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News
Reprinting Prince William election ballots could cost thousands

It could cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix misprinted election ballots in Prince William County.

Five candidates on the ballot for the November 3 General Election will not see their listed as they requested them. Many of the candidates use and requested shorter versions of their name to be listed on the ballot. They’re getting their full names instead.

Here’s what was requested and what voters might see instead:

Mike May

May

Mike May (Commonwealth Attorney candidate) will be listed as Michael May

rick smith

Smith

Richard “Rick” Smith (Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman candidate) will be listed as Richard Smith

Steven “Steve” Chapman (Prince William County Board of Supervisors Woodbridge District candidate) will be listed as Steven Chapman

Earnie W. Porta, Jr. (Prince William County Board of Supervisors Occoquan District candidate) will be listed as Earnest Porta, Jr.

Chapman

Chapman

Gerald “Jerry” Foreman (36th District Virginia Senate candidate) will be listed as Gerald Foreman

Prince William County Electoral Board Secretary Keith Scarborough said each of the affected candidates submitted the proper form to indicate how they wanted their names listed on the ballot, but the mistake happened anyway.

Porta

Porta

“It wasn’t a space issue, it was our office when filling out the paperwork, messed up those forms,” said Scarborough. “…we made a mistake, obviously.”

The form included 28 spaces for candidates to fill in their names. It’s not uncommon for candidates to want their full names listed on the ballots, along with more common nicknames placed in quotation marks.

Foreman

Foreman

The upcoming General Election will be the first in Prince William County where paper ballots will once again be used at all voting precincts. New laws forced the county to get rid of electronic touchscreen machines and convert back to using machine scanners that tally votes when a paper ballot is inserted into them.

Prince William County struck a deal with Hart Invercivic, an Austin, Texas-based company that makes the voting machines. It also agreed to print all the ballots needed for the first five elections, starting with the upcoming November 3 vote, as part of the purchase agreement.

Scarborough said the ballots must be printed by that company and cannot be printed locally. The cost to reprint the ballots could range between $80 and $100,000, he added.

The Prince William County Electoral Board will meet Wednesday night to discuss their options, which include reprinting ballots, or placing signs at polling stations noting the names of the five affected candidates and displaying them as intended.

Candidates we talked to say the situation is unfortunate, but they don’t plan on asking for a reprint.

“The truth of the matter is, I don’t want to cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to reprint ballots. I wish it would have been done right but I understand these types of things happen,” said Earnie Porta.

“There’s overcrowding in classrooms, and traffic issues, so there are other things the taxpayers money would be better spent on.” said Steve Chapman.

News
Police on scene of homicide near Dale City

3:30 p.m. Monday

Police identified the victim as 48-year-old Stephen Christopher Brown.

9:08 p.m.

Prince William police released the following statement :

**INCIDENT: STABBING | Manassas ** On October 4, 2015 at approximately 4:00 PM, Officers responded to the 12700 block of Lost Creek Court in Manassas (20112) for a reported stabbing. Officers arrived to find one adult male dead from an apparent stab wound following a domestic altercation. There is no public threat or need for concern. The incident is still under investigation and more details will be released when available.

6:24 p.m. 

Police are investigating a homicide on Lost Creek Court near Dale City.

Detectives were called to the 17900 block of Lost Creek Court after a man was found stabbed to death about 4 p.m. Sunday.

The unidentified victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said all parties involved in the incident are accounted for. No charges have been filed as of yet.

Police remained outside the victim’s home just after 6 p.m. Sunday.

We don’t yet have an official cause of death in the case. More as we have it.

Manassas set the bar with high-quality, truly local craft spirits and beer

The craft beer, wine, and spirits industry has been growing in leaps and bounds.

In the last few years, two breweries and a distillery have opened in the City of Manassas. While each place offers their own unique vibe and products, two characteristics unite and set them apart from the competition – a commitment to quality and local ingredients.

“Similar to the farm-to-table movement, people are excited by the grain-to-glass concept and high-quality products made from local grains,” says Bill Karlson, the co-founder and CEO of KO Distilling. “We make a point of telling people during tours that our wheat comes from Renwood Farms in Charles City and our rye came from Bay’s Best Feed Farm in Virginia’s Northern Neck.”

[ngg_images gallery_ids=”540″ display_type=”ds-nextgen_royalslider”]

KO Distilling opened in September and welcomed 450 people to its grand opening. During its first week, more than 100 people stopped by to sample its whiskey and gins. The distillery is a true agribusiness – the spirits are not just made in Virginia, but the majority of the grains used are sourced from local farms.

A Nielsen study found that “local, authentic” are qualities desired of beer and spirits growing in importance among consumers, most largely among the 21-34 demographic.  Perhaps that is because today about 75% of adults over the age of 21 live within 10 miles of a brewery. The Atlantic reported that there were 70 small distilleries in the U.S. in 2003. Karlson says that KO is the 19th craft distiller in an industry of about 1000 microdistillers.

Customers seek quality and want to know how ingredients are sourced, says Sarah Meyers, co-founder of Manassas’ first craft brewery BadWolf Brewing Company.

“We try to source local whenever possible and at Little BadWolf they get to see beer being made right in front of them. Given how many craft breweries are popping up, we might hit a saturation point, so you need to make sure your quality is way up there and that is our biggest focus.”

The beer made at Heritage Brewing has a 100-percent organic base and 92 percent of all ingredients are either organic or locally sourced.  Sean Arroyo, CEO of Heritage Brewing, explains, “Our approach is committing ourselves to the consistency and quality of our product and bringing the best ingredients that we can through organics and local aspects.”

This fall, Heritage is collaborating with The Bone, a barbecue spot in historic Manassas, on a bacon stout. And BadWolf is working with downtown Manassas restaurateurs on an “Old Town” Beer that will only be available in downtown establishments.

Experimenting with new creations keeps the excitement alive. Heritage, which is a 20-barrel brew house, also operates a small pilot system for making small batches of creative releases for the taproom. “It gives us a way to interact with our consumers and let them decide what our next big beers will be,” says Arroyo.

After BadWolf’s successful first year, Meyers and her business partner and husband Jeremy opened a 6,000-square foot production facility. Little BadWolf Brewing Company, the smaller, original location, is where people can try out the experimental batches and even suggest recipes, while the new Big BadWolf has space for special events and growler and kegs of their flagship brews.

“We are using our space for more than beer,” says Meyers. “We focus on giving back to charities and bringing people together for social events.” One look at BadWolf’s event calendar shows there is always something going on, including yoga, painting, and Craft Beer Bingo – all accompanied with a pint. Similarly, Heritage hosts trivia and live music nights in addition to special events like a new beer dinner series.

While all three businesses are committed to building a sense of community, they also take being a regional destination seriously. As Meyers says, “people won’t go to just a bar, but places like a brewery are something special they will seek out.”

Karlson says that he and his business partner, John O’Mara, always envisioned KO Distilling being a tourism destination by matching a great product with a great experience. “The minute visitors walk through our doors,” he says, “they know they aren’t in a warehouse anymore.”

KO Distilling’s tasting room has leather couches, a fireplace, and copper and oak design elements that mimic the copper pot still they use for distilling and barrels they use for aging. The atmosphere rewards locals as well as travelers for making the drive. Karlson, Meyers, and Arroyo all agree that Manassas, with its close proximity to I-95 and 66 and its abundance of historical sites and attractions, is an ideal location for attracting tourists from the metro area and beyond.

“What we want to do is bring in the community, produce a quality product, and have a great time doing it,” says Meyers.

News
Stewart, Smith disagree on BPOL tax but friendly on nearly everything else

What was an issue that once defined Prince William County as a contentious place for immigrants to be is no more.

An audience member at a debate Thursday night with Democrat challenger Rick Smith, and Republican Prince William County Chairman At-large Corey Stewart asked the incumbent if immigration was going to be an issue.

Stewart won national media attention in 2007 when he lead an effort to have police check the ID of every suspected illegal immigrant in the county.

“We’ve got to move on,” said Stewart. “We’ve implemented a policy that targets those who commit crimes, and we’ve turned many criminals over to [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement], crime is down, but we still have a way to go.”

Instead of checking every suspected undocumented migrant, it is the policy to check the immigration status of anyone arrested and charged with a crime in Prince William.

Stewart sold himself Thursday as an older, wiser politician who has learned to be a better leader since elected to the Board in 2006.

“When I first came into office I was out there throwing bombs and a lot of things, but I’ve learned that in a community as diverse in Prince William County you learn to work together to get things done,” he added.

The debate between Smith and Stewart was amicable, as the two men seemed agreeable on issues on education, taxes, and in investing in transportation infrastructure to bring more business to the region to spur economic development. Both say they want more high-paying jobs in Prince William and fewer people leaving the county to find work.

stewartsmith1

 

“We’re being passed up by Fairfax and Loudoun, and Stafford Counites for higher jobs with higher average paying salaries,” said Smith.

The Democrat said he had heard many complaints from small business owners an expensive and prolonged the permitting process with the county’s zoning office. Smith promised a local government that would be more business friendly.

He also advocated getting rid of the county’s Business and Professional Licensing tax, or BPOL tax, which is a tax collected on gross receipts after a business reaches the $300,000 gross receipts threshold. Smith said the county needed to work with Richmond lawmakers to find alternate sources of revenue to replace monies generated by the tax.

The tax generates $23 million annual for the county and abolishing it overnight would mean the average tax bill for Prince William residents could rise as much as 5%, according to Stewart.

“We’ve worked over time to increase the threshold, so BPOL doesn’t hit small businesses so hard… over the couple years will work to increase the threshold to half a million dollars,” said Stewart.

The two men also talked about education, and repeatedly recognized Northern Virginia Community College (the debate was held at the college’s Manassas campus) and George Mason Universtiy for educating young people, and for helping to attract the types of science and technology companies that want to hire young talent.

Smith was the only candidate of the night who received applause when he said more funding is needed for K-12 education.

“The education I got in the late 70s and 80s in Prince William County schools, and the education my older kids got in the late 90s, and early 2000s is much different than it is today,” said Smith. “We’re teaching kids to remember facts, but we’re not teaching them to tell us why they matter.”

Stewart touted investments in infrastructure, especially paying for the widening of Route 1 in Woodbridge and Interstate 66 between Gainesville and Haymarket.

“On transportation by far, nobody is close to being second, we have invested more than Fairfax County, and we’re the only county in the commonwealth with our own road building program,” said Stewart.

Stewart also touted some $20 million in new spending to build parks, libraries, and other government projects that he said would attract more high-quality jobs to the region.

This debate was sponsored by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and Northern Virginia Community Collage Manassas Campus. It was moderated by Krysta Nicole Jones, founder and CEO, Virginia Leadership Institute.

This was the second meeting of the two men, following a debate in September held by the Prince William County Chapter of the NAACP. A thrid and final debate will be held at Congregation Ner Shalom, accross from C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge at 7 p.m. Saturday, October 10.

Voters head to the polls November 3.

News
Lake Ridge Exxon station robbed at gunpoint

A gas station in Lake Ridge was robbed at gunpoint. 

Prince William police posted this in their latest incident report: 

Armed Robbery – On September 30th at 4:13PM, officers responded to the Exxon Service Station located at 4255 Seeton Sq in Woodbridge (22192) to investigate a robbery. Employees reported to police that an unknown man entered the business and brandished a firearm. The suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of money and possibly got into an unknown black vehicle. No injuries were reported. A police K-9 was used to search for the suspect who was not located.

Suspect Description:

White male, between 20 & 25 years of age, 5’8”, 135lbs with a thin build

Last seen wearing a black jacket, black hooded sweatshirt, black jeans and a motorcycle helmet

Also in  that same incident report, a drunken man allegedly walked outside of a Dale City home and fired several gunshots into the air. 

Reckless Handling of a Firearm – On September 29th at 8:40PM, officers responded to a residence located in the 14300 block of Shetland Ct in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a domestic incident. The caller reported to police that she was involved in a verbal altercation with the accused, a known acquaintance, inside the home. During the encounter, the accused walked outside and fired multiple rounds into the air. Officers arrived at the home and detained the accused, who was intoxicated, without further incident. No injuries or property damage were reported. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested.

Arrested on September, 29th:

Kenneth Leon MARTHELL, 59, of the 14300 block of Shetland Ct in Woodbridge

Charged with reckless handling of a firearm and public intoxication

Court Date: November 18, 2015 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

News
How Habitat for Humanity ‘ReStore’ will expand to serve all of Prince William County

Habitat for Humanity is about to expand in a big way.

The organization’s arm in Prince William County that builds homes for those in need will relocate its “ReStore” from Center Street in Manassas to an old Food Lion store on Hastings Drive in the city.

Habitat Prince William County also plans to open its first ReStore in Woodbridge, in an old Food Lion location on Prince William Parkway.

In Manassas, at more than 38,5000 square feet of retail space, the new ReStore at 10159 Hastings Drive in Manassas will be nearly three-times larger than the current location.

The store will encompass the entire floor plan of the old grocery store, and that means it’ll have more room to sell things like home furnishings, old books and DVDs, in addition to staples like building supplies.

Habitat for Humanity Prince William County also seeks to hire a district manager for the Manassas store, as well as about five new full and part-time employees. When hiring is complete, the organization will have 22 employees who will work at the Manassas and Woodbridge stores.

The Manassas store should be open in December. The center relies on donations from the public to stock its shelves.

“If we didn’t have donations coming in, this wouldn’t work,” said Habitat for Humanity Prince William County Director Traci DeGroat.

Collecting donations is a big reason the organization wanted to expand with a new store in Woodbridge. There a plenty of building contractors on the east end that donate materials to the shop, and those donations are currently picked up in a truck and hauled back to Manassas.

A new ReStore inside Prince William Commons near BJ’s Wholesale Club will serve as a donation center where building materials and a host of other goods will be collected for resale. Sales from both the Manassas and Woodbridge stores will benefit the work Habitat for Humanity does in the community.

The ReStore in Woodbridge will not take up the entirety of the old Food Lion store, and should open next spring. DeGroat said the organization got a better deal on the Manassas store since it’s not located on a major thoroughfare like Prince William Parkway, and because Habitat agreed to take the entire space existing space for its Manassas store.

News
Joaquin worst case: ‘Landfall around Norfolk and tracks up the Chesapeake up the Potomac River’

Hurricane Joaquin should move up the east coast this week. It could impact our area.

And whether or not we see a hurricane, we’re going to see a lot of rain.

“regardless of what happens with this storm, we are going to see five to 10 inches of rain, and that is enough that people should be paying attention,” said Prince William County Director of Emergency Preparedness Patrick Collins.

Collins had just gotten off a statewide conference call when we spoke with him Wednesday afternoon. He tells us folks at the county government are watching the storm closely.

He sent out this email to area agencies to serve as a warning, and to get people prepared for the coming storm:

Good afternoon:

We have concluded a VDEM/NWS Conference call concerning the Hurricane and they still have not nailed down the track. The worst case scenario is it makes landfall around Norfolk and tracks up the Chesapeake up the Potomac River. One thing the weather service said was they are confident that regardless of the track we can expect 5-10 inches of rain over the entire event. It will start raining tomorrow night with heavy rain Friday and Friday night and then the second period of heavy rain with the track of Joaquin. As we get further into the event the track will become clearer and we can make more specific plans.

We plan on conducting a short briefing this Friday October 2nd at 11:00am in the EOC, by then the NWS should have a better idea of what our impacts will be here in the county. In the meantime agencies should be making their normal preparations for a storm such as this. Some of the activities are listed below, but I am sure that each agency has more comprehensive checklists.

Agency Preparation:

• Fuel all vehicles
• Establish work schedules EOC/Field
• Review Plans and Policies
• Check all generators
• Stock food /water
• Remove windblown equipment such as exterior trash cans
• Advise employees to check their family plans and supplies at home
• Monitor weather and e-mails
• Check all communications equipment for readiness
• Perform any “Just-in-Time” training that is needed
• Check flashlights

The Office of Emergency Management will continue to monitor the storm and will send out regular updates.

News
Hurricane Joaquin: Cancellations and postponements in our area

Hurricane Joaquin churning in the Atlantic Ocean could have it sights set on our area.

With all the rain and wind the storm could bring (we’ll link you to the Capital Weather Gang which has more information about the storm), we’re also seeing events postponed in our area ahead of the storm.

Manassas Fall Jubilee
The Manassas Fall Jubilee that had been scheduled for Satruday will now be held Oct. 24. This is the 33rd year for the event.

First Friday Manassas
The monthly First Friday event in Downtown Manassas is still scheduled. However, streets will not be closed for the event due to inclement weather.

Youth for Tomorrow’s annual Country Fair
This event held each year in Bristow, on the grounds of Youth For Tomorrow on Hazel Circle Drive off Linton Hall Road, is canceled. The auction portion of the event will be rescheduled. Check the website for additional information.

Americans in Wartime Musuem open house

This annual event in Nokesville, scheduled to tale place Saturday October 3 and Sunday October 4, is canceled. 

Stafford United Way yard sale 

A United Way yard sale scheduled Saturday at the Stafford County Government Center is canceled. 

Brentsville Court Days

This program scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 3 has been postponed until spring.

Stafford schools events canceled / postponed

The Margaret Brent Elementary Road Race, originally scheduled for Saturday,is postponed until November 8
Office of Public Information

The Moncure Elementary Clothing Sale, originally scheduled for this weekend, is postponed until October 16 and 17.

The middle school field hockey games scheduled for Friday, October 2, and Monday, October 5, are canceled and will be rescheduled at the end of the
season.

Got a postponement or cancelation you want to tell us about? Tell us and we’ll list it in this post, just like we do with snow closings.

There will be music, games, and Best BBQ competition at Dumfries Fall Festival

On October 17, 2015, the Town of Dumfries will present their 14th Annual Fall Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Garrison Park, located behind the Dumfries Town Hall.

This year there will be an emphasis on a variety of free activities for youth, to include field games, face painting, a bounce house, and two large plastic spheres that can be propelled by an occupant inside. There will also be a DJ providing a wide variety of music throughout the event, including playing songs by request.

There will be opportunities for line dancing and of course individual rock-and-rolling and dancing for those that just want to let their hair down.

In addition, there will be vendors that will provide a wide variety of items for sale during the event and others that want to provide information to the public. Food vendors will be available as well and will offer an assortment of food and drink for purchase throughout the event.

This year’s event will once again feature a BBQ Competition where several self-promoted pit masters will put their food and reputations on the line in pursuit of the award for Best BBQ at the festival.

Festival goers will be able to purchase a ticket for one dollar that will allow them to taste some BBQ from each competitor. Those that participate will then be able to cast a vote for their favorite and the overall vote will determine the winner.

Dan Taber, Town Manager, has expressed his excitement over this year’s Fall Festival and has issued a challenge for as many people as possible to attend what he expects to be the best Fall Festival ever held.

“This is a great opportunity for the community to come together and have a great time while enjoying good music, good food, good fun, and most importantly, the good company of their neighbors,” said Taber.

Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to the Fall Festival.

The Town is accepting applications for vendors and complete information is available on the Town website at www.dumfriesva.gov.

For questions please call Tiwana Barnes at (703) 221-3400, ext. 112 or through email at tbarnes@dumfriesva.gov.

Prince William Chamber PAC releases endorsements in 2015 race

Updated Oct. 9, 2015

Prince William County Board of Supervisors, At-large — Corey Stewart 

“In his most recent term, Chairman Stewart has demonstrated tremendous leadership and made great strides in establishing Prince William as an emerging business location,” said Brian Gordon, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, and the Chairman of the Prince William Chamber PAC.  “In the face of a challenging economic environment, Chairman Stewart and the Board of County Supervisors have helped to position the County to be on the forefront of economic development in strategic growth sectors.  The Chamber PAC is pleased to endorse his candidacy for reelection so that he may continue to build on these successes, maintain a positive, business-focused public discourse and work to further improve the local business climate.” 

Virginia Senate 29th District — Hal Parrish 

“Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park have been privileged to be represented for so many years by Senator Colgan,” said Brian Gordon, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, and the Chairman of the Prince William Chamber PAC.  “Mayor Parrish is best suited to carry on in his tradition and further his lasting legacy of fighting for Prince William and promoting a strong economy while maintaining the highest level of statesmanship.  While the PAC was impressed with both candidates, only one possessed a proven track record of working with and on behalf of the business community to grow our local economy and strengthen our community.” 

Candidate endorsements were determined through a questionnaire and interview process and an evaluation and comparative analysis of the policy platforms and records of each candidate as they related to that of the region’s business community. 

 

Original post

The Prince William Chamber Political Action Committee, the political arm of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, announced its endorsements of candidates for the Virginia General Assembly and Board of County Supervisors.

Candidate endorsements were determined through a questionnaire and interview process and an evaluation and comparative analysis of the policy platforms and records of each individual as they related to that of the region’s business community.

Potomac District – Maureen Caddigan

28th Senate District – Richard Stuart

Coles District – Martin Nohe 39th Senate District – George Barker

Neabsco District – John Jenkins

2nd House District – Mark Dudenhefer

Occoquan District – Earnie Porta

31st House District – Scott Lingamfelter

Woodbridge District – Frank Principi

40th House District – Tim Hugo

50th House District – Jackson Miller

51st House District – Rich Anderson

52nd House District – Luke Torian

87th House District – John Bell

“Prince William County is blessed to have so many strong candidates, willing to dedicate their time and service to elected office,” said Brian Gordon, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, and the Chairman of the Prince William Chamber PAC. “The candidates endorsed by the Chamber PAC demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the region’s economic challenges and put forward substantive plans and proposals for improving our local business climate.”

The Prince William Chamber PAC was established in 2014 by members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce. The PAC promotes and facilitates the accumulation of voluntary contributions from members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and others. Contributions are used primarily in support of issues and candidates for local and state offices who have taken positions consistent with the Chamber’s public policy positions regarding the private enterprise system.

News
Stewart, Smith faceoff Thursday at NOVA Manassas

Stewart

Stewart

The candidates for Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors will face each other in a debate Thursday night.

Republican incumbent Corey Stewart and Democrat challenger Rick Smith are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. at the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). This is the first one-on-one meeting of the two candidates since the

rick smith

Smith

two debated at an NAACP forum held at Gar-Field Senior High School earlier this month.

The debate is sponsored by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and the Manassas Campus of NOVA.

Prince William Chamber Director of Government Relations Brendon Shaw outlined the debate topics in an email to Potomac Local:

We plan to cover:

Economic Development

–Expanding the commercial tax base
–Transportation
–Balancing the needs of the business community and residents
–Land use
–Education

[NOVA] will have two students participate to ask questions. Keith Scarborough from the [Prince William County] Electoral Board will discuss changes to the county’s voting system following the debate.

The debate will begin at 7 p.m. in Howsman Hall and is open to the public.

A third a final debate between the two candidates will take place at 7 p.m. on October 7 10 at Congregation Ner Shalom across from C.D. Hylton High School.

News
If picked, Bell would serve on Prince William Board of Supervisors

What will Lisa Bell do after she leaves her post on the Prince William County School Board?

She could serve as the next Neabsco District representative on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

A write-in campaign is underway for Bell, who has served on the School Board since 2010. We were the first to report earlier this year she decided to not seek reelection this fall.

The announcement drew surprise from Bell supporters, some of them conservative, who often looked to her as a voice of reason on the school board when it came to delaying a decision on a $10 million swimming pool inside Charles Colgan High School to open next fall. The pool was approved, and the high school will be one of the costliest ever built in Virginia.

The Neabsco District seat has been held by John Jenkins since 1982.

Bell maintains it’s her supporters who are mounting the write-in campaign, not her.

But if elected, she would serve.

“If there was an overwhelming demand, sure. I will always be serving my community in some capacity,” Bell stated in a Facebook message to Potomac Local.

The election is November 3.

News
Strong economic forecast hampered by bad Prince William traffic

Prince William leaders said the future of the region is ripe for economic growth, and that is also one that will continue to be hampered by traffic congestion.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey Stewart, Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish III, and Manassas Park Mayor Frank Jones took the stage at the annual “State of Prince William” luncheon in Manassas. The event is organized by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.

Prince William Today publisher Bruce Potter asked questions of the three men covering the topics of economic development, education, and improving transportation infrastructure.

Parrish said Manassas cut back on economic development efforts during the 2008 recession. In recent years, the city hired Economic Development Director Patrick Small, who developed a new logo and branding for the city: “Historic Heart, Modern Beat.”

“We, like other localities did during the recession, cut some services that had to be cut.” said Parrish, who added 21,000 people commute to the city each day, while the number of those who leave the city for work has fallen to about 14,000.

It remains a tough go for commuters on Route 28 between Manassas Park and Interstate 66. Jones said thousands of commuters sit in jammed traffic on the road that bridges Prince William and Fairfax counties.

A state plan to widen I-66 won’t help unless bridges that cross the Bull Run River are widened, said Jones.

“66 can be widened large enough to put a 747, I don’t care, as long we sit behind the Bull Run bridges, we’re not going to be able to get any better in improving quality of life and giving hours of life back to people,” said Jones.

Stewart painted a picture of economic prosperity for Prince William County, which has seen its population rise to nearly 450,000 residents. Funding for the county school division — the 38th largest in the U.S. — has grown by $81 million over the past four years, said Stewart.

Many of the students who graduate from Prince William County Public Schools return home to find work and start businesses, said Stewart.

“The product of our school system has beocome the number one driver of ecomic development…We’re on the edge of a gilded age in Prince William County, and I’m not kidding, this is one hell of a community. If you didn’t hear abotu Prince William County 20 years ago, you’re going to hear about us in the next 20 years,” said Stewart.

Stewart points to new biotech and technology businesses opening at Innovation Park.

Stewart, a Republican, has served as on the Board of Supervisors since 2006 and is seeking reelection, running against Democrat Rick Smith.

Parrish, a Republican, has served as Manassas Mayor since 2008 and is seeking to replace Virginia State Senator Charles Colgan, who is retiring this year. Democrats are hoping to hold the seat and support Jeremy McPike for the position.

Voters will head to the polls November 3.

News
Dale City shooting leaves 1 wounded, schools placed in ‘secure the building’ mode

Updated

Schools operations returned to normal. The shooter is still at large.

Original post 

One person has been shot in the lower body this morning in Dale City.

Police were called to the 14300 block of Wrangler Lane, just off Darbydale Road about 11:30 a.m.

An altercation occurred between the victim and the suspect, according to police.

Police K9 units and a helicopter are searching for the suspect. A police helicopter was also called following the shooting.

The victim has not been identified, and we don’t yet know the extent of thier injuries.

Several area schools are in secure the building mode. Entry is restricted at Bel Air, Henderson, Montclair, Minnieville, Dale City, and Neabsco elementary schools, and at Godwin Middle School.

All school children are safe, according to Prince William school officials.

More as we have it.

News
‘Taste of the Town’ to honor NOVEC founder

The 15th-annual Taste of the Town will honor the man who is half responsible for the name of one of the area’s largest high schools.

J. Manley Garber is the founder longest serving board member at the Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative. His last name also makes up half of the name for Gar-Field Senior High School in Woodbridge.

Garber, and another area family the Manderfields donated the land on which the currently sits at 14000 Smoketown Road, just across from Potomac Mills mall. The school building opened in 1972.

Garner will receive the Lily Blackwell Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to not only Project Mend-A-House, but to the community at-large. The award is named after Blackwell, who founded Project Mend-A-House in Prince William County 31 years ago.

“Mr. Garber played an instrumental role in making Prince William County what it is today,” said Project Mend-A-House Director Jennifer Shock Bolles.

The non-profit organization based in Manassas provides free home repairs to low-income families, as well as makes safety modifications to homes belonging to seniors, people with disabilities, and veterans for low or no cost.

The annual “Taste of the Town” is the organization’s annual fundraiser. More than 39 restaurants — from PF Changs to Bonefish Grill — will set up a table inside VFW Hall 1503 at 14631 Minnieville Road in Dale City, and will offer tastes of appetizers and entrees.

“You can have whatever you want. There’s tons of food,” said Bolles.

The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. October 28. Tickets for the event are $30 in advance, or $35 at the door. This year’s theme for the event is “love begins at home.”
Last year’s “Taste of the Town” raised $10,000 for Project Mend-A-House. The organization aims to surpass that mark with this year’s event.

Those who attend will also hear from volunteers, and from those who have benefited from Project Mend-A-House services during a brief program that will also be held inside the VFW hall.

Micron: A memory maker in Manassas

Today, people are glued to their smartphones. Hours at a time are spent in front of computers, tablets, and game consoles.

Despite this, few of us think about what makes them work. High-performance memory is the main component that makes our favorite gadgets have such cool features.

And when a computer slows down a few years after purchase, instead of buying a new one, a $50 memory upgrade can get you back up to speed in minutes. One of the biggest innovators of this powerful technology is located right in the City of Manassas.

Micron Technology is an advanced semiconductor solutions provider that designs and manufactures memory technologies. Founded in Boise, Idaho, in 1978, Micron has risen to the top of its industry.

It is the largest semiconductor manufacturer in Virginia, the only U.S.-based DRAM manufacturer, and the largest U.S.-based wafer supplier. (DRAM is the memory a computer processor needs to function. A wafer is a thin, round slice of material, usually silicon, that serves as the foundational layer on which a semiconductor is built.)

The company came to Manassas when it acquired Dominion Semiconductor in 2002. Soon after, it began investing heavily in modernizing the existing plant.

According to a study by George Mason University, Micron’s early capital investments during 2002 – 2005 totaled more than $178 million, created almost 390 jobs annually, and generated $56.5 million in new personal income to local residents. At the state level, Micron added $376.2 million in value to Virginia’s economy.

The company continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Sixteen years after it was established, Micron had already invested $300 million in expansion projects and was listed on the Fortune 500.

Today it has more than 30,000 employees across the globe and has netted $16.4 billion in sales during the last fiscal year. Manassas has been a part of this success story.

In 2010, Micron decided to invest $56 million to expand its Manassas facility to take advantage of the area’s highly skilled workforce. It built out a new “clean room” – a manufacturing environment with a low level of dust, chemical vapors, and other contaminants that is used in the semiconductor industry – in order to boost its memory chip production.

Former Lt. Governor Bill Bolling joined Micron’s executives in Manassas to announce the company’s expansion and celebrate its significant contributions to the Commonwealth and Manassas. The expansion created more than 100 new jobs. In fact, for the last five years, Micron has been the largest employer in the City of Manassas and currently employs more than 1,500 workers.

Years ago, Micron’s success caught the eye of former President George W. Bush who used the Manassas facility as the backdrop for a speech he delivered to highlight the importance of STEM education, investing in a highly skilled workforce, and being an innovator in a global marketplace. More recently, First Lady Michelle Obama gave a speech at this same facility to discuss the tech companies hiring veterans. She recognized Micron for doing its part to train these workers so they can compete for high-paying jobs in the technology sector.

The company is committed to giving back to the community. One of its biggest causes is STEM education and elevating students into high tech jobs.

In 2013 alone, the Micron Technology Foundation, together with Lockheed Martin, donated more than $53,000 to the Manassas City Public School Education Foundation for robotics and STEM programs. Staff members volunteer their time and mentor students through internships that sometimes evolve into full-time jobs.

As the company continues to grow and innovate – bringing smaller, more powerful and faster high-tech products to market – it continues to strengthen the City of Manassas and the regional workforce.

News
Senator Charles Colgan honored at Hylton Performing Arts Center

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Men donned back ties and women put on formal dresses on Friday to honor Virginia’s longest-serving state senator.

Charles Colgan, D-29, will retire this year. A celebration and tribute were held for him at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts in Manassas.

The celebration was also used to mark the 89-year-old’s birthday.

News
Wright charged with murder in death of Woodbridge man

A woman arrested in Stafford is wanted in connection to a murder in Woodbridge.

Police said the woman was detained by the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office on unrelated charges after a man was pronounced dead at a home in the 14823 block of Statler Drive in Woodbridge, just off Cardinal Drive.

Police were called to the home at 12:55 a.m. Saturday after a resident returned home to find the victim suffering a fatal stab wound to the upper body, according to police. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Stafford authorities stopped the suspect about the same time. The suspect was suffering what appeared to be self-inflicted wounds and was taken to a hospital and treated, according to Prince William police.

An investigation revealed the suspect in the hospital and the victim pronounced dead at a home in Woodbridge were involved in a domestic altercation on Friday, according to police. The woman stabbed the victim during the fight, Prince William police stated.

Rasheeda Shareen Wright, 39, of Statler Drive in Woodbridge, is charged with murder. She was held without bond.
The victim is identified as 39-year-old Andre Warren, of Woodbridge.

This is the fourth murder this year in Prince William County.

News
Freedom tops Gar-Field, despite Indian comeback

Friday’s conference matchup between the Gar-Field Indians and the Freedom Eagles began with a heartfelt  moment of silence for former Gar-Field Varsity Football Coach, Mike Madison, who recently past away this week. 

 
Gar-Field elected to receive the kickoff, with Corey James running it for short yardage. The Indians were unable to convert their possession.
 
Freedom picked up a quick three-and-out from Gar-Field and started their run on the 31-yard line. Two quick penalties by the Indians gave the Eagles great field position. A quick slant by Anthony Cowherd put Freedom in position to pick up their third, first down.
 
At 6:40 in the 1st quarter, running back Tyquan Brown made a leaping jump into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. With the extra point, Freedom went up seven points over Gar-Field.
 

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In their second possession, Indians were able to pick up their first, first down with a catch by wide receiver, Jaeden Wyatt. However, a fumble on the 41-yard line gave the ball right back to Freedom. 
 
With the ball on the Indian’s 20-yard line, the Eagles chose to go for it on 4th down with six seconds left in the quarter. Brown ran a handoff more than 40-yards down the sideline and followed the run with another score to add to the Eagles’ lead. 
 
Gar-Field kicked off the second quarter by forcing a fumble, but was unable to convert the fumble into points on the board.
 
With a little more than than five minutes to go in the half, quarterback, Mike Wilson carried the ball himself to pick up a first down. Following his possession, Wilson threw the a complete pass to Miles Noye for another Eagles’ touchdown. 
 
A bad snap by Gar-Field, with 14 seconds left, had Brown scrambling to throw the pass. Despite a couple of shakes, he was unable to get it down the field for a score.
 
Freedom led at the half, 21-0.
 
Indians started an exciting third quarter with Corey James intercepting a pass form Freedom’s quarterback. Gar-Field continued their drive with a pass to Jaeden Wyatt who scored the Indian’s first touchdown of the game.
 
The Eagles returned the favor with a score of their own. Brown who already earned two touchdowns in the first half, ran another touchdown into the end zone with 9:21 left in the third quarter. Although the Indians tried to capitalize on their possession, the Eagles got the ball back quickly and set themselves up for another potential offense scoring drive. 
 
Wilson chose to keep the ball following their long field yardage gain and ran in the Eagles’ fifth touchdown of the game. Lacking the ability to develop a long drive and keep the ball, Wilson scored again with 2:57 left in the third quarter.
 
Using another slant play to Cowherd, Freedom racked up another quick touchdown to start the fourth. The Indians stayed strong and Kavary Hill threw a deep pass down the side line to put Gar-Field in the red zone. 
 
A solid pass to Malachi Smithen cut their deficit and put another touchdown on the board for Gar-Field. 
 
Freedom turned the ball over to the Indians on sacks and with less than five minutes in the final quarter, Wyatt ran for another long touchdown up the middle of the field.
 
Unable to quiet the Eagles, Freedom was able to earn another touchdown with minutes left in the game. Gar-Field challenged Freedom’s score with one of their own and quarterback, Hill, ran the ball in with the final minute of the game.  
 
Running out of steam, the Indians fell to the Eagles, 56-26.

Roast marshmallows, play games, hayrides at Fall Family Fun Night at the Manassas Park Community Center

Fall Family Fun Night is Oct. 3

Are traditional family dinners indicative of a well-adjusted family?

Not necessarily according to a 2013 article from NPR. Journalist Alison Aubrey shares survey and research results from a variety of sources where participants agree that family meals are important but nearly half of the respondents don’t have regular family meals.

That finding is completely reasonable. With work schedules evolving from the usual nine to five, and children’s extracurricular activities becoming increasingly important, it’s hard to find even a moment when all the family members are in the house at the same time.

What exactly constitutes a family dinner? For some families, it appears that the traditional definition of everyone at the table every night having a family conversation may not be the only option.

Depending on schedules, some families may still have dinner together with the absence of a few members. Other families set aside a special weekend dinner once a week.

Flexibility also seems to be important as, according to the article, about 25% of the respondents have distractions during dinner time including TV or mobile devices.

Is the act of simply being together, eating together enough? Some families argue that it’s important time to catch up and relax together so no distractions are allowed.

Other families may feel that avoiding rushed dinners and awkward conversation are worth the occasional distractions and may even encourage dialogue.

The important point is that each family feels comfortable with tailoring their family dinner to their family’s needs and not hold themselves to an unattainable standard.

However, family dinner is not the only opportunity to strengthen bonds. Any special time spent together such as family vacations and attending events can be beneficial and possibly easier to coordinate.

One example would be the Fall Family Fun Night at the Manassas Park Community Center. Roasting marshmallows, playing games, and hopping on hayrides are all scheduled activities and all provide unique opportunities for reinforcing family relationships.

The event is only $10.00 per family and must register in advance. This can be done online or in person at the community center.

Attending special events also allows families in a community to connect together. Neighbors can share stories and exchange ideas on how they strengthen their family bonds. Plus having family friends can provide additional opportunities for family time. Play dates, game nights and planned outings with family friends can motivate family members to find time to participate.

With evidence showing that quality family time has a lasting beneficial effect on families such as emotional stability, there is a reason to make it a point to spend time together.

It can come in the form of a family dinner but it’s no longer the only option.

Choosing activities that are convenient for your family makes quality time achievable and, therefore, more likely to motivate family members to come together.

Prince William & Fauquier businesses: Become ‘Alzheimer’s Friendly’

Free Trainings for Businesses Aim to Reduce Isolation Among Families Impacted by Alzheimer’s For the 15 million Americans providing care for their loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease, isolation is a serious risk.

With the unpredictable nature of the disease, symptoms such as memory loss, repetition and poor judgment lead many to choose to avoid the outside world rather than risk the possibility of unpleasant, awkward or even frightening situations in public.

In fact, in a recent survey of Alzheimer’s caregivers, 74 percent reported that they and their loved ones have become more isolated from the community as a result of the disease. Furthermore, 85 percent reported that they feel a reduced quality of life due to isolation.

As a community, we cannot allow this to happen to our neighbors, friends and loved ones. We can change these frightening statistics here at home. To do just that, the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Prince William and Fauquier Counties is helping launch the Alzheimer’s Friendly BusinessSM program.

The program includes a training for local businesses that is designed to help employees understand the disease and provide simple techniques to ensure customers with Alzheimer’s are treated with compassion and respect. The training itself is quick and can be done for businesses in as little as 30 minutes, but the impact on families in our community can be long-lasting.

For a family coping with Alzheimer’s disease, going to a restaurant where a hostess will know the best place to seat you to prevent your loved one from becoming confused can lead to a much-needed night out of the house. Errands to the bank may seem less overwhelming when you know the teller on the other side of the counter can recognize and politely respond to an unexpected behavior as a result of Alzheimer’s, where others in that same situation might be confused or even rude.

Businesses in Prince William and Fauquier counties can work directly with the local Home Instead Senior Care office to arrange an in-person training for their employees, and an online version of the training is also available at AlzheimersFriendlyBusiness.com.

Once the training is completed, businesses will receive a window decal with the Alzheimer’s Friendly Business logo, allowing those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia to easily recognize these businesses taking the lead in making our community more Alzheimer’s friendly.

For more information about Home Instead Senior Care’s Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program, including information on what to look for in an Alzheimer’s Friendly Business, visit AlzheimersFriendlyBusiness.com or call 703-596-1217.

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