A JMU student reached out to our news editor, Stephanie Tipple, about her recent article regarding the increase in fees for the Stonewall Park Swim team.
Dear Ms. Stephanie Tipple,
After reading your article about the increase in hourly fees for a local swim team I found it interesting and enjoyed the fact that you interviewed the team’s Board President instead of the local pool owner. Personally I believe that you gave us a different perspective on a subject between a local swim team and a local pool owner, the perspective you gave us gives the reader an opportunity to connect with the swim team and understand the impact of raising hourly prices could have on kids becoming more involved with swimming at Stonewall Park.
During my sociology class we have been discussing how sometimes the media gives public lenses or perspectives on how to view issues and while reading the title I expected it to revolve on the local pool instead of the team’s Board President. This article not only informs us of why the fee is increasing but it also informs us how it will affect the swim team and community as a whole. While reading this article I felt like it was easier to relate to the swim team and how raising the price by $5 could have such an impact on the future of kids who want to try swimming but the limitations a raise in fee could have even if its only $5.
I really enjoyed this article and how it was written because I was also an athlete at Hylton High School so I can connect and understand how much of an impact raises in certain sports could change the popularity of the sport. And personally I know that most of a team’s revenue comes from concessions and tickets of matches or games so having it is interesting to see how this can effect the swim team at Stonewall Park in the future.
*Editors Note: This letter was received this morning, March 4.
Prince William property tax bills to increase by $139 under advertised tax rate, county jobs still on chopping block
Prince William leaders set an advertised tax rate Tuesday night.
It’s lower than the 4% increase agreed upon last year in the county’s five-year budget plan, but it’s higher than an earlier 1.3% rate increase that would have meant multiple cuts in county services, and pay freezes for county employees.
The Board of Supervisors set the advertised property tax rate at $1.122 per $100 of assessed value (property taxes are the main source of revenue for county governments in Virginia). That’s a 3.88% increase over last year’s tax rate. The rate would generate an average tax bill of $3,722 per household, an increase of $139 per year, $12 more per month than last year.
Since the county government gives about 57% of its total budget to the schools, the $1.122 rate will mean $8.4 million than what the school division expected to receive under the 1.3% increase batted about when budget talks began in earnest last month. The school division would is still short about $8 million of what it needs to fully funded, according to officials.
For about $40 more per household, the schools would have been fully funded if the county adopted a tax rate of $1.135, raising the average property tax bill by 5.11%, according to officials.
Since the Board of Supervisors set the advertised tax rate at $1.122, they cannot go higher at budget adoption time April 21. The option to fully fund the schools is now off the table.
Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland proposed the 1.3% increase, which would have set a property tax rate of of $1.094 per $100 of assessed value. It would have capped the growth of the average tax bill at $47. That proposal would have also meant slashing community services, supplemental funding for Magistrates at the county’s courthouse, funding for libraries, funding for criminal gang education and awareness efforts, as well as cuts in funded healthcare services.
As of Feb. 21, funding to many of these programs was restored by the Board of Supervisors, with the exception of a portion of funding to the county’s capital park bond projects, a program for juvenile drug offenders, $175,000 in funding to Healthy Families prevention program, and $319,000 in funding for the county’s in-house print shop.
Discover Prince William / Manassas, the agency that promotes tourism in the county and Greater Manassas areas, could also see $92,000 of its funding shifted into the county’s Historic Preservation department. Keep Reading…
March 3, 2015
February 27, 2015
February 27, 2015
February 27, 2015
A community Town Hall meeting hosted by Delegate Luke Torian the Ferlazzo Building in Woodbridge Monday night was an opportunity for elected officials and political candidates to voice their views. It was also a chance for residents in Prince William County to communicate with law enforcement officials.
During the meeting, Torian, Supervisor John Jenkins, and Supervisor Maureen Caddigan spoke about community issues that they felt passionate about, as well as how to properly communicate with law enforcement as a community.
“We have a very compassionate, and a very caring community,” Caddigan said.
Among the primary topics discussed were the continuing conversation on homelessness, transportation, and school funding.
“I want to fight for continuous road improvements. Those pot-holes that you see out there [on the road] right now are not the norm,” Jenkins said.
Karl Brower, the Prince William County NAACP chapter president, and Maria Burgos-Singleton, a representative from Prince William County Public Schools also spoke about their respective causes and called for community action and acceptance of the county’s diversity.
The Prince William County Sheriff Glen Hill, a representative of the Virginia State Police and Prince William County Police Department Chief Steve Hudson all presented information about what their law enforcement organizations do within the county, and fielded questions from residents. Keep Reading…
On Sunday morning in Dale City, several law enforcement vehicles were seen outside a Giant Food supermarket location in Center Plaza on Dale Boulevard.
Several uniformed officers were inside the store. One uniformed officer stated that they had been in the area since 3:30 a.m. working on a “bust”.
“The troopers were assisting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,” said Corinne Geller,Virginia State Police spokeswoman.
Geller referred press to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for comment. The agency provided no specific comment on the police activity in Dale City.
“Every day, as part of routine operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) works in partnership with state and local law enforcement agencies to target and arrest criminals and other individuals who are considered agency priorities,” said Carissa Cutrell, a Public Affairs Officer for DHS.
While the winter weather wasn’t as severe as predicted today, the National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook alert.
The rain is expected to continue into Wednesday, and could pose a flooding threat in some areas.
Late Wednesday night the precipitation is expected to turn into snow. There has been no exact project on the amount of snowfall expected, but the accumulation is projected to be significant.
Potomac Local will be releasing all information about weather updates, closings, delays and outages.
More from a National Weather Service alert:
.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…WEDNESDAY THROUGH MONDAY
HEAVY RAIN IS POSSIBLE WEDNESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY NIGHT WHICH COULD
COMBINE WITH SNOWMELT FOR A LOCALIZED FLOODING THREAT.
SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS WILL BE POSSIBLE LATE WEDNESDAY
NIGHT INTO THURSDAY. THERE IS UNCERTAINTY WITH REGARD TO HOW MUCH
SLEET MAY MIX IN WITH THE SNOW. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR DETAILS.
The Stafford County Board of Supervisors has established a transfer of development rights (TDR) program that will help the county to direct development and protect open space in Stafford.
“There’s peninsulas in Stafford, that jut out towards the Potomac River…and if you have more than twenty acres out there, you can apply for your rights to be severed and extinguished on that property – with a conservation easement placed on that property,” said Paul Milde, Aquia Supervisor.
After a property assessment, the county will issue developers a taxable certificate for the development rights. The developers will then be able to use these development rights in the courthouse area in Stafford, and their properties in these peninsula areas will be placed in a conservation easement, according to Milde.
“You can use those [development rights] inside the receiving area – that is the [Stafford] courthouse area,” Milde said.
While most properties must be twenty acres or larger in order to apply for the TDR program, there are some exceptions in the Crow’s Nest Harbor area.
“The area of Crow’s Nest Harbor, which is about 1,000 acres, 353 lots, 2 and half acres on average each – they are the exception to the twenty acre minimum. And [the board] did that because in the comp plan that’s designated park-land…We did that because we wanted to provide some kind of relief for the owners in Crow’s Nest Harbor that are suing us, because we won’t let them develop their property on water and sewer, and we also won’t let them develop their property on on-site septic and wells – we just won’t let them develop their property,” said Milde.
The county could not comment on the lawsuit when Potomac Local reached out.
There are two points of concern about the program. 80 lots in the Crow’s Nest Harbor area are not eligible for the TDR program, and the program will allow developers to increase density without a public hearing for transferred rights in the courthouse area.
“The [owners] that have less than an acre of buildable space…they’re not eligible. And that will be a point of contention, and we’ll have to deal with that later,” Milde commented.
By implementing the TDR program, the county will be able to direct growth to areas where public utilities and services are already available.
“These lots had to be billed [for transfer of development rights] inside the courthouse area, which already has water, sewer – it’s right next to Stafford Elementary and Stafford Middle – the high school, the courthouse…Everything is already there. So we are moving these lots where they’re easily supported,” said Milde.
Milde has been working to establish the program since 2006. He is concerned about over-development in Stafford and the evaporation of open land spaces.
“What’s going to happen in 30 years, 40 years, when Stafford’s a bunch of three acre lots, and there’s no open farm land,” said Milde.
The Winter Weather Advisory has been called off by the National Weather Service, as the precipitation has been mostly rain.
With the impending winter weather forecasted today, VDOT has issued a release warning drivers to be careful on the roads today, as conditions could become dangerous.
More from a VDOT release:
Motorists are advised that sleet and freezing rain could affect road conditions this afternoon in the Fredericksburg area, especially in northern and western areas.
Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews are ready to apply salt and sand to reduce icing, and provide additional traction for vehicle tires. Sleet and freezing rain are forecast to affect the region starting in early afternoon, followed by rain.
Rain is forecast this afternoon in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.
Travelers are encouraged to monitor weather forecasts and road conditions on 511Virginia before starting a trip this afternoon.
Motorists are encouraged to:
Slow down and allow extra travel time to reach your destination.
Be aware of potentially icy areas such as bridges, ramps, hills, curves and overpasses.
Keep a safe following distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are applying sand, salt, and treatment chemicals to the road.
Use extra caution on roads carrying less traffic, such as subdivision streets.
And just when you thought that the snow was over – it’s come back again.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory earlier this evening, in effect tomorrow morning at 9a.m. until 10p.m.
Snow and sleet accumulation is expected to be up to 1 inch, and there is some anticipated ice accumulation as well.
As always, Potomac Local will keep you up to date on the latest in weather, closings, delays and outages.
More from a National Weather Service alert:
...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM TO 10 PM EST TUESDAY... * LOCATIONS...THE BALTIMORE AND WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREAS AND NORTH CENTRAL MARYLAND. * HAZARD TYPES...SNOW...SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN. * ACCUMULATIONS...SNOW AND SLEET ACCUMULATION OF UP TO 1 INCH...ALONG WITH UP TO ONE TENTH OF AN INCH OF ICE. * TIMING...TUESDAY MORNING THROUGH LATE TUESDAY EVENING. * IMPACTS...ROADS WILL BE SNOW AND ICE COVERED. TRAVELING WILL BE DANGEROUS. * WINDS...SOUTHEAST 5 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 25 MPH. * TEMPERATURES...IN THE UPPER 20S. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW...SLEET...OR FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES...AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
A man who lives in the Manassas area is charged in connection to a bestiality case.
Here’s more in a press release from Prince William police:
Distribution of Obscene Material | Crimes against Nature-Cruelty to Animals – In January of 2015, Prince William County detectives began an investigation into an alleged bestiality complaint involving the accused who resides in the 11200 block of Chatterly Lp in Manassas (20109).
The investigation revealed that between April of 2013 and December of 2014, the accused conspired with an adult woman through in-person and online conversations to perform sexual acts on a male dog, identified as a Lab mix belonging to the accused.
During those encounters, the accused arranged a meeting in another jurisdiction where these acts were committed and recorded. After the acts were completed, the accused used a computer at his residence to download the material which was then distributed over the internet. Through the investigation, detectives identified a second woman as also having knowledge of the acts committed.
The accused was originally arrested on January 29th in connection to this active investigation. At that time, the accused attempted sexual contact with a female dog, identified as a Husky/Lab mix, also owned by the accused.
Around the same time, the accused also filmed other acts with animals committed in other jurisdictions and distributed them over the internet from a computer at his home. A search warrant was obtained and executed at the home at that time.
As a result of the search, evidence and both dogs were located in the residence. The dogs were seized and examined by a veterinarian. Both currently remain in police custody at the animal shelter. As the investigation continued, additional charges relating to the conspiracy were later obtained on February 18th. This investigation remains active and is continuing.
Arrested on January 29th & February 18th:
Joseph Michael AMLEY, 22, of 11280 Chatterly Lp, #104, in Manassas
Charged on January 29th with attempted crimes against nature-cruelty to animals, use of a computer to distribute obscene materials and distribution of obscene materials
Charged on February 18th with conspiracy to commit a felony, use of a computer to distribute obscene materials and distribution of obscene materials
Court date: March 13, 2015 | Bond: held WITHOUT bond
Within the next three years, three Stafford high schools – Brooke Point, Colonial Forge, and Mountain View – will be undergoing improvement and expansion projects.
The programs have been slated for completion as part of Stafford’s capital improvements program for several years.
“These additions have been in the capital improvements program for a number of years. But student growth [prompted the additions],” said Valerie Cottongim, Public Information Officer for Stafford County Public Schools.
The Brooke Point project will add eight classrooms and labs, two wellness rooms, an orchestra room, and update the culinary arts space and the library, according to Board documents.
The Colonial Forge and Mountainview expansions will also offer similar updates to the building, with the addition of a security entrance, according to board documents.
Currently, the construction of the projects is out for bid.
Brooke Point’s improvements will cost $6,611,000 and will be completed by September 2016. The Colonial Forge improvements will also be completed in September 2016 and will cost $7.3 million.
The Mountain View project will not start until the other two high school’s projects have been completed, but it’s estimated start date is 2017, slated for completion in September 2018.
Cottongim stated that the bond-funded improvement projects would help accommodate current students, and provide more quality education in Stafford.
“It’s going to allow us to accommodate the students that are attending these schools. The expanded rooms, and fine arts suites will provide extra space for those areas of the curriculum. At Brooke Point, the expanded media center will allow our students and staff to take advantage of more modern technologies than a library that was designed and built 25 years ago,” Cottongim said.
Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and its outlying health centers at Dumfries and Fairfax are OPEN and non-emergency employees have the option for UNSCHEDULED LEAVE or UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK. All appointments remain on schedule; however, we encourage patients and staff to first take their safety into consideration before driving into work or coming in for an appointment. If the roads are dangerous to drive on, patients can contact the clinic where they have an appointment scheduled to cancel or reschedule. Military and civilian staff who may have difficulty reporting to work must contact their immediate supervisors to coordinate unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework.
The Fort Belvoir Community Hospital is closed due to flooding inside the building.
Officials at Fort Belvoir issued this statement:
URGENT NOTICE: Hospital Closing Due To Basement Flooding
Fort Belvoir Community Hospital is CLOSED today due to water supply and plumbing problems that are impacting healthcare operations and network capabilities. All routine and acute appointments as well as elective surgeries are CANCELLED.
Emergency Room services are CLOSED as well. Patients should contact the Tricare Nurse Advice Line at 1-800-TRICARE (1-800-874-2273) and select option #1 to speak with a team member about an urgent care need. Patients can also visit the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center emergency room for assistance.
Hospital staff will contact patients to reschedule appointments; however, patients can also contact the Integrated Referral Management Appointing Center at 855-227-6331 to rescheduled appointments.
The $1 billion hospital opened in August 2011. The project devised in most recent round of BRAC replaced Dewitt Army Community Hospital at Fort Belvoir.
March 2, 2015
February 26, 2015
February 24, 2015
February 19, 2015
February 17, 2015