WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia



Dumfries Local

Special Olympics Torch Passed on U.S. 1

Prince William police help run the torch that will be used at Virginia’s Special Olympics Summer Games through Dumfries on Thursday. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Dumfries, Va. –– The torch that heralds the beginning of Virginia’s Special Olympics Summer Games passed through the Potomac Communities.

Area law enforcement help the athletes run the torch down Jefferson Davis Highway (U.S. 1) in Woodbridge about 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

Runners again picked up the torch Friday morning and ran it through Stafford County.

The torch is headed to Richmond for the annual summer games, which begin today and will run through Saturday.

More than 1,200 athletes and 3,000 volunteers are expected to pack University of Richmond, where they event is held each year.

It took teamwork to carry the Virginia Special Olympics Torch across the Falmouth Bridge this morning. Stafford Special Olympians passed the torch to the Fredericksburg Police Department at the city line. Stafford Sheriff's join other law enforcement agencies each year to escort the relay runners as they carry the torch to the Special Olympics Virginia Summer Games in Richmond. (Marty van Duyne/PotomacLocal.com)

Video: Large Hail, Strong Storms Hit Area

Woodbridge, Va. –– A line of severe thunderstorms moved through the Potomac Communities late Thursday night bringing reports of ping pong-ball size hail in Woodbridge.

Much of the area was placed under a severe thunderstorm warning by the National Weather Service shortly after 11 p.m. The slow-moving storms brought heavy rain, high winds and dangerous lightning.

Large hail was also reported, according to the weather service.

The storms came after the region saw nearly record-breaking temperatures on Thursday.

Reagan Washington National Airport flirted with the 100 degree mark for much of the afternoon, and by 3:52 p.m. the mercury had reached 101 degrees. Add four to five degrees to that temperature for the heat index and that’s what people felt when they ventured out of the air conditioning.

A heat advisory was in effect throughout the day, expiring at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Temperatures will fall back into the lower 90s on Friday and into the high 80s for the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

The possibility of showers and thunderstorms remain in the forecast over the next three days.

Unedited video of lightning rolling through Lake Ridge just before midnight Thursday.

Dumfries’ Budget Increases with Saved Funds

Dumfries, Va. –– Virginia’s oldest chartered town will spend $4.3 million in operating costs over the next year.

Town officials Tuesday night approved its fiscal year 2012 operating budget, which is $382,000 higher than the previous year’s budget, according to town documents.

The budget increase comes as property values in the town have declined, but Dumfries Town Manager Kimberley Alexander said the budget is higher this year because officials injected monies into the budget that had been in reserve.

“There was an actual decrease in the overall budget, as the money that we’ve used to increase the budget has for years been in escrow accounts. The majority of it is state grant funds,” said Alexander.

Prior to the vote, a public meeting was held to discuss the next year’s budget but no one spoke, said Alexander.

The new budget didn’t pass unanimously, as Councilwoman Kristin Forrester and Councilman Gerald Foreman voted against the measure.

In a budget proposed by Forrester, she says her plan would have reduced the town’s tax rate by 4 cents and still would have funded a new park project and would have initiated a night shift differential for town police.

The approved budget reduces the tax rate by 2 cents, said Forrester.

“Our tax rates were raised significantly, and when that happened the council and town staff told citizens it would be raised for two cycles.  Instead of lowering it after two cycles, we have found other priorities to spend money on,” she added.

A newly redesigned website for the town was also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting. Officials did not say when they plan to launch the new site.

Heat Advisory Issued for Wednesday

The heat and humidity will make a return to the Potomac Communities on Wednesday.

Temperatures are expected to climb into the mid 90s, and heat index values will make it fell as hot as 105 degrees outside, according to the National Weather Service.

That has prompted a heat advisory for the area from noon until 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Residents are urged to stay indoors in air conditioning, put off strenuous activity until the late evening or do it during the early morning hours, know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and to wear light-colored clothing.

Drowsy, Unsafe Drivers Targeted

Virginia State Police Sgt. Terry Licklieder inspects a passenger along Interstate 95 in Dumfries. (Uriah Kiser/PotomacLocal.com)

Dumfries, Va. –– Virginia State Police over the next 72 hours are getting tough on commercial vehicle safety.

The increased enforcement is part of Road Check 2011, an annual, national effort to draw attention to safety issues on trucks and passenger buses.

“It couldn’t happen during a more appropriate time. One week ago today, families up and down the east coast were wondering what happened to their family members when a passenger bus crashed on Interstate 95 in Caroline County,” said Virginia State Police Col. W. Stephen Flaherty. “It was the worst kinds of crash, in terms of tragedy, the worst kind because it was preventable.”

Four females were killed when that bus carrying 58 passengers from North Carolina to New York City overturned.

The driver, 37-year-old Kin Yiu Cheung, is charged with involuntary manslaughter. Police say driver fatigue led to the crash, and at least one person onboard the bus told a Washington TV station she saw him drinking several energy drinks while stopped at a gas station prior to the crash.

Officials during Safety Check 2011 will turn their attention to defective equipment, proper vehicle registrations, and will examine driver logs to make sure those behind the wheel are not exceeding federal limits on how long they can drive without stopping for rest.

“In 2010 there were 4,646 commercial motor vehicle-related crashes in Virginia. These crashes resulted in 86 deaths and other 3,184 being injured on Virginia’s roadways,” said Virginia Highway Safety Services Director John Saunders. “These are not just numbers; they are moms, dads, brothers and sisters, children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors who were needlessly killed.”

Following the announcement about the increased enforcement, police held a public inspection of a passenger bus similar to the one which crashed last week.

Blaze Burns Deck, Attic

Fire and rescue crews were called to a blaze in the 17000 block of Cusack Lane in Dumfries. (Uriah Kiser/PotomacLocal.com)

Dumfries, Va. –– Two dogs were pulled from a burning home in Dumfries this morning.

Flames broke out at a townhouse at 17383 Cusack Lane, just off River Heritage Boulevard about 11 a.m.

Fire crews arrived to find flames shooting from the rear deck and working their way up the rear of the house into the attic.

The two dogs –– one in a portable kennel and the other tied to a leash –– firefighters removed from the basement of the home. No one else was home at the time of the fire, said Prince William fire and rescue Lt. Shawn Crispin. No one or the dogs was injured.

The fire does not appear to be suspicious, but investigators are still looking into what caused the fire.

The blaze comes nearly a month after improperly discarded smoking materials were blamed for a major fire that ripped through a Lake Ridge apartment complex.

That fire also started on a rear balcony, caused $1.5 million in damage and displaced more than 30 residents and pets.

Caddigan Keeps Vision for Triangle

Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan speaks with supporters during her campaign kick-off event Sunday in Montclair. (Uriah Kiser/PotomacLocal.com)

Dumfries, Va. –– Maureen Caddigan in her fifth bid for the Prince William County Board of Supervisors set her top campaign priorities Sunday.

Education, public safety, transportation and economic development –– in that order –– are at the top of the list as the Republican who currently represents the newly renamed Potomac District held her campaign kick-off at Georgio’s Restaurant in Montclair to a standing-room only crowd.

Caddigan told her supporters that promises made during her campaigns are promises kept, and touted the ongoing $68 million project to widen U.S. 1 at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle.

Since Prince William County purchased the areas alongside the highway and razed many of the gas stations, fast food restaurants and other businesses for a wider U.S. 1, the area has garnered a reputation as a desolate construction site.

“I know it’s been an inconvenience for many of you, but [the widening] should be completed by next spring and it will be lovely,” said Caddigan. The project slowed when crews encountered difficulty relocating underground utility lines in the area.

Hoping to mirror the success of nearby Occoquan, a developer originally planned to build a village-like neighborhood on Brady’s Hill Road in Triangle near the Marine museum. That developer is now selling the land, Caddigan explained, and she added whoever buys the land must develop it to the county’s specifications of street lined shops and large, attractive buildings.

Caddigan also touted a new library that will be built in Montclair 25 years after its inception. It will be located behind the Lake Montclair shopping center and will include an historic barn once used to house slaves.

The new library will be built with funds included in the recently approved FY 2012 budget, which also included cost of living raises for Prince William Government employees –– a move Caddigan defended despite hard economic times.

“Some people say there are a lot of people who aren’t getting a pay raise. [County employees] haven’t had a pay raise in three years, and for our public safety employees; we don’t want them moving to Fairfax or some other area,” said Caddigan.

The raises are aimed at helping county employees offset the new retirement rules for the Virginia Retirement System set forth by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, where employees will now have to put five percent of their salary into the system to be eligible to participate in the retirement program.

“We thought of our employees and sometimes we are criticized about that, and I’m sorry that is the case,” added Caddigan.

Caddigan is currently running unopposed, and voters will have a chance to voice their opinions at the polls November 8.

Dumfries Proposes $4.3 Million Budget

Dumfries, Va. –– Dumfries residents will have a chance to chime in on the town’s $4.3 million proposed budget increase on Tuesday.

The Dumfries Town Council will hold public hearing at 7 p.m. at Town Hall on Main Street (U.S. 1).

This year’s proposed operating budget is $382,000 higher than the previous year’s budget, according to town documents.

To make the FY2012 budget, town officials were required to temporarily reduce the number of employees in the town.

According to the town’s website, the new budget will provide “nearly the same level of services to the town’s citizens without increasing the tax burden.”

Town officials go on to write administrators are wrangling with a $500,000 budget shortfall.

In addition to no tax raises, there are also no fee increases in the budget, according to the town’s website.

A copy of the full budget is available for public review weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Around Town

A tree fell on a house in Stafford late last month, prompting officials to condemn the house. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Will grant money go to hire teachers for hard-to-staff schools?
Teachers who want to take grant money from Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and put it toward pay incentives to hire teachers for hard-to-staff schools in Prince William County, reports Insidenova.com.

Where’s Virginia’s high-speed rail?
A prominent Virginia businessman says Virginia just doesn’t get the big picture when it comes to high-speed rail, and that’s he’s disappointed in Gov. Robert F. McDonnell for not doing more to bring faster trains to the state, reports the Washington Post.

Roads with route numbers above 600 may be out of luck
If the route numbers are above 600, they may not be widened for some time, reports My Piece of the Planet.

Stuart wins award for helping to protect the Chesapeake
When it comes to protecting the Chesapeake Bay, Sen. Richard Stuart (R, 28th –– Stafford, Prince William) has won an award for his efforts, reports Fredericksburg.com.

Groupon loses, so what does that mean for another popular coupon site
The Washington Business Journal asks what do losses for social coupon site Groupon say about Washington-based competitor Living Social?

Learning Their Lines in Home School


Dumfries, Va. –– The Pirates of the Caribbean took to the big screen once again this year, but this weekend Pirates of Penzance will take the stage in Dumfries.

Students who attend home school classes will perform the 130-year-old musical on stage at John Paul the Great Catholic High School at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. To be admitted to the show, all you have to do is bring a canned food donation to benefit ACTS.

The show has 26 cast members who are students of all ages.

For Director Amanda Mattson who has five of her own boys in the show –– ages 6 to 15 ––  making sure everyone hits their marks can be a labor of love.

“Sometimes I have to take off my mom hat and give direction to my own children, but growing up around theatre has made them used to being on stage,” said Mattson.

She’s been directing shows here for 12 years, and only began directing full-length musicals that feature this group two years ago.


“Musicals are what I know and love, it’s what I grew up with, and we have the talent now to do shows like this,” said Mattson.


The theatre group does two shows a year, this being their second one.

In February, Mattson directed the cast in The Jungle Book to a audience of 200 people.

This time they are expecting even more to show up to see the play.

For children who spend their hours learning at home without a school auditorium, this theatre group provides them an opportunity to perform and become better public speakers.

“Some children are afraid to get up and be in front of people, but I was surprised last year when I have a solo to a 6-year-old who got up to the microphone and nailed the song,” added Mattson.

Pirates of Penzance On Stage
John Paul the Great Catholic High School
17700 Dominican Drive in Dumfries

Show times
7 p.m. Saturday
2 p.m. Sunday

Please bring canned food

Around Town

Bus driver in fatal crash has NOVA traffic violations
The driver charged in a fatal bus crash that occurred earlier this week in Caroline County has a record of other traffic violations in Northern Virginia, reports the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Hylton’s principal leaving
Hylton’s High School’s beloved administrator is moving onto another challenge, reports Dale City Patch.

10 dead on Va. roads over holiday weekend
10 people died in crashes on Virginia roads over the Memorial Day holiday, reports Fredericksburg.com.

Betts murder accomplice gets 30 years
An accomplice in the Brian Betts slaying, the D.C. school principal from Manassas who was murdered inside his Maryland home last year, gets 30 years in prison, reports NBCWashington.com.

Rite Aid Robbed, Employee Charged

Keishana Joy Pittman, 23, of Dumfries, is charged in connection to a robbery at a Dumfries-area pharmacy. (Submitted)

Dumfries, Va. –– A woman who works at a pharmacy in Dumfries participated plan to rob the store, police say.

Police say she knowingly allowed a gunman to enter the store and steal cash.

Officers were called to the Rite Aid at 4423 Fortuna Center Plaza at 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, after it had closed for the night, where a 23-year-old and 24-year-old woman told police a masked man initially entered the store, brandished a handgun and demanded money.

The man then ordered the 23-year-old woman to tie up the second employee, and he placed both women in a bathroom, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

The woman who had been tied up was able to get free and call police. No one was injured.

The robber was able to make off with an undisclosed amount of cash and then fled the store.

After police arrived, the two women were interviewed and investigators learned the 23-year-old woman let the man into the store, said Perok.

Police still do not know how the robber and 23-year-old woman know each other.

Keishana Joy Pittman, 23, of Dumfries, is charged with robbery, abduction and use of a firearm in commission of a felony, said Perok. She was held without bond.

Police are looking for a black male believed to have been the gunman. He’s between 20 and 25-years-old, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 180 pounds, with a medium build, police say.

Around Town

Woodbridge child eliminated from National Spelling Bee
A contestant in the National Spelling Bee from Woodbridge was eliminated Wednesday, reports Insidenova.com.

Tito the Builder gets his primary
Tito the Builder gets what he wants: A Republican Primary to decide the next GOP candidate for Virginia’s 36th Senate District, reports The Washington Post.

Bus crash stats released
Following the deadly bus crash earlier this week on Interstate 95, AAA has released stats on bus crashes on roads across the nation, Fredericksburg.com reports.

Lotto ticket giveaway
A man who had 10 winning lottery tickets is now helping to give some lottery tickets away, reports NBCWashington.com.

A little help to find your way around campus
George Mason University will begin using names like Aquia and Rappahannock to help guide visitors and new students to the college around campus, reports Connect2Mason.

Restrictions tightening for area for-profit colleges
The government wants to shut down for-profit colleges that have large amounts of students who cannot pay back their student loans because of unsuccessful career placement programs, reports the Washington Business Journal.

Hot Today, Storms Forecasted Tonight

Update 2:30 p.m.
A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the Potomac Communities until 10 p.m.

The National Weather Service has forecasted strong storms to move through the region this afternoon and tonight. Some may contain strong winds, heavy downpours and large hail.

Original Post 1: 30 p.m.
This afternoon’s hot temperatures should give way to a round of severe thunderstorms this afternoon.

A heat advisory remains in effect for the Washington area until 8 p.m., but those thunderstorms could begin moving through the area this afternoon and lasting through tonight.

Some of them could contain heavy downpours, high winds and large hail, according to the National Weather Service.

The temperature at Reagan Washington National Airport at 1:30 p.m. was 94 degrees, but heat index values made it feel like 100 or more degrees outside.

Despite the hotter than normal temperatures, officials in Prince William County say they have not responded to a higher than normal amount of calls for people suffering heat exhaustion.

But that doesn’t mean the hot weather doesn’t take a toll on the body.

Stafford County Department of Fire and Rescue spokesman Mark Doyle says people should drink more water in this hot weather, and not to wait until your body feels thirsty. He also warned against drinking alcohol or sugary drinks, and very cold drinks as they may cause stomach cramps.

If without air conditioning and using a fan, fans may not prevent heat-related illness, said Doyle.

Taking a cold shower or bath, or moving in a place that has air conditioning is a better way to cool off.

It’s also important to never leave any person or a pet in a closed, parked car, he added.

Those who must venture outside should limit their activity, keep to shaded areas and wear protective sunscreen with an SPF rating of 15 or higher, wear a brimmed hat and sunglasses to add further protection from the sun.

Around Town

Teen who assaulted sheriff’s deputy gets a reduced sentence
An autistic teenager from Stafford County who assaulted a sheriff’s deputy outside a high school last year had eight years shaved off of his prison sentence Tuesday, reports Fredericksburg.com.

Company that operated fatal bus shut down
The company that operates the bus that crashed on Interstate 95 on Tuesday killing four people has been shut down after various violations against the company were noted, reports NBCWashington.com.

New way to pay to ride Metro
Taking Washington’s Metro system can be confusing for tourists and first-time riders. Greater Greater Washington suggests a new way to pay to ride the nation’s subway.

Virginia to open new India office
The number of offices Virginia has overseas to lure business to the state is growing. The state will open a new office for trade in India this summer, reports The Washington Business Journal.

Washington area home prices continue to buck trend
While home prices across the nation fell in March, causing some to say this will be a double-dip recession for home prices, home sellers in the Washington area enjoyed a slight increase in prices, reports The Washington Business Journal.

Fire Breaks Out at Home Twice in Same Day

Update 9:55 p.m.
The house fire has been extinguished, and was located at 19019 Fuller Heights Road.

Original Post 9:27 p.m.
Triangle, Va. ––
Fire and rescue crews are on the scene of a fully-involved house fire in Triangle.

The blaze broke out at a home on Bethlehem Church Road, just off Fuller Heights Road in Triangle at 9:10 p.m.

According to initial reports, the fire broke out at the same house earlier in the day. This latest blaze is a rekindle of that fire.

There was no one inside the house when this latest fire broke out, according to initial reports.

We’ll bring you more as soon as we get it.

MedEvac Lifts Victim After Crash

Update 10 a.m. Wednesday
A motorcyclist was flown to an area hospital after he rear-ended a tractor trailer on Interstate 95.

Police and rescue crews were called to the area of I-95 and Joplin Road (Va. 619) in Triangle about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The driver of one motorcycle rear-ended a tractor trailer, but then a second motorcyclist hit the motorcyclist that slammed into the truck, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

The first biker was flown to a hospital with serious injuries while the second biker was treated for minor injuries, according to Geller.

Original Post 8:30 p.m.
Triangle, Va. ––
At least one person has been flown to the hospital following a crash on Interstate 95.

The crash happened about 8 p.m. at Joplin Road (Va. 619), according to a Prince William County emergency spokesman.

There’s no word yet on how many cars were involved in the crash or how many were injured.

The crash comes after four females died earlier this morning when a bus overturned near Kings Dominion.

Four women died in that crash, and several others were taken to at 11 other hospitals between Richmond and Fredericksburg.

The driver of the bus is charged with reckless driving, according to police.

Dudenhefer Announces Campaign Kick-off Event

Mark Dudenhefer

Mark Dudenhefer

North Stafford, Va. –– Mark Dudenhefer is kicking of his campaign for Virginia’s House of Delegates in a centralized location.


Dudenhefer, who is currently the Chairman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, will officially announce his campaign for the newly shifted 2nd House District in North Stafford and eastern Prince William County.

He’s chosen the Quantico Corporate Center, located just off Jefferson Davis Highway (U.S. 1) on the boarder of Prince William and Stafford counties for the kick-off event to be held between 5 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 11.

Speaker of the House of Delegates, Bill Howell, as well as State Senator Richard Stuart (R, 28 – Stafford, Prince William) and Congressman Robert J. Wittman (R, Va. – 1) are slated to appear.

Dudenhefer has wide Republican support in Stafford but is relatively unknown in Prince William County.

He has served on Stafford’s Board of Supervisors since 2006 and has long been an outspoken advocate of transportation improvements after his 17-year-old daughter Emily was killed on a county road in 2004.

Dudenhefer spent 30 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and retired as a colonel.

The newly shifted 2nd House District was moved from Southwest Virginia to the Potomac Communities this spring during a mandatory redistricting process.

Population in that corner of the state fell while the number of people who moved to this area grew, requiring the need for the new seat.

Around Town

Volunteers needed for Civil War festivities
The Prince William Convention and Visitors Bureau has called for volunteers to assist with parking, hand out brochures as well as tackle a wide range of other tasks during this year’s 150th Civil War Celebration, reports NOVA Fortnighlty.

Police search alleged killer’s cell phone
Fairfax County police have recently searched the cell phone of the man charged with killing another man in the county’s Belle View area April 13, Kingstowne Patch reports.

Snapping the right nature photo
Something just in time for getting outdoors this summer: picking the right camera to capture all of your outdoor nature shots. Area blog Your Piece of the Planet has posted some tips for budding photographers.

Residents asked to conserve water
From the nearby news file: Officials in Caroline County have asked residents to conserve water after a water pump that provides H20 to residents and businesses failed, reports Fredericksburg.com.

D.C.’s dumbest drivers
A new survey finds Washington, D.C. has the dumbest drivers on the road, according to results of drivers exams, reports NBCWashington.com.

Teen Bus Pass Also Great for Baseball Fans

OmniLink switch riders buses at the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Center in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge, Va. — It’s a teenager’s annual pass to getting around town, and it goes on sale Tuesday.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission is once again selling its OmniLink Teen Summer Pass.

The bus pass is good for unlimited rides on local buses that run along U.S. 1 in Woodbridge, on Dale Boulevard in Dale City, Old Bridge Road in Lake Ridge, on OmniRide’s Cross-County Connector between Woodbridge and Manassas, as well on local buses in Manassas.

The pass costs $30 and is good for rides on OmniLink buses between June 1 and Sept. 3, said PRTC spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo.

In addition to unlimited rides, it also guarantees $1 off Potomac Nationals tickets on Friday nights beginning June 10. Riders must show their passes at the ticket window before the game, said Rodrigo.

Teen passes are available at the following locations:

PRTC Transit Center, 14700 Potomac Mills Road, Woodbridge (next to Hylton Chapel)
-Mondays through Fridays, June 1 to August 5, 2011, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Potomac Mills Mall food court
-Saturday, June 11, 12-4 p.m.
-Saturday, June 25, 12-4 p.m.

Manassas Mall food court
-Saturday, June 18, 12-4 p.m.
-Saturday, July 9, 12-4 p.m.

Dangerous Temps Forecasted

Memorial Day weekend may be the unofficial start of summer, but the Mother Nature is giving sure signs the hottest season of the year has arrived.

A heat advisory goes into effect for the Washington area at noon Monday and will last until 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

High temperatures on Monday will be in the low to mid 90s, and in the high 90s on Tuesday. But the humidity will drive up the heat index making it feel like 100 to 105 degrees outside.

The high temperatures can cause illness in those who are exposed to the high temperatures.

Those who don’t have to be out in the heat are urged to stay indoors. Those who do should drink plenty of water, and find shade and take frequent breaks.

The first heat wave of the season should last through Wednesday, when showers and thunderstorms could move through the area bringing with them lower temperatures with highs in the 80s for Thursday and Friday.

The first day of summer, or the summer solstice, is June 21.

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