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Smart Beginnings supports starting children off strong


Many people can remember the days of working on reading skills in school and the wonderful adventures that opened as a result. But that’s not every child’s experience, because not every child is ready for Kindergarten. And it’s often not just about age or maturity. The fact is, children who enter Kindergarten healthy and ready to learn have better success educationally and as adults.

Kendra Kielbasa, Director of Smart Beginnings of Greater Prince William (SBGPW), knows this and wants to make sure every child is prepared for a quality education. To do this, parents, caregivers, and educators need to start early.

Crucial Needs of Children Ages 0-5

According to Kielbasa, 90 percent of a child’s brain has formed by age five.

“We need to get the word out and raise community awareness of the importance of early childhood,” said Kielbasa. “This is the time in which the foundation is laid for future learning.”

A loving, secure environment where children are engaged and social-emotional bonds are formed with parents and caregivers has a profound effect on a child’s future, said Kielbasa. Unfortunately, underserved children in the community are found to have a 3-million-word gap compared to children that have access to strong social-emotional supports and quality early learning environments. This gap can mean the difference between successful learning and an environment that a child finds frustrating and inaccessible. Parents and caregivers should talk, sing, and read to young children every day.

Kielbasa said that children in the literacy gap may need remedial care in other ways, too. Social-emotional bonding affects kids ages 0-5 and may be lacking for many reasons, putting children in a position to perform poorly in an educational environment.

“Children that are consistently behind are often unable to catch up by grade three,” she said. “This inability to close the gap can lead to grade repetition, leading to higher incidences of expulsion, dropout or late graduation. Other social problems, such as health issues and criminal behavior, also are tied to the literacy gap.”

Using the Tools

SBGPW encourages routine screenings that address both developmental milestones and behavioral skills at key developmental increments. The sooner a delay is identified, the greater the opportunity for support and optimal outcome for the child, Kielbasa said.

SBGPW encourages the use of these screening tools in childcare centers and health centers. They also partner with GMU MAPs clinic at Manassas Park Community center to provide screening to all children under age five.

Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) is a tool used to aid in finding literacy gaps. PALS is given to children at the start of Kindergarten to gauge which children have reading deficiencies, including number and letter recognition. The assessment is not about reading levels, but more about recognition issues that may lead to reading problems.

Closing the Literacy Gap

SBGPW has set three priorities to support kindergarten readiness: pre-literacy; high-quality childcare/early learning programs; and initiatives or programs that support health and well-being.

Strong pre-literacy tools help children to be ready for school, and reading to children beginning at birth supports healthy brain development. That’s why SBGPW has distributed over 4,000 first books through the Books 4 Babies program at Novant Health UVA Prince William Medical Center and Greater Prince William Community Health Center. It’s also the reason they support and partner with other literacy projects such as the Prince William Public Library System’s 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program.

SBGPW is also supporting early childhood professionals who want to focus on continuous quality improvement for the children and families they serve. They provide critical professional development training in conjunction with NOVA-Manassas. They also offer an ongoing Director’s Forum for early childhood directors to collaborate, learn and obtain resources for their staff, families, and centers.

Organizations interested in becoming a community partner should email Kendra Kielbasa at More information can be found at

‘Back to the drawing board’: Should Route 1/123 interchange be reconsidered?

Route 1-Route 123 Interchange similar to Wellington-Route 28 in Manassas
bridge photo.

Since 2011 there have been talks of an interchange at Routes 1 and 123 in Woodbridge.

Prince William County resident Mark Scheufler sent this letter to Woodbridge District Supervisor, Frank Principi:

Supervisor Principi,

The initial Virginia Smart Scale Transportation rankings listed the Route 123/Route 1 interchange as the 286th highest in the state and 45th in Northern Virginia. It is not recommended for funding.



I would strongly recommend going back to the drawing board and restarting the design of the interchange with a more pedestrian friendly urban design.

Please consider implementing an interchange solution similar to the Route 28 overpass of Wellington/Norfolk Southern in Manassas.(Attached). This is quadrant interchange design. This was an ~$50 million project. This will help project scoring for future NVTA and Smart Scale funding rounds.

General Recommendations for the North Woodbridge/VRE area:

• Route 123 – 2 Lanes in each direction between Belmont Bay and Annapolis Way

• Roundabout at Express Way and Belmont Bay/Route 123

• Roundabout at Express Way and Dawson’s Creek (This would allow for a second left turn lane to Route 1 Southbound)

• Minimize Dual Left Turn Lanes

• Maximize Street Grid, Way finding Signs to divert traffic away from congestion points

• Road Diet for Horner Rd and Occoquan Road (Similar to Lawyer’s Road in Reston) – One lane in each direction, middle left turn lane and bike lanes.

• Roundabout at the intersection of Horner and Occoquan Rd. (Similar to Braddock and Pleasant Valley in Fairfax County)

• Other than Route 1, “VDOT’s objective to move motorists through the area” should not be a priority”
• Pedestrian overpass over Route 1 connecting to VRE with a mixed use parking garage

• Pocket Track South of the Woodbridge VRE Station to Turnaround VRE trains (Contingent on Atlantic Gateway Rail improvements and Long Bridge) for all-day 15-30 minute service between Woodbridge and Washington DC. (Better than any Metro Station in PWC)

• On-Demand Bus Service from Woodbridge for VRE stations from Rippon to Spotsylvania during off-peak/weekends

Police find kids, drugs, “deplorable” conditions inside Manassas area home

Abdi, Mahad
Clark, Makiya

From Prince William County Police Department:

On January 14, detectives from the Special Victims Unit began an investigation into alleged child neglect which was reported to have occurred at a home located on Alleghany Rd in Manassas. During the execution of a search warrant at the residence, evidence of narcotics use was located, in addition to, deplorable living conditions. Child Protective Services responded and removed three children, a 4-year-old boy, a 2-year-old boy, and 3-month-old girl, from the home. Following the investigation, the accused, identified as Mahad Farah ABDI and Makiya Shaneeya Brenda CLARK, were arrested.
Arrested on January 14:
Mahad Farah ABDI, 37, of the 7500 block of Alleghany Rd in Manassas
Charged with 4 counts of cruelty and injury to children and 1 count felony child neglect & abuse

Makiya Shaneeya Bre CLARK, 26, of the 7500 block of Alleghany Rd in Manassas
Charged with 3 counts of cruelty and injury to children and 1 count felony child neglect & abuse

Court Date: Pending | Bond: Both Held WITHOUT Bond

Bystander wounded in gun fight

Gates, Roy
McQueen, JaShaun


From Prince William County Police Department:

Malicious Wounding | Shooting Investigation – On January 18 at 6:13PM, officers responded to the 3600 block of Wharf Ln in Triangle (22172) to investigate a shooting in progress. A short time later, a 20-year-old woman of Triangle was located suffering from a gunshot wound to the lower body. Responding officers provided immediate first-aid to the victim before rescue crews arrived on scene. The victim was flown to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries and is expected survive.

Further investigation revealed that there was a fight in the above area. During the encounter, two men brandished handguns and began shooting at each other then fled the area. Officers later learned that a nearby residence was struck by a bullet resulting from the incident.

Following the investigation, detectives with the Robbery and Gang Units identified the parties involved and obtained warrants for their arrests. One of suspects, identified as Roy Reginald GATES, was arrested without incident. Attempts to locate the second suspect, JaShaun Ervin MCQUEEN, have been unsuccessful.

The investigation continues.
Wanted: [Photo from September 2016]
JaShaun Ervin MCQUEEN, 19, of the 18100 block of Kilmer Ln in Triangle
Described as a black male, 5’08”, 170lbs with black hair and brown eyes
Wanted for malicious wounding and use of a firearm in commission of a felony

Arrested on January 18:
Roy Reginald GATES, 29, of the 18100 block of Kilmer Ln in Triangle
Charged with reckless handling of a firearm and brandishing a firearm
Court Date: March 7, 2017 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

Pictured in order above:  Gates, and Mcqueen

Five-week sewer rehabilitation project begins in Triangle

sewer rehab

From the Prince William County Service Authority:

The Prince William County Service Authority began sewer main rehabilitation work this week in the Oakdale Circle area off of Old Triangle Road in Triangle.

The work is expected to take approximately five weeks to complete. Because this rehabilitation work does not involve digging up the road, there will not be a significant interruption to the flow of traffic.

The rehab project involves lining the inside of the pipe with a hard, resin-like substance called Cured-In-Place-Pipe (CIPP) that prevents the intrusion of tree roots and adds decades of life to the sewer main.

Last month, the Service Authority lined more than 6,800 feet of sewer main across Prince William County, and video inspected another 10 miles of pipe.

Sex assault victim found in Walmart dressing room

From Stafford County Sheriff’s Office:

On January 14, 2017 at approximately 6:30 p.m. Sergeant D.R. Colona responded to a disturbance in the area of the Walmart at 217 Garrisonville Road. The reporting party stated a female friend was hiding in the woman’s dressing room in an attempt to elude a man who was “stalking” her. The caller contacted the Sheriff’s Office after receiving a Facebook message from her friend and further advised the man was driving a gold van.

As Sergeant Colona arrived in the parking lot, he observed a gold Dodge Caravan and ran the vehicle tags which returned to a 2000 green Honda. A white male was sitting in the van. Sergeant Colona made contact and identified him as Patrick Stambler. Mr. Stambler advised that he was looking for a co-worker who he was giving a ride home. (more…)

‘We believe this light will make the intersection safer’


MANASSAS, Va. — A new signal light outside the Prince William County Fairgrounds near Manassas will help regulate the flow of traffic on Dumfries Road and Old Dominion Drive.

The signal light sits near the new Bradley Square townhomes developed by Stanley Martin Homes and was erected by the developer. The new signal light is expected to be active within the next 45 days, according to Stanley Martin Homes spokesman Truett Young.

Bennett Elementary School sits nearby, and the new light is expected to improve traffic flow to the school. Here’s a statement from Prince William County Pubilc Schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer:

“Every light affects operations either positively or negatively.  The majority of our buses enter Bennett ES from Grant Ave onto Old Dominion Dr. and won’t be affected at all.  We believe this light will make the intersection safer for the one bus that turns there with students on board and so we believe its impact will be more positive than anything else.”

In addition to installing the new signal light, Stanley Martin also paid to widen Old Dominion Drive to make it safer for school buses to use the road.

The Prince William County Fair runs for a week each year in August, and without fail, county police are called to direct traffic in and out of the fairgrounds. The new light probably won’t change that, according to this statement from fair spokeswoman Chrissy Taylor: 

“We will meet with our [Prince William County] police detail in the spring. Most likely, the light will be flashing and PWC police will control the flow of traffic as done in previous years.”

Stewart plans Virginia Gubernatorial Campaign launch in Occoquan

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey Stewart is making a run for the office of Virginia Governor.

From Corey Stewart for Governor Campaign:

You’re invited to join us this Monday night to kick-off our campaign to Take Back Virginia from the political elites, at our Northern Virginia Launch Party.

It will be this Monday, January 23rd at Bistro L’Hermitage, 12724 Occoquan Rd, Woodbridge, VA 22192. You can sign up to attend here.

Come out and meet our team and learn how you can help Take Back Virginia. Appetizers will be provided.

WHAT: Northern Virginia Launch Party

WHERE: Bistro L’Hermitage
12724 Occoquan Rd
Woodbridge, VA 22192

WHEN: Monday, January 23rd at 7 PM

Manassas police charged Jenkins in $13,000 jewelry heist

From Manassas City police:

Larceny – Arrest
At approximately 1:50 p.m. on Jan. 16, 2017, Manassas City Police responded to Pink House Antiques & Collectables, located at 9201 Prescott Ave, in reference to a shoplifting that had just occurred. A store employee told officers that an adult male subject entered the store and inquired about some jewelry. When the employee stepped away from the jewelry counter to tend to another customer, the suspect allegedly took several pieces of jewelry, valued together at $13,000, and fled the store. Using the description provided, officers located the suspect, Walter E. JENKINS, 37, of 7809 Pine St, Manassas, Va. 20111 on the 9000 block of Centreville Rd and placed him into custody without incident. JENKINS was charged with Grand Larceny, held without bond, and has a pending court date of Jan. 31, 2017. [Photo unavailable]

Larceny – Arrest
At approximately 5:30 p.m. on January 16, 2017, Manassas City Police responded to The Home Depot, located at 8805 Liberia Ave, for a report of a shoplifting. An employee at the store told officers that the accused allegedly took two drills, valued together at $258, concealed them, and left the store. Using the description provided, officers located the suspect, Jeffrey FRYE, 44, of 13101 Tazanari Way #304, Woodbridge, Va. 22192 at approximately 5:45 p.m. in a wooded area behind the 8600 block of Phoenix Dr and took him into custody. FRYE has a pending court date of Feb. 28, 2017. [Photo unavailable]