Manassas Journal Messenger 03-02-01


March 2, 2001




bills to rise with values


Chris Newman



MANASSAS – Real estate assessment notices being mailed today to the city’s

11,405 business and residential property owners will show show an average

8.85 percent increase, higher than the average 3 percent rise seen a year


Commissioner of Revenue John Grzejka said in issuing his report this

week that the housing market “really took off” the last six to

eight months of 2000, accelerating the upward trend of area housing prices.

“Generally people are aware of what’s going on in their neighborhoods,

so I don’t think there will be much surprise with the increase,” Grzejka

said. “Manassas is in the same ballpark in terms of appreciation as

the rest of Northern Virginia.”[more]


lawyer gets jail sentence

By Patrick Wilson



MANASSAS – A former lawyer who swindled clients out of their settlements

was ordered Thursday to spend one year in jail and pay restitution of nearly


Thomas Eugene Burks, 48, also will spend 10 years on probation following

his release, ruled Judge Barnard F. Jennings, who sentenced Burks in Prince

William Circuit Court.

Burks, who practiced law in Manassas and was disbarred in July, pleaded

guilty in January to money laundering and three charges of embezzlement.

Jennings, a retired judge from Fairfax County, heard the case because

Prince William’s Circuit Court judges recused themselves.[more]


the way — Vigil sheds light on capital punishment


Nancy Carroll



David S. Holloway/Staff Photographer

Illuminated by the light of a candle held by John Steinbach,

activist Louise Franklin-Ramirez, 95, bows her head during a moment of silence

at a vigil protesting the execution of Thomas Wayne Akers on Thursday night.

MANASSAS – A candlelight vigil Thursday night marked Virginia’s 82nd execution

since 1976.

Members of the Manassas Church of the Brethren and other death penalty

abolitionists gathered around the peace pole at the corner of Grant and

Lee avenues at 8:45 p.m., 15 minutes before the scheduled execution of 34-year-old

Thomas Wayne Akers at Greenville Correctional Center in Jarratt.

The Manassas vigil was just one of many protests taking place nationwide.

Akers was sentenced to death on Nov. 5, 1999 for the murder of 24-year-old

Wesley Smith of Roanoke. Akers choked Smith with a belt and then beat him

to death with an aluminum baseball bat.[more]


impasse may hurt transit


Alfred M. Biddlecomb



The budget gridlock in Richmond could add to the gridlock on local highways,

according to mass transit officials who may have to delay expansion plans

because state funding is in doubt.

Members of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission said

they hope the General Assembly and Gov. James S. Gilmore III can agree on

a state budget that would provide money for new buses and other mass transit


The governor and legislature are at an impasse on the fiscal 2002 budget

scheduled to go into effect in July. The General Assembly left town last

week without a new spending plan, which will result in no new state spending

if left unresolved.[more]


share lessons on Japanese culture


Tiffany Schwab



David S. Holloway/Staff Photographer

Jamie Laatsch,10, right, applauds as fellow fifth-grader

Jamie Laatsch,10, figures out how to fold an origami box. When asked if

they were enjoying the cultural day the echoed “It’s fun.”

The best souvenir is sometimes not a material possession, but being able

to share one’s travel experience with others.

After their recent visits to Japan, elementary school teachers Kirsten

Fisher and Jim Amaral brought home robes and gifts, but they also brought

back more than that.

Their most valuable souvenirs might be the lessons on Japanese culture

they shared with their peers and students Thursday night at McAuliffe Elementary


Both Fisher and Amaral visited Japan as recipients of the Fulbright Memorial

Fund Scholarship, sponsored by the Japanese government. Amaral teachers

fifth grade at Bennett Elementary School.[more]


Conquistadors are caught red-handed


– Like a 6-year-old reaching for the cookie jar on the top shelf, Seton’s

girls basketball team had its quarterfinal game in the Virginia Independent

Schools tournament within its sights.

But Saint Gertrude played the role of mom, holding off repeated Conquistador

attacks in the Gators’ 52-43 win Thursday night.

“If we could have gotten that lead, or tied the game I think definitely

things would have gone the other way,” Seton senior Katy Hadro said.

“We had chance after chance, but we weren’t making the layups and weren’t

making the free throws.”

Repeatedly during the game Seton got to within three or four points with

opportunities to score. But each time it seemed an easy layup was missed,

or a free throw drew iron.[more]


quickest quartet — Osbourn relay crew leads list of area athletes headed

to states

MANASSAS – Since becoming a AAA school, Osbourn has never had an athlete

named All-State in track. But that could change this weekend.

Four Eagle athletes and a relay team are headed for the Group AAA indoor

meet, which will be held this weekend at George Mason University.

Three of the four individuals – Alberto Cornejo, Michael Lansdowne, and

Steven Garner – all made the cut in multiple events: Cornejo in the 55-meter

dash and the high jump, Lansdowne in the 300 and 500, and Garner in the

55 hurdles and triple jump. All finished sixth or better at the Northwest

regional two weeks ago. [more]

Brentsville eyes state tourney — Tigers, Cougars begin wrestling today

in Salem


Hoards of area wrestling fans and families have already begun to make the

southerly trek down Interstate 81.

Hotel rooms are being rapidly booked, and Virginia High School League and

Salem Civic Center officials are bustling to make final adjustments. This

week has been the calm before the storm in suburban Roanoke.

Today and tomorrow the top Group A and Group AA wrestlers will convene at

the Salem Civic Center to find out who is the best in Virginia.[more]


Feeling winter’s

chill? Come enjoy ‘A Midsummer’s Night’


“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” written the same year as “Romeo

and Juliet,” has been performed within a staggering variety of settings,

from 17th century France to 1920s Chicago. Shenandoah Shakespeare Express’

production, which opened last week at the Folger Theatre, chooses a 1950s

prep school to bring the enchanted Athenian forest to life.

Gossamer-winged and leather-clad fairies flutter and strut about the

stage; letter-sweatered teen-agers drop down to their skivvies and battle

each other with umbrellas. [more]


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