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Manassas Student Pens Plan to Recycle Gas to Heat Campus, Wins Award

Submitted News 

MANASSAS, Va. — Syed M. Sarwar of Manassas recently won a competition sponsored by the District of Columbia Council of Engineering and Architectural Societies. Sarwar was recognized during an awards banquet Feb. 23 in Silver Spring, Md., where he also received the $500 first-place prize.

Sarwar expressed his excitement about winning the award. “I felt very good when I heard the good news from my engineering professor that my hard work paid off,” he said.

Called the Competition for Outstanding Young Engineer and Architect Research Papers, the contest evaluated research papers written by undergraduate and graduate students. The rigorous criteria required entries to be formatted according to standard guidelines for publication in a professional journal and to include an abstract, discussion, method of study, results and significance of the project.

Sarwar’s submission, “Utilization of Landfill Biogas to Decrease Campus CO2 Emissions through Construction of CHHP System,” won in the undergraduate category. The paper illustrates how a hydrogen energy system constructed on a college campus can make use of local resources such as municipal landfills. The hydrogen energy system described in the paper would use landfill gas to fuel itself and to supply thermal and electrical energy needs for the campus and surrounding community. In return, the system would reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

As a student at the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College, Sarwar learned about the contest from engineering instructor Monica Mallini.

“I wanted to give my students an opportunity to learn how to write a professional paper, something most students do not experience until graduate school. Syed wrote the paper as a freshman in the honors option section of my ‘Introduction to Engineering’ class,” Mallini said. “At the awards reception, the education committee chairman said we made history because Syed was the first community college student to enter and win this contest. I am extremely pleased with Syed’s success and encouraged to find more opportunities like this for our students.”

Sarwar graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School in 2011 and enrolled at NOVA that fall. After NOVA, he plans to transfer to George Washington University to continue his education in mechanical engineering specializing in the automotive industry.

“I am very motivated and passionate about becoming a mechanical engineer and working at Mercedes-Benz, my dream company,” Sarwar said.

Youth Football Teams Race to Sell Charity Raffle Tickets for Ford Sedan

News from Content Partner Boys and Girls Clubs

DALE CITY, Va. — Two of the area’s most respected youth football organizations are teaming up with the Prince William County/Manassas Boys & Girls Clubs to raise $50,000 in partnership with Steve’s Auto Repair in Woodbridge.

Northern Virginia Youth Athletic Association (NVYAA), American Youth Football lead by President Tony Keiling, and Prince William Pop Warner Football led by President Terry Hubbard are in a head to head contest to sell the most car raffle tickets for a 2001 Crown Victoria for the Boys & Girls Club. “We support the community and we support the Boys & Girls Club” says Tony Keiling of NVYAA “None of us are able to impact the community by ourselves, that why we support one another.”

Both organizations football programs are run out of different Clubs. NVYAA-AYF operates their program from the Hylton Boys & Girls Club in Dale City and Prince William Pop Warner is based out of the Manassas Boys & Girls Clubs. “We have 5,000 car raffle tickets to sell by March 29. We are confident that these two great programs will help us reach our $50,000 goal” says Regional Director Glenn Vickers. “What makes both programs special is their commitment to education and good citizenship. This friendly rivalry between each league is a great example of good sportsmanship and fair play.” says Vickers.

Tickets for the raffle are being sold at all three Boys & Girls Clubs in Dumfries, Dale City, Manassas, and Steve’s Auto Repair and with members of both NVYAA and Pop Warner. Terry Hubbard stated “The response from our Pop Warner Family has been great, may the best league win”

The raffle will be pulled on Friday, March 29, at 6 p.m. at the Hylton Boys & Girls Club 5070 Dale Boulevard in Dale City.

For more information both either youth football leagues and partners please visit


Northern Virginia Pop Warner

Steve’s Auto Repair

Hospital Hosting Seminar on Benefits of Brain Food

Health News 

Mary Washington Healthcare (MWHC) will host a free seminar and cooking demo, Brain Food: Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle, Tuesday, March 26 to share the latest about insomnia, headaches, and dementia—and how good food choices and a doctor’s care can ease common neurological ailments.

Brain Food, to be held 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., will feature Dr. Maha Alattar, MD, MWHC neurologist and sleep medicine specialist, explaining risk factors for neurological ills and how diet is essential to a healthy brain.

“What we eat has an extraordinary impact on our brain and nervous system,” Dr. Alattar says. “If we don’t nourish our minds properly, we can invite conditions such as insomnia, migraines, or seizures. We can even waste opportunities to ward off dementia such as Alzheimer’s Disease.”

“Wholesome food triggers important chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters. They give us optimal brain power so we can maximize attention, memory and emotional well-being. Neurotransmitters are important in recovery from stroke or traumatic brain injury,” Dr. Alattar says.

What: Brain Food: Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle

Who: Dr. Maha Alattar, MD, Neurologist

When: Tuesday, March 26, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

5:30 p.m. Cooking demo by expert chef. Chat with registered dietitian about making the most of every bite. Sample brain-healthy foods. Easy-to-follow recipe cards, other giveaways.

6:30 p.m. Keynote by Maha Alattar, MD, neurologist, about how diet is central to a healthy nervous system.

Cost: FREE

Where: Fick Conference Center, Mary Washington Hospital campus, 1301 Sam Perry Blvd., 2nd Floor (Carl Silver Center/Moss Free Clinic Bldg.)

Register: or 540-741-1404. Registration recommended.

Submit questions for Dr. Alattar when registering.

As the greater Fredericksburg region’s only Spirit of Women® hospital system, Mary Washington Healthcare is hosting Brain Food: Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle as part of a network of more than 100 Spirit member hospitals across the U.S.


Chick-fil-A Woodbridge Offering Free Sandwich for Potomac Local News Readers

Sponsored Post 

For the first time, Chick-fil-A on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge is offering a free original chicken sandwich to all readers of Potomac Local News all day Tuesday, March 5, 2013.

All you need to do is visit the restaurant and mention Potomac Local News when you order to receive your free sandwich.

Chick-fil-A Woodbridge is open 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is closed on Sundays. With a menu centering around chicken, the restaurant features their classic sandwiches both crispy and grilled, breakfast, salads, wraps, and deserts.030213-Free-sandwich-cfa

NOVA Holding Career Training Open House

Submitted News

Northern Virginia Community College will hold a Career Training Open House on Saturday, March 9 from 10 a.m. until noon at our Innovation Park location in Manassas. The event is free and open to the public.

In one place, attendees will learn about; financial aid, potential funding for school through the Workforce Investment Act, free counseling services for adult students, assistance for job seekers and unemployed Virginians, ESL courses, and numerous NOVA and partner credit, non-credit, and training programs in STEM fields.

To learn more or RSVP, go to NOVA’s website , call 703-425-5245, or email

Residents 60 and Older to be Offered Free Fall Risk Assessments

Submitted News

Project Mend-A-House, a non-profit organization serving seniors, veterans, the disabled and low-income residents of Prince William County, the City of Manassas, and Manassas Park, is offering a fall risk screening at no charge to adults over 60-years-old.

Have your vision checked by an Optometrist, your gait and balance evaluated by a Physical Therapist, your medications reviewed by a Pharmacist, and meet with a Nurse who will discuss and explain your results. Choose to participate in a research project headed by the Locomotion Research Department from Virginia Tech to further the development of new technology to help prevent falls among older adults.

Pre-registration is required and space is limited.

Friday, May 3, 2013

9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Sharron Baucom-Dale City Recreation Center
14300 Minnieville Rd., Dale City, VA 22193
Register: 703-670-7115, ext. 227 or


Forest Park Wins AAA State Championship

Submitted News

Forest Park Cross Country and Track

We started our weekend with a quote (which I altered a bit) from Mark Twain as inspiration to help carry ourselves with confidence. The confidence, determination, and the hard work over the last few months really showed up in the end.

The biggest highlight of the day was the 4*2. Our Boys lowered their number one national time on the flat track, broke the state record by nearly two seconds, and will be going for the national record in two weeks at the national championships.

Ricky Morgan had one of the toughest triples of the day running the 4*2, 500, and 300. He did not disappoint, despite getting sick before the start of his 1st race, Ricky helped get us get a big lead in the 4*2, he followed that up with a 3rd place finish in the 500, and another all state finish in the 300.

Josh Washington led off the 4*2 and handed off the baton in a neck and neck tie for 1st place. He then came back in the 300 to finish 4th and his score really helped put some distance between us and the other teams in the point standings.

Mustaqeem Williams placed in five events and nearly brought home four titles himself. In the triple jump he went for it on his last jump and he lept 49-1 putting him in 1st in the meet and 6th nationally. One more jumper went and lept 49-7 forcing us to settle for second.

The Long Jump was a little more controversial in that Mustaqeem had the best jump going into the final and reserved the right as the best jumper to jump last after the 4*2. However upon returning to the pit the head official closed it not allowing Mustaqeem or 4 others to get in their last jumps. Despite our protest we were told the results were final and Mustaqeem ended up 2nd by a 1/2 inch.

We decided to move on because the team title was our focus! In the 55 he had a horrid start, which in that event can be disastrous, but his speed is simply unmatched in the short sprints in Virginia as he turned on another gear midway through the race to taking the lead at the line and bringing home the 55 meter title for the second year in a row. Mustaqeem wrapped up his day by gutting out a 3rd place finish in the 300. All in all Mustaqeem finished with two golds (55, 4*2), two silvers (TJ,LJ), and one Bronze (300).

Calvin Michie ran a strong relay leg to help keep the lead and break the national record.

Ebenezer Agyemong lept to a personnel Indoor best of 6-1 in the High Jump.

Finally Andrew Gaiser put the icing on the cake by scoring in the two mile. Despite being sick he dropped five seconds off his time and earned his second all state honor and first on the track.

The girls had a pretty solid day as Yaa Agyepong Wiafe lowered her own school record and finished all state in the hurdles. Allyson Bodmer just missed an all state finish in the mile dropping 4 seconds of her indoor personnel best.

Lastly, Hannah Zachman dropped another amazing 20 seconds off of her two mile. In the last two weeks she has dropped 40 seconds off of her two mile time.

It was wonderful to see so many Bruin parents and supporters there among the thousands watching the meet. In the end seeing our Bruin Team hoist that state champion trophy was pretty special.

By the numbers
1 state record
2 state individual titles
2 state runner up finishes
11 All state Finishes
And the biggest prize of all
Virginia AAA State Team Champions

Rising Above Expectations Seeks Volunteers in Prince William County

Rising Above Expectations inc. commonly known as RAE, is a nonprofit organization founded by Simeaka Melton and inspired by her daughter Aaliyah Melton. RAE is based in Prince William County and currently has five chapters spread between Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. We are constantly seeking volunteers, community partnerships and welcomes participants.

RAE provides an ongoing mentoring and leadership program for all youth. The areas of focus include self esteem building, healthy relationship education and suicide prevention education. The organization provides a 14 week out of school session in the spring and in the fall, serving youth between the ages of 8 to 18. The out of school session workshops include topics such as self esteem, body image, media pressures, bullying, healthy relationships, life skills, suicide prevention education and other daily issues youth face. In addition to the spring and fall sessions RAE offers annual events, summer camp, field trips, college tours, family activities and professional resources in the community.

Simeaka Melton (Founder/Chief Executive Officer) takes the integrity of Rising Above Expectations inc. seriously and works hard to inspire “One Life At A Time”. Since Shola Kemp has joined RAE as Chief Operations Officer the two dedicated women have worked diligently in building the organization into one parents and other organizations seek.

RAE spring session begins on March 2 and ends with “I Am Worth My Purpose” camp on June 1. For additional program information or information on how to get involved please call 202-421-1945, or email Simeaka[at]

After Losing Child, Family Holding Fundraiser to Benefit Other Parents

STAFFORD, Va. – United States Marine Corps Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient Sgt. Travis Zabroski and his wife of 6 years Lindsey Zabroski recently gave birth to their precious baby boy Bohden. After fighting for life for 30 hours, Bohden Eugene Zabroski passed away. The Zabroski family started the non-profit foundation Bohden’s Hands to help other families to cope with the loss of their infant children.

March 2, 2013 the non-profit organization Bohden’s Hands will be hosting a fundraising event at Mick’s Restaurant and Sports Lounge in Stafford. All of the funds raised will be donated to families that have suffered the bereavement of losing a baby. The event is from 3pm – close.

Many local businesses have generously donated amazing prizes as a part of our silent auction. There will be music, great food and drinks as well as many opportunities to support this amazing non-profit organization and help local families with the financial and emotional burdens of losing a child.

Bohden’s Hands Spring Fundraising Event
March 2, 2013
3 p.m. unitl close
Mick’s Restaurant and Sports Lounge
2866 Jefferson Davis Hwy Stafford, Va. 22554

Prince William First-Grader Makes Film Debut in ‘Bad Parents’

Submitted News

Local Prince William County first-grader Adrian Fucito gets his big Hollywood break playing Janeane Garofalo’s son in Bad Parents, a witty new satirical comedy film about sports parents behaving badly and a suburban mom who relives her season with the soccer obsessed sports parents whose outrageous “win at all costs” behavior spirals out of control.

Co-starring Christopher Titus, Cheri Oteri and Michael Boatman, Bad Parents has been making waves as an official selection for the Los Angeles Comedy Festival, Austin Film Festival, Gold Coast International Film Festival, Orlando Film Festival and the Chicago Comedy Film Festival, and will make its DC-area premiere at an exclusive 7:30 p.m. screening on Thursday, March 21 at the AMC Hoffman 22 Theater in Alexandria

About the Film

From tryouts to the State Cup Championship game, Kathy (Janeane Garofalo – SNL, The Truth About Cats & Dogs) is swept up into the mania of competitive, over-involved parents who stop at nothing to ensure their daughters get the playing time and training to make it to the top. Writer/Director Caytha Jentis, with insider authenticity, shares the absurd, yet very real world of suburban youth sports. With humor and heart, she exposes the void in parents’ lives that youth soccer fills. We know these people. They are our friends and neighbors. For everyone who has ever sat on the sidelines of their kids’ sporting events, for anyone who has dared to dream of making it big at any cost, this is your story. Are you THAT parent?

Annual Business Recycling Reports Due February 28

Submitted News

Businesses in Prince William County are reminded to complete and file an annual recycling report with the Department of Public Works by February 28, 2013. The report is in the form of a survey and should only take about 5-10 minutes to complete. A link to the survey is available at The survey should be completed by the property manager or the person most familiar with trash and recycling services for the property.

Section 22-169 of the Prince William County Code requires all businesses and other non-residential properties that produce trash within the county to report recycling activities to the Department of Public Works by February 15 for the previous calendar year. This year the filing deadline has been extended to February 28, 2013. Home-based businesses and businesses located within the cities of Manassas, or Manassas Park, or the incorporated towns of Dumfries, Haymarket, Occoquan, or Quantico are exempt from filing this report.

Business recycling information for 2012 is needed in order for the County to comply with recycling reporting requirements established by the Commonwealth of Virginia under Code of Virginia, Section 10.1-1411 and 15.1 – 11.5.2.
For calendar year 2011 (the most recent year for which data is available), Prince William County achieved a recycling rate of 37.5 percent, the goal is to reach 40 percent. All businesses and residents are encouraged to do more to reduce, reuse and recycle waste to help preserve both our natural resources and landfill capacity for future generations.

For more information on the annual business recycling report or to learn more about ways to reduce, reuse and recycle waste in Prince William County, please visit or call the Solid Waste Division of Public Works at 703-792-4670.

‘Know Toxics’ Training for Businesses Limits Liability and Improves Safety

Submitted News

Northern Virginia businesses can learn how to reduce company liability and improve safety at the “Know Toxics” training sponsored by Virginia Waste Management Board on Tuesday March 19 at the 1-66 Transfer Facility Training Center in Fairfax. The training is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $40 per person and includes breakfast and lunch.

Attendees will learn to manage and properly dispose of common hazardous materials commonly found at businesses such as fluorescent light bulbs, batteries, thermostats, or electronics. These materials should never be placed in the trash because doing so increases the risk of injury and can result in monetary fines.

“Know Toxics” topics include identifying materials, understanding the law, handling and managing toxic materials safely, how to create a material handling plan, educating company workers and how to select a hazardous materials hauler.

This training is open to Prince William businesses and the Prince William County Solid Waste Division encourages area businesses to attend to gain a better understanding of hazardous waste and used electronics.

For additional information please contact Scott MacDonald at or call 703-792-4670. If you wish to register, please visit

Baseball Team Holds Online Fundraiser

Submitted News 

The Manassas BATtle, a co-ed team of seven years old, with a passion and love for baseball is trying to raise funds for its upcoming spring and summer seasons.

The BATtle are based out of Prince William County, in historic Manassas, and will be competing locally against teams from Loudon, Fairfax, Arlington, Fauquier, and Stafford counties. Donations are tax-deductible and all money raised will go directly to helping this great group of kids have a successful season.

Funds will help offset umpire fees, field preparation, as well as uniform and equipment costs. Please visit our online fundraising site to contribute:

Prince William Chamber Members Meet Richmond Legislators

MANASSAS, Va. — The Prince William Chamber of Commerce invited its members to join them this month on a trip to Richmond to meet with state policymakers and see government in action. The group included members of the Chamber’s Prince William Veteran Council.

“General Assembly members were excited to see that we have an active, engaged council that both supports veterans and taps into the expertise and energy that they bring to the community,” said Nancy Hiteshue, Chamber Vice President of Public Policy and Communications.

The day started with a briefing from Hiteshue, where attendees prepared for the legislative visits and learned about grassroots advocacy. They were then joined by Governor Bob McDonnell and Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton.

“We had a productive discussion on the Governor’s proposed transportation funding package, sharing thoughts on how the business community could be involved in the process of solving Virginia’s transportation crisis,” said Chamber President & CEO Rob Clapper. “It is vital that a transportation bill is passed this year. We can not afford to allow further decline of our transportation system.”

Clapper also noted that the Prince William region has a number of key projects that have been in a holding pattern for years, and that will not be possible without significant, new, dedicated trasnportation funding. These include widening of Route 28, the extension of Rt. 234 bypass to Dulles Airport (the “Bi-County Parkway”) and improvments along the Route 1 corridor.

Chamber members watched as the House Finance Committee voted on the house version of the funding bill. They also witnessed Hiteshue in action, as she testified in favor of HB 1336, the Telework Tax Credit bill. It would help to offset some of the costs incurred by individuals who telework.

“Telework incentives lay the foundation for Virginia to be the workforce of the future. It means that our talented and well-educated citizens could reside here while working for companies around the world, diversifying our economic base and increasing opportunity,” said Hiteshue. The Chamber hosted a Northern Virginia Telework Summit in November.

Said Chamber member Cliff Glier of SenCura of Chamber Day, “The Prince William Chamber’s efforts to help our group were fantastic and the opportunity to see our state government in action was much appreciated.”

That evening, the Chamber members were joined for dinner by members of the Prince William Delegation to the General Assembly and their aides. Clapper explained that this part of the Chamber Day allows for business leaders to get to know policymakers one-on-one.

“The Prince William delegates and senators are committed to keeping Virginia a top location for doing business. Our Chamber Day in Richmond is an opportunity for them to hear from the front lines, to talk to the job creators and gain insight from small business owners,” said Clapper.

To learn more about the advocacy efforts of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, the largest chamber in Virginia and the DC Metro area, visit or call 703.368.6600.


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Prince William Chamber members meet with Richmond lawmakers. [Submitted photo]

‘Grow Your Health’ Festival to Focus on Nutrition, Local Food

FAIRFAX, Va. — The Grow Your Health Wellness Festival, a project of the Northern Virginia Whole Foods Nutrition Meetup Group, will be held on March 10, 2013 from noon – 5 p.m. at Woodson High School in Fairfax.

The festival includes a screening of the food documentary, In Organic We Trust, a “pop-up”café selling local farm fresh meals from Fields of Athenry Farm’s Chef Wes Rosati (former Executive Chef at Lansdowne Resort), and classes and exhibits on gardening, school lunches, local food and wellness. Prominently featured in the film is the school garden at Watkins Elementary School in Washington DC.

Dr. Carmel Dekel Wiseman, DC, DICCP in Northern Virginia and Tel Aviv, originally had the vision for the Grow Your Health Wellness Festival after seeing the film at the Environmental Working Group conference last year. “I was originally concerned about the quality of the food my family eats and the direct impact that food has on my patients’ health. Then a vision formed of communities coming together to watch the film and developing local solutions such as learning to start your own garden, tending community and school gardens, and sourcing local food. The sky is the limit for what we can do to support our local economies, improve our health and create healthy thriving communities by coming together to improve the quality of our food.”

To empower festival attendees to improve the quality of the food they eat, start gardens and build community, classes and wellness exhibits after the film screening will support them to take action. Local gardening schools, Prior Unity Garden and Love & Carrots will offer classes.

· Gardening class topics include Starting Your First Garden, Managing Bugs and Pests without Chemicals, Feeding the Soil, Herb & Container Gardening, Gardening with Kids, and Advanced Gardening Methods (Biodynamic Permaculture and Foodscaping)

· A panel of local experts will discuss the solutions presented in the film: organizing school gardens, urban farming, better school lunches, and how to buy local.

· Local wellness exhibits include Bob’s Bakery, Prior Unity gardening services, Smart Markets, United Wellness Center, Vital Healthy Life, and Sunrise Nutritional Therapy.

Tickets are available online, at the door. More details can be found at The advance sale ticket price of $10 adult, $5 children under 18 (babies free), includes the movie and either a gardening class or panel discussion. Lunch is purchased separately. Tickets at the door will be $15. Proceeds from this event over and above expenses will be donated to support the nutrition education efforts of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Direct media inquiries to Kimberly Hartke at 703-860-2711.


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, 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 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, 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 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]

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.

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