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News
Memorial Service Planned for Woodbridge’s Freedom Park

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The Prince William County Board of County Supervisors will hold an Armed Forces & Memorial Day ceremony at the War Memorial in Freedom Park on Saturday, May 19 at 2 p.m.

The ceremony will honor the men and women who serve our Country and remember all of those who lost their lives defending our freedoms. This year the county will honor the following who lost their lives defending our country: Sean T. Callahan, Sean R. Cutsforth and Robert M. Kelly. The public is invited to attend.

The Prince William County War Memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1992 to recognize those from our County who gave their lives during World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The County honored those individuals by engraving their names onto the memorial.

In 2006, the County worked with local veterans to find the best way to honor those who had given their lives in the Middle East. It was decided to engrave the opposing face of the stone with the names of members from our community that have been killed in Iran, on the USS Cole, in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Freedom Park is located on the grounds of the McCoart Government Complex in between the complex and Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge. Freedom Park also includes a memorial fountain dedicated to those in the community who died in the attacks on September 11, 2001.

-Press release

 

News
Dale City Homeowners: ‘He was Squatting in our House’

By URIAH KISER

DALE CITY, Va. — When fire and HAZMAT crews were called to Tracy Martinez’s childhood home Friday night, she thought the home was vacant.

Martinez says a man was living in the home illegally when fire and rescue crews rushed to the scene Friday, after the man disturbed some stored chemicals meant for use in the home’s backyard swimming pool. Once disturbed, they began to bubble causing a chemical reaction and his nose to burn.

The man told PotomacLocal.com Friday he was in the process of moving out of the house because the home had been foreclosed on.

Not true, said Martinez.

“This man has been squatting at our home since December,” said Martinez. “The house is not in foreclosure.”

He’s been squatting, or living in the home without permission, since December, she says. The man was a roommate of another man who two years ago signed a lease with Martinez’s parents – who still own the home and were concerned when the found out what happened on Friday night. The leaser moved out in December on good terms, but the roommate must have stayed behind, said Martinez.

“I was driving by the house last week and I saw cars in the driveway and thought ‘they shouldn’t be there,’ so now we contacted legal help us get him removed from the house,” said Martinez. “That was the home I grew up in, and I have a lot of great childhood memories in the home. But as the years have gone by and things like this happen, those fond memories have become faded.”

The man refused treatment and didn’t suffer serious injuries.

While the landlords in this case are working to remove the alleged squatter, landlords who don’t visit their properties often have posed a problem in Dale City.

“It’s absentee landlords, with no one looking to make sure the tenants are well behaved, that’s a problem,” said Neabsco Action Alliance spokeswoman Connie Moser. “We have a rental across the street. They continually park their cars blocking the sidewalk and have a dog that barks 24/7. The owner lives away and has a property management company deal with the lease.”

The alliance, along with much of Moser’s community work, focuses on redeveloping Dale City into a community of homeowners who take pride in their houses.

“When I moved…it was a family oriented neighborhood with neat lawns and well tended homes. I spend a huge amount of time trying to keep up in a neighborhood where the people who do care are aging and fast falling into a state of inability to keep up basic property maintenance,” said Moser.

News
Hazmat Crews Called to Dale City Home

 ONLY ON POTOMACLOCAL.COM 

By URIAH KISER

DALE CITY, Va. — Hazmat crews were called Friday night to a home once known for its elaborate Christmas decorations, after swimming pool chemicals made a man sick.

Dale City Volunteer Fire Department crews rushed to a single family home at 4492 Dale Boulevard after 7:30 p.m. when a man who was in the process of moving to a new home uncovered pool chemicals in a storage container in his back yard. Not knowing exactly what they were, the man – who asked not to be identified – moved the chemicals. Then they began to bubble and omit a strange odor, and the man’s nose began to burn, he said. So he called a friend, a volunteer firefighter, who then told him to call 911.

“I don’t really know where the chemicals came from. I think they were left here by the owner of the house, before we moved in,” he said.

The victim was the only one home at the time, and he refused treatment from fire and rescue personnel. He looked on from the street as fire crews, decked out in Hazmat gear, checked his home and made sure it was OK for him to go back inside.

The home has an in-ground swimming pool in its backyard for summertime fun, but was long known for its large pine tree that at Christmastime which was transformed into one of the largest holiday decorations in Dale City. The display often won holiday decorating contests awarded by the Dale City Civic Association.

The owners of the home moved out about two years ago and rented the home to the man whose nose was burned by the chemicals. He’s been forced to a home to a new house down the street, he said.

A portion of Dale Boulevard between Glendale Road and Greenwood Drive was reduced to one lane as fire crews and police investigated the incident.

*This story has been revised.

News
Dogwood Marks Arbor Day in Dale City

DALE CITY, Va. — Prince William Neabsco District Supervisor John D. Jenkins chose Martin Luther King Elementary School for this year’s annual Neabsco District Arbor Day Celebration and to be the recipient of a native dogwood tree.

On April 26, Jenkins was joined by Prince William County Schools Superintendent Steven Walts, Neabsco District School Board Representative Lisa Bell, and 100 students along with representatives from the Prince William Soil & Water Conservation District (PWSWCD) to participate in a tree ceremony where the students read poetry and sang songs dedicated to trees.

Throughout the day, second grade students at King Elementary continued to celebrate Arbor Day by attending PWSWCD’s tree festival where they learned more about the value of trees as a natural resource through storytelling, crafts, and even recycling old homework. The native dogwood which was planted on their campus was donated by American Home Landscape, a supporter of local Arbor Day celebrations for the past 26 years. The tree will purify soil and water, contribute to energy conservation, provide homes for wildlife and insects, and enhance the exterior beauty of the school.

The local Arbor Day Celebration has been instrumental in teaching students in Prince William County the value of our natural resources. –

-Press release 

News
Dale City Water Main Work Begins

Virginia American Water today announced the start of the latest water main replacement project in Dale City to enhance water quality and improve service reliability. The cost of the water system improvements is approximately $202,000.

Beginning the week of May 7, Virginia American Water will replace approximately 1,100 feet of aging six-inch pipe on Dyer Drive in the Darbydale community of Dale City. The company is replacing pipe that has a history of leaks with new double-cement-lined pipe

The project follows a pipeline upgrade that Virginia American Water recently announced in Dale City on Castle Court in the Cloverdale community and the rehabilitation of the Packard water distribution tank in Woodbridge. These improvements in Dale City are part of Virginia American Water’s long-term strategy of ongoing investment in its water systems.

Crews will work weekdays between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The estimated duration of the project is eight weeks. During the project, some residents of Dyer Drive might experience short disruptions to their water service as the construction crews work near their homes. Crews will work as quickly as possible to shorten the length of any temporary inconveniences.

-Press release

 

News
EMS Sgt., Firefighter Honored in Dale City

DALE CITY, Va. – Volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel in Dale City have been honored as some of the best in the state, and have been recognized by the governor.

Two members of the Dale City Volunteer Fire Department, Lt. Christopher Gardner and EMS Sgt. Danielle Miller, were recognized at a recent Installation of Officers ceremony at VFW Post 1503 in Dale City.

“…it was my pleasure to join Lt. Gardner and EMS Sgt. Miller at the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1503 Installation of Officers and Awards Banquet,” said Dale City VFD Chief Christopher Hool. “Every year the VFW awards local public safety personnel to recognize their achievements or service from the past year. This year the Dale City VFD submitted Lt. Gardner and EMS Sgt. Miller as this year’s candidates.”

Miller was awarded EMS Provider of the Year for VFW Post 1503 and a commendation from Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell. She also was awarded EMS provider of the year for Virginia from the VFW state office and the National Commander of the VFW.

Gardner was awarded firefighter of the year, and a commendation from Virginia’s governor.

Each year, the VFW post recognizes outstanding firefighters and EMS providers from the local area. The honorees are then considered for an award at a state level, and then state winners advance into consideration for a national award from the VFW.

Gardner joined DCVFD in 2005 and Miller in 2009.

News
Top Home Sales in Eastern Prince William

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The Woodbridge area has long harbored a reputation of having low home values, but this appears to be the year that changed.

According to varealestatetalk.com, the top home sales of the year so far in Prince William County have all been homes located in the eastern portion of the county. It’s a departure from years past when the highest valued homes were sold in developing neighborhoods in western Prince William County.

The biggest gaining neighborhoods in eastern Prince William in terms of home sales this year have been Beaver Creek, River Falls and Coventry Glen, according to the website.

The median home price in Woodbridge continues to hang around the $250,000.

While the area has long been known for its single family residential homes located near strip shopping centers, newer developments like Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center are rising and changing the landscape of the area.

News
Updated: Man Struck, Killed in Dale City

UPDATE — VICTIM STRUCK BY 2 CARS

DALE CITY, Va. — The pedestrian struck and killed on Dale Boulevard Thursday night was hit twice, and an autopsy will be performed on the victim.

Howard Edward Rice, 42, Filarete Street in Dale City, was walking toward Forrestdale Plaza in Dale City about 8:40 p.m. and attemptEd to cross the four-land Dale Boulevard when he was struck by a 1999 Volvo S70 traveling east on Dale Boulevard. Another car following the Volvo, a 2006 Toyota Corolla, was unable to avoid hitting the pedestrian after he was struck the first time, according to police documents. No one else was injured and no charges have been filed.

Rice was pronounced dead on the scene, and police said he was crossing the street outside of a designated crosswalk in a dimly lit area.

Police also said an autopsy will be performed on the victim and a toxicology test performed by a medical examiner. Those tests are normally used to determine if the victim had any illegal substance in their body.

The driver of the Volvo was an 18-year-old man from Woodbridge, and the driver of the Corolla was a 44-year-old man from Woodbridge, police said.

ORIGINAL POST 10 P.M. THURSDAY 

DALE CITY, Va. — One man is dead tonight after being struck by a vehicle on Dale Boulevard.

The pedestrian was struck while walking along the four-lane road in Dale City, near Forestdale Avenue, according to Prince William police. The man died on the scene, according to police.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing and no charges have been announced.

During all of 2011, only one pedestrian was killed in Prince William County. The pedestrian victim included, a total of 12 people lost their lives on roads in the county last year, according to annual crime statistics.

 

News
Steak Brings Boys & Girls Clubs Online Donation Options

MANASSAS, Va. — For the past 32 years at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Prince William County, the food of choice at their annual charity dinner has been steak. It’s a house favorite for many, but even vegetarians can appreciate the good work happening at the clubs that serve over 5,000 people each year through community engagement and club programs.

The Steak and Stake Dinner, planned for 6 p.m. Monday May, 21 at the Manassas Boys and Girls Club, will honor three stakeholder local businesses that have generously donated their time, money, and effort to making the Boys and Girls Clubs in Prince William County – The General Heiser Branch in Dumfries, Hylton Club in Dale City, and the Manassas Club – a success.

“We credit a lot to community partnerships. It takes a village to build what the Boys and Girls Clubs is able to provide through quality programming, as well as all of the other activities the clubs are able to provide,” said regional director Glenn Vickers.

Wellburn Management owns several McDonalds restaurants in Dumfries and Woodbridge, while Gino Manzo is the Director and Manassas Site Executive at BAE Systems, and Patrick Girard is a vice president of sales at Staples. All three will be honored at the event for their efforts supporting the clubs.

The event also draws a long list of community members, politicians, as well as business owners, but it comes at a time when the clubs are operating in the red. With 3,200 registered members in the Prince William, the organization has been impacted by rising operating costs as well as per-member costs of about $1,500 each, said Vickers.

The charity dinner normally nets the organization between $40,000 and $50,000, and this year the Boys and Girls Clubs will open up new donation portals online and on mobile devices to make it easier for the community to give.

Through programs like Send a Kid to Camp, as well as educational and sports and fitness efforts, the Prince William Boys and Girls Club gets little funding from its national parent organization but still maintains itself as a fun, safe environment where club members build strong relationships, are recognized, and move on to college, said Vickers.

Tickets for the event are $100 for individuals, $500 for half table, and $1,000 for a full table.

Live coverage of the event will be featured here on PotomacLocal.com, which is an event coverage sponsor.

News
Schools Want Changes in Potomac, Forest Park Boundaries

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — A community meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, May 14 at Graham Park Middle School to gain public input on proposed boundary changes to balance enrollment at Potomac and Forest Park high schools for the 2013-14 school year. The changes are expected to affect about 100 students for the first school year that the boundary change takes effect.

A public hearing on the proposed high school boundaries is slated for the June 13 School Board meeting at 7 p.m. in the School Board Meeting Room, Kelly Leadership Center.

The completion of the 30-room addition to Potomac High School in 2013 will add 630 seats to the existing capacity of the school. Current enrollment projections and boundaries would mean that Potomac High School would be under-utilized and Forest Park High School would be over capacity, thus the need for realignment. A portion of the Forest Park High School attendance area will be re-assigned to the Potomac High School attendance area.

The Thomasson Crossing, Moncure Woods, Spanish Garden, Barnette Forest, Quantico Terrace, Belleau Wood, Cramers Ridge,Crborough Heights, Stonewall Manor, Graham Park Shores, Graham Park, and Melrose Gardens communities are likely to be affected.

Prior to the May 14 community meeting, staff from the Offices of Facilities Services will meet with the Advisory Council at both high schools.

Information and maps for the proposed high school boundary changes are located on the Facilities Services Web site. Parents with questions or comments should contact Lionel White in the Office of Facilities Services at 703-791-7312.

The School Board is expected to vote on the proposed high school boundaries on June 13 following the public hearing. If approved, the new boundaries would take effect in September 2013.

Citizens who wish to address the School Board during the public hearing must notify the Board Clerk by noon on June 13 in writing to P.O. Box 389, Manassas, Va. 20108; by phone at 703-791-8709; or by email to pwcsclerk@pwcs.edu. Citizens may also sign up in the School Board meeting room prior to 6:55 p.m. on the evening of the public hearing.

-Press release 

Traffic
95 Express Lanes Builder Invited to Apply for Loan

Photo: Mary Davidson

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The private developer of the 95 Express Lanes project has been tapped by the federal government to apply for a loan to help pay for the lanes.

Transurban-Fluor will convert the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on Interstate 95, from Dumfries to Edsall Road in Alexandria, to toll lanes. The lanes will be extended from Dumfries to Va. 610 in North Stafford to complete the 29-mile, $940 million 95 Express Lanes corridor.

The loan is called a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or TIFIA loan, from the U.S. Department of Transportation. If awarded to Transurban-Fluor, would cover $928 million of the total cost of the project.

In December, Virginia officials announced taxpayers would float $97 million of the project cost.

“President Obama called for ‘an America built to last,’ and the TIFIA program can help us achieve that,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary LaHood. “A little TIFIA goes a long way for communities that use these loans to leverage additional funding so they can tackle the big picture transportation projects this country needs.”

Work on the lanes is already underway, as a portion of the HOV lanes from Springfield to Dumfries has been closed each night this week for initial test boring.

When complete, the lanes will be tolled 24-hours a day for single drivers. Vehicles with three or more occupants will be able to use the lanes for free. Currently, use of the lanes is restricted to vehicles with three or more occupants between 6 and 9 a.m., and 3:30 to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

News
Candland: Back Room Dealings Lead to Budget Increase

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Prince William’s new kid on the political block has done more to distance himself from this fellow Board members.

Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland is serving his first term on the Board of County Supervisors and cast the lone vote against raising the county’s average tax bill about $110 per year. The six seven other members of the Board voted to increase taxes for the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, adopting a tax rate of $1.209 per assessed property value. The new budget includes monies for a new police station, new school funding, and raises for county staff for the first time in four years.

Candland, in a statement released late Tuesday night, accused fellow Board members of back room dealings and threats. According to Candland, he was told if he didn’t go along with the budget increase his district would lose out on construction funding for a new Catharpin Park. That park, one of nine that was to be funded in this year’s budget, is no longer funded, he said.

“I stood up in the face of backroom deals and political retributions to fight for a park that’s critical to the families of the Gainesville District, and I’ll continue to push to find ways to get Catharpin Park funded and built as soon as possible. I’m saddened that petty politics won the day, but it’s the taxpayers of Prince William County who will suffer the brunt of these tax increases,” said Candland in his statement.

County officials stated Tuesday that real estate taxes in Prince William County are 28 percent lower than they are in similar counties in Northern Virginia. When adjusted for inflation, the average tax bill is lower than it was in 2009, according to officials.

News
Fire Incident Investigated in Dale City

UPDATE: FIREWORK TO BLAME

The explosion heard by many in the Dale City area this morning was caused by a firework, police said.

A bomb detection squad was called to a home on Evansdale Road today after initial reports indicated a bottle bomb exploded in the area. That was not the case, though neighbors did call 911 when they saw smoke.

No injuries were reported.

DALE CITY, Va. — Fire crews were called to another what appears to be bottle bomb incident today, sources say.

Just after 11 a.m., fire crews in Dale City were called to the to a home at 4412 Evansdale Road, near Cardinal Drive, after a report of someone hearing an explosion and then seeing smoke, according to initial reports. Prince William fire officials have not confirmed the presence of bottle bombs.

There’s no word yet if anyone was injured.

This latest incident comes after authorities in Prince William said earlier this month bottle bomb cases were on the rise again.

 

Traffic
HOV Lanes to Close this Weekend, Again Next Week

Photo: Mary Davidson

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A portion of the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes will close again tonight and tomorrow as work on the 95 Express Lanes project ramps up.

The HOV express lanes facility is normally open to southbound drivers Friday night through Saturday afternoon. Tonight and tomorrow beginning at 11 p.m., however, the lanes will close from Franconia-Springfield Parkway to Va. 234 in Dumfries as crews complete test boring work.

Drivers will have to use the regular travel lanes to get where they’re going until 10 a.m. Saturday, and again on Sunday, when the HOV lanes are reopened for regular use.

But work on the HOV lanes doesn’t stop this weekend. It will continue throughout next week as the HOV lanes will close from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and again from 11 p.m. to 10 a.m. next Friday and Saturday, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

By 11 p.m. during the planned work next week, drivers headed north on Interstate 95 will be able to enter the HOV lanes north through an entrance just past Exit 169 in Springfield. Drivers who use Franconia-Springfield Parkway will also be able to enter the northbound HOV lanes by 11 p.m., VDOT states.

When complete, the 95 Express Lanes will charge single drivers a toll to use the lanes at all times while vehicles with three or more occupants will be able to use the lanes for free. The express lanes will also be extended nine-miles south from Dumfries to Va. 610 in North Stafford.

Currently, vehicles must have three or more occupants to use the lanes between 6 and 9 a.m., and 3:30 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Drivers can use the lanes for free during all other times.

 

News
Crews Called to Dale City Blaze

DALE CITY, Va. — Smoking materials led to a blaze at a townhome in Dale City.

Fire and rescue crews were called to the 4600 block of Whitaker Place, off Savannah Drive and Minnieville Road at noon today for a fire in a two-story home.

No one was injured and no one was displaced from the home, said Prince William fire and rescue spokeswoman Kim Hylander.

Fire officials urge those who smoke in their homes to extinguish smoking materials safely by dousing them in water or in sand. They also add not to throw out cigarettes into mulch, flowerbeds, grass areas, or in wooded areas.

The fire caused $5,000 in damage. Fires caused by smoking materials are the leading cause of fire deaths in the U.S., said Hylander.

On Tuesday, April 17th at approximately 12:00 noon, fire and rescue units were dispatched to a structure fire in a two-story townhouse located in the 4600 block of Whitaker Place in Dale City.

 

News
Fallen Prince William Firefighter Remembered

UPDATED: PRINCE WILLIAM FIRE CHIEF REMARKS

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The first and only Prince William County firefighter to die in the line of duty will be remembered today.

Kyle Wilson, 24, was killed five years ago today when he went inside a burning home on Marsh Overlook Drive in Woodbridge to search for those who might have been trapped inside the home. County officials read a message over the public emergency radio at 6 a.m. and will repeat it at 6 p.m. commemorating Wilson’s death.

“Five years ago today Technician I Kyle Wilson made the ultimate sacrifice while operating at Box 1209, 15474 Marsh Overlook Drive. Kyle was staffing Tower 512 and was killed in the line of duty while performing a primary search looking for possible trapped occupants. The Department of Fire and Rescue has made a solemn promise, we will never forget Kyle or the sacrifice he made,” the statement reads.

On the day of the fire, all the occupants of the home had made it out safely unbeknownst to Wilson. Inside the home, he became trapped under a stairwell, radioed for help, but fire fighters couldn’t reach him in time.

While widely covered in Prince William County, Wilson’s death received little attention in the region as he died on the same day as the Virginia Tech shooting massacre.

Prince William fire and rescue chief Kevin McGee issued a statement this morning about Wilson.

“Our Department and our fire and rescue system will never be the same as it was prior to the dispatch to 15474 Marsh Overlook Drive. It shouldn’t be the same and it won’t. We have done much together to improve and make corrections over the past five years to enhance firefighter safety and improve service to our community. We have more work to do,” stated McGee.

The chief asked residents to keep Wilson’s family and friends in their thoughts today.

Kyle Wilson’s family, friends, and and fellow firefighters remember him now each year during the fifth annual “Kyle Wilson 10K Walk for Fitness,” as a way to remember his service to the community and provide a scholarship for those who wish to attend the athletic training program at George Mason University – Wilson’s alma mater.

The walk will be held this year at 9 a.m. at C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge.

 

News
Nohe: Fair Process Led to Voting Exemption

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — During the decennial political redistricting process in 2011, no Prince William politician’s district changed as much as Marty Nohe’s.

He’s the Supervisor for the county’s Coles District, which now spans the western portion of Dale City west to the Manassas area. Increasing from 57,000 to 62,000 residents in his district last year, Nohe now represents about 30,000 more residents that he did previously, he said.

Magisterial districts like Coles, as well as state and congressional election districts are redrawn every 10 years by politicians  to account for population changes, and, some argue, to ensure the greatest possible reelection outcome for the current political party occupying a particular district.

Once approved by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, the new magisterial maps were sent to the federal government for preclearance — a review under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

They were approved, but on Wednesday officials announced Prince William was given a pass under section five of the act governing preclearance, making it the largest jurisdiction in Virginia to receive such a bailout.

“Having had a very fair and non-partisan redistricting process that was widely adopted by the community was really the lynchpin that made it possible for us to get bailed out that preclearance [requirement],” said Nohe.

Virginia is one of nine states primarily in the southeast, and various jurisdictions in New York City, North Carolina, California, Michigan and others, that must submit to the preclearance process. In Virginia, 14 jurisdictions have been given a pass including Fairfax City, Roanoke, and Winchester.

“I think it speaks very well with the redistricting process we went through. We applied for a bailout of preclearance prior to that redistricting process, and we had looked into it in previous years but we had not pursued it because, for whatever reason, it was not the right time,” said Nohe.

Now, Prince William County can be looked to as example in the redistricting process, he said. He added, other jurisdictions should make sure they meet preclearance requirements if considering applying for a bailout.

Jurisdictions are provided an opportunity to be exempted from the requirement of preclearance, known as “bailout” if they can demonstrate ten years of unbiased voting regulation practices. This requires:

• Evidence that no test or device has been used to determine voter eligibility

• No federal examiners were assigned

• All voting changes were submitted in a timely manner

• No objections by DOJ or denials by D.C. Court were levied against the jurisdiction

• Elimination of dilutive voting procedures

• Constructive efforts made to eliminate harassment and intimidation of voters

• Opportunities for convenient registration and voting expanded

• Minority persons have been appointed as election officials throughout all stages of registration/electoral process

Source: Prince William County

 

News
Prince William Given Voting ‘Bailout’

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — The federal government has given a pass to Prince William County when it comes to officials deciding where voters will go to the polls.

Since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted, Prince William and jurisdictions in nine other states had to report changes in voting districts, as well as changes in the hours polling places would be open, even changes in the names of polling places to the federal government, under section five of the Voting Rights Act. The requirement known as “preclearance,” was adhered to as recently as last year during the decennial political redistricting process, when changes to local magisterial districts voted upon by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors was submitted to the federal government for approval.

This action was taken to help prevent racially motivated disenfranchisement of voters by providing federal oversight of such matters as redistricting and the conduct of elections

The waiver, known as a bailout, is the largest such exemption granted to any jurisdiction in the U.S. forced to comply with rules put forth in the Voting Rights Act, stated Prince William County officials.

This is a developing story and we’ll have more on this soon.

News
Crime Declines in Prince William

MURDER CASES AT 10-YEAR LOW

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — In 2011, police in Prince William County investigated and solved three murder cases – the fewest number of murders in the county in 10 years.

There were six fewer murders in Prince William in 2011 than there were in 2010, according to the police department’s annual crime statistic report released today. Detectives in Prince William in 2006 investigated 16 murders, the year that saw the most murders in the county in the past 10 years.

Overall, the report shows the crime rate in the county continued its five-year decline.

The number of reported rapes in the county fell from 53 to 46 in 2011, so did the number of reported robberies from 221 to 173. The categories like burglary, larceny, aggravated assault, and vehicle theft also saw fewer reported instances in 2011.

“The crime rate in Prince William County continues to decline in 2011 at 17.5 crimes per 1,000 residents. This downward trend represents a decrease in the rate of criminal activity. The crime rate is intended to serve as a basic indicator of overall crime trends and is a commonly accepted community measure,” the police report states.

The county’s population was tallied at 409,345 residents, up 11,000 more from the previous year.

Some crimes in Prince William County, however, saw a rise in reported incidents last year.

Assaults, DUI, weapons charges, and charges for the sale and manufacture of drugs rose, the report states.

There were also 91 more reportable traffic crashes in 2011 leading to a 2.9 percent rise in the county’s overall crash rate. Of the 11 fatal crashes that took the lives of 12 people in Prince William in 2011, three involved large commercial trucks, one involved a motorcycle, and one involved a pedestrian death. There were seven fewer fatal traffic crashes in 2011 than in 2010 in Prince William, according to the report.

News
Fire Warnings Continue in Prince William, Stafford

With conditions still ripe for wildfires, Stafford authorities banned outside burning and Prince William officials remind residents to wait until after 4 p.m. to burn.

The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag warning for the region today, as they have since the weekend, warning that the combination of high winds, low humidity and dry conditions produce an atmosphere where wildfires flourish.

In Stafford, an outside burning ban remains in effect until 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to a statement from the county’s fire marshal. Officials in Prince William remind residents to adhere to the state’s burning law that restricts outside burning between 4 p.m. and midnight.

“Most outside burn permits are limited to commercial or agriculture operations and as part of the process a comprehensive review of the operation are conducted before a permit will be approved and issued,” said Prince William fire and rescue spokeswoman Kim Hylander.

Residents in Prince William are urged to call 703-792-6360 for more information on obtaining burn permits.

It’s recommended that residents make sure that grills, recreational or campfires are supervised during use and that they are completely extinguished, said Hylander. With the forecasted gusty winds today, Hylander also said residents should secure all outdoor furniture, trash receptacles, cooking grills, and other freestanding items that may become air born causing injury and damage if not properly secured.

News
Dale City Robbery Arrests Made

DALE CITY, Va. — Police in Prince William County arrested two people in connection to a string of robberies on April 4.

At 10:42 p.m. in the 14300 block of Wrangler Lane, off Darbydale Avenue at the Dale Forest Apartments in Dale City, a 15-year-old boy told police he was approached by two mn who threatened him and demanded in shoes and jacket valued at $120, and then fled in a dark SUV once they got them, according to police documents. The victim was not injured.

Later at 11:15 p.m. in the area of Savannah Drive and Prather Place in Dale City, about a mile from the first robbery, a 13 and 14-year-old boy told police they were walking in the area when three males walked up, threatened them and demanded their things, according to police. The suspects made off with a cell phone and then again fled in an SUV, according to police.

On Thursday, police made arrests of two of the three people suspect to be involved in the cases. Marcus Dequann McClurkin, 20, is charged with three counts of robbery. His court date was not released. Also arrested is a 16-year-old male of Woodbridge, charged with three counts of robbery. His court date was also not released by police.

Police are also investigating another unrelated strong arm robbery in the Dale City area.

Officers were called at 2:45 p.m. Thursday to the area of Minnieville Road and Heneford Drive where a man riding a bicycle was knocked off the bike and assaulted, according to police documents. The victim suffered minor injuries.

The attacker took the victim’s wallet containing cash and then fled the area. Police were not able to locate the attacker.

He’s described as black, between 20 and 30-years-old, 6 feet tall, 190 pounds, medium build, with short black hair, a goatee and a scar on the left side of his face, last seen wearing blue jeans and a blue shirt, police documents state.

 

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