Read Us Daily for News in Prince William, Manassas, & Stafford

Military

Traffic
HOV Violators Targeted

Taking the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on Interstate 95 Tuesday? Make sure your car has three or more occupants.

Virginia State Police along with other agencies are cracking down on those who violate the HOV laws as part of a stepped up enforcement effort, Capital HOV Awareness Day.

Police will be out in force during both the morning and evening rush hours driving the length of the lanes as well as sitting along the highway trying to spot violators, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

The enforcement methods will shift throughout the morning and evening to avoid traffic backups.

While vehicles on HOV lanes on I-95 and 395 must have three or more occupants, vehicles on I-66 must have two occupants to use the lanes.

Police in Maryland will also step up enforcement on their HOV lanes, on I-270 and the John Hanson Highway (U.S. 50).

During the special HOV enforcement last year, police issued 2,300 summons and arrests over the two-day enforcement period, said Geller.

News
Dudenhefer: PWC, Stafford Share Common Problems

Stafford Sheriff Charles E. Jett (left) and Speaker of Virginia’s House of Delegates (right) introduces Mark Dudenhefer (center) who vying to fill the seat of Virginia’s 2nd House District seat. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

North Stafford, Va. –– He described it like a summer afternoon in his native Louisiana, where hot days give way afternoon storms that bring heavy rain.

But as showers cleared, from a soggy tent Saturday afternoon at the Quantico Corporate Center in North Stafford, that county’s top elected official announced he is seeking a promotion. Mark Dudenhefer wants to be the next member of Virginia’s House of Delegates in the 2nd District, filling a seat that was shifted this spring to the Potomac Communities from Southwest Virginia during the decennial redistricting process.

Serving on Stafford’s Board of Supervisors since 2006 and its chairman since 2010, the Republican noted he helped to pass the county’s first comprehensive development plan in the past 22-years and brought civility back to a Board once rife with arguments between Board members.

“I entered [politics] following a long military career because of a dreadful family tragedy. It created in me a passion in me to serve in a different way to make life better for my friends, family and neighbors and most of all to direct my energy to making our roads safe,” said Dudenhefer.

His youngest daughter, Emily, was killed in a car crash on a two-lane road Stafford County prior to his first term on the Board. It pushed him to run for public office, and on Saturday, he said fixing the region’s transportation problems remains a personal goal.

In addition to widening Stafford’s many two-lane roads, also touted widening Jefferson Davis Highway (U.S. 1) from four to six lanes from the Occoquan River in Woodbridge to Garrisonville Road (Va. 610) in North Stafford, expanding service on Virginia Railway Express and allowing drivers to access what will be Interstate 95’s High Occupancy Toll lanes from Dumfries Road (Va. 234) when construction is scheduled to begin as soon as next year.

In addition to Dudenhefer’s Republican-learning home turf of North Stafford, the 2nd House District also includes many democratic precincts in Prince William County east of U.S. 1 like Potomac, Swans Creek and Featherstone which in 2009 voted against Gov. Robert F. McDonnell who beat out his democratic opponent with nearly 60 percent of the vote statewide.

Right now, the Dudenhefer is running unopposed but says he may face a democratic challenger, as well as a Republican challenger that would force a primary.

“I want to assure the people of both eastern Prince William and northern Stafford counties that if elected I will represent the interests of all who reside inside these boundaries. We share common problems, common interests and common values,” said Dudenhefer.

News
Storms Possible Tonight

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Prince William County until 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

It comes as a large area of storms is moving east from the Charlottesville area into the Potomac Communities.

Temperatures have been hovering the in the high 80s and low 90s today, with periods of bright sunshine, making conditions ripe for scattered thunderstorms.

The forecast calls for more storms into the evening hours and throughout the day Sunday.

Temperatures are forecasted to drop significantly on Monday and Tuesday, as temps on Tuesday should hover in the mid-70s, according to the National Weather Service.

News
Unemployment Lowest in Northern Virginia

Prince

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart.

Prince William County, Va. –– The unemployment rate for jurisdictions along the Potomac River continues to fall.

Stafford County’s unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent in April, down from 5.6 percent in April 2010.

Prince William County also posted a 4.9 percent unemployment number, down from 5.7 one-year ago.

While the two jurisdictions aren’t leading the region in job creation, officials in Prince William County this week credited the federal government and private sector jobs for the rise in the recent employments statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, which are well below the national unemployment average of 9.1 percent in May.

“Prince William County is located at the center of Northern Virginia, and our residents provide the highly skilled workforce needed to fill the jobs created throughout the Northern Virginia region,” said Prince William Board Chairman Corey A. Stewart in a press release. “We are committed to providing solutions for the federal government and private sector industries – particularly with regard to BRAC, the life sciences, data centers and government contractors – which continue to bring quality jobs to Prince William County and the rest of the Northern Virginia region.”

Arlington leads the area with the lowest unemployment rate of 3.4 percent, while Loudoun County comes in second with 3.9 percent, according to the Labor Department.

Fairfax County shows an unemployment rate of 4.0 percent.

Virginia localities still struggling to regain ground the economy is Martinsville, with an unemployment rate of 20.6 percent –– the lowest unemployment rate in the state.

Williamsburg has the second-worst unemployment rate in the state at 15.6 percent.

News
Slide Show: Air Disaster Drill at Quantico

Photos By Mary Davidson

Quantico, Va. –– A disaster scenario where two helicopters collided in mid-air over Quantico Marine Corps Base played out Thursday morning.

One chopper crash landed and caught fire while the other made a hard landing, leaving rescue crews with at least 30 injured patients.

While it was only a drill, the training exercise was held to gauge how well crews on the base and rescue officials in surrounding Prince William and Stafford counties could respond to such a disaster.

The simulated crash site was in a field surrounded by trees, and representatives from Sentara Potomac Hospital, Stafford Hospital Center and the Naval Medical Clinic on base were just of few of the ones scheduled to participate.

Among the items being monitored during the event, communication between participating agencies, how quickly the agencies responded to the event and how well base officials worked to get word out to the public about the crash.


News
Video: Large Hail, Strong Storms Hit Area

Woodbridge, Va. –– A line of severe thunderstorms moved through the Potomac Communities late Thursday night bringing reports of ping pong-ball size hail in Woodbridge.

Much of the area was placed under a severe thunderstorm warning by the National Weather Service shortly after 11 p.m. The slow-moving storms brought heavy rain, high winds and dangerous lightning.

Large hail was also reported, according to the weather service.

The storms came after the region saw nearly record-breaking temperatures on Thursday.

Reagan Washington National Airport flirted with the 100 degree mark for much of the afternoon, and by 3:52 p.m. the mercury had reached 101 degrees. Add four to five degrees to that temperature for the heat index and that’s what people felt when they ventured out of the air conditioning.

A heat advisory was in effect throughout the day, expiring at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Temperatures will fall back into the lower 90s on Friday and into the high 80s for the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

The possibility of showers and thunderstorms remain in the forecast over the next three days.

Unedited video of lightning rolling through Lake Ridge just before midnight Thursday.

News
Marines Begin Making Music Tonight

Quantico Marine Corps Band begins its summer concert series tonight (File photo)Triangle, Va. –– Marines are about to bring some music to what has become to what has already been a hot unofficial start to summer.

The Quantico Marine Corps Band will kick off their summer concert series at 7 p.m. at the National Museum of the Marine Corps off Jefferson Davis Highway (U.S. 1) in Triangle.

Admission to the show is free and it will take place on the lawn outside of the museum.

Concessions will be available for sale.

Traffic
Officials Want Metro to Woodbridge on New Map

Washington Metro System (Courtesy: Planet Ware)

Woodbridge, Va. –– Officials want Metro to show riders they plan to someday extend system to the Potomac Communities.

In a letter to the Washington Metropolitan Transportation Authority today, Virginia State Sen. Toddy Puller (D-36, Prince William, Stafford), Del. Luke Torian (D-52, Dumfires, Woodbridge) and Del. Scott Surrovel (D-44, South Fairfax) urged the agency to include an extension of the system’s Blue Line to Woodbridge and Yellow Line to Fort Belvoir on a newly redesigned subway system map that will be used by riders.

The politicians say residents along the Richmond Highway (U.S. 1) corridor are crying out for an extension of the Yellow Line because of the military’s BRAC relocation of personnel to Fort Belvoir, which is expected to bring at least 19,000 new employees to the garrison.

A Blue Line extension would allow employees who are being relocated from the National Geospatial Defense Facility in Rosslyn to the Engineering Proving Grounds on Fort Belvoir to use the rail instead of being forced to drive on Interstate 95, the letter stated.

“It would serve the fastest growing part of Fairfax County over the last 10 years around the former Lorton Prison site. Extending the Blue Line to Woodbridge and Dale City would spur revitalization to the Route 1 corridor, bring relief to people with some of the longest commutes in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and take cars off the constantly clogged Interstate I-95,” the letter stated.

A $2 million transit study approved by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell will examine transportation improvements in the area between the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and Quantico Marine Corps Base. These three officials hope a Metro rail extension will be largely considered during this study.

The letter comes as Metro announced it would redesign it’s 40-year-old system map to reflect the addition of the system’s new Silver Line to Tysons Corner, and eventually Dulles Airport.

An extension of Metro’s Blue Line to Woodbridge quickly became a campaign issue in 2009, but officials never said how they would fund such an extension.

The idea was supported by then Delegate Paul Nichols, but he went onto lose to Del. Richard Anderson (R-51, Lake Ridge) who said he supported providing additional funding to Virginia Railway Express rather than Washington’s Metro system.

As the Metro map is set for a redesign, Greater Greater Washington has invited its readers to submit their ideas for a newly redesigned map. You can see those designs here.

News
Heat Advisory Issued for Wednesday

The heat and humidity will make a return to the Potomac Communities on Wednesday.

Temperatures are expected to climb into the mid 90s, and heat index values will make it fell as hot as 105 degrees outside, according to the National Weather Service.

That has prompted a heat advisory for the area from noon until 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Residents are urged to stay indoors in air conditioning, put off strenuous activity until the late evening or do it during the early morning hours, know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and to wear light-colored clothing.

News
Quantico: Shootings Violated Marines

(File photo)

Quantico, Va. –– The person who shot at iconic U.S. military buildings last fall is still out there.

That’s the message from Quantico Marine Corps Base Commander Col. Daniel J. Choike, who reminded the public that the search is still on for whoever shot at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, The Pentagon, a U.S. Marine Corps recruiting facility in Fairfax County and a U.S. Coast Guard recruiting facility outside Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge.

Those shootings took place in the overnight or early morning hours of Oct, 17, 19, 25, 26, and 29. No one was injured, but an FBI investigation has linked ammunition in each of the shootings to a single weapon.

“If anyone in our military community has heard or knows something about the past shootings, then I encourage them to pick up the phone and call the FBI.  Every piece of information is relevant and investigators will work diligently to tie all the pieces together to complete the puzzle in an effort to solve this case,” said Choike in a press release. “These shootings are a direct attack on our nation’s assets that honor the sacrifice, commitment, accomplishments of all Marines, as well as fellow service members.  Each shot fired violates everything that we stand for and this community has a duty to stand up and reject these acts of violence by calling the appropriate authorities.”

During an FBI press conference last fall, authorities said whoever fired the shots most likely has a grievance toward the U.S. Marine Corps, or may have been wronged in his or her personal or professional life. Authorities asked that person to come forward, say they were willing to listen to “their side of the story.”

Following the shootings, a $20,000 reward was offered by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the shootings.

News
Around Town

A tree fell on a house in Stafford late last month, prompting officials to condemn the house. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Will grant money go to hire teachers for hard-to-staff schools?
Teachers who want to take grant money from Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and put it toward pay incentives to hire teachers for hard-to-staff schools in Prince William County, reports Insidenova.com.

Where’s Virginia’s high-speed rail?
A prominent Virginia businessman says Virginia just doesn’t get the big picture when it comes to high-speed rail, and that’s he’s disappointed in Gov. Robert F. McDonnell for not doing more to bring faster trains to the state, reports the Washington Post.

Roads with route numbers above 600 may be out of luck
If the route numbers are above 600, they may not be widened for some time, reports My Piece of the Planet.

Stuart wins award for helping to protect the Chesapeake
When it comes to protecting the Chesapeake Bay, Sen. Richard Stuart (R, 28th –– Stafford, Prince William) has won an award for his efforts, reports Fredericksburg.com.

Groupon loses, so what does that mean for another popular coupon site
The Washington Business Journal asks what do losses for social coupon site Groupon say about Washington-based competitor Living Social?

News
Students Will Present Plaque to First Lady

 

Quantico, Va. –– First Lady Michelle Obama is coming to speak to the graduating class of Quantico Middle / High School tonight.

We reported months ago that Mrs. Obama would be the school’s commencement speaker, but when a school administrator gathered the senior class to tell them she was coming they initially thought they had done something wrong.

“When I was notified that the First Lady had chosen to speak at Quantico Middle/High School’s 2011 commencement ceremony, I called a special meeting of the senior class. They confided in me later that they thought they were in trouble. Once they were all seated I told them that Mrs. Michelle Obama would be their keynote commencement speaker. They all screamed collectively – they were so thrilled,” said Quantico Middle / High School Principal Michael Hollier.

He doesn’t know why the First Lady chose to be the school’s commencement speaker, but says students there have long supported her causes such as fighting childhood obesity, and the “Joining Forces” initiative to support the family members of U.S. troops.

The graduating class from Quantico is about 27 students large, and they’ve put together a memento for the First Lady: A special plaque made from old recycled gym floor. On the plaque is a photo of the graduating class in their caps and gowns.

Quantico is one of the two final stops on the First Lady’s 2011 commencement speech circuit this year.

In addition scheduled speeches Iowa and Atlanta’s Spellman College, Obama was also scheduled to address graduates of West Point Military Academy.

News
Around Town

Bus driver in fatal crash has NOVA traffic violations
The driver charged in a fatal bus crash that occurred earlier this week in Caroline County has a record of other traffic violations in Northern Virginia, reports the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Hylton’s principal leaving
Hylton’s High School’s beloved administrator is moving onto another challenge, reports Dale City Patch.

10 dead on Va. roads over holiday weekend
10 people died in crashes on Virginia roads over the Memorial Day holiday, reports Fredericksburg.com.

Betts murder accomplice gets 30 years
An accomplice in the Brian Betts slaying, the D.C. school principal from Manassas who was murdered inside his Maryland home last year, gets 30 years in prison, reports NBCWashington.com.

News
Around Town

Woodbridge child eliminated from National Spelling Bee
A contestant in the National Spelling Bee from Woodbridge was eliminated Wednesday, reports Insidenova.com.

Tito the Builder gets his primary
Tito the Builder gets what he wants: A Republican Primary to decide the next GOP candidate for Virginia’s 36th Senate District, reports The Washington Post.

Bus crash stats released
Following the deadly bus crash earlier this week on Interstate 95, AAA has released stats on bus crashes on roads across the nation, Fredericksburg.com reports.

Lotto ticket giveaway
A man who had 10 winning lottery tickets is now helping to give some lottery tickets away, reports NBCWashington.com.

A little help to find your way around campus
George Mason University will begin using names like Aquia and Rappahannock to help guide visitors and new students to the college around campus, reports Connect2Mason.

Restrictions tightening for area for-profit colleges
The government wants to shut down for-profit colleges that have large amounts of students who cannot pay back their student loans because of unsuccessful career placement programs, reports the Washington Business Journal.

News
Hot Today, Storms Forecasted Tonight

Update 2:30 p.m.
A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the Potomac Communities until 10 p.m.

The National Weather Service has forecasted strong storms to move through the region this afternoon and tonight. Some may contain strong winds, heavy downpours and large hail.

Original Post 1: 30 p.m.
This afternoon’s hot temperatures should give way to a round of severe thunderstorms this afternoon.

A heat advisory remains in effect for the Washington area until 8 p.m., but those thunderstorms could begin moving through the area this afternoon and lasting through tonight.

Some of them could contain heavy downpours, high winds and large hail, according to the National Weather Service.

The temperature at Reagan Washington National Airport at 1:30 p.m. was 94 degrees, but heat index values made it feel like 100 or more degrees outside.

Despite the hotter than normal temperatures, officials in Prince William County say they have not responded to a higher than normal amount of calls for people suffering heat exhaustion.

But that doesn’t mean the hot weather doesn’t take a toll on the body.

Stafford County Department of Fire and Rescue spokesman Mark Doyle says people should drink more water in this hot weather, and not to wait until your body feels thirsty. He also warned against drinking alcohol or sugary drinks, and very cold drinks as they may cause stomach cramps.

If without air conditioning and using a fan, fans may not prevent heat-related illness, said Doyle.

Taking a cold shower or bath, or moving in a place that has air conditioning is a better way to cool off.

It’s also important to never leave any person or a pet in a closed, parked car, he added.

Those who must venture outside should limit their activity, keep to shaded areas and wear protective sunscreen with an SPF rating of 15 or higher, wear a brimmed hat and sunglasses to add further protection from the sun.

News
Around Town

Teen who assaulted sheriff’s deputy gets a reduced sentence
An autistic teenager from Stafford County who assaulted a sheriff’s deputy outside a high school last year had eight years shaved off of his prison sentence Tuesday, reports Fredericksburg.com.

Company that operated fatal bus shut down
The company that operates the bus that crashed on Interstate 95 on Tuesday killing four people has been shut down after various violations against the company were noted, reports NBCWashington.com.

New way to pay to ride Metro
Taking Washington’s Metro system can be confusing for tourists and first-time riders. Greater Greater Washington suggests a new way to pay to ride the nation’s subway.

Virginia to open new India office
The number of offices Virginia has overseas to lure business to the state is growing. The state will open a new office for trade in India this summer, reports The Washington Business Journal.

Washington area home prices continue to buck trend
While home prices across the nation fell in March, causing some to say this will be a double-dip recession for home prices, home sellers in the Washington area enjoyed a slight increase in prices, reports The Washington Business Journal.

News
Dudenhefer Announces Campaign Kick-off Event

Mark Dudenhefer

Mark Dudenhefer

North Stafford, Va. –– Mark Dudenhefer is kicking of his campaign for Virginia’s House of Delegates in a centralized location.

 

Dudenhefer, who is currently the Chairman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, will officially announce his campaign for the newly shifted 2nd House District in North Stafford and eastern Prince William County.

He’s chosen the Quantico Corporate Center, located just off Jefferson Davis Highway (U.S. 1) on the boarder of Prince William and Stafford counties for the kick-off event to be held between 5 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 11.

Speaker of the House of Delegates, Bill Howell, as well as State Senator Richard Stuart (R, 28 – Stafford, Prince William) and Congressman Robert J. Wittman (R, Va. – 1) are slated to appear.

Dudenhefer has wide Republican support in Stafford but is relatively unknown in Prince William County.

He has served on Stafford’s Board of Supervisors since 2006 and has long been an outspoken advocate of transportation improvements after his 17-year-old daughter Emily was killed on a county road in 2004.

Dudenhefer spent 30 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and retired as a colonel.

The newly shifted 2nd House District was moved from Southwest Virginia to the Potomac Communities this spring during a mandatory redistricting process.

Population in that corner of the state fell while the number of people who moved to this area grew, requiring the need for the new seat.

News
Around Town

Volunteers needed for Civil War festivities
The Prince William Convention and Visitors Bureau has called for volunteers to assist with parking, hand out brochures as well as tackle a wide range of other tasks during this year’s 150th Civil War Celebration, reports NOVA Fortnighlty.

Police search alleged killer’s cell phone
Fairfax County police have recently searched the cell phone of the man charged with killing another man in the county’s Belle View area April 13, Kingstowne Patch reports.

Snapping the right nature photo
Something just in time for getting outdoors this summer: picking the right camera to capture all of your outdoor nature shots. Area blog Your Piece of the Planet has posted some tips for budding photographers.

Residents asked to conserve water
From the nearby news file: Officials in Caroline County have asked residents to conserve water after a water pump that provides H20 to residents and businesses failed, reports Fredericksburg.com.

D.C.’s dumbest drivers
A new survey finds Washington, D.C. has the dumbest drivers on the road, according to results of drivers exams, reports NBCWashington.com.

Traffic
Teen Bus Pass Also Great for Baseball Fans

OmniLink switch riders buses at the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Center in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge, Va. — It’s a teenager’s annual pass to getting around town, and it goes on sale Tuesday.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission is once again selling its OmniLink Teen Summer Pass.

The bus pass is good for unlimited rides on local buses that run along U.S. 1 in Woodbridge, on Dale Boulevard in Dale City, Old Bridge Road in Lake Ridge, on OmniRide’s Cross-County Connector between Woodbridge and Manassas, as well on local buses in Manassas.

The pass costs $30 and is good for rides on OmniLink buses between June 1 and Sept. 3, said PRTC spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo.

In addition to unlimited rides, it also guarantees $1 off Potomac Nationals tickets on Friday nights beginning June 10. Riders must show their passes at the ticket window before the game, said Rodrigo.

Teen passes are available at the following locations:

PRTC Transit Center, 14700 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge (next to Hylton Chapel)
-Mondays through Fridays, June 1 to August 5, 2011, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Potomac Mills Mall food court
-Saturday, June 11, 12-4 p.m.
-Saturday, June 25, 12-4 p.m.

Manassas Mall food court
-Saturday, June 18, 12-4 p.m.
-Saturday, July 9, 12-4 p.m.

News
Dangerous Temps Forecasted

Memorial Day weekend may be the unofficial start of summer, but the Mother Nature is giving sure signs the hottest season of the year has arrived.

A heat advisory goes into effect for the Washington area at noon Monday and will last until 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

High temperatures on Monday will be in the low to mid 90s, and in the high 90s on Tuesday. But the humidity will drive up the heat index making it feel like 100 to 105 degrees outside.

The high temperatures can cause illness in those who are exposed to the high temperatures.

Those who don’t have to be out in the heat are urged to stay indoors. Those who do should drink plenty of water, and find shade and take frequent breaks.

The first heat wave of the season should last through Wednesday, when showers and thunderstorms could move through the area bringing with them lower temperatures with highs in the 80s for Thursday and Friday.

The first day of summer, or the summer solstice, is June 21.

Traffic
Storms Bring Downed Trees, Power Outages

Update 7:48 p.m.
Dominion Virginia Power reports more than 4,300 customers without power in Burke area.

Update 7:30 p.m.
Dominion Virginia Power reports more than 2,500 customers without power in North Stafford following severe storm that just moved through area. Utility crews report an estimated repair time between 9 and 11 p.m.

Original Post 7:15 p.m.
Fire and rescue crews have fanned out across Stafford County inspecting downed trees and reports of auto accidents after a strong storm moved through the area tonight.

There have been multiple reports of downed trees across the county, said Stafford fire and rescue spokesman Mark Doyle.

That same storm is now moving its north through Woodbridge and is expected to impact the Lorton and Springfield areas within the hour.

A tornado warning for North Stafford and the Dale City expired at 7:15 p.m. A severe thunderstorm warning continues for Woodbridge and southern Fairfax County until 7:45 p.m.

Page 20 of 24« First...10...1819202122...Last »