News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

This and That: A Fancy New Fountain, Funnel Cloud Over Reston, and RA Headquarters Bounces Back from Bankruptcy

  • The fancy Lake Anne fountain, which makes our earth-toned community the "Geneva of Fairfax County," as people from far and near don't call it, is in the midst of being replaced with some fancy upgrades, assuming you consider electrical systems and dredging to be "fancy." The new fountain will be up and running by the end of May, according to the RA, "barring any unforeseen difficulties or scheduling conflicts." What could possibly go wrong?

  • The storms that tore through much of the south last week generated a confirmed tornado touchdown in Reston, according to the National Weather Service. This won't surprise anyone who's seen the line of uprooted trees on both sides of Wiehle Avenue -- and the conspicuous lack of damage anywhere else. The NWS says the tornado was about 75 yards wide and was on the ground for 1.1 miles, from roughly the parking lot on Sunset Hills Drive to the Tall Oaks assisted living facility. (Here's the play by play, in case you're keeping score at home.) Considering the damage elsewhere even in Virginia, it's amazing it left only downed trees in its wake.


  • It's shaping up to be a year of transition in Reston schools. Along with the midyear reassignments of Armstrong's two top administrators and Forest Edge Elementary's announcement that principal Frank Bensinger is retiring, new South Lakes football coach Andy Hill said he is resigning to take a job at his alma mater in Minnesota. Lake Anne Elementary principal Linda Hajj is also retiring in June.

  • Good news for the Reston Association: Its landlord narrowly averted foreclosure on the RA headquarters building and has now emerged from bankruptcy court. Plus the owner has big plans!
    Garrison is now looking to reposition the properties and market them to office tenants. It plans to add new conference and fitness facilities to add value to two of the buildings, 12001 and 12005 Sunrise Valley Dr., which total nearly 210,000 square feet near Reston Town Center. Known as Reston Corner I and II, the first building is about 30 percent leased and the second is empty
    Huh. Does that mean the Reston Association is the only tenant in either building?

  • Yay, the fake downtown gritty urban core has a couple of new stores. We're sure White House/Black Market and Francesca's Collections are fine retail options, but we were secretly hoping for a bold new retail concept: a combination saladry/cupcakery called Dressings to Donuts (patent pending).

  • Local mystery author Alan Orloff set his second book, Killer Routine, in Fairfax County and had this to say about our beloved beige community.
    On his website, he describes Reston’s strict developmental guidelines and contrasts that to people’s messy lives.

    “You can’t always adhere to a rigid set of guidelines and still be happy," he says.  “I enjoy the dichotomy between the perfect plastic exterior and the inner chaos.”
    Uh-oh. Did we just out ourselves? Probably not, as no one's ever accused us of knowing how to write. Plus, we had to find a dictionary to figure out what "dichotomy" meant.

  • Yay, Reston company Metron Scientific Solutions helped find the black box of downed Air France Flight 447. Beats our usual Reston business story involving strapping bombs to dolphins, etc., etc.

  • The Washington Post "news-paper" ran an interesting article about a Reston woman who lost her job as a result of changes in Virginia's policies involving drivers licenses for legal immigrants with work permits.
    Hirut Bekele had never heard of Carlos Martinelly-Montano, the undocumented Bolivian immigrant charged with killing a nun in a drunken-driving accident in August.

    But last month, their worlds collided when Bekele, an Ethio­pian woman living in Reston, tried to get her driver’s license renewed in Virginia.

    As she had done for years, Bekele, 32, took her work permit, which she is legally allowed to renew each year, to the Department of Motor Vehicles. In previous years, the DMV would issue her a new license based on the work permit. But last month, it said no.

    Jorge E. Figueredo, director of racial justice and immigrants’ rights at the ACLU of Virginia, said he has come across dozens of recent cases of legal immigrants being denied driver’s licenses in Virginia, and two other cases of immigrants — one from Tunisia and the other from Pakistan — who were denied licenses on identical grounds as Bekele.
    Cue the sensitive and nuanced discussions of our nation's immigration policies in 3... 2...

  • Bummer: Dinner Zen in the South Lakes shopping center is closing, as did Books-a-Million in Plaza America.

  • If weeks-old celebrity sightings are your cup of tea, you're in luck! Redskins coach Mike Shanahan was recently spotted at a screening of "The Conspirator" at the Fake Downtown gritty urban core's cinemas. Get ready for some juicy, no-holds-barred gossip:
    The Redskins coach had a large beverage, while his wife toted a tub of popcorn. Left before all the credits rolled.
    Good thing TMZ was staking out the theater from the Apple store across the street.

  • Finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the passing of Reston soccer coach Ty Lewis. The Reston Knights FC coach and South Lakes High School alum never stopped coaching during his three-plus year battle with colon cancer. "You just live each day like it's the last day of your life," he said in a February TV interview. "Play each game like it's the last you'll ever play." Words to live by, even on a stupid "web log."


  1. Dear Restonian: Thanks for the linky love. Signed, your BFFs at Patch.

  2. Paying market rate for a spot in an empty spec office complex that went bankrupt? Your RA's shrewd business acumen at work!

  3. Why does Bekele need a driver's license? Reston has a wonderful mass transit system, or so I'm told. We're bikeable, walkable, busable, soon-to-be trainable. Heck, I bet before long, she'll even be able to get a ride at Reston's very own Blimp aerodrome. We're a veritable TOD Mecca!

  4. I still cannot believe that tornado was right outside my window and I slept through it. EF-0, but still. The RA needs to take a break from fixing water fountains and try installing some kind of warning system. Not for safety, mind you, but for me to have time to pop some corn and watch the bastard roll.

  5. Wow. That map shows that tornados touched down in Manassas, Clinton, and Reston. Know what else all three places have in common? If you read these comments, they all are likely spots for Dollar General stores.

  6. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonMay 4, 2011 at 9:23 AM

    On a serious note re that tornado, glad nobody was hurt and that property damage was minimal.

    On a less serious note, will that village center now have to be renamed Not So Tall Oaks? And while that NOAA report on the tornado was quite comprehensive, it forgot to mention where and when the scene changed from black and white to mauve and beige.

  7. Detective Anna Na MissMay 4, 2011 at 9:47 AM

    I dunno, Restonian... put a disguise-y hat and some glasses on Alan Orloff and he looks an awful lot like this guy:

  8. I always suspected DCRTV Dave was actually Restonian, but it would take a lot more than a hat and glasses to pull that off.

  9. I have it on good authority that Restonian is a ginger. Makes sense if you think about it.


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