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Honored Prince William K9 Hawkeye dies

From Prince William police: 

GOODBYE HAWKEYE: It is with heavy hearts we announce that Retired K9 Hawkeye passed away this past weekend. Hawkeye served a distinguished career from 2006 – 2015, along with his partner Master Police Officer Bill VanAntwerp. Hawkeye passed peacefully, with his family by his side. He was 13 years old.

Hawkeye was a valiant K9 who worked diligently catching criminals who were wanted for serious offenses. He was an instrumental piece of an effective dog team handled by Master Police Officer William VanAntwerp. He was a dual purpose dog certified in narcotic detection and criminal apprehension. He made countless apprehensions, ultimately locating suspects in every possible environment. There was comfort knowing K9 Hawkeye was on the street patrolling at night.

See Hawkeye in action in 2010

News
Updated: Khushbu Amanullah, 16, missing, no longer endandered

From Prince William police: 

*MISSING ENDANGERED JUVENILE: The Prince William County Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing and endangered juvenile, Khushbu Amanullah. The investigation revealed that Khushbu walked away from her residence located in the 13700 block of Greenbriar Drive in [Dale City] (22193).

On February 12th 2017, Khushbu left her residence voluntarily.  On February 19th, additional information was received that she may be in need of assistance which qualifies her as being endangered. Anyone with information on Khushbu’s whereabouts is asked to call the police at 703-792-6500.

Khushbu Amanullah is described as a white female, 16 years of age, 5’06”, 142lbs with black hair and brown eyes.
It’s unknown what she was last seen wearing.

Update 10:11 a.m. 

From Prince William police:

“Upon receiving additional information and further investigation Khushbu Amanullah, who was reported as a missing and endangered juvenile on Sunday, February 19, is no longer considered endangered.” 


Retail space for rent on Zimbro Avenue in Manassas

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Retail space for rent on Zimbro Avenue in Manassas. This is a high-visibility, attractive leasing opportunity.

The space is situated along heavily trafficked Route 28 and is surrounded by many neighborhood amenities. Space is ideal for a bookstore, tutoring services, laundry mat, pet hospital, food services, or restaurant.

I’m looking to rent this 2,000-square-feet of retail space. Please call Irene at 703-225-9824.

News
ALDI expanding existing grocery stores

At least two ALDI grocery locations in Prince William and Stafford counties are being expanded. 

In Stafford the Ali at 263 Garrisonville Road in North Stafford Plaza, and in Woodbridge at 13782 Smoketown Road are being enlarged, we’re told. The improved stores will feature a new concept layout. 

The move comes as the discount grocery chain has opened new stores, including one outside Dumfries, with floor plans that differ from their other locations, and as German competitor Lidl (pronounced Lee Dell) plans to open several new stores in the region this summer. 

From Jeff Baehr, Frederick division vice president for ALDI:

“We’re excited to share that we’re updating the ALDI store experience as part of our $1.6 billion nationwide plan to remodel and expand more than 1,300 of our stores by 2020.

With approximately 20 stores in the Washington, DC and Northern Virginia Region, we can’t wait to bring the new look of ALDI to shoppers who know and love us, plus new fans, as we make more room for a larger selection of fresh products, plus customer favorites like organics, gluten-free foods and premium baby items.

We know you’re eager to learn about plans for our store in Stafford, so we’ll be sure to reach out with more specific details at a later date.”

News
Wheels stolen from backyard neighborhood kid bike repair

Submitted: 

“[Saturday] at around [4 p.m.] this bike was stolen from my back yard [near the intersection of Lindendale Road and Lombard Lane in Dale City]. My daughter watched the child walk back, in broad daylight and ride away on my son [Ethan’s] bike.

Ethan repairs bikes for all of the neighborhood kids. He has a workshop in our yard and this kid went into his workshop and just walked away.

I went to the child’s house to try to deal with the situation parent to parent but to no avail. The police went to the child’s house and still no results.

We just want the bike back. We believe it was dumped somewhere around Beville Middle or in the Lindendale area.

It’s very distinctive looking- narrow front tire, wide back tire, black with some blue showing through on the underneath.” 

News
Two adults, 6 children displaced by Montclair fire

From the Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department: 

“On Friday, February 17th at 6:53 p.m., fire and rescue units were dispatched to a townhouse fire located in the 14400 block of Whisperwood Court in Montclair.

Upon arrival, fire and rescue crews observed fire on two levels of the mid-row two story townhome with basement. As firefighters initiated attack and extinguishment of the fire, they were informed the residents were not home.

No injuries reported.

According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, preliminary damages are estimated at $200,000; a total loss.

A Building Official has posted the home unsafe.

Red Cross was on scene to assist the family, 2 adults and 6 children, displaced by the fire.

The fire started in the kitchen; the cause is undetermined. The fire is currently under investigation by the Fire Marshal’s Office.”

News
Motorcyclist killed on Mapledale Avenue in Dale City

From Prince William police: 

Fatal Crash Investigation – On February 18 at 1:38AM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of Mapledale Ave and Meadowbrook Rd in [Dale City] (22193) to investigate a crash involving two motorcycles.

The investigation revealed that both motorcycles were traveling southbound on Mapledale Ave approaching Meadowbrook Dr when one of the operators, an adult male, applied a hard brake in an attempt to turn onto Meadowbrook Dr. The second motorcycle, operated by an adult female, was following behind the first motorcycle and unable to stop causing a collision. (more…)


The Prince William K-9 Unit: Ready at a moment’s notice

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1st Sgt. Michael Blake and K-9 partner Luke make a great team. Blake has been with the Prince William Police Department for almost twenty years. Luke is a German shepherd rookie – he will only be two in March. But Blake has already said when it’s time, he wants to retire with Luke.

The Journey and Training Begin

The Prince William County Police Department doesn’t buy dogs like Luke at the local pet store. They bring these intelligent animals from the Netherlands, Slovakia, Czech Republic and parts of Eastern and Western Europe. The male dogs bought from this region are worth the $7,000 price tag because there is less chance of them having inherited conditions like hip dysplasia. Since German Shepherds are active dogs, a condition like hip dysplasia could limit their mobility early in life.

The dogs have an average lifespan of ten to twelve years. This means that K-9 German Shepherds are career dogs because they typically work until they are nine to ten years old unless they get hurt.

Dogs that work in the K-9 unit undergo training to go out “on the job.” Luke completed fourteen weeks of full-time training to graduate to support the patrol officers. Luke continues to attend reinforcement training two days per month.”

Home Life

K-9 officers get to bunk with their handlers. The dogs do best if they are integrated with the family, Blake said, so Luke lives at home with Blake and his family. Blake and Luke bond over playing in the backyard, and tummy rubs. But when it’s time to work, Luke can be at attention and sprint off in a matter of seconds.

“The bond you create with these guys is incredible,” Blake said. “We’re inseparable at home.”

Luke loves to play with his toys. His favorite toy is a “Kong,” a kind of rubber ball. “He’ll do anything and everything for that ball,” said Blake, “but he has to do what I ask him to do first.”

In this way, Luke learns discipline in both work and play.

On the Job Experience

On and off the job, Luke follows verbal commands like “heel.” He also follows hand signals to sit and stay.

But a police K-9 isn’t there to do tricks. Police dogs are trained to sniff out different things. Luke supports the Patrol Unit by sniffing out the human scent to help locate suspects and items a suspect might have touched. And when it comes to apprehending a suspect, dogs like Luke are taught to bite.

Like most police dogs, Luke is trained on a “bite sleeve,” a special padded sleeve that protects an officer’s arm during training. During the interview, Luke demonstrated some of his bite sleeve skills.

Sgt. Heath Oyler volunteered to wear a bite sleeve. Luke first started on a lead when he lunged and bit onto the sleeve. After he was let off the lead, he sprinted towards Oyler, bit the sleeve hard and would not let go. Blake encouraged Luke, saying, “Hold him, buddy!”

Then Oyler let the sleeve slip off while Luke held on to it. When the dogs bite, they bite to hold, not to tear, Blake said.

In another practice drill, a credit card was thrown into the field at the Manassas Western District Station, and Luke ran around the field, sniffing and hunting. When he found the card, he didn’t pick it up in his mouth – he laid down next to it, waiting for Blake.

Even though Luke must stay alert, be prepared and ready to go, Blake said the department is only allowed to use dogs in certain circumstances.

When they do, they must announce to the suspect that they are releasing the dog. They give the warning in English and Spanish. Blake said most suspects are smart enough to stop and put their hands in the air once they know the dog has been released.

A Popular Unit

The K-9 Unit is often coveted by recruits eager to work with the dogs. However, not all on the waiting list will be eligible for the position. First, officers must serve two to three years in the Patrol Unit before applying.

Then, they must pass a specific agility test. Those with tactical experience are preferred. They must also live in the county in order to be ready at a moment’s notice.

The greater lead time a suspect has to get away, the harder it is for the dogs to find the suspect’s scent or items the suspect has left behind, so K-9 Unit officers must be local.

See more about the Prince William Police Department K-9 unit.

Read about last year’s K-9 graduates.

For more information and to apply online, go to joinpwcpd.org

Read more from our series

Prince William County Police detectives chosen to work for a higher cause

Prince William on patrol: ‘This Job is About Integrity’

Prince William County Police Digital Forensics team puts heart, soul, and mind into solving cases

How a love for animals and a vet degree spawned a career as a Prince William County Police officer

 



Historic Manassas reveals new logo

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Historic Manassas old

Featured photos in slideshow: New logo, old logo

Over the last year, Historic Manassas, Inc. (HMI) has worked endlessly on their rebranding efforts and are excited to announce the release of their new logo. The new logo features a streetscape of Main Street as well as the welcoming historic water tower. To represent Historic Manassas’ close partnership with the City, their new tag line ‘Historic Heart. Modern Beat.’ was also incorporated into the logo.

Patrick King, CEO of Imagine, worked to create the perfect logo.

“We are humbled to be a part of this rebrand, excited that Manassas is undergoing a wonderful amount of growth and change, while still staying true to its history. We felt it was fitting to create a logo that married a vibrant energy to its beautiful architecture, and we are very proud of the result,” said King.

HMI began their rebranding efforts within the community by creating a survey last spring to determine who the community thought HMI was. The former logo, the downtown train depot, gave many the impression that HMI was just those who ran the train station or a committee involved with the museum and historic preservation within the City. Very few realized the involvement HMI has in the community including the numerous events that take over the streets of downtown each year.

Historic Manassas, Inc. was formed to promote a positive image of Historic Downtown Manassas and to perpetuate its revitalization. HMI feels this new logo helps to push forth its mission statement to engage the community in promotion, preservation, and enhancement of our vibrant Historic Downtown. Those interested in learning more about HMI’s four committees can find information here on their website.

Keep an eye out for the new logo and be sure to check out all of the events coming up in downtown. Next up is First Friday – March Madness on March 3!

News
Police said suspect tried to use a box cutter during an argument

From Prince William police: 

Attempted Malicious Wounding – On February 14 at 5:15PM, officers responded to the 2800 block of Dale Blvd in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate an assault. The victim, a 48-year-old man of Woodbridge, reported to police that he and the accused, an acquaintance, were involved in a verbal altercation which escalated. During the encounter, the accused attempted to cut the victim with a box cutter. The parties eventually separated and the police were contacted. No injuries were reported. The accused was located a short time later and arrested without incident.

Arrested on February 14:

Lawrence WILLIAMS, 58, of no fixed address

Charged with attempted malicious wounding and destruction of property

Court Date: May 3, 2017 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

Traffic
PRTC service for Presidents’ Day

From PRTC: 

In observance of Presidents’ Day, PRTC bus service will operate as follows on Monday, February 20:
OMNIRIDE COMMUTER BUS – NO SERVICE
METRO DIRECT – Regular service
OMNILINK LOCAL BUS AND CROSS COUNTY CONNECTOR – Regular service

No counter transactions will be processed at the PRTC Transit Center on Monday, February 20.
In preparation for the three-day weekend, PRTC will have a few extra PM OmniRide buses available for potential overflow on Friday, February 17.

Because PRTC experiences a significant increase in mid-day and early afternoon OmniRide passengers on the day before a three-day weekend, to avoid overcrowding you may want to consider taking Metrorail or other regional bus services and transferring to a Metro Direct bus to complete your commute.

For more information, call our Customer Service office at 703-730-6664 or send an email to Omni@OmniRide.com. Schedule information is available at www.PRTCtransit.org.

News
Fire crews douse fires in Gainesville, Dale City over weekend

From Prince William fire and rescue: 

On Sunday, February 12th at 7:45 p.m., fire and rescue units were dispatched to a structure fire located at Sams Junk Yard in the 14500 block of Lee Highway in Gainesville.

Upon arrival, firefighters observed a mobile home fully involved. Fire and rescue crews initiated attack and extinguishment of the fire.

No injuries reported.

A Building Official has posted the trailer unsafe.

According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, preliminary damages are estimated at $25,000, a total loss.

The fire is currently under investigation by the Fire Marshal’s Office.

(more…)

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School closings and delays for Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017

Here’s today’s OPM status. 

 

The Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates from Prince William County Public Schools, Stafford County Public Schools, Manassas City Public Schools, Manassas Park City Public Schools, Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College, George Mason University, Mary Washington University. 

This Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates posted by local governments in Prince William County, Stafford County, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Dumfries Town, Haymarket Town, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Belvoir. 

News
Girl, 6, victim in sex assault

From Prince William police: 

Sexual Assault Investigation – On February 2 at 8:40PM, detectives from the Special Victim’s Unit responded to investigate a sexual assault which occurred at a home in Woodbridge (22193) earlier that evening. The investigation revealed that the victim, a 6-year-old girl, was inappropriately touched by the accused, identified as a family member. The victim disclosed the incident to another family member who immediately notified police. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested.

Arrested on February 3:

Frank Anthony ARRE, 57, of Woodbridge

Charged with aggravated sexual battery

Court Date: Pending | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

News
‘Just Say It!’ initiative prompts Sentara to drop color codes

Submitted: 

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, a ‘Facility Alert’ or ‘Medical Alert’ or ‘Security Alert’ announced at any Sentara hospital in will plainly identify a situation and its location and advise staff and visitors what to do.

OVERVIEW
• Plain Language alerts will plainly identify events and locations and provide instructions.
• Plain language alerts enhance safety and reduce confusion for staff, visitors and patients.
• Plain Language alerts are a growing trend among hospitals.
• Only color codes to remain are universal Code Red (Fire Alarm) and Code Blue (Cardiac Arrest)

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, a ‘Facility Alert’ or ‘Medical Alert’ or ‘Security Alert’ announced at any Sentara hospital in will plainly identify a situation and its location and advise staff and visitors what to do.

The trend toward Plain Language is supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, The National Incident Management System (2008) and The Institute of Medicine’s Health Literacy report and recommendations (2004) (more…)

News
Found photos illustrate Prince William County’s past

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Photos by Ed Stallknecht

Pictured: NOVA Woodbridge Campus, Gordon Plaza at Route 123 and Horner Road in Woodbridge, Manassas Train Station in Old Town Manassas, Pilot House restaurant on Neabsco Creek (destroyed by Hurricane Isabel in 2003), the old Holiday Inn in Dumfries.

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Last fall, we saw some images of Prince William County taken more than 40 years ago appeared on Facebook. 

We wondered who took them, and how the photos wound up on social media so many years later.

Today, we have that story. 

From Historic Prince William President David Cuff: 

After a career in the Marines, Edward S. Stallknecht became a realtor based in Dumfries in the late 1960s through the mid-1980s. Ed learned to fly while in the Marines and would rent airplanes from the Flying Club based at Quantico.

Besides just a love of flying, Ed used the flights to take pictures of the fast changing landscape below. He used the images in a slideshow presentation he would give to other realtors, associations, and clients looking for large tracts of land to develop.

I serve as the current president of Historic Prince William, and on a warm afternoon last May, I noticed an aerial image on the wall of Aden Grocery while getting a drink and e BLT sandwich. The image was an aerial photo of the store taken in 1972 and was signed “Ed Stallknecht, Flying Realtor.” Intrigued, I searched the internet for more information.

(more…)

News
Police helicopter used to search for robbery suspect

Photo by Flickr user John Sonderman

From a Potomac Local reader: 

We live off the Prince William Pkwy near BJ’s. Any news on why there was a helicopter circling very low around 1 a.m.?

From Prince William police: 

*INCIDENT: A heavy police presense can be seen in the area of Cuddy Lp and Beaumont Rd in Woodbridge as officers search for a wanted juvenile suspect. A police helicopter is also assisting at this time.

We were looking for a juvenile who is wanted for robbery. He was not located.

News
Join us at for a beer at Water’s End Brewery to talk about improving the Old Bridge Corridor/I-95

Forward Motion Commotion: Let’s Get Old Bridge Traffic Moving”…an event sponsored by Potomac Local in partnership with Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson.

Traffic Congestion Think Tanks for the Occoquan District started in 2016 and continued in 2017. We are determined to mitigate the rush hour congestion along the Old Bridge Road corridor for morning and evening commuters and residents trying to move about. A couple of improvements are in progress. Now, we need more.

Come and meet Prince William County Department of Transportation (DOT) and VDOT leaders who will explain how projects are vetted and funded. Other transportation experts will also attend. Potomac Local News Publisher Uriah Kiser will moderate a panel discussion, with questions from area residents, focused on getting traffic moving again on Old Bridge Road.

Email your questions about traffic in the Old Bridge Road Corridor for the panel to potomaclocal[at]gmail.com.

Map and Input Stations will be staffed with people ready to document your ideas. Intersections and other known opportunities for improvement include:

— Intersection – 123/Old Bridge Road (OBR)

— Intersection – Occoquan Rd./OBR

— Intersection – Tanyard Hill Rd./OBR

— Intersection – Minnieville Rd./OBR

— Intersection – Prince William Pkwy/OBR

— Miscellaneous – Minnieville/Smoketown/Springwoods, etc.

— I-95 interchange with Route 123

— Public Transportation

Unlike last year’s series of Occoquan congestion think tank meetings, this event will be a one-time opportunity in 2017 to provide your input in person. Following the meeting, we will continue to take ideas via email, calls and on our website:  SupervisorRuthAnderson.com.  So, if you have concerns and/or ideas or want to learn more about the process of getting ideas to the drawing board…this Think Tank is your opportunity.

The event will take place at Waters End Brewery, located at 12425 Dillingham Square, Lake Ridge, Va., from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

**Limited space! You must register to attend. By registering you are saving your spot but you will also receive one complimentary beer from Water’s End.**

News
Updated: New parkway elementary school site a threat to parkland, say conservationists

Photo by Flickr user Prince William Public Library

From Prince William Conservation Alliance: 

Community Meeting
Tuesday, February 7, 4 to 6pm at Prince William Conservation Alliance, 2241F Tackett’s Mill Drive, Woodbridge

Planning Commission Vote
Wednesday, February 15, 7pm at McCoart Government Center, Board Chambers

Originally proposed to replace part of Chinn Parkland, this school is now slated for a site adjacent to Chinn Park, along PW Parkway between Kenwood Drive and Trowbridge Drive.

While this new site is preferable, concerns about impacts to Chinn Parkland and the surrounding community remain.

As currently proposed, damages to the adjacent parkland would be noteworthy. Despite significant impervious surfaces and highly erodible soils, no on-site retention of stormwater is planned, creating a situation that would devastate the creek.

Serious watershed impacts would extend far beyond the borders of the development site.

(more…)

Obituary
Thomas Charles Vrtis

Every Obituary in Prince William County by:

Thomas Charles Vrtis of Woodbridge, Virginia (formerly of St. Charles, Illinois) passed away at home on January 28, 2017. He was 87.

Tom was born on December 24, 1929, in Oak Park, Illinois, the son of Charles and Anna (Kucera) Vrtis. He grew up in La Grange, Illinois, with seven brothers and sisters. After completing his elementary education at St. Francis Xavier School in La Grange and his high school education at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Tom attended Loyola University of Chicago and graduated with a degree in accounting in 1951. Following college, he served two years in the United States Army as a 1st Lieutenant, and was stationed in Germany as part of the post-WWII allied occupation forces. After returning home, Tom joined the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, which would be the first stop in his lifelong work as an accountant in the Chicagoland area. (more…)

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