Newsletter

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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Morning Notes

Masks Now Required in County Facilities — “Beginning Monday, Aug. 9, all employees and visitors — regardless of vaccination status — will be required to wear a mask while inside all Fairfax County facilities to help stop the spread of COVID-19…The rise in COVID-19 cases has resulted in the Fairfax Health District moving from moderate to substantial community transmission. This is due to the on-going spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Suspect in Ritz Carlton Stabbing Identified — D.C. resident Igor Koob, 34, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and arrested for aggravated malicious wounding after he allegedly stabbed a woman at The Ritz Carlton in Tysons on Wednesday (Aug. 4). The woman had stab wounds to her upper body, and as of Friday (Aug. 6), she was still in the hospital for life-threatening injuries, according the Fairfax County Police Department’s weekly crime report. [FCPD]

Falls Church Candidates Launch Campaigns — “This week marked the formal launch of two campaigns in what will be a busy fall season in Falls Church leading up to the November 2 election to fill three of seven seats on the City Council and School Board here. Vice Mayor Marybeth Connelly launched her campaign as one of six candidates seeking election to the City Council, and first time candidate David Ortiz announced the launch of his campaign as one of eight candidates all running for the first time for School Board.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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Parents who have spent the last year calling for a five-day return to school for Fairfax County Public Schools students are circulating petitions to remove three Fairfax County School Board members.

They are Springfield District representative Laura Jane Cohen, Dranesville District representative Elaine Tholen, and At-Large Member Abrar Omeish.

“Our petitions are all about the board ignoring science, dismissing the wishes of parents to have kids in school, and putting politics (unions) before our children,” the Open FCPS Coalition group tells Tysons Reporter. “We have people of all walks of life — young and old, with kids and without kids signing. People were afraid to sign at first because they didn’t want to get involved. But as more time passed, and people got disappointed about the school board lying to us, they started signing.”

They admitted that the campaign faces long odds. According to Ballotpedia, Virginia has seen just one successful recall campaign in at least the past decade, with the majority of efforts — including one against former Mason District School Board representative Sandy Evans — failing to reach a circuit court.

This parent coalition has been around since November and started distributing petition templates to other counties around that time. But the momentum did not pick up until mid-February, members said.

“December and January, people still weren’t getting out much and if they were, it wasn’t to come and sign a petition,” the group said. “Many people who sign now sign because of other things that they are frustrated with, but we are just glad people are recognizing our efforts.”

The Open FCPS Coalition describes itself as a bipartisan organization.

According to the Virginia Public Access Project, donor records show that its largest gifts have come from former Republican governor candidate Pete Snyder and N2 America Inc., a conservative group that has been vocal in school reopenings. Its largest expenditure has been for signature collection services, an expense that went to a center-right door-to-door voter contact firm with ties to N2 America.

“Anyone who wants to donate is welcome to…If the Dem party wants to donate we surely will take it,” the group said. “But it seems that though many Dems have signed and silently support, some are afraid to stand up for open schools. Thankfully we have Dems in our group who are bold and brave and know that nothing about the recall is personal or about politics. It is about what is moral.”

Coalition members aimed to collect enough signatures to recall at least one school board member by the end of this school year, which concluded on Friday (June 11).

The coalition chose Cohen, Tholen and Omeish after watching school board meetings and determining only one member had a record of voting and speaking that prioritized reopening over other issues: Braddock District representative Megan McLaughlin, according to the group’s website.

So, members narrowed down their targets to the two members who were elected with the fewest number of votes — Cohen and Tholen.

“Based on this discovery, the voters in their districts would likely provide the most support for the removal effort,” according to the website.

When reached for comment, Tholen said she centers all her work and decision-making on what is best for students.

“I am busy at this point fulfilling my job as a school board member,” she said. “I am closing out this school year, celebrating our class of 2021, planning for summer programs and preparing for fall when we will welcome all students in person five days per week.”

Cohen, meanwhile, said that her “focus is, has been, and always will be ensuring our students have the best opportunity to be successful in our schools.” Read More

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Editor’s note — The candidate bios below come from their responses to requests for comment from Tysons Reporter. Any candidate who wishes to add to their entry can email [email protected]

The Falls Church City Council and School Board races will have crowded fields for limited openings this November.

After the filing deadline closed earlier this week, the city council has six candidates for four seats, and the school board has nine candidates for four seats. Terms for each are for four years.

One question hovering over the general election, which is set for Nov. 2, is whether early voting returns will be similar to the jump in 2020 or return to pre-pandemic levels, Falls Church City General Registrar and Director of Elections David Bjerke wrote in an email when contacted by Tysons Reporter.

Turnout for the election could also be affected going forward by the introduction of a permanent absentee ballot by-mail request form, a new option that will be available in Virginia starting July 1, according to Bjerke.

“So if you want your ballots mailed to you for all elections, you fill out that form and we’ll mail the ballot to you,” he wrote. “As voters opt into that program, they will be informed of the election earlier and may well vote earlier. If they choose to vote in-person, that request gets canceled and they have to opt in again for future elections.”

In addition to the city council and school board candidates below, the general election ballot will include races for commissioner of the revenue, treasurer, and sheriff, according to the City of Falls Church.

City Council

The top four vote-getters will earn seats.

Mayor David Tarter’s term runs to the end of 2023. After the November election, the newly elected council will vote for vice mayor and mayor, whose positions are in place for two years. Other council members whose terms also run until then are Phil Duncan and Letty Hardi.

Names are ordered as they will appear on ballots.

  • David F. Snyder is seeking another term. Snyder, a former mayor and vice mayor, was first elected to council in 1994.
  • Debora “Debbie” Schantz-Hiscott is seeking her first full term after winning a special election last November after Councilmember Dan Sze died of cancer.
  • Marybeth D. Connelly is seeking another term. She’s been the vice mayor since 2016 and was first elected in 2014.
  • Stuart M. Whitaker
  • Caroline S. Lian
  • Scott C. Diaz

School Board

The top four vote-getters will land seats.

The openings come from the seats of board members Shannon Litton (the chair), Greg Anderson, and appointees Sonia Ruiz-Bolaños and Edwin Henderson II, who filled partial terms this year due to vacancies.

Terms for board members Laura Downs, Susan Dimock and Phil Reitinger last until 2023.

Names are ordered as they will appear on ballots.

Read More

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As Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” blasted through the ballroom, Terry McAuliffe, former and potentially future governor of Virginia, took the stage at the Hilton hotel in Tysons shortly before 9 p.m. on Tuesday (June 8) to celebrate his victory in the 2021 Democratic gubernatorial primary.

McAuliffe easily surged past four other candidates to clinch his party’s nomination, winning 62% of the vote in a race that the Associated Press called just 44 minutes after polls closed across the state.

Unofficial returns show that Fairfax County joined the rest of the Commonwealth in backing McAuliffe’s bid for a third term as governor. 64.4% of primary voters cast a ballot for him, followed by 19.3% supporting former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, who also came in second statewide.

“We launched this campaign about six months ago on a simple idea: that Virginia has some very big challenges ahead,” McAuliffe said in his victory speech. “And I’ve said we’ve got to go big, we gotta be bold, and we need seasoned leadership to move us forward and lift up all Virginians.”

Pledging to “build back a better, stronger Virginia,” McAuliffe quickly pivoted to the general election looming on Nov. 2, when he will compete with Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin, who he aligned with former President Donald Trump.

He will be joined on the Democratic ticket by Prince William Del. Hala Ayala, who will face Republican Winsome Sears in a lieutenant governor race that will put a woman of color in a statewide office for the first time in Virginia history.

The Virginia Department of Elections’ unofficial results show Ayala winning by more than 13 percentage points statewide in a race that featured six candidates, but her margin of victory was closer in Fairfax County. She only won by about 5% over runner-up Del. Sam Rasoul, who became the legislature’s first Muslim member in 2014.

Mark Herring won the Democratic nomination for attorney general in his attempt for a third term. He won by about 13% state-wide over Del. Jay Jones, but was overwhelmingly favored by Fairfax County voters. Herring won by more than 40 percentage points in the county.

In the General Assembly races, incumbent Del. Kathleen Murphy prevailed over challenger Jennifer Adeli in the contest for the 34th House District seat, which represents northern McLean and the Great Falls area.

“It was a great win and I am delighted to have received such strong support across the district,” Murphy said in a statement to Tysons Reporter. “I look forward to continuing to work on  behalf of my constituents and represent the issues that are important to them. I am especially focused on getting our kids safely back in school, increasing teacher pay, re-opening our businesses and continuing to support our veterans and stand up for gun safety measures.”

Republican Gary Pan is seeking to unseat Murphy in November, when Tysons area voters will also get contests between incumbent Del. Mark Keam and Republican challenger Kevin McGrath for the 35th District (Vienna), Del. Rip Sullivan (D) and Edward Monroe for the 48th District (McLean), and Del. Marcus Simon (D) and Sarah White for the 53rd District (Falls Church). Read More

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Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s campaign to return to the governor’s mansion will continue after he handily won today’s statewide Democratic primary.

Long viewed as the frontrunner for his party’s nomination based on polls and fundraising, McAuliffe validated that label by earning more than 60% of the votes cast — roughly three times as many votes as his nearest competitor, former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, who was seeking to become Virginia’s first Black, female governor.

According to unofficial returns from the Virginia Department of Elections, Carroll Foy received about 20% of the vote, followed in descending order by state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, and Del. Lee Carter, who also lost his seat representing the 50th House District.

McAuliffe will compete in November’s general election against businessman Glenn Youngkin, who won the Republican gubernatorial nomination in an “unassembled” convention in May.

The Democratic ticket will be completed by Del. Hala Ayala (D-51st District), who beat six other candidates to snag the lieutenant governor nomination, and Attorney General Mark Herring, who bested challenger Jay Jones as he seeks a third consecutive term in the position.

The Republican Party nominated former Del. Winsome Sears for lieutenant governor and Virginia Beach Del. Jason Miyares for attorney general.

In the General Assembly races, the 34th House District was the only one in the Tysons area with a primary. Incumbent Del. Kathleen Murphy defeated challenger Jennifer Adeli with 73% of the vote and will need to beat Republican Gary Pan to earn another term.

In its unofficial returns, the Fairfax County Office of Elections reported a voter turnout of 11.1%, a relatively low rate that’s not especially unusual for an off-year primary. The 2017 Democratic primary, the last year with a gubernatorial race on the ballot, saw a 13.4% turnout.

According to the county, 21,493 voters — 2.9% of the electorate — cast absentee ballots either by mail or in-person, while 60,999 people went to the polls on the day of the primary. In comparison, the 2017 Democratic primary saw just 7,105 absentee voters compared to 86,931 primary day voters.

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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 (June 8)

  • Democratic Primary Election — 6 a.m.-7 p.m. — The Virginia Democratic Primary for Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General will be held on June 8th. Check your polling location. Voters must be registered to vote and can present a valid photo ID. View a sample ballot ahead of time. More information can be found on the Virginia Department of Elections.
  • On Deck with Mercury — 6-8 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Vienna (450 Orchard St. NE) — For his monthly community forum, Vienna Town Manager Mercury Payton will discuss upcoming events for Liberty Amendments Month with guests. The talk will be filmed and aired later on the town’s YouTube channel, but members of the public are also invited to come and watch.
  • Duck Harbor (Online) — 8 p.m. — A heartwarming web series about a bi-coastal love story written by E.M. Lewis and Bob Bartlett, this online, live theatrical performance from 1st Stage will air for free every Tuesday at 8 p.m. for 12 weeks. All aired episodes and bonus content will also be available through Duck Harbor ALL ACCESS for $15.

Wednesday (June 9)

  • Fish Suncatcher Crafternoon (Online) — 3-3:30 p.m. — Pick up a Grab and Go Craft kit from the Mary Riley Styles Public Library in Falls Church, and join Ms. Meredith on the library’s Facebook page for an afternoon of stories and songs about fish while learning how to make a suncatcher. Kits are currently available via curbside pickup, and the instructions video will remain online after the event.
  • COVID-19 Remembrance Ceremony — 6 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center ellipse (12000 Government Center Pkwy) — The Northern Virginia Regional Commission is holding a ceremony to honor and remember the more than 2,350 residents of the region who have died from COVID-19. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, Fairfax Health District Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, Fire and Rescue Chief John Butler, and Police Chief Kevin Davis will speak.

Thursday (June 10)

Friday (June 11)

  • American Red Cross Blood Drive — 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — MCC is hosting a blood drive for the American Red Cross. All donors will receive a Red Cross T-shirt and a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Make an appointment online or call 1-800-733-2767. For more information, contact Melanie Hurley at [email protected] or Meosha Hudson at 410-375-5190 or [email protected].
  • Wolf Trap Salon Series (Online) — 7 p.m. — A series of online opera recitals curated by the artists in the show. The virtual performance gives “an intimate look into artistry…providing a unique glimpse into how they interpret art, songs and the world around them.”

Saturday (June 12)

  • UFC 263 Social Mixer — 7 p.m.-12:30 a.m. at Highgate at the Mile (7915 Jones Branch Dr., Apt. 206)UFC DMV, a local group of UFC and martial arts fans in the D.C. area, invites fellow enthusiasts to meet new people, eat, and drink while watching Saturday’s title fights. Admission is $10, and food will be provided, but attendees should bring their own drinks.

Sunday (June 13)

Photo via Chilhowee Hills Baptist Church/Facebook

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The Virginia Democratic Party is holding a primary tomorrow (Tuesday), and the ballot will feature some crowded races, including statewide contests for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general.

The Republican Party chose to replace its primary this year with a convention in May to select statewide candidates. Some local races are also occurring in the state.

About 7,300 people in Fairfax County have voted early in person, and 50% of the vote-by-mail ballots requested by voters have been turned in so far, county spokesman Brian Worthy said in an email on Friday (June 4).

Here’s what to know:

Casting Your Ballot

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you’re in line by 7 p.m., you will still be able to vote. You generally need an ID to vote, but alternative options are available, which includes signing a statement that says you are who you say you are. You can find your polling place online.

For absentee ballots, the deadline to hand deliver them is 7 p.m. Tuesday. They can be dropped off at polling sites, and other options are available. By mail, absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before June 8 and also received in the county elections office by noon on Friday (June 11).

Unofficial results will be posted on the county’s website on election night as well as the state elections’ website.

The Ballot

While the lieutenant governor race remains crowded, candidate Elizabeth Guzman withdrew from to focus on getting re-elected as a delegate for the 31st House District, which serves parts of Fauquier and Prince William counties. However, her name will still be on the ballot.

For the gubernatorial race, Virginia’s constitution bars governors from running for consecutive terms, preventing Gov. Ralph Northam from seeking re-election this year but opening the door for former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

The state elections board previously drew candidates’ names randomly for their order on the ballot. They’re listed below, and sample ballots are available online.

Governor

Lieutenant Governor

Attorney General

House of Delegates — 34th District (McLean)

The other three delegates who represent the Tysons area — Mark Keam (35th District), Marcus Simon (53rd District), and Rip Sullivan (48th District) — don’t have primary challengers.

Photo courtesy Town of Vienna

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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 (May 25)

  • Fit4Mom Stroller Strides — 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Mosaic District (2910 District Ave) — Fit4Mom Stroller Strides is a 60-minute workout that includes strength training, cardio, and core restoration, along with entertainment for the little ones in your stroller. Classes meet in Strawberry Park in front of Mom & Pop. Register online. Your first session is free. A second class will be held on Thursday (May 27) at the same time.
  • Introduction to Corporate Giving (Online) — 2-3:30 p.m. — The Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library will provide this workshop for nonprofits looking for corporate support. The class will teach participants how to find potential corporate donors and how to successfully win their support. Registration is required.

Wednesday (May 26)

  • Partial Lunar Eclipse — 4-6 a.m. at Burke Lake Park (7315 Ox Rd.) — Join some astronomical naturalists to view the partial lunar eclipse. Stars and constellations will be viewable too. There will be some telescopes available, but participants are encouraged to bring binoculars. There is a registration fee of $1o.
  • (the) Unruly Theatre Project’s Virtual Improv Show (Online) — 7 p.m. — The McLean Community Center’s teen improv group is putting on its latest virtual performance. Registration is open up to two hours before the show. The Zoom link and password will be emailed to those who register. For more information, contact [email protected].

Thursday (May 27)

Friday (May 28)

  • Parent & Me Snack and Paint — 7-9 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — Join the Old Firehouse Center for a Snack and Paint event. A parent and their child (ages 10-18) can join for $30 total, which includes all painting materials and snacks. Register and make a spring-themed masterpiece.

Saturday (May 29)

  • In-Person Early Voting for Democratic Primary — 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Falls Church City Hall (300 Park Ave.) — City Hall will open this Saturday for registered Falls Church voters to vote early in the Democratic Party’s June 8 primary election to decide the party’s candidates for Virginia’s governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general in the November election.
  • ViVa! Vienna! — 10 a.m.-10 p.m. — After having to cancel last year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ViVa! Vienna! is back. Rides and entertainment start Saturday for the Town of Vienna’s Memorial Day weekend festival, with vendors setting up on Sunday (May 30) and Monday (May 31). A full schedule as well as information about buying tickets and the vendors that will be in attendance can be found on the ViVa! Vienna! website.
  • Ride of the Patriots — 10 a.m. at 9739 Fairfax Blvd. — Patriot Harley-Davidson‘s annual Memorial Day tribute to military service members and first responders will begin in Fairfax City and travel on Route 50 East to I-495 North into D.C. over Memorial Bridge. There will be a second ride on Sunday, but each ride will be limited to 225 people. Registration costs $25.

Monday (May 31)

  • Memorial Day Ceremony & Parade — 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Falls Church Community Center (223 Little Falls St.) — The City of Falls Church is bringing back many of its Memorial Day traditions, albeit in a slightly scaled-down form. Pre-registration and masks are required to attend the ceremony at the Veterans’ Memorial, while the parade will travel throughout the city instead of sticking to Park Avenue.

Photo via ViVa! Vienna!/Facebook

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The winners of the McLean Community Center’s 2021 governing board election are Ivy Chen (top left), Shivani Saboo (center), Max Blacksten (top right), Lisa Mariam (bottom left), and Rasheq Rahman (bottom right). (Photos courtesy MCC)

The preliminary results are in for the 2021 McLean Community Center Governing Board election, which concluded voting this past Saturday (May 15).

Shared yesterday (Wednesday) in a newsletter, the newly elected board members are Shivani Saboo (329 votes), Lisa Mariam (302 votes), and Rasheq Rahman (288 votes) for the three open adult seats.

“I’m thrilled to be elected to the Governing Board of McLean Community Center and excited to begin working with Shivani Saboo, Rasheq Rahman, and the leadership and staff to reach our goals to serve all our residents,” Mariam said in a Facebook post celebrating the results. “Thank you to everyone who encouraged me and voted!”

For the two youth positions, Ivy Chen will represent the Langley High School boundary area, edging out fellow contenders Rowan Johns and Charlotte Loving with 45 votes. Max Blacksten sailed to victory for the McLean High School boundary area with 48 votes — almost three times as many as the runner-up in the five-candidate race.

According to full preliminary results provided by MCC, 606 voters — including 501 adults and 105 teenagers — cast ballots in the election, which held open voting for Dranesville District 1A residents from March 17 through May 15.

A total of 1,158 votes were cast for the five adult candidates, 87 votes in the Langley High School race, and 96 votes in the McLean High School contest. The votes were tabulated on May 15 by the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area.

Background and personal statements from each of the candidates can still be found on the MCC website.

The election results are considered preliminary for now, because they need to be verified by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, which will formally appoint the new governing board members at its next meeting on June 8.

Made up of nine adults and two high school students, all of them volunteers, the MCC Governing Board is responsible for setting policies, overseeing programs and facilities, and reviewing and adopting the annual budget for the community center, which is supported by a 2.3-cent real estate tax surcharge on district residents.

The new board will be tasked with working with new MCC Executive Director Daniel Singh to guide the center’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced officials to cancel, downsize, or adapt all of its events and activities.

After holding a drive-thru version of its annual McLean Day festival on Saturday, MCC’s upcoming event slate is still mostly filled with virtual and drive-thru offerings, such as an online poetry reading on May 27 to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

There will be an in-person teen open mic night for LGBTQ+ Pride Month on June 4, but MCC has already announced that its July 4 celebration will be conducted as a drive-thru event with attendees required to register for a time slot.

“I look forward to working with new director Daniel Singh and the dedicated team at McLean Community Center to help the center continue to resliently [sic] and inclusively innovate as Mclean re-emerges from the panedmic [sic],” Rahman said on Facebook.

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