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Congressman Rob Wittman visits the Flory Small Business Center, Inc.

Cong Wittman Linda Decker Photo

Congressman Rob Wittman, who represents Virginia’s 1st District, recently visited the Flory Small Business Center, Inc. and met with the Center’s President & CEO, Linda Decker.

As a result of redistricting, Virginia’s 1st District now includes the Flory Center’s location and Decker appreciated the opportunity to discuss the Center’s mission, capabilities and ways the two offices can work together to benefit our region’s small businesses.

During their candid discussion, Mrs. Decker was pleased to learn that Congressman Wittman is a former board chairman for a community bank and possesses in-depth knowledge of business financing, including programs available through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

He also sees the need for public education to teach financial literacy at every level from elementary school through college, an issue that Decker deems critical to small business owners. She sees smart, savvy business owners struggling to develop financial strategies and internal financial controls that are crucial to their ability to survive and thrive.

In depth financial education, beginning in kindergarten, would provide all citizens with the knowledge they need to conduct their financial lives successfully. Wittman noted that he continues to support legislation to generate increased economic activity and domestic job creation. He believes that less government interference allows businesses to grow, in turn growing the economy and helping to advance an economic renaissance.

When small business clients encounter specific issues with local, state, or federal agencies, Mrs. Decker often calls on elected officials at all levels of government to act as an intermediary to resolve concerns. Small business issues are non-partisan and we are fortunate to have elected officials at all levels that are willing to get involved and provide necessary assistance.

Wittman was re-elected for his fourth full term in the House of Representatives in November 2014. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Natural Resources. In addition to his strong support for our nation’s military men and women, he is known as a champion of the Chesapeake Bay.

Wittman has earned a solid reputation as an advocate for our men and women in uniform. The Quantico Marine Corps Base is located in the 1st District and within the Flory Center’s service area and the Center’s Board and staff emphasize the need to serve our nation’s veterans. The Center is honored to have worked with James “Jim” Etter, the founder of American Military University (AMU).

In the early days of the internet, when Etter was newly retired from the Marine Corps, he saw its potential to provide a quality education to active duty military personnel all over the world. His first rate training and keen focus are attributes that many of our nation’s veterans are able to bring to their new business ventures. AMU was later reorganized as American Public University System (APUS), and American Public University (APU) was founded. When APUS’s parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) went public, it was the NASDAQ’s second most successful domestic IPO of 2007.

The Flory Small Business Center, Inc. is a non-profit, tax exempt organization dedicated to business development, retention, and expansion. The Center’s active Board of Directors is composed of distinguished business people who work and reside throughout the Center’s service area and the Center’s economic development program is based on the needs and requests of the small businesses they serve.

The Flory Center is funded by Prince William County, the Prince William County Industrial Development Authority, and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. Decker points out that local entrepreneurs are fortunate that our jurisdictions are committed to assisting both existing small business owners and potential “start-up” businesses.

The Flory Center works with referrals from organizations, such as banks and elected officials, who understand what they do and want to insure that small businesses have access to the information and resources that they need to start, grow, and thrive. The Flory Center has been a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration since inception. For more information, contact the Flory Small Business Center, Inc. at 703-335-2500 or by email at florycenter@verizon.net.

Hylton Center presents “Visions from Cape Breton and Beyond”

Famed fiddlers Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are joined by their children to present an afternoon of Celtic music and dance in “Visions from Cape Breton and Beyond” at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas on Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 4 p.m. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticketholders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance in the Hylton Center’s Buchanan Partners Art Gallery. Novant Health is the 2014-2015 Hylton Presents Season Sponsor.

This Celtic family celebration will include world-class fiddling, spectacular step dancing and family fun! Together on stage, native Nova Scotian MacMaster’s Cape Breton style fuses with Leahy’s Irish-Scottish roots and Lakefield, Ontario upbringing, and their children represent the next generation of Celtic music. Married in 2002, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are raising a family of six to do what they do best: fiddle and step dance. Natalie MacMaster started fiddling as a 9-year-old, and Donnell Leahy, a fiddler of the sibling octet Leahy, began fiddling competitively as a 4-year-old. Their careers have been filled with awards and acclaim, and the Canadian couple continue to perform, tour and co-host the annual Leahy Music Camp in the summer.

“Cape Breton Girl” Natalie MacMaster released her debut album, “Four on the Floor” at the age of 16. With 11 albums to her name, MacMaster’s accolades include multiple gold albums, Grammy nominations (and a Grammy win for her collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma), Juno Awards, Canadian Country Music Awards and several honorary degrees, as well as the Arts & Letters Award from the Canadian Association of New York and the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honor. Family man and bandleader Donnell Leahy released his family’s debut album in 1996. Leahy’s fanbase grew when the band toured with Shania Twain as the opening act of her World Tour and two television specials. With three Juno Awards, a Socan award and an Oscar Award-winning documentary, Leahy’s four albums represent a blend of musical styles.

With two separate successful careers, both MacMaster and Leahy have noted that they find fulfillment in performing and touring together. For more information on Natalie MacMaster, please visit www.nataliemacmaster.com. For more information on Donnell Leahy, please visit www.nataliemacmaster.com/bio-donnellleahy.htm.

Tickets for NATALIE MACMASTER AND DONNELL LEAHY’S “VISIONS FROM CAPE BRETON AND BEYOND” are $48, $41 and $29. Family Friendly: performance suitable for families with children. Youth Discount: tickets are half price for youth through grade 12. Visit the ticket office (open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) or charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit HyltonCenter.org. 

Manassas Park wants to extend school year, increased costs a concern


Added intersessions would include college prep courses, internships, field trips

Brenda K. Foster


This week, Manassas Park City Schools held round table meetings for its community members to address concerns about the district implementing a new balanced school calendar.

The new calendar would begin August 17 and close again on June 20.  This new schedule includes week-long breaks in October and March, with the usual 10-day holiday vacation in December.  Additionally, two-week long intersessions will be added to the calendar in October and April.  Intersessions are optional for the students and would include everything from college prep courses to internships and field trips.  They would be of no additional cost to the students.

School Board Chair Brenda K. Foster said that they modeled the new calendar off of Galax City Public Schools, which successfully implemented it last year.

“I am excited about any calendar option that can help improve learning success for our students,” Foster said.  The meetings were a way to get parents and community members involved in finding solutions or ideas for potential problems that may arise with the changes.  Over the course of the three meetings, 300 people attended, a huge turnout, according to Foster.

Community members raised some concern over the changes, particularly about the effect it would have on finding childcare and the costs involved.

“I’m a little concerned about overall cost and additional effort required by the teachers to implement the sessions,” said Leeann Brogdan, a parent  

She added that she liked the concept but wasn’t sure if the execution was the best.

Another concern was how this would affect summer vacations.  The meeting participants sat around circular tables and were able to discuss their concerns with others seated at their table. Then, they listed them on flip chart paper and taped them to the wall so that everyone could share ideas and opinions.

Despite parent’s hesitation, teachers seem willing to try out the new format at the risk they’d have to work more. 

“I feel like teachers by nature are willing to do extra work to help children succeed,” said Sara Silber, a 5th-grade teacher at Cougar Elementary School in Manassas Park.

Children also supported the change.

“You can prepare for the tests and all of that, but that’s nothing compared to real-world experience,” said high school freshman Alex Petsopoulos said about the proposed intersessions.

Petsopoulos expressed excitement in the type of activities that might be available in that week.

Though he did have some reservations about the start date. 

“My birthday’s the 18th, and we start school on the 17th so that can’t happen,” Petsopoulos joked.

Foster and the rest of the school board plan on traveling to Galax City Public Schools on Feb. 11 through 13 to observe their spring intersession before the board votes on the new calendar on February 23. 

Popular ‘Attack the Fat Challenge’ starts Monday at Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center

Do you know about the Attack the Fat Challenge? It’s one of the most popular, effective, and fun weight-loss programs at the Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center
It’s open to anyone, at any fitness level.
Robin Frey is a fitness program coordinator, certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor and the director of Freedom Attack the Fat Challenge at Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center in Manassas. We spoke with her to get the 


What is the Attack The Fat Challenge?

“It’s more of a full spectrum weight loss program and it runs for eight weeks…it’s based on focusing on weight loss but the overall effort that we do is that we want to promote and create lifestyle changes, not just during the eight weeks. For most people it’s just the starting point. A lot of people do it repeatedly because it works for them…and depending on the amount of weight they wish to lose, it may not happen in eight weeks.”   
What do participants do while in Attack The Fat Challenge? 
“Well actually the whole concept is they do train…and it’s based on percentage of weight loss…we make it a challenge so that it has some competitive edge to it but the overall focus is just to create a balance of accountability…to continue with fitness efforts for health, not necessarily for fitness. In other words, this is based on health and wellness, getting people appropriate nutrition and just trying to create a consistent effort with lifestyle change, it’s long term.”
 How much does the program cost?
“It [the program] breaks down to 20 dollars a session and the total cost is $480 but you’re getting 24 sessions, 24 full one-hour sessions…then in addition to that they get the support through nutrition tips and guidance…and body composition testing as well.” Frey also mentioned that there is an additional cost to non-members of the Freedom Center. 
 Attack-the-Fat-2015-flyer-791x1024How long does the challenge last? 
“Participants train three days a week with a trainer so it’s three one-hour sessions so they’re basically getting 24 training sessions as a group within that eight weeks, three times a week. In addition to that support that we offer is through our smart lab for evidence based testing for body composition or those types of things and also we do weekly weigh-ins”.
Is the Attack The Fat Challenge a seasonal program? 
“It’s twice a year, typically we do it  in February, March and then again in September.”
Is it too late to sign up? 
“The Attack The Fat Challenge  starts on Monday, Feb. 2. Registration does require you to be registered prior to the program but we work with people as well.”
Why did Frey get involved with the Attack The Fat Challenge?
“Well I started it, actually it’s been six years running now. I just felt that there was a need here at the Freedom Center to create programming in small groups that could be something that could bring more of an effort of accountability to each other, that tends to help. People can do training all the time but when they have other people depending on them to be part of their team, their group, it’s very successful. The success rate is much higher as far as them making the sessions, having to be responsible for that weekly weigh-in and then they bond and create groups that continue to train after that. We just didn’t have anything happening here in that capacity in programming.”
How does the Attack The Fat Challenge stand apart from similar programs?
“We were probably the original in this area. I know other facilities have programs similar to what we do, it’s a basic concept of accountability, through training, weigh-ins, and nutrition information…it’s just been very, very successful for us here. This our sixth year I believe, might even be longer. It tends to work. We provide a variety of workouts through different types of training. We may have them in the pool, TRX suspension training, circuit training, functional core…in other words we do a little bit of everything that we offer here…within those 24 sessions they’re getting a very large variety of different modalities of training.”
Why do people sign up?
Participants will] form groups and become friends and bond in that respect and want to continue to do it again, that kind of thing….plus we’ve had people that have lost over 100 pounds…it’s been very effective overall.” 

Keep Reading…

Come see the Capitol Steps at Hylton Arts Center & help Cecily replace the asbestos-laden siding on her home

When Cecily was in her 20’s she immigrated to the U.S. from Nicaragua.

capitol stepsTaking a job at Home Depot in Springfield, Cecily met her future husband, Eddy, who had emigrated from Palau. Cecily and Eddy married in 2008 and now share their Woodbridge home with their two children, Cecily’s mother, and grandmother.

A tight-knit family, everyone pitches in to help. Cecily operates a daycare from her home while also attending school at Northern Virginia Community College.

Cecily’s mom is a certified nursing assistant with a job in Washington, D.C. Eddy continues to work at Home Depot and he and Cecily’s mom and grandmother all help care for the children, too.

Habitat for Humanity Prince William County is looking forward to giving this hard working family a hand up with much-needed critical home repairs that will make their home safer, more comfortable and affordable.

Habitat for Humanity will replace the boiler that is original to the home, replace asbestos siding from three sides of the exterior and replace non-functional windows throughout the home. The deck must be rebuilt for safety. And the home will be weatherized for energy efficiency.

Habitat for Humanity thanks you for your support of the Capitol Steps event and welcomes you to join them on their work sites as a volunteer!

To learn more, visit Habitat for Humanity’s website at habitatpwc.org.

Mark your calendars for Laughs & Love benefit February 21 at 7 p.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Not only are we having the hilarious Capitol Steps come to the beautiful Hylton Center, but our Rotary Club has proudly partnered with Casa, Habitat for Humanity, Rainbow Center Therapeutic Riding, Calling All Souls and Transitional Housing Barn as the beneficiaries this year.

The goal?

By selling out the 1,200 seats at the Hylton, we will raise $50,000. All proceeds raised will go directly to organizations that are on the front lines helping care for, encourage, lift spirits, give hope and opportunity to our struggling neighbors. These organizations are the unsung heroes in our community whose compassion makes our community a place we can be proud of.

They cannot do it alone!

To order tickets go to Hyltoncenter.org or call 1-888-945-2468. If you or your business would like to sponsor the event, please contact Steve Chapman, steve@washmydeck.com by Feb 10.

The preceding post was sponsored by Rotary Club of Bull Run.

I-66 meetings canceled, rescheduled due to snow

Stafford resident Thomas Jackson (left) looks over a VDOT project that will add 1,000 commuter parking spaces in the Staffordboro Commuter Lot off Va. 610 in North Stafford. Project representatives like Oliver Boehm (right) were available to answer any questions residents had during the design public meeting held at Moncure Elementary School on Wednesday night. (Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Snow prompted the cancelation of two public meetings designed to provide residents more information on what Virginia officials plan to do to Interstate 66.

A meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. at Bull Run Elementary School in Centreville is canceled. It comes after a meeting scheduled last night in Vienna was also canceled due to snow.

Meetings are still scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday that residents may attend.

Here’s a press release from the Virginia Department of Transportation:

Weather permitting, there are still two opportunities to attend an I-66 Public Information Meeting this week.  Meetings are scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015, at Battlefield High School in Haymarket from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. (with a snow date on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, if necessary)
  • Thursday, January 29, 2015, at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office in Fairfax from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

If you cannot attend in person, the meeting on Thursday, January 29, 2015, will be shown live at Transform66.org between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

There will also be two meetings next week due to yesterday’s and tonight’s cancellations.  The make-up dates and locations are:

  • Tuesday, February 3, 2015, at Oakton High School in Vienna from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 5, 2015, at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office in Fairfax from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

Please visit the project website at Transform66.org for more information.

Police see pot in plain view, search Manassas area home

A man from Stafford told police he was paid money to leave a party at apartment near Manassas. When he left, the man said someone confronted him and demanded his money back, police said.

That man ended up in a hospital, and police who came to the apartment ended up spotting marijuana and then searched the place.

Here’s the full incident report from Prince William police:

Malicious Wounding | Strong Armed Robbery – On January 24th at 4:56AM, officers responded to a residence located in the 7200 block of Manassas (20111) to investigate a robbery. The victim, a 21 year old man of Stafford, reported to police that he was attending a party at an apartment in the above area with two other known acquaintances when the group was asked to leave by the resident, later identified as the accused. The accused gave the victim money to leave which the victim took and voluntarily left without issue.

The victim and the two acquaintances, returned to their vehicle in the parking lot when the accused confronted them. During the encounter, the accused repeatedly struck the victim in the face and demanded his money back. The accused eventually took the original money and other money belonging to the victim before returning to the apartment. The victim sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported to an area hospital for treatment.

Officers made contact at the apartment and located the accused. While speaking to the accused, officers observed marijuana in plain view. A search warrant was obtained and subsequently executed. As a result of the search, money, marijuana and other suspected narcotics were recovered. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested.

Arrested on January 24th:

Messiah Thor KWAK, 22, of 7231 Royal Fern Cir, #303 in Manassas

Charged with 1 count of malicious wounding, 1 count of robbery, 2 counts ofpossession with intent to distribute a scheduled I or II narcotic and 1 count ofpossession with intent to distribute marijuana

Court date: March 25, 2015 | Bond: unavailable

We’re all Scottish this weekend at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

Whiskey, haggis, crafts and children’s games will all be on center stage this weekend at Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas.

The arts center will hold its “Hylton in the Highlands: A Festival of Scotland” from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24.

From dancing, bagpipes to tea, the festival is billed as offering something for everyone who loves all things Scottish.

“We are so excited to bring out our second edition of ‘Hylton in the Highlands: A Festival of Scotland,’” stated Rick Davis, executive director of the Hylton Center in a press release. “There’s something about the people and traditions of Scotland that makes them fun and accessible for everyone – whether it’s their music, food, ingenuity, bravery, arts and crafts or just general good spirits. Come one, come all.”

Here’s a listing of the day’s events:


  • Alan Reid and Rob van Sante, of Battlefield Band, perform a lively concert of modern and traditional Scottish folk music, original compositions and Battlefield Band favorites.
  • The dynamic trio of Elke Baker, Ken Kolodner and Brad Kolodner explore the evolving traditions of Celtic music and its influence on the old-time music of Appalachia

Interactive experiences:

  • Children’s Passport to Scotland featuring Highland games and crafts, in cooperation with Mid-Atlantic Scots 4 Tots
  • Scottish country dancing demonstrations and open social dancing, presented by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society
  • A fiddle workshop with U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion Elke Baker
  • A “bring-your-own-fiddle” jam session with Elke Baker, Ken Kolodner and Brad Kolodner

Scottish history and culture presentations:

  • Lectures on Scotland’s “National Dish,” haggis, and on American naval hero and native Scotsman John Paul Jones
  • Bagpipe demonstrations with master piper and teacher Paula Glendinning

Exhibits highlighting authentic crafts and goods for sale:

  • Jewelry, pottery, traditional apparel and much more, with exhibits by R.E. Piland Goldsmiths, Sheep’s Clothing, Sonny Fletcher Pottery.

A Taste of Scotland (additional fees apply):

  • A Scotch whisky master class with native Scot and internationally renowned whisky connoisseur Dougie Wylie, “The Scotch Whisky Man,” with Scotch whisky provided by one of Scotland’s oldest family-owned and operated distilleries, William Grant and Sons

  • A full afternoon tea with homemade scones, clotted cream and jam, tea sandwiches, custom blended teas, sweets and more, presented by The Things I Love of Old Town Manassas

  • The Burns Night Supper, a celebration of Scotland’s national bard, poet and lyricist Robert Burns, featuring Scottish music, poetry reading, a Scotch whisky tasting and the ceremonial presentation of Scotland’s “National Dish,” haggis

Tickets for the festival are $20 each for adults and $5 for children. Families may purchase four tickets for $40, good for admission for two adults and two children.

VDOT wants to transform I-66 corridor, plans public meetings

Drivers headed south on U.S. 29 in Gainesville now use an elevated bridge to cross train tracks. The new separated interchange is expected to stop frequent train vs. car collisions in the area. [Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

Transportation officials in Virginia say they can improve Interstate 66.

The idea is to make a 25-mile stretch of the highway between Haymarket and the Capital Beltway a multi-modal corridor. This means adding express toll lanes like the I-95 E-ZPass Express Lanes that opened last month and new high-frequency bus service to the corridor.

Some key interchanges along the highway also need to be reevaluated to improve transportation along the corridor.

Now, officials plan a series of public meetings to solicit feedback on the roadway project. The meeting locations listed below: 

Monday, Jan. 26, 2015

Oakton High School

2900 Sutton Road, Vienna, VA 22181

Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015

Bull Run Elementary School

15301 Lee Highway, Centreville, VA 20121

Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015

Battlefield High School

15000 Graduation Drive, Haymarket, VA 20169

Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015

VDOT Northern Virginia District, 1st Floor, Occoquan Room

4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030

Each meeting will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. A brief presentation will be held at 7 p.m. during each meeting, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Inter-Service Club Council installs new officers at Manassas ceremony

Greater Manassas leaders beamed with pride on Thursday night, Jan. 15, at the Inter-Service Club Council’s (ISCC) Annual Banquet. 

Mayor Hal Parrish and Judge Carroll A. Weimer, Jr. participated in the volunteer awards ceremony and the installation of the 2015 officers.  City Councilwoman and outgoing ISCC President Sheryl Bass began the event with a call to order.

Signs of a successful community were spotted throughout the Manassas Church of the Brethren recreation hall.  Merit badges decorated the Boy Scouts Troop 670 as they performed the flag ceremony and served the dinner.  Framed awards of volunteer excellence and an impressive “Volunteer of the Year” trophy were showcased.

Mayor Parrish spoke about the importance of community volunteerism as a “good dose of medicine during hard times.”

Judge Weimer conducted the installation of the new 2015 ISCC officers: President Ernie Newland, Vice President Chester Smith, Secretary Joseph Angsten and Treasurer Julian Rozzell.

The following outstanding volunteers were awarded for their accomplishments to the Greater Manassas community: Chester Smith, Manassas Host Lions Club; John Mitchell, Jr., Manasseh Lodge 182; Charlie Fromm, Boy Scouts of America; Xiao-Yin Byrom, Rotary Club of Manassas; Don McCubbin, Habitat for Humanity; Erin Beckman, Historic Manassas, Inc. and Judy Holt, Lake Jackson Lions Club.

Xiao-Yin Byrom was announced as the Volunteer of the Year. Byrom was honored for her selfless and touching contributions to community projects in Manassas as well as her travels to Mexico to deliver more than 50 wheelchairs.

Kisha Wilson-Sogunro, Manassas City Neighborhood Services Manager, Councilwoman Sheryl Bass and Chester Smith were recognized as charter members for the ISCC of Greater Manassas, organized in 2012 as a liaison between the various member organizations of Manassas, Manassas Park and western Prince William County.

VRE trains from Manassas stopped after pedestrian struck

121212 VRE


Police in Manasssas released the following information about the pedestrian who was struck this morning along railroad tracks in the city. 

Here’s the latest info: 

Pedestrian Struck by Train

At approximately 3:20AM on January 22, 2015, an adult male was struck by a train on the 8400 block of Kao Cir just south of Osbourn Park High School.  The victim, whose name is withheld pending notification of next of kin, was pronounced deceased at the scene.  No foul play is suspected at this time.

7:10 a.m. 

6 a.m. 

5:40 a.m. 

Riders on Virginia Railway Express from Manassas could be delayed this morning.

The transit agency stated via Twitter that it appears a pedestrian was struck by a train.

With the Metro option in place, regular VRE riders can now use their VRE ticket to board the Metro subway system to get to work. The closest Metro station near Manassas is the Vienna station on the Orange line in Fairfax County.

We’ll have more on this as it develops.

ANU students take MLK Day, register to vote in Prince William County

Vote, MLK day, election

In recognition of the Martin Luther King holiday and a day of service, Medical Assistant students from the Northern Virginia Campus of American National University collectively registered to vote in Prince William County. 

Their inspiration came not only from Dr. Martin Luther King, but also from the ANU Mission Statement, which states, “Graduates of American National University should understand and practice their responsibilities to their families, their fellow men and their communities by becoming effective and contributing citizens.”

Led by their instructor, MJ Williams of the Roanoke Campus, the students committed to volunteering in the community and becoming informed voters.

Updated: Prince William cancels evening activities

(Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)

Prince William County Public Schools canceled all evening activities tonight. 

Here’s full information in a statement from the school division: 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015: After School and Evening Activities Canceled-Normal Dismissal today. 

All Prince William County Public Schools divisionwide after-school and evening activities are canceled for tonight. All after-school and evening activities including night school, GED, and adult education classes, are canceled this evening. SACC and the Next Generation programs will close at 5 p.m. School will continue to operate on a normal schedule for the remainder of today.  

A School Board meeting that had been scheduled for 7 p.m. is also canceled. 

On the Prince William County Government side of the house, tonight’s meeting of the planning commission is also canceled. All cases will be rescheduled for Feb. 18, according to a press release. 


Manassas First Friday February: It’s the ‘Souper Bowl’

Souper Bowl
  • Historic Manassas, Inc.
  • Address: 9431 West Street, Manassas, Virginia
  • Phone: 703-361-6599
  • Website: http://visitmanassas.org/

Historic Downtown Manassas is putting on the Soup for First Friday February.

On Feb. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m., city restaurants are pairing up with downtown merchants to offer a soup for sampling. Five-dollar wristbands allow participants to sample the soups from each location and vote to name a champion of the “Souper Bowl.”

A list of participating merchants for Manassas First Friday is available at visitmanassas.org.

Inspired by the success of the monthly event concept held in other localities, First Friday in Historic Downtown was created by the Historic Manassas, Inc. promotions committee to enhance tourism and entertainment offerings in the City of Manassas. The initial First Friday event was held in February 2014 and has grown and evolved. Some months feature roving musicians and caricature artists, while other months feature sidewalk art or special foods, like this month.

Manassas police report: Shots fired near Tommy’s Place

The following is a listing of incidents released by Manassas City police:

Breaking & Entering

On January 18, 2015, Manassas City Police met with a citizen at Mexico Lindo Restaurant, located at 8630 Mathis Ave, for a report of a burglary that occurred in the past.  The reporting party told officers that during the overnight hours of Saturday, January 7th, someone broke into the business, caused damage to the doors, and stole a safe and an undisclosed amount of cash and checks from the business.  Please see the attached bulletin for additional information and surveillance images recorded during the incident.  This is an ongoing investigation.

Description of vehicle:    White van consistent with a newer model Dodge Caravan

Description of suspect:  White or Hispanic male, approximately 5’-10” to 6’-3” with a thin build, wearing a sweatshirt, gloves, jeans, tennis shoes, and some sort of hood or cover over his head

Shots Fired

At approximately 1:40AM on January 17, 2015, Manassas City Police officers were patrolling in the area of Tommy’s Place, located at 8910 Mathis Ave, when they heard gunshots from a parking lot nearby.  A witness told officers that she saw a black male standing next to a 2007 or 2008 Grey or Silver Nissan Altima in the same parking lot.  The witness did not see a firearm, but saw two flashes of light and heard what sounded like gun shots.  There were four other black males in the car telling the suspect to get back inside.  The suspect reentered the vehicle and as it left making a right onto Mathis Ave, the witness heard what sounded like another gunshot and saw another flash.


On January 13, 2015, Manassas City Police met with an employee of Signal Hill Apartments, located at 8713 Signal Hill Rd, for a report of a larceny.  The reporting party told officers that sometime between 8:30AM and 4:00PM on January 12th, someone had damaged all four laundry machines inside one of the two laundry areas on the property.  The coin boxes had also been stolen from the two washers.

Armed Robbery

On January 14, 2015, Manassas City Police responded to Exxon, located at 9901 Wellington Rd, for a report of an armed robbery that had occurred ten minutes prior.  The reporting party told officers that at approximately 7:30PM, a male suspect entered the store wearing a blue bandana to cover his face.  The suspect displayed a black handgun and demanded money, to which the clerk complied.  The suspect was last seen fleeing on foot towards Sandalwood Dr with an undisclosed amount of cash.  Please see the attached bulletin for additional information and surveillance images recorded during the incident.  This is an ongoing investigation.

                Description of suspect:  Hispanic male in his 20s or 30s, 5’-4” to 5’-7”, 160 lbs, wearing a blue bandana to cover his face, a black baseball hat and a light blue sweater

Manassas students will head back to class before Labor Day


Now that Prince William schools will start classes prior to Labor Day, Manassas schools will do the same.

Here’s the latest in a press release from the city’s schools office:

On Tuesday, January 13, 2015, the School Board approved a revised 2015-16 calendar that now includes an August 31, 2015 start date for students.
Virginia law typically prohibits school divisions from starting prior to Labor Day. However, the Virginia Board of Education waives the requirement if a school board certifies that it meets one of the good cause requirements set forth in the code. Recently Prince William County Schools (PWCS), adopted a start date prior to Labor Day for 2015-2016 by meeting exemptions as indicated in the Code of Virginia.

The decision by PWCS now enables Manassas City Public Schools (MCPS) to meet one of the “good cause” options of Section 22.1-79.1 of the Code of Virginia, which states “if a school division is entirely surrounded by a school division that has an opening date prior to Labor Day in the school year for which the waiver is sought, such school division may open schools on the same opening date as the surrounding school division”. Therefore, the previously approved MCPS school year calendar for 2015-2016 has been amended to include a pre-Labor Day start (August 31, 2015) for students.

Please note that this change still fulfills the 180-day requirement for students with the last day of school now listed as June 16, 2016.

Culpeper man charged sex case involving minor

A man now faces charges after police said he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old boy beginning in 2004.

Here’s more in police press release:

Aggravated Sexual Battery | Taking Indecent Liberties – On January 12th at 1:55PM, detectives from the Special Victims Unit began an investigation into a sexual assault which was reported to have occurred at a residence in the 11100 block of Stagestone Way in Manassas (20109) between 2004 and 2010. The investigation revealed that the victim, a now 24 year old man, was sexually assaulted by the accused, a known acquaintance, on more than one occasion during that time frame. The victim disclosed the abuse to other family members September of 2014. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested.

Arrested on January 13th:

Dennis Corwin BELYEA, 45, of 14491 Clemair Dr in Culpeper

Charged with 3 counts of aggravated sexual battery and 3 counts of taking indecent liberties with a child

Court date: pending | Bond: held WITHOUT bond 


After McDonalds robbery, young mom shown path to a degree

degree, credit, mcdonalds

Amercian National University (ANU) student Jazmin Lopez works toward her medical associates degree.

ANU provides young mother flexibility, path to medical assisting degree     

Jazmin Lopez, 20, of Manassas, knew that she needed to make a change in her life, and ANU offered her an opportunity to work toward her degree in a growing field.
Her neighbor was the first to recommend American National University, which has a campus in Manassas located on Liberia Avenue.

“They were promoting the school [at Gold’s Gym], when [my neighbor] met a recruiter from ANU,” Lopez said, continuing, “She was giving me information, but I wasn’t so sure about going to school.”

Lopez had made an appointment to meet with the recruiters on the campus, but still wasn’t sold about pursuing her degree.

Then, one night while working at a McDonalds, she was robbed.

“I wasn’t  speaking at the moment,” Lopez said of the experience, which traumatized her. “I thought it was time to change, and turn my life around,” Lopez said, prompting her motivation to get out of the fast food industry and earn her degree.

A few days after the incident, Lopez did meet with an ANU ad visor about the school’s opportunities for her. The robbery proved to be a turning point in her life that made her want to seek new opportunity and a higher education.

“The recruiter asked me why it took me so long to finally decide to go back to school. And I enrolled that same day…I thought it was really a great idea, because it’s only five minutes away from my house. And it caught my eye because they have really small classes, which means more attention for us as students,” said Lopez.

For her, the flexibility of the classes and assistance that the school has provided her, have allowed her to continue her education as a working young mother.

While still working at McDonalds, Lopez is currently obtaining her Medical Assistant degree, as a member of the class of 2016.

credit, mcdonalds, degree

This Manassas woman was robbed while working at a McDonalds. It was then she decided she need to change her life. She went to ANU in Manassas for a better opportunity.

Blunt metal rod used in Manassas burglary

On January 13, two victims living in a Manassas apartment were assaulted using a blunt metal rod. The female suspect and her female friend were at the apartment hours earlier and returned with a group of male suspects.

The suspects then forced their way into the apartment, where they assaulted the victims, causing non-life threatening injuries, police said. Three suspects have been located and identified, the investigation is ongoing.

Here’s the latest from Prince William police;  

Malicious Wounding | Burglary while Armed – On January 13th at 1:38AM, officers responded to the 8100 block of Peakwood Ct in Manassas (20111) to investigate a burglary. The investigation revealed that the accused, identified as Brianna O’TOOLE, was attending a gathering at an apartment in the above area with another female acquaintance when both were asked to leave by the resident for causing problems. Both females left and returned a few hours later with several other male suspects. The accused and the group forcibly entered the apartment and assaulted two of the occupants, identified as a 17 year old male juvenile of Manassas Park and a 21 year old woman of Manassas, with a blunt metal rod. Non-life threatening injuries were reported. The group dispersed prior to officers arriving at the apartment. Detectives have since located and arrested accused, in addition, to two of the suspects involved in the incident. The investigation continues.

Arrested on January 13th:

01152015 o'toole

Brianna Seval O’TOOLE, 18, of 14713 Basingstoke Lp in Centreville

Charged with 2 counts of malicious wounding and 1 count of burglary while armed

Court date: March 17, 2015 | Bond: held WITHOUT bond


01152015 abdullah

Nashuran Salim ABDULLAH, 18, of 9651 Laurencekirk Pl in Bristow

Charged with 1 count of burglary while armed

Court date: March 17, 2015 | Bond: held WITHOUT bond


Arrested on January 13th: [Juvenile]

17 year old male juvenile of Bristow

Charged with 2 counts of malicious wounding and 1 count of burglary while armed

Court date: pending | Status: held at the Juvenile Detention Center

Chavez resigns Manassas School Board seat

Ilka Chavez resigned her seat on the Manassas City School Board last night.

The school board member was first elected to the position in 2012 and was to complete her term in 2016. Chavez said her decision to step down was a personal one that “is in the best interest of her family.”

Her resignation leaves an open seat on the Manassas City School Board. The school division office posted a press release with more details:

Chavez has been a member of the School Board since July 2012.  During her tenure, she has served on the Academic Committee, Educational Support Committee, Personnel Committee, and the ESOL Advisory Committee.  Chavez has also been deeply involved in the Virginia School Boards Association.   

“Mrs. Chavez has served the citizens of the City of Manassas and the children of Manassas City Public Schools well for the last two and a half years,” said Tim Demeria, Board Chairman.  “She is a true public servant and an advocate for children, so I know she will remain involved in our City.  On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank her for her contributions and we wish her well.”

Chavez’s resignation now means that there is an opening to serve on the School Board.  The Board has 45 days to fill the vacancy with a provisional appointment. City of Manassas residents interested in being considered for appointment by the School Board should send letters of interested and a brief resume to the school Board, Attention: Clerk of the Board, 8700 Centreville Road, Suite 400, Manassas VA  20110.  Letters of interest must be received in the Clerk’s office by 4:30 pm on February 2nd.

Candidates will have the opportunity to present their qualifications to the School Board at a Public Hearing to be held on February 17th at 7:00 pm. (and February 18th, if necessary) at the School Board’s administrative office.

The appointee will serve until November 2015 when a special election is held to fill the remaining year of Chavez’s original term.


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