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News
NOVA Woodbridge students teach computer literacy to seniors

From a press release: 

In effort to assist seniors with computer literacy skills, Northern Virginia Community College’s (NOVA) Woodbridge Campus has partnered with local non-profit organization Agape Love in Action, to host Wisdom Meets Technology (WMT), a free comprehensive computer training course open to all senior citizens.

Students enrolled in NOVA’s information technology (IT) and cybersecurity programs are teaching a total of 15 enrolled local seniors from WMT. For sessions held on Fridays from Dec. 1 through Feb. 2 (excluding holidays), seniors ranging in ages 65 to 87 are participating in a curriculum tailored for individuals with limited knowledge of computer software and operating systems.

NOVA students serve as instructors to provide seniors a unique learning experience based on content at a pace suitable for their needs. Each class is structured to be small in size to provide individualized assistance to maximize the learning experience. At the completion of the course, participating seniors will be able to navigate the Internet, read and open emails, open and send email attachments, compose, edit, save and retrieve Microsoft Word documents. 

WMT was the idea of Corliss Udoema, a business owner who was recently named Virginia Small Business Person of the Year. Udoema said as a senior citizen herself, she felt individuals within her age group should become familiar with technology for daily living and to stay connected with family. Since the inception of WMT, a total of 414 seniors have completed the program. To date the oldest graduate was 89 years old.

“Learning is enhanced when seniors are encouraged and allowed to learn at their own pace,” Udoema said.” NOVA students are not trying to teach our seniors how to create a spreadsheet or anything advanced. The curriculum will be focused on learning the basics, how to turn on a computer, check their bank accounts and pay bills online, watch content online, use the Internet and learn how to send and receive emails and photos. We are very appreciative of this new partnership with NOVA’s Woodbridge Campus.”

When WMT graduated its first class of seniors in 2016 at Central Carolina Community College, in Sanford, N.C., Udoema was looking for additional locations to host the program after relocating to the northern Virginia area. She contacted the faculty and staff at NOVA-Woodbridge after speaking with Campus Provost Sam Hill about collectively offering seniors throughout Prince William County another option for educational resources. Udoema along with Dr. Paula Ford, assistant dean of information technology, Michael Turner, dean of students, and several faculty and staff worked together with NOVA students to create a course schedule and curriculum to highlight basic technology concepts. Lorton resident Sue Miller expressed her gratitude to the College and its students for helping her to become more comfortable when using a computer.

“I know absolutely nothing about computers. I don’t own one and my friends have been begging me for years to purchase one of my very own,” said Miller. I’m excited and looking forward to learning everything that I possibly can from the WMT program and our NOVA student instructors.”

For registration and/or additional information about Wisdom Meets Technology call (703) 686.4846.

Traffic
Metro staying open later on New Year’s Eve

From a press release: 

Metro today announced special late-night rail service until 2 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, three hours later than normal Sunday closing hours, to provide customers a safe transportation alternative.

In addition, there will be no scheduled maintenance on New Year’s Eve after 6 p.m. or on New Year’s Day.

“We are pleased to offer extended hours on Metrorail during New Year’s Eve as a service to our customers who will be ringing in the New Year,” said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “I also want to thank our employees who will be working to provide the public with a safe and responsible option to get around.”

Last train departure times vary by station. Customers can check last train times on New Year’s Eve by visiting a station’s webpage (wmata.com/stations) and adding three hours to the regular last train time.

On New Year’s Day the Metrorail system will open at 8 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. Off-peak fares will be in effect all day, and parking will be free at all Metro-operated facilities.

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

From a press release: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, visit www.pwcacdst.org.

News
State officials to review need for new Haymarket power line in February

A date has been set in Richmond for a new State Corporation Commission hearing to determine if a new 10-mile, 234,000 kv powerline is needed in Haymarket.

From an email: 

“The State Corporation Commission has scheduled a public evidentiary hearing in Richmond at 10 a.m. on February 8, 2018 on the Haymarket Transmission Line Project.  An SCC Hearing Examiner will receive the testimony of public witnesses and evidence from Dominion Energy, the Commission staff and the parties in the case.  I have attached [PDF] the SCC ruling for your information.”

The new hearing is prompted by new evidence uncovered by the SCC after Dominion requested, and failed to get, cooperation with Prince William County to build the power line along the Carver Road alternative as opposed to the overhead route along Interstate 66.

“I find the SCC’s recent decision to re-open the case and include new testimony as to the questionable need a significant step forward in protecting the communities of western [Prince William County],” Jeanine Lawson told Potomac Local via email.

New evidence is expected to be entered into the record during the hearing by the applicant that wishes to build the new line, Dominion Energy. Some of that new evidence is changes to the proposed routes laid out by Dominion. 

Prince William County officials. the Somerset Crossing Home Owners Association, and Coalition to Protect Prince William have long opposed the proposed power line. The new line would run from the intersection of Prince William Parkway (Route 223 Business) to a new Amazon-owned data center outside Haymarket.

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

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

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

The new group has formed in its wake. 

From a press release: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

News
Thieves hit a string of cars outside Haymarket golf club

Virginia State Police are calling for the public’s help for information on a crime that occurred just after Thanksgiving: 

From a press release: 

The Prince William County Police and Virginia State Police are seeking the public’s help with identifying the individuals in the attached surveillance photo. The two individuals are being sought in connection with a series of vehicle break-ins that occurred in a neighborhood in Haymarket during the early morning hours of Nov. 25, 2017.

On that morning, numerous reports were filed of vehicles parked on the street and in driveways in the Piedmont Golf Community having been broken into and various items missing. Among the vehicles broken into was an unmarked Virginia State Police car. A Department-issued firearm was taken from inside the locked vehicle.

Anyone with information about these individuals and/or the vehicle break-ins is encouraged to call the Virginia State Police at 703-803-0026 or #77 on a cell phone or sent by email to questions@vsp.virginia.gov. Tips can also be submitted to Prince William County Police Department at 703-792-5123 or by email at policedept@pwcgov.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News
Five of seven people injured in Dale City town home blaze

From a press release: 

On Thursday, December 14th at 7:04 a.m., fire and rescue units were dispatched to a single family house, on fire, located in the 4300 block of Glendale Road in Woodbridge.

Upon arrival, fire and rescue crews observed fire showing from the rear of the home. Firefighters initiated attack and quickly extinguished the fire. Five of the seven occupants sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were treated on scene and transported to a local medical facility for further treatment.

According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, preliminary damages were moderate estimated at $100,000. The Building Inspector has posted the home unsafe. Red Cross was on scene to assist the family, 4 adults and 3 children, displaced by the fire.

The fire is currently under investigation by the Fire Marshal’s Office.

News
Tim Hugo wins the recount. Now he’s one of three Republicans representing Prince William County in Richmond.

Tim Hugo Prince William County’s joins State Senator Dick Black as the only Republicans representing Prince William County in the General Assembly.

Tim Hugo will keep the 40th District House of Delegates seat in western Fairfax and Prince William counties. He beat his opponent Democrat Donte Tanner by 99 votes, according to this press release: 

Today, the recount for Virginia’s 40th House District concluded, and Delegate Tim Hugo’s victory was reaffirmed. The results were mainly unchanged with Delegate Hugo winning by 99 votes.

“I would like to thank the hardworking volunteers and recount officials who made this recount go smoothly and without incident,” said Delegate Hugo. “As I said during the campaign, win or lose, we want to make sure that every lawful vote is counted and this process has ensured just that. I am honored to be re-elected and thank my constituents for their continued trust in me.  My focus has always been on improving the lives of those I serve.

“We faced unprecedented opposition from numerous outside groups, but our message of service to our community is why we received such bi-partisan support and were ultimately successful. I look forward to building on our accomplishments and finding new ways to improve our community.

“Lastly, Donte Tanner and I just spoke and I congratulated him on a hard fought race.”

Delegate Hugo was first elected in a special election in 2002. He serves as the House Majority Caucus Chairman and serves as the Vice Chairman of the Transportation committee as well as on the Commerce & Labor, Finance, and Privileges & Elections committees. The 40th District includes parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties.

While Senator Dick Black was not up for reelection in November, a Democratic wave on Election Day Nov. 7, 2017, swept out longtime Republicans Bob Marshall, Scott Lingamfelter, Jackson Miller, and Richard Anderson in favor of Democrats Danica Roem, Elizabeth Guzman, Lee Carter, and Hala Ayala, respectively.

State Senator Richard Stuart (R-28) also represents a portion of Prince William County.

Traffic
Anderson calls for working group to address speeding in Prince William County

Anderson

Requests to install speed bumps in neighborhoods have become an all-too-common request for Prince William County Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson.

From a press release: 

[On Tuesday] at the Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting, Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson called for County Staff to form a working group to address the countywide residential speeding issue.

Police, County and State Transportation, individual citizens and members of local media will be asked to take part in this group. The directive was supported by all Supervisors present at the meeting.

Anderson stated that this idea came about after analyzing frequent requests for traffic calming measures from constituents.

“Requests for speed bumps and pole mounted speed displays are becoming an increasing trend from community members. I feel it is time to look at this problem from a broader, county-wide perspective to see if there are any best practices with technology, messaging, etc. that might mitigate this public safety problem” said Supervisor Anderson.

The vision is for this working group to recommend creative, best-practice-based solutions to address the problem. Solutions might include better messaging through public advocacy, increased enforcement, new technologies, new state or local legislation and education. Education and enforcement are currently the two main ways to influence driving behaviors.

Under the direction of the PWC Police Department, this group will provide their recommendations to the Board prior to July 1, 2018.

Potomac Local worked with Anderson twice this year to hold community meetings about transportation in the Occoquan District, which includes Lake, and the Buckhall area outside Manassas.

The issue of speeding came up during our meeting on Yates Ford and Davis Ford roads, where it was addressed by Prince William police.

News
Armed robbery reported on Rusty Rudder Drive

From police: 

Armed Robbery – On December 12 at 9:46PM, officers responded to a robbery which occurred earlier that evening in the 16300 block of Rusty Rudder Dr in Woodbridge (22191). The victim, a 20-year-old man of Woodbridge, reported to police that he was sitting in a vehicle parked in the above area when he was approached by two unknown males wearing masks. During the encounter, one of the suspects brandished a handgun and demanded that the victim get out of the car. The suspects then took the victim’s cell phone, jewelry, and money before fleeing the area in a red SUV. No injuries were reported. The investigation continues.

Suspect Description:

Two black males, between 5’11 – 6’0” with thin builds No clothing description is available

News
Cookies and Creme to host ribbon cutting at new Haymarket location

From a press release: 

Cookies & Cream, locally owned by Robyn & Pete Candland, will host a Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening party to celebrate the opening of their 2nd location on Saturday, December 16 from 6-8pm. There will be games, giveaways, special treats, and pictures with Santa.

With their homemade cookies and award-winning ice-cream, Cookies & Cream has become a favorite dessert spot for families all over Northern Virginia. According to Robyn, “We are so excited to open up an additional location and grow the Cookies & Cream family.

We love being part of the community and appreciate all the support we’ve received.” Voted the #1 Ice Cream in Haymarket, Cookies & Cream will look to carry-on the tradition of bringing a local, hometown atmosphere to the new shop.

The location will feature both indoor and outdoor seating and is conveniently located near the intersection of Linton Hall Rd. and Devlin Road (behind Walgreens). Ice Cream flavors include Fly Fishing Fudge, Butter Pecan, Campfire S’mores and for a limited time seasonal flavors such as Apple Pie, Peppermint, Egg Nog, and Pumpkin. Homemade cookies include, lemon, chocolate chip, original sugar cookie, and more. Cookies & Cream’s signature item is the Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich that combines the best of both worlds.

Robyn continued, “We are committed that hometown values will stay at core of every location, and it’s our hope that Cookies and Cream will be a gathering place for everyone in the community.”

News
Snow chances overnight? VDOT says they’re watching highway conditions.

There’s the possibility, albeit slight, that we’ll wake up to some snow on the ground Thursday. 

So, highway officials in the Fredericksburg region tell us they’ll be monitoring the situation closely:

With a forecast for potential light snow arriving tonight across the Fredericksburg area, Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula during the evening rush hour travel period, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has prepared staff, equipment and materials to treat any slick or hazardous driving conditions.

VDOT is closely monitoring weather forecasts and pavement temperatures throughout the day. Due to cold air and pavement temperatures, even a light snowfall could quickly accumulate on the road surface.   

What Drivers Should Know:

  • Monitor news and weather report
  • Check 511Virginia for real-time road conditions before starting a trip
  • Be ready to adjust travel plans and delay travel as needed to adapt to changing road conditions
  • If conditions deteriorate, reduce your vehicle speed and leave additional following distance between vehicles
  • Road conditions may become hazardous first on bridges, overpasses and ramps due to colder surface temperatures

A winter weather advisory is issued for portions of western Maryland and for much of Pennsylvania. Nothing for our area.

If flakes do fly, they will come after the unusually cold day that was Wednesday.

 

The sun will shine during the day on Thursday with highs in the low 40s. Friday will bring a 20 percent chance of snow showers.

Here’s the links to click on Thursday morning to see schools and government delays and closures. 


The expectations were high when FreshySites was tasked to build a website for a company rooted deep in Virginia’s rich winemaking history

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

Earlier this year, we were asked to create a website for the local landmark business Morais Vineyards and Winery.

Wanting a more accessible, modern site that would better represent their gorgeous vineyard and winery, as well as the delicious wines they produce, this historic business came to the right place – right down the street from their wine tasting room in Manassas – for such an undertaking.

Though the expectations were high in our being tasked to build a website for a business that’s been an integral part of Virginia’s rich winemaking history for decades, we knew exactly how to revamp the Morais Vineyards & Winery website.

After months of steady planning and collaboration, mockups created and revision rounds went through, we transformed their previous website – marked by improper spacing, lackluster design, and ordinary functionality – into a simple and elegant site filled with features and pages unique to such a gorgeous place in our region.

Discover more about Morais Vineyards & Winery on their charming and aesthetically pleasing website representative of a venue perfect for lavish weddings and events.

Their blog is a perfect assortment of ideas, information, and advice for any bride in need of help or inspiration. And, their image gallery says more than our endorsement ever could!

Explore the various wedding packages offered, beautiful locations on the grounds to get married, the history of the Morais family, photos from past weddings held there and so much more.

FreshySites – a regionally focused company with national reach and operations.

FreshySites is a fast-growing website design firm dedicated to creating beautiful websites, while consistently delivering best-in-industry customer service and support. 

Founded in 2011, FreshySites has quickly expanded into the largest in-house WordPress web design shop on the East Coast. Our Washington D.C. office was founded in 2012 by Vincent Consumano. With additional offices, we have the team, resources and tools to serve our local – and national – clients through website mockups, creative briefs, revision rounds, and Search Engine Optimization audits. 

FreshySites is determined to take our regional clients’ online presence to the next level, ultimately helping them to grow and thrive. Explore our website to learn more about us, see our portfolio of work and become a part of our client family today!

Traffic
Here’s VDOT’s full report from the first week of I-66 E-ZPass Express Lanes

While tolls on the Interstate 66 E-ZPass Express Lanes peaked last week at $40 to travel the nine-mile stretch of highway between the Capital Beltway and Washington, D.C., VDOT says the average toll price was about $14 roundtrip. 

The agency this morning sent us an email recapping the first week of travel on the I-66 toll lanes, now one of the most expensive tolling corridors in the U.S. 

The email: 

Download the PDF file .

News
Woman jumps out of moving car on Dale Boulevard, escapes abductor

From Prince William police: 

Strangulation | Abduction | Domestic Related On December 8 at 7:50PM, officers responded to the 4100 block of Dale Blvd in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate an assault. The investigation revealed that the victim, a 20-year-old woman of Dumfries, and the accused, an acquaintance, were involved in a verbal altercation while driving along Dale Blvd. During the encounter, the accused grabbed the victim by the throat and held her inside of the vehicle when she attempted to get out. The victim was eventually able to break free from the accused and jump out of the vehicle as the suspect was driving. The accused then stopped the vehicle and chased after the victim. The accused eventually gave up and drove away. Several witness then contacted police. A short time later, the accused returned to the scene and was detained by several officers. Minor injuries were reported by the victim and the accused. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested.

Arrested on December 8:

Reginald Hakeem RILEY, 23, of 5951 Hunter Crest Rd in Woodbridge

Charged with strangulation, abduction, and possession of marijuana

Court Date: January 10, 2018 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

 

News
‘Give your Christmas tree, wreath and other cut greenery another life as compost’

From a press release: 

After all the holiday greenery has lost its luster, make it green again! Give your Christmas tree, wreath and other cut greenery another life as compost, mulch or habitat. Simply remove all ornaments, decorations, tinsel, nails and the tree stand and take the greenery to one of locations listed below to be recycled or repurposed.  

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

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

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

Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) located at 5399 Wellington Branch Road in Gainesville.  Dec. 26 – Jan. 8.  The drop off area is located in the front parking lot in the area outlined with the orange safety cones.  NOVEC will deliver the wood-chip mulch to interested customer-owners at no charge, visit www.novec.com/mulch

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