Tysons Corner, VA

A Falls Church deli sold a $2 million Mega Millions lottery ticket to an Alexandria man who came in to buy a sandwich.

Calvin Kim went to the Saigon Bakery & Deli (6773 Wilson Blvd) in the Eden Center to buy a sandwich for his wife and ended up getting the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket with an add-on that doubled his prize, according to a Mega Millions’ post earlier in August.

“Matching the first five numbers in Mega Millions would normally win $1 million. But when Mr. Kim bought his ticket, he spent an extra dollar for the Megaplier,” the post said. “That extra buck doubled his prize to $2 million.”

Kim said he plans to put his winnings toward his retirement, according to the post.

“His ticket was the only one in Virginia to match the first five numbers in the May 28 drawing and one of just five nationwide. No ticket matched all six numbers to win that night’s estimated $418 million jackpot,” according to Mega Millions.

Image via Google Maps, photo via Mega Millions

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Vienna Man Arrested After Chase — “State police arrested a Vienna man early Wednesday following a high-speed chase and crash in Shenandoah County.” [Inside NoVa]

Billions for Booze — “The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority has reported annual revenue of more than $1 billion, up $71.8 million over the previous year.” [Inside NoVa]

Tysons Company Growing Quicky — “Inc. Magazine compiled the 2019 list of companies based on the percent of revenue growth from 2015 to 2018. Qualifying companies must be based in the U.S. and be privately held. The 12th spot belonged to Urgently, a global mobility and roadside assistance app.” [Tysons Patch]

Falls Church Candidate Drops Out — “Thomas Cash, a candidate for one of three contested Falls Church City Council seats up for bid this November, announced [Friday] that he is dropping out of the race.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Rep. Wexton Joins “Play Date” in McLean Park — Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) joined families “Aug. 9 at Clemyjontri Park in McLean as part of a ‘play date’ organized by Little Lobbyists, an advocacy group dedicated to supporting and sharing the stories of families with children who have complex medical needs.” [Fairfax County Times]

Grocery Store Scales Back Hours — “Touting its 24-hour service when it opened three years ago in the middle of downtown Falls Church, the Little City’s Harris Teeter will no longer be open for all-hour grocery shopping starting next week.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Little Leaguers Interrogate Nats Player — “The Washington Nationals’ Trea Turner met with Falls Church Kiwanis Little Leaguers Thursday and fielded some questions from the young players that were surprisingly hot to handle in an event aimed at boosting Fall Ball participation.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Falls Classes Available in McLean — “Registration is now open for McLean Community Center’s (MCC) fall session classes and activities.” [McLean Patch]

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The City of Falls Church mayor is fighting a federal tax law change that he warns will put a strain on local residents.

In December 2017, Congress passed a new law that limits the amount of state and local taxes (SALT) that people can deduct from their federal income tax return to $10,000.

Known as the SALT deduction cap, this law has stirred up controversy.

Some people claim it puts people in areas with a higher cost of living at a disadvantage because they will likely pay more in taxes, while others say that SALT deductions disproportionately benefit a small proportion of wealthy taxpayers.

In June, Mayor David Tarter spoke in front of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee by invitation of Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) regarding the recent cap on the SALT deduction policy.

Tarter said he is one of a few politicians across the country that are spearheading an effort to reverse the decision or minimize the damage they say it will have on their communities in the near future.

“The new cap on the SALT deduction double taxes citizens on these payments and penalizes workers in high-cost areas, like my city, where wages and income are high but are fully matched by the cost of living,” Tarter told the committee, adding that the new law takes away more tax dollars from the city.

Falls Church City Manager Wyatt Shields, who manages the city’s finances, told Tysons Reporter that Falls Church residents spend more on housing comparative to anyone else in the country. He added that this new legislation only “exacerbates” the city’s lack of affordable housing.

According to Tarter’s statement to the committee, the median home price in the city is around $825,000 — “That doesn’t buy you a mansion but likely a modest brick rambler built in the 1950s.”

That median home price is drastically more than the $229,000 median home price across the U.S., according to Zillow.

Despite the fact that Fairfax County is among the richest counties in the nation, it still has problematic financial burdens that lawmakers are attempting to solve.

“I’ve heard from a fair amount of people how their taxes have gone up and not at first realized implications,” Tarter told Tysons Reporter while talking about the fallout from the law.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced Wednesday, Aug. 14, that they will waive the tax underpayment penalty for more than 400,00 people who did not claim a special penalty waiver when they filed their federal income tax returns this year.

“Earlier this year, the IRS lowered the usual 90% penalty threshold to 80% to help taxpayers whose withholding and estimated tax payments fell short of their total 2018 tax liability,” according to an IRS press release.

Locally, this may help residents in the Northern Virginia area who were hit with unforeseen financial burdens recently because of the SALT deduction cap.

“There are no yachts in Falls Church, just lots of hard-working families trying to get by in the high-rent district,” Tarter said. “Most of the folks that I know are two-income families who serve their country through work in government or the military and want the best education possible for their children.”

Ultimately, Tarter hopes that the SALT deduction cap, currently sitting at $10,000 per household, is heightened or eliminated entirely.

“The next steps are up to Congress,” Tarter said. “I suspect, given the way things are right now, there probably won’t be any immediate action.”

Image via C-Span

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The owner behind the Kiln & Co. custard-meets-pottery shops said being a mom-owned, local business has many perks.

Sarah Selvaraj told Tysons Reporter that she gets to spend time with her 9-year-old daughter, who helps paint the pottery and taste the custard.

“It’s definitely given me the freedom of having my daughter with me,” she said.

Selvaraj said Kiln started as a pottery spot that opened in 2013 in Vienna when her daughter was 3.

Three years later, Nielsen’s Frozen Custard closed nearby, leaving Selvaraj and her customers without a sweet treat after making pottery.

“A lot of our neighbors would do the pottery and then get the custard,” she said. So Selvaraj decided to start her own custard shop within the pottery location — and Kiln & Custard was born.

“It was to more to satisfy our needs because we had an addiction [to Nielsen’s] by then,” she said.

While some places serve custard in a soft-serve machine, she said Kiln uses an old-fashioned machine that makes the custard creamy. “We do over 12 flavors every day and they are all organic with no artificial colors,” she said.

Selvaraj then opened the Reston location (1631 N. Washington Plaza) in 2017, followed by the Falls Church spot (455 S. Maple Avenue) last year after the city approached Kiln. People can find custard and pottery at all three locations.

“They had a unique location they were trying to fill in,” she said, “The city had been extremely helpful… It just organically happened.”

The Vienna spot (138 Church Street NW), though, is the home-base. All of the custard gets made in the kitchen there and then delivered daily to the two smaller, satellite spots. The location also has a 3,000-square-foot party room, wheel room, kiln room and a back patio.

While Selvaraj doesn’t have plans to expand the store at the moment, she does have plans to expand the product. “We are stretched to the max with the three locations,” she said.

Selvaraj said she wants to offer a ceramic line by Christmas so that people looking for holiday gifts can purchase items from Kiln.

“We do get a lot of custom orders. We might have a small, curated selection that people can buy off the shelf,” she said.

Whether or not that ceramic continues after the holiday season will depend on customer demand, she said, adding that Kiln appeals to parents to kids.

“Some of the most loyal followers for the custard are seniors who come religiously on a daily basis,” she said. “Moms and kids — if they are coming to paint pottery, they end up getting custard regardless.”

Being a mom herself, Selvaraj understands the appeal of having a space where parents can hang out with their kids during the summer.

“It definitely helps being mom-owned,” she said.

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A used bookstore in the City of Falls Church plans to close at the end of the month, but comic book fans should plan on visiting the store before Monday.

“It’s a retirement closing” and “Thank you Falls Church for 40 years” signs currently hang on the store’s door.

After 40 years, Hole in the Wall Books plans to sell its comic books in a few days — less than two weeks before the store is packed up for good.

Owner Edie Nally told Tysons Reporter that her husband Michael ran the store for the first 20 years and she’s been in charge for the last 20 years.

After commuting a little more than 100 miles per day and getting stuck in I-66 traffic, Nally said she’s going to be “so glad to be out of that.”

But while Nally said that she feels “wonderful” about her upcoming retirement, several patrons who stopped by the store Thursday told Tysons Reporter that the closure will impact the Falls Church community.

Chris Messick said that the multi-generational store is part of the “citadel for nerd culture.”

“It’s a sanctuary for people to look for really cool, old books. They are not coming here just for a bargain,” Messick said.

Taylor Holland, a 48-year-old Arlingtonian who said he’s been coming to the store since he was 8, said that the closure is “costing Falls Church a piece of its soul.”

“Every community needs to have a place like this. It’s a repository of ideas,” Holland said. “It’s a forum where ideas can be exchanged. It’s the closest thing we have to a Roman forum or French salon circa the days of Versaille.”

Holland, who was unable to find a copy of “The Great Gatsby,” had a stack of at least two dozen paperbacks and comic books he had picked out for himself and his family.

“I buy a whole variety of things,” he said. “I have two kids ages 11 and 13.”

Shoppers can find a wide selection of books from mysteries to horror, from graphic novels to literature.

As for Nally’s favorite reads? “The very best books ever are Shakespeare and the Russians — Dostoevsky, Tolstoy,” Nally said. “What’s better than that?”

Signs outside the store say, “50% off. Going out of business sale discounts.” Nally said the half-off discount applies to “pretty much everything.”

Come Monday (Aug. 19), Nally said that a man will buy and haul away 191 long boxes containing “thousands and thousands of comics.” People looking for comic books should stop by the store this weekend, Nally suggested.

Hole in the Wall Books is open from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on the weekends. The store plans to close for good on Saturday, Aug. 31.

Whatever doesn’t get sold by the closing date, Nally said will end up on the Advanced Book Exchange, a Canadian e-commerce site better known as AbeBooks.com.

Nally said that people should come to store before it closes “because we’re giving a great deal.”

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Work planned for four Metro stations next summer will impact riders in Vienna, Merrifield and Falls Church.

The Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church and East Falls Church Metro stations on the Orange Line are slated to be affected next summer, along with four Green Line stations in Maryland. The work is a part of a multi-year project to reconstruct 20 station platforms.

Currently, Metro shut down Yellow and Blue lines south of Ronald Reagan National Airport this summer.

While that reconstruction plan was announced more than a year ago, more details on the Orange Line shutdown are set to get announced in September or October, WTOP reported.

“It is unclear how much of the work will be done with total shutdowns, and how much could involve single-tracking,” WTOP reported.

Until the plans are announced, let Tysons Reporter know in the comments if the Metro work next summer will impact you.

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Big Chimneys Park in the City of Falls Church will soon welcome new improvements.

Currently, the aging downtown park has a grill, a grass-covered area, picnic tables and a playground at 210 Gibson Street.

The park is named after two big chimneys, which are believed to have been apart of the first permanent structure built on the land in the city, according to the Falls Church Historical Commission.

The 1.7-acre park is slated to undergo an update, which includes:

  • replacing aging play equipment
  • adding ADA access from Gundry Drive
  • updating landscaping and signage
  • creating a new trail
  • improving stormwater management

City Manager Wyatt Shields told the City Council at Monday’s meeting that the project will “really enhance that park and make it more welcoming.”

The construction contract is being finalized with the contractors before work starts in October, Shields said.

Shields said that the council may need to revisit the $1.3 million funding for the park’s improvements in the future.

“We are struggling actually to keep that project within the budget,” Shields said. “I’m hoping it won’t be a problem.”

The project is slated to finish next spring.

Image 1 via Google Maps, image 2 via City of Falls Church 

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Fairfax County police arrested a Falls Church man after he allegedly wounded a man during a fight in a residential area by Haycock Elementary School.

The incident happened around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, in the 2200 block of Orchid Drive.

“Officers responded to the area for two men fighting,” according to the police report. “Officers found and arrested the suspect nearby.”

The victim was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Police charged 50-year-old Spyros Pagonis with unlawful wounding.

In a separate incident, police arrested a Maryland man for grand larceny at a Home Depot (2815 Merrilee Drive) in Merrifield around 3:45 p.m. on Sunday (Aug. 11).

“Officers responded for a larceny at the Home Depot and found store security fighting with the suspect when they arrived,” police said.

Police said that the suspect “pulled away and ran from officers” while being arrested, but was caught after a short foot pursuit.

“It was learned that the suspect had committed grand larceny at another Home Depot just before coming to this location and had over $3,000 worth of stolen items with him,” police said.

Police charged 36-year-old Derik Henderson with grand larceny, assault and resisting arrest.

Photo via FCPD

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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 scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Aug. 13)

  • Stray Cats 40th Anniversary Tour — 8-11 p.m. at Wolf Trap (1551 Trap Road) — The band will celebrate its 40-year anniversary with a performance. Tickets start at $35.

Wednesday (Aug. 14)

  • Wednesday West Coast Swing Lessons and Dance — 8 p.m. at Latin Dancer Studio (1057 W. Broad Street, Suite 221) — This event invites newbies and seasoned dancers alike to join lessons and an open dance floor later in the evening. Tickets are $15 for a lesson or just $10 after 10 p.m. for the social dance.

Thursday (Aug. 15)

  • Karaoke Thursday! — 8-11 p.m. at Falls Church Distillers (442 S. Washington Street) — This locally owned distillery opens their doors for patrons to come to sing and enjoy some spirits.

Friday (Aug. 16)

  • The Slambovian Circus of Dreams and Lumen Jingos — 8 p.m. at the Jammin Java (227 E. Maple Avenue) — The bands take to the stage for an evening of live music. Both bands have been described as “psychedelic.” Tickets are $25.
  • McLean Famers Market — 8 a.m. at Lewinsville Park (1659 Chain Bride Road) — This event will feature fresh veggies and food from local vendors.

Saturday (Aug. 17)

  • Family Bingo Party With Food for Others — noon-3 p.m. at Brandbox Lounge at Tysons Corner Center — Food for Others will host an event to raise awareness for their cause while attendees play games and win prizes.

Photo via The Slambovian Circus of Dreams/Facebook

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The history room at the Mary Riley Styles Public Library in the City of Falls Church will temporarily close beginning Sunday, Aug. 18.

The closure comes after the city’s decision to revamp the room, which officials said is not in a position to meet the growing demand, into a “larger, more prominent” space at the aging library (120 N. Virginia Avenue).

The renovation includes adding 3,174 square feet, along with new features that will ensure a quieter and more comfortable experience for visitors.

“The new room will also again have regular weekly hours to encourage drop-ins and generally increase access,” the website said.

While the renovations are taking place, the files and documentation will be placed in storage and won’t be available for public access until the renovation is completed in late 2020 or early 2021. However, people can still search for photos, death notices and obituaries online.

By 2033, the library’s website said it expects more than 35,000 people to take advantage of the sources available in the history room.

Image via City of Falls Church

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