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Spend the holidays in the City of Manassas

During the holidays, the Historic Downtown of the City of Manassas becomes an iconic winter wonderland full of charm and excitement. As visitors wander down Center Street, the buildings are outlined in twinkling lights, shop windows are filled with homemade Gingerbread houses and one can smell the season in the air.

This holiday season; spend some time in Downtown Manassas. December 1 at 5:15 p.m., Santa Lights Manassas. Santa will arrive by VRE train to light the City. There will be hayrides, ice-skating, holiday performances and fun for the whole family.

December 2 brings the 72 nd Annual Greater Manassas Christmas Parade. More than 100 floats, dancers, marching bands and assorted characters will travel along Center Street, heralding in the season.

Visitors are invited to take in the holiday charm with free horse-drawn carriage rides on Dec. 3, 10 and 17. Shopping and dining in the Historic Downtown is sure to bring on the holiday cheer, especially with the new Secret Santa registry available in downtown stores. And, if there’s someone on the list who is hard to buy for, why not get them a ManassasOpoly game.

For more information on these and other events in the City of Manassas, visit visitmanassas.org. Hope to see you around the City of Manassas.

 


A final, permanent resting place for Prince William’s unclaimed dead

There’s little information about their lives, but in death, five Prince William County residents were treated to a heroes’ funeral with an honor guard salute, two women singing hymns, two chaplains sharing prayers and even the Prince William County Sheriff taking time to speak.

It’s part of the county’s annual memorial service for the unclaimed. Thursday morning at Woodbine Cemetery in Manassas, a small group gathered.

A Memorial Service for Prince William County’s Unclaimed Citizens is a project that started last year. The program provides a final, permanent resting place for Prince William’s unclaimed dead. But, organizers say that term may be misleading. These are Prince William County residents who may not have been able to afford a funeral, outlived family members or were possibly homeless. Even though there are a number of possible, different scenarios, the county wanted to help provide, what Sheriff Glendell Hill calls, “a noble burial.”

This year, five people were laid to rest at Woodbine Cemetery: Willie Mae Miller, Edwin LyneConnor, Edwin Fay Gray, Robert E. Gross and Earl Miller. Sheriff Hill says during the course of investigating Earl Miller’s death, they found the ashes of his mother, Willie Mae Miller. Thursday’s service ensured the two were buried together.

Less than two dozen people gathered for the service. Among those, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center’s chaplain and decedent affair coordinator, Cindy Hardy. “I wanted to go and honor the lives that we may have worked with when they were alive,” she shares. In her role as chaplain, she often helps people through tough times. Thursday was no different when she was seated next to a friend of one of the deceased, “He was able to have a proper goodbye. He said he felt connected and glad that he was able to have these final moments with him and say a proper goodbye.” (more…)

13 things to do this Halloween to prepare winter’s horror

Some winters in the Washington area can be scary, and some of them downright horrifying.

Remember 2010? Snomageddon? Our region was buried underneath as much as 32 inches of snow. There even was more in some places.

So, while last year’s winter season didn’t come close to that nightmare, anything can happen this year.

The Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative is urging homeowners to take these 13 steps this Halloween week to prepare for the winter season that lurking just around the corner.

1. Batts in the Belfry

The U.S. Department of Energy says insulating is the most cost-effective way to reduce energy bills 10-50 percent. Insulate the attic floor with R60 fiberglass batts, loose-fill, rigid-foam, or spray-foam insulation. Install an insulated cover over pull-down stairs. Do not cover or block soffit vents, wires, motors or recessed lights. Consult an expert to determine the best insulation for the home’s construction.

2. Caulk Cracks

Caulk masonry cracks in walls and between the house and concrete foundation. Seal openings around plumbing pipes, ducts, vents, chimneys, and anything that goes through floors, walls, ceilings, and roof with caulk or insulating spray foam. (more…)

2,262 pounds of prescription medications collected in drug “Take-Back”

From Prince William County police:

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VIRGINIA . . . A total of 2,262.2 pounds of expired or unused prescription medications was collected in greater Prince William County on Saturday, October 28th. The event was sponsored by the Crime Prevention Unit of the Prince William County Police Department, the City of Manassas Police Department, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center, Sentara Lake Ridge, and Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center.

 

  • Manassas City Police and sponsors collected 1,432 pounds of expired or unused
    prescription medications at the Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William
    Medical Center collection location in the city of Manassas.
  • Prince William County Police and sponsors collected a total of 830.2 pounds of expired
    or unused prescription medications:
  •  471.1 pounds at the Sentara Lake Ridge collection location in Woodbridge, and
  • 359.1 pounds at the Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical
    Center collection location in Haymarket. (more…)


‘It was the murder of her younger brother which brought such intense grief into her life that she gained 170 pounds’

Aubrey Dewey had lost hope. And not just hope at being able to lose weight. She had lost hope in life.

When you ask her what she would tell her younger self now that she’s on the other side of her weight-loss surgery, her words are full of grace and empathy.

Aubrey’s strength and wisdom are apparent, and we see that this journey was about so much more than reclaiming her physical body; it was and continues to be, about re-establishing her sense of self-worth and self-love.

“I would first look at [my younger self] who is in so much pain and has lost all hope for anything better in life and tell her that she’s worth this effort [of weight-loss]. I would tell her that it’s okay to move forward. Healing doesn’t equal forgetting the one that was taken from you. I would tell her that freedom from a body that has become a prison feels better than she could ever begin to imagine. I would tell her that she absolutely can do this and that she’s going to see just how strong she really is.”

Aubrey gained this perspective through her work with the community at the Sentara Weight Loss Surgery Center at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. The program became a safe space for Aubrey where she found the courage to face the intense pain that spurred her weight-gain.

Unlike many people who have life-long struggles with obesity, Aubrey spent most of her life at a normal weight. It was the murder of her younger brother which brought such intense grief into her life that she gained 170 pounds. At her peak before surgery, she weighed 340 pounds. For ten years, food was her haven, and her weight was a survival mechanism. (more…)



Caregivers strive to reduce bath-time challenges for seniors

When it comes to helping older adults remain in their homes, bathing can be a challenging issue. But Tessa Lamb of Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas and Herndon has found those concerns can be overcome with the right combination of compassion and experience.

Lamb has been working with seniors since 1996, as long as she’s been a licensed practical nurse. During that time, she realized there are identifiable, key issues that impact bath time. By recognizing and addressing these concerns, home care providers can help their clients age with greater hope and success.

Respecting privacy and independence

Over the years, Lamb has worked with seniors aged 65 up to “the beautiful young age” of 96 who wanted to age in place. That taught her the value of having a good relationship with her clients, she said.

“They all cherish their independence,” she said. “Getting into and out of a shower can be difficult as we age and become less flexible. Many times requiring the standby assistance of a home health aid can be very daunting.”

At the same time, privacy is a key concern for clients. “They have been taking care of themselves for over 60 or more years and now someone needs to help them shower,” she explained. “This can be both frustrating and embarrassing.”

Neither giving nor receiving this kind of care is easy. That’s why cultivating a positive relationship is crucial to protect the dignity of those receiving care, as well as to enhance the quality of life for both seniors and their families throughout the caregiving experience.

Recognizing changes in sensory perception

As people age, the acuteness of the senses decreases, and that can have ramifications for both the person who is bathing and the person who is helping with the process. For example, Lamb pointed out, the ears serve two purposes – hearing and maintaining balance – so the loss of sensitivity affects balance as well as hearing. That can have a significant impact when it comes to bath time.

“If your balance is off, you are not going to want to go onto a wet, slippery surface,” she said.

The same holds true when it comes to vision loss. “The bathroom is a major fall risk area, and thus a very scary place for seniors,” Lamb explained.

Other senses also come into play. When the sense of touch changes, it can result in decreased temperature sensitivity. That means it can be difficult to tell the difference between water that is cool or cold and water that is hot or warm.

When the sense of smell is lessened, seniors might not be able to smell the odor of their body when they have not taken a shower in several days or weeks. Understanding these changes in sensory perception and how they affect a person’s ability or willingness to bathe can help offset concerns a senior may have when it comes to bath time.

Accounting for fatigue or dementia

Another factor that can impact the bathing process is the fatigue that can accompany many of the medical conditions or illnesses that seniors may develop. Even medications can cause people to become tired easily.

Helping bathe clients with dementia and memory impairment requires particular care, Lamb said. “It is very, very important to establish a rapport, trust and a relationship with them before any major task can be performed,” she explained. “Consistency is also key because of the short-term memory loss.”

In Lamb’s experience, a little bit of empathy goes a long way when it comes to overcoming the challenges surrounding bath time. “I recommend that you show seniors love, kindness, patience, respect – and allow them time,” she said. “Give them choices.”

Perhaps a client isn’t up to a bath at a particular moment. That’s when a caregiver should offer alternatives, such as a sponge bath, a warm face cloth, a chair bath or even a bed bath. The bottom line is that there are many options. A good caregiver will understand and offer alternatives, while also respecting the client’s concerns.

“There is also the option of ‘just not today,’” Lamb said. “It is more important to establish a relationship and build trust first than try to obtain the goal of a bath.”

For more information on Home Instead Senior Care in Manassas and to sign up for their newsletter with other helpful articles, visit their website.

Four-way stop, forced right turn ideas for Davis Ford fix

Lori Viera bought her dream home just off Davis Ford Road two years ago.

She and her family pulled up roots from Springfield in Fairfax County and now call Prince William County their home.

But since she’s moved in, increasing traffic congestion on the two-lane road has become an unwanted neighbor.

Viera

Viera told us:

“Well, when we first moved in we did some test runs because a couple of the people that live in this area we know they said ‘well you might want to see about the traffic congestion in that area.’ So, we came out in the morning during rush hour and timed it. You know, we figured OK, the extra 15 minutes from where we were living back in Springfield, and it wasn’t that bad.”

As it does at the end of summer, she noticed traffic worsened a bit when school started. But it kept getting worse, she said, nearly doubling the amount of time she spent in delays. It’s particularly bad from 6;30 to 8:30 a.m., and 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

Viera attended our Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads Traffic Think Tank held jointly with Prince William County Supervisor Ruth Anderson held to gain ideas on how to fix the two popular commuter routes that bridge Fairfax and Prince William counties, Her collaboration group came up with idea to place 4-way stop at the intersection of Old Yates Ford and Henderson roads in Fairfax County.

“It’s very very dangerous for people coming up that steep hill [on Henderson Road] to get into oncoming traffic [on Old Yates Ford Road] and oncoming traffic does not stop. So right now people take turns. If you’re nice to let somebody in but you don’t have to stop. So it creates a huge back up on all the way back on Henderson.”

Veira’s group also focused traffic on the four-lane portion of Yates Ford Road in Prince William that bottlenecks down to two lanes just before the intersection of Davis Ford. She recommends making one of the eastbound lanes on Yates Ford Road a must-turn lane, forcing drivers to make a right onto Davis Ford, and allowing drivers in the left lane to keep going on Yates Ford, to cross into Fairfax County.

Virginia Railway Express apologizes after lengthy Friday commute

Commuters on Virginia Railway Express had to contend with long delays on Friday.

A portion of the track just south of Long Bridge across the Potomac River in Arlington caught fire, leaving passengers stranded for hours.

This morning, the transit agency issued an apology.

First, we would like to apologize to everyone affected by the service disruption last Friday evening due to the brush fires north of Crystal City. We know that some of our passengers got home some three to four hours late and understood this is a major inconvenience. As a follow-up, we would like to explain the timeline of events.

Once the fire was out, bridge inspectors were sent to make sure the bridge was stable enough to handle rail traffic, but they became stuck in traffic delays.

More from VRE: (more…)

A member of the Felmley family has been involved with the hospital from before it was even built — that’s more than 45 years of service!

When Martha Felmley was invited to an introductory meeting for the Potomac Hospital Auxiliary in the early 70’s, she had no idea it would ignite a passion that would consume nearly half of her life and be passed down through the generations.

“We had fundraisers to make money and went door to door to collect money. In the beginning, it was all about money to build the hospital” remembers the soon-to-be 90-year-old, smiling.

For Martha Felmley, that commitment grew as the hospital did. Over the years, in addition to volunteering, she served on the Hospital Board of Trustees and worked in community relations, her family always by her side. That’s why it’s no surprise the hospital became a family affair, with Felmley’s daughter and granddaughter both eventually working here!

For Felmley’s daughter, Martha Moore, the connections to the hospital started before she could drive. “I used to babysit Howard Greenhouse’s children!” she remembers, laughing.

Moore, now a Cardiac Systems Coordinator for Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, started out babysitting the head of the hospital board’s children. It was about that same time she was a candy striper at the hospital, and from there, she was a weekend cashier in the gift shop. (more…)

‘Once the VIN has been etched on all the windows, a thief must strip and replace every piece of glass’

Help Eliminate Auto Theft by Protecting Your Vehicles Help eliminate auto theft in and around Manassas – protect your own vehicles from being stolen by taking advantage of MCPD’s free VIN etching service next Saturday, October 21, 2017. The event, sponsored by Manassas City Police Department, Prince William County Police Department, and the Virginia State Police H.E.A.T. Program, is provided as a free service to all motorists, weather permitting.

Free Fall VIN Etching Event: Saturday, October 21, 2017, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Home Depot Parking Lot 8805 Liberia Ave, Manassas, Va. 20110

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Etching is one of the most effective means to deter auto theft that is currently available. Etching is a fast, safe and simple process of having a vehicle’s VIN engraved onto its windows using a chemical solution.

Once the VIN has been etched on all the windows, a thief must strip and replace every piece of glass in order to profit off the sale of the stolen vehicle or its parts. Doing so is a time-consuming and expensive feat, which deters many thieves from stealing VIN-etched vehicles in the first place.

There is no need to preregister, but vehicle owners will need to bring their driver’s license and current vehicle registration. For questions or more information, contact SPO Charles Sharp (Manassas City Police) at 703-257-8110, or Ofc Jason Alicie (Prince William County Police) at 703-792-4425. Additional events throughout the Commonwealth can be viewed on the H.E.A.T. website.



‘…concerns have been raised within the business community regarding whether or not focusing on a real estate tax ratio is the best “measuring stick” for progress’

On Friday, November 3, the Prince William Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee will host renowned economist, Dr. Stephen Fuller of the Stephen S. Fuller Institute and members of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors for a discussion on regional trends and the economics of growing the commercial tax base in Prince William County.

Earlier this year, Prince William County approved their FY17-20 Strategic Plan which contains long-term goals for the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) on topics ranging from economic development to public safety and education. Of particular interest to the business community is the economic development goal focused on increasing the ratio of commercial property tax to 35% of all collected revenues. Since the plan’s approval, the Chamber has hosted multiple meetings on this issue, hearing from County staff as well as industry leaders. 

View a September Opinion piece by the Chamber that explains more about the issue.

While growing business in the County is an important goal, and one which the Chamber supports, concerns have been raised within the business community regarding whether or not focusing on a real estate tax ratio is the best “measuring stick” for progress. The Chamber has invited the Prince William Board of County Supervisors to attend the presentation to hear from Dr. Fuller in hopes that the targeted discussion will provide the necessary economic framework to inform future policy decisions regarding the expansion of the commercial tax base. (more…)

Prince William County leaders proclaim birth of Baha’ullah, founder of Baha’i Faith

WOODBRIDGE — When it came time to approve the consent agenda at last night’s meeting, the Brentsville District Supervisor stopped the show.

“What is this?” asked Jeanine Lawson.

The elected leader questioned a proclamation to praise the founder of Baha’i Faith, Baha’ullah, 200 years ago.

“I had never heard of it,” said Lawson. “I’m not questioning its existence, but I’ve not seen something like this in the past three years during my time on the Board.”

Lawson said she was concerned that the county Board of Supervisors would proclaim one religion, opening up the floodgates for proclamations to other faiths.

“With all due respect Supervisor Lawson, just because we haven’t recognized the Bellu’i Faith since you’ve been on the Board doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start now,” said Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi, who brought the proclamation to the Board.

Prince William County Attorney Michelle Robl was asked to weigh in. She said the proclamation was in line with what the Board had supported in the past.

“I don’t think this is putting the board behind a certain religion,” she said.

Lawson threatened to bring forward a resolution to requesting the Board of Supervisors honor Jesus Christ if this Board approved this particular resolution.

It did, with Lawson being the only leader to vote Nay.

Outdoor Food Festival to stock shelves for ACTS food pantry

From an email:

Manassas, VA– The Prince William Chamber of Commerce will host their annual Cuisine de Commerce on Thursday, November 2 from 3:00-6:00 p.m. in the parking lot of the Chamber’s building at 9720 Capital Court near the Manassas Airport.

This year the event transforms from a luncheon into an outdoor food festival; complete with live music by classic rock cover band Type A, cornhole boards and all-you-can-eat samples from the area’s best restaurants, caterers and food trucks. Those attending should bring a donation of non-perishable foods. Burke & Herbert Bank is sponsoring a food drive at Cuisine de Commerce with donations benefitting the ACTS food pantry in Dumfries. (more…)

At $25,000 per space, ‘structured parking is not recommended’ in Occoquan

A report on the crowded parking conditions will be given to the Occoquan Town Council Tuesday night.

The study does not recommend the town build a parking garage. 

From the study: 

“Providing public (Town-owned) structured parking is not recommended. A planning level cost estimate for building a new structured parking facility is $25,000 per space, and can increase from there based on incorporated technologies and architectural features for the garage. This cost does not account for the ongoing maintenance and operation for the facility. In addition, with the current development patterns, there is no open space remaining to accommodate the size needed for the structure, access, and other considerations necessary for the implementation of a parking garage as a town -owned facility.”

More from Occoquan Town Manager Kirstyn Jovanavich: 

We have a DRAFT report of the traffic and parking study on the town’s website here:http://www.occoquanva.gov/.  The consultant, JMT, will present the DRAFT report to Town Council at their work session tomorrowOctober 17, at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall.  The presentation will focus on providing the initial findings and proposed recommendations, and obtain feedback from the Town Council.  As this is a work session, there is no opportunity for public comment at this meeting and the Town Council will not vote on implementing any recommendations at this time.  A final draft of the report is expected by November.  Any recommendations that the Town Council may consider in the future will go through a formal community input process prior to implementation.

I will note that we have received comments from the community concerned that the town is considering implementing timed or metered parking. I wanted to dispel this rumor and advise that at this time, the draft report does not include a recommendation for timed or metered parking within the business district.  The report does include other recommendations including shared parking of private lots, encouraging employee parking in off-street lots, and improving parking utilization in the town lots in order to free up on-street parking for customers and visitors to the historic district.

Flickr photo: Patrick DB

Do community service by playing in NOVEC HELPS’ Texas Hold’em fundraiser

From Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative:

MANASSAS, Va. – Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative’s group of employee volunteers, NOVEC HELPS, will hold its 7th annual Texas Hold’em fundraising poker tournament on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Prince William County Police Association Hall, 14288 Independent Hill Drive, Manassas. Registration starts at 5:30 p.m. Games start at 6:30 p.m. The top 10 players will win prizes and other participants will win door prizes. Fee: $50 per player if registered before Oct. 20; $60 at the door.

NOVEC HELPS will give net proceeds to charitable, community, and school organizations supported by HELPS. Groups include: the American Red Cross, Easter Seals, ACTS, Northern Virginia Family Service, Britepath, and Rainbow Therapeutic Riding Center. (more…)

Puzzle Palooza outgrows Occoquan, expanding to a second location

From Puzzle Palooza:

We are very excited to be opening our second location in Manassas at 9411 Main St. Suite 101, the Trusler Hall Building, next to Philly Tavern. Our goal is to be open at 10 AM Monday morning November 13. We will be spending the entire weekend moving in and setting up shop. We will be open seven days a week starting at 10 AM till 7 pm M-F, with later hours in the evening on weekends.

As with their initial space, we will be featuring Puzzles and Puzzle accessories, books, brain teasers and puzzle games from four pieces to 40,000 pieces ranging from ages toddler to elderly. We started our first location in Occoquan 2013 and have watched it grow over the past five years into our own little empire.

We are listed as # 1 in “Things to Do in Occoquan” on Trip Advisor and feel honored and proud of the support from customers and the community. Puzzle building Is a common hobby/love for us since childhood and after visiting several out-of-state Puzzle/hobby shops, we knew that it was what we wanted to do. We quickly learned that it reconstituted the ideal framework of “family fun” and supported longtime traditions.
(more…)

‘It is getting worse every day.’ We’re holding traffic think tank on Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads

Prince William County Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson, her team, and Potomac Local will hold an Occoquan District Traffic Think Tank on Thursday, Oct. 19 at Buckhall Volunteer Fire Department Station at 7190 Yates Ford Road.

 Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads are two very busy thoroughfares commuters from Prince William County use to get to Fairfax County. 

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s a comment left on Potomac Local about just how bad the two roads are: 

“It is getting worse every day. I commuted that way to and from Oakton for 15 yrs until 1998 and it was not easy then. My hubby never believed me BUT he has commuted that way for the last 7 yrs and is miserable. His commute is 21 miles one way and its taking him 1.5 hrs to get home on a good day. God forbid there is a disabled car or accident because there is no way to get around it and no alternate route. Can’t even turn around. He leaves home at o”dark:30 in the mornings when school is in session. Two lane roads and the buses stop at every single driveway. More and more are using these back roads because 28 >29> Fairfax is an even longer and messier commute. The root cause is that there are few viable ways to get to Fairfax from Eastern PWC. I-95..nope. Route 123…packed. 28>29…lord no.”

The event is free to attend and is open to the public, but you must register and get your tickets. While there, you’ll be able to learn more about Davis Ford and Yates Ford road corridors, hear from elected officials on what can be done about the problem, take our commuter survey, and suggest your solutions to the problem.

Here’s a map of Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads in case you don’t know which roads we’ll be talking about. 

This latest traffic think tank is the second in which we’ve collaborated on with Anderson. This past spring, we welcomed about 100 people to Waters End Brewery, had a few cold ones, and talked about solutions to the issues plaguing drivers on Old Bridge Road.

 


The five creepiest places to visit in Prince William County

Looking for creepy haunts this Halloween? We asked the folks over at the Prince William County Tourism office about the creepiest, scariest, most fun places to visit in the county. 

They told us: 

1. Weems-Botts Museum

Location – 3944 Cameron St.Dumfries, VA 22026

Why – Get frightened at Weems-Botts Museum, the second most haunted home in Virginia. Once home to Parson Weems, the biographer for George Washington, today the museum is rumored to have paranormal activity. Civil War soldiers are said to haunt the nearby cemeteries and park while a child, who still talks to ghost hunters in the voice of a little girl, haunts the home. The house was featured on Biography Channel’s “My Ghost Story” and offers ghost tours every October.

2. Ben Lomond Historic Site

Location 10321 Sudley Manor Dr. Manassas, VA 20109

Why – Opening and closing doors, phantom footsteps, and mysteriously relocating objects are part of the experience when exploring the history of the Ben Lomond Historic Site. Ben Lomond has a diverse history, from being a Civil War hospital to being the home of countless slaves. Today, many local residents claim that the house and grounds are haunted by spirits from the past.

Weems-Botts Museum

3. Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre

Location– 12229 Bristow Rd. Bristow, VA 20136 

Why – Connect with Agness, the spirit who allegedly haunts the jail at this 28-acre site. Agness was one of 13 people executed outside the jail after she was tried and convicted of killing her master.. People claim they have heard voices coming from the jail or have seen faces in the windows of the building. The television show “Ghost Hunters” filmed here just a few years ago. 

4. Historic Occoquan

Location – 200 Mill St. Occoquan, VA 22125

Why – This quaint town along the Occoquan River boasts numerous ghosts and features walking ghost tours throughout the year. Get a glimpse of the Indian who allegedly appears in a bathroom mirror at a local restaurant, talk to store owners who have had their merchandise strewn around and look for the young man who haunts a busy street corner.

The Winery at La Grange

5. The Winery at La Grange

Location – 4970 Antioch Rd. Haymarket, VA 20169

Why – The house and property are rich with history and folklore. Many visitors share their stories of experiences with the ghosts that live here. Most of the encounters entail the piano in the parlor playing on its own, the ghost of a young girl who inhabits one of the upstairs rooms as well as the spirit of Benoni who guided the homes restoration project in the 1800’s. Benoni E. Harrison purchased the La Grange estate in 1837 and lived here until he died in 1869. Rumor has it that Benoni still haunts the manor house to this day. You will find a glass of red wine on the mantel in the Tasting Room, which is set out for his ghost each day to ensure the staff doesn’t encounter any mysterious phenomena while open to the public.



‘At one point in the night, every patient got up, said their name, and shared how much they’ve lost. All told, 3971 collective pounds had been shed!’

Nobilephoto-7617
Nobilephoto-7371

Men and women, of all ages, races, and sizes gathered together to remember what used to be.

It was all part of the bariatric team’s annual, “A Gala, Celebrating You.” For the sixth year in a row, people came together for a Weight Loss Surgery Patient Reunion at the Hylton Education Center at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

More than 40 former patients and their loved ones came out to remember their weight loss journey and celebrate how far they’ve come.

It was a reunion for many, with patients coming up to one another and asking tentatively, “Do you remember me?” Plenty of hugs, laughs, and smiles were exchanged.

At one point in the night, every patient got up, said their name, and shared how much they’ve lost. All told, 3971 collective pounds had been shed!

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done- outside of marrying my husband!” chuckled Reva Gravelle.

Gravelle was just one member of a patient panel who spoke with the group and answered questions. She was 62 years old when she decided to move forward and get the surgery. Eight years later, she hasn’t looked back and says she feels healthier than ever! “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels,” she says smiling.

Just like Gravelle, everybody had their own story, but there was a common thread everyone could relate to. Patients shared varied firsts: having a lap for a grandchild to sit on, being able to get up by themselves when falling, flying without having to buy an extra seat or getting a seatbelt extender, different shopping options for clothing and being able to fit in a roller coaster seat.

Many patients credit their surgeon, Dr. Denis Halmi with helping them make the change, something he seemed little uncomfortable with, “I try to explain, it wasn’t me, because you are the one making the changes, because of what you are doing, it’s making the change. I’m here to help you, here to support you, but you’re the one who does it.”

While patients were in varied stages of their weight loss journey- some, having had their surgery years ago, while others had their surgery just months earlier, all know that this is a lifetime commitment. To that end, even the event’s food reflected their new lifestyle and featured healthy choices such as diced fruits and vegetables, shrimp, turkey meatballs and blended-to-order fruit smoothies.

This was also an uplifting event for those patients who may have gotten off track. Instead of beating up on themselves for diet missteps, patient speakers and health professional reminded everyone, while it’s nice to move numbers on the scale; this voyage is about more than that. It’s about getting healthy. Organizers reminded patients this event isn’t the only support available. The program hosts both weekly and monthly support groups for current and former patients. And, if those groups are too far for some to travel, the bariatric program has recently added a new virtual support group for the last Thursday of the month. It’s all in an effort to make sure people have the assistance they need to meet their health goals. To find a bariatric surgeon near you, call 1-800-SENTARA.

Photos: Dr. Halmi in the center, surrounded by patients who enjoyed a great time, and Dr. Halmi speaking to the group, sharing words of encouragement.

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