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News
School Board censures Sawyers over emails

Prince William County School Board Chairman At-large Ryan Sawyers was censured by his Board on Wednesday.

The School Board passed this resolution put forward by Gainesville School Board Member Alyson Satterwhite.

Sawyers sued School Board Attorney Mary McGowan after she played a role in defending the School Board in another lawsuit filed against Patriot High School Principal Micheal Bishop concerning a little league baseball team.

Satterwhite and others on the board allege emails contained as evidence in Sawyers’ were privileged and confidential information only to be viewed by School Board members, appropriate only for discussion in closed meetings.

The censure alleges Sawyers, therefore, broke the School Board’s code of ethics.

Sawyers’ lawsuit against McGowan is one of two filed this year. Sawyers also is suing Prince William County Schools Superintendent Steven Walts, alleging he would not provide access to emails of his predecessor, Milton Johns.

Sawyers recused himself from the meeting before the vote. He appeared unfazed by the measure.

“Mrs. Satterwhite, you’ve called for my resignation twice. I’m not worried about this,” said Sawyers during the meeting.

Two weeks ago, with Sawyers absent from the meeting, the School Board addressed his order to remove McGowan from the dais where she sits alongside other School Board members to provide legal advice during meetings.

School Board members bucked the Chairman’s order, and McGowan on Wednesday night was seated once again alongside School Board members.

However, unlike others on the dais, she was missing her nametag. We’re told it would be back by the next meeting.

Updated

From Prince William County Republican Committee Chairman Dottie Miller: 

“Tonight’s bipartisan censure of Ryan Sawyers is a courageous move by this Democrat-controlled School Board and a historic reprimand for his reckless abuse of authority,” said Prince William County GOP Chairman Dottie Miller. “Prince William deserves a School Board Chairman that is completely focused on education and our students, but instead, Ryan Sawyers has used our children as a tool for his personal grudges and a platform for higher office. Our kids deserve better.

Miller continued, “Since Sawyers was sworn-in as chairman of the School Board in December of 2015, he has been the model of divisive leadership. Whether it be teacher intimidation, federal investigation threats, disrespect of reservist Gil Trenum and our veterans, retaliation of a Patriot High School principal, petty lawsuits, or a disregard for ethics, Chairman Sawyers has been more partisan warrior than consensus builder. Our schools face very serious issues, and Sawyers is neglecting them. This censure should be a call for our community to demand that Ryan Sawyers take his job seriously or step down immediately.”

News
Historic Brentsville Courthouse to be used as absentee in-person voting center

Underground railroad brentsville courthouse prince william visit

The Brentsville Historic Courthouse Centre will serve as an absentee in-person voting center for the November General Election.

Prince William County Brenstville District Supervisor ordered county staff on Tuesday to allow the use of the historic property, which served as the county’s fourth courthouse.

Here’s Lawson’s directive to county staff:

“Direct County staff to bring a Board resolution transferring sufficient funds to the Office of Election that would enable the Registrar to open an in-person absentee voting location at the Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre two weeks prior to the gubernatorial election in November. The transfer resolution should state that is it conditioned upon the Electoral Board and Registrar using the funds for an absentee voting location at the Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre, and for no other purpose.”

The historic courthouse will be one of five absentee voting centers in the county. The move to allow absentee voting at the old Courthouse comes as both Lawson and Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland ordered staff to look for more places for absentee in-person voting locations on the western side of the county.

From Prince William County Office of Elections spokesman Winston Forrest:

“We are asking for $28,000 for the one-time ‘pilot’ run of in-person absentee voting at the Brentsville Historic Courthouse Centre.”

News
Delays for Prince William police, fire stations

WOODBRIDGE — Police officers will have to wait longer before they can occupy a new police station in Woodbridge.

Construction of the county’s new Central District Station is running 60 days behind schedule due to a delay in the installation of electric and gas lines, as well as construction delays caused by weather. Instead of a November occupancy, officers and staff should be able to move into the new building by Jan. 1, 2018.

“We’re going to start transferring the police force into the building at that time,” Prince William County Director of Public Works Matthew Villareale told elected leaders on Tuesday.

The new $28.6 million station will be located on Davis Ford Road near the intersection of Prince William Parkway, adjacent to the Prince William County Government Center.

Next to the police station will be a new Fire and Rescue Station 26. The $11.2 million station will open on time, by November.

“We anticipate it will be running calls on October 1,” added Villareale.

In Gainesville, a $6 million effort to add 5,000 more square feet to the Gainesville Fire and Rescue Station is also running 60 days behind schedule. Villareale said that Phase 2 of the project, to increase the size of the living quarters in the 27-year-old building, is delayed. 

The project should be completed by January, he added.

News
Virginia State Police warn of automated traffic ticket scam

If you get an email from someone claiming to be from the Virginia State Police telling you about an automated traffic ticket, it’s a scam. 

From Virginia State Police: 

Virginia State Police is warning all Virginians of an email scam that advises individuals they are receiving an “automated traffic ticket” from the State Police. The Virginia State Police does not use or issue digital/automated traffic tickets or summonses. Anyone receiving such an email should delete it and NOT click on any links provided in the email (See example below).

The email scam is just one of numerous tactics used by scammers to harass individuals under the guise of being the Virginia State Police. Just last month Virginia State Police pushed out an advisory about state police phone numbers being cloned by scammers demanding money and/or threatening individuals with arrest warrants. In these instances, anyone receiving such a phone call should hang up.

To protect one’s self from such scams:

— Never open or click on a link in an email from an unknown email address, individual or organization. To check the validity of an email, locate the entity’s website and call to determine if it is a legitimate email. The same goes for an individual.

— Never give out personal information, credit card numbers, bank account information, etc. to an unknown individuals or entities via the phone or email.

— For additional tips on how to protect yourself and identifying common scams, go to www.usa.gov/scams-and-frauds.

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center launches Sentara Neck and Back Center

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center announces its newest addition to help you get back in the game!

Today, Monday, September 18th, the hospital launched the Sentara Back and Neck Center during a ribbon cutting attended by doctors, nurses, volunteers and members of the team.

The Sentara Back and Neck Center offers patients a ‘one-stop shop’ for complete, compassionate care from our board-certified, fellowship trained spine surgeons offering advanced surgical procedures and treatments such as minimally invasive surgeries and artificial disk replacement.

“It’s a more comprehensive approach to treating spinal issues. It’s a team approach, “explains Dr. Paymaun Lotfi, an Orthopedic Spine Specialist and Surgeon at Sentara.

This comprehensive, team approach to treating back pain and spinal issues allows patients to return to their lives with less pain and more hope. Whether that treatment means minimally invasive surgeries or a non-surgical alternative, like working with a pain management specialist or trained physical therapist to create a rehabilitation plan – the new Sentara Back and Neck Center is a specialized program that has something to get everyone back in the game.

“Most people realize they’re going to have some aches and pains, or stiffness, with normal aging. That’s very common. The majority of the issues we see are among those lines, but when you have radiating pain into the extremities- into your arm, into your leg, numbness, weakness, tingling… that’s really not common with normal aging,” explains Dr. Lotfi.

Our expanded orthopedic specialty services are a reflection of Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center’s commitment to offer state-of-the-art services right here in our community.

“We’re there for you and your family every step of the way,” says Dr. Lotfi.

News
Supervisors approve $14 million replacement animal shelter

WOODBRIDGE — In the words of Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, At-large, ‘the board is finally going to, at last, take action on the animal shelter.”

And tonight it did, voting 7-1 to spend $14 million to replace the county’s 40-year-old animal shelter on Bristow Road. The new facility that will include everything from new adoption center, 56 doubled-sided kennels for cats and dogs, a full veterinarian space, offices for animal control officers, and a community room for training pets and their owners.

“We are in desperate need of a new shelter. These animals, the shelter staff, the local rescues, and the overall community deserves to be respected and protected. And the level of service that is being provided today. That is not happening,” said Ann Marie Johnson, of Dale City.

“We’ve been talking about budgeting for a new shelter for past three years, but we’ve been talking about a new shelter for 14 years,” said Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe.

Supervisors chose the Option C, the one that was recommended by county staff and by respondents to Stewart’s email survey. It was one of four options Supervisors could choose from ranging between $11 million and $17 million.

Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland was the lone dissenting vote. He objected to the cost, noting that as recent as last year the cost figures for the proposed shelter topped out at $12 million.

The rising cost of construction was given by county public works staff as the reason for the cost increases. They vowed to watch costs to ensure they don’t rise, barring any unforeseen disaster like a hurricane.

“You cannot make these decisions in a vacuum. Every dollar that we spend is one less dollar that we can spend on something else,” said Candland, who said he agreed a new shelter was needed, but he didn’t like the price tag on this project.

The new shelter is slated to open by 2021. Stewart urged county staff to speed up the process of construction so staff and animals can move into the new center quickly.

“We’ve got great staff there, we just need a new facility,” added Stewart.

The current shelter dates back to 1975. The building was donated to the county at the time, according to Nohe.

“The county has changed since then,” he said.

Just this week, after taking in rescue animals from Florida that were in the path of Hurricane Irma, the current shelter ran out of space to house new animals that would be surrounded by their owners. Afterward, shelter officials stopped accepting new animals at the facility.

A police spokesman said the change was temporary.

News
Police shooting death of 15-year-old Haymarket teen ruled justified

A new police report just released states a 15-year-old male struck a woman in the head with a crowbar and caused her serious injuries before he was shot and killed by police on Friday.

Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney Paul Ebert called the teen’s shooting justified. 

From a press release:

The criminal investigation into the officer-involved shooting that occurred on September 15, 2017, in the Haymarket area of Prince William County has been completed.

This investigation was conducted by detectives from the Prince William County Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division and was reviewed by the Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office this morning for a determination of criminal liability concerning the officers’ actions in the shooting. In the interest of keeping the residents of Prince William County informed of significant incidents involving our officers and the community, further details of the investigation and the ruling of criminal liability are being publicly disclosed.

On September 15, 2017 at approximately 10:45AM, the Prince William County Public Safety Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call from a male claiming he had a bomb strapped to his chest and was holding his mother hostage inside a residence located in the 6800 block of Hartzell Hill Lane in Haymarket.

During the call, the individual stated he had blades and blunt weapons and that he was possibly going to retrieve a gun. The male also made threats towards his family and the police, in addition to, making statements that he did not want to live anymore. He eventually became agitated with the call-taker upon further questioning and disconnected. Communications center staff were unable to reestablish contact with the caller before officers arrived.

A patrol officer and an officer assigned to the Department’s Tactical Training & Response Unit were first to arrive in the area of the home at approximately 10:58AM. Due to the threat of the bomb, the officers parked their vehicles down the street away from the residence and attempted to coordinate their approach.

At that point, a male ran towards the officers from the residence in a panic and informed them his brother had a weapon. While one of the officers was retrieving equipment from his trunk, the other officer observed a different male strike a female with a large metal object in front of the home. The female was able to run away from the assailant, at which time, the individual began approaching the officers at an aggressive pace. (more…)

News
Corey Stewart’s animal shelter survey results are in: Option C is top choice

Respondents to Corey Stewart’s animal shelter survey like the $14 million “Option C.”

The Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 6, 2017, sent an email to voters soliciting input from county voters.

From the Sept. 6 email:

“The Prince William Board of County Supervisors recently saw a presentation that included four design options for the construction, outfitting, operations, and maintenance of a new Animal Shelter.

The current shelter, built in 1975 and expanded in 1990, receives 85,000 visitors and 4,100 animals per year. The main shelter is 6,646 square feet with two modular buildings and 12 outbuildings included in the complex, and there are currently 16 double-sided and 14 single-sided dog kennels and eight double-sided and 77 single-sided cat kennels.

Recognizing that the current shelter inadequately meets the needs of the animals, employees, and visitors to the facility, the Board directed staff in June 2016 to come up with design options that address those needs. The design team included the Department of Public Works, as well as Cole & Denny Architects and Jackson & Ryan Architects, which both have significant experience with the design of animal shelters throughout the country, including Fairfax County’s animal shelter.

Tonight, Supervisors will be faced with voting for one of three options for a new animal shelter. Option C is the preferred choice of county staff, too, as it has recommended the Board of Supervisors choose it to replace the current 40-year-old shelter.

Supervisors are scheduled to take up the issue at 7:30 p.m. at the Prince William County Government Center. You can also watch the meeting online.

News
Everywhere a sign: Anderson orders review of county gateway, wayfinding signage

WOODBRIDGE — When it comes to seeing the signs, Supervisor Ruth Anderson thinks Prince William County may have lost its way.

The Occoquan District Supervisor this week issued what’s known as a “directive” to county staff members to look at the types of signs used to showcase everything from historical sites, parks, and welcome signs posted at entrances to the county on Routes 1, 123, 15 and others.

She sent us an email with her statement to county staff:

I wish to direct County Staff to develop comprehensive and consistent signage guidelines to include, but not necessarily be limited to, gateway signage, wayfinding signage, and signage for parks, historic properties, and other County facilities. Staff is encouraged to engage a diverse representation of stakeholders to assist with this review. Staff should identify potential locations for future gateway and wayfinding signage as well as an inventory of existing signage that will be supplanted with new designs, as a replacement is necessary.

Three years ago, signs and county logos were at the forefront of a debate over whether or not the county should adopt a new square logo commissioned by the Department of Economic Development, or keep its longtime county seal logo on signs and government buildings. (more…)

News
ATV crash victim taken to hospital, dies

Police are investigating a fatal ATV crash that occurred Sunday. 

From Prince William police: 

Fatal Crash Investigation – On September 17 at 5:36PM, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit responded to the 12800 block of Dominique Estates Ln in Catharpin (20143) to investigate a crash involving an ATV. The investigation revealed that the victim was riding a 2004 Suzuki Vinson 500 when he lost control causing the ATV to overturn. The victim was transported to an area hospital where he died as a result of his injuries a short time later. The victim was not wearing a helmet. Speed and alcohol are being investigated as factors in the crash. The investigation continues.

            Identified:

            The victim was identified as David Eric HENSEL, 43, of Catharpin

News
Shelter out of space after influx of animals rescued from Hurricane Irma

Those who want to surrender an animal to the Prince William County Animal Shelter are being turned away.

The shelter is out of space and cannot accept any new animals from owners who can no longer care for them.

While the shelter is a “kill” shelter, it does have a “no-kill” policy.

“We don’t kill animals for space,” said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

The no-surrender policy is temporary, he added.

The shelter is managed by the Prince William County Police Department.

The lack of space issue and the no-surrenders order came after the shelter accepted animals from a batch of 28 dogs, and 16 cats that were brought to our region from Florida in the wake of Hurrican Irma.

Many of those animals came to our area without medical records, and some of them were sick.

None of the sick animals were admitted to the Prince William shelter, said Perok. Many were sent to area veterinarians for treatment after they arrived.

“We don’t have a sickness issue at the shelter,’ added Perok.

Tomorrow, elected leaders in Prince William County will address the lack of space, and other issues plaguing the 45-year-old animals shelter. The Prince William County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on a measure to build a new $14 million animal shelter to replace its existing structure.

Chick-fil-A Bristow Charity Golf Tournament will benefit Christ In Action, whose volunteers are in Texas helping Hurricane Harvey victims

The First Annual Chick-fil-A Bristow Charity Golf Tournament at Broad Run Golf Course & Practice Facility to benefit Christ In Action will take place on September 30, 2017.

Currently deployed to southeast Texas to assist Hurricane Harvey victims, Christ In Action is a nonprofit disaster relief, 100 percent volunteer organization, whose mission statement is “Bringing Hope to America’s Families” whose communities have been devastated by tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, and floods.

Volunteers, donations, and through their selfless commitment help to provide services to these communities at no cost by deploying their fleet of trucks to provide food, water, showers, and supplies.

However, to do this, it takes support from the community, and that is why we will be hosting the First Annual Charity Golf Tournament on September 30, 2017, to help raise money for this amazing organization.

You too can participate in the excitement of this event by supporting Christ In Action! There will be a variety of ways that you can participate and to lend your support.

Your kind donation or sponsorship will bring us closer to our fundraising goals for 2017. We encourage our communities to sign up and register to play in the tournament and get involved and help us generate the enthusiasm to participate in this upcoming golf event for this great cause!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you in advance for supporting Christ In Action and their efforts to provide disaster relief to families in need. It is with the support of the community, donations, sponsorships, Chick-fil-A Bristow and Broad Run Golf & Practice Facility that will make this First Annual Chick-fil-A Bristow Charity Golf Tournament a success.

News
Supervisors to decide on $14 million animal shelter replacement

WOODBRIDGE — Is a new $14 million animal shelter in the future for Prince William County taxpayers?

That is what the county’s Board of Supervisors must decide on Tuesday night when they decide which one of four new animals shelters will replace, or improve the existing 45-year-old facility located next to a landfill.

The favored choice is known as Option C, a new $14.2 million facility that would replace the existing structure, and come with complete with an pet adoption lobby, a full veterinarian space, isolation rooms for sick animals, animal control offices, a community room, 156 double-sided kennels for cats, and 56 double-sided kennels for dogs.

“I love it. What’s not to love about it,” asked Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson.

 Anderson called animal control a “core government service” and added a new shelter is needed in Prince William County. She familiarized herself with the issue while touring similar shelters in Fairfax and Fauquier counties, and a shelter in Fredericksburg.

Must have vs. nice-to-have

But opponents of Option C, including Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland, call this plan the “Taj Mahal” of animal shelters. When a new animal shelter was first discussed two years ago, county officials were ready to pay between six and $10 million for a new facility, he said. (more…)

News
Updated: Police called to possible hostage situation, shoot teen with crowbar

HAYMARKET — Prince William police are investigating an officer-involved shooting in Haymarket.

We’re told no police officers have been injured. Further details on the incident have yet-to-be-made available by a police spokesman.

County school officials stress to parents that children inside schools in the Haymarket area are safe

Prince William County Schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer released this statement:

Haymarket area schools are safe and advised of NO NEED for precautionary actions despite police activity in the area. Instruction continues as normal at all schools.

More as we have it.

2 p.m. 

A male juvenile was pronounced dead at the scene this morning after a police-involved shooting in Haymarket. 

From Prince William police: 

INCIDENTOfficer Involved Shooting | Haymarket; Detectives are currently investigating an officer involved shooting which occurred in the 6800 block of Hartzell Hill Ln in Haymarket (20169) around 10:45 this morning. No officers were injured. The individual shot was identified as a male juvenile and was pronounced dead at the scene. More information will be released when available. The investigation continues.

A road closure this afternoon will prevent parents from picking up children, as well as stalling bus traffic at schools in the area. 

From Prince William County Public Schools spokeswoman Irene Cormer: 

Due to road closure at Hartzell Hill Lane in Haymarket, parents are asked to meet their child’s bus at  Market Ridge and Heights Way.  No buses can go on Harzell Hill Lane. This may affect school buses from Battlefield High School, Reagan Middle School, and Haymarket Elementary School.

2:50 p.m. 

Police say the male juvenile is a teenager. 

4:45 p.m. 

The Prince William County Police Department is still actively investigating an officer involved shooting which occurred outside of a residence located in the 6800 block of Hartzell Hill Ln in Haymarket (20169) around 10:45AM this morning. Officers initially responded to the residence to investigate a possible hostage situation.

As officers were responding, information was received that one of the parties involved had a bomb strapped to his chest and was holding a family member hostage. When officers arrived, they observed a male individual in front of the residence. During the encounter, the individual brandished a crowbar and began walking toward the officers in a threatening manner.

The officers gave the individual multiple commands to drop the crowbar which he refused. At that point, one of the officers fired their Department issued weapon towards the individual, striking him in the upper body. Officers provided immediate first aid until rescue personnel arrived.

The individual was pronounced dead at the scene. No officers were injured.

The individual shot was identified as a 15-year-old male juvenile. More information will be released when available. The investigation continues.



‘The Forgotten War’ exhibit will show how WWI changed Prince William, culture

Few events in American history hold are remembered more than wars fought by its countrymen and women.

While Americans have fought in numerous engagements in the country’s 241 years, three stand out.

The American Revolutionary War created our country, the Civil War saved it, and World War II saved democracy for the world.

Unfortunately, most Americans have forgotten one of the most influential two years in American history — World War I. While the U.S. was officially at war in 1917, most of America’s participation in the fighting took place final months of the War, and although over 100,000 Americans died, it paled in comparison to the millions of Europeans who died.

Since American service members were back in Europe fighting against Germany within a generation, perhaps it is not surprising that our country has forgotten about the First World War. This historical amnesia obscures the fact that the U.S. that is familiar to all modern people, a first rate world power, was the direct consequence of our participation in World War I.

With the centennial of America’s active participation in the War, this fall the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division is collaborating with the Manassas Museum and will produce an exhibit on the local impact the War had. The World War, unsurprisingly, had a worldwide influence. Instead of focusing on the military campaigns fought thousands of miles away in Europe, “The Forgotten War” will instead explore the impact the war had closer to home.

The first major military engagement since the American Civil War, the American Army in World War I numbered in the millions. One way so many served was through the draft. While many Prince William County residents volunteered for service, every adult male in the county had to register for the draft.

Out of the many that served, twenty-six local “doughboys” gave the ultimate sacrifice during the War. The wartime years also witnessed an immense change in our communities with new military bases springing up, many of which are still around today. The war also witnessed the introduction of official propaganda into American popular culture.

While it would be the first time American service members would see combat in Europe, it would not be the last. Visitors to this exhibit will leave with a better appreciation of this forgotten war.

This post is brought to you by the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division.

News
Data centers to trucking: Prince William County wants to review its ‘target industries’ list

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — The Prince William County Board of Supervisors is considering to fund a Targeted Industry and Competitive Analysis Study, requiring a transfer of $125,000 from contingency to the Department of Economic Development Fiscal Year 2018 budget to conduct the study.

Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland moved to table the measure during the Board’s Sept. 5, 2017, and requested more information from members of county’s economic development staff.

“We’re hiring so many consultants, and it seems our own economic development staff has to say,” said Candland. “We send them to so many conferences; it would be a good idea to get their opinion.”

The county has long touted its “targeted industry” list as a guiding document used to identify which types of companies it would like to attract to the region. The current list includes biosecurity, drug manufacturing, data centers, federal contractors, to short-haul trucking operations, like trucking firm that delivers food to retail stores.  

“The Targeted Industry Study serves many purposes,” said Jeffrey A. Kaczmarek, Executive Director, Prince William County Department of Economic Development. “However, its findings and conclusions help solidify a ‘roadmap’ aimed at increased business attraction efforts and identifying ideal industry clusters, while taking into consideration the region’s values, assets, resources, and trends.

“All business plans, public or private, need to be constantly reviewed and updated to assess the competition and the overall business environment and how to best respond.” (more…)

Tourism revenue reached $68 million in the City of Manassas in 2016

Data released by the United States Travel Association (USTA) reveals that all regions in Virginia posted an increase in tourism revenue last year.

Tourism revenue for the City of Manassas reached $68,000,000. Local tourism-supported jobs totaled 580 while local tourism-related taxes were $1,800,000, a 3.5% increase. All data was received by the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) from US Travel Association and is based on domestic visitor spending (travelers from within the United States) from trips taken 50 miles or more away from home.

“The City of Manassas prides itself on being visitor friendly,” said City Manager W. Patrick Pate.  “According to the 2016 Citizen Satisfaction Survey completed by ETC Institute, the City of Manassas scored more than 20 percent above the national average in customer service.”

According to the US Travel Association, tourism in Virginia generated $24 billion in travel spending. Tourism also supported 230,000 jobs in the Commonwealth and $1.7 billion in state and local taxes. The increase is largely attributed to Virginia’s tourism development all around the state, including: new hotels, restaurants, agritourism, craft breweries, wineries, distilleries, cideries, sports, outdoor recreation, festivals and events, music venues, wedding venues, meeting and convention venues, attractions and so much more. Virginia’s changing tourism product makes the Commonwealth a destination for authentic travel experiences and thriving communities.

“As the one of Virginia’s largest private sector industries, tourism represents $24 billion in economic impact and contributes $1.7 billion in state and local taxes, injecting critical dollars into our communities statewide,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “The tourism industry supports local businesses, services, and infrastructure, and is an important contributor to job creation. Communities all across Virginia continue to develop new tourism product, making the Commonwealth one of the most exciting and compelling destinations in the world.”

The Virginia Tourism Corporation is the state agency responsible for marketing Virginia to visitors and promoting the Virginia is for Lovers brand. Virginia is for Lovers is the longest-running state tourism slogan in the country. Virginia is for Lovers stands for love, pure and simple, and promotes the state as the ideal destination for loved ones to completely connect on a great vacation. Virginia is for Lovers was named one of the top 10 tourism marketing campaigns of all time by Forbes and was inducted into the National Advertising Walk of Fame in 2009.  To plan your next vacation in Virginia, visit www.virginia.org and discover why Virginia is for Lovers.

News
Bull Run Rotary Clubs needs volunteers to help support SERVE

Good Morning Prince William – September is National Preparedness Month! In light of recent disasters such as wildfires, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, please take some time to prepare for emergencies before they happen. Remember, disasters don’t plan ahead, but You Can! Please visit ready.gov/September for great information on how you can prepare an emergency kit for your family and pets.

· Please join us in Manassas Park on September 16 at the Emergency Preparedness Fair 10am-2pm at the Fire Rescue Department, 9080 Manassas Drive in Manassas Park. For more information, please call (703) 335-8845. Also, the wonderful folks in City of Manassas are hosting their Preparedness Month Fun Fair on September 23, 9am-1pm at the Manassas Farmer’s Market on Prince William Street, across from Baldwin Elementary School. Emergency kits, kid activities, emergency vehicles and lots of important emergency preparedness information will be available at both events.

· The Manassas, Bull Run Rotary Clubs supporting the great work at SERVE needs tons of volunteers for the Lou Maroon Golf Tournament on Wednesday, September 13th at the Evergreen Country Club. Jobs include check-in of teams, run the putting contest, sell raffle tickets, take photos and greet golfers as they tee off. Volunteers need to be at least 18 years old and be able to stand for the 2-3 hour shift. Shifts are 9 a.m. -12pm, 12-2:30 p.m. and 2:30-5pm. come join the fun for a fabulous cause. Please call Navara at (571) 748-2536 to learn more. (more…)

Traffic
Speeding fines are going up on Featherbed, and possibly Featherstone

GAINESVILLE — Drivers on Featherbed Lane watch out: Fines for speeding will increase.

New signs are warning drivers an additional fine of up to $200 will be installed along the two-lane thoroughfare in western Prince William County. According to county documents, based on the number requests from residents for speed enforcement, as well as speed studies completed in the area, “Featherbed Lane has a documented speeding problem.”

Three new signs warning of the higher fines will be placed along the route, from Sudley Road to Route 29. The road will keep its 25 mph speed limit.

The fines collected could generate additional revenue for the county, according to county documents.

One of the state requirements for the signs to be installed, county officials noted they received a petition requesting the new signs be installed, signed by more than half of the residents who live in the area.

Signs notifying residents that county leaders were seeking comments from residents about the new increased speeding fines signs were posted along Featherbed Lane between July 17 and 31. No one commented, county documents state.

The new signs should be installed in about a month. County late this year leaders will also consider installing similar signs along Featherstone Road in Woodbridge, according to Steve Stevens, at the Prince William County Transportation Departement. (more…)

News
‘March to Confront White Supremacy’ passes through Gainesville

GAINESVILLE — Multiple groups of people on Monday moved along Route 29 in Gainesville as part of the “March to Confront White Supremacy.”

A cluster of state and local police took position near a bridge near University Avenue about 9 a.m. At various stops along the road, about 100 walkers would eventually join the walk which arrived in Gainesville on Saturday night.

After spending Saturday night at various locations around Gainesville, and driving places as far as Charlottesville to join them, walkers set out again at 9:30 a.m. bound for Fairfax County.

Some wore signs that read “Justucia,” the Spanish word for justice. Some pushed baby strollers. Marchers ranged in age and ethnicity.

The marchers were to have started at the WaWa on Route 29 in Gainesville Monday. But the night before, the decision was made to move the starting point further north the highway because they had made better than anticipated progress the day before.

The group is expected to arrive in Washington tomorrow to demand President Donald Trump to step down from office. (more…)

News
County officials urge families to create disaster plan in the wake of Hurricane Harvey

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — Fire and rescue officials in Prince William County are watching the disastrous effects Hurricane Harvey is having in Houston.

While the storm may be nearly 1,400 miles away, officials here know hurricane season is far from over. And they urge residents to be prepared should a Harvey-like storm take aim at our region.

It could take up to three days before emergency crews reach you in the event of a disaster. Having a stored supply of water, food, medicine, and pet food is a good start to ensure survival in the case of a catastrophic emergency.

“Here locally, the department of fire and rescue and first responders are expected to be able to operate for up to 72 hours after the start of an emergency without assistance from state or federal resources,” said Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue Asst. Chief Matt Smolksy. (more…)

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