The weekend is almost here. Before you get into an argument about mask etiquette or head to bed for some much-needed sleep, let’s revisit recent news from the Tysons area that you might’ve missed.

These were the most-read stories on Tysons Reporter this week:

  1. COVID-19 cases return to May levels in Fairfax County
  2. Lily’s cafe introduces Vienna to Iraqi treat with a chocolate twist
  3. Virginia hits gas pedal on plans to fund infrastructure with mileage-based fees
  4. Fairfax County Public Schools will launch esports program this year
  5. Fairfax County could award nearly $25 million in PIVOT grants, won’t have lottery

Ideas for stories we should cover can be sent to [email protected] or submitted as an anonymous tip. Photos of scenes from around the community are welcome too, with credit always given to the photographer.

You can find previous rundowns of top stories on the site.

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A mayor, a governor, and four Racing Presidents stepped onto a baseball diamond, and thus began the 2021 Virginia State Little League Majors Tournament.

Hundreds of young athletes and their families from across the Commonwealth descended on Yeonas Park in Vienna yesterday (Thursday) to kick off the five-day competition to crown a state champion, who will advance to a regional tournament for the chance to potentially play in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 19.

The day mostly consisted of formalities, from a recitation of the Little League pledge to ceremonial first pitches thrown by Gov. Ralph Northam, Town of Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert, and a representative from tournament sponsor Dominion Energy.

But for the players, it was an occasion for socializing and celebrating, a welcome return to normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a cancellation of the 2020 Little League season. There was nary a mask in sight, aside from those donned by the catchers behind the plate for the first pitches.

“It’s exciting, especially [since] we get to play here at our home field,” said Tommy Weithman, a third baseman and occasional pitcher for Vienna National, which won the District 4 title last week.

The proceedings began with the 16 teams competing in the tournament lining up in numerical order by district behind the refurbished Cedar Park Shopping Center for a Parade of Champions.

Led by the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department’s antique fire engine, the parade pulled out of the strip mall at 5:40 p.m. and headed down Patrick Street straight to the park, where the teams were greeted by cheering parents as well as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt — the Washington Nationals’ four Racing Presidents mascots.

Once the teams were assembled on the Fred Crabtree Field outfield grass, District 4 Administrator Ellen Witherow introduced Northam, Colbert, and other dignitaries in the audience and acknowledged the many volunteers making the event possible, including the crew of umpires.

A color guard from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, took the field to set the stage for singer DC Washington, who belted “The Star-Spangled Banner” with the same commitment that has made him a mainstay at Nationals Park.

Northam and Colbert’s first pitches both went high, though the mayor got hers close enough to the strike zone for the catcher to snag it.

While cases have started to climb again in Virginia and the U.S. as a whole, Northam described the Little League tournament as a heartening milestone in the state’s efforts to curb the novel coronavirus’ spread and vaccinate residents. It is easily the largest event to come to the Town of Vienna since the pandemic hit in March 2020.

“People have done the right thing in Virginia,” Northam said. “We’re getting people vaccinated and getting people out and about, so it’s really an exciting night, and I know it’s exciting for these players and their families.”

Vienna National center fielder Credan Reasons, who also does some pitching and first base, says not being able to play last year was “a real big bummer,” so it has been a joy to reunite with his teammates, many of whom carried over from the team that won the District 4 championship in 2019.

He attributes Vienna National’s continued success to the fact that all of the players get along with each other, adding that “it’s an honor” to be able to host the tournament, something Vienna last did in 2004.

“It’s going to be really fun playing in front of a lot of people and playing in my town, just like I said,” Credan said. “…I love baseball, and I love playing, especially here in front of this many people. It’s just going to be fun.”

Now that the ceremonial portion of the tournament is over, Vienna National pitcher Andreas Millradt is eager to take the mound and show off the skills that he has been honing since he was 6. He struck out 12 in a 59-pitch perfect game for this year’s District 4 semifinals, the Sun Gazette reported.

“[My approach is] really just do my best and rally my teammates, because together, we can do anything,” Andreas said.

The tournment’s first game started today (Friday) at 9 a.m., and the final game for the state championship will begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday (July 27). The full game schedule can be found on the District 4 Little League website.

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Open sign (via Tim Mossholder/Unsplash)

If you’re in the market to buy a house in the area, you’ve got options to explore this weekend.

According to Homesnap, there are 141 homes for sale, with a median list price of $509,500.

Here are a few open houses taking place around the Tysons area this weekend:

Image via Google Maps

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Tysons-headquartered Cvent, which provides business tools for customers to plan, market, and organize meetings and events, is headed back to the stock market.

The event-management tech company announced today (Friday) that it will merge with a blank check company for investors in a deal that’s set to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.

“We are thrilled to go public again because it provides significant financial resources to further strengthen our business and accelerate investments across our platform and related services,” CEO and founder Reggie Aggarwal said in a letter posted on Cvent’s website.

Unlike its initial public offering on the New York State Exchange in 2013, Cvent will make use of the less rigorous and in-vogue process of a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) called Dragoneer Growth Opportunities Corp. II, affiliated with a San Francisco-based investment firm.

The deal values Cvent at $5.3 billion and could give the company over $800 million in cash, which can be used to reduce debt.

Cvent’s plans to go public were first reported on Wednesday (July 21) by the Wall Street Journal, though a spokesperson then described the news as “WSJ speculation” when asked for comment by Tysons Reporter.

After Cvent initially went public, Vista Equity Partner, an investment firm based in Austin, Texas, acquired it for $1.65 billion in 2016.

The decision comes after a difficult year for Cvent and the event management industry as a whole.

Schools, governments, and businesses largely moved to virtual environments when COVID-19 swept the U.S. in March 2020. At the time, Cvent didn’t have a virtual event platform, but it developed one in five months as it assisted customers in managing tens of thousands of virtual events.

“The meetings and events industry has experienced rapid digital transformation over the last 18 months, with the pandemic creating a new paradigm for the events industry,” Aggarwal said in a statement. “Events became digitized through virtual and online experiences, and we invested heavily in expanding our virtual event capabilities.”

Dragoneer founder and managing partner Marc Stad said in a statement that with much of the U.S. reopening, they expect to move into a “hybrid world that combines elements of in-person and virtual events.”

Aggarwal founded Cvent in 1999 after organizing dozens of events each year with a nonprofit he started while working fulltime as a corporate lawyer. He found difficulties with only having Microsoft Outlook for email, Excel, and yellow sticky notes as tools, so he created the company to ease the event process with technology.

The company has its headquarters in Boro Station at 1765 Greensboro Station Place.

According to a presentation, Cvent currently has roughly 23,000 customers and is forecasting over half a billion dollars in revenue for 2021.

“Now, we are engaging in a hybrid world, as in-person events resume, and virtual events remain prominent,” Aggarwal said. “With the increased digitization of our industry, events are ‘always on’ and have fewer boundaries.”

The tech company has around 4,000 employees across U.S. locations and around the globe. It also provides hotels with software and marketing services for making the most of their meetings and events business.

The Cvent and Dragoneer boards of directors have both approved the proposed business combination, but it’s subject to approval by Dragoneer’s shareholders too, among other factors.

Cvent said that upon closing of the deal, the combined company will operate as Cvent Holding Corp. and is expected to trade under its old ticker symbol “CVT.”

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via Fairfax County

The Countywide Strategic Plan meant to establish a community-driven vision for Fairfax County for the next 10 to 20 years is edging closer to an expected adoption by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The county hosted a community update and feedback session on Wednesday (July 21) to gather feedback about potential indicators for success among nine priority areas listed in the proposed 56-page strategic plan.

It was part of the fourth phase of engagement initiated by the county. Two rounds were held in 2019 before the process was paused in 2020 to evaluate COVID-19 impacts. Two additional phases were added for 2021, with the third survey phase wrapping up in April.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to take action in October, according to countywide strategic plan coordinator Aimee Brobst, who led the meeting.

While there are no outreach plans to solicit direct public comments on the final text before it is presented to the board, Brobst said community engagement will continue after the plan is adopted. At that point, the county’s approach will “likely shift” to a more targeted focus on each priority area in addition to seeking feedback on the plan as a whole.

“We definitely want to use the feedback that we’re collecting here for the purpose of informing the strategic plan,” Brobst said. “But as we look forward, beyond even when the plan is adopted by the Board of Supervisors, we want to make sure that this isn’t something that stops once the plan is adopted, and we are being very thoughtful and very intentional about hearing from as many people as possible as we move forward.”

The nine priority areas of the plan include:

A poll to gauge attendees’ preferred focus areas within those categories found particular interest in access to cultural and recreational opportunities; economic stability and mobility for all people; financial sustainability and trustworthiness; and access and utilization of services.

Other top indicators were air, water and land quality; housing affordability and quality; career-based training and early childhood education; accessibility, affordability and equity for mobility and transportation; and reliability and security of critical infrastructure.

County staff noted that the plan is meant to be flexible with the ability to adapt over time, serving as a template to help the board determine its priorities and understand what community members think is important.

Acknowledging the rather sparse attendance at the meeting, Brobst said that the shift to virtual meetings over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the county to rethink and expand the tools it uses to engage the public.

“In addition to everything we’re doing that we think makes sense — using every channel that we have available to us as the county — we are very open to adapting,” Brobst said. “…One of the things we definitely wanted to do as part of this process is not necessarily do things just the same way as they’ve always been done in terms of doing only in-person meetings or doing just surveys or long-form surveys.”

A form for general questions or feedback for the plan is available at the bottom of the strategic plan page on the county’s website.

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Morning Notes

Vienna ambulance behind Cedar Park at start of Virginia State Little League Majors Tournament Parade of Champions (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

McLean Drivers: Expect Delays on Georgetown Pike Starting Monday — “Georgetown Pike (Route 193) between Swinks Mill Road and I-495 (Capital Beltway) will have one lane of alternating traffic in each direction via flagging, weather permitting, Monday, July 26 through Wednesday, July 28 between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day to replace a stormwater pipe at the Saigon Road intersection, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.” [VDOT]

Founders Row II Proposal Modified — Developer Mill Creek presented revised plans for a second phase of its Founders Row project to the Falls Church City Council on Monday (July 19). Changes since it was first proposed in March include reductions of the height and number of rental residential units and the addition of “more street-level retail and amenities to please its neighbors.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Former Container Store to Host Tysons Block Party — The Celebrate Fairfax! Festival has been canceled for a second consecutive year, but the nonprofit that organizes it is returning next Friday (July 30) with a block party to kick off its 40th Anniversary Series. The event will go from 3-7 p.m. outside the former Container Store at 8508 Leesburg Pike with live entertainment, refreshments from Caboose Brewing Company, and more. [Celebrate Fairfax/Facebook]

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Encampment set up by people experiencing homelessness (via MWCOG)

Thanks to federal relief funding, Fairfax County is getting an infusion of emergency housing voucher money to help people who are at risk of homelessness or fleeing from domestic violence and others in need.

The American Rescue Plan Act signed into law in March is providing $10 billion to address homelessness, including 70,000 vouchers to local housing authorities, including Fairfax County.

The county will partner with community groups to provide the housing assistance, which could last 10 years — the length of the program — for each recipient.

“We are very grateful to receive these Emergency Housing Vouchers to serve many of our most vulnerable residents and neighbors and help them achieve safe and stable housing,” Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority Chair C. Melissa McKenna, who serves as the Dranesville District commissioner, said in a statement.

The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority approved a county framework last Thursday (July 15) to receive the money, which involves 169 vouchers that will be made available in coming weeks.

Recipients will need to be referred to the program by county case managers or other service points, such as homeless services, Coordinated Services Planning (703-222-0880), or the Domestic and Sexual Violence 24-Hour Hotline (703-360-7273).

Money will go to landlords, and recipients will be required to pay 30% of their income toward rent and utilities.

The emergency housing vouchers can cover a variety of costs, including security deposits, moving expenses, and essential household items such as bedding and tableware.

Even outside the vouchers, ARPA has dedicated billions of dollars to addressing housing issues, as people have struggled to pay rent amid statewide shutdowns last year and uncertain employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The need to provide housing assistance is expected to become especially urgent in the coming months after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium expires on July 31.

“The [assistance is] designed to prevent and respond to [the] coronavirus by facilitation the leasing of the [emergency housing vouchers], which will provide vulnerable individuals and families a much safer housing environment to minimize the risk of coronavirus exposure or spread,” Dominique Blom, a general deputy assistant secretary with the Housing and Urban Development Department, said in a May memo describing the funding.

Vaccinations have helped bring the virus under control, but cases have been rising in Virginia and the U.S. amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant, which is now the source of 83% of all new COVID-19 cases, according to CDC estimates.

“Individuals and families who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness are often living in conditions that significantly increase the risk of exposure to coronavirus in addition to other health risks,” Blom said in the memo.

Eligibility for the vouchers is limited to individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness, at risk of homelessness, or were recently homeless and “for whom providing rental assistance will prevent the family’s homelessness or having high risk of housing instability.”

People fleeing — or attempting to flee — domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking are also eligible for the vouchers.

“These vouchers — in addition to the existing programs and services offered through a robust partnership — offer yet another valuable resource to help position individuals and families on a reliable foundation from which they can achieve their fullest potential,” McKenna said in her statement.

During the first year of the pandemic, homelessness decreased throughout the D.C. region except in Fairfax County, which saw a 17% increase from 1,041 people in 2020 to 1,222 in 2021, and Prince George’s County, which had a 19% increase, according to a Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments report.

Fairfax County has attributed the increase to expanded services supported by COVID-19 relief funding.

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A woman was sexually assaulted in her hotel room in the Spring Hill area of Tysons, the Fairfax County Police Department said this afternoon (Thursday).

According to police, the incident occurred yesterday morning in the 8600 block of Westwood Center Drive. Officers responded to a report shortly after 5 a.m. from a woman who said “that an unknown man entered her hotel room, displayed a knife and sexually assaulted her.”

“The woman was treated for injuries that were not life threatening,” the FCPD said.

The department’s Major Crimes Bureau detectives are now seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect, who is described as a “heavy set” black man in his 40s and about 5-foot-10 in height. He had a full beard and was last seen wearing glasses, a gray shirt, sweatpants, and a small black backpack.

The bureau can be contacted at 703-246-7800, option 3. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), by text, and online.

“Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars if their information leads to an arrest,” the FCPD said. “If you would like to be contacted by a detective, please provide your contact information.”

Police sketch of the suspect in a sexual assault reported in the Spring Hill area (via Fairfax County Police Department)

The real estate market is hot right now — so hot that many homes are selling over asking price. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t seeing some price reductions.

This past week, 22 homes in Tysons, McLean and Vienna were reduced in price, according to Homesnap. These included:

In the market? Check out the latest in Tysons area real estate.

Image via Google Maps

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Months after Virginia started lifting its mask restrictions, the once-ubiquitous face masks that were a defining symbol of the COVID-19 pandemic have started becoming more scarce. But with the delta variant starting to cause a COVID-19 resurgence, some are saying masks in public should make a comeback, even for people who have been fully vaccinated.

The delta variant now accounts for 83% of new COVID-19 cases reported in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated earlier this week. The delta variant is more contagious than other strands of COVID-19 and could potentially have more severe symptoms.

In official channels, mask requirements have continued to ease up. The Commonwealth is set to let a statewide mandate on indoor mask wearing in schools expire on Sunday (July 25), though the state guidance remains that teachers, students and staff should still wear their masks indoors.

While the virus now appears to be almost exclusively spreading among unvaccinated people, some fully vaccinated people have continued wearing masks for a variety of reasons, from a desire to fend off other illnesses or to protect young children and other people unable to get a vaccine to concern about being judged.

Have you stayed in the habit of wearing a face mask, or does it depend on the setting?

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