manassas journal messenger 01/02/01



January 2, 2001




to be first:

First Manassas baby of the third millennium


Chris Walker





The baby wasn’t due until Jan. 18, so mother-to-be Careen Platten went

out for some needed shopping on Sunday.

“We walked Potomac Mills for three hours yesterday, and I think

that did it,” a resting Platten said Monday, four hours after the 12:34

p.m. birth of her first child, Emma Tiffany Platten.

Emma is the first baby born in Manassas in 2001, born 7 pounds 1 ounce

with little red hair and blue eyes.

“She’s been a little angel,” Careen Platten said, with husband

David Platten holding the baby. He handed Emma to her mother, and little

whimpers were heard. “Oh, you like your daddy.”

He approved, “She’s a daddy’s girl.”

David Platten is a physics teacher at Stonewall Jackson High School

and Careen Platten works for the special education lobby group Council for

Exceptional Children in Arlington. The Plattens are five-year residents

of Manassas; their families are coming in from New York this week to see

the new arrival.

Careen Platten said they arrived at Prince William Hospital at 7:15

a.m. after her water broke this morning. Platten used yoga breathing during

labor. She reported the epidural was great, it didn’t slow down the labor.

Both parents had not planned on a New Year’s birth. A February birthday

was the original plan, said David Platten.

Prince William Hospital, which each year publicizes its first birth,

told the new parents there was a gift basket for them. Which was nice, Careen

Platten said, but that was not by any means a factor in when they wanted

the birth. The shopping was for items still needed for the baby and themselves,

Careen Platten said.

Emma Tiffany was well-behaved while visitors talked to her parents.

She had a busy day, being born and all. Her mother said she was still learning

the breast-feeding concept. Both parents forecasted that their nights may

have sleep, based on her quiet behavior so far.

· Contact Chris Newman at [email protected].




VRE suffer when the Mixing Bowl is done?


Chris Newman




The Virginia Railway Express is investing in cars and track to give

itself a capacity boost from its current 10,000 daily passenger trips to

15,000 over the next decade.

But VRE ridership projections only go out to 2005. What happens when

the Springfield Interchange project is completed in 2007; will ridership


Manassas council members have asked this in discussions on VRE, and

were told riders will stay because they get used to the convenience and

commutes are going to remain lengthy even after the eight-year interchange

project is completed.

“Once you grab them, they don’t stop riding,” said John Grzejka,

city representative to the Potomac Rappahannock Transportation Commission.

VRE riders will stick to the trains after the construction because they

get used to commuting by train, he said.

“I think that people are overestimating the Mixing Bowl’s influence

on our growth,” said VRE spokesman Matt Benka, noting that VRE received

175 new riders the day construction on the Springfield “Mixing Bowl”

started in June 1999.

The region’s population is continuing to grow, taking automobile ownership

rates higher, said Al Harf, executive director of PRTC. After the Springfield

Interchange is completed, the Woodrow Wilson bridge project will be begun

in earnest, not allowing the area a break for its highways, he said.

“There will be a steady stream of projects that are going to be

impacting the road system,” Harf said. “I think the Springfield

Interchange project will end up being lost in the shuffle because of the

other factors that contribute to people using mass transit.”

· Contact Chris Newman at [email protected].


Bears break the ice at annual meet


Keith Walker




Bill Parker, leader of the Polar Bear Club in Montclair, used a sledgehammer

to break through the 2 1/2-inch thick ice at the edge of Lake Montclair

on Monday morning, so club members could get to the water for their third

annual New Year’s Day dunking.

Parker showed a chunk of the ice to a crowd of 47 men, women and children

gathered at the Montclair Property Owner’s Association parking lot before

the run started at noon.

He said the clearing in the ice was approximately 10 feet wide and 15

feet long, so the club couldn’t go in as a group this year.

“Chaos at the lake is fine. Just realize you may have to take turns

going in,” he said.

Although a few looked at the visual aid with dread etched on their faces,

none turned away from the run that would end with a plunge into the icy


After a group huddle and a cheer, the crowd took off toward the lake.

“Bill Parker is a little bit short of a full six-pack,” Jocko

Boyd said as he started the mile-and-a-half run.

“And the people that follow him…well that says a little bit less

of them,” the 49-year-old Boyd went on.

“It’s actually a fun event. It’s a family affair. You’ve got 7-year-old

kids and 60-year-old men out here,” he said.

As the runners arrived at the lake’s shore, families waiting there with

towels and blankets cheered encouragement.

It was 37 degrees at the lake.

The runners peeled off sweatsuits and sneakers, plunged into the lake

in their bathing suits, submerged themselves, then turned and quickly headed

for shore as they gasped for air.

Some of the Polar Bears pounded their chests in a Tarzan imitation and

barked as they leapt from the water.

Boris Cardinale tried to break through the ice in a pro-wrestling type

maneuver, but the ice didn’t budge and Cardinale slid 30 feet towards the

center of the lake.

He slipped and slid on hands and knees to get back to the shore.

“I’m not known as the most tightly wrapped person on my street,”

the 38-year-old Cardinale said.

“You’re not known as the most tightly wrapped person anywhere,”

his 16-year-old son Peter said as they dried themselves at the water’s edge.

Navy man Jon Baca said his wife talked him into participating in the


“I married into a Marine family. I did this in hopes of greater

Marine Corps and Navy cooperation,” he said.

Baca’s wife, two daughters and mother-in-law also went for a dip.

“It’s good quality time with the family,” his wife, Terri

Porter, said.

“It’s a good way to celebrate the New Year,” said their 10-year-old

daughter, Leslie Baca.

“They’re nuts,” said Ray Porter, Leslie’s grandfather.





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