WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia




Focusing on Seniors Matters, Connolly to Hold Conference at Westminster

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Congressman Gerry Connolly will host his annual Senior Issues Forum on Thursday at Westminster at Lake Ridge in Prince William County. Citizens interested in learning more about legislative matters and other issues concerning seniors and retirees are invited to attend.

Representatives from the AARP, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Social Security Administration, and the Federal Trade Commission will join Connolly on a panel at the forum. Congressman Connolly’s issues forum will run from 3 pm to 5 pm on Thursday, September 5, in Westminster’s Potomac Room at 12191 Clipper Drive in Woodbridge.

The panelists for Connolly’s senior issues forum are:

· Joanne Grossi, Regional Director, U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services

· Bill Kallio, State Director, AARP

· David Melton, Public Affairs Specialist, Social Security Administration

· Derick Rill, Congressional Relations, Federal Trade Commission

“I encourage everyone who has questions or concerns about federal programs, issues, or legislation affecting seniors to attend this forum,” Connolly said. “I have brought together some real experts who will be able to address a variety of matters affecting Medicare and Social Security recipients, fraudulent scams, and other issues affecting seniors.”

Anderson Opening Campaign Office in Lake Ridge’s Dillingham Square

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — Delegate Richard Anderson will open his campaign headquarters in Lake Ridge on Wednesday.

The incumbent will be joined by Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va. 1, and Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, when they open their office at Dillingham Square next to Sun Trust Bank, according to a press release. The opening ceremony is open to the public and starts at 7 p.m.

Anderson was elected in 2009 and represents the 51st House District that encompasses much of Prince William County. He faces Democrat Reed Heddleston in his reelection bid this fall.

Virginia Police Benevolent Association Supports Lingamfelter

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Today, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter announced that the Virginia Police Benevolent Association (VBA) has endorsed his campaign for re-election representing the 31st District in the Virginia House of Delegates. The endorsement comes after an extensive candidate interview process conducted by members of the Prince William Chapter.

Responding to the endorsement, Delegate Lingamfelter stated, “The Police Benevolent Association is made up of the men and women who have taken the oath to protect and defend our community. We owe it to them to honor their service and I am proud to say that I have been a strong advocate for law enforcement officers over the course of my career in the Virginia House of Delegates. As I have done in the past, I will continue to fight for these men and women who selflessly dedicate their lives to keeping our families safe.”

“Through an understanding of issues important to our membership and a willingness to be a working partner in our efforts to improve and promote the local and state law enforcement profession, Mr. Lingamfelter has earned our support. The Prince William County Chapter of the Virginia Police Benevolent Association asks the citizens of Prince William to support Mr. Lingamfelter in the upcoming election for Virginia House of Representatives on November 5,” said Virginia PBA President, Joe Woloszyn.

Anderson Hosting Town Hall on Sequestration in Virginia

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Delegate Richard L. Anderson (R-Prince William) will host a 51st House District Town Hall on Sequestration on August 27th at 7:30 p.m. at Lake Ridge Baptist Church in Woodbridge.

The event comes as Virginia is working to mitigate the effects of the federal sequestration on residents of Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

In March of this year, Governor Bob McDonnell created the Virginia Commission on Military Installations and Defense Activities (COMIDA) to study how the Commonwealth can best mitigate the effects of sequestration over the next decade, as well as minimize the impact of potential military base closures in 2015 and 2017 through the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) process.

The commission consists of 10 leaders drawn from the retired senior military officer community and the executive and legislative branches of Virginia state government. Anderson and Virginia State Senator Bryce E. Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) sit on the commission as co-chairs of the General Assembly Military and Veteran Caucus, which is the legislative clearing house for dozens of bills that make their way each year through the General Assembly for 830,000 Virginia veterans. In addition to Anderson and Reeves, the commission includes four retired four-star and three-star military officers and four cabinet secretaries.

In addition to Anderson and Reeves, the event will feature another commission member, the Honorable Terrie L. Suit, Virginia’s Secretary of Veteran Affairs and Homeland Security. The commission has been meeting since April and has visited military bases and other locations most vulnerable to sequestration and BRAC activities.

The general public is invited to the event on August 27th from 7:30 to 9pm at Lake Ridge Baptist Church at 12450 Clipper Drive in Woodbridge. Residents of Occoquan, Woodbridge, Lake Ridge, Manassas, Brentsville, and Nokesville are most affected and are invited to attend.

In announcing this community conversation, Anderson stated that “I hope as many of our neighbors as possible can attend on August 27th. We’ll have the latest information on what Virginia is doing. But more importantly, we want to devote the bulk of our meeting to hearing first-hand what Prince William residents are experiencing. That way, we can best tailor Commonwealth plans to address their needs and concerns.”

At the meeting on August 27th, Anderson, Reeves, and Suit will report to local residents on initiatives to soften the impacts of sequestration and BRACs. Most of the meeting will be devoted to discussion, questions and answers, and testimony from Prince William County residents affected by sequestration, furloughs, and future reductions in force (RIFs).

If possible, participants are asked to RSVP to Del. Anderson’s legislative district office at 571-264-9983 or RGalloway@house.virginia.gov. This will permit planning for adequate seating. Requests for more information can also be directed to this office number or email address.

In preparing for the meeting, Anderson stated that “in the last three months, I have heard from several hundred 51st District residents who have been furloughed or otherwise touched by the federal sequester. Time is of the essence and we must move quickly to minimize future furloughs and potential RIFs. We’re already working on a comprehensive package of legislative proposals for the 2014 legislative session, and I want to hit the ground running next January.”

Sarvis Picks Up Endorsement from New Mexico Libertarian

Former New Mexico Governor and 2012 Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson endorsed Libertarian Robert Sarvis for governor of Virginia today.

In endorsing Sarvis, Governor Johnson remarked, “Robert Sarvis is the only candidate in this year’s most-watched and most negative election who offers a relentlessly positive libertarian vision for Virginia that’s both ‘Open-minded and Open for Business.’ Be Libertarian with me, Virginia, in 2013 and vote for Robert Sarvis for Governor.” Accepting Gov. Johnson’s endorsement, Sarvis stated: “I am honored to receive the endorsement of Gary Johnson. Gov. Johnson campaigned for the White House with a ‘fiscally responsible, socially accepting’ message that complements the Sarvis vision for a Virginia that’s ‘Open-minded and Open for Business.’

“And Gov. Johnson’s presidential campaign helped me make the transition away from the GOP and welcome me into the Libertarian Party, my natural political home.”


Anderson Tops Military Officer’s Legislators List

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – The Virginia Council of Chapters of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) has announced that Virginia Delegate Rich Anderson (R-51st) has been named as the organization’s “2013 Virginia Legislator of the Year.” The award recognizes Anderson’s steadfast support of Virginia’s 830,000 veterans over the past year.

For the last two years, Anderson has chaired the General Assembly Military and Veteran Caucus, which is the legislative clearing house for bills that are introduced on behalf of veterans and military missions based in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Because Virginia is home to 830,000 veterans, the Caucus plays a central role in maintaining Virginia’s national reputation as one of the most veteran-friendly states in the country.

When notified of the award, Anderson stated that “as a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, I am humbled to be named the Legislator of the Year by such a distinguished group of American patriots. Nearly one in 10 Virginians has worn the cloth of the country at one time or another, and I have valued the opportunity to play a central role in the quality of life for my fellow veterans. Since my first election in 2009, I have made it one of my priorities in the General Assembly to focus on veterans issues. I’m especially pleased to chair the legislative body that is charged with military and veteran issues.”

Anderson further stated that “I’m pleased to have carried legislation this year with Sen. Toddy Puller (D-36th) to make the “Virginia Values Veterans” (V3) program a formal part of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. The V3 program is focused on reducing veteran unemployment in Virginia by increasing job opportunities for a skilled group that has served our country in uniform. Because of this legislation, more than 4,000 jobs have been committed to Virginia veterans by more than 100 employers across the state.” More information on the V3 program is http://virginiavaluesvets.com.

Del. Anderson is a 30-year veteran of the Air Force who retired in 2009 as a full colonel. Additionally, his wife Ruth served for 21 years in the Air Force Nurse Corps as a senior officer and commander.

Since March of this year, Anderson has served on the Virginia Commission on Military Installations and Defense Activities, which is working on a mitigation plan to ease the impact of Sequestration and possible base closures in 2015 and 2017, with a special focus on Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. He also serves on the Virginia Board of Veterans Services and the Virginia War Memorial Board of Trustees. Outside of his legislative duties, Anderson sits on the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Board of Governors, a congressionally-mandated body that reports to the Secretary of the Air Force.

While Anderson may be receiving state-level recognition from MOAA for his past work, he is already looking ahead to the 2014 session of the Virginia General Assembly. Anderson stated that “working with 23 veteran organizations across the state, we’ve already written a comprehensive veteran plan and accompanying legislation for introduction in January. We will never stop working to make Virginia the most veteran-friendly state in America.”


Cuccinelli Firm on Bi-County Parkway, McAuliffe Wants More Federal Jobs

MANASSAS, Va. — Giving a solid answer on his view of the Bi-County Parkway, Virginia Attorney General and Virginia Republican Gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli supports the Bi-County Parkway between Interstate 95 in Dumfries and Dulles Airport.

“With the tremendous growth in Loudoun, and Prince William County, and the region, we need new transportation options, but the current proposal on the table is unacceptable,” said Cuccinelli. “We cannot be closing roads down just so we can build a new road…we need all the transportation options we can get.”

He’s referring to an agreement between the state the National Park Service to close U.S. 29 at Va. 234 inside the Manassas National Battlefield Park once the Bi-County Parkway, now under study, is built.

Cuccinelli, of Prince William County, said that as governor he would work to let “locals” to determine the best route for the highway.

His opponent, Terry McAullife, of Fairfax County, avoided a direct position on the proposed highway, but said Dulles is a cargo hub that needs to be expanded so more goods can be shipped to China and Korea.

“… I do not make [transportation] decisions [as governor], nor will I make decisions until I have all the facts in front of me,” said McAuliffe. “I want to get all of the stakeholders in the room…I love a win-win situation…to have economic development… and local say in how things are done.”

Neither candidate shook hands today, nor did they ever occupy the stage at the same time. But both men who want to sit in Virginia’s Governor’s Mansion came to the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas to field questions from members of several regional chambers of commerce for a “Battleground Forum.”

In addition to the pressing transportation issues, education, jobs, and healthcare questions dominated the discussion.

While he incorrectly stated that Virginia ranks 50th in public school teacher pay (it ranks 30th among all U.S. states in average teacher salaries), Cuccinelli and McAuliffe both agreed the Virginia’s Standards of Learning tests are outdated.

“SOLS don’t work. This high stakes multiple choice test at the end of the year…it doesn’t work for students and it doesn’t work for parents,” said McAuliffe.

Both men also agreed on drilling off Virginia’s Atlantic coastline to find new sources of energy. But the candidates are divided over coal — which is abundant supply in the southwest portion of the state.

“The war on coal is a war on the poor in Virginia…I will fight for them. My opponent said we need to move past coal,” said Cuccinelli.

Both men took each other to task over attracting new businesses and jobs to the state, with McAuliffe noting he wants more tax incentives to bring large companies to the state, while Cuccinelli said he wants to review all tax credits, but would not say which ones need to be repealed.

“My opponent says any job from the Federal Government is a not a good job. I don’t believe that. As governor, I want to go to the Federal Government to get as much money as I can for Virginia. Thats the job of the governor.” said McAuliffe.

The Attorney General used the jobs platform to once again attack McAuliffe for his automotive company’s decision to build an auto factory in Mississippi, not Virginia, and producing some 1,500 jobs in that state.

“Terry is the only candidate that has chased business out of this state,” said Cuccinelli.

McAuliffe used Cuccinelli’s reputation as an ideological conservative who sued the federal government over the implementation of Obamacare, and has been an outspoken opponent on a woman’s right to choose.

“In this race you have a choice for rigid ideology and mainstream compromise,” said McAuliffe. “I like mainstream compromise.”

As a new federal healthcare mandate expands in Virginia, McAuliffe says it’ll provide quality care to more than 400,000 Virginians in need.

His opponent said once the state is forced to pay for Obamacare as a whole, it will need to add an additional $200 million to its annual budget to meet the federal mandate. He also used the Obamacare initiative to distance himself from current Republican Governor Robert F. McDonnell, who has been under fire for accepting corporate gifts for his daughter’s wedding and not reporting them as required by law.

“Governor McDonnell took a broad view of Medicaid. I take a deep and narrow view

and do not support medicaid expansion, it’s been the largest, fastest growing, out of control part of our budget, once we get in we can’t get out without federal permission,” said Cuccinelli.

Today’s forum comes before the two are set to debate on Sept. 25, at the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce.

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Mary Davidson / Potomac Local News

Qarni Opens Campaign Office, Hopes to Unseat Marshall

MANASSAS, Va. — Former marine and current Prince William County teacher Atif Qarni officially opened his campaign office in Manassas in the eastern part of the 13th district on Saturday. Located In the new Precise Auto Store at 7614 Centreville Rd, Manassas, Qarni was joined by over 60 friends, family, supporters, and Democratic Nominee for Attorney General Senator Mark Herring and Democratic House Chair Delegate Mark Sickles.

“I want to take my record of service as a Marine and my experience as a teacher to be a strong representative for the district that actually focuses on the issues that affect us every day like creating good paying jobs, reducing traffic and congestion and making sure our schools are the best they can be,” said Qarni.

Qarni is challenging Delegate Bob Marshall who is known for his efforts as a leader in the effort to restrict access to family planning services for Virginia women, while Senator Herring is facing Senator Mark Obenshain in the Attorney General race.

“The 13th District deserves a Delegate who will focus on solving problems, not on an extreme social agenda,” Senator Herring stated. “That’s why I am proud to support Atif Qarni. I know Atif will put his energy and his experience to work to do what’s right for the people of Prince William County and the people of Virginia.”

Wood Finds New Home in Dumfries

DUMFRIES, Va. — Councilman Derek Wood found his way home Tuesday night, back to his seat on the dais at Dumfries Town Council.

The Council met for the first time this month after postponing a meeting last week due to the Independence Day holiday, and Wood addressed questions that arose in June about his resident status in the town in which he is elected to serve.

“I have moved into a new home in Port O Dumfries and am living there with my family,” said Wood.

The home Wood was renting in Dumfries’ Williamstown neighborhood was sold last month, and the new owner told Potomac Local News that he have Wood notice to vacate the house in early June.

With Wood no longer living in the home, and town officials having no official address on file for Wood, questions arose on whether Wood would legally be allowed to continue serving as a councilman if he did not live in the town, which is required by law.

“I took a vacation and spent some time with family in Silver Spring [Maryland] while they were painting, and getting our new house ready,” Wood told Potomac Local News.

During the transition time, Wood said he did not conduct town business, but rather focused on his own business, working as a barbeque chef.

Anderson Addresses American Legion Boys

Richard L. Anderson, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Woodbridge, addressed select high school students attending the 71st session of American Legion Boys State of Virginia held at Radford University.

Delegate Rich Anderson (R-51), participating for his fourth consecutive time as an instructor in the Boys State program, spoke on “Virginia Government – Origins to Today.” He described the history and legislative process of the Virginia General Assembly including how a bill becomes law. Anderson also discussed his duties and challenges as a state Delegate along with various current policy and political issues facing state government in Virginia. He answered several questions from the Boys State citizens. Anderson also taught an afternoon session entitled “Running for Public Office.”

The 2013 session of American Legion Boys State of Virginia opened with 694 delegates in attendance. Outstanding rising seniors from high schools – public, private and homeschooled — across Virginia have been chosen to participate in this annual educational program.

Boys State, sponsored by the American Legion in each state, is designed to instruct select high school students about state and local government. Delegates to this intensive week-long session will hear addresses from various state and local officials including the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, a cabinet secretary, nine members of the General Assembly, a district judge, a state prosecutor and three local officials.

All delegates are assigned to one of sixteen Boys State cities named after famous military leaders, like Eisenhower, MacArthur, and Patton. Each of the Boys State citizens are also assigned to either of the fictitious political parties — Federalist or Nationalist — for purposes of nominating and electing candidates for mayor of each city, the Boys State legislature, attorney general, lieutenant governor, and governor along with various other state and local offices. Citizens elected to the various positions actually serve in those offices during the week and take on their respective duties and responsibilities. Students attending Boys State learn citizenship and civic leadership through participation.

The first Boys State in the nation was held in 1935 in Illinois. The American Legion Department of Virginia sponsored its first Boys State program in 1939.

Immigration Program Extended in Prince William

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — A special agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Prince William County will continue.

The 287 (g) program pairs select members of local law enforcement with federal immigration officials who train them on inquiring about processing the legal statuses of suspected criminals arrested in Prince William County.  That program, which was in jeopardy last fall, will continue for the next three years, according to a press release from Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart.

Stewart, who built his political career on taking a tough stance against illegal immigration, has been one of the staunchest supporters of the program.

“I am very pleased that ICE decided to renew their agreement with the county. This program has made our county a safer and more desirable place to live. The positive results of this program have been undeniable,” said Stewart in his release.

The the 287 (g) program’s future in Prince William County was questioned last fall when federal officials announced they were moving away from the program, an extension of the 287 (g) was permitted for Prince William County at the request of local officials.

After a suspect is arrested, their immigration status is checked while at the county’s courthouse. If the suspect is found to be in the U.S. illegally, they are turned over to ICE.

Dumfries Leader Searching for New House

DUMFRIES, Va. — The lights at Councilman Derrick Wood’s house on Seigel Court in Dumfries have been dark as of late.

The elected official says he no longer lives in the house after he made the decision to move out. A renter, his landlord wanted $400 more per month for his family to live there, said Wood. It’s a price he didn’t want to pay.

In Virginia, officials must live in the jurisdiction in which they are elected to serve. Dumfries Town officials currently have a Post Office Box address on file for Wood.

In an interview this morning, Wood said he plans to move his family into a home in the Port ‘O Dumfries neighborhood by July 1. He’s not lived in his old home on Seigel Court in two weeks, he said.

Dumfries Town Manager Daniel Taber said the issue of Wood’s residency has not been publicly discussed at any recent Town Council meetings.

Wood has been an outspoken member of the Council when it comes to parks and leisure activities in the town. He successfully advocated for creating a Parks and Recreation Commission during this year’s budget process.

The outcome: town officials approved $25,000 in funding for parks and recreation programs like a 5K run and an outdoor concert series to be held in Dumfries. Those programs, and ultimately how all the money is spent, must be decided by the Town Council as a whole, said Taber.

The Town Council will also choose from an interested pool of town residents who will serve on the Parks and Recreation Commission.

Though the town lies inside Prince William County, the county’s parks department does not program activities in the town.

Qarni to Challenge Marshall in 13th District

MANASSAS, Va. — A Democrat will challenge Delegate Bob Marshall this fall for his seat for the 13th District in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Atif Qarni will hold a campaign kick off tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Yorkshire, outside Manassas, at the Yorkshire Restaurant at 7537 Centreville Road.

Qarni teaches math at Beville Middle School in Dale City and served as a Marine for eight years, including one term in Iraq, a press release states.

Qarni lives with his wife and two sons in Manassas.

Marshall, who has been an outspoken opponent to the Bi-County Parkway and abortion issues in the state, has held office since 1992.

The 13th District includes portions of Prince William County and Manassas Park City.

Stafford to Open GOP Headquarters Tonight

STAFFORD, Va. — Republicans in Stafford County are set to open their campaign headquarters tonight.

The GOP will hold a ceremony at the Stafford County Victory Center at 2773 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 105, in Stafford, at 7 p.m. Scheduled to speak ios Suzanne Obenshain, the wife of GOP Attorney General nominee Mark Obenshain.

Several elected officials are scheduled to attend, accordinng to a press release from the Stafford County Republican Party organization.

The GOP center is located near the campaign headquarters for Delegate Mark Dudenhefer, R-Stafford, Woodbridge, who is seeking a second term as the Delegate for Virginia’s Second District. He’s running against Michael Futrell.

Candland Files Massive FOIA over County Logo

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Several versions of a new logo were considered in the search for what symbol should represent Prince William County.

Now that use of the infamous “blue box” logo has been halted, prior versions of a new logo for the county produced before the blue box design have been made public.

In what’s referred to the “prototype” logo with “Prince William, Virginia” written in blue and green, the image features a globe with a soaring American Eagle, and stars encircling the globe. It was the most favored of a series of sample logos developed by Baltimore creative firm Rouge Shard as part of an $12,500 contract to rebrand the county-run TV following the addition of Verizon Fios TV service in Prince William.

None of the logos developed by Rouge Shard were ever implemented, and the county ultimately went with a“crown” logo created by a county employee to rebrand its government channel, featuring the letters P-W-C.

MORE to the STORY: See the versions of logos submitted by creative firm Rouge Shard

Samples 1

Samples 2 

As for the the eagle and globe design, it was thought to speak more to defense contractors and to the Federal Government. And when Prince William County Economic Development Director Jeff Kaczemerek was hired in 2012, a decision was made to develop another logo that would speak to businesses across the board, developed by Michigan-based David Castlegrant and Associates for $750.

“It was determined that it would be best to develop a logo that did not have any connotative meaning due to the broad scope and differences of audiences. So, Economic Development worked to develop a logo that would be accepted by a broad audience and attributed solely as ‘Prince William County’ in any literal sense, and allow a connotative brand that could be built over time,” Prince William County Communications Director Jason Grant staded in an email to elected officials.

The blue box logo was ordered by Kaczmarek’s office, and it went on to appear on road signs, newsletters, county computers, letterhead, and business cards. In some areas, replaced the County Seal used for decades to define the county.

Elected leaders grew salty when they claimed a new logo was chosen without direction of the Board of Supervisors.

This week, Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland sent a massive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to Grant’s office seeking documents, emails, and notes detailing information about the Rouge Shard design contract, the Castlegrant and Associates contract, information on any other outside contractors working on logos, and information on a special county rebranding committee initially formed to approve a new logo, but that was soon disbanded shortly into its work sessions.

“There are two questions that I am trying to get to the bottom of: Was the proper process used during this whole logo situation, whether this was something that was properly vetted by the Board of Supervisors, and more importantly, was this a proper use of taxpayer money?” asked Candland.

Candland said a constituent forwarded him a link to information on the county website Rouge Shard contract, which he was not previously aware of.

Grant said his office, along with the County Attorney’s office, would be responsible for filling the FOIA request. Because of the workload and cost to produce the documents, it may require a special directive from the Board of Supervisors for the FOIA request to be fulfilled.

Northam to Face Jackson in Lt. Governor’s Race

Virginia democrats now have their ticket set for upcoming fall election.

After the results of yesterday’s primary elections, Virginia Senator Ralph Northam, of Accomack County on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, beat out Aneesh Chopra by nearly 10 points, with 54 % of the vote. A medical doctor, former circuit court judge, and former Commonwealth Attorney, Northam will face Republican E.W Jackson this fall in a race to be the next Lt. Governor of Virginia.

Democrats also picked Mark R. Herring, a Virginia State Senator representing portions of Farifax and Loudoun counties, to be thier nominee for Attorney General. Herring beat out Justin E. Fairfax, who has served as Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern Division in Alexandria, by nearly four points with 51 percent of the vote.

Voters this fall will also make a choice between businessman and Democrat Terry McAuliffe, of Farifax, or current Attorney General and Representative Kenneth Cuccinelli, of Prince William for Governor.

In a local race, Republican Craig E. Ennis who sought to unseat Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell from his Stafford district was easily defeated garnering only 8% of the vote. On his website, Ennis attempted to link Howell to President Barack Obama “when it comes to pushing the Liberal Agenda in Va. The Expansion of Medicaid is the new entitlement and government take over of medicine.”

First elected delegate in 1987, Howell became Speaker of the House in 2003.

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.

Michigan Firm Chosen for Prince William Logo ‘Highly Capable’

051513-signs-01PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Prince William County’s new blue box logo continues to appear on business cards and at formal functions like a recent commercial real estate showcase at the Hylton Performing Arts Center on Wednesday.

It was designed by Michigan-based firm David Castlegrant and Associates, LLC. Prince William County’s office of Economic Development ordered the logo created after a 2010 study was approved by the Board of Supervisors on how to better brand the county to businesses.

Brent Heavner, who is in the process of leaving the Economic Development office for a new job at the county’s communications office in Woodbridge, worked for Castlegrant on a project basis from August 2007 to September 2009.

“My prior experience with [David Castlegrant and Associates] absolutely influenced my decision to reach out to them for assistance on the logo project. I knew that Charlie and his design team are highly capable, and I was very pleased with their willingness to work within my cost constraints when I approached them about the work,” Heavner told Potomac Local News.

Castlegrant and Associates is a small company with a portfolio of two samples of featured work on their website, four listed employees, about 30 fans on their Facebook page.

What is also small is the amount of cash paid to the firm to design the logo, $750, said Prince William County spokesman Jason Grant, who said the final price tag was a great value. The price was so small that it did not require a competitive bid process, he added.

Kathy Strauss is the President of Prince William-based design firm ImageWerks. Her firm bid for and won the job to design the Prince William Chamber of Commerce’s new logo in 2010.

“The county pushes supporting local businesses with a buy local campaign… ‘support your local businesses, this is how we grow our local economy…’ that bothers me, that we outside the county for the work to create the new county logo,” said Strauss.

County leaders over the past three weeks debated the new logo and what it means to the residents of Prince William County. At a recent meeting, communications director Grant told them the new logo means absolutely nothing.

“Symbolically, it doesn’t mean anything within itself, it’s adaptable… it’s intending to be ambiguous,” said Grant. “A brand it created by our interactions with the people, the interactions with the community… that’s what builds the brand, the logo doesn’t.”

The logo replaces about 20 logos used in individual county offices and departments. Official government functions like police, fire and rescue, and elected officials will continue to use the county Seal, said Grant.

Candland Crosses Prince William on Charity Walking Tour

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Supervisor Peter Candland walked 33 miles across Prince William County to raise cash for charity, and to meet residents.

Before he began his walk from Woodbridge to Haymarket on Saturday, Candland consulted with an organization called “Rise Up Prince William” who helped him identify six area organizations to work with on this endeavor, raising cumulative $30,000 for the following organizations:

Azalea Charities



Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center

Officer Chris Yung Fund

Youth Apostles Institute-Don Bosco Center

Lance Cpl. Nick and Samantha Thom of Homes for Our Troop fund

But along his path, dubbed the “Walk for Prince William,” Candland, who represents the Gainesville District on Prince William’s western side, was joined by fellow Supervisor Mike May for the first seven-mile leg of the journey. It was a change for the newest member of the Board to get to know a veteran, as well as learn more about the eastern side of the county.

He was also joined by Prince William police officer Greg Bass who helped keep him motivated throughout the entire walk.

“I drive through the eastern part of the county, but you don’t get to know the people unless you’re on the street level. We’ve done a good job connecting pedestrians with sidewalks and trails,” said Candland.

There are exceptions, said Candland, especially along the U.S. 1 corridor where major sidewalk improvements are planned.

Candland started his walk at the homeless prevention center in Woodbridge and made his way up Smoketown Road, to Prince William Parkway, and then to the county’s government center. From there he continued on the parkway to Manassas, down Wellington Road to the Youth Apostles Institute-Don Bosco Center, and then onto Prince William’s Western District Police Station where he met colleagues of fallen Prince William County Police officer Chris Yung who died New Year’s Eve 2012.

From there he took Sudley Manor Drive to Linton Hall Road until he reached Haymarket, where more than 50 people were waiting for him at the finish line. The walk started at 6 a.m. and finished at 6:35 p.m. Saturday.

Along the way, he heard from people who want lower taxes, he said. He also noted the shrinking rural area between Woodbridge and Manassas, and said the county is growing in different areas, but overall, is growing together.

Candland, who is a frequent jogger, said he made sure to run and walk to prepare for the event.

“I shed off “supervisor pounds” that I put on after the election [in 2011], and lost 15 pounds getting ready for event just by getting out walking and running,” said Candland.

A Walk for Prince William will be scheduled again next year in hopes even more people participate, he added.


Nohe on New County Logo: Let’s Move On

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Who likes Prince William County’s new logo? Supervisor Marty Nohe does, and so does the county’s economic development office.

So far, less than $10,000 has been spent on printing the new logo on letterhead and marketing materials. It has also appeared on road signs welcoming visitors to the county.

With its boxy, blue design with the county’s printed name, the logo, in some instances, will replace the county’s traditional seal used for decades.

And as public debate on the look of the new logo continues, Nohe and the economic development staff appear to be the only ones who do like it.

“We asked for a marketing study to be done… we do need to do a better job of marketing ourselves, we have received some criticism for being old fashioned in some of our marketing and I think we need to think of ourselves as more of a product – like they do in economic development – and less as a government.”

Nohe owns and operates Appliance Connection in Woodbridge when not working on the Board of Supervisors, and fellow Board member Mike May said he might know a thing or two about marketing for business.

The Board of Supervisors in 2010 ordered a study on how the county could better market itself to businesses. One of the things that came of the study was the need for better branding, and to consolidate several different logos used in departments like parks and recreation, information technology, and economic development, under one symbol.

Elected officials, county government functions, and the police department will retain the use of the old-fashioned seal.

Prince William County Communications Director Jason Grant compared Prince Willaim’s new logo to similar logos used in Arlington and Sacramento, Calif., where a combination of official seals and graphic logos are used to represent the jurisdictions.

But longtime Prince William Board member John Jenkins said he doesn’t like the new logo, says it should have been up to members of the Board of Supervisors to ultimately approve the new look, and despite the fact it’s already in use, wants to suspend all future uses of the logo at least until the Board meets again June 4.

“Board should have made the decision on how to deploy the logo, even approve the logo,” said Jenkins.

Supervisors are expected to take up the discussion when they next meet.

“I, for one, feel we’ve already spent far more time than we needed to on this, and we need to move forward with a better marketing strategy,” said Nohe.

Wittman, Anderson Will Hold Town Hall in Dale City Tuesday

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va. 1) talks about keeping maintaining security on Facebook. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va. 1)

DALE CITY, Va. — Congressman Rob Wittman and Delegate Rich Anderson will hold a town hall today to discuss veterans’ issues.

The meeting will begin at 4 p.m. at the Dale City Volunteer Fire Department station on Hillendale Drive in Dale City. The elected officials are expected to discuss sequestration and potential BRAC movements for 2015 and 2017. The region recently finished a round of BRAC relocations as 6,000 military service men and women and civilians were moved to Quantico, and 20,000 were moved to Ft. Belvoir as part of a BRAC order passed in 2005.



Wittman is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and Anderson serves as the Chairman of Virginia’s General Assembly Military and Veteran Caucus.

This afternoon’s stop in Dale City is one of several in the area today for Wittman. He’ll appear at a quarterly luncheon for the Quantico/Belvoir Regional Business Alliance at 11 a.m.


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