Our regional editor Stephanie Tipple spent the day with Sgt. Chris Truslow of the Stafford sheriff’s office to learn more about the work law enforcement does each day.
My day with members of the Stafford sheriff’s office began bright and early, at their 5:30 a.m. roll call meeting.
I was greeted by a room full of officers and deputies, who watched me shuffle into the room with my bulletproof vest.
During roll call, the officers watched footage of an incident where force was used, and had a serious discussion about the most appropriate and respectful ways to handle the situation.
After roll call, I got into Truslow’s patrol car, and we began to patrol his area. During that time, I got to speak with him about his job and his life.
“My main job is to monitor what’s going on – to make sure people are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, to see what calls are going on and monitoring the calls to make sure they’re doing their jobs…I do a little bit of everything,” said Truslow.
Truslow has been in law enforcement for 10 years – 5 of which have been in Stafford. He lives in Spotsylvania with his wife and two children.
Our first stop of the day
When going through a residential 25 mph zone, we had our first stop of the day. A man, on the way to his first day of a new job, was going 40 mph in the 25 mph zone.
Truslow stated that he always tries to consider the residents during stops, and if he can give them a lesser fine, or offer advice, he does so.
The flat tire incident
Our first call of the day was for a disabled vehicle on Inez Way, near the intersection of Andrew Chapel Drive. The driver’s rear tire had loose lugnuts and couldn’t move down the two-lane road.
Truslow was able to redirect traffic, so drivers could safely surpass the blocked lane.
The driver of the vehicle immediately got to work, as his wife handed him what appeared to be professional car tools, and he had his tire fixed in less than three minutes. It reminded us of a NASCAR pit station.
After this incident, Truslow and I got back on the road, and I continued to talk with him about why he wanted to work in law enforcement.
“I just always wanted to be a cop, since I was four or five years old. My dad was a special deputy [as a volunteer]…so since I was a little kid, he’s been [involved]. I always wanted to do it, always had an interest in it and I went to college and got a criminal justice degree. I interned my last semester with Christiansburg Police,” Truslow said.
Truslow recalled stories over his years with the Stafford sheriff’s office, and spoke about how difficult it is to use force against an individual.
“It’s very difficult, because you know you need to quell the situation, but you also know that the backlash that’s going to come from [using force],” said Truslow.
He specifically recalled a situation where a man was being uncooperative, after being caught shoplifting.
“He starts screaming that I’m using excessive force, and I’m not even touching him. So I can’t get him under control – so I’ve got this guy in handcuffs, and I don’t know if he has a weapon on him, and I don’t know if his friend’s going to come in and assault me. There’s a whole lot going on – I’m by myself…so [using force] is a very difficult situation,” said Truslow.
Truslow went on to talk about how being in law enforcement and using force in situations has been made more difficult by unrealistic depictions of shootings in entertainment.
“There’s a decent amount of people that think that we should be like the police in the movies – that we should be shot at first, before we shoot back. That even a guy with a gun pointed at us isn’t enough for us to shoot somebody…when you watch a movie and somebody get’s shot, there’s always this dramatic falling over and people are flying through glass…and it’s just not like that at all. It’s not every day that you see a real person get shot, but people watch movies where people get shot all the time, so that becomes the reality for people,” Truslow said.
Accidents and moped chases
Toward the end of my time with Sgt. Truslow, we were on the scene of a car accident on Garrisonville Road and Onville Road, where K-9 and traffic officers were also on the scene. A person had run a red light and struck another car, which then hit an electrical box.
One of the most exhilarating moments was when we rushed to the scene of a moped theft which was done by a teenager. We were able to call a “code one” and put the lights on in the vehicle to quickly arrive. I bruised my knee in the process, but the excitement was well worth it.
On our way back to the station, Truslow and I talked some more about national events with the police in recent months – like Ferguson and the Baltimore riots.
Truslow stated that he feels that residents in the community appreciate the work that the officers and deputies do now more than ever, and it put a positive spin on a negative situation.
Prior to this experience, I had never had close interaction with law enforcement. It really opened my eyes to see the work that they do isn’t glamorous, and they have tough decisions they have to make at a moment’s notice – including life or death situations. The care that I saw exhibited by Truslow was one I didn’t expect, but I am happy to know that individuals like him are helping to protect our community.
As you get ready to celebrate the long-weekend and Memorial Day, here is the latest from Potomac Local on what you need to know about closings, events and traffic & transit news. Keep Reading…
The president of the Anne E. Moncure Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization, Emily Fallon, has announced that she is running for the Stafford County School Board in the Griffis-Widewater district. Dana Reinboldt currently holds that position.
“The status quo is not good enough for our kids,” said Fallon in a press release. “Our kids and the taxpayers of Stafford County deserve schools that have a plan for excellence and milestones to measure our progress.”
Fallon has been president of the Moncure PTO for three terms and has served as a substitute teacher in the county. She’s also worked as a paraprofessional in the D.C. Public Schools, according to her campaign. Additionally, Fallon has served as a member of the Stafford County Public Schools Special Education Citizens Advisory Committee, the SCPS Elementary School Redistricting Committee and was a founding member of the Stafford Special Education Parent Teachers Association known as SEPTA.
“We need a real strategic plan for our schools, developed with the help of parents
and teachers, where we lay out a vision for Commonwealth-leading schools by bringing new technology to the classroom, increasing access for all SCPS students to our current programs,” stated Fallon in the release.
Some of Fallon’s main goals are:
– The development of a five-year plan that sets the educational goals for the school division and aligns those goals with future funding expectations and metrics of success.
– The expansion of student access to existing programs, regardless of their base school.
– A partnership with employers in the area to develop new programs and internship opportunities.
– Making greater use of technology in the classroom.
– A comprehensive review of SCPS Special Education programs to ensure the school system is meeting the needs of those with special needs.
“Special education is an area that is near and dear to my heart and is one of many areas that I think SCPS can and should be doing better in,” said Fallon.
Fallon is a graduate of Strayer University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in anthropology. She reports that she’s a strong believer in lifelong learning.
Fallon resides in Aquia Harbour and has three children who are all currently attending Stafford County Public Schools. Her husband, Ben Fallon, works in Congressional Affairs for the Department of Defense.
-Information provided by the Stafford SPCA. Contact them for more information on any of the animals shown above.
Project Mend-A-House (PMAH) is an area non-profit that helps provide home maintenance services to those in need in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park. The organization has been able to provide assistance to seniors, veterans and the disabled for more than 30 years.
Currently PMAH is being lead by Executive Director Jennifer Schock-Bolles.
PL: Who does your organization serve?
Schock-Bolles: Project Mend-A-House (PMAH) helps low-income residents of Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park. Our clients are primarily seniors and over half have a disability. Many are veterans. Our clients are homeowners who need help with basic home maintenance issues – leaky faucets, broken windows, falling gutters. When you are having difficulty putting food on the table and providing basic necessities for yourself and your family, maintaining your home is often put on the back burner, sometimes for years. Clients requalify every year but once qualified, can ask for help as often as they need. Keep Reading…
Prince William and Manassas offer a wealth of attractions where you can create lasting memories with the ladies before the bride’s big day.
Begin with a relaxing afternoon at the Winery at La Grange. Enjoy picturesque views of the Bull Run Mountains while savoring a dozen Virginia wines. After, experience pure bliss at Tranquility Day Spa where guests can indulge in cupcakes and other treats while being pampered.
Create your own “dine around” experience in Historic Downtown Manassas. Start with tapas at Zandra’s Taqueria then continue to Monza where you can savor some Italian classics. Finish with a taste of Louisiana and live music at Okra’s Cajun Creole.
Brows through more than 70 specialty shops and restaurants in Historic Occoquan. You can arrange an afternoon tea party at the Pink Bicycle Tea Room and select from a variety of menus, which include finger sandwiches, sweets and unlimited tea. After, create a special gift for your bride’s new home at Paint Your Heart Out, a paint your own pottery studio in Occoquan.
Or, shop the exquisite name-brand stores for less at Potomac Mills, Virginia’s largest outlet mall. Groups of 10 or more can receive free coupon books and special meal deals.
For the adventurous bride, plan a day on the water. Board a Miss Rivershore Charters boat for a cruise down the Occoquan River or head to Leesylvania State Park and jump into a kayak for an adventure down the Potomac River. After, enjoy island drinks and live music at Tim’s Rivershore.
From shopping and spa treatments to unique dining experiences and outdoor adventures, Prince William and Manassas have everything you need to create a memorable event for your bride. For more ideas, visit discoverpwm.com.
This post is written by Discover Prince William / Manassas and is published in partnership with Potomac Local.
Part 2 Read part one.
Aquia Towne Center may finally be rescued from the eyesore it has become. North Stafford residents have been waiting for years for Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust to fulfill its promise to rebuild it. Ambitious plans for a mixed-use town center were put on hold not long after the recession hit in 2008. Since then, the center has consisted of old one-level buildings, vast spaces of asphalt, gravel and dirt, and one modern five-story office building.
Ramco is the company that owns most of the property, which is now known as The Town Center at Aquia. At this time, Ramco is keeping the office building, which also requires about 400 parking spaces. But much of the rest of the property may be going to two companies that plan to revitalize the dilapidated shopping center. If all goes well, the new town center will provide some desired retail establishments, host brand new apartments and improve property values for nearby subdivisions.
The Franklin Johnston Group of Virginia Beach has purchased the southeastern portion of the shopping center where it plans to build apartments.
Stafford County Supervisor Jack Cavalier (I-Griffis-Widewater) said the residential component is likely to happen before the commercial component. Jeff Harvey, director of planning and zoning for the county, agreed and told Potomac Local News that the developer plans to break ground in two weeks.
“The proposed development includes 256 apartment units in eight multi-story buildings [that] include an in-ground pool with a community center,” said Harvey.
The residential portion of the development is expected to take more than a year to complete.
“I just built relations with the developer to allow food trucks in [The Town Center at Aquia],” declared Steven Cook of Steve-O’s BBQ, Burgers & Bacon, a mobile restaurant. Cook made the surprise announcement online May 13. “I will be coordinating a rotating schedule of trucks… during construction,” the post said.
Speaking to Cook via instant messaging, he shared that he has an agreement with Issac Pretter of Mosaic Realty Partners of Maryland to station food trucks in the town center at least until construction is complete. Mosaic plans to redevelop a large portion of the shopping center for commercial use.
The Stafford Board of Supervisors unanimously approved $6.25 million in tax breaks to Mosaic Realty Partners, according to county documents. The tax breaks are an effort to get The Town Center at Aquia project out from under the rubble.
“The Town Center at Aquia… has long been a key commercial gateway to the county,” stated the supervisors’ resolution for the tax break. “The board believes that an active and vibrant major commercial gateway located adjacent to Interstate 95, Route 1 and Garrisonville Road is in the best interest of the citizens of the county and that attractive mixed-use properties significantly increase the potential of attracting much-desired high-end retail to the county.”
It goes on to say the county worked hard to attract an investor for the property and that the board determined that incentives were necessary for the town center to be revitalized.
The most anticipated component expressed by nearby residents is the possibility of a grocery store in the shopping center.
Eron Sodie of Mosaic wouldn’t say which grocery store the company plans on bringing into the site, but he gave a few hints and let it slip that the grocery chain was based in North Carolina. Residents of Aquia Harbour, the neighborhood located behind the town center, have come up with a number of possibilities, but most seem to think Sodie was referring to Harris Teeter.
But there’s a small hiccup. According to Cavalier, the grocery store that is expected to come into the center requires an easement that it will use to create a second entrance on Washington Drive, which is the road that leads into Aquia Harbour from Jefferson Davis Highway. Cavalier said the second entrance would sit approximately 400 feet outside of the Harbour’s front gate. Such a transaction would have to be made between Aquia Harbour and Mosaic since the Harbour owns that portion of the road.
Supervisor Paul Milde III (R-Aquia) said the second entrance being proposed is supposed to be only for traffic in and out of Aquia Harbour.
Sodie said a traffic study will be done. He added that delivery trucks will not be allowed to use Washington Drive, though it’s unclear how that promise would be enforced.
According to site plans, the new grocery store would be built where the movie theater is currently located, at the rear of the shopping center. As for the businesses at the front of the shopping center, they are independently owned, according to officials.
If this park could talk, it would probably say something like: “My name is River Mill Park.”
Parks don’t talk. That’s just silly. But “River Mill Park” is indeed the name of the new park at the end of Mill Street in Occoquan. The new green is still under construction. It replaces an old water treatment facility once owned and operated by Fairfax Water.
The 1.1 – acre park’s official name was endorsed by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors on May 12, 2015.
“This was part of the lease agreement with Fairfax Water that asked the Town of Occoquan to have Prince William County consent to the name of the Park. So, the endorsement at the Board of County Supervisors meeting was merely a formal ratification of their consent to the name,” stated
Occoquan Town officials earlier this year asked residents what the new park name should be.
Here’s some what was contained in the resolution document:
The park will be nestled along the bank of the Occoquan River. The water treatment facility it replaces was demolished. Construction on the new park will be complete by the end of this year, according to plans.
Occoquan Town Manager Kirsten Jovanovich posted this photo of the park in the “I <3 Occoquan” Facebook group May 12:
And she posted this message:
River Mill Park is making progress! Grass is going down this week and Fairfax Water is expected to be done with their portion of the project by mid-June. The Town will be moving in shortly after to being construction on the restroom facility that will sit at the entrance to the park. The park won’t be open to the public just yet due to ongoing construction and allowing time for the grass to take root. We’re planning for a Spring 2016 grand opening!
The Prince William County Government funding construction of the park. The Town of Occoquan will maintain the park.
Can you hear the far off whistle? Can you feel the rumble as the train lumbers down the tracks?
Get ready! The 21st Annual Manassas Heritage Railway Festival is on June 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Historic Downtown Manassas. This is a family-friendly celebration of railroad history.
There will be live performances on two stages. Folsom Prisoners, Justin Trawick and High Grass Bluegrass Band are a few of the performers lined up for the day. Enjoy great food and lots to see and do. Take a train ride on the a VRE train with a princess for $6 per person, or just peruse the memorabilia and the model trains under the Harris Pavilion.
On Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7, the inaugural trips of the 611 Steam Train will be rolling through the City. Norfolk & Western 611 will pull passengers from Manassas to Front Royal and back. This is part of Norfolk Southern’s 21st Century Steam program.
Owned by the Virginia Museum of Transportation, 611 recently underwent a massive restoration after more than two decades in retirement. The Steam Engine will be available for photos near the Harris Pavilion after its Saturday trip. Tickets for both trips start at $109 and may be purchased online.
Whether you are a railroad enthusiast or just looking for something to do, this event is a great way to spend a Saturday.
On Friday, June 5, from 5 to 9 p.m. come to First Friday in Historic Downtown. The June First Friday features corn hole playing and corn hole tournaments throughout downtown, plus, great food and wonderful shops.
On Sunday, June 7, get ready for the Taste of Historic Manassas from noon to 4:30 p.m. This annual event transforms Historic Downtown Manassas into a lively festival with local entertainment and lots of great food. For more information on these and other events in the City of Manassas, go to visitmanassas.org.
The Castleton Festival and the Hylton Performing Arts Center pair up this season to present an enchanting afternoon of romantic music that will touch the hearts of classical music lovers and Francophiles throughout the greater Washington, D.C. area. Under the direction of the Castleton Festival’s Principal Conductor Rafael Payare, Metropolitan Opera stars Robynne Redmon and Richard Troxell partner with the rising stars of the Castleton Festival to present “Toujours I’amour: French Masterpieces of Love” on Sunday, June 28, 2015 at 4 p.m. in the Hylton Center’s elegant Merchant Hall. This performance is unique to the Hylton Center and complements the 2015 Castleton Festival events that take place from July 2-Aug. 2, 2015 at the Castleton Farms estate in Rappahannock County, Va.
The program for this delightful performance includes French arias and duets from Georges Bizet’s Carmen, Charles Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and overtures of symphonic splendor. New conductor star Maestro Rafael Payare will conduct the Castleton Festival Orchestra, comprising talented music students and young professional artists, includingconcertmaster Paçalin Pavaci and Metropolitan Opera cellist Sam Magill.
After the performance, patrons can partake in a sumptuous buffet dinner of traditional French cuisine catered by À la Carte with special wine offering. Dinner is $60 per person and will be served at 6:30 p.m. in the Hylton Center’s Gregory Family Theater following the performance. Limited seating is available.
French dinner menu includes:
Lemon Chicken à la Barigoule
Steak au Poivre
Le Carre des Vosges Salade
Artisan Bread Basket
Tickets for “Toujours l’amour: French Masterpieces of Love” are $50, $43 and $30 per person. The French dinner by À la Carte is $60 per person. Visit the ticket office (open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) or charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit HyltonCenter.org. The Hylton Performing Arts Center is located on George Mason University’s Prince William Campus at 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Va., 20110. Free parking is available in the lot next to the Hylton Center. For more information, please visit HyltonCenter.org. Like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/HyltonCenter and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @Hylton_PAC.
Purchase of Rite Aid, Regal Cinema buildings at Aquia Towne Center expected to close this month
For the better part of a decade Aquia Towne Center has been in limbo. Older businesses sat scattered among rubble and pavement while one modern office building towered above them like a beacon, which in a way actually made the preceding structures appear even more stale. It would be an immense understatement to say that residents of North Stafford and tenants of the town center have been annoyed at the lack of progress by Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust, a Michigan company that owns most of the property. Some citizens of Aquia Harbour, the subdivision that sits directly behind the shopping center, have been downright angry about the matter.
The Stafford County Board of Supervisors changed the zoning to mixed-use years ago so Ramco could build a totally new town center with offices, retail stores and residential apartments. Many tenants of Aquia Towne Center were told to vacate, and most of the strip mall type of buildings were demolished in preparation for the rebuild.
Then the recession hit in 2008. It hit particularly hard in Michigan and other parts of the Midwest where Ramco does much of its business.
A lone five-story office building was erected in 2007. The demolition of the strip buildings (with the exception of Rite Aid’s location) continued through 2008. Then construction appeared to stop.
Occasionally, a construction vehicle would be seen pushing some dirt along an empty plat of land while rumors of a new movie theater or some other improvement would make its way around the community only for nothing to come of it.
Now, after years of rumors, hopes and let-downs, plans to revitalize Aquia Towne Center, renamed The Town Center at Aquia, may actually go through.
Two separate companies have been in negotiations to purchase the available property since last year. One company reportedly just closed on a site and plans on building apartments within the boundaries of the shopping center. (More on that in Part 2.) While another company has plans to rebuild the commercial section. Keep Reading…
HighGrain Bread Company, a locally owned bakery, is making a presence in Manassas with their “from scratch” philosophy and unique menu.
The store, which just opened about a year ago, is nestled in the Bull Run Shopping Plaza area, off of Sudley Manor Drive.
They offer standard lunch fare, including sandwiches, salads, soups and sweets. Some of their top items include the chicken gyro, hummus wrap and their Caesar salad.
One thing that makes this location unique is their baking. They offer a monthly baking schedule that constantly offers up new items and their menu staples – that customers can order for their own homes or events.
They also have a weekly schedule available for customers, so they can see the breads and different baked goods being baked on-site each day. From their challah bread, to their tea loaves and other baked goods, they try to keep their goods high quality and interesting, said an employee.
HighGrain Bread Company is closed on Mondays, and open Tuesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Ornery Beer Company is another brewery that will be opening in Prince William in July – but they plan to stand out for their offering of beer and food.
“We will be the first brewpub in Prince William County – meaning it is a restaurant with a brewery. The others ones that are in the county that are under construction – they’ll bring in food trucks…but they don’t have on-site restaurant services,” said Randy Barnette, the owner of the brewery.
Barnette, who is also the owner of the Hard Times restaurant locations, will put the brewery in the current Woodbridge Hard Times location – which has been open since 2001.
“The business has changed, the clientele has changed, and it was time to do something different…the lease came up here at the [Woodbridge] location of Hard Times, and it was either time to relocate it, close it down or make it something new and different,” said Barnette.
The brewery will have six beers to start, including the Ornery Blonde and the California Dreamin’ IPA, with plans to have 8 to 12 beers on-tap at all times in a few months.
According to Barnette, a chef announcement will be made soon, and he hopes to have a menu with dishes primarily made from scratch, including flatbreads, shareable appetizers, sandwiches and entrees.
“[We want] a non-standard menu that says ‘this is created by the chef’. That it changes every month, and is handmade…original and comfortable to eat in a community setting,” commented Barnette.
Additionally, Barnette acquired the space next door to the former Hard Times, and will be using that to expand and create another bar space.
Recently a vehicle crashed into the front of the location, but Barnette stated that the incident was not the reason behind the move from Hard Times to Ornery Brewery.
“This has been in the works for almost two years. We signed the lease with the landlord to make this transition a year and four months ago…all the accident did was to make a hole in the wall where we can bring in brewery equipment – it actually helped us out a little bit,” said Barnette.
Stafford’s Economic Development Authority will hold a special event at the Stafford Regional Airport to celebrate and congratulate Stafford’s business community.
The 2015 Business Appreciation Reception is sponsored by University of Maryland University College and will feature a keynote address by Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen R. Jackson.
It will be held June 11 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., with the keynote address beginning at 3:30 p.m.
To register, e-mail email@example.com or call the office of Economic Development-540-658-8681.
The Stafford Regional Airport is located at 75 Aviation Way, Stafford, Virginia.
When Project Mend-A-House (PMAH), a nonprofit organization based out of Manassas, learned that a disabled resident in the area was in need, they partnered with Twin Air to help.
The resident is a quadriplegic living in Woodbridge, who had been living in a home without a working heating and air-conditioning system, said a release.
PMAH provides repairs and home care services to residents in the area.
To get the system fixed, the organization reached out to Twin Air, who donates two free service calls a month to Project Mend-A-House clients.
They were able to replace the resident’s system, so that she can live more comfortably in her home.
”Providing this system is simply a way for us to impact the quality of her life and those that care for her. We’re excited about our partnerships with PMAH, Tin Man, and Lennox as a way to continue making a positive difference here in Prince William County,” said Aaron Tolson, Operations Manager with Twin Air, in a release.
According to Jennifer Schock-Bolles, Executive Director for Project Mend-A-House, it is essential for their organization to partner with local business in order to help their clients.
“Without the generous support of Twin Air, Lennox Parts Plus and Tin Man, Ms. Parker would still be without a functioning HVAC system. We would not have been able to help her without their intervention. It is the support of companies like these that allows PMAH to help more people and have a bigger impact in our community,” said Shock-Bolles.
John Sullivan took time out of his golf game this week to fly to Washington so he could share his story.
At 91, Sullivan remains active on the dance floor, and is an ever-sharp conversationalist. On Tuesday, he sat in an air-conditioned recording studio inside a motor home parked in Woodbridge. There he shared the story of his life with the Americans in Wartime Museum, which filmed it as part of their “Voices of Freedom” series.
It’s part of the Wartime museum’s effort to capture the stories of those like Sullivan, who was a WWII instructor pilot, and served in Korea, and was a New York City homicide detective. Sullivan also landed in the middle of the Iran hostage crisis.
“For 31 days, we didn’t know where he was or if he was OK,” said his daughter, Maura Sullivan, of Woodbridge.
She, friends and family also sat in the trailer on Tuesday while her father gave his interview in the next room.
“He was a wonderful father growing up, but he traveled a lot, and we didn’t see him a lot,” Maura Sullivan added.
John Sullivan said he caught one of the last flights out of Iran after the hostage crisis ended. On the flight home, all onboard the plane sang the Star-Spangled Banner. It’s stories like these Sullivan wrote in his book, “Shields of Honor: The exciting life of a Naval Reservist.”
After he had finished with his on-camera interview, Sullivan reflected on his service in WWII, and military veterans today.
“Those world war two guys, that was the last time the wealthy guys, middle-class guys, and the poor all came together for the betterment of our country,” said Sullivan. “There’s nothing wrong with those we have in the service today, its just that they’re in it for a different reason.” Keep Reading…
The Prince William Public Library Foundation, an area non-profit, has awarded the Prince William library system more then $14,000 to fund two new programs.
The first program, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, is a national early literacy program. The program provides books and ways to incorporate reading into a family routine. With the Library Foundation’s full funding of the program, around 2,000 preschoolers will be able to participate within the first year, said a release.
The second program coming to the Prince William public library system is the introduction of Apple iPads for use with electronic reading apps. All of the county’s libraries, including the upcoming Haymarket Gainesville and Montclair Community libraries, will be equipped with the iPads.
In addition to the reading apps, librarians will be able to instruct residents on how to use the device, and use them as tools during other program activities at the libraries, said a release.
“We are overjoyed with the Foundation’s leadership in funding two indispensable programs such as early literacy and electronic assistance. I can’t thank Bryanna [Altman, Foundation Board President] and the rest of the Board enough for their continued support,” commented Connie Gilman, the Prince William Public Library System director.
In the next few months, a brewery and a distillery will open their doors in Prince William County.
Growling Bear Brewery
The microbrewery, Growling Bear Brewery, will be located at 14051 Crown Court in Woodbridge. The owners plan to open in the beginning of July.
According to the brewery owner, Mike Blivens, the idea to open the brewery came from his own experience with brewing at home.
“I’ve been a home brewer since 1998. I kind of got sick of my corporate job and figured I was going to go into something where I would enjoy going into work that I have a passion for,” said Blivens.
Growling Bear will offer 12 craft beers that are made on site, using equipment shipped over from Germany.
Blivens said that they plan to offer 4 core beers that they carry year round, 4 seasonal beers and 4 experimental beers.
“We are going to specialize in dark beers, and try to have at least four dark beers on tap all year long. A lot of breweries don’t do that for some reason – people stay away from dark beers until wintertime. But we tend to see that a little differently,” commented Blivens.
The brewery will offer a small menu, and they will be looking to have different food trucks come to the site during the weekends for customers looking to have some food with their beverages.
MurLarkey Distilled Spirits
On 7961 Gainsford Court in Bristow, co-owner Tom Murray is opening MurLarkey Distilled Spirits that will open its doors this month.
The distillery is located in the former Ferguson Electric building just off Wellington Road.
For Murray, the thought of opening up a local distillery was one that he had for a long time.
“I’m a former technology executive. My cousin and I founded the company [for the distillery] in 2013…it’s something that we’ve always been interested in…and it’s something we’ve been considering for a while,” said Murray.
At the distillery, they will be making hand-crafted vodka, as well as three varieties of infused whiskeys.
“We are using some traditional recipes that our grandparents brought over from Ireland,” Murray said.
Murray stated that while there is currently no ability to serve food, they would be working to do so in the future. There will also be a tasting area and special events on site.
More on the way
Growling Bear Brewery will encompass 2,150 square feet of space inside the Prince William Commons business park near BJs wholesale club.
Mularkey Distilled Spirits will have 4,322 square feet of space when it opens.
In Woodbridge, county records show a Hard Times Café located in the Potomac Festival shopping center across from Potomac Mills mall applied for county permits to become Ornery Beer Company Public House. That’s a change from its usual fare of chili macs and billiards.
The new breweries and distilleries join similar businesses in Manassas that opened their doors for the first time or expanded their operation. BadWolf Brewery chose to expand in Manassas after Prince William County officials halted a possible expansion at the Tackett’s Mill Center in Lake Ridge due to rules on still on the books last fall.
County officials later changed their rules to allow craft breweries and distilleries to open in popular shopping centers.
El Charro – 2893 Dale Blvd, Woodbridge, VA
El Charro is offering any two of their bottled beers for $5.
El Paso – 3031 Golansky Blvd, Woodbridge, VA
El Paso will be offering drink specials all day.
Zandra’s Tauqueria – 9114 Center St, Manassas, VA
Zandra’s will be hosting a Happy Hour until 7 p.m. with a Tequila Tuesday theme. They will also be offering drink specials and beef tongue tacos all evening.
Don Lencho – 9116 Mathis Ave, Manassas, VA
Don Lencho’s will be having a drink special for mimosas, and a Taco Tuesday with taco’s al a carte for $1.50.
El Cactus – 9406 Battle St, Manassas, VA
El Cactus is offering half-priced appetizers from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., 50 cent chili con queso from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and a sombrero contest. There will also be drink specials.
El Gran Charro -2834 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Stafford, VA
El Gran Charro will be offering a taco special, with $1.25 for hard shell tacos and $1.50 for soft tacos. They are also offering nachos for $2.99. Their Cinco de Mayo drink specials include $2.99 lime margaritas and Corona’s for $2.50.
El Vaquero West – 14910 Washington St, Haymarket, VA
El Vaquero West is offering drink specials including a 32-ounce draft for $6.85 and all bottled beers for $2.85. They will also be offering their medium lime margaritas for $4.25.
Get home safely
To ensure that participants in the Cinco de Mayo festivities get home safely, special ride programs will be available for area residents.
The SoberRide program, run by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program, is available to all Washington D.C. area residents from 4 p.m. today, until 4 a.m. tomorrow morning.
In order to use the free ride program, you must 21-years and older.
To use the service, you need to call 800-200-8294. SoberRide will pay for the first $30 of the fare, and anything over this amount all riders are responsible for.
The participating cab companies are Alexandria Yellow Cab, Barwood, Inc., Fairfax Yellow Cab, Loudon Yellow Cab, Northern Virginia Checker, Red Top Cab Company, Silver Cab of Prince George’s County, Yellow Cab of the District of Columbia, and Yellow Cab of Prince William County.
A small brush fire endangered some structures in the North Stafford Plaza shopping center at around 3:15 p.m., today. According to initial reports, someone at Alliance Physical Therapy called the Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department. Fire fighters discovered some mulch burning. It took only minutes to extinguish the fire.
The shopping center is located on Garrisonville Road near Doc Stone Road. It hosts Aldi, Power Kix Martial Arts, Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, Cardinal Bank, Tony’s Deli & Pizza, Dollar General and more. A Mission BBQ is currently being built in the center.
The cause of the fire is unknown as of press time.
On Saturday, the Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill closed its doors for good at their Woodbridge location at the Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center shopping area.
The bar and grill had been open for less than two-years, following delayed construction of the site, leading up to its opening in 2013.
Both the location’s website and Facebook page were removed this weekend.
According to Alicia Gerald, a Woodbridge resident, the closing of the bar and grill came as somewhat of a surprise.
“It was the only place around here for mid to young adults…I guess there wasn’t enough people that wanted to actually go there…I feel like it sucks, because I’m not going to have anywhere to go on Saturdays with my friends in Woodbridge,” Gerald said.
Gerald stated that while she enjoyed the entertainment there, she didn’t enjoy the location’s food and service.
“The atmosphere in there was nice. I never ate the food, because I heard mixed reviews…and the waitresses and servers…they weren’t the best…Woodbridge isn’t a big place and this was the only happening thing to do where you could dance, but it was way too large,” commented Gerald.
For Kyran Wallenhorst, a manager at the nearby Soma Intimates location, it was a relief to see that the restaurant had closed down.
“On Saturday I walked by [the restaurant] and there was this big handwritten ‘closed’ sign…I don’t think anyone was that excited about [the location]. It was always loud – there were people always outside. It made me nervous for my own employees when they left at 10 o’clock at night. We’re an all-girl staff – so we started having everybody park together, everybody walk out together,” said Wallenhorst.