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IT threats to look out for in 2018

With every new year come new inventions and discoveries, new risks and areas of opportunities. As even the most private and sensitive areas of our business and personal lives become digitized, new cybersecurity and IT threats arise. IT expert Chris Albright of CMIT Solutions of Centreville considers ransomware, IoT hacking, machine learning, and insufficient IT and cybersecurity to be the largest IT threats of 2018.

Ransomware

Globally, ransomware attacks grew by 56 percent in 2017, with the WannaCry attack being the largest of all time. Ransomware includes any kind of cyberattack in which a business or individual is required to pay a monetary fee in order to regain full access of their computer, breached data or Cloud. There is currently no way around regaining access without paying the ransom — and no guarantee that if you pay, the breached data won’t be compromised once paid. Most ransomware attacks are automated, so it is rare that you currently or will ever be able to determine who is behind your data or computer breach. Payments are often a few hundred dollars paid via cryptocurrency which is extremely difficult to track.

IoT Hacking

There are many personal and professional benefits to creating an in-house Internet of Things (IoT). As convenient as your smart devices or custom network may be, each come with unique IT risks. This goes beyond standard mobile devices to IoT hacks for pacemakers, defibrillators, heart monitors, video cameras and any internet-connected electronic device. This also includes the increased risk for hacking into home or office automation features.

Machine Learning

Intelligent chatbots and machine learning algorithms that get smarter with each interaction create a whole new set of IT threats. This includes the in-depth personal and business data gathered by the artificial intelligence (AI) we implement to boost productivity. For example, Amazon Echo, Siri or Google Assistant can now help us complete a long and growing list of virtual tasks. While AI can be used for a variety of legitimate and productive purposes, it can also be used to help hackers learn how to improve their hacking techniques. On the flipside, AI will be simultaneously used to detect bad bots, malicious AI and machine learning.

Insufficient IT and Cybersecurity

Training, education and a proactive IT and cybersecurity plan is the best way to minimize internal and external risk factors. Unfortunately, few families have an IT plan in place, and businesses with an IT security plan often fail to update the plan with the frequency required to remain secure. With the number of bring your own (BYO) devices, shared devices, internet-connected gadgets and IT threats evolving at a rapid place, it is essential that everyone have an IT plan in place. This includes everything from secure hosting, network security, mobile device management, data and Cloud security, in-house IT policies and procedures, and managed IT services.

The threats above are far from the only IT security concerns you should have your eye on but are some of the greatest IT threats of 2018.

CMIT Solutions of Centreville provides a strategic approach to IT consulting that improves the performance of your business technology in the most cost-effective way possible. Assisting businesses across Northern Virginia, CMIT Centreville can help you achieve the fastest return on your technology investment. Call 703-881-7738 today to see how CMIT Centreville can help your business stay in business.

Content provided by All Things Writing, LLC

Our premium membership content tier launches Jan. 10, 2018

Starting Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, we will introduce our premium content tier. I hope you will choose to become a member!

Here, our best and most informative work to cover our community — from local government to new and fun things to do with your friends and family — will be featured in our premium content tier.

Gaining access to our premium content tier is easy, and it’s priced at a great value: $6 a month, or save 10% and pay up front at just $65 a year.

Only selected content will appear on our premium membership tier. Many of the features you have come to expect from Potomac Local, including the police blotter, reader questions, and emails, our popular Breakfast Links email will continue to be sent at 5 a.m. each weekday, will remain free.

So, if you already get it you’ll keep getting it. If you don’t, sign up free.

We first told you about membership and our upcoming premium content in early December.

In addition to access to great local news coverage, members will also be eligible for special offers and discounts from area businesses and will be invited to special events.

Your membership — valued at less than two cups of coffee month — is vital for Potomac Local to not only to continue to cover our community with trusted, unbiased, objective local news but also to expand our coverage in traffic and transportation news, something that affects all Northern Virginians.

I had the pleasure of speaking with many readers about the change shortly after I announced it in December. I’m always available to answer any questions you might have regarding this first-of-its-kind change on Potomac Local, so please email me at ukiser[at]potomaclocal.com.

Thank you for your continued support of Potomac Local over the years, and for becoming a sustaining member of our local news organization.

Watch your language: How communication influences the care relationship

“No one likes to be given bad news, and a diagnosis of dementia is devastating. How wonderful it would be though if the bad news and negative language stopped at that point.”

So begins a short article by Wendy Mitchell, who is living with dementia.  Wendy says the manner in which care providers communicate can have a profound effect on a patient’s ability to cope with a chronic medical condition.

The friendly faces of website design, SEO, online advertising

At FreshySites, we’re dedicated to taking our clients’ online presence to the next level through the creation of beautiful, clean and user-friendly websites.

In all we do, we strive to follow an Ethos, made up of seven clear and honest components that define who we are as a company. Our posts over the next few months will serve as an explanation of our Ethos and how we carry this creed out on a daily basis.

Serve the Customer is the first part of our Ethos. Every other part of the FS Ethos, as well as our daily process, flows from this mantra. We recognize that without the members of our client family, we wouldn’t be in business. We want them to know they are our top priority and truly appreciated, through our best-in-industry customer service/support.

This is why our team comes to work each day ready to serve our clients in any way possible, constantly looking for ways to help them and show them how valued they are. Each employee is essential in generating this culture and mindset throughout FS.

We understand that website design, SEO, online advertising, etc. is uncharted territory for many of the businesses, organizations, and nonprofits that we serve. We are the link to this world for our clients who don’t know the ins and outs of the industry as we do.

If you call us or come to our office, you will always be greeted with a friendly, understanding tone or a warm, welcoming smile courtesy of someone who is eager and ready to help you to the best of his/her ability.

FreshySites’ success can be attributed to a lot of things, but predominantly to our team’s attention to the members of our client family – whether that’s staying on the phone and going to a client’s website page by page, responding to countless support emails in a matter of minutes or turning around proposals on the same day.

The fundamentals of good business start with serving the customer. At FreshySites, our Ethos does too. It’s our (not-so-secret) recipe for success 🙂

FreshySites – a regionally focused company with national reach and operations, dedicated to serving 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!”

Children can forge communication skills, writing with Youth Center Stage

Youth Center Stage classes starting Saturday, January 6

Exploring Acting (Ages 5 – 7)

Would you love for your child to improve their cognitive functions, forge communication skills, and enhance confidence? Well, they can, in a safe, fun and excellence-orientated environment with our Exploring Acting class! They’ll sing, dance, and enjoy their way through early development.

Kids Again the Musical

With our Kids Again the Musical class, your child will play fun games, work in harmony with other children, and improve their interpersonal skills. Now, when it comes to the performance, they’ll have superb confidence levels, new-found abilities, and a passion of learning, all of which will stand them in good stead for the rest of their education!

Improv Comedy (Ages 13 and Up)

Improvisation is a wonderful way to build interpersonal skills, express personality and harness some real self-belief. So, why not provide your child with a brilliant opportunity to do just that, with our amazing Improv Comedy class? They’ll play improv games and perform on stage, both of which will make them smile and develop skills!

Young Author’s – Online (Ages 8 and Up)

The art of writing is a fantastic way to improve and showcase creativity, as well as push your child further in their academic studies. With our Young Author’s online class, your child will have a fabulous chance to compose their own book, publish it and then attend the book release. What a great way to develop communication and interpersonal skills, eh?!

Job post: HVAC/ R

HVAC/ R Commercial Technician – Commercial HVAC Service Technician 2 Plus yrs of Commercial HVAC Service exp. required. CFC certificate & a clean record required. Installation & Preventative Maintenance knowledge a plus. Please contact us at info@airtechsolutionsinc.com.

Location/Region: Stafford, VA (US – 22554)

We cover Maryland, DC, Fredericksburg, and Stafford.

New Years living healthier: Get pap smears beginning at 21, yearly mammograms starting at 40, colonoscopies at 45 or 50

As we kick off a new year, many women will be vowing to hit the gym, but this year, healthcare providers are challenging women to expand that resolution to include their overall health.

”If we want to have a good quality of life, as well as quantity, we have to be proactive about our health,” explains Sentara Family and Internal Medicine Physicians, Dr. Raenell Williams.

Many women are traditionally caregivers, putting everyone’s health and well-being before their own. This is where problems can arise. Dr. Williams says simple changes now can pay off in the future, “It means living a healthy lifestyle.  This means eating healthier and getting regular exercise towards maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking.  Then, we have to take advantage of the preventive measures that are available to us such as regular pap smears beginning at age 21, yearly mammograms starting at age 40, and colonoscopies at 45 or 50 years old.

As for physicals, Dr. Williams says that really depends on your family history and risk factors. If you don’t feel well and have a strong family history of health issues, you should see your primary care physician every year. If you’re in generally good health, you may be able to spread those visits to every two to three years.

Bottom line she says, the investment in ourselves is worth it, “We have a lot to live for and knowledge is power.  So, as women, we should empower ourselves by being proactive about our health.  We don’t want to be blindsided by a diagnosis.  Prevention, early detection, and proper maintenance are the best ways to fight any condition.  Get guidance by partnering with your primary care physician.  The internet and social media should not be your main source of information.”

OWL VFD responds to Woodbridge condominium fire

From Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department: 

Woodbridge, VA December 18, 2017 — 6:50 p.m. Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Firefighters were called to a condo fire at 12705 Dara Drive

Crews arrived on scene within minutes and reported a small fire in condo #104. The fire was out in less than 10 minutes and was contained to the kitchen. 

Fire and Rescue units from OWL VFD, Dale City VFD, Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue, and Dumfries-Triangle VFD responded to the incident. 

No injuries were reported. 

OWL VFD is one of the largest and busiest volunteer fire departments in the United States with almost 300 members. OWL VFD provides fire suppression, EMS care, and rescue services to 80,000 residents in our 27 square mile area through the operation of three fire stations. OWL volunteer Firefighters and EMTs work the 6 pm to 6 am shift, five days a week, plus 24/7 holidays and weekends. 

 

Northern Virginia’s first arts district forms as Occoquan River Communities disbands

An effort by Prince William County Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson cleared the way to create the state’s first multi-jurisdictional designated arts hub.

This week, Occoquan River Communities announced it had completed its mission of helping to establish an identity for the Occoquan area, to include the Workhouse Arts Center just across the Occoquan River in Lorton.

The new group has formed in its wake. 

From a press release: 

The Board of Directors of Occoquan River Communities today announced plans to dissolve the formal nonprofit organization and transition to an informal alliance (Occoquan River Communities Alliance) without membership dues or by-laws.

ORC president Betty Dean stated “ORC was originally formed to help establish a regional identity and forge alliances amongst locations on both sides of the Occoquan to promote and celebrate our community. That mission has been accomplished.  The leaders at each of our venues work together regularly to promote the area and share ideas– as evidenced by annual events such as WinterFest and RiverFest which will continue.”

The collaborative relationships formed through ORC were essential to the creation of the recently formed Northern Virginia Arts & Culture District – the first such district in the commonwealth to cross jurisdictional boundaries.  The new District will allow for even more collaboration between the Workhouse Arts Center, the Occoquan Regional Park and the Town of Occoquan. 

John Houser, ORC Vice President said, “Ten years ago when we first started talking about creating an organization there were so many plans for the area that were just sketches on paper.  Places like Rivergate, the Science Center and Belmont Bay, a completely re-imagined Occoquan Regional Park and the River Mill Park at the Town of Occoquan, lived only in our imaginations.  Today you can take a boat from the Town up to Belmont Bay and see how all of these things have come to life.” 

In recent discussions about its future, members of the ORC board determined that the formal organization with its dues-paying members and by-laws was no longer necessary.  Leadership will continue to maintain regular contact and will take turns organizing quarterly get-togethers to share information and collaborate. The organization’s Facebook page, which has more than 800 followers, will be converted to a page called the Occoquan River Communities Alliance, where participants will continue to provide updates on area events and developments. 

The board also announced that it will be distributing all funds remaining in its account after final administrative expenses in the form of grants to support the following regional events and projects:

  • $1,000 to Riverfest
  • $1,000 to Winterfest
  • $1,000 to Turning Point Suffragist Memorial
  • $500 to Friends of the Occoquan
  • $110 to River Mill Park to purchase an “ORC” logo brick
  • All remaining funds to George Mason in a named, one-time scholarship/research grant to support the new Science Center

“We realized that we no longer needed the formal structure, expense or administrative burden that comes with being a legal entity,” said Dean.  “We’re all committed to continuing to support each other and promote the region – but informally, and with a lot less paperwork!” 

 

OWL Volunteer Fire Department responds to warehouse fire

From Occoquan Woodbridge Lorton Volunteer Fire Department:

Woodbridge, VA December 9th, 6:00 a.m. – Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Firefighters responded to the report of a two story commercial structure fire at 14339 Jefferson Davis Hwy in Woodbridge. Crews arrived within minutes and reported smoke showing from the roof.

Crews forcibly entered through front door and found fire on the first floor. The source of the fire was found in a storage area and was contained. An additional sweep of the building was conducted. The fire was knocked down in less than 10 minutes.

Several people were inside an adjacent unit evacuated.

The blaze is under investigation by the Prince William County Fire Marshal’s Office. Fire and Rescue units from OWL VFD, Dale City VFD, Dumfries – Triangle VFD, PWCDF&R, and PWCPD responded to the incident.

OWL VFD is one of the largest and busiest volunteer fire departments in the United States with almost 300 members. OWL VFD provides fire suppression, EMS care, and rescue services to 80,000 residents in our 27 square mile area through the operation of three fire stations. OWL volunteer Firefighters and EMTs work the 6 pm to 6 am shift, five days a week, plus 24/7 holidays and weekends.

Historic Downtown Manassas Holiday Gift Guide

Are you looking for unique gifts this holiday season but not interested in the hustle and bustle found at the major retailers?

Why not shop small in the City of Manassas. You’re sure to find something for everyone on your list at one of the charming shops in Historic Downtown.

All lit up for the holidays, Historic Downtown Manassas is a hidden gem with independently-owned boutiques featuring jewelry, homeware, clothing, original art, candles, and much more. Take a look at these gift suggestions to get a glimpse of what Manassas shopping has to offer. Check out VisitManassas.org for a full list of stores and activities. Better yet, bring the family and enjoy a day of shopping, an amazing meal and perhaps a little hot chocolate and ice skating.  

Fun & Tasty Stocking Stuffers

Bacon treats? Lip gloss? Fidget Spinners? Yup. You can get all three, and even Havana Banana flavored soda at Popcorn Monkey. If they have an oversized stocking, you could also put a tin of delicious popcorn in there…it would not disappoint. Prices on stocking stuffers starting at $3.99.

Popcorn Monkey

For the Person Who Has Everything

There’s at least one person on everyone’s list that you agonize over every year. A great way to approach a gift for the person who has everything is to pick delicious perishable items. Manassas Olive Oil Company will allow you to customize a gift basket with things like artisan olive oils, balsamic vinegar, and pour spouts, and a dipping dish. The friendly staff will even package it up with a pretty holiday bow.

Manassas Olive Oil

For the Kids (No batteries or assembly required)

Give your child the opportunity to discover their music talent by teaching their fingers something useful (other than how to use a Nintendo controller). Prince William String Academy offers music lessons in piano, violin, viola, cello, and bass. Four half-hour lessons with a professional musician, only $140. 

For the Person Who Embraces the Holiday Spirit 

These one-of-a-kind earrings from McCall Studio Gallery (a division of DMVISUAL) will ensure that the person donning these beauties will be sparkling brighter than the tree. Pick up some holiday spirit with these snowman or Christmas tree crystal earrings. A pair starts at $30.99.      

McCall Design

For the Person Who’s Ready to Get Fit in 2018 

Center Street Studio is the perfect place to start or continue your fitness journey. The easiest way to get started is with the Wellness Package for New Students for only $199. The package includes the “Intro to the Pilates Reformer” (three private Pilates apparatus lessons), a three-class yoga pass, two thirty-minute health-coaching consultations.* Give the gift of transformation- a more confident and healthy you in the new year. 

*For new students to Center Street Studios only. One package per person.

For the Hostess with the Mostess 

For the person who loves to host, give them a beautiful serving platter that can suit any occasion, season or holiday. Introducing the Nora Fleming platter- with interchangeable “minis,” you can transform one platter into the ultimate platter for every possible celebration. Platters and minis are available at Love, Charley (along with lots of other charming shabby chic homewares). Prices vary depending on the size of the dish.  

For the Craft Beer Aficionado 

For the lover of craft beer, or the person looking to expand their palate, pick-up a limited or barrel-aged release, available only at the Heritage Brewing taproom. Toast to friendship with the gift that will be the perfect addition to any holiday dinner table. Six packs start at $11.99. 

Tour historic Rippon Lodge this holiday season for ‘Christmas Through the Ages’

What had started as a fast-paced struggle across the Low Countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and finally into France itself, the First World War was already five months old by December of 1914.

In September, the French and British Armies had stopped the German drive short of Paris, at the Marne River. Warfare slowed down as soldiers dug trenches; the ‘front’ facing enemy positions were only the very tip of a system that stretched miles deep.

Infantrymen, in contact with the enemy, did not expect much of a Christmas celebration that year under such desperate conditions. Units rotated periodically, with a day of rest in less exposed trenches to the rear, where they would not be under direct fire. This brief relaxation would be the most men would expect for the holiday.

Ignored by officials on both sides, Pope Benedict XV attempted to arrange a truce between the warring powers for Christmas.

What actually happened came from men in the field, without any apparent organization. It started after men settled into the trenches in November… it began with arrangements (ceasefires) while recovering the dead from No-Man’s Land. Burial parties, from opposing sides, then exchanged information and food with each other.

In many places, the lines were close enough that the soldiers could shout across at each other, whether to taunt or simply chat. Conversing was especially clear among the German and British armies, because many men had visited or lived in both nations, and could communicate with each other in English.

On Christmas Eve, British soldiers reported that German soldiers started singing songs and playing music. Soon, the British responded with their own tunes and songs. The shouts between men took on a festive tone, exchanging seasonal greetings. Who first raised their head above the trenches goes unrecorded, but officers and infantrymen from both sides, began to emerge. And no one fired. Artillery fell silent in some sectors.

Orders, of course, strictly prohibited any of this fraternization, holiday or not. Many company officers and Generals were afraid that it would prevent men from continuing the fight afterward. There seemed to exist among the soldiers in the trenches, a sort of understanding, born from their shared condition, regardless of general orders.

This did not extend to all soldiers, of course. Captain Billy Congreve of the Rifle Brigade wrote in his diary, “We have issued strict orders to the men not to on any account allow a truce, as we have heard rumours that they will probably try to. The Germans did. They came over towards us singing. So we opened rapid fire on them, which is the only truce they deserve.”

On the other side of the issue, Captain Bruce Bairnsfather of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment observed among his men that, “There was not an atom of hate on either side that day; and yet, on our side, not for a moment was the will to war and the will to beat them relaxed. It was just like the interval between the rounds in a friendly boxing match.” While there was suspicion, mistrust, and prejudice on both sides, it was pushed aside for that peaceful meeting.

The high command’s fears came to fruition in some of the battlefields the day after Christmas. Private Frank Richards of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, wrote in his memoirs, “During the whole of Boxing Day (December 26th) we never fired a shot, and they the same, each side seemed to be waiting for the other to set the ball a-rolling.”

In the end, as units rotated back to different positions, and simply as time passed, the informal truces ended. These ‘truces’ became a distant memory, as the first year of a brutal struggle would go on another four years, with 29 million soldiers killed or wounded, over 57% of those serving. There would never be another Christmas quite like the one in 1914.

This December at Rippon Lodge in Woodbridge, Prince William County’s Historic Preservation Division will be presenting Christmas Through the Ages. This special holiday-only program starts off with a tree lighting on the lawn December 2 and continues every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 23. The first tour of the day begins at 11:00 am and the last at 3:00 pm.

Each walk through the Lodge with one of the guides takes a visitor through some American holiday-time traditions; from the 1700s celebration of the time between Christmas and Epiphany, known as Twelfth Night, through the Victorian age, 1920s, and 1930s, learn how we came to celebrate Christmas as it is today.

Another special occasion will be a visit from Santa Claus on December 9th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Parents will be given a ‘Things Santa Should Know’ card before their child meets that right jolly old elf in his temporary residence in Rippon Lodge’s cabin.

PRTC Executive Director Bob Schneider talks transportation on Davis Ford Road

In a follow-up post to our Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads Traffic Think Tank, here’s a video we showed during the event on Oct. 19, 2017.

We asked PRTC Executive Director Bob Schneider about traffic conditions on the two-lane roads and challenges managing mass transit in low population density areas. 

Video transcript: 

For PRTC and OmniRide, our biggest challenge is in the mid-county area and its lack of density.

So we don’t have dedicated transit services in that corridor and instead really rely on road network to get commuters, residents to the park and ride lots.

Some of our top areas are Horner Road. So many of those residents in that community travel to Horner Road to pick up our services, use slugging, or many other means of transportation such as vanpool or carpool.

In terms of safety and transit utilization, there are some big challenges.

First and foremost it’s a beautiful area, therefore, its low density. All that low density makes it really difficult to effectively manage transportation, mass transit issues, and with those being the roads that very little infrastructure in terms of sidewalks, which of course and any pedestrian would want, simultaneously there are not a lot of crosswalks, or very many, if any intersections with traffic signals.

So it makes it very difficult for us in order to manage turns, have that infrastructure that brings pedestrians to the forefront.

One of the best solutions that we’re looking at is two things, one of which is looking at the Horner Road expansion of the parking and ride lot. Is there a chance to improve or increase capacity at the park and ride lot which is a challenge, but all that do is draw more commuters through that corridor or possibly increase congestion.

One of the alternatives would be to look at, is there some way to take advantage of the park and ride lots closer to the interior of the county that are more conducive to travel that we could serve more effectively.

If you think about it, one large commuter bus traveling through an intersection in moves 60 cars at once. That’s the equivalent of what happens when those vehicles move through. Simeltenousuly, that’s the equivalent of 15 cars, four lanes wide four lanes wide on I-95.

That one transit bus removes all those cars, and because we have the occupation of the HOT lanes, we’re able to move residents in and out of D.C. much quicker.

Those are some of the key issues we face along the Yates Ford and Davis Ford corridor.

FreshySites designs, builds first e-commerce website for USA Volleyball

At FreshySites, we’re dedicated to taking our clients’ online presence to the next level through the creation of beautiful, clean and user-friendly websites.

With that mission front and center, we recently harnessed our commitment and passion to partner with WorldWide Sport Supply and create a website for a globally recognized brand and organization – USA Volleyball.

FreshySites was approached to create an E-Commerce website platform that would provide a scaleable solution for order management and fulfillment for the United States Volleyball Team.

Creating an E-Commerce website platform that can handle the high demand and order influx for a national brand has many moving parts.

One of the biggest hurdles we had to overcome was that this was to be the first E-Commerce site for USA Volleyball – ever.

Our team spent hours carefully planning and collaborating – internally and with our client – on the USA Volleyball site, mapping out its many components to ensure flawless functionality and launch.

After months of hard work, we created the USA Volleyball Shop – a modern and fully responsive E-Commerce website, allowing members and fans alike to easily purchase USA Volleyball swag on a beautiful, simple user interface for both desktop and mobile devices.

Explore the site’s different features, like the swatch zoom, which allows users to easily check out various color options for different products, or the sort options, allowing users to shop based on a product’s popularity, price, and rating.

From T-shirts to jackets to hats, there are loads of quality apparel products featured for men, women, and children – all sponsored by Adidas.

With the start of the Winter 2018 Olympics right around the corner, now is the time to explore this brand new site for any USA Volleyball fans you may know!

FreshySites is a regionally-focused company with national reach and operations.

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!

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…)

Laurie Holloway Receives Occoquan Volunteer Award

From the Town of Occoquan:

(October 20, 2017 – Occoquan, VA) On October 16, 2017, the Town of Occoquan presented resident Laurie Holloway with its Volunteer Award. Ms. Holloway was awarded the Walter D. Bailey Volunteer Award and recognized for her contributions to the community during a volunteer appreciation event at Occoquan’s Bottle Stop Wine Bar on Monday evening.

Ms. Holloway has been a resident of Occoquan since 2016 and during that time has shown a deep commitment to community by quickly and readily volunteering her time and talents for the betterment of the town. She has volunteered for multiple events including the semi-annual Occoquan Arts and Crafts Show, an event that brings more than 10,000 people to the community and generates revenue in support of the Town’s Capital Improvement program, and for the spring and fall community clean-up days.

She can also be seen picking up litter daily on her walks through town and has officially adopted the Mill Street parking lot under the Route 123 Bridge as a clean-up location through the Keep Prince William Beautiful Adopt-A-Spot program. In addition, she has recently been appointed to serve on the Town’s Architectural Review Board, which is responsible for preserving the historic district’s unique cultural heritage and identity.
(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.

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…)

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