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Solar eclipse fans flock to Prince William libraries

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WOODBRIDGE — The line formed about 6 a.m. Monday.

Hundreds of people stood outside the Potomac Community Library in Woodbridge for to snag one of 600 pairs of solar glasses to view the “Great American Solar Eclipse.”

The line stretched from the parking lot, up Opitz Boulevard, nearly to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. Employees at the library distributed the glasses at 10 a.m. for a solar eclipse viewing party at 2 p.m.

“This was an exciting day,” said Prince William County Public Library spokesman Andrew Spence. “All six of our community libraries had solar eclipse activities happening.” (more…)

News
More skimmer devices found at Woodbridge gas stations

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WOODBRIDGE — More skimming devices have been found at gas pumps in Prince William County.

From Prince William police:

Since last week, the Prince William County Police Department has responded to calls involving skimmer devices being located on ATMs at five separate 7-Eleven locations in central Prince William County. Over the past few month, police have also located skimming devices at area gas stations and other ATM locations.

Below is a list the 7-Eleven locations, which reported skimming devices recently (map). If you have visited one of these locations recently and used the ATM, you are asked to monitor your bank accounts for suspicious activity and, if needed, notify your bank that your card information may have been compromised.

Ø 5041 Prince William Pkwy, Woodbridge
Ø 13660 Minnieville Rd, Woodbridge
Ø 4804 Dale Blvd, Woodbridge
Ø 7001 Dale Blvd, Woodbridge
Ø 14116 Minnieville Rd, Woodbridge

These latest skimmer incidents come after one was found at an Exxon gas station at the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Worth Avenue on July 7. (more…)

News
Opening for Ali Krieger sports complex set for spring

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PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — A sports field complex to be named after soccer standout Ali Kreiger will be ready by next summer.

SunCal, the developers of Potomac Shores in southeastern Prince William County, finished construction of one of three large rectangular soccer fields and a softball field.

Prince William County Parks and Recreation spokesman Brent Heavner provided Potomac Local this statement:

SunCal completed construction on one multi-sport rectangular field and one softball field last month with plans to complete three more rectangular fields and a parking lot by the end of the year.

Once we take possession of a field, there is considerable work we have to do to get the surface ready for play.

We hope to have the Softball field ready for play this fall, with the four rectangular fields opening for play next summer. (more…)

BerkleyNet finds the secret to attracting and keeping talent — make them feel valued

Editors note: This sponsored post is the first in a monthly series written by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Potomac Local.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — An insurance company headquartered in Prince William County encourages young professionals to write on the walls.

This is not your typical coverage provider.

Started in a warehouse in Manassas in 2006, tech firm BerkleyNet is a leader in forward-thinking business growth in Prince William County. BerkleyNet is a member company of W. R. Berkley Corporation, a Fortune 500 company.

Headquartered in Innovation Technology Park in Prince William County, their business is entirely online, a unique concept for a firm that provides workers compensation insurance.

In just 11 years they have grown from six to over 200 employees. The majority are headquartered in Prince William County, with satellite offices in places like Minneapolis, Nashville, Tenn. and Las Vegas.

John Goldwater, BerkleyNet’s former President, and CEO, has gone on to become an Executive Vice President of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Five founding employees remain on BerkleyNet’s senior leadership team.

The most unique aspect of their business growth? They hire curious problem-solvers, encourage ownership and invest in their employees. (more…)

News
Electoral Board studies pay increase for poll workers

WOODBRIDGE — Election officers in Prince William County may get raise.

The county’s Electoral Board is reviewing a plan to increase pay for its election officers who work long hours on Election Day in November, during town elections in May, June primaries, and on special elections such as this year’s Clerk of the Court vote.

Many elections officers, assistant polling place chiefs, and chiefs work the polls from opening at 6 a.m. to close at 7 p.m. Election Day. Officers are paid $125 a day, assistant chiefs $150, and poll chiefs $200.

Increasing poll worker pay would put Prince William County in line with its neighbor to the north in Fairfax County which pays poll workers $175 a day, assistant chiefs $200, and poll leaders $250 a day. (more…)

News
Virginia airplane owners get a tax break for repairs

MANASSAS — Airplane owners and repair shops will get a tax break.

Small airplane small repair shops and larger maintenance, repair, and overhaul aircraft facilities commonly referred to as MROs will get a break when they purchase parts, supplies, or engines to maintain an aircraft. Delegate Richard Anderson, an Air Force Colonel and former head of the Civil Air Patrol introduced the legislation during this year’s General Assembly.

The new law is expected to have an impact on economic development in the state and our region. Many airplane owners traditionally fly out of state to places like North Carolina for regular aircraft maintenance or repair.

“I am very proud to have worked with my partners in the General Assembly, the Virginia Aviation Business Association, and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association in crafting this legislation. Virginia is home to several thousand general aviation aircraft, but has few major maintenance and repair operations,” said Anderson. (more…)

News
Free admission today at the Prince William County Fair

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You can get in free this afternoon to the 68th Annual Prince William County Fair.

Everyone who comes between to 2 and 5 p.m. will get free admission to the fairgrounds as part of Free Gate Admission Day. Tickets are required once again after 5 p.m. and are sold for $10 for each adult or $6 for children or seniors.

The Power Wheels Derby will take place tonight in the grandstand. Children, ages 3 to 5 will participate in the first round at 5 p.m., and then children ages 6 to 10 will go at 5:30 p.m.

For the main event at 7 p.m. in the grandstand, yard warriors will bring their green machines for the annual garden tractor pull.

Other events in the far include No Joes Circus, the Butterfly Experience, chainsaw art, Jurassic Kingdom, the rides on the midway, and more.

Tomorrow night is ladies night at the fair. The gates open at 5 p.m. and all ladies are free. The demolition derby returns to the grandstand at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The fair is open today from 2 until 10 p.m., Wednesday through Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., and on the final day of the fair Saturday from 2 to 10 p.m.

*Photos: Keith Walker, Prince William County Government 

News
Beer, ads, and emails: An update from Potomac Local

We’ve made some changes on our PotomacLocal.com homepage to better serve you.

This spring, we replaced the sidebar ads on the right side of the website with more site features, such as a new weather widget, our most recent sponsored posts, and a listing of the most-viewed stories on the website.

Info widgets 

We also created a new section on our homepage to feature Public Safety News in our coverage area of Prince William County, Stafford County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. As soon as the public safety agencies in our community post incident information on their social media pages, we’re grabbing it automatically and publishing it to our website.

The new weather widget shows the latest update from the National Weather Service office in Sterling, so you’ll always be able to see current conditions and the latest forecast. (more…)

News
Like mom, like daughter: Both winners in Prince William fair baby contest

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MANASSAS — There’s one thing Morgan Welch did before her child won the Prince William County Fair Baby Contest.

“I got a hot husband,” said the 25-year-old Manassas woman, who, presumably, helped to make a beautiful baby.

Welch, 25, and her husband, Mike, entered their 10-month-old daughter Aliva Grace into the judging for the cutest baby age nine to 18 months contest on Saturday, August 12.

Alivia, in a blue dress with a pink bow in her hair, won the first place purple ribbon.

It’s the same ribbon Morgan Welch has behind glass hanging on her wall at home. Like mother like daughter, Morgan Welch won the Prince William County Beautiful Baby Contest when she was 18 months old in 1993.

“I thought this was so cute, I just wanted to come out and be a part of it again,” said Aliva’s mother, Morgan. (more…)



Governor McAuliffe breaks ground on I-395 Express Lanes extension

Reliable and faster travel choices coming on I-395 Corridor 

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today joined the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and its private partner and operator of the I-95 Express Lanes, Transurban, to break ground on the start of construction of an eight-mile extension of the I-395 Express Lanes from Turkeycock Run near Edsall Road in Alexandria to the Washington, D.C. border. The project provides more options for faster and more reliable travel in one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the country and expands the region’s network of express lanes. The project includes a long-term investment in transit for the corridor, through a yearly payment of $15 million (to be escalated annually) that will be paid by Transurban to the Commonwealth. This annual transit payment will support transit and multimodal initiatives benefitting the corridor.

“Anyone who travels on I-395 and I-95 today can attest that this is one of the most congested corridors in the country,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Today’s groundbreaking is the first project of the Commonwealth’s larger Atlantic Gateway Initiative which aims to unlock the I-95 Corridor. The Atlantic Gateway Initiative and the I-395 project demonstrate how we can work with our public and private partners to improve the quality of life for Virginians and our visitors – and keep our new Virginia economy growing.”

Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne added, “Under Governor McAuliffe’s leadership, today’s milestone is one more step toward expanding the express lanes network in Northern Virginia, and providing travelers with much-needed travel choices to reach their destinations faster. The key benefit continues to be options, and we are ready to focus on delivering this new choice on 395.”

The I-395 Express Lanes project provides specific benefits for the thousands of commuters who work at or near the Pentagon, as well as the many carpoolers or commuter bus users transferring at the Pentagon to continue to their destination. By reconstructing the Pentagon’s South Parking area and adding new bus lanes and HOV commuter and “slug” lanes to improve traffic flow and safety for buses and carpools, the project’s benefits extend well beyond the express lanes.

Other key project features include adding a fourth regular lane on I-395 South between the Duke Street and Edsall Road Interchanges, to help relieve the congestion which occurs when I-395 shrinks from four to three lanes in this area. Additionally, the project includes rehabilitating several I-395 bridges, and building new sound walls to protect neighboring communities.

The project is anticipated to cost approximately $500 million, with a combination of private and public funds. The project is one element of the Commonwealth’s Atlantic Gateway Program, a series of major improvements to the I-95/I-395 corridor.

“We are pleased to partner with Virginia to deliver a critical missing link that will connect Express Lanes customers to new destinations along I-395 and Washington D.C.,” said Jennifer Aument, Group General Manager, North America, Transurban. “Crews will begin work right away on improvements that are going to help drivers on I-395 get home faster, while also generating funds to support new transit options. As construction begins, we encourage all travelers to stay alert to changing conditions, avoid distractions and keep an eye out for workers on the road.”

Plans to extend the Express Lanes began in November 2015 with a Framework Agreement under the 95 Express Lanes Comprehensive Agreement between VDOT and Transurban. In February 2017, after meeting specific project-delivery and financial criteria, the Commonwealth approved Transurban’s proposal to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the 395 Express Lanes extension.

AECOM Engineering Company and Lane Construction are under contract to Transurban to design and build the extended 395 Express Lanes. The express lanes are scheduled to open in fall 2019 and the other elements of the project are expected to be completed by summer 2020.

Construction of the expanded express lanes will occur largely within VDOT’s right-of-way; however, some work such as sound wall construction may require crews to access right-of-way and areas adjacent to the project corridor. Preliminary work such as geotechnical investigations and surveying began last March.

More information about the project is available at: 395expresslanes.com and virginiadot.org/395express

 

News
Groundbreaking set for new Coles fire station

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — A new fire station will be built next to the Coles District Fire and Rescue Department.

A groundbreaking for the 21,400 square-foot replacement fire and rescue station on Route 234 on 13712 Dumfries Road near Independent Hill will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 14. When it opens, the new station will house a heavy rescue, tanker, a basic life-support ambulance, and a truck to battle brush fires.

The Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department will continue to operate its HAZMAT unit from the new Coles station, too. The new building will feature expanded office space, sleeping quarters, more suitable apparatus areas, and hazmat storage, according to the county’s capital improvement plan.

The current building sits on nine acres of land and is assessed at $1.4 million. It will be torn down after the new fire station opens in fall 2018.

The area on which the old station sits will be used for training first responders for HAZMAT situations, said Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe. He said there was no discussion on selling the land on the busy Route 234 corridor to the private developer after the new fire station opens.

When viewing the current building from the front, the new station will be built to the left of the existing structure. The new station is slated to cost $10.7 million. (more…)

News
Adopt Me Wednesday: Reggie is neutered and gets along great with other dogs

The Stafford County Animal Shelter as a furry friend waiting for his forever home. 

Here’s what they had to say: 

His name is Reggie. He’s about 2-3 years old! Very energetic and playful!

Gets along great with other dogs, but we aren’t sure about kitties. He is neutered and up to date on his vaccines. He was found as a stray so we aren’t sure if he is housebroken or not.

Reggie also does better with older children as he can get a little rough with little ones when he plays

You can visit the animal shelter’s website for more information, as well as see operating hours so you can visit Reggie and other animals in Stafford County.

News
Prince William is outgrowing its voting precincts

WOODBRIDGE — Elections officials in Prince William County are warning of continued long lines at voting precincts due to population growth, according to public documents.

The Board of Supervisors this month denied a request to set a public hearing to allow for the creation of five new voting precincts and corresponding polling places, as well as shift precinct boundaries. By law, the changes would have needed to have been made by September 8, enough time (60 days) before the November 7 General Election.

In this off-year election when, traditionally, lines are shorter, voters will head to the polls to select a new governor, candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates, and municipal offices in Manassas and Manassas Park.

After the Presidential Election of Barack Obama in 2012, long voter lines in Prince William County got congressional attention.

None of Prince William County’s 92 voting precincts may have more than 5,000 registered voters, according to state law. Four precincts were found to have more than 4,000 voters as of July 1: (more…)

News
Saved Hands Foundation is preparing for School Back Pack Giveaway

· Good morning Prince William – Saved Hands Foundation is in the final week preparing for their Annual August Back to School Back Pack Giveaway! It’s as easy as picking up a few extra items this week and dropping them off starting at 12 noon on Saturday, August 12th at Potomac Library, 2201 Opitz Blvd. in Woodbridge. Please help a kid start the new school year with the basics to make them be successful. Contact Pamela at 703-895-6681 for more info.

· Merrimac Farm is looking for volunteers to help in the gardens on both Saturday, August 12th and August 26th, 9 a.m.- 12 noon. Come get your hands dirty and enjoy. Please call (703) 499-4954 for more info.

· Delta Sigma Theta Sorority has the best deal in town for all you crab lovers- come join their event at VFW Post 1503 on Minnieville Road for all you can eat crabs, flounder, wing dings, corn on the cob, potatoes, beans and much more for just $65 a ticket- wow! This event supports their scholarship and public service fund. Please check out their website at pwcacdst.org to purchase tickets.

· Habitat for Humanity in Manassas needs volunteers to help at the Restore. It’s a super fun, busy place. Please sign up on their volunteer calendar for the shift that works best for you: habitatpwc.org. (more…)

News
‘The accused assaulted the victim and grabbed her by the neck’

From Prince William County police:

Strangulation | Brandishing a Firearm – On August 2 at 3:05 p.m., officers responded to a residence located in the 7000 block of Lakota Drive in Woodbridge to investigate an assault involving weapons. The investigation revealed the victim, a 31-year-old woman, and the accused, an acquaintance, were involved in a verbal altercation, which escalated physically.

During the encounter, the accused assaulted the victim and, at one point, grabbed her by the neck. The victim was eventually able to separate from the accused. The accused then retrieved a firearm and pointed it towards the victim. The accused also broke property inside the home including the victim’s cell phone.

When the accused left the home briefly, the victim was able to lock the door and contact police. Officers arrived and detained the accused without further incident. Minor injuries were reported. Following the investigation, the accused, identified as Cristian Alexander PLEITEZ-CORTEZ, was arrested. (more…)

Time is running out for summer reading, but it’s not too late

Time is running out, but it’s not too late!

Explore Summer Reading 2017

With school just around the corner, it is time to dust off those thinking caps and get ready to learn. But don’t do it alone, stop by your closest Prince William Public Library branch and score some fun prizes while getting back in the groove.

In less than six visits (YES, six visits), you will have the opportunity to win some amazing food coupons, free books and be entered to win a brand-new flip laptop (for kids) or a Beats Pill by Dre® (for young adults).  Either visit pwcgov.org/summerreading or head on over to any Prince William Public Library branch to sign up. Once you have your passport (for kids) or punch card (for young adults), just tell us what you’re reading each time you visit the library and watch the stamps and punches roll in.

Don’t worry, adults, because you can participate in Explore Summer Reading, too! You don’t even have to register. Whenever you come into the library, fill out an entry form with the name of a book you’ve read. We will hold a drawing for a Target gift card at each of our eleven branches each week for all nine weeks of summer reading. (more…)

News
Remodeled Woodbridge ALDI reopening, followed by hiring event

WOODBRIDGE — The new and improved Woodbridge ALDI is scheduled to reopen on Friday, August 18. Their Official Grand Reopening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, followed by a Golden Ticket giveaway, eco-friendly bag distribution, and Produce for a Year sweepstakes, is scheduled to begin at 7:50 a.m.

This newly updated location is one of 1,300 U.S. stores the company plans to remodel by 2020. The Woodbridge store joins other remodeled ALDI’s locations in Manassas, North Stafford, and Fredericksburg that opened earlier this summer.

The renovations come as Lidl, a competitor grocer that followed ALDI to the U.S. from Germany, is opening stores across the country. Lidl will soon open locations in Prince William County at the corner of Minnieville and Old Bridge Roads in Lake Ridge, off Ashton Avenue near Manassas, on Route 234 near Dumfries, as well as in Stafford and Spotsylvania counties. (more…)



New Listing: 8510 General Way

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New listing!! 8510 General Way, Manassas Park, Va. 20111. Move-in ready three-level townhouse in excellent commuter location! Large eat-in kitchen with convenient pantry. Open and bright living room & dining room combination with sliding glass doors leading to oversized deck. Master suite with full bath and double closets. Full finished walk-out basement with den, laundry, full bath & family room overlooking brick paver patio, fenced backyard, backing to common area and playground. New roof, carpet & recent HVAC & H2O heater. Minutes to VRE,

Large eat-in kitchen with convenient pantry. Open and bright living room & dining room combination with sliding glass doors leading to oversized deck. Master suite with full bath and double closets. Full finished walk-out basement with den, laundry, full bath & family room overlooking brick paver patio, fenced backyard, backing to common area and playground. New roof, carpet & recent HVAC & H2O heater. Minutes to VRE, shopping, and restaurants.

Contact C.C. Bartholomew at 703-282-4800 or email cc@ccbartholomew.com email 



Bat Houses: Dos and Don’ts

Have you ever thought about installing a bat house? 

Bats are vital to our environment. People who install bat houses help sustain local bat populations.

They benefit bats, you, your family, local gardeners, farmers and the ecosystem. Bat populations have decreased significantly, and bat houses provide a secure habitat for bats to live.

Rest assured, it’s safe and helpful to have bats in your backyard.

Bats play an important role in keeping populations of night-flying insects in check. One bat alone can catch hundreds of insects in an hour. Bats also control species of moths and beetles that cost American farmers and foresters billions of dollars annually.

The best place to install a bat house is high up and oriented south/southeast. Make sure the bat house is a minimum of 10 to 12 feet high. Placing it even higher up, up to 20 feet, will increase chances of attracting more bats.

Ideally, the bats will receive six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day. Bats prefer a location that gets early sunlight and continues to get direct sunlight throughout the day.

Water should be within a quarter of a mile of the bat house. Viable water sources include, but are not limited to, creeks, small ponds, home garden ponds and possible even pools. Bat houses located near a large water source tend to be more successful.

Avoid placing the bat house on trees, as they attract predators and their foliage may block sunlight. Tree branches should be at least 20 to 25 feet away, as they are potential perches for aerial predators. A pole in the right location is a great place to put a bat house. However, do check to be sure the pole is NOT an active service pole.

Beware of attaching a bat house to your home – consider the excrement that bat colonies generate. Avoid placing bat houses above doors or windows because of this reason. Wood, brick or stone buildings work best.

Written by Beejal Ved, of the Prince William Conservation Alliance

Photo: Ann Froschauer/USFWS

News
New members fill Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors

MANASSAS — There are some new members on the Habitat for Humanity Prince William County Board of Directors. 

From an email: 

Habitat for Humanity Prince William County recently held elections to its Board of Directors for Fiscal Year 2018.

New board members include Rob Major (L), President of Major Home Inspections, a family-owned business in Prince William County, who was elected to serve a three-year term ending in 2020. Mr. Major previously served on Habitat’s board from 2006-2012. He was also elected to serve as the Secretary of the Board of Directors for a one-year term. Chuck Rector (R), Vice President of Weber Rector Commercial Real Estate Services based in Manassas, was also elected to a three-year term and will serve as Treasurer of the Board for one year. Chuck has more than twenty-five years of experience as a commercial general contractor and developer and is well known in the business community for his service on non-profit and industry-related boards and committees.

Chuck Rector (R), Vice President of Weber Rector Commercial Real Estate Services based in Manassas, was also elected to a three-year term and will serve as Treasurer of the Board for one year. Chuck has more than twenty-five years of experience as a commercial general contractor and developer and is well known in the business community for his service on non-profit and industry-related boards and committees. (more…)

Traffic
New traffic pattern taking shape at Dale Blvd. and I-95

DALE CITY —  A new signal light at the intersection of Interstate 95 and Dale Boulevard is active.

The light stops westbound traffic on Dale Boulevard to that drivers exiting Interstate 95 south can turn left onto the boulevard. 

Under the old traffic pattern, drivers had to merge from I-95 south with eastbound traffic on the boulevard. 

Work on the signal light and new intersection is not complete, however, 

From VDOT: 

A portion of the ramp from southbound I-95 to Dale Blvd (Route 784) will be closed between 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4 and 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 to pave the realigned ramp, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Traffic will be detoured via Potomac Mills Road and Gideon Drive back to Dale Boulevard.

All work is weather permitting.

The work is part of the project to realign the ramp and add a traffic signal so that traffic from southbound I-95 can merge more safely onto westbound Dale Boulevard. The signal went into operation earlier this week. The overall project is scheduled for completion later this month.

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