Walker stumps for president in Prince William


Scott Walker on the road to the White House made a stop in Prince William County on Saturday.

The Republican Wisconsin Governor rallied the county’s GOP faithful while touting himself as a reformer different from most Republicans in office.

“We need someone who can put reform back into government, for the “R” next to our names,” said Walker.

Walker called the Obama presidency an “abysmal failure” due the president’s lack of executive leadership in government or business prior to being elected, and promised to continue the effort to repeal Obamacare, and the Iran nuclear inspections treaty on his first day in office.

Walker also advocated for a larger military, noting the nation should adopt a Ronald Regan-era policy of a large military to achieve “peace through strength.”

Shortly after he was elected governor of Wisconsin, Walker introduced legislation to limit the collective bargaining abilities of unions. Mass protests formed, and a recall election was held where Walker became the first U.S. state governor to defeat an opponent in a recall.

The Republican came to Prince William County after a rally at the University of Virginia. Walker tasked Virginia State Senator Mark Obenshain to lead the effort to collect enough signatures to get him onto he ballot for the Primary Elections next year.

The has longed served as a bellwether for the state, and has been visited by a presidential candidate of both major parties of the past two presidential elections.

Walker is the frist presidential candidate of the 2016 race to visit Prince William County.

“Prince William County has changed a lot. Just 10 short years ago we were just a rural stop in Virginia that supplied beef and dairy to Washington, D.C.,” Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland told a GOP crowd before Walker spoke. “Politicians from Washington, D.C., even politicians from Richmond did not pay us that much attention. That has changed. Whether you have migrated from Fairfax County or all the way from El Salvador or India, Prince William County has become a place for prosperity.”

The Walker rally was held at “the hut” on Prince William Parkway, the small house that serves as the GOP headquarters for the region. Several candidates that are vying for local offices, to include the 36th District Virginia Senate seat for Fairfax, Prince William, and Stafford, and two Prince William County School Board seats spoke.

“Everyone north of us next year is going to vote blue. Almost everyone south of us next year is going to vote red. Prince William County is a pivotal county in 2016,” said Tim Singstock, who is running to replace Milton Johns, who is stepping down as the Chairman of the Prince William County School Board.

Dumfries Mayor Gerald “Jerry” Foreman seeks the 36th District Seat and is running against Delegate Scott Surovell. Foreman said Surovell has outspent the Foreman campaign three to one, and that polls show he is 2 points behind his Democratic rival.

“I’m right where I need to be,” said Foreman. “Two percent… he’s looking over his shoulder, he’s right in front of me.”

Prince William County Young Republicans Chairman Terrance Boulden organized the rally. Boulden was celebrated for helping to bring a national candidate to stump in the region.

Equality for women important to Virginia

Those who meet the standards and graduate from the Army’s challenging Ranger School earn the right to wear the prestigious Ranger tab.

On August 21, 2015, two female Soldiers made history. Captain Kristen Griest and First Lieutenant Shaye Haver became the first women to earn the honor and joined a long line of outstanding Soldiers.

This is a proud day for anyone who has donned a uniform. I served 20 years in the U.S. military; the majority of which was in the Army and I stand taller today knowing that we have moved a bit closer to true equality. I firmly believe that any soldier capable of performing the mission should be given the opportunity to do so.

As significant an achievement as this is earning the Ranger tab is, Griest and Haver will not be assigned combat roles in the 75th Ranger Regiment. The Combat Exclusion Policy was rescinded in January 2013, but the services have until January 2016 to implement changes and request exclusions.

It has been said that there is no desire to send women into combat because of the political consequences of female soldiers coming home in body bags. This is a bogus argument.

As a matter of course, women serve in combat zones, come into harm’s way, and even sometimes lose their lives as a result. Let us allow those who are ready, willing, and able to serve to do so in the manner that they choose and break this last glass ceiling.

Meanwhile, back on the home front, the wage gap persists in our country. Regardless of ethnicity, women make, on average, less than men for the same work.

This must change. In the private as well as the public sector, women serve in more leadership roles today than they did 20 years ago, but still not in proportion to the population. So while there’s progress, we still have a long way to go.

And here in the great Commonwealth of Virginia, we are ranked the eighth worst in the country for gender equality. We can do better.

As we celebrated women’s right to vote on Equality Day on August 26, we should recommit ourselves to continue the fight for equality in pay, in representation in our government, and in our boardrooms.

We all need to work for equality for women and we need Richmond to pick up the mantle to pull Virginia into the place where we can lead the country in gender equality. A Commonwealth in which women and girls have equal opportunity, have representation in the General Assembly and own and run businesses will attract the best and the brightest to our state, attract businesses, and make this Commonwealth the leader it should be. That is the Virginia I want to live in.

We should celebrate steps toward equality, not fight them. I have two daughters and look forward to the day when equal pay for equal work is a reality and when prospective employees are chosen based on their qualifications alone. When I get to Richmond, I will fight to put an end to discriminatory practices so that every Virginian has true equality of opportunity.

-Don Shaw is a Democrat running against Republican Bob Marshall for the 13th District Virginia House of Delegates seat. 

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Safe communities, safe schools, safe kids


As families prepare their kids to head back to school one thought is in the back of everyone’s mind: safety.  Prince William County schools are a reflection of Prince William County communities. 

Potomac School Board Rep Betty Covington and I recently attended a safe schools presentation at Forest Park High School.  One thing is clear: safe schools start with safe communities. 

As Chairman of the Prince William County Safe Schools Advisory Council I have had the opportunity to chair public meetings with staff and parents at the Kelly Leadership Center.  The staff in our schools put forth impressive efforts to keep our kids safe during the school day.  In fact, I do believe our kids are safer today from outside threats than they were ten years ago.

However, challenges still remain which we need to address.  As Chairman of the School Board, I will work collaboratively with the community to promote these three priorities: (1) mobile devices and social media; (2) safety before and after school; (3) mental health safety.

Social media and mobile devices have simplified our lives in many ways, but they have created a host of safety challenges for our young people.  The Safe Schools Advisory Council hosted a social media information night in May, open to the community.  More than 250 members of the community came to learn about the long term implications of sexting and cyberbullying.  Most importantly, we provided resources to help families prevent these issues from happening in the future.  While 250 is an impressive number, the need for more education on this issue in the community is clear. 

While kids are safe during the school day, Prince William County needs to review and update safety protocols to answer these questions:  How can we ensure safety in the morning, while kids are meeting with teachers to collect missed assignments? How can we ensure safety in the afternoon while kids and staff are still on school grounds for clubs, tutoring and athletics?  Furthermore, how can we ensure kids are safe while in transit (walking or bus) to and from school?

Mental health can be at the root of many safety incidents in schools.  While we learn about mental health and develop protocols to keep kids and staff safe, we must balance this with a need to respect privacy and rights of individuals.  The Safe Schools Advisory Council hosted a Mental Health Information night, also open to the community, in October 2014.  Parents sent a message: they need a more responsive school system with respect to mental health.  Some of these issues overlapped with Special Education.  As with most challenges, the best solutions come from collaboration. 

Candidates (including myself) will be talking about class size reduction, competitive teacher pay and common core during this election season.  These are prominent issues for Prince William County.  However, the 2015 conversation would be incomplete without robust dialogue on how to maintain a safe, healthy and drug free learning environment for our kids and staff.  Safe Communities – Safe Schools – Safe Kids. 

*Singstock is a candidate for the Chairman of the Prince William County School Board.

Chairman of Prince William school board one of most important positions


One of the most important positions that County voters will decide on November 3rd is Chairman of the County School Board. Our school system is the largest entity in the County, educating some 87,000 students and employing 10,800 teachers, bus drivers and support staff.

The School Board became an elected body 20 years ago, in the aftermath of an era when Board members were appointed by the respective Magisterial District Supervisors. The change was approved by the Virginia General Assembly in order to distance education from political agendas. As we know, politicians are accountable for the functioning of County government. Education of our children is in the province of parents, families, teachers and elected officials whose principal job is to guide the School Administration. Unfortunately, political parties continue to attempt to dominate the process by endorsing School Board candidates. This tends to make School Board members accountable to politicians and their agendas. And for the past several years, one of the first places they cut is education. How does the Chairman of the School Board support education when beholden, for example, to County political leaders? And worse, what criteria does the political party use when it endorses School Board candidates?

Right now, 45 of our 80 schools are over-capacity. We are among the lowest in teacher salaries and aid to education in the Washington region. How do we explain such numbers to companies seeking to re-locate their operations and employees to Prince William County?

Voters will have a choice of three candidates for School Board Chairman in November. Two are endorsed by the major political parties. Neither, in my opinion, have the breadth of experience needed to represent the educational needs of parents, families and children in this critical position. The third candidate is Independent Bristow resident Tracy Conroy, a parent with goals and experience designed to improve the education of our children.

Ms. Conroy is a registered nurse with a B.S. degree in Health Care Administration. She has held positions, in Hospital Management, Quality Assurance and Program Development. Her husband is a small businessman, and their two children attend County schools. Tracy currently works as an independent health-care contractor. Most important, Tracy has worked as a parent for over ten years, advocating before the School Board on matters of importance to our children. She has served on County Budget Committees for over three years and, in this capacity, has a working familiarity with the annual education budget of over $1.0 billion. Ms. Conroy recognizes that funds are limited. She further understands the expectations of all the stakeholders and will work with parents, fellow School Board members, the Board of County Supervisors, the administration and staff to meet the needs of our students.

Tracy is from the Philadelphia area, and moved to Dale City in 1997. She and her family have lived in Lake Ridge, Winding Creek, Hunter’s Ridge, Victory Lakes, and Braemar. She notes she may be the first candidate who has lived in the Neabsco, Coles, Occoquan, and Brentsville Districts.

Tracy’s principal objectives in seeking this important position are: Accountability, School Equality, Community Involvement, and a Superior Education. I believe that Tracy has the education and background to serve our community as an excellent steward our educational system. It is clear that she will best represent the needs of families and our children, and not serve the political interests of many other elected officials, whose principal interests are not in education.

We won’t fix the challenges Prince William schools face overnight


When I moved to Dale City in 1978, I was a nine year old rising 4 th grader. 

Enterprise Elementary School opened its doors for the first time that year, and I was in Ms. Stoneburner’s class. After two years at Enterprise, a school my children would later attend and where I would eventually serve as PTA President and Treasurer, I went to Godwin Middle School and graduated from Osbourn Park in 1987. During those years, I received a great education from some incredible teachers. And I chose to raise and educate my children here in Prince William County.

Since 1992, I’ve had children in our schools continuously, with another five years to go. When my two youngest graduate, my children and I will have a total of 74 years in Prince William County Public Schools. I’ve had the opportunity to witness, firsthand, the changes in our schools and the commitment to education in our community. And those changes, in recent years, have not been for the better.

Prince William County schools currently have the largest classroom sizes in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s a dubious and dangerous distinction. Some will argue that class sizes don’t matter. I believe that they do. I believe that asking a middle school teacher to give 38 young teens the personalized attention that they need to truly thrive is simply asking too much. It puts our teachers in a no win situation, and it threatens our children’s’ futures.

Here in Prince William County, we currently invest considerably less per student than our counterparts in Northern Virginia, and our teachers are compensated at significantly lower rates than other neighboring counties. Our teachers have been asked to work longer hours for the same pay, and all too often have to pay for vital classroom supplies out of their own pockets. A friend who teaches 7 th grade science in one of our middle schools got several reams of paper as a Christmas present from her husband this year. We simply have to do better.

The challenges we face in providing our children with the education they need and our educators with the working environment and compensation they deserve are, quite frankly, self inflicted.They are not someone else’s fault. They are the result of land use decisions by the Board of County Supervisors that have put residential growth ahead of infrastructure needs and a lack of resolve in ensuring that our schools not only receive the financial support they require, but that funding is used where it belongs: in the classroom.

To address these issues, we need make some important changes.

First, the Board must do a better job in sticking to the Strategic and Comprehensive Plans when making land use decisions. Deciding whether or not to approve a rezoning or special use permit has to be based solely on the impact that approval will have on the community as a whole, not for the benefit of special interests. More importantly, we must eliminate the revenue sharing agreement between the Board of County Supervisors and the School Board. This agreement has been in place for decades and has allowed both Boards to shy away from the hard discussions needed on funding our schools instead of addressing them. School funding shouldn’t be based on an arbitrary formula.

Interestingly, we are one of only two jurisdictions in the entire state that do this. School funding should be based on detailed, prioritized budgets presented by the School Board and administration that give the community the opportunity to have their voices heard on how much to invest in our schools and where the money is spent each year based on specific needs. These discussions won’t be easy, nor should they be. But leadership is about engagement and tackling the tough issues, not using legislation to avoid responsibility.

After a decade of questionable decisions, we won’t fix the challenges our schools face overnight. It will take time, tough decisions and real leadership. My own children will hopefully see some progress, but it’s my grandchildren that I hope will see the real benefits. I chose to raise and educate my children here in Prince William County because I believed that our community was the best place to do that. I want my children to believe this when they also have to make that decision. We’re not there now. But I know that with the right changes and the right leadership, we can get there.

*Rick Smith is running for Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

We won’t take their lives or their stories for granted


I went home Wednesday night and finished working on the fence in our backyard.

We installed a new gate to a side yard. Our two goats will enjoy this new large space, and I’ll enjoy the fact that they will eat all the unwanted foliage there.

It was simply just another evening at home I shared with my wife and our pets after another long day at work.

These evenings are ones we may sometimes take for granted.

That morning journalists Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, were shot and killed on live TV while interviewing a local chamber of commerce president, who was also shot and survived. The story they were covering was not one of violent crime, or digging up secrets of a mob boss, or to uncover political wrongdoing.

A celebration was underway for a dam built 60 years ago that created Virginia’s Smith Mountain Lake. Parker and Ward went to learn about all of the fun events and activities planned for the anniversary, and went to bring home that community news story to their audience.

It’s a story that us reporters, and a service that we as readers may take for granted.

We journalists cover our communities with pride every day. Our business, the way we do our jobs, and the rules of traditional news writing as we knew them 20 years ago have all changed. They will continue to change as new digital storytelling tools emerge and, most importantly, readers continue to shift how they get their news and how much news content they demand.

As journalists, we are involved in this community in ways many people are not, or simply can’t be due to work and family commitments. We are here during the day reporting on our community while the majority of our readers leave the area for work in Washington, D.C.

We are the ones that are asked why police were “on my street last night.” or “what’s going on in my child’s school,” or “what am I really getting in exchange for the taxes I’m paying?”

In turn, we are privileged to go out and and bring home the answers to these and other questions. We get to explain to our readers what’s going on in their communities and why it matters to them.

Anymore, there are few others in our community that do what we do. But we’re glad there’s still a handful of us. Every community needs more reporters.

If our readers didn’t have to work and had more free time, maybe they would go out and do what we do. 

The job is not easy. It’s time-consuming. It’s not cheap. It doesn’t require the highest degree awarded by the most prestigious journalism school in the nation.

It does require dedication, commitment, and a true understanding of the community that we serve. It is work that should not be taken for granted.

It’s taken me a few days to write these words, and to try to wrap my head around the tragic events of this week. I tried to let my emotions subside and time pass before I took to my bully pulpit.

Newspapers, local news websites, and local TV stations are not the sole source for community information any longer. Social media is now an indispensable method of spreading news and photos, and for telling stories.

Not a day goes by that we, the reporters, don’t look to social media to find out what conversations are being had in the communities we cover. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a TV news show that isn’t showing an image of a Facebook page or Twitter comment to help tell the story.

Not all information posted to social media is accurate. We saw that Wednesday when incorrect reports surfaced of Virginia State Police pursuing Parker and Ward’s killer on Interstate 64 near Charlottesville.

As long as we’re around — as long as our readers find value in our reporting and local businesses and organizations find value in marketing to our readers — we’ll do our best to report the news timely fairly, accurately, and with a focus on how it impacts our community.

It’s the same thing Parker, and Ward would be doing today had they not been gunned down.

Ahead, the debate over how to best help those with mental illness, and what to do about the increasing number of high-profile shootings will rage on. After Virginia Tech, the state is no stranger to these conversations.

For now let’s remember two young, much-loved journalists who had their whole lives ahead of them. Whom, for a brief time, were given the honor and privilege of covering their hometowns — the same privilege that I have been given.

And let us take nothing for granted.

-Uriah Kiser is the founder and publisher of PotomacLocal.com.

Call to Action: Volunteers needed for Public Lands Day at Leesylvania State Park


Good morning Prince William – Volunteers are needed for Public Lands Day at Leesylvania State Park on Saturday September 26th – 9:30am-1pm.  Tasks include collecting native tree seeds that will go to local nurseries that grow trees for reforesting efforts across the region.  You need close-toed shoes and sharp eyes but they will provide all tools, water, supplies and lunch.  You don’t want to miss this great event.  You can sign up at: Potomac.org or call (703) 583-6904 for more info.

Historic Manassas, Inc. has an urgent need for volunteers at the Bands, Brews & BBQ on September 12thfor the afternoon, 2-6pm shift!  This is a super fun community event in Old Town Manassas.  You must be age 21+ and the fun jobs include checking IDs, pouring beer, ticket taking, children’s games and of course set-up or take down. Please call Erin at (703) 361-6599 to learn more.  

It’s almost fall – Walk to End Alzheimer’s is gearing up for the Manassas walk on October 17th. Walkers and volunteers needed for this fun event so please visit:www.alzheimersassociationnca.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer.   To learn more.

Literacy Volunteers of America is gearing up for their next tutor training on September 19th and October 3rd.  No experience needed just come and share your time to greatly improve the life of another.  Please visit their website at: lvapw.org to learn more.

SERVE in Manassas needs volunteer’s weekdays and Saturday mornings at their food pantry.  Tasks include processing families, stocking shelves, accepting food donations and preparing food packages.  Volunteers must be 16+ yrs. old.  They would love Spanish speakers but mostly just you!  Please email Jan to learn more at: jhawkins@nvfs.org

The ARC cordially invites you to their Respite for the Soul event for any caregiver to a person with disabilities on Saturday September 26th at the McCoart Government Building.  It’s just $10 and includes a box lunch.  Please email: jrussell@arcgpw.org for more info.

Project Mend A House has two super activities this fall for you.  First of all gather your friends and families to build a Popsicle House.  Its super fun to use your creativity to build the house.  You can enter the contest purchase the supplies for just $25.  You need to submit your house by October 14thand it will be judged by the fans at the Taste of the Town fundraiser on October 28th.  You don’t want to miss either of these two events.  Please call (703) 792-7663 to learn more.

House of Mercy is hosting their 2015 Campaign to End Hunger on Saturday October 17th.  Volunteers are needed to work a 2 hour shift and contribute $20.  This fee covers the cost of the food ingredients for 150,000 meals.  Please call (703) 659-1636 or via email at: help@houseofmercyva.org to learn more

Prince William Bar Association for sponsoring the Wills for Veterans program. The Bar Association is looking for vets needing Wills, Power of Attorneys and Medical Directives to come to their information sessions to receive this free service.  The first session is September 19th, the second session is October 3rd and then you’ll receive your docs on October 24th.  Please call Barbara at (703) 792-7175 to register and receive all the specifics of this super project sponsored by the Bar Association.

And speaking of vets please mark your calendars to attend the Freedom Museum’s 1940’s HangerDance on Saturday October 10th at the Manassas Airport. They will have music, dinner, dancing, and fabulous raffle items all to support this wonderful museum.  Please visit their website to learn more and buy your tickets at: freedommuseum.org

Brain Injury Services is looking for a volunteer to teach basic email and web searching skills to a woman in Fairfax City.  You can make a world of difference for just a couple of visits a month to bettering the lives of brain injury survivors. They also could use help in the office which is very flexible as well.  Please contact Michelle: mthyen@braininjuryservices.org or by phone: 703-451-8881, ext. 232.

The 2015 American Heart Association Walk is November 7th in DC.  Volunteers are needed as course marshals, set-up, and other assistance. Volunteers must be 16yrs old or be accompanied by an adult.  Please visit their website to sign –up at: greaterwashingtonheartwalk.org.

If you are looking for other opportunities, please don’t forget to call my wonderful team at Volunteer Prince William.  Coleen can help you with the Retired and Senior Volunteer (RSVP) opportunities at (703) 369-5292 ext. 1, Shelley can help with any individual or group project and send you weekly updates if you’d like.  Shelley is at (703) 369-5292 ext. 0, and Bonnie can help you with opportunities available in Disaster Preparedness at (703) 369-5292 ext. 3.  Please visit our newly re-vamped website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org.  Thanks so much for all you do in our community. 

Call to Action is a column written by Volunteer Prince William Director Mary Foley.

Week 1 High School Football Scores for August 28, 2015


Stonewall Jackason at Woodbridge (Photo: Mark Lomax)
Stonewall Jackason at Woodbridge (Photo: Mark Lomax)
Stonewall Jackason at Woodbridge (Photo: Mark Lomax)
Stonewall Jackason at Woodbridge (Photo: Mark Lomax)
Stonewall Jackason at Woodbridge (Photo: Mark Lomax)
Stonewall Jackason at Woodbridge (Photo: Mark Lomax)
Stonewall Jackason at Woodbridge (Photo: Mark Lomax)


Mountain View vs. Freedom 

Battlefield vs. Hylton 

Patriot vs. Stafford 

Park View (Sterling) vs. Manassas Park

Brooke Point at Colonial Forge

North Stafford vs. Osbourn 

Gar-Field vs. Potomac 

Forest Park vs. Osbourn Park

Woodbridge vs. Stonewall Jackson

Woodbridge 17, Stonewall 13

All scores provided by schools’ Twitter accounts or crowdsourced via Twitter. Don’t see your school on the board? Ask your school to Tweet final varsity football game scores to @PotomacLocal.

Stafford High School classes delayed 1 week

stafford high school

Stafford High School will delay its opening by two weeks. The school was unable obtain a permit to open its doors for the first time.

More in a press release from Stafford County Public Schools: 

As of 4 p.m. today, the general contractor (Hess) has failed to meet requirements for temporary occupancy of part or all of the new Stafford High School and the planned move of the administrative offices have been delayed until early next week. Stafford County’s Code Compliance Office has extended every effort in support of this project and is committed to continue to do so until the contractor meets the requirements for temporary occupancy.

In order to provide a positive educational experience for our students in a finished building, we have determined to delay the start of school for Stafford High School students until Monday, September 14, 2015. Instructional plans are being explored in the event that students must make up the time missed during this first week.  These options may include making up the time during the second semester, requesting a waiver from the Commonwealth and/or providing on-line opportunities for classroom instruction.

Teachers and staff will have access to the building as soon as temporary occupancy is achieved.  Teachers will work from home during teacher work week (August 31-September 4) until access to the building is possible. If the division staff are able to accelerate the moves to earlier dates, it will be done and information on any changes will be sent out to the community using a variety of media.

The Freshman Orientation and Open House scheduled for Thursday, September 3, will now be held on Thursday, September 10, 2015.  The freshman orientation will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The Open House will be held on September 10 with Seniors and Juniors arriving from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and with Sophomores and Freshmen arriving from 6 to 7:30 p.m.  Freshmen who attend the orientation earlier in the day are not expected to attend the open house that evening as they will have received the information needed. Both of these events on September 10 will be dependent upon access to the spaces within the school.

Further details regarding instruction during the first week of school will be shared next week.

Manassas teen aids ISIS, jailed


A Manassas teen was sentenced to 11 years in jail today, after assisting the Islamic State in Iraq (ISIS).

Ali Shukri Amin, the 17-year old Manassas boy, was sentenced after being convicted of conspiring to provide support and resources to ISIS, according to a U.S. Justice Department release.

“Today’s sentencing demonstrates that those who use social media as a tool to provide support and resources to ISIL will be identified and prosecuted with no less vigilance than those who travel to take up arms with ISIL. The Department of Justice will continue to pursue those that travel to fight against the United States and our allies, as well as those individuals that recruit others on behalf of ISIL in the homeland,” said U.S. Eastern District of Virginia Attorney Dana Boente, according to a release.

Boente stated that ISIS has been using social media to recruit individuals and spread their message.

Amin was a student at Osborne Park High School in Manassas.

According to Prince William County Police Department Chief Steve Hudson, school staff had said Amin had exhibited some warning signs with suspicious behavior.

“Observations made by school staff and subsequent follow-up by the School Resource Officer were some of the earlier indicators of suspicious behavior regarding this individual,” stated Hudson in a release.

Amin pled guilty to all charges on June 11, according to a release.

More from a U.S. Justice Department release:

According to court documents, Amin admitted to using Twitter to provide advice and encouragement to ISIL and its supporters.  Amin, who used the Twitter handle @Amreekiwitness, provided instruction on how to use Bitcoin, a virtual currency, to mask the provision of funds to ISIL, as well as facilitation to ISIL supporters seeking to travel to Syria to fight with ISIL.  Additionally, Amin admitted that he facilitated travel for Reza Niknejad, an 18-year-old Prince William County resident who traveled to Syria to join ISIL in January 2015.  Niknejad was charged on June 10, 2015, in the Eastern District of Virginia with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, conspiring to provide material support to ISIL, and conspiring to kill and injure people abroad.

U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton presided over the case and delivered the sentence. This case was investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael P. Ben’Ary and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Caroline H. Friedman prosecuted the case. Substantial assistance was provided by Trial Attorney Stephen Sewell of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

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