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News

Why this Occoquan home daycare won’t be allowed to expand

Neighbor complaints, citations lead to unanimous vote against family day home  

The number of children allowed at a home daycare in Occoquan will continue to be limited to five.

Sammy’s Home Child Daycare at 1613 Mount High Street wanted to care legally for up to 12 children. After it had been denied the request twice before, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors on Monday denied them a third time.

The decision comes after county and state inspectors, recently as March 19, noted the center’s owners Max and Maria Miller were caring for seven children, and were cited by Virginia Social Services for failing to maintain a proper attendance log of children at the day home.

Rebecca Horner, with the Prince William County Planning Office, told the Board of Supervisors that inspectors do not count a family day home’s owners’ children as part of the five-child cap.

Prior to the county getting involved, the state also denied the couples’ request to expand.

A change in state law, however, allowed the Millers to appeal to the county’s zoning department.  It polled neighbors, asking if they had concerns about the family day home.

They did and said too many cars had been coming to the home located on a dead end street causing unwanted congestion. They also cited a lack of parking on the street.

County zoning officials drivers dropping off and picking up children could not safely enter and exit the driveway due to a hill on Mount High Street.

Prior to the denial, the Millers’ on Monday night told the Board of Supervisors they had never been cited by state inspectors for exceeding the five-child limit. Citing county inspection reports, some on the Board, and those in the audience who spoke said the couple violated zoning laws several times.

“I congratulate Mr. and Mrs. Miller on their persistent purist of the American dream. My hat’s off to you,” said Ed Arnold, who lives across from the Millers’ family day home. “We have stood in your path for what we think are valid and viable reasons and, not withstanding, it is viable to see how persistent you are and that you’re not going to allow anything to come between you and your American dream — not even the laws.” Keep Reading…

Rippon Middle to see additional classrooms, county deals with lack of space for new schools

Rippon Middle School will undergo an eight classroom addition.
The addition will cost $7.4 million dollars.
The county currently requires 80 acres of space to build a school.
The county is looking at how to accommodate students with the acreage requirements, in the eastern end of the county.

As part of Prince William County’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP), Rippon Middle School is undergoing an addition of eight classrooms, while the county tackles the issue of running out of space for future school sites.

According to Phil Kavits, Communication Director for Prince William County Schools, the addition at Rippon Middle School is being done to deal with overcrowding.

“[Rippon’s addition] is slated to open in September 2016, as at cost of approximately $7.4 million. It will relieve overcrowding stemming from enrollment growth. Rippon has a capacity of 1139 students. By 2016, it is projected to be at 109% of current capacity, which would obviously addressed by the new space,” said Kavits.

While the Rippon Middle School addition is just one of the school projects mapped out in the CIP, there is currently a struggle to find enough space to build future schools in the county.

There is currently a requirement that 80 acres must be available for a school site, and this is a challenge, particularly in the eastern end of the county.

“If you look at our CIP [Capital Improvement Program], it provides a comprehensive listing of how many [school] sites we need. If you look forward through the next ten years, we need another 10 or 15 sites. There is an acknowledgment that with less space, we’ve got to take the building up…the footprint of a building, like in a high school, the building itself is one thing – but the other part is a football stadium, softball stadium, baseball stadium, practice fields…it’s just a substantial amount of land to do it,” said David Cline, Associate Superintendent at Prince William County Public Schools.

Cline stated that nearby Fairfax County Public Schools has purchased commercial office space to accommodate students, but there is an issue with this, as there is no open space for recreation functions on the site.

According to Cline, the county is looking at several options, including working to reduce the required acreage to build a school site.

“If it’s a matter of moving it from 80 [acres] to…60 acres, it would reduce the number of fields on it. Not eliminate them – but reduce them. That’s certainly an avenue. The other one that we probably would be considering…we may well be building on a 60 to 80 acre site in the county, but adjusting boundaries, in order to provide those facilities to kids,” said Cline.

Fairfax hospital escapee appears in court in Alexandria

Wossen Assaye, a prisoner that escaped from Inova Fairfax Hospital yesterday, made his initial court appearance today in Alexandria after being apprehended by Fairfax police.

Assaye, who was in police custody at the time of the escape in Fairfax, was originally arrested on federal charges of bank robbery, according to a release from U.S. Department of Justice.

He went before a judge yesterday afternoon in relation to his escape from the hospital, and is being charged with escaping from police custody by the U.S. Attorney General, according to a release.

Assaye waived his detention hearing, and is now in the custody of U.S. Marshals said a release.

Assaye waived his detention hearing, and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m. He was placed in custody with U.S. Marshals.

In order to apprehend Assaye, Fairfax police had to close several roads near the INOVA Fairfax Hospital. The Metropolitan Police Assaye in Washington, D.C. found after stealing two cars and attempting to flee, according to Fairfax police. 

He will face trial for both the original bank robbery charge, and now the escape from custody charge in court, according to a release.

Here’s how the Bi-County Parkway could still happen

Highway would link Prince William, Loudoun counties  

You may count the Bi-County Parkway down, but don’t count it out.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is no longer seeking federal funds for the 10-mile highway that would link travelers on Interstate 95 in Dumfries to I-66, and ultimately to Dulles Airport in Loudoun County.

The project must now undergo a statewide review process mandated by House Bill 2, also known as the “HB2” process, where highway projects that are not fully funded funnel through a state review process.

“This is a new prioritization process we’re still developing where projects will be screened and scored based on their ability to improve traffic congestion and highway safety,” said Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Tamara Rollison.

Projects that will go through HB2 screen have yet to be identified.  The HB2 scoring rubric is expected to be finalized in June, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board in Richmond could select their first projects for review by fall. 

The Commonwealth Transportation Board may be review projects  at urging of a local board of supervisors or a metropolitan planning organization.

“The big difference between the HB2 process versus the old process is that, for the first time, [the review process is mandated] in legislation. This administration is trying to take politics out of transportation as much as possible. It’s about taking limited dollars in within the state to meet as many transportation needs as we can,” added Rollison.

VDOT notified Northern Virginia Delegate Tim Hugo by letter it was no longer seeking federal funds for the project. That letter also addresses the HB2 process.

Politicians said that notice is a sign of defeat for a once contentious project. Two years ago, a debate over the Bi-County Parkway had highway officials, business leaders, politicians, and residents who live along the Route 234 corridor up in arms. 

On Tuesday, Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart released this statement: Keep Reading…

‘Drive to Donate’ program raises over $78K for fire and rescue departments

The Drive to Donate program, hosted by Transurban, raised over $78,000 for area fire and rescue departments on March 21. 

More than 20,000 drivers took to the 495 and 95 Express Lanes to participate the in the program. All of the toll money collected by these drivers on the toll lanes was donated to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, Prince William County Fire and Rescue, and Stafford County Fire and Rescue.

According to a Transurban release, each of the fire and rescue departments received over $26,000 to help them purchase equipment and continue to protect area residents. 

“We are pleased that so many drivers chose to travel on the 495 and 95 Express Lanes on March 21 to help us support a great cause. As safety is the top priority on the Express Lanes, it was important to us to support our local fire and rescue organizations. This donation is one way we can thank our local heroes for keeping the communities surrounding the Express Lanes corridor safe each and every day,” said Jennifer Aument, North American Group General Manager for Transurban in a release.

All three fire and rescue departments were grateful for the donation from drivers that participated in the program.

“The Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue is grateful for the support provided by those drivers who traveled the Express Lanes on March 21 and to Transurban for supporting both driver safety and local fire and rescue departments through the Drive to Donate program,” said Prince William County Assistant Chief, Lance McClintock, in a release. 

The Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department will use some of the raised funds for their Operation Warm Coats for Kids Program.

“Thanks to the Drive to Donate campaign, we believe we will be able to provide a warm coat to every Stafford County student who needs one this coming fall and winter,” said Stafford County Fire and Rescue Chief, Mark Lockhart in a release, continuing, “This incredible donation will move us closer to that goal.  Every child should have a coat to keep them warm; we are grateful that the Drive to Donate program will help us take care of Stafford’s children.” 

Futrell, Qarni and McPike to meet for Prince William Primary Debates

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 11.26.47 AMThree candidates in the Democratic primary for the 29th district Senate seat will meet for a primary debate on Monday, May 18 at 7 p.m.

The three candidates – Jeremy McPike, Delegate Michael Futrell and Atif Qarni – are hoping to fill the long held seat of Senator Chuck Colgan, will debate local issues concerning governance in the district, which includes Prince William County and Manassas.

The candidates will take part in a state-run primary on June 9, which will decide who will go against Republican challenger Hal Parrish, Mayor for the City of Manassas, in November.

You may submit questions for the Democratic Senate primary debate. 

The debate will be held in the auditorium at the Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building at 15941 Donald Curtis Drive in Woodbridge. 

Potomac Local is sponsoring the event, in partnership with the Prince William County Democratic Committee. 

 

The candidates were briefed on the format of the debate as follows:

— Candidates will be introduced to the audience
— Short bios for each candidate will be read
— A candidate will be asked a specific question
— The candidate will have two minutes to respond
— An opposing candidate will have one minute for rebuttal
— A new question is asked of different candidate and process repeats

Stephanie Tipple, Prince William Regional Editor for Potomac Local, will moderate the debate. 

Bob Gibson, Executive Director for the Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, and Stephen Farnsworth, author and professor at the University of Mary Washington, will be the panelists for the debate.

Potomac Local will accept reader-submitted questions that may be asked of the candidates during the debates.

The event is open to the public.

Campaign literature and signs are permitted outside of the Ferlazzo building and must be removed upon event conclusion.

RELATED: Stewart, Crawford; Nohe, O’Meara to meet for Prince William Primary Debates

Health & Fitness Expo at kicks off 10 a.m. Thursday at Freedom Center

health and fitness expo

Health screenings, vendors available for students and community at Freedom Fitness and Aquatic Center

With the weather warming up, there are several area organizations that want to provide information to you about becoming healthier.

The 2nd annual George Mason University Prince William Campus Health and Fitness Expo will take place from 1o a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center on Thursday, April 2.

There will be several demonstrations on healthy living, activities, health screenings, fitness challenges, and vendors at this year’s event.

The fair will provide George Mason students and community members with information on how to make healthier lifestyle choices, motivate others, and to help foster healthy relationships with those in the community, according to Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center Manager Amanda Meiklejohn.

More than 80 vendors signed up to participate in this year’s event. They include health and wellness centers, nutritionists, dance studios, fitness retail stores, and health food outlets.

The Health and Fitness Expo will be held in the center’s open gym, said Meiklejohn.

Last’s year, the center welcomed more than 1,500 attendees to the first Prince William Campus Health and Fitness Expo.

The expo is free to attend and is sponsored again this year by Novant Health.

The Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center is located at 9100 Freedom Center Boulevard in Manassas, just off University Boulevard and Prince William Parkway.

Pets to adopt at Stafford County SPCA

BC
Rose
Willy went missing from his home.

BC

BC is an 11 month old DSH cat that is UTD on shots and neutered. He has a huge personality and gets along very well with the other cats in his room. He enjoys interacting with volunteers and is a silly, curious boy. He is by far our favorite goofball!

Rose

Rose is a 1 year old Jack Russell Terrier/Pomeranian mix that is UTD on shots, spayed, and microchipped. Rose is a bit quieter than her brothers and sisters and is usually the first one in your lap if given a chance to cuddle. If you’re looking for a cuddle bug this is your girl!

Lost dog

Willy – LOST DOG – Last seen 3/26 at 12 PM. Just a year old, blue collar, name tag, rabies tag, county tag and is micro-chipped. If you see him, PLEASE call 703-899-0604.

-Information provided by the Stafford SPCA. Contact them for more information on any of the animals shown above.

How friends and family will honor Prince William’s first fallen firefighter

The Prince William County Professional Fire Fighters Local 2598 group is working with George Mason University to host the 8th annual walk to honor Kyle Wilson on April 18. 

Wilson was the first career firefighter in Prince William County’s fire and rescue department’s 41-years to die in the line of duty back in 2008. 

The Kyle Wilson 10K Walk for Fitness will take place at C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge. 

More from a press release:

Prince William County Professional Fire Fighters Local 2598 in cooperation with George Mason University will be holding the 8th annual Kyle Wilson 10K Walk for Fitness on April 18th, 2015 at C.D. Hylton High School. Registration will begin at 9am and the walk will begin at 10am. All proceeds from the walk will go to The Kyle Wilson Memorial Scholarship Fund at George Mason University.

Kyle Robert Wilson gave the ultimate sacrifice on Monday April 16th, 2007 while searching for occupants during a house fire. His passion for the profession of fire fighting and physical fitness are the inspiration for this walk. Kyle was a graduate of Hylton High School and George Mason University with a degree in Athletic Training. Kyle joined the Prince William Department of Fire and Rescue in 2006. 

For more information or to pre-register please go to www.KyleWilsonMemorial.com.

New construction recycling facility to be built in Manassas

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 3.04.08 PM

On February 24, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors approved the request to build a construction materials recycling facility in Manassas.

The facility will be located at 6326 Old Compton Road, just north of the intersection of Balls Ford Road.

Residents and county workers will be able to recycle concrete, asphalt and wood on the site, according to board documents.

Additionally, a recycling materials separation facility will be built on the site, according to board reports.

Once completed, residents will be able to drop off these materials Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

According to board documents, the recycling facility is set for completion by May of this year.

No public hearing for the site has been set, and the county planning office has not yet sought input from area property owners, according to board documents.

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