Manassas Local

Manassas set the bar with high-quality, truly local craft spirits and beer

KO Distilling

The craft beer, wine, and spirits industry has been growing in leaps and bounds.

In the last few years, two breweries and a distillery have opened in the City of Manassas. While each place offers their own unique vibe and products, two characteristics unite and set them apart from the competition – a commitment to quality and local ingredients.

“Similar to the farm-to-table movement, people are excited by the grain-to-glass concept and high-quality products made from local grains,” says Bill Karlson, the co-founder and CEO of KO Distilling. “We make a point of telling people during tours that our wheat comes from Renwood Farms in Charles City and our rye came from Bay’s Best Feed Farm in Virginia’s Northern Neck.”

KO Distilling
Heritage Brewing
KO Distilling Bottles

KO Distilling opened in September and welcomed 450 people to its grand opening. During its first week, more than 100 people stopped by to sample its whiskey and gins. The distillery is a true agribusiness – the spirits are not just made in Virginia, but the majority of the grains used are sourced from local farms.

A Nielsen study found that “local, authentic” are qualities desired of beer and spirits growing in importance among consumers, most largely among the 21-34 demographic.  Perhaps that is because today about 75% of adults over the age of 21 live within 10 miles of a brewery. The Atlantic reported that there were 70 small distilleries in the U.S. in 2003. Karlson says that KO is the 19th craft distiller in an industry of about 1000 microdistillers.

Customers seek quality and want to know how ingredients are sourced, says Sarah Meyers, co-founder of Manassas’ first craft brewery BadWolf Brewing Company.

“We try to source local whenever possible and at Little BadWolf they get to see beer being made right in front of them. Given how many craft breweries are popping up, we might hit a saturation point, so you need to make sure your quality is way up there and that is our biggest focus.”

The beer made at Heritage Brewing has a 100-percent organic base and 92 percent of all ingredients are either organic or locally sourced.  Sean Arroyo, CEO of Heritage Brewing, explains, “Our approach is committing ourselves to the consistency and quality of our product and bringing the best ingredients that we can through organics and local aspects.”

This fall, Heritage is collaborating with The Bone, a barbecue spot in historic Manassas, on a bacon stout. And BadWolf is working with downtown Manassas restaurateurs on an “Old Town” Beer that will only be available in downtown establishments.

Experimenting with new creations keeps the excitement alive. Heritage, which is a 20-barrel brew house, also operates a small pilot system for making small batches of creative releases for the taproom. “It gives us a way to interact with our consumers and let them decide what our next big beers will be,” says Arroyo.

After BadWolf’s successful first year, Meyers and her business partner and husband Jeremy opened a 6,000-square foot production facility. Little BadWolf Brewing Company, the smaller, original location, is where people can try out the experimental batches and even suggest recipes, while the new Big BadWolf has space for special events and growler and kegs of their flagship brews.

“We are using our space for more than beer,” says Meyers. “We focus on giving back to charities and bringing people together for social events.” One look at BadWolf’s event calendar shows there is always something going on, including yoga, painting, and Craft Beer Bingo – all accompanied with a pint. Similarly, Heritage hosts trivia and live music nights in addition to special events like a new beer dinner series.

While all three businesses are committed to building a sense of community, they also take being a regional destination seriously. As Meyers says, “people won’t go to just a bar, but places like a brewery are something special they will seek out.”

Karlson says that he and his business partner, John O’Mara, always envisioned KO Distilling being a tourism destination by matching a great product with a great experience. “The minute visitors walk through our doors,” he says, “they know they aren’t in a warehouse anymore.”

KO Distilling’s tasting room has leather couches, a fireplace, and copper and oak design elements that mimic the copper pot still they use for distilling and barrels they use for aging. The atmosphere rewards locals as well as travelers for making the drive. Karlson, Meyers, and Arroyo all agree that Manassas, with its close proximity to I-95 and 66 and its abundance of historical sites and attractions, is an ideal location for attracting tourists from the metro area and beyond.

“What we want to do is bring in the community, produce a quality product, and have a great time doing it,” says Meyers.

U.S. Marshals arrest suspect at hotel outside Manassas


U.S. Marshals made an arrest this morning at a hotel outside Manassas.

Authorities tracked the suspect to a Days Inn on New Market Court, near the intersection of Sudley Road and Interstate 66.

Members of the U.S. Marshals Capital Area Taskforce knocked on the hotel room door of the suspect, who was arrested without incident, said spokesman Desmond Proctor.

A 22-year-old woman who was inside the hotel room was also charged with a lesser infraction. Proctor could not release the details of her arrest.

Prince William police issued a warrant for the suspect, identified as 20-year-old Derek Mantilla, on Aug. 21, said Proctor. Warrants for his arrest were also issued in Loudoun County, and by federal officials, he added.

Proctor said Mantilla was wanted on charges of gang participation and prostitution.

Mantilla was taken to the Prince William County Adult Detention Center where he will be seen first on the charges placed against him in Prince William County, said Proctor.

Code Pink: Manassas Park debuts new cruiser for Breast Cancer awareness

Manassas Park Police pink cruiser

If you see what looks like a pink police cruiser coming up from behind, pay attention because it’s the real thing.

Manassas Park police today placed in service its third “code pink” police unit. The car is a 2014 Ford Police Interceptor, fully loaded with lights, siren, radio, and other amenities to match its sister units in the department.

The car comes complete with pink decals in an effort raise awareness of breast cancer. During October, breast cancer awareness month, the car is scheduled to appear at 16 area events such as mammogram screenings, 5K run, and at hospitals.

“The car is an immediate conversation starter,” a Manassas Park police spokesman said.

The police department’s vendor donated the pink decals, emergency equipment, and a custom pink radio console for the car. The unit is expected to don the pink colors through the end of year, as the car will be used by the department’s community services section and brought to community events.

The city has had two other code pink units: A Ford Crown Victoria and a Ford Explorer.


After this latest unit’s code pink tour is complete, the vendor will then replace the pink decals and equipment at no charge, leaving the police car looking like the standard vehicles the fleet.

A spokesman told Potomac Local the department wasn’t quite ready to announce the new car, but someone saw it parked behind a fence and started asking questions. Then came Facebook and Twitter posts about the new car, and that curiousity prompted the department to unveil the car to the public earlier than had been planned.

After the car completes its code pink assignment, it’s brought back to the station and parked. The car is authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia for full patrol use, but it probably won’t often be used to stop speeders or catch criminals in the act until next year, when the car is slated to be placed in regular use.

The department spokesman said almost everyone has known someone, or has been touched by someone with breast cancer. Someone “very close” to the department died of the disease, and that is why the department launched the code pink program.

The department says this is the only police cruiser of its kind in Northern Virginia. The City of Norfolk also has a simiar car.

How Habitat for Humanity ‘ReStore’ will expand to serve all of Prince William County

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Habitat for Humanity is about to expand in a big way.

The organization’s arm in Prince William County that builds homes for those in need will relocate its “ReStore” from Center Street in Manassas to an old Food Lion store on Hastings Drive in the city.

Habitat Prince William County also plans to open its first ReStore in Woodbridge, in an old Food Lion location on Prince William Parkway.

In Manassas, at more than 38,5000 square feet of retail space, the new ReStore at 10159 Hastings Drive in Manassas will be nearly three-times larger than the current location.

The store will encompass the entire floor plan of the old grocery store, and that means it’ll have more room to sell things like home furnishings, old books and DVDs, in addition to staples like building supplies.

Habitat for Humanity Prince William County also seeks to hire a district manager for the Manassas store, as well as about five new full and part-time employees. When hiring is complete, the organization will have 22 employees who will work at the Manassas and Woodbridge stores.

The Manassas store should be open in December. The center relies on donations from the public to stock its shelves.

“If we didn’t have donations coming in, this wouldn’t work,” said Habitat for Humanity Prince William County Director Traci DeGroat.

Collecting donations is a big reason the organization wanted to expand with a new store in Woodbridge. There a plenty of building contractors on the east end that donate materials to the shop, and those donations are currently picked up in a truck and hauled back to Manassas.

A new ReStore inside Prince William Commons near BJ’s Wholesale Club will serve as a donation center where building materials and a host of other goods will be collected for resale. Sales from both the Manassas and Woodbridge stores will benefit the work Habitat for Humanity does in the community.

The ReStore in Woodbridge will not take up the entirety of the old Food Lion store, and should open next spring. DeGroat said the organization got a better deal on the Manassas store since it’s not located on a major thoroughfare like Prince William Parkway, and because Habitat agreed to take the entire space existing space for its Manassas store.

Joaquin worst case: ‘Landfall around Norfolk and tracks up the Chesapeake up the Potomac River’

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Hurricane Joaquin should move up the east coast this week. It could impact our area.

And whether or not we see a hurricane, we’re going to see a lot of rain.

“regardless of what happens with this storm, we are going to see five to 10 inches of rain, and that is enough that people should be paying attention,” said Prince William County Director of Emergency Preparedness Patrick Collins.

Collins had just gotten off a statewide conference call when we spoke with him Wednesday afternoon. He tells us folks at the county government are watching the storm closely.

He sent out this email to area agencies to serve as a warning, and to get people prepared for the coming storm:

Good afternoon:

We have concluded a VDEM/NWS Conference call concerning the Hurricane and they still have not nailed down the track. The worst case scenario is it makes landfall around Norfolk and tracks up the Chesapeake up the Potomac River. One thing the weather service said was they are confident that regardless of the track we can expect 5-10 inches of rain over the entire event. It will start raining tomorrow night with heavy rain Friday and Friday night and then the second period of heavy rain with the track of Joaquin. As we get further into the event the track will become clearer and we can make more specific plans.

We plan on conducting a short briefing this Friday October 2nd at 11:00am in the EOC, by then the NWS should have a better idea of what our impacts will be here in the county. In the meantime agencies should be making their normal preparations for a storm such as this. Some of the activities are listed below, but I am sure that each agency has more comprehensive checklists.

Agency Preparation:

• Fuel all vehicles
• Establish work schedules EOC/Field
• Review Plans and Policies
• Check all generators
• Stock food /water
• Remove windblown equipment such as exterior trash cans
• Advise employees to check their family plans and supplies at home
• Monitor weather and e-mails
• Check all communications equipment for readiness
• Perform any “Just-in-Time” training that is needed
• Check flashlights

The Office of Emergency Management will continue to monitor the storm and will send out regular updates.

Hurricane Joaquin: Cancellations and postponements in our area


Hurricane Joaquin churning in the Atlantic Ocean could have it sights set on our area.

With all the rain and wind the storm could bring (we’ll link you to the Capital Weather Gang which has more information about the storm), we’re also seeing events postponed in our area ahead of the storm.

Manassas Fall Jubilee
The Manassas Fall Jubilee that had been scheduled for Satruday will now be held Oct. 24. This is the 33rd year for the event.

First Friday Manassas
The monthly First Friday event in Downtown Manassas is still scheduled. However, streets will not be closed for the event due to inclement weather.

Youth for Tomorrow’s annual Country Fair
This event held each year in Bristow, on the grounds of Youth For Tomorrow on Hazel Circle Drive off Linton Hall Road, is canceled. The auction portion of the event will be rescheduled. Check the website for additional information.

Americans in Wartime Musuem open house

This annual event in Nokesville, scheduled to tale place Saturday October 3 and Sunday October 4, is canceled. 

Stafford United Way yard sale 

A United Way yard sale scheduled Saturday at the Stafford County Government Center is canceled. 

Brentsville Court Days

This program scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 3 has been postponed until spring.

Stafford schools events canceled / postponed

The Margaret Brent Elementary Road Race, originally scheduled for Saturday,is postponed until November 8
Office of Public Information

The Moncure Elementary Clothing Sale, originally scheduled for this weekend, is postponed until October 16 and 17.

The middle school field hockey games scheduled for Friday, October 2, and Monday, October 5, are canceled and will be rescheduled at the end of the

Got a postponement or cancelation you want to tell us about? Tell us and we’ll list it in this post, just like we do with snow closings.

Georgetown South carnival, food fair to raise funds for terminal cancer patient, mother of 4

Reyna making a memory for her lifetime and that of her children.

October 24th, 2015 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., will see the largest event ever held in Georgetown South.

It is planned to be a community clean-up, small business expo, yard sale, resource center, food fair, carnival and fundraiser. We will be inviting all of the town home communities in the City of Manassas.

The centerpiece and impetus for the event is a fundraiser for one of our residents Reyna Torres Alatriste. Reyna is the mother of four children ages 3 to 11. She is receiving treatment for gastrointestinal cancer and has been given six to nine months to live.

Her desire is to return to Mexico to be cared for by her mother as she leaves this world. At the same time, she will be taking her children to be raised by their grandmother who they have never met.

The goal of the fundraiser is to set up a bank account in Mexico that Reyna’s mom can use to care for her children as they grow. The event location is on a common area in Georgetown South that spans the length of two and a half blocks.

Picture that covered with people of all ages as they come together to help one of their own. There is plenty of parking nearby at the Grant Avenue Shopping Center. We will have a 100-table yard sale with proceeds from the yard sales going to Reyna’s Fund.

Our Resource Center will consist of services that would be helpful to the all of attendees including the Word Alive Church presenting their SHARE MENU food packages, voter registration, immigrants first providing free legal consultations, Hogar Hispano, the Mexican and El Salvadoran consulates, the New Majority, Centreville Labor Resource Center, Chapel Springs Assembly of God ESOL Class Registration, the VA Extension Service with homeownership and renters’ rights class registration, the Pregnancy Resource Center, Project Mend a House, Habitat for Humanity and the Women, Infants and Children’s Clinic.

Our food fair will have vendors selling take away plates of carne asada, beans, rice and tortillas, Peruvian chicken, pupusas from El Salvador, the real deal Mexican tacos, Bolivian Saltenas, and the best Fish Fry you will ever taste.

Our Small Business Expo will consist of Georgetown South residents that want to showcase their business for all of the community and city to experience. Our carnival will entertain children of all ages with amusement rides, moon bounces, slides, pony rides, face painting, and kids’ games and activities.

Our community clean up includes seven roll off locations throughout the community where people can clean up and clean out in preparation for winter.

This is Georgetown South’s way of introducing its new and improved self to the City of Manassas as a Community that cares for its own. 

This post was submitted by Meg Carroll, community manager at Georgetown South.

There will be music, games, and Best BBQ competition at Dumfries Fall Festival

dumfries fall festival

On October 17, 2015, the Town of Dumfries will present their 14th Annual Fall Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Garrison Park, located behind the Dumfries Town Hall.

This year there will be an emphasis on a variety of free activities for youth, to include field games, face painting, a bounce house, and two large plastic spheres that can be propelled by an occupant inside. There will also be a DJ providing a wide variety of music throughout the event, including playing songs by request.

There will be opportunities for line dancing and of course individual rock-and-rolling and dancing for those that just want to let their hair down.

In addition, there will be vendors that will provide a wide variety of items for sale during the event and others that want to provide information to the public. Food vendors will be available as well and will offer an assortment of food and drink for purchase throughout the event.

This year’s event will once again feature a BBQ Competition where several self-promoted pit masters will put their food and reputations on the line in pursuit of the award for Best BBQ at the festival.

Festival goers will be able to purchase a ticket for one dollar that will allow them to taste some BBQ from each competitor. Those that participate will then be able to cast a vote for their favorite and the overall vote will determine the winner.

Dan Taber, Town Manager, has expressed his excitement over this year’s Fall Festival and has issued a challenge for as many people as possible to attend what he expects to be the best Fall Festival ever held.

“This is a great opportunity for the community to come together and have a great time while enjoying good music, good food, good fun, and most importantly, the good company of their neighbors,” said Taber.

Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to the Fall Festival.

The Town is accepting applications for vendors and complete information is available on the Town website at

For questions please call Tiwana Barnes at (703) 221-3400, ext. 112 or through email at

Stewart, Smith faceoff Thursday at NOVA Manassas




The candidates for Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors will face each other in a debate Thursday night.

Republican incumbent Corey Stewart and Democrat challenger Rick Smith are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. at the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). This is the first one-on-one meeting of the two candidates since the

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two debated at an NAACP forum held at Gar-Field Senior High School earlier this month.

The debate is sponsored by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and the Manassas Campus of NOVA.

Prince William Chamber Director of Government Relations Brendon Shaw outlined the debate topics in an email to Potomac Local:

We plan to cover:

Economic Development

–Expanding the commercial tax base
–Balancing the needs of the business community and residents
–Land use

[NOVA] will have two students participate to ask questions. Keith Scarborough from the [Prince William County] Electoral Board will discuss changes to the county’s voting system following the debate.

The debate will begin at 7 p.m. in Howsman Hall and is open to the public.

A third a final debate between the two candidates will take place at 7 p.m. on October 7 10 at Congregation Ner Shalom across from C.D. Hylton High School.

Strong economic forecast hampered by bad Prince William traffic


Prince William leaders said the future of the region is ripe for economic growth, and that is also one that will continue to be hampered by traffic congestion.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey Stewart, Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish III, and Manassas Park Mayor Frank Jones took the stage at the annual “State of Prince William” luncheon in Manassas. The event is organized by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.

Prince William Today publisher Bruce Potter asked questions of the three men covering the topics of economic development, education, and improving transportation infrastructure.

Parrish said Manassas cut back on economic development efforts during the 2008 recession. In recent years, the city hired Economic Development Director Patrick Small, who developed a new logo and branding for the city: “Historic Heart, Modern Beat.”

“We, like other localities did during the recession, cut some services that had to be cut.” said Parrish, who added 21,000 people commute to the city each day, while the number of those who leave the city for work has fallen to about 14,000.

It remains a tough go for commuters on Route 28 between Manassas Park and Interstate 66. Jones said thousands of commuters sit in jammed traffic on the road that bridges Prince William and Fairfax counties.

A state plan to widen I-66 won’t help unless bridges that cross the Bull Run River are widened, said Jones.

“66 can be widened large enough to put a 747, I don’t care, as long we sit behind the Bull Run bridges, we’re not going to be able to get any better in improving quality of life and giving hours of life back to people,” said Jones.

Stewart painted a picture of economic prosperity for Prince William County, which has seen its population rise to nearly 450,000 residents. Funding for the county school division — the 38th largest in the U.S. — has grown by $81 million over the past four years, said Stewart.

Many of the students who graduate from Prince William County Public Schools return home to find work and start businesses, said Stewart.

“The product of our school system has beocome the number one driver of ecomic development…We’re on the edge of a gilded age in Prince William County, and I’m not kidding, this is one hell of a community. If you didn’t hear abotu Prince William County 20 years ago, you’re going to hear about us in the next 20 years,” said Stewart.

Stewart points to new biotech and technology businesses opening at Innovation Park.

Stewart, a Republican, has served as on the Board of Supervisors since 2006 and is seeking reelection, running against Democrat Rick Smith.

Parrish, a Republican, has served as Manassas Mayor since 2008 and is seeking to replace Virginia State Senator Charles Colgan, who is retiring this year. Democrats are hoping to hold the seat and support Jeremy McPike for the position.

Voters will head to the polls November 3.

Heavy rain possibly tonight, watching Joaquin later in the week


There’s a chance our region could see heavy rain this afternoon into the evening and overnight hours.

A low-pressure system will develop over the Virginia Highlands today, ahead of a cold front that is tracking east from the Great Lakes, according to the National Weather Service forecast discussion page.

That will kick off showers and thunderstorms this afternoon into the evening. There are flash flood watches issued for the mountains in western Virginia, but no immediate watches for our area right now.

Portions of western Maryland could see up to two inches of rainfall tonight and tomorrow, according to the weather service.

What to expect

Showers and possibly a few thunderstorms will develop after lunchtime today.

More showers, and possibly some thunderstorms, could develop as a larger area of rain moves in during the evening and overnight hours.

On Wednesday morning, showers and thunderstorms continue. By the afternoon, the cold front should have moved through the area leaving behind gusty winds.

On Wednesday night, there’s still a possibility of somes showers in the area.

Tropical Storm Joaquin

A newly named Tropical Storm Joaquin appeared in everyone’s newsfeeds on Monday night. The storm was packing 40 mph winds and is located west of the Bahama Islands, according to a 5 a.m. update from the National Hurrican Center.

The storm is expected to track north up the east coast. While forecasters say it’s too early to know what impact if any, the storm will have on our area, it’s worth watching.

Micron: A memory maker in Manassas

Today, people are glued to their smartphones. Hours at a time are spent in front of computers, tablets, and game consoles.

Despite this, few of us think about what makes them work. High-performance memory is the main component that makes our favorite gadgets have such cool features.

And when a computer slows down a few years after purchase, instead of buying a new one, a $50 memory upgrade can get you back up to speed in minutes. One of the biggest innovators of this powerful technology is located right in the City of Manassas.

Micron Technology is an advanced semiconductor solutions provider that designs and manufactures memory technologies. Founded in Boise, Idaho, in 1978, Micron has risen to the top of its industry.

It is the largest semiconductor manufacturer in Virginia, the only U.S.-based DRAM manufacturer, and the largest U.S.-based wafer supplier. (DRAM is the memory a computer processor needs to function. A wafer is a thin, round slice of material, usually silicon, that serves as the foundational layer on which a semiconductor is built.)

The company came to Manassas when it acquired Dominion Semiconductor in 2002. Soon after, it began investing heavily in modernizing the existing plant.

According to a study by George Mason University, Micron’s early capital investments during 2002 – 2005 totaled more than $178 million, created almost 390 jobs annually, and generated $56.5 million in new personal income to local residents. At the state level, Micron added $376.2 million in value to Virginia’s economy.

The company continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Sixteen years after it was established, Micron had already invested $300 million in expansion projects and was listed on the Fortune 500.

Today it has more than 30,000 employees across the globe and has netted $16.4 billion in sales during the last fiscal year. Manassas has been a part of this success story.

In 2010, Micron decided to invest $56 million to expand its Manassas facility to take advantage of the area’s highly skilled workforce. It built out a new “clean room” – a manufacturing environment with a low level of dust, chemical vapors, and other contaminants that is used in the semiconductor industry – in order to boost its memory chip production.

Former Lt. Governor Bill Bolling joined Micron’s executives in Manassas to announce the company’s expansion and celebrate its significant contributions to the Commonwealth and Manassas. The expansion created more than 100 new jobs. In fact, for the last five years, Micron has been the largest employer in the City of Manassas and currently employs more than 1,500 workers.

Years ago, Micron’s success caught the eye of former President George W. Bush who used the Manassas facility as the backdrop for a speech he delivered to highlight the importance of STEM education, investing in a highly skilled workforce, and being an innovator in a global marketplace. More recently, First Lady Michelle Obama gave a speech at this same facility to discuss the tech companies hiring veterans. She recognized Micron for doing its part to train these workers so they can compete for high-paying jobs in the technology sector.

The company is committed to giving back to the community. One of its biggest causes is STEM education and elevating students into high tech jobs.

In 2013 alone, the Micron Technology Foundation, together with Lockheed Martin, donated more than $53,000 to the Manassas City Public School Education Foundation for robotics and STEM programs. Staff members volunteer their time and mentor students through internships that sometimes evolve into full-time jobs.

As the company continues to grow and innovate – bringing smaller, more powerful and faster high-tech products to market – it continues to strengthen the City of Manassas and the regional workforce.

Senator Charles Colgan honored at Hylton Performing Arts Center


Men donned back ties and women put on formal dresses on Friday to honor Virginia’s longest-serving state senator.

Charles Colgan, D-29, will retire this year. A celebration and tribute were held for him at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts in Manassas.

The celebration was also used to mark the 89-year-old’s birthday.

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Colgan has been credited for “helping build Manassas,” securing funding for transportation and higher education for the city and surrounding areas in Prince William County.

Colgan has served since 1976, and he will leave the state Senate as its President Pro-Tempore.

A contentious election race has sprung up between Democrat Jeremy McPike and Republican Hal Parrish. Both men seek to replace the long-serving Senator.

The race has been closely watched throughout the state as the outcome could help shift majority power away from Senate Democrats and give it to the Republicans.

Doves Landing Park opens, offers trails for horseback riding

Doves Landing Park opens [Photo: Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition]

Prince William residents have a new place to hike and play in the woods.

Residents and officials celebrated the opening of Doves Landing Park on Saturday.

The park is located on Doves Lane in Brentsville, at the confluence of Broad Run and Occoquan Creek.

Here, you won’t find a children’s playground or a sports complex.

“This is for the person who wants to simply get out into the woods and enjoy themselves,” Prince William parks and recreation spokesman Brent Heavner.

The area is heavily wooded and includes a planned system of trails developed by the Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition. Park visitors may ride horses, but motorized vehicles such as ATVs and motorbikes are prohibited.

A gravel parking lot was added as a part of the process to develop Doves Landing into a park. Next, parks officials will work to make the entrance to Doves Landing “more inviting,” said Heavner.

The park’s ribbon cutting was held on National Public Lands Day. The Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition has several photos from the ribbon cutting on its website.

The land on which the park sits was owned by Prince William County. A “no trespassing” sign has been posted on the property by the park authority warning people not to enter prior to the land becoming an official park.

“Obviously, we thought we could do something better than put up a no trespassing sign,” said Heavner.

Talk about developing the park began three years ago. Residents that lived in the area did not want a large park or sports fields.

Roast marshmallows, play games, hayrides at Fall Family Fun Night at the Manassas Park Community Center

Fall Family Fun Night is Oct. 3

Are traditional family dinners indicative of a well-adjusted family?

Not necessarily according to a 2013 article from NPR. Journalist Alison Aubrey shares survey and research results from a variety of sources where participants agree that family meals are important but nearly half of the respondents don’t have regular family meals.

That finding is completely reasonable. With work schedules evolving from the usual nine to five, and children’s extracurricular activities becoming increasingly important, it’s hard to find even a moment when all the family members are in the house at the same time.

What exactly constitutes a family dinner? For some families, it appears that the traditional definition of everyone at the table every night having a family conversation may not be the only option.

Depending on schedules, some families may still have dinner together with the absence of a few members. Other families set aside a special weekend dinner once a week.

Flexibility also seems to be important as, according to the article, about 25% of the respondents have distractions during dinner time including TV or mobile devices.

Is the act of simply being together, eating together enough? Some families argue that it’s important time to catch up and relax together so no distractions are allowed.

Other families may feel that avoiding rushed dinners and awkward conversation are worth the occasional distractions and may even encourage dialogue.

The important point is that each family feels comfortable with tailoring their family dinner to their family’s needs and not hold themselves to an unattainable standard.

However, family dinner is not the only opportunity to strengthen bonds. Any special time spent together such as family vacations and attending events can be beneficial and possibly easier to coordinate.

One example would be the Fall Family Fun Night at the Manassas Park Community Center. Roasting marshmallows, playing games, and hopping on hayrides are all scheduled activities and all provide unique opportunities for reinforcing family relationships.

The event is only $10.00 per family and must register in advance. This can be done online or in person at the community center.

Attending special events also allows families in a community to connect together. Neighbors can share stories and exchange ideas on how they strengthen their family bonds. Plus having family friends can provide additional opportunities for family time. Play dates, game nights and planned outings with family friends can motivate family members to find time to participate.

With evidence showing that quality family time has a lasting beneficial effect on families such as emotional stability, there is a reason to make it a point to spend time together.

It can come in the form of a family dinner but it’s no longer the only option.

Choosing activities that are convenient for your family makes quality time achievable and, therefore, more likely to motivate family members to come together.

24-year-old man shot in Manassas


Update Sept. 30, 2015

While police have announced no arrests in this case, the public should not be concerned.

“At this time it does not appear to be random so no cause for the general public to be concerned,” said Manassas police spokeswoman Adrienne Helms.

Original post

A 24-year-old man was shot early this morning in Manassas.

Police were called to the 9100 block of Stevens Court, near Ashton Avenue, at 1:05 a.m. Police found the unidentified victim, who was taken to a local hospital where he remains in critical condition, according to a police spokeswoman.

Police did not say if the shooter is still at large, if the victim knew the shooter, or why the victim was at Stevens Court.

Police seek information from the public on this case. The Manassas department asked tipsters to call Manassas City Crime Solvers.

More as we have it.

Prince William & Fauquier businesses: Become ‘Alzheimer’s Friendly’

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Free Trainings for Businesses Aim to Reduce Isolation Among Families Impacted by Alzheimer’s For the 15 million Americans providing care for their loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease, isolation is a serious risk.

With the unpredictable nature of the disease, symptoms such as memory loss, repetition and poor judgment lead many to choose to avoid the outside world rather than risk the possibility of unpleasant, awkward or even frightening situations in public.

In fact, in a recent survey of Alzheimer’s caregivers, 74 percent reported that they and their loved ones have become more isolated from the community as a result of the disease. Furthermore, 85 percent reported that they feel a reduced quality of life due to isolation.

As a community, we cannot allow this to happen to our neighbors, friends and loved ones. We can change these frightening statistics here at home. To do just that, the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Prince William and Fauquier Counties is helping launch the Alzheimer’s Friendly BusinessSM program.

The program includes a training for local businesses that is designed to help employees understand the disease and provide simple techniques to ensure customers with Alzheimer’s are treated with compassion and respect. The training itself is quick and can be done for businesses in as little as 30 minutes, but the impact on families in our community can be long-lasting.

For a family coping with Alzheimer’s disease, going to a restaurant where a hostess will know the best place to seat you to prevent your loved one from becoming confused can lead to a much-needed night out of the house. Errands to the bank may seem less overwhelming when you know the teller on the other side of the counter can recognize and politely respond to an unexpected behavior as a result of Alzheimer’s, where others in that same situation might be confused or even rude.

Businesses in Prince William and Fauquier counties can work directly with the local Home Instead Senior Care office to arrange an in-person training for their employees, and an online version of the training is also available at

Once the training is completed, businesses will receive a window decal with the Alzheimer’s Friendly Business logo, allowing those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia to easily recognize these businesses taking the lead in making our community more Alzheimer’s friendly.

For more information about Home Instead Senior Care’s Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program, including information on what to look for in an Alzheimer’s Friendly Business, visit or call 703-596-1217.

Mandy North to serve as Pastor of Faith Formation at Manassas Church of the Brethren

Mandy North, Pastor of Faith Formation at the Manassas Church of the Brethren

Manassas Church of the Brethren joyfully announces the call of North Dell’Uomo North to serve as Pastor of Faith Formation beginning October 1, 2015.

North has a passion for the faith formation of youth and young adults as they recognize, explore, and strengthen their relationship with God in Christ. She has worked as a volunteer with youth and children ministries at Manassas Church of the Brethren since 2007 and as Coordinator of Youth Ministries (2008-2009) and Coordinator of Special Ministries (2010-2011).

She served as interim pastor at Nokesville Church of the Brethren, from 2014-2015. She has been an active leader in district youth events and in 2014 she authored the junior high youth lesson plans for Shine, children and youth curriculum published by Brethren Press and MennoMedia.

North received her Master of Arts in Christian Education from Union Presbyterian Seminary (2013), her Bachelors of Science from Bridgewater College (2002) and has attended various courses with the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership.

She is a group leader in MOPS, and part of the Prince William County Mothers of Multiples club ( She lives with her husband, Sean and their boy/girl twins.

False: Most high-quality olive oil comes from Italy


Olive oil. We all have a bottle in our pantry. But can you cook with it?

Is first cold press the best olive oil you can get?

I’m Cameron, co-owner of Manassas Olive Oil Company, and I’m going to breakdown some common myths about this kitchen staple.

Myth 1: You can’t cook with olive oil

Status: False

This misconception stems from olive oil smoking or breaking down at low temperatures.
Olive oil only has a low smoke point if it has a high quantity of free fatty acids (FFAs). High levels of FFAs – which have been linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes – indicate poor quality or old olive oil.

All the olive oil we carry at Manassas Olive Oil Company has less than 0.2% free fatty acid content – meaning it won’t smoke until at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

As far as withstanding heat – all types of oil break down when heat is applied.

Inexpensive oils – such as canola oil – form toxic byproducts like aldehydes when heated. But when olive oil is heated, it’s some of the antioxidants will break down instead, ‘sacrificing’ themselves and prevent toxic chemicals from being produced by the oil. Look for a high polyphenol (antioxidant) content when purchasing olive oil for high temperature cooking.

Myth 2: First cold press is the best olive oil

Status: Partially True

First, cold pressing is a requirement to produce extra virgin olive oil, but it is somewhat of a misnomer. Cold pressing refers to any olive oil pressed below 80 degrees Fahrenheit and without the addition of chemicals.

As for second press – that has become a thing of the past. Historically, olives were quite literally pressed with huge stones, with the first press extracting the best oil, and subsequent presses extracting lower quality oil.

The olive press has been replaced by a malaxer (horizontal mixer) and centrifuge which pulverize olives, and extract almost all of the oil from them. This method is so efficient, only 5% of oil gets left behind on this ‘first press.”
This leftover oil is must be chemically extracted, and is referred to as “pomace oil.” Pomace oil cannot be sold or labeled as “olive oil’ – nor is it good to consume.

Generally speaking, all commercial olive oil will come from the first press. But be advised – even poor quality olive oil can come from the first cold press.

Myth 3: Most high-quality olive oil comes from Italy

Status: Mostly False

According to a study done by the International Olive Council, Spain produces 40% of the world’s olive oil – or about the same amount as Italy and Greece combined.

So where does the best oil come from? That’s a complicated equation.

Great olive oil is a lot like wine – it depends on the cultivar of olive you’re getting, what kind of conditions it grew in, and how the pressing was handled. Even oils from the same grove will vary year to year.

You should try different varieties of oil. Much like different wine grapes produce different wines, different types of olives will also produce different flavor profiles of oil.

Currently, six different types of extra virgin olive oil are available to taste at Manassas Olive Oil Company.

Have more questions about olive oil, or are interested in learning more? Visit our shop located in downtown Manassas, at 9406 Grant Avenue. We are more than happy to share our knowledge.

A 22-year-old man was shot by police near Manassas


A 22-year-old man was shot by police Wednesday.

Officers were called to a home in the 7600 block of Lake Drive near Manassas. The woman said her dog began barking at a man who was hiding in her bushes. The man left once seen, and the woman dialed 911.
Police arrived and saw the man walking along a creek, according to a

Prince William police statement:

The man brandished a crowbar and raised it towards the officers in a threatening manner. The officers gave the man several commands to drop the crowbar which he refused. At one point, the officers sprayed the man in the face with pepper spray before he crossed the creek into Fairfax County.

The officers followed the man across the creek.

During that encounter, the man turned and, in proximity, faced officers while raising the crowbar. Officers fired at the man, striking him in the upper body. The man was transported to an area hospital and is expected to survive. No officers were injured in the incident.

Prince William and Fairfax County police are investigating the incident. The victim has no fixed address. Charges against him are pending, according to police.

Haymarket student finalist in photo contest, work featured at Hylton Arts Center

Freedom, by Alyssa Prouty of Haymarket, VA.

Ten students from local high schools have placed as finalists in the Nature Visions Photo Expo (NVPE) Student Photography contest and will receive a $50 gift card fromDistrict Camera, of Burke, Va.

The 10 finalists were chosen out of more than 60 submissions, representing schools from Northern Virginia and Maryland.

The winner will receive a $100 District Camera gift card and will be announced at NVPE at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Va., held on Sat., Nov. 14 and Sun., Nov. 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day.

All finalists’ photography will be on display at NVPE. General admission is free to view the photo exhibits and visit more than 20 local and national photography vendors.

Class fees range from free to $85. Merchant Hall three-day passes are also available at $160 per person and allow access to 11 presentations. Purchase passes at

NVPE finalists include: two-time finalist, Gabriel Arias, 17 of Potomac, Md., attending Winston-Churchill High School for his photos, Harmony and Bloom

Sai Charan Gurrapu, 15, of Chantilly, Va., attending Chantilly High School, for Blossom

Two-time finalist, Kevin Hackler, 18, of Herndon, Va., graduate of Chantilly High School, for Glory and Connections

Alicia Kay, 17 of Vienna, Va., attending Oakton High School , for Monet

Abby Keller, 18 of Springfield, Va., graduate of West Springfield High School, for Frozen in Time

Alyssa Prouty, 18, of Haymarket, Va., graduate of Paul VI Catholic High School, for Freedom

Andrew Savino, 17 of Fairfax Station, Va., attending The Howard Garner School, for Eastern Screech Owl

Jess Taylor, 17, of Vienna, Va., graduate of Winston Churchill High School, for Stranded

The Expo presents nature photography exhibits from eight of the DC-area’s best camera clubs, as well as free classes for beginners, two free Lightroom seminars and 23 more instructional sessions on topics from the iPhone to landscape photography.

More advanced lectures by notable professional and freelance nature photographers, including keynote speaker Joe McNally, veteran photojournalist of the book, Faces of Ground Zero and renowned, freelance photographer for National Geographic and LIFE magazines, do charge a fee.

In addition to the seminars and lectures, photographers will have the chance to focus their lenses on hawks and owls in a natural setting, just outside the Hylton Performing Arts Center. All proceeds go to the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia to support their animal rehabilitation programs.

“Like painting, music and the performing arts—photography is an art-form to be enjoyed and practiced,” said Tom Shevock, president of Nature Visions Photo Expo. “We all look to capture a moment with our camera, whether it’s a professional shot or just a quick click of the cell phone–our Expo offers something for everyone.” 

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