Fox 5 will broadcast from Manassas tomorrow morning

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Harris Pavilion in Old Town Manassas (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Manassas will be on local primetime TV tomorrow morning.

The news crew from WTTG Channel 5 morning news will broadcast live from Harris Pavilion in Downtown Manassas.

The feature is called Fox 5’s “Zip Trip.”

Here’s the press release from Channel 5:

Join FOX 5 Reporter Holly Morris and Meteorologist Tucker Barnes as they broadcast live from the city of Manassas.
This week is a special trip as Holly Morris and Tucker Barnes will get to broadcast a LIVE Wedding at Harris Pavilion.

Throughout the morning they will interview the wedding planner, the bride and groom, and guests, witness their vows and see their first dance all in the 9 and 10 AM hours.

They will also check in with others around town including the Fire and Rescue Kids Camp at 8:00 AM, the mayor at 8:30 AM, and vendors at the farmers market at 8:45 AM.

Holly and Tucker will indulge in a “Taste of Manassas” and a “Cheers to Manassas”, sampling local foods and drinks from nearby restaurants, breweries and distilleries at 10:40 AM.

Throughout the morning there will be various activities and contests for viewers such as a chance to win a Mazda.

Channel 5 recently visited Warrenton and drew a crowd.

Here’s an email from Manassas spokeswoman Patty Prince:

When the show was in Warrenton, they had a crowd of about 300 people. Wouldn’t it be great for the City to beat that. So, if you know people who might like to come out and support the City or just watch the show, have them come out from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. At 10 a.m. City staff member Thomas Joyce will be getting married under the pavilion. The wedding will be broadcast on Fox during the morning.

Harris Pavilion is located at 9201 Center Street in Manassas.

 

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Shots fired during abduction struggle

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A Woodbridge man was abducted and robbed by men in a pickup truck.

Prince William police responded to a call early in the morning on July 29, for a robbery on Brook Drive in Woodbridge the previous night.

According to Prince William police, the victim – a 19-year old Woodbridge man – told officers that he was outside of his home when an unfamiliar tan pickup truck approached him.

The victim stated that multiple individuals forced him into the truck and there was a struggle, during which time multiple shots were fired in the vehicle, stated Prince William police.

Eventually the victim was able to get a way from the individuals. Money was taken from the victim during the incident, stated Prince William police.

Prince William police stated that the victim may have known one of the individuals involved, and that the incident was not random.

Anderson: Prince Williams needs more jobs here ‘millennial-friendly’ housing options

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Ruth Anderson is dipping her toe into local politics for the first time and is running to be the next Occoquan District representative on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. 

It’s a seat currently held by Mike May, who is running for Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney. 

Anderson faces Earine Porta, the former mayor of Occoquan. She is the wife of Delegate Richard Anderson who has represented the 51st District in Prince William County at the House of Delegates in Richmond since 2010.

Find your polling place

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

Anderson: My overall campaign theme is, “Bring Prince William Home.” This theme helps me express my vision for Prince William County.

Prince William County is a beautiful, historic place to live and play. But, there is one major problem: we don’t have enough living wage jobs in Prince William County (with recruitment and retention incentives) to allow our residents the option of working where they live. I believe our residents choose Prince William County because there are many residential options, because they can commute to the many high quality jobs in the Washington, D.C. metro area and because the taxes are lower than counties closer to the Washington, D.C. metro area.

However, once new residents find a home and get settled, they discover that commutes are long and frustrating, family-time is hard to come by, some schools are overcrowded with teachers looking elsewhere for work and that homeowners are carrying about 85% of the burden of necessary tax revenue to support core government services and desired programs. Therefore, to “Bring Prince William Home”, I will advocate for:

Bringing more businesses into Prince William County — small businesses and large businesses that can offer high quality, career-enhancing, living wage jobs. This will give Prince William County residents:

More options for working where they live and play

Property tax relief. Currently businesses provide about 14% of the tax revenue in Prince William County. It should be about 30% to balance tax revenues between homeowners and businesses; it is often the middle price-range homes (and therefore the middle-class families) that get hit the hardest when assessments go up (even though rates might stay the same or decrease a bit)

More tax revenue to support “state of the art” core government services such as public safety, education, roads, economic development, and social services…in essence, we will be bringing Prince William dollars home.

An option of less commute time on major thoroughfares crisscrossing Prince William County

More options for business-school partnerships for the secondary schools and colleges

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

Anderson: In order to provide incentives for more commercial businesses to move into Prince William County the Board of County Supervisors needs to:

Continue to phase out the Business, Professions, Occupations License (BPOL) tax on businesses in Prince William County. Currently, businesses are assessed a license tax based on gross receipts for the prior year if gross receipts are over $250,000 (threshold raised to $300,000 recently).

Ensure our schools are “High Quality” for preparing students for college and other post-secondary

School job-training programs

Ensure our roads allow easy access to and from the business sites

Ensure there are “millennial-friendly” residential options

Ensure land development plans are a balanced mixture of commercial and residential space with appropriate proffers that ensure no negative impact on core government services

Analyze the County Planning/Permit Departments processes…are they working with the customers/development community to encourage commercial growth? What are the obstacles? What slows the processes? Let’s encourage the American Dream through “user-friendly” planning and permit processes in Prince William County.

Leverage available space (specifically in Occoquan District) as an “enterprise zone,” a hub for entrepreneurial millennials with ideas.

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

Anderson: To represent the residents and businesses in the Occoquan District on the Board of County Supervisors, in all decisions about budget, strategic planning and all core government services. To actively lead communication programs and constituent services for those who live and work in the Occoquan District. To work with the other members of the Board of County Services to ensure a comprehensive vision and plans for Prince William County and ensure excellent fiscal management and accountability.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Anderson: Many years of leadership experience. Lots of energy and drive to help find solutions to the challenges and to advocate for the opportunities that are available to Prince William County.

I am anxious to excel at constituent services.

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?

Anderson: Many citizens are informed and involved…PWC has an impressive number of civic organizations, volunteer organizations and a myriad of activist individuals and groups who keep themselves informed and propose solutions to challenges.

However, as I meet hundreds of residents all across the district, I find a substantial number of people who do not know which districts (county, state, federal) they reside in and who represents them. I show them maps and encourage them to get involved, based on their interests. When elected I will encourage involvement by all residents through speaking engagements, social media, newsletters, etc. Involvement leads to knowledge.

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

Anderson: I have learned over many years of leading groups of people that you can never listen enough. I will constantly strive to ensure that I listen and seek out all sides of an issue.

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

Anderson: As the Occoquan District Supervisor, my first priority will be to protect the taxpayers. I believe that people make better choices with their hard-earned money than government does, and I’ll fight every day for the taxpayers of Prince William County. For too long, our Board of County Supervisors has raised taxes and increased spending. Now Prince William County has the highest tax rate in Northern Virginia, and we still have – crowded classrooms, clogged roads, stagnant wages, and bloated government. I will be a servant leader who respects the taxpayer.

Issues

Growing the Local Economy

Prince William County is a beautiful, historic place to live and play, but we can all agree that we don’t have enough living wage jobs. When citizens can choose to live and work in the same community, then they’ll spend less time on the road and more time with their families.

We need to re-think our Economic Development strategy in PWC. Our county needs to aggressively offer incentives to grow the economy and our economic development staff needs to focus on recruiting employers. I’m tired of seeing employers move to Fairfax and Stafford Counties instead of PWC.

Business owners are also frustrated with an increasing amount of “red tape” in the processes for starting or expanding businesses. It’s nearly impossible for a business to expand, let alone a new business to open. I’ll push to expose and erase these barriers to inspire job creation so that our local economy can flourish.

Getting Taxes Under Control

Prince William County has the highest tax rate in Northern Virginia and one of the highest tax rates in the entire state. Our neighboring counties have cut taxes and now their economies are growing. For the last four years, our Board of County Supervisors rejected proposals to hold the line on taxes. Instead they have voted to raise taxes. Now a working family can go to Fairfax, Loudoun, Fauquier or Stafford Counties and pay lower tax rates. In fact, just this year the PWC BOCS voted to raise property taxes another 20%. It’s time to do something about this.

Budget Accountability

Just recently some local politicians voted to spend YOUR MONEY to build the most expensive high school in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. The plans include pools and a theater with a powered orchestra lift…this is not the approach we need when schools have overcrowded classrooms. And, instead of giving the taxpayers some relief to improve our roads, a decision was approved to spend 11 million dollars to bury some power lines. The bottom line is that there is plenty of pork in the county budget, but there is not enough political courage to stand up and do what’s right. I want to cut wasteful spending and restore taxpayer accountability.

Education

Our teachers deserve a pay raise, our classrooms should meet student to teacher ratio standards and our parents deserve more educational options. Bottom line…our kids deserve the best education we can provide and our taxpayers deserve a transparent budget. The excuses need to end, and I’ll stand up to fight for real results.

Transportation

Just like you, I’ve spent my fair share of time stuck in traffic. We’ve spent a lot of money in recent years but the congestion seems to keep getting worse. I believe we need to spend our limited dollars on projects that will actually relieve traffic congestion.

 

The pollo guizado is great, at Woodbridge bakery

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Guadalupe Castro immigrated to the United States from El Salvador decades ago.
She has owned a bakery in Falls Church for more than 30 years.
Her new location is near the Potomac Mills Mall.
They serve El Salvadorian food, desserts and custom cakes.
Castro makes many of the custom cake orders herself.
They typically sell more than 100 cakes a weekend.

Guadalupe Castro has been baking and cooking up classic El Salvadorian food for a long time.

Castro, who is the owner of Castro’s Bakery in Falls Church, recently opened the doors at her new location in Woodbridge, near Potomac Mills Mall.

Castro has owned the Falls Church location for 30-years, and after requests from customers, she decided to expand.

“She was thinking about opening a second location, and we came down a couple of times…and then when she saw this location – next to the [El Salvadorian embassy] – she thought ‘well okay, I’ll open it,’” said Pam, the Woodbridge bakery’s manager.

Castro immigrated to the United States from El Salvador decades ago, and built her businesses up from scratch.

“Her whole experience – how she worked herself up to where she is now – she’s amazing. She just has this gift about her with cooking,” said Pam.

The Castro’s Bakery location in Woodbridge offers not only baked goods and custom cakes, but traditional El Salvadorian food as well – like enchiladas, pollo guizado, and paselito de carne.

The bakery is located at 14556 Potomac Mills Road, and is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Jenkins: Expand VRE to Haymarket, create vocational, opportunities for students

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John Jenkins has been the Neabsco District Supervisor in Dale City for more than 30 years. When it comes to streetlight issues in Prince William County, you’d be hard pressed to find one he’s not familiar with. 

Jenkins said the county will continue to grow. And that it will need a sound education policy and better transportation options in order to grow the right way. 

Find your polling place

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

Jenkins: Education (Class size, salary, higher level opportunities, work-force development)

Transportation (Roads, trains, buses, engineering)

Public Safety (Police, Fire & Rescue & Community Development)What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?

Education:  We must reduce class size in our K-12 schools and improve classroom teacher salaries.  I plan to work with our Community Colleges, George Mason University and other institutions of higher learning to provide in-county vocational and technical educational opportunities for our K-12 school population as well as for  graduate and undergraduate programs.  Workforce training needs and deserves particular attention.  I will continue to support creation of the workforce facilities which are now under construction at the Woodbridge campus of the Northern Virginia Community College. I am a former per diem substitute teacher in Prince William County schools and Adjunct faculty member at American University.  I also worked as an adjunct member of the Prince William Northern VA Community College at Woodbridge, VA.

Transportation:  During my 33 years as a member of the Board of Supervisors I  have been a strong supporter of building new roads and streets throughout the County.  Our BOCS took on the responsibility of road construction even though the Virginia Department of Transportation should have been doing it.  We realized that we had to do this if we wanted roads and streets built.  In addition, we believed that Commuter Rail was necessary to help eliminate long lines of backup on I-95.  I was one of the founders of the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) and have served two terms as Chairman.  Also a founder,  I have served two terms as Chairman of the Potomac & Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC). VRE now transports 18,000 commuters daily while PRTC takes another 12,500 off the Interstate.  I also serve as a member of the Washington Council of Governments Transportation Planning Board (TPB) which gives me the opportunity to advance transportation and transit projects which impact Prince William County.  I will fully support extension of VRE to the Haymarket area of Prince William County and favor a new transit center for Western Prince William County.

Public Safety:  I am a former Military Policeman, a former Army Intelligence Corps Agent, a former employee of the FBI Identification Division and have spent the last 33 years as a County Supervisor in a county with a fully accredited Police Department that has  over 500 sworn  officers.  I have the necessary experience to work with the Police Department to fund and carry out law enforcement activities for a large urban county of over 450,000 residents.  I believe we need at least two sworn officers for each 1000 of our residents.  I support the Police Department Ride along program.  I helped establish the Police academy and I fully support a mid-county police station. I am in support  and helped establish The Fire & Rescue Asssociation. I fully support building of a new mid county Fire & Rescue Station. 

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

Jenkins: To provide leadership to the departments and senior executive staff of the county government.  To establish goals and set the strategic direction for the county government.  To fund county operations through judicious taxation and expenditure policies.  We must have a strong economic development program which provides incentives for the location of new business and industry to the county.  I fully support Project Innovation which has grown and solidified capital investment of over $1.7 Billion and makes Prince William County a major player in the United States data center market. I continue to support Innovation Park’s Simulation and Game Institute which is one of its kind in the world that  was primarily established to support early-entry entrepreneurship in the simulation, modeling and game industry. 

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Thirty three years as Neabsco District Supervisor. 

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?

I think that the average citizen is well informed on the workings of the Prince William County government.  We have a two county wide TV channels which our Department of Communications can use for public information.  We have frequent public hearings on issues which may be coming before the Board of Supervisors for action and we conduct workshops on any subject which is being implemented in the county government.  I publish a monthly newsletter which includes information on items of interest to our citizens.  We have a great county WEB site and I provide connectivity and a URL for my district WEB page to connect to the county and other external links. 

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

Jenkins: None to  my knowledge

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

I have a proven track record of leadership at the local and state level which includes service as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Regular Army, State President of the Virginia Association of Counties, State President of the Virginia Planning District Commissions (two terms) and membership and leadership of numerous regional and local boards and commissions.  I am a commissioner and Past Chairman of the Virginia Railway Express (VRE), and a commissioner and current Chairman of the Potomac & Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC).  In addition, I have been a leader in my church  and numerous local civic organizations and was selected to receive the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver award.  I have also served as a member of the Commonwealth’s Geographic Information Systems Network (VGIN).  The Board of County Supervisors has elected me as their Chairman Emeritus for the past several years.  I am the longest serving member of the Board.

Stafford selling surplus from ‘old’ Stafford Senior High School

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13389943Stafford is selling some items from the old Stafford Senior High School online.

The high school, which was built in 1972, was demolished to make way for a new high school, which will be completed in the 2015 – 2016 school year.

According to a Stafford schools release, furniture and other items that were used in the old high school that cannot be repurposed on the new site, are up for sale.

Stafford schools are using Public/Surplus, an online auctioning service, to sell the items.

Up for sale are wooden chairs, a generator and pottery wheels, according to the Public/Surplus website.

Currently there are wooden classroom chairs and a number of other items available. More items will be placed on this site as they become available. 

The bid for the chair pictured is currently $25.

County to pay $230K for Pfitzner Stadium clubhouse expansion

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Pfitzner Stadium – the home of the Potomac Nationals baseball team – is getting a facelift.

The stadium, which opened in 1984, is owned by Prince William County. According to Potomac Nationals General Manager Josh Olerud, the county has leased the stadium to the team for more than 20 years.

The county board of supervisors has agreed to pay $230,000 for the stadium’s improvements, stated Olerud.

The focus of the project is to expand the Potomac Nationals’ clubhouse.

“We are expanding the visiting team’s clubhouse. [It] hasn’t been touched since stadium has been built, [it’s] probably the smallest clubhouse in all of Minor League Baseball,” stated Olerud.

According to Olerud, the stadium is currently out of compliance in some areas, as assessed by Minor League Baseball.

“The stadium gets surveyed by Minor League Baseball every other year to assess every stadium. Although we are grandfathered into many areas, we fall under compliance in several others,” stated Olerud.

The improvements to the stadium are currently taking place, and will be finished by mid-September, stated Olerud.

The Potomac Nationals organization announced in 2012 it would build a new stadium at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center behind Wegmans. Ground has yet to be broken on this project.

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