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Paul O’Meara challenges Nohe in Prince William Coles District


Paul O’Meara is running for the office of Prince William County Coles District Supervisor.

O’Meara says spending in the county government is “out of control” and that its leaders have not done enough to curb tax increases that negatively impact middle-class families.

O’Meara said federal budget cuts, in particular, stifle area families ability to make ends meet.

Late last year, O’Meara chastised his opponent, sitting Supervisor Marty Nohe, for supporting budget that would increase the average property tax bill by 4%. Last month, officials voted to cap such an increase to 3.8% for the following year.

“Supervisor Nohe’s vote against the tax reduction guidance demonstrates how out of touch he has become with the economic realities facing hard-working Prince William

County families. The recent County survey showed that 85% of voters across the County do not want a tax increase. Yet, in the face of that strong voter opposition, Mr. Nohe has voted for almost every tax increase since becoming Supervisor, and the people of the Coles District deserve someone who will fight for them and not for the irresponsible and unsustainable growth of County Government,” O’Meara stated in a press release.

O’Meara says he is a staunch conservative. He was in a Prince William County courtroom on March 20 when a judge denied a request from the Prince William County Republican Committee to all candidates to hold a primary election despite the committee missing a required deadline to file paperwork requesting a primary. After the judge ruled, O’Meara said the judge showed a clear separation of government powers, and that he saw the judge’s ruling as a way to keep the courts out of the behind the scenes workings of local political parties.

A party canvass, commonly known as a firehouse primary, will be held April 25 when voters will decide to send O’Meara or Nohe into the fall election season to face a Democratic opponent. So far, no such challenger has stepped forward.

The candidate was born and raised in Prince William County. He attended C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge and graduated George Mason University with a degree in government and international politics.

O’Meara serves as the Vice President of a family-owned business and attends Sudley United Methodist Church.

Why were robots placed into the Manassas Park Community Center pool?


Robots in the pool at the Manassas Park Community Center. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
The Northern Virginia SeaPerch challenge held at the Manassas Park Community Center. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
SeaPerch identifies itself as a learning experience. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
Students place their ROVs in the water. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
An ROV out of water. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
An ROV in the pool. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
SeaPerch is an annual challenge. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
Medals were awarded as part of the SeaPerch challenge.[Photo: Mary Davidson]
Several students participated in the SeaPerch challenge. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
At the bottom of the pool.[Photo: Mary Davidson]
SeaPerch teaches naval architecture principals. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
Remotely Operated Vehicle [Photo: Mary Davidson]
Students operate their ROV. [Photo: Mary Davidson]

Students came to the Manassas Park Community Center on Friday and placed robots in the swimming.

No ordinary robots, the students built Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) as part of the Northern Virginia SeaPerch Challenge. Working with the SeaPerch, an underwater robotics program, students built their submersibles using a kit made of low-cost, easy to use parts.  The program teaches basic engineering, science, and math concepts, and tool safety.

Students also explore naval architecture and marine and ocean engineering principles. The SeaPerch name comes form the USS Perch, a World War II-era submarine, according to the organization’s website.

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Call to Action: Cannon Ridge needs cleaning


Good morning – this is sure to verify spring is right around the corner- Transitional Housing BARN cordially invites you to their Annual Sen. Chuck Colgan’s Charity Golf Tournament on Monday May 11th at the Evergreen Country Club. Lots of great golf, goody bags, breakfast, awards banquet and fun contests. Entry fee is just $150 and supports all their good work. Please call or email tammy for all the specifics at (703) 369-1325 or tperkins@barninc.org

· To all agencies who utilize wonderful volunteers in their work please don’t forget to submit their names for recognition at the community wide Volunteer Recognition event which is scheduled for Sunday May 17th. Please email Shelley at: stibbs@volunteerprincewilliam.org for more info.

· The City of Manassas has a community clean-up at Cannon Ridge on Saturday April 18th at 10am. Come out and help clean-up the neighborhood and have a chance to win a free pass to the Stonewall Pool as well as recognition from Mayor Parrish. Register at the Manassas Police Dept by April 10th.

· Division of Historic Preservation is gearing up for spring projects at the Julie Metz Wetlands Preserve in Woodbridge. Volunteers are needed to help with trail and stream clean-up, development of interpretive materials and education programs. These volunteer opportunities continue through the fall. Please call Rebecca at (703) 499-9812 to learn more about this county treasure.

· Brain Injury Services is looking for volunteers to be matched in one to one friendships with survivors of brain injury. Experience is not necessary only your interest. Please call Michelle at (703) 451-8881 ext.232 to learn more.

· SERVE is super busy at their food pantry. Volunteers are needed to assemble food packages during the day and two evenings a week. Great job for teens age 16+. Make this a Spring break activity and continue to help on an ongoing basis. Please email Jan at: jhawkins@nvfs.org to learn more.

· Keep Prince William Beautiful needs volunteers on Saturday April 18th from 9am-12 noon for their Annual Clean Sweep in Woodbridge. The day begins with litter and safety education and training followed by the community clean-up along the route 1 corridor. Please wear your old clothes and rubber boots as this will be a get your hands dirty project that promises to cleanse the soul. This is not appropriate for children under 10yrs old. Please call (571) 285-3772 for more info or check out their calendar at:kpwb.org Keep Reading…

Man charged with possessing explosive material in Dale City


On Thursday afternoon, the Prince William fire and rescue department were on the scene at the Dale Forest Apartments complex in Woodbridge to investigate a possible HAZMAT situation.

The Prince William County HAZMAT, Prince William fire and rescue department, Virginia State Police Bomb Squad, and Prince William police and Fire Marshal’s office were all on scene after getting the report from maintenance workers at the complex, according to a fire and rescue release.

The workers saw a suspicious device when they entered the unit for a routine maintenance visit.

As a precaution, fire and rescue workers evacuated 45 apartments in three surrounding buildings, according to a fire and rescue release.

According to a county release, technicians and officers checked the reported unit to search for any explosives or hazardous material. They were able to secure the scene and remove the hazardous contents, and residents were allowed back into their apartments.

Potomac Local was on the scene to see the owner of the apartment, Alan Michael Blischak, being placed in a Prince William police cruiser.

After further investigation, the Prince William police, Virginia State Police, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Fire Marshal’s Office and the FBI have charged Blischak with 4 counts of §18.2-85, which is the manufacture, possession or use of firebombs or explosive materials and devices, according to a fire and rescue release.

Blischak is currently being held without bond.

Marine Museum at Quantico breaks ground on final wing


Marines present the colors at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new wing at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
Members of the Marine Corps Band play.
Members of the Marine Corps Band play.
A new wing at the National Museum of the Marine Corp will showcase Marines from Vietnam to today.
The Marine Corps Museum will form a circle when complete.
A crowd gathered for a groundbreaking at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

Addition to showcase Marines from Vietnam to present day  

At the controls of an excavator, James Collins, of Winchester, put a gold-colored bucket shovel in the ground outside the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

The Marine who served from 1986 until 1994 had the honor of breaking ground for the final phase of the museum that tells the history and story of the Marine Corps. The new wing will showcase Marines who served during the Vietnam War to present time.

“Marines who serve today do not have hall to walk through to show their family and friends, no record of those they served with, nothing that shows the Marine Corps history that was made during their time,” said Chairman of the Marine Corps Heritage Board of Directors General Walter E. Boomer.

The new wing will include an art gallery, a large-screen theater, Hall of Valor, and a children’s hall to open in 2017. A hall showcasing the stories of Marines that served in Beirut in 2018, a sports hall in 2019, and a changing gallery will open in 2020.

The new wing will also showcase the stories of Marines who served in the most recent Iraq war, in Afghanistan, in Grenada, Somalia, and Operation Desert Strom in Iraq.

“After a decade and a half…the completion of our museum is on the horizon,” said Marine Corps Heritage Foundation President Lt. Gen. Robert R. Blackman, Jr.

The museum opened in 2006 and currently tells the stories of Marines that served between 1775 and the Vietnam War. The new expansion had been planned for since before the museum opened, and the wing will complete the final phase of the museum’s originally planned circle footprint on a hill overlooking Interstate 95 at Quantico.

The groundbreaking of the new wing was bumped up from 2017 to today thanks to a $10 million donation from the Tim and Sandy Day Family Foundation. The museum foundation so far raised $54 million of their overall $70 million goal to complete the museum.

The process of collecting artifacts that will be on display in the new wing began in 2012. Museum officials said the process of collecting more recent historical objects is sometimes more difficult to obtain than those that date back 40 years or more.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps opened in 2006. Since then, more than 4 million visitors from all over the country have flocked to Quantico Marine Corps Base to tour the center. The military has also embraced the museum, as 346 ceremonies were held at the museum last year to include reenlistments ceremonies, retirements, and a speical celebration to commemorate the birthday of the Marine Corps. Keep Reading…

Stafford area public access network to open new studio space


On Saturday, the Central Virginia Public Access Television (CVTV) network, will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house for their new studio space.

The space, which is 5,300 square feet, is located off of Route 3 in Fredericksburg, according to Charles Thomas, the CEO for CVTV.

According to Thomas, the project has been a work in progress for over six years, and they have seen huge growth in the past few years.

“We were all over the place before – then we found a couple of classrooms up at the Career and Training Solutions location – they were gracious enough to allow us to come in there and do some of our programming there,” said Thomas.

The new space will have three studios and other space for volunteers and staff to prepare television programming.

“Now we’re moving into a 5,300 square foot studio [space] and office. We’ll have three studios – one will be large enough to hold 50 people, so we’ll have an audience studio. We’ll have a news studio. And then we’ll have a multi-purpose studio, which will have a green screen and a couple of other sets set up in there. We’ll also have office space, so we can have people come down and sit – they can do any type of work they need to do to prepare for their program…we’re very excited to be moving to our new location,” Thomas commented.

In addition to the new space, they’re hoping to expand their coverage area, which currently includes Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Fredericksburg, with the hope of spreading into King George. Thomas also stated that they’re working on increasing their program lineup.

“We’ve expanded on our programming a great deal. Last season, we actually did all of the high school football games. We’ve got about 30 programs we’re seeing right now – hopefully, we’ll get that to 50 by this summer,” Thomas said.

Thomas stated that the biggest thing he has learned while running CVTV is that you have to stay consistent.

“The biggest thing I’ve probably learned is that you have to…my level of persistence had to grow. When you’re dealing with an all-volunteer organization, you have people that come and go, and it can be tough having any consistency on a long term [basis]. It’s just one of those things you have to keep painting the vision; you have to be persistent and you have to keep selling the dream,” Thomas commented.

CVTV is currently looking for volunteers to get involved, with plans to hire staff as they continue to grow.

Ashburn woman earns Miss Historic Manassas title


Sarah Reed, a 20-year old Ashburn resident, was crowned Miss Historic Manassas, despite not being a Manassas resident.

Reed is currently a sophomore in Communications at Liberty University in Lynchburg.

“I competed [in] the Greater Prince William County pageant – they gave away three titles – Miss Greater Prince William County, Miss Historic Manassas and then Miss Potomac,” said Reed.

The pageant took place back in November.

Originally the Miss Historic Manassas title was going to be restricted to only pageant contestant that lived in the area, but only one of the twelve contestants was from Manassas.

“The qualification for all of the pageants in Virginia is that you have to be a Virginia resident. Originally, for the Miss Historic Manassas, it was going to be closed, which means you have to live in Manassas in order to win the title, but the only way they would be able to guarantee that was if there were more than three contestants that competed lived in Manassas.”

According to Reed, she feels that her experiences visiting the Manassas area equip her for the title, despite not living there.

“I’ve always loved learning about Manassas, and we live in Northern Virginia, and we’ve always visited Manassas to go to Bull Run light festival, to go to the [Manassas] Battlefield –so it’s really cool to now be representing it, because I’ve grown up going there, ever since I moved here,” said Reed.

IMG_6667During the pageant, Reed and the other contestants competed in several categories including swimwear, talent, interview and evening gowns.

For Reed, winning the title was a happy surprise, as she has only been competing since last year and has been involved in four pageants thus far.

“I was lucky enough to win one of the titles – which I’m so excited about. I just started competing last year in pageants, so it’s very new to me, and I’m really learning the entire process of it. So it’s cool to know you don’t have to grow up, knowing how to do pageants, you can jump into it, and as long as your passionate about something, that will show in every step of the competition,” said Reed.

During her time as Miss Historic Manassas, Reed will be implementing her anti-bullying campaign, titled ‘Beauty and the Beast’. For Reed, selecting this as a platform was something personal.

“For someone’s who’s been a victim of bullying, since they’ve been in first grade, all the way up to until senior years of high school, it is something that has been engrained in my brain. And it wasn’t until I finally gained confidence in myself, that I realized that no one has the right to tell me who I am and how I should be.”

Reed is working with the school system in Manassas to plan events and speak to students about the dangers of bullying, and how to get help.

“I want to be an active member of the community, because not only am I representing it, but I want to represent it with so much grace and responsibility – because I do take my title very seriously,” Reed commented.

Reed will be competing in the next phase of the competition in the Miss Virginia pageant next year. 

Dale City apartments evacuated, incendiary device found


About 30 homes at Dale Forest Apartments were evacuated.
About 30 homes at Dale Forest Apartments were evacuated.
About 30 homes at Dale Forest Apartments were evacuated.
About 30 homes at Dale Forest Apartments were evacuated.
About 30 homes at Dale Forest Apartments were evacuated.
About 30 homes at Dale Forest Apartments were evacuated.

An incendiary device found at a Dale City apartment complex forced the evacuation of 30 homes.

Police were called to Westway Lane at the Dale Forest Apartment complex in Dale City about 4 p.m. Fire and rescue personnel were also called, and all of it was to investigate a reported HAZMAT situation.

No injuries were reported as result of the incident. Police assured residents that there is no threat to the public.

The evacuation sent residents into the streets during the late afternoon hours. Some stood and watched police as they questioned a man at the back of a police car.

When Potomac Local arrived to the scene, the man was placed into the backseat of a police cruiser and officers ceased their line of questioning.

Prince William County Fire and Rescue Chief Kevin McGee was called to the scene. Investigators are still working on the case, police said.

A resident who declined to provide her name was shaken by the incident.

“It doesn’t matter where you go, you’re not safe,” she said.

The Dale Forest Apartment complex dates back more than 45 years. The apartments are marketed to those who want to live in the Dale City, Woodbridge, Quantico, and Fort Belvoir areas.

Bullet hole found at Manassas area home


The resident of a home in the 8500 block of Cabot Court near Manassas found a bullet hole in a wall.

Police were called to the home at 8:11 p.m. Wednesday after the homeowner found the damage.

The resident told police he heard a loud noise about 3:30 p.m. earlier in the day. He heard what sounded like a gunshot, according to police. No one was injured.

Lake dam repairs underway at NOVA Woodbridge campus


Crews drained a portion of the lake at Northern Virginia Community College Woodbridge Campus.
Students often sit on the patio overlooking the lake at the Woodbridge campus.
Water usually comes up to the walkway when the lake is full.
Crews will work to repair a dam at the lake.
Benches overlooking the lake at Woodbridge campus.
Woodbridge campus lake drained.
Wildlife is often seen at the lake.
An exposed pipe that drains into the lake.

A construction project to repair a dam at a lake on Northern Virginia Community College Woodbridge Campus is underway.

The lake was drained of most of its water earlier this year so repairs to the dam could be made. While some water remains in the lake, the water level is much lower than normal.

The lake is often used by science students at the school, and has been used for sporting practice and events.

Classes were first offered at the Woodbridge Campus, first dubbed the “southern campus” in 1972.

Water will be returned to the lake once repairs to the dam are completed.

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