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

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

Brentsville Courthouse 

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

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

For more information please call 703-365-7895.

Rippon Lodge

Rippon Lodge

Rippon Lodge 

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

For more information please call 703-499-9812.

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

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

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

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

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

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

News
Reprinting Prince William election ballots could cost thousands

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

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

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

Mike May

May

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

rick smith

Smith

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

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

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

Chapman

Chapman

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

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

Porta

Porta

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

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

Foreman

Foreman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

stewartsmith1

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voters head to the polls November 3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good afternoon:

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

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

Agency Preparation:

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

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

News
Hurricane Joaquin: Cancellations and postponements in our area

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

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

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

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

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

Americans in Wartime Musuem open house

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

Stafford United Way yard sale 

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

Brentsville Court Days

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

Stafford schools events canceled / postponed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prince William Chamber PAC releases endorsements in 2015 race

Updated Oct. 9, 2015

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

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

Virginia Senate 29th District — Hal Parrish 

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

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

 

Original post

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

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

Potomac District – Maureen Caddigan

28th Senate District – Richard Stuart

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

Neabsco District – John Jenkins

2nd House District – Mark Dudenhefer

Occoquan District – Earnie Porta

31st House District – Scott Lingamfelter

Woodbridge District – Frank Principi

40th House District – Tim Hugo

50th House District – Jackson Miller

51st House District – Rich Anderson

52nd House District – Luke Torian

87th House District – John Bell

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

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

Micron: A memory maker in Manassas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News
Senator Charles Colgan honored at Hylton Performing Arts Center

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

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

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

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

Fall Family Fun Night is Oct. 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prince William & Fauquier businesses: Become ‘Alzheimer’s Friendly’

Free Trainings for Businesses Aim to Reduce Isolation Among Families Impacted by Alzheimer’s For the 15 million Americans providing care for their loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease, isolation is a serious risk.

With the unpredictable nature of the disease, symptoms such as memory loss, repetition and poor judgment lead many to choose to avoid the outside world rather than risk the possibility of unpleasant, awkward or even frightening situations in public.

In fact, in a recent survey of Alzheimer’s caregivers, 74 percent reported that they and their loved ones have become more isolated from the community as a result of the disease. Furthermore, 85 percent reported that they feel a reduced quality of life due to isolation.

As a community, we cannot allow this to happen to our neighbors, friends and loved ones. We can change these frightening statistics here at home. To do just that, the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Prince William and Fauquier Counties is helping launch the Alzheimer’s Friendly BusinessSM program.

The program includes a training for local businesses that is designed to help employees understand the disease and provide simple techniques to ensure customers with Alzheimer’s are treated with compassion and respect. The training itself is quick and can be done for businesses in as little as 30 minutes, but the impact on families in our community can be long-lasting.

For a family coping with Alzheimer’s disease, going to a restaurant where a hostess will know the best place to seat you to prevent your loved one from becoming confused can lead to a much-needed night out of the house. Errands to the bank may seem less overwhelming when you know the teller on the other side of the counter can recognize and politely respond to an unexpected behavior as a result of Alzheimer’s, where others in that same situation might be confused or even rude.

Businesses in Prince William and Fauquier counties can work directly with the local Home Instead Senior Care office to arrange an in-person training for their employees, and an online version of the training is also available at AlzheimersFriendlyBusiness.com.

Once the training is completed, businesses will receive a window decal with the Alzheimer’s Friendly Business logo, allowing those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia to easily recognize these businesses taking the lead in making our community more Alzheimer’s friendly.

For more information about Home Instead Senior Care’s Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program, including information on what to look for in an Alzheimer’s Friendly Business, visit AlzheimersFriendlyBusiness.com or call 703-596-1217.

False: Most high-quality olive oil comes from Italy

Olive oil. We all have a bottle in our pantry. But can you cook with it?

Is first cold press the best olive oil you can get?

I’m Cameron, co-owner of Manassas Olive Oil Company, and I’m going to breakdown some common myths about this kitchen staple.

Myth 1: You can’t cook with olive oil

Status: False

This misconception stems from olive oil smoking or breaking down at low temperatures.
Olive oil only has a low smoke point if it has a high quantity of free fatty acids (FFAs). High levels of FFAs – which have been linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes – indicate poor quality or old olive oil.

All the olive oil we carry at Manassas Olive Oil Company has less than 0.2% free fatty acid content – meaning it won’t smoke until at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

As far as withstanding heat – all types of oil break down when heat is applied.

Inexpensive oils – such as canola oil – form toxic byproducts like aldehydes when heated. But when olive oil is heated, it’s some of the antioxidants will break down instead, ‘sacrificing’ themselves and prevent toxic chemicals from being produced by the oil. Look for a high polyphenol (antioxidant) content when purchasing olive oil for high temperature cooking.

Myth 2: First cold press is the best olive oil

Status: Partially True

First, cold pressing is a requirement to produce extra virgin olive oil, but it is somewhat of a misnomer. Cold pressing refers to any olive oil pressed below 80 degrees Fahrenheit and without the addition of chemicals.

As for second press – that has become a thing of the past. Historically, olives were quite literally pressed with huge stones, with the first press extracting the best oil, and subsequent presses extracting lower quality oil.

The olive press has been replaced by a malaxer (horizontal mixer) and centrifuge which pulverize olives, and extract almost all of the oil from them. This method is so efficient, only 5% of oil gets left behind on this ‘first press.”
This leftover oil is must be chemically extracted, and is referred to as “pomace oil.” Pomace oil cannot be sold or labeled as “olive oil’ – nor is it good to consume.

Generally speaking, all commercial olive oil will come from the first press. But be advised – even poor quality olive oil can come from the first cold press.

Myth 3: Most high-quality olive oil comes from Italy

Status: Mostly False

According to a study done by the International Olive Council, Spain produces 40% of the world’s olive oil – or about the same amount as Italy and Greece combined.

So where does the best oil come from? That’s a complicated equation.

Great olive oil is a lot like wine – it depends on the cultivar of olive you’re getting, what kind of conditions it grew in, and how the pressing was handled. Even oils from the same grove will vary year to year.

You should try different varieties of oil. Much like different wine grapes produce different wines, different types of olives will also produce different flavor profiles of oil.

Currently, six different types of extra virgin olive oil are available to taste at Manassas Olive Oil Company.

Have more questions about olive oil, or are interested in learning more? Visit our shop located in downtown Manassas, at 9406 Grant Avenue. We are more than happy to share our knowledge.

What are the best tools to track legal billing?

  • JTC, Inc.
  • Address: 9720 Capital Ct. #305, Manassas, Va.
  • Phone: (703) 794-1225
  • Website: http://www.jtcinc.net/

As a lawyer, how do you keep track of your services and bill your clients? You could do it the old fashioned way by logging paper records, but with new technology and software programs that will do the tracking for you, why do it any other way?

There are several automated tools out there to track legal billing, but three of the best are Amicus, TimeMatters and Sage Timeslips, according to one of JTC, Inc.’s Solution Architects Chris Dittrich.

All three of the platforms are designed with lawyers specifically in mind, and come with desktop and cloud features, so you can maintain your records in multiple locations for redundancy.

“The biggest thing for them is to track clients and have a record of what they’ve done, and be able to access it and correctly bill for their services,” said Dittrich of JTC, Inc.

It’s essential for lawyers, because it makes it easier to bill in the 10 to 15 minute time increments, and some of the software platforms will even hook up to the phone system to accurately log call times.

Whether it’s for a growing law firm or an already established larger firm, these platforms will provide you with efficiency in billing and save you time.

According to Dittrich, JTC, Inc. can help lawyers and firms with implementing and maintaining the system.

“Say they’re a new law firm getting started, or they are converting to a new software package, JTC, Inc. would help them with the complete installation of that database to run their business,” said Dittrich.

So for those that want a more efficient and accurate way to log time with clients, consider investing in these tools and the services of JTC, Inc. for your firm.

One of areas largest businesses — Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas — looking to expand

A leading provider of senior care in Manassas is looking to hire more CAREGivers.

Home Instead Senior Care will hire 200 new CAREGivers in the coming year. They are looking for people with flexible schedules, those who appreciate paid in-house training, and those who have a caring heart.

Lovejoy

Lovejoy

Home Instead Senior Care consistently ranks as one of the top 10 employers in Manassas.

“Since starting the company, my husband Jack and I have been absolutely astounded by how many seniors there are in the area who need assistance. Being able to provide employment to hundreds of people, all while fulfilling such an important public need is the realization of our lifelong desire to serve our community in a positive way,” said Jacqueline St.Clair, Franchise Owner.

The senior population is set to explode, called the “silver tsunami,” over the next two decades so need for home care services is going only to grow and Home Instead is preparing to lead the way. Home Instead has experienced double-digit growth every year since being founded in 2006.  Their company has outgrown three previous Manassas offices and expanded into its new 8000 square foot office on Godwin Drive two years ago.

Duties of a CAREGiver range from companionship, meal preparations and transportation up to personal care services. Home Instead’s goal is to continue their reputation as the “employer of choice” in non-medical home care.

“The happiest day for me is when a brand new CAREGiver calls me after a shift to say how happy they were with their assignment. Seeing how rewarding the experience is for both our seniors and our CAREGivers never gets old” said Gail Earhart, who started working at Home Instead as a CAREGiver and now serves as our Staffing Manager.

Home Instead recruits openly and hosts an onsite job fair each quarter where potential job seekers can learn about the company, be interviewed and hired in the same day. They will also take part in the Greater Manassas Community Job Fair on Oct. 13, 2015, at Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, 8712 Plantation Lane in Manassas.

“We are redoubling our efforts to help those in our region who are looking for employment. Helping seniors stay safe and stable in their own homes brings a unique sense of satisfaction that we really want to make job seekers aware of,” said Director of Operations Ian Lovejoy.

Visit Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas online at HomeInstead.com/manassas-va for more information or to apply to be a CAREGiver.

Occoquan District Boy Scouts Need Your Help

Have you ever wanted to get more involved in the community, but we unsure how?

The Occoquan District Boy Scouts – with scouts from Woodbridge, Lake Ridge, Dumfries and Montclair – need individuals to serve on committees for the group’s board.

This is a great chance to serve your community, and help out a worthy non-profit organization that mentors our youth.

There are currently vacancies for:

District Vice Chair

Membership Committee – New Unit Coordinator

Finance Committee – Vice-Chair Finance, FOS-Community Coordinator, Popcorn Kernel

Programs – Vice-Chair Programs, Cub Scout Advancement, Boy Scout Advancement, Recognition Dinner Coordinator Co-Chair, Activities Chair, Pinewood Derby Coordinator, Cub Scout Training Chair, Volunteer Coordinator

Marketing CommitteeVice Chair Marketing, District Newsletter Coordinator, Public Relations Coordinator 

If you are interested in working with the Boy Scouts, and would like to take on one of these important positions, please contact Ben Hazekamp at 608-751-9840.

This post is sponsored by Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire.

‘Grapes in the Garden’ raises money to provide music, art, & massage therapies for Mary Washington Hospice patients

Grapes in the Garden

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The annual Mary Washington Hospice “Grapes in the Garden” beer, wine, and food tasting is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015.

The event will take place at the Snowden House on the Mary Washington Hospital Campus, from 2 to 5 p.m. The hospice provides compassionate, comprehensive end-of-life care for patients at the hospital. The hospice does this music, art, and massage therapies.

The Grapes in the Garden event helps to fund these continuing therapies.

Tickets for the event are $50 in advance, $60 at the door.

You can purchase tickets and get more information online.

Delicious Downtown: Manassas Restaurant Week returns

raw bar, Manassas, virginia

Foodies have a great reason to get excited about fall!

September marks the return of Historic Manassas Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week is a tourism and marketing promotion celebrated throughout the U.S. to help bring in new customers and grow local businesses. Local restaurants feature their cuisine and offer a multi-course tasting experience for a special price.

Historic Manassas Inc. produces this event to showcase the City’s exciting culinary scene and encourage people to visit downtown businesses. Diners can try out places where they haven’t yet dined and regulars can score a great deal at their local favorites. Most Restaurant Week promotions are two courses for $25 or three courses for $35 and the specials run September 20 – 26.

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Insider’s Scoop on Restaurant Week Specials

Carmello’s (9108 Center Street) brings seasonal fine dining and an award-winning wine list to Historic Manassas. Their Restaurant Week dinner for $35 will offer a choice of a chopped house or caesar salad to start; a choice of gnocchi con carne, veal Napolitano, or marinated pork chops for an entrée; and either crème brule or chocolate hazelnut cake for dessert.

C.J. Finz Raw Bar & Grille (9413 West Street) is the City’s surf and turf destination. They have a fantastic deal that starts with your choice of a pint of beer or wine and is followed by a half-dozen shucked oysters or a half-pound of spiced shrimp. Your meal continues with your choice of several sandwiches, including a lobster roll, fried oyster po’boy, tuna tacos, salmon BLT, as well as non-fishy options like rib-eye steak, grilled chicken, or a burger on pretzel roll.

City Square Café (9428 Battle Street), where many enjoy artisan charcuterie and cheese boards, will entice diners with a choice of appetizer, entrée, and dessert for $35 during dinner. For $48, you can indulge on a wine pairing with your meal.

El Cactus (9406 Battle Street) offers fresh Tex-Mex favorites. During Restaurant Week, two can dine for $36. Pick one of five different appetizers to share, including the Manassas Soup Bowl-winning chicken tortilla soup. Entrees on special include carne asada, smoking fajitas, mole salmon, shrimp-topped tilapia, honey roasted cilantro chicken, and sweet honey salmon salad. Dessert features churros or the Taste of Manassas-winning tres leches.  

Mackey’s (9412 Main Street), an American pub, is home to bourbon-glazed, “drunken” meats from the grill as well as plenty of “pub grub” favorites. They are offering an appetizer and entrée combo for $25.

Monza (9405 Battle Street) is where you can enjoy live music on the weekends and your favorite team on the big screens. They will be offering a choice of bruschetta, mozzarella sticks, arancini, or fried calamari for an appetizer and a choice of chicken picatta or pan-seared Atlantic salmon for an entrée for $25.

Okra’s (9110 Center Street) brings a taste of New Orleans to Manassas. This Cajun Creole favorite will feature a different dinner special each day of Restaurant Week. Swing by to see what the day’s special entrée will be and enjoy it with the choice of an appetizer and dessert for $35 during dinner. 

Philadelphia Tavern (9413 Main Street) offers authentic Philly fare and boasts hoagie rolls that come straight from Amoroso Bakery. Grab a pal and enjoy two of their famous cheese steaks and two draught beers for $25 during both lunch and dinner.

The Bone (9420 Battle Street) is downtown’s home for smoky barbecue and hand-picked craft beers. Come by for a two-meat combo platter with Banana Puddin’ Pie for dessert and a local craft beer for $25. Choose from pork, brisket, turkey, chicken, or ribs and pair it with two sides and bread.

Note: The full menus at every restaurant will still be available in addition to the Restaurant Week special menu items, deals, and pricing.

News
Pope visit to Washington: Changes coming to your OmniRide commute

The visit of Pope Francis in Washington will mean those who normally take OmniRide buses to Washington will instead be bused to Metro stations.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, operators of OmniRide commuter bus and OmniLink local buses, will enact its Emergency Service Plan on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

The Pope has a full schedule of events planned in Washington. He will begin Wednesday with a meeting with a meeting at the White House with President Obama. Later, a papal parade will travel along 15th Street NW and Constitution Avenue.

The Pope will attend midday prayer at the Cathedral of St Matthew The Apostle on Rhode Island Avenue NW. A mass will be held later in the day at Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Pope Francis will later make an appearance at the U.S. Capitol for a joint address to Congress. He’ll finish the day at St. Patrick’s Church. 

All of this means PRTC OmniRide buses will not serve regular stops in Washington. Riders will picked up Wednesday morning at their regular stops and taken to Metro stations. 

Buses serving eastern Prince William County will take passengers to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station on hte Blue line. Buses serving Manassas and Gainesville riders will take passengers to the Tysons Corner Metro station on the Silver line. 

PRTC Metro Direct buses will run on a regular schedule on Wednesday. Here’s more in a press release: 

Because the implementation of the Emergency Service Plan is being announced in advance, fares will be charged for OmniRide service. OmniRide fares to and from the Metro stations will be $3.85 cash or $3.10 with a SmarTrip card, which are the equivalent of Metro Direct fares. OmniRide fares during regular, non-ESP service, are $8.30 cash or $6.20 with a SmarTrip card.

More information about the emergency service plan, and OmniRide schedules is available onlinehttp://www.prtctransit.org/index.html.

How to make sure your legal billing software is up to date

  • JTC Inc.
  • Address: 9720 Capital Ct #305, Manassas, VA 20110
  • Phone: (703) 794-1225
  • Website: http://www.jtcinc.net/

When you turn on your computer, do you ever see a window, telling you it’s time to update? Every software program requires updates at some point, while new features are added and vulnerabilities in the program are fixed.

And for those that run a legal firm, having software on your side for billing purposes can be a huge help. Programs like Amicus, TimeMatters and Sage Timeslips will allow you to accurately track billing for any meetings, research or calls made to your clients far more efficiently than tracking it with pen and paper or your own spreadsheet.

But even excellent programs like these need maintenance and updates in order to continue functioning properly.

“Just like any other software, they usually have integrated update notifications,” said Chris Dittrich, a solution architect for JTC, Inc.

These updates typically include annual upgrades, patches, bug fixes, and new operating system updates.

While you could handle the updates on your own, if you want to eliminate any potential error that could severely impact your ability to rely on the software, then it’s best to allow an IT company, like JTC, Inc., to handle software upgrades to your legal billing software for you.

“We subscribe to the software. When we’re working with a software platform, we have an email that goes to the engineers that will give us updates and tell us when there’s been a service update,” said Dittrich.

Especially with a full caseload, it makes more sense from a time management perspective.

“If you have a company that’s using the software, it’s advisable for them to put their IT company team on as a contact for the software vendor, so the IT company can adequately assist them in making sure those updates get done,” said JTC, Inc. spokeswoman Kristen Maxey.

Additionally, trusting the updates of your legal billing software with a company like JTC, Inc. will ensure that your system is free from any bugs or viruses.

“We want to eliminate any potential vulnerabilities that there are inside of the software,” said Maxey.

Save yourself time and effort and make sure you’re always billing your clients with up-to-date software by utilizing the services of an IT company like JTC, Inc.

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