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Manassas Students Make Thank You Cards for Veterans


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The following information was submitted to us by the Manassas City Public Schools Public Information Office:

A small parade of veterans visited Manassas City Public Schools (MCPS) on Friday, November 7, 2014. Veterans from Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and even WWII arrived on motorcycles and historic military vehicles to students and staff waving flags, cheering, singing and reciting poetry.

MCPS partnered with the local VFW and American Legion Post #10 to organize the parade—complete with a police escort. The event was part of Post #10’s Thank You Card project. Students and staff made cards, which volunteers picked up from the students during their visit to the schools before presenting them at the annual Veterans Day Parade in Old Town Manassas on November 8. The cards were also given to veterans in area assisted living facilities.

Many veterans visited the schools, including retired MCPS teacher Lt. Col. Jerry Martin USMC, who earned a Silver Star and Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam; Silver Star recipient Merle Hancock, who served in WWII; as well as Osbourn High School graduate and Afghanistan veteran Faris Amra, whose decorations include the Purple Heart.

Also on November 7, about 100 Osbourn High School (OHS) students, including those in ROTC, took a Fine Arts field trip to the Hylton Performing Arts Center to watch a very special and timely production from the Manassas Ballet Theatre.

“Colin: Son, Marine, Hero” tells the story Colin J. Wolfe, a 2005 OHS graduate who lost his life in the line of duty at the age of 19. Wolfe, who joined the Marines the day after he graduated high school, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq just seven weeks into his deployment. “We felt honored that ROTC got personally invited to the play. It means a lot,” said Dilcia Cruz Palucho, an 11th grader at OHS.

Wolfe, a former dancer, was compelled to become a Marine following the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. The ballet chronicles Wolfe’s life from when he was a baby in his mother’s arms until the day two Marines showed up at his parents’ doorstep with the devastating news. Wolfe is the son of Manassas Ballet’s artistic director Amy Grant Wolfe.  “The play was very good and it was touching about how they showed their point of view from their son’s death and how they incorporated that into the play,” said Connor Howard, who is also in the 11th grade. Osbourn Assistant Principal said the ballet was “very moving” and an “awesome opportunity” for students.

In addition, on Monday, November 10, Mayfield Intermediate School invited a group of local veterans for a small, private reception. They were honored through songs performed by the Mayfield fifth grade chorus, before sharing their stories with the entire fifth and sixth grade student body. One such veteran was 91-year-old Hancock who became a WWII POW after his plane was shot down by the Germans on his 37th mission. The students really enjoyed hearing the story of a true American hero!
Please visit our Facebook gallery for additional photos of these events.

JTC: ‘They’re Not Just Looking to Build a Bunch of Tech Hours’

technology solutions networking enterprise

Editor’s Note: “Making Tech Work for You” is a promoted post that is sponsored by JTC Inc. and written in partnership with Potomac Local.

Mark Carroll has been a Managing Partner at Capital Group Benefits since 2013, after working for more than twenty years in employee benefits.

Capital Group Benefits started out as a brokerage firm, specializing in providing employee benefits packages to employers, employees and individuals. Carroll has worked with Jewell Technical Consulting, Inc. for eight years and he described their successful long-term relationship.

“I met JTC…eight years ago… I was referred to them by a company called McLean Insurance,” said Carroll,”…and the resource for a company I was at called Small Business Insurance Solutions, a brokerage firm, for employee benefits…[and] JTC just worked with us there to get some network stability, hardware, and the like and then basically was our backbone support for running our network for a number of years.” 

When Carroll decided to transition to Capital Group Benefits, he not only brought his clients, he also brought JTC, Inc. due to the past positive experiences he has had with them.

“I brought my clients here after being at the other place for 15 years, and then we needed some support here…so they did an online assessment of hardware, delved a little bit in some of our software applications and now we’re even looking to move forward with the phone system with them,” said Carroll. JTC, Inc. is the sole IT provider at CGB and it is helping the company reach new heights. 

As far as improving their technology, JTC works alongside the company and within their limits to provide the best service possible rather than trying to sell to their client the newest computer program.

“JTC can assess your scope and some proprietary software we do or don’t run…as far as network stability and promoting the computer system being an effective tool for the workplace, they keep that in mind as opposed to just a recommendation of what’s the latest, greatest and I like that,” said Carrol. 

Among other things, Carroll admired JTC, Inc. for how they engage with their clients, as well as their knowledge base.

“I like them because they seem to be astute enough to work with…on a hardware budget,” Caroll praised,” And they give you the sense that they’re not just looking to build a bunch of tech hours and they’re aware of the different types of software you’re running and if there’s an issue between them or not. I just really like their forward-thinking approach and using our resources as a client wisely.” 

Like many business partners, Carroll has worked with other IT companies previously and gave some reasons as to why he believes JTC, Inc. is different from the pack.

“JTC brings truth to computing.  Computing is all about reality.  The hardware doesn’t last long, the software and network set up are as expensive as the hardware.  Having professional guidance from a JTC is essential to have a computing environment that is stable and dependable.  The staff are always courteous, the advice, always sage.”

JTC is a Microsoft Certified Partner and a Dell Authorized Partner and utilizes Microsoft and Dell technology. 

Potomac Local Wants You To Know

Embrey Mill Swim Park Named After Stafford Olympian

Embrey Mill Recreation Center slated to be built by fall 2015

A new indoor aquatics facility will be named after Stafford native and two-time Olympic gold medalist Jeff Rouse.

Rouse competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games and won gold in the 4×100 medley relay both years, and won gold in the men’s 100-meter backstroke during 1996 games.

The swim park at Embrey Mill will be a public facility maintained by the Stafford County Parks and Recreation Department. Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Cavalier proposed naming the center after Rouse.

“It’s kind of nice to name things after people in your community that has accomplished something, and he’s an inspiration to others in sports,” said Stafford Rockhill District Supervisor Cord Sterling.

George Washington District Supervisor Bob Thomas said naming buildings after people who are still alive is frowned upon, but the name is warranted in this case.

“[Rouse’s gold medal wins are] probably something that will never happen again for Stafford County,” said Thomas.

Cavalier said Rouse has offered to display some of his medals in the new center. There is also talk about erecting a wall of fame inside the swim facility to honor the accomplishments of other local athletes, said Cavalier.

Work on the $12 million facility is expected to be complete by fall 2015.

Snow in Thanksgiving Travel Forecast

Interstate 95 south at Dumfries [Photo: Uriah Kiser/Potomac Local News]

Accumulating snow possible Wednesday night 

It was 65 degrees at 7 a.m. this morning, 30 degrees warmer than it has been 24 hours prior. After a string of bitterly cold weather, the high temperature is forecast to reach 72 today.

What’s weather is on tap for later in the week? Snow – the kind that accumulates on the ground.

At least an inch and a half is possible in the Washington, D.C. area on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. That day just happens to be the busiest travel day of the year as families head to the homes of loved ones to celebrate Thanksgiving.

The storm will begin as rain as early as Tuesday night when temperatures will be in the low 40s in our area. Those temps will drop throughout Wednesday morning into the low 30s. The weather service calls this temperature area a “critical zone” if snow lovers are going to see the white stuff from what would be the first winter storm of the season for our area.

The accumulating snow should come Wednesday afternoon when the mix of snow and rain changes to all snow for areas north and west of Washington, while areas along Interstate 95 could see lower snow totals.

AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates more than 1 million people in the Washington area will travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving.

Letter: Kudos to Prince William Police


With so much in the news these days regarding community policing and the appropriate level of engagement by members of local law enforcement, I felt compelled to forward a note of thanks to the Prince William Police Department (PWPD). Last weekend the Woodbridge Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. hosted a panel discussion with officers from Prince William County Police Department and area students enrolled in the fraternity’s Guide Right Mentoring Program. The hour and a half panel discussion took place in the foyer of the McCoart Administration Building in Woodbridge.

The officers were most generous with their time and candidly engaged students on a host of topics that included: campus leadership, the pitfalls of bullying, inappropriate text messaging, suggested protocols in the event of a traffic stop, career options in law enforcement, and a day in the life of a Prine William County Police Department officer. There were great exchanges all around and I tip my hat to local law enforcement for understanding the power of community partnerships.

The dedicated men and women that comprise Prince William’s civil service corps sacrifice a great deal in service to the betterment of our communities. I extend a heartfelt thank you for what you do.

Guide Right is a program for the educational and occupational guidance of youth, primarily inspirational and informational in character. The program is designed to aid young men of middle and high school age to grow and develop their leadership talents in every phase of human endeavor.

The ultimate goal is to assist participants achieve worthy goals for themselves, and make constructive contributions to their community when they assume leadership roles. Guide Right provides both challenging and rewarding experiences to enhance their lives. The Fraternity’s membership provides guidance, training, and mentoring to participating young men.

Rod Hall
Member, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Woodbridge, VA


Nyea’s Party Store a Sign of Life for Featherstone Square

party, birthday, woodbridge

New homes being constructed at Featherstone Square

A new store owner hopes a party will once again happen inside Woodbridge’s Featherstone Square.

Ania Jaffa is the managing director, chief proprietor, and just about any other official-sounding title you can come up with for Nyea’s Party store. The independent business owner opened the store this fall after retiring from working in the account management department at AT&T, not a job one would associate with parties.

Nyea’s caters to everyone but has found a niche market with the Hispanic market in Woodbridge. In addition to baby shower party goods, the store has been selling a lot of party favors like plates, napkins, and cups designed by Uzuri Kid Kidz. It’s an Ohio-based artist that draws the characters with the familiar Disney look and feel, but feature Hispanics and African-American children to “mirror their lifestyle and will help fill the void in the current market.”

After Jaffa, of Manassas, retired, she looked around the area for a location for a party store.

“Then I came to Woodbridge and said “you know what, there is a niche here that I think I can fill,” said the New York City native.

The independent party store opened in a place many would consider to be an unlikely spot. For years, Featherstone Square has seen its share of small tenants come and go. The shopping center is anchored by a Food Lion and a large furniture rental store.

The surrounding neighborhood along Route 1 is noted more for its “brown” spots in need of redevelopment, and for its congested traffic.

Much of that is changing. Ryan Homes has opened a new sales office inside the center as construction is now underway for new condos and 30 townhomes on nearly 9 acres of land of Featherstone Road, just across from the shopping center.

The owner of the shopping center is also petitioned the county to build the new homes.

The new construction will bring more people to the neighborhood, and more people to the shopping center, Jaffa hopes.

“I’m used to transitional neighborhoods, you see a lot of that in New York, It’s a cyclical thing,” said Jaffa.


Stafford Experiencing 911 Phone Issues

3 p.m.

A Stafford County email alert stated 911 service is fully restored. We don’t yet know the cause of the problem that affected the system earlier today.

7:56 a.m.

Problems with phone service is preventing some Stafford County residents from calling 911.

The county’s sheriff’s office said Sunday morning people who live in the Berea and White Oak areas of Stafford are having “technical difficulties” reaching emergency services by phone.

Technicians are working on resolving the problem, a sheriff’s spokesman said.

Call to Action: Volunteer to Be a Special Santa to a Kid

Battlefield Garden & Stone Center giving 10% of the proceeds Volunteer Prince William Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program


Hello from Volunteer Prince William. Happy Thanksgiving and Christmas is right around the corner so we are in full swing with our Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program for needy kids. We currently have hundreds of children available and so many need warm clothes! I can provide you their name, age and two toy wishes so you can be a special Santa to a kid. 

Please visit my website volunteerprincewilliam.org and fill out a donor form for me.  You will have a blast.  I’m already stockpiling Frozen characters because I’ve been told that’s the hot item. Come help us provide a little joy to a child.

•         Battlefield Garden & Stone Center is celebrating the season on Black Friday, November 28th. With 10% of the proceeds going to the Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program. Lots of beautiful holiday decorations, fresh trees, local artists and pictures with Santa. Please visit: battlefieldoutdoorliving.com for all the info.

•         Please mark your calendars for Saturday December 6th for the 4th Annual Manassas Miracle event at Mackey’s American Grille.  Tons of fun bring the kids for the afternoon then come back for all the festivities at night.  The Guilty Ones Club throw a huge party and again to benefit the Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program.

•         Virginia Cooperative Extension invites you to their next training of How to be a Terrific Tenant – know your rights and responsibilities on Tuesday December 2nd at 7pm in Woodbridge.  Please register for this via email at: smartmoney@pwcgov.org or by calling (703) 792-8082

•         Habitat for Humanity needs volunteers on Saturday December 6th from 10am-3pm in Woodbridge.  Come get your hands a little dirty by clearing kudzu, chinaberry and Japanese honeysuckle.  You can sign up for this activity at: habitatpwc.org

•         SERVE in Manassas is looking for volunteer groups to prepare the evening meal at 5pm. for the residents of the shelter on weeknights beginning December 8th.  You’ll need to provide all the food and can either prepare it at their kitchen or bring it in.  It’s a great way to bring together your family, friends or colleagues for such an important job.  Please email Jan at jhawkins@nvfs.org for more info.

Keep Reading…

Holiday Heavy Lifting: Follow These Special Tips to Avoid Injury

lifting, advantage physical therapy,

The team at Advantage Physical Therapy wishes you a very happy holday season.

The heavy lifting that comes with Thanksgiving cooking, Black Friday Shopping and decking the halls can put a real strain on your body. Lifting heavy items such as a turkey, a new flat screen TV and box full of holiday decorations with the wrong mechanics can cause strain and injury to the neck, shoulders and lower back.  

The estimated direct costs associated with chronic lower back pain each year are a staggering $96 million.   Furthermore, 8 out of 10 individuals will experience some sort of back pain during their life.  

With the average size of the American Thanksgiving turkey dressed & in a pan weighing in at 30 pounds and the hot ticket Black Friday flat screen TV that you’re shopping for around 45 pounds, we are more and more susceptible to suffering a back strain while partaking in holiday preparations and festivities.

And if you celebrate the holidays with a live evergreen tree, you can expect to haul around about 70 pounds of pine on your posterior.

And if you celebrate the holidays with a live evergreen tree, you can expect to haul around about 70 pounds of pine on your posterior.

Being laid out with a back injury during the holidays is no fun.  Utilizing proper lifting techniques and body mechanics can prevent lifting injuries that might otherwise come from something as simple as lifting a turkey out of the oven, loading the latest flat screen into your trunk, or hauling frosty the snowman onto your rooftop.

To keep your holidays merry and prevent lifting injuries, follow these tips from the American Physical Therapy Association:

  • Plan ahead before lifting heavy objects. Make sure you have a clear path. This will help you avoid any awkward or sudden movements that can strain your muscles.

  • Test an object’s weight before lifting by pushing it with your foot. If it seems too heavy, ask for help.

  • Lift with your legs, not with your back. Don’t lean over an object to lift it. Face the object you intend to lift and avoid twisting. Instead, stand close to the object, bend your legs and keep your back straight, then lift.

  • Keep feet shoulder-width apart and maintain your balance by distributing the object’s weight equally on both sides of your body.

  • If you count yourself among those who like to marathon shop on Black Friday (or any day for that matter) wear comfortable shoes, preferably walking shoes.    Wearing shoes that provide the proper heel and ankle support will prevent foot & back pain while walking on the hard surfaces found at many shopping malls

  • If a back injury does occur, seek help from a physical therapist. What starts as a minor back injury can progress to a chronic condition without early intervention.   Seek a physical therapists care within 14 days of experiencing lower back pain for the best outcome.

We can instruct on proper lifting techniques and provide a treatment plan to assist with pain.  We will work to make you feel better and keep you happy during the holidays.   

This post was written by Advantage Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, LLC. Their team works with individuals to restore & improve movement of the body to achieve long term quality of life.   

Planning Asst. Chief Faces Obscene Sexual Display Charges

2 women reported driver exposed himself


Raymond Utz, head of Prince William County’s planning office, is charged with two counts of indecent exposure.

Here’s the full police report:

Indecent Exposure | Obscene Sexual Display – On November 17th at 11:58AM, officers responded to investigate an indecent exposure which was reported to have occurred in the area of Gideon Dr and Smoketown Rd in Woodbridge (22193). The victim, a 38 year old woman of Triangle, reported to police that she was stopped at the above intersection when an unknown vehicle pulled beside her. The victim then observed the driver, and only occupant of the vehicle, lower the passenger side window. At that point, the victim noticed that the driver was exposing himself and making an obscene sexual display. The victim was able to provide police with a description and license plate information of the vehicle. Officers were able to determine that the vehicle, a black Honda CRV, was registered to the accused and that the same vehicle was reported to have been involved in a similar encounter reported earlier in the day. In that incident, the victim, a 39 year old woman of Woodbridge, reported to officers that a black Honda CRV with a similar looking driver pull next to her while stopped in the area of Old Bridge Rd and Mohican Dr in Woodbridge (22192). As with the later incident, the driver lowered the passenger side window to get the attention of the victim. As the victim looked over towards the suspect vehicle, she observed the driver expose himself while making an obscene display. The victim pulled away from the other vehicle and immediately contacted police. Following the investigation, the accused was connected to both incidents and was subsequently charged.

                Arrested on November 19th: [No photo available]

                Raymond Ernst UTZ, 49, of 44 Bexley Ln in Fredericksburg

                Charged with 2 counts of indecent exposure and 2 counts of obscene sexual display

                Court date: pending | Bond: released on court summons

Utz worked for Prince William County since 2003. He was fired on Nov. 20, 2014, said Prince William County spokesman Jason Grant.


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