For a Better Commute. For a Better Prince William County.


After McDonalds robbery, young mom shown path to a degree

degree, credit, mcdonalds

Amercian National University (ANU) student Jazmin Lopez works toward her medical associates degree.

ANU provides young mother flexibility, path to medical assisting degree     

Jazmin Lopez, 20, of Manassas, knew that she needed to make a change in her life, and ANU offered her an opportunity to work toward her degree in a growing field.
Her neighbor was the first to recommend American National University, which has a campus in Manassas located on Liberia Avenue.

“They were promoting the school [at Gold’s Gym], when [my neighbor] met a recruiter from ANU,” Lopez said, continuing, “She was giving me information, but I wasn’t so sure about going to school.”

Lopez had made an appointment to meet with the recruiters on the campus, but still wasn’t sold about pursuing her degree.

Then, one night while working at a McDonalds, she was robbed.

“I wasn’t  speaking at the moment,” Lopez said of the experience, which traumatized her. “I thought it was time to change, and turn my life around,” Lopez said, prompting her motivation to get out of the fast food industry and earn her degree.

A few days after the incident, Lopez did meet with an ANU ad visor about the school’s opportunities for her. The robbery proved to be a turning point in her life that made her want to seek new opportunity and a higher education.

“The recruiter asked me why it took me so long to finally decide to go back to school. And I enrolled that same day…I thought it was really a great idea, because it’s only five minutes away from my house. And it caught my eye because they have really small classes, which means more attention for us as students,” said Lopez.

For her, the flexibility of the classes and assistance that the school has provided her, have allowed her to continue her education as a working young mother.

While still working at McDonalds, Lopez is currently obtaining her Medical Assistant degree, as a member of the class of 2016.

credit, mcdonalds, degree

This Manassas woman was robbed while working at a McDonalds. It was then she decided she need to change her life. She went to ANU in Manassas for a better opportunity.

Teen wins NYC trip with “Say I Won’t” video with Manassas City Police Department

#SayIWont, manassas city police department

Captain Trey Lawler and Chief Doug Keen stand behind Mark Johnson.

In December, City of Manassas resident Mark Johnson had an idea for the #SayIWont video contest put on by Grammy Award winner Lecrae Moore and Reach Records. The video contest asked participants to make a 15 second video showing how “you’re not scared to be different.” Mark’s video featured members of the Manassas City Police Department.

Mark Johnson had the idea, in light of current happenings in other areas of the country, to show a positive relationship between the Manassas City Police Department and a City resident. His video shows him coming into MCPD Roll Call and encouraging the officers about to go out in the field.

Mark went to Osbourn High School in the City of Manassas. After a rocky start, including being expelled from school, Mark went back to Osbourn to finish high school with an advanced diploma. When asked why he chose the Manassas City Police Department to feature in his video, Mark said he remembered the great conversations he had in high school with Officer Cahill and he used that contact to make the video happen. 

On Dec. 12, while attending the Manassas City Police Department holiday luncheon, Mark received a phone call from Reach Records saying he had won the national video contest and had won a trip to New York City to accompany Lecrae Moore to a Brooklyn Nets game.

“We are honored that Mark chose the MCPD to feature in his video,” said Chief Doug Keen from the Manassas City Police Department. “Mark Johnson’s video sheds a positive light on relationships with police officers and those relationships are something we want to promote in the City of Manassas. We congratulate Mark on his award winning video.”

Johnson traveled to New York City in December.

The preceding promoted post was written by the City of Manassas.

Picture your art here to win

Winning artwork to be featured on light poles in Manassas

Have you seen the banners that hang on the light poles in the Historic Downtown area of the City of Manassas and in other cities? If you are an artist or aspiring to be one, the art you create could be hanging on one of those light poles.

Historic Manassas, Inc. and the City of Manassas have launched an art contest to fill the banners in Historic Downtown with original pieces of art. The contest will be juried so that one artist will be awarded a grand prize of $1,000 and there will also be “people’s choice award” of $500. The contest deadline has been extended to Feb. 1, 2015.

This contest is part of an effort to promote art and tourism in the City of Manassas. The winning 50 pieces will be featured on the light pole banners and in a walking tour brochure that includes information on the piece and the artist. Information about the contest can be found at

The preceding promoted post was written by the City of Manassas.

John Jenkins will have a locomotive named after him

All aboard the John Jenkins Express.

Jenkins, the longest currently serving Prince William County Board of Supervisors, is recognized for his participation on the Virginia Railway Express Operations Board. He and eight other VRE Board members who played key roles in the development of the commuter railroad since its founding in 1992 will have their names affixed to the front of VRE locomotives.

Here’s a full list of names that will soon appear on commuter trains:

  • Edwin King – Prince William County (Original Member)
  • James Hugh Payne Sr. – City of Manassas (First Elected City of Manassas Member)
  • Bernard Cohen – VA House of Delegates (Original Member)
  • Bob Gibbons – Stafford County (First Elected Stafford Member)
  • Sally H. Cooper – VDOT (Original Member)
  • Sharon Bulova – Fairfax County (Original and Continuously Serving Member)
  • John Jenkins – Prince William County (Long Serving Member)
  • Hilda Barg – Prince William County (Long Serving Member)
  • Elaine McConnell – Fairfax County (Long Serving Member – previously recognized)

The operations board approved adding the names to the locomotives at their monthly meeting this morning.

“Naming locomotives to honor those who helped establish or ensure the success of VRE is a small token of the appreciation we have for the foresight and public service these Board Members have provided in creating VRE,” said  VRE Operations Board Chairman Paul Milde in a press release.

The names that will be affixed to the locomotives belong to those who “played a key role in establishing VRE service, were early or long-tenured members, or whose extraordinary efforts contributed to its success, will be honored by having their names placed on the front of VRE locomotives.”

Virginia Railway Express trains carried more than 320,000 riders in November. Over the past year, the commuter railroad carried 2 million riders.

Declining birth rate no big deal for Prince William region

Fewer women in the U.S. are having babies.

The national birth rate declined in 2013 to 3.93 million births, continuing a six-year drop off. Women between the ages of 15 and 44 last year bore  an average of 1.86 babies, and that’s below the 2.1 average the National Center for Health Statistics said is necessary for a stable population.

Locally, the number of live births at Novant Prince William Medical Center in Manassas fluctuated over the past five years. The hospital was the only local medical center in Prince William and Stafford counties to respond to our records request. The hospital  averaged nearly 2,040.8 babies born over the past five years.

Over time, the numbers have remained steady with the exception of this year’s number, which accounts only for the first 11 months of 2014. Take a look at the numbers the hospital submitted to Potomac Local:

  • 2010=2,177
  • 2011=2,305
  • 2012=2,135
  • 2013=2,015
  • 2014 (through November) =1,572

The down economy is to blame for the decrease in the birth rate. Many millennials are trying to find work or move up at their current job, and that, for some, means putting off starting a family.

In other parts of the U.S., a declining birth rate spells trouble for city populations, as well as companies looking to find workers to fill jobs. In the Washington, D.C. area, things are a bit different. People keep moving here and that, at least for now, offsets any the effect of any population decrease.

“In the last two years, we’ve seen changes in what drives population growth in our metro area,” said Jeannette Chapman, with the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis.

Domestic migration in the Washington area – people moving here from other places in the U.S. – has dropped off while international migration to the area has increased.

Locally, Prince William County and Manassas City has seen more cases of international migration over the past two years while Stafford County to the south has seen more cases of domestic relocation. A number of factors could play into Stafford’s case, including home prices and housing inventory, said Chapman.

The Center for Regional Analysis compares the Washington, D.C. to Houston, Phoenix, and Seattle. In Virginia, military bases have been impacted by sequestration and thousands of jobs have been lost due to federal cutbacks. 

Historically, when the economy tanks federal agencies here ramp up to find a solution to the problem, and that brings in more workers and people.

So, that declining birth rate?

“It’s not a big deal for us; that’s only part of the story,” said Chapman. “If in the longer term things continue to decline, that will change the national narrative, and that could have an effect on our economy here.”

Community leaders meet Quantico officials in Woodbridge

Marines met the public last night in Woodbridge.

The Civilian-Military Council evening social was held at the Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building and was attended by local elected officials and Quantico Commander Col. David W. Maxwell.
Several staff members from Quantico mingled among the public at last night’s meeting.

Santa arrived following an invocation by Rev. Luke Torian from 1st Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dumfries, and remarks from Col. Maxwell and Prince Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan.

Local Lions Club lays wreaths at Quantico National Cemetery

On Dec. 6, members of the Lake Jackson/Mid-County Lions Club were on hand at Quantico National Cemetery to participate in the wreath laying for the Sgt. Mac Memorial Foundation.

Club members taking part in the ceremony were Lions David Penman, Roy Sundberg, Russ and Judy Holt. Also representing Lions of Virginia: District 24-A were District Governor, Jim Ryan, Past District Governor, Phil Schrack, and club members from the Woodbridge, Mason Neck and Dumfries Lions Clubs.

Over 400 volunteers took part in laying 8,600 wreaths to honor our nations fallen service men and women.

Marines Grand Marshals of Dumfries Christmas Parade

40th Dumfries Christmas Parade has global theme


Some of Quantico’s most decorated officers will lead the 40th Annual Dumfries Christmas Parade.

Col. Allen Broughton and Sgt. Maj. Mark Byrd will be the grand marshals for the parade starting at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13. Broughton is the Chief of Staff of the Marine Corps National Capital Region and is based at Quantico. Byrd is Sgt. Major of Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Here’s more information about Broughton taken from a profile provided by Quantico:



He has combat tours in Somalia and Iraq where he deployed as the Commanding Officer of a HMH-363. For their actions while deployed to Al Asad Iraq, HMH-363 was awarded the 2008 Marine Corps Aviation Association “Commandant’s Aviation Trophy.”

Colonel Broughton has advanced degrees from the Marine Corps War College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. His has also attended the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and Marine Corps Command and Control System Course (Advance Communication Officers Course).

Colonel Broughton is married to the former Michelle Lyon of Salt Lake City, Utah and they have three children Victoria (23) a math teacher for Stafford County VA; Cullen (20) a senior at the Virginia Military Institute; and Emma (18) who is a freshman at DePaul University in Chicago.

Here’s more information about Byrd taken from a profile provided by Quantico:



Sergeant Major Byrd reported to Manpower Management Division at Quantico, Virginia in October 2011. He was assigned as the senior enlisted for Manpower Management Support Branch 30 (MMSB-30). He was the subject matter expert on the Marine Corps Performance Evaluation, and fitness reports.

Sergeant Major Byrd assumed his current billet as the SgtMaj of Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia on 18 December 2013.

Sergeant Major Byrd’s awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal two gold stars in lieu of third award, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars in lieu of third award, and the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

Broughton and Byrd joined the Marine Corps in 1982 and 1985, respectively. Both men have agreed to replace Col. David Maxwell, the commanding officer of Quantico Marine Corps Base, who was first offered the role of parade grand marshal but could not attend due to “unexpected obligations,” according to a town resolution.

The theme for the Dumfries Christmas Parade is “Christmas Around the World.” The parade will follow an annual tree lighting ceremony at Town Hall at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6.

For Marine Corps, a Piece of Cake

Marine corps, Quantico, museum

On the Marine Corps’ 239th birthday, cake was served at Quantico.

And, much like everything else that comes with Marines, there was a ceremony stemmed in tradition that was held before anyone took their first bite.

The annual cake cutting at the National Museum of the Marine Corps is a special day. Both the youngest and the oldest Marines present are honored during the ceremony.

“The first piece of cake is given to the oldest Marine present to symbolize our heritage and our history, and then the oldest Marine gives that piece of cake to the youngest Marine symbolizing that we pass down our tradition and our knowledge so that they can carry on the traditions of the Corps,” said museum spokeswoman Gwenn Adams.

The youngest Marine to eat cake on Monday is 20 years old and is preparing to become an officer.

And while Charlie Quick, 79, of Arlington served in the Corps during the Korean War, from 1951 to 1960, he wasn’t the oldest this time. “I can’t get that first piece of cake. I’ll be 80 on my next birthday so maybe I’ll get it next time,” said the regular museum visitor.

Since it opened in 2006, the Marine Corps museum has become a national destination for those who served in the Corps. Commemorative bricks were used to fund a portion of the construction, and many come here to see the ones they’ve purchased.

“This is my first time east of the Mississippi,” said Jack Price, of Avon, Mont., a Marine who served from 1951 to 1954. He came to the east coast specifically to see the museum.

The museum attracts travelers and school children from across the country. It’s so busy t that it is about to grow again as the construction of the final wing of the planned museum is set to begin.

The new area will complete the circular design of the base of the museum, its architecture modeled from an Associated Press photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal of Marines raising the U.S. Flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

The final 126,000 square foot phase of the museum will include a 350-seat theater, art galleries, and new classrooms that will open in 2017. Historical galleries, a new exhibit showcasing a time between WWI and WWII, and a changing exhibit area will open in 2018, 2019, and 2020, respectively.

Marine musuem cake 2 Marine museum cake 5 Marine museum cake 4 Marine museum cake 3

Drivers Sit in Jammed Traffic at Quantico

Quantico Marine Corps Base stalls at 2 gates 


Drivers getting off Interstate 95 heading for the back gate of Quantico slowed early on Wednesday.

A line of cars formed on the shoulder of the northbound side of the highway before exit 148 at the Stafford / Prince William County line. Below the highway, a sea of cars sat on Russell Road with drivers all trying to make their way on to Quantico Marine Corps Base about 7:30 a.m.

Further north at exit 150 at Dumfries / Triangle, another line of cars headed for the main gate of the Marine Corps base formed on the shoulder of the highway. Surrounding roads leading to the main gate Joplin Road and Route 1 were also jammed due to the congestion.

So, what was happening to cause such big delays at both main entry points?

“There was nothing going on. Absolutely nothing,” said Maj. Andrew J. Bormann, a Quantico Marine Corps Base spokesman. “Some days it’s like that, some days it’s not.”

The congestion cleared up after drivers passed the entry gates to the base, added Bormann. Military police guard the gates and check drivers’ IDs and permits affixed to car windshields that permit military personnel and civilian employees access to Quantico.

There was no heightened security at Quantico on Wednesday, and military police were not randomly stopping drivers for security purposes, according to information provided by Bormann.

In 2013, the a federal traffic study was conducted at Quantico’s main gate and along Route 1 ad at Russell Road at Quantico’s back gate, and at nearby Boswells Corner in Stafford County. It found that the traffic operates at “acceptable” levels except in the area of Joplin Road.

If nothing is done to improve overall traffic flow in the area, all of the intersections will be overcapacity by 2040, the study states. Work is underway to widen Route 1 at Boswells Corner, and work to widen Route 1 in Triangle from four to six lanes was recently completed.

Drivers wait in delays at Route 1 and Joplin Road before entrering Quantico Marine Corps Base.

Drivers wait in delays at Route 1 and Joplin Road before entrering Quantico Marine Corps Base.


FBI Investigates ISIS Fliers at Quantico

Fliers that appear to be connected to the so-called Islamic state or ISIS, appeared to have been found at Quantico.

A government employee on Wednesday afternoon stumbled upon seven fliers while in the Town of Quantico, geographically located inside Quantico Marine Corps Base. Officials said the fliers contained the ISIS symbol and Arabic text.

The leaflets displayed the Islamic State’s symbol and were accompanied with the Arabic text, “We are here from Mexico, and came by train,” Maj. Major Andrew J. Bormann, Quantico Public Affairs director, stated in an email.

The fliers were found along River Road in the town and later turned over to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Bowman said the fliers could be a hoax, but added the fliers are being taken very seriously and added the protection of the base, Marines, and base employees are a top priority.

No arrests have been made in connection with the fliers. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is looking into the validity of the fliers.

Town officials are also watching developments in this case.

“The town intends to take all necessary steps to assess the authenticity of the leaflets and to communicate all relevant information to town and base residents as well as the general public,” said Quantico Mayor Kevin Brown. “At this time there does not appear to be any increased risk persons or property.

Quantico officials said the level of security at the base has not been heightened due to the discovery of the fliers. Officials also did not say in which building the fliers were found.

I-95 Delays Expected for Arrival of World Trade Center Steel

Motorcycle procession headed to Marine Corps Museum as part of dedication 


The arrival of a piece of steel from the World Trade Center is expected to cause delays this weekend on Interstate 95.

The steel will be brought from New York City to the National Museum of the Marine Corps at Quantico. It’s part of a new memorial that commemorates 17 New York City firefighters who also were Marines.

Here’s more in a press release:

The steel will be brought from Brooklyn, New York on Oct. 4 and will be accompanied by approximately 800-1000 motorcycles in the final Iron and Steel Run. The convoy is expected to be approximately five miles long and may cause significant impact to traffic on Interstate 95. Virginia Department of Transportation will be closing the HOV lanes to accommodate the convoy which is expected to arrive at the National Museum at approximately 4 p.m.

A dedication for the steel memorial will be held at the museum beginning at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The service is open to the public. Prior to the ceremony at 9:30 a.m., a procession of motorcycles will ride from Quantico Corporate Center in North Stafford to the museum at Quantico.

Modern Day Marine is Largest Marine Corps Expo




Hundreds of companies featured at Modern Day Marine


Modern Day Marine is called the premier expo for all things military.

Held Sept. 23 through 25 this year, the event showcases arms, equipment, drones, clothing and gadgets that the Marine Corps will use in war fighting both here and overseas.

There are hundreds of exhibitors that come to the Modern Day Marine event. Exhibitors like the Solarwinds company monitors the security of networks and is able to identify communication problems that may be uncounted by war fighters in the field. Samsung, developer of everything from TVs to cell phones, is also listed as an exhibitor at Modern Day Marine as it looks integrate more, smaller technology like computer hardware, into the hands of the nation’s military.

While the Modern Day Marine expos on full display at Quantico each year, there are also two other Modern Day Marine expos in the U.S. Marine West is held at Camp Pendleton in California and Marine South is held at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Potomac Local went to this year’s Modern Day Marine at Quantico and snapped these photos and put them into a slide show.

Quantico Hosting Blockade Run Kayak and SUP Races

QUANTICO, Va. — The Town of Quantico is pleased to partner with the Ft. Belvior/Quantico Chapter of Team River Runner and the American Canoe Association (ACA) in hosting the 2nd Annual Blockade Run Kayak and SUP Races on Saturday Sept. 20, from 3 to 7 p.m. 

This event will include the following races: 1K kayak race, 1K kayak 4-person team relay race, 1K SUP race, 1K SUP 4-person team relay, 250M Kids kayak race and 250M Kids SUP race. An awards ceremony will follow the races.

All equipment will be provided and is included in the registration fee. The registration fee for this event is $20 for adults, kids race for free. Same day registration will be available on race day. This event is open to the public.

Children eight years old and over are welcome to participate but must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. This event will be held at Raftelis Potomac River Park 408 River Road in Quantico. Team River Runner (TRR), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, gives active duty service-members and veterans an opportunity to find health, healing, and new challenges through whitewater boating and other paddling sports. Participants/individuals wishing to learn more about the mission of Team River Runner are encouraged to visit 

To register, please contact Mayor Kevin Brown at cell/text (571) 334-3432 or Find out more about this and other town events by visiting or by searching for “Town of Quantico” on Facebook.

Alfredo N. Fernandez, of Montclair, Completed U.S. Navy Basic Training

Navy Seaman Apprentice Alfredo N. Fernandez, son of Claudia Fernandez of Montclair, Va., recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

During the eight-week program, Fernandez completed a variety of training which included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. An emphasis was also placed on physical fitness.

The capstone event of boot camp is “Battle Stations”. This exercise gives recruits the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the fleet. “Battle Stations” is designed to galvanize the basic warrior attributes of sacrifice, dedication, teamwork and endurance in each recruit through the practical application of basic Navy skills and the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. Its distinctly ”Navy” flavor was designed to take into account what it means to be a Sailor. 

Fernandez is a 2011 graduate of Forest Park Senior High School, Woodbridge, Va. 

Future of Quantico Farmers Market in Doubt

QUANTICO, Va — Last Thursday marked the end of season and possibly the run of the farmers’ market at Quantico.

When the program launched last year, it was funded as a part of the Healthy Base Initiative pilot program. With funding cut for next season, Elizabeth Borst, Quantico Farmers’ Market Manager,said they are working on alternative resources to keep the market afloat. On average, 500 people visited the market each week. It’s a hopeful number but Borst admits that numbers need to double to remain viable.

One of the biggest challenges for the market is the transient nature of a military lifestyle.

“We would build our customer base and then they would all move away and then we’d have to start again,” Borst said. “Our lesson learned with that is we should get out in front of PCS season, and let Marines know about the farmers’ market as soon as they know of their active duty station.”

Borst who also manages the Spotsylvania Farmers’ Market, advocates the importance of fresh, local and affordable foods on base. This year, the market partnered with Semper Fit, the Marine Corps Exchange, the Commissary and other base organizations to advocate the importance of a healthy diet.

“It’s been about trying to expose military families to fresh food right in their community so that’s it’s easy for them to eat healthy,” Borst said.”We had a stronger season this year, than last. We hope to grow more each season but it takes time to change peoples’ eating habits and behaviors.”

Thanks to the help of Lauren King, dietitian at Semper Fit, people were able to get information and advice on food education and preparation. King attended the market bi-weekly as the “Vegucation Station” expert, offering materials that were provided by the Virginia Cooperative Extension. Each week  King offered counseling and take-home material with preparation instructions and recipes based on in-season produce.

“We have found in the military community that these farmers markets look nice and pretty and Marines [their families and civilians] want to buy produce but they’re not really sure what to do with it once they bring it home,” King said.

In addition to food education, the market also invited a variety of food trucks each week. They also changed start times this season from 2 p.m. to 10 a.m., to accommodate work schedules. But regardless of the time switch, Lucia Anderson, a Marine spouse and an avid farmers’ market participate, said the base hours have always been much better than farmer’s market out in town, which usually are on Sundays and overcrowded, she said.

“I’m really delighted that they have a farmers’ market here for military families,” said Anderson, a Woodbridge resident. “The farmers’ market in Dale City near my home is only open on Sundays during church hours. The market here is very convenient because you can get you produce and then your groceries at the commissary.”

The future of the market is up in the air, but King and Borst said they remain hopeful. They also encourage families, civilians and military members who want to see the market back, voice their opinion and support.

Quantico Construction Projects On Tap for Winter Completion

QUANTICO, Va. — As the calendar draws closer to the start of its fourth quarter, two of the most prominent construction projects aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico are on schedule for completion.

Traffic relief will be a step closer too with next month’s scheduled completion of the Russell Road Phase II project, and Marine Corps University’s expansion is on tap for occupancy by Jan. 2.

The latest phase is Russell Road’s second of three planned stages designed to ultimately widen the half mile of road between the Marine Corps Federal Credit Union and the Davis Center from two to four lanes. The project has proven a challenge at times to base traffic with partial road closures during peak traffic hours in the morning and late afternoon.

The $6 million Russell Road Phase II endeavor, which involves the relocation of sanitary sewer and the installation of a storm water pipe underway, in addition to adding two new traffic lanes, is tentatively slated for completion in early December. Work on this project is being performed by Arlington-based Corinthian Contractors.

Gadson: Another Round of BRAC Possible for Area

LORTON, Va. — Fort Belvoir’s Commander Gregory D. Gadson will retire from his post in September; on the heels of what he said could be another round of base closures and realignments.

While there is no official talk of such a move, Gadson said Friday he thinks another round of BRAC, the Base Realignment and Closure commission as its referred to by federal officials, is a real possibility.

“I think there will be another BRAC, though, Congress has forbid us to use the word BRAC,” said Gadson to a group of business owners at a Prince William Chamber of Commerce event in Lorton.

The two military bases in our area, Fort Belvoir and Quantico Marine Corps Base, are fresh off a round of BRAC that was passed into law in 2005. The order meant military offices located inside commercial office buildings in Arlington closed and relocated to the secure military bases.

Fort Belvoir was most impacted by BRAC 2005 than any other military installation as it saw 20,000 new federal workers transferred to the base, on the main post, the new National Geospatial Agency in Springfield, and Rivana Station outside Charlottesville. Quantico saw about 3,000 new federal employees move onto base as part of BRAC. The majority of the BRAC relocation was complete by 2012.

Gadson will leave his post retiring after 26 years of service, with tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He’s stepping down amid explosive growth at Fort Belvoir as a new 270,000 square feet Exchange store has just opened – the largest in the U.S. – as well as the new Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.

The base has also become a leader in proving military housing to those who work on the base, as well as some Marines who work at Quantico. Fort Belvoir now contracts with a private property management firm to maintain its 2,100 military housing units, some newly built as part of BRAC.

“We can officially say that BRAC has ended but the work of BRAC at Fort Belvoir continues,” said Gadson.

There are other improvements underway at the base, including widening U.S. 1 from Telegraph Road to six lanes from Va. 235 (Mount Vernon Highway), as well as adding a new Twitter account to increase the garrison’s social media presence.

“I don’t tweet, but someone else does maintain that,” quipped Gadson.

The commander will remain in the area after retiring, he said. He continues to encourage small businesses to hire military veterans.

Bridge Hit by Dump Truck Needs Repair

050914-bridgeQUANTICO, Va. — An overpass in the Interstate 95 Express Lanes corridor has been damaged.

Construction crews must repair a girder on the on a bridge carrying Interstate 95 traffic over Russell Road, just outside the rear entrance to Quantico Marine Corps Base.

A dump truck struck a girder on the bridge, which lies within the 95 Express Lanes Project where crews are working to convert the highway’s existing HOV lanes between Dumfries and the Pentagon to toll lanes, as well as extend them south from Dumfries to North Stafford.

While the bridge work isn’t expected to impact I-95 traffic, orange cones will go up on Russell Road – an area that can become congested during the morning and evening rush hours as workers enter and exit the Marine Corps Base.

The work was due to begin on or about May 5 and is expected to last into June.


Quist Only New Mayoral Face in Prince William’s Towns

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — In the wake of Tuesday’s town elections in Prince William County, much is still the same except in Occoquan.

That’s where Mayor-Elect Elizabeth A.C. “Liz” Quist will replace the retiring Mayor Earnie Porta, whose during his six-year term became the biggest cheerleader for the tiny town on the Occoquan River. He’ll most likely seek higher office during a later election.

Quist, a tax accountant, says she’ll champion issues like financial responsibility, as well as creating an operating budget that isn’t so dependent upon revenues generated from the town’s two highly attended spring and fall craft fairs.

“We’re a growing town, and we’ve got a great staff that’s put together, and it’s time we polish our procedures that we have in place to make sure they’re efficient,” said Quist.

Part of that new staff is Town Manager Kirstyn Barr who was hired earlier this year. And, serving as town crier over the past few years has been an email newsletter distributed by Porta – something Quist said she may try to replace but will never be able to duplicate.

“Earnie has done a lot of set us up… we’ve got a strong council, now…we have to make sure that we work together,” said Quist. “There will be some changes and people with feel that after having the same leader for six years, but I hope people won’t have to feel a huge shift.”

While Quist ran unopposed, the mayors of Prince William’s others towns of Dumfries, Haymarket, and Quantico all had candidates looking to unseat sitting mayors. All of the challengers failed.


In Dumfries, Gerald “Jerry” Foreman will hold onto his seat, after briefly dropping out of the race on April 1 before jumping back in, beating Vice-Mayor Willie J. Toney by 87 votes.

“This is a message from the voters telling the council members work with the mayor by saying ‘this is the mayor we want, you gave us a choice, and we’re telling you which mayor has the vision and which mayor which mayor is going to move us forward,’ and they’re telling the council move… and work with the mayor,” said Foreman.

All of the incumbent council members – Gwen Washington, Kristen Forrester, and Derrick Wood – will keep their seats after two write-in candidates – Cydny Neville and Christy Hart – failed to get enough votes to unseat them.


Mayor Kevin Brown will keep his seat in Quantico, beating out former Mayor Isis Ross Tharpe by 46 votes of the 146 that were cast on Tuesday.

“I believe the outcome of the mayoral race shows that the people in town have recognized the progress made over the past two years and approve of the direction the town is headed in,” Brown wrote in a prepared statement.

Brown applauded residents for re-electing Vice Mayor Russell “Rusty” Kuhns, and noted he was surprised voters installed the husband and wife team of Councilwoman Peggy Alexander and Councilman-Elect Lucian G. “Alex” Alexander on the dais.


In Haymarket, Mayor David Leake will keep his seat despite being censured by his fellow councilmembers several times over an internal investigation involving the town’s police chief. He beat out challenger Josh Mattox by 68 of the 264 votes cast on Tuesday.

Flag Returns to Statue, Repairs Needed

The flag on the Iwo Jima statute at the main entrance to Quantico Marine Corps Base is flying again.

The banner was removed March 31 after a crack in the statue was found, on the hand of one of the men in the sculpture.

Quantico spokesman 2nd Lt. Matthew Rojo says repair work is scheduled for the statue. He’s not clear how long it will take to repair the hand, however.

A target of vandals, the statue was defaced in 2012 when a line of pink spray paint was smeared on the base of the statue.

Architects used the highly recognizable statue, modeled after a World War II photograph, to design the National Museum of the Marine Corps which opened in 2006.

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