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Prince William

Incumbents keep seats in Prince William Firehouse Primary

The field of candidates for local elections in Prince William County is getting smaller.

Republicans held their “firehouse primary” in Prince William County on Saturday. The results of those races tell us which member of the GOP will go on to face their Democratic challengers in the November General Election.

Voting in the firehouse primary took place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at various locations across the county. The firehouse primary was held instead of a traditional primary on June 9 due to paperwork filing error on the part of the Prince William County Republican Party.

The results of the 2015 Prince William County Republican Firehouse Primary:

Constitutional Offices

Sheriff Glen Hill

Hill

 

 

 

 

 

Sheriff: Glenn Hill

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McQuigg

 

 

 

 

 

Clerk of Court: Michele McQuigg

Board of County Supervisors

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Corey Stewart

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chairman: Corey Stewart

Prince William Coles District Supervisor Martin E. Nohe

Prince William Coles District Supervisor Martin E. Nohe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coles Supervisor: Marty Nohe

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Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Occoquan Supervisor: Ruth Anderson

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Chapman

 

 

 

 

 

Woodbridge Supervisor: Steve Chapman

 

Prince William County Republican Party Chairman Bill Card issued this statement:

“I want to thank all of the dedicated Republicans who helped us put on our Party Canvass with about 6,500 voters,” said Chairman Bill Card. “My hat goes off to all of the candidates who ran but didn’t win. Mike Messier, Austin Haynes, Paul O’Meara, Chris Crawford, and Lee Price were respectful throughout the campaign and they should be proud of their effort.

“We now have a slate of candidates who will represent Republicans well in November. As the County continues to grow, Republicans look forward to putting forward substantive proposals to address the challenges that lay ahead for our community.”

 

Carnival rides going up at Jefferson Plaza in Woodbridge

woodbridge carnival april 2015

Carnival rides are being set up in parking lot off Route 1 in Woodbridge.

The carnival features a large Ferris Wheel that is set up in Jefferson Plaza, across from Our Lady of Angels Catholic church.

A sign hanging on a fence outside the carnival states it will be open Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.

FedEx shipping facility near Gainesville to open by Christmas

fedexA FedEx Ground shipping facility should open this fall in Prince William County.

The new 168,000-square foot shipping hub under construction is now under construction and will be located at 7303 Cushing Road, just off Balls Ford Road and Interstate 66 near Gainesville.

When completed, standing at 35 feet tall, the center will represent a win for county economic development officials who have courted several logistics companies in an effort to lure them to the region.

“The Board of Supervisors made logistics a target industry for us, and since that time we’ve met with several industries to talk about the advantages of locating here,” said Prince William County Economic Development Director Jeffery Kaczmarek.

One of the reasons why the county is so desirable for shipping and transport companies – it’s access to both Interstate 66 and 95. FedEx will join several other logistics companies just off I-66 near Gainesville, including U.S. Foods and Martin Bower, which delivers foods to restaurants like McDonalds.

The new FedEx facility will be built as a shell building. When complete, FedEx will hire a contractor to come and complete the interior of the facility with the installation of shelving and conveyor belts, said Prince William County Development Services Director Wade Hugh

Hugh’s office is in charge of greenlighting building permits for projects like the FedEx facility. Work on the site began in November with an “early grading” permit that allowed crews to begin clearing trees and making roadway access to the site via Cushing Road while the remainder of the permits were still being approved.

In all, it can take up to four months to approve a project like this.

“They want to be up and ready to go before the Christmas shipping season starts,” added Hugh.

Some small road improvements to Balls Ford Road were proffered by the developer, to include the addition of a deceleration lane at Balls Ford and Cushing roads. Cushing Road recently saw the addition of a new commuter lot that provides drivers’ access to I-66, so the area around Balls Ford Road is growing.

“It appears, talking with the clients that we work with, that there is major capacity with existing [roadway] system. But if we’re going to continue to grow, the county road system needs to keep pace with that,” added Kaczmarek.

Is this the end of Arts Alive?

On May 2 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., residents will be able to enjoy the Arts Alive festival at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas – but this could be the last time.

During the initial budget draft written by County Executive Melissa Peacor, she was given the instruction to create the draft with a 1.3% tax rate increase – versus the 4% allotted in the county’s strategic plan. This then cut the funding for the Arts Council, the organization that hosts the festival. 

Over the course of the budget process, the funding for the Arts Council was re-added, and was kept in for the final budget adoption on April 21, but there are some concerns that the funding for the council may be on the chopping block again next year.

“It is absolutely correct to say that if the funding for the Arts Council fails, or goes away, or is drastically reduced, I just don’t see how we have that festival anymore,” said Sheyna Burt, the head of the Arts Council.

Burt stated that currently she feels confident about the future of the Arts Alive Festival, provided that the Prince William County Board of Supervisors continues their commitment for funding. 

“I feel pretty good about the board of county supervisors restoring our funding. As long as they [continue to] do that…the Arts Alive is the Art Council’s biggest project all year. So the vast majority of the funding we get, goes to making that happen. As long as the board of county supervisors comes through in the way that they’ve been representing that they will, then I think the festival is actually going to survive,” Burt stated. 

The Arts Council and the community group Our Prince William partnered heavily during the budgeting process to protect the arts and related community items in the county’s budget.

They plan to continue their mission by having a dialog with the board of supervisors in the coming months.

“What we’re hoping is that we can get some supervisors to sit down seriously with us, and talk about the budget process – talk about the timeline, talk about the philosophy of setting a rate before you talk about the values of the county,” said Burt.

Burt also stated that she hopes that the Arts Council can expand the festival next year, to include some activities in the eastern end of the county.

Michelle Obama comes to Manassas, urges companies to hire vets

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at Micron Technologies in Manassas. [Photo: Mary Davidson/Potomac Local]
Bobbie Bilberg is head of the Northern Virginia Technology Council. [Photo: Mary Davidson/Potomac Local]
The first lady highlighted the need to hire more U.S. military veterans into the workforce. [Photo: Mary Davidson/Potomac Local]
Air Force Gen. Frank Klotz spoke about the need to hire more veterans.  [Photo: Mary Davidson/Potomac Local]
Tamika Carroll is a military veteran employed at Micron in Manassas.  [Photo: Mary Davidson/Potomac Local]
John Holdren, Assitstant to the President for Science and Technology. [Photo: Mary Davidson/Potomac Local]

There’s a little piece of Manassas in electronic devices around the globe.

Buddy Nicoson, a site director at Micron Technology, said that parts created on-site in their Manassas plant are used for devices and cars around the world.

“Chances are that your [mobile] device has a component in it now that’s made in Manassas. On average, there are three Micron parts in every car made globally,” said Nicoson.

Micron hosted First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday to speak about the administration’s Joining Forces initiative for hiring veterans.

Micron is one of the companies that have taken part in the initiative, which just celebrated its 4-year anniversary.

Following the drawdown in the Middle East, the Obama administration saw a huge uptick in unemployment for United States veterans.

“The year that we launched [Joining Forces] the unemployment rate for our 9/11 generation of veterans was more than 12%. And for our younger veterans – it was far worse…and so we knew we had a crisis on our hands,” Obama said.

According to Obama, President Obama challenged the private sector to hire 100,000 veterans and military spouses in 2011.

As of right now, private companies have hired more than 850,000 veterans and their families since Joining Forces was formed, said Obama.

“That number comes on top of the hiring that we’ve done on the Federal government. This is an amazing accomplishment, and I am really so grateful to everyone across this country who made it possible…we should all take a moment to sit back, and feel good about what we’ve achieved together – but we should only sit back for a moment because we know there’s so much work left to do,” Obama commented.

Tamika Carroll, a Micron employee and Army veteran, struggled to find employment after leaving the military.

“When I transitioned from the Army, I wasn’t sure of my job prospects…after seven months of applying for positions, I finally found Micron. I was actually looking for the mall. And there was a huge sign out that [said] ‘We’re hiring’ and I thought ‘good because I need to be hired’…the leadership and technical skills I learned in the Army are tangible skills you can’t learn elsewhere. And I’m able to use those skills here,” Carroll said.

There are several companies across the United States, including local companies such as the Northern Virginia Technology Council – with their Veterans Employment Initiative – and Dominion Power, which have taken on the administration’s challenged to increase the amount of veteran, hires they make.

Governor McAuliffe announces George Mason campus name change

Governor McAuliffe came to George Mason University to announce the name change of the Prince William Campus.
The institute is a 75,000 square foot biosciences facility.
GMU President Angel Cabrera thanked McAuliffe and other local officials for their support.
The institute will have space for more than 100 researchers.
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McAuliffe makes official rebranding of George Mason University Prince William Campus 

Governor Terry McAuliffe was on site at the George Mason University campus in Prince William to launch the Institute for Advanced Biomedical Research and to announce the campus’ new name.

The institute, which is a 75,000 square foot space that has room for more than 100 researchers and scientists, is all a part of the university’s decision to focus their Prince William Campus on the sciences and technology. 

“We’re here to officially cut the ribbon on our new institute for advanced biomedical research…We are renaming this campus, it’s no longer the Prince William George Mason University Campus – we are now renaming it the George Mason University Science and Technology Campus,” said McAuliffe. 

Researchers have already begun their work, according to George Mason University president Angel Cabrera – working on Lyme disease tests and human genome sequencing.

Cabrera stated at the ribbon cutting that the changes to the university are aimed at changing Virginia’s economy.

“The governor ran for office on a campaign on jobs – on innovation, on rebuilding the economy. And when he talked about jobs and innovation, we actually listened…it is about transforming the economy in Virginia, it’s about turning this region into one of the most innovative places – that is constantly attracting the best talent around the world,” Cabrera said. 

McAuliffe stated that Virginia is falling behind in the area of biosciences, and expressed concerns about the regional economy relying to heavily on Department of Defense and federal related jobs, which are subject to frequent cuts and sequestration over the past few years. 

“I talk a lot about building that new Virginia economy – we have to do it…it’s all about science and technology. It’s all about biosciences…and we have lagged behind in biosciences. I went to a big bioscience conference in Las Vegas last year… and they listed the top 25 states in America for biosciences. We were not on that list folks…we can create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the bioscience space,” said McAuliffe.

Following the ceremony, McAuliffe also attended the VA BIO 2015 THRIVE conference on bioscience in Fairfax.

Woodbridge is getting a boardwalk

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A new boardwalk is poised to take shape along Neabsco Creek in Woodbridge.

Officials plan to build phase one of a 3,000-foot long, 10-foot wide boardwalk in the Julie Metz Wetlands near where the Neabsco Creek meets the Potomac River. The walkway will be a part of the larger 830-mile Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail that will run from Pittsburgh to the Northern Neck Peninsula of Virginia.

In Woodbridge, eventually, the boardwalk will be expanded into nearby neighborhoods. Educational stops will highlight information about wildlife found in the wetland parks. The ramp will be ADA compliant.

“The Neabsco Creek Boardwalk represents the quality of life that is a hallmark of the New Woodbridge,” said Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi in a press release “We have the best of both worlds here. Modern conveniences of a metro area, surrounded by natural beauty. The boardwalk will help residents to fully enjoy that balance, and attract visitors to the community.”

Officials hope the boardwalk will become a destination for those who like to view wildlife. A total of 300 parking spaces will be available for those who visit the boardwalk once it’s completed, according to a press release.

Nearby sites of interest include the historic Rippon Lodge, Rippon Landing Neighborhood Park, and Eagles Landing Baseball Fields.

A federal review process must be complete before construction begins. Principi says that process could be completed by August, and construction could begin by November.

Construction of the boardwalk is expected to take between 18 and 24 months to complete. Most of the work will be done in winter to mitigate negative effects on wildlife and plants in the area.

The boardwalk is expected to cost $3 million and will be funded through developer proffer and local transportation funds.

Landscape Architect, Lardner/Klein Inc. was hired to work on the project.

 

Prince William school earns Green Ribbon award

A Prince William County elementary school was honored this week, along with three other Virginia schools, as national 2015 Green Ribbon School award winners. The U.S. Department of Education program recognizes energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly schools that promote environmental awareness, community engagement and student wellness. 
 
Coles Elementary School partnered with the private sector and non-profit organizations to create nine school gardens watered with recycled water. The school nutrition program includes “no paper days” and dining by natural light on “lights off Fridays.”
 
The other winning schools are: 
  • Bassett High School, Henry County 
  • Crozet Elementary School, Albemarle County 
  • The Steward School, a suburban Richmond private school 
 
“The earth-friendly practices and hands-on environmental learning experiences woven into the instructional programs of these schools provide opportunities for students to make a difference as young people today and in the future as thoughtful and engaged citizens,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven R. Staples said.
 
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Managing Director of the White House Council of Environmental Quality Christy Goldfuss announced the winners as part of Earth Day celebrations. Nationally 58 schools, 14 school districts and nine postsecondary institutions — including the University of Virginia — were honored and will receive green display banners and be invited to send a delegation to a June recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C.
 
The Green Ribbon School program was created in 2011. 

No traditional school to be built on ‘Ferlazzo’ site in Woodbridge

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The Mary G. Porter Traditional School will not be moving to the “Ferlazzo Site”, according to a letter sent out by the Prince William Superintendent of Schools Steven Walts on April 20.

The conversation about building a new school for Porter Traditional School to relocate to– on the corner of Spriggs and Minnieville Roads – began as a means to address overcrowding in the classrooms, a large amount of classroom trailers used at schools, and to expand enrollment, said Walts’ letter. 

While Walts had originally made his recommendation to move forward with the move of the traditional school, in his letter, he stated that he had reversed his recommendation. 

Originally, there were plans for the “Ferlazzo Site” to be used for a neighborhood school – not a traditional school program, said Marty Nohe. When the new plan for the traditional school was proposed, it caused massive outcry in the community from upset residents and parents.

Now that Walts has reversed his decision, the school board in Prince William can continue with their original plan.

Walts stated that he appreciated the dialog from the community about the plans for the traditional and community-based school options.

“Our PWCS administration discovered that our efforts to do the right thing must be enhanced by greater communication. We are excited to see how many of our residents – regardless of their position on this issue – can be motivated to get involved in securing what is best for their children,” said Walts.

Prince William County School Board member Michael Otaigbe, stated that he did want the traditional school to expand to the “Ferlazzo Site”, but he understood the choice wasn’t his to make alone.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a win-win outcome. The community around the Ferlazzo site – they wanted a community school, and these folks at the [Porter] Traditional School wanted a bigger building…but it didn’t work out…I represent the community – and I was torn between the traditional school that I love…however the people in the community do not see it how I see it, so I have to vote according to their needs and what they’re telling me that they want,” said Otaigbe.

There has been no further comment on if and where the Porter Traditional School could expand to increase their enrollment.

Virginia Serious Games Institute to make Prince William a gaming hub

In collaboration with the Prince William County Economic Development Department and George Mason University, the up and coming Virginia Serious Games Institute (VSGI) is now growing to incubate and accelerate several more game design companies in Prince William.

VSGI, located at George Mason University’s campus in Prince William, started with just an idea from the institute’s founding director Dr. Scott Martin.

“It was an idea I came up with, after a visit to the University of Coventry over in the United Kingdom…I loved the [serious game] model [there]…[to act] as an incubator and an accelerator for companies within the simulation games base,” said Martin.

The game design major has been a huge growth area for George Mason University. 

“It’s the fastest growing academic program in the history of George Mason University,” Martin commented.

With support from the economic development department, and an ongoing $250,000 investment from the Commonwealth of Virginia – legislation budget amendment that started two years ago, VSGI was able to take on 7 startup game design companies.

Another community partner that has helped VSGI is the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), which is based out of Alexandria. AACP has invested $500,000 thus far into VSGI.

“We had been studying education innovation as an association of educators for about a year seriously…we knew we needed a partner, and we thought about a couple, but none locally until we heard the announcement about the partnership between SGI and the county,” said Dr. Lucinda Maine, Executive Vice President and CEO of AACP.

Over 70 jobs have been created since the opening of VSGI last year.

Martin stated that the companies that work as part of the VSGI create ‘serious’ games, versus entertainment games. 

“The difference between entertainment games and serious games is that [entertainment games] are developed purely to entertain. Whereas serious games have another purpose – persuasive games, educational games – however, they still have an entertaining component…Serious games can do things – like save lives,” said Martin.

One of the companies working with VSGI has created a firefighter simulator that is being used in Fairfax County to train emergency responders, said Martin.

Atlanta is considered to be a growing entertainment game hub, and Martin stated that he hopes in the coming years that Prince William County will become a serious game industry hub, bringing jobs and development to the area.

Professions Quest, one of the original game design companies that partnered with VSGI has announced their first commercial game coming to market – a health industry learning game called Mimycx.

The game allows students and healthcare workers to work collaboratively to solve problems and learn about important information they will use in their careers.

This summer VSGI is planning for rapid growth, said Martin.

“We received another investment from the Commonwealth of Virginia this summer, and we’re expanding to 14 companies,” Martin stated.

The institute is currently taking applications for the 7 additional slots. The application deadline is May 1. 

 

Fire breaks out at home on Queensbury Drive

A fire broke out on Queensbury Drive in Lake Ridge.
The American Red Cross was called to the home to assist.

A fire broke out at a home at 12509 Queensbury Drive in Lake Ridge about midnight Tuesday.

Flames were spotted on the second floor of the home.  The fire started in a second-floor bedroom, according to OWL VFD spokeswoman Rebecca Barnes.

No injuries were reported. The American Red Cross was called to help the occupants of the home find temporary shelter.

Volunteer fire crews from Woodbridge and Dale City, and career firefighters from Prince William County all responded to the scene of the fire.

Food Truck Fest comes to Woodbridge May 23

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On May 23, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. there will be the first annual Woodbridge Food Truck Festival at Gar-Field Senior High School on Smoketown Road.

The festival will feature local vendors, and some of the area’s best food trucks, said a release.

The event is free for all residents, and there will be food and drinks available to purchase on site.

This festival signals a growing trend in food trucks in Prince William County, and the greater Northern Virginia area.

Prince William board adopts advertised tax rate, $1M for class size reduction

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During last night’s Prince William Board of County Supervisor’s meeting, a majority of the supervisors voted to adopt the advertised tax rate – $1.122 per $100 of assessed property value – as well as the fiscal year 2016 budget for the county.

This comes after a decision late last year to reconsider the 4% tax increase stated in the county’s five-year plan, and an initial budget draft presented earlier this year by County Executive Melissa Peacor that used a 1.3% tax increase.

In March, the board of supervisors announced their tax ceiling rate at 3.88%, which they could go under, but not above, with the final tax rate.

In a 6-2 vote, the board passed the residential real estate tax rate – which includes the 3.88% tax increase – at $1.122 of every $100 in assessed property value.

Chairman At-Large Corey Stewart and Supervisors Nohe, Jenkins, May, Caddigan and Principi all voted in favor of the tax rate. Supervisors Candland and Lawson were opposed.

“Although there are some very good things in the budget – some very good programs – and Supervisor Lawson and I were happy to play a part in getting some of those programs into the budget, we had also proposed over $14 million in savings, that would help relieve the tax burden on the taxpayers in the county. And unfortunately, none of those suggested savings were passed by the board. So I felt that it still contained too much spending, and toward an impending trajectory that I believe is just unsustainable – that’s going to require continued large tax increases to support,” said Candland.

Last week, Supervisors Candland and Lawson announced their own budget draft, which would have included only a 2.5% tax increase – and would have required around $14.6 million in budget cuts.

Betty Dean, a leader in the community group Our Prince William had mixed feelings at the end of the budget adoption last night.

“If Our Prince William were to craft a budget, the budget that would have been passed would have been different than the one that passed last night. But having said that, the one that was passed last night…takes some really positive steps toward continuing to keep us in the path that the citizen’s have envisioned in their five-year plan. What I really would’ve liked to have seen happen is a unanimous vote – and I say that because while the budget wasn’t everything I wanted, and it also wasn’t everything that Supervisors Candland and Lawson wanted – it certainly had a lot of things in there that they worked hard to put in there,” said Dean.

Additionally, following a straw vote that took place last week, the board decided to finalize the $1 million grant to be given to Prince William County Public Schools as part of a class size reduction program introduced by Supervisors Candland and Lawson.

In order for the school system to access those funds, they would need to ensure that they would be used solely for class size reduction, and provide a $1 million match in funds, that would come from their school budget.

The original class size reduction program introduced allotted $2 million to the schools, and did not have a matching component.

Supervisor Principi suggested the $1 million and school matching in the board meeting last week.

“This is probably the most important issue that both elected boards are facing right now,” said Principi.

Woman hit with beer bottle at restaurant in Lake Ridge

Early in the morning on April 19, Prince William police responded to a call at Brittany’s Restaurant at Dillingham Square in Lake Ridge to investigate an assault. 

According to Prince William police, the victim – a 35-year old Woodbridge woman – stated to officers that she was inside the bar area of the restaurant when she was approached by the suspect, 21-year old Alexandra Kala Parson, and hit in the head with a beer bottle. 

Both individuals did not know one another, and according to the victim, the incident was unprovoked, said a Prince William police release. 

Security on-site intervened and contacted police. Only minor injuries were reported.

Prince William police stated that Parson was arrested and charged with malicious wounding and intoxication in public. She is currently being held without bond.

Manassas emergency workers used a hearse to respond to calls for help

 

The exhibit is open May 1 to all residents.
Manassas will honor their public safety history with a museum exhibit.
Residents used to see a hearse arrive at emergency scenes in Manassas.
Manassas Volunteer firemen in 1948
A hand pump used to fight fires.
Firemen from the City of Manassas hard at work.

Starting May 1, the Manassas Museum will debut their newest exhibit on the fire, rescue and police equipment used in the community. 

The museum will be hosting a reception at 6 p.m. and serve refreshments to residents looking to learn more about public safety history in the City of Manassas.

One of the unique highlights of the exhibit is the fact that back in the 1960s, responders in a hearse answered emergency response calls.

Before the first public safety group, the Manassas Volunteer Rescue Squad, was created in 1966, it was the Baker Funeral Home that would bring patients for medical treatment and respond to emergency scenes. 

Manassas didn’t see a modernized police and fire department structure until the 1950s, and relied on mainly volunteer services.

This exhibit, which displays the evolution of Manassas and its public safety organizations, coincides with the World Police and Fire Games, which are being hosted in Prince William County this summer.

“Our Fire, Rescue and Police personnel run into a building when others run out,” said Mayor Harry J. Parrish II.  “It is that courage and compassion for others that helps keep this City safe and well protected.”

The Manassas Museum will showcase the exhibit until July 15.

“I hope visitors and residents will come out for this exhibit. Our Police, and Fire and Rescue staff are top in their field and our volunteers are some of the most dedicated people I’ve met,” said City Manager W. Patrick Pate. 

This promoted post is brought to you by the City of Manassas and Historic Manassas, Inc.  

Conroy says transparency, special education are priority in school board race

Tracy Conroy, a registered nurse and small business owner, has announced her candidacy for the Prince William County School Board Chair seat.

The incumbent for the seat is Milt Johns, who has decided not to run for reelection. Conroy will face Ryan Swayers and Tim Singstock in a three-way run for the seat.

Conroy is a graduate with her Bachelor’s from the University of Philadelphia and is currently a nurse for an infusion therapy company based out of North Carolina.

She has worked with county school PTO groups and has been a member of the Prince William County Committee of 100, but Conroy is most well known in the county for her leadership role within the ‘Our Schools’ blog. The blog speaks about several school related issue in the county and calls for transparency in school decisions.

Conroy stated that her experience with ‘Our Schools’ has primed her to become chair of the school board.

“My son had an IEP when he was two, so my involvement in schools started by seeing what I could do to help my son…[we wanted] to talk about the schools, have conversations, reveal ‘sunshine’ – because often we didn’t know what was going on with the schools. In my opinion, the role of the chairperson is to represent all of the county. I’ve been able to hear so many voices, that I would not have heard without ‘Our Schools’…I feel that ‘Our Schools’ has given me a greater understanding of that role,” Conroy said.

During her campaign, Conroy is seeking to address transparency in decision-making, special education funding and reducing class size.

“The needs of our special education students weigh really heavily on my mind. We really need to fund these students at a level that is necessary – just like all students – because we aren’t funding the students at the level that we need to be,” said Conroy.

Conroy lives with her husband and two sons in Bristow.

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 of the 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?”

Mark Gibb, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, speaking at the April Committee of 100 program.

Mark Gibb, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, speaking at the April Committee of 100 program.

Clower told the group the county needs balance, and balance comes through planning. He said 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,” said Clower. “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

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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 The George Washington 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 Stafford 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.

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