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News

VRE trains from Manassas stopped after pedestrian struck

121212 VRE

Update 

Police in Manasssas released the following information about the pedestrian who was struck this morning along railroad tracks in the city. 

Here’s the latest info: 

Pedestrian Struck by Train

At approximately 3:20AM on January 22, 2015, an adult male was struck by a train on the 8400 block of Kao Cir just south of Osbourn Park High School.  The victim, whose name is withheld pending notification of next of kin, was pronounced deceased at the scene.  No foul play is suspected at this time.

7:10 a.m. 

6 a.m. 

5:40 a.m. 

Riders on Virginia Railway Express from Manassas could be delayed this morning.

The transit agency stated via Twitter that it appears a pedestrian was struck by a train.

With the Metro option in place, regular VRE riders can now use their VRE ticket to board the Metro subway system to get to work. The closest Metro station near Manassas is the Vienna station on the Orange line in Fairfax County.

We’ll have more on this as it develops.

Dumfries veterans’ resource fair begins 10 a.m. Saturday

The Rural Health Initiative team from McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond brought their Mobile Vet Center program to Stafford. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

A veterans’ resource fair will be held Saturday in Dumfries.

The fair will allow veterans the chance to learn more about healthcare options, education opportunities, as well as preventing homelessness.

Here’s more in a press release:

The fair will provide a number of veteran-related services in a one-stop setting. Onsite will be Department of Veterans Affairs’ representatives from the Center for Minority Veterans, the Veterans Health and Benefits Administrations, and the National Cemetery Administration. Other invited organizations will provide information related to GI Bill education assistance, finding jobs, completing wills, preventing homelessness, and how to participate in the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project.

Participants include the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Dumfries Police Department, ALBAN CAT, Virginia State Police Recruiter, Integrity Applications, Prince William County Police, Strategy and Management Services Inc, BAI, Inc. Vesper Wave Solutions, LLC, Volunteers of America Chesapeake, Stratford University and so many more.

The 2015 Veterans Resource and Job Fair is a joint effort of Dumfries Councilman Derrick Wood, Delegate Micheal Futrell, and Women’s Veterans Interactive.

The fair will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and will run through 2 p.m. It will take place at 3800 Graham Park Road in Dumfries, at  Dumfries-Triangle Rescue Squad.

Updated: Prince William cancels evening activities

(Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)

Prince William County Public Schools canceled all evening activities tonight. 

Here’s full information in a statement from the school division: 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015: After School and Evening Activities Canceled-Normal Dismissal today. 

All Prince William County Public Schools divisionwide after-school and evening activities are canceled for tonight. All after-school and evening activities including night school, GED, and adult education classes, are canceled this evening. SACC and the Next Generation programs will close at 5 p.m. School will continue to operate on a normal schedule for the remainder of today.  

A School Board meeting that had been scheduled for 7 p.m. is also canceled. 

On the Prince William County Government side of the house, tonight’s meeting of the planning commission is also canceled. All cases will be rescheduled for Feb. 18, according to a press release. 

 

Stafford leaders order no tax increase despite lower revenues

Stafford leaders were issued a clear edict Tuesday night: there will be no increase in property taxes next year.

The directive comes as County Administrator Anthony Romanello is piecing together the county’s fiscal year 2016 budget that takes effect July 1. The county’s budget picture is mixed – some tax revenues are up this year while others, like money from real estate taxes and personal property taxes, development fees, and state funding decreased.

The county’s Board of Supervisors ordered Romanello and his staff to complete a line-by-line audit of the budget to find cuts.

“We need to cut out studies, cut out consultants, and I know Anthony doesn’t want to hear this but we need to implement a hiring freeze,” said Griffis-Widewater District Supervisor Jack Cavalier.

The Board agreed that county employees, both in local government offices and within the public school system, should receive raises as previously promised. Funding those increases could mean slashing some $80 million from capital improvement projects not already started, like improving the intersection at Route 1 and Courthouse Road, improving Courthouse Road between Winding Creek and Shelton Shop roads, as well as improvements to Boswell’s Corner at Route 1 and the Prince William County line.

“The Board was very clear in their direction not to raise taxes, and that means we’ll have to look under every rock to find savings and to help with raises for county government employees and schools employees,” said Romanello. “That’s a hell of a challenge. I don’t have an answer right now. I’ve got the next six weeks to work on it with our team to bring them a balanced budget during the first week of March.”

Laura Sellers, the only Democrat on the Board, was in favor of raising property taxes “because it’s what’s best for the community.” But she was against raising taxes on personal property, such as vehicles.

“When you raise the personal property taxes, it hurts the people who make the least money,” said Sellers.

Now at the halfway point in fiscal year 2015, the county has a revenue shortfall of about $500,000. That money can be made up with prior savings, so calling it a “deficit” would not be accurate, said Romanello.

Some major budget drivers this year is funding $1.9 million for construction for a new Stafford High School, as well as $600,000 in county projects that need funding this next year. Adding to all this, Romanello said the county’s School Board will request about $9 million more from the county as it did last year for education expenses.

Last year, county leaders approved a $262 million budget. The property tax rate was lowered from $1.09 to $1.019 per $100 of assessed value, while an increase in property assessments helped to bring in more than $7 million in new revenues over the prior year. 

Romanello will present Stafford County’s proposed budget at a public meeting of the Board of Supervisors on March 3.

Manassas police report: Shots fired near Tommy’s Place

The following is a listing of incidents released by Manassas City police:

Breaking & Entering

On January 18, 2015, Manassas City Police met with a citizen at Mexico Lindo Restaurant, located at 8630 Mathis Ave, for a report of a burglary that occurred in the past.  The reporting party told officers that during the overnight hours of Saturday, January 7th, someone broke into the business, caused damage to the doors, and stole a safe and an undisclosed amount of cash and checks from the business.  Please see the attached bulletin for additional information and surveillance images recorded during the incident.  This is an ongoing investigation.

Description of vehicle:    White van consistent with a newer model Dodge Caravan

Description of suspect:  White or Hispanic male, approximately 5’-10” to 6’-3” with a thin build, wearing a sweatshirt, gloves, jeans, tennis shoes, and some sort of hood or cover over his head

Shots Fired

At approximately 1:40AM on January 17, 2015, Manassas City Police officers were patrolling in the area of Tommy’s Place, located at 8910 Mathis Ave, when they heard gunshots from a parking lot nearby.  A witness told officers that she saw a black male standing next to a 2007 or 2008 Grey or Silver Nissan Altima in the same parking lot.  The witness did not see a firearm, but saw two flashes of light and heard what sounded like gun shots.  There were four other black males in the car telling the suspect to get back inside.  The suspect reentered the vehicle and as it left making a right onto Mathis Ave, the witness heard what sounded like another gunshot and saw another flash.

Larceny

On January 13, 2015, Manassas City Police met with an employee of Signal Hill Apartments, located at 8713 Signal Hill Rd, for a report of a larceny.  The reporting party told officers that sometime between 8:30AM and 4:00PM on January 12th, someone had damaged all four laundry machines inside one of the two laundry areas on the property.  The coin boxes had also been stolen from the two washers.

Armed Robbery

On January 14, 2015, Manassas City Police responded to Exxon, located at 9901 Wellington Rd, for a report of an armed robbery that had occurred ten minutes prior.  The reporting party told officers that at approximately 7:30PM, a male suspect entered the store wearing a blue bandana to cover his face.  The suspect displayed a black handgun and demanded money, to which the clerk complied.  The suspect was last seen fleeing on foot towards Sandalwood Dr with an undisclosed amount of cash.  Please see the attached bulletin for additional information and surveillance images recorded during the incident.  This is an ongoing investigation.

                Description of suspect:  Hispanic male in his 20s or 30s, 5’-4” to 5’-7”, 160 lbs, wearing a blue bandana to cover his face, a black baseball hat and a light blue sweater

Manassas students will head back to class before Labor Day

120312-Osbourn-High-School

Now that Prince William schools will start classes prior to Labor Day, Manassas schools will do the same.

Here’s the latest in a press release from the city’s schools office:

On Tuesday, January 13, 2015, the School Board approved a revised 2015-16 calendar that now includes an August 31, 2015 start date for students.
Virginia law typically prohibits school divisions from starting prior to Labor Day. However, the Virginia Board of Education waives the requirement if a school board certifies that it meets one of the good cause requirements set forth in the code. Recently Prince William County Schools (PWCS), adopted a start date prior to Labor Day for 2015-2016 by meeting exemptions as indicated in the Code of Virginia.

The decision by PWCS now enables Manassas City Public Schools (MCPS) to meet one of the “good cause” options of Section 22.1-79.1 of the Code of Virginia, which states “if a school division is entirely surrounded by a school division that has an opening date prior to Labor Day in the school year for which the waiver is sought, such school division may open schools on the same opening date as the surrounding school division”. Therefore, the previously approved MCPS school year calendar for 2015-2016 has been amended to include a pre-Labor Day start (August 31, 2015) for students.

Please note that this change still fulfills the 180-day requirement for students with the last day of school now listed as June 16, 2016.

Region to readying to welcome 12,000 athletes for Fairfax World Police & Fire Games

world-police-fire-games-fai

Prince William County is getting in on the action during the Fairfax 2015 World Police and Fire Games.

Dubbed the Olympics of public safety personnel, the games will take place June 26 to July 5. More than 12,000 firefighters and police officers currently serving or retired, from all over the globe, are expected to descend apron the area. They’re expected to bring with them some 30,000 spectators, according to Fairfax 2015.

Of the 53 venues where the games will take place, to include baseball, basketball, cycling, clay shooting, motor cross racing, tennis, and karate just to name a few nine will be held on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University.

In Prince William, here’s a list of competitions being held in the county:

  • Prince William Forest Park – Cycling time trials
  • Prince William Ice Center in Dale City – Ice hockey 35+
  • Quantico – Rifle range bore

Other venues are scatted throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Participants will register for the competition and will gather during the competition week at an athletes village in Reston.

Unlike Olympic athletes who have travel expenses paid for, athletes in these games must pay the cost of their own travel. At an information meeting for the games earlier this month, organizers asked area businesses to offer discounted items and special offers for athletes to entice more to come.

Country Inns and Suites off Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge will serve as the official transportation hub for athletes who stay in the county. Eight buses will take athletes to competition areas each morning and return them at night

Fairfax 2015 officials said they expected 55,000 hotel nights to be booked at area hotels. The Country Inn in Woodbridge is offering a special room rate for athletes, but no rooms have been booked yet.

“We haven’t seen a whole lot picking up yet, but it’s still a little early,” said Rebecca Anderson, who handles group sales for the hotel.

These latest games will take place following the most recent World Police and Fire Games that were held in Belfast, Ireland, and drew 7,000 athletes to the games.

For this year’s games, volunteers will also be needed to assist the athletes and spectators. “We need volunteers for parking, helping familes, we need ambassadors of Fairfax County and this whole region,” said Kim Palmese, director of workforce for Fairfax 2015.

Potomac Local Pets

kingston-8-22-13-1_0mocha_0found-calico_0

Kingston

A playful and affectionate, 2-year-old DSH tuxedo male who loves to curl up in your lap. This amazing, sweet and gentle male kitty is UTD on all his shot and neutered. Kingston gets along wonderfully with other cats, dogs and kids of all ages!

Mocha

She’s is an energetic and playful, 1-year-old beagle pup with a tan & white coat. She is very social and loves to be around kids. Mocha is leash trained, crate trained, spayed and up-to-date on all her shots. Wouldn’t she make a great addition to your family in the New Year?

Found Cat, Brooke area, Stafford

Long -haired, calico found in my subdivision—sweet, talkative, no micro-chip. Please contact the Stafford SPCA if you have any information.

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

Snow accumulation iffy, travel impacts likely with coming storm

Jan 6 2015 snow

When it comes to the clipper system that is supposed to bring snow showers to our region Wednesday, how much snow accumulation we see – if any at all in Prince William and Stafford counties – all depends on the temperatures.

Snow showers are expected to develop about midday Wednesday bringing one to two inches of snow the region, but mainly to the northern Washington, D.C. suburbs in western Virginia and western Maryland. Our area could see less than an inch of accumulation, according to the National Weather Service.

What snow that does fall could mix with rain by Wednesday afternoon. That’s because temperatures are forecasted to climb out of the 20s and into the low 30s, above the freezing mark.

When a clipper system moved across the region on Jan. 6 – the storm that left several school buses stranded on snow covered roads and spelled nightmarish driving conditions on major thoroughfares and side streets – came as temperatures were in the 20s, well cold enough for the storm to produce snow and to freeze on the ground upon contact with the surface.

This incoming storm system “will likely interfere with travel Wednesday,” according to the weather service.

As the storm moves out Wednesday, temperatures will drop into the 20s and some leftover precipitation is possible, according to the weather service.

Thursday will bring some clouds to the area, but the forecast calls for mostly sunny skies with highs in the mid-40s and lows in the upper 20s. Friday will bring mostly sunny skies with high temperatures in the low 40s and lows in the upper 20s. 

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