Tysons, VA

If you are in need of a job, training or an upgrade in careers, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) may have what you’re looking for.

The FCEDA is offering a Hiring and Reskilling Virtual Career Fair on Thursday, Oct. 8, from 1-4 p.m., and more than 20 companies hiring for thousands of jobs in Northern Virginia are involved. Participation in the online event will be free after jobseekers register online.

The event is the third virtual career fair sponsored by the FCEDA this year. The previous two events drew over 800 attendees each, according to the organization.

FCEDA’s virtual fair is an active attempt to help workers displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The economic effects of the pandemic continue to be felt particularly hard among our residents in industry sectors such as hospitality, transportation and restaurants, so I am grateful that the FCEDA is working to reach those workers,” Jeffrey C. McKay, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, wrote in a press release. “This is a great way to make sure that all of our residents have access to open jobs and opportunities to gain new skills.”

The fair is open to people of all levels of experience. Open positions will include a variety of jobs and industries, and not all will require a college degree. Some participating organizations will offer candidates opportunities to train and be placed in tech careers for free.

Among the companies and organizations seeking job candidates or job training programs are:

  • Amazon
  • Walmart
  • Wegmans
  • Cox Communications
  • Fairbrook Hotels
  • George Mason University’s Continuing and Professional Education Division
  • Marymount University
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • The Northern Virginia Building Industry Association
  • Revature
  • Securitas
  • Smoothstack

The event will allow participants to view companies in a virtual lobby, view open positions, talk with human resources representatives and engage in video conferencing.

“The FCEDA is proud to present the Hiring and Reskilling Virtual Career Fair,” Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the FCEDA, wrote in a press release. “We thank the companies that will be interviewing candidates at the fair and the organizations that offer reskilling and upskilling programs. Many people are in need of jobs because of layoffs at this unprecedented time. Each person hired saves a household. We at the FCEDA are here to help.”

Photo by Bruce Mars/Unsplash

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FinCEN, a Tysons-based bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, has become a central figure in an international investigation by Buzzfeed News.

The organization — officially the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network — ­has been located in Tysons since 2004 at the Tycon Courthouse, otherwise know as the “Toilet Bowl.”

FinCEN was created in 1990 to support federal, state, local and international law enforcement through analyzing information required under the Bank Secrecy Act, according to the agency’s website. It also is meant to use collection, analysis and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities to protect the financial system from unlawful use, combat money laundering and promote national security.

According to FinCEN’s site, the organization utilizes the following methods to fulfill its responsibilities of detecting deterring financial crime:

  • Issues and interprets regulations authorized by statute;
  • Supports and enforces compliance with those regulations;
  • Supports, coordinates, and analyzes data regarding compliance examination functions delegated to other Federal regulators;
  • Manages the collection, processing, storage, dissemination, and protection of data filed under FinCEN’s reporting requirements;
  • Maintains a government-wide access service to FinCEN’s data, and networks users with overlapping interests;
  • Supports law enforcement investigations and prosecutions;
  • Synthesizes data to recommend internal and external allocation of resources to areas of greatest financial crime risk;
  • Shares information and coordinates with foreign financial intelligence unit (FIU) counterparts on AML/CFT efforts; and
  • Conducts analysis to support policymakers; law enforcement, regulatory, and intelligence agencies; FIUs; and the financial industry.

This week, Buzzfeed News published its investigation of the “FinCEN Files” that include more than 2,100 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). Buzzfeed News and the Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained the files that reportedly reveal global financial corruption, banks involved in it and government agencies actions in regard to these events.

The report details more than $2 trillion in transactions and spans to more than 170 countries and territories. The articles published by Buzzfeed News report on money laundering and the financial movements of terror networks, drug cartels, organized crime and other organizations through international banks.

The Buzzfeed investigation noted that while the number of SARs going to FinCEN have more than doubled, staffing at the agency has declined by 10%, leaving many of the SARs unread.

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A representative from consulting firm Kimley-Horn presented the next steps to improve transportation through the Maple Avenue area to the Vienna Town Council for its consideration on Monday.

Following surveys of Vienna residents conducted by the town and Kimley-Horn, several portions of the Maple Avenue Multimodal Study were highlighted as top priorities and presented to the council. According to the town’s survey, residents identified eight items as top priorities.

Among those items are the redesign of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail crossings, integration of leading pedestrian intervals (LPI), filling vital sidewalk gaps and providing traffic impact analysis guidelines. A streetscape master plan and design, a long-range transportation master plan, parking and demand study, and the redesign of Church Street and Lawyers Road intersection rounded out the top concerns.

Jinks shared the priorities with the council while echoing the redesign of the W&OD Trail Crossing as one of the public works department staff’s top projects to “start to find funding and implement as soon as we can.”

While Kimley-Horn conducted independent engagement meetings with community members to address challenges or concerns, many of the top priorities were the same as reflected in the town’s survey.

Based on the meetings and a survey of the baseline condition of Maple Avenue, consultant David Samba from Kimley-Horn presented solutions to the council that could be implemented in the next five to 10 years. The projects presented would address some travel conditions or challenges – not just traffic with vehicles, but with biking, walking and transit experiences.

Kimley-Horn’s study looked at a single future development scenario including 13 mixed-use developments across the corridor that would add about 700 vehicle trips in the morning and 500 vehicle trips in the afternoon. According to Samba, analysis showed that even with the addition of the traffic, Maple Avenue would continue to function similar to how it does now.

“It gave us confidence that if we address today’s challenges, we’d be addressing tomorrow’s challenges at the same time,” Samba said.

The survey identified a number of challenges, but primarily established public concern that multiple means of travel in the area need to be addressed, not just the automobile experience.

Kimley-Horn presented 18 projects to the council with considerations for near-, mid- and long-term recommendations.

Short-term recommendations include the redesign of the intersection of Church Street and Mill Street, W&OD Trail Crossing redesign, implementing leading pedestrian intervals, and all way stops. They also include trail management or extension on Locust Street, redesign of the Pleasant Street and Courthouse Road intersection, roadway operation and safety improvement, filling sidewalk gaps and redesign of the Nutley Street and Courthouse Road intersection.

Mid-term recommendations include a local circulator, a bicycle network, Capital Bikeshare, curb reconstruction and bus stop enhancements on Maple Avenue.

The firm lists redesign of Branch Broad and Beulah Road intersection, raised medians and a Maple Avenue off-peak parking plan as long-term recommendations.

Of the 18 recommendations, Samba listed six as the top priorities:

  • The redesign of the intersection of Church Street and Mill Street
  • W&OD Trail Crossing Redesign
  • Leading pedestrian intervals
  • A local circulator
  • A bicycle network
  • Filling sidewalk gaps.

Following the presentations by Jinks and Samba, Council member Howard Springsteen expressed gratitude for the project documents, but also emphasized the effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on traffic and commuting.

“I think your study is a very good reference document out there that we can look at,” Springsteen said of the Kimley-Horn report. “But I think right now, we’re just trying to keep our heads above water with the pandemic.”

Image via Town of Vienna 

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Despite anticipation of a steep drop off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Town of Vienna has managed higher revenue on its meals tax than expected.

The meals tax generated 80% revenue for the first month of the new fiscal year, July, compared to last year. During pre-pandemic months, the monthly average for meals tax was $250,000, while July’s revenue came in at $194,000.

While there have been concerns for lower meals tax through the upcoming colder months, the generated revenue has left the town “pleasantly surprised,” according to finance director Marion Serfass. In preparation for a steeper drop off, the town budgeted for 50% of the pre-pandemic revenue.

Since March, five restaurants in the town have either moved or closed, while only one has reopened.

A contributing factor for the steady meals tax has been the stable business for drive-thru and high-end restaurants. During the pandemic months, there has been “no noticeable” drop off for drive-thru restaurants compared to previous meals tax revenue. The assumption for the trend is that people feel safer utilizing drive-thru restaurants, according to Serfass.

The meals tax revenue — a 3% tax on each meal sold — is used to pay back bonds issued for capital improvement projects.

Though the revenue has been higher than expected and the town is gradually recovering from the effects of the pandemic, there are still concerns about how local businesses may be affected by the pandemic if it stretches into next year.

In a discussion on Tuesday with Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert, and various business and economic leaders, Town Economic Development Manager Natalie Monkou cautioned that businesses might need to adjust to the ongoing health crisis.

“We’re anticipating the health crisis to continue into 2021 and we want to be able to help our business community pivot,” Monkou said.

File photo

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Grab your steins and face masks and prepare for a socially distant Oktoberfest event at The Boro in Tysons on Friday, Oct. 9 and Saturday, Oct. 10.

The event — held in collaboration with URBNmarket — will run from 3:30-8:30 p.m. on Oct. 9, and from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Oct. 10 at The Boro, 8359 Broad Street. Masks will be required at the event, unless you are seated at your table in the biergarten, and hand sanitation stations will be in place.

The event will feature an assortment of seasonal beverages in a pop-up biergarten, and vendors, local artists and crafts as a part of the URBNmarket. Open to all ages, the event will also include a kids zone featuring crafts, cornhole, a nine-hole mini golf course, live entertainment and more.

URBNmarket and the kids zone will be limit the number of guests in each area, and will be based on a first come, first serve basis. Crafts and games for the kids zone will be sanitized throughout the day. Face masks are required for everyone over the age of 5.

Reservations for the biergarten can be made at eventbrite. Each reservation is $25, which includes four free drinks in addition to a $5 donation to a local charity from every reservation. A maximum of six people will be allowed per table reservation, in accordance with Fairfax County COVID-19 regulations.

Additional beverage costs include $5 for beer, $6 for wine and $5 for non-alcoholic drinks from an onsite bar.

Visit The Boro Tysons website for directions, parking and reservations.

Photo courtesy Hilde Kahn

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While a new $112 million bond referendum is on the ballot for November, further planning for Salona Park in McLean will remain on hold.

The 2020 bond will include money for design planning of Salona Park, though the planning will remain paused pending approval of the Langley Fork Park master plan.

Planning for Langley Fork Park will be contingent on the completion of a land exchange that has been years in the making with the National Park Service that includes Langley Oaks Park.

“We need to figure out what’s going to be at Langley Oaks Park, and then we can really finish planning Salona based on what would go on in this other park,” said Judy Pederson, public information officer for the Fairfax County Park Authority. “Once the master plan is approved, then we will start to plan out Salona Park and that master planning process.”

As the process moves along and eventually reaches the planning phase for Salona Park, there will be more community discussion to find a middle ground with members of the public on the eventual development of the park.

Consideration during the planning process for Salona Park will weigh the previous planning efforts, community input, and take into account the current conditions at the site and whether the needs of the community have changed over the years.

“It’s really going to depend on what’s right for the community and what kind of consensus we can find,” Pederson said. “So that’s the great unknown.”

Salona Park was granted to the Fairfax County Park Authority under a conservation easement in 2005. Plans for Salona Park were previously discussed in 2012, but were not solidified due to a divergence in public opinion over whether the park should be preserved in a natural state or used as an athletic field.

Following community input and approval from the Board of Supervisors for the county, the master plan will also need to be approved by the county’s planning commission.

“There are just too many unknowns for us to really prognosticate on the timing,” Pederson said. “All I can say is that we’re ready to start. And we just will be working with the supervisor to figure out what the first next step will be.”

Photo via Google Maps

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Updated 2 p.m. — The location for the ceremony has been moved to the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street) due to concerns about weather.

Earlier: American Legion Dyer-Gunnell Post 180 is set to host a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony in the Town of Vienna.

The ceremony — which is free to attend — will begin at 9 a.m. at the Town Green, located at 144 Maple Avenue E, behind the Freeman House on Friday, Sept. 11. The annual ceremony — which Post 180 plans to continue hosting each year — marks the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

The ceremony is set to recall the attacks of 2001 while honoring the bravery and service of first-responders, and lives lost that day.

Typical attendance in previous years has ranged between 75-200 people.

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. and current Post 180 Commander Guillermo Guillén will be giving the remarks for the ceremony.

Photo via Google Maps

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