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Morning Notes

Caliburger is among the retailers coming to The Boro in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Filler-Corn Ousted as House Minority Leader — Tasked with trying to retake a majority in 2023 — or this year, pending the outcome of a court case — the Virginia House Democratic Caucus removed former Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn as their leader in a secret ballot vote yesterday (Wednesday). Filler-Corn, who represents part of Fairfax County as the 41st District delegate, was the first woman and first Jewish person to serve as speaker in the chamber’s 400-year history. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Tysons Housing Project Lands Big Bucks — On Tuesday (May 3), officials from Fairfax County, the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, and more will announce a $55 million investment in the Dominion Square West project. The county says the funds will allow APAH to construct two planned buildings, instead of just the one that has been approved, accelerating the delivery of over 500 units of affordable housing. [Fairfax County HCD]

Herndon Police on Lookout for Missing Teen — “Town of Herndon Police are asking the public’s help in locating a runaway teenager, according to a post on the department’s office Twitter account. Bryan Escalante Gomez, 17, was last seen by his family at 7:45 p.m., on Sunday.” [Patch]

FCPS Updates Covid Isolation Policy — “In a message to families Wednesday, Fairfax County Public Schools said that starting May 1, students who test positive can return to in-person classes, activities and sporting events after at least five days of isolation. Previously, 10 days of isolation were required.” [WTOP]

Vienna Lowers Tax Rate — “The Vienna Town Council voted [on Monday, April 25] to reduce the Town’s property tax rate by 1.75 cents to 20.5 cents per $100 of assessed value. The new rate is .75 cents lower than the one cent reduction in the proposed FY2023 budget presented by the Town Manager in March.” [Town of Vienna]

Huntington Gets New Latino Supermarket — “There’s a new grocery store in the area. Juana Supermarket officially opened its doors on Saturday (April 23). The new store replaced the La Latina Market at 5838 N. King’s Highway in the Huntington Station Shopping Center.” [ALXnow]

Summer Music Series Schedule Announced — “Fairfax County Park Authority’s Summer Entertainment Series is back! This year the Summer Entertainment Series features more shows at 18 locations, a new global dance and music series Wednesday evenings in Falls Church, Starlight drive-in movies in Centreville Saturday evenings in August, plus 180 live performances to choose from.” [FCPA]

Peloton Instructor Plans Tysons Book Talk — “Beloved Peloton instructor Tunde Oyeneyin is launching a debut book titled Speak, and on May 3 — the day the book comes out — she’ll be hosting the first stop on her book tour at Tysons Galleria…Seats for the event are already sold out, but the event remains open to the public, and additional guests are welcome to join for standing room.” [Washingtonian]

It’s Thursday — Clear throughout the day. High of 56 and low of 33. Sunrise at 6:16 am and sunset at 8:00 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Work continues on the Perch Putt mini golf course and food trucks (courtesy Capital One Center)

Perch Putt is on its way.

The public will get its first look at the 18-hole mini golf course and food trucks being set up at Capital One Center’s The Perch skypark (1805 Capital One Drive) in Tysons on May 21 and 22 as part of a weekend-long “Perchfest Spring Edition” celebration.

“Capital One Center is delighted to celebrate the next phase of The Perch, which has become an unparalleled rooftop experience and dynamic gathering place for our community and Capital One associates,” Capital One Center Marketing and Community Affairs Manager Meghan Trossen said in a statement.

Similar to last fall’s grand opening party for The Perch, this iteration of Perchfest will feature live music, lawn games, community vendors, and a new “Perchfest Session IPA” from Starr Hill Biergarten, according to a media release.

The festival will also once again benefit the nonprofit Best Buddies of Northern Virginia and D.C. Community members are encouraged to donate to the organization, which provides support services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Perchfest will take place from noon to 11 p.m. on May 21 and noon to 5 p.m. on May 22. It will include a “Kids Party” from noon to 3 p.m. on May 21 that will have face painting and a “puppy party” hosted by the Merrifield-based nonprofit Wolf Trap Animal Rescue.

The music lineup features six artists:

Saturday, May 21st

  • Noon — Pebble to Pearl
  • 2:30 p.m. — Nowhere Men
  • 5 p.m. — Bobby Ryan Band
  • 8 p.m. — KleptoRadio

Sunday, May 22

  • Noon — Run for Cover
  • 3 p.m. — Starting Early

Admission to all events will be free, but advance registration is required, due to limited space in the 2.5-acre park.

In addition, The Watermark Hotel, which opened adjacent to The Perch in September, is offering VIP packages for its guests that include a suite overlooking the park, welcome amenities from Starr Hill Biergarten and the restaurant Wren, and a future gift card for the food trucks.

Capital One Center hopes to make Perchfest a regular occurrence, stating that 10,000 people attended the inaugural edition in September 2021.

“Our intention with Perchfest is to create a signature spring and fall event our guests look forward to every year,” Trossen said. “We will build upon the success of our fall opening with a springtime festival full of surprises and unique experiences — and we are so proud to team up with Best Buddies and elevate their mission to support inclusive hiring and job training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

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A student plays the cello before Fairfax County supervisors during a budget hearing (via Fairfax County)

In a push to convince Fairfax County to fund the arts, one high school student put on a show.

The performance on April 13 provided a musical interlude after hours of in-person, phone, and video remarks across three days of budget hearings before the Board of Supervisors.

Student Christopher Tate, who attends Washington-Liberty High School in Arlington, only shared his name and spoke about himself when asked by the board after his performance, which drew applause.

“I play in the jazz band there. It’s really fun. I also play bass, and sometimes they’ll let me play cello,” he told the board.

He performed the prelude of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1.

Tate will perform with five other young musicians with the Amadeus Orchestra this Sunday (April 24) at 4 p.m. at St. Luke Catholic Church in McLean (7001 Georgetown Pike).

The orchestra plays mainly in McLean and Great Falls. A. Scott Wood, the orchestra’s conductor, said in an email that funding from the county and the nonprofit ArtsFairfax have helped local arts and cultural organizations, especially during the challenging last two years.

Wood noted that Amadeus Concerts has frequently received funding from ArtsFairfax, notably the Operating Support Grant that involves a competitive process for receiving it. During the pandemic, Amadeus also received ArtsFairfax Emergency Relief and Recovery Grant and Fairfax County PIVOT funding.

“From my perspective, if the county were able to increase funding to ArtsFairfax grant programs so that every qualified organization could cover 15% of its expenses (and note that this still requires them to raise 85% percent from other sources!), it would represent a significant endorsement of the arts in general, which are so important for quality-of-life in the county,” he wrote in an email to FFXnow.

ArtsFairfax is funded by a combination of county and state money, federal grants, and private donations. For fiscal year 2021, which ran from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, about 70% of its revenue came from the county — 33% to cover operational costs and 37% to give grants to local arts nonprofits.

ArtsFairfax President and CEO Linda Sullivan asked the county to increase funding for arts grants, stating that despite facing significant challenges during the pandemic, the arts sector got just a fraction of the relief money awarded to the food, hospitality, and retail industries.

The advertised fiscal year 2023 budget currently being considered by the board allocates $1.1 million to ArtsFairfax, the same level of funding as the previous two years. Grant funding has remained at $550,000 since fiscal year 2020, according to Sullivan.

“The arts sector is being called upon to provide community engagement activities that not only benefit other sectors, such as retail and restaurants, but also offer the intangible social and emotional health benefits,” Sullivan said. “…We respectfully ask the county for a significant, one-time boost in nonprofit arts grants to support arts recovery and community activities, as other emergency relief sources will no longer be available.”

In addition to Tate’s performance, ArtsFairfax enlisted outgoing Fairfax County Poet Laureate Nicole Tong, the first person to hold that position, for a poem reading as part of its plea to the board.

Angela Woolsey contributed to this report.

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Reston Station seen from Google offices (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A popular concert series is shifting to a new location in Reston.

Reston Community Center’s “Take a Break” concert series will relocate from Lake Anne Plaza to Reston Station on Thursday evenings beginning this summer.

The series takes place from 7-8:30 p.m. and gives attendees a chance to learn dance moves. The venue change was made because the use of the plaza “is being revisited by the Lake Anne of Reston Condominium Association,” according to a statement.

“Final policy and application materials for it were not available in time to proceed with planning adequately for summer 2022,” according to the statement.

Concert-goers will still be able to take advantage of free parking. ParkX will offer parking validation for concert-goers from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

“The Reston community looks forward to RCC’s summer concert series all over Reston,” said RCC Board Chair Bev Cosham. “We hope the short distance down the road to Reston Station won’t be inconvenient and that we will see all of our Lake Anne neighbors and friends there.”

Comstock’s senior vice president of marketing Tracey Schar welcomed the series to the plaza.

“We are proud to partner with Reston Community Center to enhance our 2022 Summerbration entertainment event schedule and look forward to welcoming everyone to Reston Station,” Schar said.

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Morning Notes

Inside Capital One Hall in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Depp-Heard Defamation Trial Starts Today — “Three years after actor Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, for defamation over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post about being a survivor of domestic abuse, the case is going to trial on Monday in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia.” [The Washington Post]

Reston Man Indicted for Animal Cruelty — “Sheheryar Kamran, a 20-year-old resident of Reston, Virginia, was indicted on three federal charges related to animal cruelty for allegedly creating and posting videos on social media showing him abusing and killing hamsters. Kamran pleaded ‘not guilty’ in a federal court in Alexandria on February 24, 2022. He is currently awaiting trial set for May 16, 2022.” [FOX5]

TJ Admissions Lawsuit Could go to Supreme Court — The Coalition for TJ, a community group opposed to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology’s new admissions policy, has filed an emergency application to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to vacate a stay of a judge’s order striking down the changes. Chief Justice John Roberts gave the Fairfax County School Board until Wednesday (April 13) to respond. [Associated Press/WTOP]

Portion of I-66 West to Close Overnight — All westbound lanes will close at Route 28 between 11 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. today (Monday) through Friday, requiring a detour. Crews will install bridge beams for the new Route 28 South bridge as part of the sweeping project to add express lanes on I-66. [VDOT]

Chantilly School Introduces “Walking Club” — The introduction of recess at Rocky Run Middle School this year inspired a teacher to supervise a ‘walking club’ for students and teachers who spend the break taking a stroll outside. The activity is part of a countywide pilot in anticipation of Fairfax County Public Schools requiring recess for middle schools this fall, a policy set to be approved Thursday (April 14). [WTOP]

Tysons Dim Sum Restaurant Enters D.C. — “After opening two grand dim sum parlors in the suburbs, restaurateur Chris Zhu is ready to expand to DC. The China Garden (Rockville) and Han Palace (Tysons) owner will open a 70-seat branch of her Cantonese restaurant in Woodley Park on Sunday, April 10.” [Washingtonian]

McLean HS Lands New Football Coach — “Prior to accepting the job as the new McLean High School head football coach, Joe Cockerham held a variety of positions on different high school and college staffs. Cockerham, 34, believes those experiences will help him build a consistent winner of the Highlanders at McLean.” [Sun Gazette]

Hybla Valley Walmart Shoplifting Leads to Assault — Police responding to a shoplifting complaint at 7910 Richmond Highway reportedly found a 35-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman concealing merchandise. The woman ran, and the man assaulted officers. The man was arrested and taken to the hospital for injuries not considered life threatening. [FCPD]

McLean Symphony Marks 50th Anniversary — The McLean Symphony held a concert at Capital One Hall on Saturday (April 9) to celebrate 50 years of existence, all of them led by conductor Dingwall Fleary. The concert featured two premieres of original compositions, including one by a local student, and the attendance of Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears.

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 66 and low of 41. Sunrise at 6:39 am and sunset at 7:43 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Herndon native Almira Zaky represents Virginia on NBC’s new reality show “American Song Contest” (courtesy Almira Zaky/NBC)

Almira Zaky has always been, in her own words, a little girl with a big voice.

A native of Herndon who is of Indonesian descent, Zaky has been singing since she was a young girl. She now represents Virginia on “American Song Contest,” NBC’s take on the yearly Eurovision music competition that has been around since 1956.

An R&B artist who released her first independent album “Learn to Love” this month, Zaky takes influence from many artists in that genre that were popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, including Aaliyah, JoJo, and Destiny’s Child.

“My influence comes from women in R&B who were able to express themselves so freely and unapologetically,” Zaky told FFXnow. “I feel that women from that era are bold and not afraid to tell it like it is with their emotions.”

When she was a student at Virginia Commonwealth University, Zaky learned the ins and outs not just of performance, but the business side of music as well.

She originally enrolled as a health science major but soon switched to business. She also began to help with campus events, booking artists and performers like Travis Scott and Torey Lanez.

“Being able to bring people together through music brought me back into music and on the music industry side,” Zaky said. “That experience, throwing these concerts and events in that genre turned into networking opportunities that I have now.”

Nicknamed “Boss Lady,” which reflects her personal philosophy of inspiring people to be their own boss no matter where they’re from, Zaky advanced her music career while still in college by recording in Los Angeles and hosting events while her fellow students went on spring break.

“I’ve taken advantage of all the opportunities that have been presented and I want to inspire people to do that as well,” she said. “To take control of their lives, it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you may know, go after your dreams as long as you work hard, stay passionate, and maintain a good heart.”

Zaky’s dedication goes back to her childhood in Herndon, when her mother would take her to music lessons. In addition to her R&B diet, she absorbed the music of the D.C. area though local station WKYS 93.9.

“I’d go to lessons every weekend so I’d listen to go-go bands playing on WKYS 93.9, it definitely added to my music as well,” Zaky said. “Like the Jump or the Bounce with its own groove and style, artists like Wale who was a trailblazer. Being a part of the next generation and taking the torch is just inspiring.”

A reality competition where the public votes for their favorite contestants, “American Song Contest” is hosted by hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg and original “American Idol” winner/talk show host Kelly Clarkson. The show debuted on March 21 and airs at 8 p.m. on Mondays.

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Morning Notes

Cherry blossoms seen from Tysons parking garage (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

New Issues Hamper Silver Line Phase 2 — While a summer opening is still possible, don’t expect the Silver Line extension from Reston into Loudoun County before July 1, Metro officials said yesterday (Thursday), citing waterproofing and insulation issues around power cable connections. Past problems with “the orange boot” have caused fire and smoke incidents. [DCist]

County Residents Report Lags in Rent Assistance — “Sarah Allen, regional director of Fairfax County Human Services, told InsideNoVa in October the county was rolling out a separate online portal that tenants could also use to apply for assistance. The online portal has yet to launch, according to a county spokesperson who said it’s still in development.” [Inside NoVA]

NoVA Faces Mental Health Services Deficit — “Last week, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia published a report claiming that as of 2021 approximately 750,000 adults in Northern Virginia are currently receiving or want to receive mental health services. However, 350,000 of those adults who want therapy or counseling are unable to get it.” [Inside NoVA]

County Police and Firefighters Face Off for Charity — “The puck will drop on Friday at 6 p.m. at the SkateQuest ice rink in Reston as the Fairfax County Police Department takes on the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in a charity hockey game…Donations will be accepted at the game and will go to RedHelp.org and BlueHelp.org.” [Patch]

Road Closure Planned in Clifton Next Week — “Kincheloe Road (Route 641) between Old Yates Ford Road (Route 612) and the Kincheloe Soccer Park will be closed to through traffic, weather permitting, Monday, March 28 and Tuesday, March 29 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day to replace two culvert pipes.” [VDOT]

Park Authority Celebrates Women’s History Month — “The Fairfax County Park Authority has launched a new website celebrating the accomplishments and impact of extraordinary women who have shaped Fairfax County’s parks.” [FCPA]

Herndon Software Company Acquired — “Wavedancer Inc. (NASDAQ: WAVD), a Fairfax cybersecurity software company, said this week it has reached a deal to acquire Herndon’s Knowmadics, a software-as-a-service company specializing in the Internet of Things device management, for $90 million.” [Washington Business Journal]

Local Artists Partner for Capital One Hall Concert — The Virginia Chamber Orchestra, which now resides at the Tysons performing arts theater, will play music by Aaron Copland tomorrow (Saturday) in a joint concert with the College of William & Mary Symphony Orchestra. Artwork by members of the McLean Arts Society will be displayed in the Atrium. [Virginia Chamber Orchestra]

It’s Friday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 58 and low of 45. Sunrise at 7:05 a.m. and sunset at 7:27 p.m. [Weather.gov]

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A new music venue and pub is planning to open in six months after encountering delays during the pandemic.

Earp’s Ordinary is under construction in the City of Fairfax at 10420 Main Street, a spot that has previously hosted restaurants, a judicial center space, and duckpin bowling alley.

“We tore down to the walls and are building it over from scratch,” said managing partner Josh Alexander, who is opening the site with owner Michael DeMarco.

The venue’s name is a tribute to 18th century businessman Caleb Earp, who ran a tavern and store. That building was demolished in 1920.

“We’re right at the same intersection where it was,” Alexander said. “We’re using the name, sort of like a throwback to something that was there that had food, music, spirits.”

A nearby brick property called the Ratcliffe-Logan-Allison House — also bearing the name of Earp’s Ordinary — has inherited the history and legacy of Earp’s establishment and still stands at 10386 Main St. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Alexander and DeMarco began demolition for the new venue in February 2020. To get through COVID-19, the pair began hosting outdoor shows in front of the space they’re upgrading.

They also made a deal to temporarily repurpose Zandra’s Taqueria (3950 University Drive, Suite 210), which remains closed amid the pandemic, for a pop-up pub that opened in December.

The interim site lets the business keep building momentum as the pair makes the new, permanent 10,600-square-foot space for Earp’s Ordinary a reality.

DeMarco envisions the pub drawing national and regional talent and won’t pigeonhole the venue into any particular musical genres.

He estimated that the space is 60% ready, but they’re still in the process of installing an elevator.

The owners plan to hire around 30 people, including individuals interested in getting training in the music industry to become sound technicians, hosts and more. They’re also seeking performers, including musicians and comedians.

“This is a great neighborhood spot,” said Christian Lanoue, a former chef turned real estate agent, while recently enjoying drinks at the pop-up. “We need more of these in Fairfax.”

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