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A Ukraine love sign in Vienna (file photo)

A church in McLean and an orchestra based in Tysons have teamed up to do their part to assist humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine.

The Virginia Chamber Orchestra will put on a free Benefit Concert for Ukraine in the McLean Baptist Church sanctuary (1367 Chain Bridge Road) at 4 p.m. this Sunday (Oct. 16).

The concert will feature soprano singer Mandy Brown, violinist Emil Chudnovsky, and pianist Tatiana Loisha as well as the VCO String Quartet.

They will primarily perform classical music, including works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Joseph Haydn, and Antonín Dvořák, but Rogers and Hammerstein also appear. The program closes with “Shche ne vmerta Ukraina,” the national anthem of Ukraine.

While the concert is free to attend, the church will accept donations that will be used to provide medical supplies in Ukraine, according to VCO.

“The Virginia Chamber Orchestra is very pleased to partner with the McLean Baptist Church in presenting a Benefit Concert to provide medical supplies for the people of Ukraine,” VCO Board of Trustees President Douglas Lovejoy said in an emailed statement. “We welcome everyone to the concert and will appreciate your donations.”

Since Russian military forces invaded Ukraine in February, more than 15,000 civilian casualties have been recorded by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as of Monday (Oct. 10), though the organization believes the actual numbers of deaths and injuries are much higher.

Like in other communities across the U.S., acts of solidarity and support for Ukraine have become common in Fairfax County, from a regional winter coat drive and a fundraiser by local breweries to symbolic displays of the eastern European country’s blue-and-yellow flag.

The full program for Sunday’s benefit concert in McLean is below:

  • “Sheep May Safely Graze” by Johann Sebastian Bach — VCO String Quartet
  • “Uzun Hava” by Osman Kivrak — for violin and viola
  • Selections from “44 Duets” by Béla Bartók, including Ruthenian songs from Ukraine
  • “Allegro from Quartet in F Major, Op. 96 ‘American'” by Antonín Dvořák — VCO String Quartet
  • “Polonaise Brilliante in D Major” by Henryk Wieniawski — Emil Chudnovsky, violin
  • “Chanson d’amour” by Jan Tarasiewicz — Tatiana Loisha, piano
  • “L’invitation au voyage” by Henri Duparc — Mandy Brown, soprano
  • “The Winds are Blowing,” a Ukrainian folksong by Mykola Lysenko — Mandy Brown, soprano
  • “Introduction” and “Rondo Capriccioso” by Camille Saint-Saëns — Emil Chudnovsky violin
  • “Nocturne in C Sharp Minor” by Frédéric Chopin — Emil Chudnovsky, violin
  • “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from “Carousel” by Rodgers & Hammerstein — Mandy Brown, soprano
  • “Shche ne vmerta Ukraina” by Chubynsky/Verbytsky
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The annual winter coat closet returns to Reston this month (Photo via Cornerstones).

Continuing a tradition set by former Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, an annual winter coat closet will return to Reston from Oct. 17 through Nov. 10.

Conducted in a partnership with nonprofit Cornerstones, the drive will provide residents with free winter hats, coats, gloves, mittens and scarves.

Residents are encouraged to drop off new and gently-used coats and new hats, gloves, mittens and scarves to Cornerstones or Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn’s office.

“Several years ago my predecessor Supervisor Cathy Hudgins joined forces with Cornerstones to ensure that our neighbors in need of warm winter coats would be able to get one. We continue that tradition of neighbors helping neighbors this year with the upcoming opening of the Winter Coat Closet,” Alcorn wrote in a newsletter on Wednesday (Oct. 12).

For the duration of the drive, residents can drop off items at Cornerstones (11150 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 210) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will also be a drop-off site at the North County Government Center on Nov. 19, Dec. 17 and Jan. 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Residents can drop by one of several dates throughout the winter to pick up items. In cases of inclement weather, distribution will happen indoors.

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Lake Anne Plaza’s concert commemorating jazz musician Mykle Lyons is back for a second year (courtesy Alec Berry/Roxplosion)

The Mykle Lyons Commemorative Concert will return to Reston this weekend with a new charitable component.

The Lake Anne & Washington Plaza Merchant Association (LAWPA) introduced the now-annual music festival last year to celebrate the life of Mykle Lyons, a jazz musician and longtime Reston resident who died in May 2021.

Initially set for last Saturday (Oct. 1), the concert was postponed to Oct. 8 due to the threat of inclement weather from Hurricane Ian.

Organized by LAWPA in conjunction with Kalypso’s Sports Tavern and Roxplosion, the free concert will be held from noon to 6 p.m. at Lake Anne Plaza (1609 Washington Plaza).

“This free, family-friendly event celebrates the accomplishments, generosity, and compassion demonstrated by a well-loved member of our community — featuring acclaimed artists, exquisite food, and lots of fun,” LAWPA said in a press release.

New for this year, the organizers announced that they are establishing a memorial scholarship fund in Lyons’s name. Donations will go to the Friends of Music at Mason to help a music student attend George Mason University.

LAWPA says checks can be made out to the George Mason Foundation and mailed to GMU-CVPA Development Office, Friends of Music, 4400 University Drive, MS 4C1, Fairfax, VA 22030. The association says to write “in memory of Mykle Lyons” on the check’s memo line.

The second annual Mykle Lyons Commemorative Concert line-up will feature the Dan Lamaestra Trio, the Peter Fraize Quartet, the Chris Timbers Band, and a trio from GMU’s jazz ensemble.

In addition to playing at music venues around the world and frequently performing for former vice president Al Gore, Lyons was a regular at Reston Town Center’s now-closed Market Street Bar and Grill. He founded the Lake Anne Jazz and Blues Festival, which returned to the plaza for a 15th year on Sept. 3.

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A new donation center opens tomorrow in Franconia (Photo via GreenDrop).

A new mobile donation center offers local residents another option to donate gently used items in Franconia’s Festival at Manchester Lakes Shopping Center. 

GreenDrop, a private organization, has partnered with the American Red Cross, Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation and the National Federation of the Blind for the donation center. Residents can donate gently used items to the center, which is located at 7015 Manchester Boulevard in the parking lot of the shopping center by Boardwalk Fries. 

The center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for drop-offs, including lightly-used clothing, shoes, blankets, kitchenware and household goods. An attendant will be on site to receive the items and asks donors to indicate which nonprofit organization they would like to donate to. Donors receive a tax deductible receipt. 

“We are thrilled to bring our sustainable services to the Festival at Manchester Lakes donation center and provide an easy, earth-friendly way for Fairfax County residents to support three deserving nonprofits,” said Jason Krieger, Director of GreenDrop operations. “We look forward to being an integral part of the Franconia community.”

GreenDrop is a  for-profit paid solicitor that accepts donation on behalf of other organizations. It aims to support nonprofit organizations through free-standing locations throughout the mid-Atlantic region. The company pays its nonprofit partners for the items individuals donate. 

A groundbreaking to celebrate the opening of the center is set for tomorrow (Friday) at 10 a.m. 

Photo via GreenDrop 

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Colorful balls of yarn (via Margarida Afonso/Unsplash)

There’s no gift like one made by hand.

That sentiment inspired Fairfax County Public Library’s new “Knitting for Charity” initiative, a pilot project launching next week that encourages community members to craft winter hats for those who will need warm clothes as temperatures drop.

“We were thinking about some type of community-driven project, and [my programming assistant] felt that this was taking giving to the next level, because we are asking people to spend time creating something that other people will use,” FCPL Program and Educational Services Director Renee Edwards said.

Starting on Monday (Sept. 12), the City of Fairfax, Chantilly, Tysons-Pimmit, Patrick Henry and John Marshall libraries will have a limited supply of yarn available for pick-up. The bags will also contain a sewing label and instructions.

However, anyone with yarn can participate. The yarn must be new, washable, and made out of wool/wool-blend or 100% acrylic, according to the FCPL website, which says to specifically avoid angora or mohair yarn since people may be allergic.

Donations will be accepted at those five libraries until 6 p.m. on Nov. 18. All of the hats will go to the nonprofit Shelter House, which provides crisis intervention, permanent and emergency housing, and other services for families experiencing homelessness and victims of domestic violence.

Since it’s a new initiative, FCPL wanted to start small, but when administrators contacted each library branch to gauge its interest in serving as a collection site, “the response was tremendous,” Edwards says.

“We looked at all of the branches that responded positively, looked at where they were located geographically on the county map, and then we chose,” she told FFXnow. “If this initiative is successful, the hope is that next year, we would expand it.”

Edwards says the initiative’s name is intentionally broad so it can evolve going forward. Though the current focus is on hats, other clothing items like scarves and mittens will be accepted too, as long as everything is hand-knit.

Reflecting the modern expectation of libraries as providers of public resources beyond books, Knitting for Charity is a continuation of FCPL’s efforts to address a variety of community needs, whether through donation drives, classes that teach technology skills, or its promise of an escape from the summer heat.

“We always are looking for events and initiatives that continually demonstrate to our community that we are more than just books,” Edwards said. “Not that we don’t have book discussions and author events and story times — that’s our bread and butter — but we also take it a step further, and we do a lot of other different programs and initiatives for our community members.”

Photo via Margarida Afonso/Unsplash

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Morning Notes

Sun shines through tree leaves in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Man Dies After Fairfax City Crash — “A 32-year-old Maryland man died from injuries he received when the motorcycle he was riding Monday afternoon collided with an SUV on Chain Bridge Road in Fairfax City, according to a police release.” [Patch]

Suspect in Fatal Springfield Stabbing Extradited — “This evening, Jose Heber Hernandez Mejia was extradited back to Fairfax County from South Carolina. He’s charged with 2nd degree murder for the July 17 domestic-related stabbing in the 5200 block of Rolling Rd. Hernandez Mejia was held on no bond.” [FCPD/Twitter]

Arrests Made in Child Solicitation Sting — “Six men ranging in ages from 26 to 43 were arrested by Fairfax County Police as part of an online sting to identify and apprehend predators seeking to exploit children using the internet, according to a police brief.” [Patch]

Food Stolen From Mount Vernon Daycare — “Officers were called to the KinderCare at 4287 Buckman Road early Monday morning for a burglary that occurred over the weekend. When officers learned thousands of dollars worth of food was stolen from the center, they quickly jumped into action to ensure the kids wouldn’t go hungry by purchasing breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snacks.” [FCPD/Facebook]

Virginia Sees Bump in Pro-Choice License Plates — “Pro-life and pro-choice license plates aren’t new to Virginia: The commonwealth has issued ‘Choose Life’ plates since 2009 and ‘Trust Women. Respect Choice.’ since 2010…Since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, though, more people are buying pro-choice plates.” [Washingtonian]

Fire Department Enlists Starbucks for Backpack Drive — “#FCFRD is partnering with select local @Starbucks stores to collect backpacks for underprivileged children. Backpacks will be given to local schools in #FairfaxCounty for distribution. Backpacks will be collected until August 12. Please donate a new backpack today!” [FCFRD/Twitter]

Metro Seeks to Add More Trains — Metro is seeking permission to operate more of the 7000-series trains that were sidelined late last year after a derailment in Arlington, according to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission. The transit agency is currently permitted to run 64 cars, or eight trains, per day, as long as their wheels are inspected daily. [The Washington Post]

State Legislators Consider Changes to Recall Process — “Activists in Virginia are increasingly turning to the state’s court-driven recall process to try to take out their frustrations on local officials they feel have done something wrong…The fact that the recalls almost never work doesn’t seem to be stopping the trend, but it’s causing some lawmakers to rethink a system that empowers judges, not voters, to decide when politicians deserve to be kicked out of office early.” [Virginia Mercury/Inside NoVA]

“American Idol” Winner to Take Wolf Trap Stage — “Her victory on Season 3 of ‘American Idol’ made her a household name. Now, Fantasia Barrino is bringing her signature sound to Wolf Trap in Virginia on Aug. 19.” [WTOP]

It’s Wednesday — Rain starting in the afternoon. High of 88 and low of 77. Sunrise at 6:19 am and sunset at 8:11 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A hot summer day at The Boro in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

What Was Behind Tuesday’s Storms — “Hundreds of trees were toppled and hundreds of thousands of people lost power Tuesday afternoon and evening as three storm complexes roared across the Washington region. The storms were fueled by hot and humid air that surged into the region, and were powered and sustained by strong high-altitude winds along an approaching cold front.” [Capital Weather Gang]

Firefighter Charged in Fairfax County Armed Robbery — “A D.C. firefighter has been arrested and charged with robbery after police say he brandished a gun and took someone’s property in Fairfax County, Virginia. Fairfax County Police said the robbery happened in May” [WTOP]

Police Investigate Dunkin’ Donuts Burglaries — Fairfax County and Alexandria City police are investigating at least three burglaries of Dunkin’ Donuts in Springfield, Belle Haven and Potomac Yard. The incidents all occurred during the morning of July 7, but police haven’t confirmed whether they were committed by the same people. [ALXnow]

Fairfax County Top in State for Population Growth — “In the last 50 years, Fairfax County saw the largest population increase in Virginia. During that same time, Norfolk saw the largest population decline…Mark Mather at the Population Reference Bureau says the next 50 years are not going to have the same trends.” [WVTF]

Same-Day Voter Registration Coming — “Same-day voter registration is taking effect in the state in time for the congressional midterms in November, a significant shift from the way Virginia elections have worked in the past…The new law will allow voters to fill out a registration form and cast a ballot after that deadline, up to and including Election Day.” [Virginia Mercury]

Food Drive Planned in West Springfield — “@MoveInterstate will be hosting a #FillATruck food drive at their #Springfield HQ located at 5801 Rolling Road, from 07/18-07/29. All donations will be donated to Ecumenical Community Helping Others (ECHO) and will help families in the #FairfaxCounty community.” [Supervisor Penny Gross/Twitter]

Langley HS Alum Coaches GMU Volleyball — “Years later, when receiving a second opportunity to join the George Mason University women’s volleyball team, Megan Shiffett Bachmann jumped at the chance and accepted. The 2008 Langley High School graduate recently was named the new head women’s coach of the Division I Mason program.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Park Authority Names Top Volunteers — “The Fairfax County Park Authority will honor 21 individual volunteers named 2022 Outstanding Volunteers and selected by their peers from across the park system…Approximately 4,000 volunteers give of their time and talent annually and take on a multitude of tasks.” [FCPA]

Tysons IT Consultant to Help Startups — “Booz Allen Hamilton has launched a venture capital unit that aims to help young companies speed the development of technologies used by the federal government…Booz Allen Ventures LLC will invest $100 million over five years in firms developing artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity and defense technologies, the company said.” [Washington Business Journal]

It’s Thursday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 86 and low of 72. Sunrise at 5:56 am and sunset at 8:35 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Twins Ace Hardware in Fairfax is one of several donation sites for the nonprofit Britepaths’ July Back ot School drive (courtesy Twins Ace Hardware)

Fairfax County Public Schools won’t be back in session for the fall until Aug. 22, but Britepaths is getting a head start on helping students prepare for that day.

The Fairfax-based nonprofit is asking community members to donate money or backpacks for its annual Collect for Kids Back to School program, a month-long campaign that launched on July 1.

The organization’s goal is to collect 700 new backpacks and enough money to purchase supplies for 2,500 students, primarily in the Fairfax and Justice high school pyramids, according to a news release.

“Working families in our community who were already dealing with the effects of the prolonged pandemic have been further stretched by the higher costs of food, gas, rent and other necessities,” Britepaths Executive Director Lisa Whetzel said in a statement. “When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, the thought of having to find funds for school supplies on top of everything else is extremely stressful.”

According to the county’s most recent demographic report, more than 13% of families have a household income of under $50,000, including 4.2% who earn under $25,000 annually. About 31% of FCPS students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, as of Oct. 31, 2022.

Now in its 38th year of existence, Britepaths provides food, financial assistance, workforce development and other services for Fairfax County residents in need.

For its back to school drive, the nonprofit has partnered with several local businesses that will serve as donation sites for backpacks through Aug. 1:

  • Alya Salon & Spa (139 Park Street, Vienna)
  • Twins Ace Hardware — Fairfax (10310-B Main St, Fairfax)
  • University Mall Theatres (10659-A Braddock Road, Fairfax)
  • Sugar Mama’s Ice Cream (11208 Lee Highway, Fairfax)
  • Cinema Arts Theatre (9650-14 Main Street, Fairfax)
  • Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce (10304 Eaton Place, Suite 100, Fairfax)

All backpack sizes will be accepted, but large ones are most needed, per the news release.

Backpacks can also be purchased through Britepaths’ Amazon wish list. Monetary donations are being accepted online and as checks mailed to 3959 Pender Drive, Suite 200, Fairfax.

In addition, from July 11 to 31, Twins Ace Hardware, a sponsor of the program, will offer customers at its Fairfax City store the option to donate the change from their purchases to the campaign.

Schools that will benefit from the donations include:

  • Fairfax High School Pyramid: Daniels Run Elementary, Eagle View Elementary, Providence Elementary, Willow Springs Elementary, Katherine Johnson Middle School, Fairfax High School, and Fairfax Adult High School
  • Justice High School Pyramid: Bailey’s Upper Elementary, Glen Forest Elementary, and Justice High School
  • Fairfax Villa Elementary School

“We are grateful to all who are donating this summer to help ease that stress for families and allow children who might otherwise go without be able to start off the new school year unashamed and with all the supplies they need,” Whetzel said.

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A food donation drive is set for tomorrow at a Reston church (via Aaron Doucett/Unsplash)

A team of nonprofit organizations and a major, Reston-based company are partnering to bring food and other essentials to 400 families tomorrow (Thursday).

The tuna manufacturer StarKist Co., which recently relocated its headquarters to Reston Town Center, is working with Feed the Children and Cornerstones on a food drive from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. John Neumann Catholic Community (11900 Lawyers Road) in Reston.

Families will receive a 25-pound box of food, a 15-pound box of hygiene essentials, a box of Avon products, Disney storybooks and other items.

Starkist president Andrew Choo said the company looks forward to beginning an alliance with Cornerstones, which he called an “extraordinary organization” that has been serving Northern Virginia for more than 50 years.

“There will be more empty plates this summer season than ever before, and it is estimated that one in four children will be food insecure,” Choo said in a news release. “We believe that no child should go hungry in this country, and we are aware that the need is great.”

Cornerstones CEO Kerrie Wilson said that the lingering impacts of the pandemic, including the rising cost of groceries and gas, have lead to more insecurity for families.

“For our June Food Pantry Distribution event, we are proud to partner with StarKist and Feed the Children to help stabilize people living in crisis today,” Wilson said in a statement. “Their commitment to community engagement and volunteerism plays an essential role in helping Cornerstones ensure the economic and health stability, equity, and resiliency of Northern Virginia.”

Cornerstones’ food pantry has already seen a growing number of people in need of services.

“Having served 1,347 households with 10,480 bags of food/toiletries, benefiting close to 5,000 people in FY21 (an average of 450+ households per month), Cornerstones anticipates even more people — particularly low to moderate-income families with children and seniors — will seek food pantry assistance,” wrote Margaret Anne Lara, the organization’s vice president of marketing and communications.

During the pandemic, the number of food-insecure residents has doubled in Fairfax County, which houses the largest number of food-insecure residents in Virginia.

Tomorrow’s event will include remarks by local elected officials and community representatives, including Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn and Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

Photo via Aaron Doucett/Unsplash

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Morning Notes

Relaxing in the sun at Reston Town Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Annandale Subway Vandalized — “A rowdy group of youths vandalized the Subway on Heritage Drive in Annandale at about 10:15 a.m. this morning [Thursday]…It will cost $2,000 or $3,000 to fix the window, [owner Emil] Ranakusuma says. He plans to file an insurance claim.” [Annandale Today]

General Assembly Dumps Football Stadium Bill — “The state legislator who has led the charge to lure the Washington Commanders to Virginia gave up the fight Thursday…State Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said comments that Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio made this week about the Jan. 6 insurrection were the last straw for the stadium bill.” [The Washington Post]

Tysons Financial Company to Expand HQ — “Nodal Exchange, a Fairfax County-based derivatives exchange providing price, credit, and liquidity risk management solutions to participants in the North American commodities markets, will increase capacity at its headquarters located at 1921 Gallows Road in Tysons. The expansion will create 37 new jobs.” [Fairfax County EDA]

I-66 West Ramp to Close — “The ramp from I-66 West to Vienna/Fairfax/GMU Metrorail Station (Country Creek Road and Virginia Center Boulevard) is scheduled to close for about three weeks beginning on or about Monday, June 13, for continued construction of the new westbound I-66 express and general-purpose lanes…Drivers will be detoured around the closure via Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) and I-66 East.” [VDOT]

Flooring Store Opens in Tysons — “Floor & Décor, an Atlanta-based retailer of hard-surface flooring, has…signed a 10-year, 11,327-square-foot lease at the Tysons Corner Retail Plaza, a three-building, 22,000-square-foot retail center, and has already opened for business.” [Commercial Observer]

Vienna Approves Covid Relief Funds for Police Cameras — “The Vienna Town Council on June 6 unanimously approved the spending of $128,600 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to replace and upgrade in-car video systems for Vienna Police Department patrol vehicles.” [Sun Gazette]

Friends of Reston Library Officially Makes Donation — “We love our library branches in Fairfax County, but Reston is especially dedicated to the Reston Regional Library! I was honored to join in the celebration last night (6/9) of the Friends of Reston Regional Library donating $200,000 to the library for its book collection.” [Supervisor Walter Alcorn/Facebook]

FCPS Appoints New Ombudsman — Fairfax County Public Schools has named Dawn Clements as its next ombudsman, effective July 1. Currently the assistant ombudsman for special education, Clements will lead the office responsible for addressing student, family, and community questions and complaints. [FCPS]

It’s Friday — Possible drizzle overnight. High of 77 and low of 60. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:35 pm. [Weather.gov]

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