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Big snow? Don’t count on it, says weather service

Something is going fall from the skies tomorrow.

Will it be rain? Snow? Both?

That is the question meteorologist were attempting to answer Sunday evening.

In case you haven’t heard, a snowstorm is bearing down on the megalopolis of New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston. Blizzard watches were posted Sunday afternoon by the National Weather Service for many of these areas.

In Prince William, a winter weather advisory will go into effect at 10 p.m. Sunday and last through 6 p.m. Monday. In Stafford County, no watches or warnings at all. 

That should give you some idea of where we are in the grand scheme of things as this major storm is setting up — right on the outskirts.  One weather forecaster said this is “not our storm,” much to the dismay of snow lovers who are seeming jealous of portions of the Northeast U.S. coastline that could see 20 inches or more of snow from this storm.

More to the Story: 


Virginia transportation officials warn drivers next three rush hours will be hairy 


Virginia Railway Express will operate on full schedule Monday


For us, what falls will begin as rain Monday morning, with some snowflakes mixing in — maybe. And the temperatures Monday morning will be on the rise, and that will help to keep precipitation wet, not frozen, according to the weather service.

By afternoon, that’s when things could get interesting for our region. A clipper storm moving from the Midwest, and that’s the one that will give us rain in the morning. Then, that storm will track across southern Virginia and move off the Atlantic coast. When that happens, a larger storm will form – the storm that is expected to bury the Northeast under snow – could also bring us some snow, according to the weather service.

Colder air is expected to move in as the storm moves off the coast. Forecasters stress the timing of the changeover from rain to snow is important, as some areas in our region could see about two inches of snow while other areas could see none at all. That’s not a good forecast for snow lovers, but one that’s great for those who forgot to pick up a snow shovel this season.

Generally, forecasters state, the colder air is expected to bring some snow Monday afternoon to the Baltimore area and areas to the south and west of Washington, D.C. People living in Southern Maryland aren’t expected to see any snow at all, according to the weather service.

We think calling this forecast mixed, clustered bag of uncertainty is permissible. I’m sure there are a couple other choice words some might call it.

We’ll be watching to see what falls as well as update you on school closings for Monday.

Occoquan wants to name its new riverfront park

occoquan, riverfront park,

Leaders in Occoquan have begun the discussion on what to name their upcoming riverfront park.

Demolition of an old water treatment plant once operated by Fairfax Water until it was decommissioned in 2007 began late last summer. Work to remove old water tanks, as well as other structures, is expected to be completed this winter, and then construction of the new park will commence.

The park will include scenic views of the Occoquan River, a public restroom, a storage facility and possibly a pavilion.

Town officials want to come up with a name for the park. The name should be entirely new and not mirror other names of places and buildings in the town such as “Mill,” as the town already has a historic mill and a street of the same name. The park will not be named after a person, either, according town documents.

A list of proposed names for the park is being compiled by town staff. That list is expected to be made available Feb. 3 during a public meeting when residents will be able to weigh in on the new name.

Last week, the town council was scheduled to meet with its engineers to review conceptual plans for the park. Improvements to a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Occoquan River at the end of Mill Street, as well as a looped walking path, and new interpretive signage pointing out historic facts and places of interest are also being considered as part of the park project.

The new riverfront park is slated to open this year.

Potomac Local Wants You To Know

Call to Action: Can you pick up food?

· Good morning – SERVE needs volunteers to help in the Food Pantry. As you know folks who work seasonal jobs have a particular hard time in the winter and add to the number of families seeking assistance from SERVE.

This is a wonderful opportunity to offer help and your smile to these families. Be prepared for lifting of boxes. Specific positions include picking up food at local grocery stores utilizing the SERVE van. You must be 21 yrs. old, have good driving record and sign a driver’s agreement. They also need volunteers to receive donations. This position can be filled by teens age 16 yrs. +. Please call Jan at (571) 748-2621 to learn more or you can email her at: jhawkins@nvfs.org

· Saved Hands Foundation teaches entry level business skills to the disadvantaged. They are looking for volunteers to teach Microsoft office programs to adults in Woodbridge. They also would like a grant writer and marketing director to create a portfolio for them. Please call Pamela at (571) 572-9013 for more info.

· The Alzheimer’s Association needs volunteers to join their planning committee for the next walk on October 17th in Manassas. Please call Sonya at (703) 766-9025 to learn more.

· Catholic Charities needs volunteers to teach an English class at their Dale City office. Classes are held Wednesdays 7-9pm. Please email them at: volunteer.hogar@ccda.net to learn more.

· Beacon Adult Literacy needs volunteer tutors to teach conversation or computer literacy to ESL students in the Manassas area. Please call Caroline at (703) 368-7491 to learn more.

· Literacy Volunteers is gearing up for their next volunteer training On March 7th. Come learn all the skills you need to help another adult reach their life goals. You do not need any prior experience. This is one person helping another. Please call (703) 670-5702 or visit www.lvapw.org to learn more.

· Habitat for Humanity is looking for teen volunteers to distribute flyers about all the wonderful services they provide to the Georgetown Village community in Woodbridge. You can do this anytime between now and February 2nd. Please visit their website at: habitatpwc.org and sign up on the volunteer calendar. It’s a great way for your club or group to do something fun together.

· Also for teens! You don’t want to miss the teen volunteer and summer job fair on Tuesday February 3rd at the Bull Run Library from 7pm-8:30pm. Come learn about jobs from employers looking for teen for this summer.

· Emeritus Senior Living in Lake Ridge is looking for volunteers to help with fun activities such as sewing circle, line dancing and others or simply give one on one companionship. Please call Brigette at (703) 680-0600 to learn more.

· Project Mend a House needs volunteers to help with minor home repair projects for elderly, disabled and low income families. Come share your handy hands and spirit. Please call (703) 792-7663 to learn more

· Rainbow Therapeutic Riding Center needs volunteers to help with the silent auction and decoration committees for the big 15th Annual Winter dance on February 21st. Please email Robin at: rainbow@rainbowriding.org to learn more

· If you are looking for other opportunities, please don’t forget to call my wonderful team at Volunteer Prince William. Coleen can help you with the Retired and Senior Volunteer (RSVP) opportunities at (703) 369-5292 ext. 1, Shelley can help with any individual or group project and send you weekly updates if you’d like. Shelley is at (703) 369-5292 ext. 0, and Bonnie can help you with opportunities available in Disaster Preparedness at (703) 369-5292 ext. 3. Please visit our newly re-vamped website at www.volunteerprincewilliam.org. Thanks so much for all you do in our community.

Call to Action is a column written by Volunteer Prince William Director Mary Foley.

Full day kindergarten, specialty busing all on chopping block at Prince William schools


For the first time, Prince William County’s School Board will provide budget guidance to Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Walts.

The elected board will tell Walts of key items they would like to see funded as well as areas that could be cut to help make up for a coming $11 million shortfall in the fiscal year 2016 schools operating budget.

The move comes as the Prince William County Board of Supervisors directed officials to create a budget based on a 1.3% growth rate in the average real estate property tax bill, not the 4% tax growth rate as was approved last year. Since the county gives 57% of its entire budget to the school division, the lower rate means fewer tax fewer resources for county schools.

On the chopping block cutting full-day kindergarten for non-Title 1 schools, something that’s been the norm for the past 10 years. Slashing transportation funding for high school and middle school specialty programs, which provides buses for students to attend classes at selected school sites across the county that provide a student’s specialty program like arts, math, and sciences, is also on the table.

The resolution also calls for halting some $52 million in capital improvements to schools that were to take place this year. Things like renewal of six elementary schools in eastern Prince William, HVAC repairs and replacement, window replacement, and energy infrastructure improvements are all on the list.

The Board is expected to tell Walts to find ways to continue to fund class size reduction plans, as well as to find a way to fund a salary step increase for schools employees.

“If we want to do these two things which we told the Board of Supervisors are priorities for us, we’re going to have to look at other areas to cut, said School Board Chairman Milton C. Johns, who proposed the new budget guidance measure.

Johns called this a “watershed year” for the school division as it looks to make up an overall $20 million shortfall, with the $11 million deficit included following the county’s 1.3% tax bill growth.

“I hate this. We’ve pushed off orders for replacement buses. We’ve pushed off technology upgrades. But we’re going to have to make some tough decisions – and it’s not just $11 million one time, its $11 million each year over the course of the next five years,” said Gainesville School Board representative Allison Satterwhite.

The stalled technology upgrades Satterwhite mentioned were supposed to cost $4.5 million and included upgrades to phone systems, computer servers, and interactive projectors.

The School Board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4. The Board also expects to hear from Dr. Walts at that meeting about the state of the upcoming budget.

New York City men face drug distribution charges in Prince William

Four men now face charges after police said they were involved in separate drug cases


Here’s more in a police press release:



Narcotics Investigation – On December 18th, members of the Prince William-Manassas-Manassas Park Narcotics Task Force concluded a narcotics investigation involving the selling of suspected cocaine with the below arrests. As part of the investigation, search warrants were obtained and subsequently executed on two vehicles belonging to the suspects. As a result of the search and the investigation, an undisclosed amount of money was seized. Both arrests were made without incident and were previously held for investigative purposes.

Arrested on December 18th:



Genesi M. LEDESMA, 39, of 241 Sherman Ave, Apt. M, in New York, NY


Jose PENA, 42, of 1315 Amsterdam Ave, Apt 15, in New York, NY


Both suspects were charged with conspiracy to possess a scheduled I or II narcotic with intent to distribute

Court date: February 6, 2015 | Bond: unavailable

In a separate, unrelated incident, police say they searched a home in Manassas where another drug arrest was made.


More in a press release: 




Narcotics Investigation – On December 17th, members of the Prince William-Manassas-Manassas Park Narcotics Task Force concluded a narcotics investigation involving the selling of suspected cocaine with the below arrests. As part of the investigation, a search warrant was obtained and subsequently executed at the home of one of the suspects on Prince Cole Ct in Manassas. Both arrests were made without incident and were previously held for investigative purposes.

Arrested on December 17th:

Rafy Salvador SOSA-RODRIGUEZ, 24, of 9680 Cisler Ln in Manassas



Charged with 2 counts of possession with intent to distribute a scheduled I or II narcotic

Court date: February 25, 2015 | Bond: held WITHOUT bond                                                       


Santiago Dejesus FUENTES, 31, of 7503 Prince Cole Ct, Apt 3, in Manassas

Charged with 2 counts of possession with intent to distribute a scheduled I or II narcotic

Court date: February 6, 2015 | Bond: held WITHOUT bond

Teen charged in Woodbridge burglaries

PWC police car

Police made an arrest of a teenager they say is responsible for two burglaries this month at a home in Woodbridge.

Here’s more in a press release:

Residential Burglaries *ARRESTS – On January 20th at 10:28AM, officers responded to a residence located in the 2300 block of Battery Hill Cl in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a burglary in progress. A neighbor reported to police that two unknown suspects were seen breaking into a home in the above area. Officers arrived and located two individuals matching the description provided by the witness. When officers attempted to stop those individuals, one fled on foot through several backyards. After a brief foot pursuit, the suspect was detained without further incident. Both individuals were identified as a male and female juvenile and were determined to be the suspects involved in the burglary. The investigation revealed that the suspects made entry into the home through a rear window which was broken out. No property was reported missing. The investigation further revealed that the male juvenile suspect was responsible for a separate burglary to the same residence on January 12th. Following the investigation, both suspects were charged.

Arrested on January 20th: [Juveniles]

16 year old male juvenile of Woodbridge

Charged with 2 counts of burglary, 2 counts of grand larceny and 1 count of resisting arrest

Court date: pending | Status: held at the Juvenile Detention Center

16 year old female juvenile of Woodbridge

Charged with burglary and grand larceny

Court date: pending | Status: released to guardian

Residential Burglary [Previously Released] – On January 12th at 7:42PM, officers responded to a residence located in the 2300 block of Battery Hill Cl in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a burglary. The homeowner reported to police that the burglary occurred between 8:49AM and 7:25PM. The investigation revealed that there were no signs of forced entry into the home. Entry is believed to have been made through a basement window after the screen was cut and removed. A gaming console, iPhone, tablet and other property were reported missing.

Dale City, Lake Ridge, Manassas rank as Virginia’s ‘most boring’ places to live

We often think of our homes as a respite from work and the outside world. Many of us make long commutes between home and our jobs to so we can enjoy better schools for our children, better shopping, and an overall better quality of life on the weekends.

Well, congratulations all you better quality of lifers out there – three neighborhoods in our area are ranked as some of Virginia’s “most boring” places to live. Two neighborhoods ranked in the top 10.

We’ll start with Lake Ridge, the community that ranked seven of 46 of the most boring places in the state, according to real estate website Movato. The riverside community’ s reputation on the survey was dinged due to its lack of independently-owned restaurants. And, while the website gave Lake Ridge high marks for having dense population, that meant little to surveyors because they say Lake Ridge has a low population of those aged 18 to 34 – you know, the demographic of people known for getting out and going places — and that means the place is, according to them, boring.

Not all Lake Ridge residents agree that their neighborhood is boring. Though they do note it could use more cultural options.

Dale City ranked one lower on the list at number eight. The community’s “almost a complete lack of nightlife” and lack of “active life options” counted against the bedroom community. Movato’s list also noted Dale City to have few restaurants, and that makes us wonder if they’ve been to the area around Potomac Mills mall?

Lower on the list at number 36 is Manassas City, and Fredericksburg City ranked number 40. That means that, according to the survey, both cities are more interesting that Lake Ridge or Dale City.

Danville was the “most boring” place in Virginia while Charlottesville was the least boring of the 46 communities ranked. Movato ranked the communities cities by population, population of those aged 18 to 34, number of nightlife spots and music venues, and the number of fast food vs. independently-owned restaurants.

Stafford deputies search for suspicious person, schools placed on lockdown

North Stafford High School sits on Garrisonville Road in North Stafford (Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Schools were placed into a lockdown mode this morning while Stafford sheiff’s deputies searched for a suspicious man.

Deputies received a report of a man with a backpack, and a possible weapon, walking in the area of Porter Library on Parkway Boulevard in North Stafford.

Deputies searched the area but found no one matching that description.

Stafford County Public Schools posted this statement on their Facebook page:

At the request of the Stafford Sheriff’s Office, North Stafford High School, Thompson Middle School and Park Ridge Elementary went into partial lockdown this morning after a report of a suspicious person in our area. During this time, students continued to move within the buildings, but no one was allowed in or out of the buildings. At approximately 10:20 we were advised by the Stafford Sheriff’s Office to change the status to full lockdown. At this time, all activity ceased in the buildings as we awaited instructions from the deputies. We received word that we were to return to partial lockdown at 10:41 and then returned to normal operations at 11 a.m.

A parent who contacted Stafford Local said her child was kept in a classroom with doors locked and lights turned off during the lockdown.

Stafford sheriff’s authorities said they did not find anyone in the area. 

Fire crews called to gas leak on Eustace Road


11:18 a.m. 

A contractor laying fiber optic cable in struck a gas line this morning.

Stafford fire and rescue crews were called to the area of Eustace Road and Legal Court just before 10 a.m. A boring device stuck the line, which is believed to have been at least two inches in diameter, sending the smell of natural gas through a residential neighborhood.

“We arrived on scene, monitored the area, established a hot zone, and then we determined that there was no risked to any of the homeowners in the area,” said Stafford Assistant Chief Mark Doyle.

Stafford sheriff’s deputies blocked streets and neighbors were told to stay inside their homes. The gas company found the broken line and is now in the process of repairing it. The fix could take hours to repair, but streets should be reopened to drivers before noon, according to Doyle.

Fire crews also checked area storm drains for the residual smell of natural gas following the rupture.

10:39 a.m. 

A gas line was struck this morning in the area of Eustace Road and Legal Court in North Stafford.

The leak sprang about 9:50 a.m. Stafford fire and rescue crews were called to the scene.

There’s no word on what caused the leak or if anyone was injured.

We’ll bring you more on this story as we have it.

We’re all Scottish this weekend at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

Whiskey, haggis, crafts and children’s games will all be on center stage this weekend at Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas.

The arts center will hold its “Hylton in the Highlands: A Festival of Scotland” from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24.

From dancing, bagpipes to tea, the festival is billed as offering something for everyone who loves all things Scottish.

“We are so excited to bring out our second edition of ‘Hylton in the Highlands: A Festival of Scotland,’” stated Rick Davis, executive director of the Hylton Center in a press release. “There’s something about the people and traditions of Scotland that makes them fun and accessible for everyone – whether it’s their music, food, ingenuity, bravery, arts and crafts or just general good spirits. Come one, come all.”

Here’s a listing of the day’s events:


  • Alan Reid and Rob van Sante, of Battlefield Band, perform a lively concert of modern and traditional Scottish folk music, original compositions and Battlefield Band favorites.
  • The dynamic trio of Elke Baker, Ken Kolodner and Brad Kolodner explore the evolving traditions of Celtic music and its influence on the old-time music of Appalachia

Interactive experiences:

  • Children’s Passport to Scotland featuring Highland games and crafts, in cooperation with Mid-Atlantic Scots 4 Tots
  • Scottish country dancing demonstrations and open social dancing, presented by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society
  • A fiddle workshop with U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion Elke Baker
  • A “bring-your-own-fiddle” jam session with Elke Baker, Ken Kolodner and Brad Kolodner

Scottish history and culture presentations:

  • Lectures on Scotland’s “National Dish,” haggis, and on American naval hero and native Scotsman John Paul Jones
  • Bagpipe demonstrations with master piper and teacher Paula Glendinning

Exhibits highlighting authentic crafts and goods for sale:

  • Jewelry, pottery, traditional apparel and much more, with exhibits by R.E. Piland Goldsmiths, Sheep’s Clothing, Sonny Fletcher Pottery.

A Taste of Scotland (additional fees apply):

  • A Scotch whisky master class with native Scot and internationally renowned whisky connoisseur Dougie Wylie, “The Scotch Whisky Man,” with Scotch whisky provided by one of Scotland’s oldest family-owned and operated distilleries, William Grant and Sons

  • A full afternoon tea with homemade scones, clotted cream and jam, tea sandwiches, custom blended teas, sweets and more, presented by The Things I Love of Old Town Manassas

  • The Burns Night Supper, a celebration of Scotland’s national bard, poet and lyricist Robert Burns, featuring Scottish music, poetry reading, a Scotch whisky tasting and the ceremonial presentation of Scotland’s “National Dish,” haggis

Tickets for the festival are $20 each for adults and $5 for children. Families may purchase four tickets for $40, good for admission for two adults and two children.

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