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Boats docked at Lake Anne Plaza (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Cellular service issues continue to plague residents in the Lake Anne area of Reston, but a recently added, temporary truck will at least ensure AT&T customers can call 911.

A spokesperson for AT&T said that since Friday (July 29) — when information about the outage was first released — the company has been trying to restore an antenna in the area.

AT&T says it is working on placing a temporary cellular support truck in the Lake Anne area to help give customers a boost and improve service until the issue is resolved.

“We have deployed temporary emergency coverage for first responders, and are working as quickly as possible to restore full service in the area. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience,” an AT&T spokesperson told FFXnow.

The company did not provide information on when the issue was first identified and what efforts have been made to restore the site.

However, Fairfax County said in a statement that it worked with the telecommunications company “to expedite placement of a cellular support vehicle” that was put in place Saturday morning (July 30).

“The AT&T cellular support vehicle allows for residents to call 9-1-1 and provides cellular coverage for public safety,” county spokesperson Tony Castrilli said. “The full restoration for AT&T customers in Lake Anne is scheduled to be completed in two weeks.”

The problem comes after Verizon and other cell carriers removed a cell phone communications facility at the rooftop of Lake Anne Fellowship House, which is set to be demolished next year.

Fairfax County is encouraging residents to use a landline or make calls through the WiFi on devices where that’s an option.

A spokesperson for Verizon said the company is actively looking for a replacement site. Its original plans fell earlier this year. Since then, the company says that it has been looking for another site but with no success.

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Fire crews are using the vacated building at Lake Anne in Reston for training purposes (courtesy Fellowship Square)

The demolition of the vacated Lake Anne Fellowship House is still several months away. 

In the interim, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department crews are using the vacated building — which previously housed more than 300 older adult residents — as a training location for local fire departments. 

The department has been using the building for aerial rescues using ladder truck and mannequins. 

 “Training in a real structure like this provides us with an amazing and very rare opportunity,” said Scott Kraut, fire captain at Firehouse 25, which is located 1820 Wiehle Avenue.

Kraut says the vacated building provides a rare opportunity for the firefighters to practice and use their skills in a residential high-rise.

The initiative began after the fire department submitted a proposal to use the building, according to a spokesperson for Lake Anne Fellowship House.

The affordable housing nonprofit Enterprise Community Development plans to redevelop the fellowship house after demolition takes place sometime next year.

Over the summer, residents of the fellowship house moved into a brand-new residence across the street, leaving behind the 1970s building that was one of the first high rises and the first affordable senior housing property in Reston.

The new Lake Anne House — located at 11444 North Shore Drive — is a $86 million project spearheaded by ECD and Fellowship Square Foundation. 

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Verizon truck drives through water while turning from Baron Cameron Avenue to Reston Parkway after rain (photo by Ed Schudel)

Verizon may soon have a solution for slow cell service in the Lake Anne area.

The cell phone provider is actively looking for sites of a new cell tower after its facility at Lake Anne Fellowship House was removed in anticipation of the building’s demolition.

“Despite being met by some initial resistance from the county architectural review board, we continue to work on securing new real estate to deploy a replacement site,” Verizon spokesperson Karen Schulz wrote in statement to FFXnow.

Earlier this year, concerns about incompatibility with the area prompted Site Link Wireless to withdraw a plan for six antenna on the roof of Heron House, a 15-story condominium building at the center of Lake Anne Village Center.

Verizon is actively working to secure alternate locations for a new small site in that neighborhood, Schulz said.

So far, surrounding sites service the immediate neighborhood and provide coverage, but some customers have reported congestion and slower speeds.

Schulz noted that Fairfax County’s zoning ordinance does not allow the installation of a temporary site, prompting Verizon to look for other locations for a new site.

While discussions are underway with potential landlords, Verizon has not yet identified a timeline to complete the project going forward.

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The Reston Multicultural Festival takes place in Reston Town Center this year (via Reston Community Center)

A staple of Reston’s events scene — the Reston’s Multicultural Festival — returns in September with a new venue and line-up of presenters.

This year’s festival will take place at Reston Town Center through a partnership with the Reston Town Center Association instead of the typical location at Lake Anne Plaza.

Reston Community Center Executive Director Leila Gordon told FFXnow that the relocation was necessary after the center found itself “unable to agree on mutually satisfactory terms of use for Lake Anne Plaza” with the Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association (LARCA).

“We needed to make alternative location plans to proceed with the other layers of planning the Reston Multicultural Festival requires,” Gordon wrote in a statement. “Fortunately, we have a continuing and longstanding relationship with Reston Town Center Association in presenting complex, large-scale events and programming, so this location was a logical alternative and will be a lovely venue for this signature community event.”

This year’s festival also includes a new line-up through a partnership with the National Council of Traditional Arts, bringing NEA National Heritage Fellows, which have received the country’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts.

Fellows — including New Orleans’ Treme Brass Band, Capoeira Master Jelon Vieira and soul pioneer William Bell — will take the stage at Reston Town Square Park on Saturday, Sept. 17 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. The festival will also feature master crafts artists who will demonstrate their art.

“This year’s special anniversaries offer us an opportunity to design a unique lineup and produce the event in a new setting,” said RCC Board of Governors Chair Bev Cosham. “We are delighted to partner with the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) to present the NEA Heritage Fellows, and with Reston Town Center Association (RTCA) to create a memorable day of celebrating the diversity of cultures that makes ours a great nation and Reston the special community we know it to be.”

The performances are part of an expanding partnership with the NCTA and mark the 40th year of the NEA fellowship program. Since 1982, the program has granted 467 National Heritage Fellowships. Fellows are nominated by the public and then judged by experts in the arts.

Participants are encouraged to come dressed in attire related to their cultural roots.

It’s not the first time that disagreement between LARCA and event organizers have prompted a location change.

In April, a free summer concert series by the center relocated to Reston Station after an impasse between the board and RCC. At the time, Gordon told Patch that RCC failed to reach an agreement on crafting a policy for plaza use and an application to execute events in an orderly manner.

RTCA Executive Director Robert Goudie says the association is looking forward to partnering with RCC again.

“Our longstanding partnership has generated outstanding performances and events for the entire community to enjoy. This year’s Multicultural Festival will continue and extend that terrific partnership,” Goudie said.

A complete breakdown of the festival is below after the jump. The schedule and participating organizations will be released in early September.

Read More

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Boats docked at Lake Anne Plaza in Reston (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Some residents are complaining about spotty and slow cell phone service in the Lake Anne area of Reston.

The issue may be related to the removal of a cell phone telecommunications facility on the old Lake Anne Fellowship House, which is slated for demolition, according to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn.

Local officials are trying to find a short-term solution and ultimately a spot for a long-term antenna location.

“I understand this is a frustrating situation and my office is doing what we can to help facilitate a quick resolution,” Alcorn wrote in a statement.

Verizon and AT&T did not immediately return requests for comment from FFXnow.

Finding a spot for antennas has been a tough sell in the area.

Earlier this year, concerns about incompatibility with the area prompted Site Link Wireless to withdraw a plan for six antenna on the roof of Heron House, a 15-story condominium building at the center of Lake Anne Village Center.

The facility at Lake Anne Fellowship House was used by Verizon Wireless and other providers. A spokesperson for T-Mobile said the company had not flagged any issues with service in the area.

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Closed sign (via Tim Mossholder/Unsplash)

While it won’t be quiet around Fairfax County on Monday with Fourth of July celebrations, many government offices and facilities will be closed.

Government offices, and some businesses, are closed for the Independence Day holiday. Public transportation schedules may be lighter and public services, like trash collection, may be changed. See our listing below to get details on what will be open and closed.

Government

Fairfax County government offices will be closed Monday (July 4) in recognition of the Fourth of July holiday, but some facilities are open and schedules vary.

The library system’s branches will be closed on Monday. Animal Control is closed, as it normally is, on Mondays.

The Circuit and District courts will be closed Monday.

The Town of Herndon offices will be closed Monday.

Park Authority

All Park Authority rec centers and golf centers and will be open Monday. Historic sites, nature centers and Green Spring Gardens will be closed. Frying Pan Farm Park Farm and indoor arena will be open while its visitor center will be closed. The River Bend Park Visitor Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All Neighborhood and Community Service facilities will be closed Saturday (July 2) through Monday. Reston Community Center Hunter Woods will be open Monday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Lake Anne will be closed on Monday.

The McLean Community Center will be closed.

Herndon Community Center will be closed Monday. But Herndon Centennial Golf Course will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., weather permitting.

Transportation

Fairfax Connector will operate on a Saturday service schedule on Monday. Human Services Transportation (FASTRAN) will not operate on Monday.

On Monday, Metrorail will open at 7 a.m. and close at midnight but last train times vary by station. The Orange Line trains will operate between Vienna and Stadium-Armory only, according to Metro, but free express and local shuttle buses will be provided.

Trash

The county advises residents to contact their trash and recycling collector directly for service schedule changes due to the holiday.

The I-66 Transfer Station and I-95 Landfill Complex will be closed Monday.

Town of Herndon recycling will be collected Tuesday (July 5) since it is normally collected Monday.

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The Cardboard Regatta returns to Lake Anne after a two-year haitus (photo by Charlotte Geary)

After a two-year hiatus, the Lake Anne Cardboard Regatta will return to Reston on Aug. 13.

The race, which is organized by the Reston Museum, will feature more than 50 life-size boats created by different teams from cardboard and duct tape.

Teams of all ages will take part in heats by rowing out to bouys and back to the docks. This year, organizers expect more than double the number of boats that first hit the water at its inaugural event.

Museum Director Alexandra Campbell said the organization looks forward to adding more boats to the race this year.

“We appreciated everyone who came out in 2019 to either participate in the race or spectate but I think the pandemic has given us a new sense of what it means to provide community events. We are looking forward to being able to have this event after a two-year hiatus,” Campbell wrote.

Prizes will be given to the fastest boat in each categories and winners of a design contest. The “Titanic” award is given to the boat that sinks in the “most epic fashion,” according to event organizers.

Registration for the event is open online.

The boats can be as thick as participants desire but must be entirely made out of cardboard and can’t be bigger than six by 12 feet.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the museum, which Campbell says has maneuvered by seeking out new funding and more programming than in the past.

This year, the museum is kicking off a new guided historic walking tour that explores Reston’s founding.

The 30-minute tour is free and advanced registration is required. The initiative is supported by the Virginia Tourism Corporation Grant in partnership with George Mason University and Reston Association.

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The inside of one of the Big Wonton locations (via Big Wonton)

A new Chinese restaurant is opening soon at Lake Anne Plaza.

Big Wonton, a Chinese restaurant that already has another delivery concept in Reston, will take up space at 14438 Washington Plaza, according to its website.

Items on the menu include street food, dim sum, dumplings, sushi and other traditional Chinese staples. Big Wonton has been selling frozen dumplings and other Asian food via home delivery throughout Northern Virginia.

The business has not yet announced when it plans to open, but its website says an opening is planned soon. The owner did not immediately return a request for comment from FFXnow.

Big Wonton has a sister location called The Kitchen at 2303-B Soapstone Drive. It also has a Book Cafe in Gaithersburg, Md.

Photo via Big Wonton

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After nearly three years of business, a locally-curated restaurant at Lake Anne Plaza has officially closed its doors.

Local VA, a gourmet dive bar that opened in 2019, permanently closed earlier this month, the business confirmed in a statement to FFXnow.

The spokesperson for the business declined to comment further on the closure, citing legal reasons.

The doors of the spot are blocked off with chains, and multiple white signs indicating the closure are plastered over the storefront.

The business tells FFXnow that the closure will be permanent for this location, but there’s no word yet on what’s in store for Local VA’s future in the region.

Owner Dylan Clark prided the business for bringing neighborhood appeal to the plaza in a relaxed and homey environment.

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Morning Notes

Jean R. Packard Center at Occoquan Regional Park in Lorton (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

FCPS Condemns Recent Mass Shootings — “Fairfax County Public Schools remains steadfast in our commitment to speak up and speak out against such acts of hatred and domestic terrorism. This past weekend, the Buffalo, New York, and Laguna Woods, California communities experienced unthinkable acts of violence. We grieve with the families who lost loved ones and are suffering.” [FCPS]

Metro Veers Into Another Safety Issue — “Metrorail repeatedly powered the electric third rail while workers were still on the roadway in recent weeks, bypassing safety procedures and putting people at risk of injury and death, according to a new report issued by the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission.” [DCist]

County Bus Workers Win Statewide Competition — “Fairfax Connector Operators and Maintenance Professionals excelled at the Virginia State Bus Roadeo last month…The Fairfax Connector/ Transdev Maintenance Team placed first in the maintenance team category and will represent the Commonwealth of Virginia in the International Bus Roadeo next year.” [Fairfax Connector]

Local Vietnamese Community Recognized — A Virginia Historical Marker recognizing the significance of Vietnamese immigrants in Northern Virginia will be dedicated at Eden Center in Falls Church on next Tuesday (May 24). The community was nominated by Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School students last year as part of a statewide Asian American and Pacific Islander History Month contest. [City of Falls Church]

Descano Left Out of Virginia Violent Crime Task Force — “Commonwealth’s attorneys Buta Biberaj, of Loudoun County; Amy Ashworth, of Prince William County; and Steve Descano, of Fairfax County, told WTOP they were unaware a task force was being assembled until Youngkin’s news release Monday. All three prosecutors are progressive Democrats.” [WTOP]

Food Trucks Pop Up at Courthouse — “NEW! Starting TOMORROW, 5/18 food trucks will be visiting the Courthouse Grounds THIS week, from 11:30am-2:30pm to offer lunch options.” [Fairfax County Circuit Court/Twitter]

Lake Anne Parking Lot to Close Next Week — “The Lake Anne Park parking lot will be closed off next week due to required warranty work, starting on May 23 through the 25th (weather dependent). A contractor will be seal coating and restriping the entire lot. Any vehicles left overnight will be towed.” [Reston Association/Twitter]

Sale of Tysons Broadcasting Company Approved — Tegna stockholders voted yesterday to approve a sale of the Tysons-headquartered company to investment firm Standard General. Expected to close in the second half of this year, the $5.4 billion deal will turn the broadcaster, which owns 64 TV stations in 51 markets across the country, into a private company. [Deadline]

“Wheel of Fortune” Coming to Tysons — “‘Wheel of Fortune Live!,’ a new live stage show, is kicking off a tour in September that includes a stop at Capital One Hall…Guests can audition to go on stage and will have the chance to spin a replica of the iconic wheel and solve puzzles to win prizes, including $10,000 and trips to Paris and Hawaii. Audience members will also have the chance to be randomly selected to win cash and prizes.” [Inside NoVA]

It’s Wednesday — Rain overnight. High of 72 and low of 52. Sunrise at 5:55 am and sunset at 8:19 pm. [Weather.gov]

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