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Prince William School Board Chairman calls for renaming Stonewall Jackson schools for ‘real heroes’

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — An online fundraiser to rename Stonewall Jackson Senior high and middle schools in Prince William County launched Wednesday.

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Ryan Sawyers, the county’s At-large School Board Chairman, a Democrat who is now seeking a seat in Congress, issued a rallying cry to supporters calling for the name changes after this past weekend’s violent white nationalist protests in Charlottesville where three people died.

“When we name a school after someone we honor and celebrate that person. These schools were named in a time when Brown v. Board of Education, integration, and the Civil Rights Act were being implemented across our country. Under the false rhetoric of ‘heritage,’ these schools were, in fact, named after a Confederate icon as a “thumb in the eye” to Federal actions ending their continued racial segregation of public schools,” Sawyers stated.

Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was a Confederate general and is regarded by historians as one of the most gifted military commanders in U.S. history. Jackson fought at the 1st and 2nd battles of Manassas during the Civil War and later died at age 39 after a battle in Chancellorsville outside Fredericksburg.

Stonewall Middle School, located at 10100 Lomond Drive near Manassas opened in 1964 and is home to 1,140 students. Stonewall Jackson Senior High School, located at 8820 Rixlew Lane near Manassas, opened in 1973, is home to 2,400 students, and the county’s International Baccalaureate Program. (more…)

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Adopt Me Wednesday: Goofy is a young pup eager for training

Spotsylvania Animal shelter has a furbaby in need of a forever family. Goofy is a hound mix, about a year and a half, and is neutered. 

Here’s a little about Goofy:

Goofy is still waiting for his forever family to come along. Goofy is a young pup, good with other dogs, has lived with cats around but is mouthy so needs older children and some training to break that bad habit. Please consider coming to meet/adopt him today before 4 p.m.

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Opening for Ali Krieger sports complex set for spring

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PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — A sports field complex to be named after soccer standout Ali Kreiger will be ready by next summer.

SunCal, the developers of Potomac Shores in southeastern Prince William County, finished construction of one of three large rectangular soccer fields and a softball field.

Prince William County Parks and Recreation spokesman Brent Heavner provided Potomac Local this statement:

SunCal completed construction on one multi-sport rectangular field and one softball field last month with plans to complete three more rectangular fields and a parking lot by the end of the year.

Once we take possession of a field, there is considerable work we have to do to get the surface ready for play.

We hope to have the Softball field ready for play this fall, with the four rectangular fields opening for play next summer. (more…)

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Popular Leesylvania State Park turns away visitors

WOODBRIDGE — Vistors count on Leesylvania State Park to provide hiking trails, picnic tables, a bit of history, and expansive views of the Potomac River.

This summer, however, some would-be park guests have been turned away at the gate. Park officials said there’s just no more room for them.

Leesylvania State Park has been temporarily closed six times this summer due to capacity issues. There are 600 parking spaces in the park, and when all 600 are full, Chief Ranger Karen Lambey closes the entrance gate.

When more parking spaces open up, the gate is reopened to more visitors.

“People like to visit us, and when were closed it really does impact the quality of the visit,” said Lambey. (more…)

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Breakfast Links: School loses $20,000; Winning ‘architect’ coach dies

Bob Sherrill helped to earn Gar-Field Senior High School the nickname “school of champions” during the 1970s and 80s. He’s being remembered this week as the “architect” of the winning sports program after his death. He was 83 years old. [Prince William Times]

The murder of Wilfredo Guardado-Huezo, 25, of Manassas back in April was planned. Court documents show. His murder is related to the MS-13 street gang, which is showing a rebound in the Washington, D.C. region with recent crimes in Maryland and Virginia. [Washington Post]

Gar-Field Senior High School PTSO is out $20,000, and the former head of the organization could be to blame. Calanda Victoria James-Morgan, 40, of Nokesville, was indicted for six counts of embezzlement this month. She’s due in a Prince William County courtroom. [Prince William Times]

A 21-year-old Stafford woman died after a car crash on Saturday, August 12. The crash happened near the Grace Preparatory School when the driver crossed a double yellow line and struck a pick-up truck head on. The driver was pulled from the car and later died [Stafford County Sheriff’s Office]

Hobby Lobby will open a second location in Prince William County in Gainesville. It currently has a store on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge. [Bristow Beat]

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BerkleyNet finds the secret to attracting and keeping talent — make them feel valued

Editors note: This sponsored post is the first in a monthly series written by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Potomac Local.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — An insurance company headquartered in Prince William County encourages young professionals to write on the walls.

This is not your typical coverage provider.

Started in a warehouse in Manassas in 2006, tech firm BerkleyNet is a leader in forward-thinking business growth in Prince William County. BerkleyNet is a member company of W. R. Berkley Corporation, a Fortune 500 company.

Headquartered in Innovation Technology Park in Prince William County, their business is entirely online, a unique concept for a firm that provides workers compensation insurance.

In just 11 years they have grown from six to over 200 employees. The majority are headquartered in Prince William County, with satellite offices in places like Minneapolis, Nashville, Tenn. and Las Vegas.

John Goldwater, BerkleyNet’s former President, and CEO, has gone on to become an Executive Vice President of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Five founding employees remain on BerkleyNet’s senior leadership team.

The most unique aspect of their business growth? They hire curious problem-solvers, encourage ownership and invest in their employees. (more…)

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Makee is the GOP replacement candidate in Virginia House District 2

STAFFORD — He doesn’t have big political aspirations, but he stepped up to be the GOP’s man in a pinch.

Michael Makee (pronounced Mackie) retired as Naval Commander after 20 years and is the Republican replacement candidate in Virginia’s House District 2. The 47-year-old Naval Academy graduate stepped in after Laquan Austion dropped out of the race on Friday.

Makee moved to Stafford with his wife two years ago and is the father of six children ages 12 to 24. Mary Kathleen “Katy” Makee has been his wife for 25 years. He serves on the Stafford County Utilities Commission and is the treasurer of the Stafford County Republican Committee.

This is his first run for political office.

“I don’t have big political aspirations,” Makee told Potomac Local. “I understand the military side of how the government works, and now I will learn how the state and local side of the government,” said Makee. (more…)

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Fallen Virginia State Police troopers had ties to Prince William, Manassas

Virginia State Police continue morn the loss of two of their own — one of them from Prince William County.

The two troopers were killed Saturday after a police helicopter they were in crashed on a farm outside Charlottesville. The troopers were monitoring the fatal protest in the city where one woman was killed and several others injured during a white nationalist march.

Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, of Prince William County, are remembered today in a press release from Virginia State Police:

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Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates (1976 – 2017)

Trooper-Pilot Bates was born in Manassas, Va. and graduated from Brentsville District Middle-Senior High School in Nokesville, Va. in 1994.

He served as a Trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol from 1998 until he joined the Virginia State Police in 2004. He graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy on August 27, 2004, as a member of the 107th Basic Session.

His first assignment was in Virginia State Police Richmond Division’s Area 8 Office, which encompasses the City of Richmond and Henrico County.

(more…)

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