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This Memorial Day weekend, we’re welcoming guests for fun in the sun

Now that school is almost out of session, it is time to start making plans for you and your family this summer. Many families have plans to travel, but for those of us staying in good old Virginia this summer, we must find good ways of making our summer a fun one. While Northern Virginia has plenty of attractions to visit, sometimes going out to a local park is an easier, more relaxing way to spend some nice summer days. Warm weather is finally here, and it brings with it the grand opening of the Signal Bay Waterpark!

This Memorial Day weekend, we will be welcoming guests in for an entire weekend of fun in the sun.

During springtime, we here at Parks and Recreation have been working hard to make sure the waterpark was ready for our grand opening. Even now, just as the grand opening rapidly approaches, we are still finalizing the small details. The entire waterpark has been deep-cleaned, painted, and has a brand-new feel to it. Don’t take our word for it though, feel free to see for yourself!

The Signal Bay Waterpark is a 27,000 sqft facility within Signal Hill Park, and it features a zero depth entry leisure pool with water cannons, slides, and a lazy river. It comes equipped with tables and a shaded structure to allow our guests to bring in some snacks while enjoying a nice day out with friends and family. Showers are also available for convenience.

The waterpark opens on Memorial Day weekend and will be open every weekend until Manassas Park City Schools are out for the summer. Once schools are closed for summer vacation, the waterpark will be open daily.
Also, Signal Bay Waterpark features birthday party packages for kids. All packages include food, drink, and all day access to guests. It certainly helps busy parents relieve some stress! All you have to do is reserve your date, which can be done at Signal Bay Waterpark or at the Manassas Park Community Center, and we will handle the rest!

So now that summer is here, why not take a well-deserved break and join us on Memorial Day Weekend? We hope to see you there!

The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park, VA. Managed by the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation, the facility offers group exercise classes, basketball courts, a swimming pool, wellness areas, and recreational programs. For more information, visit us at ManassasParkCommunityCenter.com or call at 703-335-8872.

Recent survey finds nine in 10 Washington, D.C., area drivers use cellphone while behind the wheel

Transurban and Virginia Department of Transportation launch 2018 “Orange Cones. No Phones.” campaign to reduce distracted driving in 395 Express Lanes work zone

A survey of more than 1,000 Washington, D.C., area drivers who travel the Interstate 395 corridor shows that motorists self-report engaging in a number of distractions while behind the wheel. Following the survey findings, Transurban, operator of the 495 and 95 Express Lanes, and the Virginia Department of Transportation announced today the launch of a 2018 “Orange Cones. No Phones.” campaign to reduce distracted driving within the 395 Express Lanes work zone.

“We focus on safety on the Express Lanes and in the 395 Express Lanes work zone every day,” said Jennifer Aument, president, North America, Transurban. “We need the help of drivers to create a safer work zone to ensure on-road construction crews and other travelers are getting where they need to go safely.”

The top three cellphone distractions reported among D.C. area motorists were using a phone to talk, checking GPS or travel planning, and reading a text message. Despite growing research that finds holding a conversation on a cellphone is still dangerously distracting*, more than half of area drivers report feeling unconcerned about using their phones to talk while behind the wheel. The “Orange Cones. No Phones.” campaign aims to improve safety by reducing distracted driving within the 395 Express Lanes work zone.

“In 2017, distracted driving accounted for almost 25 percent of traffic fatalities,” said Shannon Valentine, Virginia Secretary of Transportation. “In work zones alone, VDOT recorded 2,666 crashes resulting in 1,329 injuries and 12 fatalities. The lives lost were completely preventable. We must continue to engage the public about the dangers of distracted driving. The ‘Orange Cones. No Phones.’ campaign is an important component to help deliver safety on our roads and reduce incidents.”

The survey** conducted in March 2018 finds:

• Nine out of 10 drivers say they have used a cellphone while driving.
• One in five drivers who have had an accident or near accident claim it was due to cellphone use.
• Nearly three out of four drivers say they keep their phone close when driving, and one in six have it in their hand.
• Fifty-four percent of drivers admit to using a cellphone at least occasionally while driving.
• One-third of drivers in the survey said the last time they used their phone while driving was “today.”
• One-third of drivers feel “it’s OK” to use a cellphone while stopped at a red light, a stop sign or in traffic.
• Compared to a similar survey of area drivers in 2014***, hands-free talking while driving increased by 14 percent, with 53 percent of drivers in March 2018 now admitting to doing it.
• One in four people admits that using a cellphone for activities other than conversations while driving is “frightening.”
• Seven out of 10 drivers say they stop cellphone use while driving after seeing a sign advising them to do so.
• Seeing a police officer causes 78 percent of drivers to stop cell phone use while on the roads.

“As the first responders to many of these crashes, we understand the serious consequences of distracted driving,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent. “Safety is our number one concern, and we are pleased to support this program to educate and increase awareness with drivers across the region to help cut down on distracted driving.”

“With so many drivers on the roads around the Washington area admitting they are distracted while driving, there is a huge safety concern for everyone on the roads,” said John Townsend, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Holding a conversation is still a distraction, and our hope is that this program will help drivers become more aware of the dangers of distracted driving, especially around work zones on our highways, and take active steps to make better choices.”

Checking a cellphone or sending a text using voice commands at seemingly safe moments such as when there is a lull in traffic or the car is stopped at an intersection also has been found to be dangerous behavior. According to a Study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, these types of potentially unsafe mental distractions can affect motorists’ attention for as long as 27 seconds, which is equivalent to traveling the length of nearly three football fields at a speed of 25 miles per hour.

As part of the “Orange Cones. No Phones.” campaign, the partners are implementing a number of tactics supported by the study’s findings, industry data and best practices to improve safety for all drivers:

• “Orange Cones. No Phones.” signs will be visible throughout the 395 Express Lanes construction corridor.
• The Virginia State Police presence will be increased in the 395 corridor.
• Advertisements will remind drivers to travel safely and not to drive while distracted.
• Press throughout the region will be engaged to help increase awareness with drivers around this important safety message.

The 395 Express Lanes are scheduled to open in fall 2019. The Lanes will extend the 95 Express Lanes eight miles north to the D.C. line and help get people moving in the I-395 corridor. The Lanes will increase capacity by adding another HOV lane, creating three reversible lanes on I-395. As part of this project, Transurban will provide $15 million in transit funding per year to enable multimodal solutions in the corridor.

* https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/03/07/cell-phones-and-talking-passengers-both-lead-distracted-driving-12663

** The online survey of 1,003 Washington, D.C., area drivers who travel I-395 at least monthly was conducted by international market research firm YouGov between March 21 and March 28, 2018.

*** Online survey of 1,023 frequent I-95 drivers who live in Northern Virginia.

About the Express Lanes
The 495 and 95 Express Lanes operate on I-495 and I-95, providing drivers with faster and more predictable travel options in Northern Virginia. Together, the 495 and 95 Express Lanes create a region-wide network of free-flowing lanes for over 40 miles from the Dulles Toll Road to Stafford County. Delivered through a public-private partnership between the Virginia Department of Transportation and Transurban, the Express Lanes give drivers reliable travel choices on two of Northern Virginia’s most congested roadways. For more information, please visit ExpressLanes.com.

About Transurban
For over twenty years, Transurban has improved the quality of life for customers by providing innovative solutions for their transportation needs. Transurban is a pioneer of the public-private partnership (P3) managed lanes concept in the United States. The North American business was among the first to implement major transportation infrastructures in the Virginia region. Our Express Lanes network features industry-leading tolling and traffic management systems on more than 40 miles of managed lanes across the 495 and 95 Express Lanes. Transurban was one of the first to use a number of innovative financing and technology strategies in the development of major toll road projects.

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center receives ‘Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award’

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Plus and Target: StrokeSM Elite Honor Roll Quality Achievement Awards. The awards recognize the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center earned the awards by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

“Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said Kim Houser, RN, Coordinator of Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center’s Stroke Team. “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidence-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center additionally received the association’s Bronze and Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll awards. To qualify for these recognitions, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

“We are pleased to recognize Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center for their commitment to stroke care,” said Eric E. Smith, M.D., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and an associate professor of neurology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

The changes coming to nine Manassas crosswalks you might never have noticed

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Without the MISSION Act, millions of veterans will lose access to care

Since the Veterans Administration (VA) scandal broke in 2014, Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) across the country have worked with Congress to ensure greater accountability, transparency, and efficiency in delivering quality care to our veterans.

The current VA Choice Program is one of those opportunities. With over two million veterans using the Choice Program to schedule over 39 million essential appointments, it is in danger of running out of funding by the end of the month. Without funding, millions of our nation’s warriors will lose access to the care they desperately need. 

The MISSION Act, supported by over 38 National VSOs—a staggering and unified number—strengthens the VA’s ability to deliver efficient and immediate care to our veterans. It does so by providing over $5 billion to prevent disruptions of care in the Choice Program, modernizing VA healthcare, creating integrated networks of high-performing providers to support the VA, creating a commission to review current VA facilities, and making it possible for World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Gulf War veterans with severe combat-related disabilities to receive comprehensive caregiver assistance. 

Last Wednesday, 70 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted against the MISSION ACT and voted for political games over improving healthcare for those who served our country.  Without immediate passage of the bill in the Senate, veterans could lose a critical support line to receive the care they require—and will again be forced to face long waiting periods to receive treatment.

Such waiting periods have led to veteran deaths in the past, and we cannot let a single veteran die waiting for the care they need simply because of Congressional delays.

As one who wore an Air Force uniform for 30 years and later chaired the Joint Virginia House-Senate Military and Veterans Caucus that is the legislative clearing house for bills on behalf of 800,000 Virginia veterans, I know first-hand that the MISSION Act is crucial.

I strongly encourage those reading this letter to call Senators Warner and Kaine, urging them to support this bill that ensures that our nation’s heroes receive the care they deserve.

In Manassas, across the commonwealth, tourism spending is on the rise

Governor Ralph Northam today released 2017 preliminary state economic impact data from U.S. Travel Association. This information depicts the impact tourism and domestic travel has on the economy.

Local impact data is not yet available for Manassas; however, the preliminary numbers indicate another record year for tourism spending as consumers seek out more experiential opportunities.

Tourism is an essential part of our local economy. Few localities have experienced such seminal events as Manassas did during the Civil War. The Manassas National Battlefield Park, Liberia Plantation and Manassas Museum continue to serve as key attractions.

Increasingly, visitors are also drawn to the charm of Historic Downtown, its specialty shopping and dining, and crowd-pleasing events.

In 2017 over 369,000 people attended one of the city’s many popular events: 1st Friday’s, Bands, Brews and Barbeque; Wine and Jazz Festival, Farmer’s Market (VisitManassas.org).

According to the Virginia Tourism Commission (VTC), tourists spent more than $68 million in Manassas last year and generated $1.8 million in local tax revenues; not including indirect or multiplier impacts.

City ready to unveil improved Stonewall Park Pool

MANASSAS — A ribbon will be cut on a newly remodeled Stonewall Park Pool on Friday.

The new public pool in Manassas features a new splash pad inspired by community suggestions.

More from a press release:

The 34-year old pool–tucked away behind the Point of Woods neighborhood in Stonewall Park–is home to the Stonewall Park Swim Team and an important resource for the Manassas community. From Memorial Day to Labor Day the pool hosts swim practices, swim meets, open swim, day camps, swim lessons and movie nights.

In August a community pop-up event gathered community input on how to improve the Pool. As a result of these suggestions—and others offered during the city’s Community Conversations effort—the Pool now boasts a new shade structure, an expanded pool deck, new fencing inside the pool enclosure, updated landscaping, new chemical controllers, and the major new feature that will be sure to please families: a splash pad with 15 aquatic features.

The splash pad design, which expands the baby pool, is an increasingly popular feature around the country for its safety, interactivity, sustainability, and accessibility for all ages and abilities. Pool visitors will be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of water spraying from a variety of heights, and young visitors will be able to walk through some of the larger features, which include a frog, a daisy, and a cattail in a nod to Stonewall Park’s natural setting.

The transformation began in February with the demolition of the old pool deck and a portion of the existing baby pool. Although the Pool appears to be a pile of dirt and rubble in the photo, contractors were just beginning to create the new features.

We invite everyone to join us at Stonewall Park Pool on Friday, May 25 at 1:30 p.m. for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Be one of the first to check out the improvements and celebrate the re-opening of Stonewall Park Pool. Light refreshments will be served.