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Manassas mobile home residents forced out, seek options


MANASSAS, Va. — February 28 looms large for residents of the East End Mobile Home Park.

That’s the date a property management firm which manages the park told them to be out of the homes. Afterward, the Manassas City is on track to forward with a deal to purchase the property for $1.9 million.

That would leave some families in about 58 trailers homeless and city residents the proud owners of a property where, since at least 2008, raw sewage has been seeping up from a failed sewer system. Multiple orders from the city to repair the system since 2008 and bring it into compliance have went ignored by the property owner Tim Cope.

If the sale goes to closing, Cope must see that all residents are gone, and all trailers removed before any money changes hands. Repairs could cost as much as $700,000, and that’s money Cope doesn’t have, according to multiple sources familiar with the city’s proposal to buy the land.

Cope, nor the firm that manages the property Platinum Property Managment, spoke during a citizen comment time during a City Council meeting Monday night. Many residents of the trailer park, which sits near the intersection of Liberia Avenue and Route 28, did speak out.

Melissa Watson told city leaders that it would be difficult to move her and her family out of the only home they’ve known for the past 14 years, in the dead of winter, in the middle of her son’s school year.

“Moving in February will have an impact on his education and his SOL scores,” she said. “There’s a real possibility that many of our neighbors will become homeless, and many of us will not be able to reside in Manassas City once we leave because there is not enough affordable housing.”

City leaders are concerned about the health and safety of those living a trailer park with a failed sewer system. They’re also concerned that sewage is mixing with storm water which is treated and sent back to city residents for use.

Another city leader, Councilman Marc Aveni who voted against the deal to purchase the park, is concerned that the city is now involved in a firestorm of controversy surrounding the park. Aveni said the city should not become, as some have suggested, a landlord by purchasing the property and letting residents stay beyond February, and perhaps until the problem is fixed.

He does suggest other options.

“The city could cancel the deal… we’re not the owners yet. We could work with the owner, and find out what repairs need to be made? Then we could work with different groups to make the repairs,” said Aveni. “But no one is talking about them. Everyone is saying ‘just get out.”

John Steinbach has worked with groups to help people living in trailers. When the Holly Acres Mobile Home Park flooded in 2011, his Woodbridge Workers Committee secured nearly $1 million in state and federal grants to help residents afford repairs to their trailers and to purchase new appliances from HH Gregg.

Some of those grants were leftover monies awarded to the state following an earthquake in August of that year which shook Virginia and the rest of the east coast. It’s unlikely that similar grants will be available for East End Mobile Home Park residents, Steinbach said.

Residents were notified in August that they would need to vacate their properties by the end of February. In the end, some residents plead with city leaders for more time while others said their mobile homes are in such poor condition they could not be moved, which is a violation of city zoning laws that require mobile homes must retain the ability to be moved.

Your guide to Christmas festivities in Manassas


The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Manassas, as the town gears up for its annual festivities to be held this weekend, starting Friday, December 2nd. From the lighting of the community tree, to the parade, to Santa and Mrs. Claus, to merchant open houses, you won’t want to miss a moment.

“Merry Old Town” Christmas tree lighting

Enjoy some good, old-fashioned celebrating on the Manassas Museum Lawn with a Christmas tree lighting December 2. Hear holiday music from Jason Paul Curtis on the lawn from 5:15 to 6 p.m. Santa will arrive at the VRE station just after 6 p.m. He and Mrs. Claus will light the tree. Also, enjoy entertainment from local high school students in Osbourn Park Madrigals and Osbourn High School’s Center Stage. This event is sponsored by InsideNova Prince William.

71st Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade

Bring the whole family out for the second day of celebration in historic downtown Manassas. The parade will start on December 3 at 10 a.m., with marching bands, floats and Santa’s sleigh, which will be pulled by a Miller Toyota vehicle this year. General Manager of parade sponsor Miller Toyota, Ken Shepard, is excited to be a part of the event. He says, “Christmas brings out the little kid in all of us. Just to see the civic groups, the bands…it’s a great way to kick off what should be a family friendly month.”

This year’s parade is also sponsored by Stanley Martin, a local builder who enjoys supporting the community they helped build. Truett Young, VP of Land at Stanley Martin has lived in Manassas for over 18 years and has fond memories of bringing his own children to the Manassas Christmas Parade. “Old Town Manassas is a wonderful experience,” said Young. “Definitely bring your kids. It’s a great family event.”

This year, Santa will collect toys for needy children in the Manassas area prior to the parade. Bring a new, unopened toy to donate, and brighten up a child’s Christmas.

Free carriage rides downtown

You can tour historic downtown in a horse-drawn carriage from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 4. Carriage rides are free and will leave from the Manassas Train Depot. Get in the holiday spirit as you take in the sounds and sights of the season. Historic downtown will be fully decorated for Christmas. Carriage rides are sponsored by Historic Manassas, Inc., a nonprofit playing a leadership role in the community and helping to revitalize historic downtown Manassas.

Merchants’ Open House

Sunday December 4 at noon, many of the merchants downtown will open their doors with refreshments and specials. Joanne Wunderly, owner of The Things I Love, will open her doors a bit earlier at 11 a.m. with lots of refreshments and live musical entertainment. “I will have 21 themed Christmas trees, each depicting Christmas across the globe, such as New York, Russia, New Orleans, Norway, etc.,Wunderly says.

It is a really nice weekend, with so much going on. People of all ages can find something to enjoy, and it definitely is not like your cookie cutter, mall-type Christmas events at all. It is my favorite weekend of the year in Old Town, and sometimes I find it very emotional.”

Totally Vintage Design nets $6,000 from Manassas City EDA


MANASSAS, Va. — Melissa Harris has doubled her sales since moving to the corner of Center and Main streets just six weeks ago.

Harris is the co-owner of Totally Vintage Design, which moved from an old location one block over on Battle Street into what was previously a sandwich shop inside the old Rohr’s Museum in Downtown Manassas.

The gift boutique has become known for its selection of unique gifts, and for a selection of chalk paints used to restore old furniture and other home fixtures.

The Manassas City Economic Development Authority this month granted Totally Vintage $6,000. It’s cash the small shop doesn’t have to pay back as long as it remains in business for the next two years. Harris said she would use the cash to build a dressing room inside the store, add metallic store fixtures, and erect a barn door in place of an older, large door that leads to Main Street.

Harris scored a 60 out of 100 possible points on a rubric the city’s EDA uses to evaluate a business’ contributions to the city. Totally Vintage Design’s scoresheets notes the business will invest $28,000 in capital improvements to its retail space, collect $291,000 in gross receipts, and generate $3,155 in business taxes for the city.

Harris’ shop employs about five part-time employees. She plans on increasing the number of hours her employees work as sales grow, but the grant money will not be used toward that effort.

She moved her shop from Jefferson Street in Haymarket to Downtown Manassas two years ago, where she found a more engaged local business community, and multiple events designed to draw shoppers to the neighborhood, she said.

She runs the store with her mother — something she said she always wanted to do. Before opening her shop, she taught spin classes at the Freedom Fitness and Aquatics Center.

How a love for animals and a vet degree spawned a career as a Prince William County Police officer


This is the fourth of six stories in our series that will examine the unique assignments within the Prince William County Police Department.

When Assistant Chief Dawn Harman was growing up in Prince William County, she imagined a very different career path. Harman majored in veterinary science in college and was once with the Animal Control Unit of the Prince William County Police Department. Now Harman’s days are filled with duties that help keep the Prince William County Police Department a well-oiled machine.

All in a Day

Harman’s day may start with a series of meetings or just a clearing of ongoing matters on the desk in her office. She may also be called to Roll Call to speak on issues affecting the department.

Currently, this means fielding concerns about the heightened dangers of police work.

“People never call us when they are having their best day,” explained Harman. “The only difference between a cop and someone else is they [the perpetrators] have made a bad decision or had something bad happen to them.”

Harman wants those that are considering law enforcement as a career to know that public perception is hyped by media.

“People have always been fascinated with law enforcement,” she said, noting that officers are scrutinized every day by people with cell phone cameras, written about on blogs, and featured on social media. It is important to keep a sense of balance, remembering that the people they serve are no different than they are.

Up in the Ranks

From hiring to patrol to promotion, there is a sense of dedication, thoroughness, and fraternity, Harman said. While some also call the career a passion or a calling, Harman noted, “I think this is like any other job. You need skills.” Academy for new recruits is held in January and July. Harman said that through that process you can see who has skills and who will make the cut.

Also needed is the ability to take on opportunity. There are always job openings in different units, leading to some great opportunities. Harman knows this firsthand. Starting as an animal control officer, she moved up through different positions and ranks while juggling family and career, working in crime prevention and as Western District Commander while with the department.

Meeting the challenges of the job can definitely mean promotion. Others pay attention to rank, and Harman can remember considering it a big deal. Promotions are completely elective and based on consideration of skills as well.

“We try to balance everything the best we can,” Harman said about the promotion process, noting that they work with several different evaluation styles adjusting for issues, such as test anxiety.

When asked about rank, Harman called sergeant the toughest. The sergeant is no longer just ‘one of the troops,’ and a friendly detachment becomes necessary.

“It’s not the same relationship. You have to hold people accountable now,” she said. “You have to be straight forward. Some people aren’t comfortable with it.”

Sacrifice, Communication

There are sacrifices, too. Officers work set shifts, but family events and holidays may be missed because there’s a need in the department. Many people forgo certain positions or promotions because of the demands of both family and career. Harman shared that, while she has a great support system, she chose not to work in Criminal Investigations so she was not on call in the evenings.

“Challenges had to coincide with where I was with my family at the time,” she said.

Communication was big on Harman’s list of skills for which the department seeks. Good listening skills and the ability to ask constructive questions are important. The goal is to serve the community well. A successful encounter with the public includes the feeling that everyone is treated as a human being.

“You absolutely have to be an effective communicator, or you’re part of the problem,” she said.
Harman pointed out that some people want to be in Law Enforcement for power. “We
don’t want that.”

In the Community

Harman said that the people of Prince William County are very supportive of their police department, some even bringing food to officers earlier in the year after a fatal shooting of an officer.

“It’s a little morale boost,” she said.

This positive relationship may be directly related to the professional attitude that is widespread through the Prince William County Police Department, including by Harman, who has found the career to be very rewarding.

“I’d encourage people to go into the profession.”

For more information on career opportunities with the Prince William County Police Department, visit

Read more from our series

Prince William County Police detectives chosen to work for a higher cause

Prince William on patrol: ‘This Job is About Integrity’

Prince William County Police Digital Forensics team puts heart, soul, and mind into solving cases


Martin to present Wednesday at 1 Million Cups

MANASSAS, Va. — Realtor Stacy Martin will present at 1 Million Cups Prince William on Wednesday. 

From Martin: 

I have been a real estate agent for the past 13 years, trainer, recruiter, and an owner/investor in several Keller Williams Realty Market Centers. 

As a Realtor in the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, I have been consistently recognized as a Multi-Million Dollar Producer.  She has also earned the Accredited Buyer Representative designation, Military Relocation Professional certification, Certified Negotiation Expert designation, and Certified Military Specialist certification.

Prior to entering the real estate business, Stacy focused her attention on the IT and Telecom consulting industries, in which she worked for over 9 years.  

I am also a motivated member of the community.  She participates in and supports many philanthropic events, and also has personally driven the raising of over $120,000 for lupus research in seven years through her annual “Raising the Stakes to Fight Lupus” casino night fundraiser.    

Meeting weekly on Wednesdays from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, 1 Million Cups provides free networking and coffee to the public while providing  a platform to a local entrepreneur to talk about their business.

Each session is free to attend.


Sponsors Believe in the Greater Manassas Christmas Parade


The first Saturday of December will be something special, as it has been for the past 70 years: Crowds will gather in Historic Old Town Manassas to enjoy colorful floats, marching bands and, of course, Santa Claus at the Greater Manassas Christmas Parade. It takes dedicated volunteers, many hours and amazing sponsors to bring this community event down the streets of Manassas.

This year, the parade has taken on the theme “Believe.The theme fits right in with the commitment of two of the parade’s sponsors that are showing they truly do believe in their community.

Stanley Martin

As a member of the Stanley Martin family, Truett Young, VP of Land, understands about supporting the community. For over 50 years, the company’s values of giving back and putting customers first have been a cornerstone of the Stanley Martin brand. So, they knew they had a good fit with the significant commitment they made to the Christmas Parade.

Even though December can be quite busy, Young said Stanley Martin was very interested in sponsoring the parade. They feel connected to Manassas, having developed communities in the area, including Heritage Crossing, which is made up of townhomes, and Bradly Square, a mix of townhomes and single-family detached homes.

Their newest community will be Manassas Gateway, a mix of townhomes and condos. Manassas Gateway is being built behind the DMV office off Godwin and Route 28. Models are open at the two existing communities, and model homes will be available in the new community fall of next year.

Young lived in Manassas for over 18 years and began bringing his own children when his oldest were only two or three.

“My kids have always enjoyed going to the parade to see the bands and horses and floats, and of course Santa Claus.” When asked about his favorite part of the parade, Young said it always varies because there is so much to see.

While the Young family, now full of teenagers and school-age kids, relocated to Haymarket, they still make it to the parade every year.

“Old Town Manassas is a wonderful experience,said Young.Definitely bring your kids. It’s a great family event.”

Miller Toyota

Over at Miller Toyota, the mood is festive. Employees are decorating a brand new Toyota Tacoma that will be towing Santa through downtown Manassas on parade day. Several employees plan to hand out candy to the crowd as well.

General Manager Ken Shepard said it’s the chilly December day that is part of the fun.

“Christmas brings out the little kid in all of us. Just to see the civic groups, the bands…it’s a great way to kick off what should be a family friendly month.”

With over 40 years of helping neighbors find the best vehicles in Manassas, Miller Toyota upgraded to a new facility next to the Prince William Medical Center about three years ago. Shepherd noted this was also when the dealership began to be able to do more in the community, such as supporting local education and area nonprofits.

As a local dealership we want to support the community. We’re trying to do more of these things,” said Shepherd.

As a member of the Manassas community, Shepherd was introduced to the Manassas parades through a Veteran’s Day parade. After finding out more about the Greater Manassas Christmas Parade, Shepherd was hooked.

“I said ‘We just need to be part of this. This is a great thing.’”

The Greater Manassas Christmas Parade will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 3rd. More information and the parade route can be found at

2-alarm blaze displaces 5, destroys Manassas home


MANASSAS, Va. — A 2-alarm blaze gutted a home and damaged two others.

Fire crews were called to a townhouse located on China Grove Court, near the intersection of Clover Hill Road, on Friday for the fire. The blaze destroyed one house and damaged two adjacent homes, said Manassas City spokeswoman Patty Prince.

Five people were displaced. They were assisted by the Red Cross, she added.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Celebrate the Holidays here at the Manassas Park Community Center


The bright red, orange, and yellow leaves are falling off the trees, and the days are growing shorter and shorter. There is a chill in the air as fall decorations are taken down to be replaced by holiday decorations. Most of us have already seen holiday decorations in the stores.

You know, the holiday decorations you pretend you don’t see before Halloween, and well, before we know it, we will be in full holiday mode.

Instead of stressing about the holidays, why not plan to join us here at the Manassas Park Community Center (MPCC) for a variety of holiday events and programs.

The holiday fun begins here at the Community Center on Thursday, December 1, from 7 pm – 8:30 pm for the Dough Ornament Workshop.  Plan to be here to decorate and take home your own dough ornament. The staff at MPCC will supply all the materials; you supply all the creativity! Register for the workshop – it’s only $3 per ornament!

On Thursday, December 8th from 7 pm – 8:30 pm, the MPCC will be hosting our annual Gingerbread House Decorating Party. We will have fun building and decorating with lots of sweet treats. Families will need to pre-register at least three days in advance! The cost for this event is just $5 per gingerbread kit.

Then on Saturday, December 10th at 5:45 pm, we will have our annual Light Parade. This amazing display of lights on wheels will be sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Our annual parade of lights is a crowd favorite among residents living in Manassas Park and surrounding areas.

Residents decorate their cars with festive holiday themes, and as the sun sets, the lights on the cars glow and the parade begins. The cost to participate is only $10 per car. The parade starts at the Carondelet Drive intersection and ends at the Manassas Park Community Center. Participants are still needed; please contact Kaitlyn Collier if you would like to participate.

And, this year, we are announcing something new: It’s our first annual Tree Lighting and Holiday Celebration. It will immediately follow the Light Parade. At the Tree Lighting, there will be pictures with Santa, pictures with snow princesses, kid’s activities, and light refreshments for all who attend.

And the best part of this event is that it is absolutely FREE to attend. The MPCC staff is so excited to present this additional event and are hoping the weather cooperates! No ice or snow, please!

The following Saturday, December 17 from 9am-11am, bring the kids to the Community Center for Breakfast with Santa! There will be pancakes, photos, games, crafts, and lots of fun. Children of all ages are invited, and the cost is just $5 per person. Children under the age of 2 are included in their parent’s registration.

Later that same day (December 17) from 11:30 am-12:30 pm is Santa Paws where you can bring your puppy for pictures with Santa! It only costs $5 per pup!

You will have to enter through the patio located behind the Community Center. Don’t worry; there will be signs up directing you and your furry friends so that you won’t miss the fun.

With all of these fantastic holiday events scheduled here at the Manassas Park Community Center, let us handle the stress while you get into the holiday spirit. We’re looking forward to seeing you at Manassas Park Community Center throughout the month of December.

The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park, Va.

Managed by the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation, the facility is home to basketball courts, a swimming pool, and wellness areas as well as a variety of special events and programs. For more information visit us at or call at 703-335-8872.

Carmello’s of Manassas touts service award 

Alice Pires, Carmello's owner, receives Spectrum Award

Carmello’s of Historic Manassas, Va. was awarded City Beat New’s Spectrum Award for Excellence in Customer Service. 

The Spectrum Award of Excellence in Customer Satisfaction was established to spotlight companies providing exceptional service and experiences to their customers. Our research is done annually and is completely independent and unbiased. The award is only bestowed upon that fraction of companies earning our highest ratings. Through this award we honor our mission to provide voice to the unheralded small businesses that are the foundation of our communities and to find and promote excellence wherever we find it. 

Carmello’s of Old Town Manassas, Va. was established in 1987 and is owned by Portuguese immigrant, Alice Pires of Manassas, Va. The family-owned restaurant offers fine dining, serving a contemporary American cuisine with Portuguese and Mediterranean influence. In 2011, its sister restaurant, Monza, was created, providing bistro fare. Carmello’s earned the Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator magazine for six consecutive years, and has been voted best fine dining restaurant by Prince William Today for 2013. Their seasonal menus are complemented by their fresh produce from the restaurant’s garden. Carmello’s and Monza are active volunteers in its community, uniting with local charities to help those in need and to build community spirit. 

Jose Tomas Velasquez, 44, of Manassas, shot and killed

MANASSAS, Va. — Police in Manassas are investigating a homicide that occurred overnight. 

From police: 

On November 25, 2016 at approximately 1 a.m. officers responded to the 9200 block of Byrd Drive for a report of a shooting.  Officers arrived and located a male suffering from several gunshot wounds.  The victim was transported to an area hospital and pronounced dead a short time later.  Currently no arrests have been made.  Detectives are continuing to investigate this case and more information will be released when available.

The victim has been identified as Jose Tomas Velasquez, 44, of Manassas.

With ‘Bare Knuckle,’ KO to release first wheat whiskey

MANASSAS, Va. — A gin distillery in Manassas will get deeper into the whiskey business on Friday.


KO Distilling is releasing their first-ever brown spirit, Bare Knuckle American Wheat Whiskey, just in time for Black Friday. Containing a high wheat and no corn mash bill of 60% wheat, 30% rye and 10% malted barley, all from Bay’s Best Feed Farm in Heathsville, Va., Bare Knuckle has been aged for a year in full-size 53-gallon new charred American Oak barrels.

KO Distilling will unveil Bare Knuckle American Wheat Whiskey at a public release event, Black Friday, November 25th from 1:00pm-7:00pm at their distillery in Manassas. To mark this special occasion, KO is offering a limited number of commemorative bottles of Bare Knuckle to the general public. Each commemorative bottle comes with a special label that has been hand numbered and signed by both Bill Karlson and John O’Mara, KO’s founders.

As of January 1st, 2017, Bare Knuckle American Wheat Whiskey will be on the shelves at 100 Virginia ABC stores. Starting in December, it will also be available at liquor stores, restaurants and bars in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Delaware.

The distillery already offers a white whiskey, and three types of gin.

KO Distillery over the summer received $50,000 in grant monies to expand it’s Manassas City-based operation, hire new employees, and to source Virginia grains for its products exclusively from state producers. 

Northern Virginia traffic signals re-timed for holiday shopping season

From VDOT: 

From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, the Virginia Department of Transportation will re-time signals to help drivers enter and exit major shopping centers around northern Virginia more quickly.

Using traffic data gathered during last year’s holiday season, VDOT developed time- and location-specific signal-timing plans at 223 intersections.

Engineers will use traffic cameras and traffic sensors to monitor conditions and make adjustments in real-time, even on holidays, to help keep traffic moving in especially congested areas such as Tysons, Virginia Gateway and Fair Oaks Mall.

Holiday signal-timing will be in effect from Nov. 24, 2016 through Jan. 1, 2017 at the following shopping centers:   


  • Tysons and Galleria Shopping Centers
  • Reston Town Center
  • Fair Lakes Shopping Center
  • Fair Oaks Mall
  • Potomac Mills Mall
  • Manassas Mall
  • Springfield Town Center
  • Cascades Town Center
  • Potomac Run Center
  • Dulles Town Center
  • Leesburg Outlets
  • Dulles 28 Centre
  • Virginia Gateway Shopping Center

Also in time for Black Friday, VDOT’s six travel information displays at Tysons Corner Mall have been refreshed with a revised, easier-to-read layout and relocated to more convenient locations throughout the mall. The screens display real-time Metrorail and bus arrivals, as well as a rotating display of bus locations, travel times, traffic cameras, road conditions and incidents near Tysons.

Ice skating starts at The Harris Pavilion in Downtown Manassas


MANASSAS, Va. — Ice skating began at 3 p.m. today at The Harris Pavilion in Downtown Manassas. 

From The Harris Pavilion website: 

• Adults – $8.00
• Children 10 & under $7.00
• Skate Rentals $5.00
• Adult Season Pass – – $180.00 – Does NOT include skate rental
• Child Season Pass – $170.00 (10 and under) -Does Not  include skate rental
• Adult 10-visit pass – $70.00 (includes skate rental)
• Child 10-visit pass – (10 and under) $60.00 (includes skate rental)

Hours of Operation – 2016

Mon – Thurs 3:00 – 8:00
Fri 3:00 – 10:00
Sat 12:00 – 10:00
Sun 12:00 – 5:00

Holiday Hours 2016/2017

Dec 21st – 23rd 11:00 – 10:00
Dec 24th 11:00 – 5:00
CLOSED Christmas Day
Dec 26th – 30th 11:00 – 10:00
Dec 31th 11:00 – 5:00
Jan 1st 12:00 – 5:00
Jan 2nd 12:00 – 8:00

Man, 22, shot in Manassas

From Manassas City police: 


At approximately 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 17, 2016, Manassas City Police responded to the 9200 block of Byrd Dr. for a shots fired call. Upon arrival, officers learned that an unknown number of males were involved in a physical altercation.  An unknown person fired at least four shots in the area. A 22-year-old male was struck in the leg with one round. This is an active investigation with charges pending. Anyone with information pertaining to this incident is encouraged to call Manassas City Police Department at 703-257-8000.

Smoothie King in Manassas has expansion plans in Prince William County


MANASSAS, Va. — The owners of Smoothie King in Manassas plan to expand into Prince William County. 

Franchise owners Jamie and Tim Smith plan to open a new location in Bristow Center at the corner of Nokesville and Linton Hall roads, and another location in Haymarket. 

More from a post on the company’s Facebook page: 

“New Smoothie Kings Coming Soon – UPDATE: Our Bristow Center location will open in late January or early February (sorry, construction delays). Plus we are very close to finalizing our Haymarket Village Center location (Walmart shopping center at Rt.15 & I66) and expect it to open in the spring. Thanks to all our Smoothie Fans that have made Manassas a huge success and allowing us to expand.”

Jamie Smith told Potomac Local that she and Tim had plans to expand to more locations at the time they opened their first store in Manassas. 

“We opened Manassas in July 2015 and it’s had been very successful. We did have plans to expand, but certainly not if consumers hadn’t support us as well as they have. Manassas loves our smoothies and so will the rest of northwestern Prince William County. We have hopes to expand past these three in the future too, including a Gainesville and second Manassas location.”

Rangoli Indian cuisine opens in Manassas


Here’s our story on Manassas City’s only Indian restaurant. 

Plan your Prince William historic holiday events with tours, seasonal music, cider, and Santa Claus


It is the time of year time to start thinking of plans for the holidays, scheduling family trips, booking airline tickets, and creating delicious menus for hungry guests. During the last few months of 2016, consider bringing family and friends to one or more of our historic sites to participate in our special and unique holiday programs.

After the Greater Manassas Christmas Parade, come by and enjoy Lunch with Santa Claus at the Old Manassas Courthouse! On Saturday, December 3, families may partake in a delicious lunch, have a chance to meet Santa Claus, and directly deliver your “wish list” to him.

Kids may make a historic holiday craft before or after their meeting with Santa. If possible, please participate in our efforts to support Toys for Tots by bringing a new, unwrapped toy for donation. Lunch with Santa runs from 1 – 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 3; admission is $20 for ages 6 and up, $10 for ages 5 and below. Call 703-792-4754 for reservations. (Reservations are required as space is limited). The event will take place at the Old Manassas Courthouse, 9248 Lee Avenue in Manassas.

Holidays through the Ages returns to Rippon Lodge Historic Site in December. The historic house’s interior spaces shall be dressed with holiday decorations from various time periods, with a special dedication to the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Visit each weekend for these holiday-only tours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, December 2 – 4, 9 – 11, and 16 – 18.

Tours begin on the hour on the front porch. Tour times are 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Fridays and Sundays); 1 p.m. – 8 p.m. (Saturdays); $5 per person, children under six are free. The Rippon Lodge Historic Site is located at 15520 Blackburn Road in Woodbridge. Call 703-499-9812 for more information.

On Saturday evenings (5 p.m.-8 p.m.) enjoy colorful outdoor lights and tree displays decorated for the season by local schools, art studios and organizations, live seasonal or period music by local schools and guitarists, and holiday songs sung by school choirs. Children’s crafts, light refreshments, a warm beverage, and shopping for unique Rippon Lodge merchandise round out a wonderful holiday tour.

Reservations strongly recommended for groups larger than four guests. 

If you love seasonal music, then join us on Saturday, December 10 for two special Holiday Concerts at Brentsville’s Historic Union Church. Enjoy classic, seasonal music performed by the Brentsville District High School. A nice cup of hot cider and cookies by a warm bonfire round out this special event.

Concerts are Free and open to the public from 5 p.m. -7 p.m. Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre, 12229 Bristow Road, Bristow. 703-365-7895.

You better watch out! You better not cry! The one and only Santa Claus comes to Rippon Lodge Historic Site on Saturday, December 10. This visit is for one afternoon only!

Be on your best behavior and keep your name on the “Nice” list. Parents will be given special “Things Santa Should Know” cards upon arrival. Bring your camera for pictures!

With large numbers of excited tots expected, we ask parents bring plenty of snacks and extra activities for young children. Admission is from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.; $2 per child. Rippon Lodge Historic Site, 15520 Blackburn Road, Woodbridge, 703-499-9812.

We look forward to your visit to one of our great historical locations during this holiday season! For more information about our programs, please call the sites or call 703-792-4754.

Rangoli to hold grand opening Monday, will be only Indian restaurant in Manassas


Rangoli will celebrate its grand opening on Monday, Nov. 21 as the only Indian cuisine restaurant in Manassas.

The full-service restaurant relocated to the city after opening in Loudoun County 10 years ago. Owner Kumar Iyer said his fans have followed him to Manassas but were sad to see him close his old restaurant.

“I announced that we’re closing on Facebook and we got 400 comments,” said Iyer. “They did not want to see us go.”

The rising cost of rent was the reason for his departure from Loudoun. “You can’t be the rents here in Manassas,” he said.

The restaurant features a full bar, a lunch buffet, and catering services. It’s located next to the Vertical Rock Indoor Climbing Center on Route 28, in the same space as the short-lived Paradise Donuts shop that opened last year.

With 3,800 square feet of space, his new location is 65% larger than his previous space. The restaurant features a full-service dining area, full bar, and a lunch buffet.

Rangoli has been able to expand its catering offerings for special events and weddings in recent years. The new, larger restaurant could allow them to grow that side of the business even more.

“The Indian population has increased,” explained Iyer. “The first wave of people who came here in the 1980s and 90s, their children are now getting married, and the venues don’t offer Indian cuisine, so that’s when they call us to come and cater.”

Iyer, 44, has 27 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. After graduating from a technical school in India with a degree in hospitality management, Iyer scored a job on Royal Carribean Cruise lines working as an assistant beverage manager.

Later, he worked for the corporate restaurant chain TGIFridays before setting out on his own to opening Rangoli.

Rangoli is located at 10233 Nokesville Road in Manassas. A ribbon-cutting event will take place November 21 at 11 a.m.

The restaurant is open for lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For dinner, Rangoli is open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, and 5 to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

This Santa Claus missed just one Manassas parade in 28 years  


While the participants in the Greater Manassas Christmas Parade can vary some each year, one thing always remains the same — Santa. Joe Nelson has served as Santa in the parade for the past 28 years. He has a very specific job description he says, “To collect hugs from children and to listen to things they want for Christmas — but mostly collect hugs, which I’m very good at doing.”

Over the years, Nelson has worked with several coordinators.

“As it starts to come together each year you start to think ‘This is going to be a lot of fun.’ The city of Manassas really knows how to hold a parade,” he said.

Nelson noted how much work goes into the parade and that every year, this work is done by an all-volunteer crew.

“They are all volunteers — no pay — and to watch them put so much effort into it…that’s what I feel most proud of. We’re all volunteers doing something good because we love our city,” he said.

The 71st Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December, 3. Nelson has only missed one year of the past 28 and proudly wears the full Santa costume each year. He’s seen all weather from sun to snow and everything in between. He loves taking the route and sees memories along each street.

“I feel so privileged to be Santa. The house I grew up in is right along the parade route. I can remember like it was yesterday, being a little kid and looking up and Santa being so tall and ominous,” Nelson shared. “I am surrounded by memories as I play Santa. It can almost make this grown man cry.”

Nelson certainly spreads the holiday joy with a personal touch, as he knows and calls out many names along the route. “It is amazing the aura Santa has. I have never lost that thrill, and knowing I can do that for kids…it’s a big job to be able to do that.”

The tree lighting ceremony is the night before the parade, and Martin encourages everyone to attend this, as well as the parade.

“It’s the kickoff of the holiday season, and Manassas does it as good as anybody,” said Nelson. “I don’t think Manassas looks any better than during that time. The city just shines.”

As the chair, Olson encourages everyone to attend. “Bring your friends and family for a fun-filled morning in Historic Manassas.”

You never know, Santa just might call out your name.

For more information about the parade route, participants and sponsors, visit or the

NEW School closes, Manassas seeks to recoup funds

MANASSAS, Va. — Manassas City economic development officials will attempt to recoup $10,000 in funds from the NEW School.

The afterschool educational facility that opened in April has closed. The Manassas Economic Development Authority gave the business $10,000 for scholarships to make it easier for parents to send their children to the school.

Multiple attempts by the EDA to contact Alice Mergler, who is listed as the school director and owner on city documents, have been unsuccessful, said Manassas EDA Chairman Holmes Smith. Smith directed city Economic Development Director Patrick Small to send a letter to Mergler in an attempt to recoup the funds.

Under the terms of the agreement, The NEW School was to pay back the monies if it did close within its first five years of business. The business was also to provide a bi-monthly list of the names of students receiving scholarships.

The NEW School was located at 9830 Liberia Avenue. The non-profit business aimed to provide a place for students to do homework, take SAT prep courses, learn robotics, and prepare students for college and the workforce.

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