The moment the words rolled off Charlton Gnadt's tongue, many in the audience said later, an identical thought raced through their minds: "I'm glad I didn't say that."
People didn't know whether to laugh or wince at last week's induction of the new board of supervisors when Gnadt, clerk of Prince William Circuit Court, introduced Occoquan Supervisor Kathleen K. Seefeldt, the board's senior member, as "the sweetheart of Sigma Chi."
It was an audacious introduction for a woman whose no-nonsense style leads most people to address her by nothing more familiar than "Mrs. Seefeldt."
"I knew her for five years before I called her Kathy," said one county official of the "sweetheart" remark.
Seefeldt, a Democrat beginning her fourth four-year term, took Gnadt's sobriquet in stride. "You never know what Charlie is going to say," she said at a reception after the ceremony.
County school officials are hoping that Santa's reindeer won't be prancing and pawing on the roof at Woodbridge High School tonight. It's in such bad shape that three fall concerts in the school auditorium had to be moved when raindrops started falling. And last week's choral concert was rescheduled for this week, also because of the weather.
Bets are on at the school that this spring's musical production will be "Singin' in the Rain." One PTA member has suggested that the group raise funds by selling umbrellas outside the auditorium before events there.
At the hint of a rain cloud on the horizon, Principal Tom Gaul and other administrators at Woodbridge deploy a large number of what Gaul calls "rain collection devices," which bear a strong resemblance to trash cans.
The worst leaks are in the auditorium and the library, where plastic is draped over books to protect them from the elements.
Notwithstanding his team of reindeer, Santa will be welcome at Woodbridge if he has $1.2 million in his sack. That's the estimate for the new roof.
Will radio listeners in western Prince William County find the twang of country music stars such as Kenny Rogers and Tammy Wynette more compelling than the latest updates on the machinations of the Board of County Supervisors or the Manassas City Council?
Managers at WPRW, a 5,000-watt station on the outskirts of Manassas, are hoping they will.
This month, the radio station changed its "adult contemporary" format to one specializing in country music. At the same time, WPRW fired Martin Wolner, the station's one-man news department. Program director Scott Gibb said the station will give less emphasis to local news.
Seeing a window of opportunity, radio station WQRA, based in neighboring Fauquier County, has announced plans to open a Prince William news bureau -- to be run by Wolner.
WPRW's Gibb praised Wolner's work, but said the station does not have the resources to attempt a full-fledged news operation. He said the old music format had grown "a little stale" and that the station has gotten rave reviews for its new Nashville-style sound. -- John F. Harris and Alice Digilio