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Video of Prince William County School Board Chairman Debate

Potomac Local sponsored a debate Monday, Oct. 12, 2015 featuring three candidates for Prince William County Public School Board Chairman. 

The candidates are Tracy Conroy, Ryan Sawyers, and Tim Singstock.

The debate was hosted by the Dar Al Noor Islamic Community Center on Hoadly Road near Dale City, Virginia. 

The video was shot and edited by Bill Golden with the Coles District Civic Association.

These upcoming events help you celebrate ‘Spooktacular Manassas’

Now that the leaves are starting to take on red and auburn hues and the morning air feels crisp – it means it is time to celebrate fall in Manassas! From the annual Fall Jubilee to creepy cemetery tours, there is something going on every weekend in the City. There is no better place to celebrate autumn and Halloween!

The 2015-16 season of the Manassas Ballet Theater starts on Oct. 23 with the show “Jazz in Motion,” which combines ballet with contemporary and classic jazz standards. Show your tickets to several downtown restaurants and receive a dinner & a show discount! See the complete list online. Hylton Performing Arts Center. Tickets start at $15.

Take a guided tour of the Spirits of Manassas on Oct. 24 and trace the stories of the weird and sublime. Hear about historical figures who once passed through town, including authors Charles Dickens and Edgar Allen Poe, The Gray Ghost (John S. Mosby) who spent time at the old Opera House, and learn about strange incidents along the railroad tracks – including a ghost cow! Tours start at the Manassas Museum on the half hour from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Buy tickets at the Museum, online, or call 703-368-1873 – $15/adults; $7.50/kids 12 and under.

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Join the last bicycle tour of the season on Oct. 24 from 9 to 11 a.m. Explore historic areas around Manassas with fellow cyclists. See historic homes, the only remaining earthwork constructed in 1861 by Confederate soldiers, and more. Buy tickets at the Museum, online, or call 703-368-1873 – $5.

Swing by Haunted Happenings on Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to noon for family fun. Activities will be held in the Center for the Arts parking lot. Kids can decorate their own pumpkin and participate in a costume contest before heading into downtown businesses for trick-or-treating. 9431 West Street. Downtown Manassas. Free.

Hurricane Joaquin threatened to rain out the Annual Fall Jubilee, so it was rescheduled for Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Browse cool crafts, play games, pick out a pumpkin, and enjoy live music and dance performances. Enter pumpkin pie baking and eating contests or the cornhole tournament. Manassas. Free.

Follow the Headless Horseman to the Pied Piper Theatre company’s production of Sleepy Hollow on Oct. 24 at 2 and 7 p.m. and  at 3 p.m. Metz Middle School. 9950 Wellington Rd. Tickets start at $11.

Don’t miss taking a tour of the Manassas City Cemetery, which dates back to the 1860s, on Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. Manassas is not a quiet little town where nothing ever happens! Listen to tales about the City’s most notorious figures, gory murders, criminals behaving badly, and crossed debutantes. Manassas City Cemetery at 9317 Center Street. Buy tickets at the Manassas Museum, online, or by calling 703-368-1873 – $5. (These stories are not meant for children’s ears!)

Follow the trail of balloons downtown to businesses displaying artwork by local featured artists during the Fall Gallery Walk on Friday, Nov. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. Downtown Manassas. Free.

Get a jump start on your holiday shopping and support patient care at the Holiday Bazaar at the Novant Health Prince William Medical Center on Nov. 6 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Browse handmade and one-of-a-kind items – see the website for a list of vendors. Medical Office Building, 8700 Sudley Rd., 14th floor. Free.

Join your fellow community members at the Greater Manassas Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 7 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Stop by a downtown coffee shop and settle in along the parade route along Center Street to celebrate area Veterans. Downtown Manassas. Free.

Don’t forget the farmer’s market continues to be open on Thursdays in the Harris Pavilion and Saturdays in Parking Lot B from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pick up your favorite fall staples before grabbing lunch nearby.

Find arts & crafts vendors, hayrides, food trucks at Manassas Park Fall Arts and Crafts Festival

The Manassas Park Community Center is excited to announce their first annual Fall Arts and Crafts Festival to be held on Saturday, October 17 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. This festival will feature arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, games, hayrides, and a moon bounce.

The festival is the culmination of the tireless work of many individuals. For the past four years the community center has hosted the Fall Arts and Crafts Cornucopia which focused on vendors, but the community challenged the Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation staff to create a full feature festival.

Met with the opportunity to better serve the community, the Parks and Recreation staff envisioned a festival that combined the hometown charm of art and crafts with family friendly entertainment. There has been a lot of excitement in anticipation of the event as seen in the Fall Arts and Crafts Festival Facebook event where you can also see previews of the merchandise vendors will be selling.

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Parking next to the festival, located at the Stone House off of Old Centreville Rd, will open at 9:30 a.m. Additional handicap parking will be assigned at that parking lot. Parking in front of the community center is encouraged as the hayrides will also shuttle participants to and from the festival. The community center parking lot will be open at 7 a.m. All are welcome to attend this free event.

The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street, Manassas Park, VA 20181. The community center features an indoor swimming pool, two fitness rooms for aerobic and strength training, and two full basketball courts. The community center also provides recreational opportunities such as programs and classes for all ages. For more information visit www.ManassasParkCommunityCenter.com.

News
Water tour tells story of ‘Blockade of the Potomac,’ showcases river sights

The Potomac River was brown, and unusually rough Saturday as a group of history lovers ventured out on the water.

“All of the sustained winds we’re getting out here makes it choppy, but we’re into fall now, and conditions change out here with the weather,” said Capt. Mark Perry, who ferried sightseers about on his Miss Rivershore boat.

All wanted a look several artillery batteries dating back to the Blockade of the Potomac River, which took place from Sept. 25, 1861, to March 8, 1862. Historians have called it one of the most significant events in the early years of the Civil War in Virginia.

“The Federals deemed the river unsafe to civilian ships, so they ordered it closed,” said David Born, tour guide with the Prince William Historic Preservation Foundation. This caused a coffee shortage in Washington, D.C, and residents couldn’t get the latest European fashions, so outraged D.C. residents write letters to newspapers and elected officials to complain.”

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Freestone Point (today known as Leesylvania State Park), Evansport (Quantico Town), Shipping Point (Hospital Point at Quantico), and Cockpit Point — 114 acres of land recently acquired by Prince William County in August to be preserved, all served as batteries during the war. The batteries proximity to Maryland made the area a danger zone, as Whitworth Rifles were used to fire as much as five miles across the river in Maryland.

Cockpit Point was the site of a 16-acre artillery battery. The county’s historic preservation department plans to place trails and signage on about 90 acres of the site to mark one of the most preserved batteries on the Potomac River.

Today, railroad tracks run up the middle of Cockpit Point, and crossing the tracks by foot to access the property is illegal. Signs and trails will be placed on 90 acres of land between the railroad tracks and the Potomac River. 

Boaters are able to enter the property from the river shore. 

“Maybe the county will put a dock on the property,” said Perry.

If a dock is built, it could cost upward of $70,000. Perry said he would operate boart tours that could launch from Occoquan and Leesylvania State Park to Cockpit Point. The tours would last about three hours, and would cost $15 per person.

“There is a lot to do to get the site ready for access so it will probably be a while before we can roll out a draft plan,” said Brendon Hanifin, with the Prince William County Historic Preservation Department.

Hanifin and his team plan to begin working with SunCal, developers of Potomac Shores, on a pedestrian bridge as a means of accessing Cockpit Point on foot. 

The Miss Rivershore launched from Leesylvania State Park and then headed north to see Freestone Point, at the most northern tip of the park. The boat came about and headed south along the river shore toward Hospital Point at the confluence of Quantico Creek at the Potomac River. Passengers saw Possum Point (site of a large power plant), Possum Nose, and Cockpit Point — which is nothing more than a small beach seen from the boat.

Miss Rivershore floated underneath a low rail bridge and into the Quantico Creek, where below lay the remains of sunken confederate ships the Martha Washington and George Page sit on the river bottom buried under silt. Boats played a large role in the blockade, as a boat was used on this stretch of the Potomac to launch an air balloon during the blockage for aerial reconnaissance. 

It is the first known use of an aircraft in a U.S. war, and the first known instance of aerial reconnaissance in the U.S., said Born 

Saturday’s boat tour was the final of three tours held on the river this year by the Prince William County Historic Preservation Department. Attendees paid $45 per person to go on the river cruise and were provided lunch from Blue Arbor Cafe in Occoquan.

Four similar trips are planned in the spring and four more in the fall of next year. Hanifin plans to release an approved schedule after November. 

A NuStar ethanol energy facility sits just west of Cockpit Point. Trains deliver the ethanol to the facility, and the ethanol is then trucked out.

“At this point I am not sure how much, if any impact the plant will have on access and interpretation,” added Hanifin. 

News
Dorestal charged with assaulting police officer

A Fredericksburg woman is charged with assaulting a police officer. 

Here’s the police report: 

Assault & Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer [LEO] – On October 13th at 8:45PM, officers responded to the 17100 block of Jefferson Davis Hwy in Dumfries (22026) to investigate a reckless driving complaint. When officers arrived in the area, the vehicle was located in a parking space in front of a business. Officers made contact with one of the occupants, identified as the accused. During the encounter, the accused became agitated towards the officers. The accused exhibited signs of intoxication and was placed under arrest. While being placed in the backseat of a police cruiser, the accused continued to resist and, at one point, bit an officer on the arm. Following the encounter, the accused was charged with the below listed offenses.

Arrested on October 13th:

Merley Jean DORESTAL, 43, of 11716 Elsie Ln in Fredericksburg

Charged with assault & battery on a LEO, resisting arrest andpublic intoxication

Court Date: November 23, 2015 | Bond: $2,500 secured

Spine-chilling tales will be told at historic Brentsville Courthouse, Rippon Lodge

With nearly 300 years of settled history, Prince William County has generated more than its fair share of paranormal activity. For those who would like to know more about our local ghost stories, special programs at two historic sites will explore some of the more famous stories and even possibly scare you.

Brentsville Courthouse 

It is said that Brentsville Courthouse Historic Center is haunted by the men and women who passed away in this area. On October 23 and 24, Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre in Bristow, Virginia will host special candlelight tours of the site. Each tour will explore some of the haunted history of the site, such as the murder of James Clark inside the renovated jail, or a 19th century County Sherriff, and much more!

Tours will begin at 7 p.m., with the last tour leaving at 9 p.m., though tours are not recommended for children under 12. Reservations strongly recommended.

For more information please call 703-365-7895.

Rippon Lodge

Rippon Lodge

Rippon Lodge 

It was once said that Rippon Lodge is said to be haunted in such a ghostly and sinister fashion that no one will occupy it.” On October 30, Rippon Lodge Historic Site in Woodbridge, Virginia will present a special evening program about famous ghost stories from Colonial Virginia. Our amphitheater will come to life for a delightfully spine chilling evening! Story times will be at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.. The cost is $5 per person, and reservations are strongly recommended.

For more information please call 703-499-9812.

Are you feeling creative? The call for the 2nd banner art contest for 2016 is open

A creative spirit and an artistic flare contribute to the City of Manassas’ “modern beat.” Once the historic downtown was designated an Arts and Tourism district, it became PL 2a growing destination for public art, galleries, and events. From works of art by local artists on display in restaurants and in City Hall to the curated shows and performances at the Center for Arts, the community embraces and celebrates creativity. This month, however, the City of Manassas’ art scene is interactive. Artists and art lovers have three opportunities to contribute to the community’s creative vibe.

First, it’s time to vote for your favorite banner on the lampposts in downtown. Historic Manassas Inc. sponsored a contest calling for banner designs and received more than 130 works of art from area artists. Faced with a tough decision, a Selection Committee chose 60 pieces of art to decorate the downtown and named the contest’s winner – “Train Station” by Kelly Willis, which featured the City’s historic depot.

But there is a second prize still up for grabs – the $500 People’s Choice Award. After months of admiring the works of art blowing in the breeze, you can now vote for your favorite. You have many choices ranging from fiery sunsets to cherry blossoms to teetering tea cups. Pick up a walking tour guide at the Manassas Visitor’s Center in the train depot and stroll downtown to view each banner one more time. Enjoy a day downtown, pick up a cup of coffee, do a little shopping, and deliberate over lunch before dropping off a ballot at the Manassas Visitor’s Center by Oct. 30.

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Are you feeling creative? The call for the second banner art contest for 2016 is now open. Artists over 16 may submit their designs and vie for a chance to be a part of Manassas’ art scene. The application and guidelines are available on Historic Manassas’ Inc.’s website. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 15, 2016. Don’t wait for the last minute. In addition to having your work on display in the community, there is a $1,000 grand prize.

Lastly, since it is never too early to get into the holiday spirit, the City has issued a call for ornaments for the holiday tree at Virginia’s Executive Mansion. All submitted ornaments will be on display at City Hall, but one lucky ornament will be sent to Richmond. The Governor is seeking one-of-a-kind, handmade ornaments that fit in with the theme, “Celebrating Virginia’s Localities.” If you have an idea for a unique way to represent the City of Manassas, drop your 6-inch ornament off at City Hall by Oct. 20. Learn more online.

News
Potomac Senior High School celebrates homecoming week

Students at Potomac Senior High School’s celebrated spirit week this week.

Monday kicked off with jersey/sport day. Students were able to show their appreciation for a favorite sports team or a favorite sport. 

Tuesday left us seeing double, as staff and students were given the opportunity to twin with whomever they wanted. 

Mr. Mesterhazy twinned with Mrs. Ramos by replicating her baby bump. On Wednesday, we were able to show our school spirit by dressing “Wacky Tacky.” The hallways were flooded with an array of vibrant colors and frilly tutus. 

Thursday we were able to release our inner nerd with “Nerd Day.” Different variations of the classic “Steve Urkel” look were sprinkled throughout the school building.

Spirit week will end Friday with “Break Out the Blue” day. Each class has been assigned their own class color. Freshmen will wear white, sophomores will be wearing Columbia blue, juniors will be wearing navy, and the seniors will be wearing black royalty. 

Potomac’s official end to spirit week will be with a pep rally Friday afternoon; classes will be shortened.

Our homecoming parade will start about 5:15pm in Newport Estates. Each class and many clubs will be represented throughout the parade.

Potomac’s homecoming game will be against Mountain View High School. The game will begin about 7 p.m. Friday.. The prices of the game ticket and dance ticket were bundled into one. 

Be sure to bring your dance ticket so you will be able to get into the game.

Homecoming will be this coming Saturday, October 10. The dance will begin around 7 o’clock with it ending at 11 o’clock in the evening. This year’s theme is “Hollywood.”

Tayah Nicole is a student reporter at Potomac Senior High School in Woodbridge.

News
Reprinting Prince William election ballots could cost thousands

It could cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix misprinted election ballots in Prince William County.

Five candidates on the ballot for the November 3 General Election will not see their listed as they requested them. Many of the candidates use and requested shorter versions of their name to be listed on the ballot. They’re getting their full names instead.

Here’s what was requested and what voters might see instead:

Mike May

May

Mike May (Commonwealth Attorney candidate) will be listed as Michael May

rick smith

Smith

Richard “Rick” Smith (Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman candidate) will be listed as Richard Smith

Steven “Steve” Chapman (Prince William County Board of Supervisors Woodbridge District candidate) will be listed as Steven Chapman

Earnie W. Porta, Jr. (Prince William County Board of Supervisors Occoquan District candidate) will be listed as Earnest Porta, Jr.

Chapman

Chapman

Gerald “Jerry” Foreman (36th District Virginia Senate candidate) will be listed as Gerald Foreman

Prince William County Electoral Board Secretary Keith Scarborough said each of the affected candidates submitted the proper form to indicate how they wanted their names listed on the ballot, but the mistake happened anyway.

Porta

Porta

“It wasn’t a space issue, it was our office when filling out the paperwork, messed up those forms,” said Scarborough. “…we made a mistake, obviously.”

The form included 28 spaces for candidates to fill in their names. It’s not uncommon for candidates to want their full names listed on the ballots, along with more common nicknames placed in quotation marks.

Foreman

Foreman

The upcoming General Election will be the first in Prince William County where paper ballots will once again be used at all voting precincts. New laws forced the county to get rid of electronic touchscreen machines and convert back to using machine scanners that tally votes when a paper ballot is inserted into them.

Prince William County struck a deal with Hart Invercivic, an Austin, Texas-based company that makes the voting machines. It also agreed to print all the ballots needed for the first five elections, starting with the upcoming November 3 vote, as part of the purchase agreement.

Scarborough said the ballots must be printed by that company and cannot be printed locally. The cost to reprint the ballots could range between $80 and $100,000, he added.

The Prince William County Electoral Board will meet Wednesday night to discuss their options, which include reprinting ballots, or placing signs at polling stations noting the names of the five affected candidates and displaying them as intended.

Candidates we talked to say the situation is unfortunate, but they don’t plan on asking for a reprint.

“The truth of the matter is, I don’t want to cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to reprint ballots. I wish it would have been done right but I understand these types of things happen,” said Earnie Porta.

“There’s overcrowding in classrooms, and traffic issues, so there are other things the taxpayers money would be better spent on.” said Steve Chapman.

News
Sports complex to be named after Ali Krieger

A new sports complex at Potomac Shores could soon bear the name of hometown sports hero Ali Krieger.

A new sports complex to be built by Potomac Shores as part of a 2013 agreement between the developer and Prince William County will include nine new fields, some to include soccer fields, a softball field, and two little league fields.

Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan wants to name the new sports complex after Ali Krieger, a member of the 2015 World Cup Championship U.S. Women’s Soccer Team. Krieger was born in Alexandria and grew up in Dumfries.

“This is really the last large park that is going to be built in eastern Prince William County, most likely, and in the Potomac District there really aren’t any soccer fields in the district, and this is a way to recognize one of Prince William County’s finest,” said Director of Prince William Soccer Inc. Mike Yeatts.

Krieger now lives in Arlington. Yeatts said he planned to speak with krieger family to gauge their reaction to the naming proposal. The soccer star could issue a statement through her agent, added Yeatts.

The “Ali krieger Sports Complex” would be located at 2400 River Heritage Boulevard.

A name change is also being considered for the Ben Lomond Community Center outside Manassas.

Located at 10501 Copeland Drive, the nearly 10,000 square feet commuity center has two meeting rooms, a multipurpose room, two dance studio, and a classroom, according to county documents.

Officials want to rename the center the “Pat White Center at Ben Lomond.” White was a community organizer who in 1970 formed a coalition of people who banded together to save a barn on the old Ben Lomond property — a dairy farm that purchased by a developer and turned into the residential neighborhood it is today.

The “save the barn campaign” was successful and county officials passed a bond referendum to save the structure. But repairs to the old barn became too costly, and the barn was replaced with a replica structure, according to county documents.

A naming committee inside the county’s parks and recreation department went to work August 19 and decided to name the center after White.

The naming of the sports complex, and renaming the community center are expected to be discussed Tuesday at the Prince William County Board of Supervisors meeting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News
Stewart, Smith disagree on BPOL tax but friendly on nearly everything else

What was an issue that once defined Prince William County as a contentious place for immigrants to be is no more.

An audience member at a debate Thursday night with Democrat challenger Rick Smith, and Republican Prince William County Chairman At-large Corey Stewart asked the incumbent if immigration was going to be an issue.

Stewart won national media attention in 2007 when he lead an effort to have police check the ID of every suspected illegal immigrant in the county.

“We’ve got to move on,” said Stewart. “We’ve implemented a policy that targets those who commit crimes, and we’ve turned many criminals over to [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement], crime is down, but we still have a way to go.”

Instead of checking every suspected undocumented migrant, it is the policy to check the immigration status of anyone arrested and charged with a crime in Prince William.

Stewart sold himself Thursday as an older, wiser politician who has learned to be a better leader since elected to the Board in 2006.

“When I first came into office I was out there throwing bombs and a lot of things, but I’ve learned that in a community as diverse in Prince William County you learn to work together to get things done,” he added.

The debate between Smith and Stewart was amicable, as the two men seemed agreeable on issues on education, taxes, and in investing in transportation infrastructure to bring more business to the region to spur economic development. Both say they want more high-paying jobs in Prince William and fewer people leaving the county to find work.

stewartsmith1

 

“We’re being passed up by Fairfax and Loudoun, and Stafford Counites for higher jobs with higher average paying salaries,” said Smith.

The Democrat said he had heard many complaints from small business owners an expensive and prolonged the permitting process with the county’s zoning office. Smith promised a local government that would be more business friendly.

He also advocated getting rid of the county’s Business and Professional Licensing tax, or BPOL tax, which is a tax collected on gross receipts after a business reaches the $300,000 gross receipts threshold. Smith said the county needed to work with Richmond lawmakers to find alternate sources of revenue to replace monies generated by the tax.

The tax generates $23 million annual for the county and abolishing it overnight would mean the average tax bill for Prince William residents could rise as much as 5%, according to Stewart.

“We’ve worked over time to increase the threshold, so BPOL doesn’t hit small businesses so hard… over the couple years will work to increase the threshold to half a million dollars,” said Stewart.

The two men also talked about education, and repeatedly recognized Northern Virginia Community College (the debate was held at the college’s Manassas campus) and George Mason Universtiy for educating young people, and for helping to attract the types of science and technology companies that want to hire young talent.

Smith was the only candidate of the night who received applause when he said more funding is needed for K-12 education.

“The education I got in the late 70s and 80s in Prince William County schools, and the education my older kids got in the late 90s, and early 2000s is much different than it is today,” said Smith. “We’re teaching kids to remember facts, but we’re not teaching them to tell us why they matter.”

Stewart touted investments in infrastructure, especially paying for the widening of Route 1 in Woodbridge and Interstate 66 between Gainesville and Haymarket.

“On transportation by far, nobody is close to being second, we have invested more than Fairfax County, and we’re the only county in the commonwealth with our own road building program,” said Stewart.

Stewart also touted some $20 million in new spending to build parks, libraries, and other government projects that he said would attract more high-quality jobs to the region.

This debate was sponsored by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and Northern Virginia Community Collage Manassas Campus. It was moderated by Krysta Nicole Jones, founder and CEO, Virginia Leadership Institute.

This was the second meeting of the two men, following a debate in September held by the Prince William County Chapter of the NAACP. A thrid and final debate will be held at Congregation Ner Shalom, accross from C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge at 7 p.m. Saturday, October 10.

Voters head to the polls November 3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good afternoon:

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

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

Agency Preparation:

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

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

News
Hurricane Joaquin: Cancellations and postponements in our area

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

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

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

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

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

Americans in Wartime Musuem open house

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

Stafford United Way yard sale 

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

Brentsville Court Days

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

Stafford schools events canceled / postponed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Town is accepting applications for vendors and complete information is available on the Town website at www.dumfriesva.gov.

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

Prince William Chamber PAC releases endorsements in 2015 race

Updated Oct. 9, 2015

Prince William County Board of Supervisors, At-large — Corey Stewart 

“In his most recent term, Chairman Stewart has demonstrated tremendous leadership and made great strides in establishing Prince William as an emerging business location,” said Brian Gordon, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, and the Chairman of the Prince William Chamber PAC.  “In the face of a challenging economic environment, Chairman Stewart and the Board of County Supervisors have helped to position the County to be on the forefront of economic development in strategic growth sectors.  The Chamber PAC is pleased to endorse his candidacy for reelection so that he may continue to build on these successes, maintain a positive, business-focused public discourse and work to further improve the local business climate.” 

Virginia Senate 29th District — Hal Parrish 

“Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park have been privileged to be represented for so many years by Senator Colgan,” said Brian Gordon, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, and the Chairman of the Prince William Chamber PAC.  “Mayor Parrish is best suited to carry on in his tradition and further his lasting legacy of fighting for Prince William and promoting a strong economy while maintaining the highest level of statesmanship.  While the PAC was impressed with both candidates, only one possessed a proven track record of working with and on behalf of the business community to grow our local economy and strengthen our community.” 

Candidate endorsements were determined through a questionnaire and interview process and an evaluation and comparative analysis of the policy platforms and records of each candidate as they related to that of the region’s business community. 

 

Original post

The Prince William Chamber Political Action Committee, the political arm of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, announced its endorsements of candidates for the Virginia General Assembly and Board of County Supervisors.

Candidate endorsements were determined through a questionnaire and interview process and an evaluation and comparative analysis of the policy platforms and records of each individual as they related to that of the region’s business community.

Potomac District – Maureen Caddigan

28th Senate District – Richard Stuart

Coles District – Martin Nohe 39th Senate District – George Barker

Neabsco District – John Jenkins

2nd House District – Mark Dudenhefer

Occoquan District – Earnie Porta

31st House District – Scott Lingamfelter

Woodbridge District – Frank Principi

40th House District – Tim Hugo

50th House District – Jackson Miller

51st House District – Rich Anderson

52nd House District – Luke Torian

87th House District – John Bell

“Prince William County is blessed to have so many strong candidates, willing to dedicate their time and service to elected office,” said Brian Gordon, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, and the Chairman of the Prince William Chamber PAC. “The candidates endorsed by the Chamber PAC demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the region’s economic challenges and put forward substantive plans and proposals for improving our local business climate.”

The Prince William Chamber PAC was established in 2014 by members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce. The PAC promotes and facilitates the accumulation of voluntary contributions from members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and others. Contributions are used primarily in support of issues and candidates for local and state offices who have taken positions consistent with the Chamber’s public policy positions regarding the private enterprise system.

News
Stewart, Smith faceoff Thursday at NOVA Manassas

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

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

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

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

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

We plan to cover:

Economic Development

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

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

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

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

News
Strong economic forecast hampered by bad Prince William traffic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voters will head to the polls November 3.

Micron: A memory maker in Manassas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News
Senator Charles Colgan honored at Hylton Performing Arts Center

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

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

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

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

Fall Family Fun Night is Oct. 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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