lane closures. [Fairfax County]

Teavana Stores Shutting Down — Starbucks announced last week will close all 379 of its Teavana stores, which it says have been underperforming. This will include the store in Reston Town Center (1826 Library St.). [CNN Money]

Get Ready for Terraset — All rising Terraset kindergarteners are invited to the Terraset playground from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in August to meet classmates and play on the new Terraset playground. The August kindergarten play dates are sponsored by Terraset Elementary School and Terraset Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). Representatives from the PTO will be on hand Aug. 2 and Aug. 9 to answer parent questions. No RSVP is required. [Terraset Parent Teacher Organization]

by Dave Emke July 26, 2017 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Hassanen Murder Suspect Court Date Set — A preliminary hearing has been set for Friday, Oct. 13, for the prosecution of Darwin Martinez Torres. Torres is accused of attacking, abducting and killing Nabra Hassanen in the early morning hours of June 18. [Connection Newspapers]

Libertarian Leaders Speaking in Reston — The Young Americans for Liberty conference, taking place today through Saturday at the Sheraton Reston Hotel, will feature more than 40 speakers sharing Libertarian values. Among them will be Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Judge Andrew Napolitano. [Young Americans for Liberty]

Changes Made to WMATA Board — The Trump Administration is replacing a pair of safety specialists, who were appointed by President Obama’s transportation secretary, with a pair of finance and budget bureaucrats who worked in the Bush Administration. [WAMU]

Work Being Done on Reston Station Staircase — The stairs from Reston Station Boulevard to the Wiehle-Reston East plaza are closed for repairs, which include new tiles on the landings and improvements to the drainage system. [Fairfax Connector]

Nearly $60M in County’s Carryover Budget — The county executive recommends the funds be used in part to fund reserves and infrastructure needs, along with other projects including the demolition of the Massey Building. [Fairfax County]

Supreme Court Ruling Leads to Changes in Sign Zoning — After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “content-based” regulations on signs do not meet the strict scrutiny test required by the First Amendment to protect free speech, the County must re-examine its zoning rules regarding messages on signs. [Fairfax County]

by Dave Emke July 12, 2017 at 5:00 pm 21 Comments

After being deferred five times, the redevelopment of property at 1831 Michael Faraday Drive will have a public hearing Thursday in front of the Fairfax County Planning Commission.

The plans for the 3.85-acre property include 13 single-family attached and 283 multi-family dwelling units, along with 7,500 to 10,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial uses. According to the project’s specifications:

The multi-family structure would be designed with seven stories and be approximately 85 feet in height. In addition to residential units and parking, the first floor of the multifamily building would include retail space, a bicycle storage room, and a loading area with two loading spaces. The attached parking structure would be designed with seven parking levels.

The proposal also calls for 22 percent open space. This would include a linear open space, or mews, which would be located between the single-family attached units and the multi-family units. The mews would feature a patio, seating, game tables, lawn and sidewalks.

The adjacent 11111 Sunset Hills Road property, which is also up for rezoning, would have mirrored townhouses and courtyards. In addition, it would include an extension of the open space at the southeast corner of the Michael Faraday site to create a “more extensive and coordinated park” on the southern portion of the properties. That site has a Planning Commission hearing scheduled for Nov. 16.

The site is owned by Rooney Properties, who hopes to begin construction on the mixed-use project in the first half of 2018. The hearing with the county Planning Commission was first set for October 2016 and has been rescheduled four more times before Thursday.

The 1831 Michael Faraday Drive plot is just one of many sets of redevelopment plans on the table for the Wiehle Avenue/Michael Faraday Drive area. Numerous developers are working together to turn the property east of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station into what they call the “gateway to Reston.”

Renderings via 1831 Michael Faraday LLC

by Dave Emke July 12, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

A power problem at the Rosslyn Metro station gummed up morning commuter transit on the Silver Line.

Metro’s official information feed reported the issue on Twitter just before 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Silver Line trains from Wiehle-Reston East were stopped at Ballston, and riders were asked to transfer to Orange Line trains to continue their commute. The problem was reported fixed within 20 minutes; however, riders continued to report delays and other issues at the Ballston, Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom stations through about 9:30 a.m.

The issue appeared to be cleared up by about 9:45 a.m.

by Dave Emke June 27, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Reston 20/20 Slams Fairfax County — In a detailed report examining Fairfax County’s proposal to allow a substantial increase in population density in Reston’s Planned Residential Community (PRC) zoning area, the Reston 20/20 Committee critiques the County’s motivation for the accelerated passage of the amendment. [Reston 20/20]

FCPS Free Lunch Program Underway — The Food for Every Child to Eat During Summer (FEEDS) program provides picnic-style summer lunches each day from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for all. Locally, they are available at Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive). [Fairfax County Public Schools]

91 Metro Stations, 91 Songs — An Alexandria man has worked for over six years to compile a series of songs about the stops on the Metro. His completed work, which includes a song about Wiehle-Reston East, spans eight albums. [Washington Post]

by Kalina Newman June 26, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Orangetheory Fitness is one of the newest fitness crazes around the nation, and now it’s coming to Reston.

The new location is will be at 11410 Reston Station Blvd., at the Aperture building near the Wiehle-Reston East station. It is scheduled for a September opening, said Maggie Parker, spokesperson for Reston Station developer Comstock Properties.

“They have a kiosk on the [Wiehle-Reston East Metro] plaza and they’re recruiting members,” Parker said.

The Aperture building is being developed by the Bozzuto Group.

The fitness studio offers 60-minute workout classes that operate in the format of a group-personal training. The classes combine 10- to 30-minute intervals of running and weight training that add up to an hour of constant exercise.

According to its website, “Orangetheory’s heart rate monitored training is designed to maintain a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy.”

There is a sign-up for an email newsletter available on the Reston location’s website.

Membership options include a basic package for four classes a month, an elite package with eight classes a month and an unlimited package. For more information on pricing, call 703-822-5272.

The Florida-based chain has hundreds of locations nationwide, including many in the area.

by Dave Emke June 23, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Last Day of School — Today is the final day of the 2016-17 Fairfax County Public Schools year. Congratulations to all the students and enjoy your time off!

Fourth of July Schedule in Herndon — It’s only a couple weeks away. Get ready for the July 4 celebration in Herndon, which will take place at the Herndon Community Center and will culminate with fireworks choreographed to music. [Town of Herndon]

SLHS Students Get Arduino Kits — STEM Engineering students at the school recently received Arduino kits. An Arduino consists of a physical programmable circuit board and a piece of software that is used to write and upload computer code. The kits were funded by a $4,000 grant from AIS Inc. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

‘Field Guide’ to Ticks — Fairfax County has provided a list of need-to-know information about ticks, which have been out with great force this season. [Fairfax County]

Metro Work in Evening Hours — After 10 p.m. tonight, Saturday and Sunday, the Silver Line will only run from Wiehle-Reston East to Ballston. This is due to work on the Orange and Silver lines. [WTOP]

by Dave Emke June 1, 2017 at 11:30 am 2 Comments

Reston Station will celebrate summer for the next three months with outdoor concerts, movies and more at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro plaza.

The “Summerbration” event will show off a plaza that has “taken on a form of its own” as more residents have moved in, said Maggie Parker, vice president of communications for Reston Station developer Comstock Partners.

“It gets busier and busier,” Parker said. “The concerts this summer and the movie series should have a whole different feel.”

The summer series will officially kick off Friday night at 7 p.m. with a concert by Battery Lane. Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., the Summerbration movie series will begin with an outdoor showing of Star Wars film “Rogue One”. Concerts and movies will continue, weather permitting, on a weekly basis through the end of August. In addition, yoga classes will take place on the plaza each Tuesday evening from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Complimentary parking will be available at ParkX during each of the events, which are open to the entire community.

“It’s a great place to enjoy a great summer breeze and great music,” Parker said. “Everybody is welcome — the commuters can go home, pick up their family and come on back.”

Reston Community Center is a partner of the concert series.

For a full list of summer events at Reston Station, check out the calendar on its website.

by Dave Emke May 19, 2017 at 10:30 am 18 Comments

Organizers of the Reston pit stop for Bike to Work Day 2017, one of 85 such stops across the region, say their efforts this morning were a big success.

About 525 bicyclists had passed through the stop at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station plaza as of about 9 a.m., said Ashleigh Soloff, Reston Association’s special events coordinator. She said this is the third year the event has been held at the Metro plaza in coordination with Comstock Partners.

“[Riders] have been telling me that this is the best pit stop that they’ve come through today so far,” Soloff said of participants’ feedback on the event. “It’s very active and lively.”

Nineteen organizations participated in the event to share information and goodies with riders. Food was provided by Whole Foods and Einstein Bagels. A DJ was playing music and giveaway drawings were being held every half-hour.

Soloff said the concept of biking to work is important to Reston Association.

“We’re trying to get everybody out of their cars just for one day, but then they learn that ‘Hey, I can actually do this every day,'” she said.

Rod Colen, of Reston, was riding along with his daughter, Steph. He said increasing participation in bicycling to work is important for multiple reasons, including public health and improving commute times.

“There’s just so much pressure on everybody for productivity and hours and commute time,” he said. “As traffic gets worse, biking to work will actually be competitive.”

Colen said improved infrastructure and planning is needed to increase the number of bike commuters in Fairfax County. His daughter, who now lives in Arlington but works in Reston Town Center, said she doesn’t regularly ride to commute but she chose to today.

“I also have friends who live in Arlington and work in the Town Center who decided yesterday when they found out about [Bike to Work Day], they’re not big bikers, but they were just going to do it casually,” Steph said.

Adam Lind, Bike Program manager for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, said the county seeks to expand participation in Bike to Work Day each year. He was providing visitors with information including copies of the county’s new bike map. In addition, he said, the county is running a 50 percent discount through the end of May on yearly memberships to Capital Bikeshare, which is expanding in Reston.

The regional Bike to Work Day event is organized by Commuter Connections, a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments that promotes bicycling to work, ridesharing and other alternatives to driving.

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