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Week in Reston

Woman Robbed at South Lakes Village Center

Two masked men robbed a 55-year-old Reston woman at gunpoint Monday, according to police.

Shortly after exiting her car in the parking lot of South Lakes Village Center, two men approached her from behind, according to a police report. One suspect pointed a gun at her and then stole her purse and jewelry. The second suspect took her watch. The suspects struck the victim in the upper body, according to the report, before fleeing the area on foot. The victim refused medical attention.

The first suspect was about 6 feet tall and 155 pounds. The second suspect was five feet 7 inches tall and 155 pounds. They both wore black masks, dark sweatshirts, jeans and white tennis shoes.

Anyone with information about this incident or these suspects should call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or the police non-emergency number at 703-691-2131.

Reston Gang Member Pleads Not Guilty

After being indicted by a federal grand jury for one count of murder in aid of racketeering last week, Wilfredo Montoya Baires, an MS-13 gang member also known as "Nino," pleaded not guilty at an arraignment hearing Tuesday at U.S. District Court in Alexandria. If convicted, Baires, of Reston, could face the death penalty. The charge stems from a shooting at a residence in Manassas on Aug. 11, 2004. According to the indictment, Baires, following gang orders, shot and killed 22-year-old Jose Escobar, also an MS-13 member. The indictment specifically charges Baires with committing the murder to maintain or increase his position within the gang.

Giving Circle of HOPE Awards $55,000

The Giving Circle of HOPE voted to award grants to 12 Northern Virginia agencies during their second annual grant cycle meeting on Nov. 3. The Giving Circle, whose mission is to provide funds and assistance to people in need in Northern Virginia, reviewed 21 grant applications. Grants, ranging from $2,000 to $5,000, were awarded to agencies seeking to promote the self-sufficiency and well being of Northern Virginians in need through creative projects.

Grant recipients will be honored at the Giving Circle’s Annual Wine and Dessert Celebration on Friday, November 18, at the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. Recipients include Arlington Free Clinic, BEACON in Bristow, Brain Injury Services in Springfield, Empowered Women International in Alexandria, FACETS in Fairfax, Herndon-Reston FISH, Friends of Loudoun County Mental Health, Gabriel Homes in Herndon, Kids R First in Reston, the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry in Falls Church, Shepherd Center of Oakton-Vienna, and United Community Ministries in Alexandria.

Interested citizens are invited to the reception Nov. 18. Additional information about the Giving Circle of HOPE and its grant recipients is available at www.givingcircleofhope.org.

Holiday Celebration at Lake Anne

Lake Anne Merchants Association will present their annual Holiday Celebration with music, activities and fun for the whole family on Saturday, Dec. 3, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., at Washington Plaza, Lake Anne Village Center. There will be a petting zoo, bell ringers and horns heralding the festive season. In honor of Lake Anne’s 40th Anniversary, Reston Historic Trust will present a dedication at 12 p.m. Then, in traditional Lake Anne style, Santa will arrive by barge at 12:30 p.m. The event is free and is scheduled rain or shine. For more information, call 703-437-7730 or visit www.lakeanneplaza.com.

<hd>Reston Chorale’s "Seasonal Celebration"

<bt>The Reston Chorale will open its 38th concert season with its annual holiday concert, "A Seasonal Celebration," on Saturday, Dec. 3. The event celebrates the sounds of the season in two featured performances at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Reston Community Center at Hunters Woods. The performances will include two original works composed specifically for the Reston Chorale through the commission of John and Susan Adney. The Chorale will debut, "Peace of Heaven," written by American composer Daniel E. Gawthrop. The concert also celebrates the work of David Ott, with an encore performance of "‘Twas the Night Before Christmas." Tickets are available through the Community Center box office at 703-476-1111.

Restonians Publish Book of World War II

Ralph Lee Minker, Jr., of Reston, now 81, was just 18 years old when he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and began training to be a combat pilot. He fought in World War II, flying 37 combat missions over Nazi Germany.

During his two and a half years in the service, Minker often wrote home to his parents and sisters, and they wrote back to him several times a week. The letters — 800 in all — were saved, and they give a firsthand picture of the lives of a young serviceman and his family, as they experienced rationing, bond drives and the daily tensions of war.

Minker, a retired Methodist minister, his wife, Sandra O'Connell, and Harry Butowsky, a history professor at George Mason University, have just published a book based on those letters, entitled, "An American Family in World War II." Word Association Publishers published the illustrated volume, which took five years to complete.

A book signing with the editors of "An American Family in World War II" will be held Sunday, Nov. 13, from 3 to 5 p.m., United Christian Parish of Reston, 11508 North Shore Drive. An exhibition of Minker's World War II photos and memorabilia will be on display. Copies of the book will be available for sale.

Local Tutoring Company Gives Back

WyzAnt, Inc., a tutoring company based in Reston, is now providing free tutoring to deserving students through its charity, WyzAide. WyzAnt, pronounced ‘wise-ant,’ is a tutoring company that has over 30 part-time tutors serving the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan areas. WyzAnt hopes to help address the inadequacies it sees in the education system by creating equal footing for driven students who lack the resources to pay for private tutoring. Through WyzAide, WyzAnt is "sponsoring" several students for the remainder of the school year. These students will receive one-on-one instruction in their toughest subjects on a biweekly basis. Since WyzAnt has tutors for nearly every academic subject (as well as athletics, music, computers and more), it will be able to accommodate most any high school student’s schedule, in both academics and extra-curriculars.

For more information, visit www.wyzant.com. Contact WyzAnt directly at 703-945-1835 or by emailing wyzaide@wyzant.com.

Wild Zappers Visit Fox Mill Elementary

In recognition of November being named National Disabilities month, the Wild Zappers performed for the students at Fox Mill Elementary School. Founded in 1898, the Wild Zappers, an all deaf male dance company, have been performing throughout the country and on various television programs helping to bridge the gap between the hearing and deaf communities through dance.

YMCA Mardi Gras Gala

The YMCA Fairfax County Reston is in the final days of planning for its sixth annual Community Fund-raising Gala. The event, "Celebrate the Stars Mardi Gras Style," will take place 7 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Nov. 12, at the YMCA Fairfax County Reston. The gala is the YMCA Fairfax County Reston’s largest fund-raising event. The event benefits the annual "Building Bridges" campaign, which enables the YMCA to provide financial assistance to individuals, families and children who cannot afford to pay for YMCA membership or programs, such as summer camp, after school programs, swim lessons, youth sports and childcare.

This year, a portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to YMCAs affected by Hurricane Katrina so they can help serve their communities.

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<sh>Local Church Helps with Clothing Drive

<bt>The 7th Annual Performances & Clothing Drive, sponsored by Warm Clothes from Warm Hearts, Inc., will take place at Tally Ho Movie Theater in Leesburg. Featured performances include James Daniels, a gospel recording artist, Michael J. Girdy, a saxophonist, and a New Voice Inc., a youth theater troupe. Price of admittance is donations of new hats, socks and gloves for men, women, and children. Donations will be collected at the Dec. 3 performance and at Heritage Fellowship United Church of Christ

Twenty-five percent of the donations received will be given to the Salvation Army’s Hurricane Relief Fund. Call 703-904-0359 or email anitagilla@go.com.

Ice-Skating Returns

The Ice-Skating Pavilion at the Reston Town Center opened for skating Wednesday, Oct. 26 through March 2006. The Ice-Skating Pavilion offers public skating and skate rentals daily, as well as birthday parties, private and corporate parties. Beginner and intermediate lessons are also available. For hours of operation and admission rates, call the skating hotline at 703-709-6300 or visit www.restontowncenter.com.