Tysons, VA

Friday Morning Notes

Maryland Rejects Beltway Widening — The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission unanimously voted against widening the Capital Beltway, which Northern Virginia leaders have been hoping will help ease congestion around McLean [Maryland Matters]

Vienna-based Parcel Carrier LaserShip Launches Hunger Relief Program — “LaserShip launched the [Time of Need] program with a $10,000 charitable donation to Food for Others, a hunger relief organization in northern Virginia. As part of the commitment, LaserShip is providing delivery services to help Food for Others transport food from its warehouse to a distribution center in Annandale, Virginia. Food for Others feeds over 2,600 local families each week.” [LaserShip]

Vienna Students Participate in Virtual Army 10-Miler — “Teachers, staff members, parents and a student from the Madison High Pyramid completed the virtual Army 10 Miler this weekend, and put an FCPS twist on their walk.” [Patch]

Photo courtesy Craig Fingar

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Local Student Making Masks For Medical Professionals — “Marshall High junior Juliette has made 150 masks to help medical professionals in the fight against COVID-19… Juliette is working with the Million Mask group.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Little City Officials Mulling Micro Loans for Businesses —“[The] F.C. City Council will begin to move on a revised budget going forward at its meeting next Monday, and at its work session Monday night learned of aggressive efforts locally to help the most vulnerable citizens and smallest businesses for which even a $2,000 micro grant can make a huge difference for keeping their doors open.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Jammin Java Lobbing Feds for Coronavirus Relief — “More than 450 venues across the U.S. are banding together under the new group called the National Independent Venue Association to present one voice to lawmakers… Jammin Java in Vienna and the Birchmere in Alexandria are also members [of NIVA].” [Washington Business Journal]

Local Schools Make “2020 Best High Schools” List — “Seven Fairfax County schools were in the top 500 nationally [in the U.S. News and World Report’s list], including Langley, McLean, Marshall, Madison, W.T. Woodson, West Springfield, and Chantilly high schools.” [Inside NoVa]

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Many people getting bored self-isolating due to the coronavirus have turned to art reconstructions — including a local art teacher and her greyhound.

Nicole Walter, an art teacher at Marshall High School, has been photographing her retired racing greyhound named Neirin in poses similar to famous pieces of art, according to Fairfax County Public Schools.

Walter, who has taught at Marshall for 17 years, is using her 4-year-old pooch from West Virginia to create art that can engage her students while distance learning is in place, according to FCPS.

So far, they have recreated two dozen famous artworks, including “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer, “American Gothic” by Grant Wood and “Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo.

More from FCPS:

“I saw the challenges being posted by various art museums to recreate master works and to share on social media,” explains Walter. “I was just in the middle of an instructional unit on appropriation in art with my Art 2 students, so I thought this would be a great way for them to make art without the need for special art supplies.”

Students enthusiastically responded to Walter’s project… Neirin is a four-year-old retired racing greyhound from West Virginia who raced for three years…

“Since I teach art, and my goal is to help students connect with their own unique form of creative expression, I try to learn about and appreciate a broad range of art styles,” she states.

People who want to see the greyhound art can head to the Instagram for Neirin.

Photo via Neirinthegrey/Instagram

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(Updated 3/10/2020) The annual NoVa TEEN Book Festival has been canceled due to the recent spread of the coronavirus in the D.C. area.

The free festival was originally set to feature 35 bestselling and new young adult authors, like Alechia Dow and Kristen Simmons, and Brigid Kemmerer, the author of “A Heart So Fierce and Broken,” will provide as the keynote speaker on Pi Day (March 14).

The NoVa TEEN Book Festival Committee said in a statement today (Tuesday) that the festival will return to Marshall High School on March 20, 2021.

“With the recent spread of COVID-19 to the Northern Virginia, Maryland and DC Metro areas, we are unable to ensure that all of our authors, volunteers, exhibitors, staff and attendees will be safe at the festival this weekend,” the statement said.

The committee said that the cancellation of this year’s festival will “have a significant impact on all of our amazing authors” and urged people to connect with authors online and “share their books as widely as you can.”

The committee also encouraged people to buy books from Arlington-based One More Page Books, which was set to sell signed books at the festival.

“The NoVa TEEN book festival ordering pages will stay up to help you to discover new authors and explore their fantastic books,” the statement said. “One More Page will be giving away free [advance reading copies] and swag with NoVa TEEN orders as long as supplies last!”

Photo via Kimberly Farmer/Unsplash

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Marshall High School’s parent-teacher-student association (PTSA) wants people to Zumba at Tysons Corner Center next Saturday to raise money for a graduation celebration.

Set for Saturday (Feb. 29), the dance party will feature Rochi Bracale and other Zumba fitness instructors, according to the event page.

“Workout attire is ideal but not required,” the event page says. “As long as you can dance, move, twirl, jump and sway in your street clothes, you will be good!”

The family-friendly event is scheduled to take place at the Fashion Court near Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s in the mall on the lower level from 3-4:30 p.m. Tickets are $20.

The money will go to the All Night Graduation Celebration (ANGC), which is a drug- and alcohol-free party for graduates hosted by the Marshall High School PTSA, according to the event page.

People who can’t make the party can still donate until March 9 to the graduation celebration.

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Fire Truck Getting Festive in Falls Church — “The annual tradition returns as the Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department decorates the reserve engine and escorts Santa Claus through the streets of the greater Falls Church area. Santamobile begins this Sunday, Dec. 15 and will run through Monday, Dec. 23.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Tysons Company Taking on Terrestrial Transmissions — “In the past few months, Tysons, Va.-based Omnispace has made some of its most significant announcements since a $30 million Series A raise in 2017… Omnispace announced earlier this month a permit from the Mexican government to build a terrestrial communications network that will mesh with satellite networks.” [American Inno]

Local Students Show Off Cooking Skills — “Culinary Arts 1 and 2 students from Marshall Academy had the opportunity to shadow the executive culinary team and director of hospitality at the McLean DoubleTree Hotel, where they worked with staff members to prepare lunch. Working in teams with staff members, they prepared grilled chicken with a demi-glace sauce, baked tilapia, mixed vegetables, rice pilaf, and dinner rolls.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Real Estate Company Eyeing One Tysons East — “Akridge is also considering taking the speculative approach with One Tysons East, a 270,161-square-foot office planned for a 1.3-acre site at 1690 Old Meadow Road, Akridge President Matt Klein said in an interview.” [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook

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Swinks Mill Road Reopens in McLean — Severely damaged by flooding in July, the road at Scotts Run reopened Friday (Oct. 18). [VDOT/Twitter]

McLean Resident Retires From NVTC — “Northern Virginia Technology Council’s (NVTC) president and CEO Bobbie Kilberg is set to retire on June 30 after 22 years leading the organization.” [Technical.ly]

Pedestrian Killed Along Route 50 in Falls Church — “A police cruiser struck and killed a man who was crossing an intersection in West Falls Church, Virginia, early Sunday morning, police say.” [NBC4]

Home Catches Fire in Dunn Loring — Firefighters responded to a house fire in the 8100 block of Timber Valley Court in Dunn Loring area on Saturday. The fire is now out. “No reported injuries at this time.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Twitter]

How Walkable is Tysons? — Find out what it’s like to stroll around Tysons with a walkability researcher, who measured the noise levels and air quality. [Greater Greater Washington]

New Leader at McLean Private School — “BASIS Independent McLean, a preK to grade 12 private school in McLean, Va., recently named Paul Geise as its head of school. As a veteran educator with more than 40 years of experience, Geise excels in leadership of schools in the United States and United Kingdom, specializing in strategic plans and fostering student and community development in schools.” [Patch]

Marshall HS Students Visit Capital One HQ — “Members of Marshall High’s Latinos United Club took a field trip to Capital One’s headquarters in McLean to meet with their mentors. Students learned about the vast career opportunities in technology at Capital One and participated in various activities with the mentors including job shadowing, panel discussions, and a tour.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

USA Today May Phase Out Print Edition — “After a nearly 40-year run, USA Today and its digital sites are about to undergo a major restructuring that will include building up digital marketing while phasing out the print edition.” [Poynter]

Falls Church Receives High Bond Ratings — “For the second consecutive year, the city has earned the highest credit rating from all three major bond rating agencies.” [City of Falls Church]

Falls Church Polling Place Moved — “Due to delays in a renovation of the Falls Green apartments (formerly Oakwood), the City of Falls Church’s Ward 2 polling place has to be moved for the upcoming Nov. 5 election.” [Falls Church News-Press]

New Natural Health Center in Vienna — “The Health Improvement Center, a natural health care center, has moved to a new location in Vienna. The move to a larger space happened in August, while a ribbon-cutting is set for Nov. 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The new location is 407 Church Street NE Suite C.” [Patch]

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Locals want more eco-friendly guidelines as Fairfax County looks ahead to the next 10 to 20 years.

Roughly four dozen attendees showed up to the meeting at Marshall High School last night (Wednesday) to provide feedback on the county’s preliminary strategies.

After brief presentations by County Executive Bryan Hill and James Patterson, the manager of the countywide strategic planning process, attendees were able to choose three out of the nine areas they wanted to learn more about by talking to team members.

Attendees were given copies of the preliminary strategies — 166 in total — and asked to provide feedback to the teams.

The county is especially interested in these nine areas:

  • cultural and recreational opportunities
  • economic opportunity
  • education and lifelong learning
  • effective and efficient government
  • health and environment
  • housing and neighborhood livability
  • mobility and transportation
  • safety and security
  • self-sufficiency for people with vulnerabilities

The nine areas have five shared themes: affordability, equity, sustainability, innovation and collaboration, Patterson said.

Many of the people told the various teams that they support environmentally-friendly strategies, urging the staffers to strengthen or add language that would reduce pollution and waste. “I feel like the environment is critical,” one attendee said.

Locals talking to the “Health and Environment” team pushed for replanting of older instead of younger trees and stronger recycling rules.

People also suggested mandating that businesses recycle, adding urban gardens to schools and reducing food waste. Several attendees expressed frustration about unclear recycling rules and suggested that Fairfax County use stickers and more communication to clarify its glass recycling rules.

“We’re a wealthy county,” one person said. “Give us a glass recycling bin.”

While attendees seemed to come to a consensus that they want stronger protections in place to protect the environment, not everyone agreed on the specifics. In response to a suggested plastic ban, an attendee pointed out that plastic bans can hurt low-income families.

Over at the “Mobility and Transportation” station, people pushed for more frequent bus transit, suggesting different size buses — like double-deckers and buses of various lengths — to accommodate more riders.

Brent Riddle, a transportation planner for Fairfax County, said that the staffers are exploring different ways to add more cross-county transportation, like adding buses between Annadale and the Mosaic District and creating bus-only lanes.

“Public transit is more oriented as a feeder system into D.C,” Riddle said about current transit options.

Overall, attendees said that it’s better to incentivize group travel than disadvantage single-occupancy vehicles — possibly hurting lower-income communities in the process.

Some of the strategies that attendees showed strong support for include:

  • Increase the walkable access (within half-mile or 10-mile walk countywide) to parks, facilty entrances or trailheads to connect people to nature and receational experiences, prioritizing implementation in areas with disparate health outcomes and other equity measures.
  • Prioritize and incentivize the use of high-occupany vs. single-occupant vehicles; this includes transit buses, vanpools and carpools.
  • Shift the design of selected roadways away from a sole focus on automobile traffic to a multi-modal focus by incorporating sidewalks, bike lanes and high-occupancy vehicle and bus lanes and rail lines.

The meeting last night was the last of six recent meetings to seek community input. Currently, county staffers are working to develop and refine strategies before finalizing the draft by the end of the year, Patterson said. Early next year, the draft will get publicized and adopted by the Board of Supervisors.

The county plans to use the input to identify priority areas and success metrics for the county-wide strategic plan.

People can still submit feedback on the preliminary strategies through an online survey that is available in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Urdu and Vietnamese.

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Updated at 2:15 p.m. — Includes new information from Marshall High School. 

A smell of burnt material prompted students to evacuate from Marshall High School this afternoon (Wednesday).

Fighterfighters from Fairfax and Arlington counties responded to the Tysons area school (7731 Leesburg Pike) for an “odor of burnt material,” Fairfax County Fire and Rescue tweeted at 1:35 p.m.

“Believed to be an HVAC unit. There is NO fire or smoke,” the tweet said.

All of the students have been evacuated from the school and the “situation is under control,” according to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.

In an email to the “Marshall Family,” Principal Jeffrey Litz said that everyone went back inside the school around 1:50 p.m. after fire department personnel conducted air quality tests.

“The facilities department of Fairfax County Public Schools will continue to investigate the cause of the alarm,” Litz wrote.

Here’s the entire letter:

Dear Marshall Family,

Today, the students and staff of Marshall High School were evacuated from the building at approximately 1:25 PM when the fire alarm rang as a result of some smoke in a classroom from a rooftop air conditioning unit. All students and staff members left the building in an orderly fashion, and everyone was immediately determined to be safe and accounted for.

The fire department responded promptly and determined that there was no fire and no safety risk existed. Fire department personnel conducted air quality tests and subsequently allowed everyone to return to the building. The facilities department of Fairfax County Public Schools will continue to investigate the cause of the alarm.

While the fire department was investigating to determine the cause of the alarm, all students and staff were outside until students were allowed back in their classrooms at approximately 1:50 PM. All of this was done in an organized fashion, and students were always under adult supervision.

Thank you to everyone who cooperated during our dismissal procedures. We are pleased that no real problem was detected, and our emergency plans were effective. We will still hold Back to School Night this evening and look forward to seeing you soon.

Regards,

Jeffrey D. Litz

Principal

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Fairfax County wants community input as it looks ahead to the next 20 years.

To solicit ideas and feedback, the county is hosting six community meetings around the county this month. The county will use the input to identify priority areas and success metrics for the county-wide strategic plan.

The Tysons and Falls Church area meeting will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Marshall High School (7731 Leesburg Pike) on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

The county is especially interested in these nine areas:

  • cultural and recreational opportunities
  • economic opportunity
  • education and lifelong learning
  • effective and efficient government
  • health and environment
  • housing and neighborhood livability
  • mobility and transportation
  • safety and security
  • self-sufficiency for people with vulnerabilities

“Whether you are new to Fairfax County, have lived here all your life or are somewhere in between, we’re interested in your vision for the future of the county and your community,” according to the county website.

People interested in attending who need childcare, transportation assistance, interpretation services or ADA accommodations can reach Angela Jones at 703-324-5302, TTY 711, or [email protected]

Photo via Facebook

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