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News
Oaks III Development on Hold

By STEPHANIE TIPPLE

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — An unpopular plan to expand an office park is on hold, and the lot on which it was to be built is marked by a “for sale” sign.

The planned Oaks III office park was to be built on a portion of 18 acres of land at the intersection of Tanyard Hill and Old Bridge roads in Lake Ridge.

A rezoning request approved by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors in January cleared the way for construction of a 32,500 square foot office building located next to the Oaks I and Oaks II office parks.

But county officials were met much opposition from residents from the nearby Town of Occoquan because of traffic and storm water runoff concerns. Despite that opposition, the rezoning was approved with a majority vote from Prince William Board Chairman Corey Stewart, and supervisors Wally Covington, Maureen Caddigan, John Jenkins and Peter Candland.

With the approval came the condition that 13 of the 18 acres for the office park would be placed in a conservation zone and would not be developed.

So, why is the development of Oaks III at a standstill?

Many are questioning the motive behind rezoning the land which is owned by developer Ken Thompson, who could not be reached for comment.

“Despite his representations to the BOCS to the contrary, a number of opponents of the project predicted this was what he was really planning to do from the beginning,” Occoquan Mayor Earnie Porta said. “[Thompson’s] contractual arrangement with the owner at the time of the rezoning has never been public, so we do not know if it is him, or that entity, that is offering the property for sale.”

When county officials approved the rezoning in January, the land was owned by the National Rifle Association.

The Occoquan Town Council, separate from the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, passed a resolution in February requiring Thompson to fix water runoff issues at his adjacent Oaks I and II developments before beginning construction on Oaks III. Town officials say water runoff from his properties contributed to flooding in the town last fall.

“[Thompson] has thus far not provided any update to the town,” said Porta.

Prince William County Occoquan District Supervisor Mike May had concerns about the project from the start. May said much of the support from the County Board stemmed from the supervisors’ interactions with Thompson in the past, versus the actual merits and benefits the community could potentially attain from the Oaks III development.

“The question is: Would those folks have been supportive knowing, at the time, that [Thompson] wasn’t the one who was going to be implementing [the construction plan],” said May.

While the property is up for sale this does not mean that a new owner or developer would a clean slate to work with.

“The proffers run with the land so if somebody else decides to buy it and build the project, they’ll have to honor the commitments that were made,” May said.

Whoever decides to develop the Oaks III land will have to address the transportation proffers, which include improving the intersection at Tanyard Hill and Old Bridge roads, address water runoff issues, and keep 13 of the 18 acres of land in a conservation easement.

One potential scenario may be a new owner will addressed the Board to make modifications to these conditions. For nearby residents, any of the benefits that may have been derived from this development are at an indefinite standstill.

“The end result should remain the same, as what was promised to the community,” May said.

For many community members who opposed the rezoning, including May, this newest development is bittersweet.

“It’s kind of nice that they’re not constructing it at this point but I remain frustrated that the project was approved in the first place and I always thought it was odd that [Thompson] wanted to move forward with an office building project down the street from Oaks I and II when there are vacancy signs at Oaks II presently. It seemed like this was a project that wasn’t likely to proceed in any event and to the extent that it is, I have real concerns about the transportation impact and storm water runoff,” said May.

 

News
New Dumfries McDonalds Opens Friday

DUMFRIES, Va. — McDonald’s franchisee Bill Boston held a ribbon cutting Wednesday morning, attended by the Town of Dumfries Mayor Gerald Foreman and several Councilmen, to celebrate and officially dedicate the restaurant to the Dumfries community. Once the restaurant officially opens this Friday, August 31 at 4 a.m. ,Boston foresees that the restaurant will be a staple in the community and is excited that this remodel will provide the opportunity to employ more crew and managers within his new restaurant.

Boston’s construction plan included contemporizing interiors and exteriors by upgrading infrastructure, and enhancing restaurant capacity. Architecturally some of the features include a defined and inviting entry into the restaurant, modern community and lounge seating areas to accommodate all customer preferences.

The interior utilizes a sophisticated modern color palette, plasma screen TVs and free Wi-Fi access.

-Press release

 

News
Small Quantico Shop Turns Major Supplier

By URIAH KISER

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A small arms store that began in Qauntico has branched out to include seven stores in six states.

Quantico Arms Company – now Quantico Tactical – opened its newest location in the Smoketown Stations shopping center in Woodbridge next to Petsmart. For owner and veteran David Hensley it is a labor of love, one that expanded after he hung up his dress blues and had to think about what he would do after a 20-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps. 

“It never donned on me how daunting doing a resume would be, so I started this company and expanded to seven stores,” said Hensley.

Upon his exit from Quantico Marine Corps Base in 2004, he quickly used the capital he accumulated from Quantico Arms and expanded to states like Kentucky, Washington, Kansas, and Texas, placing stores outside major military installations. Looking back, it’s a market strategy he said he might change, opting rather to place stores in more denser shopping centers – but it has worked well for a company that now is a major supplier to the federal government and alphabetical agencies like the FBI and DEA.

The newest store in Woodbridge is 12,500 square feet of overt and covert clothing worn by military personnel, law enforcement officers, and fire and EMS professionals, supplied by 5.11 Tactical Series. The clothing is designed for field use, including shirts with hidden pockets good for concealing or comfortably carrying weapons, and pants with a low front waistlines to make it easier for EMS personnel to work while kneeling down.

“We don’t do ‘good’ here. I rate our merchandise on a ‘better, best, and high-end’ scale,” said Hensley.

And true to their roots, they sell guns that are geared toward trained shooting professionals. Hensley said his arms selection is different than what you might find at hunting or an outdoor store.

While still stationed at Quantico, he operated the shop on Potomac Avenue. If he was deployed, he would close up shop until he returned.

“I would just close it up for a six to nine-month deployment, and the open it back up. I sold mainly to Marines on base, so it worked out,” he said.

As his company grew, he opened a 40,000 square foot warehouse in Pinehurst, N.C. – where he now bases his operation. A local politician convinced him to relocate there, and Hensley said the area is optimal because it lacks the traffic congestion of Northern Virginia.

But there is still a place in his heart for his original store on Potomac Avenue, a store he can’t find in his heart close. As Quantico is the only town in the U.S. surrounded by a military base, there is a special set of direction posted on the company’s website telling customers how to find it:

We are surrounded on three sides by the U.S. Marine Corps Base with the Potomac River on our fourth side. To reach us, you must pass through the base.

News
Chamber Preps Businesses Facing Deep Cuts

UPDATE

Due to overwhelming demand, officials were forced to change the location of an upcoming seminar on the local effects of sequestration. More now from a Stafford County press release:

The first series meeting scheduled for 5 September 2012 has received such overwhelming interest that we have changed the location in an effort to accommodate everyone wishing to attend. The date and time for the event remain the same.

Please join the Fredericksburg Regional Partners at the Riverside Conference and Events Center (Dinner Theatre) located at 95 Riverside Parkway, Fredericksburg VA 22406.

The event time and date have not changed.

QUANTICO, Va. — Business leaders say a series of upcoming forced budget cuts known as sequestration could force the state into a recession.

Virginia, and particularly the northern portion of the state, has been propped up by defense spending ever since the rest of the country fell into a recession in 2008. But now with deep budget cuts looming, congress has until Jan. 2, 2013 to stave off cuts that Prince William Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Nancy Hiteshue says are already impacting local businesses.

“It’s like taking a hatchet to a budget, rather than a scalpel. Businesses don’t know what to expect. Nobody knows where the cuts are going to come and how steep they’re going to be,” said Hiteshue.

Many of the defense contractors in the Potomac Communities support operations at Quantico, Ft. Belvoir, and the Pentagon. In Prince William alone there are 150 defense subcontractors that have all been impacted by rumblings of layoffs at larger federal contractors.

In all, 200,000 jobs in the region could be lost if congress doesn’t act.

“Once those jobs are gone, they could be gone forever,” said Hiteshue.

In response, the Prince William Chamber, the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Stafford County Government and others have banned together to hold a series of seminars to prepare business owners for the local effects of sequestration.

With four seminars planned, the first one takes place Wednesday, Sept. 5, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Center for Workforce and Community Education at Germanna Community College, at 151 Riverside Parkway in south Stafford County. Congressman Rob Wittman (R-Stafford, Prince William) will talk about finding alternatives to sequestration, Dr. Dennis McBride from George Mason University will showcase the impacts the budget cuts will have, and Associate Director of Business Programs Dave Dawson will discuss changes already taking place prior to sequestration.

The remaining three seminars are planned for Oct. 3, Nov. 7, and Dec. 5. Seating is limited, and attendees have been asked to email kcopley@staffordcountyva.gov to RSVP.

The seminars come as Hiteshue said businesses are already instituting hiring freezes in anticipation for sequestration measures. She adds government procurement will slow because of the budget cuts, however, those in the information technology field may not be impacted as deeply as other areas.

 

News
Woodbridge Towers Plan on Chopping Block

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The plan to build two towers at the entrance of Prince William County might change.

Approved in 2005, the planned Rivergate complex on Annapolis Way in Woodbridge included two 15-story towers overlooking the Occoquan River. Inside was going to be 720 condominium homes, and the buildings were going to be a keystone in an effort to revitalize the area near the heavily used commuter routes U.S. 1 and Va. 123.

But now things have changed. The developer of the project, which is also behind the famed Watergate Hotel in Washington, now wants to scale back and build five apartment buildings instead. These buildings would range between four to five stories tall, a stark contrast to the original plan.

“So they’re more like garden-style apartments, where the towers were going to be condos,” said Prince William County Planning Manager Deborah Bruckman.

The newly proposed apartments would bring just 387 new homes to the area. Market conditions prompted the developer’s change in plans. 

The proposal is under review and is awaiting a public hearing. Afterward, the plan is expected to go before the Board of County Supervisors next spring, said Bruckman.

The towers are a component in an overall broader effort to revitalize the U.S. 1 corridor in Woodbridge. When fervor for the towers was high in 2005, many said the new buildings would give commuters coming south from Fairfax County a new impression of Prince William’s growth and place on the regional stage.

Though the tower plan could change, revitalization is underway. Marumsco Plaza — once a major shopping destination prior to explosive growth around Potomac Mills mall in the late 1980s and the 1990s, is well underway with new tenants lined up for the changing shopping plaza.

Plans for a new housing development, Potomac Shores, are also ramping up, and the development is to include a new Jack Nicklaus golf course. Planners are soon expected to hold a private briefing with the Southbridge Home Owners Association — the neighborhood adjacent to the planned community, said HOA President Jim Riley. 

News
Prince William Tops in Job Growth

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Need a job? Come to Prince William County.

Officials in Prince William are boasting today after CNNMoney.com ranked the jurisdiction 8th on their 2012 list of best places to find work. The county moved up the list from 13th last year.

During the past 10 years, the county saw the job growth rate at 48 percent, increasing its job growth rate eight percent during that timeframe, according to a press release.

CNNMoney.com has ranked Prince William as a jobs leader for four out of the last five years.

Overall, unemployment in Virginia sits at 5.0 percent, according to July figures from the Department of Labor Statistics.

This latest news is an improvement over last year, when Prince William County saw the highest unemployment increase in the state at 4.3 percent

News
Breast Imaging Center Awarded

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Sentara Northern Virginia Comprehensive Breast Center has been designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

By awarding facilities the status of a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, the ACR recognizes breast imaging centers that have earned accreditation in mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy, and breast ultrasound, including ultrasound-guided breast biopsy.

Sentara Northern Virginia Comprehensive Breast Center includes three locations: Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, Sentara Lake Ridge and the Sentara Mobile Mammography Van. Services provided include digital mammography with computer-aided detection, high-resolution breast ultrasound, ultrasound-guided breast biopsy, stereotactic breast biopsy and breast MRI.

“We are very proud to receive this distinction from the American College of Radiology,” says Dr. Tina Banson, a radiologist and dedicated mammographer at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. “We’ve worked very hard to make sure we are providing the best breast imaging services possible to the women in our community.”

Peer-review evaluations, conducted in each breast imaging modality by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field, have determined that the Sentara Northern Virginia Comprehensive Breast Center has achieved high practice standards in image quality, personnel qualifications, facility equipment, quality control procedures, and quality assurance programs.

Sentara Northern Virginia Comprehensive Breast Center is also accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC).

Screening mammograms or other breast imaging services can be scheduled by calling (703) 523-1560 or online at sentara.com/mammogram. A physician’s referral is not required for an annual screening mammogram.

 

News
Chick-fil-A’s Cathy Postpones Appearance

PRINCE WILLAM COUNTY, Va. — Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy has always been welcomed at the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, he just won’t visit them this year.

With that, the chamber this afternoon answered mounting questions focusing whether or not it would host Cathy at speaking engagement in Manassas on Nov. 27. Cathy was scheduled to speak with local business leaders about the success of his fast food restaurant chain, but chamber members complained after following a public statement by Cathy noting marriage should only be between a man and woman.

Cathy’s appearance has been rescheduled in early 2013, and all of Cathy’s speaking engagements have been canceled for the remainder of the year, according to the chamber.

Additionally, rumors that the Prince William Chamber of Commerce was considering rescinding Cathy’s invitation were false.

“While we are disappointed at having to move the date of the event, we look forward to offering this opportunity to our membership early in 2013. We know that a great many of our members will understand that, as a business leader, there are times when you must pull back and focus on day-to-day operations. In light of recent events, particularly the loss of one of their long-time employees and top executives, we respect the decision of the Chick-fil-A leadership team in taking the time to do just that.”

The “recent events” Clapper referenced is last week’s death of Chick-fil-A’s long-time corporate spokesman Donald Perry, who had worked for the company for 29 years.

Harvest Life Changers Church in Woodbridge agreed to sponsor Cathy’s Nov. 27 appearance, and will still sponsor Cathy’s scheduled appearance next year.

Prince William County has a unique tie-in with Chick-fil-A. The company’s highest grossing store is on Prince William Parkway near Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge.

 

News
Mechanics Trade In Long Commutes to Work Local

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Matt Ledman spends more time with his family now that he’s not spending three hours a day commuting to and from work.

A mechanic who specializes in Mercedes Benz automobiles, Ledman traded working in Tysons Corner for a job at Steve’s Auto Repair in Woodbridge. He’s found a way to continue to make competitive “Northern Virginia wages” and work close to home.

“I’m about 15 minutes from here, and I can go home for lunch if I wanted to,” said Ledman.

Of the nine employees at Steve’s Auto, seven of them live in Prince William County. Living close by allows the mechanics to focus more on the job and less on the stress of their commutes.

Another employee who traded in his commute for a job at the shop said people here are just plain nicer.

“I got so tired of the people on the roads without common courtesy or respect for other drivers,” said mechanic Eran Mehler, of Lake Ridge, who used to work in Arlington.

Before ST Billingsley purchased Steve’s Auto Repair seven years ago he used to leave his house at 5:05 a.m. weekdays for work in Tysons Corner. After taking over the Woodbridge business he worked to hire a team of qualified mechanics, and quickly learned that if they lived nearby it was a huge bonus.

“The one thing we don’t we don’t complain about here is traffic,” said Billingsley. “Having one thing off our plate has made it a better work environment.”

But Billingsley’s local employees are the exception to the rule. According to 2010 U.S. Census data, 62 percent of workers must leave Prince William to find work. What’s more, 14 percent must leave the state for work.

And, with an average one-way commute time of 38 minutes, residents who leave Prince William share the 12th longest average commute in the nation.

But those commuters who clog interstate highways, pack commuter buses and trains, and are the impetus for more toll lanes in the region, are a necessary evil. Prince William’s largest employers are retailers like Walmart and Target, a day care provider, and Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. That’s not enough to employ a large percentage of workers in a bedroom community of 400,000 mostly made up of government workers.

Even Prince William Board Chairman Corey Stewart, At-large said more government contractors near Quantico are choosing to do business in neighboring Stafford County, skipping Prince William altogether.

Billingsley doesn’t know for sure how many other area businesses enjoy the luxury of having so many employees live close by, but he says hiring local benefits everyone.

“It’s for the economy of Woodbridge: we live here, we work here, obviously we pay taxes here, we buy food here, and with everything so close by it makes everything more enjoyable to work here,” said Billingsley.

 

News
Mega Solar Panel Array Installed in Woodbridge

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — One of the largest furniture stores in the region says they now have the largest solar array in the state.

IKEA Furniture at Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge installed a 63,000-square-foot photovoltaic array, or solar array, that will power the equivalent of 55 homes annually. More from the company’s unedited press release:

IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed atop its store in Woodbridge, Virginia – the state’s largest such photovoltaic array.

The 63,000-square-foot PV array consists of a 504- kW system, built with 2,100 panels. IKEA Woodbridge’s program will produce approximately 636,199 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 439 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 86 cars or powering 55 homes yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html).

This investment by IKEA reinforces the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic (PV) technology. IKEA owns and operates eachof its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings – as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement) – and this Woodbridge installation represents the 21st completed solar energy project for IKEA in the United States, with 18 more locations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 89% with a total generation of 38 MW.

 

News
New Grants Benefit Free Clinic, Midwifery

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A series of grants was awarded this month by the Potomac Health Foundation, based out of Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, to local non-profit agencies in the Potomac Communities. More from the foundation’s press release:

The all-volunteer Board of Directors of Potomac Health Foundation approved grants to 17 not-for-profit agencies. This is only the second set of grants the foundation has awarded since its founding in December 2009. The total dollars awarded was $3,720,427 to support 21 health related projects.

The grants ranged in size from approximately $35,000 to $800,000. Grants were awarded through a competitive application process that began in January 2012. “The grant process was very successful,” said Dr. Carol Shapiro, who chairs the Grants Committee. “We were pleased to award grants to nine first-time agency recipients.” The funded projects will address three community goals of Potomac Health Foundation.

The first foundation goal is to increase access to primary health care for underserved and hard-to-reach populations. An example of an agency serving the first goal is Prince William Area Free Clinic. The Clinic received a grant of $802,603 to expand their clinic on Church Hill Drive in Woodbridge. The grant funded expansion will allow Prince William Area Free Clinic to consolidate clinical services and substantially increase the operating hours and number of patients served.

The second foundation goal is to reduce the incidence of preventable disease and illness. An example of an agency serving the second goal is Project Mend-A-House. The agency received a grant of $75,000 to provide medical alert equipment, assistive living equipment and home repairs so that seniors and persons with disabilities may live safely at home, at less risk of falling or injury.

The third foundation goal is to address emerging health needs and foster innovation innovative projects. An example of an agency serving the third goal is Manassas Midwifery. This agency received a grant of $195,720 to expand their Centering Pregnancy and Centering Parenting programs, which provide prenatal care to at-risk women and a continuum of care to mother and baby through the first year of life. The grant will allow Manassas Midwifery to open a new location in the Dumfries areas.

 

News
After Gay Marriage Stance, Chick-fil-A CEO Coming to Manassas

MANASSAS, Va. — Chick-fil-A President and CEO Dan T. Cathy will come to Prince William County to speak about business. The announcement comes as some are crying foul over his recent comments about marriage, stating a union should only be between a man and woman.

Cathy said his Chick-fil-A company, a privately owned fast-food restaurant chain with its highest-grossing restaurant in Woodbridge, is “guilty as charged” when it comes to upholding the biblical definition of a family to include a man and woman.

In November, the Prince William Chamber of Commerce will invite Cathy to speak at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas on Tuesday Nov. 27. Tickets to the event are being sold for up to $55 each, and Cathy is slated to talk about the success of his family-owned business.

Chick-fil-A makes no bones about being a faith-based company and prides itself on quality service to their customers, and treating their employees well by giving them Sundays off.

But there are some community members, business owners, and members of the Prince William Chamber who don’t appreciate the restaurateur’s stance on marriage, and say Cathy’s work supports groups that oppose gay and lesbian marriage.

“I have understood that one of the goals of our community has been to attract first-class businesses to Prince William County. That is why I was surprised at the announcement of Dan Cathy as a major chamber program. Mr. Cathy like all of us is welcome to his personal views but in recent interviews he has made it clear that there is no separation between his personal views and corporate funds when he is supporting groups opposed to Gay and Lesbian rights,” stated Trinity Episcopal Church Rev. Stuart Schadt of Manassas.

Equality Prince William, a group that supports gay and lesbian rights, stopped short of calling for a boycott of Chick-fil-A.

“E-PW believes that it is an individuals’ choice on what actions they take, so while we are not advocating a boycott of Chick-fil-A, we do have to wonder why anyone would patronize a commercial establishment that is happy to take someone’s money, but who believes that person is a second class citizen,” said Equality Prince William President Jim O’Connor.

Residents also chimed in with their thoughts.

“I suspect that Mr. Kathy solicits for speaking engagements in an effort to meet his income needs. Then he donates that money to demean segments of our society in the name of Christianity which should be an affront to all Christians and, frankly, all real human beings,” stated Kathy Kincheloe of Manassas on her Facebook page.

The Prince William Chamber responded to Schadt’s comments in an email obtained by PotomacLocal.com, stating Chick-fil-A will not profit from Cathy’s upcoming appearance in Manassas, and the speaking engagement will offer an opportunity for local business owners to learn from an organization with top-rated customer service.

“As a membership organization, we represent a diverse range of people and industries from across the political spectrum. To limit our speaker choices to only those figures who are in no way polarizing, would be to do a disservice to the local business community. For instance, it would mean that we would not have hosted receptions with the governor, attorney general and other political figures. At the same time, the Chamber does not exist to move forward anybody’s political agenda,” stated Prince William Chamber CEO Robert H. Clapper, II.

Chick-fil-A takes its roots from Hapeville, Ga., founded in 1946. The company has more than 1,500 locations in 39 states and in Washington, D.C. and saw it’s 2011 sales top $4.1 billion.

 

News
Super Thrift Store Opens to Crowds

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Better late than never. Woodbridge has a new thrift store that opened to fanfare Tuesday night.

Savers, a national chain of thrift stores with seven in the Washington area, held a preview event Tuesday night where shoppers were lined up to get inside the store before it officially opened Thursday morning.

The store’s opening comes about one month later than planned, and store owners did not say what lead to the delay. Signs for the new store went up back in January.

The thrift store chain previously struck a deal with the Vietnam Veterans of America, where the store pays the charity for every donated item. That money in turn goes to support charitable efforts in the area, according to a store press release.

Located in the Potomac Festival shopping plaza across from Potomac Mills mall, the store will continue to hold grand opening specials and give away five $100 Savers gift certificates. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

 

Ladies gathered around to take a closer look at what the store’s boutique counter had to offer. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

JTC’s New Ops Center Keeps Customers up and Running

 

A new network operations center took six months to build at JTC, Inc. in Manassas.

SPONSORED POST

Several improvements now make it easier for a local technology firm to better serve their customers.

In its early days, Jewell Technical Consulting, Inc. (JTC) was a break-fix shop, meaning customers would bring in their broken computers and then pick them up whenever the virus, malware, or any other host of other computer ailments was fixed.

But now the company is a fully managed IT provider complete with Tier 3 engineers ready to assist remotely when issues arise.

“Many companies will make their customers start with Tier 1 technical support. As the customer’s frustration grows due to the Tier 1 tech being unable to solve the issue, they will then escalate to a higher level tech support,” said company spokeswoman Kristen Maxey.

With the addition of a new network operations center at a cost of about $100,000, JTC is now able to send customers directly to a higher tier level to resolve the problem as quickly and efficiently. The company said this has resulted in more satisfied customers.

The new operations center allows JTC to proactively manage the client’s server and systems, as well as monitor for any downtime or interruption in their business. The center is also used to manage the company’s fleet of vehicles and gives them the ability to dispatch a technician that is closest to their customer’s place of business.

“This is benefiting the customer in the long-run. They are better able to budget their IT needs and not worry about their equipment costing them valuable time while it isn’t working properly” said Maxey.

The build-out and setup of the network operations center was planned about a year ago and took six months to complete.

 

News
Town Center on Shortlist for New Stadium Locations

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Prince William County officials are expected to name Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center as the top contender for a new Potomac Nationals baseball stadium.

The county’s Board of Supervisors will hold a press conference at the developing retail, office, and residential center near Dale Boulevard and Interstate 95 at 10 a.m. Tuesday to announce a new public-private partnership.

A finalized deal is not expected to be announced at tomorrow’s press conference, however, officials — who have been tight lipped about a new stadium for the Potomac Nationals — are expected to announce some details of ongoing negotiations.

The Virginia Department of Transportation and Roadside Development, LLC – developers of Potomac Town Center – are also slated to be at the event.

A spokeswoman from Woodbridge Supervisor Frank Principi’s office said the supervisor in the coming months will work with Woodbridge residents through a series of public meetings to get their input on a planned stadium, and its impact on the developing area.

Potomac Nationals officials were not immediately available for comment early Monday, but in recent months have been working closely with county officials and Board of Supervisors members to find a new location for the team. If a new stadium is built, the team would leave their current home at the 28-year-old Pfitzner Stadium behind the Prince William County Government Center in Woodbridge. A portion of that facility caught on fire late last month and no one was injured.

Stonebridge is an economic development bright spot in the area, as it is already home to Wegmans and several fine dining restaurants and retail stores. With homes already in place, office buildings are also planned for the area.

 

News
Government Contractor Locates in Dumfries

DUMFRIES, Va. — Economic development officials in Dumfries reeled in a big fish.

Alaskan government contractor Bowhead will open a new facility next to Town Hall on July 18. The company will welcome locally-elected officials for a tour of their new facility, and President of Bowhead’s parent company, UIC, Anthony Edwardsen and UIC Board Chair Price Brower, will be at the opening. Both men hail from Barrow Alaska, according to company spokesman Jack Gaige.

Bowhead will serve their clients at Quantico Marine Corps Base and other government clients from their Dumfries office. The company holds multiple federal government contracts, according to their website.

For Dumfries Economic Development chief Debbi Sandlin, welcoming the company to the town is the culmination of months worth of work.

“This demonstrates the Town of Dumfries is able to successfully compete with our neighboring jurisdictions to attract the types of companies that will invest in the community by creating job opportunities, increase the visibility of the town as a place to locate and do business, and increase the tax base through their employees eating at local restaurants and shopping in local establishments,” said Sandlin.

In addition to Dumfries, neighboring Stafford County has been successful in luring several high-level government contractors to North Stafford because of its proximity to Quantico.

 

News
Stafford Seminar Will Focus on Small Business

 SMALL BUSINESS SEMINAR BEGINS TUESDAY  

STAFFORD, Va. — Stafford County has long marketed itself as a business-friendly environment. Now officials will hold a small business seminar at the county’s government center to show small businesses owners to ropes to running their companies.

The Entrepreneur’s Express seminar is designed to provide information on start-up basics, where to find financing, making a plan for business and how to market companies. It comes as Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell declared 2012 the Year of the Entrepreneur in Virginia while claiming the state has the most business-friendly climate in the nation.

Stafford’s workshop begins at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the county’s Government Center next to its courthouse on U.S. 1. There’s still room for participants, and pre registration is requested.

The workshop made possible by a partnership with the University of Mary Washington, Germanna Community College, and the Virginia Department of Business Assistance.

 

News
North Stafford Mens Store Loses Lease

NORTH STAFFORD, Va.– A mens clothing shop on Va. 610 appears to be closing. Signs posted outside Sam’s Factory Outlet state “lost our lease.”

The North Stafford shop advertises suits, tuxedos,  alterations and is offering discounts on its remaining merchandise.

The building it occupies was once a newspaper office for the Free Lance-Star.

A clerk working behind the counter Thursday afternoon told PotomacLocal.com he’s not sure what the future holds for the store, or if a new location will open elsewhere in the county.

A customer who lives around the corner came into the shop Thursday afternoon, bought a new shirt and tie, and said he would miss the convenience of a men’s shop in North Stafford.

“We are definitely losing an asset. I don’t really know where I’ll go. Maybe Potomac Mills, but I’ll have to travel outside the area. This one is just right around the corner,” said Maurice Akins.

After speaking with Atkins, the clerk said he did not appreciate PotomacLocal.com speaking with the customer and said he wouldn’t answer any more questions. 

News
County Calls for Verizon 911 Probe

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Emergency call centers in Prince William County are working again after a disruption in 911 service following Friday’s storm.

The storm knocked out 911 and cell service for much of the day Saturday. But it’s the lack of 911 service that has Prince William County officials calling for an investigation into what went wrong.

Verizon, the company responsible for providing 911 service in the, on Sunday blamed the failure on one of it’s facilities in Arlington. But in a press release Tuesday the company states it’s hard to identify just one weakest link in the chain that led to the failure.

“Verizon recognizes the critical public safety nature of 911 services, and we regret that some customers may have been without access to 911 this past weekend,” said Verizon Vice President of Engineering Mike Daigle. “Our 911 network is designed so that there is no one single point of failure anywhere in the network that can interrupt 911 service. Unfortunately, the nature and severity of this particular storm damaged multiple Verizon facilities inside and outside of offices in the affected area, and that’s what led to the weekend’s 911 issues.”

The failures were described as catastrophic, with public officials urging those with emergencies who could not get through to 911 to flag down first responders, to go to the nearest public safety center, or directly to a hospital.

Officials said this is the second time in as many years the 911 system failed. During a snow storm last year, officials said the emergency phone system went down.

“While we appreciate the efforts Verizon made to get the system back up and running, all efforts should be made to ensure that the critical 911 system does not fail in the future,” said Prince William Board of Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey A. Stewart. “We expect Verizon to conduct a full investigation into how the 911 service failed and offer solutions to better secure the system. It is imperative that residents of Prince William County and the entire Washington Metro area never have to face such emergencies without the critical 911 service that can be the difference between life and death for those in need.”

Stewart said he hopes other counties in the area will join with Prince William in calling for an investigation into the failure. Fairfax County officials have also called for an investigation into the 911 failure.

News
Chick-fil-A Reopens in Woodbridge

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — It’s a hot day outside the Chick-fil-A in Woodbridge and restaurant employee Michael Booth is directing traffic in the parking lot.

At this busy Woodbridge eatery, Boothe of Stafford, says it’s not unusual for him to direct traffic in and out of the parking lot, or to the drive-through window.

“I’ve never worked anywhere that someone had to direct traffic,” said Boothe.

Traffic cop is just one of his duties. On other days you can find him serving guests or working in the newly expanded kitchen.

Chick-fil-A on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge reopened for the first time in nearly a month Monday. It closed in early June for renovations that brought a new freezer and new refrigeration space, cookers, and a new salad preparation area to the kitchen.

“We didn’t want to close but we needed the extra room,” said restaurant operator Luis Hevia.

The popular eatery opened at 10:30 a.m. to a hungry lunchtime crowd. With no spaces left in the parking lot, diners chose to park their cars two blocks away in a larger parking lot outside a Bed Bath and Beyond store.

New office and storage space was also added to the restaurant. No changes were made to the dining room or playground area.

The expansion comes as plans to build a new Chick-fil-A in Dumfries and Lake Ridge have slowed. A new Chick-fil-A opened in Springfield earlier this year.

Chick-fil-A employee Michael Boothe directs traffic in and out of the busy restaurant on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge. (Uriah Kiser/PotomacLocal.com)

 

 

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