WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia




How Marines can fish free at Quantico Classic tournament

The 2nd Annual Quantico Classic Fishing Tournament starts tomorrow.

The 2015 Quantico Classic Fishing Tournament is a 30-hour fishing tournament hosted by the Town of Quantico starting on Friday, August 28 at noon and ending on Saturday August 29 at 5 p.m.

The 2015 Quantico Classic Fishing Tournament is open to anglers of all ages, skill levels and physical ability.

To increase participation the Town of Quantico is offering a 50% discount on all registration fees until 2 p.m. Friday.

Also, any active duty Marine (or service member) who has the rank of Sgt (E-5) or below can fish for free.

All participants must complete and submit a registration and hold harmless form before being added to the official participants list

The tournament rules and registration form can be found at townofquantico.org.

Any questions or comments related to this or any other town sponsored event should be directed to Mayor Kevin Brown at 571-334-3432 or mayor@townofquantico.org.

Dumfries barbecue joint moves to Quantico gate

The Lazy Pig has moved from Dumfries to Triangle.

The roadside barbecue joint has been on Waters Lane in Dumfries for more than two years, but decided to expand into a bigger space on 18723 Fuller Heights Road – just outside the Quantico Marine Corps Base gate.

“We smoke all of our meats on location – brisket, pork, ribs…and we do Southern-style cuisine, as far as your collared greens. Everything we do is homemade,” said Lazy Pig owner Ken Harris.

Harris realized that as the business had grown, they didn’t have enough space to serve their customers at the Dumfries location.

“What we found is that our customer base has grown so fast…and we were actually missing just as many customers as we were servicing because of the parking and we didn’t have any inside seating,” said Harris.

The new location has 40 inside seats and 20 seats on the deck area outside.

“We wanted more space to be able to serve our customers,” Harris said.

As part of the business’ expansion, the Lazy Pig is now offering lunch specials from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will soon be offering a kid’s meal, according to Harris.

Woodbridge picnic table case tossed out

Disabled Marine veteran Mickey Triplett was nervous when he walked into the Prince William General District Court this morning.

But shortly after the court was called to order at 9 a.m., the Prince William Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert stood before the judge and called for ‘null process’ – a legal term that means that the court will not prosecute the case – for a destruction of property charge brought against Triplett for painting a picnic table at his former apartment complex.

Triplett had painted the deteriorating picnic table behind his building at Potomac Ridge Apartments in Woodbridge as a nice gesture before his granddaughter came to visit him in July.

The apartment complex, which is managed by Klingbeil Capital Management, decided to have Triplett charged with destruction of property for painting the table white, according to Prince William County General District Court documents.

Had the null process not been declared in court, Triplett could have faced a $2,500 fine or up to a year in jail, according to the Virginia Code.

Despite the case being dropped, Triplett’s lawyer Jason Pelt, may be filing a civil suit on Triplett’s behalf against Potomac Ridge Apartments for ‘malicious prosecution’.

According to Virginia law, a malicious prosecution case can be filed when an individual or group uses the judicial system with malicious intent, and for prosecution against someone without probable cause.

Ebert told Potomac Local this morning that he had received several calls proceeding this morning’s hearing, asking that he declare ‘null process’ for the case.

“I’m so relieved and so thankful to everyone that came out and helped me. I tried to do a good thing, and it got out of hand…I’ve been going through a rough time, and I’m happy about what happened in court today,” said Triplett.

Quantico man dies in 2-alarm apartment fire

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Frank Anthony Desanto, 69, died inside his apartment Thursday when it caught fire in Quantico. 

Prince William County fire and rescue officials said improperly discarded smoking materials inside Desanto’s apartment was the cause of the blaze. The fire started inside a bedroom of the apartment. 

The fire caused $30,000 in damage, according to fire investigators. 

Fire crews rescued two people from the apartment complex using ground ladders, and three others were rescued using the stairs of the apartment complex.

Improperly discarded smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths in the U.S., according to Prince William County fire and rescue Chief Kevin McGee. 

Original post

Neighbors said the victim in an apartment fire had lived there for years. 

The unidentified man lived in an apartment at the intersection of Broadway Street and 2nd Avenue in Quantico. 

The 2-alarm blaze broke out about 7 a.m. Fire crews rushed to the scene.

“I was up and watching TV when I heard something. I thought it was the trash truck, but then I smelled the smoke,” said Travis Perry, who escaped the blaze with his wife and children.

Perry and his wife said they tried to help the victim escape, but “there was too much smoke,” Perry said.
Neighbors looked on as fire crews assessed the scene. An investigation will begin into the fire, and the scene will be turned over to police.

Prince William fire and rescue Chief Kevin McGee came to the scene.

Investigators had not confirmed the name or age of the victim.

More on this as we have it.

Marine Corps museum expansion underway

Marine Corps museum to close January through March 2016 

Marine Corps Museum Exbibit Chief Chuck Girbovan shows a rending of what a new exhibit hall will look like.
National Museum of the Marine Corps is expanding.
National Museum of the Marine Corps is expanding.
National Museum of the Marine Corps is expanding.

Work is underway at the National Museum of the Marine Corps to complete the circle.

A new 128,000 square-foot expansion of the iconic museum is slated to be finished by 2017. A new exhibit gallery, art gallery, and large format theater should be open to the public a year later.

“We get asked all the time, “where is the story of my unit” and “where is the equipment I used,” said Marine Corps Museum Exbibit Chief Chuck Girbovan.

The museum opened in 2006 and showcased the U.S. Marine Corps during the years 1775 to 1975, up to the Vietnam War. The new exhibit hall will immerse visitors in time periods to include the Persian Gulf War of 1990, and the conflicts in Iraq and Afganistan.

An Iraqi village will be constructed inside a new 24,000 square-foot exhibit hall. Visitors will see how the nature of combat changed between fighting in Vietnam to fighting in Iraq, where troops took on more of a peacekeeping role and worked alongside other nations who had troops on the ground, said Girbovan.

Also included in the new exampsion will be a “Hall of Valor” where Medal of Honor Recipients will be recognized. There will also be an art gallery featuring watercolors and pastel paintings created by Marines serving on the front lines depicting war.

A new large format 350-seat theater will also be built. It will show a film that showcases what it’s like to be a Marine on land and at sea.

The $69 million addition will complete the original planned circular layout of the museum. Earth movers just outside the building are clearing the way for the expansion that will require cutting into a portion of a thick concrete wall at the end of the final exhit hall.

The museum will close January through March 2016 — a departure from it’s regular operating hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Christmas — so curators can bring in new artifacts like a 55-ton M60 tank, and an FA18 fighter jet that must have its wing clipped just to fit inside the building.

The museum opened nearly 10 years ago and with a mission to first feature the World War II and Korea exhibits. The idea was to showcase Marines who fought in these conflicts to honor those Marines who are still alive today,

“As spectacular as this museum is today, the building is unfinished, and we are here completing the mission,” said Marine Corps Heritage Foundation President Lt. Gen. Robert R. Blackman.

The foundation will fund and coordinate construction of the new expansion just as it did the original $75 million first phase of the Marine Museum. It will then hand over the operation and care of the expansion to museum staff.

Afterward, the foundation will explore new ways to bring the story of the Marine Corps on the road, possibly in the form of a traveling exhibit to military bases and state fairs.

“We’re going to take the influence this museum has beyond Exit 150 on Highway 95,” said Blackman.

About 500,000 people visited the National Museum of the Marine Corps in 2014. About 53,000 of them were school children, and about half of those were from outside Virginia, said Blackman.

Museum officials expect Marines will continue to come from all over the U.S, to see the museum. They also hope area residents will return to the museum in 2018 to see the addition and the many new exhibits and artifacts that will be on display.

A ribbon cutting for the new expansion was held in March. Hundreds attended a special ceremony inside Leatherneck Hall. An backhoe was used to break ground on the new expansion.

Prince William County Fair opens

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The Prince William County Fair opens for its 2015 run tonight.

This is the 66th year for the county fair, which offers a little something for everyone — from carnival rides, animals, music, to demolition derby in the grandstand.

The runs Aug. 14 to 22 at the Prince William County Fairgrounds at 10624 Dumfries Road in Manassas. Everyone gets into the fair for $6 for opening night August, 14, 2015.

Here are the prices and special dates for the remainder of the fair:

General admission: $10
Child (ages5-13) and seniors (ages 60 or older) $6
Half-price day is Monday, Aug. 17, child/seniors $3 and adults $5
Tuesday is $2 admission, $2 per ride (no wristbands)
All ladies admitted free Wednesday, Aug. 19
All veterans admitted free Thursday, Aug. 20
Active duty military admitted free daily
There are several new attractions to the fair this year:

Welde’s Big Bear Show
Jeff Robbins Mountain Music
Ackmonster Chainsaw Artist
No-Joe’s Clown Circus
Jurassic Kingdom
Comedian Reggie Rice

The home arts exhibits are always popular at the Prince William County Fair. It’s where anyone can bring produce they’ve grown at home, food, and crafts into be judged. Prizes are awarded for everything from best-looking produce, best photography, best canned good, to tastiest jelly.

“The home arts department is a dying breed, especially here in Northern Virginia. It’s something that is truly unique to a county fair,” said spokeswoman Chrissy Taylor.

Some of the fair’s largest attractions — tractor pull, demolition derby, and “bulls ‘n barrels” show — will be featured in the grandstand and are free with admission.

Fair organizers listed this year’s events for the 10-day run.

Prince William shelter bursting with animals

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Jennette Skinner came to the animal shelter Wednesday in search of a new friend.

She adopted her pit bull from a shelter in Maryland, but he’s now passed on. She now hopes to rescue a small dog and a cat.

“We’ve always had big dogs, and now we want a small one because they’re easier to take care of,” said Skinner, of Manassas.

She was one of the several people lined up outside the door at the Prince William County Animal Shelter just before it opened at 11 a.m. There are about 200 animals inside the 40-year-old shelter to choose from, from dogs and cats to birds, and guinea pigs.

Summer is a busy time for the shelter, as the staff usually sees an influx of cats and other animals during the warmer months. Space here is at a premium, as the shelter wasn’t built to house as many animals as it does today.

About 2,000 animals per year came through the shelter when it opened in 1975. Today it sees about 6,000. Animals here are no longer euthanized due to space constraints.

“The way that sheltering has changed has created some problems with us,” said Suzette Kapp, head caretaker the shelter. “We don’t have enough space; we don’t have air circulation in some rooms,
and we’re understaffed.”

The shelter operates with about 40% fewer staff members than needed. Volunteers who filled out an online application and were later picked to work here help fill the void.

Dogs are usually adopted from shelters sooner than cats. But it was a cat Allison Wishon, of Purcellville, was searching for when she came to the Prince William shelter.

“We have two rescue cats at home, and we know there are so many more animals out there that don’t have homes,” said Wishon.

The shelter, and an animal shelter in Manassas, will participate in the “clear the shelters” adoption event on Saturday. It’s an event sponsored by NBC, and Kapp says she hopes national attention brought by the TV network will help to increase the number adoptions at the shelter.

The adoption event on Saturday is just one of several the shelter does over the course of the year. It also brings animals to festivals and fairs in the community, and posts photos of them on social media to get them adopted.

The shelter is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Those who wish to adopt should bring ID with their address printed on it. Animals that are not spayed or neutered will be sent to an area veterinarian where the animal will undergo the procedure. Those who adopt will need to pay the shelter adoption fee of $45, and a $140 spay or neuter fee for dogs or $100 for cats.

Next month, the shelter will celebrate its 40th anniversary on September 27. Rescue groups, children’s activities, and raffles will be featured during the event that is aimed at bringing more people inside the shelter.

The Prince William County Animal Shelter is located at 14807 Bristow Road near Manassas, just off Route 234 across from the county’s animal shelter.

Manassas a magnet for creative, performing arts

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The Arts and Tourism District is in Historic Downtown Manassas.

Manassas already boasted the renowned Center for the Arts where visual and performing arts are taught, practiced and displayed as well as the highly regarded local studios and galleries, Creative Brush and ArtBeat. But local artists and community leaders wanted more.

The city council has a vision for Manassas to become known as an arts and cultural center in Northern Virginia, and beyond.

Last year the city converted the hallway on the first floor of City Hall into an art gallery aptly named “The Hall at City Hall.” The gallery has featured paintings, photographic art and works by local art students at Osborn High School and changes artwork every six weeks so there are regularly new displays.

Another example is the banner art displayed on light poles throughout Historic Downtown. The juried competition attracted artists from throughout the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Sixty of the more than 130 entries were transformed into public art that is on display seasonally until winter.

Historic Manassas Inc., the city’s Virginia Main Street Program, oversaw the project and intends to repeat it annually. The top -ranked submission, as judged by a panel of professional artists, received a $1,000 cash prize and at the end of the season one artist will be awarded the “People’s Choice” prize of $500. Ballots for this are included in a brochure describing each piece and available at the City’s visitor center in the historic train station adjacent to the municipal parking garage.

But it’s not all just about the visual arts.

Manassas also boasts the second largest ballet company in Virginia. The work of the Manassas Ballet Theater is recognized in the national and international press.

This attention helps contribute to Manassas becoming known as a regional arts and tourist destination. Further, Manassas worked closely with George Mason University, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Prince William County to bring the Hylton Performing Arts Center from dream to reality. The city continues to provide support to ensure the performing arts venue remains an asset for the citizens of Manassas and the surrounding area as well as attracting visitors.

There are many other local performing and visual arts groups and businesses in the city too numerous to mention in this article; all of which exist to teach, promote or display the vibrant culture of this historic yet modern city.

Stop commuting to DC! SRA is Hiring!

SRA is seeking qualified professionals who currently hold a DoD TS/SCI clearance to work in the Stafford, VA, area in support of the newly awarded contract, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Information Technology Directorate Services (ITDS)

If you are cleared and have one of the following skillsets, we would like to meet you at our recruitment invitational which will take place multiple days next week.  Visit us at www.sra.com/careers where you can create a candidate profile against opportunity 5053: NCIS Event Requisition.  After receiving your resume, a SRA Recruiter will contact you within 24 hours.

We are looking for highly motivated people to fill the following positions:

Information Assurance Engineers Network Engineers
Systems Administrators Business Systems Analysts
Content Administrators Geospatial Engineers
Field Computer Specialists Software Developers
Systems Integrators Software Testers
Requirements Analysts

Database Administrators

User Support Specialists

VOIP Engineers

About SRA International, Inc. 

SRA International, Inc. is a leading provider of sophisticated information technology and professional services to the U.S. federal government. Our services help our government customers address complex IT needs in order to achieve their missions. We are inspired by our customers’ missions and strive to provide the best people, working together to generate the best ideas, to deliver the best possible performance – all driven by our enduring values of Honesty and Service®. SRA was founded in 1978. We are headquartered in Fairfax, VA and employ approximately 5,600 professionals.

Motorcyclist killed in Route 1 crash outside Quantico

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12:50 p.m.

Prince William police have identified the motorcyclist killed in this morning’s crash.

Following an investigation, Prince William police stated that a 2013 Honda Accord, driven by a 47-year old Fredericksburg man, was traveling south on Route 1, when it struck the victim, 31-year old King George man Dustin Schexnayder.

According to Prince William police, Schexnayder was driving in the middle of the roadway. Officers found the damaged motorcycle – a 2007 Hyosung GT650 – in a nearby wooded area.

Prince William police stated that while Schexnayder was driving the motorcycle, going south on Route 1, it left the roadway and hit a guard rail. After being hitting the guard rail and being separated from his motorcycle, the driver of the Honda Accord struck Schexnayder, stated Prince William police.

This is allegedly not the first time that Schexnayder has had an incident while driving a motorcycle. In July of 2014, he was involved in a crash with a driver in Georgia.Untitled

Prince William police are unsure if speed or alcohol were factors in the crash, or if Schexnayder was wearing a helmet. He was pronounced dead at the site of the accident.

9:35 a.m.

All lanes of Route 1 are now open in Stafford’s Russell Road area. Southbound lanes opened shortly before 9:10 a.m, stated VDOT.

8:55 a.m. 

Route 1 northbound lanes are now open, following this morning’s accident, according to VDOT.

The southbound lanes are still closed, and drivers are being detoured to Russell Road, so they can either access Interstate 95 South or Telegraph Road, stated VDOT.

Southbound Route 1 remains closed. Southbound motorists are being detoured to Russell Road, where they can access Interstate 95 southbound or Telegraph Road to proceed south on Route 1.

Russell Road remains open to all traffic traveling to Quantico Marine Corps Base, stated VDOT.

8:04 a.m.

A motorcyclist was hit and killed by a sedan underneath the Russell Road bridge, near the back entrance of Quantico Marine Corps Base in Stafford. 

Sources stated that the motorcyclist was dead at the scene, and that the driver of the sedan stayed at the crash site, for law enforcement officers to arrive. 

Three people were in the sedan at the time of the crash.

There is no further information at this time. More as we have it.

7:45 a.m.

Parts of Route 1 just outside of the Quantico Marine Corps Base are closed during this morning’s rush.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), on the section of Route 1 between Russell Road and Corporate Drive, both north and southbound lanes will be closed for the entire morning rush.

Prince William police stated that the road would remain closed while they are doing an investigation of a car accident that took place earlier this morning.

Drivers are encouraged to take alternative routes, stated VDOT.

More from a VDOT release:

Motorists are encouraged to use Interstate 95 as an alternate route. Russell Road remains open to all traffic traveling to Quantico Marine Corps Base. Message boards are being posted at Route 610 in Stafford and Joplin Road in Prince William County to alert motorists.

Detour routes are also in place at the scene. Route 1 northbound traffic is being detoured to Telegraph Road and Russell Road, where motorists can access a ramp to northbound Route 1.

5 local spots for great seafood

Looking to savor great seafood without having to go very far to get it?  These hidden hideaways right here in Prince William & Manassas, will transport you to a seaside retreat to indulge in fruity cocktails and fresh seafood. With a wide variety of activities, live music and more there is sure to be something for everyone at one of these local eateries.

Tim’s Rivershore – Located in Woodbridge, this waterfront restaurant sits on one of the widest points of the Potomac River and offers panoramic views of the river. The view can be enjoyed from inside the restaurants dining room, on the outdoor deck or at the torch-lit tiki bar and beach. 

From monthly full moon bonfires on the beach to their annual “Not on the 4th” fireworks display there is a constant flow of events, live music and festivals held here every year. Serving fresh crabs, oysters, scallops, shrimp, mussels, and fish as well as steaks, burgers, pulled pork and chicken sandwiches this family-friendly restaurant is a must visit.

Blue Ridge Seafood – Find a southern twist on traditional seafood dishes in Gainesville, at Blue Ridge Seafood.  From fried frog legs to alligator bites and crawfish you are in for a treat when visiting this southern seafood hideaway.  More traditional fare such as fresh crabs, seasonal fish, hush puppies and french fries are also offered. 

Plan a night out with family and friends to enjoy live music on the back deck or stop in and pick up crabs and hush puppies to enjoy at home.  Their backyard tiki bar is the perfect backdrop to any happy hour too!

Crosby’s Crab Co. – Rated one of the best places to find fresh fish, lobster, crabs and oysters in Northern Virginia by Washingtonian Magazine, Crosby’s Crab Company prides itself on its fresh seafood selection.  In addition to a variety of local seafood to choose from they also have alligator, frog legs and octopus available for the brave and curious.

A more traditional seafood market, they offer carry out service only and can often be found at the Historic Downtown Manassas Farmers Market on Saturdays during the summer months. Crosby’s is open year round to satisfy any seafood cravings.

CJ Finz Raw Bar & Grill – A surf and turf restaurant offering coastal dining with a hometown feel, is what guests will find at CJ Finz Raw Bar & Grill in the heart of Historic Downtown Manassas.  Offering a hint of the Outer Banks in Northern Virginia, diners can relax on the rooftop deck while enjoying freshly shucked oysters or a beer from one of the local breweries.

This family friendly restaurant offers a wide variety of seafood and southern style dishes from fried pickles to oyster po-boy sandwiches. It is a must visit next time you are in the mood for a convenient get away with great food and amazing views.

Madigan’s Waterfront – Whether you are looking for a special place for date night or a unique location for your next private event, this waterfront retreat can accommodate both.  Overlooking the Occoquan River and marina patrons can select from a variety of seafood dishes and seating options that are sure to please. 

The topside deck and tiki bar play host to live music and entertainment throughout the summer months, making it the perfect spot to sit back and relax. From candlelit riverside dining to karaoke and dancing there is a little something for everyone at this restaurant on the river.

To discover more about where to dine and shop visit discoverpwm.com.   

Mixer added to Locust Shade tank, to keep water clean

A mixer, moving more than a million gallons of water non-stop, has been added to the Locust Shade Water Tank in Prince William.

According to the Service Authority, the mixer has been added to the water tank as a way to maintain a healthy level of disinfection. 

More from a Service Authority release:

Each spring, the Service Authority switches to the use of free chlorine as a disinfectant while it  flushes and cleans out the water distribution system. For the rest of the year, chloramines are used to disinfect drinking water. Chloramines are a combination of chlorine and ammonia and are much less harsh on the water infrastructure than free chlorine.

When water is not moving inside a tank, the chlorine in the water can begin to slowly dissipate and the ammonia will start to nitrify, which can compromise water quality. This can happen particularly inside tanks that experience lower usage demands or in those located near the end of the distribution system where the water’s journey from the treatment plant is the longest

Before the mixer was installed at Locust Shade, the tank was being served by the Service Authority’s re-chlorination trailer in order to maintain the quality of the water. Unveiled two years ago, the custom-built mobile unit adds chloramines to water in tanks challenged with this issue.

Installing the mixing device is a far more cost-effective method of ensuring better water quality than continually deploying the trailer, which requires the ongoing purchase of chloramines, said Technical Support Manager Robert Jenkins. The mixer at Locust Shade will likely be used on a permanent basis, said Jenkins.

Two years ago, the Service Authority installed a mixer at the Battery Heights tank, a Dumfries-area water tower that was experiencing  the same issue as Locust Shade. These issues have since been remedied thanks to the mixer. Eventually, Jenkins would like to see another installed in the Dominion Valley tank, the northernmost tower in the distribution system.

“The Service Authority prides itself on using innovative tools to maintain the health and safety of all our customers,” Jenkins said. “The mixers at Locust Shade and Battery Heights are excellent examples of our ongoing commitment to providing first class drinking water to the folks living in southern Prince William County.”

Quantico coffee shop set to expand menu

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The Quantico Trading Co. Coffee Shop opened in the Town of Quantico at the beginning of this year.

According to the shop’s owner and Quantico Mayor Kevin Brown, it serves gourmet coffee and espresso beverages made locally by Blackstone Coffee Company in Fredericksburg.

He owns the coffee shop with his wife Carrie Brown. Brown, who has nine children, even had his oldest child begin their first job working at the shop.

“We serve all of the traditional coffee and espresso drinks – lattes, mochas, cappuccinos. We recently added milkshakes and fruit smoothies to the menu. We also have bagels and breakfast sandwiches and some lunch items.

“Our most popular is our turkey bacon avocado sandwich,” said Brown.

Brown stated that an expanded menu will be released next month.

For Brown, starting his own business had always been a goal, after working for several years in the restaurant industry.

“I have a full time job as a project manager for a large IT company. My family moved to town in 2004 while I was an active duty Marine, and I have also always had the desire to own my own business,” said Brown.

Currently the shop is open from Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Murray assumes Quantico command

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Col. Joseph Murray took command of Marine Corps Base Quantico today.

He replaces Col. David Maxwell who will ship off July 22 to Afghanistan after three years at the base’s top ranking official and will be promoted to brigadier general. He took over as as base commander in May 2012.

Maxwell was on watch in 2013 when two Marines were shot and killed, and a third took his own life in a shooting on the base. The incident brought national attention to the base.

Maxwell oversaw the most busy time of change at Quantico in recent memory. The Marine Corps University, The Basic School, and the base’s air station were all expanded under Maxwell.

He was also responsible for making sure basic maintenance and day-to-day operations of facilities at Quantico.
“What do we have today? Do we need to keep the air conditioning on or the heat, or is there a suspicious package? We’ve had two of these situations in the past month,” quipped Maxwell.

Murray is the 14th base commander since 1990, the same year Murray was commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Murray was introduced at a change of command ceremony at Little Hall at 10 a.m Friday.

Flags from 50 U.S. states adorned the stage. Maxwell presented Murry with the Marine Corps flag and both shook hands and then embraced during the changing of the guard display.

Murray devoted most of his welcome speech to thanking his friends and family from across the U.S. for attending the ceremony. He also thanked his friends from the neighborhood in Stafford County where he calls home.

The ceremony comes one day after four Marines were shot and killed at a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tenn. There are increasing signs the now dead shooter, identified as Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, perpetrated an act of domestic terrorism when he pulled the trigger.

A Quantico spokeswoman told Potomac Local the base was not under any heightened alert following the shootings.
A military police mobile command post was set up at the main gate at Quantico this morning. Military police barred the media from taking photos of the command post or the security checkpoint.

Murry and Maxwell did not speak to the media following the change of command ceremony.

Col. Daniel Choike retired as Quantico Base Commander in 2012 and preceded Maxwell.

“The number one concern is safety and security,” said Choike. “This is an open installation, and that comes with its own set of challenges.”

Quantico Town is located inside the Marine Corps Base — the only such town in the U.S. to be encapsulated inside a military installation.

Choike said having the town presents a “unique” situation, but one that doesn’t present a security risk because of effective security policies.

Manassas, Stafford on short list for new vets health center

11717508_1091318494229246_9059782689112760709_oThere’s an $85 million veteran’s care facility coming to Northern Virginia.

This year the Virginia General Assembly passed two bills that called for the building of two new veteran’s care centers in the state – one in Northern Virginia and one in Hampton Roads.

Currently, there are two existing veteran’s care centers in Virginia – the Virginia Veterans Care Center in Roanoke and the Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center in Richmond.

According to Delegate Rich Anderson, who led the Northern Virginia bill through the House of Delegates stated that the area center will cost around $85 million – with 65% being paid by the federal government, and 35% being paid by Virginia.

Choosing a location for the care center

The bill passed in the General Assembly required that one of the care centers be built in Northern Virginia, but it did not stipulate the locality.

All area localities were allowed to put out a bid to the Virginia Department of Veterans Services to signal an interest in housing the veteran’s care center.

Prince William and Stafford counties were the only ones to do so.

Anderson stated that a locality that wanted to have the veteran’s care center would need to deed 25 acres of county-owned land to Virginia to be considered.

“One of the key things is the funding that’s made available to construct these veteran’s care centers – and it’s a mixture of federal money from the Veteran’s Administration and state money – it does not cover the cost of land acquisition. A locality has to provide the land at no cost,” said Anderson.

Recently, the Prince William board of supervisors passed a unanimous resolution to deed 27-acres off of Ashton Avenue near Manassas to Virginia for that purpose.

According to Stafford County spokeswoman Shannon Howell, Stafford filed their application to be considered but have not yet deeded the 25-acres to Virginia.

What the funding process, design, will look like

While the federal government is expected to foot 65% of the bill for the veteran’s care center in Northern Virginia, state and county government decided not to wait for the funding, and will upfront the cost.

“Instead of waiting for the feds to give us their 65%, Virginia’s just going to upfront the money in its entirety. Because if we sit around and wait for the federal government, it will just take a long time because they have a lot of needs with states that are requesting this money…hopefully, at some future point, we will be able to get a reimbursement from the federal government. There’s such a need here in Virginia – we’ve got 800,000 veterans in the state,” said Anderson.

There is no guarantee on when, and ultimately if, the federal government will give Virginia that 65 percent.

Anderson stated that currently the veteran’s care center is being designed, along with the location that will be built in Hampton Roads, and then the state will decide which one will be built first.

“The goal is to go ahead and design both centers right now – do all of the design work – and then the state will make a decision sometime next summer, on whether the Northern Virginia veteran’s care center will be first, or whether Hampton Roads will be constructed first,” Anderson stated.

Because Virginia is footing the bill for now, the veteran’s care center in Northern Virginia will only have 120 beds, instead of the planned 240 beds, said Anderson.

“Because Virginia has made the decision that we’re going to fund it entirely with Virginia resources, the plan is to construct a facility with…120 beds. But with that available land – 27 acres – that gives us plenty of expansion room for later years, building the facility out,” Anderson said.

Within the next year, the decision will be made on if the Hampton Roads or Northern Virginia location will be first.

Quantico’s to undergo change of command tomorrow

Colonel David Maxwell will hand over his post as commanding officer at Quantico Marine Corps Base tomorrow.

Maxwell will be passing on the post to Colonel Joseph Murray at a ceremony tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. at Little Hall. 

Maxwell has served as the commanding officer since May 2012. 

More from a Quantico Marine Corps release:

Under his command, MCB Quantico finalized the Joint Land Use Study, which was designed to promote community growth while supporting military training and operational missions at MCB Quantico. Maxwell was recently selected for promotion to brigadier general. Murray recently returned from Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan where he served as the Director of Logistics, J-4, United States Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A).

Virginia Attorney General rules on Quantico mayor’s authority

Let there be no question about who runs the Town of Quantico.

An opinion from Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring upholds Mayor Kevin Brown as the chief executive officer of the town. This gives Brown the authority to direct and manage town staff, according to the opinion.

Earlier this year, the Quantico Town Council questioned whether or not the town mayor had such authority. William Boyce, the town attorney, asked Herring to weigh in on the matter.

Herring’s reply arrived in the town in the form of a letter dated July 10.

Local business honors fallen soldier with memorial bat

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An Air Force veteran was able to honor a fallen Army soldier using skills from his side business – Baret Bats.

Juan Baret, a former Air Force sergeant and current office engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Fort Belvoir, started his business, Baret Bats, from his home in Lake Ridge.

Baret stated that the company started when he learned he could no longer play baseball due to chronic pain.

“It was crushing blow to know that I could no longer do something that I loved so much, especially at a relative young age of 33… But rather than focusing on the things I could no longer do, I focused my energies on my strengths. My strengths are passion and determination. So once I made the decision to get back in the game, I looked into making baseball bats at home,” said Baret.

According to Baret, one of the main goals of the company is to provide players with customized bats that make them feel like a professional.

“For most of my baseball playing life I used a wooden bat for practice and to play in games. Using a wood bat felt more comfortable and I performed much better when compared to using aluminum bats…the best wood went to the professional baseball players while the amateurs were left with little options but to swing subpar bats,” said Baret.

While he’s made bats for several baseball players across the country, an order that was close to him was one placed for Sean Cutsforth, an Army specialist that was killed serving in Afghanistan in 2010.

Cutsforth grew up in Prince William County, and was an avid baseball ball player.

The Brentsville District High School actually renamed their baseball field Army Specialist, Sean Russell Cutsforth Memorial Field in his honor, following his passing.

Baret was approached by Andrew Widiker, a family member of Cutsforth, and asked to make a special bat in honor of Cutsforth.

“[Widiker] found me thru my Instagram account after looking at several bat makers and decided that he wanted an actual person not a machine to make such special bat to honor his cousin Sean,” said Baret.

Baret created a custom design for the bat, titled ‘Swinging for Sean’, which featured an image of a soldier and red, white, and blue details.

Currently Baret takes orders for the bats via email or in person, but will be launching his website in August.

Baret stated that customers can order custom bats from T-ball for $35, and adult bats in the $75 to $85 range.

Tempers fly over Quantico Town decorative U.S. Flag banners

Was Quantico Town Mayor Kevin Brown wrong when he ignored the orders of his town council?

That question was batted about during a special meeting of the Quantico Town Council on June 16. Last year, the council voted and directed Brown to hang decorative banners with the U.S. Flag emblazoned on them onto light poles in the town.

To date, Brown has done everything but hang them up and has fought the council at every turn. The mayor said it is against the federal and state laws to use the flag for decoration or advertising purposes. In other words, hanging a U.S. Flag on a light post is OK. But hanging a banner with a U.S. Flag printed on it — not OK.

The decorative banners were ordered last year by outgoing town Councilwoman Virginia Macfarlan at a cost of about $1,200, said Brown. Macfarland never had permission to order the banners, he added.

Officials voted June 16 to scrap the old decorative banners and order new ones — with a new design that must be unanimously approved by the town council before they’re printed. The town arranged a special deal with the printer to get the new banners at half the cost of the originals.

The council also voted to attempt to recoup the $1,200 cost of the old banners from Macfarland.

Some on the council saw this as wasteful to scrap the old banners. The small town has an annual budget of $430,000, and because every penny counts, Councilwoman Peggy Alexander said that money could better be used to purchase more playground equipment for children.

The mayor stood his ground and was chastised for it.

“What you think doesn’t matter,” Councilman Gregory L. “Alex” Alexander said to Brown. “What this council has voted to you to do [hang up the banners] is what you should have done. You could have come back to council and say ‘I don’t’ feel this is right, we should hold a special meeting to discuss this.’ These flags are not up there to do anything other than to support our American troops.”

Brown said defying the council was a matter of conscious. He also did so and because the banners were never approved for use by town government, said Brown.

The town attorney disagreed with Brown’s take on the legal matter of using the banners depicting the U.S. Flag and said the pennants could be used.

Councilman Rusty Kuhns urged everyone on the council to stop using legal jargon to describe what was happening here.

“Can we stop, up here, using words ‘illegal,’ ‘against the law’ … none of us up here is qualified to use these words. We can use words like it’s not right, it’s not ethical, it’s not correct, but can we stop using these words? Because now it’s all over town that this is ‘not legal.’”

Brown said this debate and the special meeting was a “waste of time,” and said the town council is too concerned over petty issues like this instead of focusing on  more important issues like economic development.

Quantico Town is located inside Quantico Marine Corps Base. 

3 resign from Prince William Committee of 100



Three members of the Committee of 100 Board of Directors resigned on Saturday.

Vice President Marlo Thomas Watson, treasurer Harry Wiggins, and committee program chair Bill Golden all walked away from the group when it met Saturday at the Montclair Country Club.



Their resignations come weeks after newly elected committee president James Young turned to Facebook to post opinions on a move by the Alabama government’s decision to stop issuing state marriage licenses after federal government forced the state to recognize same-sex marriages.

Young, a 20-year member of the Committee of 100, called the



move by the state an “assault on marriage” and an attempt to “force acceptance of sexual deviancy.”

Wiggins, who also is the Prince William County Democratic Committee Chairman, took exception with Young’s comments. The committee has always billed itself as a bi-partisan group that fosters community conversation.



“As soon as I read that, I called James and told him ‘you’re the president of the Committee of 100. You have gay members who are a part of the committee.’ It was like taking to a brick wall,” said Wiggins.

James Young had no comment for this story.

Marlo Thomas Watson said she resigned her position as vice president, but declined to elaborate on why she left.

“I will continue to work to bring together people of all races, colors and creeds,” said Thomas Watson.

She will consider attending Committee of 100 events and functions in the future, and she said her resignation was “met with sadness.”

For the past year, committee program chair Bill Golden organized many of the programs and political debate hosted by the organization.

“I did indeed step down early as the Committee of 100 Program Committee Chair.  I was given the opportunity to continue on for the next program year, but felt it best that the new leadership under President James Young put together its own team for the new program year,”said Golden. “Under the prior board of directors, I had a lot of freedom and support to craft programs designed to appeal to the public as well as the membership.”

Golden said he will remain active in the committee despite resigning his leadership position.

The resignations come on the heels of a very well attended committee program earlier this year on the homelessness problem in Prince William County. Also held at the Montclair Country Club, the event brought together community residents, activists, and politicians on a dialogue on what can be done for those living in the woods just off major highways in the county.

The Committee has also been instrumental in hosting political debates featuring candidates for local, state, and congressional offices. Many politicians and prominent community members list committee membership on their resumes.

Membership in the Prince William Committee of 100 has grown by 10% over the past year.

As the November General Election inches closer, Wiggins said Democrat candidates vow not to participate in any debate or political function hosted by the Committee of 100 after Young made his comments online.

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