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CASTMEDIC DESIGNS, LLC

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HARD TIMES CAFÉ

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RESOLVING TOGETHER

prince william living January 2013

The premiere lifestyle magazine of Prince William and Greater Manassas

TRAFFIC:

Getting There PAGE 16

Destinations: Prince William Ice Center PAGE 22

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table of contents January 2013 Vol. 3 No. 1

FEATURE STORY Traffic Troubles and Solutions for Prince William ................................................4

DEPARTMENTS from the publisher..................................................3 advertiser index ....................................................3

4 Photo courtesy Trevor Wrayton

on a high note e Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory: Giving New Life to an Old Building ....................12 destinations Have an “Ice” Time at the Prince William Ice Center ............................................................16 taking care of business CastMedic Designs, LLC: From Injury to Invention ....................................18 going places Kristina Schnack Kotlus and PWC Moms............20 giving back e Arc: Helping People Live Life to the Fullest ........................................................22

16 Photo courtesy Sean Floars

local flavor Good Times Abound at Hard Times Café ............26 family fun Resolving Together ..............................................28 calendar ..............................................................32 tambourines and elephants Roughing It..........................................................35 distribution sites ................................................37

COLUMNS

26 Photo courtesy Rebecca Barnes

health & wellness ................................................14 home & hearth ....................................................24 your finances ......................................................30 Discover Prince William & Manassas................33 prince william living January 2013 | 1


The premiere lifestyle magazine of Prince William and Greater Manassas

Prince William Living Publisher Rebecca Barnes rbarnes@princewilliamliving.com Contributing Writers Alan H. Golden, D.D.S., P.C., Ann Marie Maher, Audrey Harman, DeeDee Corbitt Sauter, Denise Smith, Helena Tavares Kennedy, Kristina Schnack Kotlus, Luanne Lee, Olivia Overman, Stephanie Tipple Editorial Staff Emily Guerrero, Peter Lineberry Photography Sean Floars, Kathy Strauss; Imagewerks Graphic Design and Production Alison Dixon/Image Prep Studio Advertising Account Executives Michelle Geenty, Helena Tavares Kennedy and Jennifer Rader Prince William Living, the premiere lifestyle magazine of Prince William and Greater Manassas, is published monthly by Prince William Living, Inc. e opinions expressed in the magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Prince William Living. © Copyright 2013 by Prince William Living, Inc. All rights reserved. Materials may not be reproduced or translated without written permission. Visit the Prince William Living website at www.princewilliamliving.com for reprint permission. Subscription rate is $12 (U.S.), one year. International subscribers add $12 each year. Change of address notices should be sent to Prince William Living President Rebecca Barnes at rbarnes@princewilliamliving.com.

Prince William Living 4491 Cheshire Station Plaza, PMB 55 Dale City, VA 22193 Phone: (703) 232-1758 Efax: (703) 563-9185 Editorial offices: (703) 232-1758, ext. 2 Efax: (703) 563-9185 Advertising offices: (703) 232-1758, ext. 1 Efax: (703) 563-9185 Editorial Have a story you’d like our staff to cover? Contact Prince William Living editorial staff, either by phone at (703) 232-1758, ext. 2, or by email at editor@princewilliamliving.com. Advertising Prince William Living accepts display advertising. For complete advertising information, please contact Rebecca Barnes, Prince William Living president, either by phone at (703) 232-1758, ext. 1, or by email at rbarnes@princewilliamliving.com. Distribution If you are your business’ decision maker and you have a waiting room or other place your customers and employees would appreciate finding a copy of Prince William Living, please call Prince William Living Publisher Rebecca Barnes and ask about how your business can become a free distribution site. Rebecca can be reached by phone at (703) 2321758, ext. 1, or by email at rbarnes@princewilliamliving.com. By becoming a distributor of Prince William Living, your business will be mentioned on princewilliamliving.com and in future issues of Prince William Living. Social Media

Prince William Living can be found on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Reprints and Back Issues: To order article reprints or request reprint permission, please visit the Prince William Living website: www.princewilliamliving.com. Order back issues by calling Prince William Living President Rebecca Barnes at (703) 232-1758, ext. 1. For further information about Prince William Living, visit www.princewilliamliving.com, or contact Prince William Living at (703) 232-1758.

Are you a writer who would like to be published? Prince William Living is currently looking for interns. If you live in the Prince William/Manassas area and are interested in seeing your byline in this lifestyle magazine, send us an email, along with two to three writing samples. College students majoring in English and/or journalism or communication are encouraged to apply. Candidates should possess excellent organizational and communication skills, and must be able to work independently. Internship is unpaid. rbarnes@princewilliamliving.com


from the publisher W

e hope that you and yours have enjoyed a wonderful holiday season. Here at Prince William Living, we have gotten a head start on our New Year’s resolutions, with a number of changes designed to enhance the reader experience. First, we are excited to introduce a brand new website. You can still find us at princewilliamliving.com, now with a fresh, dynamic look that makes it easier than ever to keep in touch with everything going on in greater Prince William. In addition to archived issues, the site now features extra stories and follow up articles, a more robust community calendar and the ability to subscribe online. Community organizations can even upload their own events so that our readers are the “first to know” about local happenings. Within the magazine, you will notice an added feature—the “Taking Care of Business” section. Starting with the coverage of Gainesville entrepreneur Christina Daves, CEO of CastMedic Designs, LLC on page 18, each month we will provide business news. Look for insights on local companies, learn about businesses coming to town and more. is month’s issue also has plenty of ideas for starting your 2013 on the right foot as well. Discover ways to avoid gridlock, from upcoming traffic improvements to telework, in the feature article

Advertiser Index 2 Cutie Patooties ......................................................................36 ACE Hardware (Pitkin’s)............................................................15 ACTS ..........................................................................................36 Advantage Physical Therapy ....................................................15 Alpha Pets ................................................................................36 Ameriprise Financial ................................................................24 Apple FCU ................................................................................31 Audiology and Hearing Aid Center of Gainesville ................37 The ARC of GPW ......................................................................36 B101.5 ........................................................................................29 Bargain Relocation ..................................................................31 Becky Crowley/Flute and Piano Lessons ................................36 Best Western Battlefield Inn ....................................................25 CAP Accounting, LLC................................................................30 Christ Chapel ............................................................................36 City of Manassas Park—Parks & Recreation ..........................24 Confidence Realty ....................................................................25 Creative Brush Studio ..............................................................34 Cruise Planners ........................................................................36 Dansk Day Spa at Occoquan....................................................36 Discover Prince William and Manassas ..................................33 Dominion Eye Care ..................................................................11 Edgemoor Art Studio................................................................36 Firebirds Wood Fired Grill ........................................................10 FURR Roofing............................................................................33 Geico..........................................................................................25 Golden Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics ............................14 Hard Times Cafe & Cue ..............................................................7 Imagewerks ..............................................................................36 ImagineDesign ..........................................................................17

“Traffic Troubles & Solutions” on page 4. With all that free time, test out some of Kristina Schnack Klotus’ ideas for including the whole family in achieving your resolutions in “Family Fun” on page 28. Kristina herself is the focus on this month’s “Going Places” on page 20, where we learn about how this successful blogger and community cheerleader got her start. When all that resolution-keeping leaves you in need of relaxation, strap on some skates and head over to the Prince William Ice Center, this month’s “Destination.” Or, enjoy a hearty bowl of chili at one of the two Hard Times Cafes located in Prince William, covered on page 26 in “Local Flavor.” Last but not least, as we celebrate our second anniversary as Prince William Living, we recommit to our goal of connecting readers with stories about the people and places that make Prince William special. anks to our writers, photographers, editors, advertisers and readers for being part of the journey. We are very grateful to live in such a supportive and wonderful community, and look forward to serving you for years to come. Sincerely, Rebecca Barnes Prince William Living Publisher

Lake Ridge Nursery ..................................................................36 Lavender Retreat ......................................................................34 Love by Cupcake ......................................................................36 Lustine Automall ......................................................................11 Magnificent Belly Dance ..........................................................36 Merry Maids ..............................................................................36 Minnieland Academy................................................................10 Northern Virginia Community College ....................................11 Nova Music Center ..................................................................25 Options for Senior America ....................................................36 Parish Services............................................................................8 Peggy and Bill Burke, Long & Foster Realtors ......................27 Persnickety Cakes ....................................................................36 Polaris Press ..............................................................................34 Potomac Place ............................................................................9 Prince William Chamber of Commerce ..................................31 Prince William County Historic Preservation............................9 Prince William Hospital ............................................................C4 Prince William Ice Center ..........................................................9 PRTC Transit ..............................................................................10 Rainbow Therapeutic Riding Center ......................................36 Ready Hands ............................................................................25 Reiki Master Practitioner ..........................................................15 Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center ............................C2 Stratford University..................................................................21 Slumber Parties ........................................................................36 Spark............................................................................................9 Tea Time Tea Room ..................................................................36 Tiny Dancers ............................................................................19 Trio Consulting..........................................................................15 Washington Square Associates ..............................................36 Westminster at Lake Ridge ......................................................34 Your College Planning Coach ..................................................30

prince william living January 2013 | 3


Traffic Troubles and Solutions for Prince William By Olivia Overman, Contributing Writer

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estled between I-95 to the east and I-66 to the west, and located just south of the nation’s capital, it is no surprise that many in Prince William regularly face the humdrum of traffic congestion. Just about every day, traffic reporters fill our airwaves with tales of back-ups, accidents and lane closures. Rest assured, there soon will be additional options available for people who have to travel the I-95 or I-66 corridors whether for work or play. From slugging to public transportation, to extended and improved High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, to teleworking, Prince William has lots of plans to keep its residents moving.

HOV/Express Lanes on I-95 For several years, Virginia officials have been exploring the possibility of entering into a public-private partnership with 95 Express Lanes LLC that would allow for improvements and reduction of traffic congestion along the I-95 corridor in Northern Virginia. Last July, Governor Bob McDonnell announced that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has signed an agreement to move these plans forward. By working with a private company, Virginia will receive much-needed funding for the expansion and improvement of existing HOV lanes, which 4 | January 2013 prince william living

currently offer a faster commuter option by only allowing vehicles carrying three or more people, motorcycles and hybrid cars to enter during rush hours. 95 Express Lanes will contribute $854 million of the nearly $1 billion required to complete the project. According to a VDOT fact sheet: “Improvements that are part of this $1 billion project include adding a third HOV lane for 14 miles along I-95 from the Edsall Road area on I-395 south to the Prince William Parkway, improving two existing HOV lanes for 6 miles between Prince William Parkway and Rt. 234 (Dumfries Road), and adding two new HOV/Express Lanes for another 9 miles south to Stafford County, Rt. 610 (Garrisonville Road).” Essential to the success of the plan is converting the I-95 HOV lanes to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes, which will link to the recently completed HOT lanes on I-495. Cars carrying three or more people, emergency vehicles, buses and motorcycles will all be allowed to ride the HOT lanes for free. To get started, just purchase an E-ZPass Flex. It enables drivers to use a manual switch to select between toll-paying mode and HOV-3 mode. Visit www.ezpassva.com for more details.. is innovative device is good news for those who “slug.” Slugging is


Photo courtesy Trevor Wrayton, senior photographer, Virginia Department Of Transportation

Aerial view of the completed expansion of the bridge over the Occoquan.

a grassroots rideshare program that originated in Northern Virginia, where drivers pick up extra riders at designated locations so that they can make use of the faster HOV lanes. e system reduces the amount of cars on the road and provides a free commuter option for riders. For those who do not meet the “rule of three,” the charge for the Express Lanes will depend on the amount of traffic on the road at the time of entry. While this may seem a little confusing, such a pricing system ensures that traffic levels can be monitored and controlled to move more predictably. It is this predictability that people in Prince William and other parts of Northern Virginia will likely cherish as they make their daily commute. Said Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia Sean Connaughton: “Prince William County stands to benefit a great deal by the I-95 Express Lanes. Travel options, whether it is traveling by bus, carpool/vanpool or driving alone, will be more reliable on I-95. In addition, the Commonwealth has developed recommendations for a significant increase in commuter bus services that are designed to maximize the capacity of the I-95 Express Lanes.” He noted that increased park-and-ride lot expansions and development are also in the pipeline.

VDOT communications director Steven Titunik said, “e new 95 Express Lanes project…will be completed by end 2014, early 2015. [e lanes] are critical to improve traffic flow especially in peak PM hours, and by extending HOV lanes, vanpools and buses can travel further south, thus avoiding adding volume to the 95 South general purpose lanes. Also, part of extending the HOV lanes will be two new flyover ramps.” e ramps will be located at the exit for 234/Joplin Road, and at the end of the line, before Garrisonville Road.

A Proposed Bi-County Parkway Efforts to connect Route 234 at I-66 in Prince William County into Loudoun County near Route 50—the proposed Bi-County Parkway—have been in the works since 2005. e corridor, if constructed, would allow much improved access to Washington Dulles International Airport from the south, west and north. Virginia's Commonwealth Transportation Board approved $5 million for preliminary engineering and design work in June 2012. If successful, this ten-mile stretch of parkway will connect two large counties that are growing in population. (continues on page 6) prince william living January 2013 | 5


(continued from page 4)

Public Transportation Options e Potomac and Rappahannock Transit Commission (PRTC) offers a network of commuter and local bus services in Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, and operates the Virginia Railway Express in conjunction with the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission. Commuter buses such as OmniRide and Metro Direct provide the option to leave the driving behind and ride a bus to places such as the Franconia/Springfield Metro station, Arlington, Washington D.C. and Tysons Corner. Christine Rodrigo, public relations specialist at PRTC, noted that ridership on both commuter and local buses has increased in recent years. “ose who use public transportation can travel in the HOV lanes and have a quicker commute without worrying about finding and paying for parking at their destination,” she said. “When gas prices spiked in 2008 we saw a big increase in ridership because it’s much less expensive to pay a bus fare than fill up the gas tank for long bumper-to-bumper commutes. Some of those riders stayed with us even when prices started going down.” Many employers offer tax-free “SmartBenefits” of up to $125 per month, to help employees pay for their commute. Asked why people use public transportation instead of slugging or driving, Rodrigo said, “We actually have quite a few commuters who use a combination of slugging and bus riding because it suits their schedule, and that’s great. We encourage people to share their ride, whether by slugging or in a formal carpool or vanpool or by riding with PRTC. Many people tell us that they are less stressed when they let someone else do the driving. On the bus, they can get a start on their workday by replying to emails, reading or getting a little more sleep.” Rodrigo added that PRTC also helps people to get around locally, with its OmniLink service that provides transportation within the greater Prince William area.

Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Established in 1992, VRE provides commuter rail service from Northern Virginia into Washington, D.C., with many stops along the way. e Fredericksburg line, as you would expect, begins in Fredericksburg, serving Prince William commuters at stops in Woodbridge, Rippon and Quantico. e Manassas line begins in Broad Run, with local stops in Manassas and Manassas Park. SmartBenefits can also be applied to VRE ticket purchases. “We have seen our ridership increase approximately 10 percent over the past two years due to the congestion on I-95 and I-66,” said Ann King, manager of market development at VRE. In a 2012 annual passenger survey, it is interesting to note that the majority of riders chose to try VRE for the first time due to—you guessed it— traffic. Also noteworthy was that before riding VRE, 42 percent of those surveyed drove alone to work, while 63 percent of riders work for the federal government. VRE offers a “comfortable, easy, mainly commuter ride,” said King. ere are a variety of ticket options available, from one-way to 6 | January 2013 prince william living

monthly options, plus it provides a number of perks such as a “Free Ride Certificate” if your train arrives 30 minutes late into the station. An added benefit for all commuters who regularly bike, walk or use public transportation to get to work is the option to enroll in the “Guaranteed Ride Home” program. Run by Commuter Connections, it offers commuters a free ride home in the event of an emergency.

Future Commuting Options? Secretary Connaughton said that while there has been dialogue about extending Metrorail from Franconia-Springfield south to Potomac Mills; there are no planned Metro extensions beyond the Silver Line to Dulles. “In order to receive transit service from WMATA, Prince William County will be required to join the WMATA Compact and make a substantial financial commitment along with the other affected jurisdictions to the capital expenditures needed for an extension,” Connaughton said. A more likely option is ferry service on the Potomac River. A 2009 VDOT study looked at the feasibility of opening a water ferry that would lead from Prince William into Maryland and DC, with stops in employment centers such as Fort Belvoir, National Harbor and the Navy Yard. Virginia is currently conducting a market study in coordination with fellow stakeholders such as Maryland, the District of Columbia, Prince William and Fairfax Counties and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). According to Connaughton, “e market study is designed to seek the public’s opinion of whether they will ride a ferry, as well as the availability of landside infrastructure, obstacles and pricing options.” “e Northern Virginia Regional Commission is currently in the process of applying to the USDOT to get the Potomac, Occoquan and Anacostia Rivers designated as a Marine Highway Crossing,” Connaughton added. “is designation could help advance the development of future Potomac ferry service.”

Teleworking in Prince William Teleworking has become a hot topic lately. Since the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 became law in December 2010, federal agencies have been able to offer greater flexibility to their employees. Weather incidents such as Hurricane Sandy also illustrate the importance of enabling employees to do their jobs remotely. “During Hurricane Sandy, we closed our offices, but we continued to serve our members. Because we had already provided employees with tools for working remotely, chamber staff were able to telework from the safety of their homes,” said Nancy Hiteshue, vice president of communications and government affairs at the Prince William Chamber of Commerce. e Chamber recently hosted the first Northern Virginia Telework Summit, where state and local policymakers discussed the topic with business leaders. Hiteshue added that a chamber survey of area businesses showed that teleworking offers a number of benefits, including greater employee productivity and reduced traffic congestion, with commute time becoming work time.


Photo courtesy Trevor Wrayton, senior photographer, Virginia Department Of Transportation

Construction of I-95 Express Lanes from Garrisonville Road (Route 610) to Dumfries

For a centralized approach to telework, the Mason Enterprise Center (MEC) is an economic development “incubator” providing all the services necessary for a person to telework, or for a small business to operate. In Prince William, locations can be found at the George Mason University Prince William Campus in Manassas and Crown Court Plaza in Woodbridge. Both facilities include professional office workstations, high-speed internet, conference rooms, free parking and a full-service kitchen. e Manassas MEC location also provides business counseling and startup resources. With 11 private offices available, 19 cubicles, a large conference room that seats 15 guests and a “drop-in” office that can accommodate up to four, who needs the hassle of commuting? e Woodbridge location provides nine private offices and four cubicles on the first floor, and 12 offices on the floor above. It also has a spacious conference room that seats 25. A smaller conference room is also available.

Prince William region, we are treating it that way, tackling the problem from every angle. From the new HOT lanes, to ride sharing, to skipping the commute altogether, Prince William residents have a lot to look forward to. A graduate of American University’s School of Communication, Olivia Overman has written articles for a number of online and print publications. She can be reached by email at ooverman@princewilliamliving.com.

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Another option that seems to be growing rapidly, according to MEC regional manager Renee Younes, is the virtual office, which provides entrepreneurs with mail service, telephone and conference room accessibility. Visit www.mecpw.com for more information. Vociferous in his promoting of telework, Al Alborn, chairman of the Prince William Chamber Telework Task Force, is working with Va. Congressman Gerry Connolly and Va. Delegate Rich Anderson to promote telework. “Both are pursuing initiatives to take our people off the road,” Alborn wrote on his blog, www.alborn.blogspot.com.

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on a high note The Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory: Giving New Life to an Old Building By Carla Christiano, Contributing Writer

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ou sometimes see them in Manassas and Prince William—vacant old buildings a breath away from the bulldozer. But the boarded-up building once known as the Hopkins Candy Factory in downtown Manassas met a happier fate, gaining new life when it was transformed into the city’s arts center in 2002. Now known as the Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory, the red brick fortress-like building sits at 9419 Battle Street next to railroad tracks that once figured prominently in the building’s and city’s history. At four stories tall, it stands shoulder to shoulder with the newly built parking garage across the tracks. Proudly displaying its history, the Candy Factory still has stenciled advertisements for “Manassas Feed & Milling” on the walls outside. It’s spare and industrial inside, yet bustling with arts, theatre and dance classes, and home to two performance troupes: Rooftop Productions and Pied Piper eatre. But it wasn’t always that way. “e windows were boarded up. Some of the floors weren’t there,” recalled Sally Lay, the Center’s director. “[Yet] it had the potential to be such a beautiful place. ey [the Merchant family, who had owned it] were visionaries.”

A Sweet Start

Photo Courtesy Kathy Strauss - Image werks

e Candy Factory’s start came from a vision of a different kind. According to displays in the building, the Hopkins Candy company was founded by C.S. and C.M. Hopkins, brothers from Ohio. Outgrowing a smaller building on Center Street, they decided to build a new, modern factory. ey chose the lot adjacent to the railroad tracks on Battle Street. Renowned local architect Albert Speiden designed the factory, which was completed in 1908. e Hopkins Candy Factory had the latest candy-making machinery including coal-fired copper kettles. It even had a freight elevator and was one of the few businesses in the area with electric lights. Its location next to the train tracks was convenient for unloading raw materials such as sugar and cocoa syrups as well as for shipping the finished product. Producing 5 to 10 tons of candy daily, the factory shipped to every state east of the Mississippi. eir inventory included a variety of sweets such as rock candy, ribbon candy and fruit drops. eir most popular items were peanut butter bars and coconut bars. Some less expensive chocolates were machine coated, but the better sweet cream 12 | January 2013 prince william living


chocolates were hand dipped by skilled workers. Despite their early success, the factory stopped producing candy in 1917. Soon after, the Manassas Feed and Milling Company took over the building. at company would eventually become Southern States, and in June 1980, they sold the building to Canton and Mae Merchant who used it as a tire warehouse. Once they no longer needed the old building for storage, the Merchant family considered their options for the space. One idea was to create an arts center similar to the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria. At around the same time, an arts group across town known as the Center for the Arts was looking for a new building.

Center for the Arts Comes to Manassas Established in 1984, the Center for the Arts started with a children’s theatre program “in a little house on Grant Avenue,” said Lay. As their programs grew, they moved to two other buildings. “en we started discussions with the Merchant family who were looking for uses for the building [the Candy Factory],” Lay said. After persuading the Merchant family to let them use the building, the Center for the Arts then had to persuade the city to help restore the aging structure. e City Council was hesitant. Explained Lay, “ey weren’t sure an arts center would add to the ambience.” However, a feasibility study showed such a center was just what the city needed to spur economic development. Manassas mayor Hal Parrish, who served on the City Council at the time, recalled that the Candy Factory and the nearby Harris Pavilion on Center Street started with ideas from the community. “Sometimes you make a decision as to what you think would be beneficial for the community. en you look back and realize you made the right decision. ey (the Harris Pavilion and the Candy Factory) have become more than what was expected to be,” Parrish said. After the Merchant family donated the building to the city in 1998, a $2.3 million year-long renovation began in 2001, overseen by the Manassas Museum system and the City of Manassas. Lay said she worked with then-museum director Scott Harris and the project architect to get exactly what the Center for the Arts wanted from the space.

The Arts Make a Home Today the Candy Factory is a mix of old and new. e first floor’s scruffy white brick walls hold an ever-changing gallery space that features many local artists, and in January will showcase the talents of area high school students. Still visible from the first floor is a 19th-century French drain that was uncovered in the basement during the restoration. A modern elevator makes the building wheelchair-accessible and leads to office and classroom space on the second floor and a large performance space on the third. In all, Lay said the building has 12,000 square feet of usable space in addition to a basement.

name recognition. When it started in 1984, there were few arts organizations in the area. Now, it is just one of many. “People do get confused with us and George Mason (University) Center for the Arts and the Hylton Center. We’re always trying to get the word out,” explained Lay. She doesn’t view the other arts centers in the area as competition because each has its own focus: “Hylton is offering programs on a level that we can’t. We try to work hand in hand with them.” She noted that the center has held summer camps at Hylton and is negotiating to have a Pied Piper performance there as well. Rather than detracting from the center, Lay believes the other art spaces bring more like-minded people to the area. “If someone came to one of our Rooftop performances and really enjoyed it, they might ask, ‘What else is there?’ I think we feed each other. I think we complement each other,” she said. “What makes the Center for the Arts unique is that we don’t have a single artistic focus. We do it all. If you want to learn to tango, you can come here. If you want to do a jewelry making class, you can come here.” Louise Noakes, Center for the Arts education director, said that the center attracts students from a wide area, and offers fundamental classes like drawing or painting as well as specialized ones such as how to publish digital books. “We try to offer classes that will appeal to everyone,” she said. Gainesville resident Shana Ours, whose son just started art classes at the center, said, “I think it’s a great program that they have here for children because not all kids are into sports. Some are into arts and drama. is place has both.” Veteran ballroom dance instructor Bobbie Brennan said that she enjoys teaching at the Candy Factory: “I love the people who work there. ey are so professional, artistic and just nice to be around.” After explaining that the third-floor space where she and Cookie Bell teach dance classes has a floating floor which is more flexible and better for dancing, Brennan said, “What I love about this floor in particular is my feet never get sore. ey never ache and I’m in high heels. I can dance for hours.” Said art student and Woodbridge resident Liz Hall, “It’s nice to go to a location in Old Town Manassas. You feel like you’re part of the community. It’s nice to have this as a base.” She paused and then added, smiling, “Sometimes it gets a little noisy when there’s a dance class.” In a little more than ten years, the former Hopkins Candy Factory has evolved from city eyesore to a community center that enriches Manassas and Prince William. Mayor Parrish described the Candy Factory as “a place for the arts—not just the performing arts. It lets people who don’t live in Manassas be a part of Manassas. It’s truly a community place.”

Carla Christiano is a native of Prince William County, admitted history geek and a technical writer for Unisys. She can be reached at cchristiano@princewilliamliving.com.

Despite its prime location, the Center for the Arts still battles for prince william living January 2013 | 13


health & wellness You’re Taking Me to See WHO? By Alan H. Golden, D.D.S., P.C. oth the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend every child find a dental “home” by age one. That might sound silly, but there are many reasons, among them providing guidance to caregivers, dietary counseling and demonstrating proper dental care techniques. Our own experience tells us that earlier first dental visits lower the rate of dental problems throughout childhood. The other reason—getting little ones used to going to the dentist. Parents might be concerned how their child will behave, but there is no need to be. The first dental visit is a new and unique experience: a new environment with new people.

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It’s normal for a young child to attempt to avoid new experiences, so it’s important for a parent not to overreact if children act out at their first dental visit—stay cool. This first visit is about building a caring and cooperative relationship between the dentist, the staff and your child. Since nothing traumatic or painful is taking place, your child learns to trust the dentist and office environment. An overly reactive parent is “admitting” that the child’s fears are justified. Additionally, it’s important not to mislead a child about the visit, or use words that will frighten them. Parents may find that a pediatric dental specialist is the best choice, prepared to cope with the complete range of behaviors children may exhibit. Some dentists allow a parent to be present during dental treatment. In our experience, after age one, most children will behave much better when the parent is out of sight. The parent is their child’s best audience, so a child will often act out if a parent is present, making the parent assume the child is afraid and needs to be rescued. If this behavior is reinforced, further visits can result in failure. With the parent absent, the child’s attention is focused on the people at hand—dentist and staff. Children learn that the dentist isn’t someone to be feared. Only then can they gain the confidence and trust needed to become an enthusiastic participant in their own care. Dr. Golden has been practicing dentistry for 36 years and opened the first of four offices in Prince William County in 1979. He is currently on the medical staff of five area hospitals as well as a teacher of pediatric dentistry at three distinguished institutions. 14 | January 2013 prince william living

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destinations Have an “Ice” Time at the Prince William Ice Center By Stephanie Tipple, Contributing Writer

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ust because the seasons change doesn’t mean that your child’s restlessness does. While the weather is cold and restricts outdoor activities for children, they have just as much energy as ever. Luckily, our community has an indoor solution for keeping children active. For parents that are looking to give their child a rewarding experience having fun and in some cases, learning a new skill, the Prince William Ice Center is the place to go this winter.

e now 83,000 square foot space includes two ice rinks: one has National Hockey League dimensions and the other is a slightly wider, Olympic-size rink. In addition, the facility has a pro shop, café, weight room, exercise room, fitness and nutrition room, dance studio where figure skaters can practice and an entire second floor that can be used for meetings, parties and other functions.

Located in Dale City, the ice center first opened in 1996. In 2008, current owners Bill and Pat Hutzler purchased the building, with growing the business and contributing to the community in mind. Just two years into their venture, a large snowstorm caused a complete collapse of the structure. While this could have led to the permanent closure of the rink, the Hutzlers were determined to rebuild and keep moving on with their plans. “We had to demolish the whole building and clear the site and then start from scratch. It was a trying time for us. But we felt that we should rebuild, because it’s an outstanding resource to the community and it provides quite a lot of activity and opportunity for kids and adults, so we were very glad to be able to rebuild,” Bill said.

For those who are new to ice skating or a little rusty, classes are offered. “For those who are learning to skate, we have ‘Learn to Skate’ sessions and ‘Learn to Play Hockey’ sessions,” Bill said. ese sessions, which typically last 7-8 weeks and cost around $120 per weekly session, provide one-on-one coaching as well as time on the ice to practice newfound skills. For more advanced students, the center also offers private lessons that build skills for figure skating or hockey.

It took just over three months to clear the site of debris, and another six months for the redesign process. After almost nine months of construction, the Hutzlers proudly reopened their doors in September 2011 and haven’t looked back since. “I think people were very excited to have the rink back in the community. We got very positive feedback and lots of support during the whole process from the community because it’s been such a tremendous resource,” Bill said of the response that he received when he and his wife reopened the rink to the public. 16 | January 2013 prince william living

e Prince William Ice Center is the “home rink” for several hockey and speed skating teams from both recreational and competitive leagues. e rink currently hosts the Prince William Hockey Club (for ages 5-18), two junior hockey teams (ages 1620), teams for George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College, and the Prince William Ice Center Adult League. is league is USA Hockey sanctioned and has teams for both men and women, as well as a co-ed team. Many youth and adult figure skaters practice at the rink, alongside three speed skating clubs. Several speed skaters have accomplished qualifying times for competitive speed skating, and while names have not yet been released, it is likely that at least one of the speedsters who practices there may qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics.


Photos courtesy Sean Flores

Above: A Zamboni machine resurfaces the ice in preparation for the next group of skaters. Left: The Prince William Ice Center in Dale City.

From the start, the Hutzler’s had a focus on positively impacting the community, getting involved in community events and fundraisers. “We support fundraisers for a variety of activities, including the Toys for Tots campaign. We do Wounded Warriors charity games, a couple of those a year, and we also support fundraisers for public schools as well as church and youth groups,” Bill Hutzler said. Members of the community love both the amenities and experiences the Prince William Ice Center offers. “My 8th grade student attends what she and her friends refer to as ‘Friday Middle School Night.’ I have been very pleased with the security and rules regarding entry and exit of the building and always feel their staff has her best interest at heart. e music is fun and appropriate for their age group,” said Marya Unrath, a local resident.

packages based on group size and food and beverage preferences. “e packages include a variety of things, with a menu of items that can be selected,” Bill said. e same could be said for the Prince William Ice Center itself, with its varied levels of ice-related fun. Come to skate with the kids, nurture Olympic dreams, work on your hockey game or host your next event. Even if you only seek a cup of hot cocoa and the excitement of watching others on the ice, there is a little something for everyone at this community destination. Stephanie Tipple is a college student, journalist and community leader. She resides in Woodbridge. She can be reached by email at stipple@princewilliamliving.com

While the Hutzlers understand the need for a winter sports center in the community, they also know the importance of having an inviting space where children and adults can host social gatherings and just have a good time. Individuals or groups can hold events there, selecting from different rental prince william living January 2013 | 17


taking care of business

CastMedic Designs, LLC: From Injury to Invention By Jennifer Rader, Contributing Writer

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ow does one broken foot lead to an innovative product, create U.S. jobs and become a national fashion sensation? Gainesville resident Christina Daves, CEO, creator and innovator of CastMedic Designs, LLC knows how: just combine an untapped market segment with a creative mind.

With a tagline of “e Healing Power of Fashion,” the company’s philosophy revolves around making people feel better about themselves at some of their toughest times. For Daves, this need for fashionable healing power began in September 2010 when the mother of two broke her foot during a family vacation. Her doctor unceremoniously prescribed the infamous black boot. Daves was due to travel to New York and was self-conscious about being well-dressed with the obvious appendage on her foot. “I would have had anything [to cover the orthopedic boot] overnighted to my hotel room,” she said.

Soon after the trip and still outfitted in the boot, Daves researched products that would accessorize or “dress up” the boot, but found nothing. She said that wearing it felt awkward and ugly, but she knew that with some hard work, it could be remedied. Daves started by making functional accessory prototypes of her ideas for fashionable and fun materials to decorate the boot. Both children tested the models by walking around in the initial designs. It took several attempts before finding stable pieces that worked. She held focus groups with orthopedic doctors and patients and found that there was a potential market for her vision. Research indicated that the boot was prescribed more often than traditional casts because of its quicker recovery and rehabilitation time, and that many wearers were conscious of its dominating appearance. With research complete, Daves wrote the business plan and the hunt for a manufacturer began. is part proved to be the toughest aspect for Daves, who has a background in land development and as a retail store co-owner. At a textile show in New York, she finally found a Philadelphia-based brokerage firm. Her fulfillment center is now located in Virginia Beach with administrative and IT contracts that help keep her operation and website, www.castmedicdesigns.com, moving product. Daves was able to fully launch her product line in February 2012 and has made quite a splash with accessories such as fur cuffs, decorative stockings and clip-on decorations to dress up medical boots. Media outlets such as MomTalk Radio, FashInvest.com, Washington Business Journal, Trendhunter.com and Orthopedic is Week have featured Daves and CastMedic Designs. Daves was also named to Startup Nation’s “Top 200 Leading Moms in Business 2012” list. Even the style editor of the TODAY Show, Bobbie omas, got wind of the new product line. omas had a complete accessory package sent to her at the New York studio. Daves was recently selected to participate as one of six contestants in the inventors competition that aired November 1 on the Steve 18 | January 2013 prince william living


major strength is marketing. Her commitment and enthusiasm for providing this product is contagious,” said Decker.

Harvey Show. Sponsored and judged by InventHelp and Hillshire Brands, Daves won the top prize of $20,000! But it gets better: CastMedic Designs came to the rescue later that month in the “Ask Steve” segment of the show when a viewer asked about dressing up her medical boot for the holiday party season. Since then Daves has spoken on radio shows across the nation and made additional connections with major publications. It seems that Daves has always been on the cutting edge of trends. In 2002, she decided to open a store selling items from the Southern Living catalog line. At a time when no big box stores were in Western Prince William, the idea was novel. Where others would see a challenge, Daves saw opportunity. Joined by her best friend and neighbor Barbara Diebus, she opened Details for the Home, operating from a quaint house built in 1889. e two women started out with a budget and an idea, but no experience. Diebus recalls asking herself, “What were we thinking?” ey worked tirelessly to secure the best products and meet customer needs. Daves feels this experience was a good foundation to launch her next step of entrepreneurship. “I could have never done CastMedic if I hadn’t had the store,” Daves said. is vision, determination and commitment are assets Daves brings along to CastMedic Designs. Daves says that her ability to promote products and concepts is one of her greatest strengths. Linda Decker, president and CEO of the Flory Small Business Center, worked with Daves on aspects of the new venture, and seconds Daves’ self-assessment. “Her

Pointing out the difficulty of inventing a product and bringing it to the market, Decker says that doing one’s homework on developing contacts such as suppliers and distributors and knowing the product as well as Daves does is critical. Said Decker, “She understands marketing and communicating. Put those things together along with a willingness to do the research and you have a winning combination.”

Advice to Others Daves cites a solid business plan, social media presence and connections as the foundation for her success. She believes that the business plan helps to determine if an idea is viable. “People will ask all along the way about your business plan. You will constantly refer to it,” said Daves. As for the challenging task of establishing a distribution network, Daves credits the connections she built through social media site LinkedIn. She said that social media has become a primary method for moving her message forward. “is business is all about connection. e worst anyone is going to say is ‘no.’ You just have to ask,” she advised. “What we started was one thing,” added Diebus of the home goods shop, “but to go onto something else while keeping up with a family….this proves she wanted to do something, she did it.” Goals for the future include making CastMedic Designs a household name and launching several new designs. For now, Daves reflects, “I never thought about it, but you look back at decisions you made and you figure out that you’re destined to be a business owner.” A nonprofit development director for over 10 years, Jennifer Rader now works as a freelance writer and consultant. She lives with her son and husband in Manassas and can be reached at JRader@princewilliamliving.com.

prince william living January 2013 | 19


going places Kristina Schnack Kotlus and PWC Moms By Audrey Harman, Contributing Writer

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hough Kristina Schnack Kotlus has lived in Prince William her entire life—aside from attending College of the Holy Cross in western Massachusetts—her website www.pwcmoms.com is definitely “going places.” She was born at Prince William Hospital, graduated from C. D. Hylton High School and chose to raise her family in Lake Ridge. Kotlus homeschools her three children: a preschooler, a first grader and a third grader. When her oldest was two years old, Kotlus began an online events calendar for a playgroup she was involved in. It became very popular with the other parents, who encouraged her to expand the calendar by adding event and venue reviews. She took their advice, and this mix of information and opinion naturally evolved into a blog dedicated to highlighting family-friendly events and activities in the greater Prince William area. According to Kotlus, her site features the occasional “traditional” blog post and always has local activities to do with children—both the little ones and teens—thus saving other moms from doing the research. Kotlus likes to list free activities so families can focus on their time together and worry less about expenses. Every Friday PWC Moms highlights a local charitable organization and offers prize giveaways. Other favorite topics include seasonal activities and those that offer academic enrichment. With a high percentage of the Prince William workforce serving in the military or working for the federal government, Kotlus spoke of the constant flux of people moving in and out of the area. Her website allows those recent transplants to quickly plug into the pulse of the community, as well as introducing longtime residents to new activities. “As a mother of four, it helps to find out what is worth my time and 20 | January 2013 prince william living


money,” said Sheri Suess, a longtime resident of Prince William. “I don't always have time to find out what is going on in our community, but thankfully, Kristina does it for me. I appreciate that. I have tried things based on her blog or attended suggested events. She is the voice of Prince William.” Kotlus explains that PWC Moms is a way for her to share her love of this community, which she describes as a great place to start a family. “Prince William is great, because you can have it both ways: the experience of D.C. and big-city life, government, politics and business, but also the farms, space between neighbors, and the history,” she said. “ere’s less stress [than in the city], you can support local business and you and your kids can just have fun.” When the site first began, Kotlus would post about whatever activities she and her kids were doing. As popularity of the blog grew, she has been fortunate to meet people who facilitate her visits. Business owners, librarians and people affiliated with local parks send her information on activity ideas, along with others who may have a “finger on the pulse of what readers get excited about,” she said.

everywhere at once, so I like my readers to share both positive and negative experiences. I might have visited a venue two years ago and it could have changed since then.” Aside from her busy blog schedule and, of course, keeping her children engaged in local activities, Kotlus also writes for hyperlocal news site www.PotomacLocal.com and our very own Prince William Living. Connect with her at www.pwcmoms.com or www.facebook.com/pwcmoms for the lastest posts and discussions. If you know of a local activity that is family friendly, don’t hesitate to ask Kotlus to post it on her calendar. Fun activities for you and your family are just a click away, and happening right in your own community!

Author Audrey Harman has a BA in English and Spanish from Hollins University and is working towards her MA in Publications Design at the University of Baltimore. She currently resides in Woodbridge and can be reached at aharman@princewilliamliving.com.

Kotlus designed the website to be very user-friendly, with plenty of pictures, maps to events and “tags” that categorize past posts. All of the events and activities highlighted on PWC Moms are organized for families to enjoy, and are always kid-friendly. e site also highlights crafts, family safety tips and business reviews. Kotlus says that she is very honest about products and services, even if the company advertises on her site. A disclaimer for potential advertisers reads: “I always reserve the right to share my true experience with users. at means that even if a sponsor provides me with free product, if I'm not happy with it, I'm going to tell you.” “If she blogged about the experience or product, then I read her write-up,” said Suess. “What I love about Kristina is her absolute honesty. She doesn't sugarcoat anything so I know I am getting a ‘real’ opinion.” PWC Moms was voted Best Blog of 2012 by Northern Virginia magazine, and gets 200,000 hits per month. Readers can also stay connected via Facebook, where PWC Moms has over 2,800 “likes” and on Twitter. For Kotlus, her blog success has been a great experience for both her and her family, who get to do activities they might not have been able to otherwise. “We've been to Disney on Ice and Ringling Brothers, but my favorite venues and my real purpose and passion are local places for real moms: playgrounds like Fantasy in Lake Ridge, indoor options like House of Bounce in Manassas, and places like Gymboree, Prince William Ice Center and Edgemoor Art Studio,” said Kotlus. “It’s become way more than I ever thought it would be,” said Kotlus. “I thought it would just be four or five people from my kids’ playgroup who might use the calendar, but it has surpassed any expectation.” Kotlus loves for her readers to share their experiences, good or bad. “ere’s just one of me,” she acknowledged. “I can’t be

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prince william living January 2013 | 21


giving back

THE ARC: Helping People Live Life to the Fullest By Helena Tavares Kennedy, Contributing Writer

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he Arc of Greater Prince William/INSIGHT, Inc. has been serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Prince William for nearly 50 years. It all began with a parent who was told that her daughter could not attend public school because of her learning disabilities. e mother placed an ad in the newspaper to see if other families had similar circumstances. To her surprise, seven families responded and shared stories of also being rejected by the school system for the same reason. ese families got together to solve their problem and create a school for their children with special needs: e Arc, which was incorporated in 1964.

Photo courtesy The Arc

Helping Individuals with Needs Karen Smith, the organization’s Executive Director, joined e Arc in 1967 as the school principal. She was fresh out of college with a degree in sociology and a minor in special education. e beginnings were humble. Initially, Smith sat on a garbage can in the office so that the school secretary could have a desk. Back then, e Arc served 26 children in a school setting. However, it soon became apparent that the children needed more than just a place to get a good education. ey needed other services like daycare and social activities. Parents also quickly realized that once their children graduated and became adults, they needed help with job training, getting employment and finding a place to live. e Arc began to fulfill those needs. Today, the organization serves over 1,700 children and adults from within Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park. It provides over 10 major programs including two types of residential services. Group homes offer a family-like atmosphere where counselors are always available to assist residents in developing 22 | January 2013 prince william living

Participants in The ARC of Greater Prince William recreation program, enjoying a recent trip to Kings Dominion.

independent living skills. Nearly 80 individuals participate in the group home program; some have lived there for more than 40 years. In fact, the child of an Arc founder still lives in one of the homes. “Some of the residents do not have family members around anymore and know e Arc as their only home. Everyone has a right to live in the community and have the support they need to live a fulfilling life,” says Smith. A “supportive living” program is also available to those able to live


development. “It is the best job ever, even after 45 years of working at multiple places,” he says. “You get a clear perspective of what’s really important in life.” He and his wife have lived in Prince William for 32 years and have served on various local nonprofit boards over the years. “You may only be here for a year or two or you may be here for a long time, but no matter what, your life will be changed just from being here,” says Smith.

Growing Needs for a Growing Community

School buses drop off children for the after school program at the Muriel Humphrey Center in Dale City.

semi-independently, with household responsibilities and supervision tailored to each person. rough supported living, individuals with special needs have the ability to live rather independently. Many are employed and participate in volunteer activities in the community. Another key program is child care service for children with special needs, offered at two centers: Muriel Humphrey in Dale City and Robert Day in Manassas. Every night, Smith watches parents pick up their children, because it reminds her that her work for the day may be done but it’s just beginning for the parents. She tells these parents, “You don’t have to walk this journey alone, you can walk with others.” Cathy Klineburger, a parent who uses the daycare service, said, “e Arc means comfort to us. Comfort in knowing that our daughter is in a safe environment; being cared for and guided by a tremendously compassionate and loving staff. And also lucky. Lucky that we can rest assured that Sammie’s physical and mental development skills are being honed and fostered on a daily basis in an atmosphere that truly makes her happy.” In addition to the residential and child care programs, e Arc provides vocational projects like Spinaweb and VOSAC (Vocational and Skill Advancement Center) which help individuals with disabilities enjoy the sense of pride that comes with being productive community members.

Not Just a Job e Arc may be one of the largest nonprofit employers in Prince William with over 200 employees at the 13 group homes, two daycare centers, vocational programs and other services. However, it is not just a job for many who work there.

As the population served by e Arc increases, facility and space needs grow. eir latest expansion project, at Muriel Humphrey, will be completed this month and ready for occupancy. e project added a new 13,800 square foot building to the existing center, allowing e Arc to now offer therapeutic and nursing services and to improve its administrative space. e original building had become jam-packed as new employees, programs and services were added. Caseman proudly explained that the expansion is fully funded thanks to grants and donations. e Hylton Foundation granted $1.625 million, the Potomac Health Foundation gave $1 million and Prince William County will give $1 million over a five year period. Caseman said that donations from generous area residents and other supporters have also helped tremendously to make the expansion dream a reality.

Take Action e Arc is always looking to add to its team of 150-plus volunteers. ey help in a wide range of activities, such as planning and attending social events for individuals with disabilities, helping out at the daycare or residential facilities or even just stopping by to play cards or games with individuals. All volunteers are required to have background checks and complete an average of 20 hours of training. One such volunteer is local business owner Jen Jones , who manages the organization’s Facebook page. She said the best part of the experience is that “they [Arc staff] genuinely love the people they serve and love what they do. Just visit any of the buildings or centers…as soon as you walk in, you feel the love.” Jones also attends some of the social events, helping to set up, serve punch or just encouraging people to dance and have fun. To learn how you can help e Arc through monetary donations or volunteering, visit www.arcgpw.org. For updates on activities and events, follow e Arc on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arcgpw. A nonprofit marketing director, Helena Tavares Kennedy also works as a freelance writer and consultant. She has lived in Manassas with her husband and two children for over 11 years and can be reached at hkennedy@princewilliamliving.com.

Chris Caseman joined e Arc two years ago as director of resource

prince william living January 2013 | 23


home & hearth Managing the Traffic in Your Home By Denise Smith of FA Design Build f I asked you what area of your home sees the most daily traffic, you would probably guess correctly and say the entrance. Yet most people haven’t given much decorating consideration to this area.

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Durability and functionality are the most important factors to consider in areas with lots of activity, but that doesn’t mean you must also sacrifice style. Fingerprints and scuff marks no longer need be a concern; just purchase paint infused with ceramic beads (called microspheres) to enhance “scrubbability.” Or choose beautiful, bold wallpaper in a long-wearing vinyl created for commercial applications. Another excellent option is wainscoting. While today it is used purely as a decorative treatment, centuries ago it was created to protect and insulate fragile plaster walls. When it comes to function, take steps to control the inevitable clutter. Place deliberate ‘landing strips’ for keys and mail and choose them for their beauty as well as functionality. Fancy iron antique hooks will hold backpacks just as well as the plain plastic variety, and a wooden box bench with a hinged lid makes a great place to hide boots. Also, a large decorative basket with a lid can be a great place to hide those items that never seem to make it to their final destination. High traffic areas also demand durable flooring materials that stand up to signs of wear. Hard surfaces, such as tile or wood, will perform better than carpet. If you choose to go the carpet route, vacuum frequently to remove the unseen grit that can cause the abrasion responsible for wearing fiber pile. Placing a doormat outside and sweeping it often also helps to keep grit at bay, keeping the mostvisited space in your house looking its best. Denise Smith is the Design and Sales Consultant of FA Design Build. She believes every person deserves a timelessly beautiful space, regardless of budget or circumstance, and has the unique ability to discern a customer’s inner design concept and break it down into a workable plan. She can be reached at dsmith@fadesignbuild.com.

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local flavor Good Times Abound at

Hard Times Café By Stephanie Tipple, Contributing Writer

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ard Times Café was created more than three decades ago by brothers Fred and Jim Parker. According to the company website, the two were carrying on a family legacy: Grandfather Ira Goodfellow learned to make chili from a Texas chuck wagon cook at the turn of the 20th century, and his daughter, “Aunt Irma,” followed in his footsteps, operating a chili parlor in rural Oklahoma. As adults in the Washington, DC area, the Parker brothers found themselves drawn to their roots, opening their own chili parlorthemed restaurant, the first Hard Times, in Old Town Alexandria in 1980. Over the years, the brothers found success that led to the opening of additional locations and eventually to franchising the business. More than 15 Hard Times can now be found across Maryland and Virginia. Each of the locations has a unique feel, and Hard Times Café has become synonymous with a friendly and casual dining experience. Locally, you can find a Hard Times at Potomac Mills Circle in Woodbridge and on Sudley Road in Manassas. Both of the Prince William-area locations are coowned by Chris McNulty and Randy Barnette.

Four types of chili, with or without a bed of spaghetti, are served: ground beef-based Texas chili, sweeter tasting Cincinnati chili, spicier Terlingua and vegetarian chili with soy flakes. According to the menu, these are “historically correct versions of the chili created on turn-of-the-century cattle drives of the Southwest and in the Cincinnati Chili parlors of the Midwest.” e menu has been expanded to include a variety of Southwestern-inspired appetizers along with wings, burgers, sandwiches and salads. Start off with standard fare like grilled chicken quesadillas or loaded fries, or mix it up a bit with Santa Fe egg rolls or deep fried pickles. Diners can also treat themselves to larger entrees such as grilled salmon, ribs or a New York strip steak. “We have a wide variety of American fare—best wings in the area. We are rolling out the new taco platter, we’d love for everybody to come in and try that,” said Todd Koegler, general manager at the Hard Times in Woodbridge, of the menu offerings. Buffalo native and Lake Ridge resident Ann Sonnenberger gives a 26 | January 2013 prince william living

Hard Times famous chili on a bed of Spaghetti.

thumbs-up to the juicy chicken wings that go on special each Wednesday night. "ey have some of the tastiest wings in Northern Virginia. e chili lime is my favorite," she said. Hard Times manages to be a family-friendly dining establishment and a fun place to hang out with friends, shooting pool, viewing sporting events, enjoying live music or even playing a competitive game of Rock Band. “We have a great family atmosphere in our dining room; a sports atmosphere on our cue side,” said Koegler. “Live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night, with live DJ’s and bands.” Children also eat free on Sundays. "ey have the best on-tap beer selection in Woodbridge for sure," said Dale City resident Dave Brown. He added that a few years ago he was unable to travel home to celebrate Christmas with his family and did not want to spend the holiday alone. Hard Times was one of the few places open. "I had a good time that night and was relieved to find them open. Everybody was very welcoming," said Brown.


Both Prince William locations have a full event schedule, with activities and food specials offered every day of the week. For instance, ursdays in Woodbridge feature water pong and cornhole tournaments along with $5.99 boneless wings. On Fridays, customers can boogie the night away during the DJ Dance Party at the Manassas location. A full listing of nightly events and specials can be found at www.hardtimes.com, under “locations.” Customers can also host their own party or event at Hard Times, renting space and choosing from group dining options such as party platters or a chili buffet. e Woodbridge and Manassas locations can each accommodate up to 300 guests. McNulty recommends booking well in advance. “We have a banquet room upstairs, which lends itself to be booked out during the holiday season. Usually it starts getting full around the end of October and

then sometimes goes straight through till March,” he said. Another option is to take the Hard Times party home. Both of the Prince William-area locations offer catering, available for delivery or pick-up. Having sampled many of the items on the menu, this author’s personal favorite is the taco salad with Texas chili. Whatever your choice, the mix of friendly service, tasty food and fun served up at Hard Times make both area locations well worth a visit. Stephanie Tipple is a college student, journalist and community leader. She resides in Woodbridge and can be reached by email at stipple@princewilliamliving.com.

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family fun Resolving Together

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By Kristina Schnack Kotlus, Contributing Writer

his is the prime time of year for resolving to change something about yourself. We resolve to eat healthier, exercise more, dress better—we look at ourselves in the mirror and decide to address what we don’t like. However, by February most of us are shoveling down conversation hearts with a ferocity that would scare off even the most pumped-up fitness trainer. is year, why not resolve to work on yourself with your family? Having more fun as a family doesn’t mean you have to give up on your goals. In fact, you can alter yourself while having fun with your loved ones.

to soccer while another parent is at scouts, which they dash out of in order to pick up the third kid at ballet, this might be just the resolution for you. Resolve to pick a night of the week, whether it’s a set night or one you select each week based on the schedule, and stay at home. Play a board game, work on a project, eat dinner at the table and just have fun as a family. Growing up, our neighbors taught us this “family home evening” concept. It has so much value when you just enjoy your time together as a family. For this resolution to work best, plan to leave the television and cell phones off most of the time.

Want to work on your physical attributes? Head over to First Lady Michelle Obama’s website www.LetsMove.gov and learn how you can work on health and fitness goals together. e site includes great ideas for outdoor games, fitness as a family, and keeping everybody motivated.

For those of you who are black-belt level parents and have already mastered activity, domestic skills, and family togetherness, another fantastic family resolution can be to help others. Prince William County just surpassed Fairfax as the wealthiest county in Virginia, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who could use a hand. ACTS in Dumfries has volunteer projects that families can do together. In the warehouse for its food pantry, even the youngest children can help scoop rice from the hundred-pound bags into smaller containers for distribution. Preschoolers can match labels and shelve green beans and corn in the correct location, and older children can help carry boxes to the correct locations.

Use one of your holiday gift cards for a new soccer ball and kick it around the backyard. Take Fido on a walk at least once a week as a family. Also, Lake Ridge Park and Bull Run Mountain are just a few of the local choices for beautiful trails, and the Prince William County Park Authority even offers parent/child sports classes. If you’re like my husband and avoid the cold at all costs, explore some indoor activities. Forego an adults-only gym membership for a fitness center the kids can enjoy too, and start off with setting a swimming date once a week for the whole family. Perhaps you want to cook healthier or with more skill. is is a great resolution for your family! Children’s cookbooks are a wonderful way to start for budding chefs of all ages because the recipes are simple, the directions are thorough and there are typically numerous pictures to help you interpret the steps. Our family is particularly fond of the Williams-Sonoma “Kids in the Kitchen” series, but any children’s cookbook that appeals to you will do. Start small, and as you increase in confidence and skill, you’ll be amazed at what you and your children are able to create. In our home, each child is given a night of the week to choose and prepare supper, which develops measuring, fine motor and listening skills, as well as ensuring they eat what’s on the table. If your family’s “fun quotient” has been lacking the last year, maybe the pursuit of family time in and of itself would be a worthwhile resolution. For many of us, we can be so busy with “stuff for the kids” that we don’t actually spend any time as a family. If it’s a familiar scene to you that one parent takes a child 28 | January 2013 prince william living

Retirement homes are also always happy to have volunteer visitors. Many residents do not have family that comes to talk. Someone dropping by with a homemade card or to sit and visit for a little while is a welcome treat. I started taking my oldest son to visit a retirement home with me when he was just a few months old. I was desperately lonely as a new mom and needed to get out of the house. e residents at the center were so excited to have “their baby” come visit each week and would sing him songs and tell him stories while he slept. It was a great fit. Just remember to call and register your family before going. Some volunteer positions, such as in nursing homes or skilled care facilities, may require a background check and a tuberculosis test, so be sure to verify that you meet any requirements. Kristina Schnack Kotlus and her husband reside in Woodbridge with their three children. She is a born and raised Prince William native and the owner of PwcMoms.com, a resource for parents in the Prince William County area.


prince william living January 2013 | 29


your finances Hidden College Savings for Your Student By Luanne Lee, Your College Planning Coach Welcome to reality of statistics, financial aid style. According to FinAid.org, two-thirds of all four-year undergraduates leave college with an average of $25,000 in student loan debt. And the total student debt load nationwide is a staggering trillion dollars! As a proponent of higher education, I realize that good jobs usually require great education. However, like many, I assumed that financial aid was limited to those in lower income brackets—I couldn’t have been more wrong. In a unified manner, all across America, families of all income types are applying and qualifying for financial assistance. So how do you lessen your child’s education debt load, with annual average college expenses nearing $20,000? I’ll let you in on a few secrets: ALWAYS file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA; many awards are only available once this step has been completed. ■ Merit scholarships have nothing to do with income and assets. They are awarded based on your student’s academic, extracurricular or community achievements; some are only available if you have filed your FAFSA. ■ There’s no shame or embarrassment in seeking discounts; only from paying full price and not seeking out cost savings. ■ Every year countless scholarships and grants are left unawarded because people didn’t take the time to seek them out or apply. ■ Go bite-size: Every $50, $500 or $5,000 scholarship awarded puts you that much closer to a debt-free college degree. Become an informed parent and diligently seek out the savings your child deserves!

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calendar Off the Wall Student Exhibit #9 at the Merchant Family Gallery

january

Jan. 1 - Jan. 30 Open House reception Jan. 5, 3 - 5 p.m. Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory/Merchant Gallery 9419 Battle St. | Manassas It’s another exciting milestone reached when the artistic achievements of our area high school students are displayed for the 9th consecutive year at the Candy Factory. is competition, sponsored by Lockheed Martin MS2, sets a fine example for the support in the future of young creative minds. 703-330-2787, annamish@center-for-the-arts.org, www.center-for-thearts.org/catonmerchant

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Jan. 6, 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Center for the Arts 9419 Battle St. | Manassas Join us for the fabulous dance sessions on the 1st Sunday of each month from 46:00 pm at the Center for the Arts in Old Town Manassas. Arrive at 3:30 pm for a dance lesson with great dance instructors teaching you specific dances, followed by an open dance session where you can practice what you’ve just learned or refine steps you may already know! Beginners and advanced dancers are all welcome. Come try the gorgeous floors of the Kellar eater at the Candy Factory. Bring your friends and family! Cost is $15.00 per person for lesson and dance session, $10 dance only. Pay at the door.

Lecture: Cause and Effect, the Richmond Home Front In 1863 Jan. 10, 7 p.m. Old Manassas Courthouse In March and May of 1863 a fire at Tredegar Ironworks and an explosion on Browns Island just prior to the 1863 campaign season created a shortfall of arms and ammunition the Confederacy needed for the war effort. Ed Sanders, historian from the Richmond National Battlefield, will give detailed commentary 32 | January 2013 prince william living

on damages done to the Confederate war machine and its effect on the outcome of the Gettysburg Campaign in the summer of 1863. Free, donations accepted.

Woodbridge Dance Company Concert Jan. 12, 7:30 p.m. Hylton Performing Arts Center 10900 University Blvd | Manassas A collaboration of artists brings innovative works to the Hylton Performing Arts Center’s Merchant Hall. Choreographers from Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia have joined artistic director, Lucetta Furr to present this year’s “A Coffee House Concert Collection.” Entertaining today’s generation! Professional and preprofessional dancers perform brilliant choreography, each piece with its own diverse style including; Contemporary, Modern, Hip-Hop, Jazz & Tap. Tickets include Free Preshow Coffee Bar, $25.00 www.hyltoncenter.org

2012-2013 Bridal Expos - Food and More Jan. 13, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Hylton Performing Arts 10900 University Blvd. | Manassas Plan your big day, in a day! e Hylton Performing Arts Center and Your Go2 Girls bring together the region’s top wedding professionals for three exciting bridal expos. See the latest styles of wedding dresses and bridal party attire, sample wedding cakes, test-drive a limo service or brainstorm ideas for your upcoming bachelorette party all in one place! Each uniquely themed bridal show will feature a variety of wedding and event specialists so whether you’ve just gotten engaged or are ready to walk down the aisle we’ve got everything to help you plan your special day! Food and More Sunday, January 13 1:00 pm-5:00 pm Come hungry! Sample caterers and cakes from around the region, plus everything else to plan the perfect wedding. Date Night! Friday, March 15 6:00 pm-10:00 pm Bring your fiancé or bridal party and explore the world of outdoor and adventure weddings, receptions and bachelor/bachelorette parties. 703-993-7550, Hylton@gmu.edu, http://www.hyltoncenter.org/weddings/ expos.html FREE but Registration is required at www.hyltoncenter.org/ weddings/expos.html

Lecture: Americans in Wartime Jan. 24, 7 p.m. Old Manassas Courthouse Representatives of the Americans in Wartime Museum will give an overview of their ongoing efforts and progress toward opening the Americans in Wartime Museum facility in Dale City. e museum will discuss the broad scope of their many projects. e presentation will cover everything from a WWII soldier’s footlocker to a fire-engine from September 11th. Free, donations accepted.

Live at Birdland Jan. 25, 8 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. Hylton Performing Arts 10900 University Blvd. | Manassas Featuring e Birdland Big Band Directed by Tommy Igoe For this one night only, Merchant Hall transforms into Birdland Jazz Club, New York’s great mecca for jazz, as this dynamic new ensemble creates an unforgettable musical event. Virtuoso drummer Tommy Igoe leads e Birdland Big Band in an exciting and surprising performance that showcases the very best of American jazz along with world music from every corner of the globe. “Tommy Igoe’s drumming defies the laws of physics and his band sets the new standard for what a big band can be in the 21st-century.” (e International Jazz Herald) is fantastic show recreates the amazing ambience of a night at Birdland — a truly unforgettable experience — as this stellar big band performs inventive arrangements and original interpretations of works by Charlie “Bird” Parker, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and others. “A completely unique NYC experience. ere isn’t another band like this anywhere.” (Time Out New York) 703-993-7759, Hylton@gmu.edu www.HyltonCenter.org Cost:$28, $36, $44. Limited Student Tickets Available on January 15


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“Lest We Forget: A Conference on Enslavement and Emancipation” takes place February 21-23 at Hylton Memorial Chapel. The free conference, hosted by Prince William’s Historic Preservation Division, will explore the cultural and historical legacies of the antebellum period through dramatic plays, keynote addresses, forums and roundtable discussions. Planned conference sessions include the secession and Civil War in Virginia, African American cemeteries and the Underground Railroad. Speakers will come from several noted institutions including the Ann Marie Maher Maryland and Virginia Historical Societies, George Mason Executive Director and George Washington Universities and the National Park Discover Prince William & Manassas Service. The conference will conclude with day-long bus tours to significant African American sites in Prince William, Manassas and Washington, D.C. There is a small fee associated with the tours. There will be other events to mark African American History Month as well. Ben Lomond Historic Site will host a special event Feb. 16 that focuses on slave life prior to the Civil War and Lucasville School, a one-room schoolhouse for African American children, will open for tours every weekend in February. In Manassas, Liberia Plantation will offer tours Feb. 16. The plantation was one of the largest in Prince William prior to the Civil War, with 90 slaves cultivating grains and vegetables. To register for the conference, visit www.manassasbullrun.com. Don’t miss out on your chance to make America’s story yours!

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tambourines and elephants Roughing It By DeeDee Corbitt Sauter, Contributing Writer I sat in the foyer of the hotel and cried. It wasn’t the dramatic, attention-seeking wail that begs to be comforted. The steady stream of tears that ran down my face signified, without a doubt, that I was feeling sorry for myself. I had not eaten fruit in days, I desperately yearned for a proper Diet Coke, and I could not access the internet. And no one could help me. I was not marooned on a desert island, nor was I in a third-world country void of the basic luxuries afforded by electricity. It was the technologically advanced and beautiful nation of Germany preventing me from communicating with my family in the States and enjoying a frosty, ice-filled glass of soda. It seems so trite, but the lack of computer assistance was the proverbial last straw. Without any other obvious options, I simply gave up and let the tears fall. Back in the U.S., which was only days earlier but seemed decades away, I belonged to a book club. The literature we read was as varied as the personalities involved with the group. They primarily pull titles from the New York Times Bestsellers list, but the genres could not have been chosen more inconsistently if a Magic 8 ball had been used to pick the books. One of our more recent acquisitions was a non-fiction memoir by Cheryl Strayed called “Wild.” Very briefly, this 26-year-old woman felt lost after her divorce and the death of her mother. She decided to confront her inner turmoil by embarking on an arduous, solitary hike along the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State. Physically and symbolically, she pushed through and kept walking. She didn’t give up even when she lost

a shoe and her toenails fell off because of illfitting boots; she braved unexpected weather, potentially dangerous animals and a lack of water. It was impressive, but what was more fascinating was the discussion that our eclectic book group held at the end of the month. Our venue was a local pizza place and that Tuesday night we discussed the protagonist as if we knew her personally. We felt we could judge her life, decisions, style, and finally envision her future because the act of publishing her book gave us permission to become that personal. Inevitably, our club members always relate the story back to ourselves and how each of us was affected. In this case, we speculated whether or not we would be able to complete a similar journey. Most of us were pretty sure we would not want to emulate that specific challenge, so we discussed what our “hike” would or could be. The world of hypotheticals can be a satisfying place to vacation. I lost my mom less than six months prior to reading this book. The author’s loss resonated with me and for some reason I was convinced that was enough of a connection. There was absolutely nothing else about her that even sounded vaguely familiar, but during that book-club discussion I confidently said I would take that hike. It sounded exciting and a great way to get to know yourself. It was a challenge unlike anything I had ever considered. I backtracked only slightly by saying I preferred daily showers, but that I could complete something physical like that in an attempt to refocus priorities.

delusional. Less than a month later, I was Europe bound which, by the way, is far from the rugged terrain of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges. Clean clothes, coffee, cakes, chocolate and welcoming relatives greeted me at every turn. We were in a small country town for a week to celebrate my grandmother’s 100th birthday so comparing accommodations to those found in New York City or DC would be ludicrous. There were thatched rooftops, farms and cows dotting the scenery. It was beautiful and could hardly be considered an adversity. Yet, when I climbed up into the hotel room each evening I couldn’t help but notice that lack of phone, desk, large window, tub and closet. Only a dozen channels were available on the decadesold TV, there was no room service and the pay-for-service wifi would not connect to any of my electronics. A key accessed the deadbolt from both sides of the door; it had to remain in the lock or there was no way to open it. I was irrationally afraid of fire. As I foolishly cried over these minor inconveniences, I suddenly realized my fantasy hike in the mountains was taking place in a foreign country. I was not quite ready for that soul-searching adventure…especially without Diet Coke and the internet.

DeeDee Corbitt Sauter is a resident of Prince William County. Her column, “Tambourines and Elephants,” appears monthly in Prince William Living.

I can’t say I was lying, because I deeply believed what I was spouting. But, the combination of pizza and the great company of inspiring women certainly made me prince william living January 2013 | 35


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