WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia




School closings and delays for Thursday evening Jan. 5, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017

Check our Schools and Local Governments Twitter lists below for the most up-to-date closings posted by the respective school division or government agency.

For the open status of the Federal Government, click “OPM website” below.

Government closings and delays

Federal Government Operating Status

(OPM website)

‘We have the first 2017 baby born at Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center’


Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center’s first baby of 2017 is a boy, Colt Alan Hopkins born at 8:23 p.m. on January 3 delivered by Eugene Louie-Ng, MD and weighing in at 8 lbs. 6 ounces and 20 inches long. Parents are Heather and Alan Hopkins of Culpeper, Va. Older brother Tyler age two will welcome him at home.

‘A passerby noticed the fire and called 911’ for Haymarket house fire


On Saturday, December 31st, at 8:37 a.m., fire and rescue crews were dispatched to a structure fire in a two-story single family home located in the 3800 block of Delashmutt Drive in Haymarket.

Upon entry, firefighters observed fire in a second floor bathroom. The fire had extended to the attic and the floor between the kitchen and the bathroom. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire.

No injuries reported.

No one was home at the time of the fire; a passerby noticed the fire and called 911.

According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, preliminary damages are estimated at $25,000.

The fire originated in a second floor bathroom; the cause was electrical and has been determined as accidental.

Recycle your Christmas Tree in Prince William County


After all the holiday festivities are over and the finery has lost its luster give your Christmas tree, wreath and other cut greenery another life as compost, mulch or habitat. Simply remove all ornaments, decorations, tinsel, nails and the tree stand and take the greenery to one of locations listed below to be recycled or repurposed.  

The Prince William County Landfill at 14811 Dumfries Road in Manassas.  Monday – Saturday, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.  The facility is closed New Year’s Day. 703-792-4670

The Balls Ford Road Compost Facility located at 13000 Balls Ford Road in Manassas. Monday – Saturday, 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.  The facility is closed New Year’s Day. 703-792-4670

Leesylvania State Park located at 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Drive in Woodbridge (off Neabsco Road). Trees may be dropped off at Shelter 2 and will be used for habitat.

Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) located at 5399 Wellington Branch Road in Gainesville.  Dec. 26 – Jan. 9.  The drop off area is located in the front parking lot in the area outlined with the orange safety cones.  NOVEC will deliver the wood-chip mulch to interested customer-owners at no charge, visit www.novec.com/mulch

Beer thief hits Catholic school in Gainesville

From police: 

Burglary to a School – On December 26 at 1:48PM, officers responded to the Holy Family Academy located at 10580 Pineview Rd in Gainesville (20111) to investigate a burglary. School staff reported to police that the burglary occurred sometime between 7:00PM on December 21 and 2:00PM on December 24. The investigation revealed entry was made into the building through a rear window which was found open. Minor damage was observed inside the center. Several bottles of beer were reported missing.

Okra’s expanding to Virginia Oaks golf course in Gainesville


Okra’s® Cajun/Creole restaurant Cajun/Creole restaurant, an Old Town Manassas anchor, will soon be opening a second location at the Virginia Oaks Golf Club in Gainesville.

New owners of the property have taken action to make the club a special place again by adding a proven golf management team and by recruiting Okra’s, a regional favorite in dining and nightlife to their team.

[Okra’s founder Charles] Gilliam started the brand in 1998 and its fame has grown ever since. The restaurant will be serving lunch and dinner daily and its menu will be in keeping with the original restaurant’s Cajun/Creole roots.

N’Awlins Fare such as Jambalaya, Shrimp and Grits, Red Beans and Rice, Po Boys, and their Famous Gumbo will be offered along with signature appetizers, entrees, and desserts.

Diners will enjoy a relaxing lunch or dinner atop a waterfall overlooking an island green. The setting for the new location is secluded and a little off the beaten path, which simply lends to its charm and appeal. In addition to daily operations, large indoor and outdoor banquet facilities are available at Okra’s® Bistro for weddings, banquets, and golf tournaments.

Okra’s® will be hiring a full complement of staff to include every position. Although filling management positions is the current priority, resumes and applications are being accepted now with an anticipated opening date sometime in early Spring. Fifty full and part-time jobs are expected to be added to our economy.


Two adults, 3 children displaced in Bristow fire

From Prince William fire and rescue: 

On Saturday, December 17th at 1:51 p.m., fire and rescue crews were dispatched to a structure fire in a single family home located in the 9900 block of Linton Hall Road in Bristow.

Upon arrival, firefighters observed fire showing from an attached garage that had extended into the home. Fire and rescue units began suppression and extinguished the fire.

Two adults and three children, displaced by the fire, were home at the time of the fire.

Red Cross was available on scene and assisted the displaced residents.

According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, preliminary damages are estimated at $150,000.

A Building Official has posted the home unsafe.

The fire started on the front of the home near a trash can; the cause is undetermined.

Pellet stove exhaust causes brush fire that burned Haymarket home

From Prince William fire and rescue:

On Saturday, December 17th at 12:46 a.m., fire and rescue crews were dispatched to a structure fire in a single family home located in the 17000 block of Duck Lane in Haymarket.

Upon arrival, firefighters observed fire showing from a first floor window. As they made entry, firefighters quickly extinguished the fire.

No injuries reported.

According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, preliminary damages are estimated at $600.00.

The fire originated from a pellet stove exhaust that ignited combustible material on the home’s exterior causing a brush fire that extended into the home.

Chimney fire at home in Haymarket displaced 2 residents, cat

From Prince William County fire and rescue: 

On, Friday, December 16th, at 9:20 a.m., fire and rescue units were dispatched to a structure fire in a single-family home located in the 4200 block of Misty Ridge Drive in Haymarket.

Upon arrival, fire and rescue crews observed fire in the chimney with extension to the home’s exterior. As fire and rescue units initiated extinguishment of the fire, firefighters assisted in the evacuation of a disabled resident.

No injuries reported.

Two adults were home at the time of the fire. Red Cross was on scene to assist the displaced residents and their pet cat.

According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, preliminary damages are estimated at $40,000.

The Building Official was on scene and has posted the home unsafe. Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue Chief Kevin McGee urges residents to be vigilant when using alternative heating methods by following these simple safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe and warm:

— Install wood burning stoves following manufacturer’s instructions or have a professional do the installation.

— Keep fireplaces and woodstoves clean.

— Clean annually by a certified chimney specialist.

— Keep area around fireplace and woodstove clean and free of debris, decorations and flammable materials.

— Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces.

— Keep air inlets open on woodstoves and fireplaces.

— If closed, inlets cause creosote buildup and lead to chimney fires.

— Use fire resistant materials, like walls and floors, around woodstoves.

— NEVER leave a fire unattended in a fireplace.

— Extinguish fire before leaving the house or going to bed.

— ALWAYS remove ashes in a covered metal container and store at least 10 feet away from your home and any nearby buildings.

Grant allows NOVA to develop Cybersecurity Career Pathways Project

Forest Park, Potomac high schools tapped to participate 


Two centers for higher learning in our area have announced new cyber security initiatives. 

Submitted by Prince William Department of Economic Development: 

Two Prince William County-based Higher Education Institutes – Northern Virginia Community College and ECPI University – have announced new programs to enhance expanded learning in the field of cybersecurity.

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with two campuses located in Prince William County, received a $100,000 grant from Capital One Foundation to help develop the Cybersecurity Career Pathways Project that will inform and support middle and high school students in the Northern Virginia region who wish to explore and hopefully pursue a career in cybersecurity.  

ECPI University’s Northern Virginia campus has expanded its program offerings to include a Master of Science in Cybersecurity and a Bachelor of Science in Software Development.  The project aims to entice a future generation of cybersecurity workers and eventually fill a regional and national skills gap.

NOVA will be working as part of a cohort of 14 community colleges in D.C., Maryland, New York and Texas to develop some thematic areas of focus in relation to labor-market data and career pathways to create a pilot program with two Prince William County public high schools—Forest Park and Potomac—both chosen due to their high level of diversity and for the large number of students from underserved populations.

ECPI University’s decision to expand its offerings comes on the heels of Governor’s Terry McAuliffe’s recent call for a greater effort to draw more people towards careers in cyber and network security.  Both professions are in great demand, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with employment of software developers projected to grow 17 percent from 2014 to 2024 – much faster than the average for all occupations.  Demand for information security analysts is also on the rise. Consequently, the need for computer and information systems managers is growing as well, with employment of computer and information systems managers projected to grow 15 percent from 2014 to 2024.

Haymarket DDI interchange opening delayed

HAYMARKET, Va. — The opening of the new diverging diamond interchange is delayed until January 7 due to weather, according to a statement from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The state held a series of meetings to teach drivers how to use the interchange, which places traffic on the opposite side of the road and removes all left turns. 



Manassas office vacancy rates fall below 5-year average


FY 2016 3rd Quarter Commercial Report

Office Market

Office vacancy rates across the region remain high, but Manassas has fallen to a low of 7.5 percent. This is significantly below the 5-year average of 10.6 percent. Rental rates fell during the quarter to $18.80 but are expected to rebound; the average over the last five years has been $19.68.



Retail Market

The retail market remains strong as development and relocation interest grows from prospective developers and businesses. At the close of the 3rd quarter, rates hit a 2016 high of $22.80 while vacancy was just over 5 percent.

retail Q32016


Industrial/Flex Market

The 4.5 percent vacancy rate in the City is consistent with neighboring communities. With average rental rates of $9.38, and new product entering the market, the City will be at a competitive advantage-offering new, Class A Flex space at a lower price than others.

industrial Q32016

The Economic Development Office maintains an inventory of available commercial space which can be found on the City webpage at www.manassasva.gov/ED or call 703-257-8881.

Updated: Boil water advisory issued for Gainesville, Haymarket areas lifted

GAINESVILLE, Va. — A water main break on University Drive, between Route 29 and Wellington Road in Gainesville has prompted utility officials to order residents to boil water. 

Affected communities are located north of Virginia Gateway/Atlas Walk, and include (among others):

— Heritage Hunt

— Piedmont

— Dominion Valley

— Virginia Oaks

— Town of Haymarket

— Heritage Farms

— Villages at Piedmont

— Somerset

— Hopewell’s Landing

— Heathcoate Commons

— Gates Mill

— Parks at Piedmont

Crews are still working to repair the water main break, but water has been restored to all affected homes, according to a Service Authority spokesman. 

From the Prince William Service Authority: 

The Prince William County Service Authority is advising residents to use boiled tap water or bottled water for drinking and cooking purposes as a safety precaution. This precaution is necessary because of a loss in water pressure in the system due to a water main break in the Haymarket area. This Boil Water Notice will remain in effect for a minimum of 48 hours to provide adequate time for water quality testing. As more information becomes available, customers in the affected area will be notified.

Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, beverage and food preparation, and making ice until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water. Boiling is the preferred method to ensure that your tap water is safe to drink. Bring all tap water to a rolling boil, let it boil for one (1) minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water.

If you cannot boil your tap water, an alternative method of purification for residents that do not have gas or electricity available is to use liquid household bleach to disinfect water. The bleach product should be recently purchased, free of additives and scents, and should contain a hypochlorite solution of at least 5.25%. Public health officials recommend adding 8 drops of bleach (about ¼ teaspoon) to each gallon of water. If using extra strength bleach (8.25% solution) add 6 drops to each gallon of water. After adding bleach, the water should be stirred and allowed to stand for at least 30 minutes before use. 

The Service Authority will inform you when you no longer need to boil your water. To address this issue, the utility is working diligently to restore the water distribution system to full operation. Additionally, we are taking the necessary bacteriological samples to test the quality of the water.

For more information call Service Authority Emergency Dispatch at (703) 3357982.


From the Prince William Service Authority:

Crews are assessing the water main break today, but it is highly unlikely that repairs will start this week. Due to lower winter time water demands, isolating this location has no impact on our ability to serve water to our customers. The main that failed is an 18” main that passes under I-66.

Updated December 8, 2016

From the Prince William Service Authority: 

The Prince William County Service Authority is pleased to report that water sample test results collected in the Haymarket area did not reveal any bacterial contamination. Customers in the affected area may resume normal water use. 

As required by the Virginia Department of Health, bacteriological samples were collected over the course of two days and all samples tested negative for the presence of bacteria.

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.


Earn a Degree or Certificate in Less time with NOVA Weekend College @ the Woodbridge Campus


Beginning in the spring 2017 semester, Northern Virginia Community College students can finish a semester’s worth of classes in only 14 weeks through the NOVA Weekend College @ the Woodbridge Campus.

NOVA Weekend College @ The Woodbridge Campus enables students to take an entire semester of classes in only two days. Adult learners who are busy balancing full-time jobs and family responsibilities can enroll in a 12-credit schedule of Friday and Saturday morning classes, with an option of selecting from a wide variety of classes needed to earn a degree or certification.

This new, innovative approach to accommodate those with busy schedules offers flexible, hybrid (half classroom & half online) courses that meet at 9 a.m. and/or 11 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, with classes ending at 12:30 p.m. The rest of the work and class interaction is done at home using the internet.

“NOVA Weekend College @ the Woodbridge Campus offers a flexible schedule for busy working adults to take a full course load in only two mornings per week,” said Provost of the Woodbridge Campus, Dr. Sam Hill. “This new initiative provides an amazing opportunity for busy people in our region to earn a degree or certificate at a much faster pace, to advance and to become an expert in their chosen profession.”

Visit NVCC.EDU/WOODBRIDGEWEEKEND for more information. Online registration is open 24 hours a day at www.nvcc.edu/startstrong.

These new faces will help raise money for the Prince William Public Library

From the Prince William Library Foundation: 

The Board of Directors of the Prince William Public Library System Foundation is happy to welcome new board members Bethanne Kim, Marlo Watson, D’Andrea Wooten, Caroline Shaaber, Bennie Herron and Greg Wright. Bethanne, Marlo, D’Andrea, Caroline, Bennie, and Greg will support the board’s efforts in raising funds for the library’s special programs and events.

Bethanne Kim is a self-published author of seven books under the pen name Liz Long. She is a blogger and brings to the position fundraising experience, community experience as a Cub master for her two sons Cub Scout pack. Her passion for libraries is a result of living 30-45 minutes from a library growing up. She feels strongly about having libraries with physical and program resources that invite kids and teens into the library so that it becomes a natural part of their lives and routines. She is a strong advocate for the new Haymarket Gainesville Community Library.

Marlo Watson is presently the President and Chief Engagement Officer of the Marlo Company, Inc., a talent and community development firm. She received her Master’s in Public Administration from Central Michigan University and has a Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management from Keller Graduate School of Management. Marlo brings to the Board more than 20 years of people and community development experience. She is very passionate about community and it is reflected in her service: Committee of 100 Secretary 2014-2015, graduate of Leadership Prince William 2015 and was awarded (one of five) Prince William County’s most influential women for 2016 and runner-up for 2015.

D’Andrea Wooten is currently on the Hylton Performing Arts Center Executive Board and the Tackett’s Mill/Clearbrook Foundation. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Santa Clara University. She has prior fiduciary responsibility for the operations of the Pohick Episcopal Church. She volunteers as the co-chair for the Education Commission at the Pohick Episcopal Church. She also volunteers with the Woodbridge Rotary Club and as Superintendent of Sunday Schools at Pohick Episcopal Church.

Caroline–Louise Shaaber is presently the Arts Recreation Specialist for Prince William County. She is the liaison between the County and the Prince William Arts Council. She has both an Interior Design and Architectural Drafting degree and various certifications in the Education field. She is the owner of Vision Finders, her design consulting company, and previously owned an Educational Franchise teaching young children language classes and camps; computer skills and STEM related camps. Raised in Europe, Caroline speaks five languages fluently. She has experience as a volunteer for numerous organizations in local and military communities. She is a member of Lake Ridge Rotary and a mother of two children.

Bennie Herron is presently an author and poet, and brings to the position a Master’s degree in Psychology from San Diego State University and a Master’s of Fine Arts degree in creative writing with an emphasis in contemporary poetry from National University. He participates in the poetry scene locally and regionally. His love for quality education allows him to be a part of the solution by raising funds for the Foundation’s special projects in the community.

Greg Wright is presently the Surgical Technology Program Director and a Health and Medical Science teacher at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, VA. He has served on the Virginia Department of Education Curriculum Writing Committee for Career and Technical Education. Greg graduated from the University of Montana with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Education. His prior work experience has been in the medical field and education. He lives in Dumfries, VA.

The six new members join a 21-member board that participates in the Foundation’s fundraising efforts.

Service Authority: We stopped the groundwater leak into Gainesville sewer

GAINESVILLE, Va. — The Prince William Service Authority reports it sealed a pipe where tens of thousands of gallons of ground water was seeping daily into the pipe. 

From the Service Authority: 

This fall, the Service Authority discovered groundwater entering into the sanitary sewer system through a small, unused section of sewer main near the intersection of Glenkirk Road and Linton Hall Road. The estimated amount of water seeping into the 350-foot line was 68,000 gallons a day – or the equivalent of 24 hours of water consumption by 180 homes.

Eventually, that water flowed to the  to be treated as wastewater.

Eventually, that water flowed to the H.L. Mooney Advanced Water Reclamation Facility  Upper Occoquan Service Authority’s (UOSA) wastewater treatment plant in Centreville to be treated as wastewater.

Since the line is not currently in use, the Service Authority was able to seal it off at the nearest manhole to prevent any more infiltration of groundwater. Ultimately, this discovery will save money on treatment cost, free up capacity at UOSA and, most importantly, help to save our customers money.

It’s not known what caused when the groundwater to begin seeping into the pipe, but it was likely after improvements were made to the intersection and the line was abandoned, according to a Service Authority statement. 

Gainesville to Pentagon bus starts December 12

GAINESVILLE, Va. — The state will fund a new bus route for commuters in Gainesville. 


“A new state-funded commuter bus route linking Gainesville directly with the Pentagon will start operating on Monday, December 12, encouraging western Prince William County residents to share their commutes as plans proceed to build Express Lanes on I- 66.

The new Gainesville-Pentagon OmniRide route will be offered by the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC), which provides commuter and local bus services and encourages ridesharing in Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. All funding for the new route is being provided by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) as part of its efforts to move more people and reduce traffic congestion on I-66 Inside the Beltway.

Also starting on December 12, PRTC’s existing Manassas OmniRide commuter bus service will be split into two separate routes – one serving Washington, D.C., and the other serving the Pentagon. The split will benefit all Manassas OmniRide passengers by providing:

— More reliable on-time performance;

— Shorter travel times to and from D.C.;

— Increased rider capacity without higher operating costs; and

— A better chance of having a seat on afternoon/evening trips leaving the Pentagon because buses will be starting the route at that point.

In addition, the Manassas-Washington route will offer service to a new destination: L’Enfant Plaza.

PRTC updates its schedules twice annually to reflect current running times and changes in routing. Once the December 12 service change takes effect, PRTC will have a total of 18 commuter bus routes and seven local bus routes in the Prince William County area. Updated maps and timetables for all PRTC routes will be available in early December.’

Do you know how to use the Haymarket DDI?

HAYMARKET, Va. — State transportation officials want you to know how to use the new diverging diamond interchange opening this month. 

From VDOT:

The Virginia Department of Transportation invites local residents and drivers to attend one of two upcoming meetings to learn about the opening of northern Virginia’s first Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) at Interstate 66 and Route 15.

Wednesday, Dec. 7 and Tuesday, Dec.13 – Bull Run Middle School cafeteria, 6308 Catharpin Road, Gainesville, VA. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m. and feature a brief presentation at 7 p.m. and an interactive DDI walk-through.

Although construction on the overall project is ongoing until summer 2017, the new DDI alignment is scheduled to open on Saturday, Dec. 17, weather permitting. The interchange will be closed the night before for final lane striping.

The DDI’s innovative bow-tie design shifts vehicles to the opposite side of the road and eliminates left turns that cross oncoming traffic. Two-phase traffic signals at each end of the interchange reduce time spent at red lights and move twice the number of vehicles as a traditional diamond interchange. VDOT recently completed its first two DDIs in Louisa and Roanoke, and has two more in the works in Blacksburg and Stafford.

ADAMS mosque decision coming December 7

BRISTOW, Va. — A decision to support or deny the construction of a mosque in Bristow could be made on December 7.

The Prince William County Planning Commission deferred a decision on the All Dulles Area Muslim Society’s (ADAMS) proposal to build a 22,000 square foot mosque at the corner of Vint Hill Road and Schaeffer Lane.

If built, the mosque would sit inside the coveted Rural Crescent — land set aside for preservation. County leaders have allowed other churches to be built inside the preservation area.

The ADAMS mosque would be located in the Brenstville Magisterial District. Brentsville District Supervisor Jeanine Lawson had this to say about the proposed mosque:

“I have concerns about the ADAMS proposal as did my predecessor, Supervisor Covington. The Vint Hill Road site is particularly challenging for a religious institution of this size. The transportation impacts to the local community, and the request for public sewer in the Rural Crescent makes support of the application even more challenging. In my initial meeting with the ADAMS representatives last year, I encouraged them to look for land in the development area where they would not face as many obstacles. As a strong defender of the rural area, the fact that they have chosen to proceed to pursue the Schaeffer location is disappointing.”

Editor’s note: We contacted ADAMS Center on Saturday for a comment for this post. We’ll add to the post once we have it. 

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