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Devin Simpson, 18, Attending Disney’s Dreamer’s Academy

Submitted News

Devin Simpson has been selected to attend the 2013 Steve Harvey Dreamer’s Academy.

Devin is a senior at C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge. She is the First Vice President and Program Committee Chair in the Dale City-Prince William County Chapter of Top Teens of America. She is also the chapter’s 2013 Miss Top Teen. The Dreamer’s Academy’s powerful four-day program scheduled for March 7-10 and takes place in what many have called the world’s most creative classroom — the Walt Disney World Resort.

Participants and a parent or guardian will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Now in its sixth year, the Disney Dreamers Academy program continues its dedicated mission to providing a youth with an opportunity to learn how they can harness the power of their dreams.

Through life-enriching interactive workshops and motivational talks, Disney Dreamers Academy gives the Dreamers inspiration to explore the countless possibilities they may never have even imagined and the tools they need to jumpstart turning their dreams into reality. Former Top Teen Ashley Johnson is a 2011 Disney Dreamer’s Academy winner. She currently attends college at Howard University in Washington, D.C.


Woodbridge Cub Scout Pack Enters ‘The Beast’ on Innaugration Day

Submitted News 

By Justin Youtz
Cubmaster, Pack 501

I am very proud to report the outstanding job that the boys from Cub Scout Pack 501 did during the Presidential Inauguration Parade.

We had three Web IIs, four Web I’s and two Bears along with our Cubmaster, Bear Den Leader and our first Den Chief supporting.

When the National Capital Area Council (NCAC) for the Boy Scouts of America sent out a request for Boy Scouts interested in serving as volunteers for the activities surrounding the Presidential Inauguration, thousands of Boy Scouts and Scout Leaders volunteered, and so did Cub Scout Pack 501. Their leader submitted an application with a note asking that Cub Scouts (the younger boys) not be excluded and that the boys of Pack 501 in Woodbridge would do an outstanding job representing the Boy Scouts of America.

In a lottery that followed, only 700 leaders and scouts were selected for the honor. Ten boys and two adult leaders were selected from Cub Scout Pack 501 in those numbers.

The boys were up early, leaving from the parking lot of St. Thomas Aquinas at 4:30 a.m. in order to catch the Metro to get to our check in by 6 a.m.

We were assigned to support the Crossover at 7th and Constitution streets in Zone 2 (refered to by the Presidential Inauguration Committee as “The Beast” due to the large number of people that will be pass through the area.)

While we started out slow with just providing some basic directions, we soon got into the thick of things when the Army special officers in charge of the crossover asked for some help as they were soon to be overwhelmed by hundreds of people standing on either side of the street, waiting for the barrier to come down and the crosswalks to reopen after a series of motorcades came through.

The boys jumped into the crowd and formed a human row of cones. We got all of the north going traffic on the right, opening up the left for the south bound pedestrians.

Our Bear Leader kept everyone on the south side going in the right direction, while our Cubmaster used his day camp shouting ability (people believe that he was a drill sergeant in a former life) to keep directing the southbound crowd out of security and to the Mall for the inauguration.

We provided directions to lost travellers to get to their ticketed security points all over the Mall and advice on how to get past some of the closures due to security.

The pack kept this up all morning, keep things going through the stopping and starting as the Secret Service closed the crossovers to allow motorcades through.

After the Inauguration, and a quick eight block round trip hike for lunch, the boys jumped in again to create two lines of human cones from the barricades to sidewalks, keeping the crossing area clear, pedestrians moving and providing directions.

When the crosswalk permanently closed, we closed ranks some, but kept a secure lane open to allow military, police officers and secret service members access through the crowd from the barricades to the rear staging and warming areas.

Additional good deeds that I witnessed from the boys included supporting one another when tired, cold and hungry; picking up litter; being kind and courteous to the attendees. We provided directions on how to get around with the closures and tried to keep up to date by questioning others in the crowd as they came through on surrounding conditions, receiving news text updates and the like. Our Cubmaster even provided some basic first aid from handing out TUMs and IMMODIUM, to getting fruit and chocolates to two diabetics whose blood sugar was crashing.

Throughout the day, comments like “Yeah, Boy Scouts!”, “Thank you, Boy Scouts!” and “It’s so great to see the Scouts here helping!” kept us going through the long hours and cold.

We made friends with the Army Special Officers, the Minnesota State Police and the Secret Service.

At about 7:30pm, fifteen hours later, we returned the Scouts to their parents at the St. Thomas Aquinas parking lot again. We shared with the parents how well the boys behaved and all that they did.

Some of us saw the President as he drove to the Capitol and many were able to see the First Lady as they drove by in the parade. (We missed them walking by about a block!)

They stood tall and saluted each time. They listened to the President’s speech over the loud speakers. They got to participate in a piece of history.

At the end of the day, they were tired but proud, and I am the proudest of them all. The boys went above and beyond what could have been expected from any CubScout Pack.

It was an honor to be allowed to be part of it all. Thank you NCAC for that.

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Project Mend-a-House Paints Home, adds Wheelchair Ramp

As Prince William volunteers help others on this National Day of Service, hundreds of county citizens have Project Mend-A-House volunteers to thank for their efforts year-round to repair homes for those who do not have the means to do so. On this day, 14 volunteers inspired to serve are painting the interior of a Manassas family’s home. And, a Woodbridge resident is using his new wheelchair ramp built by Project Mend-A-House volunteers to venture out into his community.

“The Project Mend-A-House volunteers were God’s gift to us,” said Margaret Kessinger, whose partner of 38 years, Willard Johnson, needed a wheelchair ramp to get out of their Triangle apartment for his medical appointments and other activities. After she applied and qualified for Project Mend-A-House assistance, the project was scheduled. Thirteen volunteers spent a total of 133 hours completing the ramp just before Christmas.

The National Day of Service calls attention to voluntarism, the hallmark of Project Mend-A-House. “Our volunteers are called to serve their Prince William neighbors every day of the year,” said Andrea Saccoccia, executive director. “No repair is too small for our volunteers if it means we can preserve someone’s independence and dignity.”

For nearly 30 years, Project Mend-A-House has served low-income seniors, veterans and disabled residents of Prince William County. Volunteers have built dozens of wheelchair accessible ramps, modified doorways, secured flooring, repaired leaky faucets, restored electricity and made numerous basic home repairs. Recently they completed restoration of four homes in the Holly Acres mobile home park after flooding had nearly destroyed the homes.
Project Mend-A-House welcomes applications from county residents who need home repairs, from a small leak to a wheelchair ramp to a new floor. Find the application form on the web site, pmahweb.org. Or call Project Mend-A-House at 703-792-7663 to request an application.

Volunteers are the backbone of this Prince William County non-profit. Those skilled in construction trades are particularly needed, but there are opportunities for all types of volunteers who want to lend a helping hand. The volunteer application form is also on the web site.

Citizenship Art Exhibit Opens at Manassas Museum

MANASSAS, Va. — What do citizens look like? For first graders from Baldwin Elementary School in Manassas, the answers are as diverse as their imaginations.

The students, who decorated plain paper “people” for a 225th anniversary commemoration of the Constitution last year, are now the stars of Citizenship Art, a new Manassas Museum exhibit. The students were asked to decorate their “people” to look like citizens, and used markers, crayons, and construction paper on their projects.

Some of the citizens wear crowns, bounce balls, or eat carrots, while others sport cowboy hats, skirts or ties. All of the citizens create a riot of color on the museum’s walls.

“Like the metaphor of the United States as a ‘melting pot’ of different races and cultures, these children remind us that American citizens come in many different guises,” observes Museum Curator Mary Helen Dellinger. The exhibit is free for Baldwin students and their families and is open through February.

-Submitted news

Write by the Rails Joins PWC Arts Council


MANASSAS, Va. — On Jan. 8, the Board of Directors of the Prince William County Arts Council approved its newest member: Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club.

“This expands the Arts Council in a wonderful way,” said Kathy Bentz, PWC Arts Liaison. “For 20 years, the council has represented dance, music, visual art and theatre, but never literature. As soon as we opened membership to individual writers in January 2011, a small trickle became a gushing stream. We welcome their talents!”

Four of those original individual writer members, Pete Pazmino, Sheila Lamb, Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt and Cindy Brookshire, founded Write by the Rails, a networking group for writers in Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park. Their first gathering at Okra’s in Old Town Manassas in August 2011 brought 12 writers together, and the group has rapidly grown to 150 members through a Facebook group and the website www.writebytherails.org. Group members host bi-monthly “meet and greets” throughout the county, pool money to rent book sale tables at community events and promote book signings, manuscript groups and write-ins on the website’s calendar.

Since earning the Virginia Writers Club’s charter, Write by the Rails hosts monthly meetings at Trinity Episcopal Church, 9325 West Street, Old Town Manassas on the third Thursday of each month at 7 pm. The Jan. 17 speaker is William Golden of PrinceWilliamLife.com, who will talk about setting up author websites and blogs. The group also honors VWC’s mission to engage young writers by spreading the word about the state club’s 2013 Teen Golden Nib Contest, which has a deadline of March 1.

Members currently review books for Prince William Living magazine’s online “Book Nook” column. Twenty-two members are featured in New Departures, an anthology formatted by Manassas author Claudia LeFeve, who, in 2012, sold 7,700 ebook copies of her first three Travelers series books (PARALLEL, PARADOX and PARADIGM) on everything from Amazon Kindle to Barnes & Noble Nook and Apple iBooks and iTunes. LeFeve explained indie authors are estimated to sell, on average, only 100 to 200 books a year. Even traditionally published mid-list or debut authors can expect to sell between 1,000 to 5,000 copies.

One of the authors featured in New Departures is Robert Bausch, an NVCC-Woodbridge professor who is planning to lead his third annual Woodbridge Writers Retreat on May 15-18 with his brother, novelist Richard Bausch and Tom Zoellner, author of Uranium: War, Energy, and the Rock That Shaped the World. The cost is $650 and only 18 slots are available. More information is available at www.robertbausch.org. Another author featured in the anthology is Gainesville writer June Pair Kilpatrick, whose memoir, Wasps in the Bedroom, Butter in the Well: Growing Up during the Great Depression, will be the subject of a Book Talk at The Manassas Museum on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 2 p.m.

There are no dues to join Write by the Rails, however all local authors are encouraged to join the Virginia Writers Club to amplify their local art to the state level. For more information, email writebytherails[at]gmail.com.

Moncrief Graduates Navy School With Honors


Basil Earl “Trey” Moncrief III graduated this month from the Navy’s Aviation Electrician’s Mate school as the class honor man with a 98.91 grade point average.

Moncrief was also selected for meritorious promotion to Petty Officer Third Class (E-4), his second meritorious promotion since graduating Navy boot camp in June 2012.

Aviation Electrician’s Mate school is an intensive four-month curriculum focusing on aircraft electrical and navigational equipment including power generators, power distribution systems, flight instruments, and state-of-the-art computer systems.

Moncrief is a 2005 graduate of Woodbridge High School and is now assigned to Patrol Squadron 62 (VP-62) at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida.

Dale City Civic Association Seeks Applications for Youth Awards


The Dale City Civic Association (DCCA) is seeking applicants for the Annual Youth Environmental and Conservation Award.

This award will be presented at DCCA’s Annual Recognition Banquet to be held on Jan. 26, 2013. Former Delegate David Brickley will be sponsoring a $500 cash prize with this award.

Open to Dale City youth, the criteria includes a youth’s major commitment to environmental, conservation or energy issues; community involvement, good scholastic grades; and a positive student role model or leader.

Applications should be limited to two pages describing the student’s community or school related environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation or energy project. The youth must be nominated by a teacher, counselor, youth or community leader.

Nominations should be sent to DCCA, P.O. Box 1822, Dale City, Va. 22195 by January 9th. Additional information can be provided by Ernestine Jenkins at 703-670-6907 or David Brickley at brickleylaw@comcast.net.

Click here to submit news.

Woodbridge’s Witherell Promoted to Partner at PR Firm


Seigenthaler Public Relations, Inc. (SPR), an award-winning communications firm with offices in Nashville, New York and Chicago, has named Ryan J. Witherell as a new partner with the firm.

Ryan Witherell, formerly Vice President of Client Services and New Media, provides strategic communications, marketing and branding counsel to corporate clients across a variety of industries including technology, environment, real estate development, healthcare, financial services, law and consumer products. Witherell, who joined SPR in 2002, specializes in planning and executing integrated communications campaigns that include branding, media relations and social media. He also leads SPR’s new media team, which counsels clients and provides services in online communications and social media, and has shaped multi-tiered online strategies for a diverse group of businesses.

Witherell was a 2012 “Nashville Emerging Leaders Award” finalist in the Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing category. He also was selected to the Nashville Emerging Leaders (NEL) class of 2008, and chaired NEL’s marketing and recruiting committee in 2009. Ryan has been a member of Public Relations Society of America and the Nashville chapter of the American Marketing Association (NAMA). A native of Woodbridge, Virginia and a graduate of Virginia Tech, Ryan is a board member of Matthew 25, a Nashville-based transitional housing program for homeless men and US Veterans.

4th Annual Free Drive-Through ‘A Living Nativity’


The Worship Center, 14001 Crown Court, Woodbridge, will present its fourth annual ‘A Living Nativity’ at Hylton Memorial Chapel on Thursday, December 13 through Saturday, December 15 from 6:30-9:00 PM, announced Ron McCormick, lead pastor of the church.

The drive-through free Living Nativity features a panorama of six scenes staged on the lawn along the parking areas of Hylton Memorial Chapel. “ ‘The Living Nativity’ is our Christmas gift to the community,” McCormick said. “This year’s production will be the biggest and best yet.”

Scenes include the angel’s announcement to Mary, the three Magi following the star, shepherds in the field watching their flocks, the Bethlehem marketplace, and the inn where Mary and Joseph are turned away. The climax is the manager scene with adoring worshippers. Live camels, donkeys, and sheep interact with the scenes’ characters played by church members and friends.

“Our being at the Hylton Memorial Chapel campus allows our guests to drive slowly through the scenes or to park and walk from scene to scene,” McCormick continued. “We invite families to bring their children to be wowed by the whole event and the live animals. Our community and visitors to PWC can fill their cars and drive by each evening to catch the full splendor of Jesus’ birth this Christmas.”

Writers Holding Book Signing in Woodbridge


WOODBRIDGE, Va. — On Saturday, December 1, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Prince William County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is hosting their Third Annual Rolling Out the Red Carpet Book Signing Event at the Prince William Association of Realtors (PWAR) Building, located at 4545 Daisy Reid Avenue, Woodbridge, VA 22192.

This free event is an opportunity for the community to meet six local up-and-coming authors and one outstanding artist, Latosha Thomas. Book subjects include financial planning, inspirational, motivational, suspense, drama and thriller. The authors are:

· Austin Camacho: The Stark and O’Brien Series

· Shavon Cowert: Living for Today: Inspirations for the Soul

· Brian Fischer: Exiting the Matrix: How Conventional Wisdom is Ruining Your Financial Future

· Lewis E. Forrest, I: Death Knows No Color

· B. Swangin Webster: Let Me Just Say This

· Barbara Wilson: Mute But Now I Speak

This free community event includes a meet-and-greet and reception. Participants will read excerpts from, sign and sell their books. The artist’s work will also be featured.


Free Imagine Christmas Concerts Dec. 8 & 9


Manassas Assembly of God Christmas Concert

Manassas Assembly of God once again presents their annual Imagine Christmas concert, complete with a full orchestra, choir, children’s choir, and dance. Everyone is invited!

The concert is free and child care is available for ages 0-3.
Four show times: Saturday, December 8, 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Sunday, Dec.  9, 9 a.m. and  11 a.


Early seating passes available by calling the church office, 703-368-2895

More info: magchurch.org/christmas
Manassas Assembly of God
11500 New Life Way
Bristow, VA 20136

Grant Up for Grabs for Dumfries Gymnasts



With less than a week to go All-Around Gymnastics Association from Dumfries, Va is in the hunt for a grant
but is looking for help from the community.

Boston (November 21, 2012) – All-Around Gymnastics Association is competing this fall in the Responsible Sports Community Grant program, seeking to earn one of the fifteen $2,500 Grants available from the Liberty Mutual Insurance. Right now they are on the leaderboard but with only a week to go they are looking for support from the community to help earn more points to realize their dream.

Parents, family members, friends, community members, neighbors – ANYONE – can help them earn a grant by completing an online quiz at ResponsibleSports.com/Local. The quiz teaches the principles of creating a positive youth sports environment. Once you have completed your quiz you will be asked to credit it to your favorite youth sports team. Please credit it to All-Around Gymnastics Association. With less than a week to go the competition is fierce and they need your help to stay on top of the Leaderboard.

Want more information about Responsible Sports and the Community Grant? Contact us at Anu@ResponsibleSports.com.


About the Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports Program: The Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports program, created in partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance, ASA Softball / USA Softball, AYSO Soccer, USA Hockey, USA Wrestling and US Youth Soccer – provides resources for parents and coaches at www.ResponsibleSports.com to help children reap the full benefits of playing a team sport. The online community incorporates parent and coach guides, podcasts and videos from sports celebrities along with programs including Community Grant. Over the past five years over half a million dollars has been awarded to youth sports organizations and schools. These teams have realized the tangible benefits of the Responsible Sports™ program by being able to upgrade facilities, purchase new uniforms or equipment, and lowering or waiving participation fees through the funds received as grant recipients.

About Liberty Mutual Insurance: “Helping people live safer, more secure lives” since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance is a diversified global insurer and the third largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2011 direct premiums written as reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Liberty Mutual Insurance also ranks 84th on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. corporations based on 2011 revenue. The company has over 45,000 employees located in more than 900 offices throughout the world.

The eighth-largest auto and home insurer in the U.S., Liberty Mutual Insurance (www.libertymutual.com) sells full lines of coverage for automobile, homeowners, valuable possessions, personal liability, and individual life insurance. The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering auto and home insurance to employees and members of more than 14,000 companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni groups.

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