Warmer Winter Expected — “According to the National Weather Service (NWS), we will see above normal temps this winter w/ an equal chance of above, near, or below normal precipitation. We urge you to be prepared for #WinterWeater to keep you and your family safe!” [Ready Fairfax/Twitter]
Pandemic Prompts Change at Fairfax County Meals on Wheels — “Roycraft said that he, along with about 480 volunteers, used to deliver meals to elderly people in Fairfax County about three times a week. When the pandemic struck, this changed…But then, even as pandemic restrictions eased up, the county decided not to return to a volunteer-based delivery system.” [Fairfax Times]
McLean Student Bakes Way onto Food Network — “What started as a pandemic hobby has evolved into a small business for Finley, who estimates she has completed 20 orders to date, including cakes, cupcakes and cookies. Her skill caught the attention of the Food Network, which offered her the chance to compete in its Kids Baking Championship, premiering Dec. 27.” [WTOP]
Why Johnny Depp Sued Amber Heard in Fairfax County — “Despite the subtle language, the tenuous connection to Virginia, and the previous loss in court on a stronger claim, Depp sued Heard in Fairfax County — and has won four motions to dismiss in three years. On October 13, 2021, a Fairfax County judge ruled that because the processors and ink cartridges that delivered the words to the public were located in Virginia, Depp could sue Heard for libel in the state.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Local Church Collects Food Donations With Drive-Thru Nativity — For a second year in a row, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in McLean will hold a drive-thru Nativity event next week that will double as a food drive to support the nonprofit SHARE of McLean. Last year’s event drew over 1,000 cars and brought in enough donations to last the food bank two months. [Patch]
Man Arrested in Vienna Shooting — A 25-year-old Manassas man has been charged with malicious wounding and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon after a shooting in the Navy Federal Credit Union parking lot at 801 Follin Lane SE. Police found a male victim who had been shot in the upper torso around 12:36 a.m. yesterday (Thursday) in what investigators believe was a personal dispute with no greater threat to the community. [Vienna Police Department]
Fairfax County Pushes to Vaccinate Unhoused Residents — “Hutson is one of roughly 1,200 unhoused residents in Fairfax County, according to the county’s January 2021 point-in-time count…Getting COVID-19 vaccines to this transient — and highly vulnerable — population is a major challenge for public health staff like Vukadinovich.” [DCist]
County Seeks Kid-Sized Mask Donations — The Fairfax County Health Department hopes to collect 10,000 new, unused face masks that can fit children who are too young to get vaccinated, particularly toddlers and school-aged kids. Masks can be dropped off at all local police stations and will help the county fill requests from nonprofit partners. [FCHD]
Falls Church Cuts Ribbon on New High School Campus — “It was the major ceremony that officials here have been working toward for more than a decade. At Homecoming Week at Meridian High School, the brand-spanking new $120 million high school facility was formally dedicated with a ribbon cutting last Saturday morning.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Latter-Day Saints Opens New Wolf Trap Church — “A new meetinghouse for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been completed in the Wolf Trap area and will offer public tours during an open house. The new meetinghouse at 1632 Crowell Road, Vienna will serve residents of Vienna, McLean, Reston, and other nearby communities. The estimated membership is 600 Latter-day Saints.” [Patch]
Capital One Delays Office Reopening Again — “The McLean-based financial giant has opted not to reopen its offices in a hybrid format Nov. 2. It first announced in June it would reopen in September, then in August delayed that until November. Hybrid remains the plan, but the company will no longer attempt to forecast a date as to when that might be implemented.” [Washington Business Journal]
Early Voting Starts Today — Voters can now cast their ballots for the Nov. 2 general election by mail or by visiting the Fairfax County, North County, and Mount Vernon government centers. Virginia has three statewide offices and all 100 House of Delegates seats up for election, and Fairfax County voters also face a school bond question. [Fairfax County Government]
Parents of Sexual Abuse Victim Object to Plea Deal — The family of a girl who was sexually abused by a relative wants a Fairfax County Circuit Court judge to reject a plea deal today (Friday), arguing that the 17-year maximum prison sentence is insufficient. They feel Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano has prioritized defendants over victims, a criticism increasingly leveled against progressive prosecutors across the U.S. elected on promises of reducing mass incarceration and addressing historical inequities in the justice system. [The Washington Post]
Virginia Adds QR Codes to COVID-19 Vaccine Records — “As requests for proof of COVID-19 vaccination by businesses and employers increases, the Virginia Department of Health has announced that QR (quick response) codes are now available. Virginia is now the fifth U.S. state to adopt the SMART Health format for QR codes.” [Fairfax County Health Department]
Vienna Unveils Annual Holiday Ornament — “The town of Vienna later this year will begin selling a 2021 holiday ornament, which depicts the ‘Taking Flight’ bronze statue situated in front of the Vienna Community Center. Vienna Town Council members on Sept. 13 unanimously approved the sale of the ornaments, which will be available at the community center, Town Hall and at the upcoming Oktoberfest celebration.” [Sun Gazette]
Tysons 5K Run Raises Money to Feed Community — “Tysons Partnership is proud to have sponsored the @foodforothers Tysons 5K and Fun Run. Sunday’s Fun Run raised over $91,000 for community members facing food insecurity. Thank you to everyone for your support and participation in this year’s race!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]
Merrifield Church to Celebrate 151st Anniversary — “The First Baptist Church of Merrifield will kick off their 151st Homecoming Anniversary Weekend on Saturday, September 18 and Homecoming Sunday Service on Sunday, September 19. Immediately following the worship service we will have a soft opening Ribbon Cutting ceremony followed by Lunch on the Grounds.” [Greater Merrifield Business Association]
Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Stops by Dunn Loring — Glenn Youngkin, the Republican nominee for Virginia’s governor, announced his policy priorities yesterday (Monday) outside the construction company CJ Coakley Co. Inc. in Dunn Loring. The package includes $1.8 billion in one-time tax cuts, a pledge to create 400,000 new jobs, raises for school teachers, and the addition of 20 new charter schools. Opponent Terry McAuliffe called the plan “out of touch the state’s fiscal reality.” [The Washington Post]
Nonprofit to Open Office in Vienna Church — “A nonprofit focused on providing a day program for adults with disabilities is opening a new administrative office at The Church of the Good Shepherd in Vienna. The grand opening of the SPARC office will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 1 at the church, located at 2351 Hunter Mill Road.” [Patch]
Mosaic District Gym to Host Vaccine Clinic — “@fairfaxhealth will have a Pop-up COVID-19 Vax Clinic at nearby XSport Fitness (8190 Strawberry Lane) on Tuesday, 8/31 from 3PM-7PM. The 1st (or 2nd) dose Pfizer jab will be available to anyone ages 12+ for free. Walk-ins welcome, or make an appt” [City of Falls Church/Twitter]
Vienna Ben & Jerry’s Offers Free Ice Cream for Solar Art Contest — The Ben & Jerry’s in Vienna has partnered with Ipsun Solar on the solar panel company’s fourth Sunny Summer Art Contest, where kids can submit artwork inspired by the sun and the need to find solutions to climate change. All participants will get a coupon for a free ice cream cone from Ben & Jerry’s Vienna, and winners will get gift cards. [Ipsun Solar]
Vienna Church Assists with Afghan Resettlement Efforts — The Vienna Presbyterian Church is working with OneHeartDC and Lutheran Social Services to support the ongoing effort to help Afghan refugees who have come to Northern Virginia after fleeing their now-Taliban-controlled homeland. The church is specifically asking for donations of “welcome home kits” that can be dropped off at 123 Park Street NE on Wednesday or Thursday (Sept. 1 and 2). [Patch]
McLean-Based Firefighter Dies — “The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is deeply saddened to announce the death of Firefighter Kevin Weaver, who passed away Saturday, August 28, 2021. Firefighter Weaver has been a valued member of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department since joining in September 2018 as a member of Recruit Class 144. He was assigned to Fire Station 1, McLean, at the time of his passing.” [FCFRD/Facebook]
Vienna Planning Commission Approves Cottage Development — “A proposal to build 12 “cottage-style” housing units at 117-121 Courthouse Road, S.W., received the Vienna Planning Commission’s unanimous approval Aug. 25 and now heads to the Town Council. Developer Dennis Rice of JDA Custom Homes is proposing to build six two-family dwellings clustered along a common green.” [Sun Gazette]
Tysons Corner Disney Store To Survive Closures — The Disney store at Tysons Corner Center will be the last one standing in Northern Virginia with its lone remaining companion at Potomac Mills set to shutter by Sept. 15. The company is closing all about a couple dozen of its physical stores this year to focus on online retail, though Target is planning to open more than 100 Disney shops inside its stores by the end of 2021. [Patch]
Tysons Interfaith Hosts Essay Contest on Post-COVID Future — “Tysons Interfaith, a coalition of 19 faith communities in the Tysons area, is sponsoring an art and essay contest focusing on positive lessons from the COVID pandemic. ‘A Whole New World Starts Now’ will offer cash prizes for those in three age groups: youth (12 and under), teen (13-18) and adult…Entries will be accepted through Oct. 15, with award winners announced Nov. 1.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
Local Woman Gets First Haircut in 17 Years — “There is the slightest chance that as the scissors close in on Zahab Kamal Khan’s hair Thursday morning at the McLean Community Center, she will break from the crowd and the TV news crews and make a run for it. After all, Zahab’s hair — all 6 feet, 3 inches of it — is one of her most prized possessions. She’s been growing it for 17 years, since she was 13.” [The Washington Post]
Vienna Church Celebrates 150th Anniversary — “Vienna Presbyterian Church began in 1871 with nine people — seven female members and two male elders — and in the decades since has ministered to people both in the local area and around the world. The church celebrated its 150th anniversary Aug. 22 with sermons, testimonials, song and fellowship.” [Sun Gazette]
Enjoy Tysons Boulevard Lane Closure — “Looking for a family friendly activity this weekend? Come be #activeintysons because we are hosting a Back-to-School Meetup this Saturday from 10AM-12PM, in Tysons #openstreet along Tysons Blvd. We hope to see you rain or shine for story time with Tysons School Board Representive, Karl Frisch, light refreshments, fun and games!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]
With many restaurants struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of McLean residents created a group called McLean Cares to try to help keep their local eateries afloat.
Inspired by a similar Herndon organization, McLean Cares collects donations to buys meals from restaurants that they then give to residents with food insecurity.
Members of the Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Temple Rodef Shalom, McLean Baptist, and Lewinsville Presbyterian started the group in July 2020. They collected donations from their congregations, solicited local businesses, and applied for community grants to raise funds.
As of June 2021, they have raised $64,563, every penny of which was spent buying 5,600 meals for those who needed them.
“Our goal was simple: to support locally-owned restaurants by purchasing meals once a month and then distributing those meals to Fairfax County residents experiencing food insecurity,” said Immanuel Presbyterian member Leslie Regan, who is part of the planning team for McLean Cares.
On top of helping those who need food assistance, McLean Cares asks the restaurants to provide meals that cost no more than $10 to make. The organization then pays $11.50 per meal and asks that the extra $1.50 goes to the restaurant staff.
“The restaurants were so wonderful and the meals were incredible that they put out. We’re just so grateful to have them work with us,” Regan said. “They just jumped right in and said yes…We are so proud of how everything worked out. Several restaurant owners have told us they could not have survived without our business. And the food recipients were always so wonderfully grateful!”
While donations were coming in bundles for a while, incoming funds started to slow down as restaurants began to reopen. However, with the new Delta variant causing a new uptick in COVID-19 cases, organizers say restaurants are once again in need of some help.
McLean Cares is seeking new donations so it can purchase more meals. Interested donors can send a check with the memo line “McLean Cares” to Mary Ann Vaughan (Business Administrator) at Immanuel Presbyterian Church (1125 Savile Lane).
Donations can also be sent online through SignUp Genius to designate how many meals you would like to provide at $11.50 per meal.
The restaurants and catering companies involved include:
All of the meals have and will continue to go to local shelters, low-income housing complexes, SHARE of McLean, and local elementary schools and their families.
McLean Cares has a Facebook page to keep the community informed on their work.
“We don’t know the future and donating would be great,” Regan said. “Supporting our local restaurants by picking up [is important too]. We’re not out of the woods yet so support your local restaurants.”
Photo via McLean Cares/Facebook
The Town of Vienna joined other communities across the U.S. yesterday (Tuesday) in taking a moment to mourn and honor the more than 2 million people around the world who have died from COVID-19 over the past year.
About two dozen mask-wearing town residents and public officials gathered at the corner of Park and Church streets in front of the Vienna Presbyterian Church to ring the chapel bells for 20 minutes starting at 5:30 p.m.
“Given our longstanding existence in this community, it’s really important for us to help lead these types of efforts, so we wanted to ring the bells so the whole community can hear,” Vienna Presbyterian Church Director of Missions Sue Hamblen said. “We just thought it was something VPC should do.”
The ceremony commenced with brief remarks from Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert, who was joined by Town Councilmember Howard Springsteen’s wife, Anne Driscoll, as the first bell ringers.
Vienna Presbyterian Church leaders invited staff members and some people in the community who they knew lost a loved one to COVID-19 to sign up in advance to ring the church bell, but anyone who attended was allowed to participate.
Colbert described the vigil as a show of unity fitting for a town where she has seen people support each other with acts of kindness throughout the pandemic.
“This year has been unbelievably sad and challenging for so many people,” Colbert said. “So many sad, unnecessary lives have been lost, and I’m proud that Vienna and that my home church is part of this today.”
Hamblen concluded the ceremony with a prayer that the church’s mission partner in South Africa had shared so that it could be spoken all around the world. She also provided a moment for people to say the names of COVID-19 victims that they knew.
Among those who rang the bell were Vienna Presbyterian Church congregation members Bill and Judy Ichord.
The couple does not personally know anyone who has died from COVID-19, but Judy Ichord has two nieces who work as nurses and contracted the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, one of whom was only in her first year of training at a hospital.
“We just think it’s a time when the country really needs to come together and pull together and remember those who we lost, but also think about the future together as Americans and human beings,” Bill Ichord said. “The whole world needs to heal right now.”
Organized by President Joe Biden’s inaugural committee, the national COVID-19 memorial encouraged people to ring a bell and light a candle for a collective moment of remembrance. It took place on the same day that the U.S. COVID-19 death toll surpassed 400,000, including 754 people in the Fairfax Health District alone, as of this morning.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. to light the Reflecting Pool, while the bell at the National Cathedral rang 400 times, each toll representing 1,000 Americans who have died from the novel coronavirus.
While the pandemic has not yet abated, Hamblen says it’s important for communities to have an opportunity to come together and mourn their losses.
Vienna Presbyterian Church will put a video of the ceremony on its website so that people who were unable to come can watch it.
“It was a collective experience, and so, I think our grief should be collective and our honoring of them should be collective,” Hamblen said. “That’s why we want to do it as a community. We haven’t been able to gather. Funerals haven’t happened, and so, this is our effort to join people together to mourn as a group.”
The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.
We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!
Tuesday (Jan. 19)
- COVID-19 Church Bells Vigil — 5:30 p.m. at Vienna Presbyterian Church (124 Park St. NE) — The Vienna Presbyterian Church will join other churches around the country in ringing its bells for 20 minutes to commemorate the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will begin with a speech from Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert and conclude with a prayer. Community members are invited to gather in front of the church, with masks and social distancing required.
- Kanopy Film Discussion Group (Online) — 7 p.m. — The City of Falls Church’s Kanopy Film Discussion Group will focus on the movie “Timbuktu” for its January meeting. Email [email protected] for a link to the Zoom meeting.
Wednesday (Jan. 20)
- La Crema Virtual Wine Dinner (Online) — 6 p.m. — The Tysons-based restaurant Wildfire will have winemaker Craig McAllister discuss the history of winery on Zoom while guiding diners through a three-course meal. Participants must pick up their orders, which include three dishes and two bottles of wine, by 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The event costs $165 per couple.
Thursday (Jan. 21)
- Online Classic Books Discussion (Online) — 1-2 p.m. — The Patrick Henry Library staff hosts a discussion of William Styron’s book “The Confessions of Nat Turner” with author and scholar Amanda Holmes Duffy. Register through the Fairfax County Public Library website for an invitation to the virtual talk.
- Faith and Friends: An Interfaith Dialogue (Online) — 6-7 p.m. — Fairfax County Public Library staff host a conversation with local faith leaders about the role of women in different religious traditions. Panelists include Rev. Joy Majied, senior paster of Garfield Memorial Christian Church in McLean. Register online to get an invitation to the event.
- Couples Therapy: A Comedy Show — 7:30 p.m. at Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave. E) — Hosted by comedian Ramin Mostafavi, “Couples Therapy” is a roundtable discussion of comics and volunteering audience members about relationships, dating, and being single. The event may be recorded for potential use in a “Couples Therapy” podcast. Doors open at 6 p.m., and tickets start at $20.
Friday (Jan. 22)
- Cat Janice + Dante Frisiello — 7:30 p.m. at Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave. E) — Indie pop singer Cat Janice performs at Jammin Java in Vienna with guitarist Dante Frisiello as the opener. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and tickets start at $15. The concert will also be live-streamed so that people can watch from home.
Saturday (Jan. 23)
- Pint Size Polkas (Online) — 11-11:45 a.m. — Musician and accordian player Mike Schneider leads a morning of stories, songs, rhymes, and family-friendly polkas for the Mary Riley Styles Public Library in Falls Church. The program will stream live on the library’s Facebook page and be available to watch afterwards through Jan. 30.
- Be Fit McLean (Online) — 4-5:30 p.m. — The McLean Community Center hosts a virtual health and wellness fair with health experts who will discuss topics like fitness, nutrition, stress management, and work-life balance. Admission is free, but registration is required.
Sunday (Jan. 24)
- Freshfarm Farmers Market — 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Mosaic — The Mosaic District’s weekly farmers’ market returns for the spring. Freshfarm is offering curbside pickup options, limiting the number of customers permitted at one time, enhancing cleaning protocols, and increasing space between vendors to enforce social distancing guidelines.
Photo by Michelle Goldchain
The Church of the Holy Comforter in Vienna raised more than $2,600 in donations with the drive-thru Nativity that it held on Dec. 19.
Patti Boerger, the Holy Comforter’s director of childcare, says the funds will be allocated to local food, shelter, and support services throughout the coming year.
Situated on Beulah Road, the Episcopal church typically stages a retelling of the Nativity — the Biblical story of Jesus’s birth — during its Christmas Eve services, but staff members knew continuing with that tradition would be ill-advised while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage.
While Virginia has not imposed mandatory capacity limits on religious services, the Virginia Department of Health warns that such gatherings present a risk for increasing the spread of the novel coronavirus, and faith organizations are encouraged to offer virtual or drive-in options instead of in-person services.
The Holy Comforter canceled several of the family activities it usually organizes during the holiday season, including events for making Advent wreaths and gingerbread houses. Church staffers came up with the idea of a free drive-thru live Nativity as a way to make up for those cancellations.
“We shifted gears at our staff meeting and asked ourselves what we could do differently,” Holy Comforter Rector Jon Strand said. “…The live drive-thru Nativity allows all ages to be safe in their vehicles and celebrate the glory of Christ’s birth.”
The Nativity featured costumed volunteers and live animals arranged in six scenes around the church’s parking lot. It lasted from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
The Holy Comforter was not the only church in the Tysons area to pivot to a drive-thru Nativity.
Patch reported on Dec. 15 that a similar event hosted by the McLean Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attracted an estimated 3,000 attendees over two nights. Donations went to the Share of McLean food bank run by the McLean Baptist Church.
Photo by Zachary Conroy/ImagesforGood.org