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Teaching the DAGPAW: Martial Arts and concepts for Life at Manassas Park Community Center

The Manassas Park Community Center offers a variety of martial arts programs for kids of all ages. Master Geoff Mann teaches all of the martial arts classes here at the Community Center. He received his first black belt in 1992 and is a fifth-degree black belt.

Master Geoff has been an instructor at the Community Center for 13 years. That gives him more history at Parks and Recreation than the actual building itself!

Master Geoff explains that the term martial arts initially means “military way of.” The history of martial arts dates back to ancient Greece, Rome, and China. The military of these countries took the fighting and defensive systems of the peasants, adapted, and then incorporated these fighting styles to suit their military needs.

Fast forward to the 1970’s where martial arts legend Bruce Lee became famous for his skills and beliefs that the best fighter is someone who is adapted to any martial arts style while incorporating individual style and not limiting themselves to one practice.

“When I started training in 1985, the MMA club where I was training introduced us to all MMA practices at the time, so we learned a real variety! Now, I teach modern Karate, traditional Tae Kwon Do and I add a little Kempo, Akido, and Jujitsu. My own background and training is inspired by Bruce Lee because we both believe in individual style while emphasizing various martial arts,” he explains.

DAGPAW

Master Geoff tells everyone, students, and parents, that he firmly believes teaching karate and other martial arts is his tool to teach discipline, courtesy, and respect.

“Parents rarely come to me and say they want their kids to defend themselves. Instead, what parents want is for their kids to stay focused and to use their energy learning skills they can use in life. I teach these kids to become better citizens using the concepts of discipline, courtesy, and respect,” he points out.

Master Geoff teaches a theory called, DAGPAW, which stands for discipline, a’s and b’s, goal setting, perseverance, attitude (a good, can-do attitude) and work ethic. To Master Geoff, these are the real benefits of Karate and other martial arts.

“With MMA, the more involved you are, the better off you are. I am also a big believer in having consequences for actions,” he says.

The martial arts uniform is a useful tool to help discipline and focus the children. Mann encourages parents to purchase the uniform to help children achieve their goals. He gives students incentives through the patches on their uniform.

Master Geoff teaches his three to seven-year-old students how to kick properly and gets them to follow those guidelines as closely as possible. He admits there is no one true art form and encourages mixing to adapt to students’ needs and preferences.

“Traditional ways are great, but they might not be practical such as the high jumping kick. This particular kick was originally used to knock people off horses and is not something I use in my classes,” explains Mann.

The MMA classes at the Community Center begins with the Dragon Tots class for students, ages three to four, to learn basic martial arts skills with special emphasis on courtesy, discipline, and respect. This class is on Wednesdays from 12:30 p.m. to 12:55 p.m.

WCRB Mixed Martial Arts are specifically for children, ages six to 13, with or without prior experience, to learn martial arts while emphasizing respect, courtesy, and discipline! This class also combines Master Geoff’s Academic Excellence program to help maximize your child’s learning. The class is on Mondays, from 5 to 5:50 p.m. or 6 to 6:50 p.m.

The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park, VA. Managed by the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation, the facility is home to basketball courts, a swimming pool, wellness areas, special events, and recreational classes. For more information visit us at www.ManassasParkCommunityCenter.com or call at 703-335-8872.

News
Surovell’s short-term 3: Medicaid expansion, criminal justice reform, and nonpartisan redistricting

Election Day was an electoral earthquake in Virginia politics.  Fourteen seats in the House of Delegates switched from Republican to Democratic members – the largest switch since 1899.  Two have not yet been certified due to irregularities and three are heading to recounts.  We do not know if any party will control the House and probably will not know until late in the day on the first day of session after the dust has settled.

While the new situation in the House of Delegates will create some uncertainty over the next fifty days, it will create some opportunities in Virginia public policy, but not a wholesale change of direction.  The Senate of Virginia is still controlled by the Republican Party and most major committees have significant partisan majorities. 

Notwithstanding, I am hopeful that in the short-term, we might see some changes in a three areas: Medicaid Expansion, Criminal Justice Reform, and Nonpartisan Redistricting. 

Medicaid Expansion
First, Virginia has foregone billions of dollars over the last several years due to our failure to expand Medicaid.  In addition to billions of dollars, we have lots 30,000 new jobs per year and approximately $200 million per year in savings to Virginia taxpayers. 

Today, nearly 36,000 residents of the 36th District receive their healthcare from Medicaid including 24,000 children.  This means there are likely over 20,000 adults right here within minutes of your home who would receive healthcare if Virginia had taken action. 

The new margins in the House of Delegates make movement much more likely, but not without some changes in our existing program.  In 1985, Medicaid consumed six percent of Virginia’s General Fund Budget – today, that number has grown to twenty-three percent and that is before the coming tsunami of baby boomer retirement home admissions.  We need to bend the Medicaid cost curve, but I am hopeful that we are nearing the end of irrationally refusing federal help to get healthcare to hundreds of thousands of needy Virginians. 

Criminal Justice Reform
Second, Virginia’s residents and jails continue to be burdened by an overly punitive criminal justice system which over-felonizes conduct and clings on to antiquated trial practices.  Virginia’s $200 threshold between misdemeanors and felonies in the lowest in the United States of America and has not been adjusted since 1981.  I will introduce legislation to raise this to $500 and remain the lowest in the United States for the ninth time.  Similar legislation has passed the Senate and died in the House five times.  Hopefully, no longer.

Also, accused persons in Virginia have extremely limited discovery rights in criminal trials.  Legislation to bring Virginia’s criminal discovery rules up to modern standards has also passed the Senate and died in the House.  This year should be different.

Non-Partisan Redistricting
Third, the close margins in the Senate and House of Delegates may finally make it possible to move nonpartisan redistricting legislation through the General Assembly.  Computer enabled partisan redistricting lies at the root of many political problems in our country.  Non-partisan redistricting constitutional amendments have passed the State Senate twice but normally die in committee in the House.  I am hopeful that the new situation in Richmond will move the discussion forward.

I am putting together the 36th District legislative agenda over the next month.  Please send me your legislative ideas and feedback on structuring our $100 billion budget over the next two years.

It is an honor to serve as your State Senator.  Please contact me at scott@scottsurovell.org if you have any thoughts.

Scott Surovell (D) represents southern Fairfax, eastern Prince William, and northern Stafford counties in the Virginia State Senate. 

News
I-66 E-ZPass Express Lanes to bring sweeping changes from Gainesville to Dunn Loring

BRISTOW — If all goes as planned, Interstate 66 will expand to help alleviate Northern Virginia’s crushing traffic volume and boost public transportation by the end of 2022, according to Virginia traffic officials.

Dozens of area residents turned out Thursday for a public hearing on plans for widening I-66 to include tolled express lanes outside the Capital Beltway. Three regular lanes and two express lanes will run in both directions from Haymarket in Prince William County to Dunn Loring in Fairfax County.

In addition to the 22.5 miles of new E-ZPass Express Lanes, the project includes additional and expanded park-and-ride lots, bus service and transit routes, interchange improvements and bike trails.

“We’re looking at this as a multi-modal project,” Susan Shaw, the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Northern Virginia megaprojects director, told the crowd. Once the project is completed, she said, the upgraded system will be able to move 2,000 to 4,000 more people per hour than it currently can.

The overflowing parking lot at Piney Branch Elementary School off Linton Hall Road underscored the need for traffic solutions in an area that typically ranks among the worst in the nation for commuting.

The meeting was the third and final public hearing on the project’s design, and it focused specifically on the segment of the project from Gainesville to Route 29 in Centreville. About a dozen members of the public addressed concerns with the project, including the lack of bike trails in Prince William County, the cost of tolls for commuters and the aesthetics of the proposed sound walls. Public comments will continue to be accepted through Nov. 29.

The I-66 “Outside the Beltway Project” is a public-private partnership between VDOT, the Department of Rail and Public Transportation and a private partner, I-66 Express Mobility Partners, which is a consortium of Cintra, Meridiam, Ferrovial Agroman US and Allan Myers VA Inc. It’s expected to bring $3.5 billion in new construction to the region.

At the meeting, officials unveiled a video overview of the project showing what the completed project would look like. Planning for the massive expansion project began in 2011. The timeline calls for construction and right-of-way acquisition to begin in late 2017. That’s followed by additional parking spaces near Gainesville to be completed by summer 2019, and four traffic signals to be removed from Route 28 by summer 2020. The entire project is scheduled to be completed and tolling to begin by December 2022.

Groundbreaking is set for today, near the 1-66 and Route 28 interchange, with Gov. Terry McAuliffe and transportation officials expected to be on hand.

Once construction is underway, it will take place as needed throughout the corridor. Shaw said there would be no lane closures during peak traffic periods.

When they’re completed, the I-66 E-ZPass Express Lanes will use the same kind of “dynamic pricing,” which changes depending on the volume of traffic, that’s currently used on the E-ZPass Express Lanes on I-495 and I-95. Roadway sensors monitor traffic volumes, and toll prices adjust to manage demand for the lanes and keep traffic flowing. When there’s more traffic, prices will be higher. When there’s less traffic, prices will be lower.

Drivers with three or more occupants would be considered high occupancy vehicles and could use the express lanes free anytime with an E-ZPass Flex.

On the stretch of the I-66 project Inside the Beltway, tolling will begin in December. All lanes of I-66, from I-495 to U.S. Route 29 in Rosslyn, will become express lanes with tolls on weekdays during expanded rush hours in the peak direction — from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. on eastbound lanes and from 3 to 7 p.m. on westbound lanes. Carpoolers with two or more passengers can travel toll-free with an E-ZPass Flex, although that requirement will change to three passengers when the express lanes open outside the Beltway. The lanes inside the Beltway will remain free with no toll or HOV requirements at all other times.

Copies of the proposed designs for the project outside the Beltway are available at Transform66.org. They also are available for viewing at various locations throughout the area, including Prince William County government offices and regional libraries.

VDOT will be accepting additional public comment about the plan through Nov. 29. Email comments to Transform66@VDOT.Virginia.gov and include “Transform 66 Outside the Beltway” in the subject line.

Comments also can be mailed to VDOT Northern Virginia District, Attention: Susan Shaw, P.E., Megaprojects Director, 4975 Alliance Dr., Fairfax, VA 22030.

“We want to continue the dialogue we’ve started with the community, both the traveling public and the neighboring communities,” Shaw said.

FreshySites designs, builds first e-commerce website for USA Volleyball

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

With that mission front and center, we recently harnessed our commitment and passion to partner with WorldWide Sport Supply and create a website for a globally recognized brand and organization – USA Volleyball.

FreshySites was approached to create an E-Commerce website platform that would provide a scaleable solution for order management and fulfillment for the United States Volleyball Team.

Creating an E-Commerce website platform that can handle the high demand and order influx for a national brand has many moving parts.

One of the biggest hurdles we had to overcome was that this was to be the first E-Commerce site for USA Volleyball – ever.

Our team spent hours carefully planning and collaborating – internally and with our client – on the USA Volleyball site, mapping out its many components to ensure flawless functionality and launch.

After months of hard work, we created the USA Volleyball Shop – a modern and fully responsive E-Commerce website, allowing members and fans alike to easily purchase USA Volleyball swag on a beautiful, simple user interface for both desktop and mobile devices.

Explore the site’s different features, like the swatch zoom, which allows users to easily check out various color options for different products, or the sort options, allowing users to shop based on a product’s popularity, price, and rating.

From T-shirts to jackets to hats, there are loads of quality apparel products featured for men, women, and children – all sponsored by Adidas.

With the start of the Winter 2018 Olympics right around the corner, now is the time to explore this brand new site for any USA Volleyball fans you may know!

FreshySites is a regionally-focused company with national reach and operations.

FreshySites is a fast-growing website design firm dedicated to creating beautiful websites, while consistently delivering best-in-industry customer service and support. Founded in 2011, FreshySites has quickly expanded into the largest in-house WordPress web design shop on the East Coast.

Our Washington D.C. office was founded in 2012 by Vincent Consumano. With additional offices, we have the team, resources and tools to serve our local – and national – clients through website mockups, creative briefs, revision rounds, and Search Engine Optimization audits. FreshySites is determined to take our regional clients’ online presence to the next level, ultimately helping them to grow and thrive. Explore our website to learn more about us, see our portfolio of work and become a part of our client family today!


Chronic compression of the spinal cord meant he couldn’t write a letter or open a bottle. Then Dr. Lotfi stepped in.

  • SNVMC
  • Address: 2300 Opitz Blvd, Woodbridge, VA 22191
  • Phone: 703-523-1000
  • Website: 703-523-1000

Lou Ferrao knew something was terribly wrong. He had suffered from neck pain before.

He even had surgery which gave him limited relief. But the neck pain he felt now was severe and accompanied by other, more ominous, symptoms. He had been experiencing spasms and weakness in his legs and now had begun experiencing the same symptoms in his arms.

Lou had always been an active man. He loved to scuba dive and was certified as a rescue diver; a designation only awarded after completing what some divers call the most challenging course they’ve ever taken. He loved to walk and hike.

Now he found his legs no longer responding to the directions that he was giving. It was devastating.

Determined to find the reason behind his troubling symptoms, Lou visited a neurologist who diagnosed him with severe nerve damage on his left side and moderate damage on the right. His neurologist then referred him to the Sentara Back & Neck Center and Dr. Paymaun Lotfi, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery, to determine the cause of the damage.

As Lou went through a series of tests prescribed by Dr. Lotfi, his condition continued to deteriorate. He was no longer able to open a bottle or write a letter, and when he moved from a room with carpet to one with wood floors, he would lose his balance and stumble.

After all the tests had been completed, Dr. Lotfi diagnosed Lou with cervical spinal stenosis.

Dr. Lotfi explains, “It’s a condition that causes narrowing of the cervical spinal canal and chronic compression of the spinal cord and nerves; this causes numbness and weakness in arms and legs as brain signals can’t reach extremities.”

Dr. Lotfi suggested a spinal laminectomy and fusion, which removes the back part of the vertebrae, decompressing the spinal cord. The spinal column is then stabilized by placing screws and rods in the spine. Since Lou’s condition had been longstanding, Dr. Lotfi explained that he might not regain all his lost strength and lost functions, but it was important to decompress his spine to prevent weakness, paralysis or something even worse.

Lou appreciated the time that Dr. Lotfi spent explaining his condition.

“When Dr. Lotfi sat down with us, his empathy really showed. He tried to put himself in my shoes. He showed us the MRI. You couldn’t see my spinal cord from C2-T2 because it was so compressed,” Lou said. “He gave me an in-depth explanation of what was going on. He was educating me at the same time as he was helping me.”

After listening to Dr. Lotfi, Lou realized that the surgery wasn’t about feeling better; it was about survival. With his wife’s agreement, Lou made the decision to have surgery at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

The day of the surgery, everything went well. Dr. Lotfi was with Lou when he woke up and actually removed his cervical collar at that time. Lou suffered very little pain from the procedure and within four days was up and at rehab several hours a day.

Life is better for Lou now. While damage to the spinal cord can sometimes take years to heal, Dr. Lotfi says, “He (Lou) had a rapid recovery, and almost immediately could tell the difference in improved strength in his arms and legs.”

Lou no longer has the severe neck pain that plagued him, and he has regained his sense of balance and is walking with a cane. He is slowly getting his endurance back. He describes his life before and after his surgery as “the difference between night and day.”

Lou can’t say enough about Dr. Lotfi and his experience, “He (Dr. Lotfi) lives up to the Hippocratic oath. He was my guardian angel. It (the surgery) was the best thing I ever did.”

Unfortunately, many individuals suffering from spinal pain don’t seek help. They endure the discomfort and inconvenience for years because of many different reasons.

Dr. Lotfi understands this but says, “(You) may understandably be guarded about surgical treatment of the spine. However, many conditions such as stenosis are very disabling, and a properly executed surgery can truly improve one’s quality of life and function.”

Lou agrees and adds, “People shouldn’t have to suffer because they don’t know a procedure can help them.”

News
Lidl is about to open its first store in Stafford County

STAFFORD — Lidl will open its second area store on November 30.

The discount grocer will open at 1175 Warrenton Road in Stafford County, next to a Walmart and a soon-to-open McDonalds. It will join another Lidl store that opened this summer outside Manassas, the first of multiple Lidl stores planned for the region.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 7:40 a.m.. on Thursday, November 30. The European grocery is expanding U.S. operations to compete with rival Aldi, which this year upgraded its stores to compete with Lidl.

“Since launching its first stores in Virginia on June 15th, Lidl has driven prices down in the neighborhoods in which it operates stores. In many markets, other retailers have reacted by slashing prices by as much as 30 percent in the immediate vicinity of Lidl stores in order to compete,” states a company press release.

Lidl plans to give away $100 gift cards, reusable shopping bags, and sample products during its grand opening celebration.

How the Sentara Diabetes Management Program helps patients understand and learn to live with their disease

November is American Diabetes Management month and with more than 30 million people living with diabetes in the U.S., it’s no wonder the American Diabetes Association estimates at least seven million of those people, don’t even realize they’re living the disease.

Health organizations and those working within the field say the disease has reached epidemic portions. It’s something the Sentara Diabetes Management Program team sees every day.

“The numbers are increasing, both type one and two are on the rise,” says Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator Robyn Johanson, “It is a chronic, lifelong illness that really requires the person to learn the skills to self-manage their diabetes. And with that, they need a lot of ongoing support and the necessary tools to do that successfully.”

Diabetes can be confusing

When you eat, your body turns food into sugars, or glucose. At that point, your pancreas is supposed to release insulin.  Insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells, to allow the glucose to enter — and allows you to use the glucose for energy. But with diabetes, this system does not work.

“Diabetes is a problem with your body using the sugar we need for energy, so someone with type one diabetes is unable to get that sugar out of their blood. People with type two, have a bit more difficulty doing so, because of a hormone called insulin. So type one needs to take insulin, because their body doesn’t make any. Whereas type two diabetes, they tend to have trouble using that insulin. So clinically, it’s a lifelong management of controlling medicine, physical activity, healthy eating and monitoring blood sugar, as well,” explains Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator Abbie Chesterson.

For more than 30 years, the team at the Sentara Diabetes Management Program has been helping patients understand and learn to live with their disease.

Our patients come to us through physician referrals. We are a group of nurses, dietitians and community health workers who follow a standard set of blood sugar targets for American Diabetes Educators,” explains Team Coordinator Genevieve Thompson.

Thompson, a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator, oversees the team made up of three full-time and three part-time employees. While the group gets referrals from area doctors, it’s up to the patients to show up and make the commitment to make some changes. But, admitting there’s a problem can be overwhelming for some just learning they have the disease.

People feel like they failed. Their pancreases failed, the person hasn’t failed,” says Johanson. “When you say that to somebody, they feel a lot better because they blame themselves.”

Within the Sentara Health System, Northern Virginia has the largest diabetes management program. Not only is this a densely populated region, it’s culturally diverse and those different cultures bring different diabetes management challenges. The team has gone out into the community and sees the type of food which is traditional for each culture.

“We individualize it. If someone comes in from a Middle Eastern country, we have a list of typical Middle Eastern foods that we can talk about, because maybe they’re not going to have hamburger buns and French fries. We try to make it as beneficial to the patient as can be,” explains Chesterson.

Some symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, excessive thirst, nerve sensation changes, blurry vision and slow healing. But, not everyone has those traditional warning signs, and that’s why community health members go out to the public.

The program, along with a grant from the Potomac Health Foundation has started doing pre-diabetes screenings over the last three years, more than a thousand people have been screened.

“Early care and detection is so important. The positive side, when you detect it early you can work at preventing the progression of type two diabetes,” explains Community Health Educator, Johanna Segovia, MPH.

Regardless of the type of diabetes, this group is committed to caring. The team wants to empower people so they can live their healthiest life while managing their disease.

“Patients shouldn’t be afraid to reach out and get help. If they’re struggling, we can get them back on track and offer support,” explains Thompson.

Adds Chesterson, “Education is really important if you don’t know what to do it’s going to be even harder, so learn what you can do. That’s why we’re here.”

“Having a chronic disease is very stressful and once you are you in control of it, a lot of that stress goes away because you’re managing it. It’s not managing you,” adds Johanson.

If you have any questions about managing your diabetes, finding a diabetes support group or learning more about the pre-diabetes program, call 703-523-0590 or email: SNVMCdiabetesed@sentara.com.


JES Foundation Repair honors veterans through U.S. Flag retirement efforts

Flag 17 Pshop wo VA
Stella, TJ flags

MANASSAS — In honor of Veterans Day, November 11, 2017, JES Foundation Repair delivered 45 worn and tattered U.S. Flags to Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) Post 392 for proper retirement.

JES accepts timeworn flags throughout the year and distributes them to Boy Scout troops and VFW posts that provide proper and respectful flag retirement programs.

“Many people have old American flags and aren’t sure what to do with them,” Stella Waltz, Vice President and co-founder of JES said. “The JES offices throughout Virginia serve as a resource where people can hand over or drop off their old flags. It is gratifying to see and hear expressions of relief from people who have long flown their flags with pride.”

VFW Post 392 Senior Vice Commander Teresa “TJ” DeChamplain was present to accept the flags. “We appreciate Stella and the JES team’s efforts,” TJ remarked. Retired from the United States Navy, she spent her career respecting the flag and honoring it in her work. “Many VFWs, Boy Scout troops and other organizations accept flags, so there are many places to retire Old Glory when it’s time,” she added.

Besides leading the flag retirement efforts at JES, Stella Waltz provides free, educational presentations on the history of and proper etiquette with the American flag. She has presented to schools, churches, civic organizations, corporations and retirement communities. For more information contact Eric Lackey at 877-537-9675.

About JES Foundation Repair

JES Foundation Repair specializes in residential foundation repair, crawl space encapsulation, basement waterproofing, and concrete leveling. The firm is part of JES Companies, which is comprised of JES Foundation Repair, JES Evergreen, Indiana Foundation Service, and Mount Valley Foundation Services. JES Companies operates out of five offices in Virginia including Manassas, Virginia Beach, Chester, Appomattox, and Salem as well as Whiteland, Indiana, and Columbia, South Carolina locations. JES has been named to the Fortune 5000 Fastest Growing Companies, Virginia Chamber of Commerce Fantastic 50, Inside Business Roaring Twenty and Best Places to Work. JES Companies serves Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Indiana, South Carolina, and Georgia. For more information about JES, please visit jeswork.com.