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News
Opening date set for Lidl Woodbridge grocery store

Lidl will open its second store in Prince William County. A grand opening ceremony is planned next month. 

From a press release: 

On Thursday, January 11, customers in Woodbridge, Virginia, will have the opportunity to experience Lidl when its newest location opens that day. The new store, located at 2070 Tacketts Village Square, will open at 8:00 a.m., immediately following a ribbon cutting ceremony at 7:40 a.m. This will be Lidl’s fourth store in Northern Virginia. 

Since launching its first stores in Virginia on June 15th, Lidl has driven prices down in the neighborhoods in which it operates stores.  In many markets,  other retailers have reacted by slashing prices by as much as 30 percent in the immediate vicinity of Lidl stores in order to compete.

Lidl opened its first store in the Washington area in September in Prince William County, at the intersection of Sudley Manor Drive and Ashton Avenue near Manassas. 

This month, the company announced plans to scale back the size of its planned stores from 36,000 square feet to as small as 15,000. The company also withdrew plans for a store in Warrenton

Lidl also operates stores in south Stafford County on Route 17, and in Culpeper. 


From chronic pain to gain: ‘Becky has already lost 92 pounds and dropped more than three sizes’

Becky Turner- before pic
becky turner - after pic
Rezvani, Masoud

Prince William County resident Becky Turner had been living in pain for years.

“I had been to surgeons all over the area trying to get some relief. It was to the point where I had to use a wheelchair a lot of the time. At the very least, I had to use a walker,” explains the 62-year-old.

As her crippling back pain increased, so did her weight.

“Everyone said, there was nothing they could do for me,” she remembers.

Until her primary care physician suggested gastric bypass surgery, sharing how another patient received relief after undergoing the procedure. From there, an idea was born.

“I thought about it for a while and I thought, let’s see what’s involved,” says Turner.

That’s when she met Dr. Masoud Rezvani and the team at the Sentara Weight Loss Surgery Center, a designated Accredited Center by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP.) Her insurance said it would pay for the procedure, but Turner would have to undergo testing and complete a six-month dietary weight loss class.

After the class was completed, the insurance company gave the okay. Because Becky was a diabetic with an insulin pump, the decision was made to perform a Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch, also known as BPD-DS, using minimally invasive robotic surgery. Dr. Rezvani is one of the only gastric bypass surgeons in Northern Virginia, who performs this complicated procedure.  

“It’s very important to have the right procedure for the right patient,” explains Dr. Rezvani, “Every individual is a different package. Based on the patients’ age, gender, body mass index, past medical history, past surgical history and goal of the operation is going to determine what works best.”

In a BDP-DS operation, doctors reroute the intestines, which cuts back on how many calories a patient can absorb. As a result, patients feel less hungry, lose most of their excess weight within one year and keep the weight off, all while having significant health improvements.

“This surgery isn’t for everyone,” Dr. Rezvani says, “It requires a lot of maintenance. Not only is there a weight loss effect, there’s a metabolic effect which helps patients with conditions such as severe diabetes, sleep apnea and high blood pressure.”

For Becky, who was having issues managing her diabetes, it was a good fit. Her main concern going into her September surgery wasn’t the procedure, but the pain that could accompany it. It was something doctors worked with her to manage. “I never had the first bit of pain,” she says, “I don’t know if I’m the exception to the rule, but it was a good experience for me all the way around. Everyone was wonderful to me. All the nurses just went out of their way to be nice. I just adore Dr. Rezvani.”

In just three months since her surgery, Becky has already lost 92 pounds and dropped more than three sizes. “I’m shocked it’s coming off as quickly as it has,” and her back which had been in constant pain is already feeling better, “Though it’s not 100% yet, it’s about 70%. I can go and do stuff again. I can help with yard work,” she says smiling.

Becky is off her insulin pump and now taking insulin shots just twice a day. Her hope is, when she loses a little more weight, her diabetes will go into remission. She’s also is looking forward to becoming more active with her rescue pups, “Penny” and “Peanut.”

“Before my back really started hurting, I used to walk 5 miles each day. And I felt great. So, it has been about 6 or 7 years since I felt this good. I’m looking forward to getting back out there,” says Turner.

As she prepares to lace up her tennis shoes for those walks, she says she would recommend this procedure to anyone looking to change their life, “I would tell them to go for it, especially if you’re in pain. What do you have to lose? I was at a point where I was in so much pain, I was so unhappy, I didn’t have a life. And I thought –I’ve got to give this a try.”

Surgery isn’t for everyone. To learn if you qualify, head over to sentaranova.com, where you can watch our informational videos to discover if weight loss surgery is right for you. Or you can call 1-800-SENTARA to learn more.

Pictured: Becky before, Becky after, Dr. Dr. Rezvani

Traffic
OmniRide aims to rebrand, improve image

 

Commuter bus agency to drop PRTC moniker

There’s OmniRide. That’s the commuter bus service that each weekday takes people from Prince William County and Manassas to Arlington and Washington, D.C. and then back again.

Then there’s OmniLink. Those are the local buses that serve stops within Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park.

OmniMatch is a commuter ride-finding service.

And, it all falls under the umbrella of one of the longest agency names in the region: The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission commonly referred to as PRTC.

Confused?

Prince William County’s transportation agency, PRTC, recognizes it has an identity crisis. And it’s doing something about it.

The agency is undergoing what Executive Director Robert “Bob” Schneider called a “brand renewal strategy.” The commuter bus service plans to ditch “PRTC” and instead be known simply as “OmniRide,” putting it in line with other area transportation agencies with one-name monikers like Fredericksburg’s “Fred,” Alexandria’s “DASH,” and Metro.

“We want to take a look at how to do we make ourselves more approachable and accessible to the community,” said Schneider.

It’s part of an overall effort to make the transit agency more of a commuter bus company, but more of a transit leader for the region, which could pave the way for its involvement in the future of ridesharing, or slugging, and a long-proposed Potomac River commuter ferry in Woodbridge.

The overall image of OmniRide would, hopefully, be one where the public no longer sees the agency as a drain on public resources but a partner in economic growth for the region.

Long known for its teal buses, new OmniRide buses could become a shade of green and blue. Its logo is expected to be modified, and it’s website updated.

As part of the rebranding, OmniRide wants to be known for:

  • Taking cars off Interstates 95 and 66
  • Being problem solvers
  • The people who get people to work and home faster
  • Providers of high-quality customer service

And since most products and services must have a tagline, OmniRide’s is “Get There Smarter.” That’s a change from the current slogan “The Ride That’s Right For You.” 

Schneider, who is relatively new to the transit agency, say’s he’d like to turn his 45-foot long commuter buses into billboards using a new color scheme to promote his agencies services.

The grey bus stop signs the dot roads in the county would also be updated. 

“Go and look at any of our bus stop signs and what do they say? ‘Bus stop.’ That’s it. There’s an opportunity to use those signs to brand us better,” said Schneider. 

Not everyone on the PRTC Board of Commissioners is excited.

“Do you think we should serve chocolate chip cookies, too?” quipped Jeanine Lawson, who sits on the Commission and also serves as the Prince William County Brenstville District Supervisor.

As OmniRide looks to transform its image, it also looks to consolidate its dispatch operations, and fix what it calls inefficiencies and redundancies by eliminating 12 jobs from the PRTC payroll and instead contract those positions to the company already contracted to drive OmniRide buses, First Transit, Inc.

In the midst of all of this, however, a letter obtained by the PRTC Board of Commissioners but not released claiming workplace discrimination has slowed the transformation process. This month, Commissioners said it could be February before an investigation into those claims is complete.

News
’28th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Program & Youth Oratorical Contest on Monday, January 15′

From a press release: 

The Prince William County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. will host its 28th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Program & Youth Oratorical Contest on Monday, January 15 at 11 a.m. at the Hylton Memorial Chapel, 14640 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge. Middle school and high school students from throughout the Prince William area will display their amazing oratorical skills and children of all ages will sing songs of celebration in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Choir.

This free event is one of the oldest and largest celebrations of Dr. King’s legacy in the Washington metro area. The Prince William Alumnae Chapter (PWCAC) has held a King Day recognition program for 33 years.  The program continues to grow and 2,000 people are expected to attend and witness the inspiring performances of Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park students.

In addition to listening to some amazing speeches and cheering on this year’s contestants and community choir, attendees can participate in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service by donating non-perishable food items, new/slightly used coats hats and gloves for distribution to Prince William area community service organizations.

Sheila Bryant and Sandra Mitchell lead this program for the sorority. Generally, Mitchell provides theme ideas. “This year’s theme, “In His Own Words: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” is sure to inspire contestants to provide performances that engage and amaze the audience, said Mitchell. The great oratorical legacy of Dr. King inspires the world, Prince William area students will “bring the house down” with their words, and oratorical skills beamed Bryant.

Lorraine Jackson, PWCAC President, noted the importance partnerships play in making this program successful.  “We definitely appreciate the financial assistance, in-kind donations and volunteer support we receive from various entities in the community.”  The support we receive has been instrumental in the growth of this program,” she added.

The Cecil and Irene Hylton Foundation, SunTrust Bank, the Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park school districts and education foundations, local churches and private donors all generously support this event.

For more information, visit www.pwcacdst.org.

News
Northern Virginia’s first arts district forms as Occoquan River Communities disbands

An effort by Prince William County Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson cleared the way to create the state’s first multi-jurisdictional designated arts hub.

This week, Occoquan River Communities announced it had completed its mission of helping to establish an identity for the Occoquan area, to include the Workhouse Arts Center just across the Occoquan River in Lorton.

The new group has formed in its wake. 

From a press release: 

The Board of Directors of Occoquan River Communities today announced plans to dissolve the formal nonprofit organization and transition to an informal alliance (Occoquan River Communities Alliance) without membership dues or by-laws.

ORC president Betty Dean stated “ORC was originally formed to help establish a regional identity and forge alliances amongst locations on both sides of the Occoquan to promote and celebrate our community. That mission has been accomplished.  The leaders at each of our venues work together regularly to promote the area and share ideas– as evidenced by annual events such as WinterFest and RiverFest which will continue.”

The collaborative relationships formed through ORC were essential to the creation of the recently formed Northern Virginia Arts & Culture District – the first such district in the commonwealth to cross jurisdictional boundaries.  The new District will allow for even more collaboration between the Workhouse Arts Center, the Occoquan Regional Park and the Town of Occoquan. 

John Houser, ORC Vice President said, “Ten years ago when we first started talking about creating an organization there were so many plans for the area that were just sketches on paper.  Places like Rivergate, the Science Center and Belmont Bay, a completely re-imagined Occoquan Regional Park and the River Mill Park at the Town of Occoquan, lived only in our imaginations.  Today you can take a boat from the Town up to Belmont Bay and see how all of these things have come to life.” 

In recent discussions about its future, members of the ORC board determined that the formal organization with its dues-paying members and by-laws was no longer necessary.  Leadership will continue to maintain regular contact and will take turns organizing quarterly get-togethers to share information and collaborate. The organization’s Facebook page, which has more than 800 followers, will be converted to a page called the Occoquan River Communities Alliance, where participants will continue to provide updates on area events and developments. 

The board also announced that it will be distributing all funds remaining in its account after final administrative expenses in the form of grants to support the following regional events and projects:

  • $1,000 to Riverfest
  • $1,000 to Winterfest
  • $1,000 to Turning Point Suffragist Memorial
  • $500 to Friends of the Occoquan
  • $110 to River Mill Park to purchase an “ORC” logo brick
  • All remaining funds to George Mason in a named, one-time scholarship/research grant to support the new Science Center

“We realized that we no longer needed the formal structure, expense or administrative burden that comes with being a legal entity,” said Dean.  “We’re all committed to continuing to support each other and promote the region – but informally, and with a lot less paperwork!” 

 

News
Antietam Elementary students flying high after radio chat with International Space Station

It took over a year planning and preparation, but then on Monday, December 11, 2017, their ship — the International Space Station — came in.

Students at Antietam Elementary School in Lake Ridge used a Ham Radio to speak with Astronaut Astronaut Mark Vande Hei.

The window to speak to speak to the station was short — about 10 minutes. And the timing had to be just right, too.

As the ISS made it’s approach over Virginia, flying in space at 17,500 mph over the U.S. from west to east, the students put out a call.

“NA1SS, this is KM4TAY for our scheduled contact,” said one student.

After about three tries, the space station came in loud and clear and the audio was piped over a loudspeaker for the more than 600 students that packed the school’s cafeteria to listen. Selected students lined up to ask questions about what life in space is like, about the food astronauts eat, about working in zero gravity, sleeping on a wall, and if an asteroid has ever stricken the station.

Vande Hei answered each question thoughtfully. While he did, the student body sat quietly and listened intently, raising their hands over their heads and waving them to show their excitement.

“We’ve been talking about this on the morning news every day for almost a month to get them ready for this,” said Principal Marcia Wieduwilt.

The school applied to be one of 20 to get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to speak to the ISS.

In preparation for the event, the administrators purchased a new antenna for the school’s ham radio club to use. About 30 students belong to the club.

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Deep pothole plugged behind Woodbridge Target, Value City Furniture stores

Remember that growing pothole we reported this past summer in Woodbridge? 

The nearly 10-foot deep hole was located behind a Target and Value City Furniture stores in the Parkway Crossing West Shopping Center in Woodbridge.

We received an email today from Prince William County Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson telling us the that the hole is gone. It also included a photo of the newly patched hole.

From Anderson: 

Photo by Bill Milne today. Sink hole off of Telegraph Road appears to be fixed.

No word yet on who patched the hole. Over the summer, Anderson’s office pleaded with property owners to fix the pothole that had been preventing traffic through a portion of the shopping center’s parking lot.

Anderson also asked Prince William County staff to find out who was responsible for the fix.

 

New shoulder replacement procedure gives the gift of movement

Ernie Krapfl is avid table tennis player. But, the 74-year-old’s game was nearly derailed by a severe shoulder injury.

“I had been losing a lot of sleep because of the pain. I had a separation and a torn rotator cuff,” he explains.

Krapfl had been living with the injury since his college days and kept putting off getting surgery because of the fear of a lengthy recovery.

But his primary care physician shared with him the many advances which had taken place over the last several decades and advised him to visit a specialist. That’s when Krapfl met board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon Cyrus Press, MD.

“The majority of my patients are baby boomers. They’re active and they want to remain active. They’re looking for solutions to their problems that extend beyond pain relief,” explains Dr. Press.

Dr. Press, a specialist at the Sentara OrthoJoint Center®, was the first surgeon in Northern Virginia to utilize stemless shoulder replacement surgery. Dr. Press thought Ernie Krapfl could be a good candidate for the state of the art procedure.

During a shoulder replacement, the ball and socket of the shoulder are removed. The ball is replaced with metal and the socket is replaced with plastic.

“The newer technology, which this patient received, is a stemless shoulder replacement. This minimizes the amount of entry we have to go into the bone in order to put this metal ball on,” explains Dr. Press.

That means less pain for stemless shoulder replacement patients.

And, for Ernie Krapfl, that means he’s been able to return to the game his loves,” I’m now ready to challenge Dr. Press to a match!” he says laughing.


Dulles Glass & Mirror, Inc., celebrates growth with Governor Terry McAuliffe at ribbon cutting ceremony

Dulles Glass and Mirror, Inc., celebrated the opening of its new facility at a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe as the special guest, as well as Prince William County Supervisor Jeanine Lawson.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on December 5, 2017, at Dulles Glass’s new headquarters at 7610 Doane Drive, Manassas, Prince William County, VA 20109. The new, 84,000 square foot facility will house expanded glass manufacturing operations to solidify the company’s position as the premier nationwide online glass seller and streamline the production process for the company’s line of premium glass shower door enclosures.

“Our move into Prince William County is a great example of a productive partnership between a government and a local business.Our government is delivering on the promise of creating a job-friendly environment where businesses can grow and expand. We’re proof of successful partnership,” said Dr. Bahram Nasehi, CEO of Dulles Glass.

“I am pleased to celebrate the expansion of Dulles Glass and Mirror, a company that has thrived in Virginia for 45 years,” said Governor McAuliffe speaking at the grand opening ceremony. “When a Virginia-headquartered manufacturing company chooses to expand their facility, it is a testament to the Commonwealth’s strong economy and talented workforce. The manufacturing industry continues to gain momentum across Virginia, with more than 240,000 employed in the sector, and small businesses, like Dulles Glass and Mirror, are contributing to that energy and the new Virginia economy.”

The management team at Dulles Glass enjoyed taking Governor McAuliffe and other officials for a tour of the manufacturing facilities. Attendees of the event included officials from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Prince William County Department of Economic Development, and the Prince William County Industrial Development Authority and many others.

Dulles Glass & Mirror announced earlier this year that they are bringing $7.5 million in capital investment and 136 jobs to Prince William County. With the expansion of the headquarters, research and development, manufacturing, and warehouse operations, Dulles Glass & Mirror will bring 40 net new jobs with an average wage of $51,092, over a five-year period.

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About Dulles Glass and Mirror, Inc.

Founded in 1972, Dulles Glass and Mirror, Inc. is a privately held company that manufactures glass, mirror and shower doors for residential and commercial uses. The company delivers its products nationally and offers premium frameless glass shower door and other glass installation services in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. The company also offers a large variety of glass and mirror products that are customizable through its online store. To learn more visit: https://www.dullesglassandmirror.com



Historic Downtown Manassas Holiday Gift Guide

Are you looking for unique gifts this holiday season but not interested in the hustle and bustle found at the major retailers?

Why not shop small in the City of Manassas. You’re sure to find something for everyone on your list at one of the charming shops in Historic Downtown.

All lit up for the holidays, Historic Downtown Manassas is a hidden gem with independently-owned boutiques featuring jewelry, homeware, clothing, original art, candles, and much more. Take a look at these gift suggestions to get a glimpse of what Manassas shopping has to offer. Check out VisitManassas.org for a full list of stores and activities. Better yet, bring the family and enjoy a day of shopping, an amazing meal and perhaps a little hot chocolate and ice skating.  

Fun & Tasty Stocking Stuffers

Bacon treats? Lip gloss? Fidget Spinners? Yup. You can get all three, and even Havana Banana flavored soda at Popcorn Monkey. If they have an oversized stocking, you could also put a tin of delicious popcorn in there…it would not disappoint. Prices on stocking stuffers starting at $3.99.

Popcorn Monkey

For the Person Who Has Everything

There’s at least one person on everyone’s list that you agonize over every year. A great way to approach a gift for the person who has everything is to pick delicious perishable items. Manassas Olive Oil Company will allow you to customize a gift basket with things like artisan olive oils, balsamic vinegar, and pour spouts, and a dipping dish. The friendly staff will even package it up with a pretty holiday bow.

Manassas Olive Oil

For the Kids (No batteries or assembly required)

Give your child the opportunity to discover their music talent by teaching their fingers something useful (other than how to use a Nintendo controller). Prince William String Academy offers music lessons in piano, violin, viola, cello, and bass. Four half-hour lessons with a professional musician, only $140. 

For the Person Who Embraces the Holiday Spirit 

These one-of-a-kind earrings from McCall Studio Gallery (a division of DMVISUAL) will ensure that the person donning these beauties will be sparkling brighter than the tree. Pick up some holiday spirit with these snowman or Christmas tree crystal earrings. A pair starts at $30.99.      

McCall Design

For the Person Who’s Ready to Get Fit in 2018 

Center Street Studio is the perfect place to start or continue your fitness journey. The easiest way to get started is with the Wellness Package for New Students for only $199. The package includes the “Intro to the Pilates Reformer” (three private Pilates apparatus lessons), a three-class yoga pass, two thirty-minute health-coaching consultations.* Give the gift of transformation- a more confident and healthy you in the new year. 

*For new students to Center Street Studios only. One package per person.

For the Hostess with the Mostess 

For the person who loves to host, give them a beautiful serving platter that can suit any occasion, season or holiday. Introducing the Nora Fleming platter- with interchangeable “minis,” you can transform one platter into the ultimate platter for every possible celebration. Platters and minis are available at Love, Charley (along with lots of other charming shabby chic homewares). Prices vary depending on the size of the dish.  

For the Craft Beer Aficionado 

For the lover of craft beer, or the person looking to expand their palate, pick-up a limited or barrel-aged release, available only at the Heritage Brewing taproom. Toast to friendship with the gift that will be the perfect addition to any holiday dinner table. Six packs start at $11.99. 



JES Foundation Repair provides FREE inspections to homeowners suspecting damage from recent earthquakes

Regional experts who helped hundreds after the Mineral, Va. earthquake are available to inspect homes damaged from the recent Howard County, M.d. and Dover, Del. earthquakes.

After the 2011 earthquake in Mineral, JES Foundation Repair had a busy schedule inspecting and repairing homes from Virginia Beach to Baltimore. Now with the tremors recently in Howard County and Dover,  the Manassas branch of JES is ready to provide free inspections to homeowners in Maryland or Northern Virginia that might wonder if their home’s foundation was affected.

Signs and symptoms of possible damage to a home’s foundation from an earthquake include cracks in brick, cracks in drywall, doors, and windows that stick and uneven floors. Leaning chimneys pulling away from the home is one of the more common damages that occur even with minor tremors.

If there is damage, JES provides a free assessment and estimate on what is needed for a long-term repair solution. Call 877-537-9675 or go to jeswork.com to arrange the free inspection.

About JES Companies

JES Companies specializes in residential foundation repair, crawl space encapsulation, basement waterproofing, and concrete lifting. It is comprised of JES Foundation Repair, JES Evergreen, Indiana Foundation Service, and Mount Valley Foundation Services. JES Companies operates out of five offices in Virginia including Manassas, Virginia Beach, Chester, Appomattox, and Salem as well as Indianapolis, Indiana, and Columbia, South Carolina. JES has been named to the Fortune 5000 Fastest Growing Companies, Virginia Chamber of Commerce Fantastic 50, Inside Business Roaring Twenty and Best Places to Work. JES Companies serves Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Georgia. For more information about JES, please visit www.jeswork.com.



Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center leads the mission for women and family-centered care

Newly renovated rooms, family birthing units and an open floor plan is transforming the patient experience for expectant mothers. 

On Thursday, November 30, 2017, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center officially launched its Women’s Health Center. The hospital recently celebrated 45 years of serving the community. This latest development showcases Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center’s commitment to women and families.   

For decades, we’ve served the community as Women’s and Children’s services.  As we look towards the future, we are focused on the comprehensive needs of women in Northern Virginia. The new Women’s Health Center provides the infrastructure we need to expand our services and care for women throughout their lifetime,” explains Kathie Johnson, President, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

The new Women’s Health Center offers 27 newly renovated rooms. These private rooms feature a contemporary, open floor plan with an ensuite bathroom, infant warming beds and room for family and friends, all in close proximity to nursing staff. State of the art nursing stations allow caregivers to monitor mothers’ labor and symptoms as they occur and allow immediate response. This, coupled with Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center’s level 2 NICU, supported by our partnership with Children’s National Health System, enables us to ensure 24/7, top of the line, neonatology care, all to benefit the tiniest members of our community.

“The location of our NICU allows babies who require extra support to be cared for at a neonatal facility close to home. Our goal is to provide seamless, coordinated care to make this a positive experience for mother, child and family,” explains Johnson. 

This full-service center supports our goal, which is to provide the highest quality of care. An extension of our Women’s Health Center features access to a team of female Nurse Navigators specializing in Obstetrics, Cardiac, Orthopedics, Urology, Bariatrics and Oncology. This group of women clinicians understands and will support you through your health journey, with a full range of preventative health screenings, education program and support groups for every phase of your life. 

“Our new name says to everyone, including the moms, that you and your family are first. It demonstrates our unique needs as women and how we need to make our health a priority,” adds Florence Pullo, RN, Interim Director, Women’s Health Center at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

To find a physician to care for you, through every stage of your life, call 1-800-SENTARA.

Tour historic Rippon Lodge this holiday season for ‘Christmas Through the Ages’

What had started as a fast-paced struggle across the Low Countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and finally into France itself, the First World War was already five months old by December of 1914.

In September, the French and British Armies had stopped the German drive short of Paris, at the Marne River. Warfare slowed down as soldiers dug trenches; the ‘front’ facing enemy positions were only the very tip of a system that stretched miles deep.

Infantrymen, in contact with the enemy, did not expect much of a Christmas celebration that year under such desperate conditions. Units rotated periodically, with a day of rest in less exposed trenches to the rear, where they would not be under direct fire. This brief relaxation would be the most men would expect for the holiday.

Ignored by officials on both sides, Pope Benedict XV attempted to arrange a truce between the warring powers for Christmas.

What actually happened came from men in the field, without any apparent organization. It started after men settled into the trenches in November… it began with arrangements (ceasefires) while recovering the dead from No-Man’s Land. Burial parties, from opposing sides, then exchanged information and food with each other.

In many places, the lines were close enough that the soldiers could shout across at each other, whether to taunt or simply chat. Conversing was especially clear among the German and British armies, because many men had visited or lived in both nations, and could communicate with each other in English.

On Christmas Eve, British soldiers reported that German soldiers started singing songs and playing music. Soon, the British responded with their own tunes and songs. The shouts between men took on a festive tone, exchanging seasonal greetings. Who first raised their head above the trenches goes unrecorded, but officers and infantrymen from both sides, began to emerge. And no one fired. Artillery fell silent in some sectors.

Orders, of course, strictly prohibited any of this fraternization, holiday or not. Many company officers and Generals were afraid that it would prevent men from continuing the fight afterward. There seemed to exist among the soldiers in the trenches, a sort of understanding, born from their shared condition, regardless of general orders.

This did not extend to all soldiers, of course. Captain Billy Congreve of the Rifle Brigade wrote in his diary, “We have issued strict orders to the men not to on any account allow a truce, as we have heard rumours that they will probably try to. The Germans did. They came over towards us singing. So we opened rapid fire on them, which is the only truce they deserve.”

On the other side of the issue, Captain Bruce Bairnsfather of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment observed among his men that, “There was not an atom of hate on either side that day; and yet, on our side, not for a moment was the will to war and the will to beat them relaxed. It was just like the interval between the rounds in a friendly boxing match.” While there was suspicion, mistrust, and prejudice on both sides, it was pushed aside for that peaceful meeting.

The high command’s fears came to fruition in some of the battlefields the day after Christmas. Private Frank Richards of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, wrote in his memoirs, “During the whole of Boxing Day (December 26th) we never fired a shot, and they the same, each side seemed to be waiting for the other to set the ball a-rolling.”

In the end, as units rotated back to different positions, and simply as time passed, the informal truces ended. These ‘truces’ became a distant memory, as the first year of a brutal struggle would go on another four years, with 29 million soldiers killed or wounded, over 57% of those serving. There would never be another Christmas quite like the one in 1914.

This December at Rippon Lodge in Woodbridge, Prince William County’s Historic Preservation Division will be presenting Christmas Through the Ages. This special holiday-only program starts off with a tree lighting on the lawn December 2 and continues every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 23. The first tour of the day begins at 11:00 am and the last at 3:00 pm.

Each walk through the Lodge with one of the guides takes a visitor through some American holiday-time traditions; from the 1700s celebration of the time between Christmas and Epiphany, known as Twelfth Night, through the Victorian age, 1920s, and 1930s, learn how we came to celebrate Christmas as it is today.

Another special occasion will be a visit from Santa Claus on December 9th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Parents will be given a ‘Things Santa Should Know’ card before their child meets that right jolly old elf in his temporary residence in Rippon Lodge’s cabin.

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PRTC Executive Director Bob Schneider talks transportation on Davis Ford Road

In a follow-up post to our Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads Traffic Think Tank, here’s a video we showed during the event on Oct. 19, 2017.

We asked PRTC Executive Director Bob Schneider about traffic conditions on the two-lane roads and challenges managing mass transit in low population density areas. 

Video transcript: 

For PRTC and OmniRide, our biggest challenge is in the mid-county area and its lack of density.

So we don’t have dedicated transit services in that corridor and instead really rely on road network to get commuters, residents to the park and ride lots.

Some of our top areas are Horner Road. So many of those residents in that community travel to Horner Road to pick up our services, use slugging, or many other means of transportation such as vanpool or carpool.

In terms of safety and transit utilization, there are some big challenges.

First and foremost it’s a beautiful area, therefore, its low density. All that low density makes it really difficult to effectively manage transportation, mass transit issues, and with those being the roads that very little infrastructure in terms of sidewalks, which of course and any pedestrian would want, simultaneously there are not a lot of crosswalks, or very many, if any intersections with traffic signals.

So it makes it very difficult for us in order to manage turns, have that infrastructure that brings pedestrians to the forefront.

One of the best solutions that we’re looking at is two things, one of which is looking at the Horner Road expansion of the parking and ride lot. Is there a chance to improve or increase capacity at the park and ride lot which is a challenge, but all that do is draw more commuters through that corridor or possibly increase congestion.

One of the alternatives would be to look at, is there some way to take advantage of the park and ride lots closer to the interior of the county that are more conducive to travel that we could serve more effectively.

If you think about it, one large commuter bus traveling through an intersection in moves 60 cars at once. That’s the equivalent of what happens when those vehicles move through. Simeltenousuly, that’s the equivalent of 15 cars, four lanes wide four lanes wide on I-95.

That one transit bus removes all those cars, and because we have the occupation of the HOT lanes, we’re able to move residents in and out of D.C. much quicker.

Those are some of the key issues we face along the Yates Ford and Davis Ford corridor.


Karen was tired of restructuring family fun around her pain. So she did something about it.

Dr. Daniel Hampton at Sentara OrthoJoint Center® at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center reserves surgery as a last resort for patients with chronic knee pain.

When Karen Cribb, the Patient Advocate at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, became Dr. Hampton’s patient, he told her that eventually, she would need to have knee replacement surgery. After weighing the benefits and risks of surgery, they decided to try alternative therapies such as anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, and injections first to see if they could manage her osteoarthritis, pain, and limited mobility issues without surgery.

Injections of corticosteroids provided temporary relief for Karen. However, when the medication wore off, the pain grew unbearable. They then tried a series of four shots designed to build cushioning around the knee, but that did not prove effective for her either.

“Those treatments work for different people to varying degrees,” said Dr. Hampton. “When it’s time for surgery, your body will tell you.”
Karen grew up playing sports like basketball and softball during a time when there were no professional coaches ensuring the safety of younger athletes. As she got older, her knees began to bother her.

“I truly didn’t pay attention to the pain, until I couldn’t participate in family activities the way I used to,” said Karen.

She finally realized her mobility restrictions as she listened to her husband and daughters plan a big family vacation to New England for her upcoming birthday. Well-intentioned, her husband and daughters repeatedly said, “Mom can’t do that, so we won’t do it.”

Karen acknowledged they were restructuring the fun activities around her pain. During her vacation, she was disappointed when she could not get to the top of a lighthouse in Maine or climb the steps at Bunker Hill in Boston. Karen wanted to be active and pain-free, so she could enjoy time with her family, and she resolved to do something about it.

Karen knew the time had come for surgery when she began to fall and make trips to the emergency room that caused her to miss family activities. The rest of Karen’s body was now compensating for her injured knee, and she eventually threw out her back. Her daughter was getting married soon, and she did not want her knee problems to interfere with the wedding. It was time to consider knee replacement surgery.

“Throwing out my back because of my knee pain was an eye opener,” Karen said. “That was the decision–making moment for me.”
Karen and Dr. Hampton set her surgery date for April.

“There is a very high success rate with knee replacement surgery,” Dr. Hampton said. “About 95 percent of patients do well with replacements.”

Patients who opt for knee replacement have an intense recovery period with several months of extensive physical therapy. “Additionally,” Dr. Hampton said, “there is a six-month check-up and another follow-up appointment at one year with periodic x-rays. Patients are then, typically seen annually.”

Surgery requires a close partnership between the patient, surgeon, and rehabilitation therapists. The patient must be motivated to adhere to the therapy regimen and stay active, even when there are some stiffness and pain. Walking, hiking, swimming, and other low impact exercises are excellent ways to stay active for those recovering from knee replacement surgery, and they carry the added benefit of potential weight loss, which further reduces pressure and strain on the knee.

The surgery itself was not painful for Karen. Her family was incredibly supportive, encouraging her to stay active, helping her recuperate, and driving her to her medical appointments during her recovery. When Karen returned to work, the staff at Sentara was also very supportive.

“This is what we do, for our patients and each other,” said Karen. She and her coworkers even shared a good laugh about her bedazzled cane she used during her recovery. “Go gaudy or go home,” Karen joked.

Karen completed her physical therapy four months after her surgery. Overall, she describes the surgical experience as positive. She’s grateful for her improved quality of life.

“I really appreciate Dr. Hampton and the therapists saying that I can’t hurt the knee, but I will hurt myself if I don’t stay active,” Karen said. “It feels great to feel good.”

To find an orthopedic specialist near you call 1-800-SENTARA or visit: Sentara OrthoJoint Center® at https://www.sentara.com/woodbridge-virginia/medicalservices/services/joint-replacement.aspx.

 

Support local shops, restaurants, and services for Small business Saturday

“Small Business Saturday” was launched in 2010 by American Express to encourage shoppers across America to focus a portion of their holiday shopping on small, local businesses. The program was initially aimed at helping main street businesses survive the economic downturn and cardholders were offered various perks for shopping small. “Small Business Saturday” has since evolved into an annual event featuring tens of thousands of participating shops, restaurants and service providers throughout the country.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of Manassas and significantly contribute to this historic City’s modern beat. The revenues generated from these businesses are what helps enable the City to provide high-quality public services.

On Nov. 25, Historic Manassas Inc. will celebrate Small Business Saturday by “rolling out the blue carpet” for the local businesses. Events are planned throughout the morning to kick-off the local holiday season and discounts will be offered by many merchants. Come out on Saturday, November 25th and support the local small businesses of Historic Downtown Manassas on Shop Small Saturday!


News
Teaching the DAGPAW: Martial Arts and concepts for Life at Manassas Park Community Center

The Manassas Park Community Center offers a variety of martial arts programs for kids of all ages. Master Geoff Mann teaches all of the martial arts classes here at the Community Center. He received his first black belt in 1992 and is a fifth-degree black belt.

Master Geoff has been an instructor at the Community Center for 13 years. That gives him more history at Parks and Recreation than the actual building itself!

Master Geoff explains that the term martial arts initially means “military way of.” The history of martial arts dates back to ancient Greece, Rome, and China. The military of these countries took the fighting and defensive systems of the peasants, adapted, and then incorporated these fighting styles to suit their military needs.

Fast forward to the 1970’s where martial arts legend Bruce Lee became famous for his skills and beliefs that the best fighter is someone who is adapted to any martial arts style while incorporating individual style and not limiting themselves to one practice.

“When I started training in 1985, the MMA club where I was training introduced us to all MMA practices at the time, so we learned a real variety! Now, I teach modern Karate, traditional Tae Kwon Do and I add a little Kempo, Akido, and Jujitsu. My own background and training is inspired by Bruce Lee because we both believe in individual style while emphasizing various martial arts,” he explains.

DAGPAW

Master Geoff tells everyone, students, and parents, that he firmly believes teaching karate and other martial arts is his tool to teach discipline, courtesy, and respect.

“Parents rarely come to me and say they want their kids to defend themselves. Instead, what parents want is for their kids to stay focused and to use their energy learning skills they can use in life. I teach these kids to become better citizens using the concepts of discipline, courtesy, and respect,” he points out.

Master Geoff teaches a theory called, DAGPAW, which stands for discipline, a’s and b’s, goal setting, perseverance, attitude (a good, can-do attitude) and work ethic. To Master Geoff, these are the real benefits of Karate and other martial arts.

“With MMA, the more involved you are, the better off you are. I am also a big believer in having consequences for actions,” he says.

The martial arts uniform is a useful tool to help discipline and focus the children. Mann encourages parents to purchase the uniform to help children achieve their goals. He gives students incentives through the patches on their uniform.

Master Geoff teaches his three to seven-year-old students how to kick properly and gets them to follow those guidelines as closely as possible. He admits there is no one true art form and encourages mixing to adapt to students’ needs and preferences.

“Traditional ways are great, but they might not be practical such as the high jumping kick. This particular kick was originally used to knock people off horses and is not something I use in my classes,” explains Mann.

The MMA classes at the Community Center begins with the Dragon Tots class for students, ages three to four, to learn basic martial arts skills with special emphasis on courtesy, discipline, and respect. This class is on Wednesdays from 12:30 p.m. to 12:55 p.m.

WCRB Mixed Martial Arts are specifically for children, ages six to 13, with or without prior experience, to learn martial arts while emphasizing respect, courtesy, and discipline! This class also combines Master Geoff’s Academic Excellence program to help maximize your child’s learning. The class is on Mondays, from 5 to 5:50 p.m. or 6 to 6:50 p.m.

The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park, VA. Managed by the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation, the facility is home to basketball courts, a swimming pool, wellness areas, special events, and recreational classes. For more information visit us at www.ManassasParkCommunityCenter.com or call at 703-335-8872.

FreshySites designs, builds first e-commerce website for USA Volleyball

At FreshySites, we’re dedicated to taking our clients’ online presence to the next level through the creation of beautiful, clean and user-friendly websites.

With that mission front and center, we recently harnessed our commitment and passion to partner with WorldWide Sport Supply and create a website for a globally recognized brand and organization – USA Volleyball.

FreshySites was approached to create an E-Commerce website platform that would provide a scaleable solution for order management and fulfillment for the United States Volleyball Team.

Creating an E-Commerce website platform that can handle the high demand and order influx for a national brand has many moving parts.

One of the biggest hurdles we had to overcome was that this was to be the first E-Commerce site for USA Volleyball – ever.

Our team spent hours carefully planning and collaborating – internally and with our client – on the USA Volleyball site, mapping out its many components to ensure flawless functionality and launch.

After months of hard work, we created the USA Volleyball Shop – a modern and fully responsive E-Commerce website, allowing members and fans alike to easily purchase USA Volleyball swag on a beautiful, simple user interface for both desktop and mobile devices.

Explore the site’s different features, like the swatch zoom, which allows users to easily check out various color options for different products, or the sort options, allowing users to shop based on a product’s popularity, price, and rating.

From T-shirts to jackets to hats, there are loads of quality apparel products featured for men, women, and children – all sponsored by Adidas.

With the start of the Winter 2018 Olympics right around the corner, now is the time to explore this brand new site for any USA Volleyball fans you may know!

FreshySites is a regionally-focused company with national reach and operations.

FreshySites is a fast-growing website design firm dedicated to creating beautiful websites, while consistently delivering best-in-industry customer service and support. Founded in 2011, FreshySites has quickly expanded into the largest in-house WordPress web design shop on the East Coast.

Our Washington D.C. office was founded in 2012 by Vincent Consumano. With additional offices, we have the team, resources and tools to serve our local – and national – clients through website mockups, creative briefs, revision rounds, and Search Engine Optimization audits. FreshySites is determined to take our regional clients’ online presence to the next level, ultimately helping them to grow and thrive. Explore our website to learn more about us, see our portfolio of work and become a part of our client family today!


Chronic compression of the spinal cord meant he couldn’t write a letter or open a bottle. Then Dr. Lotfi stepped in.

Lou Ferrao knew something was terribly wrong. He had suffered from neck pain before.

He even had surgery which gave him limited relief. But the neck pain he felt now was severe and accompanied by other, more ominous, symptoms. He had been experiencing spasms and weakness in his legs and now had begun experiencing the same symptoms in his arms.

Lou had always been an active man. He loved to scuba dive and was certified as a rescue diver; a designation only awarded after completing what some divers call the most challenging course they’ve ever taken. He loved to walk and hike.

Now he found his legs no longer responding to the directions that he was giving. It was devastating.

Determined to find the reason behind his troubling symptoms, Lou visited a neurologist who diagnosed him with severe nerve damage on his left side and moderate damage on the right. His neurologist then referred him to the Sentara Back & Neck Center and Dr. Paymaun Lotfi, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery, to determine the cause of the damage.

As Lou went through a series of tests prescribed by Dr. Lotfi, his condition continued to deteriorate. He was no longer able to open a bottle or write a letter, and when he moved from a room with carpet to one with wood floors, he would lose his balance and stumble.

After all the tests had been completed, Dr. Lotfi diagnosed Lou with cervical spinal stenosis.

Dr. Lotfi explains, “It’s a condition that causes narrowing of the cervical spinal canal and chronic compression of the spinal cord and nerves; this causes numbness and weakness in arms and legs as brain signals can’t reach extremities.”

Dr. Lotfi suggested a spinal laminectomy and fusion, which removes the back part of the vertebrae, decompressing the spinal cord. The spinal column is then stabilized by placing screws and rods in the spine. Since Lou’s condition had been longstanding, Dr. Lotfi explained that he might not regain all his lost strength and lost functions, but it was important to decompress his spine to prevent weakness, paralysis or something even worse.

Lou appreciated the time that Dr. Lotfi spent explaining his condition.

“When Dr. Lotfi sat down with us, his empathy really showed. He tried to put himself in my shoes. He showed us the MRI. You couldn’t see my spinal cord from C2-T2 because it was so compressed,” Lou said. “He gave me an in-depth explanation of what was going on. He was educating me at the same time as he was helping me.”

After listening to Dr. Lotfi, Lou realized that the surgery wasn’t about feeling better; it was about survival. With his wife’s agreement, Lou made the decision to have surgery at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

The day of the surgery, everything went well. Dr. Lotfi was with Lou when he woke up and actually removed his cervical collar at that time. Lou suffered very little pain from the procedure and within four days was up and at rehab several hours a day.

Life is better for Lou now. While damage to the spinal cord can sometimes take years to heal, Dr. Lotfi says, “He (Lou) had a rapid recovery, and almost immediately could tell the difference in improved strength in his arms and legs.”

Lou no longer has the severe neck pain that plagued him, and he has regained his sense of balance and is walking with a cane. He is slowly getting his endurance back. He describes his life before and after his surgery as “the difference between night and day.”

Lou can’t say enough about Dr. Lotfi and his experience, “He (Dr. Lotfi) lives up to the Hippocratic oath. He was my guardian angel. It (the surgery) was the best thing I ever did.”

Unfortunately, many individuals suffering from spinal pain don’t seek help. They endure the discomfort and inconvenience for years because of many different reasons.

Dr. Lotfi understands this but says, “(You) may understandably be guarded about surgical treatment of the spine. However, many conditions such as stenosis are very disabling, and a properly executed surgery can truly improve one’s quality of life and function.”

Lou agrees and adds, “People shouldn’t have to suffer because they don’t know a procedure can help them.”

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