Newsletter

Morning Notes

Indigenous Peoples’ Day Scheduling Changes Announced — Most Falls Church city buildings will be closed on Monday (Oct. 11) in recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, with the exception of the community center, which will remain open for scheduled classes and camps. In addition, Fairfax Connector will operate on a holiday weekday service schedule.

Vienna Awarded for Liberty Amendments Month — The Virginia Municipal League named Vienna Town Manager Mercury Payton its Local Champion Award winner this week for spearheading the first-ever Liberty Amendments Month. The town also won the 2021 President’s Award, which is the league’s “highest honor for innovative solutions by local government.” [Patch]

Eastern District of Virginia Gets New U.S. Attorney — The Senate voted yesterday (Wednesday) to confirm Jessica Aber as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, which includes Fairfax County and operates out the federal courthouse in Alexandria. Her experience includes fraud and child exploitation cases as well as the prosecution of former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell, who was convicted of taking bribes but got the verdict overturned by the Supreme Court. [The Washington Post]

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Morning Notes

Tysons Wegmans Reopens After Hazmat Event — The Wegmans at Capital One Center (1835 Capital One Drive) was closed throughout the night on Wednesday (Sept. 22), a tipster who told Tysons Reporter, adding that there were “lots of fire trucks outside.” The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department says one of the store’s refrigerator lines had a leak, which “is considered a HAZMAT incident.” The scene was cleared that evening, and the store reopened yesterday (Thursday).

Falls Church Development to Delay Traffic Tomorrow — “Drivers should expect delays at the intersection of Broad St. (Rt. 7/Leesburg Pike) and Washington St. (Rt. 29/Lee Highway) on Saturday, September 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The traffic signal at that intersection is expected to be dark, and lanes will be closed…The closures are due to a contractor testing for the upcoming Broad and Washington private development project at the intersection.” [City of Falls Church]

Park Authority Recognizes County Leaders for Pandemic Response — “The Fairfax County Park Authority Board is honoring two individuals this year with Chairman’s Choice Awards for outstanding long-term support, service to, and advocacy on behalf of the Park Authority…County Executive Bryan Hill and Fairfax County Director of Health Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, are being hailed for their outstanding leadership during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic.” [FCPA]

Watch Demolition of Old NADA HQ in Tysons — Have a few free hours? Spend them watching the vacated National Automobile Dealers Association headquarters get reduced to rubble to make way for The Boro’s expansion. Demolition work is nearly complete on the building, which was among the first office towers in Tysons when it was constructed in 1975. [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]

1st Stage Theater Reflects on Staying Busy During Pandemic — “Instead of shutting down and laying off workers, 1st Stage took a different tack. The company committed to fulfilling every contract for three scheduled productions, keeping its entire staff employed and continuing to function at the fullest capacity possible under the circumstances, [artistic and managing director Alex] Levy said.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

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Morning Notes

Police Charge Local Imam for Reported Sexual Assault — “An imam at a Fairfax County mosque in Virginia has been charged with sexually assaulting a girl in 2015. Fairfax County police said Said Shirzadi, 36, the imam at the Mustafa Center, on Braddock Road in Annandale, was charged Tuesday with indecent liberties by a custodian.” [WTOP]

Meetings Scheduled on Fairfax Connector Service Changes — The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is seeking public input on a proposed plan for Fairfax Connector bus service in Tysons, Vienna, Chantilly, Centreville, and neighboring areas, such as McLean and West Falls Church. After a previous round of engagement, the county will share its preferred plan at virtual meetings on Sept. 30 and Oct. 7. [FCDOT]

Vienna Restaurant Wins 2021 RAMMY Award — “Clarity, a restaurant from Chef-owner Jon Krinn, won the Outstanding Covid-Safe Redesign (Indoors or Outdoors) RAMMY. The restaurant adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by offering Krinn’s rotating menu in an outdoor kitchen and outdoor dining area in the parking lot.” [Patch]

Former McLean Home of Capitals Owner Up for Sale — “The exclusive McLean compound built by Monumental Sports and Entertainment CEO Ted Leonsis is ready to trade hands again. The 3.5-acre property, which includes a Georgian-style mansion, Olympic-length pool, tennis court, and a guest house that has hosted the likes of Beyonce and Jay-Z, as well as Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, is currently on the market for $14.7 million.” [Washington Business Journal]

Metro Is Considering More Fare Changes — “Metro’s board will discuss a variety of possible changes to the transit system’s fares during its meeting on Thursday, including ideas as simple as reducing bus fares to $1 and as dramatic as getting rid of peak-hour pricing. The menu of options is part of a larger conversation around increasing ridership and ensuring the system’s fare structure is equitable, especially as the system struggles to look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.” [DCist]

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Among a crowd of pizza crafters applying fixtures with eyedroppers or a brush, chef Andy Brown did what he did best: make the same kind of pizza he’d make if he were any given Friday at the shop.

That’s how Andy’s Pizza, a small regional chain with a location in Tysons Galleria, took home the first-place prize in the traditional pizza category of the International Pizza Challenge last month.

“The whole point of the traditional category is: what do you do really great at 7 p.m. on a Friday?” said Emily Brown, Andy’s cousin and co-owner of Andy’s Pizza. “Maybe it was a risky move, but we just did what we put out on Friday. No paint brushes, no eye-droppers.”

Originally introduced in 2007, the International Pizza Challenge is the largest pizza-making competition in the U.S. It unfolded this year from Aug. 17-19 as part of the 37th annual International Pizza Expo.

Part of the rules for the traditional category is to use no more than two toppings, but as Emily explained, traditional doesn’t necessarily mean simple. There’s a specific process behind the scenes that goes into making the pizza.

“We do a 72-hour minimum cold fermented crust,” Emily said. “For our sauce, we have a beautiful red sauce with a pinch of salt, and we use the best cheese money can buy — mozzarella from Grande Cheese. Our crust is blistered, and we use a special technique to keep it chewy and soft while being crisp on the bottom.”

Emily suspects it was the blistered crust that helped Andy’s Pizza stand out from the competition.

“A lot of people do that ferment, and a lot of people use that cheese, so it’s really the blister,” Emily said.

Meanwhile, the pizzeria just started serving its first vegan pies. Emily says they were previously unimpressed with the quality of artificial cheeses, but they found the right one with Vertage in Ivy City in D.C.

Emily also helped spearhead the pizzeria’s beer menu, which has started to see a gradual comeback after lunch and happy-hour crowds took a hit with office workers staying home during the pandemic.

“Tonight, people came out from D.C. and were like ‘how did you get this beer?'” Emily said. “Our bread and butter was office, and they were gone and started to trickle back…You still don’t get that automatic 50-person-on-a-Tuesday Capital One happy hour yet, so you have to work really hard not to let that program slip. If you do something hard enough, people will notice.”

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Morning Notes

Environmental Advocates Urge Warner to Act on Climate — “Environmental activists protested outside the Tysons Corner office of Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) Thursday afternoon, calling on him to commit to ending federal fossil fuel subsidies as Congress debates separate budget and infrastructure bills.” [Patch]

Tysons Area Beltway Lane Closures Start Tonight — “The southbound I-495 (Capital Beltway Outer Loop) general purpose lanes will have nightly triple lane closures along the three bridges over the Dulles Toll Road (Route 267) and related ramps, weather permitting, Friday, Aug. 27 and Saturday, Aug. 28 for restriping to implement a temporary traffic shift for bridge joint work.” [VDOT]

McAuliffe Leads Gubernatorial Poll — “Democratic candidate for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is ahead of his opponent, Republican Glenn Youngkin in the latest poll released Thursday morning. McAuliffe is leading 50% to 41%, according to Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center-AARP poll. About 6% of voters remain undecided two months ahead of the November 2 election.” [DCist]

Deadline Approaching to Recognize Vienna Volunteers — “Nominations are now being accepted for volunteers who are worthy of recognition as Vienna Hometown Heroes. Since last year’s event had to be cancelled for pandemic-related reasons, this year’s celebration will recognize individual and group volunteer efforts for 2020 and 2021…Nominations for individual heroes are due Aug. 31.” [Town of Vienna]

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1st Stage Theatre’s production of The Brothers Size (courtesy Teresa Castracane/1st Stage Theatre)

Two Tysons arts organizations are among the five honorees selected by ArtsFairfax for its 2021 Arts Awards, an annual celebration of Fairfax County’s arts community.

ArtsFairfax, a nonprofit that has been designated as the county’s arts agency, announced the winners of this year’s awards on Tuesday (July 27).

“For ten years, our annual Arts Awards has recognized the creative visionaries who inspire us, engage us, and create transformational change in our communities,” ArtsFairfax President and CEO Linda S. Sullivan said in a press release. “This year’s honorees exemplify the impact that artists, arts and cultural organizations, and those that support them are making to the future of Fairfax County.”

In addition to marking their 10th anniversary, this year’s Arts Awards herald a return for both the awards themselves after they were canceled last year and local arts groups, which are tentatively starting to reemerge from the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic.

1st Stage Theatre is this year’s recipient of the Arts Impact Award, which “recognizes an arts organization, program, or activity that has provided a significant opportunity or impact through their transformational programs and individuals served,” according to ArtsFairfax.

The only professional theater company in Tysons, 1st Stage “serves as a cultural hub” and has proven skilled at adapting to the “community’s changing needs and challenges” with accessible performances, ArtsFairfax says.

The nonprofit highlights the virtual Community Conversations program that 1st Stage developed to kept audiences engaged when the theater was shut down during the pandemic.

1st Stage could not be reached for comment. The theater will reopen its doors at 1524 Spring Hill Road in November after kicking off its 2021-2022 season with the Logan Festival of Solo Performances at The Boro.

The Traveling Players Ensemble will receive the Arts Education Award, which goes to “an arts organization or individual arts educator that has provided superlative arts education opportunities, experiences, or training in the arts for youth, adults, and artists,” according to ArtsFairfax.

Operating out of a Tysons Corner Center studio, the Traveling Players provides camps, classes, and other opportunities for youths to gain theatrical skills and experience. The company adapted its summer camp program to a virtual world last year, putting on a one-act play festival via Zoom in December.

“Traveling Players is honored to be the recipient of the Arts Education Award,” said Jeanne Harrison, founder and producing artistic director of the Traveling Players. “As an educational theatre company, teaching and training is our organization’s sole focus and mission.” 

Traveling Players will celebrate the award at their summer performances, including shows on the Plaza at Tysons Corner Center on Aug. 4 and 5.

This year’s other honorees are:

The 2021 ArtsFairfax Awards will hold a reception on Oct. 15 in The Atrium at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road), which will open for its inaugural season that month. Tickets are now available for purchase.

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Cooper Middle School student Kriesh Tivare uses an oscilloscope (courtesy of the Tivare family)

A 13-year-old Great Falls resident’s science experiment about recharging electric vehicles while they’re in motion won him statewide honors.

Kriesh Tivare earned the State Merit Award for Virginia in the national “3M Young Scientist Challenge” last month for an experiment that examined how to make contactless charging a reality using coils in a roadway to power a toy car.

“It basically charges the car as it drives over,” Kriesh said.

A partnership between the engineering company 3M and Discovery Education, the Young Scientist Challenge takes place annually and is open to students in fifth through eighth grade. Competitors submit short videos explaining the science behind a possible solution to a problem they see in their community.

A panel of judges selected a merit winner from each state as well as 10 finalists, who will compete in a final event at 3M’s headquarters in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in October. The overall winner will receive $25,000 and the opportunity to get a mentorship from the company.

In his prize-winning experiment, Kriesh explains how switches on a road could be pressed by a tire to close a circuit and use electromagnetic induction to power a vehicle, rather than having stationary charging stations restoring power.

Kriesh got the idea when his family would go on trips and have to hunt for and spend time at charging stations for their Tesla Model 3, which they normally charge every day. During one family trip in 2019 to Boston, range anxiety was evident as they had to break every five to six hours, taking 45 minutes to an hour to recharge.

“At the mall, there’s this one spot that’s dedicated to…charging, and a lot of the charging stations are already being utilized,” he said, contrasting the amount of charging stations to gas stations.

Kriesh created his own materials using a fishing rod to wrap coils hundreds of times around small PVC piping.

He used a frequency generator to power coils on a roadway model and an oscilloscope to measure how much power was induced, experimenting with different coils and frequencies to maximize efficiency.

Heading into eighth grade at Cooper Middle School in McLean, Kriesh enjoys history and math classes and could see himself as an astronomical engineer, discovering a planet or looking for life in space.

Contactless charging — the term Kriesh used for his contest entry — is becoming a reality. For example, the company ElectReon Wireless Ltd. has deployed its technology on public roadways in Israel and Sweden for buses and trucks.

Researchers in California examined the technology in the 1970s and 1980s and eventually tested electric vehicles in motion. A 1992 report investigating the feasibility of electrifying highways noted a roadway inductor would cost a “few million dollars per lane mile,” but equipment costs for vehicles were “considerably more uncertain” at that time.

A research team at Cornell University, led by electrical and computer engineering associate professor Khurram Afridi, has been working on improving road-powered charging technology for electric vehicles, which they say could have uses from electrifying highways to supporting autonomous forklifts and robots in manufacturing warehouses.

Afridi said in a video about the technology that the timing could be right to introduce changes to infrastructure in need of repair.

Kriesh is interested in continuing his experiment by looking at how 5G signals could allow road coils to charge a vehicle without pressure plates, avoiding the need for his model car to drive over switches.

“In the future, the 5G network will replace the switches within the road to activate the coils in the road instantaneously,” Kriesh said in his contest video. “Dynamic charging could be a promising future for smart, driverless vehicles.”

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Morning Notes

Water Caffi Fields baseball diamond in Vienna (photo by Amy Woolsey)

New Laws Take Effect in Virginia — A host of new laws passed by the General Assembly take effect today, including the legalization of simple marijuana possession, the abolition of the death penalty, and a requirement that drivers change lanes when passing bicyclists. The fine for littering is now $500, up from $250, and it is now illegal to intentionally release a balloon outside. [Patch]

MPAartfest Returns In Person This Fall — The McLean Project of the Arts announced yesterday (Wednesday) that its annual, free art festival will officially be back in person at McLean Central Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 3. The event will feature a one-day juried fine art and craft show/sale, food vendors, and more. It will also stream online. [McLean Project for the Arts]

Jones Branch Connector Awarded — “The Jones Branch Connector, a joint effort by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Fairfax County to build a new crossing over the Capital Beltway in Tysons, has been named the 2021 National Project of the Year by the American Society of Highway Engineers.” [VDOT]

1st Stage Finds Success with Return to Live Theater — Almost 1,000 people attended 1st Stage’s Celebration at The Boro on Sunday (June 27), according to an email sent to supporters yesterday. The event, which centered on a concert reading of the musical “A New Brain,” was the Tysons theater’s first in-person production since February 2020 and raised $87,000 for the venue. [1st Stage]

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Morning Notes

General Assembly to Hold Special Session in August — “Governor Ralph Northam today [Wednesday] issued a proclamation calling the members of the General Assembly into special session on Monday, August 2. A special session is necessary to fill judicial vacancies and allocate more than $4.3 billion in federal relief funding.” [Office of the Governor]

British Pub Opens Doors in Vienna — Hawk & Griffin had a long-awaited soft opening this week for its 435 Maple Avenue West venue, which is now open for reservations and will start allowing walk-ins on Friday (June 25). The British pub has been in the works since February 2020 but delayed opening due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [Patch]

Tysons Boulevard Lane to Close Again — One northbound lane of Tysons Boulevard will be temporarily closed for a second year to give pedestrians and bicyclists access to a half-mile stretch of road in the Tysons Galleria area. The closure will begin on July 6 with no set end date, though it could be reassessed depending on traffic conditions. [Fairfax County Department of Transportation]

Scott’s Run Trail Project Awarded — A new asphalt pedestrian trail and two bridges over Scott’s Run were named Project of the Year for Transportation in the under-$5 million category by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA). The project started construction in July 2019, and Fairfax County held a ribbon-cutting on Feb. 4. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Vienna Hosts George Mason University President — GMU President Dr. Gregory Washington will discuss the paradox of Mason’s role as a key figure in American history and as a slaveholder at the Vienna Community Center at 5 p.m. today. The event will also feature a panel discussion as part of the Town of Vienna’s Liberty Amendments Month celebration. [Volunteer Fairfax/Twitter]

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If there was a business that helped make the past year more bearable for you, whether it was a restaurant that became a takeout favorite or a yoga studio that kept you centered by pivoting to online classes, now is your chance to give them some recognition — at least if they’re located in the Town of Vienna.

May is Business Appreciation Month in Virginia, and the Town of Vienna Economic Development Office announced yesterday (Tuesday) that it will celebrate by reviving the #ViennaUnited campaign that it introduced last year to support local businesses during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every opportunity to support our business community in a unique and creative way is valuable,” Town of Vienna Economic Development Manager Natalie Monkou said. “Through this initiative, we are aiming not only to spotlight businesses in Vienna, but to also share their unique stories as they continue navigating the health crisis.”

The campaign focuses on two awards, one for businesses and one for employees.

For the #ViennaUnited Virtual Business Awards, residents, visitors, and businesses can nominate local businesses and their owners in three areas: Entrepreneur of the Year, Excellence in Customer Service, the Give Back Award, and Sustainability, a new category for this year.

Last year’s winners were Mo:Mo House for its customer service, Social Burger for the Give Back Award, and Sundown & Rise Up Salon for Entrepreneur of the Year.

Nominations for the Virtual Business Awards are due on May 24, and a new set of winners will be unveiled on May 28.

The town will also highlight employees and staff members of local businesses throughout May with the Vienna Changemaker Awards, which are intended to recognize workers who “have made exceptional contributions to their respective organizations.”

Businesses and community members can submit individuals for consideration until noon on May 24. Winners will be featured on the Town of Vienna’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts over the course of the month.

In addition to the awards, the economic development office is organizing some town-wide activities and encouraging businesses to offer in-store promotions and events.

A local business bingo is currently underway through May 24, with winners scheduled to be announced when ViVa Vienna returns during Memorial Day weekend.

Historic Vienna is also hosting a “Language of the Flowers” virtual tea ceremony at 3 p.m. on May 15.

Packages containing English tea bags, scones, homemade lemon curd, sandwiches, and other treats can be reserved for $40 through this Saturday (May 8). They must be picked up from the Freeman Store and Museum front porch between noon and 2 p.m. on May 15.

More information about Vienna’s Business Appreciation Month initiative can be found on the economic development department’s website.

Photo courtesy Adam Kincaid/Town of Vienna

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