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Deane’s Retirement Celebrated

Photo: Prince William County Police Department

MANASSAS, Va. – Retired Prince William County Police Chief Charlie T. Deane got a proper send off this past weekend.

A private party for the chief was held at Flightworks at Manassas Regional Airport on Saturday night. It was paid for and attended by private citizens, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Deane was a founding member of the Prince William County Police Department and served as it’s chief for 24 years – one of the longest serving police chiefs in the nation.

He officially retired from the force Sept. 1. His going away party was held this past weekend because there wasn’t enough time to plan a party between the time Deane announced his retirement Aug. 1 and his official last day, said Perok.

Deane is credited for overseeing and assisting in several high-profile police investigations, including the Washington, D.C. sniper case in 2002 and the East Coast Rapist case in 2009.

Video: Stafford’s Shumate Family Set Music to Christmas Lights


STAFFORD, Va. – If you take a short trip down Spring Lake Drive in Stafford, you’re in for a long holiday lights show.

The house at 79 Spring Lake Drive is once again lit up for the holidays. And if you tune your car radio to 95.1 FM you’ll be able to listen to the Christmas music that accompanies these dancing lights.

Homeowner Randy Shumate begins setting up the light show in October. He says it’s a labor of love that he does for the neighborhood each year.

New for 2012 is a large sign with “Merry Christmas” lit up on the roof of the house.  Shumate said what started out as a small project has grown into a family holiday tradition.

Neighbors were invited to his house to see the light show Saturday night where they were greeted with hot drinks, snacks, and camaraderie. The evening light show will run through Jan. 1.


2,400 Area Children Need Christmas Gifts

DALE CITY, Va. – There is an increased need in our area this season to provide a bit of Christmas cheer for some needy children in Prince William County.

The area’s Un-Trim A Tree holiday gift giving program has seen a 24-percent increase in the number of children who need gifts this year. The program has over 5,000 children “adopted” or identified as needing gifts this year. For about 2,400 of the youngsters, Un-Trim A Tree organizer Mary Foley doesn’t know where the gifts will come from.

“This program is just about a little cheer for a kid- it’s a toy or new winter coat or fun stuff for a kid at Christmas,” she said.

The children who benefit from this program live in Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park. Thought family income levels vary, many of the children come from low-income families in the Dale City and Woodbridge areas and quality for free school lunch.

Foley says residents can help a child this year by contacting the program and adopting a child. Some adopters like to find out exactly what the child would like and then go out and shop for it, while others make gifts of cash or gift cards which are just as welcome.

“I have families with one child and I have families with 8 children. I can provide whatever your little heart desires,” said Foley to those considering adopting a child enrolled in the gift program.

Donations for  Un-Trim A Tree can also be dropped off at IKEA Woodbridge at Potomac Mills mall.

The Un-Trim A Tree program is 25-years-old and is managed by Volunteer Prince William.

Dumfries Will Light Christmas Tree Saturday

(Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

DUMFRIES, Va. – The holidays will light up this weekend  in Dumfries.

This Saturday, residents will gather at Town Hall for the lighting of the Dumfries Christmas Tree – an event that hasn’t happened in this small town in many years.

The ceremony starts at 5 p.m. when the community will be invited to come and decorate the Christmas Tree in Garrison Park behind Town Hall – where all of the town’s festivals have taken place this year. Children are invited to go to the town website to print an ornament that they can color and then hang on the treat. Those who are not children but still have the Christmas spirit are encouraged to bring their own ornaments to contribute to the community tree.

“I used to teach, so the whole idea for the ornaments came from wanting to get as many people as possible involved in what we are doing,” said Dumfries Director of Community Services Cyndy Neville.

A large crowed of people are expected at the tree lighting ceremony. Those who come will hear the Quantico Saxophone Quartet play holiday songs, and Dumfries Has Talent competition winners Samantha Dimitria, Teriyaki Jefferson, and Dumfries’ singing police officer Brian Fields belting out Christmas carols.

Members of the Town Council will read holiday stories, and the man of the hour- Santa Claus – will arrive at the gathering in a 1955 Chevrolet, said Neville.

Carolers are welcome at the tree all season long. Any groups who want to carol are encouraged to contact Dumfries’ office of Community Services.

‘Santa Cops’ Returns to Prince William Dec. 8

Sophia, 4, and Lillian, 2, took a minute from shopping in Occoquan to let Santa know what they would like for Christmas. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Police and Santa will take some special children shopping and to breakfast this year.

On two Saturday’s next month, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15, the Santa Cops program returns as Prince William police, officers at the county’s Adult Detention Center, Virginia State Police, and police from Manassas, Manassas Park, and Haymarket will treat 100 children to shopping and breakfast.

In years past, a Walmart store in Woodbridge has been one of the stops on the Santa Cops program.

More now in a press release:

Battlefield Lodge 43a is looking for any donations, regardless how small to help make this mission a success. It is your one chance this year to do something good and make a child’s Christmas special. These children come from all walks of life and differing circumstances, but all are faced with financial limitations in their homes.

Our mission is to promote a positive law enforcement image with these children. Children need to experience officers as caring people who are willing to provide positive support. In supporting this project, we hope that we can make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable young people. Improving the connections between responsible adults and young people is the core element of effective crime prevention and deterring negative, delinquent behaviors and encouraging achievement. It helps leave a lasting impression of law enforcement with kids who sometimes don’t see us in a positive way. Remember: youth may make up 25 percent of society, but they make up 100 percent of the future!

Donations may be made out to the Battlefield Lodge #43 Charitable Organization and mailed to the Fraternal Order of Police, Battlefield Lodge #43, P.O. Box 195, Woodbridge, VA 22194. All donations are tax deductible.


Santa Train Tickets Sell Out Fast

(Photo; Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

We warmed you. Virginia Railway Express warned you. And now we know that VRE’s Santa Train Tickets sold online starting at 9 a.m. sold out in just four minutes.

That’s 3,605 tickets to ride special trains on the commuter railroad’s Fredericksburg and Manassas lines where Santa will be on board Dec. 8.

This is a popular event each year and tickets always sell out fast.

VRE spokesman Mark Roeber said it’s a possibility that individual vendors have a few tickets left for the Santa Trains, but they don’t yet know which ones have them.

The Santa Trains are used to raise awareness for rail safety and Project Lifesaver.


Lions Clubs Sell Citrus for Holidays

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Two community organizations in Prince William County are selling fruit for the holidays.

First, the Dale City Lions Club has set up a produce stand in Woodbridge. Here’s a press release from the Dale City Lions Club:

Don’t want to gain weight this season? Keep plenty of fruit on hand to eat.

These guys have a whole truck full!

Come to the 1st Baptist Church of Woodbridge parking lot on Minnieville Road (across from Cowles Ford) and buy a case (or a 1/2 case or a bag) of Apples, Tangelos, Oranges or Grapefruit.

Sales benefit Dale City Lions’ many community causes.

The Lake Jackson Lions Club is also selling fruit:

The Lake Jackson Lions Club will be holding its annual citrus sale on December 6, 7, and 8 from noon until 5p.m., at LIONS Park / 13586 Dumfries Road.

Boxes ($29.00) or bags ($9.00) of navel oranges, tangelos, and grapefruits will be available.


Woodbridge Family Has ‘Habitat’ For New Home

Steve Thomas, best known for his role on PBS’ This old House, celebrate with Kelly Furtadoas after the water is turned on for the newly installed water conserving toilet and no leaks were found. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – It’s not often the community comes together to build a new house for neighbors.

But that’s what’s happening for Mahammad Islam and his wife Rebaya Kahtoon who will move into a new home on Traverser Court in Woodbridge at the end of the month.

It will be the first home of their own since they moved to the U.S. , and they’re doing it with the help of Habitat for Humanity of Prince William County, and with the knowhow of TV home guru Steve Thomas from Renovation Nation and This Old House. Thomas worked alongside volunteers Friday who were installing bathroom vanities and fixtures, kitchen appliances, switch plates, outlet covers the at what will be their new home in Woodbridge.

Habitat for Humanity Prince William County Director Traci DeGroat said it was exciting to have the experience which included a reception with food and drink.

“It was funny, we were there for a reception and we were all drinking hot chocolate, but there were no toilets,” said DeGroat.

It was a fun experience for volunteers, but it’s a serious one that means a new home for homeowners-to-be Islam and Kahtoon. Both work at Walmart and McDonalds, respectively, have a son studying at Virginia Tech and a daughter taking classes at Northern Virginia Community College.

The family is already paying down payments on this house, and paying rent at their current home.

This is the fifth house Habitat for Humanity Prince William has purchased, refurbished, and then sold back to the homeowners at cost. In order to qualify for the program, applicants must make anywhere between 30 and 50 percent of the median Washington-area income, show a willingness to partner with Habitat, have income, tax, and credit records checked, and must already pay 30 percent or more of their total income on housing expenses.

DeGroat said the application process is based on need, so those who are homeless, living in crowded conditions, or with relatives often qualify.

Habitat for Humanity Prince William since 2007 has helped more than 100 people in the area with home repairs, refurbishing, and has built eight houses from the ground up, said DeGroat.

A ceremony welcoming Islam and Kahtoon will be held Nov. 29.

Mahammad Islam and his wife Rebaya Kahtoon stand proudly in front of their soon to be newly renovated home in Woodbridge. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Cash-Covered Police Cruisers Spotted at Wawa

Angela Davis of Aquia Harbour assisted Police Chief P. Harman in raising money for the Special Olymics on Nov. 14 at a Wawa on Garrisonville Road. (KJ Mushung/PotomacLocal.com)


STAFFORD, Va. – On Nov. 14 at Wawa gas stations all over Stafford County, people could plaster police cruisers with dollars for Special Olympics.

The event was organized by the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Harman of the Aquia Harbour Police Department, who donated her time and was off duty during the event, raised $173 on her cruiser.

Bethany Baker, 7, of Stafford quickly places a dollar on an Aquia Harbour police cruiser for Special Olympics before shyly running off. (KJ Mushung/PotomacLocal.com)


Donors were invited to “cover the cruiser” with dollars for Special Olympics on Nov. 14. (KJ Mushung/PotomacLocal.com)


Fans Flock for Final Twilight Movie

Photo: Kristina Kotlus

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – The fifth and final film adaptation of the Twilight book series was released in midnight showings Thursday. As our Kristina Kotlus shows us, fans lined up at AMC Theaters at Potomac Mills mall to see the Breaking Dawn Part II.

The parking lot was full well before midnight, and fans lined up inside for the movie.

Dubbed the “Twilight” series named after the first book, the books and films tell the stories of teenage vampires and werewolves.

Photo: Kristina Kotlus

A parking lot outside AMC Theaters in Woodbridge was full well before the midnight start of Breaking Dawn Part II. (Photo: Kristina Kotlus)

Virginia Writers Club Welcomes Prince William Authors

Newly elected 2013-14 president of the Virginia Writers Club, Betsy Ashton (second from left, Blue Ridge Chapter), and current 2011-12 president, June Forte (center, Northern Virginia Chapter), welcome Write by the Rails as the statewide organization’s newly chartered Prince William Chapter. Representing Write by the Rails in Richmond on Nov. 3 are June Kilpatrick (Gainesville), Linda Johnston (Gainesville) and Terry Reardon (Woodbridge).
(Submitted photo)

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Write by the Rails, a networking group of writers based in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park, has been officially chartered as the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club.

The announcement was made at VWC’s annual meeting Nov. 3 in Richmond. Local members June Kilpatrick and Linda Johnston of Gainesville and Terry Reardon of Woodbridge were in attendance.

The club is a statewide organization that supports and stimulates the art, craft and business of writing in the Commonwealth. Write by the Rails joins nine other regional chapters of the club: Appalachian Authors Guild, Blue Ridge, Chesapeake Bay Writers, Hampton Roads, Hanover Writers, Northern Virginia, Richmond, Riverside Writers and Valley Writers.

Write by the Rails was co-founded in 2011 by individual writer members of the Prince William County Arts Council: Cindy Brookshire, Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt, Pete Pazmino and Sheila Lamb. The group has a Facebook page and maintains writebytherails.blogspot.com.

Members have participated in Arts Alive! at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, conducted a “How to Market Your Book” panel workshop, sold books at the Winery at La Grange and signed up to read books to school children for National Young Readers Day.

Currently, the group is producing New Departures, an anthology featuring the work of Robert Bausch, Carole Bellacera, Tracey E. Brooks, Chip Deyerle, Leigh Giza, Alexandra Hailey, Kelly Harman, Carole Keily, Paul Keily, Peggy Kimmey and others. Proceeds will benefit local non-profits. The group is sponsoring a book sales table at the City of Manassas 6th Annual Neighborhood Conference on Sat., Nov. 17 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Manassas Boys & Girls Club, which is located at 9501 Dean Park Lane in Manassas.

“I am delighted to have such a dynamic and active chapter join the Virginia Writers Club,” said VWC President June Forte, author and speech communication professor at Northern Virginia Community College. “Write by the Rails extends our organization’s reach into Prince William County and is a strong force of support for the Club’s mission of developing and encouraging the art, craft and business of writing within the county.”

The next monthly meeting of Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club, is Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 9325 West Street in Manassas. The public is welcome.

Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway is Saturday

(Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – For the fourth consecutive year, Holiness Tabernacle Church Of God In Christ is sponsoring ‘Tis the Season to Give Thanks – and giving away free turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday, Saturday, Nov. 17 at 10 a.m.

The church is located at 1440 Old Bridge Road in Woodbridge. In 2011, HTC provided more than 400 Turkeys for families in the Woodbridge area and our goal for this year is to double that amount with 700-800 turkeys.

Having purchased a new worship center in 2009, Holiness Tabernacle is committed to providing a helping hand to those in need.

“I’ve always been a firm believer that before we can meet the spiritual needs of people, we must first meet their physical needs,” said Pastor Eddie B Pruitte, Jr., who feels God has called the church to minister to the total needs of the Woodbridge community, both natural (educational, social and economical) and spiritual.

The church’s Missions Department has also partnered with the Capital Area Food Bank to host a free food distribution the second and fourth Monday of each month.

For more information on the Holiness Tabernacle Free Turkey Giveaway, please contact the church at 703-497-7928 or visit the church website at holinesstabernaclecogic.org.

-Press release


Keach Named Parade Grand Marshal

Manassas Christmas Parade (Photo: Historic Manassas Inc.)

MANASSAS, Va. – The man who played Christopher Titus’ father on TV’s “Titus” will be the Grand Marshall of the Manassas Christmas Parade.

Stacy Keach agreed to join Manassas Mayor Hal Parish for an annual Christmas Tree lighting on the evening of Nov. 30, and then at the annual parade the following day at 10 a.m.

The 67th Annual Manassas Christmas Parade will begin on Va. 28 near Liberia Avenue and wind through Old Town Manassas. Several streets along the route will be closed the day of the parade, beginning at 8 a.m. Dec. 1.

The parade starts at 10 a.m. 

Keach recently joined the faculty at George Mason University at it’s Department of Theater.

More in a press release form Historic Manassas Inc.

Stacy Keach is now our local hero, as he has joined the faculty of George Mason University’s Department of Theater as Heritage Professor of Stage and Screen. He is the honorary chairman of the Cleft Palate Foundation, and advocates for insurance coverage for cleft palate surgeries. He served on the board of the Environmental Communications Organization and is the co-author, with Gary Greenberg, of the Mary’s Magic Microscope books, as he is passionate about getting youth excited about science.

Stacy Keach also supports the efforts of independent film-makers across the globe. Stacy Keach’s own movie career comprises over 50 films since 1968 including work with such acclaimed directors as John Houston and Oliver Stone. For many, his most memorable roles have been on television. From 1984-1998, he was Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer.

In 2000 he played Ken Titus in Fox’s sitcom, Titus. He continues building new audiences, regularly as the narrator of segments of NOVA and National Geographic programs. Still, he is most passionate about his role as teacher and mentor.

We extend a warm welcome to Stacy Keach, Professional Artist in Residence for Theater at Mason and Heritage Professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University.


Closures for Veterans Day 2012

Some government offices in the Potomac Communities will close Monday in observance of Veterans Day.


On Monday, Nov. 12, City of Manassas Government offices will be closed in observance of Veterans Day.

Yard waste will be picked up in the City on Monday. For questions about recycling or trash pick up visit www.manassascity.org/recycling.

The Manassas Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Veterans Day and is free to veterans and active duty military all weekend.

Manassas Park Community Center

In observance of Veteran’s Day, there will be no Extended Care, Preschool or MP3 on Monday, November 12th.

Prince William County

All Prince William County Government offices and Courts will be closed on Monday, Nov. 12 for the Veteran’s Day holiday.

The landfill will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 12.

All neighborhood libraries will be closed on Saturday, Nov. 10. All libraries will be closed on Sunday and Monday, Nov. 11 and 12.

Stafford County

Stafford offices, departments and facilities will be closed on Monday, November 12, 2012, in observance of Veterans Day.

The Circuit Court, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, and General District Court in Stafford will also be closed on Monday.

The following offices and facilities will remain open:

Fire and Rescue Information (540) 658-4400

Emergency 9-1-1

Sheriff’s Office Information (540) 658-4400

Emergency 9-1-1

Magistrate (540) 659-2968

The Regional Landfill, 489 Eskimo Hill Road, Stafford, VA 22554, and the Belman Road Recycling Center, 1200 Belman Road, Fredericksburg, VA 22401, will be open on Monday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


‘Band Together’ Marks 2nd Year in Stafford

(Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

STAFFORD, Va. – Students and the community came together at Mountain View High School to see marching bands perform, and to help the hungry.

Band Together to Fight Hunger kicked off Monday night, marking the second year students from all five Stafford County high schools gathered on one field to benefit the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank.

SEE ALL PHOTOS by clicking this link. 

(Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)


(Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)


(Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)



Dance Moms Filming in Woodbridge

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – It’s sort of like Real Housewives meets Black Swan.

The cast and crew of TV’s Dance Moms will film an episode at Forest Park High School on Saturday. The filming begins at 10 a.m. and goes until 7 p.m., and there’s a limited number of tickets open to anyone who wants to come watch the dance competition being filmed.

Producers of the show said the free tickets have to be obtained through this website.

On Sunday, cast member Abby Lee Miller will hold a special instructional session for dancers 11 and younger, and another session for dancers 12 and older at Harbour View conference center in Woodbridge. Tickets for these sessions are $69 for participants and $30 just to watch.

Dance Moms on TV’s Lifetime network is centered around Miller who teaches competitive dance to children. The mothers of the children also play a role in the show and, like their Real Housewives counterparts, and often be seen arguing on the small screen.


Old Bridge Christmas Parade is Saturday

LAKE RIDGE, Va. – The Old Bridge Christmas Parade is this Saturday, and it marks one of the first holiday traditions of the year.

The event featuring Santa will begin at 10 a.m., with marchers traveling on Old Bridge Road from Lake Ridge Middle east to Smoketown Road.

The parade is expected to impact traffic on the popular commuter route. The Virginia Department of Transportation Permit Manager Art Klos sent out an email about the parade:


The Lake Ridge community will be holding its annual Santa’s Old Bridge Parade. The parade will begin in front of Lake Ridge Middle School near Mohican Drive, proceed west on Old Bridge Road, and end near Smoketown Road at the Old Bridge Festival Shopping Center. During the parade, west bound traffic will be shifted to the east bound lanes. This is the same route that has been used since 1997.

Traffic control during the parade will be provided by the Prince William County Police Department. Message boards will be placed on Old Bridge Road advising the public of the upcoming event.


Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Prince William police, and OWL Volunteer Fire Department, and others are expected to participate in the parade.

The parade was brought back last year first time after a brief hiatus due to inclement weather and logistical problems.


Stafford Businesses Line Up to Help Sandy Victims

(Photo: Hope for Warriors)

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Some of the coastal landmarks Michael Pollaci grew up with are gone – swept away by Hurricane Sandy.

Now the Stafford County businessmen, and others, are collecting goods and supplies to help residents of the battered northeast coastline.


When I see the pictures of what is going on I get very choked up nearly on the verge of tears. I lost contact with my Mom and it was a very anxious time for me. Thankfully, she is on the other side of the Island and only lost power for a few days but I can tell you the ‘not knowing’ is the worst part when family is involved.

Also, there are so many memories I have of the beachfront in Staten Island and now a lot of those landmarks and places I visited are gone – it’s like losing a part of your self.

My entire childhood and most of my adult life are there and it is all just devastated.

-Michael Pollaci


Pollaci lived on Staten Island for 39 years before moving to Stafford. He’s using his Stafford Technologies computer repair shop as a drop-off point to collect clothes, blankets, toiletries and stuffed animals for children, and he’s hoping the community will donate more.

Help for heroes 

Chrissy Sharon is also hoping the community also donates these items. At her Mainstreet Grill and Bar, she’s collecting items for Hope for the Warriors – a charity organization collecting items for U.S. military service members impacted by Sandy.

In addition to basic necessities, the organization is also looking baby formula, diapers, and gift cards to home improvement stores.

Both Stafford-based businesses aim to begin shipping out their items to the areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy this week.

IF YOU KNOW of businesses or organizations in the Potomac Communities collecting donations to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, please comment below and share the info!

Freeze Watch Tonight


It’s going to get cold out there tonight, and unprotected plans won’t like it very much.

A freeze watch is in effect from late tonight into early Monday morning as temperatures are expected to be in the low 30s, according to the National Weather Service.

Plants should be brought inside to protect them from frost, stated the weather service.

Locations west of Interstate 95 are under the watch, including the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park, and Prince William, and Stafford counties.

Temperatures will remain chilly throughout the week with a forecasted high of 50 degrees Monday, 48 on Tuesday, and 43 on Wednesday as a coastal storm is set to bring us rain.


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