The Prince William County School Board once again finds itself arguing about transparency, and how to be the best stewards of taxpayer funds.
The discussion comes nearly two years after it approved one of the costliest high schools ever to be built in Virginia.
School officials Wednesday night were tasked once again with voting on a design to be used for the county’s 13th high school to be built in western Prince William County, slated to open in 2020.
The Board voted on April 23, 2014 to build new high schools using cheaper, a 20-year-old floor plan first used in 1991 to build C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge, and last used in 2004 to build Battlefield High School outside Haymarket.
School staff on Wednesday urged the governing body to rescind their vote and built a the new school based on designs used at Patriot High School, and the new Colgan High School that will open next fall.
The Battlefield model will cost $13.7 million less to construct. The Patriot model is more modern and includes more windows for natural light — something school staff said helps children learn better, according to a 1999 study cited by school division staff.
Both the Battlefield and Patriot design will accommodate 2,053 students. Classrooms in the Patriot model are 50-square feet larger than the 700-square-feet classrooms in at Battlefield High School.
“The greater square footage drives the greater cost,” said Prince William County Public Schools Associate Superintendent David Cline.
Larger open spaces to include courtyards, cafeteria, gymnasium, auditorium, hallways, and better energy efficiency are all selling points for the newer Patriot model. Cline also pointed to a series of meetings held in September where “the vast majority of about 75 citizens who spoke, the overwhelming majority indicated they liked the Patriot prototype,” said Cline.
“To get this on the on the agenda tonight, someone had to ask for it,” said Neabsco District School Board member Lisa Bell. “We did take a vote, and now were being asked to revisit it. We held two community meetings to stir up the community again.”
The school division held two public meetings last month to discuss where the 13th high school will be located. The locations include a site proffered by a housing developer that would build a the Stone Haven neighborhood in Bristow, still awaiting approval from the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, or on a site off Rollins Ford road bequeathed to the county for use as a public park.
The meetings also dredged up the topic of how the school building should be built. Schools Superintendent Steven Walts said the meetings were held in the name of transparency with the public.
Bell, along with Coles District member Michael Otaigbe said the school design topic should not have been discussed since the Board already voted last year to use the Battlefield design.
“We voted to use the one that was less costly and the community applauded…with that and we learned our lessons, and here we are being told we should go for a higher model,” said Otaigbe.
Bell and Otaigbe opted not return to the School Board next year. Otagibe said this was the first time in his 12 years on the Board he has been asked to revisit a prior vote.
Occoquan School Board member Lillie Jessie said she cannot fathom the cost of the more expensive model when so many students in her district in eastern Prince William County attend classes outside their school buildings in trailer classrooms.
“Do wider hallways serve any instructional purposes?” asked Jessie.
The Occoquan District representative also asked school staff for a study more recent than the 1999 study cited, noting children perform better in schools with more natural light.
“Osbourn Park and Battlefield [high schools] are nationally ranked, and they don’t have glass,” she added.
The School Board is trying to avoid a repeat of the Colgan High School debate, which ignited local bloggers that denounced the division for spending too much on the school, and for including the division’s first school pool. Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart argued then that school pools are not uncommon, and that the pool was necessary to attract more affluent residents to the county
Colgan High School, located on Route 234 near Hoadly Road near eastern Prince William County, will open next fall with a price tag of $111 million — one of the most costliest ever built in the state.
Crowded schools are also a problem in the county, as many new schools are filled to the brim with students as soon as they open.
“We do need to be building larger schools with larger capacity because land is not readily available. I’m more concerned about capacity than lighting at this time,” said Potomac District School Board member Betty Covington.
School Board Chairman Milton Johns opted not to return to the School Board in 2016 after 12 years on the Board. He said overcrowding in county schools is nothing new, and that schools on the eastern side of the county dealt with severe overcrowding issues in the 1980s and 90s.
Johns supports building the Patriot model for the 13th high school.
“We pay a lot of people a lot of money to be expert professionals and advise us, and the message I’m getting is that they think [building the Battlefield model] is a big mistake,” said Johns.
The clock is ticking on the school board to decide not only what the new school will look like, but where it will be located if it will open on time in 2020. A decision on the school design must be made this month, said Cline.
Johns tabled the discussion, and a possible vote to rescind the 2014 decision to build the Battlefield model to the next School Board meeting at 7 p.m. October 21.
The fifth and final suspect connected to a murder in Gainesville on Sept. 12 is in police custody.
Murder Investigation *ARREST – On October 6th, members of the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force, with assistance from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, located and arrested the suspect, Alvin JONES, who was wanted in connection to the murder of Claude JACKSON III which occurred in the area of Old Linton Hall Rd and Charis Ave in Gainesville on September 12th.
The suspect was located at a home in the 100 block of Saint Johns Sq in Sterling. Four additional suspects were previously arrested in connection to this investigation.
Arrested on October 6th:
Alvin Burnett JONES, 32, of 8637 Sumter Ct in Manassas Park
Charged with murder, aggravated malicious wounding, use of a firearm in commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
Court Date: November 18, 2015 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond
-Prince William police
It could cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix misprinted election ballots in Prince William County.
Five candidates on the ballot for the November 3 General Election will not see their listed as they requested them. Many of the candidates use and requested shorter versions of their name to be listed on the ballot. They’re getting their full names instead.
Here’s what was requested and what voters might see instead:
Mike May (Commonwealth Attorney candidate) will be listed as Michael May
Richard “Rick” Smith (Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman candidate) will be listed as Richard Smith
Steven “Steve” Chapman (Prince William County Board of Supervisors Woodbridge District candidate) will be listed as Steven Chapman
Earnie W. Porta, Jr. (Prince William County Board of Supervisors Occoquan District candidate) will be listed as Earnest Porta, Jr.
Gerald “Jerry” Foreman (36th District Virginia Senate candidate) will be listed as Gerald Foreman
Prince William County Electoral Board Secretary Keith Scarborough said each of the affected candidates submitted the proper form to indicate how they wanted their names listed on the ballot, but the mistake happened anyway.
“It wasn’t a space issue, it was our office when filling out the paperwork, messed up those forms,” said Scarborough. “…we made a mistake, obviously.”
The form included 28 spaces for candidates to fill in their names. It’s not uncommon for candidates to want their full names listed on the ballots, along with more common nicknames placed in quotation marks.
The upcoming General Election will be the first in Prince William County where paper ballots will once again be used at all voting precincts. New laws forced the county to get rid of electronic touchscreen machines and convert back to using machine scanners that tally votes when a paper ballot is inserted into them.
Prince William County struck a deal with Hart Invercivic, an Austin, Texas-based company that makes the voting machines. It also agreed to print all the ballots needed for the first five elections, starting with the upcoming November 3 vote, as part of the purchase agreement.
Scarborough said the ballots must be printed by that company and cannot be printed locally. The cost to reprint the ballots could range between $80 and $100,000, he added.
The Prince William County Electoral Board will meet Wednesday night to discuss their options, which include reprinting ballots, or placing signs at polling stations noting the names of the five affected candidates and displaying them as intended.
Candidates we talked to say the situation is unfortunate, but they don’t plan on asking for a reprint.
“The truth of the matter is, I don’t want to cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to reprint ballots. I wish it would have been done right but I understand these types of things happen,” said Earnie Porta.
“There’s overcrowding in classrooms, and traffic issues, so there are other things the taxpayers money would be better spent on.” said Steve Chapman.
- City of Manassas
- Phone: 703-257-8200
- Website: http://www.manassascity.org/
The craft beer, wine, and spirits industry has been growing in leaps and bounds.
In the last few years, two breweries and a distillery have opened in the City of Manassas. While each place offers their own unique vibe and products, two characteristics unite and set them apart from the competition – a commitment to quality and local ingredients.
“Similar to the farm-to-table movement, people are excited by the grain-to-glass concept and high-quality products made from local grains,” says Bill Karlson, the co-founder and CEO of KO Distilling. “We make a point of telling people during tours that our wheat comes from Renwood Farms in Charles City and our rye came from Bay’s Best Feed Farm in Virginia’s Northern Neck.”
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KO Distilling opened in September and welcomed 450 people to its grand opening. During its first week, more than 100 people stopped by to sample its whiskey and gins. The distillery is a true agribusiness – the spirits are not just made in Virginia, but the majority of the grains used are sourced from local farms.
A Nielsen study found that “local, authentic” are qualities desired of beer and spirits growing in importance among consumers, most largely among the 21-34 demographic. Perhaps that is because today about 75% of adults over the age of 21 live within 10 miles of a brewery. The Atlantic reported that there were 70 small distilleries in the U.S. in 2003. Karlson says that KO is the 19th craft distiller in an industry of about 1000 microdistillers.
Customers seek quality and want to know how ingredients are sourced, says Sarah Meyers, co-founder of Manassas’ first craft brewery BadWolf Brewing Company.
“We try to source local whenever possible and at Little BadWolf they get to see beer being made right in front of them. Given how many craft breweries are popping up, we might hit a saturation point, so you need to make sure your quality is way up there and that is our biggest focus.”
The beer made at Heritage Brewing has a 100-percent organic base and 92 percent of all ingredients are either organic or locally sourced. Sean Arroyo, CEO of Heritage Brewing, explains, “Our approach is committing ourselves to the consistency and quality of our product and bringing the best ingredients that we can through organics and local aspects.”
This fall, Heritage is collaborating with The Bone, a barbecue spot in historic Manassas, on a bacon stout. And BadWolf is working with downtown Manassas restaurateurs on an “Old Town” Beer that will only be available in downtown establishments.
Experimenting with new creations keeps the excitement alive. Heritage, which is a 20-barrel brew house, also operates a small pilot system for making small batches of creative releases for the taproom. “It gives us a way to interact with our consumers and let them decide what our next big beers will be,” says Arroyo.
After BadWolf’s successful first year, Meyers and her business partner and husband Jeremy opened a 6,000-square foot production facility. Little BadWolf Brewing Company, the smaller, original location, is where people can try out the experimental batches and even suggest recipes, while the new Big BadWolf has space for special events and growler and kegs of their flagship brews.
“We are using our space for more than beer,” says Meyers. “We focus on giving back to charities and bringing people together for social events.” One look at BadWolf’s event calendar shows there is always something going on, including yoga, painting, and Craft Beer Bingo – all accompanied with a pint. Similarly, Heritage hosts trivia and live music nights in addition to special events like a new beer dinner series.
While all three businesses are committed to building a sense of community, they also take being a regional destination seriously. As Meyers says, “people won’t go to just a bar, but places like a brewery are something special they will seek out.”
Karlson says that he and his business partner, John O’Mara, always envisioned KO Distilling being a tourism destination by matching a great product with a great experience. “The minute visitors walk through our doors,” he says, “they know they aren’t in a warehouse anymore.”
KO Distilling’s tasting room has leather couches, a fireplace, and copper and oak design elements that mimic the copper pot still they use for distilling and barrels they use for aging. The atmosphere rewards locals as well as travelers for making the drive. Karlson, Meyers, and Arroyo all agree that Manassas, with its close proximity to I-95 and 66 and its abundance of historical sites and attractions, is an ideal location for attracting tourists from the metro area and beyond.
“What we want to do is bring in the community, produce a quality product, and have a great time doing it,” says Meyers.
What was an issue that once defined Prince William County as a contentious place for immigrants to be is no more.
An audience member at a debate Thursday night with Democrat challenger Rick Smith, and Republican Prince William County Chairman At-large Corey Stewart asked the incumbent if immigration was going to be an issue.
Stewart won national media attention in 2007 when he lead an effort to have police check the ID of every suspected illegal immigrant in the county.
“We’ve got to move on,” said Stewart. “We’ve implemented a policy that targets those who commit crimes, and we’ve turned many criminals over to [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement], crime is down, but we still have a way to go.”
Instead of checking every suspected undocumented migrant, it is the policy to check the immigration status of anyone arrested and charged with a crime in Prince William.
Stewart sold himself Thursday as an older, wiser politician who has learned to be a better leader since elected to the Board in 2006.
“When I first came into office I was out there throwing bombs and a lot of things, but I’ve learned that in a community as diverse in Prince William County you learn to work together to get things done,” he added.
The debate between Smith and Stewart was amicable, as the two men seemed agreeable on issues on education, taxes, and in investing in transportation infrastructure to bring more business to the region to spur economic development. Both say they want more high-paying jobs in Prince William and fewer people leaving the county to find work.
“We’re being passed up by Fairfax and Loudoun, and Stafford Counites for higher jobs with higher average paying salaries,” said Smith.
The Democrat said he had heard many complaints from small business owners an expensive and prolonged the permitting process with the county’s zoning office. Smith promised a local government that would be more business friendly.
He also advocated getting rid of the county’s Business and Professional Licensing tax, or BPOL tax, which is a tax collected on gross receipts after a business reaches the $300,000 gross receipts threshold. Smith said the county needed to work with Richmond lawmakers to find alternate sources of revenue to replace monies generated by the tax.
The tax generates $23 million annual for the county and abolishing it overnight would mean the average tax bill for Prince William residents could rise as much as 5%, according to Stewart.
“We’ve worked over time to increase the threshold, so BPOL doesn’t hit small businesses so hard… over the couple years will work to increase the threshold to half a million dollars,” said Stewart.
The two men also talked about education, and repeatedly recognized Northern Virginia Community College (the debate was held at the college’s Manassas campus) and George Mason Universtiy for educating young people, and for helping to attract the types of science and technology companies that want to hire young talent.
Smith was the only candidate of the night who received applause when he said more funding is needed for K-12 education.
“The education I got in the late 70s and 80s in Prince William County schools, and the education my older kids got in the late 90s, and early 2000s is much different than it is today,” said Smith. “We’re teaching kids to remember facts, but we’re not teaching them to tell us why they matter.”
Stewart touted investments in infrastructure, especially paying for the widening of Route 1 in Woodbridge and Interstate 66 between Gainesville and Haymarket.
“On transportation by far, nobody is close to being second, we have invested more than Fairfax County, and we’re the only county in the commonwealth with our own road building program,” said Stewart.
Stewart also touted some $20 million in new spending to build parks, libraries, and other government projects that he said would attract more high-quality jobs to the region.
This debate was sponsored by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and Northern Virginia Community Collage Manassas Campus. It was moderated by Krysta Nicole Jones, founder and CEO, Virginia Leadership Institute.
This was the second meeting of the two men, following a debate in September held by the Prince William County Chapter of the NAACP. A thrid and final debate will be held at Congregation Ner Shalom, accross from C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge at 7 p.m. Saturday, October 10.
Voters head to the polls November 3.
On Tuesday, September 29th, at approximately 4:30 p.m., fire and rescue units were dispatched to a structure fire in a two-story single family home located in the 8700 block of Lords View Loop in Bristow.
Upon arrival, fire and rescue crews observed smoke with fire blazing from the side and rear of the home that had extended through the roof. Firefighters proceeded to attack and extinguish the fire.
The fire was discovered by a neighbor who spotted flames soaring from the roof and alerted the family enabling them to safely evacuate the home.
No injuries reported.
Red Cross was called to assist, 1 adult and 2 children and their cat.
A Building Official has posted the home unsafe.
According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, preliminary reports indicate the fire originated on the rear of the home ignited by ashes placed in a trash can next to the house earlier in the day.
The fire is under investigation by the Fire Marshal’s Office.
Prince William County Fire & Rescue Chief Kevin McGee would like to remind residents when disposing of fire pit/fireplace ashes keep these safety tips in mind:
• Douse and saturate the ashes with water.
• Allow ashes to cool (at least 4 days) before disposing.
• Dispose of ashes in a tightly covered metal container.
• Place the ash container a safe distance from your home (at least 10 feet).
° DO NOT store in or around your home, garage or other nearby buildings.
-Submitted by Prince William fire and rescue
The Gainesville Neighborhood Library closed for good on Wednesday.
The old library located in James S. Long Park will make way for a new Haymarket Gainesville Community Library at 14870 Lightner Road in Haymarket.
Wednesday was the last time patrons could check out books at the old neighborhood library, which was dedicated back in 1987.
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Photographer Micheal Porterfield sent photos of activities during the library’s last day. His mother worked at the neighborhood libarary for 23 years, he stated in an email.
A ribbon cutting for the new library will be held Thrusday, Oct. 22 at 10 a.m.
A ribbon cutting for the new Monctclair Community Library will also be held this month, on Thursday, Oct. 29 at 3 p.m. It is located at 5049 Waterway Drive in Montclair.
Here’s some other neat stats about the Gainesville Neighborhood Library, from library spokesman Andrew Spence:
The fifth neighborhood library in the system situated in the Gainesville magisterial district. The facility is 2,073 square-feet and has a collection of 22,000 items including books, audio books, DVDs, magazines and other materials.
Statistics from Fiscal Year 2012 thru Fiscal Year 2015
Items circulated (number of items that were checked out): 867,751
Information requests (number questions that came in): 44,712
Library visits: 309,469
Computer users: 10,502
Number of events held: 232
Number of attendees to events: 3,947
Total Volunteer hours worked: 14,318
Hurricane Joaquin should move up the east coast this week. It could impact our area.
And whether or not we see a hurricane, we’re going to see a lot of rain.
“regardless of what happens with this storm, we are going to see five to 10 inches of rain, and that is enough that people should be paying attention,” said Prince William County Director of Emergency Preparedness Patrick Collins.
Collins had just gotten off a statewide conference call when we spoke with him Wednesday afternoon. He tells us folks at the county government are watching the storm closely.
He sent out this email to area agencies to serve as a warning, and to get people prepared for the coming storm:
We have concluded a VDEM/NWS Conference call concerning the Hurricane and they still have not nailed down the track. The worst case scenario is it makes landfall around Norfolk and tracks up the Chesapeake up the Potomac River. One thing the weather service said was they are confident that regardless of the track we can expect 5-10 inches of rain over the entire event. It will start raining tomorrow night with heavy rain Friday and Friday night and then the second period of heavy rain with the track of Joaquin. As we get further into the event the track will become clearer and we can make more specific plans.
We plan on conducting a short briefing this Friday October 2nd at 11:00am in the EOC, by then the NWS should have a better idea of what our impacts will be here in the county. In the meantime agencies should be making their normal preparations for a storm such as this. Some of the activities are listed below, but I am sure that each agency has more comprehensive checklists.
• Fuel all vehicles
• Establish work schedules EOC/Field
• Review Plans and Policies
• Check all generators
• Stock food /water
• Remove windblown equipment such as exterior trash cans
• Advise employees to check their family plans and supplies at home
• Monitor weather and e-mails
• Check all communications equipment for readiness
• Perform any “Just-in-Time” training that is needed
• Check flashlights
The Office of Emergency Management will continue to monitor the storm and will send out regular updates.
Hurricane Joaquin churning in the Atlantic Ocean could have it sights set on our area.
With all the rain and wind the storm could bring (we’ll link you to the Capital Weather Gang which has more information about the storm), we’re also seeing events postponed in our area ahead of the storm.
Manassas Fall Jubilee
The Manassas Fall Jubilee that had been scheduled for Satruday will now be held Oct. 24. This is the 33rd year for the event.
First Friday Manassas
The monthly First Friday event in Downtown Manassas is still scheduled. However, streets will not be closed for the event due to inclement weather.
Youth for Tomorrow’s annual Country Fair
This event held each year in Bristow, on the grounds of Youth For Tomorrow on Hazel Circle Drive off Linton Hall Road, is canceled. The auction portion of the event will be rescheduled. Check the website for additional information.
Americans in Wartime Musuem open house
This annual event in Nokesville, scheduled to tale place Saturday October 3 and Sunday October 4, is canceled.
Stafford United Way yard sale
A United Way yard sale scheduled Saturday at the Stafford County Government Center is canceled.
Brentsville Court Days
This program scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 3 has been postponed until spring.
Stafford schools events canceled / postponed
The Margaret Brent Elementary Road Race, originally scheduled for Saturday,is postponed until November 8
Office of Public Information
The Moncure Elementary Clothing Sale, originally scheduled for this weekend, is postponed until October 16 and 17.
The middle school field hockey games scheduled for Friday, October 2, and Monday, October 5, are canceled and will be rescheduled at the end of the
Got a postponement or cancelation you want to tell us about? Tell us and we’ll list it in this post, just like we do with snow closings.
- Town of Dumfries
- Address: 17755 Main Street Dumfries, Va. 22026
- Phone: 703-221-3400
- Website: http://www.dumfriesva.gov/
On October 17, 2015, the Town of Dumfries will present their 14th Annual Fall Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Garrison Park, located behind the Dumfries Town Hall.
This year there will be an emphasis on a variety of free activities for youth, to include field games, face painting, a bounce house, and two large plastic spheres that can be propelled by an occupant inside. There will also be a DJ providing a wide variety of music throughout the event, including playing songs by request.
There will be opportunities for line dancing and of course individual rock-and-rolling and dancing for those that just want to let their hair down.
In addition, there will be vendors that will provide a wide variety of items for sale during the event and others that want to provide information to the public. Food vendors will be available as well and will offer an assortment of food and drink for purchase throughout the event.
This year’s event will once again feature a BBQ Competition where several self-promoted pit masters will put their food and reputations on the line in pursuit of the award for Best BBQ at the festival.
Festival goers will be able to purchase a ticket for one dollar that will allow them to taste some BBQ from each competitor. Those that participate will then be able to cast a vote for their favorite and the overall vote will determine the winner.
Dan Taber, Town Manager, has expressed his excitement over this year’s Fall Festival and has issued a challenge for as many people as possible to attend what he expects to be the best Fall Festival ever held.
“This is a great opportunity for the community to come together and have a great time while enjoying good music, good food, good fun, and most importantly, the good company of their neighbors,” said Taber.
Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to the Fall Festival.
The Town is accepting applications for vendors and complete information is available on the Town website at www.dumfriesva.gov.
For questions please call Tiwana Barnes at (703) 221-3400, ext. 112 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated Oct. 9, 2015
Prince William County Board of Supervisors, At-large — Corey Stewart
“In his most recent term, Chairman Stewart has demonstrated tremendous leadership and made great strides in establishing Prince William as an emerging business location,” said Brian Gordon, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, and the Chairman of the Prince William Chamber PAC. “In the face of a challenging economic environment, Chairman Stewart and the Board of County Supervisors have helped to position the County to be on the forefront of economic development in strategic growth sectors. The Chamber PAC is pleased to endorse his candidacy for reelection so that he may continue to build on these successes, maintain a positive, business-focused public discourse and work to further improve the local business climate.”
Virginia Senate 29th District — Hal Parrish
“Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park have been privileged to be represented for so many years by Senator Colgan,” said Brian Gordon, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, and the Chairman of the Prince William Chamber PAC. “Mayor Parrish is best suited to carry on in his tradition and further his lasting legacy of fighting for Prince William and promoting a strong economy while maintaining the highest level of statesmanship. While the PAC was impressed with both candidates, only one possessed a proven track record of working with and on behalf of the business community to grow our local economy and strengthen our community.”
Candidate endorsements were determined through a questionnaire and interview process and an evaluation and comparative analysis of the policy platforms and records of each candidate as they related to that of the region’s business community.
The Prince William Chamber Political Action Committee, the political arm of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, announced its endorsements of candidates for the Virginia General Assembly and Board of County Supervisors.
Candidate endorsements were determined through a questionnaire and interview process and an evaluation and comparative analysis of the policy platforms and records of each individual as they related to that of the region’s business community.
Potomac District – Maureen Caddigan
28th Senate District – Richard Stuart
Coles District – Martin Nohe 39th Senate District – George Barker
Neabsco District – John Jenkins
2nd House District – Mark Dudenhefer
Occoquan District – Earnie Porta
31st House District – Scott Lingamfelter
Woodbridge District – Frank Principi
40th House District – Tim Hugo
50th House District – Jackson Miller
51st House District – Rich Anderson
52nd House District – Luke Torian
87th House District – John Bell
“Prince William County is blessed to have so many strong candidates, willing to dedicate their time and service to elected office,” said Brian Gordon, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, and the Chairman of the Prince William Chamber PAC. “The candidates endorsed by the Chamber PAC demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the region’s economic challenges and put forward substantive plans and proposals for improving our local business climate.”
The Prince William Chamber PAC was established in 2014 by members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce. The PAC promotes and facilitates the accumulation of voluntary contributions from members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and others. Contributions are used primarily in support of issues and candidates for local and state offices who have taken positions consistent with the Chamber’s public policy positions regarding the private enterprise system.
The candidates for Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors will face each other in a debate Thursday night.
Republican incumbent Corey Stewart and Democrat challenger Rick Smith are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. at the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). This is the first one-on-one meeting of the two candidates since the
two debated at an NAACP forum held at Gar-Field Senior High School earlier this month.
The debate is sponsored by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and the Manassas Campus of NOVA.
Prince William Chamber Director of Government Relations Brendon Shaw outlined the debate topics in an email to Potomac Local:
We plan to cover:
–Expanding the commercial tax base
–Balancing the needs of the business community and residents
[NOVA] will have two students participate to ask questions. Keith Scarborough from the [Prince William County] Electoral Board will discuss changes to the county’s voting system following the debate.
The debate will begin at 7 p.m. in Howsman Hall and is open to the public.
A third a final debate between the two candidates will take place at 7 p.m. on October
7 10 at Congregation Ner Shalom across from C.D. Hylton High School.
Prince William leaders said the future of the region is ripe for economic growth, and that is also one that will continue to be hampered by traffic congestion.
Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey Stewart, Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish III, and Manassas Park Mayor Frank Jones took the stage at the annual “State of Prince William” luncheon in Manassas. The event is organized by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.
Prince William Today publisher Bruce Potter asked questions of the three men covering the topics of economic development, education, and improving transportation infrastructure.
Parrish said Manassas cut back on economic development efforts during the 2008 recession. In recent years, the city hired Economic Development Director Patrick Small, who developed a new logo and branding for the city: “Historic Heart, Modern Beat.”
“We, like other localities did during the recession, cut some services that had to be cut.” said Parrish, who added 21,000 people commute to the city each day, while the number of those who leave the city for work has fallen to about 14,000.
It remains a tough go for commuters on Route 28 between Manassas Park and Interstate 66. Jones said thousands of commuters sit in jammed traffic on the road that bridges Prince William and Fairfax counties.
A state plan to widen I-66 won’t help unless bridges that cross the Bull Run River are widened, said Jones.
“66 can be widened large enough to put a 747, I don’t care, as long we sit behind the Bull Run bridges, we’re not going to be able to get any better in improving quality of life and giving hours of life back to people,” said Jones.
Stewart painted a picture of economic prosperity for Prince William County, which has seen its population rise to nearly 450,000 residents. Funding for the county school division — the 38th largest in the U.S. — has grown by $81 million over the past four years, said Stewart.
Many of the students who graduate from Prince William County Public Schools return home to find work and start businesses, said Stewart.
“The product of our school system has beocome the number one driver of ecomic development…We’re on the edge of a gilded age in Prince William County, and I’m not kidding, this is one hell of a community. If you didn’t hear abotu Prince William County 20 years ago, you’re going to hear about us in the next 20 years,” said Stewart.
Stewart points to new biotech and technology businesses opening at Innovation Park.
Stewart, a Republican, has served as on the Board of Supervisors since 2006 and is seeking reelection, running against Democrat Rick Smith.
Parrish, a Republican, has served as Manassas Mayor since 2008 and is seeking to replace Virginia State Senator Charles Colgan, who is retiring this year. Democrats are hoping to hold the seat and support Jeremy McPike for the position.
Voters will head to the polls November 3.
- City of Manassas
- Phone: 703-257-8200
- Website: http://www.manassascity.org/
Today, people are glued to their smartphones. Hours at a time are spent in front of computers, tablets, and game consoles.
Despite this, few of us think about what makes them work. High-performance memory is the main component that makes our favorite gadgets have such cool features.
And when a computer slows down a few years after purchase, instead of buying a new one, a $50 memory upgrade can get you back up to speed in minutes. One of the biggest innovators of this powerful technology is located right in the City of Manassas.
Micron Technology is an advanced semiconductor solutions provider that designs and manufactures memory technologies. Founded in Boise, Idaho, in 1978, Micron has risen to the top of its industry.
It is the largest semiconductor manufacturer in Virginia, the only U.S.-based DRAM manufacturer, and the largest U.S.-based wafer supplier. (DRAM is the memory a computer processor needs to function. A wafer is a thin, round slice of material, usually silicon, that serves as the foundational layer on which a semiconductor is built.)
The company came to Manassas when it acquired Dominion Semiconductor in 2002. Soon after, it began investing heavily in modernizing the existing plant.
According to a study by George Mason University, Micron’s early capital investments during 2002 – 2005 totaled more than $178 million, created almost 390 jobs annually, and generated $56.5 million in new personal income to local residents. At the state level, Micron added $376.2 million in value to Virginia’s economy.
The company continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Sixteen years after it was established, Micron had already invested $300 million in expansion projects and was listed on the Fortune 500.
Today it has more than 30,000 employees across the globe and has netted $16.4 billion in sales during the last fiscal year. Manassas has been a part of this success story.
In 2010, Micron decided to invest $56 million to expand its Manassas facility to take advantage of the area’s highly skilled workforce. It built out a new “clean room” – a manufacturing environment with a low level of dust, chemical vapors, and other contaminants that is used in the semiconductor industry – in order to boost its memory chip production.
Former Lt. Governor Bill Bolling joined Micron’s executives in Manassas to announce the company’s expansion and celebrate its significant contributions to the Commonwealth and Manassas. The expansion created more than 100 new jobs. In fact, for the last five years, Micron has been the largest employer in the City of Manassas and currently employs more than 1,500 workers.
Years ago, Micron’s success caught the eye of former President George W. Bush who used the Manassas facility as the backdrop for a speech he delivered to highlight the importance of STEM education, investing in a highly skilled workforce, and being an innovator in a global marketplace. More recently, First Lady Michelle Obama gave a speech at this same facility to discuss the tech companies hiring veterans. She recognized Micron for doing its part to train these workers so they can compete for high-paying jobs in the technology sector.
The company is committed to giving back to the community. One of its biggest causes is STEM education and elevating students into high tech jobs.
In 2013 alone, the Micron Technology Foundation, together with Lockheed Martin, donated more than $53,000 to the Manassas City Public School Education Foundation for robotics and STEM programs. Staff members volunteer their time and mentor students through internships that sometimes evolve into full-time jobs.
As the company continues to grow and innovate – bringing smaller, more powerful and faster high-tech products to market – it continues to strengthen the City of Manassas and the regional workforce.
Men donned back ties and women put on formal dresses on Friday to honor Virginia’s longest-serving state senator.
Charles Colgan, D-29, will retire this year. A celebration and tribute were held for him at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts in Manassas.
The celebration was also used to mark the 89-year-old’s birthday.
Roast marshmallows, play games, hayrides at Fall Family Fun Night at the Manassas Park Community Center
- Manassas Park Community Center
- Address: 99 Adams Street Manassas Park, Va. 20110
- Phone: 703-335-8872
- Website: http://www.manassasparkcommunitycenter.com/
Fall Family Fun Night is Oct. 3
Are traditional family dinners indicative of a well-adjusted family?
Not necessarily according to a 2013 article from NPR. Journalist Alison Aubrey shares survey and research results from a variety of sources where participants agree that family meals are important but nearly half of the respondents don’t have regular family meals.
That finding is completely reasonable. With work schedules evolving from the usual nine to five, and children’s extracurricular activities becoming increasingly important, it’s hard to find even a moment when all the family members are in the house at the same time.
What exactly constitutes a family dinner? For some families, it appears that the traditional definition of everyone at the table every night having a family conversation may not be the only option.
Depending on schedules, some families may still have dinner together with the absence of a few members. Other families set aside a special weekend dinner once a week.
Flexibility also seems to be important as, according to the article, about 25% of the respondents have distractions during dinner time including TV or mobile devices.
Is the act of simply being together, eating together enough? Some families argue that it’s important time to catch up and relax together so no distractions are allowed.
Other families may feel that avoiding rushed dinners and awkward conversation are worth the occasional distractions and may even encourage dialogue.
The important point is that each family feels comfortable with tailoring their family dinner to their family’s needs and not hold themselves to an unattainable standard.
However, family dinner is not the only opportunity to strengthen bonds. Any special time spent together such as family vacations and attending events can be beneficial and possibly easier to coordinate.
One example would be the Fall Family Fun Night at the Manassas Park Community Center. Roasting marshmallows, playing games, and hopping on hayrides are all scheduled activities and all provide unique opportunities for reinforcing family relationships.
The event is only $10.00 per family and must register in advance. This can be done online or in person at the community center.
Attending special events also allows families in a community to connect together. Neighbors can share stories and exchange ideas on how they strengthen their family bonds. Plus having family friends can provide additional opportunities for family time. Play dates, game nights and planned outings with family friends can motivate family members to find time to participate.
With evidence showing that quality family time has a lasting beneficial effect on families such as emotional stability, there is a reason to make it a point to spend time together.
It can come in the form of a family dinner but it’s no longer the only option.
Choosing activities that are convenient for your family makes quality time achievable and, therefore, more likely to motivate family members to come together.
Free Trainings for Businesses Aim to Reduce Isolation Among Families Impacted by Alzheimer’s For the 15 million Americans providing care for their loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease, isolation is a serious risk.
With the unpredictable nature of the disease, symptoms such as memory loss, repetition and poor judgment lead many to choose to avoid the outside world rather than risk the possibility of unpleasant, awkward or even frightening situations in public.
In fact, in a recent survey of Alzheimer’s caregivers, 74 percent reported that they and their loved ones have become more isolated from the community as a result of the disease. Furthermore, 85 percent reported that they feel a reduced quality of life due to isolation.
As a community, we cannot allow this to happen to our neighbors, friends and loved ones. We can change these frightening statistics here at home. To do just that, the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Prince William and Fauquier Counties is helping launch the Alzheimer’s Friendly BusinessSM program.
The program includes a training for local businesses that is designed to help employees understand the disease and provide simple techniques to ensure customers with Alzheimer’s are treated with compassion and respect. The training itself is quick and can be done for businesses in as little as 30 minutes, but the impact on families in our community can be long-lasting.
For a family coping with Alzheimer’s disease, going to a restaurant where a hostess will know the best place to seat you to prevent your loved one from becoming confused can lead to a much-needed night out of the house. Errands to the bank may seem less overwhelming when you know the teller on the other side of the counter can recognize and politely respond to an unexpected behavior as a result of Alzheimer’s, where others in that same situation might be confused or even rude.
Businesses in Prince William and Fauquier counties can work directly with the local Home Instead Senior Care office to arrange an in-person training for their employees, and an online version of the training is also available at AlzheimersFriendlyBusiness.com.
Once the training is completed, businesses will receive a window decal with the Alzheimer’s Friendly Business logo, allowing those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia to easily recognize these businesses taking the lead in making our community more Alzheimer’s friendly.
For more information about Home Instead Senior Care’s Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program, including information on what to look for in an Alzheimer’s Friendly Business, visit AlzheimersFriendlyBusiness.com or call 703-596-1217.
- Manassas Olive Oil Company
- Address: 9406 Grant Avenue Manassas, Va. 20110
- Phone: (703) 543-9206
- Website: http://www.manassasoliveoil.com/
Olive oil. We all have a bottle in our pantry. But can you cook with it?
Is first cold press the best olive oil you can get?
I’m Cameron, co-owner of Manassas Olive Oil Company, and I’m going to breakdown some common myths about this kitchen staple.
Myth 1: You can’t cook with olive oil
This misconception stems from olive oil smoking or breaking down at low temperatures.
Olive oil only has a low smoke point if it has a high quantity of free fatty acids (FFAs). High levels of FFAs – which have been linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes – indicate poor quality or old olive oil.
All the olive oil we carry at Manassas Olive Oil Company has less than 0.2% free fatty acid content – meaning it won’t smoke until at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
As far as withstanding heat – all types of oil break down when heat is applied.
Inexpensive oils – such as canola oil – form toxic byproducts like aldehydes when heated. But when olive oil is heated, it’s some of the antioxidants will break down instead, ‘sacrificing’ themselves and prevent toxic chemicals from being produced by the oil. Look for a high polyphenol (antioxidant) content when purchasing olive oil for high temperature cooking.
Myth 2: First cold press is the best olive oil
Status: Partially True
First, cold pressing is a requirement to produce extra virgin olive oil, but it is somewhat of a misnomer. Cold pressing refers to any olive oil pressed below 80 degrees Fahrenheit and without the addition of chemicals.
As for second press – that has become a thing of the past. Historically, olives were quite literally pressed with huge stones, with the first press extracting the best oil, and subsequent presses extracting lower quality oil.
The olive press has been replaced by a malaxer (horizontal mixer) and centrifuge which pulverize olives, and extract almost all of the oil from them. This method is so efficient, only 5% of oil gets left behind on this ‘first press.”
This leftover oil is must be chemically extracted, and is referred to as “pomace oil.” Pomace oil cannot be sold or labeled as “olive oil’ – nor is it good to consume.
Generally speaking, all commercial olive oil will come from the first press. But be advised – even poor quality olive oil can come from the first cold press.
Myth 3: Most high-quality olive oil comes from Italy
Status: Mostly False
According to a study done by the International Olive Council, Spain produces 40% of the world’s olive oil – or about the same amount as Italy and Greece combined.
So where does the best oil come from? That’s a complicated equation.
Great olive oil is a lot like wine – it depends on the cultivar of olive you’re getting, what kind of conditions it grew in, and how the pressing was handled. Even oils from the same grove will vary year to year.
You should try different varieties of oil. Much like different wine grapes produce different wines, different types of olives will also produce different flavor profiles of oil.
Currently, six different types of extra virgin olive oil are available to taste at Manassas Olive Oil Company.
Have more questions about olive oil, or are interested in learning more? Visit our shop located in downtown Manassas, at 9406 Grant Avenue. We are more than happy to share our knowledge.
- JTC, Inc.
- Address: 9720 Capital Ct. #305, Manassas, Va.
- Phone: (703) 794-1225
- Website: http://www.jtcinc.net/
As a lawyer, how do you keep track of your services and bill your clients? You could do it the old fashioned way by logging paper records, but with new technology and software programs that will do the tracking for you, why do it any other way?
There are several automated tools out there to track legal billing, but three of the best are Amicus, TimeMatters and Sage Timeslips, according to one of JTC, Inc.’s Solution Architects Chris Dittrich.
All three of the platforms are designed with lawyers specifically in mind, and come with desktop and cloud features, so you can maintain your records in multiple locations for redundancy.
“The biggest thing for them is to track clients and have a record of what they’ve done, and be able to access it and correctly bill for their services,” said Dittrich of JTC, Inc.
It’s essential for lawyers, because it makes it easier to bill in the 10 to 15 minute time increments, and some of the software platforms will even hook up to the phone system to accurately log call times.
Whether it’s for a growing law firm or an already established larger firm, these platforms will provide you with efficiency in billing and save you time.
According to Dittrich, JTC, Inc. can help lawyers and firms with implementing and maintaining the system.
“Say they’re a new law firm getting started, or they are converting to a new software package, JTC, Inc. would help them with the complete installation of that database to run their business,” said Dittrich.
So for those that want a more efficient and accurate way to log time with clients, consider investing in these tools and the services of JTC, Inc. for your firm.
- Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas
- Address: 9817 Godwin Dr, Manassas, VA 20110
- Phone: (703) 530-1360
- Website: http://www.HomeInstead.com/manassas-va
A leading provider of senior care in Manassas is looking to hire more CAREGivers.
Home Instead Senior Care will hire 200 new CAREGivers in the coming year. They are looking for people with flexible schedules, those who appreciate paid in-house training, and those who have a caring heart.
Home Instead Senior Care consistently ranks as one of the top 10 employers in Manassas.
“Since starting the company, my husband Jack and I have been absolutely astounded by how many seniors there are in the area who need assistance. Being able to provide employment to hundreds of people, all while fulfilling such an important public need is the realization of our lifelong desire to serve our community in a positive way,” said Jacqueline St.Clair, Franchise Owner.
The senior population is set to explode, called the “silver tsunami,” over the next two decades so need for home care services is going only to grow and Home Instead is preparing to lead the way. Home Instead has experienced double-digit growth every year since being founded in 2006. Their company has outgrown three previous Manassas offices and expanded into its new 8000 square foot office on Godwin Drive two years ago.
Duties of a CAREGiver range from companionship, meal preparations and transportation up to personal care services. Home Instead’s goal is to continue their reputation as the “employer of choice” in non-medical home care.
“The happiest day for me is when a brand new CAREGiver calls me after a shift to say how happy they were with their assignment. Seeing how rewarding the experience is for both our seniors and our CAREGivers never gets old” said Gail Earhart, who started working at Home Instead as a CAREGiver and now serves as our Staffing Manager.
Home Instead recruits openly and hosts an onsite job fair each quarter where potential job seekers can learn about the company, be interviewed and hired in the same day. They will also take part in the Greater Manassas Community Job Fair on Oct. 13, 2015, at Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, 8712 Plantation Lane in Manassas.
“We are redoubling our efforts to help those in our region who are looking for employment. Helping seniors stay safe and stable in their own homes brings a unique sense of satisfaction that we really want to make job seekers aware of,” said Director of Operations Ian Lovejoy.
Visit Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas online at HomeInstead.com/manassas-va for more information or to apply to be a CAREGiver.
Have you ever wanted to get more involved in the community, but we unsure how?
The Occoquan District Boy Scouts – with scouts from Woodbridge, Lake Ridge, Dumfries and Montclair – need individuals to serve on committees for the group’s board.
This is a great chance to serve your community, and help out a worthy non-profit organization that mentors our youth.
There are currently vacancies for:
District Vice Chair
Membership Committee – New Unit Coordinator
Finance Committee – Vice-Chair Finance, FOS-Community Coordinator, Popcorn Kernel
Programs – Vice-Chair Programs, Cub Scout Advancement, Boy Scout Advancement, Recognition Dinner Coordinator Co-Chair, Activities Chair, Pinewood Derby Coordinator, Cub Scout Training Chair, Volunteer Coordinator
Marketing Committee – Vice Chair Marketing, District Newsletter Coordinator, Public Relations Coordinator
If you are interested in working with the Boy Scouts, and would like to take on one of these important positions, please contact Ben Hazekamp at 608-751-9840.
This post is sponsored by Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire.