Fairfax County Leader Criticizes Senate Vote on Masks — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said he’s “deeply disappointed” in the Virginia Senate for passing a bill that would let parents opt out of school mask requirements, arguing that it usurps local school boards’ authority. He says local officials have asked the governor to work with them on “an offramp” for when to stop using masks but “have not received any response to that suggestion.” [Jeff McKay/Twitter]
I-66 West Ramp to Vienna Metro Reopens — The ramp from westbound I-66 to the Vienna Metro Station, via an exit to Country Creek Road and Virginia Center Boulevard, has reopened to traffic after an extended closure that began on Jan. 21. The closure was needed for utility work related to the project to extend the I-66 Express Lanes from I-495 in Dunn Loring. [VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter]
Park Authority Highlights History of Freedom Hill — “Drive through busy Tysons, Virginia, and the traffic, buildings and construction make it hard to imagine the place as anything but a busy urban center. But did you know that it was once a rural community made up of free Black Fairfax County citizens?” [FCPA]
Tysons Company Faces Facial Recognition Concerns — “Two days after the Internal Revenue Service said it would transition away from using facial recognition for taxpayers to access certain IRS documents online after a wave of privacy complaints, Tysons, Virginia-based ID.me said it would make the use of ‘selfies’ optional for all of its government clients.” [WTOP]
Farmers’ Market Managers Sought — The Fairfax County Park Authority is currently recruiting volunteers to manage its 10 farmers markets, including a McLean market that will operate from May 6 to Nov. 11 at Lewinsville Park (1659 Chain Bridge Road). The market managers provide on-site support by setting up supplies, enforcing rules, answering questions, and helping with vendor selection and community outreach. [FCPA]
Photo courtesy novafoto.co
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, Dec. 28
- Open Mic — 6 p.m. at Settle Down Easy Brewing (2822 Fallfax Drive) — Grab some beer and hear from a mix of musicians.
Wednesday, Dec. 29
- Outdoor Sharpie Tile Art for Kids — 5-6 p.m. at Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library (7584 Leesburg Pike) — Create a design with Sharpies in a program for kids ages 5 to 10.
Thursday, Dec. 30
- ‘Make Me Happy’ — 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Falls Church Arts Gallery (700-B W. Broad St.) — Check out the works of three dozen artists, centered on works that make people smile. Free. Continues through Jan. 30.
Friday, Dec. 31
- Countdown to None 5K — 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Old Red Caboose (204D Mill St. NE) — A fundraiser for type 1 diabetes research, the virtual 5K concludes with an in-person race and celebration in the Town of Vienna. There will be music, food, and more, with all proceeds going to the organization JDRF.
- NYE ’80s Glow Party with DJ D — 8 p.m. at Jammin Java (227 Maple Ave. East) — Get your ’80s-inspired neon outfits out to win prizes and enjoy this retro dance environment. Tickets start at $35. Doors open at 7 p.m.
- The 8th Annual Grandiose NYE Gala — 9 p.m.-2 a.m. at Hilton McLean Tysons Corner (7920 Jones Branch Drive) — Celebrate New Year’s Eve with three ballrooms of entertainment featuring complimentary lite fare, a champagne toast, and more. Cost starts at $80.
Saturday, Jan. 1
- Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights — 5-10 p.m. at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens — Enjoy lights and holiday scenes in this annual transformation, which has its last day on Sunday (Jan. 2). Tickets for those ages 2 and over are $18 each.
Sunday, Jan. 2
- The Gift of Language — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mosaic District (920 District Ave.) — A cultural immersion program shares stories in Spanish, games, and arts and crafts at FRESHFARM’s weekly farmers market.
Photo via Jorgen Kesseler/Flickr
Local Swim Coach Arrested on Child Porn Charges — Fairfax County police have arrested a 21-year-old aquatics instructor for possession of child pornography after finding thousands of explicit images and videos in an online Dropbox account. The suspect has been a Fairfax County Park Authority employee since 2015, but so far, none of the victims appear to be county residents or have connection to his job as a swim instructor. [WTOP]
Code Violation Pushes Farmers Market Out of Vienna — The NOVA Central Farm Market has moved to Marshall High School outside of the Town of Vienna’s limits, because the town code only allows one farmers market. Operated by Central Farm Markets, the market had operated at Marshall High until the closure of schools due to COVID-19 last year prompted a relocation to Holy Comforter Church on Beulah Road. [Patch]
New Tech Company Launches in Tysons — The new technology startup LevelFields announced the public launch of its artificial intelligence platform that helps investors predict stock prices on Monday (Oct. 4). Based in Tysons, the company was developed in response to the volatility introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic and has received funding from the Center for Innovative Technology, among other sources. [LevelFields]
Meet New Fairfax Parks Director — “Jai Cole, who on Sept. 14 became the new executive director of Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA), wants to make the park system more accessible and equitable. Cole spent the past 16 years with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Montgomery Parks. During a recent phone interview, the Silver Spring resident told the Sun Gazette why she returned to her home county.” [Sun Gazette]
Storm Brings Power Outages, Hail to Fairfax County — Thunderstorms swept through Fairfax County last night (Wednesday), resulting in reports of damaging winds and even hail “that toppled trees and wires.” As of midnight, Dominion Energy’s outage map showed thousands of people in the county without power, particularly around McLean. [Capital Weather Gang]
Farmer’s Market Nonprofit Awarded State Grant — FRESHFARM will get a $50,000 grant from the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund to establish new fresh food mobile markets in food-insecure areas of Northern Virginia. The nonprofit operates several farmer’s markets in Fairfax County, including the ones at the Mosaic District and The Boro. [Patch]
More Traffic Control Sought for Great Falls Park — “Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA) officials are seeking to have the federal government provide $100,000 in permanent, annual funding for U.S. Park Police to control traffic at Old Dominion Drive and Georgetown Pike outside the park’s entrance when park usage is especially heavy…Traffic congestion outside the park routinely occurs on weekends, holidays and fee-free days from March through early November, GFCA leaders said.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
Madison HS Student Brings Books and Bikes to Tanzania — James Madison High School rising junior Sophia Brown organized a bicycle drive at the Vienna school in May and collected dozens of donated books to bring to Tanzania for a Girl Scout project. Sophia traveled to the East African country this summer with support from the nonprofit Wheels to Africa, which she has worked with since she was in second grade. [FCPS]
Save those rotting veggies and bits of meat left over from last night’s dinner, because Fairfax County is expanding its composting program.
As of yesterday (Wednesday), residents can now bring their food scraps to four county farmers markets for composting. The locations include the Mosaic District Farmers Market, which operates year-round from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.
Food scrap composting turns waste into a resource. Those wrinkling carrots or uneaten bread crusts can be transformed over time into natural fertilizer, putting nutrients back into the soil.
Proper composting can also prevent food waste from ending up in landfills and streams, taking up space and potentially damaging the ecosystem.
“The county is working to divert as much waste from disposal as possible,” Fairfax County Department of Public Works spokesperson Sharon North said in an email. “In the past few years, we have focused on glass recycling and reducing contamination to improve single stream recycling…Providing food scraps drop off locations will help divert this compostable material from disposal.”
North says food scraps can account for as much as 20% of waste, but nearly all of it can be composted, including meat, bones, dairy, vegetables, fruit and bread.
Some food-related paper products, such as paper plates, paper towels, and napkins, can be composted as well, as long as there’s no cleaning products or bodily fluids on them. Plastic bags, dryer sheets, yard waste, fats, oils, grease, tin foil, and foam containers, however, should never be composted.
Fairfax County first implemented a composting pilot program in November 2020 at two larger locations: the I-95 Landfill Complex in Lorton and I-66 Solid Waste Transfer Station in Fairfax.
North says the initial pilot program was a success, prompting county leaders to discuss options for an expansion.
“One of the main things we learned is that our residents are willing to separate out food scraps and bring them to compost drop off locations,” she writes.
The I-95 landfill and I-66 transfer station will remain permanent composting drop-off sites. The four farmers markets that are now part of the program’s expansion were specifically chosen due to their accessibility and central locations within the county.
Three of the chosen markets are seasonal and managed by the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Mosaic District farmers’ market is a year-round, private market operated by FreshFarm.
“Making locations more accessible throughout the county at Farmers Markets will allow for more opportunities to drop off food scraps for composting rather than having that material in the trash,” North said.
The compost program is expected to cost the county an estimated $50,000 annually.
COVID-19 Vaccine Could Soon Be Approved for Teens — The CDC is scheduled to discuss recommending COVID-19 vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-old individuals on Wednesday (May 12). If it is approved, the Fairfax Health District says it will have vaccine available, and state and local appointment scheduling systems will be updated accordingly. [Fairfax County Health Department]
Falls Church Man Arrested for Threatening People at Mosque — 41-year-old Jonathan Lincoln faces assault and disorderly conduct charges after reportedly threatening people with a knife and trying to stab a security guard at the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Seven Corners. The incident occured around 3 p.m. on Saturday (May 8), and there were no injuries. [WTOP]
Virginia Republicans Hold Nominating Convention — Virginia Republicans cast ballots in 39 different locations across the state on Saturday in a convention to select the party’s nominees for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. The results could take days to materalize, but turnout was expected to surpass the party’s last gubernatorial convention in 2013, when about 8,000 of 13,500 approved delegates cast ballots. [The Washington Post]
Falls Church News-Press Announces Endorsements — The Falls Church News-Press has thrown its support behind Terry McAuliffe, who is seeking to return to the governor’s mansion in November. It also endorsed Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) for lieutenant governor and incumbent Mark Herring for attorney general. [Falls Church News-Press]
Vienna Farmers Market Kicks Off Season — “It may be cloudy and chilly but the Farmer’s Market hosted by our local Optimist Club in @TownOfVienna is open! Pleased to help cut the ribbon to open this season of fresh foods and goods!” [Del. Mark Keam/Twitter]
Construction on Madison High School Addition Continues — “Tearing the roof off the place, literally! If you watch until the end you can see a sheet a of steel be pulled down. One at a time, they came down today. Making room for the third floor!” [James Madison High School/Twitter]
Tysons IT Company to Add 162 Jobs with Expansion — Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Friday (April 30) that technology security company Ridgeline International, Inc. will invest $1.75 million and create 162 new jobs to expand operations at its headquarters in Tysons. Founded in 2015, Ridgeline started with five employees and now has more than 200 workers with an emphasis on hiring veterans. [Office of the Governor]
I-66 Construction to Close Gallows Road Lanes Overnight — “Gallows Road over I-66 will be reduced to a single travel lane in each direction nightly Monday, May 3, through Saturday, May 8, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. The northbound side of Gallows Road will be closed with two-way traffic running on the southbound side.” [VDOT]
Vienna Farmers Market Returns — The Vienna Farmers Market came back this weekend and will be outside the Vienna Community Center from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday until Oct. 30. It is one of dozens of farmers markets that have started opening around Fairfax County this spring. [Town of Vienna/Twitter]
Northern Virginia Could Reach Community Immunity This Summer — “A year to the day after Northern Virginia hit its peak number of hospitalizations for COVID-19, the University of Virginia predicted the region could reach community immunity from the virus by June or July…Based on current vaccine acceptance and vaccine update levels, the region could be the first in Virginia to achieve immunity among adults.” [Inside NoVA]
Removal of Asphalt W&OD Trail in Falls Church to Begin — Removal of the existing asphalt Washington and Old Dominion trail and preparation of the new trail’s subsurface is set to begin this week as part of the Dual Trails Project in the City of Falls Church. Sections of the trail will be inaccessible for about four weeks each during work to install new pavement. The project is expected to be completed by August. [Falls Church News-Press]
It is farmers market season, and Fairfax County has a plethora of options for anyone looking to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables.
The county operates 10 markets under the Fairfax County Park Authority, but there are also many privately-owned markets, many of which are open year-round.
The county-run markets, however, are strictly seasonal. While they closed for a period of time last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, four of them eventually re-opened.
This weekend, the first of those markets will put out its produce for the 2021 season:
- Burke: VRE parking lot (5671 Roberts Parkway), Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon, starting April 1
- McCutcheon/Mount Vernon: Sherwood Regional Library (2501 Sherwood Hall Lane), Wednesdays 8 a.m. to noon, starting April 21
- Old Town Herndon (700 Lynn St.): Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., starting April 22
- Reston: Lake Anne Village Center (1609-A Washington Plaza), Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, starting May 1
- Oak Marr RECenter (3200 Jermantown Rd.): Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon, starting May 5
- Wakefield Park (8100 Braddock Rd.): Wednesdays from 2-6 p.m., starting May 5
- Annandale: Mason District Park (6621 Columbia Pike), Thursdays from 8 a.m. to noon, starting May 6
- McLean: Lewinsville Park (1659 Chain Bridge Road), Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon, starting May 7
- Kingstowne Towne Center (5870 Kingstowne Towne Center): Fridays from 3-7 p.m., starting May 7
The county-run markets all run through at least late October, with several continuing into December.
What makes these markets unique is that they’re strictly producer-only, meaning vendors can only sell what they’ve raised, grown, or made on their own farms. All farmers and producers also come from within a 125-mile radius of Fairfax County.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, the county has enacted strict safety protocols.
Visitors can browse markets in “pods” of up to four people, but only one customer can approach a stall at a time. Vendor sampling has been prohibited, and people are being asked not to “linger.” Online sales are strongly encouraged.
If 10 markets aren’t enough, there are plenty of privately-run farmers markets around the county.
FRESHFARM runs about 30 markets across D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, including five in Fairfax County:
- Oakton: Unity of Fairfax Church (2854 Hunter Mill Rd.), year-round on Saturdays from 9 a.m to 1 p.m.
- Mosaic: The Mosaic District (2910 District Ave.), Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., started April 4
- Reston: St. John Neumann Catholic Church (11900 Lawyers Rd.), Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m., started April 7
- Springfield: Springfield Town Center (6699 Spring Mall Dr.), Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting May 1
- The Boro: 8301 Greensboro Dr., Thursdays from 3-7 p.m., starting May 6
The NOVA Central Farm market in Vienna is also on Sundays and open year-round, though hours shifted slightly on April 1.
The Reston Farm Garden Market is also open year-round and daily on Baron Cameron Avenue. Its two “neighborhood markets” will open this month:
- Springfield: Cardinal Forest Plaza (8316 Old Keene Mill Rd.), open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., starting April 15
- Herndon: Fox Mill Center (2551 John Milton Dr.), open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., starting April 20
If you want to cross county lines, there is also a number of farmers markets in Arlington.
Be it sweet strawberries, appetizing apples, lucious lettuce that you may desire, there are plenty of options in Fairfax County for community members to get their fill of fresh food and support local farmers.
Photo via Jakub Kapusnak/Unsplash
Greenheart Juice Shop is coming to Vienna. The health and lifestyle juice company will open a new shop at 208 Dominion Road this Saturday (March 27).
Founder Alicia Swanstrom started Greenheart Juice Shop in 2013 after turning to the health and nutrition community for support following the death of a loved one. She says starting her own business helped her reach “people at a deeper level through the product.”
In 2018, Greenheart merged with Middleburg Juice Company and their founder Matt Cahir. The company now offers a Middleburg Juice named “MJ” on its menu, along with a dozen other flavors.
Swanstrom told Tysons Reporter that Greenheart decided to open a shop in Vienna because of Cahir’s ties to the area. Greenheart has also had a stand at the Vienna Farmers Market since 2019.
“We have such a strong community in Vienna that has grown with us over the past few years,” said Swanstrom. “We wanted to bring something really special and unique to this town, and think that we have finally been able to achieve that with this new Greenheart flagship.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Fairfax County last spring, Swanstrom says Greenheart has nearly doubled its sales, something that has been rare for small businesses across the country.
When the opportunity presented itself to open a permanent shop on Dominion Road, Swanstrom says it was a “no brainer.”
The new Vienna shop will be the first to launch Greenheart’s new made-to-order food items. They will have a variety of avocado toasts, sweet potato waffles, and quinoa bowls, along with their established menu of favorites.
Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert will perform the ribbon cutting at the Vienna shop’s grand opening this weekend.
“I am so excited for Greenheart to open their business in Vienna,” Colbert said. “The community has known and loved their products at the Vienna Farmers Market…Now they will have a prime location off of Church Street that will be perfect for residents, as well as people using the trail to stop and enjoy a delicious drink.”
To celebrate its opening weekend, the shop will have a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale on all products from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. More information, locations, and home delivery options can be found on the Greenheart Juice Shop website.
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