The red lines in the drawrings above represent components of what could become a more urban street grid, which is probably a good thing. As a service to the master planning process -- and based on our years of studying urban development issues -- we've annotated the rendering below, using what we've learned about "best practices" in redevelopment.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The red lines in the drawrings above represent components of what could become a more urban street grid, which is probably a good thing. As a service to the master planning process -- and based on our years of studying urban development issues -- we've annotated the rendering below, using what we've learned about "best practices" in redevelopment.
The man arrested earlier in the month for a three-state stabbing spree spent some time in Reston.
According to the website USSearch.com, Elias Abuelazam, 33, also once resided in Reston, in an apartment on the 12000 block of Greywing Square, although the time frame of his residence there is unknown.Meanwhile, Reston's own Jersey Shore wannabe, Lloyd Woodson, who was arrested with a cache of weapons in Branchburg, N.J., back in January, had a day in court.
Lloyd Woodson, 44, of Reston, Va., was in state Superior Court Judge Paul Armstrong’s courtroom in Somerville today for a status conference on charges stemming from the January incident.Sadly, another international abduction has been in the news.
The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office has accused Woodson of multiple offenses, including second-degree attempted armed robbery and possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose.
Defense lawyer James Wronko said a psychiatrist’s report indicated Woodson is competent to stand trial, but he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, “which rendered him incapable of committing the crimes he’s charged with.”
After court, Wronko said the psychiatrist “will give an opinion that because Mr. Woodson suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, he should be found not guilty by reason of insanity because he wasn’t capable of acting with the mental state required to make his actions criminal.”
One year ago, Douglass Berg, of Reston, said goodbye to his son and daughter before they boarded a flight with his ex-wife on what was supposed to be a three-week visit to her native Japan. He has not seen the children since.One of the founders of the Buffalo Wing Factory chain of restaurants was sentenced to 12 years in prison for a $71 million loan scam.
Berg told The Washington Examiner that his ex-wife "felt like I was invading her turf" by sharing custody of Gunnar, now age 10, and Kianna, 9, after their divorce. She thought child care was a mom's responsibility.
A Loudoun County man who rose from a teenage employee at a Sterling deli to own a string of area restaurants, and who by his own account fraudulently borrowed more than $71 million from eight banks, was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison.Note to all you would-be junior scammers out there: If you manage to flee the country while facing multiple felony charges, do not come back to hang out at a Ferrari dealership. That is all.
Last year, when it all came crashing down for Osama M. El-Atari, 31, he fled the country, authorities said. The Ashburn resident left behind a string of creditors, flashy sports cars and a $3.9 million house bought with money he scammed from banks in Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and Ohio, court records show.
Finally, apparently there's a problem with people smoking pot on Reston trails. Who knew? We just see people jogging and walking their dogs.
Friday, August 27, 2010
One of those fancy "twit terers" the kids are all crazy about these days with an uncannily familiar name -- but a far fancier cell phone -- shared this exciting photo from the Wiehle Avenue park and ride lot, suggesting that site plans have been filed for the Comstock Wiehle Metro development, or maybe just the garage, and work may begin at some point soon(ish). Keep your eyes peeled for fanciful concrete bollards -- we hear they multiply like rabbits once released into the wild.
Our BFFs at Reston Patch did a nice interview with us, somehow managing to edit an hour-long, profanity-laced tirade about DRB-approved paint swatches and the Macaroni Grill into something resembling lucid thought. Good on them.
Here's one additional thought on the master plan process that got left on the cutting room floor:
There's been a lot of overheated and emotional dialogue on both sides of the master plan process, from people saying redevelopment is going to indiscriminately bulldoze existing residential neighborhoods and turn Reston into another Manhattan to those who openly mock any of the valid concerns people are raising about the impact of growth. The reality is that growth is going to come, whether any of us like it or not, and we should be focusing our energy on making sure it makes sense and doesn't result in a bunch of ugly, off-the-shelf architectural dreck crammed into spots that all but guarantee gridlock. We've got plenty of that to go around as it is.What he said.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Hey, did you know that "urban archery season" begins Sept. 4? Thanks to all those namby-pamby liberals in the gummint, that doesn't mean you can bring your crossbow on the West Falls Church Metro shuttle, but if you live in Reston and get an application approved by the RA Board, you can hire a company to
slaughter manage the deer population in your yard.
That's exactly what a Buckthorn Lane resident plans to do, though in his defense, he's got a pretty good reason.
The Reston Association Board of Directors recently approved the request of homeowner Dan Grove, who lives on Buckthorn Lane, to conduct the hunt using the services of a professional bowhunting company, Suburban Whitetail Management of Northern Virginia.Regardless of what you think of Grove's plans, you've got to give him credit for incorporating the "live, work, play" tagline into his request. (PS for future applications -- the RA has added "get involved" to the ur-sentence.) And Lyme disease really sucks, and is on the rise in the region. Apparently, a recent population study of the area between Reston and Great Falls showed 185 deer per square mile. Using our eighth-grade math skills and our slide rule, that means there would be .2175 deer on this 3/4 acre lot. They're not going to need a whole lot of arrows.
Grove put in the request last May, after four members of his family contracted Lyme disease and other methods of deer control failed to work on his three-quarter-acre property.
"Why take the lives of deer?" the letter continues. "We live in Reston, a great place to work, live, play. But my children cannot go out and play freely, and we cannot freely garden as we would like, because the deer are browsing the yard freely and leaving ticks behind."
In case you've secretly harbored a dream of turning your yard into an archery, here's the criteria:
Lot size of more than one-half acre; hunting only from before sunrise to about 8 a.m. and only on weekdays; hunt will be held no less than 50 yards away from an occupied residence and 75 yards away from a street, path or bus stop, playground or other public place. Most importantly, only bowhunting from a stand 15 feet off the ground - no guns.Good to know.
"The property owners are using a company that certifies and trains hunters," said Butler. "It is different than someone who says ' I am going to start shooting.' There is no way we would ever allow someone to use a gun."
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Meanwhile, in the Anti-Reston: Fire Breathing Felony Charges Dropped, Plus a Grand Union Conspiracy to Add a Fluoridated Drinking Fountain to a Day Labor Center
When we last visited our
tolerant fire-fearing neighbor to the west, two bartenders were facing decades in prison for a trick right out of a forgettable 1980s Tom Cruise movie. Fortunately for common sense and all involved, those charges have been dropped.
Fairfax County prosecutors have filed a motion to drop felony arson charges against two fire-breathing bartenders who were facing more than 35 years in prison apiece for performing flaming bar tricks.All's well that ends well. So now Herndon can return to what it's been best known for in recent years: fun and games involving its attempts to
Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Morrogh confirmed to The Washington Examiner on Tuesday that he dismissed three felony charges because he couldn't find any evidence that the Jimmy's Old Town Tavern barkeeps were trying to hurt anybody. Nobody was injured the night the men were arrested, but there was evidence that a paper airplane hanging from the ceiling caught fire and burned, Morrogh said.
"I'm not saying it wasn't dangerous, but they weren't trying to burn anything," Morrogh said. "They were just trying to do tricks."
Mixologists Tegee Rogers, 33, and Justin Fedorchak, 39, still each face three misdemeanor charges through the Herndon municipal court. The men could get up to a year in jail for each misdemeanor. A trial date has not been scheduled.
The bar, which sits across the street from the Herndon Fire Station, had been performing the fire-breathing act for 13 years, owner Jimmy Cirrito told The Examiner last week. He said fire officials had never warned the bar to stop them. Fire officials said they investigated after receiving a letter and photo of the flaming act.
The Virginia New Majority, an Alexandria-based political action group with ties to labor unions recently targeted Herndon, attempting to fuel political change within the town.Been there, done that. But when VNM decided to hold a meeting in Herndon earlier this month, things got ugly:
This past spring, VNM ran an advertisement on the website www.Hispanic-Jobs.com, looking to recruit organizers for what it called its "Herndon campaign." VNM Executive Director John Liss, who also is the director of Tenants and Workers United, said the "Herndon campaign" is in full swing.
"We are trying to politically engage Herndon voters against the climate of hate that has been created over the last four years," Liss said. "We are trying to rescind the anti-solicitation ordinance that the previous town council enacted as they were going out the door."
That ordinance, which took effect on July 1, prohibits "the solicitation of contributions, the distribution of hand bills and the sale of merchandise or services on public streets by pedestrians to occupants of motor vehicles." According to town officials, the ordinance was enacted as a public safety measure. But Liss maintains the ordinance unfairly targets day laborers, the majority of whom are Hispanic.
On Aug. 4, VNM had a private meeting in the Herndon community center to meet with 45 or so recent recruits.Anyway, there have been some unpleasant letters going back and forth, plus charges of some giant union conspiracy to reinstate a day labor center -- because under-the-table, minimum-wage work is good for unions! -- and then, in its most sinister effort yet, force all Herndon residents to drink fluoridated Mountain Dew from the 7-11 on Alabama Street, but we're depressed enough as it is so we're just going to stop here.
Former Herndon council member Ann Null, a passionate opponent of the now-defunct Herndon Day Labor center, attended the meeting and was asked to leave by members of the VNM.
"She refused to leave after being told repeatedly that it was a private meeting," said Herndon police spokesman Lt. Jeff Coulter, who added that Null was taken away in handcuffs.
According to court records, Null was charged with trespassing. Her hearing is scheduled for Sept. 29. She was released on a $1,000 bond.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
It's already that time of the month again? Andy Sigle's dulcet tones and his open-collar summer casual look tells us yes it is, so here we go.
In August's video offering from the Reston Association, you can learn more about how the RA mows median strips for VDOT. There's also talk about the Sept. 23 open house/newcomers night/board meeting extravaganza -- which Sigle calls a “something for everyone kind of event.” What, will there be albino clowns juggling original pieces of 18th century portraiture? Because if you want to get technical, that would be something for someone.
There's also some stuff about back-to-school safety, but stick around to the end of the video for the most mind-blowing visual effects since the release of iMovie 1.0, complemented by whooshing sound effects that remind us of falling leaves, the coming of autumn, and ultimately, our own mortality. Happy Tuesday!
- Some fancy "retail developer and operator" called Edens & Avant has purchased Hunters Woods Village Center for "an undisclosed price."
- The Reston Community Center is seeking candidates for its board of directors. Candidates are then "elected" through a
Soviet-style process"preference poll."
- Hey, remember that time a football coach's son was running for the U.S. Senate, only he said a few unfortunate things? Well, George Allen's rehabilitation tour began in Reston, when he recently spoke at a Jewish retreat and blew a "shofar."
Baila Olidort, editor in chief of the Lubavitch News Service, was impressed.
"For someone who has never blown shofar before," she said, "he did well."
- Not to alarm anyone, but some unspeakable freak of nature has been discovered in Lake Audubon. Oh, wait, it's just a duck. Never mind.
- This is Reston restaurant week, but sadly, the Macaroni Grill does not appear to be participating.
- You read it here first, but apparently someone at a "news-paper" has discovered that two Herndon bartenders are bizarrely facing up to 45 years in prison for their fire-breathing stunts.
- Don't expect those street signs in your neighborhood to be fixed anytime soon. Fairfax County is getting a whopping $1,989 in secondary road funding from the state this year. Won't someone chip in an extra $11 to make it an even $2,000?
- Former Centre Ridge Elementary School teacher Sean Lanigan, who was fully exonerated of charges he sexually assaulted a 12-year-old student, will teach at South Lakes High School this fall.
- Along with a cupcakery, apparently a saladry is in the works for Reston. Maybe eventually someone will come up with the novel idea of serving a full meal in a single establishment -- let's call this wacky new business model a "restaurant," for lack of a better word. Crazier things have happened!
Monday, August 23, 2010
If you squint and look past the Betty Draper lookalike and the kid with some (literally) fancy pants in the center of the photo, you can see some pretty sweet vintage 1960s cars in the parking lot. But don't think that's how all your neighbors went to get their Ramen noodles, or whatever crap people ate instead of real food back in the 1960s. This was the shopping run of choice for Jim and Fran Grady.
Friday, August 20, 2010
In the tradition of great Reston cinema such as this masterpiece and its sequel, please to be enjoying this scene -- shot in the style of The Hills, or maybe Jersey Shore -- featuring a young, with-it Reston couple engaged in conversation about traffic calming measures, as all the cool kids today do ad nauseum, whilst waiting to be served at the Macaroni Grill. (3-D glasses not required, but they couldn't hurt.)
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Whether it's a military expedition in a sandy country or police officers looking for people trying to boost iPods from parked cars, we love a good, testosterone-fueled name. And the Reston district station came up with an awesome one for its recent efforts to stem a spate of car break-ins: Operation Night Prowler. Sweet!
From June 19 to July 14, officers from the Reston District Station conducted "Operation Night Prowler" in order to identify and arrest offenders responsible for vehicle tamperings and larcenies from vehicles. This operation was implemented to combat the increase in vehicle tamperings and larcenies from vehicles that occurred during the spring. Reston officers were deployed in an undercover capacity and their efforts were directed in hot spots where these types of crime appeared to be most concentrated.Police say they arrested 13 people during the operation, including several for "quality of life crimes," which we assume are more serious than painting the exterior trim of a house the wrong shade of tan.
From April 1 to may 31, there were 87 larcenies from vehicles and 48 vehicle tampering cases reported to the police. More than half of these particular crimes occurred in May alone. (50 larcenies from vehicles and 25 vehicle tamperings).
During "Operation Night Prowler", we saw a 38% reduction in larcenies from vehicles and a 48% reduction in vehicle tampering cases. (31 larcenies from vehicles and 13 vehicle tamperings).
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Drizzlepocalypse Now: Strange Liquid Substance Called 'Rain' Falls From Sky, Inconveniences Motorists
This shocking photo of Hunters Mill Road shows an unknown liquid substance that alternately confused and terrified motorists for much of the day, overwhelming two bridges on the backroads around Reston. Scientists are currently field-testing the liquid -- known colloquially as "rain" -- to determine its chemical makeup. Resist the urge to panic when stronger downpours of this mystery liquid return tonight and turn us all into soggy, zombie-like remnants of our once-happy selves.
On Aug. 4, the State Corporation Commission approved a proposed average 56 percent rate increase for customers of RELAC, the jet-age cooling company that uses tepid lake water to "cool" homes around Lake Anne. In return, RELAC will be required to implement "certain quality of service improvements," including making sure its cooling system actually cools houses -- or at least create an awesome "web page" with maintenance tips and contact information for customers, hopefully with some cool animated GIFs showing a guy with a jackhammer under text that says "PAGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION."
"We think that is progress, but not strong enough and we may submit comments to that effect," Fairfax County's Steve Sinclair told residents of Hickory Cluster, or at least its fancy "web log."
Weighing in at a mere 56 pages, the official examiner's report includes testimony presented by RELAC customers during meetings in Fairfax and Richmond earlier this year, along with a long list of stipulations with which RELAC is supposed to comply -- including the aforementioned thing about creating a web page. We feel cooler already!
How embarrassing! Last Friday was this filthy "web log"s third anniversary, and much like a married couple when the honeymoon phase is replaced with a lot of bickering about whose turn it is to do the dishes or check the DRB regulations on the placement of earth-toned "happy anniversary" signs on the carport, we plumb forgot.
Fortunately, we have a present for you. Step into the wayback machine and set the controls for 2001, when former RA Director William Nicoson wrote a column for the Reston Times decrying the lack of quality "web sites" for our earth-toned community.
Touring Reston websites won’t exercise neglected muscles like strolling around Reston lakes, but the discovery of virtual Reston on the web can be a stimulating experience that may lead to realtime strolling in delightful and unfrequented landscapes. On the other hand – you guessed it - - some Reston websites are simply a waste of time.That's pretty prescient, given that it would be another six years before this site arrived on the scene.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Dogwood Elementary has made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), as defined by the No Child Left Behind criteria, based on last year's Virginia Standards of Learning testing scores.Meanwhile, Forest Edge Elementary, Hunters Woods Elementary, and Lake Anne Elementary did not make AYP this year, though they are not Title 1 schools and don't face the same potential sanctions that threatened Dogwood, which included replacing administrators or allowing students to transfer.
Previous years saw Dogwood Elementary miss Adequate Yearly Progress in one or two categories, but this year Dogwood students tested strong across the board.
Terraset and Sunrise Valley both made AYP. And of course, the "astronaut schools" did fine -- which isn't surprising, since standardized testing, as a rule, often tells you more about the socioeconomic backgrounds of the students attending the school than its overall quality. Which makes Dogwood's accomplishment all the more remarkable, especially since it missed AYP by literally a handful of students in past years. Good on them.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Nothing like a mob assault to kick off the week in crime:
A 16-year-old teenage boy was assaulted and robbed on his way home from work around 9 p.m. on Tuesday, August 10. The boy was riding his bike in the area of Fox Mill Road and Sunrise Valley Drive when four other teenage boys came out of the woods; the victim recognized three of them. One suspect reportedly pushed the victim off his bicycle and another suspect kicked and assaulted him. They took his cell phone and fled. The two other teens did not participate in the robbery. The victim returned home and called police. He did not require medical treatment at that time. Officers located the suspects in the area. The two teenage suspects were transported to the Juvenile Detention Center and charged with assault by mob and robbery.Prince William County police are looking for a man who stabbed a cab driver in Manassas after being picked up in Reston:
Police responded to the 10800 block of Campaign Court for an armed robbery at 10:41p.m. The investigation revealed that the victim, a cab driver, picked up a man in Reston and dropped him off in the area.Both of those stories are kind of bummers, so please to be enjoying, courtesy of the Connection, this heartwarming tale about a pet salon where dogs can get pampered. They think they're people!
The victim was cut across the throat by the man and subsequently struck a parked car. The victim was transported to an area hospital for a superficial wound.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, between 18 and 25 years of age. He's approximately 5-foot-7 and weighs 150 pounds. He was last seen wearing a green shirt and jeans.
Friday, August 13, 2010
You could sit by your mailbox for the next few weeks, waiting for a uniformed federal agent to deliver your copy of the fall edition of Reston: The Magazine (assuming the aforementioned mailbox is compliant with your cluster and/or DRB requirements on the placement, size and color of mail repositories). Or you could just fire up your Internet machine and visit the RA's fancy "web site" to download it now.
That's what we did with the Sinclair ZX-81 that powers Restonian World Headquarters, and we could tell you all about the pep talk from RA President Kathleen Driscoll McKee, who compares decision-making about Reston's future to the Iroquois Nation, only minus the earth-toned smallpox blankets... or maybe the exciting description of Small Tax District 5... or the return of Earl the Squirrel... or even the "stroke of the week."
But instead, we'll just share the DRB-inspired "covenants word find," which makes 15 laborious tasks "associated with the window replacement process" exciting and fun! Seriously. Sadly, the words "taupe," "lien," and "red mulch" don't appear to be included, but we think we've found our replacement for the New York Times crossword puzzle this weekend.
Bonus points for the first person who finds a verboten RA term hidden in the puzzle, like maybe "fuchsia."
AOL's Patch local news service officially launched its Reston site last night. It's the first of what will eventually become a network of local sites in Virginia. Karen Goff, a snarky blogger in her own right, is Reston Patch's editor, and Christopher Moore, former publisher of the late lamented Observer, is overseeing the site and others, including one slated to launch in Herndon.
Despite the potential threat to our tens of dollars of lucrative "Who's Your Baby's Daddy" and law enforcement academy advertising, we're excited to see Patch here. Given the dubious life expectancy of newspapers that cover Reston (or pretty much anything else, at this point), anything that supports "experienced journalists" that can shed light on what's going on, and possibly even attend the occasional RA meeting, is a good thing. Otherwise,
lazy industrious "web loggers" like ourselves might actually have to put on hard shoes and leave the house from time to time to find out what's going on.
Plus, Patch has business listings, which allowed us to check in with our favorite eatery.
You had us at "Bread."
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Hey, remember that time the RA lost a lawsuit over whether it would allow two South Reston residents to use "bow hunting services" to "manage" (i.e., slaughter) deer populations on their property?
Yeah, that was awesome. Apparently, the huntin' fun continues to this day. A Confidential Restonian Operative forwarded a letter she and others in her neighborhood received from the RA about this very matter.
Dear Reston Neighbor,Of course, the Reston Association hasn't put the minutes from that meeting on its fancy "web site" as of yet -- it's only been two weeks, after all -- so we don't know whether bows are blazin' in South Reston. But our Confidential Restonian Operative says the lack of panic in her neighborhood has been palpable.
The owner of the above referenced property has requested permission from the Reston Association (R.A) Board of Directors to hunt deer on their property, per Reston Association Use and Maintenance Standards Resolution 12, Hunting.
The purpose of this letter is notify you of such request and to inform you the RA Board of Directors will be discussing the request at its meeting on Thursday July 29,2010 at 7:00 PM at RA's (relocated) main office at 72001. Sunrise Valley Drive. The Board will consider this request and you will have the opportunity to comment on the hunting application at the meeting.
It started out in a concerned, "won't somebody think of the children" vein, but pretty quickly devolved into a discussion of what equipment Wile E. Coyote would use to kill deer.Wile E. Coyote wouldn't try to kill deer; even we know he wants to eat roadrunners. But assuming he did, we think he'd try something like this:
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
We've pointed out the myriad differences between Reston and Herndon before, both in words and in pictures. Now we have proof that even the nightlife is different in our
tolerant fire-fearing neighbor to the west:
Shortly after midnight July 24, longtime Jimmy's Old Town Tavern employees Tegee Rogers, 33, of Herndon and Justin Fedorchak, 39, of Manassas were each charged with three felony offenses by a Fairfax County fire marshal who was at the bar that evening performing a routine inspection, Fire and Rescue spokeswoman Rene Stilwell said.Now, things can get a little wild at the Macaroni Grill on Overflowing Salad Bowl Nights, but we just can't see something this
"The way I understand it, they were doing the 'flaming shot' trick at the bar and a fire marshal was there and arrested them," said Herndon Town Council member and Herndon Arts Council president Grace Wolf... "The charges seem pretty over-the-top," Wolf said. "I'm pretty sure there are many other local bars where shots are set on fire. Why was Jimmy's singled out? And why these extreme charges when a simple warning seems much more appropriate?".
Local lawmakers are apparently inquiring about the severity of the charges. In case you're wondering what all the fuss is about, there are approximately 176 of those, whazzitcalled, You Tubes, about this very practice. This one's pretty much par for the course:
Friends don't let friends set themselves and/or barstools on fire.
So, while they're doing this sort of thing in Herndon, let's see what kind of utter mayhem there is to be found in Reston's Fake Downtown:
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Hey, remember that time the folks at VDOT gave Personal Injury Lawyers Road a "road diet," creating narrow bike lanes that protect cyclists from commuters headed for the Vienna Metro at Mach 2 with a tiny strip of semi-reflective paint and a center turn lane to keep said commuters from rear-ending each other?
Yeah, that was awesome. Well, the anorexic roadway is approaching its one-year anniversary, and VDOT is taking stock of the impact... which would be a good thing if they actually had statistics to back their hunch that the road diet would reduce accidents. Only they don't.
While VDOT traffic engineers have not yet received final statistics, crashes at this location are expected to drop at least 20 percent. The two-way turn-lane will help prevent rear-end crashes, which accounted for 15 of 56 crashes here over the last three years. A buffer between travel lanes to reduce head-on crashes, and speed reduction from eliminating passing are among other benefits of the configuration.So in lieu of boring statistics, VDOT is conducting a survey, using highly sophisticated consumer sampling and metrics from something called "surveymonkey." We can't wait to hear what Richard Hertz and Oliver Clothesoff think of these changes!
This stretch of Lawyers Road was the first “road diet” executed in northern Virginia, and was considered an ideal location because one travel lane in each direction could handle rush-hour traffic volumes. Lawyers Road handles about 10,000 vehicles a day between Reston Parkway and Myrtle Lane.
All joking aside, given that this was the first attempt at this kind of traffic calming measure in Northern Virginia and that it seems to make sense, it would be good to know if it, you know, actually worked. Hopefully we'll find out at some point.
Ah, the dog days of August, when crime in Reston trickles down to one mere incident in which a group of men liberated a wallet from someone in South Reston.
Four men assaulted a 40-year-old man and stole his wallet on Saturday, July 31 around 11:06 p.m. in the 2200 block of Stone Wheel Drive. The suspects were described as Hispanic, between 20 and 25 years old. The victim declined medical treatment.Despite the fact there were four men involved, detectives do not appear to be rounding up barbershop quartets for questioning.
For those that prefer their crime tidbits on the white-collar side, there's this:
A Nevada law firm has filed two civil lawsuits against Reston-based Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems alleging billions of dollars worth of fraud.There's a bunch of complicated stuff about mortgage recording systems in that article, so instead please to be enjoying this heartwarming "news-paper" article about "Angel of Reston," a Jack Russell terrier who wins lots of first place awards at terrier shows. SPOILER ALERT: You'll also learn why Angel's middle name is Huey. And whether she attended a Newt Gingrich book signing (SPOILER ALERT to the SPOILER ALERT: she did.)
The suits, filed in Nevada and California district courts, claim the company has deprived county and state governments of revenue "used among other things to maintain county real property records, fund the judiciary, school systems and other government services."
"They tout themselves as being a recording-fee avoidance scheme," said attorney Robert R. Hager of Nevada law firm Hager & Hearne, which has filed the suits against MERS.
MERS spokeswoman Karmela Lejarde called both suits "baseless" and pointed out that the attorney generals of both California and Nevada refused to accept them as false claims cases, essentially forcing Hager & Hearne to file civil suits.
"These same law firms have brought many other lawsuits against MERS and every one has failed," she said. The MERS website further claims the MERS system is approved by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, the Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Affairs, and the California and Utah housing finance agencies, as well as all of the major Wall Street rating agencies.
Friday, August 6, 2010
We love us some "viral marketing," and this fancy video from the Reston-based National Wildlife Federation definitely fits that bill. Much like one of those buddy cop movies, "Dirty the sock puppet" and his earnest human keeper visit the Reston Zoo to talk smack about climate change, spineless lawmakers and a bunch of wonky public policy stuff like "API scorecards."
As one of several Secret Restonian Operatives who forwarded us this fancy video told us, "It’s practically like being featured on 60 Minutes! If 60 Minutes was watched by only 300 people. And Mike Wallace was a sock puppet."
- Remember what a bummer it was that Sallie Mae was moving to Delaware, taking its foul-mouthed CEO and hundreds of employees with it? Well, it looks like Verisign Inc., one of those fancy "Inter net" companies, is looking at Sallie Mae's awesome office building in the fake downtown, unless it moves to some low-slung office space in Loudoun instead.
- Boston Properties bought a parcel of land in the Reston Town Center, where it might build up to 360 apartments in the "very near future."
- Marion Stillson will remain president of the Reston Citizens Association following elections during the Reston Festival in July. Hank Blakely and John Bowman will serve two-year terms on the RCA Board, while Mike Corrigan will serve for one year.
- Ha ha ha ha, the Tyson's Connector shuttle service is so underused it might get shut down. Guess people don't want free rides to gawk at
Crystal Koons' sprawling car lots"Fairfax County's Downtown" at lunchtime after all.
- The W&OD trail will be closed periodically during the next couple of weeks, as crews work on the bridge that will carry the Metro Silver Line over it.
- Friends of Reston raised more than $1,000 for the Nature House during its recent storytelling fundraiser. You can watch videos from the performance at the link.
- Because there's nothing else to do in Washington, D.C., these days, Rep. Frank Wolf wrote a fancy letter, on Congress stationery and everything, urging the rollback of toll hikes on the Greenway and calling them "highway robbery." (Get it?)
- The Reston Post Office will expand its building on Sunset Hills Road, adding space and parking spaces by summer 2011.
- Herndon-Reston FISH named Darlene Tolbert Palmer president of the non-profit organization.
- Reston company Tetra Tech EM is one of many local companies that's gotten a share of the Gulf oil spill cleanup work, contracting with the EPA. Maybe if we show up in Louisiana with a roll of paper towels and some Lysol, we could get some of that sweet
- South Lakes High School and its feeder elementary schools are in a partnership with Google to learn how to use Google Earth and other fancy software in the classroom. Computers in the classroom? Now there's a fad.
- One judge had enough of a lawsuit involving real estate agents and a disputed house sale, ordering a Reston realtor and her attorney to pay $272,000 as a sanction.
- Lafarge North America opened a new green headquarters in Reston, which we point out mainly because it's the one and only time we'll be able to link to Pit and Quarry Magazine.
- Reston native Nora Corrigan recently won $28,200 on Jeopardy, crediting her success to "epic" all-night games of Trivial Pursuit in college.
- Finally, we've found a place in Reston where brand-new single family homes cost $199,950, and near some sort of body of water to boot! Oh, wait -- it's a new development in suburban Chicago. Never mind.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Actually, we're quite surprised at this blatant sexism, given past examples of Compare Foods' enlightened advertising. We just know "Susie de los Santos" would be disappointed.
What a difference a few months has made at Lake Anne Plaza! It seems like just yesterday that Bob Simon's metallic golem had been tagged by graffiti artists, and now it's become a place where ukulele players roam, free Wi-Fi is available to all, and new businesses are opening. Even TV's Arch Campbell has noticed, giving a plug to the aforementioned ukulele festival (we immediately muted the TV when we saw the aforementioned ukulele, so we're not quite sure what Arch had to say).
After the plaza's biggest restaurant space had sat vacant for more than a year and a half, Kalypso's Sports Tavern opened last month. It seems to be bustling, with frequent live music in the evenings. They even have a Facebook page, the sign of fine dining everywhere.
Another new business called WeSpace offers "co-working office space" with a focus on creativity and collaboration, for those of us who want to pretend we have "jobs" with "co-workers." WeSpace is holding an open house on Saturday if you're curious.
All in all, this is great news for a space that deserves it. Just no more ukuleles, plz? Thx.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Report: Reston To Triple in Size by 2050, Require Three Macaroni Grills To Feed Hungry Populace, As Task Force Recommends Higher Density
Reston could triple in size by 2050, according to a George Mason University growth forecast. The "good" news? Most of us will be dead by the time the biggest push happens.
Reston is predicted to triple in residential size by 2050, while employment is expected to almost double, according to a growth forecast created by George Mason University's Center for Regional Analysis.This is where the Reston Master Plan Task Force with an Unpronounceable Acronym (~) comes in. And its job is tricky, because of what we'll call the earth-toned chicken-and-egg syndrome (tm): Does the task force accommodate growth at this scale as best it can because it's inevitable, or does it have the power to mitigate that growth through its actions? Based on its recent draft recommendations, it appears the former approach is the one that's currently favored:
The forecast predicted that other areas in the county, such as Tysons Corner and south county, likely will see faster job growth between 2010 and 2020. Reston is predicted to see the bulk of its growth later, between 2030 and 2050.
Task force members are forming a recommendation to the county Board of Supervisors on what zoning changes to the Reston Master Plan need to be made to incorporate predicted new levels of density.The Task Force's subcommittee draft reports for the areas around the Wiehle Avenue and Reston Town Center metro stations both call for dramatic increases in density, as measured by a formula called "FAR" (floor-to-area radio). Both proposals, at least as they are currently written, are suggesting FARs of up to 5.0 in the areas closest to the Metro stations, tapering down to less dense ratios as you move towards existing residential areas. (By contrast, our beloved Fake Downtown has a FAR of about 2.0, and Ballston has one of about 4.0.) Here's what that looks like:
"It's become apparent to me that we're going to have to do away with the [Planning Residential Community zoning] that limits our growth to 13 persons per acre," said Gerald Volloy, representing the Alliance of Reston Clusters and Homeowners, an organization commonly known as ARCH.
Higher density has been favored by Reston founder Robert E. Simon, who also sits on the task force. Several task force members said they were skeptical of the reliability of the growth forecasts because of the distance of projection.
Simon agreed: "These forecasts were based on the location of these [Metro] stations. ... And I think that's a bit dangerous." He said the task force should look to village centers as destinations, not Metro stops, adding "community centers are divorced from Metro stations."
Just as importantly, both proposals are calling for a strictly enforced mix of commercial and residential development and open space -- most notably a park extending through much of the current Spectrum Center near RTC. The RTC proposal also makes a case for development above the Toll Road, urging planners to preserve the air rights for when doing so becomes economically feasible.
One encouraging comment in the RTC draft proposal: "Let good projects, not FAR limits, drive decisions." We think that's something everyone can agree with.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
What do Reston and some of Baghdad's more earth-toned neighborhoods have in common? Apparently, IEDs. Reston and West Springfield neighborhoods have been the site of at least eight "homemade bombs" since May.
Authorities are warning Fairfax County residents to beware of homemade chemical bombs placed in mailboxes and on front yards of residential areas.Fortunately, the Paper of Record is there to provide the following insightful comments from its sophisticated readers:
No one has been injured by the bombs, which are made of over-the-counter chemicals, such as Drano and baking soda.
Residents have discovered flaming water bottles upon opening their mailboxes. In June, Lee-Alison Sibley began removing what appeared to be trash from her mailbox in Great Falls. Smoke started barreling out of a plastic water bottle as soon as she touched it.
"The bottle had already exploded, but some of the chemicals burned my finger," Sibley said. "My middle finger turned black and swelled to twice its size."
Fairfax police and fire departments are investigating. "This kind of thing tends to be the work of a younger person," said Renee Stilwell, a fire department spokeswoman. "There's no massive explosion, but it makes people feel threatened . . . and it could be dangerous."
The fire and police departments released a bulletin last month warning residents that "the explosions are powerful enough to damage mailboxes and cause potentially serious harm to persons."
Personally I think it's probably young punks. However, as far as I'm concerned they're terrorists, and if you catch one putting a bomb in your mailbox, they should be fair game, and there should be no penalty for shooting them on sight. Shoot one of them in the stomach with a deer rifle or a .45, and see if they "learn" that what they're doing is serious and not going to be tolerated.Meanwhile, a 50-year-old woman was injured following a burglary on Park Garden Lane last Tuesday.
Police responded to a burglary in the 1400 block of Park Garden Lane around 11:20 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27. Someone entered the home, assaulted a 50-year-old woman and fled. The victim was taken to a local hospital with non life- threatening injuries. Police continue to investigate.A Mercedes Benz 320 was also stolen from the 1800 block of Town Center Parkway -- pretty ritzy for a car theft round these here parts. By contrast, in Herndon, someone stole a birdcage from a house.