Read Us Daily for News in Prince William, Manassas, & Stafford


NOVA students bridge the gap for seniors learning to better use smartphones to stay connected


It’s 1:30 p.m. in a college classroom near Manassas.

“What are you doing there? I swiped up, do I need to swipe down?” asked a grey-haired lady to the woman sitting next to her.

“Did find yours? It’s in setup, I think,” said a man in the crowd.

About 80 people all holding their smartphones, the majority of them in their sixties and seventies filled two classrooms on Friday in Parrish Hall at the Northern Virginia Community College Manassas Campus.

They’re students in a one-day class called “Are You Smarter Than Your Cell Phone?” where they learned about their iPhones and Android devices: How to use them, how to silence them at night, how to turn them off when not in use to save energy, and how to use them to not only talk to loved ones but to send text messages and photos to family members.

The teachers of the class: Millennials, those know-it-all daily users of technology, internet whiz kids helping to bridge the gap between college students and those who grew up in a time when many never thought a powerful computer would one day fit into their pocket.

Dan Wannamaker is in his mid-seventies and attended Friday’s class. In the early 1960s, he was an undergraduate student at the University of Kansas.

“The university had a big mainframe computer. It was so big and got so hot it used to sit in an air-conditioned cooler locker and students not allowed to use the computer, only professors were allowed. Do you know why?” Wannamaker asked his student teachers who looked back at him dumbfounded. (more…)

Beville Middle School holds color run


Photos submitted by Atif Qarni

 Beville Middle School hosted a Color Run this past Saturday. The race began at 8:30 a.m.

Color Run is a 5K fun run for all ages and fitness abilities. The route for Saturday’s race wound from the middle school west along Dale Boulevard, left onto Mapledale Avenue, then onto Lindendale Road, then back to the school. Along the route, participants pass through color zones. A powder color packet is thrown in the air at the final color celebration at the finish line.

A total of 315 runners and 45 volunteers participated in the event. 

Volunteers helped to put on the event, and they included participants from Zeta Phi Beta (Phi Kappa Zeta Chapter of Woodbridge sorority), Garfield High School JROTC, Beville PTSO, and the Dale City Civic Association.Giant, Subway, Wegmans, Modell’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods all helped sponsor the event.

Giant, Subway, Wegmans, Modell’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods all helped sponsor the event.

Beville Middle School is located at 4901 Dale Boulevard in Dale City.

Manassas School Board budget hearing still on for tonight

From Manassas City Public Schools: 

The School Board of the City of Manassas will still hold its Regular Meeting tonight, Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 7 pm at City Hall (9027 Center Street).  The Public Hearing on the FY2018 Budget will also take place during the meeting, however, because there may be citizens who are unable to attend due to unsafe road conditions in certain areas, the Public Hearing will continue Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 7 pm at City Hall.

The agenda for the Regular Meeting can be found at:

Manassas Park builds community, finds success with youth basketball

Ask any Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation staff member what is the most popular program offered and without hesitation, they will respond, “The youth basketball league.”

The Manassas Park Youth Basketball League (MPYBL) is going into its 20th year, and lots of credit is owed to the community spirit the residents and employees of Manassas Park exude.

“Whenever we come there’s always a sense of family,” writes 2016-2017 MPYBL Coach Steve Gaskins, “There’s something here for everyone. It’s like a second home. The staff is always friendly and knowledgeable, and the building is organized and clean.”

Gaskins is not exaggerating. Generations of families have grown up with Manassas Park Parks and Recreation including children who enrolled in Manassas Park Community Center (MPCC) preschool before the current building was built and are now graduating from high school. Children who participated in Extended Care and MP3, afterschool programs for school-age children and teenagers respectively, are now working part time jobs at the Community Center.

Many players return year after year to participate in the league. High school freshman Jonathan Ojo enjoys the basketball league for its great level of competition. (more…)

Proposed 13th high school to be located adjacent to Jiffy Lube Live

From Prince William County Public Schools: 

The Office of Facilities Services for Prince William County Public Schools will hold a public meeting to share information on the new location of the proposed 13th high school. The new location is located off Progress Court, adjacent to Jiffy Lube Live and the new Western Transportation Facility. The new location is less than one mile north from the previous location.

The purpose of this meeting is to share with the public the new location that is more suitable for School Division needs. The location will still relieve significant overcrowding at Patriot, Battlefield, and Stonewall Jackson High Schools.

The presentation will be held Thursday, March 9, 2017, from 7– 9 p.m. in the cafeteria at Gainesville Middle School, located at 8001 Limestone Drive, Gainesville.

If you have questions, please contact Maureen Hannan, Supervisor, Land Acquisition and CIP Planning, at 703-791-7313.

For more information on the new location of the proposed 13th high school, visit the Facilities Services web page.

NOVA, ECPI sign agreement for Cyber and Network Security


ECPI University and Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) have signed an articulation agreement that gives NVCC students automatic admission into ECPI University’s Cyber and Network Security bachelor degree program. Through ECPI University’s year-round, accelerated schedule, these students will have the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree in just 60 weeks.

Transferring students will enjoy a number of additional benefits, including lower tuition. NVCC graduates will be charged the equivalent of the highest Virginia in-state tuition and fees for the portion of the program taken at ECPI or actual ECPI University costs, whichever is less.

ECPI University will waive the application and registration fees, and accept most NVCC credits. These benefits are predicated upon the student earning a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher in their AAS in Cybersecurity program and achieving a “C” or better in all courses applied to the degree. All courses must be completed within the past 10 years. (more…)

‘Survivor’ TV show contestant coming to Benton Middle School to introduce girls to STEM

Photo by Flickr user chicagowen


On March 16, 2017, Benton Middle School will host an event, which will introduce approximately 400 middle school girls and their guardians to STEM Careers. Our 3rd Annual “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” STEM event will convey “The Value of Women and Girls in society as Bold, Beautiful, and Innovative people.”  

Celebrity Guest; Rebekah “Becky” Lee, from the CBS TV Series Survivor: Cook Islands contestant, 2nd runner up, and activist, will be featured at the event along with other leading STEM professionals who will be conducting interactive session to drive awareness of STEM careers and educational opportunities  in the following categories: (more…)

‘Name the new elementary school the Betty D. Covington Elementary School’

From Tim Singstock, of Montclair:

The community has engaged in debate over naming the new elementary school under construction in the Potomac Shores Community. Prince William County is blessed to have two wonderful choices for the school naming: Betty Covington and John Harper.

I met Mr. Harper and his wife at the 2016 NAACP dinner in Quantico. As an Army veteran and son of a Vietnam Veteran, I honor Mr. Harper’s military and combat service. (more…)

‘Only two’ big names discussed for Potomac Shores elementary school

From Prince William County Public Schools: 

Suggested names for the new “Potomac Shores” Elementary School presented to the School Board on February 1 include famous Americans, U.S. Presidents, and local educators and activists. The names were submitted online to the Office of Planning and Financial Services or offered at the School Board Naming Committee public meeting on January 30, held at Potomac High School.

The School Board is scheduled to vote on its choice at its next regular meeting on February 15. Criteria for naming of school facilities and buildings are described in Regulation 854-1.

“Potomac Shores” Elementary School is scheduled to open this fall. The school is located in the Potomac Magisterial District at 2500 River Heritage Parkway, Dumfries.

Naming committee members for “Potomac Shores” are School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers, Loree Williams (Woodbridge), and Justin Wilk (Potomac).


Updated: New parkway elementary school site a threat to parkland, say conservationists

Photo by Flickr user Prince William Public Library

From Prince William Conservation Alliance: 

Community Meeting
Tuesday, February 7, 4 to 6pm at Prince William Conservation Alliance, 2241F Tackett’s Mill Drive, Woodbridge

Planning Commission Vote
Wednesday, February 15, 7pm at McCoart Government Center, Board Chambers

Originally proposed to replace part of Chinn Parkland, this school is now slated for a site adjacent to Chinn Park, along PW Parkway between Kenwood Drive and Trowbridge Drive.

While this new site is preferable, concerns about impacts to Chinn Parkland and the surrounding community remain.

As currently proposed, damages to the adjacent parkland would be noteworthy. Despite significant impervious surfaces and highly erodible soils, no on-site retention of stormwater is planned, creating a situation that would devastate the creek.

Serious watershed impacts would extend far beyond the borders of the development site.


Larrimore on school recess cry: ‘I’m not going to let it go’

Photo by Mike Beaty

Barbara Larrimore sent out a rallying cry for parents to come to the Prince William County Public Schools headquarters on Jan. 27, 2017 to press school leaders for more recess in public schools.

From Larrimore: 
“I thought it went really well.  The ten speakers that I had were well rounded and eloquent.  My mind keeps on shifting to Natalie Sposatos testimony of “motion changes emotion”, was a powerful moment for me.  I did not take any photos because I had my three children with me but Mike Beaty did.  I have enclosed the site here, you may use any pictures you like, just tag him for credit.  I have also attached the link for the edited ten speakers from that night.  
The American Heart Association and Shape America came to speak which was a great new perspective to be hearing from! Moms who have joined the campaign recently did so from the testimony of an All Pediatrics nurse  I hope that people at home were watching and listening, and have been contacting their school board members about their feelings.  I plan to keep showing up at the school board meetings to let them know I’m not going to let it go!”  


Delta’s annual MLK Oratorical contest produces winners


Norman Jones III, a senior at Stonewall Jackson High School took home first place in Prince William County Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Oratorical Contest for the third consecutive year. Jones a passionate and posed speaker has also spoken before the Department of Justice and the Prince William County School Board.

At the middle school level, first place was awarded to Abdullah Usufzai, a 7th grader at Ronald Reagan Middle School. (more…)

Stafford County eyes redistricting overcrowded high schools

From Stafford County Public Schools:

The Stafford School Board is examining a variety of options, including redistricting, to address the increasing current and projected enrollment of students in the division.

The increasing number of students at Colonial Forge High School is of particular concern at this time. A Community Input and Information Session is scheduled on Thursday, January 26, 2017 (more…)

O’Hanlon selected to fill vacant seat on school board

From Manassas City Public Schools:

O’Hanlon Selected to Fill Vacant Seat on School Board

The School Board of the City of Manassas unanimously voted on January 4, 2017 to appoint Peter B. O’Hanlon to serve as its newest member. O’Hanlon was appointed to fill the vacant seat previously held by Pamela J. Sebesky, who resigned effective December 31 to serve on the City Council for the City of Manassas. O’Hanlon will serve until November 2017 when a special election is held to fill the remaining year of Sebesky’s original term (December 31, 2018). (more…)

NOVA, GW to host Academic Pathways to Technology Careers forum


Discover a myriad of careers available in the information technology industry at Northern Virginia Community College’s Woodbridge Campus open forum, Academic Pathways to Technology Careers on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., at 2645 College Drive in Woodbridge.

In partnership with The George Washington University (GW), NOVA-Woodbridge will host an interactive workshop for those interested in exploring a career in information systems technology, integrated information, science and/or technology. Faculty and staff from GW and NOVA-Woodbridge, along with industry partners from the Telos Corporation, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Institute for Defense Analysis, Booz Allen Hamilton and Women in Technology & Enterprise will present information on the skills and qualifications required for new hires in the field. Attendees will also have the opportunity to network with representatives from each organization in addition to speaking with NOVA and GW admissions and financial aid departments. 

During the Fall 2016 semester, NOVA first partnered with GW to offer two bachelor’s degree completion programs in Cybersecurity andIntegrated Information, Science and Technology (IIST) at the Woodbridge Campus. The collaborative effort to form a 2-plus-2 transfer agreement between NOVA and GW has been established to detail the required set of courses to be completed at NOVA in order for students to transfer to GW.  Students who successfully complete an associate degree in IT or Cybersecurity or 60 credit hours of suitable coursework, can transfer to GW with a junior standing.  

Academic Pathways to Technology Careers forum is open to the public and will be held in the Black Box Theatre of NOVA-Woodbridge Arts & Sciences Building (WAS). Parking is free in any B lot on campus. Lunch will be provided for all registered guest. To register, please visit Registration will be accepted through Jan. 27.

‘The school division can and has purchased land for schools with nor need for BOCS involvement’

Lillie Jessie, the Occoquan District School Board representative, penned a post for Potomac Local last week that we titled ‘Instead of giving us money,…provide land needed to build new schools.’

We lifted the words for the headline straight from Jessie’s text. And then we started wondering: Is it always up to the Prince William County Board of Supervisors (BOCS) to purchase land, or designate a site on which the Independent School Board should build a new school?

From Prince William County Public Schools spokesman Phil Kavits: (more…)

‘Computer-brain interfaces can revolutionize the way that disabled individuals can go about their everyday lives’


Interfacing Brains to Electronics will be discussed by bioengineering professor Nathalia Peixoto at 7 p.m. Jan. 12 as part of Galileo’s Science Café, hosted by George Mason University’s Science and Technology Campus.

New breakthroughs in computer-brain interfaces can revolutionize the way that disabled individuals can go about their everyday lives. Our ability to see, hear, move, and think is controlled by neurons in our body that communicate by transmitting electrical signals. Scientists are using the electrical properties of nerves, in conjunction with the power of modern computers, to develop computer-brain interface technologies.

While this may sound like science fiction, our neural engineering laboratory is electrically stimulating and recording activity from neurons, developing retinal implants for blind people, and leveraging augmented reality to help people with disabilities.

Date: January 12, 2017

Location: Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Virginia

6 p.m.: Doors open, food and beverages available
7-7:30 p.m.: Scientific Discussion
7:30-7:45 p.m.: Q&A
7:45-8:30 p.m.: Meet the Scientist and Networking Reception

RSVP to attend.

Baldwin Elementary School clean-up effort ‘extensive’

The new Baldwin Elementary School in Manassas closed its doors Tuesday and will be closed again Wednesday due to a pipe burst.

The pipe burst at about 2 a.m. Tuesday, according to school officials. The temperature at Washington Regan National Airport at that time was 17 degrees

Here’s a statement from Manassas City Public Schools Executive Director of Finance & Operations Andy Hawkins:

Early this morning we were notified that a water pipe had broken at Baldwin Elementary School and water was flowing from the ceiling on the 3rd floor extended learning area down to the second and first floors which house K through 3rd-grade classrooms.

Our Maintenance team and the custodial teams from both Osbourn High School and Baldwin responded. We also contacted an outside vendor (A-1 Flood Tech) to assist us in in the remediation effort.

A review of our security camera footage documented that at approximately 10:15 last evening water started leaking from an Outside Air Unit. This unit circulates fresh air throughout the building.


Baldwin Elementary School students get another day off Wednesday


Baldwin Elementary School closed today due to a burst water pipe. The brand new school opened just before Christmas.

We emailed Manassas City schools spokeswoman Al Radford about the closure for tomorrow.

Potomac Local to Manassas Schools: “Do you have any photos of the Baldwin damage? Cost repair estimate? Also, can you tell us how something like this happened in a brand new facility? “

Manassas City Public Schools spokeswoman Al Radford: “No pictures…and not sure of total cost of repairs at this point.  I am copying Andy Hawkins, Director of Finance and Operations…Mr. Hawkins is gathering information from the staff regarding everything that has been done and will provide an update to the School Board at the meeting tonight if you are able to view it.”

‘A capital improvement of $10.5 million for a single, primarily white high school in the west’

From a letter from Prince William County School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers, Vice Chair Lillie Jessie, and Loree Williams to the United States Department of Justice



“Of current concern to the undersigned members of the [Prince William County School Board] PWCSB is a recent gambit in which the [Prince William County Board of Supervisors] PWCBOCS offered previously-unappropriated funds to the PWCSB for the express purpose of selecting a more expensive and opulent design for a new high school to be built in the predominantly white western portion of the County, which it would then match with an equal amount to be



generally used in the predominantly minority eastern part of the County.

In other words, a capital improvement of $10.5 million for a single, primarily white high school in the west, along with $10.5 million to be used at dozens of predominantly black/Hispanic elementary schools in the east. Potential funding for predominately minority schools was made contingent upon the approval of a more extravagant model for



the new high school in the predominately white portion of the county.

The anticipated enrollment of the new high school in the west is 2,500, which represents $4,200/per student, while the combined attendance of elementary schools in the east is approximately 21,000, meaning that $500/per student has been made available in the primarily minority schools. This proposal was unfortunately accepted by the PWCSB on January 4, 2017, by a vote of 5-3 (with the undersigned providing the three votes against).”


Reaction from elected officials in Prince Willaim County: 

Page 3 of 3012345...102030...Last »