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School Board censures Sawyers over emails

Prince William County School Board Chairman At-large Ryan Sawyers was censured by his Board on Wednesday.

The School Board passed this resolution put forward by Gainesville School Board Member Alyson Satterwhite.

Sawyers sued School Board Attorney Mary McGowan after she played a role in defending the School Board in another lawsuit filed against Patriot High School Principal Micheal Bishop concerning a little league baseball team.

Satterwhite and others on the board allege emails contained as evidence in Sawyers’ were privileged and confidential information only to be viewed by School Board members, appropriate only for discussion in closed meetings.

The censure alleges Sawyers, therefore, broke the School Board’s code of ethics.

Sawyers’ lawsuit against McGowan is one of two filed this year. Sawyers also is suing Prince William County Schools Superintendent Steven Walts, alleging he would not provide access to emails of his predecessor, Milton Johns.

Sawyers recused himself from the meeting before the vote. He appeared unfazed by the measure.

“Mrs. Satterwhite, you’ve called for my resignation twice. I’m not worried about this,” said Sawyers during the meeting.

Two weeks ago, with Sawyers absent from the meeting, the School Board addressed his order to remove McGowan from the dais where she sits alongside other School Board members to provide legal advice during meetings.

School Board members bucked the Chairman’s order, and McGowan on Wednesday night was seated once again alongside School Board members.

However, unlike others on the dais, she was missing her nametag. We’re told it would be back by the next meeting.

Updated

From Prince William County Republican Committee Chairman Dottie Miller: 

“Tonight’s bipartisan censure of Ryan Sawyers is a courageous move by this Democrat-controlled School Board and a historic reprimand for his reckless abuse of authority,” said Prince William County GOP Chairman Dottie Miller. “Prince William deserves a School Board Chairman that is completely focused on education and our students, but instead, Ryan Sawyers has used our children as a tool for his personal grudges and a platform for higher office. Our kids deserve better.

Miller continued, “Since Sawyers was sworn-in as chairman of the School Board in December of 2015, he has been the model of divisive leadership. Whether it be teacher intimidation, federal investigation threats, disrespect of reservist Gil Trenum and our veterans, retaliation of a Patriot High School principal, petty lawsuits, or a disregard for ethics, Chairman Sawyers has been more partisan warrior than consensus builder. Our schools face very serious issues, and Sawyers is neglecting them. This censure should be a call for our community to demand that Ryan Sawyers take his job seriously or step down immediately.”

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Safety vest swindler in custody

Police say they have a suspect in custody — the person who is suspected of robbing two area banks, one most recently in Montclair in Prince William County, and the other in Manassas

From police: 

Bank Robbery *ARREST – During the below investigation, detectives from Anne Arundel County Police, Manassas City Police and Prince William County Police identified the suspect involved in multiple bank robberies which occurred in all three jurisdictions. The first robbery occurred at the United Bank in the City of Manassas on September 14. The same suspect is further alleged to have committed a bank robbery at the Sandy Spring Bank in Edgewater on September 15 followed by the robbery in Prince William County on September 16 at the SunTrust Bank located at 4377 Kevin Walker Dr in Dumfries. Following the investigation, detectives from Prince William County obtained warrants for the arrest of the suspect, identified as Jack Antonio ROMERO. On September 20, officers from the Anne Arundel County Police Department located and arrested the accused at a home on Coleridge Dr in Silver Spring, MD. The accused remains incarcerated in Maryland pending extradition back to Virginia.

Arrested on September 20: [Photo provided by Anne Arundel Police]

Jack Antonio ROMERO, 30, of 2302 Coleridge Dr in Silver Spring, MD

Charged with [PWC]: robbery, entering a bank armed with intent to commit larceny and use of a firearm in commission of a felony

Court Date: October 16, 2017 | Status: Pending Extradition

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News
Girls in Aviation Day to introduce girls ages 8 to 17

From a press release:

The Capital Region Chapter of Women in Aviation International (WAI) will hold their annual event, Girls in Aviation Day, to introduce local girls ages 8 to 17 to potential careers in aviation. The day’s activities will take place at the Manassas Regional Airport (HEF) in Virginia from 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 23. More than 100 girls have signed up, tripling the attendance of last year’s event.

“We want our local girls to see that there are exciting careers available to them as engineers, astronauts, pilots, dispatchers, air traffic controllers, and dozens of other jobs within the aviation community,” says Maria Killian, president of the WAI Capital Region Chapter. “We’ll introduce them to role models and educate them in a fun and supportive atmosphere during a day full of aviation and aerospace activities at their local airport.” (more…)

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Kline developer proffers funds for trailer classroom at Signal Hill Elementary School

MANASSAS — Stanley Martin Homes has offered $45,000 for the addition a new trailer classroom at Signal Hill Elementary School.

Under a new purchasing contract with school division, its enough to purchase a single-wide trailer.

The cash is apart of proffers for the Kline Development, a mixed-use community to include 400 new homes planned at the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Liberia Avenue outside Manassas.

Officials have yet to approve a rezoning for the land that would clear the way for the project, which is scheduled to go before the Prince William County Planning Commission on Oct. 4.

While county school officials have no say on whether or not the project is approved, they made it clear they don’t want the new homes because it would cause overcrowding conditions at nearby schools.

As we’ve reported, “If built, the Kline development will bring an estimated 238 new students to Signal Hill Elementary, Parkside Middle, and Osbourn Park High schools. By the 2020-21 school year, Signal Hill and Parkside are slated to be operating at over 100 percent capacity. Five years later, the estimated capacity numbers at each school jump to 125 and 110 percent, respectively.”

School officials this week tell us the $45,000 would be enough to add a new modular, or trailer classroom to Signal Hill Elementary School. From Prince William County Public Schools

“…the applicant shall make a monetary contribution to the Prince William Board of County Supervisors in the amount of $45,000 for the installation of a new modular classroom at Signal Hill elementary School.’

Stanley Martin Homes did not respond to a request for comment on this post.

In addition to the new homes, the proposal calls for building commercial buildings along Prince William Parkway across from a Harris Teeter grocery store in Manassas City. For these structures, supervisors must also approve multiple special-use permits for a Sheetz gas station, an unnamed drive-through fast food restaurant, a CVS Pharmacy with a drive-through window, and a self-storage facility

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Traffic
I-95 express lanes extension public hearing to be held Sept. 25

From Virginia Department of Transportation:

The public is invited to attend a location and design public hearing for the I-95 Express Lanes Fredericksburg Extension project next week to review the proposed design and submit comments.

The I-95 Express Lanes Fredericksburg Extension project would extend I-95 Express Lanes approximately 10 miles from Route 610 (Garrisonville Road) to the vicinity of Route 17 (Warrenton Road) in Stafford County.

As part of this project, new access to the Express Lanes corridor is proposed in the vicinity of the Route 17 and Route 630 (Courthouse Road) interchanges along Interstate 95. New access is also proposed on I-95 at Exit 148, which connects with Russell Road near Quantico Marine Corps Base.

The extended Express Lanes would connect to the I-95 Southbound Rappahannock River Crossing project. The Rappahannock River Crossing is doubling the capacity of I-95 southbound to six lanes from just north of Route 17 to just south of Route 3 in Fredericksburg.
(more…)

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In his own words: ‘Under the First Amendment, that Confederate flag may fly’

STAFFORD — There have been weeks of public comment and debate over a Confederate battle flag that has become a staple of the skyline over Interstate 95 in south Stafford.

At the Stafford County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday night, elected leaders allowed county attorney Charles Shumate explain why he says the county cannot force the removal of the flag that sits on private property.

This issue that you have before you is not isolated here in this Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania area as you well know. It’s it’s an issue that we’ve got throughout the country.

But you know there are a lot of things that we deal with in a free society that are hard to sometimes understand. How can you do this? How can how can you allow somebody to fly this flag or how can you put up a Nazi swastika? Or how can you burn a flag?

I served 11 months and 29 days in Vietnam in a combat zone. To this day if I see someone burning the American flag… Fortunately I’ve never been present. That is so disrespectful and hateful to me. And I relate that to what you’re saying about how hateful it is to you to see that Confederate flag. (more…)

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News
Drone finds Mountain View High School student who was reported missing

From a press release: 

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office located a missing Mountain View High School student last night with the help of the Sheriff’s Office Unmanned Aircraft System commonly referred to as a drone.

The Stafford Sheriff’s Office received a call on Monday, September 18, 2017, at approximately 5:00 p.m. in reference to a missing person.  The missing person was an 18-year-old Mountain View High School student who failed to return home after school.   The missing student had no history of running away and the Sheriff’s Office had reason to believe that he may be endangered.

 Deputies located the missing student’s book bag and cell phone in the school which heightened the concern for the young man’s safety.  Detectives conducted numerous interviews with associates of the student and learned that nobody had seen or heard from him since the end of the school day.

In light of the circumstances and the belief that the missing student may still be somewhere in the area of Mountain View High School, the Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team as well as the Drone Team were called out to assist in the search.  The drone, which is equipped with a thermal imaging camera, was launched just before 9:00 p.m.

By 9:30 p.m. the drone operator picked up a thermal image believed to be that of the missing student in the far southwest portion of the school property near the track.  Drone team members directed deputies to that area and the missing student was found unharmed.

Photo: Stafford County Sheriff’s Office 

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News
Five people displaced after blaze at Yorkshire home

From a press release:

On Wednesday, September 20 at 1:50 a.m., fire and rescue units were dispatched to a townhouse fire in the 7600 block of Somerset Lane in Yorkshire.

Upon entry, fire and rescue crews discovered a small fire on the first floor of a home office. Firefighters initiated suppression, immediately extinguishing the fire containing it to the first floor.

No injuries reported.

The home received moderate damage estimated at $50,000. The Building Official has posted the home unsafe.

The occupants, four adults, one child and their pet were displaced by the fire.

The fire is currently under investigation by the Fire Marshal’s Office.

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