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Wildlife group hosts family shoot fundraiser June 13

family shoot, rod and gun

On June 13, the Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation’s Chapter 16 will host their Father, Son, Daughter Family Shoot at the Fredericksburg Rod and Gun Club in Fredericksburg.

The event, which has been a fundraiser for the organization for more than 5 years, will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We do it every year to help the youth out. The whole idea was community outreach, for adults and youth. Our organization is a sportmen’s organization not only for habitat restoration work, but it’s also for getting people out into the shooting sports, and giving them the opportunity to be able to do that kind of stuff. There’s nobody else in the area that really does stuff like this,” said Jerry Saggers, an organizer for the Federation.

There will be skeet and trap shooting for adults and youth, as well as an opportunity for Boy Scouts to earn their .22 Rifle Merit shooting badge.

According to Saggers, the Federation wanted to give the Boy Scouts the opportunity during the fundraiser, to help the scouts earn their badge.

“I saw an opportunity, several years ago…in our area, and with the Boy Scouts, that a Scout will start the [shooting] merit badge, and never have the opportunity to finish,” said Saggers.

Additionally, certified instructors will be present, giving participants information about hatchets, shooting and traumatic injury care, stated Saggers.

It is $65 for individuals to participate, and includes a round of skeet and trap shooting, shells, lunch and drinks. It is $15 for Boy Scouts to shoot for their merit badge, and includes lunch and drinks.

Sign up here.

*This post is sponsored by Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire.

History thundering toward Manassas Railway Festival


Norfolk Southern is bringing Steam Engine 611 to the City of Manassas during the 21st Annual Manassas Heritage Railway Festival on Saturday, June 6. The “611” belongs to the Virginia Museum of Transportation, but Norfolk Southern will have it out for 11 round-trip single day excursions beginning with the Railway Festival on Saturday.

Along with excursion rides on 611, there will be VRE rides for the younger set. Also featured at the Railway Festival are model trains, train memorabilia, live entertainment and great food. This is an event not to be missed!

So, what does it take to “Fire Up 611?” Other than 10,000 hours of volunteer labor, it takes about 25,000 gallons of water for each trip of about 100 miles. This Steam Engine rolled off the line on May 29, 1950 and traveled nearly three million miles before its retirement in 1957 when diesel became the more price-conscious option. 611 was in such great condition, she was selected to pull the company’s “farewell to steam” excursions in October 1959.

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In 1981, Norfolk Southern president Robert Claytor sent 611 to the Norris Steam Shop in Birmingham, Alabama. The 611 became the star of the Norfolk Southern steam program pulling excursions throughout the eastern U.S.

While previously limited to the N&W’s system, 611 was able to travel as far south as Florida, as far north as New York, and as far west as Chicago. For 22 years she traversed the mainlines recreating the golden age of American railroading and inspiring a new generation of steam fans. Norfolk Southern decided to end the program in 1994. The 611 returned to her hometown of Roanoke, Va. to once again serve as a static display.

If you prefer not to take a ride, 611 will be available for picture opportunities at the 21st Annual Manassas Heritage Railway Festival at about 1 p.m. For more information on 611, visit

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, visit

Why should you get involved with the Woodbridge Rotary?

Woodbridge Rotary

When people hear about the Rotary organization, many know the name – but many may not know about what the group does.

Rotary International is a national service organization, with chapters across the United States. One of the active chapters in the area is the Woodbridge Rotary Club.

Members of the club meet each week at Westminster at Lake Ridge, to share stories and plan fundraisers, events, and think of other ways to help the community and organizations in need.

“One of the things that impressed me was that not only were they doing things locally – supporting the local charities like ACTS – the main thing that interested me was the program that they had to eradicate polio throughout the world…the [national] Rotary has provided a significant amount of money to eradicate polio in other parts of the world,” said Stuart Mitchell – a 30-year member of the group.

For other members, the Woodbridge Rotary has been a major source of support.

“My reason for staying in the [Woodbridge] Rotary all this time is that it’s been a great support group. If you join the Rotary because you want to get money out of it, or sales or something – forget it. That’s not what it’s all about,” said Bill Evans, who has been with the group for 50-years.

Joining the Rotary has also been a way for some to meet new people and get more engaged in the community.

“I joined Rotary because somebody asked me to. And the reason that I was interested was that my career up to that point had been in the Army for 20 years…and I didn’t know anything about what was going on in the community. And I figured if I joined something like Rotary, I’d meet new people from all walks of life,” said Mitchell.

At their most recent meeting, the Woodbridge Rotary presented the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with a $1,000 check, but they have helped several organizations over the years.

The next project for the Woodbridge Rotary is their 11th annual golf tournament on June 19 at Old Hickory Golf Club in Woodbridge. The group – who are still looking for sponsors and participants – will be using the event to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club, Project Mend-A-House and other local groups.

This post is sponsored by Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire.

Snorkeling, diving, swimming: Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center Summer campers make great use of the pool

freedom, fitness, aquatic, manassas
Freedom aquatic and fitness center, swimming, summer

Looking for a way to keep your kids busy this summer? The Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center has a massive indoor swimming pool and is hosting its annual Summer Camp.

A majority of Freedom’s summer campers will go swimming each day. The times are scheduled, and camping groups are rotated to keep the pool from getting overcrowded.

While in the pool, children can enjoy the swimming slide, diving boards, and an inflatable obstacle course called the “wibit” on Fridays. All campers are supervised by Freedom’s camp counselors who are in the pool or walking the pool deck. All of Freedom’s counselors are trained on swim time procedures. The kids will have supervision when walking to the restroom and when they switch pools.

The new swimming pool can still be enjoyed by children who do not have great swimming skills. These children will be able to stand in good-sized portions of the pool and are also supervised by counselors.

Each counselor ensures the well-being of each child and makes sure they’re having a good time. Children are not able to spend their entire day swimming at the pool, but can get in more swim time when they come back to the Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center with their parents.

Freedom offers two camps for older children called the “Aquatics Camp” and “Learn to be a Lifeguard Camp.” These older children will spend more time in the pool, however not the entire day.

In the basic summer camps that Freedom offers, such as soccer or “Camp Freedom,” children will spend up to an hour of free play in the pools. Children have freedom to do as they please with the approval and communication from their counselors.

With Freedom’s structured camps around the pools, such as the Aquatics Camp, children must take a prerequisite skills test to ensure their swimming skills are adequate for the program.. With this specific program, children will learn how to excel in different swimming styles and techniques through fun games and lessons.

Freedom has also partnered with a local scuba company that can teach kids how to scuba and snorkel for the day, all under supervision in Freedom’s pool. It’s a very neat experience for all of the children. This year, Freedom also has a new diving camp where a local dive coach will lead a beginner program on basic diving techniques.

During swim time, parents can only swim with their kids once their child has been signed out by them. The pool will still be open to guests and members while summer campers are there. Swimming lessons are available in the afternoon, which are built into the program and are separate from normal swimming lessons. These swimming lessons can be added on for an additional fee.

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.

Cardiac Rehabilitation at Mary Washington Healthcare – Chris’ Story

  • Mary Washington Healthcare
  • Address: 1001 Sam Perry Blvd, Fredericksburg, VA 22401
  • Phone: 540-741-1100
  • Website:

Chris was rushed to Mary Washington Healthcare

“I called my son at one o’clock in the morning as I know what’s happening to me? I’m either having a heart attack or I am having anxiety attack,” said Chris.

Chris’ son rushed her to the Mary Washington Hospital Emergency Room.

“They came in and said ‘you have three very massive blockages and you’re going to have to have bypass surgery,’ said Chris.

The Mary Washington cardiac team led by Doctor Alex Na performed successful surgery. Next for Chris – rehab.

“And when I came here from beginning to end I felt very comfortable, very much at home and just like I was really cared for, being cared for by my friends,” said Chris.

Our cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation is medically supervised and certified. Each participant receives a personalized rehab program.

“It really does change your outlook and change the way you feel, because I really feel great,” said Chris.

Mary Washington healthcare — here for you.

They’ve been buying and riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Manassas for 30 years

Harley davidson, manassas, motorcycles

Mayor Harry J. Parrish II congratulated Whitt’s Harley-Davidson this week on their 30th Anniversary. Whitt’s is the oldest dealership in Northern Virginia and will be celebrating their anniversary with year long activities. This includes taking part in Rolling Thunder on Sunday, May 24 and an open house on Saturday, May 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“We enjoy celebrating these milestones with City businesses,” said City Manager William Patrick Pate. “The City looks forward to the next 30 years working with Whitt’s Harley-Davidson.”

See more photos of the Whitt’s Harley-Davidson 30th anniversary celebration.

This dealership has been in business since March 1985. The current Center Street location, formerly Southern States, was built in 1957. It still has the railroad tracks in the back of the property. In June 1998, T. Ellsworth Davison purchased the property and relocated his dealership from a 5,000 square foot building to the current 30,000 square foot building. The renovated showroom gleams with new paint and chromed Harley motorcycles.

The City of Manassas values all of its businesses, whether they are new to the City, like Manassas Olive Oil or Totally Vintage Designs, or they are celebrating a monumental anniversary, like Whitt’s Harley-Davidson.

Also celebrating a momentous anniversary is Heltzel Mortgage. They are celebrating 50 years in business. Originally founded in 1965 as the Robert Heltzel Company, became the Hetzel Mortgage Corporation in 1980. Heltzel Mortgage will be celebrating their 50th with a free community concert at the Harris Pavilion on May 29 from 7 to 11 p.m.

The City of Manassas is proud of Whitt’s Harley Davidson and all of those businesses that have such a long history of success in Manassas. Especially during Business Appreciation Month, it is important to make acknowledgements of these successes. If you or someone you know is celebrating a milestone anniversary, let us know at 703-257-8881.

Avoid ‘brain drain’ at Camp Freedom for Preschoolers

freedom, fitness, aquatic, manassas
  • Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center
  • Address: 9100 Freedom Center Blvd. Manassas, Va.
  • Phone: 703-993-8444
  • Website:
summer camp, freedom center

During summer months, children may experience what’s commonly known as brain drain.

With all of the warm-weather activities, family vacations, and playing outdoors with friends, some children can easily forget what it’s like to be inside a classroom. 

On average, students lose up to nearly three months of math computation and other skills over the summer. And low-income children are at greater risk than their peers of losing this developmental knowledge.

That’s why the Freedom Center Summer Camps provide a special “Camp Freedom for Preschoolers” for children ages 3 to 5 years old. Each week children in this camp have a different theme and explore a variety of activities – from movement, music, crafts, games and arts.  

This camp benefits children by keeping them in a classroom-like setting with an instructor. When the new school year is on the horizon, this camp helps children keep acclimated to the classroom, so they’re ready for back-to-school, interacting with others and listening to their teachers.

Camp Freedom for Preschoolers is offered five weeks out of the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center’s 10-week summer camp program.

Themes for this year’s preschoolers camps:

Week 1, June 22-26: Favorite authors
Week 3, July 6-10: It’s a scientific world
Week 5, July 20-24: Oh my, it’s snowing in July
Week 7, Aug. 3-7: Teddy bear adventures
Week 9, Aug. 17-21: Down on the farm

The camp is held from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday. Children are dropped off and picked up at the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center’s Preschool Room. Children should be at least three years old on the start date of Camp Freedom for Preschoolers, and should be potty trained.

There’s also an Extended Camp Freedom for Preschoolers from noon to 2 p.m. each day of regularly scheduled Camp Freedom for Preschoolers. Children will spend the extended day eating lunch, as well as continuing the fun-themed scheduled activities for the week.

The extended camp is great for parents who need a little extra time during the day to run errands.

Children enrolled in the extended camp sessions should bring a lunch and wear sneakers each day.

The cost for Camp Freedom for Preschoolers, from 9 a.m. to noon, is $115 per week. The extended camp is an additional $54 per week. Children must be enrolled in the morning sessions fro Camp Freedom for Preschoolers to attend extended camp afternoon sessions.

This camp continues to be one of the most popular summer camps at Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center. It’s mixture of recreation and academics keeps children ready for the classroom all year long.

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

Tackett’s Mill Center to host free safety shred

Tacketts Mill, shopping center, plaza

Dispose of your old documents safely at Tackett’s Mill Center 

Protect your identity by shredding your sensitive paper documents at Tackett’s Mill Center’s Free Safety Shred in Lake Ridge on Saturday, May 16, hosted by the merchants of the shopping center.

“We are very excited to bring a shred truck to Tackett’s Mill,” said Nancy Kyme, CFO for the owner of Tackett’s Mill Center. “We want to give our community the peace of mind of knowing their sensitive information is being disposed of in a safe way.”

A TrueShred truck will be parked in the commuter lot, and will shred documents from 9 a.m. to noon, or until the truck is full.

There is a six box limit per person. All paper documents, such as office paper, manila folders will be accepted, as well as small fasteners like paper clips, rubber bands and staples. X-ray films, binders, cardboard, newspapers, CDs, DVDs, plastic, report covers, hanging file folders, floppy disks, binder clips and hanging folders will not be accepted.

The shopping center is located at 2239 Tacketts Mill Drive, just off the I-95 corridor (exit 160) at the corner of Old Bridge Road and Harbor Drive in Lake Ridge. The center includes Safeway, Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins, Clearbrook Center for the Arts, Classic Travel at Tackett’s Mill, Patient First, Massage Envy, and Circle Sewing Studios.

For more information on the safety shred, merchant coupons and center promotions, visit and like Tackett’s Mill Center on Facebook.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire helps mother whose young son has cancer

Steves, auto, tire

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire gave back to the community recently when they partnered with Tom Mitchell, head of the StillBrave Childhood Cancer Foundation.

Mitchell started the foundation after losing his young daughter to childhood cancer.

Mitchell sent the mother of a young boy with cancer, associated with the organization, into Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire to get new tires so that her car would pass its state inspection.

According to Mitchell, the staff at the shop worked closely with her, as well as giving her a discounted price for her new set of four tires.

“Not only did Steve’s step up and give us a great deeply discounted price on a set of four new tires, so we can get her son safely back and forth to his life saving treatments, but they also gave her a 40-minute ride back to the hospital so she could be with him while the work is being done on her vehicle,” said Mitchell in a post to the childhood cancer community online.

Sidney Billingsley, owner of Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire, said that he was always happy to help a community member or an organization in need.

“We find ways that we can help an organization – not try to help with everything. That’s what makes a good partnership with a non profit,” Billingsley said.

What makes a great Promoted Post on Potomac Local?

promoted postWe get press releases all time. Some are written with the purpose of telling us about upcoming events in the community. Some are story pitches from public relations companies hoping we’ll write about their event, product, or service.

When it comes stories and content we publish on Potomac Local, that content must pass a few tests. The first and most important is the “who cares” test. Will our readers care about this story? Does it impact them, their family, or their livelihood?

Then we ask, “is it local?” This means does the story or event  that could be content for our site have anything to do with where our readers live, work, or play.

If we answer yes to both, we’ve probably identified a good piece of content that belongs on our site. But that doesn’t mean it’s a news story.

It may not be news, but it is interesting

As I said, we get a lot of press releases pitching us topics and ideas the writers of those press releases hope we will write about. Some we don’t consider to be newsworthy. And for some, because of the bootstrapping nature of our operation, we simply don’t have the time to write about.

That’s when local businesses and organizations take advantage of our Promoted Post option. It’s a way to post your content to Potomac Local, and our social pages, where our readers will see it.

“Promoted” means it’s paid content that appears in the news section of the site. We clearly mark our promoted content as paid, and news as news so there’s never any question as to what type of content the reader is reading.

After posting their Promoted Posts to Potomac Local, businesses and organizations share it with their friends on their social networks. It’s a great way to be seen and get out your message while increasing your visibility in the community.

You want me to read this?

You can’t just write anything and expect people to read it. When it comes to Promoted Posts, if it looks like an ad, smells like and ad, and reads like an ad, our readers will click on something else. There’s also a greater chance content with a sales-heavy push won’t appear on Potomac Local. (more…)

Frustrated with IT turnover, Sequoia turns to JTC, Inc.

Sequoia called JTC when they tired got tired of a revolving door of IT people

Vince Hughes is the Executive Vice President of Finance at Sequoia Management located in Chantilly. 

“Sequoia Management is a property management company that manages commercial office buildings, commercial office associations, office parks, and we manage residential condominiums, townhouses, and single family neighborhoods,” said Hughes.

Sequoia Management has been in business since 1986, and for eight years JTC, Inc. has provided their IT services. Hughes has called their most recent server deployment with JTC, Inc. as “fantastic.”

“It’s the best server change…it used to be [that] server change was this big disruptive thing. I didn’t even really know they were here and they set a new server up and then had it there and as far as I can tell, they moved the files over in the middle of the night…I mean there was no downtime,” said Hughes.  

JTC, Inc. installed the new server at Sequoia Management three weeks ago as part of a routine change to replace their decade old backup server.

“Well we always have a backup one…and the backup one we had before we did this new installation was probably with the 10-year-old server,” Hughes explained. “So, we were just getting rid of that 10-year-old server as the backup.”

With almost 30 years in business, Sequoia Management had hired other IT companies before JTC, Inc. came into the picture.

“The problem with the previous IT company is just the turnover in staff,” remarked Hughes. “You would have people that knew your equipment, set-ups, and how it worked and six months later, that guy is gone.”

Hughes has so far been satisfied with the customer service of JTC, Inc.

“They’re responsive…particularly if it’s a major issue like your email is down or you’re having some major service issue. They do get right on it. A lot of it they’re able to do remotely nowadays.”

JTC is a Microsoft Certified Partner and a Dell Authorized Partner and utilizes Microsoft and Dell technology.

This promoted post is sponsored by JTC. Inc., providing big business solutions for the small business budget.

For City of Manassas business owners, breakfast is on us

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City of Manassas, Prince William Chamber of Commerce team to recognize city businesses 

To thank the businesses owners and operators who choose to be located in the city, the City of Manassas and the Prince William Chamber are hosting a free Manassas Business Appreciation Breakfast on Wednesday, May 6, from 8 – 10 a.m. at the Center for the Arts, located at 9419 Battle Street.

“Seats are going fast,” says Economic Development Director Patrick Small. “We want to honor as many of our businesses as possible at this exclusive event.” Local businesses are encouraged to spend the morning networking and hearing from the Mayor, Council and State Economic Development Leaders. To register for the event, contact Anita Duecaster at the Chamber at 571-765-1876. Space is limited.

Each year in May the Commonwealth of Virginia pauses to recognize the many contributions that private enterprise and entrepreneurs make to the quality of life for residents. At a recent City Council meeting, Mayor Harry J. Parrish II proclaimed May as Business Appreciation Month in the City of Manassas.

The City of Manassas has more than 1,400 business establishments within its boundaries and that number is growing every day. More than 14,000 people commute into the city to work each day with about 7,000 commuting out of the City. City of Manassas businesses range from new start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations.

There are unique shops, one-of-a-kind restaurants offering a spectrum of cuisines, two breweries and a brand new distillery. The Manassas Regional Airport is home to more than 25 businesses employing more than 1,050 people. The City’s Economic Development Department partners with the Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the business community and all that they bring to the community.

The breakfast is free to one registered person per business.

This promoted post is sponsored by City of Manassas, Virginia in recognition of the many business owners who help grow and sustain community.

Why your Facebook Updater ad won’t work

How changing the text of your Facebook Updater ad can lead to great results for your business 

Street  Prince William Ice Center   Social Media Enhancer 2014Our Facebook Updater ad unit is unlike anything else in the market.

A display ad unit that links to your Facebook or Twitter pages — it gives you the opportunity to have a new ad on Potomac Local any time you want one by simply updating your Facebook or Twitter accounts. The reader is taken to either your Facebook or Twitter page after they click on your ad.

While we can count the many benefits of using the Facebook Updater ad, we’d rather focus on why it doesn’t work for some customers.

We’ve heard from various customers who’ve used the Facebook Updater, “hey, the numbers look great, it’s clear people are seeing it, but it’s just not working for me.”

For advertising and marketing to work properly, we must deliver the right message to the right group of potential buyers. The Facebook Enhancer ad unit puts the power of marketing in the hands of the business owner.

“You’re wasting your money”

Street  Nyeas Party  NyeasParty Facebook enhancedThe ad must be updated on a daily, or near daily basis for it to be effective – just as you do your social media pages – for it to be effective. If you can’t do it, we suggest you ask a friend or family member update your ad or hire someone to do it for you.

Trust us — if you buy a Facebook Updater ad and then don’t update your Facebook page, you’re wasting your money.

What’s the best way to see your Facebook Enhancer ad deliver zero results for your business? Don’t update it.

But here’s the helpful part: The ad has a built-in reminder that can email you if the text of your Facebook Updater ad goes stale. It’s just a simple reminder stating “it might be time to update your ad.”

Coming up with new content to put on your ad isn’t difficult. Talking about your business should be fun, especially if you like what you do – it’s probably why you went into business in the first place. (more…)

How General Heiser Boys and Girls Club uses Lego to teach STEM in Dumfries, Virginia

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Children at General Heiser Boys and Girls Club work as young scientists, engineers, and designers

Science is our natural world. Technology means computers and smartphones, but it goes back to television, radio, microscopes, telegraph, telescopes, the compass, and even the first wheel. Engineering is designing and building, roads, and bridges, but it also tackles today’s challenges of transportation, global warming and environment-friendly machines, appliances and systems.

We encounter mathematics at the grocery store, the bank, on tax forms, in dealing with investments and the family budget. Every other STEM field depends on mathematics. STEM is important because it pervades every aspect of our lives.

Since the beginning of the school year, the General Heiser Boys and Girls Club has been working to incorporate a Lego Simple Machines Program into the weekly program schedule. With the help of three community volunteers, we were able to get this program going in January of 2015.

The Club was able to purchase 12 Simple Machine Kits and two curriculum guides through a Grant they received from the CarMax Foundation in February of 2014. The kits were used in 2014 on Saturdays to give the members a taste of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

With the more structured program that is happening on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 7:30 p.m., the members can work as young scientists, engineers, and designers. The Principle Model that is being used allows children to experience the structural principles normally hidden away inside everyday machines and structures.

The members are spending eight weeks learning about eight simple machines: a lever, a wheel and axle, a pulley, an inclined plane, a wedge, gear, and a cam. They will then spend four weeks on building activities and four weeks on problem-solving activities.

Some of the members are involved in other activities at the club that sometimes conflict with the Lego Simple Machine Program time, and they choose to come to the Lego program and miss the other activity for the evening.

“It is my favorite thing at the club,”

“I like the Lego Program because we get to learn different things and build things with our hands.”

“It is fun- It’s just like mechanical engineering- We are in small groups of about seven kids – They’re easy to work with.”

This winter/spring program has focused on 3rd through 5th grade members. The goal is to continue to expand this program, opening it up to middle school members. Then in the near future find a sponsor and volunteers to have a Robotics program.

This post is brought to you by Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire.

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.  

Learn, grow, have fun: Be a Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center summer camp counselor

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Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center’s Summer Camp runs for 10 weeks

Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center will hire more than 50 new summer camp counselors for its summer camp session.

It’s a summer job that is so much more than a summer job. It’s a job that allows its employees to grow, face new challenges, and to have fun every single day.

The Freedom Center is looking for people who are well organized, who have held leadership positions in high school or college, or someone who can be a leader. They’re also looking for someone who has enthusiasm for making a great summer experience for a child.

“This job is rewarding because you get to learn something new every day. Your peers depend on you. And it’s fun because you can plan and do the same activities you loved as a child – whether it’s kickball, soccer, capture the flag – it’s something new on a daily basis.”
— Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center Manager Amanda Meiklejohn.

The counselors are trained extensively in safety. Counselors take their jobs seriously, especially when it comes to making the correct judgment call when working with others, and asking for help from others when they need it.

Counselors are paired with eight children and are typically paired with two to three counselors to form groups of 16-20.  

“This job will help you develop skills as a leader. And, if you haven’t had the experience yet, we strive to meet with you, train with you to help you reach different goals you have for yourself. Whether it’s communicating more effectively with your peers, speaking in front of groups, organizational skills, time management, we’re here to help.”
—  Amanda Meiklejohn.

Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center’s Summer Camp runs for 10 weeks, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The dates of summer camp are June 19 to August 28.
Contact Amanda Meiklejohn for more information to apply to become a Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center summer camp counselor.

Look up, see great art in Historic Downtown Manassas

manassas art streetlight 3If you are walking or driving through Historic Downtown Manassas, make sure to look up at the light poles that line the city streets. There are 60 original pieces of art hanging from the downtown light poles.

Over the winter months, Historic Manassas, Inc. in partnership with the City of Manassas, held a Banner Art Competition. This competition was for artists from Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. to create original art that, if selected, would hang from the City of Manassas’ light poles. The competition was the brainchild of Debbie Haight from Historic Manassas, Inc. who formed a small committee to make the dream a reality.

manassas art streetlight 2More than 130 pieces of art were submitted for the competition. In February, members of the community gathered to select the 60 pieces of art that would hang on the light poles. This gathering included City Council members, students, business leaders, and community members. From the 60 selected pieces of art, one grand prize winner, who will receive $1,000, will be announced at an awards presentation during the spring gallery walk on May 1, 2015.

manassas art streetlightAll summer long residents and visitors are invited to look at the banners and select their favorite for the “people’s choice” winner. In the fall, the artist who painted the people’s favorite piece will receive $500. A walking tour brochure of the banners will be available after May 1. This will have information about each piece and information on how to vote in the “people’s choice” competition.

So, the next time you are in Historic Downtown Manassas, make sure to take the time to look up and appreciate the art.

It’s time for fresh, locally grown food

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On April 9 the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market opened for the season. This is the 24th season the City’s Farmer’s Market has been delivering fresh produce and goods to residents and visitors of the City of Manassas. On Thursdays, the Farmer’s Market is located in the Harris Pavilion and on Saturdays it is located in parking lot B or the water tower lot. Both markets are open from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.   In June, July and August there is a summer evening market from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Harris Pavilion.

About five years ago the City’s Farmer’s Market became a SNAP distributor by applying to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. This opened the door for people that are receiving assistance to purchase fresh fruits and vegetable from the market. In addition, Historic Manassas, Inc. has formed a partnership with INOVA, who supplied matching funds for dollars spent by SNAP recipients. The City of Manassas Farmers Market was one of the very first in this region to be able to offer this service to customers.

Jeff Adams has been selling Walnut Hill Farms poultry, eggs, pork, beef and lamb at the market for about five years. His motto is “from birth to plate, we know what we ate.” Jeff is a former biology teacher and telephone company employee. He bought his farm in 2001 after saying goodbye to corporate America.

Ron Burleson of Skyline Premium Meats has been a part of the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market for seven seasons.   Burleson and his wife, Suzy run a farm in Unionville, Virginia, where they raise calves. Ron and Suzy also maintain a greenhouse, and depending on the season, produce eggs. They raise an array of annuals; from hanging baskets to potted vegetable plants and beautiful handmade Christmas wreaths in the winter season. 

These are just two of the many wonderful vendors at the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market. Visit the City of Manassas Farmer’s Market soon!

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