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Keeping Prince William Beautiful: 2017 a Year to ‘Do Beautiful Things’ in Prince William

 

For nearly 35 years, Keep Prince William Beautiful has served the communities and citizens of Prince William County by inspiring individual responsibility and collective action to keep our beloved neighborhoods clean, green, and vibrant places to live, work, and conduct business. As we begin a new year, our organization renews our commitment to the communities we serve and pledge to inspire greater action in the year ahead.

I like to tell folks in discussing the services Keep Prince William Beautiful provides that we clean up not just for the sake of keeping things beautiful, but rather so our people can do beautiful things. When the park is clean, more kids will go. Home values are higher in clean neighborhoods; new businesses open on vibrant and clean streets; when we take pride and keep it beautiful, our communities are safer and stronger.

Keep Prince William Beautiful is a grassroots service organization that leads programs on litter prevention, protecting the Chesapeake Bay, recycling education, among others. But we are also a catalyst for economically vibrant and healthy communities. We are thought leaders and committed to environmental action and economic vitality taking root together.

In 2016, hundreds of volunteers for Keep Prince William Beautiful logged over 5,000 hours picking up nearly 100,000 pounds of trash from our roadways and streams. Over 70 spots were adopted by friends and neighbors. Hundreds of kids took part in fun, educational activities to promote recycling and environmental stewardship. These things enable our communities to be great places to do beautiful things – to start new businesses, buy a house, visit, live healthy, and have fun.

Join us in the new year and help us continue our vision of Prince William County being a place to ‘do beautiful things’ in 2017– adopt a spot on your street to keep it clean; volunteer for a community clean-up; donate to help us beautify communities by planting, painting, and developing parks and green spaces. Recycle and reuse items. Dispose of your trash. Keep pollutants out of our storm drains and help protect the Chesapeake Bay. Most importantly, take pride in our community and let’s become the nation’s leader in keeping our communities beautiful so we all can do beautiful things in the community we love.

To learn more, volunteer, or donate please visit kpwb.org.

Wittman, Prince William Republicans donate supplies for Woodbridge homeless

As another cold winter approaches, the Prince William County Republican Committee and Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) collected and donated cold-weather supplies for the homeless in Woodbridge this week. On Wednesday, the Committee donated a dozen large bags of clothes, coats and blankets, as well as six large propane tanks, to Streetlight Ministries, a charity that serves the unsheltered homeless in Prince William County. This end-of-the-year service project concludes the 2016 Prince William County GOP Community Service Initiative that included ten service projects throughout the year.

The Prince William Republican Committee has served the community through projects like this collection for several years. During the last three years, the Committee has engaged in approximately ten service opportunities per year. Service projects have included projects like: a fashion show to benefit the B.A.R.N Transitional Housing charity in Bristow, led by the Bull Run Republican Women’s Club; a back-to-school supply drive for schools with high populations of economically disadvantaged students; and a meal for residents of the ACTS Homeless Shelter in Dumfries, just to name a few. Any Prince William County resident, regardless of political affiliation, can participate in the Republican’s community service activities by contacting the Committee at 703-680-7388.

Streetlight Ministries works with the poor and homeless in Prince William County to secure emergency housing, employment, and eventually a long-term housing solution. They also work with local civic groups and faith-based organizations to serve a meal to homeless Prince William residents every Wednesday evening. To learn more about Streetlight, go to: www.thestreetlight.org.

Delegate Rich Anderson’s 2017 ‘Future Delegate Program’

Delegate Richard L. Anderson (R-51st) and his legislative staff have put the finishing touches on the 51st House District “Future Delegate Program” at the Virginia state capitol in Richmond.

Now in its fifth year, the program brings public, private, and home-schooled students from grades 7 through 12 to Capitol Square in Richmond for a day-long immersion in the legislative processes of the Virginia General Assembly. The Future Delegate Program focuses on the policy process and exposes students and families to legislative life in Richmond. The goal is for students to return home with a greater appreciation for the business of the Virginia House of Delegates, where Del. Anderson has served for seven years since retiring from the US Air Force as a colonel after a 30-year military career.  Anderson’s aim is to convince students why they should enter public service as their life’s calling.

Anderson was motivated to provide this civics opportunity by his service as chair of the Virginia Commission on Civics Education. The delegate stated that “a well-rounded civics education is being crowded out by other disciplines, so we need to be watchful that students are exposed to ways in which they can engage in the civic life of their communities across Virginia. Civics is the discipline that leads to trust, civility, and respect in government and politics.”

Students will be exposed to a wide range of activity while in Richmond, and they will have an opportunity to see first-hand the business of the House Science and Technology Committee that Anderson chairs. Additionally, the delegate co-chairs the General Assembly Military and Veterans Caucus with Sen. Bryce Reeves, meaning that students will learn more about the work of Anderson, Reeves, and their colleagues on behalf of 800,000 Virginia military veterans. Because only one student will participate each day, they experience quality one-on-one time with Anderson, who often has the student sit with him in committee and subcommittee meetings and takes them to meetings with other delegates and senators, the leadership of the House, and other senior officials. They also participate in Senate hearings that might be scheduled and assist Anderson with press conferences if one is scheduled during their visit to the Capitol.

The program has proven to be immensely popular and has graduated some 200 students over the last five years. Anderson’s program is the first-ever at the Capitol and touches a large number of Prince William County students. The delegate considers it “my most important outreach to young people in our community who wish to serve our Commonwealth at the state level and our Constitutional Republic at the federal level.”

Now that students have completed their applications, dates are being assigned to specific students and their families who will accompany them to Richmond. Anderson looks forward to the arrival of the first Future Delegate Program student in January and says that “each will have a ring-side seat on how we make policy and make life better for eight million Virginians.”

Surovell: U.S. Supreme Court Should Overturn Partisan Redistricting

Virginia is represented by Democrats in all five statewide offices, has voted for a Democratic president three times, yet the Virginia House of Delegates has 66 Republicans and 34 Democrats.

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the legality and constitutionality of the last redistricting of Virginia House of Delegates’ districts. The court’s decision could be monumental for all Virginia voters.

If I could fix one thing to make our government work better at every level, I would reform redistricting. Partisan redistricting abuse has been around since the beginning of American democracy. The term “gerrymander” originates from an 1812 attempt to draw districts favoring Massachusetts Governor Eldridge Gerry. To be clear, both parties do it, but in the last two decades, gerrymandering has become especially powerful for a few reasons.

First, America is more partisan. Due to multiple and growing sources of information available in today’s world, voters are able to self-select their news sources and are exposed to fewer alternative perspectives. This has driven up partisan identification and led to fewer voters who are willing to split their votes between political parties.
Second, and more importantly, computer-enabled mapping software has made it possible to draw districts that are finely crafted. When redistricting was done with index cards shifting precincts days because of ancillary effects and the need to recalculate and balance district populations.

Today, computing technology analyzes data by census block and in a few seconds can draw a comprehensive set of districts to elect a predicted number from a specific political party while maximizing majority-minority districts.

Over the last thirty years, these political considerations have caused district lines to constantly shift. Many areas constantly move between congressmen, senators and delegates every redistricting cycle. Changed lines leave people confused about their representatives. Census level analysis leaves precincts split requiring local governments to redraw precinct lines to avoid polling places with multiple ballots. This costs taxpayers money and leaves voters confused about their polling place.

Resulting districts are not communities of interest. The 36th Senate district that I represent stretches 60 miles across three counties and two area codes. The 1st Congressional District crosses the 36th District and stretches from Manassas to near Norfolk. Districts should minimize jurisdictional splits, use natural geographical boundaries like rivers and be truly compact and contiguous.

Together, this creates a series of hyper-partisan districts, both Republican and Democratic, which are so safe in general elections that they incentivize incumbents to focus on galvanizing primary voters’ support and not the broader electorate. This distorts public policy and increases partisanship when it is time to legislate.

There are two solutions to this problem. First, the legislature could give up redistricting power and transfer it to a bipartisan or nonpartisan commission. Incumbent legislators should not pick their voters. I have always supported nonpartisan redistricting and the Virginia State Senate has passed it several times, but it always dies in the hyper-gerrymandered House of Delegates. A legislative solution is highly unlikely.

The real opportunity to remedy this situation lies in the courts. Some courts have thrown out hyper gerrymandered seats using Voting Rights Act provisions. While valuable, this law is not a comprehensive tool because it is limited to preventing racial discrimination and does not address other problems with partisan redistricting. A Wisconsin federal court recently used an analysis based on the 1st and 14th Amendments to invalidate partisan redistricting by focusing on “wasted votes,” but did not recommend a remedy.

Courts can often better resolve issues that legislatures cannot. For example, in 1962, numerous legislatures, including Virginia’s, refused to redraw districts recognizing the booming suburban populations. The U.S. Supreme Court required Virginia and other states to draw districts based on actual population by adopting the “one man, one vote” rule of the Baker v. Carr case.

Today, it is similarly time for the Courts to restore democracy to our country and our Commonwealth. Hopefully, they will use the Virginia House of Delegates case argued this week to restore democracy to America.

It is an honor to serve as your state senator. If you have any feedback, you can always contact me at scott@scottsurovell.org.

Senator McPike launches young leaders program

In preparation for the 2017 Legislative Session, State Senator Jeremy McPike launches the Greater Prince William Young Leaders Program. The program will provide an opportunity for up to six bright high school juniors and seniors who live in the 29th Senate District to travel to Richmond during the General Assembly Session and learn about the legislative process. Students will observe committee hearings and floor debate, meet with top-level policy makers in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and tour historic buildings. The 2017 Program dates will be Sunday, January 29 to Tuesday, January 31.

Applicants should demonstrate robust academic performance, strong leadership skills, a diligent work ethic and an interest in their state government. There will be no cost to students to participate in this program, as Senator McPike’s office will provide all of the transportation, meals, activities and sleeping arrangements.

ONLINE APPLICATION FORM AVAILABLE HERE: https://goo.gl/forms/iyNrrDRjqO4RTPw93

Application Deadline: December 15, 2016

To determine if you live in the 29th Senate District, please plug your address into the following website: http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov. Participants will be selected by Friday, December 23, 2016. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Senator McPike’s Office at district29@senate.virginia.gov.

MAG Aerospace, InCadence pick up ‘GovCon’ awards

mag
InCadence

Prince William County congratulates MAG Aerospace, a recognized leader in global aerial surveillance and situational awareness services, and InCadence Strategic Solutions, a technology leader in operational intelligence, biometrics solutions, identity and knowledge management services, on receiving awards at the 14th Annual Greater Washington Government Contractor ‘GovCon’ Awards.
 
The ‘GovCon Awards’ is a celebratory event honoring the leadership, innovation and commitment to excellence of the individuals and businesses in the Greater Washington region government contracting sector, hosted by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Professional Services Council.  A prestigious panel of industry and government professionals select finalists and winners from a large pool of nominees. 
 
In the case of InCadence, its game-changer program – Ares™ Mobile Biometric Application was selected as Program of the Year.  The Program of the Year recognizes the most exemplary program among all finalists recognized.  Ares is the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) Mobile Biometric Application, deployed to agents worldwide.  InCadence provides the Ares software as a commercial product, and supports the FBI Global Initiatives Unit with the integration of Ares into the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division enterprise.  In spring, Ares™ Mobile Biometric Application also won the Transformer of the Year award at the 2016 ACT/IAC igniting Innovation Showcase and Awards.  
 
MAG Aerospace received the Contractor of the Year Award in the $25 – $75 million category, which is given to acknowledge “distinguished financial and operational accomplishments and outstanding contributions during the past year to employees, the government contracting industry and the U.S. Government.”  This awards follows a string of awards in 2016 for MAG Aerospace, most recently being recognized by the Washington Business Journal as one of the 50 Fastest Growing Companies in the Washington region.  In October, MAG received the 2016 Commonwealth of Virginia Governor’s Award of Excellence in International Trade.  Prior to that, MAG Aerospace CEO, Joe Fluet took home a 2016 SmartCEO Future 50 Award.

Carmello’s of Manassas touts service award 

Carmello’s of Historic Manassas, Va. was awarded City Beat New’s Spectrum Award for Excellence in Customer Service. 

ABOUT CITY BEAT NEW’s SPECTRUM AWARD:
The Spectrum Award of Excellence in Customer Satisfaction was established to spotlight companies providing exceptional service and experiences to their customers. Our research is done annually and is completely independent and unbiased. The award is only bestowed upon that fraction of companies earning our highest ratings. Through this award we honor our mission to provide voice to the unheralded small businesses that are the foundation of our communities and to find and promote excellence wherever we find it. 

ABOUT CARMELLO’S and MONZA:
Carmello’s of Old Town Manassas, Va. was established in 1987 and is owned by Portuguese immigrant, Alice Pires of Manassas, Va. The family-owned restaurant offers fine dining, serving a contemporary American cuisine with Portuguese and Mediterranean influence. In 2011, its sister restaurant, Monza, was created, providing bistro fare. Carmello’s earned the Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator magazine for six consecutive years, and has been voted best fine dining restaurant by Prince William Today for 2013. Their seasonal menus are complemented by their fresh produce from the restaurant’s garden. Carmello’s and Monza are active volunteers in its community, uniting with local charities to help those in need and to build community spirit. 

Trail markers installed at Mason Neck as part of Eagle Scout project

Picture yourself hiking along a three-mile trail through Mason Neck Park looking over sweeping views of 250 acres of Great Marsh. Now imagine being in the forest and having no idea how to find your way back to your car. That’s the type of situation Life Scout, Noah Ventura, wanted to help visitors to Mason Neck Park avoid.

When Noah Ventura began looking for a service project for his Eagle Scout rank, he wanted to do something that would enhance the community. One of the first things he thought about was Mason Neck Park. Noah and his family often use Mason Neck Park, the first national wildlife refuge established specifically for the protection of the bald eagle.

Ventura worked with Rosalind Wu, Visitor Services Manager of the Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex, on the design and placement of the markers. Then he had to get his plan approved by his Eagle Project Review Board. Once that was done, Ventura started working on the signs and spent over 300 hours in almost 10 months on the project.

The new signage will help visitors better navigate the Woodmarsh Trail Loop. The results are 19 signs in 6 different locations that are designed to blend with the environment, with an earth-tone color palette.

Ventura, a student at Carl Sandburg Middle School, said he’s proud of the project and what it means to the community. He is putting together his final report on the entire project that will be reviewed by the Eagle Board of Review before he can get his Eagle Scout Rank.

Home Depot donates help to VFW Post 7916 in Occoquan

An Army of Home Depot associates descended on the Hawkins-Reeve VFW Post 7916 this week. Their weapon: hammers, paintbrushes, and boundless energy. Their mission: improve the physical infrastructure of the Post fellowship hall and community space. Following a day of patriotic volunteerism, the Post fellowship hall once again looks vibrant!

Awarded a $2500 grant by the Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot for FY2016 the efforts of the Foundation and the Home Depot associates enhanced the physical infrastructure of the Post. The post home is a 100-year-old building that is a challenge for a not-for-profit veteran service organization to maintain.

About the Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot
Team Depot is comprised of an army of over 300,000 associates who are committed to supporting local communities. Team Depot is particularly committed to improving the lives of U.S. Military Veterans and their families. Through the Team Depot Foundation, thousands of Home Depot Associates dedicate their time and talent in the communities where they live and work. For more information, visit ttps://corporate.homedepot.com/community

About Hawkins-Reeve VFW Post 7916
Chartered in 1946, VFW Post 7916 is a non-profit, veterans’ service organization, whose membership is fraternal, patriotic, historical, charitable, and educational as we strive to preserve and strengthen Americanism, Community Service, and care for our veterans -including active duty, retired, honorably discharged, and their families. For more information, visit us at www.vfwpost7916.org or call 703-491-1884

Commandant of the Marine Corps Speaks at Veterans Day ceremony

The Chairman of the Potomac Region Veterans Council (PRVC), and Commander of VFW Post 7916, Chuck Wilson, Colonel, USAF (Ret), was the Master of Ceremonies at a Veterans Day ceremony at Quantico on Friday.

General Robert Neller, 37th Commandant of the US Marine Corps Was a keynote speaker. “

Veterans Day first began as Armistice Day with the commemoration of the armistice which ended World War I, on “the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month,” 1918.” This ceremony is held to honor all of America’s veterans past and present.

Quantico National Cemetery has hosted this event since 1983. Both the Veterans Day and Memorial Day Ceremonies such as this are sponsored by the Potomac Region Veterans Council that represents 26 Veterans Service Organizations, and 15,000 across Northern Virginia.

Sponsored by the Potomac Region Veterans Council partnering with Marine Base Quantico and Quantico National Cemetery, A Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th. Over 1,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Marines, along with many families and distinguished guests came to commemorate National Veterans Day, at the Ceremony at Quantico National Cemetery this year.

Anderson elected Chairman of Virginia War Memorial Board

Delegate Richard L. “Rich” Anderson of Woodbridge has been elected Chairman of the Board of the Virginia War Memorial.

Delegate Anderson has represented Virginia’s 51st District (Prince William County) in the House of Delegates since 2010. A native of Roanoke, Va. and a graduate of Virginia Tech and Webster University, he served 30 years on active duty in the US Air Force and retired with the rank of Colonel in 2009.

Among his committee assignments in the Virginia General Assembly, Delegate Anderson serves as Co-Chair of the Joint House-Senate Military and Veterans Caucus, the Legislative clearinghouse for bills affecting 800,000 Virginia veterans. He also sits as a member of the Virginia Board of Veterans Services and as a member of the Virginia Military Advisory Council (VMAC).

 

The Virginia War Memorial in Richmond is the Commonwealth’s tribute to its fallen heroes, veterans, and active military. Dedicated in 1956, the Memorial includes the names of the nearly 12,000 Virginia heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and the ongoing Global War on Terrorism. Its basic mission is to Honor Veterans, Preserve History, Educate Youth, and Inspire Patriotism in All.

The Virginia War Memorial is a division of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services and serves as an integral part of its mission in support of all Virginians who served in our armed forces.

Letter to the Editor: Let’s not turn back the clock and give Reinboldt a return run on Stafford School Board

In 2015, voters in the Griffis-Widewater district sent a loud and clear message. They resoundingly voted against a third four-year school board term for Ms. Dana Reinboldt. Clearly they had enough. 

Unfortunately, they replaced her with Emily Fallon, who stepped down and was recently convicted of embezzlement of PTO funds. In deciding on Fallon’s replacement, a jury of her own peers, the current School Board,  rejected Dana Reinboldt’s application to serve in an interim capacity, not even giving her an interview. The person they did select, Ms. Melissa Ayers, has endorsed Ms. Jamie Decatur to be her replacement.

Perhaps voters and school board members decided 12 years of Dana Reinboldt was enough, and it was time for a new perspective. Perhaps they saw in Ms. Reinboldt someone who reigned over a fiscal disaster where taxpayer money was squandered for years. Maybe if Dana Reinboldt spent more time asking tough questions and providing prudent oversight, the millions of dollars staff shuffled around or money unspent at the end of the year could have been put to good use for our schools and students. 

I, for one, was dismayed that Ms. Reinboldt remained an advocate for Superintendent Jean Murray, one of the worst chief executives we’ve had running Stafford schools when other school board members gave her the boot.

Yes, Dana has had lots of time on the school board, but her actual record is not a good one. She laughably claims she had a good relationship with her colleagues and county supervisors. School Board minutes and articles in the Free Lance-Star say otherwise.

Jamie Decatur has an impressive background and offers county residents the many attributes Dana doesn’t. Let’s not turn back the clock and give Dana a return run. She messed it up badly during her time in office. I’m supporting Ms. Jamie Decatur for school board. She won’t put up with the shenanigans Dana allowed for 12 years.

Community leaders, Prince Willaim Chamber of Commerce endorse Lovejoy

Community and business leaders alike endorse the re-election of Councilman Ian Lovejoy.
Councilman Lovejoy has received the endorsement of several current and former elected leaders, as well as the Prince William Chamber of Commerce PAC.

Endorsements by local elected individuals include our current Mayor, Hal Parrish, as well as former mayors Douglas Waldron and John Weber. Douglas Waldron also serves as the city’s current Commissioner of the Revenue and is also a former School Board member. City Treasurer Robin Perkins has also joined the list of those supporting Lovejoy’s run for re-election.

Delegate Jackson Miller, who serves as Majority Whip in the House of Delegates has also endorsed Councilman Lovejoy. “Having worked closely with Ian, I know he’s an enthusiastic advocate for the citizens of Manassas and has a passion for our city. He’s a strong supporter of our businesses, schools and families, and I’m proud to give him my endorsement,” says Delegate Miller.
Glen Hill, who has served as Sheriff for more than a decade, also supports the re-election of Councilman Lovejoy.

“I’m honored that those who know this community and my work the best are supporting my re-election. As your councilman, I will continue to work hard for each city resident and business and continue moving our city forward,” said Councilman Lovejoy.

Here’s a partial list of Councilman Lovejoy’s endorsements:
Hal Parrish, Mayor
Jackson Miller, Delegate/ Majority Whip
Glen Hill, Prince William County Sheriff
Robin Perkins, City of Manassas Treasurer
Douglas Waldron, Former Mayor/School Board Member & Current Commissioner of the Revenue
John Weber, Former Mayor
Holmes Smith, Economic Development Authority Chairman
Harry Clark, Planning Commission Chairman
Bruce Wood, Planning Commission Vice-Chair
Debbie Edenhart, Owner- Security Title Insurance Agency, Inc.
Patrick Linehan, Former School Board Member
Mike Howard, TelNet of Virginia, Former President of the MCPS Education Foundation
Jenni Bingham Barlet, Former President of the MCPS Education Foundation
Joanne Wunderly, Owner- The Things I love
Amy Domenech, Owner- Amy’s Bridal
Austin Haynes, Owner- Crossroads, Realtors
Jack & Jacqueline St. Clair, Owners- Home Instead Senior Care
Firouzeh Chinisaz, Owner- Neda Jewelers of Manassas
Stephanie Hirsch, Owner- WSR Solutions/EI Medical
Ken Gardner, Owner- KBCulinary
Linda Marie, Owner- Center Street, LLC.

Letter to the Editor: Jamie Decatur has fresh ideas for Stafford schools

Stafford’s voters spoke loud and clear last year in the Griffis-Widewater school board race. 
Hopefully, they’ll do the right thing, yet again, as they select their school board representative in less than two weeks. 

Stafford families deserve a representative with fresh ideas and 21st-century thinking to solve  21st-century education challenges. 

Someone with a vested interest in seeing the school division continue on its  critical path the excellence.  

Jamie Decatur is that candidate.   Please vote Decatur for Griffis-Widewater School Board. 

Letter to the Editor: Decatur will hold Stafford school division accountable

I am asking all my Griffis -Widewater friends and neighbors to vote Jamie Decatur on Tuesday, Nov. 8 for School Board.

We need new blood on the school board.  We need someone that will hold the division accountable, and we need someone that we, as the citizens, can hold accountable.

Her opponent served for way too many years and helped escalate the system into the financial mess we have now. We voted her out of office once, and now, believe it or not, she is asking us to put her back on the board again.  No way.

Jamie Decatur is exactly who we need to represent us on the School Board. Vote Decatur Nov 8th.  Please vote Jamie Decatur on Tuesday, November 8th for a better school board and better future for our children.

Letter to the Editor: Stafford County School Board has a long way to go

The Stafford County School Board has been making progress on becoming a school division of which we can all be proud. They still have a long way to go, but finally, they are headed in the right direction.

Over the last 12 years, the school division has been headed in the wrong direction. Crowded classrooms, understaffed schools, lack of parity throughout the division, and financial & legal scandals had become the norm.

The Griffis-Widewater District is in desperate need of a voice on the School Board that will work to continue moving the division forward. Jamie Decatur is the leader we need to be that voice, to be an advocate to help those on the board working to improve our schools.

With Jamie on the School Board, the Griffis-Widewater district will have a leader we can all count on. Jamie will not just represent her friends or those with the political connections that seek to only benefit themselves. Jamie will work hard on everyone’s behalf to ensure the schools that serve the Griffis-Widewater district are worthy of our proud community.

Please vote for the leader that will be committed to representing all of us, especially the Griffis-Widewater district, vote for Jamie Decatur on November 8.

Reader supports Jamie Decatur for Stafford School Board

Stafford’s voters spoke loud and clear last year in the Griffis-Widewater school board race. 

Hopefully, they’ll do the right thing, yet again, as they select their school board representative in less than two weeks.  Stafford families deserve a representative with fresh ideas and 21st-century thinking to solve 21st-century education challenges.  Someone with a vested interest in seeing the school division continue on its  critical path the excellence.  

Jamie Decatur is that candidate.   Please vote Decatur for Griffis-Widewater School Board. 

Please vote Decatur for Griffis-Widewater School Board. 

Post your Letter to the Editor.

Potomac Region Veterans Council gets new chairman

Charles P. “Chuck” Wilson, Colonel, USAF, Ret., was elected as Chairman of the Potomac Region Veterans Council. Wilson, also the Commander and executive Director of VFW Post 7916 in Occoquan, is a Aerospace Business Consultant with the Goyak Group, and a business executive who has been with L-3 Communications, and the Raytheon Company. Wilson completed a distinguished Air Force career that includes three Command tours (chief executive) at multiple Command levels, served in key positions within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, The Joint Staff, and the US Department of State. Additionally, he was a U-2 pilot, U-2 instructor pilot, Director of U-2 operations, and Commander that piloted highly sensitive missions worldwide.

The Potomac Region Veterans Council (PRVC) was formed in June 1972 to coordinate and promote the common good of veterans of the Northern Virginia area and to honor our fallen comrades on Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day. The Council today represents over 15,000 veterans in 29 different veterans’ organizations.

The Council proudly sponsors the “Avenue of Honor” at Quantico National Cemetery. The Avenue of Honor is erected every Memorial Day and Veterans Day and is made up entirely of flags donated by families of deceased veterans. The flag poles used are not provided by the Veterans Administration. The flags are displayed on flagpoles donated entirely by families, organizations, towns and private individuals. The original design for the “Avenue of Honor” included only 80 flag poles. Today over 200 flags are flown. The project continues to expand from the main gate to every corner of the cemetery.

The Council is in the planning stages for the November 11 Veterans Day Ceremony at Quantico National Cemetery where General Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps, will provide the keynote address. The ceremony begins at 10:30 and all are invited.

Delegate Rich Anderson to host 2017 Future Delegate Program

The office of Virginia State Delegate Richard L. Anderson (R-51) has announced that the Prince William County legislator will again host his popular and competitive annual “51st House District Future Delegate Program” at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond during the months of January and February 2017.

The program is open to public, private, and home-schooled students from grades 7 through 12. The 51st House District stretches from Occoquan Town westward through Lake Ridge, the county portions of Manassas, and into Brentsville and Nokesville.

All students are welcome to participate, regardless of party affiliation or views. The Future Delegate Program focuses solely on the legislative process and exposes students and families to legislative life in Richmond. The goal is for students to return home after a full day in Richmond with a greater appreciation for the public policy process. Anderson’s goal is to motivate students to pursue public service as their chosen profession as an adult.

Future Delegate Lyndon Johnson (center) and father-2

On November 12, from 2-3:30pm, Anderson will host an orientation for prospective student participants in the chambers at the McCoart Government Center at 1 County Complex Court, Woodbridge, VA. At that time, he and his staff will brief students and families on the program, answer questions, and accept applications for the program.

Since 2013 Anderson’s dedication to inspiring future leaders has led him to host over 200 students at the Capitol under his Future Delegate Program. The delegate stated that “seeing the excitement and interest that students have about a future in public service makes this program one I am happy to continue offering.”

The intent is that only one student will participate each day, so that they experience quality time with their elected representative and are able to focus fully on the legislative process.

Anderson further stated that “I look forward to welcoming our next group of students to Richmond in January and February. I am excited for the next generation of leadership in our Commonwealth to engage in Virginia’s legislative process first-hand. I hope that this program will inspire them to seriously consider a career in public service.”

The program is managed by Anderson’s 51st Outreach Coordinator, Mrs. Kristina Schnack Kotlus, who can be reached at kristina.delegateanderson@gmail.com.

Bull Run Rotary Club gives $5,000 to students for musical instruments

MANASSAS, Va. – The Bull Run Rotary Club members were touched when they heard about the talents and wish lists of Osbourn High School Music Department.

Theresa Coates Ellis, President, Bull Run Rotary Club said, “Music contributes so much to the education of the whole student. Our club had an opportunity to apply for a Rotary District 7610 grant for $2,500 to set a plan in motion to buy new instruments.”

After working with club members, teachers and administrators to submit the application, the grant for $2,500 was awarded in the fall for the purchase of a piccolo, clarinet, euphonium, baritones and other instruments. The Bull Run Rotary Club members approved a grant match for another $2,500.

The $5,000 was presented to the Manassas City Public Schools (MCPS) Music Department, Carol Hartt, Coordinator of GT, AP, World Languages & Fine Arts, (MCPS) and the MCPS Band and Orchestra teachers for the new instruments at the MCPS School Board meeting.

Rotarians were all smiles as the grateful music teachers received the $5,000 award for the students.

Ellis said, “We heard about a need in the community and the Rotary did something about it. The District grant was approved because the musical instruments met our criteria for an area of focus with sustainability.”

The Rotary Club is the oldest service organization in the world with the motto, “Service above Self.” The club’s membership represents business and professional men and women that work with community needs and assist with Rotary International’s (RI) humanitarian service efforts.

Visit a Bull Run Rotary Club meeting as a guest to learn more about what we do.

Manassas Boy Scout receives scouting honor

Eugene Hoitt, 19, of Manassas, VA has been inducted into the National Youth Leadership Society Class of 2016 by the Boy Scouts of America. Less than ten Scouts and Venturers in the Washington, DC Metro Region have been awarded this very rare recognition.

Unlike more familiar Scouting awards such as the Eagle Scout award, the National Youth Leadership Society is managed through the national office of the Boy Scouts of America and relies upon nominations from Boy Scout councils in the local communities. Nomination criteria include earning the highest awards in Scouting. Hoitt earned the Eagle Scout award and the Silver Award, capstone awards from both the Boy Scout program as well as the Venturing Program. In addition, nominees must take considerable amounts of leadership training, and give back to their fellow Scouts through serving in multiple leadership roles. It is the aim of the National Youth Leadership Society to recognize the youth members of the BSA who have provided elite levels of leadership skills and selfless service to others.

Hoitt’s journey towards this nomination stretch back nearly a decade ago when he first became a Boy Scout in 2007 and took on his first leadership position, Patrol Leader in Troop 1182 in Manassas. Later he served the troop as their Senior Patrol Leader and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. He currently serves the troop as a member of their Troop Committee.

In addition, he helped form Venturing Crew 617 in Manassas. Unlike the more familiar Boy Scouting program, Venturing is open to boys and girls ages 14-20. It is also entirely youth led. Hoitt served as the President of Crew 617 in 2012, and the President of the Bull Run District (northern Prince William County) in 2013. In that year he also served as the Area Vice President where he supported a territory which includes Northern Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania and the United States Virgin Islands. Currently, he serves as the incumbent council Youth President of the National Capital Area Council’s Venturing Officer Association, and is a member of the Council’s Executive Board.

When he is not Scouting, Hoitt is an avid fan of history, he is currently in his final year at Northern Virginia Community College where he is vigorously been pursuing a degree in education. Hoitt hopes to leverage the leadership experience he’s learned through Scouting to help make history come alive to the students of tomorrow.

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