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A Virginia State Police vehicle (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

An Alexandria man faces multiple felony charges after allegedly shooting at another vehicle on I-66 in what state police are calling a “road rage incident.”

Daniel L. Serrano, 24, “fired several rounds” at a black Honda sedan from the white Honda he was driving on I-66 near Compton Road outside Centreville on Tuesday (Aug. 22), according to the Virginia State Police.

The driver of the black Honda — an adult man — was hit by the gunfire and transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital with injuries considered serious but not life-threatening, police said. There was also an adult woman in the car who didn’t get injured.

“At this stage of the investigation, it appears the adult male driver of a black Honda sedan threw an object at a white Honda sedan while the two vehicles were traveling east on I-66,” VSP said in an update yesterday (Wednesday).

By the time troopers responded to the shooting at 1:08 p.m., both vehicles had pulled off to the side of I-66 near the 50-mile marker, according to police. Troopers found Serrano and a firearm at the scene and arrested him without incident, per the news release.

Currently in custody at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, Serrano has been charged with a felony count of malicious wounding and a felony count of shooting into an occupied vehicle.

According to Fairfax County court records, he previously faced property destruction charges for incidents on Feb. 25 and March 1, 2021 that got dropped or dismissed. He was also cited on Feb. 14 of this year for failure to obey a highway lane marking, an infraction that was dismissed yesterday.

After an arraignment yesterday, Serrano is scheduled to get a preliminary hearing on the shooting charges at 2 p.m. on Nov. 6.

Fairfax County police helicopter (file photo)

One person was hospitalized after a driver shot at their car while they were traveling on I-66 just outside Centreville.

Virginia State Police responded to a call for a shooting on I-66 East near Compton Road at 1:08 p.m., according to the VSP.

“At this stage of the investigation, it has been determined that two Honda sedans were traveling east on I-66 when the driver of the white Honda began shooting at the other Honda,” police said in a news release. “Both vehicles pulled over to the side of the interstate near the 50 mile marker.”

One of two people in the other Honda was hit and taken to a hospital to get treatment of injuries not considered life-threatening.

Police haven’t provided any identifying information yet, but a dispatcher told the responding troopers at 1:10 p.m. that a caller said her husband had been shot in the leg, according to scanner traffic on Open MHz.

A Fairfax County police helicopter was dispatched to the scene, but troopers quickly reported that the suspect had been detained. VSP says the suspect remained at the scene and was taken into custody “without incident.”

As police investigate the incident, the VSP is asking anyone who may have witnessed the shooting or any other interactions between the two vehicles to call 703-803-0026 or email questions@vsp.virginia.gov.

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Fairfax County is seeking funds for a project to add crosswalks and a signal on Burke Lake Road at the Lake Braddock Secondary School entrance (via Google Maps)

Fairfax County is making another push to fund pedestrian safety improvements at Shrevewood Elementary School in Idylwood.

The long-gestating crosswalks project is one of five that the Fairfax County Department of Transportation intends to submit to the state for funding consideration under the federal Transportation Alternatives grant program.

“This program invests in community-based projects that expand non-motorized travel choices and enhance the transportation experience by improving the cultural, historical and environmental aspect of the transportation infrastructure,” FCDOT said in a press release last week.

For fiscal year 2025, which starts July 1, 2024, the department will request a total of $9.2 million to fill walkway gaps to the Mason Neck Trail in Lorton, add a shared-use path on Compton Road in Centreville, and support three Safe Routes to Schools projects — a program that encourages students to walk and bike to school.

Shrevewood Elementary School — Safe Routes to School

  • Total estimated cost: $2.99 million
  • Grant request: $1.14 million

Part of a larger effort to improve safety in the Shreve Road corridor after a fatal crash in 2019, this project will add marked crosswalks at Fairwood Lane, the school’s eastern driveway and across Virginia Lane at Virginia Avenue. The Fairwood Lane crosswalk will include a pedestrian refuge island.

FCDOT says the crosswalks “will provide neighborhood access to school amenities” and the nearby Washington & Old Dominion Trail.

Bush Hill Elementary School — Safe Routes to School

  • Total estimated cost: $3.66 million
  • Grant request: $1.86 million

Approximately 850 feet of sidewalk will be added on Bush Hill Drive between Ninian Avenue and Larno Avenue in Rose Hill.

“Completing this missing sidewalk link will improve safety and accessibility for children walking and bicycling to school,” FCDOT said.

Lake Braddock Secondary School — Safe Routes to School

  • Total estimated cost: $2.55 million
  • Grant request: $2.04 million

Crosswalks and a pedestrian signal will be constructed at the school’s entrance on Burke Lake Road. The project will also reconstruct a sidewalk on the road’s south side to be 6 feet wide and bring six ramps up to ADA standards.

Mason Neck Trail

  • Total estimated cost: $13.96 million
  • Grant request: $1.7 million

The project will build missing pieces of the walkway along Gunston Road from Richmond Highway (Route 1) to the existing trail.

Compton Road Walkway

  • Total estimated cost: $9.3 million
  • Grant request: $2.5 million

Approximately 550 feet of a 10-foot-wide, paved shared use path will be added on the east side of Compton Road, connecting the Cub Run Stream Valley Trail with an existing path crossing to the Bull Run Regional Events Center’s entrance.

The project will also widen a bridge over Cub Run to accommodate the shared use path.

FCDOT Communications Specialist Lynn Krolowitz noted that the grant request amounts could be revised if the project cost estimates changed before the applications are finalized in October.

“FCDOT select projects based on several factors such as program eligibility criteria and project readiness requirements, the need of continued funding for existing projects, and previous Board approval/consideration, which assumes some level of public involvement,” Krolowitz said in an email to FFXnow.

To be eligible for Transportation Alternatives grants, projects must have already gotten public feedback, be ready for design, require less than four years of construction, have a “logical” endpoint — such as an existing sidewalk or a road intersection — and be beneficial even if no other improvements are made in the area, according to FCDOT.

Three of the projects under consideration in this round, including the Shrevewood project, have previously gotten the grants, giving them priority in the selection process, Krolowtiz says.

FCDOT will host a virtual public input meeting to discuss the proposed projects at 6 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).

Image via Google Maps

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Bon Tea House in Centreville (via Google Maps)

One Centreville cafe is offering something sweeter than just desserts: community.

Bôn Tea House (5718 Pickwick Road) launched a new three-part, pop-up Summer Market series this past June in hopes of bringing together the local community.

On the last Sunday of June, July and August, the small tea shop transforms into a bustling community hub, where customers can purchase an array of handcrafted items from local vendors in a monthly market-style event. Offerings include, but are not limited to, apparel, jewelry, soaps and baked goods.

“Summer market is a place where people can come and meet and support local vendors,” co-owner Danny Bae said. “We do our best to only invite or accept vendors that are in the NOVA area and who are not these major businesses, so a lot of people who don’t have a platform, a store or anything like that…they need a place to be able to advertise and sell and get their name out there.”

Danny, who started Bôn Tea House with his wife Diana and brother in 2021, says the market has grown significantly from their initial launch on June 25 to their most recent market on Sunday, July 30, despite how new and limited-edition the series is.

“After the June market, a lot of vendors reached out to us saying, ‘Can we be a part of it? How do I be a part of this?'” Danny said. “So, I think there was a lot of anticipation for the July one, so that July one was actually the biggest one in terms of traffic flow.”

Danny hinted that the upcoming market on Sunday, Aug. 27 may be the last one for the foreseeable future. Though grateful for the success of the series, he noted that the colder weather brings more complications, so their next event will likely be a one-day holiday market in the late fall or early winter, rather than a recurring series.

“We’ve had several vendors where it was their first time ever selling something like in person, and they were all very surprised at the turnout and how well it went,” Danny said. “…We were very grateful and thankful that a lot of vendors showed up, and they did their best to showcase their merchandise. It was just a really good experience for us as the host and all the vendors as well.”

According to the Baes, the vendors appreciated the opportunity to sell their wares and meet other business owners in their position.

“I think it’s great that they’re able to…see that people do enjoy what they have to offer and gain that support through the community,” Diana said.

Building community is Bôn Tea House’s founding mission, the Baes say. When closed on Mondays, they usually let locals rent the space for private events, and they are rolling out new bonding events this month, like the game nights that will be held on Tuesday (Aug. 14) and Monday, Aug. 28.

“We really wanted to create that community aspect and have people come, whether they just grab ice cream and go, or whether they’re in there for a conversation, that they could really feel like this is a place that they could relax and enjoy and come back to,” Diana said. “…So, we’re always looking for ways where we could use our space and use our platform to share our passion and what we think the community might need or want.”

Bôn Tea House began out of the Baes’ living room before they transitioned to a small window in D.C., where they became “the first ones” to serve specialty matcha desserts, Diana says.

As they began to receive outpourings of support from the local community, the Baes knew they had something special and eventually sought an official storefront. Coming from a Korean background, the Baes settled on Centreville for its strong Korean community.

Along with tea, Bôn Tea House specializes in ice cream, with matcha as its best-seller. The cafe prides itself on using fresh, in-house ingredients and taking the “time and effort to really try and bring out the flavors,” Danny says.

Now, the Baes are focused on forming a tight-knit community in Centreville, though many of their loyal D.C. followers still yearn for them to return to the nation’s capital, Diana says.

“We’re just trying to be this local mom-and-pop shop where people can come and gather and have a nice meeting with their friends and family and just enjoy their tea,” Danny said. “We wanted to showcase the Asian American culture, whether it’s our styling through our merch or through the flavors of our ice cream and teas.”

Photo via Google Maps

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Centreville shoppers may have experienced a bit of déjà vu stepping into the recently opened Cafe Bdan at 13814 Braddock Road.

That’s because the new Korean-Japanese fusion dessert shop is a rebranding of fan-favorite Iron Ice, which closed down for six weeks before reopening as Cafe Bdan on Saturday, July 15, according to shop owner Charlie Shin.

Cafe Bdan is still currently in its soft opening period, offering what Shin says is approximately 85% of the full menu.

In honor of the recent opening, the cafe is giving out 10% off coupons to use at Cafe Bdan or either of Shin’s other two businesses in the Old Centreville Crossing shopping center — Japanese restaurant Kazone and women’s clothing store The Style by Coco.

Cafe Bdan’s predecessor Iron Ice was best known for its Instagram-worthy dessert commonly dubbed “puffle ice cream,” consisting of scoops of ice cream nestled in a Hong Kong egg waffle.

Though customers can still order puffle ice cream at Cafe Bdan, Shin spent the temporary closure devising an expanded menu that caters to “all four seasons,” rather than serving only one specialty item.

Shin says customers have called the refreshed menu’s croffle — a mix of a croissant and a waffle — “the best in town.” He takes care to use higher-end French croissants to elevate patron’s experiences.

Croffles, a hybrid croissant-waffle dessert, sit in a glass display box at Cafe Bdan (staff photo by Vivian Hoang)

Cafe Bdan’s bingsu, or Korean snow ice, topped with a special whipped cream has similarly been a smash hit amongst customers, according to Shin.

Shin also highlighted the cafe’s new bubble tea, which he says is brewed at his home and then brought into the store, taking over three hours to make.

“It’s really good,” Shin said. “It’s more than premium — it’s triple premium.” Read More

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Boba enthusiasts anxiously waiting for the popular Tiger Sugar boba chain to land in Northern Virginia will finally have the opportunity to try its specialty drinks soon.

One Tiger Sugar location is set to come to 5704 Pickwick Road in a Centreville shopping center best known for housing Sō Korean BBQ. Signage at the window did not indicate an exact opening date but announced that the shop was accepting hiring applications.

Tiger Sugar’s second Northern Virginia location is slated to be at 4363 John Marr Drive in Annandale’s EastGate Shopping Center next to thrift store B-Thrifty and K Market International. The Annandale location will be housed with L&L Hawaiian Barbecue and a beer garden in the same storefront, both of which have yet to open as well, according to Annandale Today.

An exact opening date was also not made available for this location.

Originating in Taichung, Taiwan, Tiger Sugar is best known for its black sugar bubble tea made using a “proprietary” eight-hour cooking method, its website says. Tiger Sugar’s drinks are especially popular on social media, where online users show off their creamy concoctions lined with brown, hand-poured syrup streaks reminiscent of “tiger stripes.”

Since its launch in 2017, Tiger Sugar has expanded to over 50 storefronts across the U.S. but has yet to come to Virginia, which makes these two openings particularly noteworthy for locals.

Tiger Sugar did not respond to FFXnow’s request for comment before press time.

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The Korean barbecue restaurant Meat Project is expanding from Centreville to Merrifield (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Centreville’s Meat Project is preparing to fire up a grill at Halstead Square in Merrifield.

The all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue restaurant is expanding for the first time to The Lofts apartment building at 2727 Merrilee Drive, where it has leased a 3,456-square-foot, ground-floor space, per a site plan from retail broker Rosenthal Properties.

Construction has begun on the new location, Meat Project owner Sam Kim says. The business is aiming to open in early December.

“We are an all-you-can-eat, Korean meat-focused place,” Kim told FFXnow. “There’s places that have a la carte, there’s places that have different Korean food, but for us, it’s more so that people can try different things when they just pay per person. It gives them the opportunity to try different things.”

The possibility of expansion wasn’t guaranteed for Meat Project, which opened at 5825 Trinity Parkway in Centreville in July 2020 — right as Virginia was easing restrictions imposed on businesses to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Kim and his mother, Grace, created the restaurant to expand their reach after gaining a foothold in Annandale as the longtime owners of Rainbow Food Catering and Manoa Bakery Cafe, Northern Virginia Magazine reported at the time.

Launching in the middle of the pandemic, pre-vaccinations, “was very hard for us,” Kim says, but after two rocky first years, the business has now settled down.

“Now, we’re getting more regulars. We’re getting more people in, so we felt like now is a good time to expand,” he said.

Located across the street from Lost Dog Cafe in the former Gama Chicken & BBQ space, Meat Project’s Merrifield restaurant is smaller in size than its standalone Centreville location, but the menu and bar will have more items, according to Kim.

In Centreville, the menu features a variety of beef, chicken, pork and seafood options, from staples of Korean barbecue like bulgolgi and galbi (short ribs) to more unusual items like honey butter octopus. The bar will serve “cocktail items and stuff like that,” Kim says.

The restaurant charges a flat $30 per person for all-you-can-eat meals, though kids shorter than 4-and-a-half feet can eat for $20 and kids under 3 feet are free.

Kim says the Merrifield location will likely follow the same operating hours, opening at noon every day and closing at 11 p.m. or midnight.

Korean barbecue options are limited in Merrifield, at least compared to Centreville. Right now, the closest restaurant to Meat Project’s upcoming site is Puzukan Tan in Yorktowne Plaza Shopping Center at 8114 Arlington Blvd.

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(Updated 3:45 p.m.) Local charitable organization Western Fairfax Christian Ministries (4511 Daly Drive J) welcomed Sen. Mark Warner through its doors last week.

On Friday, June 16, Warner toured WFCM’s food pantry and warehouse in Chantilly and participated in a roundtable discussion with WFCM leaders and partners, such as the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington, Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services, Fairfax County Public Schools, Wegmans, Boy Scouts and Kings of Kings Lutheran Church.

WFCM primarily provides financial resources and free food and toiletries to residents of Fairfax County’s Sully District.

WFCM Executive Director Harmonie Taddeo says Warner had reached out to Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith to see how federal funding designated to the district during the COVID-19 pandemic has been used.

“What an opportunity for him to be able to see that this is how your money’s been spent, right?” Taddeo, who led Warner on the tour of WFCM’s facilities, said. “You approve these bills? Now, here’s literally the milk in the refrigerators that [those bills] paid for.”

In 2020 and 2021, WFCM received $1 million and $1.2 million respectively, from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Emergency rent assistance funds also granted WFCM $5.5 million in 2021, and the American Rescue Plan Act gave WFCM $257,588 in 2022 and $151,480 in 2023, according to a handout provided by the nonprofit.

These funds provided relief for WFCM, which saw a marked increase in need as soon as the pandemic hit.

“Before the pandemic, we were probably serving 300 families a month in the food pantry, and we spiked all the way up to 650,” Taddeo said. “Now we’re about 500 to 550 every single month…So the needs are just so much greater, and we think they’re going to take a long time to go back.”

With WFCM continuing to experience high demand for its services, Food Pantry Manager Kristine Hurt implored Warner to relay to Congress the significance of funding local food pantries like WFCM.

“I hope you see, beside our hearts, that we’re very efficient with money here,” Hurt said during the discussion. “And when you’re saying you need to cut things, I hope that you can go and share that this is a program that is using every dollar better than anybody else could in my opinion.”

Acknowledging the concerns over the potential decrease in federal funding for local food programs as emergency funds authorized during the pandemic dwindle, Warner told FFXnow that his office will continue to defend local organizations that had been assisted.

“How do we make sure that these great initiatives where we’re really stretching dollars don’t disappear because the Covid funds are going to run out?” Warner said. “…[We’re going to] see if we can do more in terms of direct investment, but also in terms of seeing if we can even give greater tax credit benefits.”

Warner also noted that he plans to continue using his platform to combat food insecurity locally through the Farm Bill, which he co-sponsored with Sen. Tim Kaine in 2018.

“Most of the food programs are actually funded through the Department of Agriculture and the Farm Bill,” Warner said. “[The Farm Bill] usually goes for five years — it sets up all the programs, things like these food relief programs…This is the year that it’s supposed to get renewed. So we’re trying to build in things like this challenge around food deserts.” Read More

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Attendees of the 2022 Gum Springs Juneteenth celebration travel the grounds and interact with one another beneath multicolored tents (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

Fairfax County will alight with joy and celebration with a variety of opportunities to celebrate Juneteenth this coming weekend (June 17-19).

Just last week on June 6, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors officially recognized Monday, June 19 of this year as Juneteenth. Only recently anointed a state and federal holiday, the occasion commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved men and women in Galveston, Texas finally heard the news that they had been freed two years prior under the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

Below is a sampling of Juneteenth celebrations taking place across the county this weekend.

Fairfax Juneteenth Celebration
Saturday, June 17
Begins at 10 a.m.
Opening ceremony at Veteran Amphitheatre, then parade to Mount Calvary Baptist Church

Co-hosted by the City of Fairfax and Mount Calvary Baptist Church, the Fairfax Juneteenth Celebration will begin with a formal ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Veteran Amphitheatre at City Hall (10455 Armstrong Street), featuring anthem performances and guest speakers.

Following the ceremony, guests are invited to participate in a parade from the amphitheatre to the Mount Calvary Baptist Church entrance on School Street (4325 Chain Bridge Road). From there, festivities will commence, including food trucks, craft and informational vendors, live music and dance, a car show, family activities and sharing of African American history and genealogical resources.

Bull Run Church and Harris Cemetery Juneteenth Celebration
Saturday, June 17
10:30 a.m.-noon
Bull Run Regional Park, behind the Atlantis Waterpark

Returning for a second year in a row, the Juneteenth Celebration at Bull Run (7700 Bull Run Drive) seeks to “recognize the largest private emancipation of the enslaved” as a joint initiative between Virginia NAACP and NOVA Parks, per its website.

Attendees will hear from a guest speaker and participate in a Black Expo and a children’s activity. They are strongly encouraged to bring toddler and children’s books as donations to Centreville United Methodist Church’s local literacy ministry.

Gum Springs Community Day/Juneteenth
Saturday, June 17
10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Martin Luther King Jr. Park Reservable Picnic Area

This Community Day/Juneteenth celebration commemorates the 190th anniversary of the founding of Gum Springs, the oldest African American community in Fairfax County, by West Ford. The day will begin at the park (8115 Fordson Road) at 10:30 a.m. with a historic marker dedication and unveiling of a new sign with Ford’s story. A parade will kickoff at 11 a.m., and guests can also enjoy an auction, health fair, carnival rides, food and music.

Juneteenth Fairfax County Celebration at Frying Pan Farm Park
Saturday, June 17
11:00 a.m.-2 p.m. (divided into three one-hour-long sessions that you can sign up for here)
Frying Pan Farm Park

In addition to the chance to see adorable farm animals, Frying Pan Farm Park (2709 West Ox Road) is offering families a venue for celebrating Juneteenth. Guests will be able to engage in African American culture and history through “a special guest storyteller, live music, crafts, history, and food trucks offering African American cuisine,” per the county website. Read More

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Mount Gilead in Centreville (via Fairfax County Park Authority)

Fairfax County is beginning the process later this month of selecting the next inhabitants of the 238-year-old Mount Gilead property in Centreville.

The Fairfax County Parks Authority (FCPA) has scheduled a June 20 public Zoom meeting to discuss Mount Gilead’s inclusion in the county’s Resident Curator Program.

Under the program, the county leases out a historic property to a private citizen or nonprofit group who will occupy it long-term for free in exchange for an agreement to rehabilitate and maintain the property.

The June 20 meeting is an “introductory conversation” that will allow interested parties to get more information about what exactly the county is looking for in terms of a curator for the property, FCPA spokesperson Ben Boxer wrote FFXnow in an email.

In addition, on Saturday, June 24, there will be an in-person open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. where members of the community and prospective applicants to the program can visit the property and ask questions.

Normally, Mount Gilead is only open to the public once a year during the annual Centreville Day celebration, which is being held on Oct. 14 this year.

While other properties in the program have been adapted into an adult day support center and a public park, only residential use applications will be considered for this particular property.

“Given the historical significance of this site, it was determined that residential use best befits the long-term goals of the property and the preservation of the historic integrity of the site,” Boxer told FFXnow.

Mount Gilead in Centreville was first built in 1785 as a combined residence and tavern. During the Civil War, it housed both Union and Confederate soldiers. Local lore says it was the headquarters for Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston, famed for being replaced by Robert E. Lee.

In the 1930s, ’50s, and ’60s, it underwent several notable remodelings that included additions. It has since been recorded on the Virginia Landmarks Survey, as well as in the 1969 Historic American Buildings Survey.

FCPA acquired the 6-acre property in 1996, but it has remained unoccupied ever since, with the county making continuous repairs over the last few decades.

While resident curators get to live on the property rent-free, they are responsible for all the costs associated with rehabilitation and maintenance.

A strictly-defined “treatment plan with respect to the preservation of the house itself” is determined by the county. This plan is “not open to definition by potential curators,” Boxer told FFXnow.

“Applications, including the proposed use and curator workplan, will be evaluated by a committee and to undergo a public comment period before a decision is made. The curator workplan and investment will be consistent with the requirements of the treatment plan,” Boxer continued.

Plus, the resident curator must also provide “reasonable” and “periodic” access to the public.

While there’s no timetable yet for when the county will select the next inhabitants for Mount Gilead, it did take close to four years from when plans were first submitted to new occupants moving into Herndon’s Ellmore Farmhouse.

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