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Futrell: We fought for the sick, veterans, school children, commuters

On today, the final day of my term in the Virginia House of Delegates for the 2nd House District, I wish to say, thank you.

My family and I are grateful to have been trusted to serve the Commonwealth of Virginia in this capacity. When I began working in the community, I never intended to run for political office, I was just a young guy who wanted to help improve my community. Our community.

It has been a blessing to work with so many of you. It has been inspiring to see so many of the accomplishments, and it has been humbling to be given the opportunity to be your voice when the time was needed in the General Assembly. Thank you.

Thank you to all of the Stafford and Prince William delegation for your advice and guidance no matter where we stood philosophically. Thank you to Delegate Luke Torian for all he has done to help guide my political career and for always being someone I could depend on.

Thank you to Harry Wiggins and Bill Card, the chairs of the Prince William Democratic and Republican committees, for pushing me and giving me the thoughts of those that represent.

Thank you to Bishop Lyle and Deborah Dukes and the Harvest Life Changers Church family for praying with us and keeping us encouraged. My Christian walk and work I strive to accomplish in this community is a direct reflection of you.

To my beautiful wife and wonderful children, thank you for allowing me to share the one thing that I cannot get back: my time. You made sacrifices that no one will see, but you did it because you knew the task was great. I love you with all that I am.

And to the people of House District 2: While I am grateful for all we have done together, I look forward to all we will accomplish together in the future. Thank you for trusting me with your voice. I love you all. If you’re ever around, come visit me at Harvest Life Changers Church some Sunday, I would love to have you as a guest!

Together we fought for veteran and military families, not just by adopting our Veteran and Military Family Bill of Rights, but by adding action to policy and working to create Veteran Resource Fairs to help vets do everything from find employment to mental health screenings.

I was blessed to work with organizations like Women’s Veterans Interactive, community activist Tami Lambert and Councilman Derrick Wood to start this initiative and adding on Delegate Rich Anderson has only helped grow out our vision for those that have sacrificed so much more than we will ever imagine. This program will continue to help be a resource to our service men and women. Please add the group on Facebook if you would like to assist our upcoming events.

Together we stood hand and hand with our schools and educators. On the day I announced, I said, “as a former teacher, I realize it doesn’t matter what issue you come up with, it all traces back to education” and that is why as an elected official I spent so much time with our children in the schools.

I enjoyed reading to over 1,500 students and visiting all of our schools. I was excited to drive home every Friday during session and work the concession stands for our local high school athletic games. Rather fighting for better funding for our school systems to raise teacher pay or Dmeeting with parents and educators to discuss their thoughts on SOL reform, I have always done it with our kids best interest in mind.

While my legislation to create Regional Innovation Business Councils that would bring together business owners, educators, and community activists to discuss the jobs and skills of the future may not have passed, I am encouraged to see some of the things we attempted to do being done in the Prince William Chamber of Commerce with our schools. As my father always told me, “once a teacher, always a teacher!”

I love our schools, and will continue working to improve the lives of our young people, rather through my nonprofit Make The Future, or through my latest duty, coaching the 9th grade boys basketball team at Gar-Field High School (come check us out this season!)

Together we fought for the well being of the voiceless.

We took on the Medicaid Expansion fight, not because it was the popular thing to do, but because it was the right thing to do. Many of you know that I lost my mother two weeks before the Senate Primary. She died of cancer.

When I went with her to her final meeting with her Oncologist, I asked how did we get to this point, and the doctor said that they found her cancer so late, but did the best they could. When I asked my mother why they found it so late, she said it was because she could not afford health insurance and was unable to get the routine checks that would have normally caught it.

Well before I ever found out about my mother’s cancer, I used to say in speeches to those opposing Medicaid Expansion that the longer we wait, the more people that would die. I knew it to be fact, but I never imagined that I would see first-hand the impact of a state refusing to expand Medicaid. Though I may not be taking a vote on legislation, I have reached out to my counterparts on both sides of the aisle to discuss what can be done to save lives.

I don’t care what they call it, I don’t care who get the credit, but what I do care is that no other child has to look a dying parent in the eyes and hear those same words that echo to me every time I see my mother’s picture.

Together we confronted the topic of social justice with the Community Policing bill, which brought a sensible approach to tracking complaints and created ways to utilize body cameras to protect both citizens and law enforcement. While this did not become law, Prince William did agree to bring in body cameras, and I have been told by our Attorney General’s office that a lot of the frame work from our approach to the bill was taken for their plan on body cameras.

Together we hosted a special screening of the Oscar nominated civil rights motion picture Selma before it was in theaters. The panel discussion discussing the recent issues of police brutality was nothing short of powerful. I made sure that this event was free of charge because I wanted everyone to join the conversation. I am grateful that Paramount Pictures saw my vision for this discussion to happen in our community, and I am thankful that you were a part of it all.

Together we fought for relief from being prisoners in our own homes due to traffic gridlock. From creating a program that would connect Stafford and Prince William’s bus systems to working to fund our transportation projects; I wanted to make sure that you were able to spend more time at home with your families.

It was no secret that I wanted to bring the metro to Woodbridge, and all I ever heard was “we can’t afford it,” so I created a way that we could! I put in legislation that would create a State Infrastructure fund. The fund would allow private investors or other states to invest in medium to low risk infrastructure projects.

This has potential to bring in billions of dollars to the Commonwealth that could be used on any number of projects. I will continue to work with the Governor’s office to help bring in these and other dollars that can improve our economy.

Together we worked to make a difference. I am thankful for each and every one of you. Everyone who walked into our office got the same speech “before you walked through that door, you had a pretty good idea on where we agreed and disagreed.

You are well within your rights to yell at me and tell me why I am completely wrong, but the only thing I ask is that before you walk out, we identify 2-3 things that we can agree to work together on, because it is impossible to disagree on everything.” This has always been my motto. This is why I sent my staff to both Democrat and Republican monthly meetings some time, because I was elected to represent EVERYONE.

We may not agree on 95% of things, but we can work together on that 5%. As we move forward, let’s strive to work on the things we can come together on instead of what separates us. This is not goodbye, more like see you later! I’ll catch up with all of you on the other side of the Delegate title! Be blessed.

 

News
Care packages for homeless being made prior to head count

Good morning  – The Annual Nationwide Point in Time Count of the Homeless population is January 27th here in our community.

The wonderful folks at Streetlight Ministries are preparing care packages for the homeless and need your help. They are collecting new gloves, hats, socks, hand/feet warmers, small blankets, head lights and backpacks for the care packages. These donations are needed by January 14th and then volunteers will assemble the packages. So here’s two ways to help a neighbor by gathering or assembling these basic winter products. Please call Gabriele or Rose at (703) 491-2288 to volunteer or simply drop off the donations by January 14th.

· The Retired and Senior Volunteer program is looking for volunteers’ age 55+ to play disaster jeopardy or bingo to the residents of senior living facilities to better prepare them for weather or other disaster event. We need many Vanna and Pat teams for this fun project. Please call Coleen at (571) 292-5307 to learn more. (more…)

Leela Nowka paintings on display at Manassas City Hall

Leela Nowka

Paintings from artist Leela Nowka, impressionistic painter from India, are on display in The Hall at City Hall.

Born in Niarobi, Kenya, Nowka graduated college in India from the Isabella Thoburn Women’s College. She had a long a career in the Indian Diplomatic Service and is currently retired and living in the City of Manassas.

Nowka studied art under impressionist painter Sylva Monteleon and realist painter Acharya Charles Pather. In 2008 she oversaw the “Object D’Art Cell” in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. The group provided art to dignitaries and Indian Embassies. (more…)

Find people you know, trust who have your success in mind

“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

Building a Business is a Team Effort — With a Little Help From Our Friends

My first lesson in the value of mentors came early – and hard. On July 3rd, 1985, I was enduring the first grueling week (called “Ground Week”) of the U.S. Army Airborne School. My Student ID – printed boldly across my helmet – was 141 (yes, 30 years later I remember my Student Number).

No matter the reason, I was a “NO GO” and did not qualify to advance to the second week (Tower Week) of training. The choice was mine – give up or repeat Ground Week.

Ugh! I wanted to quit, to give up, go back home and drink some beer with my friends and work so I could actually afford my next year of college expenses. Worse yet, if I decided to repeat Ground Week my Student ID label on my helmet would become 141”G” and everyone would know that I was “recycled.”

One of my Airborne Drill Instructors (we called them “Black Hats” ( I’ll leave you to guess why) came over and said to me) “Cadet, I know you are thinking about quitting. Heck I would be thinking it too if I were you.”  (more…)

Stay on the path to a New Year, New You at Manassas Park Community Center

“Shaping the Future” is a sponsored column written by Manassas Park Community Center Marketing Manager Jason Shriner. The column highlights the many ways you can have fun, get fit, and improve your life.

With the New Year, now is a great time to think about the year ahead. When I was younger, New Year’s Day didn’t really mean much more than partying, but now it’s a favorite time of mine where I like to set goals for myself. I especially like resolutions that involve learning something new or that result in a tangible finished product.

Over the past few years my resolutions have included listening to more podcasts and TEDtalks, learning to sew (this includes sewing a costume from scratch), creating my own board game, and learning sign language, photography and how to indoor rock climb. When you’re a kid, school can really make learning feel like a chore, but after I graduated college, I realized how much I missed learning new things and challenging myself. You don’t realize how easy it is to stand in one place until you look back on the year and realize it!

Make a promise to yourself this upcoming new year; find the new you! Here are some tips and strategies on choosing resolutions and seeing them through.

1. Be true to yourself and set resolutions you’ll enjoy

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life it’s that if something feels like a chore, then I will find every excuse in the world not to do it. Motivation is an incredibly powerful thing, but it doesn’t come externally. Even when somebody else is encouraging you, you must ultimately want to do it for yourself in order to see your goals through. If you are an extrovert and you have fitness goals, participate in fitness classes! There is nothing more isolating than wearing headphones and working out – totally toxic to an extrovert’s success. Remember to set yourself up for success when choosing your resolutions!

One of my favorite fitness classes at the Manassas Park Community Center is bootcamp. In this high intensity class, the instructor challenges my classmates and me to perform a variety of strength training and cardiovascular exercises, all while maintaining an elevated heart rate. As a self-identifying geek, I never knew I was capable of doing some of the exercises until I participated. It’s not all excruciating work! I feel like we laugh constantly in the class as we awkwardly try new exercises and tease the instructor. Other popular fitness classes at the community center include Zumba, Aqua Zumba, and yoga.

2. Create a plan

Aside from fitness and learning something new, financial responsibility is another popular resolution. Whatever your resolution is, make sure you actually plan out how you’re going to achieve it. Ask yourself these questions to start. Is it fitness related – Where do I want to work out? Should I hire a personal trainer? If it’s learning something new – What time can I dedicate? What expenses are involved? If it’s fiscal What is a budget I can manage? Do I have monthly expenses that I can do without?

One method that helped me save money was to track my spending on a spreadsheet. True, this is a chore (although I do love a good spreadsheet), but knowing that I would eventually have to input a purchase into a spreadsheet where it will be staring back at me – possibly judging me – has been enough to deter me from certain purchases. Plus it’s pretty rewarding to see a year’s worth of spending slowly declining throughout the year! Another tip that I use to talk myself out of a purchase is equating how much an item costs to how much I make hourly. Is this new gadget really worth 2, 4, or 8 hours of my time at work? Cash and especially credit cards can be intangible concepts, but your sweat is pretty real!

Consider incorporating a class into your plan like the programs at the Manassas Park Community Center. INOVA will be teaching a free class called “Eating Better on a Budget” on January 5 or come check out People, Inc.’s free “Credit and Budgeting Workshop on January 20. Talking with professionals and researching ideas online, including articles, videos, and podcasts, are great ways to get fresh ideas to incorporate into your plan.

Belly dancing: Learning new dances, like belly dance, is a great new year’s resolution!
Try group exercise classes or working out with a friend if your routine gets stale
The Manassas Park Community Center recently built a second fitness room featuring all new exercise equipment – come try them out!
The personal trainers at the Manassas Park Community Center love finding new ways to shake up your workout – like boxing!
You can get 2 30-minutes personal training session as part of your membership to the Manassas Park Community Center
Try something you’ve always wanted to, like scrapbooking, by taking a class at the Manassas Park Community Center
Taking classes, like sign language, gives you a chance to meet people who share your interests and can help practice your new skills
Zumba is one of our most popular classes at the Manassas Park Community Center

3. Set realistic and measurable goals

Businesses are successful because employees have somebody holding them accountable. Excellent managers use plans with defined goals to set expectations that both the employee and the manager can agree upon. Similarly, anytime you sign a contract, you’re actually setting a level of expectations. These are expectations you are expected to perform as well as what you expect the other party to perform. Plans, goals, expectations, and accountability all result in getting things done. So why not do the same for your resolution?

I don’t expect you to draw up a contract between you and yourself for your new year’s resolution, but you should at least create an event in your phone’s calendar eight weeks from now that says, “Lose this many pounds,” “Save this much money,” or “Be able to ask for help in the grocery store in a foreign language.” When you have a goal, you have a real expectation with a real deadline for yourself to work towards as opposed to some nebulous concept of “lose weight,” “save money,” or “learn Spanish.” Don’t just set one goal either – set milestones leading up to your final goal so you have a timeline to reinforce your plan.

When setting fitness goals be sure to consult a professional so that you are setting safe and healthy goals. Your Primary Care Physician and the Personal Trainers at the Manassas Park Community Center are two good resources, and a fitness assessment is included free of charge with every membership at the community center.

4. Celebrate accomplishments and be flexible

Willpower is a limited resource. When you’re trying to lose weight, you can only deprive yourself of ice cream for so long. Torturing yourself like this is a surefire way to turn your resolution into a chore. If you reach a fitness milestone, treat yourself! Be flexible and don’t punish yourself for accommodating unexpected events. If your car gets a flat, replacing a tire isn’t a hindrance to your financial goal – emergencies are a reason you wanted to save money in the first place!

5. Don’t stop, won’t stop

It’s going to take persistence and practice to reach your final goal, so don’t give up! It’s said it can take an average of 66 days to form a habit – although this number can vary vastly depending on the habit. [1] If you find your motivation waning, try to focus on the end goal or try to find ways to make the project fun again. Getting a friend involved, changing locations, or switching up your routine can help keep your resolution enjoyable.

Finally, don’t stop once you’ve achieved your resolution. Keep working out, keep saving money, keep practicing that language, but also set a new resolution for yourself! Yes, even in the middle of July! Have you reached your target weight? Why not try hiking or indoor rock climbing? Keep learning and keep moving forward so that next December 31st you can look back and reward yourself for all the resolutions you’ve accomplished – and look forward to all the resolutions you want to try.

News
Happy New Year from Volunteer Prince William

HAPPY NEW YEAR  – Thanks to YOU, the Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program served OVER 5,500 children this year! Thank you for your kindness and generosity. When you reach out and give of yourself, you never know just how far the ripples travel. What we know for sure is this, you made the season brighter and merrier for many. After all, isn’t giving how it all started?

· Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions for 2016? Here is an idea that potentially can 1) help you lose weight, 2) make new friends, 3) lower your stress level, 4) become better informed, 5) learn new skills, 6) feel more connected to your community, and 7) enhance your time management expertise. Yes, I am talking about volunteering!

A 2013 survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of United Health Care indicates all of the above are benefits of volunteering. Not only that, but the study showed volunteers make better employees. Perhaps your place of business might like to encourage or sponsor some volunteer activities in 2016? We can help with that. Be sure to visit www.VolunteerPrinceWilliam.org and Like us on Face Book to keep up with all of our trending ideas.

· If you are looking for some volunteer opportunities to get your 2016 off to a good start, 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 very active website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org and Like us on FB. Thanks so much for all you do in our community.

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

How knowing ‘Why’ led website developer WIX to $1 billion

“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

Five, four, three, two, one… Happy New Year! Well, almost! The New Year is a great time to evaluate our business goals and make sure we know the answer to the question, “Why do we do what we do?”

Here is a great example: Avi, a business associate I met in 1999, said to me at the time, “Rod, I want to make it easy and affordable for business owners to build and manage websites.”

In 1999 that was easier said than done. But Avi and a few of his associates started a company that set out to do just that. While his company attracted millions in venture funding, they never gained a critical mass and eventually sold to a competitor.

Flash forward several years later to a phone call I received from Avi who proudly claimed, “Rod, I have finally found a way to make it easy and affordable for business owners to build and manage websites.”

Now, those who know me know that I am a bit of a tech snob. I remember looking at the phone thinking, “WOW, that is a big claim to make!”

Sure enough, Avi’s tenacity paid off. Today his company, WIX, trades on NASDAQ and has a value of just under $1 billion – that’s right – just under $1 billion.

One Degree Capital is a customer of WIX.com, and we love it.

Across three businesses and over 16 years, Avi always knew his “Why” and stuck to it. As quoted from the company’s website, Wix’s vision is “We make it easy for everyone to create a beautiful, professional web presence.”

A common thread that runs through most successful companies is that they know their WHY – the main reason they do what they do. They know and stay committed to their “Why.”

So here is a question for you: As a business owner do you know your “Why?” If you need some help, ask yourself the following questions:

— Why? Why does your business exist? Are you passionate about this?

— Who? Do you enjoy working with your target audience?

— How? Do you serve your customers in a unique and valuable way?

If you are interested in learning more about how to build your “why” here are several great resources:

Simon Sinek, internationally acclaimed author of “Start with Why,” has a powerful TED Talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE that is sure to inspire you to action.

Jeff Parks, a Prince William County-based seasoned consultant and a Coast Guard veteran, says “Live your passion, give your gift.” www.performancebreakthroughs.com. Jeff has helped over 200 organizations define their purpose and build “High-Performance Organizations.”

Margie Warrell wrote this incredible article “Know Your Why – 4 Questions to Tap the Power of Purpose.” Also, she has written three books on Leadership, Life, Courage and Purpose.

Sharon Dilling, owner of Fairfax-based Ability Potentials helps people identify their unique skills, energies, and passions. It works! I took Sharon’s assessment test years ago, and it said I should be the general manager of a commercial finance company. She was right!

As the owner of One Degree Capital for the past six years, I can tell you that I LOVE working with my third hero: The American Small Business Owner. Sharon’s test was so helpful that I have paid for a number of people to take it.

The people who are open and willing to explore the suggested career paths have told me they later that they have truly found their “life’s work.”

What is your “Why?” If you know of any locally owned businesses that have a strong “Why” please share them in the comments section – I would love to learn more about the amazing business owners in our local area.

Sharing is caring: How businesses can give back to charities

“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

One day not long ago a Dad was getting his daughters ready for school, and he couldn’t figure out why the lunch foods were almost gone. It was only halfway through the week and already they were low on lunch meat.

The next morning he found his daughter making two lunches. When asked what she was doing, she shared that another student’s mom was very ill, and her dad was usually too tired and too busy to make lunch. So this little seven-year-old took it upon herself to start bringing this other student lunch every day. That little seven-year-old girl was my daughter, Olivia, now 14.

It is amazing how much we can learn from our kids and their wonderful hearts full of willingness to share (as long as it is not with their siblings). Sharing really is caring.

Prince William County is home to a number of caring businesses that share their success with a variety of dedicated not-for-profit organizations.

Here at One Degree Capital, we donate roughly 2% of our annual profits to charitable causes throughout the year. In the past, the charities were chosen either by me (usually from seeing a need in the community) or by a charity approaching us for corporate sponsorship of an event.

Both ways have been great, but as I am all about “One Degree Relationships” I started to wonder what charities our team members would choose. So at a recent team meeting, I announced a new charitable program where our team members get to decide which charity we support monthly.

I asked the group, “So, team, where should we start? What are your ‘One Degree Communities?’”

Our team member Caitlin Hughes was excited to offer the first suggestion.

“As a survivor of Aplastic Anemia myself, it would mean a lot to me if One Degree Capital would support The Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation, “ explained Caitlin. “The Foundation makes it possible to bring awareness and education to local communities regarding bone marrow failure, and donations help support continual research of these diseases. The Foundation’s efforts really helped me through a tough time in my life.”

We all agreed that was the perfect place to start!

I encourage other business owners to find unique and valuable ways to give back to our community throughout the year. A great resource regarding local charitable organizations who need our support is Volunteer Prince William.

Here are a few great nonprofits here in Prince William County:

The Streetlight serves the poor and the homeless.

ACTS – Action in Community Through Service of Prince William, Inc. operates a food pantry and other services (ACTS) 

Prince William SPCA (my daughter’s favorite charity) helps homeless animals.

Sharing is indeed caring. What are some other ideas on how businesses can give back to their own “One Degree Community?”

Please share your insights and success stories in the comments section so we can all learn and find new ways to give back to our community.

BBC, WaWa, ’90-Day Fiancé’ are just some of the big names filming in Manassas

The tent was set up and light was barely coming over the horizon when the crew from Twin Productions began filming two commercials for Wawa, the food and gas chain of Pennsylvania.

“Manassas was like a perfect Hollywood back lot,” said Sasha Levinson, director for the Wawa commercials. “So many areas to create stories in, Manassas was an ideal place for our story to come to life.”

“Manassas was the perfect combination of beautiful locations and a cooperative and helpful infrastructure that made shooting our Wawa commercial a wonderful experience,” commented Angela Edwards, Producer for Twin Productions.

This is not the first film crew to choose Manassas in the last several months. Six other production companies have filmed in the City in just a short period of time. The City of Manassas’ new brand touts the City as having an historic heart and a modern beat. These film crews are a perfect example of the new brand.

Filming the City’s Modern Beat was Sharpe Entertainment as they used Stonewall Park to film an episode of “90-Day Fiancé.” Ideology Productions shot a commercial for American Public University also in Stonewall Park.

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Illustrating the City’s Historic Heart was Flight 33 Productions who worked at Liberia Plantation to film an episode of “Codes and Conspiracies” for the American Heroes Channel. Also along the Historic Heart theme was Boundless Productions from the BBC filming a segment of “Great American Railroad Journeys” outside the City’s Train Depot.

As a more “Modern Beat” type of filming, Fox 5 selected the City of Manassas for one of its summer Zip Trips. City staff worked with Fox 5 producers to showcase the City and all it has to offer, ranging from restaurants, to shops to the wonderful community.

A grad student filming his thesis project in the City incorporated both the Historic Heart and the Modern Beat of the City of Manassas. He used a portion of Main Street to shoot a retro movie with 1950’s subject matter.

The Virginia Tourism Corporation website cites a study by the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Public policy which found that more than 8,000 people in Virginia are involved in this industry, which brought more than $500 million in economic impact to Virginia in 2004.

While that data is a bit old, it gives a general perspective on the importance of the film industry to the Commonwealth and, by extension, localities. Film crews spend money with local businesses – shops, restaurants and small businesses all benefit. The crew that filmed for WaWa had more than 60 people on location throughout the day. So not only does all of the filming in Manassas contribute to extending the City’s brand, it really has a positive economic impact as well. Look for the

The City will continue its efforts to work with this important industry in the future.

This post is written by the City of Manassas to showcase businesses and economic development in the city in a paid content partnership with Potomac Local.

Announcing the new 55+ Active Adult Membership at the Manassas Park Community Center

The Manassas Park Community Center is very excited to announce our new Active Adult membership.

This membership is exclusively designed for individuals 55-64 years old and is only $15/month with 6 and 12 month options. The membership includes access to the gymnasium, pool, and wellness centers as well as all land and water group exercise classes, one fitness orientation, one fitness assessment, and two 30 minute personal training sessions.

This exciting new membership was created based on member feedback and proven demand over the last couple years. Until now our only Active Adult membership option was our Senior Passport membership which is only $30/year. However, this membership is only available for individuals 65 years and older.

As the senior programming became increasingly popular requests to expand our membership offerings also grew. The result was the creation of the new Active Adult membership.

Trying to stay fit? The Active Adult membership includes a number of wellness based classes!

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Senior Strength and Stretch offers a challenging workout that is low impact, but still meets your fitness needs.

Mixed gentle yoga focuses on your core and improves balance with easy-going, gentle yoga poses.

Aquasize is a water based exercise class that offers muscle toning in a low impact environment.

One of our most popular programs is Pickleball which is described as a combination of tennis and badminton.

Looking to learn something new or meet new people? Going Global is an opportunity to experience the diversity within our communities where you can learn about a variety of cultures through photos, stories, and food.

Piano/keyboard lessons offer a chance to explore your musical side whether you’re a beginner or a novice.

If you’re crafty, Social Knitting and Crafting for a Cause are two programs where you can learn to knit or crochet while creating projects for yourself or others to donate. The monthly senior potluck allows you to reconnect with friends in a casual environment.

Easy Gourmet is a hands-on cooking class where you learn to make quick and easy fourfive ingredient recipes.

Road Trip 66 State-to-State is a program where you can experience the diversity of our own country – think of it as a domestic Going Global! All of these programs and more are included in the new Active Adult membership!

Come meet our Senior Recreation Specialist, Bethiah Shuemaker, who has been at the forefront of creating all new senior programs for spring!

We hope to see you soon here at the Manassas Park Community Center!

The future of retail in the City of Manassas: Why some stores are perfect, and some aren’t

retail shopping in Manassas

The City of Manassas recently completed a retail study using H. Blount Hunter Retail & Real Estate Research Co. The study was designed to examine the market and trade area from the perspective of a retailer. This economic analysis is intended to assist in recruiting retail businesses to Manassas and guide future planning and development efforts.

The City analyzed several existing and potential retail trade areas where shoppers can find a mix of chain and independent businesses. These areas are primarily located on transportation corridors and include Sudley Road, Mathis Avenue, Liberia Avenue, and Route 28/Nokesville Road.  

The analysis also included Historic Downtown which is both on a transportation corridor and is a destination center. Hunter identified several sites within these areas that are well-positioned to capitalize on emerging consumer trends and market factors. 

Route 28

For example, residential development has been successfully sustaining retailers along Route 28. It is a high-visibility area that is well traveled, which are benefits that are attractive to retailers. And, in the next few years, Manassas Gateway between Godwin Drive and the Prince William Parkway will begin developing with an exciting mix of housing, office space, entertainment businesses, and retail space. New residents, office workers plus visitors to the planned hotel, Heritage Brewing and other planned attractions will generate the critical foot traffic that new retailers want.

Mathis Avenue and Centreville Road

Another area for retail development is along Mathis Avenue and Centreville Road. This major commuter route is lined with businesses that generally offer “convenience goods.” 

There is incredible potential for refreshing the look of the existing shopping centers with façade improvements and enhancing parking lots with landscaping to completely change their appearance. Aesthetic improvements can go a long way in helping to fill vacancies as well as to attract high-quality tenants. Also, the large parking lots offer plenty of room for developing pad sites along Mathis Avenue, which means more commercial buildings can be built within them to create space for new businesses.

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Downtown

In Downtown Manassas the unique historic district is set apart from other commercial areas in the region because it is filled with independent restaurants and retailers that can’t be enjoyed anywhere else. It offers an attractive sense of place, a storied history, a year-long calendar of events, and experience-driven visits from local residents as well as people who come from miles away.  

Hunter points out that unlike other shopping areas in the D.C. Metro region, shoppers will travel greater distances to the downtown for the “powerful combination of community events, dining, and specialty shopping in a walking environment that has niche appeal.” 

New development opportunities may present themselves along areas that are underutilized – such as the commuter parking lots surrounding the Manassas Museum — and can accommodate new, mixed-use construction. Future development can likely attract even more boutiques, galleries, and restaurants, especially since most chain businesses require bigger spaces than what is available there.

Chain businesses have very specific requirements

Retail development is a complex process. Residents of a community frequently ask that a specific retailer be recruited to the City; however, retailers, especially large chain businesses, have very specific requirements that they look for when choosing a new location. These include a minimum building size, access to highways, and certain customer demographics – typically income levels. 

Since the City can’t grow in size, the retail that Manassas can recruit has to fit within the existing buildings or on the vacant land that is available. Each retailer’s preference for where they want to open a location is different, too. Some want to be near their competition and others want to be near other stores that appeal to similar customers. 

All chains avoid opening new locations in close proximity to their existing locations because they don’t want a new store to steal sales away from an existing one. This is why your favorite store in a nearby town might not open another location in the City. 

For example specialty retailers currently located in Fair Lakes, Potomac Mills, and the growing commercial corridors in Gainesville to the west may not be able to locate in Manassas. Consumers travel greater distances to take advantage of these mall environments and consequently the retailers will space their locations much further apart.

Why a cashier asks for your zip code

Many people don’t realize what a complex science retailers practice when siting new stores. In addition to analyzing complementary and competitor businesses, they use demographic information, drive times and zip code data which they get from your credit card company whether you shop in a physical store or online and when you otherwise provide it. Have you ever wondered why a cashier asks for your zip code when checking out with your purchase?

Choosing poorly is the worst decision a retailer can make. In addition to the capital cost of opening a new store, companies lock into lengthy leases. Plus, closing a store can tarnish a company’s image in the eyes of the consumer who wonders why the business failed and may attribute it to other peoples use and perception of the product.

For a City of approximately 40,000 people, Manassas has more opportunities for retail development than experts typically anticipate for communities of that size. This is because there is a customer base of about 150,000 people within a five mile radius, which builds the potential for retail recruitment.  

Future development opportunities and destination commercial districts means there is a lot in store for retailing in Manassas.

This post is written as part of a paid content partnership between Potomac Local and City of Manassas to showcase businesses and economic development in the city.

Parades, pancakes, ornaments, & Santa pet photos: Don’t miss holiday fun at the Manassas Park Community Center

 

‘Tis the Season at the Manassas Park Community Center!

There’s just something about the holiday season that makes it one of my favorite times of the year. Maybe it’s because this is the season for spreading happiness, togetherness, and well-wishes to everybody you meet. To help you get into the spirit of the season the Manassas Park Community Center has lots of special events lined up!

The festivities kick off on Thursday, December 3 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. where you and your family can decorate dough ornaments for only $3 a person. You can literally create a lifelong memory to include on your Christmas tree or to keep at your desk all year round.

As a baking enthusiast, nothing brings me more holiday cheer than gingerbread houses! You and your family can decorate your own gingerbread houses Thursday, December 10 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. for just $5 per participant. We’ll supply everything but feel free to bring your own special candy to make your houses extra unique.

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Our popular 10th Annual Light Parade is on Saturday, December 12 starting at 5:45 p.m. There’s a new route this year! It will start at the General’s Ridge Golf Course and follow Manassas Drive to the Manassas Park Community Center. There’s still time to have your vehicle be a part of the parade. Contact Tony Thomas at t.thomas@manassasparkva.gov for more details.

Santa will be visiting the Manassas Park Community Center for a pancake breakfast on Saturday, December 19 from 9 to 11 a.m. It’s only $5 per person for Breakfast with Santa and kids 2 years old and under can join us for free. Make sure to bring your wishlist!

Your pups can meet Santa on December 19 as well! From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. bring your dogs to take pictures with Santa during our Santa Paws special event! It’s only $5 per dog and you’ll get a high quality digital photo to keep for years to come.

In addition to all of our special events, our monthly promotion gets in on the holiday action! Get 12% off an annual Basic or All-Access membership or 12% off any rental you book during the month of December! For more details on memberships and rentals you can visit our website at www.ManassasParkCommunityCenter.com or call the front desk at 703-335-8872.

We hope to see you soon here at the Manassas Park Community Center!

News
Call to Action: Children in need of healthy sack lunches

Good morning  – The Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program needs your help- Come share the joy of the season with a child.  We provide the child’s name, age and their 2 wishes from Santa. This promises to put you in the spirit!  I still have over 1200 children needing toys and warm clothes.  Please visit our website at: volunteerprincewilliam.org for more info and fill out a donor form.  I can provide all the info on the child right away.  You can be shopping tomorrow!

• The Manassas Christmas Parade still needs a few volunteers to help out along the parade route in Old Town Manassas on Saturday December 5th. This is tons of fun. Please email Nora at: nora@greenteaminc.com for more info.

• Contract Solutions is looking for groups of volunteers especially youth groups to assemble bags of needed essentials for individuals staying at the Woodbridge homeless shelter. This is the perfect off-site project! Lunch size bags should be filled with new socks, snacks, candy bars and personal toiletry items. The folks at Contract Solutions deliver these Hope in a Bag every other week from now through March. It’s an on-going project of simple joy to our neighbors. Please call Carole at (703) 686-4846 for more info or via email at: pwlcarole@gmail.com • SERVE is looking for 3 groups who can make 80 sack lunches for a Nutrition Education Outreach for children on December 5th. The sack lunches need to be assembled and delivered to SERVE on December 4th. Groups provide the food, lunch bags, sandwich bags and napkins. Come be part of the solution of teaching our kids good eating habits. Please email Jan at: jhawkins@nvfs,org for more info.

• NBC 4 is looking for volunteers at their next community shredding event on Saturday December 12th at the Manassas NVCC Campus from 7am-12 noon. Volunteers age 14+ are most welcome. Please register with Claudia at: charris@kpwb.org or give her a call at (571) 285-3772 to learn more.

• The Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to ring the bells at Red Kettles at area Walmart, Giant and Safeway stores between now and Christmas Eve. This program helps people throughout the year. Please call Katie at (703) 618-0511 to learn more.

• Meal on Wheels is looking for a volunteer to coordinate the service to the Gainesville/Haymarket area. Duties include picking up the meals at the Manassas Senior Center and delivering them to the warming station in Gainesville so other volunteers can deliver them to the seniors in the area. There has been a tremendous increase of seniors in the Gainesville area needing nice warm lunchtime meal and this volunteer opportunity sounds like a wonderful solution. Please call Melodee at (703) 792-4583 to learn more.

• The Novant Health Foundation is looking for volunteers to serve on their Gala Committee. Duties include securing donations for the auction at their Annual Gala onFebruary 27, 2016. This is a big event that helps tons of people in our community. Please call Abby at (703) 369-8201 to learn more • Historic Manassas needs volunteers at the Visitor Center during traditional business hours. This is fun place with people from all over the world stopping in to gather historical information on our community. Please call Erin at (703) 361-6599 for more info.

• The VETS Program of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is looking for volunteer’s age 55+ to drive veterans and/or their spouses to their doctors’ appointments. Most of these appointments are local. They do have one client needing a ride from Manassas to Landsdown on December 8th. Please call Coleen at (571) 292-5307 to learn more about these vets and how you can give them the ride they need.

• Habitat for Humanity needs volunteers to get the brand new ReStore ready to go as well as the current location. Tasks include getting donations on the floor- especially all the holiday decorations. Please visit their website at: habitatpwc.org for all the specifics and to register for any of these fun events or email Tammy at:volunteer@habitatpwc.org

• Nominate your volunteers! The 2016 Virginia Governor’s Volunteerism & Community Service Awards Program is open for you to nominate your wonderful volunteers. It’s really easy to do right on-line at: vavolunteerismawards.org. The deadline for nominations is December 16, 2015 so you have a little time but don’t forget to do it.

• 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 atwww.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.

Leave the stress of the season behind! Shop Small in the City of Manassas

 

Shop for olive oil, home décor, fashion, pottery, fair trade goods, jewelry, books, antiques and collectibles, musical instruments, quilting supplies, and spiritual items

When it comes to holiday shopping, you can choose between two completely different experiences next week.

On Black Friday, you can rise before the sun and get ready to fight frenzied crowds. You can endure long lines as you frantically attempt to snag limited-time, mega deals on big-ticket items.

Or, on Small Business Saturday, you can instead enjoy a leisurely day browsing independently owned businesses, discovering unique gifts and specialty items, enjoying attentive customer service, and sitting down for a relaxing meal with friends and family.

There are many independently owned shops across the City of Manassas where fantastic, one-of-a-kind gifts are waiting for you on Saturday, November. 28.

In Historic Downtown Manassas, retailers will open early at 9 a.m. to welcome shoppers through their doors. You can park once and stroll for hours while finding something for everyone.  To get an idea of the wide range of retailers in the downtown, take a look at VisitManassas.org’s merchant directory.

Explore specialty boutiques that offer premium food from wine to olive oil, home décor, fashion, pottery, fair trade goods, jewelry, books, antiques and collectibles, musical instruments, quilting supplies, and spiritual items. Leave the stress of the season behind! In between your purchases, pick up a warm beverage, take a spin around the ice-skating rink at the Harris Pavilion, and enjoy lunch or dinner at one of the independently owned restaurants.

If you have history buffs on your list, there is no better place to visit than Echoes, the Manassas Museum shop. It features a wide array of merchandise that celebrates local history and culture. From children’s toys to Civil War collectibles to souvenirs – you will find many distinctive presents here that are not available elsewhere.

For shoppers pressed for time, a drive along Liberia Avenue to The Shops at Signal Hill, the Fairview Shopping Center, and the Davis Ford Crossing Shopping Center will offer you the convenience of running errands, buying groceries, and shopping “small.”

Discoveries here will delight the people on your list who hard to shop for. You can find gifts for antique seekers, archers, coin and military memorabilia collectors, art enthusiasts, cyclists, foodies, and cigar connoisseurs. And, you can save time by not cooking and stopping into one of the ethnic eateries or your other local favorites here.

If you are cruising down Centreville Road, don’t miss stopping into one of the antique shops that could very well have that rare piece you have been looking for. There are also several niche boutiques that can satisfy very specific wish lists – like bowling supplies, dancewear, signature pieces of jewelry, and vinyl records.

The desire to “buy local” has been growing in popularity over the years. American Express, the force behind Small Business Saturday, estimates that shoppers spent a total of $14.3 billion at independent businesses in 2014. This spending significantly impacts a community. Studies have shown that for every $100 that is spent at an independently owned business, approximately $45 is re-spent in the local community. This is often because those business owners live locally and recirculate their earnings back into their hometowns, conduct business with other local establishments, make charitable donations, and put local employees on their payrolls.

On the flip side, for every $100 spent at a national chain business, only approximately $14 goes back to the local community.

For shoppers who love spending time at independent businesses, shifting a portion of their holiday dollars will make a difference in supporting their community and their favorite merchants. Show your love for your favorite shops and choose Small Business Saturday next week!

Manassas is bucking the national trend and welcoming younger entrepreneurs to the city

A wave of business owners under the age of 35 has been bringing both new energy and great new destinations to the City of Manasass.

This activity comes at a time when the rate of entrepreneurship among young Americans has been falling across the U.S. While the Kauffman Foundation recorded the lowest rate of entrepreneurship in 17 years among people between the ages of 20 to 34, the City has been attracting this demographic.

Some of the forces driving this trend include a local culture of support for independent businesses, a collaborative business environment, and a strong sense of community.

There is no greater encouragement for an entrepreneur than the vote of confidence that support from the community can bring. Sean Arroyo, the CEO and co-founder of Heritage Brewing Company, used Kickstarter to see if locals would get behind his brewery concept.

Kickstarter is an online fundraising platform through which business owners can make sales pitches to raise money for their ideas. He met his goal and raised more than $20,000 from 166 backers three years ago. Support for Heritage continues to grow. A planned expansion will make it the second largest brewery in the state.

“It was funded mostly by people in and around Manassas and Northern Virginia,” said Arroyo. “It signaled to us that people want us here.”

Strong local support makes locating in Manassas an obvious choice for other business owners, too. Chase Hoover, co-owner of The Bone barbecue restaurant, says his family has been involved with businesses in Manassas for generations. Opening The Bone in the City was a “no-brainer” for him because he likes being in a community with so many independently owned businesses and strong support for buying local.

“The hospitality industry in Downtown Manassas is made up of many young entrepreneurs, which gives the city an energetic, unique flair you can’t find anywhere else,” said Hoover. “We love working with the other [local] restaurant owners to put on special events such as the weekly live music and numerous festivals throughout the year.  It is truly a small town where everyone works together toward the common goal of bringing great food and a great experience to visitors and locals alike.”

Miguel Pires, the owner of Zandra’s Taqueria, also cites the spirit of the community as a factor for opening his business in the City. He says he was raised in his family’s restaurants – Carmello’s and Monza – and worked as a general manager for both establishments for 10 years. When the time had come to open Zandra’s, Pires chose Manassas because he “wanted to continue to expand downtown’s culinary experience.” 

Chris Sellers, the owner of CJ Finz, credits the small-scale buildings in the historic downtown for giving restaurants a more intimate feel and an opportunity to focus on customer service.

“The restaurants here aren’t commercialized,” he said. “We get to build a connection to the community through each table that we serve.”

Business owners who are active with community organizations and civic groups strengthen that connection to the City even more. “People like me, Miguel, and others are excited about being the next leaders of the downtown,” said Sellers.

Entrepreneurs of any age can take advantage of area support services to get their business idea off the ground and join this community. The City’s Economic Development Department’s staff members are available to discuss the local economy, business ideas, great sites for locating new establishments, incentives, and the steps in starting a business.

Also, training and advice is available from George Mason University’s Mason Enterprise Centers, the Community Business Partnership, and the Flory Small Business Center (by referral).

News
Meals on Wheels needs help in Gainesville, Haymarket

Good morning Prince William – The Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program is underway- sponsors are needed to provide holiday gifts to needy children in the community. We provide the child’s name, age and their 2 wishes from Santa. This promises to put you in the spirit! I still have over 1400 children needing toys. Please visit our website at: volunteerprincewilliam.org for more info and fill out a donor form. I can provide all the info on the child right away. You can be shopping tomorrow!

· The Manassas Christmas Parade still needs a few volunteers to help out along the parade route in Old Town Manassas on Saturday December 5. This is tons of fun. Please email Nora at: nora@greenteaminc.com for more info.

· SERVE is looking for 3 groups who can make 80 sack lunches for a Nutrition Education Outreach for children on December 5th. The sack lunches need to be assembled and delivered to SERVE on December 4th. Groups provide the food, lunch bags, sandwich bags and napkins. Come be part of the solution of teaching our kids good eating habits. Please email Jan at: jhawkins@nvfs,org for more info.

· The FH Furr Coat Drive for needy children is well under way and we need your help. This week all of the United Bank locations in our community will have specific sizes of NEW coats needed right now for underprivileged kids. Those locations are: Dumfries, Lake Ridge, Liberia Road and Balls Ford Road. We will gladly find a deserving child for any donated coat for age’s birth to 12yrs old but how fun to shop specifically for a child as winter approaches! Other drop off locations includes the Kelly Leadership Center, Battlefield Garden Center and of course Volunteer Prince William. Please call Mary at (703) 369-5292-ext. 4 with any questions.

· The Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to ring the bells at Red Kettles at area Walmart, Giant and Safeway stores between now and Christmas Eve. This program helps people throughout the year. Please call Katie at (703) 618-0511 to learn more.

· Meals on Wheels is looking for a volunteer to coordinate the service to the Gainesville/Haymarket area. Duties include picking up the meals at the Manassas Senior Center and delivering them to the warming station in Gainesville so other volunteers can deliver them to the seniors in the area. There has been a tremendous increase of seniors in the Gainesville area needing nice warm lunchtime meal and this volunteer opportunity sounds like a wonderful solution. Please call Melodee at (703) 792-4583 to learn more.

· The Novant Health Foundation is looking for volunteers to serve on their Gala Committee. Duties include securing donations for the auction at their Annual Gala on February 27, 2016. This is a big event that helps tons of people in our community. Please call Abby at (703) 369-8201 to learn more

· Historic Manassas needs volunteers at the Visitor Center during traditional business hours. This is fun place with people from all over the world stopping in to gather historical information on our community. Please call Erin at (703) 361-6599 for more info.

· Birthright of Manassas needs volunteers to help in the office with basic admin tasks. This organization provides services to women in the Manassas area. Please call Kathy at (703) 361-9769 for more info.

· The VETS Program of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is looking for volunteer’s age 55+ to drive veterans and/or their spouses to their doctors’ appointments. Most of these appointments are local. They do have one client needing a ride from Manassas to Landsdown on December 8th. Please call Coleen at (571) 292-5307 to learn more about these vets and how you can give them the ride they need.

· Habitat for Humanity needs volunteers to get the brand new ReStore ready to go as well as the current location. Tasks include getting donations on the floor- especially all the holiday decorations. Please visit their website at: habitatpwc.org for all the specifics and to register for any of these fun events or email Tammy at: volunteer@habitatpwc.org

· Nominate your volunteers! The 2016 Virginia Governor’s Volunteerism & Community Service Awards Program is open for you to nominate your wonderful volunteers. It’s really easy to do right on-line at: vavolunteerismawards.org. The deadline for nominations is December 16, 2015 so you have a little time but don’t forget to do it.

· 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.

Manassas Park Community Center starts ‘thank you’ pandemic to spread gratefulness

Don’t be alarmed, but in case you hadn’t heard summer is over and the Thanksgiving season is here.

Now is the season where people make a special effort to recount all the things they are thankful for in their lives. For many, it has become a tradition to share this list at the dinner table on Thanksgiving before eating.

Being mindful of your gratitude helps make you a happier person and, as happiness is contagious, it will make others around you happier as well. While it’s a wonderful and fun tradition to practice during Thanksgiving, the benefits of gratefulness can be enjoyed year round.

However, being grateful and focusing on what you are grateful for isn’t enough.

It’s easy to neglect to use the phrase, “thank you,” but those two simple words carry so much meaning. Thank you can reinforce and strengthen bonds we share with others.

When you say thank you to the person who makes your lunch in the morning, to your child who finishes their chores, or to your favorite cashier ringing up your purchase you express that you value that individual. Regardless of how monotonous, simple, or mandatory the task is, it should always be acknowledged and appreciated verbally.

Remember, gratefulness spreads happiness, but how can you express gratitude if you never say “thank you?”

Why do people neglect to say thank you? There are probably a myriad of reasons beyond my scope of knowledge and it’s easy to compile a list of cynical reasons – but let’s not create an anti-grateful list during the season of gratitude.

Instead let’s challenge each other to say a sincere and genuine thank you every day. Say it 10 times. Say it 100 times. Thank you is a rare phrase that has meaning no matter how frequently it is repeated.

Once you start saying thank you to others you’ll instantly notice others will start saying thank you to you. If happiness is contagious, and gratitude creates happiness, then it shouldn’t be surprising gratitude is contagious as well.

I’d like to start this gratitude pandemic. From me and on behalf of the entire City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation, we’d like to thank you for all that you do. Even if we haven’t met yet, thank you. If we have met, thank you. Thank you for visiting our parks and our community center and giving value to the work that we do here. You are our community and we are here to work together to build our community up together.

To add further meaning behind our gratitude and to help spread our gratitude we are offering two specials this month. On Thursdays (through November 19) you can donate 10 non-perishable food items in order to receive 10% off a Basic or All-Access membership at the Manassas Park Community Center.  

From November 27 through December 4, we will be launching our ‘Friends and Family’ promotion where we share our employee discount with all of you. During that week only, you can get a Basic membership for 25% off.

For more details please contact us at 703-335-8872.

News
Call to Action: Warm coats needed now

Good morning Prince William – The FH Furr Coat Drive for needy children is well under way and we need your help. This week all of the United Bank locations in our community will have specific sizes of NEW coats needed right now for underprivileged kids. Those locations are: Dumfries, Lake Ridge, Liberia Road and Balls Ford Road. We will gladly find a deserving child for any donated coat for age’s birth to 12yrs old but how fun to shop specifically for a child as winter approaches! Other drop off locations includes the Kelly Leadership Center, Battlefield Garden Center and of course Volunteer Prince William. Please call Mary at (703) 369-5292-ext. 4 with any questions.

· Coat Drive – I have one special family that needs a boy’s size 14-16, girl’s size large, women’s large and men’s large. Please call me if you can help this family – (703) 369-5292 ext. 4

· Ho, Ho, Ho – The Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program is underway- sponsors are needed to provide holiday gifts to needy children in the community. We provide the child’s name, age and their 2 wishes from Santa. Please visit our website at: volunteerprincewilliam.org to adopt a child.

· Historic Manassas needs volunteers at the Visitor Center during traditional business hours. This is fun place with people from all over the world stopping in to gather historical information on our community. Please call Erin at (703) 361-6599 for more info.

· Birthright of Manassas needs volunteers to help in the office with basic admin tasks. This organization provides services to women in the Manassas area. Please call Kathy at (703) 361-9769 for more info.

· Buckhall UMC is having their Annual Fall Bazaar on Saturday November 14th from 9am-3pm. This is sure to jumpstart your holiday shopping and bring home some fabulous home baked cakes, pies and bread for the weekend.

· The Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center needs supplies and basics for their residents such as shower curtains, winter coats, scarves, gloves and socks for adults and children, plus size clothing, bus tokens, winter boots for all as well as underwear, bath towels and blankets. Items can be dropped off at the shelter on Route 1 in Woodbridge or give Pam a call at (571) 748-2537 for more info.

· 2015 Greater Manassas Veterans Day Parade on Saturday November 7th needs volunteers beginning at 7am for orientation at the American Legion Post 10 on Cockrell Road, Manassas. Everything wraps up by 12:30. Please email Russ at: russ@keatinghome.com if you can help with this wonderful event.

· Prince William Soil & Water needs volunteers on Thursday November 12th for their meaningful watershed experience program for a third grade class. This promises to be a hoot. Please email Alysha at: education@pwswcd.org to learn more.

· The VETS Program of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is looking for volunteer’s age 55+ to drive veterans and/or their spouses to their doctors’ appointments. Most of these appointments are local. They especially have a need in the Gainesville, Bristow and Haymarket area. They also have a very special lady with a spinal injury who needs to get to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland. Please call Coleen at (571) 292-5307 to learn more about these vets and how you can give them the ride they need.

· Habitat for Humanity needs volunteers to get the brand new ReStore ready to go. Tasks include flooring, painting, carpentry and others as well to get ready for the opening in late November. Please visit their website at: habitatpwc.org for all the specifics and to register for any of these fun events or email Tammy at: volunteer@habitatpwc.org

· Nominate your volunteers! The 2016 Virginia Governor’s Volunteerism & Community Service Awards Program is open for you to nominate your wonderful volunteers. It’s really easy to do right on-line at: vavolunteerismawards.org. The deadline for nominations is December 16, 2015 so you have a little time but don’t forget to do it.

· Saved Hands Foundation is looking for volunteers to help with marketing, admin tasks and grant writing. Please call Pamela at (571) 572-9013 to learn more.

· Catholic Charities- Hogar Immigrant Services needs volunteer teachers at their Woodbridge location. Classes are held Tuesday and Thursday evenings 7-9pm. No experience needed as materials and training provided. Please call Cynthia at (571) 208-1572 ext. 103 to learn more.

· Pathway Homes in Woodbridge needs volunteers as friendly visitors and to help out in their group homes for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Please call Abigail at (703) 876-0390 to learn more about these activities.

· Neighbors in Need are looking for volunteer help in the office answering the phones and other admin duties during daytime hours. Please email Mrs. Cahill at: helping@neighborsinneedpwc.bpweb.com 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. 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.

News
When trying to schedule a debate between Parrish & McPike, Parrish pushed back the most

Potomac Local, like many organizations, tried to get Hal Parrish and Jeremy McPike on stage for a debate this election season.

To our dismay, and to many of those who looked forward to the debate, it never happened. But it was not for lack of trying.

Our community news organization held more debates this year than we ever have held during our five years covering Prince William County. Candidates for state and local offices agreed to meet to debate and discuss the issues facing our community.

Potomac Local worked with the Republican and Democratic committees of Prince William County to secure the public schools we used as venues to hold these debates. 

The debates were well attended, and discussion sparked from them made voters better informed. Our debates were far from perfect, but they were substantive.

Potomac Local didn’t sell sponsorships for the debate, and no one from my company was paid to be there. It was a true public service.

This summer, Potomac Local worked tirelessly to bring together McPike, Parrish, officials in the respective political parties, church pastors, and business leaders to come to agreement on when and where both candidates could meet.

We first secured Bull Run Unitarian Chruch in Manassas as our debate venue due to its central location in the Prince William region. Parrish’s campaign declined to participate and cited parking constraints as the reason.

We then secured a large meeting room at the offices of Home Instead Senior Care in Manassas. The McPike campaign did not want to debate there as they felt the location would be too close to Manassas Councilman Ian Lovejoy, who serves on the council with Parrish and manages the Home Instead offices.

Finally, we secured an auditorium inside a Prince William County Public School. The Parrish campaign declined to participate if the Prince William Chamber of Commerce did not participate in the event.

Potomac Local is a member of the Chamber, and I also know it tried unsuccessfully to bring McPike and Parrish to the table. Many who watch state politics closely, including Dr. Stephen Farnsworth, who co-moderated several of our debates, were eager to attend a debate featuring both candidates.

Potomac Local does not endorse political candidates. I know Parrish from covering the Manassas City Council where he serves as Mayor. I know McPike from my years of covering the Dale City Volunteer Fire Department where he volunteers.

McPike won a debate Potomac Local hosted in May, featuring two Democrats running against him in a Primary Election. It would have been nice to see if could do it all over again had been able to stand next to Parrish and debate the issues.

Another debate Potomac Local tried to organize at the Manassas Park Community Center, between Robert Marshall and Don Shaw was canceled after Marshall declined to participate. 

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

News
Call to Action: FH Furr holds coat drive for needy children

Good morning Prince William – Here’s a huge Cheers to the FH Furr Coat Drive for needy children. Coats for age’s birth to 12 years old are needed to keep kids warm. You may drop off the coats to any United Bank in our community, the Kelly Leadership Center, Battlefield Garden Center and of course Volunteer Prince William. Please call Mary at (703) 369-5292-ext. 4 with any questions.

· Coat Drive – I have one special family that needs a boy’s size 14-16, girl’s size large, women’s large and men’s large. Please call me if you can help this family – (703) 369-5292 ext. 4

· Ho, Ho, Ho – The Un Trim A Tree Holiday Gift Program is underway- sponsors are needed to provide holiday gifts to needy children in the community. We provide the child’s name, age and their 2 wishes from Santa. Please visit our website at: volunteerprincewilliam.org to adopt a child.

· The Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center needs supplies and basics for their residents such as shower curtains, winter coats, scarves, gloves and socks for adults and children, plus size clothing, bus tokens, winter boots for all as well as underwear, bath towels and blankets. Items can be dropped off at the shelter on Route 1 in Woodbridge or give Pam a call at (571) 748-2537 for more info.

· 2015 Greater Manassas Veterans Day Parade on Saturday November 7th needs volunteers beginning at 7am for orientation at the American Legion Post 10 on Cockrell Road, Manassas. Everything wraps up by 12:30. Please email Russ at: russ@keatinghome.com if you can help with this wonderful event.

· Keep Prince William Beautiful needs volunteers on October 31st for a shredding event at both landfill locations and on November 4th for their fun litter survey event. Please call Claudia at (571) 285-3772 to learn more.

· Prince William Soil & Water needs volunteers on Thursday November 12th for their meaningful watershed experience program for a third grade class. This promises to be a hoot. Please email Alysha at: education@pwswcd.org to learn more.

· The VETS Program of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is looking for volunteer’s age 55+ to drive veterans and/or their spouses to their doctors’ appointments. Most of these appointments are local. They especially have a need in the Gainesville, Bristow and Haymarket area. They also have a very special lady with a spinal injury who needs to get to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland. Please call Coleen at (571) 292-5307 to learn more about these vets and how you can give them the ride they need.

· Habitat for Humanity needs volunteers to get the brand new ReStore ready to go. Tasks include flooring, painting, carpentry and others as well to get ready for the opening in late November. Please visit their website at: habitatpwc.org for all the specifics and to register for any of these fun events or email Tammy at: volunteer@habitatpwc.org

· Nominate your volunteers! The 2016 Virginia Governor’s Volunteerism & Community Service Awards Program is open for you to nominate your wonderful volunteers. It’s really easy to do right on-line at: vavolunteerismawards.org. The deadline for nominations is December 16, 2015 so you have a little time but don’t forget to do it.

· Saved Hands Foundation is looking for volunteers to help with marketing, admin tasks and grant writing. Please call Pamela at (571) 572-9013 to learn more.

· Catholic Charities- Hogar Immigrant Services needs volunteer teachers at their Woodbridge location. Classes are held Tuesday and Thursday evenings 7-9pm. No experience needed as materials and training provided. Please call Cynthia at (571) 208-1572 ext. 103 to learn more.

· Pathway Homes in Woodbridge needs volunteers as friendly visitors and to help out in their group homes for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Please call Abigail at (703) 876-0390 to learn more about these activities.
· Neighbors in Need are looking for volunteer help in the office answering the phones and other admin duties during daytime hours. Please email Mrs. Cahill at: helping@neighborsinneedpwc.bpweb.com 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. 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.

Chinese travel to Manassas to learn about local government

When delegates of the Shaoxing Yuecheng District in China were looking for an American local government to learn from, they selected the City of Manassas.  

On Oct. 20, 2015, the City of Manassas hosted five members of the Shaoxing Yuecheng Delegation from China.  Vice Mayor Way and City Manager W. Patrick Pate put together a team of senior staff to speak to the group.  The group heard from the Chief of Police, Voter Registrar, Treasurer, City Attorney and the Purchasing Manager about local government processes and transparency in government.

Members of the delegation were impressed to learn that the Manassas City Police Department is in the top one percent of police departments internationally as evidenced by their current CALEA rating.  Delegates asked questions as to which agency, out of the Federal government, state or local governments were responsible for the different aspects of government, such as elections and public safety.

At the end of the event, members posed for a group photo.  Members from the City of Manassas include City Manager W. Patrick Pate, Vice Mayor Jonathan Way, Purchasing Manager Jimmy Falls, Treasurer Robin Perkins, Voting Registrar Ann Marie Bausch and Director of Economic Development Patrick Small.  The Shaoxing Yuecheng Delegation included Mr. Jin Quanhai, Vice Secretary, CPC Yuecheng District Committee of Shaoxing City, Mr. Chen Jirui, Town Chief, Yuecheng Lingzhi Town People’s Government of Shaoxing City, Mr. Wang Yin, Director, Yucheng Fushan Sub-district Office of Shaoxing City, Mr. Zhao Xiongwei, Deputy Director Shaoxing City Yuecheng District Economy and Information Technology Bureau, and MaChao, Secretary, CPC Yuecheng Chengnan Sub-district Committee of Shaoxing City.

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