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Traffic
Virginia Railway Express apologizes after lengthy Friday commute

Commuters on Virginia Railway Express had to contend with long delays on Friday.

A portion of the track just south of Long Bridge across the Potomac River in Arlington caught fire, leaving passengers stranded for hours.

This morning, the transit agency issued an apology.

First, we would like to apologize to everyone affected by the service disruption last Friday evening due to the brush fires north of Crystal City. We know that some of our passengers got home some three to four hours late and understood this is a major inconvenience. As a follow-up, we would like to explain the timeline of events.

Once the fire was out, bridge inspectors were sent to make sure the bridge was stable enough to handle rail traffic, but they became stuck in traffic delays.

More from VRE: (more…)

News
‘The last day to vote in-person absentee is Saturday, Nov. 4.’

From an email from Prince William County Government: 

People whose work times will exceed 11 hours between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Election Day, voters who have business or will be on vacation outside of the county on Election Day, and voters who have a disability or religious obligations don’t have to miss their opportunity to vote in this year’s General Election. They can vote by absentee ballot instead.

Those who would like to vote absentee by mail can request a ballot be mailed to them. Applications for mailed ballots can be found on the Office of Elections’ website. The application must be received by 5 p.m. on Oct. 31, and the ballot must be completed and returned by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

For those who would rather vote in person, absentee voting is available now at the Office of Elections, 9250 Lee Avenue in Manassas, and the Woodbridge Department of Motor Vehicles located at 2731 Caton Hill Road. Additional in-person absentee voting locations will open on Oct. 23, including:

— Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building, 15941 Donald Curtis Drive in Woodbridge

— McCoart Government Center, 1 County Complex Court in Woodbridge

— Haymarket-Gainesville Community Library, 14870 Lightner Road in Haymarket

— Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre, 12229 Bristow Road in Bristow

The last day to vote in-person absentee is Saturday, Nov. 4.

Items on this year’s ballot include races for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General for the state of Virginia and Virginia House of Delegates races.

Visit the Prince William County Office of Elections website at www.pwcvotes.com for a complete list of qualifications to vote absentee.

News
Police arrest man, 22, in connection with stabbing investigation

From Prince William County police:

Stabbing Investigation – On October 17 at 12:33a.m., officers responded to a hotel located in the 17100 block of Dumfries Rd in Dumfries (22025) to investigate a stabbing. The investigation revealed that the victims, a 21-year-old man and a 24-year-old man both of Midland, and two other male acquaintances were involved in a verbal altercation at the hotel, which escalated.

During the encounter, the accused stabbed both of the victims in the upper body with a knife. The parties eventually separated and police were contacted. When officers arrived, they detained the accused without incident. The victims were transported to a local area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested without incident.

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A member of the Felmley family has been involved with the hospital from before it was even built — that’s more than 45 years of service!

When Martha Felmley was invited to an introductory meeting for the Potomac Hospital Auxiliary in the early 70’s, she had no idea it would ignite a passion that would consume nearly half of her life and be passed down through the generations.

“We had fundraisers to make money and went door to door to collect money. In the beginning, it was all about money to build the hospital” remembers the soon-to-be 90-year-old, smiling.

For Martha Felmley, that commitment grew as the hospital did. Over the years, in addition to volunteering, she served on the Hospital Board of Trustees and worked in community relations, her family always by her side. That’s why it’s no surprise the hospital became a family affair, with Felmley’s daughter and granddaughter both eventually working here!

For Felmley’s daughter, Martha Moore, the connections to the hospital started before she could drive. “I used to babysit Howard Greenhouse’s children!” she remembers, laughing.

Moore, now a Cardiac Systems Coordinator for Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, started out babysitting the head of the hospital board’s children. It was about that same time she was a candy striper at the hospital, and from there, she was a weekend cashier in the gift shop. (more…)



‘…concerns have been raised within the business community regarding whether or not focusing on a real estate tax ratio is the best “measuring stick” for progress’

On Friday, November 3, the Prince William Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee will host renowned economist, Dr. Stephen Fuller of the Stephen S. Fuller Institute and members of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors for a discussion on regional trends and the economics of growing the commercial tax base in Prince William County.

Earlier this year, Prince William County approved their FY17-20 Strategic Plan which contains long-term goals for the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) on topics ranging from economic development to public safety and education. Of particular interest to the business community is the economic development goal focused on increasing the ratio of commercial property tax to 35% of all collected revenues. Since the plan’s approval, the Chamber has hosted multiple meetings on this issue, hearing from County staff as well as industry leaders. 

View a September Opinion piece by the Chamber that explains more about the issue.

While growing business in the County is an important goal, and one which the Chamber supports, concerns have been raised within the business community regarding whether or not focusing on a real estate tax ratio is the best “measuring stick” for progress. The Chamber has invited the Prince William Board of County Supervisors to attend the presentation to hear from Dr. Fuller in hopes that the targeted discussion will provide the necessary economic framework to inform future policy decisions regarding the expansion of the commercial tax base. (more…)

News
Prince William County leaders proclaim birth of Baha’ullah, founder of Baha’i Faith

WOODBRIDGE — When it came time to approve the consent agenda at last night’s meeting, the Brentsville District Supervisor stopped the show.

“What is this?” asked Jeanine Lawson.

The elected leader questioned a proclamation to praise the founder of Baha’i Faith, Baha’ullah, 200 years ago.

“I had never heard of it,” said Lawson. “I’m not questioning its existence, but I’ve not seen something like this in the past three years during my time on the Board.”

Lawson said she was concerned that the county Board of Supervisors would proclaim one religion, opening up the floodgates for proclamations to other faiths.

“With all due respect Supervisor Lawson, just because we haven’t recognized the Bellu’i Faith since you’ve been on the Board doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start now,” said Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi, who brought the proclamation to the Board.

Prince William County Attorney Michelle Robl was asked to weigh in. She said the proclamation was in line with what the Board had supported in the past.

“I don’t think this is putting the board behind a certain religion,” she said.

Lawson threatened to bring forward a resolution to requesting the Board of Supervisors honor Jesus Christ if this Board approved this particular resolution.

It did, with Lawson being the only leader to vote Nay.

News
Outdoor Food Festival to stock shelves for ACTS food pantry

From an email:

Manassas, VA– The Prince William Chamber of Commerce will host their annual Cuisine de Commerce on Thursday, November 2 from 3:00-6:00 p.m. in the parking lot of the Chamber’s building at 9720 Capital Court near the Manassas Airport.

This year the event transforms from a luncheon into an outdoor food festival; complete with live music by classic rock cover band Type A, cornhole boards and all-you-can-eat samples from the area’s best restaurants, caterers and food trucks. Those attending should bring a donation of non-perishable foods. Burke & Herbert Bank is sponsoring a food drive at Cuisine de Commerce with donations benefitting the ACTS food pantry in Dumfries. (more…)

News
‘After this evening, it’s mainly a temperature forecast through the middle of the week, with attention paid to frost/freeze concerns’

From the National Weather Service: 

“DAY ONE…Today and Tonight Patchy frost is possible tonight, primarily away from the urban areas and away from the tidal waters. .DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…Tuesday through Sunday Patchy frost is possible Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, primarily away from the urban areas and away from the tidal waters.

SHORT TERM /6 PM THIS EVENING THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT/… After this evening, it`s mainly a temperature forecast through the middle of the week, with attention paid to frost/freeze concerns. High pressure will move in from the west tonight and then remain directly over the region through the middle of the week. Clouds will be minimal and winds light.

Have trended forecast toward colder guidance for overnight lows given what should be fairly good radiational cooling conditions. Tonight may be a little tricky since some wind is likely to linger, but it does look like calmer conditions are likely toward dawn. A Freeze Watch will be in effect for portions of the highlands tonight. Would not be surprised if there were some pockets of near-freezing temperatures in the rest of the western valleys as well. Will let the day shift determine which areas will need a Frost Advisory, with locations west of the Blue Ridge looking most favorable.

Temperatures will gradually moderate through the middle of the week, but not before another potential frost/freeze for outlying areas Tuesday night. Daytime highs will remain in the 60s Tuesday, but inch into the 70s for some areas on Wednesday.”

News
Do community service by playing in NOVEC HELPS’ Texas Hold’em fundraiser

From Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative:

MANASSAS, Va. – Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative’s group of employee volunteers, NOVEC HELPS, will hold its 7th annual Texas Hold’em fundraising poker tournament on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Prince William County Police Association Hall, 14288 Independent Hill Drive, Manassas. Registration starts at 5:30 p.m. Games start at 6:30 p.m. The top 10 players will win prizes and other participants will win door prizes. Fee: $50 per player if registered before Oct. 20; $60 at the door.

NOVEC HELPS will give net proceeds to charitable, community, and school organizations supported by HELPS. Groups include: the American Red Cross, Easter Seals, ACTS, Northern Virginia Family Service, Britepath, and Rainbow Therapeutic Riding Center. (more…)

News
Puzzle Palooza outgrows Occoquan, expanding to a second location

From Puzzle Palooza:

We are very excited to be opening our second location in Manassas at 9411 Main St. Suite 101, the Trusler Hall Building, next to Philly Tavern. Our goal is to be open at 10 AM Monday morning November 13. We will be spending the entire weekend moving in and setting up shop. We will be open seven days a week starting at 10 AM till 7 pm M-F, with later hours in the evening on weekends.

As with their initial space, we will be featuring Puzzles and Puzzle accessories, books, brain teasers and puzzle games from four pieces to 40,000 pieces ranging from ages toddler to elderly. We started our first location in Occoquan 2013 and have watched it grow over the past five years into our own little empire.

We are listed as # 1 in “Things to Do in Occoquan” on Trip Advisor and feel honored and proud of the support from customers and the community. Puzzle building Is a common hobby/love for us since childhood and after visiting several out-of-state Puzzle/hobby shops, we knew that it was what we wanted to do. We quickly learned that it reconstituted the ideal framework of “family fun” and supported longtime traditions.
(more…)

Traffic
‘It is getting worse every day.’ We’re holding traffic think tank on Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads

Prince William County Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson, her team, and Potomac Local will hold an Occoquan District Traffic Think Tank on Thursday, Oct. 19 at Buckhall Volunteer Fire Department Station at 7190 Yates Ford Road.

 Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads are two very busy thoroughfares commuters from Prince William County use to get to Fairfax County. 

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s a comment left on Potomac Local about just how bad the two roads are: 

“It is getting worse every day. I commuted that way to and from Oakton for 15 yrs until 1998 and it was not easy then. My hubby never believed me BUT he has commuted that way for the last 7 yrs and is miserable. His commute is 21 miles one way and its taking him 1.5 hrs to get home on a good day. God forbid there is a disabled car or accident because there is no way to get around it and no alternate route. Can’t even turn around. He leaves home at o”dark:30 in the mornings when school is in session. Two lane roads and the buses stop at every single driveway. More and more are using these back roads because 28 >29> Fairfax is an even longer and messier commute. The root cause is that there are few viable ways to get to Fairfax from Eastern PWC. I-95..nope. Route 123…packed. 28>29…lord no.”

The event is free to attend and is open to the public, but you must register and get your tickets. While there, you’ll be able to learn more about Davis Ford and Yates Ford road corridors, hear from elected officials on what can be done about the problem, take our commuter survey, and suggest your solutions to the problem.

Here’s a map of Davis Ford and Yates Ford roads in case you don’t know which roads we’ll be talking about. 

This latest traffic think tank is the second in which we’ve collaborated on with Anderson. This past spring, we welcomed about 100 people to Waters End Brewery, had a few cold ones, and talked about solutions to the issues plaguing drivers on Old Bridge Road.

 

Traffic
Grand opening of The Wharf expected to delay OmniRide passengers

From a press release:

OmniRide passengers should anticipate significant delays this evening due to the grand opening of The Wharf, which is expected to bring 20,000 people to Southeast D.C., and Game 5 of the baseball playoffs at Nationals Park.

Some OmniRide buses that serve routes in that area later serve other routes, so any delays in getting into the District this afternoon and serving area bus stops could have a ripple effect for commuters on all OmniRide routes. (more…)


2017 Prince William County Youth Salute Winners

Osbourn Park High School senior Brightney Varghese, 2017 Prince William County Youth Salute winner, will represent Prince William County Schools at the National Council on Youth Leadership Summit in St. Louis, Missouri, October 21-24, 2017.

Varghese is among 108 Prince William County high school seniors, and ten finalists, honored for academic achievement, formidable leadership skills, and a strong commitment to service at the restored and renovated 30th Prince William County Youth Salute Awards.  She and three runners-up, Emmanuel Murphy, Jacqueline Days and Jarrett Lash, were chosen by the Prince William Youth Salute Council to receive a Youth Salute Council scholarship and plaque.

Ten finalists were selected based on their resumes and two essays they each wrote addressing topics such as leadership, personal accomplishment, role models, and challenges facing youth today.  The following students were honored before their peers, parents, special guests, and school administrators at a ceremony held at Forest Park High School on Thursday, September 21, 2017.

Winner – Brightney Varghese…Osbourn Park High School
1st runner-up – Emmanuel Murphy…Christ Chapel Academy
2nd runner-up – Jacqueline Days…Colgan High School
3rd runner-up – Jarrett Lash…Patriot High School
Breyana Hopkins…Potomac High School
Akosua Odei…Stonewall Jackson High School
Tiyam Assadpour …Patriot High School
Rida Subzwari…Gar-Field High School
Vera Bordoh-Ansah…Stonewall Jackson High School
Matthew Cinnamon…Forest Park High School

(more…)


News
The five creepiest places to visit in Prince William County

Looking for creepy haunts this Halloween? We asked the folks over at the Prince William County Tourism office about the creepiest, scariest, most fun places to visit in the county. 

They told us: 

1. Weems-Botts Museum

Location – 3944 Cameron St.Dumfries, VA 22026

Why – Get frightened at Weems-Botts Museum, the second most haunted home in Virginia. Once home to Parson Weems, the biographer for George Washington, today the museum is rumored to have paranormal activity. Civil War soldiers are said to haunt the nearby cemeteries and park while a child, who still talks to ghost hunters in the voice of a little girl, haunts the home. The house was featured on Biography Channel’s “My Ghost Story” and offers ghost tours every October.

2. Ben Lomond Historic Site

Location 10321 Sudley Manor Dr. Manassas, VA 20109

Why – Opening and closing doors, phantom footsteps, and mysteriously relocating objects are part of the experience when exploring the history of the Ben Lomond Historic Site. Ben Lomond has a diverse history, from being a Civil War hospital to being the home of countless slaves. Today, many local residents claim that the house and grounds are haunted by spirits from the past.

Weems-Botts Museum

3. Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre

Location– 12229 Bristow Rd. Bristow, VA 20136 

Why – Connect with Agness, the spirit who allegedly haunts the jail at this 28-acre site. Agness was one of 13 people executed outside the jail after she was tried and convicted of killing her master.. People claim they have heard voices coming from the jail or have seen faces in the windows of the building. The television show “Ghost Hunters” filmed here just a few years ago. 

4. Historic Occoquan

Location – 200 Mill St. Occoquan, VA 22125

Why – This quaint town along the Occoquan River boasts numerous ghosts and features walking ghost tours throughout the year. Get a glimpse of the Indian who allegedly appears in a bathroom mirror at a local restaurant, talk to store owners who have had their merchandise strewn around and look for the young man who haunts a busy street corner.

The Winery at La Grange

5. The Winery at La Grange

Location – 4970 Antioch Rd. Haymarket, VA 20169

Why – The house and property are rich with history and folklore. Many visitors share their stories of experiences with the ghosts that live here. Most of the encounters entail the piano in the parlor playing on its own, the ghost of a young girl who inhabits one of the upstairs rooms as well as the spirit of Benoni who guided the homes restoration project in the 1800’s. Benoni E. Harrison purchased the La Grange estate in 1837 and lived here until he died in 1869. Rumor has it that Benoni still haunts the manor house to this day. You will find a glass of red wine on the mantel in the Tasting Room, which is set out for his ghost each day to ensure the staff doesn’t encounter any mysterious phenomena while open to the public.



‘At one point in the night, every patient got up, said their name, and shared how much they’ve lost. All told, 3971 collective pounds had been shed!’

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Men and women, of all ages, races, and sizes gathered together to remember what used to be.

It was all part of the bariatric team’s annual, “A Gala, Celebrating You.” For the sixth year in a row, people came together for a Weight Loss Surgery Patient Reunion at the Hylton Education Center at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

More than 40 former patients and their loved ones came out to remember their weight loss journey and celebrate how far they’ve come.

It was a reunion for many, with patients coming up to one another and asking tentatively, “Do you remember me?” Plenty of hugs, laughs, and smiles were exchanged.

At one point in the night, every patient got up, said their name, and shared how much they’ve lost. All told, 3971 collective pounds had been shed!

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done- outside of marrying my husband!” chuckled Reva Gravelle.

Gravelle was just one member of a patient panel who spoke with the group and answered questions. She was 62 years old when she decided to move forward and get the surgery. Eight years later, she hasn’t looked back and says she feels healthier than ever! “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels,” she says smiling.

Just like Gravelle, everybody had their own story, but there was a common thread everyone could relate to. Patients shared varied firsts: having a lap for a grandchild to sit on, being able to get up by themselves when falling, flying without having to buy an extra seat or getting a seatbelt extender, different shopping options for clothing and being able to fit in a roller coaster seat.

Many patients credit their surgeon, Dr. Denis Halmi with helping them make the change, something he seemed little uncomfortable with, “I try to explain, it wasn’t me, because you are the one making the changes, because of what you are doing, it’s making the change. I’m here to help you, here to support you, but you’re the one who does it.”

While patients were in varied stages of their weight loss journey- some, having had their surgery years ago, while others had their surgery just months earlier, all know that this is a lifetime commitment. To that end, even the event’s food reflected their new lifestyle and featured healthy choices such as diced fruits and vegetables, shrimp, turkey meatballs and blended-to-order fruit smoothies.

This was also an uplifting event for those patients who may have gotten off track. Instead of beating up on themselves for diet missteps, patient speakers and health professional reminded everyone, while it’s nice to move numbers on the scale; this voyage is about more than that. It’s about getting healthy. Organizers reminded patients this event isn’t the only support available. The program hosts both weekly and monthly support groups for current and former patients. And, if those groups are too far for some to travel, the bariatric program has recently added a new virtual support group for the last Thursday of the month. It’s all in an effort to make sure people have the assistance they need to meet their health goals. To find a bariatric surgeon near you, call 1-800-SENTARA.

Photos: Dr. Halmi in the center, surrounded by patients who enjoyed a great time, and Dr. Halmi speaking to the group, sharing words of encouragement.

News
PetOberfest is Saturday: ‘All are welcome to attend and enjoy free family and pet friendly activities’

From an email:

“Stonebridge located at 15201 Potomac Town Place, Woodbridge, Virginia is pleased to host the PetOberfest Event on Saturday, October 14, 2017 from 11am – 4pm. All are welcome to attend and enjoy free family and pet friendly activities. All pets in attendance must be leashed.

The PetOberfest is sponsored by NOVADog Magazine, Maple Shade Animal Hospital and Prince William SPCA and will feature activities including: pet rescues and adoptions; pet-related exhibitors, pet parade and costume contest, children’s entertainment, store discounts, prizes, and much more (full schedule included below).

PetOberfest Entertainment Schedule

Main Street, In Front of Orvis
— 12:30pm & 2:30pm: Mid-Atlantic Disc Dogs Performances

Main Street, In Front of PF Changs
— 12 pm: Kid Singer Jim, Zoo In My Room
— 1 pm: Reptiles Alive– 3 pm: Bar C Ranch Critter Show
— 3 pm: Bar C Ranch Critter Show
— 3:30pm: Pet Parade & Costume Contest featuring animals available for adoption

– Must register no later than 3 pm at the Information Tent.

PetOberfest Main Street Activities, 11am4pm
— Prince William SPCA Pet Photos & Mobile Adoption Van
— Stonebridge merchant displays
— Pet-oriented exhibitors
— Local animal rescues and shelters
— Petting Zoo
— Parakeet Encounter
— Underwater Exhibit
— Moon Bounce
— Face Painting
— Craft Table
— Prizes

For complete event information, visit www.sptcpetoberfest.com.”

Traffic
Service Authority to begin lining sewer mains along Telegraph Road

From Prince William County Service Authority:

The Prince William County Service Authority has begun performing important rehabilitation work on the sanitary sewer system in easements near the Potomac Festival shopping center and Telegraph Road in Woodbridge.

The work is expected to take approximately 6 weeks to complete. Because this rehabilitation work is “trenchless,” there will be virtually no impact on traffic. (more…)

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