Read Us Daily for News in Prince William, Manassas, & Stafford

Dumfries Local

News
New Dumfries police officers sworn in

Two new police officers who will serve Dumfries were sworn in Tuesday night during the town’s regular council meeting.

Dumfries Police Chief Rebecca Edwards read the following remarks prior to the swearing in ceremony:

Sergeant Heather R. Lloyd

Sergeant Lloyd was raised by her parents in Spotsylvania County. She graduated from Courtland High School in 1999. Before she graduated, she enlisted in the Army National Guard; she completed Military Basic Training in the fall of 1999, and a two month Military Leadership training course in 2003.

She served with the rank of Specialist, and performed duties with her specialty in nutrition. She served active duty from October 2001 through March 2002 in the National Capitol Region, following the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States. She also served active duty for one year in 2003/2004 and was assigned at the Pentagon. She was honorably discharged in February 2007.

While serving in the Army National Guard, and shortly after graduating from high school, she began her pursuit of a law enforcement career by working as a security guard for the Fredericksburg Auto Auction for about five years; then as an officer for Aquia Harbour. In December 2005, she began her law enforcement career when she became a police officer for the City of Fredericksburg Police Department.

While serving with the Fredericksburg Police Department, she attained the distinction of becoming a Master Police Officer through experience, exceptional performance, and by attaining and maintaining certifications and skills beyond those required. She served as a Community Police Officer where she interacted with residents of an assigned community and worked with them to resolve issues and problems.

In addition to Sergeant Lloyd’s required training, she has achieved many advanced training certifications, most of which focus on community policing. Some of her certifications include: Field Training Officer, General Instructor, Police Cyclist, Crisis Intervention, Basic Crime Prevention, Crime Prevention Specialist, Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED), and Residential/Small Business Assessment and Report Writing. Sergeant Lloyd utilizes her instructor certification to train police officer recruits in basic academy classes at the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy.

During her background investigation, everyone we spoke with commented she would be missed, and that she would be an asset and great addition to our agency. She was described as a hard worker, knowledgeable, and very professional.

We are very fortunate Sergeant Lloyd chose our agency to continue her law enforcement career and know she will be a valuable, positive asset to the Police Department and citizens of the Town.

Officer Matthew D. Arnsparger

Officer Arnsparger was raised with an older sister by their parents in Marion, Penn. He graduated from Chambersburg Area High School in 1997. That fall he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served until the fall of 2001, when he voluntarily separated service and was Honorably Discharged. He specialized as a mechanic and served as a Main Battle Tank Repairer/Technician.

Officer Arnsparger also served in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard from 2004 to 2007 as a Counter Intelligence Agent.

Officer Arnsparger has approximately eight years of experience working in different areas of local government social services departments. He has experience working as an Income Maintenance Case Worker, Economic Services Caseworker, Client Benefit Specialist, and a Program Director for an organization that worked with at-risk youth, and youth who attended an alternative school program. Work in these areas required him to interact on a daily basis with a variety of persons who were facing a variety of life challenges.

Through working in these areas he learned and developed skills such as interviewing persons individually as well as in group settings, the ability to gather and analyze facts and information accurately, and the ability to correctly document gathered information. He also learned and developed his communications ability, both verbal and written.

During Officer Arnsparger’s background investigation, everyone we spoke with recommended him for the position of police officer with our agency. Persons we spoke with who had known him for some time said he has always wanted to become a police officer and thinks he would be very good as he is outgoing, friendly, and community minded.

News
Dumfries pursues towing company in court

[ngg_images gallery_ids=”458″ display_type=”ds-nextgen_royalslider”]

Dumfries officials have a towing company in their sights.

Town officials say WAR Recovery, Inc. is storing towed vehicles in Dumfries at a fenced-in lot near Route 1 and Mine Road. The company “is in violation of zoning ordinances” for storing cars in the lot, according to town manager Daniel Taber.

An address on Google shows the company to be located in Four Mile Fork in Spotsylvania County. The WAR website shows a PO Box in Dumfries.

No one from WAR Recovery, Inc. responded to a request for comment for this post.

At Tuesday’s Dumfries Town Council meeting, town attorney Olaun Simmons stated in a report he would pursue civil cause for action against the company to ask them to cease operating in the town without the proper permits.

On December 29, 2014, the Zoning Administrator issued a zoning violation letter to War Towing concerning their towing business that is operating in the Town of Dumfries without a business license and in violation of the zoning ordinance as it relates to automobile graveyards.

On February 3, 2015, the Town Manager sent a follow-up letter reminding War Towing of their current zoning violations in which the Town Manager ordered the towing company to cease all activities that are in violation of the ordinance.

As a result of their non-compliance, I filed a civil cause of action against War Towing for their continued violation of the zoning ordinance.

News
Ali Krieger fans gather in Woodbridge to watch Team USA win

[ngg_images gallery_ids=”457″ display_type=”ds-nextgen_royalslider”]

When the U.S. Women’s National Team took home the 5-2 win over Japan last night, fans gathered in Woodbridge to cheer them on.

Especially fans of Ali Krieger, the 30-year-old defensive player from Dumfries. Hometown hero Krieger attended C.D. Hylton High School for one year and later graduated from Forest Park High School. She played for Prince William Soccer Incorporated (PWSI).

Fans gathered to watch the championship game at Glory Days Grill in Woodbridge. Mike Yeatts at PWSI sent these photos to Potomac Local.

News
Officer dies following cycling accident in World Police and Fire Games in Prince William

[ngg_images gallery_ids=”453″ display_type=”ds-nextgen_royalslider”]

Update

A memorial vigil will be held at 8 p.m. tonight at the Reston Town Center in honor of Silva.

Original post

A competitor in the 2015 World Police and Fire Games has passed away, following a bicycle accident.

The deceased – 48-year old Brazilian Carlos Silva – was one of three seriously injured officers the accident, which took place during one of the Game’s events at Prince William Forest park in Triangle.

Silva died at the hospital due to his injuries at 5 p.m. yesterday, stated Prince William police.

Prince William police’s Crash Investigation Unit was called to the scene of the incident to investigate yesterday afternoon.

What happened at Prince William Forest Park

According to Prince William police, the accident happened when several cyclists were traveling downhill and one of the bicyclists had a front tire blowout. The blowout and crash caused a collision with several other bicyclists in the area.

The accident happened on a closed cycling course near Turkey Run Road, on Scenic Drive.

Potomac Local went to the scene of the crash and saw that the collision took place as cyclists were coming around a curve, where the road turns into a hill.

Several bicyclists were injured during the crash, but only the three were taken to area hospitals for their serious injuries, said Prince William police. Several members of Prince William fire and rescue and Fairfax police were at the event and were able to immediately assist injured cyclists.

An unidentified 44-year old man and 43-year old man were the other two individuals taken to area hospitals for treatment.

The bicyclists involved in the crash were all wearing safety equipment, said Prince William police.

People express sadness, condolences over the death

Several law enforcement officers and elected officials expressed their condolences for Silva’s passing.

“On behalf of the Prince William County Police Department, I want to express my sincere condolences to the family of the deceased athlete, Carlos Silva.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the other injured athletes, fellow team mates, and the public safety family throughout the world,” said acting Prince William County Police Chief, Major Steve Thompson.

In a joint statement, Fairfax chairman Sharon Bulova, Fairfax police chief Ed Roessler, Fairfax fire chief Richard Bowers, Fairfax sheriff Stacey Kincaid, World Police and Fire Games president Michael Graham and others expressed their condolences.

“We are deeply saddened that an athlete participating in the World Police & Fire Games passed away today at the cycling event in Prince William County. Two other athletes are severely injured. Please join us as we keep these athletes, their families and friends in our thoughts and prayers during this tragic and challenging time,” said an issued statement from the group.

Potomac Local has reached out to officials from the World Police and Fire Games on how Silva’s passing has impacted the games, the mood of the Game’s athletes and what they will do to honor him, but they have not returned request for comment.

News
Man arrested following shooting in Triangle home

On June 25, the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force arrested 23-year old Triangle man Terrance Henderson for a shooting incident on Old Triangle Road on June 23.

Prince William police responded to a call at 2:27 a.m. that morning to investigate the shooting.

Their investigation revealed that the victim – a 21-year old Triangle man – was inside the residence when Henderson, who knew the victim, showed him a rifle which discharged, striking the victim in the leg, stated Prince William police.

After the incident, Henderson carried the victim outside and fled the area, said Prince William police.

When officers arrived on the scene, they located the victim outside near the home. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to Prince William police.

Henderson was located in Fredericksburg, and was arrested without incident.

Prince William police stated that Henderson is being charged with unlawful wounding, shooting within an occupied dwelling and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He is being held without bond.

News
Armed robbery at Dunkin, burglary at church in Woodbridge

On June 24, Prince William police were called on scene for an attempted armed robbery at a Dunkin’ Donuts location and a burglary of a church in Woodbridge.

Attempted armed robbery at Dunkin’

Late in the evening on June 24, Prince William police responded to a call at a Dunkin’ Donuts location on Jefferson Davis Highway to investigate an attempted robbery.

According to Prince William police, employees stated that two unknown individuals entered the business and pulled out a handgun, demanding money. The men left the location eventually, without taking anything, said Prince William police.

No one was injured. A K-9 unit was used to look for the two individuals.

One suspect was described as a black male, 5’6” and 160 pounds with a thin build. He was last seen wearing a white tank top, black pants and dark shoes with black gloves.

The second suspect is described as a black male wearing a gray sweatshirt, dark pants and black shoes with a dark colored backpack.

Burglary at Woodbridge church

On June 24, Prince William police also responded to a call at the St. Francis of Assisi church on Fuller Heights Road in Triangle to investigate a burglary.

According to Prince William police, church staff stated that the burglary had taken place overnight, between 6 p.m. on June 23 and 5:55 a.m. on June 24.

After an investigation, officers found there were no signs of forced entry and money was reported missing.

Celebrate America in style in Manassas July 4

Fireworks show, watermelon, and pie contests planned 

On Saturday, July 4, 2015, Celebrate America with the City of Manassas from 3 to 10 p.m. in Historic Downtown Manassas.

The celebration begins with the Bicycle Decorating contest. At 5 p.m. visitors are invited to take part in a Watermelon-eating contest.

Next, Judges from around the City will lend their culinary expertise to judge the Apple and Peach Pie Baking Contest. This is Americana at its best. To sign up for these contests, visit visitmanassas.org.

Visitors can bring a blanket or a lawn chair to lay claim to a spot for viewing the best fireworks in Virginia. Beginning at 3 p.m., there will be children’s rides, food vendors, and other vendors. The celebration centers around the Harris Pavilion, the Manassas Museum and the Train Depot.

The City of Manassas loves pets, but pets do not love loud noises. Their ears are more sensitive and the City asks that pets be left at home in the air conditioning. This time of year, streets and sidewalks are hot enough to burn puppy paws.

News
Dumfries hit hard by wind storm

[ngg_images gallery_ids=”443″ display_type=”ds-nextgen_royalslider”]

Martin Mooney had the fortune of having his neighbors help him cut up and clear away limbs from a large tree that fell in his yard Tuesday night.

A large storm moved through Dumfries about 7:30 p.m.

“I was inside my house watching the radar on the computer and I saw a bright red spot on the map. Then I went and looked outside and saw the wind blowing everything around, and then I heard a loud metallic bang,” said Mooney.

The top of a large maple tree and several other smaller limbs crashed down into Mooney’s front year. When it did, it took down a utility line connected to the side of the house.

About 11:30 a.m. today, the sound of chainsaws could be heard throughout what’s considered Dumfries’ historic district, and homes in the street grid of Virginia’s oldest town. Tree limbs snapped in two limbs, large tree trunks uprooted, and small branches strewn about streets and sidewalk could be seen from Dumfries to Quantico.

National Weather Service Forecaster James E. “Jim” Lee said radar did not indicate a tornado in the area. It was more like a case of strong, straight-line winds that wreaked havoc on the town.

No one was injured, but take a look this list from Dumfries Town Manager Daniel Taber noting streets and neighborhoods where property damage had been reported:

Main Street at Quantico Creek – Several large trees came down blocking the roadway and taking down what was later determined to be a cable line. The roadway was totally blocked for several hours and traffic had to be rerouted. At one point fire and rescue had to go southbound against traffic flow on Fraley while responding to fire and rescue calls. Main Street has been cleared earlier this morning, but here is an issue of two large trees that have fallen into Quantico Creek and are partially blocking the creek. It appears as if the property owner owns to the midpoint of the creek and that they have responsibility for the tree removal but we are still trying to contact the property owner and get insurance information and verify responsibility. Heavy equipment will be needed to facilitate the tree removal from the creek and costs for the removal could be between $7,000 – $10,000.

Cameron Street area – Fallen tree limbs blocked half the roadway just south of the Elementary school. Significant tree damage occurred at 4012, 4009, and 3839 Cameron Street. At least one vehicle was damaged by falling limbs. There does not appear to be any damage to houses in these areas.

Dumfries Cemetery – Minor tree damage with a roadway partially blocked.

Merchant Park – Several large tree limbs are down throughout the park. They will be cleared only after all roads and rights of way have been cleared.

Fairfax Street – Properties on Fairfax Street that back up to the impacted properties on Cameron Street suffered various degrees of tree damage in the back yard areas. Locations on Fairfax include 3921, 3957, and 3980.

Mine Road at Main Street – Partial road blockage and several larger trees in the wooded lot there were damaged as well..

Duke Street – Impacted properties with significant tree damage are located at 17626, 17664, 17695, and 17705.

Ginn Park – A tree near the northeast corner fell onto property in the Port of Dumfries subdivision. I spoke to the HOA president concerning this.

Port of Dumfries – Several large branches fell on or along Olde Port Lane. In addition, there were several large limbs that fell on HOA controlled property, one of which dented the roof of a jeep parked there.

Williamstown – Several smaller branches fell throughout the subdivision.

Prince William Estates – Only a few branches down on private property.

Possum Point Road – One lane blocked about 100 yards from the PWC line.

Knolls – Main road had a small limb partially blocking.

Taber on Wednesday morning called in the help of constracotrs to begin clearing streets of debris. Private tree services also rolled into town knocking on doors and offering their services to those affected by the storm.

Aside from a fence at Dumfries’ Ginn Park on Graham Park Road, no public buildings were damaged in the wind storm, said Taber. The cost to clean up the debris from the storm won’t be known at least until Monday, and it could be several thousands of dollars, said Taber.

A large tree just inside the main gate at Quantico Marine Corps Base was uprooted. Another large tree on Route 1 near the National Museum of the Marine Corps also fell during the storm.

This latest round of violent summer weather comes after a small tornado struck portions of Bristow and Manassas over the weekend. The tornado cut a path of destruction from Linton Hall Road, where a church parking lot was damaged, to the intersection of Route 28 and Godwin Drive in Manassas where little league baseball fields were damaged.

Thunderstorms are back in the forecast for Friday. We could see rain on Saturday and Sunday, according to the weather service.

News
Man wanted for armed robbery at Dumfries hotel

Early in the morning on June 23rd, Prince William police responded to a call at a hotel on Dumfries Road in Dumfries for a robbery.

According to Prince William police, the victim – a 25-year old woman – was visiting the hotel. The victim stated that she met an unknown individual in the area, and he followed her back to the hotel.

When the two were in the victim’s hotel room, the individual displayed a handgun and took an undisclosed sum of money and other items from the victim’s purse, stated Prince William police.

The individual then fled the hotel. No one was injured.

Prince William police are currently looking for the individual. He is described as a black male, between 25 and 35 years old, 6’3” and 200 pounds with brown eyes, black hair and a nose ring. He was last seen wearing a gray sweatshirt with dark jeans and a gray hat with red lettering.

Northern Virginia families needed for visiting French teens

Waiting for lift-off in the Virginia countryside. In three short weeks, American families and their French students can become lifelong friends.
Donatien, 16, of Versailles, enjoys swimming, tennis, reading, and video games. He has lived in India, and also studies Chinese, and is in a scientific specialization in school.
Joris, a lively and sociable-14 year old, enjoys swimming, canoeing, sailing, camping, mechanics, animals, history and plays the electric guitar.
Hugues and Sebastian prepare for a watermelon seed-spitting contest at a host family picnic last year.
LEC student Paul, left, enjoys his first American hamburger at a Virginia Red Robin restaurant.

Early July is that exciting time of year when French teenagers sponsored by LEC (Loisirs Culturels a L’Etranger, founded in 1972 and based in Paris, France) will be arriving into Dulles Airport for a fun-filled three weeks in the Northern Virginia area.

But to do so they need local families willing to open their hearts and homes now.

LEC has five students, ages 14-19, who still need welcoming homes from July 7–27. They all speak English, are fully insured, bring ample spending money, and would like to participate as a member of an American family – your family!

But what does that entail?

Our families provide room and board, of course, but even more importantly friendship and the desire to include the student in their daily activities, thus giving the student a wonderful introduction to American life.

Families will receive a weekly stipend of $125 to help cover typical hosting costs. For more information or to apply, please contact Karen Sweer, LEC General Coordinator, at 717-795-7089 or ksweer@aol.com TODAY. We need Host families immediately to ensure that every student can visit the US. For more information, please see LEC-USA.com.

It is always fun to observe the group of teens searching for their host families in the airport crowd. Some of the students have corresponded and ‘met’ their families in advance. They have received pictures, and have heard about some of the upcoming plans for the 20 days that they will be in the Northern Virginia area. Others will shyly meet their American families for the first time once they leave the International Arrivals area.

Either way, excitement is in store for both students and families as both share in the daily activities and traditions of the family and have fun learning about each others’ cultures.

Trips to the local swimming pool, bowling alleys, family reunions, and food stores may be just as much fun as trips to amusement parks, museums, the White House and baseball games. Even introducing your student to corn on the cob, American barbecue, or the joys of s’mores can be fun. All are new and exciting to our students! Let your imagination guide you!

Aurelie, a student from Paris who was housed in Chantilly last year, formed a strong bond with her host family who admitted that they had known little about France and had been nervous about opening their home to a student they had never met.

“We decided to go for it,” host mother Joan stated, “ and the 20 days just flew by. In the end, we wished Aurelie could have stayed much longer!”

Again, please contact Karen Sweer, LEC General Coordinator, at 717-795-7089 or ksweer@aol.com TODAY. Please help so we don’t disappoint a single student! See you at Dulles on July 7!

 

News
Storms in the forecast Tuesday

Update

It looks like the area will be seeing some more stormy and hot weather.

According to the National Weather Service, scattered and severe thunderstorms are possible this afternoon and evening.

There may also be damaging winds and large hail. Additionally, there could be thunderstorms with significant rainfall and flash flooding.

Along with the stormy weather, the National Weather service has announced a heat advisory for the entire Interstate 95 corridor.

It is expected that the temperature will rise to 105 degrees.

The advisory is in effect from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

More from the National Weather Service:

A HEAT ADVISORY MEANS THAT A PERIOD OF HIGH TEMPERATURES IS EXPECTED. THE COMBINATION OF HIGH TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL CREATE A SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE POSSIBLE.

TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN POSSIBLE…RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT

STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.

TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK…THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS

IN SHADED OR AIR CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKEIS AN EMERGENCY – CALL 911.

Original post

Sweltering hot temperatures and more potentially dangerous storms are in the forecast.

We’ll see a high of 96 degrees on Tuesday. Factor in the heat index, and we could be looking at temperatures that feel like 101 or better.

The hot temperatures could also bring severe thunderstorms much like we saw on Saturday night, said National Weather Service Baltimore-Washington office forecaster James Lee.

According to the weather service, the movement of a cold front across the region could determine when we could see some nasty weather. The storms could come during the afternoon or evening, so keep an umbrella handy for the drive home from work on Tuesday.

This latest threat of stormy weather comes days after a massive line a damaging, potentially tornado-causing weather moved through the region Saturday night. That storm — remnants of Tropical Storm Bill that slammed into Texas last week — caused flooding, topped trees and structures, and lightning from the storms sparked several house fires.
We are well into the summer season now, and the weather pattern setting up for the remainder of the week reflects the season.

While not nearly as hot as Tuesday’s forecasted temperatures in the high 90s, the rest of the week will bring temps in the high 80s, as well as more chances for thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday.

Your weekend should be warm with highs in the low 80s, with a chance of showers on Saturday and Sunday.

News
3 resign from Prince William Committee of 100

wiggins

Wiggins

Three members of the Committee of 100 Board of Directors resigned on Saturday.

Vice President Marlo Thomas Watson, treasurer Harry Wiggins, and committee program chair Bill Golden all walked away from the group when it met Saturday at the Montclair Country Club.

Watson

Watson

Their resignations come weeks after newly elected committee president James Young turned to Facebook to post opinions on a move by the Alabama government’s decision to stop issuing state marriage licenses after federal government forced the state to recognize same-sex marriages.

Young, a 20-year member of the Committee of 100, called the

Golden

Golden

move by the state an “assault on marriage” and an attempt to “force acceptance of sexual deviancy.”

Wiggins, who also is the Prince William County Democratic Committee Chairman, took exception with Young’s comments. The committee has always billed itself as a bi-partisan group that fosters community conversation.

Young

Young

“As soon as I read that, I called James and told him ‘you’re the president of the Committee of 100. You have gay members who are a part of the committee.’ It was like taking to a brick wall,” said Wiggins.

James Young had no comment for this story.

Marlo Thomas Watson said she resigned her position as vice president, but declined to elaborate on why she left.

“I will continue to work to bring together people of all races, colors and creeds,” said Thomas Watson.

She will consider attending Committee of 100 events and functions in the future, and she said her resignation was “met with sadness.”

For the past year, committee program chair Bill Golden organized many of the programs and political debate hosted by the organization.

“I did indeed step down early as the Committee of 100 Program Committee Chair.  I was given the opportunity to continue on for the next program year, but felt it best that the new leadership under President James Young put together its own team for the new program year,”said Golden. “Under the prior board of directors, I had a lot of freedom and support to craft programs designed to appeal to the public as well as the membership.”

Golden said he will remain active in the committee despite resigning his leadership position.

The resignations come on the heels of a very well attended committee program earlier this year on the homelessness problem in Prince William County. Also held at the Montclair Country Club, the event brought together community residents, activists, and politicians on a dialogue on what can be done for those living in the woods just off major highways in the county.

The Committee has also been instrumental in hosting political debates featuring candidates for local, state, and congressional offices. Many politicians and prominent community members list committee membership on their resumes.

Membership in the Prince William Committee of 100 has grown by 10% over the past year.

As the November General Election inches closer, Wiggins said Democrat candidates vow not to participate in any debate or political function hosted by the Committee of 100 after Young made his comments online.

News
Argument led to shooting in Dumfries

[ngg_images gallery_ids=”437″ display_type=”ds-nextgen_royalslider”]

5 p.m.

An argument between two young adults led to a shooting today in Dumfries.

The two men, both believed to be 19 years old, knew each other. The two began arguing. One of the men pulled a gun and shot the other in the thigh, according to a source.

The injured man was taken to a hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening.

4:45 p.m. 

Police in are investigating a shooting near the Dumfries Police Department.

Authorities blocked off an entrance from Route 1 north to Triangle Plaza in Dumfries for the investigation. Here’s the latest information from the Prince William County Police Department:

*UPDATE [3:15pm]: Ref Triangle Shopping Plz shooting; No arrests as of yet. Investigators are still working on suspect information. Shooter described as a black male, 6’0″, late teens, early 20s with short dreadlocks. Last seen wearing a white t-shirt. Other two suspects were only described as a white female and black male. Last seen running towards the VDOT property and into the wooded area.

The shooting occurred about 3 p.m. Sunday. We don’t have any information about the victims.
One lane of traffic of Route 1 north was getting by at 4:30 p.m. Sunday while police conducted their investigation.

The Dumfries Police Department is located inside Triangle Shopping Plaza. Both Dumfries and Prince William police appear to be working on the investigation, as officers from Dumfries are assisting with traffic control in the area the investigation is taking place.

More as we hear it.

News
Prince William supervisors talk giving themselves a pay raise

Update

Following publication of the original story, county spokesman Jason Grant asked that certain points that were made in the article be clarified.

“The question I think was, ‘Can they talk about their salaries in closed session?’ And so, to that question, yes – they can talk about salaries in the closed session. Now the specifics the discussions may entail – that I can’t comment on. But that’s why they have legal counsel, so that certain discussions in closed session remain appropriate to the exemption,” said Grant.

In regards to his comments about the lawfulness of supervisors speaking about what occurred in closed session, Grant clarified, “I’m very careful not to articulate what’s lawful or unlawful. I don’t know what – legally – what they can or cannot articulate. If it’s a question of whether a supervisor can discuss the items in closed session…I don’t know if that’s Virginia Code specifically or aspects of it, but I can say that the closed session is confidential, and we’re not to disclose – as staff. And we’re told whatever happens in closed session stays in closed session. Now what can be discussed specifically [in terms of] what the board does report out, sometimes…I don’t know where the specifics lie as to what can or cannot be discussed.”

Original post

On Tuesday night, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors went into closed session – which caused quite a stir.

Two members of the county’s highest governing body stormed out. They claimed the other five board members were talking about giving themselves a pay raise, and that such matters should be discussed in public and not behind closed doors.

During a closed session, members of the public and press are not allowed to attend, and there is no recording made available of what has been said. The session is typically called for private or personal matters of a sensitive nature that supervisors may not be able to discuss publicly.

Pay raises for supervisors

Prior to the calling of the closed session, the acting County Attorney Michele Robl announced that among the four items to be discussed, “legal advice in a personnel matter regarding salaries,” was listed.

On the board agenda for the meeting, a pay raise for supervisors was listed under Supervisor’s time, but it was not discussed in Tuesday’s public session.

It was on the agenda because the supervisors want to be sure their compensation is comparable to other localities.

Fairfax County leaders in March voted to give themselves a pay increase. Starting in January 2016, Chairman At-large Sharon Bulova will receive $100,000 annually while other board members will get $95,000 per year.

In Prince William, the last time the board voted to approve a raise for the supervisors was in 2007, according to county documents.

Chairman At-Large Corey Stewart is paid $49, 452 a year, and the other supervisors are paid $43,422 a year.

It’s fair to point out Fairfax County Supervisors work at their jobs full time, while Prince William supervisors have other full-time jobs outside their local government duties, or are retired. 

Why the closed session?

With the item of pay raises listed as an open session agenda item, many asked why the supervisors decided to call for a closed session to talk about compensation. They also wanted to know whether or not it was legal for them to do so.

According to county spokesman Jason Grant, the supervisors were legally within their rights to call a closed session to speak about salaries, because they fall within the category of public officers – which have an allowable clause in the Virginia Code.

“The County Attorney didn’t want to comment to [the media] because they can’t discuss what’s discussed in closed session. No one is supposed to be talking about what’s in closed session…I have no idea what’s discussed or not…the County Attorney stated during that meeting…there were four items. One of those items was public officers – so it’s discussion of salary of public officers…the Virginia Code does allow discussion of salaries of public officers to be held in closed meetings. It also allows for consultation with legal counsel by a public body,” said Grant.

So, we were curious and checked state law to see what the Prince William County Board of Supervisors could talk about in closed session.

Section 2.2-3711.1 and 2.2-3711.7 of the Virginia Code states:

Public bodies may hold closed meetings only for the following purposes:

Discussion, consideration, or interviews of prospective candidates for employment; assignment, appointment, promotion, performance, demotion, salaries, disciplining, or resignation of specific public officers, appointees, or employees of any public body; and evaluation of performance of departments or schools of public institutions of higher education where such evaluation will necessarily involve discussion of the performance of specific individuals. Any teacher shall be permitted to be present during a closed meeting in which there is a discussion or consideration of a disciplinary matter that involves the teacher and some student and the student involved in the matter is present, provided the teacher makes a written request to be present to the presiding officer of the appropriate board.

Consultation with legal counsel and briefings by staff members or consultants pertaining to actual or probable litigation, where such consultation or briefing in open meeting would adversely affect the negotiating or litigating posture of the public body; and consultation with legal counsel employed or retained by a public body regarding specific legal matters requiring the provision of legal advice by such counsel. For the purposes of this subdivision, “probable litigation” means litigation that has been specifically threatened or on which the public body or its legal counsel has a reasonable basis to believe will be commenced by or against a known party. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to permit the closure of a meeting merely because an attorney representing the public body is in attendance or is consulted on a matter.

The part that crosses into gray area is not the supervisor’s speaking about salaries as public officers in a closed session, it’s what exactly that gets discussed that could potentially be a legal issue.

“Can they talk about salaries? Yes. Now what the specific discussion is – there may be [gray] areas,” said Grant.

Supervisors react

During the closed session, two supervisors – Pete Candland, of Gainesville, and Jeanine Lawson, of Brentsville – abruptly left the session.

According to Candland, he left because he felt uncomfortable about the things being discussed in the closed session.

“When they brought up the salary increases, they brought up two issues. One – the legality of whether we can give ourselves increases – and what the time frame is. And I made it clear that I’m fine talking about whether we can legally do it…what I’m not comfortable with is whether we should do it, or the specifics around it…I informed the rest of the board if that was going to be any part of the discussion, that I was going to leave…,” said Candland.

“I will say that they started discussing numbers and people started expressing opinions about it, and that’s where I felt it just went too [far]. And anything that happened after that, I’m not sure – I was not there for [it]…nobody thought there was any problem [with the discussion] enough to leave or to protest the discussion besides myself and Supervisor Lawson,” he added.

Candland admitted that he was not in the room to overhear anything about specific discussion on pay raises for the supervisors, so he cannot verify that it was discussed in closed session.

Additionally, it is unlawful for supervisors to disclose information given in a closed session unless it is a general statement or there is a majority consensus from the board, stated Grant.

Lawson stated that she did not want to comment on her decision to leave the closed session, but did say she was planning to vote down any measure for pay raises for the supervisors.

“I was planning to vote against [the raise], but a vote wasn’t taken,” said Lawson.

Board Chairman, At-large Corey Stewart asserted that everything discussed within the closed session was legal and that it followed the allowances made for talk of salaries in the Virginia Code.

“As you know, Board members cannot discuss the contents of our closed sessions. I can say, however, that the Board followed the advice of the County Attorney and that the Board complied with the law,” said Stewart.

Potomac Local called other members of the Board of Supervisors. They did not return requests for comment.

Do the supervisors deserve a raise?

While the rationale for parties in favor and opposed to giving the supervisors a raise, the question still stands – do they deserve it?

According to Candland, they don’t.

“I don’t think we deserve [a raise]. We’ve raised taxes the last four years – I don’t think we’ve earned a pay increase,” said Candland.

Regardless of what was discussed in closed session, any further movement to provide a pay raise to the supervisors would have to take place by July 1, and would have to be voted on in an open meeting, stated Grant.

Candland said that the item for supervisor pay was not on the draft agenda for the next board meeting.

“I get a feeling that this discussion is probably dead now,” said Candland.

Manassas awarded for Civil War Sesquicentennial celebration

The City of Manassas, along with Prince William County, were the recipients of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission’s Leadership Award for the area’s efforts in commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War during the past seven years.

The City of Manassas partnered with Prince William County, the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division and many area museums, parks, and historic sites to coordinate dozens of local events that brought history to life for thousands of residents and visitors from across the country. The Prince William County/Manassas Committee began meeting in 2007, and helped plan and promote the signature 2011 Sesquicentennial commemoration at multiple sites across the city and county.

The local committee also fostered a strong partnership with the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission. The Manassas Museum hosted both the Commission’s traveling exhibit, An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia, and the Legacy Project, an effort to scan and archive the Civil War-era documents of local residents. The city also twice hosted another of the Commission’s traveling exhibits, the award-winning Civil War 150 HistoryMobile.

On average, more than 11,000 visitors a day attended events in the city during the four-day July 2011 Sesquicentennial commemoration despite an average heat index of 103 to 105 degrees. The city saw a 14% increase in meals taxes and a 55% increase in sales taxes during the month of the event, and garnered significant national media attention for its expansive free programs.

The annual Manassas Civil War Weekend, scheduled for August 21-23 this year, was created as a result of the popularity of the 2011 and 2012 Sesquicentennial commemorations held throughout the City of Manassas. The Weekend’s program tells the story not just of Civil War battles, but of the War’s impact on civilians and African-Americans.

The Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission was created by the General Assembly to plan and commemorate Civil War events in the Commonwealth. The Commission officially ended its work this year with a Memorial Day award ceremony and concert on the Capitol steps in Richmond. Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell served as Chairman, and State Senator Charles J. Colgan, Sr., served as Vice-Chairman of the Commission.

Dumfries seeks summer interns

The Town of Dumfries is now accepting applications for the 2015 Dumfries Summer Youth Internship Program. The 6-week program will provide an opportunity for our area students to get an in-depth, hands-on experience on the internal workings of Town Hall, as well as develop leadership skills through service based learning, earn money, and acquire business skills through hands-on training in a positive, engaging public service atmosphere. Any interested students should see the Town website or link below for application materials and instructions.

Link to internship application:
http://www.dumfriesva.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015-Youth-Internship-Application21.pdf

How to do a tasting at Manassas Olive Oil Company

[ngg_images gallery_ids=”434″ display_type=”ds-nextgen_royalslider”]

 

Find perfect pairings for salads, chicken, even ice cream

At Manassas Olive Oil Company, you have the opportunity to sample over 45 flavors of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

From mild to robust, these oils fill up metal fusties that are placed throughout the room. Empty bottles are lined up beneath them, and tasting cups are waiting to be filled with fresh oils and vinegar.

A tasting experience can vary.

You may end up spending an hour with friends sampling a large variety, or you might just be looking for something to create a perfect marinade for tonight’s chicken entree.

“We encourage people to spend as much time as they want finding what they love in here,” says store manager Cameron Thomson. “If you don’t want to spend an hour and change in here tasting everything, I can ask you what you’re looking to use it for and then help you find what you’re looking for.”

Thomson says it’s an experience that most people aren’t expecting. “Typically most people, what they’ve had their whole life is nothing like this, so they’re going to be caught very off guard by what they’re about to taste,” Thomson says.

To sample any of the olive oils or balsamic vinegar, you just have to fill up a small plastic ramekin of the flavor you want. Thomson says it’s important to smell it before taking a swig. He also suggests slurping the oils in order to really discern their tastes.

For people that might be put off by drinking the oils on their own, there are jars of bread available for tastings. You can dunk the small pieces of bread into the various flavors in order to get a sense of their taste.

“Sometimes it’s good to break up the taste of it,” said Thomson. “Some of the oils have very strong flavor by themselves, so sometimes its good to have something neutral to taste it with.” 

After sampling a variety of flavors, you may end up with a French Walnut olive oil and Black Cherry vinegar pairing that will make a perfect dressing for your salad, a Mushroom Sage as marinade for tomorrow night’s pork dinner, and a raspberry vinegar to drizzle on that vanilla ice cream in your freezer.

After narrowing down your choices, employees will help you fill the empty glass bottles with the fresh balsamic vinegar and olive oils.

Thomson says this is something fun and new that everyone will love trying out.

“Open up your mind to the new possibility of tasting very fresh olive oil,”he said.

Manassas Olive Oil Company opened its doors in May. Hours are Monday thru Thursday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wild edible plant classes teach people to find free food in their own backyard

[ngg_images gallery_ids=”433″ display_type=”ds-nextgen_royalslider”]

 

It may come as a surprise, but in many backyards free, local, nutritious food is growing!

Many plants that people consider weeds are edible, and with a little bit of knowledge, those weeds can become delicious sustenance. For instance, Autumn Olive is an invasive shrub that has become very common in Northern Virginia. But did you know that in the fall it produces loads of edible berries that can be used to make jams and fruit leather?

Or consider the dandelion. Not many people realize it, but every part of the plant is edible. You can add the flowers and leaves to your salads, and the roots can be processed into a coffee-like drink.

Of course, before you start pulling up weeds and eating them, it’s important to know what you’re doing. It is essential to identify plants correctly, harvest them safely and ethically, and prepare them properly. There are many plant identification books on the market; however, the best way to learn about wild edibles is from an experienced forager.

In the coming weeks, Earth Village Education, a nonprofit nature education center located near Marshall, Virginia, will conduct two classes about wild edible plants.

The first class on Saturday, June 20, will be a great introduction to the subject. Students will learn plant identification and safety principles, then go for a plant walk, visiting fields, forests, and wetlands to find and harvest a variety of plants that are in season.

The second class from Saturday, July 11 through Sunday, July 12, will cover the same basics in greater depth, and will also feature information about the medicinal uses of wild plants. No prior experience is necessary for either class, and the fee for each class is on a sliding scale.

For more information and to register, visit EarthVillageEducation.org, and transform a stroll in your backyard into a foraging adventure!

News
New signs sought for Prince William Forest Park

Administrators at Prince William Forest Park want some new signs.

The signs in the park are old and faded. The 30-year-old trail marker signs in the park are worn, and the machine that made them no longer works.

The park issued a request for proposals, and in it detailed the work that needs to be completed:

Many traffic control signs, especially no parking signs, are faded and in need of replacement. Additional signs are needed in cabin camp areas, especially in front of gates. Visitors often park in front of or adjacent to gated areas blocking routine and emergency ingress and egress for park staff. These signs are needed to deter/prevent this visitor behavior.

Visitors are also parking on turf areas in picnic areas and parking lots at Turkey Run and lots A – I along Scenic Drive; to deter this behavior, a sign is recommended to be placed on the in-bound lane of Park Entrance Road which states ‘No Parking on Grass”. The existing directional signs on park trails consists of a concrete post, circa 1980, approximately 6’x6’, with 36” – 48” exposed above ground and set in the ground approximately 36”.

The posts have an embossed metal band, approximately 3” wide, that is attached around the circumference near the exposed top; the band is embossed with trail name, directions, etc. The embossed letters are extremely small and hard to read and the equipment used to make the bands is obsolete; it is proposed to attach the wood sign to the concrete where & when feasible; otherwise, replace the concrete posts with wood 4”x4” wood posts and attach routed wood signs; these signs would be placed in the existing hole the concrete post currently occupies.

The proposal also details a plan to place a sign for a cabin camps one and four perpendicular to Route 234 near Montclair.

“Members of the public often, if not daily, mistakenly believe this is the main entrance to the park,” the report states.

Public comments for this project are sought online. The comment period closes July 7, 2015.

You’ll be surprised at the local artifacts featured in the ‘Hometown Tourist’ exhibit in Manassas

Manassas Museum ‘Hometown Tourist” exhibit coming to Bull Run Regional Library 

Trade your suitcase for some walking shoes and be a Manassas hometown tourist this summer. If walking shoes aren’t an option, take a virtual tour.

The new Manassas Historical Sites Map Tour lets you click on a map to find in-depth information about the city’s eight historic properties. The tour includes photographs, little-known stories about people and places associated with the site, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and information about visiting in person. Visit manassasmuseum.org/tour to access the tour.

The Manassas Museum is taking to the road for a new summer travelling exhibit, Hometown Tourist, at the Bull Run Regional Library. The exhibit features artifacts, old post cards, and archaeology from nine area historic sites: The Southern Railway Depot, the Hopkins Candy Factory, Liberia Plantation, the Stone House, the Manassas City Cemetery, the Manassas Museum (built on land where Eastern College once stood), the Manassas Industrial School, the former Grace United Methodist Church (now Bull Run Unitarian), and the Albert Speiden House.

Most of the City’s nationally significant historic sites are open free every day and offer interpretive signage that tells their story. Take along the mobile version of the Manassas Historical Sites Map Tour as you visit the Manassas Museum, the Southern Railway Depot, the Hopkins Candy Factory, Liberia Plantation, Mayfield and Cannon Branch Earthwork Forts, and the Manassas Industrial School/Jennie Dean Memorial to enhance your experience.

If you would like to learn even more about the sites, guided walking tours of Historic Downtown Manassas are offered every Thursday and Friday at Noon, and Liberia House tours are offered Sundays at Noon through the summer. Meet at the Manassas Museum, 9101 Prince William Street, for the Downtown tours, and at Liberia, 8601 Portner Avenue, for the Sunday tours.

Call 703-268-1873 or visit manassasmuseum.org for more information.

News
Prince William County CXO gets top nods, raise

Melissa Peacor leads the county government in Virginia’s second-largest county. Her bosses say she’s doing a good job and will get a raise.

Prince William County Executive Melissa Peacor reports to the Board of Supervisors, and the Board, just as many other employers do, conducted an annual review of her performance.

“She has done a great job,” said Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey Stewart.

The positive review means Peacor will be awarded a 3% merit increase retroactive to Jan. 1, 2o15, and a 2% cost-of-living raise.

“Ms. Peacor’s new salary is $244,667 for the remainder of FY2015, and will increase with the County market adjustment to $249,560 on July 1, 2015,” stated county spokesman Jason Grant.

The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the performance review. Peter Candland, of Gainesville, was the only Supervisor to vote against the subsequent pay increase.

Peacor has worked in Prince William County Government since 1985 and has held such jobs as Strategic Planning Coordinator, Budget Director and Deputy County Executive.

Page 30 of 63« First...1020...2829303132...405060...Last »