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Lifestyle

Resolutioners get off to a good start with 5K run at Freedom Center

Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center, run, 5k

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Freedom Center awards resolution runners

Over 200 area residents came out to start their new year off right, running in The Resolution Run 5K at the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center in Manassas on New Year’s Day. The race, which kicked off at 11a.m. was hosted by Fun Run Racing and was their third running event thus far.

“It’s the first of the year. Most people’s resolution is ‘In 2015, I’m going to exercise more,’ so it’s a good way to start,” said Ian Connor, a race organizer.

“What’s interesting that most our [runners] were not signing up, because they didn’t know what their plans were going to be in the evening [before]. So it’s been an interesting race to put on, in trying to plan,” said Connor, of the planning process for the 5K.

Fun Run Racing has partnered with the Freedom Center for race events in the past, and has had a good experience with their facilities.

“[The Freedom Center] has been fantastic to work with. They promote health and wellness, so it’s a good synergistic approach to that – and letting us have access to the Freedom Center has been great,” said Connor.

The runners excelled on the flat course. For female overall, first place was Jean Kleitz with 19:46. For men’s overall, first place was Ryan Laemel, coming in at 15:24. 

Fun Run Racing has been able to raise $12,400 in their events for local charities and non profits, including their charity partner, the Manassas Bull Run Rotary Club, according to their website.

The company plans to host their next race this year on the 4th of July. So far they have held two other successful runs – the Freedom Firecracker 5K on the 4th of July in 2014 and the Prince William Turkey Trot in 2014 – all of which were hosted at the Freedom Center.

Winners, broken down by age category:

Female 1-10yrs: Nili Schreibman – 25:08
Male 1-10yrs: Camden Yentz – 22:42

Female 11-14yrs: Lindsay Yentz – 23:37
Male 11-14yrs: Jamey Bocompani – 21:41

Female 15-19yrs: Lynne Bai – 24:56
Male 15-19yrs: Ian Dickson – 20:17

Female 20-24yrs: Olivia Black – 29:59

Female 25-29yrs: Candace Robbins – 25:58
Male 25-29yrs: Michael Kleitz – 27:02

Female 30-34yrs: Kayla Robison – 23:44
Male 30-34yrs: Jonathan Ellis – 19:50

Female 35-39yrs: Tamara West – 26:11
Male 35-39yrs: Uriah Orland – 18:30

Female 40-44yrs: Tracy Phelps – 25:26
Male 40-44yrs: Eric Davison – 21:49

Female 45-49yrs: Shannon Andes – 26:43
Male 45-49yrs: Edward Scollon – 19:14

Female 50-54yrs: Maureen Miller – 24:28
Male 50-54yrs: Craig Greene – 18:58

Female 55-59yrs: Bonita Coats – 31:32
Male 55-59yrs: Steve Moyer – 21:02

Female 60-64yrs: Judy Wine – 33:31
Male 60-64yrs: Steven Bartlett – 25:51

Female 65-69yrs: Laurel Clement – 26:55
Male 65-69yrs: Bill Washington – 38:38

 

City of Manassas Citizen Satisfaction Survey results are in

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Manassas ranks above average in 8 Citizen Satisfaction categories surveyed

In a survey conducted by one of the nation’s leading community-based market research firms, results showed that citizen satisfaction in the City of Manassas is significantly above national and regional benchmarks in a number of service areas. Overall, three categories stood out: the overall quality of citizen services provided; the overall quality of water and sewer utilities; and the effectiveness of communication with the public.

Categories where the City of Manassas scored significantly higher than the national and regional benchmarks include:

  • Maintenance of streets
  • Sidewalks and infrastructure
  • How safe residents feel in their neighborhood at night, in commercial/business areas of the City and in City parks
  • Maintenance of neighborhood streets
  • Cleanliness of City streets
  • Access to information about City services
  • Opportunities to participate in local government 
  • Satisfaction with residential garbage collection and residential curbside recycling

The percentage of residents satisfied with customer service is 15 percent higher than the national average. Survey participants responded more than 20 percent above the national average when asked how satisfied they were with customer service in regards to response time and customer service experience.

“Having worked with City staff for the last year, I know how our dedicated staff goes above and beyond to provide services to the community,” said City Manager W. Patrick Pate. “I am extremely proud that resident opinions show that City of Manassas staff are significantly above the nation in customer service.”

City Council and staff are pleased with the results, not only because they highlight what the City is doing right, but because the survey shows what priorities the community has in coming years. Major services that were recommended as top priorities for investment over the next few years include: overall flow of traffic and ease of getting around; overall quality of public education; and overall quality of economic development.

ETC Institute used a random sample of households within the City of Manassas for this survey. They had a goal of 400 completed surveys being returned to provide this data and received 405 surveys from all areas of the City of Manassas. To read the survey results presented by ETC Institute, visit manassascity.org/CSS.

The preceding promoted post was written by the City of Manassas.

‘The Interview’ will be shown in Manassas

The controversial comedy “The Interview” will be shown at Manassas 4 Cinemas  on Mathis Avenue. The theater posted a sign outside their window telling customers “we got it” and they will show the movie for five showings Christmas Day.

 

The two characters in the film played by Seth Rogen and James Franko play celebrity TV hosts who land in interview with North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un. In the film, the CIA recruits both to assassinate the dictator.

Hackers broke into a database at movie studio Sony Pictures which produced the film and later threatened violence if the movie was released. The studio canceled plans for a Christmas Day release of the movie but will now allow the movie to be seen in limited release.

President Barack Obama lauded the decision to show the film.

The president criticized Sony for their original earlier decision to not show the movie as planned.

Seinfeld fans celebrate Festivus today

festivus

Today is Festivus, a made-up holiday popularized by the iconic 90’s hit comedy show Seinfeld.

For the show’s faithful fans, the celebration is anything but made up. 

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, known for his stance on bucking the status quo in Washington, posted to Twitter today about Festivus.

 

 

The holiday is celebrated by fans each Dec. 23, just two days before Christmas. In the show, Seinfeld character Frank Costanza (played by Jerry Stiller) tires of the commercialization of Christmas and comes up with his own holiday. It involves gathering family members around the dinner table, saying what you don’t like about them, and then challenging at least one of them to a wrestling match.

Here, take a look:

The episode originally aired Dec. 18, 1997. In addition to detailing everything we needed to know about Festivus, it also revealed why show character Kramer never had a job. It also enlightened us with the notion of “two face,” someone who looks good or bad depending on how light hits their face.

 

Today, the Twittersphere is lighting up with references to Festivus.

 

 

There’s even an instruction list detailing how to celebrate Festivus for newcomers posted to Facebook: 

 

 

So, as long as Seinfeld lives in reruns, the miracle that is Festivus will live on in fans’ hearts.

Happy Festivus, everybody!

Santa, cops bring joy across Prince William County

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Prince William police officers were out bringing joy and spreading Christmas cheer Thursday.

A very cool looking, sunglasses-wearing Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus rode with several Prince William police motorcycle units on their annual Santa Ride. They visited pediatric patients at Novant Prince William Medical Center, and the group also visited a string of elementary schools in Prince William County.

The traveling troop brought Santa and Mrs. Claus to Chick-fil-A in Bristow where they ordered lunch. While there, Santa and the officers passed out candy canes to children. Santa also asked each child what they wanted for Christmas.

Declining birth rate no big deal for Prince William region

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Fewer women in the U.S. are having babies.

The national birth rate declined in 2013 to 3.93 million births, continuing a six-year drop off. Women between the ages of 15 and 44 last year bore  an average of 1.86 babies, and that’s below the 2.1 average the National Center for Health Statistics said is necessary for a stable population.

Locally, the number of live births at Novant Prince William Medical Center in Manassas fluctuated over the past five years. The hospital was the only local medical center in Prince William and Stafford counties to respond to our records request. The hospital  averaged nearly 2,040.8 babies born over the past five years.

Over time, the numbers have remained steady with the exception of this year’s number, which accounts only for the first 11 months of 2014. Take a look at the numbers the hospital submitted to Potomac Local:

  • 2010=2,177
  • 2011=2,305
  • 2012=2,135
  • 2013=2,015
  • 2014 (through November) =1,572

The down economy is to blame for the decrease in the birth rate. Many millennials are trying to find work or move up at their current job, and that, for some, means putting off starting a family.

In other parts of the U.S., a declining birth rate spells trouble for city populations, as well as companies looking to find workers to fill jobs. In the Washington, D.C. area, things are a bit different. People keep moving here and that, at least for now, offsets any the effect of any population decrease.

“In the last two years, we’ve seen changes in what drives population growth in our metro area,” said Jeannette Chapman, with the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis.

Domestic migration in the Washington area – people moving here from other places in the U.S. – has dropped off while international migration to the area has increased.

Locally, Prince William County and Manassas City has seen more cases of international migration over the past two years while Stafford County to the south has seen more cases of domestic relocation. A number of factors could play into Stafford’s case, including home prices and housing inventory, said Chapman.

The Center for Regional Analysis compares the Washington, D.C. to Houston, Phoenix, and Seattle. In Virginia, military bases have been impacted by sequestration and thousands of jobs have been lost due to federal cutbacks. 

Historically, when the economy tanks federal agencies here ramp up to find a solution to the problem, and that brings in more workers and people.

So, that declining birth rate?

“It’s not a big deal for us; that’s only part of the story,” said Chapman. “If in the longer term things continue to decline, that will change the national narrative, and that could have an effect on our economy here.”

Potomac Local Pets

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Mr. Freeze

This soft and cuddly, little cutie is known as Mr Freeze. He is a 4 month old, medium haired, grey and white male with a soul patch. An absolute sweet heart who is sure to melt your heart!

Kermit

What a happy boy! Kermit is a  5 month old,Jack Russell/ Pomeranian mix with a fawn and tan coat. He is already crate trained, leashed trained and loves to ride in the car! He would love to go home with you today!

Found Cat

Female with no collar or tags. She is a beautiful calico w/ a harlequin face. Found on December 13, 2014  @ Hopkins Branch & Royal Cresent Way (Stafford Lakes area). For more information, go to http://www.helpinglostpets.com/petdetail/?id=314202

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

Quantico band quartet wishes you Merry Christmas

The Quantico Marine Corps Band played “We wish you a Merry Christmas” at the 2014 Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Dumfries.

Here are the members of the quartet: 

Sgt. Nestor Carrera, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Lance Cpl. Micheal Millott, of Indianapolis, Indiana
Cpl. Derrick Smith, of El Paso, Texas
Sgt. Tyler Scruggs, of Kings Mountain, North Carolina

New Life Anointed Ministries Int’l moves admin offices to Lake Ridge

the life

New Life Anointed Ministries Int’l (The Life) moved its administrative offices from Marumsco Plaza to 12680 Darby Brook Court in Brooke Centre Plaza in Lake Ridge on December 1, 2014. Sunday Worship Services will continue to be held at 9 a.m. at CD Hylton High School, 14051 Spriggs Road in Woodbridge.

The Life will hold an open house at its new administrative offices in Brooke Centre Tuesday, December 23, 2014 from 6:00pm to 8:30pm.

The Life is a non-denominational spirit-filled worship center under the leadership of Senior Pastor and Founder Bishop Eugene Reeves with the vision of a multicultural body of disciples loving the unlovable, reaching the unreachable, restoring hurt and broken lives through the power of Jesus Christ. For more information, visit www.TheLifeDC.org or contact Georgette Patterson at (703) 490-7155.

Potomac Local Pets

Dog, resuce, stafford, spca
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Cinnamon

A 5-month-old  Jack Russell Terrier female who is full of energy and ready for any adventure. Cinnamon will make a wonderful and devoted companion to the special someone that chooses her!

Snowball

9-year-old all white DSH. Very people friendly – does well with cats.  Prefer a home with no dogs.  Spayed & UTD on shots.

Found Dog Another stray Beagle off of 610. This is hunting season and there are stray Beagles & Hounds everywhere. Does anyone recognize this pup? She is on our property off 610 near kwb elementary school and has been here since around the 15th of of November. Friendly with our dogs and neighbors it is just scared of humans my email address is ali.r2685@gmail.com

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

Chipotle opens to smiles in Stafford

Stafford, chipotle, virginia
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Chipotle Mexican Grill opened its doors at Stafford Marketplace on Monday.

It’s the first Chipotle to open in Stafford County, and the opening was celebrated with a line of hungry fans standing outside the door.

In addition to several Chipotle employees, Rep. Robert Wittman (R-Va. 1) attended a ribbon cutting for the business, as did Stafford County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Cavalier.

The new restaurant faces Garrisonville Road and is part of a recent addition to Stafford Marketplace. A Verizon Wireless store will soon join Chipotle as its next door neighbor.

Chipotle employees spent the weekend getting ready for the big opening, however, no menu specials or discounts were planned for the event. A new Chipotle restaurant opens every two days, according to the company’s website.

Dumfries Lights Christmas Tree

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The Town of Dumfries Christmas Tree was lit on Saturday night as children sang, and the Quantico Marine Corps Band played.

Mayor Jerry Foreman and town officials gathered outside town hall at 6 p.m. for the third annual ceremony. Despite rain and cold temperatures, more than 100 people came to the holiday gathering.

Children were invited to hang ornaments on the tree, and then the mayor, Vice Mayor Willie Toney, and Councilwoman Gwen Washington and Helen Reynolds all urged the crowd to count them down before lighting the tree.

After the tree lighting ceremony, Foreman read a Christmas story to children in the audience. The mayor held up the book in which he was reading to show illustrations to the children.

Children in the Dumfries Elementary School chorus, all dressed in festive red shirts, sang three songs for the crowd. Parents with children in the chorus grabbed their cell phones can captured video of the performance.

After the tree lighting ceremony, children were invited into the Dumfries Community Center to meet Santa and tell him what they wanted to Christmas.

“My two granddaughters were singing in the Dumfries choir, so we’re coming out for support because this is their first year in the choir,” said Sharon Webster, Woodbridge.

Her grandchildren Elysa and Makenzy are in the 4th and 5th grades, respectively. They sang with their school chorus at the event. Elysa said she hoped Santa brings her a Spriograph geometric drawing toy for Christmas.

A Christmas Parade will be held in Dumfires this Saturday, Dec. 13 staring at 1 p.m. The parde will run on Main Street (Route 1) from Town Hall to the Dumfires Shopping Center. 



First Chipotle in Stafford Opens Monday

Chipotle, restaurant, virginia

Chipotle opens new restaurant every two days

Employees on Saturday night were putting the finishing touches on Stafford County’s very first Chipotle restaurant.

The popular fast-food restaurant chain that allows customers to walk up to the kitchen and choose what they want in their oversized burritos, bowls, and salads will open its doors at 11 a.m. Monday. Devoted fans of the restaurant chain and Stafford County officials are excited about the grand opening.

The restaurant, like most new Chipotles, is small. Lines of customers can stretch from the order counter to the front door. A lot of customers take their food and go.

“It’s great food, its great tasting, and its food with integrity. It’s food that you can you trust to eat with no antibiotics, it’s organic, and it’s a fresh taste made in here,” said Delmis Carcamo, of Springfield, who is the restaurant’s general manager.

For those new to Chipotle, they have a very limited menu of nearly football-sized burritos filled with rice, beans, chicken or pork or steak. The customers say what vegetables, salsa, and the restaurants coveted guacamole.

Fans can also get those same ingredients put into a “burrito bowl,” a burrito minus the tortilla. It’s the most popular item on the menu, said Carcamo.

It’s $7.21 for a burrito or a bowl with chicken, $7.95 with steak. There’s also a salad for those who don’t like rice.

The new Chipotle is the latest addition to Stafford Marketplace shopping center on Garrisonville Road. The restaurant faces Garrisonville Road, and it’s located next to what will be new Verizon Wireless store.

Chipotle is so popular and sought-after in Stafford that a Facebook page was created by restaurant fans who wanted the chain to open a location in the county.

Today, the restaurant will hold an invitation-only preopening party that will give employees a chance to learn the ropes with customers inside. On Monday, it’ll be business as usual with no grand opening menu special planned.

The restaurant chain is undergoing a massive hiring spree. According to the company’s website, a new Chipotle is opened every two days.

Malones Restaurant Readies 2nd Floor for Opening

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Come January at Malones of Manassas restaurant, it’ll be formal downstairs and a party upstairs.

The Old Town Manassas eatery at Main and Church streets will open its long-awaited 2nd floor bar and lounge on Jan. 1. Construction crews are now hard at work on the expansion.

New fixtures for the bar and dining area were delivered prior to Thanksgiving. The 2nd floor will hold a total of 82 people on the 2nd floor. In addition to a bar, the room will include 12 cocktail tables and will have several TVs mounted to the wall.

It’s taken about two years for the restaurant – which is located inside an old church – to reach a point where it can open the top floor to customers.

What is the reason for the delay?

“A little bit of this, a little bit of that… it’s expensive,” said Kathy Saylors, who was overseeing construction of the second floor.

Saylors is the sister of restaurant owner Kevin Malone.

When it opens, the second floor will also feature live music. The downstairs portion of the restaurant also has a bar, as well as dining tables.

On its menu, Malones features steak, as well as a mix of seafood and pasta dishes.

Happy Thanksgiving from Potomac Local

One of the questions I am most frequently asked is “how much does it cost to subscribe to your online newspaper?”

Most of those who ask this question are residents of our community, and business owners who are learning about Potomac Local for the first time. My reply is always the same.

“Absolutely nothing,” I say.

And it’s usually followed with this comment:

“More than a newspaper, we like to consider ourselves an online community news resource published daily.”

For the past four and a half years, I, along with so many others, have worked to grow Potomac Local into what it is today – a widely read, community-focused news and features publication that has laid the groundwork for independent local news in our community.

We couldn’t have done it without you, and this time of year we like to say thanks. Thanks for coming to us daily to find out what is happening in your neighborhood. Thanks for trusting us to bring you stories about your local government, your children’s schools, and what is being done to fix your traffic-clogged commute.

And, thank you for supporting the advertisers who support Potomac Local. Those advertisers help put food on my family’s dinner table and ensure the lights, and our website, stay on.

Potomac Local will continue to be free for the foreseeable future. All of us in the news business are looking for ways to sustain and grow our business models, but few have found success in charging readers for access to news content.

As we enter the bustling holiday season, we’ll continue to work to provide you relevant news and information about where we live. This area has been my home nearly all of my life, and it will always be a privilege to work for you and cover my hometown.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kids Pics Wanted for SERVE Charity Calendar

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Pack N Ship owner printing charity calendars to benefit SERVE 

When he bought Pack N Ship Store, the first thing he wanted to do was give back.

Liam Hainsworth came to the U.S. and purchased the packaging store inside the Aquia Park shopping center on Route 1. A native of England, Hainsworth was told a story about a local family that went without fresh water or electricity inside their home for three months.

Then he learned about SERVE, of Stafford, a non-profit agency that runs a food pantry, provides financial assistance to families in need, and also provides cut firewood for those who need it, from his assistant Regina Dick. SERVE provided assistance to the needy family. 

Then Hainsworth came up with the idea: Print a calendar with photos drawn by local children, featuring SERVE’s contact information on all of its pages, to benefit the non profit.

“As Christmas is around the corner, it’s sometimes easy to forget that families within Stafford will struggle to bring food to the table, and this is something we aim to address in our charity calendar campaign,” said Hainsworth.

Now through Sunday, Nov. 30, Pack N Ship store is now accepting hand-drawn pictures to be judged for submission into the 2015 calendar. The pictures should be drawn on 11 and a half inch paper, have the child’s name, age, and address printed on the back. A total of 12 photos will be chosen for the calendar.

“When people see calendar people see us all the time, we need awareness all the time,” said Marilyn Stevens, who runs the SERVE program. “We’re going to be seen 365 days per year on the calendar, and you can’t get any better than this.”

Stevens said she jumped at the chance to participate in the charity calendar project. When they’re printed, SERVE will distribute them to area Rotary and Lions clubs as well as Boys and Girls Scout troops.

Pack N Ship Store is located at 2796 Jefferson Davis Highway, #111 in Stafford.

Hainsworth purchased the Pack N Ship store on Oct. 1. 

Nyea’s Party Store a Sign of Life for Featherstone Square

party, birthday, woodbridge

New homes being constructed at Featherstone Square

A new store owner hopes a party will once again happen inside Woodbridge’s Featherstone Square.

Ania Jaffa is the managing director, chief proprietor, and just about any other official-sounding title you can come up with for Nyea’s Party store. The independent business owner opened the store this fall after retiring from working in the account management department at AT&T, not a job one would associate with parties.

Nyea’s caters to everyone but has found a niche market with the Hispanic market in Woodbridge. In addition to baby shower party goods, the store has been selling a lot of party favors like plates, napkins, and cups designed by Uzuri Kid Kidz. It’s an Ohio-based artist that draws the characters with the familiar Disney look and feel, but feature Hispanics and African-American children to “mirror their lifestyle and will help fill the void in the current market.”

After Jaffa, of Manassas, retired, she looked around the area for a location for a party store.

“Then I came to Woodbridge and said “you know what, there is a niche here that I think I can fill,” said the New York City native.

The independent party store opened in a place many would consider to be an unlikely spot. For years, Featherstone Square has seen its share of small tenants come and go. The shopping center is anchored by a Food Lion and a large furniture rental store.

The surrounding neighborhood along Route 1 is noted more for its “brown” spots in need of redevelopment, and for its congested traffic.

Much of that is changing. Ryan Homes has opened a new sales office inside the center as construction is now underway for new condos and 30 townhomes on nearly 9 acres of land of Featherstone Road, just across from the shopping center.

The owner of the shopping center is also petitioned the county to build the new homes.

The new construction will bring more people to the neighborhood, and more people to the shopping center, Jaffa hopes.

“I’m used to transitional neighborhoods, you see a lot of that in New York, It’s a cyclical thing,” said Jaffa.

 

Prince William’s ‘Emergency Kit Rap’ Video a Hit

Video produced by Prince William County communications staff in Woodbridge

 

Prince William County just entered the rap game.

A new video produced by county’s communications staff features Prince William County Communications Director Jason Grant rapping a list of items you’ll need in your emergency preparedness kit. The video was produced in October in honor of National Preparedness Month.

The video was shot in front of a green screen in the format of a mock newscast. Grant wrote the rap and then recorded it for the video.

“There’s tons of videos out there with people walking you through want to have in an emergency preparedness kit,” said Grant. “We wanted to create something memorable, something that someone would watch again.”

The video also features Nicole Brown, who works with Grant inside the county’s communications office. Grant said the video has been well received in the halls of county government at the McCoart Building in Woodbridge, and that it has been shown in several staff meetings.

When not rapping, Grant oversees the production of the county’s website, newsletters, as well as other media the county uses to get out their message. He also takes questions from reporters on a regular basis.

Grant minored in theater and does improvisational comedy in his spare time, he said. He’s also available for holiday parties, birthdays, and bar mitzvahs.

Catholic High School Race Supports Students with Intellectual Disabilities

(Submitted photo)

This Saturday, Nov. 22, Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School near Dumfries will host their 4th annual JP5K Run/Walk for Options. The race, which will take place on the school campus and the surrounding neighborhood, is being hosted to raise funds for the school’s Options program, which provides educational opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities.

“[This race] supports our Options program, which currently serves about six students with intellectual impairments,” said Jennifer Cole, Director of Admissions and Marketing for Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School. 

Last year the race had about 600 participants, and they’re hoping for a similar turnout this year. In last year’s run, the school raised several thousands to help fund the Options program.

“It’s really important to us that families know that there is a Catholic school that has a program that can meet the needs of students with these disabilities, because it’s not something that has traditionally been very available,” said Cole of the importance of such a program in the community, noting that children from all faith backgrounds are accepted.

The goal of this program is to give students a place where they can contribute to the educational community, spending part of their time with an individualized curriculum, and another part of their day spent with other students in the classroom.

“We have a program where they spend part of their day in the classroom – it’s a very individualized program and they’re learning at the level that is appropriate for each one of them. And the other part of the day, our Options students are in our mainstream classrooms with ‘buddies’…these are students that are like mentors,” said Cole.

Runners for the race can register on the race website, or the day of at the race, from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. The address for the campus is 17700 Dominican Drive in Dumfries.

Stafford Teen Trains with Chuck Norris

Byrne (center) met with Chuck Norris at his karate championship in Vegas.

Byrne (center) met with Aaron Norris (right) and Chuck Norris at his karate championship in Las Vegas.

Teen competed for Chuck Norris Cup

 

Byrne's kick form earned her praise during the competition from Norris.

Byrne’s kick form earned her praise during the competition from Norris.

Vanessa Byrne has had a unique opportunity to combine her passion for karate and a brush with fame.

The senior at North Stafford High School met and trained with Chuck Norris in Chun Kuk Do. Byrne began her training in Chun Kuk Do when she was just seven years old at Champion Martial Arts in Stafford, which is owned by Norris.

“I started training in Chun Kuk Do, when I was seven years old, because I didn’t like dance or swimming, or anything my mom put me in,” Byrne said.

She did well, earning her first black belt in 5th grade, and her second in 6th grade. All of this training paid off for Byrne, when she began attending Norris’ karate championship in Las Vegas each year.

“He does a world championship karate tournament and conference every year in July. And we attended one back in 2009, that’s when she first had her picture taken with him and trained with him a little bit and got to know him, and we’ve been going ever since,” said Bill Byrne, Vanessa’s father.

Byrne receiving an award at Norris' competition.

Byrne receiving an award at Norris’ competition.

Byrne did well in this year’s competition, where she actually got to train with Norris himself. “I got into the championship – I got into Grands – and I got to compete for the Norris cup,” said Byrne.

“It was a great honor, especially now that I have become friends with his daughter. He lives up to the expectations of what you see on TV – he’s actually as nice as he seems. He’s very personable,” Byrne said of her experience meeting Norris.

While Byrne had intended for Chun Kuk Do to be a hobby, she plans to incorporate it into her life for many years to come, with hopes of becoming an instructor.

“Especially after the competition this year, because I did very well…I plan on continuing it more than ever. I was planning on taking a break during college, but now I’m picking my college around places that teach Chun Kuk Do,” said Byrne, who is planning to attend West Virginia University.

American Festival Pops Orchestra to Play Holiday Songs in Manassas

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The American Festival Pops Orchestra will be playing holiday tunes December 12 and 13 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center and the George Mason University Center for the Arts.

More information from a Hylton Center press release:

Northern Virginia’s own American Festival Pops Orchestra makes the season merry and bright when it presents “Holiday Pops: Songs of the Season,” a festive musical array filled with Christmas cheer. The ensemble appears at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014 at 8 p.m. and at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 at 8 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).

This sparkling musical extravaganza features beloved classics from Irving Berlin, Leroy Anderson and John Williams, including “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” “The Christmas Song” and “Winter Wonderland.”

In keeping with tradition, American Festival Pops Orchestra is excited to welcome back Hylton Center Executive Director Rick Davis, in a captivating narrative set to music in “T’was the Night Before Christmas,” and young and old alike will enjoy the ever-popular audience sing-along. Under the baton of Artistic Director and Conductor Anthony Maiello, American Festival Pops Orchestra gathers some of the most extraordinary musical talent the greater D.C. area has to offer, including members of Mason’s School of Music faculty, U.S. military ensembles and regional symphonies.

Maestro Maiello is an associate director and university professor in Mason’s School of Music, and has made professional appearances throughout the United States and abroad, conducting music festivals; adjudicating ensembles; and presenting lectures, clinics and workshops. For more information about the American Festival Pops Orchestra and Maestro Anthony Maiello, please visit afpo.gmu.edu.

 

More information on how to purchase tickets, from a Hylton Center press release:

TICKETS FOR THE HYLTON PERFORMING ARTS CENTER:Tickets for AMERICAN FESTIVAL POPS ORCHESTRA’S “HOLIDAY POPS: SONGS OF THE SEASON” concert are $50, $43 and $30. 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. 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.

TICKETS FOR GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS: Tickets for AMERICAN FESTIVAL POPS ORCHESTRA’S “HOLIDAY POPS: SONGS OF THE SEASON” concert are $50, $43 and $30. 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.

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