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Columns & Blogs

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…

Call to Action: Virginia Cooperative Extension Offers Workshop on Reverse Mortgages

· Good morning – Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia is having their 5K run at Pfitzner Stadium on Saturday November 22nd. Volunteers are needed to help with parking from 6am-10am. Please fill out the online registration:www.regonline.com/fall2014gotrvolunteers5K. Please note you should be 18 yrs. Old + or with a parent. Please call Bethany at (703) 273-3153 for more info.

· Ho, Ho, Ho – Christmas is right around the corner and we are in full swing with our Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program for needy kids. If you would like to sponsor a child at Christmas 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 at: 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.

· Neighbor’s Keeper is looking for a volunteer to help with media relations, website posting and capturing success stories. Sounds like a super fun job for about 10 hours a week. Please email Rich at: rnagel@neighbors-keeper.org for more info.

· The RSVP Program is looking for a volunteer driver to take a woman from her home in Gainesville to the VA Center in DC once or twice a month. It’s a great opportunity to thanks her for her service. Volunteers must be at least age 55 for the insurance policy to cover you and have a good driving record. Please call Coleen at (571) 292-5307 for more info. She also needs reading tutors at Tyler Elementary School in Gainesville.

· SERVE in Manassas continues to have an urgent need for volunteers to do food pickups at local grocery stores on weekday mornings. Volunteers must be at least 21, have a good driving record and be able to lift boxes that could weigh up to 50 lbs. Training is provided and you drive their van. This is such an important job for thousands of families each month. Please email Jan at jhawkins@nvfs.org for more info.

· The Virginia Cooperative Extension is offering a workshop on Reverse Mortgages. Come learn all the facts from a certified Reverse Mortgage Counselor on Thursday November 20th at 2:30pm at the Bull Run Library. Please call (703) 792-6287 to register.

· Beacon Adult Literacy needs volunteer tutors to teach conversation or computer literacy to ESL students in the Manassas area. Please call Caroline at (703) 368-7491 to learn more.

· Literacy Volunteers is gearing up for their next volunteer training On January 17th. Come learn all the skills you need to help another adult reach their life goals. You do not need any prior experience. This is one person helping another. Please call (703) 670-5702 or visit www.lvapw.org to learn more.

· 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. 207, 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. 201, and Bonnie can help you with opportunities available in Disaster Preparedness at (703) 369-5292 ext. 202. Please visit our newly re-vamped website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org. Thanks so much for all you do in our community.

Call to Action: Speak Dari? A Woman from Afghanistan Needs Help

·         Good morning  – Thanksgiving is right around the corner and SERVE is looking for a volunteer group to prepare breakfast or dinner on Friday November 28th.  This is perfect way to further celebrate your black Friday activities.  You will need to supply the meal to the residents of the 92 bed family care shelter.  Please email Jan at:jhawkins@nvfs.org to learn more

·         Area Agency on Aging needs a volunteer to converse with a lovely lady from Afghanistan who speaks Dari.  She’s lonely and can’t participate in the activities.  Please call Daphne at (5714) 792-7155 to learn more.

·         The Prince William Conservation Alliance invites you to their next speaker series on Thursday November 6th at 7:30pm at the Bull Run UU Church on Main Street Manassas.  The topic is managing forests, fields and streams with Jim McGlone with the VA Dept. of Forestry.

·          SERVE also has an urgent need for new bed pillows for the residents of the family shelter.  Please drop them off at the admin building at 100056 Dean Drive in Manassas anytime during traditional business hours.

·         The Greater Prince William Food Council would love to know how all of our many small food pantries in churches and basements and such are doing.  Kindness abounds in our community – please take a moment to fill out a quick survey if you are helping families with food needs.  Please visit this beautiful website to complete the survey:  www.gpwfoodcouncil.org

·         Ho, Ho, Ho – Christmas is right around the corner and we are in full swing with our Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program for needy kids.  If you would like to sponsor a child at Christmas 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 at: 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.

·         Area Agency on Aging is looking for a volunteer to teach a beginner’s Spanish class one day a week on either on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday for an hour or so in the middle of the day at the Manassas Senior Center.  They would also love a volunteer to teach a basic computer class.  Please call Melodee at (703) 792-4583 to learn more.

·         Brain Injury Services needs a volunteer who can visit a client from Kenya. What a nice way to share your interest in East African culture with another.  Please call Michelle at (703) 451-8881 ext. 232 to learn more.

·         Hogar Immigrant Services is looking for volunteers to help assist eligible legal residents complete their citizenship applications on Saturday mornings each month at their Manassas office.  Please call Sabra at (571) 208-1572 ext. 102 to learn more

·         Beacon Adult Literacy needs volunteer tutors to teach conversation or computer literacy to ESL students in the Manassas area on Monday mornings.  Please call Caroline at (703) 368-7491 to learn more.

·         Literacy Volunteers is gearing up for their next volunteer training On November 22nd.  Come learn all the skills you need to help another adult reach their life goals.  You do not need any prior experience.  This is one person helping another.  Please call (703) 670-5702 or visit www.lvapw.org to learn more.

·         Mark your calendars for Saturday November 22nd for the BARN’s 16th Annual Festival of Trees Ball. This year’s event is at the Hilton Washington Dulles and includes dinner, dancing, auctions.  Please visit their website: barninc.org for more info.

·         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. 207, 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. 201, and Bonnie can help you with opportunities available in Disaster Preparedness at (703) 369-5292 ext. 202.  Please visit our newly re-vamped website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org.  Thanks so much for all you do in our community. 

Call to Action: Food Council Queries Basement Pantries

·         Good morning  – Happy Halloween, but just as important is Happy Thanksgiving to hundreds of families in our community.  SERVE in Manassas needs your help with Operation Turkey!

You can help several ways – first of all gather your friends, family and businesses to collect food items that can be dropped off on Saturday November 8th from 10am-2pm, Thursday November 13th and Friday November 14th from 10am-5pm at the Manassas Adventist Prep School on Barrett Drive in Manassas. 

Then volunteers are needed on Sunday November 16th to bring any surplus food back to the pantry.  This is a super job for teens age 16+ and any of us doing a little weight lifting.  There are two shifts – 12pm-3pm and 3pm-6pm.  Please email Jan at jhawkins@nvfs.org to help her on the 16th.

·         SERVE also has an urgent need for new bed pillows for the residents of the family shelter.  Please drop them off at the admin building at 100056 Dean Drive in Manassas anytime during traditional business hours.

·         The Greater Prince William Food Council would love to know how all of our many small food pantries in churches and basements and such are doing.  Kindness abounds in our community – please take a moment to fill out a quick survey if you are helping families with food needs.  Please visit this beautiful website to complete the survey:  www.gpwfoodcouncil.org

·         Ho, Ho, Ho – Christmas is right around the corner and we are in full swing with our Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program for needy kids.  If you would like to sponsor a child at Christmas 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 at: 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.

·         Area Agency on Aging is looking for a volunteer to teach a beginner’s Spanish class one day a week on either on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday for an hour or so in the middle of the day at the Manassas Senior Center.  They would also love a volunteer to teach a basic computer class.  Please call Melodee at (703) 792-4583 to learn more.

·         Brain Injury Services needs a volunteer who can visit a client from Kenya. What a nice way to share your interest in East African culture with another.  Please call Michelle at (703) 451-8881 ext. 232 to learn more.

·         Hogar Immigrant Services is looking for volunteers to help assist eligible legal residents complete their citizenship applications on Saturday mornings each month at their Manassas office.  Please call Sabra at (571) 208-1572 ext. 102 to learn more

·         Beacon Adult Literacy needs volunteer tutors to teach conversation or computer literacy to ESL students in the Manassas area on Monday mornings.  Please call Caroline at (703) 368-7491 to learn more.

·         Literacy Volunteers is gearing up for their next volunteer training On November 22nd.  Come learn all the skills you need to help another adult reach their life goals.  You do not need any prior experience.  This is one person helping another.  Please call (703) 670-5702 or visit www.lvapw.org to learn more.

·         Mark your calendars for Saturday November 22nd for the BARN’s 16th Annual Festival of Trees Ball. This year’s event is at the Hilton Washington Dulles and includes dinner, dancing, auctions.  Please visit their website: barninc.org for more info.

·         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. 207, 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. 201, and Bonnie can help you with opportunities available in Disaster Preparedness at (703) 369-5292 ext. 202.  Please visit our newly re-vamped website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org.  Thanks so much for all you do in our community. 

Call to Action: Prince William Little Theatre ’39 Steps’ Needs Assistance

Prince William Little Theatre production starts Oct. 26

 

·         Cheers to the Columbus Grill – come enjoy the Annual Boo Ball on Saturday October 25th to benefit the Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program.  The evening includes dinner, dancing, drinks, costume contest and great fun for just $45 per person and a toy.  Please visit columbusgrill.net to buy your ticket.

·         Happy Halloween early from Leesylvania State park.  Volunteers are needed on Friday October 24th from 7-9:30pm to play the parts of Light Horse Harry Lee, Henry Lee II and Lucy Grymes.  Please call Sarah at (703) 583-6904 for all the particulars.

·         Brain Injury Services needs a volunteer who can visit a client from Kenya. What a nice way to share your interest in East African culture with another.  Please call Michelle at (703) 451-8881 ext. 232 to learn more.

·         Prince William Little Theatre is in need of volunteers to assist with their next production, The 39 Steps. Sunday October 26, 10:00AM -1:00PM, at the Hylton Performing Arts Center – six to ten people are needed to assist with the set-up for the show. Sunday, November 8, 4:30PM-7:00PM at the Hylton Performing Arts Center – six to ten people are needed to help with the strike of the show. Prince William Little Theater really appreciates volunteers! If you are curious about PWLT or community theater opportunities in Prince William County, this is a great way to see and be seen and check it out. Please contact Melissa at melsiwelsie@yahoo.com as soon as possible.

·         Merrimac Farm needs volunteers on October 25th at 9am to plant hundreds of wild flowers.  All ages welcome and lunch is provided.  Please call (703) 490-5200 to learn more and RSVP for the event.

·         Historic Manassas needs volunteers for their Haunted Happenings on Saturday October 25th from 10am-12pm.  Please email Kristina at:kskokan@historicmanassasinc.org to learn more.

·         Give the gift of Literacy to Prince William Area Adults! If you would love to help adults reach their life goals through improved literacy skills Literacy Volunteers of America-Prince William would love to help you do that! Previous experience is not necessary they will train you to become a certified adult literacy tutor. The next training workshop is November 22, 2014, 8:45AM-4PM and December 6, 2014 9AM to noon. Attendance both days is required. Call 703-670-5702 or email lvapw@aol.com. For more details visit www.lvapw.org.

·         SERVE is gearing up for their Holiday Drives: Operation Turkey and Gifting for Families. We anticipate providing over 800 families food packages for Thanksgiving and over 1,700 children gifts for the holidays, and we need your help! Visit www.nvfs.org/holidayprograms to see how you can get involved with our holiday initiatives. For questions, contact Pam at 571.748.2537.

·         Area Agency on Aging is looking for a volunteer to teach a beginner’s Spanish class one day a week on either on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday for an hour or so in the middle of the day at the Manassas Senior Center.  They would also love a volunteer to teach a basic computer class.  Please call Melodee at (703) 792-4583 to learn more.

·         Hogar Immigrant Services is looking for volunteers to help assist eligible legal residents complete their citizenship applications on Saturday mornings each month at their Manassas office.  Please call Sabra at (571) 208-1572 ext. 102 to learn more

·         Beacon Adult Literacy needs volunteer tutors to teach conversation or computer literacy to ESL students in the Manassas area on Monday mornings.  Please call Caroline at (703) 368-7491 to learn more.

·         Mark your calendars for Saturday November 22nd for the BARN’s 16th Annual Festival of Trees Ball. This year’s event is at the Hilton Washington Dulles and includes dinner, dancing, auctions.  Please visit their website: barninc.org for more info.

·         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. 207, 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. 201, and Bonnie can help you with opportunities available in Disaster Preparedness at (703) 369-5292 ext. 202.  Please visit our newly re-vamped website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org.  Thanks so much for all you do in our community.

Call to Action: Scary ‘Lighthorse Harry’ Needed

  • · Good morning Prince William – SERVE in Manassas needs volunteers this Saturday October 18th for their Super Thrift Yard Sale. There are two shifts – one from 8am-11:30am and then 11:30am-3pm. Duties include directing parking, replenish product, help shoppers, bag purchases and set up or take down. So all very easy and fun. Please call Navara at (571) 748-2536 to learn more.

    · Happy Halloween early from Leesylvania State park. Volunteers are needed on Friday October 24th from 7-9:30pm to play the parts of Light Horse Harry Lee, Henry Lee II and Lucy Grymes. Please call Sarah at (703) 583-6904 for all the particulars.

    · Cheers to the Columbus Grill – come enjoy the Annual Boo Ball on Saturday October 25th to benefit the Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program. The evening includes dinner, dancing, drinks, costume contest and great fun for just $45 per person and a toy. Please visit columbusgrill.net to buy your ticket.

    · Merrimac Farm needs volunteers on October 25th at 9am to plant hundreds of wild flowers. All ages welcome, and lunch is provided. Please call (703) 490-5200 to learn more and RSVP for the event.

    · Historic Manassas needs volunteers for their Haunted Happenings on Saturday October 25th from 10am-12pm. Please email Kristina at:kskokan@historicmanassasinc.org to learn more.

    · Volunteer Prince William also invites you to Disaster Planning workshop for community organizations and small business on Friday October 24th in Woodbridge. Come learn strategies to continue serving clients and customers if your employees can’t come to work or if you lose utilities, or your facility is damaged. You can register for this program at volunteerprincewilliam.org and click on the events page or email Bonnie at bnahas@volunteerprincewilliam.org for more info.

    · Area Agency on Aging is looking for a volunteer to teach a beginner’s Spanish class one day a week on either on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday for an hour or so in the middle of the day at the Manassas Senior Center. They would also love a volunteer to teach a basic computer class. Please call Melodee at (703) 792-4583 to learn more.

    · Brain Injury Services needs a volunteer who can visit a client from Kenya. What a nice way to share your interest in East African culture with another. Please call Michelle at (703) 451-8881 ext. 232 to learn more.

    · Hogar Immigrant Services is looking for volunteers to help assist eligible legal residents complete their citizenship applications on Saturday mornings each month at their Manassas office. Please call Sabra at (571) 208-1572 ext. 102 to learn more

    · Beacon Adult Literacy needs volunteer tutors to teach conversation or computer literacy to ESL students in the Manassas area on Monday mornings. Please call Caroline at (703) 368-7491 to learn more.

    · Mark your calendars for Saturday November 22nd for the BARN’s 16th Annual Festival of Trees Ball. This year’s event is at the Hilton Washington Dulles and includes dinner, dancing, auctions. Please visit their website: barninc.org for more info.

    · 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. 207, 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. 201 and Bonnie can help you with opportunities available in Disaster Preparedness at (703) 369-5292 ext. 202. Please visit our newly re-vamped website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org. Thanks so much for all you do in our community.

Moser: Wealthy, Poor Should Work Together to Build Better Prince William

I have cornered the market with the gift of gab. When people ask me what I do, my response varies among several descriptions, such as, “volunteer, professional volunteer, and community activist.”

Closer to the truth may be that I simply talk!

Just when I need that gift, it has failed me. I started this column three times with three different opening sentences before acceding I do not have the capability to sum up nearly 30 years as a Prince William County resident in 500 words, so I just want to thank you.

Thanks to my editor, Uriah Kiser for allowing me space, week after week to share my thoughts with readers. (If anyone is interested in writing an opinion column, I’m sure Uriah will be pleased to talk to you about it. Eric Vasey, here’s your chance!)

Thanks to all the Prince William County employees who have worked hard to meet my requests, answer my questions and shared my concerns, worked after office hours, and participated in events.

I am so grateful to the many groups and organizations who have worked with me and allowed me to serve my community: Dale City Lions, LOCCA, O.W.N. Optimists, Prince William Committee of 100, PWTSC, Business Women of Prince William County, Americans in Wartime Museum, Habitat PWCKPWB, Lake Ridge Lions, NLG, Leadership Prince William, DCCA, OLR, WPCCA, MIDCO, Volunteer Prince William, PWC Chamber  Prince William Crime Prevention Council and all those who supported Neabsco Action Alliance.

For all the people who have touched my heart, thank you for giving me a reason to live my life here with a purpose. Thanks to everyone who is making my departure as painless as possible. Thank you for the gifts, the cards, and the offers to help.

My philosophy has been simple: Lead by example. No job is too demeaning, no position too low, no task is beneath you. Making your place in the world is not about power. Making your place is about connecting people to benefit each other, not to benefit yourself. If someone needs help, offer your time and your talents.

The future in Prince William County depends on new ideas and willingness to work together toward a better quality of life for all. It also depends on the truth. There are a lot of wealthy, powerful people living in Prince William County and there are a lot of poor, powerless people here, too. It is not the job of the powerful to command change. It is not the job of the poor to accept their circumstance. It is the job of each and every one of you to work together to create solutions beneficial to everyone.

Stop dividing each other with your niche groups and your party politics. Work together as partners, make opportunities that will strengthen the community. Admit it when there are shortcomings. Realize that the best way is not necessarily YOUR way.

I don’t need to say “Goodbye,” as Facebook and the internet will keep us connected, but oh, how I will miss seeing so many of you face to face! 

Call to Action: Boo Ball to Benefit Un Trim-A-Tree Holiday Gift Program

· Good morning – the Walk to end Alzheimer’s invites you to their annual walk on Saturday October 18th at the Harris Pavilion. This fun event through Old Town Manassas is perfect for families, pets and strollers! Registration for the walk is free – please visit their website: act.alz.org/2014vtcwalk to learn more.

· SERVE continues to have an urgent need for volunteers to drive to local grocery stores in an agency vehicle to pick up food donations. You must be 21yrs old, have a good driving record and sign a driver’s agreement. Some of the boxes may weigh up to 50 pounds. 800 households need you! Please email Jan to learn more at: jhawkins@nvfs.org

· Cheers to the Columbus Grill – come enjoy the Annual Boo Ball on Saturday October 25th to benefit the Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program. The evening includes dinner, dancing, drinks, costume contest and great fun for just $45 per person and a toy. Please visit columbusgrill.net to buy your ticket.

· Brain Injury Services needs a volunteer who can visit a client from Kenya. What a nice way to share your interest in East African culture with another. Please call Michelle at (703) 451-8881 ext. 232 to learn more.

· Hogar Immigrant Services is looking for volunteers to help assist eligible legal residents complete their citizenship applications on Saturday mornings each month at their Manassas office. Please call Sabra at (571) 208-1572 ext. 102 to learn more

· Volunteer Prince William is delighted to sponsor the Volunteer Management Training series again this fall. The course starts Wednesday October 15th 9am-11:30am and continues each Wednesday morning for 5 weeks. This course is free but please register at: volunteerprincewilliam.org. Topics include planning your program, recruiting and placing volunteers, training and orienting volunteers, supervision and evaluation of your program. Many thanks to the Manassas Park Rec Center for use of their class room.

· Volunteer Prince William also invites you to Disaster Planning workshop for community organizations and small business on Friday October 24th in Woodbridge. Come learn strategies to continue serving clients and customers if your employees can’t come to work or if you lose utilities or your facility is damaged. You can register for this program at: volunteerprincewilliam.org and click on the events page or email Bonnie at: bnahas@volunteerprincewilliam.org for more info.

· Beacon Adult Literacy needs volunteer tutors to teach conversation or computer literacy to ESL students in the Manassas area on Monday mornings. Please call Caroline at (703) 368-7491 to learn more.

· Mark your calendars for the Taste of the Town event for Project Mend A House on Wednesday October 15th. This event features food from area restaurants and great fun. Tickets are just $30 per person. Volunteers are needed at their community events on October 11, 16, 23, and 31st. This is a super fun way to help them spread the word about their work in the community. Please call (703) 792-7663 for more info.

· ACTS in Dumfries invites you to their Annual 5K IWALK on Saturday October 18th benefit services to the homeless. This year’s event is at Pfitzner Stadium at 10am. Gather your friends and family for the perfect way to spend a beautiful fall day. Please visit their website: iwalkforacts.com for all the particulars.

· Mark your calendars for Saturday November 22nd for the BARN’s 16th Annual Festival of Trees Ball. This year’s event is at the Hilton Washington Dulles and includes dinner, dancing, auctions. Please visit their website: barninc.org for more info.

· 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. 207, 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. 201, and Bonnie can help you with opportunities available in Disaster Preparedness at (703) 369-5292 ext. 202. Please visit our newly re-vamped website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org. Thanks so much for all you do in our community.

Moser: As Kmart Closes, It’s Time for Hylton Family, County to Step Up

When Potomac Local ran this story about the Dale City K Mart closing, it generated a bittersweet moment for me.

For as long as I can remember, I have complained about the entrance to Dale City. I’ve always wanted our community to look beautiful and inviting. I’ve long hoped it would become a place to drive to, not through.

That ancient K-Mart has been an eyesore in the 30 years I’ve lived here. The huge, cracked asphalt parking lot with the newspaper dispensers, clothing receptacles and litter is an embarrassment to the Neabsco District.

Don’t think I haven’t tried through the years to help improve the appearance. I once attempted to organize a cleanup in the wooded area adjacent to K-Mart, but was told it was “dangerous for volunteers because of the homeless population” and that the land owner would take care of it. Since that time, I have repeatedly made complaints to Neighborhood Services inside the offices of Prince William County Government. My complaints would be addressed, but the trash and litter always returns.

So, I’m excited to see the K-Mart is closing, but I know it wasn’t just the store that caused a problem. The plight of the homeless population encamped at that location is a big, contributing factor. What will happen to those people in the woods once redevelopment begins? Our plans for the future simply must address the current reality.

Neabsco residents need to get involved with the “What’s next?” Prince William County staff should soon be hosting visioning sessions to get input from residents regarding renovation in that area near the exit off Interstate 95. What do you want to see happen in the Neabsco District?

Neabsco Action Alliance was formed to protect and promote the best interests of the residents of the Neabsco District and Dale City in particular. Now that I am leaving the area, I am still hoping someone will assume the NAA leadership. We have great mentorship and partnership in place. We’ve educated ourselves in how the county operates and learned what is possible for Dale City residents.

The K-Mart property is owned by a Hylton company as is all the surrounding land, except the land that has been donated to the Americans in Wartime Museum (NMAW) The Hylton family built Dale City and has made enormous contributions to our community. Now it’s time the Hylton corporations work with Prince William County and Neabsco residents to create a new beginning for Dale City.

GIS Map

GIS Map

What do you say Neabsco residents? Are you tired of coming off the 95 exit and looking right to Stonebridge and left to K-Mart? Do you want something to be proud of? It’s up to you. If you want the same old thing, just stay home and complain, but if you have vision, if you can imagine a better future, now is the time to start rallying!

Call to Action: Manassas Gets Ready for Fall Jubilee

  • · Good morning  – Happy Fall! Volunteers are needed at the Manassas Fall Jubilee event on Saturday October 4th. This event runs all day so lots of fun opportunities available including help in the pumpkin patch from 2pm-5pm, pour beer in the beer garden from 10am-2pm, check ID’s or poor beer from 2pm-5pm or check ID’s and sell tickets at the Wine Garden fr5om 2pm-5pm. Please email Kristina at: kskokan@historicmanassasinc.org to learn more.

    · Leesylvania State Park needs volunteers also on Saturday October 4th to stomp seeds in their wildflower garden from 11am-1pm. Sounds fun to me! come as you are with your stomping shoes to join the event. Please call (703) 583-6904 with any questions.

    · The Alzheimer’s Association is having a golf tournament on October 4th at the Virginia Oaks Golf Course. Lots of great golf, prizes, contests and raffles. Entry fee is just $90 that includes 18 holes of golf, cart, drinks and BBQ lunch. Please call Dan at (571) 383-8050 for your ticket.

    · Mark your calendars for the Annual Empty Bowls event on Friday October 17th to benefit SERVE in Manassas. It’s a wonderful evening with a hearty dinner of soup and bread and take home a beautiful hand-crafted bowl. Tickets are just $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12- in advance. Tickets can be purchased online at :nvfs.org/emptybowls until October 16th. Please call Pam at (571) 748-2537 to learn more

    · SERVE continues to have an urgent need for volunteers to help in the food pantry on weekdays. Volunteers age 16 and over are welcome. This busy place needs help stocking shelves, packing food for families and especially drivers to travel to local grocery stores in an agency vehicle to pick up food donations. You must be 21yrs old, have a good driving record and sign a driver’s agreement. Some of the boxes may weigh up to 50 pounds. Thousands of families benefit from this program every week. Please email Jan to learn more at: jhawkins@nvfs.org

    · Brain Injury Services needs volunteers to help in the office with database management, social media and public relations. Please call Michelle at (703) 451-8881 ext. 232 to learn more.

    · Hogar Immigrant Services is looking for volunteers to help assist eligible legal residents complete their citizenship applications on Saturday mornings each month at their Manassas office. Please call Sabra at (571) 208-1572 ext. 102 to learn more

    · Volunteer Prince William is delighted to sponsor the Volunteer Management Training series again this fall. The course starts Wednesday October 15th 9am-11:30am and continues each Wednesday morning for 5 weeks. This course is free but please register at: volunteerprincewilliam.org. Topics include planning your program, recruiting and placing volunteers, training and orienting volunteers, supervision and evaluation of your program. Many thanks to the Manassas Park Rec Center for use of their class room.

    · Volunteer Prince William also invites you to Disaster Planning workshop for community organizations and small business on Friday October 24th in Woodbridge. Come learn strategies to continue serving clients and customers if your employees can’t come to work or if you lose utilities or your facility is damaged. You can register for this program at: volunteerprincewilliam.org and click on the events page or email Bonnie at: bnahas@volunteerprincewilliam.org for more info.

    · Beacon Adult Literacy needs volunteer tutors to teach conversation or computer literacy to ESL students in the Manassas area on Monday mornings. Please call Caroline at (703) 368-7491 to learn more.

    · The Salvation Army needs to volunteers to help register families for their annual Christmas Toy program- yes I said Christmas! Volunteers are needed from September 29th to October 23rd mornings in Lake Ridge. Please email Janus at: janus_edmonds@uss.salvationarmy.org to learn more. Training is provided and this is a fun short-term project that helps so many families.

    · Mark your calendars for the Taste of the Town event for Project Mend A House on Wednesday October 15th. This event features food from area restaurants and great fun. Tickets are just $30 per person. Please call (703) 792-7663 for more info.

    · ACTS in Dumfries invites you to their Annual 5K IWALK on Saturday October 18th benefit services to the homeless. This year’s event is at Pfitzner Stadium at 10am. Gather your friends and family for the perfect way to spend a beautiful fall day. Please visit their website: iwalkforacts.com for all the particulars.

    · 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. 207, 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. 201, and Bonnie can help you with opportunities available in Disaster Preparedness at (703) 369-5292 ext. 202. Please visit our newly re-vamped website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org. Thanks so much for all you do in our community.

Moser: Going Away Party was the Best Thing I Could Have Done

Around the beginning of August I broke the news my husband and I were going to be leaving Prince William County. I was so devastated by the changes coming to our lives that I wrote a column, comparing the relocation to the five stages of loss and grief. We typically think of those stages as
part of dying, but they are applicable to any major event in life that causes upheaval and loss.

Here’s an opportunity to put a number on your stress. This is science based on the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale and by answering this questionnaire can accurately predict your risk of serious illness resulting from stress.

I scored a 207, which states I have a moderate to high likelihood of serious illness forthcoming. I absolutely believe stress is an indicator for illness and note that when I had cancer, twice in my life, both occasions were times of great duress.

So, it’s not surprising (to me) that I resorted to ostrich mode and truly believed if I just avoided saying “goodbye” it might not happen. I refused several offers of farewell parties thinking I would suffer less if I just didn’t have to admit, “I’m never going to see you again.” I absolutely could not have been more wrong.

I don’t know what I was thinking, really. I knew I didn’t want any speeches or praise. All I’ve ever done is what I thought best for my community. It doesn’t seem like anything needs be said or glorified about that.

My friend and editor, Uriah Kiser, created a Facebook event titled: A Celebration for Connie Moser and then he invited me!  You can see photos from that event here and contrary to what I had previously believed, it was the best thing I could have done.

I had the opportunity to tell so many of my friends, “goodbye”, “I love you” and “I’ll never forget you.”

If Uriah hadn’t planned this event, I would have missed all those hugs and kisses. One of my friends, Gayle Whitlock, created a poster with all the groups I work for and guests were given markers to write a note. It’s something I’ll treasure forever. Friends brought books, gifts, flowers, and gift certificates, but what they brought most was memories.

Time is such a thief! I always thought I’d have plenty of time to go to dinners and lunches that were social. I was certain I could go to birthday parties when invited, just not “right now”. I thought there would be plenty of other opportunities to visit with friends.

I have made a clean break from all my commitments to focus on this move, but I’m going to continue to make time to see as many of my friends as possible, right up to the day I leave.

The next time I write to you from this page, it will be a look forward, not a look back. I’m going to be more like my friends Cindy Brookshire and Bonnie Nahas, who will also be leaving Prince William soon. I’m going to embrace what’s coming and try to lower that stress score!

Remember

Remember

Call to Action: Learn What to do if Your Employees Can’t Come to Work at Disaster Planning Session

  • · Good morning  – Attention Garden Clubs! Rainbow Therapeutic Riding Program in Haymarket has a beautiful new perennial berm at the front of the property that needs care for a while. Come give your love of plants a little exercise until the garden becomes self-sufficient. Please call Debi or Shane at (703) 754-6159 for more info.

    · Volunteer Prince William is delighted to sponsor the Volunteer Management Training series again this fall. The course starts Wednesday October 15th 9am-11:30am and continues each Wednesday morning for 5 weeks. This course is free but please register at: volunteerprincewilliam.org. Topics include planning your program, recruiting and placing volunteers, training and orienting volunteers, supervision and evaluation of your program. Many thanks to the Manassas Park Rec Center for use of their class room.

    · Volunteer Prince William also invites you to Disaster Planning workshop for community organizations and small business on Friday October 24th in Woodbridge. Come learn strategies to continue serving clients and customers if your employees can’t come to work or if you lose utilities or your facility is damaged. You can register for this program at: volunteerprincewilliam.org and click on the events page or email Bonnie at: bnahas@volunteerprincewilliam.org for more info.

    · Birmingham Green is looking for a friendly visitor who speaks Vietnamese for one of their residents. Come offer your smile and conversation to another. Please email Zach at ztamer@birminghamgreen.org for more info.

    · Beacon Adult Literacy needs volunteer tutors to teach conversation or computer literacy to ESL students in the Manassas area on Monday mornings. Please call Caroline at (703) 368-7491 to learn more.

    · SERVE continues to have an urgent need for volunteers to help in the food pantry on weekdays. Volunteers age 16 and over are welcome. This busy place needs help stocking shelves, packing food for families and especially drivers to travel to local grocery stores in an agency vehicle to pick up food donations. You must be 21yrs old, have a good driving record and sign a driver’s agreement. Some of the boxes may weigh up to 50 pounds. Thousands of families benefit from this program every week. Please email Jan to learn more at: jhawkins@nvfs.org

    · The Salvation Army needs to volunteers to help register families for their annual Christmas Toy program- yes I said Christmas! Volunteers are needed from September 29th to October 23rd mornings in Lake Ridge. Please email Janus at: janus_edmonds@uss.salvationarmy.org to learn more. Training is provided and this is a fun short-term project that helps so many families.

    · Attention golfers! Mark your calendars for the 7th Annual Colin Wolfe Memorial Golf Tournament on Monday October 6th at Evergreen Country Club. Please call (703) 257-1811 for tickets.

    · Mark your calendars for the Taste of the Town event for Project Mend A House on Wednesday October 15th. This event features food from area restaurants and great fun. Tickets are just $30 per person. Please call (703) 792-7663 for more info.

    · Mark your calendars for the Annual Empty Bowls event on Friday October 17th to benefit SERVE in Manassas. It’s a wonderful evening with a hearty dinner of soup and bread and take home a beautiful hand-crafted bowl. Please call Pam at (571) 748-2537 to learn more

    · ACTS in Dumfries invites you to their Annual 5K IWALK on Saturday October 18th benefit services to the homeless. This year’s event is at Pfitzner Stadium at 10am. Gather your friends and family for the perfect way to spend a beautiful fall day. Please visit their website: iwalkforacts.com for all the particulars.

    · Mark your calendar for October 18th to join in the House of Mercy’s Campaign to End Hunger. Volunteers are needed all day at the Manassas Park Community center to pack meals being given to families in Kentucky’s Appalachian region. Volunteers are also asked to sponsor their activity by donation $35 for each 2 hours shift as a way to underwrite this fabulous program. Please call Ann at (703) 659-1636 to learn more about this event.

    · 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. 207, 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. 201, and Bonnie can help you with opportunities available in Disaster Preparedness at (703) 369-5292 ext. 202. Please visit our newly re-vamped website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org. Thanks so much for all you do in our community.

Moser: President Obama Was Not Denied Tee Off Because He is Black

Opinion 

 

I need a break from the Moser Farewell Tour this week! Let’s talk about something that caught my attention this week and see what you think.

Did you read the President Obama’s request for Labor Day tee time was denied by several exclusive golf courses? Various news sources carried the story and most blithely ignored the facts regarding extremely short notice, Labor Day weekend and a security nightmare. (A lot of exclusive club memberships cost upward of $100,000, so it might be a little difficult to tell members they would have to cancel their reservations at the last minute.)

When reading a news story, do you ever wonder what might be missing? Is there a purpose or bias of which you may not be aware? Most of the stories I read mentioned the Trump Golf Course, a rather obvious slant to grab more readers’ attention than just any golf course or several golf courses.

The comments in the Washington Post version were appalling. Many readers opined the reason the president was denied play time was because he is black. I do not doubt there are still some people in the U.S. prejudiced against black people. There are also people prejudiced toward white, Asian, smart, dumb, pretty, ugly, fat, thin, short, tall, young, and old.

Prejudice works on so many levels. Those who are afraid of the unknown seek out others to band together and create a larger force. Many forms of prejudice are designed to create a power to advance an ideal. One thing that all forms of prejudice have in common is that they drive people apart.

It’s impossible to be completely open-minded about every issue and we all look to thought leaders to help us form an opinion. Are you in the obstinate pool that doesn’t care about the best course for everyone? Do you attempt to influence others without regard for their needs or beliefs? Do you genuinely try to do what’s best for the majority or do you only try to do what’s best for you?

I write opinion because a news story, as I learned in journalism eons ago, tells a story based on facts.  The reporter doesn’t try to influence your thinking with sensational or misleading headlines or content.

In today’s fast paced, interactive, competitive, social media-driven reporting, it’s rare to find anything written just with the facts.

It is true I am opinionated, but I promise you I’ve never made a snap judgment based on fear. (Well, possibly when I stomped that spider without regard to whether it was a beneficial insect or not- that may have been a snap judgment.)

So I’m giving you my considered opinion: President Obama was not denied tee off because he is black. If you must work to divide each other, let’s at least stick with a plausible premise.

Moser: Our Neighborhood Stuck Together in Good and Bad Times

Do you know your neighbors? How old are the children across the street? What are the names of the couple two doors down? Who on your block has your house key? If you became ill, how long before one of your neighbors noticed?

For about 26 years I could tell you all that and more. I wish I could tell you about all the wonderful people who have been part of my community, but there are just too many of them. My neighbors on the right and left of me have been here since these homes were built in 1976.

The year of Snowmaggedon, 2010, friends and neighbors got together to shovel out entire intersections and the path to Beville Middle School so children could get to school safely and not be forced to walk in the street. I noted that none of the participants had children in that school.

For many years at Halloween, we hosted an amazing haunt in our back yard. Each year it got bigger and better until finally it became so cumbersome we had to stop.

Our garage was filled to the rafters with Halloween decorations and we could barely get a car in there. It took us weeks to set up and days to tear down. In our biggest year we had a cast of 40 “actors”!

During Christmas, people would drive from all over to see the lights on Lynhurst Drive House after house was illuminated with lights on trees and roofs, in windows and around doors.

On the 4th of July, there were cookouts and fireworks on the street corner. All the neighbors chipped in for a great display, then a couple of stalwart folks cleaned up all the debris.

My neighbors across the street moved here in 1996 and their three children were very small. Charlie ran his own business doing siding and his wife worked from home.

One year, Charlie became very ill. His liver and lungs were failing and he needed organ transplants. He had no medical insurance. Many people from his church and from our neighborhood as well as complete strangers all prayed for him and collected money for their family.

He received the transplants but was left weakened from his ordeal. He could no longer perform the physical labor of climbing ladders to run his siding business. He and his wife scraped together enough money to open a small restaurant and they work endless hours to make a living.

They lost their house here in Lindendale to foreclosure a couple of years ago. Through all their troubles they remain strong and stoic. They never once asked for help except to pray.

We attended funerals. We celebrated birthdays. We mowed grass for each other and shoveled snow for each other. We looked out for small children and talked to parents if there was a problem.

“Do you need a ride?”

“Would you like some of these plants?”

“I’m on my way to the store. Can I get anything for you while I’m there?”

If your community is not like that, you can change it. Just go outside and start with, “Hello! Can I help you with that?”

PS – The restaurant Charlie and Mira own is the Korean Grill & Rolls on Golansky Blvd. in Woodbridge. If you go there, please tell them I said, “Hello.”

Call to Action: Prince William Conservation Alliance Needs Volunteers to Plant Trees at K9 Gunner Dog Park

· Good morning  – Manassas Neighborhood Services needs volunteers for the Color Vibe 5K Run on Saturday September 13th. This event is from 6:30am-1pm at Osbourn High School. Duties include packet pick-up, water stations and rout coordination. Volunteers are also need on Friday from 11am-6pm for packet pick-up at the Harris Pavilion. Please email Christen at:czenich@ci.manassas.va.us for more info.

· Beacon Adult Literacy needs volunteer tutors to teach conversation or computer literacy to ESL students in the Manassas area. Please call Caroline at (703) 368-7491 to learn more.

· The Neighborhood Tutoring program in Dumfries is gearing up for the new semester and looking for volunteers to work with the kids and sustaining the administration of the program. Please call Duane at (703) 743-1974 to learn more.

· RSVP needs a substitute driver for a lady in Bristow who starts her chemo at Georgetown Hospital later this month. She has a couple of friends already lined up so this would only be every once in a while. This presents the perfect opportunity for a good deed and a couple of hours of shopping in Georgetown. Please call Coleen at (571) 292-5305 to learn more

· Literacy Volunteers of America are gearing up for their next volunteer tutor training on September 20th and October 4th. Come share your enthusiasm with another adult to help them with their literacy skills. The training will give you all the skills needed to be successful. Please call (703) 670-5702 to learn more.

· Come join in the Save the Shore clean up at Leesylvania State park in Woodbridge on Saturday September 13th from 11am-2pm. Volunteers are welcome to bring back any driftwood they find back to visitor center for a free painting workshop. There will be lots of ways to decorate your driftwood to celebrate our day of remembrance. This promises to be great fun.

· September is Hunger Action Month! – And such – SERVE has an urgent need for volunteers to help in the food pantry on weekdays. Volunteers age 16 and over are welcome. This busy place needs help stocking shelves, packing food for families and especially drivers to travel to local grocery stores in an agency vehicle to pick up food donations. You must be 21yrs old, have a good driving record and sign a driver’s agreement. Some of the boxes may weigh up to 50 pounds. Thousands of families benefit from this program every week. Please email Jan to learn more at: jhawkins@nvfs.org

· Area Agency on Aging needs a volunteer to drive a lady to the grocery store a couple times a month. She lives in Lake Ridge so you know how easy this is to help her in the Safeway! Please call Melodee at (703) 792-4583 to learn more.

· Capital Caring needs a volunteer to visit a lady who received her degree in art at age 70. Come share your love of art with another. Please call Rachel at (703) 957-1785 to learn more.

· The Prince William Conservation Alliance needs volunteers on Saturday September 27th at 9am to plant trees at the K9 Gunner Dog Park. They will have about 50 trees and shrubs plus more than 100 wildflowers to plant along Minnieville Road to improve the buffer. Its promises to be the perfect get your hands dirty activity. Bring a shovel and a smile and lunch is provided. Please call (703) 490-5200 for more info and to register for this event.

· And you don’t want to miss their fall fundraiser on Sunday September 28th at 3pm to support wildlife habitat. Festive occasion with food, silent auction and hands on construction of an insect hotel. Please call (703) 499-4954 for more info.

· ACTS in Dumfries is looking for good volunteer listeners to help out with their crisis intervention hotline. This wonderful service has been around for a long time and extremely beneficial to so many individuals. You will receive a super training to give you all the skills needed. The trainings are September 20th, 27th and October 4th. Please call (703) 221-1144 for more info. This is another wow job. Secondly, please mark your calendars for Saturday October 18th for the Annual 5K I Walk to benefit services to the homeless. This year’s event is at Pfitzner Stadium at 10am. Gather your friends and family for the perfect way to spend a beautiful fall day. Please visit their website: iwalkforacts.com for all the particulars.

· Mark your calendar for October 18th to join in the House of Mercy’s Campaign to End Hunger. Volunteers are needed all day at the Manassas Park Community center to pack meals being given to families in Kentucky’s Appalachian region. Volunteers are also asked to sponsor their activity by donation $35 for each 2 hours shift as a way to underwrite this fabulous program. Please call Ann at (703) 659-1636 to learn more about this event.

· 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. 207, 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. 201, and Bonnie can help you with opportunities available in Disaster Preparedness at (703) 369-5292 ext. 202. Please visit our newly re-vamped website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org. Thanks so much for all you do in our community.

Gibson: More in Prince William Open to Singing Ballot Petitions

Last week, I called it a day. The numbers just didn’t add up. I couldn’t squeeze another qualified voter out of the 1,259 signatures that lay before me. 

In order to appear on the ballot for U.S. House of Representatives as an independent candidate, I had to present signatures of registered 11th District voters to the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) by June 10. SBE then distributed the petitions to the general registrars of the jurisdictions that constitute the District – the counties of Fairfax and Prince William, as well as the City of Fairfax – for verification that at least 1,000 signatures were registered as voters in the 11th.

Of the those collected, 302 signatures were not verified as qualified voters from the 11th – about half of the 302 were from adjoining districts. 

The ballot petition process is not known to many voters and 2014 offered a unique situation: the major parties did not hold primary elections; a voter’s signature was the only way for the electorate to affect which candidates appear on the General Election ballot. 

SBE recommends that each Congressional candidate collect 1,500 signatures to get to the 1,000-signature threshold. In 2012 I had collected 1,404 signatures and qualified, finishing third of six candidates – I like to call my finish “best of the rest” after the major party candidates.

The 2014 campaign for ballot access posed advantages and challenges: I knew the process for both SBE and the Federal Elections Commission, and had established relationships with the media and community organizations. But my role at “my real job” had changed causing me to spend significantly more time with my clients, and I couldn’t bear to sacrifice family time in a quixotic attempt to dislodge an entrenched incumbent. 

A further challenge is the disparate rules for ballot access for independent and “other party” candidates. A “recognized political party” in Virginia is held to a lower standard with special treatment in qualifying for election and with favoritism, always placing its candidate in one of the top two reserved ballot slots. 

Following the 2010 Census the 11th District was reshaped – dare I say gerrymandered? – to secure a comfortable win for the incumbent.

Now Annandale, Centreville, Dale City, Herndon, and Lorton are cut in half. Snippets of Falls Church and Springfield are incorporated while parts of Annadale, Oakton, and Vienna are lopped off. Clifton and Fairfax Station were dealt to the 10th even though geographically removed and part of Fairfax County, the dominate jurisdiction of the 11th. 

Redistricting resulted in confused voters; many did not know their Congressional representative. Some voters are surrounded by one District but registered in another. One Falls Church petition signer could see his 11th District neighbor not 50 feet across his residential street but was separated from his voting district by a major thoroughfare. More than one Reston resident told me they felt like a ping-pong ball, getting bounced back and forth every ten years. 

Not all voters were willing to offer a petition signature, and I found a marked difference in the attitude toward independent candidates between the voters Fairfax and Prince William counties. While many Fairfax voters would say “I don’t know you” and decline to sign, a larger portion of the Prince William voters I met said “we need more independents” and sign without questioning my motives or views. 

I met terrific, passionate people along the way and made one long-distance friend: Terry Hampton, an independent running in Missouri’s 8th Congressional District. Though her views differ from mine and her District far larger, more agrarian, and more homogenous, we both felt a drive to challenge the status quo of staid, monied politics. 

Between now and Nov. 4, I’ll be on vacation, at the community pool, and with my in-laws to celebrate their 50th anniversary. In the coming years I hope to work to make the ballot more accessible for independent candidates and make voting more accessible for all registered voters. But not another Congressional run. 

And my vote? I don’t know yet. The candidates from the 11th District are a professional politician (the incumbent), a major party candidate chosen by convention rather than primary election, a self-described “legal and political media analyst”, and a government retiree. Save for the last, not very representative of the electorate. None of the qualified candidates represent my views or my aspirations for America; that’s why I ran in 2012 and why I tried to get on the ballot this year. 

The political center, moderate policies, and effective representative government are secondary objectives for the major political parties; gamesmanship, vitriol, and trivial pursuits are the focus. My campaign financing came out of my own wallet, making me a little poorer. The current state and endgame of party politics beggar us all.

Editor’s note: Mark Gibson has been a twice independent candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 11th Disrtict, a seat currently held by Gerald Connolly. Gibson originally posted the preceding piece to his blog in July. 

Candland: Spending, Hiring Freezes Needed in Light of Projected State Budget Shortfall

Opinion

Most families in Northern Virginia are still feeling the effects of a sluggish economy and a federal defense spending trajectory that remains uncertain.  Last week, I visited with a husband and wife who expressed to me their concern that they won’t be able to stay in their home because his company may lose its federal contract.  Despite the empty assurances of some politicians, people understand that there is still a need for caution and for restraint in local government spending just like the restraint they practice in their family budgets. 

On August 15, Governor McAuliffe announced a $2.4 billion projected budget shortfall in the state budget that he attributed primarily to cuts in defense spending caused by federally mandated sequestration.

The Governor told state legislators that $882 million must be cut from planned spending, in addition to $1.55 billion that has already been trimmed earlier this year, in order to offset the three-year projected shortfall.

Over the past several months, we have seen steep reductions in projected county revenues, mirroring the same decline in state revenues.  The only way to protect the hard working families in Prince William County who bear the brunt of the tax burden is for the Board of County Supervisors to act responsibly and swiftly.

To address the deficit spending that these revenue reductions have created in the FY 2015 budget, I have submitted a written request to my colleagues asking the Board of County Supervisors to consider the following steps to protect Prince William County families:

1. Impose a temporary spending freeze at FY 2014 levels to remain in effect until the Board convenes a “FY 2015 Special Budget Review Meeting.”  This would not affect staff pay increases or capital projects, but would require our department heads to find other ways to hold spending.  Because of the crisis in education we have in Prince William County and because of the need to protect our citizens, schools and public safety funding will also be exempt from the spending freeze.

2. Impose a countywide-hiring freeze that continues until the Board approves an amended staffing plan for FY 2015 (public safety exempted)

3. Convene a special Board work session with the School Board to review the impacts of the revenue shortfalls at both the state and county level, and discuss options for anticipated funding reductions for the schools in FY 2016 and beyond.

I have spent most of my professional career in the private sector.  Whether it was helping to run a small mom and pop store or working for a Fortune 100 company, I learned early on that budgets require priorities.

Several months ago, I raised objections to the decision by the majority of the Board of County Supervisors to bury power lines on Route 1 by draining money from the county’s “rainy-day savings account” – a price tag of over $12 million.  I urged the Board to wait until the revenue projections for the FY 2015 budget were in place to determine if the county could afford this project.

Unfortunately, the Board voted to use our savings account and approve the burying of the power lines.  Just one month later, county staff reported a $15 million revenue shortfall that ultimately had to be offset by the largest tax increase in the last five years in Prince William County. 

It is time we implement a plan that is built on sound fiscal principles to help our county have a firm foundation that leads us into the future.

First, tax cuts are desperately needed to help protect the quality of life for middle and low-income families who are the backbone of Prince William County.  People need relief as they continue to see their state and federal taxes increase.  

Second, we need to develop real and effective job creation programs to offset the job reductions resulting from federal sequestration and long-term budget cuts.  We have to dramatically reform the business regulations here in Prince William County.  I speak often with small business owners from across the county, and it concerns me to hear of the seemingly endless obstacles they are facing in starting and maintaining a business. 

Third, we need to tame the lion called government spending.  Reducing spending will be difficult, but it is essential to restore a healthy and growing economy.

In short, we need to get government out of the pockets of hard working families in Prince William County and restore trust in our county government.  However difficult, it is a path we must follow without further delay. 

Peter Candland is elected to represent the Gainesville Magisterial District of Prince William County.

Elston: Manassas Bellwether for Federal, Local Elections

Last week, those interested in knowing more about me as a candidate for Manassas City Council, my positions, and my vision for the city gathered at Okra’s Louisiana Bistro at the corner of Center and Battle in Old Town Manassas.

While there was plenty of good Cajun food, the main course was meaty discussion (sorry for the pun, it was tough to resist) about real issues facing Manassas City.  My running for office, the whole campaign of “Ken Elston for Manassas City Council,” is based on my affection for Manassas. A vote for me is a vote for public safety, a vote for our public schools and a vote for economic development in the city.

Guests at the event heard me speak about the value of the diversity of ideas and community. The son of a teacher and a civil rights activist, with a background studying political science and economics, as well as a professional background as both a longtime union member and administrator responsible for multimillion-dollar budgets and managing personnel, I am hoping to bring a strong voice for strategic planning to the City Council.

As the Director of George Mason University’s School of Theater, I have a strong track record of fiscal responsibility.  As an educator and collaborator, I have a passion to serve the entire population of our growing city. Mine in a commitment to transparency in decision making and community building.  That is what the next generation deserves. I am grateful Osbourn High School students manned our volunteer sign-up table at the event. When it comes to leadership, if we aren’t doing it for our kids and the next generation, then why are we doing it?

Myself a product of public schools, I equate the health of the schools to the health of the city. Excellent schools make the city competitive, as well as a great place to live. This sentiment is echoed in the campaign’s introductory video, which is available on the campaign website kenelston.org. You can link from the homepage to see a video that features my children urging me to be myself. I am a man who cares about this community and will listen to diverse points of view. After watching the video, you might get a sense of my other values, too.

Early in the evening, Senator Mark Warner and longtime State Senator Chuck Colgan stopped in at the Okra’s event. They shook hands and posed for pictures with the guests.

As we take the turn toward the end of summer and Election Day comes into view, campaign events are drawing interest. Manassas City is considered a bellwether for both federal and local elections. With fewer than ninety days until voters line up to express their opinions and their power of the vote on November 4, candidates are working to raise support and learn how voters feel about the issues. Please get to know me and get informed about the issues. And, please vote on November 4.

Moser: The Community Maintenance That Might Be Missed

I haven’t left the area and I think you already miss me! You may not know you miss me unless you ride down Lindendale Road and notice the grass is tall, the sidewalks aren’t edged, there’s litter and leaves in the gutter on the wooded block adjacent to Dale City Christian Church. We’ve been maintaining that block (and occasionally another wooded lot across the street) since 2006. We have a sign there for an Adopt a Spot for the Lindendale Community, but typically an Adopt a Spot is just a litter pick up, not the kind of community maintenance we do.

There’s a perennial flower bed there. We planted it with Shasta Daisies, Coreopsis and Purple Coneflower. The deer ate all the coneflower, but the Daisies, the Coreopsis and a Datura Lily lend some bright color to the landscape all summer long. The flowers are ready to be cut down and mulched soon and the bed is in need of some weeding.

For many years, in the very hot month of August, Bill and I edged all the sidewalks in front of the power lines from the other side of Dale City Christian Church to Enterprise Elementary School. We also edged nearby lots, all to make the neighborhood look great before the kids start back to school and show that community care and maintenance makes a difference.

On our own street corner at Lindendale and Lynhurst, we did the same thing. Our neighbors saw us there year after year, edging, trimming, sweeping and using a weed whacker in curbs and gutters, and along fences. We sprayed weed killer into sidewalk cracks to keep weeds from returning.

Also since 2006, Bill and I have planted annuals at the entrance to Lindendale. We watered, weeded and fertilized them, cutting them down in the fall, planting something different the following spring. We had a second Adopt a Spot there, from the corner of Lindendale and Dale, down to Beville Middle School.

The roses planted at the commuter lot are looking kind of shabby. Some need replaced (thanks in part to careless commuters and Comcast employees who parked poorly, Farmer’s Market vendors who dropped their crates on them and rats who tunnel mercilessly, destroying the roots.) Weeds and crabgrass are already taking over and I fear those roses, the source of so much pride to a small group of volunteers a few years ago, will soon return to the shabby condition that inspired our action now that Bill, Linda and I are no longer available to care for them.

Some ambitious, community-minded group, scout troop or service club could step up here for the commuter lot. All the rest of our locations are actually owned by someone. Prince William County Schools, Board of County Supervisors, and Hylton Corporation all own parts of the properties we cared for. They will mow, but not weekly and they don’t edge and sweep the streets and walks.

What I’ve described are the regular, week after week, year after year projects we’ve maintained. Today’s column does not include the monthly, quarterly, annual or one-time projects that will cease.

I haven’t finished telling you about the organizations for whom I volunteer and who need someone to replace me. So, as long as Uriah Kiser allows me to write, I’ll keep telling you what you’ve been missing!

Call to Action: Save the Shore Clean Up Planned at Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge

· Good morning  – Cheers to starting back in school- I can hear moms and dads from across the county smiling! The Neighborhood Tutoring program in Dumfries is gearing up for the new semester and looking for volunteers to work with the kids and sustaining the administration of the program. Please call Duane at (703) 743-1974 to learn more.

· RSVP needs a substitute driver for a lady in Bristow who starts her chemo at Georgetown Hospital later this month. She has a couple of friends already lined up so this would only be every once in a while. This presents the perfect opportunity for a good deed and a couple of hours of shopping in Georgetown. Please call Coleen at (571) 292-5305 to learn more

· Come support the Alzheimer’s Association on Tuesday September 4th and 5th at the Ruby Tuesday on Liberia Avenue in Manassas. Enjoy lunch or dinner and they will contribute 20% of your tab to fight this scary disease. It’s a win-win all the way!

· Literacy Volunteers of America are gearing up for their next volunteer tutor training on September 20th and October 4th. Come share your enthusiasm with another adult to help them with their literacy skills. The training will give you all the skills needed to be successful. Please call (703) 670-5702 to learn more.

· Come join in the Save the Shore clean up at Leesylvania State park in Woodbridge on Saturday September 13th from 11am-2pm. Volunteers are welcome to bring back any driftwood they find back to visitor center for a free painting workshop. There will be lots of ways to decorate your driftwood to celebrate our day of remembrance. This promises to be great fun.

· SERVE has an urgent need for volunteers to help in the food pantry on weekdays. Volunteers age 16 and over are welcome. This busy place needs help stocking shelves, packing food for families and especially drivers to travel to local grocery stores in an agency vehicle to pick up food donations. You must be 21yrs old, have a good driving record and sign a driver’s agreement. Some of the boxes may weigh up to 50 pounds. Thousands of families benefit from this program every week. Please email Jan to learn more at: jhawkins@nvfs.org

· Capital Caring needs a volunteer to visit a lady who received her degree in art at age 70. Come share your love of art with another. Please call Rachel at (703) 957-1785 to learn more.

· Prince William Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Society invites you to their Business Building Workshops on Saturday September 20th from 9am-4pm at the NOVA Woodbridge Campus. Topics include Business building basics, home based business, franchising, contracts and marketing strategies. Please visit: dstbusinessbuildingworkshop.eventbrite.com to register.

· The Prince William Conservation Alliance needs volunteers on Saturday September 27th at 9am to plant trees at the K9 Gunner Dog Park. They will have about 50 trees and shrubs plus more than 100 wildflowers to plant along Minnieville Road to improve the buffer. Its promises to be the perfect get your hands dirty activity. Bring a shovel and a smile and lunch is provided. Please call (703) 490-5200 for more info and to register for this event.

· ACTS in Dumfries is looking for good volunteer listeners to help out with their crisis intervention hotline. This wonderful service has been around for a long time and extremely beneficial to so many individuals. You will receive a super training to give you all the skills needed. The trainings are September 20th, 27th and October 4th. Please call (703) 221-1144 for more info. This is another wow job. Secondly, please mark your calendars for Saturday October 18th for the Annual 5K I Walk to benefit services to the homeless. This year’s event is at Pfitzner Stadium at 10am. Gather your friends and family for the perfect way to spend a beautiful fall day. Please visit their website: iwalkforacts.com for all the particulars.

· Mark your calendar for October 18th to join in the House of Mercy’s Campaign to End Hunger. Volunteers are needed all day at the Manassas Park Community center to pack meals being given to families in Kentucky’s Appalachian region. Volunteers are also asked to sponsor their activity by donation $35 for each 2 hours shift as a way to underwrite this fabulous program. Please call Ann at (703) 659-1636 to learn more about this event.

· 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. 207, 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. 201, and Bonnie can help you with opportunities available in Disaster Preparedness at (703) 369-5292 ext. 202. Please visit our newly re-vamped website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org. Thanks so much for all you do in our community.

Call to Action: Alzheimer’s Association Meets Ruby Tuesday on Liberia Avenue

· Good morning  – Cheers to starting back in school- I can hear moms and dads from across the county smiling! The Neighborhood Tutoring program in Dumfries is gearing up for the new semester and looking for volunteers to work with the kids and sustaining the administration of the program. Please call Duane at (703) 743-1974 to learn more.

· RSVP needs a substitute driver for a lady in Bristow who starts her chemo at Georgetown Hospital later this month. She has a couple of friends already lined up so this would only be every once in a while. This presents the perfect opportunity for a good deed and a couple of hours of shopping in Georgetown. Please call Coleen at (571) 292-5305 to learn more

· Come support the Alzheimer’s Association on Tuesday September 4th and 5th at the Ruby Tuesday on Liberia Avenue in Manassas. Enjoy lunch or dinner and they will contribute 20% of your tab to fight this scary disease. It’s a win-win all the way!

· Literacy Volunteers of America are gearing up for their next volunteer tutor training on September 20th and October 4th. Come share your enthusiasm with another adult to help them with their literacy skills. The training will give you all the skills needed to be successful. Please call (703) 670-5702 to learn more.

· Come join in the Save the Shore clean up at Leesylvania State park in Woodbridge on Saturday September 13th from 11am-2pm. Volunteers are welcome to bring back any driftwood they find back to visitor center for a free painting workshop. There will be lots of ways to decorate your driftwood to celebrate our day of remembrance. This promises to be great fun.

· SERVE has an urgent need for volunteers to help in the food pantry on weekdays. Volunteers age 16 and over are welcome. This busy place needs help stocking shelves, packing food for families and especially drivers to travel to local grocery stores in an agency vehicle to pick up food donations. You must be 21yrs old, have a good driving record and sign a driver’s agreement. Some of the boxes may weigh up to 50 pounds. Thousands of families benefit from this program every week. Please email Jan to learn more at: jhawkins@nvfs.org

· Capital Caring needs a volunteer to visit a lady who received her degree in art at age 70. Come share your love of art with another. Please call Rachel at (703) 957-1785 to learn more.

· Prince William Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Society invites you to their Business Building Workshops on Saturday September 20th from 9am-4pm at the NOVA Woodbridge Campus. Topics include Business building basics, home based business, franchising, contracts and marketing strategies. Please visit: dstbusinessbuildingworkshop.eventbrite.com to register.

· The Prince William Conservation Alliance needs volunteers on Saturday September 27th at 9am to plant trees at the K9 Gunner Dog Park. They will have about 50 trees and shrubs plus more than 100 wildflowers to plant along Minnieville Road to improve the buffer. Its promises to be the perfect get your hands dirty activity. Bring a shovel and a smile and lunch is provided. Please call (703) 490-5200 for more info and to register for this event.

· ACTS in Dumfries is looking for good volunteer listeners to help out with their crisis intervention hotline. This wonderful service has been around for a long time and extremely beneficial to so many individuals. You will receive a super training to give you all the skills needed. The trainings are September 20th, 27th and October 4th. Please call (703) 221-1144 for more info. This is another wow job. Secondly, please mark your calendars for Saturday October 18th for the Annual 5K I Walk to benefit services to the homeless. This year’s event is at Pfitzner Stadium at 10am. Gather your friends and family for the perfect way to spend a beautiful fall day. Please visit their website: iwalkforacts.com for all the particulars.

· Mark your calendar for October 18th to join in the House of Mercy’s Campaign to End Hunger. Volunteers are needed all day at the Manassas Park Community center to pack meals being given to families in Kentucky’s Appalachian region. Volunteers are also asked to sponsor their activity by donation $35 for each 2 hours shift as a way to underwrite this fabulous program. Please call Ann at (703) 659-1636 to learn more about this event.

· 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. 207, 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. 201, and Bonnie can help you with opportunities available in Disaster Preparedness at (703) 369-5292 ext. 202. Please visit our newly re-vamped website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org. Thanks so much for all you do in our community.

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