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A home-based golf instruction facility is planned in Great Falls (image via Google Maps).

A home-based golf instruction facility is coming soon to a half-acre of land on 1051 Kelso Road in Great Falls.

Next Level Golf — a local golf instruction company — hopes to open a golf instruction facility that “fosters golf development for individuals of all backgrounds and abilities, including veterans, individuals with PTSD, disabilities and juniors/adults interested in the sport,” according to the application, which was filed last week.

The company plans to install a green and bunker area for golf lessons. The applicant emphasized that that the company has no intention of installing a driving range or golf course — only a specialized facility focused “solely on golf development activities.”

“The utilization of the land will not pose any harm or distraction to neighboring properties, streets, or roads, and will maintain the agricultural stability of the area. The proposed short game area will span approximately 1/2 acre and will be designed specifically for putting, chipping, and pitching practice within a designated 15,000 square foot area. No chemicals other than those required for normal lawn maintenance will be used, ensuring minimal environmental impact and preserving the integrity of the soil,” the application states.

Next Level Golf also plans to use a portion of a home’s garage — roughly 700 square feet — to install golf simulators that allow indoor training options.

The addition requires a special permit and special permit amendment. The application is in the early stages of the county’s review process and has not yet been formally accepted for review.

Image via Google Maps

Reston Association (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

New members of Reston Association’s Board of Directors officially took over following the first board meeting after the election.

The new board formally elected its officers following a month-long election and annual meeting this week, where the results were announced.

Izzy Santa and Jalal Mapar will fill two vacant at-large seats on the board, beating out Darin Skelly for the three-year position.

Incumbent Jennifer Jushchuk — who ran unopposed for the South Lakes District seat — was reelected with no fanfare.

Margaret Perry, also an incumbent, triumphed over Carolina Mejia and Lynda McCann-Ovington to serve a two-year term for the apartment owners’ position.

Mapar was formally named board president — a position previously held by John Farrell.

At last night’s meeting, Mapar urged the board to set aside personal agendas and maintain its responsibility to the community.

“We need to put our personal agendas aside and focus on working as a team to serve the community. We all need to do this together,” he said.

Robert Petrine stepped down from the board at the conclusion of his term but accepted the nomination to continue to serve as the board’s treasurer. 

The bridge will be installed in sections on Saturday (Photo via FCDOT).

A new pedestrian bridge is slated for installation this weekend over Wiehle Avenue at the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, according to the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services.

The installation will prompt the closure of Wiehle Avenue from midnight to 5 a.m. this Saturday (April 13).

The bridge replaces an at-grade crossing at the trail over Wiehle Avenue. Traffic will be detoured to Sunset Hills Road, Reston Parkway and Baron Cameron Avenue.

“The bridge will make it safer for walkers, bikers and drivers moving through this area,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn wrote in an email to constituents.

The project kicked off with a groundbreaking in March 2023. The bridge will be delivered in several sections and assembled in the parking lot along the north side of the existing business facilities. Assembly began in early April.

Here’s a breakdown of the planned detours:

Road Closure Hours: 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., Saturday April 13, 2024. Weather backup: 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., Sunday April 14, 2024.

A transportation management plan will be implemented for the total closure of Wiehle Avenue traffic during the bridge installation. Click here to see the Transportation Management Plan.

Police control will be provided at the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue as well as at the intersection of Roger Bacon Drive and Wiehle Avenue.

Traffic from Wiehle Avenue will be detoured to Sunset Hills Road, Reston Parkway and Baron Cameron Avenue.

All necessary traffic control signs for the detour will be installed prior to the road closure.

Appropriate signs will be installed for the closure of the sidewalk along Wiehle Avenue within the work area.

• The crosswalk and curb ramps at the intersection Sunset Hills Road and Wiehle Avenue will be kept open.

The popular outdoor concert series will celebrate its 30th season this year (Photo via Herndon Rocks/Facebook).

It’s official: Friday Night Live! has announced its lineup for the 30th season of the popular outdoor concert series, which is produced by the Dulles Chamber of Commerce.

Live bands will take the stage in downtown Herndon behind the Herndon Municipal Center (777 Lynn Street) every Friday from May 3 through August 23. The performances take place between 6 and 10 p.m.

“It’s amazing that this is our 30th consecutive season. When other major events have been canceled or were temporarily on hold due to COVID, we produced a virtual season in 2020 and were back on the Town Green in 2021. We couldn’t have been so successful without the dedication of our volunteers and the loyalty of our fans,” said Laura Poindexter, Friday Night Live!’s Chairman.

Here’s the full line-up:

May 3: Three Sheets to the Wind
May 10: Kristen and the Noise
May 17: 8 Track Jones + Billy T Wilde Band
May 24: Royals
May 31: Under the Covers + Legal in The District

June 7: Vertigo Red + Kat Atomic
June 14: Screaming Monkeys
June 21: The Reflex
June 28: The Rockets + Uncle Jesse
July 5: LauraLea & Tripp Fabulous
July 12: keeton + Collective
July 19: Herr Metal + Dr FU
July 26: It’s All Good
August 2: Shake the Room
August 9: Social Call
August 16: Doc Marten and the Flannels
August 23: JunkFood

The event is sponsored by several organizations, including Arts Herndon, Herndon Community Television, Herndon WinterMarkt, Investin, Mile 20 at Mediterranean Breeze, MW Architects LLC, Ned Devine’s Irish Gastro Pub & Restaurant, Office Evolution, Party DC events, Queenb Creative and Revival Construction.

Doug Downer, the event’s founder said, said he did not envision the concert series continuing as long as it has.
“The dedication of our Organizing Committee and our fantastic volunteers as well as the support of the Town and our sponsors has helped to create the fantastic community tradition we have today. This event brings people together in a safe, fun environment as well as helps local businesses and community organizations. Here’s to 30 more years!” he said.
Two new senior leadership positions were filled last week (photo courtesy Reston Association).

Reston Association has officially filled two key leadership positions, the organization announced last week. 

Ed Vroom, a former finance director at a Florida-based technology company, took over as the organization’s Chief Financial Officer last week. Vroom worked as the finance director and controller for L3Harris, a company that offers services for federal, civilian, defense and intelligence customers. 

Here’s more from RA on Vroom’s background: 

Ed managed a team of 25 personnel supporting the Division with offices in Dulles, VA; Columbia, MD; Nashua, NH; Mount Prospect, IL; State College, PA and Melbourne FL. Before L3Harris, Ed was with CACI for 24 years in roles including Program Management, Business Operations and Finance. Earlier in his career, Vroom served in the Navy as the Weapons Control Officer on the USS KIDD (DDG 993), including in the Persian Gulf during Desert Shield/Desert Storm.  

RA also hired its first director of environmental resources and education last week. Michael Reynolds, who worked with the National Park Service for nearly 40 years, will take over the newly created position.

Here’s more from RA on his background: 

Reynolds brings nearly 40 years of experience with the National Park Service, where he most recently served as the Deputy Director of External and Congressional Affairs for the NPS based in Washington D.C. He previously held leadership positions throughout the US with the NPS, including Yosemite National Park, Cape Cod, Fire Island and Olympic National Parks with regional office leadership assignments in Denver, Philadelphia and Omaha. 

RA created the position in order to implement environmental policy established by the Board of Directors and create goals for the association’s environmental resource education and watershed divisions. Other roles include managing services that impact the environment in Reston and organizing educational opportunities and activities for staff and visitors.

A redevelopment of the Herndon Taco Bell is proposed (via Google Maps)

A Taco Bell in Herndon is moving towards final approval for a rebuild.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted unanimously on April 3 in favor of the plan to redevelop the existing fast-food restaurant at 2710 Centreville Road with a larger building and a second drive-thru lane.

The new restaurant will have the company’s modern look and more space. The building area would expand from 2,380 square feet to 2,710 square feet to make space for a larger freezer.

The restaurant’s hours will also expand from 6 a.m. to midnight to 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day — a move that was piqued by demand, according to county planner Andrew Stone.

The two drive-through lanes would wrap around the northwestern side of the building and stack 11 vehicles. Matt Roberts, a Hirschler attorney who represented the applicant, said the current drive-thru lane holds about eight cars.

Braddock District Planning Commissioner Mary Cortina noted that the proposed landscaping along Parcher Avenue, particularly the trees, appeared somewhat inadequate.

“It just looks a little sparse,” she said.

Because the site is leased and not owned, the applicant — the Summerwood Corporation, a fast-food restaurant franchise operator — was limited in its ability to update the site, Roberts said.

The company does plan to increase the imprevious surface area from 88 to 53%.

The application for a special exception to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan still needs to get approved by the Board of Supervisors, but a hearing date doesn’t appear to have been set yet.

Woodlawn Fire Station solar panels (courtesy Fairfax County Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination)

The county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services launched a solar panel recycling program last week, expanding upon its November 2022 pilot program.

Daniel Brooks, an environmental services specialist at the county’s Solid Waste Management Program, said this new program falls under their electronic recycling program, which focuses on prevention.

“Many of these devices contain toxic heavy metals,” Brooks said. “We want to keep that out of the waste stream … and going directly to the landfill to prevent groundwater contamination, amongst other things.”

Brooks said in addition to protecting the environment, this program enables people to repurpose and reuse the materials from solar panels. He also said this program is first of its kind in the region.

“[Recycling programs] started with the West Coast and they were years ahead of us, sometimes up to as much as 20 to 30 years in various areas,” Brooks said. “It’s a very growing service as a renewable energy source.”

Since solar panels are relatively new to the area, responsible disposal is too. Brooks said Fairfax County wanted to get ahead of environmental contamination and started the pilot program in November 2022.

According to a 2022 study by the Pew Research Center, 8% of American homeowners said they already installed solar panels within the past year, the majority of which were in the western part of the nation.

The county partnered with PC Recycler, Inc. dba Securis to to refine the recycling process; at the start of the program, 50 solar panels were taken in to figure out the exact process for responsible and reasonable recycling.

“Wanted to figure out the cost metrics, if it was viable to do in-house [recycling], or if we needed to outsource that, and if we outsource that, what measures did we have with those materials?” Brooks said.

Brooks also said this was one step further toward Fairfax County’s sustainability goals, specifically zero waste. He said he’s hoping the county’s work inspires neighboring counties and towns to do the same.

The program is now available to Fairfax County residents only and two drop-off sites are available: the Interstate 66 Transfer Station and the Interstate 95 Landfill.


A man was arrested after firing a gun several times inside and outside of his Reston home today (Monday).

Police arrested Mark Ellsbury, 43, of Reston after what police described as a short standoff outside of his townhome on the 11900 block of Barrel Cooper Court. The Fairfax County Police Department used its helicopter unit to track the suspect, who was outside of his home and appeared to be “under the influence.”

The suspect reportedly fell to the ground and  dropped the weapon. Ellsbury was taken to a hospital for treatment for being under the influence of “unknown narcotics,” according to FCPD.

He was taken to the adult detention center upon his release and charged with four counts of reckless discharge of a firearm in or at an occupied building. No injuries were reported.

The newly renovated Lake Thoreau swimming pool is set to open this summer (courtesy Reston Association)

It’s no secret that the renovations of Lake Thoreau and Shadowood swimming pools were delayed by several months.

Now, with both facilities set to open this pool season, Reston Association says it could have done a better job with communication and investigating existing conditions before commencing with the projects.

RA Capital Projects Director Chris Schumaker dove into several lessons learned from both projects at a Board of Directors meeting on March 26 — a practice that is routinely conducted at project closeout.

He said RA could have done a better job communicating information about project delays to the public.

First approved by the board in 2018, the Lake Thoreau pool renovation was once expected to begin in 2020, prompting the facility to close that year. However, rising material costs and limited contractor availability created delays that continued into 2022. Construction finally began that August and ended in December 2023.

Construction on the Shadowood pool renovation was expected to begin in early 2023 and take four months. Instead, construction began in May 2023 and ended in November 2023.

“The capital department and communications department now hold regular meetings to discuss project progress and communications with the membership,” Schumaker said.

RA hopes to step away from project phasing and build time for permitting and site issues into existing project schedules, staff said.

Lake Thoreau’s delays were attributed partly to permitting starting five months later than anticipated. For Shadowood, RA discovered several pool beam damage, delaying the project schedule. The project was also planned in phases, which extended the life of the project, Schumaker said.

RA also plans to complete tasks like advanced site evaluation and destructive testing before creating a project schedule. Severe rot found inside Lake Thoreau pool’s bathhouse resulted in unanticipated work, and inadequate soil — an issue that didn’t surface in a geotechnical study — ultimately delayed the construction of a retaining wall.

At Shadowood, more than 80% of the pool beam and shell was damaged, requiring extensive and unplanned repairs.

Both facilities are expected to open up for the 2024 pool season, which is set to begin in mid-May.

Red Kimono in Herndon appears to have closed (staff photo by Fatimah Waseem)

Red Kimono in Herndon appears to have closed.

The Asian restaurant at 790 Station Street, which served up sushi, ramen and barbecue, did not return multiple requests for comment from FFXnow. Based on reports from customers and a look at the facade of the business, the restaurant appears to be closed.

The website of the restaurant was also taken down, and third-party companies like GrubHub are no longer accepting orders from the restaurant.

It’s unclear what will take over the restaurant. Readers tell FFXnow that requests from the business have been unresponsive for several weeks.

Red Kimono was typically closed for most of the day and opened between 3 and 10 p.m.


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