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The T-Mobile store at 216 Maple Avenue West in Vienna (via Google Maps)

The Town of Vienna Police Department is looking into a recent burglary at the T-Mobile store on Maple Avenue.

An employee reported that two men walked into the store at 216 Maple Avenue West between 6:54 and 7:01 p.m. last Tuesday (June 21) and “stole several high-valued electronic devices,” according to the VPD’s crime highlights for the week of June 17-23.

“The men cut all the security cords for the devices and left the area,” the department said in its report of the crime, which allegedly took place “within a few minutes.”

The incident has been designated a grand larceny, which is defined in Virginia as the theft of goods valued at $1,000 or more, and is under investigation by officers in the police department’s criminal investigations section.

Vienna police are also investigating a resident’s report that he was assaulted in the 100 block of Patrick Street SE while walking home with some newly purchased beer.

According to the police write-up, the resident was approached sometime between 8:16 and 8:21 p.m. on June 19 by a man who demanded one of the beer bottles.

“When the resident refused to give the suspect a beer, the suspect snatched one of the beer bottles, broke it, and used the broken bottle to cut the resident’s hand,” the VPD said.

Other notable incidents from the most recent crime report include a disruptive patron at Panera and a dispute between neighbors over vehicle honking:

Suspicious Event 22-006230
900 Block Timber Lane, SW
June 20 between 8:00 a.m. and 9:21 a.m.
A resident requested police assistance with a verbal dispute that had just occurred with her neighbor. The resident stated that her neighbor often honks her vehicle horn at vehicles she believes are speeding past her house or squirrels in her yard. The resident added that the neighbor abruptly awakened her family that morning with the honking. Officers made and requested that she stop using her vehicle horn in that manner.

Trespassing 22-006244
Panera Bread
136 Maple Avenue, West
June 20 2:27 p.m.
An employee requested police assistance with a loud subject disrupting customers. The subject was also harassing the staff and refusing to leave the store. Officers contacted the subject and advised her that she had been officially trespassed from the store and had to leave. The subject left the scene without further incident.

Photo via Google Maps

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Workers at the Fairfax County Government Center’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic schedule a “baby Moderna” dose (via Fairfax County Health Department/Facebook)

The Fairfax Health District reported a small uptick in COVID-19 cases over the past week, while the availability of vaccines for the area’s youngest residents expanded.

With more than 500 new cases reported on three different days last week, the district — which includes Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church — saw its seven-day average rise from 378 cases on June 19 to 429 cases today (Monday), according to Virginia Department of Health data.

The district has also seen a sharp jump in its testing positivity rate over that time frame, from 16% on June 18 to 18% as of Thursday (June 23). The average number of people getting PCR tests for Covid each day has declined by over 1,000 encounters since May 24.

The Fairfax County Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard suggests the increase in cases could reflect a data reporting backlog, with adjustments being made “over the next several weeks” since June 14.

Regardless, the current case levels are still below the weekly average of 601 cases recorded on May 25 — the high mark for the spring — and the all-time high of 2,590 cases from Jan. 13.

Fairfax Health District COVID-19 cases over the past 26 weeks, as of June 27, 2022 (via VDH)

With a case rate of 231.19 per 100,000 residents, Fairfax County is still seeing a “medium” community COVID-19 level, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 75 new Covid patients were admitted to a hospital last week through Thursday, a 13.8% drop from the previous seven days.

With 249 cases added today, the Fairfax Health District has reported 213,845 COVID-19 cases, 4,635 hospitalizations, and 1,529 deaths during the pandemic.

All Fairfax Health District COVID-19 cases, as of June 27, 2022 (via VDH)

Since Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines for kids under 5 became available last Tuesday (June 21), clinics at the Fairfax County Government Center and South County Hyland Center have administered shots to over 1,600 children aged 6 months through 4 years old, the county health department says.

That includes kids from other jurisdictions, along with the Fairfax Health District, which was the first place in Northern Virginia to start offering the new vaccinations.

After initially reaching capacity and reporting long waits at its clinics, complicated by a lag in the federal Vaccine Administration Management System updating to include the newest age group, FCHD says the appointment process is now “working smoothly.”

The vaccines have also become more widely available from other localities, including Arlington and the City of Alexandria, as well as pediatricians, family practices, and other private medical providers.

“Pediatricians and family practices (and other local jurisdiction health departments) started to receive and provide vaccinations later in the week,” FCHD spokesperson Lucy Caldwell told FFXnow by email. “But it is too soon to tell how much of an impact this will have on our clinics.”

While data on how many Fairfax Health District residents under 5 have gotten a shot isn’t available right now, Caldwell notes that the expansion of vaccine eligibility to that age group has inspired many parents and older siblings to get a booster shot while at the county’s clinics.

According to FCHD’s most recent data, 92.7% of all kids over age 12 in the district have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 84.6% have had two doses. In addition, 61% of children aged 5-11 have received one dose, and 54.5% have received two doses.

Overall, 997,091 Fairfax Health District residents — or 84.2% of the population — have gotten at least one vaccine dose, including 92.9% of adults 18 and older. About 908,859 residents, or 76.8%, are fully vaccinated, including 84.9% of adults.

Photo via Fairfax County Health Department/Facebook

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(Updated at 2:50 p.m. on 6/27/2022) There is a heavy police presence at an apartment complex in Groveton after a man was shot early this afternoon (Sunday).

Reported shortly after noon, the incident occurred in the 3300 block of Lockheed Blvd, which is occupied by the Meadow Woods Apartments.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, the man was transported to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening. The suspect is believed to be in an apartment.

Police have closed off Lockheed Blvd between Fordson Road and Fairchild Drive. Community members are advised to avoid the area, though a crowd of onlookers has formed outside the complex. (The names of the roads where Lockheed Blvd is blocked off have been corrected.)

One resident of the neighborhood told FFXnow that he’s never seen such a large police response in the area, noting that there was a helicopter before all the police cars arrived.

The FCPD set up a tent on the site with water for the responding officers, and an incident command van later showed up at the scene.

However, police later reported around 4 p.m. that the suspect was not located in the apartment where they had set up the barricade.

“Officers on scene of the shooting were informed that a suspect potentially ran into a nearby apartment,” the FCPD told FFXnow the following day (Monday). “Upon a search of the residence, the suspect was not found. It is unknown whether the suspect fled prior to officers surrounding the apartment or never entered the apartment.”

Preliminarily, police don’t believe the shooting was a random act, but detectives are continuing to investigate. The department asks anyone with information to call 703-246-7800.

Brandi Bottalico contributed to this report.

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Fairfax County Fire and Rescue crews respond to reports of gunfire at Tysons Corner Center (staff photo by James Cullum)

The weekend is almost here. Before you try to process the end of the Roe v. Wade era or head to bed for some much-needed sleep, let’s revisit the past week of news in Fairfax County.

Here are the 10 most-read stories on FFXnow this week:

  1. Here’s what will replace Clyde’s in Reston Town Center
  2. Three people injured while evacuating Tysons Corner Center, now closed after gunfire
  3. BREAKING: Metro takes control of Silver Line Phase 2
  4. South Lakes Village Center seeks to convert vacant bank into drive-thru fast food restaurant
  5. Frying Pan townhouse fire sparked by malfunctioning battery pack
  6. Man dies after drowning in McLean stream, police say
  7. JUST IN: Driver charged in Oakton crash that killed two teens
  8. Demolition of Georgetown Pike Bridge over Beltway starts this week
  9. Fairfax County police seeking D.C. rapper for Tysons Corner Center shooting
  10. Construction coming soon to replace Vienna’s Outback Steakhouse with a Chase Bank

Ideas for potential stories can be sent to news@ffxnow.com or submitted as an anonymous tip. Photos of scenes from around the county are welcome too, with credit always given to the photographer.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans, or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below. Have a great weekend, Fairfax County!

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Thursday afternoon traffic at the Balls Hill Road and Old Dominion Drive intersection (via Google Maps)

Fairfax County has a plan to fix the Balls Hill Road and Old Dominion Drive intersection, but it will likely take another half-decade for the changes to fall into place.

Construction on the proposed realignment — which will split the X-shaped intersection into two T intersections — isn’t expected to start until the spring of 2027, finishing in fall 2028, Fairfax County Department of Transportation staff told the community in a pair of meetings this week.

The lengthy timeline partly stems from an extensive utility relocation process projected take up to 24 months. It could be shortened if the supply-chain issues that have slowed construction during the pandemic abate.

“Some of those [utility] poles are located right now where we’d need to put roadway stuff, sidewalks, whatever, so they have to be out of the way before we can begin construction,” FCDOT project manager Jared Kerr said during a virtual meeting on Wednesday (June 22).

An in-person meeting was held last night (Thursday) at Churchill Elementary School.

Fairfax County’s proposed preliminary design for the Balls Hill Road and Old Dominion Drive intersection (via FCDOT)

Local transportation officials say the wait will be worthwhile for McLean drivers, whose patience is regularly tested by traffic congestion in the central intersection between I-495 and Route 123.

Selected out of three options proposed when the county first brought the project forward in 2018, the T-intersection concept will move traffic more efficiently by reducing driver confusion and relocating signals so vehicles are less likely to block residential driveways, FCDOT staff say.

By 2045, the changes will shave almost two minutes off the average morning rush-hour delay and three minutes off peak afternoon travel times compared to what would happen if nothing is done, according to a staff presentation.

Those couple of minutes could mean the difference between sitting through one or two traffic signal cycles and limit vehicle queues to 125 to 150 feet long. Currently, queues on Balls Hill can extend over half a mile, backing up to The Langley School, one resident at Wednesday’s meeting observed. Read More

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A Bruster’s Ice Cream franchise is coming to Vienna (courtesy Bruster’s Real Ice Cream)

A new ice cream shop is coming to the Town of Vienna, promising a sweet respite for residents and visitors trekking along Maple Avenue.

The Pennsylvania-based company Bruster’s Real Ice Cream has applied for a permit to renovate the retail space at 237 Maple Avenue in Glyndon Plaza, according to Fairfax County records.

Processed on May 13, the permit description states that the store will consist of an ice cream preparation kitchen and walk-up windows for customers to place and pick up their orders, but there won’t be indoor seating for patrons.

The set-up will be similar to Bruster’s Fairfax City franchise, which opened in May 2021.

Some Tysons area residents may be familiar with the business from its location on Avenir Place near the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station. That store was open from roughly 2015 to 2020, when the franchisee opted not to renew their lease, a Bruster’s public relations representative told FFXnow.

The Vienna store will occupy a 1,300-square-foot corner suite in Glyndon Plaza that had been filled by Ocean Cleaners since 1995. The dry-cleaning business has permanently closed, according to its Yelp page.

“The demographics and the location of this new site present a great opportunity to further build the brand connection in the community,” Bruster’s said by email.

Based in Bridgewater, Pennsylvania, Bruster’s opened its first store in 1989 and started franchising in 1993. It now has over 200 independently owned locations across 22 states, Guyana and South Korea, according to its website.

The company touts its “old-fashioned” approach to making ice cream, developed by founder Bruce Reed, and the variety of flavors it has in rotation, with each shop offering at least 24 options every day.

“Our handcrafted recipes always start with a proprietary homestyle mix delivered fresh from our own dairy to each ice cream shop,” Bruster’s said. “We serve premium flavors and artisan desserts made right in the store where they are served, including crunchy handmade waffle cones, customized sundaes, candy-filled blasts and thick milkshakes.”

The store is expected to open late in the third quarter of 2022, which ends on Sept. 30. The company confirmed that means the opening will be sometime this fall.

Bruster’s will be the second artisan ice cream shop to find a home in Vienna this year. Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream celebrated its grand opening at the Cedar Park Shopping Center yesterday (Thursday) after a quiet rollout in April.

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The Sandlot pop-up bar at The Boro in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The Boro in Tysons is going to the dogs this weekend, hosting a pair of canine-friendly events that will also benefit a local LGBTQ youth advocacy group.

The mixed-use development near the Greensboro Metro station is inviting pups and their humans alike to a “Yappy Hour” at 5-7 p.m. tomorrow (Friday).

The Sandlot Tysons (1640 Boro Place) will feature a Bone Bar with dog treats and branded bag holder giveaways and a photo opportunity in front of the word “bark” spelled out in “jumbo light-up letters,” according to a news release.

There will also be live music and cocktails, and the local nonprofit Wolf Trap Animal Rescue will be present to share information about fostering a dog. A portion of all beverage proceeds will go to Safe Space NOVA, an Alexandria-based nonprofit that provides support and resources to LGBTQ teens.

In addition to offering a support group, educational programs, and social activities, the organization will host its annual Pride Prom for high school students at The St. James in Springfield tomorrow. Designed to be inclusive of all genders and sexual orientations, the event had been on a two-year break due to the pandemic.

“In celebration of Pride Month, The Boro is excited to partner with one of the great local organizations aiming to help members of the LGBTQ+ community,” The Boro said in a statement. “Safe Space NOVA is dedicated to providing a safe, accepting and supporting environment to combat social stigmas, bullying and other challenges faced by LGBTQ+ youth.”

“Yappy Hour” is free and open to the general public, but the development encourages registering in advance through Eventbrite.

The following morning will bring a less-boozy affair with a “Camp Bark” training session at Boro Park.

A local trainer will lead the class for beginners from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday (June 25). Free coffee and treats will be available, and a portion of sales from the tickets, which cost $10 per dog, will be donated to Safe Space NOVA.

Registration on Eventbrite is required for participants.

Additional Pride Month events coming to the Tysons area this June include the Mosaic District’s first-ever Pride Celebration on Saturday and a concert by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington at Capital One Hall on Sunday (June 26).

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The future Reston Town Center Metro station (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Metro has reached a major milestone with its Silver Line Phase 2 project.

The 11.4-mile rail extension from Reston into Loudoun County has achieved its “operational readiness date” and was formally handed over to Metro at 6 a.m. today (Thursday), interim Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority General Manager and CEO Andy Off announced during a board of directors meeting.

Off noted that Metro hasn’t technically accepted the project, as a number of steps remain to get it ready for passenger service. However, WMATA is now responsible for the rail line’s infrastructure and will start testing and training employees to familiarize them with the new facilities.

“This milestone enables our team to test the tracks and systems, train and familiarize our workforce on yard operations, mainline and stations and ensure that we provide safe and reliable service for customers on the extension,” Off said in a news release. “We look forward to opening the new stations soon and delivering high quality rail connections to Dulles Airport and Loudoun County.”

The second phase of the Silver Line has been in the works under the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority for almost a decade now, encountering numerous delays that have frustrated local residents, business owners, and elected officials.

Metro and Fairfax County transportation officials had suggested earlier this month that MWAA was finally almost ready to hand over the project, which will add six stations to the Silver Line from Reston Town Center to Ashburn.

The timeline for opening the new stations is still unclear. Off said it will take “a considerable amount of time” to train the 350 employees working at the new, 90-acre Dulles Airport rail yard facility, but the board of directors will be updated next month, and a launch date will be announced as the schedule gets refined.

“It is a major milestone, and we’re excited to get to this point finally,” said Matt Letourneau, a Virginia representative on the WMATA board.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn, who chairs the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ transportation committee, expressed relief at the “long-awaited” news.

“Years of investment in infrastructure, development and economic opportunities will soon pay off for residents and businesses in Fairfax County and our neighboring jurisdictions,” Alcorn said in a statement. “We’re all looking forwarding to WMATA’s announcement of when we can open the gates to riders and get these trains rolling!”

Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine also released a joint statement on the announcement with their counterparts from Maryland, Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen:

Today’s news takes us one big step closer to our shared goal of ensuring that our transportation infrastructure is reliable, convenient, and capable of keeping up with the National Capital Region’s growth. We welcome this development and encourage WMATA to safely and expeditiously put the finishing touches on this project so the Silver Line can fully open for customer service.

The first phase of the Silver Line, which runs through Tysons to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, opened in 2014.

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A new dining option is coming together at Tysons Corner Center.

The fast-casual chain Mezeh Mediterranean Grill plans to open a 3,134-square-foot restaurant with outdoor seating at the mall later this year, the company confirmed to FFXnow.

“Tysons Corner has always been on our roadmap, we just never knew when,” Mezeh Marketing Director Patrick Mika said by email. “Fortunately for Mezeh, a space has opened up and we are excited to join the restaurant ranks in Tysons!”

Tysons Corner Center’s map indicates that Mezeh will be located next to Bloomingdale’s, replacing the Le Pain Quotidien that closed in 2020. Fairfax County processed an interior demolition permit for the restaurant on May 19, but it hasn’t been issued yet, according to county records.

While there’s no clear completion date yet, Mika says the business hopes to open its newest location before the winter holidays.

Based in Annapolis, Mezeh has more than 30 locations across Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New York with its first D.C. site on the way. Its Fairfax County restaurants are in Fair Oaks Mall, Springfield Town Center, the Old Keene Mill Shopping Center, and Reston’s RTC West development.

Similar to Cava Grill, which lost a trademark lawsuit against Mezeh in 2017, the business serves “create your own” bowls, flat bread wraps and pita pockets with an emphasis on freshness that Mika says differentiates it from other Mediterranean eateries.

“We prep every item that goes on our line that day, and you will not find any additives or preservatives in our food to help extend the shelf life of the product,” Mika said. “Working in small batches help us control both the freshness on the line and the waste that comes at the end of the day.”

According to Mika, the company’s founding partners — CEO Saleh Mohamadi, Steve Walker and Tai Chiao — have all lived in Northern Virginia for more than 40 years and are excited about the “great exposure having a shop” in Tysons Corner Center could bring.

According to the mall’s website, other businesses in the works include Chopathi Indian Kitchen, which was announced last year, as well as a Day & Night Cereal Bar.

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A kid gets their first COVID-19 vaccine shot at the Fairfax County Government Center’s clinic (courtesy Fairfax County Health Department)

(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) The Fairfax County Government Center’s COVID-19 vaccine site has reached capacity for the day, as families across Northern Virginia rush to get their youngest kids inoculated.

The Fairfax County Health Department announced just before noon that it’s no longer accepting new appointments at the government center today (Wednesday), citing the high demand.

The county was among just a handful of places in Northern Virginia to make the newly authorized vaccines for kids under 5 available as soon as yesterday (Tuesday), according to FCHD spokesperson Lucy Caldwell.

Neighboring Arlington County, for example, only made them available today and is requiring scheduled appointments.

“We are delighted with the demand we’ve seen so far,” Caldwell told FFXnow, noting that the government center has been “very popular” over the past two days. “Our county health department staff have planned for this for months.”

With the health department’s current staffing levels, the government center has the capacity to administer 500 to 600 shots per day.

The county is also offering both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for young kids at its South County Government Center clinic (8350 Richmond Highway). Walk-ins at both sites are welcome, but FCHD warns that it is seeing long wait times for walk-in service.

In general, COVID-19 vaccine appointments can be scheduled through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Administration Management System, but federal staff have run into some issues with updating the system to reflect the latest expansion of eligibility, according to FCHD.

“We are waiting for those updates to be made and have been told they will be in place this evening,” Caldwell said.

The Food and Drug Administration and CDC gave their support to Moderna and Pfizer’s Covid vaccines for kids as young as 6 months of age last week, opening eligibility for vaccination up to nearly 69,000 more Fairfax Health District residents.

The Moderna vaccine is for kids up to 6 years old and requires two doses spaced four to eight weeks apart. Pfizer’s three-dose regimen is targeted toward kids up to 5 years old.

While the shots are also being delivered to pediatric offices, private medical providers, and some retail pharmacies, Caldwell says the county health department clinics have seen many people who got put on their pediatrician’s waitlist “but tell us they do not want to wait.”

Anecdotally, the government center has also gotten visitors from across Northern Virginia, not just the Fairfax Health District, which covers the county and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church.

“They are telling us that they are eager and ready to vaccinate their little ones now and they’ve been waiting long enough,” Caldwell said.

According to FCHD data updated at 10:30 a.m., 996,500 Fairfax Health District residents, or 84.2% of the population, have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot, including 92.9% of adults.

While the dashboard doesn’t yet include data for kids under 5, the county health department says its two sites delivered shots to 338 children between 6 months and 5 years of age yesterday. The clinics also administered primary or booster doses to 99 adults.

“Today, as of 2:45, we have done 323 children between 6 months and 5 years already,” Caldwell told FFXnow, noting that an additional 80 adults received primary series and booster shots.

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