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Hilarious, heartfelt: ‘Laughs and Love’ — A night you will remember!

capitol steps, hylton, rotary

The Capitol Step will perform at the Hylton Performing Arts Center thanks to Bull Run Rotary.


On Saturday, May 23, don’t miss Bull Run Rotary’s Laughs and Love benefit, at the beautiful Hylton Center featuring the Capitol Steps.

Why laughs and love? Here’s the love:

One of the greatest benefits of business ownership is being able to be part of give back to our community. Those who have faced hardship are struggling and in need. is a seasonal business. We have a small fleet of vehicles that get lots of use eight months of the year. This leaves four months that where we can use our vehicles to help families in need have reliable transportation in order to help them work and get on their feet. We just look at it as doing a small part, with the resources we have.

Bull Run Rotary is doing it BIG by celebrating five hero organizations whose hard work day in and day out enriches the lives of those around us.

On one night, we set an ambitious goal to raise $50,000 to help abused children find security, battered women feel safe, families who have had hardship achieve the American dream of home ownership, and help feed our neighbors who live in tents in the woods.

Please help Bull Run Rotary in supporting CASA, Calling All Souls, Habitat for Humanity of Prince William County, Transitional Housing BARN, and Therapeutic Riding Rainbow Center, it promises to be a night to remember.

Oh yeah, there will be laughs!

Have you seen the hilarious Capitol Steps? They put the MOCK in Democracy with their song parody of political current events. The night will also have some surprise big VIPs. Regardless of your political leanings this is sure to be a night you will be talking about for some time.

Purchase tickets online at the Hylton Performing Arts Center box office.

See you there,

Steve Chapman, Founder, and President

6 tips for good health from Mary Washington Healthcare

Dr. Vranian’s Quick Tips for Good Health

1. Minimize meat consumption

2. Avoid “white” foods — Foods that have had the shell of the grain removed

3. Eat plenty of colored vegetables

4. Stay away from saturated fats, like heavy dressings and sweets

5. Exercise 30 minutes/day at least 3 – 5 days per week

6. Find some thing or somebody to love

– by Dr. Robert Vranian, Cardiologist, Mary Washington Healthcare

KO Distilleries opening in the City of Manassas

KO Distilleries

On Jan. 29, KO Distilleries, a new business in the City of Manassas, opened their doors for a “keel laying.” This is a nautical term for the start of a ship’s construction and is appropriate for this business as both owners are graduates of the Merchant Marine Academy.

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, Mayor Harry J. Parrish II as well as other City Council members, business owners and residents were onsite to welcome this new industry to the City of Manassas. KO Distilleries, located at 10381 Central Park Drive, will manufacture, store and sell distilled spirits, including bourbon, rye whiskey, corn whiskey, gin, vodka and rum. The distillery will have a visitors center for tours, tastings, merchandise sales and special events.

Owners Bill Karlson and John O’Mara will open their doors in the spring of 2015. This is only the 19th distillery in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is on the forefront of an emerging industry trend. Historic Manassas, Inc. helped the City and KO Distilleries with the event and many members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce welcomed the new owners as members of the Chamber.


The preceding post was written by the City of Manassas. 

Help CASA save children at Capitol Steps comedy show

All proceeds raised for show help CASA, other area organizations 

capitol steps, hylton, rotary

The Capitol Step will perform at the Hylton Performing Arts Center thanks to Bull Run Rotary.

The Capitol Steps are coming to the Hylton Performing Arts Center on Feb. 21. Its’ a show organized by the Bull Run Rotary Club in Manassas, and a sell-out show will raise funds for organizations helping our neighbors in need. 

Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, is one of those organizations helping children in Prince William.

CASA Children’s Intervention Services has been appointed to and worked with over 3,000 abused, neglected and abandoned children in Greater Prince William since 1994.

More than 150 specially trained advocates gave over 20,000 hours to help insure that nearly 500 abused children, before the court, are kept safe, are provided needed services to overcome the impact of their maltreatment and have all they need to become physically, mentally and emotionally strong. CASA investigates, monitors, reports and is a special friend to child victims who have been beaten, starved, burnt, raped, trafficked, born drug exposed, imprisoned in their homes and more. CASA advocates providing hope, help and advocacy for these hurting children. According to a report by the Attorney General, children with a CASA spend less time in foster care, receive more services, are less likely ever to be reabused and are more likely to be adopted if they cannot return home.

CHILDREN STARVED, ABANDONED Cassie lived in fear that she would starve, she was 4. One day Cassie did not get dressed quickly enough. Cassie’s mom told her she could not have any food that day as punishment.

Mom made her sit and watch as she prepared and ate breakfast, lunch and dinner for herself. The longest she remembered not eating was 3 days. It was reported, the court appointed a CASA for Cassie. Mom told the court she did not want Cassie anyway.

The CASA advocated for help for Cassie. She lived in fear of not surviving and not being loved. The CASA visited this child, every week for over 2 years, met regularly with her service providers and foster parents, advocated at all the hearings, and worked to help insure a successful adoption where she was asked by the adoptive parents with whom she had worked so closely to be Cassie’s Godmother.

CHILDREN RAPED A mother had some evidence that her three year old child had been sexually molested by her new husband. The advocate began an investigation for more information which took her by phone to six states and uncovered eight previous girlfriends or wives, whose children had allegedly been sexually assaulted by this same man. Some were never proven in court, for lack of sufficient evidence, and therefore not on record.

Finally, in one state, her investigation found a mother who had discovered this man in bed with her 12 year old daughter and had successfully prosecuted him. She found reports of this man’s regular presence outside a local school and his picking up a young girl to take her home.

This information, not previously known to the court, helped to keep the child in Prince William from further harm as the man fled the state and was later asked for by a neighboring state as they sought to prosecute him for offenses in their state.

CHILDREN BORN SUBSTANCE EXPOSED Two children were removed from their parents. The parents were drug abusers whose last child was born substance exposed and who were reported several times for being under the influence for days at a time leaving their 3 year old to fend for himself. The parents took the children from their placement and disappeared.

Weeks passed and they were not found but there was serious concern for their safety. The advocate journeyed from door to door following lead after lead to help find the children. After three weeks of diligent searching, he found them hiding with the children in a shack in the middle of debris with no electricity, running water or heat for the cold winter weather. The advocate alerted police and the children were safely retrieved.

CHILDREN BEATEN When a Prince William child, severely physically and mentally disabled from severe physical abuse, was moved to a facility in another state, the presiding Judge was very concerned that he could not be certain how the child was doing when he was so far away from the court that sought to protect him. The advocates, a husband and wife team, at their own expense, traveled each month to the institution to visit him.

Well after the court was involved, the couple continued to be the only “family” the young man had still visiting on his birthday, Christmas and several other times each year.

The goal

By selling out the 1,200 seats at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, we will raise $50,000. All proceeds raised will go directly to organizations that are on the front lines helping care for, encourage, lift spirits, give hope and opportunity to our struggling neighbors. These organizations are the unsung heroes in our community whose compassion makes our community a place we can be proud of. They cannot do it alone!

Order tickets online or call 1-888-945-2468. If you or your business would like to sponsor the event please contact Steve Chapman, by Feb. 10.

Popular ‘Attack the Fat Challenge’ starts Monday at Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center

freedom, fitness, aquatic, manassas
Do you know about the Attack the Fat Challenge? It’s one of the most popular, effective, and fun weight-loss programs at the Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center
It’s open to anyone, at any fitness level.
Robin Frey is a fitness program coordinator, certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor and the director of Freedom Attack the Fat Challenge at Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center in Manassas. We spoke with her to get the 


What is the Attack The Fat Challenge?

“It’s more of a full spectrum weight loss program and it runs for eight weeks…it’s based on focusing on weight loss but the overall effort that we do is that we want to promote and create lifestyle changes, not just during the eight weeks. For most people it’s just the starting point. A lot of people do it repeatedly because it works for them…and depending on the amount of weight they wish to lose, it may not happen in eight weeks.”   
What do participants do while in Attack The Fat Challenge? 
“Well actually the whole concept is they do train…and it’s based on percentage of weight loss…we make it a challenge so that it has some competitive edge to it but the overall focus is just to create a balance of accountability…to continue with fitness efforts for health, not necessarily for fitness. In other words, this is based on health and wellness, getting people appropriate nutrition and just trying to create a consistent effort with lifestyle change, it’s long term.”
 How much does the program cost?
“It [the program] breaks down to 20 dollars a session and the total cost is $480 but you’re getting 24 sessions, 24 full one-hour sessions…then in addition to that they get the support through nutrition tips and guidance…and body composition testing as well.” Frey also mentioned that there is an additional cost to non-members of the Freedom Center. 
 Attack-the-Fat-2015-flyer-791x1024How long does the challenge last? 
“Participants train three days a week with a trainer so it’s three one-hour sessions so they’re basically getting 24 training sessions as a group within that eight weeks, three times a week. In addition to that support that we offer is through our smart lab for evidence based testing for body composition or those types of things and also we do weekly weigh-ins”.
Is the Attack The Fat Challenge a seasonal program? 
“It’s twice a year, typically we do it  in February, March and then again in September.”
Is it too late to sign up? 
“The Attack The Fat Challenge  starts on Monday, Feb. 2. Registration does require you to be registered prior to the program but we work with people as well.”
Why did Frey get involved with the Attack The Fat Challenge?
“Well I started it, actually it’s been six years running now. I just felt that there was a need here at the Freedom Center to create programming in small groups that could be something that could bring more of an effort of accountability to each other, that tends to help. People can do training all the time but when they have other people depending on them to be part of their team, their group, it’s very successful. The success rate is much higher as far as them making the sessions, having to be responsible for that weekly weigh-in and then they bond and create groups that continue to train after that. We just didn’t have anything happening here in that capacity in programming.”
How does the Attack The Fat Challenge stand apart from similar programs?
“We were probably the original in this area. I know other facilities have programs similar to what we do, it’s a basic concept of accountability, through training, weigh-ins, and nutrition information…it’s just been very, very successful for us here. This our sixth year I believe, might even be longer. It tends to work. We provide a variety of workouts through different types of training. We may have them in the pool, TRX suspension training, circuit training, functional core…in other words we do a little bit of everything that we offer here…within those 24 sessions they’re getting a very large variety of different modalities of training.”
Why do people sign up?
Participants will] form groups and become friends and bond in that respect and want to continue to do it again, that kind of thing….plus we’ve had people that have lost over 100 pounds…it’s been very effective overall.” 


Come see the Capitol Steps at Hylton Arts Center & help Cecily replace the asbestos-laden siding on her home

When Cecily was in her 20’s she immigrated to the U.S. from Nicaragua.

capitol stepsTaking a job at Home Depot in Springfield, Cecily met her future husband, Eddy, who had emigrated from Palau. Cecily and Eddy married in 2008 and now share their Woodbridge home with their two children, Cecily’s mother, and grandmother.

A tight-knit family, everyone pitches in to help. Cecily operates a daycare from her home while also attending school at Northern Virginia Community College.

Cecily’s mom is a certified nursing assistant with a job in Washington, D.C. Eddy continues to work at Home Depot and he and Cecily’s mom and grandmother all help care for the children, too.

Habitat for Humanity Prince William County is looking forward to giving this hard working family a hand up with much-needed critical home repairs that will make their home safer, more comfortable and affordable.

Habitat for Humanity will replace the boiler that is original to the home, replace asbestos siding from three sides of the exterior and replace non-functional windows throughout the home. The deck must be rebuilt for safety. And the home will be weatherized for energy efficiency.

Habitat for Humanity thanks you for your support of the Capitol Steps event and welcomes you to join them on their work sites as a volunteer!

To learn more, visit Habitat for Humanity’s website at

Mark your calendars for Laughs & Love benefit February 21 at 7 p.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Not only are we having the hilarious Capitol Steps come to the beautiful Hylton Center, but our Rotary Club has proudly partnered with Casa, Habitat for Humanity, Rainbow Center Therapeutic Riding, Calling All Souls and Transitional Housing Barn as the beneficiaries this year.

The goal?

By selling out the 1,200 seats at the Hylton, we will raise $50,000. All proceeds raised will go directly to organizations that are on the front lines helping care for, encourage, lift spirits, give hope and opportunity to our struggling neighbors. These organizations are the unsung heroes in our community whose compassion makes our community a place we can be proud of.

They cannot do it alone!

To order tickets go to or call 1-888-945-2468. If you or your business would like to sponsor the event, please contact Steve Chapman, by Feb 10.

The preceding post was sponsored by Rotary Club of Bull Run.

ANU students take MLK Day, register to vote in Prince William County

Vote, MLK day, election

In recognition of the Martin Luther King holiday and a day of service, Medical Assistant students from the Northern Virginia Campus of American National University collectively registered to vote in Prince William County. 

Their inspiration came not only from Dr. Martin Luther King, but also from the ANU Mission Statement, which states, “Graduates of American National University should understand and practice their responsibilities to their families, their fellow men and their communities by becoming effective and contributing citizens.”

Led by their instructor, MJ Williams of the Roanoke Campus, the students committed to volunteering in the community and becoming informed voters.

Manassas First Friday February: It’s the ‘Souper Bowl’

  • Historic Manassas, Inc.
  • Address: 9431 West Street, Manassas, Virginia
  • Phone: 703-361-6599
  • Website:
manassas, souper bowl, festival

Historic Downtown Manassas is putting on the Soup for First Friday February.

On Feb. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m., city restaurants are pairing up with downtown merchants to offer a soup for sampling. Five-dollar wristbands allow participants to sample the soups from each location and vote to name a champion of the “Souper Bowl.”

A list of participating merchants for Manassas First Friday is available at

Inspired by the success of the monthly event concept held in other localities, First Friday in Historic Downtown was created by the Historic Manassas, Inc. promotions committee to enhance tourism and entertainment offerings in the City of Manassas. The initial First Friday event was held in February 2014 and has grown and evolved. Some months feature roving musicians and caricature artists, while other months feature sidewalk art or special foods, like this month.

The preceding promoted post was written by the City of Manassas.

After McDonalds robbery, young mom shown path to a degree

degree, credit, mcdonalds

Amercian National University (ANU) student Jazmin Lopez works toward her medical associates degree.

ANU provides young mother flexibility, path to medical assisting degree     

Jazmin Lopez, 20, of Manassas, knew that she needed to make a change in her life, and ANU offered her an opportunity to work toward her degree in a growing field.
Her neighbor was the first to recommend American National University, which has a campus in Manassas located on Liberia Avenue.

“They were promoting the school [at Gold’s Gym], when [my neighbor] met a recruiter from ANU,” Lopez said, continuing, “She was giving me information, but I wasn’t so sure about going to school.”

Lopez had made an appointment to meet with the recruiters on the campus, but still wasn’t sold about pursuing her degree.

Then, one night while working at a McDonalds, she was robbed.

“I wasn’t  speaking at the moment,” Lopez said of the experience, which traumatized her. “I thought it was time to change, and turn my life around,” Lopez said, prompting her motivation to get out of the fast food industry and earn her degree.

A few days after the incident, Lopez did meet with an ANU ad visor about the school’s opportunities for her. The robbery proved to be a turning point in her life that made her want to seek new opportunity and a higher education.

“The recruiter asked me why it took me so long to finally decide to go back to school. And I enrolled that same day…I thought it was really a great idea, because it’s only five minutes away from my house. And it caught my eye because they have really small classes, which means more attention for us as students,” said Lopez.

For her, the flexibility of the classes and assistance that the school has provided her, have allowed her to continue her education as a working young mother.

While still working at McDonalds, Lopez is currently obtaining her Medical Assistant degree, as a member of the class of 2016.

credit, mcdonalds, degree

This Manassas woman was robbed while working at a McDonalds. It was then she decided she need to change her life. She went to ANU in Manassas for a better opportunity.

Used tires are mysterious. New Cooper Starfire Tires cost about the same


Cooper Starfire Tires offer superior life and performance for just a few dollars more than the cost of a used tire

Instead of buying a used tire that you might have to replace sooner than later, consider a new Cooper Starfire Tire.

It’s a great option for someone looking for an inexpensive tire that will help keep their vehicle on the road longer and their occupants of the car safe.

Cooper Starfire Tires are available for multiple makes and models of vehicles. They’re manufactured in Asia and designed in the U.S. to compete with premium brands without the higher price tag of comparable tires.

The tire offers high-performance ability, improved grip and road handling, with an improved overall tire life.

Cooper Starfire Tires are great for drivers who may have purchased a vehicle that is more costly to maintain than first thought, but are still looking for a quality tire that delivers great handling and a quiet performance on the road. With the Starfire option available, drivers should think before purchasing a used tire.

Typically, drivers have no idea what type of life the used tire had before they obtain it. Used tires could be six to eight years old, perhaps older, and have spent the majority of their life as a used tire strapped to a vehicle. While used tires may look good, the rubber can be worn down or degraded after years of sitting idle. Some used tires may also be missing tread and show signs of wear.

Purchasing a Starfire Tire costs about $30 more than what a used tire might cost, but a new tire, on average, will provide three times the life of a single used tire. The price of a Starfire Tire is up to 30% less than other newer tires.  There are many Starfire Tires produced for SUVs, trucks, and the popular Honda Civic and Toyota Camry models.

Hometowne Auto Repair and Tire in Woodbridge, Virginia is now an authorized Cooper Tire dealer and offers a full line of Starfire Tires.

Teen wins NYC trip with “Say I Won’t” video with Manassas City Police Department

#SayIWont, manassas city police department

Captain Trey Lawler and Chief Doug Keen stand behind Mark Johnson.

In December, City of Manassas resident Mark Johnson had an idea for the #SayIWont video contest put on by Grammy Award winner Lecrae Moore and Reach Records. The video contest asked participants to make a 15 second video showing how “you’re not scared to be different.” Mark’s video featured members of the Manassas City Police Department.

Mark Johnson had the idea, in light of current happenings in other areas of the country, to show a positive relationship between the Manassas City Police Department and a City resident. His video shows him coming into MCPD Roll Call and encouraging the officers about to go out in the field.

Mark went to Osbourn High School in the City of Manassas. After a rocky start, including being expelled from school, Mark went back to Osbourn to finish high school with an advanced diploma. When asked why he chose the Manassas City Police Department to feature in his video, Mark said he remembered the great conversations he had in high school with Officer Cahill and he used that contact to make the video happen. 

On Dec. 12, while attending the Manassas City Police Department holiday luncheon, Mark received a phone call from Reach Records saying he had won the national video contest and had won a trip to New York City to accompany Lecrae Moore to a Brooklyn Nets game.

“We are honored that Mark chose the MCPD to feature in his video,” said Chief Doug Keen from the Manassas City Police Department. “Mark Johnson’s video sheds a positive light on relationships with police officers and those relationships are something we want to promote in the City of Manassas. We congratulate Mark on his award winning video.”

Johnson traveled to New York City in December.

The preceding promoted post was written by the City of Manassas.

Picture your art here to win

Winning artwork to be featured on light poles in Manassas

Have you seen the banners that hang on the light poles in the Historic Downtown area of the City of Manassas and in other cities? If you are an artist or aspiring to be one, the art you create could be hanging on one of those light poles.

Historic Manassas, Inc. and the City of Manassas have launched an art contest to fill the banners in Historic Downtown with original pieces of art. The contest will be juried so that one artist will be awarded a grand prize of $1,000 and there will also be “people’s choice award” of $500. The contest deadline has been extended to Feb. 1, 2015.

This contest is part of an effort to promote art and tourism in the City of Manassas. The winning 50 pieces will be featured on the light pole banners and in a walking tour brochure that includes information on the piece and the artist. Information about the contest can be found at

The preceding promoted post was written by the City of Manassas.

Resolutioners get off to a good start with 5K run at Freedom Center

Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center, run, 5k


Freedom Center awards resolution runners

Over 200 area residents came out to start their new year off right, running in The Resolution Run 5K at the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center in Manassas on New Year’s Day. The race, which kicked off at 11a.m. was hosted by Fun Run Racing and was their third running event thus far.

“It’s the first of the year. Most people’s resolution is ‘In 2015, I’m going to exercise more,’ so it’s a good way to start,” said Ian Connor, a race organizer.

“What’s interesting that most our [runners] were not signing up, because they didn’t know what their plans were going to be in the evening [before]. So it’s been an interesting race to put on, in trying to plan,” said Connor, of the planning process for the 5K.

Fun Run Racing has partnered with the Freedom Center for race events in the past, and has had a good experience with their facilities.

“[The Freedom Center] has been fantastic to work with. They promote health and wellness, so it’s a good synergistic approach to that – and letting us have access to the Freedom Center has been great,” said Connor.

The runners excelled on the flat course. For female overall, first place was Jean Kleitz with 19:46. For men’s overall, first place was Ryan Laemel, coming in at 15:24. 

Fun Run Racing has been able to raise $12,400 in their events for local charities and non profits, including their charity partner, the Manassas Bull Run Rotary Club, according to their website.

The company plans to host their next race this year on the 4th of July. So far they have held two other successful runs – the Freedom Firecracker 5K on the 4th of July in 2014 and the Prince William Turkey Trot in 2014 – all of which were hosted at the Freedom Center.

Winners, broken down by age category:

Female 1-10yrs: Nili Schreibman – 25:08
Male 1-10yrs: Camden Yentz – 22:42

Female 11-14yrs: Lindsay Yentz – 23:37
Male 11-14yrs: Jamey Bocompani – 21:41

Female 15-19yrs: Lynne Bai – 24:56
Male 15-19yrs: Ian Dickson – 20:17

Female 20-24yrs: Olivia Black – 29:59

Female 25-29yrs: Candace Robbins – 25:58
Male 25-29yrs: Michael Kleitz – 27:02

Female 30-34yrs: Kayla Robison – 23:44
Male 30-34yrs: Jonathan Ellis – 19:50

Female 35-39yrs: Tamara West – 26:11
Male 35-39yrs: Uriah Orland – 18:30

Female 40-44yrs: Tracy Phelps – 25:26
Male 40-44yrs: Eric Davison – 21:49

Female 45-49yrs: Shannon Andes – 26:43
Male 45-49yrs: Edward Scollon – 19:14

Female 50-54yrs: Maureen Miller – 24:28
Male 50-54yrs: Craig Greene – 18:58

Female 55-59yrs: Bonita Coats – 31:32
Male 55-59yrs: Steve Moyer – 21:02

Female 60-64yrs: Judy Wine – 33:31
Male 60-64yrs: Steven Bartlett – 25:51

Female 65-69yrs: Laurel Clement – 26:55
Male 65-69yrs: Bill Washington – 38:38


JTC brings internet to 100-year-old office building

technology solutions networking enterprise

Jewell Technical Consulting, Inc012214-lot-1. and Historic Manassas, Inc. (HMI) have worked together for three, successful years. HMI Director Debbie Haight her organization and JTC, Inc. have faced several challenges working inside HMI’s offices inside the Manassas train station building that is over a century old. 

“They’re upfront…they address the issue and they address it quickly and they explain what it is that’s going on,” said Haight. I’ve found with them is that it’s never an assumption on their part, that they know what’s best for your company, they work with you to find out what’s best….”

Rather than pushing a boxed solution, JTC, Inc. talks with their client and creates a plan for that company that best fits their unique needs and capabilities.

“So it always is a very working relationship and it’s not just a…’you need to do what we do because we say we’re the best…or we say we talk computers and you don’t so just do it,” said Haight. “And they’re always quick to answer any issues that we have and we have a few because we’re in an older building and a lot of the stuff has been around a long time and there’s been several different hands on it several different times.”

Three years ago when HMI first signed on with JTC, HMI transitioned seamlessly and painlessly out of a prior internet service provider contract with JTC’s assistance.

The switch gave HMI enhanced capabilities, including faster internet, which in the past was a struggle for the company to receive.

“One of the things that we did not have in this area…is Comcast. We go to the location, we weren’t in the spot to get Comcast because we’re up on the train tracks…Comcast can be completely like 50 yards away from us but we couldn’t get it. So John [Owner of JTC, Inc.] was able to work with them and pull together another organization that’s just around the corner from us so with both of us going on this then we were able to pull it. That kind of always benefits our organization because it is much faster.”

Historic Manassas, Inc. is a non-profit organization focused on enriching the local Manassas community and serving as an informational center for tourism.

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

City of Manassas Citizen Satisfaction Survey results are in

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 2.22.00 PM


Manassas ranks above average in 8 Citizen Satisfaction categories surveyed

In a survey conducted by one of the nation’s leading community-based market research firms, results showed that citizen satisfaction in the City of Manassas is significantly above national and regional benchmarks in a number of service areas. Overall, three categories stood out: the overall quality of citizen services provided; the overall quality of water and sewer utilities; and the effectiveness of communication with the public.

Categories where the City of Manassas scored significantly higher than the national and regional benchmarks include:

  • Maintenance of streets
  • Sidewalks and infrastructure
  • How safe residents feel in their neighborhood at night, in commercial/business areas of the City and in City parks
  • Maintenance of neighborhood streets
  • Cleanliness of City streets
  • Access to information about City services
  • Opportunities to participate in local government 
  • Satisfaction with residential garbage collection and residential curbside recycling

The percentage of residents satisfied with customer service is 15 percent higher than the national average. Survey participants responded more than 20 percent above the national average when asked how satisfied they were with customer service in regards to response time and customer service experience.

“Having worked with City staff for the last year, I know how our dedicated staff goes above and beyond to provide services to the community,” said City Manager W. Patrick Pate. “I am extremely proud that resident opinions show that City of Manassas staff are significantly above the nation in customer service.”

City Council and staff are pleased with the results, not only because they highlight what the City is doing right, but because the survey shows what priorities the community has in coming years. Major services that were recommended as top priorities for investment over the next few years include: overall flow of traffic and ease of getting around; overall quality of public education; and overall quality of economic development.

ETC Institute used a random sample of households within the City of Manassas for this survey. They had a goal of 400 completed surveys being returned to provide this data and received 405 surveys from all areas of the City of Manassas. To read the survey results presented by ETC Institute, visit

The preceding promoted post was written by the City of Manassas.

Kick-start your New Year with Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center’s Resolution Run 5K

  • Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center
  • Address: 9100 Freedom Center Boulevard Manassas, Virginia 20110
  • Phone: 703-993-8444
  • Website:

res run

Resolution Run 5K full of prizes, suprizes, fun

Are you ready to run off those extra holiday pounds?

Runners will their chance at Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center’s Resolution Run 5K on New Year’s Day.

The inaugural 5K run will be held at the Prince William Campus of George Mason University. A 5K run will start at 10 a.m. and a 1-mile fun run and walk will begin at 11 a.m.

The course will take runners from the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center to the Hylton Performing Arts Center, and then to University Boulevard where they’ll turn around and head back to the finish line at the fitness center.

Fitting with New Years tradition, all of the race bibs will come pre-printed with “I resolve to” on them. Runners will then write in their resolution, and prizes will be given out for the most creative resolutions.

“It’s time to break old habits and start new ones,” said Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center General Manager Don Jones.

The Resolution Run is the latest in a series of competition races held at the fitness center on the George Mason campus. A “turkey trot” run held at Freedom on Thanksgiving Day attracted 1,200 runners and raised $15,000 for the Bull Run Rotary charities.

res run course


In July, Freedom held its annual Freedom Firecracker Run 5K run and also raised money for local charities.

The Resolution Run 5K is expected to attract 300 runners to the course. A weather forecast that includes partly sunny skies and a very slight chance of rain will, hopefully, attract even more runners, said Jones.

The run is being orchestrated by Fun Run Racing, a company that facilitates various runs around the area. The cost to participate in the Resolution Run is $40 per runner for the 5K and $12.50 for the 1 mile run and walk. The top men and women in the run will win Running Store gift cards between $25 and $100. Random runners will receive “golden ticket” awards to encourage continued to participation in the event.

All 5K runners will get a long-sleeve race t-shirt and commemorative race bib. Those who do the 1-mile course will also receive a race t-shirt and will be able to keep their race bib.

‘Anderson’s North Pole’ offers free light show

christmas, lights, show

A Christmas light show that has become a tradition in Woodbridge is still open to view.

For the past two decades, the Anderson family has seen more than 4,700 vehicles travel through their homemade light show, “The Anderson’s North Pole.”

Work on the five-acre light show begins in late October, as family members begin to string lights on the five acres of property they call home. The show is free, and the Andersons put on the display each year “solely to see all of the smiles that it brings to others’ faces.”

Children that come through the light display receive candy canes. On some nights, Santa and some of his helpers are there to waive at passersby.

Theresa Anderson works at Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire in Woodbridge as a service writer. Owner ST Billingsley appreciates the Anderson family’s willingness to give to the community at the holidays.

“Theresa started working with us almost a year ago, so we’ve got access to all of the in and outs of what’s going on with their five-acre holiday lights extravaganza,” said Billingsley.

The Anderson’s North Pole is located at 15615 Bushey Drive, just off Cardinal Drive in Woodbridge. The light show will is open night nightly until Dec. 23. The show is closed on Christmas Eve so the Andersons can enjoy Christmas with their family.

This post is sponsored by Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire in Woodbridge.

JTC helps company clear big hurdle in transition to cloud

technology solutions networking enterprise

Michael Lynn is the co-owner and president of Soils and Environmental Services, Inc. (SES) located in Manassas.

The company supplies its clients with environmental management services, including soil interpretations, storm drains and wastewater system management. SES has been working with Jewell Technical Consulting, Inc. for nearly nine years.

JTC, Inc. helped move the company to the cloud.  

“Well, the problems we had before was keeping our data and our programs housed in-house. It was going to mean a costly equipment upgrade to be able to keep doing what we were doing and had the ability to expand.

Lynn said a move to the cloud became very attractive once he learned he wouldn’t be faced with costly equipment upgrades.

“So it [the Cloud] helped in two ways; one is it kept us from coming up with large amounts of cash for a capital expenditure and it let us budget our monthly expenses so that we’d know what our exposure would be every month, so that was the financial advantage,” said Lynn.

The cloud was let his employees be more productive wherever they are using smartphones and tablet computers.

“We have technicians that are on the road and we have people that live in some remote locations where teleworking one day a week or two days a work week saves us commuting time and makes them more productive,” said Lyons.

Problems with the SES’s internet service provider made the migration process difficult.

“[The internet service provider was] telling us that we had a certain level of service and the cloud wasn’t performing correctly and so we kind of got caught in a catch-22 for two or three months where JTC was saying ‘everything on our end is good’ and the internet service people were saying ‘everything on our end is good’ so we said that’s great but nothing’s working,” said Lynn.

Despite initial problems, JTC, Inc. rose to meet the challenges head on. “

We finally did narrow it down that it was the internet service provider and not JTC but JTC certainly stepped up and they were there at a moment’s call…,” Lynn explained, “I’ve also told John [the owner of JTC] that the only place I get better service than JTC is at Chick-fil-A…their customer response and customer service is one thing but customer care is another thing and they care.,” said Lynn.

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

Memories captured in 3D laser crystals make great gifts

Jerome's Laser CrystalsJermome's Laser CrystalsJermome's Laser Crystals

A daughter now has the image of her late father encapsulated in 3D crystal forever

Jerome Meadows captures memories in crystals using a laser engraving machine. When he met a young woman who wanted an image of her late father restored, and then laser etched into a 3D crystal, all of the training paid off.

“It was a young lady who came to me and told me that she had a niece that had lost her father at an early age. The lady said she found a picture in a photo album in her attic of the niece with her father, together. This lady wanted to surprise her niece, who is now an adult, with this image of her and her father engraved in crystal.

I took the photograph and restored it into a 3D format and engraved it into a three-dimensional cube. The lady came to pick up the crystal with her niece, and when the niece saw the crystal of her and her father she was amazed! The expression on her face was priceless! I will never forget how happy and emotional she was,” said Meadows.

The laser engraver came across the business of laser crystals by accident, after he missed a flight in his former job as a flight attendant.

“When I began with this business, I was a flight attendant with World Airways, Inc…we did military charters. I was on my way to Kuwait and I missed my flight out of Dulles Airport, and they put me on the next available flight that went through Dubai.

And when I got there, I was just killing time before my flight to Kuwait was called, and then I ran into the Duty-Free shop. That’s when I saw the laser crystal display. When I saw the laser crystals, and realized that now, people can have their image engraved and be immortalized in crystal, that’s when I was hooked,” said Meadows.

After doing extensive research, Meadows purchased a 3D laser engraving machine and spent over a month in China where he trained to use the machine.

“The crystal sits on a light base that has these tiny LED colored lights that shine through the crystal, and it spins around. At night, it’s really pretty,” he said.

Facial portraits are among the most popular pieces, along with images of famous celebrities, Prices range from $65 to $95.

Meadows sells this detailed crystal pieces on his website

The laser-engraved crystal keepsakes make great gifts for loved ones.

5 Winter Driving Tips to Keep You Safe on the Road

Winter has arrived early this season across the U.S.

Here’s what you can do now to prepare yourself and your vehicle for harsh winter driving.

1. Get enough rest?

It’s important when you’re driving in hot or cold weather that you get enough sleep the night before. It’s estimated that 100,000 crashes each year are attributed to drowsy driving. Drowsy driving also results in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in damage each year. Unlike a breathalyzer test that could detect the presence of alcohol on someone’s breath, no test exists to determine someones alertness on the road.

2. To warm up, open your garage door

We all like a nice warm car to climb into on those cold winter mornings, but make sure you open the garage door before starting up the car. The carbon monoxide emitted by your vehicle’s tailpipe is odorless, tasteless, and has no color.

Dubbed a “silent killer” the gas can build up inside your garage when the car is running. If exposed to large amounts, it can lead to brain damage or death. Last month, a Connecticut couple was found dead inside a parking garage “most likely…by carbon monoxide poisoning.

3. Pump up those tires

Properly inflated tires not only improve your gas milage that can also mean you car will have proper breaking distances and wear more evenly. In wintertime, cold temperatures make the air in your tires contract and your tires to lose air pressure.

With properly inflated tires, you’re tires are less likely to overheat and have a blowout on the road. You’ll also enjoy better control of your vehicle and improved braking distance.

4. Keep off cruise control

Insnow or on wet pavement, there’s always the possibility of spinouts or losing control of the car. The only way to regain control of the vehicle is to reduce the amount of power being output by the engine.

If you’re using cruise control and your car runs over a wet or icy patch of road, and you hydroplane or spin out, the cruise control setting will continue to apply the same amount of power to the car to maintain speed. That’s exactly what you don’t want.

5. Look and steer where you want to go

It might sound simple, but look and steer the car where you want it go. This comes in handy in the event you get caught in a slide.

If you get caught in one, release your brakes (they don’t work well on ice or snow, anyway) and then turn you steering wheel in the direction of the way the car is sliding. Then, keep looking in the direction you want to go and turn the wheel that way. If you turn too far you’ve “overcorrected” and that could cause the car to slide in the other direction.

The post is brought to you by Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire of Woodbridge.