Editor’s Note: Tysons Reporter is following a lighter publishing schedule today (Friday) for Veterans Day weekend.
Falls Church Police Seek Man in Sexual Assault Case — “The City of Falls Church Police are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the pictured individual who was in the area at the time of an assault. Late night on Wednesday, November 10, an adult female was sexually assaulted in the vicinity of 444 W. Broad St.” [City of Falls Church]
County to Add Veteran Services Coordinator — “Today, I’m excited to share that we will be hiring a Veteran’s Services Coordinator to improve the well-being of veterans in our community. This person will help vets access resources and advocate for new tools to help our veterans. Thank you to our vets for your service!” [Chairman Jeff McKay/Twitter]
See Marshall HS Veterans Day Display — “Students, staff, and parent volunteers at Fairfax County’s Marshall High School set up close to 400 American flags outside the school on Wednesday afternoon. The display is a tradition at Marshall, installed twice a year ahead of both Veterans Day and Memorial Day.” [ABC7]
County Adopts Plan to Eliminate Waste — “On Nov. 9, the Board of Supervisors adopted the Fairfax County Government and Schools Zero Waste Plan. This sets county government and Fairfax County Public Schools on a path toward zero waste by 2030 with two goals: diverting 90% of waste away from landfills or incinerators and decreasing the total amount of waste generated by 25%.” [Fairfax County Government]
Meadowlark Replaces Korean Bell Garden Totems — “Four freshly carved wooden totem poles — representing a king, queen, bride and groom — now stand guard over the Korean Bell Garden at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in the Vienna area. NOVA Parks officials held an installation ceremony for the poles Nov. 8…Traditionally placed at the entrances of Korean villages, the totem poles symbolically protect residents from misfortune.” [Sun Gazette]
Roaming Rooster Grand Opening Tomorrow — “Great news RR Fam! Rooster #5, our first VA location, officially hatches in Tysons Corner this weekend. As part of our grand opening, we will be giving out free samples, RR merch, and $20 gift cards randomly throughout the day on Sat & Sun. Come check us out!” [Roaming Rooster/Twitter]
Dogtopia will salute its first year in Falls Church by helping bring comfort to a veteran in need.
After opening its doors on Oct. 14, 2020 despite the challenges of starting a business during the COVID-19 pandemic, the dog daycare has now achieved its goal of raising $6,000 — enough money to help cover the cost of training a service dog for a military veteran.
Dogtopia of Falls Church (108 W Jefferson Street) will officially announce the news tomorrow (Thursday) to coincide with Veterans Day.
“We’re hoping that this announcement will be powerful enough to help us accelerate our intended support of a second dog funded in much less time,” said Jim Hannesschlager, who owns the franchise with his wife Allie.
The fundraising effort was part of the franchise’s work with the nonprofit Dogtopia Foundation, which helps close funding gaps for community partners that focus on three main causes: service dogs for veterans, youth literacy programs, and employment for adults with autism.
To support the first cause, the Dogtopia Foundation is currently partnered with K9s for Warriors, a Florida-based organization that trains and provides service dogs to veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, sexual assault, and other challenges.
K9s for Warriors covers the costs of its training programs, which can run up to $30,000 to $40,000, but as a nonprofit, it relies on donations for at least some of that funding, according to Hannesschlager. The Dogtopia Foundation assists in filling that gap.
Hannesschlager and his wife, who both have family members that have served in the military, started working to raise money for a service dog even before their Dogtopia franchise opened, as he told Tysons Reporter in August 2020.
They found an eager supporter in Idylwood-based Settle Down Easy Brewing, which offered to contribute a portion of its sales from the September leading up to Dogtopia of Falls Church’s debut.
For Settle Down Easy owner Frank Kuhns, helping veterans is a personal mission. His father served during the Vietnam War, and his brother Bryan worked as a bartender at the Veterans of Foreign Wars outpost in Brockway, Pennsylvania.
The brewery’s name is a tribute to Bryan, who died in 2015, just two days shy of his 36th birthday. It comes from a lyric in the Grateful Dead song “Ramble on Rose,” which Bryan played at the bar at the end of every night.
“When Jim approached me asking for support to help raise funds for a service dog, we were honored and so proud of our customers who purchased beer with $1 going to Dogtopia’s Fundraiser,” Kuhns said by email.
Settle Down Easy, which announced expansion plans over the weekend, donated a total of $1,000 at the grand opening of the Falls Church Dogtopia, which matched those funds.
Dogtopia contributed another $1,000 to match the money raised by its customers over the past year, and the Hannesschlagers decided to personally give the remaining $2,000.
The money will go to the Dogtopia Foundation, which will then pass it onto K9s for Warriors.
While the dog and the veteran with whom it will be placed haven’t been identified yet, Hannesschalger says he is excited to receive updates over the next few months. He hopes raising awareness of Dogtopia’s effort will boost its next fundraising campaign for a second service dog.
“[Dogs] can — and many times do — perform an incredible service to people, whether it’s just companionship in the house or it’s all the way up on the other end of the scale being a service dog,” Hannesschalger said. “So, the fact that we can marry that with those who have served and protected our country is extremely important to my wife and I.”
Photo via Jeremy Bezanger/Unsplash
County Proposes Expanding Tax Relief Program — “Today, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a public hearing on Dec. 7 to consider expanding the real estate tax relief program for seniors and people with disabilities…The expanded program would allow people with higher incomes and net worth to qualify, add a new 75% tax relief bracket and offer an option to defer tax payments.” [Fairfax County Government]
Man Sentenced in Falls Church Woman’s Drug-Related Death — “A former medical student from Ontario, Canada, was sentenced on Tuesday to one year in prison for distributing MDA — a psychedelic drug similar to MDMA, or “molly” — that resulted in the fatal overdose of a 21-year-old Falls Church woman in 2019, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.” [Patch]
MCA Takes Position on Tree Presevation Proposal — “McLean Citizens Association (MCA) board members on Nov. 3 commended the Fairfax County Tree Commission for crafting proposals to preserve the county’s tree canopy, but did not agree with all of the group’s recommendations…MCA’s resolution expressed concerns about the proposals regarding property setbacks and taller buildings.” [Sun Gazette]
Lewinsville Park Eyed for Pickleball Facilities — The Fairfax County Park Authority will present options to improve the park’s six existing tennis courts and introduce pickleball with a virtual public meeting at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1. The potential project aims to address growing demand for pickleball facilities in the greater McLean area. [FCPA]
Local Veterans’ Job Fair Is Big Draw — “One week before Veterans Day, representatives of 66 companies interviewed job-seekers at the first annual Veteran and Military Career Fair on Nov. 4, 2021…Geared toward assisting veterans, active-duty service members transitioning out of the military, and military spouses, the hybrid event was attended by 250 job-seekers at the museum, and 259 virtually attendees located around the world.” [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority]
After a year off, the two-decade-old Ride of the Patriots in Fairfax is back and ready to rumble.
With the 2020 iteration canceled due to the pandemic, the Memorial Day weekend event and ride is returning to the D.C. area, but it will be scaled down a bit compared to previous years.
It will take place Friday (May 28) through Sunday (May 30) starting at Patriot Harley-Davidson on Fairfax Boulevard in Fairfax.
There will be vendors, food trucks, an appearance from the “Saluting Marine,” and a gathering of bikers.
There will also be two rides, each limited to 225 riders. On Saturday, the ride will begin at 11 a.m., and on Sunday, it will depart from Patriot Harley-Davidson at 11 a.m. to join up with AMVet’s Rolling to Remember in D.C. Registration to ride cost $25.
First held in 1999, the ride’s purpose is to remember and commemorate military veterans, particularly those who fought in the Vietnam War and those who remain missing in action. In recent years, there’s been a focus on veteran suicide.
An average of 17 veterans die by suicide per day, according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
In previous years, upwards of 12,000 bikers would join in on the festivities from across Northern Virginia and even the country. But this year, there will be significantly fewer participants.
Kevin Hardy, the event’s organizer since 2017 and marketing director at Patriot Harley-Davidson, thinks there will be about 300 to 400 bikes this year.
Hardy says the constantly changing COVID-19 health regulations over the last few months made it tough to plan for more than that. He’s excited, though, that the end of most capacity limits starting May 28 will allow Ride of the Patriots to happen again this year.
“You don’t want to not have it for two years. I’m a big believer in things being front of mind,” Hardy said. “If you don’t [hold the event], it kinda fades away with time.”
Rolling Thunder, the similar, long-running Memorial Day weekend event, officially ended in 2019, leaving smaller events like Ride of the Patriots to fill the void.
Hardy believes bringing awareness to veteran issues remains of the utmost importance. He also has a personal connection to the topic, with his father being a retired military colonel who served in the U.S. Army for 27 years.
“I think there’s a lot of change going in America today and a lot of what [these veterans] did enabled people to speak their mind and protest certain things,” Hardy said. “A lot of what America is and those rights were fought for by veterans.”
After starting in Fairfax, the Ride of the Patriot will proceed down Route 50 towards the District.
The Fairfax County Police Department confirmed to Reston Now, Tysons Reporter’s affiliate site, that they will temporarily close Route 50 between Patriot Drive and I-495 “to allow safe passage” for the riders starting around 11 a.m. on Saturday and at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
The hope is that next year’s event will be back to 2019 attendance levels with thousands of bikers making their way down Route 50 to pay their respects to those who have served.
“We’ll be ready to go in 2022 for thousands and thousands of bikes heading from here to D.C. in honor of veterans,” Hardy said.
Photo courtesy Kevin Hardy
Several Tysons companies received kudos recently for hiring and retaining former service members.
The recently announced “Best for Vets: Employers” rankings from the Military Times included six Tysons-area businesses. The ranking aims to spotlight businesses around the country that are expanding their efforts to recruit and keep veterans.
The Military Times determined the rankings with ScoutComms by using a survey to rank 144 employers. Here’s how the Tysons-area businesses did:
- #11 Hilton
- #14 Capital One
- #26 Booz Allen Hamilton
- #61 PenFed Credit Union
- #94 General Dynamics Information Technology
- #113 DynCorp International
With veterans making up 3.6% of its roughly 44,000 employees, Capital One got top scores for retention support programs, help employees get civilian credentials and employment support for guard and reserve employees.
Hilton received high marks for its retention support programs, civilian credential attainment and practices for recruiting and employment. Veterans make up 3% of the company’s approximately 53,500 employees.
DynCorp International had the highest percentage of veterans among its workforce — 70% of roughly 8,700 workers — for the Tysons-area companies on the list.
The Military Times has been reporting on the pandemic’s impact on the number of jobless veterans, writing in July that more than 770,000 veterans across the country were struggling to find work in June.
Booz Allen Hamilton and the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department were among 11 businesses that received kudos during the virtual Virginia Veterans and Military Affairs Conference last week, Virginia Business reported.
The conference was hosted by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS) and the Virginia Veterans Services Foundation.
For former service members seeking employment help, VDVS helps veterans and their families fidn resources for employment, housing, education and more, along with assistance filing claims for federal veterans benefits. The state agency also operates two long-term care facilities.
Photo by Michelle Goldchain