Tandem Product Academy is looking for 20 existing Northern Virginia technology companies to guide and help succeed in the COVID-19 economy.
Amplifier Advisors, as well as a group of university, government and community partners, helped Tandem Innovation Alliance’s Academy launch a new cohort mentoring these technology companies on Sept. 14.
The Academy will help the selected businesses find a business model that will sustain them throughout the pandemic and long after, according to a statement from the Academy. The program will commence on Oct. 21, 2020.
The program will run virtually over a four-month period, alternating between all-cohort classes and individual company mentor sessions, according to the statement.
“The post COVID-19 economy is punishing for technology businesses that do not have the right product market fit, but as we can see from regional and national successes, when a technology business has the right fit, this is a great time to be in the technology industry,” said Jonathan Aberman, the founder of Amplifier Advisors.
“We want to help a group of promising technology businesses find their best opportunities to pivot what they have built into a market that will be rewarding for the current economy and what’s next,” said Aberman.
Amplifier Advisors is an innovation business led by Aberman, George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis and Marymount University’s Marymount Intrapreneurship Initiative, according to the statement.
The cohort’s teaching team includes Marymount University faculty and technology entrepreneurs and investors; including Mark Walsh, Gene Riechers, Ben Foster, Erich Baumgarter, Tien Wong, Pat Sheridan, Elizabeth Shea and Jonathan Aberman.
Participants must be senior leaders of a business that has a technology product that has achieved some commercial adoption, according to the statement, and whose company has done any of the following over the past year:
- Had gross revenue of $500,000;
- Obtained at least $500,000 in capital from sources other than the founder’s immediate friends or family; or
- Received at least $500,000 in federal research and development funding.
Those interested can view more information and apply at the Tandem Innovation Alliance website.
Photo by Alesia Kazantceva/Unsplash
Drug take-back boxes have been placed at all eight police stations in Fairfax County, including the McLean station.
The eight stations include Reston District Station, Sully District Station, Mount Vernon District Station, McLean District Station, Mason District Station, Franconia District Station, West Springfield District Station and Fair Oaks District Station.
According to a statement from the Fairfax County Police Department, the boxes placed at each local station are geared to be a safe place to responsibly and conveniently drop off unused or unneeded medications.
The stations are accepting schedule II-V controlled and non-controlled prescription medication, prescription ointments, over-the-counter medications and medications for pets.
The stations are prohibiting needles, liquids of any kind, illegal drugs, non-prescription ointments and lotions, aerosol cans and inhalers, according to the statement.
The district stations are open to the public 24 hours each day, seven days each week. Those with questions can contact the Property and Evidence Section Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at 703-246-2786.
Photo via the Fairfax County Government website
Vienna local Sydney Lehrman quit her job a week before the coronavirus pandemic shut things down, and then couldn’t find work. So with free time on her hands, she turned to one of her favorite pastimes — cooking.
When Lehrman decided to compile the recipes she’d made over the course of the pandemic into a basic Google document, she hadn’t anticipated the overwhelming, positive community feedback she received. The collection of recipes turned into a 49-page document, the Quarantine Cookbook, with recipes for dishes such as jambalaya, salted caramel pretzel snickerdoodles and sausage tortellini soup.
“I love the desserts because I have such a sweet tooth,” said Lehrman.
Back in March, Lehrman was quarantining with her boyfriend’s family in Maine and was unable to find a new job because of the coronavirus. Lehrman and the family turned to cooking many nights, so she decided to commemorate their favorite recipes.
“I put all of them together in a way that I could keep them and remember, and have something positive to look back on,” said Lehrman.
In the middle of August, Lehrman posted in the Vienna VA Foodies Facebook group asking if anyone was interested in a copy of the cookbook, and if so, she would direct message it to them. After receiving more than 200 messages of interest, she shared the link to the cookbook to the entire Facebook group.
“I still got a ton of messages from people thanking me,” said Lehrman. “I’m really happy that other people like it. Life is too short not to enjoy good food.”
Lehrman is contemplating publishing a recipe book in the future as a gift. In the meantime, readers can view the Quarantine Cookbook via the public Google document.
Photo by Sydney Lehrman
In addition to custard, the Facebook group collected handwritten letters from all over the community. The group received dozens of letters to pass out.
The celebration of the local post office came after a month of national discussion about management of the United States Postal Service and concerns about policies that could disrupt mail-in voting efforts.
Lydia Russo, one of the founders of the Vienna VA Foodies group, helped organize the delivery.
“Today, we are showering the Vienna Post Office with so, so much love!!” said Russo in the Facebook group.
Russo said gift was largely appreciated by the Post Office employees, who hung up many of the letters around their office.
“I truly appreciate everything the community has done, especially the Vienna foodies who have organized this delivery with Kiln & Custard,” said Tyler Miller, a supervisor at the Vienna Post Office, in the Facebook group. “I had them deliver it early today that way every employee (clerks, rural carriers and city carriers) can get one after their hard day at work. I also took all the great thank you cards and put them on the wall so all the employees can see how much the community appreciates them. Also I wanted to say thank you to all of my employees who work so hard everyday. I truly appreciate you all.”
Photo by Vienna VA Foodies/Facebook
The 2020 Fairfax County Deer Management Archery Program officially kicks off this Saturday, Sept. 12. The program will run through Saturday, Feb. 20.
The initiative is in collaboration with the Fairfax County Park Authority and NOVA Parks under the oversight of the Fairfax County Police Department to enforce that the program is only conducted in parks and other approved locations.
The program was created in 2010 to reduce and stabilize the population of white-tailed deer in the county, according to the statement. An overabundance of deer can lead to a series of safety and health hazards including deer-vehicle collisions, the potential spread of disease and environmental damage.
Archery is a preferred method of deer management because of its compatible use in residential areas and community parks, according to the statement. Additionally, no bystanders have been injured by an archer hunting deer since Virginia began tracking hunting injuries.
The program requires all hunters to meet state hunter licensing, education and safety requirements and must pass qualifications to demonstrate skill and marksmanship. They also must have program identification and completion of training through the International Bow Hunter Education Program to participate. Hunters must also pass a background check.
Parks will remain open to the public during hunting season, with orange signs to designate where hunting is authorized. Hunting is permitted at assigned sites Monday through Saturday, from 30 minutes prior to sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset.
Photo via the Fairfax County Police Department
Despite canceling in-person shows, Wolf Trap found a way to put their costume-making skills to work this summer by making and donating masks to the Vienna community.
When Gov. Ralph Northam announced the stay-at-home order through June 10, Wolf Trap’s Opera Costume Department realized shows wouldn’t be happening and decided to find another way to employ some of their artisans.
Initially, Wolf Trap just planned to make masks for its foundation board and staff, as well as artists from its opera residency. But they also knew they wanted to help the community, so they worked with the Vienna Business Association to provide masks to restaurants, according to Lee Anne Myslewski, the vice president for Opera and Classical Programming at Wolf Trap.
“We determined that partnering with the VBA would get them to organizations and individuals that needed them,” said Myslewski.
Of the 1,000 masks made by the company, 130 went to the VBA, according to Peggy James, the VBA’s executive director.
The masks are made from three-ply pre-shrunk cotton, and some mask material comes from unused off-cuts from previous shows, according to a newsletter from the VBA. They have large and medium masks to give out to Vienna businesses.
“I really appreciate that they are big supporters of the Vienna community,” said James. “We are very appreciative of their membership and their generosity.”
In addition to restaurants, masks were also given to nonprofits, teachers and other businesses around Vienna, according to James.
While the mask donation was a hit, Wolf Trap says that it was just a one-time thing, and hopefully, they can resume performances soon. “We hope to be able to make opera sets and costumes again next summer,” said Myslewski.
Wolf Trap is still offering virtual concerts for both adults and children on their website.
Photos courtesy of Peggy James
Although Halloween in Vienna will look a little different this year, COVID-19 isn’t stopping the town from holding socially-distanced fall festivities.
Currently, the town is collecting donations for “Halloween in a Bag” until Oct. 1. The collection, based on their “4th of July in a Box” over the summer, will deliver 750 bags with enough supplies for two kids per household to celebrate Halloween from home.
The bag will include a pumpkin decorating kit, Halloween candy and treats, festive crafts, recipes and activities, vampire teeth and an assortment of Halloween fun, according to the Vienna Voice. Bags are $20 each.
Then, the Vienna Business Association and the Town of Vienna will host Distanz Oktoberfest — a twist on the usual Oktoberfest celebration — from Oct. 2-4.
The celebration will feature various festivals that fall into four different categories: Festival Food, Beer & Wine, Market Platz/Retail and Business Expo/Professionals.
On Oct. 31, the town will host the “Halloween Wave Parade.” At 10 a.m., locals can expect 10-15 floats to travel through the four quadrants of Vienna.
The parade is looking for more sponsors — businesses can apply to be a sponsor on the VBA website. Sponsors will have their logos displayed as the parade moves across town.
Photo by David Menidrey/Unsplash
Crumbl Cookies, a gourmet cookie delivery and takeout business, is opening in the Town of Vienna next week.
The cookie business recently announced it plans to celebrate its new location at 203 Maple Ave. E with a grand opening next Thursday, Sept. 3. The next day, they will be offering free delivery all day with orders placed on Friday, Sept. 4. Customers can place orders through the Crumbl Cookie app or on their website.
“We’re excited to bring Crumbl to Vienna and hope the local residents love these cookies as much as we do,” said Jason McGowan, the co-founder and CEO of Crumbl Cookies.
In each Crumbl store, cookies are mixed, baked and prepared fresh by staff in an open kitchen for customers to watch.
“Having our customers see every cookie being made is one of the best experiences of our stores,” said Sawyer Hemsley, the co-founder and chief operating officer of Crumbl Cookies.
The store features four different specialty cookies each week in addition to two favorites, warm chocolate chip and chilled sugar cookie. Some of the specialty flavors include Muddy Buddy, Biscoff Lava, Funfetti, Snickerdoodle and more. The store also offers cold milk and gourmet ice cream to order on the side.
Crumbl will be open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. on weekdays and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. The store is closed on Sundays.
“Nothing beats biting into a warm, delicious cookie that has been delivered straight to your door,” said Melanie Bunker, the owner of the Vienna location. “We’re really excited to bring this experience to Virginia.”
Photo via Crumbl Cookies/Facebook
As Fairfax County Public Schools prepares for virtual classes, some private schools in Reston and Tysons are bringing students back into classrooms.
Four private and parochial school administrators told Tysons Reporter a high demand for in-person instruction and their ability to socially distance students are the main reasons they are offering in-person learning.
Green Hedges School in Vienna noted an increase in enrollment interest for the 2020-21 school year, according to Jenn Boehnen, who is the head of the school.
After initially planning for a hybrid of in-person and online classes, FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand announced in July that the public school system, which is the largest one in Virginia, would open virtually on Sept. 8 for the fall. Concerns about public health safety and staffing levels prompted the switch to fully online classes.
Unlike big public schools with larger class sizes, the private school administrators Tysons Reporter spoke to said that they will be able to keep students spaced out.
Green Hedges is requiring that students sit in assigned seats for lunch and snack time, according to the school’s reopening plan. The seats will be 6 feet away from each other and students will have the option to eat outside when possible. Additionally, the school is instructing students to stay 6 feet away from each other during recess.
Photos the school shared on Facebook show desks spaced out in the classrooms.
Oakcrest School near Crowells Corner plans to move classes with 20 or more students outside, weather permitting. The school is looking to use its 23-acre campus to keep its approximately 260 students safely spread out.
“We’re trying to implement as many safety precautions as possible without disrupting the normal rhythm of the school day,” said Miriam Buono, who heads up operations at Oakcrest.
To further ensure social distancing, Oakcrest is implementing unilateral stairways to avoid overcrowding in the halls. The school is also extending passing periods from five to 10 minutes to compensate for the stairways and to allow students to step outside for mask breaks.
In addition to figuring out how to keep students physically distanced, school administrators are also finding ways to deal with another new element: getting kids to wear face coverings for several hours.
To address the issue of mask fatigue, St. Joseph Catholic School in Herndon is allowing teachers and students to pull down face coverings when 6 feet apart or when alone. Students will also be able to remove their masks while eating.
Even while many private schools in the Fairfax County area are planning for in-person learning, some are offering a virtual option for families with health concerns. The school administrators told Tysons Reporter that they have to remain flexible if new state guidelines or a COVID-19 surge requires a switch to fully-virtual learning.
Administrators want parents to know they are tracking the ongoing conditions to determine whether or not in-person classes are safe.
Photos via Green Hedges School/Facebook
In the opening scenes of “Peter Polo and the Snow Beast of Hunza,” young readers are instantly transported to the 13th century and an unfamiliar world to the fields of the gritty “sport of kings” — polo. Here, players mounted on horseback display their physical prowess while caked in a veil of mud and readers take in a sliver of the adventure that is about to unfold.
Vienna local and novelist Craig Bradley is the author of the book, which debuted earlier this year and has been showcased at several area independent books stores.
The game of polo dates back to 600 B.C. and has been described as the “oldest of all sports” that several countries throughout East Asia claim they gave birth to. It also nostalgically connects to Bradley’s travels in Asia.
Bradley, a father of two boys, said he wrote the book for his sons, but also to pique younger readers’ interests in history and cultures that may be less familiar to them. Bradley, who spent a lot of time traveling abroad, decided to write about the history that originally drew him in as a child.
“I hope younger readers can walk away with an interest in Mongolian culture and a ‘snow beast,'” said Bradley. “Children’s books often have a lot of magic, but this book explores different cultural perspectives that kids may not be as familiar with.”
Bradley initially wrote the book about 15 years ago. However, it wasn’t until now that the book was released in April.
This may be Bradley’s first published book, but he has written short stories for a long time: “It’s easier than ever to submit short stories nowadays online.” His biggest piece of advice is for those who are interested in writing to simply start writing.
Bradley is currently working on a sequel to the book, called “Peter Polo and the White Elephant of Lan Xang.” The book will follow Peter and his friends as they try to stop a war between two kingdoms in South Asia. Bradley is optimistic that the book will be out by early 2021.
For people looking to get a signed copy of Bradley’s book, Bards Alley in Vienna will host a book signing as well as other events for Indie Bookstore Day on Saturday, Aug. 29.
Cover illustration by Laurie Conley, photo courtesy of Craig Bradley