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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 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

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

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

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,

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

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 to find out how to participate.

Questions and comments should be directed to Sean McCarthy, Director of Sports and Recreation

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 

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, or call House of Mercy at 703-659-1636, or use the “Contact” form at the House of Mercy website (

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 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   

Good news: Virginia has a state budget

I am typing these words of good news on the night of Friday, March 11th, on the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates in Richmond. We just adjourned the 2016 legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly with approval of a bipartisan two-year Virginia state budget. The good news: The budget is balanced, cautious, sensible, and doesn’t increase taxes or fees.

As a member of the 22-member House Appropriations Committee (HAC), I have been engaged since December with crafting the budget, along with two other Prince William County legislators, Del. Scott M. Lingamfelter (R-31st) and Del. Luke M. Torian (D-52nd). I serve on three HAC subcommittee (Public Safety, Transportation, and Higher Education), so I had a hand in developing these three parts of the budget.

Here in bullet fashion are the highlights of the budget we approved Friday night:

– It was passed by large margins in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation in both houses of the General Assembly.

– It was completed early, permitting the General Assembly to adjourn one day early, saving taxpayers $25,000.

– It is balanced, fair, and cautious. Unlike the federal government, we build the budget like you build your family budget, with common sense and without gimmicks.

– It doesn’t increase taxes or fees.

– It represents a spending decrease of 5% over the last 10 years, when adjusted for population and inflation.

– It funds the core functions of state government from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018.

– It eliminates state liabilities, reduces borrowing, and makes one-time investments rather than long-term spending commitments.

– It funds investments in economic development to grow businesses and create jobs.

– It invests $73M more for K-12 public education than Gov. McAuliffe proposed, for a total of $900M.

– It includes $36M for Cost to Compete for school employees in Northern Virginia (a budget amendment that I co-patroned with several of my PWC colleagues).

– It includes $100K for the VaSTAR (Virginia Student Training and Refurbishment Program) computer rehab program administered by PWC Schools (a budget amendment for which I was Chief Patron).

– It invests $78M more for higher education than Gov. McAuliffe proposed.

– It includes $114M for operations and maintenance at colleges and universities and $48M for undergraduate financial aid to hold the line on tuition increases.

– It includes a 2% teacher pay raise, a 2% pay raise for state-supported local employees, and a 3% pay raise for state employees and state police.

– It deposits $605M in the state rainy day fund to raise the balance to $845M in two years as a hedge against the unforeseen.

– It funds the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) at 100% of the Board-certified rate (two years early). It repays VRS $189.5M owed from a funding deferral in 2010 (six years early).  

While this is a lot of information, it’s not all-inclusive, so go to the state budget website for details:

No budget is perfect in every respect. This budget is no different in that regard, but the bipartisan, bicameral way in which it was approved says that it is a sound spending plan. We have a second crack at improving it next January when we can offer amendments during the 2017 legislative session of the General Assembly. In the meantime, I sincerely thank our neighbors for the privilege of working on their behalf in crafting the state budget.

I’ll be back home with Ruth and on the job in Prince William County the week of March 14th, and I look forward to getting back to the rigors of community life. Although the General Assembly session has ended, my duty to you has not. If I may assist you or your family in any way, please don’t hesitate to call or email.

I’m easily reached at or at our legislative district office (571-264-9983). My legislative aide, Ryan Galloway, is at If your need is urgent and can’t wait until the next business day, please call my Woodbridge home at 703-730-1380. We’re here for you.

Many thanks for the privilege of serving you and your family at home and in Richmond!

Over $210 million in new funds coming to the 36th District

The last week of the 2016 General Assembly session brought a flurry of activity on some of our most difficult bills, along with approval of a state budget.  In this column, I will detail highlights in the final budget affecting our area.  Next week, I will report on other important budget items.  In the near future, I will cover some of the more important legislation that we considered and the fight over the state Supreme Court.  I will also let you know about my eight bills the Governor has signed or are awaiting his signature.  
The legislature approved a final budget, including two of my amendments.  First, I advocated for an additional $100,000 to fund the Virginia Star Program which provides refurbished computers to low-income, public school students.  Prince William County’s public schools are using this program extensively in the U.S. 1 corridor.  The final budget includes my complete request.
The new budget provides significant new funding for K-12 education over the biennium: Fairfax County, $87 million; Prince William County, $93 million; and Stafford County, $24 million.  Given that our local schools are hundreds of millions per year behind, it is now up to local governments to fund their share.
Second, my proposal to boost appropriations to fund court-appointed attorneys passed.  Virginia pays $120 per district court misdemeanor and between $445 and $1,235 for felonies, depending on whether they are “non-serious” or punishable by more than 20 years.  
Lawyers can apply for waivers from these fees, but the court runs out of money every year in the spring.  The General Assembly approved an additional $900,000 over the biennium.  In jurisdictions that do not have public defender offices, such as Prince William County, these funds are critical to meet our Constitutional obligation to provide counsel to low-income people.  This is the first increase in appropriations since the waiver system was adopted.  
We also approved $7.5 million in funding for Phase I improvements for Widewater State Park in Stafford County.  This will provide the only public water access to the Potomac River in Stafford County along with event facilities and ultimately campgrounds and cabins.  I was pleased to help  Delegate Mark Dudenhefer who has been working on this for years.
My biggest disappointment was the failure to expand Medicaid, a change that could bring the state $40.5 million in federal funds per year, 800 jobs and healthcare to about 10,000 people in the 36th District.  Sadly, politics continues to hold this up.
It is an honor to serve you in Richmond.  Please email me your feedback at  
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