Big News Right Now:
May 3, 2013 7:56 am
Bull Run Regional Library, at 8051 Ashton Avenue in Manassas, is pleased to offer the second annual Local Author Fair on Saturday, May 4 from 2-4 pm. Come meet local authors who call Prince William and our neighboring communities home. Doors open at 2 pm. Chat with the authors and purchase books until 4 pm. Authors attending have written mysteries, fantasy, children’s books, teen novels, self-help, historical fiction and more! Scheduled to attend:
Edward R. Janusz
Margaret P. Johnston
June Pair Kilpatrick
Ellen H. Korin
Genilee Swope Parente
Tamela J. Ritter
Maria D. Stewart
F. Sharon Swope
No registration is required. Everyone is welcome.
May 3, 2013 7:48 am
By URIAH KISER
How do you spruce up a neighborhood that’s about to turn 50-years-old?
In Manassas’ Georgetown South neighborhood, residents bought sod, paint, and during a community clean-up effort, residents and volunteers worked together to make their neighborhood a better place to live.
Saturday marked the second year residents came together for a neighborhood clean-up aptly named “Your Pride Outside Spring.” A total of 22 households bought a combined 458 rolls of sod from Georgetown South’s non-profit homeowners association – each of the sod rolls were wrapped in 10-square-foot rolls. The residents then got help installing the new grass from the neighborhood’s maintenance staff.
“None of this would have been possible or practical had it not been for Centreville Sod and Tim Demeria, who gave us an incredible and very cost effective price. This is all part of our ‘cleaning up’ the community as a whole, which we started doing intensively last year,” said Meg Carroll, with the homeowner’s association. “This phase has the owners and residents doing much of the work on their own homes, rather than volunteers (as has been the case in the past) to create a send of pride in their houses and the community.”
Located just outside Old Town Manassas, Georgetown South was the brainchild of the 1960s, when a developer with their sights set on Manassas wanted to construct colonial-style row houses that resembled those in Washington’s famed Georgetown neighborhood. Early advertising for the neighborhood that appeared in the town’s old newspaper, The Manassas Journal Messenger, marketed elegant homes located just south of the nation’s capital.
On the Georgetown South Homeowner’s Association’s website, some of the text used in those early advertisements is still featured.
“Each street is a picture of beauty. Each home varies in materials, colors, and shape from its neighbors…exactly like the expensive houses of Georgetown,” states the website.
But now as the neighborhood is set to commemorate its 50th anniversary next year, Georgetown South has become known for crime, drugs, and is often mentioned in city police reports. That image is something Carroll, and many who live there, are trying to change.
In recent years, the homeowners association has touted needed improvements that have been made, including:
- Increased lighting on the common areas to encourage community engagement and discourage crime
- Creation of a fitness walk on the outer perimeter of Georgetown South to offer as an amenity to our residents
- Expansion of existing play areas to accommodate special needs
- Organization of a passive, but effective Neighborhood Watch
In March, the Early Head Start Child Development Center in the neighborhood became the first in the state to earn a coveted five-star rating. The neighborhood now also has a pediatric center inside its community center.
In addition to the installation of sod and new paint, a community health fair, and a yard sale was also held Saturday. Organizers said it was a great way for residents to clean out their homes and help make someone’s old trash someone’s new treasure.
May 3, 2013 7:42 am
Christina Ross is $2,000 richer today. But the Manassas teacher who was honored by the Virginia Lottery says her work with students is far more rewarding than any cash prize.
Ross, a civics teacher at Osbourn Park High School, is a Virginia Lottery’s “Super Teacher of the Year” for 2013. She was presented a $2,000 check Wednesday in front of her students, fellow teachers, and local school officials who gathered inside the school’s library to surprise her.
In addition to the cash, Ross also received a voucher for $2,000 in school supplies for her classroom from the Supply Room Companies.
“The only reason I’m a great teacher is because I have great students,” a surprised Ross told her students and the rest of those inside the library.
“You guys make me great, but I’m sharing any of the money,” she joked.
Once a legislative aide on Capitol Hill, Ross took up teaching high school six years ago. Always driven to serve the community and to instill the same values in her students, her class on Wednesday also started “Kicks for Kids,” a non-profit organization set up entirely by students to help drive donations of footwear and coats for needy children in the region.
“I really like the way she encourages us to get out into the community, to get outside our school, visit other schools, and see how we can help make an impact in our community,” said Katherine Davis, 18, a student in Ross’ class.
Many other students said Ross is able to connect with them because she’s passionate about what she teaches.
“Her enthusiasm is great, and she gives us the freedom to come up with these different projects,” said 17-year-old Effie Smith.
Last year Ross’ students collected 350 pairs of shoes and $2,500 in donations for Kicks for Kids. Students this year hope to top that.
Ross was nominated for the award by Assistant Principal Cassandra Crawford who commended her on her use of technology in the classroom.
“She utilizes Voicethread, a web-based application, to ‘flip’ her classroom. She also uses Twitter to engage students in virtual Socratic seminars,” penned Crawford in a nomination letter to the Virginia Lottery.
“Super Teachers” at Signal Hill Elementary School in Manasass, and at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Woodbridge in 2009 have also been recognized.
Later this fall, eight other “Super Teachers” from schools across Virginia will be entered for the chance to win $5,000 in supplies for their classroom from the Supply Room Companies.
May 3, 2013 7:37 am
By MARY ROSENTHOL
Richard D. Sword was scheduled to appear in Manassas District Court this morning. But he didn’t show.
He and his brother Jerry L. Sword were arrested on murder charges in early November after the burned body of Manassas resident Anthony Bailey was found in Old Town Manassas.
Today, instead of appearing in front of Judge William D. Hamblin and entering a plea, Sword was in Fairfax County Juvenile Court for lack of child support payment.
Several of Anthony Bailey’s family members sat in the courtroom waiting to see Sword receive his sentence. They expressed frustration at the poor handle of Bailey’s case and the lack of co-ordination between Fairfax County and Prince William County. One family member said it’s like Bailey just died again each time the case is back in court.
Judge Hamblin rescheduled the hearing for June 13 at 10 a.m. Bailey’s family members said they plan to be in attendance yet again waiting to see justice served.
The body of the 44-year-old victim, Anthony Bailey, was discovered in a vacant parking lot in the 9000 block of Church Street, near the Olde Towne Inn, shortly after 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, October 30, 2012.
The Sword brothers were identified through investigation and later observed on security video putting Mr. Bailey into a van owned by Richard Sword, police said. Richard Sword was then seen on the video driving the van to the parking lot where Mr. Bailey’s body was later found, removing Bailey, and setting him on fire, police stated.
Instead of facing murder charges, the Sword brothers will be tried for improper disposal of human remains and are eligible for a $5,000 bond. If found guilty; both men could face up to five years in jail.
May 3, 2013 7:36 am
Someone is using the telephone to harass residents of Manassas and Prince William County falsely stating he’s raising money for the Manassas Police Department.
But officials said the department is not making these calls, and it does not hire third-party fundraisers to garner cash for its police officers.
The calls sound like this:
- The caller seems impatient, pushy or rude. He or she might also be overly complimentary, try to tug on your heartstrings, or try to relate to you in a specific way through what is called forced teaming (“You’re a vet, I’m a vet – let’s help other veterans like us.”)
- The caller insists that you make a decision while he or she has you on the phone.
- The caller does not or cannot produce any written material or a website upon request.
City officials said the calls should be ignored, and if Manassas police decide to use a third-party fundraiser in the future, the department will put out a notice. They also provided the following tips:
- Never give out your personal or financial information over the phone if you did not initiate the call.
- Remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- The easiest way to avoid becoming a victim is to hang up the phone and report the incident to local Police on the non-emergency line (City of Manassas non-emergency – 703-257-8000).
For more information on ways you can avoid falling victim to phone scams, visit manassascity.org/police.
May 3, 2013 7:33 am
From a rooftop overlooking Manassas last night, Kathy Bentz got a new job. With it she’ll help shape the future leaders of Prince William County.
The longtime community servant who’s worked as the liaison to Prince William’s arts community, at a public health center in Woodbridge, and most recently on the project to bring the American’s in Wartime Museum to Dale City, will now head Leadership Prince William. A brainchild of the county’s then two chambers of commerce in 2007 which have since merged into one, the Leadership Prince William program is a nine-month series of courses geared to civic-minded individuals for those with interests in business, government, and community.
Bentz is a 2010 graduate of the course and was serving on the organization’s board when she applied for the open position vacated by Kathy Ellington, who took a position with Leadership Arlington.
Bentz will take over immediately, will work solely on Leadership Prince William, and she said she already has her work cut out for her.
“There’s room for growth, the signature program that we have now is built on success, it’s going well, but there’s a strategic plan for the organization, we have some new programs, and we want to take it to another level and build on success we already had,” said Bentz.
The announcement was made last night on the rooftop of the building that houses the Prince William Chamber in Manassas during a party for program alumni and perspective program participants. The current Leadership Prince William class is set to graduate June 7.
May 3, 2013 7:30 am
Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative customers will be able to view and pay their bills, and view their accounts in a much easier way starting April 30, 2013. Instead of having to log onto two websites, customers can log onto www.novec.com, click on “My Account” on the home page, type his or her user name and password, and pay online through e-Billing. The same user name and password will work on NOVEC’s mobile app.
“We’re trying to make it easier and quicker for Co-op customers to do business with the company,” explains Wilbur Rollins, senior vice president, Finance and Asset Development. “If customers have questions or need assistance, they may call our Customer Service Center at 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.”
NOVEC, headquartered in Manassas, is a not-for-profit supply and distribution electric utility corporation that supplies and distributes electricity and energy-related services to more than 150,000 customers in Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford, and Clarke counties, the Town of Clifton, and the City of Manassas Park. It is one of the largest electric companies of its kind in the nation. For more information, visit www.novec.com or call 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500.
April 29, 2013 6:22 pm
On Arbor Day, April 26, the third-graders at West Gate Elementary School in Prince William County had a chance to get their hands dirty and plant some trees. It was all part of Dominion Virginia Power’s environmental program Project Plant It!, a fun and educational way to help the kids learn about trees and the environment.
Thousands of elementary students in Northern Virginia, including all of the third-graders in Prince William County, were enrolled in Project Plant It! this spring. Teachers got a kit of lesson plans and other instructional tools that aligned with state learning standards for math, science and other subjects. Dominion also provided the students with their own redbud tree seedling to take home on Arbor Day.
Since 2007, Project Plant It! has distributed more than 160,000 tree seedlings to students in several states where the company operates. For more information or to view videos and games about trees, visit projectplantit.com.
April 29, 2013 9:34 am
Mom on the Run
I’m at lunch with Briana, Dayana, and Caroline. Today’s after-Sunday school lunch group is smaller than usual, and it’s all girls. I don’t recall exactly how we got to this particular topic of conversation, but we’re talking about cell phones. Well, I’m talking about my cell phone. The girls know their cell phones inside and out. Mine, however, is pretty much a mystery to me, though I’ve had it for several months.
“See?” I proudly hold out my phone, displaying the screen, as evidence. “I updated the church Facebook page already, with pictures of the choir and of the sermon!” Our choir sang a cappella today and we had a guest speaker. Both were, I thought, of note, and deserving of a Facebook page post.
But, “Um, great,” the girls reply. I guess updating the church page isn’t so exciting or important to them. I am still delighted with my achievement – and with having the idea to do it, really – and I press on. “With pictures! That I took during the service! And I did it all from my phone!”
“Uh-huh, yeah,” they say. They get it. And they are not impressed.
“I just learned how to update Facebook from my phone the other day,” I brag to them, still pretty pleased with myself for figuring it out. “The salesman put the Facebook app on my screen but he didn’t tell me how to use it, so it took me a while of playing with it to find the buttons.”
Finally the girls react; Dayana and Caroline, both in high school, glance at each other and grin. I know they’re laughing at me, and my weak grasp of what they consider to be everyday technology.
And hey! That gives me an idea! “Hey, you guys know all about this stuff, can you show me how to make my phone work?” Caroline, who is fairly new to our church and doesn’t know me that well, murmurs, “Um, yeah, sure,” while Dayana, who has spent entirely too much time with me, broadens her grin.
“Great!” Oh, I am delighted. “Here,” I say to Caroline, because she’s closer, handing her my phone. “Can you show me how to get Google on here? I’ve accidentally done it a few times, but haven’t been able to figure out how I did it.” At this, Dayana moves her hand and covers her mouth. She doesn’t want me to know she’s actively laughing at me.
Caroline is more reserved, and less sure about me, and she has just been given a job to do anyway, so she bites her lip as she takes my phone. She looks at the screen, taps once, and, voila!, “Here,” she says, showing me.
And there, on the screen, the Google homepage! “What? How did you do that?” I can’t believe it was so fast! One tap? I lean in closer, to see the screen.
Caroline taps again, goes back to the main screen. “This button,” she points, and shows me very clearly, running along the whole top of the screen, a long white bar with the Google logo.
“No way!” I say, reaching for my phone. I want to try this myself. “I always thought that was an advertisement or something! That’s a button?” All around me, girls are biting their lips and covering their mouths, really trying hard not to laugh at me, old Lianne.
Then, “Shoot,” I say, shaking my head. “I can’t believe it. All along, that was a button, and not a logo! Wow! That’s really … pathetic.” And at that, all three of my lunch companions can’t take it anymore, and they burst into laughter and they laugh and laugh and laugh.
April 26, 2013 12:24 pm
Two educators are moving on from public schools in Manassas to other divisions in the state.
More in a press release from Manassas Public Schools:
Dr. John Werner, in his second year as principal of Osbourn High School, has been named principal of Western Albemarle High School effective July 1 of this year.
“We wish Dr. Werner the best as he pursues this opportunity to expand his professional experience as a principal,” says Dr. Catherine Magouyrk, superintendent of Manassas schools.
Dr. Michaelene Meyer, Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction has been named Superintendent of Tazewell County Public Schools.
“Dr. Meyer has been a part of the MCPS family for the past six years and we wish her much success in her new role as superintendent for Tazewell,” Magouyrk says. Meyer will begin her position as superintendent July 1.