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Lifestyle

Novant Offers Mammogram Screenings on the Go

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – The Novant Health Mobile Mammagraphy unit made its debut Thursday at the George Mason University Health Expo.  The expo was held on George Mason University’s Prince William Campus outside Manassas.

The mammography staff offered tours of the until, a 42-foot Winnebago filled with the latest technology and set up to operate as an onsite testing suite.

“Our goal is to serve the community; from business and corporate health to on site testing at community events,” said Kim Golanski, Marketing and Public Relations Novant Health. “Today is our introduction to the community and we plan to do on site mammography at the Manassas Spring Clean on April 19.

Mammography is available for women who are over 40, have no symptoms of breast cancer and have seen a doctor in the past two years. A doctor’s prescription is not necessary.

Novant Health team accepts insurance and can work out low cost options for those who need it explained Amy Newcomb, a mammographer with Novant. Staff will do the mammogram and send it to a radiologist at Novant’s Prince William Medical Center in Manassas for review. Then, a copy of the results from the test will be mailed to the patient’s doctor and a summary letter will go to the patient explaining the results.

“Our goal is to reach a population who would not other wise be served,” Newcomb said. “This mammogram is for screening and additional testing may be needed if something is found.”

According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and the cure rate for many types of breast cancer is 90%. To pre-register for an appointment with the mammography unit cal 703-369-8073. Pre-registration takes about 15 minutes. For information on financial assistance call (703) 369-8020.

Potomac Local Pets

040414 found

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Found Dog – Mountain View Road – North Stafford.

-Either a yellow lab or a golden retriever.

-If this dog is yours call (540) 455-8210

040414 fantine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fantine: is a lovely, petite11 month old little lady. Striking all black kitten with bright gold eyes. She is very friendly, loves to play and cuddle on your lap.

040414 snoop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snoop: A handsome 3 year old orange & white neutered male with a cute little mustache.Even-tempered, gentle and a bit shy at first. Snoop does well with other cats and is people friendly.

– Contact Stafford County SPCA for more information on these animals.

Potomac Local Pets

032314 Daphne 12-13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daphne is a 4 year old, spayed female kitty who is even prettier in person with her adorable, little round face and beautiful tabby colors. Daphne can be shy around visitors, but once she gets to know you, she loves to cuddle.

032314 beau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beau is a handsome, 10 week old, brindle boy with a gentle, playful personality. He has a good nature and is a joy to be around. Beau will make a wonderful addition to any family and be a loyal and dedicated friend forever.

– Contact Stafford County SPCA for more information on these animals.

032314 cali

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cali OK, yes, Cali’s a little different looking, we admit that. But hey, if we were all the same, we’d be bored, right? Cali has a glorious calico coat, and would prefer to be your one and only, as she’s not much of a fan of other pets. We guess she figures that if you have her, you don’t need anyone else, and you know what? She might be right!

032414-puca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty Puca was found on her own on Canary Court, and we sure don’t understand how no one has come in to claim her. This beauty has a sweet and obliging personality, and loves people, although she prefers to be left alone while she’s dining. Puca is only a year old, so if you’re looking for a lifetime of love and devotion, you’ve come to the right place!

– Contact Prince William Humane Society for more information on this animal.

032314 lost dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REWARD! Lost/stolen dog. I believe someone took my 3.5lb, 2 yr old female Yorkie out of the yard on Saturday 3/15/14 between 830pm-10pm in Woodbridge/Dale City Va, Lindendale and Dale Blvd. Please call if you have any info! 571-723-0055 or email jjjjjays[at]yahoo.com

Prince William Area Free Clinic Accepts Donation

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – The Prince William Area Free Clinic received financial help from a good neighbor.

The Lake Ridge Ambulatory Surgery Center gave the clinic $317,000 to be used for operating expenses. The clinic in Woodbridge doesn’t charge for services and provides acute treatment to patients with chronic ailments.

“These are the people who don’t even qualify for Obamacare, so we wanted to give back to an organization that is providing care for those who otherwise wouldn’t have access to it,” said Lake Ridge Ambulatory Surgery Center Administrator Janet Smith.

Smith used to volunteer for the free clinic as a registered nurse prior to becoming an administrator for the ambulatory center.

Prince William Area Free Clinic Executive Director Linda Franklin gladly accepted the donation and said funds would come in handy to offset the operating costs of their newer facility off Prince William Parkway on Church Hill Drive, across from Fred M. Lynn Middle School.

The free clinic has increased the number of its weekly operating hours from 16 to 44 per week since opening their new facility on Church Hill Drive last year. The expansion also means more staff had to be hired to work with patients.

Partnerships with Sentara and NOVA Scripts Central has allowed to clinic to offer low or no cost services like lab work and managed medication distribution to their patients, said Franklin.

The clinic saw 15,000 patients in 2013 and its volunteers logged 20,000 hours. Some $1 million in services were donated to clinic last year, said Franklin.

 

Governor McAuliffe Pushes Medicaid Expansion in Manassas

MANASSAS, Va. – Governor Terry McAuliffe visited the new Evergreen Health Clinic on Liberia Avenue in Manassas on Thursday. He’s touring the state to push for the expansion of Medicaid.

“We have got to close this coverage gap,” McAuliffe told attendees during the meeting. “We cannot gridlock in Richmond on this issue.”

Currently, bridging the Medicare/Medicaid gap has stalled at the state level because the Medicaid / Medicare Innovation and Reform Commission is investigating the best way to make changes to the existing program. McAuliffe said today that he felt waiting for the commission decision was just a stalling tactic, and that Virginia is losing up to $5 million a day in federal healthcare money that is going to other states.

With Republicans and Democrats unable to come to a decision on the health care issue, the state budget has not passed. On March 24, delegates will be back in Richmond in a special session to work on a budget.

Prince William County Delegate Richard Anderson says that state representatives will either figure it out in that special session or continue meeting in sessions until a working budget is agreed upon.

“I kind of think that $5 million lost daily is overstated. Monies from the taxes seem to be in evidence via subsidies we’re getting from the Federal Exchange as people sign up for Obamacare to help with the cost of insurance,” said Anderson (R-Prince William County). “I would like to delink Medicaid reform from the state budget, pass a clean budget and then come back in a year when the Medicaid commission is done and have a sincere discussion about reform.”

McAulliffe spoke about the need to help individuals who are falling through the cracks of the health care system. Afterward, he and Virginia Health Secretary William Hazel sat down with area residents and listened to stories of program shortcomings in Prince William County.

“My daughter is not an addict, she is sick from the side effects of her Multiple Sclerosis Medication,” said Sofia Ionescu, of Manassas.

Ionescu’s daughter Kristina Krauser was diagnosed with MS. As a result of drugs taken for the MS, Krauser now has Bi-Polar Depression and cannot work.

“She worked from age 16, got a college education and at 46 Christina cannot get continuing care for her medical issues. We have no money, no insurance and no social security or disability support. Where can we go?”

Ionescu’s story was just one of several that McAuliffe heard. Men and women from their early 20s through their 50s spoke of the need for help. Most of the people had one or two jobs, but for various reasons, including poverty, age and time restrictions, could not get health coverage.

The Evergreen Health Clinic opened on Monday, March 10 and is expected to serve thousands of people in the Greater Manassas and Prince William County areas over the next year. In addition to primary care, dental, and OBGYN care, the center will also serve as a location to help area residents sign up for Obamacare or Medicaid.

Potomac Local Pets

Harmony

031014 harmony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harmony is a beautiful, 4 year old tuxedo female. She is a little shy at first but warms your heart quickly. Once she knows you she loves to sit on your lap and have her ears rubbed.

Paddy

031014 paddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 3 year old, friendly, gray male tabby. He loves kitty treats and runs when he hears the bag open! He does well with other cats, but does enjoy his own napping spot!

Missing cat: Smoke

031014 lost cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smoke is a large, white tabby. He has white feet, chin belley, and a white-tipped tail. He was last seen near Chatham Heights in Stafford County, between U.S. 17 and Va. 3 and the William Street Bridge at Fredericksburg.

Please call 540-621-8811 if found, or email trexj34[at]gmail.com.

Spice

031014 spice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She is just the cutest thing! Spice is a very social and affectionate 3 year old female who still quite kittenish. She has been spayed and is UTD on all her shots.

Sasha

031014 sasha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wonderfully sweet, gentle brindle boxer mix. Sasha is a 7 year old spayed female who has been micro-chipped and is UTD on her shots.

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

‘Lego Movie’ Built on Familiar Story Line

“The Lego Movie”–  Rated PG — 4 stars out of 5

 I just saw “The Lego Movie” and I am still trying to piece together the plot.

Emmet (Chris Pratt from “Her”) is an ordinary construction worker who is very happy just following the instructions. One day, he meets a girl named Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks from “The Hunger Games”), and she likes him because she thinks he is special. Up until then, Emmet thought he was exactly like everyone else, and he kinda is.

When a girl believes you are special and that you can do special things, you start to believe too. I learned that in seventh grade. She believes Emmet can stop President Business (Will Ferrell from “Anchorman”) from taking over the entire world. All he has to do is escape Bad Cop (Liam Neeson from “Non-Stop”) and unite all the master builders of the universe.

Emmet starts to believe he is special, but he has trouble finding his footing. It’s almost as if he was trying to put a round peg in a square hole. He is guided by Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman from “Last Vegas”), who is convinced Emmet has arrived to fulfill the prophecy.

Did I mention these were all Legos? I didn’t get that until about halfway throug. I was starting to think this movie would get an Oscar for makeup, but – spoiler alert – they are all Legos.

For Emmet to complete his journey, he must leave his home in Brickville and travel to other realms in the Lego world. For my screenwriting buddies, this is another application of Joseph Campbell’s “A Hero’s Journey” played out in plastic molded primary colors.

By the time we get to the third act in this movie, there has been such a buildup – by master builders – that I did not think there was any way this thing was going to look like the picture on the box. That’s when I realized that I did not understand the plan and that “everything could still change.”

Kudos to the director/writer team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs) for assembling an excellent movie that kids and parents both will enjoy. The theme of the movie resonates throughout, and it all comes together in the end.

This movie made me want to be a kid again, and for that reason I must give it 4 stars out of 5. Now, I have to go to Toys R Us.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker. Here is a link to his movie review site:?http://bashmovies.wordpress.com/

 

Open Houses This Weekend

030614 frances1502 Frances Drive, Woodbridge

4 BD / 2 BA Single Family Detached

Agent: Andrea Whittiker Exit Bennett Realty 

List price: $325,000

Open Saturday 1 – 4 p.m.

030614 fidelis3700 Fidelis Court, Triangle

4 BD / 3 Full, 1 Half BA Single Family Detached

Agent: Krikor Kolandjian / Realty World Select

List price: $539,000

Open Sunday noon to 3 p.m.

030614 barksdale14731 Barksdale Street, Dale City

3 BD / 1 Full, 2 Half BA Townhouse

Agent: Jennifer Dorn / Realty World Select

List price: $216,000

Open Saturday noon to 2 p.m.

030614 shamrock6502 Shamrock Road, Manassas

3 BD / 2 Full, 1 Half BA Single Family Detached

Agent: Gary Gabriel /Long and Foster Real Estate

List price: $365,000

Open Sunday noon to 3 p.m.

030614 larkwood17 Larkwood Court, Stafford

4 BD / 2 Full, 1 Half BA Single Family Home

Agent: Timothy Brewster / Weichert Realtors

List price: $415,000

Open Sunday noon to 3 p.m.

Get more Potomac Local Real Estate by clicking here!

Haymarket Medical Center Set to Open

HAYMARKET, Va. – Novant Health’s $100 million hospital outside Haymarket on Heathcote Boulevard, aptly named the Haymaket Medical Center, is set to open.

This is the first new hospital to be built in Prince William, Loudoun, or Fairfax counties in the past 17 years.

The hospital has 60 beds, and staff recently held a ribbon cutting at the new facility to celebrate its grand opening.

More in a press release:

The four-story building, which employs a staff of nearly 300 is on-schedule to open to patients in March. During the event attendees enjoyed self-guided tours, free health screenings, information and educational tables, child-friendly activities, goodies, refreshments and more. Haymarket Medical Center is Novant Health’s first prototypical hospital design. The patient-focused, caregiver-driven design included input from patients, family members and the entire hospital care team. An innovative approach was used to return the nurse to direct patient care.

“Novant Health is striving to make the healthcare experience remarkable. One way we’re doing that is making it convenient by bringing healthcare to the communities we serve,” said Melissa L. Robson, RN, BSN, MHA, president of Novant Health northern Virginia market.”

Haymarket Medical Center will feature all-private patient rooms, including an emergency department with 20 rooms, a helipad, imaging, a multi-specialty cardiac and interventional radiology lab, a critical care unit with eight beds, a medical/surgical unit with 36 rooms, women’s health with 16 rooms and maternity care with seven labor and delivery suites and dedicated C-section operating rooms, a well-baby nursery with 16 bassinets, four operating suites and a separate procedure room, a Café, gift shop and an interfaith room of reflection.

Unique aspects of the facility include:

- Computers in every patient room for bedside documentation

- Supplies, medication and equipment are located at the bedside, which reduces travel distances for caregivers and promotes safety and quality

- Direct access elevator, which can take patients directly from the emergency room to the surgical floor or critical care

- High definition, digital and wireless video recording capabilities in the operating room

- Mini-refrigerators in post-partum rooms

North Carolina-based Novant Health purchased Prince William Hospital in Manassas in 2009 and, as of last year, operates it as Novant Health Prince William Medical Center.

 

Open Houses This Weekend

022414 spout spring5977 Spout Spring Court

Haymarket, Va.

4 BD / 4 Full, 1 Half BA

Agent: William Halloran/ACQUIRE REAL ESTATE LLC 

List price: $589,900

Open Sunday 2 – 4 p.m.

022414 torchlight12982 Torchlight Drive

 

Woodbridge, VA

5 BD / 3 Full, 1 Half BA

Agent: Alex Rojas / LONG & FOSTER REAL ESTATE, INC.

List price: $439,000

Open Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.

013014 loggerhead

8887 Yellow Hammer Drive

 

Gainesville, Va.

4 BD / 3 Full, 1 Half BA

Agent: Ashraf Hanna / RE/MAX PREMIER

List price: $495,000

Open Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

022414 potomac branch14753 Potomac Branch Drive

 

Woodbridge, Va.

4 BD / 3 Full, 1 Half BA

Agent: Michael LaBrash / RE/MAX GATEWAY

List price: $349,900

Open Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.

Get more Potomac Local Real Estate by clicking here!

Potomac Local Pets

021914 samantha

Samantha: She is a spectacular young cat, about 3 yrs old spayed female tabby. She is a fabulous, friendly, young, funny, affectionate, playful and engaging tabby ready for her forever home.

021914 romeo

Romeo is a smart, lovable Treeing Walker Coonhound mix. He enjoys being outside with his people. He is neutered, housebroken, UTD on vaccines, HW negative and would love to get back to ‘home’ living!

For more information on any of these animals, visit staffordspca.org/contact-us.html</

Potomac Local Pets

021014-Kingston-8-22-13-(1)
Kingston: A playful and affectionate, 1 year old DSH tuxedo male who loves to curl up in your lap. He gets along great with other cats and kids of all ages!

021014-sasha

Sasha: A wonderfully sweet, gentle brindle boxer mix. Sasha is a 7 year old spayed female who has been micro-chipped and is UTD on her shots.

For more information on any of these animals, visit staffordspca.org/contact-us.html

Open Houses This Weekend

013014 hillendale13301 Hillendale Drive, Woodbridge

4 BD / 2 BA Single Family Detached

Agent: Claudia Sarmiento Long and Foster Real Estate

List price: $254,000

Open Saturday 1 – 4 p.m.

013014 anchorstone5056 Anchorstone Drive, Woodbridge

4 BD / 2 Full, 1 Half BA Townhouse

Agent: Sean Qazi Keller Williams Realty

List price: $339,900

Open Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.

013014 loggerhead5460 Loggerhead Place, Woodbridge

3 BD / 3 Full, 1 Half BA Single Family Home

Agent: Stacy Magid Century 21 New Millennium

List price: $409,900

Open Saturday 1 to 4 p.m.

013014 four seasons17055 Four Seasons Drive, Dumfries

3 BD / 2 BA Single Family Home

Agent: Kristy Odendhal Long and Foster Real Estate

List price: $415,000

Open Saturday 1 to 4 p.m.

Get more Potomac Local Real Estate by clicking here!

Potomac Local Pets

Dog found in south Stafford

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1/16/14: Lab/Hound male mix. Very skinny, very scared. Found in South Stafford on White Oak Rd. near Charlie’s Crab House. If you have any information concerning this pup, please call Michelle at 540-207-1844. Keep Reading…

Potomac Local Pets

FOUND HOUND

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Found wandering on Deacon Road at Ficklen Road in Falmouth in Stafford County. Brown, male hound with white on his chest. No collar or microchip. He is now at the Stafford County Animal Control. Please contact http://www.helpinglostpets.com/petdetail/?id=147168 if you have any information about this pup.

DIAMOND

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What a sweet face! Diamond is an amazing, social kitty that gets along wonderfully with other cats, dogs and kids of all ages.

JULIA

012014 Julia in July

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best lap cat in the SPCA! Julia is such a mellow companion. If you are looking for the perfect companion cat, this is the one. She is friendly, playful & enjoys enjoys the company of other cats.

MR. BOTTS

012014 Botts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He is just an easy going and friendly guy who gets along with other cats, gentle dogs and older children. Botts is a big, orange tabby that is UTD on shots and neutered.

For more information on this animal, visit staffordspca.org/contact-us.html

Headed to Sentara? Consider a Face Mask

WOODBRIDGE, Va. -- If you walk into a Sentara medical facility you’re should consider a new accessory for your face.

Starting this past Tuesday, patients, visitors, and medical staff at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge, Sentara Lake Ridge, and Sentara Lorton, will be encouraged to wear a face masks. The move will curb the spread of the flu, officials said.

The move comes as influenza is noted as widespread throughout Virginia, and at a time when flu season is at its peak.

Those coming in for appointments to see physicians, or those who are visiting family members in the hospital will also be encouraged to also wear masks. Even if you had a flu shot, masks are still encouraged by the hospital.

More in a press release:

Medical evidence suggests infected persons can transmit the virus as much as 24 hours before displaying symptoms. This recommendation will help protect patients, visitors, and staff from exposure to flu, even before symptoms occur.

Our goal as health care providers is to use every available and appropriate measure to protect the community, our patients, visitors, family members, and staff at medical facilities from exposure to outside infections. Masks and hand sanitizer will be provided at most facility entrances for public use.

Hospitals and health systems are also asking individuals displaying symptoms of influenza-like illness not to visit patients at area hospitals. Symptoms of flu include: fever and respiratory illness such as cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, chills, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.

*An earlier version of this story stated masks would be required but a correction was made to reflect the medical center’s policy of strongly encouraging the wearing of face masks, not requiring them.

 

‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Full of Debauchery, Decadence

The Wolf of Wall Street — Rated R — 3 1/2 stars of 5

“The Wolf of Wall Street” is a beast of a three-hour movie from Director Martin Scorsese (“Hugo“). Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, this movie makes Gatsby seem like a choirboy.

From humble beginnings in the Bronx, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio from “The Great Gatsby”) just wanted to be rich and successful. He learned enough from one lunch with his boss (Matthew McConaughey from “Mud”) to do just that. He already had all the charm and smooth talking down, so eventually he starts his own firm with his new friend Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill from “Money Ball”).

Belfort is driven by booze, drugs, hookers and, most of all, greed. Money is the juice that gets him going in the morning, and his sole reason for living. That may be where the movie is lacking, but I don’t know. Belfort may be just as shallow as he is portrayed, and there is nothing else to him. His purpose in life seemed to be money and all it afforded him – which was every drug he could take so he could avoid life.

This was a movie about a great salesman. Birth of a salesman if you will, and what happens when that is all he cares about. A salesman does not make anything or perform any service or create anything but money. The salesman’s job is simply to convince other people to give up their hard earned cash.

The movie displays loads of debauchery, decadence and opulence, but I think this is like an average weekend for Leo. It is wrong to judge the man or his life when I am supposed to evaluate the movie. All they showed were the highlights – the cool, fun and crazy stuff – and Scorsese did a great job at showing that.

When they tell my life story, I hope Leo plays me and Marty directs. I am afraid it will be an Adam Sandler movie, and not one of the good ones.

This movie is more like a carnival ride than the epic it pretends to be. I know people say it’s not long, but it felt like an X-rated mini-series. This may be Scorsese’s opus to the glory days of Wall Street, but it is far from his best picture. I give this movie 3 ½ stars out of 5. I’m just not diving into a hot tub that shallow.

Speakeasy Night at Workhouse Arts Center Features Jazz Singers

[Photo: Theresa Le]

LORTON, Va. – It’s wine and cheese with a speakeasy feel.

The Workhouse Arts Center on Saturday will hold its “Welcome to the Speakeasy” show, which is described as a “raucous ramble” through the Jazz Age.

It’s where five singers and a jazz pianist take to the stage for a live cabaret show.

“It tends to get a bit rowdy on the stage,” said Joseph Wallen, the center’s director of performing arts. “There’s nothing like it within a 10-mile radius in the area, and it’s not a show meant for families.”

All of the performers have gained stage experience from theaters in Washington, D.C. and beyond, added Wallen.

The food you will find during the evening is similar to what you would find at about any winery – cheese, breads, and wine. Tickets for the 8 p.m. Saturday performance are $25 each and doors open 30 minutes before show time.

The speakeasy shows have been a mainstay for just over at year at the Workhouse. Last year, the Workhouse hit a record 14 live performances that included children’s theatre performances, as well as live comedy shows.

“The mission of the Workhouse has always been visual arts and education, and with performing arts, this is the third piece of the triangle that’s always intended to be here,” said Wallen.

Woodbridge Firm Buys Medical Center of Stafford from Mary Washington Healthcare

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – The Medical Center of Stafford has changed has a new owner.

Woodbridge-based Cardinal Medicine purchased the center on Va. 610 in North Stafford this month from Mary Washington Healthcare, owners of Stafford Hospital (not impacted by the sale) and Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg.

Cardinal Medicine’s headquarters is located across from the Prince William County Government Center. The company expanded in July and opened a second location at Stafford Hospital. It will close that office for the move to the new location on Va. 610.

Cardinal Medicine plans have at least one full-time doctor and staff in place by Feb. 1.

“[Our current Stafford office] is going to well, but an opportunity to take over patients in this new location will be great for us,” said. Dr. Amir Alemzadeh.

Many of the same treatments offered under the care of Mary Washington Healthcare will continue to be offered under Cardinal, including heart and blood pressure screenings, and treatment for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

Cardinal Medicine employs six doctors that work between both of their offices. They plan to retain current patients at the center, about 100 per week, and then increase the number of patients to 300 per week and add as many as four doctors at the new facility, said Alemzadeh.

The clinic also plans to work around their patients’ hectic commute schedule.

“Stafford seems to be somewhat a commuter town, so people have needs to appointments before and after work, and that will be a unique need that we serve at his new office, so we’ll have to adjust our staffing to handle that,” said Alemzadeh.

During a previous sale of the Stafford Medical Center at 608 Garrisonville Road on Dec. 7, 2012, it last purchased for $1.5 million.

Best Bets to Ring in 2014

Party goers at the Wingate Hotel in Stafford County line up for an all-you-can-eat buffet as they rang in 2013. [Uriah Kiser/PotomacLocal.com]

Country rock

Virginia’s own Southern Prophets southern rock bank will be the headling act at the newly opened “Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill” in Woodbridge.

The quartet hails from Virginia Beach and plays regularly at Toby Keith’s sister bar in Newport News.

It’s $10 to get in and includes party favors and a champagne toast. Advanced tickets are being sold on the venue’s website.

Party at Mainstreet

The New Year’s Eve party at Mainstreet Grill and Bar in Stafford will include the acoustic rock bank Brownstone.

The cover band’s set list includes tracks from Mumford and Son, Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins, 3 Doors Down, and others that are sure to get you going.

Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door. Admission includes party favors and a champagne toast.

Call 540-288-9277 for more info.

Elegant evening at K2

Those who like jazz and those who like to treat themselves on New Years Eve will want to head over to K2 Restaurant and Lounge in Woodbridge for Big New York Jazz Funk Extravaganza 2014.

The event features three artists including Elliot Levin, Jared, and “Laughing Lenny” at the restaurant in Featherstone Square in Woodbridge.

Doors open at 8 p.m. and dinner is served at 8:45 p.m. The show starts at 9 p.m. with a comedy hour at 10 p.m. An after party starts at midnight and a special breakfast is served at 1 a.m.

Tickets are $65 in advance, $70 at the door, and $40 for the after party.

First Night Fredericksburg

First Night Fredericksburg is an annual event that attracts thousands to that city. With 10 musical acts on 10 stages, and kids and family zones throughout the festival area, it’s one of the region’s premier family-friendly New Year’s Eve events.

While there will be several restaurants and vendors in attendance, the highlight of the night comes at midnight when a globe is dropped at the city’s Riverfront Park after a 10-second countdown.

Tickets to the event are $5 in advance and $8 the night of the event. Paid event-event goers will be issued a button good for admission into all of the venue tents and musical performance areas.

‘Walter Mitty’ Has it All

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty — Rated PG — 4 1/2 stars of 5

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” got a whole lot less secret today with the release of this new movie by Writer/Director Ben Stiller (“Tropic Thunder“).

Walter Mitty (played by Stiller) works in the bowels of the company that produces “Life” magazine. He is mild-mannered and has lived a sheltered life of no consequence. Walter’s job title is “negative asset manager” and he is good at it. He is also good at daydreaming, which he does most of the time, especially when he looks at Cheryl (Kristin Wig from “Girl Most Likely”). Unfortunately, she is looking for a dream man and not a man that only dreams.

“Life” is coming to an end, and there is one more negative for Walter to prepare for the cover. The only problem is Walter cannot find that negative. He has never lost one in 16 years and this sends him on a real adventure to find the famous recluse photographer Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn from “The Tree of Life”).

There is a circular logic at work here. Walter likes Cheryl but does not have the courage to make a move on her. Although, it is because of her he finds the courage to dive in and out of helicopters and a bunch of other cool crazy things to find this negative. After he has done those things, he has the courage to make his move on her. This is quite normal for men, as a woman is the one thing that will have us running in circles.

I wondered what the fantasy–reality mix would be in this movie, and I must say they found the right ratio. Stiller plays an excellent modern-day Mitty, who does not seek out his visions for fame or fortune, or even ego. He breaks out of his mold because he has to, which is the only other reason men do anything. All this is a welcomed departure from the original short stories of the 1940s.

This movie has everything, from Bowie to Stretch Armstrong to a Poetry Falcon, and it all worked. No other movie in the theater right now will have a bearded Chilean man yell, “Stay gold Ponyboy.”

We are all Walter Mitty in some form. We are all ordinary people with big dreams of doing something extraordinary one day. Very few actually have the courage to take that leap of faith. I give this movie 4 ½ stars out of 5, and I dare you to take a chance, and see the best date movie of the year. Do not keep your dreams a secret.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker.

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