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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

serve charity calendar

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

112514 stafford deps

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


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




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!


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.

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:







20 MPH.




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.



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


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.

Embrey Mill Swim Park Named After Stafford Olympian

Embrey Mill Recreation Center slated to be built by fall 2015

A new indoor aquatics facility will be named after Stafford native and two-time Olympic gold medalist Jeff Rouse.

Rouse competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games and won gold in the 4×100 medley relay both years, and won gold in the men’s 100-meter backstroke during 1996 games.

The swim park at Embrey Mill will be a public facility maintained by the Stafford County Parks and Recreation Department. Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Cavalier proposed naming the center after Rouse.

“It’s kind of nice to name things after people in your community that has accomplished something, and he’s an inspiration to others in sports,” said Stafford Rockhill District Supervisor Cord Sterling.

George Washington District Supervisor Bob Thomas said naming buildings after people who are still alive is frowned upon, but the name is warranted in this case.

“[Rouse’s gold medal wins are] probably something that will never happen again for Stafford County,” said Thomas.

Cavalier said Rouse has offered to display some of his medals in the new center. There is also talk about erecting a wall of fame inside the swim facility to honor the accomplishments of other local athletes, said Cavalier.

Work on the $12 million facility is expected to be complete by fall 2015.

Snow in Thanksgiving Travel Forecast

Interstate 95 south at Dumfries [Photo: Uriah Kiser/Potomac Local News]

Accumulating snow possible Wednesday night 

It was 65 degrees at 7 a.m. this morning, 30 degrees warmer than it has been 24 hours prior. After a string of bitterly cold weather, the high temperature is forecast to reach 72 today.

What’s weather is on tap for later in the week? Snow – the kind that accumulates on the ground.

At least an inch and a half is possible in the Washington, D.C. area on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. That day just happens to be the busiest travel day of the year as families head to the homes of loved ones to celebrate Thanksgiving.

The storm will begin as rain as early as Tuesday night when temperatures will be in the low 40s in our area. Those temps will drop throughout Wednesday morning into the low 30s. The weather service calls this temperature area a “critical zone” if snow lovers are going to see the white stuff from what would be the first winter storm of the season for our area.

The accumulating snow should come Wednesday afternoon when the mix of snow and rain changes to all snow for areas north and west of Washington, while areas along Interstate 95 could see lower snow totals.

AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates more than 1 million people in the Washington area will travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving.

Nyea’s Party Store a Sign of Life for Featherstone Square

party, birthday, woodbridge

New homes being constructed at Featherstone Square

A new store owner hopes a party will once again happen inside Woodbridge’s Featherstone Square.

Ania Jaffa is the managing director, chief proprietor, and just about any other official-sounding title you can come up with for Nyea’s Party store. The independent business owner opened the store this fall after retiring from working in the account management department at AT&T, not a job one would associate with parties.

Nyea’s caters to everyone but has found a niche market with the Hispanic market in Woodbridge. In addition to baby shower party goods, the store has been selling a lot of party favors like plates, napkins, and cups designed by Uzuri Kid Kidz. It’s an Ohio-based artist that draws the characters with the familiar Disney look and feel, but feature Hispanics and African-American children to “mirror their lifestyle and will help fill the void in the current market.”

After Jaffa, of Manassas, retired, she looked around the area for a location for a party store.

“Then I came to Woodbridge and said “you know what, there is a niche here that I think I can fill,” said the New York City native.

The independent party store opened in a place many would consider to be an unlikely spot. For years, Featherstone Square has seen its share of small tenants come and go. The shopping center is anchored by a Food Lion and a large furniture rental store.

The surrounding neighborhood along Route 1 is noted more for its “brown” spots in need of redevelopment, and for its congested traffic.

Much of that is changing. Ryan Homes has opened a new sales office inside the center as construction is now underway for new condos and 30 townhomes on nearly 9 acres of land of Featherstone Road, just across from the shopping center.

The owner of the shopping center is also petitioned the county to build the new homes.

The new construction will bring more people to the neighborhood, and more people to the shopping center, Jaffa hopes.

“I’m used to transitional neighborhoods, you see a lot of that in New York, It’s a cyclical thing,” said Jaffa.


Stafford Experiencing 911 Phone Issues

3 p.m.

A Stafford County email alert stated 911 service is fully restored. We don’t yet know the cause of the problem that affected the system earlier today.

7:56 a.m.

Problems with phone service is preventing some Stafford County residents from calling 911.

The county’s sheriff’s office said Sunday morning people who live in the Berea and White Oak areas of Stafford are having “technical difficulties” reaching emergency services by phone.

Technicians are working on resolving the problem, a sheriff’s spokesman said.

Planning Asst. Chief Faces Obscene Sexual Display Charges

2 women reported driver exposed himself


Raymond Utz, head of Prince William County’s planning office, is charged with two counts of indecent exposure.

Here’s the full police report:

Indecent Exposure | Obscene Sexual Display – On November 17th at 11:58AM, officers responded to investigate an indecent exposure which was reported to have occurred in the area of Gideon Dr and Smoketown Rd in Woodbridge (22193). The victim, a 38 year old woman of Triangle, reported to police that she was stopped at the above intersection when an unknown vehicle pulled beside her. The victim then observed the driver, and only occupant of the vehicle, lower the passenger side window. At that point, the victim noticed that the driver was exposing himself and making an obscene sexual display. The victim was able to provide police with a description and license plate information of the vehicle. Officers were able to determine that the vehicle, a black Honda CRV, was registered to the accused and that the same vehicle was reported to have been involved in a similar encounter reported earlier in the day. In that incident, the victim, a 39 year old woman of Woodbridge, reported to officers that a black Honda CRV with a similar looking driver pull next to her while stopped in the area of Old Bridge Rd and Mohican Dr in Woodbridge (22192). As with the later incident, the driver lowered the passenger side window to get the attention of the victim. As the victim looked over towards the suspect vehicle, she observed the driver expose himself while making an obscene display. The victim pulled away from the other vehicle and immediately contacted police. Following the investigation, the accused was connected to both incidents and was subsequently charged.

                Arrested on November 19th: [No photo available]

                Raymond Ernst UTZ, 49, of 44 Bexley Ln in Fredericksburg

                Charged with 2 counts of indecent exposure and 2 counts of obscene sexual display

                Court date: pending | Bond: released on court summons

Utz worked for Prince William County since 2003. He was fired on Nov. 20, 2014, said Prince William County spokesman Jason Grant.


Prince William’s ‘Emergency Kit Rap’ Video a Hit

Video produced by Prince William County communications staff in Woodbridge


Prince William County just entered the rap game.

A new video produced by county’s communications staff features Prince William County Communications Director Jason Grant rapping a list of items you’ll need in your emergency preparedness kit. The video was produced in October in honor of National Preparedness Month.

The video was shot in front of a green screen in the format of a mock newscast. Grant wrote the rap and then recorded it for the video.

“There’s tons of videos out there with people walking you through want to have in an emergency preparedness kit,” said Grant. “We wanted to create something memorable, something that someone would watch again.”

The video also features Nicole Brown, who works with Grant inside the county’s communications office. Grant said the video has been well received in the halls of county government at the McCoart Building in Woodbridge, and that it has been shown in several staff meetings.

When not rapping, Grant oversees the production of the county’s website, newsletters, as well as other media the county uses to get out their message. He also takes questions from reporters on a regular basis.

Grant minored in theater and does improvisational comedy in his spare time, he said. He’s also available for holiday parties, birthdays, and bar mitzvahs.

Firefighters Go to Great Heights to Rescue Cat

PWC Firefighter goes over 89 feet in the area to rescue a resident's cat.

PWC Firefighter goes over 89 feet in the area to rescue a resident’s cat.

Video shows cat rescue in Montclair


Four firefighters with the Prince William Department of Fire & Rescue went out of their way to make sure that a Woodbridge resident’s family cat was returned safely.

The cat, referred to by the firefighters as “Kitty”, had gotten stuck in a tree over 89 feet late last week in the area of Tallowwood Drive and Spring Branch Blvd. in Montclair.

“We received a phone call from our Battalion Chief — he asked us to check out an incident. Station 17 in Montclair had gotten a phone call requesting assistance – that their pet cat was stuck in a tree,”

The cat and its owner [Submitted]

The cat and its owner [Submitted]

said Lieutenant Dave Caruana, one of the firefighters at the scene.

 Technicians Adam Mowry, Shawn Riley, Shawn Bliss and Lt. Caruana were called out to the scene when Station 17 was unable to retrieve the cat.

“Engine 17 headed over there to check the incident out, to see if they could handle it and the cat was in the tree further than their ground ladders could reach,” Caruana said.

The four men quickly responded to the call, and were able to safely remove the cat from the tree, returning it to its owner.

“We arrived onscene and our driver, Shawn Riley, positioned the [ladder] appropriately…and we retrieved the cat out of the tree,” said Caruana.

Jennifer Leigh Titus, a witness who was present and filmed the rescue, feels grateful to have such dedicated firefighters on call in her neighborhood.

“They were pretty awesome, the first truck came and the ladder was too short and then they called in the big guns. That cat would have either fallen or froze to death. They didn’t have to [trek] out in that freezing weather to save a cat, but they did. That makes me feel really safe knowing that they would go through so much for a kitten, imagine what they would do for us,” said Titus.

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