Winter 2021 Issue of Ripples


Winter 2021 Issue of Ripples

From the Editor – Stephen Sapp


Lakeport News 

Message from Lakeport President – Mary Sapp

Results of Survey about Lakeport

Lakeport Cluster’s Operating Budget for 2021 – Kevin Burke

Landscape Committee Projects

Neighborhood Watch – Chuck Foster

Book Club – Barbara Khan

  Thanks to Our Volunteers 


News from Outside Lakeport

Fairfax County COVID-19 Vaccine and Registration Data Dashboard


Helpful Information

Recycling in Fairfax County – Linda Rosenberg

Preventive Maintenance Checklist for Winter

Do You Know What an Ejector Pump Is? – Paul Renard

Reminders

Lakeport Governance

Ripples Recipe: The Perfect Steak (a.k.a. Reverse-Seared Steak)



From the Editor

By Stephen Sapp


We are approaching the first anniversary of the official declaration of the global Covid-19 pandemic, and although we still have a long way to go, finally we can begin to believe there is an end in sight. As we enter what we hope will be the homestretch of this seemingly endless pandemic, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotations. It comes from Vaclav Havel, the Czech writer, dissident, and statesman who was the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic: “Hope is not about believing you can change things. Hope is about believing you can make a difference.” None of us is likely to be able to change the course of the pandemic in the months ahead in any significant way, but until we can truly say that Covid-19 no longer dominates our lives, each of us
can


maintain our hope by making a difference in the following ways: Please stay at home as much as you can, wear your mask (or two), keep an appropriate distance from those outside your household, get your vaccination shots as soon as you are eligible, and stay well (and warm)!


Please send any feedback or suggestions for Ripples to ssapp@miami.edu.



Message from Lakeport President

By Mary M. Sapp

At the end of last year, we installed a new hedge and a crepe myrtle to replace the hedge that was removed at the south end of Lakeport Way after it became infected with canker. Despite the many challenges of 2020, we were able to continue to make improvements to common property last year. Since 2018, when the focus was on the dock and the repair of adjacent landscaping, we’ve been concentrating on other areas in Lakeport, and that will continue next year.

We’ve also been sprucing up the Triangle Park area. Two flowering native serviceberries were planted recently to replace the invasive and brittle Bradford Pears removed earlier, and other projects are already planned for this year, including work on the recently designated “Kids’ Garden” and planting liriope next to the RA path in Triangle Park to try to prevent dirt from washing into the parking area. 

On Sunrise Valley Drive you’ll see some recent additions as well, the most obvious being the fence next to the sidewalk on both sides of the entrance to fill gaps in the existing fence. In addition, an arborvitae was planted to replace a dying tree removed next to the sidewalk, and the hill to the right of the RA path where it turns south from Sunrise Valley Drive to the pool now has native trees and plants, which were paid for by the County’s contractor who destroyed the vegetation there during the construction of the sidewalk on Sunrise Valley Drive. This spring we’ll be planting perennials at the entrance, which will end up saving money because we will no longer pay for annuals and their watering in our maintenance contract. 

We will also continue our multi-year effort to tackle tree work throughout Lakeport, thanks to both professional arborists and volunteers. You can read the Landscape Projects article for more details and photos. 


One other landscape enhancement I’d like to recognize is due to the generosity of Rich Shelton, who not only has cut down a number of trees in our community but has also designed (and paid for!) the new patio, low rock wall, and landscaping on common property next to his home at 1942 Lakeport Way (shown in the photo to the left). Once the weather and Covid permit, take advantage of this new Lakeport gathering area to visit with your neighbors or just relax. The Thanks to Volunteers article provides more details and ways others have donated their time and money. Please be sure to thank them.

As you may recall, this spring we are planning a major capital improvement that will further improve the appearance of our community: repaving Lakeport’s roads; repairing sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and driveway aprons; and repainting curbs, parking spaces, and speed bumps. Last year’s Reserve Study scheduled this project for 2021, and at the 2020 Annual Meeting owners approved the expenditure for it. Also, don’t forget that this year RA will conduct inspections of the exteriors and landscaping of our homes. If you know of something that needs to be fixed, now would be a good timeto have that done.


Let me close by talking about the quality of life in Lakeport. In case you haven’t heard, Money magazine named Reston #1 in the 10 Best Places to Live if You Work From Home. Check out the article to remind yourself why Reston is such a great place to “live, work, play.” 


The same could be (and was) said about Lakeport. In January, the Board sent a survey to the Lakeport Community so we could better understand what was important to you. The top responses to the questions about what people liked best or talked about with friends related to our great location, including Lake Thoreau and our proximity to shopping and entertainment. Lakeport’s common area and our lovely homes were also high on the list, as were the friendly people who live here and the community spirit, supported by valued social events, which we hope to be able to resume later this year. Please read the article in this issue of Ripples that summarizes survey responses and quotations from respondents.



As reflected in that survey, we’re fortunate to have friendly neighbors, but they are also generous ones. For instance, if you’d like to attend one of the Nats games this year, one of your neighbors can make that possible. James Pan, who has season tickets, is offering Lakeport residents the opportunity to go with him to some of the games. If you are interested, email him at 
jpamco@yahoo.com. In addition, as you may recall, Gil Blankespoor offered free firewood to anyone who wanted it. And, as mentioned above, Rich Shelton created the new gathering area for all of us to enjoy. Many others have volunteered their time to make Lakeport better or offered to help with the Kids’ Garden. It’s not surprising that Lakeport was designated 2019 Community of the Year. My favorite quotation from our recent survey describes our community this way: Lakeport is “a great place to live. We also tell our friends we plan to DIE here as well!”

I hope you agree that Lakeport is special and that you are able to enjoy winter here as much as our children have been.


Results of Survey about Lakeport

In January, the Board sent a survey to the Lakeport Community so we could better understand how owners feel about Lakeport. Not surprisingly, in response to the questions about what they enjoyed/valued the most or mentioned when describing Lakeport to others, almost every respondent cited something related to our location (Lake Thoreau; proximity to South Lakes Village, Reston Town Center, D.C., and their amenities and entertainment opportunities; RA walking trails). Over half mentioned the beautiful and serene/tranquil setting and/or the attractive architecture of the homes of our immediate neighborhood. 

Over half also mentioned their friendly neighbors and the sense of spirit they experience in Lakeport. And the social events were popular, especially the TGIFs, the dock party, and Halloween. Here are some of the comments shared in the survey:


Overall

  • A great place to live. We also tell our friends we plan to DIE here as well!

  • My staycation. So relaxing.

  • [Like] being on vacation every day

  • It's a wonderful place to live

  • High quality of life

  • A truly special community that is well maintained 

  • The best kept secret in Reston

  • A small townhome community with a wide range of ages in a beautiful setting, with easy access to amenities; I often say, "I'm very happy we ended up living where we do"!

  • Wonderful, friendly community with beautiful views and access to Lake Thoreau

  • The tranquility of the Lake Thoreau views and the well-maintained properties and well-run Lakeport Community HOA

  • Location, architecture, landscaping, lake access, friendly neighbors, excellent Board, broad community spirit, and adjacent to shopping center

  • The community, the proximity to anything we need, and of course the lovely houses.

  • Our location and the overall feel of "family friendly" living, which echoes the larger Reston culture

  • We love the location and our neighbors. We can easily walk to the grocery store, CVS, UPS, Starbucks, dry cleaners, bank--pretty much everything we need we can get without a car. Living on a lake is uplifting and the walk around the lake peaceful and relaxing. Downtown DC … is easily accessible by car or Metro.  Can't imagine a better place to live!

  • We're fortunate to live here - it's a beautiful location and we enjoy interacting with other residents and having access to South Lakes Village, Reston Town Center, and DC

  • It is so close to so many things

  • Light floods into my home—and the morning sun reflects off the townhomes across from mine, and especially colorful evening sunsets reflect off the windows of the townhouses behind me. I walk on Red Loop Trail around the lake almost every day—and frequently sit on benches on our dock to take in the movement of the water.


Neighbors

  • I will also say I have been blessed by my neighbors in Lakeport.  

  • Friendly neighbors who care about the community

  • The community spirit that the current board fosters

  • We have great neighbors who care for and look out for each other 

  • Kind, friendly, and reasonable neighbors

  • Friendly environment

  • Friendly neighbors

  • The friendly, well-kept community

  • My neighbors  

  • Informal encounters with friendly neighbors rates the highest

  • Knowing neighbors well enough to chat when I'm out

  • I enjoy getting together with my friendly neighbors


Events

  • Halloween!!!!!! The events that focused on kids were so great—Halloween, howling at the moon at 8 pm for health care workers, "find a bear", etc.

  • I loved this Halloween. People out in driveways with firepits. Adults as well as children in costume. I walked the neighborhood to see it all. It was festive and yet respecting the virus with our respect for safety.

  • Organized events, such as a dock party or TGIF are enjoyable as well. It's especially cute when we have walk-by birthday greetings for Lakeport kids during COVID.

  • TGIFs. Don't have kids, but love watching events for neighborhood children.

  • I have enjoyed the dock parties and TGIFs. 

  • TGIF, Halloween, Covid fire-pit socials with neighbors

  • TGIF and our small street gatherings during Covid

  • Parties at our end of Lakeport Way, especially during COVID

  • All of them plus work days - I like these Lakeport events because they build a sense of community.

  • I actually enjoy the volunteer days where we can contribute to the maintenance.

Lakeport Cluster's Operating Budget for 2021

By Kevin Burke, Treasurer

The Lakeport Cluster Association Board approved an operating budget for 2021 with no increase in assessments. The Board decided to forego an inflationary increase in response to the economic stress that the Covid pandemic has created for some Lakeport homeowners. To be sensitive to this situation, the Board also held down expenses and required that new projects or activities be essential for the maintenance of Lakeport’s quality of life. Thus unnecessary projects and activities that are unsafe due to Covid-19, along with their related expenditures, were either canceled or curtailed. For example, the planned dock party and TGIFs did not take place, and the Annual Meeting was held using Zoom. In addition, last year’s snowfall was minimal, so most of the funds designated for snow plowing and treatment were saved. Finally, as has so often been the case, many Lakeport residents volunteered to help with the maintenance of the common property by trimming trees, removing dead trees and stumps, watering new plantings, and even landscaping common areas adjoining individual property. 


The Board also secured funding from Fairfax County Land and Water Conservation District for most of the costs of constructing the rain garden in the area between Lakeport Way and Lakespray Way that was experiencing considerable erosion. In addition, at the Board’s insistence, a contractor for Fairfax County  paid for replanting Lakeport’s portion of the hill next to the RA path between Sunrise Valley Drive and the Lake Thoreau pool. The trees and shrubs there had been destroyed by storage of equipment used to build the sidewalk along Sunrise Valley Drive. Finally, the County repaired a storm drain cover on Lakespray Way, which will reduce the cost to repair the sidewalks as part of this year’s repaving project.


Lakeport homeowners should be pleased that Lakeport Cluster’s operating budget and reserve funds received a clean audit. In December, the management company sent all homeowners a copy of the 2021 operating budget, along with the explanation of how to pay the HOA assessment.


Landscape Committee Projects


The end of 2020 saw the installation by Meadows Farms of several new trees required by Reston Association as replacements for trees that were removed: two native flowering snowcloud serviceberry trees on either side of the Triangle Park parking area to replace the Bradford pears removed earlier (see photo on the right); an emerald green arborvitae on Sunrise Valley to replace the dying cypress removed there (see photo on the left); and a new crepe myrtle across the RA path from the Safeway wall.


The median across the RA path from the Safeway brick wall now has a new Helleri holly hedge to replace the hedge removed two years ago because of canker (see photo on the right), thanks to Riverbend Landscapes, who also added six junipers across from the dock to replace junipers lost when the new dock was built and to retain soil that was running across the RA path.


As you have probably noticed, extensions of the existing fences along Sunrise Valley were completed by Carter Fence in January. This project, requested by several owners, should reduce noise from the road and provide a barrier between the busy traffic on Sunrise Valley Drive and the wooded area to the east of the entrance, where Lakeport children sometimes play. 



The natural area on the hill to the right of the RA path leading from Sunrise Valley Drive to the
Lake Thoreau pool was restored using plants native to Virginia, including an American holly, redbud, witch hazel, five beauty berries, three chokeberries, three iteas, five smaller mountain mists, and three Christmas ferns. This project was completely paid for by a contractor for Fairfax County who had damaged this section of Lakeport Cluster property when the equipment used to install the sidewalk on Sunrise Valley Drive was parked there. Now that we have our own “arboretum” of native plants, we may decide to plant some of these in other natural areas in Lakeport in the future, as budget permits.



In addition, the Board renewed our landscape maintenance and snow-removal agreement with Blade Runners and approved a Landscape Charter (now available on the website) and a Landscape Manual. 


Five landscape projects are planned for 2021:

  • When we renewed Lakeport’s landscape maintenance contract with Blade Runners, we removed the installation and watering of annuals at our entrance, thereby saving $1,150 each year. Plans are being finalized for low-maintenance perennials at the entrance that will provide year-round color and interest. 

  • You may have observed that dirt tends to wash into the parking area next to Triangle Park. To mitigate this erosion, spreading liriope spicata will soon be planted in the narrow strip of ground where grass has died between the RA path and the parking area.

  • The Kids’ Garden in Triangle Park will start taking shape this year, using a design being developed by Lakeport’s children and taking advantage of donations of time, material, and plants from several Lakeport owners.

  • Ongoing tree work will continue.

  • A workday will be scheduled to clear away remains of dead trees cut down by Rich Shelton (thanks, Rich!) so Blade Runners can haul them away, plus doing other projects.


Landscape Committee co-chairs Melanie Clement and Gail Pitches continue to walk around the community taking notes for future enhancements, identifying hazards, and trimming dead branches. If you have suggestions, please let them know by emailing Melanie Clement at melonieclement@gmail.com.


Neighborhood Watch

By Chuck Foster


On March 12 of 2020, Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency due to the onset of the pandemic in the state. Because the ensuing efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus significantly impacted our daily lives, it is worth contemplating if trends in crime were impacted as well. 


According to the FBI’s analysis of crime trends during the first six months of 2020, there was a nationwide decline in many categories of crime when compared with the same period in 2019. Declines were reported for rape, robbery, larceny, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and property crimes. However, there were double-digit increases in murder, non-negligent manslaughter, and arson.


Using the website CityProtect, we are able to view incidents of reported crime in our local area. The following table reflects reported crime between March 12, 2020, and January 29, 2021, within the perimeter of Sunrise Valley Drive, South Lakes Drive, and Soapstone Drive. 


Reported Offense       Count

Destruction of Property 6            

Simple Assault 5

Larceny – Bicycle 3

Larceny – All Other 3

Larceny – Financial Fraud 2

Theft from Auto 2

Larceny – Theft from Building 1

Auto Theft 1

Prescription Drug Misuse 1

Disorderly Conduct 1

Strongarm Robbery 1

Simple Assault on LEO 1

Graffiti 1


In addition to the above incidents, the police department was summoned for a number of calls for service that did not result in the generation of a case number. These calls were categorized as suspicious event, warrant service, civil dispute, animal violation, lost/found property, natural death, and trespassing. 


Interestingly, a prior pre-pandemic period that was analyzed in this newsletter (the first half of 2017), shows that three offenses in the prior period do not appear in the current period. These are Burglary, Shoplifting, and Marijuana/Drug Paraphernalia. It appears that the absence of two of these three offenses may be related to school being out of session. In our area, shoplifting was most prevalent at the South Lakes Village Center and drug offenses were most prevalent at the high school. The decline in burglary may be due to the high number of residents who are home all day. Data indicate that burglars prefer to work in the middle of the day on weekdays because residents are most often away from home then.  


When considering recent trends in crime, it is important to consider the impact of the pandemic and the intense scrutiny of police practices on reported crime. There is anecdotal and empirical evidence that police officers in many areas of the country are avoiding citizen engagement to minimize both infection risk and violent encounters. This also extends to proactive police work, such as self-initiated investigations and community policing.      


The Fairfax County Police Department reports an increase in thefts from autos in residential neighborhoods. Thieves are finding little opportunity in office parks and parking garages because so many people are working from home. Autos left unlocked in parking lots, driveways, and open garages are easy targets.  


By all measures, Lakeport Cluster continues to be a very safe place to live. We can keep it that way by demonstrating common sense, vigilance, and care for our neighbors.   



Book Club

By Barbara Khan, Coordinator

Want to join some of your neighbors and talk about a good book? Lakeport has an informal book
club that is always open to new members. No master’s degree in literature is required (not even a bachelor’s!), and no grades are given. Just read the selected book and then participate in a lively, lighthearted discussion. We meet monthly on the third Monday evening (except for this month) from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00-ish. We normally rotate among members’ homes, but during Covid-19, book club discussions are being held via Zoom, with the conference link sent in the reminder email before the meeting. Call Barbara Khan at 703-390-0506 or e-mail her at
bskhan@att.net for further information.

 

Here is the February selection:



Book: 
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste 


Date: Monday, February 22, 7:00 p.m.


Where: via Zoom (conference link will be sent just before the meeting)

 

This novel sets the stage for the first major conflict of WWII in North Africa. It’s about Hirut, an Ethiopian woman working in the household of an officer who is engaged in war with the Italians, who finds herself swept up in the complicated politics of war.


Thanks to Our Volunteers


Please take time to thank your neighbors for their efforts to make Lakeport a better place for all of us to live. If you want to volunteer, let the Board or a committee chair know—it’s a great way to get to know people and contribute to your community.


Landscape Projects 

  • Gail Pitches and Melanie Clement – co-chairs of the Landscape Committee

  • Melanie Clement – coordinating plans for the Kids’ Garden

  • Rich Shelton – commissioning the design and paying for a seating/visiting area and landscaping on common property next to his home at 1942 Lakeport Way, transplanting the dogwood that was there to the turnaround on Lakespray Way, installing a replacement redbud next to parking near the entrance, cutting down around 10 dead trees in the woods and beside the parking area adjacent to Sunrise Valley, and trimming other trees for the new fence

  • Gil Blankespoor (and neighbors who supply water), Dave and Liz Fleming, Phong Nguyen, Paul Renard, Melanie Clement, and Steven Browning – watering crepe myrtle and holly hedge, two serviceberries next to Triangle Park, juniper by the dock, hill by the RA path to Lake Thoreau pool, and plants on Lakespray 

  • Don Nagley – raking accumulated leaves away from storm drains.


Standards

  • Kelly Driscoll – chair of the Standards Committee


Social

  • Michelle Simoneau – chair of the Social Committee

  • Carol Leos – welcoming new residents

  • Katie Jones and Ashley Strickland – planning Lakeport’s Halloween event 


Maintenance

  • Annabelle Hammer and Paul Renard – keeping our dock clean

  • Annabelle Hammer – restocking doggie-bag stations


Other 

  • Barbara Khan – reporting on renovations for Lake Thoreau Pool and coordinating the Lakeport Book Club

  • Kevin Burke – monitoring Fairfax County construction and zoning

  • Chuck Foster – chairing the Neighborhood Watch Committee 

  • Tom Barnett – maintaining Lakeport’s online directory and listserv for announcements and posting Ripples

  • Stephen Sapp – editing Ripples