Pull up a chair, pass the butter, and carve me out some turkey. It’s Thanksgiving.
For some, it’s the day when friends and family get together to stuff their faces with some great homestyle cooking. It truly is the one meal that is complete with all the trimmings.
Football, and watching your favorite movies with the family are classic Thanksgiving traditions. There’s also a giant parade in New York City broadcast to our TVs each year.
This is also a time when we take stock in what we’ve accomplished, and what we’ve earned. We say “thanks” to those who are close to us, those who have helped us throughout the year and throughout our lifetime become better people and reach for higher goals.
Many of us turn to social media to say thanks and post a new message each day about for whom or what they are thankful. Some drop off extra food and a warm coat for a family in need. Many simply stroll up and say “thank you.”
I am thankful for my family who, through ups and downs, continue to show what love and patience truly look like. I am thankful for my wife — the most patient person I know — who works hard to provide for our family each day, and has provided me with love, nurturing, and motivation the likes I have never seen.
I am thankful to live in a thriving community and have the privilege to go out and gets the day’s news and tell our stories. I’ve grown up here, and so much of our area has changed, it’s nice to reflect on how far we’ve come.
And I’m thankful for you — those who read PotomacLocal.com every day and trust us to bring you the day’s news. Thank you to the people who financially support what we do by sponsoring content, or by purchasing advertising.
Your support not only means our website continues to serve a purpose. It means those who live here will continue to have a local news resource at their fingertips to help them understand what is happening in their neighborhood. It means there is one more set of eyes looking at the actions of local government.
It means there is one more reporter looking into what is happening at your child’s school. It means you have a place to turn to when you want to know why the police were on your street last night and you want to know if your family is safe.
We strive to get the story right, and we strive to be useful in a growing world of online media outlets. We strive to make sure the news and content published on our site are locally focused. And we strive to provide voices to those in our community who deserve to be heard.
As long as we’re here, we will be forever grateful to this community. Happy Thanksgiving.
Uriah Kiser is the founder, editor, and publisher of PotomacLocal.com.
An 82-year-old man succumbed to his injuries following crash on Cardinal Drive in Woodbirdge.
Here’s more in a press release:
Fatal Crash Investigation – On November 19th at 6:34PM, officers responded to the area of Cardinal Dr and Swan Way in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a two vehicle crash. The investigation revealed that the driver of a 2008 Toyota Prius was attempting a left turn from southbound Cardinal Dr onto Swan Way when the vehicle collided with the driver of a 2010 Jeep Patriot who was traveling northbound on Cardinal Dr. The driver of the Prius, who was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the collision, was flown to an area hospital where he later died from his injuries on November 24th. The driver of the Jeep was not injured. Speed, alcohol and drugs do not appear to be factors in this crash.
The driver of the 2008 Toyota Prius was identified as Leon POMEROYJr., 82, of Woodbridge
The driver of the 2010 Jeep Patriot was identified as a 31 year old man of Woodbridge
November 25, 2015
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November 17, 2015
Manassas police are lauding the efforts of one of their own.
More in a press release:
Manassas City Police is proud to announce that Crime Analyst Terri Hines was awarded the highly esteemed Certified Law Enforcement Analyst (CLEA) designation through the International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA) last month.
In order to qualify for the certification, Hines first had to meet extensive eligibility requirements pertaining to credentials, which she met with her formal education and coursework, four years of work experience with MCPD, continuing professional education, and contributions to the field.
Following major preparation, Hines then passed the IACA exam, which is designed to test demonstrable knowledge in 20 specific areas such as demographics, criminal behavior, descriptive statistics, geographic profiling, charting, intelligence, and research.
In order to pass the IACA exam, candidates must meet a passing grade of at least 70% in each of its 20 individual skill sets. Hines joins seven other professional Law Enforcement Analysts currently certified in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and is one of only 48 certified worldwide through IACA.
The Virginia Department of Transportation has help for shoppers this holiday season, and it’s out in time for Black Friday — one of the buisest shopping days of the year.
Here’s more in a press release:
From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, the Virginia Department of Transportation will time signals to help move drivers through major shopping centers around northern Virginia.
Using traffic data gathered during last year’s holiday season, VDOT developed time- and location-specific signal-timing plans at 222 intersections.
“Each year, the goal is to accommodate the changing traffic patterns expected around the shopping centers as efficiently as possible,” said Ling Li, Operations Engineering Manager at VDOT’s Transportation Operations Center.
Engineers will also use traffic cameras and traffic sensors to monitor conditions and make adjustments in real time, even on holidays, to help keep traffic moving in especially congested areas such as Tysons, Virginia Gateway and Fair Oaks Mall areas.
Holiday signal timing will be in effect from Nov. 26, 2015 through Jan. 1, 2016 at the following shopping centers:
- Tysons and Galleria Shopping Centers
- Reston Town Center
- Fair Lakes Shopping Center
- Fair Oaks Mall
- Potomac Mills Mall
- Manassas Mall
- Springfield Mall
- Cascades Town Center
- Potomac Run Center
- Dulles Town Center
- Leesburg Outlets
- Dulles 28 Centre
- Virginia Gateway Shopping Center
Tysons Displays Refreshed
Also in time for Black Friday, VDOT’s travel information displays at Tysons Corner Mall have been refreshed with a revised, easier-to-read layout. The screens display real-time Metro and bus arrivals, as well as a rotating display of bus locations, travel times, traffic cameras, road conditions and incidents near Tysons.
A new screen is also in place this year near the first-floor food court that exits at parking garage C. The additional five screens are located near the movie theatres, Starbucks, Barnes and Noble and Macy’s. Shoppers are reminded of these tools to help them use Metro or Bus to avoid holiday shopping traffic and congestion in the Tysons area.
VDOT offers shoppers the following tips for staying safe and avoiding traffic:
Put down the cell phone, especially while exiting or entering a shopping center and angling for a parking space.
Avoid multiple trips to the mall. Consider getting shopping done all in one day, with an early start around 8 a.m. or 9 a.m.
Two investigations centering on how police work with federal immigration and customs officials are ongoing in Prince William County.
One is a public probe ordered Saturday by the Board of County Supervisors to learn if county police are talking to federal immigration and customs officials, or ICE when officers come across anyone has criminal, or civil administrative — also called a deportation order — against them.
The second is an internal investigation ordered by Prince William County Police Chief Stephan Hudson, who wants to know why some officers declined to properly notify ICE in about half of the cases involving illegal immigrants with a civil or administrative warrant for their arrest.
A WJLA story labeling Prince William as one of four “sanctuary cities” in the Washington, D.C. region for illegal immigrants prompted a swift reaction from At-large Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart. The Chairman in 2007 made national headlines when he pushed for some of the strictest measures in the nation when leading the Board to pass an ordinance that would require all county police officers to check the legal presence of anyone stopped or arrested.
In an email obtained by Potomac Local, Chief Hudson told county officials that only about half of the cases involving illegal immigrants were handled properly.
“I have some additional info I can share, but am still working to verify some facts with ICE. Basically, our officers appear to have made phone contact with ICE’s screening center in about half the cases when we got these hits. We appear to have failed to notify ICE in the remaining cases… I will conduct a formal internal investigation into this matter to determine how this apparent failure to notify (in at least some of the cases) has occurred, but that will take time.
-Prince William County Police Chief Stephan Hudson
Officers check the ID of anyone stopped by for a suspected offense. Information on that person is returned to them on a computer. And, if the person has a criminal warrant out of their arrest, police place the suspect in handcuffs.
If the suspect has a civil or administrative warrant against them, police do not have the authority to arrest that person, explained Stewart. Officials now want to know how many times Prince William officers have come encountered individuals with such warrants and did not notifiy ICE.
The Prince William County Police Department’s authority to check the legal status of immigrants ended in 2012 when the 287g program — a joint program with the feds that trained officers on how to check the legal status of those arrested went away. Officers at the county jail are still trained in checking the legal status of those arrested, and still do so today.
“We certainly disagree with Channel 7’s labeling of Prince William County as a “sanctuary county.” Law enforcement officials in Prince William County have a well-established history of cooperating with ICE. In all criminal custodial arrests, PWCPD officers inquire into the immigration status of the arrestee and document the response on arrest paperwork.
100% of all arrestees booked into the Prince William/Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center (Jail) are screened through the 287g program, and the Jail notifies ICE of those findings.
Furthermore, In the event our officers find a person to have a criminal “Previously Deported Felon” warrant from ICE, officers arrest that person and follow the same procedure at the jail.”
–Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok
Interacting with those who have administrative warrants is only a “small portion” of the department’s dealings with ICE, but that was the core focus of the WJLA story, added Perok.
The Board of Supervisors was beginning its search for a new police chief at the same time the police department’s 287g authority was coming to an end. Hudson was appointed Chief of Police in February 2013 after Charlie T. Dean, the department’s first Chief of Police retired. It’s possible that someone could have dropped the ball during this changeover period, and at least some directives weren’t followed, said Stewart.
“There’s a lot that we don’t know yet, and we’re going to have to wait for the results of our audit,” added Stewart.
The county tasked private firm RSM with conducting the audit. The results could come before the end of the month.
A crane toppled on its side Tuesday morning in Manassas.
The crane was in use at a construction site of the new Baldwin Elementary and Baldwin Intermediate school, next to Osbourn High School in Downtown.
No one was hurt when the crane fell over.
“The arm of the crane did damage two walls, and the trusses it was lifting. There was no damage to the steel structure,” said Al Radford, Manassas schools spokeswoman.
Work on the 3-story school began in March. The new school is slated to open in January 2017.
The school will house 1,100 students — 700 elementary school students kindergarten through fourth grade, and 400 intermediate school students in grades five and six. The school will replace the existing Baldwin Elementary School at 9705 Main Street, and will alleviate crowding at nearby Mayfield Intermediate School, said Radford.
The E-ZPass Express Lanes on Interstate 95 will be extended in Stafford County, and to Washington, D.C.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today in a press release that the express lanes in Stafford County would be extended two miles past Garrisonville Road. Two lanes will merge into one, and drivers will be able to continue past today’s final exit point at Garrisonville Road.
Drivers in the Express Lanes regularly sit in congestion at the terminus of the lanes in Stafford County. Those who don’t exit at Garrisonville Road will exit the lanes two miles south into the left travel lane of I-95, much like old traffic pattern at Dumfries before the December 2014 opening of the E-ZPass Express Lanes.
A right exit and flyover were built at Garrisonville Road so traffic exiting the Express Lanes could reenter mainline I-95 traffic into the right lane, not the left. Transit officials before the Express Lanes opening blamed heavy bottleneck traffic at Dumfries, in part on the left exiting – entering traffic pattern that existed there at the time.
The left exiting – entering ramp was closed, and a new right exit-enter ramp was built just before Joplin Road at Quantico.
Here are the full details on the governor’s plan for the Stafford terminus:
I-95 Express Lanes Southern Terminus
The project will extend 95 Express Lanes by approximately 2 miles past the point where the current flyover carries southbound traffic to Exit 143/Garrisonville Road in Stafford County. A single reversible lane would be built, eventually splitting into northbound and southbound merge ramps.
Southbound traffic in 95 Express Lanes will be able to continue driving past Exit 143 at Garrisonville Road. Southbound traffic will merge back into the mainline I-95 southbound lanes approximately 1,500 feet beyond the Garrisonville Road on-ramp to I-95 southbound. Traffic will merge into the left lane of I-95. This spacing will balance local and express lanes traffic entering I-95 southbound.
Northbound traffic can enter the 95 Express Lanes sooner. The new northbound entrance will be located approximately 1,000 ft. before the I-95 northbound off-ramp at Exit 143 to Route 1 at Aquia. Northbound traffic will merge into express lanes from the left lane.
Construction is estimated to begin in 2016 and take two years to complete. Work will primarily take place within the median and within the existing right-of-way. No personal or business property should be affected.
The Express Lanes carry drivers north toward Washington, D.C. in the mornings. The Express Lanes currently end at just before Duke Street in Alexandria. Single paying drivers must exit the lanes in the mornings, but vehicles with three one more occupants may continue using the HOV lanes to get to the 14th Street Bridge in Washington. These lanes are the last vestige of the old HOV system that spanned between Dumfries and the Pentagon.
All drivers who use the E-ZPass Express Lanes must have an electronic E-ZPass transponder in their vehicle. Single drivers pay a toll, and vehicles with three or more occupants in the car ride free with the E-ZPass.
Arlington County officials in the latter part of the last decade protested the conversion of HOV lanes to toll lanes by saying the lanes would mean more drivers would moving through the county, and more pollution from cars.
Then Virginia Transportation Secretary and former Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sean Connaughton struck a deal with the county, and private toll road operator Transurban to build the lanes as far north as Turkeycock Run, just before Duke Street in Alexandria.
Here’s the governor’s plan for the northbound extension:
I-395 Express Lanes Extension
The project will extend the 395 Express Lanes for eight miles north to the DC line. The project will convert and expand the existing HOV lanes on I-395 from Turkeycock Run north to the district to dynamically tolled express lanes.
An additional express lane will be built, providing three express lanes in the corridor.
There will be dedicated funding for new and enhanced transit services and carpooling incentives.
The work will be done by Transurban under the existing contract it has with the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Construction is expected to begin in 2017, with the extended lanes opening to traffic in 2019.
Vehicles with three or more people will continue to use the express lanes for free. Solo drivers will have the choice to take general purpose lanes for free or use the express lanes for a variable toll.
The Osprey’s Golf Club at Belmont Bay will close Sunday, November 29.
The closure of the golf club brings and end to 18 years of play on a course located on the mixed-used residential and commercial development of Belmont Bay on the bank of the Occoquan River in Woodbridge.
The Osprey’s Restaurant located in the same clubhouse will remain open for business. It briefly closed in 2013, but later reopened for business.
The golf course will remain an open space, maintained by the developers of Belmont Bay. Residents will be able to walk and bike along the old golf cart paths.
The golf club has been losing money on the golf operation since it opened in 1997. The average round of golf costs about $40 at the public course.
“We’ve been supporting all of these loses over the years with sales of real estate to subsidize to keep the golf course open,” said Preston Miller, with Belmont Bay, LCC.
The club booked 27,000 rounds of golf in one year during its peak. Now less than 20,000 rounds of golf are played at the course annually.
“The revenue is just not there,” said Miller. “The sound business decision would have been to close it down years ago.”
Belmont Bay is located in the northern portion of Woodbridge, behind the Woodbridge Virginia Railway Express station. Home sales are up in the neighborhood, in large part because of Belmont Bay’s convenient location to commuter rail and Interstate 95.
“The golf course has always been nice but not a must-have,” said Cindy Jones, who sells homes in Belmont Bay. “The draw of this community is that it is a nice location, it’s a small community, and neighbors can to walk around and get to know each other.”
Miller is a third-generation member of the Caruthers Family — the developers of Belmont Bay. He said the project has not taken off as planned due to the lack of a promised interchange at Routes 1 and 123.
Complete with a flyover, the interchange would connect drivers with Express and Belmont Bay drives, become the main entrance way to the neighborhood. Route 1 is being widened in Woodbridge from Mary’s Way north to the Occoquan River, to include an interchange at Routes 1 and 123.
A flyover ramp from the interchange into the Belmont Bay neighborhood has been designed, but $100 million in funds to build the ramp have yet to be found, said Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi.
A new science center to be operated by George Mason University is under construction on the bank of the Occoquan River at Belmont Bay, and so are eight new town homes — four of which are sold to new homeowners. A new corner market also just opened for business in front of the neighborhood’s marina.
The number of Thanksgiving travelers leaving the Washington area is expected to decrease this year.
AAA Mid-Atlantic says fewer drivers will hit the road to grandma’s house for the annual holiday. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest travel day of the year.
It’s not a huge decrease, as AAA notes about 0.2% fewer area residents will leave home this Thanksgiving than did last year. Many area residents travel 50 miles or more to Thanksgiving destinations, and for vacations, states AAA.
Last year, roadways saw the most travelers over the Thanksgiving holiday since the onset of the Great Recession in 2007. AAA states that despite improving economy, falling unemployment rates, and fuel prices remain low, fewer people plan to travel.
“Curiously, the number of travelers departing from the Washington metro area will remain flat this Thanksgiving, despite an unemployment rate that continues to decline and the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in seven years,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “The family car remains the preferred mode of travel for Thanksgiving. The automobile share of Thanksgiving travel has hovered near 90 percent since the recession as budget-conscious consumers have tended toward car trips.”
In 2014, eight people were killed in vehicle crashes on Virginia’s roads and highways. It was the lowest number of deaths recorded over the holiday weekend in a decade.
The number of fatalities from auto crashes in Virginia for 2015, at 652 lives lost, tops the 633 fatalities on state roads by the same time last year. Drivers can expect to see more state police patroling the highways as part of an initiative they’re calling “drive to save lives.”
“State police will have the majority of its uniformed workforce on patrol from Wednesday through Sunday of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Our goal is not to see how many summonses can be issued and traffic violators arrested over the holiday. The purpose of having our troopers out there on Virginia’s highways is to remind the motoring public of the importance of traffic safety and to deter aggressive, dangerous, reckless, and impaired driving. We are prepared to do our job to make Virginia safer, and we thank those people already driving to save lives. But, as evident by the spike in traffic deaths this year, we still need more drivers and passengers to do their part by buckling up, complying with speed limits, sharing the road, and never driving impaired or distracted.”
There is some very good news for travelers in Virginia, from the Virginia Department of Transportation.
“VDOT is suspending highway work zones during the five-day peak Thanksgiving travel period to reduce congestion on interstates and major highways. Lane closures will be lifted on most major roads in Virginia from noon Wednesday, Nov. 25, until noon Monday, Nov. 30.”
What times are the best times to travel when headed out of town? In our area, the earlier you can get away Wednesday the better off you’ll be. Traditionally, congestion on Interstate 95 south begins to build between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and remains heavy through the evening, especially through Woodbridge.
Traffic is traditionally light on Thanksgiving Day, and few backups are seen on area highways during peak day hours on the day after Thanksgiving — Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Returning home from Thanksgiving, highway conditions on I-95 become congested during the afternoons on Saturday and Sunday, so you’ll want to leave early. The Virginia Department of Transportation explains this in a video posted below.
The second of two suspects connected to the November 1 murder of Gilbert Kindard in Dale City turned himself into police.
Here’s more in a police press release:
Murder Investigation *ARREST – On November 22nd, Byron KING turned himself into police without incident at the Gar-Field Station in Woodbridge. This individual was the remaining suspect wanted in connection to the murder of Gilbert KINARD which occurred in the 15200 block of Brazil Cir in Woodbridge on November 1st. The other suspect, LamarLEWIS, was previously located and arrested on November 17th in Georgia by members of the Atlanta U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force.
Arrested on November 22nd:
Byron Alan KING, 30, of the 2700 block of Beechtree Ln in Woodbridge
Charged with murder
Court Date: Pending | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond
November 19, 2015
November 17, 2015
November 17, 2015