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Is this the end of Arts Alive?

On May 2 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., residents will be able to enjoy the Arts Alive festival at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas – but this could be the last time.

During the initial budget draft written by County Executive Melissa Peacor, she was given the instruction to create the draft with a 1.3% tax rate increase – versus the 4% allotted in the county’s strategic plan. This then cut the funding for the Arts Council, the organization that hosts the festival. 

Over the course of the budget process, the funding for the Arts Council was re-added, and was kept in for the final budget adoption on April 21, but there are some concerns that the funding for the council may be on the chopping block again next year.

“It is absolutely correct to say that if the funding for the Arts Council fails, or goes away, or is drastically reduced, I just don’t see how we have that festival anymore,” said Sheyna Burt, the head of the Arts Council.

Burt stated that currently she feels confident about the future of the Arts Alive Festival, provided that the Prince William County Board of Supervisors continues their commitment for funding. 

“I feel pretty good about the board of county supervisors restoring our funding. As long as they [continue to] do that…the Arts Alive is the Art Council’s biggest project all year. So the vast majority of the funding we get, goes to making that happen. As long as the board of county supervisors comes through in the way that they’ve been representing that they will, then I think the festival is actually going to survive,” Burt stated. 

The Arts Council and the community group Our Prince William partnered heavily during the budgeting process to protect the arts and related community items in the county’s budget.

They plan to continue their mission by having a dialog with the board of supervisors in the coming months.

“What we’re hoping is that we can get some supervisors to sit down seriously with us, and talk about the budget process – talk about the timeline, talk about the philosophy of setting a rate before you talk about the values of the county,” said Burt.

Burt also stated that she hopes that the Arts Council can expand the festival next year, to include some activities in the eastern end of the county.

Stafford sheriff presents Speaker Howell with award

Stafford County Sheriff Charles Jett presents an award to Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford).  [submitted]

Stafford County Sheriff Charles Jett presents an award to Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford).

The Virginia Sheriffs Association on Thursday presented Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) with the 2015 Outstanding Legislative Service Award. The award was presented to Speaker Howell by Stafford County Sheriff Charles Jett at the 2015 Sheriffs’ Association spring conference in Roanoke.

“I am honored to be recognized by the Sheriffs’ Association and grateful for all that they do as part of Virginia’s law enforcement and public safety community. It’s an even greater privilege to be presented this award by Sheriff Jett, a man whom I respect and admire greatly,” said Howell. 

“All across Virginia, sheriffs and their deputies work to keep our neighborhoods and communities safe. In the General Assembly, I have worked to provide them with the tools and resources they need to complete their mission. I am proud of what we’ve been able to do, including this year’s work to fund a pay raise and salary compression adjustment for our deputies. Thank you to the Sheriffs’ Association for this tremendous honor.”

“It’s been a privilege to work so closely with Speaker Howell over the years and I am very proud to present him with the 2015 Outstanding Legislative Service Award,” said Jett. “Bill understands the issues important to the law enforcement community and has consistently advocated on our behalf in the General Assembly. Congratulations to Speaker Howell on this well-deserved recognition.”

Speaking about the announcement, Virginia Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director John Jones said, “Bill Howell has always been a friend to sheriffs and the entire law enforcement community. His work in the House of Delegates has helped make Virginia a safer place and we’re proud to recognize him as the only recipient of our 2015 Outstanding Legislative Service Award.”

Hylton Center raises $209K at season gala in Manassas

The Hylton Performing Arts Center celebrated its 5th Anniversary Season Gala on the evening of Saturday, April 11, 2015. This highly-anticipated annual benefit event supports the Hylton Center’s mission to entertain, educate and enrich the Northern Virginia community by providing diverse and accessible arts experiences in state-of-the-art venues. The event raised more than $209,000 in funds for the Sen. Charles J. Colgan Community Arts Benefit Fund, which enables Resident Arts Partners and Affiliate Arts Organizations to perform at the Hylton Center at greatly reduced rates and consider it their artistic home.

The 5th Anniversary Gala honored William Reeder, dean of George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, which includes the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Reeder plans to retire this May after serving as dean since 2001, and will continue teaching at Mason.

The gala also honored Novant Health, which has served as the Hylton Presents Season Sponsor for the past five performance seasons since the Hylton Center opened in 2010, and will continue its sponsorship for the 2015-2016 season. Melissa Robson, president of Novant Health, accepted the awards on the organization’s behalf.

Both honorees received an award of appreciation for their service to the Prince William County and City of Manassas communities and to the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Briana Sewell, a representative for Congressman Gerry Connolly, presented each with a certificate and entered them into the Congressional Record.

Co-chaired by Randall Edwards and Rich Seraydarian, the gala began with a formal reception in the Didlake Grand Foyer featuring music by jazz students from George Mason University School of Music, followed by a dinner on the Merchant Hall stage and tributes to the honorees by Rick Davis, executive director of the Hylton Center; Ángel Cabrera, president of George Mason University; and others. The evening concluded with dancing in the Didlake Grand Foyer, featuring The Barry Gurley Quartet, and a jazz cabaret in the Gregory Family Theater by The Darden Purcell Quartet with vocal jazz students from Mason’s School of Music. Catering was provided by RSVP Catering and wines were provided by WineStyles of Montclair.


Woodbridge is getting a boardwalk


A new boardwalk is poised to take shape along Neabsco Creek in Woodbridge.

Officials plan to build phase one of a 3,000-foot long, 10-foot wide boardwalk in the Julie Metz Wetlands near where the Neabsco Creek meets the Potomac River. The walkway will be a part of the larger 830-mile Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail that will run from Pittsburgh to the Northern Neck Peninsula of Virginia.

In Woodbridge, eventually, the boardwalk will be expanded into nearby neighborhoods. Educational stops will highlight information about wildlife found in the wetland parks. The ramp will be ADA compliant.

“The Neabsco Creek Boardwalk represents the quality of life that is a hallmark of the New Woodbridge,” said Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi in a press release “We have the best of both worlds here. Modern conveniences of a metro area, surrounded by natural beauty. The boardwalk will help residents to fully enjoy that balance, and attract visitors to the community.”

Officials hope the boardwalk will become a destination for those who like to view wildlife. A total of 300 parking spaces will be available for those who visit the boardwalk once it’s completed, according to a press release.

Nearby sites of interest include the historic Rippon Lodge, Rippon Landing Neighborhood Park, and Eagles Landing Baseball Fields.

A federal review process must be complete before construction begins. Principi says that process could be completed by August, and construction could begin by November.

Construction of the boardwalk is expected to take between 18 and 24 months to complete. Most of the work will be done in winter to mitigate negative effects on wildlife and plants in the area.

The boardwalk is expected to cost $3 million and will be funded through developer proffer and local transportation funds.

Landscape Architect, Lardner/Klein Inc. was hired to work on the project.


Food Truck Fest comes to Woodbridge May 23


On May 23, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. there will be the first annual Woodbridge Food Truck Festival at Gar-Field Senior High School on Smoketown Road.

The festival will feature local vendors, and some of the area’s best food trucks, said a release.

The event is free for all residents, and there will be food and drinks available to purchase on site.

This festival signals a growing trend in food trucks in Prince William County, and the greater Northern Virginia area.

Jazz instrumentalist Paul Reisler performs at Hylton Center May 16

Hylton Performing Arts Center [Courtesy photo]

Enjoy an intimate concert of great folk-jazz sounds when world-class songwriter and instrumentalist Paul Reisler performs at the Hylton Performing Arts Center’s Gregory Family Theater on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 8 p.m.

Guests will enjoy sitting at café tables as they take in an impressive musical fusion featuring Reisler’s inspiring songs and instrumentals, as well as Lea Morris’ “soul-folk” blend of gospel, jazz, country and R&B music, and Marshall Keys’ versatile saxophone style. 

With more than 3,500 concerts and 50 albums to his name, Paul Reisler has dedicated his musical career to sharing his songwriting talents with audiences of all ages. Reisler is the founder and director of the Kid Pan Alley™ Children’s Songwriting Project, a program that works with children in the creative process of songwriting, and has resulted in more than 2,500 songs that have been written with more than 35,000 children across the country. The project has released three CDs featuring collaborations with such world-class guest artists such as Sissy Spacek, Amy Grant and the band Cracker, among others. “The group of artists Mr. Reisler brought together are each extraordinarily talented, and the program was a beautiful melding of their artistry,” said the late Maestro Lorin Maazel and his wife, Dietlinde Maazel, founders of the Castleton Festival in Rappahannock County, Va. In addition to his work with Kid Pan Alley, Reisler was the co-founder and leader of Trapezoid, one of the nation’s most popular and influential acoustic bands, for more than 25 years; The Washington Post called the group “the finest folk group in America.” He currently leads the band Paul Reisler and A Thousand Questions. 

Program will be announced from the stage. 

This performance is partially supported by the Virginia Commission for the Arts

and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets for PAUL REISLER are $25 for adults, $10 for youth through grade 12. Family Friendly: performance suitable for families with children. Visit the ticket office (open Tuesday through 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.

Rosanne Cash to perform at Hylton Center June 26

The Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas welcomes a singer-songwriter the Library of Congress called “one of the most compelling figures in popular music” when Grammy Award-winning musician and storyteller Rosanne Cash makes her first appearance on the Hylton Center’s Merchant Hall stage on Friday, June 26, 2015 at 8 p.m. as a Hylton Center Extra!

In “The River & The Thread In Concert,” Cash performs songs from her recent three Grammy Award-winning album, “The River & The Thread,” a musical travelogue that connects her personal and family history and heritage to the people, places, events and culture of the American South; she will also perform chart-topping hits from throughout her career. Written with her longtime collaborator, producer, guitarist and husband John Leventhal, “The River & The Thread” reflects Cash’s journeys throughout the Southern landscape, with stops to William Faulkner’s house; Dockery Farms, the plantation where Howlin’ Wolf and Charley Patton worked and sang; her father’s boyhood home in Dyess, Ark.; the Sun Records Studio in Memphis; and the Mississippi Delta, with its memories of the birth of the Civil Rights era and the haunting gravesite of the great bluesman Robert Johnson.

“I went back to where I was born, and these songs started arriving in me,” Cash has said of her travels that shaped the album. “All these things happened that made me feel a deeper connection to the South than I ever had. We started finding these great stories, and the melodies that went with those experiences. I feel this record ties past and present together through all those people and places in the South I knew and thought I had left behind.”

“The River & The Thread” won the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Americana Album and the song “A Feather’s Not a Bird” won the Grammy Awards for Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song. USA Today called the album “captivating … haunting … the finest of her career.”

As part of country music’s legendary Cash and Carter families, Cash takes great pride in her lineage, but has spent more than three decades carving out her own place in music history. Her distinctive voice and rich sound that straddles country, folk, rock, blues and American roots music is perfect to tell stories of heartbreak and healing through her poignant and passionate songs. Throughout her career, Cash has released 15 albums and four books, including the best-selling memoir, “Composed.” She has earned four Grammy Awards and 12 nominations,the Americana Honors and Awards’ Album of the Year Award and 21 Top 40 hits, including 11 No. 1 singles. For more information about Rosanne Cash, please visit http://rosannecash.com.

Manassas emergency workers used a hearse to respond to calls for help


The exhibit is open May 1 to all residents.
Manassas will honor their public safety history with a museum exhibit.
Residents used to see a hearse arrive at emergency scenes in Manassas.
Manassas Volunteer firemen in 1948
A hand pump used to fight fires.
Firemen from the City of Manassas hard at work.

Starting May 1, the Manassas Museum will debut their newest exhibit on the fire, rescue and police equipment used in the community. 

The museum will be hosting a reception at 6 p.m. and serve refreshments to residents looking to learn more about public safety history in the City of Manassas.

One of the unique highlights of the exhibit is the fact that back in the 1960s, responders in a hearse answered emergency response calls.

Before the first public safety group, the Manassas Volunteer Rescue Squad, was created in 1966, it was the Baker Funeral Home that would bring patients for medical treatment and respond to emergency scenes. 

Manassas didn’t see a modernized police and fire department structure until the 1950s, and relied on mainly volunteer services.

This exhibit, which displays the evolution of Manassas and its public safety organizations, coincides with the World Police and Fire Games, which are being hosted in Prince William County this summer.

“Our Fire, Rescue and Police personnel run into a building when others run out,” said Mayor Harry J. Parrish II.  “It is that courage and compassion for others that helps keep this City safe and well protected.”

The Manassas Museum will showcase the exhibit until July 15.

“I hope visitors and residents will come out for this exhibit. Our Police, and Fire and Rescue staff are top in their field and our volunteers are some of the most dedicated people I’ve met,” said City Manager W. Patrick Pate. 

This promoted post is brought to you by the City of Manassas and Historic Manassas, Inc.  

Learn, grow, have fun: Be a Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center summer camp counselor

Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center Summer Camp runs for 10 weeks.
The dates of Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center summer camp are June 19 to August 28.

Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center’s Summer Camp runs for 10 weeks

Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center will hire more than 50 new summer camp counselors for its summer camp session.

It’s a summer job that is so much more than a summer job. It’s a job that allows its employees to grow, face new challenges, and to have fun every single day.

The Freedom Center is looking for people who are well organized, who have held leadership positions in high school or college, or someone who can be a leader. They’re also looking for someone who has enthusiasm for making a great summer experience for a child.

“This job is rewarding because you get to learn something new every day. Your peers depend on you. And it’s fun because you can plan and do the same activities you loved as a child – whether it’s kickball, soccer, capture the flag – it’s something new on a daily basis.”
– Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center Manager Amanda Meiklejohn.

The counselors are trained extensively in safety. Counselors take their jobs seriously, especially when it comes to making the correct judgment call when working with others, and asking for help from others when they need it.

Counselors are paired with eight children and are typically paired with two to three counselors to form groups of 16-20.  

“This job will help you develop skills as a leader. And, if you haven’t had the experience yet, we strive to meet with you, train with you to help you reach different goals you have for yourself. Whether it’s communicating more effectively with your peers, speaking in front of groups, organizational skills, time management, we’re here to help.”
–  Amanda Meiklejohn.

Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center’s Summer Camp runs for 10 weeks, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The dates of summer camp are June 19 to August 28.
Contact Amanda Meiklejohn for more information to apply to become a Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center summer camp counselor.

Pets to adopt at Stafford County SPCA

Found in Aquia Harbour


Angel is a 3-year-old female Shepard mix with the disposition of a gentle giant. She would likely do well in a home with other dogs. Angel is spayed, UTD on vaccines, and microchipped. Photo Credit goes to Karen Presecan Photograpy.


Zinc is a 4-year-old male DSH Russian Blue/Tabby mix. He has gorgeous green eyes and his stripe pattern is soft and subdued. He loves ear scratches and treats! Zinc is neutered and UTD on all vaccines.  


This three legged dog was found on Dewey Dr in Aquia Harbour. Please contact the Aquia Harbour Police Dept at 540-659-4600 if you recognize this cutie.

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

Wildlife federation to host habitat workshop in Nokesville May 1

The Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation is hosting a workshop May 1.
The workshop will show landowners how to create wildlife habitats.
A panel of landowners that have done habitat work will be present.
There are still 25 to 30 slots left.

On May 1, the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation and the Virginia Quail Recovery Initiative are hosting a workshop in Nokesville, to help residents learn about what they can do to create wildlife habitats in their backyards. 

“Our goal is trying to spread the word about wildlife habitat work that can be done even on a small scale…what we’re trying to do with this workshop is try and give folks some options. For example, converting [their land] into a wildlife meadow for continual bloom and beauty from May to October, while also providing a great habitat for songbirds and pollinators, monarchs as well as other species,” said David Bryan, a private lands wildlife biologist for the USDA-NRCS.

The workshop runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and includes free food.

“What we’re going to do at the workshop is we’re going to have an outdoor walk and talk, on the farm where we’re hosting it – which has done some habitat work – and talk about the types of things you can consider doing in your backyard,” commented Bryan.

After a walk on the property, participants will be able to engage in a conversation about landowner options and hear from a panel of landowners from surrounding counties about the habitat work they’ve done on their land.

According to Bryan, the program still has room for 25 to 30 people, and registration is required. 

Residents can register by emailing nicoleethier@pwswcd.org.

Woodbridge native Joey Cook eliminated from ‘American Idol’

American Idol contestant Joey Cook was voted off the show last night.

A “#SaveJoey” campaign on Twitter was not enough to save the Woodbridge native from elimination from the nationally televised singing competition. “Somebody to love” by Jefferson Airplane was the last song the 24-year-old singer performed on the show.

Cook took to Twitter following her elimination with a positive attitude.   

Cook also received accolades via Twitter from performer Boy George.   


Cook is a native of Woodbridge and attended Woodbridge Senior High School. She now lives in New Orleans.

3 dogs in ‘horrifying’ condition brought to Prince William animal shelter

The three dogs were found in "horrifying" condition.
Their hair was so matted that they couldn't walk.
They were found by an individual in West Virginia.
Now they are groomed and healthy.
Marley and Rita are available for adoption.
Ziggy is currently in foster care until she is leash trained.

Three Shih Tzu’s – Marley, Rita and Ziggy – were given to the Prince William County Animal Shelter after being found in ‘terrible’ condition in West Virginia. 

“They came in as strays, so we didn’t really have a lot of background information. The person who brought them in – her brother found them in West Virginia somewhere – and she was a resident here and got a hold of the dogs and she brought them to us,” a volunteer at the shelter said.

The dogs’ fur was so badly matted, that they could no longer walk or relieve themselves, according to an animal shelter release.

“They were barely recognizable as dogs due to the long matted and chorded hair that smelled so strongly of urine and feces that it was hard to breath around them. The shelter’s groomer, who has been grooming animals for over twenty years, said these were the worst cases she had ever seen. It was heartbreaking, but the staff sprang into action to help end the distress these dogs were going through,” said an animal shelter release.

According to a volunteer at the shelter, the three dogs are now in good health.

“They were in horrible condition when they first came in. Now they’re all healthy and fine – their skin’s still a little sensitive…other than that they’re perfectly healthy,” a volunteer said.

Marley and Rita are currently up for adoption at the shelter, and Ziggy is in foster care while she is taught how to walk on a leash, the volunteer commented. 

The Prince William County Animal Shelter said they have no way to identify the original owner of the dogs to reunite them, or cite them for animal neglect.

“They came from West Virginia, and we really don’t have any idea of where they came from…they didn’t have microchips or tattoos or anything that would lead them back to anybody,” the volunteer commented.

While these three dogs were one of the worst cases that they’ve seen, the shelter stated that grooming dogs is an essential part of pet care.

“We want to emphasize to people how important grooming is…these were like the absolute worst [cases] but we do get ones in all the time – ones that do not get groomed for probably over a year, and the matting is just terrible. It pulls at their skin – causes infections,” a volunteer said.

The adoption fee at the shelter is $45 per dog, and $140 for any spaying and neutering done by contracted veterinarians through the shelter.

Pets to adopt at Stafford County SPCA

Cinnamon is at the Stafford SPCA
Joker is at the Stafford SPCA
Brando is missing


Cinnamon is 9-month-old, female, and a Jack Russell Terrier/Pomeranian mix. She is a spirited little gal with a spring in her step. She loves to play and has a very inquisitive personality. Cinnamon is spayed, UTD on vaccines, and microchipped. Her adorable brother and sisters are also available for adoption.


Joker is an 8-month-old male DSH cat with a beautiful black and white coat. He’s a very playful, extremely affectionate lap kitty that is loved and adored by the entire staff and all of our volunteers. He is neutered, UTD on vaccines, and microchipped. Joker is included in our April adoption special.                    

Lost cat

LOST – $500 REWARD for Brando, a male Russian Blue cat. He is solid gray, 10 years old, 14lbs, and microchipped. He got out in Stafford County’s Park Ridge subdivison. If you have any information please call Debbie at 336-253-8060.

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

Kindergarten registration now open in Stafford and Fredericksburg

Stock Photo

Stock Photo

Stafford County Public Schools are open for Kindergarten registration for the 2015-16 school year. If you have a child who turns 5 years old by Sept. 30, 2015, the time to sign up for kindergarten is now. 

Kindergarten enrollment will be held from April 13 through May 15. 

On Monday, April 13, all Stafford County Public Schools will hold a special enrollment day with hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to register children. 

Fredericksburg Public Schools will hold its special enrollment day on Wednesday, May 6 with hours from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to register children.

In order to register your child, you must bring a photo ID, an official birth certificate and proof of residence. Proof of residence may be a deed, a lease, a tax bill, utility bills, an insurance policy and such. A list of acceptable proof of residence items is available online.

The first 50 children registered in each school will receive a special gift.

This special kindergarten enrollment day is a collaboration between Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area and the five school divisions. According to its website, Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area is an early childhood initiative designed to ensure young children are prepared for success in school and success in life. It serves the city of Fredericksburg, as well as Spotsylvania, Stafford, King George and Caroline counties.

There will also be a kindergarten readiness event at the Children’s Museum of Richmond (Fredericksburg location) on Thursday, May 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with free admission for children and parents.

For more information, visit staffordschools.net or stafford.schoolfusion.us for Stafford County, or cityschools.com for the City of Fredericksburg.

It’s time for Fresh, Locally grown food!

Manassas City officials open the city Farmers Market at Harris Pavilion.
A wide array of produce is sold at the Manassas Farmers Market.
The Manassas Farmers Market City’s Farmer’s Market became a SNAP distributor.
Historic Manassas, Inc. has formed a partnership with INOVA.

On April 9 the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market opened for the season. This is the 24th season the City’s Farmer’s Market has been delivering fresh produce and goods to residents and visitors of the City of Manassas. On Thursdays, the Farmer’s Market is located in the Harris Pavilion and on Saturdays it is located in parking lot B or the water tower lot. Both markets are open from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.   In June, July and August there is a summer evening market from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Harris Pavilion.

About five years ago the City’s Farmer’s Market became a SNAP distributor by applying to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. This opened the door for people that are receiving assistance to purchase fresh fruits and vegetable from the market. In addition, Historic Manassas, Inc. has formed a partnership with INOVA, who supplied matching funds for dollars spent by SNAP recipients. The City of Manassas Farmers Market was one of the very first in this region to be able to offer this service to customers.

Jeff Adams has been selling Walnut Hill Farms poultry, eggs, pork, beef and lamb at the market for about five years. His motto is “from birth to plate, we know what we ate.” Jeff is a former biology teacher and telephone company employee. He bought his farm in 2001 after saying goodbye to corporate America.

Ron Burleson of Skyline Premium Meats has been a part of the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market for seven seasons.   Burleson and his wife, Suzy run a farm in Unionville, Virginia, where they raise calves. Ron and Suzy also maintain a greenhouse, and depending on the season, produce eggs. They raise an array of annuals; from hanging baskets to potted vegetable plants and beautiful handmade Christmas wreaths in the winter season. 

These are just two of the many wonderful vendors at the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market. Visit the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market soon!

What does a Confederate battle flag over I-95 say about Stafford County?

A Confederate battle flag stands tall over Interstate 95 in south Stafford County.

Seen by drivers traveling along the East Coast, it was placed there by “The Virginia Flaggers,” a group that remains proud of its southern heritage.

 The group filed for the permit to fly the flag at a home on Beagle Road, on a property owned by one of the group’s members.

‘Flaggers’ say heritage, not hate

According to group spokesman Barry Isenhour, the group places Confederate flags in locations around the state as a response to people looking to remove the flags.

“The reason we put that [flag] up was to commemorate the Confederate soldiers who actually fought and died in that area, defending the state of Virginia,” Isenhour said.

Throughout the Confederacy between 1861 to 1865, more than three iterations of the flag were used for several different reasons.

The flag placed alongside I-95 was specifically used when Confederate soldiers stepped into battle, known as the battle flag.

The Virginia Flaggers formed 3-years ago, and they pay for all of the flags and flag poles using donations.

“What we’ve seen [are] negative positions on our Confederate ancestors who fought bravely for the state…and they started taking flags off of the Confederate War Memorial Chapel in Richmond. [And our group] said ‘enough is enough’ – these are ancestors of ours, they were honorable men, honorable veterans and there’s no need to start rewriting history in the modern eyes,” commented Isenhour. Keep Reading…

Sen. Kaine leads economic development roundtable


Sen. Tim Kaine speaking at the Stafford Economic Development Authority roundtable April 8. Also present were Stafford County supervisors Jack Cavalier (left) and Laura Sellers (right).  [KJ Mushung/Stafford Local News]

Sen. Tim Kaine speaking at the Stafford Economic Development Authority roundtable April 8. Also present were Stafford County supervisors Jack Cavalier (left) and Laura Sellers (right).
[KJ Mushung/Stafford Local News]

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine paid a visit to Stafford County, where he led a roundtable discussion at the Stafford Economic Development Authority on April 8. More than a dozen business and political leaders were present, including Stafford County supervisors Jack Cavalier (Griffis-Widewater) and Laura Sellers (Garrisonville).

The group touched on many different topics, but the need to fund cyber-security initiatives and the effect of BRAC got much of the attention. 

BRAC stands for base realignment and closure. According to the U.S. Department of Defense website, BRAC is “the congressionally authorized process [the DOD] has used to reorganize its base structure to more efficiently and effectively support [U.S.] forces, increase operational readiness and facilitate new ways of doing business.”

Kaine said: “BRACs are obviously very tough. I mean, nobody wants to contemplate dramatic scale-downs of infrastructure when they’re such significant job creators, economic centers of gravity for communities where a military installation is [located]. At the same time, the defense budget Priority One is not a job creator. Priority One is national defense. And if you spend more on installations than you need to, then you’re spending less on something else [like cyber-security].”

Sen. Tim Kaine speaking at the Stafford Economic Development Authority roundtable April 8. Pictured on the left of Kaine is Stafford County Supervisor Jack Cavalier and Gabe Patricio of Patricio Enterprises.  [KJ Mushung/Stafford Local News]

Sen. Tim Kaine speaking at the Stafford Economic Development Authority roundtable April 8. Pictured on the left of Kaine is Stafford County Supervisor Jack Cavalier and Gabe Patricio of Patricio Enterprises.
[KJ Mushung/Stafford Local News]

“I’m not sure the BRAC process is really the best way to come at the rationalization of physical infrastructure,” he added.

Past base closures didn’t save money, they cost money, said Kaine. He told roundtable that the Pentagon claimed BRACs that didn’t save money weren’t done efficiently. And when a BRAC is announced, every community hires attorneys and lobbyists to try and protect what they have, even in communities where the installation is not at risk. It becomes a massive check to the lobbyists and lawyers, said Kaine.

“You’re never out of the woods if you have an installation in your community.”

Sen. Tim Kaine speaking at the Stafford Economic Development Authority roundtable April 8, 2015.  [KJ Mushung/Stafford Local News]

Sen. Tim Kaine speaking at the Stafford Economic Development Authority roundtable April 8, 2015.
[KJ Mushung/Stafford Local News]

Also present at the meeting were Stafford EDA Chairman Joel Griffin, Curry Roberts, Howard Owen, George Judd, Patrick J. Gallagher, Ken Fried, Gen. E. Gray Payne, Rich Sackette, Suzanne Milem, Martin Arase, Cristina R. Barnes, Kent Farmer, Mark Kavanaugh, Ken Farquhar, Gabe Patricio, Joshua Kovacs, Jeff Speights, Shannon Howell, Sarah Kirkpatrick, and M.C. Moncure.

Photo contest honors historic local resource

Joy Cox's winning entry in the photo contest.

Joy Cox’s winning entry in the photo contest.

The first ever Government Island photo contest, called “Picturing Government Island,” just concluded. The contest, run by Tour Stafford Virginia via their Facebook page, features five winners.

The photo contest was judged by photographer Buddy Secor of Ninja Pix and historian Jane Conner, who is the author of book about Government Island called “Birthstone of the White House and Capitol.”

Stones from an old quarry that used to be on the small island inside Aquia Harbour in Stafford, Virginia, were used to build the White House and Capitol. Government Island is now a park with hiking trails.

Maria Cannata's winning entry.

Maria Cannata’s winning entry.

Maria Cannata received Honorable Mention in the Nature and Landscape category and will receive a copy of Jane Conner’s book.

Laura Stoffel's winning entry.

Laura Stoffel’s winning entry.

Laura Stoffel received Honorable Mention in the People category and will also receive a copy of Jane Conner’s book.

Joy Cox received Honorable Mention in the Animals category. She, too, will receive a copy of Jane Conner’s book.

An entry by Alyssa Douglas.

An entry by Alyssa Douglas.

The Fan Favorite, with 346 votes, is Alyssa Douglas. She won a $50 gift certificate to Zibibbo 73 Trattoria Italiana & Bar.

The Grand Prize Winner and recipient of a $50 gift certificate to Zibibbo 73 Trattoria Italiana & Bar is Brant Stevenson.

Brant Stevenson's grand prize-winning photo.

Brant Stevenson’s grand prize-winning photo.

CVTV public access network to partner with Dragon Talent

CVTV and CVTV Kids are proud to announce their latest partnership! Dragon Talent & Performance Coaching will bring over twenty years’ experience nurturing young, professional and pre-professional theatrical talent to the Fredericksburg area.

Want to work in theatre and television? How about one of CVTV Kids exciting new shows?

Located at the heart of the new CVTV studios in Fredericksburg VA, Dragon Talent & Performance Coaching is poised to assist with training young, emerging talent entering the commercial and theatrical professions.

Get on the list for Summer Camp and Fall Sessions. Contact Jennifer Gregory before end April 2015.


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