— ?=????-??=? (@Surveillance911) June 25, 2016
— ?=????-??=? (@Surveillance911) June 25, 2016
A fire broke out at a home at 13035 Quate Lane in Dale City on Friday.
Fire crews were called about 11 p.m. to the blaze. Flames extended to the home’s attic, were told.
No word yet on injuries, damage estimates, or a cause of the fire.
More on the fire as we have it. Send us photos and your reports.
It’s been a busy night for public safety crews in Prince William County. We’ve posted the following stories tonight:
A plan to seek requests for proposals to outsource the management of Prince William County’s Public Libraries is dead.
The county’s Board of Supervisors voted 7-1 on Tuesday to kill the measure proposed this past spring by Gainesville Supervisor Peter Candland. He gave the dissenting vote.
“I feel that is our responsibility to look into all options, and it would have been helpful to get outside proposals…and let the Library Board have the final say,” said Candland.
He finished his comments by noting that it is clear “people are happy with their library system.”
The county’s Library Board — its members appointed by the Board of Supervisors — oversees the operation of the county’s library system.
Candland suggested outsourcing management operations at the libraries could have saved $15 million
,000 over five years. The Board discussed outsourcing plan behind closed doors on Tuesday before coming out of closed session to hold the vote to kill the RFP plan.
From an email:
Name Change: Gainesville Ballet School has been under the leadership of Elysabeth Muscat Hegab and Rafik Hegab since March of 2013.
The nonprofit professional company, Gainesville Ballet Company, debuted in 2014 with Carmina Burana. The professional company is changing its name to “Virginia State Ballet.” Gainesville Ballet School will keep its name for the time being.
Why the name change?
People frequently confuse Gainesville Ballet with two other Gainesville Ballets, one in Georgia and one in Florida.
Additionally, while the company is proudly located in Gainesville, Virginia, the reach of the company is much further than the immediate geographical area, and the Artistic Director and Company Dancers are an international group, coming from the Middle East, Central America, South America, and the Far East, in addition to the American Managing Director and American dancers.
The new name will eliminate any possible false association with the other Gainesville Ballets, and reflect the larger scope of the company. New websites and email addresses will be made available during the season.
For the time being, the same website will be used: http://gainesvilleballetcompany.org .
The Virginia State Corporation Commission is in hearings today in Richmond over proposed rate increase for Virginia American Water customers who live in Dale City.
The rate increase would amount to $8.6 million more in revenues for the company, about and 18% increase in revenues, according to Prince William County documents.
It will be about 60 days before we learn if rates go up.
Just heard from my rates manager – they are still in Hearings today. His best guess is the Order will come in about three months.”
Samantha Villegas, APR, External Affairs Consultant, Virginia American Water
Virginia American Water says it needs the additional revenues to pay for improvements to its water delivery system.
Potomac Local Poll
Submitted by Leeslyvania State Park Manager Karen Lambey:
Music at the Marina is Leesylvania State Park’s outdoor summer concert series featuring live military and local bands performing against the backdrop of the Potomac River. Starting at 7 p.m. and lasting until about 8:30 p.m., this year’s dates are Saturday, June 25; Saturday, July 23; and Saturday, August 27. Everyone is invited out to enjoy a fun and family-friendly evening of music.
Everyone may attend Music at the Marina. The event is free, however there is a parking fee of $7 for Virginia residents and $9 for out-of-state guests.
Attendees may bring their own blankets or lawn chairs to sit on. The stage is set conveniently in front of the park’s Breakwater Store where there is a large grassy area for viewing.
Last year, the park had about 800 attendees for the opening Music at the Marina concert.
This year’s lineup consists of U.S. Navy Band Country Current performing on June 25, Anthony James Band of the Stafford area on July 23, and a special guest on August 27.
Music at the Marina has become a staple among the park’s annual events, and park staff and attendees alike are looking forward to this weekend’s performance.
Following the show on June 25, Leesylvania State Park will be open late to allow all park guests to view the fireworks being set off by nearby Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant & Crabhouse. Tim’s Rivershore traditionally hosts its own “Not on the 4th Fireworks” event the same day as the park’s Music at the Marina, and park guests can enjoy a wonderful view of the show from the shoreline.
Music at the Marina would not be possible without the support of event sponsors Steve’s Auto and the Friends of Leesylvania State Park.
We asked Washington Gas spokesman Jim Monroe for an update on the work to repair leaking gas lines in the Marumsco Hills neighborhood.
You’ll remember the utility earlier this year detected leaks in 10 major gas leaks after a home exploded. Firefighters called to the home just made it to safety before a fireball ripped through the house.
Monroe directed us to a Washington Gas website full of FAQs on the Marumsco Hills Replacement Project. It was helpful, but we had some more questions
Below, here are our questions and Monroe’s responses:
PL: Where is Washington Gas in the process of the repair work? (ex: 10% complete? 30% complete?)
Washington Gas: Started in late April. Expect the project to be completed in 12-18 months.
PL: What is total repair cost?
Washington Gas: Uriah, we do not break out costs like this.
PL: Will the cost of repairs be passed along to customers in this neighborhood, and / or customers elsewhere?
Washington Gas: This project is being implemented as part of the VA-state approved SAVE accelerated pipeline replacement program. While there is no immediate requirement to replace this infrastructure, it’s likely we would have initiated a project to replace gas infrastructure in this area in the next few years. Given the incident in February, we made a decision to accelerate this replacement now to address understandable community concerns. SAVE is a VA ratepayer-funded program.
Senator Jeremy McPike held a town hall meeting about he replacement project following the explosion. Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi also held another town hall on the issue on May 4, said Monroe.
From Prince William fire and rescue:
On Monday, June 20th at 8:48 a.m., fire and rescue crews were dispatched to a townhouse fire located in the 3500 block of Nexus Court in Woodbridge.
Upon arrival, firefighters observed smoke showing from the home’s eaves. As firefighters made entry, they discovered a kitchen fire that had been extinguished and contained to the area but had sustained significant smoke damage.
The occupants, 3 adults, were not home at the time of the fire, but their pets, 2 dogs, were rescued by firefighters, treated on scene and transported to a local veterinarian for further evaluation and medical treatment.
According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, property damage is estimated at $50,000. The Building Official was on scene and has posted the home unsafe.
The area of origin was the kitchen; the cause an electrical outlet near the stove and has been determined as accidental.
There have been 11 homicides in Prince William County in 2016.
That’s one more murder in the county than was reported in all of 2015.
Despite the disturbing rise in the number of homicides just halfway through the year, the county’s top cop says there is not a crime wave in Prince William County.
“The murder rate doesn’t follow any particular trend,” said Prince William County Acting Police Chief Barry Barnard. “The murder rate is like a roller coaster, and there’s never been a particular pattern.”
The county’s homicide numbers vary each year. Barnard pointed to 2006 when police recorded 16 murders that year when the county’s population was far less than the nearly 450,000 people who live here today. There were seven murders in 2014.
Since the body of 36-year-old Lizeth Lopez was found in Lake Ridge on April 29, 2016, five more homicides have been reported in the county since then.
“Of course, it’s concerning because it’s compacted,” said Barnard. “We can’t explain the timing of these murders but we can say that but they’re not related.”
The murders do share a common thread: Many of the suspects knew their victims.
In February, police said Ronald Williams Hamilton, 32, shot and killed his wife 29-year-old Crystal Sheree Hamilton in a domestic dispute. In this same incident, Prince William police officer Ashley Guindon, 28, was shot and killed and two police other officers were wounded.
This is the first year in the past four the Prince William County Police Department did not receive funding for new officers. Barnard requested the Board of County Supervisors to fund 25 new police officers in this year’s budget.
While more resources would be nice, said Barnard, there were 79 new police officers added over the past four years. The department consistently states that the Board of Supervisors’ decision this year not to fund the new officers will not impact the level of service the police currently provide to its residents.
“It’s important for us to have the resources we need to complete our mission. The most important resource we have, and we have a fair amount of resources, is the community,” said Barnard.
Murders in Prince William County in 2016
Dumfries town officials on Tuesday could vote to ban BB and other pneumatic guns.
The Town Council will consider an update to a provision in the town code the deals with such pneumatic guns.
From town documents:
The Town Attorney was contacted by a citizen recently regarding Town Code Section 38-46.
The citizen’s concern is that our ordinance may be written in violation of Code of Virginia 15.2- 915.4. As a result, the Town Attorney researched the issue and prepared a proposed revision to the ordinance in question.
The Town Attorney provided Council with a copy of the code
sections and the proposed revised ordinance during the June 7, 2016, meeting.
After the discussion, Council instructed the Town Attorney to proceed with the ordinance amendment.
The ordinance, if approved, reads like this:
Section 38-46 – Discharge of firearms or airguns; hunting; trapping
(a) Except as provided for in subsection (c) herein, it shall be unlawful for any person willfully to discharge or cause to be discharged any firearm in this town.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to hunt or trap, or to use or shoot an air rifle, BB gun or like pistol or gun in the town.
(c) Pneumatic guns may be discharged at facilities approved for shooting ranges or on other property where firearms, or on or within private property with permission of the owner or legal possessor thereof when conducted with reasonable care to prevent a projectile from crossing the bounds of the property. As used in this section, “pneumatic gun”
means any implement, designed as a gun that will expel a BB or a pellet by action of pneumatic pressure. “Pneumatic gun” includes a paintball gun that expels by action of pneumatic pressure plastic balls filled with paint for the purpose of marking the point of impact.
(d) This section shall not apply to any law enforcement officer in the performance of his official duties, or to any other person whose willful act is otherwise justifiable or excusable at law in the protection of his life or property, or is otherwise specifically authorized by law.
(e) A violation of this section shall constitute a class 3 misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $500.00.
We asked the Town Manager, Attorney, and Police Chief, and Town Council members via email if there has been an increased number of cases of pneumatic gun firings in the town.
We received the following emailed responses:
“I believe this is simply to get in [sync] with VA code.”
— William Murphy, Dumfries Town Council
“The Ordinance Is being rewritten, by our Town Attorney, to line-up with the State Ordinance.”
— Gwen Washington, Dumfries Town Council
Cities, towns, and counties are able to ban pneumatic guns, according to Virginia State Code.
The Dumfries Town Council is expected to take up the issue at its regularly scheduled 7 p.m. meeting on Tuesday, June 21.
Submitted The Children’s Therapy Center:
My name is Alexandra Smith and I am the Marketing Coordinator at The Children’s Therapy Center. The first week of July we are opening a new office in Gainesville and would love to get news coverage on it.
The Children’s Therapy Center currently has two offices, one located in Springfield and the other in Sterling, Virginia. Seeing that your paper reaches areas surrounding Gainesville this story has a local angle and will also be newsworthy for many parents in the area.
Just some background information on our practice, it was established in 1979 and has been flourishing ever since! We offer Pediatric and Adolescent Physical, Occupational and Speech therapy.
605pm: TORNADO WARNING southern Loudoun County, northeastern Fauquier County and northwestern Prince William County VA; seek shelter!!
— NWS DC/Baltimore (@NWS_BaltWash) June 16, 2016
BULLETIN – EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
605 PM EDT THU JUN 16 2016
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A
* TORNADO WARNING FOR…
NORTHWESTERN PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
SOUTHWESTERN LOUDOUN COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
SOUTHEASTERN CLARKE COUNTY IN NORTHWESTERN VIRGINIA…
NORTH CENTRAL FAUQUIER COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA…
* UNTIL 645 PM EDT
* AT 604 PM EDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A
TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR BLUEMONT…OR 15 MILES SOUTH OF CHARLES
TOWN… MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 25 MPH.
HAZARD…TORNADO AND HAIL UP TO TWO INCHES IN DIAMETER.
SOURCE…RADAR INDICATED ROTATION.
IMPACT…FOR THOSE IN THE DIRECT PATH OF A TORNADO TOUCHDOWN…
FLYING DEBRIS WILL BE DANGEROUS TO THOSE CAUGHT WITHOUT
SHELTER. DAMAGE TO ROOFS…SIDING…AND WINDOWS MAY
OCCUR. MOBILE HOMES MAY BE DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. TREE
DAMAGE IS LIKELY.
* THIS DANGEROUS STORM WILL BE NEAR…
MIDDLEBURG AROUND 625 PM EDT.
THE PLAINS AROUND 635 PM EDT.
OTHER LOCATIONS IMPACTED BY THIS TORNADIC THUNDERSTORM INCLUDE
ALDIE… WOOLSEY…BROAD RUN…RECTORTOWN…UPPERVILLE…SAINT
LOUIS…MEADOWVILLE… HALFWAY…PHILOMONT AND MARSHALL.
Submitted by Prince William Conservation Alliance:
Over the past few years, the Minnieville Buffer Project near K9 Gunner Memorial Dog Park has helped to transform an area of land from an environmental problem, into a beautiful area that showcases Virginia’s native plants.
With warmer weather approaching, we now need your help getting the buffer area ready for Summer.
In order to keep this area looking clean and beautiful, we need your help with a variety of tasks such as weeding, pruning, and mulching to ensure that the buffer continues to provide all of its services to the environment and the community.
Come on down to the Minnieville Buffer near K9 Gunner Memorial Dog Park and make sure to wear long pants, sturdy shoes, and a hat to keep off that sun! We are so excited to see what the future holds for this area, and hope that you will come out and join us to keep our community beautiful!
The clean up takes place Friday, June 17, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Prince William County leaders are again are exploring the possibility of privatizing the management of the county’s public library system.
Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland earlier this year called for a study to find out what would need to happen to convert library managers from county employees to agents working for a private firm. He said move could save county taxpayers up to $15 million over the next five years.
The Board of Supervisors will be briefed on the proposal at its meeting on Tuesday, June 21, 2016.
“Since the Board of County Supervisors voted to move forward with the request for proposal (RFP), the Prince William Public Library System (PWPLS) has continued to support the County’s Purchasing Division on all informational requests as they prepare for the June 21, 2016, Board RFP review. Connie Gilman, Ph.D., the PWPLS Library Director, has overseen the entire assistive process that focused on providing a detailed scope of library services currently offered to patrons.
I believe it is vital that any potential vendor understands the sheer extent of services and materials offered by a thriving Prince William Public Library System, especially for our patrons.”
— Statement from the office of Prince William County Library Director Dr. Connie Gilman
This isn’t the first time county leaders have explored the option of privatizing libraries. County leaders explored the option of privatizing the Montclair and Gainesville community libraries that opened last fall, staffed with county employees.
Eight years ago, the county leaders explored a plan to privatize the entire system. Here’s what we learned after submitting a Freedom of Information Act request for county documents:
Previous Privatization Proposal – In the fall of 2008, the former Library System Director was approached by Library Systems and Services, LLC (LSSI) regarding the possibility of privatizing the Prince William Public Library System.
At the December 4, 2008 meeting of the Library Board of Trustees, the former Library Director reviewed information about LSSI with the Library Board. The Library Director and Library Board Chairman met with the County Executive, the Chairman of the Board of County Supervisors and a representative of LSSI.
The Library Board passed a resolution (08/12-3) directing staff to gather information about the privatization of the Library System for presentation at their January, 2009 meeting. Further, the Library Board directed the Library Director to invite LSSI and a competitor to make brief presentations at the January 2009 meeting.
At a special meeting held on January 8, 2009, the former Library Director spoke briefly about the outsourcing proposal from LSSI, indicating a packet would be prepared for the Library Board which would include the research as well as questions from staff. Brief discussion followed regarding whether to pursue an RFP or Request for Information (RFI); what the role of the Library Board would be if privatized; and what would happen to staff. The Library Board requested information be sent to them prior to the next meeting.
At their January 22, 2009, meeting, the Library Board was briefed about the LSSI meeting that was held on December 18, 2008 with Chairman Corey Stewart, his aide, Library Chairman Burk Andrews, Trustee Jean Gehlsen, the County Executive, George Bateman of LSSI, and the former Library System Director. LSSI declined an invitation from the Library Board to attend their January 22nd meeting to discuss their outsourcing proposal and stated that they would prefer not to discuss this in a public forum. LSSI recommended that the Library Board initiate an RFP or RFI and they would respond. The former Director noted:
1. Information requested from LSSI had not been received
2. An RFP or RFI would be a lengthy process and require a tremendous amount of time from Library staff, the Finance Department, and the County Attorney’s office
3. In response to questions, LSSI indicated that the Library Director would be hired by the jurisdiction and become a contract manager
4. Approximately 80% of library staff would migrate to the new company
5. Savings would be in staff benefits which would be lost with LSSI
Privatization – Library February 627, 2014 Page 3 At the February 26, 2009 Library Board of Trustees meeting, the former Library System Director made a recommendation not to proceed with the proposal to privatize the Library based on the following, according to the Brief:
1. LSSI takes over library systems that are broken. The Library System is not broken.
2. The Library System has had an incredibly high customer satisfaction
rating for over 15 years. LSSI would have difficulty achieving a higher rating.
3. Unfair to employees. Although LSSI claims to have comparable salaries, they do not have retirement benefits.
4. LSSI is reluctant to talk with the Library Board in a public setting. We are an open system.
5. Utilization of volunteers is unknown.
6. The Library System is able to sustain its level of service even with budget cuts.
As a result of the former Library Director’s recommendation, the Library Board of Trustees passed a unanimous resolution (RES 09/2-4) to table further discussion of the privatization of the Library System.
Potomac Local Poll
Should Prince William County privatize the management of its public libraries?
Promoted Post Dumfries is accepting youth interns for summer program
The Town of Dumfries Community Services Department has long committed to providing services and programs for all of its citizens.
Amongst those programs is the Summer Youth Internship Program that provides local students between the ages of 15-18 with the opportunity to apply for the six-week paid internship in which they will gain firsthand experience in participating in a local government setting.
During the six-week period, students will learn about many of the Towns responsibilities through hands-on activities and training in departments such as Public Works, Community Services, Public Safety, and Town Administration including the Town Manager, Town Clerk, Town Attorney, and the Town Council. Activities past interns have participated in included a police ride-along, accompanying the Town Attorney to court, planning and executing Town events, and working with the Public Works and Zoning departments to address issues throughout the Town.
A new aspect of the Internship program that Director Brittany Heine is excited about it the addition of a mentoring aspect to the program.
“This year the Town will be taking on seven interns. Each intern will be assigned a mentor who is on Town Staff. They will set up times to meet and discuss things such as what they are learning and how they feel it impacts them as members of the local community. It also provides a platform to discuss future education and career goals that the students may have and allows for staff to offer guidance or suggestions” stated Heine.
More information about the 2016 Summer Youth Internship Program, as well as the application, is available on the Town of Dumfries website and can also be picked up from the front desk of Town Hall which is open from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The deadline for application materials has been extended to Wednesday, June 22nd at 5:00 PM. Completed Applications can be dropped off at Town Hall or they can be mailed to Town of Dumfries, ATTN: Summer Internship Program, 17755 Main Street, Dumfries, VA 22026.
Any questions about the Summer Internship Program can be directed to the Director of Community Services, at email@example.com or by calling (703) 221-3400.
News Tin Cannon releases ‘Heart of the Lion’ brew in honor of fallen Prince William County Police officer
Submitted by Tin Cannon Brewery in Gainesville:
We recognize that many eager and willing officers are selflessly committed to doing whatever it takes to protect the general public, even it means sacrificing their own lives.
We would like to pay tribute to those officers with a special release beer called “Heart of the Lion,” recently brewed in honor of fallen [Prince William County police] Officer Ashely Guindon.
This event is geared toward people of all ages because our local police protects people of all ages. We hope to make this an annual event where the funds raised will go to support injured or exceptionally deserving officers.
This year, injured[Prince William County police] Officers, David McKeown and Jesse Hempen, will be in attendance and recognized for their service during this inaugural event.
We are hosting our first ever fundraiser called “For Those That Wear the Blue – We Salute You” on Sunday, June 26 from 2-6 p.m.! We’ve invited the entire community to come together to show our support and appreciation for the work that is being done everyday by our police department.
Guitarist Mike Johnson plays with the “Roughshod Records SideKicks Show.”
He sent a video of his two-man band performance to Potomac Local shot at the June 4 Occoquan Spring Craft Show. Occoquan Town Sergeant Sheldon Levi appears in the video at about 4:30 and shuts down the amplified performance.
It appears some of the craft vendors, who paid between $300 to $475 to showcase their wares at the event, did not appreciate the duo using an amplifier during their set. Levi asked the band to turn off the amplifier.
At about 7:25 in the video, Levi comes back to speak with the country music band. The duo then packs up and ultimately leaves the spot they had been playing at, in front of Union Street Guitar Works. Johnson states he’s been attending craft shows in Occoquan since 1997 and has never seen anything like this.
Here’s a statement from Occoquan Town Manager Kirstyn Jovanovich:
The show rules that are provided to each vendor and publicly available on the Town’s website state that “Amplified music is not permitted, with the exception of entertainment contracted by the Event Director.” This is done in an effort to ensure that any entertainment present at the show does not disrupt the participating vendors or public and does not inhibit their ability to conduct business throughout the show. In this particular instance, we received a complaint regarding the amplified music and the disruption it was causing and asked that the individual stop using amplified music as per the show’s policies.
We also spoke with the property owner who stated that they did give permission at the band’s request to play during the show on their property, but did not contract the group for the service. We invited the group to continue playing acoustically in that location in an effort to reduce the noise impact on the surrounding vendors or to participate as entertainment in a future show where they would be contracted by the Town and have an opportunity to play and sell their music as part of the show.
We do our very best to create a lively and family-friendly atmosphere that includes a mix of crafters, artisans, foods, businesses, and entertainers, but must do it in a very purposeful manner that will allow for all participants and visitors to receive the most out of the experience.
In the video, Johnson claims he emailed Union Street Guitar Works on May 31 and said he had permission from a Union Street Guitar manager to play in front of the store. We spoke with the manager who told us Johnson contacted him ask asked if it was OK to come and play in front of their property, and the guitar shop said OK.
Union Street Guitar Works sells two of Johnson’s CDs inside of the store. When asked if Johnson would be allowed back to play in front of the store again, the manager replied “I really can’t say.”
There are two craft shows each year in Occoqaun, one in spring and one in fall. They shows are the largest tourism draws, and fundraisers for the town.
Haymarket officials plan to build a park on land the town purchased over 10 years ago at 14710 and 14740 Washington Street.
The town park will be built on the Harrover property (named after the owners who sold it to the town), could cost $2.1 million, take 10 years to build in three phases, nearing completion in 2025.
The town’s police department occupied one of the buildings on the Harrover property once the town bought the land. A food pantry later occupied the second.
From town documents:
Primary park amenities include a community multi-use pavilion, lawn amphitheater, and playground, set within a naturalistic landscape and connected by a system of site-wide loop trails.
Other planned activities and features include picnicking facilities and opportunities for soft recreation activities. The former pantry building will be adaptively reused for park services, while the former police
station will be removed in order to create a hilltop green on the highest point in the Town.
A significant area in the rear of the site is maintained as a sloping lawn with small park gazebo structures. A curving park drive serves the facilities and parking. Provisions are included for an emergency access drive and connection to overflow event parking on the adjacent Haymarket Baptist Church property.
All but the stone chimney of the building that used to house the police station will be torn down. The building that had been occupied by the food pantry will be incorporated into the park. The two homes date back to the early 20th century.
Haymarket town officials had planned to build a new town hall on the Harrover property. However, that plan fell through.
The Haymarket Town Council approved a master plan for the park last fall.
From OWL Volunteer Fire Department:
10:10 a.m. Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Firefighters responded to the report of a condominium fire at 12841 Cara Drive Woodbridge. OWL VFD arrived on scene within minutes and saw smoke coming from the eaves of a three story condo unit. Crews quickly contained a small fire to the attic and extinguished within few minutes of arrival. There were no injuries.
Fire and Rescue units from OWL VFD, Dale City VFD, Fairfax and PWC Department of Fire and Rescue responded to the incident. The cause of the fire was a bathroom fan.