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 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.

Potomac Local Submitted News
More Submitted News

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: 

Find your polling place

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. 

Jessie: More rigorous courses, access to advance courses needed for all students


Lillie Jessie is running to keep her seat on the Prince William County School Board. She’s represented the Occoquan District on the School Board since 2012.

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


Find your polling place

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

Jessie: 1. College-Career readiness for all students including students in specialty programs and from low-income, diverse neighborhoods

2. Overcrowding/class size by finding the needed space to build schools; especially on the eastern end of the county where schools have as many as twelve trailers in one school

3. Treating teachers as “professional experts” by providing competitive salaries, more career level opportunities and providing teacher coaches whose primary responsibility is to support them rather than participate in the dismissal process

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

Jessie: 1. Career/College Readiness: Provide more rigorous courses and access to advance courses for all students. Reduce the achievement gap. Create a Pre-school College Career mission of “Beginning with the end in mind” (Covey).

2. Hold the Board of Supervisor’s to it’s word of providing land for building new schools on the eastern end of the county, relooking at proffers and considering school space availability in its rezoning.

3. Follow what research says about high performing schools which includes being paid as a professional which may require us to relook at that shared revenue plan, Secondly providing coaches or master teachers to assist teachers instead of using central office supervisors who are limited in number and participate in the dismissal process at times.

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

Jessie: Our number one responsibility is to ensure that all students learn at a high level. Provide oversight of the school system and its budget and personnel. Write, amend or create policy and the ensuing regulations that support the forementioned. Work with the superintendent and his staff to ensure that we provide a safe, orderly and high student learning environment.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Jessie: High performing Title I (low income schools) Supervisor (Supervisor of the year) for ten years. Principal of a Title I school for twenty years. National Professional Learning Model School Nationally recognized for closing the achievement gap. Internationally recognized High Flying School for Youth at Risk Appointed by the Governor to the Standards of Learning (SOL). Innovation Committee Nationally published education author.

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?

Jessie: No I do not. In fact I am not sure they are aware of this election. I plan to continue my work with local community organizations, and invest more time with parents. I write a column for the the Old Bridge Observer. Those articles have been well-received by the community. I would like to conduct more informational meetings, especially when it comes to understanding the need to balance the use of assessments in the school.

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

Jessie: My biggest mistake was under estimating the ability of a young patient early in my career. I did not believe that he could learn to read and when I look back, I watered down his curriculum. Another teacher came to this then institution for children with severe and profound handicaps and taught him reading skills I did not think was possible. That was forty years ago. It changed my expectations for learning. I am not just an advocate of high expectations for all students, I have been given an opportunity to redeem myself by seeing students not expected to learn, not only learn but learn at high levels.

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

Jessie: 1. I did not run for this position because of my interest in a higher office. I have and can have an positive affect on student learning.

2. I have had a plethora of experience that makes me more than qualified for the position (Educational leadership, budget, policy development, etc.)

3. Character traits I possess include being persistent, insistent and consistent when it comes to high levels of achievement and/or overcoming barriers.

4. I am a student of the research. I know that we are not competitive with other countries and that the rubric should not be how we compare to the State but how we compare to the “World.”

McCullough: Expanding Medicaid would provide health insurance to thousands of Virginians who need it


Kyle McCullough is running to unseat Jackson Miller in the Virginia House of Delegates 50th District. 

The District encompasses the City of Manassas, and a portion of Prince William County.

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


Find your polling place

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

McCullough: Health care, income inequality and school funding.

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

McCullough: Implement the Medicaid expansion. Raise the minimum wage. (I advocate a graduated increase, so an employer can pay a trainee the Federal minimum for a few months before the higher State minimum kicks in.) Restore school funding to at least pre-recession levels — adjusted for inflation and student-population growth.

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

McCullough: To represent the people of the 50th district – to promote their values and best interests in the governance of the state.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

McCullough: I think that my main expertise is my life experience. As a father and middle-class resident, I have some idea what it takes to raise a family in this area. And, while this is very hard to document, I think I have above-average empathy for people who are in different situations than my own — which I think is the most important qualification for a would be Representative, Delegate or Senator.

I think a lot of that comes from my upbringing. My mother was a speech therapist who worked with children with very diverse backgrounds. My father was the County Manager of our county who worked to serve the interests of people with a huge range of backgrounds.

And I grew up in a neighborhood and school district where most people did not have the economic or social advantages that I did. I spent a year in China, where I learned the value of good government by witnessing the lack of it. Less important, but still worth mentioning, as a computer programmer with a background in engineering, I have pretty good problem-solving abilities.

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?

McCullough: No, I don’t think that most people are. I have made two-way communications a priority in my campaign; anyone can easily reach me either at or at 703-686-4804, and I reply to all polite inquiries. And I try to keep people posted on the issues through my web page and social media. I’ll certainly continue and expand on that if elected.

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

McCullough: Well, I didn’t take fundraising seriously enough, early enough.

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

McCullough: They should vote for me because I take their needs and concerns seriously. When I am campaigning, I tell people what I think are the biggest issues facing the General Assembly, but then I ask what are their issues, what do they believe should be our biggest concerns.

I have made the Medicaid expansion the central issue of my campaign because it is the issue that compelled me to run. Providing health insurance to thousands of Virginians who need it, adding tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic stimulus are all important; but equally important is why we are turning it down, when doing so gives no benefit whatsoever to the state.

The inescapable conclusion is that the legislators who are refusing to let Virginia have those benefits believe that doing so benefits their party. I would never do that. I would never place narrow partisan advantage ahead of the needs of my constituents.

A word from our local sponsors
More Headlines