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Discover the area’s best-kept secret when planning your wedding

You’ve heard it before: planning a wedding can be expensive. According to  costofwedding.com, the average cost of a wedding is $26,645. Most couples plan to spend less than $10,000 for their big day, but the cost of everything associated with planning weddings adds up – and guess what, this price does NOT include the cost of the honeymoon!

So what money saving tips are out there for couples on a budget? How can they keep costs down and quality high? In other words, are there any corners you can cut while providing a top-notch, well presented, beautiful day for yourselves, your friends, and your families?

“After looking at between 15 and 20 venues, we chose the Manassas Park Community Center (MPCC) Banquet Hall because the price was good,” says newlywed Anna Sandara. “The MPCC Banquet Hall fit into our budget, and although there was a limited amount of reviews on renting the Banquet Hall, we took a chance, and boy am I happy we did,” Sandra exclaimed.

“I really think the Manassas Park Community Center Banquet Hall is the best kept secret in our area,” stated Sandara, “Couples planning a wedding should really check it out because they will be pleasantly surprised just like we were.”

When you rent the MPCC Banquet Hall space, the price also includes access to a caterer’s kitchen and pre-function and patio areas.   (more…)

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School closings and delays for Monday, Jan. 30, 2017

Here’s today’s OPM status. 

School divisions in Prince William and Stafford counties already have modified schedules today. 

Prince William County Public Schools — Teacher Workday today, NO School.

Stafford County Public School — Early release day for all grades /end of semester.

The Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates from Prince William County Public Schools, Stafford County Public Schools, Manassas City Public Schools, Manassas Park City Public Schools, Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College, George Mason University, Mary Washington University. 

This Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates posted by local governments in Prince William County, Stafford County, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Dumfries Town, Haymarket Town, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Belvoir. 


Souper Bowl is Back in Manassas for a third year

First Friday is back and it is time for the Third Annual “Souper Bowl!”

On Friday, February 3, from 6 to 9 p.m., merchants in Historic Downtown Manassas will be hosting restaurants and serving up soup. This year, 10 locations will feature soups, ranging from chili to gumbo and more.

Tickets can be purchased for $10 at any participating merchant location and will entitle attendees to unlimited soup samplings. Once you have sampled the wide assortment of soup, you’ll be asked to vote for your favorite to crown the winning restaurant “Souper Bowl Champion.”

Last year, downtown’s newest restaurant, Mariachi’s, took home the crown with their Tortilla Soup. After being open for about a month, they also took home second place with their Spinach and Chorizo soup.

February kicks off the first First Friday of 2017. Souper Bowl is a great kick off for the year and gets the community excited about what is to come for future First Fridays. Street closures for First Friday will begin in April and run through October to allow pedestrian traffic in the streets.

The event is a great way for people to get a little sample of what each restaurant has to offer. A list of participating merchants and restaurants for Souper Bowl can be found at visitmanassas.org. This event will be held rain or shine. Don’t forget to also stop by Ameriprise while on your tasting tour and sign up for a $25 membership with HMI! Memberships entitle cardholders to a discount at your favorite downtown restaurant and shops!

If you are looking for something to do on a First Friday, or any other day of the week, be sure to check out Historic Downtown Manassas – you just may find your new favorite restaurant and shops!

News
Stewart plans Virginia Gubernatorial Campaign launch in Occoquan

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey Stewart is making a run for the office of Virginia Governor.

From Corey Stewart for Governor Campaign:

You’re invited to join us this Monday night to kick-off our campaign to Take Back Virginia from the political elites, at our Northern Virginia Launch Party.

It will be this Monday, January 23rd at Bistro L’Hermitage, 12724 Occoquan Rd, Woodbridge, VA 22192. You can sign up to attend here.

Come out and meet our team and learn how you can help Take Back Virginia. Appetizers will be provided.

WHAT: Northern Virginia Launch Party

WHERE: Bistro L’Hermitage
12724 Occoquan Rd
Woodbridge, VA 22192

WHEN: Monday, January 23rd at 7 PM

Traffic
Route 123 commuter ‘lot is simply not as convenient as the others’

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — There’s always a plethora of open parking spaces at the commuter lot at the intersection of Route 123 and Interstate 95.

It sits right on the highway and might make one think that using it would be a no-brainer. But that’s not the case, according to Potomac and Rappahannock Transporation spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo: 

Each year PRTC performs a commuter lot usage count. Below are the observed counts for the I-95 and 123 Commuter Lot since 2007. (VDOT also does counts.) The greatest usage came after Potomac Mills reduced the number of spaces that allowed for commuter parking and prior to the opening of the Telegraph Road Commuter Lot.

Comparing utilization and location for this lot to others in I-95 corridor that are regularly over or very near capacity (Horner Road, Telegraph Road, Lake Ridge, 123 and Old Bridge, 234 and Route 1) you could come to the conclusion that the lot is simply not as convenient as the others.

(more…)

News
‘the accused grabbed the victim by the throat and threw her against a wall’

From Prince William police: 

Strangulation | Domestic Assault & Battery – On January 15 at 10:43AM, officers responded to an apartment located in the 1700 block of Shady River Ct in Woodbridge (22192) to investigate a domestic assault. The victim, a 24-year-old woman of Woodbridge, reported to police that she and the accused, an acquaintance, were involved in a verbal altercation which escalated. During the encounter, the accused grabbed the victim by the throat and threw her against a wall. The parties eventually separated and the victim contacted police. The accused fled the area prior to officers arriving. Minor injuries were reported. Following the investigation, the accused was located and arrested a short time later without incident.

Arrested on January 15:

Juvar Ramone FLEMMING, 24, of the 1700 block of Shady River Ct in Woodbridge

Charged with strangulation

Court Date: Pending | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

News
‘Little Library creators are reporting a large turnover of the books’

How are Prince William County’s “Little Free Libraries” doing? 

From Prince William County Library Foundation Board member Candi Johnson: 

“First, let me say that the program is doing great. Many of our Little Library creators are reporting a large turnover of the books in their Little Libraries. Mom’s Organic Market is actually asking for book donations to fuel their ever-growing need. Earnie Porta is also reporting a big turnover in his Little Library in Occoquan and others are reporting the same thing. 
 
Right now the Foundation is doing a big push for Children’s books to get more of those available to the Greater Prince William Community Health Centers. It also needs to be noted that these Little Libraries are not, in any way, meant to replace our wonderful Prince William Public Library System – rather a way to improve literacy and get people reading books again. Hopefully, once adults remember how much fun it is to hold a book and read it, they will be using our brick and mortar Libraries more and more.” 
From Prince William County Library Board of Trustees member Patti Beattie:
“Though I have been a patron of the library system since becoming a Prince William County resident in 2000, I am a very recent appointee to the Library Board of Trustees and as such did not hear about the initiative originally.
 
I have seen one Free Little Library location around the community and it did not seem to be getting much use or traffic based upon appearances. The shop that was presenting it had it on the covered porch of their store which is housed in an old home in Occoquan. Though it was under cover of a porch, the elements did seem to be having an effect on the materials.
 
I also did not see any evidence of information about the public library system presented there and think that should be the case, thus offering this “free library” and encouraging use of our wonderful library system where access is free, too.”

News
Boddye wants to put marketing skills to work as state legislator

Ken Boddye aims to challenge incumbent Richard Anderson in Virginia’s 51st House of Delegates District.
 
Boddye submitted responses to our Project: Election survey posted below the jump.
 
Election information for 2017 from the Virginia Office of Elections: 
 
6/13/17 June Primary (called if needed)
Deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration, is Monday, May 22, 2017

Deadline to request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you is 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Your request must be received by your Registrar by 5:00 p.m.

11/7/17 General Election and Special Elections
Deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration, is Monday, October 16, 2017

Deadline to request an absentee ballot to be mailed to you is 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, 2017. Your request must be received by your Registrar by 5:00 p.m.

Where do I go to vote? 

 
PL: What are the top three major issues facing voters in your district?

(more…)


The Town of Dumfries is Hiring

Town Seal_Color-w. borderJoin a Great Team – The Town of Dumfries is presently accepting applications for the following positions:

— Building Official

— Chief of Police

— Code Compliance Officer

— Community Development Director

— Director of Public Works

— Information Technology Manager

— Police Officer

— Sergeant

The staff at the Town of Dumfries do what they love and love what they do. While each person has a particular role, the staff also works together to support each other and the Town as a whole. You can find further information and details on how to apply on the Town’s website at www.dumfriesva.gov.

News
‘The school division can and has purchased land for schools with nor need for BOCS involvement’

Lillie Jessie, the Occoquan District School Board representative, penned a post for Potomac Local last week that we titled ‘Instead of giving us money,…provide land needed to build new schools.’

We lifted the words for the headline straight from Jessie’s text. And then we started wondering: Is it always up to the Prince William County Board of Supervisors (BOCS) to purchase land, or designate a site on which the Independent School Board should build a new school?

From Prince William County Public Schools spokesman Phil Kavits: (more…)

Traffic
Virginia won’t consider widening I-95, blames Express Lanes

First on Potomac Local 

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — When the Occoquan District Supervisor asked state officials to consider a small fix to ease a part of the region’s Interstate 95 traffic burden, she didn’t like the answer she received.

Ruth Anderson asked Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board to consider extending a fourth travel lane on Interstate 95 from the Occoquan River south to Prince William Parkway. After extending the 4th lane from Newington in Fairfax County south to the river in 2011, the Virginia Department of Transportation created a heavy bottleneck at the lane’s terminus at the busy Route 123/I-95 interchange.

Anderson stated that “at a minimum” a fourth lane extended south to the Parkway is a sensible solution as the six-lane road, and its highway interchange is better equipped than the Route 123 junction to handle more traffic. Officials in Prince William said they’ve long asked the state to widen the road to four travel lanes on the north and southbound sides through nearly the entire stretch of I-95 in Prince William County, from Occoquan to Dumfries.

Instead, the I-95 E-ZPass Express Lanes were built. Toll lanes in the center of the highway that regularly charge as much as $16 one way, and allows vehicles with three or more occupants to ride free. (more…)

News
‘Any shift with the storm edge will greatly affect snow totals’

From the National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington office, updated 5:10 p.m. Friday: 

Not much on radar at this time, though increasing coverage over the Great Smokies is making the 12Z GFS look more reliable. The surface low is not apparent yet, but should be developing over the western Gulf of Mexico. We are on the wester fringe of this storm with the surface low remaining off the Carolina coast and pushing NE from off Hatteras. Dry and cold air being drawn into the storm will limit snow for a majority of the LWX CWA. However, after midnight, swaths of snow will overspread southern and eastern portions of the area. The winter weather advisory was expanded to include central MD as well as the central Shenandoah Valley. 12Z guidance went a little farther west and the western edge will be tight, so these areas were the greatest targets at this time.

Snow will taper off from the west Saturday morning through the early afternoon. Snow ratios look to be 12-15 through the event across the area. So any shift with the storm edge will greatly affect snow totals.

North to northwest winds will remain up through the night with gusts 25 mph. Min temps teens west and low 20s east.


Honor vets and active duty military at the Clubs at Quantico

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Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security John C. Harvey, Jr.
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On Tuesday, January 24 the Prince William Chamber of Commerce will host their annual Salute to the Armed Forces Luncheon at the Clubs at Quantico & Crossroads Event Center, located on Marine Corps Base Quantico.  

Presented by the Chamber’s Veterans Council, the luncheon features status reports from Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander, Colonel Angie Holbrook and Colonel Joseph Murray, Base Commander at Quantico. Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, John Harvey will be the Keynote Speaker. PenFed Credit Union is the Presenting Sponsor. All interested Prince William County and Manassas area residents and business leaders are encouraged to attend.

No one who lives or works in Northern Virginia can be unaware that the region is packed with veterans and military personnel, making it somewhat easy for residents to take for granted the safety and security we enjoy. Chamber staff agree, and said they believe that is why the Salute to the Armed Forces has become a favorite among the membership.

“The event is so very moving and that effect has not worn off, even after six years,” said Director of Marketing and Communications Andrea Short.

This will be the first year that the event will take place on the Marine Corps Base. Each year the Chamber utilizes this program to honor active-duty service members and Veterans from across the region.

The 2017 event will be no exception. From the moment guests walk through the doors they will recognize that this event is different from any other business luncheon or awards program. Veterans are given a badge so that fellow attendees know they have served.

Conversations around the lunch tables to the remarks from the podium; the room hums with moving accounts of personal connections to the U.S. military. Even the Marine Corps and Army Commanders carry the theme by honoring outstanding soldiers and Marines from their command.

In 2016, a young Marine who had almost single-handedly run the Toys for Tots program was honored by her Commander.   

This year the Chamber’s Salute to the Armed Forces Keynote Speaker, John Harvey, will share what is being done by Governor Terry McAuliffe’s administration in terms of veterans-related issues and the ways in which the Commonwealth is working to ensure the maintenance of a productive relationship with military services and the federal Department of Defense.

The program will also feature remarks by World War II Navy Veteran Chilton Raiford who lived through two Kamikaze attacks and rescued fellow servicemen from a burning staircase.

The program concludes when retired Marine and Chamber member Harry Horning plays TAPS on his trumpet, honoring those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice.

In addition to PenFed Credit Union, Salute to the Armed Forces 2017 is sponsored by First Command Financial Planning, NOVEC, Prince William Living, Zeiders Enterprises, The Prince William Times and Dominion Virginia Power, among others. Tickets to the luncheon are $45 for members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, or $60 for non-members. Registration is available online at PWchamber.org. Questions? Contact the Prince William Chamber of Commerce at 703-368-6600 or email ashort@pwchamber.org.

News
School closings and delays for Thursday evening Jan. 5, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017

Check our Schools and Local Governments Twitter lists below for the most up-to-date closings posted by the respective school division or government agency.

For the open status of the Federal Government, click “OPM website” below.

Government closings and delays

Federal Government Operating Status

(OPM website)


Want More Prince William County?

Prince William County has established itself as an important part of the economic landscape of the Greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area and Northern Virginia.  The County’s contributions to the Northern Virginia economy has resulted in the region singularly accounting for roughly 45 percent of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s total economic activity and 37 percent of all employment, as recently reported in the 2016 State of the Commonwealth Report.  

As Virginia’s second-largest and fourth-fastest growing County, Prince William County has grown consistently and continues to expand and diversify.  Last year, Site Selection, cited one of Prince William County’s Department of Economic Development projects as “…the top project in capital investment [in Virginia] for 2016, to date, is a $350 million Iron Mountain data center going into Manassas.”  SmartAssets also named Prince William County among the state’s top 5 investment locations.

In the last five calendar years [2011-2015], projects closed by the Prince William County Department of Economic Development alone intend to invest a record $2.7 billion and to create 2,900 jobs.  2015 was the fifth year in the Department’s history that it logged over half of a billion dollars in capital investment, with $660 million and more than 600 new jobs. 

“Twenty years ago Prince William County recognized the importance of Economic Development and dedicated a new Department to work on defining a roadmap to its future,” said Corey A. Stewart, Chairman, Prince William Board of County Supervisors. “Today, we are realizing the benefit of laying the foundation for a prosperous economy and continue in our dedication to raise the bar higher for our business community and citizens by delivering on increased capital investment and high-paying, highly-skilled jobs.”

“By concentrating in life sciences and information technology we are creating growth opportunities that are opening up new markets and new types of business opportunities, influencing other technology sectors and the region, as a whole,” said Jeff Kaczmarek, Executive Director, Department of Economic Development, Prince William County.  “The County’s growth is owed in part to its strategic location and excellent competitive edge, such as a ready supply of highly-educated young professionals, affordable and available land and competitive labor costs, all of which result in a strong value proposition.”

Throughout its growth, Prince William County has distinguished itself as a premier business destination, that has made significant strides in its new role as a thriving science and technology hub.  There has also been a notable increase in employment opportunities within Prince William County.  As of 2015, the County provided job opportunities for over 122,000 persons.  In fact, over the period 2010-2015, job growth in Prince William County convincingly outpaced that of the Washington D.C. metropolitan area at 18% compared to 6%; as well as that of the state of Virginia which also saw a 6% increase.  Similarly, the number of businesses in Prince William County increased by 20% over the same period compared to 11% growth in the Washington D.C. metro area and 12% growth for all of Virginia. 

By all indications, Prince William County’s ability to generate job opportunities within its boundaries is expected to continue into the foreseeable future, based on the latest round of estimates released by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.  According to those projections, job growth in Prince William County is expected to outpace that of any of the other observed localities in the metro area.  Over the 30-year period, 2015-2045, the County is expected to add an additional 114,000 jobs – an almost 80% increase. 

Want more Prince William County?  Check out our latest video, sign-up for newsletters or visit us at: www.PWCEconDev.org or @PWCDED.

News
Sheetz at Caton Hill and Telegraph roads for sale

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A recently opened Sheetz gas station in Woodbridge is for sale by a private investor, we’re told. 

Submitted: 

Greysteel, a national commercial real estate investment services firm, has been named exclusive advisor and agent by a private client for the sale of a newly constructed Sheetz convenience store and gas station located in a suburb of Washington D.C., which is one of the fastest growing counties in the country.  

Greysteel Senior Investment Associate, Henry Schuldinger of the Company’s Washington, D.C. office, is leading the marketing of the property.

This Sheetz location at 2540 Caton Hill Road is subject to a long-term ground lease. Sheetz opened the 24-hour location for business in July 2016.

The property is located at the corner of Caton Hill and Telegraph roads, adjacent to the largest park and ride commuter lot in Northern Virginia.  It is also less than one mile from the Potomac Mills Mall, one of the largest outlet malls in the country.  Surrounding major retailers in this dense retail corridor include IKEA, Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Kohl’s Wegmans, and CarMax.

“Sheetz has been expanding aggressively into the Virginia market along the I-95 corridor. This Sheetz property presents the company’s newest 24-hour prototype construction with expanded restaurant services. The property is located at an entrance to a commuter parking lot with nearly 3,000 spaces immediately off of heavily traveled Interstate 95,” said Mr. Schuldinger. “Given its location, we believe this site offers a unique underlying real estate value that will generate significant investor interest and we look forward to marketing the property to investors across the country,” he added.

News
Occoquan sign knocked down

From Occoquan Mayor Liz Quist:

Intersection of Washington and Commerce Streets. I found it at 3:15 yesterday afternoon while on a walk with my husband.

One resident reported that it was still standing at 3 pm, but an employee of a local business thinks it was downed Saturday night.

We were able to move it out of the roadway with the help of two passing motorcyclists.

News
Recycle your Christmas Tree in Prince William County

Submitted: 

After all the holiday festivities are over and the finery has lost its luster give your Christmas tree, wreath and other cut greenery another life as compost, mulch or habitat. Simply remove all ornaments, decorations, tinsel, nails and the tree stand and take the greenery to one of locations listed below to be recycled or repurposed.  

The Prince William County Landfill at 14811 Dumfries Road in Manassas.  Monday – Saturday, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.  The facility is closed New Year’s Day. 703-792-4670

The Balls Ford Road Compost Facility located at 13000 Balls Ford Road in Manassas. Monday – Saturday, 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.  The facility is closed New Year’s Day. 703-792-4670

Leesylvania State Park located at 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Drive in Woodbridge (off Neabsco Road). Trees may be dropped off at Shelter 2 and will be used for habitat.

Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) located at 5399 Wellington Branch Road in Gainesville.  Dec. 26 – Jan. 9.  The drop off area is located in the front parking lot in the area outlined with the orange safety cones.  NOVEC will deliver the wood-chip mulch to interested customer-owners at no charge, visit www.novec.com/mulch

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