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Quantico Teachers Spared Furloughs

QUANTICO, Va. — Teachers and students at Quantico will head back to class Tuesday without looming furlough days.

Quantico Middle High School has been spared the brunt of federal sequestration that had teachers eyeing mandatory furloughs of up to one day per week. Those furloughs would have kept students outside of the classroom.

Several other schools like  Quantico, including a school at Dhalgren’s Naval Surface Warfare Center in Virginia, and DoD schools in 11 other states, have been spared the cutbacks. The Department of Defense’s Education Activity Office that oversees the schools did not respond to several requests for comment on this story.

Virginia Senator Mark Warner praised the decision to keep children in the classroom and teachers working.

“This is phenomenal news for military families, students and teachers at our base schools at Dahlgren and Quantico, who should not have to suffer because of Congress’ inability to get its fiscal act together,” said Warner in a press release. “Furloughing classroom teachers and shuttering entire schools right at the start of a new school year would have put unreasonable pressures on our military families, and imposed even more challenges on these educators. Our nation’s fiscal situation requires shared sacrifice, but our service members and our military families already bear the brunt of that sacrifice every day.”

Quantico Middle High School has just over 300 students enrolled on its campus. It made national headlines in 2011 when First Lady Michelle Obama came to the school as a commencement speaker for the graduating class.

News
Marines Encouraged to Invest in Family Health

QUANTICO, Va. — If a Marine and their spouse are gravely injured in an accident and are in need of long-term care to help with daily activities like bathing or eating, the Marine will likely receive some assistance through Veterans Affairs if they served during any wartime. The spouse, however, will be left to pay out of pocket.

TRICARE offers skilled nurses to handle medical rehabilitation, but they do not offer long-term care to assist with basic activities, which is why Ivette Bennett, life skills trainer with Marine Corps Family Team Building program, encourages military families to have a plan. To help families understand the financial aspect of long-term care, the MCFTB program held a “Who Pays” workshop July 31, at the Religious and Family Services Annex.

Most people don’t consider long-term care insurance until they are between the ages 55 and 65 years old, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. However, Bennett said anyone who has experienced a traumatic accident or has taken care of a chronically ill relative knows the importance of investing in a policy early.

“Having a plan eases the financial burden on family members, which can be expensive and can diminish the quality of life for a caregiver,” Bennett said.

Starting early also allows a person to potentially cut cost of their policy. Stephen Ingalls, long-term care insurance agent at Genworth Financial and workshop instructor said, most insurance companies will offer discounts for age and good health.

Bennett said the goal of the workshop wasn’t to solicit insurance companies, rather to provide people with tools to develop a plan to keep their independence throughout their lifetime and prevent becoming a burden on family members.

Participants were advised to find an insurance professional, decide how much coverage they can afford and find out what health discounts are available. They were also told to think about the cost of long-term care where they currently live and where they plan to retire. Length of coverage depends on personal preference, but the average long term care need is around three years, no more than five.

Monthly cost can vary, but Ingalls said whether someone purchases a small policy or a large extensive one, not doing anything shouldn’t be an option.

“Around 70 percent of people over age 65 will need some type of long-term care services during their lifetime,” Ingalls said. “Therefore, a small policy is better than no policy.”

As important as it is for people to set aside money for emergencies and for the future, the instructor suggested individuals consider the same concept with their personal health.

“Basically, a long-term care plan is like a savings account for you in case something happens,” Ingalls said.

— Writer: afelton@quanticosentryonline.com

News
Quantico Gets First Offices Since Town Incorporated in 1927

QUANTICO, Va. — For the first time the town was incorporated in 1927, Quantico has an office all to its own.

Mayor Kevin Brown said the town will rent space at 337 5th Avenue in the town, which is the only municipality in the U.S. completely surrounded by a military base.

Current plans show town staffers moving into the new buidling by the end of August, with the new office being open to the public by September. The new office will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and residents will be able to conduct daily business such as paying water bills, applying for permits, and pay taxes.

The town agreed to pay $200,000 for the space, and will use interest only owner financing for up to 3 years to allow the town additional time to find the best long term financing. The new office comes after the town’s old offices in an old Bank of America were shuttered once a new owner bought the building and decided not to lease space to the town.

More in an email from Mayor Brown:

According to my recent conversation with former mayor Mitchell Raftelis in the past several town residents allowed the town to use privately owned office space for a large portion of the town existence.

In fact, Mr. and Mrs. Raftelis provided office space to the town free of charge for fourty-nine years from 1958 to 1999. In 1999 the town moved locations and began to “rent” office space from the Bank of America branch in town.

Bank of America was also extremely generous to the town… allowing the town to “rent” nearly 1000 sq ft of office space for $10 (ten dollars) a year… an arrangement that changed to allowing the town to use the space for simply cutting the grass.

However, when the Bank of America branch closed in early 2012 the building was sold and the new owner was not interested in renting the space to the town. The town was forced to move its office to the town’s community center while we looked for a long term solution. A business owner informed me that a building advertised for rent was also for sale at which time I contacted the owner and began to discuss purchasing the property. Once the purchase price was negotiated, with help of Councilman Russell “Rusty” Kuhns, I recommended the purchase to the town council and they voted to pursue acquiring the building. I would like to personally thank the town council for making such a great decision that will benefit the town well into the future.

The Town of Quantico had 410 residents, when the 2010 Census was taken.

News
Quantico Special Olympic Games Open to Prince William, Stafford Families

QUANTICO, Va. — About a year ago, Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Jedding, a religious program specialist at Marine Corps Base Quantico, was trying to come up with a different kind of community outreach event. He had just arrived at the base.

“I wanted to get away from the norm of homeless shelters and animal shelters,” he said. The Special Olympics came to mind, as he has an aunt with Down syndrome who has participated in the games, so he sent out a few exploratory emails.

What he didn’t know yet was that Special Olympics Virginia had just received a grant from the Department of Defense to coordinate activities for families connected to the military. Jedding put the base’s Exceptional Family Members Program in touch with the local Special Olympics, and the idea quickly gained momentum.

“It was kind of a perfect storm of events,” said Monique O’Neil, who runs Quantico’s EFMP.

Now, she said, a Special Olympics track and field meet is scheduled for Sept. 7, 2013, at Butler Stadium. Weekly practices for the event will begin July 13, also at the base stadium. The games are open to Marine Corps families connected to EFMP throughout the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, as well as families in Prince William and Stafford counties.

It will be the first Special Olympics event on the base since a baseball game about 12 years ago, O’Neil said.

“We’re hoping this will be the start of an ongoing relationship with Special Olympics and, hopefully, more grants to keep it going,” she said.

“We want this eventually to become a local program under our area, so we would be offering as many programs as we can right there at Quantico,” said Peggy Van Lowe, area coordinator for the greater Prince William area of Special Olympics.

Van Lowe said organizers hope to have somewhere between 60 and 100 athletes, ages 5 and up, participating in the September track meet, as well as the practices. “The event is actually the culmination of the training this group of young people will be going through over eight weeks,” she said.

Events, modified from actual Olympic track and field competitions, include a long jump, a beanbag shot put, 25-meter and 50-meter run/walks, an obstacle course, a shuttle run, a goal kick and a hula-hoop triple jump.

Van Lowe said the track meet will rely on a buddy system, with a volunteer working with each athlete and other volunteers working at the eight stations.

“The athletes love the competition, and it shows what they can do, rather than focusing on what they can’t,” she said. “This really gives them an opportunity to strut their stuff.”

“You see their capabilities — you don’t see them as a diagnosis,” O’Niel said. “You see them doing it, and it’s awesome.”

The Quantico High School Junior ROTC will present the colors before the national anthem is sung and the athletes march onto the field, she said. “We’re going to turn Butler Stadium into a mini-Olympic village.”

About a year of planning and paperwork has gone into the event.

“This was actually my main goal while I’m here at Quantico,” Jedding said. In the future, he said, he hopes to coach Special Olympics bowling at Little Hall and bring events like basketball and bocce ball to the base. But a lot of logistics are involved.

“We’re jumping in at the shallow end to see how the water is,” he said. “If it’s good, we’ll dive into the deep end.”

Registration for athletes and volunteers is available at the EFMP House on Neville Road. Practices will be from 11 a.m. to noon every Saturday from July 13 to Aug. 31.

O’Niel said the practices are important for participants.

“Our children have special needs,” she said. “They need to get acclimated to the location. They have to know the routine.”

The track and field meet will run from 9 a.m. to noon, Sept. 7.

Traffic
VRE Searching for Coffee Vendor at Quantico

QUANTICO, Va. — Want to run your own coffee shop and sell train tickets? There may be an opportunity for you at the Quantico Virginia Railway Express station. The commuter railroad wants to talk to interested people about setting up shop at the train station that sits just outside the “crossroads of the Marine Corps.”

VRE is looking for a company to run a full-service coffee shop, offer food, sell train tickets, and maintain the restrooms, between 5 and 9:30 a.m., and between 3 and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on holidays when the trains don’t run.

The contract for the current vendor at the station, the Coffee Club Cafe has been there since 2008, and their contract later extended.

“The 2010 extension is set to expire this year and that is why we are taking it back on the street again to solicit interest in this operation,” said VRE spokesman Mark Roeber.

Vendor service at the station dates back to 2005 when the Whistle Stop Cafe opened at the Quantico Station. Similar vendor service is also offered at the Woodbridge station, and it too is operated by the same people who operate the Coffee Club Cafe in Quantico, said Roeber.

Whether or not the business is profitable, the rent is affordable.

“As to profitability, I can’t really speak to that because I don’t know the actually amount of business going through the doors on a daily basis. I will say that the rent we charge is so minimal, and we then provide revenue commission to the vendor based on their tickets sales at the station so there clearly is the opportunity to make money,” said Roeber.

Applications for potential vendors at Quantico are due to VRE no later than 1 p.m. July 24.

News
Furlough Will Be Felt Across Quantico Base

QUANTICO, Va. — The impending furlough of Department of Defense civilians will have an impact on virtually all customer and family services offered aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico.

On May 14, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the furloughs as a result of the federal budget sequestration that included a $37 billion dollar cut to the DOD budget for the current fiscal year. Letters were sent to civilian employees in late May and early June to inform them of the reduction in work and pay.

Between July 8 and Sept. 20, civilians, with a few exceptions, will have to take one day of unpaid leave each week, for a total of 11 furlough days. Based on that arrangement, Quantico agencies have planned the following changes to accommodate a 20 percent reduction in civilian workforce during the furlough period:

Defense Commissary Agency: Commissary closed Mondays.

Base Schools: Schools closed Mondays, Aug. 26 and Sept. 9, 16, 23 and 30.

Naval Health Clinic Quantico: No physical therapy services Fridays for dependents and retirees – active duty only. Dental readiness appointments and urgent dental care only available Fridays; no dental services at Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico or The Basic School on Fridays.

DEERS ID Card Center: Closed Fridays.

Bowling Center: Closed Sundays, beginning July 7.

All Points Travel: Reduction in Tuesday hours to noon to 6 p.m.

Recreation, Information, Tickets and Tours: Reduction in Tuesday hours to noon to 6 p.m.

Base Theater: Closed for events Mondays and Saturdays, July 7 to Sept. 30. Movie schedule unaffected.

Auto Hobby Skills Center: Closed Wednesdays.

Marina: Closed Mondays.

Barber Physical Activity Center: Reduction in weekday hours to 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Family Advocacy Program: No community outreach events Friday through Sunday; limited community outreach Monday through Thursday.

Prevention and Education Program: No programs Fridays, reduced flexibility to schedule evening outreach programs.

Consolidated Substance Abuse Counseling Center: No counseling services same day as consultation with Naval Health Clinic staff. Possible impacts to group counseling schedules, prevention outreach, prevention command training and early intervention.

Vehicle Registration: Closed Fridays.

Traffic Safety Branch: Closed one day per week; day to be determined.

Semper Fit Administrative Office: Reduced coverage, longer wait period for scheduling events, reduction in commercial sponsorship.

Regional Contracting Office: Closed Fridays.

Base Comptroller Offices: Military personnel only one day a week, alternating between Friday and Monday.

News
Quantico Takes on the Frankenfish

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Several Snakehead fish were caught in the Potomac River today at Quantico Marine Corps Base as part of a first-ever tournament to rid the invasive fish from the waters. [Photo: Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News]

QUANTICO, Va. – A gloomy day took a favorable turn for those participating in the first Snakehead Fishing Tournament at Marine Corps Base Quantico. Shawn Mahood, a Stafford County resident, says he caught a snakehead that he estimates to be 8 or 9 pounds – and it wasn’t giving up without a fight.

“It’s just the biggest, baddest thing out there so that’s what you want to catch,” said Mahood. “It was very feisty. I actually thought he was going to break my line.”

The Marines joined in on the fight against a new invader — the Asian snakehead, a cross between an eel, fish, snake and a piranha that some say threatens the indigenous fish in local waters. Participating groups, individuals and volunteers from the conservation volunteer program, united to celebrate a day of fishing, barbequing and fun in the sun.

However, Mahood, along with many of the other participants and Marines, said that it is the joy of fishing and being outdoors that captured interest, not to eliminate the snakehead completely from the local waters.

“A lot of people think that they’re garbage and want to eradicate them, but I don’t think they’re doing the damage to the ecology that many say that they are,” said Manhood.

Janette Freitas, a resident from Prince William County, says the event was a good idea to promote fishing and enjoying the outdoors. She belonged to one of the winning teams, the “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”.

“I think it’s interesting that people are so worried about snakeheads when you can come here and fish and see these other species that are native to this area so obviously they’re not killing everything.”

Frankenfish’s bad reputation 

Quantico Maj. Russell Strange said that the snakehead has gotten a bad reputation but because the species is fairly new, not much academic research is available.

“It’s definitely invasive; however, it’s not as bad as people first thought it was,” said Strange. “It can survive almost any brackish waters and that’s the only thing keeping it out of the bay right now. Individuals find that they’re actually great sporting fish and awesome for catching; Many bass fishermen appreciate the fight that these fish put on.”

Over 20 teams as well as individuals participated alongside the Marines to enjoy a day of fishing and other eventful activities taking place the base. June 7 to 9 marks free fishing weekend in Virginia, so fishing licenses were not required to participate. Boats were launched from the Chopawamsic and Quantico creeks beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday and ran until 3 p.m. Snakeheads weren’t the only species being hunted, however. Weigh-in tournament winners were encouraged to reel in Gar, Carp and Catfish as well.

Base Commander Col. David Maxwell, who was in charge of initiating the idea of the tournament, says that he was pleased with the turnout of the event.

“Since [the snakehead] is an invasive species and they’re trying to manage the species here, maybe this is the way to do it and have some fun as well to go along with it,” said Maxwell.

Fishing with bow and arrow

While many anglers used the traditional rod and reel method to capture their fish, many of the fish were actually caught with an archery tackle. The “Ironwoods” team, including Daniel Breeden, from Prince William County and Bobby Breeden, from Stafford County, mostly used bow and arrows to capture their fish, with their weigh-in totaling at 254 pounds.

“From what we’ve seen with the numbers is that they’re here and they’re not going away,” said Strange. “A tournament like this is not going to rid all of the waters of the snakehead; the fish is very adaptable and can live in very shallow waters. The great fear was that everyone thought they were going to eat the ecosystem away.”

Frankenfish on the menu

Recently, however, snakeheads are the ones getting eaten. Many restaurants along the East Coast have begun offering the fish on the menus.

“I’ve eaten them and they are fabulous,” said Strange. Tony & Joes Seafood Place and Nicks Riverside Grill in Georgetown recently offered the so-called “Frankenfish” on their menu as a temporary dish. More restaurants around the Washington D.C. and Annapolis area are continuing to expanding the seafood options to include snakehead.

At the tournament wrap-up, Steve Morris holds the prizewinning snakehead at a whopping 10.18 pounds, just 7 pounds shy of the17-pound, 6-ounce record caught in the Potomac River last week.

Traffic
If Fairfax FBI Site Fails, Prince William a Second Choice

In the process to relocate the FBI’s national headquarters to Virginia, it appears the CIA was here first.

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and members of a bipartisan congressional delegation in April unanimously chose a site in Fairfax County next to the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station for the new FBI headquarters. Now home to a massive warehouse owned by the General Services Administration, State officials assured the federal government the site has quick access to transit, and to Interstates 95, 395, and the Capital Beltway, and would meet criteria set forth by the General Services Administration.

Virginia, and Maryland with their chosen site in Prince Georges County, have been in the competition for the federal agency and its 11,000 jobs since last fall. The idea is to move the agency out of its aging J. Edgar Hoover Building offices in Downtown Washington and move personnel to a new building in one of the two nearby states.

But the mere existence of the warehouse in Springfield, which can be seen from I-95 and the Franconia-Springfield Parkway, and is said to be the largest wooden truss building this side of the Mississippi River, may stifle any chances the area once had of becoming the new home of the FBI. 

It’s rumored that the facility has a large underground room complete with lead-lined walls, accessible only by elevator, and is complete with a state-of-the-art communications system, according to the Washington Post.

But just 30 minutes south, at a new housing development called Potomac Shores on the banks of the Potomac River in Woodbridge, could be the next best choice for the FBI’s national headquarters.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart is collecting signatures of locally elected officials in hopes they’ll join him in urging the feds to consider Potomac Shores as an alternative space because of its proximity to Quantico, the FBI Academy, and an FBI screening facility at Manassas Regional Airport. Prince William is also home to the agency’s Northern Virginia bureau. 

“Should the Springfield site be deemed unsuitable by the GSA for the new FBI headquarters, we believe it would be prudent to have another specific site ready to immediately advance for this critical project to secure it for Virginia. That alternative site is clearly the Potomac Shores development site in Prince William County,” Stewart’s letter states.

With some 4,000 planned new homes at Potomac Shores, a walkable mixed-use business and shopping district, hotel, a planned Virginia Railway Express station, and access to express lanes currently under construction on I-95, Stewart said those who would work at the building would have a “reverse commute” in a secured space next to the river underneath Quantico’s controlled airspace.

Additionally, 75% of Northern Virginia’s workforce lives within a 30 minute rush-hour commute of Prince William County, according to Stewart’s letter.

As Stewart is a Republican, he’s also got support from across the aisle.

“The important thing here is that we all work together to ensure we get the FBI’s national headquarters in Virginia, no matter what district it’s located in,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Farifax, Prince William.

Another site that’s been proposed sits in Loudoun County, just off the Dulles Toll Road near Dulles Airport where Metro’s new Silver line is slated to run.

But for those eager to move on from the Fairfax County site, one Fairfax County official said taxpayers would save money if the FBI would locate to the GSA property in Springfield as the land is already federally owned. And, if Prince William County trades land from a developer for the FBI site, it’s possible the county could forgo millions of property tax dollars.

“The fact they’re working so hard to discredit this site tells me this site is the front runner,” said Fairfax County Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay.

McKay says the warehouse, which sits in his district, is primarily used to house documents for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and office furniture for federal agencies, does have it’s challenges. He said security is an issue as the warehouse has several independent tenants coming and going on the property who are not controlled by the federal government, but added those issues could be resolved through a partnership with the FBI.

“This site was selected by the governor in April, and since then there’s been no been big revelation that has happened to change things over the past two weeks,” said McKay.

News
2 Quantico FBI Agents Die in Training Exercise

FBI agents at Quantico’s Critical Incident Response Group are mourning the loss of two of thier own.

Special Agent Christopher Lorek and Special Agent Stephen Shaw were killed Friday off the coast of Virginia Beach. The two were apart of a specialized hostage rescue team.

We mourn the loss of two brave and courageous men. Like all who serve on the Hostage Rescue Team, they accept the highest risk each and every day, when training and on operational missions, to keep our nation safe. Our hearts are with their wives, children, and other loved ones who feel their loss most deeply. And they will always be part of the FBI Family,” said FBI Director Robert Muller in a press release.

Lorek, 41, is survived by his wife and two daughters, and had been with the FBI since 1996. Shaw, 40, leaves behind a wife, a 3-year-old daughter, and a 1-year-old son. He joined the FBI in 2005.

The incident remains under investigation, the FBI states.

Traffic
Expect Road Work at Joplin Road Tonight and Tomorrow Night

QUANTICO, Va. — Drivers can expect delays tonight and tomorrow night on Interstate 95 south at Joplin Road.

More in a press release from Virginia Megaprojects.

Starting tonight, May 15, and Thursday night, May 16, from 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m., and again on Friday night, May 17, from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m. the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will close a single right lane of I-95 south at Joplin Road, Exit 150 for approximately a half-mile. This will allow crews to safely install concrete beams for a new 95 Express Lanes bridge over Joplin Road.

On Joplin Road, (Route 619) two-way traffic will be directed by flaggers during overnight work hours.

All closures are weather permitting. Police will be on site for motorists safety. 

 

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church to Highlight Problem of Human Trafficking

Submitted News

TRIANGLE, Va. – In an effort to bring attention to the ever-increasing problem of human trafficking, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Triangle, Va., will offer human trafficking awareness presentations at the parish after all the Masses on the weekend of May 18-19, 2013.

There will be guest speakers, a video, handouts, and suggestions for direct ways to take action. Everyone is invited to this free event. The Masses are on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 7:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. (Spanish) and 5:30 p.m. The parish is located at 18825 Fuller Heights Road, Triangle, Va. 22172.

“It’s shocking how prevalent and complex human trafficking is and how it plagues our own communities in surprising ways,” said Fr. Kevin Downey, O.F.M., pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish. “The good news is, there are things we all can do to address it, to protect our children and to help those in need.”

The United Nations defines human trafficking as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

Statistics show that more than 27 million people in more than 161 countries are victims of human trafficking. Two hundred thousand of these are in the United States alone. Fifty percent of victims are children. Every two minutes, 14 people fall victim to this crime. Sex trafficking and forced labor are the most common forms of trafficking in the United States.

Prince William County, Fairfax, and Loudon are among Northern Virginia counties that have or are establishing Anti-Human Trafficking Alliances or Task Forces.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration’s Statement on Human Trafficking clearly outlines the Catholic Church’s teaching on human trafficking, noting, “Human trafficking is a horrific crime against the basic dignity and rights of the human person. All efforts must be expended to end it.”

The USCCB has been a leader in the U.S. and global response to human trafficking for more than a decade, and has even established an Anti-Trafficking Program within its Migration and Refugee Services Department to coordinate the response of the U.S. Church.

The event is sponsored by the parish’s Franciscan Action and Advocacy Council (FAAC).

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church (www.stfrncis.org) is part of the Diocese of Arlington and was established in 1957 to serve the military community at Quantico Marine Base. For more information, contact the parish office at 703-221-4044.

News
Active Shooter Drill Planned for Quantico Middle/High School

QUANTICO, Va. — There will be loud noises coming from Quantico Middle/High School tomorrow.

The Marine Corps base of the same name on which it sits and emergency first responders scheduled an active shooter drill beginning at noon. Quantico officials warn the exercise is only a drill, and asked residents not be alarmed.

“Participating agencies will include but not be limited to Fire and Rescue Departments, Marine Base Quantico’s Crisis Management Team and the Provost Marshal’s Office,” a base spokesperson released in a statement.

Quantico officials describe the exercise as “full-scale,” and say it’s one that has been planned for more than a year to improve preparedness and response times in the event a shooter were to ever appear on campus.

The school has 308 students enrolled in classes in grades six through 12.

 

Traffic
3 Crashes Snarl Traffic, Motorcyclist Left Seriously Injured

Noon 

The victim in an early morning crash on Interstate 95 remains unidentified this lunchtime as police try to reach his family.

The crash happened at 5:45 a.m. on the northbound lanes of I-95 at mile post 148 at Quantico in Stafford County, where a 2007 Chrysler station wagon failed to stop in time and rear-ended and a 2012 Honda that has stopped for congested traffic.

Then, a 2009 Harley-Davidson motorcycle rear-ended the station wagon, and the impact caused the cyclist to slide into another car, and was thrown from the bike in the opposite direction where he collided with a tractor-trailer, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

Then, to avoid the motorcyclist, three cars collided in the northbound lanes causing a third crash, said Geller.

The only person injured was the motorcyclist, who was flown to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Sandra T. Wilson, 47, of Ruther Glen, was the driver of the station wagon and was charged with following too closely, said Geller.

The lanes were reopened to traffic by 7 a.m.

7 a.m. 

QUANTICO, Va. — All lanes of Interstate 95 are reopened at mile post 148 at Quantico following a multi-vehicle crash this morning.

Police said the crash happened at 5:45 a.m. on the northbound lanes of the highway. A medical helicopter was called to fly one victim suffering life threatening injuries to a hospital. All of the northbound lanes were closed following the crash.

No details on what caused the crash, or who was involved have been released by police. Drivers should expect delays on I-95 this morning.

This incident follows a fatal crash on Tuesday that took the life of a Dumfries man riding his motorcycle. In that crash, the motorcyclist crashed and then was struck by a tractor-trailer. The driver of the truck did not stop and police asked anyone who many have more information about the truck to come forward.

 

News
Quantico’s Top OCS Leader Out Following Triple Shooting

QUANTCO, Va. — The top man in charge of Quantico’s Officer’s Candidate School, where three Marines died in March, is out of a job.

The Marine Corps Times reports decorated infantry officer Col. Kris Stillings was relieved of command Monday. Stillings was selected to lead OCS two years ago, but officials told the corps newspaper the decision to relieve him was a “painful” one that “boiled down to accountability.”

In the late evening hours of March 22, Quantico and the surrounding area was rocked with the sound of gunfire that emanated from inside the OCS barracks. The base was placed on lock down, with many Marines and their families living on base being told to stay indoors and heed warnings delivered over a large loudspeaker known as Giant Voice.

By sunrise the next morning, word was given that an armed staff member at OCS, Sergeant Eusebio Lopez, 25, of Pacifica, Calif. shot and killed Lance Cpl. Sara Castromata, 19, of Oakley, Calif., and Corporal Jacob Wooley, 23, of Guntown, Miss.

News
Man Struck While Crossing Train Tracks

QUANTICO, Va. — A man said to be trespassing on train tracks near Quantico was struck by a locomotive about 9 a.m. Saturday.

The 44-year-old man victim is said to be from Spotsylvania County and was attempting to cross the tracks when struck , said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

The man suffered injuries that did not appear to be life threatening.

 

News
All Clear Given After Suspicious Substance Found at Quantico

QUANTICO, Va. — The scene is now clear, and what officials at Quantico thought was a suspicious white powdery substance at the town’s post office turned out to be nothing.

A HAZMAT team called to the post office was cleared at 9:40 a.m., according to a base spokesman. The post office was closed about 10 a.m. today after a suspicious substance was found, according to base officials.

Two Marine Corps Postal Specialists, a civilian postal clerk, and a customer were inside the building when the substance was found. Emergency personelle that have cleared the scene included military police and firefighters, bomb disposal specialists, and a HAZMAT team.

News
Search for Prostitution Suspect in Triangle Turns Up Heroin

Stafford Deputy Sniffs Out Drug, Prostitution Suspects in Prince William

STAFFORD, Va. — Police tracked a wanted fugitive from Stafford County to a hotel in Triangle. Now behind bars, the woman faces new charges of prostitution and drug possession.

The woman was found to be at the Ramada Inn at 4136 Inn Street in Prince William County on April 3. According to police documents, Stafford County Sherriff’s Deputy D.A. Volpe, assigned to the sheriff’s office’s Special Problems Unit, found the woman’s car at the inn. The deputy then saw the woman leave the hotel a short time later and get into the car, documents state.

The officer followed the car as it pulled onto nearby Interstate 95 south headed for Stafford County. While following the car, the officer saw two more occupants inside of the vehicle – a female in the front passenger seat and a male in the rear passenger seat, documents state.

The officer pulled over the car and arrested the driver, identified in court records as 23-year-old Caitlyn Collins. She was arrested on outstanding warrants in Stafford County for failing to appear in court, according to Virginia court case records. The officer then questioned the two other occupants and learned they did not have a driver’s license, so a tow truck was called to haul away the car.

But during a search of the vehicle a small amount of marijuana was found in the passenger side door handle, documents state. The deputy called for backup, and continued searching the car and found “numerous small packages of suspected heroin,” according to court documents Kept in small baggies, the heroin was stuffed between the back side of the rear seat and the back seat cushion, according to court documents. The drugs were tested positive for heroin, according to police.

Afterward, the deputy placed the male passenger, identified in court documents as 40-year-old Bernard Young, under arrest. While being taken to the magistrate’s office, court documents state Young told an officer “that he had a ‘powder’ in his sock,” documents state. After arriving at the magistrate, the substance tested positive for cocaine that Young admitted to snorting, documents state.

The female in the passenger seat was not arrested.

Collins told police Bernard was staying in room 171 at the hotel in Triangle, and Prince William police were called to secure the room while a search warrant was being obtained to investigate the property. Once inside, police found rubber bands consistent with heroin packaging lying on the bed, as well as a scale, documents state. But despite suspicions, no one else was found hiding out in the room.

Collins is charged with prostitution, possession of a controlled substance, and with grand larceny, said Stafford sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy. She is due in a Stafford County courtroom on May 30.

Young faces charges of possession of a controlled substance and manufacture and sale of a controlled substance, said Kennedy. He is also due in court on May 30.

News
Quantico Swears in New Town Police Chief

New Chief has 14 Years Experience

QUANTICO, Va. — Local officials and Quantico town residents gathered to swear-in the new Quantico Chief of Police, John P. Clair. The ceremony, held at the Quantico Virginia Railway Express Station, was swelling with excitement as the Town Council held a brief meeting.

Quantico Mayor Kevin Brown reflected on the town’s hardships in the past months surrounding the controversy with the former Quantico Chief of Police, who resigned from the position after an audit revealed internal theft.

“We’ve faced a lot of challenges in our time as a [Quantico Town] Council – some more serious than expected. Most of the focus in these past nine months has been internal, and I think we’ve made significant progress. I’ll be honest with you – it’s been a little overwhelming coming in while some things have been going on; overwhelming and a little discouraging. There were some serious issues in the Police Department that left us without a chief,” Brown said.

Hiring Clair as the new Chief of Police is Quantico’s effort to rebrand the town and start anew.

“He’s an experienced, decorated, law enforcement professional. I’m 100 percent convinced that he’s fully committed to the job and he’s willing to give one hundred and ten percent,” said Brown, remarking on Clair’s enforcement background and character. Clair, previously a law enforcement officer with the Prince William County Police Department, he comes to Quantico with fourteen years experience. He began his duties in the town on March 25.

Sworn in by a Clerk of the Circuit Court, Michelle McQuigg, Clair officially was appointed to his new position, before Reverend Jim Spurgeon performed the Benediction.

“I had a lot to say, but the Mayor stole all my thunder,” Clair first remarked after being sworn in, filling the room with laughter. “I appreciate all of the regional support. We’re the only town inside of a Marine base, and I think that makes what goes on here very special,” Clair said, thanking his wife, the Prince William County Police Department and Quantico officials.

Delegate Mark Dudenhefer, R- Stafford, Woodbridge, Dumfries Mayor Jerry Foreman and Prince William Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan were in attendance, in addition to several officers of the Prince William County Police Department and Quantico Marine Corps Base officers.

*This story has been revised 

News
Burning Smell Blamed on Quantico Brush Fire

QUATNICO, Va. — What’s that burning smell? Officials at Quantico said it’s a brush fire crews are working to contain.

More from the Marine Corps Base:

Quantico Fire Department and Emergency Rescue Services responded to a fire crawling through the woods in Training Area 11 on the west side of Marine Corps Base Quantico on April 9, 2013.

The affected area was too large to extinguish outright so emergency responders limited the spread of the fire by bulldozing a “no burn” zone around it. After the zone had been crafted, firefighters fought fire with fire by “back-burning”, a controlled burn designed to rob the fire of fuel so it can be managed safely.

An official with the Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department on Wednesday attributed the burning smell to the brush fire.

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[Photo: Quantico Marine Corps Base]

 

Quantico Creates Violence Prevention Programs in Light Of Recent Shooting

Submitted News

QUANTICO, Va. — In light of the tragic events at Officer Candidates School on March 21 and in response to the lessons learned from a similar incident at Ft. Hood in 2009, the Marine Corps is implementing a new Violence Prevention Program in order to prevent violence on its installations and throughout the service.

Marine Corps Base Quantico, as the crossroads of the Corps, is a pioneer installation and is slated to conduct the training April 2 to April 12 as set forth in Marine Corps Order 5580.3.

The order reads: “Human factors continue to be a leading cause of mishaps and suicides. Personnel are often under stress from personal or professional factors that are not apparent to the command’s decision makers. In many instances, the individual’s risk factors were known by various leaders and peers as isolated pieces of the whole picture preventing appropriate assistance. The FPB will provide a process to combine those factors into one composite picture.”

The loss of one’s own is a hard blow for any leader, but a threat to the well-being of a unit from the inside has leaped to a top priority.

“Last week’s incident stands as a reminder of how real the insider threat is to the Marine Corps,” said Pete Russett, director of Mission Assurance. “Though no one can accurately predict the behavior of others, this program is designed to allow base personnel to recognize and report behavior that may be indicative of potential violence.”

All service members and Department of Defense civilian employees across the base are required to attend one of the three types of courses.

For the majority of the base population, the Violence Prevention Awareness and Recognition Course is required. It focuses on teaching small unit leaders how to recognize and report potential threats.

This course is available at the following times and locations:

LOCATION: Little Hall Theater (3 CLASSES EACH DAY)
DATES: April 9 – 12
TIME: 8 – 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., and 2 – 4:30 p.m.

LOCATION: The Clubs at Quantico (3 CLASSES EACH DAY)
DATES: April 10 – 11
TIME: 8 – 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., and 2 – 4:30 p.m.

LOCATION: The Basic School, Heywood Hall, Building 24164 Classroom #1 (2 CLASSES)
DATES: April 12
TIME: 8 – 10:30 a.m., and 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

“In an infantry battalion, the lance corporals would have corporals to look out for them, and the corporals would have sergeants, and those sergeants would have staff sergeants — so on and so forth — up the chain.” said Russett. “In that traditional structure, everyone’s covered. Here in Quantico, where the same lance corporals may have a civilian officer-in-charge, it’s not so easy to make sure everyone is taken care of. The VPP plugs that hole.”

For command level DOD employees and service members, such as officers-in-charge, executive officers and sergeants major, there is the Violence Prevention Officer Course. The course will instruct these senior leaders how to respond to incoming violence prevention reports to best solve issues on a case-by-case basis as well as influence their units.

This course will be held at the following time and location:
DATES: April 2 – 4
TIME: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
LOCATION: Liversedge Lodge, 2nd Floor Small Conference Room

“This is the Marine Corps answer to deal with inside threats,” Russett said. “Even though those small unit leaders may report potential threats, the commanders are vital.”

Finally, for those holding specialized billets, such as the Staff Judge Advocate, the Sexual Assault Prevention Officer and Substance Abuse Control Officer, there is the Violence Prevention Team Course. The course will instruct these key leaders on how they may influence a commanders’ response to a particular incident and advise a course of action relative to their position.

This course will be held at the following time and location:
DATE: April 4
TIME: 8 a.m. – noon and 1 – 5 p.m.
LOCATION: Breckenridge Auditorium, Building 2076

The Violence Prevention Program is not a replacement for small unit leadership but is a viable resource to make sure Marines are taken care of.

Traffic
Residents Weigh in on Wider U.S. 1 Linking Prince William, Stafford

By KEITH WALKER
For Potomac Local News

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — People are starting to look at future improvements to U.S. 1 between Joplin Road in Prince William County to Russell Road in Stafford County.

As can be imagined, a lot of factors would need consideration before starting the road-widening project.

Jack Van Dop, of the Federal Highway Administration, outlined some of those issues during a public hearing at Hilldrup Moving and Storage in Stafford County Tuesday night.

Costs of buying rights-of-way, cultural and social impacts as well as protecting streams and waterways all come into play in any road project, but right now, Van Dop the project is in its beginning phase.

“This is really a phase step one of a planning study versus the environmental design-construction schedule,” Van Dop told the audience of about 40 people who attended the meeting.

Van Dop said that previous public meetings in May and October of 2012, showed that people along the corridor are most concerned about congestion at the Joplin Road entrance to Quantico Marine Corp Base, impacts on local businesses and residents, access to Interstate 95 and the need for safe bicycle and pedestrian walkways and paths.

In addition to widening U.S. 1 from four to six lanes to accommodate increasing congestion in Stafford’s Bowell’s Corner area Telegraph Road, there is also discussion about how to improve nearby Russell Road that leads to the back entrance to Quantico.

Several improvements are under consideration:

1. Place two signal lights on Russell Road – one where traffic accesses southbound U.S. 1 and the other near the gate where traffic accesses northbound U.S. 1.

2. Construct a cloverleaf interchange at U.S. 1 and Russell Road

3. Construct a half cloverleaf on the northbound side of U.S. 1 and place a signal light on Russell Road where drivers access southbound U.S. 1.

Terry Heilman, of Widewater, attended the meeting and said he found it informative.

“I just wanted to see what was proposed,” said the retired U.S. Army Master Sgt.

Heilman went on to say that he thought the project, which Van Dop said has yet to be funded, will eventually come about.

“In the long run, I’m sure it needs to be done. It’ll be somewhat painful for a while,” Heilman said.

Rebecca Dixon, a nurse who works at Fort Belvoir, said she hopes that protecting the environment gets due consideration.

“I worry about the wetlands,” said Dixon, who lives in Stafford County.

Still she recognizes the project needs to move forward.

“I think it’s necessary because … it’s already very congested at the peak times,” she said

Dixon said she favored including walkways and paths along the highway, but wasn’t optimistic they would be included in any future road widening project.

“I feel that we really need to be concerned about the homes here and pedestrians and bicyclists. I think we really do need to incorporate some things to accommodate the public in a safe way. I think it’s a low priority from what I’m seeing,” she said.

Doug Hecox, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Public Affairs, said the state would ultimately be in charge of allocating any money to the project since federal funds go through the states.

“They’re always in charge of deciding which project will get acted upon,” Hecox said.

Van Dop told people who attended the meeting that the next steps would include aerial mapping and trying to find money for design and construction.

For now though, the feasibility study only shows only what might happen if the project proceeds, Hecox said.

“This purely an analysis on ‘what if.’” It’s if they decide do it, what would it take to do it?” he said.

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