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News in Brief

<sh>Simon To Be Honored

<bt>Reston founder Robert Simon, Jr., will be honored as a National Planning Pioneer and Reston will be named a National Historic Planning Landmark, according to the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). A bronze plaque will be cast and presented at the Lake Anne Village Center, Washington Plaza at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5.

Simon will be honored for the his work in creating the nation's first planned unit community zone and is credited with introducing urban living to suburban sprawl when he purchased 6,700 acres in northern Virginia and founded Reston. Earlier this year, Reston was honored by the AICP for being "one of the finest examples of American 20th century conceptual new town planning."

<sh>Murder Suspect Nabbed

<bt>Authorities arrested Brian Orlando Sanchez-Maradiga, 21, on Aug. 4 in Raleigh, N.C., for the murder of a man in Brown's Chapel Park in Reston last year, police said.

The suspect, who does not have a known address, will be extradited to Virginia from North Carolina, Fairfax County Police said.

Sanchez-Maradiga is the fourth of four suspects arrested and accused of killing Fredy Del Carmen Reyes-Castillo last June 17. On that day, a couple walking in the park found Reyes-Castillo lying the parking lot with severe upper body trauma, police said. Authorities said all four suspects are members of the MS-13 gang.

<sh>Gang Meeting at Langston Hughes

<bt>Responding to concerns about escalating gang activity and youth violence in Hunter Mill-area schools, the Community Focus Group, a coalition of nearly 70 educators, youth-service, law enforcement and community leaders will hold a public meeting Wednesday, Sept. 4, at Langston Hughes Middle School from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

"As recent media reports have made clear, gang involvement is on the rise in Fairfax County," stated Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, in a release. "As responsible adults, we owe it to the children in our schools to make the community free of gangs and to thus create a safe environment for their development.

<sh>LHMS Students Plant Trees for Dogwood

<bt>In a tribute to Sept. 11, students from Langston Hughes Middle School in coordination with the Reston Association and the Reston Character Counts! Coalition will be leading Dogwood's student body in a replanting of the landscaping lost during the Reston elementary school's 2000 fire.

For four hours, beginning at 9 a.m., students will be planting six different species of trees, representing the six pillars of good character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

The event will kick off with the dedication of a special tree representing the "Spirit of American Character." With the planting and dedication, the coalition and RA hopes to establish a precedent for sponsoring community service projects as a "fitting annual remembrance of the events of Sept. 11."

<sh>Pro-BRT Group Sees DEIS Bias

<bt>The Rapid Transit Action Committee, also known as MoveIt.org, which represent a group of civic and business interests in Fairfax and Loudoun counties, announced last week that the Draft Environmental Impact Study was "substantially flawed and must be redone." After a private review of the document, officials with the group have concluded there were serious problems with it, ranging from insufficient financial analysis to excessively optimistic assumptions on transit ridership. "The people promoting rail have interests in the outcome," said Tom Hirst, the RTRAC/MoveIt chairman, in a press conference last week to tout the benefits of BRT, an express bus rapid transit system. "A lot of what rail advocates have bought into is pure fantasy." The Reston Association and the Herndon Town Council, among others, have endorsed the rail option.