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Prince William Fire Department turns 50

A new logo will be used to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department.

The department unveiled the new logo in a press release on Thursday. The words “Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue 50 Years, 1966 – 2016” are featured against a bright red background.

The department was the first on the east coast to introduce a 911 system in 1967, according to a press release. Over the years, the department grew and added specialty units and programs like swift water rescue, river boat rescue, HAZMAT, technical rescue for structural collapse, trench rescue, community safety, and the office of the Fire Marshal, which investigates arson. (more…)

News
Fire department: Stay off the ice

aquia habour, virginia, staffordf

Frozen ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams should not be used for outdoor ice recreation because of the risk factor to ourselves as well as rescuers. 

The safest place for ice recreation are pavillons, skating rinks, and other places designed for ice recreation, says the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue. 

Here is more in a press release:  (more…)

Find people you know, trust who have your success in mind

“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

Building a Business is a Team Effort — With a Little Help From Our Friends

My first lesson in the value of mentors came early – and hard. On July 3rd, 1985, I was enduring the first grueling week (called “Ground Week”) of the U.S. Army Airborne School. My Student ID – printed boldly across my helmet – was 141 (yes, 30 years later I remember my Student Number).

No matter the reason, I was a “NO GO” and did not qualify to advance to the second week (Tower Week) of training. The choice was mine – give up or repeat Ground Week.

Ugh! I wanted to quit, to give up, go back home and drink some beer with my friends and work so I could actually afford my next year of college expenses. Worse yet, if I decided to repeat Ground Week my Student ID label on my helmet would become 141”G” and everyone would know that I was “recycled.”

One of my Airborne Drill Instructors (we called them “Black Hats” ( I’ll leave you to guess why) came over and said to me) “Cadet, I know you are thinking about quitting. Heck I would be thinking it too if I were you.”  (more…)

Cub Scout Pack 501 wins Lake Ridge parade trophy

Cub Scout Pack 501 ‘rocked out’ at Santa’s Lake Ridge Parade on December 12.

The pack won the “Best in Parade” trophy this year for their ‘rock n’ roll’ themed Christmas float.

The float featured an over-sized Santa sleigh packed with over-sized toys – including a 10-foot electric guitar.

The Scouts rocked out to holiday classics, including “Run, Run Rudolph,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

News
Boat burns at Occoquan dock

A large boat burned in Occoquan on Sunday. 

Here’s a press release from OWL Volunteer Fire and Rescue

Fire and Rescue Units from OWL responded to a reported boat fire on the Occoquan River near Poplar Ln in Occoquan around 1230 PM on Sunday.

First arriving units reported a 36-foot cabin cruiser, attached to a dock, fully engulfed in fire.

The first arriving engine made an aggressive fire attack from the dock while the fireboat was en-route and transitioning through a lengthy no-wake zone on the Occoquan River.

Through the coordinated use of attack lines from the engine, high volume water from the fireboat and de-watering tactics, the fire was extinguished and the burned vessel was kept afloat, reducing the release of pollutants into the river. Marina personnel towed the vessel to their facilities where they were able to lift it from the water and completely mitigating the incident.

Stay on the path to a New Year, New You at Manassas Park Community Center

“Shaping the Future” is a sponsored column written by Manassas Park Community Center Marketing Manager Jason Shriner. The column highlights the many ways you can have fun, get fit, and improve your life.

With the New Year, now is a great time to think about the year ahead. When I was younger, New Year’s Day didn’t really mean much more than partying, but now it’s a favorite time of mine where I like to set goals for myself. I especially like resolutions that involve learning something new or that result in a tangible finished product.

Over the past few years my resolutions have included listening to more podcasts and TEDtalks, learning to sew (this includes sewing a costume from scratch), creating my own board game, and learning sign language, photography and how to indoor rock climb. When you’re a kid, school can really make learning feel like a chore, but after I graduated college, I realized how much I missed learning new things and challenging myself. You don’t realize how easy it is to stand in one place until you look back on the year and realize it!

Make a promise to yourself this upcoming new year; find the new you! Here are some tips and strategies on choosing resolutions and seeing them through.

1. Be true to yourself and set resolutions you’ll enjoy

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life it’s that if something feels like a chore, then I will find every excuse in the world not to do it. Motivation is an incredibly powerful thing, but it doesn’t come externally. Even when somebody else is encouraging you, you must ultimately want to do it for yourself in order to see your goals through. If you are an extrovert and you have fitness goals, participate in fitness classes! There is nothing more isolating than wearing headphones and working out – totally toxic to an extrovert’s success. Remember to set yourself up for success when choosing your resolutions!

One of my favorite fitness classes at the Manassas Park Community Center is bootcamp. In this high intensity class, the instructor challenges my classmates and me to perform a variety of strength training and cardiovascular exercises, all while maintaining an elevated heart rate. As a self-identifying geek, I never knew I was capable of doing some of the exercises until I participated. It’s not all excruciating work! I feel like we laugh constantly in the class as we awkwardly try new exercises and tease the instructor. Other popular fitness classes at the community center include Zumba, Aqua Zumba, and yoga.

2. Create a plan

Aside from fitness and learning something new, financial responsibility is another popular resolution. Whatever your resolution is, make sure you actually plan out how you’re going to achieve it. Ask yourself these questions to start. Is it fitness related – Where do I want to work out? Should I hire a personal trainer? If it’s learning something new – What time can I dedicate? What expenses are involved? If it’s fiscal What is a budget I can manage? Do I have monthly expenses that I can do without?

One method that helped me save money was to track my spending on a spreadsheet. True, this is a chore (although I do love a good spreadsheet), but knowing that I would eventually have to input a purchase into a spreadsheet where it will be staring back at me – possibly judging me – has been enough to deter me from certain purchases. Plus it’s pretty rewarding to see a year’s worth of spending slowly declining throughout the year! Another tip that I use to talk myself out of a purchase is equating how much an item costs to how much I make hourly. Is this new gadget really worth 2, 4, or 8 hours of my time at work? Cash and especially credit cards can be intangible concepts, but your sweat is pretty real!

Consider incorporating a class into your plan like the programs at the Manassas Park Community Center. INOVA will be teaching a free class called “Eating Better on a Budget” on January 5 or come check out People, Inc.’s free “Credit and Budgeting Workshop on January 20. Talking with professionals and researching ideas online, including articles, videos, and podcasts, are great ways to get fresh ideas to incorporate into your plan.

Belly dancing: Learning new dances, like belly dance, is a great new year’s resolution!
Try group exercise classes or working out with a friend if your routine gets stale
The Manassas Park Community Center recently built a second fitness room featuring all new exercise equipment – come try them out!
The personal trainers at the Manassas Park Community Center love finding new ways to shake up your workout – like boxing!
You can get 2 30-minutes personal training session as part of your membership to the Manassas Park Community Center
Try something you’ve always wanted to, like scrapbooking, by taking a class at the Manassas Park Community Center
Taking classes, like sign language, gives you a chance to meet people who share your interests and can help practice your new skills
Zumba is one of our most popular classes at the Manassas Park Community Center

3. Set realistic and measurable goals

Businesses are successful because employees have somebody holding them accountable. Excellent managers use plans with defined goals to set expectations that both the employee and the manager can agree upon. Similarly, anytime you sign a contract, you’re actually setting a level of expectations. These are expectations you are expected to perform as well as what you expect the other party to perform. Plans, goals, expectations, and accountability all result in getting things done. So why not do the same for your resolution?

I don’t expect you to draw up a contract between you and yourself for your new year’s resolution, but you should at least create an event in your phone’s calendar eight weeks from now that says, “Lose this many pounds,” “Save this much money,” or “Be able to ask for help in the grocery store in a foreign language.” When you have a goal, you have a real expectation with a real deadline for yourself to work towards as opposed to some nebulous concept of “lose weight,” “save money,” or “learn Spanish.” Don’t just set one goal either – set milestones leading up to your final goal so you have a timeline to reinforce your plan.

When setting fitness goals be sure to consult a professional so that you are setting safe and healthy goals. Your Primary Care Physician and the Personal Trainers at the Manassas Park Community Center are two good resources, and a fitness assessment is included free of charge with every membership at the community center.

4. Celebrate accomplishments and be flexible

Willpower is a limited resource. When you’re trying to lose weight, you can only deprive yourself of ice cream for so long. Torturing yourself like this is a surefire way to turn your resolution into a chore. If you reach a fitness milestone, treat yourself! Be flexible and don’t punish yourself for accommodating unexpected events. If your car gets a flat, replacing a tire isn’t a hindrance to your financial goal – emergencies are a reason you wanted to save money in the first place!

5. Don’t stop, won’t stop

It’s going to take persistence and practice to reach your final goal, so don’t give up! It’s said it can take an average of 66 days to form a habit – although this number can vary vastly depending on the habit. [1] If you find your motivation waning, try to focus on the end goal or try to find ways to make the project fun again. Getting a friend involved, changing locations, or switching up your routine can help keep your resolution enjoyable.

Finally, don’t stop once you’ve achieved your resolution. Keep working out, keep saving money, keep practicing that language, but also set a new resolution for yourself! Yes, even in the middle of July! Have you reached your target weight? Why not try hiking or indoor rock climbing? Keep learning and keep moving forward so that next December 31st you can look back and reward yourself for all the resolutions you’ve accomplished – and look forward to all the resolutions you want to try.

How Home Instead finds great people to care for their clients

Editors note: This paid promotional post was written by Potomac Local in collaboration with Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas, serving Prince William and Fauquier counites.

Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas is always looking for candidates searching for rewarding career.

Candice Johnson is the Regional CAREGiver Recruiter at Home Instead Senior Care. Home Instead Senior Care selects and places experienced CAREGivers to homes with seniors, from those who need just a little help and companionship to seniors who need around the clock, twenty-four hour care.

As a Regional CAREGiver Recruiter, Johnson does a lot of work and running around town to attract the best talent that the community has to offer.

“The recruiting process is a lot of repeating my same actions. So I do a lot of “flyering”, I advertise in papers and online, I participate in job fairs and speaking engagements at colleges, CNA schools, LPN schools. I’m really just getting the position out there,” said Johnson The most important part to Johnson’s role is that people know that Home Instead Senior Care is hiring and that many of the positions are flexible and can fit comfortably into anyone’s hectic schedule.

“So if they’re working full time or going to school full time, this is a job that will allow you to still keep your daily responsibilities but bring in some supplemental income on the side,” said Johnson.

Who is the ideal candidate that Home Instead looks for and hires? (more…)

How knowing ‘Why’ led website developer WIX to $1 billion

“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

Five, four, three, two, one… Happy New Year! Well, almost! The New Year is a great time to evaluate our business goals and make sure we know the answer to the question, “Why do we do what we do?”

Here is a great example: Avi, a business associate I met in 1999, said to me at the time, “Rod, I want to make it easy and affordable for business owners to build and manage websites.”

In 1999 that was easier said than done. But Avi and a few of his associates started a company that set out to do just that. While his company attracted millions in venture funding, they never gained a critical mass and eventually sold to a competitor.

Flash forward several years later to a phone call I received from Avi who proudly claimed, “Rod, I have finally found a way to make it easy and affordable for business owners to build and manage websites.”

Now, those who know me know that I am a bit of a tech snob. I remember looking at the phone thinking, “WOW, that is a big claim to make!”

Sure enough, Avi’s tenacity paid off. Today his company, WIX, trades on NASDAQ and has a value of just under $1 billion – that’s right – just under $1 billion.

One Degree Capital is a customer of WIX.com, and we love it.

Across three businesses and over 16 years, Avi always knew his “Why” and stuck to it. As quoted from the company’s website, Wix’s vision is “We make it easy for everyone to create a beautiful, professional web presence.”

A common thread that runs through most successful companies is that they know their WHY – the main reason they do what they do. They know and stay committed to their “Why.”

So here is a question for you: As a business owner do you know your “Why?” If you need some help, ask yourself the following questions:

— Why? Why does your business exist? Are you passionate about this?

— Who? Do you enjoy working with your target audience?

— How? Do you serve your customers in a unique and valuable way?

If you are interested in learning more about how to build your “why” here are several great resources:

Simon Sinek, internationally acclaimed author of “Start with Why,” has a powerful TED Talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE that is sure to inspire you to action.

Jeff Parks, a Prince William County-based seasoned consultant and a Coast Guard veteran, says “Live your passion, give your gift.” www.performancebreakthroughs.com. Jeff has helped over 200 organizations define their purpose and build “High-Performance Organizations.”

Margie Warrell wrote this incredible article “Know Your Why – 4 Questions to Tap the Power of Purpose.” Also, she has written three books on Leadership, Life, Courage and Purpose.

Sharon Dilling, owner of Fairfax-based Ability Potentials helps people identify their unique skills, energies, and passions. It works! I took Sharon’s assessment test years ago, and it said I should be the general manager of a commercial finance company. She was right!

As the owner of One Degree Capital for the past six years, I can tell you that I LOVE working with my third hero: The American Small Business Owner. Sharon’s test was so helpful that I have paid for a number of people to take it.

The people who are open and willing to explore the suggested career paths have told me they later that they have truly found their “life’s work.”

What is your “Why?” If you know of any locally owned businesses that have a strong “Why” please share them in the comments section – I would love to learn more about the amazing business owners in our local area.

News
Shootout, tornado, and brew pubs; Potomac Local’s top stories of 2015

Another year has gone by, and Potomac Local continues to bring you important late-breaking news in your community.

We started 2015 off with heavy snows that left drivers stranded on the roads. As the weather improved, we saw more breweries pop up in shopping centers as local governments changed the rules that once prevented them from locating there.

New restaurants cropped up, and old ones plan to return.

It was also a busy year for the police and fire crews who work to keep us all safe.

Here is a collection of Potomac Local’s most viewed stories of 2015, ranked by number of clicks from you:

1. Shootout at Wings to Go kills 1, injures 2

wings to goA quiet Sunday afternoon in North Stafford was rocked on February 15 when three men inside two cars exchanged gunfire. 

One man who got out of his car was killed, and two others were wounded.

2. Woodbridge Army Reservist attacked in Norfolk

Colvin

Colvin

Potomac Local broke the story of London Colvin, an Army Reservist and graduate of Woodbridge Senior High School who was viciously attacked by police dogs after leaving a party in Norfolk.

The incident sparked an investigation at the Norfolk Police Department that ended with four city police officers losing their jobs.

Colvin was a student at Norfolk State University at the of the attack and required 43 stitches to close her wounds.

3. Woodbridge hookah bar brawl

11866258_889345217781579_8338679539284698514_nPotomac Local readers were following the story of 23-year-old Tiffany Conley who police said stabbed another woman outside a hookah bar.

Police said Conley and the 25-year-old victim got into a fight in August at a hookah bar on Golansky Boulevard in Woodbridge. The fight escalated and the victim was stabbed multiple times with a box cutter. 

The victim was taken to a local hospital and suffered injuries that did not appear to be life threatening.  

4. Manassas Council melts for Krispy Kreme 

Krispy KremeThe Manassas City Council in December approved a rezoning at the Davis Ford Shopping Center that cleared the way for the fast food favorite to be built between an Exxon gas station and an Arby’s Restaurant.

Our story lit up social media and readers shared their excitement about what will be the only Krispy Kreme Doughnuts location in the Greater Manassas area.

5. Witness describes mother’s last moments

erica sherwood

Prince William County’s first murder of 2015 came just minutes after midnight New Years Day. That’s when police said John Sherwood came to a house on Concord Drive in Dale City and killed his wife and mother of his child Erica Renee Sherwood (pictured on left).

Sherwood’s friend Sharae Harris took the witness stand in April to describe the horror that unfolded inside her home in the early morning hours of January 1. She said John Sherwood accused his wife of cheating, and that he cornered her in a bathroom and slit her throat.

John Sherwood’s case is set for trial in a Prince William County Courtroom on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

6. Marston goes missing 

martsonJames “Daniel” Marston went missing in late January, prompting Stafford County authorities to seek the public’s help in finding him.

The missing endangered teen left his home on Belle Plains Road near Fredericksburg on January 29. The next day, the Stafford sheriff’s office reported they had exhausted their search for the boy and that it was possible the teen left the area.

Marston was later found in the Richmond area. 

7. Tornado hits Bristow, Manassas

manassas-tornado-3A tornado that started in Bristow ripped through Manassas in June.

A wind gust as high as 61 mph was recorded during the summer storm, and it was enough to topple scoreboards and cause damage at baseball fields in Manassas.

No one was injured in the tornado.

The same storm also brought heavy rains and flooding to eastern Prince William County.

8. Stafford couple dies in murder-suicide

 

080911 Sheriff new carPotomac Local readers followed the tragic story of a murder-suicide in Stafford.

Authoriteis were called to the 300 block of Garrison Woods Drive in North Stafford on May 15 where the bodies of a man and woman were found.

The victims, a boyfriend and girlfriend, suffered fatal gunshot wounds, according to Stafford authorities.

The bodies were sent a medical examiner in Richmond.

9. Lewd animal acts land man in jail

amleyIn March, police said they found a man who used the internet to chat with a woman who agreed to perform sexual acts with his lab mix dog. The two agreed to meet, and while there the woman would perform the acts in front of a video camera that would record the encounter, police said. 

This wasn’t the first time the man had recorded sex acts with animals, police said. Investigators found other videos featuring animals on his computer at his home near Manassas, and the videos were distributed on the web, police said.

The suspect was charged, and the animals were seized by police and were put into the care of a veterinarian. 

10. Prince William’s first brewpub opens 

orneryfrontPrince William County changed its policy in late 2014 that banned breweries from opening in shopping centers. The change cleared the way for several breweries to open or expand.

Randy Barnette remade his Hard Times Cafe in Woodbridge into Ornery Beer Company and Public House — Prince William County’s very first brewpub specializing in brews made in-house coupled with chef-inspired cuisine.

Our story was enough to get people talking about the demise of Hard Times, onces a bustling neighborhood bar, and to get them excited about the changes at the new place – including a new rule that a banned smoking inside the establishment.

More:

Top stories of 2014

Top stories of 2013

Top stories of 2012

Top stories of 2011

Top stories of 2010

 

It’s time to party with Okras New Years Eve in Manassas

  • Okra's Cajun Creole
  • Address: 9110 Center Street Manassas, Va. 20110
  • Phone: (703) 330-2729
  • Website: www.okras.com

An all-inclusive party, a hotel room, and hangover cure awaits New Years Eve revelers at Okras in Manassas.

Okras Cajun Creole in Downtown Manassas will hold a New Year’s Eve party that will feature a full buffet of favorites from the Big Easy, to include Pene New Orleans with andouille sausage and ham; Cajun deviled eggs and alligator bites.

Drinks will be flowing from the bar, as hurricanes, landmines, and some bourbon from Okra’s private stock are all on the menu.
A high-energy live band will play music from the 80s and 90s, and take requests all night long.

After the party, guests will enjoy a deeply discounted room rate at Olde Town Inn, a short, one-block walk from Okras. This way, those who come out to party don’t have to think about getting behind the wheel of a car.

Those who stay the night at the hotel will be welcomed back to Okras the following day for an individually prepared “hangover” lunch.

While the party is all about fun, Fisher said it was important for Okras to partner with Olde Town Inn to give his guests a place to stay for the night.

“This is a great way to come out and have fun and skip the driving home part,” said Fisher.

Tickets for Okra’s New Year’s Eve party are on sale online now. 

Okras opened in 1998 and became known as the place that brought New Orleans flair to the City of Manassas. The restaurant sits on the corner of Center and Battle streets in Manassas, at the heart of the city’s growing entertainment district.

Okras has become a destination for local and visitors seeking authentic “Nawlins” food and flair. The restaurant has become a popular gathering place for those who are looking for daily drink specials, and for those who seek authentic New Orleans cuisine. 

BBC, WaWa, ’90-Day Fiancé’ are just some of the big names filming in Manassas

The tent was set up and light was barely coming over the horizon when the crew from Twin Productions began filming two commercials for Wawa, the food and gas chain of Pennsylvania.

“Manassas was like a perfect Hollywood back lot,” said Sasha Levinson, director for the Wawa commercials. “So many areas to create stories in, Manassas was an ideal place for our story to come to life.”

“Manassas was the perfect combination of beautiful locations and a cooperative and helpful infrastructure that made shooting our Wawa commercial a wonderful experience,” commented Angela Edwards, Producer for Twin Productions.

This is not the first film crew to choose Manassas in the last several months. Six other production companies have filmed in the City in just a short period of time. The City of Manassas’ new brand touts the City as having an historic heart and a modern beat. These film crews are a perfect example of the new brand.

Filming the City’s Modern Beat was Sharpe Entertainment as they used Stonewall Park to film an episode of “90-Day Fiancé.” Ideology Productions shot a commercial for American Public University also in Stonewall Park.

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Illustrating the City’s Historic Heart was Flight 33 Productions who worked at Liberia Plantation to film an episode of “Codes and Conspiracies” for the American Heroes Channel. Also along the Historic Heart theme was Boundless Productions from the BBC filming a segment of “Great American Railroad Journeys” outside the City’s Train Depot.

As a more “Modern Beat” type of filming, Fox 5 selected the City of Manassas for one of its summer Zip Trips. City staff worked with Fox 5 producers to showcase the City and all it has to offer, ranging from restaurants, to shops to the wonderful community.

A grad student filming his thesis project in the City incorporated both the Historic Heart and the Modern Beat of the City of Manassas. He used a portion of Main Street to shoot a retro movie with 1950’s subject matter.

The Virginia Tourism Corporation website cites a study by the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Public policy which found that more than 8,000 people in Virginia are involved in this industry, which brought more than $500 million in economic impact to Virginia in 2004.

While that data is a bit old, it gives a general perspective on the importance of the film industry to the Commonwealth and, by extension, localities. Film crews spend money with local businesses – shops, restaurants and small businesses all benefit. The crew that filmed for WaWa had more than 60 people on location throughout the day. So not only does all of the filming in Manassas contribute to extending the City’s brand, it really has a positive economic impact as well. Look for the

The City will continue its efforts to work with this important industry in the future.

This post is written by the City of Manassas to showcase businesses and economic development in the city in a paid content partnership with Potomac Local.

News
Over 100 expected to camp out in Lake Ridge for free Chick-fil-A sandwiches for 1 year

Chick-fil-A is preparing for a “parking lot party” in Lake Ridge tonight.

The company’s newest location at Prince William Parkway and Old Bridge Road will open on Wednesday, December 16. That means a small crowd is expected to gather in the Chick-fil-A parking lot to line up to the first to enter the restaurant and to win a one-year supply of Chick-fil-A Food.
The fast-food restaurant is a popular destination for the region.

This newest store is the sixth in Prince William County. There’s also one in Manassas.

The Woodbridge Chick-fil-A off Interstate 95 near Potomac Mills mall was once the highest grossing Chick-fil-A in the company. Luis Hevia, the owner-operator of the Woodbridge location will also operate the new restaurant in Lake Ridge.

“With dozens of folks expected to line up at the restaurant 24 hours before the grand opening, the parking lot party often includes tents, flat screen TV’s recliners and more,” said Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Tiffany Simmons in a press release.

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The new restaurant is expected to create 80 new jobs. This is the third Chick-fil-A to open in the Washington, D.C area in six weeks.

Hevia will collect children’s books at his restaurant’s grand opening, and then he plans to give the books to Prince William County Public Schools.

“The books collected during the grand opening celebration will be placed in a nearly three-foot Book House and donated to the Prince William School System. The Book House serves as a free library exchange – allowing anyone to take a book after replacing it with one of their own. Created from old and thrown out wood, the Book House is one of several community programs made possible through the support of the Chick-fil-A Foundation,” said Simmons.

The interior of the new restaurant will look different than its predecessors in the area, and will feature a newly designed kitchen, and a dining room that includes subway tiles and metals in different colors. The restaurant will also offer a drive-through lane and free wi-fi access.

Of course, like all other Chick-fil-A restaurants, this one is also closed on Sundays. It will be open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Announcing the new 55+ Active Adult Membership at the Manassas Park Community Center

The Manassas Park Community Center is very excited to announce our new Active Adult membership.

This membership is exclusively designed for individuals 55-64 years old and is only $15/month with 6 and 12 month options. The membership includes access to the gymnasium, pool, and wellness centers as well as all land and water group exercise classes, one fitness orientation, one fitness assessment, and two 30 minute personal training sessions.

This exciting new membership was created based on member feedback and proven demand over the last couple years. Until now our only Active Adult membership option was our Senior Passport membership which is only $30/year. However, this membership is only available for individuals 65 years and older.

As the senior programming became increasingly popular requests to expand our membership offerings also grew. The result was the creation of the new Active Adult membership.

Trying to stay fit? The Active Adult membership includes a number of wellness based classes!

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Senior Strength and Stretch offers a challenging workout that is low impact, but still meets your fitness needs.

Mixed gentle yoga focuses on your core and improves balance with easy-going, gentle yoga poses.

Aquasize is a water based exercise class that offers muscle toning in a low impact environment.

One of our most popular programs is Pickleball which is described as a combination of tennis and badminton.

Looking to learn something new or meet new people? Going Global is an opportunity to experience the diversity within our communities where you can learn about a variety of cultures through photos, stories, and food.

Piano/keyboard lessons offer a chance to explore your musical side whether you’re a beginner or a novice.

If you’re crafty, Social Knitting and Crafting for a Cause are two programs where you can learn to knit or crochet while creating projects for yourself or others to donate. The monthly senior potluck allows you to reconnect with friends in a casual environment.

Easy Gourmet is a hands-on cooking class where you learn to make quick and easy fourfive ingredient recipes.

Road Trip 66 State-to-State is a program where you can experience the diversity of our own country – think of it as a domestic Going Global! All of these programs and more are included in the new Active Adult membership!

Come meet our Senior Recreation Specialist, Bethiah Shuemaker, who has been at the forefront of creating all new senior programs for spring!

We hope to see you soon here at the Manassas Park Community Center!

News
Crews called to fire on Cottonmill Drive in Lake Ridge

Fire and rescue crews broke out a window to get inside a house that was on fire.

Crews were called to the 11900 block of Cottonmill Drive in Lake Ridge at 1:59 p.m. Friday after fire broke out in a kitchen of a two-story single family home.

No one was inside the home when flames broke out on the first floor. Fire crews were able to quickly douse the flames.

Neighbor Larry Hamn said he saw a lot of smoke billowing from the house.

Police blocked off a portion of Cottonmill Drive between Willowood Way and Cardamom Drive to keep out traffic while fire crews mopped up the mess.

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Traffic
Buses in jeopardy: Prince William faced with ‘transit death spiral’

The future looks bleak for transit bus service in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park.

The Potoamc and Rappahannock Transportation Commission which operates OmniRide commuter buses and OmniLink local buses faces a $9 million budget shortfall in fiscal year 2017. That number grows to about $12 million in FY 2018 and continues in the following years.

Prince William County officials are wrangling with how to pay for the bus service that in recent years had seen a decline in ridership. The question: Should officials reduce bus service forcing more people to drive, carpool, or take Virginia Railway Express to work in Washington? Or should they raise taxes to fund the shortfall?

“You’re in what’s called a transit death spiral,” explained PRTC Interim Executive Director Eric Marx.

With ridership on the decline by 3.6% over last year, cutting services would only increase that number as more and more would flee the bus service for other options or drive themselves to work, he explained.

What’s driving the decrease in ridership? Lower fuel prices, a fluctuating federal government employee transit subsidy that has seesawed between $240 and $130 per month, and recent fare increases, added Marx.

What’s driving the budget shortfall? PRTC operates on funds from the region’s 2.1% motor fuels tax collected at the gas pump when drivers fill up. Lower gas prices, more efficient cars, and less funding from federal and state sources leave PRTC in a lurch.

Prince William County Budget Office chief Michelle Casciato told the Board of Supervisors the county could use its “30% transportation funding” from the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission — tax monies given to the locality as part of former Gov. Robert McDonnnel’s transportation reform package passed while he was still in office — to fill the gap.

The county could also impose a new tax on industry and use that money to fund new transportation improvements, as that is what the Board is permitted by law to do with new industrial tax monies, added Casciato.

That’s what they could do. But Casciato told the Board she doesn’t recommend any of those measures.

PRTC and Virginia Railway Express are expected to send their 2017 budgets to the Prince William County Board of Supervisors to review by mid-January. The Board must approve a new budget by the end of April.

VRE has also asked for a 5% increase in funding from the counties its serves. As it stands, Prince William County pays the highest jurisdictional amount of funding to VRE because the county generates the majority of riders on the commuter rail system.

The future of retail in the City of Manassas: Why some stores are perfect, and some aren’t

retail shopping in Manassas

The City of Manassas recently completed a retail study using H. Blount Hunter Retail & Real Estate Research Co. The study was designed to examine the market and trade area from the perspective of a retailer. This economic analysis is intended to assist in recruiting retail businesses to Manassas and guide future planning and development efforts.

The City analyzed several existing and potential retail trade areas where shoppers can find a mix of chain and independent businesses. These areas are primarily located on transportation corridors and include Sudley Road, Mathis Avenue, Liberia Avenue, and Route 28/Nokesville Road.  

The analysis also included Historic Downtown which is both on a transportation corridor and is a destination center. Hunter identified several sites within these areas that are well-positioned to capitalize on emerging consumer trends and market factors. 

Route 28

For example, residential development has been successfully sustaining retailers along Route 28. It is a high-visibility area that is well traveled, which are benefits that are attractive to retailers. And, in the next few years, Manassas Gateway between Godwin Drive and the Prince William Parkway will begin developing with an exciting mix of housing, office space, entertainment businesses, and retail space. New residents, office workers plus visitors to the planned hotel, Heritage Brewing and other planned attractions will generate the critical foot traffic that new retailers want.

Mathis Avenue and Centreville Road

Another area for retail development is along Mathis Avenue and Centreville Road. This major commuter route is lined with businesses that generally offer “convenience goods.” 

There is incredible potential for refreshing the look of the existing shopping centers with façade improvements and enhancing parking lots with landscaping to completely change their appearance. Aesthetic improvements can go a long way in helping to fill vacancies as well as to attract high-quality tenants. Also, the large parking lots offer plenty of room for developing pad sites along Mathis Avenue, which means more commercial buildings can be built within them to create space for new businesses.

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Downtown

In Downtown Manassas the unique historic district is set apart from other commercial areas in the region because it is filled with independent restaurants and retailers that can’t be enjoyed anywhere else. It offers an attractive sense of place, a storied history, a year-long calendar of events, and experience-driven visits from local residents as well as people who come from miles away.  

Hunter points out that unlike other shopping areas in the D.C. Metro region, shoppers will travel greater distances to the downtown for the “powerful combination of community events, dining, and specialty shopping in a walking environment that has niche appeal.” 

New development opportunities may present themselves along areas that are underutilized – such as the commuter parking lots surrounding the Manassas Museum — and can accommodate new, mixed-use construction. Future development can likely attract even more boutiques, galleries, and restaurants, especially since most chain businesses require bigger spaces than what is available there.

Chain businesses have very specific requirements

Retail development is a complex process. Residents of a community frequently ask that a specific retailer be recruited to the City; however, retailers, especially large chain businesses, have very specific requirements that they look for when choosing a new location. These include a minimum building size, access to highways, and certain customer demographics – typically income levels. 

Since the City can’t grow in size, the retail that Manassas can recruit has to fit within the existing buildings or on the vacant land that is available. Each retailer’s preference for where they want to open a location is different, too. Some want to be near their competition and others want to be near other stores that appeal to similar customers. 

All chains avoid opening new locations in close proximity to their existing locations because they don’t want a new store to steal sales away from an existing one. This is why your favorite store in a nearby town might not open another location in the City. 

For example specialty retailers currently located in Fair Lakes, Potomac Mills, and the growing commercial corridors in Gainesville to the west may not be able to locate in Manassas. Consumers travel greater distances to take advantage of these mall environments and consequently the retailers will space their locations much further apart.

Why a cashier asks for your zip code

Many people don’t realize what a complex science retailers practice when siting new stores. In addition to analyzing complementary and competitor businesses, they use demographic information, drive times and zip code data which they get from your credit card company whether you shop in a physical store or online and when you otherwise provide it. Have you ever wondered why a cashier asks for your zip code when checking out with your purchase?

Choosing poorly is the worst decision a retailer can make. In addition to the capital cost of opening a new store, companies lock into lengthy leases. Plus, closing a store can tarnish a company’s image in the eyes of the consumer who wonders why the business failed and may attribute it to other peoples use and perception of the product.

For a City of approximately 40,000 people, Manassas has more opportunities for retail development than experts typically anticipate for communities of that size. This is because there is a customer base of about 150,000 people within a five mile radius, which builds the potential for retail recruitment.  

Future development opportunities and destination commercial districts means there is a lot in store for retailing in Manassas.

This post is written as part of a paid content partnership between Potomac Local and City of Manassas to showcase businesses and economic development in the city.

News
LiDL looks to Lake Ridge as part of U.S. expansion

LiDL (pronounced “lie dal”) is looking to expand in Lake Ridge.

The German grocer want to build a new store — one of the first in the U.S. — next to a commuter lot at the corner of Minnieville and Old Bridge roads. Shoppers familiar with the discount grocer liken LiDL to its competitor, German-based Aldi which has several locations throughout the region. 

 LiDL is set to speak with Prince William County officials. and has already met with the Lake Ridge – Occoquan – Coles Civic Association. The compamy would acquire some of the 830 acres of the land at the “Parkway Employment Center” which was rezoned about 18 years ago with the hoeps office and modest retail would be built there.

The grocer would be built near longtime Tacketts Mil anchor grocery store Safeway. Residents want to make sure traffic safety isn’t overlooked if LiDL is built.

“There are a lot of people coming in and out of the commuter lot, and the intersection of Old Bridge Road and Minnieville Road is very busy,” said civic association president Dr. Jack Kooyoomjian. 

LOCA is set to meet again with representatives of LiDL late next month. The grocer has promised to pay for the extension of left turn lanes from Old Bridge Road to Minnieville Road to address LOCA’s traffic concerns, added Kooyoomjian. 

LiDL and would contruct a building that would look nothing like what’s already in the neighborhood. It’s architecture was described by Kooyoomjian as looking like Dulles Airport.

Some said the new grocer would provide more options for shoppers in the area. 

“Clearly our Lake Ridge demographic supports more grocery stores, or LiDL would not be so serious.  That’s good news for all of us. More choice,” said Taketts Mill spokeswoman Nancy Kyme.

Longtime Tacketts Mill tenant grocer Safeway renewed their lease  five years, and the shopping center has as also signed a lease with Pet Valu and Layla’s Mediterrean.  Both of these tenants are actively working on their build-outs while the Center is finishing a $1 million facade renovation.  

“Tackett’s Mill Center sees all of these developments as positives for Lake Ridge residents and businesses as it will ultimately draw more folks to the Tackett’s Mill area,” added Nancy Kyme.

Based in Arlington, LiDL is making its way into the U.S. market. The discount grocer’s main competitor is Aldi, which already boasts two locations in Woodbridge, one in Manassas, and two in Stafford County.

LiDL is recruiting heavily at colleges around the country for store employees and corporate workers. The company announced it’s launch into the U.S. market back in July.

Woodbridge residents have long sought a Trader Joes. In 2013, Occoquan District Supervisor Mike May sent urged the grocer to consider opening a store in Lake Ridge.

Earlier this year, Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi took a petition to Trader Joes headquarters when he went to visit California.

Chapel Springs produces unique Christmas CD, offers free concert in Stafford

Christmas music is so popular that many radio stations start playing holiday tunes before Thanksgiving. So giving away free CDs of Christmas music is a perfect way to invite people to celebrate Christmas at Chapel Springs Church, which has campuses in Bristow and Stafford.

Matchless King is the title of the newly-released CD written and produced by Chapel Springs Worship Pastor Josh Wesley and several key members of the church’s worship team. The CD takes a different approach from most Christmas CDs, though, because it tells the story not just of Jesus Christ’s birth, but God’s plan to redeem mankind through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Matchless King features five songs including several that were written specifically for this project, and new arrangements of other classic Christmas songs.

“We wanted to think outside the box” in designing tools to invite the community to worship at Chapel Springs, said Bristow resident and Chapel Springs worship leader Aaron West, who has been a member of the worship team for about 15 years. Pastor Josh suggested creating a Christmas CD, and as the team worked through the details it realized that a CD would be a great invitational tool and would be ideal as the focus for the church’s Christmas celebration this year, West said.

“The idea was to deliver the gospel through the CD, and give the narrative from creation to the death of Christ, which is unusual for a Christmas CD,” said West, who has some experience in music production, but earned his first producing credit on this project.

The CD will be distributed throughout the community for free, and also can be downloaded for free at chapelsprings.org

Music from the recording will be featured at several upcoming Chapel Springs Christmas concerts. The first concert will take place Sunday, December 13 at 6 p.m. at Chapel Spring’s Stafford campus, which meets at Shirley Heim Middle School, 320 Telegraph Road in Stafford, VA 22554.

Kaleb Weaver and Michaelah Faith, who lead worship every Sunday at Chapel Springs-Stafford, also played a vital role on the project – helping to write and arrange songs. Faith, Weaver and Wesley also are featured as soloists on the CD.

“Matchless King is about taking the church outside the four walls. We have a lot of gifted and talented people in the church, but if we contain that talent within the building, we’re not fulfilling what God wants us to do with what he has given us,” Weaver said.

 

This post is written by Chapel Springs Church as part of a paid content partnership between Potomac Local and Chapel Springs Church.

Six area shopping centers giving away $500 to $1,000 this holiday season

Six Prince William County shopping centers are giving you the chance to win big this holiday season.

Bristow Center, Davis Ford Crossing, Dillingham Square and Smoketown Plaza are taking part in their annual Holiday Shopping Spree, a promotion that has one lucky winner at each center walking away with $500 worth of gift certificates to the specific center and a $1,000 donation to their favorite local school.

At Bull Run Plaza, the winner receives $1,000 worth of gift certificates to spend at the center, as well as a $1,000 donation to the winner’s favorite local school.

At Dominion Valley Market Square, five winners will each receive $100 worth of gift certificates to center.

Entry forms are available in the shopping centers’ stores and online.

 

DillinghamSquareDonatesToAntietam Elementary
To enter the Bristow
Center’s Holiday Shopping Spree, click here: http://bit.ly/BristowCenterHoliday2015. Bristow is located at the intersection of Nokesville and Linton Hall roads, features Harris Teeter and CVS/pharmacy.

Enter Bull Run Plaza’s Holiday Shopping Spree here: http://bit.ly/BullRunPlazaHoliday2015. Bull Run is located at the intersection of Route 234 and Sudley Manor Drive in Manassas, and includes Dick’s Sporting Goods, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, Office Depot and Chili’s.

Click here to enter Davis Ford Crossing’s Holiday Shopping Spree: http://bit.ly/DavisFordCrossingHoliday2015. Davis Ford Crossing is at the intersection of Liberia Road and Prince William Parkway in Manassas. The center features L.A. Fitness, Petco and Staples.

Enter Dillingham Square’s Holiday Shopping Spree here: http://bit.ly/DillinghamSquareHoliday2015. Dillingham Square is at the intersection of Old Bridge Road and Dillingham Square in Lake Ridge. The center includes Food Lion, Gold’s Gym and Brittany’s.

Enter the Dominion Valley Market Square’s Holiday Shopping Spree here: http://bit.ly/DominionValleyHoliday2015. Anchored by Giant Food, Dominion Valley Market Square is located at the intersection of James Madison Highway (Route 15) and Dominion Valley Drive in Haymarket. 

To enter Smoketown Plaza’s Holiday Shopping Spree, click here: http://bit.ly/SmoketownHoliday2015. Smoketown Plaza is at the intersection of Smoketown Road and Minnieville Road in Woodbridge. The center includes Lowe’s Home Center, Glory Days Grill and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Dillingham Square and Smoketown entry forms are due no later than 10 a.m. on December 9. All Bristow, Bull Run Plaza and Davis Ford Crossing entry forms are due by 10 a.m. on December 10. Dominion Valley entry forms are due no later than 10 a.m. on December 11.

News
70th Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade welcomes Ed Asner as the Grand Marshal

 

So many holiday events this weekend: 

The Christmas season gets underway this weekend on our area with the following events: 

Manassas Christmas Tree Lighting — Friday 5:30 p.m. 

The Christmas Tree in Downtown Manassas will be illuminated at 6:30 p.m. The festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. when Santa Claus arrives at the Manassas Train Depot. There will be holiday music at 6 p.m. 

Attendees can take free hayrides around Downtown, and skate at Harris Pavilion.

70th Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade — Saturday 10 a.m. 

The Greater Manassas Christmas Parade is honored to announce our 2015 Grand Marshal, Ed Asner! Mr. Asner comes to us with a prolific resume and may be best known for his role as Lou Grant on the Mary Tyler Moore Show and later on a spin off titled Lou Grant.

The younger generation might best recognize him as the voice of the older man in the 2009 Pixar film Up or as Santa Claus in the 2003 movie Elf. Mr. Asner is known to be a versatile, committed, eloquent and talented actor and has received seven Emmy Awards – the most any man has ever received.

The Greater Manassas Christmas Parade has been a hallmark event for 70 years providing entertainment for families and friends in the Greater Manassas community and beyond! It sets the mood for the holiday season!

The parade features over 100 marching units, numerous floats, high-flying balloons, several dancing groups-in all totaling over 2,000 participants each year! Come watch this year’s theme ‘Lights…Camera…Christmas!’ For more information, visit gmchristmasparade.org.

41st Annual Dumfries Christmas Parade — Saturday noon 

Join residents from Dumfries and eastern Prince William County for the 41st Annual Dumfries Christmas Parade at noon on Saturday. The parade route takes marchers and floats down Main Street (Route 1) past Town Hall. The Dumfries-Triangle Volunteer Fire Deparment, Dumfries-Triangle Rescue Squad, as well as several churches and businesses participate in the parade each year.

A tree lighting will follow the parade at 5 p.m. at Town Hall.

Lunch with Santa — Saturday 12:30 p.m. 

Come have lunch with the man in the big red suit at 12:30 p.m. in the Old Manassas Courthouse.

Monza / Carmellos collects gently used coats for gift cards

Monza of Historic Manassas will be collecting gently used coats to donate to SERVE in exchange for a $10 Monza or Carmello’s gift card and free hot chocolate and coffee on Sat., Dec. 5 during the Greater Manassas Christmas Parade. Coat donations will be accepted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Monza at 9405 Battle Street in Downtown Manassas, Va., as well as throughout December to support SERVE of Manassas, Va.

They’ll also be accepting new toys for children of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children of Manassas, Va.) in exchange for a $10 Monza/Carmello’s gift card during December. For more information, go to eatmonza.com. One gift card will be given per coat and/or per new toy.

“We all feel the drop in temperature, and for those in need, sometimes one warm coat is hard to come by which is why we wanted to help collect as many coats as possible for the our local SERVE program,” said Alice Pires, owner of Monza and Carmello’s in Historic Manassas, Va. “We’re excited to collect toys for the kids of CASA, let’s try to make sure no one is forgotten this holiday,” said Pires.

Traffic
Ahead for bus riders: OmniRide Delays Thursday, schedule changes Monday

If you’re riding OmniRide tomorrow, get ready for some delays due to the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. 

This is the official word sent out to bus riders from the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission: 

This is a reminder that the National Tree Lighting Ceremony is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, December 3, on the Ellipse near the White House. In anticipation of the extreme traffic congestion, PRTC will activate the Emergency Service Plan for the AFTERNOON/EVENING commute on December 3.

Beginning at 2 p.m., OmniRide buses will only pick up from the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station for eastern Prince Willi am County passengers and Tysons Corner Metro Station for Manassas, Gainesville and Linton Hall passengers. Midday trips meeting at the Pentagon at 12:34 p.m. will operate at the normal times along the regular routes. All other afternoon/evening trips will depart from the Metro stations. All regular drop-off stops will be served. Services from the Metro stations will continue until 7:30 p.m. except for Prince William and Manassas Metro Direct buses, which will continue operating until their last published departure time.

Bus fares will be $3.85 cash or $3.10 on your SmarTrip card.

It’s also time for PRTC’s Fall Service Change. The commuter bus operator says to expect changes to some schedules: 

Timetable changes will be made to the following schedules. Routes not listed below will not change.

OmniRide:

-Dale City – Pentagon/Crystal City – Timetable changes.

-Dale City – Navy Yard – Timetable changes.

-Lake Ridge – Pentagon/Crystal City – Timetable changes.

Montclair – Timetable changes.

-Manassas — The route will no longer serve Williamson Boulevard. Additionally, three more AM Manassas OmniRide trips will become express trips, originating at the Portsmouth Commuter Lot. This is in addition to the three express trips on the current AM schedule.

OmniLink:

Woodbridge/Lake Ridge – Timepoint changes from Prince William & Hoffman to Prince William & Hillendale; timetable changes.

-Dale City – The first three weekday inbound trips will begin at Dale Blvd. & Orangewood instead of the Chinn Center. Alternate service from Chinn Center is available on Woodbridge A OmniLink. Timepoints change from Mapledale Plaza to Dale & Orangewood/Dale &Trident.

-Dumfries – First three AM weekday trips and first AM Saturday trip will begin at the Lofts instead of the 7-11 on Fuller Heights Road.

Route 1 OmniLink – Timepoint changes from Dumfries Shopping Center to Fraley & Williamstown.

-Manassas – Timetable changes.

Manassas Park – Timetable changes.

Metro Direct:

-Manassas Metro Direct – Timetable changes.

-Linton Hall Me tro Direct – Timetable changes.

Cross County Connector – Timetable changes.

OmniRide commuter buses provide transit services for those traveling from Prince William County and Manassas to points in Northern Virginia and Washington. OmniLink local buses provide transit services for those traveling inside Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park.

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