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How you can volunteer to help Manassas Park Trunk-or-Treat

As an avid volunteer in the community myself, I can’t emphasize enough how important volunteering is. As a citizen you discover what a difference you can make in the community.

You’ll meet new people, create a positive impact in your community, and make important connections to help you in your personal and professional life. Businesses can also benefit from volunteering. Aside from meeting potential customers businesses grow their brand and reputation.

When thinking of what a community is, it’s easy to imagine distinct and isolated categories, but in truth a community is comprised of citizens, the local government, small businesses, and local non-profits. We’re all in this together so when we work towards a positive change in our community it has a resounding impact for everyone no matter how small the effort may appear.

Fortunately in the Prince William County area there are a plethora of non-profits and organizations looking for volunteers. CASA, Project Mend-A-House, Rainbow Riding Center, the Red Cross, PFLAG, the Independence Empowerment Center, Comfort Cases, Final Salute, the Arc of Prince William, SERVE, the Haymarket Food Pantry, and the Matthew’s Center are just a few that immediately come to mind. To simplify efforts, you can contact Volunteer Prince William to see which organizations have a pressing need for volunteers.

The City of Manassas Park’s Department of Parks and Recreation is always looking for volunteers as well. From helping us maintain the parks, to participating in our various committees, to having extra hands to run special events, there exists a multitude of volunteer opportunities.


The next special event we’re hosting is Trunk or Treat. This event provides a safe place for families to trick or treat while also offering crafts, activities, hayrides, and a moon bounce. To make this event a huge hit we need help from the community. Volunteers can bring their decorated vehicles and pass out candy and other treats while also dressing in costumes. Businesses and non-profits are welcome to promote themselves while participating. The more businesses and citizens that volunteer as vendors the more exciting the event becomes for the children.

Whether you’re looking for a volunteer opportunity or you’re a family looking for a safe place to celebrate Halloween, we hope you’ll join us for Trunk or Treat on Saturday, October 31st from 5:30pm-7:30pm. It’s free for volunteers to participate as vendors. If interested, prospective volunteers should email Tony Thomas at T.Thomas@ManassasParkVA.gov.

This post was written by Jason Shriner. 

Great Halloween trick-or-treating options offered at 5 Prince William Shopping Centers

Five Prince William County shopping centers will host free Halloween trick-or-treating during the month of October.

Bristow Center in Bristow, Bull Run Plaza and Davis Ford Crossing in Manassas and Dillingham Square and Potomac Festival 1 and 2 in Woodbridge will offer kids the chance to trick-or-treat store to store for candy and other goodies.

Each event will feature balloon artists and face painters. Merchants will also host sidewalk sales, contests and giveaways. 

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Bristow Center, located at the intersection of Nokesville and Linton Hall roads, features Harris Teeter and CVS/pharmacy. Trick-or-Treating will take place at Bristow Center on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 1 to 3 p.m. The shopping center is owned by BLJV, LLC. 

Bull Run Plaza is located at the intersection of Route 234 and Sudley Manor Drive in Manassas, and includes Dick’s Sporting Goods, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, Office Depot and Chili’s. Trick-or-Treating will take place at Bull Run Plaza on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Davis Ford Crossing is at the intersection of Liberia Road and Prince William Parkway in Manassas. The center features L.A. Fitness, Petco and Staples. Trick-or-Treating will take place at Davis Ford Crossing on Saturday, Oct. 24 from noon to 2 p.m.

Dillingham Square is at the intersection of Old Bridge Road and Dillingham Square in Lake Ridge.   The center includes Food Lion, Gold’s Gym and Brittany’s. Trick-or-Treating will take place at Dillingham Square on Saturday, Oct. 31 from noon to 2 p.m. The shopping center is owned by Old Bridge Retail Investments, LLC. 

Potomac Festival includes businesses on both sides of Potomac Mills Road and features hhgregg, Buffalo Wild Wings, Staples and Savers. Trick-or-Treating will take place at Potomac Festival on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Rappaport provides property management, leasing and marketing services for the centers.

Potomac Mills partners in fight against breast cancer

Earlier this month, Potomac Mills announced their participation in a national month-long engagement with Susan G. Komen® to support the fight against breast cancer.

Throughout the month of October, the mall has engaged employees, retailers and shoppers in ‘Mission Pink® events. “As an active member in the community, Potomac Mills has provided an ideal backdrop for raising awareness and encouraging support in finding a cure for breast cancer, a disease we know touches the lives of our employees, retailers and shoppers every year,” said Rocell Viniard, Area Director of Marketing and Business Development for both centers.

With one week left in the month, there is still time to help and make a difference. A message of strength board provides an opportunity for survivors, supporters and their families to visually articulate what gives them strength during their fight with breast cancer.

In addition, the mall is offering a voucher program. For $10, a voucher card can be purchased allowing shoppers the opportunity to save 25 percent off of one item at all participating retailers. One hundred percent of these donations will benefit Komen. Simon a global leader in retail real estate is proud to support Susan G. Komen through various fundraising initiatives, and along with the help of generous customers, will guarantee a contribution of at least $250,000.

Chinese travel to Manassas to learn about local government

When delegates of the Shaoxing Yuecheng District in China were looking for an American local government to learn from, they selected the City of Manassas.  

On Oct. 20, 2015, the City of Manassas hosted five members of the Shaoxing Yuecheng Delegation from China.  Vice Mayor Way and City Manager W. Patrick Pate put together a team of senior staff to speak to the group.  The group heard from the Chief of Police, Voter Registrar, Treasurer, City Attorney and the Purchasing Manager about local government processes and transparency in government.

Members of the delegation were impressed to learn that the Manassas City Police Department is in the top one percent of police departments internationally as evidenced by their current CALEA rating.  Delegates asked questions as to which agency, out of the Federal government, state or local governments were responsible for the different aspects of government, such as elections and public safety.

At the end of the event, members posed for a group photo.  Members from the City of Manassas include City Manager W. Patrick Pate, Vice Mayor Jonathan Way, Purchasing Manager Jimmy Falls, Treasurer Robin Perkins, Voting Registrar Ann Marie Bausch and Director of Economic Development Patrick Small.  The Shaoxing Yuecheng Delegation included Mr. Jin Quanhai, Vice Secretary, CPC Yuecheng District Committee of Shaoxing City, Mr. Chen Jirui, Town Chief, Yuecheng Lingzhi Town People’s Government of Shaoxing City, Mr. Wang Yin, Director, Yucheng Fushan Sub-district Office of Shaoxing City, Mr. Zhao Xiongwei, Deputy Director Shaoxing City Yuecheng District Economy and Information Technology Bureau, and MaChao, Secretary, CPC Yuecheng Chengnan Sub-district Committee of Shaoxing City.

Developer, county in talks to remake Featherstone Square in Woodbridge

The first new townhomes at Featherstone Station are now selling.

The townhomes represent some the newest construction in the area in more than 50 years, and are located near the intersection of Route 1 and Featherstone Road in Woodbridge.

All of the 118 new homes built will be 3-level townhomes with garages. Thirty of the homes will be “fee simple,” meaning homeowners will handle upkeep, trash service, electricity, water, and every other aspect of home ownership. The owners in the remainder of the homes will pay a $199 condo association fee that will ensure those worries are taken care of.

These new townhomes are located adjacent to single family homes built in the 1950s, and the Featherstone Square shopping center built in 1960.

“We’re trying to separate ourselves from anything else in the area. We’re going for a more luxury look, so anything facing Featherstone Road will have full brick front, will have a stone wall and privacy fencing throughout,” said Mary Callahan, the sales and marketing representative for Featherstone Station. “The HOA is putting in a lot of landscaping, more than any I typically see in any other townhome community.”

Woodbridge is seeing more luxury housing developments like this one pop up alongside brown spot retail developments. The tenants at Featherstone Square are excited about the potential for new businesses; they’re just not sure what’s going to happen to the shopping center in which they pay monthly rent for their storefronts.

“We have a lot of customers coming in and asking us when they are going to tear down the shopping center,” said Annia Jaffa, owner of Nyea’s Party.

Jaffa is one year into her five-year lease. Business is slow, and a Food Lion located across from her shop does little to draw in ancillary business.

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Other merchants here said the same thing. They get customers becuase of the marketing and advertising they do, and not because foot traffic in the shopping center.

Elm Street Development owns Featherstone Square, and has been the driving force behind the new townhome development. It wants to bring more foot traffic to the to Featherstone Square by adding more homes on what today is mostly a unused parking lot inside the shopping center. They also want to renovate the existing shopping center — not tear it down.

The developer is in early talks with the county about the prospect of adding up to 300 new homes — most likely similar to those built at Featherstone Station — to the existing 190,000 square feet of retail and office space already there.

Jaffa’s shop is a part of a small row of stores the retail center. Larger spaces — once home to an antique store, and before it a pharmacy and auto parts store, and the now closed restaurant “Kilroys” turned “K2” — sit empty. Much of the office space in the rear of the center is also vacant.

The shopping center, however, is making money, said Elm Street Development Vice President Joseph Jacobs.

“It’s a performing center,” he said.

Jacobs secured a rezoning from the Prince William County Board of Supervisors in 2013 which allowed for the new townhomes at Featherstone Station to be built. The county’s planning staff recommended against rezoning the land because it was zoned for urban mixed use, not residential. Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi agreed.

But the Board approved the rezoning in a 5-1 vote on September 10, 2013. Supervisor Maureen Caddigan made the motion for approval and said the shopping center was “dying,” and that something needed to be done to reverse the trend.

The 2013 rezoning came with $2.8 million in cash proffers, according to county documents, which are commonly paid by developers to offset impacts to county services like water, fire and rescue, schools, and for transportation improvements. It was just short of the $3 million in proffers the county wanted.

Today, Jacobs said the county has increased its proffer ask by 23%, and that could be the nail in the coffin on any future deal to remake Featherstone Square.

“We’re not going just go in and build a mixed-use center to simply remake the shopping center, and pay all of the proffers they’re asking for because it wouldn’t be a good business decision,” said Jacobs.

Officials with the county’s development office said the project is still too early in the negotiation phase to comment on it.

A McDonalds located inside the shopping plaza would likely be rebuilt, said Callahan. A spokeswoman at Rosenthal Properties, a firm hired to manage the shopping center, said they are always looking for new tenants to fill empty spaces.

“Featherstone Square” signs will be erected at the shopping center once work to widen Route 1 from four to six lanes in front of the shopping center, said Jacobs.

A crosswalk will also be needed to bridge the gap between Featherstone Station and the shopping center. And there are plans to add a center turn lane on Featherstone Road to make it easier for drivers to make a left turn into the housing development, said Callahan. 

If new homes are approved at Featherstone Square, a new community center would be built to service residents of both developments, she added.

Woodbridge Supervisor candidate vows to provide better customer service if elected

Editor’s note: This promoted post is paid for by Chapman for Woodbridge Supervisor

A small business owner says his customer service skills would  come in handy in local government if elected Woodbridge District Supervisor.

Steve Chapman, candidate for Woodbridge District Supervisor, shows energy and enthusiasm when speaking about his plans to bring Woodbridge together as a address everyday “streetlight” issues in area neighborhoods.

While knocking on doors and speaking with Woodbridge, Chapman heard from residents who said they wanted “better customer service” from a locally elected official.

“I understand the important roles small businesses play in partnering and connecting. I started my small business, Wash My Deck, during my junior year at Woodbridge High School,” Chapman said.

He is still running the company 21 years later. Growing a small has taught him the significance of quality customer service, he said.

If elected, Chapman will use his previous small business experience to become a successful Woodbridge Supervisor. Small business ownership and Woodbridge Supervisor skills correlate, as he would be responding to, championing, and being an advocate for all constituents in both situations.

Throughout his campaign, Chapman has talked to thousands of Woodbridge residents at their doors, including Jaqueline Meyer asked Chapman for a recommendation on a roofing company to repair her roof. She wanted to prevent water damage to her home during the torrential rainfall at the end of September.

“The reason I contacted Steve was because he is very well connected in the area and has lived here a long time. I’ve lived here for eleven years. I’m busy commuting from work, so I don’t have anybody [to recommend businesses],” Meyer said.

When asked about the qualities she’d like to see in the next Woodbridge District Supervisor, she said she’d like them to be honest, hardworking and sincere.

“I’m glad she reached out. This is what a supervisor should be. Someone who is trusted and brings people together to work on building the community,” Chapman said.

Meyer reaching out to Chapman is an example of how he wants to be thought of if elected. He wants to be trusted by the community to represent the district fairly, passionately, and thoughtfully.

“People need services such as plumbing, painting, roofing and car repairs.

If we solicit services from local Woodbridge companies, we help our families and our neighbors,” Chapman.

Chapman has specific plans to put his words into action. The candidate plans to vet businesses to make sure they have the proper licenses and insurances.

Additionally, he would like to create referrals of local businesses for Woodbridge residents, should they need a service. This will provide citizens with options they can trust

“A devotion to seeing local business flourish by connecting people with companies and each other will ensure a safer, stronger Woodbridge,” said Chapman.

Chapman has also orchestrated community events to connect residents and neighbors. Earlier this spring, Chapman organized a community Easter egg hunt that attracted over 250 children at Veterans Memorial Park in Woodbridge.

“Communities should make residents feel included, protected, and provide a chance for residents to be heard,” said Chapman.

This post is written by Sarah Katzenstein, a second year undergraduate student at George Mason University. She is majoring in Communication with a focus in Public Relations.

Boston Market opening at Potomac Mills mall

Boston Market, a national fast casual chain specializing in rotisserie chicken and home style meals, will open its second restaurant in Prince William County on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 in the food court at Potomac Mills mall.

The Potomac Mills opening is a progression of the fast-casual chain’s desired expansion into the non-traditional segment of the restaurant industry.

The Potomac Mills restaurant will offer a streamlined version of the traditional Boston Market menu, featuring favorites like rotisserie chicken, roasted turkey breast and a selection of popular home style sides including mashed potatoes, green beans and cornbread.

A standalone Boston Market is located outside the mall at the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Smoketown Road.

A public relations representative submitted this post to Potomac Local. A mall spokesman confirmed the opening of the new restaurant.

Video of Prince William County School Board Chairman Debate

Potomac Local sponsored a debate Monday, Oct. 12, 2015 featuring three candidates for Prince William County Public School Board Chairman. 

The candidates are Tracy Conroy, Ryan Sawyers, and Tim Singstock.

The debate was hosted by the Dar Al Noor Islamic Community Center on Hoadly Road near Dale City, Virginia. 

The video was shot and edited by Bill Golden with the Coles District Civic Association.

Volunteers clean up Occoquan River

Despite a chilly and windy morning, 128 volunteers came out on foot and by boat to participate in FOTO’s Fall Occoquan River cleanup. 

A big thank you goes out to all the community groups, the Boy Scouts of America, local schools and families with their children who collected 86 bags of trash, 24 bags of recyclables, eight tires, a flat screen TV, blinds, car generator, skate boards, a box spring and mattress, two oil barrels, carpets, foam pieces, large iron rings, pieces of a fence and a door, two crates and assorted pieces of Styrofoam and wooden boards.

Because of their efforts the scenic Occoquan River is relieved of 1.3 tons of trash. A special thanks goes to Duane DeBruyne and the Lake Braddock Crew, Bull Run Rotary Club, Osbourn Eagles from the Manassas City Schools, Interact and CCN, Boy Scout Troop 1369, the Sea Shepherds Conservation Society, American Water, Nestle Company, SEV1Tech, Fairfax Yacht Club, Lions Club, Optimist Club, Trash Trek of Penn Elementary School, Environmental Science students from Woodbridge and Osborn Park High Schools and Lake Ridge Elementary School.

For the younger generation, FOTO’s Helga Perrin demonstrated an environmental display on conservation & stewardship of the environment and the importance of wetlands at the Lake Ridge Marina. Thank you Helga Perrin and thanks also goes to Kimm Barry, Kirstyn Barr Jovanovich, Linda Murray, Sonia Monson and Alex Vanegas for manning the sign-in stations at the four marinas and the Town of Occoquan and the various park managers who provided boats, their time and the disposal of the collected trash.

These upcoming events help you celebrate ‘Spooktacular Manassas’

Now that the leaves are starting to take on red and auburn hues and the morning air feels crisp – it means it is time to celebrate fall in Manassas! From the annual Fall Jubilee to creepy cemetery tours, there is something going on every weekend in the City. There is no better place to celebrate autumn and Halloween!

The 2015-16 season of the Manassas Ballet Theater starts on Oct. 23 with the show “Jazz in Motion,” which combines ballet with contemporary and classic jazz standards. Show your tickets to several downtown restaurants and receive a dinner & a show discount! See the complete list online. Hylton Performing Arts Center. Tickets start at $15.

Take a guided tour of the Spirits of Manassas on Oct. 24 and trace the stories of the weird and sublime. Hear about historical figures who once passed through town, including authors Charles Dickens and Edgar Allen Poe, The Gray Ghost (John S. Mosby) who spent time at the old Opera House, and learn about strange incidents along the railroad tracks – including a ghost cow! Tours start at the Manassas Museum on the half hour from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Buy tickets at the Museum, online, or call 703-368-1873 – $15/adults; $7.50/kids 12 and under.

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Join the last bicycle tour of the season on Oct. 24 from 9 to 11 a.m. Explore historic areas around Manassas with fellow cyclists. See historic homes, the only remaining earthwork constructed in 1861 by Confederate soldiers, and more. Buy tickets at the Museum, online, or call 703-368-1873 – $5.

Swing by Haunted Happenings on Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to noon for family fun. Activities will be held in the Center for the Arts parking lot. Kids can decorate their own pumpkin and participate in a costume contest before heading into downtown businesses for trick-or-treating. 9431 West Street. Downtown Manassas. Free.

Hurricane Joaquin threatened to rain out the Annual Fall Jubilee, so it was rescheduled for Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Browse cool crafts, play games, pick out a pumpkin, and enjoy live music and dance performances. Enter pumpkin pie baking and eating contests or the cornhole tournament. Manassas. Free.

Follow the Headless Horseman to the Pied Piper Theatre company’s production of Sleepy Hollow on Oct. 24 at 2 and 7 p.m. and  at 3 p.m. Metz Middle School. 9950 Wellington Rd. Tickets start at $11.

Don’t miss taking a tour of the Manassas City Cemetery, which dates back to the 1860s, on Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. Manassas is not a quiet little town where nothing ever happens! Listen to tales about the City’s most notorious figures, gory murders, criminals behaving badly, and crossed debutantes. Manassas City Cemetery at 9317 Center Street. Buy tickets at the Manassas Museum, online, or by calling 703-368-1873 – $5. (These stories are not meant for children’s ears!)

Follow the trail of balloons downtown to businesses displaying artwork by local featured artists during the Fall Gallery Walk on Friday, Nov. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. Downtown Manassas. Free.

Get a jump start on your holiday shopping and support patient care at the Holiday Bazaar at the Novant Health Prince William Medical Center on Nov. 6 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Browse handmade and one-of-a-kind items – see the website for a list of vendors. Medical Office Building, 8700 Sudley Rd., 14th floor. Free.

Join your fellow community members at the Greater Manassas Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 7 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Stop by a downtown coffee shop and settle in along the parade route along Center Street to celebrate area Veterans. Downtown Manassas. Free.

Don’t forget the farmer’s market continues to be open on Thursdays in the Harris Pavilion and Saturdays in Parking Lot B from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pick up your favorite fall staples before grabbing lunch nearby.

Find arts & crafts vendors, hayrides, food trucks at Manassas Park Fall Arts and Crafts Festival

The Manassas Park Community Center is excited to announce their first annual Fall Arts and Crafts Festival to be held on Saturday, October 17 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. This festival will feature arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, games, hayrides, and a moon bounce.

The festival is the culmination of the tireless work of many individuals. For the past four years the community center has hosted the Fall Arts and Crafts Cornucopia which focused on vendors, but the community challenged the Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation staff to create a full feature festival.

Met with the opportunity to better serve the community, the Parks and Recreation staff envisioned a festival that combined the hometown charm of art and crafts with family friendly entertainment. There has been a lot of excitement in anticipation of the event as seen in the Fall Arts and Crafts Festival Facebook event where you can also see previews of the merchandise vendors will be selling.

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Parking next to the festival, located at the Stone House off of Old Centreville Rd, will open at 9:30 a.m. Additional handicap parking will be assigned at that parking lot. Parking in front of the community center is encouraged as the hayrides will also shuttle participants to and from the festival. The community center parking lot will be open at 7 a.m. All are welcome to attend this free event.

The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street, Manassas Park, VA 20181. The community center features an indoor swimming pool, two fitness rooms for aerobic and strength training, and two full basketball courts. The community center also provides recreational opportunities such as programs and classes for all ages. For more information visit www.ManassasParkCommunityCenter.com.

Water tour tells story of ‘Blockade of the Potomac,’ showcases river sights

The Potomac River was brown, and unusually rough Saturday as a group of history lovers ventured out on the water.

“All of the sustained winds we’re getting out here makes it choppy, but we’re into fall now, and conditions change out here with the weather,” said Capt. Mark Perry, who ferried sightseers about on his Miss Rivershore boat.

All wanted a look several artillery batteries dating back to the Blockade of the Potomac River, which took place from Sept. 25, 1861, to March 8, 1862. Historians have called it one of the most significant events in the early years of the Civil War in Virginia.

“The Federals deemed the river unsafe to civilian ships, so they ordered it closed,” said David Born, tour guide with the Prince William Historic Preservation Foundation. This caused a coffee shortage in Washington, D.C, and residents couldn’t get the latest European fashions, so outraged D.C. residents write letters to newspapers and elected officials to complain.”

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Freestone Point (today known as Leesylvania State Park), Evansport (Quantico Town), Shipping Point (Hospital Point at Quantico), and Cockpit Point — 114 acres of land recently acquired by Prince William County in August to be preserved, all served as batteries during the war. The batteries proximity to Maryland made the area a danger zone, as Whitworth Rifles were used to fire as much as five miles across the river in Maryland.

Cockpit Point was the site of a 16-acre artillery battery. The county’s historic preservation department plans to place trails and signage on about 90 acres of the site to mark one of the most preserved batteries on the Potomac River.

Today, railroad tracks run up the middle of Cockpit Point, and crossing the tracks by foot to access the property is illegal. Signs and trails will be placed on 90 acres of land between the railroad tracks and the Potomac River. 

Boaters are able to enter the property from the river shore. 

“Maybe the county will put a dock on the property,” said Perry.

If a dock is built, it could cost upward of $70,000. Perry said he would operate boart tours that could launch from Occoquan and Leesylvania State Park to Cockpit Point. The tours would last about three hours, and would cost $15 per person.

“There is a lot to do to get the site ready for access so it will probably be a while before we can roll out a draft plan,” said Brendon Hanifin, with the Prince William County Historic Preservation Department.

Hanifin and his team plan to begin working with SunCal, developers of Potomac Shores, on a pedestrian bridge as a means of accessing Cockpit Point on foot. 

The Miss Rivershore launched from Leesylvania State Park and then headed north to see Freestone Point, at the most northern tip of the park. The boat came about and headed south along the river shore toward Hospital Point at the confluence of Quantico Creek at the Potomac River. Passengers saw Possum Point (site of a large power plant), Possum Nose, and Cockpit Point — which is nothing more than a small beach seen from the boat.

Miss Rivershore floated underneath a low rail bridge and into the Quantico Creek, where below lay the remains of sunken confederate ships the Martha Washington and George Page sit on the river bottom buried under silt. Boats played a large role in the blockade, as a boat was used on this stretch of the Potomac to launch an air balloon during the blockage for aerial reconnaissance. 

It is the first known use of an aircraft in a U.S. war, and the first known instance of aerial reconnaissance in the U.S., said Born 

Saturday’s boat tour was the final of three tours held on the river this year by the Prince William County Historic Preservation Department. Attendees paid $45 per person to go on the river cruise and were provided lunch from Blue Arbor Cafe in Occoquan.

Four similar trips are planned in the spring and four more in the fall of next year. Hanifin plans to release an approved schedule after November. 

A NuStar ethanol energy facility sits just west of Cockpit Point. Trains deliver the ethanol to the facility, and the ethanol is then trucked out.

“At this point I am not sure how much, if any impact the plant will have on access and interpretation,” added Hanifin. 

Potomac Mills peeping suspect could be linked to Walmart case

Police are investigating a report of a peeping tom at Potomac Mills mall.

The 35-year-old female victim told police she was in a bathroom stall with her 5-year-old daughter when she saw a flash in what she described as a mirror protruding underneath the stall. The woman then walked out of the stall and confronted the peeper, according to police.

The suspect then fled the restroom and was last seen running through the parking lot of the mall, located 2700 Potomac Mills Circle. Police checked the area but did not find a suspect that matched the description.

Suspect Description:
Hispanic male, between 35 & 45 years of age, 5’10”, 220lbs with a heavy build
Last seen wearing a long black & brown wig, a pink shirt, black Capri-style pants, black & white shoes and carrying a large red & black handbag

The incident inside the Potomac Mills restroom happened at 3:10 p.m. Sunday, October 11. The suspect may be the same person that was involved in a similar incident at a Walmart on Worth Avenue, near Potomac Mills, on May 15. The suspect in that case was not found.

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

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

Brentsville Courthouse 

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

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

For more information please call 703-365-7895.

Rippon Lodge

Rippon Lodge

Rippon Lodge 

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

For more information please call 703-499-9812.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Police: Nurse, unlicensed doc distributed pain meds

Police said two people working inside a Woodbridge pharmacy illegally wrote prescriptions and sold medication.

Detectives went to the Excel Medical Clinic, located at 14904 Jefferson Davis Highway in Woodbridge on Oct. 7. Police said the physician working inside the clinic was not licenced, and he was arrested. A woman who worked as a nurse practitioner was also arrested, according to police.

Police said the clinic was improperly



dispensing large amounts of medications.

Police released this statement:

The Prince William County Police Department is committed to providing educational assistance on current trends with pill diversion to the prescribers of these medications. Any prescriber wishing to speak to a detective is asked to call 703-686-6522. Our goal through this educational assistance is to have prescribers gain a better understanding of the behavior of addicts, learn more about the relationship between prescription pills and the current heroin epidemic, and further discuss the utilization of systems currently in place such as the prescription monitoring program.

Shriharsh Pole, 61, of Rose Creek Court in Oakton, and Janelle Annette Hibson, 60, of South Pointe Lane in southern Stafford County each face seven counts of distribution of a schedule I or I narcotic, according to police.

Pole is identified as the physician. Hibson is identified as the nurse practitioner. 

Potomac Senior High School celebrates homecoming week

Students at Potomac Senior High School’s celebrated spirit week this week.

Monday kicked off with jersey/sport day. Students were able to show their appreciation for a favorite sports team or a favorite sport. 

Tuesday left us seeing double, as staff and students were given the opportunity to twin with whomever they wanted. 

Mr. Mesterhazy twinned with Mrs. Ramos by replicating her baby bump. On Wednesday, we were able to show our school spirit by dressing “Wacky Tacky.” The hallways were flooded with an array of vibrant colors and frilly tutus. 

Thursday we were able to release our inner nerd with “Nerd Day.” Different variations of the classic “Steve Urkel” look were sprinkled throughout the school building.

Spirit week will end Friday with “Break Out the Blue” day. Each class has been assigned their own class color. Freshmen will wear white, sophomores will be wearing Columbia blue, juniors will be wearing navy, and the seniors will be wearing black royalty. 

Potomac’s official end to spirit week will be with a pep rally Friday afternoon; classes will be shortened.

Our homecoming parade will start about 5:15pm in Newport Estates. Each class and many clubs will be represented throughout the parade.

Potomac’s homecoming game will be against Mountain View High School. The game will begin about 7 p.m. Friday.. The prices of the game ticket and dance ticket were bundled into one. 

Be sure to bring your dance ticket so you will be able to get into the game.

Homecoming will be this coming Saturday, October 10. The dance will begin around 7 o’clock with it ending at 11 o’clock in the evening. This year’s theme is “Hollywood.”

Tayah Nicole is a student reporter at Potomac Senior High School in Woodbridge.

Nando’s Peri-Peri in Woodbridge burglarized

A popular restaurant at Stonebridge a Potomac Town Center was burglarized on Monday. 

Here’s more in a report from Prince William police: 

Commercial Burglary – On October 5th at 6:44AM, officers responded to Nando’s Peri-Peri located at 15001 Potomac Town Pl in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a burglary. Staff reported to police that the burglary occurred between 11:00PM on October 4th and 6:00AM on October 5th. The investigation revealed that there were no signs of forced entry into the business. An undisclosed amount of money was reported missing.

Reprinting Prince William election ballots could cost thousands

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

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

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

Mike May


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

rick smith


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

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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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