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Morning Notes

Customers peruse the book store Bards Alley during Vienna’s Church Street Holiday Stroll (photo by Amy Woolsey)

(Updated at 9:05 a.m.) Inova Comes to McLean for Blood Drive — The McLean Volunteer Fire Department has teamed up with Inova Blood Donor Services for a blood drive in its lower parking lot at 1455 Laughlin Avenue. Staff will set up the bloodmobile before noon, and the drive will officially run from 1-5:30 p.m. [McLean VFD/Facebook]

FCPS Leads Public School Student Exodus — “For the second straight year, enrollment in Virginia public schools has dropped, with 46,000 fewer students enrolled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data from the Virginia Department of Education, the largest school district in the commonwealth, Fairfax County, saw the largest enrollment dip — more than 10,000 students, or a 5.4% difference between fall 2019 and fall 2021.” [WTOP]

Merrifield Wendy’s to Give Away Free Food — “The first 100 customers at the newly remodeled Wendy’s restaurant in Gate House Plaza in Merrifield on Dec. 4 will get a chance to win free food for a year. Wend American Group…is in the final stages of completing the remodeling of its Wendy’s restaurant at 3040 Gate House Plaza, near the intersection of Gallows Road and Route 50.” [Patch]

FCPS Appoints New Chief Equity Officer — Dr. Nardos King will take over as Fairfax County Public Schools’ interim chief equity officer on Dec. 6, replacing Dr. Lisa Williams until a new superintendent makes a permanent hire. Williams, who has overseen the division’s equity and diversity work since July 2019, is leaving for personal reasons not related to work, FCPS told Tysons Reporter. [FCPS]

Vienna Police Doubles Fundraising Goal for Prostate Cancer Awareness — “The last picture of the no shave November! 30 days ago our officers put down their razors until we reach our $3K goal. Today we can happily report that their efforts generated $6,594 in donations for @ZEROCancer THANK YOU to everyone that donate! Time to shave!” [Vienna Police Department/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics Coming to Elementary Schools — “Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 16, the Fairfax Health District and Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) will offer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, at nine clinics located at schools across Fairfax County. Clinics will be held after school hours, evenings and weekends at nine school sites, initially.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Person Hospitalized by Crash in McLean — Georgetown Pike was shut down between 1:40 and 5:20 a.m. yesterday (Sunday) after two vehicles crashed at the Langley Lane intersection that night. One person was taken to a hospital with injuries considered life-threatening, Fairfax County police reported. [FCPD]

FCPS Shortens Student Quarantines — In an email to parents, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand said, starting today (Monday), the amount of time students have to quarantine after a COVID-19 exposure will be reduced from 14 to 10 days, if they have no symptoms. FCPS will also start offering voluntary screening testing for unvaccinated students. [WUSA9]

Deer Bursts into Vienna Barbershop — “A deer broke through the storefront window of Clip & Style Barber Shop, 116 Branch Road, S.E., on Nov. 6 at 1:03 p.m., then ran around the salon and back out the window, Vienna police said. The deer struck one of the employees in the leg. Rescue personnel responded and assessed the employee.” [Sun Gazette]

Mosaic District to Host Holiday Pop-Up Market — “URBNmarket, an upscale handmade and vintage market, is returning to Mosaic for its Holiday Village Extravaganza December 4-5.  Shop for everyone on your gift list from URBNmarket’s 65+ curated artisans. The Holiday Village will also include Caboose Brewing Co. beer garden, Bach To Rock music, kids activities, the FRESHFARM farmers market and more.” [URBNmarket]

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Pizza figured into a citizen’s unsettling encounter on the W&OD Trail in Vienna last week, as reported to police (via Heather Barnes/Unsplash)

On the eve of Election Day, the political agitation that has animated many a recent school board meeting, both locally and nationally, reportedly spilled out onto the streets of Vienna.

According to the Vienna Police Department’s latest weekly crime round-up, officers responded to the 500 block of Maple Avenue West at 3:39 p.m. last Monday (Nov. 1) after getting a report of a possible assault involving a business owner and political protestors.

Covering the week of Oct. 28 to Nov. 4, the report says witnesses told police that “a Virginia-based parents group” was behind the protest:

Officers responded to the report of a possible assault between political protestors and a business owner. The business owner advised that he got into a verbal altercation and was pushed by one of the protestors. Other witnesses advised that the rally was being held by a Virginia-based parents group and that the business owner pushed his way into their group and began verbally abusing them.

The report doesn’t contain any further details about what the group was protesting.

Last week, police also responded to a resident’s report that a driver “yelled derogatory remarks and made a profane gesture” at her children while they were waiting for their school bus.

The incident occurred around 7 a.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 3) at a bus stop on the corner of East Street and Hine Street SE.

That same day, another citizen reported an unnerving encounter that occurred between 8 and 8:44 p.m. on the Washington & Old Dominion Trail near the 100 block of Maple Avenue:

A citizen reported a suspicious event on the bike trail when a man repeatedly offered him a pizza and produced what appeared to be a gun when the citizen refused. The man then ran westbound on Maple Avenue. The citizen appeared to be emotionally disturbed but refused police assistance. Officers searched the area and found no one matching the description of the man the citizen described.

Photo via Heather Barnes/Unsplash

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Morning Notes

Woman Dies After Seven Corners Crash — Alexandria resident Maria Pascoe died on Oct. 15 from injuries sustained in a two-vehicle crash that occurred in Seven Corners at 9:27 a.m. on Sept. 29. Fairfax County has seen 14 non-pedestrian deaths from traffic incidents so far this year, compared to 10 over the same time period in 2020. [FCPD]

How to Celebrate Diwali Safely — The Fairfax County Health Department encourages people who celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, by gathering virtually, with members of their household, or outdoors. While festivities last for five days, Diwali itself takes place today (Thursday), with participants performing a Lakshmi Puja ritual to bring good health and fortune in the new year. [FCHD]

Spring Hill Apartment Building Sold — “Greystar sold the 404-unit Ascent apartment building in McLean for $150.5 million in a transaction that closed Oct. 1, according to Fairfax County records. An affiliate of Brookfield Properties was the buyer…Brookfield has begun marketing the property by its address, 8421 Broad, with rents that start at $1,900 a month.” [Washington Business Journal]

County to Hold Town Halls on Parking Changes — Fairfax County will hold four virtual town hall meetings starting on Monday (Nov. 8) to discuss its “Parking Reimagined” initiative, the first full review of the county’s rates and regulations for off-street parking in more than 30 years. The review will include an “extensive analysis” of parking supply and demand as well as local, regional, and even national trends. [Fairfax County Government]

Vienna Police Awarded for Saving Life — “About this time last year, George Hunt went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on Maple Ave. following a traffic accident, and these Vienna Police officers immediately provided CPR. With gratitude for their life-saving actions, Mr. Hunt presented certificates of appreciation to officers Kenny Smith and Chip McElhattan at last night’s Vienna Town Council meeting. Because of them, he says he was able to celebrate his 60th birthday.” [Town of Vienna/Facebook]

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Morning Notes

Virginia Leans Red Again — “In blow to Democrats, Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s high-profile election for governor Tuesday, NBC News projects, flipping control of a state that President Joe Biden won handily just a year ago and suggesting trouble for his party in next year’s midterm elections.” [NBC News]

Limited Supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids Expected — Demand for pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations could outstrip supply, as in the early days of the vaccine’s rollout. The Fairfax County Health Department urges patience as it anticipates about 80,000 of the county’s 97,000 children aged 5-11 to seek out the vaccine in the next few months. [The Washington Post]

Vienna Police Participate in No-Shave November — “Typically, Vienna police officers have to follow a dress code that doesn’t allow male officers to have facial hair. This November, that rule will be suspended so officers can raise awareness about prostate cancer for the Grow-and-Give fundraising campaign.” [Patch]

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Coming to Tysons — “We are delighted to team up with the @vmfamuseum to host their Artmobile outside @capitalonehall’s Box Office November 17th & 18th! Join us for a FREE exhibit of A View from Home: Landscapes of Virginia. Link in bio for more!” [Capital One Center/Instagram]

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Morning Notes

Scott’s Run Falls in autumn (photo by ERTRIPP9/Twitter)

Last Day of Early Voting Hits Turnout High for 2021 — “Today was an #earlyvoting record for this election; we had more than 14,400 people cast ballots in person. In total, there have been more than 109,000 in person early votes cast!” [Fairfax County Office of Elections/Twitter]

Vigil Held for Falls Church Shooting Victim — “Loved ones gathered on Saturday to remember Nelson Alexander who was fatally shot during an attempted robbery at an ATM in Falls Church. This huge turnout, a testament to how much Nelson Alexander was loved. ‘He was a great person, he was a kind person, and he was a loving person,’ Patricia Alexander, the victim’s niece, said.” [NBC4]

Tysons Corner Nordstrom Adds Hijab Collection — “Ibrahim, CEO and founder of Henna & Hijabs (H&H), started her company in 2017 and introduced her collection this summer at Nordstrom in Tysons Corner Center and other locations around the U.S. This is one of the first luxury hijab collections to be sold inside a U.S. retailer store.” [Patch]

Vandalism Reported at Vienna Elementary School — A security officer for the school at 128 Center Street South reported to the Town of Vienna Police Department “that he found a burnt trashcan by the playground and three broken windows.” The incident occurred between 8 p.m. on Oct. 24 and 6 a.m. on October 25, according to VPD’s weekly crime report. [Vienna Police]

Photo by ERTRIPP9/Twitter

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Morning Notes

Reduced Metro Service Will Continue to Nov. 15 — Metrorail riders can expect reduced service and extended wait times at least until Nov. 15, WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said yesterday (Thursday). The transit agency is still developing a plan to bring back its 7000-series cars, which make up almost 60% of its fleet and have been sidelined since investigators found safety issues in the wake of the Oct. 12 Blue Line derailment. [The Washington Post]

VDOT Finishes Beltway Bridge Work Early — The Virginia Department of Transportation has canceled lane closures on I-495 South over the Dulles Toll Road in Tysons that had been scheduled for this weekend (Oct. 29-Nov. 1). VDOT says the joint bridge work that prompted the overnight closures was finished early, rendering them unnecessary for the last of the three planned weekends. [VDOT Northern Virginia/Twitter]

FCPS Pushes Back Start Date for Student COVID-19 Testing — Previously expected to roll out in phases starting with student-athletes on Nov. 1, FCPS says it will now begin COVID-19 screening testing for all students on Nov. 15, citing the need to give the school system and its contractors “time to ensure all components, including the portals are up and running and staff are fully trained.” [FCPS]

Vienna PD Reports Successful Drug Take Back Day — “On October 23, 2021, the Town of Vienna Police Department, in conjunction with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (D.E.A.), participated in the 21st National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative. As a result, the Town of Vienna Police Department collected and safely disposed of 205 pounds of expired or no longer needed medications from area citizens.” [Vienna Police]

What to Know About Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccinations — Approximately 97,000 children in the Fairfax Health District could become eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in early November. A CDC advisory committee will determine whether to authorize the vaccine for children 5-11 years old on Tuesday (Nov. 2) after an FDA advisory panel recommended allowing doses at a third of the amount used for older individuals. [Fairfax County Health Department]

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Rendering of new Vienna police station (via Town of Vienna)

The Vienna Town Council approved increasing a contract yesterday (Monday) for construction on the police department’s new station.

The council agreed to allow up to $67,680 more in response to a “pre-construction design phase that took longer than expected and several unknown condition incidents that arose during construction,” according to a board item.

In January 2019, the town council approved a nearly $304,000 contract with construction management firm Downey & Scott with a 5% contingency of just over $15,000.

The firm reported that it had $64,456.24 in additional expenses. It broke down the costs in terms of staff pay, which ranges from $98.73 per hour for a construction inspector to $135 an hour for project executive Bill Downey.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the town council awarded over $3,000 more than what the company documented. A message seeking clarification from the Town of Vienna wasn’t immediately returned. A town official later wrote that the additional amount is a 5% contingency, allowing the town to address “additional unforeseen circumstances that arise in the construction process without having to go back to Council for approval.”

Police Chief Jim Morris said the increases were due to a soil issue, a gas line, and challenges on Center Street that he described them as unforeseen issues.

“All of those took Downey & Scott expertise and time to rectify,” Morris said. “Whether it be meeting with utilities, meeting with town council, meeting with town manager, they were heavily involved in rectifying those situations for us, on the town’s behalf.”

Downey said many of the changes were related to unforeseen soil conditions as well as relocating unmarked utilities.

A letter from the company said that over $30,000 of the increased expenses came from staff costs for Downey and project manager Kevin Fallin after requested changes from Vienna officials and COVID-19 disruptions added eight months to the project’s pre-construction phase.

The firm also reported $34,000 in staffing costs, plus $627 in mileage reimbursement, that were related to the re-alignment of a storm sewer at Center Street, design management, and other costs for a gas line relocation and soil issues.

Morris said the additional expenses could be paid with unused money in a 2018 capital improvement plan.

Prior to the funding approval, the project had $708,000 left in the town’s $1.1 million contingency fund, Fallin told the town council.

“Vertical construction is well underway, so a lot of the unknown conditions that we might typically encouter, we have surpassed that in terms of construction,” Fallin said regarding his confidence that the budget will stay within the contingency. “We feel good about where we are currently.”

Morris noted that contractors are currently calculating cost estimates for a proposed solar canopy and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, which could both be implemented as part of the project or as subsequent tasks.

Construction on the new police station at 215 Center Street South began in early 2021.

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Person holding a pumpkin with a Jack-o’-lantern face (via Julia Raasch/Unsplash)

At least one mystery fiend has been terrorizing vehicles across the Town of Vienna, with the pumpkin as its seasonally appropriate weapon of choice.

The Vienna Police Department first reported the spate of squash-tossing vandalism in its incident round-up for the week of Oct 8-14, which included three separate reports from residents who said someone threw a pumpkin at their parked vehicles.

Those incidents all occurred sometime between 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 12 and 6:45 a.m. on Oct. 13, resulting in shattered windows in two cases and a damaged trunk in the third.

However, what appeared to be a one-night anomaly has turned into a full-fledged crime spree, according to the department’s latest report.

Covering the week of Oct. 15-21, the report lists seven different cases of vehicles being hit and damaged by thrown pumpkins, including one that has now been targeted twice.

As of Friday (Oct. 22), police hadn’t identified a culprit or motive behind the attacks, but VPD has stepped up its presence throughout the town in response.

“It is unknown at this time if they are caused by the same person or if specific vehicles are targeted,” VPD spokesperson Juan Vazquez said. “We continue to increase our patrol presence in all areas of the town to deal with the issue. Residents are also encouraged to contact the police department with any information that may help us.”

The new incidents span midnight on Oct. 14 to 1 a.m. on Oct. 20, according to the police report:

Vandalism 21-006176
1100 Cottage Street, SW
October 14 between 12:00 a.m. and 1:30 a.m.
A resident reported that his parked vehicle was damaged when someone threw a pumpkin at it.

Vandalism 21-006139
1100 Block Cottage Street, SW
Between October 14 at 9:00 p.m. and October 15 at 7:00 a.m.
A resident reported that someone threw a pumpkin at their parked vehicle, smashing the windshield and damaging the hood.

Vandalism 21-006119
1400 Block Cottage Street, SW
Between October 14 at 11:00 p.m. and October 15 at 8:00 a.m.
A resident reported that someone threw a pumpkin at their parked vehicle, shattering the rear window.

Vandalism 21-006118
1200 Block Ross Drive, SW
October 15 between 12:00 a.m. and 12:30 a.m.
A resident reported that someone threw a pumpkin at his parked vehicle, causing damage to the windshield and driver’s side door above the window. This was the second time the vehicle was vandalized in this manner within a few days. (Reference October 15 Highlights — Incident #21-006081).

Vandalism 21-006173
400 Block Echols Street, SE
Between October 15 at 9:00 a.m. and October 15 at 10:00 a.m.
A resident reported that someone threw a pumpkin at his parked vehicle, smashing the windshield.

Vandalism 21-006246
500 Block Valley Drive, SE
Between October 19 at 11:00 p.m. and October 20 at 1:00 a.m.
A resident reported that someone threw a pumpkin at his parked vehicle, shattering the rear window.

Vandalism 21-006245
200 Block Talahi Road, SE
October 20 12:53 a.m.
A resident reported that her parked vehicle was damaged when someone threw a pumpkin at it.

The Ross Drive resident previously reported that someone threw a pumpkin at his parked vehicle, shattering the rear window, between 10 p.m. on Oct. 12 at 10:00 p.m. and 6:45 a.m. on Oct. 13.

This week’s crime round-up also includes a report of someone throwing eggs at a resident’s parked vehicle in the 100 block of Tapawingo Road between Oct. 16 at 9 p.m. and Oct. 17 at 7 a.m.

Photo via Julia Raasch/Unsplash

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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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