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Stewart, Crawford; Nohe, O’Meara to meet for Prince William Primary Debates

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Four candidates for elected office in Prince William County will meet for two separate debates Saturday, April 11.

First at 5:30 p.m., incumbent Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman, At-large Corey Stewart will meet his Republican challenger Chris Crawford to debate local issues concerning governance of Prince William County and the task of leading its Board of Supervisors. Both men are candidates in an April 25 party canvass, also known as a “firehouse” primary where Republican voters will decide who will go on to face Democrat challenger Rick Smith in November.

You may submit questions for the Chairman’s Primary Debate.

At 6:30 p.m., incumbent Prince William County Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe will meet with Republican challenger Paul O’Meara to discuss streetlight issues facing voters in the Coles District, which spans from the mid-county area to neighborhoods around Manassas.

To date, no Democrat seeks the Coles District seat, so this could be the debate that helps voters decide who will become the next Coles District Supervisor.

You may submit questions for the Coles District Primary Debate.

The debates will be held at the Dar AlNoor Islamic Community Center on Hoadly Road in Woodbridge. The event is co-sponsored by the Coles District Civic Association and Potomac Local.

The candidates were briefed on the format of the debate as follows:

  • Candidates will be introduced to the audience
  • Short bios for each candidate will be read
  • A candidate will be asked a specific question
  • The candidate will have two minutes to respond
  • An opposing candidate will have one minute for rebuttal
  • A new question is asked of different candidate and process repeats

Potomac Local Publisher Uriah Kiser will moderate the debates. The local online news organization will accept reader-submitted questions that may be asked of the candidates during the debates.

The candidates, audience members, and all those involved in the debates are asked to adhere to the following rules:

  • Occupants of the Dar AlNoor Islamic Community Center must remove their footwear at the door and place footwear in a storage area inside the center.
  • Campaign literature and signs are permitted outside of the community center and must be removed upon event conclusion

Innovation Park brings high-tech jobs to Prince William

News

Innovation Park, located adjacent to George Mason University’s Prince William Campus, is continuing to grow and bring in high-tech companies and jobs to the area.

Innovation Park, a business and technology park space, first started back in 1998.

It now has more than 26 companies and 2,300 employees working within its scope, according to Jeff Kaczmarek, Executive Director of the Prince William County Department of Economic Development.

“To date, the [economic development] department has directly assisted in attracting approximately $720 million in capital investment by Innovation Park tenants, and the creation of over 2,000 jobs,” said Kaczmarek.

The Virginia Department of Forensic Science, the National Institute of Health’s Biomedical Research Laboratory, the FBI’s NOVA Resident Agency, Mediatech, ISOThrive, and Microvax are among the companies that utilize the Innovation Park space.

According to Kaczmarek, one of the fastest growing components of Innovation Park is the Prince William Science Accelerator.

The Prince William Science Accelerator allows small technological companies to come in and utilize their lab and office spaces for an affordable cost, to help them grow.

The county’s economic development department has partnered with George Mason University to help Innovation Park grow.

Dr. Angel Cabrera, President of George Mason University, spoke with Potomac Local to announce that the university’s Prince William Campus is being rebranded as the science and technology campus.

Kaczmarek stated that their partnership with the University and the upcoming rebranding would help further their cause to develop Innovation Park and the Prince William Science Accelerator.

“From our perspective, the rebranding exercise signals exciting developments for Prince William County as it will heighten public awareness surrounding the campus…[it] is another step towards Prince William County being known as the science and technology hub of the region,” Kaczmarek said.

Kaczmarek commented that instead of having to drive out of the area for a good job, the continued development of Innovation Park would benefit the county, and grow the jobs where people live.

Kaczmarek also stated that the university would be able to further create a workforce that will be equipped with the tools and knowledge to go into these types of high-tech jobs.

In addition to the businesses in Innovation Park, and the Prince William Science Accelerator, another project the county’s economic development department, and George Mason University are working on is the Virginia Serious Game Institute.

According to Kaczmarek, one of the fastest growing majors at the university is their game development and design program.

“The Virginia Serious Game Institute, a public-private IR start-up [is an] incubator for entrepreneurs in simulation, modeling, and gaming,” Kaczmarek said.

The county’s economic development department will continue to work on bringing in new businesses to both Innovation Park and the Prince William Science Accelerator, hopefully bringing more high paying jobs to Prince William County.

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Prince William Board takes up new homes, gas station, daycare issues Tuesday night

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022514-mccoart

Prince William Supervisors will meet Tuesday night to for a series of public hearings on new construction projects in the county.

New homes at Hoadly Falls

One of them is a rezoning request for Hoadly Falls Phase II. The housing development would sit just off Prince William Parkway at the intersection of Hoadly Road in Woodbridge. The Board must decide Tuesday to rezone about 28 acres of land from agricultural land to semi-residential land so developers may build 15 homes.

This new phase of Hoadly Falls would join a yet-to-be-built Phase I that will be constructed in the same area and will bring 16 new homes to 40 acres of land.

The county’s planning commission approved phase two earlier this month, but demanded developers consider reducing the density of the development to one home per two and a half acres of land, save more existing trees, and be more clear about where entry and exit points to the neighborhood will be built.

Developers are expected to pay about $572,000 in proffers to the county that will help offset impacts to county services like schools, water, fire and rescue, transportation, and libraries.

As for Hoadly Falls Phase I, officials Tuesday night must also decide if they will bar developers from creating an access point to the neighborhood directly from Prince William Parkway. An amended plan, if approved Tuesday, would eliminate the parkway entrance and the signal light that would come with it, and allow drivers access to the neighborhood via Davis Ford Road. The county’s planning commission approved the request earlier this month, and it’s now waiting for final approval from the Board of Supervisors.

Daycare problems

On the edge of the Town of Occoquan, Sammy’s House Home Daycare is fighting to exist. Prince William zoning officials last year denied a permit to allow the home daycare on Mount High Street to accommodate up to 12 children. On November 13, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors upheld that decision as county officials say the daycare is not in compliance with county zoning rules.
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A panda helped us find parking at Bobs Burgers

News

When it comes to parking in the city, a Seinfeld episode comes to mind.

You know the one where George Costanza gets into an argument with another driver over a parking space on the street.

I’ve always remembered this particular exchange between the characters:

Elaine: Oh, you’re never gonna find a space on Jerry’s block, just put it in a garage.

George: Look, I have my system. First I look for the dream spot right in front of the door, then I slowly expand out in concentric circles.

Elaine: Oh come on, George, please put it in a garage. I don’t want to spend an hour looking for a space.

George: I can’t park in a garage.

Elaine: Why?

George: I don’t know, I just can’t. Nobody in my family can pay for parking, it’s a sickness. My father never paid for parking; my mother, my brother, nobody. We can’t do it.

Last week, however, I did want to pay for parking. My wife and I had tickets to see “Bobs Burgers Live” at the Warner theater in Washington, D.C. It was a Wednesday night, I drove us both into the city after work, and we wanted the easiest, most uneventful evening leading up to our show.

Earlier, I went to Google and typed in “Warner theaterParking” and saw a host of results appear on the page. I clicked on one of them, and I saw the “Bobs Burgers Live” logo.

“Hey, that’s the show we’re going to tonight,” I said.

It was like the website knew exactly what I was looking for — parking for the Bobs Burgers show. I was intrigued, and I clicked on.

The site’s name was Parking Panda. It showed me several garages within a three to four block radius of the Warner Theater, and it also showed how much it would cost to park there – between $11 and $23. Some garages offered valet though my wife and I are not fans of valet. Keep Reading…

NVTA was supposed to fund road projects that relieve the most congestion

News

Opinion 

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, which is charged with allocating some $351 million in locally raised state taxes for 2015-16, held a meeting March 25, to receive public input into the projects they propose to fund.  

The Virginia law governing the selection of eligible projects provides that the Northern Virginia Transportation “… Authority shall give priority to selecting projects that are expected to provide the greatest congestion reduction relative to the cost of the project and shall document this information for each project selected.”

Myself, Delegate Albo, and Delegate LeMunyon offered in-person testimony before the NVTA.   We questioned how the NVTA arrived at the final proposed project list when it clearly did not propose to fund only those road projects that VDOT had identified as providing the greatest congestion reduction for the tax dollars spent.   Some projects were omitted that provided up to 20 times the congestion relief per dollar spent over projects that were chosen!   

In my testimony I additionally asked how any money could be spent on transit projects when no data was presented at all to indicate the cost benefit analysis for such expenditures in light of the requirement of the law to document congestion relief for each project selected.  The NVTA has allocated $139 million for 17 transit projects and two transit planning studies.

Again, the NVTA Board clearly is not following this provision of the law because they are selecting lower priority congestion reduction projects  for funding over more efficient congestion reduction projects.  Further, the  NVTA has offered NO objective measures at all to document the cost/benefit congestion reductions for even one of their proposed 17 transit projects.   

I also raised the question of Rt. 28 corridor improvements from Manassas to I-66 at the meeting last night.  

I did thank the NVTA for agreeing to fund a $2.5 million study to examine alternatives for the improvement of the Manassas to Centreville Rt. 28 corridor.   This study will look at widening 28 to six lanes (three north and three south) from Manassas to Centreville, widening Old Centreville Road to three lanes on existing right of way using two and one reversible lanes for the morning and evening commute from Manassas to Fairfax at Compton Rd., and  look at the previously designated Tri-county bypass (not to be confused with the Bi-county parkway which I oppose) from Godwin Drive at Rt. 234 Business near Manassas Mall to Rt. I-66.  

This $2.5 million study had been discussed at meetings of the Route 28 Corridor Steering Committee, which I serve on as a working member.  Several NVTA members are also on the Route 28 Committee.   There is unanimous agreement that with 60,000 cars per weekday, with traffic crawling at an average of 9 MPH in the morning commute, the road is way beyond its capacity, and will only get worse with the current construction of 1,300+ more housing units near the Fairfax border, and other building projects that would feed onto already overburdened Route 28. Keep Reading…

Paul O’Meara challenges Nohe in Prince William Coles District

News

Paul O’Meara is running for the office of Prince William County Coles District Supervisor.

O’Meara says spending in the county government is “out of control” and that its leaders have not done enough to curb tax increases that negatively impact middle-class families.

O’Meara said federal budget cuts, in particular, stifle area families ability to make ends meet.

Late last year, O’Meara chastised his opponent, sitting Supervisor Marty Nohe, for supporting budget that would increase the average property tax bill by 4%. Last month, officials voted to cap such an increase to 3.8% for the following year.

“Supervisor Nohe’s vote against the tax reduction guidance demonstrates how out of touch he has become with the economic realities facing hard-working Prince William

County families. The recent County survey showed that 85% of voters across the County do not want a tax increase. Yet, in the face of that strong voter opposition, Mr. Nohe has voted for almost every tax increase since becoming Supervisor, and the people of the Coles District deserve someone who will fight for them and not for the irresponsible and unsustainable growth of County Government,” O’Meara stated in a press release.

O’Meara says he is a staunch conservative. He was in a Prince William County courtroom on March 20 when a judge denied a request from the Prince William County Republican Committee to all candidates to hold a primary election despite the committee missing a required deadline to file paperwork requesting a primary. After the judge ruled, O’Meara said the judge showed a clear separation of government powers, and that he saw the judge’s ruling as a way to keep the courts out of the behind the scenes workings of local political parties.

A party canvass, commonly known as a firehouse primary, will be held April 25 when voters will decide to send O’Meara or Nohe into the fall election season to face a Democratic opponent. So far, no such challenger has stepped forward.

The candidate was born and raised in Prince William County. He attended C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge and graduated George Mason University with a degree in government and international politics.

O’Meara serves as the Vice President of a family-owned business and attends Sudley United Methodist Church.

Why were robots placed into the Manassas Park Community Center pool?

News

Robots in the pool at the Manassas Park Community Center. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
The Northern Virginia SeaPerch challenge held at the Manassas Park Community Center. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
SeaPerch identifies itself as a learning experience. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
Students place their ROVs in the water. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
An ROV out of water. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
An ROV in the pool. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
SeaPerch is an annual challenge. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
Medals were awarded as part of the SeaPerch challenge.[Photo: Mary Davidson]
Several students participated in the SeaPerch challenge. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
At the bottom of the pool.[Photo: Mary Davidson]
SeaPerch teaches naval architecture principals. [Photo: Mary Davidson]
Remotely Operated Vehicle [Photo: Mary Davidson]
Students operate their ROV. [Photo: Mary Davidson]

Students came to the Manassas Park Community Center on Friday and placed robots in the swimming.

No ordinary robots, the students built Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) as part of the Northern Virginia SeaPerch Challenge. Working with the SeaPerch, an underwater robotics program, students built their submersibles using a kit made of low-cost, easy to use parts.  The program teaches basic engineering, science, and math concepts, and tool safety.

Students also explore naval architecture and marine and ocean engineering principles. The SeaPerch name comes form the USS Perch, a World War II-era submarine, according to the organization’s website.

Call to Action: Cannon Ridge needs cleaning

News

Good morning – this is sure to verify spring is right around the corner- Transitional Housing BARN cordially invites you to their Annual Sen. Chuck Colgan’s Charity Golf Tournament on Monday May 11th at the Evergreen Country Club. Lots of great golf, goody bags, breakfast, awards banquet and fun contests. Entry fee is just $150 and supports all their good work. Please call or email tammy for all the specifics at (703) 369-1325 or tperkins@barninc.org

· To all agencies who utilize wonderful volunteers in their work please don’t forget to submit their names for recognition at the community wide Volunteer Recognition event which is scheduled for Sunday May 17th. Please email Shelley at: stibbs@volunteerprincewilliam.org for more info.

· The City of Manassas has a community clean-up at Cannon Ridge on Saturday April 18th at 10am. Come out and help clean-up the neighborhood and have a chance to win a free pass to the Stonewall Pool as well as recognition from Mayor Parrish. Register at the Manassas Police Dept by April 10th.

· Division of Historic Preservation is gearing up for spring projects at the Julie Metz Wetlands Preserve in Woodbridge. Volunteers are needed to help with trail and stream clean-up, development of interpretive materials and education programs. These volunteer opportunities continue through the fall. Please call Rebecca at (703) 499-9812 to learn more about this county treasure.

· Brain Injury Services is looking for volunteers to be matched in one to one friendships with survivors of brain injury. Experience is not necessary only your interest. Please call Michelle at (703) 451-8881 ext.232 to learn more.

· SERVE is super busy at their food pantry. Volunteers are needed to assemble food packages during the day and two evenings a week. Great job for teens age 16+. Make this a Spring break activity and continue to help on an ongoing basis. Please email Jan at: jhawkins@nvfs.org to learn more.

· Keep Prince William Beautiful needs volunteers on Saturday April 18th from 9am-12 noon for their Annual Clean Sweep in Woodbridge. The day begins with litter and safety education and training followed by the community clean-up along the route 1 corridor. Please wear your old clothes and rubber boots as this will be a get your hands dirty project that promises to cleanse the soul. This is not appropriate for children under 10yrs old. Please call (571) 285-3772 for more info or check out their calendar at:kpwb.org Keep Reading…

Man charged with possessing explosive material in Dale City

News

On Thursday afternoon, the Prince William fire and rescue department were on the scene at the Dale Forest Apartments complex in Woodbridge to investigate a possible HAZMAT situation.

The Prince William County HAZMAT, Prince William fire and rescue department, Virginia State Police Bomb Squad, and Prince William police and Fire Marshal’s office were all on scene after getting the report from maintenance workers at the complex, according to a fire and rescue release.

The workers saw a suspicious device when they entered the unit for a routine maintenance visit.

As a precaution, fire and rescue workers evacuated 45 apartments in three surrounding buildings, according to a fire and rescue release.

According to a county release, technicians and officers checked the reported unit to search for any explosives or hazardous material. They were able to secure the scene and remove the hazardous contents, and residents were allowed back into their apartments.

Potomac Local was on the scene to see the owner of the apartment, Alan Michael Blischak, being placed in a Prince William police cruiser.

After further investigation, the Prince William police, Virginia State Police, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Fire Marshal’s Office and the FBI have charged Blischak with 4 counts of §18.2-85, which is the manufacture, possession or use of firebombs or explosive materials and devices, according to a fire and rescue release.

Blischak is currently being held without bond.

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