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Data breaches: How to keep your digital information safe

Digital data breaches go well beyond debit or credit card theft. In fact, it is fair to say that debit and credit card theft is the least of your worries.

Chris Albright

Your bank and credit card companies have safeguards in place to return your funds to you, but most other data cannot be retrieved once breached. Even when stolen data is recovered and new security is put in place, the breached information is in the hands of the hacker.

With the increasing amount of private, sensitive and business-critical data stored digitally, this can be detrimental. Chris Albright of CMIT Solutions of Centreville has some tips for minimizing your risk of a data breach.

Understand the Need for Security

Many businesses and everyday individuals severely underestimate their level of risk. You might be a small or mid-sized business, but the data you store digitally can be a hacker’s goldmine. Take a look at some of the major organizations who have been breached in the last couple of years.

  • The Pennsylvania hack of the Department of Education’s website compromised the information of 360,000 employees.
  • The City of Atlanta’s recent ransomware attack halted essential municipal services, leading to ATL airport shutting down their Wi-Fi.
  • Due to deceiving third-party agreements, 50 million Facebook users unknowingly had their posts, private messages, and data accessed without their consent.
  • The 2016 Banner Health cyberattack exposed the private health information of 3.7 million patients in 27 locations across the nation. This type of data can sell for 10 times more than credit card information.
  • The Equifax credit reporting bureau was breached in 2017 leading to 147.9 million Americans’ personal information being leaked, placing all involved at higher risk for identity theft.
  • The 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack was the largest in history and affected thousands of businesses and individuals from around the globe.

If these organizations can be breached, many of whom must comply with strict industry digital data storage regulations, SMBs and everyday online accounts are vulnerable as well.

Reducing Your Risk

First and foremost, there is no way to 100 percent guarantee that your data will never be breached. but there is much you can do to reduce the likelihood:

Passwords: Change your passwords at least twice a year. Use strong passwords, preferably with a password manager that encrypts your passwords. Password protect all electronic devices, as many of them autologin to all the accounts you’ve logged into. Also, upload a lockout feature so that if your device is lost or stolen, passwords are erased.

Delete: Delete old digital accounts that you no longer use, or you may forget about them and the information they contain. Also, create a list of all online accounts and mobile apps that require logins. Even a one-time purchase to an e-commerce site can lead to a data breach, from a place you don’t even remember ordering from.

Be mindful of what you share: Your Facebook profile alone shares information such as where you were born, where you went to school, your kids’ names, your pets’ names and more. These are often the answers to three-factor authentication designed to improve your security. Never ever share, electronically or in person, your login information. Look through your Facebook messenger feed, you may be surprised at the amount of personal information you share there. You may want to reconsider going forward.

Never open suspicious emails: It’s easier said than done as hackers are good at sounding legitimate. This is particularly challenging at work where you won’t know everyone who sends you an email. If you open something that feels fishy, follow your company’s procedures to scan your device. If at home, run a security scan on your own.

Improve your security: Upgrade to newer software and technology, such as from a magnetic strip debit card to an EMV card if it’s available. Upgrade your website with an SSL Certificate. Perform all software and app updates ASAP, as they contain security patches and updates. Encrypt your data. Restrict remote login. Set up automated alerts for abnormal activity, such as on your debit card when you travel or make an unusually large purchase. Have a digital security professional scan your network and devices for security risks and set up an automated system for determining a hack or data breach.

Stay up to date: Online security is constantly evolving, so you must keep up. What minimizes your risks today may not be relevant in a year or less.

We are at a point at which we don’t think twice about our most private and personal information being stored digitally. For example, you may even communicate with your physician via email or use health and fitness apps in which you store in-depth health information. Just a decade ago we would have been a bit more mindful, but the convenience and functional factors have become of such great benefit that we will continue to store more information digitally, not less. This means data breach security must be top of mind for personal use, professional use and even for the kids in our family.

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.

Sentara’s Daisy Team Award winners served food, gave dry, clean toiletries to a nearby homeless encampment

The team at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is dedicated to serving our patients every day.

One group is recognized for their hard work- not just inside the hospital, but outside the walls as well.

The ICU Team was named this year’s Daisy Team Award winners.

This team spearheaded an initiative to serve food and provide dry, clean toiletries to a nearby homeless encampment, and this meant coming in several weekends to sort and prepare donated items.

Then, on the weekend they were serving food- it poured! The team didn’t give up though, they toughed it out- and many folks who might have gone hungry that day had a hot meal.

The Daisy Foundation was formed by the Barnes Family in 1999 after the loss of their 33-year-old son J. Patrick Barnes. The nursing care that their son received when hospitalized profoundly touched his family, and they wanted to recognize nurses that provide exceptional care…while often stating, “I am just doing my job.”

Your jobs touch the hearts and lives of more than you know. The Daisy Foundation was developed to celebrate nurses.

The Daisy Nurse award is presented quarterly to SNVMC nurses who meet a high standard of care provided. The award was developed for the celebration of nurses who provide extraordinary compassionate and skillful care every day.

The Daisy Team award is presented yearly.

Manassas City officials pause each May to recognize businesses

With roughly 1,600 establishments, the City of Manassas is fortunate to have a thriving base of business and industry to support the local economy. 

These businesses provide essential employment opportunities, generate tax revenues, and make other significant contributions to our community that improves the quality of life of our citizens.

It is for this reason, City officials pause each May to recognize businesses and express gratitude for their unique role in enhancing the economy. 

More than 100 businesses gathered at the Center for the Arts yesterday morning for the City’s 4th Annual Business Appreciation Breakfast.  This is a rare opportunity for City officials, community leaders and businesses of all sizes to engage one another and make lasting connections. 

Dr. Scott Ralls, President of Northern Virginia Community College provided keynote remarks on the critical role of higher education in economic development.  He specifically focused on new initiatives and programs at the college to better support the workforce needs of local employers. 

The City’s Department of Economic Development also released its Annual Report which provides highlights of new and expanding businesses as well as key performance indicators used to track our progress.  Most of these are trending in the right direction. 

The employment rate closed the year at 96.5% (by all measures extremely high), household incomes and median home prices rose, the number of business establishments increased, meals and sales tax receipts went up and the number of visitors to Manassas increased year over year. 

For read the full report or learn more about how the City supports its business community, visit www.choosemanassas.org

Specialized treatment helps most stubborn cuts at the Sentara Wound Healing Center

Chronic wounds affect about 6.5 million patients in the U.S. every year.

Over the last year, Howard Holcomb has become part of that group. The 76-year-old suffers from cellulitis, a condition where bacteria enters the skin and becomes inflamed. In Holcomb’s situation, his extremities filled with liquid. 

“My skin is very tender, and I bleed easily,” explains the Woodbridge resident. “I had wounds on my arms, and my left leg looked like a balloon, it swelled up so badly.”

After spending nearly two weeks in the hospital and receiving a course of antibiotics, Holcomb was released, but an incision that doctors had made in his leg to relieve pressure wasn’t healing as it should.

He was referred to the Sentara Wound Healing Center at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

“I went to the Wound Healing Center there at Sentara and met Dr. Shapiro and her incredible team,” says Howard smiling, “They made all the difference.”

The Sentara Wound Healing Center, led by Dr. Carol Shapiro, is committed to determining the right plan of care for its patients.

“Many of our patients are diabetics dealing with ulcers,” explains Dr. Shapiro, Medical Director of Sentara Wound Healing Center.

“Really, our patients are people with a wound that’s not healing. That can be from surgery where it opens up. It can be from an infection. It can be because somebody gets a cut in a briar patch and it’s not healing because of a foreign body in the wound. Any reason a wound’s not healing, we see them.”

The Center, comprised of a team of experienced wound healing specialists, work with the patient and his physician to assess symptoms, determine the underlying cause of a non-healing wound and customize the most effective treatment plan to stimulate healing.

“Our patients have access to our multi-specialty capabilities and specialists,” explains Dr. Shapiro. “We have infectious disease doctors, plastic surgery, great general surgeons, podiatrists and an emergency department nearby for patients that have to be admitted for one reason or another.”

Mr. Holcomb says while he still has a long way to go, he’s noticed a difference, “Before the Sentara Wound Healing Center, I didn’t even know these services existed! They took care of all the wounds on my arms- they’re all healed.”

He recommends Dr. Shapiro and her team to everyone he meets, “There have got to be a lot of people that need this kind of help. They are the most incredible group I’ve ever been around. They’re so knowledgeable and experienced, but yet so personable, you just don’t mind going there at all, and I love visiting with everybody. Everybody’s so friendly.”

The team members at the Sentara Wound Healing Center pride themselves on delivering that kind of care and following up with everyone who comes through their doors. They’re also excited about a recent renovation and expansion of services.

The remodeled first-floor space allows for easy access with larger doorways, halls, and storage so patients and practitioners can move from room to room. T

The expansion also included room for the introduction of a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber or HBO therapy. HBO, as it’s known, is used in the treatment of complex wounds and illnesses.

“The purpose of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is to promote healing on wounds which are stalling either because of a systemic disease like diabetes and vascular, or areas treated with radiation. By breathing this 100% oxygen, wounds heal quicker, there’s disease to blood vessels, and this opens them,” explains Dr. Shapiro.

Dr. Shapiro says this is just one more way the Sentara Wound Healing Center is working to treat the community, but she advises everyone to never let an unhealing cut, especially on your foot, go too long.

To schedule your appointment with the Sentara Wound Healing Center, call 703-523-0660.

A sweet treat for two at Chick-fil-A Bristow: $5,000 in scholarship funds

For two Chick-fil-A employees, earning a combined $5,000 in scholarship money was sweeter than the milkshakes sold behind the counter. 
 

Kifer


Catherine Kifer, 19, and Lauren Purdue, 18, were awarded $2,500 each in scholarship funds by on Tuesday, May 8. The awardees’ parents looked on, and the patrons who filled the restaurant applauded. 
 
Kifer is the Drive-Through Coordinator with two years of experience working at the restaurant, and Purdue works the drive-through and

Purdue


front counter. 
 
The two co-workers applied together for the scholarships. Purdue, a soon-to-be graduate of Kettle Run High School in Fauquier County, came to Kifer, her supervisor, told her about the company scholarship and asked for a recommendation. 
 
“Wow, how do I write this,” said Kifer, who said it was the first time anyone had asked her for a letter for a recommendation. 
 
She wrote it, and and, then decided she, too, would apply. 
 
After putting in two years at Northern Virginia Community College, Kifer will use the funds to transfer to Messiah College, a small Christian school in Mechanicsburg, Pa. to study psychology. 
 
Purdue will attend Liberty University in Lynchburg in the fall where she plans to study early childhood education. She’s already spent time teaching small children at church while her father, a pastor, preaches from the pulpit. 
 
“Having Sunday’s off of work really helps,” said Purdue. 
 
The women will take with them to college some of the skills they’ve learned while working at Chick-fil-A. For Purdue, it’s her newfound communications skills that have allowed to her open up and meet new people. 
 
Kifer say’s she’s learned to multitasking while serving customers. 
 
“I can work a shift with 10 to 15 people under me, do an $11,000 lunch shift, help manage the front and work in the back,” said Purdue. “It’s taught me that if the professor is late to class, I’ll just take out my work and start doing it there on the desk while I wait.” 
 
Both students will be able to re-apply for more scholarship money from Chick-fil-A next year as long as they’re still employed by the company. Both students said they’d be back to work during college breaks and holidays. 
 
Kifer and Purdue’s parents joined their daughters at a special ceremony where Lovitt handed out the awards. He purposely used his booming voice to announce to his customers that filled the dining room of his employees’ accomplishments. 
 
Afterward, he served cake to not only the awardees but to every guest in the restaurant, too. 
 

JES Foundation Repair wins 2018 Fantastic Fifty Award

Five-time award winner credits growth to homeowner satisfaction

JES Foundation Repair was recently honored with a Fantastic 50 award for being one of the 50 fastest growing companies in Virginia. Since 1998, JES is one of eight companies in the state to achieve the award five times. The Fantastic 50 award program is organized and sponsored by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re humbled to be recognized alongside such outstanding Virginia companies” said Cary McGuckin, CMO. “It’s a testament to our employees who are always willing to go the extra mile and to the homeowners who put their trust in us.”

JES qualified for the 2018 Fantastic 50 list by growing over 200% from 2013 to 2016, the period measured by the Chamber to qualify.

“The growth of JES has been amazing,” said Matt Malone, CEO. “It’s the result of a hardworking, passionate team that truly believes in our mission to provide homeowners with the highest level of service and support.”

Malone joined the team as co-owner and managing partner in 2016, and is leading the continued growth throughout the eastern United States.

About JES Foundation Repair – JES Foundation Repair is a subsidiary of Groundworks, a family of companies that specialize in residential foundation repair, crawl space encapsulation, basement waterproofing, and concrete lifting. It is the nation’s largest foundation services company with the corporate office in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Groundworks is comprised of JES Foundation Repair, Tar Heel Basement Systems, Indiana Foundation Service, and Mount Valley Foundation Services. Celebrating 25 years in business, JES has helped over 70,000 homeowners since 1993.

JES Foundation Repair, together with the other Groundworks subsidiaries, operate out of eight offices that serve Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Georgia. JES has been named to the Fortune 5000 Fastest Growing Companies, Virginia Chamber of Commerce Fantastic 50, Inside Business Roaring Twenty and Best Places to Work. For more information about JES Foundation Repair, please visit www.jeswork.com

About the Awards – Virginia’s FANTASTIC 50 award program is a signature event of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Now in its 23rd year, the FANTASTIC 50 program is the only annual statewide award recognizing Virginia’s fastest growing business.

Nominations for the 2018 FANTASTIC 50 were sought last fall from local chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and through the sponsors’ networks; companies may also nominate themselves.

To be eligible, a company must be privately held with headquarters in Virginia, show revenues between $200,000 and $200 million, and demonstrate positive revenue growth and positive net income in its most recent fiscal year over the previous year. Companies are judged on four-year revenue history. The professional service firm Dixon Hughes Goodman verifies all award entries.

The Fantastic 50 award program is sponsored by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Cox Communications, Inc., Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, Dixon Hughes Goodman, J.P. Morgan Chase, the Westfields Marriott, SunTrust Bank, Virginia Business Magazine and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

About the Virginia Chamber of Commerce
The Virginia Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in the Commonwealth, with more than 26,000 members. The Chamber is a non-partisan, business advocacy organization that works in the legislative, regulatory, civic and judicial arenas to act as the catalyst for positive change in all areas of economic development and competitiveness for Virginia.

In December 2017, the Chamber released an update to its long-term strategic economic development plan, Blueprint Virginia 2025, which engaged over 6,000 business and community leaders to lay out a plan to getting Virginia back to the top of national business climate rankings. Learn more at www.vachamber.com.    

 

Celebrate with us and save 20% on a new annual subscription

We’ve redesigned our homepage making easier to read, giving you more content 

You might notice our homepage has a slightly different look this morning.

We’ve updated and improved the layout of the page to make it easier to find the local news you’ve been looking for. You may need to clear your temporary internet files in your web browser to see the updated layout.

Gone is the continuous scrolling blog format, replaced with a new layout that aims to show you more of the original content we at Potomac Local work so hard to produce.

The new layout is designed to show the big news of the day at the top of the site, as well as the top stories as defined by you, our readers.

In the middle of the page, you’ll see icons for our recurring sponsored columns, written by and for businesses and organizations that are making an impact in our community.

Finally, toward the bottom of the page, you’ll discover more content that speaks to you, whether it be in our features section with a story about something fun to this do this weekend, a story about your child’s teacher in our schools section, or about how relief may be coming to your daily commute in our traffic section.

Our new website also brings some new advantages for our advertisers, too, as we will soon offer section sponsorships which will allow our local advertisers greater presence on the site with larger with more impactful ads, with the option to be the premier sponsor of a section of our website.

And finally, while we’re celebrating our new homepage layout, I’m extending a special offer to new subscribers. Your subscription support helps to ensure Potomac Local will be around tomorrow to continue telling the story of our community, and this week new subscribers will save 20% on an annual subscription to Potomac Local.

Through Monday, May 14, 2018, when you click on our subscribe page and choose $65 Annual Subscription, enter Homepage into the coupon code box save 20 percent on an annual subscription to the site.

Thanks for reading and supporting Potomac Local.

I hope you enjoy the new layout, and that you’ll tell me what you think by sending me an email.

Hematology Oncology Associates of Fredericksburg expands to Stafford County

Hematology Oncology Associates of Fredericksburg (HOAF), a healthcare organization recognized for providing world-class cancer care in state-of-the-art facilities, is expanding its practice to a second location in Stafford County that will offer the same level of care and treatment for cancer patients across a wider range of the Northern Virginia region.

The 7,048 square-foot cancer care office, located at 125 Woodstream Boulevard in Stafford and scheduled to open on Monday, May 14, will be known as Hematology Oncology Associates of Fredericksburg at Stafford.

HOAF officials believe that the new location in Stafford County will have a positive impact on health outcomes throughout the Northern Virginia region by increasing access to cancer specialists and advanced cancer therapies.

“Many of the patients who currently come to our offices in Fredericksburg live in the rapidly-growing North Stafford area,” said Dr. Charles L. Maurer, president of HOAF. “We saw a need to help patients in Stafford County, as well as those in Prince William County and other localities along the I-95 corridor, stay closer to home for their appointments and treatments.”

When HOAF at Stafford opens, the six physicians in the Fredericksburg location will rotate to Stafford weekly. Also, there will be a dedicated nurse practitioner and staff to provide consistent, compassionate care for patients. The Stafford facility will offer the same leading-edge services that are available at the Fredericksburg office.

HOAF offers a full spectrum of comprehensive services to treat all forms of adult cancers. A snapshot listing of services includes:

• Hematology
• Medical Oncology
• Infusion
• Chemotherapy
• Iron Replacement
• Holistic Care
• In-house Physician Dispensary
• Surveillance Clinic

“By elevating the quality of care in North Stafford with our second location, we’re keeping patients and their families in the community,” said Dr. Maurer. “Our passion is our patients and we are deeply committed to supporting them every step of way on the journey to recovery.”

Dr. Maurer also noted that renovations to the existing office in Fredericksburg are underway, which will expand the research department and increase the size of the pharmacy, among other improvements. “These exciting initiatives align with HOAF’s long-term goals for future growth of the practice,” he concluded.

To learn more about HOAF and its capabilities for cancer care, visit hoafredericksburg.com.

Code strokes are more common than you think. That’s why Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is going to bat to raise stroke awareness.

Being early is ideal for a lot of things, but it can be a game-changer when it comes to a stroke.

The American Heart Association estimates someone in the U.S. has a stroke nearly once every 40 seconds.

These numbers don’t surprise the doctors, nurses, and staff in the Emergency Department (ED) at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. The ED is usually the gateway for Prince William County’s stroke patients.

“It’s an extremely rapid fire pace once a potential stroke patient arrives, time is brain,” explains Jessica Silcox, RN, MSN, ED Team Coordinator and founder of the hospital’s stroke team.

The team is just that and extends outside the hospital walls to Prince William County’s first responders.

“We look to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as being the green light for the whole thing. They can let us know before a patient gets here what we can expect,” explains Silcox.

That’s when a CODE STROKE is called. It alerts the teams, within Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, a possible stroke patient is on the way. In addition to the doctors and nurses in the Emergency Department, the alert signals to the teams in radiology (CAT scan) and a number of other departments, an emergent case is imminent.

“You lose two-million neurons a minute, so every minute, literally, does count when you’re talking about stroke,” says Silcox.

Time is of the essence when it comes to stroke. That’s why as soon as a stroke patient arrives at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, a specially certified team of nurses, a stroke coordinator and a stroke facilitator instantly take that patient to get a CAT scan. It’s at that point telemedicine is incorporated for expedited care.

“We have a machine we bring into CAT scan and the tele-neurologist can actually log on, wherever they are, and visualize that patient. They do an exam, speak to that patient. The technology is actually pretty advanced,” explains Silcox. “The tele-neurologists have cameras they can zoom in to the point they’re looking into a patient’s pupil to do an exam. That way the neurologist can determine quickly, if that patient is eligible for a clot-busting medication, or if another therapy is necessary.”

That’s why education is vital. Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, along with the Potomac Nationals, will be teaming up again this year for the Strike Out Stroke event.

“This event has been a huge success,” exclaims Kim Houser, RN, the new coordinator of the stroke team. “This is a huge community-based project to raise awareness and educate through a fun night. People can come out and support the community and those touched by stroke.”

This year’s event is happening on May 5 at Potomac National’s Richard Pfitzner Stadium.

Remember STROKE is an Emergency. Every minute counts. ACT F.A.S.T.

  • Face: Face drooping, Does one side of the face droop when smiling?
  • Arm: Arm Weakness, Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift down?
  • Speech: Speech Difficulty, Is speech slurred or strange?
  • Time: Time to Call 9-1-1. If you observe any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Federal Staffing Solutions Inc. announces its first ever Corporate Summer Internship Program!

Summer Internship Program to nurture future business leaders

Federal Staffing Solutions is proud to announce its inaugural summer internship program for ambitious college students. The full-time internship program will last for five weeks, starting from July 2nd and culminating on August 4, 2018.

Artaisha Jenkins, CEO Federal Staffing Solutions, Inc. is extremely excited about the program.

“Being a female CEO of a minority-owned business, I am very enthusiastic about our inaugural corporate summer internship program which will initiate in the summer of 2018. Federal Staffing Solutions is a small organization that is managed by a closely knit group of people consisting of people hailing from minorities, women, and veterans. It has always been my dream and passion to share my experiences with bright, motivated individuals. The summer internship program is the first step towards several such initiatives and programs to nurture and educate aspiring business leaders.”

What type of people does this internship program intend to target?

“Our Corporate Summer Internship Program is best suited for college students majoring in Business Administration, Finance, Accounting, Journalism, and Marketing –in short anyone with a rudimentary understanding of business organizations. The students selected for our internship program will work on several group and individual projects under the supervision and guidance of a management mentor,”Ms. Jenkins explained.

“Most of the assignments and projects during the internship program would involve researching current trends in the industry pertaining to staffing and development of new, innovative strategies to grow and expand our business. From the development of marketing plans of their own to helping with on-going business operations to some extent, the interns will be given the opportunity to learn and apply new skills while doing meaningful work.”

Seen as an attempt of bolster confidence of young aspiring business leaders, Federal Staffing Solutions’ summer internship program is expected to be a learning experience for all those involved. With the founder/CEO Artaisha Jenkins’ personal interest in using her position and vast experience to tutor young leaders, the Corporate Summer Internship Program is certainly a great opportunity for college students.

About Federal Staffing Solutions

Established in 2016, Federal Staffing Solutions Inc. is a relatively new yet prominent addition to the defense contracting and government services industry. Founded and run by Artaisha Jenkins (MBA), the organization is managed by a group of dedicated individuals belonging to minority groups –women and disabled veterans. In the two years since its conception, Federal Staffing Solutions has already developed quite a profile for itself by attaining exceptional contracts for its ever-increasing clientele across Washington DC. Under the guidance of Ms. Jenkins, a distinguished business professional, the organization specializes in formulating HR strategies, providing support in implementing policies and managing talent in federal agencies and organizations.

Contact: info@federalstaffingsolutions.com, 703-498-2468

This week is devoted to infertility awareness

For millions of women, it’s an issue they’re all too familiar with and it’s something they deal with every day.

April 22-28 is designated National Infertility Awareness Week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 1 in 8 couples have trouble conceiving, that’s 15% of American couples.

It’s something Dr. Richard Jenet, Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Women’s Health Center at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center and practicing physician at About Women OB/GYN, sees too often.

“We often times have to really calm people down. People get really anxious if they try for one month and haven’t gotten pregnant,” he explains.

Dr. Jenet says when a patient comes to him wanting to start a family, he starts with the basics – getting blood work and taking both general and reproductive histories.

“We talk about some healthy life choices and have people try to get pregnant on their own. Unless there’s something obvious, we don’t talk about infertility until after a year of trying.”

Most couples get pregnant within that year, but if not, Jenet starts looking at other factors, “Several items are taken into account: age, weight, health conditions and lifestyle, just to name a few.”

If there are no obvious problems, Dr. Jenet says that’s when a reproductive endocrinologist is recommended to help pinpoint the issue.

But, Jenet says the advances in medicine, over his nearly 30 years in practice, allow women more alternatives than ever before, “There are more medications. There are more treatments. There are a lot more options.” And, that means more hope for women trying to get pregnant.

To learn more about OB/GYN or endocrinology services near you, call 1-800-SENTARA or go to sentara.com.

And the winner for a family-four pack of tickets to see Avengers: Infinity war is…

Congratulations to Potomac Local subscriber Ann Wheeler for winning a family-four pack of tickets to see Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War.

A special showing of the movie will be held Thursday, April 26 at the Manassas Stadium 14 and IMAX theatre to benefit the Haymarket Regional Food Pantry.

Potomac Local subscribers were automatically entered to win the tickets and were notified by email on Monday, April 16, 2018.

The special showing of the movie is designed to raise awareness of the food pantry and to help stock its shelves with donations from the public. 

The tickets are made possible courtesy of Simple Luxuries Travel.

How an organ donation from a 25-year-old man gave Dan Nickloy as second-chance ‘miracle’ at life he’ll never forget

More than 115,000 men, women, and children sit on the transplant list, waiting for a miracle.

On average, 22 people die each day because the organs they need are not donated in time.  

Over the years, Diane Nickloy has cared for a number of those patients in her role as an Intensive Care Unit Nurse and Unit Coordinator at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. But, it was almost four years ago, roles were reversed when Diane learned her husband, Dan was in desperate need.

“My husband got sick very quickly,” remembers Diane, “Our daughter was getting married in May of that year and decided we needed to get healthy so that we’d look good in our tux and our dress. Dan hadn’t been to the doctors in 15 years, so he said, ‘I’m going to make an appointment and go,’ and he did. While he wasn’t feeling sick or anything, the doctor discovered an atrial flutter or abnormal heart rhythm. From there, the doctor decided to do lab work as a precaution. When the labs came back days later, it showed Dan had an abnormal liver function.”

Dan, who was just 61 at the time, went from feeling a little tired to dealing with a major health crisis.

“Once I had my diagnosis, my disease progressed rapidly,” remembers Dan. “I learned very early that transplant was the only cure. My first thought was I was going to die early and I wasn’t ready. I had a lot to do in life and I was going to miss out,” he said.

That May, Dan was able to walk his only daughter down the aisle at her wedding, but soon after he was admitted to the hospital.

“I was getting sicker. I didn’t think I was ever coming home, and prepared to say my goodbyes,” he remembers. “Then, one night the doctor came in, put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Mr. Nickloy, we have a liver. Are you ready to go?’”

Dan says that today, July 17, 2014, marks a miracle and the second chapter in his life.  

The Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC) says that’s what it’s all about.

“Organ donation means lives saved!” explains Valerie Schneider, Media Relations and Communications Manager for WRTC, “For every organ donor, there’s the potential to save eight lives. For those waiting on the transplant list, there’s nothing more meaningful than the gift of life.”

In the DC metropolitan area, with thousands of people are on the transplant list, only about 67% of the adult population are registered as donors. One reason could be the myth that donors won’t receive the same level of care should they be injured or come to the hospital.

“When someone passes, they are evaluated by a highly skilled team to determine their donation capability. Nobody is ruled out for donation because of age, race, or social status; the medical evaluation determines the donation potential,” says Schneider.

The Nickloy family doesn’t know much about the person whose gift made Dan’s life possible, only that he was 25-years-old and killed in an automobile accident. While Dan has asked to meet the donor’s family, they haven’t taken him up on his request.

He just wants them to know how grateful he really is.

“I feel I was part of a miracle,” he says. “My only regret is I never got to meet the family who made the selfless act to donate their loved one’s organ in their time of grief, so I could live a better, fuller life.”

That fuller life includes the birth of his grandson, Brooks. While the donation of a liver, Dan wouldn’t have been alive to meet him.

It’s a gift he doesn’t take for granted.

“Today I feel great. I’m 65 and have more energy than I ever did. I have a positive outlook. I have changed my diet, I don’t smoke or drink. I don’t take a moment here on earth for granted. I make sure I spend time with family and friends, you never know what the future holds,” says Dan.

Dan also shares his experience with organ donation to raise awareness. He encourages people to become donors themselves.

“Organ donation is a gift to others that allows their life to go on. I want donor families to know that your generous decision to donate your loved ones’ organ will be received with dignity and respect.”

To learn more and to register to become a donor go to BeADonor.org.

Tour four beautiful homes at the Clifton Homes Tour for Charity

The Clifton Community Woman’s Club will host the 46th Annual Clifton Homes Tour and Silent Auction on Friday, May 18. Tour: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Silent Auction: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Clifton Presbyterian Church. Proceeds benefit the Club’s 501(c)(3) Charitable Trust and are distributed to local scholarships and charities.

The Tour offers guided tours of four beautiful homes in Clifton. Visitors can tour a farmhouse built in 1900 with furniture and antiques specific to Virginia. In another home, bold colors and true Williamsburg style combine to create a fun family atmosphere. A third home balances natural elements and 18th-century proportion. A fourth home is a Georgian hilltop manor with Virginia-made furniture and original artwork.

Free guided tours are offered for two historic churches: Clifton Baptist Church (1910) and Clifton Primitive Baptist Church (1871). Other events with free admission include a Silent Auction, Trinkets and Treasures, and wreath sale at the Clifton Presbyterian Church.

Tour tickets may be purchased in advance for $25 at local businesses: in Manassas at Flower Gallery; in Clifton at Adler’s Art & Frame, Belle Jar Design, and Hydrangea of Clifton; in Centreville at Banner’s Hallmark; in Burke at Five Star Hair, The Picket Fence, and The Yarn Barn; in Fairfax at Twinbrook Floral Design. Tickets are also available online for $30 at cliftoncwc.org or at Clifton Presbyterian Church (12748 Richards Ln, Clifton, VA 20124) the day of the tour.

Please visit cliftoncwc.org or contact Kay at kaygilbert@cox.net for more information.

Business leaders, entrepreneurs to provide an interactive experience which will prepare participants to create/grow ventures successfully

CenterFuse and Innovate Manassas is set to launch the first LaB Bootcamp 101.

The boot camp starts May 2 and runs until July 25.

The Bootcamp is held every other Wednesday evening doors open at 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. The cost for the eight-session program is $200.

The program is ideal for those individuals in a home based business or any startup including those in the idea phase. Any people with the passion, vision, and insight to start and grow a business.

The LaB Bootcamp offers assistance and training in:

• Challenges and opportunities for new and growing ventures
• Innovative marketing
• Business Concepts and ideas
• Legal considerations
• Sustainability
• Financing the business
• Accounting
• Fundamentals and operations
• Using technology & social media
• Intellectual Property
• …and much more!

The LaB Bootcamp is a series of intensive education sessions designed to help entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs develop the skills necessary to create successful, growth-oriented businesses.

A team of business leaders and guest entrepreneurs provide an interactive experience which will prepare participants to create/grow ventures successfully. Attendees also receive one-on-one consulting assistance.

Focused, intense, and packed with useful material, LaB Bootcamp is tailored to aspiring entrepreneurs, helping them answer the following questions:

• What is a good business concept?
• How can I determine if my business idea is a good one?
• Do I really need a business plan and, if so, how can I write a great one?
• What do I need to know about my customers and the market, and how can I get answers?
• Where do I get financing?
• How do I make sense of the numbers and which numbers really matter?
• What is a business model, and does my business model make sense?
• What is guerrilla marketing? Are there ways to do more with marketing while spending less?
• What does it really take to succeed in business by myself?
• Where do I go to get the information I need to organize my new business?

A team of experienced business leaders all successful entrepreneurs work with participants, introducing ideas and concepts, and showing you how to apply them to a current or potential business. At the end of the eight sessions, participants will have completed a business plan and have the opportunity to pitch their idea and plan to a group of potential investors.

Sentara Heart & Vascular Center introduces new minimally invasive technique for atrial fibrillation

WOODBRIDGE — On Monday, April 2, 2018, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center ushered in a new level of care with the introduction of left-sided pulmonary vein ablation. The Sentara Heart & Vascular Team, led by Dr. Aysha Arshad, Medical Director of Electrophysiology, performed the first of its kind procedure for the hospital.

“This is wonderful for our community,” says Dr. Arshad. “This means the beginning of more complex procedures in the Electrophysiology Lab here at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, which opens up these vital services to members of our community. They won’t have to travel long distances for care because our highly experienced staff and physicians are the same that are working in all the top hospital centers in the area.”

Left-side pulmonary vein ablation or pulmonary vein isolation is used to treat Atrial Fibrillation, also known as AFib. AFib is a type of heart arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat that an estimated seven million Americans live with every day.

In atrial fibrillation, disorganized electrical signals originate in the heart’s upper chambers, or atria, causing the rhythm to be irregular. Because the contractions are not coordinated as in a normal heartbeat, the heart does not pump blood effectively to the rest of the body causing patients to experience a racing or quivering heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath and often feel tired.

People with AFib have a five times greater risk for stroke. 

After living with the condition for three-years, Woodbridge resident Claudia Warszawski, was looking for relief.

“I’m a very active 67-year-old. I walk three days a week at the mall and I just couldn’t keep up my pace. I’d have to stop and it was irritating,” said Warszawski.

After consulting with the grandmother of five and reviewing her history, Dr. Arshad shared she was a perfect candidate for the procedure. 

As the Electrophysiology program at Sentara Heart & Vascular Center has grown, so have the services. Left-sided ablation is the latest advancement of the program. In ablation, areas of tissue in the heart that cause arrhythmias are destroyed. 

“In left-sided procedures, where AFib comes from, it involves tackling circuits on the left side of the heart. There’s no natural passage to the left side of the heart, so we enter through a vein in the leg and travel to the chest where we make a tiny puncture in the interatrial septum with a small needle and pass a catheter through that tiny hole to the left side of the heart. From there we create a 3D map of the heart and get to the circuits that cause AFib,” explains Dr. Arshad.

After the procedure is completed and the catheter removed, the tiny hole heals on its own over the next four weeks. A chip, implanted in the chest at the time of the procedure, allows real-time monitoring of the patient.

“It’s the whole advent of real-time telemedicine,” explains Dr. Arshad, “The device will track her rhythm all day and at night transcribe it into a report, which will be emailed to me that evening. The device downloads all that data so I’ll know how she’s going to do long-term.”

As for Warszawski, days after her procedure she’s already feeling better, “This gives me a new lease to live the life I want before I was tired and always had heart palpitations and flutters. Now, I can’t even feel my heart beating, and that’s a good thing!”

If you’re experiencing a racing, fluttering, pounding or irregular heartbeat, don’t ignore those symptoms, find a healthcare provider at 1-800-SENTARA or Sentara.com to schedule your exam.   

Chick-fil-A Bristow turns 9!

Chick-fil-A Bristow turns nine years old this week. Check out these other awesome anniversary week specials.

And, don’t miss the party coming this Saturday.

Chick-fil-A Bristow is located at 9939 Sowder Village Square in Manassas. It’s open 6 a.m to 10 p.m. and is closed Sunday.

Make downsizing a step up for the senior in your life

Seniors have specific challenges that we often don’t think about when we’re younger. One of those is downsizing. Often, after the kids are grown and have moved out or a larger home just becomes too much to manage, seniors opt for smaller living spaces. This transition can prove stressful for all concerned, but especially the senior homeowner. Here are some ways you can help ease that move from big to small.

Strategize – This is the first step after the downsizing decision is made. Think about reasons for downsizing and formulate goals with the senior homeowner. Reasons could include financial, accessibility, health, proximity to family, maintenance or something else. Set goals that match the reasons. Would a one-level, two-bedroom home three miles from the grandchildren work well if it had wheelchair accessibility? Or would a condo be a better option? Is assisted living the best choice? Don’t make any decisions before you have a strategy.

Bring in the pros – You have your expertise, and others have theirs. Get a team of professionals behind you to help ease the transition for everyone concerned. Start with a good real estate agent to help with selling and buying. Be sure the agent is familiar with senior moves and up-to-date on communities that support seniors. Ask people you trust for recommendations on lenders and moving companies that are experienced in downsizing.

Manage the process – As a loved one of the senior who is downsizing, it can be difficult to hand over the reins to someone else. But sometimes, it’s better to let a third-party oversee the details. Timing the move, changing over utilities, notifying doctors and others of the new address, organizing packing, etc. can become overwhelming. Consider hiring a transition specialist or moving manager to coordinate the many aspects that go into moving.

Get prepped – Downsizing isn’t just about packing and shipping, unpacking and organizing. It’s about acclimating to a life in a new setting. Help your senior loved one by preparing them for what to expect. Talk about emotions and concerns. Get a plan of the smaller home and draw out where belongings will go. This will help determine what needs to be given away, as well as help the senior homeowner adapt emotionally and physically.

Respect belongings Downsizing usually means you can’t keep everything, but that doesn’t mean everything should get tossed. Once you have helped your senior homeowner separate items into keep/give away/sell/throw away, pack what is going. Then ask your senior to give family members opportunity to take what they like. After, get ready to donate, but remember that selling some items could be a viable option, too. When it does come time to donate, be sure to let your senior help decide where.

Set up to settle in – Don’t let your senior move into chaos. Before they arrive to the new home on moving day, set up as much as possible. Make sure the main living spaces are inhabitable and recognizable, especially if there are memory issues. Put things in familiar arrangements and intuitive places. Make rooms attractive and practical. Remind your senior homeowner that they can rearrange things if they want so they feel comfortable but empowered.

Downsizing doesn’t have to be a depressing life event if handled correctly. A little planning, a lot of patience and tons of TLC will help you relocate your loved one to a place they can enjoy calling home.

This post is sponsored by Home Instead Senior Care, serving Prince William and Fauquier counties.

Sentara hernia surgery kept one man from missing his workouts and got him back to the gym, better than before…

Joshua Goad and his wife are always on the go.

“We are very active. I’ve got a sailboat, a kayak. We enjoy going to the gym and working out. It keeps us young,” says the 56-year-old, smiling.

It was during one of his usual workouts when something unusual happened.

“I was at the gym and overexerted myself lifting. At first, I didn’t think anything of it, but then, I started to notice a bulge near my groin region,” he recalls.

Like a lot of people, Joshua Goad thought the problem would fix itself and heal on its own until it didn’t. It was about this time, he started to realize he might have a hernia. 

“I would get to the point where I was lifting, exerting and I could actually feel it tightening up on my intestines, the intestine that was hanging out. At that point, I said, if I strangulate this thing, I could be in a world of trouble,” he says, remembering.

That’s when he made an appointment with board-certified, Sentara Medical Group surgeon, Dr. Steven Nakao. Dr. Nakao quickly diagnosed Joshua with an inguinal hernia.

Dr. Nakao says hernias aren’t that uncommon, “A hernia is when an intra-abdominal organ, or fatty tissue, protrudes through a muscle defect.  This can occur in numerous areas of the body, the abdominal wall, diaphragm and in the groin.  Patients can have a single hernia or numerous hernias at one time.”

While asymptomatic hernias can be observed for some time, Joshua and Dr. Nakao discussed the options and decided surgery would be best. That’s when Dr. Nakao shared with Joshua, he was a candidate for robotic surgery.

“We can tackle all types of hernias using this method. We can approximate the muscles due to the advances in technology and be able to sew easily in the abdomen and then place mesh, if appropriate, through the small incisions,” said Dr. Nakao. “So we get both a return of muscle function and repair of a hernia through small incisions.  This is great for both post-op pain and time off work.”

Joshua had his surgery at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in December 2017. He says he suffered some discomfort those first few days after his procedure, but it wasn’t long until he was back to exercising.

“The weekend after my surgery, my wife and I went to the gym and I was pretty much able to do a limited workout,” says Joshua smiling.

Now, four months later, he says he’s doing better than ever before and doesn’t know why he waited so long.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything better, I was very confident in Dr. Nakao and his abilities. And, he and his team were very helpful. The whole process was smooth,” says Joshua.

And, he has this advice for people living with a hernia: “I should never have let it go for so long. I guarantee it (your hernia) will not get any better. What are you waiting for?”

You shouldn’t live in pain, that’s why Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is hosting three, free hernia screenings over the next few months on the mornings of April 14 and May 19. The screenings are free, but you must register.

At FreshySites, we ‘adjust as needed’

“We’ve come to the seventh and final installment in our posts covering the FreshySites Ethos – ‘Adjust As Needed.’
 
Similar to being solution centric, adjusting as needed revolves around having an adaptable, positive and innovative mindset in our daily processes.
 
Just as our team has to stay ahead of the curve and constantly seek out those cutting-edge tools and techniques required to be the best in our industry – asking for more from ourselves and therefore growing from within – each one of us also has to be confident, yet flexible in approaching our daily projects and tasks.
 
This means we have to harness our extensive knowledge and expertise, while also being ego free and willing to question our current ideas/approaches.
 
Adjusting as needed requires that each and every one of our team members be ready to try new tactics and look in unexpected places for answers to the questions we encounter and/or our clients bring us.
 
These are the key components of this last part of the FS Ethos, which ensure that no matter what, our team is operating as efficiently and productively as possible in order to best serve the customer.
 
As we’ve stated countless times before, because who we are as a company can be traced back to our Ethos, which has formed from a dedication on all sides to our best-in-industry customer service and support, this is the central aspect of how we externally market ourselves.
 
Service as marketing is how we showcase our internal processes in our external outreach efforts, making sure to impress upon current clients – and more so prospective clients – that we are always willing and able to push ourselves, adjust as needed and serve our clients in any way possible.
 
We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know FS a little more through our Ethos 🙂
 
FreshySites – a regionally focused company with national reach and operations, ready to adjust as needed for 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!”

In 1993 all I wanted was a Macintosh. It helped me build skills for the work I do today.

I want to thank Experimac Manassas for sponsoring this series of posts and allowing a guy to reflect on using his first Macintosh computer as a child, and to write about using my new-to-me Mac, my first in more than 20 years. See them for all your Mac, iPhone and computer needs.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

I slowly walked down the stairs and saw the glow of Christmas lights on the large box in the corner.

When I saw the Apple logo, I knew this would be the Christmas present I had hoped for.

Some boys my age wanted BB guns and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles playlets. But in 1993 all I wanted was a home computer. And it had to be a Macintosh.

And that year, I was blessed to receive one.

My parents decided that the Kiser’s were going to join the information age. And because they didn’t work at jobs that required heavy computer use, their 11-year-old son was going to take them there and show them how to use a home computer.

I asked for a Mac because Apple products were all I knew. I remember when they used a cart to roll in the first Apple computer to my elementary school classroom, an Apple IIe. I played Number Munchers, and later Oregon Trail on an Apple IIgs machine. These were Apple Computers, not Macs.

I remember the IIe had a five-inch floppy disk drive, and so did the IIgs, but it also had a desktop screen and a mouse, something its Macintosh cousins made famous.

When I got to Beville Middle School in Dale City, my favorite classrooms were computer labs each stocked with Macintosh computers.

There I learned how to use word processing programs — I didn’t know at the time I’d be using those programs every day for the rest of my life for work — and drawing programs.

In the days before the broad adoption of the internet, I learned about modems and how to use them to dial up and talk to the school’s weather station. That was infinitely cooler than turning on the TV and waiting for the weather report.

I would tell my parents about how much I was learning about using these machines, and I would try to convince them how a Macintosh and all of the fun CD-ROMs with encyclopedias and other educational tools that came with the device would help me with my school work.

In those days, Apple made the computer for education, and I got one. I was thrilled.

I tore into the box to find a brand new Macintosh Performa 550. It was a white shiny new with a Sony Trinitron screen was beautiful to look at even when it wasn’t turned on.

It’s distinctive Apple mouse and keyboard plugged right in and were easy to use. They were just like the ones at school.

I took the machine and placed it on the desk in my room, where it would sit through my high school years.

It came with a book of CD-ROMs, and when I placed each disc into the pop-out tray, a video encyclopedia would pop up. I learned about animals and watched and listened to videos President Kennedy’s speeches. The video quality was grainy, but hey, it was cool.

It was also the first time I used CDs. Later, I saved up my allowance and bought music CDs and the Mac was my first stereo.

I spent hours creating drawings on ClarisWorks, and writing journal entries. I made a list of all of my friends’ phone numbers and called it PAL — the personal address list.

The computer had Mario Teaches Typing, as well as a game called Spectre where you drove a tank in virtual reality world in a game of capture the flag and shoot-em-up battle.

I never used this Mac to go online on a service like America Online or Prodigy. It was the days before the web browser, but it did everything I needed it to do and more.

Considering what computers cost back then my parents probably paid a fortune for the thing. Heck, new Macs are expensive today. 

But for a child like me who was — and still is — a bit of a nerd, it was the best Christmas present I ever received.

Until I got my Apple ink-jet printer, which changed everything again.

Uriah Kiser is the founder and publisher of Potomac Local.

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