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News
Prince William Plans 9/11 Ceremony

Prince William County Supervisors Maureen Caddigan, Corey Stewart, and John Jenkins herald the arrival of steel from the World Trade Center. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

WOODBRIGDE, Va. — On Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, at 1:30 p.m., the public is invited to attend a ceremony commemorating the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. The ceremony will be held on the County Complex at the County’s Liberty Memorial.

The ceremony will include brief comments by Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, the reading of the names of the County residents who were lost on that day, and placing flowers on the memorial fountain to honor and remember them.

We hope you will join us on Sept. 11 to remember the fallen, to embrace those who lost their loved ones, and to ensure that we never forget what happened on Sept. 11, 2001.

-Prince William County press release

News
Students Now Allowed Mobile Devices

By AMIE WEINBERG, PhD
For PotomacLocal.com

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — As you scan your child’s class room you will find paper, pencils, and backpacks. In addition, you are likely to notice an increase in digital age technologies.

This year, Prince William County Public Schools is allowing students and staff to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Of course, participants must agree to abide by the county’s Acceptable Use and Internet Safety Policy, and will be supervised by school personnel. As a result of this new policy, there is likely to be a sharp increase in the number of smart phones, iPads, and notebook computers in Northern Virginia classrooms.

Most teenage smart phone users know how to use their device to find the closest Target or Chipotle. But Smartphones can do much more than help teens fill their stomachs and empty their wallets. Technologies have various affordances, or uses, depending on the user and the reason for which the technology is used. It seems logical, then, to teach students to access their own technology to enhance learning.

Imagine a history teacher facilitating a student debate about the causes and consequences of the Civil War. Participants can simultaneously access appropriate sources and images to secure their debate position.

Some may wonder whether younger students can benefit from the same technologies as older students. Once again, educators must consider the technology and how it can best be used for their student population. For example, there exist an almost unlimited number of apps, most of which are fun, some of which are educationally beneficial. Educators can guide young students toward apps that reinforce spelling skills or Math facts, depending on the child’s needs.

This year, rather than hearing teachers scold students for taking their cell phones to class, you are likely to hear “turn on your cell phones” as the learning continues.

News
Oaks III Development on Hold

By STEPHANIE TIPPLE

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — An unpopular plan to expand an office park is on hold, and the lot on which it was to be built is marked by a “for sale” sign.

The planned Oaks III office park was to be built on a portion of 18 acres of land at the intersection of Tanyard Hill and Old Bridge roads in Lake Ridge.

A rezoning request approved by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors in January cleared the way for construction of a 32,500 square foot office building located next to the Oaks I and Oaks II office parks.

But county officials were met much opposition from residents from the nearby Town of Occoquan because of traffic and storm water runoff concerns. Despite that opposition, the rezoning was approved with a majority vote from Prince William Board Chairman Corey Stewart, and supervisors Wally Covington, Maureen Caddigan, John Jenkins and Peter Candland.

With the approval came the condition that 13 of the 18 acres for the office park would be placed in a conservation zone and would not be developed.

So, why is the development of Oaks III at a standstill?

Many are questioning the motive behind rezoning the land which is owned by developer Ken Thompson, who could not be reached for comment.

“Despite his representations to the BOCS to the contrary, a number of opponents of the project predicted this was what he was really planning to do from the beginning,” Occoquan Mayor Earnie Porta said. “[Thompson’s] contractual arrangement with the owner at the time of the rezoning has never been public, so we do not know if it is him, or that entity, that is offering the property for sale.”

When county officials approved the rezoning in January, the land was owned by the National Rifle Association.

The Occoquan Town Council, separate from the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, passed a resolution in February requiring Thompson to fix water runoff issues at his adjacent Oaks I and II developments before beginning construction on Oaks III. Town officials say water runoff from his properties contributed to flooding in the town last fall.

“[Thompson] has thus far not provided any update to the town,” said Porta.

Prince William County Occoquan District Supervisor Mike May had concerns about the project from the start. May said much of the support from the County Board stemmed from the supervisors’ interactions with Thompson in the past, versus the actual merits and benefits the community could potentially attain from the Oaks III development.

“The question is: Would those folks have been supportive knowing, at the time, that [Thompson] wasn’t the one who was going to be implementing [the construction plan],” said May.

While the property is up for sale this does not mean that a new owner or developer would a clean slate to work with.

“The proffers run with the land so if somebody else decides to buy it and build the project, they’ll have to honor the commitments that were made,” May said.

Whoever decides to develop the Oaks III land will have to address the transportation proffers, which include improving the intersection at Tanyard Hill and Old Bridge roads, address water runoff issues, and keep 13 of the 18 acres of land in a conservation easement.

One potential scenario may be a new owner will addressed the Board to make modifications to these conditions. For nearby residents, any of the benefits that may have been derived from this development are at an indefinite standstill.

“The end result should remain the same, as what was promised to the community,” May said.

For many community members who opposed the rezoning, including May, this newest development is bittersweet.

“It’s kind of nice that they’re not constructing it at this point but I remain frustrated that the project was approved in the first place and I always thought it was odd that [Thompson] wanted to move forward with an office building project down the street from Oaks I and II when there are vacancy signs at Oaks II presently. It seemed like this was a project that wasn’t likely to proceed in any event and to the extent that it is, I have real concerns about the transportation impact and storm water runoff,” said May.

 

News
Video: Fire Crews Douse Fire on Stove

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — Fire and rescue crews were called about 6 p.m. to Stevenson Court in Lake Ridge after a small fire broke out on a kitchen stove.

No injuries were reported and crews doused the flames within minutes after arriving on the scene, according to OWL VFD spokesman Asst. Chief Richard Slusher.

 

News
Learn If You’re Registered to Vote

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The Prince William County Human Rights Commission will meet on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. in the James J. McCoart Building. At the meeting, the Electoral Board will present information on the 2012 Presidential Election and some new guidelines that all voting citizens need to know before Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.

The chairman of the Electoral Board, Keith Scarborough, and the board members will discuss four items – 1) are you registered to vote at your current address; 2) has your polling place been changed; 3) do you have an acceptable form of identification; and 4) do you qualify to vote absentee?

The Human Rights Commission meetings are open to the public, and everyone is welcome to attend. Please come out and learn about the things you will need to do before the November election. You may contact the office if you have questions at 703-792-4680.

-Press release 

Traffic
Transit Partners Funding New Vanpool Program

By LAURA CIRILLO

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — For the first time, regional transit agencies are partnering to bring more vanpool options to the region.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transit Commission (PRTC), George Washington Regional Commission (GWRC) and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) are all working together to create a new vanpool service that will begin in January.

PRTC chief Alfred Harf said the three organizations have drawn inspiration from similar programs in other metro areas, while at the same time, recognizing the unique regional attributes of vanpooling.

The program envisions each vanpool owner or operator being paid $200 per month as consideration for providing statistical information from their riders. PRTC will collect the information and then submit it to the Federal Transit Administration as part of a National Transit Database.

The information will be used to determine how much federal funding the region will get to maintain and grow the vanpool program.

The $3.2 million program was approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in July, and it will fund all but $1.6 million of the total cost. The remaining $1.6 million will be supplemented through a two-and-a-half year loan from PRTC and NVTC, which will be used to fund the program through its initial phases until federal funding kicks in.

The vanpool incentive program aims to not only introduce new vanpools, but also to encourage existing vanpoolers to become program participants, said Harf. Currently, there are over 800 existing vanpools in the region, and it is estimated that half of them will opt into the new program. PRTC estimates the program will grow up to 10 percent per year.

Once the program kicks off, commuters will have the ability to sign up for vanpools online.

Like slugging, the informal carpooling system that exists almost exclusively in and Northern Virginia, vanpooling has grown in the region with little government involvement, though many area vanpoolers receive the same employer-sponsored commuter monetary benefits that other transit riders who use buses or trains.

Though both PRTC and GWRC have a long history of providing vanpool services and has helped to start-up and sustain vanpools, this new Vanpool Incentive Program marks the first time that PRTC will manage such a large effort.

In other metro areas, most vanpools are largely publicly-owned or publicly-leased vans, which vanpoolers use at below-market rates, subsidized by the public agencies that run the programs to increase vanpool usage, according to Harf.

News
Prince William Tops in Job Growth

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Need a job? Come to Prince William County.

Officials in Prince William are boasting today after CNNMoney.com ranked the jurisdiction 8th on their 2012 list of best places to find work. The county moved up the list from 13th last year.

During the past 10 years, the county saw the job growth rate at 48 percent, increasing its job growth rate eight percent during that timeframe, according to a press release.

CNNMoney.com has ranked Prince William as a jobs leader for four out of the last five years.

Overall, unemployment in Virginia sits at 5.0 percent, according to July figures from the Department of Labor Statistics.

This latest news is an improvement over last year, when Prince William County saw the highest unemployment increase in the state at 4.3 percent

News
More Mischief at Lake Ridge Pool

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — There’s just something about the Canterbury Woods swimming pool that attracts mischief.

Parks and recreation employees erected a variable message board sign at the Lake Ridge swimming pool on Friday with the words “pool is open.” The sign was posted after the pool was closed for much of this past work week after vandals dumped bags of kitty litter and benches into the pool. it reopened late Friday afternoon.

Today, it seems the sign was hacked and the message changed to “Cowboys suck.” With football season on the doorstep, one could only assume it’s a reference to the Dallas-based football team.

We’re working to find out more about when the sign was changed, and just what it is about this particular swimming pool that attracts the mischief. The Canterbury Woods pool is one of six aquatic facilities managed by the Lake Ridge Parks and Recreation Association.

 

Traffic
Driver Killed on I-95

Traffic is reduced down to two lanes on Interstate 95 north at mile marker 162 after a pedestrian was struck and killed.

UPDATE Monday, Aug. 20

Clarence E. Alston, 42, of Washington, D.C., was standing outside his car that was stopped on the right shoulder of northbound I-95 at the 162 mile marker. A northbound Hyundai Santa Fe struck Alston. The Hyundai then fled the scene. The vehicle and its driver, Carol Rood-Johnson, 19, of Woodbridge, Va., were located later Saturday morning in Prince Georges County, Md.

-Press release

UPDATE Saturday noon

Charges are filed against a 19-year-old woman from Woodbridge in the hit and run death of a driver on Interstate 95 early this morning. More from the Virginia State Police: 

All northbound lanes were re-opened by 9:15 a.m. Saturday
 
Virginia State Police have charged Carol Rood-Johnson, 19, of Woodbridge, Va.,with DUI. Additional charges are pending at this time. State police have determined that Rood-Johnson was driving the Hyundai Santa Fe that struck a man who was standing next to his vehicle on the right shoulder of I-95 at the 162 mile marker in Fairfax County early Saturday morning. The man died at the scene. The Hyundai fled the scene. Through the course of the investigation, State Police were able to locate the Hyundai in Prince Georges County, Md. later Saturday morning.
 
Rood-Johnson has been taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.
 
The Office fo the Medical Examiner is still in the process of making a positive identification of the deceased male victim.

ORIGINAL POST 9 a.m. 

LORTON, Va. — A pedestrian was killed this morning on Interstate 95 and police are now investigating the incident.

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said a vehicle stopped on the shoulder of I-95 north just south of Lorton, and the male driver stepped outside of their vehicle was struck and killed by a passing car. That car fled the scene, and now an accident reconstruction team is on the scene.

Traffic delays are the busy highway have mounted following the incident, A five-mile back up extends from the crash scene south into Prince William County. The right lane and shoulder have been closed for the investigation, but they should be reopening soon, said Geller.s

Here’s more from a Virginia State Police press release: 

Just before midnight, a vehicle had pulled off onto the right shoulder of I-95 at the 162 mile marker in Fairfax County. The male driver was standing next the vehicle when a Hyundai Santa Fe SUV struck the man and then fled the scene at 12:02 a.m. The man died at the scene. The hit-and-run vehicle was recovered later Saturday morning in Maryland and Virginia State Police are in the process of interviewing its female driver. Charges are pending.

The man’s body was transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner for positive identification. (Once positive identification is made and next of kin is notified, we will release his name).

The northbound lanes of I-95 remain closed at this time, as clean up from the incident continues. I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as the NB lanes are re-opened.

 

Traffic
Trees Fall, HOV Lanes Narrowing

TRIANGLE, Va. — The work to expand commuting options and add toll lanes to Interstate 95 is underway.

Trees are already falling in the Triangle area where the High Occupancy Toll lanes are being extended nine miles south from Dumfries to Va. 610 in Stafford County.

From North Stafford to Edsall Road in Alexandria, the new lanes will be a part of what will be 29 miles of the new 95 Express Lanes that will allow drivers to pay a toll to avoid traffic or continue to ride free in vehicles of three or more.

One hundred acres of trees will fall to make way for the project. Fluor-Transurban, the private operators of the lanes, said they are replacing the trees by planting 1,000 new trees in 1,000 days. The first tree was planted at a highway rest stop in Dale City after the groundbreaking of the 95 Express Lanes Project.

The express lanes are also known as High Occupancy Toll, or HOT lanes, and construction will bring some changes to drivers’ commutes. The HOV lanes north of Prince William Parkway will be completely realigned, narrowed, traffic shifted slightly to the right, and concrete barriers erected to allow crews work in the shoulder.

Older barriers that separate the HOV lanes from the travel lanes of I-95 will be replaced, new signage installed, and new drains put in during the hours of 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. during construction, according to a newsletter from Prince William Coles District Supervisor Mary Nohe.

The $1 billion project is expected to be complete in 2014 and employ 500 construction workers. The lanes will link with the 495 Express Lanes on the Capital Beltway which are slated to open later this year.

News
Crime Watch: 4 Charged in Shooting

FROM POLICE REPORTS: 

Shooting Investigation – On August 10th at 5:53PM, police responded to the 16800 block of Taconic Cir in Dumfries (22026) for a shooting. The investigation revealed that the victims, a 19 year old man and a 16 year old male juvenile – both of Dumfries, had planned to meet up with a known acquaintance behind the Fortuna Center Plaza. There, the 16 year old victim got into a vehicle occupied by KELLEY and BRYANT. Once inside, KELLEY displayed a handgun and attempted to rob the victim. The 16 year old victim was able to get out of the vehicle, at which point both victims fled towards Stockbridge Dr. On Stockbridge Dr, the victims encountered a second vehicle, occupied byHALE and JACKSON, who were accomplices of KELLEY and BRYANT. During that encounter,JACKSON pointed a shotgun at the victims and fired, striking the 19 year old in the back and the 16 year old in the torso. Both victims were transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Several detectives were assigned to this case and were quickly able to develop the identities of those involved. HALE and BRYANT were located leaving BRYANT’s address on Brightleaf Ct and were detained following a traffic stop. JACKSON and KELLEY were both located at their respective residences where search warrants were also executed. Following an investigation, all four suspects were arrested in regard this incident which was not random.

Arrested:

Tyliek Eric KELLEY, 19, of 12810 Island House Lp in Woodbridge

Julian Xavier BRYANT, 19, of 4931 Brightleaf Ct in Woodbridge

Quientine Kyone HALE, 20, of 5924 Talmadge Dr in Woodbridge

Taymel Jerome JACKSON, 20, of 3210 Berlin Ct #103 in Woodbridge

All were charged with 2 counts of aggravated malicious wounding, 2 counts of using a firearm in commission of a felony, 2 counts of attempted armed robbery and 2 counts of conspiracy to commit robbery

Court date for all is set for October 3, 2012, all were held WITHOUT bond

Sexual Assault – On August 13th at 5:05PM, police responded to Potomac Mills Mall located at 2700 Potomac Mills Cir in Woodbridge (22192) for an assault. The victim, a 44 year old woman of North Carolina, reported to police that while in the mall she was grabbed inappropriately by an unknown man. After being grabbed, the victim confronted the man who then fled the area on foot. No injuries were reported.

Lookout:

Black male, between 25 & 35 years of age, 5’9” / 200lbs, heavy build, bald with brown eyes

Last seen wearing glasses, a black shirt and jeans

Abduction / Domestic Assault and Battery – On August 10th at 9:24PM, police responded to the 3500 block of Melrose Ave in Triangle (22172) for a domestic. The victim, a 20 year old female of Triangle, reported that she and the accused, a known acquaintance, were involved in a verbal altercation which escalated. During the encounter the accused physically assaulted the victim multiple times. At one point, the accused also physically prevented her from leaving the residence and threatened to blow up the house. Minor injuries were reported. The accused was arrested without further incident.

Arrested:

Matthew Cheston BYRD, 22, of the 3500 block of Melrose Ave in Triangle

Charged with abduction, threats to bomb and domestic assault & battery

Court date unavailable, held WITHOUT bond

Reckless Handling of a Firearm – On August 11th at 2:51AM, police responded to the 19100 block of Perry St in Triangle (22172) for a domestic. The victim, a 44 year old man of Triangle, reported to police that he was involved in an argument with the accused, a known acquaintance. During the encounter, the accused allegedly grabbed a firearm and fired a round into the ceiling. No injuries were reported. The accused was subsequently arrested without incident.

Arrested:

Caimen Ray Nelson FANCHER, 18, of 19114 Perry St in Triangle

Charged with reckless handling of a firearm

Court date unavailable, held on a $2,000 secured bond

Home Invasion / Armed Robbery – On August 11th at 3:54PM, police responded to the 3600 block of Wharf Ln in Dumfries (22026) for a home invasion. The homeowner and several other occupants present at the time, reported to police that 3 unknown men, one armed with a handgun and another armed with a shotgun, had entered the residence through an unlocked door. Once inside, the men took an undisclosed amount of U.S. Currency from several occupants before fleeing on foot. No injuries were reported. This incident does not appear to be random.

Lookout:

3 black males, unknown ages, thin build

All were last seen wearing white shirts, dark pants and masks

Peeping / Suspicious Person – On August 10th at 6:06AM, police responded to the 14200 block of Mount Pleasant Dr in Woodbridge (22191) for a suspicious person. The homeowner reported to police that she was in her kitchen when she observed an unknown man looking in at her through a rear door. Upon being noticed by the homeowner, the man fled the area. No entry was made into the residence.

Lookout:

Hispanic male, between 40 & 45 years of age, 5’7” / 140lbs, medium build with thick black hair and a mustache

Last seen wearing a white shirt sleeve shirt – no further description

Commercial Burglary – On August 11th at 1:32AM, police responded to the Dollar 99 Dry Cleaning located at 13342 Minnieville Rd in Woodbridge (22193) for a burglary. Employees reported to police that the burglary occurred at 11:41PM on August 10th. There were no signs of forced entry into the business. Entry appears to have been made through the rear door. No items were reported missing.

Residential Burglary – On August 10th at 7:34PM, police responded to the 4100 block of Granby Rd in Woodbridge (22193) for a burglary. Homeowner reported to police that the burglary occurred between 8:15AM and 7:15PM. There were no signs of forced entry into the business. Entry appears to have been made through an unsecured side door. No items were reported missing.

Attempted Residential Burglary – On August 12th at 1:44AM, police responded to the 15200 block of Lakewood Dr in Woodbridge (22192) for an attempted burglary. Homeowner reported to police that between 7:00PM on July 26th and 6:00PM on August 7th, an unknown person(s) attempted to pry open 2 side doors. No entry is believed to have been made and no items were reported missing.

News
Chinn, Dale City Rec Centers Closing for Cleaning

DALE CITY, Va. — Prince William County Parks & Recreation announced the annual maintenance schedules for Chinn Aquatics & Fitness Center and Sharron Baucom Dale City Recreation Center.

Sharron Baucom Dale City Recreation Center, located at 14300 Minnieville Road, Dale City, will close from August 20th to August 24th. Passholders will be welcome to use the facilities at Chinn Aquatics & Fitness Center, located at 13025 Chinn Park Drive, Prince William, or Freedom Aquatics & Fitness Center, located at 9100 Freedom Center Blvd, Manassas.

Chinn Aquatics & Fitness Center will close the pool only, from August 27th through September 7th, for cleaning and maintenance on the pool pump room. The fitness center will remain open, with regular hours, for public use. Passholders are welcome to use the pools at Sharron Baucom Dale City Rec Center during this period. The Freedom Center pools will be available to passholders until September 3rd.

For more information please call 703-792-7060, or visit the website at www.pwcparks.org

-Press release

News
$500 Reward Offered in Pool Vandalism

UPDATE

The Lake Ridge Parks and Recreation Association has offered a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the incident Sunday night that saw several bags of kitty litter dumped into the Canterbury Woods Swimming Pool on Chaucer Lane in Lake Ridge.

The pool is closed for cleaning and is expected to reopen Thursday. This is the second time in as many years the pool has been closed due to vandals.

ORIGINAL POST 12:30 p.m. Monday 

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — A stinky situation led to the closure of the Canterbury Woods Pool in Lake Ridge on Monday.

Someone threw several bags of kitty litter and a park bench into the private community pool at the intersection of Springwoods Drive and Chaucer Lane.

That prompted the Lake Ridge Parks and Recreation Association to close and drain all of the water from the pool.

After it’s drained, the pool will be closed for four days while it’s scrubbed and decontaminated.

“It costs about $1,600 to drain, clean, and refill the pool. The most expensive part is refilling the water,” said LRPRA Assistant Recreation Director Victoria Blevins.

The pool is slated to reopen Thursday.

Last year, someone threw glass bottles onto the pool deck. After that incident, the pool was also drained, scrubbed, and refilled.

The pool closes for the season Sept. 3.

 

Traffic
HOV Lanes Closing Nightly This Week

The Virginia Department of Transportation will close the I-95/395 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes from Dumfries Road, Exit 152 to Duke Street, Exit 3, Monday-Thursday nights, August 13-16, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., Friday morning and again on Friday night, August 17, 11 p.m. to 9 a.m., Saturday morning, August 18 for paving, lane markings, barrier placement, and other related construction work on the new 95 Express Lanes project.

During night work hours, motorists will be able to access the I-395 HOV lanes north to Washington, D.C. at Seminary Road and Shirlington.

HOV lanes will reopen at 9 a.m. on Saturday August 18, heading north toward Washington, D.C.

Visit VAmegaprojects.com for all closures and to sign-up for alerts.

-Press release 

News
Group Addressed Multiple Tenants at Single Homes

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – On Saturday, August 4, Delegate Rich Anderson (R-Prince William) hosted a 51st House District Town Hall in a packed conference room at the McCoart Government Complex Building in response to citizen concerns over neighborhood issues in Prince William County. Also in attendance were Occoquan District Supervisor Michael C. May, staff representatives of other county supervisors, and key members of the county staff.

Some three dozen people crowded into a packed meeting room to express their concerns in a community discussion on how to make Prince William County a better place in which to live, work, and raise a family. During the meeting, residents of Woodbridge, Dale City, Occoquan, Lake Ridge, and Manassas engaged in the discussion on neighborhood issues, and Anderson pledged to continue the community conversation in a series of additional meetings.

The purpose of the get-together was to determine if local county ordinances are sufficient to address neighborhood challenges, or if additional authority is needed from the Commonwealth of Virginia to permit Prince William County officials to assist neighborhoods to a greater degree. Before the meeting, citizens were asked to put their neighborhood concerns in writing in order to better shape the discussion at the meeting. Many of these concerns centered around residential overcrowding, parking of vehicles in unauthorized locations, and operation of businesses in areas zoned for residential properties. A list of citizen questions and concerns can be found at the Neabsco Action Alliance website.

On hand to help from Prince William County staff were John E. Settlemeyer of the county’s Property Code Enforcement Branch and Robert P. Skoff of the County Attorney’s Office. Settlemeyer and Skoff are recognized experts in county ordinances and neighborhood code enforcement. Connie Moser, President of the Neabsco Action Alliance organization and Virginia’s “State Neighborhood Advocate of the Year” in 2011, helped to facilitate the meeting.

The first discussion item focused on the number of persons residing in a single-family home. Citizens from all parts of Prince William County—east, west, and mid-county—agreed that multiple tenants in a single family residence was problematic. Assistant County Attorney Skoff explained limitations of county ordinances regarding the number of permissible tenants and difficulties in the legal definition of the term “family.” After considerable discussion, the group refocused its attention from the issue of the number of occupants living in a particular dwelling to the challenges created by a large number of vehicles, trash receptacles, noise, and infringement on the neighborhood experienced by residents.

The group then turned its attention to a discussion of work vehicles parked in residential areas overnight, including the operation of businesses in residential neighborhoods. Because of the extensive nature of the neighborhood issues identified in Saturday’s meeting, Anderson offered to host additional meetings to permit the group to craft proposed solutions and to bring in additional participants from the community. Anderson concluded the meeting with assurances that he is “willing to do anything necessary to help residents feel comfortable in their neighborhoods and rebuild lost property values.”

Moser invited residents to attend monthly Neighborhood Leaders Group meetings to work with long-time neighborhood advocates on finding common-sense solutions to local neighborhood challenges. Details are on the Prince William County website.

Anderson concluded the meeting by giving his contact information to attendees and encouraged them to contact him or his legislative assistant, Ryan M. Galloway, at any time. His email address is DelRAnderson@house.virginia.gov and Mr. Galloway’s address is RGalloway@house.virginia.gov. The 51st legislative district office telephone number is 571-264-9983. Citizens with urgent needs that cannot wait until the next business day may also call Del. Anderson’s Woodbridge home at 703-730-1380.

-Press release 

News
Woman Flown to Hospital After Reported Gunshot Wound

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — A woman suffering a severe gunshot wound to the face was flown to a hospital Thursday evening, sources told PotomacLocal.com.

The unidentified victim lives in the 12500 block of Kemptson Lane, off West Ridge Drive in Lake Ridge, where the gun went off, according to sources. It appears the gunshot wound was self inflicted.

The victim was taken to Westridge Elementary School about 7:30 p.m. and placed onto a helicopter which took her to an emergency trauma center.

The shooting comes the same day a Dale City man was charged after his four-year-old step son picked up a handgun and accidentally shot and killed himself last month.

 

News
Connolly Holding Seniors Forum at Westminster

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — Congressman Gerry Connolly will hold a senior issues forum on Social Security, Medicare, and other matters facing seniors Friday at 3 pm at Westminster at Lake Ridge.

AConnolly will be joined by representatives of federal agencies, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration, as well as a representative from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

Connolly has held numerous town hall meetings and forums in Prince William County, and Friday’s session will mark the fourth senior issues forum held at Westminster.

The forum will be held in the Potomac Room of Westminster at Lake Ridge, 12191 Clipper Drive, Woodbridge, VA 22192.

-Press release 

News
Pools are Few for Area Swim Teams

By STEPHANIE TIPPLE

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — After it appeared the Lake Ridge Lancers Swim Team was going to lose their home of 40 years, the team knew they had some decisions to make.

Last week, the Lake Ridge Community Swim Club decided to not invite the Lancers back for the 2013 season, citing the team had grown too large to use their facility. But with few available swimming facilities in the area, the Lancers may still need to use the pool they’ve called home since 1972.

The swim team Board met Monday with the governing Board of the Lake Ridge Community Swim Club, and the Lancers – after the swim club’s unexpected decision drew ire from the community – were ultimately invited back next year.

Lancer team vice president Lori McDonald said a moderator was brought in to keep the meeting cordial.

“[The Lake Ridge Swim Club] decided that we could come back next year. Last Friday we got an email, saying they reconsidered and we have been invited back. What we have agreed to, based on that email, was to enter into negotiations with them,” McDonald said.

Negotiations between the team and swim club are ongoing, but no final decision has been made as to whether the team will return to the club next year. Many expressed their frustration about the lack of communication between the team and the swim club Board. A final decision could be months away.

“I think we’re not ready to burn any bridges yet and we’re investigating all of our options and one of those options includes returning to the Lake Ridge Swim Club, but it’s not the only option that we’re investigating at this time,” said McDonald.

But if terms cannot be agreed upon, where will the team go? Parents of swim team members say having enough places to swim has been a long-time issue in Prince William County. It’s a problem parks and recreation officials are all too familiar with.

“We have a lot of people that want to swim – and not enough swim lanes, basically,” said Prince William County Parks Department spokeswoman Dianne Cabot.

In 2006, the county took out bonds to pay for the addition of four new swim lanes at the Chinn Aquatics Center in Lake Ridge. But the economy tanked and the project was put on hold.

“There is a need for this but it’s not in the plans, there’s no money for it; to build any more facilities. It’s a very timely question – the problem is that it takes a lot of money to build a community center or recreation center,” Cabot said.

It could take anywhere from 10 to 12 years before county residents begin to see more public swimming pools built, she added.

That comes as more than 4,000 participants in the Prince William County Swim League, which includes the Lancers team, had just three to four viable facilities for them to use this year, according to Cabot: Veterans Park and Hammill Mill pools in Woodbridge, Graham Park Pool in Dumfries, and Birchdale Pool in Dale City.

The shortage of swim lanes in Virginia’s Potomac Communities is being addressed Stafford County, where a new aquatic center will be constructed off Va. 610. A need for pool facilities, much like the need in Prince William County, prompted this new facility in North Stafford.

According to the Stafford County Parks and Recreation office, this new aquatic center will take some much needed pressure off of the local public pool facilities in Stafford.

News
Acting Police Chief Named

Prince William County Police Department Acting Chief Lt. Col. Barry Barnard

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Prince William police Lt. Col. Barry Barnard has been named Acting Chief of the department.

The announcement comes a week after longtime Chief Charlie T. Deane announced his retirement from the force. Deane is one of the longest-serving police chiefs in the nation, holding the position since 2008. More now from a county press release:

Deputy Police Chief Lt. Col. Barry Barnard has been named Acting Police Chief effective Sept. 1, 2012. Last week, current Chief of Police Charlie Deane announced his retirement effective Sept. 1, 2012.

Barnard has been a member of the Prince William County Police Department since 1976, and has more than 35 years of law enforcement experience. He has been Deputy Chief of Police since 2009, and served as Assistant Chief of Police from 2000 to 2009 as a Commander of both the Operations and Administrative Divisions.

Barnard is a graduate of George Mason University with a master’s degree in Public Administration. In addition, he has a bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Florida State University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy; the University of Virginia Senior Executive Institute; the University of Richmond Professional Executive Leadership School and the Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute.

Barnard is a member of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy Alumni and the Police Executive Research Forum.

News
Crime Watch: Racial Slurs Painted

FROM POLICE REPORTS:

DALE CITY 

Armed Robbery – On August 7th at 10:30PM, police responded to investigate a robbery which was reported to have occurred in the area of Kenwood Dr and Kenmar Dr in Woodbridge (22193) around 9:50PM. The victims, a 19 year old male and a 19 year old female – both of Woodbridge, reported to police that were in the above area to meet a known acquaintance when they were approached by an unknown man who displayed a shotgun and demanded money. The man took both victims cell phones and an undisclosed amount of U.S. Currency before fleeing the area. After the incident, the victims drove to the police station to report the incident to police. No injuries were reported. This incident does not appear to be random. The investigation continues.

Lookout:

White male, between 17 & 21 years of age, 5’7” / 185lbs, medium build with short black hair and an unshaven appearance

Last seen wearing a white t-shirt, gray pants and a white skull mask

LAKE RIDGE

Residential Burglary – On August 6th at 6:26PM, police responded to the 3100 block of Rivanna Ct in Woodbridge (22192) for a burglary. The homeowner reported to police that the burglary occurred between 12:10PM on August 2nd and 3:49PM on August 4th. There were no signs of forced entry. Three televisions and various electronics, valued around $3,000, were reported missing.

STAFFORD

Racial slurs and depictions of male genetailia was painted on neighborhood signs in the Hunters Pond and Seven Lakes neighborhoods on Stefaniga Drive. Stafford sheriff’s deputies received multiple calls about incidents of vandalism where “KKK” was painted on signs in the area, between late Monday night into early Tuesday morning. Mailboxes and street signs were also spray painted. Two homemade wooden wagon wheels were also destroyed. Cases of vandalism were also reported on Mountain View Road and Autumn Drive during the same time period.

 

Traffic
I-95 HOT Lanes Construction Underway

By URIAH KISER

DALE CITY, Va. — It’s going to take two years and about $1 billon, but the effort to put toll lanes on Interstate 95 in Virginia is underway.

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell was in Dale City today for the kick off of the 95 Express Lanes project. The public-private effort between the state and road builder Transurban-Fluor will see the conversion of the High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes on I-95 between Dumfries and Edsall Road in Alexandria to toll lanes. The lanes will be extended an additional nine miles south to Va. 610 in North Stafford, and will include two new flyover ramps at Joplin Road in Triangle and Va. 610. The ramps should alleviate one of the the region’s worst bottlenecks on I-95 at the HOV merge in Dumfries, officials said.

It’ll cost about $5 per vehicle to use the lanes on the entire express lane span on I-95 once they’re completed in 2014, and they’ll be built in sections. The tolls single drivers will pay will change depending upon the amount of traffic in each section – the higher the traffic volume the higher the toll.

Drivers who enter the toll lanes at one price will be able to bail out of the express lanes if they later deem the posted price for the next section is set too high.

Buses and vehicles with three or more occupants will be able to use the lanes for free as they have on the HOV lanes for years, but when the new HOT lanes open, every vehicle will be required to have an E-Z Pass or E-Z Pass Flex in order to use them.

“We are one of the most business-friendly states in America and we’ve got challenges that we’re trying to overcome, and transportation infrastructure is at the top of the list. If you can’t move people and you can’t move goods quickly to market you’re not going to get the businesses to come here…and it’s going to affect the quality of life for all of us,” said McDonnell.

A toll lane network

Once completed in 2014, the 95 Express Lanes (High Occupancy Toll lanes or HOT lanes) will join HOT lanes on I-495 in Virginia that should open later this year. It’ll be the first time carpoolers and bus riders will be able to travel on a dedicated span of express lanes from the Potomac Communities in Stafford and Woodbridge to Tysons Corner, said Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton.

The first phase of construction, which Connaughton urged officials to begin today, will entail clearing brush and trees from the median at the current HOV merge at Dumfries south to Stafford County. That’s where new asphalt will be laid to make way for two new lanes that will take drivers to Va. 610 in North Stafford.

The portion of HOT lanes between Dumfries and Prince William Parkway will remain two lanes, however, the section of lanes between Prince William Parkway and Edsall Road will be restriped to accommodate a third lane of traffic.

A 76-year operating agreement with Transurban-Fluor and the mandates vehicles must maintain a speed of 55 mph at all times in the lanes, said Connaughton.

Jobs

Officials said the new lanes will not only ensure employers will want to come to the area, the project to build the lanes will also create new jobs. Of the nearly 8,000 jobs expected to come as part of the project, 2,600 of them will be in Prince William County and 900 will come to Stafford County.

With these new lanes, toll lanes opening soon on I-495, and talk of adding new HOT lanes on I-64 in Hampton Roads, transportation crews from around the world have come to Virginia to learn more about these public-private partnerships.

“This is going to be the model for transportation projects all over the world,” said Connaughton. “It’s not just Hampton Roads that’s considering adding HOT lanes, leaders from many international countries have come to Virginia to see what were doing with transportation.”

 

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