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Veterans Day ceremony planned at Quantico National Cemetery

QUANTICO, Va. — A Veterans Day Ceremony will be held at Quantico National Cemetery on Friday.

Commandant of the Marine Corps General Robert B. Neller will be the keynote speaker for the event to honor the men and women in who serve, and have served their country in uniform.

The ceremony will take place at the flagpole, near Committal Shelter A, at 11 a.m., according to a press release.

More from a press release:

Veterans Day is intended to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month – November 11, 1918.

In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory …”

Lines form early, stay brisk on Election Day

Lines at the polls this Election Day formed early on Tuesday.

Many across Prince William County reported long lines this morning at polling places. The pace was steady, and the mood of the voters: patient. 

In Manassas Park City where voters choose between Barbara Comstock or LuAnn Bennet for the 10th Congressional District, will vote on a Mayor, and a slate of new Governing Body candidates, a total of 1,443 votes were cast in Manassas as of 9 a.m., according to Manasass Park City Deputy Registrar Nancy Van Wyen.

In Pricne William County, elections spokesman Forrest Winston said the pace at the polls was brisk, but reported no problems.

Stafford County General Registrar Greg Riddlemoser reported simliar conditions at the polls, and said there had been no issues with voting eqiuipment. 

Submitted photos from the polls: 


Pictured on the left, Virginia State Senator Scott Surrovell (Fairfax, Stafford, Prince William) — who is not up for election this year — out with voters in Stafford County.

Pictured in the center Prince William Count Occoquan Distinct Supervisor Ruth Anderson, and Prince William County State Delegate Rich Anderson -- both not running for election this year -- with voters at the Prince William County Government Center.

Pictured in the center Prince William Count Occoquan Distinct Supervisor Ruth Anderson, and Prince William County State Delegate Rich Anderson — both not running for election this year — with voters at the Prince William County Government Center.

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Stratford University wants world title for tallest pyramid cake at Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A Guinness Book of World Records judge will be at Potomac Mills mall this week as chefs attempt to make the world’s tallest pyramid cake.

From Stratford University

Stratford University, with eight campuses in Virginia, Maryland, and internationally in New Delhi, India, will attempt to break the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the Tallest pyramid cake on Veterans Day, Friday, November 11 at Potomac Mills.

The current record for the Tallest pyramid cake measured 1.98 m (6 ft 5.95 in) and was achieved by Atul Bakery, Shakti Foundation and Ashwin Sudani in Surat, Gujarat, India, on September 17, 2016.

Beginning at 10 a.m. when the mall opens, Potomac Mills patrons can watch as Stratford chefs finish building and icing the cake in the area adjacent to the Food Court.

A GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS adjudicator will be on hand to judge the cake when it is completed (approximately 2 – 3 p.m.) to confirm that Stratford’s attempt has followed the strict Guinness guidelines and certify that the record has been broken.

Certified Master Chef Raimund Hofmeister, Stratford University Director of Culinary Arts and Hospitality, and Certified Master Pastry Chef Jan Bandula, a Stratford instructor, are coordinating the design and baking of the cake at the Stratford Baltimore campus. The cakes will then be transported and constructed into the pyramid at Potomac Mills.

According to plan, there will be hundreds of sheet cakes weighing a total of more than 8,000 pounds to make up the pyramid cake, which can have no inside structures or support. All totaled, Stratford will need to distribute 32,000 slices of cake.

Stratford University has named the Fisher House Foundation as the charity of its choice for this record breaking attempt. The university will ask for $1 donations for each slice of cake served up at the mall, and that money will be donated to the two Fisher House locations in Ft. Belvoir and Richmond, Virginia. The Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. These homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide, close to the medical center or hospital they serve.


Potomac Local Voter Guide 2016: What’s on my ballot?

It’s been a long election season, and in it will be all over in about 48 hours.

We crafted this local voter guide for residents in Prince William and Stafford counties and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. This handy guide will tell you who is on your ballot, from presidential candidates, city council, and school board.

Also in the Guide: Links to profiles for the two candidates running in the special Manassas City Treasuer election, and links to the two constitutional amendments all Virginia voters will see when they go to the polls on Tuesday.

PotomacLocal.com’s Project: Election sent candidate surveys to all of the candidates listed this post. We have linked to the responses submitted by the candidates. 

If there is no link provided for a candidate for local offices, that candidate did not provide Project: Election questionnaire. 

For Presidential and Congressional candidates, we linked to their campaign websites. An asterisk notes incumbents. 

U.S. President 

Prince William County

1st Congressional District 

10th Congressional District

11th Congressional District

City of Manassas 

10th Congressional District

Manassas City Mayor 

City of Manassas Park 

Manassas Park City Mayor 

Governing Body 

Stafford County 

1st Congressional District 

Griffis-Widewater District School Board Representative 

Now for the two Constitutional Amendment questions that all Virginia residents will see.

Here is the first Constitutional Amendment question on the ballot: 

Should Article I of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to prohibit any agreement or combination between an employer and a labor union or labor organization whereby (i) nonmembers of the union or organization are denied the right to work for the employer, (ii) membership to the union or organization is made a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer, or (iii) the union or organization acquires an employment monopoly in any such enterprise?

Here is the second Constitutional Amendment question on the ballot: 

Shall the Constitution of Virginia be amended to allow the General Assembly to provide an option to the localities to exempt from taxation the real property of the surviving spouse of any law-enforcement officer, firefighter, search and rescue personnel, or emergency medical services personnel who was killed in the line of duty, where the surviving spouse occupies the real property as his or her principal place of residence and has not remarried?

See more 2016 election coverage

No PRTC service cuts in coming year, funding dwindles 

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — As transit officials in Prince William County wrangle with how to keep buses rolling, riders won’t have to worry about service cuts in the coming year.

Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission Interim Director Eric Marx issued this statement to riders of OmniRide commuter, and OmniLink local buses:

“PRTC has started preparing its FY18 budget, and I’m pleased to share some encouraging news with you.

At a special meeting on October 24, the PRTC Board of Commissioners agreed that bus services should not be cut in FY18, which runs from July 2017-June 2018.

 A stable year with no service cuts will enable PRTC to complete its strategic planning effort and allow the Board, our customers and other interested parties in our community to form a vision of what public transportation should look like in the Prince William area in the future. It also provides us with additional time to seek a stable and sustainable alternate source of funding.

 Those of you who are familiar with PRTC know that we’ve cut service often over the past eight years due to declining revenues from the area’s motor fuels tax combined with other federal and local funding issues. While we still have a long budget process in front of us, the prospect of being able to continue providing bus services at current levels is noteworthy.”

Local bus service in Prince William County is funded now solely through the state’s 2.1% motor fuels tax, charged at the pump each time drivers fill up in Northern Virginia.

The Prince William County Government earlier this year moved to rely on the motors fuels tax exclusively to fund buses. At the same time, shifted its source of funding for Virginia Railway Express commuter rail trains from fuels tax funding to a pot of money given to the county by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission that supposed to be used for roadway improvements.

PRTC officials still face a shortfall in funding as the motors fuels tax continues to produce less funding year over year as gas prices fluctuate and new cars continue to earn better fuel economy ratings.

From PRTC: 

Why is an alternative funding source necessary? “Alternative sustainable funding sources are needed because (as you know) funding from the 2.1% motor fuels tax revenue has been insufficient to cover existing services due to the continued drop in fuel prices.”

What sources are being reviewed? “PRTC is in the midst of a strategic planning effort, which includes examining other possible sources.”

Where are we with the budget this year vs. last year? “The FY2018 proposed budget process is under way and will be presented to the Commission at its January 2017 meeting.”

Last year in the light of a budget shortfall, OmniRide riders faced the threat of potential cuts to commuter routes as the system explored the possibility of rerouting buses to have them serve only Metro stations. Thankfully for many, those service changes never happened.

So, what does PRTC need to do to secure a permanent, reliable source of funding? Potomac Local asked state legislators and local officials and received these responses. We’ve posted them in the order we received them: 

Dudenhefer Head Shot

Delegate Mark Dudenhefer (Stafford, Woodbridge)

“I’m not on [the PRTC Board of Commissioners], so my knowledge is superficial. I believe that the majority of their problems with funding shortfalls has come from the decline is gas prices which the gas tax is based on. Gas prices have stabilized a bit which has stopped the leak temporarily.
At the state level we hear most often about setting a tax floor. As you can imagine this is a touchy subject. Where do you set the floor? Many don’t think we should set a floor at all. “
surrovellSenator Scott Surrovell (Fairfax, Stafford, Woodbridge)
“I am pleased that PRTC is not cutting service, but the General Assembly needs to step up and correct the drafting error that resulted in Prince William County losing millions of dollars in transit revenues.  We tried to correct this legislatively last year, but it got caught up in politics.”  
Updated Nov. 5, 2016
AndersonDelegate Richard Anderson (Prince William County)
“The PRTC Board met on October 24th to adopt budget guidelines for FY18 and decided that we would maintain services in FY18 (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018). That decision gives us the necessary time to identify alternate funding sources to fill the hole left by declining tax revenues that result from dramatically lower gas prices. For now, the way ahead is indefinite, but will take on greater clarity after we get beyond several key events that include the following:

– PRTC Board Strategic Planning Session, December 3rd, 8am-12pm, McCoart Government Center (open to the public)

– Governor’s Budget Presentation to the annual joint meeting of the House and Senate money committees, December 16th, 9:30-11am, General Assembly Building in Richmond (open to the public). This event puts the Governor’s proposals in the hands of the legislative branch and permits us to consider PRTC’s budget concerns.

– Convening the 2017 legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly on January 11th (adjourns February 28th). Sometime prior to the opening of session, we’ll have a detailed legislative plan in hand from Hefty Wiley & Gore (HWG), the firm recently hired by PRTC to advocate for a solution to the challenge presented by declining tax revenues. HWG is working on the plan now, and I don’t have visibility into the plan as I type these words.”

Updated: Water main break impacts customers on Possum Point

From Prince William Service Authority: 

a water main break on a 12-inch water main along Possum Point Road. There will be approximately 45 customers on Possum Point Road without water, which includes the Dominion Power Plant, as the Service Authority inspects and makes the necessary repairs to the main.

The affected customers start at the corner of Summer Duck Drive and run east to the end of Possum Point Rd. 

No timetable has been set yet for the completion of the repairs.

2:15 p.m. Update from the Prince William Service Authority: 

Water service has been restored for all.

Boy, 17, crushed by lawnmower near Dumfries

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — A 17-year-old boy was crushed by a lawnmower this morning causing serious injuries. 

The boy was mowing grass on a hillside in the 17300 block of Russett Maple Court near Dumfries, in the Four Seasons gated community off Route 234, when the lawnmower he was using overturned and fell on top of him. 

Fire and rescue crews were called to the scene at 9:12 a.m. Thursday for a report of a crush incident, according to department spokeswoman Kim Hylander. 

The victim was flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital for treatment.

Updated: Police investigate fatal motorcycle crash on Minnieville Road

DALE CITY, Va. — A motorcycle and another vehicle were involved in a crash near the intersection of Minnieville Road and Dale Boulevard. 

Police closed multiple lanes Minnieville Road near Cheshire Station shopping center following the crash that occurred about 8 a.m. Tuesday. At least one person was taken to a hospital.

Traffic headed north on Minnieville Road was reduced to one lane about 8:15 a.m. 

Update from Prince William police:

Fatal Crash Investigation – On October 25 at 7:32AM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the area of Minnieville Rd and Cheshire Station Plz in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a crash involving a motorcycle. The investigation revealed that the operator of a 2004 Suzuki GSX-R750 motorcycle was traveling northbound on Minnieville Rd when, at the same time, the driver of a 2015 Honda Accord was traveling southbound. The Honda Accord driver attempted a left turn into Cheshire Station Plz, crossing in front of the motorcycle operator resulting in a collision. The motorcycle operator was transported to an area hospital where he died as a result of his injuries. The other driver remained at the scene and was not injured. Speed, drug, and alcohol use are not factors in this crash. No charges have been placed at this time. The investigation continues.


The operator of the 2004 Suzuki GSX-R750 was identified as John R. BACHMAN, Jr., 52, of Woodbridge

The driver of the 2015 Honda Accord was identified as a 69-year-old man of Woodbridge

Updated Oct. 26, 2016

Masked men rob Southbridge gas station

From Prince William police: 

Armed Robbery – On October 20 at 8:48PM, officers responded to the Shell service station located at 3186 River Heritage Blvd in Dumfries (22026) to investigate a robbery. Employees reported to police that two unknown, masked men entered the business and approached the counter. Once at the counter, one of the men brandished a firearm and demanded money. The men fled the store with an undisclosed amount of money. No injuries were reported. A police K-9 search the area for the suspects who were not located.

Suspect Descriptions:

2 black males, unknown ages, both between 5’8”-5’9” – no further description provided

Both were last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black jeans, and black ski-style masks; One suspect was wearing black shoes while the other wore white shoes

Maintenance crews turn attention to Dumfries sewer system

DUMFRIES, Va. — Residents of the Williamstown neighborhood in Dumfries should expect to see maintenance work being performed on the sewer system.

Prince William County Service Authority press release: 

Expected to take approximately nine weeks to finish, the project entails lining sewer mains with Cured-In-Place-Pipe. The lining process is done in lieu of replacing the pipe itself, which is often a much more costly and disruptive measure for both customers and the utility.

Once completed, the resin-like substance used in the CIPP process hardens and essentially becomes a new pipe inside the existing sewer main. This protects the main from tree root intrusion and corrosion that can occur over long periods of time. CIPP also prevents groundwater infiltration into the sanitary sewer system during rain events, which helps reduce the amount of flow to the wastewater treatment plant.

The average sewer pipe lasts about 40 years, while CIPP can extend that lifespan to 90 years.

Each year, the Service Authority inspects more than a hundred miles of sewer line to determine where CIPP would be most effective. The Service Authority’s goal is to line eight miles worth of sewer main by June 30, 2017.

WPWC Radio towers collapse

Two of four towers collapsed at WPWC-AM, a radio station in Dumfries.

The towers are used to broadcast Radio Zion, a Spanish Christian Radio outlet. The station is operating on low power due to the loss of the towers.

Station owner Al Hammond said a sycamore tree fell onto one of the support wires of one tower can cause it to collapse. That tower then fell onto the lines of a second tower causing it to collapse.

The towers’ collapse damaged the base of both structures. Hammond said new towers had been ordered at the cost of $70,000 each to replace the fallen structures.

A view of one of the collapsed towers and damage to fencing.

A view of the bases of the collapsed towers and damage to fencing.

A rainstorm that occurred in our region, prior the time when Hurricane Matthew impacted the east coast, caused the caused the ground to become soggy and the sycamore tree to tumble, causing a domino effect on the towers, said Hammond.

No injuries were reported in the towers’ collapse. Two of the four towers at the radio station, located at the corner of Mine and Van Buren roads can be seen from Interstate 95.

The towers site is located along the bank of Quantico Creek is known to flood after heavy rains. A bridge that carries traffic on Van Buren Road over Quantico Creek also catches debris when the creek floods.

“This has always been an issue since the station was built in 1965,” said Hammond, who is the third owner of the station.

Hammond expects his replacement towers to be manufactured within six weeks; then they will be erected in place the old towers. The towers sit on eight-foot pedestals because the ground at the site can become soggy, he added.

The radio station has undergone changes over the years, to include a switch from its original broadcasting frequency of 1580 AM to its current spot on the dial at 1480 AM. Before becoming an outlet for a religious broadcaster, the station played country music.

The base of one of the towers that remains standing.

The base of one of the towers that remains standing.

Raymond Wilson “Cousin Ray” Woolfenden owned and managed the station from the mid-1970s to 2000 when it was sold to a new owner. Woolfenden died the same year.

When operating at full power, the 500-watt WPWC has a strong signal that can be heard as far north as Alexandria and Annandale, said Hammond.

PRTC turns 30, holds celebration in Woodbridge

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission is 30 years old. 

The transit agency that operates OmniRide and OmniLink buses in Prince William County, as well as plays a role in Virginia Railway Express, held a celebration on October 8 to mark the occasion, at the PRTC Transit Center in Woodbridge. 

Former Virginia Delegate David Brickley, who sponsored PRTC’s founding legislation, talks about the history of the agency during its 30th anniversary celebration. Joining him (l –r) were Eric Marx, PRTC Interim Executive Director, and PRTC Board Chairman Frank J. Principi.

Former Virginia Delegate David Brickley, who sponsored PRTC’s founding legislation, talks about the history of the agency during its 30th-anniversary celebration. Joining him (l –r) were Eric Marx, PRTC Interim Executive Director, and PRTC Board Chairman Frank J. Principi.

From Interim Executive Director Eric Marx: 

PRTC celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this month by hosting a community celebration with family-friendly entertainment, bus excursions and tours of the Transit Center. We didn’t invite the rainy weather, but it showed up anyway. Yes we got a little wet, but it was dry under the large tent that was temporarily placed in our parking lot.

Those who didn’t let the raindrops discourage them had a fun time watching the talented young folks who performed in our Youth Showcase, laughing with our juggler/entertainer, being amazed by many fabulous balloon art creations, taking silly photos in our photo booth, watching a police K-9 demonstration , climbing in and out of various emergency vehicles , and enjoying delicious treats from multiple food trucks.

The public was amazingly generous, donating so many non-perishables and toiletries that we were able to fill 10 good-sized boxes that will be distributed to area homeless shelters over the next week. What great timing with the holiday season just around the corner!

I want to publicly thank the many groups and individuals who made our day special:

·        The elected officials and dignitaries who kicked off our celebration by recalling our 30 years of history;

·        The youth groups who showed off their skills and kept us entertained;

·        The Prince William County police and fire/rescue departments who brought vehicles so the children could experience them up-close;

·        The county’s Public Works department, which staffed a table educating people about pests and even brought along a snake;

·        The Virginia State Police who brought an explosives-sniffing K-9 for a demonstration;

·        The many members of the public who helped us to celebrate our day; and

·        My wonderful staff who poured their hearts and souls into planning the celebration

Among the dignitaries celebrating PRTC’s 30th anniversary were Virginia Delegate Mark Dudenhefer, Virginia Delegate Richard Anderson, Prince William County Supervisor Ruth Anderson, former Virginia Delegate David Brickley, and former Stafford County Chairman Robert Gibbons.

Among the dignitaries celebrating PRTC’s 30th anniversary were Virginia Delegate Mark Dudenhefer, Virginia Delegate Richard Anderson, Prince William County Supervisor Ruth Anderson, former Virginia Delegate David Brickley, and former Stafford County Chairman Robert Gibbons.

Traffic, school quality concerns common of those moving to Woodbridge

As Woodbridge continues to grow, planners are focused on easing traffic congestion and bringing new transportation options to the area.

Those considering moving to Woodbridge are families with elementary-school aged children, according to realtor Mark Worrilow, who has sold real estate in the region for nearly 20 years.

“I’m not getting questions about Metro expansion to Woodbridge, or if there is a ferry that can take people to work in D.C.,” said Worrilow.

The Realtor does field questions about what types of shopping are available, what are the quality of the public schools, and questions about how bad is the traffic congestion?

“My customers like to hear about Stonebridge and all of the new stores coming there,” he said.

Worrilow points curious parents to the county school’s website for educational information and test scores. As for traffic: While some people don’t want to make the drive from Woodbridge to Washington, D.C. every day, they quickly learn that they can have more house for the same money than if they moved to Burke in Fairfax County to the north, said Worrilow.

Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi has long labored under the term “New Woodbridge,” and has touted new growth in the area — to include Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center — as well as the widening of traffic-clogged Route 1. He’s also been an outspoken proponent of a Metrorail extension to Woodbridge, and for a water taxi service from Occoquan to Alexandria and Washington.

Principi at 7 p.m. Thursday will hold a public meeting focused on transportation, called “Get Woodbridge Moving.”

From Principi’s website:

Let’s talk traffic! Traffic congestion in this region has been ranked worst in the country, negatively impacting the environment, and costing area families and businesses time, money and productivity. Come hear about the state of our transportation system and the need to link land use with transportation policies. We’ll also explore:

What is the relationship between land use policy decisions and traffic congestion?

Are we ready for Metrorail? Expanded bus and rail service? Bus rapid transit? Fast ferry?

How you can help the county make the right policy and budget choices?

Residents who attend the town hall are asked to weigh in and comment. Representatives from the Prince William County Planning Office, the Potomac, and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, and VDOT are scheduled to attend.

The meeting will be held at Homewood Suites by Hilton, located at 2650 Neabsco Commons Place in Woodbridge.

People are excited to learn about the widening of Route 1, and like the idea of using Virginia Railway Express to get to their place of employment added Worrilow.

Police investigate three reports of shots fired at houses

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Prince William police are investigating a series of shots fired at houses over the weekend. 

Two of the reports are about shots fired at homes in Dale City, specifically in the Hillendale and Kerrydale sections of town. 

Press release: 

Shooting into a Residential DwellingOn October 15 at 9:56PM, officers responded to a residence located in the 13400 block of Keytone Rd in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a shots fired call. The caller reported to police that multiple gunshots were heard in the above area. A silver sedan was also observed leaving the area at a high rate of speed. Officers arrived and located several shell casings in the roadway. During a check of the homes, one residence was determined to have been struck. No one was home at the time of the incident and no injuries or other property damage were reported.

Shooting into a Residential DwellingOn October 15 at 2:38PM, officers responded to a residence located in the 4100 block of Hoffman Dr in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a shots fired call. Multiple callers, including the homeowner, reported to police that gunshots were fired into the residence by a passenger in a dark-colored sedan, possibly a Toyota. While speaking to the residents of the home, a strong odor of marijuana was detected. During the investigation, the residents of the home became uncooperative with investigators. No injuries or other property damage were reported. The investigation into the suspected drug activity at the home is ongoing. This incident does not appear to be random.

The third report is from an incident that took place in Dumfries.

Shooting into a Residential Dwelling On October 15 at 1:44AM, officers responded to the area of Milroy Dr and Brockenbrough Dr in Dumfries (22026) to investigate a shots fired call. The caller reported to police that three unknown men were observed in the above area. At one point, gunshots were heard and the men fled. When officers arrived on Milroy Dr, they determined two unoccupied vehicles were struck, in addition to, a residence. No injuries or other property damage were reported. Officers further determined that a party was going on at a residence on Milroy Dr. No descriptions of the men initially seen were provided to police. A police K-9 was searched for the men who were not located. This incident does not appear to be random.

Anyone with information about these incidents is encouraged to contact Prince William County Crime Solvers.

Junction B&B in Manassas is expanding

After seven years in business, and having to turn away hundreds of tourists due to space limitations, the Manassas Junction B&B is expanding.

Owners Mark and Ann Hempen plan to rehabilitate an existing outbuilding on the property into a 450-square-foot cottage suite for the Bed and Breakfast. The addition will provide a third “room” for guests; currently, two rooms are available for rent in the 2,700 square foot main house. As a long time residents of the City, the Hempen’s hope the addition will encourage additional tourists “to enjoy and be enriched by the history, culture, and friendliness of Manassas.”

Located in Historic Downtown Manassas, the Queen Anne, Eastlake style Victorian home was originally built in 1902. Completely restored, and furnished with period antiques, this cozy bed and breakfast is the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxing get-a-way weekend or to accommodate out of town guests.

The owners were able to take advantage of the City’s Arts and Tourism incentive program to help offset the costs of the expansion.

For additional information on the Arts and Tourism incentive program, visit:

For additional information on Manassas Junction B&B, visit:

This promoted post is written and paid for by the City of Manassas Department of Economic Development.

‘Death Trail’ is prime haunted walk in Prince William County

Calling all horror fans: if you’re in for a good scare, then The 2016 Death Trail “Asylum” is the next on your Halloween to-do.

The Death Trail is an attraction just outside Dumfries that incorporates a good scare for horror fanatics, but the last five minutes of the trail is the real hook of the entire attraction.

As walkers near the end of the horror, there’s a special religious twist.

“If it wasn’t for the final five minutes of the trail, we wouldn’t do the rest of it because it’s a tremendous amount of work, it takes a lot of manpower and a lot of energy to do this. But we feel like, our goal is to reach people that normally wouldn’t go to a church and hear a message,” said Executive Pastor Brad Lewis, of Montclair Tabernacle Church Church of God.

While spooky Halloween haunted walks are a staple on farms in Fairfax, Fauquier, and Spotsylvania counties, The Death Trail has emerged as the only haunted trail in Prince William County.

Even though the trail is connected to a church, the attraction is marketed as a secular attraction, not a religious event. “We try and market it as a secular style event, so we try to rival things like Busch Gardens, Kings Dominion, other prominent — total secular haunts,” said Lewis.

“We’ve been surprised. We knew we didn’t have a lot of competition, but we basically geared it to a secular audience and not a church audience. And over the years since we started in 2009, we have just been outstanded at the response from people,” said Lewis.

In fact, the trail attracts people all the way from Baltimore, Richmond, and even the Shenandoah Valley. Lewis notes that whenever most first visit the property, they don’t really understand how it’s connected to a church. In fact, he commonly hears the question ““Hey, how does a church allow you guys to do a haunted trail on their property?”

The Death Trail website describes itself as “a balance between a haunted trail and a house of death.” Despite its name, the Death Trail is indeed safe, well equipped with security personnel and fire/insurance codes. Depending on individual pace, the trail takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

Those who dare to embark on the trail can encounter an array of a nightmare. “They encounter all kinds of things. Demented clowns, a cannibalistic family, a crazy toy store terror is what we’re calling it this year where the toys literally come to life.”

This year’s theme is the Asylum. Tickets for the attraction are $15 per person, but visitors may upgrade to $30 to travel to the front of the line, receive 25% off all merchandise, and access the Death Trail’s special escape room.

The trail is the deep, dark, spooky woods next to Montclair Tabernacle Church of God, located at 16120 Dumfries Road.

Tests reveal Williams Ordinary in Dumfries not as old as we thought

072914-First-on-plOne of Prince William County’s most historic buildings is not as old as we thought.

Williams Ordinary is one of the oldest structures in the county dating back to when Dumfries was still a bustling port town on the Potomac River. Today, the building on Route 1 south (Main Street in Dumfries)  is owned by the county government and used as offices for its Historic Preservation Division.

Williams Ordinary was thought to have been built as a tavern in 1760. But new tests revealed the building is newer, dating back to just before George Washington took the Office of the Presidency, to 1786 – 87.

Here’s more from an email to Potomac Local from preservationist Sarah Nucci, who works for Prince William County Government.

“… this past year we did dendrochronology to try and get a scientific date on the structure. [The] Common thought was that it was built in 1760, as a tavern. More research turned up that the lots were part of a store that was the Glassford, Gordon, Monteath, and Company Store leading up to the Revolutionary War. The main owner (John Glassford and Company) sells the store off when the colonies declare independence – in order to prevent his property being seized). The property is used as at least one other store, but over time Dumfries declines as a town.

In 1786 there is a newspaper article that William McDaniels’ Tavern burns to the ground, and a few months later there is a mention that he has found a new building and retrofitted it as a tavern and can once again receive customers.

At the same time, William Carr’s estate – buys property and begins to sink money into the property. The records from the estate outline the new kitchen, Esme Smocks’ brick house/tavern, stables, lumber yard and more. This is also the same property that housed the Tebbs-Mundy house (these same 4 lots that the Ordinary now stands on).

It was pretty confusing to try and determine what was happening with the house – but the Dendrochronology came back with the end of 1786/begining of 1787 as the dates for the timbers used in the building. The building is large, though, so it wasn’t likely to be completed in that small time frame of a year – likely about three years or so.

In the end, it looks like this building was constructed as a tavern for Esme Smock (rented by Smock from William Carr’s heirs). There were various other small support buildings on the property; those do not still stand – although archaeology has helped with a better understanding where they were.

The dendrochronology process looks at the wood used in the building to determine the date of the structure. The testing was completed by the Oxford Tree Ring Laboratory in Baltimore


Dendro is pretty cheap (about $2,000 range.) They take core samples of timbers used in the framing of the building (this includes floor supports and rafters in brick buildings like the WO) The use pieces that were hewn from logs and they need about 50-100 years of growth at a minimum and one corner should show where the bark was located on the log.

They take the samples, polish, and then compare them to a master database (climate, rainfall, etc affect each region’s ring growth, as well as the type of tree it is). Our master database lines us up to 1786/7 for the harvesting of those trees. This is pretty hard science – so no guessing, actually provable date.

Michael Worthington, from the Oxford Tree Ring Laboratory in Baltimore did our dendrochronology, paid for by our budget. He had the initial dates back to us within a month or two, but the final report tends to take a bit longer.

So, why did we think so for long that Williams Ordinary dated back to 1760?


So the Tebbs Mundy house had a fireback (cast iron piece in the back of a fireplace) had a 1762 date on it. When it was destroyed, it already had been recorded as having that 1760’s date. The Williams Ordinary is identical to the Tebbs-Mundy House. Very typical construction for the 1760s in terms of form, but the all header bond on the front of both buildings was strange. The few other buildings in the region with all header bond on the front were also 1760’s.

In the end – the important thing to know is that firebacks can be moved (they don’t burn up, so they can go from house to house if needed/wanted). And the Carr Estate (and Tebbs-Mundy) liked older style buildings.

No matter what the age of a house, any home can have problems. On Monday, it was found that a toilet inside the building had been leaking. The leak caused damage to drywall and left an employee’s desk wet.

A repair order was submitted to fix the leak. In the meantime, it prompted some cool photos that give us a good look inside the walls of Williams Ordinary.





Five arrested, charged in Dumfries motel robbery

From Prince William police: 

Strong Armed Robbery *ARREST – On October 12, members of the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force and detectives from the Prince William County Police Street Crimes Unit located and arrested the three suspects wanted in connection to the October 9 robbery which occurred at the Super 8 Hotel located at 17416 Jefferson Davis Hwy in Dumfries. Suspects FLORES and BARBOSA-PALACIOS were arrested in the area of Hoadly Rd and Dumfries Rd while the BLANCO suspect was located in the Springfield area of Fairfax County. Detectives from the Robbery Unit were also able to identify the fourth suspect involved in this incident as Clifford Rafael MONTIEL. Detectives obtained warrants for the arrest of this suspect who turned himself into police on October 13 without incident.

Arrested on October 12 & 13:

Vicky Samantha FLORES, 24, of no fixed address

Carlos Armando BLANCO, 31, of the 9400 block of Cherwek Dr in Lorton

Cesar Octavio BARBOSA-PALACIOS, 28, of the 17200 block of Larkin Dr in Dumfries

Clifford Rafael MONTIEL, 27, of the 16900 block of Monmouth Ct in Dumfries

All suspects were charged with 3 counts of robbery each

Court Date: December 19, 2016 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

Flores was arrested earlier this year in connection to a robbery at a Wells Fargo Bank in Dale City.









Manassas makes getting a food truck permit easier

Diners in search of fast, novel, and delicious meals may soon have more choices as new rules enable food trucks to open for business in the City of Manassas.

Although food trucks have always been a fixture at Manassas events like the Fall Jubilee, and have always been permitted at private events, recent changes to the zoning ordinance make it possible for food trucks to open on a regular basis. The zoning change responded to a growing nationwide and local demand among consumers for food truck fare and a growing number of local vendors ready to open for business.

Restaurateurs interested in parking their food trucks in Manassas will find a streamlined process for permitting. Food trucks are permitted to open if a property owner with at least one acre of land grants permission, and the truck owner obtains an annual $50 zoning permit, a business license, and all appropriate licenses and inspections from the Virginia Department of Health.

Up to three food trucks can stay open at an approved location for four hours between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., and all trucks must be removed from the property at the end of the day.

 Please visit www.manassascity.org/zoningpermits or call 703-257-8232 for more information.

This promoted post is written and paid for by the City of Manassas Department of Economic Development.

Bank robbery suspect now sought in robbery at Dumfries hotel

One of four suspects police are searching for, connected to a strong-armed robbery at a Dumfries motel, was also charged earlier this year in a Dale City bank robbery. 

From police: 

Strong Armed Robbery – On October 9 at 9:00PM, officers, with assistance from Dumfries Police, responded to the Super 8 Hotel located at 17416 Jefferson Davis Hwy in Dumfries (22026) to investigate a robbery. Three victims, identified as a 22-year-old man of Woodbridge, a 21-year-old woman of Woodbridge, and a 27-year-old man of Dumfries, reported to police that they made arrangements with an unknown woman via social media to conduct a narcotics transaction. The woman initially went to the hotel room then left. A short time later, the woman returned with three men who forced their way into the room. The suspects took marijuana, a cell phone, wallet, and bag before fleeing. Minor injuries were reported. Upon reviewing surveillance footage, three of the suspects were identified. Following the investigation, detectives from the Robbery Unit obtained warrants for the arrest of those suspects. The fourth male suspect remains unidentified.


Vicky Samantha FLORES, 24, of no fixed address

Described as a Hispanic female, 5’0”, 200lbs with a heavy build, black hair, and brown eyes

Carlos Armando BLANCO, 31, of the 9400 block of Cherwek Dr in Lorton

Described as a Hispanic male, 5’10”, 185lbs with a medium build, black hair and brown eyes

Cesar Octavio BARBOSA-PALACIOS, 28, of the 17200 block of Larkin Dr in Dumfries

Described as a Hispanic male, 5’11”, 220lbs with a heavy build, black hair and brown eyes

All three suspects are wanted for 3 counts of robbery each

Suspect Description:

The fourth suspect was described as a Hispanic male with a heavy build and beard

Flores turned herself into police and was charged in an April 5 bank robbery at Wells Fargo in Dale City.

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