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Updated: Flames engulf car on I-95 south in Woodbridge

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A reader sent these photos of a car fire to potomaclocal[at]gmail.com about 9:30 a.m.

The car fire appears to have been on I-95 south near Route 123 in Woodbridge.

We’re checking with Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue for more information.

We’ll post more when we have it.

Update 1:30 p.m. 

A Mini Cooper caught fire this at 9:15 a.m. in the southbound lanes of I-95 in Woodbridge. 

Fire and rescue crews closed two lanes of the highway to douse the blaze. 

No one was injured, according to Prince William County Assistant Chief Matt Smolksy. 

News
What will it take to make Virginia number one for business again?

Virginia’s rural counties are dying as the population continues to flee the southwest portion of the state.

Along the state’s “urban crescent” on Interstate 95 in Northern Virginia to I-64 to Hampton Roads, things are booming. In fact, they’re the two only growth regions in the state.

Stephen Morret at Virginia’s Economic Partnership hopes to change all that while working to restore the state to its “lofty” perch to the top of the best states in the nation to business, where it sat in 2008.

“We see Northern Virginia continuing to be a growth leader, but we want to continue to push for growth in all regions of the state,” said Morret.

As residents leave to find new jobs in other states, companies have been reluctant to invest in Virginia for reasons like higher taxes, federal sequestration, and what Moret called negative perceptions about the state. Washington, D.C., and its Virginia suburbs consistently rank 2nd on national lists of worst traffic congestion. (more…)

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Griffin charged with abduction, malicious wounding

From Prince William police: 

“Attempted Abduction | Malicious Wounding *ARREST– On May 20, detectives from the Special Victims Unit were able to identify the suspect involved in the attempted abduction and assault which occurred in the area of Castile Court and Oakwood Drive in Woodbridge.  Following the investigation, detectives located and arrested the suspect, identified as Keith Richard GRIFFIN, later that afternoon.  A search warrant was subsequently executed at this residence.

Arrested on May 20:
Keith Richard GRIFFIN, 43, 12681 Castile Ct in Woodbridge
Charged with abduction and malicious wounding
Court Date: July 11, 2017 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

Attempted Abduction | Assault & Battery[Previously Released] –  On May 20 at 5:16AM, officers responded to the area of Castile Court and Oakwood Drive in Woodbridge (22192) to investigate an assault.  The victim, a 33 year-old woman of Woodbridge, reported to police that around 5:10AM she was walking in the area of Castile Court when she was approached by an unknown male.  During the encounter, the male grabbed her and attempted to pull her towards a nearby area.  A struggle ensued and the suspect assaulted the victim, causing minor injuries.  The victim evetually broke free from the suspect and contacnted police.  The suspect was last seen fleeing on foot.  A police K-9 was used to search for the suspect who was not located. Officers also searched the area, but were unable to locate the suspect. The Investigation continues.

The suspect is described as a black male, 30-35 years of age, 5’5”, and 170lbs.  He also has dark hair with no facial hair. He was last seen wearing a black shirt and khaki shorts.”

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Driver killed in Woodbridge crash

From Prince William police: 

Fatal Crash Investigation – On May 19 at 10:48AM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of Great Oaks Dr and Smoketown Rd in Woodbridge (22192) to investigate a single vehicle crash. An officer was patrolling in the above area when a citizen reported finding a vehicle located down an embankment at the dead end of Great Oaks Dr.

When officers went to investigate, they located a sedan overturned with the driver still located inside. The driver, identified as an adult, was pronounced dead at the scene. The initial investigation revealed that the driver, and only occupant, was traveling northbound on Great Oaks Dr when for unknown reasons ran off the roadway down an embankment located at the dead end. The driver was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. It is unknown at this time if speed, alcohol, or drugs are factors.

The identity of the deceased driver will also be released once a next of kin is notified. The investigation into the exact cause of the crash continues.

News
2 children at Dumfries Elementary School get bicycles on Bike to Work Day

DUMFRIES, Va. — Iris Gomez had never ridden a bicycle.

That all changed for the second grader at Dumfries Elementary School on Friday when she was given a brand new 20-inch pink and purple bike, and safety helmet.

Iris, with the help of her principal Marlene Coleman, strapped on her helmet and quickly hopped onto the new bike. She sat proud and tall on the seat.

Her physical education teacher would have to show her how to ride the bike before she took home, said Coleman.

Iris’ classmate second-grader Deshawn Lang was thrilled at the sight of his helmet and bicycle, a shiny new red a black 20-inch two-wheeled machine.

“We won the bike,” exclaimed DeShawn as he walked up to it. (more…)

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I-95 south work at Dale City continues through Monday morning, major delays expected

The work to repair a bridge that carries Interstate 95 traffic south over the Neabsco Creek in Dale City continues tonight and throughout the weekend. 

The work had been postponed for the past two weeks due to weather. The work is slated to wrap up Monday morning, but not before causing major delays for southbound travelers. 

Here’s the latest from VDOT:  (more…)

News
A non ‘Mac Guy’ opens a Mac store in Manassas

Ron Mosely has never been a “Mac guy.”

He’s used iPhones and iPads, but he’s never been the one to stand in in line outside an Apple Store for the release of the next big must-have thing from the world’s biggest retailer.

“No, that wasn’t me,” said Mosley.

But he was looking for an opportunity.While living with his family in Colorado, his daughter tried to get him to purchase a Tropical Smoothie franchise.

“‘Dad, there’s none here,’ and she was right,” said Mosely, about the lack of locations of the popular drink and sandwich chain where they were living. (more…)

News
Prince William cracking down on seat belt use on Memorial Day

From a press release: 

Prince William County Police join law enforcement agencies throughout Virginia in the “Click It or Ticket” campaign to enforce the Commonwealth’s safety-belt and child safety-seat laws. The Department will participate in high-visibility patrols – day and night – from Monday, May 22, through Sunday, June 4 (which includes the Memorial Day holiday weekend).

Seat belts are mandatory in Virginia for all persons riding in the front seat. Virginia car seat laws also state that: (more…)

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Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott Dayton added to Prince William war memorial

In a brief ceremony Tuesday, community members, county staff and county officials gathered at the War Memorial in Freedom Park, near the McCoart Government Center, for a joint commemoration of Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day, which both fall in May.

Prince William Chairman Corey A. Stewart spoke at the ceremony and said that Armed Forces Day was first observed in 1950 following the creation of the Department of Defense, which put all branches of the armed forces under one department. The purpose of Armed Forces Day was to establish a day to thank military members for their service. Memorial Day remembers those armed forces members who died in service to the country.

“We gather to show our gratitude and appreciation to those Prince William County residents, and all men and women, who serve in our military. We gather to show our support as a community to these patriots and their families,” Stewart said. “And we gather to honor and remember the brave men and women from Prince William County who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy each and every day.” (more…)

News
McAuliffe to speak about business growth in Prince William County

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe will address the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.

He will deliver a “State of the Commonwealth” address at the Hylton Performing Arts Center “focusing largely on issues related to the economy and business climate,” according to a Chamber spokeswoman.

The governor’s upcoming stop in Prince William County speaks to the region’s growing business community.

“I do not believe in recent history we have had a governor concentrated on economic development more than McAuliffe,” said Dr. Terry Clowler, head of the George Mason University Center for Regional Anayalis. “When he is going about the state telling the story of opportunity and economic potential, I think it’s easy for him to find both of those in Prince William County.”

Prince William County’s location outside the Capital Beltway and its large population have allowed it to attract a mix of manufacturing and government contracting jobs. The county is now the state’s second-largest locality, and it’s emerging position in business is a newfound one.

“I don’t think it’s unfair to say that even 10 years [Prince William County] was not at the forefront of anyone’s mind when they talk about the forefront of economic growth in Virginia,” added Clower.

The Prince William Chamber invited McAuliffe to speak at a luncheon that will be Hylton Performing Arts Center, located at 10960 George Mason Circle in Manassas, on Tuesday, June 13. Doors open at 10:45 a.m. The Governor’s remarks will commence at 11:30 a.m. with the luncheon concluding at 1:00 p.m.

All are welcome to attend.

Joshua Cole makes history as the official Democratic Nominee for Virginia House of Delegates 28th District

Election history was made early this week in Stafford and Fredericksburg. Joshua Cole, a candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates 28th District, is now the official Democratic nominee for that elected position. He is the first African-American and the youngest candidate to ever win the Democratic nomination for House District 28.

On May 15, the 28th House of Delegates District Democratic Nominating Committee cancelled the Unassembled Caucus scheduled for May 21 at the Berea Firehouse. Cole was one of two Democratic candidates to file, but the other candidate dropped out in early April. Cole is now the official Democratic candidate and nominee for the 28th House of Delegates District, which covers much of western Stafford County and Fredericksburg. As such, his name will not be on the June 13 Primary ballot, but it will be on the General Election ballot in November.

“I am so honored to be the first African-American and the youngest nominated for this enormous and very important task,” Cole said. “Those pioneers before me, such as Dr. William Ferguson Reid and Rev. Lawrence Davies, paved my way. I am indebted to them.”

In 1968, Reid became the first African-American elected to the Virginia General Assembly since Reconstruction, and in 1976, Fredericksburg citizens elected Davies as their first African-American mayor, a post he held for 20 years.

“It’s nice to make history,” Cole added, “but this is not the history we want and need to make. Our goal is much higher and our aim is for Richmond.”

A bright new voice in the Commonwealth’s Democratic process, Cole is an Associate Pastor at Union Bell Baptist Church in Southern Stafford, and he serves as a behavioral aid for students in the Richmond Public Schools. He also spends time volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of the Rappahannock Region.

“I want to make a difference,” Cole said. “With the new leadership in the White House, I see that our country is heading backwards. Now is the time to step up and take action, to participate in the democratic process. We can’t afford not to.”

For more information, contact Team #Jcole4VA at (540) 642-0165 or jcole4va@gmail.com. You can also follow Joshua on all social media outlets @jcole4VA or visit www.jgcole.org.

#####

On Jan. 12, Joshua Cole challenged Speaker Bill Howell for his seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Howell has since announced his retirement and will not be running for re-election. Appointed by Howell, Cole has served as the personal Page for (then) Governor Mark Warner and went on to serve as the Virginia Senate Chamber staff assistant during the 2016 General Assembly. Cole has seen the secret voice voting in committee and the battle of party politics. He promises to work for an open, transparent and accessible democracy. He assures the residents of Stafford and Fredericksburg will get their say in Richmond. Cole, an Associate Pastor at the Union Bell Baptist Church in Southern Stafford, serves as a behavioral aid for students in Richmond Public Schools and spends time volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club in the local area. Children and education are high priorities, but so are transportation, health care and the state justice system. Cole is a fresh new voice for Stafford and Fredericksburg.

News
Weekend crime report: Armed robbery at Coverstone 7-Eleven, shooting into home

From Prince William police reports: 

Armed Robbery – On May 13 at 4:58AM, officers responded to the 7-Eleven located at 10740 Coverstone Rd in Manassas (20109) to investigate a robbery. An employee reported to police that an unknown man wearing a mask entered the business brandishing a handgun. During the encounter, the suspect demanded money then fled the store with an undisclosed amount of money. No injuries were reported. A police K-9 searched the area for the suspect who was not located.
Suspect Description:
Black male of an unknown age, 6’03”, 240lbs with a heavy build and dark complexion
Last seen wearing a mask, green coat, khaki pants, and black boots

Shooting into Residential Dwelling – On May 12 at 11:12PM, officers responded to a residence located in the 13700 block of Moccasin Ct in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a shots fired call. Several callers reported to police that multiple gunshots were heard in the above area. Officers checked the area and nothing was found at that time. On May 13 at 11:43AM, a citizen located several bullets hole inside of their residence. No injuries or no other property damage was reported. Upon further investigation, a shell casing was located in a nearby roadway. The investigation continues.

News
‘Old Town’ or ‘Historic Downtown’ Manassas?

Why, Potomac Local, why? 

Have you ever been walking, driving, or riding along and asked: “why?”

Why does this road only have two lanes when it could be better with four? Why does this school have so many trailers classrooms while others don’t?

We always like to hear your questions to our local community, and if you send us a question to potomaclocal@gmail.com, we promise to do our best to find an answer.

For years, residents referred to the walkable area of Manassas — with all the little restaurants, mom and pop shops, and the city’s iconic train station, as “Old Town” Manassas. This week, we wanted to know why people are now calling it “Historic Downtown” Manassas. (more…)

News
2 Dumfries children in need of a bike will get one on Bike to Work Day

Why should mom and dad have all the fun on Bike to Work Day?

The annual event coming up this Friday, May 19, 2017, urges many commuters to ditch their cars for their bicycles and pedal to work.

But this year, two children from Dumfries Elementary School will get in on the action when Volunteer Prince William donates two bicycles — one to a girl and one to a boy — on Bike to Work Day. (more…)

Customer Service Rep. / Inside Sales Assistant

LORTON, VA

A branch office of Major Water Bottling Plant looking for an experienced Inside Sales Assistant / Customer Service Rep.

This position will help provide sales and customer service support for our clients and outside sales reps as well as assist in the execution of some corporate marketing efforts. Previous background in Sales and Customer Service Required. Job Duties include but not limited to the following:

Sales – provide a point of contact for customer quotations and receiving orders
Order Entry – Process customer orders.
Label Design/Artwork – Follow up and confirm customer design and order label from the supplier.
Production Assistance – add orders to production list – including due dates, label arrival dates, and maintaining stock for customers.
Quotations – prepare sales quotes for specific projects or bills of material
Customer Service – field calls and questions from customers regarding existing and past orders, in a timely and professional manner
Support Account Executives – provide administrative and technical support to outside sales staff.
Marketing Assistant – provide assistance with corporate market efforts.
Office Support – Answer phones and provide some basic administrative services for a small branch office.

News
ALDI remodels, reopens Manassas, Stafford stores ahead of Lidl opening

Deborah Anderson was out for two things at eight o’clock this morning.

“Wine and chocolate,” the Stafford woman said.

Anderson stood first in line to enter a newly renovated ALDI grocery store on Garrisonville Road in Stafford County. It was one of three ALDI locations, to include stores in Manassas and one near Fredericksburg, that reopened Friday after closing one month ago for renovation.

The new ALDI is about 2,000 square feet larger, brighter, and stocked with more groceries than before. The grocer is not only known for its low prices, and it’s off brand products comparable to name brand items, but for its growing selection of organic produce. (more…)

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Don’t use your E-ZPass Flex in HOV mode? Give it back, or that’ll be $10 extra.

This weekend, my wife and me, and a third person — probably a friend or family member — must make a trip on the Interstate 95 E-ZPass Express Lanes.

Why?

It’s because we got an email from the folks at E-ZPass Virginia telling us it’s been a while since we’ve used our Flex transponder in HOV mode. And if we don’t use it, we lose it or must pay a $10 fee.

Here’s a portion of that email:

(Photo: VDOT)

“Since this transponder type is more expensive for us to procure, our Customer Agreement requires valid use in HOV mode at least once every six months or payment of a one-time Flex upgrade charge of $10 per Flex transponder. Alternatively, you can return your Flex transponder or exchange it for a standard transponder.”

The Flex transponder — the plastic box affixed to our car’s windshield that electronically pays the tolls to use the lanes, deducting it from our credit card account — allows us to toggle between HOV mode (free rides with three or more occupants in the car) or toll-paying mode.

The $10 charge we have the option of paying is a one-time fee, according to the email from the state. However, we’ve decided to take a part of our weekend to make the trip down I-95 — something we try to avoid on the weekends, if possible. (more…)

News
Prince William is seeking volunteers for a multitude of opportunities

Good morning Prince William – SERVE Food Pantry is running low on basic food supplies for needy families. Please pick up a few extra things this week while you’re out shopping. They have a particular need for canned beans, canned meat and cereal. It’s that time of year where we tend to forget that families and kids need the basics. Please drop off your donations at the SERVE Pantry at 10056 Dean Drive in Manassas.

· American Red Cross needs volunteers on Saturday May 20th to install smoke alarms in the Irongate Community, 8am-1pm. They would love Spanish speakers to help that day as well. Smoke alarms save lives every day! Please register for this event at: 
(more…)

News
Bentley Circle death a possible overdose

Prince William police were called to Bentley Circle in Woodbridge about 6 a.m. Thursday for a report of an unconscious man who later died on the scene. 

From Prince William police spokesman Nathan Probus: 

The call was initially dispatched as a medical call for a possible unconscious adult male inside a vehicle. When rescue personnel arrived, the male was not breathing and CPR was initiated. The male was pronounced deceased on scene a short time later. At this point, there are no indications of foul play. We believe the death was the result of possible overdose or otherwise medical in nature.

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