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Lifestyle

Lunch at Stafford’s German Roadhaus Eatery a Bustling Experience

Schnitzel sandwich at the Roadhaus Eatery in Stafford. [Photo: Stephanie Tipple / Potomac Local News]
Inside the Roadhaus Eatery in Stafford. [Photo: Stephanie Tipple / Potomac Local News]

Inside the Roadhaus Eatery in Stafford. [Photo: Stephanie Tipple / Potomac Local News]

By STEPHANIE TIPPLE
Features Editor

While the words ‘gulasch’ and ‘schnitzel’ may not sound the most appetizing, once you’ve ordered a plate at the Roadhaus Eatery & Bier Garten in Stafford, you may have to change your mind.

Located on U.S. 1 in Stafford County, between Garrisonville Road and the Quantico Marine Base, this restaurant promises genuine German fare, along with a few more Americanized dishes for your friend or spouse who’s a bit of a xenophobe.

Not afraid to try some foreign fare, I stopped by the Roadhaus Eatery one evening. Or should I say, I attempted to. After reading the hours posted for the restaurant, I drove there, only to find they were closed – with a hand made sign that showcased their new ‘winter hours’.

Disappointed but not deterred, I ventured to Roadhaus during lunchtime on a different day to give it another shot. This time the restaurant was buzzing with activity, with several customers coming in for lunch from Quantico.

I was immediately greeted by my server and brought to a table, where I could take in all of the décor. With different knick knacks that reinforced the German theme, complete with cuckoo clocks and a full bar stocked with German beer and spirits, I could tell I was definitely in a place where lederhosen wasn’t just Will Ferrell’s costume in Elf.

With the lunch rush there was a high volume that resonated throughout the building, so if you’re sensitive to loud noises, or you want a more relaxing environment, it’s best to come during the evening.

Many of the menu items were normal lunch fare, including a Chicken Salad sandwich ($7.95), or the Southwest Chicken wrap ($8.95). But if you want an authentic experience, you want to stick to the specialty sandwiches section of the menu or splurge on a meal from the dinner menu.

And while it’s almost impossible to properly pronounce some of the items, the menu offers short ‘German lessons’ that define the different food items – very helpful when trying foreign food. They also offer an endless salad bar ($9.45) for those with dietary restrictions.

I ordered the Schnitzel sandwich ($9.95), which is a pork cutlet that is breaded and served on a Kaiser roll with a lemon zest mayo. My food came quickly – a major plus for someone with a short lunch break – and I began to dig in.

Biting in, I immediately noticed the presence of the lemon zest mayo, which was subtler than I imagined, but had a unique taste that broke up the flavor of the breaded pork. I was satisfied after eating a majority of my sandwich – a good portion size for a bigger lunch.

My sandwich was served with frites, or French fries, which were crispy and delicious. It took me till the end of my meal to see a small puddle of grease at the bottom of my plate, so avoid this particular sandwich if you can’t eat greasy foods.

Aside from enjoying my meal, I was pleased with a majority of the service I received. My waiter was quick and attentive, and other staff checked on me to make sure I had been served. I do feel that I was rushed a bit out the door with the check, and that I wish I could have seen if there was a dessert menu, but I chalked it up to all of the busy patrons stopping in with a short lunch break and a big appetite.

I would recommend this as a lunch stop when you’re in the area. The prices are reasonable, the concept is unique and the service is excellent. While some of the dinner entrées seem pricey, like the Jaeger Schnitzel ($19.95), it’s worth taking the time to try it out.

Woodbridge Woman Wins $250,000 While Running Errand

[Photo: Virginia Lottery]

Submitted News

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Danielle Sherred was running errands with her mom when they stopped at the Shell station located at 13890 Noblewood Plaza in Woodbridge. She bought two Big Winning Numbers tickets from the Virginia Lottery. They then discovered that one of the tickets was a $250,000 winner.

“My mom was next to me and kept screaming,” she told Lottery officials as she claimed her prize. “I just remained in shock.”

Ms. Sherred said she had no immediate plans for her winnings.

Big Winning Numbers is one of dozens of Scratchers offered by the Virginia Lottery. It features prizes ranging from $5 all the way up to $250,000. This is the first top prize claimed in this game, which means four top-prize tickets remain unclaimed.

Mick’s Restaurant & Sports Lounge Revamping Menu, Staff

By URIAH KISER

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – It’s not a full on make over as much as it will be a new way of doing things.

Mick’s Restaurant and Sports Lounge plans to revamp its menu, build a more female-friendly atmosphere, and improve the quality of the service inside the restaurant now known for Tex-Mex and American food.

On the new menu, you’ll find things like flatbread pizza, seafood, and new healthier salads and wraps. They’ll be more consistency behind the bar so made-to-order drinks are poured according to their recipes. And servers waiting on guests will be taught to trade phrases like “sure, no problem,” for “absolutely.”

It’s a new plan to help redirect a 4-year-old restaurant that needs some sprucing up.

“We want people to come in to the restaurant with their families and say ‘this is our bar’ where we love to go out to eat,” said manager Lexi McDaniel.

Mick’s as we know it today will be closed for lunch on Thursday so servers will get new training from everything from new menu items to clearing tables.

“No one wants to go into their next course with a reminder of what they just had to eat, and we recognize that,” said McDaniel.

The restaurant will reopen Thursday at 4 p.m. with a re-launch party where customers have been invited to come in and try new menu items.

The restaurant sits on a hill in North Stafford where U.S. 1, Interstate 95, and Va. 610 all come together near bustling Aquia Harbour. While the residential neighborhood stays busy, the nearby shopping center in which Mick’s sits – Town Center at Aquia – has been slow to redevelop five years after many businesses were boarded up and were demolished to make way for newer ones.

While the restaurant wants to bring in families by day, Mick’s has found success in turning down the lights at night to become one of the area’s only nightclubs. Most recently in January, the restaurant hosted its “Anything But Clothes” party where revelers were encouraged to dress in anything, well, but clothes, and were told to be sure to have their vital areas covered up.

These afterhours events, which also include more common attractions like open mic nights and live music, are something McDaniel says Mick’s can continue to do all while redefining itself as a family brand.

“We are a family restaurant during the day, and our customers respect the fact that we have a bar and often hold events at night. It really shows both sides of what Mick’s is,” said McDaniel.

The restaurant’s staff, some of which are new hires, will begin a dry run of the new menu and concept starting tomorrow, and they’ll don new uniforms and start a new concept called team service – where everyone pitches in to make sure guests are comfortable and full – when the restaurant re-launches on Thursday.

Gold Medalist Benita Fitzgerald Mosley to Headline Steak ‘N Stake

News from Content Partner Prince William / Manassas Boys & Girls Clubs

MANASSAS, Va. – The Boys and Girls Club for the first time will hold their annual Stake ‘N Steak charity dinner at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas.

The show will be hosted by Olympic great Benita Fitzgerald Mosely – an Olympic gold medalist in track and field who grew up in Dale City. Fitzgerald Mosley competed in the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and she has a street named after her in Dale City. 

The show and fundraiser will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on June 7.

“We’re taking the show off the road this year,” said Prince William / Manassas Boys and Girls Clubs Director Glenn Vickers. “For years we’ve been trying to make a gymnasium into a banquet hall, now we’ll make the Hylton Performing Arts Center into a Boys and Girls Club.”

For the past three years Prince William Potomac District School Board Representative Betty Covington has hosted the show, which has traditionally been held at  Boys and Girls Club branches in Manassas and the Hylton Branch in Dale City.

The fundraiser is aptly named Steak ‘N Stake as choice cuts of beef are served, and the organization during the fundraiser Illustrates the involvement of the clubs in the lives of children and what’s at stake if the club was not able to be involved in the community.

While it was easy in years’ past to showcase the work of the clubs during the dinners held at inside club gymnasiums, Vickers said there will be videos and other visual aides on display at the Hytlon Performing Arts Center to showcase the work that happens inside the clubs.

Last year, the Boys and Girls Clubs raised $40,000 during the annual charity event. The organization has two clubs in Prince William – in Dale City and Dumfries – and another location in Manassas.

Completing FAFSA Forms a Series of Questions & Deep Breaths

Mom on the Run

By LIANNE WILKENS

I take a deep breath, and type: “www.fafsa.gov.”

I am set, and ready. To my right, completed taxes and bank account information. To my left, my precious dark-green folder, containing an inch of papers – virtually everything I have learned about the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, over the past three years.

I first became acquainted with the FAFSA 021113-freedom-mom-tagwhen my daughter was a senior in high school. Despite three “All About Financial Aid” sessions presented during various college tours, that first application took me hours. Hours of reading fine print, and clicking for more information, and running up and down, up and down the stairs finding financial information.

The second year, before my daughter’s sophomore year of college, the process was easier. I had learned what documentation I needed, and kept all the passwords in my vital green folder. And the third time around, last spring, I felt so comfortable with and annoyed with the process that I procrastinated until the absolute last minute.

Which is darned near what I’m doing this year. In 2013, my son is a senior in high school, and a completed FAFSA is required just to apply to certain colleges. We got our taxes done early, because I know the FAFSA is entirely reliant on completed taxes; I have been collecting additional materials as they have popped up in the mail since the first of the year; and now, a week from deadline, is the night.

I type: www.fafsa.gov, and up pops the familiar website. OK, here we go. Um, two big green buttons, “Start a new FAFSA” or “Login.” OK. “Start a new FAFSA.” Next page … Student Information. Name, Social Security number .…” Dang. Up from my chair, trot downstairs, dig through papers, find my son’s Social Security number. Back upstairs, type it in, hit the blue “Next” button.

“Federal Student Aid PIN.” My hand hovers over the green folder. Except … this is the first FAFSA for my son. All previous FAFSA requests have been for my daughter. I need a new PIN for him, right? OK. “Get Federal Student Aid PIN.” Click. Um, input email address. I hate that field. Whose email address? Mine, or my son’s? I’m completing this form, I want any related emails to come to me. So in goes my email address. “Your PIN confirmation will be sent to your email address.”

Sigh. I minimize the browser on my screen, open my email, sit and wait for a minute … ah, the PIN delivery email. Click, copy the PIN, close the email, reopen the browser, paste in the PIN. Ta da!

OK, now I’m in, and really starting. I take my second deep “here we go” breath. I easily complete the first several questions. My name, my husband’s name. My son’s name. Permanent street address. What school year does this FAFSA form cover? Which colleges should receive a copy of the FAFSA? I click on drop-down menus, I fill in open fields. Question by question I plod through, gaining confidence with each answer. Yes, I dread the FAFSA, yes, it is time-consuming and involves a lot of research, but I am doing it! It’s unpleasant, but I’m prepared and experienced.

So I’m feeling good when I arrive at the first financial question. “Income for 2012.” That should be easy enough. I pick up the draft copy of our tax return from our tax preparer. There are two pages per sheet of paper, and the print is teeny. I look and look. There’s the total “wages, salaries, tips, etc.” but … no breakdown of income for me and my husband. Just our total income.

Uh oh. I take my mouse, scroll down, look at the next questions. And I realize, on the very first financial question of the FAFSA … I’ve only got the draft copy of our taxes. Not the final copy. No W-2s, with salary and tax and 401(k) breakdown. The accountant still has all that backup paperwork.

Quickly, I analyze. Quickly, I decide. Quickly, I slide my keyboard in and stand up, victorious. For completely legitimate reasons, I can’t do this today. The FAFSA just has to wait. Yahoo!

Budget Season: Speak Up Now or Suck it Up Later

Under the current advertised tax rate, if approved as is, the average residential tax bill for FY 2014 will be $3,449. [Image: Prince William County]

 

Alborn

Alborn

Opinion 

By AL ALBORN
Contributing Editor

Prince William County Government is characterized in many different ways. Some frame it within the county’s Strategic Plan while others talk about core services. The county’s Comprehensive Plan is mentioned often.

Make no mistake, government is about our money. Every thing government does depend upon how much of our money it collects as taxes and fees, and how it is spent.

Are you interested in fields for football or soccer, or basketball hoop for your kids? Do you have a disabled son or daughter who might need a little help? Are you familiar with an abused child or spouse who needs protection? Interested in helping the homeless? Like more cops or firefighters on the streets? Tired of seeing your kids sit in trailers at school? Overcrowded classrooms getting on your nerves? Now is the time to get engaged, and speak up.

It’s our money. It’s your money.

If you show up at a Community Partner – organizations that provide services such as healthcare, wellness, and arts — and find their doors closed because Prince William cut funding during the budget process, you have absolutely no standing to complain unless you advocated for them during the budget process.

If your son or daughter’s sports team can’t find a field because there wasn’t enough money in the budget, suck it up unless you spoke up during the public hearing.

If you are wondering why we are building a swimming pool instead of giving teachers a raise, perhaps now would be a good time to mention it.

If you see something in Prince William County that you think you shouldn’t be paying for, just drive on by unless you spoke out against funding it to your Supervisor.

If you’re one of those folks who simply don’t care how Prince William County Government spends your money, you can stop reading this column right now. If I’ve captured your attention and you wish to advocate for or against something, or perhaps both read on.

Virginia Code gives the County Executive responsibility for preparing and proposing a budget. You may see the proposed budget on Prince William County’s Office of Management and Budget website.

If you have a question about the budget, or are interested in what other questions have been asked, I strongly recommend you check out the FY 2014 Budget Questions Database

During the next six weeks, Prince William County Government will be engaged in the annual discussion over just how much of our money they should take during FY 2014 and what they should spend it on. While the Chief Executive has the responsibility to prepare the proposed budget, only the Board of County Supervisors (which includes the Chairman) has the Authority to actually approve it.

If you want to engage in the process, you should take note of these dates and participate in at least one or two of the events.

March 5 Budget Work Session

March 12 Budget Work Session

April 2 Schools

April 9 , 2:00 p.m. Budget Recap

April 9, 7:30 p.m. Budget Public Hearing

April 16 Budget Markup (Board of Supervisors regular public meeting)

April 23 Budget Adoption (Board of Supervisors regular public meeting)

If you can’t make it to one of these events, or are really passionate about some particular issue let your Supervisor know. We elect our Board of County Supervisors to represent our interests. They don’t know what we care about unless we tell them.

So, tell them. Here’s their contact information.

Chairman At-Large: Corey A. Stewart

Brentsville District Supervisor, Vice Chair: Wally Covington

Coles District Supervisor: Martin E. Nohe

Gainesville District Supervisor: Pete Candland

Neabsco District Supervisor: John D. Jenkins

Occoquan District Supervisor: Michael C. May

Potomac District Supervisor: Maureen S. Caddigan

Woodbridge District Supervisor: Frank J. Principi

Government at all levels, in spite of the rhetoric, is about our money, how much of it our Government collects, and how our elected officials decide to spend it.

Typically, only a few people actually participate in the budget process. I’m one of them. This column isn’t about advocating the County that I would like to see, it’s about advocating about the County that the majority would lie to see.

If you are happy with a few folks advocating for some narrow agendas deciding whether or not your kids have a sports field, the folks who need a little help get that help, schools are overcrowded, mid-county gets a new swimming pool.., or not, get involved, speak up, communicate with your Supervisor.

If you opt not to get involved, you’ll get the County the few folks who show up think you should deserve.

After Losing Child, Family Holding Fundraiser to Benefit Other Parents

Untitled-004

STAFFORD, Va. – United States Marine Corps Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient Sgt. Travis Zabroski and his wife of 6 years Lindsey Zabroski recently gave birth to their precious baby boy Bohden. After fighting for life for 30 hours, Bohden Eugene Zabroski passed away. The Zabroski family started the non-profit foundation Bohden’s Hands to help other families to cope with the loss of their infant children.

March 2, 2013 the non-profit organization Bohden’s Hands will be hosting a fundraising event at Mick’s Restaurant and Sports Lounge in Stafford. All of the funds raised will be donated to families that have suffered the bereavement of losing a baby. The event is from 3pm – close.

Many local businesses have generously donated amazing prizes as a part of our silent auction. There will be music, great food and drinks as well as many opportunities to support this amazing non-profit organization and help local families with the financial and emotional burdens of losing a child.

Bohden’s Hands Spring Fundraising Event
March 2, 2013
3 p.m. unitl close
Mick’s Restaurant and Sports Lounge
2866 Jefferson Davis Hwy Stafford, Va. 22554

Prince William First-Grader Makes Film Debut in ‘Bad Parents’

Janeane Garofalo and Adrian Fucito in scene from Bad Parents (Credit: Fox Meadow Films)

Submitted News

Local Prince William County first-grader Adrian Fucito gets his big Hollywood break playing Janeane Garofalo’s son in Bad Parents, a witty new satirical comedy film about sports parents behaving badly and a suburban mom who relives her season with the soccer obsessed sports parents whose outrageous “win at all costs” behavior spirals out of control.

Co-starring Christopher Titus, Cheri Oteri and Michael Boatman, Bad Parents has been making waves as an official selection for the Los Angeles Comedy Festival, Austin Film Festival, Gold Coast International Film Festival, Orlando Film Festival and the Chicago Comedy Film Festival, and will make its DC-area premiere at an exclusive 7:30 p.m. screening on Thursday, March 21 at the AMC Hoffman 22 Theater in Alexandria

About the Film

From tryouts to the State Cup Championship game, Kathy (Janeane Garofalo – SNL, The Truth About Cats & Dogs) is swept up into the mania of competitive, over-involved parents who stop at nothing to ensure their daughters get the playing time and training to make it to the top. Writer/Director Caytha Jentis, with insider authenticity, shares the absurd, yet very real world of suburban youth sports. With humor and heart, she exposes the void in parents’ lives that youth soccer fills. We know these people. They are our friends and neighbors. For everyone who has ever sat on the sidelines of their kids’ sporting events, for anyone who has dared to dream of making it big at any cost, this is your story. Are you THAT parent? http://badparentsmovie.com

Nodding off for a More Restful Commute

Slug Tales 

By LAURA CIRILLO

Many people say there are not enough hours in the day. I vehemently disagree with this statement. If you ask me, there are not enough hours at night!

Think about it. There are 24 hours in each day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults require seven to nine hours of sleep per day, but research says that many adults report less than six hours of sleep per day. So even if we’re getting the recommended amount of sleep, that’s still 18 hours, give or take, spent moving and shaking on a daily basis.

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired just thinking about that.

Learn more about PRTCJust imagine your own routine – commuting to work every day to deal with meetings, emails, your demanding boss, then coming home, making dinner, taking care of children and pets, cleaning, laundry, trying to squeeze in a workout… it’s all so exhausting.

And often times, the only thing that keeping me going is my daily nap while slugging.

My power naps are one of the many features of slugging which I consider a great luxury. Not only is it fast, free, and relatively easy to slug, but I can use that time to catch up on some rest while riding, preferably in the backseat.

My fiancé tries to discourage me from sleeping in strangers’ cars because he’s convinced I won’t wake up when the car stops and I’ll wind up a prisoner in some weirdo’s garage. I try to assure him that this has never happened, and if it did, I’m pretty sure the driver or other passenger would wake me up. This actually happened one morning last week, when the passenger in the front seat had dozed off and wasn’t easily awoken when we arrived at L’Enfant Plaza.

“Ma’am?” the male driver said, carefully attempting to rouse the sleeping passenger. I paused for a moment before exiting the backseat to see if she would open her eyes, but she didn’t.

Finally, he gently tapped her shoulder. When she finally woke up, she looked a bit alarmed. She apologized, and seeming embarrassed, grabbed her things to quickly get out of the car. The driver was understanding and sort of laughed it off, unlike one driver I can recall who openly wouldn’t tolerate his passengers sleeping, but I could totally relate to the tired slug’s humiliation.

Once, after a long evening ride to the commuter lot, I was told by the gentleman who slugged in the backseat that he “felt so bad” watching me nod off and wished he could have given me a pillow. I was mortified to picture myself conspicuously falling asleep, my head falling over, right next to the driver. How embarrassing! I must have been such a distraction.

But I honestly can’t help it. I’m just like a baby – put me in a moving vehicle, and BAM! Out like a light. I may not be able to sleep soundly through the night, but the second I get into the passenger’s seat of a car, it’s almost guaranteed that I will fall asleep.

As with most rules, however, there are exceptions to this. Stop-and-go traffic always puts a damper on my evening slug naps, for whatever reason. Until we’re cruising down the highway, I’m wide awake. And like clockwork, I always wake up the second we hit the exit ramp for the commuter lot. It’s as though my body just knows it’s time to wake up.

Recently, I’ve found that books on tape also interfere with my beauty sleep. I’m not sure why this is, especially when I’m not at all interested in the topic, but I find myself completely unable to turn my brain off with any sort of commentary in the background. It’s the same reason I can’t fall asleep with the television on, regardless of the volume.

Normally, I have no complaints about what a driver chooses to play on the radio while I slug happily along, but I suppose audio books are the one exception. Audio books and complete radio silence are on my overall short list of pet peeves while slugging. For whatever reason, both interrupt my much-needed catnaps.

Sure, I could probably manage to get through the day without the extra rest, but it sure helps to supplement the sleep I’m probably not getting every night.

So until some genius scientist comes up with more hours for us to sleep at night (or, more realistically, until I can find a way to get to bed earlier), I’ll be using those hours I spend commuting every weekday to catch some shuteye.

Judge me for sleeping if you wish, but I recommend you do the same… that is, unless you’re driving!

Walkers, Strollers Welcome at First Panther Pride 5K

Submitted News

BRISTOW, Va. – The first Panther Pride 5K kicks off this spring in western Prince William County. The latest registration information, schedule and training plan are available now on pantherpride5k.org.

Avid runners and walkers of all ages will begin the event on April 6 at Bristow Run Elementary School, at 8990 Worthington Road, weave through the Kingsbrooke neighborhood, and return to the school.

Participants will put their best foot forward to raise money for Bristow Run Elementary School’s newest project to raise student awareness of global needs. Bristow Run is one of only three schools in the commonwealth of Virginia named as part of the new Global Schools Network.

“All proceeds will support literacy and our renamed Global Garden, which is being restructured to focus on the different crops and vegetation in various regions of the world,” said Scott Baldwin, Panther Pride 5K Committee chair and Bristow Run assistant principal. “This will be yet another hands-on tool for our students to learn about the diverse world in which we live.”

Baldwin said the 5K will attract competitive runners, but he also described the event as “family-friendly,” welcoming walkers and strollers. He brought the idea to Bristow Run from his previous school in Manassas Park, where over a six-year period, what began as a one-mile fun run for children grew into a 5K and health and wellness fair for the community. Thousands of dollars were raised each year for literacy efforts.

Now, Baldwin is hoping to bring the same motivation and community-building effort to the Bristow/Gainesville/Haymarket area. “Donations from local businesses, volunteer efforts and event participants are keys to success,” he said. “All proceeds benefit the growth of our students, who are our priority. It would mean the world to teachers and parents to have the opportunity to open young minds to a new sense of global awareness, benefiting everyone.”

Registration before Feb. 18 is $20 for adults; $15 for children ages 5-12. After Feb. 18, registration is $25 for adults; $20 for children ages 5-12. Registration for children under the age of five is free, but T-shirts are NOT guaranteed for this age group.

Event schedule and registration packet pick up is scheduled 5 to 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 5 at the Running Store on Atlas Walk Way in Gainesville. Race day registration is set for 6:30 – 7:45a.m at Bristow Run Elementary School.

On Saturday, April 6, the 5K kicks off at 8 a.m. in front of the school. Awards are set for 9 a.m.

Vendors will be available on school grounds 7-10 a.m. A Health and Wellness fair promoting check-ups, activities and safety also is planned, as well as prize raffles. A deejay will keep participants and supporters moving that morning.

Celebrity Bartenders Taking Tips for Charity

[Submitted photo]

News from Content Partner Prince William / Manassas Boys and Girls Clubs

MANASSAS, Va. – Local board members from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington – Prince William County / Manassas Branches will be hosting a Celebrity Bartending Charitable Fundraising Event on Thursday, February 21  from 5 -8 p.m. Hosted at the Old Towne Sports Pub in Manassas, no cover charge and all tips will be donated directly to the Boys & Girls Club to help fund their education and career development programming.

Celebrities include:

• Bartender Team Captains-

o Heather Mergler, Advanced Title & Settlements, LLC

o Enica Russell, Financial Inroads, Inc.

o Eric Williams, Exit Choice Realty

• Maureen Caddigan, PWC Board of Supervisors, Potomac District

• Shavon Dotson, Branch Director, Manassas Boys & Girls Club

• Judy Moore, Branch Director, General Heiser Boys & Girls Club

• Rhett Pfitzner, Liberty Mutual Insurance

• Mike Pulver, Branch Director, Hylton Boys & Girls Club

• Patricia Richie-Folks, Asian Fortune Newspaper

• Mark Worrilow, Confidence Reality Dumfries

It’ll be a fun evening for all bar patrons, filled with games, crazy antics, and a raffle. Bartenders will serve up fabulous drinks for a great cause. Our volunteer bartenders include top local business professionals and Boys & Girls Club senior staff!

For more information or two RSVP visit bgcprincewillam.org/events

Spiced-up Chicken for 1 – It’s what’s for Dinner

Mom on the Run

By LIANNE WILKENS

My son first mentioned it weeks ago, one night as I was preparing to serve dinner. “I wish,” he said wistfully, “that one night you would make a whole package of chicken just for me.”

“Just for you?” I had laughed at my kid. “Could you really eat all that much?” Since my daughter has left for college and I’m cooking just for three, I’ve switched from chicken breasts to chicken tenders. They are easier to trim, cook more quickly, and the “fridge to freezer” packs of eight to 10 tenders are just the right size for our smaller family.

021113-freedom-mom-tagBut still, eight to 10 tenders, I think, is a lot. “Oh, yeah,” he had said, nodding firmly, “I could eat them all. Especially this kind.” I’ve recently discovered the Kraft Fresh Take cheese and breadcrumb mixes – oh, absolutely, I could mix these few basic ingredients together myself and avoid the processed, packaged foods. But they’re quick and easy and after roughly a decade I’m sick of cooking dinner. So, “Just add chicken, pork or fish to the mixing bag” it is. And my son loves them! Bonus! Loves them so much, in fact, that he wants to eat a whole package of chicken by himself.

So tonight, when I asked my husband what he wanted for dinner – “I’ve got chicken and salmon thawed. Which would you prefer?” and he said, “Salmon,” but then added, because our son hates salmon, “But why don’t you go ahead and fix the chicken too?” – I knew that tonight was the night. I laughed a little, and pulled out the Spicy Chipotle Cheddar Recipe cheese and breadcrumb mix, and I got to work.

My son figured it out about 10 minutes ago when he came downstairs, just as I was wrapping up in the kitchen. “What’s for dinner?” “Dad and I are having salmon,” I said. “You get chicken.”

He realized it instantly: “I get chicken? Do I get ALL the chicken?” My 17-year-old, who towers over me, who plays ice hockey and lacrosse and lifts weights at least four times a week, my kid who never seems to get enough food, stared at me, mouth and eyes wide open with hope.

“Yup,” I said, grinning up at him. “You get ALL the chicken.”

“Yessss!,” he did a low-key, waist-high fist bump. Then after hesitating for a minute, looking over my shoulder at the status of dinner, he turned on his heel and went into the living room to wait.

Finally, “OK, guys, come and get it,” I announce. The rice is done, the chicken is out, salad is in bowls, and I’ve just come in from outside (brr!), where I grilled the salmon. In an instant my son is there, in the middle of the kitchen, waiting.

He has a thought, and, “What’s the flavor?”

I turn away from him, move to the counter, pick up the empty package. “Spicy Chipotle Cheddar.” I smile again, knowing he’s going to be happy.

A movement behind me catches my attention. I turn, and there’s my starving high-school senior, hopping up and down, in place, lightly, five, six times, he’s so pleased. “Spicy Chipotle Cheddar. And I get it all!” Before his dad even gets into the room he grabs a plate and a spatula and starts loading it up.

My husband and I stand back to give our starving teenager his space. And for a brief startling moment, I look at the salmon filet and hope it’s enough, because nobody else is getting any chicken!

Dumfries Looking for a Few Good Mentors

Janae Williams, 23, of Dumfries, and Brittany Jordan, 20, of Stafford, are working as part of the new Dumfries Cares program at the town’s community center on Main Street. [Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

DUMFRIES, Va. – A new community service program in Dumfries aims to pair volunteer mentors with the youths that need them most.

Janae Williams, 23, of Dumfries, and Brittany Jordan, 20, of Stafford, are working as part of the new Dumfries Cares program at the town’s community center on Main Street.

The program will pair children ages 7 through 18-years-old with a pool of 30 mentors who will provide them help on everything from homework to becoming a better community citizen.

Both have developed a two-part application process — one meant for parents to fill out to identify their child’s needs, and the other for the child to complete to gauge their interest — which will help to identify 10 students in elementary, middle, and high school who will benefit from the program.

Once the program is in full swing this spring, Dumfries Cares aims to have three mentors for each group of 10 children.

The mentors will all receive training and, so far, the interest is great.

“We’ve had people come to us and ask if they can mentor students in the program, and we say ‘this is awesome,” said Williams.

The program is open to residents of the town, and mentoring is available between 3:45 and 6:45 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursdays at the community center.

The program is also calling for community mentors and is asking businessmen and women, students, church members, and those in the military to help mentor children in the program. Those interested in mentoring should call 703-221-3400 ext. 146.

Telework Would Keep Employees Spending Cash in Local Economy

Opinion 

By AL ALBORN
Contributing Editor

I’m a telework evangelist. I enjoy “connecting the dots” between the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, Rep. Gerry Connolly’s Telework 2.0 initiative, Virginia Delegates Ramadan and Comstock’s legislation to offer telework tax credits, the federal push to reduce the size and cost of Government, BRAC, and our ever-expanding road budget.

The folks who should really be vocal supporters of telework are local business owners, particularly small business owners that operate in the bedroom communities that support “inside the beltway” business and Government activities. I live in Prince William County however, the principle applies to all bedroom communities.

Many who spend time in Prince William are often struck by how empty our shops and restaurants are during the day, by the number of vacancies in our strip malls, Manassas Mall, and Potomac Mills mall. Our local economy appears to start at around 6 or 7 p.m.

That’s because over half of our local labor force (or around 105,000 folks out of a civilian labor force of 212,230 “in place” employees and an estimated 4,900 self-employed folks) works outside Prince William County, according to county documents.

These folks who don’t work within Prince William County are heading for Reston, Tysons Corner, Downtown Washington, or other points north of here. Every day, we send over half of the county’s labor force, and their wallets and purses somewhere else. They shop somewhere else, eat somewhere else, buy and service their cars somewhere else, drop off and pick up their dry cleaning somewhere else, Christmas shop somewhere else – they live most of their lives in someone else’s economy.

Let’s bring these people and their wallets home.

We do that by implementing a telework-friendly policy at all levels, and integrating a philosophy driven by letting our residents work and shop at in Prince William County instead of thinking of more ways to move people and their pocketbooks out of the county. Let’s integrate telework into our strategy for solving Northern Virginia’s transportation problem. Let’s think about ways to take people out of local roads instead of just building more roads.

Over half of our local labor force (or around 100,000 folks out of a civilian labor force of 212,2301) work outside Prince William County.

Let’s do the math.

Let’s assume that we take 10,000 of those folks (or roughly 10% FTE) off the road via telework. Because they are staying in Prince William County (you can “plug in the math” for any county) and that they spend a modest $5 a day (using a 5 day week) or $25 a week on the local economy (instead of “somewhere else”). Suddenly, we have over $13 million and change spent in our local economy instead of somewhere else.

Five dollars a day amounts to a Venti at Starbucks, gum and a candy bar, or a magazine at a drug store. It adds up quickly.

Some more fun with numbers:

If just 200 of these folks purchased a car that cost $25,000 in Prince William County instead of somewhere else (I purchased three in Tyson’s Corner over the years), that would add another $5 million in annual revenue.

If half of these folks (that 10%) got their car serviced twice a year in Prince William at $100 each service, that would add another $1 million a year pumped into the local economy.

If half of these folks (again, that 10%) dropped of their dry cleaning once a week here $5 a pop, that’s another $1.3 million (and change).

I could go on. This is real money that leaves Prince William County every morning.

These are conservative estimates and admittedly fuzzy math, but they give you an idea of the dollars and cents value of telework to our local economy. The more successful we are integrating telework into our transportation strategy, the more money we keep in Prince William County businesses.

When I commuted to Tysons Corner, I “lived there,” bought and serviced my cars there, bought my family birthday, anniversary and Christmas gifts there, ate lunch there, joined a gym there. I would suggest that perhaps the dollars are big enough to have a more robust analysis performed perhaps by the Prince William County Economic Development Department.

If you’re a business in Prince William County, you really need to get behind telework. Our federal, state, local, and city governments habe been developing transportation policy for years that sends county pocketbooks elsewhere to spend their discretionary income. We need to change this trend.

I’ll be focusing on telework for a while. Delegates Ramadan and Comstock successfully passed a new telework tax incentive in the Virginia House, and Congressman Connolly is working on Telework 2.0 legislation will make it easier for federal contract officers to give contractors more freedom to telework.

I plan to explore how telework impacts economic development, the real estate market, public safety, our quality of life, community involvement, and just about everything in future columns.

Not everyone can telework; however, for those of us who do it’s “what’s next” in the way we live, work and play.

A ‘Perfect Storm’ for Oysters in Harris Creek

Oysters are restoring themselves naturally in the Eastern Shore's Harris Creek, thanks in part to good weather conditions last year. Harris Creek is also the site of the Oyster Recovery Partnership's tributary-wide effort to restore oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. [Photo by Jessica Wilde.]

By JESSICA WILDE
Capital News Service

MCDANIEL, Md. – A warmer, drier year has been good for oysters, both natural and planted, in the Eastern Shore’s Harris Creek, a tributary of the Choptank River and site of the first tributary-wide restoration effort by the Oyster Recovery Partnership.

The partnership has been working on Harris Creek for about a year, putting hard substrate down for oysters to grow on, and planting spat, or baby oysters, on top of it.

Scientists have found that many of the planted oysters are surviving. In addition, and somewhat surprisingly, other oysters on the shoreline that are not part of the project are restoring themselves naturally because of good conditions last year.

While some environmentalists argue that hard substrate and good conditions are enough to restore oysters, scientists on the project believe restoration efforts need to continue to be more extensive because we cannot always rely on good conditions.

Choptank Riverkeeper Drew Koslow found thousands of naturally reproducing oysters on the shoreline of the creek in December, more than any he has seen in years past – a sign, he said, that when conditions are right, the system will come back.

Oysters play a significant role in the bay’s health, filtering water and improving its quality, and eating algae, which allows sunlight through to underwater grasses. Their reefs also provide habitat for other marine life.

Many believe that by restoring oysters, the bay can also be restored.

But it is not that easy. The Oyster Recovery Partnership has been working for nearly 20 years, and its latest tributary-wide effort is in response to President Barack Obama’s 2009 executive order to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

“The system is resilient,” Koslow said. “And I think that’s what this demonstrates, that you give it a chance, you stop harvesting oysters and you build up populations. And if we can do that, I think we can restore the bay.”

Koslow attributes this year’s oyster success to a drier climate, which increases salinity that oysters like, and higher temperatures, since a long freeze might kill oysters on the shore.

“In our business, you don’t have a lot of good news,” he said. “It’s nice to have something we can smile about.”

Koslow said it makes sense to him to just put down hard substrate and allow nature to take its course.

“Because obviously there’s plenty of natural reproduction in this creek already,” he said.

But while this year’s conditions were good, the senior manager of aquatic restoration at the Oyster Recovery Partnership, Steven Allen, said they cannot rely on naturally reproducing oysters alone to restore the population. You can’t always predict that conditions will be right, he said, which is why the partnership is also planting oysters.

The partnership is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other state and federal agencies to plant the hard substrate and baby oysters in 20 tributaries in Maryland and Virginia.

“If we knew what Mother Nature was going to do for us, and we could predict that water temperatures and salinity would be ideal and everybody in the creek would cooperate and we’d have multiple natural recruitments during the summer, I think putting substrate down would be an excellent choice,” Allen said. “However, we don’t have that crystal ball.”

Allen said high salinity levels are also a Catch-22. While they might lead to natural recruitment, they also increase the chance that oysters will catch diseases, one of the many reasons their population is at risk to begin with, along with overharvesting and loss of habitat.

Ken Paynter, director of the Paynter Lab that monitors the partnership’s work, called the success that Koslow found a “perfect storm of natural recruitment.” Paynter is director of the University of Maryland’s Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Sciences graduate program.

His lab found a small amount of natural recruitment on the planted hard substrate as well, but not nearly as much as Koslow found on the shoreline.

“It really wasn’t the kind of natural recruitment we’d like to see,” Paynter said about the oysters on the substrate. They measured 8-10 oysters per square meter, but they would ideally like to see 50-100 oysters per square meter.

Paynter said the lab should be monitoring a lot more than it is, counting naturally recruiting oysters like those that Koslow found, in addition to monitoring the planted oysters and substrate.

“There’s lots to be done,” he said.

 


View Harris Creek in a larger map

 

Raenell C. Williams, M.D., Joins Dominion Family Health in Woodbridge

Submitted News

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Raenell C. Williams, MD, has joined Dominion Family Health in Woodbridge.

Dr. Williams received her medical degree from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC, in 2003. She then completed her internship and residency in family medicine at Riverside Regional Medical Center, in affiliation with the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University, in Newport News, VA, in 2006.

Before joining the team of medical professionals at Dominion Family Health, Dr. Williams practiced family medicine in Fairfax, VA. As a highly trained and dedicated physician, her focus is on the health and wellness of each member of the entire family. Though she enjoys all aspects of family medicine and the challenges she and her patients often face, Dr. Williams has a special interest in weight loss counseling, adolescent and teen health issues and patient education. She places a great deal of emphasis on building strong relationships with her patients and their families by teaching them the best possible ways to achieve and maintain healthy lifestyles long after they leave her office.

Dr. Williams is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Metz Middle School Competes in Robotics Challenge

Submitted News 

MANASSAS, Va. – Robotics team members from Metz Middle School competed in the Central Division VEX Qualifier at Manassas Park Middle School on Saturday, Feb. 9.

With a focus on building the most innovative robots possible, the team’s six robots competed against a total of 40 robots hoping to earn spots to Roboticon at Forest Park High School on March 9 and the VEX World Championship in Anaheim, Calif., in April. Metz’s robot 5173S ended the qualifying round in 9th place, while robot 5173Z ended in 15th place.

A total of four of Metz’s robots were selected to compete in the tournament round. In what appeared to be a scene from a futuristic motion picture, Robot 5173S selected 5173Z to compete as an alliance during the tournament, winning their best two out of three matches during the round of 16 and quarterfinals before ultimately falling short in the semifinals.

Both robots earned spots in next month’s Roboticon at Forest Park. Roboticon will feature the top 60 robots from public and private middle schools in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. Additional spots will be awarded to the VEX World Championship in Anaheim during this competition.

The Metz Robotics team is coached by Metz teacher math teacher, Leonard Newman.

Travinia Italian Kitchen: Style to Spare but Lacking Substance

By URIAH KISER

My wife and me celebrated Valentine’s Day a bit early and went to Travinia Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar on Wednesday night.

It’s one of several new restaurants that have opened at Potomac Town Center next to Wegmans grocery store. It’s a nice place to meet and greet, and the service was awesome, but I wasn’t too impressed with the food.

First off: the short, fat glasses. Loved ‘em. In fact, my wife and I are looking for replacements for my collection of pint glasses I collected during my formidable years. The drinking glasses at Travinia fit right into the palm of your hand and were perfect for a soda, the glass of water I ordered, or would be great for use as a non-stemmed wine glass.

Both hungry, we each ordered a Caesar salad before our meal. Because the kitchen has a great large window that allows guests to peer inside for a behind-the-scenes look at how their food is made, we saw our salads being prepared. But whoever made them skimped on the dressing leaving it rather dry. I’m still hard-pressed to find a restaurant that can make a better side Caesar salad than Sweetwater Tavern.

Next, it was on to our meals. I had the Pollo Isabella, which reminded me of the Chicken Bryan at Carrabbas – a chicken breast topped with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, basil, served over a bed of baby spinach in a lemon butter sauce for $15. While it sounded good, unfortunately, it wasn’t. The chicken was overcooked and crusty in some places. And the butter sauce tasted more like straight butter, conjuring up the taste of movie theater popcorn. Some butter sauces I’ve had in the past were matured and browned, but this tasted and looked more like melted butter. 

The goat cheese, when mixed in with all the other flavors, did little to save this dish.

My wife had the Sinatra Chicken also for $15 (with a name like that how could you go wrong, I thought). I had a bite of the chicken topped with mozzarella, cream sauce, and cappelinni. We both agreed the chicken on this dish was tasty, but the pasta that came with it went under seasoned, and reminding us of the salads we had just had.

The one thing that was great, overall, was the loaf of bread that came before the meal. While Travinia hasn’t mastered the art of the olive oil dipping sauce which is better served at Carrabbas and Bertucci’s, the bread was a nice touch.

Overall, great atmosphere, prompt service, but the food needs work.

Uncle Slam Appearing for First Time Since Fire

Potomac Nationals' mascot, Uncle Slam, waits tables at a charity event in June 2012. (Submitted)

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Remember the great derecho storm of 2012? Well, just a few hours before it blew into our region a fire broke out at the Potomac Nationals’ front office in Woodbridge.

No damage was done to the adjacent field where the minor league baseball team plays at G. Richard Pfiztner Stadium, but the team’s mascot – Uncle Slam – was toast.

Taking a break from making appearances at community festivals and charity events, Uncle Slam has been on the mend these past seven months. Now he’s ready to make his first public appearance since going on the disabled list, and he’ll do it this weekend at Wegmans grocery store in Woodbridge, near where the team plans to build a new 6,000 seat stadium.

More in a press release from the team:

The Potomac Nationals’ official mascot was famously placed on the 60-day disabled list retroactive to July 4, 2012, and missed the remainder of the ’12 campaign with undisclosed wounds.

 Since the incident, Uncle Slam has been recovering and nursing himself back to full health while rehabilitating at the Official Gym of the Potomac Nationals, Gold’s Gym Lake Ridge.

“We are extremely pleased with Uncle Slam’s off season dedication in getting to better than full strength.  Slam modeled his off season regimen after NFL MVP, Adrian Peterson. Slam has been waiting all off-season to reunite with our fans and looks forward to his best season to date!” says P-Nats Vice President and General Manager, Josh Olerud.

Uncle Slam is now better than ever, and fans will get the opportunity to meet and greet the P-Nats most viral member at Wegmans. This unveiling will run from noon to 2 p.m. and Uncle Slam, himself, is expected to be introduced at 12:30 p.m.

 ‘Slam’ will interact with Nationals fans, sign autographs, and show off his new look.

 Uncle Slam’s inflatable bounce house will be set up outside Wegmans for children to play in, and a coloring station will be set up to the backdrop of balloons. 

 P-Nats staff members will be on hand to distribute 2013 pocket schedules, season ticket and mini plan information, as well as Uncle Slam’s Kids Club sign-up forms. When kids participate in Slam’s MVP Kids Club package, they receive a courtesy Uncle Slam Piggy Bank presented by: TD Bank.

 P-Nats fans can show their Wegmans card at the information table to receive a special code to be used for an upcoming discount offer inside the online National Mall Team Store, the official merchandise hub for the Potomac Nationals. 

Arguably the most popular P-Nats hallmark, Uncle Slam is the face of the Nationals’ community endeavors and can often be found throughout Northern Virginia neighborhoods working on the Uncle Slam’s Reading Program, making youth baseball appearances, and even delivering Valentine’s Day flowers.     

 Uncle Slam, the Director of Fun for the Potomac Nationals, will enter his 9th season serving as official team mascot in 2013. As the central cheerleader for P-Nats Baseball since 2005, Uncle Slam has been a part of the P-Nats’ franchise tradition as long as the last two United States Presidential terms.

 The bluest member of the P-Nats staff, only in hair tone and converse to his persistent P-Nattitude, Uncle Slam is a fixture of the Pfitzner Stadium experience, using a gregarious demeanor to complement his iconic outfit, which represents the hallmark of American patriotism amidst the landscape of our national pastime.

 UNCLE SLAM PROFILE

 BORN: 4th of July (he thinks the fireworks are always for him!)

HOMETOWN: Woodbridge, VA

HEIGHT: Really Tall

WEIGHT: Healthy

BATS: Switch

THROWS: Right

WARDROBE: Red, white, and blue top hat/pants, blue and white hair/goatee, P-Nats jersey, and red sneakers

WALK-OUT MUSIC: “Slam (Let the Boys be Boys)” by Onyx

JOB DESCRIPTION: To make you a P-Nats fan for life!

FAVORITE FOOD: Funnel Cakes

FAVORITE COLOR(S): Red, White, and Blue

HOBBIES: Dancing, signing autographs, hanging with superstars, and cheering the P-Nats on to victory!

TAGLINE: “Uncle Slam Wants You…to Join the Party!”

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