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Occoquan Local

How to do a tasting at Manassas Olive Oil Company

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Find perfect pairings for salads, chicken, even ice cream

At Manassas Olive Oil Company, you have the opportunity to sample over 45 flavors of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

From mild to robust, these oils fill up metal fusties that are placed throughout the room. Empty bottles are lined up beneath them, and tasting cups are waiting to be filled with fresh oils and vinegar.

A tasting experience can vary.

You may end up spending an hour with friends sampling a large variety, or you might just be looking for something to create a perfect marinade for tonight’s chicken entree.

“We encourage people to spend as much time as they want finding what they love in here,” says store manager Cameron Thomson. “If you don’t want to spend an hour and change in here tasting everything, I can ask you what you’re looking to use it for and then help you find what you’re looking for.”

Thomson says it’s an experience that most people aren’t expecting. “Typically most people, what they’ve had their whole life is nothing like this, so they’re going to be caught very off guard by what they’re about to taste,” Thomson says.

To sample any of the olive oils or balsamic vinegar, you just have to fill up a small plastic ramekin of the flavor you want. Thomson says it’s important to smell it before taking a swig. He also suggests slurping the oils in order to really discern their tastes.

For people that might be put off by drinking the oils on their own, there are jars of bread available for tastings. You can dunk the small pieces of bread into the various flavors in order to get a sense of their taste.

“Sometimes it’s good to break up the taste of it,” said Thomson. “Some of the oils have very strong flavor by themselves, so sometimes its good to have something neutral to taste it with.” 

After sampling a variety of flavors, you may end up with a French Walnut olive oil and Black Cherry vinegar pairing that will make a perfect dressing for your salad, a Mushroom Sage as marinade for tomorrow night’s pork dinner, and a raspberry vinegar to drizzle on that vanilla ice cream in your freezer.

After narrowing down your choices, employees will help you fill the empty glass bottles with the fresh balsamic vinegar and olive oils.

Thomson says this is something fun and new that everyone will love trying out.

“Open up your mind to the new possibility of tasting very fresh olive oil,”he said.

Manassas Olive Oil Company opened its doors in May. Hours are Monday thru Thursday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wild edible plant classes teach people to find free food in their own backyard

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It may come as a surprise, but in many backyards free, local, nutritious food is growing!

Many plants that people consider weeds are edible, and with a little bit of knowledge, those weeds can become delicious sustenance. For instance, Autumn Olive is an invasive shrub that has become very common in Northern Virginia. But did you know that in the fall it produces loads of edible berries that can be used to make jams and fruit leather?

Or consider the dandelion. Not many people realize it, but every part of the plant is edible. You can add the flowers and leaves to your salads, and the roots can be processed into a coffee-like drink.

Of course, before you start pulling up weeds and eating them, it’s important to know what you’re doing. It is essential to identify plants correctly, harvest them safely and ethically, and prepare them properly. There are many plant identification books on the market; however, the best way to learn about wild edibles is from an experienced forager.

In the coming weeks, Earth Village Education, a nonprofit nature education center located near Marshall, Virginia, will conduct two classes about wild edible plants.

The first class on Saturday, June 20, will be a great introduction to the subject. Students will learn plant identification and safety principles, then go for a plant walk, visiting fields, forests, and wetlands to find and harvest a variety of plants that are in season.

The second class from Saturday, July 11 through Sunday, July 12, will cover the same basics in greater depth, and will also feature information about the medicinal uses of wild plants. No prior experience is necessary for either class, and the fee for each class is on a sliding scale.

For more information and to register, visit EarthVillageEducation.org, and transform a stroll in your backyard into a foraging adventure!

You’ll be surprised at the local artifacts featured in the ‘Hometown Tourist’ exhibit in Manassas

Manassas Museum ‘Hometown Tourist” exhibit coming to Bull Run Regional Library 

Trade your suitcase for some walking shoes and be a Manassas hometown tourist this summer. If walking shoes aren’t an option, take a virtual tour.

The new Manassas Historical Sites Map Tour lets you click on a map to find in-depth information about the city’s eight historic properties. The tour includes photographs, little-known stories about people and places associated with the site, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and information about visiting in person. Visit manassasmuseum.org/tour to access the tour.

The Manassas Museum is taking to the road for a new summer travelling exhibit, Hometown Tourist, at the Bull Run Regional Library. The exhibit features artifacts, old post cards, and archaeology from nine area historic sites: The Southern Railway Depot, the Hopkins Candy Factory, Liberia Plantation, the Stone House, the Manassas City Cemetery, the Manassas Museum (built on land where Eastern College once stood), the Manassas Industrial School, the former Grace United Methodist Church (now Bull Run Unitarian), and the Albert Speiden House.

Most of the City’s nationally significant historic sites are open free every day and offer interpretive signage that tells their story. Take along the mobile version of the Manassas Historical Sites Map Tour as you visit the Manassas Museum, the Southern Railway Depot, the Hopkins Candy Factory, Liberia Plantation, Mayfield and Cannon Branch Earthwork Forts, and the Manassas Industrial School/Jennie Dean Memorial to enhance your experience.

If you would like to learn even more about the sites, guided walking tours of Historic Downtown Manassas are offered every Thursday and Friday at Noon, and Liberia House tours are offered Sundays at Noon through the summer. Meet at the Manassas Museum, 9101 Prince William Street, for the Downtown tours, and at Liberia, 8601 Portner Avenue, for the Sunday tours.

Call 703-268-1873 or visit manassasmuseum.org for more information.

Occoquan hosts successful craft show for 46th year

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Last weekend, the Town of Occoquan hosted yet another successful spring Arts and Crafts Show.

“This is the show’s 46th year and we are continuing to take steps to improve and grow the show for the benefit of the participants, as well as the community,” said Town Manager Kirstyn Jovanovich.

Over the two days of the show, around 10,000 people came to Occoquan, said Jovanovich.

“We had about 265 vendors at the show that brought a wide variety of handcrafted items, including lawn ornaments made out of recycled materials, jewelry made from coins and recycled computer equipment, handmade soaps, baked goods, jellies, salsa, planters, dog treats and collars, clothing and more. In addition, we had many vendors specializing in fine, graphic and mixed media arts,” said Jovanovich.

Several of the vendors at the event were locally owned and operated, including jewelry maker Motherbored, based out of Gainesville, and What’s Your Time Frame, based in Manassas.

According to Jovanovich, the town is already gearing up for the fall Arts and Craft Show, which will be September 26 and 27.

Labella Bridal Boutique expands in Occoquan

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Labella Bridal Boutique celebrated its expansion in Occoquan.

The bridal gown boutique acquired an old storage unit next door, and Labella added a new series of fitting rooms and places to store merchandise such as shoes.  This is the second expansion for the bridal boutique that shoppers and public officials say is unique to the Town of Occoquan.

“A woman wants to feel beautiful, and coming into Labella, we can enhance her beauty,” said Ellalyne Brayman, who has owned the shop for eight years.

Labella held a ribbon cutting for the new expansion in conjunction with the Prince William Chamber of Commerce. Several elected officials and longtime friends and customers of the business attended the celebration.

Brayman designs her bridal gowns. Some of the shop’s top sellers are also accessories like shoes, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.

“A bracelet gives a little bling to enhance the ring,” said Brayman.

A recent trend at weddings, “trash the dress” parties, where brides purposefully destroy their wedding dresses,  doesn’t sit well with Brayman. She donates gowns to charities, such as wounded warrior projects and said trashing the dress is wasteful.

“I think it takes away from the sacredness of a wedding,” said Brayman.

Labella Bridal Boutique is located at 313 Mill Street in Occoquan. The store is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday 11 to 7 p.m., Friday 11 to 5 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m to 6 p.m.

Arts and Craft show in Occoquan this weekend

This weekend town of Occoquan will be hosting its annual spring Arts and Crafts Show.

The Arts and Craft Show will take place on June 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and June 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

According to a release, there will be more than 300 artists and vendors at the show.

Because of limited parking availability, the town will be hosting shuttle bus service for residents.

More on shuttle service from a town release:

Shuttle Bus

Shuttle Bus Cost: $5 per Rider (Cash Only) (Round Trip)

The Town’s historic district will be closed off to vehicular traffic during the show.  Roads will be closed from 8 am to 7 pm on each day.

Visitors to the show can ride a shuttle bus from one of four locations and will be dropped off at one of three stops. View Event Map

Shuttle Bus Pick Up Locations

Visitors can park at one of the following lots to board a shuttle bus: ($5 per rider, round trip)

Vulcan Materials (Yellow)

Tackett’s Mill Commuter Lot (Purple)

123 Commuter Lot (Old Hechinger’s Lot) (Green)

Commuter Lot I-95 (Red)

Shuttle Bus Drop Off Locations

Shuttle buses bringing visitors to the show will be dropped off at one of the following locations:

123 Bridge (Yellow)

Mom’s Apple Pie (Red and Purple)

Occoquan Footbridge (Green)

Prince William County CXO gets top nods, raise

Melissa Peacor leads the county government in Virginia’s second-largest county. Her bosses say she’s doing a good job and will get a raise.

Prince William County Executive Melissa Peacor reports to the Board of Supervisors, and the Board, just as many other employers do, conducted an annual review of her performance.

“She has done a great job,” said Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey Stewart.

The positive review means Peacor will be awarded a 3% merit increase retroactive to Jan. 1, 2o15, and a 2% cost-of-living raise.

“Ms. Peacor’s new salary is $244,667 for the remainder of FY2015, and will increase with the County market adjustment to $249,560 on July 1, 2015,” stated county spokesman Jason Grant.

The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the performance review. Peter Candland, of Gainesville, was the only Supervisor to vote against the subsequent pay increase.

Peacor has worked in Prince William County Government since 1985 and has held such jobs as Strategic Planning Coordinator, Budget Director and Deputy County Executive.

MyLink teen passes on sale, provide unlimited summer rides

The MyLink Teen Summer Pass is on sale. The pass allows teenagers unlimited rides on OmniLink buses in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park between now and Sept. 1, 2015.

The pass costs $30 and is on sale at the following locations:

Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission Transit Center, located at 14700 Potomac Mills Road in Woodbridge, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to  7 p.m.

Chinn Aquatics and Fitness Center, located at 13025 Chinn Park Drive in Woodbridge, Monday through Thursday 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sharron Baucom — Dale City Recreation Center, located at 14300 Minnieville Road in Dale City, Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cash or credit only.

Ben Lomond Community Center, located at 10501 Copeland Drive in Manassas, Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cash or credit only.

Manassas City Hall Treasurer’s Office, located at 9027 Center Street in Manassas, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cash only.

OmniLink provides bus service along major routes in the area, including Route 1 in Woodbridge, Dale Boulevard in Dale City, as well as major routes in Lake Ridge, Manassas, and Manassas Park.

Those who purchase a My Link Teen Bus Pass will also receive discounts good for $1 off general admission to Potomac Nationals games, $2 off public skating at the Prince William Ice Center in Dale City, up to five free games per day at Bowl America, located at 13409 Occoquan Road in Woodbridge, and $1 off general admission to Stonewall Pool in Manassas.

Riders must be between the ages of 13 and 19 years old to use the pass. Teenagers use the pass to get rides to summer jobs, shopping centers, recreation centers, and libraries, according to a Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission press release.

Manassas City businesses rise and shine at appreciation breakfast

Close to 100 people gathered at the Center for the Arts for the inaugural Manassas Business Appreciation Breakfast where they celebrated the City’s entrepreneurial spirit and thriving business community. The City of Manassas and the Prince William Chamber of Commerce hosted the event to recognize local businesses.

In his opening remarks, Mayor Harry J. Parrish II thanked the audience for choosing Manassas and “for all that you bring to the community.” Beyond creating jobs and boosting the local economy, he acknowledged the many business leaders who serve on boards and commissions and participate in the robust calendar of events.

See photos from the event

Those in the room took a moment to welcome the newcomers to downtown, which include Amy’s Bridal, Totally Vintage Designs, and Scatter Seeds as well as the soon-to-open Cut Rate Barbershop and Jitterbug ice cream shop. H Mart and Firehouse Subs, which recently opened on Liberia Avenue, were recognized as well. Dalena Kanouse, the CEO of MTCI Management and Training Consultants, Inc., and incoming chair of the Prince William Chamber, pointed out that her well-established company was once a newcomer to the City of Manassas. She told the tight-knit business community that MTCI moved from Dumfries to take advantage of the opportunities in Manassas and are happy to be here.

Existing businesses in the City are flourishing, too. Fauquier Bank relocated within the City to accommodate its anticipated expansion. Malone’s opened a second floor to accommodate their growing business. Another expansion in the City is Aurora Flight Science who are sub-leasing the airport’s FlightWorks hanger and envision creating 50 new jobs over the next several years. B. Hayes Framme, advisor for infrastructure and development for the Commonwealth of Virginia, acknowledged that most businesses have “Chief ‘Everything’ Officers.” He also identified high-growth opportunities in Virginia like cyber security and biotechnology and discussed incentives and policies that support job creation.

The City strives to create a business-friendly environment and is always interested in speaking to prospective business owners who wish to join this supportive community. For more information, call the economic development department at 703-257-8881.

Why hello ‘River Mill Park’ on the Occoquan

If this park could talk, it would probably say something like: “My name is River Mill Park.”

Parks don’t talk. That’s just silly. But “River Mill Park” is indeed the name of the new park at the end of Mill Street in Occoquan. The new green is still under construction. It replaces an old water treatment facility once owned and operated by Fairfax Water.

The 1.1 – acre park’s official name was endorsed by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors on May 12, 2015.

“This was part of the lease agreement with Fairfax Water that asked the Town of Occoquan to have Prince William County consent to the name of the Park.  So, the endorsement at the Board of County Supervisors meeting was merely a formal ratification of their consent to the name,” stated

Occoquan Town officials earlier this year asked residents what the new park name should be.

Here’s some what was contained in the resolution document:  

river mill park

The park will be nestled along the bank of the Occoquan River. The water treatment facility it replaces was demolished. Construction on the new park will be complete by the end of this year, according to plans.

Occoquan Town Manager Kirsten Jovanovich posted this photo of the park in the “I <3 Occoquan” Facebook group May 12:

river mill park occoquan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And she posted this message:

River Mill Park is making progress! Grass is going down this week and Fairfax Water is expected to be done with their portion of the project by mid-June. The Town will be moving in shortly after to being construction on the restroom facility that will sit at the entrance to the park. The park won’t be open to the public just yet due to ongoing construction and allowing time for the grass to take root. We’re planning for a Spring 2016 grand opening!

The Prince William County Government funding construction of the park. The Town of  Occoquan will maintain the park.

 

Blessing of the fleet, boat parade in Occoquan May 16

Occoquan, boats, river, tourism, virginia, visit, craft fair, kayak

On May 16, the Occoquan River Maritime Association will be hosting their Sail Occoquan event.
The event, which begins at 9:50 a.m., will include a boat parade and “The Blessing of the Fleet”.

During the day, shops in Occoquan will also be hosting events and activities to give residents a chance to be entered in a drawing to win 4 tickets for a cruise on The Miss Rivershore boat.

Additionally, there will be free round-trip boat rides on The Miss Rivershore from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., leaving from Mamie Davis Park. (more…)

21st Annual Manassas Heritage Railway Festival

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Can you hear the far off whistle? Can you feel the rumble as the train lumbers down the tracks?

Get ready! The 21st Annual Manassas Heritage Railway Festival is on June 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Historic Downtown Manassas. This is a family-friendly celebration of railroad history.

There will be live performances on two stages. Folsom Prisoners, Justin Trawick and High Grass Bluegrass Band are a few of the performers lined up for the day. Enjoy great food and lots to see and do. Take a train ride on the  a VRE train with a princess for $6 per person, or just peruse the memorabilia and the model trains under the Harris Pavilion.

On Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7, the inaugural trips of the 611 Steam Train will be rolling through the City. Norfolk & Western 611 will pull passengers from Manassas to Front Royal and back. This is part of Norfolk Southern’s 21st Century Steam program.

Owned by the Virginia Museum of Transportation, 611 recently underwent a massive restoration after more than two decades in retirement. The Steam Engine will be available for photos near the Harris Pavilion after its Saturday trip. Tickets for both trips start at $109 and may be purchased online.

Whether you are a railroad enthusiast or just looking for something to do, this event is a great way to spend a Saturday.

On Friday, June 5, from 5 to 9 p.m. come to First Friday in Historic Downtown. The June First Friday features corn hole playing and corn hole tournaments throughout downtown, plus, great food and wonderful shops.

On Sunday, June 7, get ready for the Taste of Historic Manassas from noon to 4:30 p.m. This annual event transforms Historic Downtown Manassas into a lively festival with local entertainment and lots of great food. For more information on these and other events in the City of Manassas, go to visitmanassas.org.

Library Foundation gives libraries $14K for books, iPads

The Prince William Public Library Foundation, an area non-profit, has awarded the Prince William library system more then $14,000 to fund two new programs.

The first program, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, is a national early literacy program. The program provides books and ways to incorporate reading into a family routine. With the Library Foundation’s full funding of the program, around 2,000 preschoolers will be able to participate within the first year, said a release.

The second program coming to the Prince William public library system is the introduction of Apple iPads for use with electronic reading apps. All of the county’s libraries, including the upcoming Haymarket Gainesville and Montclair Community libraries, will be equipped with the iPads.

In addition to the reading apps, librarians will be able to instruct residents on how to use the device, and use them as tools during other program activities at the libraries, said a release.

“We are overjoyed with the Foundation’s leadership in funding two indispensable programs such as early literacy and electronic assistance. I can’t thank Bryanna [Altman, Foundation Board President] and the rest of the Board enough for their continued support,” commented Connie Gilman, the Prince William Public Library System director.

Occoquan Art on the Block comes May 9

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 2.41.32 PMOccoquan’s annual Art on the Block celebration will be taking place on Saturday, May 9 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Residents will be able to meet with local artists, view art demonstrations along the streets of Occoquan, and take part in a raffle to win a wildlife river tour by Rivershore Charters.

Many Occoquan businesses will be taking part, including Art a la Carte, the Artist’s Undertaking Gallery, Red Art & Design, Spiral Creations and The Loft Art Center.

 

 

Incumbents keep seats in Prince William Firehouse Primary

The field of candidates for local elections in Prince William County is getting smaller.

Republicans held their “firehouse primary” in Prince William County on Saturday. The results of those races tell us which member of the GOP will go on to face their Democratic challengers in the November General Election.

Voting in the firehouse primary took place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at various locations across the county. The firehouse primary was held instead of a traditional primary on June 9 due to paperwork filing error on the part of the Prince William County Republican Party.

The results of the 2015 Prince William County Republican Firehouse Primary: (more…)

Manassas emergency workers used a hearse to respond to calls for help

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Starting May 1, the Manassas Museum will debut their newest exhibit on the fire, rescue and police equipment used in the community. 

The museum will be hosting a reception at 6 p.m. and serve refreshments to residents looking to learn more about public safety history in the City of Manassas.

One of the unique highlights of the exhibit is the fact that back in the 1960s, responders in a hearse answered emergency response calls.

Before the first public safety group, the Manassas Volunteer Rescue Squad, was created in 1966, it was the Baker Funeral Home that would bring patients for medical treatment and respond to emergency scenes. 

Manassas didn’t see a modernized police and fire department structure until the 1950s, and relied on mainly volunteer services.

This exhibit, which displays the evolution of Manassas and its public safety organizations, coincides with the World Police and Fire Games, which are being hosted in Prince William County this summer.

“Our Fire, Rescue and Police personnel run into a building when others run out,” said Mayor Harry J. Parrish II.  “It is that courage and compassion for others that helps keep this City safe and well protected.”

The Manassas Museum will showcase the exhibit until July 15.

“I hope visitors and residents will come out for this exhibit. Our Police, and Fire and Rescue staff are top in their field and our volunteers are some of the most dedicated people I’ve met,” said City Manager W. Patrick Pate. 

This promoted post is brought to you by the City of Manassas and Historic Manassas, Inc.  

Millennials fleeing suburbs for cities: Challenges facing Prince William County

Committee of 100

So much has changed in Prince William County in just the past 10 years, that the Prince William County Committee of 100 came together April 16 at the Montclair Country Club to discuss what the future of the county may look like and what it may need to succeed. 

The Prince William County Committee of 100 holds regular non-partisan, educational forums to study interests, problems and goals of the citizens of Prince William County, as well as the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. It has been functioning for more than 25 years.

“The rapid growth in Prince William County over the past decade has presented enormous challenges in overcrowded classrooms, efficient commuter traffic patterns, shortages of public amenities and over-stressed public safety resources,” read a description of the forum on the committee’s web page. “Jobs and housing are the two drivers of the future economy in Prince William County. The current economic conditions threaten growth in quality jobs, housing values and expanding business opportunities. The future for Prince William County will, in large measure, be determined by how Prince William County adapts its policies to protect the future of our community.”

The panelists were Robert Buchanan, Principle of Buchanan Partners LLC and President of the 2030 Group; Dr. Terry L. Clower, Northern Virginia Chair and Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University; G. Mark Gibb, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission; and Ralph Stephenson, Chairman and Co-Founder of Citizens for Balanced Growth. 

Brendon Shaw, director of government relations for the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, served as moderator. 

Each panelist gave their take on the future of Prince William County — what it may look like and what it will need. At one point, a joke was made that more Millennials should have been invited. 

One focus of the discussion was the trend of Millennials moving back into cities instead of expanding into the suburbs as previous generations have. Gibb said a “demographic inversion” is underway. For the last 50 years the region saw the people moved out of the cities to suburbia but is now seeing a population shift toward the Beltway.

If you want people to come to Prince William County, then you have to develop areas that they want to come to, Gibb remarked. “Do you want to [be] a suburban area or be more like an area that provides amenities for these new Millennials?”

Mark Gibb, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, speaking at the April Committee of 100 program.

Mark Gibb, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, speaking at the April Committee of 100 program.

Clower told the group the county needs balance, and balance comes through planning. He said land-use plans need to tie into the region’s economic development strategies, which in turn need to tie into the transportation strategies. 

“That can put you ahead of the game,” said Clower. “Economic development is a process… It doesn’t ever stop.” 

The next meeting will be held the evening of May 21 at the Wyndham Garden in Manassas. Visit PWC100.org for more details.

Prince William budget to include $1 million for class size reduction

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors will approve the final budget and tax rate tomorrow, April 21, at their regularly scheduled meeting.

The approved budget will now include $1 million allocated specifically for reducing class sizes in Prince William County Public Schools.

As the budget period for the Prince William County Board of Supervisors comes to a close, Supervisors Candland and Lawson took the opportunity to speak on their own budget draft with a 2.5% tax increase. In March, the board announced their advertised ceiling tax rate increase of 3.88%, and the difference between the 2.5% and the 3.88% is about $14.6 million.

Budget draft to address school overcrowding

Lawson and Candland stated their draft of the 2016 budget is focused on a plan to address overcrowding in county public schools.

The budget draft would invest county funds into reducing class sizes over the next five years, drawing funding from the Recordation Tax revenue. Under the original proposal given by Candland and Lawson, the board would invest $30 million over the 5-year period, starting with $2 million in 2016. The board decided to halve this amount – giving $1 million – and requiring the school board to match the funds.

Virginia charges a tax on the recordation of deeds, deeds of trust, mortgages, leases, and contracts, which provide the funding source Candland referenced. Currently, the Recordation Tax in the county’s budget goes toward paying for transportation projects and other small line items in the budget, stated a release. (more…)

Bottle Stop wine bar offers local food and drinks in Occoquan

The Bottle Stop Wine Bar and Shop, located in Occoquan, offers a mixture of local artisan drinks and small tapas style food plates for a unique dining experience.

Owned by Emil and Kim Wigode, the wine bar opened up a year and a half ago.

The Wigodes previously owned the Old Dominion Wine Shop on Mill Street in Occoquan for 5 years, before deciding to expand into a new location with a wine bar.

“We really saw a lack of a place where you could have some good wine, whiskey, craft beer – and not necessarily large plates of food, but smaller platers of food that pair well… there just isn’t a lot of that in the Woodbridge area, especially Occoquan. We were trying to fill that niche,” said Emil Wigode.

For their alcoholic beverages, they pride themselves on feature local and small production artisan beverages.

“[We have] wines you’re not going to find at the grocery store or some of the big box places. They tend to be family owned wineries that we represent. We usually have at least one local Virginia wine available by the glass,” said Wigode.

Additionally, the wine bar offers whiskeys and scotches by the glass, as well as their local craft beer selection.

“We skew more local [with beers]. We have 6 craft beers on tap right now…we have 2 Virginia breweries [featured] – a Delaware brewery, a Pennsylvania one also,” stated Wigode. 

To go with the local drinks, Bottle Stop Wine Bar and Shop offers small tapas style fare that you can share with friends.

“Food wise we do cheese and charcuterie platters. So you can choose – we have a selection of about a dozen different artisan cheeses from around the world, and salamis and prosciuttos that you can mix and match. And then we do a few different versions of sliders – we do our specialty, which is a crab cake slider. And we do a beer braised beef slider – it’s short ribs braised in a local chocolate stout overnight. We do some smaller flatbread pizzas,” Wigode said.

Among their menu items, the most popular are the crab cake sliders and the Parmesan Asiago flatbread pizza.

According to Wigode, the community reaction to the wine bar has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We think people have enjoyed the concept. We get a lot of comments about how this was a needed element in the area. We’ve had a great first year and a half,” Wigode said.

Stewart, Crawford don’t see eye to eye on jobs, taxes in Prince William

Republicans face off in Prince William Chairmans Race Primary Debate

Two Republicans seeking to lead the Prince William County Board of Supervisors sat down for a debate on Saturday.

Incumbent Corey Stewart faced newcomer Chris Crawford, and each discussed issues facing the county from tax bills, funding firefighters, to bringing new jobs to the region.

On the latter note, Stewart addressed a question that asked what more is being done to bring high-paying jobs to the area as retailers like Walmart consistently rank in the list of the county’s top employers.

“We have so far, in a two-year period, have $1.5 billion in private investment in Prince William County,” said Stewart. “The jobs are there. Some are in the retail sector, but a lot of them aren’t. We’re seeing a lot of development in the life sciences industry especially in the [Innovation Park] area, and in the Route 1 corridor [in Woodbridge.]”

Crawford disagreed, and said he is tired of having to leave Prince William each day for a high-paying job.

“Innovation looks like a wheat field. I hear there’s a lot of jobs but I just don’t see it. We’ve got to get our tax rate under control…the businesses aren’t coming here,” said Crawford.

Recent local government data show the vacancy rate for commercial office, industrial, and retail space sits at 6.8% in December 2014, down from 8.3% one year earlier. At-place employment is also slightly on the rise.

Home values continue to rise, too. Stewart said he and others on the Board of Supervisors have worked to keep low the average property tax bill for Prince William homeowners, citing the bills are 30% lower than they are in neighboring Loudoun County.

“It’s not apples to apples to compare homes in other counties. Their houses are worth more,” Crawford fired back.

Both men support taking funds from the county’s fire levy that were once given to volunteer fire companies and instead use them to pay the salaries of career firefighters.

“As we become a more suburb and community and less rural, the number of volunteers is inevitably declining,” said Stewart.

Both men added they support the county’s blended career and volunteer fire system, and both thanked volunteers for their service.

The debates were held at the Dar AlNoor Islamic Community Center. They were co-sponsored by the Coles District Civic Association and Potomac Local.

Video of the full debate produced by Bill Golden of the Coles District Civic Association after the jump (more…)

Occoquan to host boat parade on May 16

Occoquan, boats, river, tourism, virginia, visit, craft fair, kayak

On May 16, Occoquan will be hosting a ‘Sail Occoquan’ board parade.

From 9:50 a.m. to 4 p.m. there will be 10 to 12 boats led by a fire boat, parading along the Occoquan River, according to a release. 

Residents will be able to view the parade from the Occoquan Town Boardwalk, located behind Madigan’s Waterfront Restaurant, down to Mamie Davis Park.

The Occoquan River Maritime Assocation is sponsoring the parade.

During the event, residents will be able to search for eight marine flags in town, and be entered into a drawing to win four round trip tickets for a Miss Rivershore cruise, according to a release.

Miss Rivershore cruises will be running until 4 p.m. that day, for residents that want to get on the water themselves.

 

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