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Lorton Valley Star Newspaper of Lorton Virginia
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Lorton Valley Star Newspaper
monthly and on the web

Covering the greater Lorton, VA area from Fairfax /Franconia Parkway to Prince William Parkway.

Contact Information:

Floyd Harrison,
Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Lorton Valley Star Communications, LLC

Please E-mail:

for press releases about Lorton or advertising inquiry

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Print deadline is 20th

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Lorton Valley Star
P.O. Box 1436
Lorton Valley, VA 22199

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© 2005 Floyd Harrison T/A
Lorton Valley Star Comm.
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News Shorts


• The MCCP mobile dental van introduced last summer
is now helping distribute food to under priviledged

• Sadly, the Prince William Art Society will not be able
to award their annual scholarship because it’s done
through the schools which are inaccessible.


• Mason Neck State Park events are cancelled including
the Eagle Festival scheduled for May. The restrooms and playground are closed.


• Nalls Produce continues to have produce and spring
plants and shrubs. It’s a beautiful place to visit.
The store observes social distancing and limited
people in the store but you can call to order and
pick-up. 703 -971 -4068.


Lorton Classic Bar J Chili Parlor to Return

By Floyd Harrison, Publisher

Do you remember the Bar J Chili Parlor in Lorton? Later there was one in Engleside and one in Woodbridge. Well, Kathy Anderson, together with her son, is bringing it back. The Bar-J is a piece of Lorton History, a Tex-Mex classic started by John Anderson. Retirement is not good enough for Kathy. Like her dad, cooking is in her blood. She’s put a fund-me page up for some new equipment to get it going for the Holiday season while the space is being renovated for this purpose. It’s here: The community of long timers, have fond memories of the Bar J by Booth Feeds before the treatment plant was built. Moving that was some more unnecessary County opression. It was packed for lunch every weekday and weekend evenings. People came from miles. It will be good, with the economy tearing down our history, to get a classic piece of Lorton local color back. When they won the D.C.’s Best chili cook-off in the 1984, they were put on the larger area map. They are bringing back the original menu with some flavorful decor. Remember their Texas chili, Cincinnati chili, fajitas, Mexican ‘hot’ burrito, pork burrito, pollo loco and sopapillas? The location is to be 125 Mill Street: the River Walk building in Occoquan and it will take up the whole ground floor where the De Rubeen’s Deli used to be. The Bar J Tex-Mex chili parlor is so different from anything around Occoquan. They will bring new traffic to town. Next summer, they will add an outdoor dining patio. Lorton Valley Star reviewed Kathy’s Bar J at Engleside in October 2001 after the Lorton location had to move.


Volunteering Close to Home

We are repeatedly getting appeals from Fairfax County to post volunteer needs all over the County. Doesn’t every community have it’s own needs and those who can help? The County is huge and why should Lorton be called out of place to serve a whole large County such as Fairfax, more than 30 miles across, when we have organizations here which need volunteers. Why drive 10 miles or more when the need is closer than 5 miles?

The reason might be that a potential volunteer might find a more interesting match outside of 10 miles or it might be that the larger drive just keeps paid positions for County volunteer directors. Whichever let’s try to keep our miles and our trade dollars within Lorton for the mutual benefit of our citizens, and our merchants. This is a founding goal of Lorton Valley Star beside erasing the stigma for the former D.C. Correctional Facility. To this end we invite service organizations and other charitable non-profit organizations in our coverage area to post their volunteer needs with us and we’ll share that through our channels. Are you listed on our Lorton.Net Charities Catalog? E-mail us the information to fill in our Charities Catalog table page including your ongoing needs. Member organizations tend to use their own members. Other .orgs however, need outside help to operate their activites. We already have updates for a couple of local organizations; see Lorton Community Action Center and Simple Changes Therapeutic Riding. You can find a demonstration video for Simple Changes on our Lorton Valley Star web site videos page.

Otherwise, there are a great many walks, marches, runs, rides and contests which are fund raisers which are not in our area and so they miss the attention of Lorton residents. An out-going indiviual could organize a local event complementing their own interest. Are you interested in history? Various organizations such Gunston Hall, Pohick Church and other historic site use volunteer docents. There are many ways to help inside of five or ten miles where you’ll save gas and keep dollars inside of the Lorton Community. Look for them before you sign on with the County.

Here is our Charities Catalog:

Lorton Volunteer Opportunities:

Lorton Communty Action Center Proiding: Food assistance, emergency financial assistance, ESL, tutoring, after school programs, thrift store, furniture pickup, tax program, computer classes

Current volunteer needs:

thrift store furniture pickup thrift store weekend volunteering pantry – USDA one Saturday a month various food donation pickup opportunities daytime administrative Upcoming needs:

Thanksgiving Outreach - November Circle of Giving – November Warm Coat Outreach - December Christmas Outreach - December

Anyone interested in volunteering should visit the website: or send an email to: Kathleen A. Noone Director of Volunteers Physical Address: 9518 Richmond Hwy (behind Lorton Library), Phone: 703 339-5161, ext. 170

Simple Changes Therapeutic Riding

Equine assisted activities for individuals with disabilities.

Facility address is: 10406 Gunston Road Lorton, VA 22079


Ongoing Volunteer Needs:

Horse Leaders, Side Walkers, Grooming, Cleaning, Pony Ride, Silent Auction, Fun Show, Trail Ride

Community Volunteer Projects Supported by Mason Neck Lions

The Mason Neck Lions Club could play an important role in organizing and supporting specific projects. The Mason Neck Lions Club would provide the usual project support for participating volunteers: Clean-up supplies (trash bags & gloves) bottled water & soft drinks; DCR Certificates of Appreciation. Dates, except those in parenthesis are flexible and can be scheduled as needed to avoid conflict with other Mason Neck Lions Club activities. The Mason Neck Lions Activities chairman suggests the following projects:

1. Litter Clean-up at the Lower Potomac Fields Park in Lorton. In partnership with Hagel Circle, Shepherds Hill and Williamsburg Square communities.

2. Litter Clean-up at the Lorton Regional Library, Fairfax County Park, and LCAC Office grounds. In partnership with Hagel Circle Community.

3. Litter Clean-up at the West Mason Neck Park on Old Colchester Road in partnership with the Harbor View community.

4. Stream Clean-up at Pohick Creek - Richmond Highway to Lorton Road. In partnership with the Williamsburg Square Community.

5. Tree Planting Projects supported by Fairfax ReLeaf – October/November (sites to be determined).

6. Stream Clean-up at Pohick Creek (Richmond Highway to Old Colchester Road) in partnership with the Noman M. Cole Jr. Pollution Control Plant.

7. Stream Clean-up at Giles Run Creek on Mason Neck in partnership with BLM Meadowood Recreation Area and Friends of Meadowood.

8. Adopt-a-Highway Clean-up at Old Colchester Road (November 14). In partnership with NMCPCP and MNCA.

9. 2015 National Public Lands Day at Gunston Elementary School – (September 26) – various projects on Meadowood Recreation Area sponsored by BLM and supported by Mason Neck Lions Club. 10. Gardening/Landscaping Project at Lorton Regional Library – October

10. We will need all of the volunteer help that we can get for these outside activities. Let me know if you have a question or need additional information from me, Lion Joe Chudzik (703) 339-1686.

Mason Neck Gateway Dedicated

By Lion Joe Chudzik

The Bureau of Land Management dedicated the Mason Neck Gateway Information Kiosk in a ribbon cutting ceremony on November 1st. The wayside information kiosk is located on Meadowood Recreation Area property adjacent to Gunston Elementary School on Gunston Road. Information panels have been installed in the kiosk by all the park agencies and Gunston Hall providing visitor useful information on recreational and cultural activities available on Mason Neck. The exhibit includes a large map showing all the parks on Mason Neck; motor vehicle parking; pull-through for trailers and recreational vehicles; bicycle rack, lighting; a rain garden and trailhead access to the network of trails on Meadowood Recreation Area. BLM Eastern States Director, John F. Ruhs opened the ceremony welcoming guests and introduced the speakers. Remarks were presented by: Don Briggs, National Park Service Superintendent, Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail; Daffny Pitchford, Refuge Manager, Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge; Scott M. Stroh, III, Executive Director, Gunston Hall; David Stapleton, Assistant Manager, Mason Neck State Park; and Todd Benson, Pohick Bay Regional Park and Golf Course. The Mason Neck Gateway Information Kiosk project was a Transportation Enhancement Program Act (TEA-21) project submitted by the Friends of Meadowood in partnership with BLM. The project was approved and funded in 2007 but was redesigned by the Federal Highways Administration with added features. The project final cost was approximately $369,000. A rain garden was also installed at the site by the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District. The Mason Neck Lions Club served hot coffee, apple cider and cocoa. The Friends of Mason Neck provided treats and BLM served light snacks. BLM’s Theresa Jefferson awarded prizes to elementary school students who had created drawings of the kiosk project that were displayed at the ribbon cutting.

Garbers Donate Lions Bench

Lions Rich LaVallee and Joe Chudzik installed a Lions park bench at Meadowood Recreation Area on Mason Neck. The bench was purchased by Lions Danny and Diana Garber and was placed along the South Branch Loop Trail near the Old Colchester Road Trailhead as requested by the Garber’s and BLM Field Station Manager Gina Robison.

Best regards, Lion Joe Chudzik


Blessing of the Animals at Pohick

Little girl holding bunny

By Joe Chudzik

The Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi and the Blessing of the Animals were celebrated at Pohick Episcopal Church on Sunday, October 5th. The Reverend Donald D. Binder, Pastor and Reverend Ruth E. Correll, Assistant Pastor officiated in this wonderful ceremony held in the meadows behind the church. More than forty participants came with their pet dogs, cats, and a bunny rabbit. All sang the beautiful hymn, “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and the popular “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”, while Heather and Michael “Scot” Seaton provided musical accompaniment on lyre and flute. The animals were all rite-fully blessed with a sprinkling of holy water.

Bureau of Land Management Announces Upcoming Public Meetings for Draft Southeastern States Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Southeastern States Field Office announced today the schedule of four (4) public meetings for the Draft Southeastern States Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The meetings have beeen held on the following dates and locations: Please visit at for more information.

As the first land use plan for most of this planning area, the RMP provides comprehensive and consolidated management guidance for future decisions, as well as the basis from which to tier environmental assessments for site-specific proposed actions. The planning area includes the states of Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The Draft RMP/EIS addresses BLM-administered lands and Federal mineral estate within the planning area, including 2,991 acres of BLM-administered public land, and 1,023,185 acres of Federal mineral estate.

The Draft RMP/EIS formal public comment period runs through January 31, 2015. The Draft RMP/EIS is available to review and download at A DVD can be provided upon request. To request a DVD, please send an email to or call (601) 977-5413 and provide a mailing address.



The Swans of Mason Neck

By Kimberly Thompson

Winter’s coming, and so are the swans! Don’t miss the opportunity to see and learn about these magnificent birds that are our winter neighbors. Each November, many Tundra Swans complete a migration of over 4,000 miles to spend the winter at Lorton’s own Mason Neck State Park and Elizabeth Hartwell National Wildlife Refuge. Here, protected and relatively undisturbed shallow stretches of Potomac River and marshes offer the swans mild weather and abundant food (including one of the last remaining large stands of wild rice). The Park’s wetlands, forest, open water, and open fields make it ideal for environmental study and wildlife observation. The Friends of Mason Neck State Park are sponsoring several events this winter to celebrate the swans’ return and to support related environmental education and conservation. Among other things, they are planning a Winter Celebration of the Swans for December 7, at 2:00 pm. The Celebration will be held at the Jammes House, a beautiful old home situated far back in the Mason Neck State Park forest, with sweeping views of the Potomac River. In addition, they will be sponsoring children’s swan events at the Park, as well as a special First Day Friends Hike (January 1, 2015) to see the swans. To learn more about these events, check out the Friends’ website ( or stop by the Friends of Mason Neck State Park Facebook page.


Have a Rest on Lions

Lions members on dedicated bench

By Lion Floyd Harrison

The Mason Neck Lions Club is gaining notoriety in the area with it’s industry of manufacturing rugged park benches. A “Lions Walk” was recently dedicated which has seen a number of Mason Neck Lions Club benches placed at Birmingham Green Retirement Home. The creator of the benches is Lion Joe Chudzik who is also the Mason Neck club’s Environmental and Cultural Activites chairman. The legs are molded fiber reinforced cement and the seat and back are stained, and treated 2 x 4 lumber. They are tough and made to last in the weather. They usually have a Lions International logo sign on them but some have dedication plaques. It takes two or three men to deliver and final assemble them. Once they are placed, they’re not moving. Several benches have been placed in Lorton, typically at bus stops. Several of the benches at Birmingham Green in Centerville were purchased by Manassas Lions Clubs. Thanks to Lion Chester Smith of the Manassas Host Lions Club for championing this effort for the benefit of the community. Representatives from the Manassas Host Lions Club; Manassas Lioness Club; Manassas Kiwanis; Inter-Service Club Council of Greater Manassas; Prince William County politicians; staff of Birmingham Green and the media attended a dedication. About fifty people enjoyed the dedication; camaraderie and fine snacks prepared by Birmingham Green. Many guests of the facility also came out to express their thanks to all the Lions for their generous help to Birmingham Green. If your organization would like to purchase a bench, e-mail Lion Joe Chudzick C/O <>,.

Lions Memorial Plate on Bench to Shirley Bandy


Lorton Legion Family Donates to Assist Wounded Warrior

By David F. Wallace

Our Legion Post, as many others, have made lasting contributions to our community for over 80 years but this past month the Lorton Legion Family came together to provide assistance to a wounded veteran and his wife who lost most of their belongings on Aug 14th. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue responded to Captain Edward Klein and his wife Jessica’s home that evening in a large electrical house fire. Edward, who lost both legs and an arm when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan two years ago, tried to climb out of the basement himself. Luckily for him, his wife was able to help pull him onto the front porch and by the time he got outside there were neighbors who assisted getting him to safety. Edward had spent 18 months in rehabilitation at Walter Reed Medical Center. Lorton Post 162 Legion Families are matching the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 162 contribution for this veteran in helping to collect enough money to rebuild their wounded soldier accessible smart home. If you would like to make a donation to directly support Edward Klein, please write his name in the memo line of your check/money order (they do not accept cash in the mail) and make them payable to: Building for America’s Bravest 2361 Hylan Blvd Staten Island, NY 10306 All contributions made at are considered donations to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, an IRS 501(C)(3) tax-exempt organization. Building for America’s Bravest is a proud program of the Stephen Siller Foundation.


Coalition Receives Grant to Build Trails on Tanyard Hill Property

The 501(c)(3) Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition (PWTSC) announced today that it has received a grant in the amount of $4,500 from REI to construct approximately 3,000 feet of natural surface trail on the property at the corner of Tanyard Hill and Old Bridge Roads recently purchased by the Town of Occoquan. This 17.7 acre parcel of streams and woodlands is protected from development by a conservation easement that permits passive recreational uses such as hiking and nature trails. PWTSC Treasurer and former Occoquan Mayor, Earnie Porta, who submitted the grant application, indicated that it will be some time before trails are actually installed. “There are a number of technical issues regarding proffers from an earlier rezoning that I understand need to be addressed first,” said Porta, “but in the meantime Occoquan Mayor Liz Quist and the town attorney have recommended that PWTSC go ahead and develop a proposed trail plan and route for review by the Occoquan Town Council.” According to Porta, PWTSC submitted the grant application in mid-April after he confirmed that the Town Council had no objection to PWTSC doing so. The application disclosed that the sale of the property to Occoquan, which had been announced on April 2, had not yet closed, and that if it did not proceed to closing, indicated that funds would be returned or re-allocated to other projects. Occoquan closed on the Tanyard Hill purchase on July 7. PWTSC is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to establishing and promoting the use of a county-wide system of multi-use trails and blueways in Prince William County. “We have a diversity of members and interests,” said Porta, “including hikers, runners, cyclers, horseback riders, paddlers, and others – it is a true coalition of those interested in trails and blueways. But trail-building is at the core of what we do, and we have built miles of trails in PWC working with the County and other partners.” Porta said he would ultimately like to see the Tanyard Hill trail system connect to the nearby LRPRA trail system. Last spring, LRPRA and the County reached agreement on the construction of an approximately 10-mile trail from the County’s McCoart Administration Building to the Town of Occoquan. “That seems like a natural connection,” said Porta. The Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition (PWTSC) is an all volunteer 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing and promoting recreational use of a county-wide system of trails and streams. Through charitable contributions and volunteer participation, PWTSC cooperates with both public and private organizations sharing similar goals. We work to educate Prince William County residents on the value to their quality of life of trail and waterway connections. In addition to trail-building, we sponsor a variety of cleanups, as well as annual running, cycling, and water events that highlight Prince William County’s trails and waterways.

What’s Historic about Occoquan?

Self Guided Walking Tour helps you discover

The fact that Occoquan is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Virginia Historic Landmark District confirms that it’s Historic….so the Business Guild of Occoquan is proud to announce the first comprehensive Occoquan “Self Guided Walking Tour”. The history of each building in the Historic District is chronicled and includes visitor quotes from as far back as 1801, memories of residents from the early 20th century, vintage pictures and newspaper articles related to major Occoquan events. Since the tour is self guided, you may take as much time as you like and, of course, visit the many shops housed in these historic buildings along the way. The Self Guided Walking Tour is available at the Visitors Center, the Mill House Museum, as well as many Occoquan shops.



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Fire Guidelines

from Lori Craddock

First responder training definitely teaches to not be a hero or to add to the emergency. Always, first call qualified help and prepare to give the emergency workers good information so that they can get immediately to the job. Then, if you are qualified and want to volunteer, you may do so. Know that doing the wrong thing can make an emergency worse. You are not obligated to use a fire extinguisher just because it is there.

Every fire can be different and it is important to know which type of fire you are dealing with before attempting to put it out. For some fires water will help put them out, but with others it will only make the fire worse. It is best to use the fire extinguisher that correlates for each type of fire, but if you do not have that on hand, here are some tips on different types of fires and how to put them out:

Class A- Fires consist of ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, trash or anything else that leaves an ash. Water can be used to extinguish.

Class B- Fires are fueled by flammable or combustible liquids, which include oil, gasoline, and other similar materials. Smothering effects which deplete the oxygen supply work best to extinguish Class B fires. Baking soda or salt works well to smother the fire.

Class C Fires- Energized Electrical Fires. Always de-energize the circuit by unplugging the cord, turning off the breaker etc. Once electricity is gone, it can be treated as a different class of fire based on what is burning. If you can’t de-energize, smother fire with a blanket or use a type C extinguisher.

Class D- Combustible metal fires. Once a metal ignites do not use water in an attempt to extinguish it. Only use a Dry Powder extinguishing agent which works by smothering and heat absorption. Examples to use are graphite in powder form or sodium chloride, aka salt, in granular form.

Class K- Fires that involve cooking oils, grease or animal fat can be extinguished using Purple K, the typical agent found in kitchen or galley extinguishers. Alternately, shut off stove or oven, smother pan with lid, baking soda or Type B extinguisher. Smother fire in oven by keeping door closed and/or throwing baking soda on food. Never move pan as can fan fire or splatter grease. Never turn on exhaust fan or use water. The fan will draw the flames into a concealed space. Let fat cool in oven or else contact with air may make fire flare up again.

Note on Gas Fires- Shut off gas supply. Smother with rug, blanket or Type B extinguisher or cool with water. Ventilate the area to let out the gases. Call the Fire Department to have the area pipes checked for further hazards. Then call the gas company. If there is a gas fire, it may be better to let the gas burn rather than extinguish the fire, which would let the gas fill the room or house creating the potential for an explosion. Therefore, the primary key is to shut off the gas supply and call the fire department. Regardless of the fire, make sure to call your local fire department for advice and assistance.


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