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Letter to the Editor: Decatur will hold Stafford school division accountable

I am asking all my Griffis -Widewater friends and neighbors to vote Jamie Decatur on Tuesday, Nov. 8 for School Board.

We need new blood on the school board.  We need someone that will hold the division accountable, and we need someone that we, as the citizens, can hold accountable.

Her opponent served for way too many years and helped escalate the system into the financial mess we have now. We voted her out of office once, and now, believe it or not, she is asking us to put her back on the board again.  No way.

Jamie Decatur is exactly who we need to represent us on the School Board. Vote Decatur Nov 8th.  Please vote Jamie Decatur on Tuesday, November 8th for a better school board and better future for our children.

Letter to the Editor: Stafford County School Board has a long way to go

The Stafford County School Board has been making progress on becoming a school division of which we can all be proud. They still have a long way to go, but finally, they are headed in the right direction.

Over the last 12 years, the school division has been headed in the wrong direction. Crowded classrooms, understaffed schools, lack of parity throughout the division, and financial & legal scandals had become the norm.

The Griffis-Widewater District is in desperate need of a voice on the School Board that will work to continue moving the division forward. Jamie Decatur is the leader we need to be that voice, to be an advocate to help those on the board working to improve our schools.

With Jamie on the School Board, the Griffis-Widewater district will have a leader we can all count on. Jamie will not just represent her friends or those with the political connections that seek to only benefit themselves. Jamie will work hard on everyone’s behalf to ensure the schools that serve the Griffis-Widewater district are worthy of our proud community.

Please vote for the leader that will be committed to representing all of us, especially the Griffis-Widewater district, vote for Jamie Decatur on November 8.

Reader supports Jamie Decatur for Stafford School Board

Stafford’s voters spoke loud and clear last year in the Griffis-Widewater school board race. 

Hopefully, they’ll do the right thing, yet again, as they select their school board representative in less than two weeks.  Stafford families deserve a representative with fresh ideas and 21st-century thinking to solve 21st-century education challenges.  Someone with a vested interest in seeing the school division continue on its  critical path the excellence.  

Jamie Decatur is that candidate.   Please vote Decatur for Griffis-Widewater School Board. 

Please vote Decatur for Griffis-Widewater School Board. 

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Potomac Region Veterans Council gets new chairman

Charles P. “Chuck” Wilson, Colonel, USAF, Ret., was elected as Chairman of the Potomac Region Veterans Council. Wilson, also the Commander and executive Director of VFW Post 7916 in Occoquan, is a Aerospace Business Consultant with the Goyak Group, and a business executive who has been with L-3 Communications, and the Raytheon Company. Wilson completed a distinguished Air Force career that includes three Command tours (chief executive) at multiple Command levels, served in key positions within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, The Joint Staff, and the US Department of State. Additionally, he was a U-2 pilot, U-2 instructor pilot, Director of U-2 operations, and Commander that piloted highly sensitive missions worldwide.

The Potomac Region Veterans Council (PRVC) was formed in June 1972 to coordinate and promote the common good of veterans of the Northern Virginia area and to honor our fallen comrades on Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day. The Council today represents over 15,000 veterans in 29 different veterans’ organizations.

The Council proudly sponsors the “Avenue of Honor” at Quantico National Cemetery. The Avenue of Honor is erected every Memorial Day and Veterans Day and is made up entirely of flags donated by families of deceased veterans. The flag poles used are not provided by the Veterans Administration. The flags are displayed on flagpoles donated entirely by families, organizations, towns and private individuals. The original design for the “Avenue of Honor” included only 80 flag poles. Today over 200 flags are flown. The project continues to expand from the main gate to every corner of the cemetery.

The Council is in the planning stages for the November 11 Veterans Day Ceremony at Quantico National Cemetery where General Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps, will provide the keynote address. The ceremony begins at 10:30 and all are invited.

Delegate Rich Anderson to host 2017 Future Delegate Program

The office of Virginia State Delegate Richard L. Anderson (R-51) has announced that the Prince William County legislator will again host his popular and competitive annual “51st House District Future Delegate Program” at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond during the months of January and February 2017.

The program is open to public, private, and home-schooled students from grades 7 through 12. The 51st House District stretches from Occoquan Town westward through Lake Ridge, the county portions of Manassas, and into Brentsville and Nokesville.

All students are welcome to participate, regardless of party affiliation or views. The Future Delegate Program focuses solely on the legislative process and exposes students and families to legislative life in Richmond. The goal is for students to return home after a full day in Richmond with a greater appreciation for the public policy process. Anderson’s goal is to motivate students to pursue public service as their chosen profession as an adult.

Future Delegate Lyndon Johnson (center) and father-2

On November 12, from 2-3:30pm, Anderson will host an orientation for prospective student participants in the chambers at the McCoart Government Center at 1 County Complex Court, Woodbridge, VA. At that time, he and his staff will brief students and families on the program, answer questions, and accept applications for the program.

Since 2013 Anderson’s dedication to inspiring future leaders has led him to host over 200 students at the Capitol under his Future Delegate Program. The delegate stated that “seeing the excitement and interest that students have about a future in public service makes this program one I am happy to continue offering.”

The intent is that only one student will participate each day, so that they experience quality time with their elected representative and are able to focus fully on the legislative process.

Anderson further stated that “I look forward to welcoming our next group of students to Richmond in January and February. I am excited for the next generation of leadership in our Commonwealth to engage in Virginia’s legislative process first-hand. I hope that this program will inspire them to seriously consider a career in public service.”

The program is managed by Anderson’s 51st Outreach Coordinator, Mrs. Kristina Schnack Kotlus, who can be reached at

Bull Run Rotary Club gives $5,000 to students for musical instruments

MANASSAS, Va. – The Bull Run Rotary Club members were touched when they heard about the talents and wish lists of Osbourn High School Music Department.

Theresa Coates Ellis, President, Bull Run Rotary Club said, “Music contributes so much to the education of the whole student. Our club had an opportunity to apply for a Rotary District 7610 grant for $2,500 to set a plan in motion to buy new instruments.”

After working with club members, teachers and administrators to submit the application, the grant for $2,500 was awarded in the fall for the purchase of a piccolo, clarinet, euphonium, baritones and other instruments. The Bull Run Rotary Club members approved a grant match for another $2,500.

The $5,000 was presented to the Manassas City Public Schools (MCPS) Music Department, Carol Hartt, Coordinator of GT, AP, World Languages & Fine Arts, (MCPS) and the MCPS Band and Orchestra teachers for the new instruments at the MCPS School Board meeting.

Rotarians were all smiles as the grateful music teachers received the $5,000 award for the students.

Ellis said, “We heard about a need in the community and the Rotary did something about it. The District grant was approved because the musical instruments met our criteria for an area of focus with sustainability.”

The Rotary Club is the oldest service organization in the world with the motto, “Service above Self.” The club’s membership represents business and professional men and women that work with community needs and assist with Rotary International’s (RI) humanitarian service efforts.

Visit a Bull Run Rotary Club meeting as a guest to learn more about what we do.

Manassas Boy Scout receives scouting honor

Eugene Hoitt, 19, of Manassas, VA has been inducted into the National Youth Leadership Society Class of 2016 by the Boy Scouts of America. Less than ten Scouts and Venturers in the Washington, DC Metro Region have been awarded this very rare recognition.

Unlike more familiar Scouting awards such as the Eagle Scout award, the National Youth Leadership Society is managed through the national office of the Boy Scouts of America and relies upon nominations from Boy Scout councils in the local communities. Nomination criteria include earning the highest awards in Scouting. Hoitt earned the Eagle Scout award and the Silver Award, capstone awards from both the Boy Scout program as well as the Venturing Program. In addition, nominees must take considerable amounts of leadership training, and give back to their fellow Scouts through serving in multiple leadership roles. It is the aim of the National Youth Leadership Society to recognize the youth members of the BSA who have provided elite levels of leadership skills and selfless service to others.

Hoitt’s journey towards this nomination stretch back nearly a decade ago when he first became a Boy Scout in 2007 and took on his first leadership position, Patrol Leader in Troop 1182 in Manassas. Later he served the troop as their Senior Patrol Leader and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. He currently serves the troop as a member of their Troop Committee.

In addition, he helped form Venturing Crew 617 in Manassas. Unlike the more familiar Boy Scouting program, Venturing is open to boys and girls ages 14-20. It is also entirely youth led. Hoitt served as the President of Crew 617 in 2012, and the President of the Bull Run District (northern Prince William County) in 2013. In that year he also served as the Area Vice President where he supported a territory which includes Northern Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania and the United States Virgin Islands. Currently, he serves as the incumbent council Youth President of the National Capital Area Council’s Venturing Officer Association, and is a member of the Council’s Executive Board.

When he is not Scouting, Hoitt is an avid fan of history, he is currently in his final year at Northern Virginia Community College where he is vigorously been pursuing a degree in education. Hoitt hopes to leverage the leadership experience he’s learned through Scouting to help make history come alive to the students of tomorrow.

Letter to the Editor: If my religious liberties are in jeopardy, then technically so are yours

Secretary Clinton cannot have it both ways regarding the WikiLeaks hacking claims.  It either did or did not happen.  Her response to the “public and private face” she had an answer too.  But we are being told other leaks are from “Russia.”  

Some of these leaks have come from her most inner circle.  An inner circle whose words have become extremely derogatory towards Catholics and Evangelicals.  In order to preserve the religious liberties I hold dearly, I must err on the side of caution and now speak to now protect them.

If my religious liberties are in jeopardy, then technically so are yours.  During my tiny little existence in this world, I have had many experiences of love, hope, joy, and charity.  Many of such are religious experiences that tie us together including baptisms, bar mitzvahs, weddings, funerals, ordinations of Catholic priests and Protestants ministers, among many others.  I have experienced Catholics, and Muslims peacefully share their beliefs with one another, including a journey after death.  My shared beliefs with friends have been put into action by helping to organize a bar mitzvah party, and to light candles under a statute of Our Lady of Fatima for the “journey” of both Muslims and Catholics.  If Catholics and Evangelicals are under attack today – then what religion, person, organization, institution, group, or country tomorrow?

A vote for Donald Trump, a flawed person as we all are, is now a vote for all religious liberties.  If we begin to chip away at our first amendment, the second will follow.  After the number one comes the number two, and so on.  Once our religious liberties have been taken from us, next will be our right to bear arms. 

Our religious ideologies are part of our great country and her diversity. Please help me to be allowed to continue to pray on my knees for God, family, and country.  Peace.

Cathy McCoart

City of Manassas Recyclefest November 5

 The City of Manassas is celebrating America Recycles Day, with a Fall Recyclefest, Saturday November 5, 2016, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Manassas Transfer Station located at 8305 Quarry Road, in Manassas.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average U.S. household generates more than twenty (20) pounds of household hazardous waste per year. In 2015, City of Manassas residents dropped off a total of more than one hundred twenty three (123) tons of recyclable material at nine (9) household hazardous waste and electronic waste drop off days held at the Manassas Transfer Station.

During Recyclefest, City residents can drop of household hazardous waste, electronic waste and shred up to four (4) boxes of their paper documents, for free. Proof of residency is required to enter and no commercial waste will be accepted.

This year, we are delighted to have a special recycling guest. Savers™ is a well-established recycling power house that collects gently used clothing, accessories and household goods and helps to support communities by donating part of the proceeds to a local organization. This year, the Martin K. Alloy Boys & Girls Club of Manassas will receive a donation based on the total weight of the recycled items they receive.

The continued support of our community makes RecycleFest the best recycling event in the City’s history. We’ve even received national recognition from Keep America Beautiful for a job well done.

Become part of the new classic recycling event in the City of Manassas – drop in and drop off at RecycleFest! For more information call (703) 257-8252.

New 10-week support group explores fatherhood, relationship strategies

The Prince William County Fatherhood Initiative will start a new fatherhood support group on Monday, November 7, to help fathers become the best parent they can be. Any father in Prince William County can attend the group meetings for free.

The meetings will take place on Monday evenings from 7pm to 8:30pm at the A.J Ferlazzo Building in Woodbridge (15941 Donald Curtis Drive, Woodbridge, VA 22191). The group will explore various topics that impact parenting, such as encouragement, education support, co-parenting relationships, and discipline strategies. Interested participants should seek information or register by emailing

The Prince William County Fatherhood Initiative’s mission is to empower fathers to do what is in the best interest of their children. When fathers are involved in the lives of their children, especially their education, kids learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior, according to proven research.

The Initiative is led by a Steering Committee made up of social service professionals and community partners to administer programs that engage parents with their children. In addition to the Initiative’s 10-week long support group, the Initiative also hosts an annual “Dad’s Play Day” event to celebrate Father’s Day and a “Daddy-Daughter Dance” to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

You can learn more about the Prince William County Fatherhood Initiative by visiting .

Surovell: The ‘right-to-work’ proposal is a bad policy

On November 8, you can vote on two state constitutional amendments that require voter approval, in addition to voting for President and U.S. Congress.  There are also local measures on the ballot in some counties.  

One constitutional amendment is relatively non-controversial and would allow localities to exempt property owned by the widow of a killed-in-action first responder from real estate taxes.  Two years ago, Virginians approved similar treatment for the widows of killed-in-action soldiers.  I support giving our localities this authority and voted “yes.”

The second amendment is very controversial and very confusing as written on the ballot.

In 1947, Virginia adopted a law commonly labeled a “right-to-work” law.  This law prohibits labor unions from negotiating contracts with employers that require all employees to join labor unions as a condition of employment.  This practice results in what is sometimes called a “union shop.”    

No legislator has even introduced legislation to repeal this statute in at least three decades.  If they did, it would be a waste of time because it would not pass.  This might lead you to ask why is this on the ballot when has been Virginia law for almost 70 years and no one has tried to repeal it?  

This proposal is part of a multi-state campaign to constitutionalize similar provisions and is organized nationally by a group called the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC.  ALEC is funded by various large corporations and think tanks and has advocated model laws to weaken environmental protections, promote mandatory voter identification and weaken firearm violence prevention laws.  Provisions along these lines are on the ballot in five states on November 8, 2016.

I voted against placing this measure on the ballot as your Senator and voted “no” two weeks ago (I voted by mail).  

Constitutions are fundamental governing documents that set forth fundamental rules of governance between people, branches of government and between different levels of government.  We do not put every policy in our state constitution for a good reason. For example, we do not put alcoholic beverage rules, the definition of murder, or speed limits in our state constitution.  

The “right-to-work” proposal is also bad policy.  Workers in states with right-to-work laws earn 12.1 percent less than workers in other states, median household incomes are lower and fewer workers in right to work states have access to basic benefits like health insurance.  States with right to work laws spend 32 percent less on K-12 education than other states, have higher rates of workplace fatalities and have higher poverty and infant mortality rates.  Workers in these states also have fewer job protections.

I hope you will join me in voting against this provision.  

It is an honor to serve as your state senator.  You can email me at if you have any feedback.

North Stafford High School Marching Band Invitational is September 24


On Saturday, September 24th beginning at 10:00 AM the 34th Annual North Stafford High School Marching Band Invitational will be held at North Stafford’s A.J. Slye Stadium.

One of the longest running marching competitions in Virginia, this year’s event will feature performances by 20 different marching bands from all over Virginia. Performances will occur approximately every 15 minutes with an exhibition performance by North Stafford’s own Big Blue Marching Band at 4:30 pm. An awards ceremony will follow where judges will award competitive categories by school size.

General admission is $6 with discounts based on age and North Stafford students will receive a discount with ID while Stafford County middle school students will receive free admission if they wear their band shirt.

This event is run by the North Stafford Band Boosters, a non-profit organization that raises funds for the North Stafford High School Band program under the direction and guidance of Mr. Chris Mallory, the new Director of Bands at North Stafford High School

GMU to honor retired Virginia State Senator Charles J. Colgan with statute

The public is invited to the unveiling of the statue honoring retired Virginia State Senator, Charles J. Colgan, on Sunday, September 25, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. This free event will be held at Colgan Hall on George Mason University’s Science and Technology Campus, 10900 University Blvd., Manassas. This will be the Senator’s 90th birthday. There is no charge but please RSVP to or 703-993-4705.

Mr. Colgan has contributed greatly to the Commonwealth of Virginia serving 40 years before his retirement in the Virginia Senate preceded by four years on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. He is the longest serving Virginia Senator in the history of the Commonwealth.

The Gala Tribute Committee, composed of business, community, and civic leaders from across the region, held an evening gala in September 2015 to honor the Senator. Committee Co-Chairmen David Brickley, Jimmy Hazel, and Mike Carlin will lead a short program to include the unveiling of the statue of Senator Colgan.

Throughout his long career, Mr. Colgan was involved with numerous initiatives including: freezing college tuition and investing in higher education; the initial funding of George Mason University’s Prince William Campus and the Rt. 234 Bypass; the abolition of the dishonest parole system; pro-family, pro-work Welfare reform, and supporting the recruitment of Micron.

U.S. Senator Timothy Kaine stated at the gala last fall,There are few Virginians who have contributed as much to our Commonwealth as Chuck Colgan. A lifelong public servant whose leadership in the General Assembly and the business community has been an inspiration to me and so many others, Chuck raised the bar in a way that will be greatly missed in Richmond.”

Please join The Colgan Tribute Committee in the unveiling of the statue honoring Virginia State Senator, Retired, Charles J. Colgan, for his unparalleled lifetime of public service to the people of Manassas, Manassas Park, Prince William County, the Commonwealth, and the United States of America.

Occoquan Police Chief, Town Sergeant Sheldon Levi to retire

During the September 6, 2016 Occoquan Town Council meeting, Occoquan Police Chief and Town Sergeant Sheldon Levi announced his retirement effective December 3, 2016, after more than six years in these positions. Levi first joined the Town of Occoquan as an Auxiliary officer in 2007, and was appointed Chief in 2010, following Occoquan Town Sergeant Mary Brown’s departure.  In June 2013, Levi, in addition to his police responsibilities, was appointed as Acting Town Manager, while the Town Council conducted a search for a permanent appointment to the position.

Levi is the Town’s only full-time police officer and, during his tenure, expanded the Town’s Auxiliary Officer program in an effort to reduce cost and increase police coverage and availability. Prior to his appointment, the Town employed anywhere from one to three full-time or part-time officers at various times throughout the department’s history. In addition, Levi is the Town’s first Chief of Police with the Town’s previous chief law enforcement officer being designated as Town Sergeant.

“Chief Levi has been much more than the Town’s chief law enforcement official in his tenure with the Town of Occoquan,” said Mayor Elizabeth A.C. Quist. “He has been an integral member of Town staff during a period of growth and transition, and I offer sincerest congratulations to him on his pending retirement. He will certainly be missed.”

Levi began his law enforcement career in the City of Falls Church, VA as a Deputy Sheriff with the Falls Church Sheriff’s Office.  Since that time, he has held law enforcement positions with the Towns of Haymarket and Quantico, before coming to Occoquan.  In addition, Levi served as an Auxiliary Police Sergeant with the City of New York Police Department, served as a certified EMT, and provided and taught fire service photography.

“I have been serving as your Chief of Police and Town Sergeant for over six years, but the time has come for me to open a new chapter in my life,” Levi stated during the meeting. “It has been an absolute honor and pleasure to work for the Town of Occoquan…and I will miss working at the best job I have ever held.”

The Occoquan Town Council will conduct a search to find Levi’s replacement throughout the coming weeks.

David Brickley appointed to federal C&O Canal National Historical Park Commission

Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell has appointed David G. Brickley of Woodbridge, Virginia, and president of the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance, to a 5-year term as a member of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Commission.

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Commission is composed of 19 members and was established by Congress to advise the Secretary and the National Park Service on policies and matters relating to the administration and development of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. Mr. Brickley’s appointment was a recommendation of Commonwealth of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

David Brickley noted: “I am honored by this appointment by Secretary of Interior Jewell and I thank Governor McAuliffe for his recommendation. The 184-mile C&O Canal Towpath along the Potomac River is one of the great historic and recreational jewels of America. We must insure that it continues to receive the support and care required for enjoyment by current and future generations.”

In addition to serving as the founding president of the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance which is leading the effort for a 1,300-mile on-road and off-road trail connecting the three September 11, 2001 national memorials, Mr. Brickley is an attorney in Northern Virginia. He previously served from 1998 to 2001 as Director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation which was awarded recognition as the “Best Managed State Park System in America” under his leadership. From 1967 to 1998 David Brickley was an elected member of the Virginia House of Delegates. He was best known for sponsoring legislation creating the Virginia Railway Express, Virginia’s commuter rail system; as well as chief sponsor of legislation enacting Virginia’s Child Health Insurance program, and authorization for elected school boards in the Commonwealth. Mr. Brickley’s prior military service included a tour in Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star.

Two Manassas Soroptimists recognized for 40 Years of membership

Manassas, VA—Soroptimist International of Manassas recognized two of its members for forty years of membership in the local volunteer organization. Audrey Moore of Manassas and Linda Simms of Nokesville were both presented with a pin at the club’s recent membership meeting.

Founded in 1956, the Manassas club is part of Soroptimist International of the Americas, a global organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. Manassas members join with almost 80,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories to support community-based projects benefiting women and girls.

Moore and Simms have been active in the club’s programs since joining. Soroptimist’s current major program is the Live Your Dream Award, which is an annual grant for a woman w! ho is the primary breadwinner for her family and is seeking additional education or training. The Manassas club also provides regular support for the ACTS Safe House through donations of food and hygiene items. Reflecting on her involvement in the club, Moore said, “The club puts a lot into the community, and I get a lot out of being a member. It’s a win-win for everyone!”

Soroptimist International of Manassas president Vicki Latimer made the presentation. [pictured] Simms said after receiving her pin, “Little did I know when joining this club that I would be a member for forty years. I joined because my employer encouraged their managers to be involved in community service. Soroptimist has been a perfect fit for me. I formed friendships immediately and have found being involved in community outreach to be personally rewarding.”

For more information about Soroptimist International of Manassas, please contact

Prince William GOP collects school supplies

As students prepare for the start of a new school year, the Prince William County Republican Committee and Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (VA-10) conducted a back-to-school supply drive to benefit some of the County’s neediest students. The Committee collected a large amount of supplies and delivered them on Wednesday to Parkside Middle School and Sinclair Elementary School, both in Manassas.

“I thank the Prince William County Republican Committee for putting this important back-to-school supply drive together and helping the students of Prince William County grow academically,” said Congresswoman Comstock. “It was an honor to join the initiative. These supplies will help low-income families, so every child has the tools for success. I hope the Prince William County community has a wonderful year of learning.”

This is the third year that local Republicans have collected supplies for Title 1 schools or schools with a high population of low-income students. They donated to Occoquan Elementary School and Rippon Middle School in 2015 and Vaughn Elementary School and Fred Lynn Middle School in 2014. Title I schools are academic institutions with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families.

The Prince William Republicans are grateful to be able to serve the community throughout the year through various projects and activities,” said GOP Chairwoman Dottie Miller. “This school supply drive is a great way for us to use private sector resources to support education, because these students will be Prince William’s leaders of tomorrow.

Items collected included backpacks, pens, no. 2 pencils, water-based markers, glue sticks, three-ring binders,

pocket folders, and loose-leaf notebook paper. Any Prince William County resident can participate in the Committee’s Community Service Initiatives no matter what their political affiliation is.

Dumfries Applebee’s helps authors launch new book

F. Sharon Swope and Genilee Swope Parente have sent Private Investigator Sam Osborne on yet another quest in Treasured Fate, the fourth book of The Fate Series. In the current book, Sam helps a farmer friend who advertises for a wife and gets a lot more: a battle against a murderer and a search for a missing treasure.

The Dumfries, VA Applebee’s is helping the authors celebrate by inviting local residents to the launch of the book September 15.

Swope and Parente are a mother/daughter duo who began writing late in life: Swope is now 88 and Parente is 62. Since the successful launch of the first book in the series, Twist of Fate, the two have made it their mission to encourage others to seek their dreams regardless of age or other limitations. Swope is legally blind from macular degeneration and is physically limited, yet she and her daughter have traveled all over Northern Virginia to speak and to sell their books.

“I never could have imagined that I’d have a book series as well as a book of short stories published in just a few years,” Swope said.

Both Swope and Parente have always wanted to publish fiction, but didn’t make the dream come to life until inspiration came from the success of children’s book author Allyn M. Stotz, who is another of Swope’s daughters and who now has six books under her belt. Although the elder Fate Series author has always been creative and active, pursuing quilting, painting, pottery and genealogy, just to name a few, she also has had numerous characters and plots running around in her head.

“Getting them down on paper and into the minds of readers is a joy,” she said. “I would encourage anyone who has wanted to write their stories to find a way to make it happen—hopefully before they are 82 years old!”

Swope was a columnist and helped to run her hometown newspaper in Ohio with her husband for most of her career. Parente is a full-time freelance writer and editor, who is working on her own young adult series.

The Dumfries Applebee’s hosted book three of the series, Violet Fate. The restaurant is acknowledged in several of the Fate Series books because the authors meet there regularly to fine-tune their mysteries.

“The staff has had to listen to us come up with devious new ways to kill off characters, steal, kidnap, hide evidence and now, hide and retrieve a treasure. We figure they’ve been part of our story,” Parente said.

The book launch is 4 to 7 at 3330 Pine Bluff Drive, Dumfries, VA.

Stafford’s Adventure Brewing expands to Fredericksburg

In January 2016 Adventure Brewing Company purchased Blue & Gray Brewing Company, the oldest brewery in the Fredericksburg area. 

Since that time, the team from Adventure Brewing has kept the Blue and Gray moniker while the transition of federal and state licensing has taken place. As of July 16, the official name will become Adventure Brewing South.

The brewery celebrated the move at its first annual Adventure Summer Fest on Saturday, July 16 at the new location:, 3300 Dill Smith Drive in Fredericksburg. 

Beers from Adventure and other area breweries such as Foothills Brewing, N.C., James River Brewing; Maltese; Forge Brew were featured. 

Adventure Brewing Company opened in May 2014 as the first Stafford County brewery since 1766 and with a 3-barrel brewing system. Early into their second year of business, owners, Stan Johnson, Tim Bornholtz and John Viarella realized that the supply was not meeting the demand for their four flagship beers and the stream of seasonal and specialty beers that Adventure was producing under the guiding hand of Brian Link. 

They began to seek opportunities to increase production. Enter Blue & Gray and the rumors of a sale. The owners of Adventure and the owner of Blue & Gray found a clear way forward to expand the Adventure production capacity and provide a smooth pathway to retirement for Blue & Gray’s owner, Jeff Fitzpatrick.

The purchase of Blue & Gray increases Adventure’s brewing capacity from a 3 barrel to a 20-barrel system. The advantage of the larger systems was immediately felt. 

Stafford County is now a growing name within the Virginia craft brewery scene, with Adventure beer being served in restaurants around Stafford County and Fredericksburg. Adventure Brewing is ready and has the capacity to share their love of beer to a wider audience.

Prince William Science Accelerator welcomes Celetrix, LLC

From Prince William County Department of Economic Development: 

Adding to its growing portfolio of life sciences companies, the Prince William Science Accelerator is set to welcome yet another resident – Celetrix LLC (Celetrix) – a biotechnology company. The company will be the fifth tenant located within the brand new wet lab facility.

“We view our decision to locate in the Prince William Science Accelerator as critical to our continued success. Our new location allows us the opportunity to foster and leverage relationships with other tenants within the Science Accelerator,” said Celetrix Chief Executive Officer, Jian Chen. “Moreover, it places us within close proximity to strategic assets in Innovation Park such as the National Institutes of Health Biomedical Research Laboratory, the Virginia Department of Forensic Sciences Northern Laboratory as well as George Mason University’s (Mason’s) Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine; while enjoying the benefits of a cost effective, state-of-the art wet lab space; and access to a talent pipeline that is second to none.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Celetrix to our diverse and growing life sciences community here in Prince William County,” said Jeff Kaczmarek, Executive Director, Prince William County Department of Economic Development. “When we launched the Science Accelerator in 2014, it was generally anticipated that it would be a success based on the expressed need for commercially available wet lab space in the County. However, the fact that we are approaching full occupancy within such a short space of time, has been a welcome boon.”

“The mix of life sciences companies we’ve attracted are all at various stages of research, development and/or commercialization within their respective specialties, which allows for more meaningful information sharing and mentorship that can make a material difference in the success of early stage companies. This is what we envisioned when we embarked on this initiative and I am happy to see it come to fruition,” added Kaczmarek.

Celetrix’s flagship product is an electroporator which is used to deliver DNA, RNA and proteins into cells. Electroporators are widely used in the study and application of molecular and cellular biology, immunology, hematology, neuroscience, cancer research and drug discovery. However, Celetrix’s device is decidedly unique. Whereas traditional electroporators can be highly toxic to cells due to the destruction of cell membranes when delivering DNA, RNA and proteins into cells, the Celetrix electroporator solves this problem, thereby achieving high-efficiency, low-toxicity electroporation. The company has already achieved success in marketing its electroporator within the United States and increasing sales foretell a breakthrough year in 2016. Most recently, Celetrix was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant in the amount of $186,180.

About Celetrix LLC
Celetrix LLC was founded in 2012 in Virginia to commercialize new types of high efficiency electroporators. The company has a team of accomplished biomedical scientists. Celetrix has revamped the traditional procedures of cell electroporation with the introduction of innovative electroporation devices and methods. Besides the electroporation products, Celetrix provides development services to biotech companies and research institutions. Celetrix is also a proud participant of the NIH SBIR/STTR grant program. To learn more visit:

To learn more from the Prince William County Department of Economic Development, Virginia Science and Technology entrepreneurs are invited to attend a Lunch & Learn with Lab Tours to be held at Mason’s Science and Technology Campus, from 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 pm on September 22, 2016. To receive E-Newsletters visit us at: or follow us on Twitter @PWCDED.

Local Authors Unite to Sell Books and Donate to Cancer Charity

Eight authors from Write by the Rails, the Prince William County chapter of the Virginia Writers Club, are scheduled to appear on July 30, 2016, at McKay Used Books in Manassas, Virginia, where they will donate $1 of each book sale to the American Cancer Society. Authors will sign copies of their books to patrons and thank them for their contributions to cancer care and research.

Scheduled to attend are Antonia Kilday, Natalina Reis, Zachary and Mickey Tamer, P.M. Hernandez, Carol Covin, Maria Yeager, Lincoln Farish, and Victor Rook. These authors have written books in a wide range of genres: romance, mystery, poetry, children’s books, sci-fi, horror, and more. Organizer Victor Rook explains why they’ve decided to make this event a charitable event.

“In the past year we’ve lost two of our members to various forms of cancer. Most recently we lost Robert F. Dorr, author of over 75 books on aviation and hundreds of articles. In October of 2015 we lost author Marvin Josaitis. Both attended last year’s group signing at McKay’s. We’ve also had several of our current members touched by cancer over the past few years.”

Author Carol Covin is one of those members, and she will be signing copies of her book “Who Gets to Name Grandma?” Carol had received treatment for breast cancer and is also working on a book documenting her experience titled “Cancer Should Come with a Secretary.”

The “Super Summer Author Fair” will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., July 30, 2016, at McKay Used Books, 8345 Sudley Rd., Manassas, VA 20109.

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