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The tea shop plans to open in Fairfax in the next two weeks (via Yifang Fruit Tea/Facebook)

A fruit tea spot named after a family matriarch is coming this month to Fairfax.

Yifang Fruit Tea, a family-owned business, plans to open a nearly 2,000-square-foot location at Fairfax Court (11282 James Swart Circle) within the next two weeks, business representative Dave Chen tells FFXnow.

The business prides itself on serving teas made from natural ingredients and inspired by three generations of “family farming,” lead to a unique understanding of how to “get the best floors out of the fruit they harvest,” according to the shop’s website.

Its recipes were crafted by the owner’s grandmother, Yi Fang, who married a young farmer and relied on planting pineapples for a living.

Fang happened to braise golden pineapples into a homemade jam, resulting in what soon become popular drink: Yi Fang fruit tea.

The current owners have put the “early-Taiwan epitome, historic memories and warm hospitality” into its drinks, according to a company statement.

“We are not your typical bubble tea shop,” the owners write.

Options on the menu include a brown sugar pearl black tea latte, grass jelly tea, roselle lemonade, and jelly lemon green tea. The company has one other location in Georgia.

“We picked this location because of the sound demographics and the George Mason University,” Chen said.

The location will also have a Kenta Ramen machine, which automatically cooks ramen.

Photo via Yi Fang Fruit Tea/Facebook

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Morning Notes

A grassy field outside Wolf Trap National Park’s Filene Center (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Annandale Chick-fil-A Opens Today — “Chick-fil-A will open Thursday, April 7, at 7130 Little River Turnpike, Annandale…To celebrate the grand opening, the restaurant will surprise ‘100 local heroes making an impact in Annandale with free Chick-fil-A for a year.'” [Annandale Today]

Starkist HQ in Reston Now OpenRelocating from Pittsburgh, the tuna manufacturer opened its new corporate and administrative headquarters at 1875 Explorer Street in Reston Town Center on Tuesday (April 5). The office can accommodate more than 70 employees, and the company is marking its arrival with a community distribution event for the Reston-based nonprofit Feed the Children. [Starkist]

Commonwealth’s Attorney Expands Diversion for Non-Violent Crimes — “Under the program, called Taking Root, Fairfax prosecutors and defense attorneys can jointly recommend to judges that certain people accused of crimes be assigned to intensive programming instead of being prosecuted…The new program expands on existing diversion programs in Fairfax that have narrower eligibility requirements.” [DCist]

Masks No Longer Required at GMU — “In a message to the school community posted Tuesday, university president Gregory Washington announced GMU had switched to a mask-optional policy on all its campuses. He said the decision reflected low transmission and positivity rates in Fairfax County and nearby communities.” [WTOP]

Great Falls Group Has Ideas for Beltway Bridge Design — “When the construction dust settles, the orange cones are gone and work crews have relocated to snarl traffic elsewhere after completion of the 495 NEXT Project, the Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA) hopes an extra-nice-looking bridge will take Georgetown Pike over the Capital Beltway.” [Sun Gazette]

Vienna Could Get Specialized License Plate — The Town of Vienna plans to introduce a town-themed license plate after the Virginia General Assembly unanimously approved a bill from Del. Mark Keam letting localities cover the fees for the first 350 prepaid orders required by state law. The law takes effect on July 1, and the town council will then move to decide on a design. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Squirrels Trigger Car’s “Check Engine” Light in Franconia — “Craftsman Auto Care — Alexandria, an auto repair shop at the Festival at Manchester Lakes shopping center, found three baby squirrels sleeping under the hood of a customer’s vehicle…As for the check engine light, it turned out that the babies’ mother squirrel had chewed through wiring in the vehicle.” [Patch]

It’s Thursday — Rain until evening. High of 55 and low of 46. Sunrise at 6:45 am and sunset at 7:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

The planets Venus, Mars, and Saturn spotted over Lake Audubon in Reston (photo by Terry Baranski)

Franconia Townhouse Fire Under Investigation — Fairfax County fire investigators are still working to determine the cause of a townhouse fire that occurred in the 6500 block of Gildar Street on Saturday (April 2). The blaze didn’t cause any injuries, but four people have been displaced, and there was an estimated $93,750 in damages. [FCFRD]

Fairfax City Police Search for Missing Woman — “Fairfax City Police are still searching for information Tuesday on the disappearance of Amanda Childress, 43, who may have also been the victim of an assault…Investigators said the assault may have happened in the 10400 block of Eaton Place on March 6.” [ABC7]

GMU Dedicates Memorial to People Enslaved by Namesake — “The Enslaved People of George Mason Memorial is located on the campus’s recently renovated Wilkins Plaza, named for the late civil rights leader and George Mason University professor journalist Roger Wilkins. On Monday, several hundred people assembled in Wilkins Plaza for the monument’s dedication.” [Patch]

ACLU Lawsuit Over Mask-Optional Law Continues — A federal judge denied a motion to dismiss a challenge of Virginia’s law making masks optional in schools. The Fairfax County School Board filed a brief supporting the 12 families with immunocompromised children, while the Fairfax County Parents Association, a community group that grew out of the Open FCPS campaign, has backed the state. [WTOP]

Reston Woman Wins Cherry Blossom Race — “Sunday marked the first Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run since 2019, and with it, a local became champion for the first time since 1983, according to race officials. Susanna Sullivan of Reston, Virginia, won the elite women’s race.” [WTOP]

County Police Recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month — “Pinwheels will be displayed outside Public Safety Headquarters and at our district stations throughout April in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month. Pinwheels are a reminder of the carefree spirit of children and symbolize the happy childhood every child should have.” [FCPD/Facebook]

It’s Also National Poetry Month — Fairfax County is celebrating National Poetry Month by having community members read poems “that showcase the diverse and compelling work of contemporary American poets” throughout April. The series kicked off with County Executive Bryan Hill reading “Crossing” by Jericho Brown. [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]

It’s Wednesday — Light rain in the morning and overnight. High of 65 and low of 51. Sunrise at 6:46 a.m. and sunset at 7:38 p.m. [Weather.gov]

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CUE bus (via City of Fairfax)

For a system that’s already free for riders to use, cash prizes might seem too good to be true.

But Fairfax City’s public bus service is offering three $50 Visa gift cards to people who fill out an online survey for its first major rebranding effort since it launched in 1980.

Known as the CUE, or City-University-Energysaver, the service primarily operates in the city but also extends outside city limits, notably to George Mason University and the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station.

“CUE’s branding has remained largely the same for 40 years and it’s time to change things up,” CUE Transit Manager Ryan Visci told FFXnow by email. “We want to present ourselves as a modern, efficient, and reliable service to encourage new riders to give us a try.”

He noted the project is expected to refresh the service’s logo and branding so the service appeals to more potential riders.

“CUE is looking for input on a new branding project!” the city said on Twitter. “Whether you ride CUE or not, your opinion can help shape the future of public transit in our community.”

Per the survey:

The goal of this project is to evaluate the existing CUE brand and identify improvements to attract new riders, solidify CUE’s identity, and standardize public information while maintaining current customers and partnerships.

The city will also meet with riders to get feedback on March 30 during peak commuting times at the Vienna Metro station and the CUE bus stop at GMU’s Fairfax campus.

Early in the pandemic, ridership was about 25% of 2019 levels, but the service is now at 90-100% of pre-Covid levels, which amounts to around 2,000-2,500 trips per day, according to the city.

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Morning Notes

Prices at a gas station in Tysons (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Regional Winter Clothing Drive for Ukraine Now Accepting Donations — “Northern Virginia localities are partnering together to collect donations for Ukrainians who fled their country amid the Russian invasion. Dozens of locations around Northern Virginia will begin accepting donations Wednesday [March 23] through April 15.” [Patch]

FCPD Officer Faces Trial for Taser Use — “Day two of the trial of a Fairfax County police officer accused of assaulting an unarmed and incoherent man has concluded…Defense attorneys insist Officer Tyler Timberlake was well within department guidelines when he tasered La Monta Gladney in Mount Vernon. Prosecutors call it a crime.” [WUSA9]

Youngkin Calls for Special Session — “The Republican governor issued a proclamation Wednesday saying that a special session will commence April 4. The move comes after the clock ran out during the regular General Assembly session without the Democrat-controlled Senate and GOP-controlled House reaching agreement on the state budget.” [Associated Press/WTOP]

FCPS Tests iPads for Kindergarteners — Fairfax County Public Schools began a pilot program this week to provide iPads for pre-K and kindergarten students in lieu of the heavier laptops currently used in those classrooms. The schools participating in the pilot are Lake Anne Elementary, Riverside Elementary, and Bailey’s Primary. [FCPS]

Fairfax Dems Call for Special Elections — At a March 22 general body meeting, Fairfax County Democratic Committee members voted 86% in favor of a resolution calling for special elections for the House of Delegates in 2022. The entire chamber was up for grabs last year, but a delayed redistricting process meant those legislators were elected based on now-outdated district maps. [Fairfax County Democratic Committee]

Michelin Starred Chef to Plans Mystery Tysons Restaurant — Chef Pepe Moncayo and his partners have leased for about 7,000 square feet at Capital One Center. He shared few details about the upcoming eatery except to say “it won’t be a carbon copy of Cranes,” the Japanese and Spanish fusion restaurant and lounge he opened in D.C.’s Penn Quarter in 2020. [Washington Business Journal]

GMU Performing Arts Venue to End Vaccine Mandates — “George Mason University will soon no longer require proof of COVID-19 vaccines or negative tests for those attending events at the Center for the Arts in Fairfax and the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. The policy change begins May 2.” [Inside NoVA]

Colvin Run Miller’s House to Reopen — “The public will be able to experience a slice of 19th-century middle-class life…when the Fairfax County Park Authority reopens the newly renovated miller’s house at Colvin Run Historic Site…The April 3 event will kick off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 p.m., followed by refreshments in the garden, and festivities will continue until 4 p.m.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Park Authority Plans “One Dark Hour” Event — To kick off International Dark Sky Awareness Week next month, the Fairfax County Park Authority will encourage all residents to turn off any outdoor lights between 9 and 10 p.m. on April 22. The event is intended to demonstrate the importance of using light only when and where it’s needed, so that wildlife and plants can thrive. [FCPA]

It’s Thursday — Light rain throughout the day. High of 66 and low of 56. Sunrise at 7:07 a.m. and sunset at 7:26 p.m. [Weather.gov]

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Banditos Bar & Kitchen is expected to open by late April (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A new “taco temple” is coming to Fairfax County this spring.

Banditos Bar & Kitchen — a concept inspired by Mexican street food — is preparing to open by the end of April at 10621 Braddock Road in Fairfax, according got a company representative.

The taco spot will be located at University Mall, a 182,366-square-foot property by George Mason University’s campus that is home to a number of retailers like Taco Bamba, Orange Theory Fitness and Teddy Bear Daycare.

The restaurant also plans to open a location in Arlington, according to ARLnow. Another location is planned in Towson, Maryland. Bandito’s brunch, lunch and dinner menu features more than 20 different tacos, burritos, street corn, mezcal and tequila.

It already has two locations in Maryland.

There is no word yet on an exact opening date. The county is currently reviewing the property after a failed building review on March 10.

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Morning Notes

Church Street in Vienna on a winter day (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Where to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — “St. Patrick’s Day is always an exciting time in the National Capital Region so find fun St. Patrick’s Day events and things to do in Fairfax County, VA and the rest of Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. Whether you’re looking for a quaint local Irish pub to relax in, or a rowdy Irish party to join, you’re bound to find our list of suggestions below a useful St. Patrick’s Day guide to Irishness!” [Visit Fairfax]

No Charges Against Officer in Lorton Shooting — “The commonwealth’s attorney for Fairfax County, Virginia, isn’t going to file charges against the police officer who shot a man in a van in Lorton last month. Michael Vaughan, 34, was shot Feb. 15 in a van on Fitt Court while he was holding a rifle.” [WTOP]

Prominent County Developer Dies — Land-use lawyer and developer John T. ‘Til’ Hazel Jr. on Tuesday (March 15) at 91 years of age in Broad Run. Crucial in shaping Fairfax County, including Tysons and George Mason University, Hazel helped clear land for the Capital Beltway and “went on to develop homes now occupied by 1 in every 10 residents of Fairfax County.” [The Washington Post]

FBI HQ Relocation Search Could Restart — “The omnibus fiscal year 2022 spending bill signed by President Joe Biden this week includes language that would advance the FBI’s selection of a new headquarters location — which it, along with the General Services Administration, had previously narrowed down to Greenbelt, Landover, and Springfield.” [Washington Business Journal]

FCPS Offers New Firefighter Training Program — “Thanks Fox 5 DC for highlighting this unique program and partnership between Fairfax County Public Schools and #FCFRD. Ten alums are now FCFRD career members. Two career elsewhere. Several volunteer firefighters. One attending Naval Academy!” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department/Facebook]

Herndon Native Stays with NHL Team — “Joe Snively, who grew up and played youth hockey in Herndon, was just re-signed by the Washington Capitals to a two-year, $1.6 million contract. Brian MacLellan, the Caps’ senior vice president and general manager, made the announcement on Wednesday, according to NHL.com.” [Patch]

GMU Reopens Renovated Performing Arts Theater — “After 18 months of renovations, Harris Theatre on George Mason University’s Fairfax campus is once again open for performances…The renovation features an expanded lobby, an updated ticket office, a new entrance near the walking meditation garden and a marquee to announce upcoming performances.” [Sun Gazette]

Tysons Contractor Buys Reston Security Company — “McLean, Virginia-based Booz Allen Hamilton, the largest government IT consulting contractor, continues a recent string of acquisitions by acquiring Reston-based cybersecurity firm EverWatch. Financial terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed.” [WTOP]

McLean Fire Department to Host Blood Drive — The McLean Volunteer Fire Department will host another blood drive by Inova from 1-5:30 p.m. on March 25. This will be the department’s second blood drive of the year, following one in January that ultimately saw all spots fill up. [McLean VFD/Facebook]

It’s Thursday — Rain in the morning and afternoon. High of 58 and low of 49. Sunrise at 7:18 a.m. and sunset at 7:19 p.m. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

The Tysons Metro station across Chain Bridge Road at night (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Metro Gets More ARPA Funding — “Another $120 million in federal pandemic relief money is being released to Metro to keep the transit system running and its front-line workers on the job, congressional leaders announced Thursday.” [The Washington Post]

Multiple I-66 Closures Start Today — Construction on a new I-66 East access ramp will reduce the highway to a single travel lane approaching Cedar Lane in the Dunn Loring area during overnight hours, starting at 10 p.m. today (Friday) through Wednesday (March 9). Construction will also close the I-66 West ramp to Nutley Street in Vienna from 10 p.m. tonight until 5 a.m. Monday (March 7). [VDOT, Town of Vienna/Twitter]

Local Bakers Fundraise for Ukraine — “Sarah Marshall, owner of Vienna-based The Sweet Life NoVA, knew baking was a way to help when seeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the news…The [14] bakers each contributed desserts for boxes of baked goods with all proceeds supporting humanitarian relief in Ukraine.” [Patch]

McLean Restaurant Adds Second Location — The Union, an Asian fusion restaurant that opened in McLean in January 2020, is expanding to Arlington County with a new location in Virginia Square. Owner Giridhar Sastry says construction is nearly done, and the venue could start serving food by the end of this month. [ARLnow]

Reston Nonprofit Calls for Donations — “The Embry Rucker Community Shelter needs supplies, specifically toilet paper and bottled water! No need to schedule, just drop off at the back door. 11975 Bowman Towne Drive, Reston, VA 20190. Thank you in advance!” [Cornerstones/Twitter]

Deadline for Lorton Vision Survey Extended — Fairfax County has extended the deadline for its community survey on the future of the Lorton area to Tuesday (March 8). The Lorton Visioning 2040 study will update the county’s Comprehensive Plan to guide land use, public facilities, transportation infrastructure, and other needs over the next 20 years. [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]

Reston Company Lands Huge Defense Contract — Leidos announced on Monday (Feb. 28) that it has been awarded a Defense Enclave Services (DES) contract worth an estimated $11.5 billion by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). The contract will last at least four years with three two-year option periods. [Intelligence Community News]

County Board Celebrates GMU — “George Mason University’s president Dr. Gregory Washington, received a proclamation recognizing the university’s 50th anniversary. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay presented the proclamation to Washington on behalf of the board at its public meeting on Feb. 22, 2022.” [The Connection]

It’s Friday — Today will be sunny, with a high near 46 and low around 34. The sunrise was at 6:35 a.m. and sunset will be at 6:05 p.m. [weather.gov]

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