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News

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

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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. Keep Reading…

A panda helped us find parking at Bobs Burgers

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

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

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?

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

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

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.

Marine Museum at Quantico breaks ground on final wing

Marines present the colors at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new wing at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
Members of the Marine Corps Band play.
Members of the Marine Corps Band play.
A new wing at the National Museum of the Marine Corp will showcase Marines from Vietnam to today.
The Marine Corps Museum will form a circle when complete.
A crowd gathered for a groundbreaking at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

Addition to showcase Marines from Vietnam to present day  

At the controls of an excavator, James Collins, of Winchester, put a gold-colored bucket shovel in the ground outside the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

The Marine who served from 1986 until 1994 had the honor of breaking ground for the final phase of the museum that tells the history and story of the Marine Corps. The new wing will showcase Marines who served during the Vietnam War to present time.

“Marines who serve today do not have hall to walk through to show their family and friends, no record of those they served with, nothing that shows the Marine Corps history that was made during their time,” said Chairman of the Marine Corps Heritage Board of Directors General Walter E. Boomer.

The new wing will include an art gallery, a large-screen theater, Hall of Valor, and a children’s hall to open in 2017. A hall showcasing the stories of Marines that served in Beirut in 2018, a sports hall in 2019, and a changing gallery will open in 2020.

The new wing will also showcase the stories of Marines who served in the most recent Iraq war, in Afghanistan, in Grenada, Somalia, and Operation Desert Strom in Iraq.

“After a decade and a half…the completion of our museum is on the horizon,” said Marine Corps Heritage Foundation President Lt. Gen. Robert R. Blackman, Jr.

The museum opened in 2006 and currently tells the stories of Marines that served between 1775 and the Vietnam War. The new expansion had been planned for since before the museum opened, and the wing will complete the final phase of the museum’s originally planned circle footprint on a hill overlooking Interstate 95 at Quantico.

The groundbreaking of the new wing was bumped up from 2017 to today thanks to a $10 million donation from the Tim and Sandy Day Family Foundation. The museum foundation so far raised $54 million of their overall $70 million goal to complete the museum.

The process of collecting artifacts that will be on display in the new wing began in 2012. Museum officials said the process of collecting more recent historical objects is sometimes more difficult to obtain than those that date back 40 years or more.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps opened in 2006. Since then, more than 4 million visitors from all over the country have flocked to Quantico Marine Corps Base to tour the center. The military has also embraced the museum, as 346 ceremonies were held at the museum last year to include reenlistments ceremonies, retirements, and a speical celebration to commemorate the birthday of the Marine Corps. Keep Reading…

Stafford area public access network to open new studio space

On Saturday, the Central Virginia Public Access Television (CVTV) network, will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house for their new studio space.

The space, which is 5,300 square feet, is located off of Route 3 in Fredericksburg, according to Charles Thomas, the CEO for CVTV.

According to Thomas, the project has been a work in progress for over six years, and they have seen huge growth in the past few years.

“We were all over the place before – then we found a couple of classrooms up at the Career and Training Solutions location – they were gracious enough to allow us to come in there and do some of our programming there,” said Thomas.

The new space will have three studios and other space for volunteers and staff to prepare television programming.

“Now we’re moving into a 5,300 square foot studio [space] and office. We’ll have three studios – one will be large enough to hold 50 people, so we’ll have an audience studio. We’ll have a news studio. And then we’ll have a multi-purpose studio, which will have a green screen and a couple of other sets set up in there. We’ll also have office space, so we can have people come down and sit – they can do any type of work they need to do to prepare for their program…we’re very excited to be moving to our new location,” Thomas commented.

In addition to the new space, they’re hoping to expand their coverage area, which currently includes Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Fredericksburg, with the hope of spreading into King George. Thomas also stated that they’re working on increasing their program lineup.

“We’ve expanded on our programming a great deal. Last season, we actually did all of the high school football games. We’ve got about 30 programs we’re seeing right now – hopefully, we’ll get that to 50 by this summer,” Thomas said.

Thomas stated that the biggest thing he has learned while running CVTV is that you have to stay consistent.

“The biggest thing I’ve probably learned is that you have to…my level of persistence had to grow. When you’re dealing with an all-volunteer organization, you have people that come and go, and it can be tough having any consistency on a long term [basis]. It’s just one of those things you have to keep painting the vision; you have to be persistent and you have to keep selling the dream,” Thomas commented.

CVTV is currently looking for volunteers to get involved, with plans to hire staff as they continue to grow.

Ashburn woman earns Miss Historic Manassas title

Sarah Reed, a 20-year old Ashburn resident, was crowned Miss Historic Manassas, despite not being a Manassas resident.

Reed is currently a sophomore in Communications at Liberty University in Lynchburg.

“I competed [in] the Greater Prince William County pageant – they gave away three titles – Miss Greater Prince William County, Miss Historic Manassas and then Miss Potomac,” said Reed.

The pageant took place back in November.

Originally the Miss Historic Manassas title was going to be restricted to only pageant contestant that lived in the area, but only one of the twelve contestants was from Manassas.

“The qualification for all of the pageants in Virginia is that you have to be a Virginia resident. Originally, for the Miss Historic Manassas, it was going to be closed, which means you have to live in Manassas in order to win the title, but the only way they would be able to guarantee that was if there were more than three contestants that competed lived in Manassas.”

According to Reed, she feels that her experiences visiting the Manassas area equip her for the title, despite not living there.

“I’ve always loved learning about Manassas, and we live in Northern Virginia, and we’ve always visited Manassas to go to Bull Run light festival, to go to the [Manassas] Battlefield –so it’s really cool to now be representing it, because I’ve grown up going there, ever since I moved here,” said Reed.

IMG_6667During the pageant, Reed and the other contestants competed in several categories including swimwear, talent, interview and evening gowns.

For Reed, winning the title was a happy surprise, as she has only been competing since last year and has been involved in four pageants thus far.

“I was lucky enough to win one of the titles – which I’m so excited about. I just started competing last year in pageants, so it’s very new to me, and I’m really learning the entire process of it. So it’s cool to know you don’t have to grow up, knowing how to do pageants, you can jump into it, and as long as your passionate about something, that will show in every step of the competition,” said Reed.

During her time as Miss Historic Manassas, Reed will be implementing her anti-bullying campaign, titled ‘Beauty and the Beast’. For Reed, selecting this as a platform was something personal.

“For someone’s who’s been a victim of bullying, since they’ve been in first grade, all the way up to until senior years of high school, it is something that has been engrained in my brain. And it wasn’t until I finally gained confidence in myself, that I realized that no one has the right to tell me who I am and how I should be.”

Reed is working with the school system in Manassas to plan events and speak to students about the dangers of bullying, and how to get help.

“I want to be an active member of the community, because not only am I representing it, but I want to represent it with so much grace and responsibility – because I do take my title very seriously,” Reed commented.

Reed will be competing in the next phase of the competition in the Miss Virginia pageant next year. 

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