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Prince William

Millennials fleeing suburbs for cities: Challenges facing Prince William County

Committee of 100

So much has changed in Prince William County in just the past 10 years, that the Prince William County Committee of 100 came together April 16 at the Montclair Country Club to discuss what the future of the county may look like and what it may need to succeed. 

The Prince William County Committee of 100 holds regular non-partisan, educational forums to study interests, problems and goals of the citizens of Prince William County, as well as the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. It has been functioning for more than 25 years.

“The rapid growth in Prince William County over the past decade has presented enormous challenges in overcrowded classrooms, efficient commuter traffic patterns, shortages of public amenities and over-stressed public safety resources,” read a description of the forum on the committee’s web page. “Jobs and housing are the two drivers of the future economy in Prince William County. The current economic conditions threaten growth in quality jobs, housing values and expanding business opportunities. The future for Prince William County will, in large measure, be determined by how Prince William County adapts its policies to protect the future of our community.”

The panelists were Robert Buchanan, Principle of Buchanan Partners LLC and President of the 2030 Group; Dr. Terry L. Clower, Northern Virginia Chair and Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University; G. Mark Gibb, Executive Director Northern Virginia Regional Commission; and Ralph Stephenson, Chairman and Co-Founder of  Citizens for Balanced Growth. 

Brendon Shaw, director of government relations for the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, served as moderator. 

Each panelist gave their take on the future of Prince William County — what it may look like and what it will need. At one point, a joke was made that more Millennials should have been invited. 

One focus of the discussion was the trend of Millennials moving back into cities instead of expanding into the suburbs as previous generations have. Gibb said a “demographic inversion” is underway. For the last 50 years the region saw the people moved out of the cities to suburbia but is now seeing a population shift toward the Beltway.

If you want people to come to Prince William County, then you have to develop areas that they want to come to, Gibb remarked. “Do you want to [be] a suburban area or be more like an area that provides amenities for these new Millennials?”

Clower told the group the county needs balance, and balance comes through planning.

Land-use plans need to tie into the region’s economic development strategies, which in turn need to tie into the transportation strategies. 

“That can put you ahead of the game,” he said. “Economic development is a process… It doesn’t ever stop.” 

The next meeting will be held the evening of May 21 at the Wyndham Garden in Manassas. Visit PWC100.org for more details.

Prince William budget to include $1 million for class size reduction


The Prince William County Board of Supervisors will approve the final budget and tax rate tomorrow, April 21, at their regularly scheduled meeting.

The approved budget will now include $1 million allocated specifically for reducing class sizes in Prince William County Public Schools.

As the budget period for the Prince William County Board of Supervisors comes to a close, Supervisors Candland and Lawson took the opportunity to speak on their own budget draft with a 2.5% tax increase. In March, the board announced their advertised ceiling tax rate increase of 3.88%, and the difference between the 2.5% and the 3.88% is about $14.6 million.

Budget draft to address school overcrowding

Lawson and Candland stated their draft of the 2016 budget is focused on a plan to address overcrowding in county public schools.

The budget draft would invest county funds into reducing class sizes over the next five years, drawing funding from the Recordation Tax revenue. Under the original proposal given by Candland and Lawson, the board would invest $30 million over the 5-year period, starting with $2 million in 2016. The board decided to halve this amount – giving $1 million – and requiring the school board to match the funds.

Virginia charges a tax on the recordation of deeds, deeds of trust, mortgages, leases, and contracts, which provide the funding source Candland referenced. Currently, the Recordation Tax in the county’s budget goes toward paying for transportation projects and other small line items in the budget, stated a release. Keep Reading…

Ciampaglio signs pledge to not raise taxes in his campaign for delegate

Tim Ciampaglio, a retired United States Coast Guard commander, and small business owner has announced his campaign for the 2nd House district delegate seat.

Delegate Michael Futrell, who is the incumbent, will not be seeking re-election for the seat.

Ciampaglio is running against former delegate Mark Dudenhefer in the June 9 Republican primary. If Ciampaglio wins the primary, he will face Democratic candidate Rod Hall for the delegate seat.

Ciampaglio holds a Master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon and has worked as a professor with the Coast Guard and George Mason University. He currently owns and operates a consulting firm.

Within the community, Ciampaglio previously served as the president of the Virginia Small Business Partnership, as well as a volunteer at the St. Francis of Assisi church.

During his candidacy, Ciampaglio wants to address the current tax burden, government transparency and efficiency, and halting taxation on military retirement pensions.

Ciampaglio stated that he would sign a pledge to not raise taxes for Virginia residents.

“The tax burden on businesses and the tax burden on people is way too high…[I’m] going to sign a pledge…that I will not raise taxes and I won’t introduce new taxes. We need to level it off and stop it. And then we can look, and if we need more money, we can increase the tax base – not the tax rate,” Ciampaglio said.

He also stated that government agencies needed a push to be more transparent, and to run more efficiently.

“[Government] agencies should be held accountable for a return on investment. Give us transparent measures, show us that return on investment, and show us that you’re deriving peak efficiency…my thought is that I can bring that capability down to Richmond and spread it across the state government agencies,” Ciampaglio commented.

When asked about his motivation to run for delegate, Ciampaglio stated that he thinks his skills are suited to the current needs of Virginia.

“I’m not looking for a career in politics. I feel like a person, in a place, in a time where my skills are needed, and I’m stepping up to the plate. And if the people think my skills can be used to better their lives in Virginia, then I’m willing to go do the job,” Ciampaglio said.

Ciampaglio lives in Prince William County with his wife and two sons.

Fallas discount store opens across from Potomac Mills Mall

The new location is one of many coming to the Prince William Square Shopping Center.
A new discount chain store has opened in Woodbridge.
The chain does have more than 200 locations in the U.S.
They offer clothing for men, women, girls, boys and juniors, as well as home decor.
Fallas opened its first location in Los Angeles.

Fallas Discount Stores, an off-price retail chain, has opened a new location in the Prince William Square Shopping Center, across from Potomac Mills Mall.

According to their website, the store chain was established in 1962 in Los Angeles, and now currently has more than 200 locations in the United States.

The new location offers a selection of clothing for men, women, boys, girls and juniors, along with luggage and home furnishings.

Fallas is one of several new stores to move in to the shopping center in the past few months.

A Ross Stores location is also set to be coming to the shopping center.

Two men wanted for armed robbery of pizza deliveryman in Woodbridge

Late yesterday night, Prince William police responded to a call to investigate a robbery that was reported on Westminster Lane in Woodbridge.

According to Prince William police, the victim – a 52-year old Woodbridge man – stated that he was delivering pizza in the area when two unknown individuals approached him.

One of the individuals showed the victim a handgun and demanded his property, said a Prince William police release.

The Prince William police stated that the two individuals took his money and pizzas before fleeing on foot.

A Prince William police K-9 unit was used to search for the two individuals. No injuries were reported.

A Prince William police release stated that the two individuals were described as black males, from 18 to 25 years of age, 5’6” to 5’8” with medium builds, dark complexions and black hair.

One individual was described as wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans, and the second was described as wearing a red jacket and blue jeans, stated Prince William police.

Wildlife federation to host habitat workshop in Nokesville May 1

The Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation is hosting a workshop May 1.
The workshop will show landowners how to create wildlife habitats.
A panel of landowners that have done habitat work will be present.
There are still 25 to 30 slots left.

On May 1, the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation and the Virginia Quail Recovery Initiative are hosting a workshop in Nokesville, to help residents learn about what they can do to create wildlife habitats in their backyards. 

“Our goal is trying to spread the word about wildlife habitat work that can be done even on a small scale…what we’re trying to do with this workshop is try and give folks some options. For example, converting [their land] into a wildlife meadow for continual bloom and beauty from May to October, while also providing a great habitat for songbirds and pollinators, monarchs as well as other species,” said David Bryan, a private lands wildlife biologist for the USDA-NRCS.

The workshop runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and includes free food.

“What we’re going to do at the workshop is we’re going to have an outdoor walk and talk, on the farm where we’re hosting it – which has done some habitat work – and talk about the types of things you can consider doing in your backyard,” commented Bryan.

After a walk on the property, participants will be able to engage in a conversation about landowner options and hear from a panel of landowners from surrounding counties about the habitat work they’ve done on their land.

According to Bryan, the program still has room for 25 to 30 people, and registration is required. 

Residents can register by emailing nicoleethier@pwswcd.org.

Supervisor Principi to run on his record for a third term

Supervisor Frank Principi, the incumbent on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors for the Woodbridge district, has announced his campaign to run for re-election.

Principi has been on the board for eight years and is currently finishing his second term.

In the race for the seat, there are two Republican candidates, Steve Chapman and Lee Price, that will face each other in a Republican primary. Antonio Merrick, an Independent candidate, will also be a part of the three-way race.

A Master’s candidate at the University of Maryland College Park, Principi has worked as the Executive Director of the Greater Prince William Community Health Center for the past seven years. master’s candidate at UMD

According to Principi, he is planning to run on his record, and what he has accomplished during his 8-years as Woodbridge Supervisor.

“I’m running on my record. My record of not just the vision of a new Woodbridge, but the fact that we’ve got a billion dollars in public and private investment over the last four years in Woodbridge. I think we have a lot to be proud of. We have five different smart growth projects at various different stages – coming up out of the ground in eastern Prince William…we’ve achieved a lot, but we still have a long way to go. If the 62 to 64,000 residents of Woodbridge will have me back, I’ll be happy to serve another four years,” said Principi.

Principi lives in Woodbridge with his wife and twin daughters.

Woodbridge native Joey Cook eliminated from ‘American Idol’

American Idol contestant Joey Cook was voted off the show last night.

A “#SaveJoey” campaign on Twitter was not enough to save the Woodbridge native from elimination from the nationally televised singing competition. “Somebody to love” by Jefferson Airplane was the last song the 24-year-old singer performed on the show.

Cook took to Twitter following her elimination with a positive attitude.   

Cook also received accolades via Twitter from performer Boy George.   


Cook is a native of Woodbridge and attended Woodbridge Senior High School. She now lives in New Orleans.

Virginia Serious Game Institute launches their first online game


Virginia Serious Game Institute is based in Prince William County

The Virginia Serious Game Institute has announced their first game title – ‘Mimycx’ – a multi-player online game meant to help those in the healthcare industry.

The game institute, based out of Prince William, is releasing the title in partnership with one of the startups it has incubated – Professions Quest, LLC.

Virginia Serious Game Institute started in October 2013, after a $32,000 investment from the Prince William County Board of Supervisors to fund the effort, which was a partnership with the county’s economic development department and George Mason University, a release said.

According to a release, the game is meant to help students and workers in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, public health, allied health and veterinary care by working together on an interactive game that will teach them how to deal with real-life healthcare scenarios.

The Mimycx game will be debuted at the upcoming IPEC Institute conference in Herndon later this month, said a release.

“A key goal in the design of Mimycx is the development of a new approach to interprofessional education learning that creates benefits not yet discovered through any other virtual or e-learning educational vehicle.” said Dr. Scott M. Martin, Founding Director, Virginia Serious Game Institute, in a release.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-Large Corey Stewart spoke about how the game institute, and other high-tech projects in the county are driving growth and economic development.

“Prince William County encourages technological innovation, growth and expansion. The Virginia Serious Game Institute captures our shared vision to help small businesses realize their market potential and growth opportunities,” said Stewart in a release.

A release stated that the game is set in a futuristic environment, and they can either play on their own or interactively with five members or go on different missions within the game together. During the gameplay students in the healthcare field will be evaluated on their performance.

Following the launch of Mimycx, Professions Quest will be releasing a new scenario for gamplay every six weeks, stated a release.

Republican firehouse primary to take place April 25

Following the decision by the board of elections to not allow for a state-run Republican primary, the Prince William County Republican Party will be hosting a firehouse primary on April 25.

All Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park residents will have the ability to vote in the primary that day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help decide who will be the Republican nominees for the general election in November. Keep Reading…

Woman charged with stabbing man in the neck in Woodbridge apartment

Late in the evening on April 12, Prince William police responded to a call to investigate a stabbing that was reported at an apartment on Briar Rose Lane in Woodbridge. 

According to Prince William police, the investigation revealed that two individuals were involved in a verbal altercation, which then escalated. 

During the incident, one of the individuals, 26-year Lamar Grady pushed the other individual, 27-year old Cheri Thacker, said a Prince William police release.

As stated in a Prince William police release, Thacker then got a knife and stabbed Grady in the neck. 

Both of the suspects are known to one another. 

Non-life threatening injuries were sustained, said Prince William police. 

Thacker and Grady were both arrested following the investigation. Prince William police stated that Thacker was being charged with malicious wounding and Grady was being charged with assault and battery.

$1.5M election equipment makes debut in Dumfries special election

Dumfries held a special election for Town Council.
The only candidate, Bill Murphy, voted yesterday morning.
The new voting machines will use paper ballots.
Keith Scarborough from the Electoral Board said that the machines will cost $1.5 million dollars.
They will have ADA accessible voting machines available.

Yesterday evening, interim Dumfries Town Council member Bill Murphy was elected to a permanent seat on the council following a special election in Dumfries.

Murphy was among the 35 residents that came to vote in the election, where he earned 92.1% of the vote, according to election results.

Kristin Forrester was the former town council member that Murphy took over for.

“She was just elected last year – she was a federal employee, and she got a new job assignment overseas, so she resigned. They appointed an interim person…Bill Murphy…so he’s running to keep his seat,” said Keith Scarborough, secretary of the Prince William County Electoral Board.

But the election was not only the chance to elect a new Town Council member – it was also the debut of new voting equipment in Prince William County.

The county had been using touch screen machines for elections, but the General Assembly decided to move to paper balloting machines in 2005, and the county has been phasing out their older machines.

“We are in the process of replacing all of our touch screen [voting] machines that we’ve used for the last ten years. The General Assembly goes back and forth about electronic or paper – which is more secure, and which one people want. Basically, the General Assembly has said we can’t buy any more touch screen machines – so they’re forcing all of the cities and counties to go back to paper ballots,” Scarborough said.

According to Brenda Cabrera, Chief Deputy for the Prince William County Office of Elections, the county went through a long process with vendors to find the right machines that met the voter’s needs.

“There’s only four vendors in the state of Virginia that are essentially certified…so we met with all four of them…we had mock elections in two areas of the county with the two vendors that we had chosen and did a lot of different surveying of the participants,” Cabrera said.

The county settled on Hart InterCivic, an election equipment company based out of Texas.

Voters using the new paper ballot system will need to take a paper ballot to the voting area, fill out the bubbles on the ballot, and then place the ballot into the new machine.

“The biggest change is that before when you came in…they would hand you a voting card, and you would go over to one of the machines. And now instead, they will hand you a paper ballot,” said Scarborough.

While the phasing out process began back in 2005, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors did not allot funds for new voting equipment until after the 2012 presidential election – which saw long lines and voter frustration.

“After that election, that’s when the board [of supervisors] voted to give us $1.5 million dollars to do the transition,” Scarborough said.

“The equipment cost is only going to be a part of it. That is about $1.1 million, but there’s the cost associated with more paper for ballots, more training for election officers and more things – places to put the ballots, ways to store the ballots,” said Cabrera.

Cabrera stated that starting with the upcoming June 9 primary; all voting precincts will have the new paper ballot machines in use for elections.

Nohe, O’Meara talk taxes, and why Route 28 stinks

Paul O’Meara talked about lowering the tax burden for Prince William County residents.

His incumbent opponent Marty Nohe talked about the importance of spending county tax dollars on the things residents want in their community.

Both men seek to represent the Coles District on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. It’s a magisterial district that includes an area of Prince William County from Hoadly Road near Woodbridge to Route 28 outside Manassas. Republican voters are urged to vote in a firehouse primary Saturday, April 25 to decide who will move on to run in the November General Election.

Omeara took several shots at Nohe on taxes. He faulted him for not voting back in December for a plan that directed county officials to develop a budget based on a 1.3% tax increase, not 4% as was agreed upon about a year earlier.

“The true conservatives on the on the Board opted to vote for a lower rate,” said O’Meara. “We have to start somewhere and 1.3% is a good place to start.”

>> See full video of debate after the jump

Nohe defended his vote and said that he spoke with Prince William school officials a week prior to his vote who asked the Board of Supervisors for some consistency with the budget, and to keep in place promised tax increase.

“We have hard working teachers and a hard working school board, and to turn around and say to them, a week after we said we wouldn’t reduce the revenues they were expecting, and turn around and do that exact thing, I thought that was intellectually dishonest and deeply unfair,” said Nohe.

On transportation, traffic congestion on Route 28 between Liberia Avenue in Manassas and the Fairfax Count line continues to be an issue. Nohe spoke of the trouble of finding some $2 million at the state level to widen the road. Keep Reading…

Delegate Anderson, Women Veterans Interactive to host veterans job fair April 18

On Saturday, April 18th, from 9am to 4pm, an area organization that supports women military veterans will team up with three elected officials to host a free Prince William County Veterans Resource & Job Fair. The event will be held at Ebenezer Baptist Church at 13020 Telegraph Road in Woodbridge.

The lead organization hosting the event will be Women Veterans Interactive, a nationally recognized not-for-profit organization that supports women veterans through various programs. U.S. Army veteran Tammi Lambert, a resident of Woodbridge and a Women Veterans Interactive member who deployed to Iraq while on active duty, has coordinated event planning efforts over the last several months.

Joining Lambert as a co-host will be Del. Richard L. Anderson (R-51st), a retired 30-year Air Force colonel and chairman of the General Assembly Military and Veterans Caucus. Del. Michael T. Futrell (D-2nd), whose district includes Quantico Marine Base, will also co-host the event. Dumfries Town Councilman Derrick Wood (D-Dumfries), a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, will also serve as a co-host for the job fair. Keep Reading…

Principi announces departure from community health center after 7 years

Frank Principi, a Woodbridge Supervisor, has announced that he has stepped down as the Executive Director of the Greater Prince William Community Health Center after seven years of service.

According to Paul Moessner, president of the health center’s board, Principi’s role as director was always meant to be a temporary one.

“We had a sit-down conversation about the things he’s looking to do, and things that [the center] is looking to do…[he] was brought on as a short-term rescue mission to decide whether or not we could be successful and go forward…and that was seven years ago. So we have moved significantly past that, and Frank has been just an absolute wonder…but it was time to move on,” said Moessner.

Moessner recalled the time when Principi first came on board, and how the center was struggling at that time.

“We worked very hard at [building the center] and I think structurally we had most of the right choices made, but we didn’t have the right [director] and at that time we were looking at scarce resources and were finding a difficult place to settle in…4 or 5 of us sat around my family room on a couple of weeks going, ‘Is this the week we have to close because we’ve run out of money,’” said Moessner.

Principi agreed that the director role was always meant to be temporary.

His job was initially to close the center, but after working with the patients, he decided to turn things around and make the health center a success.

“It’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my professional career. Seven years ago, I was asked to come in and close the center…walking through the waiting room every day on that short-term assignment, and looking at the faces of the people of our community…seeing those faces, I went to the board and asked them to change the assignment from closing the center to going to plan ‘B’ [to save the center],” Principi commented.

Principi said that over his time leading the Greater Prince William Community Health Center, they have seen enormous growth and success in the community.

“We’ve gone from 75 square feet of medical office space to 30,000 at two different locations. We’ve gone from 5 employees seven years ago, to 64 employees today. We served 800 patients in the first year of operations, and we’re anticipating that we’ll serve 16,000 patients. We have fought back valiantly, we’ve told our story in the community…and quite frankly after seven years, my job is done, and I’m looking to move on to bigger challenges,” Principi stated.

According to Principi, he is currently weighing his options professionally, but stated that he plans to stay in the non-profit world.

“I have a few opportunities that [I’m] exploring, and once that due diligence is complete I will be making an announcement publicly, but I will say I’m staying in the non-profit industry, and I’m going to be helping many larger numbers of people in our community,” commented Principi.

Paul Moessner said that the health center has launched a search for a new director, and the current interim director is Mary Ellen Bond, who is the operations director for the center.

“We had an announcement out for candidates for the Executive Director’s position…we have a number of people who have submitted [resumes]. Our board will sit down and make a selection from that. We’re not worried about being able to get a person with lots and lots of experience,” Moessner said.

Moessner commented that a decision for a permanent director would be made in the coming weeks.

New Hilton hotel opens in Woodbridge, brings 40 jobs


The Hilton Garden Inn hotel located on Neabsco Commons place in Woodbridge had their grand opening yesterday.

The 141-room hotel is located near the NOVA Woodbridge campus and Freedom High School. 

According to Tim Sudberry, a manager at the hotel, it offers regular rooms, junior suites and 1-bedroom suites.

“95 is a busy corridor – we’re close to Fort Belvoir, we’re close to Quantico, we’re close to [Washington] D.C. so we’ve got a little bit of everything. We have business guests and leisure,” Sudberry commented. 

Sudberry said that the hotel hired 40 individuals.

At the Hilton Garden Inn they offer a full breakfast buffet, free Wi-Fi, microwaves, mini fridges, and points for their Hilton Honors program.

Crash witness: ‘I thought he was gonna hit me’

A witness said the driver of an overturned car crawled out and spoke with crash investigators.
Police were called to an overturned car on Prince William Parkway.
The driver of an overturned car on Prince William Parkway appeared to have suffered minor injuries.

An overturned car on Prince William Parkway caught the eye of drivers Tuesday.

Especially Buddy Baker, of Woodbridge, who was sitting on the side of the road with a flat tire and witnessed the crash. Baker said a coupe was traveling on Prince William Parkway in the direction of Woodbridge, in an S curve at the intersection of Scenic Point Drive, when it crashed into a road sign and overturned in the median.

“I thought we was gonna hit me,” said Baker.

After the crash, Baker ran toward the crashed car. Other drivers stopped to help, said Baker.

The driver of the car crawled out and immediately picked up his cell phone.

“We all asked him if he was OK and if there was anything we could do and he kept saying ‘I’m alright, I’m alright,” said Baker.

Police and fire and rescue crews were at the crash scene about noon. Drivers slowed to see the spectacle of the demolished car that crashed in wet, slippery conditions.

Baker said he saw rescue crews bandage the driver’s arm. The man who Baker identified as the driver was walking around and appeared to be speaking with crash investigators.

Baker was headed to Manassas from Woodbridge when his Honda Civic popped it’s back rear tire. He called a roadside assistance car that came to help him across from the crash scene.

250 videos, 200 images found: Woodbridge man charged with child pornography

On February 9, Prince William police detectives from the Special Victims Unit began a child pornography investigation.

The investigation was prompted by a cybertip that Prince William police received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said a Prince William police release.

During the investigation, detectives were able to connect with an individual online from their residence on Bremerton Drive in Woodbridge, said Prince William police.

Prince William police were able to find more than 200 images of unidentified victims, including toddlers and infants, engaging in inappropriate sexual activities.

Detectives were able to obtain a search warrant to search the residence, and when a forensic examination was conducted on a laptop found in the residence, more than 250 videos and 200 images of child pornography were discovered, said a Prince William police release.

After completing the investigation, Prince William police obtained warrants for the suspect’s arrest.

The suspect, 22-year old Woodbridge man, Kevin William Salguero, was taken into custody at a family member’s home on Longwood Manor Court in Woodbridge, said Prince William police.

Salguero is currently being charged with one count of child pornography, and nine counts of child pornography 2nd subsequent offense and is being held without bond.



95 Express Lanes’ builder Transurban to award $1.5K grants to non-profits

Transurban, the company that owns and operates the 95 and 495 Express Lanes, has announced a new grant program that will award $1,500 grants to local non-profits.

According to Mike McGurk, a spokesperson for Transurban, the program will award $1,500 grants to three organizations on a quarterly basis as a way to give back to the communities along the Express Lanes.

“[This] is what we’re trying to do to stay invested in the communities where we operate,” McGurk commented.

McGurk stated that this new grant program mirrors another program that Transurban offered back during the construction of the Express Lanes.

“Before this grant program was launched we had two different grant programs during the construction of both the 495 and the 95 Express Lanes. And those were intended to support the directly impacted communities that were along the corridor on 95 and 495…we wanted a way to give back to those communities that were impacted by the construction,” McGurk said.

Any area non-profit can apply for one of the grants online.

The next round of grant applications are due to Transurban by the end of June, McGurk said.

“We’ll begin to review the applications in early July, with an aim to have a decision made with the organization we want to support by the end of the July or early August,” McGurk stated.

Non-profits can apply to the program each fiscal quarter, but if a non-profit receives a grant, they need to wait another calendar year before applying again, commented McGurk.

Smoothie King offers “healthy alternative,” jobs in Woodbridge


The first Smoothie King location opened at Merchant Plaza in Woodbridge on March 20 and is looking to provide a healthier alternative for meal replacements.

Smoothie King is a business that offers smoothies and athletic supplements in locations in the United States and abroad.

The new location is owned and operated by franchisee Richard Benjamin.

According to Benjamin, they opted for a soft opening, but they will be hosting a grand opening celebration on April 25, but business has been great thus far.

“We’ve actually hit the ground running – I don’t think we expected to have this type of volume this early, especially during a soft opening. We couldn’t be happier,” Benjamin said.

He was introduced to the Smoothie King brand back in college.

“I used to play football for the University of Maryland…and [my coach] asked me if I wanted to go [toIMG_1770 Smoothie King] with him after practice…and I had never even heard of [it]. I’ve loved it ever since,” Benjamin commented.

When deciding to move forward with opening a store, Benjamin stated that he wanted to work with Smoothie King because it provided a healthier alternative to other smoothie stores in the area.

“I really thought Smoothie King had a lot more nutritional value, and everything else. So I started looking into it, and I thought for myself, for my kids – we wanted a healthy alternative in the community,” said Benjamin.

Benjamin stated that each store typically employees 15 to 20 employees, and they are looking for individuals to join their team.

They also intend to partner with local organizations for fundraisers, and are currently working with the Woodbridge Little League teams.

“We’re active participants in the community…and we wanted to provide a healthy alternative because it’s good for our kids, it’s good for us and there’s something for everyone,” stated Benjamin.

Help end hunger, homelessness and human trafficking at the Chapel Springs 5K

dreesen chapel springs 5K

On May 2 at 8 a.m., Chapel Springs Church will be hosting its first 5K race in Bristow to raise funds for three charity organizations.

The race will take place at the Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park.

According to a release, the church is expecting 1,000 participants, and around 500 runners in the race.

Doug Dreeson, a minister with Chapel Springs Church, said the church felt motivated to go out and help the larger community by hosting the race.

“This year we said ‘Let’s do this’…our first thing was that this was not just going to be to raise money for the church. We really thought, whatever we’re doing, it’s got to be for something outside of [our church],” Dreeson said.

The church will be donating all of the race proceeds, including $17,250 raised by corporate sponsorships to the SERVE Homeless Shelter, Christ in Action Disaster Relief and Ahki’s Place Shelter.

The corporate sponsorships for the event included Freedom Bail Bonds, Wegmans, Bristow Dental Care, The Running Store and Chick-fil-A.

Dreeson commented that the church gave a lot of thought about the charities they wanted to aid, and decided to include a local, national and international charity that reflects the interests of the community.

One of the charities, Ahki’s Place Shelter, is located in Southeast Asia. The charity seeks to get women and children out of the human trafficking trade in the area, into safer situations.

“They’re in a densely populated and extremely poor part of Asia, and they are rescuing kids and women from human trafficking. Where they are – once a woman has been in prostitution, there’s no other option for her,” Dreeson said. 

There is still space for runners that want to register for the race.

The registration fee is $40.00 and includes a t-shirt, according to a release. 


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