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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

Attack the Fat, Win, fat, fitness, freedom

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.

C.J. Finz brings southern-style seafood to Downtown Manassas

raw bar, Manassas, virginia

Chris Sellers and John Kibben opened their first restaurant, C.J. Finz Raw Bar & Grille in Downtown Manassas at 9413 West Street, on February 11, offering residents a taste of Southern-style seafood.

According to Sellers, their inspiration for the restaurant came from their love of seafood they ate on trips to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

“I got tired of having seafood only once or twice a year, so we decided to bring our love for the Outer Banks here to historical Downtown Manassas,” said Sellers.

With the support of local business owners and the community, the restaurant got off to a great start with a busy grand opening.

“We exceeded – four times – what we had forecasted [for our grand opening],” Sellers said.

The building, which was previously a Subway sandwich location, needed some transformation to turn it into the atmosphere Sellers and Kibben were looking to achieve.

“We wanted to do an industrial shabby-chic look – we didn’t want anything cookie cutter. We’re dealing with a very small space, so we’re a boutique style restaurant,” Sellers commented.

C.J. Finz Raw Bar & Grille also has a patio and deck area that the owners intend to capitalize on in the summer time for concert series, and allow patrons to watch outdoor events in the area, like parades.

Among the menu items the restaurant offers, Sellers said that the fried pickles were the top appetizer, and that their ahi tuna salad, fried oyster po-boy sandwich, lobster roll and barbecue shrimp with cheesy grits were among the top items they serve.

“We’re not the only one [in Manassas] doing seafood, but I think we’re the only one [focusing] exclusively on seafood – but it’s a menu for everyone,” said Sellers.

Before opening the restaurant, Sellers worked as a manager at the City Tavern for 15 years. The owners of City Tavern, along with other local business owners, have helped to support them, and they hope to return the favor to the community.

“We want to be a local business; we want to help the community, work with others – that’s all we want,” Sellers said.

Prince William Wildflower Society donates books to county schools

The Prince William Chapter of the Wildflower Society has donated 61 copies of a children’s book to Prince William County Public Schools and additional copies to local libraries.

The book, Isabella’s Peppermint Flowers, was written by Susan Leopold and illustrated by Nicky Staunton, said Nancy Vehrs, President of the Prince William Wildflower Society and the Virginia Native Plant Society.

The book was designed to complement the fourth grade SOLs in Virginia, which includes a segment addressing botany and plant life.

Staunton is a former resident of the City of Manassas and a past president of the Virginia Native Plant Society. Living in the area, and the experiences she had with the Society motivated her to illustrate the children’s book, said Vehrs. Leopold grew up in Prince William County in Woodbridge.

According to Vehrs, it is important that children learn about the world around them.

The Wildflower Society has held several presentations of the donated books in county schools and is also intending to donate copies to the City of Manassas.

The group does other community outreach events to help educate the residents of Prince William County, including lectures and informational sessions from authors and experts on plant life.

They recently hosted a lecture with well-known author and landscape designer Rick Dark, who recently published The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden.

Capitol Steps lampoon political elite, raising money for Prince William charities at Hylton Performing Arts Center

The Capitol Steps comedy troupe are coming to the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas on February 21 at 7 p.m. for a performance to benefit the Manassas Bull Run Rotary. Funds collected will help the Rotary assist deserving and successful charities.

“We were very pleased with the turnout last year. And this year, with the event being held at the beautiful Hylton Performing Arts Center, we feel the turnout will be even better. I am also pleased that this event will help the Manassas Bull Run Rotary assist such deserving charities as Rainbow, CASA, B.A.R.N., Calling All Souls, and Habitat for Humanity. It’s a Win-Win for the community. They get to see a great show and, at the same time, help support such great organizations and their efforts to help others” said Rotary vice-president Donald Jones.

For those who never have seen this creative group perform, you’re in for a treat. This group takes a very humorous approach to timely political issues and even takes a few jabs at political figures – no one is safe.

“A lot of folks have never seen the Capitol Steps and for those who have, like me, the show changes all the time to keep up with the current political scene. Hence, there is always something new whether you’ve seen them once or even ten times. It’s so very true that they “put the MOCK in Democracy”. They spare no one – and it’s simply great theatre with a very talented cast” said Jones.

If you are interested in purchasing tickets, visit hyltoncenter.org/calendar/586/. Tickets range from $35-$45.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire aims to bridge $50,000 funding gap at Boys and Girls Clubs

steves autoIn order to help keep the local Boys & Girls Clubs’ programs running, Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is reaching out to the community with the Prince William County Annual Giving Campaign to raise $50,000.

“What we’re trying to do is make up a $50,000 shortfall, to make sure that the clubs can keep all of the programs for the Manassas, Dale City and Dumfries Boys & Girls Clubs,” said ST Billingsley, owner of Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire and a Board Member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Prince William County.

By aiding the clubs to raise the money, they will be able to continue to offer their wide range of activities, particularly their athletics programs, Billingsley said.

At the Prince William County Boys & Girls Club’s locations, they offer basketball, volleyball, flag football, tackle football, soccer, baseball, wrestling, karate, fencing, cheerleading, and dance.

For Billingsley, supporting programs like these are crucial for the enrichment of the community and its children.

“I know that growing up, in the military, we had programs like this on base, and when I found out that this was the type of program for the kids in our area – for what it lets them do, and the opportunities that they have, and that it’s a safe place for them to go – I knew that it was the right kind of organization to support,” Billingsley commented.

In addition to the giving campaign, Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire has done outreach work for the clubs. They also regularly perform repairs and maintenance on the vans that the clubs use to transport children from their school and to club-related activities.

To raise funds for the campaign, Billingsley stated that individuals can donate on the Crowdrise website and that every bit helps towards reaching their $50,000 goal.

There’s even a bit of friendly competition amongst the Club Board Members to see who can raise the most funds to help benefit the clubs.

The preceding post was written by Potomac Local under a marketing agreement with Steve’s Auto Repair.

For every burrito sold, El Cactus in Manassas gives $2 back

El Cactus Owner Brian Hollenbach made the winning soup at this year's "Souper Bowl" held in Historic Downtown Manassas.

When Brian Hollenbach moved to the Manassas area to launch his first Mexican restaurant El Cactus last year, he had two things in mind – great food and the community.

Located on 9406 Battle Street in Downtown Manassas, the restaurant has become known for its Taco Tuesdays and a rotating menu of quirky and playful ingredients.

el cactus 1 manassas vaHollenbach has been in the restaurant industry for 21-years, working all across Virginia, but for him, Downtown Manassas is the community where he wants El Cactus to thrive.

“When we were looking to start a restaurant, we wanted our core values [to be] – the strength of the community, the strength of Manassas, is the strength of El Cactus,” said Hollenbach.

And this strength has paid off, winning El Cactus the Best Dessert title in last year’s Taste of Manassas for their tres de leches. Additionally, the restaurant won the February “Souper Bowl” First Friday event in Downtown Manassas with their tortilla soup.

According to Hollenbach, the top selling item at El Cactus is the tableside guacamole, and the top taco is their Carne Angus taco.

One thing that El Cactus has become known for is their playful menu and their willingness to try out interesting food combinations. One of these items is the “Korean Taco” – a marinated rib eye taco with kimchi.

They’ve offered a whole slew of interesting tacos on their menu, including venison, bison, sea bass, and crab.

Their current features taco is their take on a lobster roll, Hollenbach said.

“We take a flour tortilla, we flash fry it, so it puffs up, and then we do a cold lobster salad, and a little bit of Old Bay, a little bit of lime juice, a little bit of cilantro and a little bit of mayo,” Hollenbach stated.

In addition to their creative food offerings, El Cactus has also served infused tequilas, Cactus Pear Margaritas and even fried tequila.

And while El Cactus has established a reputation for delicious and creative food, they’ve also become known for their work in the community.

They host several charity events and fundraisers throughout the year, partnering with organizations like the Boys & Girls Club and schools including Osborne High School and Metz Middle School, often donating large amounts of food.

Hollenbach also said that El Cactus works with military organizations as well, donating proceeds from menu items purchased.

“[For] every burrito we sell – $2 goes to a hero organization. We launched our National Burrito Day with the Wounded Warrior project, as well as the Navy Seal Foundation and the Volunteer Fire Department in Manassas,” Hollenbach said.

El Cactus plans to continue their community efforts, and will compete in next year’s Taste of Manassas with their tableside guacamole, Korean taco, and fried Oreo dessert.

Hollenbach is hopeful for the future of El Cactus and the Downtown Manassas community as a whole.

“We wanted Old Town Manassas to be a destination. It already had some amazing restaurants, and we’re looking forward to more coming in…we just want the community to thrive,” Hollenbach said.

Historic Downtown Manassas has 14 new shops, eateries, and new apartments on the way


More new shops, restaurants opening in Historic Downtown Manassas

The City of Manassas and its downtown development partner, Historic Manassas Inc., have been gradually moving away from referring to Old Town in favor of the moniker Historic Downtown Manassas. This helps to avoid being confused with that other “Old Town” in Northern Virginia.

But in this case, the title seems to resonate because the City is welcoming a host of new businesses to its historic district.

Over the past 12 months more than 16 new businesses have opened or announced their intent to relocate into the Virginia Main Street Community. As 2014 drew to a close, the City had already welcomed new retail outlet Records and Rarities; professional office users Caitlan Jordan, Attorney at Law, and SCS Integrated Support Services; personal services provider the Man Cave; and restaurants the Bone and Zandra’s.

In January a regional favorite, Malone’s, expanded to offer consumers a more casual dining and bar area on the second floor to complement the fine dining experience locals and visitors have grown to love.

Beginning late last year, a series of announced closures by long-time business owners in the Historic Downtown Manassas left development officials scrambling to identify new business prospects. They need not have worried as the City proved both its resiliency and attractiveness to entrepreneurs who are rushing in to fill the spaces being vacated. 

“What really happened was a generational opportunity for a new wave of small business owners to realize their dreams of opening or relocating their businesses in our Downtown. In many instances these spaces are some of the most attractive and high profile storefronts available,” City Manager Pat Pate told the Old Town Business Association.

A number of business owners obviously agree. Historic Downtown Manassas has recently announced that new business openings are pending by retail operators Scatter Seeds, a purveyor Fair Trade goods and local artisan products, Amy’s Bridal (formerly of Woodbridge), Manassas Olive Oil and Totally Vintage Design (formerly of Haymarket); raw bar and restaurant CJ Finz and ice cream parlor Jitterbug will join the crowd as will CutRate Barbershop and the NEW School.

In addition, and proving that Manassas is becoming a living destination of choice in addition to a retail and dining mecca, two new urban style apartment projects have been approved which will bring almost 200 new studio, one and two-bedroom luxury units into the Historic Downtown.

Economic Development Director Patrick Small and Historic Manassas Inc. Executive Director Debbie Haight say there are still a few opportunities left for new businesses that may have missed the initial rush to open. One of these, the site of the former Opera House Gourmet, is possibly the most desirable retail location in the City.

Located diagonally across Center Street from Harris Pavilion, it is the most prominent and highly visible storefront as people enter Downtown. Small and Haight say this and the few remaining retail spaces still on the market won’t be vacant long. In fact, several confidential business announcements are pending.

The preceding post was written by the City of Manassas under a marketing agreement with Potomac Local.

From music, wine, to romantic dinners: Where to take your valentine this year

valentines day

Looking for some last minute ideas for your Valentine’s Day celebration? Potomac Local has you covered. Here are some events and local eateries that will help make your Valentine’s Day special.


Valentine’s Day Dinner
Malone’s of Manassas
9329 Main Street, Manassas, VA 20110

 This fine dining restaurant in Downtown Manassas is offering a prix fixe menu to create a 3-course meal for your Valentine’s Day dinner. It runs from 5p.m. to 12a.m. and is $80 per person. Dinner package comes with a champagne toast and live music in the upstairs area, that begins at 9p.m. The package does not include liquor or beverages.


Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Ball
Emeritus at Manassas
8341 Barrett Drive, Manassas, VA 20109

At the Emeritus Retirement Living community there will be a Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Ball from 6p.m. to 9p.m. There will be dancing, hors d’ouerves, and a chance to meet the staff at Emeritus.


American Festival Pops Orchestra: Valentine’s Day Pops
Hylton Performing Arts Center
10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, VA 20109

If you’d like to do something less traditional than a romantic dinner on the town, then check out the Valentine’s Day Pops concert being hosted at the Hylton Center. Starting at 8p.m., the American Festival Pops Orchestra will begin playing classic love songs. Ticket prices range from $29 to $48 per person.



National Museum of the Marine Corps Wine Dinner
National Museum of the Marine Corps
18900 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle, VA 22172

If you and your partner enjoy a nice glass of wine, then look at the Marine Corps Wine Dinner being held near Quantico. The dinner will take place from 6p.m. to 8:30p.m. Make sure if you plan to attend that you RSVP.



Chocolate Infused Wine Dinner
Maddigan’s Waterfront
201 Mill Street, Occoquan, VA 22125

On the water in Occoquan, Maddigan’s Waterfront will be hosting a Chocolate Infused Wine Dinner, as well as offering a special Valetine’s Day menu. The dinner begins at 7p.m. with a reception. The featured winery is Rodney Strong Vineyards. The wine dinner is $59 per person, and the Valentine’s Day menu is $75 per couple. Reservations are required.



Valentine’s Day Weekend Celebration
Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center
14900 Potomac Town Place, Woodbridge, VA 22191

The new Stonebridge shopping center is having an entire weekend of Valentine’s Day celebrations. Restaurants in Stonebridge, like Not Your Average Joe’s and Firebirds will be having special menu offerings for the entire weekend. A perfect option if you can’t celebrate on February 14.



Sinfully Sweet Dessert & Wine Pairing
Potomac Point Winery
275 Decatur Road, Stafford, VA 22554

At the Potomac Point Winery, sit down for a romantic pairing of wine and dessert. Choose from four dessert options, paired with the wines made by Potomac Point. The event has two dates: February 13 at 8p.m. and February 14 at 4p.m. 6p.m. and 8p.m. The cost is $36 per person.

Bull Run Rotary Day is Feb. 21 at the Capitol Steps Concert for charity

Rotary Day is typically a fun, informal event to introduce the community to Rotary and their local beneficiaries.

Rotary Day is not just for a club or district. There are National Rotary Days in many countries and even an International Rotary Day at the United Nations. The Rotary Day events convey the Rotary’s relevance and highlight the good work and involvement.

The theme for Rotary International, this year is “Light Up Rotary” so there is increased effort this year to illuminate the great things that Rotarians facilitate. This year is also the 25th Anniversary of the Rotary Club of Manassas Bull Run, so there is extra pride in this year’s Bull Run Rotary Day.

This year’s Bull Run Rotary Day will be on Feb. 21 at the elegant Hylton Performing Arts Center and is called “Love and Laughs.” It is on the eve of Rotary International’s 110th Anniversary and just a week after Valentine’s Day for those couples that couldn’t make a date night. The evening entertainment will feature DC’s Capitol Steps.

Purchase your tickets online.

Manassas company Dizzy Pig to host outdoor cooking classes

The Dizzy Pig Barbecue Company, headquartered in Manassas, has announced that they will be hosting outdoor cooking classes throughout the year for residents to attend.

The company, founded in 2002, became known for their line of thirteen seasonings and other barbecue products, which are all made locally.

Dizzy Pig has won several cooking competitions using their products, and this inspired the team to offer cooking classes, said Joanne Cawley in a press release.

More on the classes being offered by Dizzy Pig:

February 21 Dizzcovery – Brisket and Butts 
March 21 Dizzcovery – Pizza and Creative Grilling 
April 25 Dizzcovery – Chicken 
May 16 Dizzcovery – Brisket and Butts 
June 14 Dizzcovery – Seafood 
July 18 Dizzcovery – Getting the Most Out of Your EGG 
August 22 Dizzcovery – Ribs 
September 19 Dizzcovery – Prime Rib 
October 17 Dizzcovery – Pizza and Creative Grilling 
November 14 Dizzcovery – Mad Max Turkey Method Class 
December 5 Dizzcovery – Getting the Most Out of Your EGG

Dizzy Pig seasonings can currently be found at more than 700 retailers around the world, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Singapore.

They couldn’t solve the graphics problem in house, so JTC used their expansive network to find a solution

  • JTC, Inc.
  • Address: 9720 Capital Court, Suite 305, Manassas, Va. 20110
  • Phone: 703-794-1225
  • Website: http://www.jtcinc.net/

An architectural firm relies on graphics. When they can’t access them, that can be a problem. 

Alexis Peck is the Vice President of Design at Peck Peck & Associates, an architectural firm located in Woodbridge, Virginia that has been in business for 42 years.

Peck also heads the marketing and IT department and is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Peck Peck and Associates needed Jewell Technical Consulting, Inc. (JTC, Inc.) to assist them with the recovery of data, lost from corrupted hard drives.

Peck explained in detail the entire process.

“We had a couple of backup hard drives for some graphics of ours from archive projects and one day when we tried to access the backups, all of the actual hard drives had been corrupted,” said Alexis Peck. “I’ll note that it was not equipment that we bought through JTC, it was something we bought years and years before they came on board and so we contacted them to see if they could help us recover the data….”

JTC, Inc. was unable to solve the problem in-house and reached out to another company for extra assistance.

“…Through JTC we worked with another company and sent the hard drive out and they were able to recover some of it (not all)…” said Peck. “It wasn’t any client information or anything like that, it wasn’t anything critical to our operations, it was just something we wanted to keep for nostalgic reasons.”

Though the other company was located out of state, Peck said overall experience was very easy.

“We did everything through JTC so they came, picked up the hard drives from us. We paid everything through them, they took care of everything.”

Peck also noted that without JTC, Inc.’s network, they would not have known what company to contact. 

Peck Peck and Associates have worked with JTC, Inc. for over four years and originally chose JTC, Inc. for two reasons:

1. JTC, Inc. had been recommended by the previous company Peck Peck and Associates employed for their IT services

2. JTC, Inc. offered the best agreement to their firm

JTC is a Microsoft Certified Partner and a Dell Authorized Partner and utilizes Microsoft and Dell technology.

The preceding post was written by Potomac Local under an agreement with Jewell Technical Consulting.

Angel Wraps project helps families cope


Shelly Madden, a stay-at-home mother in Stafford, has undertaken a project called Angel Wraps – creating blankets and wraps for stillborn babies from donated gowns.

“I donated my wedding gown a while ago, to the NICU Helping Hands. And I had a very bad miscarriage when I was younger,” Madden said.

According to Madden, the miscarriage was an influence that helped her to begin the project.

After being laid off in October of last year, Madden wanted a way to be active in the community.

“I wanted to find something…and my husband said, ‘Find something you want to get into,’ and I looked at my sewing machine one day and gave it a try,” said Madden.

After meeting with a woman in Texas that runs a similar project called Angel Gowns by Diane, Madden turned her sewing efforts to making the wraps.

“I teamed up with her and she took me under her wing. She donates gowns to Mary Washington [Hospital],” Madden commented.

Madden went to Stafford Hospital and spoke with the staff, and began donating the wraps to the Labor and Delivery unit on a monthly basis.

Each wrap is handmade and comes with two pieces – a wrap and a blanket. Madden makes an effort to uniquely decorate each wrap, including buttons and lace to make them special for the grieving parents.

“I was told [by a parent] that it made it not easier – but it comforted them,” Madden said.

A majority of the materials used to make the wraps are donations. Members of the community, family and friends have all donated their gowns and materials to help Madden create the wraps.

“I want to give everyone credit that has been a big part of this along the way,” Madden said. Groups like “SECA” and “The Hope Center” along with the private donations have allowed her to continue the project.

Currently, Madden is looking for more donations so that she can expand to other area hospitals in the future.

Capitol Steps show proceeds to benefit ‘Calling All Souls’

capitol steps, hylton, rotary

The Capitol Step will perform at the Hylton Performing Arts Center thanks to Bull Run Rotary.

The Capitol Steps are coming to the Hylton Performing Arts Center, and proceeds from the show will go to help Calling All Souls, a group that provides a helping hand in our community. 

Anyone living knows that life is not easy. It becomes harder when we lose our jobs, have to escape an abusive situation, and have to take care of a loved one. The mission of Calling All Souls (CAS) is to provide relief and restoration for families and individuals who are in the midst of life’s overwhelming situations.

They do this by providing goods and services donated by our community and delivered by our volunteers. These acts-of-love are anchored in the messages of Jesus Christ and by bringing both, we want to bring Hope where there may be none. And also show those whom we support that by Faith and with Love we can all overcome adversity. Our vision is driven by God’s word and founded in the verse “Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices.” – Hebrews 13:16”.

The goal

By selling out the 1,200 seats at the Hylton Center, we will raise $50,000. All proceeds raised will go directly to organizations that are on the front lines helping care for, encourage, lift spirits, give hope and opportunity to our struggling neighbors.

These organizations are the unsung heroes in our community whose compassion makes our community a place to be proud of. They cannot do it alone!

Order tickets online from the Hylton Performing Arts Center or call 1-888-945-2468. If you or your business would like to sponsor the event, please contact Steve Chapman, steve@washmydeck.com by February 10.

New shops, homes, high citizen satisfaction rates: The state of Manassas is Great

business, development, location

Manassas Mayor Parrish highlights the City’s many successes in 2014

Recently, Mayor Harry J. Parrish II delivered the State of the City of Manassas address.  The address was delivered in a video message to city residents. In his address, Mayor Parrish welcomed new businesses to the city, like El Cactus, Don Lencho, The Bone, Fire House Subs, Zandras and the Olde Town Man Cave. He also spoke about expanding businesses including Heritage Brewing, Bad Wolf Brewing, Fauquier Bank and a few others. 

Mayor Parrish spoke about the many family friendly events held in the city, Manassas City Public Schools and the summer camps held by the Fire and Rescue and Police Departments for Osbourn High School Students. He talked about the citizens group who asked that City Hall be named in honor of Mayor Marvin Gillum and how their civic involvement and community spirit led not only to raise funds for the signs, but funds for the upkeep of those signs as well. 

Mayor Parrish talked about the City of Manassas’ first Citizen Satisfaction Survey held in 2014. The survey set a baseline for future surveys and will help determine priorities in coming years. This survey is available at www.manassascity.org/css. One of the findings of the survey was that city staff ranks 20 percentage points higher than the national benchmark in customer service.

Mayor Parrish also spoke about economic development for the City of Manassas including the hiring of a new Economic Development Director and a greater focus on business attraction, retention and expansion. In closing, Mayor Parrish said, “For those who appreciate independence and access, the historic City of Manassas enjoys a strategic location in Northern Virginia where Old Town charm combines with a new city spirit so you experience a sense of place, a sense of community and a sense of opportunity.  To watch the State of the City in its entirety, visit www.manassascity.org.

The preceding post was written by the City of Manassas. 

Lorton Art Program showcases D.C. inmates’ art

The Lorton Art Program (LAP) has been working with inmates at the Washington D.C. Department of Corrections, and will be showcasing some of their works at an exhibit at the Westminster at Lake Ridge senior community in Occoquan.

Work from the program will be shown at Westminster on February 9 at 3p.m. during an opening reception, and will be available for viewing until the end of March.

The LAP provides the inmates with education and training in the arts to help them find a future profession for after their release, according to the program’s website.

Mia Choumenkovitch founded the LAP program in 1975.

Choumenkovitch has won the DC Mayor’s Arts Award, and has also been included in the Washingtonian Magazine as a Washingtonian of the Year, according to a press release. 

“[LAP] offers unique learning and rehabilitative activities to both male and female inmates. It has demonstrated that training in and exposure to the visual arts can improve the learning skills and self-esteem of prison residents. As a result, the program has become an integral part of the [Washington] D.C. Department of Corrections facilities,” said Choumenkovitch in a press release.

While there may be stigma behind inmates in the corrections system, many of the pieces being showcased show just how talented these individuals are.

All of the pieces in the exhibition will be offered for sale, and the money made by the sale of the works will go to the inmates and their families.

Potomac Local Pets


Dixie: A 10-month-old  Chocolate Lab female mix who is full of energy. 

She is a gentle, playful and friendly pup who is great with people. Dixie is extremely loving and smart – what a wonderful addition to any family.

blackie chan

Blackie Chan

Blackie Chan: This handsome black male with a white bib has a huge personality and gets along very well with the other cats in his room. He enjoys interacting with volunteers and is a silly, curious  9-month-old boy who is up to date  on all his shots. 

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

Hilarious, heartfelt: ‘Laughs and Love’ — A night you will remember!

capitol steps, hylton, rotary

The Capitol Step will perform at the Hylton Performing Arts Center thanks to Bull Run Rotary.

On Feb. 21, don’t miss Bull Run Rotary’s Laughs and Love benefit, at the beautiful Hylton Center featuring the Capitol Steps.

Why laughs and love? Here’s the love:

One of the greatest benefits of business ownership is being able to be part of give back to our community. Those who have faced hardship are struggling and in need.

Washmydeck.com is a seasonal business. We have a small fleet of vehicles that get lots of use eight months of the year. This leaves four months that where we can use our vehicles to help families in need have reliable transportation in order to help them work and get on their feet. We just look at it as doing a small part, with the resources we have.

Bull Run Rotary is doing it BIG by celebrating five hero organizations whose hard work day in and day out enriches the lives of those around us.

On one night, we set an ambitious goal to raise $50,000 to help abused children find security, battered women feel safe, families who have had hardship achieve the American dream of home ownership, and help feed our neighbors who live in tents in the woods.

Please help Bull Run Rotary in supporting CASA, Calling All Souls, Habitat for Humanity of Prince William County, Transitional Housing BARN, and Therapeutic Riding Rainbow Center, it promises to be a night to remember.

Oh yeah, there will be laughs!

Have you seen the hilarious Capitol Steps? They put the MOCK in Democracy with their song parody of political current events. The night will also have some surprise big VIPs. Regardless of your political leanings this is sure to be a night you will be talking about for some time.

Purchase tickets online at the Hylton Performing Arts Center box office.

See you there,

Steve Chapman, Founder, and President Washmydeck.com

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