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Man charged with possessing explosive material in Dale City

News

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

News

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.

“We are proud of what this museum has become for the Marines and the community,” said Boomer.

The first portion of Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony was held indoors where several people gathered to hear speeches and live music from members of the Marine Corps Band.

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Stafford area public access network to open new studio space

News

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

News

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

News

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

News

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

News

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.

Woodbridge man dies after hitting telephone pole in Triangle

News

On March 17, Prince William police’s Crash Investigation unit responded to a call about a single vehicle crash near Graham Park Drive and Olde Port Lane in Triangle.

According to a Prince William police release, their investigation showed that the driver of the vehicle, a 2004 Nissan Maxima, was traveling on Graham Park Road at a high speed.

The Prince William police release stated that the car entered oncoming traffic and then veered off the roadway, hitting a telephone pole straight on.

The driver, Marvin Wayne Williams, a 56-year old man from Woodbridge, was taken from the scene of the crash to a local hospital, but he later died from his injuries sustained in the crash on Monday, said a police release.

Alcohol and drug use were not factors in the crash. The Prince William police release did state that the victim was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash.

This is the first fatal car crash in Prince William County this year.

 

Community rallies around family of plane crash victims in Prince William

News

Update

Mike Lovitt, owner and operator of the Chick-fil-a in Bristow spoke with the Selke family following the news of the Germanwings plane crash on Tuesday , to express his condolences and offer community support.

“I spoke with the son…I was surprised to get through…They were very grateful for the support, and I offered to be of assistance if they needed anything.”

According to Lovitt, the family is coping and is doing the best they can after the loss of Yvonne and Emily Selke, who were among the 150 passengers on the flight.

Original post

Emily Selke, a recent college graduate, dedicated scholar and active sorority member was among the 150 passengers that perished on the Germanwings flight on Tuesday.

Selke, who was on board the plane with her mother Yvonne Selke, was a graduate of Woodbridge Senior High School and Drexel University.

“Emily was a student at Woodbridge [Senior] High School. She was honored in 2010, as having achieved summa cum laude status…which means she’s very highly accomplished and had a minimum grade point average of 4.0…she went on to Drexel University after that,” said Phil Kavits, Communications Director for Prince William County Schools.

In addition to her scholarly pursuits, Selke was very active in the Gamma Sigma Sigma Zeta sorority chapter at Drexel University during her college years.

“Emily served as our membership VP while in Zeta and she was an integral part of our growing chapter. She embodied the spirit of Gamma Sigma Sigma. As a person and friend, Emily always put others before herself and cared deeply for all those in her life. Emily will be greatly missed by her fellow sisters of Zeta,” the sorority chapter said in a released statement.

Other community members have reached out to express their condolences and support for the Selke family, including Delegate Scott Lingamfelter.

“I want to express my profound condolences to the Selke family in this time of great sadness. This is a shocking tragedy that no family could ever be prepared for, and I cannot fathom the sorrow that must be felt by those who knew Yvonne and Emily. My prayers are with Yvonne and Emily’s family and friends,” Lingamfelter said in a release, continuing, “This is a sad day for the Prince William community, and I would ask that fellow citizens join me in prayer for the Selke family in their time of mourning.”

The facts related to the crash are still being investigated.

This morning reports came out that stated that the co-pilot may have deliberately crashed the plane, which was flying from Spain to Germany, into the French Alps.

According to coverage from the Washington Post, the recovered cockpit audio indicated that the pilot of the flight was locked out of the cockpit before the plane descended and crashed into the French Alps.

Additionally, the report states that the co-pilot made no response to the pilot banging on the door to be let back into the cockpit.

The Washington Post stated that there were no known links between the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, and any terrorist groups. The investigation into the cause of the crash and the circumstances leading up to it is still open.

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