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Road closures for 72nd Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade

From the Manassas City Police Department:

Manassas, VA… On Dec. 2, 2017, the Manassas City Police Department will begin road closures at 8:00 a.m. for the 72nd Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade. We anticipate all roads to be back open by 1:30 p.m. The Manassas City Police Department is encouraging residents to be aware of the closures and plan alternative routes in advance.

The following roads will be affected: Route 28 (Centreville Rd), Mathis Ave, Reb Yank Dr, Carriage Ln, Sudley Rd, Quarry Rd, Prescott Ave, East St, Main St, Battle St, West St, Grant Ave, Mosby St, Lee Ave, Peabody Ave, Fairview Ave, Maple St, and Zebedee St. Please see the below map for the planned closures.

Chronic compression of the spinal cord meant he couldn’t write a letter or open a bottle. Then Dr. Lotfi stepped in.

  • Address: 2300 Opitz Blvd, Woodbridge, VA 22191
  • Phone: 703-523-1000
  • Website: 703-523-1000

Lou Ferrao knew something was terribly wrong. He had suffered from neck pain before.

He even had surgery which gave him limited relief. But the neck pain he felt now was severe and accompanied by other, more ominous, symptoms. He had been experiencing spasms and weakness in his legs and now had begun experiencing the same symptoms in his arms.

Lou had always been an active man. He loved to scuba dive and was certified as a rescue diver; a designation only awarded after completing what some divers call the most challenging course they’ve ever taken. He loved to walk and hike.

Now he found his legs no longer responding to the directions that he was giving. It was devastating.

Determined to find the reason behind his troubling symptoms, Lou visited a neurologist who diagnosed him with severe nerve damage on his left side and moderate damage on the right. His neurologist then referred him to the Sentara Back & Neck Center and Dr. Paymaun Lotfi, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery, to determine the cause of the damage.

As Lou went through a series of tests prescribed by Dr. Lotfi, his condition continued to deteriorate. He was no longer able to open a bottle or write a letter, and when he moved from a room with carpet to one with wood floors, he would lose his balance and stumble.

After all the tests had been completed, Dr. Lotfi diagnosed Lou with cervical spinal stenosis.

Dr. Lotfi explains, “It’s a condition that causes narrowing of the cervical spinal canal and chronic compression of the spinal cord and nerves; this causes numbness and weakness in arms and legs as brain signals can’t reach extremities.”

Dr. Lotfi suggested a spinal laminectomy and fusion, which removes the back part of the vertebrae, decompressing the spinal cord. The spinal column is then stabilized by placing screws and rods in the spine. Since Lou’s condition had been longstanding, Dr. Lotfi explained that he might not regain all his lost strength and lost functions, but it was important to decompress his spine to prevent weakness, paralysis or something even worse.

Lou appreciated the time that Dr. Lotfi spent explaining his condition.

“When Dr. Lotfi sat down with us, his empathy really showed. He tried to put himself in my shoes. He showed us the MRI. You couldn’t see my spinal cord from C2-T2 because it was so compressed,” Lou said. “He gave me an in-depth explanation of what was going on. He was educating me at the same time as he was helping me.”

After listening to Dr. Lotfi, Lou realized that the surgery wasn’t about feeling better; it was about survival. With his wife’s agreement, Lou made the decision to have surgery at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

The day of the surgery, everything went well. Dr. Lotfi was with Lou when he woke up and actually removed his cervical collar at that time. Lou suffered very little pain from the procedure and within four days was up and at rehab several hours a day.

Life is better for Lou now. While damage to the spinal cord can sometimes take years to heal, Dr. Lotfi says, “He (Lou) had a rapid recovery, and almost immediately could tell the difference in improved strength in his arms and legs.”

Lou no longer has the severe neck pain that plagued him, and he has regained his sense of balance and is walking with a cane. He is slowly getting his endurance back. He describes his life before and after his surgery as “the difference between night and day.”

Lou can’t say enough about Dr. Lotfi and his experience, “He (Dr. Lotfi) lives up to the Hippocratic oath. He was my guardian angel. It (the surgery) was the best thing I ever did.”

Unfortunately, many individuals suffering from spinal pain don’t seek help. They endure the discomfort and inconvenience for years because of many different reasons.

Dr. Lotfi understands this but says, “(You) may understandably be guarded about surgical treatment of the spine. However, many conditions such as stenosis are very disabling, and a properly executed surgery can truly improve one’s quality of life and function.”

Lou agrees and adds, “People shouldn’t have to suffer because they don’t know a procedure can help them.”

Catholic Charities takes over old Manassas abortion clinic

The Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington will take over an old Manassas women’s clinic where abortions were once performed.

The Mother of Mercy Free Clinic in Manassas opens December 6.

This Sunday, Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington, will bless the facility.

More in a press release:

With the clinic, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington (CCDA) will serve the estimated 4,500 people living in low-income households without insurance in the Manassas and Manassas Park. The clinic will be called Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic, located at 9380 Forestwood Lane, Suite B, in Manassas.

The medical clinic will be open four hours a week with volunteer doctors, nurses and personnel. During the non-clinical hours, CCDA will use the facility to provide a broader array of assistance related to immigration issues, mental health counseling, and referrals to other services as well.

“Our intent is to start small, four hours per week, and evaluate our patient care needs as we begin to treat patients through a basic scope of services. This will allow us to expand organically and slowly integrate other services (counseling, legal assistance, food) that this population needs,” says Art Bennett, CEO and President of CCDA.

The clinic, which has a waiting room, four exam rooms and other offices, will fill the void caused by the closure of a free clinic in Manassas a few years ago. It will primarily serve adults since children of low-income families can often receive medical insurance (i.e. Medicaid).

The clinic will be supported by healthcare contributions from Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center. The free medical clinic will also use a local lab for additional patient services. In addition, CCDA is receiving consultative services offered by the Bon Secours Richmond Health System, a Catholic healthcare institution, to set up an ethics committee for the clinic. Catholic Charities is also cooperating with Tepeyac Clinic of Divine Mercy Care to provide mutual support for clients.

How the clinic came to be

A group of parishioners from All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas and Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Gainesville participated in a pro-life ministry in which they would reach out to mothers and couples who approached a Manassas abortion clinic. This group also reached out to the staff at the abortion clinic in the hopes of fostering productive and respectful dialogue.

After the owner of the clinic passed away, the owner’s wife, who assumed ownership and control of the clinic’s operation, agreed to shut the clinic down and sell to a group of investors called the BVM Foundation (for Blessed Virgin Mary). The BVM Foundation approached CCDA about how the former abortion clinic could be changed to serve a noble and redemptive purpose. CCDA agreed to open a free clinic to serve the uninsured in the Manassas area. CCDA has embarked on this mission to prolong life and to promote the dignity of the human person.

In a statement, Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington said, “Each day, God calls us to help our brothers and sisters in need and to be instruments of his mercy and healing love. This clinic is in response to that call and will open new opportunities for Catholic Charities and dedicated volunteers to help those who otherwise may have been unable to receive such compassionate care.”

Manassas police will get body cams after Thanksgiving

Manassas police will join the ranks of other police departments in the region an issue body-worn cameras to its officers.

A total of 72 cameras will be given to city police after the Thanksgiving holiday. The department plans to have all officers wearing the cameras by the first of the year.

City taxpayers will foot the $460,000 bill for the cameras over the next five years.

In June, six Manassas officers were selected to participate in a pilot program. Each was given an “Axion Body 2” worn camera, to test the quality of the video and the reliability of the equipment.

Following the successful test, police say the cameras will be used to document interactions between officers and the public.

Neighboring Prince William County began issuing body-worn cameras to its officers in September following a similar pilot program. The Town of Quantico also uses a body camera system.

Restaurant trash piling up: How Manassas is working with businesses to streamline garbage collection

MANASSAS — Trash is piling up outside restaurants in Downtown Manassas.

The city not only wants to do something about it, but they also want to make it easier for the restauranteur to have someone come multiple times per week to haul away the garbage.

There is a lack of large trash dumpsters in downtown — this older section of town wasn’t built with dumpsters in mind. 

This has forced small shop and restaurant owners to use small, rollaway trash toters. Some businesses, especially restaurants, produce more trash than others.

“The volume of waste a restaurant generates: 10 pounds of trash per hour, and on a busy night it’s more than that,” said Manassas Refuse and Recycling Coordinator Monica Boehringer.

All businesses in Manassas pay a trash collection service fee, and American Disposal Services, the company the city contracts with to provide trash service, collects the garbage twice a week. But for some restaurants, that wasn’t enough. Many choose to pay for additional trash collection, multiple times per week.

In some cases, restaurants pay multiple trash haulers to make sure the trash is hauled away.

The City Council on Monday approved the changes to the city’s solid waste code that allow Boehringer and staff to work with city businesses to not only consolidate their trash collection services — think of it as having your cable TV, phone, and internet all one bill — but to also help customize a trash plan that works best for the business.

“If the business is happy with service, can keep that service. But if not, we’re working with Amercian Disposal to come up with new rates that businesses can take advantage of, so their trash collection service is streamlined,” said Boehringer.

Those rates are still being worked out and could be finalized by spring. In the end, the costs probably won’t change that much. Customers with twice a week collection won’t see a change in rates, and those who have city collection and pay for additional collection service should pay about the same, but they would now have the option of paying it all on one bill.

Boehringer also wants to help business owners join the ranks of city residents who are recycling more. She says putting dumpsters for cardboard only behind Mackie’s Pub, and behind the Harris Pavilion has helped increase the rate of recycling for the city.

“When I got there three years ago, those dumpsters were hard to get to and were being serviced once a month. We moved them, serviced them three times a week, and we saw a big change,” said Boehringer.

It proves a point: If you make it easy, accessible, and haul away the cardboard, people will use it. She hopes to duplicate efforts like these in the coming years throughout the city.

The revised code also addresses large furniture left on curbsides after people move out of their homes and apartment buildings. Last year, taxpayers were charged more than $8,500 over the past year by American Disposal to come out to collect couches, armchairs, and other large pieces of furniture.

Now the city can issue a fine to a landlord if these large pieces of waste aren’t removed within 24 hours. Under the old rules, the landlord had 10 days to throw out the trash.

Boehringer urges those who are moving to plan ahead and call a trash removal service or to rent a dumpster for their unwanted furniture or call her office well in advance of moving day for help.

Brothers charged in Manassas homicide

Two brothers are charged in the stabbing death of a 24-year-old man in Manassas. 

Erick Moises ROMERO, 27

Police tell us an argument led to the stabbing. 

More in a press release: 

At approximately 5:10 a.m. on November 11, 2017, the Manassas City Police responded to the 9700 block of Bragg Ln for a report of a male subject lying on the sidewalk.  Upon arrival, Officers located an adult male victim suffering from an apparent stab wound.  The victim succumbed to

Richard Gamaliel ROMERO SORTO, 23

his injury, and was pronounced dead on the scene.  The victim has been identified as Elvin Ulises REYES-REYES, a 24–year-old resident of Manassas. 

The investigation revealed the victim approached a group of individuals inside a residence on the 9700 block of Bragg Ln and a verbal altercation ensued.  The argument escalated and turned physical outside the residence.  During the encounter one of the individuals, later identified as Erick Moises ROMERO,   produced a knife and stabbed the victim. A second suspect involved in the encounter was identified as ROMERO’s brother, Richard Gamaliel ROMERO SORTO, a 23-year-old resident of Maryland.

Erick Moises ROMERO was arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder, possession of a knife in the commission of a felony, and is currently being held without bond.  A court date has been set for December 29, 2017.

Richard Gamaliel ROMERO SORTO was also arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder and is currently being held without bond.  A court date has been set for December 29, 2017.

Manassas police find man suffering fatal stab wound

Manassas police said they found an unidentified man lying on a sidewalk in the Georgetown South neighborhood early Saturday morning suffering from a stab wound. 

The man later died, and now police are questioning “multiple persons of interest” in the case. 

From a police press release: 

At approximately 5:10 a.m. on November 11, 2017, the Manassas City Police responded to the 9700 block of Bragg Ln for a report of a male subject lying on the sidewalk.  Upon arrival, Officers located an adult male victim suffering from an apparent stab wound. 

The adult male victim succumbed to his injury, and was pronounced dead on the scene.  The victim in this case appears to be in his mid-twenties.  Detectives have identified multiple persons of interest.  Detectives believe this to be an isolated incident, and the victim and the persons of interest knew each other.  The investigation is ongoing and more details will be forthcoming when available. 

Danica Roem has ideas about how to fix Route 28. But do they translate into a road improvement plan?

The morning after her historic win, Delegate-elect Danica Roem picked up the phone and began talking to local officials about moving forward on her top campaign promise: Fix Route 28.

The Democrat on Tuesday defeated Delegate Bob Marshall, who held the House District 13 seat since 1991. She has a lot of ideas on how to improve what’s been dubbed the most congested road in Northern Virginia.



She wants to continue a project that began in the late 1990s to remove signal lights at four-way intersections, from Westfields Boulevard in Fairfax County to Route 7 in Loudoun County, and replace them with grade-separated interchanges.


The new junctions would be located south of Interstate 66, where the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority has funded the first phases of widening Route 28 from four to six lanes to the Prince William County line.

The work is needed especially at New Braddock Road — the worst bottleneck in the corridor where the lanes squeeze down from six to four.

In Prince William County, in what will be Roem’s district come January, she also wants to put in a flyover bridge for people traveling south on Route 28 onto Orchard Bridge Drive, into a dense housing development there.

“I’m a lifelong Manassas resident, and I’m tired of putting up with it,” Roem told a group of reporters on a conference call, speaking about gridlock on Route 28. “I disagree with the notion a delegate can’t do much to fix it.”

But do Roem’s ideas translate into a road improvement plan? And, can a delegate really do much to fix the problem?

Roem’s predecessor Marshall repeatedly told constituents about his idea of adding a reversible lane along Route 28 that would carry cars north into Fairfax County in the morning, and south into Prince William County each afternoon. But he also reminded them his plan never got much traction with state and county transportation officials, and so the reversible lane idea will probably leave alongside Marshall.

Unlike in the past when State Senator Chuck Colgan secured funding for the overpass at Routes 28 and 234 in Manassas, road projects today — thanks to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s SmartScale process — must be decided upon and approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in Richmond, and locally by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

In addition to funding the early design work to widen Route 28 in Fairfax, the NVTA also funded a study to come up with four alternatives to improve traffic flow on the roadway in Prince William. They included widening the road and taking a massive $245 million to acquire nearly 100 commercial and private properties and a more favored extension of Godwin Drive that would serve as a bypass to the congested corridor.

“Operational improvements such as removing traffic signals and improving intersections are all great ideas, and some have been considered, but our research shows it doesn’t solve the long-term problem,” said Northern Virginia Transportation Authority Chairman Marty Nohe. “The main thing that we learned from our study is that we need more capacity for vehicles on Route 28.”

Officials have a better chance at widening the road versus adding overpasses, or new transit service ssince the state has partnered with a private consortium to spend more than $1 billion over the next 50 years to improve transit options on I-66 along with adding new toll lanes to the highway.

And what about replacing signalized intersections with grade-separated interchanges in Prince William as they did in Fairfax County?

“There’s no one size fits all solution,” said Nohe. “North of 66, what you have on 28 a commercial corridor and an airport corridor [Dulles Airport]. South of 66 is a lot of residential and commercial development.”

For many who live on or near Route 28 in the Yorkshire area Prince William, the four-lane road serves as their main street. The idea of removing signal lights, limiting road access, and taking away roadside businesses to widen the road doesn’t sit well.

The NVTA staff plan to hold a meeting for newly elected officials to familiarize them with ongoing transportation projects before they head to the General Assembly in January.