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    Tysons, VA

    Flashing beacons have been installed at the Washington & Old Dominion Trail crossing on Shreve Road in Falls Church, offering a glimmer of hope that bigger changes are coming to a road that has been plagued by safety and traffic issues for years.

    The Virginia Department of Transportation added two solar and battery-powered flashing yellow lights to existing yellow bicycle-and-pedestrian warning signs facing each direction on Shreve Road on Oct. 28.

    The new beacons are temporary, intended as a “second warning” after drivers pass permanent warning beacons that can be found several hundred feed prior to the crossing, according to VDOT spokesperson Kathleen Leonard.

    Operational around the clock, the temporary flashing beacons were installed to quickly address concerns about bicycle and pedestrian safety on Shreve Road. Community members have been particularly adamant about the need for improvements since a female pedestrian was killed in a crash in August 2019.

    “This is a positive safety development for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists accessing the Shreve Road corridor,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said. “The flashing light will improve visibility and operate on solar and battery power.”

    Palchik also announced on Wednesday that a more substantial change for Shreve Road is closer to fruition with the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s approval of a Safe Routes to School grant for Fairfax County’s proposed Shrevewood Elementary School project.

    With the Safe Routes to School grant, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation plans to add three new marked crosswalks:

    • Across Shreve Road at Fairwood Lane
    • Across Shreve at the elementary school’s eastern driveway
    • Across Virginia Lane at Virginia Avenue

    Each crosswalk will include connections to existing sidewalks and paths, signs, markings, and curb ramps and extensions.

    According to FCDOT, Shreve Road currently has no marked crosswalks for over half a mile that provide access to the school from northern neighborhoods and the W&OD Trail, despite an abundance of pedestrian and bike facilities along the road and many nearby streets.

    The Shrevewood project was driven by the community and has gotten support from the school’s parent-teacher association and principal as well as the Falls Hill Civic Association and other homeowners’ and civic associations, according to FCDOT communications head Robin Geiger.

    Geiger says the project has not been developed enough for a timeline to be established.

    By improving safety,?Safe Routes to School?aims to encourage students to exercise instead of taking cars to school. About 30 percent of Fairfax County’s elementary and middle schools take part in the program.

    “These improvements will help students become more physically active and healthy and make Shreve Road safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike,” Providence District School Board representative Karl Frisch said.

    VDOT is currently exploring additional safety improvements along Shreve Road through its Shreve Road Corridor Study, which launched earlier this year after months of advocacy by the Shreve Road Community Working Group.

    With the National Park Service considering improvements to the W&OD crossing, VDOT’s study team is refining its recommendations based on public input after presenting them at a virtual public meeting on Oct. 7.

    “At this time the study does not set construction dates for any of the alternatives,” Leonard said. “The purpose of this study is to develop proposed improvements that localities can pursue for funding, and to consider including in their comprehensive plans.”

    Photo via Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik/Facebook

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    Joining the annuls of small, bizarre Vienna police reports, police were called out to a 7-11 in Vienna after a customer reported that he’d been struck — a tragic victim caught in the crossfire in an act of senseless violence between two?Febreze-spraying vandals.

    The incident reportedly occurred at the 7-11 at?537 Maple Avenue West at 10:16 p.m. on Oct.?22.

    According to the police report:

    Officers responded to the report of an assault. A customer reported that two juveniles were spraying Fabreeze [sic]?in the store and some of the spray landed on him, which led to a verbal dispute. The customer then attempted to block the cash register while the juveniles made their purchase.

    However, officers responding to the assault call found that customer may not have, in fact, been hit in a premeditated attack.

    “Officers determined that juveniles did not intentionally spray the customer and that no assault occurred,” the report said.

    Another item in this week’s police report was damage to political signs in residential yards. At least two instances of yard signs being stolen were reported at different locations across Vienna. A sign was also reported damaged last week, and another sign was spray-painted and left with notes containing profanity earlier this month.

    Juan Vazquez, public information officer with the Vienna Police Department, said it’s not uncommon to see these sorts of acts in election years. The incidents are generally grouped under larceny or go unreported.

    Photo via Google Maps

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    As Election Day approaches, public facilities in Fairfax County are announcing what will be closed and what will remain open on the state holiday.

    Since the county opted to give most employees the day off, most Fairfax County government facilities will be closed, including the government center. However, the Office of Elections will be open, and polls will be open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.

    “The right to vote is a very important, very important part of our American process,” Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill said on the “Connect with County Leaders” podcast. “The Board of Supervisors on the FYI 22 calendar added Election Day as a day off, so it made most sense on a presidential election cycle to also add it.”

    “Once they added it on…the calendar year ’22, I spoke to the supervisors and asked them if they would like it also to be on November 3, 2020,” Hill added.

    The City of Falls Church will be operating as normal, according to Susan Finarelli, the director of communications for the city.

    The Town of Vienna will also stay open, Vienna marketing and communications manager Lynn Coan says.

    Students within Fairfax County Public Schools will have both Nov. 2 and Nov. 3 off of school, with today marking the end of the first quarter. Additionally, FCPS will be distributing double breakfast and lunch meals on Nov. 2 to cover both days off as a food resource for students, according to FCPS.

    Virginia designated Election Day as a state holiday for the first time this year when the General Assembly passed legislation to substitute it for Lee-Jackson Day, which the Commonwealth had observed on the Friday preceding Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January since 1904.

    “Voting is a fundamental right, and these new laws strengthen our democracy by making it easier to cast a ballot, not harder,”?Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said upon signing the bill into law. “No matter who you are or where you live in Virginia, your voice deserves to be heard.”

    Photo by Element5 Digital/Unsplash

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    With colder weather approaching, Tysons-area restaurants are preparing for a warm, socially-distant eating experience for their guests.

    Last week, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to approve an ordinance amendment that allows enclosed tents with heaters, both inside and outside, for outdoor dining, fitness, and exercise activities, and a few local restaurants are planning to take advantage of the ordinance.

    Founding Farmers (1800 Tysons Blvd.) is planning to follow the ordinance by creating an outdoor-dining space. Majority-owned by American family farmers, Founding Farmers serves American dishes, along with seasonal fruits and vegetables from Virginia farms.

    “We’re working through the final details of our tents but we do plan on installing some soon,” Farmers Restaurant Group Vice President and Marketing and Communications Specialist Meaghan O’Shea said.

    “What we’re hoping to achieve is to continue to offer safe dining options both inside?and?outside through the cooler weather months,” O’Shea said. “If you want to be outside, we want to be sure we can accommodate that request and that it’s an enjoyable experience for both the guests and our team.”

    Tyson’s first annual Restaurant Week?earlier this month (Oct. 12-18) was a huge success, according to many local restaurant owners and managers.

    Urban Plates (1782M Galleria at Tysons II), which participated in Tyson’s Restaurant Week, currently has an outdoor heated patio, so no further accommodations need to be made, according to General Manager Tony Bass.

    “We also always have inside seating available, following Fairfax County COVID-19 guidelines?— less than 10 people at one table, sitting six feet apart,” Bass said.

    The Town of Vienna has not yet permitted restaurants to use closed tents for outdoor dining. The town council most recently re-adopted an emergency ordinance allowing institutions and businesses to get temporary waivers from zoning regulations on outdoor activities on Oct. 5, but the measure still requires tents to “remain open on all sides.”

    Still, that limitation has not stopped the town’s restaurants from proactively preparing for the winter months.

    Vienna’s Blend 111 (111 Church St. NW), a food and wine bar that specializes in Latin dishes, has already began “winterizing” its patio, according to owner/sommelier Mike Biddick.

    “We added gas heaters, pop-up tents for use when it is rainy, and blankets,” Biddick said. “We are also working with a firm to design eco-friendly, heated chair cushions for later into the winter.”

    Biddick says over 90% of his customers choose to enjoy their meals outside, but the restaurant has still worked to create a safe, socially-distant dining experience for the customers that choose to sit inside.

    “Inside, we set up only eight tables,” Biddick said. “…While our open kitchen required that we installed very robust air ventilation when we opened last year, we also installed air particle filters next to each of the tables for added airflow and circulation. Masks are mandatory, as are gloves for our staff.”

    Photo courtesy Jennie?Kuperstein

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    The?Wegmans in Tysons?(1835 Capital One Drive South) will have a soft opening next Wednesday (Nov. 4) at 9 a.m.

    “We’re super excited,” Wegmans Tysons service area manager Matt Collalto said. “Tysons is an up-and-coming area. People here have shopped sporadically at a Wegmans and wanted one nearby.”

    Fairfax County’s fourth Wegmans is open from 6 a.m. to midnight. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Wegmans is foregoing a grand opening?for the mid-morning first day of business.

    “We wanted to put more thought into our opening, focusing on our customers and employees,” Collalto said.

    The company sees room for opportunity in the D.C.-Virginia area, Collalto said. After the Wegmans in Tysons opens on Wednesday, one is slated to open in May 2022 on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. Wegmans is looking to open a store in Reston in the future, he said.

    The Tysons Wegmans has three levels of below-ground parking with escalators leading into the store, which will avoid the ongoing construction of the Capital One Hall.

    Customers will be greeted by dining options galore, with seating for nearly 200 people in the?80,000 square-foot store.

    The Buzz Coffee Shop offers breakfast sandwiches and organic specialty coffee, tea, and espresso drinks. True coffee aficionados will appreciate the?pour-over, French press, and nitro brew options, Collalto said.

    The fast-casual Burger Bar serves burgers, sandwiches and fries. A Japanese-inspired bar features sushi, cocktails, wine, sake, and beer. Individual hot food options, which Collalto calls the “street stop” section, are just around the corner.

    The “street food”-style preparation responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, with improved quality and hygiene, he said. While some COVID-19 precautions may go away, the decision to close buffets may stay, he said.

    “Instead of big, massive hot bars, we’re specializing the food,” he said. “COVID has opened our eyes to a lot of things.”

    High-contact touchpoints are sanitized frequently and hand-sanitizer stations are available throughout the store.?Cashiers sanitize their workspace and hands in between customers, and Plexiglas shields separate cashiers and employees from customers.

    Customers also have options for contactless shopping. They can shop online for curbside pickup or delivery to their door, and the prepared foods can be ordered through the store’s Meals 2Go app.

    The SCAN app allows customers to scan and bag their groceries?in-store for a contactless experience.

    Picking up on consumer trends, Wegmans is focusing on organics, sustainable practices, and specialty items.

    Shelves increasingly bear products with the private Wegmans label, particularly those designated as “Food You Feel Good About.” This means they are free of preservatives, additives, and artificial colors, manager Kevin Russell said.

    Wegmans also has a goal of diverting 80% of waste from the landfill, either into recycling or composting, Collalto said. Consumable produce, dairy, and other perishables are donated to Food For Others.

    “We have a responsibility to enrich the neighborhood the best way we can,” Collalto said.

    As for specialty foods, the Tysons Wegmans has swapped large displays of traditional deli meats for 16 feet dedicated to charcuterie meats. Complimenting the meats is a cheese station with 400 cheeses.

    “We want to highlight the variety of charcuterie,” Collalto said. “People love it.”

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    Friday Morning Notes

    McLean Project for the Arts Proposes New Single-Building Art Center?— “The McLean Project for the Arts (MPA) is advancing a revised, single-building concept for its proposed art center at McLean’s Clemyjontri Park that would be more efficient, accessible and secure than the initial multiple-building design.” [Inside Nova]?

    Falls Church High School Student Recognized by Governor for Black History Awareness Efforts?— “A group of 52 students from Laurel Ridge Elementary School and one student from Falls Church High School have been recognized by Governor Ralph Northam for nominating Black Virginians to be recognized on highway markers throughout the state.” [FCPS]

    Upcoming Virtual Open House for Plan to Revitalize Downtown McLean?— “Curious about a draft plan to revitalize downtown McLean over the next 20 years? We want your feedback at the Nov. 7 virtual open house!” [Twitter]

    Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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    Update at 11 p.m. — Power was restored earlier tonight. The cause of the outage was an issue with a transmission line.

    Earlier: The Dominion power outage map is red throughout the Tysons area — primarily east of the Beltway — as today’s storms leave thousands without power.

    All of Pimmit Hills, McLean, and much of Merrifield and Falls Church have been left in the dark. The cause of the outage is still listed as “pending investigation.” The restoration time was estimated as between 5-10 p.m.

    The area is under a flood watch as downpours continue from Hurricane Zeta, closing down several roads in the area.

    “I can tell you our crews are out working on the problem, trying to get everyone’s power back,” said?Dominion spokeswoman?Peggy Fox.

    Image via Dominion Power

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    Updated on 10/30/2020 — The Virginia High School League announced that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed an executive order allowing high school students to start playing sports in December.

    “Keeping our student athletes safe is critical during this pandemic,” Northam said. “I know I join many parents in looking forward to the safe return of school sports.”

    Earlier —?The Virginia High School League is currently working with the governor’s office to potentially get a waiver that would let public school students compete in sports starting on Dec. 7, even if the state remains in Phase 3 of its reopening plan.

    Signs point to Virginia public schools “likely” getting permission to proceed with a truncated winter sports season, Fairfax County Public Schools student activities and athletics director Bill Curran said in a virtual town hall on student athletics hosted by Hunter Mill District School Board representative Melanie Meren on Wednesday (Oct. 28).

    “VHSL has worked very closely with the Virginia Department of Health and governor’s office with regard to opening back up and what guidance and changes would need to be made so we can have high school sports on Dec. 7,” Curran said.

    Virginia has been in the third phase of Gov. Ralph Northam’s Forward Virginia plan for guiding the Commonwealth through the COVID-19 pandemic since July 1.

    Under Phase 3, both indoor and outdoor recreational sports are limited to 250 people, including players, staff, and spectators. Those individuals are also expected to maintain 10 feet of physical distance “where practicable.”

    As it is now written, Phase 3 “basically does not allow for high school sports” beyond optional workouts for individual teams, Curran says.

    As the nonprofit that serves as Virginia’s governing body for student athletics and activities, the VHSL has spent the past several months developing guidelines that it hopes would enable high school sports to resume this winter with Phase 3 restrictions in place.

    After voting on July 27 to delay all sports and activities until mid-December, the VHSL executive committee unanimously agreed on Sept. 17 to adopt a condensed schedule with winter, fall, and spring sports.

    The proposed “Championships + 1” Condensed Interscholastic Plan would generally unfold as follows:

    • Dec. 7-Feb. 20: winter sports, including basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, swim and dive, wrestling
    • Feb. 4-May 1: fall sports, including football, volleyball, golf, field hockey, cross country, and competitive cheerleading
    • Apr. 12-June 26: spring sports, including baseball, softball, tennis, lacrosse, soccer, and track and field

    Trying to resume sports when FCPS is still wrestling with how to reopen schools for in-person learning might raise some eyebrows, but Meren says she believes it is an important discussion to have.

    “I know how important it is for kids to be active,” Meren said. “Sports can be a gateway to scholarships, academics, and careers.” Read More

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    (Updated at 12:05 on 10/30/2020)?Town of Vienna residents and visitors are invited to enjoy the crisp fall weather and live entertainment while supporting local retail during the town’s first-ever Vienna Shop & Stroll.

    It is the biggest and longest initiative organized by the Town of Vienna Economic Development Office, which will soon celebrate its one-year anniversary after being formed in November 2019. The town’s business liaison committee and the?Vienna Business Association?are partners on the event series.

    Each Saturday through Dec. 12,?designated shopping centers will host safe and socially distant seasonal activities and in-store promotions.?Locals and visitors are encouraged to meet business owners and learn more about the history of the shopping centers.

    “It grew out of the fact that we need to come up with creative ideas throughout this time,” said?Natalie Monkou, the economic development manager for the Town of Vienna. “The more creativity, the better.”

    The Vienna Shop & Stroll kicked off last Saturday (Oct. 24) at the?Vienna Shopping Center (180 Maple Avenue), where seven businesses participated. It featured two pop-up opera concerts by emerging artists at the Kennedy Center’s Washington National Opera. The singers performed two micro-concerts?from the Concert Truck, a Maryland-based pop-up truck that aims to make classical music more accessible.

    “I’m actually pretty pleased with what happened on Saturday,” Monkou said. “It was set at one of the busiest shopping centers in town, so it was a great place to kick off what we could do for other locations.”

    The pop-up concert truck was “a great way to remind people that Vienna is accessible to all,” Monkou said.

    Future special programming will remain in the realm of music and art to avoid direct competition with the shopping centers. Concerts are also family-friendly and a great way to manage social-distancing guidelines, Monkou says.

    “If we are going to provide something, we want it to be something that we can count on families to enjoy with little ones,” she said.

    Because the Economic Development Department is so new, “everything we’re doing is a pilot,” Monkou said. “Depending on the participation from tenants and property managers, we’ll see if the [Shop & Stroll] is an annual thing.”

    She emphasized engaging property owners because they have a role to play in the success of the town.

    “When their businesses don’t do well, we all suffer,” she said. “We all benefit when we come together to do something that’s off the beaten path.”

    Here are the dates and locations for upcoming Shop & Stroll Saturdays:

    Correction: This article previously described the Vienna Business Association as the organizer of Shop & Stroll. The VBA is a partner with Vienna’s economic development office as the main organizer.

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    With the heightened emphasis on continuous sanitation and comprehensive disinfecting of residential and work environments, it’s remarkable to find a professional cleaning company that is managing to save clients an average of 10 percent on cleaning costs.

    Northern Virginia commercial and residential cleaning specialists WellNest Professional Cleaning has developed data-driven, evidence-based methods that allows them to clean when and where it is most efficient, and in doing so, has discovered cost-effectiveness that remains within budgetary restraints.

    In other words, WellNest Professional Cleaning is working smarter, not harder. Here’s how:

    The vetted, trained and dedicated “certified infection prevention” crew members of WellNest reallocate the frequency of cleaning from low-traffic areas to high-traffic areas by assessing building usage, density, traffic patterns, construction materials and ventilation systems. Applying the results of these studies, cleaners address areas of more frequent need with modern technologies, including electrostatic sprayers, autonomous vacuums, an autonomous floor scrubbers.

    The combination of strategic emphasis and technological advancement is, indeed, working smarter, not harder. And each assessment is customized based on the client’s particular needs.

    This innovative approach to cleaning has proven successful for WellNest since its inception in 2016, advancing the company to today’s status of 40 full-time employees — each trained by a janitorial industry veteran of 20-plus years — and helping thousands of commercial and residential clients throughout the region. Clients include office buildings, residential apartment buildings, banks, law offices, churches, private schools, fitness facilities, art studios, day-care facilities and, of course, home residences.

    WellNest considers itself a strategic partner with its clients, emphasizing two-way communication, trust and transparency. During the pandemic, sanitation and disinfecting the work and home environment is more crucial than ever — it only makes sense to do it the smart way while remaining within or below budget.

    Book a commercial client consultation?or?book a residential or move-in/move-out cleaning.?Contact WellNest at [email protected] or call 800-791-2878.

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