Tysons, VA

Vienna pickleball players looking for facilities of their own in Fairfax County now have a new club and advocacy group.

Sally Unger, a new ambassador for pickleball in Fairfax County, wants to persuade county officials to further support pickleball players by providing more and better facilities. 

She has created the Vienna Pickleball Club, which boasts 92 members, and a pickleball advocacy group called the Fairfax County Advocates for Pickleball (FCAP). The Facebook group notes that the club was started in June. 

In Fairfax County, there are zero courts dedicated to pickleball, according to Unger. Instead, players have to adapt the game to tennis courts, which Unger said makes for an inauthentic game. For example, a pickleball net is shorter than a tennis net, and both games have different court lines. 

“It’s pretty frustrating,” said Unger. 

FCAP is fighting for a facility pickleball players can claim as their own. 

Unger’s three goals upon becoming an ambassador were to create a pickleball club, collect data about pickleball activity in the county and to understand how funding within the county works to ask for more support. She recently sent out a survey measuring trends and demographics within the pickleball community to bring to the county. 

While pushing for official pickleball facilities, FCAP is also looking for derelict tennis courts to save and remodel for pickleball play. They are already working with the Town of Vienna to consider resurfacing Vienna’s Glyndon Court into four pickleball courts. 

According to Unger, the public reception to the club and the advocacy has been “phenomenal.” One supporter of the group created a GoFundMe to raise money for nets, locks and other court essentials. In less than two weeks, the fundraiser exceeded its $1,600 goal. 

Unger also credits some of the sport’s popularity to the pandemic — since the game is played outside and players are relatively distant, it makes for a safe way to stay active.

“It’s a great way to meet people and build a sense of community,” said Unger. “When we’re restricted to our own yards and it’s the only outlet where I have social contact, it keeps me sane.” 

People with questions or who are interested in joining can email [email protected] or visit the Vienna Pickleball Club’s Facebook page. 

Photo by Frankie Lopez/Unsplash

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Hot N Juicy Crawfish can stay in the Falls Church spot it’s called home for the last five years.

The dispute erupted when the landlord, FMR Development LLC, claimed that the restaurant (116 W. Broad Street) did not pay its rent for April within a required timeframe.

The landlord returned the restaurant’s checks in April and May, claiming that the restaurant was in violation of its lease, according to correspondence between the attorneys for the landlord and restaurant. In June, the landlord filed an eviction lawsuit, claiming the restaurant owed roughly $24,000 in rent and late fees for April and May.

Hot N Juicy’s attorneys told Washington City Paper, which first reported the eviction threat, that earlier in the pandemic, the landlord tried to force the restaurant to sign a lease amendment that would make it easier to remove the restaurant out. The newspaper also reported that the co-owner said he asked his landlord for a rent abatement or deferment in March.

Jeffrey Romanick, the landlord’s attorney, and Scott Rome, one of the restaurant’s attorneys, told Tysons Reporter this week that they reached an agreement out of court that allows the restaurant to stay in the space.

Photo via Hot and Juicy Crawfish Falls Church/Facebook 

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Inova Blood Donor Services and the Washington Nationals teamed up to host a blood drive in Tysons Corner Center tomorrow (Saturday).

Since the event is taking place on Virginia’s Tax-Free Weekend, donors will receive discounts to stores at the mall, along with snacks and an exclusive Washington Nationals t-shirt and mask, according to a press release about the event. Kelly Collis from “The Tommy Show!” will be at the event to cheer donors on.

Inova says that every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. Blood banks across the U.S. are scrambling to find donors after blood drives were canceled earlier this year because of the pandemic.

People interested in donating blood must make appointments online or by calling 1-866-BLOODSAVES. People can sign up to donate whole blood, double red cells or platelets.

The blood drive will take place from 7 a.m.-4 p/m. at the former Lord and Taylor spot (1961 Chain Bridge Road) in the mall. People must wear face coverings, and Inova will provide masks if donors need one.

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The Rhea Baker State Farm Agency is proud to support Shelter House in providing safe places to be during quarantine. Shelter House’s mission is to prevent and end homelessness and domestic violence. Right now they are providing over 200 hotel rooms to those in need in our community. In the past year, across all programs, Shelter House served nearly 500 households comprised of over 1,500 individuals, 60% of which were children.

Of the households that exited shelter, over 70% moved to permanent housing. The Baker Agency has served Vienna and Tysons residents and business owners since 2007 and proudly offers insurance solutions for you home, condo, auto insurance, life insurance and more. We offer complimentary reviews and coach teen drivers to safer, better drivers, and to help keep your auto insurance rates down! We are always happy to talk or text at 703-847-6880.

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

Unemployment Claims Dip — “New claims for unemployment benefits filed by Northern Virginia residents fell last week to their lowest level since pandemic-related business shutdowns began, even as thousands of area residents continue collecting unemployment, the Virginia Employment Commission reported Thursday.” [Inside NoVa]

Capital One Fined for Data Breach — “Capital One Financial Corp (NYSE: COF) will pay an $80 million fine and enter into a consent order with its regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, over issues related to a data breach in 2019 that exposed more than 106 million records of customers and credit card applicants.” [Washington Business Journal]

Two Activists Running for Falls Church Council Seat — “Two longtime City of Falls Church activists, Debbie Hiscott and Josh Shokoor, have been the only ones to announce so far they’ll be running for the now-open seat on the Falls Church City Council.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Photo by Michelle Goldchain

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Prepare for more rain today (Friday).

A Flash Flood Watch is in effect from noon today through late tonight, according to the National Weather Service.

Here’s more from the alert:

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED

 

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Fairfax County Public Schools’ superintendent said he is committed to tackling racism in the public school system during a town hall last night.

The Fairfax County NAACP met with FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand to talk about how to address systemic racism going into the 2020-2021 school year. 

The discussion between Sujatha Hampton, the Fairfax County NAACP’s education chair, and Brabrand, along with several other guests, focused on a list of priorities from Fairfax County NAACP to address equity.

Brabrand repeated throughout the town hall that he was ready to be held accountable for making change. “We need to be more comfortable feeling uncomfortable,” Brabrand said at the end of the meeting.

The town hall began with a discussion on COVID-19 and the status of reopening schools. On July 21, Brabrand announced that schools would be opening virtually on Sept. 8. Hampton made it clear that it will be essential to address the inequities that online learning presents in minority communities.

What would an anti-racist school system look like and how can FCPS strive for that? Hampton had several proposals.

One would address the scope of the chief equity officer position within the county, with Hampton noting the importance of hiring someone with “anti-racist” policies versus a traditional hire for the position.

Hampton’s proposed job description included conveying “transformational leadership” and having “successful experience as a change agent.”

“Anti-racism is a fairly new thing for systems to be considering,” said Hampton when emphasizing the importance of radical change with leadership.

Another priority is creating an anti-racist curriculum. FCPS Social Studies Coordinator Colleen Eddy said that they are already in the process of auditing the existing curriculum.

A major topic of discussion was the disproportionate discipline statistics in the county’s schools. Hampton presented a series of data points showcasing the high number of Black students receiving referrals for “disruptive behavior” versus their peers. FCPS Deputy Superintendent Frances Ivey agreed that it’s time to reinforce positive behavior rather than disciplining students.

Hampton also discussed the lack of Black teachers and principles within the school system and emphasized the importance of creating a data-driven plan to hire more Black teachers in a transparent way. She said the culture of a school stems from a principal, and it is “criminal” to give kids a racist principal. 

“I want everyone to remember that these are actual children’s lives,” Hampton said. 

Photo via Sam Balye/Unsplash

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Updated 11:15 a.m. — Jonathan Shapiro, the president of Smith-Edwards-Dunlap Company, apologized in a statement, saying that the printing vendor is responsible for the “major error.”

“This mistake occurred because we incorrectly aligned a spreadsheet that matched the voter with their local election office,” Shapiro said, adding that CVI did not review the spreadsheet and that the printing vendor has taken steps to make sure mistakes are caught in the future. 

“This is not the level of work that SED and our partner, Quad Graphics, pride ourselves on. We have printed and mailed over 100 million vote-by-mail applications and voter registration applications without error and we are committed to the highest standards of quality control and excellence,” Shapiro said.

“In this mailing we fell far short of that goal. We apologize to CVI, to the staff at the affected local boards of election, and to the voters.”

Earlier: Be careful if you get a mailer from the Center for Voter Information, Fairfax County election officials say.

Fairfax County and City of Fairfax residents have been sharing on social media and to Tysons Reporter that they received the mailers from the Center for Voter Information, which have incorrect return addresses.

County officials are warning voters about the “inaccurate and potentially misleading mailing” that asks people to return them to the City of Fairfax.

The Center for Voter Information said in a statement that it is “working diligently” with local election officials to get the returned mailers to the correct addresses. Roughly 500,000 mailers included incorrect information, the voter registration group said.

“Mistakes in our programming are very rare, but we take them seriously, and our methods overall are extraordinarily effective,” the statement said, adding that it regrets “adding to any confusion” to voters as the November election nears.

“Please rest assured that we are working with local election officials in Virginia to re-direct the vote by mail applications to the proper locations, and will rectify any errors at our own expense,” the statement said.

The Virginia Department of Elections said that any applications that get sent to the wrong locality’s office will be sent to the correct office.

More from Fairfax County on the mailers:

This group is mass mailing pre-filled, absentee ballot applications to county voters without their request — and the mailer includes return envelopes to send the application to the City of Fairfax, not Fairfax County.

“This mailing is causing great confusion and concern among voters who have been contacting our office,” said Fairfax County General Registrar Gary Scott. “While the mailing may appear to be from an official government agency, the Fairfax County Office of Elections did not send it.”

The mailing is also confusing voters who have previously submitted absentee ballot applications themselves, Scott added. These voters are worried that their applications were not received, leading them to think they need to apply again.

Fairfax County is working with the City of Fairfax to ensure any applications received from the center’s inaccurate mailing will be processed by the county.

This is not the first time that mailers from the Center for Voter Information have confused Virginians.

The News Leader, a newspaper in Staunton, explained last year how organizations can obtain mailing addresses after the Center for Voter Information confused residents with a mailer about voter registration.

County election officials said that election information from the county will include a county seal on the envelope, along with the “Official Election Mail Authorized by the U. S. Postal Service” logo.

Fairfax County voters who want to return the Center for Voter Information applications should mail it to the Fairfax County Office of Elections (12000 Government Center Parkway Suite 323, Fairfax, VA 22035), Brian Worthy, a county spokesperson, said.

People who want to absentee vote by mail can apply online, which will allow them to track the status of their application, or vote in-person at 15 locations. Registered voters can expect their ballots to arrive after Sept. 18.

Photo by Element5 Digital/Unsplash, photo via mailer via Fairfax County

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A group of eight kids came together this summer to spread love in the Vienna community via wooden signs with painted hearts. 

The group, which calls itself Rustic Love Vienna, created and sold the signs to benefit the Vienna VA Foodies Facebook group, which supports local restaurants, frontline workers and food-insecure families.

The idea came together after seeing Signs of Hope Delaware, a family business selling signs for profit after losing their jobs. Michelle Davila, the adult organizer of the group, decided to try and recreate the signature heart sign with wood in her own basement. She then involved her children, and Rustic Love Vienna took off.

“It’s just been really, really, really positive,” Davila told Tysons Reporter.

They wrapped up their orders on Friday, July 31, with a total of $6,220 raised, according to Davila. The children produced about 250 signs for the community, which can be spotted in yards when driving around Vienna. 

“Driving around town and seeing them, I don’t know where they all go,” said Davila. She said seeing the signs when out and about reinforces the experience’s positivity and productivity.

While Davila was the adult in the group, her son and two neighbors were the people running the project. Kids would rotate between sawing, drilling and painting to make the signs.

Not only did kids from the neighborhood join the group, but also kids whose parents heard about the initiative and had an interest in joining. A neighbor even provided wood leftover from a previous project, according to Davila. 

“It’s been super, super rewarding,” said Davila. “The amount of money we’ve raised for this group… has been a great thing for my kids to be able to experience.” 

Photo courtesy of Michelle Davila

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The Food for Others 5k and Fun Run in Tysons in September won’t resemble the race in previous years.

Instead of happening in-person on a set date, the event will now take place virtually during a weekend in late September. Just like the previous races, the registration fee will benefit food-insecure people in Fairfax County.

Located in the Merrifield area, Food for Others notes on its website that more than 70,000 people in Fairfax County live in poverty. The organization distributes food to more than 2,600 families weekly.

“Between March and July, Food for Others has served food to a total of 72,223 households, a 35 percent increase over the number of families we served between March and July of 2019,” the organization recently announced.

Participants will have the weekend of Sept. 25-Sept. 27 to complete the distance and can complete the 5k on a trail, treadmill or anywhere they can walk.

The cost to join the event is $30 per person, which will go toward giving rice and beans to 25 families. People who register before Sept. 10 can get a race t-shirt mailed to them. The race is also accepting sponsorships.

The event description asks that participants record their time and share photos on social media using #Foodforothers5K.

Some of the prizes will include awards for people with the best race costume, most creative route and best pet photo. The full list of prizes will be announced by Sept. 10 so that participants can prepare.

Photo by Bruno Nascimento/Unsplash

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Chef Eugenia Hobson and her sons opened Our Mom Eugenia in Great Falls in 2016. Now, the restaurant’s Greek cuisine has arrived in Mosaic District.

Our Mom Eugenia opened Monday (Aug. 3) at 2985 District Ave, Suite 185 — the former spot for Little Dipper Hot Pot House.

Born and raised in Greece, Hobson has been a chef for the last 30 years, working at several local Greek restaurants — Mykonos Grill in Rockville, Athenian Plaka in Bethesda and Nostos in Tysons — before opening Our Mom Eugenia with her sons.

The menu on ChowNow for the Mosaic District location includes daily specials and the option to buy a meal for local healthcare providers and first responders ($12). “We will match every meal you buy and donate them to regional hospitals on a weekly basis,” the menu says.

Diners can choose from various spreads and appetizers including spanakopita, feta with olives, grilled octopus and keftedakia. The “Lamburger,” chicken wrap and an 80 oz. filet mignon with grilled shrimp and asparagus are a few of the entree options.

Desserts include baklava, loukoumades with honey, apple cake a la mode, Greek yogurt in a Martini glass with honey and walnuts and more. Family trays, a kids’ menu, beer, wine and a bottle of the house-made extra virgin olive oil are also on the menu.

The restaurant is open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Sundays and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Diners can make reservations through OpenTable, where the restaurant has its safety precautions against COVID-19 listed.

Photo via Our Mom Eugenia/Facebook

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