Prince William Community Expo Welcomes 15,000 Attendees in Second Year

Picture 1 of 10

[Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The place where the Potomac Nationals play, Richard G. Pfitzner Stadium, was packed on Saturday for the Prince William Community Expo.

An estimated 15,000 people, adults and children, came out to celebrate the expo’s second year. More than 100 community organizations and businesses participated in the event. A rock climbing wall, bicycle courses, and a live music stage were just some of the events offered at the expo.

Put on in 2012 by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, Prince William County Public Schools this year took over organizing and executing the expo.

“The event could not have been successful without the support from volunteers, sponsors, Prince William County Public Schools, SPARK, the Education Foundation for PWCS, Prince William County Parks and Recreation, and the generosity of the Potomac Nationals for allowing the event to be held at Pfitzner Stadium as well as PWC Parks and Recreation for use of their grounds and hard working employees,” said Brittany Hoffman, who helped to organize the expo.

The following organizations also supported the event:

ED OUT partners

PWC Healthy Communities?Healthy Youth

PWCS Health and Physical Education

PWC Parks and Recreation

Hylton Foundation


Education Foundation for PWCS

Potomac Nationals

Potomac Local News also helped to sponsor the event.

Manassas Sets New World Record for ‘Red Light, Green Light’


MANASSAS, Va. — The question was on everyone’s lips: Did we make it? It was close. At 8:45 a.m., 15 minutes before the determined start time, Manassas City was still short 45 participants for the attempt at the Guinness Book of World Records Red Light-Green Light Game.

“Get on your phones! Tweet, Facebook, call! Get people here!” said Christen Zenich, Neighborhood Recreation Supervisor of Manassas City and organizer of the event. In the end, there were 755 participants, and a new world record was set.

That was just the beginning to a busy day for Manassas. After the world record game of Red Light-Green Light, more than 500 volunteers spread among 17 worksites to upgrade and brighten public spaces in the Big Day of Serving, a national effort sponsored by Group Cares, a national Christian youth group, to give back, transforming neighborhoods in need.

At Weems Elementary, recent recipient of $50,000 from the Ellen Degeneres Show for purchasing uniforms for the 2013-14 school year, there were four major projects planned. Volunteers spread baseball-quality dirt on the infield of two baseball fields and repaired and painted the backstop at one of them. Additionally, the stairs at the back of the building were cleaned and painted in the school’s colors, red and white, and a teaching garden was installed in the school’s courtyard.

Volunteers completed five projects at Byrd Park, including the installation of a new adult fitness station, refurbishment of the basketball courts, repair of a stairway at the park, repainting and repairing the roof repair at the heavily used pavilion, and distributed a mountain of mulch among three separate play areas.

Seven teams handled projects at Stonewall Park, including installing soccer goal posts and a bike path, cleaning up the creek and woods areas, landscaping the pool, and installing mosaic tiles hand-painted by more than 700 Manassas residents over the past months.

Additionally, a team was dispatched to clean up the overgrown backyard of a private home. At that home two utilities trucks were needed to haul away the shrubs and tree limbs that were trimmed and removed from the property.

An estimated 3,444 man-hours were spent in total, with 574 volunteers coming from churches in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, and locally from Manassas and Woodbridge. Additionally, volunteers came from all corners of the Manassas community, particularly from the Boys and Girls Club, which contributed bus transportation of volunteers to and from worksites, as well as the MC services of Glenn Vickers, Regional Director of the Prince William County Boys and Girls Clubs.

Sponsors included Walgreens, which provided first aid stations; Chick-fil-A, Roy Rogers, Shoppers Food Warehouse, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Costco Wholesale, US Food Service, Wegmans, Virginia BBQ, and The Chicken Place provided food; supplies were provided by WalMart, Lowe’s, Stone Center, McLane, Herzig Excavating, Phoenix Painting, George Mason University, First Virginia Community Bank; WalMart and Walgreens, and Didlake. Mike Garcia Construction and Olde Towne Landscaping provided materials and labor for projects. Sponsoring churches were Project INFUSION, Light of Life Church, Evergreen Community Church, and Life Church. Community Thrift Stores and Habitat for Humanity of Prince William and Manassas and Manassas Park.


Modern Woman Consults Dress Committee in Face of Chilly May Weather

Mom on the Run


“OK, what do you think?” I’m standing in front of both the full-length mirror and my husband. I’ve got the blue dress on, having already modeled the coral and taupe one. We leave in a half-hour, and I need to make a decision.

I had always planned to wear the blue dress to tonight’s event. I RSVPed almost a month ago, and bought this dress about the same time. It’s royal blue, sleeveless, with a cowl neck, delightful ruching at the sides for maximum belly camouflage, and it’s in that terrific new spandex blend fabric that drapes so beautifully. I’ve been waiting to wear it, itching for warm weather.


And an evening event in early May, I figured a month ago, would be perfect! But now early May is here and, darn it, it’s still chilly! Chilly enough that I’m doing my 6 a.m. dog walk in my winter jacket and sometimes even a hat. Chilly enough that I’m still turning on my bed warmer a half-hour before bed. And most certainly chilly enough that I’m second-guessing a sleeveless dress for tonight, even though it’s been long planned and anticipated.

So I pulled out my coral and taupe animal print dress, too. The same draping fabric, similar ruching, but with a boat neck and three-quarters length sleeves, it would also be just fine. But… but the color isn’t as flattering as the blue, the matching taupe shoes are uncomfortable and I don’t know how much standing there will be tonight, and, OK, I’ll admit it, mostly I have already worn it. I wanted to wear my new blue dress! But it’s sleeveless! Heck.

Which brings me here, 30 minutes before departure, hemming and hawing, asking my husband’s opinion. I already put on and modeled the coral dress, which of course he had seen before, then disappeared into the closet, my very own phone booth!, for a complete costume change. I switched everything so he could see the full blue ensemble, shoes and necklace and bracelet, even.

And now he stands, silent, because he has learned over the years that sometimes I really don’t want his opinion, I just need him to parrot back what I want.

“I can’t decide,” I tell him. “I really want to wear the blue dress, but it’s got short sleeves. I’m afraid I’ll be cold.”

I turn a little, looking.

“I sent pictures to Maria and Karen for their votes, but I haven’t heard back from both of them yet.”

At that, my husband scoffs. “The modern woman. She can do everything on her own, but needs a committee to pick out a dress.” He turns to leave and says, casually, “Wear the blue one.”

The blue one! A vote for the blue one! I do a little happy dance. And just then, my phone pings. It’s Karen, my final vote! She agrees with Maria and my husband, and it’s unanimous: everyone agrees on the blue dress.

“Wear a little sweater,” she suggests.

And now that I think about it, I probably do have just the right sweater for the event and the evening.

Yay, the blue dress! A unanimous decision! I’m so glad! I turn, grinning, and look again in the mirror, and suddenly … “Hey, do you think my arms look fat?”

‘Mud’ a Coming of Age Story that Doesn’t Stumble

050613-mudMovie Review 


Mud | Rated PG-13 | 4 of 5 stars

I saw a real iron man today, Matthew McConaughey (The Lincoln Lawyer) in “Mud.” This is the third feature by Director/Writer Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter), who struggled to get distribution for this gem since it opened in Cannes a year ago. I know it’s opening day for a blockbuster, but if I want to see a guy put on a metal suit and save the day I will watch “Game of Thrones.”

It starts with a boat that is perched about 20 feet up in a tree. Ellis (Tye Sheridan from Tree of Life) and his buddy Neckbone (Jacob Lofland in his debut) find it and claim it as their own. Ellis is the sensitive type with a strong right cross, and Neckbone is actually the smart one. Unfortunately Mud (Matthew McConaughey) has taken up residence in the boat and makes a deal with the 14-year-old boys for their help.

But this movie is not about Mud, not really. It’s about these boys, and Ellis in particular. It’s a coming of age story and about what men will do for women. These boys grow up fast along the river and are quick to prove themselves to Mud, who is on the lam and is waiting to link up with his love Juniper (Reese Witherspoon of Legally Blonde). She loves him and does not know what to think about him. But these boys see a man in trouble, and they are the men who can help unite him with his true love.

There are some great performances here, from McConaughey and the two boys, who are absolute standouts. Sam Shepard shines as Tom Blankenship, the guy who raised Mud and sees him as a train wreck. He does not know whether to help or run in the other direction.

Nichols brought the Arkansas riverbank into the theater, as nothing was shot on a sound stage. The characters had depth, without a hint of cliché. Coming of age stories like this that don’t stumble are rare, and I felt these boys grow and struggle with grown-up decisions. The movie was a little long, but we are not used to movies like this where story and character are important. I am sure the explosions in the theater next to me would have made it feel like a roller coaster ride.

I enjoyed my ride down the river, and I now I understand what Ellis’s dad meant when he said, “You can’t trust a woman to love you.” I give this move four stars out of five, and I trust you can get your boat out of the tree and enjoy a cruise down the “Mud” river.

Tom Basham is an indy filmmaker.

Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Held in Prince William

Submitted News

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – The Prince William County Democratic Committee held its 34th Annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner this past weekend at Foxchase Manor in Manassas. With 306 tickets sold, nearly every seat was filled.

“Prince William County was essential to President Obama’s victory in the Commonwealth in 2012,” said Congressman Gerry Connolly. “The incredible success of the JJ dinner is a sign that enthusiasm is high among Democrats in a key swing county.”

The featured speaker of the evening, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, spoke about the importance of diversity, the challenges of having an aging population, and A policy expert in the areas of health, social insurance, income security, education, women’s issues and civic participation, Dr. Rockeymoore is the author of The Political Action Handbook: A How to Guide for the Hip-Hop Generation and co-editor of Strengthening Community: Social Insurance in a Diverse America. Dr. Rockeymoore is married to sitting Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD).

Others in attendance were: Congressman Gerry Connolly; Congressman Elijah Cummings; the full slate of Democratic elected leadership in Prince William; Candidates for Lieutenant Governor, Aneesh Chopra and Senator Ralph Northam; Candidates for Attorney General, Justin Fairfax and Senator Mark Herring; and State Party Chair, Delegate Charneille Herring among others.

“This year, we have moved into a new headquarters in the Ridgewood Center,” says Chair Harry Wiggins. “We have strong candidates running in all 8 House of Delegates races in Prince William, and in the Woodbridge School Board race. We are a battleground county and we will keep this momentum into the November elections.”

To learn more about the Prince William County Democratic Committee, please visit

In Bi-County Parkway Debate, Trust in Gov’t Issue Looms


Contributing Editor

I attended the April  Prince William Committee of 100 Panel on the Bi-County Parkway.  If you don’t know what that is, you are probably reading the wrong column.  As is usually the case, the panelists presented two opposing views on the merits to a mostly skeptical audience.

If I were to sum up the two opposing views, I would suggest that those defending the project, Bob Chase of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, and Gary Garcynski, of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, represented the, “We’re from the Government, and we are here to help you” point of view.

Charlie Grymes, of the Prince William Conversation Alliance, and Jim Rich, a former member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, represented the “we’ve seen your work, please leave us the hell alone” crowd.

For the record, the room was filled with the “we’ve seen your work, please leave us the hell alone” crowd.  Should you have the fortitude to actually watch the video, you will quickly grasp that Charlie Grymes and Jim Rich were the “hometeam favorites”.

Committee of 100 panels often provide the tipping point for community issues.  While there have been sparsely attended public hearings, town halls, and occasional articles about the inevitability of the Bi-County Parkway, this was probably the first “head to head” debate (and it was a debate) regarding the merits of laying more asphalt in western Prince William county.

Anyone who reads local blogs, newspapers, or friends’ political Facebook pages will quickly recognize that while we are talking about a Parkway, that’s really just a symptom of a much bigger problem:  trust in the government and the decisions it makes.

Simply put, it appears to this columnist that Prince William County residents have little faith in Sean Connaughton, the Transportation Secretary  of Virginia, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or organizations who represent those who will profit from this major construction project.

The Commonwealth’s strategy is simple:  Continue to propagate the narrative that the Bi-County parkway is inevitable, the folks planning it know what’s best for us, and we just don’t really understand the “big picture.”

The residents or Prince William County aren’t buying the narrative.  They want the Government folks to go back where they came from.  The folks who attended the April Committee of 100 program simply don’t trust the math, doubt the messengers, and have no desire to see their homes, farms, communities, lifestyles, and future torn up and replaced with asphalt for what they consider to be a dubious undertaking.

The Commonwealth failed to make its case to the people of Prince William County that the Bi-County Parkway is really necessary.  Secretary Connaughton may fight this, or they may recognize their failure to start with the people instead of the project and develop the grass roots support required before you decide to tear up a County.

I could write ad nauseum about the details of this project; however, I suggest you simply Google “Prince William Bi-County Parkway” to see what’s going on.  There is a lot of analysis in the blogs, the local press, and on Facebook.  If I were to recommend two websites that best represent the respective views the Prince William Conservation Alliance probably best represents the residents, and the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance best represents the Commonwealth and business interests.

You will also find that three Northern Virginia Delegates and three Senators are on record opposing this project.  I find this particularly interesting because it sets up those elected to represent Northern Virginia’s residents against those appointed to bureaucratic positions.

You may draw your own conclusions.  I’ve already drawn mine.  This isn’t about the Parkway.  Its about public trust in Government and the decisions it makes.

Connaughton deserve to lose this battle.  They screwed it up.  We will either see hubris following the “those hicks in Prince William just don’t get it” (in which case, things will really get nasty since our residents are one of the most educated, most politically engaged populations on the planet), or they will try a little humility and recognize their mistake.

I think a little humility on the part of the Commonwealth is in order.  To take any other path will be a much more humbling experience as the opposing Army’s take sides for the next battle of Manassas.

Manassas Park Farmers Market Opens

Abbigail Green, 4 gets her face painted by Hazel Colson at the opening of the 2013 Manassas Park Farmers Market. [Photo: Mary Rosenthol]

For Potomac Local News

MANASSAS PARK, Va. — It’s a sunny Friday in early May and delicious smells float through the air in front of the Manassas Park City Hall. Vendors from all over Northern Virginia have gathered for the weekly Farmers Market and the crowds will soon follow.

“This is our second season,” said Manager Sheleta Anderson. “We introduced the market last year on Halloween and it was a success.”

Local growers, butchers, bakers, chefs and crafters gathered to sell their products. Shoppers sample popcorn, Island Punch and even wine among other delicacies. All of the meat and vegetables available at the market are produced in Virginia, so Mango and Pineapple won’t be available, but apples, asparagus and apples are plentiful.

“Next week, we’ll have a catering van run by Chef Lauren Forsythe with meat from Angelica Beef,” Anderson said. “And Whim Pop will be here with frozen fruit pops.”

A couple vendors cater to the younger crowd. Hazel Colson of Expressions Entertainment painted faces at the market, while Dria the Clown made balloon animals.

“I love this idea,” Colson said. “Local growers bringing fresh food to the community: what a wonderful opportunity for everyone.”

The Manassas Park Farmers Market will be open from 3-7 p.m. on Friday afternoons through October.

Manassas Assembly of God Changes Name Ahead of Stafford Expansion

[Submitted photo]

MANASSAS, Va. — Manassas Assembly of God has a new name: Chapel Springs Assembly of God Church.

The church dropped the Manassas portion of their moniker because they plan to open a new church in Stafford County.

“God is leading us in an exciting new direction. We’re expanding by opening new branches of our church in other communities. We’ll be opening our first new site this fall in North Stafford. As we began praying and planning for our expansion, it became clear that we needed a name that would work anywhere, not just in Manassas,” said Senior Pastor Scott Leib.

The church takes its new name from a small street nearby off Va. 28, Chapel Springs Road. The name was chosen after a panel took more than 400 names into consideration, according to a press release:

Longtime church member and historian Charlie Byrd immediately set about months of detective work on the name. “I had lots of help from the folks at the Prince William County Library and the Manassas Museum,” he says. “We scoured old records for any mention at all of Chapel Springs.”

The resulting efforts netted maps of the area from the early 1820s, which identified a White Chapel and an Old Chapel Spring on the property.

As Byrd continued his search, he unearthed the December 4, 1854, edition of the Alexandria Gazette. The paper contains an advertisement for the sale of a parcel of land on which Chapel Springs is situated. The tract was described as “249 acres situated near Bristoe Station with a dwelling house, good soil, sufficient wood and water with the Chapel Spring supplying a never-failing stream of excellent pure water.”

Says Pastor Scott Leib, “’A never-failing stream of excellent and pure water.’ What a perfect description not just about a spring but about a church—a church which would relocate on the same property. That advertisement captures the essence of our church over these past 76 years!”

The church plans to have its new campus in Stafford County open by October. In February, the church held meetings at Shriley Heim Middle School on Telegraph Road in Stafford for those who had questions about the expansion, according to the church’s Facebook page.

This is not the first time the 76-year-old church has changed its name. With it’s roots in the Great Depression and the Old Dixie Threater on Main Street in Old Town Manassas, the congregation later moved to the corner of Maple and Quarry streets and changed its name from Manassas Full Gospel Church to Manassas Assembly of God in the 1960s. A later move took the church to Plantation Lane in Manassas in 1979, and then another move brought the church its current 150-acre home on Va. 28 near Bristow in 2001.

In Manassas, the church offers four worship services each weekend and has special programs for infants, children, and teens.

Head of Stafford’s Special Problems Unit Has Special Relationship with Residents

Officer of the Week

STAFFORD, Va. — 1st Sgt Robert Grella, Jr. has spent 13 years as a Stafford County Sheriff’s Deputy.

He grew up in the county, went to Stafford Senior High School, and now as head of the sheriff’s department’s Special Problems Unit, he says he’s made more positive interactions with his neighbors through this line of work than he would have working a different job.

Grella patrols the entire county, but his unit takes special cases, working tips to try and track down narcotics, or it could be working to find a missing child. The duties vary from day to day, but it’s a relationship with residents that makes is work worthwhile. And they love him back, he says, as residents in the Foxwood Village neighborhood called him “mayor.”

“I want to say you work hand in hand with these people… they almost become like family, the same kind of people you want to go visit at Christmastime,” said Grella.

He’s been working as head of the Special Problems Unit for two years. Before becoming a sheriff’s deputy, he worked as a correctional officer. It was there he learned to use words to combat and diffuse situations. He’s applied that training the streets.

“I can remember when I was a kid I wanted to become a cop,” said Grella.

When he finally became one, he learned there was more to the job than he first thought.

“It was so neat to drive a car with lights and sirens, carry a gun, and then all you want to go and do is go out and arrest people,” said Grella. “But as you get wiser you know you want to go out and help people.”

Married for 23 years with three boys, ages 11, 14, and 21, having a family that lives in the community drives him even more to protect and serve, he said. His youngest son even talks about joining the force someday.

Grella heads a team of four officers. He said Sheriff’s Charles Jett has given him and his team leeway to investigate crimes, and to have the ability to get the job done. Unlike many of his counterparts, Grella doesn’t have a military background, and that has helped in his leadership ability.

“I’m able to take a different approach to some things…and have the ability take a step back and look at it from a different angle…that can be a help when you’re doing this job,” he said.

Festivals, Airshow, World’s Largest ‘Red Light/Green Light’ Try all Happening This Weekend

050512 Dumfries Multi fest 1

There’s a lot happening in our communities this weekend. Here’s a quick guide to get you call caught up on the events taking place nearby.

Dumfries Multicultural Festival

More than 50 vendors will converge at Dumfries’ Garrison Park behind Town Hall on Saturday for the town’s 2nd Annual Multicultural Festival. Also back this year will be the Barbeque Battle featuring four vendors: Frank’s BBQ, Jeremiah’s Kansas City BBQ, Devyne BBQ In Motion, and Eva’s Delight Catering.

There will also be live music and performances, face painting, and photos with the “Virginia is for Lovers LOVEWork! sign in the park.

Prince William Community Expo

Potomac Local News is proud to help sponsor the Prince William County Community Expo set for Saturday, May 4, from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. at the Pfitzner Stadium Complex.

The event will include activities for all ages, such as a petting zoo, mascot dance off, BMX demonstrations, on-stage performances, prizes, food vendors, nature walks, nutrition education and physical education activities. Youth can earn their Junior Forest Ranger Badge.

PWC Community Expo is coordinated by Prince William County Public Schools, ED OUT, Prince William County Healthy Communities, Healthy Youth, PWCS Health and Physical Education, PWC Parks and Recreation, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, and the Hylton Foundation.

Manassas Big Day of Serving

As part of the day’s events, and to encourage community spirit, the City is going to attempt to break the Guiness World Record for the largest game of red light/green light. The City of Manassas is an advocate of healthy living and encourages healthy outdoor activity and red light/green light is a simple, healthy outdoor activity that is fun for the whole family.

Manassas Air Show

From noon until 2 p.m., the Manassas Regional Airport Air Show will be held. It’s free to get in, and the event will feature aircraft displays, a full aerobatic air show, and wing-walking.

Donations will be accepted at the gate to support the Manassas Freedom Museum.

IKEA Woodbridge Redesign Party

IKEA Woodbridge will mark the official completion of the newly updated Marketplace on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5, for a weekend of savings, giveaways, kids eat free and fun activities for the whole family. Live Radio Disney, Saturday, May 4, from 1 – 3 p.m.

The early birds get the prizes. The first 500 in line will receive a free Blue Bag & Kids get a freesoft toy. The first 100 will receive a gift card ranging in value from 5- $1,000 each day. The $1,000 winner will also receive a free design consult with an IKEA interior designer.


Sentara Unveils New System to Help Treat Heart Attack Patients

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A new tool will make it easier for heart attack patients to receive critical treatment when minutes matter most.

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge implemented a new system called LIFENET. It is the first web-based data network of its kind that offers EMS technicians in the field the ability to send information back to a hospital to help doctors identify patients suffering a dangerous type of heart attack known as STEMI, or ST-segment elevation myocardial infraction.

Here’s how it works:

LIFENET System is a state-of-the-art, easy to use system designed to connect EMS teams and hospital personnel with emergent patient data, and to help increase workflow so that a patient can receive treatment as quickly as possible.

LIFENET enables paramedics in the field to alert hospital care teams and provide them with critical patient data so they can quickly identify STEMI patients, determine where to route them for care, and have staff prepared before the patient arrives, reducing time to treatment.

While Sentara hospitals in Hampton Roads have used the system for years, this is the first time it’s being deployed in Prince William County.

The LIFENET system was donated to the hospital by the Potomac Health Foundation.

“Potomac Health Foundation aims to promote wellness and prevent disease in our service area. Heart issues are among the top health needs resulting in hospitalization in our community. This effort is designed to save lives by providing the medical staff with vital information to determine appropriate treatment interventions, even before the patient arrives at the hospital,” said  Sheri Warren, director of grant programs at Potomac Health Foundation..

According to hospital officials, STEMI heart attacks should not be taken lightly:

STEMI poses a serious threat to the heart muscle and can result in death or serious disability for the patient. The more quickly patients can receive treatment, which may include balloon angioplasty and stent placement in the cardiac catheterization lab, the more likely they are to have a positive outcome. D2B time refers to the interval from patient arrival at the hospital to inflation of the balloon catheter within the patient’s blocked artery – the shorter the D2B time, the greater the chance of survival.

New Grass, Paint Part of Georgetown South Neighborhood Makeover

Picture 1 of 4

Residents in the Georgetown South neighborhood in Manassas bought sod at a discounted price from their community center as part of a neighborhood beatification project. For some, it was the first time homeowners saw grass in their own yards. [Photo / Matt Stromberg]


MANASSAS, Va. — How do you spruce up a neighborhood that’s about to turn 50-years-old?

In Manassas’ Georgetown South neighborhood, residents bought sod, paint, and during a community clean-up effort, residents and volunteers worked together to make their neighborhood a better place to live.

Saturday marked the second year residents came together for a neighborhood clean-up aptly named “Your Pride Outside Spring.” A total of 22 households bought a combined 458 rolls of sod from Georgetown South’s non-profit homeowners association – each of the sod rolls were wrapped in 10-square-foot rolls. The residents then got help installing the new grass from the neighborhood’s maintenance staff.

“None of this would have been possible or practical had it not been for Centreville Sod and Tim Demeria, who gave us an incredible and very cost effective price. This is all part of our ‘cleaning up’ the community as a whole, which we started doing intensively last year,” said Meg Carroll, with the homeowner’s association. “This phase has the owners and residents doing much of the work on their own homes, rather than volunteers (as has been the case in the past) to create a send of pride in their houses and the community.”

Located just outside Old Town Manassas, Georgetown South was the brainchild of the 1960s, when a developer with their sights set on Manassas wanted to construct colonial-style row houses that resembled those in Washington’s famed Georgetown neighborhood. Early advertising for the neighborhood that appeared in the town’s old newspaper, The Manassas Journal Messenger, marketed elegant homes located just south of the nation’s capital.

On the Georgetown South Homeowner’s Association’s website, some of the text used in those early advertisements is still featured.

“Each street is a picture of beauty. Each home varies in materials, colors, and shape from its neighbors…exactly like the expensive houses of Georgetown,” states the website.

But now as the neighborhood is set to commemorate its 50th anniversary next year, Georgetown South has become known for crime, drugs, and is often mentioned in city police reports. That image is something Carroll, and many who live there, are trying to change.

In recent years, the homeowners association  has touted needed improvements that have been made, including:

– Increased lighting on the common areas to encourage community engagement and discourage crime

– Creation of a fitness walk on the outer perimeter of Georgetown South to offer as an amenity to our residents

– Expansion of existing play areas to accommodate special needs

– Organization of a passive, but effective Neighborhood Watch

In March, the Early Head Start Child Development Center in the neighborhood became the first in the state to earn a coveted five-star rating. The neighborhood now also has a pediatric center inside its community center.

In addition to the installation of sod and new paint, a community health fair, and a yard sale was also held Saturday. Organizers said it was a great way for residents to clean out their homes and help make someone’s old trash someone’s new treasure.

Virginia Lottery Surprises School, Awards Manassas ‘Super Teacher’ Cash

Virginia Lottery Executive Director Paula Otto presents Osbourn Park High School civics teacher Christina Ross with a check for $2,000, awarding her as a “Super Teacher” of the year. [Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

MANASSAS, Va. – Christina Ross is $2,000 richer today. But the Manassas teacher who was honored by the Virginia Lottery says her work with students is far more rewarding than any cash prize.

Ross, a civics teacher at Osbourn Park High School, is a Virginia Lottery’s “Super Teacher of the Year” for 2013. She was presented a $2,000 check Wednesday in front of her students, fellow teachers, and local school officials who gathered inside the school’s library to surprise her.

In addition to the cash, Ross also received a voucher for $2,000 in school supplies for her classroom from the Supply Room Companies.

“The only reason I’m a great teacher is because I have great students,” a surprised Ross told her students and the rest of those inside the library.

“You guys make me great, but I’m sharing any of the money,” she joked.

Once a legislative aide on Capitol Hill, Ross took up teaching high school six years ago. Always driven to serve the community and to instill the same values in her students, her class on Wednesday also started “Kicks for Kids,” a non-profit organization set up entirely by students to help drive donations of footwear and coats for needy children in the region.

“I really like the way she encourages us to get out into the community, to get outside our school, visit other schools, and see how we can help make an impact in our community,” said Katherine Davis, 18, a student in Ross’ class.

Many other students said Ross is able to connect with them because she’s passionate about what she teaches.

“Her enthusiasm is great, and she gives us the freedom to come up with these different projects,” said 17-year-old Effie Smith.

Last year Ross’ students collected 350 pairs of shoes and $2,500 in donations for Kicks for Kids. Students this year hope to top that.

Ross was nominated for the award by Assistant Principal Cassandra Crawford who commended her on her use of technology in the classroom.

“She utilizes Voicethread, a web-based application, to ‘flip’ her classroom. She also uses Twitter to engage students in virtual Socratic seminars,” penned Crawford in a nomination letter to the Virginia Lottery.

“Super Teachers” at Signal Hill Elementary School in Manasass, and at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Woodbridge in 2009 have also been recognized.

Later this fall, eight other “Super Teachers” from schools across Virginia will be entered for the chance to win $5,000 in supplies for their classroom from the Supply Room Companies.

Picture 1 of 4

Youth Orchestras Holding Season Finale Concert Sunday

[Photo: Suhail Mir / Youth Orchestras of Prince William]

Submitted News 

The Youth Orchestras of Prince William will conclude an exceptionally successful 2012-2013 season, with a season finale concert on Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 4 p.m. at Patriot High School.

The concert will feature YOPW’s eight large ensembles and will showcase the progress they have made throughout the season. YOPW’s annual Silent Auction will be from 3:30  until 6:00 p.m. Tickets for the performance are $10 for adults, $6 for students and seniors, and free for children under 6. Tickets may be purchased at the door.

One of the many highlights of this performance is Woodbridge High School Senior, Kai Rocke performing Mozart’s Concerto in Bb.

“Kai has been a long-time member of the YOPW family and will be attending New England Conservatory next year to pursue a degree in bassoon performance. We are very proud of Kai and this will be a very nice send-off for him and a way to honor all of the seniors from whom this will be their last concert with the YSO,” said Music Director, John Devlin.

YOPW will hold auditions for new students on May 13 at Gar-Field High School and May 20 at Patriot High School. Audition requirements can be found on the YOPW website: Particular areas of need are: Viola, bass, bassoon, horn, trumpet and

Sitting Next to Stranger on Bus a Cozy Experience

Slug Tales 


You know that scenario where you’re alone in an otherwise empty movie theater, and someone comes along and plops down right next to you?

If there’s one thing I can’t stand on the bus, or even on the Metro, it’s people who think they are entitled to more than one seat. Those people who sit on the aisle looking straight ahead, pretending not to notice the people standing around them, looking for somewhere to sit down. Or the ones who sit in the window seat with their bag or briefcase taking up the seat next to them, unwilling to move it to their lap to make room for another passenger – they all drive me crazy.


What makes them think they can have two seats, when others don’t even have one? It’s incredibly selfish and rude, if you ask me.

That being said, I think most of us probably prefer to sit by ourselves or with a friend, over sitting next to a stranger. After a long day at work, most people seem to enjoy the opportunity to stretch out a bit and relax during the ride home. That’s a little more difficult to do with someone sitting practically on top of you.

Last week, the bus was a bit of a lifesaver for me. After finding out that I needed both front and rear brakes in my car replaced, I needed to figure out an alternative commute so that I wouldn’t have to drive. The bus, which picks up and drops off right near my house, was super convenient and saved me a lot of trouble. Plus, it was nice not having to navigate through traffic back and forth to the commuter lot every day.

When I got on the bus to go home Tuesday afternoon, I was pleased to see how empty it was. There’s nothing worse than hearing the bus driver shout, “standing room only!” as you’re boarding, and I could see that wouldn’t be an issue, especially getting a seat at the second to last stop before hitting the highway.

Finding the perfect window seat, I settled in and got comfortable. My allergies have just been awful lately, and the medicine I’ve been taking just makes me feel so tired. It felt so good to finally close my eyes.

At the Pentagon, the line for our bus was pretty short. Considering there were plenty of open seats, I looked forward to having a little space during the ride home. But to my chagrin, I opened my eyes just in time to see another passenger setting his bags down in the aisle seat next to me.

It was not just any passenger sitting down, either – he was a quite burly gentleman, let’s just say, and he had a lot of baggage. Literally. A backpack and a briefcase. Why did he even need to carry both? Well, it didn’t really matter. All I knew was that it would be a very cozy ride!

On a positive note, I had been feeling a little chilly before he sat down. Now being squished between my seat buddy and the window, I didn’t have to worry about being cold at all. By the end of the ride, I was actually ready for some air.

I tried to close my eyes and get back to my nap, but couldn’t get comfortable again. Not to mention how awkward I felt when I realized his leg had been pushed against mine for half of the ride. At less than five feet tall, I’d say I’m pretty compact, but I had no room to move around where we wouldn’t be touching. It was making me feel claustrophobic, as I tried not to think about how close we were sitting.

It was such a relief to get off the bus that day, and luckily, the rest of the week wasn’t so bad. Though I shared a seat next to someone each day, it was nice to finally have a seat to myself on Friday afternoon. Plus, I got to sleep through the horrible Friday evening southbound traffic, instead of driving through it myself. And what could be better than that? Maybe I should take the bus more often!

Carnival of Hope to Raise Funds for 11-year-old with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

For Potomac Local News

The Carnival of Hope is not your typical carnival. This event will take place this weekend, Saturday, May 4 at Marshall Elementary School at 12505 Kahns Road in Prince William County from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There will be carnival food, games, Zumba, and music, but the purpose of this carnival is more than just having fun. It’s the first annual birthday celebration of 11-year-old  Joshua Jurack who was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in January 2006. Duchenne is an extremely debilitating type of neuromuscular disease that strikes boys ages three to five years old.

The current reality is that the majority of young men afflicted rarely live past their late teen’s and early 20’s. While this disease has taken away Joshua’s ability to walk, it doesn’t affect his mental abilities or his spirit.

The Carnival of Hope is also a fundraiser to raise funds for Joshua’s Hope Inc. which is a corporation that helps families who are dealing with Muscular Dystrophy. Funds raised for the foundation will directly help Joshua’s family and other local families by helping with their medical bills, wheelchair purchases and more.

Joshua’s Hope Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) corporation that Joshua’s parents, Peter James (P.J.) and Kaaren Jurack, started in their son’s name two years ago. Their Facebook page states that the foundation is “dedicated to providing direct financial assistance for our family and others, as well as funding research opportunities.”

“Our goal with this event and with Joshua’s Hope Inc. is to be able to bless other families as we have been blessed,” said Kaaren Jurack.

In today’s economy, families are finding that funds available through the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) are no longer sufficient in providing what they need to care for their loved ones, states the Joshua’s Hope Inc. Facebook page. This is in part due to the MDA being forced to reduce its services four years ago and since have not been able to provide financial assistance to families requiring medical equipment, especially wheelchairs, according to the Joshua’s Hope Inc. Facebook page. It is one of the goals of Joshua’s Hope, Inc. to help fill that void and provide financial assistance to families battling Duchenne.

The carnival is sure to be a fun event for the community and a great opportunity to support a local family. There is no entrance fee and tickets will be available for fifty cents each. Kaaren Jurack said that the games will range from one to three tickets per play. There will also be glitter tattoos, face painting and pictures with Joshua for one to two tickets. In addition, Kaaren Jurack also shared that there will be a prize raffle for those who donate $50 or more.

This is a rain or shine event.

Meal Deal Offered at ‘Taste of Lake Ridge’

Visitors to the “Taste of Lake Ridge” sample food from restaurants in the Woodbridge area. [Submitted photo]

LAKE RIDGE, Va. – The restaurants in and around Lake Ridge are tasty, and the organizers of the annual “Taste of Lake Ridge” want you to come out and take in what community has to offer.

The neighborhood event will feature food from area restaurants like The All-American Steakhouse, Tim’s Rivershore, Langiappe on the Bayou, Glory Days Grill, Rita’s Ice, Harbor One Comfort Snack Mix, Oscar’s BBQ, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and and Confections Cupcakes.

It’ll take place from Tuesday, May 14, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the Tall Oaks Community Center on Cotton Mill Drive, just off Mohican and Old Bridge roads in Lake Ridge.

“This is a fun event where families can walk to the community center, and commuters can get off the bus and walk down, and try some delicious food from great area restaurants,” said Lake Ridge Parks and Recreation Association spokeswoman Victoria Blevins.

To get a “taste,” tickets for the event are 50 cents each. A special Dinner Deal will be offered where event goers can buy 25 tickets for $10. As a bonus, anyone who refers a restaurant to participate in the Taste of Lake Ridge gets a free dinner deal coupon, said Blevins.

New Leadership Selected for Habitat for Humanity

[Submitted photo]

Submitted News

On Monday, April 22, two new members were elected to the Habitat for Humanity of Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park Board of Directors.

New board member Gino Manzo is Director, Microelectronics Technology and Products, Manassas Site Executive at BAE Systems in Manassas. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. Manzo serves on the University of Virginia Center for Diversity in Engineering Advisory Board, the Virginia Tech Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Board, the Virginia Tech Semiconductor Advisory Board, and the Virginia Tech Advisory Board for the Center for Space Science and Engineering.

Manzo on why he joined the Habitat board: “At this stage of my life, giving back to our community is a very important personal priority. Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful organization where you can directly experience the tremendous goodwill and effect on people in need. I am proud to be part of the Board of Directors, and look forward to the opportunity to influence the future.”

Currently retired, new board member Brian Smith was the Deputy Building Official of Fairfax County and the Building Official for the City of Manassas. He is also a former member of Habitat for Humanity of Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park’s Construction Committee. Smith is currently the chair of Prince William County’s Board of Building Code Appeals.

The new officers elected to the Habitat for Humanity Board are: Chair: John McBride of Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C.; Chair-Elect: Renee Woolfolk of First Mt. Zion Baptist Church; Secretary: Michael Kitchen, Christopher Consultants, Ltd.; Treasurer: Gino Manzo, BAE Systems; and Immediate Past Chair: Theresa Accoo, PNC Mortgage.

Woodbridge Students Perform Their Own Written Works

[Submitted photo]

For Potomac Local News

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — For three years, Woodbridge Senior High School Center for the Fine and Performing Arts (CFPA) Creative Writing students performed self-written pieces at ‘A Play on Words’ for their friends and family. The event took place in the Studio Theater on Saturday.

CFPA is one of the many specialty programs that Woodbridge Senior High School offers. The program is broken down into various concentrations including Dance, Creative Writing, Music: Instrumental, Music: Vocal, Music Technology, Theater and Visual Arts.

‘A Play on Words’ gives freshman, sophomore, junior and senior CFPA Creative Writing students a chance to read fiction, nonfiction, poetry and script, all of which they have been working on since the beginning of the school year.

“I read a fictional piece called ‘Heat Stroke.’ The southern accent that I used came through partly involuntarily because I’m from Texas, but also because that is the accent I imagined my character would have,” Junior Katelyn Portorreal said.

Portorreal admitted that she was completely terrified reading in front of the audience.

“Without Mrs. Hailey’s (CFPA Creative Writing teacher) encouragement, I don’t think I could have done it.”

Mrs. Catherine Hailey said that her proudest moment was difficult to pin down.

“’Play on Words’ is the only opportunity I have to listen to students read straight through – beginning with freshmen and ending with seniors – so it’s a real testimony to the growth that occurs in our program. I feel pride in seeing that growth and knowing I’ve contributed in some small way,” Hailey said.

Hailey was especially pleased seeing Maria Schleh’s script ‘The Firing Squad’ performed.

“It was longer than we would usually pick for ‘A Play on Words,’ but hearing multiple voices made it very powerful for the audience. I was also pleased to hear Katelyn Portorreal read her fiction excerpt since she has often been hesitant to read in front of large groups. She told me later that she was glad she read, and I hope it is a turning point for her,” Hailey said.

Hailey was not the only one enthused by the students’ performances.

Junior Mikayla Thompson, who read a nonfiction piece about art and what it means it her, claimed that her parents enjoyed hearing her read.

“They were super proud when I got up there. They told me I was very elegant and poised,” Thompson said.

Besides the senior showcases, which are on May 29, ‘A Play on Words’ is one of the last chances for CFPA Creative Writing seniors to perform their work in high school.

“I read my poem, ‘Thoughts (The Consequence of a Rumor)’ which is actually going to be in Eddas! (Eddas is Woodbridge Senior High School’s lterary and ats magazine.) This is my first time getting published in Eddas,” Senior Kadie Bennis said.

Bennis said that reading in front of people has slowly become easier for her.

“After having four years of reading in front of a big audience on a microphone, I was quite comfortable with it; not to mention I was with some really awesome friends I’ve known and been with since freshmen year. Through the years, I’ve learned to experiment with different styles of writing and I actually learned to revise my works based on other people’s critiques,” Bennis said.

Renee Ordoobadi is a student at Woodbridge Senior High School.

West Gate Students Participate in ‘Project Plant It’

[Submitted photo]

Submitted News

MANASSAS, Va. — On Arbor Day, April 26, the third-graders at West Gate Elementary School in Prince William County had a chance to get their hands dirty and plant some trees. It was all part of Dominion Virginia Power’s environmental program Project Plant It!, a fun and educational way to help the kids learn about trees and the environment.

Thousands of elementary students in Northern Virginia, including all of the third-graders in Prince William County, were enrolled in Project Plant It! this spring. Teachers got a kit of lesson plans and other instructional tools that aligned with state learning standards for math, science and other subjects. Dominion also provided the students with their own redbud tree seedling to take home on Arbor Day.

Since 2007, Project Plant It! has distributed more than 160,000 tree seedlings to students in several states where the company operates. For more information or to view videos and games about trees, visit

Page 37 of 78« First...102030...3536373839...506070...Last »