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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.
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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.

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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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Herndon Police Department (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The Town of Herndon is conducting an external review after the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Training Academy said it will stop sending graduates to the Herndon Police Department.

The move came after Herndon Police Chief Maggie DeBoard reportedly took issue with graduation certificates that were signed in Chinese by the academy’s director, Major Wilson Lee, who is Chinese American.

“This is not acceptable for my agency,” she wrote to Lee in an email, according to a report by the Washington Post. “I don’t want our Herndon officers to receive these.”

In a statement released yesterday (Thursday), Herndon Town Manager Bill Ashton II said the town is reviewing the incident to “determine intent by all parties.”

“Our objective is to restore our mutually beneficial working relationship with the county but also — and more importantly — to convey without qualification that officers of the Herndon Police Department are steadfast in their commitment toward protection and public safety for all members of our community,” Ashton wrote.

According to NBC4, which first reported the dispute, Lee has signed the certificates in Chinese since becoming director of the training academy a year ago. But after seeing the signatures prior to a March 7 graduation ceremony for 61 law enforcement trainees, DeBoard asked the academy to reissue the certificates for Herndon’s incoming officers.

Her email to Lee argued that the certificates should be signed in English, which is “the language that they are expected to use as an officer,” the Post reported.

The Fairfax County Police Department declined to reissue the certificates, and DeBoard’s request “led to a heated discussion” between her and Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis at the graduation ceremony, according to the Post. DeBoard told NBC4 that Davis “inappropriately accused me of being racist and made other disparaging remarks to me.”

According to the Post’s report, Deputy County Executive Thomas Arnold notified DeBoard in a March 18 letter that he was terminating the Town of Herndon’s affiliation with the academy, effective June 1, calling DeBoard’s actions “inconsistent with the culture of Fairfax County and our One Fairfax Policy.”

Adopted by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2017, the One Fairfax policy dictates that all government officials consider racial and social equity issues when providing services and creating public policy.

In the statement, Ashton said inclusiveness and respect for all members of the community are “operating tenets” of the HPD.

“It is unfortunate that Chief DeBoard’s recent interaction with Fairfax County’s Criminal Justice Academy has been viewed as discriminatory,” Ashton said. “I have personally known Chief DeBoard for over 12 years and this interaction is completely inconsistent with the dedicated public servant that I know, who has served this town and Fairfax County with honor and distinction for many years.”

When contacted by FFXnow, the FCPD said it did “not have comments on this topic at this time.”

Here’s what the department wrote to the Post:

“Our last several recruit classes are majority minority as we make historic strides to better reflect the community we serve. Any expressed sentiments that appear to take issue with these realities are unfortunate and not reflective of Fairfax County’s commitment” to its One Fairfax policy.

DeBoard became the first female police chief in Northern Virginia when she was appointed to lead Herndon’s department in 2012. She served as head of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police in 2020 and 2021.

Established in 1985, the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy provides training to recruits who go on to serve the FCPD, the Fairfax County sheriff’s and fire marshal’s offices, and the Herndon and Vienna police departments.

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A total of 461 residential units will take the place of two vacant office buildings on Worldgate Drive in Herndon.

The Herndon Town Council unanimously approved the redevelopment proposal from Boston Properties on March 26, allowing a five-story apartment building on the western half of the property along with a two-floor parking garage, four-story townhouses and two-over-two stacked residential units.

The project will be located at 13100 and 13150 Worldgate Drive and has been under review by the town for almost two years.

The 10.4-acre site will be accessed from an entrance on Wiltshire Lane and a new right-in only entrance along Worldgate Drive. The development itself includes a street grid of private streets and alleys.

A new trail that is accessible to the public will provide a missing link to the existing trail network that connects Elden Street to the Herndon Metro station.

Two public bus stops will be relocated and upgraded with shelters, benches and trash cans. The stop along Elden Street will also have a bus pull-off bay to minimize the impact on traffic.

Lisa Gilleran, director of the town’s department of community development, told the town council that the housing development will have a significantly lower impact on traffic than the office buildings would if they were fully leased.

“Although they are empty right now, if they were to have tenants in them, [it] would actually create a much more significant traffic issue than the proposed development,” Gilleran said.

A traffic study found that the development is expected to reduce traffic by 1,448 daily trips during peak hours compared to the existing office use.

Boston Properties successfully sought a 15% reduction in the number of parking spaces required for the multi-family building, which will have 359 units. The 49 planned townhouses will be 20 and 22 feet wide for end units instead of the required 22 feet and 24 feet for end units.

David Gill, a land use attorney representing Boston Properties, said the company is excited to create a gateway community in the Town of Herndon.

“We think Worldgate has had a lot of challenges as the office market has changed under its feet,” he said.

Councilmember Donielle Scherff urged the developer to continue to conduct its due diligence as the project moves forward, drawing specifically from her experience with Boston Properties shifting Reston Town Center from free to paid parking.

“I hope that everything that happened in Reston will shed a different light with how you handle Herndon,” she said.

Sean Sullivan, the company’s vice president of development, responded that “lessons have been learned from Reston so we take that to heart.”

The townhouse portion of the project will have 35 visitor spaces allotted on the street. Garage parking is set aside for the multi-family building, whose visitors will receive a temporary key. Bicycle parking, including public racks on the street, will be provided.

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(Updated at 4/3/24) A Fairfax County judge has ruled there’s enough evidence to proceed with charges against a Reston au pair linked to a fatal shooting over a year ago.

Circuit Court Judge Michael Lindner found probable cause yesterday (Monday) to charge Juliana Peres Magalhaes, 23, in the Feb. 24, 2023, deadly shooting of Joseph Ryan, 39, at her employer’s Herndon-area home in the 13200 block of Stable Brook Way.

Police discovered Christine Banfield with stab wounds to her upper body and Ryan with two gunshot wounds to his upper body. Banfield was transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Ryan was declared dead at the scene.

Though the shooting and stabbing occurred in February, Peres Magalhaes wasn’t arrested until October. She remained employed by Brendan Banfield, Christine Banfield’s husband, throughout that period. The investigation into Christine Banfield’s death is ongoing, and no charges have been filed yet.

Although the judge determined there was a “fair probability” that Peres Magalhaes had used a firearm to fatally shoot Ryan, yesterday’s hearing was just an initial step to assess whether there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.

The hearing

Peres Magalhaes faces charges of second-degree murder, meaning the killing was intentional but not planned. However, at the preliminary hearing, prosecutors outlined events leading to Ryan’s death and introduced new evidence they said suggests the killing might have been premeditated.

Witnessess summoned for the four-hour hearing by Fairfax County Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Clingan included Fairfax County Police Detective Stephen Carter, who testified that, on the morning of Feb. 24, Peres Magalhaes left the Banfield residence to take their 4-year-old daughter to a zoo.

Brendan Banfield left earlier that morning and was allegedly at a nearby McDonald’s when he received a call from Peres Magalhaes. She reported seeing a stranger’s car in the Banfield’s driveway when she returned to the house to get their daughter’s lunch.

Brendan Banfield allegedly drove back home and went inside with Peres Magalhaes. Upon entering the bedroom, they encountered Ryan, who was fully dressed and allegedly holding a knife to an undressed Christine Banfield.

An initial 911 call was made from Peres Magalhaes’s phone at 7:47 a.m. A second call at 8:02 a.m. came from both her and Brendan Banfield, who allegedly told the dispatcher that he shot Ryan after seeing his wife get stabbed multiple times.

According to prosecutors, Banfield shot Ryan in the head before the first 911 call was placed. Peres Magalhaes told investigators that he instructed her to grab another gun from a closet several feet away that she then fired at Ryan. Assistant Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Meghan Kessler confirmed the second gunshot wound was the cause of death.

Peres Magalhaes’s lawyers argue she acted in self-defense. However, Kessler testified that Ryan’s head wound likely left him incapacitated, hindering his movement and vision. Prosecutors contended that, given Ryan’s condition after the first shot, there was no need for a second one. Read More

A display of peppers at a local farmers market (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Fairfax County is gearing up for the return of its 10 farmers’ markets this spring, with some locations set to return later this month and others in May.

The 2024 season starts on April 17 with the McCutcheon/Mount Vernon Farmers Market outside the Sherwood Regional Library (2501 Sherwood Hall Lane), the Fairfax County Park Authority announced last week.

Farmers and producers are only allowed to sell what they raise on their farms or make from scratch and come from within a 125-mile radius of Fairfax County, with a few exceptions for hard-to-find products, according to the county website.

“This year, you can expect to find locally grown produce, delicious baked goods, and prepared foods at our farmers markets,” the Fairfax County Park Authority said in a news release. “Additionally, enjoy a variety of family-friendly activities from musical performances, games — and don’t forget to bring your food scraps to support our community composting efforts.”

A list of vendors can be found on each market’s webpage, and SNAP will be accepted at the Mount Vernon, Annandale, Lorton, Reston and Wakefield locations.

Three farmers markets are coming back later in April, all operating from 8 a.m. to noon:

  • April 17: McCutcheon/Mount Vernon on Wednesdays
  • April 20: Burke at Burke Centre Field (5671 Roberts Parkway) on Saturdays
  • April 27: Reston at Lake Anne Plaza (1608 Washington Plaza North) on Saturdays

The seven remaining farmers markets will open in May:

  • May 1: Oakton at the recently renamed Oakmont Rec Center (3200 Jermantown Road) on Wednesdays 8 a.m.-noon, Wakefield at the Audrey Moore Rec Center (8100 Braddock Road) in Annandale on Wednesdays 2-6 p.m.
  • May 2: Annandale at Mason District Park (6621 Columbia Pike) and Herndon outside the Herndon Municipal Center (765 Lynn Street) on Thursdays 8 a.m.-noon
  • May 3: McLean at Lewinsville Park (1659 Chain Bridge Road) on Fridays 8 a.m.-noon, Kingstowne (5844-5862 Kingstowne Center) on Fridays 3-7 p.m.
  • May 5: Lorton at Lorton Station Town Center (8994 Potomac Bend) on Sundays 8 a.m.-noon
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Herndon Municipal Center (staff photo by James Jarvis)

Water and sewer rates are set to increase as part of the Town of Herndon’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2025.

Released on Friday (March 29) by Town Manager Bill Ashton II, the proposed budget leaves the real estate tax rate unchanged at $0.26 per $100 of assessed value, though bills are still expected to go up due to rising property assessments.

However, the water service rate is set to increase from $3.47 this year to $4.08 per 1,000 gallons of water consumption in the next budget year, which starts July 1. The sewer rate is set to increase from $8.27 to $8.93 per 1,000 gallons of water consumption in fiscal year 2025.

The changes were spurred by higher supply and treatment costs that have affected the region, the Town of Herndon said in a press release. Town staff have been examining potential increases since 2022.

Ashton emphasized that the state of the economy calls for “fiscal prudence.”

The Proposed FY 2025 Budget allows for continuation of the programs and services valued by our residents and businesses, as well as funding for new initiatives such as previously deferred public works projects as well as work on the town’s Comprehensive Plan, a document that guides our present and future in such elements as land use, transportation, historic areas, community service facilities, public buildings and utilities.

The quarterly service charge for water per bill will be $16.34 under the proposed budget. An additional fee of $6.94 per 1,000 gallons would be charged for all water consumed during peak use periods that’s in excess of the average consumption for the preceding billing periods.

The overall $74 million budget package increases spending by 19.9%. If approved, funding would go toward employee pay raises, increased pension and retirement costs, and capital projects, among other expenses.

Notable initiatives for the coming year include the Herndon Police Department’s plan to re-introduce a dedicated traffic section with motor officers “to enhance roadway safety through education and enforcement.” A second part-time parking enforcement official will be hired to help address parking violations.

“Overall, these changes reflect the town’s commitment to maintaining and improving its infrastructure, public safety, and recreational facilities for its residents,” the budget document says. “These budget changes also demonstrate the town’s responsible financial management and dedication to providing quality services to its community.”

The budget is officially adopted on June 30 following a series of meetings, including public hearings on the proposed budget on April 9 and April 23. Both meetings begin at 7 p.m. in the Ingram Council Chambers.

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The annual horse expo returns to Frying Pan Farm Park next month (courtesy Fairfax County Park Authority)

Horse enthusiasts will once again get a chance to enjoy the Annual Horse Expo at Frying Pan Farm Park’s Equestrian Center.

The event, which is set for April 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., is open to all and will include equestrian demonstration, a variety of horses in a Parade of Breeds, speeches by expert speakers, and businesses offering horse-related products and services.

“This featured event is for everyone — experienced riders, beginners, and anyone who loves horses or hopes to become a rider,” the Fairfax County Park Authority said in a press release.

Pony rides are also available for $10, though pre-registration is required. Registration for the overall expo is free.

This year’s expo features new and additional vendors onsite as well as new topics for demonstrations and speakers, such as trailer safety, equine entertainment and liberty training, according to FCPA spokesperson Roberta Korzen.

The equestrian center is a public facility in Frying Pan Farm Park (2709 West Ox Road). It offers rental events, horse shows, trailer-in schooling options and short-term stabling. It also features two full-size outdoor riding rings and a rally field.

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Fox Mill Road in Herndon will be closed on April 1 (via VDOT)

Fox Mill Road will be closed at the beginning of next month to allow for a pipe replacement.

Virginia Department of Transportation crews are replacing a drainage pipe, prompting the closure between Pinecrest Road and John Milton Drive in Herndon on Monday, April 1 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Individuals who need to access properties along Fox Mill Road will still have access, but drivers will not be allowed to go beyond the point where the pipe is being replaced, which will be located roughly at 2516 Fox Mill Road near Pinecrest Road.

“Through traffic will be detoured via Pinecrest Road, Viking Drive (Route 5340) and John Milton Drive back to Fox Mill Road. Drivers are asked to follow posted detour signs,” VDOT said in a press release.

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