Prince William gets $16.4M 9-1-1 calling system, prepares for ‘next generation 9-1-1’

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Stafford County firefighters battle a blaze April 16, 2015.
[KJ Mushung/Potomac Local News]

Prince William police and fire rescue now has a new 9-1-1 calling system in place.

The new system – called Premier One – which had a contracted cost of $16.4 million is being managed by Motorola.

According to a Motorola release, Prince William handles 400,000 emergency calls per year.

Current system was at ‘end of life’

“Prince William County has several systems that support safety…of those, we were at end of life for many if not all of them, and had to develop a plan to replace and upgrade those,” said Prince William fire and rescue Battalion Chief Scott Boggs.

Boggs stated that the county went through a lengthy bidding process to find a new vendor for the county’s 9-1-1 calling system.

“That process included over 3,000 requirements that each vendor had to respond to, and we went through a fairly lengthy negotiation process. The outcome was that Motorola was contracted with Prince William County to replace the computer aided dispatch, law records management, fire records management, personnel and asset management, as well as a software solution to handle logistics and training and facilities,” said Boggs.

Next generation 9-1-1

There are two unique features of the new emergency response system – it’s connection to regional public safety systems, and it’s potential to incorporate ‘next generation 9-1-1’ which will allow for texts and other types of messages, instead of strictly voice emergency calls.

“Of that $600,000 was grant funding for inter-operability, and that is to connect our system to other systems that are connected in the national Capital region,” said Boggs.

“When you look at public safety, and answering 9-1-1 calls, next generation 9-1-1 is the big push now, with being able to take on not just voice calls, but texts and things like that. Because Premier One is a modern platform, it will give the county the ability to add those next generation abilities as they need to…it will help them grow in the future,” said Motorola Director of Product Management for Smart Public Safety Steve Mayes.

Improvements already seen for first responders

The new system went live at the end of June, and while they’re still working on getting dispatches fully comfortable with the software, Prince William police has already seen a big improvement in information given to their officers.

“Obviously it takes a little time to get used to new software for our staff, but I can tell you from a management perspective, I’ve been through many of these upgrades…and it’s a challenge for most us to do that normally. In this case we took a proactive approach and utilized things like Motorola training all of our dispatch staff and also making sure our training was time appropriately and we’re actually at the point now where we’re tweaking,” said Boggs.

Prince William sheriff’s lieutenant Patrick Aigner referenced the improvements when speaking about a recent robbery call.

“The information available to the individual officers on the street is critical for the public safety aspect, as well as the investigative aspect. We’ve already seen in just over a week so many examples of the enhanced functionalities. For instance – we had a robbery last week – in the eastern district, and the mapping feature, which allows the officer to see where their partners are in relation to the target address…allows us to use much better positioning for keeping the suspect potentially in that perimeter. We’ve already seen where that enhancement has helped our officers,” Aigner said.

Ali Krieger fans gather in Woodbridge to watch Team USA win

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Ali Krieger fans watch Team USA win.
Ali Krieger fans watch Team USA win.
Ali Krieger fans watch Team USA win.
Ali Krieger fans watch Team USA win.

When the U.S. Women’s National Team took home the 5-2 win over Japan last night, fans gathered in Woodbridge to cheer them on.

Especially fans of Ali Krieger, the 30-year-old defensive player from Dumfries. Hometown hero Krieger attended C.D. Hylton High School for one year and later graduated from Forest Park High School. She played for Prince William Soccer Incorporated (PWSI).

Fans gathered to watch the championship game at Glory Days Grill in Woodbridge. Mike Yeatts at PWSI sent these photos to Potomac Local.

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Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores a culinary destination

  • Tidewater Grill
  • Phone: 571-383-3050

Matthew Blazey is executive chef The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores
The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores
Che Crabcake Sandwich at The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores
Pork Belly Bites at The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores
Watermelon Salad at The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores
Shrimp Tacos at The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores

Between the Potomac River and the 18th hole of the Potomac Shores Golf Club, the Tidewater Grill sits like an oasis in the quiet of nature, cut off from the bustling city not too far beyond its walls.

In the kitchen, Executive Chef Matthew Blazey is cooking up something delicious.

“These are our pork belly bites,” Chef Blazey says, motioning towards one dish. “We braze pork belly in a bunch of seasonings, a little bit of vinegar, apple cider vinegar and some apple juice. We cool it down, cut it into cubes and then we fry it really quickly so it’s nice and crispy. Then we top it with jalapeños, scallions, and fresh cilantro.”

When asked about the kind of person that eats this dish, Chef Blazey laughs. “Everyone loves this dish,” he says.

The enthusiastic chef says that the Tidewater Grill has fun with its food.

“It is a golf club, so you have to have those staples like a burger, a hot dog, wings. We have those, but with our own twist. For instance, our hot dog isn’t your typical hot dog. It’s got bacon jam; caramelized onion and yellow mustard. We like to cook food that not only we like to eat, but people like to eat.”

Matt has been the Executive Chef for Tidewater Grill since before it opened last year. His passion for being in the kitchen began when he dropped out of the university where he had been studying business.

“I hated it,” Chef Matt said. “It wasn’t my kind of learning. I’m a very visual and hands on person. You can tell me how to do something until I’m blue in the face, but I’m not going to fully get it until I actually do it.”

He picked up a job at a golf course in Mason, Ohio instead. “I started working in the kitchen and I fell in love with it,” he said.

Years later, it’s clear the chef still feels strongly connected to the work that he’s involved in and passionate about being in the kitchen.

“That’s where everyone wants to be. It’s exciting, it’s dynamic. There’s always something to do. You know, we’re back there sweating bullets all day, behind a grill in this fast paced environment.”

He also has experience working in a variety of different environments, from hotels in busy city areas to the expansive wildlife of Virginia.

“If I want to take a break from the hotel, going outside there’s taxi cabs flying past me, there’s potholes, and people honking their horns,” Chef Matt said.

Things are different at the Tidewater Grill.

“Here, if I want to go outside, I go out on the back patio and there’s a bald eagles nest adjacent to our clubhouse. The Potomac River is a stones throw away and we’re looking out over the beautiful 18thhole.”

The atmosphere even inspires Chef Matt in the dishes that he makes and the ingredients he decides to use. “We’ve got crab all over the place in our menu: crab cake, crab mac n’ cheese, crab corn chowder.” He adds that the Tidewater Grill features meat and produce from local farms.

“You’re not only supporting local businesses and the local community, it shows the people dining in your establishment what they can also get and what their neighbors are producing,” he said.

Now that he’s Executive Chef, Matt spends a little less time in the kitchen. “My line cooks are probably faster than me now. They can probably run circles around me, so I rely heavily on them in that aspect.”

The chef also enjoys checking on tables and making connections with guests. He says it isn’t just compliments about the food that he’s pleased to hear.

“I like to hear them talk about how much they not only love the food, but just love coming here in general. Because of the atmosphere, you know the service that our staff gives, the conversationsthey have with guests, that whole interaction”

But of course, food is his main priority.

“Here, we have the luxury of making food that we believe in and changing it constantly,” Chef Mattsays.

“If we throw something against the wall and it sticks, awesome. If we throw something against the wall and it doesn’t, then we move on to the next.”

Chef Matt claims there’s nothing like the Tidewater Grill in this area. “I want to make it a destination,” he said.

It seems for Chef Matt at least, it already is one.

“We’re open 7 days a week,” he says. “Come on down.”

This promoted post and accompanying video was written and produced by Potomac Local.

Remake Dale City: How close are we to moving the neighborhood library?

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dale-city-library

The Dale City Neighborhood Library isn’t very large when compared to other regional libraries in Prince William County, like nearby Chinn Park, and Bull Run libraries.

But it is a busy one. On any given afternoon, finding a parking space here is a challenge, and that might give solace to those who defend libraries in the age of the internet.

This library recently won the attention of six planners from the American Institute of Architects Sustainable Design Assesment Team (SDAT for short) who visited Dale City last month. Among the many recommendations made by both the team and residents who attended a series of public meetings on redeveloping Dale City into a more friendly place to live, moving the library was one of them.

The Dale City Neighborhood Library sits in the heart of suburb it’s named after, in Center Plaza on Dale Boulevard at the intersection of Minnieville Road. It dates back about 30 years when many homes in Dale City were still under construction.

Now, the area’s population is getting older. Planners identified Center Plaza and nearby Mapledale Plaza as what could be the new twin downtowns for Dale City. Under the plan, the library would be relocated from Center to Mapledale, where it could join a new health spa, amphitheatre, and public space that would be added in what is now the parking lot of Mapledale Plaza that sits empty the majority of the time.

John Jenkins, who represents the Neabsco District portion of Dale City on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, says it’s an idea worth exploring. Marty Nohe represents the other half of Dale City, in the Coles District, and he said moving the library is dependent upon costs, and deciding whether or not the move would improve services provided to the public.

While it hasn’t been called a pipedream, moving the library won’t happen anytime soon. Two new libraries will open this year — one in Montclair and other in Gainesville. The land for the Montclair library was donated 30 years ago.

“People are planning things and telling you what they want, but we have to look at costs. Would it be a big library?… Would it be a regional library? If that were the case, you would have to do a bond referendum,” said Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan, who pushed for the construction of the Montclair library.

County officials in 2006 asked the voters by way of a referendum to borrow money to build the libraries. Voters said yes, and on Oct. 29 at 3 p.m. the new library will open to the public, said Caddigan. A similar grand opening is scheduled for a new library in Gainesville on Oct. 15, she added.

Read more in our “Remake Dale City” series: 

The ‘city’ has 2 centers

How new signs, bus stops could help create a sense of place

How the ‘Neabsco Greenway’ will bridge the gap

Why it got so foggy on the 4th of July

News

Did it get foggy on Saturday night or what?

After Independence Day revelers enjoyed their fireworks shows, a thick cloud of haze rolled into our region.

Many at the Potomac Nationals game in Woodbridge posted photos to social media showing the eerie fog.

 

When farm team for the Washington Nationals set off their fireworks after the game Saturday night, many stated they couldn’t see them because the fog was so dense.

Brian Lasorsa, of the National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington office in Sterling, said they knew the fog was coming when forecasters updated thier short-term forecast about 7 p.m. Saturday. Lasorsa said smoke from fireworks could have played a role in why the fog was so dense.

After the fireworks shows ended, a breeze blew most of the smoke south of Washington, D.C., where many gather on the National Mall to watch one of the region’s largest firework shows. Fog at Ronald Regan National Airpot reduced visibility to about two to three miles, said Lasorsa.

On a clear day, it’s possible to see about 10 miles in any direction, he added.

The fog — and firework smoke – hung around due to inversion, said Lasorsa. That’s when air temperatures at the surface are cooler than they are aloft. So, instead of rising and blowing away, the smoke hung around.

It’s possible that smoke particles could have been a contributing factor of creating more fog across the region.

The fog cleared out of the area Sunday morning.

Mr. Postal holds ribbon cutting at North Stafford store

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Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.

Mr. Postal held a ribbon cutting at its location at 2769 Jefferson Davis Highway in North Stafford.

Now under new ownership, retail center was formerly known as the Pack N Ship Store.

Several members of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce were in attendance. Margaritas, wine, and champagne was served at the event.

Children stuff their faces at Manassas watermelon eating contest

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Manassas watermelon eating contest.
Manassas watermelon eating contest.
Manassas watermelon eating contest.
Manassas watermelon eating contest.

Residents descended upon Downtown Manassas on Saturday to “Celebrate America” on Independence Day.

In addition to fireworks, there was a bicycle decorating contest, a pie eating contest, and a children’s watermelon eating contest during the celebration.

Here are some photos of the children’s watermelon eating contest held at Harris Pavilion in Manassas.

Beer, Wine & Spirits Trail in Prince William, Manassas

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Discover the wine, beer and spirits trail right here in Prince William & Manassas. With a variety of beverage options there is sure to be something to satisfy everyone along this libation filled trail.

Winery at La Grange – This scenic 22 acre farm vineyard is a relaxing and restful place to spend a sunny afternoon sipping wine.  A fully renovated manor house dating back to 1790, is now used as the main Tasting Room.   It sits at an elevation of about 600 feet, right at the base of the Bull Run Mountain foothills.

Winery at Bull Run – A working farm vineyard in an authentic 1860’s setting. The winery adjoins over 5,000 countryside acres of the historic Manassas National Battlefield Park offering a glimpse of Virginia’s rich heritage along with fine Virginia wines.

Bad Wolf Brewing Company – The first micro-brewery to open in Manassas that specializes in exquisite craft beers that are ever changing.

Heritage Brewing Company – A uniquely American Brewery, owned and operated by veterans.  1% of all proceeds are donated to philanthropic efforts that give back to their country & community all while making 100% American microbrews.

–  Tin Cannon Brewery – The first nanobrewery in Prince William & Manassas, located in Gainesville is serving up some new and innovative brews that push the limits. From bacon to chipotle peppers you never know what flavors they will come up with next.

As if these wineries and breweries were not enough to quench your thirst, there are several more spirited businesses that are scheduled to open a little later this year.

K&O Distillary – A brand new distillery creating a product line of craft distilled beverages at the 12-thousand square foot facility. KO Distilling plans on opening an area for tours, taste-testing, special events, and product sales in the very near future.

MurLarkey Distilled Spirits – MurLarkey Distilled Spirits, located in Bristow, Virginia is a Small Batch Craft-distillery, specializing in Whiskey. Using 100% organic grains, all natural ingredients and botanicals ensures the production of premium spirits.

Ornery Beer Company & Public House – The very 1st Brew Pub in Prince William County you will be able to find not only delicious and unique craft beers here, but also a meticulously prepared food menu that compliments the beers served.

For more information about where to eat, drink and shop visit Discoverpwm.com  

Call to Action: Moms and dads may volunteer at Tiger Woods Quicken Loans National

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Good morning Prince William – Transitional Housing Barn needs volunteers at their next Yard sale on Saturday July 11th from 8am-12 noon. This super fun and easy to give them a hand. Please call Tammy at (703) 369-1325 to register.

· Prince William Citizens Stream Monitoring needs volunteers interested in water monitoring and gaining more knowledge on water quality issues. The training courses will give you lots of new skills and eventually your DEQ certification. Please visit their website for all kinds of good stuff at: pwswcd.org or email them at: waterquality@pwswcd.org to register for the trainings.

· Hey teens age 12-18 yrs. old! The Tiger Woods Foundation is hosting the Quicken Loans National Golf Tournament at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club July 27th-August 2nd. They need lots of teen volunteers throughout the week for their Standard Bearer Committee. This super fun job entails walking with a group of golfers as they play 18 holes of golf and hold up their score sign. You’ll be right in the middle of the action all day! You must commit to work any 3 days during the tournament in in exchange you will receive the uniform page for free- this volunteer package includes official Nike shirt and hat, 1 volunteer badge for the week and a weekly guest pass, parking pass and complimentary food and beverages on the days you work. This is a super volunteer job and resume builder. Sign up at: qlnational.com or you can call Katie at (301) 365-6946 or email her at: qlntournament@tigerwoodsfoundation.org. Hey mom and Dad there are also volunteer positions for you too. They need marshals at individual holes, helping at admissions or the hospitality tents. But you need to purchase your volunteer uniform package for $75- it’s still a fabulous deal. And lastly, all volunteers receive training and orientation.

· Historic Manassas will need lots of volunteers for their Bands, Brews & BBQ on September 12th. You must be age 21+ and the fun jobs include checking IDs, pouring beer, ticket taking and of course set-up or take down. They also need volunteers to help at the Manassas Visitor’s Center. This is a wonderful place to work with lots of neat visitors from around the world stopping by to get info on all our history and historical sites. Please call Erin at (703) 361-6599 to learn more.

· No Kid Hungry and OAFF need volunteers age 16+ for their annual Woodbridge Food Truck Festival on Saturday July 11th and PW Fairgrounds. There are lots of ways to help in ticketing, security, parking and customer information desk. Shifts are 7am-noon for set-up, early shift is 11:30-4:30 or late shift of 4-9pm. Please check out their website to register: wftfest.com

· SERVE has an immediate need for adult volunteers at several fun-paced positions during traditional business hours. Admin and shelter tasks include answering phones and assist walk-in clients and donors. Food intake screeners will help food assistance clients, update database records, schedule appointments and do follow-up calls. All positions require complete background checks and any Spanish speaking skills would be most appreciated. Please email Jan at: jhawkins@nvfs.org for more info.

· BEACON Adult Literacy is looking for volunteers this summer for their conversation classes as well as their fall program. You do not need to speak a second language as they will give you all the skills needed to make a significant improvement in another’s life. Classes are held in Manassas both morning and evenings . Please call Caroline at (703) 368-7491 to learn more.

· Literacy Volunteers of America is also looking for volunteer tutors. No prior experience needed as their next volunteer training begins July 11th with a follow-up on July 25th. Please register today to make a significant impact for an adult learner. Visit: www.lvapw.org for more info.

· If you are looking for other opportunities, please don’t forget to call my wonderful team at Volunteer Prince William. Coleen can help you with the Retired and Senior Volunteer (RSVP) opportunities at (703) 369-5292 ext. 1, Shelley can help with any individual or group project and send you weekly updates if you’d like. Shelley is at (703) 369-5292 ext. 0, and Bonnie can help you with opportunities available in Disaster Preparedness at (703) 369-5292 ext. 3. Please visit our newly re-vamped website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org. Thanks so much for all you do in our community.

Call to Action is a column written by Volunteer Prince William Director Mary Foley.

Power outage affects residents near Manassas Regional Airport

News

A large power outage affected Manassas residents late Friday night.

City officials had this to say about the outage:

A large portion of the city near the Manassas Regional Airport was without power about 10 p.m. A witness said a large beacon near the airport — one that can usually be seen from Prince William Parkway — was not active.

We also heard some city residents had trouble accessing the internet from their homes during the outage.

We don’t know the cause of the outage. We’ll bring you more as we have it.

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