Heavy hauls have ended

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A transformer positioned on a Goldhofer transporter. Photo by Jim Barnes

The heavy hauls along Route 15 have ended.

While most of us were sleeping, hundreds of tons of heavy machinery have been rumbling slowly through Prince William and Loudoun counties and across the southern edge of Leesburg. The hauls — 36 in all over the past five months — have been delivering bulky components for the Panda Stonewall power plant that is being constructed off Sycolin Road at Goose Creek.

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Washington Post, March 27, 2016

Photos below taken at Gilberts Corner,
courtesy of Brad Brown

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Manassas water tower survives vote

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Supporters of the 101-year-old Manassas water tower won a major victory last month when the city council unanimously rejected an appeal that would have led to its demolition.

Instead, the council voted Feb. 22 to uphold the Manassas Architectural Review Board’s ruling protecting the water tower. The council also authorized Mayor Harry J. “Hal” Parish II (R) to send a letter to state and federal agencies supporting a local preservation group’s efforts to have the structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Washington Post, March 6, 2016

Reentry groups invest in ex-inmates

Marsha Martin will never forget the day she was released from a military correctional facility in 2011, after serving a 15-month sentence for theft. One thought kept running through her mind: “How do I start my life over?”

“It took me about six months to break down my pride and go to the system and say, ‘I need help,’ ” Martin, 41, said. The Alexandria resident went to OAR (Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources) of Fairfax County, one of a handful of nonprofit organizations in Northern Virginia that help offenders reenter society. She received assistance with her résumé there, and she eventually landed a job in veterans services.

Despite two promotions in her first year, she was forced to resign, she said, because her felony record kept her from obtaining accreditation through an affiliate organization. She eventually returned to OAR to seek further help.

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Washington Post, March 3, 2016

Help for people after first psychotic episode

Prince William and Loudoun counties are among eight localities in Virginia that have begun offering care to young adults who have recently experienced their first psychotic episode.

The programs — GetOnTrack in Prince William and LINC (Linking Individuals & Navigating Care) in Loudoun — aim to help clients recover by providing treatment and support services soon after their first psychotic break. The programs also help families cope with a life-changing experience that one mother described as “overwhelming.”

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Washington Post, February 7, 2016

Civil War artifacts donated

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Capt. Edward Todd’s haversack

In 1861, Union Army Capt. Edward Todd of the 2nd Vermont Infantry was wounded at the Battle of First Manassas. He went home to Vermont for two years to recover before returning to fight in several more Civil War battles in Virginia.

More than 150 years later, Todd’s wartime haversack — a large, purselike bag he used to carry personal belongings — has returned to Manassas. The haversack is part of a collection of Civil War artifacts donated to the Manassas Museum in the summer by Northern Virginia Community College and retired history professor Charles Poland Jr.

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Washington Post, November 29, 2015

Blankets and coats for refugees in Turkey

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Northern Virginia officials are uniting again this year in an effort to help the growing numbers of those who have fled war-torn Syria and taken refuge in Turkey.

For the past two years, local officials and volunteers have organized drives that collected more than 43,000 blankets for delivery to refugees in Turkey. This year, as the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey has swelled to more than 2 million, the drive is being expanded to include new and “gently used” winter coats, as well as blankets and cash donations.

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Washington Post, November 22, 2015

Manassas-area children’s choirs

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Becky Verner conducts children in grades 5 through 8 in a new Manassas-area singing group for children.

About 70 Manassas-area children are joining their voices in song as members of a new choral group that began rehearsing last month.

The Greater Manassas Children’s Choir, an offshoot of the Manassas Chorale, is divided by age into two singing groups, each with a director. Becky Verner leads about 50 children in grades 5 through 8, and Susan Dommer is head of a smaller group of children in grades 2 through 4.

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Washington Post, October 11, 2015

Solarization in Dumfries

Solarize NOVA, a program that offers free on-site energy assessments and bulk purchasing discounts for the conversion to solar power, is available to homeowners and businesses in Dumfries through Nov. 10.

As part of the program, sponsored by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and the Local Energy Alliance Program, Dumfries homeowners can use a new online mapping tool to estimate how much energy they could save by converting to solar power. The program bases savings predictions on factors such as the size of the roof and the amount of sunlight the building receives, said Robert W. Lazaro, director of regional energy planning for NVRC.

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Washington Post, September 13, 2015

City Tavern reopens

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Pete (left) and Nick Veltsistas

City Tavern, which closed June 29 after more than two decades in Old Town Manassas, has reopened in a location less than a mile away, outside the city’s historic downtown.

The restaurant reopened July 22 in a renovated building at 9550 Center St. that formerly housed KC’s Restaurant. A co-owner of City Tavern’s former building, adjacent to the Olde Towne Inn, said he expects another restaurant to open there after major repairs are completed.

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Washington Post, August 30, 2015

Chris Yung Elementary School to open

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Kathy Notyce, Principal of Chris Yung Elementary School

When Prince William County schools start the new year Aug. 31, Chris Yung Elementary School in Bristow will open to students for the first time, with an emphasis on STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and math.

The school is named in honor of Chris Yung, a Marine Corps veteran and Prince William police officer who was killed in a motorcycle accident in Bristow in 2012 while responding to a call.

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Washington Post, August 23, 2015