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Morning Notes

A popsicle melts at Capital One Center’s The Perch in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Dog Dies in Newington Townhouse Fire — Unattended cooking started a fire at a townhouse in the 6700 block of Red Bird Woods Court last Friday (July 15) that displaced one resident and caused approximately $93,750 in damages. County firefighters found a dog while searching the property that was given medical care but didn’t survive. [FCFRD]

Fairfax Nonprofit Helps Rescued Beagles — The Fairfax-based animal rescue group Homeward Trails is one of several shelters across the country helping the Humane Society find homes for beagles rescued from a Cumberland breeding facility. The nonprofit will place 1,500 of the dogs and has already received almost 1,000 adoption applications. [Washingtonian]

New Mental Health Crisis Hotline Available — “A new 9-8-8 crisis and support hotline is now active across the United States, including here in Fairfax County…Dialing either 9-8-8 or the existing [National Suicide Prevention Lifeline] number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will connect you to behavioral health care and support 24 hours a day.” [Fairfax County Government]

GW Parkway Rehab Could Bring Traffic Cameras — “WTOP has learned that an upcoming major rehabilitation of the George Washington Parkway’s northern section will lay the groundwork — literally — for live traffic cameras along a 7-mile stretch of the roadway running from the Capital Beltway to Spout Run. Ground was broken for the project on Monday.” [WTOP]

McLean Baseball Player Drafted by New York Mets — “Add one more significant achievement, and likely the best of all, in a season full of big accomplishments and recognitions for Nick Morabito. The McLean resident and 2022 graduate of Gonzaga College High School recently was chosen in the second round (75th pick overall) of the Major League Baseball draft by the New York Mets.” [Sun Gazette]

Great Falls Bank to Expand — “Three-year-old Trustar Bank in Great Falls has raised $18 million in fresh capital and intends to use the proceeds to help fund its expansion across the D.C. region. The private placement…could be a prelude to an eventual initial public offering for the $560 million-asset Trustar.” [Washington Business Journal]

Annandale Park Field Named After Advocate — “In action at their regular meeting on July 13, 2022, the Fairfax County Park Authority Board voted to name rectangular field 6 at Pine Ridge Park in honor of Wanda Rixon at the request of the Fairfax Women’s Soccer Association (FWSA)…FWSA and Rixon played an instrumental role in the effort to retain Pine Ridge Park as permanent park land.” [FCPA]

DMV Stops by Tysons Library Tomorrow — “Looking to renew your license, get the real ID and more? The DMV is visiting the Tysons-Pimmit Library. Registration is required and an appointment can be made here. Please note the DMV takes a lunch break from 12:30pm-1:30pm.” [FCPL]

It’s Thursday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 78. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A food and resource distribution drive in Reston last month drew hundreds (via Cornerstones)

Prior to the pandemic, Fairfax County had the highest amount of food insecurity in the state. Now, some advocates say that number has more doubled.

According to the Fairfax Food Council and other county and local advocates, food insecurity remains a growing challenge for moderate-income families in what is a high cost-of-living area.

“Before the Covid [pandemic] hit this region, more than 16,000 people, including 5,000 children, turned to Cornerstones annually for help with food, affordable housing, quality childcare, job skills training, and health care access,” noted Kerrie Wilson, CEO of Cornerstones, a Reston-based nonprofit organization. “29 months later, amid the pandemic’s lingering economic and health impact, they still do.”

Cornerstones has distributed nearly 9,500 bags of fresh produce and provided support for 1,347 households in the past fiscal year through its Assistance Services and Pantry Program (ASAPP). The program also helped 38 households with roughly $20,000 in emergency utilities assistance.

Based on Cornerstones’ data, most of the households the organization served earned extremely low or very low income. Nearly 40% were led by women and 20% of the households had one individual aged 55 or above.

The rising cost of groceries, transportation and the lack of affordable housing are adding additional pressures, according to Cornerstones.

“Through this summer, our ASAPP program will continue to support families in need and work in close collaboration with local faith groups, corporate partners, and other community nonprofits to stock food pantries across the region,” Wilson said. “Our greatest need currently are donations of fresh produce and grocery store and gas gift cards.”

Overall, roughly 8% of the county is classified as food insecure, according to the Capital Area Food Bank’s latest hunger report, which uses a screener tool from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for food insecurity in the overall region and interviews conducted between February and March of this year.

Even though food insecurity appears to be rising, the county’s main method to connect residents to services and resources — Coordinated Services Planning — has seen a significant dip in the number of requests. After a surge in the spring of 2020, the county-based service saw a 61% decrease in emergency food requests for fiscal years 2021-2022 over fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

“Fairfax County recognizes that food insecurity is still a critical need,” Cristin Bratt, communications director for Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services said. “Additional supports have been put in place to support this need, which may account for the decrease in calls requesting assistance.”

The shift is in part through federal dollars granted through the federal American Rescue Plan Act’s food access program. Implemented in fiscal year 2022, the program allocated $7.5 million over three years to purchase food for community food providers and support for food system infrastructure.

So far, roughly $3.3 million has been dispersed during the first year of the program across 22 houses of worship and 26 community-based organizations. The county also offers a number of services online to those impacted by food insecurity.

But with surging inflation and an economic downturn possible on the horizon, the elephant in the room is rental and utility assistance. The county does provide help to those in need through a federally funded emergency rental assistance program, along with other federal and local resources.

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Twins Ace Hardware in Fairfax is one of several donation sites for the nonprofit Britepaths’ July Back ot School drive (courtesy Twins Ace Hardware)

Fairfax County Public Schools won’t be back in session for the fall until Aug. 22, but Britepaths is getting a head start on helping students prepare for that day.

The Fairfax-based nonprofit is asking community members to donate money or backpacks for its annual Collect for Kids Back to School program, a month-long campaign that launched on July 1.

The organization’s goal is to collect 700 new backpacks and enough money to purchase supplies for 2,500 students, primarily in the Fairfax and Justice high school pyramids, according to a news release.

“Working families in our community who were already dealing with the effects of the prolonged pandemic have been further stretched by the higher costs of food, gas, rent and other necessities,” Britepaths Executive Director Lisa Whetzel said in a statement. “When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, the thought of having to find funds for school supplies on top of everything else is extremely stressful.”

According to the county’s most recent demographic report, more than 13% of families have a household income of under $50,000, including 4.2% who earn under $25,000 annually. About 31% of FCPS students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, as of Oct. 31, 2022.

Now in its 38th year of existence, Britepaths provides food, financial assistance, workforce development and other services for Fairfax County residents in need.

For its back to school drive, the nonprofit has partnered with several local businesses that will serve as donation sites for backpacks through Aug. 1:

  • Alya Salon & Spa (139 Park Street, Vienna)
  • Twins Ace Hardware — Fairfax (10310-B Main St, Fairfax)
  • University Mall Theatres (10659-A Braddock Road, Fairfax)
  • Sugar Mama’s Ice Cream (11208 Lee Highway, Fairfax)
  • Cinema Arts Theatre (9650-14 Main Street, Fairfax)
  • Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce (10304 Eaton Place, Suite 100, Fairfax)

All backpack sizes will be accepted, but large ones are most needed, per the news release.

Backpacks can also be purchased through Britepaths’ Amazon wish list. Monetary donations are being accepted online and as checks mailed to 3959 Pender Drive, Suite 200, Fairfax.

In addition, from July 11 to 31, Twins Ace Hardware, a sponsor of the program, will offer customers at its Fairfax City store the option to donate the change from their purchases to the campaign.

Schools that will benefit from the donations include:

  • Fairfax High School Pyramid: Daniels Run Elementary, Eagle View Elementary, Providence Elementary, Willow Springs Elementary, Katherine Johnson Middle School, Fairfax High School, and Fairfax Adult High School
  • Justice High School Pyramid: Bailey’s Upper Elementary, Glen Forest Elementary, and Justice High School
  • Fairfax Villa Elementary School

“We are grateful to all who are donating this summer to help ease that stress for families and allow children who might otherwise go without be able to start off the new school year unashamed and with all the supplies they need,” Whetzel said.

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A food donation drive is set for tomorrow at a Reston church (via Aaron Doucett/Unsplash)

A team of nonprofit organizations and a major, Reston-based company are partnering to bring food and other essentials to 400 families tomorrow (Thursday).

The tuna manufacturer StarKist Co., which recently relocated its headquarters to Reston Town Center, is working with Feed the Children and Cornerstones on a food drive from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. John Neumann Catholic Community (11900 Lawyers Road) in Reston.

Families will receive a 25-pound box of food, a 15-pound box of hygiene essentials, a box of Avon products, Disney storybooks and other items.

Starkist president Andrew Choo said the company looks forward to beginning an alliance with Cornerstones, which he called an “extraordinary organization” that has been serving Northern Virginia for more than 50 years.

“There will be more empty plates this summer season than ever before, and it is estimated that one in four children will be food insecure,” Choo said in a news release. “We believe that no child should go hungry in this country, and we are aware that the need is great.”

Cornerstones CEO Kerrie Wilson said that the lingering impacts of the pandemic, including the rising cost of groceries and gas, have lead to more insecurity for families.

“For our June Food Pantry Distribution event, we are proud to partner with StarKist and Feed the Children to help stabilize people living in crisis today,” Wilson said in a statement. “Their commitment to community engagement and volunteerism plays an essential role in helping Cornerstones ensure the economic and health stability, equity, and resiliency of Northern Virginia.”

Cornerstones’ food pantry has already seen a growing number of people in need of services.

“Having served 1,347 households with 10,480 bags of food/toiletries, benefiting close to 5,000 people in FY21 (an average of 450+ households per month), Cornerstones anticipates even more people — particularly low to moderate-income families with children and seniors — will seek food pantry assistance,” wrote Margaret Anne Lara, the organization’s vice president of marketing and communications.

During the pandemic, the number of food-insecure residents has doubled in Fairfax County, which houses the largest number of food-insecure residents in Virginia.

Tomorrow’s event will include remarks by local elected officials and community representatives, including Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn and Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

Photo via Aaron Doucett/Unsplash

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Morning Notes

The “Ascent” sculpture at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Rabies Confirmed in Biting Coyote — The Fairfax County Health Department confirmed yesterday (Monday) that a coyote that bit four people and two dogs over the weekend in the Lake Accotink area was infected with rabies. Anyone who touched or was bitten or scratched by the animal should call the county health department’s rabies program at 703-246-2433, TTY 711. [FCHD]

Confederate Soldier’s Tombstone Defaced — The letters ‘CS,’ ‘NVA,’ and a Star of David were spraypainted on the tombstone of Armistead T. Thompson in the Thompson Family Cemetery by the Pan Am Shopping Center in Merrifield. Fairfax County police received a report last Tuesday (May 31) and said the property management is working to remove it, though as of Sunday (June 5), the graffiti was still there. [Patch]

Homicide Investigation in Reston Continues — “Detectives and officers are canvassing in the area of Springs Apartments & Hunters Woods Plaza in Reston after Rene Alberto Pineda Sanchez was found deceased on May 31. Call detectives at 703-246-7800, option 2 w/any info.” [FCPD/Twitter]

Inova Opens Northern Virginia’s First LGBTQ-Focused Clinic — “Inova’s Pride Clinic will be open to anyone who needs services. It will begin small as a primary care practice for patients of all ages and then grow to include specialties…The Inova Pride Clinic ribbon-cutting will be Wednesday, June 8 at 10 a.m. in Falls Church at 500 North Washington St., Suite 200.” [WTOP]

Tysons Emergency Is Now Open — “HCA Virginia held a grand opening ceremony on Friday, June 3, 2022 for its new freestanding emergency room in Northern Virginia…The state-of-the-art ER will be staffed with board-certified emergency medicine physicians and nurses, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, just like an emergency room that is housed within the walls of a hospital.” [HCA Virginia]

County Puts Food Inspection Reports Online — “The public can now access retail food establishment inspection reports more quickly and easily, as part of an update to the county’s new online PLUS platform…Environmental health staff inspect restaurants and other retail food service establishments to make sure employees follow safe food handling practices, covering sanitation, food storage and preparation, and have adequate kitchen facilities.” [FCHD]

Wolf Trap Nonprofit Awarded by Governor — A provider of short-term, overnight care for children with intellectual disabilities, Jill’s House was honored on May 26 with the second ‘Spirit of Virginia Award’ given by Gov. Glenn Youngkin and First Lady Suzanne Youngkin since they took office in January. The organization has served more than 1,000 families since it opened in 2010. [Sun Gazette]

Annandale Park Gets Clean-up — “A big thank you to community volunteers who came out to Backlick Park this past weekend and held a spring clean-up. This successful venture was a wonderful way to mark World Environment Day and the National Great Outdoors Month.” [FCPA/Twitter]

Chantilly Neighborhood Watch on the Lookout for Thievery — “Rob, 53, was already a neighborhood watcher in his Brookfield community…before the ransacking incident two years ago but he said it made him increasingly aware neighborhood watch is a needed position to mitigate this from happening to one of his neighbors.” [Fairfax County Times]

It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 74 and low of 62. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:34 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Wolftrap Creek in Vienna is high during a rainy Saturday (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Amazon Plans Chantilly Data Center — “Amazon.com Inc.’s data center arm is working to develop a new data center facility in Chantilly, with plans to invest nearly $36 million into the project, according to Fairfax County records. The vacant property located at 3980 Virginia Mallory Drive is part of Amazon’s 46.4 acres in Avion Parkway, which the company bought for $55.9 million in 2021.” [Washington Business Journal]

Rappelling Stunt Supports Fairfax County Nonprofit — “On Thursday and Friday, about 80 people, including two local elected officials, a Washington Post reporter, and a member of the D.C. Divas women’s football team, dressed in full pads and uniform, rappelled down the side of the Crystal City Hilton to raise funds and awareness for New Hope Housing.” [The Washington Post]

County to Choose COVID-19 Memorial Site by September — “The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is positioning the county as one of the first localities in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. to build a permanent pandemic remembrance. The Fairfax County Park Authority recently submitted a memorandum to the board, summarizing project details, including design considerations, the project timeline and next steps, including the memorial’s location.” [WTOP]

County Board Sides with American Legion After Neighbor Complaints — “The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) voted 4-1 April 27 to overturn the zoning administrator’s ruling that American Legion Post 270 in McLean improperly was operating as a banquet-and-reception hall. Surrounding residents have complained about noise, loitering, late-night events and parties lasting until the early morning” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

FCPD Traffic Campaign Yields Citations — “On Tuesday [May 3], officers from our Traffic Division wrote over 100 citations and warnings during our extra enforcement campaign in the Annandale area. This campaign runs through May 22 and is geared towards making our roads safe for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.” [FCPD/Facebook]

Afghan Refugees Look for Jobs in Tysons — “Job seekers, like 21-year-old Mohammad Fasih Yaqoobi, had the chance to meet with more than 30 employers hiring for roles at all skill levels. In Yaqoobi’s case, the fair represented an opportunity to provide for his family, who have already lived a lifetime of unimaginable circumstances.” [NBC4]

Chapel Road Closed in Clifton Starting Today — “Chapel Road (Route 641) between Water Street and Yates Ford Road (Route 612) will be closed to through traffic, weather permitting, Monday, May 9 through Wednesday, May 11 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day to replace a stormwater pipe, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.” [VDOT]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 60 and low of 42. Sunrise at 6:03 am and sunset at 8:10 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

The Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Police Make Progress on Hannah Choi Murder Case — Fairfax County detectives believe they know the location of the man suspected of killing his ex-girlfriend and dumping her body in a Maryland park, according to Police Chief Kevin Davis. He says the department anticipates apprehending Joel Mosso Merino, who has been on the run since March, “in the very near future.” [WTOP]

Circuit Court Officially Adds First Female Judge of Color — “Tania M.L. Saylor, the first woman of color to serve as a Fairfax County Circuity [sic] Court Judge will be presented her official commission on Friday, May 6, at 4 p.m. in Courtroom 5J of the Fairfax County Courthouse. The public is invited to attend the investiture ceremony.” [Fairfax County Government]

Key FCPS Official Named Fairfax City Superintendent — “The City of Fairfax School Board didn’t look far when picking its next superintendent. The board on Monday offered Jeff Platenberg the role. Platenberg currently works for Fairfax County Public Schools as the assistant superintendent for facilities and transportation services.” [WTOP]

Locally Owned Coffee Shop Opens in Newington — “Two neighbors who live close to the Landsdowne shopping center are now the owners of a new coffee shop. The locally owned Coffee In opened a few weeks ago and will celebrate its grand opening this Saturday at 6432 Landsdowne Centre Drive.” [Patch]

Herndon Foster Mother Starts Nonprofit — The nonprofit Foster the Family “will show up to a foster home, within the first 24 hours, with dinner, clothes, PJ’s, hygiene products and all the supplies a child needs, saving the parents an emergency trip to the store, and helping the child feel comfortable in what can be a scary transition.” [ABC7]

McLean Church Builds Labyrinth — “Trinity United Methodist Church dedicated a labyrinth as its new Prayer Garden on Easter morning between worship services…The labyrinth is surrounded by plantings and benches with lighting to facilitate an atmosphere worthy of spiritual reflection and meditation. It is the most significant labyrinth in scope and size in the McLean area.” [Sun Gazette]

South County Students Send Letters to Seniors — “In Lorton, Virginia, 92-year-old Bernice Alexander reads from just one of the dozens of letters received at her senior living community. They were written by teenagers at South County High School, and some come with artwork, paintings and cheery posters, too.” [NBC4]

County Adopts Bill of Rights for Kids’ Sports — “The Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood & Community Services (NCS), along with the Fairfax County Athletic Council, is pleased to adopt the Children’s Bill of Rights in Sports. Developed by the Aspen Institute Sports and Society Program, this is a new resource designed to ensure that all children have a right to a quality sports experience.” [NCS]

It’s Wednesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 75 and low of 61. Sunrise at 6:08 am and sunset at 8:05 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A spring dandelion (photo by Marjorie Copson)

Case Against Park Police Who Shot McLean Man Dropped — “Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) on Friday dropped the state’s federal appeal in the manslaughter case against two U.S. Park Police officers, effectively ending any attempt at criminal prosecution of the officers who fatally shot unarmed motorist Bijan Ghaisar in a Fairfax County neighborhood in 2017.” [The Washington Post]

Hundreds Help Pack Ukrainian Refugee Donations — “Hundreds of volunteers gathered this weekend in Oakton to help pack approx. 1800 boxes with donations collected for displaced Ukrainians. Huge thanks to our community members for donating, these wonderful volunteers, and to Paxton Co. for generously shipping these items.” [Chairman Jeff McKay/Twitter]

Mount Vernon Fire Started by Hair Dryer — A house fire in the 3700 block of Nalls Road on Wednesday (April 20) was started accidentally by an electrical event involving a hair dryer in the basement bathroom, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department says. There were reported injuries or displacements, but the fire caused an estimated $37,500 in damages. [FCFRD]

Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers Critical to Covid Response — “Since February of 2020, over 1,400 MRC members volunteered more than 65,000 hours at vaccination clinics and testing events, and assisting with outreach, isolation and quarantine efforts, logistical support, and so much more.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

Merrifield Nonprofit Gets Boost from Football Fans — “Wolf Trap Animal Rescue keeps receiving donations from the public in honor of Dwayne Haskins, the former Washington quarterback who died in an accident on a Florida highway on April 9. Haskins…selected Wolf Trap Animal Rescue as his organization to represent for the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign.” [Patch]

Turner Farm Observatory Seeks “Dark Sky” Designation — “To help reverse the trend of growing light pollution, the Great Falls observatory applied to become an Urban Night Sky Place with the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA)…If approved, the observatory would become the first IDA-designated place in the Washington region.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Construction Starts on Woodley Hills Park Playground — “The Fairfax County Park Authority will begin the installation of a new playground and removal of the existing playground the week of April 25, 2022. Construction access to the site will be from Old Mount Vernon Road. It is anticipated that the playground replacement will be completed by early June 2022.” [FCPA]

Reston Library Book Sale Starts Wednesday — The Friends of the Reston Regional Library will host its biggest book sale of the year, starting with a members-only night from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday (April 27). The sale will be open to all starting at 10 a.m. Thursday through Sunday (April 28-May 2) and include 35,000 to 40,000 books. [Friends of the Reston Regional Library]

It’s Monday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 75 and low of 55. Sunrise at 6:19 am and sunset at 7:57 pm. [Weather.gov]

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(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) An all-volunteer nonprofit that has served the Vienna area for more than 50 years needs a new home for its food and clothing pantry.

The Committee for Helping Others (CHO) learned last year that its current storage space at 133 Park Street NE will no longer be available after this fall, because the Vienna Courts condominium complex where it’s located is preparing for a redevelopment, according to publicity chair Anne Moran.

Operating since 1969, CHO has leased the site for free from the Vienna Presbyterian Church for the past 10 years, but the current lease will end in October. While a six-month extension is possible, depending on the pace of the redevelopment, a relocation will still eventually be necessary.

“Through circumstances out of VPC’s control, the complex where the space is located is going to be redeveloped, and CHO will need to move before the end of October 2022,” Moran wrote in an email. “CHO is hoping to find another organization that would be willing to host our food and clothes pantry.”

At the moment, the Vienna Courts redevelopment appears to still be in its early stages.

Developer Steve Bukont of BFR Construction presented a proposal to the Vienna Town Council on Sept. 27 that would replace the four existing office buildings at 127-133 Park Street with 15 one-floor, multifamily residences “to provide an alternative housing option” near the town’s commercial corridor.

The Vienna Planning Commission discussed the project at a work session in October, but the town’s development activity map indicates that it hasn’t proceeded to the required public hearing stage of the rezoning process.

Bukont says existing leases in the office complex will be honored, and tenants are being given “ample time to prepare.”

“We extended our assistance on relocation options and continue to have talks with realtors, government officials and local charities,” Bukont said by email. “We eagerly join the greater community to find a long term solution to retain these organizations locally.”

According to Moran, CHO is seeking an approximately 950-square-foot space that’s available for free or below market rate and can accommodate both a food pantry and a clothing closet.

In addition to storing donated goods, CHO uses its pantry as a distribution center where volunteers sort food and other items that approximately 40 families pick up every month. The nonprofit serves 600 to 800 families, or 2,500 to 3,500 people, in Vienna, Oakton, Dunn Loring and Merrifield annually.

“There’s a lot of people in the community — more and more over the past two or three years — that just don’t have enough money to make ends meet,” Moran said. “…The ability to get some additional food, to have diapers, you just offset those expenses. [It] can make whatever money they’re making go a lot further and help them pay rent and other things.”

Moran says demand has remained fairly steady during the pandemic, in part because other individuals and community groups stepped up to assist those in need with food drives and other charitable efforts.

While another site in Vienna would be ideal, CHO is open to considering any options that are centrally located in its service area and accessible by public transportation. Moran advises anyone with a possible location or suggestions to contact CHO at facility@cho-va.com.

“We haven’t even considered that,” she said when asked what would happen if a viable space isn’t found by October. “We are assuming we’re going to find some solution.”

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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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