Newsletter

Morning Notes

Early Voting Starts Today — Voters can now cast their ballots for the Nov. 2 general election by mail or by visiting the Fairfax County, North County, and Mount Vernon government centers. Virginia has three statewide offices and all 100 House of Delegates seats up for election, and Fairfax County voters also face a school bond question. [Fairfax County Government]

Parents of Sexual Abuse Victim Object to Plea Deal — The family of a girl who was sexually abused by a relative wants a Fairfax County Circuit Court judge to reject a plea deal today (Friday), arguing that the 17-year maximum prison sentence is insufficient. They feel Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano has prioritized defendants over victims, a criticism increasingly leveled against progressive prosecutors across the U.S. elected on promises of reducing mass incarceration and addressing historical inequities in the justice system. [The Washington Post]

Virginia Adds QR Codes to COVID-19 Vaccine Records — “As requests for proof of COVID-19 vaccination by businesses and employers increases, the Virginia Department of Health has announced that QR (quick response) codes are now available. Virginia is now the fifth U.S. state to adopt the SMART Health format for QR codes.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Vienna Unveils Annual Holiday Ornament — “The town of Vienna later this year will begin selling a 2021 holiday ornament, which depicts the ‘Taking Flight’ bronze statue situated in front of the Vienna Community Center. Vienna Town Council members on Sept. 13 unanimously approved the sale of the ornaments, which will be available at the community center, Town Hall and at the upcoming Oktoberfest celebration.” [Sun Gazette]

Tysons 5K Run Raises Money to Feed Community — “Tysons Partnership is proud to have sponsored the @foodforothers Tysons 5K and Fun Run. Sunday’s Fun Run raised over $91,000 for community members facing food insecurity. Thank you to everyone for your support and participation in this year’s race!” [Tysons Partnership/Twitter]

Merrifield Church to Celebrate 151st Anniversary — “The First Baptist Church of Merrifield will kick off their 151st Homecoming Anniversary Weekend on Saturday, September 18 and Homecoming Sunday Service on Sunday, September 19. Immediately following the worship service we will have a soft opening Ribbon Cutting ceremony followed by Lunch on the Grounds.” [Greater Merrifield Business Association]

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Morning Notes

Virginia Redistricting Commission Splits on Map — The commission will submit two possible maps for new congressional and legislative districts to the General Assembly in October after its Democratic and Republican members couldn’t agree on who will draw the maps. Del. Marcus Simon (D-53rd), who called the commission flawed when it went on the ballot last November, was not impressed. [WTOP]

Virginia Tech Expert Backs Mite Theory for Bug Bites — An entomologist with the Virginia Tech Insect ID Lab says oak itch mites are likely behind the mysterious, itchy bug bites that many D.C. area residents have reported in recent weeks, possibly linked to the cicada emergence. A Fairfax County environmental health official told Tysons Reporter last week that the mites were a suspected cause but had not been confirmed. [ARLnow]

County to Hold Meeting on Pickleball Study — “The Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) seeks the public’s input on the emerging sport of pickleball and invites the community to attend a virtual meeting to introduce its draft Pickleball Study…The event will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at 7 p.m. and will be available online afterward for those unable to attend live.” [FCPA]

Vienna Dog Park Closed This Morning — The Vienna Dog Park at the corner of Courthouse Road and Moorefield Road SW will be closed for maintenance from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. today (Thursday). It is the only publicly owned dog park in the Tysons area. [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Woman Hospitalized After Stabbing at Ritz Carlton — “Officers are on scene of a stabbing at the Ritz Carlton, 1700 Tysons Blvd, in McLean. A woman was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. A person of interest, a man, is detained and receiving treatment for non-life-threatening injuries.” [Fairfax County Police Department/Twitter]

Virginia Sales Tax Holiday Starts Tomorrow — “Virginia’s annual sales tax holiday is this weekend. Stock up on qualifying school supplies, clothing, hurricane and emergency preparedness supplies, and certain ENERGY STAR™ and WaterSense™ products without paying state sales tax starting Friday, Aug. 6, at 12:01 a.m. and ending Sunday, Aug. 8, at 11:59 p.m.” [Fairfax County Emergency Information]

Redistricting Commission Holds Public Hearing — “Northern Virginia residents on July 27 told the Virginia Redistricting Commission to redraw congressional and state legislative boundaries in ways that are logical, protect minority voting rights and do not split communities…The 11th U.S. House of Representatives District, occupied since 2009 by Gerald Connolly (D), was a frequently cited example at the meeting of a poorly district. Speakers said voters living in Reston, Vienna and Tysons had nothing in common with those in Triangle on the district’s southern edge.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Vienna Opens Parks and Rec Fall Program Registration — “Fall Class and Camp registration is now open for Town residents! Check out the program guide and reserve your spot today! Registration for non-Town residents opens on Monday, Aug. 9.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

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Editor’s note — The candidate bios below come from their responses to requests for comment from Tysons Reporter. Any candidate who wishes to add to their entry can email [email protected]

The Falls Church City Council and School Board races will have crowded fields for limited openings this November.

After the filing deadline closed earlier this week, the city council has six candidates for four seats, and the school board has nine candidates for four seats. Terms for each are for four years.

One question hovering over the general election, which is set for Nov. 2, is whether early voting returns will be similar to the jump in 2020 or return to pre-pandemic levels, Falls Church City General Registrar and Director of Elections David Bjerke wrote in an email when contacted by Tysons Reporter.

Turnout for the election could also be affected going forward by the introduction of a permanent absentee ballot by-mail request form, a new option that will be available in Virginia starting July 1, according to Bjerke.

“So if you want your ballots mailed to you for all elections, you fill out that form and we’ll mail the ballot to you,” he wrote. “As voters opt into that program, they will be informed of the election earlier and may well vote earlier. If they choose to vote in-person, that request gets canceled and they have to opt in again for future elections.”

In addition to the city council and school board candidates below, the general election ballot will include races for commissioner of the revenue, treasurer, and sheriff, according to the City of Falls Church.

City Council

The top four vote-getters will earn seats.

Mayor David Tarter’s term runs to the end of 2023. After the November election, the newly elected council will vote for vice mayor and mayor, whose positions are in place for two years. Other council members whose terms also run until then are Phil Duncan and Letty Hardi.

Names are ordered as they will appear on ballots.

  • David F. Snyder is seeking another term. Snyder, a former mayor and vice mayor, was first elected to council in 1994.
  • Debora “Debbie” Schantz-Hiscott is seeking her first full term after winning a special election last November after Councilmember Dan Sze died of cancer.
  • Marybeth D. Connelly is seeking another term. She’s been the vice mayor since 2016 and was first elected in 2014.
  • Stuart M. Whitaker
  • Caroline S. Lian
  • Scott C. Diaz

School Board

The top four vote-getters will land seats.

The openings come from the seats of board members Shannon Litton (the chair), Greg Anderson, and appointees Sonia Ruiz-Bolaños and Edwin Henderson II, who filled partial terms this year due to vacancies.

Terms for board members Laura Downs, Susan Dimock and Phil Reitinger last until 2023.

Names are ordered as they will appear on ballots.

Read More

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As Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” blasted through the ballroom, Terry McAuliffe, former and potentially future governor of Virginia, took the stage at the Hilton hotel in Tysons shortly before 9 p.m. on Tuesday (June 8) to celebrate his victory in the 2021 Democratic gubernatorial primary.

McAuliffe easily surged past four other candidates to clinch his party’s nomination, winning 62% of the vote in a race that the Associated Press called just 44 minutes after polls closed across the state.

Unofficial returns show that Fairfax County joined the rest of the Commonwealth in backing McAuliffe’s bid for a third term as governor. 64.4% of primary voters cast a ballot for him, followed by 19.3% supporting former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, who also came in second statewide.

“We launched this campaign about six months ago on a simple idea: that Virginia has some very big challenges ahead,” McAuliffe said in his victory speech. “And I’ve said we’ve got to go big, we gotta be bold, and we need seasoned leadership to move us forward and lift up all Virginians.”

Pledging to “build back a better, stronger Virginia,” McAuliffe quickly pivoted to the general election looming on Nov. 2, when he will compete with Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin, who he aligned with former President Donald Trump.

He will be joined on the Democratic ticket by Prince William Del. Hala Ayala, who will face Republican Winsome Sears in a lieutenant governor race that will put a woman of color in a statewide office for the first time in Virginia history.

The Virginia Department of Elections’ unofficial results show Ayala winning by more than 13 percentage points statewide in a race that featured six candidates, but her margin of victory was closer in Fairfax County. She only won by about 5% over runner-up Del. Sam Rasoul, who became the legislature’s first Muslim member in 2014.

Mark Herring won the Democratic nomination for attorney general in his attempt for a third term. He won by about 13% state-wide over Del. Jay Jones, but was overwhelmingly favored by Fairfax County voters. Herring won by more than 40 percentage points in the county.

In the General Assembly races, incumbent Del. Kathleen Murphy prevailed over challenger Jennifer Adeli in the contest for the 34th House District seat, which represents northern McLean and the Great Falls area.

“It was a great win and I am delighted to have received such strong support across the district,” Murphy said in a statement to Tysons Reporter. “I look forward to continuing to work on  behalf of my constituents and represent the issues that are important to them. I am especially focused on getting our kids safely back in school, increasing teacher pay, re-opening our businesses and continuing to support our veterans and stand up for gun safety measures.”

Republican Gary Pan is seeking to unseat Murphy in November, when Tysons area voters will also get contests between incumbent Del. Mark Keam and Republican challenger Kevin McGrath for the 35th District (Vienna), Del. Rip Sullivan (D) and Edward Monroe for the 48th District (McLean), and Del. Marcus Simon (D) and Sarah White for the 53rd District (Falls Church). Read More

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Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s campaign to return to the governor’s mansion will continue after he handily won today’s statewide Democratic primary.

Long viewed as the frontrunner for his party’s nomination based on polls and fundraising, McAuliffe validated that label by earning more than 60% of the votes cast — roughly three times as many votes as his nearest competitor, former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, who was seeking to become Virginia’s first Black, female governor.

According to unofficial returns from the Virginia Department of Elections, Carroll Foy received about 20% of the vote, followed in descending order by state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, and Del. Lee Carter, who also lost his seat representing the 50th House District.

McAuliffe will compete in November’s general election against businessman Glenn Youngkin, who won the Republican gubernatorial nomination in an “unassembled” convention in May.

The Democratic ticket will be completed by Del. Hala Ayala (D-51st District), who beat six other candidates to snag the lieutenant governor nomination, and Attorney General Mark Herring, who bested challenger Jay Jones as he seeks a third consecutive term in the position.

The Republican Party nominated former Del. Winsome Sears for lieutenant governor and Virginia Beach Del. Jason Miyares for attorney general.

In the General Assembly races, the 34th House District was the only one in the Tysons area with a primary. Incumbent Del. Kathleen Murphy defeated challenger Jennifer Adeli with 73% of the vote and will need to beat Republican Gary Pan to earn another term.

In its unofficial returns, the Fairfax County Office of Elections reported a voter turnout of 11.1%, a relatively low rate that’s not especially unusual for an off-year primary. The 2017 Democratic primary, the last year with a gubernatorial race on the ballot, saw a 13.4% turnout.

According to the county, 21,493 voters — 2.9% of the electorate — cast absentee ballots either by mail or in-person, while 60,999 people went to the polls on the day of the primary. In comparison, the 2017 Democratic primary saw just 7,105 absentee voters compared to 86,931 primary day voters.

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Morning Notes

Primary Voter Turnout Expected to Follow Pre-Pandemic Trends — “While tens of thousands of Virginians already voted early ahead of the primary election on Tuesday, the turnout for people casting ballots in person is expected to look more like it did before the coronavirus pandemic. ‘I suspect that the bulk of the voters will be voting tomorrow as they traditionally have,’ said Fairfax County General Registrar Scott Konopasek. [WTOP]

Capital One Hall Announces More Performers — After revealing its first confirmed performer last week, Capital One Hall announced today that the rock band Kansas and comedians John Crist and Taylor Tomlinson will join country singer Clint Black in the Tysons performing arts venue’s inaugural season lineup. Tickets for all of the shows announced so far will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday (June 11). [Capital One Hall/Twitter]

Texas Jack’s Ranch Eyes September Opening — Texas Jack’s Ranch plans to open at the Lumen apartments near the Greensboro Metro station this September, about a year after previously anticipated. The Italian restaurant is owned by the same team behind Texas Jack’s Barbecue in Arlington, and the team of international chefs will be led by ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ finalist Declan Horgan. [Patch]

County Board to Vote on Demolishing McLean House — Today’s Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting will have several spot blight abatement public hearings, including one for a house at 1045 Bellview Road in McLean that’s currently owned by the Embassy of Qatar but has been abandoned for the past five to six years. The building caught fire last Halloween, and there are plans to replace it with a new house. [Patch]

Regional Coalition Recommends Economic Development Strategy — A coalition of D.C. area government, business, nonprofit, and education leaders called Connected DMV released a report on how the region can work together to encourage economic growth. The report included data illustrating drastic differences in economic mobility between the east and west sides of I-95, with Fairfax County ranking high and the District on the low end. [The Washington Post]

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The Virginia Democratic Party is holding a primary tomorrow (Tuesday), and the ballot will feature some crowded races, including statewide contests for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general.

The Republican Party chose to replace its primary this year with a convention in May to select statewide candidates. Some local races are also occurring in the state.

About 7,300 people in Fairfax County have voted early in person, and 50% of the vote-by-mail ballots requested by voters have been turned in so far, county spokesman Brian Worthy said in an email on Friday (June 4).

Here’s what to know:

Casting Your Ballot

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you’re in line by 7 p.m., you will still be able to vote. You generally need an ID to vote, but alternative options are available, which includes signing a statement that says you are who you say you are. You can find your polling place online.

For absentee ballots, the deadline to hand deliver them is 7 p.m. Tuesday. They can be dropped off at polling sites, and other options are available. By mail, absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before June 8 and also received in the county elections office by noon on Friday (June 11).

Unofficial results will be posted on the county’s website on election night as well as the state elections’ website.

The Ballot

While the lieutenant governor race remains crowded, candidate Elizabeth Guzman withdrew from to focus on getting re-elected as a delegate for the 31st House District, which serves parts of Fauquier and Prince William counties. However, her name will still be on the ballot.

For the gubernatorial race, Virginia’s constitution bars governors from running for consecutive terms, preventing Gov. Ralph Northam from seeking re-election this year but opening the door for former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

The state elections board previously drew candidates’ names randomly for their order on the ballot. They’re listed below, and sample ballots are available online.

Governor

Lieutenant Governor

Attorney General

House of Delegates — 34th District (McLean)

The other three delegates who represent the Tysons area — Mark Keam (35th District), Marcus Simon (53rd District), and Rip Sullivan (48th District) — don’t have primary challengers.

Photo courtesy Town of Vienna

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Morning Notes

Editor’s note: Tysons Reporter will be taking Memorial Day weekend off starting tomorrow (Friday). Except in the case of breaking news, publishing will resume on Tuesday (June 1).

More Early Voting Sites to Open Saturday — Fairfax County will add 13 more early voting sites for the June 8 Democratic primary on Saturday (May 29), bringing the total number of locations up to 16. Sites in the Tysons area include the McLean Governmental Center, Providence Community Center, and Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library. [Fairfax County Government]

Couple Killed in Springfield Shooting — “A husband and wife are dead following a shooting in a residential area of Springfield, Virginia, on Wednesday morning, according to police. Police Chief Kevin Davis said authorities believe the ‘shooter or shooters’ are ‘known to a relative of our two victims.'” [WTOP]

Fairfax County to Get $17 Million From FEMA — Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced yesterday (Wednesday) that Fairfax County will receive $17.1 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover costs associated with COVID-related public communications as well as medical supplies and equipment to combat the virus. [Office of Sen. Mark Warner]

Falls Church Memorial Day Street Closures — The City of Falls Church will close several streets to traffic to accommodate its Memorial Day parade from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Monday (May 31). Little Falls Street will be closed from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day between Park Avenue and Great Falls Street for Memorial Day events. [City of Falls Church]

Local Leaders Recognize Death of Longtime Virginia Senator — Elected officials representing Fairfax County, including Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay and Rep. Gerry Connolly, shared remembrances of former Sen. John Warner after he died in Alexandria on Monday (May 24). Warner served five terms in Congress, giving him the second-longest tenure of any Virginia senator when he retired in 2009. [The Washington Post]

Photo by Hilde Khan

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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 (May 25)

  • Fit4Mom Stroller Strides — 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Mosaic District (2910 District Ave) — Fit4Mom Stroller Strides is a 60-minute workout that includes strength training, cardio, and core restoration, along with entertainment for the little ones in your stroller. Classes meet in Strawberry Park in front of Mom & Pop. Register online. Your first session is free. A second class will be held on Thursday (May 27) at the same time.
  • Introduction to Corporate Giving (Online) — 2-3:30 p.m. — The Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library will provide this workshop for nonprofits looking for corporate support. The class will teach participants how to find potential corporate donors and how to successfully win their support. Registration is required.

Wednesday (May 26)

  • Partial Lunar Eclipse — 4-6 a.m. at Burke Lake Park (7315 Ox Rd.) — Join some astronomical naturalists to view the partial lunar eclipse. Stars and constellations will be viewable too. There will be some telescopes available, but participants are encouraged to bring binoculars. There is a registration fee of $1o.
  • (the) Unruly Theatre Project’s Virtual Improv Show (Online) — 7 p.m. — The McLean Community Center’s teen improv group is putting on its latest virtual performance. Registration is open up to two hours before the show. The Zoom link and password will be emailed to those who register. For more information, contact [email protected].

Thursday (May 27)

Friday (May 28)

  • Parent & Me Snack and Paint — 7-9 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — Join the Old Firehouse Center for a Snack and Paint event. A parent and their child (ages 10-18) can join for $30 total, which includes all painting materials and snacks. Register and make a spring-themed masterpiece.

Saturday (May 29)

  • In-Person Early Voting for Democratic Primary — 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Falls Church City Hall (300 Park Ave.) — City Hall will open this Saturday for registered Falls Church voters to vote early in the Democratic Party’s June 8 primary election to decide the party’s candidates for Virginia’s governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general in the November election.
  • ViVa! Vienna! — 10 a.m.-10 p.m. — After having to cancel last year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ViVa! Vienna! is back. Rides and entertainment start Saturday for the Town of Vienna’s Memorial Day weekend festival, with vendors setting up on Sunday (May 30) and Monday (May 31). A full schedule as well as information about buying tickets and the vendors that will be in attendance can be found on the ViVa! Vienna! website.
  • Ride of the Patriots — 10 a.m. at 9739 Fairfax Blvd. — Patriot Harley-Davidson‘s annual Memorial Day tribute to military service members and first responders will begin in Fairfax City and travel on Route 50 East to I-495 North into D.C. over Memorial Bridge. There will be a second ride on Sunday, but each ride will be limited to 225 people. Registration costs $25.

Monday (May 31)

  • Memorial Day Ceremony & Parade — 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Falls Church Community Center (223 Little Falls St.) — The City of Falls Church is bringing back many of its Memorial Day traditions, albeit in a slightly scaled-down form. Pre-registration and masks are required to attend the ceremony at the Veterans’ Memorial, while the parade will travel throughout the city instead of sticking to Park Avenue.

Photo via ViVa! Vienna!/Facebook

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