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Stafford Wants Left Turn Lanes on Route 1 at Courthouse

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Improvements also coming to Routes 1 & 610, Mountain View Rd.

What’s going to make traffic run smoother on Route 1 in front of Stafford County Courthouse?

The answer is dedicated left turn lanes at Courthouse Road, and at the intersection of Bells Hill and Hope roads, according to a county report.

The stretch of Route 1 at the heart of the county is one to avoid on weekday afternoons when traffic backs up at one of the two signal lights in the area. With dedicated left turn lanes, drivers turning left will be able to pull their cars into those lanes and not stall other drivers going straight or turning right.

The Bowman Consulting Group will be paid $798,431 to engineer the left turn lanes plan, according to the county report. The project will be divided into two phases – first constructing the left turn lanes at Courthouse Road, and then constructing left turn lanes where Route 1 meets Bells Hill and Hope roads.

County officials say transportation is a “critical part of the county’s road improvement plan and redevelopment plan.” Several streetscape improvements, such as new sidewalks and streetlights, have been installed in the area around the courthouse.

The county is also looking at improving other failing intersections. At the intersection of Route 1 and Garrisonville Road (Route 610), officials propose adding additional right turn lanes from Route 1 south to Route 610 west to cut down on congested traffic during the afternoon rush hour.

On Mountain View Road, the lanes are being widened to a consistent 12 feet wide on a 1.3 mile stretch of the two-lane road from Joshua Road to Rose Hill Farm Drive. The road’s shoulders will also be wider, increasing from their current one to two feet in some places to eight feet wide throughout the 1.3-mile stretch of road.

County officials said drivers will be able to maintain a “safe” speed limit of 40 miles per hour along the improved portion of the road when work is complete. Drivers should also notice improved curves and sight distances after the roadwork is completed.

License Plate Reader Limits Could Hamper Investigations

A Prince William County legislator is seeking statewide uniformity on how license plate readers collect and store data that has been linked to solving crimes.

Delegate Richard Anderson told the Prince William Committee of 100 that he and Virginia State Senator Chap Petersen will submit new legislation that would address how police agencies like Prince William County collect and store photos of license plates collected from cars in parking lots, and from vehicles driving on county streets.

How LPRs work

Prince William police have 12 license plate readers, or LPRs, in use. Eleven are mounted to police cruisers, and a 12th is attached to a trailer that is moved to different locations in the county.

Each unit is a camera that quickly snaps photos of license plates and stores them on a computer inside the police car. If the computer matches the license plate number with a plate that has been reported stolen, officers know to pursue the stolen car immediately.

At the end of the day, the data is transferred to a database at the police department and is kept on file for six months. Prince William police Chief Stephan Hudson said his ability to collect and store this data had allowed his investigators to use the data to help solve crimes. He said the data has also come in handy when police need to locate missing persons.

Fears of police tracking

Frank Knaack from the American Civil Liberties Union urges caution against using the machines. He said police can create a “digital fence” around a certain area to track drivers to determine travel patterns, giving authorities a clear idea of where a driver works, shops, as well as which other groups he or she may associate with.

“Cars with license plates readers can drive through parking lots and can track cars at church and police have a good idea that you go to that particular church every Sunday,” said Knack.

Statewide limits would address privacy concerns

That’s where Anderson’s new legislation comes in. Earlier in the year, he, Petersen, and others formed the Ben Franklin Privacy Caucus in Richmond to address such privacy concerns. Anderson wants to impose a three month statewide limit on how long police may keep the license plate data on file.

“We need to tackle the issue of what triggers the [data] collection,” said Anderson. “It should be one of two things: It ought to be with a court order, or if a crime is in progress that requires law enforcement to spring into action in a given moment, so they have the intelligence they need to solve a crime.”

Historical data important to police chief

Chief Hudson said he’s “OK” with the three-month limit but prefers keeping the data on file for six months, as his department does now. He also said obtaining a court order each time data is collected could diminish the effectiveness of how LPRs are used today.

“My concern is that with such parameters we would have no historical data, and much of the benefit to having the historical data is going back to look at something days, weeks, even a couple months old and, if it was governed by that trigger, I wouldn’t even have that information,” said Hudson.

Potomac Local Wants You To Know

Teen Stabbed in Coverstone Neighborhood

PWC police car

An 18-year-old was stabbed several times Tuesday on the 10900 block of Coverstone Drive near Manassas.

Police seek a 17 and a 15-year-0ld in connection to the crime.

Here’s the latest from Prince William police:

Aggravated Malicious Wounding | Armed Robbery – On November 25th at 4:34PM, officers responded to investigate a stabbing which was reported to have occurred in the 10900 block of Coverstone Dr in Manassas (20109). The investigation revealed that the victim, an 18 year old man of Manassas, was stabbed multiple times by two known acquaintances following a physical altercation in the above area. During the encounter, one of the suspects also attempted to take the victim’s necklace. A friend of the victim, a 17 year old male juvenile of Manassas, was also present during the incident and attempted to intervene. At that point, one of the suspects attempted to stab the victim’s friend; however, the suspect did not make contact. The victim sustained significant injuries and was taken to an area hospital by friends where police were contacted. Detectives were able to identify both assailants involved in this incident as male juveniles belonging to a gang. Following the investigation, detectives obtained charges against both juveniles. The suspects are not in currently custody and are actively being sought by police. This was not a random incident.

Wanted: [Juveniles]

17 year old male juvenile of Manassas

Wanted for 1 count of aggravated malicious wounding, 1 count of attempted malicious wounding, 1 count of stabbing while in commission of a felony, and 3 counts of gang participation

15 year old male juvenile of Manassas

Wanted for 1 count of aggravated malicious wounding, 1 count of attempted armed robbery, 1 count of stabbing while in commission of a felony and 3 counts of gang participation

 

Happy Thanksgiving from Potomac Local

One of the questions I am most frequently asked is “how much does it cost to subscribe to your online newspaper?”

Most of those who ask this question are residents of our community, and business owners who are learning about Potomac Local for the first time. My reply is always the same.

“Absolutely nothing,” I say.

And it’s usually followed with this comment:

“More than a newspaper, we like to consider ourselves an online community news resource published daily.”

For the past four and a half years, I, along with so many others, have worked to grow Potomac Local into what it is today – a widely read, community-focused news and features publication that has laid the groundwork for independent local news in our community.

We couldn’t have done it without you, and this time of year we like to say thanks. Thanks for coming to us daily to find out what is happening in your neighborhood. Thanks for trusting us to bring you stories about your local government, your children’s schools, and what is being done to fix your traffic-clogged commute.

And, thank you for supporting the advertisers who support Potomac Local. Those advertisers help put food on my family’s dinner table and ensure the lights, and our website, stay on.

Potomac Local will continue to be free for the foreseeable future. All of us in the news business are looking for ways to sustain and grow our business models, but few have found success in charging readers for access to news content.

As we enter the bustling holiday season, we’ll continue to work to provide you relevant news and information about where we live. This area has been my home nearly all of my life, and it will always be a privilege to work for you and cover my hometown.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey Fryers Pose Thanksgiving Fire Danger

Turkey fryers are known for making a delicious bird with a juicy, tender inside and crisp outside.

They’re also known for causing fires inside people’s homes. Experts say there are rules to follow when using turkey fryers that will help keep you and your family safe.

Never put too much oil in a the pot, never let the oil overheat, never try to cook a frozen turkey in the fryer, keep the fryer at least 15 feet away from a house, as well as away from children and pets, said Prince William fire and rescue Battalion Chief Thomas Jarman.

If the oil in the fryer becomes overheated it can combust, so it should be watched at all times. If you have an older fryer, consider a newer model.

“If you have an old fryer, one that’s older than five years old, get a new one. The new ones have safety devices to prevent … disasters,” said Jarman.

When placing the turkey into the fryer, lower it slowly to prevent burns, and make sure your bare skin is covered to prevent injury. If the fryer begins to smoke, turn it off immediately.

“Don’t compromise your safety and the safety of those you love just to achieve a better tasting turkey,” said Allstate Insurance spokeswoman Debbie Pickford.

Frying poses the greatest risk of fire, and Thanksgiving is the peak day for cooking fires inside homes, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

 

 

Kids Pics Wanted for SERVE Charity Calendar

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Pack N Ship owner printing charity calendars to benefit SERVE 

When he bought Pack N Ship Store, the first thing he wanted to do was give back.

Liam Hainsworth came to the U.S. and purchased the packaging store inside the Aquia Park shopping center on Route 1. A native of England, Hainsworth was told a story about a local family that went without fresh water or electricity inside their home for three months.

Then he learned about SERVE, of Stafford, a non-profit agency that runs a food pantry, provides financial assistance to families in need, and also provides cut firewood for those who need it, from his assistant Regina Dick. SERVE provided assistance to the needy family. 

Then Hainsworth came up with the idea: Print a calendar with photos drawn by local children, featuring SERVE’s contact information on all of its pages, to benefit the non profit.

“As Christmas is around the corner, it’s sometimes easy to forget that families within Stafford will struggle to bring food to the table, and this is something we aim to address in our charity calendar campaign,” said Hainsworth.

Now through Sunday, Nov. 30, Pack N Ship store is now accepting hand-drawn pictures to be judged for submission into the 2015 calendar. The pictures should be drawn on 11 and a half inch paper, have the child’s name, age, and address printed on the back. A total of 12 photos will be chosen for the calendar.

“When people see calendar people see us all the time, we need awareness all the time,” said Marilyn Stevens, who runs the SERVE program. “We’re going to be seen 365 days per year on the calendar, and you can’t get any better than this.”

Stevens said she jumped at the chance to participate in the charity calendar project. When they’re printed, SERVE will distribute them to area Rotary and Lions clubs as well as Boys and Girls Scout troops.

Pack N Ship Store is located at 2796 Jefferson Davis Highway, #111 in Stafford.

Hainsworth purchased the Pack N Ship store on Oct. 1. 

Arevalo-Manica Faces Sex Assault Charge

A 29-year-old woman was sexually assaulted inside a home near Manassas, police said.

Here’s more in a press release from Prince William police:

Sexual Assault Investigation – On November 22nd at 3:54AM, officers responded to a residence located in the 7200 block of Royal Fern Cir in Manassas (20111) to investigate a sexual assault. The victim, a 29 year old woman of Manassas, reported to police that she and the accused, a known acquaintance, were involved in a verbal altercation which escalated. During the encounter, the accused physically and sexually assaulted the victim. After the altercation, the accused left the home and the victim contacted police. The accused was located and detained by officers. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested.

Arrested on November 22nd:

Nestor Alexander AREVALO-MANICA, 34, of 4218 De Haven Dr in Chantilly

Charged with object sexual penetration

Court date: pending | Bond: held WITHOUT bond

 

 

Wall Elected Chairman of Flory Center Board

Marion Wall Welcomes John Gregory to the Board of Directors for the Flory Center.

The Flory Small Business Center has elected a new Board Chairman to lead the organization.

The following is a press release from the Flory Center:

Marion M. Wall, owner and CEO of the Potomac Wall Insurance Agency in Quantico, has been elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Flory Small Business Center, Inc. Mr. Wall previously served as Vice Chairman of the Flory Board and was elected Chairman following the death of former Chairman Joe France.

The Flory Center’s President and CEO, Linda Decker remarked, “We are very fortunate to have Marion serve as our Chairman. His strong commitment to the Flory Center over the past 23 years has been invaluable and we look forward to continuing to work collegially to serve existing businesses and “start ups” in the region.

Mr. Wall is a longtime board member of the Sentara Potomac Hospital Board, where his work has been recognized with the Matthew F. McNulty, Jr. Award.   This award, created by the Executive Committee of the Healthcare Council of the National Capital Area, annually honors an outstanding leader who has made significant contributions to the region’s healthcare field.

Currently, Mr. Wall is Chairman of the Potomac Health Foundation, which provides grants to local organizations to better meet the growing healthcare needs of our community.

A former member of the Prince William County Industrial Development Authority, as well as the Prince William County Service Authority, Mr. Wall has deep roots in the regional community.

The Flory Board also elected John Gregory, Founder and CEO of Gregory Construction to the Board of Directors. Mr. Gregory, a lifetime resident of Manassas, currently serves as Vice Chairman of the City of Manassas Economic Development Authority.

He founded Gregory Construction, Inc., a design build firm in Manassas, in 1954 and continues to serve as CEO of the firm. Gregory Construction has played a vital role in shaping the landscape of Manassas, Prince William County, and the surrounding region.

A benefactor of the Hylton Performing Arts Center, the Gregory Family Theater is named in honor of his late wife, Angela and his late son, Scott.

Mrs. Decker noted that “the Flory Board and staff are pleased that John accepted our invitation to join the Board. He brings a wealth of private sector business experience to the position. Our former Chairman, Joe France often commented that John contributed greatly to the sound decision making process in the many organizations in which he served.”

The Flory Small Business Center, Inc. is a non-profit, tax exempt organization dedicated to business development, retention, and expansion. The Center’s active Board of Directors is composed of distinguished business people who work and reside throughout the Center’s service area. In addition to Marion Wall and John Gregory, the Center’s Board is composed of Vice Chairman, Pat O’Leary, Esq. of Woodbridge, Secretary, Mayor Frank Jones of Manassas Park, Treasurer, Steve Dawson of Catharpin, Assistant Treasurer Col. Frank Mejia of Woodbridge, and Brian Gordon of Dumfries. Col. Mejia is Chairman of the Prince William County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) and Mr. O’Leary, Mr. Dawson, and Mr. Gordon serve on the IDA’s Board of Directors.

Funding for the Flory Small Business Center, Inc. is provided by the Prince William County Industrial Development Authority, Prince William County, and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. The Center has been a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (U.S. SBA) since its inception in 1991.

If you have questions or would like more information on the Center, which is located at 10311 Sudley Manor Drive in Manassas, please call 703-335-2500.

 

 

 

Police Search for Fast Fuels Robbers

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Prince William police are investigating a robbery that occurred at a gas station at the intersection of Old Bridge Road and Route 123 near Occoquan.

Here is more in a press release from Prince William poilce:

Armed Robbery – On November 23rd at 6:16PM, officers responded to the Fast Fuel Service Station located at 1320 Old Bridge Rd in Woodbridge (22192) to investigate a robbery. An employee reported to police that three unknown men entered the business and approached the counter. Two of the men display handguns while the third took money from the register and a purse belonging to an employee. Following the encounter, all three men fled the store on foot. No injuries were reported.

Suspect Descriptions:

Black male, between 25 & 29 years of age, 5’10” with a thin build

Last seen wearing a black HH winter coat with a hood, tan brown pants and black & white shoes

Black male, between 25 & 29 years of age, 6’0” with a thin build and short dreadlocks

Last seen wearing a black hooded jacket over a green hooded shirt and blue jeans

Black male, between 25 & 29 years of age, 5’8” with a medium build

Last seen wearing a black long coat, red shirt, black mask and tan work boots

Potomac Local Pets

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Apollo

Apollo is an adorable 5 month old, male Jack Russell Terrier. This playful boy is already leash trained, crate trained and up to date on his shots. Help him find his forever home today!

Starla

A beautiful, brown tabby, Starla is about 6 years old and a little love bug! When this sweet girl isn’t curled up on your lap, she loves regular play sessions. She adores other laid back cats and we think she’d be a fantastic ‘older sister’ to any young kitty. Starla is spayed, fully vaccinated and FIV/FeLV negative.

STAFFORD/FAUQUIER COUNTY, VA–LOST MALE DOG
Our George is still missing! He is a neutered male,  all black male with white in his muzzle due to age. He is 9 years old. He was last seen at corner of Heavenly Lane and Chimney Lake Lane on Saturday, 11/15, between hours of 6-8AM. He is very friendly and well trained – Good Canine Citizen and a Certified Therapy dog. Please call 540-270-0667 if you have any info. on George.

-Information provided by the Stafford SPCA. Contact them for more information on any of the animals listed above.

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