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Lake Ridge

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 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:

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

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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

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

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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Suspicious death investigation becomes homicide case

From the Prince William police report:

Homicide Investigation *CASE RECLASSIFIED – On March 16, the body discovered inside of a burning vehicle at Veterans Park located at 14300 Veterans Dr in Woodbridge underwent an autopsy at the Medical Examiner’s Office in Manassas. Based upon further examination of the victim’s body and the preliminary investigation, police detectives and fire investigators are now investigating the victim’s manner of death as a homicide. Due to the condition of the victim’s body, further DNA analysis will need to be completed to confirm an identity. The cause of the victim’s death and the fire continue to be investigated. This case remains a joint investigation with the Police Department’s Homicide Unit and the Department of Fire & Rescue, Fire Marshal’s Office. More information will be released when available. The investigation continues.

 Anyone with information on this investigation is asked to contact the Prince William County Police Department at 703-792-7000 or by submitting a webtip at

 Suspicious Death Investigation [Previously Released] – On March 15 at 7:47AM, officers responded to assist the Department of Fire & Rescue at Veterans Park located at 14300 Veterans Dr in Woodbridge (22191) with a vehicle fire. A citizen contacted the Public Safety Communications Center to report that a vehicle appeared to be on fire inside the park. Fire crews responded and located the vehicle fully engulfed. When the fire was extinguished, fire crews located a body inside the vehicle and contacted police. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Detectives from the Violent Crimes Bureau are currently investigating the cause of the victim’s death. The body was transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy. The victim’s identity is not known at this time. This incident is currently under investigation by Prince William County police detectives and investigators from the Department of Fire & Rescue, Fire Marshal’s Office. More information will be released when available. The investigation continues.

Charged with strangulation, domestic assault & battery, suspect awaits extradition to VA

From the Prince William police press release:

Strangulation | Domestic Related *ARREST – On March 15, members of the U.S. Marshals Task Force located and arrested Marcus Dewayne HENRY at a residence in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The accused was wanted for a domestic assault that occurred at a residence located in the 14700 block of Dodson Dr in Woodbridge on June 28. The accused remains incarcerated in North Carolina pending extradition back to Virginia.

    Arrested on March 15: [No Photo Available]

    Marcus Dewayne HENRY, 25, of the 14700 block of Dodson Dr in Woodbridge

Charged with strangulation and domestic assault & battery

Court Date: Pending | Status: Awaiting Extradition

    Strangulation | Domestic Related [Previously Released] – On June 28 at 11:00PM, officers responded to investigate an assault which occurred at a residence located in the 14700 block of Dodson Dr in Woodbridge (22193) earlier that evening. The investigation revealed that the victim, a 25-year-old woman of Woodbridge, reported to police that she and the accused, an acquaintance, were involved in a verbal altercation which escalated. During the encounter, the accused grabbed the victim’s neck and choked her. The parties eventually separated and the victim left the residence then contacted police. Minor injuries were reported. Following the investigation, officers obtained a warrant for the arrest of the accused, identified as Marcus Dewayne HENRY.  Attempts to locate the accused have been unsuccessful.

‘The accused punched the victim in the face multiple times then grabbed her by the neck and began to choke her’

From the Prince William press release:

Malicious Wounding | Strangulation | Domestic Related – On March 15 at 2:02AM, officers responded to investigate a domestic assault that occurred at a residence located in the 15400 block of Dundee Ct in Woodbridge (22193) earlier that morning. The investigation revealed that the victim, a 20-year-old woman, and the accused, an acquaintance, were involved in a verbal argument inside the home. During the encounter, the accused punched the victim in the face multiple times then grabbed her by the neck and began to choke her. At some point, the victim eventually lost consciousness and was awoken by the accused a short time later. When the victim attempted to run from the residence a short time later, the accused grabbed her then took her cell phone and threw it on the ground, breaking it. The accused eventually fled the area on foot when a witness intervened. Following the investigation, officers obtained multiple arrest warrants for the accused, identified as Moises Javier DOMINGUEZ MARTINEZ. Attempts to locate the accused have been unsuccessful. Serious injuries were reported by the victim who was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

    Wanted: [Photo from August 2016]

    Moises Javier DOMINGUEZ MARTINEZ, 21, of the 15400 block of Dundee Ct in Woodbridge

    Described as a Hispanic male, 5’08”, 140lbs with black hair, brown eyes, and thin build

    Wanted for malicious wounding, strangulation, and destruction of property

68-year-old victim loses purse to alleged armed suspect

From the Prince William police press release:

Armed Robbery – On March 15 at 11:15AM, officers responded to the 2900 block of Williamsburg Ct in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a robbery.  The victim, a 68-year-old woman, reported to police that she was walking in the area of Georgetown Rd and Getty Ct when she was approached by an unknown male. During the encounter, the suspect implied that he had a firearm then took the victim’s purse. The suspect then fled the area on foot. No injuries were reported. A police K-9 responded to search for the suspect who was not located. The investigation continues.   

Suspect Description:

    Black male, between 20 & 25 years of age, 5’10”, with a thin build

    Last seen wearing a grey sweater with a hoodie and blue pants

Threats of violence to middle school result in charges

From the Prince William police press release:

Threats on School Grounds – On March 15 and 16, a School Resource Officer (SRO) investigated two unrelated threats of potential violence at Fred Lynn Middle School located at 1650 Prince William Pkwy in Woodbridge (22191). The first threat was reported by a student regarding a female student who made statements of potential violence to other students at the school. The second incident involved a separate male student who allegedly made statements of potential violence at the school approximately a week ago. The SRO subsequently identified both students and determined that the risk to the school was not credible. Following the investigation, the SRO charged both students. Both cases will be handled through Juvenile Intake.

    Charged on March 16: [Juveniles]

A 14-year-old male and a 14-year-old female, both of Woodbridge

Both charged with knowingly communicating a false threat to damage a building

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.


Multiple investigations of threats on school grounds lead to charges

From the Prince William police press release:

Threats on School Grounds – On March 14, a School Resource Officer (SRO) investigated two unrelated threats of potential violence at Hylton High School located at 14051 Spriggs Rd in Woodbridge (22193). The first threat was from a concerned citizen who overheard third-party information indicating that a student made statements of potential violence to other students at the school. The second incident involved a separate student who allegedly made statements of potential violence to other students while riding the bus to school approximately a week ago. The SRO subsequently identified both students and determined that the risk to the school was not credible. Following the investigation, the SRO charged both students. Both cases will be handled through Juvenile Intake.

    Charged on March 14: [Juveniles]

A 15-year-old male and a 14-year-old male, both of Woodbridge

Both charged with knowingly communicating a false threat to damage a building

Threats on School Grounds – On March 14 at 1:50PM, a School Resource Officer (SRO) received information of a potential threat of violence at Fred Lynn Middle School located at 1650 Prince William Pkwy in Woodbridge (22191). The investigation revealed that a student made statements of potential violence to other students in the hallway at the school last month on February 14. The SRO subsequently identified the student and determined that the risk to the school was not credible. Following the investigation, the SRO charged the student on March 14. The case will be handled through Juvenile Intake.

Charged on March 14: [Juvenile]

A 14-year-old male of Woodbridge

Charged with threats of bodily harm

Threats on School Grounds – On February 22 at 9:18AM, a School Resource Officer (SRO) received information of a potential threat of violence at Hampton Middle School located at 14800 Darbydale Ave in Woodbridge (22193). The investigation revealed that a possible student communicated over the social media app “Snapchat” suggesting an act of violence at the school. The SRO subsequently identified the student and determined that the risk to the school was not credible. Following the investigation, the SRO charged the student on March 14. The case will be handled through Juvenile Intake.

Charged on March 14: [Juvenile]

A 12-year-old male of Woodbridge

Charged with knowingly communicating a false threat to damage a building

‘Accused held a knife against the victim’s neck while making threats to harm her’

From the Prince William police press release:

Attempted Malicious Wounding – On March 14 at 10:00AM, officers responded to a residence located in the 17300 block of Cusack Ln in Dumfries (22026) to investigate a domestic. The victim, a 23-year-old woman, reported to police that earlier in the morning, she and the accused, an acquaintance, were involved in a verbal argument inside the home. During the encounter, the accused held a knife against the victim’s neck while making threats to harm her. The parties eventually separated and the accused took the victim’s cellphone before leaving the home. Flowing the investigation, officers obtained warrants for the arrest of the accused, identified as Osha Chester COLLIER. Attempts to locate the accused were unsuccessful.

    Wanted: (Photo from June 2014)

    Osha Chester COLLIER, 37, of the 2100 block of Huntington Creek Rd in Nathalie, VA

    Described as a black male, 6’1”, 157lbs with black hair and brown eyes

    Wanted for attempted malicious wounding and grand larceny

Despite claims of enhanced school safety, removal of trees called ‘unfortunate situation’

LAKE RIDGE — The trees that once provided shade and seclusion at Antietam Elementary School is gone. 

They were removed as part of a $10.3 million project to add 13 new classrooms to the school located at 12000 Antietam Road in Lake Ridge.

Specifically, contractors working on the project needed storage space for equipment. And, now that the trees are gone, a school official says the school will be safer. 

This all has those who live nearby the school a bit riled. Here’s a portion of an email from Micheal Stephens to Occoquan District School Board Representative Lilly Jessie: 

“As you know, the school has been there for years and was totally hidden behind beautiful trees. The neighborhood is extremely upset and we cannot determine the real reason this was done. The plans were put on a website over two years ago and nothing in the published plans indicate that this was to be done. Folks feel that they have been deceived and lied to.  

There was no notification posted on the school grounds and homeowners are outraged that as a result, their property values have declined. There was no notification to the Lake Ridge Park Association, the largest Home Owners Association in Prince William County. The school is in the neighborhood that all homes in the Association must comply with guidelines. The neighborhood environment in Lake Ridge, as you know, values the trees in every way and homeowners are not allowed to cut any down without first getting permission from the homeowners association.”
And the school divisions’ response from Prince William County Public Schools Director of Facilities Services John J. Windley: 

“I’m providing a response to the complaint regarding the trees that have been removed from the front of Antietam ES. Please know that we do value trees and would not arbitrarily tear them down. We take months designing the civil infrastructure to keep as many of them as possible. I do apologize that our information on the website does not clearly indicate everything about the construction and its impacts. We will improve that information.

The area inside the bus loop is a long oval shaped space that currently has a fairly high elevation in comparison to the asphalt drive. In order to construct the new addition and additional parking we need to install a waterline, two storm sewer lines and associated easements within the existing bus loop.  The remaining area within the bus loop will be needed for the contractor’s and sub-contractor’s storage units and staging area.  This will require regrading of the bus loop.
The additional area near the front entrance of the school has been cleared for storm water detention and additional parking to accommodate the needs for the increased staff, parents and visitors.  The storm water detention system is an underground system that collects the additional storm water that is accumulated by the additional surface parking.  This is a very efficient system that doesn’t require additional land.
The redesign of the bus loop also resolves other issues for us.  When we begin our design process, there are many design and construction staff members involved in not only looking at the requirements for the addition, aesthetics and juxtaposition to the surrounding area, but the needs of our students.  Does it meet the needs of our educational process?  Is it accessible?  Is it a safe environment?
To that last point, the area within the proposed bus loop will now provide increased visibility to the front of the building and main entry in the event that prompt response is required by law enforcement and the fire department.  This site design element is becoming increasingly important with school design, both locally and nationally.
We also juggle a fine balance with sites such as these with the abundance of trees that offer hiding places for people that are up to no good. As always, we consulted with our Risk Management Dept and they suggested the removal of densely populated trees as they have received concerns before about trespassers parking in the bus loop at night under the cover of the dense trees, blocking any view of them from Antietam Road. This tree area also provides a secluded hiding area for someone that may want to try and cause harm to staff and or students before sunrise and after sunset.  There were also concerns of children playing in a wooded area so close the bus circle.
We are continuing to work on a landscape plan for the revised area in the loop that will be engaging and thoughtfully designed to both those residents that are arriving and those that pass by.
I do apologize that this unfortunate situation occurred. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to ask.”

Rustic weddings, corporate events and maybe some live music in an intimate setting — Possibly the best barn find ever…literally

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