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Manassas Park woman saved from burning home

MANASSAS PARK, Va. — One woman was saved from a burning home in Manassas Park.

Fire crews were called to a home at 8464 Sandstone Way in Manassas Park on December 17.

Manassas City fire crews assisted Manassas Park City fire crews.

More from a Manassas City press release:

As Manassas Park units were already involved in another call, City of Manassas crews took the lead on fire suppression and search and rescue. During a search of the building, one victim was located and rescued from the structure. City of Manassas Advanced Life Support treated and transported the patient to Novant-Prince William Hospital. Units from Prince William and Manassas Park assisted in firefighting efforts.

The cause of the fire was attributed to an unattended pot on a stove, said Manassas Park Fire Marshal Mark Joyner.

The Red Cross was called to find temporary housing for the victim and two children.

Woodbridge car chase suspect arrested Christmas Day

From police: 

Vehicle Pursuit | Felony Hit and Run *ARREST – On December 25, the accused, Dwayne Hakeem WESTFIELD, was located and arrested. The accused was wanted in connection to a vehicle pursuit which occurred on November 1 in the area of Bel Air Rd and Saxophone Way in Woodbridge.

Arrested on December 25:

Dwayne Hakeem WESTFIELD, 24, of 2532 Sedgewick Pl in Dumfries

Charged with felony eluding, possession of stolen property, felony hit & run and driving with no operator’s license

Fire Marshal investigates burnt-out car near Dumfries

DUMFRIES, Va. — Authorities are looking into the cause of a burnt out car in a secluded area near Dumfries. 

From Prince William fire and rescue: 

On Monday, December 26th, at 12:00 noon, fire and rescue crews were dispatched to a vehicle fire located at the 17500 block of Mine Road in Woodbridge.
Upon arrival, firefighters discovered a burned vehicle on private property that did not belong to the homeowner.
No injuries reported.
According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, the vehicle was burned completely to the frame; the vehicle is a total loss with estimated damages of $10,000.
The fire was incendiary and currently under investigation by the Fire Marshal’s Office.

Five ways Manassas Park Parks and Recreation staff stay motivated to workout

To many of us, the new year is an excuse to finally get motivated to work out and lose weight. Working out regularly is easier said than done because, for so many of us, it’s incredibly difficult to get, and then keep, the motivation to continue working out.

Here are some helpful hints from the Department of Parks and Recreation staff at the Manassas Park Community Center in regards to getting past the intimidation of working out, finding the motivation to work out, and keeping that motivation!

1. Set a goal to inspire you and keep you motivated

Whether you’re trying to advance professionally or looking to start working out, having clear goals help you stay focused and motivated especially during periods where you feel like you’ve plateaued. Operations/Aquatics Supervisor Sarah Barnett says even though she began working out as a student, she finds it harder and harder to stay motivated as a mom with a full-time job.

“I attended college on a running scholarship and felt like I was sort of getting paid to run,” she shares, “But now I find the best way to stay motivated is to sign up for a race or a marathon, and that forces me to stay motivated.”

Stay on task by setting clear goals using the SMART system; goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Getting ready for your first 5K easily follows the SMART system and can help propel you to setting more SMART goals.

2. Find someone to keep you accountable

Having a friend or hiring a personal trainer can really help you get the most out of your workouts. They can help ensure you’re using proper form, inspire you to try a new exercise, and help motivate you to steadily and safely push yourself to get you closer to your goal. One of the most important advantages of working out with somebody is that they can help keep you focused.

“I need an accountability partner as a motivator so I work out with a trainer,” says Jacqueline Tyre-Perry, Recreation Specialist for School Age Programs. Tyre-Perry knows she will be tempted to take shortcuts if she does not have that extra person tracking her progress. “Seeing results also motivates me, but the best motivator for me is definitely a trainer. When they say, ‘Give me five more reps!’ you know they’re pushing you while cheering you on.”

3. Work out in a group setting to motivate you to keep coming back

Working out with friends isn’t only great for accountability, but it makes the gym and working out fun instead of a chore. Park Manager AJ Tibbs says he began working out a couple of years ago because he wanted to get healthier, but now he likes going to the gym because he has tons of friends there.

“Now, working out has become a hobby for me,” Tibbs says, Life is too short, you really got to have fun while you can. I love going to the gym because I like to socialize there while I work out with weights.”

Marketing Manager Jason Shriner says he never worked out when he was younger. A former baker, he remembers watching a video by one of his food idols Michael Pollan where Pollan suggested to eat what you want, but make it yourself. Following this rule will keep you from overindulging (french fries take a lot of effort to make!) but you will also know exactly what you are eating.

However, he realized that eating healthy isn’t enough to have a healthy lifestyle. He remembers hearing a story on the radio where a 30-year-old nurse had a heart attack. “When I heard that story, I was about two years from turning 30, and I thought to myself, ‘If a nurse has a heart attack, what chance does a baker have?’” Shriner recalls. 

He started working out on his own at a gym, but he really started to love working out when he took boot camp at the Community Center – his first group exercise class. 

“I like working out in a group setting like boot camp because you never feel alone. Everybody is giving their all right next to you! Honestly, some of my favorite times are when the instructor does the craziest exercise, and we all just start laughing because we think it’s impossible – but then we try it together and succeed!”

4. Use working out as a chance to recharge your mind

Study after study has shown that exercise can help improve your mood as well as provides a myriad of mental benefits. When you’ve had a really stressful day, it can be really satisfying to channel that frustration in a healthy way by lifting weights.

When I work out, I like to be alone so I can just think,” says Jay Swisher, City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks recreation director. Swisher began working out as a school athlete to compete on the field, to be more competitive, and to enhance his sports abilities. “This led to a real interest in fitness and nutrition, which I studied in college. My interest in working out began as physical, but as I have grown older, my interest has become more mental as I use working out as my excuse to decompress and de-stress.”

To get the most mental benefit out of your workout, find a routine and a setting that works for you. Try jogging through a park, such as Signal Hill Park, to take in all the beautiful green scenery and sunshine. Once you find that perfect mix of scenery, routine, and music, you’ll naturally be drawn to working out.

5. Track your workout to measure your progress and use technology to help keep you accountable

When you start working out over several months, it’s easy to lose track of how much weight you’ve been lifting or how long you’ve been running three miles. Using a notetaking or fitness app on your smartphone can help keep you on target with your fitness goals. When you notice you haven’t increased your weights in three weeks, it could motivate you to add an extra five pounds.

Speaking of technology, if you prefer working out on your own getting a fitness device can also help you stay motivated. 

“My Apple watch was a Christmas gift from 2015, and it came with an app to help you track your workouts,” says Amelia Powell, Customer Service Supervisor. “The watch buzzed everyday reminding me to exercise. All those buzzes finally took their toll, and finally, on February 8th, I began running,” she said.

Reminders aren’t the only feature you can expect from fitness devices. Apps can also help you keep track of health metrics such as heart rate, exercise frequency, and calories consumed. Plus, the app can make sure you achieve your daily goals. 

“The app gives you completed circles each day you complete your workout. I have met my current fitness goal, but I still like seeing those completed circles on my watch. In fact, those completed circles keep me motivated to continue working out,” Powell explained.

Once you begin working out, you will find your own reasons to stay motivated just as the some of the staff members at Parks and Recreation have. We wish you much success with your fitness goals, and remember the Manassas Park Community Center offers group exercise classes such as Zumba or boot camp as well as qualified and certified personal fitness trainers to help you meet all of your fitness needs. Here’s to a healthy 2017!

The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park, VA. Managed by the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation, the facility is home to basketball courts, a swimming pool, and wellness areas as well as a variety of special events and programs. 

For more information visit us at or call at 703-335-8872.

Surovell, Anderson team for upcoming Prince William town hall


On Saturday, January 7th, Prince William County elected representatives will host a Prince William County 2017 General Assembly Session Public Hearing. Details are as follows:

Prince William County 2017 General Assembly Public Hearing
Saturday, January 7, 2017
3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Board of Supervisors Chamber Room
James J. McCoart Administrative Building
1 County Complex Court
Woodbridge, VA 22192

Prince William County State Senators and Delegates will listen the concerns and important topics of Prince William County citizens, such as the appropriation of funds in the $100 billion state budget, transportation policy, education policy, human services, public safety, and the environment. 

Senator Scott Surovell (D-36) stated, “Public comment and input is vital to our roles as elected officials.  All of us value our accessibility to Prince William County’s residents and want to make sure they have every opportunity to make us aware of their concerns before the General Assembly Session begins.”

Delegate Richard Anderson (R-51) stated, “I look forward Andersonto joining with my fellow legislators to discuss the forthcoming legislative session of the General Assembly—and to receiving citizen input on the business that will come before us in Richmond. This is a time-honored tradition in Prince William County and we urge as many of our neighbors as possible to participate.”

Rules of the forum are as follows:

— All speakers will have three minutes to speak

— Organizations are limited to three speakers per organization

— Speakers can sign up to speak online in advance at:

— Speakers will be called in the order they sign up.

— Attendees who have not signed up may sign up at the hearing and speak after registered speakers have addressed the delegation. 

— All speakers should bring 15 copies of printed materials to distribute to the members. 

The forum is for the public to address the delegation.  General Assembly members will not address participant comments to preserve time.  Press is invited to attend. 

Okra’s expanding to Virginia Oaks golf course in Gainesville


Okra’s® Cajun/Creole restaurant Cajun/Creole restaurant, an Old Town Manassas anchor, will soon be opening a second location at the Virginia Oaks Golf Club in Gainesville.

New owners of the property have taken action to make the club a special place again by adding a proven golf management team and by recruiting Okra’s, a regional favorite in dining and nightlife to their team.

[Okra’s founder Charles] Gilliam started the brand in 1998 and its fame has grown ever since. The restaurant will be serving lunch and dinner daily and its menu will be in keeping with the original restaurant’s Cajun/Creole roots.

N’Awlins Fare such as Jambalaya, Shrimp and Grits, Red Beans and Rice, Po Boys, and their Famous Gumbo will be offered along with signature appetizers, entrees, and desserts.

Diners will enjoy a relaxing lunch or dinner atop a waterfall overlooking an island green. The setting for the new location is secluded and a little off the beaten path, which simply lends to its charm and appeal. In addition to daily operations, large indoor and outdoor banquet facilities are available at Okra’s® Bistro for weddings, banquets, and golf tournaments.

Okra’s® will be hiring a full complement of staff to include every position. Although filling management positions is the current priority, resumes and applications are being accepted now with an anticipated opening date sometime in early Spring. Fifty full and part-time jobs are expected to be added to our economy.


Christmas visitors riding home on the rails

MANASSAS, Va. — They stood on the platform waiting for the 10:19 a.m. Northeast Regional.

Holiday travelers headed north by way of Amtrak filled the platform at the Manassas Train Station. Family and friends hugged each other while anxiously awaiting their ride, and they talked about the new memories made this Christmas.

“We drove through Old Town Manassas, and it was beautiful, and then we went to Reston Town Center, ate at Clyde’s, and we played Top Golf,” said Joan Morin, who is traveling home to New Haven, Conn.

Morin was traveling with her new buddy, a 7-year-old Pomeranian named Summer who was born and bread in Manassas by her sister, Dorothy.

After Joanne and Glenn Jantzen’s daughter, Diane moved to Bristow with her husband, both Long Island, N.Y. residents now take the train to visit. For them, it’s an alternative to flying.

“The train sure beats JFK,” said Glenn Jantzen.

And the roads, too, travelers said.

“It takes about the same amount of time to take the train as it does to drive, but it’s a less-stressful trip on the train, without the white knuckles you get with driving,” said one traveler who did not want to give her name.

The trip from Long Island to Manassas takes about nine hours by train or car. By car, it takes the couple about two hours to cross New York City to Interstate 95 in New Jersey, the infamous New Jersey Turnpike.

John Co, of Vietnam, spent his Christmas in Manassas visiting friends, playing games, and watching television. On Tuesday, Co said he was taking the train to spend the day in Washington, D.C.

Co plans to stay in the region through summertime.

Manassas vandals smash car windows to grab items left in plain sight

From Manassas police: 

Larcenies from Auto, Vandalisms to Auto 

Between Dec. 17 and Dec. 22, 2016, Manassas City Police responded to several calls for reports of larcenies from auto and vandalisms to auto. In most cases, vehicles were left unlocked at the time thefts occurred, or a window was smashed in order to access something of value left in plain sight. The attached map provides a visual representation of reported larcenies that occurred between Black Friday on Nov. 25 and Dec. 21.

Date of Report (all 2016 unless noted otherwise)

Date and Time of Incident

Location of Incident Type of Crime Value of Item(s) Stolen or Damaged Description of Stolen Item(s) or Damage Description of Suspect(s)
Dec. 22 Overnight hours of Dec. 21 6400 block of Brindle Way Larceny from vehicle


Gift cards None Available
Dec. 21 Between Dec. 17 and Dec. 18 8900 block of Weir St Tampering with Auto Undisclosed Loose change None Available
Dec. 21 Between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Dec. 21

Primo Pizza
9926 Liberia Ave

Larceny from Auto Not Available Vehicle and medical documents None Available
Dec. 21 Approximately 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 21 While driving southbound on 9600 block of Grant Ave Vandalism to Auto $200 Rear window shattered None Available
Dec. 21 Between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Dec. 21 LA Fitness
9946 Liberia Ave
Larceny from Auto; Vandalism to Auto $200 for window

Stolen black purse containing bank cards, cash, and identification cards; Passenger side window shattered

None Available
Dec. 17 Between 6 p.m. on Dec. 16 and 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 17 10200 block of Daylily Ct Tampering with Auto $0 No items reported stolen, vehicle was rummaged through None Available
Dec. 17 Between 7 p.m. on Dec. 16 and 7:30 a.m. on Dec. 17 8300 block of Stonewall Rd near Stonewall Park

Vandalism to Auto

$50 Rear window broken out None Available
Dec. 18 Between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 17 9200 block of Taney Rd Vandalism to Auto $150 Passenger side tire slashed None Available

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

For a brief moment, we pause

It’s at this moment the world is merry and bright. Families travel to be with each other. Gifts of appreciation are shared. Memories are made. 

The store windows in Occoquan are decorated with garland, while the buildings in Downtown Manassas are adorned with white lights. 

A large Christmas Tree overlooks Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center in Woodbridge, while light continues to shine on our very own symbol of freedom — The National Museum of the Marine Corps at Quantico.

These sights are commonplace in our community at this time of year. The hustle and bustle of our daily lives sometimes make it difficult for us to stop, look around, and appreciate them for all they’re worth. 

At Potomac Local, I’m appreciative of you for allowing us to celebrate another Christmas by looking back at all we’ve accomplished over the past year. 

We’ve seen the opening of a new Re-Store which helps provide housing to some of our area’s neediest. We saw the renaming of a Dale City middle school and talked to the community who came to be a part of the process. 

We learned about the histories of Aden and Smoketown — once settlements that today remembered best by the road signs erected in their honor.

And we saw the community crave sweets with the opening of a new doughnut shop, and lose their appetites when another favorite restaurant closed

These are just some of my memories from 2016. 

Your gift of continued support and readership of Potomac Local goes a long way in helping us to celebrate the season.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

Uriah Kiser

Kathy Strauss’ photography cruise will be first 1 Million Cups presentation of 2017

Kathy Strauss is merging photography with the pleasure cruise. 

Strauss’ Prince William County -based business ImageWerks, will hold a special photography cruise to Bermuda in 2017: 

From ImageWerks: 

Everything is included in this one-of-a-kind adventure—hotel, meals, entertainment—even photography lessons with award-winning photographer Kathy Strauss of ImageWerks & the Workhouse Arts Center. Kathy will teach you to embrace your creativity by discovering stories to be told, refining your composition skills, learning to share your photos in new ways, and so much more!

And this is not just any cruise, it is also a special fundraiser to help support the education programming at the Workhouse Arts Center.

What you’ll learn
You’ll spend your days at sea learning (or improving) your ability to “see” amazing photographs, becoming more skilled in using your camera to make pictures, and experimenting with new ways to share your photographic creations. Through lessons, creative exercises, and feedback from Kathy and your peers, you’ll take your first steps beyond vacation snapshots to make photographic art at sea and in Bermuda! Other highlights of this photography cruise include:

  • Learning to take photos tailored to a theme or a story
  • Group photography field trip while in Bermuda
  • Access to the ship’s onboard image studio
  • Learning how to turn your photos into fun products to share or sell
  • Cocktail reception while onboard
  • Special access to restricted parts of the ship for photo exercises
  • Special art show and competition onboard, judged by the ship’s official photographers!
  • Opportunities to share your cruise photography

Our photographic adventure continues at the Workhouse Arts Center upon our return, where we’ll host an event for friends, family, and the public to view your best photographs from the cruise.

Strauss will be the first presenter for 2017 at 1 Million Cups Prince William where will present her business, more details about the cruise, and learn from others in the group how the cruise may become a new revenue stream to build her business. 

1 Million Cups is a free, educational event held Wednesdays from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, located at 10960 George Mason Circle in Manassas. 

Editor’s note: Potomac Local Publisher Uriah Kiser is 1 Million Cups Prince William volunteer organizer.