Tysons, VA

A 9-year-old in Vienna wants to help local businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic after they previously supported his fundraising efforts for young cancer patients.

Matteo Lambert began his philanthropic journey after working with the founder of Hopecam, which allows severely ill cancer patients to connect digitally with friends and fight social isolation.

After starting a fundraiser, Matteo and his father Brandon Lambert said eight key businesses in Vienna donated around $250 each for the cause.

Bu now that the COVID19 pandemic has taken a toll on small businesses, Matteo wants to support them during their time of need.

Matteo set up a GoFundMe on March 17 to pay back the businesses for their original donations. So far, the campaign has raised over $1,420 out of the $2,020 goal.

The businesses that will benefit from the fundraiser include:

Brandon said his son had no fundraising experience before he began helping Hopecam and has learned a lot from the experience.

Now, Matteo communicates with donors almost exclusively on his own without too much extra help from adults.

Besides the GoFundMe campaign, Matteo and his father have their own non-profit called Off the Charts Club and have been featured on several other news outlets and podcasts.

Off the Charts Club empowers youth leadership and helps kids to lead their best lives despite any diagnosis or disability, according to its website.

Because of the pandemic, which has taken an economic toll on local businesses and families, Matteo’s dad said the organization has put its fundraising on pause for the time being because they didn’t feel it was right to ask for money in such a challenging time.

Even if someone cannot help their community by donating money, Matteo suggested that people help by donating extra items to local homeless shelters or plant gardens.

“There are no age or size requirements on helping your community,” Matteo said.

Photos via GoFundMe

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To combat a nationwide shortage of medical supplies, Falls Chuch Distillers decided to switch focus and begin making their own hand sanitizer.

Branded “Aim High Hand Sanitizer,” owner Michael Paluzzi said the goal is to step up to help the community and keep his business afloat.

The distillery’s new production is drawing the attention of medical staff, who are willing to cross state lines for the product, according to Paluzzi.

For a first test batch, Paluzzi said he and his crew created 300 gallons, which was gone within the first five hours of the release, which started on Friday (March 20).

During the giveaway, he handed out tiny 5 oz. bottles for free to the public and sold half-gallon and one-gallon sized tubs at market value, according to a Facebook post.

At one point, there were more than 100 people standing in line for the supply, Paluzzi said, adding that he always walked first responders or anyone who identified as medical staff to the front of the line.

The first batch of sanitizer is supporting “at least a dozen” hospitals and doctors’ offices, several retirement homes and other government agencies, according to Paluzzi.

A few nurses from York, Pennsylvania even sent representatives to pick up hand sanitizer for them, he said. “I’m surprised they even knew about it,” Paluzzi said.

Curious about Paluzzi’s secret recipe?

Read More

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A local author says her upcoming mystery novel is her “love letter” to Vienna.

“To Kill a Mocking Girl” is about a woman who investigates the death of someone named Tricia after being framed for her murder, according to the author’s website.

Harper Kincaid said that though the book is fiction, it is set in Vienna and includes local spots such as Bards Alley bookstore and the Freeman Store.

“I got a kick out of sharing with readers some of my favorite places in town,” she said.

There are many real-life residents written into the book too, she said, adding that she wonders if local readers can guess who they are.

Kincaid wasn’t born in the town but moved there around 2006 and said the townspeople help her to feel at home.

Though a hard copy of the book was set to launch in May, the publicist told Tysons Reporter that the physical book launch has been pushed to June 9 after a prerelease of the e-book on May 12.

Currently, the book is available for preorder but it is unclear when it will actually ship.

Depending on how things progress, Kincaid said she is considering having a book launch on June 9 at 7 p.m. in Bards Alley bookstore where she wants to give away a gift-basket valued at around $250.

Image courtesy Harper Kincaid

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Just weeks after its official opening, the owner of the Bear Branch Tavern in Vienna made the “particularly heartbreaking” decision to temporarily close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

To help the restaurant’s employees, who are now temporarily jobless, owners Chris Lefbom and Adam Lubar created a GoFundMe page on Sunday (March 22) that has already collected roughly $1,200 and counting.

The page has a goal of $5,000 right now and the description said that the proceeds raised from the page will get split between full-time and part-time employees.

“We had to seriously consider our hourly (both in the Front and Back of the House) team members who rely on their paychecks and tips to live,” the owners wrote on the GoFundMe page.

It is unclear at the moment when Bear Branch Taven will reopen but an announcement on the eatery’s Facebook page said that the owners will do so when they feel the time is right — with respect to the health and safety of the community.

“The team at Bear Branch is a new family and we want to help make sure the family is taken care of and is there for you when we open our doors again,” the page said.

Photo via Bear Branch Tavern/Facebook

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1 Million Cups Fairfax decided to move weekly meetings online to keep helping local startups and tech gurus during the coronavirus outbreak.

The group’s meetings and community events, which were usually in-person on Wednesday mornings, will be held online until further notice through a free digital software called Zoom, Silvia Ferguson, a spokesperson for the group, said.

Ferguson added that more details will be released online shortly.

1 Million Cups Fairfax, which is a part of a chapter initiative, allows local entrepreneurs to network with one another and receive feedback on business pitches.

Though Ferguson said that she isn’t sure how the economic downturn will potentially affect startups, she did say that members of Office Evolution — a co-working space that sponsors 1 Million Cups — and attendees that she has spoken to seem to be in good spirits.

The next 1 Million Cups Event will be held digitally this Wednesday (March 25)  from 9-10 a.m. People should be able to visit the event page soon for an updated link to the digital event, according to Ferguson.

Photo via 1 Million Cups/Facebook

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COVID-19 has prompted a lot of closures, but there are still certain recreational activities in the Tysons area to help people stay healthy while social distancing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that people take care of their bodies through tactics like deep breathing, stretching and meditation during the recent outbreak.

Now that it’s officially spring, here’s where people can check out local gardens or get some sunshine while taking a walk.

Parks and Outdoor Activities 

The NOVA Parks website said that most parks will remain open for the time being, but with specific changes made to staffing. The visitor center is closed, but people are free to come and go, according to the website.

While Fairfax County has closed its indoor park facilities and recreation, nature and community centers through March 29, people can still use the county’s outdoor parks and trails.

Some parks in the Tysons area include:

The Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna are still open to the public but without programming like tours, according to its website.

“At the core of Meadowlark is a wonderful public garden; a pleasure garden for strolling and relaxing, a center for environmental and horticultural education,” the website said.

Apps and Fitness Resources 

Though it isn’t necessarily a new trend, fitness classes are going digital so that people can still exercise at home.

F45 in The Boro has suspended its in-studio workouts, but the instructors are posting daily home workout videos on Instagram.

“The workouts are designed to be done at home with little to no equipment and are uploaded each day via IG TV,” according to a press release. “Individuals have the opportunity to comment with any questions or modifications.”

Core Power Yoga closed its studios but offers digital classes so people can take guided classes on-demand from the comfort of their own home, its website said.

FitOn offers a large variety of fitness classes for clients and there is even a free version that people can take advantage of.

Digital Fitness Assessment on major app stores is yet another option for home fitness. It lets people record their goals and helps keep them on track, according to the app description.

Mental Wellbeing

For people feeling isolated, experts also suggest touching base with friends and family using digital tools such as Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts. All these software allow people to video chat and see each other without coming into close proximity.

For mental health issues, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Series Administration has a hotline where people can reach out if they are becoming concerned. People can chat with someone for free at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The CDC also directly suggests avoiding substances like alcohol and drugs while in self-isolation.

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For the upcoming election in the Town of Vienna, Fairfax County wants residents to vote using an absentee ballot.

The county issued a statement on Tuesday (March 17) reminding voters that they can mail in their ballots.

People who don’t feel comfortable going out to vote on May 5 because of COVID-19 concerns can request an absentee ballot, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

To qualify for an absentee ballot, people must choose the “disability or illness” box during the application process, Fairfax County’s website said, adding that the last day to register for an absentee ballot is April 28, at 5 p.m.

“Voters who choose the absentee option should do so as soon as possible so they can get their ballots in time to return them by mail by Election Day,” the website said.

Absentee voting begins on March 20, according to the website.

Several candidates are competing for seats on the Vienna Town Council.

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UPDATED 03/23/2020 — Now includes information from Holy Comforter Episcopal Church and the Wesley United Methodist Church.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, places of worship around the Tysons area are going digital for people who are self-isolating or quarantined.

Many of the centers are closed to the public, but a few are still holding events for regular attendees. Here’s what Tysons Reporter has found in the area.

McLean

The McLean Baptist Church decided to cancel all of its services except for an upcoming live-streamed ceremony on Sunday (March 22), according to its website. People interested in watching can email the pastor to request a link to the church’s Vimeo. The digital service will begin at 11 a.m., according to the announcement.

Saint Luke Catholic Church pointed followers to a televised Mass Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on WDCW-50, according to the church’s website.

The McLean Islamic Center announced on its Facebook page that it will be closed until further notice due to concerns over the virus. The announcement added that anyone associated with the center in need of help can reach out for support through email.

The Lutheran Church of McLean announced that it will not hold a service on Sunday (March 22). The website added that staff will update the website as the church makes further updates to its policies.

Vienna

Our Lady of Good Council, a Catholic Church in Vienna at 8601 Wolf Trap Road, will be open for people to participate in the stations of the cross and certain prayer services, according to the church’s website. However, Mass is canceled.

The prayer services will take place Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. until noon for prayer groups of 10 people or less, the website said.

Stations of the cross will be available for self-guided tours from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Fridays.

New Song Church in Vienna will be hosting live streams of its services every Sunday at 10:30 a.m., according to the center’s website. People with questions about the live stream can call 703-972-6688.

Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in Vienna invites people to a short prayer at 12:10 p.m. every Wednesday for the next few weeks, according to a spokesperson.

Wesley United Methodist Church is hosting weekly online services, according to a church spokesperson. Links and video recordings can be found on the church’s website and Facebook page.  They are also seeking online donations to help community members in need. Services will begin at 11 a.m. throughout the week.

Falls Church

The Falls Church Anglican has also suspended in-person events but has digital sermons.

Christ Crossman, a United Methodist Church, also canceled in-person gatherings, but people can take part in Zoom sessions, which is a type of conference call software. The events will take place on Sundays at 10 a.m. and people can get online by entering the church’s phone number (7035324026) when prompted to enter the “Meeting ID.”

Photo via Aaron Burden/Unsplash

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Seniors and immunocompromised people can now shop for groceries with heightened caution at The Fresh Market.

From 8-9 a.m. each day at all of the locations, including the one in Vienna (150 Branch Road SE), people who are elderly or have immune system issues are invited to shop at the store, according to store manager Doug Dundall.

Though they are not “policing ” this policy, the store’s management asks that people who are young and healthy to shop at other times.

When it comes to cleanliness, Dundall noted that the company has instituted heightened measures.

“We have strict cleaning policies at the store to go the extra mile,” he said.

For shoppers who don’t want to go out at all, there are several companies, like Whole Foods, that deliver groceries.

Image via Google Maps

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The Studio Movie Grill at Founders Row in Falls Church will likely become more colorful with the installation of a new mural project.

Proposed themes include a collage of the universe, diverse individuals and storytelling images like film, according to the city documents, which added the dimensions will be roughly 128 by 38 feet.

“Rooted in the inclusive spirit of the community and history of Falls Church, the design’s whimsical vignettes illustrate the process of artistic ideation, creation, and interaction,” the city documents said about the art.

The mixed-use development, which is currently under construction at the corner of W. Broad and N. West streets, will include luxury apartments, retail space, the 4,693-square-foot movie theater and a 9,476-square-foot City Works Eatery and Pour House.

Though in the early stages, the proposed mural is tentatively scheduled to come back to the Planning Commission for a public hearing in June.

It is unclear when the mural will be completed.

Rendering via JBG Smith, images (2) via City of Falls Church

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