Tysons, VA

The Town of Vienna recently lauded two police officers after they saved a man’s life by administering CPR when he stopped breathing.

According to the Vienna Police Department, MPO Kenny Smith and Officer Dale “Chip” McElhattan encountered a male driver who had been in a vehicle accident and were talking to him when he went into cardiac arrest, collapsing on the pavement and ceasing to breathe.

The department says in a news release that the officers “immediately jumped into action, rendering CPR and re-establishing a pulse and breathing.”

“Shortly after, the driver stopped breathing again,” the VPD said. “[The] officers worked tirelessly administering CPR until EMS arrived on the scene and took over the life-saving care.”

The driver was subsequently transported to a hospital in the area, where he was stabilized.

The Town of Vienna recognized the officers’ efforts on Feb. 17, when Vienna Police Chief Jim Morris and Town Manager Mercury Payton presented them with “life-saving” awards. Members of Vienna’s human resources department, police colleagues, friends, and family also attended the ceremony.

The police department says McElhattan and Smith have also been nominated for the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce Valor award, which “recognizes public safety employees’ actions beyond the call of duty.”

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Monday Morning Notes

Virginia to Get Newly Authorized Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine — Virginia will receive a first shipment of 69,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine this week. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the one-dose vaccine on Saturday (Feb. 27). [Virginia Department of Health]

State Eases Some COVID-19 Restrictions — With new COVID-19 cases trending downward, Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Feb. 24 that, starting today, there will no longer be a 10 p.m. curfew on bar and restaurant alcohol sales. The size limit on outdoor social gatherings has also been raised to 25 people, and outdoor entertainment and amusement parks can operate at a capacity of 30% or 1,000 people. [WTOP]

Galleria Florist Relocates in Falls Church — “Galleria Florist is moving to 248 W. Broad Street in Falls Church on March 1. Galleria will continue to provide online and delivery service but will not open in the new space for walk-in business until April 1.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Vienna Summer Camp Registration Opens — “The Town of Vienna’s Parks and Recreation will open summer camp registration on March 1 to Town of Vienna residents and a week later to non-Town residents. Camps will follow COVID-19 guidelines set in the governor’s Forward Virginia plan.” [Patch]

Reminder: Metro Lost and Found Policy Changes Today — “Beginning March 1, Metro’s lost and found department will work to reunite customers with lost wallets and electronics (such as phones, tablets, and laptops) only. All other items lost in the system will be disposed of, donated to charity, destroyed, or auctioned.” [WMATA]

Staff Photo by Jay Westcott

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The Women’s Center is taking its annual leadership conference online for the second year in a row.

The Vienna-based nonprofit (133 Park St. NE), which provides mental health services and education, announced yesterday (Thursday) that its 35th annual Leadership Conference will be held virtually from 1-5 p.m. on Apr. 9.

In the past, the conference took place at the Hilton McLean hotel in Tysons, drawing over 700 attendees, but last year’s event had to be rescheduled and reorganized for an online setting after the COVID-19 pandemic put large, in-person gatherings on hold, according to a press release.

The 2021 conference has been titled “Learn, Pivot, Grow” and will focus on the mental health challenges that many people are experiencing in their professional and personal lives during the pandemic.

“This isn’t just an economic crisis. It’s a mental health crisis, too,” The Women’s Center CEO and Executive Director Rachna Singal Krishnan said. “That’s why we felt the theme ‘Learn, Pivot, Grow’ was so timely. It gives us an opportunity to explore the issues of the times and forge our best path forward.”

Krishnan notes that the pandemic has been particularly disruptive for women, who tend to work in the industries hit hardest by the public health crisis and have been more likely to take time off work or leave their jobs altogether to shoulder childcare responsibilities.

Founded in 1974, The Women’s Center aims to provide accessible and affordable mental health care through offices in Vienna and D.C. On top of offering counseling services that are funded in part by Fairfax County, the nonprofit runs a training program for mental health professionals.

In addition to speakers and panels, the leadership conference will feature an auction and luxury vendors that will donate a portion of their proceeds to the center.

An initial lineup of speakers can be found on the conference website. Tickets will be available for sale starting on Mar. 9.

Photo via Google Maps

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Ramen aficionados in the Town of Vienna can breathe a sigh of relief.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Shin Se Kai Ramen regional operations manager Kevin Choe tells Tysons Reporter that the restaurant has not permanently closed. Instead, the owners are planning to revamp the menu in the hopes of reopening this summer.

Located at 234 Maple Avenue E., Shin Se Kai made its debut in February 2019. It specializes in noodle soups with a traditional, chicken-based broth, but it also serves sushi, rice bowls, and a variety of small dishes, including a fusion taco and steamed buns.

Choe says Shin Se Kai was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced restaurants around the country to shut their doors last spring. The Vienna venue has remained closed, as the owners decided to focus their attention on other restaurants that they operate in the D.C. area.

Shin Se Kai is a separate brand from the team behind Sushi Jin Next Door, which has locations in Alexandria, Woodbridge, and Silver Spring, Md.

Still, Choe assures customers that the closure is temporary.

“We’re planning on reopening,” he said.

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The Shepherd’s Center that serves Oakton, Vienna, Reston, and Herndon is no more.

The local nonprofit organization, which provides services to older adults, has merged with an affiliate in Great Falls to form the Shepherd’s Center of Northern Virginia (SCNOVA), the new organization’s interim executive director, Jayne Young, announced on Feb. 15.

Young says the Oakton/Vienna/Reston/Herndon Shepherd’s Center and Shepherd’s Center of Great Falls started exploring options to improve their reach and efficiency several months ago, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced nonprofits to reevaluate how they deliver services.

“Certainly, the pandemic has challenged us to find new ways of tackling most anything you can think of,” Young said in a letter. “For our Shepherd’s Center, that included taking a look at the way we meet our mission so we ensure that we continue delivering impactful services as efficiently as possible.”

The merger will give clients from the smaller Great Falls center access to more services, while combining the resources and volunteer networks of the two organizations, which are both affiliates of the Shepherd’s Centers of America.

Young says all Great Falls volunteers and clients will be transferred to SCNOVA, which will operate out of the existing Oakton/Vienna/Reston/Herndon facility at 541 Marshall Road in Vienna. Free transportation services will also still be provided to seniors in Great Falls.

The full transition is expected to be completed on Sunday (Feb. 28).

Founded in 1997, the Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna expanded to include the Reston and Herndon areas in 2019.

The nonprofit assists adults 55 and older with free transportation to medical and therapy appointments, food pick-up and delivery, minor home repairs, and health counseling and referrals. It also offers educational classes, luncheons, caregiver support groups, and other community programs.

“We are excited to begin 2021 with such good news!” Young said in her letter. “Working together, we hope to provide even better and more impactful services to seniors in Northern Virginia.”

Image via Google Maps

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Updated at 3:55 p.m. on 2/19/2021 — The virtual public information meeting on the proposed Vienna Metro bicycle and pedestrian improvements has been postponed.

VDOT Northern Virginia spokesperson Kathleen Leonard says the meeting is being rescheduled for late spring, but the project team has not determined an exact date yet, since elements of the project are still being refined.

Earlier: The Virginia Department of Transportation will hold a virtual community meeting next Wednesday (Feb. 24) to discuss a proposal to improve the safety and accessibility of the Vienna Metro station for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The project site is located to the area north of I-66 between Blake Lane and the turn-off into the Metro station’s surface parking lot. It will focus on Sutton Road between Blake Lane and Country Creek Road, as well as a roughly half-mile stretch of Country Creek Road as it turns into Virginia Center Boulevard.

According to VDOT’s project page, the improvements currently being considered include:

  • Shared-use paths along Blake Lane and Sutton Road from the I-66 bridge to Country Creek Road
  • A two-way cycle track with adjacent sidewalk along Country Creek Road/Virginia Center Boulevard from Sutton Road to the Metro North Parking Lot entrance
  • A road diet along Country Creek Road/Virginia Center Boulevard from Sutton Road to the Metro North Parking Lot entrance
  • A realignment of the I-66 westbound ramp to Country Creek Road
  • Traffic signal modifications at the intersections of Sutton Road and Blake Lane, Country Creek Road and the ramp from westbound I-66, and Country Creek Road and Vaden Drive
  • The installation of new pavement markings and signs

The upcoming meeting marks the start of a public comment period that will conclude on Mar. 8, though A public hearing on the project design is not expected to take place until this summer. Under VDOT’s current schedule, the right-of-way acqusition process would start in the spring of 2022, with construction not getting underway until fall 2024.

The estimated total cost of the project is $6.5 million, though VDOT says that could change as the design is further developed.

According to Chris Wells, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation’s Active Transportation Program manager, the proposed Vienna Metro improvements stem from VDOT’s plans to construct a trail along I-66 as part of its Transform 66 Outside the Beltway project, which is adding express lanes on the highway between Gainesville and I-495 in Dunn Loring.

While most of the trail will be built as I-66 is widened, this particular segment has to separate from the interstate “for engineering reasons and for access-to-the-community reasons,” Wells says.

Next week’s virtual information meeting will start at 7 p.m. A link to register for the meeting and a brief survey for community members to share their thoughts on the project can be found on the VDOT website.

If inclement weather prompts a cancellation, the meeting will be rescheduled to Mar. 8.

Image via VDOT

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An Arlington resident who had been missing for several days was found dead yesterday (Wednesday) in Vienna near Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Fairfax County police confirmed to Tysons Reporter this morning.

Oscar Flores, 27, had been missing since Feb. 13. The Arlington County Police Department put out a call for public assistance in a search on Tuesday (Feb. 16), reporting that he had last been seen around 8 p.m. on Saturday in the area of the Dulles Toll Road and Wolf Trap.

“Police and family are concerned for his health and welfare,” the ACPD said.

Arlington County police reported yesterday that Flores had been found deceased in Fairfax County.

The Fairfax County Police Department told Tysons Reporter in a statement that, around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Arlington police had requested one of its helicopters to assist in searching for Flores in the area surrounding the Dulles Toll Road.

The searchers located Flores “in an area off the roadway near Trap Road,” and he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the FCPD.

FCPD Major Crimes Bureau detectives then responded to assume the death investigation.

“Preliminarily, they do not suspect foul play,” the FCPD said.

An autopsy to determine the cause of death is currently being conducted by Fairfax County’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, but the FCPD says that any information pertaining to the missing person’s investigation should be directed to Arlington County.

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All Town of Vienna government offices and facilities will be closed tomorrow (Thursday) as the D.C. region braces for a winter storm that could deliver up to six inches of snow and a quarter inch of ice.

The town-wide closure extends to the Vienna Community Center, and all parks and recreation classes and programs have been canceled, along with Thursday trash pick-up services.

A Board of Architectural Review meeting that was scheduled to take place at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow has been postponed.

“This decision was necessary to ensure the safety of Town employees and because it is anticipated that all staff hands will be needed for snow removal,” the Town said in a statement.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Fairfax County and the rest of the D.C. area starting at 3 a.m. tomorrow and lasting until 6 a.m. Friday.

Residents are being advised not to travel, and Dominion Energy says it is preparing for potential multiple-day power outages throughout the state, including in Northern Virginia.

Metro will operate buses on a moderate snow service plan, while maintaining regular weekday rail operations, though de-icer trains and heaters will be utilized.

Fairfax Connector will offer full service tomorrow, but some routes will be detoured and could be further modified or suspended based on road conditions. A full list of missed stops can be found on the transit service’s website.

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There are a number of things that give Caffe Amouri owner Michael Amouri a warm feeling: drinking a cup of coffee, unsurprisingly, getting to a toll booth and learning someone paid it forward, and stopping to chat with someone in the street.

But those feel-good community moments have been hard to come by during the pandemic.

In the hopes of reviving that neighborly goodwill among his customers, Amouri has introduced a pay-it-forward “Cup on the Wall” program to his Vienna coffee shop. He was inspired by the Vienna Foodies and the Italian practice of caffè sospeso — literally “pending coffee” — when a cup of coffee is paid for in advance as an anonymous act of charity.

Customers ordering in-person or online can choose to buy any drink on the menu for someone else. Staff put a sticker on the window for someone to “cash in” when they order.

“If you’re feeling a little down, come and let a ‘friend’ buy you a drink,” he said.

It can be for anyone, particularly people who cannot afford a cup of coffee, but also for someone having a bad day or celebrating their birthday, Amouri says. The option will be available as long as the community engages with it.

Though it has mostly stayed open, Caffe Amouri has not been offering indoor service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Competitively, we’ve probably lost some ground, but I just don’t feel I can do it,” Amouri said.

Customers can order in-person from one window, or pick up an online purchase from another window. The coffeehouse’s interior is configured to allow for six feet of distance between staff members, and staff and delivery workers are screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms.

Amouri plans to reopen after his staff is vaccinated.

“I have amazing staff and I can’t believe they’ve weathered it so well,” he said.

Amouri says he founded his shop nearly 11 years ago on the principles of quality, community, and sustainability. During the pandemic, he said the cafe’s role as a liaison among the government, the Vienna Business Association board — which Amouri sits on — and residents has grown in importance.

He commended Vienna residents for supporting local businesses and making the small town “feel even more small-townish.”

“There are times when I go, ‘I didn’t want to have a coffeehouse and hand coffee out a window’,” he said. “But as long as we can keep our doors open until we can fully open, I’m going to count that as a success.”

Photo courtesy Michael Amouri

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Some Fairfax County Students Start In-Person Classes — Students in special education and career and technical education programs return to school buildings today for the first time since winter break. Under Fairfax County Public Schools’ Return to School plan, all grades will be phased into hybrid learning throughout the next month, concluding with third to sixth graders on Mar. 16. [WTOP]

FCPS Under Investigation for Possible Limiting Access for Students with Disabilities — “Emphasizing that the investigation in no way indicates a violation exists, a letter sent to Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand says that the district declined to provide in-person instruction to students with disabilities, while opening schools to in-person child care for general education students.” [WTOP]

Fairfax County Receives Federal Funds for Rental Assistance — “I’m happy to announce that we have secured $34 million from the Dept of Treasury to be used for rental assistance for our residents. As always, you will be able to access the support through our CSP line 703-222-0880.” [@JeffreyCMcKay/Twitter]

Vienna Extends Deadline for Residential Zoning Survey — “The deadline to take the residential standards survey for Code Create Vienna has been extended to Friday, March 5. Please take this brief survey to provide feedback on residential subjects, such as lot coverage, driveways, and porches.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

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