Wells Fargo Bank in Ashdale Plaza robbed

wells fargo robbery


Police called in a helicopter and dispatched search dogs, but did not find the suspect. 

Suspect Description:

Black male, between 20 & 30 years of age, 5’11”-6’0”, 150-160lbs with a thin build, medium complexion, black hair and brown eyes

Last seen wearing a red polo shirt with a black stripe across the middle, and the word “SPAIN” on the front, black pants or jeans and white tennis shoes

10:26 a.m. 

Prince William police are on the scene of a bank robbery in Dale City. 

Someone walked into a Well Fargo Bank at 2876 Ashdale Plaza, brandished a gun, and took an undisclosed amount of cash. The man fled on foot toward the rear of the bank, according to police.

The bank is located just off Dale Boulevard, between Gideon Driver and Interstate 95.

The suspect is described as black, 6 feet 2 inches tall, slender, wearing a red shirt with “11” on the back.


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Prince William School Board at odds over new high school design, cost


The Prince William County School Board once again finds itself arguing about transparency, and how to be the best stewards of taxpayer funds.

The discussion comes nearly two years after it approved one of the costliest high schools ever to be built in Virginia.

School officials Wednesday night were tasked once again with voting on a design to be used for the county’s 13th high school to be built in western Prince William County, slated to open in 2020.

The Board voted on April 23, 2014 to build new high schools using cheaper, a 20-year-old floor plan first used in 1991 to build C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge, and last used in 2004 to build Battlefield High School outside Haymarket.

school prototype

School staff on Wednesday urged the governing body to rescind their vote and built a the new school based on designs used at Patriot High School, and the new Colgan High School that will open next fall.

The Battlefield model will cost $13.7 million less to construct. The Patriot model is more modern and includes more windows for natural light — something school staff said helps children learn better, according to a 1999 study cited by school division staff.

Both the Battlefield and Patriot design will accommodate 2,053 students. Classrooms in the Patriot model are 50-square feet larger than the 700-square-feet classrooms in at Battlefield High School.

“The greater square footage drives the greater cost,” said Prince William County Public Schools Associate Superintendent David Cline.

Larger open spaces to include courtyards, cafeteria, gymnasium, auditorium, hallways, and better energy efficiency are all selling points for the newer Patriot model. Cline also pointed to a series of meetings held in September where “the vast majority of about 75 citizens who spoke, the overwhelming majority indicated they liked the Patriot prototype,” said Cline.

“To get this on the on the agenda tonight, someone had to ask for it,” said Neabsco District School Board member Lisa Bell. “We did take a vote, and now were being asked to revisit it. We held two community meetings to stir up the community again.”

The school division held two public meetings last month to discuss where the 13th high school will be located. The locations include a site proffered by a housing developer that would build a the Stone Haven neighborhood in Bristow, still awaiting approval from the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, or on a site off Rollins Ford road bequeathed to the county for use as a public park.

The meetings also dredged up the topic of how the school building should be built. Schools Superintendent Steven Walts said the meetings were held in the name of transparency with the public. 

Bell, along with Coles District member Michael Otaigbe said the school design topic should not have been discussed since the Board already voted last year to use the Battlefield design.

“We voted to use the one that was less costly and the community applauded…with that and we learned our lessons, and here we are being told we should go for a higher model,” said Otaigbe.

Bell and Otaigbe opted not return to the School Board next year. Otagibe said this was the first time in his 12 years on the Board he has been asked to revisit a prior vote.

Occoquan School Board member Lillie Jessie said she cannot fathom the cost of the more expensive model when so many students in her district in eastern Prince William County attend classes outside their school buildings in trailer classrooms.

“Do wider hallways serve any instructional purposes?” asked Jessie.

The Occoquan District representative also asked school staff for a study more recent than the 1999 study cited, noting children perform better in schools with more natural light.

“Osbourn Park and Battlefield [high schools] are nationally ranked, and they don’t have glass,” she added.

The School Board is trying to avoid a repeat of the Colgan High School debate, which ignited local bloggers that denounced the division for spending too much on the school, and for including the division’s first school pool. Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart argued then that school pools are not uncommon, and that the pool was necessary to attract more affluent residents to the county

Colgan High School, located on Route 234 near Hoadly Road near eastern Prince William County, will open next fall with a price tag of $111 million — one of the most costliest ever built in the state.

Crowded schools are also a problem in the county, as many new schools are filled to the brim with students as soon as they open.

“We do need to be building larger schools with larger capacity because land is not readily available. I’m more concerned about capacity than lighting at this time,” said Potomac District School Board member Betty Covington.

School Board Chairman Milton Johns opted not to return to the School Board in 2016 after 12 years on the Board. He said overcrowding in county schools is nothing new, and that schools on the eastern side of the county dealt with severe overcrowding issues in the 1980s and 90s.

Johns supports building the Patriot model for the 13th high school.

“We pay a lot of people a lot of money to be expert professionals and advise us, and the message I’m getting is that they think [building the Battlefield model] is a big mistake,” said Johns.

The clock is ticking on the school board to decide not only what the new school will look like, but where it will be located if it will open on time in 2020. A decision on the school design must be made this month, said Cline.

Johns tabled the discussion, and a possible vote to rescind the 2014 decision to build the Battlefield model to the next School Board meeting at 7 p.m. October 21.

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The next step in bringing VRE to Haymarket & Gainesville: A community meeting

121212 VRE

Taking a train from Haymarket to Washington could become a reality in the next eight to 10 years.

Virginia Railway Express, the state’s only commuter railroad, will hold its first community meeting to discuss an 11-mile extension of the system’s Manassas line, west to Gainesville and Haymarket.

The Manassas line spans from Broad Run / Manassas Regional Airport to Union Station in Washington, D.C., and VRE’s Fredericksburg line runs from Fredericksburg to Union Station parallel to Interstate 95.

VRE is conducting a study to examine what it would take to get trains rolling west of Manassas, along Norfolk-Southern’s B-line. If service to Haymarket ever takes off, bound for the town would split from the main rail line at Wellington Road in Manassas and travel underneath a recently constructed overpass at Route 28 and Wellington Road. Trains would continue west, through the Innovation at Prince William business park, Gainesville, and would terminate in Haymarket.

“To have a downtown Haymarket train station would be a good thing,” said town mayor David Leake.

Nearly 10 years ago, Haymarket officials opposed an extension of VRE. Today, the town supports it wholeheartedly.

“I think people hear a lot of misinformation about VRE, about it decreasing property values and increased train noise,” said Leake. “All you have to do is crack open a newspaper, look at the real estate section, and you’ll see people advertising homes that are ‘close to VRE,’ so it will actually increase property values.”

Here’s a snippet from the VRE Gainesville-Haymarket Extension study (VRE GHX) press release about the study:

VRE initiated this new study of the Gainesville-Haymarket Extension in July 2015 to advance this important regional transportation initiative. The current VRE GHX study is anticipated to require approximately two years to complete and is a critical step toward bringing commuter rail service to the Gainesville-Haymarket area. If the analysis supports continued project development, final design and construction would follow. Passenger rail operations could begin in eight to ten years.

VRE developed a website that contains information about the study.

Leake said many area homeowners associations are very interested in the project. The town plans to work with VRE to hold a joint meeting with town and commuter railroad officials, and HOA residents.

To cut back on noise at Greenhill Crossing — a community that abuts the trains tracks, and where Leake serves on the HOA board — the community could ask for a sound wall as part of the project. Leake said such a sound wall would be unique to Haymarket, and that he was not familiar with other sound walls constructed near other VRE stations.

The public meeting will be held from Tuesday, November 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Gainesville Middle School, located at 8001 Limestone Drive in Gainesville.

Sheriff alerts residents during armed barricade


One man armed with handgun was taken into custody this morning after he barricaded himself inside his apartment in North Stafford.

Stafford sheriff’s deputies were alerted to man said to be armed inside the Sunningdale Meadows Apartment complex on Staffordboro Boulevard at 8:45 a.m. 

Deputies went to the scene, and a reverse 911 message sent to area residents urged them to stay indoors, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy.

The man was taken into custody without incident about 11 a.m. No one was injured. 

No charges are pending in this case, said Kennedy, who described the case as a mental health situation.

The Sunningdale Meadows complex has a mixture of apartments and town homes, added Kennedy.

Police make final arrest in Gainesville murder


The fifth and final suspect connected to a murder in Gainesville on Sept. 12 is in police custody.

Murder Investigation *ARREST – On October 6th, members of the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force, with assistance from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, located and arrested the suspect, Alvin JONES, who was wanted in connection to the murder of Claude JACKSON III which occurred in the area of Old Linton Hall Rd and Charis Ave in Gainesville on September 12th.

The suspect was located at a home in the 100 block of Saint Johns Sq in Sterling. Four additional suspects were previously arrested in connection to this investigation.

Arrested on October 6th:
Alvin Burnett JONES, 32, of 8637 Sumter Ct in Manassas Park
Charged with murder, aggravated malicious wounding, use of a firearm in commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon

Court Date: November 18, 2015 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

-Prince William police

Firefighters called to basement fire at Dale City home


Prince William County fire and rescue officials notified us of the cause of a fire in Dale City on Friday. 

On Friday, October 2nd, at approximately 10:30 a.m., fire and rescue units were dispatched to a structure fire in a single family home with basement located in the 6200 block of Oakland Drive in Dale City.

Upon arrival, fire and rescue crews observed a small fire in the basement’s home. Firefighters proceeded to extinguish the fire and search for further extension. No further extension was found.

An adult resident, who was home at the time of the fire, called 911, upon safely exiting the home.

No injuries reported.

According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, preliminary damages are estimated at $1,000.

The origin of the fire was an aquarium; the cause electrical and has been determined accidental.

-Kim Hylander, Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department

Stafford to celebrate county’s first ‘restaurant week’


Stafford County will celebrate its first restaurant week October 16 to 25.

This fall the Stafford County Economic Development & Tourism office is pleased to present Stafford County Restaurant week. During the week of October 16-25, eighteen locally owned and operated restaurants throughout the county will show off their culinary charms to area diners. To encourage further participation, diners who visit four of the listed restaurants will be entered into a drawing for a grand prize at the end of Restaurant Week. 

— Tramia Jackson, Stafford Economic Development & Tourism’s Tourism and Special Projects Consultant

Here’s a list of participating restaurants: 

Restaurant  Address Phone 
Amy’s Cafe 103 West Cambridge Street 540-373-3663
Before ‘n After Cafe 35 Wapole Street, $115 540-845-3373
Clubhouse at Aquia Harbour Country Club 204 Bow Cove 540-288-0091
Cornbread and Caviar 570 Celebrate Virginia Parkway #103 540-684-1300
Family Pizzeria  1924 Jefferson Davis Highway  540-288-3277
The Globe and Laurel Restaurant  3987 Jefferson Davis Highway  703-221-5763
The Grille at Leeland Junction  10 Leeland Road  
The Icing Baking Company  261 Garrisonville Road #110 540-659-895
Kobe Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar 261 Garrisonville Road #101 540-720-1935
Mainstreet Bar and Grill  315 Garrisonville Road #108  540-288-9277
Mick’s Restaurant and Sports Lounge  2866 Jefferson Davis Highway  540-659-5500
Q Sub Cafe 11 Hope Road


Rheingarten Restaurant  3998 Jefferson Davis Highway 


Roma’s Cafe 736 Warrenton Road 


Vinny’s Italian Grill  397 Garrisonville Road 


Zibibbo 73 Italian Restaurant Trattoria and Wine Bar 2757 Jefferson Davis Highway 



Nando’s Peri-Peri in Woodbridge burglarized


A popular restaurant at Stonebridge a Potomac Town Center was burglarized on Monday. 

Here’s more in a report from Prince William police: 

Commercial Burglary – On October 5th at 6:44AM, officers responded to Nando’s Peri-Peri located at 15001 Potomac Town Pl in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a burglary. Staff reported to police that the burglary occurred between 11:00PM on October 4th and 6:00AM on October 5th. The investigation revealed that there were no signs of forced entry into the business. An undisclosed amount of money was reported missing.

Employment seekers invited to free Manassas job fair


Job seekers in Manassas are in luck.

The Greater Manassas Community Job Fair will be held Thursday, Oct. 13, from 1 to 6 p.m. inside the gymnasium at Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, located at 8712 Planation Lane in Manassas.

The event is free to attend and is billed as an opportunity for job seekers to meet with and discuss job openings with potential employers.
A total of 40 companies will be represented at the job fair.

Ashley Furniture Homestore
Ashby Ponds
Brickman and ValleyCrest
Cintas Corporation
City of Manassas
CVS Health
Family Entertainment/Laser Tag
Fairfax County Gov.
Five Guys
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Harris Teeter
Home Instead Senior Care
JCM Help Center
JK Moving Services
JC Penny– Fairfax
KO Distilling
Keller Williams Realty
Labor Ready
LEI Home Enhancements
MasTec Advanced Technologies
Minnieland Academy
Manassas City Public Schools
NOVA’s Extended Learning Institute
Northern Virginia Community College
PW County Police Department
RE/MAX Real Estate Connections
Reinhart FoodService
SSI-Storage Strategies, Inc.
Stratford University
Strayer University
Turner’s Total Communication
The 1 For HR
The Skillsource Group
US Army
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.
WSR Solutions

The job fair is being organized by Manassas City Councilman Ian Lovejoy. Volunteers are still needed to help out at the fair from noon to 6 p.m., said Lovejoy.

Anyone with questions, or those who wish to volunteer may contact Lovejoy.

I-66 tolls, Haymarket power line at center of Bob Marshall reelection campaign


Robert G. “Bob” Marshall is running to keep his seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. 

The Republican has held the seat since 1992, and has a reputation for being one of the most outspoken members of the Virginia General Assembly.

Potomac Local sent a questionnaire to Marshall and he sent us the responses below: 

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PL: What are the top three major issues facing the district you wish to represent?


Marshall: 1. Exorbitant Tolls proposed for I-66.

2. 110 foot high electric power towers proposed for residential areas never slated to have electric lines on their property.

3. Addressing traffic on Route 28 through Manassas Park and Yorkshire, from Manassas to Fairfax County line.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?


Marshall:  1. I will introduce a budget amendment to prevent Governor McAuliffe from imposing $17/day ($4,000 a year) hot lane tolls inside beltway

2. I will join a lawsuit to prevent construction of an overhead only power line and remove tax incentives for data centers which seek to locate outside of industrial areas that already have required infrastructure.

3. Continue to appeal to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, to the Prince William County Supervisors, and the General Assembly money committees to allocate funds to improve Route 28 by reversing the middle lane during rush hours to provide an extra lane for traffic.

PL: From your prospective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Marshall: My job entails going to bat for constituents, representing them before state agencies as I have done for the past 24 years, soliciting their input for legislative proposals, etc. I keep in mind the people I represent in every vote I cast in the General Assembly, asking myself, “How will this affect my constituents?” I see my role as advocating for tax payers, not cozying up to special interests.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Marshall: My expertise consists of 24 years of experience serving as 13th District Delegate in the Virginia General Assembly. My background researching major public policy and legal issues has given me the ability to quickly understand legislation.

My past experience as a teacher helped me with public speaking skills, listening, answering questions, and relaying information to citizens. I have a record for promoting transparency and accountability in government.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well-informed and understands the workings of local government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency?

Marshall: I send out newsletters and other letters to inform the people who live in the 13th District of important issues. For example, I have been trying to let the people know about the proposed hot lane tolls on I-66.

I have actively worked against the proposed electric power towers in western Prince William. I publicize my cell phone (703-853-4213) so that citizens can reach me readily. I walk door-to-door as much as possible to meet voters and answer questions they may have.


PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they effected you?


Marshall: Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes help you learn valuable life lessons.

PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you? 


Marshall: I say what I mean, I do what I say, and even people who may disagree with some of my positions know they can trust me. 

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