Newsletter

Morning Notes

Beware Vienna Halloween Parade Traffic — Expect major traffic backups on Route 123 tonight (Wednesday), as the Vienna Halloween Parade will close Maple Avenue between Berry and Center streets from approximately 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Most other roads along the parade route will close at 4:45 p.m., with drivers getting detoured on Church and East streets. [Town of Vienna]

Filipino Restaurant Opens in Falls Church — Kamayan Fiesta recently opened its second location at the corner of Annandale and Washington Streets in the City of Falls Church. Started 18 months ago in Springfield, the locally-owned eatery specializes in Filipino cuisine, including different kinds of pancit (or rice noodles) and chicken adobo. [Falls Church News-Press]

1st Stage to Require COVID-19 Vaccinations 1st Stage Theatre will require patrons to present proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and a photo ID when it launches its first indoor performances of the pandemic on Nov. 18. The theater won’t accept negative test results as an alternative, and masks will also be required inside the Tysons venue. [Tysons Today]

FCPS Book Banning Plea Crops Up in Gubernatorial Race — A failed call to ban Toni Morrison’s novel “Beloved” from Fairfax County Public Schools has resurfaced after the woman who advocated for the book to be removed in 2013 appeared in a campaign ad for Glenn Youngkin, the Republican Party’s nominee for governor, on Monday (Oct. 25). [The Washington Post]

Falls Church Contractor Acquired — Falls Church-based defense contractor PAE Inc. has been acquired for $1.9 billion by Amentum Holdings, the Germantown-based aerospace company announced Monday. Amentum was formed in 2020 and nearly doubled its workforce by purchasing McLean-based DynCorp International that September. [Washington Business Journal]

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Morning Notes

Metro Service Cutbacks Continue — “Reduced Metrorail service is expected to continue until at least Sunday, October 24, as the investigation into the October 12 derailment continues. Beginning tomorrow, trains will operate every 15 minutes on the Red Line and will continue to operate every 30 minutes on all other lines. Silver Line trains will operate between Wiehle-Reston East and Federal Center SW only.” [WMATA]

What to Know About COVID-19 Boosters and Vaccines for Kids — More than 45,000 Fairfax Health District residents have gotten an additional or booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The Fairfax County Health Department says  it is “actively planning and preparing for the authorization of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster doses and vaccinations for children ages 5-11.” [FCHD]

Capital Bikeshare Changes Prices — The D.C. area bicycle-sharing system raised rental prices for non-members on Oct. 1, dropping a flat $2 fee for 30-minute rides in favor of charging 5 cents per minute and a $1 “unlocking fee.” Officials say the changes will help cover increasing operational and maintenance costs as well as future improvements and expansion plans. [The Washington Post]

Local Environmentalist Dies — “McLean resident Debra Ann Jacobson, a lawyer, investigator for Congress and ardent environmentalist, died Sept. 15 at her McLean home. She was 69 and died from complications of liver cancer, her family said. ‘Debra was a champion for the environment and someone who inspired those who were fortunate enough to know her,’ said Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville).” [Sun Gazette]

Vienna Family Raises Funds for Child After Stroke — Vienna residents Tom and Paige Shahryary will hold their second annual James’s Promise Run at Nottoway Park on Nov. 7 to raise money for their now-2-year-old son, James, who suffered a stroke after he was born in August 2019. The family also has a GoFundMe page to raise funds for medical treatments and therapies. [Patch]

Vienna to Give Away Native Tree Seedlings — “Fall is a great time to plant trees and shrubs. Find out why and pick up a free native tree seedling this Saturday, Oct. 23 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center. Town arborist Scott Diffenderfer will be on hand to answer your questions about trees.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

McLean Soccer Field Conversion Reaches Completion — “The Fairfax County Park Authority, in collaboration with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and McLean Youth Soccer Association, will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the grand opening of Holladay Field in McLean, Virginia. The celebration begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.” [FCPA]

Town of Vienna Downsizes Planning Commission — “Seeking to bring the Vienna Planning Commission’s membership in line with those of similarly sized nearby jurisdictions, the Vienna Town Council on Oct. 11 agreed to reduce the commission’s size from nine members to seven…Three Planning Commission members have departed this year.” [Sun Gazette]

Celebree School Tysons to Hold Grand Opening — “Celebree School, a preschool and infant and toddler care center, is celebrating its grand opening in Tysons with a fall festival on Saturday, Oct. 16. The preschool and child care center announced its opening in September at Valo Park, 7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean.” [Patch]

Fairfax County Urges Flu Shots — The Fairfax County Health Department is encouraging everyone 6 months of age and older to reduce their risk of contracting the seasonal flu by getting vaccinated, ideally before the end of October. Public health nurse Alisa Brooks talks about what people should know about this year’s flu season in a YouTube video. [FCHD/Twitter]

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Second Story had a vaccine distribution site at its Hispanic Heritage Festival in Springfield earlier in October (courtesy Second Story/Facebook)

(Updated at 4:55 p.m. on 10/13/2021) Fairfax County has partnered with the Tysons-based nonprofit Second Story to support COVID-19 vaccinations in the Culmore area of Falls Church tomorrow (Thursday).

Announced on Monday (Oct. 11), the vaccine distribution site is part of a fall festival that Second Story has organized with the county health department and Neighborhood and Community Services.

The vaccinations will be administered by the nonprofit Neighborhood Health, which will also return in three weeks to deliver second doses to those who need them.

The fall festival will take place at Second Story’s Culmore Family Resource Center (3304B Culmore Court) from 2-6 p.m. There will be food, music, crafts, and other community resources at the event in addition to the vaccination clinic.

“Part of the reason that this community is not entirely vaccinated is because they have trouble accessing a vaccination site,” Second Story spokesperson Abigail Brougher said. “…We wanted to make sure that the vaccine is accessible for them, so when they come to this event, there will be people right there able to give them the vaccine.”

This is the second time that Second Story has gotten involved in the county’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign after it hosted a similar site at a Hispanic Heritage Month Festival in Springfield earlier this month.

That event also offered the flu shot and other inoculations, according to Brougher.

(Correction: This article previously stated that 25 individuals were vaccinated at the Springfield festival. Second Story did vaccinate 25 people in one day about two weeks ago, but it was a separate community outreach effort. The nonprofit doesn’t have numbers for how many people got the COVID-19 vaccine at the Hispanic Heritage Festival.)

Dedicated to providing basic needs assistance, counseling, and other services to teenagers, young adults, and families, Second Story works directly with some of the community members who have been most affected by the pandemic from health and economic standpoints.

Some clients have contracted COVID-19, leading them to get sick or miss work, which can be devastating for young people just trying to make ends meet. In addition, many are ineligible for unemployment benefits and other supports, Brougher says.

As a result, Second Story has been offering rental assistance and meals throughout the pandemic. It’s still providing food to approximately 1,050 families every month through distribution sites, drop-offs, and programs, such as the after-school services that have started to meet in person again.

“We’ve been doing a lot of meetings virtually — family counseling, individual counseling, catching up with youth — and trying to just continue to provide some of those basic needs as we always have…food and clothes in addition to the bigger supports we provide,” Brougher said.

Even so, the nonprofit has encountered some vaccine hesitancy within the communities it serves.

There are a variety of factors behind that hesitancy, from wariness of the side effects and misinformation to the challenges of getting to a vaccination site without a car or the flexibility to take time off work, according to Soraya Borja, Second Story’s vice president of community-based services.

Taking place shortly before its annual Beacon of Hope fundraiser, which has been moved online for a second year, tomorrow’s fall festival is part of Second Story’s effort to reduce barriers to vaccination for its clients.

Its staff has distributed 200 flyers advertising the event throughout the community.

“This outreach has been really important to us, getting out into the community, getting face-to-face,” Brougher said. “We’re definitely a trusted face in the community, so if we’re able to instill some of that trust in the community that the vaccine is something they can feel comfortable with, we are eager to be able to do that.”

Photo courtesy Second Story/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Man Arrested in Vienna Shooting — A 25-year-old Manassas man has been charged with malicious wounding and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon after a shooting in the Navy Federal Credit Union parking lot at 801 Follin Lane SE. Police found a male victim who had been shot in the upper torso around 12:36 a.m. yesterday (Thursday) in what investigators believe was a personal dispute with no greater threat to the community. [Vienna Police Department]

Fairfax County Pushes to Vaccinate Unhoused Residents — “Hutson is one of roughly 1,200 unhoused residents in Fairfax County, according to the county’s January 2021 point-in-time count…Getting COVID-19 vaccines to this transient — and highly vulnerable — population is a major challenge for public health staff like Vukadinovich.” [DCist]

County Seeks Kid-Sized Mask Donations — The Fairfax County Health Department hopes to collect 10,000 new, unused face masks that can fit children who are too young to get vaccinated, particularly toddlers and school-aged kids. Masks can be dropped off at all local police stations and will help the county fill requests from nonprofit partners. [FCHD]

Falls Church Cuts Ribbon on New High School Campus — “It was the major ceremony that officials here have been working toward for more than a decade. At Homecoming Week at Meridian High School, the brand-spanking new $120 million high school facility was formally dedicated with a ribbon cutting last Saturday morning.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Latter-Day Saints Opens New Wolf Trap Church — “A new meetinghouse for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been completed in the Wolf Trap area and will offer public tours during an open house. The new meetinghouse at 1632 Crowell Road, Vienna will serve residents of Vienna, McLean, Reston, and other nearby communities. The estimated membership is 600 Latter-day Saints.” [Patch]

Capital One Delays Office Reopening Again — “The McLean-based financial giant has opted not to reopen its offices in a hybrid format Nov. 2. It first announced in June it would reopen in September, then in August delayed that until November. Hybrid remains the plan, but the company will no longer attempt to forecast a date as to when that might be implemented.” [Washington Business Journal]

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The mass vaccine clinic in the old Lord and Taylor store in Tysons Corner Center

(Updated 1:10 p.m.) The mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Tysons Corner Center will reopen on Friday, the Fairfax County Health Department announced this morning (Tuesday).

The possibility that the community vaccination center (CVC) could return was first publicly raised during a Board of Supervisors health and human services committee meeting on Sept. 21, when county health officials discussed plans to accommodate the anticipated expansion of eligibility for booster shots.

Booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine became widely available in Fairfax County last Tuesday (Sept. 28) after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines recommending them for:

  • people 65 and older
  • residents of long-term care facilities
  • people 50-64 years old who have underlying medical conditions
  • people 18-49 years old with underlying medical conditions that may make them more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19
  • people 18-64 years old who are at increased risk of COVID-19 exposure or infection due to their job, including teachers, first responders, and grocery store workers

With the capacity to vaccinate up to 3,000 people a day, the Tysons CVC will once again be located in the mall’s former Lord & Taylor store (7950 Tysons Corner Center). It will be offer first and second of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as well as third doses of the Pfizer vaccine for those who are eligible.

Organized by the Virginia Department of Health and operated by contractors AshBritt Inc. and IEM Health, the site “is being re-established to increase the number of high-throughput locations administering the COVID-19 vaccine across Virginia,” the county health department says.

Colin Brody, the mass vaccination branch director for the FCHD’s COVID-19 response, said in a statement that the county is grateful to VDH and its partners for reopening the Tysons CVC.

“This brings another mass vaccination site to the Fairfax Health District, allowing hundreds of individuals who are interested in receiving a booster, additional dose, or part of their primary series an opportunity to get vaccinated each day,” Brody said by email. “We know that as members of our community become eligible for booster doses, and as we look towards the authorization of vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, having another high-throughput site in Fairfax will greatly benefit our community.”

Tysons Corner Center previously hosted the clinic from April 20 through June 26 when COVID-19 vaccines first became available to all adults. In that month, the site vaccinated 27,212 people, administering a total of 50,956 doses, according to VDH.

The CVC will operate from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays. People seeking a second or third dose willl be asked to present their vaccination card with the dates of their previous doses.

Walk-ins will be permitted, but the FCHD is encouraging people to make appointments through Vaccinate Virginia, which can also be used to request a copy of COVID-19 vaccination records.

“CVC sites are intended to augment opportunities for vaccination, adding another site to those operated by local health departments, pharmacies, healthcare providers and healthcare facilities,” the FCHD said in its blog post.

Fairfax Health District residents can schedule vaccine appointments at county-run clinics through the Vaccine Administration Management System.

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Morning Notes

Virginia Prepares to Vaccinate Kids Against COVID-19 — “Northam said during a news conference that the state Department of Health is working with local school divisions and superintendents to roll out the vaccines as soon as they are available and that administering shots in schools would be equitable and efficient. The Pfizer vaccine is expected to be approved for children ages 5-11 in late October or early November.” [Inside NoVA]

Fairfax County Schools Vandalized for TikTok Trend — Falls Church High School and Rocky Run Middle School in Chantilly are casualties of the social media site’s “devious licks” challenge, which involves students vandalizing school property, often bathrooms. A Fairfax County Public Schools spokesperson said discipline has been and will be taken in response to the damage. [WTOP]

County Fire and Rescue Recruits GMU to Save Honeybees — “Recently, a honeybee hive was discovered at #FCFRD USAR Training site. Instead of killing the bees, George Mason University was contacted to see if they knew of an option to facilitate a relocation. The Honeybee Initiative at GMU came out and relocated the hive! A future without bees would really sting! Great to BEE a part of a positive solution!” [FCFRD/Facebook]

Longtime Vienna Jewelry Store Celebrates Reopening — Achikian Goldsmiths, a jewelry store that has operated in the Town of Vienna since 1990, will hold a grand opening celebration to mark its relocation to 110 Pleasant Street NW. Starting at 5 p.m. today (Tuesday), the ceremony will include a ribbon-cutting by Mayor Linda Colbert and a “diamond giveaway,” according to signs on the storefront.

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Tysons Corner Center could potentially host another mass COVID-19 vaccination site if booster shots get approved for a broader population, local and state health officials say.

Fairfax County Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu told the Board of Supervisors during its health and human services committee meeting this morning (Tuesday) that the county and Virginia health departments are working together to establish a Community Vaccination Center (CVC) “at the Tysons location.”

The Fairfax County Health Department confirmed that “planning is ongoing” to revive the large-scale clinic that the Virginia Department of Health and Department of Emergency Management opened earlier this year in Tysons Corner Center’s former Lord & Taylor store.

“As with mass vaccination sites operated by the Fairfax County Health Department, the CVC would provide first, second, and third doses to anyone who is eligible based on [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and VDH clinical guidelines,” county health department spokesperson Lucy Caldwell said in a statement.

Fairfax County currently offers third shots of the two-dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to people whose immune system is compromised by a medical condition or certain medications and treatments, making them more vulnerable to severe illness if they contract the virus.

The county doesn’t have numbers yet on how many people in the Fairfax Health District, which includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, have gotten a booster shot.

“FCHD is waiting on additional data to become available from VDH to determine the number of Fairfax Health District residents who have received an additional dose,” Caldwell said.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted on Friday (Sept. 17) to recommend approval of booster shots for individuals who are 65 and older, people at risk of severe illness if they’re infected, and people whose jobs put them at high risk of exposure, including healthcare workers and teachers.

However, the committee voted decidedly against recommending a booster shot for everyone 16 and older as proposed by President Joe Biden’s administration, citing a need to see more safety data, particularly on heart inflammation issues that have been reported in some younger people after getting the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The CDC’s independent advisory committee is scheduled to discuss whether to recommend authorizing booster shots when it meets tomorrow (Wednesday). Virginia and Fairfax County officials have said they’re working with pharmacies, hospitals, and other partners to plan for the possibility of expanding the availability of third vaccine doses.

Bringing back the Tysons CVC and other mass vaccination sites is one of many options currently under consideration, the Virginia Department of Health says.

“The FDA and CDC need to make their decisions before VDH can finalize its plans,” VDH spokesperson Cindy Clayton said by email. “We have been planning for several scenarios and will be able to share more information when we know more.”

Virginia opened the Tysons CVC on April 20 in conjunction with Fairfax County opening up COVID-19 vaccinations to all adults for the first time. Enabling the county to eliminate its registration waitlist, the site had the capacity to vaccinate 3,000 people per day.

The center closed on June 26 as state and local officials shifted their attention to smaller, more mobile clinics intended to target specific pockets of people who were still unvaccinated due to hesitancy or access issues.

During the Tysons mass vaccine site’s one month of operations, VDH administered 27,212 first doses and 50,956 doses overall, according to the department’s data team.

Because the COVID-19 vaccines are more widely available now from a variety of providers, including pharmacies and private health practices, Fairfax County doesn’t anticipate encountering the supply constraints for booster shots that hampered its initial vaccine rollout.

“Given that there will be ample vaccine this time around to meet demand, we are confident that people will have access, and then, through our outreach efforts, we will make sure that our equity clinics continue,” Addo-Ayensu said at today’s Board of Supervisors committee meeting.

Even as the discussion around booster shots heats up, many county residents have yet to get their first vaccine dose.

Almost 400,000 people in Fairfax County remain unvaccinated, including about 195,000 children under the age of 12, who remain ineligible, Addo-Ayensu told the board.

According to the FCHD dashboard, 811,922 Fairfax Health District residents — 68.6% of the total population — have received at least one vaccine dose, including 81.1% of adults 18 and older. 737,467 residents — 74% of adults and 62.3% of the overall population — are considered fully vaccinated.

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Morning Notes

Early Voting Starts Today — Voters can now cast their ballots for the Nov. 2 general election by mail or by visiting the Fairfax County, North County, and Mount Vernon government centers. Virginia has three statewide offices and all 100 House of Delegates seats up for election, and Fairfax County voters also face a school bond question. [Fairfax County Government]

Parents of Sexual Abuse Victim Object to Plea Deal — The family of a girl who was sexually abused by a relative wants a Fairfax County Circuit Court judge to reject a plea deal today (Friday), arguing that the 17-year maximum prison sentence is insufficient. They feel Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano has prioritized defendants over victims, a criticism increasingly leveled against progressive prosecutors across the U.S. elected on promises of reducing mass incarceration and addressing historical inequities in the justice system. [The Washington Post]

Virginia Adds QR Codes to COVID-19 Vaccine Records — “As requests for proof of COVID-19 vaccination by businesses and employers increases, the Virginia Department of Health has announced that QR (quick response) codes are now available. Virginia is now the fifth U.S. state to adopt the SMART Health format for QR codes.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Vienna Unveils Annual Holiday Ornament — “The town of Vienna later this year will begin selling a 2021 holiday ornament, which depicts the ‘Taking Flight’ bronze statue situated in front of the Vienna Community Center. Vienna Town Council members on Sept. 13 unanimously approved the sale of the ornaments, which will be available at the community center, Town Hall and at the upcoming Oktoberfest celebration.” [Sun Gazette]

Tysons 5K Run Raises Money to Feed Community — “Tysons Partnership is proud to have sponsored the @foodforothers Tysons 5K and Fun Run. Sunday’s Fun Run raised over $91,000 for community members facing food insecurity. Thank you to everyone for your support and participation in this year’s race!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]

Merrifield Church to Celebrate 151st Anniversary — “The First Baptist Church of Merrifield will kick off their 151st Homecoming Anniversary Weekend on Saturday, September 18 and Homecoming Sunday Service on Sunday, September 19. Immediately following the worship service we will have a soft opening Ribbon Cutting ceremony followed by Lunch on the Grounds.” [Greater Merrifield Business Association]

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Capital One Hall (courtesy HGA)

(Updated at 10:15 a.m.) Exactly one month before it opens to the public for the first time, Capital One Hall has announced that all patrons will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to attend an event.

Attendees will also be required to wear face masks while inside Tysons’ new performing arts venue except when they’re actively eating or drinking.

According to an email sharing the new policies, either a hard-copy vaccine card or a photo can be used as proof of vaccination, but the last dose must have been administered at least 14 days prior to the event. Individuals must also have a form of photo identification with a name that matches the one on their card.

For those who choose to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test instead, the test must be one approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it must have been taken within 48 hours of entering Capital One Hall.

A spokesperson for Capital One Center, the mixed-use development that’s emerging around the financial giant’s headquarters in Tysons, says the mask and vaccination policies were determined by ASM Global, the company that operates Capital One Hall.

“Their decision and rationale is fact-based, on guidance from experts, feedback from their network of venues around best-practices, input from shows/tours/acts, and the like,” the spokesperson wrote in an email, adding that the requirements will also be in place for both full and part-time employees.

According to the spokesperson, Capital One Hall is expected to soon have its protocols and health risk mitigation best practices certified by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, an international network that evaluates facilities for their preparedness and response to infectious disease and biohazard situations.

“The policy at Capital One Hall is continuously reviewed as conditions and circumstances change, and any changes will be communicated directly to ticket holders and the policy updated on the Capital One Hall website,” the Capital One Center spokesperson said.

Capital One Hall will kick off its inaugural season on Oct. 2 with an 8 p.m. show by the country band Little Big Town.

Since confirming a performer for the first time in early June, the performing arts center has filled out its initial season with musical, comedy, theater, orchestral, and family-oriented acts. The full schedule can be found on the Capital One Hall website.

The venue consists of a 1,600-seat main theater as well as a 225-seat black box theater called The Vault. Other amenities include a terrace, an atrium for weddings and other events, a conference board room, and meeting rooms that can also function as classrooms.

The 11th floor of the building features The Perch, a 2.5-acre park that includes an amphitheater, a dog park, and the Starr Hill Biergarten, which opened to the public on Aug. 21. The Perch is scheduled to have a three-day grand opening event on Sept. 17-19.

The Watermark Hotel, a 25-floor, 300-suite luxury hotel that sits above Capital One Hall, is set to open on Sept. 21.

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