16-year former Stafford supervisor to run again in Rock Hill

Former Stafford supervisor Robert Gibbons has announced he will run this year in the Rock Hill district.

Wendy Maurer was named the Republican nominee for the seat, following a primary on June 8.

According to a release, Gibbons began his political career in the 1980s, and is a business owner and a retired veteran.

Gibbons spent 16 years on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors.

During his time as a supervisor, he worked with the board on constructing courthouse buildings, the Stafford airport, the regional landfill, Centreport Parkway, establishing a University of Mary Washington campus in Southern Stafford and creating the Fredericksburg Regional Transit (FRED) bus system, stated a release.

“Between the beauty, safety, and strong education available in our region, not to mention the strong opportunities for business owners, Stafford County will only continue growing. It’s important that county leaders are able to support that growth without unduly burdening residents and while maintaining the area characteristics that make the county such an inviting place,” stated Gibbons.

During his candidacy, Gibbons would like to address continued expansion of the I-95 Express Lanes.

Four displaced by house fire in Woodbridge

Late in the eveningPWC Fire and Rescue on July 5, Prince William fire and rescue were called to a single family home for a fire on Nassau Drive in Woodbridge.

According to Prince William fire and rescue, there was fire seen on the back deck that had reached the attic.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire.

Prince William fire and rescue stated that three adults and one child was home at the time of the fire. The family was alerted about the fire by a neighbor knocking on their door to tell them, said Prince William fire and rescue.

The four individuals were able to safely evacuate. The Red Cross was on scene to assist the family displaced by the fire.

No one was injured.

A Building Inspector has declared the home uninhabitable, and has stated the damagers are worth $187,000.

The fire is currently being investigated by the Fire Marshal’s Office, said Prince William fire and rescue.

Prince William board not getting a pay raise this time

The Prince William board of supervisors will not be getting a raise.

Following a board meeting on June 15, and a contentious closed session that led to two board members walking out of the room, the board ultimately tabled the issue.

Ideas for raises for the board did not come from the supervisors themselves, but was a county staff recommendation to stay consistent with the board’s informally adopted compensation resolution, that aims to keep their pay comparable to other localities, according to a staff report.

Currently, Chairman At-Large Corey Stewart is paid $49, 452 a year, and the other supervisors are paid $43,422 a year.

Timeline to approve raises

The board has a narrow window to approve of any changes in salaries, according to section 15.2-1414.2 of the Virginia Code, where action has to be approved by July 1 on an election year.

Here’s a look at that section of the code:

The annual compensation to be allowed each member of the board of supervisors of a county shall be determined by the board of supervisors of such county but such compensation shall not be more than a maximum determined in the following manner. Prior to July 1 of the year in which members of the board of supervisors are to be elected or, if the board is elected for staggered terms, of any year in which at least forty percent of the members of the board are to be elected, the current board, by a recorded vote of a majority present, shall set a maximum annual compensation which will become effective as of January 1 of the next year.

While the board of supervisors could take action on raises during a non-election year, they could not be approved and active until January 1 when a new board takes office, after an election year.

“[The code] does not state that a Board can only take action during an election year. Salary changes cannot take effect until January 1 of the year in which the new Board takes office,” said county spokesman Jason Grant.

And now that the July 1 window has passed, the county board of supervisors will not be able to approve and implement any changes to supervisor pay for another 4 years.

Looking at other localities

Following a board policy directive to the County Executive in April 2000, the county is meant to look at surrounding localities and see what their salaries are, when considering whether or not the raise the county’s supervisor pay.

This can be a difficult task, considering that each locality has a different population, taxes, infrastructure and responsibilities.

“The [directive] specifically state Fairfax County, City of Alexandria, Arlington County and Loudoun County as their ‘counterparts.’ So, I believe those would be the comparable jurisdictions. Those are the jurisdictions we compare to because Arlington, Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William are the four Northern Virginia counties. Alexandria, though a city, is comparable due to its size and service needs,” stated Grant.

How other localities look at supervisor pay

According to Stafford County and Fairfax County, looking at comparable localities to compare and adjust supervisor pay is a common practice, and often raises are not given every 4 years.

“Usually we don’t adjust salaries every 4 years, actually it’s more like every 8 years…we take a look at what the compensation is for other counties and jurisdictions of similar size, similar responsibilities, although everything is not always equal. I’ve been on the board for a long time…I was originally elected in 1987, and I have been a supervisor a number of times we have adjusted compensation. And people always say, ‘this is the worst time, we shouldn’t be doing this now’ and if that were the case, we would probably never do it. And we still would be making $18,000 a year. We are aware and sensitive to what is going on, as far as the economy goes…trying to adjust compensation so that we can keep and attract good board members without taking an action that would be considered as irresponsible is what we aim for,” said Fairfax Chairwoman Sharon Bulova,

Fairfax just recently approved a pay increase for the incoming board. According to Bulova, supervisors will go from $75,000 to $95,000 per year, and the Chairman would go from $75,000 to $100,000 per year.

While Stafford does not have an adopted policy on pay raises like Prince William does, they took look at other localities and have adopted pay raises in recent years.

“The pay for our Board of Supervisors has been the same since 2001 except for 2008, when they had a raise that they repealed the next year,” said Stafford spokeswoman Shannon Howell.

If Prince William’s board of supervisors had taken on the staff recommendation for pay raises, the Chairman would have received a salary of $58,032 and a district supervisor would have received $53,795 – a 24% and 17% raise, respectively – according to Grant.

Prince William gets $16.4M 9-1-1 calling system, prepares for ‘next generation 9-1-1’

Stafford County firefighters battle a blaze April 16, 2015.
[KJ Mushung/Potomac Local News]

Prince William police and fire rescue now has a new 9-1-1 calling system in place.

The new system – called Premier One – which had a contracted cost of $16.4 million is being managed by Motorola.

According to a Motorola release, Prince William handles 400,000 emergency calls per year.

Current system was at ‘end of life’

“Prince William County has several systems that support safety…of those, we were at end of life for many if not all of them, and had to develop a plan to replace and upgrade those,” said Prince William fire and rescue Battalion Chief Scott Boggs.

Boggs stated that the county went through a lengthy bidding process to find a new vendor for the county’s 9-1-1 calling system.

“That process included over 3,000 requirements that each vendor had to respond to, and we went through a fairly lengthy negotiation process. The outcome was that Motorola was contracted with Prince William County to replace the computer aided dispatch, law records management, fire records management, personnel and asset management, as well as a software solution to handle logistics and training and facilities,” said Boggs.

Next generation 9-1-1

There are two unique features of the new emergency response system – it’s connection to regional public safety systems, and it’s potential to incorporate ‘next generation 9-1-1’ which will allow for texts and other types of messages, instead of strictly voice emergency calls.

“Of that $600,000 was grant funding for inter-operability, and that is to connect our system to other systems that are connected in the national Capital region,” said Boggs.

“When you look at public safety, and answering 9-1-1 calls, next generation 9-1-1 is the big push now, with being able to take on not just voice calls, but texts and things like that. Because Premier One is a modern platform, it will give the county the ability to add those next generation abilities as they need to…it will help them grow in the future,” said Motorola Director of Product Management for Smart Public Safety Steve Mayes.

Improvements already seen for first responders

The new system went live at the end of June, and while they’re still working on getting dispatches fully comfortable with the software, Prince William police has already seen a big improvement in information given to their officers.

“Obviously it takes a little time to get used to new software for our staff, but I can tell you from a management perspective, I’ve been through many of these upgrades…and it’s a challenge for most us to do that normally. In this case we took a proactive approach and utilized things like Motorola training all of our dispatch staff and also making sure our training was time appropriately and we’re actually at the point now where we’re tweaking,” said Boggs.

Prince William sheriff’s lieutenant Patrick Aigner referenced the improvements when speaking about a recent robbery call.

“The information available to the individual officers on the street is critical for the public safety aspect, as well as the investigative aspect. We’ve already seen in just over a week so many examples of the enhanced functionalities. For instance – we had a robbery last week – in the eastern district, and the mapping feature, which allows the officer to see where their partners are in relation to the target address…allows us to use much better positioning for keeping the suspect potentially in that perimeter. We’ve already seen where that enhancement has helped our officers,” Aigner said.

Ali Krieger fans gather in Woodbridge to watch Team USA win

Ali Krieger fans watch Team USA win.
Ali Krieger fans watch Team USA win.
Ali Krieger fans watch Team USA win.
Ali Krieger fans watch Team USA win.

When the U.S. Women’s National Team took home the 5-2 win over Japan last night, fans gathered in Woodbridge to cheer them on.

Especially fans of Ali Krieger, the 30-year-old defensive player from Dumfries. Hometown hero Krieger attended C.D. Hylton High School for one year and later graduated from Forest Park High School. She played for Prince William Soccer Incorporated (PWSI).

Fans gathered to watch the championship game at Glory Days Grill in Woodbridge. Mike Yeatts at PWSI sent these photos to Potomac Local.

Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores a culinary destination

  • Tidewater Grill
  • Phone: 571-383-3050

Matthew Blazey is executive chef The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores
The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores
Che Crabcake Sandwich at The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores
Pork Belly Bites at The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores
Watermelon Salad at The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores
Shrimp Tacos at The Tidewater Grill at Potomac Shores

Between the Potomac River and the 18th hole of the Potomac Shores Golf Club, the Tidewater Grill sits like an oasis in the quiet of nature, cut off from the bustling city not too far beyond its walls.

In the kitchen, Executive Chef Matthew Blazey is cooking up something delicious.

“These are our pork belly bites,” Chef Blazey says, motioning towards one dish. “We braze pork belly in a bunch of seasonings, a little bit of vinegar, apple cider vinegar and some apple juice. We cool it down, cut it into cubes and then we fry it really quickly so it’s nice and crispy. Then we top it with jalapeños, scallions, and fresh cilantro.”

When asked about the kind of person that eats this dish, Chef Blazey laughs. “Everyone loves this dish,” he says.

The enthusiastic chef says that the Tidewater Grill has fun with its food.

“It is a golf club, so you have to have those staples like a burger, a hot dog, wings. We have those, but with our own twist. For instance, our hot dog isn’t your typical hot dog. It’s got bacon jam; caramelized onion and yellow mustard. We like to cook food that not only we like to eat, but people like to eat.”

Matt has been the Executive Chef for Tidewater Grill since before it opened last year. His passion for being in the kitchen began when he dropped out of the university where he had been studying business.

“I hated it,” Chef Matt said. “It wasn’t my kind of learning. I’m a very visual and hands on person. You can tell me how to do something until I’m blue in the face, but I’m not going to fully get it until I actually do it.”

He picked up a job at a golf course in Mason, Ohio instead. “I started working in the kitchen and I fell in love with it,” he said.

Years later, it’s clear the chef still feels strongly connected to the work that he’s involved in and passionate about being in the kitchen.

“That’s where everyone wants to be. It’s exciting, it’s dynamic. There’s always something to do. You know, we’re back there sweating bullets all day, behind a grill in this fast paced environment.”

He also has experience working in a variety of different environments, from hotels in busy city areas to the expansive wildlife of Virginia.

“If I want to take a break from the hotel, going outside there’s taxi cabs flying past me, there’s potholes, and people honking their horns,” Chef Matt said.

Things are different at the Tidewater Grill.

“Here, if I want to go outside, I go out on the back patio and there’s a bald eagles nest adjacent to our clubhouse. The Potomac River is a stones throw away and we’re looking out over the beautiful 18thhole.”

The atmosphere even inspires Chef Matt in the dishes that he makes and the ingredients he decides to use. “We’ve got crab all over the place in our menu: crab cake, crab mac n’ cheese, crab corn chowder.” He adds that the Tidewater Grill features meat and produce from local farms.

“You’re not only supporting local businesses and the local community, it shows the people dining in your establishment what they can also get and what their neighbors are producing,” he said.

Now that he’s Executive Chef, Matt spends a little less time in the kitchen. “My line cooks are probably faster than me now. They can probably run circles around me, so I rely heavily on them in that aspect.”

The chef also enjoys checking on tables and making connections with guests. He says it isn’t just compliments about the food that he’s pleased to hear.

“I like to hear them talk about how much they not only love the food, but just love coming here in general. Because of the atmosphere, you know the service that our staff gives, the conversationsthey have with guests, that whole interaction”

But of course, food is his main priority.

“Here, we have the luxury of making food that we believe in and changing it constantly,” Chef Mattsays.

“If we throw something against the wall and it sticks, awesome. If we throw something against the wall and it doesn’t, then we move on to the next.”

Chef Matt claims there’s nothing like the Tidewater Grill in this area. “I want to make it a destination,” he said.

It seems for Chef Matt at least, it already is one.

“We’re open 7 days a week,” he says. “Come on down.”

This promoted post and accompanying video was written and produced by Potomac Local.

Remake Dale City: How close are we to moving the neighborhood library?


The Dale City Neighborhood Library isn’t very large when compared to other regional libraries in Prince William County, like nearby Chinn Park, and Bull Run libraries.

But it is a busy one. On any given afternoon, finding a parking space here is a challenge, and that might give solace to those who defend libraries in the age of the internet.

This library recently won the attention of six planners from the American Institute of Architects Sustainable Design Assesment Team (SDAT for short) who visited Dale City last month. Among the many recommendations made by both the team and residents who attended a series of public meetings on redeveloping Dale City into a more friendly place to live, moving the library was one of them.

The Dale City Neighborhood Library sits in the heart of suburb it’s named after, in Center Plaza on Dale Boulevard at the intersection of Minnieville Road. It dates back about 30 years when many homes in Dale City were still under construction.

Now, the area’s population is getting older. Planners identified Center Plaza and nearby Mapledale Plaza as what could be the new twin downtowns for Dale City. Under the plan, the library would be relocated from Center to Mapledale, where it could join a new health spa, amphitheatre, and public space that would be added in what is now the parking lot of Mapledale Plaza that sits empty the majority of the time.

John Jenkins, who represents the Neabsco District portion of Dale City on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, says it’s an idea worth exploring. Marty Nohe represents the other half of Dale City, in the Coles District, and he said moving the library is dependent upon costs, and deciding whether or not the move would improve services provided to the public.

While it hasn’t been called a pipedream, moving the library won’t happen anytime soon. Two new libraries will open this year — one in Montclair and other in Gainesville. The land for the Montclair library was donated 30 years ago.

“People are planning things and telling you what they want, but we have to look at costs. Would it be a big library?… Would it be a regional library? If that were the case, you would have to do a bond referendum,” said Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan, who pushed for the construction of the Montclair library.

County officials in 2006 asked the voters by way of a referendum to borrow money to build the libraries. Voters said yes, and on Oct. 29 at 3 p.m. the new library will open to the public, said Caddigan. A similar grand opening is scheduled for a new library in Gainesville on Oct. 15, she added.

Read more in our “Remake Dale City” series: 

The ‘city’ has 2 centers

How new signs, bus stops could help create a sense of place

How the ‘Neabsco Greenway’ will bridge the gap

Why it got so foggy on the 4th of July

Did it get foggy on Saturday night or what?

After Independence Day revelers enjoyed their fireworks shows, a thick cloud of haze rolled into our region.

Many at the Potomac Nationals game in Woodbridge posted photos to social media showing the eerie fog.


When farm team for the Washington Nationals set off their fireworks after the game Saturday night, many stated they couldn’t see them because the fog was so dense.

Brian Lasorsa, of the National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington office in Sterling, said they knew the fog was coming when forecasters updated thier short-term forecast about 7 p.m. Saturday. Lasorsa said smoke from fireworks could have played a role in why the fog was so dense.

After the fireworks shows ended, a breeze blew most of the smoke south of Washington, D.C., where many gather on the National Mall to watch one of the region’s largest firework shows. Fog at Ronald Regan National Airpot reduced visibility to about two to three miles, said Lasorsa.

On a clear day, it’s possible to see about 10 miles in any direction, he added.

The fog — and firework smoke – hung around due to inversion, said Lasorsa. That’s when air temperatures at the surface are cooler than they are aloft. So, instead of rising and blowing away, the smoke hung around.

It’s possible that smoke particles could have been a contributing factor of creating more fog across the region.

The fog cleared out of the area Sunday morning.

Kevin Hardin

Kevin Hardin 47, of Fredericksburg passed away on Monday June 8th 2015.

He leaves to grieve, his wife and soulmate Judy of 23 years, his mother Diane, several nieces, nephews, extended family members and many lifelong friends. Kevin grew up in Woodbridge, Va. and he and his wife moved to Fredericksburg in 1996.

He was an avid Washington Redskins fan who relentlessly cheered his team on even through the bad times. He had a talent for fixing anything that was broken and one of his friends once said, “Kevin can fix anything with just his little pocket knife.”

He loved nature and the outdoors especially fishing, NASCAR, working on cars and projects around the house, and he loved beautifying his new blue Ford pickup truck. Kevin was a strong, yet compassionate man with a gentle heart who was proud that he had overcome many struggles he faced in life on his own with God’s strength to carry him.

He was good natured believing firmly in just being himself, he was unpretentious, genuine in character and his devotion and loyalty to his wife and those he cared about endured. He was always willing to help his friends and always seemed to find the good in almost everyone. A viewing was held on Tuesday, June 16th at Mt. Castle Funeral Home in Woodbridge, followed by a graveside service and internment at Mt. Comfort Cemetery in Alexandria.

The sudden and tragic loss of Kevin has rendered deep sorrow in the hearts of those who knew and truly loved him. May our Heavenly Father bless and keep our beloved Kevin close to His side and may those grieving the loss of his precious life here on earth, find peace and comfort trusting in God’s promise that we will be reunited with him again one day.

• John 11:25-26
78 Jesus said, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

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Mr. Postal holds ribbon cutting at North Stafford store

Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.
Mr. Postal ribbon cutting.

Mr. Postal held a ribbon cutting at its location at 2769 Jefferson Davis Highway in North Stafford.

Now under new ownership, retail center was formerly known as the Pack N Ship Store.

Several members of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce were in attendance. Margaritas, wine, and champagne was served at the event.

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