Plantation tours, National Night Out, at Manassas Museum in July

manassas museum

The Manassas Museum will be hosting free book talks, historic walking tours, Liberia Plantation tours and a National Night Out event in July.

More on July’s events at the museum, from a city release:

Historic Downtown Manassas Walking Tours; Thursdays and Fridays at Noon
Stroll through Historic Downtown Manassas and learn about the town’s history during a Manassas Museum Walking Tour.  Costumed interpreters share stories about Historic Downtown during the Civil War and about the rebirth of the area after war and fire.

Liberia Plantation Tours; Sundays at Noon (8601 Portner Avenue, Manassas, VA) –
Step back in history at this historic 1825 plantation house where Civil War soldiers and presidents tread. Liberia will be open every Sunday at 12 Noon (as restoration work permits).

Museum at the Market; Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. through October –
(Lot B, Prince Williams Street and West Street) Stop by the Farmers’ Market and enjoy hands-on history for all ages.

A New Exhibit: Protecting Manassas; Through July 15; free –

The exhibit features historic and modern artifacts from the City of Manassas police, fire and rescue services, and features activities for young visitors. The exhibit coincides with this summer’s 2015 World Police and Fire Games, an athletic competition held throughout the region.

Free Book Talk: Jonathan Roberts: The Civil War’s Quaker Scout and Sheriff; July 12 at 2 p.m.
When author Gregory P. Wilson began researching his family history, he never expected to uncover a great-great grandfather as unique and fascinating as Jonathan Roberts.

Pre-K Tuesday; July 14 at 10 a.m.; ages 3-5 with adult; $10 per child

Children ages three to five and a caregiver may enjoy storytelling, crafts, songs, and outdoor exploration during the Pre-KTuesday program at the Manassas Museum. Register at or by calling 703-368-1873.

Free Book Talk: Cut From Strong Cloth; July 19 at 2 p.m.
In her new book, Cut From Strong Cloth, author Linda Harris Sittig tells the story of a strong Civil War-era woman whose dreams of entrepreneurship are thwarted by family and the threat of war.

Free Book Talk: For Brotherhood and Duty: The Civil War History of the West Point Class of 1862; July 26 at 2 p.m.

Brian McEnany’s curiosity about the Civil War and about the West Point class that graduated 100 years before he did, resulted in his new book, For Brotherhood and Duty: The Civil War History of the West Point Class of 1862.

National Night Out – Towne Ball; August 4 from 6 to 8 p.m.; free

See how baseball began during the annual event on the museum lawn held in conjunction with the Manassas City Police.

Two performances for children coming to Hylton Center this summer

The Hylton Performing Arts Center is pleased to introduce two exciting events as part of itsSummer Performances for Young Audiences. Juggler and comedian Mark Nizer presents “Juggling and So Much More!” onWednesday, July 22, 2015 at 11 a.m., and multicultural dance ensemble Footworks appears on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015 at 11 a.m.

One of the greatest entertainment comedians and jugglers performing today, Mark Nizer brings original comedy, world class juggling, dance, music and technology to his craft for a unique and spellbinding performance. This juggling master keeps it all up in the air with flying household items, clubs, balls and balancing sticks. Nizer’s wild antics have landed him on MTV, HBO’s “Just for Laughs,” Arsenio Hall, Bob Hope and Other Young Comedians, Comic Strip Live and “L.A. Law.” He has brought his one-man show to The Improv, Walt Disney World, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and to countless college campuses, and opened for the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Hope and George Burns. “Without a doubt the hottest juggler [out there], Mark Nizer is simply incredible.” (Entertainment Magazine) 

Fiery fancy footwork sets the stage ablaze when the aptly-named company Footworks, takes the spotlight. This talented group conveys the joy of dance while illuminating the historical and multicultural perspectives of American percussive dances. Known for its energetic and imaginative choreography, Footworks combines the elements of clog, step and tap into a fast-paced, exuberant dance production that leaves both entertainer and audience breathless. Through programming that celebrates the cultural diversity found in the United States, Footworks remains true to traditional American music andpercussive dance and presents connected roots and branches from many cultures. “The eruptive joy of Footworks dancers is as contagious as laughter!” (The Washington Post)

Tickets for each of these performances are $15 for adults and $5 for youth through grade 12.Tickets can be purchased, by calling 888-945-2468 or by visiting the Hylton Center ticket office, open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Summer Hours). The Hylton Performing Arts Center is located on George Mason University’s Science and Technology Campus (formerly the Prince William Campus) at 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Va., 20110. Free parking is available in the lot next to the Hylton Center.

Picturesque Stafford barn destroyed by storm

All that's left of an old barn on Route 610 in Stafford.
A strong gust of wind took down the barn.
The old barn on a spring day. [File photo: Mary Davidson]
The old barn during a snowstorm in 2013. [File photo: Mary Davidson]
The same gust of wind that blew down the barn also took down these large trees.

An iconic barn that stood for at least 60 years is gone.

The barn sat on a 90-acre property on Route 610 in Stafford County. It was mostly intact and was being used to store an old straw blower once used on the farm.

A severe thunderstorm blew through Stafford on Thursday night packing heavy lightning, high winds, and quarter-sized hail.

A strong gust of wind blew through Aaron Clark’s property and took down two massive trees, as well as what was left of the old barn.

Before the storm, it was clear the barn had seen better days. It was missing a sidewall that faced the west. It had deteriorated over the years.

With so few barns left in an area once rich in farmland turned suburban neighborhoods, the structure was popular with photographers who would knock on Clark’s door and ask if they could shoot the wooden building.

Potomac Local’s Mary Davidson did just that in 2012 while on assignment shooting photos across the seasons of the year.

“I’ve always loved the old barn and have stopped to photograph in on several occasions. It seems to defy all the new houses that spring up around it and must have so many stories to tell,” said Davidson.

Clark says he and his wife, Joanie, used to watch the Barnwood Builders show. The show follows woodworkers who go about restoring old 19th-century barns. Joanie always wanted to restore the barn and make it into a house, said Clark.

It was a project the two never started, as Joanie wife passed on three months ago after battling cancer.
She leaves behind Clark — her high school sweetheart — and four children.

“I think this is a sign from my wife that’s it’s now OK to build a house here now,” said Clark.

Fuddruckers serves second helping in Woodbridge

Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.

Years after closing a location on Prince William Parkway in, Fuddruckers reopened Tuesday in Woodbridge.

The hamburger joint is famous for their large beef patties and fresh baked buns. They’re most famously known for the toppings bar that allows customers to pile high lettuce, tomato, onion, and several other toppings onto their freshly cooked hamburger.

At dinnertime on Tuesday, customers, in a line that stretched from the register to the front door, all waited to place thier order. Nearly all of the restaurant’s 41 tables were full with hungry diners munching on burgers and fries.

The new Fuddruckers sits inside what was Cheeseburger in Paradise, a restaurant built under the Jimmy Buffett brand name. It and a similar Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant in Fredericksburg closed.
This new Fuddruckers location is 6,523 square feet of space. Because it was retrofitted from an older restaurant, It is slightly larger than many of the new Fuddruckers being built from the ground up, said restaurant spokeswoman Rebecca Conner.

The restaurant offers bottled beers and is looking into the possibility of adding beers on tap. The eatery hopes a kids night, where children’s meals sell for 99 cents and a 20% military discount with ID, will bring in customers. The restaurant also advertises its catering business good for office parties and children’s sports teams.

After Fuddruckers, Inc. filed for bankruptcy in 2010, the old Fuddruckers location that opened in the early 1990’s, located on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge, closed. The building was demolished, and a McDonalds built in its place. 

Shortly after Fuddruckers filed bankruptcy, a new company, Luby’s, purchased the Fuddruckers brand and began expanding the chain.

Brews and bands at festival in Centreville June 20, 21

This weekend you can hear bands and drink beer at the Northern Virginia Summer BrewFest in Centreville.

The festival – which is on its 8th year – will be held at the Bull Run Regional Park. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 20 and 21.

Tickets, which cost $25 for those drinking and $10 for designated drivers, and includes admission, a beer tasting glass and six tickets to try different brews, according to a release.

More on the festival from a release:

The spotlight for this festival will be the more than 45 regional & local craft breweries. There will also be a great line-up of popular local bands to liven up the festival and keep the crowd entertained. The bands will perform from 12:15pm through 6:15pm each day of the festival. The fun doesn’t stop there, if you’ve become a champion of your neighborhood cornhole competitions, you may want to consider entering the NoVa BrewFest Corn Hole tournament this year. We’ll have bragging rites and even prizes and trophies for the winners. Keep Reading…

Mission BBQ opens in North Stafford

mission bbq stafford

There’s a new barbecue joint in town.

Mission BBQ opened in the North Stafford Shopping Center on Monday. The chain restaurant with locations in Richmond, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, saw a line form with hungry customers form outside their location off Route 610 in North Stafford.

Jacqueline and Mark Dickenson took their family to the restaurant for opening day. They said the pulled pork was delicious.

At noon on opening day, employees treated customers to a live rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. The grand opening followed a week of special fundraising events for the Stafford County Fire and Recuce Department, Stafford County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Here’s more in a press release:

The restaurant known for its traditional American BBQ with a hefty side of patriotism opens its 17th location in Stafford on June 15. Now Stafford County can experience traditional favorites done the MISSION BBQ way. Menu items include Texas Inspired Beef Brisket; Jalapeño and Cheese Sausage; and the bestselling North Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich topped high with Cold Slaw accompanied by an array of homemade BBQ sauces. The opening of the Stafford location is part of MISSION BBQ’s expansion plans, with a targeted goal of 40 restaurants throughout the East Coast by 2018. MISSION BBQ currently has restaurants in five states: Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida. 

How to do a tasting at Manassas Olive Oil Company

Manassas Olive Oil Company
Manassas Olive Oil Company
Manassas Olive Oil Company
Manassas Olive Oil Company
Manassas Olive Oil Company
Manassas Olive Oil Company

Find perfect pairings for salads, chicken, even ice cream

At Manassas Olive Oil Company, you have the opportunity to sample over 45 flavors of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

From mild to robust, these oils fill up metal fusties that are placed throughout the room. Empty bottles are lined up beneath them, and tasting cups are waiting to be filled with fresh oils and vinegar.

A tasting experience can vary.

You may end up spending an hour with friends sampling a large variety, or you might just be looking for something to create a perfect marinade for tonight’s chicken entree.

“We encourage people to spend as much time as they want finding what they love in here,” says store manager Cameron Thomson. “If you don’t want to spend an hour and change in here tasting everything, I can ask you what you’re looking to use it for and then help you find what you’re looking for.”

Thomson says it’s an experience that most people aren’t expecting. “Typically most people, what they’ve had their whole life is nothing like this, so they’re going to be caught very off guard by what they’re about to taste,” Thomson says.

To sample any of the olive oils or balsamic vinegar, you just have to fill up a small plastic ramekin of the flavor you want. Thomson says it’s important to smell it before taking a swig. He also suggests slurping the oils in order to really discern their tastes.

For people that might be put off by drinking the oils on their own, there are jars of bread available for tastings. You can dunk the small pieces of bread into the various flavors in order to get a sense of their taste.

“Sometimes it’s good to break up the taste of it,” said Thomson. “Some of the oils have very strong flavor by themselves, so sometimes its good to have something neutral to taste it with.” 

After sampling a variety of flavors, you may end up with a French Walnut olive oil and Black Cherry vinegar pairing that will make a perfect dressing for your salad, a Mushroom Sage as marinade for tomorrow night’s pork dinner, and a raspberry vinegar to drizzle on that vanilla ice cream in your freezer.

After narrowing down your choices, employees will help you fill the empty glass bottles with the fresh balsamic vinegar and olive oils.

Thomson says this is something fun and new that everyone will love trying out.

“Open up your mind to the new possibility of tasting very fresh olive oil,”he said.

Manassas Olive Oil Company opened its doors in May. Hours are Monday thru Thursday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Boys & Girls Club’s Steak’n’Stake event raises $100K

The Prince William Boys & Girls Club held their 26th Annual Steak’n’Stake Dinner, honoring community leaders.

The event was held at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, and held more than 300 guests.

During the dinner, several leaders from the community were honored, including Marty Alloy from Stanley Martin Homes, Eddie Byrne from Potomac Shores and the Micron Foundation, according to a release.

With this annual fundraising event, the Boys & Girls Club was able to raise more than $100,000.

Two of the Club’s 2015 Youth Ambassadors – Taylor Hinebaugh and Destiny Malloy – were at the dinner to present.

“This year’s annual Steak’n’Stake Event was a phenomenal fundraising event for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington! The event allowed the Prince William County Clubs the opportunity to showcase major contributors and excellent youth who attend the Clubs and participate in the programming. The youth exemplified the character of the programming while honoring our distinguished award recipients. This event was what the Boys & Girls Clubs are all about—making differences and creating great futures,” said Boys & Girls Club Board Chair Jason Hickman.

“Porta Pagoda” little library opens in Occoquan, Lovejoy expresses support

The Greater Prin11425479_1004411209591378_7374033533558187361_o (1)ce William (GPW) Little Free Libraries project has continued to spread in the community, and is gaining momentum.

Former Occoquan mayor Earnie Porta finished his own little free library, the “Porta Pagoda” in time for last weekend’s Occoquan Arts and Crafts show.

Porta created and named his little library using the Asian-inspired theme of his front yard rock garden.

“It has survived some heavy rain since then without the books getting wet, so I think it’s going to work out pretty well.  I suspect that over time I will probably need to replace and/or reinforce the bamboo ‘shingles’ that I put on it.  I tried to use scrap materials as much as possible, and as a result some of the bamboo pieces have seen better days.  It turned out to be much heavier than I anticipated,” said Porta.

Residents have already started using and enjoying it.

“So far it appears to have been well received.  People have been using it, both taking and donating books.  I don’t have any signage on it right now, so I think some passersby are unsure what it is, but I have registered it with Little Free so I’ll be receiving a charter plaque that identifies what it is and how it works,” said Porta.

In addition to Porta’s new little library, Manassas City Councilman Ian Lovejoy has publicly expressed his support for the GPW Little Free Libraries initiative.

I’m extremely excited to be partnering with Write by the Rails to bring the youth literacy initiative Little Free Library to the City of Manassas. It is my hope that by working with local businesses, local authors and anyone who shares the love of reading that we can, in our own small way, bring literacy to the forefront in a simple, economical and purely fun way,” said Lovejoy.

Lovejoy will be working with one of our project partners – Write by the Rails – to establish several little library locations in the Manassas area.

Take a look at our interactive map to find a little free library near you!

See a little free library missing from the map? Let us know!

Exclusive: Take a peek at the “new” Chinn library in Woodbridge

The Chinn library was closed for three weeks of renovations.
The project was paid for using proffer funds from developers.
This room will be getting new furniture and desks next week.
Library staff reorganized all of the collections.
The plan was to make the library more open and user friendly.
The children's section is now more visible for parents.
There may be some more changes come to the library in the near future.


There are some big changes at the Chinn Park Regional Library in Woodbridge.

The library was closed for three weeks – from May 17 to June 7 – in order to complete some renovations and improvements in the building.

According to Sandra Oliver, the library’s branch manager, the improvements were made using about $100,000 of proffer funds from developers.

The money was approved for use by the county board of supervisors. Oliver stated that the board supported the changes because it would provide more open meeting space for residents.

Updates to make the space more open, efficient

One of the major pieces of the project was the new circulation desk.

“The intent was to make the circulation desk more efficient for staff, as well as patrons. The other thing we wanted to do was to make it a little bit brighter and make the air flow better, because the [old] bulkhead would come down over the desk. The whole desk was redesigned,” said Oliver.

Alongside the circulation area, the wall space was opened up for a more efficient shelving unit where patrons could pick up items on hold.

“One of the most popular services we had is the fact that people can put materials on hold, and then they could come and collect their holds. By reconfiguring [the space] we opened up [a] huge area,” Oliver commented.

The old holding area of the library was opened up and new furniture will be coming in the next week that will allow patrons to have private space for working or reading.

“When people come to the library now, they don’t want to sit at a reading table with three people they don’t know. If they’re not sitting there reading books, maybe they have their own devices…and they want some privacy,” Oliver said.

Reorganization of library materials

In addition to the renovated spaces and new fixtures, a big piece of the Chinn library improvements were the reorganization of the reading materials.

“By being closed for three week [we] had a golden opportunity to change the way our collections are placed in the library,” Oliver said.

The fiction and mystery books were moved towards to the front of the library because of their popularity.

They also moved around the children’s section, placing the shelves in a vertical pattern so parent’s can more easily view their children. It also gave library staff an opportunity to make the area more open and spacious for the programs and families they serve.

Occoquan hosts successful craft show for 46th year

The Occoquan Arts and Crafts Show was last weekend.
The town hosts the shows in the spring and fall.
This is their 46th year of hosting the show.
Around 10,000 took part this past weekend.
Several of the vendors were local businesses.

Last weekend, the Town of Occoquan hosted yet another successful spring Arts and Crafts Show.

“This is the show’s 46th year and we are continuing to take steps to improve and grow the show for the benefit of the participants, as well as the community,” said Town Manager Kirstyn Jovanovich.

Over the two days of the show, around 10,000 people came to Occoquan, said Jovanovich.

“We had about 265 vendors at the show that brought a wide variety of handcrafted items, including lawn ornaments made out of recycled materials, jewelry made from coins and recycled computer equipment, handmade soaps, baked goods, jellies, salsa, planters, dog treats and collars, clothing and more. In addition, we had many vendors specializing in fine, graphic and mixed media arts,” said Jovanovich.

Several of the vendors at the event were locally owned and operated, including jewelry maker Motherbored, based out of Gainesville, and What’s Your Time Frame, based in Manassas.

According to Jovanovich, the town is already gearing up for the fall Arts and Craft Show, which will be September 26 and 27.

Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House a fun experience

Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House
Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House
Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House

My and wife and I went to Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House for the first time.

She had been before for a workplace party a few years back. For me, it was my first time. But not my first time dining at a Hibachi-style steakhouse.

The morning before we went, I called to make reservations, as was recommended by my wife. We arrived at 7:30 p.m. (a half-hour later than we made our reservation for — thanks, traffic jam) and the hostess welcomed us as if we were right on time. She showed us to our seats at a U-shaped table that surrounded a flat-top grill where our food would be prepared.

Two other women were already sitting down at the table and were enjoying their conversation. My wife and I took the time to catch up after what had been a long and busy week for the both of us.

Our drinks came — my wife ordered a plum dessert wine, and I had water. Then, in walked a family two children who sat down at our table. Now with a full house, it was for our onion soup ( broth with thinly shaved mushrooms and other spices) and house salad topped with ginger dressing. I ate about half of each.

For dinner, my wife ordered combination platters. Hers was a mix of chicken and shrimp and my filet mignon and chicken.

“OK, it’s showtime,” said the chef as he drizzled oil on the flat, hot cooktop. After a flash of flame to heat things up, he began to prepare the rice and vegetables — carrots and zucchini, and onions —  that would make up the foundation of our plate. Of course, we were treated to the classic onion volcano that is always impressive to see, and is something I wouldn’t try at home.

As they cooked up, the chef placed a portion of rice on our plates and then portioned out the vegetables. Some at the table were clearly hungry and started eating right away. My wife and I waited until we had our full place in front of us.

When it was time for the meats, the shrimp seemed to cook up faster than anything else. The chef diced the chicken breast, and he made sure the steak was cooked to order. Mine was medium well and prepared just right.

Just as it was time to dig in, the chef played a little game. He cut up some remaining chicken and offered to play catch, and used his utensils to toss food toward the guests and see who could catch it in their mouths.

A few at the table made it look easy. It wasn’t for me as I was zero for two tries. My wife, ever the consummate lady, opted out of the food-tossing competition.

As we ate, the chef thanked all of us, and we all clapped in appreciation of the show we had seen. He poured rail vodka on the cooktop and quickly cleaned it and then went into the back.

The food was delicious and required no seasoning or sauce though two kinds of sauce are provided to you — a ginger dipping sauce and an orange sauce referred to as “yum yum” sauce.  

Or bill for the two of us was about $70 with tip. While it is something my wife and I would do together again, this place would also be fun to share with friends and family.

Animals to adopt at Stafford SPCA

Billie Jane
Found dog in Garrisonville

Billie Jane is a 2-year-old female Heeler mix that is spayed, UTD on vaccines, and micro chipped. She will pull at your heartstrings with her playful nature and youthful energy! Billie Jane can live happily with other dogs (with proper introduction) and children older than 5 years.

Ledo is a 4-year-old male DSH cat with an adorable lopsided mustache, and a unique black and white pattern. He is neutered, UTD on all vaccines,  and simply LOVES being around people. If you are looking for a feline with a friendly and outgoing  personality then look no farther – you’ve found your new BFF. 

Found dog. Intact male lab mix. About 1 year old. Very friendly. Found at the apartments behind Garrisionville Walmart. Please contact(540) 693-2843 if you have any information.

-Information provided by the Stafford SPCA. Contact them for more information on any of the animals shown above.

Stafford dog park opens

[Submitted photo]
[Submitted photo]
[Submitted photo]
[Submitted photo]
[Submitted photo]

A new dog park opened in Stafford County on Saturday, June 6, 2015.

Residents were invited to bring their four-legged friends to the new park at Duff McDuff Green Memorial Park on Route 3 for a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Two new parks were opened: a 7,500 square foot small dog park and a 15,000 large dog park. Both are the first such county parks in Stafford.

The parks are complete with water bowls, toys, and benches for people to sit on.

Members of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors were on hand to cut the ribbon for the new park. Garrisonville District Supervisor Laura Sellers, Falmouth District Supervisor Meg Bohmke, Hartwood District Supervisor Gary Snellings, and George Washington District Supervisor Bob Thomas posed for a ribbon cutting photo on Saturday.

Labella Bridal Boutique expands in Occoquan

Labella Bridal Boutique expands
Labella Bridal Boutique expands
Labella Bridal Boutique expands
Labella Bridal Boutique expands
Labella Bridal Boutique expands
Labella Bridal Boutique expands
Labella Bridal Boutique expands

Labella Bridal Boutique celebrated its expansion in Occoquan.

The bridal gown boutique acquired an old storage unit next door, and Labella added a new series of fitting rooms and places to store merchandise such as shoes.  This is the second expansion for the bridal boutique that shoppers and public officials say is unique to the Town of Occoquan.

“A woman wants to feel beautiful, and coming into Labella, we can enhance her beauty,” said Ellalyne Brayman, who has owned the shop for eight years.

Labella held a ribbon cutting for the new expansion in conjunction with the Prince William Chamber of Commerce. Several elected officials and longtime friends and customers of the business attended the celebration.

Brayman designs her bridal gowns. Some of the shop’s top sellers are also accessories like shoes, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.

“A bracelet gives a little bling to enhance the ring,” said Brayman.

A recent trend at weddings, “trash the dress” parties, where brides purposefully destroy their wedding dresses,  doesn’t sit well with Brayman. She donates gowns to charities, such as wounded warrior projects and said trashing the dress is wasteful.

“I think it takes away from the sacredness of a wedding,” said Brayman.

Labella Bridal Boutique is located at 313 Mill Street in Occoquan. The store is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday 11 to 7 p.m., Friday 11 to 5 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m to 6 p.m.

NVFS aids with homelessness, hunger and health access

NVFS is based in Prince William County.
They provide services for individuals and families.
They currently manage their SERVE homeless shelter, and will be taking on the Hilda Barg shelter.
NVFS helps residents with a variety of needs.
Additionally, they offer Early Head Start programs.

Northern Virginia Family Services (NVFS) is a non-profit organization located in Prince William County that helps individuals and families, providing services to help them become independent.

Potomac Local spoke with Tonya McCreary, director of agency communications for NVFS, about the organization and how they help the community.

PL: Who does your organization serve? 

McCreary: NVFS serves vulnerable, low-income individuals and families facing threats to their self-sustainability and independence. We help prevent and end homelessness and hunger; provide job training and entrepreneurship, Early Head Start, child abuse prevention and health access programs. NVFS also serves foster children in Prince William County.

PL: Why is your organization important to the community?

McCreary: NVFS provides an array of services and programs to keep safe and secure, improving our communities’ stability and our quality of life. NVFS is committed to long-term case management and working with community resources to address the challenges facing families. This is important because in addition to helping face a crisis or emergency, NVFS is committed to helping families find pathways to stability.

As the largest social service provider in Northern Virginia, NVFS offers many opportunities for individuals, families, civic groups, churches and companies to get involved through donations and drives and volunteering. Keep Reading…

Arts and Craft show in Occoquan this weekend


This weekend town of Occoquan will be hosting its annual spring Arts and Crafts Show.

The Arts and Craft Show will take place on June 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and June 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

According to a release, there will be more than 300 artists and vendors at the show.

Because of limited parking availability, the town will be hosting shuttle bus service for residents.

More on shuttle service from a town release:

Shuttle Bus

Shuttle Bus Cost: $5 per Rider (Cash Only) (Round Trip)

The Town’s historic district will be closed off to vehicular traffic during the show.  Roads will be closed from 8 am to 7 pm on each day.

Visitors to the show can ride a shuttle bus from one of four locations and will be dropped off at one of three stops. View Event Map

Shuttle Bus Pick Up Locations

Visitors can park at one of the following lots to board a shuttle bus: ($5 per rider, round trip)

Vulcan Materials (Yellow)

Tackett’s Mill Commuter Lot (Purple)

123 Commuter Lot (Old Hechinger’s Lot) (Green)

Commuter Lot I-95 (Red)

Shuttle Bus Drop Off Locations

Shuttle buses bringing visitors to the show will be dropped off at one of the following locations:

123 Bridge (Yellow)

Mom’s Apple Pie (Red and Purple)

Occoquan Footbridge (Green)

What to do this weekend


Events happening in Stafford, Manassas, and Lorton 

There are several fun events going on this weekend in the area that you should check out.

Railway Festival

In Downtown Manassas, there will be the 21st annual Manassas Heritage Railway Festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m on Saturday. The family friendly festival will include live music performances, food and train rides.

Dog park opening

And if you’ve got some pups rearing to get outside, you should stop by the opening of Stafford’s first dog park on Saturday. The ribbon cutting for the three separate park sites – which are separated by dog size – will take place at 10 a.m. at the Duff McDuff Green Memorial Park.

Pirate Day at Pohick Bay

If you want to take part in some fun in nearby Lorton, Pohick Bay Regional Park will be hosting their annual Pirate Day at the Pirate’s Cove Waterpark on Saturday. The park opens at 10 a.m. and there will be a pirate camp, scavenger hunt and child activities.

Know of any other fun events this weekend? Let us know, and it include them on our free events calendar.

Nearly 200 show up for ‘Millionaire’ casting call in Woodbridge


Who wants to be a millionaire?

Nearly 2oo people in Woodbridge auditioned this morning to be on the game show of the same name. They lined up at 7 a.m. outside the old Toby Keith’s I love This Bar and Grill restaurant at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center to participate in the audition.

Show hopefuls were taken inside the restaurant where they were met with high-energy dance music to lighten up the mood. Then they were given a 30-question, multiple choice test, and were given 10 minutes to complete it.

“It’s got everything from Hamlet to ‘Honey Boo Boo’ on it,” said Millionaire Supervising Producer Liz Harris.

Afterward, contestants move on to the interview phase of the process where those who work on the show get to know personalities. They’re looking for someone who’s energetic and shows enthusiasm on TV.

“We want viewers at home to be able to route for them, and say ‘wow, he’s just like my crazy uncle,’” added Harris.

Leslie Brodsky traveled from Silver Spring, Md. for the casting call. If the retired lawyer lands a spot on the show and wins, she’ll take her $1 million and startup a new law firm called “Mighty Mouse Law Firm.”

“Someone has to be there for the little old lady who’s getting evicted from her home by a bad landlord and doesn’t have a lot of money to take him to court,” said Brodsky.

Woodbridge was the second stop on this year’s annual “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” annual casting call. The show just held a casting call in St. Louis, and will be headed to Baltimore, Boston, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City before wrapping up the casting process.

If you didn’t make it to this morning’s session, another casting session will be held at the same location in Woodbridge starting at 5 p.m. today.

Keep Prince William Beautiful holds fundraising event

Keep Prince William Beautiful benefit event at Bahama Breeze at Potomac Mills mall on Thursday, May 28, 2015.
Keep Prince William Beautiful benefit event at Bahama Breeze at Potomac Mills mall on Thursday, May 28, 2015.
Keep Prince William Beautiful benefit event at Bahama Breeze at Potomac Mills mall on Thursday, May 28, 2015.
Keep Prince William Beautiful benefit event at Bahama Breeze at Potomac Mills mall on Thursday, May 28, 2015.
Keep Prince William Beautiful benefit event at Bahama Breeze at Potomac Mills mall on Thursday, May 28, 2015.
Keep Prince William Beautiful benefit event at Bahama Breeze at Potomac Mills mall on Thursday, May 28, 2015.
Keep Prince William Beautiful benefit event at Bahama Breeze at Potomac Mills mall on Thursday, May 28, 2015.
Keep Prince William Beautiful benefit event at Bahama Breeze at Potomac Mills mall on Thursday, May 28, 2015.
Keep Prince William Beautiful benefit event at Bahama Breeze at Potomac Mills mall on Thursday, May 28, 2015.
Keep Prince William Beautiful benefit event at Bahama Breeze at Potomac Mills mall on Thursday, May 28, 2015.
Keep Prince William Beautiful benefit event at Bahama Breeze at Potomac Mills mall on Thursday, May 28, 2015.

Keep Prince William Beautiful held a benefit event at Bahama Breeze at Potomac Mills mall on Thursday, May 28, 2015.

Several supporters donated money to the organization that works to beautify the community. The event had several sponsors that donated raffle prizes for the event.

My day with the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office

A ride along with the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.
A ride along with the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.
A ride along with the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.
A ride along with the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.

Our regional editor Stephanie Tipple spent the day with Sgt. Chris Truslow of the Stafford sheriff’s office to learn more about the work law enforcement does each day.

Roll call

My day with members of the Stafford sheriff’s office began bright and early, at their 5:30 a.m. roll call meeting.

I was greeted by a room full of officers and deputies, who watched me shuffle into the room with my bulletproof vest.

During roll call, the officers watched footage of an incident where force was used, and had a serious discussion about the most appropriate and respectful ways to handle the situation.

Ride along

After roll call, I got into Truslow’s patrol car, and we began to patrol his area. During that time, I got to speak with him about his job and his life.

“My main job is to monitor what’s going on – to make sure people are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, to see what calls are going on and monitoring the calls to make sure they’re doing their jobs…I do a little bit of everything,” said Truslow.

Truslow has been in law enforcement for 10 years – 5 of which have been in Stafford. He lives in Spotsylvania with his wife and two children.

Our first stop of the day

When going through a residential 25 mph zone, we had our first stop of the day. A man, on the way to his first day of a new job, was going 40 mph in the 25 mph zone.

Truslow stated that he always tries to consider the residents during stops, and if he can give them a lesser fine, or offer advice, he does so.

The flat tire incident

Our first call of the day was for a disabled vehicle on Inez Way, near the intersection of Andrew Chapel Drive. The driver’s rear tire had loose lugnuts and couldn’t move down the two-lane road.

Truslow was able to redirect traffic, so drivers could safely surpass the blocked lane.

The driver of the vehicle immediately got to work, as his wife handed him what appeared to be professional car tools, and he had his tire fixed in less than three minutes. It reminded us of a NASCAR pit station.

After this incident, Truslow and I got back on the road, and I continued to talk with him about why he wanted to work in law enforcement.

“I just always wanted to be a cop, since I was four or five years old. My dad was a special deputy [as a volunteer]…so since I was a little kid, he’s been [involved]. I always wanted to do it, always had an interest in it and I went to college and got a criminal justice degree. I interned my last semester with Christiansburg Police,” Truslow said.

Truslow recalled stories over his years with the Stafford sheriff’s office, and spoke about how difficult it is to use force against an individual.

“It’s very difficult, because you know you need to quell the situation, but you also know that the backlash that’s going to come from [using force],” said Truslow.

He specifically recalled a situation where a man was being uncooperative, after being caught shoplifting.

“He starts screaming that I’m using excessive force, and I’m not even touching him. So I can’t get him under control – so I’ve got this guy in handcuffs, and I don’t know if he has a weapon on him, and I don’t know if his friend’s going to come in and assault me. There’s a whole lot going on – I’m by myself…so [using force] is a very difficult situation,” said Truslow.

Truslow went on to talk about how being in law enforcement and using force in situations has been made more difficult by unrealistic depictions of shootings in entertainment.

“There’s a decent amount of people that think that we should be like the police in the movies – that we should be shot at first, before we shoot back. That even a guy with a gun pointed at us isn’t enough for us to shoot somebody…when you watch a movie and somebody get’s shot, there’s always this dramatic falling over and people are flying through glass…and it’s just not like that at all. It’s not every day that you see a real person get shot, but people watch movies where people get shot all the time, so that becomes the reality for people,” Truslow said.

Accidents and moped chases

Toward the end of my time with Sgt. Truslow, we were on the scene of a car accident on Garrisonville Road and Onville Road, where K-9 and traffic officers were also on the scene. A person had run a red light and struck another car, which then hit an electrical box. 

One of the most exhilarating moments was when we rushed to the scene of a moped theft which was done by a teenager. We were able to call a “code one” and put the lights on in the vehicle to quickly arrive. I bruised my knee in the process, but the excitement was well worth it.

On our way back to the station, Truslow and I talked some more about national events with the police in recent months – like Ferguson and the Baltimore riots.

Truslow stated that he feels that residents in the community appreciate the work that the officers and deputies do now more than ever, and it put a positive spin on a negative situation.

My takeaways

Prior to this experience, I had never had close interaction with law enforcement. It really opened my eyes to see the work that they do isn’t glamorous, and they have tough decisions they have to make at a moment’s notice – including life or death situations. The care that I saw exhibited by Truslow was one I didn’t expect, but I am happy to know that individuals like him are helping to protect our community.

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