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Manassas celebrates Founders’ Day on First Friday, April 3

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When you say the words “Founders’ Day” it brings back images of a kinder, gentler time when people shared stories on front porches. The City of Manassas is celebrating Founders’ Day on First Friday, April 3, with restaurant specials, shops staying open late and, of course, birthday cake.

Stores and restaurants will be focusing on the history of the city and the buildings they inhabit.

This celebration is the brainchild of Councilman Ian Lovejoy. He was curious about the actual date the town was founded and in researching that date, found that the City was recognized as a town on April 2, 1873 by the General Assembly. The area was known as Tudor Hall, prior to that, until William S. Fewell, who owned the land, laid out the first six blocks and began selling lots.

The first official council meeting was held on May 17, 1873. Due to the town’s growth over the years, the town submitted a request to the General Assembly and in 1975 officially became the City of Manassas. From humble beginnings in 1873 as a half mile town concentrated along the railroad tracks, the City of Manassas grew to 10 square miles of homes, schools, shops and restaurants and more than 40,000 residents.

This Founders’ Day, come celebrate with the City of Manassas in Historic Downtown from 6 to 9 p.m. The Manassas Museum will host a City of Manassas trivia contest and a book signing. Love, Charley will offer cake, The Bone will have a beer garden and City Square Café is offering a three course dinner special and encouraging diners to dress in period attire. These are just a few of the offerings for First Friday. For more offerings and information, visit visitmanassas.org.

Davis named dean for arts at George Mason University

rick davis

Rick Davis, the long-time Executive Director for the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, has been named as the new Dean for George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Davis, who has been working with the university since 1992, will be in charge of overseeing seven academic programs and two performing arts centers in his new role.

“I have worked on both academic, and non-academic fronts…I’ve had about five different [roles] at the University. The first was running our theater company, and chairing the theater department. And then I became interim director of the Institute of the Arts, which is a predecessor to the college that we now have. Then artistic director for our Center of the Arts in Fairfax, and then Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, and then I came to the Hylton [Performing Arts] Center in 2011,” said Davis.

The appointment comes after the current dean, Bill Reeder, decided to retire from the position.

“[The current dean] is retiring as Dean, although he’s staying on at George Mason as a faculty member in our management – which we’re very happy about…there was a nation search, that basically took from September till just now…I’m very honored and humbled to be the appointee,” said Davis.

While Davis is excited to get started as dean, he is no rush to transition a successor to the Hylton Center.

“We’re going to take our time and plan for an orderly succession at the Hylton. We don’t know what shape that will take – but I intend to remain in place at the Hylton for a while, because we currently have so many irons in the fire – so many things underway. I don’t see stepping away from that abruptly,” Davis commented.

According to Davis, his work over the years at the university, specifically as executive director at the Hylton Center has primed him for working as a dean.

“I think that my role at the Hylton has been to be a very public advocate for the arts as a whole, and for our work in the community. And I think that’s a good training ground for being a dean – you have to represent accurately and enthusiastically a whole range of art forms. And you have to be comfortable working across political spectrums, and fundraising and the community and all of those things are valuable in the toolkit of a dean,” said Davis.

There has been no announced start date for Davis to take up his new post at George Mason University as of yet. The Hylton Center announced their newest season lineup of performances last week.

Pets to adopt at Stafford County SPCA

Billie Jane
Lost dog - Anya
Spice is a female DSH cat that is UTD on shots and spayed. She is a spunky girl that enjoys ear scratches and laser pointers! She is included in our Shamrock Special throughout March – could you be her lucky charm?
Billie Jane is a 2 year old female Heeler mix that is spayed, UTD on shots, and microchipped. She was rescued in Florida by our Director of Operations while visiting family. She pulled at our heartstrings with her well behaved demeanor and playful nature. Billie Jane can live happily with other dogs (with proper introduction) and children older than 5 years.
LOST DOG – Anya, missing since 8 PM on 3/13. She was last seen wearing a black, leather, studded collar off of RT 17 in Stafford. Please call 540-455-3126 if found.

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

21 honored at Prince William Chamber Valor Awards

Prince William police Officers Michael Szalach and Robert Minnick pulled 3 from a burning vehicle.
Prince William police Officers Stanley Korson and Nathaniel Probus apprehending a violent fugitive.
Prince William Animal Control Sgt. Lorie Newsome and Aminal Control Officer Jessica Wilfong Shiflett worked a case that led to 58 charges of animal cruelty filed.
The Prince William Chamber honored public safety workers at the annual Valor Awards.

The Prince William Chamber of Commerce presented the 29th annual Prince William Valor Awards.  The awards intend to honor the fire rescue and police in the region’s three jurisdictions – Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. 

Prince William Chamber of Commerce President Debbie Jones said that a thriving community depends on the people laying down their lives to protect it.

“They truly just make the county a better place, with a higher quality of life,” she said.

Jones said that many of the people at the Valor awards were business owners who wanted the chance to thank police and firefighters for their service. 

 “They are making a better place to raise a family and have a business,” said Jones.

 Jones said that they’re looking into increasing the size of the venue so that more businesses can come and show their support.

Eric Tatum of Dominion Virginia Power was the “quality of life vision” partner. 

“It is an honor to be one of the sponsors for this event.  We thank you for running towards trouble and not away from it,” Tatum said at the event. 

The presentation was narrated by voiceover artist Noelle Stanley, who presented each award by telling the stories of each firefighter and policeman who were receiving awards. 

Twenty one men and women were awarded Valor awards for their services, which included anything from investigating and solving murders, to putting out life-threatening fires while off duty. 

Stephen Porter of the Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center was the master of ceremonies and described those receiving awards as being remarkable and selfless. 

 “Through these awards we celebrate the men and women who protect us with their acts of valor while many of them will say they are just doing their jobs,” said Porter.

‘Friends’ of Hylton Center, press, gather for season announcement

Last night, the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas announced their sixth season performance lineup for 2015-2016 to patrons and the press.

The announcement included several acts in their Hylton Family Series, like ventriloquist Kevin Johnson, their Hylton Presents performances, such as The Midtown Men, and a slew of Matinee Idylls, including the Echos Chamber Choir.

According to Rick Davis, Executive Director of the Hylton Center, the announcement event has doubled in size from last year.

“By the end of our current year in June, well over 100,000 people will have taken advantage of the Center’s amazing capabilities, whether as an audience member for a great concert, a performer in a play, a guest at an art gallery reception, a business person or civic leader at a meeting, or a happy bride and groom,” said Davis in a release.

The Hylton Center has also recently garnered national attention, after a popular country group, Dailey & Vincent, filmed a performance on-site. The taping of the performance has since been released nationally by PBS and is being seen in homes across the United States.

During the event, members of the Hylton Center staff stated that residents can now subscribe, purchase tickets and manage their purchases at the Hylton Center all online.

When Potomac Local spoke to patrons, they stated that they were happy that a high-quality arts venue was so close to home.

“There’s selection and variety…and because they have such a diverse variety, we come here. Over the years, we’ve found that we can get equally good talent at either this venue or the one in Fairfax. And we can avoid the hassle of having to drive down to D.C.,” said Peter Coughlan, a Fairfax resident.

Alan Yates, a Prince William resident, said he that the value he gets from the Hylton Center performances rival well-known venues in D.C., including the Kennedy Center.

“It’s great for people to be exposed to the arts…we’ve been to many shows here, and many shows in Fairfax. And the shows are just fantastic. When you look at the price you’d pay at the Kennedy Center, this is a tremendous value for your money. A lot of people just don’t realize what’s at their doorstep,” Yates said.

Subscriptions for the Hylton Presents and Hylton Family Series go on sale today.

Manassas Restaurant Week is coming: 2-course meals for $25

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Have you been to Historic Downtown Manassas lately? Did you know there are numerous one-of-a-kind restaurants and shops?

To celebrate our culinary diversity, the Historic Manassas Restaurant Alliance is hosting Spring Restaurant Week.

What does this mean for you and me? It means that from March 22 – 28 diners can have two course meals for $25 and three course meals for $35.

Each restaurant will offer restaurant specific specials during the week as well. One-of-a-kind restaurants in the City of Manassas include Carmello’s, City Square Cafe, City Tavern, Deli Depot, El Cactus, Foster’s Grille, Ground Central Station, Katerina’s Greek, Mackey’s American Pub, Malones of Manassas, Monza, Okra’s, Old Towne Sports Pub, Philadelphia Tavern, The Bone and Zandra’s.

There’s something for every taste in the City of Manassas. This is the second Restaurant Week city restaurants have offered, the first being in September 2014. The Historic Manassas Restaurant Alliance was chartered to enhance the culinary experience of Manassas and to hold a Taste of Historic Manassas event every June and restaurant weeks in September and March.

The city’s newest restaurant, C.J. Finz is offering half a pound of shrimp or half a dozen oysters and a sandwich of your choice plus a glass of beer or wine for $25. Philadelphia Tavern is offering two Philly cheesesteaks and two microbrews for $25. Many of the restaurants are participation. To see all of the offerings during restaurant week, visit manassascity.org/restaurantweek.

This promoted post was written by the City of Manassas.

Secret Garden Café offers ‘gourmet comfort food’ in Occoquan


The Secret Garden Café, located in Occoquan, offers area residents a chance to relax patio-side and enjoy dishes made from scratch on the premises.

The café’s style is ‘gourmet comfort food’ according to Allison Dauksz, the café’s general manager. It was started in April 2013 by a husband and wife team that have since sold the establishment.

“It’s very quaint and comfortable. It’s a really great place…in the summertime we’ve got the patio, – it’s very romantic…Everybody likes to sit in the garden in the warm weather. The inside [of the restaurant] is an old 1800s house that has been refurbished. Lots of little nooks and crannies in the house – lots of old rooms to sit in. We have a nice old fireplace,” said Dauksz.

During the week, the Secret Garden Café offers dinner specials, and other special menus for holidays.

“We do a dinner for two special throughout the week. That is $32. Couples come, and they get a choice between three entrees, and those entrees switch every week. And they either get a starter of a cup of soup or a house salad, and then they share one of our house-made desserts,” commented Dauksz.

Additionally, the café offers a Sunday brunch. Dauksz recommended having a reservation for the brunch, as it’s a popular event at the café and tables fill quickly.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 12.15.25 PMOn their menu, some of the most popular items, according to Dauksz, are their Monte Cristo sandwich, their house-made filet salad, and their take on the popular southern fare of shrimp and grits.

“We actually sell [shrimp and grits] for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s got a nice Cajun cream sauce with jumbo shrimp. And that’s got our homemade cheddar grit cake…it’s almost like a polenta cake where take the grits, and put cheddar cheese in them and then we pan-fry them, so it’s a little crispy on the inside and it’s got the nice warm, creamy grits in the middle. And that’s topped with our homemade corn salsa,” said Dauksz.

To give back to the community, the Secret Garden Café works with local charities and designates a day each month where they donate a portion of their profits to a charity.

“The first Friday of every month that we do, is a donation day…we pick different local charities, and 10% of our daily sales are actually donated to those local charities. [Within] these past couple of month’s we’ve done the Occoquan Historical Society, and that was really popular…and we also did some stuff with POW-MIA, and we also did Toys for Tots,” said Dauksz.

As the weather continues to warm up, it sounds like a good idea to grab a table on the patio at the Secret Garden Café and have dinner and drinks in Occoquan.

Manassas holds annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade


Manassas Fire Chief Brett Bowman and Manassas Police Chief Doug Keen. [Photo: Manassas City]
Manassas City Councilman Ian Lovejoy at Manassas St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Manassas St. Patrick's Day Parade
Prince William County Sheriff Glen Hill, Prince William Fire and Rescue Chief Kevin MgGee, and Prince William police Major Kevin Hughart [Photo: Manassas City]
Prince William County Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe. [Photo: Manassas City]
Green on display for St. Patrick's Day
Manassas City Councilwoman Sheryl Bass. [Photo: Manassas City]
Manassas St. Patrick's Day Parade

Manassas held its annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday.

The event took place on Center Street in the city’s Historic Downtown area. This is the 16th year the city held a St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The U.S. Marine Corps Base Quanitco Color Guard led the parade procession, followed by parade Grand Marshal Vince Patrick.

Several elected officials from the U.S. House of Representatives, Virginia State Senate, Virginia House of Representatives, Manassas City Council, and Prince William County Board of Supervisors were present.

Prince William County Clerk of the Court Michele McQuigg marched in the parade. As did several law enforcement officials from Manassas and Prince William County.

Fire and rescue departments from Manassas and Prince William were also represented in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

There were also several businesses that marched in this year’s parade to include Boyle School of Dance, Dunegan Orthodontics, Flying Circus, Gastroenterology Associates, Jewelry By Design, and Chick-fil-A Signal Hill, Spotlight Dance, Gainesville Pediatric Dentistry, Bull Run Bicycles, Marais Vineyards and Winery, Laser Quest, H and R Block, Mercier School of Dance, Nokesville Horse Society, Smoothie King of Woodbridge, and Firehouse Subs.

Churches that marched in the parade included Manassas Church of the Brethren. The Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas also participated in the parade.

There were also students from several schools that marched in the parade to include George C. Round Elementary School, C.D. Hylton High School, and Osbourn High School, John Paul the Great Catholic High School, and Seton School.

Virginia Knights of Columbus, Virginia Ancient Odr of Hibernians in America, and Virginia Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians also participated.

City of Winchester Pipes and Drums and City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums also participated in the parade.


‘Treasure Island’ to take Potomac High School stage


The classic tale of hunting for buried treasure is coming to Potomac Senior High School. The Panther Productions drama department is putting on “Treasure Island.”

The stage play is the story of a young boy named Jim Hawkins, who is on the hunt for buried treasure with a few cohorts.

Treasure Island is a bit of a change for the students, as they’ve been putting on fairy tales for the past few shows. Cinderella was last year’s major production.

Earlier in the year the students performed Big Bad. For this year’s production, they wanted something that would be recognizable but still had action and drama.

“It’s a lot more straight characters. With the fairy tales, you had to be imaginative. With this one, you have to be more harsh and rigid,” said Mackenzie Guenther, the assistant stage manager as well as a Potomac High School senior. 

An abundance of work goes into a production like Treasure Island. Costume designers will have to put together themed outfits by shopping at thrift stores. Sets will be made by crew members that prefer to work behind the scenes. Actors and actresses will have to take their own time to memorize lines.

The majority of the play will be dialogue with a great amount of blocking. In the theatre world, blocking is known as the stage movements and directions worked out beforehand with the director. This production will be about two hours long with the original dialogue from Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel “Treasure Island.”

Tickets for the production tickets will be able to be purchased during student lunches, via email, and at the door the night of the production. The first show will be Friday April 24 at 7 p.m. followed by two showings the next day on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. The final show will be Sunday April 26 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students, $7 for adults.

Pets to adopt at Stafford County SPCA

xena 3.12.15
Xena is a 14 week old pit bill mix that is UTD on her puppy shots and is already housebroken. She loves being around people! 
Nahla is one of the sweetest cats at our shelter! She is happiest when being pet. She is a tabby/calico mix, 4 years old, spayed, and UTD on shots.
LOST DOG – Senior Pug. Went missing 3/10/15 in King George Oakland Park area. Please contact Mail@StaffordSPCA.org or 540-657-7387 if you have any information. 



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

Madigan’s offers American fare on the Occoquan waterfront

Madigans, occoquan, restaurant

The next time you’re looking for a waterfront meal, and you don’t want to leave the area, head over to Madigan’s Waterfront Restaurant, a restaurant in Occoquan that’s been open for almost 10-years.

Cathy Madigan and her husband started in the restaurant business in Prince William back in 1997, before moving to their current location.

“We had Madigan’s Grille, which was up on Old Bridge Road…from 1997 until 2007,” said Madigan, continuing, “My husband always wanted to have a restaurant on the water. This is really his dream…we’ve lived in Florida and North Carolina for a long time, and we ended up settling at Madigan’s Grille, but when this location [in Occoquan] became available, then we jumped at it.”

Madigan said that their menu consists of American fare with a heavy emphasis on seafood, and many of their seafood items are among the most popular with customers.crab & avocado eggrolls.PNG

“The crab cakes. People love our crab cakes. The stuffed flounder – it’s wonderful – it melts in your mouth. It’s a filet of flounder that’s stuffed with crab meat and baby shrimp, Monterey Jack cheese and it’s topped with a little lemon butter sauce. And then also the Dirty Chicken – it’s kind of one of our signature dishes,” said Madigan.

They have inside dining space, patio seating in front of the Occoquan River, and an upstairs reception area where they host a slew of weddings and special events.

“We try to do special events every month,” said Madigan.

They offer themed dinners for the holidays, and one of their most popular special events is their wine nights.

“About once a month we do a wine glass painting, plus a half a bottle of wine or $35. People love that – they get to paint four wine glasses and enjoy a half a bottle of wine while they’re doing it with their friends,” Madigan said.

An upcoming event they’re hosting is ‘Shots Around the World’ which is run by Fireball Whiskey.

“We’re the only bar in this area that they’ve chosen to have it. This is our third year of doing it,” Madigan commented.

In their patio deck area, Madigan’s Waterfront Restaurant has a Tiki bar that opens in April, which offers local entertainment every night and drink specials.

The Madigan family does community outreach for charities, using the restaurant to host charity events and donations of food and gift certificates to charities.

“We donate a lot of gift certificates to charity events. We’ve had different [charity] events here at the restaurant. We have a yearly event for leukemia – a golf tournament. We’ve had the Wounded Warriors, where they took over the whole downstairs [for an event],” Madigan said.

According to Madigan, a big part of their success in the community has been their employees.

“We’re very fortunate – we have wonderful employees, that are very loyal,” Madigan commented.

The restaurant will celebrate its tenth year anniversary this October.

Manassas City Hall art exhibit: Water, water everywhere

manassas, virginia, art

Have you ever watched the Ebb & Flow of water as it laps against the bank, whether it is a river or the ocean? Photographer Hannele Lahti explores the visual fabric of life that is water in the next exhibit at The Hall at Manassas City Hall. Ebb & Flow is a photo exhibit capturing the fleeting moment when all of the variables meld together and are stilled. The exhibit opens on March 17 and runs through April 24 at City Hall, 9027 Center Street in Manassas, Virginia.

Hannele Lhati is a nationally-recognized documentary and fine art photographer who creates images that explore the wonder and fragility of the natural world. She is the owner of Hannele Lahti Photography and a contract photographer for National Geographic. As a child, Lahti grew up on a lake and learned to respect the natural world, to honor its beauty as she sat by the water’s edge with her grandfather.

Exhibits in The Hall rotate on a monthly basis and include different forms of visual art.   Visiting The Hall is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and later when evening meetings are held in the building.

manassas, virginia, art

The Occoquan Reservoir depicted in the Ebb & Flow art exhibit will be held at Manassas, Virginia’s City Hall


manassas, virginia, art

Lake Champlain depicted at the Ebb & Flow art exhibit will be held at Manassas, Virginia City Hall

Local artist’s work to be displayed in Manassas City Hall

Starting March 17, local photographer and artist Hannele Lahti’s work will be displayed at Manassas City Hall.

Her photograph exhibit that will be features is called ‘Ebb & Flow’ and focuses on movement in photography.

The exhibit will run until April 24. Each month the city displays art exhibits from a new artist at the hall, and can be viewed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

“Hannele Lhati is a nationally-recognized documentary and fine art photographer who creates images that explore the wonder and fragility of the natural world.  She is the owner of Hannele Lahti Photography and a contract photographer for National Geographic.  As a child, Lahti grew up on a lake and learned to respect the natural world, to honor its beauty as she sat by the water’s edge with her grandfather,” said Patty Prince, Communications Manager for the city, in a release.

The city reached out to Lahti after she was recommended by the Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory in Downtown Manassas.

“We are looking forward to this new exhibit by Hannele Lhati,” said City Manager W. Patrick Pate, continuing, “The Hall is already drawing a following of both artists and patrons and we look forward to what comes next.”


Folk performer Peter Yarrow coming to Hylton Center Apr. 12

Grammy Award-winning folk musician, songwriter and activist Peter Yarrow returns to the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas to bring a fun and interactive musical performance on Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 2 p.m. This concert, which combines beloved folk tunes with inspiring lessons for children of all ages, is a part of the Hylton Family Series, featuring events for families to enjoy and experience the arts together. Prince William County is the 2014-2015 Hylton Family SeriesSponsor.

In this family-oriented concert, Yarrow shares his folk tunes with a new generation, performing his legendary hits, such as “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” “If I Had a Hammer,” “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” as well as “Don’t Laugh at Me” and other newer songs that encourage children to treat each other with compassion, kindness and respect. His activism brings a new purpose: instructing children about the effects of bullying.

As a member of the popular folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, and as a solo artist, Yarrow has stirred audiences across the nation through his music and activism, while also selling many gold and platinum albums along the way. Throughout his career, Yarrow has used his musical talent to focus attention on numerous noble causes in the last half century, from marching with Martin Luther King Jr. in support of Civil Rights, to starting Operation Respect, an organization to combat school violence and bullying. He has also advocated for peace, gender equality, the environment, hospice care, education and on behalf of the homeless.


Prince William County is the 2014-2015 Hylton Family Series Sponsor

Tickets for PETER YARROW are $15 for adults and $5 for children. Visit the ticket office (open Tuesdaythrough Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) or charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit HyltonCenter.org. The Hylton Performing Arts Center is located on George Mason University’s Prince William Campus at 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Va., 20110. Free parking is available in the lot next to the Hylton Center. For more information, please visit HyltonCenter.org. Like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/HyltonCenter and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @Hylton_PAC.

Fort Belvoir Community Hospital floods, closes for the day

Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in May 2011, prior to its opening. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)


Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and its outlying health centers at Dumfries and Fairfax are OPEN and non-emergency employees have the option for UNSCHEDULED LEAVE or UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK. All appointments remain on schedule; however, we encourage patients and staff to first take their safety into consideration before driving into work or coming in for an appointment. If the roads are dangerous to drive on, patients can contact the clinic where they have an appointment scheduled to cancel or reschedule. Military and civilian staff who may have difficulty reporting to work must contact their immediate supervisors to coordinate unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework.

Original post 

The Fort Belvoir Community Hospital is closed due to flooding inside the building.

Officials at Fort Belvoir issued this statement:

URGENT NOTICE: Hospital Closing Due To Basement Flooding

Fort Belvoir Community Hospital is CLOSED today due to water supply and plumbing problems that are impacting healthcare operations and network capabilities. All routine and acute appointments as well as elective surgeries are CANCELLED.

Emergency Room services are CLOSED as well. Patients should contact the Tricare Nurse Advice Line at 1-800-TRICARE (1-800-874-2273) and select option #1 to speak with a team member about an urgent care need. Patients can also visit the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center emergency room for assistance.

Dumfries and Fairfax Health Centers may also be impacted as a result of limited network capabilities.

Hospital staff will contact patients to reschedule appointments; however, patients can also contact the Integrated Referral Management Appointing Center at 855-227-6331 to rescheduled appointments.

The $1 billion hospital opened in August 2011. The project devised in most recent round of BRAC replaced Dewitt Army Community Hospital at Fort Belvoir.

The hospital has 12o patient rooms. It was designed five phases, and was touted at the time of opening as the only hospital of its kind to incorporate views of nature.

First Friday March Madness in Downtown Manassas

first friday, manassas, shop
  • Historic Manassas Inc.
  • Address: 9431 West Street Manassas, Virginia 20110
  • Website: visitmanassas.org

Historic Downtown Manassas is going a little “mad” for First Friday. On March 6 from 6 to 9 p.m., City restaurants, retailers and the Manassas Museum are offering specials and special entertainment.

The list participating merchants is growing and can be viewed at .visitmanassas.org.

Each store and restaurant is selecting their own way to celebrate March with either a Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day or other March theme.

The Manassas Museum will offer free admission and 10% off at Echoes, their gift store.

The Osbourn High School String Quartet will serenade museum visitors.

There will be book signings, drink specials and much more around the Historic Downtown of the City of Manassas. Come for dinner and stay to shop and explore.

Inspired by the success of the monthly event concept held in other localities, First Friday in Historic Downtown was created by the Historic Manassas, Inc. promotions committee to enhance tourism and entertainment offerings in the City of Manassas.

The initial First Friday event was held in February 2014 and has grown and evolved. Some months feature roving musicians and caricature artists, while other months feature sidewalk art, games or special foods.

Winter weather, community outreach brings attention to homeless population in Prince William


The frigid temperatures of the past few weeks, and the work of community outreach groups are drawing attention to the growing needs of the homeless population in Prince William County.

The Dale City Civic Association has been working with their Homeless Outreach program tirelessly this winter to provide supplies for the homeless individuals in camps gathered in the wooded areas of the county.

“It would be easier to tell you where they’re not – they’re everywhere,” said Lucille Cahill, a coordinator for the Homeless Outreach program.

According to Cahill, the program services homeless individuals aged 17 to 65, with the goal of not only providing them with necessary supplies at drop-offs every Saturday, but getting them out of the woods altogether.

“Our goal is to get them out of the woods, and into housing – whether family take them in, or we get them jobs and find them a room until they can find affordable housing. If they need medical care, we try to work that out with the local free clinic,” Cahill said.

To get funding for the supplies and outreach work they do, Cahill said they look to the community and churches for assistance.

While there are a lot of ideas about the lifestyles and situations of homeless individuals, Cahill stated that a lot of the people that are homeless in these camps work one, and sometimes even two jobs. They simply can’t afford to pay the high rent prices in the area.

“People who work at Wal-Mart, or local businesses can’t afford to live here anymore, and they wind up in a tent,” Cahill commented.

Recently, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors donated 200 sleeping bags to the program, costing around $6,000.

“It was wonderful because we cannot afford that kind of sleeping bags. It actually saved lives,” said Cahill.

Cahill was appreciative of the sleeping bags they board donated, but she felt more importantly that the actual dialogue started between the homeless outreach and the board is what is going to help the homelessness issue in the county.

“I think there’s finally a dialog between the outreach groups and the county. There’s been a lot of dialogs lately. Low-income housing is the first step…90% of the people I service – they work. They have jobs. They just can’t afford to eat and pay rent,” Cahill said.

Potomac Supervisor Maureen Caddigan, who was involved in the board decision to donate the sleeping bags, said that something needs to be done, but that there isn’t an easy solution.

“[The board] is going to be doing what our human services is doing right now. We have people in place. We want to help – within reason,” Caddigan commented.

Caddigan stated that she has received requests from residents, asking that the county purchase a vacant Holiday Inn hotel in Dumfries to house the homeless. The hotel is currently being listed for $3.5 million, and for Caddigan, that is not a realistic option as the board moves forward to handle the budget.

There are several county buildings that are opened for the homeless on dangerously cold nights, by the county’s deputy director of Human Services, Elijah Johnson. But very few homeless individuals utilized the shelters, according to Caddigan.

“The thing is, that the people in the woods don’t want to leave their belongings. They don’t want to go into a shelter – some of them,” Caddigan said.

The Prince William County Committee of 100 has even recognized the homeless population as in issue in the community. The Committee hosted a forum on homelessness on February 19, where several panelists spoke with attendees about the issue, and potential steps to help the homeless community in Prince William.

There have been major successes for the Homeless Outreach program, in their goal to move the homeless into housing.

“We’re working [with] a couple right now…[one of the individuals] mother is elderly, and she has agreed to take them both in, in return for them caring for her. So we’re helping them get out of the woods and to New Jersey, which is no small feat when some of these people haven’t left the woods for several years,” said Cahill.

They have launched a Go-Fund Me page to help raise funds for the couple’s transport to the housing being offered to them in New Jersey.

If you’re a resident or organization that is looking to assist the Homeless Outreach program, they are currently looking for the following supplies, according to the Dale City Civic Association’s Facebook page:

McDonalds gift cards
Virgin Mobile phone cards
Verizon mobile phone cards
Trackphone cards
Cases of water
Cases of canned soups
Winter Gloves
Sleeping Bags
Rat Traps
Cases of Toilet Paper
Cases of Hand Wipes
Packs of Batteries – AA, AAA, C & D
Tarps & Ropes
Protein Bars
Toilet Paper
Canned meats
Boxes of crackers
Case of canned meat
Printer paper 
Marble notebooks

Russian National Ballet Theatre brings “Cinderella” and “The Sleeping Beauty” to Northern Virginia

Russian National Ballet Theatre brings two of the most enchanting and magical fairy tale ballets to audiences in the greater D.C. area this spring. This illustrious ballet ensemble from Moscow performs “Cinderella” at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas on Friday, March 27, 2015 at 8 p.m. The Russian ballet dancers then appear at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax, performing“Cinderella” on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 8 p.m. and “The Sleeping Beauty” on Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 4 p.m. Pre-performance discussions, free to ticketholders, will be held 45 minutes prior to each performance in the Buchanan Partners Art Gallery at the Hylton Center and Grand Tier III at the Center for the Arts (sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts).

“Cinderella” tells of the virtuous and mistreated servant girl who is magically transformed by her benevolent fairy godmother so that she may attend the grand royal ball. She captures the heart of the handsome prince, but dashes off at the stroke of midnight, leaving only her glass slipper behind. With Russia’s finest dancers, Prokofiev’s exuberant music, sumptuous costumes, lush scenery and comical stepsisters, this performance is a treat for audiences of all ages. 

“The Sleeping Beauty” is the story of the beautiful princess who waits in slumber to awaken through the kiss of her prince. A classic tale of good versus evil, the ballet follows Aurora, who has been cursed since birth by the malevolent fairy Carabosse. After pricking her finger on a spindle, the princess and her entire kingdom fall into a deep sleep lasting a century, until she is saved by her brave prince, Désiré. Considered the crown jewel of legendary choreographer Marius Petipa’s career, this enchanting tale is set to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score. Luminous costumes, elaborate sets and the graceful movements of these gifted Russian dancers result in a sublime afternoon of breathtaking artistry. 

Russian National Ballet Theatre was founded by legendary Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer Elena Radchenko during the transitional period of Perestroika in the late 1980s. The company has since been committed to preserving and rejuvenating the timeless tradition of classical Russian ballet. “A cut above many of its rivals. (The Washington Post)
Tickets for RUSSIAN NATIONAL BALLET THEATRE’S production of “CINDERELLA” are $56, $48 and $34. Family Friendly: performance suitable for families with children. Youth Discount: tickets are half price for youth through grade 12. Visit the ticket office (open Tuesdaythrough Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) or charge by phone at888-945-2468 or visit HyltonCenter.org. The Hylton Performing Arts Center is located on George Mason University’s Prince William Campus at 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Va., 20110. Free parking is available in the lot next to the Hylton Center. For more information, please visit HyltonCenter.org. Like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/HyltonCenter and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @Hylton_PAC.

Tickets for RUSSIAN NATIONAL BALLET THEATRE’S productions of “CINDERELLA” and “THE SLEEPING BEAUTY” are $56, $48 and $34 per performance. Family Friendly: performance suitable for families with children. Youth Discount: tickets are half price for youth through grade 12. Visit the ticket office (open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) or charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit cfa.gmu.edu. The Center for the Arts complex is located on George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the Mason Pond Parking Deck adjacent the Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university Lot K. For more information, please visit cfa.gmu.edu. Like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/gmucfa and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @GMU_CFA.

Attack the Fat uses the most effective equipment in the industry

freedom aqautic fitness center

The Attack the Fat challenge at the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center uses a variety of different work outs to keep participants inspired and burning as many calories as possible.

Director of the Attack the Fat, Robin Frey says that for the strength component of the program they use everything from Technogym strength equipment, free weights, various weighted equipment, and many times functional body weight exercise, without any equipment.

Frey highlighted their use of TRX suspension training, which involves suspension straps weighed down by body weights. She said, “It’s very functional because you have to control every part of your movement with your body itself. You can do all different movements that require balance and stability so you’re getting a more integrated effort at that point.”

The center’s Olympic sized swimming pool is also used for strength training because of the natural resistance the water creates.

In addition to more strength based training, Frey says that they do a lot of cardio work.

“It’s by creating a metabolic effect where you’re keeping the heart rate elevated is where you’ll see calories burned,” said Frey. She explained that their goal is to create this metabolic effect, where both the heart rate and the metabolism increases.

Frey said, “Our most recent research shows us that when you bring the body up to that level and maintain it, it takes calories afterwards, a sufficient amount of calories, to bring it back to a resting state. So your body continues to metabolize and stay at a certain level after exercise.”

While the variety in these Attack the Fat workouts helps to burn calories and shed pounds, it also keeps the participants in the program engaged. With so many different resources available, trainers are able to help participants explore a variety of options for reaching their weight loss goals.

Stafford to offer $10K in grant money to local arts groups

Stafford County will be giving money to local non-profits arts groups in the county, as part of a grant awarded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

“The Virginia Commission for the Arts offers local governments a challenge grant opportunity, to apply to non-profit arts groups,” said Henderson, the arts grant coordinator.

According to Henderson, any non-profit arts group that contributes to the quality of life in Stafford County can submit an application for some of the grant funds, to use for performances, shows, and other artistic activities.

The Virginia Commission for the Arts awarded Stafford $5,000. The county gave another $5,000, as it was a matching grant.

The Fredericksburg Arts Commission has done the challenge grant for several years, but this is the first time Stafford is taking part. They hope that by providing funds to arts groups in the area, that it will establish Stafford as an artistic hub.

“Fredericksburg, for a long time, has been as a place for the arts, and we know that Stafford has plenty of arts, and arts opportunities, we just want to make sure that those organizations get an opportunity to get some of this state grant,” Henderson stated.

The criteria for how the groups can spend some of the grant funding was intentionally open-ended, said Henderson.

“Maybe they want to do a public art display, or maybe they want to do a concert – or maybe they need some help developing a logo…Our only criteria is going to be that it contributes to the quality of life for Stafford County,” said Henderson.

The application deadline for the grant is March 6.

After the Virginia Commission of the Arts has distributed the grant, the county will dole out the funds to the selected applicants and hopes to get the funding to the groups by the end of this year.

Why is Attack the Fat so successful?

Win, fat, fitness, freedom

People keep coming back to the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center’s Attack the Fat challenge. Director of the program, Robin Frey, says that it’s so successful because it utilizes all the elements of personal training, without the high cost.

“Group training in the industry itself is the driving force with training right now,” Frey said, adding, “Economically it’s more affordable. Personal training can be a little more costly.”

While some people might be concerned that they don’t get the same amount of one on one time without a personal trainer, Frey says that this is not the case with Attack the Fat. She says with teams that are maxed out at four to six people, the trainers are still able to work one on one with each of the participants.

“Quality control is still there,” Frey said. She added, “The trainer is able to watch form and technique, motivate them, and make sure everything is running correctly.”

It’s not just the personal training that makes people want to come back though. Frey says they really enjoy the community that Attack the Fat creates. Instead of working on just their own goals, participants are able to help motivate and look after one another too. “It’s more fun for them,” she said.

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