The Prince William Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for their 2017 Business Awards from November 16-December 21, 2016. Each year the Chamber’s Business Awards are held to honor “business excellence” among the members of the Chamber, representing Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. Industry-specific categories like the Tech Company of the Yearand the Government Contractor of the Year rotate to allow the Chamber to shine the spotlight on varying industry segments within the community.
“Our members do outstanding work, day in and day out; contributing so much to this community that often goes unnoticed. Our Business Awards allow us to give them the kudos they deserve,” says Chamber Director of Marketing & Communications Andrea Whaley. “Businesses can self-nominate or individuals may choose to nominate someone with whom they do business. I cannot think of a single professional who does not take pride in being recommended to others based on the quality of their services. I encourage everyone to think hard about a local business that has wow-ed you in the last year. A nomination for a Chamber award is a great way to say ‘thank you.’”
Nomination forms are available online at pwchamber.org/events/business-awards/. Business people and Prince William County/Manassas area residents are encouraged to nominate their favorite local businesses. Winners will be chosen by the Business Award Selection Committee, comprised of members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Nominations containing testimonials or stories are typically well-received.
- Excellence in Small Business Award (1-10 Employees)
- Business Excellence Award (11 + Employees)
- Emerging Business of the Year
- Innovative Practice/Partnership of the Year
- Community Outreach Award
- Government Contractor of the Year
- Outstanding Professional Service Award
- Tech Company of the Year
- Agnes L. Colgan Community Service Awards: Awarded to 2 not-for-profit organizations making a demonstrable contribution to the quality of life in the Greater Prince William region. Each award is accompanied by a check for $1,000 to continue the winner’s work. Awards are given in 2 sub-categories: Arts & Education or Health & Human Services. (Please note: In 2017 the Agnes Colgan Community Service Awards will be given out at a separate event highlighting the outstanding contributions of local not-for-profit organizations on April 4, 2017)
Business Award winners will be announced during the Prince William Chamber of Commerce Business Awards dinner on February 28, 2017, 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. For more information or to purchase tickets to the awards dinner, call the Chamber at 703-368-6600.
Sponsored Post How a Manassas Christmas Parade comes together
What goes into making a great parade? The City of Manassas knows, and so do the Christmas Parade committee members who experience firsthand the love and devotion it takes to put on this popular event now in its 71st year.
This year’s 71st Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade is the culmination of months of preparation, years of history and teamwork, and a volunteer force that’s committed to retaining the tradition in the city.
The parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m., and this year’s theme is “Believe.”
Sponsoring this year are Stanley Martin, Miller Toyota, the City of Manassas, Mix 107.3 and Volunteer Prince William. Countless volunteers have been working behind the scenes since last year to create the magic this parade brings to the city.
“It’s a great committee. Most of the people on our committee have been involved for a long time,” said committee chair Mark Olson.
Olson has worked on the parade for 20 years and shared a great deal of history about the event. “It’s featured TV and movie stars over the years. They had people from the TV series Emergency. Ed Asner was there last year,” he said.
The parade also has a long-standing history of prominent, annual Grand Marshals. This year’s Grand Marshal is Manassas’ own John O. Gregory. Gregory is a WWII veteran who served in both the Navy and the Coast Guard and is a lifelong resident of Manassas. He is the founder of Gregory Construction Company, a founder of Prince William Hospital, a co-founder of Security Bank (now part of BB&T) and a leader in Lions Club International, as well as local and state-level Republican committees.
Olson shared that the parade hasn’t changed much over the years. It remains the largest parade in Northern Virginia and continues to feature civic organizations, churches, schools, marching bands, animal groups and more as it has since the beginning.
“I really think its strong point is consistency,” said Olson. “It has a real hometown feel to usher in the holiday season.”
John Martin served as the parade committee chair for 15 years and has been involved with the parade for more than 20 years. When asked about the biggest difference for him between then and now he laughed and said, “knowing what I was doing.”
“We try to keep the participants to 100 units, but weather can play a factor too,” said Martin. “The first year I participated there must have been 50,000 people there.” But he noted the weather has always played a major role in the number of attendees, as well.
Over the years, they’ve kept many of the same participants and units, but he recalled many changes in communications. The event has become more and more dependent upon electronics, he said. He also recounted the units involved over the years and noted that Bull Run Kiwanis and the Manassas Rotary Club have supported the parade throughout his involvement and well before.
“The Center for the Arts puts a wonderful float in every year,” he said.
Over the last year, art has truly blossomed in historic downtown Manassas. Sculptures, painted benches, artful fire hydrants, bricks and more have added color to the downtown district. One of the largest art projects is back for a third year – the banner art contest.
With the 2016 banners coming down for the holidays, the 2017 application has been released by Historic Manassas, Inc. Artists are encouraged to submit up to three pieces of original artwork to be juried for a space on one of 60+ banners. Last year, the selection committee had to jury over 130 original pieces, each one unique.
“Each year we get more and more entries and it’s becoming difficult to only select 60. We hope to expand our footprint for the 2017 season to extend down Center Street towards the Sports Pub,” said HMI Executive Director, Debbie Haight.
The banners have brought a large art interest to downtown Manassas. For the 2016 contest, banners were extended to cross over Grant Avenue on Center Street as well as along the underpass on Grant Avenue. This past year was also a first year for sculptures in the City. Teaming up with Northern Virginia Community College at Woodbridge, a sculpture class designed 10 original pieces to be placed on display downtown. In 2017, a new class of students will replace the current sculptures with new sculptures.
Each year the Banner Art Contest awards the number one winning banner a cash prize of $1,000. This year, that winner was Jill Brabant for her piece Town Hall Impression which hung on the corner of West and Center Street. A People’s Choice winner is also selected each year in November at the Fall Gallery Walk with a cash prize of $500. Last week, Janet M. Hansen Martinet received the People’s Choice for her piece Dogwood Spirit Mist which was displayed on Center Street.
Applications and additional information for the 2017 Banner Art Contest can be found on HMI’s website at . Applications and artwork are due no later than January 20, 2017. The 2017 banners will go up in early April leading up to the City of Manassas’ first three-day art show in May.
Sponsored Post How Habitat for Humanity will help a local Navy Veteran
Navy Veteran Thomas Mersich served from 1951 – 1955 as an Aviation Ordnance man. Later, he lived in New Jersey where he built airplane cockpits and flight simulators. Thomas’ varied career included a stint as a machinist and toolmaker, grounds keeping for a wealthy gentleman, and testing milk on a dairy farm. At one point he owned his own dairy farm.
Thomas moved to Virginia in 1972. He rented a room in Chantilly for $12 a week before purchasing his home in Manassas that he continues to live in today. His final career was with the U.S. Postal Service. An amateur painter, Thomas painted a mural inside the Sudley Road post office location in Manassas.
How Habitat for Humanity will help a local Navy Veteran
Now in his eighties, Thomas is no longer physically able to accomplish all the maintenance tasks needed at his home. And, with limited retirement income, he welcomes a hand up from Habitat for Humanity Prince William County. Habitat is replacing two flat roofs and will paint the exterior of the home. Next, interior ceilings in two rooms need to be repaired because they’ve been compromised by water leaks. Lastly, all of the kitchen cabinets will be replaced.
Habitat for Humanity volunteers started construction at the project on November 3 and will continue their work Thursday through Saturday of each week through the middle of December.
How you can help a local Navy Veteran
Habitat’s Home Repair programs, including its Critical Home Repairs for Veterans program, rely on the support of your donations and volunteer time. Your generous donations make it possible for us to purchase the needed materials and tools for repairs. Your volunteer hours help us save money on labor. Please partner with us on this Navy Veteran’s project in Manassas! To give and to volunteer, click the links below.
Sponsored Post Manassas in-home care firm awarded Franchisee of the Year
- Home Instead Senior Care
- Address: 9817 Godwin Dr Suite 202 Manassas VA 20110
- Phone: (703) 596-1217
- Website: www.homeinstead.com/manassas-va
Jack and Jacqueline St. Clair have much to celebrate this year. On October 27, the St. Clairs celebrated owning Home Instead Senior Care for a decade. They also celebrated winning Homecare Franchisee of the Year by the International Franchise Association.
The St. Clairs began their franchise when Jacqueline’s grandmother needed care.
“We know what it’s like to need good care and what a difference it makes to the client and family. Service, quality of care, education of caregivers and quality control all are really important to us.”
In the past 10 years, the St. Clairs franchise of Home Instead Senior Care and their 200 caregivers have provided Prince William and Fauquier counties over 1 million hours of quality care to over 5,000 seniors, the disabled and Veterans in their homes, close to friends and family. With purchasing a Home Instead Senior Care office in Herndon in April of 2014, they are looking forward to serving even more.
The services Home Instead Senior Care offers can include companionship, meal preparation, respite for family caregivers and Alzheimer’s care. Jaqueline noted how essential memory care is and how important it is for those memory care clients that want to stay in their own home.
“We’ve always been ambassadors for the Alzheimer’s Association. So many of our clients have Alzheimer’s.”
The St. Clairs are proud of the accomplishments their franchise has achieved. Looked to as one of the top in revenue, Jack is most proud of their franchise also being looked to as an information resource for caregivers.
“We take great pride that we’re a company that cares for the clients we serve and the people who are the caregivers.”
Honorees of the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) Awards are chosen from among franchisees who have demonstrated excellence within the franchising community. In the St. Claire’s case, the corporate management of Home Instead Senior Care recognized the dedication they show for both their franchises of Home Instead, as well as their community. They were nominated over 700 other Home Instead Senior Care offices.
Home Instead, Inc. was founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska. They provide in-home caregiving and support to help seniors “age in place.”
The International Franchise Association is the oldest organization and represents franchising worldwide. IFA membership includes franchise companies from over 300 different business categories. IFA announced they would be presenting Jack and Jacqueline St. Clair with their award at the Franchise Action Network Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. This meeting brings together franchise business leaders, policy makers, and other D.C. dignitaries to discuss the economic and community contributions of the franchise sector.
With this award and the quality care they bring to their clients, the St. Clairs do have a lot to celebrate. But Jaqueline said they are celebrating the future as well: “We want to continue,” she said. “We’re looking forward to celebrating 20 years.”
For more information on Home Instead Senior Care in Manassas, visit www.homeinstead.com/manassas-va.
- One Degree Capital
- Address: 204 Commerce St 2nd Flr Occoquan, Virginia
- Phone: (703) 579-6868
- Website: https://www.onedegreecapital.com/
OCCOQUAN, Va. — The John Mathis Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, named after the father of One Degree Capital co-founder Jenn Mathis, is now accepting applications for its inaugural 2016-17 academic year scholarship award.
“Daddy continues to be an enormous inspiration to my growth as a business owner,” explains Jenn. “He constantly inspires, encourages and mentors me on business ownership and leadership. I would not be where I am today without him.”
Jenn and her business partner, Rod Loges, routinely seek ways to give back to the communities in which their business serves, including donating goods, services and time as well as mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages.
“When Rod and I discussed starting a scholarship,” Jenn continues, “we knew we wanted to create something that encouraged today’s entrepreneurial youth. Small business owners employ over half the nation’s workforce. Here at One Degree Capital we do everything we can to encourage growth in this critical segment of our society.”
The application process opens on November 1 – John Mathis’ birthday – and continues through the end of the year. Semi-finalists are notified in February with final selection made on March 13 (the anniversary date of One Degree Capital’s founding). The scholarship award is open to high school seniors who either work for a small business owner or who currently own their own small business. For more details, visit www.onedegreecapital.com/scholarship.
About The John Mathis Entrepreneurial Spirit Award
High school seniors who are either employed by a small business or who own their own small business are eligible to apply. The non-renewable $2,000 scholarship award can be applied toward tuition and fees of a postsecondary school. For full details and to apply for the scholarship award, visit www.onedegreecapital.com/scholarship.
About One Degree Capital
One Degree Capital is a privately funded direct lender to small business owners nationwide. Established in 2010, One Degree Capital has helped thousands of business owners start, sustain and grow their businesses by helping them find the right type of business loan for their unique needs. One Degree Capital offers a full suite of small business financing including business loans, working capital, equipment financing, SBA-backed loans, factoring and more. For more information, contact Jenn Mathis at 1.703-579-6868.
- Cyber Defense Solutions
- Address: 18729 Fuller Heights Rd, STE 100 Triangle, Va. 22172
- Phone: 855-CYBER10
- Website: http://www.cyberds.com/
Sometimes, what victory demands is a little bit of coffee, a bunch of hard work and years of experience. Pour all that into the right environment, and you’ve got a success story. Triangle-based Cyber Defense Solutions, LLC is one of those stories.
In 2008, Rodney DeCarteret and Marc Saldana, CEO, launched their startup with one paid employee, a regular table at Panera Bread and bringing in what Saldana calls “minimal revenue.” But both knew they had the basis for a strong business: an innate understanding of cyber defense, totaling 40 years of combined experience in the security and analytics fields.
A history of growth
Who would have known that eight years after its inception, Cyber Defense Solutions (CDS) would have grown into an award-winning firm? With a rank of 1,391 of all businesses in the U.S. and 24th for security businesses, CDS was highlighted in the August 2016 edition of the Inc. 5000. The Inc. 5000 recognizes the nation’s fastest growing companies based on revenue growth.
For CDS, revenue grew in tandem with the need for adequate workspace. CDS had their first small office in Fairfax, but when they outgrew that space, they moved to Prince William County. The company tripled in size to a 1,150 square foot facility in Triangle. It was a smart move for many reasons, the first being that the award meant, among other things, needing to hire additional skilled professionals.
Now with about 50 employees and looking to break $6 million in revenue, Saldana said he hopes to grow even larger in Prince William County by working with the Prince William County Department of Economic Development, the County’s Chamber of Commerce and other local businesses.
A history of appreciation
“We are always pressing for the next higher mark, but most important of all is to be able to sustain it, before aiming for the next higher mark,” said Saldana. “We accomplish this with a high quality of work/life balance for employees. We get this, right here in Prince William County!”
Describing Prince William County as “very business friendly,” Saldana said being able to provide a great working and meeting environment is one of the reasons CDS has chosen to stay in Prince William County.
Saldana and Marketing and IT Manager, Danielle Cyr appreciate not just the reverse commute and easier traffic flow, but other amenities such as the proximity to the Beltway and an excellent hospitality industry, which make for pleasant sessions with clients and employees.
A location Saldana is pleased with, Prince William County “offers a good business climate and better quality life.” He said, “There is access to inexpensive business locations. And we’re outside Beltway traffic for the most part.”
A history of innovative solutions
Following their 2008 launch, in 2009 CDS developed the Cyber Training Institute (CTI), combining the classroom with online training. This was on-demand training offered at a superior price, only possible as a result of their commitment and low overhead.
By 2016, CDS had trained hundreds of professionals for career advancement in cyber security, offering a myriad of the most popular technical courses in IT, Network Security and Engineering, as well as consulting on malware reverse engineering, digital forensics and other niche services.
CDS considers itself a full-service IT consulting company, providing innovative security services to support departments with ISO 9000- and ISO 20000-certified quality services to clients such as Northrop Grumman and Analytical Services.
“Our niche is cyber security, but we are able to fill positions in any branch of IT. We’ve expanded and have the reputation of being able to fill any positions and needs,” said Cyr.
Saldana said CDS hires “can do, make it happen” people and sees every one of their corporate staff and on-site personnel as essential. “We strive for excellence for every person. And we are always seeking new talent, from the new personnel to advanced experts.”
As for customer service, Saldana said, “We try to make everything responsive to the customer. We ask them what they need and give them what they need.
“We have very little red tape. We carefully consider, weigh options and move forward.”
For more information on CDS, visit cyberds.com.
Sponsored Post Find fitness demos and fun at Competitive Edge Harvestfest
Competitive Edge Athletic Performace Center will hold the Edge Harvestfest.
The event will take place Friday, October 28, 2016, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Competitive Edge Athletic Performance Center, located at 14849 Persistence Drive in Woodbridge.
The fair will feature fitness demonstrations, fall treats, a DJ, local talent, vendors, and a food truck.
The fitness demos include baseball demonstrations, speed circuits, weight training, cardio kick butt, savage hill training, and Zubma.
A $5 entry fee will be charged for participants. Attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to a local food pantry.
Sponsored Post Theresa Coates Ellis: Education and community are key
- Theresa Coates Ellis for Manassas City Council
- Phone: 571-247-6729
- Website: www.TheresaCoatesEllis.com
As a candidate for City Council, Theresa Coates Ellis is all about bringing a new perspective to Manassas by looking at what she calls “the bigger picture.” For Ellis, this bigger picture includes her passions: education and community involvement.
Investing in local youth
For more than 25 years, Ellis has worked with children of all ages. A single mother, then a remarried mom raising a blended family of seven children, Ellis earned her college degree attending George Mason University (GMU) full time while building her business. Later, with her youngest off to college, she became interested in working with kids in an educational setting again. Touring the school her children attended, she realized there was a perception that did not match the positive interactions she was having there. Concerned the “good word” was not getting out, she came up with a plan.
Ellis worked to get the children networking. Calling them ambassadors for the community, Ellis founded sponsored the Community Connection Network, CCN Manassas, the Manassas City Public School (MCPS) High School Media Team in May 2015. What started as a diverse group of four students serving as a public relations team for the school soon branched out to 16 students covering community events.
The team began capturing the spirit of the community through video, photos, and stories, representing Osbourn High School, service organizations, historical sites, or events happening in Manassas.
At one point, Ellis hired the club’s original president part-time to write blogs and record videos. When he had to interview at George Mason University (GMU) for a scholarship, Ellis advised him, explaining what to wear and what to do, as well as what body language to demonstrate. After the interview, he told her it went well. GMU liked the fact that he had helped start a club, that he had created something for the school and community. That student ended up getting a full, four-year scholarship.
“I’m really proud of him,” Ellis said. “All the kids who graduated did really well.”
But, Ellis, who also serves on the advisory committee for the Manassas school system’s Career and Technical Education program, said, “Some kids come out of high school and will be going into technology and vocational careers, not necessarily college. They may have the opportunity to own a business. It’s important to teach vocational skills like these, too, as well as entrepreneurial skills. To do this, the community needs to be involved. You have to have businesses and community leaders reaching out to students.”
Perception is reality
Ellis can see the potential of a community-driven public image campaign for the City of Manassas. If elected, she would like to introduce a Public Image Committee that would not just be “PR” for Manassas – it would educate those beyond Manassas about the community. While Ellis is proud of the city’s historic roots, she feels the city needs coverage beyond that aspect. Ellis says that attracting new businesses and more community investment can come from covering the city’s modern strengths as well.
Ellis said she has the plan and the experience to take on the task of promoting a positive image for Manassas. As founder and owner of Tackle Management Corp., a company providing management and public relations services to businesses and organizations in Manassas, she has earned the reputation of being experienced and solution-oriented. “When you’re in business, you have to be a problem solver,” she said.
What’s more, Ellis said she knows the business aspect of running successful organizations. Working in leadership capacities with Manassas Regional Airport Commission, as President of the Bull Run Rotary Club, the Inter-Service Club Council of Greater Manassas, the MCPS Education Foundation Marketing Committee, and Cobblestone Business Center gives her insight into the local economy, which is the backbone of the community.
Not a politician
Ellis planned her candidacy for years before throwing her hat in the ring. “I’m not a politician,” she noted, but she had “serious concerns” and thought about how to fill the need. Ellis has found she really enjoys talking with the community. “I love it. I love getting out and talking to people and hearing all the issues.”
She says the community is receiving her well on the campaign trail. Residents remark consistently about her door-to-door campaign style, adding that she is the first candidate that has come to their door. Ellis sees this as encouraging and hopes it also encourages more community involvement. “I believe the more people you have invested in the community, it’s only going to get better. People have a pride and ownership in their community.”
Ellis understands being invested in her community and believes this will make her an excellent city councilperson. “When you’re really involved in the community, you see things differently. I’m open minded. And I think that makes a difference.”
For more information on Theresa Coates Ellis, visit her website, TheresaCoatesEllis.com.
- Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center
- Address: 2300 Opitz Blvd, Woodbridge, Va. 22191
- Website: https://www.sentara.com/woodbridge-virginia/hospitalslocations/locations/sentara-northern-virginia-medical-center.aspx
But when Karen Cribb, the Patient Advocate at Sentara Medical Center, became Dr. Hampton’s patient, he told her that eventually, she would need to have knee replacement surgery. After weighing the benefits and risks of surgery, they decided to try alternative therapies such as anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, and injections first to see if they could manage her osteoarthritis, pain, and limited mobility issues without surgery.
Injections of corticosteroids provided temporary relief for Karen. However, when the medication wore off, the pain grew unbearable. They then tried a series of four shots designed to build cushioning around the knee, but that did not prove effective for her either.
“Those treatments work for different people to varying degrees,” said Dr. Hampton. “When it’s time for surgery, your body will tell you.”
Limitations as the Deciding Factor for Knee Surgery
Karen grew up playing sports like basketball and softball during a time when there were no professional coaches ensuring the safety of younger athletes. As she got older, her knees began to bother her.
“I truly didn’t pay attention to the pain until I couldn’t participate in family activities the way I used to,” said Karen.
She finally realized her mobility restrictions as she listened to her husband and daughters plan a big family vacation to New England for her upcoming birthday. Well-intentioned, her husband and daughters repeatedly said, “Mom can’t do that so we won’t do it.”
Karen acknowledged that they were restructuring the fun activities around her pain. During her vacation, she was disappointed when she could not get to the top of a lighthouse in Maine or climb the steps at Bunker Hill in Boston. Karen wanted to be active and pain-free so she could enjoy time with her family, and she resolved to do something about it.
Karen knew the time had come for surgery when she began to fall and make trips to the emergency room that caused her to miss family activities. The rest of Karen’s body was now compensating for her injured knee, and she eventually threw out her back. Her daughter was getting married soon, and she did not want her knee problems to interfere with the wedding. It was time to consider knee replacement surgery.
“Throwing out my back because of my knee pain was an eye opener,” Karen said. “That was the decision–making moment for me.”
Karen and Dr. Hampton set her surgery date for April 4, 2016.
Knee Replacement Success
“There is a very high success rate with knee replacement surgery,” Dr. Hampton said. “About 95 percent of patients do well with replacements.”
Patients who opt for knee replacement have an intense recovery period with several months of extensive physical therapy. “Additionally,” Dr. Hampton said, “there is a six-month check-up and another follow-up appointment at one year with periodic x-rays. Patients are then typically seen annually.”
Surgery requires a close partnership between the patient, surgeon, and rehabilitation therapists. The patient must be motivated to adhere to the therapy regimen and stay active, even when there are some stiffness and pain. Walking, hiking, swimming, and other low impact exercises are excellent ways to stay active for those recovering from knee replacement surgery, and they carry the added benefit of potential weight loss, which further reduces pressure and strain on the knee.
Recovery After Knee Replacement Surgery
The surgery itself was not painful for Karen. Her family was incredibly supportive, encouraging her to stay active, helping her recuperate, and driving her to her medical appointments during her recovery. When Karen returned to work, the staff at Sentara was also very supportive.
“This is what we do, for our patients and each other,” said Karen.
She and her coworkers even shared a good laugh about her bedazzled cane that she used during her recovery. “Go gaudy or go home,” Karen joked.
Karen completed her physical therapy in August 2016, four months after her surgery. Overall, she describes the surgical experience as positive. Karen is grateful for her improved quality of life.
“I really appreciate Dr. Hampton and the therapists saying that I can’t hurt the knee, but I will hurt myself if I don’t stay active,” Karen said. “It feels great to feel good.”
Here are photos of Team Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas that participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Manassas.
The walk was held on Saturday, October 15. It was a chance for Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s research.
Sponsored Post Explore these ghostly haunts of Prince William County
Prince William County is home to many amazing historical sites, each with their own unique stories. Some of these stories include a ghostly nature, perfect for the Halloween season.
Here are several spooky stories from our sites along with upcoming programs for you to possibly have your own paranormal experience.
Ben Lomond Historic Site ghostly encounters
With a chilling history as a Confederate hospital in the aftermath of the Battle of First Manassas, Ben Lomond Historic Site has a long history of ghostly encounters from unexplainable sounds to unexplained shivers.
But a Halloween experience told by one Prince William County employee is by far the most chilling to have occurred at the site. During a weekend of Halloween programs at the house, the employee stayed overnight sleeping on a cot in one of the rooms upstairs.
A sudden sensation of being dragged by the leg jolted him from his sleep, and when he opened his eyes, he found he was on the floor on the far end of the bed. One might guess that an enterprising spirit mistook the slumbering employee for yet another deceased body from the battle and attempted to pull him to an awaiting grave outside.
Rippon Lodge ”is so sinisterly haunted that no one will occupy it”
At Rippon Lodge Historic Site the beautiful scenic views overlooking the Potomac River belie the creepy past that has followed the site. A 1930’s paper supposedly once reported that the house ”is so sinisterly haunted that no one will occupy it,” and a long-standing rumor has it that Route 1 was altered to avoid passing too close to the house.
In the 1700’s, Mrs. Blackburn angrily struck an unfortunate slave child who then fell against the stone fireplace and died. An inquiry found weeks later proclaimed it an “accident” and many people are convinced they can see a bloody spot where the child’s head struck the stone. Others swear they have seen a little girl running towards the woods where it is supposed she’s buried.
Shot dead at Brentsville Jail
Injustice and tragedy are sown within the fabric of many histories and historic places throughout the county, but nowhere can it be found more evident than at the sight of the Brentsville Jail at Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre. It is widely considered to be one of the creepiest and most haunted locations in the county.
In 1872, a sensational trial swept Virginia in which James Clark was arrested for allegedly abducting Fannie Fawell, bringing her to Washington on promises of marriage and then leaving her. Before Clark ever received his chance to defend himself in court, Rhoda Fawell, brother of Fannie, shot him dead in his cell.
What started as an abduction trial suddenly became a murder trial in which a jury declared Fawell not guilty to thunderous applause from spectators sitting in the courthouse. If indeed it is the shadow of James Clark that haunts the jail where he was killed, few spirits have been more justified in the aftermath of such unbelievable injustice.
Prince William County Historic Preservation is offering a variety of Halloween programs where you can learn about the incredible, spooky and tragic stories at all of our sites. Check out our upcoming Halloween Programs below or call 703-792-4754 for general questions.
Spirits of Rippon Lodge: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., $10 per person, (not appropriate for young children)
On Friday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 22, come and experience a uniquely haunted tour of the historic house and grounds by candlelight, perhaps encounter the departed spirits of notable residents and neighbors and hear their tales of sadness and triumph.
Reservations required; tours on the half hour (7, 7:30, 8, and 8:30) Call 703-499-9812 for reservations
Overnight Stay in Brentsville Jail: 8 p.m. – 8 p.m.; $125 per person, reservations are required
On the night of Friday, October 28, spend the night in the nearly 200-year-old building and learn the stories of the people who were imprisoned there, including James Clark. And keep your eyes open, you never know what you might see in the dark of the jail.
Call 703-365-7895 for reservations.
Hospital Horrors by Night: 7 – 9 p.m.; $10 per person, children under 6 free.
On Saturday, Oct. 29, come experience a unique opportunity to tour the house and grounds in the dark and hear the stories of soldiers, doctors and loved ones who were forever changed during the Civil War. Bring a flashlight.
You never know what spirits you’ll run into. Guided tours every half hour. Not recommended for children under 12. Reservations strongly recommended. Call 703-367-7872 for reservations.
Sponsored content by Prince William County Historic Preservation Division.
Sponsored Post Prince William County Police Digital Forensics team puts heart, soul, and mind into solving cases
This is the third of six stories in our series that will examine the unique assignments within the Prince William County Police Department.
We see it in the movies and on television all the time, and most of us would be curious to experience what it’s like to work in digital forensics. After all, forensics is a captivating division of police work. Something that looks completely innocent to the untrained eye could be the evidence that convicts a dangerous felon.
In the 21st century, evidence usually includes elements of the digital world we live in. It seems everyone has some kind of technology – witnesses, victims, and perpetrators. That is where the Prince William County Digital Forensics team steps in. Meet three detectives who take on hundreds of cases per year, deciphering evidence in several devices per case.
Detective Jon Kennedy
Detective Kennedy has been with the department for 16 years and says he likes keeping up with the numerous changes that come with an evolving field. When Kennedy (started with the Department), police vehicles didn’t carry computers. Kennedy began doing computer forensics with the Department before the Digital Forensics Unit was created. Now, he finds himself working in all aspects of digital forensics.
“It’s challenging. We go to training as much as the budget will allow,” he said, “because technology is changing all the time.”
Kennedy likes the problem-solving aspect of resolving each crime. The caseloads are large. Requests for examinations of multiple devices per case are typical.
Each device must be put through a methodical and systematic exam.
“We do have to testify to what we do,” Kennedy explained, which is why everything must be carefully examined and documented. Certified as an expert witness, Kennedy said the examiners “try to present evidence in a way anyone would understand.”
“I enjoy the Job,” said Kennedy, who went into police work because he wanted to help people. “That’s pretty generic,” he said, “but that’s the truth.”
What is the most satisfying aspect of the work? “It brings closure for the victim or family of the victim, or all those involved in the investigation.”
Detective Katherine Zaimis
Detective Zaimis is the newest examiner in the department, transferring to Digital Forensics in October of 2015. She majored in criminal justice in college, likes computers and is very hands on.
Like everyone else in the force, Zaimis worked as a patrol officer with Prince William County first. Six years later, she moved to the Digital Forensics Unit.
“I saw an opening in Digital Forensics, and I thought that would be a good fit for me,” she said.
Like Kennedy, Zaimis works with multiple devices, including computers, cell phones, department electronics, and obtaining footage from surveillance systems. When examining the device and its hard drive, Zaimis makes a virtual copy of the data to study so that the actual equipment can be preserved.
The team finds every day to be different, Zaimis noted. The team is careful with any equipment, as digital evidence requires special handling to avoid damage. Some of this special handling may need to be done on site because potential evidence may be lost if the device is shut down or moved.
Zaimis had some advice about advancement in the department as well.
“You really need to love police work in order to join,” said Zaimis.
She advised new recruits that there are many interesting careers in police work, and being a good patrol officer is where you must start. “It’s important to want to do the first job.” Then, when it comes to forensics, “It’s about having an aptitude and interest.”
Detective Josh Peters
A lifelong resident of Prince William County, Detective Josh Peters became a police officer twelve years ago. “I feel I should give back to the community that has given me so much,” he said.
After eight years of patrol and three years working with children as a school resource officer, Peters interned for a summer in forensics and never left.
“Our office is unique,” Peters said – unique and popular since most other police departments must send out their evidence to be examined.
Peters’ day depends on what the department needs. Peters used cell phone recovery as an example. Damage to the hardware may include a bullet hole or a soaking in water. Peters works to recover information off the memory chips left in cells, as well as other electronic equipment.
“If you used one of those devices, we’re going to find the information on there,” he said, noting that the team is working on almost every case seen in the media. In some way, some sort of electronics is involved.
Peters also discussed ongoing educational challenges.
“We’re constantly training. We have to try to stay one step above.” Peters said federal training in forensics with the FBI and Secret Service is a must. This is specialized training that cannot be offered through traditional college courses.
As the caseload grows, so does the unit. Peters estimates 20 applications coming from the unit, which is currently hiring. “This is a position that’s going to set you up for life. You don’t necessarily have to have a degree.”
“For me, this is the best fit,” Peters said about the unit and his co-workers. “The police department has always taken care of me. There’s a sense of family.”
For more information on a career in law enforcement with Prince William County, visit their career page.
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Sponsored Post Junction B&B in Manassas is expanding
After seven years in business, and having to turn away hundreds of tourists due to space limitations, the Manassas Junction B&B is expanding.
Owners Mark and Ann Hempen plan to rehabilitate an existing outbuilding on the property into a 450-square-foot cottage suite for the Bed and Breakfast. The addition will provide a third “room” for guests; currently, two rooms are available for rent in the 2,700 square foot main house. As a long time residents of the City, the Hempen’s hope the addition will encourage additional tourists “to enjoy and be enriched by the history, culture, and friendliness of Manassas.”
Located in Historic Downtown Manassas, the Queen Anne, Eastlake style Victorian home was originally built in 1902. Completely restored, and furnished with period antiques, this cozy bed and breakfast is the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxing get-a-way weekend or to accommodate out of town guests.
The owners were able to take advantage of the City’s Arts and Tourism incentive program to help offset the costs of the expansion.
For additional information on the Arts and Tourism incentive program, visit:
For additional information on Manassas Junction B&B, visit:
This promoted post is written and paid for by the City of Manassas Department of Economic Development.
Sponsored Post Manassas makes getting a food truck permit easier
Diners in search of fast, novel, and delicious meals may soon have more choices as new rules enable food trucks to open for business in the City of Manassas.
Although food trucks have always been a fixture at Manassas events like the Fall Jubilee, and have always been permitted at private events, recent changes to the zoning ordinance make it possible for food trucks to open on a regular basis. The zoning change responded to a growing nationwide and local demand among consumers for food truck fare and a growing number of local vendors ready to open for business.
Restaurateurs interested in parking their food trucks in Manassas will find a streamlined process for permitting. Food trucks are permitted to open if a property owner with at least one acre of land grants permission, and the truck owner obtains an annual $50 zoning permit, a business license, and all appropriate licenses and inspections from the Virginia Department of Health.
Up to three food trucks can stay open at an approved location for four hours between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., and all trucks must be removed from the property at the end of the day.
Please visit www.manassascity.org/zoningpermits or call 703-257-8232 for more information.
This promoted post is written and paid for by the City of Manassas Department of Economic Development.
Sponsored Post Prince William Chamber of Commerce MARKETPLACE: The Local Experience is Thursday, Oct. 27
- Prince William Chamber of Commerce
- Address: 9720 Capital Court, Suite 203
- Phone: 703-368-6600
- Website: http://pwchamber.org/
The Prince William Chamber of Commerce invites all residents of Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park to attend MARKETPLACE: The Local Experience on Thursday, October 27 from 4 -7 p.m. at the Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center in Manassas.
Formerly called “Connections,” MARKETPLACE focuses on bringing businesses and the community together for a uniquely “local” experience.
Says the Chamber’s Director of Marketing and Communications Andrea Whaley,
“With MARKETPLACE, the goal is to show Prince William and Manassas residents all of the incredible LOCAL places where they could be dining, shopping, playing and staying; as well as the local businesses will hope they will support. I invite the readers of PotomacLocal.com to join us on October 27th. The Chamber would love the opportunity to show you that you don’t need to go to surrounding counties to find cool things to experience. We have it all right here.
Picture this: You enter a room filled with everything that makes our community a great place to live and play. To your left is an artisanal jewelry maker, samples from locally-owned restaurants and a booth featuring photos and information on family-friendly festivals right here in your hometown. To your right you find stores and wellness services from Occoquan to Haymarket–are selling their wares and offering demonstrations. At the booth on the corner you deposit your entry for the $500 cash prize.”
With FREE admission, FREE parking, FREE food and close to 100 exhibitors, MARKETPLACE offers a fun way to learn more about the best our community has to offer! How many times have you gone to neighboring counties on the weekends to shop or explore? You might just be missing out on similar experiences right here in your backyard!
Why should you attend MARKETPLACE?
1. To support the “Buy Local” movement and help funnel essential revenue back into the local economy;
2. To discover exceptional products/services from providers you can trust, located from Bull Run Mountain to the Potomac River and in between (Come prepared to buy directly from our vendors!);
3. To enjoy FREE samples from local restaurants and caterers;
4. For the chance to win door prizes ranging from cash to gift baskets, electronics and more;
5. To find the experiences that interest you—available nearby! There is something for everyone! Check out the list of exhibitors to date. More added daily!
Learn more at PWchamber.org/marketplace or call 703-368-6600.
This promoted post is paid for by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.
- IMSolutions, LLC
- Phone: (703) 221-2685
- Website: http://www.imsolutionsllc.com
In electronics, a ‘true differentiator’ cannot be easily physically quantified, because it allows for infinite gain at an infinite frequency. However, many businesses in Greater Washington are making that physical realization in Prince William County, by finding a ‘true differentiator’ in the unique advantages it offers.
IMSolutions is one such company, which found Prince William County to be the ideal location to create a unique people-centric business in management consulting. Today, Prince William County has helped IMSolutions truly flourish, growing from under $500,000 in revenue the first few years to around $14 million.
IMSolutions describes themselves as a management consulting firm, providing innovative and cost-competitive business and program management solutions to clients across the public sector.
“Primarily,” said Sean Wells, Senior Executive Vice President , IMSolutions, “we assist clients in acquiring mission critical capabilities, to include developing holistic program strategies for successfully implementing technologies to increase efficiency.” The company offers strategic planning and communications, quantitative analysis, knowledge management, integrative logistics support, acquisition support, survey support and more.
Wells said, “This [Prince William County] is home for us.” His father, Cornell Wells Sr., once worked at the Pentagon, and the family moved to Montclair, Virginia when Sean was born. Their business was also born in the area and nearby Marine Corps Base Quantico, was their first customer.
IMSolutions has made its home in several different locations throughout Prince William County since the company’s inception. The government contractor started in a small office on Main Street in Dumfries and has moved several times, all within the county, as their business experienced growth spurts.
Wells recalled that when his father first started the business, they had only three employees. They now have some 85 employees, which is why they have moved several times throughout Woodbridge and Dumfries. “We outgrew every building that we were in,” said Wells.
About half the customers IMSolutions serves are local. Of those customers, about 25 percent are located in Northern Virginia and Prince William County and the rest are dispersed across the country.
“Doing business in Prince William County is ideal for IMSolutions,” Wells said, “because it provides the best of both worlds — we still garner business from Washington, DC but are far enough away not to be caught in the “contractor beltway” where 32+ top contracting companies do business.” Wells added, “Our location allows us to differentiate ourselves from the competition.”
In 2011, the Wells family and the business suffered the great loss their founder and father. “It was so devastating to the business…he was a visionary. Fortunately my mother came behind him. She too is a visionary and leader,” Wells said. Belva Wells wanted to make sure she saw her husband’s vision to fruition and continued to support their local business community and customers.
Wells’ favorite aspect of their business is the people side. They wanted to create a unique people-centric business model, unlike what you generally find in corporate America. “It’s important for people to feel that the company values them. When we make decisions, we make them based on our workforce, not just our revenue,” Wells said.
IMSolutions’ main provision to the government is services — they are not product- or tool-based. Wells’ personal favorite service is strategic planning and executive coaching. “I love the human aspect of things,” said Wells, who has a background in social work and business. He enjoys figuring out why a business does what it does and where it’s going.
Wells said “Prince William County has charm, is business-friendly and is growing.” In regard to its approach to development, he said, “The County is decidedly progressive and approaches growth wisely through healthy dialogue and active community engagement, unlike many other communities.”
“With a highly-skilled workforce, top-rated schools, plenty of outstanding recreational amenities and great area hospitals,” he said, “there are just a lot of unique advantages to locating in Prince William County. I wouldn’t think of being anywhere else!”
- Home Instead
- Address: 9817 Godwin Dr #202, Manassas, VA 20110
- Phone: (703) 530-1360
- Website: https://www.homeinstead.com/655
Families can spend tens of thousands of dollars in providing in-home care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.
The disease is the most common type of dementia and those afflicted with it can experience complete memory loss in its advanced stage. It is estimated that over 5 million people in the United States have the disease and that number is expected to triple over the next 30 years. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the country according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Manassas aims to provide hope and help to those suffering from the disease by raising money that goes to research in finding a cure. Home Instead, an in-home care senior care provider in Manassas, is making an impact not only by providing in-home care to those affected by Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, but by also by recruiting CAREGivers, staff, clients and their families to Walk.
“Home Instead is on the cutting edge of training and care for these clients – we train our CAREGivers on how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s, said Colin Searcy, spokesman for Home Instead Senior Care, and provide continuing education classes to ensure our clients are receiving the best possible care. We hope to have at least 75 people from our office for the Walk on October 15th.”
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s began at a national level, comprised of national and corporate teams. Home Instead Senior Care got behind the Alzheimer’s Association in their work at a national level by promoting the work of the Alzheimer’s Association through sponsorship and fundraising by franchises across the country. Franchises form teams that fundraise and encourage people to come out and support the cause through various events.
According to Searcy, Home Instead has several individuals in the office who go out and distribute fliers to area businesses to create awareness about the Walks. Searcy serves on a committee that meets monthly at the Home Instead office to discuss how local businesses, restaurants, and other organizations can become involved.
“We’re not just spreading the word in Manassas, we are going into other cities like Gainesville and Haymarket because Alzheimer’s is not just a Manassas problem,” said Searcy.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s will take place on October 15 in Manassas starting at the Harris Pavilion. Participants may choose to enter the one-mile walk or the three-mile walk. The minimum donation for a t-Shirt is $100, but participants can walk by themselves or organize their own teams and set their own personal fundraising goals. All monies raised goes towards research and finding a cure.
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. followed by an opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m. The Walk starts at 10 a.m.
Sponsored Post Jonathan Way balances Manassas budget without substantial tax increases, all while providing public services
- Jonathan Way for Manassas City Council
- Phone: 703-368-9174
- Website: http://jonleadstheway.com/
This post is paid for by Jon Leads the Way — Jonathan Way for Manassas City Council.
City Councilman Jonathan Way solves complex problems, works to preserve the city’s history, and is the “face of the city” in several regional commissions which have important impacts on the city.
Manassas City Councilman Jonathan Way could have chosen anywhere to retire, but he chose Manassas. To him, he said, the city offered the opportunity to accomplish all the things he hoped to accomplish and Manassas just had that comfortable “hometown” feel.
Before moving to City Council, though, Way worked on the Planning Commission and then moved to Chair. He felt he was doing good for his community in this position, so 10 years ago he ran successfully for Manassas City Council, something which he is doing again this year. Way says of his motivation, “I want to leave Manassas in a better place than when I came here.
Way is passionate about figuring out the answers to complex problems. He says virtually all problems that come before the Council are complicated. Working on the City Council is a balancing act. Since people frequently have different opinions, he said, it’s difficult to please everyone. His job, he said, is to make sure the public is satisfied with the Council’s decisions (or at least “comfortably dissatisfied.”)
Way’s current pet project is the 100 plus-year-old water tower in the city’s Downtown. He is actively working with a team of volunteers to save what has been an icon of the city. He says that even though it’s not needed for water management, the water tower is historically significant and “deserves better than to become a parking lot.”
The biggest challenge to City Council is having a balanced budget without substantial tax increases, while still providing the superior services the public needs. Way said, “It’s a heck of a balancing act… but we do it each year. It’s satisfying to overcome such a challenge.”
Regarding the campaign trail, Way said he takes great satisfaction from meeting people. He said the public is almost “universally polite,” which makes for a pleasant experience and allows a serious exchange of ideas. “You meet a lot of interesting people and learn a lot of interesting things about the city,” said Way.
Election campaigns in the city have thus far not been vicious.
“People point out what they can do, some point out what they’ve already done, some people say they want change, but that’s about as argumentative as it gets. We try to not ‘bad mouth’ other candidates,” he said.
Way said he is a good candidate not only because of extensive experience, but also because he is retired, so he has the time to put in the 1,200 or so hours per year necessary fulfill Council responsibilities and also represent the city on several regional commissions including Greater Washington Council of Governments, Transportation Planning Board, Virginia Railway Express Board of Directors, Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission director, Novant Prince William Health System Board of Trustees, Member of Governance Board of Directors, and Quality committees and an associate of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs.
It’s tough for council members who are still working full-time to meet all these commitments, Way said.
“In our country where polarized government has taken over the landscape,” Way said, “I’m a balanced, sensible conservative who has been a Republican since the days of Dwight Eisenhower. I recognize the other side has legitimate concerns and feelings as well. I’m satisfied to have a workable compromise solution to most problems, not a ‘my way or the highway’ approach. If you do that, you can end up on the highway yourself, and that’s not the way to run a government.”
For more information on Jonathan Way’s campaign, visit www.jonleadstheway.com.
This post is paid for by Jon Leads the Way — Jonathan Way for Manassas City Council.
- Manassas Park Community Center
- Address: 99 Adams Street Manassas Park, VA 20111
- Phone: 703-335-8872
- Website: http://www.manassasparkcommunitycenter.com/
Football may be the sport everyone is talking about on any given Sunday. But, on any given Tuesday, Thursday and Friday morning between the hours of 8 and 10 a.m., the sport we’re talking about (and playing) is Pickleball.
Stop by the Manassas Park Community Center during these times, and you’ll see a group of dedicated Pickleball players tearing it up. This is a sport whose popularity is skyrocketing-–not only here at the Community Center, but everywhere.
Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It is played indoors or outdoors on a badminton-size court with a modified tennis net. It is played with a plastic paddle and a plastic ball (similar to a whiffle ball), and is played as doubles or singles.
Pickleball was accidentally invented in the mid-1960s by three families who were actually trying to play badminton, but they could not find the shuttlecock or a full set of racquets. So they combined parts of tennis, parts of badminton, and parts of ping pong, and joked the sport was created with the leftovers of these sports.
This reminded them of pickle boats because pickle boats are manned with the leftovers of other boats. Pickle boats became Pickleball.
Now that you have a little history of the game of Pickleball, you need to try it. Consider joining the Pickleball group that plays every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Manassas Park Community Center.
“Our group plays to have fun; we really aren’t very competitive,” explained Bonnie Ballentine, a retired teacher who has become the unofficial spokesperson for the Pickleball group at the Community Center.
Her friend, and Pickleball teammate, Judy Nevitt, also a retired teacher added, “The game of Pickleball can progress very quickly, but initially, you just want the basics, the strategies will come later.”
“Pickleball can be played competitively; in fact, almost every state has a state senior game, and here in Northern Virginia, we have the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics,” explained Ms. Ballentine.
Both ladies pointed out that the Community Center provides paddles which the ladies admitted are good for beginners.
“We encourage all new players to try the beginner’s paddles provided by the Community Center. Our group will also offer our own racquets so that new players can see which they prefer, then we introduce the basics of the game,” Ballentine explained.
“Really, the best way to play Pickleball is to get out there and learn as you go,” she added, “The rules are kind of quirky and we find it easier for people to understand the rules if they learn the rules as they progress.”
Pickleball isn’t just about the game. As you play week after week, you build bonds and make new friends.
“We play three times a week—it’s a steady thing. Our group is so nice, and we love playing so much that we even have a back-up plan if we can’t play here at the Community Center,” Ballentine shared.
“We also get together socially at least four times a year for lunches and to celebrate the holidays,” Ms. Nevitt added.
“We really are a dedicated group,” Ms. Nevitt emphasized, “One of our group members was stiff with arthritis and had a hard time moving when he first started playing. But slowly, he began to progress, and now we tease him that the more he plays, the better he moves.”
“Sometimes, when you look in the gym, depending upon which of our Pickleball players is there, we look like we are held together with Velcro,” Ballentine laughed. “I’ve got bad knees, Judy also has bad knees, but it doesn’t matter because we are staying active and having a great time.”
Nothing stops the Manassas Park Community Center Pickleball group from playing their game!
“We have a good time and we laugh a lot,” agreed Ms. Ballentine and Ms. Nevitt.
“We like to introduce people of all ages to our favorite game,” Ms. Ballentine pointed out, “Once, when we were playing outside, a teenager heard us playing and laughing and came over to see what all the fuss was about. He was there watching a baseball tournament, but ended up playing Pickleball with us!”
You will enjoy it too, just stop by the Manassas Park Community Center on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8 to 10 a.m. and join the Pickleball enthusiasts who welcome all who want to play their favorite sport. Also check out the guided instructional programs such as Introduction to Pickleball which is currently on Wednesdays from 7 to 8 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, and wellness areas as well as a variety of special events and programs. For more information visit us at or call at 703-335-8872.
This post is written and paid for by Manassas Park Community Center.
Sponsored Post Fact Checking the Manassas City Council Forum: A negative turn for the City Council race
- Re-elect Ian Lovejoy For Manassas City Council
- Website: http://www.ManassasForward.com
Recently, Historic Manassas, Inc. hosted a City Council Forum. A lot was said and a lot of ideas were raised. The conversation was on point and civil– until the closing remarks.
City Council candidate Rex Parr chose to use his closing statement to go decidedly negative, making inaccurate claims that in some cases play to our fears rather than hopes. When such false claims are made, it tarnishes our city’s reputation and the hard work done by our city staff and employees.
There’s so much negativity in the politics at our state and federal levels, I’d hoped the local race would set an example of how elections should be. Unfortunately, that hope has been seriously diminished.
Mr. Parr may be new to running for office, but he’s mastered being a politician.
Since these false claims are in the public domain now, I think it’s important they be examined, vetted and corrected.
I’ve chosen the top offenders to showcase below.
Rex Parr False Statement 1:
“[the council experiences] stalemate, tie votes, no action on vital issues before the council that affect our kids, our communities and future economic development”
The council has a diverse range of positions, indicative of the diverse range of thoughts held by our city residents. There are, on occasion, tie votes, as there are on any elected body, but none have stopped critical actions from being taken that impact our kids/schools/communities or economic development as Rex has claimed. At most, the wide range of views has triggered compromise, which is far too lacking in most political bodies.
Rex Parr False Statement 2:
“[since the great recession] efforts to restore spending have been consistently blocked”
The city budget is now above pre-recession levels. Funding has been restored. Also, showing prudence and fiscal restraint has earned our city a AAA bond rating, which will save our citizens millions in borrowing costs in the future.
Rex Parr False Statement 3:
“our public services have been starved […] their missions have been jeopardized”
Our public services are award winning and rank among the best in the nation. From a police department in the top 1%, to an award winning utility department. Our public services also received stellar reviews by you, the citizens, in the recent citizen satisfaction survey, beating state and national averages.
Rex Parr False Statement 4:
“[because of city council austerity] the reputation of our schools [has been] tarnished”
The schools are managed by an independently elected School Board who has made it VERY clear that they are in charge of the schools. The city council has met its funding obligations to the schools, and the system currently spends 10%-15% more per pupil than our surrounding localities. Let me say it again: the city council meets its funding obligations. If our school’s reputation is “tarnished” as Mr. Parr states, it is less likely to do with city council austerity, and more likely due to the drop in test scores and achievement we’ve suffered– which would be the responsibility of the School Board. He’s directing his ire at the wrong elected body.
I consider Rex to be a good guy, and hope he’ll pull back from this unfortunate course and run the rest of this race in a positive, accurate way.