Long Lines Make for Tough Monday Commute

Slug Tales 


Doesn’t everything seem more difficult when you’re tired?

This Monday was particularly rough for that very reason: I was exhausted. Sunday night had been one of those nights, the kind where every time you look at the clock, it’s yet another hour later and you still aren’t asleep.

And next thing you know, there’s the sound of your alarm clock blaring. Time to get up!


I had a case of the Mondays, and I had it bad. As I dragged through my morning routine, I wondered how busy the day ahead would be. Maybe if it wasn’t too hectic, my boss would let me leave a bit early. The thought of being at work all day was almost painful.

Managing to leave just a few minutes later than usual, I used an app on my iPhone to check the traffic heading toward the Horner Road Commuter lot in Woodbridge and was relieved to see that it was pretty clear. Arriving in almost record time, I pulled into the lot and scoped the scene for a parking spot. Finding none, I continued toward back to the third lot, but was stunned at what I saw ahead: a long slug line going to L’Enfant Plaza!

The closer it gets to 9 a.m. when the restrictions are lifted in the HOV lanes, the lesser the chances are of getting a ride, and there were more than a few slugs waiting. I couldn’t believe it!

Pressed for time, I hurried over to the new lot on Telegraph Road. Maybe I’d find cars waiting over there, I thought.

No such luck. Disappointed, I made the trek back to Horner and got in the slug line, which hadn’t moved an inch since I had driven by minutes ago.

We all waited, with our fingers crossed each time we saw a car slowing down before the slug line, but to no avail. What was going on this morning?! One by one, slugs began to drop out of the line. One went to check the line for the Pentagon, further up the lot. A couple left without a word, and one more gave up and went to wait for the Metro Direct bus. With only a few minutes left until 9 a.m., there were still a few of us left.

Finally, a gentleman stopped by the line and rolled his window, saying that he could drop off at the Woodley Park Metro Station. Most likely picturing Woodley Park along the red line, and counting the number of stops and the hassle of switching stations, the slugs ahead of me reluctantly took him up on the ride. Meanwhile, I wondered if anyone else would stop.

By 9:15 a.m., the OmniRide Metro Direct arrived, and I wondered if we should cut our losses and take the bus.

“That’s a long Metro ride though,” said the other guy waiting with me. “Don’t worry, I’ve gotten picked up later than this,” he assured me.

By 9:30 a.m., I was worried, and apparently, so was he. I wondered if not getting on that bus was a mistake. That’s when another car stopped, and the driver asked where we were going. He agreed to take us to Pentagon City, and that was good enough for us. I was late, but at least I had a ride.

When the clock struck five that afternoon, I couldn’t believe I had lasted all day. I wrapped up my work and was walking out the door a few minutes later, but was shocked at the sight ahead of me – the slug line going back to Horner was longer than I’d ever seen before!

Quickly, I rushed to the back of the line. As more slugs filed behind me, I could hear the anxious chatter about the length of the slow-moving line, and whether or not we’d get a ride. As the clock ticked closer to 6 p.m., when the HOV restrictions are lifted for the evening, I couldn’t believe I might end up in the same predicament I’d been in that morning. Meanwhile, the slug line moved forward at a snail’s pace.

Finally, I was next in line and another driver arrived, even taking three of us into his car. With only a few minutes to spare until 6 p.m., I was relieved, even though it meant sitting in quite a bit of traffic. Oh, well – the long ride just meant more time for my power nap!

Monday was definitely tough, but luckily, I made it through. With such a difficult start to my week, I could have looked at it as a bad sign. Instead, I told myself, it could only get better from here!

More Than 70 Boats Used in Occoquan Clean Up

[Submitted photo]

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Using kayaks and an army of volunteers, a the results of a large coordinated clean-up of the Occoquan River have been tabulated.

More in a press release from the Neabsco Action Alliance:

The Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition successfully coordinated and conducted a multi-prong clean-up event from 9 different sites along more than 24 miles of the Occoquan River. The clean-up ranged from the River’s confluence of Cedar Run/Broad Run, through Lake Jackson, from the base of Lake Jackson Dam south of Lake Ridge Marina. 

Over 70 watercraft (mostly kayaks, canoes, some rowboats, motorized Jon Boats, Pontoon boats,  and a 22 foot motor boat) put-in at appropriate sites to collect debris from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  More than 140 volunteers contributed 553 hours of service in cleaning up debris on the water, land or assisted in moving the debris on shore to waiting trucks or dumpsters. 

More information and a link to more photos taken during the clean up are available at the Neabsco Action Alliance’s website.

Ridge Runners Gathering to Honor Boston Victims

The Lake Ridge RidgeRunners (Photo:

LAKE RIDGE, Va. – Runners will gather tonight to honor the three people killed and nearly 200 injured during the Boston Marathon Bombings on Monday.

The Lake Ridge Ridge Runners Club invites all area residents to meet in the parking lot of Lake Ridge Elementary School at 7 p.m. for a moment of silence, and then proceed for a two-mile walk to honor the fallen and all those impacted by Monday’s terrorist attacks.

Lake Ridge Ridge Runners President Stephanie Drupal-DeMartin said no one from the club participated in this year’s Boston Marathon as they have in years past, but said the tragedy has affected the running community at large. Drupal-DeMartin also had a cousin who had just finished the race about a half hour before the bombs went off.

“It was very stressful to know my cousin was there after the bombings, but we were relived to find out she was OK,” said Drupal-DeMartin.

The running community is a tight knit one she added, and many from both Maryland and Virginia have expressed their condolences after yesterday’s attacks.

Everyone is invited to tonight’s walk whether they’re a Ridge Runners club member or not.

The intention is to bring people together, and instead of focus on darkness of these events, it’s to show our support of everyone’s courage yesterday, and that it’s important to keep going and to show up at next year’s Boston Marathon to run again,” said Drupal-DeMartin.

Air Force Band Caps Arts Alive! Festival

Picture 1 of 4

[Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

MANASSAS, Va. — The Prince William Arts Alive! festival capped off Saturday night with a free concert featuring the U.S. Air Force Band.

The band played a full show featuring numbers from Gustav Holst’s “The Planets,” vocal performances like “On the Wheels of a Dream” from Broadway’s “Ragtime,” a salute to opera, and traditional patriotic favorites.

The band played their show in front of a packed crowd at the Hylton Performing Arts Center.


Father-Daughter Dance Planned

060612 Manassas Park Parks and Rec logo

MANASSAS PARK, Va. — The City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation invites you to join us at our annual Father, Daughter Dance, taking place at the Manassas Park Community Center on May 3rd from 7 p.m. –  8:30 p.m. This event is for all young ladies in grades k-5 with their fathers or favorite male guardian (Uncle, brother, etc.) and will feature music, dancing and games. Each young lady receives a corsage and refreshments are served.

The event will have photos for keep sake, dancing music and more. We will have fun games, crafts and cup cake decorating.

For additional information about our annual Father, daughter Dance, please visit www.ManassasParkCommunityCenter.comor contact Brian Hanifin at 703.335.8872 or via email at

The annual Father, daughter Dance is a rain or shine event. Information will also be posted on our website,, and on our Facebook page:

Text Saves Mom’s First Call in the Press Box

Mom on the Run


I’m up in the press box, microphone in front me, ready for my debut as a high school lacrosse game announcer. I’ve never aspired to sports broadcasting, but once upon a time I promised to fill in wherever nobody else volunteered so, tonight, yup, I’m calling the game.

I really have very little idea what to do up here. I know the basics, that the announcer lists off the starting players, tells the score, reminds people to visit the concession stand. And Christy gave me a script for today. Surely I can figure this out, right? How hard can this be?

021113-freedom-mom-tagBut immediately it gets complicated. After checking out the press box, and familiarizing myself with the equipment there, I realize something’s missing. So I climb back down the tightly angled ladder, and half-run all the way down the very deep bleacher steps, then I walk all the way around the fence, then all the way over to the scorekeeping table, and check in with the opposing team: “Do you guys have a roster?”

The two girls flip through papers, look around, look at each other, and shrug. “No, sorry.” I stand, perplexed, for a minute, not sure what to do. This is my first time: was I supposed to ask someone else? Should I track down their coach? Then, “You don’t have to give our players’ names,” the girls offer. “It’s our fault.”

Except … that doesn’t seem right. Their players deserve recognition after goals and big plays too. What if that was my son?

So I hem and haw and think. And as I look around for a scrap of paper to quickly scribble out their roster, I notice a cell phone, the omnipresent teenage accessory. “Hey,” I wonder out loud, “could you text it to me?”

The girls look at each other. “Yeah, sure,” they say, and one girl hands me her phone. I peck in my number, then start my long walk back. Across the field. Around the track. Up the uncomfortably sized bleacher stairs. Up-up-up the narrow pitched ladder, back into the press box.

Where, panting a little, I look at the scoreboard clock, and down on the field, and realize that time has run out, the boys are lining up for the game, and I have to start, opposing team’s roster in hand or no.

So. I flip on the microphone, and for the first time, after all that rushing, get a few butterflies. Looking out the window, down onto the bleachers below me, there are people here, a bunch of them, and they’re all listening to me! I barely know the rules of lacrosse. I cheer for the wrong thing all the time. What am I doing?

Well, there’s nothing for it. I’m here, and it’s time. I take a deep breath, pick up my script, and start reading. “Thank you for attending the Osbourn High School Boys Lacrosse game!” I try to speak slowly, listening wonderingly to my echo outside. I get through all my handy script bullets, and, “Osbourn starting lineup!” Down I go through the list. “In goal ….” All the while watching my phone. My still, silent phone.

Just as I get to, “And at Attack,” there it is! My phone vibrates! My text! Still reading aloud, I reach for my phone, open the message, and see … a photo. A little tiny photo. “The Eagles are coached by ….”

Oh! It’s their scorebook! The girls took a picture of the scorebook, with all the players listed! Just in time, as I finish reading my team’s coaches’ names, I pinch the picture, expand it, slide it up and to the right. Little stars noting the starters! Whoo! Seamlessly, I start: “Starting in Defense for FreedomHigh School ….”

And hey, I’ve got this, I realize. Still reading, silently, internally, I give a little fist pump. Shoot, if I figured out the texted roster photo thing, the rest of this announcer gig has to be a cakewalk!

‘Be There’ Campaign Encourages Parents to Take Active Role in Students Lives

Manassas City Public Schools

When I entered the world of public school education as a starry-eyed math teacher, it didn’t take long for me to learn that although I was charged with the task of teaching formulas and equations, I, and the other educators in my building were not the most important teachers in my student’s lives.

The truth of the matter is parents, family members and even neighbors are the first teachers children encounter. The adage that “it takes a village to raise a child” is still true. This is why Manassas City Public Schools recently launched a new initiative called, “Be There”.

Be There is a multi-media campaign designed to inspire families to become more involved in their children’s education. While parent involvement in the school building is very important, Be There focuses on the benefits of parental involvement at home. Research shows that family and community involvement makes a huge difference in student achievement. Basically, we can’t do it without you, whether you are a parent, a sibling, a mentor or a supportive community member and taxpayer. The home environment is the strongest indicator of student success.

We are reaching out to families with the Be There campaign based upon solid research. National surveys show schools where teachers reported high levels of outreach to parents, test scores grew considerably higher than in schools where teachers reported low levels of outreach. Research indicates the following benefits of family and community involvement for students:

• Higher grades and test scores

• Better attendance and more homework done

• Higher graduation rates

You may think it’s difficult to be involved because your days are full. We understand. As I mentioned, the Be There campaign takes a little different approach to traditional parent involvement. Simply engage your child in a conversation about what happened each day at school. Ask specific questions about teachers, friends and extra-curricular activities. No matter your child’s age, use everyday moments — like trips to the bank, grocery store or gas station — to teach your child about money matters, reading food labels or conserving energy. Turn routine trips into games. For more information and ideas, visit

As our division’s Strategic Plan is being developed, community engagement and family involvement have been deemed as a top priority. The Be There campaign is an excellent way to put this in action.

Contest Winners to be Recognized at Workhouse Arts Center

Submitted News 

More than 140 high school students from Virginia’s 11th Congressional District and their parents will gather Saturday for the unveiling of the works of art they submitted to Congressman Gerry Connolly’s annual Congressional Art Competition for residents of Virginia’s 11th Congressional District.

Winners will be announced at a reception hosted by Connolly for all participants in the contest on Saturday, April 13 from 2 to 4 pm at the Workhouse Arts Center’s McGuire Woods Gallery, 9601 Ox Road in Lorton. All of the artwork will remain on display at the gallery through May 26.

Prizes will be awarded to the first through fifth place winners of Connolly’s art competition. The first place winning entry will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year, while the work of another high school artist, judged to be a “Rising Star,” will have his or her artwork displayed prominently for a year on the Workhouse campus. Judging was conducted by representatives of the Prince William Art Society, Council for the Arts of Herndon, Greater Reston Arts Council, The Workhouse Arts Center, and Arts Council of Fairfax County.

This year, Connolly received a record number of submissions to his annual Congressional Art Competition, An Artistic Discovery, with 111 students, representing 23 different public and private high schools in Fairfax and Prince William, submitting 144 works of art.

“I am thrilled by the interest among our young artists and by their artistic creativity and talent,” Connolly said. “It is a pleasure to host this competition to showcase the work of our high school students and emphasize the importance of the fine arts.”

Connolly’s annual Congressional Arts Competition is open to all high school students who reside in Virginia’s 11th CD. Public, private, and home-schooled students are invited to participate.


Bluebell Festival Draws Nature Lovers

Picture 1 of 12

Three year old twins, Samuel and Charlotte Kennedy, get a lesson on antlers and pelts. [Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]

NOKESVILLE, Va. — The Virginia Bluebell Festival was held Sunday, April 7, at Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area.

And while it was a bit too soon for the Bluebells – a flower native to Virginia and the official flower of Prince William County – to have bloomed due to unseasonably cooler weather, that didn’t stop crowds from coming to the area event celebrated by naturalists and outdoor enthusiasts.

Alborn: Schools Chairman Johns Entertains Citizen Input


Contributing Editor

Last Sunday, I published a column titled “Schools Need More Detailed Budget.”

It was about the Prince William County School Board’s budget presentation to the Board of County Supervisors, and in it I made some observations about its budget practices in general.

Shortly thereafter, I was invited to coffee by School Board Chairman Milt Johns. Johns is familiar with my “office hours” policy working from local coffee shops.  I’m available for coffee with anyone who wishes to discuss public policy.  Of course, I accepted with a bit of apprehension.  I suspected that perhaps Chairman Johns was less than pleased with my column.

My apprehension was misplaced.

I suspected our meeting would be best held in private, so we met at John’s office in Old Town Manassas.  The possibility of yelling and screaming crossed my mind. Braced for the worst, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Prince William’s School Board Chairman was actually interested in exploring the topic of strategic planning and its application to the budget process.

The chairman was truly interested in citizen input.

Let’s be clear here. Johns presides over a billion dollar annual budget. He needs little tutoring on how to work with big numbers.  I did discover that he is always looking for ways to improve the process.  I found absolutely no defensiveness on his part during our conversation, and a willingness to explore new ideas.

As a taxpayer, I was impressed.

The conversation covered a number of areas, and re-framed my thinking a bit regarding the challenges Johns and the rest of the School Board face.  Teacher compensation, recognition and performance incentives are a big issue to the Chairman.  

Johns discussed, as an example, Standards of Learning test scores. How do you compare performance when scores on an SOL test in one class improve from 94% to 95% passing, but in another class they improve from 50% to 65% passing.   Now, cast this issue in light of different demographics,  economic circumstances, and perhaps even ESOL populations of different schools.

Which teacher was more successful? Which teacher faced the greater challenge, and rose to the occasion? Should rewards be equal?

I also found the diversity in the wealth of school parent populations and its impact on school principals interesting. Johns mentioned that a principal in a wealthy community who would like a $30,000 high speed copier might simply ask his parent teacher organization to write him or her a check.

Schools in more economically challenged areas lack that option.

We explored strategic planning in detail.  Chairman Johns, of course, is familiar with the process. He was intrigued by the observation that perhaps the School Board’s budget could be better aligned with the School System’s Strategic Plan, and wished to discuss how that might be accomplished.

I pointed out that Prince William County’s Office of Management and Budget does, in my opinion, a very good job of aligning its budget with the Community’s Strategic Plan. You may disagree with “what’s in there”; however, you are disagreeing within a defined context.  

That makes the conversation to get to the final budget and tax rate easier, as those conversations are defined in terms of impact on the measurable goals defined in the county’s Strategic Plan.

Less money means less of some service to the public.  Understanding the relationship and impact is important to these conversations. 

To make this alignment work, you have to start with a good Strategic Plan. The potential failures we discussed included simply ignoring the strategic plan in developing a budget, or perhaps working with a Strategic Plan that doesn’t lend itself to implementation.

The math is simple: A strategic plan defines what some enterprise should look like in terms of vision, goals and measurable results. The budget is how we achieve those goals and measurable results.  In the case of Prince William County, the published tax rate is the bound in deciding what to fund, and the adopted tax rate drives the public policy and services for the fiscal year in question.  

A budget is the essence of government. Nothing happens without it. The alignment of a Strategic Plan with the budget is how we “get it right”.

I took a break to get a second cup of coffee.  Clearly, we had entered the area of Strategic Planning Consulting.  While I have no illusions that Chairman Johns was looking for instructions on “what to do,” I was comfortable that our two way candid dialog was intended to simply compare notes and experience, and perhaps give him some ideas to ponder regarding future budgets.

Chairman Johns pointed out the ultimate challenge.  While the School Board’s budget is defined by a process outside its control,  the School Systems obligation to serve is open ended.  They simply cannot turn student’s away.

This column is not an endorsement of the FY2014 School Board budget.  I have issues with it (that I discussed in my previous column).  This is no surprise, as like most people I have issues with every governmental budget.

My goal here is to simply share a citizen’s perspective and a bit of insight into the challenges our School Board face, and my appreciation for the fact that Chairman Johns is struggling with several issues all constrained by a “magic number” that he must make work.  

I finished my second cup of coffee, and closed our conversation with a new appreciation for the man that leads our School Board.  We exchanged cards, and I suspect might chat again about this subject.

I may not agree with everything Johns or the School Board does, however, I am comfortable that he is quite approachable, willing to discuss any disagreement, and looking for ideas to improve the School System.

Johns gave me his private cell number and an invitation to call any time.  I added it to my speed dial.

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church Presents Brother Earth Day


Submitted News 

TRIANGLE, Va. – As a way to celebrate Earth Day in a Franciscan manner, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Triangle is presenting “Brother Earth Day” at the parish on Sunday, April 21.

During and after the Sunday, April 21, 2013, 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and noon Masses, there will be information tables with goodies to sample, including homemade, vegetarian muffins, cookies and brownies made from organic, local and/or fair trade ingredients, as well as handouts, displays, and demonstrations.

There will be information on how to conduct a home-energy audit, working with your utility company regarding energy conservation, and how to set up a home composting system.

There will also be hands-on activities, including the planting of a community flower and vegetable garden.

In addition, there will be a presentation at 10:00 a.m. by local environmental leaders that will address a host of issues.

The parish is also collecting and recycling old cell phones, shoes, printer cartridges, eye glasses, and batteries.

Everyone is invited to this free event. The parish is located at 18825 Fuller Heights Road, Triangle, Virginia 22172. For more information, please call the parish office at 703.221.4044.

“Pope Francis has asked us to be protectors of one another and of the environment,” said Fr. Kevin Downey, O.F.M., pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish. “Brother Earth Day will inspire us to do just that.”

In September 2012, St. Francis of Assisi Parish was accepted into the GreenFaith Certification Program, the country’s first interfaith environmental certification program for houses of worship. New Jersey-based GreenFaith ( is an internationally recognized interfaith environmental coalition.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish is the first house of worship in Virginia to enter this prestigious certification program.

Churches, synagogues, mosques and temples gain recognition as environmental leaders when they receive GreenFaith certification by carrying out more than two dozen environmental activities over two years. From eco-themed worship services and religious education on the environment, to reducing consumption in their buildings and engaging in environmental justice advocacy, participants “green” their communities. When a congregation completes the program, GreenFaith officially acknowledges it as a religious-environmental leader..

 St. Francis of Assisi Parish’s “Brother Earth Day” is in conjunction with the parish’s certification requirements.

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church ( is part of the Diocese of Arlington and was established in 1957 to serve the military community at Quantico Marine Base.

Life of Pi’s Tiger a Metaphor for Life

041013-life-of-piBy TOM BASHAM

I didn’t see “Life of Pi” at the theater, I saw it on DVD last night. However, I think it was meant to be seen like a moving painting – a kaleidoscope of the trials of life. Director Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) earned his best director Oscar as did Cinematographer Claudio Miranda (TRON: Legacy).

I did not read the book, but we all saw the trailer. It’s a movie about a guy who is stuck on a life raft with a tiger. The book was based on the story of a Jewish-German refugee who crossed the Atlantic Ocean while sharing his boat with a jaguar. And yeah, it was made with bits of light and magic known as CGI, but it was used to enhance the story and never to impress or distract from the experience.

I saw the movie as a metaphor – a complete metaphor for life and the struggles of man. We are all crossing a great sea, alone on a craft that is barely worthy. If that isn’t enough, we have a tiger to deal with. We all have one. It may be drugs, booze, women, neighbors, illness, pain, a boss, or other obsessions or objects of aggression. We have to respect the tiger, feed the tiger, and eventually tame the tiger if we are to survive.

We may hate the tiger – it wants to kill us, but in the end, it is our tiger, and as the movie tells us, when we look in the tiger’s eyes we see a reflection of ourselves. At the end of our life we understand that we needed the tiger.

If there were no tiger in our life, no struggle, we would not have been challenged and not developed the life skills necessary for survival. If you do not tame your tiger, you will never have the life you were meant to live.

The “Life of Pi” got to me, and that is what movies are supposed to do; leave you thinking about it, the themes and your own life. You can’t get it out of your head. You smile, and you are frustrated, you toss and turn at night. I know, it looked like it belonged in the “artsy-fartsy” category, and maybe it does.

All I am saying is give art a chance, and maybe you will find peace. I give this movie four out of five stars. The only thing keeping me from that fifth star is the “I want to tell you a story narrative” format. That bothers me…but not as much as this tiger I have in my life boat that I have to deal with every day.

Tom Basham is a Virginia filmmaker and regularly reviews movies at BashMovies.

More than 40 Performances Planned for ‘Arts Alive!’

MANASSAS, Va. — Nearly 40 performances and showcases are planned for one of the area’s largest arts festivals, taking place at the Hylton Performing Arts Center.

Arts Alive! 2013 starts at noon Saturday, and festival goers will find everything from signing, dancing, stage performances, and, yes, even belly dancing.

“Arts Alive is a chance for families to experience everything the arts has to offer in our community–and they can do it all for free,” said Prince William Arts Council Arts Liaison Katy Bentz. “Whatever says ‘art’ to you, you will find it at Arts Alive — dance, theater, music, painting, quilting, writing and more.”

The free festival will take place inside and outside, and will also offer hands-on activities like painting pictures, making origami, creating a windsock, and learning the art of storytelling.

This is the second year for the festival, which is put on by the Prince William Arts Council. It’s an organization charged – originally under the now defunct Prince William Park Authority, and now the Prince William County Department of Parks and Recreation – to further the cause of the arts in Prince William County and the surrounding region. About 40 members, from ballet, cloggers, stage performers, painters, photographers and more, belong the organization.

The Arts Alive! festival runs until about 6:30 p.m., and will conclude with a performance from the U.S. Air Force at 8 p.m. following a short break.


Prince William Health System to Host Healthcare Decision Forums

Submitted News

In recognition of National Healthcare Decisions Day, Prince William Health System will host two public forums on Monday, April 15, to discuss advance care planning, including advance directives. Nationally, only three in 10 adults have taken the time to create an advance directive; however, 60 percent of individuals state they do not want to burden their families with end-of-life decisions.

There are two main types of advance directives:

1. Healthcare power of attorney, where you choose the person you want to make healthcare decisions for you when you cannot speak for yourself;

2. A living will that expresses your wishes about end of life care.

In 2012 The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) started the Advanced Directives Registry, an electronic database where healthcare providers can access the Directives at any time, with the patient’s permission. This avoids family’s having to look for papers when their loved ones are receiving medical care.

Guest speaker Kim Barnes with the VDH will discuss the importance of advance care planning and how to use the VDH online advance directives registry, which is free of cost for users. “The Advance Health Care Directive Registry ensures that loved ones, as well as doctors, know a person’s wishes and whom they want making medical decisions for them,” said Barnes.

Also speaking at the events will be Manassas City Councilman Ian Lovejoy and family medicine physician Scott Ross, MD, of Bull Run Family Practice.

The morning program (breakfast provided) will be held from 8 to 9 a.m. at Prince William Hospital in Manassas, 8650 Sudley Road, 4th floor conference room A. The program is free, but registration is required: 703-369-WELL (9355).

The evening program (refreshments provided) will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Caton Merchant House Assisted Living Facility at 9201 Portner Avenue in Manassas. The program is free and registration is not required.

Arts Alive! Will Conclude with Awards and Military Band Concert

U.S. Air Force Band

MANASSAS, Va. — The big finish for Arts Alive! 2013—a free, family-friendly arts festival on Saturday, April 13—will include two special events: presentation of the Kathleen K. Seefeldt Awards for Arts Excellence and a concert by the U.S. Air Force Band. The awards program and concert will begin at 8 p.m. in the Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas.

• The U.S. Air Force Concert Band and vocalists from the Singing Sergeants will perform patriotic, classical and other favorite compositions. The U.S. Air Force Concert Band and Singing Sergeants are part of The United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C. Based at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, this is the Air Force’s premier musical organization. The general public is welcome to attend this free concert.

• The Seefeldt Awards honor artists, volunteers, educators and businesses which have helped create a thriving arts community in the Greater Prince William Area. These awards are presented annually by the Prince William County Arts Council and named for Kathleen K. Seefeldt, a champion of the cultural arts who personifies public and community service. This year, 13 individuals and organizations have been nominated for a Seefeldt Award. The nominees will be honored and the winners announced during Saturday’s 8 p.m. program.

The awards presentation and concert will conclude Arts Alive!, a day of free performances, exhibits, hands-on activities and demonstrations by artists and arts organizations in the Greater Prince William Area. Arts Alive! 2013 is hosted by the Prince William County Arts Council and the Hylton Center.

Admission to the festival is free and plenty of free parking is available at the Hylton Center. Sponsors of Arts Alive! 2013 include United Bank, NOVEC, Target, Prince William County/ Manassas Convention and Visitors Bureau, Ferde Grofé Foundation, and Burt & Peacock, PLC.

A schedule of festival events is available at You can also like PWC Arts Council on Facebook, follow @PWCArts on Twitter, or email

-Press release 

Sentara Plans National Healthcare Decisions Day Event

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center along with other national, state and community organizations, are leading a massive effort to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision-making—an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD).

As a participating organization, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is providing information and tools for the public to talk about their wishes with family, friends and healthcare providers, and execute written advance directives (healthcare power of attorney and living will) in accordance with Virginia state laws. These resources are available online and on

Specifically, on April 16, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is welcoming the public for a free seminar about advance care planning and advance directive forms in the Hylton Educational Center, in the garden level of our facility.

Our presenters will include:
Dr. David Schwartz, DO, Vice President of Medical Affairs
Tricia Hill, RN, Senior Director of Nursing
Alice Austiff, RN, Director of Care Coordination
Carol Willie, MAPM, Hospital Chaplain

“As a result of National Healthcare Decisions Day, many more people in our community can be expected to have thoughtful conversations about their healthcare decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known,” said Carol Wille, MAPM, SNVMC Hospital Chaplain. “Fewer families and healthcare providers will have to struggle with making difficult healthcare decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient, and healthcare providers and facilities will be better equipped to address advance healthcare planning issues before a crisis and be better able to honor patient wishes when the time comes to do so.”

To RSVP for this special presentation or for more information, please call 703-523-0680.

Hampton Inn Growing as Stafford’s U.S. 1 Corridor Thrives

Construction and renovations are underway at a Hampton Inn in North Stafford. [Photo: Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]


NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Located in a row of new hotels springing up along Stafford’s U.S. 1 corridor, the 16-year-old Hampton Inn can be sometimes get lost in all of the new construction.

It sits in a sort of crevasse at the entrance to three major roads: Interstate 95, U.S. 1, and Va. 610. Nearby, three new hotels have opened, and another is under construction at Quantico Corporate Center. All of them cater to business travelers and federal employees who stay for extended periods of time.

But Hampton Inn North Stafford owner-operator Amal Lambaraa refuses to be outdone, so she lobbied the parent company of her hotel, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, for funds to renovate inn and she won. Now, a nearly 10,000 square foot renovation of the Hampton Inn is underway, and planned are new meetings spaces, a game room, a larger swimming pool area, and probably most innovative of all, a new banquet hall and ballroom that will stand in an adjacent so that parties and events held there do not disturb hotel guests.

Of the three hotels Lambaraa owns a share of, including two Wingate Inns in Stafford County, she favors her stock in the Hampton the most. The Moroccan native said many of the departments, including housekeeping, the front desk, and marketing, run themselves thanks to a trusted staff of 25 people whom she’s cultivated and promoted from within.

“People have to move up in life, so when you have a chance to give back to people who have helped you, it’s important that you give back to them,” said Lambaraa.

The $9 million hotel renovation will mean 19 new rooms – three of them complete with jacuzzi spas. Lambaraa said those spas, coupled with a larger 1,420 square foot pool deck, should bring in more local residents who would to get away from their houses for a weekend“staycation.”

The hotel once hidden by trees is also now more visible thanks to the 95 Express Lanes Project which has taken many trees around the hotel for the construction of toll lanes that will connect with HOV lanes in Dumfries. New highway lanes and new nearby hotels will should also mean more business for the Hampton Inn.

“It’s a competition… it’s a race… one of us is going have to win and one of us is going to have to lose, but through competition, it’s the thing that makes you stronger,” said Lambaraa.

The renovations are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Construction and renovations are underway at a Hampton Inn in North Stafford. [Photo: Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]

Construction and renovations are underway at a Hampton Inn in North Stafford. [Photo: Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]

Performances Set for Stafford’s Fine Art Festival

082711 Brooke Point High School

STAFFORD, Va. — Art, jazz, African drum ensembles, choirs, and dramatic performances – organizers said there is something for everyone at Stafford County’s Fine Art Festival.

The annual spring show features work from 5,000 students from kindergarten to seniors in high school. It’ll be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Brooke Point High School in Stafford.

“Our visual art teachers put on stunning exhibitions, collecting student art work from the beginning of the year, matting, and labeling each piece carefully to prepare for the festival. Many volunteers help to make the event a success, including parent volunteers, students, and staff members,” said Annamarie Bollino, fine and performing arts coordinator.

The show is not a competition so there will be no judging happening. It’ll just be a place where the community can come appreciate the artistic talent of Stafford’s public school students.

“Stafford County has outstanding arts programs, thanks to the support of the community, our parents, and our talented teachers. Because of the strong commitment to the arts in our community our students are privileged to have the opportunities to pursue their artistic goals, said Bollino.

The show is free and is made possible by many parents, teachers, and community volunteers.


Antioch Fire Station to be Dedicated to Pr. Wm.’s First Fire Marshal

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — On Saturday, April 13th , Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue will hold a ceremony to dedicate Antioch Station 24 to Chief Selby C. Jacobs (retired). 

In 1966, Chief Jacobs was hired in Prince William County as the first Fire Marshal and he became the second County-paid fire employee at that time. Chief Jacobs became the appointed Director of the Fire and Rescue Service in 1971, and in 1989 his title changed to Chief of the Department of Fire and Rescue. 

Chief Jacobs was instrumental during the Department’s development and creation of a strong foundation that the Department has continued to build upon. A foundation that has yielded a service committed to high performance and has a reputation for excellence and continuous improvement. Following 27 years of service to Prince William County, Chief Jacob’s retired on October 25, 1994. In recognition of his outstanding dedication as the Department’s first Fire Chief and his exemplary service to Prince William Fire and Rescue system and citizens, we are proud to formally dedicate Station 24 to him.

Please join us in honoring Chief Selby Jacobs on:

Saturday, April 13th

10:00 a.m.

Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue

Antioch Station 24

5901 Antioch Road

Haymarket, VA 20169

Page 39 of 78« First...102030...3738394041...506070...Last »