The Town of Vienna wants to bring more color to Maple Avenue and Church Street with a landscaping refresh, but new greenery won’t be in the ground until August at the earliest.
Department of Parks and Recreation staff approached the Vienna Town Council on Monday (March 20) to request $600,000 for a landscaping contractor that will help design and install new planters along the town’s main commercial streets.
However, uncertainty over how exactly those funds will be spent led the council to postpone a vote until its next meeting of April 10.
“Many of us have questions we’d like to get answers to,” Mayor Linda Colbert said.
Staff had hoped to get design options for the improvements this April and choose a final one in May so that the project could finish by the end of July, according to a request for proposals issued Jan. 12.
The town was seeking a vendor to design and install 81 landscape planters on both sides of Maple Avenue between East Street and 213 Maple Ave. West, along with 46 planters on both sides of Church Street between Mill Street NE and Lawyers Road NW.
The existing landscaping, including planters, brick sidewalks, streetlamps and bus shelters, was installed on both streets approximately 20 years ago, according to the town.
“The landscape plants have matured over the years and the uniformity of the design has waned,” the RFP said. “The trees are the predominant feature of the landscape planters while the shrub and herbaceous perennial layer is inconsistent and often absent.”
In addition to the actual plants, the requested funding would cover soil remediation, root pruning, the public engagement process, traffic control and sidewalk closings, and any needed removals of vegetation other than trees, which will be taken care of by town staff, Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Herman said.
The Tysons-based firm LSG Landscape Architecture, which previously assisted Vienna with a study of the Maple Avenue streetscape, was selected as the contract recipient.
Councilmember Chuck Anderson balked at the lack of details on the price of individual plants and other expenses, questioning why staff was seeking $600,000 right now when, so far, LSG has only provided a cost estimate of about $83,000 for the design portion of the project.
“I understand that the design’s not done, but we lack any leverage over pricing, so for the remaining $520,000, in theory, they could come up with whatever they wanted at whatever price,” Anderson said. “…This does not sound like to me to be sound contracting practices, particularly for a contract that’s this big. I think we need more certainty.”
According to Herman, the town believes having one firm design and install the project would be more efficient than doing separate RFPs, but after talking to LSG, staff decided they could get a more accurate estimate for the cost of implementation after the design is chosen.
Though initially skeptical, other council members ultimately agreed with Anderson that more financial information is needed after staff seemed unable to explain how they arrived at $600,000 as their proposed funding cap.
Despite her lingering questions, Colbert lauded the project’s overall goal of bringing more life and color to Vienna’s streets year-round.
“We’ve had residents come to us, email, come to our meetings and speak, businesses have talked to me about expecting Maple Avenue and Church Street to be greatly improved,” Colbert said. “It will help our businesses, and it will define our town better, I think, as people drive into town.”
Fairfax County’s independent police auditor has published its annual report, showing an increase in police shootings but a decrease in use-of-force complaints last year.
The county’s Board of Supervisors established the Office of the Independent Police Auditor (OIPA) in 2016 to increase trust between residents and the police department “by providing accountability, fairness, and transparency in the complaint system and investigative process,” the report stated.
The auditor, Richard Schott, reviews all investigations of death or serious injury cases conducted by the Fairfax County Police Department’s internal affairs bureau as well as use-of-force investigations that are the subject of a public complaint.
According to the report released on March 14, the office monitored or reviewed 22 police investigations in 2022, covering incidents from 2019 to 2022. Automatic monitoring kicked in for 12 investigations: 10 officer-involved shootings, and two cases involving a death or serious injury. Nine investigations were for use-of-force allegations.
“The types of force used by FCPD officers in these allegations were varied and included two takedowns, two uses of force to cuff, one brandished firearm, one strike, and one assault,” the report reads.
In 2022, the office closed or published reports on eight incidents from 2019 to 2022. Five cases involved using force, two were police shootings, and one involved a patrol dog bite.
Although the auditor found that all eight investigations met the standards of “being complete, thorough, accurate, objective, and impartial,” he made three recommendations:
- Requiring a warning before releasing a patrol service dog.
- Adding non-criminal factors when considering whether force was objectively reasonable during a non-criminal situation.
- Training on the proper conduct of searches incident to a lawful arrest.
The police department implemented all three recommendations, according to the report.
In 2022, the office started reviewing investigations into 13 incidents. Twelve of the reviews remain open, continuing into this year.
As shown by police data, last year saw an uptick in shootings by officers, a trend that has drawn scrutiny particularly after a fatal shooting at Tysons Corner Center on Feb. 22.
From 2017 to 2021, the OIPA reviewed eight officer-involved shootings, including two of domesticated animals. However, in 2022, the FCPD had seven police shootings, with the victim in one being a dog.
The office received just one use-of-force complaint from the public in 2022 — the fewest ever — compared to a high of 12 in 2018.
In 2020, the office commissioned the University of Texas at San Antonio to conduct a police use-of-force study. It found that officers use force too often and more than should be expected against both Black and white civilians.
Based on the study’s findings, the county’s Use of Force Community Advisory Committee made its own recommendations to the police department. They include collecting more specific data on use-of-force incidents and clarifying in policy when force may be used.
Schott supported most of the committee’s recommendations, but disagreed with some suggested revisions to the FCPD’s use of force policy that would set a higher standard for when force can be used.
The committee recommended requiring that force be “necessary and proportional” to the circumstances, arguing that the existing “objective reasonableness” standard “has proved unfairly deferential to officers” by focusing on the moment force is used rather than the events leading up to its use.
Schott said in a memo last May that the policy should not “be overly restrictive,” stating that an officer’s conduct preceding a use of force should be considered but the “two analyses should remain separate and distinct.”
The FCPD chose not to incorporate a recommendation of replacing the term “less-lethal” with “non-deadly” force throughout the policy. That change was first recommended in 2017.
In a statement to FFXnow, FCPD Lt. James Curry said the term “less-lethal” is defined as any level of force not designed to cause death or serious injury.
“FCPD believes it best reflects the intent of the level of force and is consistent with many other agencies’ policy across the country,” Curry said.
This biweekly column is sponsored by The Mather in Tysons, Virginia, a forward-thinking Life Plan Community for those 62 and better.
If you’re going to enjoy a lifelong hobby, you can’t beat the benefits of playing a musical instrument. In addition to bringing joy to yourself and any listeners you might have, you’re doing great things for your brain.
“I think playing music is a unique art form. It’s creative, offering an opportunity to create as you go, and at the same time, it’s analytical and almost mathematical,” says Peter Cahn, who plays guitar. “And as far as I’m concerned, it’s a group activity.” Peter enjoys playing music with others, trying out different songs and arrangements. He has played regularly with the same group for 14 years, and is looking forward to playing with other residents of The Mather, a Life Plan Community for those 62 and better, when it opens in Tysons, Virginia, in 2024.
“I want to meet other musicians when we move into The Mather, explore different genres, and see what we can do,” he says.
Noteworthy Brain Benefits
One thing the musicians at The Mather can do is enjoy multiple benefits for their brains. That’s because playing an instrument simultaneously works different sensory systems in the brain, along with your motor skills. This coordination of efforts provides a workout for your brain — the kind of workout that strengthens connections within the brain and keeps you mentally sharp. In turn, this can improve your memory and cognition — one study showed that musicians perform better on cognitive tests than those who don’t play an instrument.
Then there is the benefit of learning; even accomplished musicians continually learn new songs and new arrangements. “As you progress in music, your horizons broaden; the amount to be learned seems limitless, especially in jazz,” says Marie Himel, another future resident of The Mather. Marie plays flute and tenor saxophone. “I’ve yet to meet a jazz musician who is satisfied with where they are. The art can be taken in so many directions.”
In fact, musical training has been proven to increase gray matter volume in specific brain regions and strengthen the connections between them. Other research has shown that such training can improve long-term memory, verbal memory, and spatial reasoning. And multiple studies have shown that playing music helps improve concentration — not just when playing, but in all areas of daily life.
In the Mood
It should come as no surprise that playing music can reduce stress — but it can also lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, and reduce anxiety and depression. And — whether you are playing music or simply listening to it — it can boost your mood.
“It stimulates the emotions. There’s a sweet spot in music when you work at something and get the instrumentation and harmonies right,” says Peter. “It’s a lot of fun.”
The Next Movement
Peter and Marie and their respective spouses are looking forward to being part of a vibrant community when they move to The Mather. Peter explains, “We were mainly attracted to The Mather because it’s got a lively community that’s already in place. The other senior living communities we looked at are places where you slow down.”
Marie and her husband are delighted to stay close to D.C. for the music and theater, and Marie adds, “For years, I’ve been thinking it would be nice to have everything taken care of, to not spend time on food shopping and cooking. I envision life at The Mather to be like living at a resort.”
The Mather will have cultural, social and educational programs on-site for residents, including digital media workshops, art and technology seminars, featured lecturers, and much more — including, perhaps, performances by resident musicians. And coupled with services like housekeeping, maintenance, landscaping, and culinary packages that will leave residents more time to pursue passions like making music.
The Mather in Tysons, VA, for those 62 and better, is a forward-thinking Life Plan Community that defies expectations of what senior living is supposed to be. It opens in 2024.
The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com
The stage is being set in western Tysons for a battle royale between Nashville-style hot chicken chains.
Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken, a rapidly expanding brand that started in the Richmond area, plans to open a new restaurant in Tysons Square (8359-A Leesburg Pike) — next door to Pike 7 Plaza, where a Dave’s Hot Chicken is expected to launch this year.
The competition doesn’t seem to faze Hangry Joe’s.
“We are very confident in our products because our chickens are packed with flavor and prepared in a generous size,” the business told FFXnow. “It is important for us that the customers get what they pay for and can enjoy every bite of it.”
Conceived by Sweet Frog founder Derek Cha and his business partner Mike Kim, Hangry Joe’s has multiplied since the original location opened in Ashland in 2021. There are now 15 franchises in Virginia, including two in Fairfax City and ones in Herndon, Centreville and Oakton.
The company says its goal is “to expand all across the country.” In addition to the Tysons location, it has a franchisee signed to bring a fourth restaurant to the Alexandria area, following sites in Newington, Van Dorn Plaza and Alexandria Commons.
A spokesperson didn’t provide an address, so it’s unclear whether the new restaurant will be in Alexandria City or Fairfax County.
“These areas are important markets for us because they are places of higher traffic and we want to expose our fast food restaurant to as many customers as we can,” Hangry Joe’s said.
In addition to its chicken sandwich, Hangry Joe’s menu features chicken fingers and bites, chicken with waffles, a salad with chicken breast, loaded fries and Korean chicken nuggets.
The company said in a statement that the spiciness of its food distinguishes it from other restaurants:
Being known for our levels of spiciness, our restaurants have fun challenging our brave customers to sign a waiver and eat the most spicy level, “Angry Hot”, if they think they can handle it. Customers that love to eat very spicy tell us they specifically come to our restaurant to meet their needs of spicy food.
Our customers should be receiving their food fresh as possible. That is why we prepare their dish right at the moment of their order. Our chicken is fresh and halal certified so that we can also cater to our Muslim community.
Located next to Capo Deli, the Tysons restaurant will occupy a 1,035-square-foot space previously filled by the juice shop Robeks.
The suite is slightly smaller than Hangry Joe’s typical footprint of about 1,200 to 2,000 square feet, but the business says its menu and design “are generally consistent across all locations.”
Though it hasn’t set an opening date, Hangry Joe’s said construction generally takes about six months. No building permit applications have been filed with Fairfax County yet.
The company advises watching its Instagram page for announcements of upcoming openings.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will get its first salary increase in eight years, starting next January.
The current board voted 8-2 last night (Tuesday) to raise the pay to $123,283 for a supervisor position and to $138,283 for the chairman — slightly lower than the ranges that were proposed on March 7.
Based on staff calculations, the approved increase for board members is in line with what general county employees received, on average, in merit and market rate adjustments since the board last got a raise in 2015, according to Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust.
“Supervisor compensation should be set at a level that would enable anyone to serve regardless of personal circumstances. To advance that goal, I think, is appropriate,” Foust said before putting the motion up for a vote.
The vote came after a public hearing that lasted over two hours, with some speakers becoming emotional as they shared stories of how they’ve struggled with the area’s rising cost-of-living or how employee vacancies and hiring challenges have affected county services, from parks to support for foster care families.
Aside from one Braddock District resident who suggested they would “not be out of line,” considering inflation over the past eight years, all the speakers voiced opposition to the originally proposed raises that could’ve increased supervisor salaries up to $130,000 and the chairman’s up to $145,000.
“Too many are just getting by, and others are on the verge of falling into crisis,” Carolyn Bivens said. “Respectfully, in my opinion, the case has not been made for making the Board of Supervisors positions full time. More importantly, a 35 to 45% increase would be viewed as tone-deaf in this environment.”
Some said they support the board getting pay raises, but the amounts advertised were “insulting” when the county is only proposing 2% market rate adjustments for workers in its next budget, rather than the 5% that was forecast.
Other jurisdictions in Virginia are advertising MRA increases of up to 6-9%, according to Fairfax Workers Coalition Executive Director David Lyons.
He acknowledged that Virginia law requires a different process for adjusting the compensation of elected officials than for other public employees, but the proposal created a perception “that you care more about yourselves than you do your workers.”
“What we do have is a shortage of human service workers. We have a shortage of cops. We have a shortage in solid waste collection that is causing the county to contract out good jobs,” he said. “And in the case of all these jobs, citizens will suffer as the vacancies grow, as the quality drops and as real experience keeps going out the door. That’s why this proposal struck people as wrong.”
Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity said board raises would be “outrageous” when the county is also dealing with employee retention and recruitment challenges as well as surging taxes and inflation.
“We need to prioritize our spending and protect critical county services, not fund board raises,” Herrity said.
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn also voted against the motion. When asked for comment, his office said his previously publicized stance that the board shouldn’t get a pay increase exceeding the cumulative MRAs given to employees hasn’t changed.
Virginia’s system of having board members determine their own raises during election years results in “a painful process,” Chairman Jeff McKay said. Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross, who will retire after this year, said it “would be a good idea” to increase board salaries annually based on a formula like other county employees, as suggested by one speaker.
Multiple board members stated that they’re committed to improving compensation for county workers in the budget, presenting a tough balancing act as they also look to lower the real estate tax rate.
“While the vote tonight must be decoupled from that larger budget conversation, rest assured that many of us will continue to fight for our employees while working to try to reduce the impact of our limited funding avenues that currently relies on our residential landowners in Fairfax County,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said.
Public hearings on the fiscal year 2024 budget will be held April 11-13. A final plan will be adopted on May 9.
Inova Gets Go-Ahead for Springfield Hospital — “Inova Health System just got the Virginia Department of Health’s green light to proceed with plans to bring a new hospital to Springfield — despite VHC Health’s attempt to block the project. The Falls Church-based health system secured the certificate of public need Tuesday afternoon for the nearly 1 million-square-foot hospital” [Washington Business Journal]
State Police Add Red Lights to Vehicles — “Virginia State Police are equipping the newest vehicles in their fleet with emergency light bars that also include red lights to improve visibility and safety…The enhanced emergency lights are on the road now in new police vehicles, which will gradually replace the older vehicles in the fleet.” [WTOP]
Street Safety “a Disaster” in Fairfax County, Advocates Say — “When Karen McCluskey of Northern Virginia Families for Safer Streets first began compiling the 2022 pedestrian crash data for Fairfax County last November on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, she never expected the carnage to be so catastrophic.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Labor Groups Call for Investigation of Tysons Contractor — “The coalition asked for a probe into whether ‘stark discrepancies’ between the race and gender of Maximus’s employees and its upper management could violate federal policies. Maximus has worked with federal agencies including the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.” [The Washington Post]
Metro Spending Big to Combat Fare Evasion — “Metro says it will spend up to $40 million to redesign its new faregates, making it harder to jump over them and evade paying the fare. The transit agency released new data Monday saying 13% of Metrorail riders did not tap in and pay for their rides, amounting to 40,000 fare evasions each weekday during the first two-and-a-half months of 2023.” [DCist]
Founder of Major Fairfax Real Estate Firm Dies — “Wesley ‘Wes’ Foster, who co-founded real estate giant Long & Foster, died Friday at age 89…Foster launched the real estate firm, whose red signs have become ubiquitous throughout the mid-Atlantic, in 1968 with then-partner Henry Long.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Infant Formula Recalled Due to Possible Bacteria — “Perrigo Company plc is issuing a voluntary recall of certain lots of Gerber® Good Start® SootheProTM Powdered Infant Formula in the U.S., that were manufactured at the Company’s Gateway Eau Claire, Wisconsin manufacturing facility from January 02, 2023 to January 18, 2023.” [Fairfax County Health Department]
Wolf Trap Park Adds More Summer Performances — “There are more performances to look forward to this summer at Wolf Trap’s outdoor Filene Center venue…The new shows include well-known performers like James Taylor, Diana Ross, Juanes, Ms. Lauryn Hill and John Fogerty.” [Patch]
How One Tysons Company Navigated Silicon Valley Bank Collapse — “That Thursday evening, [CEO Joe Saunders] had a stark decision to make: to take RunSafe Security’s money out or keep it in the bank…RunSafe Security was one of the scores of companies regionally and nationally left in limbo after SVB quickly cratered in the past week, as many of its tech customers pulled out their deposits at once.” [DC Inno]
It’s Wednesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 60 and low of 44. Sunrise at 7:10 am and sunset at 7:23 pm. [Weather.gov]
Spring is here, and despite a cold snap over the weekend, cherry trees around the D.C. area are rapidly approaching full bloom.
The Yoshino cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin remain on track with the National Park Service’s prediction that they will reach peak bloom — meaning that 70% of the flowers will be open — between Wednesday and Saturday (March 22-25).
Accordingly, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is now underway, though the official opening ceremony isn’t until this coming Saturday.
Since launching in the 1920s, the annual festival has expanded beyond D.C.’s borders, including to Fairfax County. For those who’d prefer not to endure the downtown crowds and traffic, there are plenty of events to catch closer to home when not taking in the flowers at local viewing spots like Meadowlark Botanical Gardens.
Celebration at the Lab
The Children’s Science Center has “transformed” its lab at Fair Oaks Mall into a scavenger hunt with various experiments to teach kids about the history and science of cherry blossoms.
Tickets are available for two-hour time slots at the lab between 10 a.m. and noon, and 2-4 p.m. from Saturday (March 25) through April 8. They cost $15 each, but there is a $2 discount for registering online.
Art Blooms at Mosaic
The Mosaic District in Merrifield has again partnered with the D.C. festival for a two-day celebration of its own that will feature live music on two different stages, crafts and farmers markets, and family-friendly activities, including a game corner and a “glamor” tent with hair-braiding and face-painting.
We're blooming with excitement for Art Blooms on April 1 and 2, featuring:
A market of handmade and vintage vendors from URBN Market
Fresh produce from local vendors presented by Fresh Farm VA
Fun activities by Vienna Singing Princesses
Live music on two stages pic.twitter.com/UAf3KxYxDl
— Mosaic (@mosaicdistrict) March 1, 2023
For adults, some restaurants in the neighborhood allow alcoholic beverages outside. A full list of Sip and Stroll participants and the festival’s performance schedule can be found on the Mosaic District website.
Complimentary shuttle service will be provided from the Dunn Loring Metro station to the festival, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 1 and 2.
Into the Woods at Frying Pan Farm Park
The Fairfax County Park Authority’s free event on April 1 has already filled up. Those who managed to snag a spot will get to build a fairy house, help count birds, and search for critters at stations along the Herndon park’s nature trail.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival will incorporate Springfield Town Center for the first time with the inaugural Blossom Fest, which will be held outside the mall’s main entrance near Yard House and Maggiano’s from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 1.
Perhaps the most notable elements are a cherry tree planting and dedication at 11:30 a.m., and a build-your-own cherry blossom station hosted by Lego Discovery Center. Blossoms made by participants out of Legos will be added to a tree that will be displayed when the center opens this summer.
Other activities include ballet and jazz performances, a selfie booth with an Enchanted Teapot, food trucks and other vendors, and face-painting and balloon twisting.
Pedal With Petals
Tysons Corner Center will host this inaugural family bicycle ride from 8-11 a.m. on April 2.
We’ve partnered with the @CherryBlossFest to bring part of the festival to Tysons! The inaugural Pedal with Petals Family Bike Ride will take place at @ShopTysons on April 2nd from 8-11am.
For more information and to register, go to: https://t.co/llvsMuelC0 pic.twitter.com/5SoVVuznoE
— Tysons Community Alliance (@tysons_va) March 10, 2023
Registration is now open for the free ride, which will start in front of Tysons Tower and Vita Tysons Corner (7902 Tysons One Place) and circle around the mall. The Plaza will have a bicycle decorating station, free bicycle repairs, face-painting, snacks, a DJ and more.
Helmets are required for all cyclists. Event parking will be available, but participants are encouraged to travel via Metro to the Tysons station.
The Tysons Community Alliance and Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling, which organized the ride, hope that it will become an annual staple of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
“The Festival and Tysons Community Alliance brands are a natural match with their emphasis on community,” TCA acting CEO Rich Bradley said. “A family bike ride serves to connect the community to the mobility aspirations of our urban center. We anticipate the ride course to expand annually as we realize future trail network growth planned for Tysons.”
The Fairfax County Park Authority is going to need a bigger budget to handle its running bamboo.
The agency has requested an additional $500,000 and a new, full-time staff position for an ecologist to help manage bamboo removal projects now that the county requires property owners to contain the species.
The park authority has 185 bamboo patches on its property, covering 250 acres of land — exceeding an earlier estimate and any other county agency, according to a Feb. 28 memo to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ environmental committee.
“Due to the excessive cost, bamboo management on an estimated 250 acres of Park Authority land will be a long-term management issue,” FCPA Public Information Officer Benjamin Boxer said.
While no removals have been conducted yet this year, the park authority has developed a “protocol” for prioritizing projects based on:
- Site conditions, such as the bamboo patch’s size, accessibility and proximity to rare resources
- Cooperation from neighboring landowners
- The county’s vulnerability index in terms of the impact on resources, restoration areas, high-quality natural areas, and the community
However, the county’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2024 doesn’t include funding for either the bamboo removal projects or the ecologist, who would be dedicated specifically to this issue, Boxer confirmed.
The park authority instead hopes to get the funds as part of the county’s fiscal year 2023 third-quarter review, which was presented to the Board of Supervisors today (Tuesday).
The package proposes allocating $400,000 “as initial funding” for bamboo mitigation, falling short of the FCPA’s request. It also doesn’t add any new positions, though staff identified nearly $10.7 million that the board could devote to non-recurring priorities.
“The Park Authority has requested recurring and dedicated funds for contracted bamboo removal and suppression projects on FCPA property and will proceed following the prioritization protocol with available resources as they are identified,” Boxer said.
The county’s running bamboo ordinance took effect on Jan. 1, requiring property owners to prevent the invasive species from spreading to other properties or risk getting fined.
The Fairfax County Department of Code Compliance has received 44 complaints about running bamboo since the ordinance took effect, but no fines have been imposed yet.
“We are focused on working with property owners to gain voluntary compliance. At this point no fines or litigation have been sought,” DCC Director Gabriel Zakkak said.
When the ordinance was adopted last year, Zakkak’s predecessor suggested the county may not resort to fines until cases have continued for a year or longer.
In addition to the bamboo on park authority land, the county’s Facilities Management Department identified about 1.5 acres of bamboo on eight of its properties, led by 43,000 square feet at the Mason District Government Center, according to a staff presentation.
The department said it has removed that bamboo and is in the process of treating the sites, stating that it doesn’t anticipate needing more funding to manage bamboo.
While Fairfax County Public Schools found no issues on school properties, Rose Hill and Hunt Valley elementary schools have adjacent properties with bamboo, according to FCPS spokesperson Julie Moult.
“Grounds has met with both owners and are working collaboratively to ensure that, if a small amount is on FCPS property, it is properly removed and also ensure that it does not spread onto FCPS property in the future,” Moult said.
Public hearings on the FY 2023 third quarter review package will be held on April 11, 12 and 13 — along with the proposed FY 2024 budget — before it’s adopted on May 2.
The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is rolling back into Tysons for its typically annual spring visit.
The pop-up from toy company Sanrio will park at Tysons Corner Center’s Events Plaza from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday (March 25), just over a year after its last appearance.
New items in tow include a hoodie and a plush coffee cup carrying the truck’s titular, bow-wearing cat. The truck will also bring back some collectibles and snacks, including:
- Hello Kitty Cafe coin bank
- Glass mug with sprinkle handle
- Hello Kitty Cafe lunchbox
- Hello Kitty Cafe lavender T-shirt
- Hello Kitty Cafe canvas tote
- Hello Kitty Cafe rainbow thermos
- Hand-decorated cookie sets
- Enamel pin sets
- Madeleine cookie sets
- Hello Kitty Cafe plush toys
- Giant Hello Kitty Cafe chef cookies
The truck doesn’t accept cash payments, only credit or debit cards, according to a news release.
For those who miss the Tysons stop, the truck will stick around the D.C. area for a two-day sojourn at the National Cherry Blossom Festival on April 15-16
Electric bicycles with a brand-new look will dock at select Capital Bikeshare stations in Fairfax County this spring.
The rental bicycle-sharing service is rolling out 850 new e-bikes across the D.C. area, more than doubling its current stock and bringing its total fleet close to 7,000 bicycles, according to the Washington Post.
Initiated yesterday (Monday) and continuing through April, the rollout includes 45 e-bikes owned by Fairfax County, which will introduce them to five stations in Tysons, Reston and Dunn Loring:
- Tysons Metro North
- Dunn Loring Metro
- W&OD Trail/Sunset Hills Road & Isaac Newton Square
- Wiehle-Reston Metro South
- Reston Town Center Metro North
Manufactured by the ride-sharing company Lyft, the new e-bikes will be able to reach speeds of 20 mph with the electric assist, have longer-lasting batteries, provide better visibility with retroreflective paint, and eliminate the shift transmission on the older e-bikes, according to Capital Bikeshare.
The company intends to phase out the existing, black-painted model of e-bikes this August, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation previously said.
The county is working to expand its Bikeshare network with new stations in the Tysons, Franconia and Huntington areas in the works. Another 100 e-bikes will be ordered to support those stations this spring.
“In 2024 and beyond, Fairfax County plans to acquire approximately 200 additional e-bikes to support expansion around the Huntington and Innovation Metrorail Stations, Baileys Crossroads, Seven Corners, and Annandale,” FCDOT said in a news release.
While e-bikes are more expensive, the county has said the costs of the initial rollout will be covered by federal grant money and rider fees.
The bikes cost 10 cents per minute for annual Capital Bikeshare members, with a $2 fee for parking outside of a station. Non-members pay $1 to unlock the bike and 15 cents per minute. Members of the Capital Bikeshare for All program can ride e-bikes for free for up to 1 hour and don’t have to pay the $2 out-of-station fee.
The new model of e-bikes is also being added in D.C. and Arlington County.
Metro Adds Trains to Speed Up Service — “Metro is ramping up service across much of the rail system starting [Monday], promising ‘an infusion of trains.’ This comes as ridership has been on the upswing, hitting new post-pandemic records, and as the transit system has been allowed to bring back more 7000-series railcars.” [DCist]
County Launches Fund for Tech Startups — “The Fairfax Founders Fund (FFF), a grant and technical assistance program providing funds to early-stage Fairfax County-based startups, will begin accepting applications on April 10. FFF will provide up to $50,000 in capital to help start-ups develop their business and prepare for later-stage investment.” [Department of Economic Initiatives]
Local Parents Indicted After Infant Fatally Overdoses — “Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano announced Tuesday that a grand jury had indicted 19-year-old Juan Oliva-Ruiz and 23-year-old Shantica Tillery on involuntary manslaughter and child cruelty charges, after their 11-month-old allegedly ingested a fentanyl pill found on the floor of their Alexandria home in June 2022.” [WTOP]
Man Arrested for Reported Fairfax Knife Attack — “On March 11, 2023 at 2:45 P.M. City of Fairfax Police responded to 7-Eleven, located at 10140 Fairfax Boulevard, for a malicious wounding. Investigation revealed that during a verbal altercation, the suspect, Anibal-Guzman, assaulted the victim with a knife causing injuries to their head, neck and hands.” [City of Fairfax Police]
Halal South Asian Restaurant Now Open in Mount Vernon — “Food Flame, a restaurant specializing in Indian and Pakistani cuisine, opened March 3 at Engleside Plaza shopping center in Alexandria. Located in a space formerly occupied by Wing Zone, Food Flame is owned and operated by Zafar Khan and family.” [On the MoVe]
Reston Theater Company Cleans Up at Regional Awards — “Reston Community Players was the big winner Sunday night at the 2023 Washington Area Theatre Community Honors Awards ceremony at the The Birchmere in Alexandria. RCP racked up a combined total of 13 awards for its productions of ‘A Little Night Music,’ ‘The Game’s A Foot’ and ‘Bright Star.'” [Patch]
Herndon Thrift Store Boosts Nonprofits, Students — “The Closet of The Greater Herndon Area Inc., a nonprofit thrift store, distributed over $273,000 worth of 2022 grants, scholarships, and vouchers to local nonprofits, students and community residents.” [Inside NoVA]
Vienna Bassist Selected for National Orchestra — “A Vienna teen will be part of a residency and tour with the 2023 National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. Joshua Thrush, 16, is a double bassist who was chosen for the National Youth Orchestra, a prestigious free summer program for the nation’s promising young musicians.” [Patch]
It’s Tuesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 59 and low of 35. Sunrise at 7:11 am and sunset at 7:22 pm. [Weather.gov]