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Summer Camps in Northern Virginia

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

You know what’s even more cut throat than daycare registration in Northern Virginia? Summer camp registration. Watch out parents, those registrations start EARLY and they fill up fast.

McLean Registration —  McLean has already released the 2019 camp catalog. Registration for McLean residents starts February 4, and everyone else can register starting February 11. My son did the McLean Camp for 3 year-olds last year, where they bring in entertainment and have water play on site.

Fairfax County Registration — Begins on February 7. You can search the available camps on the Partakes website. They will upload a full camp guide soon.

Town of Vienna — Summer Camp registration starts in early April for town residents, and usually the week after for everyone else. They have a variety of camps offered, so it’s great if you have a random week to fill in, or maybe just want a few hours in the morning before the pool opens.

Personally, my son did the “Learn to Ride a Bike Camp” and it was great for him. He went from training wheels to riding on his own in 3-4 days. They also did an art and lego class which was good, especially for a one day drop off if your kids are close in age. You’ll be able to find the camp options here in a few weeks.

Below is a list of private schools who offer camp options that run all summer if you want more continuity:

Northern Virginia complied a list of the best summer camps of 2017 here!

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There’s been no shortage of places to donate blood, but Caboose Commons in Mosaic is offering a unique spin on the usual blood drive.

From Jan. 20-26, if you donate blood at one of the Inova Donor Centers, you can receive a voucher for a free beverage at Caboose Commons. This beverage can be in the form of coffee, tea or beer.

Donors must complete a screening process at one of the centers to be eligible for the giveaway.

This weekend also marks the debut of Peter Pan, a play presented by the Vienna Theatre Company. The production will run through Feb. 3, with 8 p.m. showings this weekend tonight and tomorrow. Tickets are $14.

Tomorrow (Jan. 19)

  • Mosaic District Polar Plunge Festival (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) — A plunge into a frigid pool set up in Merrifield will help raise money for the Special Olympics. For $100, participants will take a dive into the cold water. Divers are requested to get decked out in their wildest costumes to claim the title of “best-dressed plunger.”
  • Foster-Adoption Event at Pet Valu Rescue (12-3 p.m.) — For anyone in the market for a German Shepherd, the Shenandoah Shepherd Rescue will be hosting an adoption event at 3069 Nutley St. The Rescue organization takes in dogs from high-kill shelters in Texas and other states and finds them homes elsewhere. Volunteers will also be collecting shoes for the fundraiser, so bringing slightly worn shores to donate is encouraged.
  • Antonelli San Marco Tasting (1-4 p.m.) — The McLean Wine Outlet at 6727 Curran St will briefly be transformed Central Italy tomorrow for a wine tasting. The drink of choice is Sagrantino from the village of Montefalco, which is said to have rich flavors of cherry and blackberry. The second event will be on Monday, from 1-2 p.m.

Sunday (Jan. 20)

  • Parkinson’s Moving Day Event (12-1 p.m.) — Cycle Chi in Vienna (221 Mill St) is hosting two fundraisers for The Parkinson’s Foundation. A minimum donation of $25 per bicycle, per hour is requested with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the charity. The event will also include free chair massages, raffles, cocktails and more.
  • Liner Notes (2 p.m.) — The recently renovated Alden Theatre at 1234 Ingleside Ave in McLean will host a musical mix of jazz and hip hop in a celebration of the civil rights movement. Tickets are $15 for McLean residents, $25 for adults and children, and $20 for seniors.

Photo via Facebook

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If you’ve been one of the local policy wonks closely following the new legislation put forward by your state representatives, next Saturday is your chance to have your voice heard.

A town hall meeting is scheduled for Jan. 26 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. to discuss the latest news out of Richmond. State Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34th District) and Del. Mark Keam (D-35th District) are scheduled to host the meeting and share their insight into what to expect from this year’s General Assembly session.

The candidates will also be available to address questions and concerns from residents.

Keam recently made waves for taking an active role in the fight against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Virginia’s Legislative Information System says Petersen’s bill requiring governing boards of public institutions of higher learning to permit public comment on tuition increases was assigned to the higher education subcommittee earlier this week. Another major bill, imposing a new 5-cent per bag tax to support the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan, died earlier this week.

If you want to make things awkward at the meeting, bring up that Petersen opposed a two-term governorship that Keam had championed in the House of Delegates.

Photo via Facebook

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Someone found a box full of money in Vienna’s Northside Park this week, according to police.

The find was reported to the Vienna Police Department around 5 p.m. Tuesday. There’s no word on how much money was found or what it was doing in the park, which sits along the W&OD Trail.

Also in the latest Vienna police highlights, a pedestrian was reportedly struck by a snow plow Sunday morning.

359 Block Maple Avenue, East 19-000516 January 13 6:50 a.m. Vehicle-1 (a pickup truck with a snow plow) was plowing the parking lot. Pedestrian-1 was walking across the parking lot and was struck by Vehicle-1 as he was backing up. Pedestrian-1 suffered minor injuries

Last Friday, a Vienna woman reported being harassed by a man she met online.

A resident began corresponding with a man over social media. After the two met in person, the man expressed interest in the resident and began continuously harassing her when she declined his advances. On January 11 the woman found an envelope in her mailbox that contained innocent photos of her taken from social media along with sexually explicit photos of an unknown person.

Map via Google Maps

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The three-story office building at 380 Maple Street in Vienna, a squat brick structure from the 1970s, could soon be replaced with a new mixed-use development.

At tonight’s Board of Architectural Review meeting, the Board will review a proposal to replace the building with 7,500 square feet of retail and 40 residential condominium units. The new development will include a dog park for residents of the building.

The development is proposed to have one floor of below-ground parking and two floors of structured above-ground parking.

The developer is also proposing to plant a series of trees along the surrounding streets as part of the development’s streetscape improvements.

The building is proposed as part of the Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) zoning, which last year was at the center of a controversy surrounding a new development a block away.

A previous work session on the new development was held on Dec. 14.

Photo via Google Maps

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Tysons is far from the cultural wasteland it once was, but there are still challenges ahead as the area develops a creative arts scene.

If Tysons truly hopes to become “America’s Next Great City,” it must become a cultural hub as well as a technological and financial one.

Urban planners across the country use arts districts to bring reinvestment to neighborhoods, and cultural amenities can be a powerful draw to the creative class. However, there are still many obstacles in the way of local artists.

Arts in the area are served by public programs like the $500,000-a-year ARTSFAIRFAX grants, but ARTSFAIRFAX is a county-wide program and its budget is relatively modest for such a large jurisdiction.

High property values can be a major obstacle to those who would rent studio or gallery space. The Katibeh Art Center, which featured works by the Iranian artist Ebrahim Emad, recently closed.

Emad told Tysons Reporter that he’d had to close the gallery in part because of difficulty physically advertising its presence, as he was unable to hang promotional signs — and because his location in a mid-rise office building offered very little pedestrian traffic.

While the Katibeh Art Center has closed, here are some other art galleries open around the area:

  • McLean Project for the Arts (1446 Chain Bridge Rd, McLean) — The McLean Project for the Arts hosts exhibitions, classes for all ages, and special events. The upcoming exhibition, Intention/Invention, will run from January 10 until March 2, with an opening reception on January 12 and an artist talk on January 26, featuring abstract works by two contemporary artists. The Project’s classes cover a wide range of media, and include many classes meant for adults with some artistic background as well as both classes and summer camps for children.
  • MK Gallery (1952 Gallows Rd, Tysons) — This gallery, a Tysons establishment for over 15 years, primarily features artists of Korean nationality or heritage. The current exhibition, on show until January 11, is a double, featuring two exciting artists. The first, B. G. Muhn, a professor of art at Georgetown, organized the first-ever exhibition of North Korean art in the United States. The other, Suh Yongsun, is based in Seoul and uses strong color to depict themes of modern social and political life.
  • Dara Global Arts (2169 Chain Bridge Rd, Vienna) — Dara is a small gallery focused on painters from Syria and other Levantine countries. Featuring “a highly curated collection of original art that reflects the empowerment of artists and their freedom of expression,” it particularly features the work of women. Though they’ve been online-only for a long time, with plans to open a pop-up location along Route 7 sometime this month.
  • LIK Fine Art (Tysons Galleria, 2001 International Drive) — Peter Lik’s latest of seventeen luxury galleries offers large-format landscape photography.
  • Wentworth Gallery (Tysons Galleria,‎ 1807 International Drive) — This gallery brings the work of internationally-recognized artists to Tysons. A wide variety of painters are represented, from neo-impressionists to pop artists. Wentworth rotates their gallery frequently, bringing a new artist every month for a show and a reception so that patrons have a chance to meet the artist. Every month brings something “new and different.”
  • The Hermitage Gallery (6831 Tennyson Drive, McLean) — Offering both fine art framing and an exhibition gallery, the Hermitage represents a variety of local and international artists.
  • YMM Art Space (8216 Old Courthouse Rd C, Vienna) — YMM is not a gallery, but rather a space of creation and education “dedicated to stimulating the imagination and enhancing the creativity of each and every student.” They “offer classes like fashion design, comics design and origami to students as young as 8, so kids have the opportunity to develop their interests in pretty specific areas,” and there are also classes for younger children and for adults.
  • Tysons Art and Learning (8343 Greensboro Dr, Tysons) — This space offers a wide range of art courses for a variety of ages. Their courses extend to digital arts and to writing, and registration and schedules are flexible.

D. Taylor Reich is a freelance journalist who writes about urbanism and development. They are a Fulbright scholar, a 2017 graduate of Brown University and a proud alum of Arlington Public Schools.

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Update 4:25 p.m. — Lynne Coan, communications and marketing manager for the Town of Vienna, said the Vienna Town Council removed pedestrian bridges and digital information board from the strategic plan and changed “get rid of planters” to “enhance streetscapes to encourage walkability”

As the Vienna Town Council begins to craft a new strategic plan, one of the largest sections of the document focuses on how to revitalize the town’s economy.

A full draft of the plan can be found in the agenda for the Jan. 15 Town Council work session. The strategic plan’s stated aim is for Vienna to serve as a “location of choice for unique, independent businesses that add to the town’s charm, attract visitors as well as residents and collectively serve to establish the town as a destination.”

So far, that’s been a challenge for Vienna. While there are new businesses, many of the largest additions are retail chains, and the western end of Maple Avenue suffers from rampant vacancies and “blight” like the burned husk of Marco Polo.

The strategic plan points to plans to update the town’s zoning code as one of the largest projects in the next year related to new economic development. The strategic plan says the aim is to start work on addressing the zoning code in spring 2019. The process is anticipated to take 18 months.

Part of the plan to make Vienna a destination also involves making it more walkable. The plan includes a series of recommendations on how to make Vienna more pedestrian friendly:

  • Make wider sidewalks a part of new Maple Avenue Commercial developments
  • Get rid of planters to allow more walking area
  • Enhance traffic-light timing to improve crossing Maple Avenue
  • Add more pedestrian-controlled signals on Maple Avenue
  • Start a local bus shuttle service to walkable destinations in Vienna

To help diversify the economy and bring in non-chain businesses, the plan recommends hiring an economic development consultant or deputy town manager to focus specifically on economic development. One of the recommendations would also loosen some of the sign ordinance restrictions, allowing businesses to get waivers allowing signs and balloons for events on Church Street, as well as additional way-finding signage.

In an effort to reduce the rampant vacancies, the plan recommends providing a link on the website to current vacant properties and opening up those spaces for pop-up arts or other short-term uses.

The plan also says that the current Town Green could be utilized more effectively as a social hub for Vienna, with recommendations for the square including bringing events with food trucks into the area.

Additional proposals in the strategic plan include:

  • Implement campaigns such as restaurant week
  • Celebrate small business week for a whole week, starting on the date of the Church Street Stroll; ask businesses to come up with deals to offer that whole week
  • Create a mobile app with an interactive business map
  • Create an app and printout for a Vienna walking tour focusing on local history and points of interest
  • Publicize where to park off-hours
  • Host more events that draw people to the commercial area
  • Create a Vienna dining and restaurant directory
  • Create a Chocolate Escape event; ask all businesses to feature a low-cost chocolate items as part of event
  • Host a Casino Night; have live music frequently
  • Encourage more dining options
  • Encourage local groups to adopt a spot and keep it clean
  • Create training centers
  • Feature a business of the week
  • Additional free events: dances, dance lessons, senior events.

Lynne Coan, communications and marketing manager for the Town of Vienna, said the strategic plan is still a work in progress with the Town Council scheduled to consider a draft of the plan in the spring.

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A drunk man allegedly touched a 15-year-old girl inappropriately and then “became belligerent” with police at the Westwood Country Club in Vienna.

The incident happened around 10:20 p.m. on Saturday, January 5.

“A citizen reported that his 15-year-old daughter was attending a party when she was touched inappropriately by a man,” Vienna police said in a crime report. “Officers located that man, and upon their interaction with him detected signs of impairment. The man would not follow the officers’ directions and became belligerent with them when he was placed under arrest.”

The man, a 21-year-old Stafford resident, was jailed and charged with Simple Assault and Drunk in Public.

Map via Google Maps

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

Happy Snow Day!

You know what stir-crazy parents and kids need on a day where we got almost a foot of snow? To get out! If you’re lucky enough to live on a sloped lot or on a street with a good angle, happy sledding.

For those of you looking to find a good place to go sledding, here’s my list of the best places to go sledding in Vienna and McLean:

Vienna

  • There’s a small hill at Meadow Lane Park on the baseball field. It’s small enough for little kids who might be scared, but enough to give them some speed.
  • Westbriar Elementary School (behind the school).
  • Cunningham Park Elementary — has a big hill that’s great for picking up speed.
  • Wolftrap (the theatre) — there’s 2 places at Wolfrap, the “Bowl” and the “Big Hill.”
  • Marshall Road Elementary — in the back there’s a small hill.

McLean

  • Westgate Park — there’s a hill behind the 2nd baseball field.
  • Lemon Road Elementary — has a large hill.
  • Franklin Sherman Elementary School

McLean can be hilly in areas, so some of the best sledding is likely right in your neighborhood. Don’t forget to watch out for cars if you’re on a road. Stay safe!

If you’re looking for some other ideas on playing in the snow, one mom hack that I found is to mix cold water with food coloring and put it in a squeeze bottle. I call it “snow paint.” My kids love it!

Happy Sledding!

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For Vienna residents impacted by the government shutdown, not only is free pet food available at a nearby pet store, but the town government is offering water bill payment extensions and limited part-time employment opportunities.

Payment deadlines for Town of Vienna water bills due at the end of the month will be extended for furloughed federal employees until after the federal government reopens. According to the press release:

“Any late fees will be waived. To apply for payment extension, furloughed Town of Vienna water customers must show proof of federal employment (via a badge or pay stub) at the finance counter at Town Hall from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.”

For those seeking part-time employment during the shutdown, in addition to Fairfax County Public Schools offering short-term substitute teacher positions, the town will be offering work in the parks and public works departments over the next four weeks.

According to the press release:

“Using funds available due to job attrition, the Town is offering part-time employment in areas where the Town currently has gaps. Tasks include assisting at the community center front desk, parks maintenance work, and filing and scanning. Furloughed employees living in the Town of Vienna will receive hiring preference. Federal employees interested in these part-time opportunities may apply online at viennava.gov/employment or in person at Town Hall or call Human Resources at 703-255- 6362.”

File photo

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