Roast marshmallows, play games, hayrides at Fall Family Fun Night at the Manassas Park Community Center

Fall Family Fun Night is Oct. 3

Are traditional family dinners indicative of a well-adjusted family?

Not necessarily according to a 2013 article from NPR. Journalist Alison Aubrey shares survey and research results from a variety of sources where participants agree that family meals are important but nearly half of the respondents don’t have regular family meals.

That finding is completely reasonable. With work schedules evolving from the usual nine to five, and children’s extracurricular activities becoming increasingly important, it’s hard to find even a moment when all the family members are in the house at the same time.

What exactly constitutes a family dinner? For some families, it appears that the traditional definition of everyone at the table every night having a family conversation may not be the only option.

Depending on schedules, some families may still have dinner together with the absence of a few members. Other families set aside a special weekend dinner once a week.

Flexibility also seems to be important as, according to the article, about 25% of the respondents have distractions during dinner time including TV or mobile devices.

Is the act of simply being together, eating together enough? Some families argue that it’s important time to catch up and relax together so no distractions are allowed.

Other families may feel that avoiding rushed dinners and awkward conversation are worth the occasional distractions and may even encourage dialogue.

The important point is that each family feels comfortable with tailoring their family dinner to their family’s needs and not hold themselves to an unattainable standard.

However, family dinner is not the only opportunity to strengthen bonds. Any special time spent together such as family vacations and attending events can be beneficial and possibly easier to coordinate.

One example would be the Fall Family Fun Night at the Manassas Park Community Center. Roasting marshmallows, playing games, and hopping on hayrides are all scheduled activities and all provide unique opportunities for reinforcing family relationships.

The event is only $10.00 per family and must register in advance. This can be done online or in person at the community center.

Attending special events also allows families in a community to connect together. Neighbors can share stories and exchange ideas on how they strengthen their family bonds. Plus having family friends can provide additional opportunities for family time. Play dates, game nights and planned outings with family friends can motivate family members to find time to participate.

With evidence showing that quality family time has a lasting beneficial effect on families such as emotional stability, there is a reason to make it a point to spend time together.

It can come in the form of a family dinner but it’s no longer the only option.

Choosing activities that are convenient for your family makes quality time achievable and, therefore, more likely to motivate family members to come together.

False: Most high-quality olive oil comes from Italy


Olive oil. We all have a bottle in our pantry. But can you cook with it?

Is first cold press the best olive oil you can get?

I’m Cameron, co-owner of Manassas Olive Oil Company, and I’m going to breakdown some common myths about this kitchen staple.

Myth 1: You can’t cook with olive oil

Status: False

This misconception stems from olive oil smoking or breaking down at low temperatures.
Olive oil only has a low smoke point if it has a high quantity of free fatty acids (FFAs). High levels of FFAs – which have been linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes – indicate poor quality or old olive oil.

All the olive oil we carry at Manassas Olive Oil Company has less than 0.2% free fatty acid content – meaning it won’t smoke until at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

As far as withstanding heat – all types of oil break down when heat is applied.

Inexpensive oils – such as canola oil – form toxic byproducts like aldehydes when heated. But when olive oil is heated, it’s some of the antioxidants will break down instead, ‘sacrificing’ themselves and prevent toxic chemicals from being produced by the oil. Look for a high polyphenol (antioxidant) content when purchasing olive oil for high temperature cooking.

Myth 2: First cold press is the best olive oil

Status: Partially True

First, cold pressing is a requirement to produce extra virgin olive oil, but it is somewhat of a misnomer. Cold pressing refers to any olive oil pressed below 80 degrees Fahrenheit and without the addition of chemicals.

As for second press – that has become a thing of the past. Historically, olives were quite literally pressed with huge stones, with the first press extracting the best oil, and subsequent presses extracting lower quality oil.

The olive press has been replaced by a malaxer (horizontal mixer) and centrifuge which pulverize olives, and extract almost all of the oil from them. This method is so efficient, only 5% of oil gets left behind on this ‘first press.”
This leftover oil is must be chemically extracted, and is referred to as “pomace oil.” Pomace oil cannot be sold or labeled as “olive oil’ – nor is it good to consume.

Generally speaking, all commercial olive oil will come from the first press. But be advised – even poor quality olive oil can come from the first cold press.

Myth 3: Most high-quality olive oil comes from Italy

Status: Mostly False

According to a study done by the International Olive Council, Spain produces 40% of the world’s olive oil – or about the same amount as Italy and Greece combined.

So where does the best oil come from? That’s a complicated equation.

Great olive oil is a lot like wine – it depends on the cultivar of olive you’re getting, what kind of conditions it grew in, and how the pressing was handled. Even oils from the same grove will vary year to year.

You should try different varieties of oil. Much like different wine grapes produce different wines, different types of olives will also produce different flavor profiles of oil.

Currently, six different types of extra virgin olive oil are available to taste at Manassas Olive Oil Company.

Have more questions about olive oil, or are interested in learning more? Visit our shop located in downtown Manassas, at 9406 Grant Avenue. We are more than happy to share our knowledge.

Public info session scheduled for I-95 Stafford Courthouse Road interchange


The public is invited to learn more about upcoming Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) road improvements in the Courthouse Road area of Stafford County on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

A design public hearing will be held on the proposed Interstate 95/Courthouse Road Interchange Relocation project. This project would reconstruct the existing interchange at Exit 140 as a diverging diamond interchange (DDI). The intersection of Courthouse Road and Route 1 would be moved south to align with Hospital Center Boulevard.

At the same time, VDOT will hold a citizen information meeting on the Courthouse Road widening project. Courthouse Road will be widened from two lanes to four lanes west of I-95, between Cedar Lane and Ramoth Church Road/Winding Creek Road. VDOT is holding an information meeting to update the public on its status.

The design public hearing and citizen information meeting will be held together:

Tuesday, Sept. 29
5-8 p.m.
Colonial Forge High School
550 Courthouse Road
Stafford, VA 22554
A brief presentation will be delivered at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
The meeting will be an open house format. Stop by anytime between 5-8 p.m. to review project maps and ask questions. Staff will be available to answer questions and address concerns.

Public comment

Written or oral comments may be submitted at the design public hearing on the proposed I-95/Courthouse Road Interchange Relocation project.

After the hearing, comments will be accepted through close of business on Oct. 15, 2015. Comments can be emailed to VDOT at fredericksburginfo@VDOT.Virginia.Gov with “I95/Route 630 Interchange Project” in the subject line.

Comments may be mailed to:

Ms. Michelle Shropshire
Project Manager
Virginia Department of Transportation
87 Deacon Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22405

Mailed comments must be postmarked no later than Oct. 15, 2015.

Occoquan District Boy Scouts Need Your Help

occoquan boy scouts

Have you ever wanted to get more involved in the community, but we unsure how?

The Occoquan District Boy Scouts – with scouts from Woodbridge, Lake Ridge, Dumfries and Montclair – need individuals to serve on committees for the group’s board.

This is a great chance to serve your community, and help out a worthy non-profit organization that mentors our youth.

There are currently vacancies for:

District Vice Chair

Membership Committee – New Unit Coordinator

Finance Committee – Vice-Chair Finance, FOS-Community Coordinator, Popcorn Kernel

Programs – Vice-Chair Programs, Cub Scout Advancement, Boy Scout Advancement, Recognition Dinner Coordinator Co-Chair, Activities Chair, Pinewood Derby Coordinator, Cub Scout Training Chair, Volunteer Coordinator

Marketing CommitteeVice Chair Marketing, District Newsletter Coordinator, Public Relations Coordinator 

If you are interested in working with the Boy Scouts, and would like to take on one of these important positions, please contact Ben Hazekamp at 608-751-9840.

This post is sponsored by Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire.

I-95 EZ-Pass reversible lanes changes for Pope visit


Pope Francis’ arrival in Washington this week will prompt changes to the Interstate 95 EZ-Pass Express Lanes. 

Here’s what they told us: 

Pope Francis will be arriving in Washington, D.C. tomorrow, Tuesday, September 22, with a parade taking place on Wednesday, September 23.  Heavy travel is to be expected in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., especially in the I-95 corridor. 

As such, we are adjusting the 95 Express Lanes lane reversal schedule on Wednesday, September 23 and Thursday, September 24, to make it easier for drivers to travel to and from the District.  Please find the updated reversal schedule below:

  • Tuesday, September 22:  No changes to reversal time.  The reversal from northbound (NB) to southbound (SB) will begin around 11 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 1 p.m.  

  • Wednesday, September 23: The reversal from NB to SB will begin around 10 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 12 p.m.

  • Thursday, September 24: The reversal from NB to SB will begin around 10 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 12 p.m.

  • Friday, September 25:  No changes to reversal time.  The reversal from northbound (NB) to southbound (SB) will begin around 11 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 1 p.m.  

During the work week, the reversal from northbound to southbound usually begins around 11 a.m. with the southbound lanes open around 1 p.m.

Virginia Railway Express running regular service during Pope visit

121212 VRE

When Pope Francis visits Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, you won’t be able to get there by OmniRide bus.

You can ride Virginia Railway Express, however. Virginia’s only commuter rail service will provide service Wednesday, Sept. 23 and 24, 2015, just as it would any other weekday. VRE will adjust its morning and afternoon trains to accommodate early demand.

Here’s more in a press release:

VRE is coordinating with local officials and law enforcement as there are several events scheduled that will likely result in extreme congestion directly affecting roads and public transportation. Due to anticipated congestion at the stations and heightened security, VRE trains could experience delays, especially closer to the downtown DC area.

With the expected increase in ridership during Pope Francis’s visit, VRE encourages riders to arrive at stations early and utilize the VRE Mobile app to purchase and validate tickets, as there could be long lines at ticket vending machines. To learn about purchasing tickets on your smartphone, please go to

VRE will have staff on-hand at key stations to assist riders.

Riders can visit or call (703) 684-1001 to obtain schedule, service, fare and station information.

OmniRide buses from Prince William County will not take riders to portions of Northern Virginia or into Washington on Wednesday, September 24. Instead, OmniRide riders from eastern Prince William County will be dropped at the Franconia-Springfield Metro station on the Blue line, and riders from western Prince William will be dropped at the Tysons Corner Metro station on the Silver line.

Delicious Downtown: Manassas Restaurant Week returns

raw bar, Manassas, virginia

Foodies have a great reason to get excited about fall!

September marks the return of Historic Manassas Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week is a tourism and marketing promotion celebrated throughout the U.S. to help bring in new customers and grow local businesses. Local restaurants feature their cuisine and offer a multi-course tasting experience for a special price.

Historic Manassas Inc. produces this event to showcase the City’s exciting culinary scene and encourage people to visit downtown businesses. Diners can try out places where they haven’t yet dined and regulars can score a great deal at their local favorites. Most Restaurant Week promotions are two courses for $25 or three courses for $35 and the specials run September 20 – 26.

Philly Tavern
The Bone
CJ Finz

Insider’s Scoop on Restaurant Week Specials

Carmello’s (9108 Center Street) brings seasonal fine dining and an award-winning wine list to Historic Manassas. Their Restaurant Week dinner for $35 will offer a choice of a chopped house or caesar salad to start; a choice of gnocchi con carne, veal Napolitano, or marinated pork chops for an entrée; and either crème brule or chocolate hazelnut cake for dessert.

C.J. Finz Raw Bar & Grille (9413 West Street) is the City’s surf and turf destination. They have a fantastic deal that starts with your choice of a pint of beer or wine and is followed by a half-dozen shucked oysters or a half-pound of spiced shrimp. Your meal continues with your choice of several sandwiches, including a lobster roll, fried oyster po’boy, tuna tacos, salmon BLT, as well as non-fishy options like rib-eye steak, grilled chicken, or a burger on pretzel roll.

City Square Café (9428 Battle Street), where many enjoy artisan charcuterie and cheese boards, will entice diners with a choice of appetizer, entrée, and dessert for $35 during dinner. For $48, you can indulge on a wine pairing with your meal.

El Cactus (9406 Battle Street) offers fresh Tex-Mex favorites. During Restaurant Week, two can dine for $36. Pick one of five different appetizers to share, including the Manassas Soup Bowl-winning chicken tortilla soup. Entrees on special include carne asada, smoking fajitas, mole salmon, shrimp-topped tilapia, honey roasted cilantro chicken, and sweet honey salmon salad. Dessert features churros or the Taste of Manassas-winning tres leches.  

Mackey’s (9412 Main Street), an American pub, is home to bourbon-glazed, “drunken” meats from the grill as well as plenty of “pub grub” favorites. They are offering an appetizer and entrée combo for $25.

Monza (9405 Battle Street) is where you can enjoy live music on the weekends and your favorite team on the big screens. They will be offering a choice of bruschetta, mozzarella sticks, arancini, or fried calamari for an appetizer and a choice of chicken picatta or pan-seared Atlantic salmon for an entrée for $25.

Okra’s (9110 Center Street) brings a taste of New Orleans to Manassas. This Cajun Creole favorite will feature a different dinner special each day of Restaurant Week. Swing by to see what the day’s special entrée will be and enjoy it with the choice of an appetizer and dessert for $35 during dinner. 

Philadelphia Tavern (9413 Main Street) offers authentic Philly fare and boasts hoagie rolls that come straight from Amoroso Bakery. Grab a pal and enjoy two of their famous cheese steaks and two draught beers for $25 during both lunch and dinner.

The Bone (9420 Battle Street) is downtown’s home for smoky barbecue and hand-picked craft beers. Come by for a two-meat combo platter with Banana Puddin’ Pie for dessert and a local craft beer for $25. Choose from pork, brisket, turkey, chicken, or ribs and pair it with two sides and bread.

Note: The full menus at every restaurant will still be available in addition to the Restaurant Week special menu items, deals, and pricing.

Reduce, reuse, repair: How yard sales can make our community a greener place

Manassas Park community center yard sale 1

When it comes to exploring options to improve our personal impact on the environment the old adage, “Reduce, reuse, recycle” rings as true as when it was first heard in kindergarten.

Looking from the outside, one might not make the connection on how the three R’s apply to yard sales. The R’s are indeed there having an impact even if it is simple or subtle.

The greatest impact one can have when going green is to reduce.  Typically this means that one should avoid purchasing new items or reduce consuming resources like water or electricity.

Another perspective is to reduce clutter within the home. Clearing out unused appliances, for example, means fewer items plugged into power strips slowly using energy.

Even turned off appliances can still be using energy to run background tasks or maintain WiFi connectivity. A half-empty chest freezer, a TV that is never used or a treadmill bought with the best of intentions can all be slowly consuming energy without providing any real benefit.

Reduce their impact by clearing them out!

Manassas Park Community Center: Yard sales great for community!
Manassas Park Community Center: Yard sales great for community!
Manassas Park Community Center: Yard sales great for community!
Manassas Park Community Center: Yard sales great for community!

Clearing out is just the first step. Now the question becomes what to do with it. Properly disposing of the item is an option.

For example, there are facilities and services that take electronics like computers to break down for their components. Another option is to reuse it! The more items kept out of landfills; the healthier our environment becomes.

Reusing also reduces the pressure to gather new materials and harvest new resources. A great place to see reusing in action is at a yard sale. If somebody is looking for a chest freezer to store their bulk purchased frozen foods then a yard sale vendor selling their underutilized chest freezer is a perfect match!

The vendor makes a little money, the purchaser gets an item they were seeking for a discount and less pressure is applied to the environment.
That’s a win all the way around.

Sometimes an item is in disrepair or functions poorly. The piece overall is still in good shape, but perhaps there’s a tear in the fabric of a chair.

The handier people in our community can reach out and enact the third R – recycle. Suggesting somebody reupholstering a chair is the same as recycling may be a bit of a stretch but all one has to do is look at the myriad of Pinterest projects to see how well reusing and recycling go hand in hand.

Maybe for the purposes of this article the third R should be repair. The underlying fact still remains true: The less pressure that is put on the environment to supply brand new items the greener it will be for future generations.

Come see how you can apply the three R’s at the upcoming yard sale at the Manassas Park Community Center on September 19th from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Will you be a vendor reducing the clutter in your home?

Perhaps you’ll be a shopper looking to reuse, recycle and repair? Whichever role you assume, hopefully from now on you’ll look at yard sales with green tinted lenses.

This promoted post is written by Jason Shriner, at the Manassas Park Community Center.

Stafford family robbed at gunpoint outside home


A family was robbed at gunpoint on Saturday, Sept. 5.

The victims — a mother, father, and three children — had just returned from dinner to their home on Bertram Boulevard in the Vista Woods section of Stafford County. It was dark outside, and the father was trying to fit his key into a front door when a man appeared and put a rifle in the face of the two adults, said Stafford sheriff’s office spokesman Bill Kennedy.

The male victim told the man to leave, and he did but not before making off with the woman’s purse valued at $230. The robber fled the scene and was spotted getting into a foreign-made vehicle at the intersection of Bertram Boulevard and Buck Road.

The robber is said to be black, wearing a white tank top, blue jean shorts, and a bandanna over his face, said Kennedy.

A look at the new Stafford High School


Stafford High School
Stafford High School
Stafford High School
Stafford High School
Stafford High School
Stafford High School
Stafford High School
Stafford High School
Stafford High School
Stafford High School
Stafford High School
Stafford High School

School is starting for students at the new Stafford High School on Monday.

Potomac Local got a tour of the new facility from Felix Addo, a school administrator, and Valerie Cottongim, a spokeswoman for Stafford County Public Schools.

The high school was originally slated to open on September 8, with all other Stafford public schools, but due to construction delays, the school’s opening date was moved to September 14.

Many areas in the school were completed and given temporary occupancy, but when Potomac Local toured the school, areas including the cafeteria were not yet completed.

The three-level building is colored coded with the school’s colors – blue, yellow and white – as a way to help students quickly recognize what area of the school they’re in, according to Cottongim.

Small alcoves are located on each floor for teachers to use for recreation and group work. And there are several career and technical related facilities on-site, including a culinary area, a photography dark room, a newsroom, an emergency services room and an automotive shop.

One big difference between the old and new facility is the usage of classroom space, according to Cottongim.

“One of the ways to make better use of the classrooms and ensure that classrooms are being used every block or every period, is that every teacher will have a space in a teacher planning area. So for the periods that they don’t have a class to teach, they can come in and work on planning, meet with their students, meet with their peers,” Cottongim said.

Potomac Local spoke with several teachers at Stafford High School that were preparing their classrooms, including James Andrews – an English teacher starting his 50th year at the school – and Judy Rossi, a chemistry teacher and science department chair.

Rossi stated that there were several upgrades in her science classrooms at the new high school.

“It’s really nice to have the added safety feature with the hood, where I can work on the backside and the kids can still view it on the front side,” said Rossi.

One concern that some students and parents had, was what would be done about the week delay for the Stafford High School students.

“We won’t tack on the extra week at the end. What we will do is see if we have any options for making up the time – whether it’s a waiver from the state. It might involve, if we have to make up the time, adding time at the beginning of the day in the first semester…if we have a nice, mild winter we already have built in time we can use for that,” said Cottongim.

And more features could be added to the site in the future, including an outdoor rooftop science lab, according to Cottongim.

Come to Williams Ordinary in Dumfries September 12 & 13 for history, artillery demonstations, food, and beer

williams ordinary

How many times have hopped off Interstate 95 south and taken Route 1 through Dumfries? 

Have you ever noticed that just after the median splits in two, a large brick building rises on your right – so close to the road it looks like it’s going to jump in front of you? 

That’s the headquarters for Prince William County’s Historic Preservation Division – and if you’ve ever wanted to learn more or take a peek inside, stop by on September 12 and 13.

For those two days the Williams Ordinary will reemerge as a busting stop it was in the 18th century. The building has seen a lot of change – built by John Glassford and Company in the mid 1760’s the structure was a popular store through the Revolutionary War.  

George Washington stopped at “the storehouse” in Dumfries to resupply on his way to victory at Yorktown at the end of the war. Just a few years after the war the building would become a Ordinary, or tavern, providing food, drink, and a place to lodge for people passing through area.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on September 12 and 13 you’ll find William’s Ordinary and the nearby Weems-Botts House a bustle of people that would have passed through here during its early history. 

Infantry, artillery, medical and cooking demonstrations will be on the two sites. At the Ordinary you can stop inside the recreated tavern room and meet George Washington, our Tavern keeper Alexander Henderson, or any number of other characters from our past.  

On Saturday at 1 p.m., Author John R. Mass will be discussing his latest book “The Road to Yorktown.”

Don’t miss the one of a kind event after the sun goes down on September 12; join us at the Ordinary for historic beer, appetizers, and live music for a chance to get a taste of the 18th century. 

Call 703-792-4754 to make your reservations – just $35 per person.

Parking is available at Dumfries Elementary School for both the day and evening events, with shuttle service to Williams Ordinary, located at 17674 Main Street, Dumfries, VA 22026

Olsen: ‘Will not seek the death penalty’ in FBI employee murder case


The Stafford County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Eric Olsen, has decided not to seek the death penalty in the case against Antoine Johnson.

Antoine Johnson – a 26-year old Maryland man – was originally charged with first degree murder of 29-year old Stafford resident and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) police officer Jeremy Brown.

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office stated that the fatal shooting took place on the morning of April 27 at a home on Clint Lane.

More on the incident from a Stafford sheriff’s release, dating back to April 2015:

Officer Brown, a police officer with the FBI Police, was leaving his residence at 5:01 this morning, in uniform, when he was confronted by Antoine Johnson. Officer Brown and Antoine Johnson knew each other. Gun shots were exchanged during the confrontation and Officer Brown was killed. Stafford deputies responded immediately and were able to get a description of Johnson as well as the vehicle he was driving from witnesses in the neighborhood. The reason for the confrontation is part of the ongoing investigation.

According to a release from the Stafford County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Johnson’s charge has been upgraded to ‘Capital Murder’ stating that allegedly the murder was committed during an attempted robbery.

Olsen stated in a release that he has decided to not seek the death penalty in this case after considering all of the factors, and speaking with Brown’s family. According to Olsen, if Johnson is convicted, he will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.

McAuliffe talks education, jobs with Stafford parents, administrators


Governor Terry McAuliffe met with parents, teachers and administrators at an ‘education roundtable’ at Brooke Point High School in Stafford last week.

Meeting in the newly completed library facility at the high school, the roundtable, which was run by Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton, gave time for parents to speak to McAuliffe about education.

A lot of the usual topics were discussed – reducing class size, investing more money into education, supporting teachers and adding programs.

“We have to reduce class sizes, and we have to provide our teachers with support – whether it be professional development, administrators that are there to observe and to mentor…in my own elementary school, they wouldn’t be able to make color copies without being scrutinized,” said one parent.

“When teacher’s come into a school, there’s not funding for [teacher development] and that goes into everything…if you can keep your teachers engaged, and excited, and give them time to understand the teaching method, how to more effectively manage their classroom time,” said another parent.

During the roundtable, McAuliffe spoke about the success of the free and reduced breakfast and lunch program in Virginia.

“I want to thank my wife – our ‘First Lady’ – who’s whole effort has been to make sure that every child that goes to school has access to a breakfast and lunch, because we have so many children in the Commonwealth – about 300,000 when I became governor…you can’t learn if you’re hungry,” said McAuliffe.

A final point McAuliffe made during the gathering was that there were jobs available in Virginia, but not enough skilled workers to take them.

According to McAuliffe, he regularly meets with CEOs of large companies, who tell him that there aren’t enough workers with the right skill set to take available jobs at their companies.

McAuliffe stated that students need to be educated and get the skills they need, in order to keep major companies in the Commonwealth.

Overnight paving may causes delays in Stafford, starting Sept. 8


As construction at the intersection of Route 1, Route 17 Business and Route 218 in Falmouth draws to a close, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will begin overnight paving work.

According to VDOT, milling paving and line stripping work will begin tomorrow night, and run through September 30.

Traffic will still be able to move through the intersection, but there may be some delays, stated VDOT.

More from a VDOT release:

“We appreciate the community’s patience with us over the past 18 months during numerous lane closures and traffic shifts at the intersection,” said Michael Coffey, P.E., Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Assistant District Administrator for Construction, Fredericksburg District. “We look forward to removing cones and barrels at the end of the month, and delivering a better travel experience for drivers, pedestrians, and emergency responders.”

What Motorists Can Expect

Virginia State Police will direct traffic at the intersection every night from Sept. 8-30. Hours will vary depending on the day of the week. Mobile single lane closures will be in place.

Traffic will be under law enforcement control on the following schedule:

  • Sunday: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Monday-Thursday: 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Friday-Saturday: 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Traffic will be permitted to pass through the intersection while overnight work is underway.  Motorists are advised to allow extra travel time and to expect brief delays.

An intermediate and final layer of asphalt will be applied across the entire intersection and each approach on Route 1, Route 17 Business, and Butler Road.

Up to 12 inches of new asphalt will be applied in some locations. New pavement markings will be painted after paving to define the boundaries of the new traffic pattern.

Fall for Manassas! So many great events happening this season

Manassas Fall Jubilee
Manassas Fall Jubilee
Manassas Dog-a-pool-ooza

Children are already back in school and now the sun sets earlier and earlier. Why does summer always go by so quickly?

Don’t lament digging out your coats and putting away your flip flops. With autumn comes plenty of festivals and events to get you in the mood for fall.

First Friday

To kick off September, there is a First Friday on Sept. 4. Enjoy the last of the warm weather by strolling the streets of downtown where you can enjoy live music, shopping, and dining from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Downtown.

Bridal Showcase

Here’s a gift to all the brides-to-be is a one-stop shop for bridal research. Discover what Manassas businesses offer that will make the wedding of your dreams at the Historic Downtown Manassas Bridal Showcase on Sept. 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Harris Pavilion. Buy tickets.

Bands, Brews & Barbecue

How does a roasted porter with a vanilla finish or a seasonal ale with layers like a pumpkin pie sound? Sample the best beer that the region has to offer at Bands, Brews & Barbecue on Sept. 12 from noon until 6 p.m. Hourly BBQ pairings are featured in the VIP tent. Manassas Museum Lawn. Buy tickets.


Cool off the dogs of summer at the Dog-a-pool-ooza at Stonewall Pool. The afternoon of Sept. 13 is the only day pups are allowed in the pool before it closes ($5/dog). Stonewall Park.

Greek Festival 

Interested in a Big, Fat, Greek Weekend? Visit the Annual Greek Festival on Sept. 18 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the Taste of Greece and East the following day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Opa! Harris Pavilion. Free.

Antique car meet

What’s more American than an apple pie? An antique car show! Come check out 150 four-wheeled beauties at the Annual Edgar Rohr Memorial Antique Car Meet on Sept. 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This year’s feature car is a 1941 convertible Buick Phaeton and you can watch a team assemble a Model T Ford. There is still time to register to show your car for a small fee. Manassas Museum Lawn. Free.

Rev it up

Enjoy more classic cars as well as food trucks, cold beer, and live classic rock music at Bull Run Rotary’s Rev It Up for Rotary charity event benefitting CASA, Habitat for Humanity, and BARN from 5 to 9 p.m. Harris Pavilion. Free.

Chili cookoff 

Nothing says “fall” more than chili! Don’t miss the annual Chili Cookoff on Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Think you have the best batch? It isn’t too late to join. Enter as a professional cook, amateur cook, or nonprofit organization. Sampling starts after 1 p.m. Harris Pavilion. Free.

Latino festival 

Salsa your way to the Annual Latino Festival on Sept. 27 from noon to 5:30 p.m. You will find tons of games for children, tasty foods, piñatas, and live music and dancing all day! Harris Pavilion. Free.

Fall Jubilee 

Pick a perfect pumpkin at the Annual Fall Jubilee. Enjoy the crisp air as you browse cool crafts, play games, and enjoy live music on Oct. 3 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Downtown. Free.

Open house 

On Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., swing by the City of Manassas Utilities Open House at 8500 Public Works Drive to enjoy free food, a huge pumpkin patch where you can pick out a free pumpkin, children’s activities, and a chance to check out the cool utility trucks. Free.

Farmers market 

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

Digital solutions company JTC expands to Fredericksburg, Richmond

  • JTC, Inc.
  • Address: 9720 Capital Ct. #305, Manassas, Va.
  • Phone: (703) 794-1225
  • Website:
John Jewell is the president of JTC, Inc.

Jewell Technical Consulting will expand its market territory to include Fredericksburg and Richmond.

A Manassas, Virginia-based company, JTC, is the official IT provider of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, and has long concentrated on the Northern Virginia market. The expansion marks the first time JTC has expanded into a new regional market.



Charles Sowers will lead the expansion and concentrate on growing the business in the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Stafford areas in Central Virginia. Sowers will manage technical sales for JTC in these markets.

“I met Charles in 1995 when we were working on a project for Capital One Bank,” said JTC, Inc. President John Jewell. “We moved the bank from a Macintosh network and put it on a Windows network.”

JTC will market solutions to new customers in the medical and legal fields. The company will offer a wide range of solutions to include managed services of electronic medical records systems, disaster recovery, private cloud services, and IP telephone services.

“JTC Cloud is a private server. Unlike being on a Google, Amazon, or Rackspace server, we own the equipment, and our customers data is stored in a data center right here in Manassas,” said Jewell.

A large number of hospitals along the Interstate 95 corridor, and ancillary medical facilities that surround them made the area attractive to JTC. The expansion has been in the works for about a year, added Jewell.

JTC is a Microsoft Certified Partner and a Dell Certified Partner.

Stafford could bury power lines along Route 1 at Courthouse


Stafford County will consider burying power lines as part of its Route 1 improvement project.

The $11.2 million project will widen, and add turn lanes to Route 1 between Courthouse and Bells Hill roads in Stafford. Work on the project would begin in 2018 and be finished a year later.

It would cost an additional $2 million to bury the power lines along the half-mile stretch of road.

“Right now we have estimated the cost to relocate the overhead utilities at $2.5 million. It would cost an additional $2 million to place the utilities underground,” stated Alex Owsiak, Stafford County transportation project manager in an email. “That additional $2 million cost was not included in the project cost estimate as Stafford County would be solely responsible for paying the additional cost to underground the utilities.”

Neighboring Prince William County approved $11 million of its budget to be used for burying power lines along a mile-and-half stretch of Route 1 in Woodbridge.

Stafford fire crews called to home on Ficklen Road

Ficklen Rd

A fire broke out at a home in the 900 block of Ficklen Road this morning,

Stafford County fire and rescue crews were called to the scene at 5:28 a.m. and found a single-family home with fire on the first floor. Fire crews went to work and doused the blaze in about 20 minutes.

A search of the house by fire crews revealed no one was home at the time of the fire, stated Stafford County Fire and Rescue Assitant Chief Mark Doyle in a press release. No one was injured.

Fire crews were initially called to nearby Harrell Road for what callers said was a fire. Crews later found the blaze on Ficken Road.

Fire crews from Falmouth, Stafford, Berea, Brooke, Mountain View, Rockhill, Hartwood, and two medic units all assisted in the fire operation.

The Stafford County Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the incident. Officials did not name the cause of the fire.

Express Lane changes ahead for Labor Day weekend


Look out for some changes to the 95 Express Lanes for Labor Day weekend.

The lane reversal schedule for the weekend is available online.

More from a Transurban release:

On Monday, September 7 – Labor Day – there will be no reversal, which means that traffic will remain northbound all day on the 95 Express Lanes. For the full lane reversal schedule for Labor Day weekend, please visit:

To prepare for additional traffic volumes during the Labor Day weekend on I-95, here’s what drivers can expect when traveling southbound through Prince William and Stafford County during peak travel times:

Express Lanes travelers will see an advisory sign in advance of the Quantico/Joplin Road exit, which alerts drivers if congestion is present ahead on the Lanes. The sign will indicate approximately how far ahead the delays begin, for example “CONGESTION 3 MILES AHEAD”
Drivers can use the information on the sign to decide whether to exit the Lanes at the Joplin Road exit or continue to Garrisonville Road where the 95 Express Lanes end
If delays increase, signage before the Joplin Road exit will advise travelers to exit to the regular lanes using the message “EXIT NOW TO AVOID DELAYS”

Lane closures planned tonight for I-95 South


vdotlogo600pixelsExpect some traffic tonight on Interstate 95 southbound lanes near Fredericksburg.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) traffic will be stopped overnight during certain times.

VDOT is currently working on a new overpass for Fall Hill Avenue, so traffic will be stopped so that concrete beams can be lifted over travel lanes.

More from a VDOT release:

Southbound I-95 travelers are advised to use Route 1 to avoid delays. Message boards on I-95 will provide advance notice of lane closures and detour routes.

The Fall Hill Avenue overpass is located at mile marker 131, between I-95 exit 130/Route 3 and exit 133/Route 17.

Tonight, a single lane of I-95 southbound will close at the overpass at 9:30 p.m. Two southbound lanes will close at 10 p.m.

Between midnight and 3 a.m. all traffic will be stopped four times so workers can lift beams over the travel lanes. Each traffic stop will last approximately 15 minutes. After each closure, the waiting queue of vehicles will be cleared from the scene.

All southbound lanes will re-open to traffic by 5 a.m. Wednesday.  

Virginia State Police are assisting with traffic control in the work zone.

I-95 Paving

Additionally, lane closures for interstate paving will be underway on I-95 northbound and southbound tonight in the Fredericksburg area.

Paving is scheduled between exit 136/Centreport Parkway and exit 140/Courthouse Road in Stafford County.

A single lane of I-95 northbound will close at 9 p.m. Two northbound lanes will close from 10 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.

On I-95 southbound, paving will be underway between exit 126/Spotsylvania and exit 118/Thornburg. A single lane of I-95 southbound will close at 9 p.m. Two southbound lanes will close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Sheetz expanding in Bristow, Manassas, Stafford

sheetz ashton avenue

The popular gas station and convenience store Sheetz is expanding in the region.

A new store at the corner Sudley Manor Drive and Ashton Avenue outside Manassas is nearly two weeks on September 18. Company spokesman Allen Stevens said the new store will have:

— Expanded inside and outside seating
— A larger selection of freshly brewed coffee and iced tea
— Ice cream
— An aisle of beverage options including many frozen beverages
— A drive through window

The Pennsylvania-based company will also begin construction on a new store at the intersection of Balls Ford and Wellington roads in Bristow. Construction will begin this month, and the store should open in March.

A Sheetz at 8504 Centreville Road in Manassas Park will also get a makeover in the coming months. Prince William County officials are reviewing plans for a new Sheetz at the intersection of Route 28 and Bristow Road, added Allen.
A new Sheetz is under construction at the intersection of Garrisonville and Furnace roads in North Stafford.

Sheetz was founded in the 1950s, and today offers low-priced gasoline and cigarettes to its customers. The chain is also known for its made-to-order food that includes submarine sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, pizza, wraps, and chicken wings.

Other Sheetz locations in the region include Dale City on Prince William Parkway and Hillendale Drive, and on Route 15 and Washington Street near I-66 in Haymarket. There are also two Sheetz locations in Fredericksburg and one in the Ferry Farm section of Stafford County.

Page 3 of 9812345...102030...Last »