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Week in Reston

Project Performance Gives to FISH

Herndon-Reston FISH, Inc. recently received a $5,000 donation from Project Performance Corporation (PPC) of McLean. The purpose of the contribution is to support Herndon-Reston FISH, Inc. in helping people meet emergency and short-term needs. Founded in 1991, PPC is a management and technology consulting firm providing solutions that simplify complex business problems for government and Fortune 500 clients.

Herndon-Reston FISH, Inc. is an all-volunteer organization that helps people by providing direct payments of rent, utilities, prescriptions and other necessities for Herndon and Reston residents who are facing short-term crises in their lives. FISH also provides rides for the elderly to their medical appointments and distributes holiday food and gift baskets. In turn, PPC actively supports their own employees in their many individual causes.

Individuals and organizations can help FISH by sending donations of money to Herndon-Reston FISH, Inc., 336 Victory Drive, Herndon, VA 20170

Saleable items can also be donated to The Bargain Loft, a thrift shop run by FISH volunteers. The Bargain Loft, located at 336 Victory Drive in Herndon, is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 703-437-0600.

School Social Worker Arrested

Robert Rother, 51, a Vienna resident and social worker with Fairfax County Public Schools, was arrested Tuesday, Jan. 17 on charges of taking custodial indecent liberties with a 13-year-old Fairfax boy, according to Fairfax County Police reports.

The charge, a class 6 felony, indicates the perpetrator had some type of control or responsibility over the victim and took control of that power, said Fairfax County Police Public Information Officer Bud Walker.

The arrest followed a month-long investigation, which is still ongoing.

According to court records, the offense took place some time in October or November.

Fairfax County Public Schools spokesman Paul Regnier said Rother worked with Thoreau Middle School in Vienna, Terraset Elementary in Reston and Carson Middle School in Herndon.

"He has been placed on unpaid administrative leave, and we are investigating," said Regnier. He said there was "no indication whatsoever," that Rother had been a problem at those schools.

About a month and a half ago, police received a referral from a county agency regarding Rother, which led to a criminal investigation, Walker said. He withheld the name of the agency in order to protect the victim's identity.

Walker said the investigation is ongoing in the interest of both building the current case and the possibility of discovering other victims.

"It's certainly possible that there are more victims, and we want to investigate all possibilities," Walker said. "If anyone out there has information, we'd love to hear from them." Anyone with additional information is asked to call Fairfax County Police at 703-246-7800.

If convicted, Rother could face one to five years in jail and a fine up to $2,500.

Rother was arraigned on Wednesday, Jan. 18, the day after his arrest. He left jail on a $15,000 bond the same day, according to 2nd Lt. Tony Shobe at the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office.

Rother will return to court Feb. 24.

— Mike DiCicco & Jason Hartke

Developer Meets with RA

David Ross, president of Atlantic Realty Companies, presented a development plan for Lake Anne Village Center to the Reston Association board in executive session on Jan. 18. RA officials said the session was closed to the public because the meeting dealt with contractual matters. Ross’ proposal renderings included two 15-plus story high-rise buildings near the entrance of the village center.

Atlantic Realty, the developer known for creating Plaza America and redeveloping the Hunters Woods and Tall Oaks shopping areas, expressed interest in redeveloping the Lake Anne Village Center before, having made offers to buy properties around Lake Anne that have been identified as probable sites for redevelopment. At the time, residents expressed concerns that the interests of the community had yet to be heard.

During the public charrette on revitalization last summer, several residents criticized Ross’ redevelopment of the Hunters Woods Shopping Center. “You are sitting in the center that is the warning of what could happen at Lake Anne,” said Yonna Kromholz during a session of the charrette that took place at Hunters Woods Shopping Center.

Plum Perseveres on Redistricting

The House Committee on Privileges and Elections killed a bill patroned by Del. Kenneth R. Plum (D-36) that would have established an independent reapportionment commission. The bill would have created a Virginia Advisory Redistricting Commission consisting of four non-partisan commissioners and a chairman elected by the other four appointees. The commission would also have an executive director and staff, as needed.

Redistricting would follow guidelines in agreement with federal and state law and would have recognized existing boundaries and communities of interest to the extent possible. The commission would be obliged to conduct public hearings in major areas of the state prior to voting on a final recommendation to the assembly.

Plum, who introduced similar legislation his first term as a delegate in 1978 when the Democratic Party was in the majority, asked the Privileges and Elections Committee to use his bill as a vehicle for implementing independent redistricting. He has introduced the bill in several previous sessions. New Jersey, Washington, Iowa, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana and Arizona currently use independent redistricting commissions and have witnessed more contested elections and increased voter participation.

“There will be a time when this concept is accepted in Virginia,” Plum said. “I have been working on it for a long time and have no intention of stopping now. The idea is gaining much support nationally.”

Corrections

In the caption for the photo "Look to the Skies" [Reston Connection, Jan. 11-17, 2006], the incorrect number of species were reported as part of the Reston Association Winter Bird count. Fifty-four species of birds were counted. Also, three new types of sparrows have been identified, including the Savannah sparrow.

In the article “Only the Best” [Jan. 18-24, 2006] some information was incorrect. McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant and the M & S Grill were recognized by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and Reston Interfaith as Best of Reston 2006 honorees for their charitable efforts in the community.