Covering the Greater Prince William County, Virginia Area

Gainesville

How Downtown Manassas changed empty buildings into a regional entertainment destination

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When people visit the farmer’s market at the Harris Pavilion or navigate the crowds during First Fridays, they are surrounded by a beautiful historic downtown, thriving businesses, and lots of friends and neighbors. It is hard to believe that just 30 years ago, the streets of historic Manassas were desolate, buildings were in disrepair, and almost half of the storefronts were empty and boarded up.

How did downtown turn around?

In 1985, a group of business owners, residents, and City leaders rallied. Determined to revive the heart of Manassas, they needed to lure businesses and customers back from the sprawling strip malls and shopping malls. A series of community meetings explored both problems and opportunities before crafting a vision for a vibrant, walkable downtown filled with restaurants, shops, arts, and a city square

To realize this vision, the City embraced the Main Street Four-Point Approach that was designed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to revive struggling historic downtowns. At this time, Historic Manassas Inc. (HMI) was born.

In 2003, HMI was nationally recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation for revitalization excellence. Downtown Manassas was held up as a model when it won a Great American Main Street Award for rehabbing 54 buildings, dropping the vacancy rate to zero, creating 350 new jobs, and spurring $12

million in private investment.

These successes are attributed to HMI’s strong public-private partnerships, committed vision, and volunteer support. Main Street programs like HMI rely on dedicated community members who volunteer on committees and the board of directors to help carry out its work together with staff.  

The Main Street Approach is also unique in that it tackles multiple problems throughout the community at once. Instead of relying on a single “white knight,such as a stadium or a company to save a community, Main Street rebuilds a downtown by leveraging its local assets like heritage, historic buildings, independent businesses, walkable streets, and events. Community projects and improvements are done incrementally

Gradual successes over time have made Manassas a place where people want to spend time and money again.

Downtown’s revitalization got a jump start in the 1990s when Virginia Railway Express started commuter service and the museum was built, which created an attraction for new visitors. Businessman Loy E. Harris sustained the momentum by restoring three historic buildings, including the 1906 Opera House. 

This motivated others to fix up their buildings, too, and new businesses began opening. Later, the community was given a place to gather when a vacant half-acre lot in the heart of downtown was transformed into the city square and an all-season pavilion, which was named after Harris.

HMI isn’t resting on its laurels; it continues to work in partnership with the City and local businesses to strengthen the downtown. It hosts a full calendar of events all year long and supports those produced by others

In September alone, the Historic Downtown Manassas Bridal Showcase will show off the local businesses that make Manassas a perfect wedding destination, while Bands, Brews & Barbecue turn the City into a regional entertainment destination. Manassasgrowing cluster of restaurants was made even stronger when the Battle Street enhancements created space for outdoor dining. And, excitement continues to grow with each new piece of public art, arts-oriented venue, and gallery.

News
Ribbon cutting for Chris Yung Elementary School set for Thursday

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Chris Yung Elementary School will welcome students, parents, and teachers for the first time this year.

A ribbon cutting for the new school will take place Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 6 p.m. at the school located at 12612 Fog Light Way in Bristow.

The school is named after Prince William County Police Officer Chris Yung who was killed in the line of duty on New Year’s Eve 2012. His family will attend the ribbon cutting ceremony, according to Prince William County Public Schools spokesman Phil Kavits.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony is open to the public.

Chris Yung Elementary School is the only new school opening this year in the Prince William school division. The elementary school was formerly known as the “Devlin Road elementary school” while it was under construction.
Community members urged school officials to name the new school after the fallen police officer.

Yung, 35, was responding to a call for help on his police motorcycle when he was hit by a minivan, outside a Target store on Sowder Village Way in Bristow.

Yung was a Marine and was known for his kindness and dedication to the police force and the community. His death brought together community members for a series of vigils, a memorial parade, and a massive funeral in remembrance of the fallen officer.

Traffic
New Haymarket I-66 interchange unlike anything in region

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A new interchange to be built in Haymarket will be radically different from anything else in the region.

A “diverging diamond interchange,” or DDI, will be constructed at the intersection of Route 15 and Interstate 66.
What’s different about this interchange? Traffic will travel on the left side of road when passing through it.

“For a second, it feels like you’re driving in Brittain,” said Virginia Transportation spokesman Mike Murphy.

The DDI, will cost $59 million to build. It will eliminate the need for left turns, reducing the number of cars that line up at a signal light to enter I-66 east or west.

Traffic will move through the intersection in two phases, with vehicles traveling north on Route 15 getting a green light to move. When the light turns red, vehicles traveling south on Route 15 into Haymarket will then get a green light and then proceed.

Here’s a video of what the project will look like when completed:

Two new, longer bridges will be a part of the DDI, as well as new ramp improvements to include a spur ramp to ease traffic congestion for vehicles exiting I-66 west to Route 15 north.

Intersections at Route 15 and Route 55 in on the south side of the DDI in Haymarket, and at Route 15 and Heathcote Boulevard on the north side will be widened.

A 10-foot shared-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians will also be added on the east side of Route 15.
Construction on the DDI will begin this fall. It should take one year to build.

This will be the first interchange of its kind in Northern Virginia, and second along Route 15. Virginia’s first DDI opened at the intersection of Route 15 and I-64 near Charlottesville.

There are also plans to build a DDI at the intersection of I-95 and Courthouse Road in Stafford County. A public hearing on that project will be held in late September, according to VDOT spokeswoman Kelly Hannon.

Two more DDIs are planned in Roanoke and Blacksburg.

‘Little Bits’ of art appear in Downtown Manassas

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Little Bits of art are popping up all over Historic Downtown Manassas.

There’s a stylized snake coiled around electrical conduit painted by local artist Michelle Frantz near the newly opened Center Street Gourmet Wine and Cheese store on the corner of West and Center Streets.

A steel door on the rear of City Hall was painted in Trompe-L’oeil style to represent a lion head fountain by commission artist Stephen Morales and adjacent individual bricks have been painted by local artists including gallery owner Mary Reilly.

In front of Downtown favorite Okra’s restaurant is a fire hydrant stylistically rendered as a Dalmatian from Manassas Fire Company 501 by artist and gallery owner Mike Flynn.

Near CutRate Barbershop, a veteran owned business across Center Street from Carmello’s and Monza’s, is a sidewalk bench converted into an American Flag by City Economic Development Director Patrick Small and Michelle Frantz.

These are a just few of the completed and in-progress projects that are laying the groundwork for the City to attract artists from across the region to express their creativity using public infrastructure and private buildings as their canvass.

Manassas is seeking local artists who have an interest in contributing to the work going on Downtown. A local ad hoc committee comprised of City officials, artists and citizens has plenty of ideas about potential projects. These include painting utility boxes, light poles and tree grates.

“But we are really looking for artists to propose projects to us” says Manassas Economic Development Director Patrick Small. “Creativity and inspiration are some of the unique traits artists possess. I want people interested in participating to walk around Historic Downtown and develop their own ideas.”

Proposals must be submitted as a rendering or in descriptive enough a manner that the committee can visualize the project and the artist must identify the piece of infrastructure and the types of materials that will be used.  

Initially the committee has focused on small projects (#LittleBits) but hopes to expand into promoting murals and sculpture soon. Because Downtown is officially designated as an historic district, painting murals on buildings requires specific standards and a more official review process.

Manassas has an architectural review board that will consider ways to allow building owners to do this. While they can be complicated to produce, murals are really just paintings and do not affect the historic integrity of the structures.

This type of art is considerably more involved from a time and materials perspective so while there may be some artists willing to undertake a project using their own resources, generally murals are commissioned works. The committee hopes to identify businesses, building owners and donors willing to commission these works.  

Visit www.visitmanassas.org/artful-manassas or contact Patrick Small at psmall@manassasva.gov to learn how to participate.

News
Prince William police investigating series of child neglect incidents

Officers are currently investigating several instances of child neglect and cruelty in Prince William County.

Woodbridge

One incident took place at a home on Springwoods Drive in Woodbridge on the morning of August 16.

According to Prince William police, the victims – a 38-year old Woodbridge woman and a seven month old child – were in the home when the woman and 30-year Fredericksburg man Marcus Mays got into a verbal argument.

During the incident, Mays pushed the woman, who was holding the child, and knocked them to the ground, before getting on top of the woman and covering her nose and mouth, according to Prince William police.

There were minor injuries, stated Prince William police.

Mays is currently wanted for strangulation, cruelty or injuries to children and domestic assault and battery.

Two more child neglect cases took place in Woodbridge this week.

According to Prince William police, officers responded to a call in the area of Dale Boulevard and Forestdale Avenue in Woodbridge for a child that was found.

A caller told Prince William police that they saw a small child, who officers identified as a three year old boy, trying to cross Dale Boulevard.

Prince William police stated that the child lived on Fillerate Street and when they arrived at the residence, they found the door open and 24-year old Woodbridge woman Kiara White asleep in a bedroom.

The child was not injured.

White has been charged with felony child neglect, stated Prince William police.

Prince William police was called to another home, on Royal Court in Woodbridge on August 16 after a 9-1-1 call.

When officers arrived at the home, they found the front door open, and a one year old girl alone, according to Prince William police.

The infant was not injured.

Shortly after officers arrived, 56-year old Woodbridge woman Felicita Ortiz Sorto returned to the home. Sorto is being charged with abandonment of an infant, according to Prince William police.

Nokesville

According to Prince William police, an officer stopped a vehicle near Nokesville Road and Fitzwater Road in Nokesville for a suspected DUI (driving under the influence) on August 16.

During the incident, 33-year old Manassas man Jose Calleja Soto was found to be intoxicated and was arrested, according to Prince William police.

Additionally, officers found that a 12-year old girl, who was related to Calleja Soto, was inside the vehicle, stated Prince William police.

Calleja Soto has been charged with felony child neglect, driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license, according to Prince William police.

News
Lots of yummy fun at Prince William County Fair

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There is nothing like sausage, peppers, and onions when it comes to eats at the fair.

Served on a bun with fries and a cola, bangers are a time-honored classic at the county fair.

“Sausage. It’s fair food,” said Billy, of New York City, whose been travel across the U.S. making fair food for 47 years”They’ve been serving since this the 1800s.”

He starts cooking the sausage at least hours before the fairground opens to the public, and then adds the peppers and onions later in the process. Hand-dipped corn dogs and French fries are another fair delicacies you can find at Billy’s cart.

There’s a lot of food to eat at the Prince William County Fair. From burgers, chicken, turkey legs, and pizza, there’s enough here to make your cholesterol rise just thinking about eating here.

There’s also sweet treats to eat, like ice cream and funnel cakes.

It really about having the right batter, the right temperature, and the right technique, and you’ll get the perfect funnel cake,” said Corona Tidmore, of Lonestart, Texas, who travels up and down the east coast making funnel cakes at fairs.

She’ll make hundreds of funnel cakes over the course of the fair. She’ll put toppings like cherries, drizzled chocolate, and the most popular of toppings strawberries and cooked apples.

“The apples taste like apple pie and the starwberries — everybody likes strawberries,” said Tidmore.

The Prince William County Fair runs through Aug. 22, 2015.

News
Plane crashes in Bristow, student pilot injured

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Update 

An investigation into a small plane crash today in Bristow shows the single engine crash lost power before it crashed into a  wooded area, narrowly missing homes.

Karyta Barnes, 50, of Alexandria, was the pilot and the plane’s only occupant. She was pulled from after it crashed and was treated for injuries that did not appear to be life threatening at a local hospital, according to Virginia State Police.

Police identified the plane as a fixed-wing 1980 Piper PA28-161.

11 a.m. 

A student pilot crashed her plane behind a house on Upper Mill Loop in Bristow.

The single-engine PA-28 Cherokee came down in a wooded area behind in a home in the 9600 block of the residential neighborhood, just off Linton Hall Road at 9:11 a.m., according to Virginia State Police.

After the crash, the fuselage of the plane laid in the woods while one of the planes wings that had broken off during the crash still hung in a tree.

The practice flight took off from Manassas Regional Airport and was due to land there. A witness who ran to help the pilot said she appeared to be in her 40s, had a gash on her head, was moaning, but could not talk.

Fire and rescue crews arrived on the scene and pulled the woman from the downed aircraft and took her to nearby Bristow Village shopping plaza where she was airlifted to a local hospital where she will be treated for serious injuries.

We do not know identity of the victim.

“We heard he woosh of the plane come over the house,” said Harry Lucy, who lives nearby.

Lucy, his father, and two other men rushed to help the pilot.

“I just couldn’t believe it happened here,” said the Marsteller Middle School student. “I was kind of scared for the pilot because I could hear her moaning.”

Police blocked off a portion of Upper Mill Loop to vehicle traffic while neighbors looked on. Several wreckers were brought to the scene to begin the process of clearing the wreckage.

Police warned people not to get too close to the scene due to plane’s broken wing still hanging in a tree.
We’ll have more on this as it develops.

News
Prince William County Fair opens

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The Prince William County Fair opens for its 2015 run tonight.

This is the 66th year for the county fair, which offers a little something for everyone — from carnival rides, animals, music, to demolition derby in the grandstand.

The runs Aug. 14 to 22 at the Prince William County Fairgrounds at 10624 Dumfries Road in Manassas. Everyone gets into the fair for $6 for opening night August, 14, 2015.

Here are the prices and special dates for the remainder of the fair:

General admission: $10
Child (ages5-13) and seniors (ages 60 or older) $6
Half-price day is Monday, Aug. 17, child/seniors $3 and adults $5
Tuesday is $2 admission, $2 per ride (no wristbands)
All ladies admitted free Wednesday, Aug. 19
All veterans admitted free Thursday, Aug. 20
Active duty military admitted free daily
There are several new attractions to the fair this year:

Welde’s Big Bear Show
Jeff Robbins Mountain Music
Ackmonster Chainsaw Artist
No-Joe’s Clown Circus
Jurassic Kingdom
Comedian Reggie Rice

The home arts exhibits are always popular at the Prince William County Fair. It’s where anyone can bring produce they’ve grown at home, food, and crafts into be judged. Prizes are awarded for everything from best-looking produce, best photography, best canned good, to tastiest jelly.

“The home arts department is a dying breed, especially here in Northern Virginia. It’s something that is truly unique to a county fair,” said spokeswoman Chrissy Taylor.

Some of the fair’s largest attractions — tractor pull, demolition derby, and “bulls ‘n barrels” show — will be featured in the grandstand and are free with admission.

Fair organizers listed this year’s events for the 10-day run.

News
Prince William shelter bursting with animals

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Jennette Skinner came to the animal shelter Wednesday in search of a new friend.

She adopted her pit bull from a shelter in Maryland, but he’s now passed on. She now hopes to rescue a small dog and a cat.

“We’ve always had big dogs, and now we want a small one because they’re easier to take care of,” said Skinner, of Manassas.

She was one of the several people lined up outside the door at the Prince William County Animal Shelter just before it opened at 11 a.m. There are about 200 animals inside the 40-year-old shelter to choose from, from dogs and cats to birds, and guinea pigs.

Summer is a busy time for the shelter, as the staff usually sees an influx of cats and other animals during the warmer months. Space here is at a premium, as the shelter wasn’t built to house as many animals as it does today.

About 2,000 animals per year came through the shelter when it opened in 1975. Today it sees about 6,000. Animals here are no longer euthanized due to space constraints.

“The way that sheltering has changed has created some problems with us,” said Suzette Kapp, head caretaker the shelter. “We don’t have enough space; we don’t have air circulation in some rooms,
and we’re understaffed.”

The shelter operates with about 40% fewer staff members than needed. Volunteers who filled out an online application and were later picked to work here help fill the void.

Dogs are usually adopted from shelters sooner than cats. But it was a cat Allison Wishon, of Purcellville, was searching for when she came to the Prince William shelter.

“We have two rescue cats at home, and we know there are so many more animals out there that don’t have homes,” said Wishon.

The shelter, and an animal shelter in Manassas, will participate in the “clear the shelters” adoption event on Saturday. It’s an event sponsored by NBC, and Kapp says she hopes national attention brought by the TV network will help to increase the number adoptions at the shelter.

The adoption event on Saturday is just one of several the shelter does over the course of the year. It also brings animals to festivals and fairs in the community, and posts photos of them on social media to get them adopted.

The shelter is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Those who wish to adopt should bring ID with their address printed on it. Animals that are not spayed or neutered will be sent to an area veterinarian where the animal will undergo the procedure. Those who adopt will need to pay the shelter adoption fee of $45, and a $140 spay or neuter fee for dogs or $100 for cats.

Next month, the shelter will celebrate its 40th anniversary on September 27. Rescue groups, children’s activities, and raffles will be featured during the event that is aimed at bringing more people inside the shelter.

The Prince William County Animal Shelter is located at 14807 Bristow Road near Manassas, just off Route 234 across from the county’s animal shelter.

News
Manassas, Prince William vie for more weddings

Calling all brides to Harris Pavilion.

Manassas will host its first-ever bridal show underneath the popular destination. It’s the same spot where city employee Thomas Joyce wed his sweetheart Ashley Thiesing on live TV July 31.

It’s the next move for a city that is working to market itself as a wedding destination.

“The Harris Pavilion is a great wedding venue with the trademark Virginia LOVE sign hanging behind it. The Manassas Museum Lawn is also ideal for a large outdoor wedding (when Liberia Plantation is finished with restoration, it is another option for outdoor weddings). The Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory is another unique wedding venue for a smaller, more intimate wedding,” said Historic Manassas, Inc. spokeswoman Brittany Bowman.

The show on Sunday, Sept. 6 will feature local businesses like caterers, shops with unique wedding gift ideas, wedding dress boutiques, and spas. While most bridal shows are held in spring, organizers of the Manassas show wanted to take advantage of the still-warm September weather in hopes it will help bring out brides to be.

“We are hoping to attract recently engaged women who plan on getting married in the next 18 months searching for an authentic wedding,” said Bowman.

The city hopes to make the bridal show an annual event, she added.

Prince William County is also in the wedding business, of sorts. The county’s Historic Properties Division manages some of the most historic sites in the region, like the county’s first courthouse at Bristow, to the 18th-century tobacco plantation, and the oldest house ni Prince William County, Rippon Lodge.

“Our sites give people the option of an affordable location that has a great history, scenery, and originality. All of our sites are over 100 years old and have defined this community,” said historic properties spokesman Rob Orrison.

Open flames aren’t allowed in the historic buildings, but, surprisingly, alcohol is, with the proper permits. Users may visit the county’s website to reserve a historic and read a list of freqeuntly asked questions.

Manassas a magnet for creative, performing arts

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The Arts and Tourism District is in Historic Downtown Manassas.

Manassas already boasted the renowned Center for the Arts where visual and performing arts are taught, practiced and displayed as well as the highly regarded local studios and galleries, Creative Brush and ArtBeat. But local artists and community leaders wanted more.

The city council has a vision for Manassas to become known as an arts and cultural center in Northern Virginia, and beyond.

Last year the city converted the hallway on the first floor of City Hall into an art gallery aptly named “The Hall at City Hall.” The gallery has featured paintings, photographic art and works by local art students at Osborn High School and changes artwork every six weeks so there are regularly new displays.

Another example is the banner art displayed on light poles throughout Historic Downtown. The juried competition attracted artists from throughout the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Sixty of the more than 130 entries were transformed into public art that is on display seasonally until winter.

Historic Manassas Inc., the city’s Virginia Main Street Program, oversaw the project and intends to repeat it annually. The top -ranked submission, as judged by a panel of professional artists, received a $1,000 cash prize and at the end of the season one artist will be awarded the “People’s Choice” prize of $500. Ballots for this are included in a brochure describing each piece and available at the City’s visitor center in the historic train station adjacent to the municipal parking garage.

But it’s not all just about the visual arts.

Manassas also boasts the second largest ballet company in Virginia. The work of the Manassas Ballet Theater is recognized in the national and international press.

This attention helps contribute to Manassas becoming known as a regional arts and tourist destination. Further, Manassas worked closely with George Mason University, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Prince William County to bring the Hylton Performing Arts Center from dream to reality. The city continues to provide support to ensure the performing arts venue remains an asset for the citizens of Manassas and the surrounding area as well as attracting visitors.

There are many other local performing and visual arts groups and businesses in the city too numerous to mention in this article; all of which exist to teach, promote or display the vibrant culture of this historic yet modern city.

News
Prince William schools surpass Virginia SOL scores

Prince William County Public School students beat the pass rates of counterparts statewide on the latest Standards of Learninga ssessments in almost all subject areas, and across most demographic groups, according to initial results released today by the Virginia Department of Education. [Read more]

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The ladies who bring history to life at Civil War Weekend in Manassas

Civil War Weekend is not just about fighting and strategy.  It’s about the upheavals of lives and it’s about the lives of women during the Civil War.  

Living historians will portray Clara Barton, the famous Civil War nurse; Dorothea Dix, an American activist who created the first American mental asylums; Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln’s seamstress and confidante; the wives of Generals Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and Isaac Trimble.  Barbara Smith and Hendrina Appelt will speak to audiences about the role of women in the war.

Tracey McIntire and Dr. Audrey Scanlan-Teller will speak about the experiences of more than four hundred women who disguised themselves as men and served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. They will speak not only about individual soldiers, but about gender roles and military culture during the era.

Inside the Manassas Museum, join museum curator Mary Helen Dellinger for Chats with the Curator.  These will highlight unusual items in the Museum collection. Prince William County Historic Site Operations Supervisor Rob Orrison will speak about the joint city-county exhibit, New World Aristocracy: The Carters of Virginia, and guest curator Chesney Rhodes will speak about her exhibit, Partisans Among Playmates: American Childhood and the Civil War.

At nearby Liberia Plantation, 8601 Portner Avenue, stroll through the shade-filled grounds and hear the accounts of well-known Confederate Spy Rose Greenhow, portrayed by Emily Lapisardi. A living historian who has presented historical impersonations in nine states and the District of Columbia, Lapisardi will tell the stories of Liberia’s connection to Civil War spy rings and Greenhow’s ability to glean information from Union admirers. 

Interpreter Marion Dobbins will bring to life a more local slave experience as she presents a portrayal of slave life at Liberia, once the largest slave-holding plantation in the area. Dobbins will also cook over an open fire, and talk about African-American “foodways” and culture.

Check manassasmuseum.org/civilwar for the weekend’s latest schedule.

 

News
5 local spots for great seafood

Looking to savor great seafood without having to go very far to get it?  These hidden hideaways right here in Prince William & Manassas, will transport you to a seaside retreat to indulge in fruity cocktails and fresh seafood. With a wide variety of activities, live music and more there is sure to be something for everyone at one of these local eateries.

Tim’s Rivershore – Located in Woodbridge, this waterfront restaurant sits on one of the widest points of the Potomac River and offers panoramic views of the river. The view can be enjoyed from inside the restaurants dining room, on the outdoor deck or at the torch-lit tiki bar and beach. 

From monthly full moon bonfires on the beach to their annual “Not on the 4th” fireworks display there is a constant flow of events, live music and festivals held here every year. Serving fresh crabs, oysters, scallops, shrimp, mussels, and fish as well as steaks, burgers, pulled pork and chicken sandwiches this family-friendly restaurant is a must visit.

Blue Ridge Seafood – Find a southern twist on traditional seafood dishes in Gainesville, at Blue Ridge Seafood.  From fried frog legs to alligator bites and crawfish you are in for a treat when visiting this southern seafood hideaway.  More traditional fare such as fresh crabs, seasonal fish, hush puppies and french fries are also offered. 

Plan a night out with family and friends to enjoy live music on the back deck or stop in and pick up crabs and hush puppies to enjoy at home.  Their backyard tiki bar is the perfect backdrop to any happy hour too!

Crosby’s Crab Co. – Rated one of the best places to find fresh fish, lobster, crabs and oysters in Northern Virginia by Washingtonian Magazine, Crosby’s Crab Company prides itself on its fresh seafood selection.  In addition to a variety of local seafood to choose from they also have alligator, frog legs and octopus available for the brave and curious.

A more traditional seafood market, they offer carry out service only and can often be found at the Historic Downtown Manassas Farmers Market on Saturdays during the summer months. Crosby’s is open year round to satisfy any seafood cravings.

CJ Finz Raw Bar & Grill – A surf and turf restaurant offering coastal dining with a hometown feel, is what guests will find at CJ Finz Raw Bar & Grill in the heart of Historic Downtown Manassas.  Offering a hint of the Outer Banks in Northern Virginia, diners can relax on the rooftop deck while enjoying freshly shucked oysters or a beer from one of the local breweries.

This family friendly restaurant offers a wide variety of seafood and southern style dishes from fried pickles to oyster po-boy sandwiches. It is a must visit next time you are in the mood for a convenient get away with great food and amazing views.

Madigan’s Waterfront – Whether you are looking for a special place for date night or a unique location for your next private event, this waterfront retreat can accommodate both.  Overlooking the Occoquan River and marina patrons can select from a variety of seafood dishes and seating options that are sure to please. 

The topside deck and tiki bar play host to live music and entertainment throughout the summer months, making it the perfect spot to sit back and relax. From candlelit riverside dining to karaoke and dancing there is a little something for everyone at this restaurant on the river.

To discover more about where to dine and shop visit discoverpwm.com.   

News
Planned park could become Prince William high school site

Elected officials are talking about where to place the 13th high school in Prince William.

At Supervisor Jeannine Lawson’s first press conference, she along with Supervisor Pete Candland and school board member Gil Trenum, spoke about the school possibly being placed on the site that was slated to be Rollins Ford Park in Gainesville.

“All you have to do is look at the statistics on overcrowding – especially at Patriot and Battlefield [high schools]. I really wanted to locate a high school site that was not necessarily dependent on residential proffers, for new residential development. I’m happy to announce…a very strong possibility…of what may be the next high school site for Prince William County’s 13th high school,” said Lawson.

Following this year’s budget cycle, the county board of supervisors directed County Executive Melissa Peacor to send a letter to Superintendent Walts about placing the high school on the park site.

The 69-acre Rollins Ford Park site was meant to hold six athletic fields, according to county documents.

If the proposal was to go through, the athletic fields would then be placed on a 60-acre site which was proffered under the Avendale residential development, stated the letter sent to Walts.

The Avendale site is about five miles away from Rollins Ford Park site, according to Candland.

Since both sites are already county owned land, the county could approve a proffer swap and place the new high school on the park site, stated Lawson.

According to Candland, a 13th high school is needed to deal with the overcrowding in schools in the Gainesville and Brentsville districts.

“Working with the school board this past budget season, we saw an unprecedented move – to try and address the overcrowding in our classrooms. We’ve looked at some very good proposals [for high schools]…the board hasn’t come to a decision on that one, so we had to seek out other opportunities. It is paramount that we find a school site on the western end of the county… We’re already behind on alleviating the overcrowding in western Prince William,” said Candland.

Construction for the new high school was scheduled for completion in 2020, but may be further delayed if they cannot settle on a site, according to the letter sent to Walts.

History comes to life for upcoming Manassas Civil War Weekend

 

Manassas Civil War Weekend is August 21-23

There was much more to the Civil War than bloody battles, endless strategizing, and the stands of famous generals.

This year, in addition to featuring portrayals of well-known generals and studies of tactics, the fourth annual Manassas Civil War Weekend will also bring to life the experiences of women on both the home front and in the conflict.

The weekend’s free events, from August 21-23, promises to engage visitors of all ages and interests with the sights, sounds and scents of Civil War-era Manassas. Speakers and performers will reveal many stories about the stark reality of war.

The weekend begins with a keynote address by well-known Civil War re-enactor Al Stone, who has been portraying General Robert E. Lee for more than 20 years to nationwide audiences. Stone will portray Lee in his reflective post-war years, when he became president of what was then called Washington College in Lexington, Va., later renamed Washington & Lee University. His address begins on Friday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. on the Manassas Museum lawn.

Many speakers throughout the weekend will focus on the war’s military experience. Richard Killblane, the United States Army Transportation Historian and author of the war history, The Filthy Thirteen, will talk about the logistics of the war. Re-enactors will portray General William Tecumseh Sherman, General Philip T. Sheridan, General Jubal Early, General John B. Gordan, Major Jed Hotchkiss, and General Samuel Cooper. Earl McElfresh, author of Maps and Mapmakers of the Civil War and cartographer and historian for the McElfresh Map Co., will speak about maps during the Civil War.

To lend a different perspective on the war experience, living historians will also portray Clara Barton, the famous Civil War nurse; Dorothea Dix, an American activist who created the first American mental asylums; Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln’s seamstress and confidante; the wives of Generals Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and Isaac Trimble; and Barbara Smith and Hendrina Appelt, who will talk about the role of women in the war.

Tracey McIntire and Dr. Audrey Scanlan-Teller will speak about the experiences of more than four hundred women who disguised themselves as men and served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. They will speak not only about individual soldiers, but about gender roles and military culture during the era.

Visit www.manassasmuseum.org for the weekend’s latest schedule.

News
Leadership Prince William children donate to car crash victim

It was a like a scene from movie.

Greg Powell was in the kitchen making dinner when a knock came on the door. It was a police officer was waiting tell him that his wife and 12-year-old son had been involved in a serious car crash.

Katherine Hennessa, 54, and her son Carson were on their way back home from having ice cream on Route 29 in Gainesville on June 1. Thier car was t-boned by another driver, sending Katherine and Connor to a hospital.

Connor underwent therapy, was released, and is still recovering. Katherine, a teacher at Centreville High School in Fairfax County, remains in the hospital where she was in a coma for six weeks. She’s suffered a post-traumatic brain injury and memory loss.

Greg Powell and his oldest son, Clayton, 15, were on hand Friday at Youth for Tomorrow, where a check for $2,764 was presented. The money is to help the family with medical costs.

“I can’t tell you how much it means to us that you have decided to do this,” Greg Powell told the Leadership Prince William Campers on Friday.

The check came from a group of children who fresh out of the Leadership Prince William Summer Youth Academy, a two-week long camp where area youth are introduced to the workings of local government and business.

Children raised the money during “leadership lemonade,” where two teams of campers competed to see who could sell the most lemonade to raise money for the Powell family. The children selected the Powell family as the benefactors of the event.

The campers graduated from the camp at a special ceremony at Youth for Tomorrow on July 24.

In addition to leadership lemonade, the children toured several locations across the county including the Occoquan Town Hall and the Prince William County Adult Detention Center.

“I’ve never even been to most of these places, or knew they existed,” said one child.

Traffic
Haymarket bridge replacement underway

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Work to replace the Old Carolina Road overpass bridge is well underway in Haymarket.

The new $2.7 million bridge will carry drivers on Old Carolina Road onto Jefferson Street in the town, over Interstate 66.

It will be two lanes, and will have shared use paths for bicycling and hiking to connect Piedmont and Somerset Crossing communities on the north side of I-66.

The bridge replaces an old two-lane bridge of the same name.

The new bridge is part of the Interstate 66 widening project that will add one new high occupancy vehicle lane on each direction on I-66, between Route 29 in Gainesville and Route 15 in Haymarket.

“This bridge is a critical artery to our town, and businesses in our town have been impacted since its closure,” said Haymarket Mayor David Leake.

Shops in the town have seen about a 30% reduction in revenue since the old bridge was closed and work on the new bridge began, said Leake.

During construction, drivers must use a the Route 15 bridge over I-66.  That route is congested during the morning and evening rush hours.

Haymarket will also maintain the new lighting that will be installed on the bridge. The lighting will be similar to the lighting scheme in the town, said Leake.

The new bridge is expected to be complete in spring 2016.

Also part of the I-66 HOV lane project, the Catharpin Road overpass is also being reconstructed as part of the project. Virginia transportation officials also estimate a spring 2016 completion date for that project.

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