Prince William

Prince William police officer wins gold at World Police and Fire Games

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Prince William police officer Justin Bonner won a gold medal this week at the 2015 World Police and Fire Games.

The 28-year old officer joined Prince William police in 2006, and became an officer in 2008. He has been with the motor unit for two years.

Bonner won in the novice cone courses for precision and time, and his gold medal for Overall Novice.

According to Bonner, his interest riding on the police motorcycles came when he was still a cadet.

“As a cadet, I got the opportunity to work with our traffic unit and I found it was something I really enjoyed doing. I like to try and promote traffic safety, and you get to do some honorable events – escorts for VIPs, funerals and different things like that,” said Bonner.

All officers in the motor unit have the option to compete in yearly motorcycle skills competitions. This year, the competition was combined with the World Police and Fire Games.

Bonner said that in order to prepare for competitions, there is a lot of training work that goes in.

“We do a two week basic motor school to qualify to ride the motorcycle at work – and we also do training once a month to practice our skills and maintain proficiency on the motorcycle. Besides that, we are allowed to go up to the track at our police academy and practice occasionally,” said Bonner.

In the World Police and Fire Games there are several motorcycle competitions including, precision, speed, slow ride, partner ride, team slow ride and challenge ride competitions.

“I felt good going in – we had some great instructors here in Prince William that helped us out a bunch – training for this and day to day operations. I’m very honored to represent the department and to end up winning – it was great training. That’s really why we do it. You end up rooting for all of the competitors who are out there, and you learn a lot from just being out there,” Bonner commented.

Bonner stated that he will continue to compete in the years ahead.

Woodbridge man shot, killed in Alexandria

A Woodbridge man was killed during a shooting in Alexandria last night.

Alexandria police were called to N. Fayette Street in Alexandria to investigate.

According to Alexandria police, the victim – 22-year old Shakkan Elliot-Tibbs – was found by officers, suffering from a gunshot.

Elliot-Tibbs was transported to a hospital where he later died of his injuries, said Alexandria police.

The investigation is still ongoing.

This is the first homicide in Alexandria this year, said Alexandria police.

Dale City 4th of July Parade to be shown live online

You won’t be able to watch the Dale City Fourth of July Parade live on TV tomorrow.

For the first time in at least 20 years, Comcast will not telecast Virginia’s largest Independence Day parade live on its cable system in Prince William County.

Viewers will be able to watch the parade online.

Here’s the latest from parade organizers:

Through the efforts of Monte Cansler of Frame Magic Video, the 2015 Dale City Parade will be streamed live.

Compton & Duling, LC Attorneys at Law are sponsoring the live feed. Please go to tinyurl.com/Dale-City-Parade-2015

Frame Magic Video Productions is a full-service production company with over 15 years of experience.

They specialize in motion graphics, social media videos, commercials, promotional, training videos, music videos and cinematic weddings.

Compton and Duling, LC Attorneys at Law, Community-Driven for the past 40 years. For more than 40 years, the experienced attorneys of Compton & Duling have provided cost-effective legal services to individuals, businesses and organizations with Northern Virginia.

Longtime parade organizer Ernestine Jenkins said she hopes the video of the parade will be shown later on Comcast.

Comcast did not return a request for comment on this story.

The parade takes place from 10 a.m. to noon on Dale Boulevard, from Kirkdale Drive to the a commuter lot on Gemini Way.

Officer dies following cycling accident in World Police and Fire Games in Prince William

48-year old Carlos Silva died during a cycling event yesterday.
The cyclists were coming down a hill when the accident happened.
Three cyclists were brought to the hospital with serious injuries.
Individuals have left flowers at the scene of the crash.
Pieces of the bikes involved in the crash littered the scene.
The World Police and Fire Games will continue.

Update

A memorial vigil will be held at 8 p.m. tonight at the Reston Town Center in honor of Silva.


Original post

A competitor in the 2015 World Police and Fire Games has passed away, following a bicycle accident.

The deceased – 48-year old Brazilian Carlos Silva – was one of three seriously injured officers the accident, which took place during one of the Game’s events at Prince William Forest park in Triangle.

Silva died at the hospital due to his injuries at 5 p.m. yesterday, stated Prince William police.

Prince William police’s Crash Investigation Unit was called to the scene of the incident to investigate yesterday afternoon.

What happened at Prince William Forest Park

According to Prince William police, the accident happened when several cyclists were traveling downhill and one of the bicyclists had a front tire blowout. The blowout and crash caused a collision with several other bicyclists in the area.

The accident happened on a closed cycling course near Turkey Run Road, on Scenic Drive.

Potomac Local went to the scene of the crash and saw that the collision took place as cyclists were coming around a curve, where the road turns into a hill.

Several bicyclists were injured during the crash, but only the three were taken to area hospitals for their serious injuries, said Prince William police. Several members of Prince William fire and rescue and Fairfax police were at the event and were able to immediately assist injured cyclists.

An unidentified 44-year old man and 43-year old man were the other two individuals taken to area hospitals for treatment.

The bicyclists involved in the crash were all wearing safety equipment, said Prince William police.

People express sadness, condolences over the death

Several law enforcement officers and elected officials expressed their condolences for Silva’s passing.

“On behalf of the Prince William County Police Department, I want to express my sincere condolences to the family of the deceased athlete, Carlos Silva.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the other injured athletes, fellow team mates, and the public safety family throughout the world,” said acting Prince William County Police Chief, Major Steve Thompson.

In a joint statement, Fairfax chairman Sharon Bulova, Fairfax police chief Ed Roessler, Fairfax fire chief Richard Bowers, Fairfax sheriff Stacey Kincaid, World Police and Fire Games president Michael Graham and others expressed their condolences.

“We are deeply saddened that an athlete participating in the World Police & Fire Games passed away today at the cycling event in Prince William County. Two other athletes are severely injured. Please join us as we keep these athletes, their families and friends in our thoughts and prayers during this tragic and challenging time,” said an issued statement from the group.

Potomac Local has reached out to officials from the World Police and Fire Games on how Silva’s passing has impacted the games, the mood of the Game’s athletes and what they will do to honor him, but they have not returned request for comment.

I-95 traffic already congested for upcoming July 4 weekend

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For those planning to head out of the area for the Fourth of July weekend – prepare for some heavy traffic.

Currently Interstate 95 going southbound in North Stafford was already seeing congestion at 9 a.m. this morning.

Additionally, there will be some lane changes for those traveling on the I-95 Express Lanes this weekend.

More on the changes from Transurban:

Friday, July 3:  No changes to reversal time.  The reversal from northbound (NB) to southbound (SB) will begin around 11 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 1 p.m.  

Saturday, July 4: 

Reversal from SB to NB will begin at midnight with the NB lanes open around 2 a.m.

Reversal from NB to SB will begin around 7 p.m. with the SB lanes open around 9 p.m.

Sunday, July 5:  Reversal from SB to NB will at midnight with the NB lanes open around 2 a.m.

Monday, July 6:  No changes to reversal time.  The reversal from NB to SB will begin around 11 a.m. with the SB lanes open around 1 p.m.  

SoberRide offers free cab rides on July 4

Make sure 11666199_871854766197291_5909740074273665784_nthat your Fourth of July is both fun and safe.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is offering their SoberRide program from 10 p.m. on July 4 to 4 a.m. on July 5.

According to a WRAP release, individuals can receive a free cab ride home, up to a $30 fare.

In order to utilize the program, riders must be 21 years and older.

More on July 4’s SoberRide program:

Important note: All requests for SoberRide service must be called to and dispatched from 1-800-200-8294. Do not call a taxi company directly for SoberRide service as the ride will not be covered under this program.

General SoberRide Information
WRAP’s SoberRide , called one of the nation’s most successful free cab ride programs for would-be impaired drivers, has helped to ensure greater Washington, DC residents have a safe way home on high-risk holidays. Since 1993, WRAP has provided over 62,536 safe rides home. Currently, SoberRide operates during the December/January holiday season, St. Patrick’s Day, CInco de Mayo, Independence Day and Halloween.
WRAP’s SoberRide provides a free cab ride home up to a $30 fare.
Callers are financially responsible for anything over $30.

You must be 21 or older to use the SoberRide service. All calls must originate in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland; the Cities of Rockville, Bowie, College Park, Gaithersburg, Greenbelt and Takoma Park in Maryland; the District of Columbia; Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William and Eastern Loudoun Counties in Virginia; and the Cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas and Manassas Park in Virginia.

You cannot reserve a SoberRide or schedule a pickup in advance. To receive a ride, you must call 1-800-200-8294 (TAXI) during the program hours. A SoberRide call operator will direct your request to the correct participating cab company.

Participating Taxi Companies:
Alexandria Yellow Cab (Alexandria)
Barwood, Inc. (Montgomery County)
Fairfax Yellow Cab (Fairfax County)
Loudoun Yellow Cab (Eastern Loudoun County)
Northern Virginia Checker (Prince William County)
Red Top Cab Company (Arlington County)
Silver Cab of Prince George’s County (Prince George’s County)
Yellow Cab of District of Columbia (District of Columbia)
Yellow Cab of Prince William County (Prince William County)
When waiting for a SoberRide, please watch for a cab from the participating taxi company in the area from which you are calling.

Officers injured at World Police and Fire Games in Prince William

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Several officers were severely injured at a cycling event for the 2015 World Police and Fire Games.

Prince William police’s Crash Investigation Unit are on the scene of the incident at Prince William Forest Park.

Today at Prince William Forest Park, there were two cycling events for the games – the road race and time trials, according to the World Police and Fire Games website.

According to Prince William police, several bike riders collided into one another when participating in the games.

Three of the officers received serious injuries and were transported to area hospitals for treatment, according to Prince William police.

Investigation into the cause of the accident is still ongoing.

New Virginia traffic laws start today

Starting today, there are some new rules of the road in Virginia.

During their last session, the Virginia General Assembly made amendments to state codes that are meant to increase safety measures for bicycles, postal vehicles, and garbage trucks, among others.

One change is that any vehicle that provides roadside assistance or traffic management aide is now qualified for the “Move Over” law in Virginia, because the vehicle may have blinking or flashing warning lights. The “Move Over law mandates that drivers change lanes to allow certain vehicles, including law enforcement, room on the road to provide assistance.

Another measure is meant to keep postal workers safe. A new regulation passed in the House now requires drivers passing a mail vehicle that has blinking or amber lights on to use caution and a safe speed.

A similar regulation now requires that those passing garbage trucks on roadways that have less than four lanes have to decrease their speed to 10 miles per hour lower than the speed limit. Additionally, drivers must leave two feet of room between where they pass and the left of a vehicle.

An interesting regulation passed this legislative session protects individuals on bicycles and mopeds, as vehicles can now be cited for following too closely.

For those that have been convicted in a federal court for a DUI offense that is similar to one within Virginia law, now has the ability to petition the court in their jurisdiction for restricted driving privileges, which is found in other states. The driving privileges, according to the text of the passed bill, would be restricted to areas including their workplace and church.

Prior to this change, only individuals convicted in a Virginia court of a DUI offense could petition the court.

Helicopters search for man wanted in PNC bank robbery in Lake Ridge

A PNC bank in Giant Foods was robbed today.
The suspect fled from the scene on foot.
The store is currently open for customers, but the bank is not.
A helicopter is being used to track down the suspect

 

A PNC bank location inside of a Giant Foods on Hedges Run Drive in Lake Ridge was robbed.

According to Prince William police, the individual entered the bank area, showed a handgun and demanded money.

The individual fled the scene with money and was last seen running towards the rear of the Giant.

No one was injured.

The suspect is described as a male with a light complexion, between 20 and 30 and under 5’7”. He was last seen wearing a gray jacket with gray sleeves, black on the shoulders and a black hood, with blue jeans and gray sneakers.

Prince William police are still currently on the scene investigating.

A helicopter is being used to search the area, and police vehicles are posted around the neighborhood to watch for the suspect.

PNC bank employees that witnessed the robbery declined to comment on the incident.

The store is currently open for customers.

 

 

Woodbridge woman charged with child neglect, reckless driving

On the morning of June 29, Prince William police responded to a call for child neglect that took place at the A.J. Ferlazzo building in Woodbridge.

According to Prince William police, the caller stated that they met with 29-year old Woodbridge woman Shaquann Wilson in front of the building for a child custody exchange.

When the caller attempted to secure the 6-year old child in the backseat of Wilson’s car, Wilson drove away, said Prince William police.

Both the caller and a witness stated that the child was not secured in the seat and Wilson’s vehicle door was open when she pulled away, stated Prince William police.

Wilson turned herself into the police after officers made contact with her.

No one was injured.

Wilson is being charged with felony child neglect and reckless driving and is being held on a $2,000 bond.

Here’s where you can check out fireworks this Fourth of July

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Wondering where you can celebrate July 4 and see the fireworks in your area? Potomac Local has a list of July 4 events you can check out.

Prince William

In Prince William County there are several events you can attend to celebrate July 4, including the Dale City Parade on Dale Boulevard at 10 a.m.

More on July 4 events in Prince William:

Dale City Parade (July 4th 10 a.m. on Dale Blvd)
Leesylvania State Park Kid’s Fishing Tournament (9:00 a.m.)
Freedom Firecracker 5k Run & 1 Mile Fun Run (Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center 8:30 a.m.)
Pfitzner Stadium P-Nats Ball Game followed by fireworks show
Montclair Dolphin Beach fireworks display  (You must be an MPOA member to be on the beach.  However, you do not have to be an MPOA member to take advantage of a side-street view.)

Manassas

On July 4, the City of Manassas will be hosting their Celebrate America event from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Downtown Manassas.

More on the excitement from the City of Manassas:

The celebration begins with the Bicycle Decorating contest. At 5 p.m. visitors are invited to take part in a Watermelon-eating contest.

Next, Judges from around the City will lend their culinary expertise to judge the Apple and Peach Pie Baking Contest. This is Americana at its best. To sign up for these contests, visit visitmanassas.org.

Visitors can bring a blanket or a lawn chair to lay claim to a spot for viewing the best fireworks in Virginia. Beginning at 3 p.m., there will be children’s rides, food vendors, and other vendors. The celebration centers around the Harris Pavilion, the Manassas Museum and the Train Depot.

The City of Manassas loves pets, but pets do not love loud noises. Their ears are more sensitive and the City asks that pets be left at home in the air conditioning. This time of year, streets and sidewalks are hot enough to burn puppy paws.

Manassas Park

Fourth of July celebrations in Manassas Park include a fireworks display at Signal Hill Park, starting at 6:30 p.m.

More information on the fireworks display:

The City of Manassas Park invites you to join us Saturday, July 4th for a display you won’t want to miss. 

Free Admission
Fireworks Display at Dark
Free shuttles from VRE & City Hall Starting at 6:30pm
$5 Parking Available at 5pm – On-Site Parking: Handicap Only
Limited General Parking Across Street
PLUS! We will be having food trucks featuring: Bella Vita, Guapos, Bauji’s Kitchen, and Snowie!
No Alcohol
No fireworks allowed in park (this includes sparklers) 
Expect traffic delays from 8pm-11pm in the areas of Signal View Drive/Signal Hill Drive, Manassas Drive/Signal View Drive, Manassas Drive and Centreville Road. 

Stafford

Stafford and Fredericksburg will also be celebrating that day with their Heritage Festival and fun run event.

More on the July 4 events from Stafford:

Fredericksburg’s July 4th Heritage Festival 
7:45 a.m.: Heritage Festival Five-Mile Run Sponsored by Fredericksburg Host Lions Club
6:30 a.m.: Registration at Visitor’s Center
9:30 a.m.: Heritage Day Parade Sponsored by Children’s Museum of Richmond/Fredericksburg
Downtown: Lafayette to Caroline to Princess Anne to Lafayette Prizes for Best Costume & Most Creative Bicycle
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Festival of the Streets Craft Show with more than 100 vendors Sponsored by Beth Sholom Temple, Classic Car Display Sponsored by Stafford Car Club & Rosner Motor Sports, Dunk your Favorite Local Celebrity Sponsored by Rappahannock Rotary
Children’s Activities: Face Painting, Balloon Creations, Moon Bounce & Photo Booth with free pictures
Live Music: Wil Gravatt – Gravatt Entertainment, Steve Jarrell & Sons of the Beach
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Ferry Farm’s Let Freedom Ring Sponsored by George Washington Foundation $1.00 admission Catch a bus or trolley from downtown or from the Eagle’s Lodge on Cool Springs Road. Ferry Farm parking will be handicapped only. Patriotic, Family Activities, Re-Enactors
1:00 p.m.: Flag Retirement Ceremony with Anthony Campbell
12:00 p.m.: Presentation of Colors — American Legion Post 290 Welcome — Matt Kelly – Councilman at Large
4:30 p.m.: Pratt Park Opens for the July 4th Spectacular Bring lawn chairs & picnic dinners Food Vendors available
6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.: Quantico Marine Corps Rock and Roll Band
7:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Special Appearance by the cast of: The Wedding Singer from Riverside Center Theater 
8:00 p.m. – through the Fireworks: Quantico Marine Corps Band
9:15 p.m.: Fireworks Sponsored by City of Fredericksburg & Stafford County
View fireworks from Pratt Park or Old Mill Park. No alchoholic beverages. No sparklers. No grills. Dogs must be on leashes.

 

Prince William police win silver, gold, in World Police and Fire Games

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The Prince William County Police Department was honored with several medals at the World Police and Fire Games.

According to Prince William police, the department’s motor team competed in a four day competition at the games.

Officers Steve Bennett, Justin Bonner, Joe Kushner, Rob Minnick and John Mora won a silver medal.

Additionally, Officer Bonner won two gold medals – one for the Cone Courses Novice Division and one for the Todd Ricks Award for Overall Top Novice – said Prince William police.

$11M Gainesville library to open in October

The western end of the county is getting a new library.
The library will cost around $11 million.
There will be a historical property located on the site.
It will open in October this year.
This library is one of two library projects ongoing in the county.

Western Prince William is getting an $11 million library.

The Haymarket/Gainesville Community library – which will be located at the intersection of Route 15 and Lightnet Road – is under construction and will be completed in October 2015, according to Andrew Spence, a spokesman for the Prince William library system.

The location will be 20,000 square feet and will offer their normal range of services, including checkout materials and children’s programming, as well as electronic services.

“In addition to the system’s traditional services, the Haymarket/Gainesville Community Library will provide access to our digital resources (databases, electronic books and magazines, and more), web-based library services (digital catalog), self-checkout, public Internet access, community/room space and wireless public Internet access,” said Spence.

According to Spence, the $11 million in funding for the library came from various sources, including debt financing and proffers.

“A 2006 bond referendum, approved by voters, provides $9,940,000 debt financing for the new Haymarket/Gainesville Community Library. Additionally, Prince William County Government’s General Fund provides $50,000 and developer contributions (proffers) provide $1,823,405 for the new library,” stated Spence.

This library is the second ongoing library project in Prince William, as the Montclair Community Library will also be completed this fall. Spence stated that the library is being built to meet the growing need for the services in the western end of the county.

“The library system recognizes that the Haymarket/Gainesville area has grown over the last decade creating an opportunity to provide this community with increased library services such as literacy materials, community space, reference assistance and civic engagement,” said Spence.

Similar to the new Montclair library, the Haymarket/Gainesville library will have a historic property on the site for visitors to see, called the “Bushy Park House”.

“[The house] is a 200 year-old Gainesville farmhouse planned to become a history interpretive center for our visitors,” said Spence.

BB gun, mace, used in Woodbridge robbery

On the morning of June 29, Prince William police responded to a call for a robbery on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge.

According to Prince William police, the victim – a 35-year old Woodbridge man – was robbed by two known acquaintances.

During the incident, the male suspect – 18-year old Ethan Brommer – showed a handgun and the female suspect – 26-year old Felisha Tucker – threatened the victim with mace, said Prince William police.

The individuals took an electronic tablet from the victim, before the victim fled and called Prince William police.

Prince William police located the individuals in a wooded area near the scene of the incident. Officers determined the handgun was actually a BB gun.

No one was injured.

Brommer and Tucker have both been charged with robbery.

Is housing in Prince William affordable?

Row houses line streets in Woodbridge’s Belmont Bay neighborhood. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Housing can be expensive.

And for those that are economically challenged, the cost of housing in the Northern Virginia region can be a major hurdle that impacts their lives.

According to a Prince William rental market comparison, a one bedroom apartment runs $961, a two bedroom runs $1582 and a three bedroom runs $1,801 per month.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that the average wage for individuals in Prince William is $832 per week – $3328 per month. This is lower than the national average according to the BLS, which is $1027 per week – $4108 per month.

So for individuals paying for housing in Prince William, many pay 28% to 54% of their monthly income, depending on the size of the space, utilities and fees added to the initial housing cost.

According to Andrea Eck, a housing specialist for Northern Virginia Family Services, those that pay more than 30% of their income towards housing are ‘precariously housed’.

“I bet if you took a look at your housing costs, it would probably be more than 30%, and that’s because it’s expensive to live here…We serve a low income population – typically people that are 30, 50 or 80% or below area median income. And based on the family’s income, their rent does not exceed 30% of their income, because we know that anybody who pays more than 30% of their income on housing is precariously housed,” said Eck.

While there are residents that are able to afford the housing costs in the county, there are some that cannot.

A 2015 report from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments stated that there are 409 homeless individuals in the county – 136 of which are children. These are the individuals that populate the area’s tent cities and homeless shelters.

What programs are available in the county?

The homeless are not the only individuals in need of access to affordable housing.

Bill Lake, the director of Prince William’s Office of Housing and Community Development, works with residents in need providing rental assistance, also known as Section 8 housing.

“We help low income families with their rental obligations, to help them find affordable, decent, safe and sanitary homes. Our families receive a voucher – they go out and find housing. The housing is inspected to meet certain housing quality standards…they negotiate with the landlord what the rent would be, and we have to do something called ‘rent comparables’ where we have to make sure that the rent is being charged is [appropriate] for the area,” said Lake.

While the housing vouchers are assisting with the need for affordable housing in Prince William County, there is a gap between need and what is available.

“We have a waiting list of over 8,000 families, and we’re serving now about 1,900,” said Lake.

“Vouchers are limited, and the wait list is not open,” Eck commented.

Additionally, the Office of Housing and Community Development puts forward $55,000 per year towards assisting homeless individuals in finding housing.

Alongside the Office of Housing and Community Development, NVFS does have housing services, including their 92-bed SERVE shelter in Manassas, and their takeover in operations of the Hilda Barg shelter in Woodbridge, according to Eck.

NVFS also owns properties where residents can pay a reduced rate, but this is limited as well, said Eck.

What can be done to provide more affordable housing options?

According to Eck, there are several things that can be done in the county to ensure residents have access to affordable housing.

“On the housing side specifically, I think Prince William County has made some great strides by shifting to a rapid re-housing philosophy in our home shelters…and something critical to that process is a housing locator…the reason why housing locators are so important is that they build that network of property managers and private landlords that are willing to work with us and the barriers our clients face,” said Eck.

Eck stated that the board of supervisors has supported affordable housing initiatives by contributing to area non-profits like NVFS.

“Our local county board of supervisors is very supportive of the non-profit community that is working to address this issue, so there are contributions made to non-profit partners doing this work…I think their continued support of the work that is being done…is obviously very critical,” said Eck.

Creating job opportunities and maintaining access to public transportation are critical pieces of alleviating the problem.

“I also think that availability housing in and of itself isn’t the only issue. We also know that jobs help to create stable communities, when folks are working, earning a living wage. So ongoing efforts to build a robust job training [program] and supportive services that go along with it [are important]…Ongoing support of our public transportation system is pretty important as well because, the folks that we work with really rely on public transportation to be able to get to those jobs and those job training programs,” said Eck.

System 2040 plan maps out changes for VRE service

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The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) has a plan that includes adding train lines, stations, and even reverse commute capabilities.

While mass transit is one of the major methods that many area residents use to get to work in the area, there is still a lot of congestion that VRE is trying to combat, according to Director of Public Affairs Bryan Jungwirth.

In order to handle congestion and provide more service to riders, VRE has created a System 2040 plan with service improvements and additions up through the year 2040.

One big component of the plan is reverse commuting, which would alleviate some congestion on the roads for commuters coming in to Prince William and Manassas for work.

Currently there are only three trains that are classified as a reverse commute, according to Jungwirth – one from Union Station in Washington, D.C. at 6:25 a.m. to Broad Run, an additional Union Station to Broad Run in the afternoon and a Broad Run to Union Station train in the afternoon.

“We’ve got some trains that actually can be characterized as a reverse commute, and they’re on the Manassas line,” said Jungwirth.

In the immediate future, VRE will be adding more cars to existing trains.

“The best things we’re definitely going to do – max by 2017 – are adding more cars onto more trains and make the trains longer, which will increase capacity. And that will help with the whole [Route] 66 construction issue,” Jungwirth commented.

There are several station expansions and new platforms on the agenda from VRE, with a Fredericksburg train line being added this summer and Gainesville-Haymarket extension coming, said Jungwirth.

Also coming up in the next few years, are VRE’s plans to add two more tracks and potentially adding a line that goes from Manassas to Alexandria.

“[System 2040] tries to address all of this different elements, because we’re going to need two more tracks going across the Potomac [River] – so either a new bridge or the extension to the existing long bridge. And then we need more train storage up in the [Washington] D.C. area, and we’re looking to expanding where we store our trains. Parking lot expansions – we’re looking at those as well…We could potentially get additional capacity on the Manassas line…we’ve thought about ways we could run more service on the Manassas line and doing what we call a fish-hook kind of service to Alexandria, but it would take a lot of construction to make it even feasible,” said Jungwirth.

Reverse commuting capabilities should start to become a bigger focus towards the end of the System 2040 plan, said Jungwirth.

“I won’t say that reverse commutes aren’t on our list of things to do, because it is in the System 2040 plan, but it’s the latter part of the plan, so we’re talking out to 2030, 2040…all of these other infrastructure improvements would need to occur before that were to happen,” said Jungwirth.

Sterling Women group provides business women with networking, opportunities

11539005_730080840447405_7482248177901374553_oThe Sterling Women of Prince William want to help you network and grow your business.

The group, which was founded in 2008 in Reston by Kristina Bouweiri – president of Reston Limousine – started as a way for business women to meet and has grown to include chapters all over Northern Virginia.

“When you’re a business owner, you’re running around and you’re running to all of these events and if you’re the kind of owner where your hands are in everything…your time limit is very small, on events you can attend. So for her, she wanted something where she could take a lunch once a month, have it close to her workplace, network with a bunch of women and then go back to work,” said Shateaa Holmes, head of the Sterling Women Prince William group and president of Excelsior Pay Group.

According to Holmes, the Sterling Women’s group filled a void in the community for business women.

“Kristina’s business is a huge business – it’s over $20 million in revenue, and she has more than 300 employees. And for a woman owned business to have that kind of success is rare. So she wanted to market to other women because you don’t really have that type of networking event. We have the fun and fluff [in the community], but we don’t have the get down to business – where you’re coming in and networking, and your purpose is to make connections and grow your business,” Holmes said.

The group got so popular, they began to expand and add locations.

“It’s turned into this huge networking event and late last year, [Bouweiri] started allowing people to open up different locations,” said Holmes.

Holmes started the Prince William chapter in November, which meets the third Wednesday of every month in Woodbridge. Women are able to see vendors, network with one another and hear from a speaker.

Holmes decided to open her own chapter of Sterling Women, following her own positive experience with the group.

“I went to my first Sterling Women event in February 2013. I started my business in July 2012, at the same time I was working a full time job…and from July to February, I had no success in my business. I was about to close my business. Someone told me about Sterling Women, and told me I needed to go…and after all of the connections I had made…there was no way I could close my business. And I want to pass that on to other people…You’ve got a room full of women, and you’re starting out, or you’re on the spectrum where you’ve got a multi-million dollar business, and you can walk up to any of these women, and connect with them…and learn from them. I wanted to bring that to Prince William County, because I didn’t see anything like that in the county,” said Holmes.

By March 2014, Holmes was able to quit her full time job to focus on her business and currently has 7 employees.

While the group is targeted towards women, Holmes stated that men are welcome to join.

Haymarket woman charged with entering stranger’s home

In the afternoon on June 22, Haymarket police were called to a home on Gap Way for a call for unlawful entry of a residence.

According to Haymarket police, the homeowner stated that he saw a female open the rear door of his home and partially enter. When the homeowner confronted the woman, she asked to use the telephone.

Haymarket police stated that the female had no connections to the home.

After an investigation, Haymarket police identified the female as 22-year old Chelsey Davis.

Davis was located at her residence on Washington Street and has been charged with unlawful entry.

County supervisors talk on how to address $9M PRTC shortfall

Many riders begin and end their commutes, or transfer to other PRTC buses at the agency’s Transit Center in Woodbridge.

County supervisors are talking about ways to handle the Potomac and Rapphannock Transportation Commission’s (PRTC) $9 million dollar annual shortfall.

PRTC provides bus and rail service for residents in Prince William, Manassas and Stafford, including commuter, cross-county and local bus service.

According to PRTC’s Interim Executive Director Eric Marx, the organization is facing this large shortfall and may have to make some drastic cuts to service – including eliminating all local service or severely limiting commuter service – unless additional funding can be found.

Currently PRTC’s revenue sources include some federal and state funds, and a 2.1% motor fuels tax. Previously, the board of county supervisors chipped in money from the general fund, but stopped doing so after the recession hit the county in 2008.

An independent audit, and more talks

Marx has met with the supervisors to discuss the shortfall, and the board’s first step has been to call for an independent audit of PRTC and their budget, to see if efficiencies and cost savings can be found.

“There is an audit that Prince William County is planning, to have their independent auditing firm perform on PRTC, regarding our performance…it will be a way that the county can sort of independently determine how well we are doing. We can say everything we want about how efficient we are, and how productive we are…but having and independent process [provides] verification,” said Marx.

The audit will take place this fall, according to Marx.

While Marx stated that the three scenarios that PRTC has offered to address the shortfall are very real, they were meant to be broad and will receive much tweaking from the board.

 “I’ve spoken with most of the [supervisors]…and all of them have listened attentively and asked some questions. But [we’re] really not at a point that people are making declarations one way or the other. There are three very broad scenarios, developed to illustrate what the extremes would be in terms of how many cuts would need to be made in order to achieve [certain] levels of savings. I suspect that none of those will be implemented exactly as they are…I suspect there will be a fair amount of give or take, with the policy guidance from the elected officials and the board of county supervisors and the county finance staff,” said Marx.

Supervisors share their thoughts

Potomac Local reached out to the county board of supervisors for their thoughts on how to handle the PRTC shortfall.

For Supervisor Mike May, addressing the board’s previous general fund contribution is on the table.

“It’s a significant amount of money and I don’t think the board is going to be able to be in a position to completely backfill a $9 million shortfall. There is a history of using general fund monies to supplement PRTC, and that probably makes some amount of sense – depending on of course, the amount. Historically, it’s been $1 to $1.5 million dollars, and so there’s a significant difference between that and the $9 million shortfall,” said May.

Additionally, May stated that none of the scenarios to cut service that PRTC has put forward would seriously be considered.

“All three scenarios are essentially non-starters. But those all assume a $9 million shortfall, and PRTC resolving it with some level of reductions. I don’t think any of the three will be met with a whole lot of support from the board,” said May.

Supervisor Maureen Caddigan stated that many of her constituents rely on PRTC and that not finding funding sources for PRTC’s shortfall would have a major impact on transit in the area.

 “We need transportation, obviously. If you look at Route 1, and [Interstate] 95 and certainly [Route] 66 – where the jobs are…and the traffic is horrendous, so we need [public] transportation to get people around. The OmniRide is doing wonderful, people are really happy…the concern with some of the money now that is needed is for OmniLink. And OmniLink does take care of our neediest people – the people that don’t have cars…it’s expensive to run the buses, so we are taking a look at it…Route 1 – that is my greatest concern. People get off of 95 and they get onto Route 1, and the traffic is terrible, so I would not cut out any kind of transportation to get people around,” said Caddigan.

According to Supervisor John Jenkins, the General Assembly should play a role in solving the shortfall by putting a floor on the motor fuels tax – one of PRTC’s major funding sources.

“We have a corporate responsibility, with other jurisdictions, and so it’s not one of these things where you can just say, ‘You know, we’re not going to fund it.’ There are two or three options we’re going to look at in the future. We have, over the years, in Prince William County, funded from the general fund, a little bit of the operation of the transportation systems, but I don’t think we can continue to do that in the current scenario. The General Assembly could put a floor on the amount of [motor fuels] tax that’s being cut. One of the things I would like to see done would be for the state General Assembly to come in there and come and give us some real, meaningful revenues to help operate this transit system,” Jenkins said.

May also mentioned seeking outside funding sources, including the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), but that ultimately there would have to be some cuts at PRTC.

“I’m open to working with my colleagues to try and identify funding to help with some of that. I also think we should probably take a look at the possibility of using NVTA funds for a portion of that as well, but there’s probably going to have to be some reductions made on the PRTC side as well,” May commented.

Marx stated that public hearings could be held in the future to hear from county residents, as to how to address the $9 million shortfall.

Man arrested following shooting in Triangle home

On June 25, the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force arrested 23-year old Triangle man Terrance Henderson for a shooting incident on Old Triangle Road on June 23.

Prince William police responded to a call at 2:27 a.m. that morning to investigate the shooting.

Their investigation revealed that the victim – a 21-year old Triangle man – was inside the residence when Henderson, who knew the victim, showed him a rifle which discharged, striking the victim in the leg, stated Prince William police.

After the incident, Henderson carried the victim outside and fled the area, said Prince William police.

When officers arrived on the scene, they located the victim outside near the home. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to Prince William police.

Henderson was located in Fredericksburg, and was arrested without incident.

Prince William police stated that Henderson is being charged with unlawful wounding, shooting within an occupied dwelling and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He is being held without bond.

Endangered Woodbridge man goes missing from his home

Update

According to Prince William police, Bechtold was located in New York and is safe.

Original post

Prince William police are looking for 23-year old Woodbridge man Albert Bradley Bechtold.

According to Prince William police, an investigation showed that Bechtold left his home on Bayside Avenue around 12:45 a.m. on June 29.

Bechtold was believed to have left his home voluntarily, and may need assistance. Prince William police have classified him as endangered.

He may be driving a black 2009 Toyota Matrix hatchback with Virginia license plate tag VGF-3326, according to Prince William police. Additionally, he may have ties to the New York area.

Bechtold is described as a white male, 6’0” and 180 pounds with brown hair, blue eyes and tattoos on his neck, left hand, and right wrist, said Prince William police.

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