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Somebody ‘smack yo mamma’ because we’re on the hunt for the area’s best burger

We’re on a quest to find the best burger in the Potomac Local coverage area, which includes Prince William and Stafford counties, as well as the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. Tell us your favorite burger joint in the comments and I’ll check it out.

To get started on this journey, my wife Jocelyn and I met our friends Rod and Jenn from One Degree Capital at Mason Dixon Cafe in Stafford on a Thursday afternoon. Mason Dixon is one of my favorites because it’s a diner in the heart of Stafford County that doesn’t have a diner feel.

The colors on the wall are a bright cheery orange. The lunch counter and full bar are always packed every time I come in there. Luckily, on this visit (Rod and Jenn’s first at Mason Dixon) we didn’t have to wait for a table.

When it comes to drinks, the beer list is extensive. Jocelyn and I drank blonde ales from 6 Bears and a Goat Brewery in Stafford, while Rod ordered a beer that looked and tasted like a caramel macchiato.

Then it came time for business: Burger time.

The “smack yo momma burger”

Jocelyn ordered what has to be my favorite-named burger on Mason-Dixon’s menu — the “smack yo mamma burger” topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, chipotle mayo, and, wait for it, grilled macaroni and cheese.

It’s got enough mac to smack you momma, I guess.

Jocelyn, who is a big fan of mac and cheese loved it.

I ordered the blackened blue burger with bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, and bleu cheese dressing. Each savory bite of the burger melted in my mouth. And the barbecue chips on the side went nicely with the burger.

Jenn ordered a less adventurous sandwich — a plain cheeseburger with no toppings. Her favorite part of the meal was the side dish: the sweet potato tots.

Those sweet potato tots

Rod, the most adventurous of all, told our server to have the chef surprise him with the best burger on the menu. Out came the farmhouse burger topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and one egg sunny side up.

While he wasn’t a fan of the egg (he removed it to a small place and used his lettuce to cover it up as if it was never there) he did enjoy scarfing down the rest of the sandwich.

Mason-Dixon took a chance when it decided to expand from its first location on Princess Anne Street in Fredericksburg and open a second in Stafford, and so far it seems the move has paid off.

Bleu cheese heaven

The restaurant has quickly become a gathering place for good food and good friends and has lived up to its motto: Where the locals really eat.

Mason-Dixon Stafford is located at 11 Hope Road just off Route 1, across from the courthouse. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

They’re open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

At FreshySites, we ‘adjust as needed’

“We’ve come to the seventh and final installment in our posts covering the FreshySites Ethos – ‘Adjust As Needed.’
 
Similar to being solution centric, adjusting as needed revolves around having an adaptable, positive and innovative mindset in our daily processes.
 
Just as our team has to stay ahead of the curve and constantly seek out those cutting-edge tools and techniques required to be the best in our industry – asking for more from ourselves and therefore growing from within – each one of us also has to be confident, yet flexible in approaching our daily projects and tasks.
 
This means we have to harness our extensive knowledge and expertise, while also being ego free and willing to question our current ideas/approaches.
 
Adjusting as needed requires that each and every one of our team members be ready to try new tactics and look in unexpected places for answers to the questions we encounter and/or our clients bring us.
 
These are the key components of this last part of the FS Ethos, which ensure that no matter what, our team is operating as efficiently and productively as possible in order to best serve the customer.
 
As we’ve stated countless times before, because who we are as a company can be traced back to our Ethos, which has formed from a dedication on all sides to our best-in-industry customer service and support, this is the central aspect of how we externally market ourselves.
 
Service as marketing is how we showcase our internal processes in our external outreach efforts, making sure to impress upon current clients – and more so prospective clients – that we are always willing and able to push ourselves, adjust as needed and serve our clients in any way possible.
 
We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know FS a little more through our Ethos 🙂
 
FreshySites – a regionally focused company with national reach and operations, ready to adjust as needed for our clients.
 
FreshySites is a fast-growing website design firm dedicated to creating beautiful websites, while consistently delivering best-in-industry customer service and support. Founded in 2011, FreshySites has quickly expanded into the largest in-house WordPress web design shop on the East Coast. Our Washington D.C. office was founded in 2012 by Vincent Consumano. With additional offices, we have the team, resources and tools to serve our local – and national – clients through website mockups, creative briefs, revision rounds, and Search Engine Optimization audits. FreshySites is determined to take our regional clients’ online presence to the next level, ultimately helping them to grow and thrive. Explore our website to learn more about us, see our portfolio of work and become a part of our client family today!”

In 1993 all I wanted was a Macintosh. It helped me build skills for the work I do today.

I want to thank Experimac Manassas for sponsoring this series of posts and allowing a guy to reflect on using his first Macintosh computer as a child, and to write about using my new-to-me Mac, my first in more than 20 years. See them for all your Mac, iPhone and computer needs.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

I slowly walked down the stairs and saw the glow of Christmas lights on the large box in the corner.

When I saw the Apple logo, I knew this would be the Christmas present I had hoped for.

Some boys my age wanted BB guns and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles playlets. But in 1993 all I wanted was a home computer. And it had to be a Macintosh.

And that year, I was blessed to receive one.

My parents decided that the Kiser’s were going to join the information age. And because they didn’t work at jobs that required heavy computer use, their 11-year-old son was going to take them there and show them how to use a home computer.

I asked for a Mac because Apple products were all I knew. I remember when they used a cart to roll in the first Apple computer to my elementary school classroom, an Apple IIe. I played Number Munchers, and later Oregon Trail on an Apple IIgs machine. These were Apple Computers, not Macs.

I remember the IIe had a five-inch floppy disk drive, and so did the IIgs, but it also had a desktop screen and a mouse, something its Macintosh cousins made famous.

When I got to Beville Middle School in Dale City, my favorite classrooms were computer labs each stocked with Macintosh computers.

There I learned how to use word processing programs — I didn’t know at the time I’d be using those programs every day for the rest of my life for work — and drawing programs.

In the days before the broad adoption of the internet, I learned about modems and how to use them to dial up and talk to the school’s weather station. That was infinitely cooler than turning on the TV and waiting for the weather report.

I would tell my parents about how much I was learning about using these machines, and I would try to convince them how a Macintosh and all of the fun CD-ROMs with encyclopedias and other educational tools that came with the device would help me with my school work.

In those days, Apple made the computer for education, and I got one. I was thrilled.

I tore into the box to find a brand new Macintosh Performa 550. It was a white shiny new with a Sony Trinitron screen was beautiful to look at even when it wasn’t turned on.

It’s distinctive Apple mouse and keyboard plugged right in and were easy to use. They were just like the ones at school.

I took the machine and placed it on the desk in my room, where it would sit through my high school years.

It came with a book of CD-ROMs, and when I placed each disc into the pop-out tray, a video encyclopedia would pop up. I learned about animals and watched and listened to videos President Kennedy’s speeches. The video quality was grainy, but hey, it was cool.

It was also the first time I used CDs. Later, I saved up my allowance and bought music CDs and the Mac was my first stereo.

I spent hours creating drawings on ClarisWorks, and writing journal entries. I made a list of all of my friends’ phone numbers and called it PAL — the personal address list.

The computer had Mario Teaches Typing, as well as a game called Spectre where you drove a tank in virtual reality world in a game of capture the flag and shoot-em-up battle.

I never used this Mac to go online on a service like America Online or Prodigy. It was the days before the web browser, but it did everything I needed it to do and more.

Considering what computers cost back then my parents probably paid a fortune for the thing. Heck, new Macs are expensive today. 

But for a child like me who was — and still is — a bit of a nerd, it was the best Christmas present I ever received.

Until I got my Apple ink-jet printer, which changed everything again.

Uriah Kiser is the founder and publisher of Potomac Local.

Democrats urge Prince William leaders to ban loaded guns in cars

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You see their faces, now hear hear from Sentara’s Women Physicians for Women’s Health

You see their faces as you drive through a busy stretch of Northern Virginia highway- knowledgeable women, skilled, well-versed and educated in their fields: Women Physicians For Women’s Health.

Their billboard sits off of Route 1 in Prince William County, not far from Dawson Beach Road, and less than five miles from Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

We had a chance to interview these physicians, learn more about what drives them, and have them share their experiences.  

 

Dr. Christina Baraty, MD, Attending Physician, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Q: What is your specialty and what do you love about it? 

“My specialty entails all aspects of women’s health. I manage well-woman exams, birth control, gynecologic complications, infertility, pregnancy, menopause, and more! I am also a surgeon and I am able to manage any gynecologic or obstetric issues with surgical management. I love being a part of a woman’s lifelong health and an advocate for women. I love that gynecologists were at the forefront for minimally invasive surgical techniques starting with laparoscopy and now today with DaVinci Robotic surgeries. I love that we are strongly trained in using ultrasound imaging in OB/GYN to quickly, easily, and safely image patients in the office or at the hospital with a portable ultrasound if necessary for a diagnosis.” 

Q: You’re new to the Woodbridge market- what are you excited about, moving forward?

“I’m really excited to be coming from an academic center and applying evidence-based medicine to local community hospital here in Woodbridge.” 

Q: What do you wish patients knew or asked going into/coming out of care? 

“I love my patients that play a role in their own health care, ask questions, and are engaged in their healthcare conversation. They can do this by having a patient portal account with our office that easily allows them to review their own results and electronically message me with any questions or concerns.

 

Dr. Ghana Kang, M.D, Hematology Oncology

Q: What is your specialty and what do you love about it? 

“My specialty is treating patients with blood disorders or cancers. I like it for several reasons, it is scientifically challenging but exciting!!! There are many new potential armamentariums in the pipelines. Major multinational pharmaceutical companies are investing to develop new cancer drugs. Having a new FDA-approved indication almost every day is fascinating. Also, people may think cancer is a death sentence. However, a lot of patients actually go cancer-free or LIVE with cancer. And I walk the long journey with them, side-by-side, through victorious, as well as sad moments.” 

Q: You’re new to the Woodbridge market- what are you excited about, moving forward?

“Contributing to the community and helping people in need.”

Q: What do you wish patients knew or asked going into/coming out of care?

“Cancer treatment is constantly evolving. Your treatment will likely be different from that of your acquaintance. Don’t be overly discouraged from all you hear. Consult with trustworthy specialists.”

Q: What do you want patients to know about you?

“I delicately consider all the treatment options for each of my patients. When they suffer, I suffer as well.” 

 

Dr. Alexandra Modiri, MD, Gastroenterology/Hepatology

Q: What is your specialty and what do you love about it? 

“My specialty encompasses disorders of the GI tract, including the pancreas and liver. My specialty provides me with a variety of things to do in my day to day practice. I am never bored! I enjoy seeing patients in clinic, getting to know them and helping them with their issues. My specialty also allows me to perform hands-on procedures such as endoscopy and colonoscopy- which are things that I enjoy.” 

Q: You’re new to the Woodbridge market- what are you excited about, moving forward?

“I am excited to get to meet and know the people in my community and grow my practice as I set new roots.”

Q: What do you wish patients knew or asked going into/coming out of care?

“Colonoscopies saves lives. Having a colonoscopy is not as bad as it sounds/seems.” 

Q: What do you want patients to know about you?

“I am a compassionate and caring physician. When patients come to see me, their health is my number one priority and I will do my best to help them.”

What Prince William County can learn from the Richmond region on how it launched its successful RVA brand identity

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Satterwhite wants to make the Prince Willam County School Board less partisan, and wants to be its next Chairman

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10 things you need to know about the Bluebell Festival

10 – Learn how to put up nesting boxes and invite bluebirds to your yard. And be sure to ask what they eat. You might be surprised.

 9 – Meet Wilson the friendly Ball Python. Not sure we have to say much more about that, except…ask what he eats?

 8 – Visit Green Level Cemetery, dating back to the early 1800’s, and learn about its history. It’s near an old house ruins in a grove of old oak and cedar trees. It’s only spooky at night.

 7 – Take a guided tour through 100 acres of floodplain wetlands. Wear boots. Life vests not needed.

 6 – Discover wetland critters, from insects to frogs. Get up close and personal with these guys. Be polite. Introduce yourself first.

 5 – Enjoy music provided by the Broad Run String Band. Enjoy great, local bluegrass. Ask them about goat yoga.

 4 – Meet more than a dozen local organizations and the people who make things happen. We’ll give you a hint. They love nature, and they’re good at storytelling.

[Photo: Prince William Conservation Alliance]

 

 3 – Find trout lilies, erythronium americanum and more nestled among the bluebells. Learn to pronounce erythronium.

 2 – View the fabulous Virginia bluebells that carpet the Cedar Run shoreline for nearly a mile. This official flower of Prince William County also happens to be popular in the UK. Who knew?

 1 – Explore the great outdoors with your family and friends. Merrimac Farm is beautiful, especially this time of year. This is a free event.

So now that you know, be sure to show. The Bluebell Festival is Sunday, April 8, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Merrimac Farm in Nokesville. You might need directions, so here they are.

Oh and take some pics. Email them to PotomacLocal@Gmail.com. Tell us who’s in them and where you’re from. Get famous.



Eggs are not just for Easter

  • Dizzy Pig Barbecue Company
  • Address: 11301 Braden Drive Manassas, Va. 20109
  • Phone: (703) 273-3580
  • Website: https://dizzypigbbq.com/

Dizzy Pig classes draw aspiring master grillers who love their Eggs

There are a few things you need to grill salmon properly.

1. Make sure your fish is fresh and sourced from someone who knows a thing or two about great seafood. Dizzy Pig founder Chris Capell gets his from the hills of southwest Virginia. More on that in a bit.

2. Make sure you use the right kind of charcoal on the grill — wood briquettes work nicely to get the temperature up to the needed 500 degrees.

3. As for the grill, well for that, you’ll need a cooker shaped like an egg.

And those cookers, called “Big Green Eggs,” are what keep people coming back to Dizzy Pig in Prince William County to learn from the master grill chef.

Grilling for 20 years now, award-winning competitive chef and Dizzy Pig founder Chris Capell fired up his Big Green Egg for more than 25 people on a cold and gray Saturday morning in March. They were there for an expert seafood cooking class.

And while not ideal barbeque weather, Capell’s students enthusiastically encircled him on an outdoor patio as he smoked choice cuts of salmon.

Capell keeps the fish to one side of the grate, so as not to burn it, allowing for even heat distribution throughout the grill. The grate is positioned as high as possible, keeping the fish far from the flames.


He applies a butter-maple glaze to the fish and cooks each piece for about ten to twelve minutes on each side until it becomes a dark, rich color worthy of its namesake.

Once finished, Capell pulls the fish from the grill and places perfect portions into trays. He passes them around, so everyone gets a taste.

The smoky flavor gives the fish a more meaty feel, while the glaze adds an unexpected savory undertone. There is nothing fishy about this meat, and the crowd can’t get enough, as many return for seconds.

Preparing the fish


Capell bought his first Big Green Egg in 1998, four years before founding Dizzy Pig. And he’s been sourcing his fish from the hills of southwestern Virginia for many years.

“I had to drive down to Blacksburg this week to get this,” Capell told his class.

This fresh catch is not from any mountain lake, but rather the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Capell knows a couple that lives in Blacksburg. They travel to the shore each week to bring back seafood to sell to Blacksburg locals.

“They really know what they’re looking for when it comes to quality, and I’ve relied on them for years,” he said.

He takes his time to prepare the fish, using a six-inch blade to carefully slice away the skin. Afterward, he goes back and removes any leftover membranes.

“Some people like to cook the fish with the skin on, but it tastes very fishy,” Capell explained.

“There’s also a bloodline that runs underneath the skin. That’s fishy too,” he said, while making precision cuts with the blade.

Building a fanbase

This seafood cooking class is one of many Capell holds at his Dizzy Pig Headquarters near Innovation Park. With its large open space, high ceilings and a video monitor that gives the attendees a birds-eye view of Capell preparing his meat, the classroom serves as an ideal meeting space.

Down the hall is the grill shop, where visitors find shelves full of Dizzy Pig seasonings developed by Capell and his team. The new “Raging River” blend is meant to be used on pork, chicken, and salmon. The truth is it tastes great on everything.

The room is also stocked with an array of The Big Green Egg ceramic kamado-style cookers. Capell swears by them, and, even with prices ranging from $800 to $2,500 a cooker, so do his fans who’ve purchased from him.

“We’ve bought two Eggs, and we cook everything on them, especially in the winter months,” said Jill Caballero of Amissville, Va.

A year-round griller, she uses her Egg three to four times a week to make everything from meats to cake. Yes, cake, the kind you would eat on your birthday.

“It’s really good,” she said.

Many in the class own a Big Green Egg or are contemplating a purchase. These classes serve as how-tos for the Egg faithful.

John and Nelle Krobath of Haymarket purchased their Egg at Dizzy Fest, an annual event Capell holds to showcase great competition cooking on Big Green Eggs.

“We got ours already assembled and broken in,” said John Krobath.

The class was a mixture of singles and couples all looking for a shared cooking experience, and looking to share with each other tips and tricks they’ve learned along the road to master grilling.

Dizzy Pig charges $95 per person or $180 a couple for the four-hour class packed with camaraderie and instruction. It’s part seeing, part cooking and part eating.

Capell is open to questions from the class throughout the experience. Attendees also get a 5 percent discount in the grill store and are served refreshments.

Attendees may register online for an April 21, 2018, pork barbeque class. The class is held from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. at Dizzy Pig Headquarters, located at 11301 Braden Drive.



Façade and landscape improvement grants attract new businesses, encourage expansion

The City of Manassas strategically uses local incentives to attract new businesses and encourage expansion of existing ones. 

Two of these incentives focus specifically on enhancing the aesthetics of highly visible properties within the City’s gateway corridors.  The Façade and Landscape Improvement Grant programs were launched in 2016 to encourage local businesses owners to reinvest in their properties. 

Since that time the programs have been highly successful, resulting in private investment in real property that otherwise may not have occurred. 

The City has funded 13 projects totaling $108,549; leveraging $1.4million in private investment. 

Awarded projects include:

  • Landscape improvements along the berm on Wellington Road between Dumfries and Hampton
  • New paint on the exterior of the building, trim and window replacement and repair of broken sidewalks at Sinistral in Historic Downtown
  • New paint and replacement of rotting cornice of Okra’s and Zandra’s in Historic Downtown   
  • Major renovations (including paint and awnings) as well as significant landscape improvements to Wellington Station

The Façade and Landscape Improvement Grants provide incentives in the form of matching grants to (1) encourage the improvement of landscapes along major thoroughfares and at gateway entrances to the City of Manassas and (2) visually enhance the streetscape and increase interest in the designated area. The initiative also serves as a tool in supporting and retaining small businesses.

For additional information on these and other Manassas incentives, please visit choosemanassas.org.

Our subscribers love us. Now you can try us free for 14 days.

First of all, thank you to all of you who subscribed to Potomac Local and trusting me to continue to provide local news for the community where I grew up.

Your subscription shows that you value our service. From our exclusive reporting on traffic and transit, our coverage of local government, or insight into the local business community, it tells me that you want essential local news that makes an impact — not just stories you can get on any other news website.

Here is just some of what our subscribers are saying: 

You are doing a great job in reporting on local news in Prince William County.  I am glad I paid for the subscription.  I like the Breakfast Links in general, and your daily featured news in particular.
Thanks!

Eric Fagerholm
Montclair, Va.

 

 

You can continue to count on us for this kind of reporting as I am indeed working for you.

When adding a subscription service became an option, I spent the majority of 2017 studying local news websites across the U.S. and Europe with subscription services.

I examined business models and studied what types of news readers would pay for and how they wanted it delivered.

I thought about what reader revenue would mean for us, and what new products and services, like or new personalized weekday Breakfast Links email and new podcast, I could offer our subscribers.

And, I agonized over the prospect of losing readers once we added our subscription service.

However, since our subscription service launched in January, I’ve seen the number of subscribers continue to rise steadily. This must mean we’re doing something right.

But I’ve also heard from some readers who have two common concerns.

1. Our subscribers see the value in our news but they’re shy when it comes to sharing our stories on social media because they’re afraid others won’t like it when they’re asked to subscribe to read.

2. They’d like to try us out before committing to a monthly or annual subscription. 

To the first point, I say sharing our news with your friends who may or may not be subscribers is no different than going to your favorite restaurant, taking a photo of an amazing dish, posting it to social media, and then telling your friends “you gotta try this place.”

The second, free trials are good (hey, even I like a free trial when I’m using new software for home or my business) and that’s why I’ve added a 14-day FREE trial option that will give you full access to our site for — you guessed it — 14 days.

Afterward, you’ll be charged $6 a month for full access to our reporting. Should you wish to save some dough and upgrade to an annual subscription, you can do that, too.

Your support is vital to our mission of bringing you local news and is always appreciated.

Challenges of the Sandwich Generation

Here’s a term you might not be familiar with — the sandwich generation. It typically refers to the generation that cares for both children and aging parents.

Traditionally, the generation is made up of people in their thirties and forties. But with technology, advanced healthcare and a wide span of years during which parents decide to have children, the sandwich generation can include people in their twenties and fifties, maybe even sixties, in some cases. The Pew Research Center says, “Who is the sandwich generation? Its members are mostly middle-aged: 71% of this group is ages 40 to 59. An additional 19% are younger than 40 and 10% are age 60 or older.”

No matter what age you are, though, there is no doubt that sandwich generation caregivers experience some significant challenges.

Time is not on our side

There are only so many hours in the day, and so many days in the week. Even if you break that down into minutes, sandwich generation caregivers might still find themselves operating at a deficit. The senior parent in your life might need to see a specialist with limited availability twenty minutes before  your youngest is due to play the final game of the baseball season.

Both need rides, both need to be there on time or earlier, and both want you to be there with them. You can’t reschedule either activity, and your spouse is slated to be out of town for the week. Yes, you can probably find a ride for your baseball star, but you don’t know how your mother will feel after her appointment or how long the appointment will take, so you may not be able to make the game, even late.

Sometimes, even though you’ve planned better than an agent undertaking mission impossible, the situation is still very much impossible. You can’t be in two places at the same time, at least at this point in human evolution.

Money is finite

If you’ve ever been in the position of standing in the checkout line only to realize you didn’t have enough in the bank to cover the purchase and you weren’t sure whether you’d reached your credit limit on your card, then you know what it’s like to start sweating over finances. That’s the feeling many sandwich generation caregivers have when they are financially supporting children and parents. Twelve-year-old Jennifer needs braces, but 83-year-old dad needs prescriptions that Medicare doesn’t cover. Long-term care benefits are running out, and you haven’t even started thinking about pitching in to cover your oldest child’s college tuition this semester.   

While this scenario doesn’t fit everyone, even when aging family members bring with them enough to support themselves financially, cash flow can be a constant exercise in strategy, paperwork and patience. Budgeting requires careful attention to expected and unexpected life events. Factor in time for forms and payments to be processed, and you could start feeling like a harried business owner who has never taken a business course.

Attention is valuable

From your youngest tugging at your pant leg to your mother calling you from the other room, it’s pretty obvious you are needed. It seems like dad always wants to talk just as the kids are coming through the door from school. Why is it that whenever you try to read to your mother, your kids start duking it out in the living room? Maybe it’s more like your college-age kid is blowing up your phone with texts while your father is asking you again about tomorrow’s plans, while your high-school-age child wants to know what’s for dinner.

The more you look around, the more you see that you being there for the ones you love is greatly valued. But how do you manage to give everyone what they need without burning yourself out?

You are not alone

According to the Pew Research Center, “Nearly half (47%) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older).”

And, “…nearly four-in-ten (38%) say both their grown children and their parents rely on them for emotional support.”

If you feel exhausted half the time, this could be the reason why. And while these challenges are common, they can lead to caregiving fatigue, especially if you don’t have enough support. That’s not a road you want to travel. If you feel you’re headed in that direction, be sure to reach out. Friends, family, doctors, local agencies and other organizations are there to help you find an extra pair of hands, ears and wheels when you most need them.

This post is sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care, serving Prince William and Fauquier counties.

 

The children’s team at Sentara treats premature babies 24/7, keeping families close to home

Just as the weather breaks and it begins to grow warmer, the Women’s Health Center at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center’s team of doctors, nurses and staff are trading in their scrubs for tennis shoes.

It’s for the annual March of Dimes March for Babies walk.

It’s such a great way for all of us to celebrate, honor, and remember our babies with others who care so much about mother/baby health issues,” explains Florence Pullo, Interim Director for the Women’s Health Center at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, “Sentara actively participates in this campaign to emphasize how important we believe the health of mom and babies is and to unite the community in building a brighter future for all of us!”

It’s that dedication to teamwork and commitment to the smallest members of our community which is the cornerstone of everything that happens in the Women’s Health Center and is the foundation for Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center’s partnership with Children’s National Health System.

Children’s National is ranked number one for newborn intensive care in the U.S. News & World Report 2017-18 Best Children’s Hospital Survey.

“This partnership is a good thing for families and the community,” says Dr. Ashraf Afifi, MD, MPH. “The team from Children’s National offers their skills in both the full-term nursery and the intensive care nursey.”

Children’s National’s Neonatologist Dr. Afifi is the Medical Director of Neonatology at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. He was named a “top doc” in the recent “Best Of” edition of Northern Virginia Magazine. Since 2014, he has led the team, which staffs the special care nursery, a Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), providing expert care for the sick newborns of Woodbridge and the surrounding region.

“Sentara was looking for the skills and expertise of Children’s National on the ground. Right now, we keep the kids who are in need of neonatal intensive services in Sentara. However, if infants need extra help and support, we’ll stabilize them and a transport team flies or ambulances them to Children’s,” explains Dr. Afifi.

The Children’s team at Sentara consists of full-time, board-certified neonatologists and neonatal nurse practitioners for around the clock care.

“We are here 24/7. Not all specialty nurseries have this level of care around the clock. We do,” explains Children’s National NICU Nurse Practitioner, Rosemary O’Neill.

The 14-bed unit typically consists of six intensive care and eight step-down beds. As a Level II NICU, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is licensed to treat babies between 32 to 44 weeks of gestation and at least 1,500 grams or 3.3 pounds.

This partnership allows families to stay close to home as they deal with a premature baby.

“For our part, we want you to stay in the community, we have everything here. You don’t have to go elsewhere. We want to be full service for you. We’re trying to get the word out and inform more families because they’re not aware of those things,” explains O’Neill.

Last year there were 260 admissions to the intensive care nursery, which is reflective of how this collaborative approach has been effective and was needed by the community. Just over 15% of those babies were transferred to Children’s National for a higher level of care.

“This collaboration give families and caregivers more advanced technologies, more advanced diagnosis, more advanced devices,” says O’Neill. “Not only do we have access to Children’s National in D.C., but we also have access to all of Sentara’s resources to our south.”

Dr. Afifi agrees, citing the advancements in research and telemedicine.

“Super pediatric subspecialties, which are few and far between, we can now reach them by telemedicine. We can reach them from the comfort of the practitioner here at Sentara. For example, the peds pathology, endocrinology, cardiology –who will give the information and have the best advice.”

In the end, the partnership is a win for both the hospital and the community it serves.

“At the end of the day, you have a family caring for their child, they have their worries and anxieties for their child, will that child make it or not, how’s that child going to be, what will this child look like down the road in a year or two, having been born at 600 or 700 grams, all of this. Our team practicing here will definitely give them assurances and we can share all the numbers and statistics with them,” explains Dr. Afifi speaking to the team’s level of expertise.

It’s this commitment to the babies they serve and the families they get to know personally every day that motivates the team to participate in the March of Dimes walk. This year is no different as they’ll be part of the Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center’s March for Babies team on Sunday, April 29 at the Loy E. Harris Pavilion in Manassas.

Join the Sentara team and register for this family and dog-friendly event.

Deadline to apply for One Degree Capital scholarship approaches

The John Mathis Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, named after the father of One Degree Capital co-founder Jenn Mathis, is now accepting applications for the 2018-19 academic year scholarship award.

Established in 2016, the scholarship award seeks to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of youths. The inaugural scholarship award went to then-high school senior Destini Sapp, owner of two-year old custom craft business Crafted by Des.

Jenn and her business partner, Rod Loges, routinely seek ways to give back to communities including donating goods, services and time as well as mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages.

“When Rod and I discussed starting a scholarship,” Jenn explains, “we knew we wanted to create something that encouraged today’s entrepreneurial youth. Small business owners employ over half the nation’s workforce. Here at One Degree Capital we do everything we can to encourage growth in this critical segment of our society.”

“We named the scholarship after my dad, John Mathis,” continues Jenn. “Daddy continues to be an enormous inspiration to my growth as a business owner. He constantly inspires, encourages and mentors me on business ownership and leadership. I would not be where I am today without him.”

The application process is now open and continues through March 31. Semi-finalists are notified in April with final selection made on May 15. The scholarship award is open to high school seniors who either work for a small business owner or who currently own their own small business. For more details, visit www.onedegreecapital.com/scholarship.

About The John Mathis Entrepreneurial Spirit Award

High school seniors who are either employed by a small business or who own their own small business are eligible to apply. The non-renewable $2,000 scholarship award can be applied toward tuition and fees of a postsecondary school. For full details and to apply for the scholarship award, visit www.onedegreecapital.com/scholarship.

About One Degree Capital

Headquartered in Tysons, Virginia, One Degree Capital is a privately funded direct lender dedicated to helping business owners get the right capital at the right time for their unique business needs. Established in 2010, One Degree has helped over 5,000 business owners secure millions in capital through dozens of different financing vehicles including term loans, receivables financing, purchase order financing, SBA loans, real estate loans, asset based loans, lines of credit and unsecured working capital loans. For more information or to speak with a Business Capital Advisor, contact One Degree Capital at 1.703.579.6868.

And the Winners Are: FirstLight Home Care, Emerging Business of the Year

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Taking the senior in your life to a doctor’s appointment? Here’s your to-do list.

In a previous article, we talked about ways to make local travel easier for the senior in your life. Sometimes, local travel means going to the doctor’s office. If you care for a senior who needs you to take them to see a doctor, you’ll need to be prepared. The general rules of planning a trip will probably still apply, but visiting the doctor requires some additional considerations. Here’s your to-do list.

Start the conversation – A few weeks before the appointment, when the senior in your care is relaxed and preferably talkative, ask how they have been feeling. Is there anything new bothering them? Do they have any questions? Listen closely and jot down notes in a health journal or notebook. Then list all medication and doses and how long they have been taking it. Document the day and time of the conversation.

Continue the conversation – Two weeks before the appointment, have the same conversation you held in the weeks prior. Ask as many questions as you need to, but be sure to repeat the original questions you asked, too. One week before the appointment, repeat the process. Do the same one day before the appointment and the day of the appointment. Each time you do this, document the day and time of the conversation, as well as medication information. By the time you’re ready to meet the doctor, you will have four entries with useful data that could end up playing a critical role in your senior’s medical treatment.

Keep “things” simple – If you’ve ever had to fumble through a large handbag full of cosmetics, medication, pieces of paper, stale chewing gum and free-roaming pennies, you know how frustrating it can be to find what you need, especially if you’re on the spot. Don’t let this happen to the senior in your care. Pack your senior a purse, wallet or bag with only the necessities, such as ID, insurance card, credit card, pen and the health notebook. Make these items easily identifiable and accessible. Everything else can stay in a different bag.

Let your senior lead – Often the most difficult part of having a caregiver is that it brings on feelings of dependence and vulnerability. Couple this with the natural anxiety many of us feel at the doctor’s office and you can understand why it’s so important to let the senior in your care do as much as they can for themselves. If possible, let your senior enter the office first. Have them sign in for themselves. Since a bag or wallet has been packed in a friendly way, it should be easier for your senior to take out their health insurance card and ID and hand it to the receptionist. Have them choose the seats in the waiting room. All of this will help empower your senior.

Be the interpreter – Medical terminology can sound like a foreign language. Watch your senior’s facial expressions and body language when the doctor is speaking. If your senior appears confused, zoned out, anxious or agitated, ask the doctor to slow down and explain. Repeat back what the doctor says and ask your senior if they understand. Encourage them to ask questions about diagnosis, prognosis and treatment, and discuss the information in the health notebook. Help your senior find words if they are struggling to remember them. Throughout all this, take notes so you can remind your senior (and yourself) of the conversation later.

Decompress – Depending on the reason for and duration of the appointment, your senior could feel exhausted after. They might also be experiencing other emotions, such as sadness, anxiety or anger. Once you leave the appointment, it’s important to let the senior in your care talk. Be sure to recap what happened and touch on the next steps. However, it’s important to then move on to a topic and/or activity that is less stressful. Think of something both of you find relaxing and enjoy doing it together.  

As with anything else in caregiving, don’t try to go it alone. Seek the support you need to better care for the senior who needs you. Your senior and you will both be happier – and healthier – because of it.

This post is sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care, serving Prince William and Fauquier counties.

 

More than a year later, still no posted toll lanes travel times

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