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Stafford

Popular ‘Attack the Fat Challenge’ starts Monday at Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center

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Do you know about the Attack the Fat Challenge? It’s one of the most popular, effective, and fun weight-loss programs at the Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center
 
It’s open to anyone, at any fitness level.
 
Robin Frey is a fitness program coordinator, certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor and the director of Freedom Attack the Fat Challenge at Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center in Manassas. We spoke with her to get the 
 
Frey

Frey

What is the Attack The Fat Challenge?

 
“It’s more of a full spectrum weight loss program and it runs for eight weeks…it’s based on focusing on weight loss but the overall effort that we do is that we want to promote and create lifestyle changes, not just during the eight weeks. For most people it’s just the starting point. A lot of people do it repeatedly because it works for them…and depending on the amount of weight they wish to lose, it may not happen in eight weeks.”   
 
What do participants do while in Attack The Fat Challenge? 
 
“Well actually the whole concept is they do train…and it’s based on percentage of weight loss…we make it a challenge so that it has some competitive edge to it but the overall focus is just to create a balance of accountability…to continue with fitness efforts for health, not necessarily for fitness. In other words, this is based on health and wellness, getting people appropriate nutrition and just trying to create a consistent effort with lifestyle change, it’s long term.”
 
 How much does the program cost?
 
“It [the program] breaks down to 20 dollars a session and the total cost is $480 but you’re getting 24 sessions, 24 full one-hour sessions…then in addition to that they get the support through nutrition tips and guidance…and body composition testing as well.” Frey also mentioned that there is an additional cost to non-members of the Freedom Center. 
 
 Attack-the-Fat-2015-flyer-791x1024How long does the challenge last? 
 
“Participants train three days a week with a trainer so it’s three one-hour sessions so they’re basically getting 24 training sessions as a group within that eight weeks, three times a week. In addition to that support that we offer is through our smart lab for evidence based testing for body composition or those types of things and also we do weekly weigh-ins”.
 
Is the Attack The Fat Challenge a seasonal program? 
 
“It’s twice a year, typically we do it  in February, March and then again in September.”
 
Is it too late to sign up? 
 
“The Attack The Fat Challenge  starts on Monday, Feb. 2. Registration does require you to be registered prior to the program but we work with people as well.”
 
Why did Frey get involved with the Attack The Fat Challenge?
 
“Well I started it, actually it’s been six years running now. I just felt that there was a need here at the Freedom Center to create programming in small groups that could be something that could bring more of an effort of accountability to each other, that tends to help. People can do training all the time but when they have other people depending on them to be part of their team, their group, it’s very successful. The success rate is much higher as far as them making the sessions, having to be responsible for that weekly weigh-in and then they bond and create groups that continue to train after that. We just didn’t have anything happening here in that capacity in programming.”
 
How does the Attack The Fat Challenge stand apart from similar programs?
 
“We were probably the original in this area. I know other facilities have programs similar to what we do, it’s a basic concept of accountability, through training, weigh-ins, and nutrition information…it’s just been very, very successful for us here. This our sixth year I believe, might even be longer. It tends to work. We provide a variety of workouts through different types of training. We may have them in the pool, TRX suspension training, circuit training, functional core…in other words we do a little bit of everything that we offer here…within those 24 sessions they’re getting a very large variety of different modalities of training.”
 
Why do people sign up?
 
Participants will] form groups and become friends and bond in that respect and want to continue to do it again, that kind of thing….plus we’ve had people that have lost over 100 pounds…it’s been very effective overall.” 

Keep Reading…

Updated: Stafford authorities continue search for missing teen

Update

The teenager who went missing last night in Stafford County is identified as James “Daniel” Martson. 

Here’s more in a press release: 

Stafford deputies responded to the area of Belle Plains Road at approximately 5:17 pm last night, January 28, 2014 for a report of a 17 year old male who had left his residence and is considered missing and endangered.  The 17 year old, white male is identified as James “Daniel” Marston who was last seen near Vance Way, located in Potomac Creek Estates in the 700 block of Belle Plains Road, which is the White Oak area of southern Stafford County.  James “Daniel” Marston is described as 6 feet, 1 inch tall, 155 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.  He is wearing dark blue jeans, a black hoodie and a plaid jacket.

Numerous units of the Sheriff’s Office, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team and Sheriff’s Office K-9 along with a Maryland State Police helicopter searched for James Marston last night.  The search is continuing today.

If anyone has any information as to the location of James “Daniel” Marston they are asked to contact the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office at 540-658-4400.

Original post

A 17-year-old boy is missing tonight in Stafford County.

Authorities released little information on the missing endangered teenager. They said the boy went missing from the area of Belle Plains Road and The Vane Way south Stafford.

A sheriff’s spokesman did not release the name of the boy, age, or could tell us the circumstances of the teenager’s disappearance. Keep Reading…

Duct tape the principal, raise cash for new school computers

Duct Tape the Principal and Assistant Principal Fundraiser

The Moncure Elementary PTO is very excited to announce their newest fundraising event – Duct Tape the Principal and Assistant Principal to the Wall. On February 25th, Moncure Elementary staff, students and parents will have the opportunity to duct tape Moncure’s amazing Principal and Assistant Principal, Mr. Machi and Mrs. Norton, to a wall of the school.

The PTO will be selling duct tape in one yard strips for $1 each. Staff, students and parents will have the opportunity to place the duct tape strip on the Principal or Assistant Principal. We hope that enough duct tape strips will be placed on the Principal and Assistant Principal so that they will be suspended above the ground on a wall of the school.

The PTO’s goal is to raise enough money to purchase a Chromebook for each classroom. The class with the highest participation wins a doughnut breakfast.

In this difficult economy, it’s important for parent organizations to look for creative ways to raise money. This fundraiser is exciting, because it’s a unique idea that helps the school raise funds, without parents having to peddle food or merchandise. 

Moncure Elementary is located at 75 Moncure Lane in  Stafford. For more information, call 540-658-6300.

Come see the Capitol Steps at Hylton Arts Center & help Cecily replace the asbestos-laden siding on her home

When Cecily was in her 20’s she immigrated to the U.S. from Nicaragua.

capitol stepsTaking a job at Home Depot in Springfield, Cecily met her future husband, Eddy, who had emigrated from Palau. Cecily and Eddy married in 2008 and now share their Woodbridge home with their two children, Cecily’s mother, and grandmother.

A tight-knit family, everyone pitches in to help. Cecily operates a daycare from her home while also attending school at Northern Virginia Community College.

Cecily’s mom is a certified nursing assistant with a job in Washington, D.C. Eddy continues to work at Home Depot and he and Cecily’s mom and grandmother all help care for the children, too.

Habitat for Humanity Prince William County is looking forward to giving this hard working family a hand up with much-needed critical home repairs that will make their home safer, more comfortable and affordable.

Habitat for Humanity will replace the boiler that is original to the home, replace asbestos siding from three sides of the exterior and replace non-functional windows throughout the home. The deck must be rebuilt for safety. And the home will be weatherized for energy efficiency.

Habitat for Humanity thanks you for your support of the Capitol Steps event and welcomes you to join them on their work sites as a volunteer!

To learn more, visit Habitat for Humanity’s website at habitatpwc.org.

Mark your calendars for Laughs & Love benefit February 21 at 7 p.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Not only are we having the hilarious Capitol Steps come to the beautiful Hylton Center, but our Rotary Club has proudly partnered with Casa, Habitat for Humanity, Rainbow Center Therapeutic Riding, Calling All Souls and Transitional Housing Barn as the beneficiaries this year.

The goal?

By selling out the 1,200 seats at the Hylton, we will raise $50,000. All proceeds raised will go directly to organizations that are on the front lines helping care for, encourage, lift spirits, give hope and opportunity to our struggling neighbors. These organizations are the unsung heroes in our community whose compassion makes our community a place we can be proud of.

They cannot do it alone!

To order tickets go to Hyltoncenter.org or call 1-888-945-2468. If you or your business would like to sponsor the event, please contact Steve Chapman, steve@washmydeck.com by Feb 10.

The preceding post was sponsored by Rotary Club of Bull Run.

Stafford deputies search for suspicious person, schools placed on lockdown

North Stafford High School sits on Garrisonville Road in North Stafford (Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Schools were placed into a lockdown mode this morning while Stafford sheiff’s deputies searched for a suspicious man.

Deputies received a report of a man with a backpack, and a possible weapon, walking in the area of Porter Library on Parkway Boulevard in North Stafford.

Deputies searched the area but found no one matching that description.

Stafford County Public Schools posted this statement on their Facebook page:

At the request of the Stafford Sheriff’s Office, North Stafford High School, Thompson Middle School and Park Ridge Elementary went into partial lockdown this morning after a report of a suspicious person in our area. During this time, students continued to move within the buildings, but no one was allowed in or out of the buildings. At approximately 10:20 we were advised by the Stafford Sheriff’s Office to change the status to full lockdown. At this time, all activity ceased in the buildings as we awaited instructions from the deputies. We received word that we were to return to partial lockdown at 10:41 and then returned to normal operations at 11 a.m.

A parent who contacted Stafford Local said her child was kept in a classroom with doors locked and lights turned off during the lockdown.

Stafford sheriff’s authorities said they did not find anyone in the area. 

Fire crews called to gas leak on Eustace Road

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11:18 a.m. 

A contractor laying fiber optic cable in struck a gas line this morning.

Stafford fire and rescue crews were called to the area of Eustace Road and Legal Court just before 10 a.m. A boring device stuck the line, which is believed to have been at least two inches in diameter, sending the smell of natural gas through a residential neighborhood.

“We arrived on scene, monitored the area, established a hot zone, and then we determined that there was no risked to any of the homeowners in the area,” said Stafford Assistant Chief Mark Doyle.

Stafford sheriff’s deputies blocked streets and neighbors were told to stay inside their homes. The gas company found the broken line and is now in the process of repairing it. The fix could take hours to repair, but streets should be reopened to drivers before noon, according to Doyle.

Fire crews also checked area storm drains for the residual smell of natural gas following the rupture.

10:39 a.m. 

A gas line was struck this morning in the area of Eustace Road and Legal Court in North Stafford.

The leak sprang about 9:50 a.m. Stafford fire and rescue crews were called to the scene.

There’s no word on what caused the leak or if anyone was injured.

We’ll bring you more on this story as we have it.

ANU students take MLK Day, register to vote in Prince William County

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In recognition of the Martin Luther King holiday and a day of service, Medical Assistant students from the Northern Virginia Campus of American National University collectively registered to vote in Prince William County. 

Their inspiration came not only from Dr. Martin Luther King, but also from the ANU Mission Statement, which states, “Graduates of American National University should understand and practice their responsibilities to their families, their fellow men and their communities by becoming effective and contributing citizens.”

Led by their instructor, MJ Williams of the Roanoke Campus, the students committed to volunteering in the community and becoming informed voters.

Stafford leaders order no tax increase despite lower revenues

Stafford leaders were issued a clear edict Tuesday night: there will be no increase in property taxes next year.

The directive comes as County Administrator Anthony Romanello is piecing together the county’s fiscal year 2016 budget that takes effect July 1. The county’s budget picture is mixed – some tax revenues are up this year while others, like money from real estate taxes and personal property taxes, development fees, and state funding decreased.

The county’s Board of Supervisors ordered Romanello and his staff to complete a line-by-line audit of the budget to find cuts.

“We need to cut out studies, cut out consultants, and I know Anthony doesn’t want to hear this but we need to implement a hiring freeze,” said Griffis-Widewater District Supervisor Jack Cavalier.

The Board agreed that county employees, both in local government offices and within the public school system, should receive raises as previously promised. Funding those increases could mean slashing some $80 million from capital improvement projects not already started, like improving the intersection at Route 1 and Courthouse Road, improving Courthouse Road between Winding Creek and Shelton Shop roads, as well as improvements to Boswell’s Corner at Route 1 and the Prince William County line.

“The Board was very clear in their direction not to raise taxes, and that means we’ll have to look under every rock to find savings and to help with raises for county government employees and schools employees,” said Romanello. “That’s a hell of a challenge. I don’t have an answer right now. I’ve got the next six weeks to work on it with our team to bring them a balanced budget during the first week of March.”

Laura Sellers, the only Democrat on the Board, was in favor of raising property taxes “because it’s what’s best for the community.” But she was against raising taxes on personal property, such as vehicles.

“When you raise the personal property taxes, it hurts the people who make the least money,” said Sellers.

Now at the halfway point in fiscal year 2015, the county has a revenue shortfall of about $500,000. That money can be made up with prior savings, so calling it a “deficit” would not be accurate, said Romanello.

Some major budget drivers this year is funding $1.9 million for construction for a new Stafford High School, as well as $600,000 in county projects that need funding this next year. Adding to all this, Romanello said the county’s School Board will request about $9 million more from the county as it did last year for education expenses.

Last year, county leaders approved a $262 million budget. The property tax rate was lowered from $1.09 to $1.019 per $100 of assessed value, while an increase in property assessments helped to bring in more than $7 million in new revenues over the prior year. 

Romanello will present Stafford County’s proposed budget at a public meeting of the Board of Supervisors on March 3.

Manassas First Friday February: It’s the ‘Souper Bowl’

Souper Bowl
  • Historic Manassas, Inc.
  • Address: 9431 West Street, Manassas, Virginia
  • Phone: 703-361-6599
  • Website: http://visitmanassas.org/

Historic Downtown Manassas is putting on the Soup for First Friday February.

On Feb. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m., city restaurants are pairing up with downtown merchants to offer a soup for sampling. Five-dollar wristbands allow participants to sample the soups from each location and vote to name a champion of the “Souper Bowl.”

A list of participating merchants for Manassas First Friday is available at visitmanassas.org.

Inspired by the success of the monthly event concept held in other localities, First Friday in Historic Downtown was created by the Historic Manassas, Inc. promotions committee to enhance tourism and entertainment offerings in the City of Manassas. The initial First Friday event was held in February 2014 and has grown and evolved. Some months feature roving musicians and caricature artists, while other months feature sidewalk art or special foods, like this month.

Cyber academy gives wounded warriors hope, careers

Student Christopher Robinson, director Jim Wiggins, and student Miroslav Kazimir all work together at the Wounded Warrior Cyber Academy at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. [Potomac Local]

Military patients work in groups over 18 months learning IT skills  

He watched the World Trade Center towers fall when he was 22 years old from his home country of Slovakia.

Miroslav Kazimir then vowed he would move to the U.S. and join the military in response to the terror attack.

“I was home watching TV when this happened, and a lot of my buddies were firefighters, too, and I felt a lot of anger and pain when this happened, so that’s why I wanted to join.

Kazimir, now 36, waited six years before he could obtain a green card to come to the U.S. Afterward, he joined the Marines, became a machine gunner, and served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was the latter tour in 2011 where he lost both his legs.

“We just ran over the IED. I never saw it, and we got blown up,” he said.

He was ejected from the turret attached to the vehicle he and his fellow Marines were riding. Two Marines in his unit died.

Kazimir was missing tibia bones, suffered shattered leg bones, and had bruising of the brain.

He’s called Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland home for the past four years undergoing more than 60 surgeries to repair his wounds. He now walks on prosthetic legs, and he and his wife are the proud parents of a 15-month-old baby.

Kazimir misses shooting machine guns and his life in the Corps. But life for him is different now, and as he transitions from Marine to civilian, new opportunities are opening for him in the IT field.

He and about 25 others attend the Wounded Warrior Cyber Academy at Walter Reed. Here, patients on the mend learn new, marketable computer skills like networking and internet security.

Students attend classes taught at the medical center during the evening hours. Other wounded warriors in places like Alaska and Montana attend academy classes virtually through the web conferencing program called Adobe Connect.

The classes work to build morale and give purpose to many wounded warriors taking their next steps in life.

Marine Christopher Robinson, of Greenville, Alabama, has learned the ins of outs of computers and is working to become an internet security expert. He was stationed in Japan before coming to Walter Reed where doctors were able to regulate his leukemia.

“I started by helping friends fix their computers, and just being able to have the insight to do that is great,” said Robinson. “The security aspect of it, though, the more I learn, the more I cringe. You don’t realize what information you leave out there for anyone to get.”

The academy works in what they call “cyber teams.” Two groups of about 10 to 12 people who are working and learning together for 18 months.

All students in the program receive a certificate. Those who complete the entire 18 months of training get several certificates, and many are employed with large firms like Booze Allen Hamilton.

Raytheon in Stafford County took interest in the program this week and donated $7,500 to the Wounded Warrior Cyber Combat Academy. At a cost of $10,000 per student, the funding is vital to the program’s success.

“Finding the candidates is not the issue. The issue is finding the resources,” said cyber academy director Jim Wiggins.

As the need for more IT security grows greater, officials at Raytheon said this is a program they are proud to support. Many officials in the company’s regional headquarters in Rosslyn are now keeping a close watch on the program, and are interested in the talent it produces for future job openings.

Kazimir is employable now and is about to complete the program. Robinson will be ready for employment by summer, said Wiggins.

Both men say they’ll be ready to leave the hospital for a new start in a career they love. 

After McDonalds robbery, young mom shown path to a degree

degree, credit, mcdonalds

Amercian National University (ANU) student Jazmin Lopez works toward her medical associates degree.

ANU provides young mother flexibility, path to medical assisting degree     

Jazmin Lopez, 20, of Manassas, knew that she needed to make a change in her life, and ANU offered her an opportunity to work toward her degree in a growing field.
Her neighbor was the first to recommend American National University, which has a campus in Manassas located on Liberia Avenue.

“They were promoting the school [at Gold’s Gym], when [my neighbor] met a recruiter from ANU,” Lopez said, continuing, “She was giving me information, but I wasn’t so sure about going to school.”

Lopez had made an appointment to meet with the recruiters on the campus, but still wasn’t sold about pursuing her degree.

Then, one night while working at a McDonalds, she was robbed.

“I wasn’t  speaking at the moment,” Lopez said of the experience, which traumatized her. “I thought it was time to change, and turn my life around,” Lopez said, prompting her motivation to get out of the fast food industry and earn her degree.

A few days after the incident, Lopez did meet with an ANU ad visor about the school’s opportunities for her. The robbery proved to be a turning point in her life that made her want to seek new opportunity and a higher education.

“The recruiter asked me why it took me so long to finally decide to go back to school. And I enrolled that same day…I thought it was really a great idea, because it’s only five minutes away from my house. And it caught my eye because they have really small classes, which means more attention for us as students,” said Lopez.

For her, the flexibility of the classes and assistance that the school has provided her, have allowed her to continue her education as a working young mother.

While still working at McDonalds, Lopez is currently obtaining her Medical Assistant degree, as a member of the class of 2016.

credit, mcdonalds, degree

This Manassas woman was robbed while working at a McDonalds. It was then she decided she need to change her life. She went to ANU in Manassas for a better opportunity.

Routes 610, 17 & Stafford Courthouse all areas seen as bright spots for development

Stafford Courthouse

Stafford residents were clear: they want more high-end retail stores and restaurants in their county.

Stores like Macy’s, Jos A. Bank, L.L. Bean and restaurants like Maggiano’s Little Italy were just some of the names tossed out by residents. Those same residents said they commute to work for too long each weekday on Interstate 95 only to have to drive to places outside the county like Fredericksburg, Woodbridge and Tysons Corner to reach their favorite shopping destinations.

They spoke Monday at a meeting held by the Stafford’s economic development team. As they rattled off the names on their wish lists, members of the team took notes and said they would do all they could to convince these sought-after retailers to take a second look at an area with a growing population.

“The retailers that we have spoken with have learned that Stafford residents are willing to drive to get somewhere,” said Stafford Deputy County Administrator Timothy Baroody.

Driving is the main mode of transportation in this county of more than 130,000 people. The population number is expected to grow by 3,000 each year, said Stafford County Administrator Anthony Romanello.

Some retailers have been turned off by Stafford’s proximity to Quantico Marine Corps Base and the Potomac River, both of which limit drivers’ access to the county from places like Prince William County as well as Maryland, respectively. 

Retailers are also seeking more walkable, urbanized destinations, similar to a Potomac Town Center in Woodbridge. That’s something Stafford does not have to offer yet.

“The stars are aligning for the development of a mixed-use, walkable area around the Stafford courthouse,” said Baroody. “With the government center, a newly built hospital, and a coming new campus of Germanna Community College, this area will be a destination.”

Until the courthouse area is redeveloped, if ever, the economic team will continue to market its strongest commercial corridors – Garrisonville Road (Route 610) in North Stafford and Warrenton Road (Route 17) in south Stafford. With many retail pad sites already available, Baroody says these are the most likely areas for businesses to locate.

When they do, it’ll help the county keep some $5o0,000 spent per year at retailers and restaurants in neighboring jurisdictions that have more retail choices to offer.

Stafford officials said they will also continue to build upon their success in attracting large employers to the county in an effort to keep more 40,000 people who leave Stafford each day for their jobs to remain in the county.

Stafford fire and rescue crews rescue horse on frozen pond

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On Sunday, fire and rescue crews in Stafford County rescued a horse.

Here’s more in a press release:

At [11:o8 a.m.] Sunday January 11, 2015 Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department and an Animal Control Officer from the Stafford Sheriff’s Office responded to 9 Colyer Rd for a large animal rescue.

During their response units were advised that a horse was stranded on a frozen pond. Upon arrival Fire Rescue personnel learned that the horse had been lying on the ice for approximately one hour and was unable to stand.

Battalion Chief Donald Lace and Stafford Sheriff’s Sgt. Rex Rockhill notified the Large Animal Rescue Team from Culpeper County and a local Veterinarian to assist with the incident due to the need for specialized equipment.

Due to the extended response time for the Animal Rescue Team and the horse’s deteriorating condition Fire Rescue personnel made the decision to remove the horse from the pond. After ensuring firefighters could safely reach the animal a haul system was constructed and the horse was safely brought to shore. After reaching the shore the horse was unable to stand and due to the possibility of hypothermia the crews covered the horse with blankets to maintain his body temperature.

The veterinarian arrived and determined the horse’s body temperature was low and administered warm fluids. Once his condition improved the Large Animal Rescue moved the horse to more stable ground where he eventually stood up and began eating and drinking.

Thanks to the excellent teamwork by all involved this unique rescue had a positive outcome and one very happy horse.

Gas prices fall below $2 per gallon in Stafford

stafford gas 199

Gas for $1.99 – are they out of their minds?

Not in North Stafford where the price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas fell below $2 on Tuesday. That’s a drop considering six months ago the price for the same was $3.55 in the same neighborhood, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Fuel Price Finder.

At some gas stations on Route 1 in Stafford, the price fell even lower to $1.97 per gallon at a FasMart and Wawa stations.

The cheapest place to buy gas in Woodbridge on Tuesday was a Wawa at Daniel Stuart Square at Route 1 and Opitz Boulevard, priced at $2.03 per gallon. The area gas price average was higher at $2.13 per gallon.

It’s important to note that the Fuel Price Finder doesn’t list prices for price clubs Costco and Sams Club that normally have cheaper gas than roadside service stations.

011315 fuel forecast

Nationally, the average price for a gallon of unleaded fuel is $2.14. It’s the lowest national average price since May 4, 2009.

Fuel prices should continue to decline, according to the short-term outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Prices will remain low, but creep back up in time for the summer vacation driving season in July to a national average of $2.33 per gallon, according to the forecast.

Consumption of fuel has increased to 9.2 million barrels of oil per day in the U.S. in December. Government officials said that the number should increase to 9.5  billion barrels per day in 2016, putting the U.S. on track to near to the all-time high of 9.6 billion barrels of oil per day not seen since 1970.

Wendy Maurer running for Rock Hill Supervisor in Stafford

Wendy Maurer planned to file her paperwork on Monday to run for the office of Rock Hill District Supervisor.

A Republican small business owner and member of Stafford’s Economic Development Authority, Maurer has long been active in the Stafford community. She seeks to replace Cord Sterling, who announced he would not seek reelection in November after accepting a new job as a staffer in the U.S. Senate.

Maurer has three children in Stafford County Public Schools and she immediately identified large class sizes and overcrowding as campaign issues.

“We have significant overcrowding in our schools,” said Maurer, whose three children attend Mountain View and Colonial Forge high schools, and Rodney Thompson Middle School. “I believe the schools have been focusing more on administration and less on teacher pay.”

Rock Hill School Board representative Patricia Healy agrees that schools are overcrowded, and said a move by the School Board to eliminate more than 50 teachers was a difficult budget decision to make.

While the Board of Supervisors is the taxing authority providing a large chunk of the county budget to the school system, it’s the School Board who decides how to spend the cash. Maurer said a full review of the budget, as well as categorical funding practices by the Board of Supervisors is what’s needed place priorities on education in the county.

“Categorical funding can make it more difficult to make changes in a timely fashion,” said Healy. “If we need to move money from one category to another, we’ll need to go back to the Board and its processes before that can be done.”

Maurer said she’ll have strong opinions about what the School Board should do, but said she’ll respect boundaries.

“…I’m not going to be in there to run the school board – that is their job – but I will work closely with my school board representatives…” said Maurer.

Maurer also said improving the quality of roads in the district is another priority. Nearly all of the roads in the Rock Hill District are antiquated 2-lane thoroughfares with no shoulders, providing access to housing developments, schools, and businesses.

Maurer owns LRH Group, LLC in  Quantico, a defense contracting company supporting the Army. Her husband is also employed by the company.

Voters will head to the polls Nov. 3 to select a new Rock Hill District Supervisor.

Used tires are mysterious. New Cooper Starfire Tires cost about the same

starfire-tire-3starfire-tiretoyo-tiresstarfire-tire-2

Cooper Starfire Tires offer superior life and performance for just a few dollars more than the cost of a used tire

Instead of buying a used tire that you might have to replace sooner than later, consider a new Cooper Starfire Tire.

It’s a great option for someone looking for an inexpensive tire that will help keep their vehicle on the road longer and their occupants of the car safe.

Cooper Starfire Tires are available for multiple makes and models of vehicles. They’re manufactured in Asia and designed in the U.S. to compete with premium brands without the higher price tag of comparable tires.

The tire offers high-performance ability, improved grip and road handling, with an improved overall tire life.

Cooper Starfire Tires are great for drivers who may have purchased a vehicle that is more costly to maintain than first thought, but are still looking for a quality tire that delivers great handling and a quiet performance on the road. With the Starfire option available, drivers should think before purchasing a used tire.

Typically, drivers have no idea what type of life the used tire had before they obtain it. Used tires could be six to eight years old, perhaps older, and have spent the majority of their life as a used tire strapped to a vehicle. While used tires may look good, the rubber can be worn down or degraded after years of sitting idle. Some used tires may also be missing tread and show signs of wear.

Purchasing a Starfire Tire costs about $30 more than what a used tire might cost, but a new tire, on average, will provide three times the life of a single used tire. The price of a Starfire Tire is up to 30% less than other newer tires.  There are many Starfire Tires produced for SUVs, trucks, and the popular Honda Civic and Toyota Camry models.

Hometowne Auto Repair and Tire in Woodbridge, Virginia is now an authorized Cooper Tire dealer and offers a full line of Starfire Tires.

Teen wins NYC trip with “Say I Won’t” video with Manassas City Police Department

#SayIWont, manassas city police department

Captain Trey Lawler and Chief Doug Keen stand behind Mark Johnson.

In December, City of Manassas resident Mark Johnson had an idea for the #SayIWont video contest put on by Grammy Award winner Lecrae Moore and Reach Records. The video contest asked participants to make a 15 second video showing how “you’re not scared to be different.” Mark’s video featured members of the Manassas City Police Department.

Mark Johnson had the idea, in light of current happenings in other areas of the country, to show a positive relationship between the Manassas City Police Department and a City resident. His video shows him coming into MCPD Roll Call and encouraging the officers about to go out in the field.

Mark went to Osbourn High School in the City of Manassas. After a rocky start, including being expelled from school, Mark went back to Osbourn to finish high school with an advanced diploma. When asked why he chose the Manassas City Police Department to feature in his video, Mark said he remembered the great conversations he had in high school with Officer Cahill and he used that contact to make the video happen. 

On Dec. 12, while attending the Manassas City Police Department holiday luncheon, Mark received a phone call from Reach Records saying he had won the national video contest and had won a trip to New York City to accompany Lecrae Moore to a Brooklyn Nets game.

“We are honored that Mark chose the MCPD to feature in his video,” said Chief Doug Keen from the Manassas City Police Department. “Mark Johnson’s video sheds a positive light on relationships with police officers and those relationships are something we want to promote in the City of Manassas. We congratulate Mark on his award winning video.”

Johnson traveled to New York City in December.

Cord Sterling takes D.C. job for John McCain, leaving Stafford Board of Supervisors

After eight years serving on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, Cord Sterling choked up, sat back in his seat and said something that was clearly difficult to get out.

“I will not be running for reelection for the Board of Supervisors in November,” said Sterling.

The Republican represented Stafford’s rural Rock Hill District and took pride in representing the Fredericksburg region on the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board in Richmond. Sterling was also active on many county committees, including Stafford’s budget committee.

Sterling accepted a new position as the deputy staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill. It’s where his career began 20 years ago, and it’s an “honor to return,” he said.

“Those of you who know the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Chairman is John McCain, and the pace that it maintains, is very grueling,” explained Sterling. “You read the newspapers and you see what’s going on in Europe, the Ukraine, see what’s going in the Middle East, you see what’s going on in Asia, you’ll get an idea of what my schedule and my life is  going to be like over the next several years.”

Sterling said he’ll take a pay cut with the new job, but said his duties will be important to the Senate.

Sterling will complete his term on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors which ends Dec. 31, 2015. It’s not clear yet who will run in his place.

“We still have 12 months of serving together and we have a lot to get done,” said newly appointed Stafford Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Snellings, of Hartwood.

Sterling said he pushed to move the county forward during his Board tenure, especially in the area of improving the county’s road infrastructure. Sterling was integral in securing funding for a new interchange at Courthouse Road and Interstate 95 in Stafford.

Sonic coming to Stafford, on residents’ “retail wish list”

U.S. 17 in southern Stafford County. [Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

Stafford has no Wegmans grocery store, no Olive Garden restaurant, or many other restaurants and retail options found just north and south of the County.

Studies show more Stafford residents spend their hard-earned dollars at many of their favorite establishments outside the county. Stafford County officials want to change this and asked residents to bring a “retail wish list” with them to a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 12 at the Stafford County Government Center. They hope to get a better idea of what residents want in Stafford, and then use that information to convince potential companies to locate in Stafford.

“Stafford can definitely get a piece” said Tim George, of VantagePoint consultants, a Baltimore-based firm hired by Stafford County to help improve the county’s economic development plan. “We seek to answer the question of “who” and “how much” because when you look at the retail and restaurant expenditure numbers, a lot of money is being spend outside the county.”

Longtime retail magnets Central Park in Fredericksburg, and shopping centers like Potomac Mills and Potomac Town Center in Woodbridge continue to grow and attract new business.

But that hasn’t stopped Stafford County residents from wanting more shopping choices. Here are some of the responses we received today via Twitter:

There is good news for Chad Atkins who told us he wanted one thing:

A Sonic will open on off Route 17 in south Stafford at 240 McWhirt Loop next to Lowes home improvement store. The drive-in restaurant chain with two nearby locations in Spotsylvania County is currently in the permitting process but should open by June, the weather permitting, said a Stafford County economic development spokeswoman.

Stafford County does have several things working in its favor, like it’s proximity to the nation’s capital, new E-ZPass Express Lanes on Interstate 95, and a good quality of life for its residents.

“The county shows good household income…and its proximity to Quantico Marine Corps Base is a strength because it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon,” said George.

Many companies keep secret their formulas for how, where, and why they locate their stores. Since there are already Wegmans stores in Fredericksburg and Woodbridge, Stafford may be able to get a “comparable” retailer, he added.

The county’s first Chipotle restaurant opened last month next to a new Verizon Wireless store. Both are two of many new stores officials said have located in the county in recent years.

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors in 2010 developed a 10-point economic development plan. This latest effort will serve to update that plan and, depending upon the timing of public hearings and meeting of the county’s Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission, could take two to four months to complete.

Picture your art here to win

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Winning artwork to be featured on light poles in Manassas

Have you seen the banners that hang on the light poles in the Historic Downtown area of the City of Manassas and in other cities? If you are an artist or aspiring to be one, the art you create could be hanging on one of those light poles.

Historic Manassas, Inc. and the City of Manassas have launched an art contest to fill the banners in Historic Downtown with original pieces of art. The contest will be juried so that one artist will be awarded a grand prize of $1000 and there will also be “people’s choice award” of $500. The contest deadline has been extended to Feb. 1, 2015.

This contest is part of an effort to promote art and tourism in the City of Manassas. The winning 50 pieces will be featured on the light pole banners and in a walking tour brochure that includes information on the piece and the artist. Information about the contest can be found at visitmanassas.org/banner-art-project.

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