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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OmniRide:

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

-Dale City – Navy Yard – Timetable changes.

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

Montclair – Timetable changes.

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

OmniLink:

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

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

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

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

-Manassas – Timetable changes.

Manassas Park – Timetable changes.

Metro Direct:

-Manassas Metro Direct – Timetable changes.

-Linton Hall Me tro Direct – Timetable changes.

Cross County Connector – Timetable changes.

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

Aurora Flight Sciences launches world’s first 3D-printed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

A 3D printed drone

Ten years ago it might have been hard for many people to imagine being able to send a digital file to a printer and producing a three-dimensional object. However, this advanced technology is becoming more widely used in many different industries and is inspiring innovations like 3D-printed cars that can drive and medical devices that can save lives.

Today, Manassas-based Aurora Flight Sciences is taking this technology one step further. The company unveiled the world’s largest and fastest 3D-printed, unmanned aircraft at the Dubai Airshow in November. This high-speed, jet-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flies faster than 150 miles per hour.

Aurora partnered with Stratasys Ltd., a 3D printing and additive manufacturing company, to design and produce an aircraft using 3D-printed, lightweight plastics and metal. This UAV was developed in half the time it typically takes using traditional manufacturing methods.

By using 3D printers, Aurora’s aerospace engineers can build customized products quicker and produce them more cost effectively, which creates new opportunities for the company. For example, the U.S. Air Force recently announced an initiative called “Affordable, Attritable Aircraft” to significantly reduce aircraft procurement costs. The development of lower-cost, 3D-printed UAVs will make it more “affordable” for the military to lose a drone in combat situations.

“Part of the Air Force’s challenge is to separate manufacturing costs from production rate and quantity,” says Dan Campbell, Aerospace Research Engineer at Aurora Flight Sciences. “3D printing is a major enabler of meeting their needs.”

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, uses a “materials printer” to produce a three-dimensional object from a computer model. The printer builds the object by placing layers of a material on top of each other. Aurora and Stratasys mostly used a strong thermoplastic that is resistant to heat and chemicals to build their UAV. The materials that they chose significantly reduce the aircraft’s weight but still meet the Federal Aviation Administration’s requirements for flame, smoke, and toxicity. The UAV has a 9-foot wingspan and only weighs 33 pounds.

“Whether by air, water, or on land, lightweight vehicles use less fuel. This enables companies to lower operational costs as well as to reduce environmental impact,” says Scott Sevcik, Aerospace & Defense Senior Business Manager for Stratasys. “Using only the exact material needed for production is expected to reduce acquisition cost by eliminating waste and reducing scrap and recycling costs.”

Aurora Flight Sciences and Stratasys began working together through the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory program. For four years, the two companies have been collaborating on developing novel materials and design methods for manufacturing small aircraft using 3D printing.

Having already achieved similar success with unmanned aircraft developed under Department of Defense-funded programs, the Aurora and Stratasys team is excited to publicly demonstrate their achievements. The internally funded UAV showcased at the Dubai Airshow was developed specifically to demonstrate their technology and show the world what can be done with 3D printing and aerospace engineering.

Aurora Flight Sciences, which was founded in 1989, has its headquarters in the City of Manassas and is a long-standing member of the business community. This leading developer and manufacturer of UAVs and aerospace vehicles has won industry recognition and awards for its cutting-edge technology.

Aurora is one of the top ten employers in the City with 188 staff members who are active volunteers with civic organizations and STEM education programs. Since 2003, Aurora has been giving back to the community by supporting the Team America Rocketry Challenge, a national student rocket design contest, through sponsorship and mentoring of local middle and high school teams.

The company has grown considerably over the years and has expanded several times to include production plants in West Virginia and Mississippi; a research and development center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where it collaborates with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and a new office in California’s Silicon Valley at Mountain View.

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

Parades, pancakes, ornaments, & Santa pet photos: Don’t miss holiday fun at the Manassas Park Community Center

 

‘Tis the Season at the Manassas Park Community Center!

There’s just something about the holiday season that makes it one of my favorite times of the year. Maybe it’s because this is the season for spreading happiness, togetherness, and well-wishes to everybody you meet. To help you get into the spirit of the season the Manassas Park Community Center has lots of special events lined up!

The festivities kick off on Thursday, December 3 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. where you and your family can decorate dough ornaments for only $3 a person. You can literally create a lifelong memory to include on your Christmas tree or to keep at your desk all year round.

As a baking enthusiast, nothing brings me more holiday cheer than gingerbread houses! You and your family can decorate your own gingerbread houses Thursday, December 10 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. for just $5 per participant. We’ll supply everything but feel free to bring your own special candy to make your houses extra unique.

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Our popular 10th Annual Light Parade is on Saturday, December 12 starting at 5:45 p.m. There’s a new route this year! It will start at the General’s Ridge Golf Course and follow Manassas Drive to the Manassas Park Community Center. There’s still time to have your vehicle be a part of the parade. Contact Tony Thomas at t.thomas@manassasparkva.gov for more details.

Santa will be visiting the Manassas Park Community Center for a pancake breakfast on Saturday, December 19 from 9 to 11 a.m. It’s only $5 per person for Breakfast with Santa and kids 2 years old and under can join us for free. Make sure to bring your wishlist!

Your pups can meet Santa on December 19 as well! From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. bring your dogs to take pictures with Santa during our Santa Paws special event! It’s only $5 per dog and you’ll get a high quality digital photo to keep for years to come.

In addition to all of our special events, our monthly promotion gets in on the holiday action! Get 12% off an annual Basic or All-Access membership or 12% off any rental you book during the month of December! For more details on memberships and rentals you can visit our website at www.ManassasParkCommunityCenter.com or call the front desk at 703-335-8872.

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

Sentara to host info meeting for Junior Volunteer program


Information Session for the 201
6 Junior Volunteer Program

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center Auxiliary will be conducting an information session about the Junior Volunteer program on Saturday December 12, 2015 at 10:00 am at the Hylton Education Center located inside the hospital’s garden level.

Every year in January, the Auxiliary opens its doors to new applicants. It is a competitive process into the program and once in, volunteering can be demanding if not well managed as many high school students are taxed with so many other commitments.

The purpose of the information session is to provide an opportunity for parents and their high school age students to come and learn more about the program before investing in the application process.

Attendees are asked to park in the Visitor Parking lot located in the back of the hospital. The Information session will start promptly at 10a.m. and will last approximately one hour.

Junior Volunteer Information Session

2300 Opitz Blvd

Woodbridge, VA 22191

Hylton Education Center

12/6/2014

10:00-11:00 am

For additional information, please contact Phim Gilberry, (703) 523-1345 or visit our webpage.

 

3 ways to give local, taste local at Manassas Olive Oil Company this holiday season

Manassas Olive Oil wants you to give and taste local this year.

The shop in Historic Downtown Manassas has three unique gift items that are perfect for family, friends, and clients.

The first unique gift we offer are variety packs. They come with three paired olive oils and balsamic vinegars” said Cameron Thomson, manager at Manassas Olive Oil Company. “These are a great way to introduce people to good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It gives you a nice variety of flavors as well as some of our more popular items.”

Because Manassas Olive Oil Company has so many options to choose from, they’re also a perfect gift for guests who are a little unsure of what to get their loved ones.

Manassas Olive Oil Company offers two variety packs: their Italian Collection and Manassas Collection. Included in the Italian Collection are Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar, Fig Balsamic Vinegar, Garlic Infused Olive Oil, Basil Infused Olive Oil, and Tuscan Herb Infused Olive Oil.

In the Manassas Collection contains the Thomson family’s favorites and includes Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, Cranberry Pear Balsamic Vinegar, Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar, Leccino Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Blood Orange Fused Olive Oil, and Tuscan Herb Infused Olive Oil.

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Variety packs are also customizable per your personal preference. Each box is also uniquely packaged in a beautiful box, which are durable and hold up great during shipping. Variety packs are available for just $36.95.

Gift baskets at Manassas Olive Oil come in two different sizes. The largest pre-made gift basket comes with four bottles, two spouts, a dipping dish, and a sea salt.

It includes Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, Tuscan Herb Infused Olive Oil, Garlic Infused Olive Oil, and Fig Balsamic Vinegar. The smaller gift basket comes with two bottles, two pour spouts, and a dipping dish.

”Gift baskets are a great way to introduce people to olive oils balsamic vinegars because they feature our best-selling products, so they are definitely something people will love and use, said Thomson. .

You can also purchase gift baskets with different themes, such as winter, solid colors, and more colorful ones. These gift baskets are perfect for the holidays but are also a great gift all year round.

If you’re a business owner or a sales agent, gift baskets are great gifts to give to loyal clients.

Cameron said, “Since it’s the time of the year for rewarding clients, right now we have an order for several gift baskets from a company, so it’s proved to be another nice way to say thank you to anyone.”

The large gift baskets retail for $96 and the smaller gift baskets for $56. Manassas Olive Oil Company will customize gift baskets to suit your needs.

Customers can request to have products added, removed, or substituted in order to create something personal. They can even customize the type of basket and bows, And if the customer is wants a basket, but is unsure of what to add, the knowledgeable staff at Manassas Olive Oil will help.

“The third gift option is buying our products off-the-shelf,” said Cameron. “When purchasing, we wrap the bottles in colorful paper, but if our guest would like a different presentation, we carry a variety of one and two bottle gift bags in different themes.”

Manassas Olive Oil receives its bags from a company that specializes in wine packaging, so they are a better fit for the bottles that it carries.

“Olive oil and balsamic vinegar are gourmet products, which make wonderful gifts. Everyone loves to eat, so surprise your host, friends, and family with the gift of taste,” stated Thomson.

News
Police Chief: ‘We appear to have failed to notify ICE’

Two investigations centering on how police work with federal immigration and customs officials are ongoing in Prince William County.

One is a public probe ordered Saturday by the Board of County Supervisors to learn if county police are talking to federal immigration and customs officials, or ICE when officers come across anyone has criminal, or civil administrative — also called a deportation order — against them.

The second is an internal investigation ordered by Prince William County Police Chief Stephan Hudson, who wants to know why some officers declined to properly notify ICE in about half of the cases involving illegal immigrants with a civil or administrative warrant for their arrest.

A WJLA story labeling Prince William as one of four “sanctuary cities” in the Washington, D.C. region for illegal immigrants prompted a swift reaction from At-large Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart. The Chairman in 2007 made national headlines when he pushed for some of the strictest measures in the nation when leading the Board to pass an ordinance that would require all county police officers to check the legal presence of anyone stopped or arrested.

In an email obtained by Potomac Local, Chief Hudson told county officials that only about half of the cases involving illegal immigrants were handled properly.

“I have some additional info I can share, but am still working to verify some facts with ICE. Basically, our officers appear to have made phone contact with ICE’s screening center in about half the cases when we got these hits. We appear to have failed to notify ICE in the remaining cases… I will conduct a formal internal investigation into this matter to determine how this apparent failure to notify (in at least some of the cases) has occurred, but that will take time.

-Prince William County Police Chief Stephan Hudson

Officers check the ID of anyone stopped by for a suspected offense. Information on that person is returned to them on a computer. And, if the person has a criminal warrant out of their arrest, police place the suspect in handcuffs.

If the suspect has a civil or administrative warrant against them, police do not have the authority to arrest that person, explained Stewart. Officials now want to know how many times Prince William officers have come encountered individuals with such warrants and did not notifiy ICE.

The Prince William County Police Department’s authority to check the legal status of immigrants ended in 2012 when the 287g program — a joint program with the feds that trained officers on how to check the legal status of those arrested went away. Officers at the county jail are still trained in checking the legal status of those arrested, and still do so today.

“We certainly disagree with Channel 7’s labeling of Prince William County as a “sanctuary county.” Law enforcement officials in Prince William County have a well-established history of cooperating with ICE. In all criminal custodial arrests, PWCPD officers inquire into the immigration status of the arrestee and document the response on arrest paperwork.

100% of all arrestees booked into the Prince William/Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center (Jail) are screened through the 287g program, and the Jail notifies ICE of those findings.

Furthermore, In the event our officers find a person to have a criminal “Previously Deported Felon” warrant from ICE, officers arrest that person and follow the same procedure at the jail.”

–Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok

Interacting with those who have administrative warrants is only a “small portion” of the department’s dealings with ICE, but that was the core focus of the WJLA story, added Perok.

The Board of Supervisors was beginning its search for a new police chief at the same time the police department’s 287g authority was coming to an end. Hudson was appointed Chief of Police in February 2013 after Charlie T. Deane, the department’s first second Chief of Police retired. It’s possible that someone could have dropped the ball during this changeover period, and at least some directives weren’t followed, said Stewart.

“There’s a lot that we don’t know yet, and we’re going to have to wait for the results of our audit,” added Stewart.

The county tasked private firm RSM with conducting the audit. The results could come before the end of the month.

Come for the Manassas Christmas parade, stay for lunch and learn why historic Santa wears red, white, and blue

On Saturday, December 5, Manassas will host its annual Christmas Parade in Downtown.

Why not make a day of it and come have lunch with Santa Claus at the Old Manassas Courthouse located at 9248 Lee Avenue in Manassas, at the corner of Lee and Grant avenues. He’ll be once again dusting off that old patriotic suit of red, white, and blue for his visit.

The suit, which resembles our nation’s flag was created by famed German Born cartoonist Thomas Nast and first appeared in Harper’s Weekly on January 3, 1863 and was used as a recruiting piece for the northern war effort during the Civil War.

Santa was illustrated giving Christmas gifts to soldiers outside Fredericksburg, and was meant to soften the blow suffered by the Federal Army under General Ambrose Burnside earlier in December of 1862.

The menu will consist of oven roasted turkey, honey baked ham, home-style mashed potatoes, baked macaroni and cheese, freshly cut bacon herbed green beans, fresh cranberry sauce, giant cookies, and freshly baked pumpkin pie.

Beverages will include spiced apple cider, freshly brewed coffee, and hot chocolate. After lunch, bring your camera for a picture with Santa and an opportunity to discuss your Christmas list with him.

Then make an authentic 19th Century Christmas decoration to take home. Participants are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots.

The cost is $20 per person ages 11 and up, and $10 for children 10 and younger. Lunch will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the Upstairs Ball Room.

Elevator access is available to those who need it. For more information or to make a reservation please contact the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division at (703) 792-4754.

European Wax Center in Manassas makes guests look and feel beautiful

European Wax Center in Manassas

European Wax Center opened in June at Bull Run Plaza in Manassas.

Ron Whidby, the franchise owner of the location, said European Wax Center in Manassas offers its guests a unique experience that stands out from the competition, and they strive to make guests look and feel beautiful.

“We provide an upbeat, friendly atmosphere. Our guests enjoy a personalized experience from the time they enter our doors. Our guest service coordinators greet you as soon as you arrive. We offer a private room with your licensed professional, whom we call Wax Specialists or Skin Care Specialists,” said Whidby.european-wax-center-3

European Wax Center in Manassas uses its own exclusive wax, called Comfort Wax that is shipped from Paris. The wax is applied at a lukewarm temperature, and there are no strips needed to remove the wax because it is a hard wax, meaning the wax hardens and is removed without strips, quickly and effortlessly. It’s ideal for sensitive skin and is unlike the traditional soft wax, which can cause irritations to the skin. Other places may use a hard wax like European Wax Center, but Whidby says that it’s not the same.

“A lot of the Wax Specialists can’t believe how well our wax works compared to other hard waxes they’ve used in the past,” said Whidby. The high-quality of the wax and materials used at European Wax Center is enough for guests to make return visits. Men and women, from a variety of ages, often visit the center.

“For women, the number one service is the bikini wax,” Whidby said. “Men typically get a back or shoulder wax.”

european-wax-center-1

Unlike other spas, European Wax Center in Manassas only provides waxing services. “Our Wax Specialists focus on waxing all day long so they master the techniques needed to complete a service effectively and efficiently.  We are the experts in waxing, because that is all that we do. Most services are scheduled for 15 minutes, which allows many guests to come in for their waxing on a lunch break. They are in and out before their breaks are over,” said Whidby.

What else keeps guests coming back? It’s the luxury feel and setting of European Wax Center.

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“When they walk past the glass door and into their wax suite, it’s a setting unlike anything else,” said Whidby. Guests are greeted by their Wax Specialist who will guide them back to their wax suite. Along the way guests see beautiful brick archways as soon as they enter the hallway.

“It’s eye-catching and that’s when we get that ‘wow,'” said Whidby.

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All of the Wax Specialists who work with European Wax Center in Manassas are state licensed and have graduated from esthetic or cosmetology schools. They are also required to complete an in-house training that ensures each Wax Specialist is providing the same level of excellent service to guests.

“We do more than just wax or remove unwanted hair; we reveal the natural, beautiful skin that remains. We educate our guests on proper skin care before and after their waxing,” said Whidby.

The Wax Specialists educate guests about how to hydrate their skin to prevent drying, and which products from European Wax Center’s exclusive product line they can able use so they can have better results as they continue to wax.

As part of the overall service, Wax Specialists educate guests on their exclusive four-step process, which prepares the skin before and after service, to make the waxing experience as comfortable as possible.

European Wax Center believes in the services provided, that a free service is offered to all new guests. “As long as you are a Virginia resident, we give a complimentary wax to first-time guests of European Wax Center,” said Whidby.

“We want our guests to try the products and services we have to offer. Women can get a complimentary eyebrow, underarm, or bikini line wax, or can upgrade to a Brazilian bikini wax for half-off the regular price. Men can get a free eyebrow, ear, or nose wax for their first visit.”

Packages are also offered to discount the price of services.

“For some services we have our unlimited wax pass where you can come in as often as you’d like for one year for that service,” said Whidby.  These passes are only available for the eyebrow, underarm, and bikini waxes.

The pre-paid wax pass allows guests to buy nine of the same service, and get three free where guests can save up to twenty-five percent off of their services. These passes are available for all of the services offered and the visits never expire, so guests have the flexibility to use their visits according to their own schedule.

“So for our regular guests that know they’re coming frequently, there are ways for them to save instead of paying full price every time,” said Whidby.

Leave the stress of the season behind! Shop Small in the City of Manassas

 

Shop for olive oil, home décor, fashion, pottery, fair trade goods, jewelry, books, antiques and collectibles, musical instruments, quilting supplies, and spiritual items

When it comes to holiday shopping, you can choose between two completely different experiences next week.

On Black Friday, you can rise before the sun and get ready to fight frenzied crowds. You can endure long lines as you frantically attempt to snag limited-time, mega deals on big-ticket items.

Or, on Small Business Saturday, you can instead enjoy a leisurely day browsing independently owned businesses, discovering unique gifts and specialty items, enjoying attentive customer service, and sitting down for a relaxing meal with friends and family.

There are many independently owned shops across the City of Manassas where fantastic, one-of-a-kind gifts are waiting for you on Saturday, November. 28.

In Historic Downtown Manassas, retailers will open early at 9 a.m. to welcome shoppers through their doors. You can park once and stroll for hours while finding something for everyone.  To get an idea of the wide range of retailers in the downtown, take a look at VisitManassas.org’s merchant directory.

Explore specialty boutiques that offer premium food from wine to olive oil, home décor, fashion, pottery, fair trade goods, jewelry, books, antiques and collectibles, musical instruments, quilting supplies, and spiritual items. Leave the stress of the season behind! In between your purchases, pick up a warm beverage, take a spin around the ice-skating rink at the Harris Pavilion, and enjoy lunch or dinner at one of the independently owned restaurants.

If you have history buffs on your list, there is no better place to visit than Echoes, the Manassas Museum shop. It features a wide array of merchandise that celebrates local history and culture. From children’s toys to Civil War collectibles to souvenirs – you will find many distinctive presents here that are not available elsewhere.

For shoppers pressed for time, a drive along Liberia Avenue to The Shops at Signal Hill, the Fairview Shopping Center, and the Davis Ford Crossing Shopping Center will offer you the convenience of running errands, buying groceries, and shopping “small.”

Discoveries here will delight the people on your list who hard to shop for. You can find gifts for antique seekers, archers, coin and military memorabilia collectors, art enthusiasts, cyclists, foodies, and cigar connoisseurs. And, you can save time by not cooking and stopping into one of the ethnic eateries or your other local favorites here.

If you are cruising down Centreville Road, don’t miss stopping into one of the antique shops that could very well have that rare piece you have been looking for. There are also several niche boutiques that can satisfy very specific wish lists – like bowling supplies, dancewear, signature pieces of jewelry, and vinyl records.

The desire to “buy local” has been growing in popularity over the years. American Express, the force behind Small Business Saturday, estimates that shoppers spent a total of $14.3 billion at independent businesses in 2014. This spending significantly impacts a community. Studies have shown that for every $100 that is spent at an independently owned business, approximately $45 is re-spent in the local community. This is often because those business owners live locally and recirculate their earnings back into their hometowns, conduct business with other local establishments, make charitable donations, and put local employees on their payrolls.

On the flip side, for every $100 spent at a national chain business, only approximately $14 goes back to the local community.

For shoppers who love spending time at independent businesses, shifting a portion of their holiday dollars will make a difference in supporting their community and their favorite merchants. Show your love for your favorite shops and choose Small Business Saturday next week!

Flexible. Comforting. Helpful. What it takes to be an in-home Care Giver

It can take weeks for someone to get used to being cared for inside of their home.

The needs of seniors can change from week to week, or instantly. Marcus Evans, a Care Giver at Home Instead Senior Care in Manassas, makes it his job to know his client’s needs and to make them feel right at home. A typical day for Evans consists of starting the day early and meeting with clients, many of whom he considers his friends.

“I grow very attached to people when I take care of them,” said Evans, “and it’s something that’s personal for me.”

Knowing the needs of the client

Evans reviews his schedule for that particular day so that he knows what client he is meeting what time he needs to be there. Evans arrives at the house often earlier than he is scheduled so that he can provide extra help.

“I think it’s a relief for them when I arrive,” said Evans, “because they’re just so used to not having helped or anyone around the house.” Evans introduces himself and evaluates the client’s Plan of Care, a guide that tells Evans what he needs to do for that client including small projects.

“It can be anything. Sometimes it’d be something as simple as putting in a light bulb that they couldn’t reach, or sometimes it might be helping them take a shower,” said Evans.

Each individual Plan of Care that Evans evaluates for his clients may differ. He works with some clients in the mornings, afternoons, or evenings.

“For my clients, sometimes they’ll need help with getting dressed in the morning, making sure they’re brushing their teeth, hair is washed and everything like that,” said Evans. “Getting out of bed. Sometimes they may need a change if they are incontinent. They may need breakfast made. The house to be tidied up and things like that.”

Clients also have to feel welcomed and comforted.

“Now if it’s an afternoon client, I might need to come in, and I’ll make lunch and help them run errands or something like that,” said Evans. An evening patient they’ll need probably dinner and they’ll need me to tuck them in… make sure the house is straight… make sure their bed is nicely and neatly done and things like that.”

Properly dispensing medication also falls under Evans’ duties. Meeting client needs Patience is “crucial” in the field of caregiving.

“If you’re not patient, people are going to sense it,” said Evans, “They’re going to be very closed off, and they’re not going to be inviting and warm.”

Willingness to adapt 

As clients’ needs changes over time, Care Giver s must adapt. Changes can happen in a matter of hours, daily, weekly or monthly. “You have to hang in there. You have to be willing to adapt and accept change,” said Evans.

“That’s why I think that a lot of people aren’t comfortable with this field because they’re not used to adapting on the fly as they would with a normal job where you just go in, and you clock in and you do the same thing every day.”

Evans says that it may take up to a few days, a few weeks, or even a month before a client is completely comfortable with someone taking care of them inside of their home. In most cases, Evans’ clients have never needed extra help or someone taking care of their every need.

“Sometimes they’ll verbalize in it. Sometimes it’s as simple as a look where it’s just like they’re smiling and I can tell at that moment they’re really happy with this. They’re really happy to have this help,” said Evans.

A rewarding career

Evans is Care Giver of the Year at Home Instead Senior Care located in Manassas, providing care for three years. He chose to work at Home Instead after working multiple types of jobs, but none seemed to be the perfect fit. It was while Evans was at a trade school that he was introduced to the field of medical assisting.

“The first class I took I was drawn to it immediately and I was like ‘I want to do this from now on,'” Evans said.

He achieved a certification in medical assisting and began searching for jobs in his field. However, Evans wanted a more personal type of relationship with patients that he felt he couldn’t get working at a doctor’s office. It was Evans’ mother that recommended him to Home Instead.

“I felt good. I felt like I’m really doing something that’s important for this guy because there was no one else with him and I was the only one there,” said Evans, about working with his first client. “…I felt like I was representing something good in his life that could be of service and help to him.”

Evans was named Care Giver of the Year at Home Instead and described the honor as both “overwhelming” and “unexpected”. Home Instead contacted Evans’ former clients and their families who gave glowing recommendations about Evans’ service and then interviewed Evans for the honor.

“To hear that I’m being esteemed in this way it blows me away…it was unbelievable to think that me just doing what I like doing people are going to recognize me in this way just for doing my job really,” said Evans.

Home Instead Senior Care provides in-home care to seniors in Prince William, Fairfax, and Fauquier counties, and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

How you can open your home to a cultural exchange student

Interested in hosting international high school students? Want to share a piece of American culture with your student and learn from your student’s culture?

Since 1951, Youth for Understanding (YFU) has been hosting students in the U.S. and sending students abroad for cross cultural exchange. YFU hosts thousands of international students from around 70 countries in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia every year. 

Christina Cox is a local elementary school teacher in Northern Virginia and spoke about her and her family’s experiences hosting international students and why you should too. 

 

1. What made you decide to begin hosting international students? 

I was approached at work by a co-worker that said her son’s high school was looking for volunteers to host. My sister was [an] exchange student with AFS and attended the University of Neufchatel in Switzerland, and in the past, my family had hosted a girl from Dijon, France, and another boy from the south of France.

Also, throughout my growing years, we often had visitors from Ecuador and Colombia. It was common for friends and relatives to send their kids to us for the summer to practice their English and learn more about American culture. Those experiences, combined with our own experiences of living in Canada, Eastern Europe, and Germany, gave us a pretty good idea of what to expect.

2. What year did you decide to open up your house?

We hosted our first exchange student, a young girl from France, in the summer of 2007. Our son, Alexander, was in middle school and our daughter, Mercedes, was entering high school. While she was a very sweet and easy-going guest, she wrote on her application that she spoke an intermediate level of English.

In fact, she spoke nearly no English. I had to interpret for her so she could communicate with the rest of the family. Once, when we were out to lunch, she and Mercedes had shared some tacos. When I asked if she wanted another one, she said, “sure, sure.” When I brought three more to the table, she scoffed and said, “no, no, no,” holding her stomach and indicating she was full and couldn’t eat anymore. We continue to laugh about that to this day.

3.  Favorite memories, moments?

The following year, we took a break from hosting, but the next year we were again approached by Terra Lingua [a different program], the exchange company, and asked to please consider taking a boy from Spain. He was Alexander’s age, was arriving in just over a week, and still had no host family. We accepted him, and that was the beginning of a long and lovely friendship between two boys and their families.

Inigo came to us from Bilboa, Spain. While he did speak a fair amount of English, he improved immensely through continued study in Spain as well as on his return visits to the U.S. Most recently, he stayed with us for his fourth time. He and his parents still communicate with us via Skype every few months. We keep up with each family’s happenings, as well as discuss what’s happening with each country’s politics, economy, and social issues. It makes for a candid and insightful exchange.

Alexander has also visited with Inigo’s family in Spain, even joining them on the family holiday to the Canary Islands. Some of our favorite memories were taking him camping for his very first time ever and introducing him to Dance Dance Revolution games.

Another funny memory is that we always thought we ate more than the Spanish family and that he was probably shocked. As it turns out, he now says he eats just as much and was always hungry, but didn’t want to be rude.

4. Why other families should consider becoming host families.

Other families should consider hosting a foreign exchange student because it allows you to share the best of American culture and the local area. Regardless of where you live in the U.S., this is simply a beautiful place, where people are kind, generous, and genuinely interested in creating positive relationships with people of other cultures. We have much to be proud of and much to share.

5. How rewarding is it to be able to host a student?

We loved being a host family. We know that there does not always exist an automatic chemistry between host and guests, but when there is such chemistry, it becomes an extension of your family. These are friendships that you can maintain for a lifetime.

6. How rewarding was it for your students? What do you think they gained?

I believe my children gained a great friend and extended family in Spain. I believe our guest gained an extended family here in the US and a much better understanding of the American way of life and culture. He can now speak from first hand experience about American culture and hospitality.

If you’re interested and want to learn more about being a host family with Youth for Understanding, please contact local Host Family Recruiter volunteer Amber Champ at amberbchamp@gmail.com and/or visit www.yfuusa.org for more information. 

Manassas is bucking the national trend and welcoming younger entrepreneurs to the city

A wave of business owners under the age of 35 has been bringing both new energy and great new destinations to the City of Manasass.

This activity comes at a time when the rate of entrepreneurship among young Americans has been falling across the U.S. While the Kauffman Foundation recorded the lowest rate of entrepreneurship in 17 years among people between the ages of 20 to 34, the City has been attracting this demographic.

Some of the forces driving this trend include a local culture of support for independent businesses, a collaborative business environment, and a strong sense of community.

There is no greater encouragement for an entrepreneur than the vote of confidence that support from the community can bring. Sean Arroyo, the CEO and co-founder of Heritage Brewing Company, used Kickstarter to see if locals would get behind his brewery concept.

Kickstarter is an online fundraising platform through which business owners can make sales pitches to raise money for their ideas. He met his goal and raised more than $20,000 from 166 backers three years ago. Support for Heritage continues to grow. A planned expansion will make it the second largest brewery in the state.

“It was funded mostly by people in and around Manassas and Northern Virginia,” said Arroyo. “It signaled to us that people want us here.”

Strong local support makes locating in Manassas an obvious choice for other business owners, too. Chase Hoover, co-owner of The Bone barbecue restaurant, says his family has been involved with businesses in Manassas for generations. Opening The Bone in the City was a “no-brainer” for him because he likes being in a community with so many independently owned businesses and strong support for buying local.

“The hospitality industry in Downtown Manassas is made up of many young entrepreneurs, which gives the city an energetic, unique flair you can’t find anywhere else,” said Hoover. “We love working with the other [local] restaurant owners to put on special events such as the weekly live music and numerous festivals throughout the year.  It is truly a small town where everyone works together toward the common goal of bringing great food and a great experience to visitors and locals alike.”

Miguel Pires, the owner of Zandra’s Taqueria, also cites the spirit of the community as a factor for opening his business in the City. He says he was raised in his family’s restaurants – Carmello’s and Monza – and worked as a general manager for both establishments for 10 years. When the time had come to open Zandra’s, Pires chose Manassas because he “wanted to continue to expand downtown’s culinary experience.” 

Chris Sellers, the owner of CJ Finz, credits the small-scale buildings in the historic downtown for giving restaurants a more intimate feel and an opportunity to focus on customer service.

“The restaurants here aren’t commercialized,” he said. “We get to build a connection to the community through each table that we serve.”

Business owners who are active with community organizations and civic groups strengthen that connection to the City even more. “People like me, Miguel, and others are excited about being the next leaders of the downtown,” said Sellers.

Entrepreneurs of any age can take advantage of area support services to get their business idea off the ground and join this community. The City’s Economic Development Department’s staff members are available to discuss the local economy, business ideas, great sites for locating new establishments, incentives, and the steps in starting a business.

Also, training and advice is available from George Mason University’s Mason Enterprise Centers, the Community Business Partnership, and the Flory Small Business Center (by referral).

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How VDOT will use a jet snow melter to fight Old Man Winter

Coming to a commuter lot near you this winter (if it snows): A jet-powered snow melter.

The Virginia Department of Transportation gave us an annual look at how they plan to do battle with Old Man Winter this year. It’s the agency’s job to keep more than 17,000 lane miles in Prince William, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties clear of snow and ice. About half of those roads are major highways and heavily-traveled arterials while the other half is neighborhood streets.

VDOT last year spent $128.5 million on snow removal in Northern Virginia — more than double the $50.5 million budget. This year, VDOT has $70.7 million to spend on snow removal. A series of winter weather outlooks published this week, including one on Capital Weather Gang, indicate at least one major winter storm for our region this season.

The state has an online website that tracks what streets have been plowed after it snows. It’s a popular feature that VDOT continues to urge residents to use.

“Each year, we strive to improve our winter operations both on the road and behind the scenes,” said Branco Vlacich, VDOT’s maintenance engineer for northern Virginia in a statement. “We continue to encourage residents to use the website for real-time information on their neighborhoods during snow storms. Over two years, we’ve seen hits to the site increase while customer calls decrease, as residents check road conditions, locations of our trucks and the progress of our crews.”

Residents in Prince William, Fairfax, and Loudoun may go to the site, enter their address, and see whether or not plowing in their neighborhood has begun or has been completed. They can also track the locations of snow plows.

The agency also listed some tools in the snow removal fight to be used this year:

A jet-powered snow melter for park-n-ride lots where snow piles can block spaces.

Seven high-pressure flush trucks clear snow and ice around the bollards separating the I-495 Express Lanes and regular lanes.

Two front loaders with 20-foot blades plow interstates during severe storms.

Speed-activated anti-icing equipment puts the right amount of material on the road.

VDOT will also continue to pre-treat 850 miles of highway before the first snowflake falls.

350 lane miles on interstates—including bridges and ramps prone to freezing such as the Springfield interchange and Capital Beltway at Route 1—with liquid magnesium chloride.

500 lane miles on major roads, such as Fairfax County Parkway, routes 1, 7, 28, 29, and 50, are pre-treated with salt brine. Brine (77 percent water, 23 percent salt) prevents ice from bonding to the road surface, reduces the need for salt to melt ice, is kinder to the environment and can lower snow removal time and costs.

The agency will also deploy more employees to monitor snow plowing operations, and will continue a 2-year test a brine mixture that is used to pre-treat roads. Using brine to treat roads has been successful in western U.S. states and it could reduce the need for salt use here in Virginia, according to a VDOT statement.

How Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas matches the right CAREGiver to your loved one

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

Matching the right CAREGiver to the right client is a very serious and rewarding job.

Gail Earhart is the Relationships Manager for Home Instead Senior Care located in Manassas, which provides local CAREgivers to seniors in Prince William, Fairfax, and Fauquier counties.

“On a daily basis a lot of what I do is in the staffing department because we have clients on any given day…or up to any given week we could have up to 60 to 70 shifts to fill,” said Earhart.

However, filling the slots with CAREGivers isn’t the easiest task to complete. One of the biggest challenges Earhart and the staffing team faces when filling shifts is that each client has different needs, and each CAREGiver has a different preference.

“So you might have a client who has a dog or a cat and then you have a CAREGiver, who won’t go to somebody who has a dog or a cat,” said Earhart. “Or you have a client who has Alzheimer’s so we have to ensure that we have a CAREGiver, who’s seasoned working with somebody who has Alzheimer’s.”

 

Consultation 

Finding out the preferences and needs for both client and CAREGiver are important steps in delivering quality care. It starts at the beginning by consulting with new clients by Client Care Coordinators.

“Our Client Care Coordinators go out, and when they’re doing a consultation they find all this information out,” said Earhart. The Client Care Coordinators then return and tell staffing what exactly their client needs and the appropriate type of CAREgiver for their client.

Home Instead has 200 CAREGivers, which seems like a daunting task when matching the right CAREGiver to the right client. However, members of staffing know the CAREGivers so well they make it their job to know who is the right fit for their client.

Recently, Earhart completed a consultation of a client who was described by his daughter as “narrow minded” and “stubborn.”

In this case, the family requested a CAREGiver who was assertive and not someone young who the client can potentially take advantage of. So Home Instead matched the correct CAREGiver to the client who would make sure the client did what might seem the most basic of things, eat regular meals and shower on a regular basis.

 

Filling specific needs 

Sometimes, clients can be very particular about finding the right CAREGiver. And that’s OK. Many times families prefer non-smokers in the home or simply a companion for their loved one.

“Sometimes they say ‘I want a really talkative CAREGiver. Somebody’s who’s going to sit with my mom for three hours and just talk about life’ and we have that and that’s part of our service,” said Earhart.

Much of a CAREGiver’s role is “filling that gap” when a family member needs to go out when they can’t be with their loved one. Which is why it’s so important for a perfect match to exist between client and CAREGiver.

“The last thing I want to do is send somebody in there who’s a very quiet CAREGiver. We have those too so we want to make that perfect match,” said Earhart,” …but we tell every client if we don’t send the correct CAREGiver, if there isn’t a match, it doesn’t feel like a good fit, call us because we can send you somebody else.”

Successfully matching clients and CAREGivers can sometimes be an “ongoing process,” but when that perfect match happens and the client or client’s family sends positive feedback there’s no better feeling.

A care consultation can take up to an hour and a half .

“The first probably 45 minutes is just talking to the family, getting to know the family, finding out what their needs are. We have a complete form [and] we’re taking notes the entire time,” said Earhart.

It’s within these first 45 minutes do Client Care Coordinators know whether or not the client will be signed up. The last 30 minutes is dedicated to paperwork but discussion still happens between the family and client and Client Care Coordinator.

 

The best and most common questions families ask Client Care Coordinators include:

 

What type of CAREGiver will be sent to me?
Are they certified, bonded, or insured?
Do CAREGivers do drug testing?
Will the CAREGiver be permanent or temporary?

 

“Obviously our goal is to have permanency so if somebody is scheduled Monday, Wednesday, Friday they want the same person,” said Earhart.

However, it’s not a guarantee that clients will always have the same CAREGiver. It may take between two to three weeks to find the best two CAREGivers for clients in case one CAREGiver needs to call out in the future.

Some clients need around the clock care and see up to three CAREGivers each day.

“When we have a 24/7 client, we work on having 24/7 teams. We’ve had a client now for almost two years that has the same eight CAREGivers on that team” said Earhart. “They just rotate through the week and then the weekend.”

 

If its not working

It can be hard for families to initiate the conversation that a CAREGiver isn’t working out.

“We do get those phone calls and it might be ‘my dad’s just not hitting it off with this CAREGiver’,” said Earhart, “or maybe it’s something that the client unfortunately just doesn’t like about the CAREGiver and that’s okay too because not everybody makes a connection, not everybody makes a hit.”

To find out why a match isn’t successful, Earhart normally gets to the center of the problem. For example, if a family complains that the CAREGiver is on the phone too much steps will be taken to correct that and no further action needs to be taken. Or the family loves the CAREGiver but the CAREGiver can’t cook or complete a certain skill that properly fulfills the client’s needs.

“Jeannie Carroll is our CAREGiver Retention Coordinator and she has the best job here I think at Home Instead because she works directly with the CAREGivers,” said Earhart.

Jeannie spends 30 days with the CAREGivers, accompanies them on their first shift, and supervises them for 30 days to monitor their progress.

 

Making it a success 

What helps to make success more likely for both client and CAREGiver is that initial intake and assessment that has all of the client’s needs and preferences. When a CAREGiver is first assigned to a client, they must read everything about that client and if a CAREGiver’s preferences don’t match with the client’s, another CAREGiver can be assigned before one is sent to the client.

Journals are provided to the family and client to take note of the daily care received and if something raises questions, Home Instead can be contacted. Phone numbers are not exchanged between client or the client’s family and CAREGiver so that everything goes through Home Instead’s office.

“No client is ever left without somebody, so whatever it takes we’re going to be there,” said Earhart. 

Manassas Park Community Center starts ‘thank you’ pandemic to spread gratefulness

Don’t be alarmed, but in case you hadn’t heard summer is over and the Thanksgiving season is here.

Now is the season where people make a special effort to recount all the things they are thankful for in their lives. For many, it has become a tradition to share this list at the dinner table on Thanksgiving before eating.

Being mindful of your gratitude helps make you a happier person and, as happiness is contagious, it will make others around you happier as well. While it’s a wonderful and fun tradition to practice during Thanksgiving, the benefits of gratefulness can be enjoyed year round.

However, being grateful and focusing on what you are grateful for isn’t enough.

It’s easy to neglect to use the phrase, “thank you,” but those two simple words carry so much meaning. Thank you can reinforce and strengthen bonds we share with others.

When you say thank you to the person who makes your lunch in the morning, to your child who finishes their chores, or to your favorite cashier ringing up your purchase you express that you value that individual. Regardless of how monotonous, simple, or mandatory the task is, it should always be acknowledged and appreciated verbally.

Remember, gratefulness spreads happiness, but how can you express gratitude if you never say “thank you?”

Why do people neglect to say thank you? There are probably a myriad of reasons beyond my scope of knowledge and it’s easy to compile a list of cynical reasons – but let’s not create an anti-grateful list during the season of gratitude.

Instead let’s challenge each other to say a sincere and genuine thank you every day. Say it 10 times. Say it 100 times. Thank you is a rare phrase that has meaning no matter how frequently it is repeated.

Once you start saying thank you to others you’ll instantly notice others will start saying thank you to you. If happiness is contagious, and gratitude creates happiness, then it shouldn’t be surprising gratitude is contagious as well.

I’d like to start this gratitude pandemic. From me and on behalf of the entire City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation, we’d like to thank you for all that you do. Even if we haven’t met yet, thank you. If we have met, thank you. Thank you for visiting our parks and our community center and giving value to the work that we do here. You are our community and we are here to work together to build our community up together.

To add further meaning behind our gratitude and to help spread our gratitude we are offering two specials this month. On Thursdays (through November 19) you can donate 10 non-perishable food items in order to receive 10% off a Basic or All-Access membership at the Manassas Park Community Center.  

From November 27 through December 4, we will be launching our ‘Friends and Family’ promotion where we share our employee discount with all of you. During that week only, you can get a Basic membership for 25% off.

For more details please contact us at 703-335-8872.

News
Delayed start for commuter bus service from Dale City, Lake Ridge to Mark Center

New commuter bus service from Woodbridge to the Mark Center in Alexandria is delayed.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission on Monday said plans for new buses between Dale City and Lake Ridge to the Mark Center would start in mid-January, about a month later than originally planned. A new ramp from Interstate 395 to Seminary Road was supposed to have been constructed by this fall, but work continues the ramp, according to PRTC.

The new commuter service will begin as soon as the ramp opens.

Commuters will pay $8.30 for a one-way fare on for the bus, $6.20 if using SmarTrip. There will be four morning and evening trips for both the Dale City and Lake Ridge buses.

The Dale City bus will serve a commuter lot at Gemini Way, and stops along Dale Boulevard before proceeding to I-95. The Lake Ridge bus will serve commuter lots at Tacketts Mill, Minnieville and Old Bridge roads, and the Old Bridge & Route 123 commuter lot before heading north on I-95.

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation will pick up the cost of the new bus service as a means of mitigating congestion on I-395.

The transit service faces a $9 million shortfall that could hamper existing service by 2017. So far, local officials aren’t talking about it.

PRTC on Monday also announced small changes in service as part of its annual fall service change: 

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

 There will be minor map and timetable changes to some other routes.

News
NOVA Woodbridge begins HVAC dual enrollment for high school students

The Natural Science and Mathematics Division at Northern Virginia Community College’s Woodbridge Campus has partnered with Prince William County Public Schools and SySTEMic Solutions to offer on-campus Air Conditioning and Refrigeration dual enrollment courses to Prince William County high school students.

The program began this semester with students from Gar-Field, Freedom, Potomac, Woodbridge, and PACE East high schools. Five days a week the students attend HVAC classes at the NOVA-Woodbridge Campus in the morning and return to their respective high schools in the afternoon to complete their high school coursework.

Students will complete college-level coursework to achieve credits toward obtaining an HVAC-R and Facilities Services Technology Certificate by the time they graduate from high school. Prince William County Public Schools Supervisor of Career and Technical Education Doug Wright, NOVA Dual Enrollment Coordinator Courtney Hill, Dean of Natural Science & Mathematics Alison Thimblin, Assistant Dean of Natural Science & Mathematics Adam Johnson, Director of SySTEMic Solutions Amy Harris, and Rusty Jensen, of the NOVA Woodbridge faculty worked together to develop and launch the AIR Dual Enrollment program.

Antonio Sorto, a sophomore at Woodbridge Senior High School plans to attend NOVA after he graduates to pursue an associate’s degree in HVAC-R. 

“I decided to enroll in the program because I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn something that really interests me,” Sorto said. “I love doing hands-on experiments, and I can use this skill as a back-up career in life or possibly make it my main career option.”

For more information about the HVAC Dual Enrollment Program at NOVA, call 703-878-5741.

 

News
Prince William traffic unit helps keep drivers safe on roads

Traffic is one the most common complaints from those who live around here. That means officers in the Prince William County Police Department Traffic Unit have job security.

The 21 police officers that make up the traffic enforcement unit are easy to spot on their blue motorcycles.

Many times you’ll see posted on the side of the road running speed checks using LiDAR, a device that uses lasers to scan a larger portion of a roadway full of cars coming and going, more so than standard radar speed detection.

The officers in this unit write hundreds of speeding tickets per month. It’s not because they’re avoiding fighing “real crime,” or that they’re trying to “fill a monthly quota” of written speed tickets, as the common misconceptions state. They’re out to keep drivers safe.

“It’s an uneasy feeling to get stopped by police,” said Master Police Officer Steve Bennett, who’s been with the Prince William County Police Department for 17 years.

Bennett sat in an unmarked police cruiser at the corner of Spriggs and Lindendale roads in Dale City. He used a LiDAR detector and scanned the field of oncoming and passing cars.

He picked his spot carefully. By the time drivers reach this spot, they should have been able to see the posted speed signs three times, said Bennett.

“We try to be as visible as possible. We don’t hide behind trees or behind signs,” he said.

Most cars traveled the posted 45 mph speed limit, or just a few mph over. A few cars traveled in packs but barely exceeded the speed limit.

A Prince William County school bus stopped in front of a daycare center, blocked traffic in the right lane while sitting with its yellow flashing lights on for about two minutes before putting on its red lights and discharging a child. Most drivers approaching the bus from behind saw yellow and correctly slowed down but passed the bus. Another approaching driver in the left lane saw yellow lights and incorrectly stopped, briefly halting traffic on Spriggs Road.

The bus and subsequent traffic obstruction wasn’t in the road long enough for Bennett to issue a warning. Bennett sees instances like these, and situations where drivers cut off other drivers by pulling out in front of them, and drivers texting behind the wheel all day long.

But just when he thought this stretch of Spriggs Road was safe, Bennett spotted a white Lexus traveling at 60 mph toward Saunders Middle School.

Bennet first spotted the speeder, and then used his LiDAR detector to confirm the infraction. He pulled into traffic and pursued the driver by putting on lights and siren. The driver pulled over into a right turn lane indicating he was coming to a complete stop, but then oddly pulled back out into the right travel lane and then came to a full stop.

Bennett got out of his car and approached the driver and asked him to pull into the school parking lot up ahead. The driver did.

“I don’t ask ‘do you know why I stopped you,” explained Bennett. “I feel like it’s trapping them into admitting something they did wrong.”

Now with the driver, Bennett showed the digital readout on the LiDAR detector that indicated he had been traveling 15 mph over the posted speed limit. Bennett then came back to the police car where he ran the driver’s license and registration with the help of a radio dispatcher.

Bennett wrote a ticket and presented it to the driver, and he was on his way. He would most likely repeat that process again before the day ends, he said.

Traffic on area roads is often congested, forcing commuters to spend hours traveling to and from work. When it’s moving, the LiDAR tool helps police officers scan the entire width of roads for speeders. It is especially helpful for officers patrolling the wider four and six lane roads in Prince William County.

The LiDAR system looks like a set of binoculars that an officer holds up and points toward traffic. A laser sends out 200 pulses per second across the roadway. Fifty pulses per second bounce back from moving vehicles, and those return pulses tell the LiDAR detector how fast the cars are traveling, said Bennett.

Police cars are also outfitted with traditional radar systems that can indicate the speed of vehicles traveling behind and in front of the officer. These tools, along with visual indicators, help police stop speeders.

When not doing speed enforcement, officers in the traffic unit assist patrol officers when responding to calls for help from county residents, and assist officers and fire and rescue crews called to the scene of traffic crashes.

One of those crashes involved one of their own when Officer Chris Yung on his police motorcycle was struck by a minivan and killed while responding to a call for help on New Years Eve 2012. Yung was the third Prince William officer to die in the line of duty since the department was founded in 1970.

Bennett urges drivers to leave the house earlier, to pad a little more “time and patience” into their commute.

“When you leave late, you get into the mindset of beating the clock, and you often say ‘now I’m late.’ I know because I’m the same way.” said Bennett. “But I’ve seen that if I leave earlier, and I know I’ve got an extra 10 minutes, I’m more apt to let someone merge in front of me so we can all get where we’re going.”

Volunteers needed for Dumfries Christmas parade, tree lighting

Volunteers are needed for the Dumfries Annual Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 5, 2015.

The parade will start at noon, and the tree lighting will start at 5 p.m.

Volunteers will receive a t-shirt and have the opportunity to serve the community.

Interested parties should contact Community Services Director Brittany Heine at 703-221-3400, ext 144 or by email Bheine[at]dumfriesva.gov.

Learn what makes a good news story for your business, organization: Join us for ‘1 Million Cups Meets the Media’

1 Million Cups Meets the Media, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015

8:30 to 10 a.m. FREE! RSVP Today!

What makes a good news story?

How do I know if a news or features writer would be interested in my story, organization, business, or event?

What is the difference between “earned” media and advertising? Which one is better for me?

Many people who are tasked with getting out the word about events, happenings, and information about their businesses ask these kinds of questions all the time.

When looking for answers it pays to hear about what makes a good story from the editors and publishers of three media organizations in Prince William County.

On Wednesday, Nov. 18  from 8:30 to 10 a.m., please join us for a special edition of 1 Million Cups Prince William — “1 Million Cups Meets the Media.”

This hour and a half session will be a free, informative meeting designed to help you better understand how the local media industry works, and how to get a reporter’s attention.

Space is limited so be sure to RSVP online today.

Joining us will be:

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Rebecca Barnes — Founder and Publisher of Prince William Living Magazine

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Jason Grant — Communications Director for Prince William County Government, pwcgov.org/news

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Uriah Kiser — Founder and Publisher of PotomacLocal.com News

1 Million Cups Meets the Media will be held at the Hylton Performing Arts Center located at 10960 George Mason Circle in Manassas, from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

Free coffee will be provided to attendees.

1 Million Cups Prince William regularly meets at 9 a.m. every Wednesday at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. The meetings are designed to foster entrepreneurs and support the growth of small business in Prince William County and Greater Manassas.

News
Voters keep Stewart, Anderson to replace May on Prince William Board of Supervisors

stewart, prince william, supervisor

 

Incumbents keep jobs at county courthouse 

Prince William Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart At-large will return for his 9th year on the Board in 2016.

The Republican beat out Democrat challenger Rick Smith for the county’s top job by 14 points, with nearly 57% of the vote. Stewart gained the national spotlight in his early days on the Board of Supervisors for his stance on deporting illegal immigrants convicted of crimes.

At a debate between Stewart and Smith on Oct. 1, Stewart said he’s softened his approached, and learned its a better way to get things done in the county. Under the Republican, the county has invested more than $1 billion into improving transportation, placed more funding for police officers, and opened two new libraries in the county.

Stewart took to social media and posted a photo of he and his family, and thanked his supporters.

Stewart was first elected to the Board in 2006 to serve as the Occoquan District Supervisor and was elected Board Chairman the following year. Stewart won re-election as Chairman in 2011.

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Republican Ruth Anderson was elected the new Occoquan District Supervisor, beating out former Town of Occoquan Mayor Earnie Porta, a Democrat by eight points. Anderson is the wife of Delegate Rich Anderson, who ran unopposed for his re-election bid for the House of Delegates.

Ruth Anderson replaces Mike May, who decided not to seek reelection to mount a bid for Prince William Commonwealth Attorney. May was defeated by Paul Ebert, who has held the position since 1968.

May posted this to his Facebook page:

The results are all in, and sadly, we came up short by just a few percentage points. The journey we have been on for the past year has been extraordinarily rewarding. I could not have imagined the huge outpouring of support, friendship, and love that we have received from people all over Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. Amelia and I will forever be grateful to the hundreds of people who have helped us both in large ways and small during this campaign. You have all been a blessing to us.

I congratulate Mr. Ebert on a victory well won, and wish him the best in his new term in office. As I finish out these next few weeks as a member of the Board of County Supervisors and beyond, I look forward to finding new ways to serve our great community, and to seeing each of you again.

With Anderson’s election to the Board, the re-election of Republican Maureen Caddigan, of the Potomac District, and Democrats John Jenkins, of the Neabsco District and Frank Principi, of the Woodbridge District, the political make-up of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors will remain the same: Five Republicans and two Democrats.

Supervisors Marty Nohe, Coles District, Peter Candland, Gainesville, and Jeanine Lawson, Brentsville — all Republicans — ran unopposed and will keep their seats.

Caddigan’s Democratic challenger Andrea Bailey lost her bid to unseat the long-serving Republican by 535 votes. Democrats say it’s a sign of a shifting political makeup of the Potomac District, which includes Montclair, Southbridge, and Dumfries and Quantico towns.

Principi remains cemented in his heavily Democrat-leaning Woodbridge District, defeating Republican challenger Steve Chapman by 32 points.

While Pual Ebert remains Prince William’s Commonwealth Attorney, Michele McQuigg will keep her job as Clerk of the Court. The Republican beat out attorney Jacqueline Smith, a Dumfries attorney, by a narrow margin of four points.

Sheriff Glen Hill also ran unopposed and will keep his job guarding the Prince William County Courthouse.

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