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Symmetry Salon Studios, a local salon chain with locations around Maryland, has opened a new location at the edge of Vienna, near Dunn Loring.

The new salon is in the Cedar Park Shopping Center at 262 Cedar Lane in Vienna. It’s the first Symmetry Salon Studios location in Virginia.

Staff at the salon told FFXnow the location had a soft opening last month, but the official grand opening is on Tuesday, April 23.

“The Symmetry team is thrilled to provide a premium salon rental experience to solo-preneur stylists seeking to elevate their businesses in one of the most prestigious counties in the nation,” Founder and CEO Tom Ruder said in a release.

The new salon features 23 studios in a 4,000-square-foot space. The salon also boasts “high-end salon furniture such as LED mirrors.”

Photo via Cedar Park Shopping Center/Facebook

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Anyone traveling overnight around I-66 in Vienna may have to take some substantial detours.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) said overnight closures are planned on Nutley Street S and the I-66 ramps connected to it.

The closures are planned starting tonight (Thursday) and will occur again tomorrow (Friday) and Monday (April 15). The closures will start at 10 p.m. and continue until 5 a.m.

The closure means drivers on Nutley Street will need to take a detour around Virginia Venter Blvd to get around the interchange.

VDOT said the work is part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project. The work is weather-dependent and could be rescheduled if inclement conditions occur.

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The solar power installation company Ipsun Solar at the 2023 Vienna Green Expo (courtesy Town of Vienna)

In Fairfax County, sheep mow lawns, beekeepers remove misplaced swarms and gardeners teach the community.

The Town of Vienna will feature organizations that do all that and more at its annual Green Expo at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE). Sponsored by the town’s Conservation and Sustainability Commission, the expo is set for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 18 — four days before Earth Day.

Local company LambMowers, which provides “professional grazing services,” is sponsoring an outdoor exhibit of ewes and lambs, per a press release. Live birds of prey will also be on the scene, courtesy of volunteer organization Secret Garden Birds and Bees.

Other exhibitors at this year’s expo include Fairfax Master Naturalists, Fairfax County’s chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, multiple garden clubs and an individual who raises chickens at home.

“More than 30 local exhibitors will be on hand with information about green landscaping ideas, composting, recycling, energy efficiency, solar power, water conservation and more,” the town said in its press release.

One expo attendee will walk away with a free home energy audit valued at $595. Home energy audits find cost-effective ways to boost energy efficiency, according to the Energy Star program from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Attendees can also talk to local experts about sustainability, with scheduled “Ask Me Anything” sessions that will cover topics such as recycling infrastructure and native plants.

For example, horticulturist Barbara Ryan will review how residents with yards can incorporate native plants and sustainable practices. Ryan owns the local landscaping company, Chain Bridge Native Landscapes.

After the Green Expo, Fairfax County residents can mark Earth Day on Saturday, April 20 at Earth Day Fairfax, a festival featuring volunteer opportunities, live music, farm animals and more. That event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sully Historic Site in Chantilly (3650 Historic Sully Way).

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Vienna restaurants Bazin’s on Church and Bazin’s Next Door (111 Church Street) will close later this month after the restaurant space was sold to new owners.

After 18 years, owner Julie Bazin said she and her husband were looking forward to traveling and spending time with family and friends, while new ownership takes over the location.

“Patrick and I have sold Bazin’s and Bazin’s Next Door and our last day will be Saturday, April 27th,” Julie Bazin said told FFXnow. “We will be forever grateful to this wonderful community and our team for an amazing 18 years!”

Julie Bazin said she’s excited for the new owners to come in and she’ll continue to support whatever restaurant comes next. No new restaurant concept has been officially announced.

The restaurant was known, in part, for its extensive gluten-free menu after Chef Patrick Bazin was diagnosed with Celiac disease, Patch wrote.

Julie Bazin said new ownership will take over on May 1.

Photo via Bazins on Church/Facebook

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Vienna Gun & Gold, formerly Vienna Arsenal (image via Google Maps)

The Vienna Police Department said two men burgled Vienna Gun & Gold (386 Maple Avenue) late last month, fleeing with a cache of stolen firearms.

Police said the burglary occurred at 11:15 p.m. on March 29.

“The owner of the store was alerted that the alarm was activated in the store,” the report said. “On his security camera, he advised the dispatcher that he saw five to six people in the store stealing guns.”

Vienna Police responded and found two men fleeing the store with the guns. The men got into a car and fled, but police did not pursue them because an earlier report said there were five to six people in the store stealing guns.

According to the report:

When officers arrived, they observed two men fleeing the store with firearms. The men refused to obey the officers’ commands, got into a vehicle, and fled the area. With the information that there were still more suspects inside the building, the officers could not pursue the vehicle. Fairfax County Police Department K-9 unit and helicopter responded to assist.

Police did not find anyone else inside the building and, while the area was searched, the report said no suspects were located and the case remains an active investigation.

Image via Google Maps

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Vienna Town Manager Mercury Payton with the Baltimore Orioles mascot before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on April 1, 2024 (courtesy Mercury Payton)

When Vienna Town Manager Mercury Payton stepped on the infield grass at Camden Yards earlier this week to throw a ceremonial first pitch, he thought about his family.

He thought about his wife and 17-year-old daughter, who had accompanied him to the Baltimore Orioles’ game on Monday (April 1) against the Kansas City Royals. He also imagined the reactions of his late father and grandfather, who took him to games as a kid and helped turn him into a lifelong O’s fan.

“If they were here, they would have been excited to see me throw out the first pitch because they both loved the Orioles and our family loved the Orioles, so that would have been fun for them to see that experience,” Payton told FFXnow.

Payton didn’t expect to be called upon to throw out the first pitch of the game.

A season ticket holder, a status whose perks include access to a members-only clubhouse, he and his family were taking advantage of the complimentary drinks and snacks when two Orioles employees approached them and made the offer — apparently without awareness of his position as a government official.

So, instead of heading to their seats, Payton and his wife found themselves waiting behind home plate to get the credentials that would allow them to go onto the baseball field. Around that time, Payton’s wife questioned if they were being subjected to an April Fool’s Day joke.

“I didn’t think about that until she mentioned that,” he admitted. “I’m like, ‘Oh, this is April 1st’ …But no, they were not joking, and it was a fun experience.”

As for the pitch itself, the ball was caught by the Oriole Bird mascot set up behind home plate, instead of bouncing on the way, according to Payton, who considers that a success.

Though the experience went by “pretty quick,” it marked a new highlight in Payton’s long-standing relationship with the Orioles.

Growing up as a baseball fan in Prince William County, they were the closest thing he had to a hometown MLB team. At 10, he watched as the Orioles won the 1983 World Series, and his loyalties were cemented, unchallenged by the arrival of the Washington Nationals to D.C. in 2005.

The reigning American League East champions rewarded Payton for that unwavering support on Monday night with not only the chance to throw out the first pitch, but also a win on a walk-off home run by shortstop Jordan Westburg.

Still, Payton says what really made the night special was sharing it with his family.

“It’s just one of those things where you have memories with your family,” he said. “I know that my 17-year-old daughter, who was there, and my wife will probably remember that for a long time, and it’s just things that you do with your family are most important…It was good that they were there, that we could experience that together.”

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Updated at 11:15 a.m. on 4/1/2024 — Stretch Zone opened in Vienna today (Monday), but the ribbon-cutting has been postponed to 9 a.m. on Thursday (April 4).

Earlier: A fitness studio that offers to assisted stretching services is extending its reach into Vienna.

Stretch Zone will launch its new franchise at 138 Maple Ave West with a ribbon-cutting at 9 a.m. next Monday, April 1. The ceremony will be conducted by the Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce.

Located in the Vienna Shopping Center between Foster’s Grille and Asurion Tech Repair and Solutions, the approximately 1,200-square-foot studio is Stretch Zone’s fifth in the D.C. area. The business can also be found in Reston, Ashburn, Potomac and Gaithersburg, and a sixth franchise is expected to open in Bethesda later next month.

“We have had many clients of ours who have come to our other locations from the Vienna area, and they’ve always requested that we be closer to make things more convenient,” franchise owner David Dykerman told FFXnow. “We felt like if we could make it convenient for customers we already have, there might be additional clients we could service and help in the Vienna area.”

Founded in 2004 by Jorden Gold, who wanted to help his grandfather improve his mobility, Stretch Zone employs a “practitioner-assisted stretching” method involving a patented strap that Dykerman says allows muscles to be “strategically” isolated.

According to the business, its practices help clients gradually increase their range of motion, while also reducing muscle stiffness and soreness, among other benefits.

Like other fitness trends, boutique stretching studios have faced their fair share of skepticism, but Stretch Zone has attracted at least one prominent supporter: former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who owns more than 10 franchises.

Since starting to franchise in 2015, the company has expanded to about 350 locations nationwide.

“We are not here to train people how to stretch. We want to provide the service of stretching for you,” Dykerman said. “Without doing any of the work, our clients are able to achieve a full-body stretch and get up from the table after 30 minutes and feel amazing.”

Featuring five stretching tables, the Vienna studio will have a similar look and feel to Stretch Zone’s other locations, but the staff of “very qualified stretch practitioners and managers” who have experience with the company could distinguish it, Dykerman says.

Walk-ins are accepted, but the business is built primarily on memberships, which are available in three-month and month-to-month options. Free demo sessions are offered at every location to first-time visitors.

To celebrate its opening in Vienna, Stretch Zone will offer a discount or an extra stretch to those who join its three-month membership program for the first month.

The studio will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

“I am looking forward to being involved with a great community,” Dykerman said. “We are interested in making ourselves available for events around the area, getting involved with schools, clubs, gyms. I think it’s a very active area in terms of fitness, and I think there’s so many people who will benefit from what we can do, and we hope to bring that to as many people as possible.”

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Elden Street in downtown Herndon (staff photo by James Jarvis)

(Updated at 9:40 a.m. on 3/26/2024) A federal funding boost is coming to help improve pedestrian and bicycle facilities on the Town of Herndon’s main through street and more than a dozen other sites around Northern Virginia.

At its meeting last Thursday (March 21), the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) approved $19.5 million through the federal Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program for 15 non-highway transportation projects in the state.

Five of the projects to receive funds are in Fairfax County or its towns, led by $2.5 million for a plan to improve the safety, accessibility and walkability of Elden Street.

According to a Town of Herndon presentation, the project includes new ADA ramps and crosswalks, a widened sidewalk that moves around existing barriers, and a grass buffer. Spanning 0.3 miles between Center Street and Ferndale Avenue, the improvements will be in close proximity to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, Herndon Middle School and St. Joseph’s School.

Over in the Town of Vienna, the Locust Street Trail project will get $1.3 million to facilitate the replacement of an existing sidewalk within a 10-foot-wide shared-use path. The project will also address drainage issues that “frequently make the existing path unusable for extended periods,” per a news release from the TPB.

The funding approved for Fairfax County will go to three different Safe Routes to Schools projects, including $140,000 for Shrevewood Elementary School in Idylwood. Developed in response to a fatal crash in 2019, the project will add three new crosswalks with a sidewalk or a shared use path connection.

“In addition to making it safer to walk or bike to school, this project will expand safe access for kids to the W&OD Trail, a key link in the National Capital Trail Network,” the TPB’s summary said.

The project has received another $1 million through other Transporation Alternatives Set-Aside funding, fulfilling the county’s full request, according to the board.

A Safe Routes to Schools program for Lake Braddock Elementary School in Annandale got around $356,000 to improve pedestrian safety and connectivity across the road and school entrance. It includes ADA ramps, new crosswalks and new pedestrian refuge islands.

More broadly, the school system’s overall SRTS program will get $276,000 to educate students on safe walking and bicycling.

“The project will develop maps with suggested safe routes, safety education, bike rodeos, walk and bike to school days, monthly challenges with rewards, build a bike give a bike programs, and the development of park and walk programs for students who live beyond the walking zone,” the press release said.

Two projects in Fairfax City also got funding from the Federal Highway Administration program:

Fern Street Neighborhood Connection, City of Fairfax: $285,119

Utilizing city property, this project will connect commercial and residential areas lacking a paved ADA-accessible pathway. The project prioritizes bikes and pedestrians by building a trail instead of a road extension and supports small area plan recommendations by initiating a pedestrian priority corridor and providing links to potential mixed-use redevelopments.

Chain Bridge Road Shared Use Path, City of Fairfax: $2,098,314

This project will provide a safer and higher quality bike and pedestrian facility along Chain Bridge Road, a busy arterial that feeds into I-66. The project will build a shared-use path between existing trails, including a connection to the National Capital Trail Network’s Custis/I-66 Trail. The project serves an Equity Emphasis area.

The total amount of approved funding from the Transportation Alternatives set-aside program has been corrected from $195 million to $19.5 million.

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Vivi Bubble Tea is opening a franchise at Glyndon Shopping Center in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

A chain of bubble tea shops is adding another local link, this time in the Town of Vienna.

Vivi Bubble Tea anticipates opening its newest franchise at 233 Maple Avenue East in mid-April, according to Yaya Zhang, manager of both the upcoming Vienna location and the existing Fairfax City cafe (9974 Main Street).

The shop has moved into the former Elite Tutoring Place in Glyndon Shopping Center, filling out a row also occupied by Pizza Vienna and Bruster’s Ice Cream.

Zhang says Vivi Bubble Tea was interested in adding a franchise in Vienna for “many reasons,” including the opportunity to attract a different customer base than the people it sees in Fairfax.

“Vivi Bubble Tea would like to increase its brand presence and respond to customer demand, and we believe Vienna Town offers an attractive demographic profile and foot traffic,” Zhang said by email. “Compared to the Fairfax City branch, which faces customers with college students and nearby residents, the Vienna Town branch is looking to attract families, young professionals, and other nearby residents.”

Vivi Bubble Tea launched in 2007 with “cutting-edge technology for tea production,” according to its website. Since opening its first store in New York City, the company has expanded to over 100 locations across four continents and 13 countries.

The proliferation of chains like Vivi and Sharetea has fueled a surge in bubble tea’s popularity in the U.S., drawing attention to a longtime favorite of some Asian immigrant communities. First developed in Taiwan in the 1980s, the drink consists of cold, sweet milk tea and chewy tapioca balls, or boba.

In addition to both dairy and non-dairy milk teas, Vivi offers fruit and jelly teas, flavored hot tea, soda and slushes, which come in flavors like strawberry, lychee and Oreo cookie. The variety and ability to customize menu items with toppings and different sugar or ice levels sets the chain apart from other bubble tea shops, Zhang says.

The business also serves Asian street food, including popcorn chicken, bento boxes and takoyaki, a traditionally Japanese snack.

“We believe that by offering a range of food options alongside their bubble tea drinks, Vivi Bubble Tea can attract customers looking for a complete dining experience or those who want to enjoy a snack or meal with their beverages,” Zhang said.

Vivi’s Vienna shop will be its third franchise in Virginia, joining ones in Fairfax and at the Eden Center in Falls Church.

Zhang says the business plans to get involved in the local community, and customers can expect plenty of promotions and discounts.

“We can’t wait to open up and service everyone in Vienna,” Zhang said.

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A crossing for Cunningham Park Elementary School in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated at 4:20 p.m. on 3/25/2024) Schools in Vienna, Herndon and Fort Belvoir have or are at risk of losing their crossing guards due to budget constraints facing the Fairfax County Police Department.

The Vienna Town Council and Mayor Linda Colbert were informed at a recent work session that the county will no longer provide crossing guards for any schools in the town’s limits because of a lack of funding, Councilmember Howard Springsteen shared at the council’s meeting on Monday (March 18).

The nine affected crossings would instead need to be covered by the Vienna Police Department, which doesn’t have sufficient staffing to handle the added duties, according to Springsteen, whose comments were first reported by Patch.

“Schools are not our responsibility. It’s a county responsibility,” he said. “…I know the mayor’s been working on this and the council’s been pretty upset about this. We’re working on that, but people need to be aware of some of the issues we deal with behind the scenes.”

Vienna isn’t the only place affected. The FCPD said it would also eliminate coverage for one crossing each in Herndon and Fort Belvoir, according to a letter from Vienna Police Chief Jim Morris to Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis.

The Herndon Police Department says it was notified late last fall that FCPD was removing its officers from a crossing at Herndon Elementary School, effective Jan. 1. Because only one spot was affected, the town was able to fill the gap.

“Herndon does not have a school crossing guard program, but we take the safety of our kids very seriously,” HPD spokesperson Lisa Herndon said. “Unlike the Town of Vienna, which has been left with multiple vacancies as a result of the crossing guards being removed, we have only one crossing and have managed to cover it with patrol officers each day.”

Fort Belvoir has also taken over crossing guard duties at its on-base school, according to March 19 memo from the FCPD to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The crosswalk covered by an FCPD officer was across Meeres Road in front of Fort Belvoir Upper School and the Child Development Center, Fort Belvoir Public Affairs told FFXnow.

The Army installation says it’s “currently working with FCPD, Fairfax County Public Schools, and Fort Belvoir Elementary school leadership to discuss a way ahead.”

“As we gather more information, Fort Belvoir will be in a better position to decide on the best way to ensure crosswalk safety,” Fort Belvoir Public Affairs said. “The safety of our children remains our number one priority.”

The FCPD indicated in a statement to FFXnow that discussions about how to handle the school crossings in Vienna are still in the preliminary stages.

“Given the primary jurisdiction responsibilities afforded to the Town of Vienna for law enforcement and public safety, the FCPD has engaged the Vienna Police Department in preliminary discussions surrounding school crossing coverages,” the department said. “As our conversations continue, all school crossing coverages will be handled by the FCPD.” Read More

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