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News

Runners with Bells on Invited to Broad Run Trail 5 Miler

The Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition will hold a 5-mile run.

The Broad Run Trail 5 Miler will be held at 9 a.m. Dec. 13. The race will be a chip timed run on the Broad Run Trail, over rolling terrain through wooded areas. The start and finish point of the race is Victory Lakes Elementary School in Bristow.

Registration for the race is online. All proceeds from the race will go to benefit the Prince William Trials and Streams Coalition Trails and Blueways projects.

All runners will be given bells to wear on their shoes. Runners are encouraged to wear costumes.

Stafford Wants Left Turn Lanes on Route 1 at Courthouse

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Improvements also coming to Route 1 & 610, Mountain View Rd.

What’s going to make traffic run smoother on Route 1 in front of Stafford County Courthouse?

The answer is dedicated left turn lanes at Courthouse Road, and at the intersection of Bells Hill and Hope roads, according to a county report.

The stretch of Route 1 at the heart of the county is one to avoid on weekday afternoons when traffic backs up at one of the two signal lights in the area. With dedicated left turn lanes, drivers turning left will be able to pull their cars into those lanes and not stall other drivers going straight or turning right.

The Bowman Consulting Group will be paid $798,431 to engineer the left turn lanes plan, according to the county report. The project will be divided into two phases – constructing first the left turn lanes at Courthouse Road, and the second is the construction of left turn lanes where Route 1 meets Bells Hill and Hope roads.

County officials say transportation is a “critical part of the county’s road improvement plan and redevelopment plan.” Several streetscape improvements, such as new sidewalks and streetlights, have been installed in the area around the courthouse.

The county is also looking at improving other failing intersections. At the intersection of Route 1 and Garrisonville Road (Route 610), officials state adding additional right turn lanes from Route 1 south to Route 610 west to cut down on congested traffic during the afternoon rush hour.

On Mountain View Road, the lanes are being widened to a consistent 12 feet wide on a 1.3 mile stretch of the two-lane road from Joshua Road to Rose Hill Farm Drive. The roads shoulders will also be wider, increasing from their current one to two feet in some places to eight feet wide throughout the 1.3-mile stretch of road.

County officials said drivers will be able to maintain a “safe” speed limit of 40 mph along the improved portion of the road when work is complete. Drivers should also notice improved curves and sight distances the roadwork ends.

License Plate Reader Limits Could Hamper Investigations

A Prince William County legislator is seeking statewide uniformity on how license plate readers collect and store data that has been linked to solving crimes.

Delegate Richard Anderson told the Prince William Committee of 100 that he and Virginia State Senator Chap Petersen will submit new legislation that would address how police agencies like Prince William County collect and store photos of license plates collected from cars in parking lots, and from vehicles driving on county streets.

How LPRs work

Prince William police have 12 license plate readers, or LPRs, in use. Eleven are mounted to police cruisers, and a 12th is attached to a trailer that is moved to different locations in the county.

Each unit is a camera that quickly snaps photos of license plates and stores them on a computer inside the police car. If the computer matches the license plate number with a plate that has been reported stolen, officers know to pursue the stolen car immediately.

At the end of the day, the data is transferred to a database at the police department and is kept on file for six months. Prince William police Chief Stephan Hudson said his ability to collect and store this data had allowed his investigators to use the data to help solve crimes. He said the data has also come in handy when police need to locate missing persons.

Fears of police tracking

Frank Knaack from the American Civil Liberties Union urges caution against using the machines. He said police can create a “digital fence” around a certain area to track drivers to determine travel patterns, giving authorities a clear idea of where a driver works, shops, as well as which other groups he or she may associate with.

“Cars with license plates readers can drive through parking lots and can track cars at church and police have a good idea that you go to that particular church every Sunday,” said Knack.

Statewide limits would address privacy concerns

That’s where Anderson’s new legislation comes in. Earlier in the year, he, Petersen, and others formed the Ben Franklin Privacy Caucus in Richmond to address such privacy concerns. Anderson wants to impose a three month statewide limit on how long police may keep the license plate data on file.

“We need to tackle the issue of what triggers the [data] collection,” said Anderson. “It should be one of two things: It ought to be with a court order, or if a crime is in progress that requires law enforcement to spring into action in a given moment, so they have the intelligence they need to solve a crime.”

Historical data important to police chief

Chief Hudson said he’s “OK” with the three-month limit but prefers keeping the data on file for six months, as his department does now. He also said obtaining a court order each time data is collected could diminish the effectiveness of how LPRs are used today.

“My concern is that with such parameters we would have no historical data, and much of the benefit to having the historical data is going back to look at something days, weeks, even a couple months old and, if it was governed by that trigger, I wouldn’t even have that information,” said Hudson.

House of Mercy Seeks Toys, Volunteers for Christmas Program

House of Mercy provided holiday gifts for nearly 1,200 children during the nonprofit humanitarian organization’s 2013 “Christmas with Mercy” program, said Ann Cimini, the agency’s executive director.

 House of Mercy is requesting volunteers and donations of new toys, clothing, gift cards and gift-wrapping supplies for the nonprofit humanitarian organization’s annual “Christmas with Mercy” free holiday gift program for children of its clients in need.

House of Mercy, located at 8170 Flannery Court in Manassas, Va., is asking to receive donations before Saturday, Dec. 13, when the agency will distribute gifts to eligible clients who registered in this year’s program, said House of Mercy Executive Director Ann Cimini. The registered clients, of low income, number about 200 families, which include collectively nearly 400 children, she said.

Gift donations should be unwrapped and suitable for a child aged newborn through 14, Cimini said.

The agency also needs volunteers Dec. 9 through Dec. 12 to help sort and arrange gift selections and to otherwise prepare for distribution day, she said. Volunteers are needed on Dec. 13 to assist clients regarding gift choices and to wrap and distribute gifts. The event will be held in a building suite in the industrial park where the organization is located, Cimini said.

In addition, the agency seeks “baker elf” volunteers to sign up for the program. “We’re asking for baked treats and other goodies to set out for our clients and volunteers to munch on,” Cimini said.

Cimini anticipates a shortfall of gift donations for this year’s program, she said. House of Mercy partners with Toys for Tots®, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s annual Christmas toy drive, to help support the agency’s Christmas program, in its fourth year.

“Toys for Tots provides the lion’s share of gifts for our program, but the campaign suffered record low donations last holiday season. That trend is in place again for this Christmas,” Cimini said. Consequently, “we are relying heavily this year on individuals and civic groups to help us provide gifts to these children in need,” she stated.

Another factor in the expected shortfall is the economy’s uneven recovery, especially since U.S. government sequestration, which has had a negative impact on donations as a whole to local nonprofit organizations, Cimini said.

“Those who provide food, clothing and limited financial assistance to families in need, as we do, have seen a decrease in donations and an increase in the number of people we serve,” she said.

“Christmas with Mercy” program donations can be dropped off at House of Mercy’s donation center, located at 8120 Flannery Court in Manassas. Donors can also place donated items, except for food, cash and gift cards, in the agency’s program drop boxes, located at The UPS Store in Gainesville (7371 Atlas Walk Way), Retro Fitness in Manassas (11714 Sudley Manor Drive) and in the foyer of Hooters in Manassas (8503 Rixlew Drive), Cimini said.

Additionally, to help make donating easy during this year’s program, she said, House of Mercy has created “Christmas with Mercy” wish list gift registries at Kohl’s, Target and Amazon. Prices of items listed range from about $15 to $25. Listed selections can be purchased in the stores or online and shipped directly to House of Mercy.

To find the program lists online, click “TargetLists” at the top of the home page at www.target.com, “Registries” on www.kohls.com and “Wish List,” and then “Baby Registry” on www.amazon.com. Then type “House of” as the first name and “Mercy” as the last name of the organization. (Typing “House of Mercy” in Amazon’s initial search box under “Wish List” brings visitors to the gift registry of an organization of the same name in Rochester, N.Y.)

Under “AmazonSmile,” Amazon’s charity support program, shoppers logging onto www.amazon.com can also designate the local agency (“House of Mercy, Roman Catholic, Manassas, Va.”) to receive a percentage of the total amount they spend shopping on the site. An alternative designation is “Missionaries of Our Lady of Divine Mercy,” Cimini said.

For more information or to sign up for a volunteer shift or as a “baker elf,” visit www.houseofmercyva.org and click “Our Causes” and then click “Christmas with Mercy.” Both groups and individuals are welcome as volunteers, Cimini said.

Teen Stabbed in Coverstone Neigborhood

PWC police car

An 18-year-old was stabbed several times Tuesday in the 10900 block of Coverstone Drive near Manassas.

Police seek a 17 and a 15-year-0ld in connection to the crime.

Here’s the latest from Prince William police:

Aggravated Malicious Wounding | Armed Robbery – On November 25th at 4:34PM, officers responded to investigate a stabbing which was reported to have occurred in the 10900 block of Coverstone Dr in Manassas (20109). The investigation revealed that the victim, an 18 year old man of Manassas, was stabbed multiple times by two known acquaintances following a physical altercation in the above area. During the encounter, one of the suspects also attempted to take the victim’s necklace. A friend of the victim, a 17 year old male juvenile of Manassas, was also present during the incident and attempted to intervene. At that point, one of the suspects attempted to stab the victim’s friend; however, the suspect did not make contact. The victim sustained significant injuries and was taken to an area hospital by friends where police were contacted. Detectives were able to identify both assailants involved in this incident as male juveniles belonging to a gang. Following the investigation, detectives obtained charges against both juveniles. The suspects are not in currently custody and are actively being sought by police. This was not a random incident.

Wanted: [Juveniles]

17 year old male juvenile of Manassas

Wanted for 1 count of aggravated malicious wounding, 1 count of attempted malicious wounding, 1 count of stabbing while in commission of a felony, and 3 counts of gang participation

15 year old male juvenile of Manassas

Wanted for 1 count of aggravated malicious wounding, 1 count of attempted armed robbery, 1 count of stabbing while in commission of a felony and 3 counts of gang participation

 

Now Hiring: Certified coaches, M/F for Spring 2015

Toca Juniors F.C. with 17 teams (U10 to HS Boys & U10 to HS Girls) in the MSI Classic league is looking for excellent, certified coaches, M/F for our SPRING 2015 season and other programs.
We are looking for positive energy to make the best program better.
Compensation based on experience and qualification.
Part-Time (Potomac, MD Area)
If you love the sport and want to get involved in a great project, Send your resume to: jobs@tocajuniors.com

Visit the following websites for more information:
Official Website: http://www.tocajuniors.com/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tocafc
Official Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/tocafc
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/tocajuniorsfc
Official Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/tocafc
Official Mobile Website: http://m.tocajuniors.com/

Happy Thanksgiving from Potomac Local

One of the questions I am most frequently asked is “how much does it cost to subscribe to your online newspaper?”

Most of those who ask this question are residents of our community, and business owners who are learning about Potomac Local for the first time. My reply is always the same.

“Absolutely nothing,” I say.

And it’s usually followed with this comment:

“More than a newspaper, we like to consider ourselves an online community news resource published daily.”

For the past four and a half years, I, along with so many others, have worked to grow Potomac Local into what it is today – a widely read, community-focused news and features publication that has laid the groundwork for independent local news in our community.

We couldn’t have done it without you, and this time of year we like to say thanks. Thanks for coming to us daily to find out what is happening in your neighborhood. Thanks for trusting us to bring you stories about your local government, your children’s schools, and what is being done to fix your traffic-clogged commute.

And, thank you for supporting the advertisers who support Potomac Local. Those advertisers help put food on my family’s dinner table and ensure the lights, and our website, stay on.

Potomac Local will continue to be free for the foreseeable future. All of us in the news business are looking for ways to sustain and grow our business models, but few have found success in charging readers for access to news content.

As we enter the bustling holiday season, we’ll continue to work to provide you relevant news and information about where we live. This area has been my home nearly all of my life, and it will always be a privilege to work for you and cover my hometown.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey Fryers Pose Thanksgiving Fire Danger

Turkey fryers are known for making a delicious bird with a juicy, tender inside and crisp outside.

They’re also known for causing fires inside people’s homes. Experts say there are rules to follow when using turkey fryers that will help keep you and your family safe.

Never put too much oil in a the pot, never let the oil overheat, never try to cook a frozen turkey in the fryer, keep the fryer at least 15 feet away from a house, as well as away from children and pets, said Prince William fire and rescue Battalion Chief Thomas Jarman.

If the oil in the fryer becomes overheated it can combust, so it should be watched at all times. If you have an older fryer, consider a newer model.

“If you have an old fryer, one that’s older than five years old, get a new one. The new ones have safety devices to prevent … disasters,” said Jarman.

When placing the turkey into the fryer, lower it slowly to prevent burns, and make sure your bare skin is covered to prevent injury. If the fryer begins to smoke, turn it off immediately.

“Don’t compromise your safety and the safety of those you love just to achieve a better tasting turkey,” said Allstate Insurance spokeswoman Debbie Pickford.

Frying poses the greatest risk of fire, and Thanksgiving is the peak day for cooking fires inside homes, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

 

 

Kids Pics Wanted for SERVE Charity Calendar

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Pack N Ship owner printing charity calendars to benefit SERVE 

When he bought Pack N Ship Store, the first thing he wanted to do was give back.

Liam Hainsworth came to the U.S. and purchased the packaging store inside the Aquia Park shopping center on Route 1. A native of England, Hainsworth was told a story about a local family that went without fresh water or electricity inside their home for three months.

Then he learned about SERVE, of Stafford, a non-profit agency that runs a food pantry, provides financial assistance to families in need, and also provides cut firewood for those who need it, from his assistant Regina Dick. SERVE provided assistance to the needy family. 

Then Hainsworth came up with the idea: Print a calendar with photos drawn by local children, featuring SERVE’s contact information on all of its pages, to benefit the non profit.

“As Christmas is around the corner, it’s sometimes easy to forget that families within Stafford will struggle to bring food to the table, and this is something we aim to address in our charity calendar campaign,” said Hainsworth.

Now through Sunday, Nov. 30, Pack N Ship store is now accepting hand-drawn pictures to be judged for submission into the 2015 calendar. The pictures should be drawn on 11 and a half inch paper, have the child’s name, age, and address printed on the back. A total of 12 photos will be chosen for the calendar.

“When people see calendar people see us all the time, we need awareness all the time,” said Marilyn Stevens, who runs the SERVE program. “We’re going to be seen 365 days per year on the calendar, and you can’t get any better than this.”

Stevens said she jumped at the chance to participate in the charity calendar project. When they’re printed, SERVE will distribute them to area Rotary and Lions clubs as well as Boys and Girls Scout troops.

Pack N Ship Store is located at 2796 Jefferson Davis Highway, #111 in Stafford.

Hainsworth purchased the Pack N Ship store on Oct. 1. 

Arevalo-Manica Faces Sex Assault Charge

A 29-year-old woman was sexually assaulted inside a home near Manassas, police said.

Here’s more in a press release from Prince William police:

Sexual Assault Investigation – On November 22nd at 3:54AM, officers responded to a residence located in the 7200 block of Royal Fern Cir in Manassas (20111) to investigate a sexual assault. The victim, a 29 year old woman of Manassas, reported to police that she and the accused, a known acquaintance, were involved in a verbal altercation which escalated. During the encounter, the accused physically and sexually assaulted the victim. After the altercation, the accused left the home and the victim contacted police. The accused was located and detained by officers. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested.

Arrested on November 22nd:

Nestor Alexander AREVALO-MANICA, 34, of 4218 De Haven Dr in Chantilly

Charged with object sexual penetration

Court date: pending | Bond: held WITHOUT bond

 

 

Wall Elected Chairman of Flory Center Board

Marion Wall Welcomes John Gregory to the Board of Directors for the Flory Center.

The Flory Small Business Center has elected a new Board Chairman to lead the organization.

The following is a press release from the Flory Center:

Marion M. Wall, owner and CEO of the Potomac Wall Insurance Agency in Quantico, has been elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Flory Small Business Center, Inc. Mr. Wall previously served as Vice Chairman of the Flory Board and was elected Chairman following the death of former Chairman Joe France.

The Flory Center’s President and CEO, Linda Decker remarked, “We are very fortunate to have Marion serve as our Chairman. His strong commitment to the Flory Center over the past 23 years has been invaluable and we look forward to continuing to work collegially to serve existing businesses and “start ups” in the region.

Mr. Wall is a longtime board member of the Sentara Potomac Hospital Board, where his work has been recognized with the Matthew F. McNulty, Jr. Award.   This award, created by the Executive Committee of the Healthcare Council of the National Capital Area, annually honors an outstanding leader who has made significant contributions to the region’s healthcare field.

Currently, Mr. Wall is Chairman of the Potomac Health Foundation, which provides grants to local organizations to better meet the growing healthcare needs of our community.

A former member of the Prince William County Industrial Development Authority, as well as the Prince William County Service Authority, Mr. Wall has deep roots in the regional community.

The Flory Board also elected John Gregory, Founder and CEO of Gregory Construction to the Board of Directors. Mr. Gregory, a lifetime resident of Manassas, currently serves as Vice Chairman of the City of Manassas Economic Development Authority.

He founded Gregory Construction, Inc., a design build firm in Manassas, in 1954 and continues to serve as CEO of the firm. Gregory Construction has played a vital role in shaping the landscape of Manassas, Prince William County, and the surrounding region.

A benefactor of the Hylton Performing Arts Center, the Gregory Family Theater is named in honor of his late wife, Angela and his late son, Scott.

Mrs. Decker noted that “the Flory Board and staff are pleased that John accepted our invitation to join the Board. He brings a wealth of private sector business experience to the position. Our former Chairman, Joe France often commented that John contributed greatly to the sound decision making process in the many organizations in which he served.”

The Flory Small Business Center, Inc. is a non-profit, tax exempt organization dedicated to business development, retention, and expansion. The Center’s active Board of Directors is composed of distinguished business people who work and reside throughout the Center’s service area. In addition to Marion Wall and John Gregory, the Center’s Board is composed of Vice Chairman, Pat O’Leary, Esq. of Woodbridge, Secretary, Mayor Frank Jones of Manassas Park, Treasurer, Steve Dawson of Catharpin, Assistant Treasurer Col. Frank Mejia of Woodbridge, and Brian Gordon of Dumfries. Col. Mejia is Chairman of the Prince William County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) and Mr. O’Leary, Mr. Dawson, and Mr. Gordon serve on the IDA’s Board of Directors.

Funding for the Flory Small Business Center, Inc. is provided by the Prince William County Industrial Development Authority, Prince William County, and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. The Center has been a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (U.S. SBA) since its inception in 1991.

If you have questions or would like more information on the Center, which is located at 10311 Sudley Manor Drive in Manassas, please call 703-335-2500.

 

 

 

7 New Stafford Deputies Graduate

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On Thursday, Nov. 20, seven new deputies for the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office graduated from the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy Law Enforcement Officer Basic Class #132.

These seven individuals were Deputy Jason P. Aubry, Deputy Brandon A. Boyle, Deputy Timothy S. Clayborn, Jr., Deputy Moises J. Martinez, Deputy Cody L. McCormick, Deputy Mikel J. Reyna and Deputy Catherine E. Whited.

These deputies joined 22 other law enforcement professionals who also graduated representing numerous law enforcement agencies through-out the region.

Deputy Cody McCormick was the recipient of the Top Skills Achievement Award and was also selected to be the Class Leader. Senior Deputy James Kingman, a Stafford County Deputy for eight years, also an instructor at the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy, was selected by the recruits to be the featured speaker at the graduation ceremony.

Police Search for Fast Fuels Robbers

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Prince William police are investigating a robbery that occurred at a gas station at the intersection of Old Bridge Road and Route 123 near Occoquan.

Here is more in a press release from Prince William poilce:

Armed Robbery – On November 23rd at 6:16PM, officers responded to the Fast Fuel Service Station located at 1320 Old Bridge Rd in Woodbridge (22192) to investigate a robbery. An employee reported to police that three unknown men entered the business and approached the counter. Two of the men display handguns while the third took money from the register and a purse belonging to an employee. Following the encounter, all three men fled the store on foot. No injuries were reported.

Suspect Descriptions:

Black male, between 25 & 29 years of age, 5’10” with a thin build

Last seen wearing a black HH winter coat with a hood, tan brown pants and black & white shoes

Black male, between 25 & 29 years of age, 6’0” with a thin build and short dreadlocks

Last seen wearing a black hooded jacket over a green hooded shirt and blue jeans

Black male, between 25 & 29 years of age, 5’8” with a medium build

Last seen wearing a black long coat, red shirt, black mask and tan work boots

‘Sensory Santa’ Comes to Manassas Mall Dec. 7

Manassas Mall

Manassas Mall will host Santa Cares on Sunday, Dec. 7 from 8 – 10 a.m., welcoming children with special needs to a photo environment that supports their sensory, physical and developmental needs.  The sensory-friendly event is designed to take place prior to regular mall hours to lessen behavioral triggers associated with malls at this bustling season of the year.

The nationally recognized Santa Cares event will take place at the Santa Photo Experience in JCPenney Court, as a result of a partnership between AbilityPath.org, a national online resource hub and special needs community and The Noerr Programs, a leading marketing and digital imaging company providing the Santa and Bunny Photo Experience at malls nationwide.   

Malls take great care to build a sensory friendly environment for children with special needs. They open during private hours and create a calmer atmosphere by turning down the lights, turning off the music and fountains, and allowing families to sit in a waiting area instead of in line.  These adjustments provide a calmer sensory-friendly environment and allow children and their families to have their own special magical moment with Santa.

“Each year, we receive heartfelt notes from parents and grandparents expressing their appreciation for a magical moment because of the Santa Cares program,” said Sheryl Young CEO of AbilityPath.  “Many parents tell us they settled with the fact that they’d never have a picture of their child with Santa. AbilityPath was created so parents of children with special needs would never need to settle, and giving every child a special moment with Santa is one example of our commitment to that promise.” said Young. 

“We are thrilled to be the venue for this incredible event,” said Kelly Gilfether, Director of Marketing at Manassas Mall.  “Santa Cares brings joy to children with specials needs in our community, and it is truly an honor to be involved in this program.”

“Santa Cares fulfills our dream of providing a comforting and physically accommodating experience for families with children that have special needs,” said Judy Noerr, co-chief executive officer of The Noerr Programs. “We appreciate the participation of Manassas Mall in expanding this program, allowing more families to share the magic and tradition of the holidays.”

The private event begins at 8:00 a.m. and continues until 10:00 a.m. local standard times at Manassas Mall when the mall opens to the general public. Families are encouraged to RSVP prior to the event at Abilitypath.org.

In addition to a numbering system, social stories and activities to avoid waiting in line, participating families will be able to receive four complimentary Christmas photo cards with their purchase of a Santa’s Favorite Photo Package during the event.

Potomac Local Pets

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Apollo

Apollo is an adorable 5 month old, male Jack Russell Terrier. This playful boy is already leash trained, crate trained and up to date on his shots. Help him find his forever home today!

Starla

A beautiful, brown tabby, Starla is about 6 years old and a little love bug! When this sweet girl isn’t curled up on your lap, she loves regular play sessions. She adores other laid back cats and we think she’d be a fantastic ‘older sister’ to any young kitty. Starla is spayed, fully vaccinated and FIV/FeLV negative.

STAFFORD/FAUQUIER COUNTY, VA–LOST MALE DOG
Our George is still missing! He is a neutered male,  all black male with white in his muzzle due to age. He is 9 years old. He was last seen at corner of Heavenly Lane and Chimney Lake Lane on Saturday, 11/15, between hours of 6-8AM. He is very friendly and well trained – Good Canine Citizen and a Certified Therapy dog. Please call 540-270-0667 if you have any info. on George.

-Information provided by the Stafford SPCA. Contact them for more information on any of the animals listed above.

Winter Advisory Issued for Prince William Ahead of Storm

Prince William County and the Greater Manassas area is now under a winter weather advisory as approaching Thanksgiving storm could bring a mix of rain and accumulating snow.

Here’s the latest from the National Weather Service:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 8 AM TO 6 PM EST
WEDNESDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS
ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW… WHICH IS IN EFFECT
FROM 8 AM TO 6 PM EST WEDNESDAY.

* PRECIPITATION TYPE…SNOW.

* ACCUMULATIONS…2 TO 5 INCHES IN THE FAR NORTHERN AND WESTERN
SUBURBS OF WASHINGTON AND BALTIMORE. A COATING TO AN INCH NEAR
INTERSTATE 95.

* TIMING…RAIN WILL CHANGE TO SNOW BETWEEN 8 AND 11 AM WEDNESDAY
MORNING. THE HEAVIEST SNOW WILL OCCUR THROUGH 2 PM WEDNESDAY
AFTERNOON. SNOW WILL TAPER OFF LATE WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON.

* TEMPERATURES…LOWER TO MIDDLE 30S.

* WINDS…NORTH BECOMING NORTHWEST 10 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS AROUND
20 MPH.

* IMPACTS…ROADS MAY BECOME SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY…MAINLY
ACROSS THE FAR NORTHERN AND WESTERN SUBURBS OF WASHINGTON AND
BALTIMORE. SNOW WILL ALSO REDUCE THE VISIBILITY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE
TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED
VISIBILITIES…AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.

A winter storm watch for counties to the west, including Fauquier County, has been upgraded to a winter storm warning. They could see four to eight inches of snow from this system.

The storm will impact our area on the busiest travel day of the year, the day before Thanksgiving. More than 1 million people in the Washington area were expected to travel at least 50 miles from home this holiday to visit friends and family.

Stafford 350th Anniversary Movie Premiers Dec. 1

Stafford will cap off a year of celebrating its 350th Anniversary with the world premiere of “Stafford, Virginia: Our American Story,” a film chronicling Stafford’s past, present and future. The film will be shown on Monday, December 1, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. at Mountain View High School, 2135 Mountain View Road, Stafford, VA 22556.

“When the Board of Supervisors started planning for the 350th Anniversary, we wanted to have the type of events that people would remember for years, as people remembered Stafford’s tricentennial in 1964,” said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Jack Cavalier, Griffis-Widewater District. “With the help of the Blue Ribbon Committee, our partners, sponsors, volunteers and citizens, we have succeeded beyond what I could have imagined. This movie is the exclamation mark to our year and serves as a lasting legacy that documents where Stafford County has come from and where it is going.”

The movie documents early life with the Patawomecks in Stafford County through colonial times, the Civil War, desegregation and up to modern times with glimpses of the people who will shape our future. The premiere will be a true Hollywood-type event complete with a red carpet and light refreshments showcasing the skills of the Mountain View High School culinary program.

“This film is the most historically accurate and comprehensive film on Stafford’s history that has ever been produced,” said Harry Crisp, chairman of the 350th Anniversary Blue Ribbon Committee. “Nine local historians worked on this project and reached a consensus with their accumulated knowledge on every historic event depicted in the movie. It was truly a labor of love and will be a treasure for the community for years to come.”

The list of experts who worked on the project includes well-known local historians: Jane and Al Conner; Jerrilyn and Rick MacGregor; John Hennessy, Chief Historian and Director of Interpretation for the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park Frank White; Becky Guy and William Deyo, members of the Patawomeck tribe; and D.P. Newton, proprietor of the White Oak Civil War Museum.

Produced by Signature Communications, the movie was written and directed by Signature’s president John Allen. The Legacy and Education Subcommittee of the 350th Anniversary, under the guidance of Blue Ribbon Committee members David Kerr and Cessie Howell, oversaw the project. Sponsors of the movie are Dominion Virginia Power, Intuit and Walmart helped fund the movie.

The movie follows a packed year of events that celebrated Stafford’s 350th Anniversary. In January, citizens and visitors enjoyed a history presentation, musical entertainment and an ice skating rink at Celebrate Stafford 350. Thousands of people enjoyed the Founders Day parade and Stafford County Schools Fine Arts Festival that took place over a weekend in May. Musical and theater acts headlined the grand opening in June of Celebration Stage, Stafford’s beautiful new amphitheater. Stafford’s military heritage was honored in October at the annual Wings and Wheels event. Stafford’s African-American history was highlighted in November on the Trail to Freedom Tour and by the unveiling of the Rowser African-American History Wall.

Admission to the premier of “Stafford, Virginia: Our American Story” is free and no tickets are required. Following the premier, members of the public may receive free copies of the movie by visiting the Citizens Assistance Office at the George L. Gordon, Jr., Government Center, 1300 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA 22554.

Stafford Renews $14K per Month Court Docs Contract

There is money to be made in the business of courthouse documents.

Stafford County renewed its contract with Logan Systems, Inc., where the county pays the company $14,000 per month for the outsourced electronic record conversion services for the county’s Circuit Court, where land records are kept for the public.

State law requires information such as social security numbers be redacted from all electronic land documents, electronic records of deed books, wills, and plats all be kept electronically, and all electronic images are indexed to be filed in the Virginia State Library, according to county documents.

The monthly rate has not increased since Stafford County entered into a contract with Logan Systems seven years ago.

The Stafford County Clerk of the Circuit Court operates on a $1.5 million annual budget, according to the county’s annual budget. The payment to Logan Systems is about 11% of the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s annual budget.

Stafford’s neighbor to the north, Prince William County, spends a total of $1 million of that county’s $3.8 million Clerk of the Circuit Court budget is allocated to records management. Spotsylvania County to the south operates its Clerk of the Circuit Court on a $904,000 budget.

City Mayor’s Vote Must Break Tie on Manassas Station Rezoning

A rendering of what Manassas Station condos would look like from Prince William Street.

Few spoke in favor of rezoning

The City Council is split on the decision to approve a rezoning for 140 new condominium units to be built at the corner of Tudor Lane and Fairview Avenue.

Parrish

Parrish

It’s now up to Mayor Hal Parrish II to decide, and that won’t happen until at least Dec. 15.

The condo project, dubbed Manassas Station, is proposed by the same developer of Historic Courts of Manassas, another condo development in the city. The building, if approved, would bring more people to live in the Old Town area of Manassas.

The building would sit at the location of the former ABC Photo and Imaging Services building. The Council must decide to rezone the land that old building, now vacant for years, from an industrial use to residential. Councilman Mark Aveni motioned to deny the rezoning and received support from fellow Councilmen Andrew Harrover and Mark Wolfe. Councilmen Ian Lovejoy, Jonathan Way, and Steven Randolph voted no on the motion to deny.

The Mayor is a tie-breaking vote, but he decided to delay his vote until December. If he votes yes, the rezoning is denied, and the project dies. If no, the motion to deny the rezoning is defeated, but someone else on the Council must motion to approve the rezoning for the project to move forward.

“What a tangled web we weave,” quipped Parrish.

“I’ve heard people say it’s too big, it is urban, and it’s not proportionate to other buildings downtown,” said Councilman Jonathan Way, who is in support of the project. He said the building would bring a “blended mix” of urban and mixed uses to the Old Town area.

A public hearing on the project was continued from a City Council meeting held on Nov. 17. Few people who spoke at the City Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 24 were favor of the project.

Those opposed to the new condo building cited traffic concerns for the area as well as potential school overcrowding. Others said the building doesn’t fit with what has traditionally become known as Old Town Manassas.

Twice denied by the city’s Planning Commission, the city’s development staff approves of the project and said it fits within the master plan for the development and redevelopment of Old Town Manassas.

Fall Fix-It Fest: A New Project Mend-A-House Tradition

On Nov.Eric Vetro 1, 2014, Project Mend-A-House (PMAH) held the first ever Fall Fix-It Fest. The day was organized and executed by PMAH Project Manager, Rob Pennington, and his 5 volunteer team leaders (Bill Hoehn, Edrys Laprea, Dean Quick, Patrick Wesley and Eric Zuniga).

Together, they marshalled 40 volunteers and PMAH staff members at 5 project sites to tackle major projects for clients from around the county. Volunteers braved a cold, wet Saturday to make a difference in the lives of low income seniors by making home repairs to make their homes more livable.

Among the volunteers were a number of first time PMAH participants, including seven adolescents. Over the course of several hours, the PMAH teams were able to accomplish repairs including replacing doors and siding, fixing gutters, yard cleanup, replacing flooring, installing safety grab bars and various plumbing repairs.

“It was wonderful to see so many members of our community pulling together to make a difference in their neighbor’s lives at our first Fall Fix-it Fest.” said PMAH Executive Director, Jennifer Schock-Bolles, “Thank you to everyone for their dedication and hard work, without volunteers, Project Mend-A-House would not exist.”

This event was conceived as a way to tackle bigger projects and involve new volunteers under the guidance of more experienced team members. Another community volunteer day, the Spring Spruce-up is being planned for early next year. PMAH plans to make these annual events to mobilize the community for a day of service and help raise the quality of life for some of the needier members of Prince William County.

Project Mend-A-House needs volunteers. To join PMAH’s team, please contact the organization at 703-792-7663 or visit the website at www.pmahweb.org.

Manassas Students Make Thank You Cards for Veterans

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The following information was submitted to us by the Manassas City Public Schools Public Information Office:

A small parade of veterans visited Manassas City Public Schools (MCPS) on Friday, November 7, 2014. Veterans from Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and even WWII arrived on motorcycles and historic military vehicles to students and staff waving flags, cheering, singing and reciting poetry.

MCPS partnered with the local VFW and American Legion Post #10 to organize the parade—complete with a police escort. The event was part of Post #10’s Thank You Card project. Students and staff made cards, which volunteers picked up from the students during their visit to the schools before presenting them at the annual Veterans Day Parade in Old Town Manassas on November 8. The cards were also given to veterans in area assisted living facilities.

Many veterans visited the schools, including retired MCPS teacher Lt. Col. Jerry Martin USMC, who earned a Silver Star and Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam; Silver Star recipient Merle Hancock, who served in WWII; as well as Osbourn High School graduate and Afghanistan veteran Faris Amra, whose decorations include the Purple Heart.

Also on November 7, about 100 Osbourn High School (OHS) students, including those in ROTC, took a Fine Arts field trip to the Hylton Performing Arts Center to watch a very special and timely production from the Manassas Ballet Theatre.

“Colin: Son, Marine, Hero” tells the story Colin J. Wolfe, a 2005 OHS graduate who lost his life in the line of duty at the age of 19. Wolfe, who joined the Marines the day after he graduated high school, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq just seven weeks into his deployment. “We felt honored that ROTC got personally invited to the play. It means a lot,” said Dilcia Cruz Palucho, an 11th grader at OHS.

Wolfe, a former dancer, was compelled to become a Marine following the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. The ballet chronicles Wolfe’s life from when he was a baby in his mother’s arms until the day two Marines showed up at his parents’ doorstep with the devastating news. Wolfe is the son of Manassas Ballet’s artistic director Amy Grant Wolfe.  “The play was very good and it was touching about how they showed their point of view from their son’s death and how they incorporated that into the play,” said Connor Howard, who is also in the 11th grade. Osbourn Assistant Principal said the ballet was “very moving” and an “awesome opportunity” for students.

In addition, on Monday, November 10, Mayfield Intermediate School invited a group of local veterans for a small, private reception. They were honored through songs performed by the Mayfield fifth grade chorus, before sharing their stories with the entire fifth and sixth grade student body. One such veteran was 91-year-old Hancock who became a WWII POW after his plane was shot down by the Germans on his 37th mission. The students really enjoyed hearing the story of a true American hero!
Please visit our Facebook gallery for additional photos of these events.

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