Newsletter

Morning Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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Morning Notes

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]

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Morning Notes

Flash Flood Watch in Effect — The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for Fairfax County and the rest of the D.C. area through 10 p.m. today (Wednesday). Multiple rounds of heavy showers and thunderstorms could drop up to one to two inches of rain per hour, leading to rapid rises in streams, creeks, and poor drainage areas. [NWS]

Metro to Require Employee Vaccinations — Metro workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing in a new policy that General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld announced in an internal memo yesterday (Tuesday). 45% of the transit agency’s 12,000-person workforce is fully vaccinated, falling short of the 70% goal set by Metro leaders earlier this month. [The Washington Post]

County Seeks Input on Hazard Mitigation Plan — The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management has partnered with other jurisdictions across the region to update the Northern Virginia Hazard Mitigation Plan, which aims to reduce or eliminate the dangers posed by flooding, tornadoes, and other disasters. A survey to help the county identify potential risks and prepare for them is open until Sept. 20. [Fairfax County Emergency Information]

Fire Station Makes Department History — “For the first time in the history of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in Virginia, the day-to-day operations of a fire station are being run entirely by women. Capts. Felicia Barnes, Katja Lancing and Emily Murphy all work at Kingstowne Fire Station 37 on Telegraph Road.” [WTOP]

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A multi-vehicle crash temporarily closed lanes on I-495 near Lewinsville Road (via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department/Twitter)

All northbound lanes on Interstate 495 approaching Lewinsville Road in McLean are currently closed after a vehicle crash that sent three people to the hospital.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported just before 3 p.m. today (Tuesday) that units were on the scene of a multi-vehicle crash on the Capital Beltway.

Two people trapped in the vehicles were both extricated by 3:10 p.m., and a total of three people were transported to a hospital, including one individual who sustained “significant injuries.”

The three right lanes on the I-495 Inner Loop were shut down for the crash response, along with the left Express Lane, the Virginia Department of Transportation said at 3:14 p.m.

As of 3:25 p.m., all express lanes and three left lanes have reopened. One right lane remains closed, the Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination (MATOC) Program said.

The crash has contributed to approximately four miles of traffic delays starting at I-66.

Map via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department/Twitter

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Morning Notes

Vienna Restaurant Requires Vaccinations to Eat Indoors — The Latin American restaurant Blend 111 announced on Friday (July 30) that, effective immediately, indoor dining will be limited to people who are fully vaccinated with unvaccinated people still free to eat outside. Patrons are asked to confirm their vaccination status when reserving an indoor table, but at some point, proof may be required. [Blend 111]

Police Arrest Spa Worker for Sexual Battery — “On July 29, 2021, officers with the Vienna Police Department executed a search warrant at the Green Spa located at 111 Church St. NW. Concurrent with the search warrant, officers arrested Hongsub Song, a/k/a ‘Greg’ for the sexual battery of a female client and for performing unlicensed massage. Mr. Song was held at the Fairfax County adult detention center without bond.” [Vienna Police]

Kennedy Daughter Wins Court Case over McLean Urn — “The daughter of Robert F. Kennedy has won a federal legal battle to claim a six-foot-high urn planter from the front yard of ‘Hickory Hill,’ the family’s former home in McLean, Va., after a judge ruled that an agreement made in 2010 by the estate’s new owner to relinquish it was binding, even though he made it under the mistaken belief that the urn was a family heirloom.” [The Washington Post]

Inova Proposes Adding Behavioral Health Capacity — “Inova Health System filed a letter of intent with the Commonwealth of Virginia last week to build 20 additional inpatient behavioral health beds at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital…If approved, the completed project will increase behavioral health capacity at IMVH to 50 beds, a 67 percent increase over the current capacity.” [Inside NoVA]

Vienna Firefighters Participate in Cancer Study — “Several VVFD firefighters, along with other volunteer firefighters from @ffxfirerescue, are taking part in the National Firefighter Cancer Cohort Study and had their first blood draw this morning…Our participation will play a small part to determine risk factors & develop cancer prevention & risk reduction strategies.” [Vienna Volunteer Fire Department/Twitter]

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A house in Tysons caught fire after being struck by a lightning bolt during last night’s thunderstorm, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department says.

Fairfax and Arlington county firefighters were dispatched to a two-story, single-family house in the 1900 block of Hull Road at approximately 8:57 p.m. yesterday (Wednesday).

Upon arriving at the scene, the units could see fire showing through the house’s roof. They “rapidly” extinguished the fire, and there were no reported civilian or firefighter injuries, according to the FCFRD report.

However, four occupants of the house have been displaced, and the blaze resulted in approximately $90,000 in damages.

FCFRD says that the house’s four occupants were all at home when the fire started:

Four occupants were home at the time of the fire. The occupants heard a loud bang, saw a flash of lightning, and then smelled smoke. All occupants evacuated the home. 9-1-1 was called. Smoke alarms did not sound due to the location of the fire.

Fire Investigators determined that the fire was natural in nature and started on the exterior of the home. The cause of the fire was a lightning strike.

The Fairfax County and Arlington fire departments also responded to a house fire in the 7700 block of Virginia Lane in Falls Church last night. A cause and estimate of damages have not been announced yet, but the blaze did not result in any reported injuries.

Photo via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

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Morning Notes

CVS Allows Walk-in Vaccine Appointments — CVS Health is now offering COVID-19 vaccinations to walk-in appointments and same-day scheduling at all stores in Virginia, joining Giant, which started allowing walk-ins at its pharmacies on Monday (May 3). CVS has three stores in Vienna, two in Merrifield, eight in Falls Church, and one in McLean. [Patch]

McLean Central Park Plan Meeting Set — Fairfax County will hold a virtual public information meeting at 7 p.m. on May 24 to share a development concept for McLean Central Park based on a master plan that was last revised in 2013. Potential new facilities for the 28-acre public park on Dolley Madison Boulevard include a dog park, an ampitheater, and trail improvements. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Tysons Corner Launches “DreamStart” Competition for Businesses — Tysons Corner Center is inviting entrepreneurs to pitch their product, service, or business concepts for the chance to get pop-up retail space. With applications due May 24, the contest winners will debut in the mall this summer with three months of free rent, a grand opening community event, and marketing support. [Tysons Corner Center]

McLean Volunteer Firefighter Reads for Charity — “On Wednesday, May 19 at 7 p.m. families can tune into “Read Me A Story,” a virtual event featuring a firefighter reading a story. The virtual literacy event is free, but donations will be accepted to benefit Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center, a nonprofit preschool.” [Patch]

McLean Youth Soccer Unveils New Logo — “McLean Youth Soccer (MYS) and Springfield South County Youth Club (SYC) unveiled the name and logo for the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) alliance announced earlier this month. The new alliance will be known as Virginia Union FC.” [SoccerWire]

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Morning Notes

Sameday Health in Tysons Offers Vaccinations — “Vaccinations began this week at Sameday Health‘s Tysons location, a parking lot at 1981 Chain Bridge Road. This is the same location offering PCR and rapid testing. In a few weeks, the location will transition from a testing and vaccination site to solely a vaccination site.” [Patch]

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Sees Increase in Emergency Incidents — “Firefighters/Paramedics responded to 1,985 incidents last week! An increase of almost 5.5% in overall incidents from previous week.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

WeWork Offers Two Months Rent-Free at Tysons Space — “The company is offering two months of free private office space at select locations in the D.C. region with a six-month commitment or three months free with a commitment of 12 months…Outside of the District, only WeWork’s locations at the University of Maryland, in Ballston, and Tysons are participating.” [Washington Business Journal]

Ribbon Cutting Held for Greenheart Juice in Vienna — “Thank you to everyone who attend the Greenheart Juice Shop ribbon cutting last Friday, and welcome to Town” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

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A house fire on the 9700 block of Meadowlark Road in Vienna displaced seven people on Tuesday (March 16).

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units were dispatched to the single-family home at approximately 6:04 p.m. There was “heavy fire and smoke showing” when they arrived on the scene, the FCFRD said in a report released yesterday.

While no civilians were injured, one cat died in the fire, and a firefighter was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. The firefighter has since been released.

The fire was detected when one of the three people who were in the house at the time smelled smoke. The occupants evacuated and called 9-1-1 after seeing smoke and fire issuing from the basement. Three dogs were also present and “escaped the fire unharmed,” according to the county fire department.

“Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the basement,” the FCFRD said. “The cause of the fire was combustible materials too close to the operating fireplace.”

The fire produced approximately $378,750 in damages. The house’s seven residents are receiving Red Cross assistance after being displaced.

This is the fourth house fire reported in Vienna within the past 10 days.

A house fire on Bowling Green Drive on March 10 and one on Hunt Country Lane in the Wolf Trap area on March 11 each displaced two people. There was also a house fire on Baton Drive in Vienna on Monday (March 15). No people were at home at the time, but neighbors saved a dog that was present.

A combination of strong winds, relatively low humidity, and warming temperatures makes fires more common during this time of the year, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry.

When the National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for Fairfax County on March 11, the Fairfax County fire department warned that cigarettes and other smoking materials discarded in mulch or brush could spark a significant fire.

Photo via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

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A house fire on Baton Drive in Vienna yesterday afternoon (Monday) might have turned into a tragedy, if not for the intervention of a few quick-thinking, canine-loving neighbors.

The blaze occurred between 4:30 and 5 p.m. on the 1900 block of Baton Drive, according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Morrison confirmed to Tysons Reporter that units from his department also responded to the incident.

James Madison High School student Peyton Van Stone had just returned home from walking his family’s dog and was chatting outside with Ann Haines, a neighbor from across the street, when they noticed smoke issuing from a house a few doors down the road.

From there, Peyton says he stopped thinking and just acted.

“Me and [Haines] just ran up to the house to check it out and see what was happening, because it looked like there was a fire, or at least there was a lot of black smoke coming out,” he told Tysons Reporter this morning during a break in his online classes.

After another passerby called 9-1-1, Haines called the house’s resident, who is a friend since they often take their dogs on walks around the same time. She learned that no people were home, but their dog — a Rottweiler named Daisy — was inside in a crate.

Upon finding that the front door was locked, Peyton asked the next-door neighbors if they had a key before going around the back of the house and finding a way inside.

The fire had started outside the house near a detached garage, but it was spreading to the main structure by the time Peyton and Haines dashed upstairs to let Daisy out of her crate. Haines had a leash and was able to lead the dog outside, a feat made easier by Daisy’s familiarity with her.

After that, Peyton says fire trucks arrived to put out the blaze, and they later reunited Daisy with her owners.

“I’m glad everyone was okay,” Peyton said. “…I mean, I would hope someone would do the same for my dog, so I was just looking out for another neighbor, because that’s man’s best friend, a dog.”

While Peyton says he was too caught up in the moment to feel scared, his mother, Rebecca Van Stone, describes the ordeal as “surreal” and “very scary” to watch unfold. She recalls that the fire initially looked small, like smoke from a fire pit, before rapidly growing to the point where she worried it would spread to nearby trees and other houses.

“I just had thoughts of California, of these whole neighborhoods going up in smoke, and you could hear the crackling of fire,” Van Stone said.

Van Stone added that she’s proud of her son and Haines for acting quickly to help their neighbors. She was also impressed by the fire department’s response.

“They were very quick and efficient, I have to say, to save this woman’s house,” she said. “If it wasn’t for how quick they responded, the whole house would’ve been up in flames.”

According to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department spokesperson Ashley Hildebrandt, investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature, sparked by spontaneous combustion from recently added mulch.

After starting in a mulch bed, the fire spread to the detached garage and the main house but was largely confined to the exterior of the building. It caused $25,000 in damages, but people and animals all got through the incident unscathed.

“We all made sure the owners weren’t home. To know they were safe was the biggest thing,” Haines said. “Then, we knew we could focus on Daisy.”

Photos by Rebecca Van Stone

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