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Murders, traffic fatalities increase in Prince William County

Chief Barry Barnard of the Prince Willam County Police Department looked back on a violent year.

There were 22 murders in the county in 2016, marking the highest murder rate in Prince William County in 15 years. It topped 2006 when there were 16 murders in the county.

A total of 18 of the 22 murder victims in the county knew their killer. Some, like Prince William police Officer Ashley Guindon, were killed in domestic valence situations.

“We lost a brave and courageous police officer who responded to a call and was murdered, along with Crystal Sheree Hamilton, inside,” said Barnard.

Hamilton, 29, was shot and killed inside her home on Lashmere Court in Dale City on February 28, 2016. Police say that after shooting his wife,  33-year-old Ronald Hamilton then turned his gun on Guindon, 29, killing her.

The murder of 23-year-old Pablito Kamara, 23, on May 30, 2016, is the only homicide case from last year that remains unsolved. Pablito was shot sometime after 2 a.m. outside a nightclub on Golanski Boulevard in Woodbridge and was taken to a local hospital where he later died. (more…)

News
Manassas Journal Messenger building demolished

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The vacant home of a newspaper that served Manassas for more than 150 years is under demolition today.

Heavy equipment rolled into the former home of the Manassas Journal Messenger at 9009 Church Street in Downtown Manassas on Thursday. Walls were torn down to make way for a new development called Messenger Place, which will feature 94 new apartments in a new multi-storey building. There will be 3,500 square feet of retail space on the first floor.

The Manassas Journal Messenger was a daily newspaper that served the city, Manassas Park, and western Prince William County. The paper, along with the Potomac News in Woodbridge, was purchased by Media General in 2008.

The two newspapers featured similar content but had separate banners until Media General merged the papers in 2009, changing its name to News & Messenger. The combined newspaper operated under that name until Media General sold it to Berkshire Hathaway in 2012.

The paper was closed shortly after that.

Photos: Patty Prince, Manassas City spokeswoman 

News
Prince William brewery wins 1st place in statewide craft beer cup

From a press release: 

“The Virginia Craft Brewers Guild held the 2017 Virginia Craft Beer Cup Awards Ceremony Monday, June 5, 2017, at WestRock in Richmond, Virginia. There were more than 240 brewers in attendance to celebrate excellence in craft beer this year. The Virginia Craft Beer Cup competition was managed by master Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) judge Tom Cannon and 40 judges. The competition also benefits from the continued counsel of Bill Butcher, Port City Brewing, and Bill Madden, Mad Fox Brewing. This year 356 beers in 24 categories were entered into the

The competition also benefits from the continued counsel of Bill Butcher, Port City Brewing, and Bill Madden, Mad Fox Brewing. This year 356 beers in 24 categories were entered into the competition. The judging took place Saturday, May 13th at Fair Winds Brewing Company in Lorton, Virginia.

The Virginia Craft Beer Cup continues to be the largest state competition of its kind in the United States. The VCBG is committed to giving its members the opportunity to compete in VA, obtain critical feedback from certified judges and get noticed statewide.”

Local winners:  (more…)

Traffic
‘Some OmniRide routes will follow new routing, many OmniRide and eastern OmniLink routes will have updated schedule times to better reflect recent traffic conditions’

From a press release: 

“PRTC will implement a fare increase on Monday, June 26, and many bus schedules will change on Monday, July 3. In past years, any fare increase took effect on the same day as schedule and routing changes, but PRTC adjusted the date of this year’s fare increase to align with other regional transit providers participating in the SmarTrip fare collection system.

PRTC provides commuter and local bus services as well as ridesharing services in Prince William County, the City of Manassas and the City of Manassas Park. PRTC also co-sponsors the Virginia Railway Express in partnership with the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.

Among the highlights of the coming changes: some OmniRide routes will follow new routing, many OmniRide and eastern OmniLink routes will have updated schedule times to better reflect recent traffic conditions, and fares will increase by an average of 5 percent.

The changes were identified through passenger comments and discussion with PRTC dispatchers and the staff of our contractor, First Transit Inc. Among the major routing changes: (more…)

News
Dyson, of Manassas, to perform at ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans

From a press release: 

Mayah Dyson, of Manassas, VA, performs at ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans – headlined by Diana Ross, John Legend, and Chance the Rapper – on Sunday, July 2. Dyson is an R&B singer-songwriter, actress, and dancer. In 2016, she appeared on Kelly Rowland’s TV show Chasing Destiny and sang backup for Solange on Saturday Night Live. Dyson’s latest video is for her song “I Miss You.”
 
The gig comes through Berklee’s Popular Music Institute (BPMI), which selected Dyson for the festival. BPMI gives students important performance experience and prepares them for the evolving music landscape – where festivals are booming.”

News
Prince William County Arts Council awards NOVEC for supporting arts

From a press release: 

“…the Prince William County Arts Council presented NOVEC with the Kathleen K. Seefeldt Awards for Art Excellence award in the Business Supporter category. NOVEC has been honored with four Seefeldt Awards for its continued support of artists and art organizations in the region.”

From Terraya Lewis, Arts Recreation Specialist, PWC Arts Council:

“Why the Arts Council awarded NOVEC with the Seefeldt Award

         Outstanding Business Supporter – NOVEC proved worthy of meeting/exceeding these qualifications:

— has a significant history of support for the arts in the Region and/or a significant recent showing of support;

— demonstrates financial support for the arts

— encourages or inspires fellow businesses to significantly support the arts.

With info about the award itself /why it’s given out? (more…)



Prince William County Historic Preservation Division offers summer learning and fun in 2017

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At the end of the Prince William County school year, the Historic Preservation Division is gearing up for Summer Camps at Brentsville.

In addition to the popular Civil War Camp, Civil War Advanced Camp, and the Civil War Home Front Camp, We ae offering Camps for older participants this year. All historic Camps can be found in Summer 2017  Leisure Magazine and registration can be completed online by going to pwcparks.org or by calling 703-792-8320.

The 2017 season starts with the ever popular Civil War Basic Camp. This Camp will be held at Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre from July 17th through the 21st and is conducted from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for children aged 8 to 12. Campers participate in activities designed to develop a better understanding of soldier life during the American Civil War. Activities include enlisting in Virginia’s Army, life in camp, infantry drill, “Did Civil War Soldiers really eat that stuff,” Civil War Medicine, and a field trip to Manassas Battlefield Park. The cost is $130 per person.

“On the Home Front” is to be held at Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre from July 24th to the 28th from 9 a.m. to noon. From 1861 to 1865 our nation was at war with itself. Many of the men were away fighting while civilian populations tried to maintain as much a sense of normalcy as possible.

The purpose of this camp is to give both girls and boys aged 8 to 13 a unique opportunity to participate in many of the activities that civilians would have done on a day to day basis. Activities include 19th Century fishing, early games, Games and other pass times, needlework, a day on the farm to include live animals and tending the garden, making ice cream, cooking biscuits and making butter, fashions, a Friday picnic on the grounds. The cost is $150 per person. (more…)

News
Old Grant Avenue flea market is site for new Manassas police station

If shovels were to hit the dirt today, a new police station in Manassas could cost $18.5 million.

An April 2017 study outlines a new police station, dubbed public safety center. The station would be located in the old Grant Avenue Shopping Center in the southwest corner of the city, near Georgetown South.

A four-story, 17,000 square footprint building, is depicted in the study with room for police officers to work, train, to interview witnesses, fingerprint suspects, clean their vehicles, and store weapons. A 911 call center, and police administration offices would also be included in the new building.

Outside there would be a 6,000 square foot building to store collected evidence, and a 3,000 square-foot warehouse to place bicycles and equipment. Police officers spend much of their shifts in patrol cars, so plans also include a 5,300 square-foot parking lot.

The city’s 12 IT staff would also house in the new building, replacing the division’s 4th-floor offices at city hall. Last year, the city purchased a portion of the Grant Avenue Shopping Center where the station would be located. (more…)

Traffic
VRE won’t run Firecracker Special trains this year

The Firecracker Special has burnt out.

Virginia Railway Express announced it would not run its two trains from Manassas and Fredericksburg to the Independence Day celebration and fireworks display in Washington, D.C. on July 4.

The commuter railroad does not offer regular service on that day because of the holiday. The decision to not run the Firecracker Special this year is based on last year’s low ridership numbers, the fact that July 4 falls mid-week on Tuesday, and that “getting the service ready to run for the next morning would be very challenging,” according to a VRE spokesman.

Last year, VRE had a ridership goal of 1,000 per line on July 4. There were 161 on the Manassas line and 364 passengers on the Fredericksburg line.

Last year, tickets for the Firecracker Special were sold for $10 a person.

The Firecracker Special was brought back in 2014 after a 10-year hiatus. Trains on both lines took passengers to Union Station where they could depart and walk the rest of the way to the National Mall for the Independence Day celebration and fireworks. In 2004 and years prior, the July 4 trains stopped at L’Enfant Plaza.

Traffic
VRE submits proposal for $187 million in projects funded by I-66 E-ZPass Express Lanes

Improvements would come to Manassas line, stations 

There’s a pot of $500 million on the table thanks to the Interstate 66 E-ZPass Express Lanes project, and Virginia’s commuter railroad wants its share.

Virginia Railway Express CEO Doug Allen won approval from the railroad’s operations board Friday to submit a $187 million proposal to the state for projects to include the widening of a train storage yard at Broad Run Station at the Manassas Airport and building a third track south of Manassas.

Other projects noted in the package include purchasing 10 new rail cars to extend the length of Manassas Line trains to accommodate more riders, extending a passenger waiting platform at the Downtown Manassas VRE station, and funding for a $26 million parking garage at the Manassas Park VRE Station. The unfunded projects have been on the commuter railroad’s long-range plan.

The $500 million is a lump-sum payment to the state from Express Mobility Partners, “a consortium of Spanish multinational company Ferrovial; a subsidiary, Cintra; global investment and asset management firm Meridian; and construction firm Allan Myers — to finance, design, maintain and operate the toll expressway” on I-66 for 50 years, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe through the state’s Northern Virginia Transportation Authority opened a bid for project proposals June 8. The bids close on June 28, and the monies expected to be awarded to the winning projects before McAuliffe leaves office in January. (more…)