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A Vietnam War veteran who now lives in Fairfax County was awarded the Medal of Honor at the White House today (Friday) — a recognition that supporters believe is nearly six decades overdue.

Retired Army Col. Paris Davis learned last month that he would receive the U.S. military’s highest honor for his actions in a battle against North Vietnamese forces on June 17-18, 1965, when he led an assault and saved multiple fellow soldiers despite being wounded.

The call from President Joe Biden on Feb. 13 “prompted a wave of memories of the men and women I served with in Vietnam,” Davis said in a statement.

“I am so very grateful for my family and friends within the military and elsewhere who kept alive the story of A-team, A-321 at Camp Bong Son,” he said. “I think often of those fateful 19 hours on June 18, 1965 and what our team did to make sure we left no man behind on that battlefield.”

Recounting Davis’s heroic acts, the U.S. Army says his tactical leadership of American Special Forces and an inexperienced South Vietnamese company allowed them to surprise a large North Vietnamese force near Bong Son.

At the time, Davis was a detachment commander in the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces — one of the first Black officers to lead a Special Forces team in combat.

In Bình Định province, Davis and his men were tasked with training a force of local volunteers. On June 18, 1965, he commanded a team of inexperienced South Vietnamese, along with Special Forces Soldiers, against a superior enemy force.

Over the course of two days, Davis selflessly led a charge to neutralize enemy emplacements, called for precision artillery fire, engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy, and prevented the capture of three American soldiers (Robert Brown, John Reinberg, and Billy Waugh) while saving their lives with a medical extraction.

Davis sustained multiple gunshot and grenade fragment wounds during the 19-hour battle and refused to leave the battlefield until his men were safely removed.

For that battle and other actions during his two tours in Vietnam, including one incident where he rescued a soldier stuck in an overturned, burning fuel truck, Davis has also received the Silver Star, the Soldier’s Medal for heroism, a Purple Heart and other military honors.

The Medal of Honor, however, took longer to arrive. Though Davis’s commanding officer nominated him for the award immediately after the battle of Bong Son, the paperwork allegedly got lost not once, but twice.

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Crumbl Cookies staff mix cookie dough in the Reston location’s open kitchen (courtesy of Crumbl Cookies)

Another Crumbl Cookies location is coming soon to Fairfax County.

The chain, which serves up a rotating selection of fresh cookies, is set to open at 5810 Kingstowne Center sometime in the spring or summer, a company spokesperson tells FFXnow.

“The store you are referring to is still under construction with an opening date not yet solidified.” said Cassidy Salibury, a spokesperson for the company.

The timeline is contingent on construction and permitting.

In the last two years, the company has opened several locations in Virginia. There are already locations in Reston, Vienna, Chantilly and Ashburn.

It was founded by two cousins in 2017. Customers can place delivery, carry-out or in-store orders. Each week, the company selects six flavors. This week’s selections are milk chocolate chip, lemon cupcake, classic peanut butter, French silk pie, caramel cake, and classic pink sugar.

Locations at Fair Lakes Shopping Center and Alexandria’s Bradlee Shopping Center are also in the works.

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A new burger spot is opening soon in the town center (Photo via Google Maps).

A new fast-casual burger spot is coming soon to Kingstowne Town Center in Alexandria.

Smashburger, a chain that has locations cross in the country, plans to open in at 5920 Kingstowne Towne Center in suite 120, according to state permits.

The company did not return multiple requests for comment from FFXnow.

The burger restaurant was founded in 2007 in Denver, Colorado. In addition to its signature burgers, the restaurant sells grilled chicken sandwiches, black bean burgers, and salads.

Smashburger has other locations in the state, including Arlington, Gainesville and Sterling. 

Photo via Google Maps

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A lost community pig was returned to its owner (via Nalls Produce/Facebook)

A pig that found its way to a local business that happen to be trained in proper swine handling has been returned to his owner.

The pig was caught by staff at Nalls Produce, a garden center located in the Kingstowne area, which turned the loose community pig to the county’s animal control division. 

“How serendipitous that a loose pig wandered one of the only places in the area that has staff trained in proper swine handling with pig feed in stock,” Nalls Produce wrote in a statement on social media.

The pig was returned to the owner after a community search, according to second Lt. Kathleen Prucnal of the county’s animal protection police.

Our officers occasionally encounter pigs in Fairfax County and they prioritize public safety and animal welfare when doing so.  There were several calls received by dispatch over the course of a few days and we attempted to locate and confine the animal each time it was reported,” Prucnal wrote in a statement.

The Fairfax County Police Department advises anyone who comes across a loose pig to contact their non-emergency dispatch number 703-691-2131, though 911 should be used if it’s an emergency situation.

Nalls Produce described the pig as a “young full size piggie” and not a “mini” like Penny, the pig owned by the business.

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Construction on the new, nearly $80 million Franconia Government Center will begin later than expected.

Back in February, construction was anticipated to begin in “early summer,” but it’s now been pushed back a few months to the fall, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services spokesperson Sharon North told FFXnow.

The project is expected to cost about $79.5 million, though that could change with construction bidding currently underway. If commenced this fall, construction will be completed in early 2025 — slightly behind the initial 2024 date.

Located between Beulah Street, Silver Lake Boulevard, and Interparcel Road in Franconia, the 90,000-square-foot building will house a number of county services and departments with the goal of centralizing the services and providing better facilities.

The building will include the Franconia police station, the public library, an active adult center, a childcare center, the Franconia Museum, and the office of now-called Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk, who will run for re-election.

“​​County services in the Kingstowne area of Alexandria are scattered and facilities are small and outdated,” the county’s project page says.

Site of the new Franconia Government Center (via Fairfax County)

The Kingstowne Regional Library’s footprint will double in the new building, getting more seating, group study rooms, a brighter children’s area, and a teen zone with a gaming station.

The Active Adult Center will also nearly double in size to 7,200 square feet of space.

Both are currently in leased space that the county says “has significant challenges including space constraints, limited parking and disruption to operations due to maintenance.”

The Franconia police station, Franconia Museum, and the district supervisor’s office are all currently housed at 6121 Franconia Road, about a mile and a half from where the new building will be.

According to the county, the old building “needs to be replaced” since it is “undersized” and “outdated.” Parking is also insufficient, and the county-owned fuel station is “located within the secure perimeter thereby disallowing access to it by county vehicles other than those used by the police.”

When the county departments eventually move out in a few years to the new one, the old building might be redeveloped and turned into affordable housing.

That part of Franconia is undergoing a lot of changes.

Next to the new building will be a new townhouse development that is being planned. Just down the street, Inova is massively expanding its campus while the nearby Franconia-Springfield Metro might get new bus bays and a layover facility. This is part of the $180 million Frontier Drive extension project.

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Morning Notes

An empty bench by Lake Audubon in Reston (photo by Marjorie Copson)

(Updated at 9:25 a.m.) Fire and Rescue Rejects Agreement in Sexual Harassment Complaint — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that a former Fairfax County firefighter was sexually harassed by a captain in 2017 and demoted after she reported it. But the county fire department has refused an agreement requiring improved efforts to address sexual harassment, new training, and a $150,000 award to the woman, raising the possibility of a federal lawsuit. [The Washington Post]

Pedestrian Killed in Lorton Crash Identified — The Fairfax County Police Department says Keith Thomas, 24, was walking in the southbound lanes of Richmond Highway when he was hit by the driver of a 2005 GMC Sierra at 1:28 a.m. Friday (July 8) at the I-95 interchange. The driver called for help, but Thomas was struck by other vehicles and ultimately died at the scene. [FCPD]

McLean Man Sentenced for Covid Relief Fraud — “A McLean businessman who bilked nearly $1.6 million from federal coronavirus relief programs and spent much of the money on a mansion with its own movie theater and cigar room was sentenced Friday to two years and nine months in prison.” [The Washington Post]

West Springfield House Fire Reported Yesterday — “House fire on 7/10 in 8500 block of Grigsby Drive in West Springfield area. Heavy fire on arrival. No occupants were home at time of fire. Five occupants were displaced. There were no reported injuries. Fire is under investigation. Damages: $594,825.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

Burke & Herbert to Consolidate in Kingstowne — “The bank will remain headquartered at 100 S. Fairfax St. in Old Town Alexandria, but a ‘large portion’ of its local workforce, currently dispersed across the area, will shift to 5680 King Centre Drive in Kingstowne. Burke & Herbert paid $22 million for that 113,000-square-foot building July 1, according to Fairfax County records.” [Washington Business Journal]

Virginia Workers Leave Over Telework Policy — “More than 300 employees from five state agencies have resigned since Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced Virginia’s new telework policy in early May, according to records obtained by 8News. This includes 183 Virginia Department of Transportation employees, 28 of whom cited ‘telework options’ as the reason for leaving.” [ABC8]

Vienna Band Director Steps Away — “A long commute to and from Anne Arundel County, Md., has prompted Cornelius Young to give up his post as music director for the Vienna Community Band, but he leaves with good memories of the group and the town. Young, who has been with the band since October 2014, decided to try for the job after not being selected to lead Annandale High School’s band.” [Sun Gazette]

Reston Student on Performing “Newsies” — “Reston Community Players’ new apprentice program is designed to help students ages 13 to 18 interested in theater gain pre-professional performance and technical experience. That’s exactly what Anna Schoenborn, a rising junior at South Lakes High School in Reston is gaining this summer with RCP’s production of ‘Newsies.'” [Patch]

It’s Monday — Clear throughout the day. High of 82 and low of 66. Sunrise at 5:54 am and sunset at 8:37 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Passing the pedestrian bridge over Route 50 in Seven Corners (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Victim of Bailey’s Crossroads Crash Identified — Gladis Suyapa Deras, 54, of Falls Church died in a two-vehicle crash outside Skyline Plaza on Tuesday (May 24), police confirmed. Investigators say the occupants of the other vehicle initially ran from the scene, and one of them was arrested for allegedly being drunk in public. [FCPD]

Herndon Man Arrested for Sexual Battery of Minor — “Town of Herndon Police arrested a 53-year-old Herndon man in connection with the aggravated sexual battery of a juvenile victim who was known to him, according to the weekly crime report. Police arrested Jenaro Alberto Hernandez Jovel on May 6 for an incident that occurred in the 500 block of Florida Avenue, according to police.” [Patch]

FCPS Releases Data on New TJ Class — Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology’s Class of 2026 will have 550 students as the second accepted under the revised admissions process. Asian students ticked up to 60%, as did low-income students (33%), while Hispanic students dropped slightly (8%) and white and Black students stayed level (21% and 6%). [The Washington Post]

Fairfax Senator Drops Support for Football Stadium — State Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34) doesn’t intend to vote for a $1 billion plan that he supported in January to bring a new Washington Commanders stadium to Virginia. He says he no longer believes the NFL team “will be good for business,” citing sexual harassment and financial misconduct allegations as well as its name change. [WUSA9]

Kingstowne Chick-fil-A Opens — “The Chick-fil-A in Kingstowne will be opening Thursday morning, the restaurant has announced…The restaurant is near the intersection of South Van Dorn and Kingstowne Boulevard, at 5808 Kingstowne Center. Hours will be 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m.” [Alexandria Living]

Firefighters Meet People Helped in Route 7 Crash — “On April 2, a serious two-car crash occurred on Leesburg Pike. 2 adults and a child were trapped in back of one car w/serious injuries. Recently, units who responded to the incident had the pleasure of hosting them. #FCFRD are happy they are doing well & were grateful for visit.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

Park Authority Summer Hiring Underway — The Fairfax County Park Authority will offer a few new benefits this year to summer employees, including $100 sign-up and retention bonuses and free access to all rec centers for the season. Hiring events are scheduled at The Water Mine in Reston and the Providence Rec Center in West Falls Church. [FCPA]

Dinosaur Encounter Opens in Centreville — “Dinosaurs are returning from extinction with The Jurassic Encounter in Northern Virginia. The outdoor walk-through dinosaur exhibit is the first of its kind at the Bull Run Events Center, home of the Annual Bull Run Festival of Lights, now through May 30 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.” [WTOP]

It’s Thursday — Overcast throughout the day. High of 70 and low of 59. Sunrise at 5:50 am and sunset at 8:25 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Route 123 and International Drive in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Kingstowne Man Indicted for Real Estate Loan Scheme — Calling it one of the largest embezzlement cases in Fairfax County history, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office announced yesterday (Monday) that Carlos Camacho has been charged with 15 counts of embezzlement and four counts of forgery. Camacho allegedly used loans to divert more than $2 million from his employer for personal expenses. [DCist]

County Sees Rise in Domestic Violence During Pandemic — “During the first quarter of 2022, our Department of Family Services’ Domestic and Sexual Violence Services (DSVS) division has seen this trend in real time through its Domestic and Sexual Violence 24-Hour Hotline, which has recorded an uptick in the number of domestic violence calls it receives.” [Fairfax County Government]

VDOT to Suspend Highway Work During Memorial Day Weekend — “Based on 2018 and 2019 traffic data, periods of moderate to heavy congestion on those pre-pandemic Memorial Day weekends were most likely to occur between noon and 6 p.m. on Friday and Monday, and midday on Saturday and Sunday, VDOT said in a news release.” [Inside NoVA]

IT Consulting Firm Octo Opens Lab in Reston — “Honored to attend the ribbon cutting for oLab today. With the relocation of groundbreaking companies and the expansion of cutting edge innovation labs in Virginia, we’re going to keep solving problems and making critical breakthroughs right here in the Commonwealth.” [Mark Warner]

Virginia Lawmakers Near a Budget Deal — “State legislators got word Monday that they should return to the Capitol on June 1 to vote on a proposed two-year state budget, even though final details on the spending plan were still being hammered out…Legislators launched the special session in April on his orders but promptly went home because there was no compromise to vote on.” [The Washington Post]

Chantilly Student Collects Medical Supplies and Food for Ukraine — “Nicholas, a student at Fairfax County’s Rachel Carson Middle School, chose to help Ukraine as part of his Eagle Scout project. All donations will be boxed by Nicholas and his fellow Scouts, and then sent to United Help Ukraine, a Maryland-based nonprofit organization founded in 2014.” [Patch]

Deputy Fire Chief Promoted — “Fire Chief John Butler is pleased to announce that Deputy Chief Dan Shaw has been promoted to Assistant Chief with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Assistant Chief Shaw will head the Office of the Fire Chief, which includes Data Analytics Management, Fiscal Services, Health and Wellness, Information Technology, Planning, and Public Information and Life Safety Education.” [FCFRD]

It’s Tuesday — Rain in the morning and afternoon. High of 66 and low of 53. Sunrise at 5:51 am and sunset at 8:24 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Tulips across from Vienna Presbyterian Church (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

It’s Earth Day — The Fairfax County Park Authority launched a new Earth Day website this week to provide information on upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and ways to promote environmental stewardship. The annual occasion started in 1970 “to generate awareness and support for environmental protection.” [FCPA]

Community Raises $20K for Young Reston Soccer Player — “Aaron, a player in the Great Falls-Reston Soccer Club, recently told his coach that he couldn’t come to practice because he didn’t have any cleats. The elite soccer player explained that he was one of the 15 people who’d been displaced by a fire at the Stonegate Village Apartment complex in Reston on April 10.” [Patch]

No Development Planned for Seven Corners Shopping Center — “The Seven Corners Shopping Center is not going to be replaced with a mixed-use development, confirms Janet McCarthy, vice president of leasing at Saul Centers Inc., at least for the foreseeable future…Saul Centers expects to announce a new tenant for the Dogfish Head Alehouse spot by June 1.” [Annandale Today]

Firefighters Reunite with Rescued Vienna Resident — “Engine 402, Vienna, and Engine 430, Merrifield, A-Shift teamed up to assist an occupant out of a house fire last week. Engine 402 was thrilled to meet occupant recently, along w/Vienna Mayor Colbert, and saw he was well. #FCFRD is happy he is doing well after horrific event.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

Kingstowne Shopping Centers Change Hands — Federal Realty will acquire Kingstowne Towne Center and Kingstowne Shopping Center for roughly $200 million, the company announced yesterday (Thursday). The real estate firm says it will “amenitize” the towne center but has no immediate plans for redevelopment. The purchase doesn’t include the Regal cinema. [Washington Business Journal]

Herndon Satellite Company Prepares for Launch — “The long-delayed first launch of a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from Virginia is now scheduled for late this year, carrying satellites for HawkEye 360. Rocket Lab announced April 19 it signed a contract with HawkEye 360 to deliver 15 satellites over three launches.” [Space News]

Spring Fest Returns to Mosaic District — Caboose Commons is bringing back its celebratory spring festival tomorrow (Saturday), promising food, live music, and games as well as beer, wine, and cocktail tastings. The festivities begin at noon and continue until 7 p.m. [Caboose Brewing Company]

Reston’s Water Mine Hiring Tomorrow — “Looking for a fun summer job? This Saturday (4/23/22) the Water Mine in Reston is hosting an open hire. Stop by anytime between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to apply, interview, and if offered a position, complete hire paperwork on-the-spot.” [FCPA/Twitter]

Marshall HS to Open Musical Next Week — “After a successful fall play, the Statesmen Theatre Department at Marshall High School is preparing to perform its spring musical on two upcoming weekends. The spring musical at Marshall High School will be the Tony Award-nominated ‘A Year with Frog and Toad.’ Performances are scheduled for April 28 and 29 and May 6 and 7.” [Patch]

It’s Friday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 72 and low of 51. Sunrise at 6:23 am and sunset at 7:54 pm. [Weather.gov]

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At the Mosaic District FRESHFARM Farmers’ Market (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A local effort to divert food from landfills, thanks to composting, is expanding.

Fairfax County is adding another farmers market, this one in Kingstowne, to its list of locations where people can drop off unused food for reuse.

People can drop off the food scraps during the farmers market hours, which for Kingstowne takes place 3 to 7 p.m. Fridays starting May 6.

Other farmers markets and sites that also allow for composting drop-offs include:

  • Burke — 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays beginning this weekend (April 16)
  • Herndon — from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursdays as of April 28,
  • Mount Vernon — from 8 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays starting next week (April 20)
  • Mosaic District — from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays year round
  • The I-66 Transfer Station and I-95 Landfill Complex — between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day of the week.

Fairfax County said in a news release yesterday (Wednesday) that the pilot program diverted 22 tons of food scraps last year. According to the county, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions eliminated by the effort was equivalent to taking 50 cars off the road.

In another area of growth for farmers markets, more vendors are also slated to participate this year as the seasonal staples return across the region.

Photo via Philip Cohen/Wikimedia

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