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Escape Plans Urged for Fire Prevention Week

If you woke up to a fire in your home, how much time do you think you would have to get to safety? According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one-third of Americans households who made and estimate they thought they would have at least six minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. Unfortunately, the time available is often less.

That’s why OWL VFD is teaming up with NFPA during Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13, 2012, to urge residents to “Have Two Ways Out!” This year’s theme focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.

 In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,350 civilian injuries, 2,640 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage.

“One home structure was reported every 85 seconds in 2010,” says Chief Jim McAllister, of OWL VFD. “Fire is unpredictable and moves faster than most people realize. Having a tried and true escape plan with two ways is essential to ensuring your family’s safety should fire break out in your home.”

OWL Volunteer Fire Department recommends the following tips for planning your family’s escape:

· Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room.

· Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet once they’ve escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.

· Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department on your escape plan.

· Have a grown-up sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape plan with everyone living in your home.

· Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and remind grown-ups to have your family practice the plan twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.

To learn more about “Have Two Ways Out!” visit NFPA’s Web site at firepreventionweek.org.

Thai Restaurant Delivers Spicy Start, Sweet Finish



With selections that rival Cheesecake Factory long menu , Pa Nuang is sure to please Thai food lovers and those new to the cuisine.

The interior is cozy, with several tables and benches and a dark purple color on the walls. Best of all, the restaurant is clean, and there is a view of the kitchen from the cash register or from the open door to the prep area, if you feel the need to check, as I often do. The wait staff is attentive, friendly, and eager to please.

Orders are available for takeout or dine-in, and in the warmer months, there are some patio seats that adds a nice ambiance.

Starters include the Tom Yum Soup, lightly spicy, sour, and sweet at the same time. Also delicious is the Som Tam Salad, a mix of thin noodles of green papaya, peanuts, green beans and tomatoes. Fried tofu, for those that have never tried the soy side of things, is crispy and delicious dipped in the accompanying sweet chili sauce.

For those new to Thai food, a staple is Pad Thai: noodles fried with egg, scallions, meat or tofu of choice, fish sauce, peanuts, and bean shoots.

Be sure to use the limes that come as garnish to add a little acidic contrast to a slightly sweet, but very satisfying dish. Drunken Noodles are another Thai food staple that are delicious at Pa Nuang, but be sure to specify “American Spicy” if you would like just a little bite.

Thai spicy is for those with a much braver palette, but the noodles are intended to help wake you up after a night of drinking, and are quite good with the extra spice.

Beef with Basil and Peppers is also fantastic and comes out with a bowl of fragrant jasmine rice, or you can substitute steamed noodles, if you prefer.

If you’re looking for a child-friendly option, Thai Sweet and Sour Chicken comes with crispy fried chicken pieces served with a sweet sauce that includes pineapple, bell peppers, and cucumbers, which are actually quite good cooked- who knew?

After several trips to this restaurant, I have yet to have anything I dislike, and plan on returning again and again. The prices range from $ to $12 per entree, and the servings are more than ample to share.

North Stafford Comes Together for Neighborhood Meet-up

Attendees of the first Garrisonville Neighborhood Networking Meet-up came together at Mainstreet Grill and Bar on Tuesday. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – More than 30 people came out to the first Garrisonville Neighborhood Networking Meeting on Tuesday at Mainstreet Grill and Bar.

The meet-up was the first of its kind for the neighborhood and brought together area residents, business owners, and news media together in an effort to build better relationships with the community.

Those who dropped their business card into the raffle were made eligible to win a free lunch from Mainstreet Grill and Bar.

The first in a planed series of networking meet-ups, the next Garrisonville Neighborhood Networking Meeting is scheduled for Election Day, Tuesday Nov. 6. Bar and grill owner Crissy Sharon said those who come to the meet-up wearing an “I voted” sticker will be eligible to win a prize.

Tuesday’s event began at 4:30 p.m. and lasted until 7 p.m., and free appetizers were provided by Adaptive Consulting and Training Services. The event was sponsored by Mainstreet Grill and Bar and PotomacLocal.com News and Events.

PotomacLocal.com Publisher Uriah Kiser and Mainstreet Grill and Bar Owner Crissy Sharon talk about the importance of community building in North Stafford. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Sentara Lake Ridge Holds Successful Drug Take Back

LAKE RIDGE, Va. – On Saturday, Sept. 29, Sentara Lake Ridge partnered with the Prince William County Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in their Fifth Annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

Sentara Lake Ridge collected 301.1 pounds of prescription and over the counter solid dosage medications, and Prince William County as a whole collected a total of 1,081 pounds.

Many thanks to officer Kim Sawicki, Crime Prevention Officer, Mr. John Nagel, Crime Prevention Specialist, and DEA Agent, Art Miller, for being onsite at Sentara Lake Ridge to provide this important service to the community.

Sentara Lake Ridge is located at 12825 Minnieville Road near Tackett’s Mill. Services provided at that Sentara location include 24-hour emergency care, advanced imaging and lab services.


Manassas Fall Jubilee This Weekend

Harris Pavilion in Old Town Manassas (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)


MANASSAS, Va. – The leaves have started to change and the evening air has a slight chill. It is time to officially say welcome to fall.

The whole family is invited to celebrate the 30th Annual Fall Jubilee in historic Old Town Manassas this weekend, Saturday, October 6 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.. This popular community event has been going strong since 1982.

The jubilee has something to offer everyone in the family. There will be live entertainment on three stages for the young and old. A blue grass stage is a new addition this year.

Also new this year, is a wine garden where adults 21 years or older can partake in wine tastings from eight Virginia wineries on the Manassas Museum lawn. The entrance bracelet is $10 and will get you in all day. Museum tours will be free this day.

In addition, Main Street will be lined with over a hundred crafters and artisans to explore. The Farmer’s Market will also be present under the Harris Pavilion where you can buy fresh produce from local farmers.

There will be a variety of children’s rides and activities as well in the Kid’s Neighborhood sponsored by Northwest Federal Credit Union. Rides will require tickets for a fee. Games will also be provided by the Boy Scouts Troop #670. A pumpkin patch sponsored by Wegman’s grocery store will also be set up for families to paint a pumpkin to take home. Cost is $5 per pumpkin or $10 for three pumpkins.

Live chainsaw art demonstrations by the Chainsaw Chix will entertain the crowds. These women will create unique wooden sculptures that will be auctioned off later during the event.

Also on hand, will be the Prince William SPCA’s P.A.W. Express showcasing pets from the Prince William County Animal Shelter.

The Fall Jubilee is free to the public and is scheduled rain or shine.

Manassas Hotel Keeps Frightening Guest

Old Town Manassas (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Editor’s note: This is the first is a series of stories in October that will explore some of the more haunted places in and around Virginia’s Potomac Communities.


MANASSAS, Va. – Manassas is a small city teeming with landmarks and a harried history that dates back to before the Civil War. One of these historical landmarks, the Olde Towne Inn, has its share of haunted history and paranormal activity that will make even the biggest skeptic a believer.

The Olde Towne Inn on Main Street in Old Town Manassas has been a local hot spot for residents to grab a bite or a drink, or for tourists staying in the Washington area. And while people may have come to expect great service and a good night in Manassas, what they may not expect is a ghost showing them a good time.

Inn employees and guests alike have reported strange sounds and sites on the property, with many of the reports coming from rooms 50, 52 and 54. One recent report of activity took place in room 54 at the hotel.

“The wife reported the sound of something crashing to the bathroom floor, but said when she and her husband rushed to the door, absolutely nothing was broken. Although they felt uneasy, they tried to get some sleep,” said Lisa Sievel-Otten of the Manassas Museum.

While they may have tried to shrug it off, the spirit had other ideas, waking the couple by tugging on their mattress, which immediately alerted the couple, who searched the room to find it empty. Their initial reaction was that it may have been an animal in the room but could find nothing. Again shrugging off what had happened, the wife returned to the bed where she witnessed her husband levitating, before falling on to the floor from the bed.

And who is the ghostly perpetrator responsible for these reports? Many believe it to be from a Miss Lucy, a young and playful spirit from the time of the Civil War – a key time period in Manassas’ history.

The next morning, the couple reported the occurrence, and the staff replied, “‘Oh, that’s Miss Lucy up to her old tricks. She usually stays in Room 52, but sometimes she wanders into rooms nearby,’” said Sievel-Otten.

Was this the presence of a Civil War period other-worldy spirit, amusing herself by interacting with guests? Or is it simply an overreaction to a long night and a need for rest? Take a trip to see the Olde Towne Inn, and you may be able to discover the truth for yourself.

Want to hear more about the local haunts of Manassas? Then consider taking a Spirited Past Tour during the Halloween season, hosted by the Manassas Museum. The tours will take place at the end of October.

Woodbridge’s Chinn Library Prepares for Big Party

Kitty and the Fat Cats

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – This will be one of the very few times you don’t have to be quiet in the library.

A live band will take the stage at a party planned at Chinn Park Regional Library in Woodbridge to raise money and awareness for Prince William County’s 10 libraries.

The party is called “Blue Jeans and Diamonds in the Stacks with Kitty and the Fat Cats,” and it’s an effort to bring together at least 200 residents for a night of live music, dancing,  food, fun, and celebrity bartending.

“We’re calling it a party in the stacks, and the reason for that is gala implies formality, and we don’t want people to think about it in that way,” said Prince William Library Foundation President Bryanna K. Altman.

At the party, revelers will find barbeque, chicken, a special beer tasting, a silent auction, and celebrity bartenders like Occoquan Mayor Earnie Porta, Prince William County Supervisors Maureen Caddigan, Frank Pirncipi, and Mike May, and Virginia Delegate Richard Anderson.

There will also be live music from Kitty and the Fat Cats, a five-member rockabilly jazz and blues band with roots in Northern Virginia.

While Prince William’s libraries receive nearly $14 million in annual taxpayer funding, the monies raised at this event and others offset unbudgeted expenses, said Altman. Additionally, an army of 500 volunteers who work at the county’s libraries also help to save taxpayers $750,000 annually, she added.

A cash bar will be available to guests, and so will various silent auction items like a one-hour helicopter tour ride over the Shenandoah Valley donated by American Helicopters, and a pie each month donated by Occoquan’s Mom’s Apple Pie, a favorite of First Lady Michelle Obama.

In addition to sponsors like the Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative, Dominion Power, and Whitlock Wealth Management, Quinn’s Goldsmith has donated a pair of diamond earrings that organizers, through the sale of raffle tickets, hope will help net $25,000 in donations to the foundation.

The Prince William Library Foundation was formed in 1997 and holds a fundraiser every year.

The party kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27 and tickets are $75 per person. The deadline to RSVP for tickets is Oct. 13

Triangle’s St. Francis of Assisi Goes Green


TRIANGLE, Va, – New Jersey-based GreenFaith, an internationally recognized interfaith environmental coalition, has accepted St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Triangle into its certification program, the country’s first interfaith environmental certification program for houses of worship.

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 congregations complete the program, GreenFaith officially acknowledges them as religious-environmental leaders.

“In the spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi, our parish community is called to manifest a reverent attitude toward our environment, recognizing it as God’s creation,” said Fr. Kevin Downey, O.F.M., pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish. “Based on our Christian faith and the spirituality of Saint Francis of Assisi, we can make our lifestyle more sustainable by the choices we make.”

GreenFaith provides extensive support to participating institutions through a special Web site, housing more than 200 resources, free webinars, and an online community where participants share strategies and successes. GreenFaith staff and program mentors guide participants through the program, providing one-on-one feedback and assistance.

“This program is a challenging, important way for houses of worship to become environmental leaders,” said Rev. Fletcher Harper, GreenFaith’s Executive Director. “As Saint Francis of Assisi Parish goes through the program, its members will experience the transformation that comes from sharing a religious commitment to creation.”

The GreenFaith program at St. Francis of Assisi Parish is structured into four committees: Spirit, Stewardship, Environmental Justice, and Communications. Through environmentally themed worship, religious education, and spiritual activities, the Spirit Committee celebrates creation and strives to strengthen parishioners’ connection with the earth.

Our consumption habits can help heal and restore the earth, so the Stewardship Committee identifies opportunities for our parish and parishioners to reduce their impact on the environment. The work of the Environmental Justice Committee reflects GreenFaith’s commitment to fighting environmental injustice by educating on this topic and advocating for local and global changes that create a healthy environment for all people.

The Communications Committee ensures that both internal church members and the wider community are informed about environmental issues through church newsletter articles, eco-theological reflections, and press releases.

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. For more information on the GreenFaith program at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, contact Rob Goraieb at rgoraieb@stfrncis.org or 703.221.4044, ext. 228.

Founded in 1992, GreenFaith (www.greenfaith.org) inspires, educates, and mobilizes people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership. For more information on the GreenFaith Certification Program, contact Program Director Stacey Kennealy at skennealy@greenfaith.org or 732.565.7740, ext. 303.

-Press release 

Storytime Kicks Off Fall Library Programs


(Central Library Youth Services Supervisor Elizabeth Jones engages children with a felt board activity. (Photo: Angela Pounders)

MANASSAS, Va. – Central Library kicked off their fall children’s programs for ages 2-6 years old on September 13 with films on three classic children’s books including Harold & the Purple Crayon. Free popcorn and lemonade were provided to the 55 people in attendance.

At the conclusion, the librarians passed out papers to the children for them to draw their own pictures with a purple crayon. These pictures can be brought to any story time held in September to be entered in a contest to win a “Harold’s Purple Crayon Treasury.”

Youth Services Librarian Anna Langrill, was there at the event and said, “We’re thrilled to be starting our fall programs. Through the story times and other programs we offer, we introduce children to books, music, art and help them develop critical early literacy skills. We also have lots of fun!”

Muncha Muncha Books, a weekly story time program held on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:45 a.m. began September 19th. The theme is “Stories Every Child Should Know.”

In addition to engaging books, a craft or movie will be offered on alternate weeks. Anna said that the movies were introduced because some classic books are just too long for this age group to sit through, but they’ll sit through a movie of the stories.

There is no registration for story time, but you must pick up a craft stick (limited to 24 children) from the Information Desk in order to do the craft, so arrive a little early.

Central Library also offers Music and Motion every other Tuesday at 10:45 a.m. starting September 18. This year old program had 61 people drop-in. The children (and their adults) sang, waved bandanas to “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and danced.

Get out and experience all your library has to offer!

Mark Calendars for North Stafford Meet Up

Mainstreet Grill and Bar in North Stafford. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – Come out and meet your neighbors on Tuesday, Oct. 2 in North Stafford.

PotomacLocal.com is sponsoring the next in a series of neighborhood meet ups at Mainstreet Grill and Bar on Garrisonville Road from 4:40 to 6:30 p.m. Light appetizers will be provided by Adaptive Consulting and Training Services for all attendees.

MORE TO THE STORY: See a video from PotomacLocal.com’s last neighborhood meet up

This latest neighborhood meet up comes after several successful, widely attended neighborhood meet ups in the Potomac Communities.

“The meet ups are a great time to come out and meet neighbors, local business owners, local politicians, and have great discussions and lots of laughs,” said PotomacLocal.com publisher Uriah Kiser.

This marks the first time PotomacLocal.com has sponsored a meet up in North Stafford. The North Stafford meet up will become a regular monthly event.


Photos: President Obama Comes to Woodbridge

Chief Photographer

Marine One carrying President Barack Obama lands at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)


Obama campaign volunteer Jill Borak fires up the crowd and urges supporters to download a smart phone app and donate money to the campaign. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)


Virginia Senator Mark Warner (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)


Virginia Senator Mark Warner introduces President Barack Obama at a campaign rally on Friday in Woodbridge. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)


(Photo: Mary Davidson)


(Photo: Mary Davidson)


(Photo: Mary Davidson)

Stafford Woman Turns Photos into Lasting Memories



Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of posts by North Stafford business owners and residents that will examine North Stafford and Garrisonville as a community, and introduce our readers to the small locally-owned businesses and services in the community.


As an Independent Publishing Consultant with Heritage Makers, I help people solve their “photo problem.”

Heritage Makers believes the photos that you take tell the story of your life by preserving photos in published keepsakes that are unique and easy to share.

I recently helped a client, Kathy, put together a book celebrating her grandson’s first birthday. The pictures of her grandson, Ryder, with cake all over his face were just adorable!.

And I thought Kathy’s forethought to capture a picture of herself with her husband and the other set of grandparents made a memorable addition to the book. Kathy is now able to give a copy of the book to several family members.

I recently donated my time and the cost of a 12×12 storybook celebrating the 100th birthday of Stafford resident Mildred Owsley. The project grew out of an idea I had to visit an assisted living community and see if there was a resident interested in recording his or her life experiences or favorite memories. I thought making that donation once or twice a year would help enrich one or two families’ relationship with an elder.

The lovely folks at her retirement home connected me with Mildred’s daughter Laurann and the project came to life. While I receive no monetary rewards for this sort of thing, I am enriched with “payments of the heart.”

In this case, it was very rewarding to hear how happy the storybook made our local centenarian and her family.

As I’ve gotten more involved in the community to share my business, I’ve realized I cross paths with my fellow residents in so many ways: business networking events, social time at local stores and restaurants, toddler playgroups and school activities, and charity events from food drives to Toys for Tots collecting at an annual Claus for a Cause event. I feel blessed to have such wonderful neighbors and a place like Stafford to call home.

Curtain to Rise on “Arsenic and Old Lace”

MANASSAS, Va. – Vpstart Crow Productions will open its 2012-2013 season with the farcical, dark comedy, “Arsenic and Old Lace”, by Joseph Kesselring, on Friday, Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. in the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas.

The production runs from Friday to Sunday, Oct  7, with Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. The Pay-What-You-Can preview performance is on Thursday, Sept 27 at 8 p.m.

Rachael Murray is directing this play that has been delighting audiences for over 70 years.

“Joseph Kesselring asks audiences to laugh at what should be considered very grave (pun intended) stuff! I hope everyone enjoys this darkly funny show,” said Murray.

The story tells of two older ladies who poison several unsuspecting gentlemen while their nephew, who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt, buries them in the basement. The madness continues to unfold as the ruse is uncovered.

The New York Times review of the original Broadway production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” said “[this play was] so funny that none of us will ever forget it.”

Tickets are available at the Hylton box office on the Prince William Campus of GMU or by calling 888-945-2468.

Vpstart Crow, a non-profit organization, has been producing professional theatrical productions in Manassas, Virginia since 1994.

-Press release 

Tornado Watch Now, Lower Temps Later

A tornado watch is in effect until 7 p.m. for the Potomac Communities.

The National Weather Service issued the alert as strong storms are forecast to blow through the area today, bringing heavy wind and rain.

It’s been a breezy day so far this morning. The storms are expected to impact the area throughout the afternoon.

Once they move out, sunny weather is expected to Wednesday and so are lower nighttime temperatures. The weather service forecasts low temperatures in the low 50s for Wednesday night.


Child Defenders Get Second-Chance Fundraiser

A storm blew through Old Town Manassas on Sept. 8 ruining an annual fundraising event for advocates against child abuse and neglect. (Submitted photo: CASA Prince William)

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – All it took was a gust of wind to ruin an annual fundraiser that brings help and support to victims of child abuse.

The Court Appointed Special Advocates of Prince William and Fauquier cpunties, better known as CASA, decked out the Harris Pavilion in Old Town Manassas on Sept. 8 for their “Evening Under the Stars” fundraising gala. The black-tie event is their largest fundraiser normally nets the organization at least $120,000, and is attended by 1,000 people.

The first guest to this year’s event was Mother Nature, who brought unwanted wind and rain which destroyed tents, tables, and prompted the overall cancelation of the event.

Fast forward to now and there are new plans to recover some of the money that was lost at CASA’s “Evening Because of the Storm Auction” scheduled at 6 p.m. Friday at Appliance Connection in Woodbridge. About 200 items will be auction off beginning at 8 p.m. with hopes the organization can try to offset some of the monies lost after the cancelation of the Manassas event.

“We can’t make up for the ‘Evening Under the Stars’ event, that event is lost. This will help us make up some of the cost of that event – which was already paid for in advance – and help us carryout our work for the year,” said CASA Chief Executive Director Charlyn Hasson-Brown.

Friday’s quieter affair will feature food donated by generous restaurants and a cash bar. The party goes until 10 p.m.

Founded in 1992, CASA advocates in court for abused and neglected children in an effort to help provide them with a safe home.

Ice Cream Results Are In: What’s Your Favorite?

GumBo's ice cream stand in North Stafford. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Mary Davidson

I have been working very hard during this long, hot summer researching the ice cream shops in and around our area.

Driving south on Interstate 95, I frequently exit at Woodbridge to take U.S. 1 due to traffic congestion. When I do this I’ve inevitably missed lunch and remember this just as I am with in view of Jo Jo’s Original Soft Serve in Dumfries. I’m sure you’d agree their medium soft serve cone is an acceptable lunch alternative in an emergency. I’ll give them an A-plus for location alone.

Next, there is Gum Bo’s Ice Cream just north of Aquia Harbour off U.S. 1, across from the crucifix landmark in North Stafford. Their mango soft serve was flavored throughout not just a twist around vanilla, delish. They offer fruit mixed in with the soft serve but I found it better without. They also have a “no sugar added option.” It may be good, but why chance it. This shop wins the most colorful decor award.

I read about a unique family run ice-cream shop called “Moo Thru” in Remington, in Fauquier County. It’s a bit out of the area, but it makes for a nice afternoon drive.

Their shop is set around cattle farms and has a nice covered picnic area with benches, where you can sit and take in the rural surroundings. I tried three flavors (it was a long drive I said, don’t judge me) and all were excellent — just what you would expect if you were to make it yourself using the old-fashion hand crank machine from yesteryear. I would have to say I prefer my ice-cream to have a bit more of a creamy texture.

One would be remiss to exclude Carl’s soft serve ice cream from my research. Without a doubt I have consumed my weight in ice cream from the famous Fredericksburg frozen custard stand over the past 30 years. I don’t think they have changed a bit in the years I’ve been going there and I hope they never do.

Last but not least on my list is Brusters and their hand dipped ice-cream wins hands down for creaminess and flavor. Fortunately my favorite flavor, pistachio, is not always available.

Unfortunately I have not been disappointing by any other flavor I’ve tried.

There are more ice-cream shops in our area and if your favorite is not on my list please leave a comment.

Victim Remembered at 5K Walk in Woodbridge

Anthony Futyma, the father of the late Jenny Vaughn Bates, stands with his grandson, 7-year-old Robbie, at the No Woman, No Cry 5K Walk on Oct. 15, 2012 in Woodbridge. (Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Jenny Vaughn-Bates was killed in Montclair by her husband in September 2010.

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Neighbors gathered to remember a woman who was tragically shot and killed by her husband two years ago. Afterward, her husband took his own life.

Area residents filled the track at Prince William County’s Freedom High School in Woodbridge on Saturday to remember the life of Jenny Vaughn Bates at the “No Woman, No Cry 5K Walk.”

This was the second year the event has been held, and its goal is to raise awareness about domestic violence in the community.

“It’s very uplifting; it’s a wonderful testimony to my daughter’s life and her service as a social worker here in the county. It’s heartening to me and her two boys, Robbie and Damon, to see wonderful people and the activities they do throughout the year and advocate against domestic violence,” said Bates’ father Anthony Futyma.

Bates is survived by her children, Robbie, 7, and Damen, 16. Organizers of Saturday’s event said Jenny is sorely missed.

“Jenny was a very dear friend of mine. We started ‘No Woman No Cry’ to not only honor Jenny but to but also raise awareness for domestic violence in the community and to stop the silence about domestic violence in the community,” said co-founder Jaclyn Neham.

Police were called to the Montclair neighborhood on the morning of September 18, 2010 where the found the bodies of Bates, and her husband Robert. Neighbors that morning reported hearing an argument and seeing the two standing outside an SUV. Afterward, they heard gunshots.

According to the No Woman, No Cry website, nearly one in every four women are beaten or raped by a partner during their adult life.


(Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Stafford Zombies Learn Dance Moves

(Photo: Mary Davidson)


NORTH STAFFORD, Va. – A charity event to raise donations of canned food brought out zombies in North Stafford.

On Wednesday night, dancers who are learning the moves to Michael Jackson’s classic song, Thriller, took to the dance floor at Mainstreet Grill and Bar. The dancers meet at 5 p.m. each Wednesday to learn the moves that will culminate in a worldwide “Thriller” dance on Oct. 27.

The event is free to attend with the donation of a canned food item to benefit the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank.

(Photo: Mary Davidson)


Woodbridge Fire Dept. Turns 74

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – In September 1938, the Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department was officially incorporated.

It marked two years of hard work for a group of concerned citizens who recognized the need for a fire department in the area. Many of them put up personal property and their own money to secure loans to build a building to house the apparatus and start the department.

Sometimes they had to “pass the hat” to pay electric and other bills monthly.

Before OWL VFD the closest fire departments were in Pen Daw (Fairfax Station 11) to the north, Manassas to the west and Fredericksburg to the south. The first station was in Occoquan on the corner of Washington and Mill streets, which was dubbed Station Two in Prince William County.

You can still see the concrete pad where it was located. From there they built a building that is now the VFW in Occoquan. In 1958 they opened a second Station on U.S. 1 in Woodbridge, and numbered the Occoquan station “2-1” and the Woodbridge station “2-2.”

From there, OWL moved to the current Station 2 on F Street in Woodbridge, opened up the Lake Ridge Station 14, and Station 12 on U.S. 1 which was later relocated to Montgomery Avenue.

OWL VFD’s continued success is because of the foresight and hard work of those who built the foundation and the dedication and commitment of our members who serve today. Even from our humble beginnings, OWL VFD has historically strategically planned for disaster events, keeping up on the latest training, equipment and education available.

OWL VFD invests thousands of hours in professional training and certification courses. Our care and dedication to Fire and Rescue is reflected in our efforts of staying up to date and ready for the task.

OWL VFD is one of the largest and busiest volunteer fire and rescue departments in the United States. OWL VFD provides fire suppression, EMS care, and rescue services to 80,000 residents in our 27 square mile area through the operation of three fire stations. OWL volunteer Firefighters and EMTs work the 6 pm to 6 am shift, five days a week, plus 24 hours on holidays and weekends.

-Press release


‘Shave’ Donations Top $4,000


Event organizers said the Be Brave and Shave event was a success. More from Kyler’s mother, Tammy Palacios:

I wanted to let you know that we were able to raise $1,500 on September 16th. In total about $4,000 was raised.

The site will be open for donation up until December. We had between 20-30 people shave.

ORIGINAL POST September 14, 2012

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – After 5-year-old Kyler lost his 22-month battle with cancer, a charity event to raise awareness about his disease will go on.  

A story from Insidenova.com noted Kyler was dubbed the youngest fire fighter at the Coles Volunteer Fire Department. More now in a letter from Kyler’s mother, Tammy Palacios:

Kyler, 5, lost his 22-month battle with cancer in August. (Submitted photo),

My youngest son Kyler was diagnosed with an ependymoma brain tumor. Most of his treatment has been with Childrens Hospital at either their hospital in Washington or in an offsite clinic in Falls Church.

An organization called “Heroes Against Childhood” cancer puts on “Be brave and Shave” event where all proceeds go toward Children’s National Medical Center cancer programs. 

After Kyler’s tumor was stable and his first set of treatments stop I wanted to give something back for all that the hospital has done for him.

In April while planning this event Kyler’s tumor returned. He tried more treatments but none of them worked. Aug. 25, Kyler earned his angel wings after 22 months battle with cancer.

He always had a smile and a fighter attitude. He wanted was looking forward to be one of the first to have their heads shaved.

I decided that the shave should go on since this was something he wanted. It will be held on Sunday Sept. 16 from 9 a.m. to noon at Coles District Volunteer Fire Department in Prince William County.

We will also have a bake sale table there. It is open to the public, children and adults can participate. For more information you can contact Meredith Chipman 301-565-8422 of mchipman@childrensnational.org.


Woman, 102, says she’ll be Oldest Olympian at Meet

LAKE RIDGE, Va. – At 102, Doris Woodring reckons she’s the oldest participant in this month’s 2012 Northern Virginia Senior Olympics (NVSO). The resident at Westminster at Lake Ridge will compete for her first time in scrabble on Sept. 24 at the Lincolnia Senior Citizen’s Center.

“I’m pretty sure I’ll be the oldest Olympian,” says the resident at Westminster. “Scrabble keeps my mind alert. I still do my own finances, you know.”

While she looks forward to the event, the centenarian is not optimistic about her chances of winning.

“I doubt if I’ll win,” she says. “There’ll be a lot of experts, but it’ll still be fun.”

Doris has been practicing her Scrabble skills, particularly ‘Q’ and ‘K’ words.

“I look in the dictionary to find more words like quads, quaff and quiver,” she says. “The way to make points is adding onto other letters already on the board.”

She has played Scrabble her whole life, but cannot remember her first time playing the word game.

She has lived in Northern Virginia most of her life, moving there from Kansas in 1935.

2012 is the 30th Anniversary of NVSO. Participants must be 50 years of age and live in a sponsoring jurisdiction to be eligible. There are 40 events which take place over a 10 day period at 18 venues throughout Northern Virginia. For information go to nvso.us.

-Press release

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