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Beat winter blues with lecture series at Old Courthouse

In the winter of 2004-05, the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division was in a programming quandary.

There were very few programs offered during the months of January, February, and March and there was, at least, one venue, the Old Manassas Courthouse that was underutilized during those months.

An idea was raised to offer during these months a series of lectures on Thursday evenings that would be free to the public in the upstairs Ball Room of the old courthouse located at 9248 Lee Avenue in Manassas and the Winter Lecture Series was born.

The lectures featured topics that in some way tied to the county. Today the Historic Preservation Division will offer the 12th annual series which is now called the History Lecture Series because in has been extended into April. Topics have ranged from prominent people to historic events that shaped the history of the county, to world events that county citizens might have participated in.

This year is no different. (more…)

Officer struck during arrest of wanted woman

A woman is charged with assault and battery on a law enforcement officer, identity theft, and obstruction of justice.

Here is more in a press release:

Assault & Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer [LEO] – On January 13 at 11:23AM, officers responded to a residence located on the 14800 block of Anderson Ct in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a domestic. Once at the residence, officers made contact with two subjects who were involved in a verbal altercation.

During the encounter, the officers determined the accused was wanted for unrelated charges. When the officers attempted to arrest the accused, she resisted and struck one of the officers in the face. The accused was quickly detained without further incident. Minor injuries were reported to the officer. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested.

Arrested on January 13: Felicia Michelle VALENTINE, 29, of 14835 Anderson Ct in Woodbridge

Charged with assault & battery on a LEO, identity theft, and obstruction of justice

Court date: February 22, 2016 | Bond: Held WITHOUT bond

Business owners face penalties, rising prescription costs

A total of 8.6 million people have enrolled for healthcare benefits from the Federal Government since late last year.

Between Nov. 1, 2015 and Jan. 31, it’s open season for anyone to go online, or to a healthcare broker, to choose a new health plan through the federal healthcare marketplace.

In Virginia, nearly 400,000 people so far have signed up for federal healthcare benefits during the current enrollment period. It’s a far cry from states like Florida which had 1.5 million people, or Texas with 1.1 million, according to government statistics.

The federal health care mandate, commonly called Obamacare, changed the way U.S. residents get and keep medical insurance. It’s also lead to major changes for small businesses that provide healthcare coverage for their employees. (more…)

Thomson charged with assault and battery of police officer

A man is charged with assault and battery of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, and public intoxication. 


Here is more in a press release:

Assault & Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer [LEO] – On January 11 at 7:21AM, officers responded to an apartment building located in the 12900 block of Sleepy Creek Way in Woodbridge (22192) for an intoxicated person. Officers arrived in the area and made contact with the accused who exhibited signs of intoxication. During the encounter, the accused attempted to flee by jumping over a third floor railing and landing on the ground floor below. Officers were able to quickly take the accused into custody. While being placed in the backseat of a police cruiser, the accused resisted and, at one point, struck an officer in the lower body. Minor injuries were reported. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested.

Arrested on January 11: [No Photo Available]

Michael Clyde THOMSON, 47, of 5960 Maxfield Ct in Manassas

Charged with assault & battery on a LEO, resisting arrest and public intoxication

Court date: March 7, 2016 | Bond: held WITHOUT bond

Local beans, great atmosphere key to Manassas coffee shop success

“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

groundscentralstationPssst, slow down. Take a moment and smell the coffee… or the tea or even the great breakfast sandwiches made by Matt Brower and his team at Grounds Central Station in Downtown Manassas.

Go there for the coffee, go back again and again for the great people and experiences.

I originally found GCS in March 2015 while in Manassas on business. I had time between meetings and wanted a great cup of coffee and an equally good experience. Not being too familiar with Manassas I turned to Yelp for guidance and boom – I found GCS (with a 4.5 star Yelp rating to boot).

Over the past year, I have been back to GCS, oh, a couple of times! I have gotten to know Matt and his merry band of baristas pretty well.

One thing Matt serves – above and beyond a great Americano – is “community.” (more…)

Woodbridge gym provides scholarships for students

Occoquan Bay Performancenwill expand a non-profit after school fitness and leadership program.

This fitness program is open to children ages of 13-15 years old because at this age, these students are mature enough to support each other, but are young enough that it could leave a lasting impression for years to come.

“As an entrepreneur I have quickly found out that there is more to business life than just making money and I know how important it is to make a difference and be a part of something larger than yourself,” said Nick Mann, co-owner of Occoquan Bay Performance and CrossFit Occoquan Bay located at 1235 Featherstone Road in Woodbridge.


Leela Nowka paintings on display at Manassas City Hall

Leela Nowka

Paintings from artist Leela Nowka, impressionistic painter from India, are on display in The Hall at City Hall.

Born in Niarobi, Kenya, Nowka graduated college in India from the Isabella Thoburn Women’s College. She had a long a career in the Indian Diplomatic Service and is currently retired and living in the City of Manassas.

Nowka studied art under impressionist painter Sylva Monteleon and realist painter Acharya Charles Pather. In 2008 she oversaw the “Object D’Art Cell” in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. The group provided art to dignitaries and Indian Embassies. (more…)

Mark Center ramp opens Monday, then new commuter bus service begins

Commuters bound for Mark Center in Alexandria will soon have a two new buses to take them there.

A new ramp from the HOV lanes on Interstate 395 to Seminary Road will open tomorrow afternoon, according to a Virginia Department of Transportation press release.

The new ramp will allow commuter buses to ferry passengers from Dale City and Lake Ridge to the Mark Center federal building. The service will be funded entirely by Virginia’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation, and will be operated by OmniRide.

The Dale City bus will begin picking up passengers at the Dale City Commuter Lot at Gemini Way, then travel Dale Boulevard to Interstate 95. (more…)

OmniRide short on cash; doomsday scenario unveiled

There’s a lot of hope in the newly approved budget put forward Thursday night by the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission.

Hope that Prince William County will magically find $6 million to help make up some of an annual $9.2 million budget shortfall, every year over the next five years. Hope the Virginia General Assembly will enact a gas tax “floor” to help the agency recoup and additional $3.5 million it lost when gas prices dropped.

If a floor is not found, there’s also hope that Prince William County will make up the entire budget shortfall, each year for the next five years. Prince William County residents are the majority users of the commuter bus service, while the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park don’t pay for the commuter bus service but do have residents that use it.

If those monies don’t come, transit officials spelled out a doomsday scenario. All OmniLink local bus service in Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park would end. All OmniRide commuter buses to destinations like Washington, D.C., Arlington, and the Pentagon would be converted to serve only as shuttle buses to area Metro stations. (more…)

Prince William Fire Department turns 50

A new logo will be used to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department.

The department unveiled the new logo in a press release on Thursday. The words “Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue 50 Years, 1966 – 2016” are featured against a bright red background.

The department was the first on the east coast to introduce a 911 system in 1967, according to a press release. Over the years, the department grew and added specialty units and programs like swift water rescue, river boat rescue, HAZMAT, technical rescue for structural collapse, trench rescue, community safety, and the office of the Fire Marshal, which investigates arson. (more…)

New elementary school would come at cost of park, trails

Amber is doing better after cancer surgery.

The brown and white 8-year-old boxer-lab-mix had two cysts removed from her stomach late last year. Her owner, Stephanie Dobranski, brings Amber to their favorite place: Chinn Park.

The park is a series of trails behind Chinn Regional Library, and Chinn Aquatics and Fitness Center, just off Prince William Parkway. The trails are nestled in the woods between the library, housing developments, and three popular soccer fields. The trails are used by foxes, deer, squirrels, dogs, and their humans.

“I really think this park has helped Amber in her recovery,” said Dobranski. “She’s doing great.”

Streams run through the park, and so do teens and adults looking to get to the library, to the gym, or to the next neighborhood over. The closer you get to the library, the terrain becomes steeper.

Pink and orange plastic tape hangs along the streams marking their meandering paths. The colors signal potential change in this calm suburban escape. (more…)

Fire department: Stay off the ice

aquia habour, virginia, staffordf

Frozen ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams should not be used for outdoor ice recreation because of the risk factor to ourselves as well as rescuers. 

The safest place for ice recreation are pavillons, skating rinks, and other places designed for ice recreation, says the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue. 

Here is more in a press release:  (more…)

Find people you know, trust who have your success in mind

“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

Building a Business is a Team Effort — With a Little Help From Our Friends

My first lesson in the value of mentors came early – and hard. On July 3rd, 1985, I was enduring the first grueling week (called “Ground Week”) of the U.S. Army Airborne School. My Student ID – printed boldly across my helmet – was 141 (yes, 30 years later I remember my Student Number).

No matter the reason, I was a “NO GO” and did not qualify to advance to the second week (Tower Week) of training. The choice was mine – give up or repeat Ground Week.

Ugh! I wanted to quit, to give up, go back home and drink some beer with my friends and work so I could actually afford my next year of college expenses. Worse yet, if I decided to repeat Ground Week my Student ID label on my helmet would become 141”G” and everyone would know that I was “recycled.”

One of my Airborne Drill Instructors (we called them “Black Hats” ( I’ll leave you to guess why) came over and said to me) “Cadet, I know you are thinking about quitting. Heck I would be thinking it too if I were you.”  (more…)

Argument leads to charges for 19-year-old man

The 16-year-old victim and suspect were involved in a verbal argument that escalated leading to the victim being assaulted as well as prevented from leaving the home. 

The suspect is charged with abduction, domestic assault and battery, and destruction of property, said police. 

Abduction | Domestic Assault & Battery – On December 31st at 2:25PM, officers responded to an apartment located in the 14500 block of Piccolo Ln in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a domestic assault. The victim, a 16 year old juvenile female of Woodbridge, reported to police that she and the accused, identified as a family member, were involved in a verbal alteration which escalated. During the encounter, the accused assaulted the victim then stood in front of a doorway and prevented the victim from leaving. The parties eventually separated and police were contacted. Following the investigation, the accused was located and arrested without incident.

Arrested on January 1st:

Harbin ARGUETA, 19, of the 14500 block of Piccolo Ln in Woodbridge

Charged with abduction, domestic assault & battery and destruction of property

Court Date: Pending | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

Boat burns at Occoquan dock

A large boat burned in Occoquan on Sunday. 

Here’s a press release from OWL Volunteer Fire and Rescue

Fire and Rescue Units from OWL responded to a reported boat fire on the Occoquan River near Poplar Ln in Occoquan around 1230 PM on Sunday.

First arriving units reported a 36-foot cabin cruiser, attached to a dock, fully engulfed in fire.

The first arriving engine made an aggressive fire attack from the dock while the fireboat was en-route and transitioning through a lengthy no-wake zone on the Occoquan River.

Through the coordinated use of attack lines from the engine, high volume water from the fireboat and de-watering tactics, the fire was extinguished and the burned vessel was kept afloat, reducing the release of pollutants into the river. Marina personnel towed the vessel to their facilities where they were able to lift it from the water and completely mitigating the incident.

Updated: Lighting problem delays Montclair Library opening



The opening of the Montclair Community Library is delayed.

The library was scheduled to open Jan. 11, as noted in our initial report. However, we’ve learned that employees with the Prince William County Department of Public Works hit a snag that involves electrical power at the $16 million facility.

More in a statement from Prince William County spokesman Jason Grant:

I understand from our Public Works Department that the contractor has run into an issue involving electrical power to the building’s emergency lighting, which has caused the need for additional lighting equipment. A rush order has been placed, but this has caused a delay in the date the building can be occupied by Library staff, and ultimately the public.

Assuming the lighting equipment arrives this week, we believe the facility will be ready for occupancy by Library staff within the next two to three weeks barring any setbacks or delays with the new equipment. We understand from Library staff that they then need one week from the date of occupancy to train staff in the new facility before opening to the public.


Stay on the path to a New Year, New You at Manassas Park Community Center

“Shaping the Future” is a sponsored column written by Manassas Park Community Center Marketing Manager Jason Shriner. The column highlights the many ways you can have fun, get fit, and improve your life.

With the New Year, now is a great time to think about the year ahead. When I was younger, New Year’s Day didn’t really mean much more than partying, but now it’s a favorite time of mine where I like to set goals for myself. I especially like resolutions that involve learning something new or that result in a tangible finished product.

Over the past few years my resolutions have included listening to more podcasts and TEDtalks, learning to sew (this includes sewing a costume from scratch), creating my own board game, and learning sign language, photography and how to indoor rock climb. When you’re a kid, school can really make learning feel like a chore, but after I graduated college, I realized how much I missed learning new things and challenging myself. You don’t realize how easy it is to stand in one place until you look back on the year and realize it!

Make a promise to yourself this upcoming new year; find the new you! Here are some tips and strategies on choosing resolutions and seeing them through.

1. Be true to yourself and set resolutions you’ll enjoy

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life it’s that if something feels like a chore, then I will find every excuse in the world not to do it. Motivation is an incredibly powerful thing, but it doesn’t come externally. Even when somebody else is encouraging you, you must ultimately want to do it for yourself in order to see your goals through. If you are an extrovert and you have fitness goals, participate in fitness classes! There is nothing more isolating than wearing headphones and working out – totally toxic to an extrovert’s success. Remember to set yourself up for success when choosing your resolutions!

One of my favorite fitness classes at the Manassas Park Community Center is bootcamp. In this high intensity class, the instructor challenges my classmates and me to perform a variety of strength training and cardiovascular exercises, all while maintaining an elevated heart rate. As a self-identifying geek, I never knew I was capable of doing some of the exercises until I participated. It’s not all excruciating work! I feel like we laugh constantly in the class as we awkwardly try new exercises and tease the instructor. Other popular fitness classes at the community center include Zumba, Aqua Zumba, and yoga.

2. Create a plan

Aside from fitness and learning something new, financial responsibility is another popular resolution. Whatever your resolution is, make sure you actually plan out how you’re going to achieve it. Ask yourself these questions to start. Is it fitness related – Where do I want to work out? Should I hire a personal trainer? If it’s learning something new – What time can I dedicate? What expenses are involved? If it’s fiscal What is a budget I can manage? Do I have monthly expenses that I can do without?

One method that helped me save money was to track my spending on a spreadsheet. True, this is a chore (although I do love a good spreadsheet), but knowing that I would eventually have to input a purchase into a spreadsheet where it will be staring back at me – possibly judging me – has been enough to deter me from certain purchases. Plus it’s pretty rewarding to see a year’s worth of spending slowly declining throughout the year! Another tip that I use to talk myself out of a purchase is equating how much an item costs to how much I make hourly. Is this new gadget really worth 2, 4, or 8 hours of my time at work? Cash and especially credit cards can be intangible concepts, but your sweat is pretty real!

Consider incorporating a class into your plan like the programs at the Manassas Park Community Center. INOVA will be teaching a free class called “Eating Better on a Budget” on January 5 or come check out People, Inc.’s free “Credit and Budgeting Workshop on January 20. Talking with professionals and researching ideas online, including articles, videos, and podcasts, are great ways to get fresh ideas to incorporate into your plan.

Belly dancing: Learning new dances, like belly dance, is a great new year’s resolution!
Try group exercise classes or working out with a friend if your routine gets stale
The Manassas Park Community Center recently built a second fitness room featuring all new exercise equipment – come try them out!
The personal trainers at the Manassas Park Community Center love finding new ways to shake up your workout – like boxing!
You can get 2 30-minutes personal training session as part of your membership to the Manassas Park Community Center
Try something you’ve always wanted to, like scrapbooking, by taking a class at the Manassas Park Community Center
Taking classes, like sign language, gives you a chance to meet people who share your interests and can help practice your new skills
Zumba is one of our most popular classes at the Manassas Park Community Center

3. Set realistic and measurable goals

Businesses are successful because employees have somebody holding them accountable. Excellent managers use plans with defined goals to set expectations that both the employee and the manager can agree upon. Similarly, anytime you sign a contract, you’re actually setting a level of expectations. These are expectations you are expected to perform as well as what you expect the other party to perform. Plans, goals, expectations, and accountability all result in getting things done. So why not do the same for your resolution?

I don’t expect you to draw up a contract between you and yourself for your new year’s resolution, but you should at least create an event in your phone’s calendar eight weeks from now that says, “Lose this many pounds,” “Save this much money,” or “Be able to ask for help in the grocery store in a foreign language.” When you have a goal, you have a real expectation with a real deadline for yourself to work towards as opposed to some nebulous concept of “lose weight,” “save money,” or “learn Spanish.” Don’t just set one goal either – set milestones leading up to your final goal so you have a timeline to reinforce your plan.

When setting fitness goals be sure to consult a professional so that you are setting safe and healthy goals. Your Primary Care Physician and the Personal Trainers at the Manassas Park Community Center are two good resources, and a fitness assessment is included free of charge with every membership at the community center.

4. Celebrate accomplishments and be flexible

Willpower is a limited resource. When you’re trying to lose weight, you can only deprive yourself of ice cream for so long. Torturing yourself like this is a surefire way to turn your resolution into a chore. If you reach a fitness milestone, treat yourself! Be flexible and don’t punish yourself for accommodating unexpected events. If your car gets a flat, replacing a tire isn’t a hindrance to your financial goal – emergencies are a reason you wanted to save money in the first place!

5. Don’t stop, won’t stop

It’s going to take persistence and practice to reach your final goal, so don’t give up! It’s said it can take an average of 66 days to form a habit – although this number can vary vastly depending on the habit. [1] If you find your motivation waning, try to focus on the end goal or try to find ways to make the project fun again. Getting a friend involved, changing locations, or switching up your routine can help keep your resolution enjoyable.

Finally, don’t stop once you’ve achieved your resolution. Keep working out, keep saving money, keep practicing that language, but also set a new resolution for yourself! Yes, even in the middle of July! Have you reached your target weight? Why not try hiking or indoor rock climbing? Keep learning and keep moving forward so that next December 31st you can look back and reward yourself for all the resolutions you’ve accomplished – and look forward to all the resolutions you want to try.

Man shot in leg after argument in Dale City

An investigation is underway following the 33-year-old victim being shot in the leg by two known acquaintances after a verbal altercation escalated. 

The victim was taken to the hospital for serious, non-life threatening injuries, said police. 

Here’s more in a police press release:

Aggravated Malicious Wounding | Shooting Investigation – On December 30th at 7:49PM, officers responded to a residence located in the 14900 block of Emberdale Dr in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a shooting call. The victim, a 33 year old man of Woodbridge, reported to police that he and two known acquaintances were involved in a verbal altercation which escalated. During the encounter, one of the men brandished a handgun and a struggle ensued with the victim. At one point, the victim was shot in the leg.

The suspects then fled prior to police arriving at the home. The victim was transported to a local hospital with serious, non-life threatening injuries. A police K-9 was used to search for the suspects who were not located. Detectives have determined that this shooting was not random. The investigation continues.

Man struck with coffee mug during argument

A man is charged with malicious wounding and domestic assault and  battery after striking the 53- year- old victim in the back of his head with a coffee mug due an argument that escalated, said police.

The suspect fled the scene when police arrived but was located shortly after.

Here’s more in a police press release:

Malicious Wounding – On December 27th at 10:39AM, officers responded to an apartment located in the 15200 block of Leicestershire St in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a domestic assault. The victim, a 53 year old man of Woodbridge, reported to police that he and the accused, a family member, were involved in a verbal altercation which escalated.

During the encounter, the accused struck the victim multiple times in the back of the head with a coffee mug. Minor injuries were reported. The accused fled prior to police arriving at the home. The suspect was eventually located a short time later and arrested without incident.

Arrested on December 27th: Aziz Rehmah OSMANI, 22, of the 15200 block of Leicestershire St in Woodbridge

Charged with malicious wounding and domestic assault & battery

Court Date: Pending | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

How Home Instead finds great people to care for their clients

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.

Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas is always looking for candidates searching for rewarding career.

Candice Johnson is the Regional CAREGiver Recruiter at Home Instead Senior Care. Home Instead Senior Care selects and places experienced CAREGivers to homes with seniors, from those who need just a little help and companionship to seniors who need around the clock, twenty-four hour care.

As a Regional CAREGiver Recruiter, Johnson does a lot of work and running around town to attract the best talent that the community has to offer.

“The recruiting process is a lot of repeating my same actions. So I do a lot of “flyering”, I advertise in papers and online, I participate in job fairs and speaking engagements at colleges, CNA schools, LPN schools. I’m really just getting the position out there,” said Johnson The most important part to Johnson’s role is that people know that Home Instead Senior Care is hiring and that many of the positions are flexible and can fit comfortably into anyone’s hectic schedule.

“So if they’re working full time or going to school full time, this is a job that will allow you to still keep your daily responsibilities but bring in some supplemental income on the side,” said Johnson.

Who is the ideal candidate that Home Instead looks for and hires? (more…)

Brew Republic will be Stonebridge’s brewery in Woodbridge

brew republic

What do you get when you mix a “recovering politician” with alcohol?

Woodbridge residents will find out this spring when Brew Republic Bierwerks opens in Potomac Town Center in Stonebridge.

Co-owner Jeff Frederick said his new establishment will be the first and only brewery in the shopping center known for Wegmans. The Brew Republic is one of many new breweries that have or will soon open their doors in Prince William County after leaders changed a zoning rule allowing such establishments in retail centers.

Frederick once represented Woodbridge in the Virginia House of Delegates. He served three terms in Richmond, and he also served as the head of the Republican Party of Virginia.

He announced in 2009 that he wouldn’t seek a fourth term and bowed out of politics. Other than endorsing other local political candidates for office, Frederick has remained low key since his departure from the General Assembly.

As it turns out, Frederick’s father-in-law was an executive at the Yuengling Brewery. After he passed away in 2013, he and his wife Amy met with executives at Pennsylvania-based Yuengling and learned the company once owned a brewery in Richmond.

Frederick agreed to work with the company to bring back the old Yuengling brewery to Richmond. He spent months learning about how beer is made, and about the business side of how breweries get paid.

Yuengling eventually decided they didn’t want to move forward on the Richmond project, said Frederick. So he partnered with Darcy and Ryan Heisey, of Montclair, and they agreed to open their first brewery in Woodbridge. The Heisey’s will brew the beer, and Frederick will manage the shop.

“We wanted to do it at Stonebridge because it hasn’t been done before,” said Frederick.

Ornery Public House in 2015 became Prince William County’s first brewpub, pairing homemade brews with freshly prepared cuisine. Growing Bear Brewery also opened the same year, of Golansky Boulevard.

“We wanted to be a little bit higher end, but not pretentious,” said Frederick.

The Brew Republic has 24 recipes on file, and plans to have eight to 10 beers on tap at any given time when they open in late spring 2016. A Belgian lager, an amber ale, and an IPA are just a few of the brews that will be offered.

Of all of the new craft breweries popping up around the area, Frederick said he doesn’t see them as competition.

“There’s this thing that we’ve learned in the craft brewing industry — a rising tide helps all boats,” he said.

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