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Drink for charity: ‘Share a Brew and Fight Cancer Too’ raises $500 at BadWolf Brewery

From Manassas City Councilman Ian Lovejoy: 

Share a Brew and Fight Cancer Too, a fundraiser to benefit the Children’s Cancer Research Center, raised several hundred dollars, says Councilman Ian Lovejoy, one of the event’s organizers.

Held at Badwolf Brewery on Kao Circle on June 3, the event drew a crowd despite torrential rain.

“I have to give credit to Badwolf Brewery, who was gracious in letting us use their space on a Friday night for this cause. They also donated a percentage of sales to the charity as well”, said Councilman Lovejoy.

Donation jars, scattered throughout the space, were full, contributing to over $500 raised in just a few hours.

“The atmosphere was laid back, fun and definitely for a good cause” stated event attendee Karen Mercer.

“I’m incredibly proud of our business community for stepping up and working with engaged citizens with events like this,” concluded Councilman Lovejoy, “you don’t have to look hard in Manassas to see we’re a true community.”

This event is one in a series of fundraisers to help raise money for the Children’s Cancer Research Center on behalf of Osbourn High School Student Joseph Davis and the Charity Skateboard Tournament he will be hosting on Saturday, June 18th at the Dean Skate Park. Joseph a remarkable young man, and avid skateboarder, has independently worked with community leaders to hold the city’s first charity skateboard event.

The event, lasting from 10am – 1pm at the newly re-located Dean Skate Park and will feature prizes, raffles, food and more. All money raised will be donated to the Children’s Cancer Research Center. The series of fundraisers will conclude after the Skateboard event with Bar Louie donated a portion of June 18th sales to the cause. For more information about the Skateboard Tournament, email us at jdawgtourney@yahoo.com or call 571-206-8433 to sign up or for more information!

Systaaq Diagnostic Products Inc. is newest life sciences company at Innovation Park

Prince William County today welcomed Systaaq Diagnostic Products Inc. (Systaaq), a molecular diagnostics company that specializes in developing early diagnosis for infectious diseases, to the Prince William Science Accelerator in Innovation Park.

Systaaq is the newest tenant in the Prince William Science Accelerator that will benefit from an innovative and synergistic community of scientists within an already well-established life sciences industry cluster and access to George Mason University Science & Technology Campus, uniquely located at the epi-center of Innovation Park.

The company joins existing wet lab space tenants: Ceres Nanosciences; ISOThrive; and Virongy located at 9385 Discovery Blvd., Manassas, Va. 20109.

“Having outgrown our existing space in Baltimore, Md., we needed to find adequate, cost-effective, wet lab space preferably in an environment that was best-suited to the groundbreaking work we do,” shared Systaaq’s President, Dr. Shahid Aziz. “The Prince William Science Accelerator is the ideal choice for us as it provides the highest-value, lowest-cost option within the Greater Washington, DC metropolitan area.”

“We are thrilled to be part of such a vibrant research ecosystem surrounded by other similar, new and established life sciences companies, not to mention George Mason University and its associated research programs,” added Aziz.

“It is with a great deal of excitement that we welcome Systaaq to the Prince William Science Accelerator and to Prince William County,” said Jeff Kaczmarek, Executive Director, Prince William County Department of Economic Development. “Their work in developing timely and accurate diagnoses particularly with respect to infectious diseases has the potential to significantly reduce costs, improve wellness and above all, save lives. Considering the profiles of the other life sciences companies currently located in Innovation Park and the game-changing research already taking place, I have no doubt that Systaaq will be a natural fit within our life sciences cluster and I eagerly await the synergistic opportunities that will naturally arise.”

Established in 2014, the Prince William Science Accelerator supports the growth of early-stage and small life science companies. It features approximately 9,000 square feet of wet lab space subdivided into nine labs. Wet labs range in size from 439 sq. ft. to 1,141 sq. ft. and have shared amenities such as conference rooms, a reception and receiving area.

The addition of Systaaq will allow for two-thirds occupancy with full tenancy expected by the end of 2016, given strong interest in the remaining three labs. To learn more from the Prince William County Department of Economic Development, Virginia Science and Technology entrepreneurs are invited to attend a Lunch & Learn with Lab Tours, to be held at Mason’s Science and Technology Campus, from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 pm on June 14th, 2016. 

Manassas resident publishes ‘Sour’ poetry collection

We’re told that “SOUR” is exactly what it claims . . . “a book of bitter little love poems” – sometimes very bitter.

These poems give a brutally honest account of what we endure in the depths of a relationship, and frequently only have the power to rage against once the relationship is over.

Manassas resident, Amanda Valerie Judd, recently released her first collection of poems; “SOUR – A Book of Bitter Little Love Poems.” The collection of sour love poems was released on Valentine’s Day, and Ms. Judd says the irony of the release date was intentional.

Several of the poems touch on the verbal abuse suffered by many women at the hands of men who supposedly love them. Some of the poems are hard to read.

“They were even harder to live through,” says the author. “While it was cathartic to write them, it was almost painful to release them to the world.” While she says some of the poems are autobiographic, others are just observances she made of the relationships of her friends. “Abuse of women by the men they love is an epidemic in this country, and some women don’t even realize they are being abused.”

While she never intended for the book to be a voice for the cause, Ms. Judd is more than happy if she and her book can somehow help support the cause.

Ms. Judd grew up in northern Indiana, attending Indiana University at South Bend, where she received her Paralegal Studies Certificate.

She has worked for over 20 years in the legal community, a career which eventually brought her to the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area.

While she loves the law, she feels the time has come to devote herself completely to her writing. She has been writing poetry since she was a child, and although she also writes short stories, and is at work on her first novel, she considers herself a poet, first and foremost. Her poems have previously been published in a few different literary journals and anthologies, most recently in the international anthology, “The Poetic Bond V.”

Her poetry book is currently available on www.Amazon.com.

Ms. Judd lived in several Virginia cities before settling in Manassas, which she says she loves because of its small town feel. “I spend a lot of time in Old Town Manassas. I love all the little shops, and the fact that the owners actually get to know their customers.”

The coffee shops, Central Grounds and Jirani, have been especially supportive of local authors frequently hosting events for the group “Write by the Rails,” which is the local chapter of the Virginia Writer’s Club, and of which, Ms. Judd is a member.

“I credit the group with giving me the final push I needed to follow my dream.” Words of praise for “SOUR” – “Quite unique, and . . . refreshing to read.” John M. Mills, author of several books, including the award-winning, “The Year Without Christmas.”

Ms. Judd will be attending the upcoming “Beer & Books” Night at Bad Wolf Brewery on Saturday, June 25 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. along with several other local Prince William County writers. For more information about Ms. Judd, please visit her website www.amandavjudd.com.

Manassas schools will serve breakfast, lunch as part of summer food program

Manassas City Public Schools is participating in the Summer Food Service Program. Meals will be provided to all children without charge and are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.

Meals will be provided, at a first come, first serve basis, at the sites and times as follows:

  • Haydon Elementary School –9075 Park Avenue, Manassas, VA 20110

July 25 – August 12, 2016

Breakfast:  8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

  • Baldwin Elementary School – 9705 South Main Street, Manassas, VA 20110

July 25 – August 12, 2016

Breakfast:  8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

  • Weems Elementary School – 8750 Weems Road, Manassas, VA 20110

July 25 – August 12, 2016

Breakfast:  8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

  • Round Elementary School – 10100 Hastings Drive, Manassas, VA 20110

July 25 – August 12, 2016

Breakfast:  8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

  • Dean Elementary School – 9601 Prince William Street, Manassas, VA 20110

July 25 – August 12, 2016

Breakfast:  8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

  • Metz Middle School – 9950 Wellington Road, Manassas, VA  20110

July 25 – August 12, 2016

Breakfast:  8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Regal Garrison 12 movie theater to anchor new North Stafford development

Stafford County is proud to announce that Regal Entertainment Group will open a 50,539 square foot luxury twelve screen movie theater in The Garrison at Stafford, formerly known as Stafford Village. The new 500,000 square foot mixed-use community, located off Garrisonville Road, is under development by The Pence Group.

The Garrison will be an exceptional mixed-use property. Regal’s reputation for providing a luxury movie-going experience will be most welcome in Stafford County,” stated Stafford Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Laura Sellers, Garrisonville District. “Stafford did a retail survey with citizens and a nice movie theater was one of the most requested businesses.”

The Regal Garrison 12 will feature luxury recliners with footrests and swivel tables for dining. The menu will feature enhanced food and beverage options as well as traditional cinema snacks. The lobby includes a lounge where guests can relax before or after the movie and table seating to accommodate appetizers, entrées, desserts, and drinks. When completed in 2017, the 1,230 recliner cinema will provide traditional and 3D films on all twelve screens. 

“We are pleased to bring the premium environment of Regal Garrison 12 to The Garrison and are excited about the potential entertainment and destination themed experiences interested in joining the project,” said Geoff Pence, President at The Pence Group.

Efforts to bring new retail options began in 2012, when the Stafford County Board of Supervisors approved the Stafford County Retail Attraction Initiative, designed to aggressively market Stafford County’s business advantages to retail developers, businesses, and real estate professionals.

“Regal is proud to be a part of this entertainment destination at The Garrison at Stafford.  With easy access off of I-95, we’re certain it will draw moviegoers from a wide area to this affluent community,” said Todd Boruff, Senior Vice President of Real Estate for Regal Entertainment Group. 

Announcements of additional companies and stores that will be in The Garrison at Stafford complex will be publicized when leases are finalized.

Krispy Kreme to offer sweet treats at Manassas Neighborhood Conference ahead of new store opening

Krispy Kreme

At this year’s free City of Manassas Neighborhood Conference on June 11 at Jennie Dean Elementary School, building community may just begin with dipping donuts.

The conference aims to bring together citizens interested in improving their neighborhoods, Manassas City Public Schools (MCPS) representatives who will share the schools’ newest initiatives, and experts in building better communities, landscape beautification, and wellness. Krispy Kreme Donuts, which will soon open a Manassas store, will set up a dipping station where company representatives hope to meet their new neighbors and share their sweet treats.

Recognizing that neighborhoods and schools need to work together to be successful, this year’s conference spotlights the efforts of MCPS to help all its students shine. Shayma Bautista, MCPS Community Liaison, and Dr. Melissa Saunders, MCPS Director of Curriculum and Instruction, will talk about the Footsteps-2-Brilliance, an initiative that better prepares pre-K students for kindergarten, and other resources that serve all the schools’ populations. Jennie Dean Elementary Principal Dr. Zella Jones, will also welcome attendees and answer their questions about the upcoming school year.

Keynote speaker Zuzana Steen, University and Academic Relations Manager at Micron Technology and President of the Manassas City Public Schools Education Foundation, will talk about investing in the success of schools. The Community Association Institute, an international association dedicated to improving communities, will also be on hand to lend advice and ideas to neighborhood associations. And LA Fitness will offer wellness exercises, tips to get ready for summer, and maybe a way to work off those donuts.

Participants can attend one of three afternoon workshops. One teaches participants how to analyze a neighborhood’s strengths and weaknesses through a block walk. Another outlines ways to play in neighborhood parks, keep neighborhoods beautiful, and avoid property code violations. A third workshop discusses how today’s students learn with more than books and blackboards.

Conference attendees can enjoy a free lunch and a chance to win raffle prizes like free summer camp registration, thanks to generous sponsorships from community partners. Those who register before the conference will also receive a free t-shirt.

City of Manassas Neighborhood Services Manager Kisha Wilson-Sogunro says community members wanted to see the conference return this year after piloting the Neighborhood Recreation Expo. “The conference is a chance for community members to get together, see what others are doing, get questions answered, and see how we can work together to build a better community.”

Bristow Station resident Nicole Smith agrees, saying, “We are always looking for ways to improve our neighborhood and the conference is a great opportunity for all of us to receive training and meet other community leaders.”

The Neighborhood Conference will be held at Jennie Dean Elementary School, 9601 Prince William Street, on June 11 from 9 a.m. till 2:30 p.m. and is free. Visit www.manassascity.org/neighbor or call 703-257-8240 to register.

Pilot lands at Manassas Regional Airport after flight around the world

On June 7, 2016, Adrian Eichhorn finished his solo trip around the world in a single-engine airplane at Manassas Regional Airport.

Eichhorn, a decorated pilot, commercial pilot, instructor and a military veteran, began his journey on April 10, 2016 from Manassas Regional Airport.  He took six-weeks to become the 121st pilot to fly solo around the world and the 114th pilot to fly around the world in a single-engine airplane.

The trip included five continents, 21 countries, 3,150 gallons of fuel, 25,000 air miles, and 225 hours of flight.  Fellow pilots, airport staff, friends, family and others gathered to welcome him home this afternoon. 

Eichhorn flew in a reconfigured 1962 V-tail Beechcraft Bonanza he nicknamed Gina.  He purchased Gina in 1989 and has been working on her ever since.  Eichhorn kept a photo blog of his trip around the globe at http://flybluehorizons.com.

Volunteers work on trail connecting Benton, Coles, Colgan schools

Dominion employee-volunteers took a respite from their normal daily responsibilities to work along a two-mile trail that connects the new Colgan High School to Benton Middle School and Coles Elementary School in Prince William County.

Volunteers constructed an 8 x 12-foot shed at the entrance of the trail at Colgan High School, as well as built two kiosks positioned at each end of the trail. In addition, volunteers:

?Built six benches and installed them throughout the trail.

?Installed four special trees/effects signs along the trail.

?Installed 60 tree marker signs along the trail on short 6×6 posts.

Dominion employees routinely volunteer to enhance the many communities they serve, work in and where they rear their families. Dominion volunteers have participated in more than 200 projects to improve the environment in their communities. Last year, Dominion employees logged more than 100,000 hours of volunteer time.

Flory Center holds ‘common questions’ conference series

Nury Mena, Branch Manager for Fulton’s Manassas Branch, presented the check to Flory Small Business Centre President Linda Decker.

Nury Mena, Branch Manager for Fulton’s Manassas Branch, presented the check to Flory Small Business Centre President Linda Decker.

This summer, the Flory Center is hosting a to address the most common questions and concerns that small business owners, new and old, have. As with all services offered by the Flory Small Business Center, Inc. these conferences will be offered at no charge to the participant, however pre-registration is required.

Each conference will feature speakers who are experts in the field, from bonding experts to a master of etiquette and including a presentation from a member of the Prince William County Police Department. Running from 9:00am – 1:00pm, these conferences will cover the essentials skills and knowledge needed to better navigate through the finer details of running your own small business.

The schedule for the summer small business conference series is as follows:

Friday, July 15th – U.S. Census Research and Intro to Quickbooks
When writing a business plan or applying for a loan it is essential for businesses to understand not only their competition and their industry, but whether they have grown or declined over time. The U.S. Census website provides a wealth of free information for business owners to track and document these trends to their advantage. This website can be intimidating at first glance, but the Flory Center and a representative of the U.S. Census will show attendees how to navigate the site and use it to one’s advantage.

In the Flory Center Inc.’s ‘Intro to Quickbooks’, a certified CPA will walk attendees through the often intimidating process of using Quickbooks. The Flory Center, Inc. knows how important it is for companies to not only save money by knowing how to use accounting tools, but also how to read, understand and use the outputs. By using Quickbooks well, one can access the current standing of their company at any point in time – a crucial tool for all small businesses.

Friday, August 5th – How to Read Financial Statements
In the final conference of the summer, the Flory Center will seek to answer one of the most commonly asked questions by clients and start-up entrepreneurs – How do you read and understand financial statements without a background in accounting? Led by a Senior Vice President of Union Bank and Trust, this conference will inform attendees how to review and analyze the core financial statements that affect their company on a regular basis. For small business owners with big ideas, the most difficult, or most intimidating, part of owning or starting a small business is often the numbers – most people just don’t know where to start. This conference will help alleviate the fears that numbers can bring and allow business owners to feel confident in knowing the financial standing of their business at all times.

Registration for these conferences is available by phone at (703) 335-2500 or email at florycenterfrontdesk@verizon.net

A session on business etiquette and crime prevention was held June 3, and a session on bonding and 8(a)/HUBZone applications was held May 6.

The Flory Small Business Center, Inc. was created by the Prince William County Industrial Development Authority in 1991 as an “economic gardening” program and the IDA continues to provide over 50% of the Center’s funding with non-taxpayer dollars. Economic gardening fosters the idea that economies can be grown locally by local entrepreneurs. The Center’s 25-year-old program is based on the needs and requests of the small businesses they serve and is the recipient of state and national awards.

The Flory Center is funded by Prince William County, the Prince William County Industrial Development Authority, and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. Mrs. Decker points out that local entrepreneurs are fortunate that our jurisdictions are committed to assisting the potential “start-up” as well as the existing small business owner.

The Flory Center works with referrals from organizations such as banks and elected officials who understand what they do and want to ensure that small businesses have access to the information and resources that they need to start, grow, and thrive. The Flory Center has been a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration since inception. For more information and to sign up for upcoming start-up workshops and conferences, contact the Flory Small Business Center, Inc. at 703-335-2500 or by email at florycenter@verizon.net.

Southland Concrete to invest $6 million in Prince William for new corporate headquarters and yard

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors recently announced Southland Concrete Corp. will invest $6 million and add 30 new jobs to Prince William County.

The Southland Concrete corporate headquarters and yard is newly located at 12775 Randolph Ridge Lane, near Manassas. Prince William County was selected above other regional jurisdictions due to the ease of access to transportation corridors and a readily available, highly-skilled workforce.

The company plans to use the existing building on-site for its headquarters and lease nearby land for a yard. The headquarters will employ 30 staff in addition to approximately 225 field employees.

“We are excited to be in our new headquarters facility in Prince William County. The County has been great to work with, it has many options with the zoning we need and outstanding amenities nearby, as well as, excellent transportation and a workforce that is second to none, in the area,” said Randy Green, Southland CEO and President.

“With more than 40 years as a key player in the construction industry, Southland Concrete has an established market profile and product reputation that is a valued and welcome addition to our business community,” said Corey A. Stewart, Chairman, Prince William Board of County Supervisors. “We are committed to supporting its future growth.”

Corporate headquarters are categorized as a Targeted Industry in Prince William County. As such, the Board of County Supervisors signed a conditional performance agreement with Southland Concrete to be administered by the Prince William Industrial Development Authority.

The agreement includes a $40,000 incentive grant for relocation, renovation and equipment costs from the County’s Economic Development Opportunity Fund. Southland Concrete is a recognized leader in the construction industry and manufactures cast-in-place concrete for a variety of commercial structures in the Greater Washington, DC metropolitan area.

The company performs tilt-up concrete construction for a variety of applications including warehouse, data centers and blast-proof progressive collapse office buildings, foundations and flat work for steel frame construction, podium construction, specialty projects such as parking garages, museums, retaining walls and other commercial structures.

Southland Concrete projects in Prince William County include the Montclair Community Library, Tribute at Heritage Village, Novant Health Prince William Medical Center, National Museum of the Marine Corps, Heritage Hunt, FBI Training Facility, George Mason University, Jiffy Lube Live and many others over its 40+ year history.

To learn more from the Prince William County Department of Economic Development sign-up to receive email newsletters or follow us on Twitter @ PWCDED.

Candland announces first youth art contest

Supervisor Pete Candland would like to invite local children to participate in the First Annual Gainesville District Youth Art Contest. The contest is open to all children in Kindergarten through 5th Grade. Entries will be accepted in any medium, painting, drawing, sculpture, etc. The contest theme for the artwork is Summer Vacation.

Winners will be announced during an awards ceremony on June 8, 2016, at 6 PM at the Haymarket Gainesville Community Library. All entries will be displayed through the month of June at the library. Winners will receive a gift card and have their artwork displayed in Supervisor Candland’s office until June 2017.

Artwork should be submitted to Supervisor Candland’s office (7001 Heritage Village Plaza, Suite 210, Gainesville, VA 20155) by 6 PM on June 6, 2016.

Locally-owned Jirani Coffeehouse celebrates grand opening

Jirani Coffeehouse recently celebrated their Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting in Manassas.

Located at 9425 West Street in the Manassas Historic District, Jirani’s proprietors, Ken and Detra Moorman are excited for the local community to see the place that they envision as much more than just a space for coffee and conversation.

Jirani is the Swahili word for neighbor or neighborhood – Ken and Detra hope it will become a neighborhood hub and a center for arts and culture. They started Jirani Coffeehouse with the mission of bringing people of all ages and interests together in a “third space” – that welcoming atmosphere that you love to frequent outside of home and work.

From their shared workspaces to the open library-style shelves to live group performances an open mic nights on weekend evenings, Jirani has something for everyone throughout the day and evening.

The Grand Opening event kicked off with the arrival of Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish and Virginia Delegate Jackson Miller in a Mercedes limousine provided courtesy of All About You Limousine Service. Mayor Parrish welcomed Jirani to the Manassas Historic District noting the comfortable and inviting atmosphere Ken has created in his coffee shop compared to the more austere setting of large chain coffee stores.

In addition, Delegate Miller urged Ken to savor the grand opening festivities as he looks to the future to envision a long and prosperous business for Jirani. The audience listened to the elected speakers, as well as Ken’s speech, with rapt attention, and often humorous remarks.

Committed to building other small businesses as well as their own, the Moorman’s have created their own small incubator for other local businesses who bake on site in Jirani’s space. Baked goods are made by local businesses including Works of Wonder Bakery, Sweet Pearlz Cheesecakes, and Pies + Petals. These businesses utilize the Jirani kitchen to make their goods which are also sold at Jirani.

6Robins Photography and Mosemak Creative have also found a home from which to promote their businesses within Jirani’s space.

Jirani is already welcoming a clientele eager to enjoy the coffee and baked goods in a comfortable, refreshing environment. There is even a private event space that can be rented for your next corporate meeting or community group – it’s known as “the Bean Box” and makes a great place to gather! Jirani’s open mic nights and scheduled singers offer entertainment for a diverse range of musical tastes and genres.

Stop by and see all that is happening at Jirani: Their business hours are: Friday, 5:30am to 2am, Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Manassas & Manassas Park Democrats announce nomination process for 2016 local elections

The Manassas and Manassas Park Cities Democratic Committee (MMPCDC) has scheduled assembled caucuses to nominate Democratic candidates for Manassas and Manassas Park races in the November 8, 2016 General Election.

Specifically, the MMPCDC seeks to nominate Democratic candidates for mayor and city council in each city and for Manassas City treasurer (subject to a special election for that office being placed on the November 8 ballot). In each city, three city council seats and one mayoral seat are up for election this November.

Candidates who seek the Democratic Party nomination for any of those offices must submit a completed Declaration of Candidacy form and a $250 filing fee to the MMPCDC by Friday, May 27 at 5 pm. Complete details–including the Call to Caucus, the Declaration of Candidacy form, and the Caucus Rules-are posted on the MMPCDC website, manassascitydemocrats.com.

If more than one candidate for any elected office should properly file for the Democratic nomination by the May 27th deadline, an assembled caucus will be held to select the nominee. The caucuses for Manassas City nominations are scheduled for Monday, June 6, 7:00 pm, at Manassas City Hall, 9027 Center St, in the first floor Council Chambers.

The caucuses for Manassas Park nominations are scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, 7:00 pm, at the Manassas Park Police Station, 329 Manassas Dr, in the 1st floor conference room. For both sets of caucuses, the doors will open at 6:30 pm for check-in and close promptly at 7:00 pm. Voting will be open to all registered voters from the respective city who sign a standard Democratic declaration form and arrive for voting before 7:00 pm.

If the number of qualified candidates who file for a race by the May 27 deadline does not exceed the number of available seats, the Chair may declare those candidates to be the Party’s nominees and cancel the respective nominating Caucus. If there are no contested races for any seat, the Chair may cancel the Caucus entirely. A notice of all such caucus cancellations will be posted on the MMPCDC website by May 27 at 7:30 pm. For more information, call 571-358-9893 or visit http://www.manassascitydemocrats.com/?p=1258.

Town of Quantico needs veterans for Racer Quest for Veterans with Disabilities project

Are you a disabled Veteran interested in canoeing or kayaking?  Or a disabled Veteran already experienced in kayaking? 

The Town of Quantico, in cooperation with the American Canoe Association (ACA) and USA Canoe/Kayak (USACK), are looking for eligible disabled Veterans to participate in their upcoming Racer Quest for Veterans with Disabilities project being held on May 27 and 28. 

This project is being funded through the Veterans Administration’s (VA) Adaptive Sports Grant (ASG) Program. The Racer Quest for Veterans with Disabilities project will create an adaptive sports outreach program to introduce disabled Veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces to introductory through elite levels of paddlesports.

On Saturday May 27 the project will focus on introducing disabled Veterans to the whole-life health benefits of using a kayak as a recreational activity.  On Sunday May 28th the project will allow disabled Veterans to participate in the Racer Quest program which is a gateway to competing at the national and international levels in paddlesport as an elite athlete.

Please go to www.townofquantico.org to find out how to participate.

Questions and comments should be directed to Sean McCarthy, Director of Sports and Recreation atdir.sports.recreation@townofquantico.org

Potomac View Elementary plants schoolyard garden

On Saturday, April 2, 2016 from 10 a.m. to noon, students, parents, teachers, and volunteers joined 3rd grade teacher Anna Houseworth to “break soil” in Potomac View Elementary School’s first Schoolyard Garden.

The hands-on project is grounded in the State Standards of Learning (SOLs), advised by Master Gardeners from the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), and supported by community volunteers. The project is funded by a grant from SPARK, the education foundation for Prince William County Public Schools.

The grant covered costs of wood for the two 3’ x 12’ frames, hardware, soil to fill the beds, hand tools for working the soil, two small tool sheds, and three rain barrels for collecting and distributing water.  All teachers at Potomac View will use Schoolyard Garden to implement the Prince William County Schools curriculum that follows the SOLs. Students have already participated in lessons that lead up to the garden planting activity and the weeks of tending it that follow.

The Potomac View Schoolyard Garden “is a wonderful example of how collaboration benefits student learning,” said Houseworth, who has taught at the school for 10 years. The support of local businesses that contribute to the SPARK foundation, Master Gardeners, community members, parents, educators, and Prince William County Schools have “created a space where Virginia Standards of Learning will come alive through hands-on experiences,” Houseworth said.

Neighborhood volunteers Jean and Gregg Reynolds drove implementation of the garden plans. They purchased materials, donated some supplies, designed and built the beds, filled them with a mix of topsoil and compost, and will fabricate the rain barrels. Asked about their dedication to this project, Gregg stated that, “Our children attended Potomac View back in the 80’s and next year we will have a grandchild there. It is so exciting to know that she and all her classmates will have this garden experience.”

Fifteen 4th and 5th graders — along with their teachers, parents, and one grandpa — planted broccoli and cauliflower seedlings, and a variety of seeds including lettuce, beets, squash, Easter egg radishes, and even flowers chosen to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.

The Potomac View Schoolyard Garden provides students with the opportunity to practice authentic inquiry-based learning, decision-making and problem-solving skills with their peers and teachers. “The students couldn’t wait to dig into the dirt,” said Houseworth and they will “be able to leave something behind that they helped create. They will remember these experiences for a lifetime.”

The educational and interest value of the garden was proven even before it was officially open. When Jean and Gregg were making final preparation of the soil, the school resource teacher brought about 10 younger students to see the garden. “The kids had questions,” Jean said, “and got to hold brown dirt, then crumble chunks of compost. They were very excited about the earthworms, so we had a mini class right on the spot!”

Manassas, Manassas Park Democrats to host breakfast on April 23

The Manassas & Manassas Park Cities Democratic Committee (MMPCDC) will host its Blue Victory Breakfast, an annual fundraising event, on Saturday, April 23, 2016 from 8:30-11 a.m., at the new City Tavern, located at 9550 Center Street, Manassas.

The doors will open at 8:30 a.m., and the program will begin promptly at 9 a.m. The Blue Victory Breakfast celebrates MMPCDC’s outstanding volunteer leaders and elected officials, while raising the funds needed to help support its slates of Democratic candidates in the November General Election.

Enjoy a buffet breakfast that includes coffee, tea, juice, fruit, eggs, sausage/bacon, and a waffle station and the fellowship of your Democratic friends and neighbors. Several elected officials and 2016 election candidates are scheduled to attend and speak, including State Senator Jeremy McPike and LuAnn Bennett, Democratic candidate for Congress (VA-10th).

In addition, Virginia House Democratic Caucus Chair, Delegate Charniele Herring, will be a special guest speaker.

Ticket prices are $30 each, four tickets for $110, and eight tickets for $210. Sponsorships are available for $100 (True Blue), $250 (Blue Circle), $500 (Royal Blue), and $1000 (Blue Sky). RSVP and pay online from manassascitydemocrats.com. 

Fundraiser for House of Mercy to be held at MurLarkey Distilled Spirits

House of Mercy nonprofit organization will be teaming up with MurLarkey Distilled Spirits to hold a fundraiser for the less fortunate. 

Jim Larkin, General Manager of the distillery, states he is happy to help the agency that serves hundreds of people in local neighborhoods. The event is on Saturday April 23, from 6-8pm at the distillery.

 “We’re on-board to help provide food for the hungry. This will be a fun event for a great cause, and we’re pleased to be hosting it,” said Larkin.

Advanced registration is required. Email help@houseofmercyva.org, or call House of Mercy at 703-659-1636, or use the “Contact” form at the House of Mercy website (www.houseofmercyva.org).

In addition to food, enrolled low-income House of Mercy clients receive a monthly clothing stipend for a minimum of three months from the House of Mercy aid program. This allows those in need to choose their clothing, promoting dignity and grace for those that House of Mercy serves.

About the House of Mercy

The House of Mercy is a Catholic-based humanitarian 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Manassas, Virginia. Founded in 2005, the organization is dedicated to serving the poor, marginalized, and forgotten. The House of Mercy provides aid to the poor regardless of background, race, religious affiliation, physical ability, gender or ethnicity. It offers a variety of free programs to the community, including:

  • Food Pantry
  • Free and discounted clothing
  • Thrift Store
  • New Shoe program for kids
  • Meal Packing (service project)
  • English as a Second Language (ESL), GED Math, and Beginning Math
  • Citizenship Exam preparation
  • Cooking and Nutrition
  • Spiritual Formation Classes
  • Christmas Assistance

House of Mercy Thrift Store is a public thrift store located at 8170 Flannery Ct, Manassas VA 20109. The sale of very gently used clothing, accessories, and home goods help to provide programs that serve the poor in the greater Manassas, Gainesville, and Nokesville areas. Everything in the store is supplied by generous donors, and are clean, fashionable, and trendy.

For more information about the House of Mercy, or to register as a client, or to donate financially,         email help@houseofmercyva.org or call 703-659-1636.

Free 2016 Spring Veterans Resource and job fair

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY —  Michael Futrell  in partnership with Councilman Derrick Wood, Women Veterans Interactive, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Center for Minority Veterans and will host a free 2016 Spring Veterans Resource & Job Fair.

“We should be doing all we can to support our veterans and active duty military personnel,” said Hon. Michael Futrell. “I am pleased to be a partner in bringing this much needed resource and jobs fair to Prince William County. I also look forward to honoring Dr. Hampton and all that he has embodied since making the transition from protecting our country to impacting our community.”

The fair will provide a number of veteran-related services in a one-stop setting.  Onsite will be Department of Veterans Affairs’ representatives from the Center for Minority Veterans, the Veterans Health and Benefits Administrations, and the National Cemetery Administration. 

Other invited organizations will provide information related to GI Bill education assistance, finding jobs, completing wills, preventing homelessness and how to participate in the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project.  Veterans are encouraged to bring DD214 or proof of military service for the opportunity to file claims on location.  Lunch will be provided at no charge to veterans and active duty military personnel in attendance. 

Dr. George Hampton will be honored for his work as a veteran in the community at the event.

Who: Hon. Michael Futrell, Councilman Derrick Wood, Delegate Rich Anderson, Department of Veterans Affairs, Center for Minority Veterans, Women Veterans Interactive, and Stratford University.
What: Veterans Resource & Job Fair
When: Saturday, April 9th, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where:  Stratford University:  Woodbridge Campus 14349 Gideon Dr. Woodbridge, VA  22192 
Members of the media are welcomed and invited to attend.

Manassas Battlefield to Host Junior Ranger Day Event

Manassas, battlefield, park, civil war

Manassas National Battlefield Park will celebrate National Junior Ranger Day with a special event for youths of all ages on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

The event will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Henry Hill Visitor Center. Children and their families can join in a variety of hands-on activities including sending messages by telegraph and signal flag, learning how a cannon was fired, learning the meaning behind the NPS arrowhead, building a monument, and more. Participants can earn their Junior Ranger badge by completing the specially planned activities.

National Junior Ranger Day is a special event held each year during National Park Week, celebrated this year between April 16 and 24. National Park Week is an annual presidentially proclaimed week for celebrating and recognizing National Parks. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service, and parks across the country are hosting special events, including many to allow families to experience America’s National Parks in a unique and kid-friendly way.

Entrance to Manassas National Battlefield Park and the event are free. For more information, contact the Visitor Center at 703-361-1339.

Government ID’s for all Virginia residents

In August of 2014, I organized a Hispanic Town Hall Meeting in Hybla Valley.  I spent the first hour going over issues with constituents.

Then, I asked attendees for feedback – what was their #1 issue?  Lack of government identification.  Attendees said that they and their friends and family were weary of obtaining ID’s from Maryland or not having them at all.

At the beginning of last session, I was approached by Virginia New Majority and the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACALAO) about working together to bring this issue forward.  I introduced Senate Bill 390 that would have allowed the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue a temporary driver’s visitor’s driver’s license to anyone who (1) resided in Virginia for one year, (2) had filed a Virginia tax return or been claimed as a dependent another Virginia tax return and (3) paid a $53 fee.  These licenses would be conspicuously marked with language stating “NOT FOR FEDERAL USE” so it is clear that they are not compliant with the Real ID Act. 

Similar legislation has now been passed in over twelve states: California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Illinois, Vermont, Connecticut, Maryland, District of Columbia, New Mexico, and Washington.  Other states are considering it.  Why is this legislation a good idea?

Reason #1 – Reducing Accidents 
New residents do not know the rules of the road.  According to the DMV, in other states where this has been implemented, over 80% of applicants fail the driving test and need to retake the test.  Having informed driver’s is good for everyone.  Data from California showed that people without driver’s licenses were three times more likely to cause a fatal accident.  The states with the longest record of providing licenses to all residents have experienced nearly a 100% larger drop in traffic fatalities than the nationwide average.  This legislation will save lives.

Reason #2 – Reducing Hit and Runs 
States adopting these measures have seen significant reductions in hit and run accidents.  Analyses by AAA have found that 41% of hit and run drivers lack a driver’s license and that unlicensed drivers are 66.36 times more likely to be hit and run drivers.  When people do not fear prosecution they stop and collisions are dealt with appropriately through our system.  

Reason #3 – Lower Virginia Insurance Premiums
More insured drivers means risk spread among more people, fewer accidents with uninsured drivers, and lower premiums for everyone. 

Reason #4 – Increase Interaction With Law Enforcement
Residents with government ID are much more likely to interact with law enforcement whether it’s for car accidents, domestic violence or to come forward as witnesses for other crimes.  Government ID means greater civic participation. 

Reason #5 – More Tax Revenue
There are an estimated 400,000 people who would benefit from this.  If 80% of estimated eligible Virginians sign up, Virginia will collect $1.7 million in new licensing fees per year.  If each new licensed driver claims $35,000 per year in taxable Virginia income, they would pay an additional $1,755 of state income taxes per person or a total of $561 million per year of new tax revenue.  If 200,000 new auto insurance policies are purchased for $1,000 per year, it will result in $225 million per year of new auto insurance premium tax revenue. 

Reason #6 – Provide All Virginians A High Quality of Life
Licenses allow people to enjoy a healthy quality of life.  Licenses mean being able to take children to soccer games, drive to work, get a bank account, or get to the doctor.  

The Way Forward
The legislation was supported by the McAuliffe Administration and the DMV has assembled a working group including representatives from law enforcement, the immigrant community, faith groups, driving safety groups, criminal defense, courts, chambers of commerce, taxation, human trafficking, and local governments to come up with consensus legislation.  

Hopefully, next year, this legislation will pass so that everyone living in Virginia can enjoy a healthy quality of life.  If you have any feedback, please send me a note at scott@scottsurovell.org.   

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