Tysons Mass Vaccine Site Reopens — After two days of canceled appointments due to snow, the Tysons Community Vaccination Center at Tysons Corner Center will resume regular operating hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are strongly encouraged. [VDH]
County Waste Collection Resumes Today — “Due to Solid Waste staff being re-assigned to snow clearing duty, we will collect Monday’s trash and recycling routes on Wednesday and will continue on a sliding schedule throughout Saturday.” [Fairfax County Public Works/Twitter]
Founders Row Lands Family-Friendly Restaurant — The team behind Rooster & Owl, an upscale American restaurant in D.C., will open a new, more casual spot called Ellie Bird in Falls Church City’s Founders Row development in late 2022. Planned dishes like seafood paella and grilled corn ravioli were inspired by the takeout offerings that Rooster & Owl created during the pandemic. [Washingtonian]
Palchik Makes History with NVTC — Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik will be the first Latina person to serve as vice chair for the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, which advocates and coordinates funding for public transit across the region. Palchik and the rest of the commission’s appointed 2022 slate will be approved at a meeting tomorrow (Thursday). [NVTC]
Tysons IT Contractor Acquired — “Fairfax-based management consulting firm ICF International Inc. announced Monday that it had completed its acquisition of McLean-based IT federal contractor Creative Systems and Consulting. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.” [Virginia Business]
If you meet a dancer who grew up in Vienna within the past half-century, chances are good that they trained at Cuppett Performing Arts Center.
Commonly known as Cuppett’s, the family-owned dance studio is in the midst of its 60th season, and despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, its leaders hope to celebrate the milestone with the same enthusiasm and sense of community that has made it a beloved town institution.
“You might think this is silly, but several people over the years have told me that Cuppett’s has its own soul,” owner and co-artistic director Amy Cuppett told Tysons Reporter. “…It’s like the studio is a foundation right there, but what happens within those walls, it’s almost magical, and…a lot of our students, they’re friends for life.”
Cuppett’s has come a long way since Amy’s mother, founder Alzine Cuppett, started the studio in the basement of her Vienna home in 1962.
A professional dancer during the 1940s, Alzine trained under multi-hyphenate icon Gene Kelly through the school that his family ran in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She performed at the Roxy Theatre in New York City, in the Broadway musical “Marinka,” and as a Radio City Rockette.
After World War II, she moved to the D.C. area with her new husband and was raising five children when the principal of Our Lady of Good Counsel asked her to teach dance to the Vienna Catholic school’s kindergarten students.
The classes proved so popular that Alzine’s husband built a dance studio into their house, and Cuppett Performing Arts Center was born, eventually outgrowing the basement and moving to its current location at 135 Park Street in 1980.
Born 10 years after her five siblings, Amy Cuppett recalls literally sleeping under a record player while growing up.
“She was a single mom at this point. If I wanted to be with her, I’d go downstairs and kind of curl up and listen to her teach,” she said.
Though she took ballet, jazz, tap, and other dance classes, Amy initially veered away from the arts as an adult, pursuing a college degree in finance and a career in real estate and mortgage banking. The stress of those industries wore her down, though.
She returned to Cuppett’s in 1996 with a child of her own and an unexpected desire to teach, despite her mother’s reservations about the high-reward, low-pay profession.
“Teachers don’t get paid what they should, in my opinion,” Amy said. “But it’s definitely something that you have to love, and at the time, that’s what I was feeling: this huge passion and very ambitious about my ideas that I had.” Read More
McLean House Fire Results in $1M in Damages — The fire that burned down former Virginia governor Chuck Robb’s house in McLean last week produced about $1.6 million in damages, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department estimates. Robb and his wife Lynda Johnson Robb were alerted to the fire by working smoke alarms, but a cause is still under investigation. [FCFRD/Twitter]
Metro Halts Return of Railcars — “Metro abruptly halted its phased return of 7000-series railcars to service Thursday afternoon, after deciding the trains needed a more stringent inspection schedule than initially planned. Metro’s 748 railcars in the 7000 series have been off the tracks since October, following a derailment caused by faulty wheel assemblies.” [DCist]
Freedom Bank of Virginia Considers Tysons for New NoVA Branch — “The bank has looked at Tysons, Loudoun County, Arlington, Alexandria and Manassas as options. ‘We’re not in Tysons Corner and we view that as kind of the business hub of Northern Virginia, so that’s been a goal of ours,’ [president and CEO Joseph] Thomas said, though he declined to identify where the branch will be located.” [Washington Business Journal]
Tysons Company Involved in International Space Station Flight — “Tysons-based Space Adventures, a space tourism company, brokered the spacecraft flight that returned to Earth on Dec. 19 carrying a Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin along with two Japanese private astronauts Yusaku “MZ” Maezawa and Yozo Hirano. The three launched to the station on Dec. 8, SpaceNews reported.” [Fairfax County EDA]
The Alden to Host Talks on Virginia’s Native American Tribes — “The Alden Theatre of the McLean Community Center will host a five-part discussion-group series online starting in early January to reinforce information about Virginia Native American tribes. The series will use the Pocahantas Project as a guide, and will be co-facilitated by a member of the Rappahannock tribe and members of the Alden’s staff.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
(Updated at 5:55 p.m.) Rape Case Moves to Supreme Court — “A Virginia man who’s serving 65 years in prison for brutally raping two lifeguards in Alexandria and Fairfax County will ask Virginia’s Supreme Court to overturn his convictions, based on the way he was caught. On Tuesday, attorneys for Jesse Bjerke will ask the commonwealth’s highest court to throw out his 2020 conviction and sentence for attacking lifeguards at deserted pools in Fairfax in 2014 and Alexandria in 2016.” [WTOP]
Restaurants Confirmed for Founders Row — Four tenants, all restaurants, have signed leases for a total of 10,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space at Falls Church’s Founders Row, developers told the city council’s economic development committee yesterday. The restaurants offer seafood, upscale Asian cuisine, healthy Asian street food location, and ‘elegant modern American cuisine.'” [Falls Church News-Press]
Mosaic District Apparel Company Makes Acquisition — “Custom Ink LLC is finally coming up for air after a very tough 2020…First, the Fairfax custom printing and retail startup is fresh off an acquisition of New York-based corporate gifting company Swag.com, and revenue is around $500 million a year, [CEO Marc] Katz said, up both from 2020 and from 2019, though he declined to share more specifics.” [Washington Business Journal]
Commercial Burglaries Reported — Three commercial burglaries occurred in the
Mosaic McLean District last Wednesday and Thursday (Dec. 8-9). The targeted businesses were a Shell gas station and Sun Cleaners on Chain Bridge Road as well as Tysons Florist, where someone painted the walls with graffiti in addition to taking property. [FCPD]
Vienna Chiropractor Prepares for Retirement — “‘I fell in love 34 years ago and as I drove down Maple Avenue on a Sunday morning and found my office space, and I said a little prayer,’ Avedisian said. ‘And the next morning I was signing a lease. I felt very connected, it felt home and felt like this is where I belong.'” [Patch]
Omicron Variant of COVID-19 Found in Virginia — Yesterday (Thursday), the Virginia Department of Health confirmed the state’s first case of the omicron variant that was first identified in Botswana and South Africa in November. The sample came from an adult in the northwest region who had no history of international travel, but did travel domestically during the exposure period. [VDH]
Tysons Event Company Is Now Public — “Event management company Cvent has once again become a public traded company. As of Thursday morning, the firm began trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker CVT following the close of a merger deal with special purpose acquisition company Dragoneer Growth Opportunities Corp. II.” [Technicl.ly]
Local Startup Raises $7 Million — “Tysons tech startup Datasembly, which gives grocers and other retailers real-time product pricing data, has raised millions in new funding to hire aggressively and get its analytics platform to more customers in a period of pandemic-fueled demand.” [DC Inno]
Washington Post Reviews Local Selfie Wrld — “I have feelings about Selfie Wrld, an Instagram selfie studio tucked away in the Tysons Corner Center mall; feelings I considered while attempting to make a sultry, thoughtful face while uncomfortably posed on a hard red plastic couch shaped like a pair of lips, in a red room, beneath a red neon sign that said ‘Feelings,’ because nothing about this place is subtle.” [The Washington Post]
Voting Starts for Vienna Holiday Lights Contest — “As homes and businesses get decorated for the holiday season in Vienna, it’s time to vote for the best displays in town. The annual Vienna Holiday Decorating Contest is now open for voting through Dec. 16.” [Patch]
Vice President Praises Local Candle Maker — 11-year-old entrepreneur Alejandro got a boost from Vice President Kamala Harris when she visited the stall that his company Smell of Love Candles had at the Downtown Holiday Market in D.C. last weekend. Based in Fairfax County, the company crafts and delivers soy candles, and it now offers the ones bought by Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff as a package. [WUSA9]
COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing Available to Students — Fairfax County Public Schools students and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with a COVID-positive person can now get diagnostic testing at six drive-through sites around the county. Appointments aren’t needed, but a parent or guardian must provide consent and their children’s information through the school system’s online portal. [FCPS]
County Recommends Getting COVID-19 Booster — “The Fairfax County Health Department joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in strengthening their recommendation on booster doses for individuals who are 18 years and older. Everyone aged 18 and older should get a booster shot either six months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or two months after their initial J&J vaccine.” [FCHD]
Four People Killed in Thanksgiving Weekend Traffic Crashes — “Four people died in traffic crashes in Virginia over the Thanksgiving weekend, the smallest number of traffic fatalities during the holiday weekend in the past 10 years, according to preliminary data released by the Virginia State Police. The fatal crashes occurred in the counties of Albemarle, Chesterfield, Fairfax and Spotsylvania.” [Patch]
Fairfax County Collects Record Taxes — “Fairfax County collected more than $4 billion in total taxes in fiscal 2021 for the first time ever, a staggering figure made possible not by rising tax rates, but soaring property assessments. Of the $4.05 billion collected in the fiscal year that ended June 30, $3.02 billion, or roughly 75%, came from real property tax levies, according to the county’s recently released Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.” [Washington Business Journal]
County Leaders Consider Staff Pay Increases — “Fairfax County supervisors and School Board members next year hope to give county and school employees large pay raises to make up for ones lost last year to the pandemic. But supervisors added quickly they did not want homeowners to feel the full brunt of skyrocketing property assessments.” [Sun Gazette]
New Milestone Reached in Silver Line Phase 2 Project — Construction work on a new rail yard and maintenance facility at Dulles International Airport has been substantially completed, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced. The milestone will enable the project team to start testing the operational readiness of the Metrorail extension, bringing it closer to the long-anticipated handoff to Metro. [MWAA]
Afghan Refugees Build Community in Fairfax Hotel — “As the morning sunlight pours into her hotel room in Fairfax, Virginia, [Taban Ibraz] plans out her day: Attend an online English course, work on her asylum case and the stack of humanitarian parole applications for her family, look for an apartment, or simply stay in her room to read or write in her journal.” [DCist]
Vienna Kicks Off Holiday Season — “It took an extra year to reach the milestone, courtesy of the pandemic, but Vienna finally got to celebrate the 25th in-person Church Street Holiday Stroll Nov. 29. Santa arrived on the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department’s antique red fire engine, then lighted the town’s holiday tree with Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” [Sun Gazette]
Merrifield Company Honored for Park Philanthropy — The Merrifield-based aerospace and defense company Northrop Grumman received a distinguished public service award from the Fairfax County Park Foundation, which raises funds for the Fairfax County Park Authority. The company has donated more than $169,000 to support environmental education in the county’s parks since 2001. [FCPA]
Fairfax County residents looking for a new Christmas tree should still be able to find an evergreen for the holiday — for now.
Four Seasons Flower Market (6808 Elm Street) in McLean is just one of the local vendors where people can get holiday trees. Its lot was filled with trees as of yesterday (Tuesday), but a worker there expected them to sell out by mid-December.
Sellers across the country say interest in live trees has been high during another Christmas amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Anyone who wants one this holiday should make plans to purchase one very soon,” Michael Wallace, director of communications for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said in an email.
The National Christmas Tree Association reported that last year, tree buyers tended to be younger than usual, urban areas saw an increase in purchases, and sales occurred earlier than they typically did.
“Unlike toilet paper in the spring of 2020, real Christmas trees will not disappear,” Michigan State University horticulture professor Bert Cregg wrote.
The total number of Christmas trees cut has declined from 17.4 million in 2007 to less than 15.1 million in 2017, according to Census of Agriculture data, which was last released in 2019. The U.S. Department of Agriculture survey attributes the drop to fewer farms being in the business, with less acreage overall devoted to growing Christmas trees.
Industry statistics indicate that artificial tree sales have gone up in recent years, providing competition.
Beyond Four Seasons, the Tysons area and Fairfax County in general have several options for buying Christmas trees, including Merrifield Garden Center, DePaul’s Urban Farm in Vienna, and Meadows Farms, which has a nursery in Seven Corners.
The Optimist Club of Greater Vienna opened a tree sale lot in the Giant Foods shopping center on Maple Avenue on Saturday (Nov. 27), and Trinity United Methodist Church (1205 Dolley Madison Blvd.) in McLean will use proceeds from its tree sales to support its Scouts and youth programs.
Virginia Hospital Center Expands into Tysons — “The Arlington health system has purchased a building at 1760 Old Meadow Road where it’s setting up an orthopedic outpatient surgery center, according to VHC CEO Jim Cole. The hospital is now renovating a 14,900-square-foot area of existing building in a project expected to cost $6.4 million including construction and equipment…The facility is slated to open in mid-2022.” [Washington Business Journal]
County Releases FY 2023 Budget Forecast — Fairfax County anticipates a 5.7% revenue increase of approximately $279.6 million for fiscal year 2023, which starts July 1, 2022. However, the gains will be offset by continued declines in real estate values for office buildings and senior care facilities due to the pandemic. [Fairfax County Government]
County Police Focus on Recruitment and Violent Crimes — “While monitoring disturbing trends such as domestic homicides and increasingly violent vehicle thieves, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis hopes to hire more officers and implement changes to modernize the police department. The county’s overall crime rate now is down by slightly more than 12%, or about 3,500 fewer victims compared with the previous year.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
Town of Vienna Offices Closed Tomorrow — “Town offices and the Community Center will be closed Nov. 25 for Thanksgiving. There will be no trash collection on Nov. 25, crews will pick up along that route the next day. The Community Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 26, while Town offices will be closed.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]
Visit Fairfax Launches Holiday Gift Guide — “Ali Morris at Visit Fairfax, the county’s official tourism and hospitality promotion group, created the Fairfax County 2021 Holiday Gift Guide to showcase gift-worthy products created right here and the artisans behind the creations. You can shop by these categories: art and designs; body; chocolate; coffee; food; kids; pets; stocking stuffers; textiles; wine, beer and spirits.” [FCEDA]
Reduced Metro Service Continues — “Although the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) said Wednesday it had improved service on a number of its Metrorail lines, customers should expect reduced service to continue at least until Nov. 30.” [Patch]
MCC Offers Vouchers for Feedback — The McLean Community Center has hired the consulting firm AMS Planning & Research to conduct a community survey regarding its future operations and programming. Five randomly chosen respondents will receive $60 vouchers that can be used for MCC-sponsored classes, camps, and other activities or an Alden Theatre performance. [MCC]
Zero Waste Store Now Open in Vienna — “Trace the Zero Waste Store opened on Sept. 23 at 140 Church Street NW. This is only one of two zero waste stores to open in Northern Virginia…Vienna’s new store seeks to be a one-stop location for essentials such as dry goods and personal care items to help reduce the amount of waste humans produce and its impact on the planet.” [Patch]
Leila Co-Owner Rules Local Nightlife and Lobbying Scenes — “Washington isn’t exactly known for its nightlife, but when the scene does hit, say, Page Six, Basnayake’s spots tend to be the backdrop. But get this — all while trying to build up the city as a Saturday-night playground for the young, trendy, and ready to party, Basnayake has also held down the most Washington job in Washington. He’s a lobbyist.” [Washingtonian]
Luther Jackson Teacher Engages Students with Escape Room — “The pair worked to craft the county school system’s first escape room, an academic puzzle for the school’s eighth graders to review material taught in seventh grade. Since the concept debuted earlier this month, it has some students so invested that they asked Hoffert if they can return after school to complete the maze.” [WTOP]