Newsletter

Morning Notes

Warmer Winter Expected — “According to the National Weather Service (NWS), we will see above normal temps this winter w/ an equal chance of above, near, or below normal precipitation. We urge you to be prepared for #WinterWeater to keep you and your family safe!” [Ready Fairfax/Twitter]

Pandemic Prompts Change at Fairfax County Meals on Wheels — “Roycraft said that he, along with about 480 volunteers, used to deliver meals to elderly people in Fairfax County about three times a week. When the pandemic struck, this changed…But then, even as pandemic restrictions eased up, the county decided not to return to a volunteer-based delivery system.” [Fairfax Times]

McLean Student Bakes Way onto Food Network — “What started as a pandemic hobby has evolved into a small business for Finley, who estimates she has completed 20 orders to date, including cakes, cupcakes and cookies. Her skill caught the attention of the Food Network, which offered her the chance to compete in its Kids Baking Championship, premiering Dec. 27.” [WTOP]

Why Johnny Depp Sued Amber Heard in Fairfax County — “Despite the subtle language, the tenuous connection to Virginia, and the previous loss in court on a stronger claim, Depp sued Heard in Fairfax County — and has won four motions to dismiss in three years. On October 13, 2021, a Fairfax County judge ruled that because the processors and ink cartridges that delivered the words to the public were located in Virginia, Depp could sue Heard for libel in the state.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Local Church Collects Food Donations With Drive-Thru Nativity — For a second year in a row, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in McLean will hold a drive-thru Nativity event next week that will double as a food drive to support the nonprofit SHARE of McLean. Last year’s event drew over 1,000 cars and brought in enough donations to last the food bank two months. [Patch]

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Morning Notes

Tysons Area Hit With Spree of Gas Station Burglaries — One or more individuals forced entry and took merchandise from three different gas stations in the Tysons area between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m. last Thursday (Nov. 18), according to the Fairfax County Police Department’s latest weekly recap. A fourth station — a Shell at 2084 Chain Bridge Road — experienced a break-in, but nothing was taken. [FCPD]

Vienna Town Council Approves Election Changes — “It was a pill they didn’t want to swallow, but Vienna Town Council members approved a resolution Nov. 15 asking the General Assembly next year to alter the town’s election schedule so all Council members’ seats will be up for two-year terms starting in November 2023.” [Sun Gazette]

Man Arrested in Falls Church Sexual Assault — “City of Falls Church Police said that Alexander McKnight, 31, was arrested in Maryland on Thursday night. McKnight has been charged with rape and malicious wounding, among other charges, police said. He has no fixed address, a news release stated.” [Patch]

Wolf Trap National Park Releases Environmental Assessment on Improvements — “To better meet the needs of current and future visitors, we’ve proposed several changes to the park’s general management plan — the plan that guides park management decisions. You’re invited to submit your feedback from Nov. 18 through Dec. 30.” [National Park Service]

Tysons Library Book Sale Seeks Volunteers — “Volunteers are being sought to assist with the Tysons Library Friends quarterly book and media sale, to be held Dec. 3-5 at Tysons Pimmit Regional Library. Donations of books and media for the sale also are being solicited, with proceeds benefiting the library and related activities.” [Inside NoVA]

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Churchill Road Park in McLean has a newly refurbished bridge, thanks to local Boy Scout Samuel Williams.

Williams, 17, recently completed construction on one of the park’s bridges as a part of his effort to become an Eagle Scout.

The bridge project was no small feat, requiring eight months of planning as authorization to work on the site had to be first approved by the Fairfax County Park Authority, the Boy Scouts of America Council, and others.

“We originally said, ‘okay, this will be a pretty simple project.’ Of course, we hit a bunch of challenges along the way,” Williams said. “There was a lot of times, originally, where we thought we’d have to abandon the project and I’d have to completely restart it.”

Physical work on the aging bridge began on Aug. 28, starting with the installation of new, pressure-treated lumber to give its deck a longer life. Williams enlisted the help of his father and a couple of friends — with pizza and Gatorade as an extra incentive — to begin replacing the boards.

The new bridge was completed on Sept. 19. Williams credits his father, a mechanic, for getting the project to the finish line.

“He loves to work with his hands,” Williams said. “…He also taught me how to use a lot of different tools, drills and stuff. And he was the one that really helped me through this.”

Renovating the Churchill Road bridge wasn’t what Williams initially had in mind for his Eagle Scout project.

He originally planned to paint a map of the United States at a local elementary school playground, but found there wasn’t much of a desire or need after talking with school principals and officials.

The idea of tackling the bridge came in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Virginia was under a stay-at-home order. Looking for an acceptable way to get out of the house, Williams began to bicycle more frequently, which led him to the familiar bridge at the park.

“I grew up going over this bridge as a kid and playing in the creek it crosses over. One day, I was biking and I went over it and realized that it is really in rough shape,” he said. “…I thought, ‘okay, here’s a new project. I can repaint this bridge.'”

At first, Williams only noticed that the paint on the bridge was wearing off, but upon further inspection, he found that the deck boards were rotting away and the railings wobbled.

“I could just slap a new coat of paint on this thing and call it done, but that wouldn’t really do much benefit because this thing is going to collapse within a year, this thing is going to fall apart,” Williams said. “

So, a straightforward paint job expanded into a full overhaul of the bridge, a process prolonged by some confusion over who owned the facility.

Once the project was completed, though, the Langley High School student could take pride in how it had pushed him outside his comfort zone.

“To actually be able to step back, take a look at everything I had just done and see eight months of hard work put down in a way that could actually help the community, it was the most rewarding feeling that I’ve probably ever had,” Williams said.

Williams first joined BSA Troop 128 around the beginning of seventh grade. Earning the Eagle Scout rank is something he has been working toward ever since, with the support of scout masters and other troop members.

“Originally I set out into Boy Scouts to be outside, meet new people and have a great experience,” he said.

“But after going to several Eagle courts and…seeing what these guys had been doing all these years, and being able to say, ‘hey, I’m an Eagle Scout,’ to me, it wasn’t just something I wanted to put on my college application. It was something that I wanted to have the rest of my life and be able to say that I was an Eagle Scout.”

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Morning Notes

Metro Announces Reduced Service Today — “As part of the investigation into the Blue Line derailment, Metro is holding out of service all of its 7000-series railcars, which is nearly 60% of its rail fleet. Without these railcars, Metro will operate about 40 trains tomorrow — offering a basic service pattern on all lines of trains departing about every 30 minutes.” [WMATA]

Why a Police Helicopter Dropped by Vienna on Friday — “Look what dropped into Vienna today — Fairfax 1, the FCPD helicopter! More than 100 children of police officers who were killed in the line of duty spent the day at the Vienna Community Center to participate in fun activities, including getting a close-up look at Fairfax 1.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

Major I-66 and I-495 Closures Start Tonight — “All lanes of I-66 West approaching Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) will close nightly, Monday through Thursday, October 18-21, for continued bridge beam installation at the I-66/I-495 Interchange…Additionally, multiple lanes will be closed on the northbound I-495 general purpose lanes near I-66, as well as a full closure of the 495 Express Lanes, and associated ramps at the I-66 and I-495 interchange so that this work may be implemented.” [VDOT]

Vienna Hit by Pumpkin-Throwing Spree — Three different Vienna residents told police that someone threw a pumpkin at their parked vehicle overnight between Oct. 12 and 13. The tossed squashes shattered the windshield of a resident in the 500 block of Birch Street, shattered the rear window of a vehicle at 1200 Ross Drive SW, and damaged the trunk of a resident in the 900 block of Echols Street SE. [Vienna Police Department]

McLean District Police Report Robberies — Five or six men with a gun approached a victim in the 7200 block of Arlington Boulevard on Thursday (Oct. 14) and took personal property, according to police. Three days earlier, two men reportedly assaulted an individual and demanded property in the 7900 block of Tysons Corner Center. No injuries were reported in either case. [FCPD]

Volunteers Sought for Tysons Block Party — Celebrate Fairfax is seeking volunteers for its next Tysons Block Party, which will take place at the former Container Store now known as The PARC (8508 Leesburg Pike) on Friday and Saturday (Oct. 22-23). Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up through a form linked in the organization’s Twitter bio. [Celebrate Fairfax/Twitter]

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Kids have fun with hula hoops at Vienna’s 2019 Oktoberfest (courtesy Vienna Business Association)

After a year off, Oktoberfest will return to the Town of Vienna tomorrow (Saturday), bringing with it a beer and wine garden, live entertainment, and a slightly pared-down assortment of food, craft, and retail vendors.

Now in its 13th iteration, the festival will unfold from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in its customary site between Maple Avenue and Ayr Hill Road, with the biergarten and main tents set up in the parking lot next to the Red Caboose.

Vienna Oktoberfest is organized by the Vienna Business Association, serving as the chamber of commerce’s main annual fundraiser, but it also depends on the support of dozens of local community groups, VBA Executive Director Peggy James says.

“We are so grateful to huge amount of participation we have received from our local Vienna non-profit organizations for their volunteer support and sponsor support in the festival this year,” James said. “As always, our goal is to provide a safe and fabulous festival that is welcoming to people of all ages. The enormous amount of support we have had this year will ensure this happens.”

Many groups, such as the Rotary Club of Vienna, the local Shepherd’s Center, the Stroke Comeback Center, and even James Madison High School’s crew team, have members volunteering at the festival. Others are participating through sponsorships, which range in cost from $200 to $5,000 for the platinum title.

This year’s food court sponsor is One Neighborhood Foundation, the nonprofit that Vienna VA Foodies co-founder Lydia Russo started in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to help local restaurants by delivering meals to first responders and food-insecure residents.

Russo says the foundation “is very excited” to be part of Vienna Oktoberfest for the first time after providing “thousands and thousands” of meals over the past 18 months or so through its own efforts and by organizing fundraisers for other nonprofits.

The group raised $20,000 in just one day in June 2020 when it turned to the Vienna VA Foodies Facebook group to support Martha’s Table, a D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to healthy food, education, and other resources for families.

Even after all that work, though, Oktoberfest will represent the first opportunity to meet in person for many of the community members who have gotten involved with One Neighborhood Foundation.

“We plan to enjoy the beautiful atmosphere, all while staffing our tent which will be fundraising for future food deliveries,” Russo said by email. Read More

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Morning Notes

Plea Deal in Sexual Assault Case Rejected — A Fairfax County Circuit Court judge rejected a plea deal that would’ve sentenced a man accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a girl to three years in prison, stating that it did not “remotely reflect the magnitude of the defendant’s misconduct.” Prosecutors said they offered the deal because they feared a trial might end in acquittal due to issues with the Herndon police investigation. [The Washington Post]

Bias Incident Reported Near Mosaic District — “8300 block of Lee Highway, 9/19/21, 1:55 a.m. After a traffic altercation, the victim was approached by an unknown male who spat in his face and made derogatory statements regarding his race.” [FCPD]

Tractor Stolen from Vienna Softball League Shed — According to the Vienna Police Department’s most recent weekly report, a Town of Vienna Parks and Recreation employee reported that, around 1:41 p.m. on Wednesday (Sept. 22), someone broke into a shed that the Vienna Girls Softball League owns in Southside Park (1317 Ross Drive SW). A league representative responded to the report and said that a tractor had been stolen from the shed. [Vienna Police]

Scotts Run Fire Station Is Important Step for Tysons — Fire Station 44 “will be an important piece of the public-safety puzzle as the county continues its long-term transformation of Tysons from a suburban office center to an ‘urban lifestyle’ community,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said at the grand opening ceremony on Sept. 18. The station, which is in Tysons East, will eventually be complemented by Station 29 on the western side of Tysons. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Vienna Oktoberfest Still Looking for Volunteers — The Vienna Business Association and the Town of Vienna are still seeking volunteers to assist with the 13th Vienna Oktoberfest on Saturday (Oct. 2). The festival is in need of people 21 and older to serve as ID checkers and beer garden ticket sellers. Interested volunteers can sign up online for two-hour shifts, though anyone who volunteers for five hours or longer will get a meal voucher. [VBA]

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Morning Notes

County Library Launches Book Selection Service — “Beginning today, all of our branches are offering a new service called Library to Go. Not sure what to read? Simply fill out an online form and our librarians will fill a bag for you to pick up! It’s a great way to discover new-to-you titles.” [Fairfax County Public Library/Facebook]

Vienna to Honor Local Volunteers Today — “Volunteers who have made a difference in Vienna over the last two years will be recognized at the Mayor’s Volunteer Reception on Tuesday. The public is invited to attend the event hosted by Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert and former Mayor Laurie DiRocco at 6:30 p.m. on the Town Green. The location was moved from the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department to the Town Green due to a recent increase in delta variant COVID-19 cases in Fairfax County.” [Patch]

Afghan Resettlement Efforts Face Challenges — “Finding housing and hiring teachers are among the challenges facing resettlement agencies and school administrators in Northern Virginia who are preparing to accommodate many of the over 1,100 Afghan refugees expected to be resettled in the state.” [Inside NoVA]

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Morning Notes

Environmental Advocates Urge Warner to Act on Climate — “Environmental activists protested outside the Tysons Corner office of Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) Thursday afternoon, calling on him to commit to ending federal fossil fuel subsidies as Congress debates separate budget and infrastructure bills.” [Patch]

Tysons Area Beltway Lane Closures Start Tonight — “The southbound I-495 (Capital Beltway Outer Loop) general purpose lanes will have nightly triple lane closures along the three bridges over the Dulles Toll Road (Route 267) and related ramps, weather permitting, Friday, Aug. 27 and Saturday, Aug. 28 for restriping to implement a temporary traffic shift for bridge joint work.” [VDOT]

McAuliffe Leads Gubernatorial Poll — “Democratic candidate for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is ahead of his opponent, Republican Glenn Youngkin in the latest poll released Thursday morning. McAuliffe is leading 50% to 41%, according to Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center-AARP poll. About 6% of voters remain undecided two months ahead of the November 2 election.” [DCist]

Deadline Approaching to Recognize Vienna Volunteers — “Nominations are now being accepted for volunteers who are worthy of recognition as Vienna Hometown Heroes. Since last year’s event had to be cancelled for pandemic-related reasons, this year’s celebration will recognize individual and group volunteer efforts for 2020 and 2021…Nominations for individual heroes are due Aug. 31.” [Town of Vienna]

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A driver and rider participating in NV Rides’ transportation program (courtesy NV Rides)

A program that connects elderly people in Northern Virginia with volunteer drivers needs a new manager.

NV Rides manager Jennifer Kanarek left her position in mid-July, Pozez Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Northern Virginia Executive Director Jeff Dannick said yesterday (Monday).

“We started this program a little over 7 years ago, and Jennifer was our first manager,” Dannick said, crediting Kanarek for helping build the program. “The community owes a great debt to Jennifer for her years of service.”

Housed at the Pozez JCC in Fairfax, NV Rides is a network of volunteer driver programs that formed in 2014 after a Fairfax County survey identified access to safe and reliable transportation as a top concern among the county’s older residents, a population that is expected to continue growing over the next two decades.

In its 2020 demographic report, the county projects that people 65 and older will constitute its largest age group by 2025, eventually making up 17.5% of the total population in 2040.

“I have learned so much over the last seven years and knowing the impact that the NV Rides program has had on vulnerable adults in our community is what gets me out of bed in the morning,” Kanarek said in a statement. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our community partners, stakeholders, and my staff in building, developing, and growing this crucial program.”

Kanarek announced that she was stepping down from her position with NV Rides last week, saying on her LinkedIn page that the decision comes with “mixed emotions.”

“I am proud of all I and my partners have accomplished, and I have made the decision to pursue other opportunities,” she wrote.

NV Rides consists of 15 partner organizations, ranging from local Shepherd’s Centers and religious organizations to Reston Community Center’s RCC Rides service, which has been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the NV Rides website, the network has provided close to 40,000 rides since it began.

“They’re not taxi drivers. They’re coming to help you get to your appointment. They’re coming to help you shop for groceries. So, it’s really a companionship piece,” Kanarek said in a July video about the program, noting that while many elderly people can use ride-hailing apps such as Lyft or Uber, there can be varying levels of trust with a paid stranger versus a volunteer.

According to Kanarek, NV Rides has looked to recruit younger drivers because the average driver has been around 67 years old, and they may not want to return when the pandemic subsides.

After seeing ridership decline when Virginia went under a stay-at-home order in the spring of 2020, Dannick says NV Rides has now returned to “around pre-COVID levels” for volunteer drivers.

In June, NV Rides partnered with the Reston-based Dulles Airport Transportation Association on an outreach effort to provide transportation to medical appointments for veterans in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties.

The Pozez JCC is currently advertising for a long-term successor to Kanarek. The job posting lists the position’s annual salary as $45,000 to $55,000.

Meanwhile, the program’s interim manager is Tom Eversole, a retired naval officer who serves on the NV Rides Advisory Council.

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Danny Weinkauf and the Red Pants Band (via Danny Weinkauf/Facebook)

The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Aug 3)

  • Collision of Rhythm at Wolf Trap — 10:30 a.m. at Theatre-in-the-Woods (1551 Trap Road) — For August and September, Wolf Trap is returning to full-capacity shows. Collision of Rhythm is a non-stop performance of percussions, marimba, singing, juggling and more that is sure to get your toe-tapping. Tickets can be purchased online, and questions can be directed to Wolf Trap’s patron services at 703-255-1868 or [email protected].
  • Kids on the Green: Blue Sky Puppets — 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Vienna Town Green (144 Maple Ave. E) — Vienna’s annual kids’ summer program presents Blue Sky Puppets, a professional touring children’s puppet show. Bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on for the show. The performance will last 30-45 minutes, weather permitting.

Wednesday (Aug 4)

  • Yogapalooza with Bari Koral at Wolf Trap — 10:30 a.m. at Theatre-in-the-Woods (1551 Trap Road) — Popular Youtuber Bari Koral will lead an interactive concert that “blends imaginative songs, yoga poses, and dance breaks that families can enjoy together.” Tickets can be purchased online.
  • Straight No Chaser at Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. at Filene Center (1551 Trap Road) — Straight No Chaser is an a-cappella group with over 100 million YouTube views along with collaborations with Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Dolly Parton. Tickets can be purchased online.

Thursday (Aug 5)

Friday (Aug 6)

  • Renée Fleming at Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. at Filene Center (1551 Trap Road) — Known for her “sumptuous voice, consummate artistry, and compelling stage presence,” award-winning singer Renée Fleming will be coming to Wolf Trap for the first time in 15 years to celebrate Wolf Trap’s 50th anniversary with the National Symphony Orchestra. Tickets are available online.

Saturday (Aug 7)

  • Town Clean Up Day — 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Vienna Town Green — For the Town of Vienna’s annual August clean up day, volunteers will be assigned a location around town that could use some sprucing up. The event is being coordinated by the parks and recreation department, which will provide supplies and assistance. Participants can pre-register by emailing [email protected], but it is not required.
  • Danny Weinkauf and his Red Pants Band at Wolf Trap — 10:30 a.m. at Theatre-in-the-Woods (1551 Trap Road) — Bassist Danny Weinkauf and his Red Pants Band are bringing some family-friendly jams to Wolf Trap. Fan favorites on their new album include “Dinosaurs on Roller Skates” and “Your Love is a Metaphor.” Don’t miss out on the fun by reserving your tickets online ahead of time.

Photo via Danny Weinkauf/Facebook

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