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Photos: Runners Show for Occoquan 5K

Photography by MARY DAVIDSON

OCCOQUAN, Va. — On Sunday, runners descended on Occoquan for the first-ever Race to Donate Life 5K.

The first runner to cross the finish line, #624, with an unofficial time was 23:36.

Occoquan Mayor Earnie Porta gives some last-minute comments before sounding the air horn to start the "Race to Donate Life." The 5K run was held in Occoquan Sunday morning to raise awareness for the need of organ, eye and tissue donation.

News
Obama Makes Mom’s Apple Pie Her Own

OCCOQUAN, Va. — Molly Glenn and her coworkers at Mom’s Apple Pie in Occoquan got a call about 1 p.m. Thursday. A person on the other end of the line informed them “someone from D.C. was coming.”

Hoping to make the bakery known for its homemade pies and breads even more presentable than usual, Glenn and coworkers hurried to clean. Later, another phone call – this time from the Secret Service – informed them that their D.C. visitor would be First Lady Michelle Obama.

Obama stopped by the Occoquan Mom’s Apple Pie on her way to VFW Post 153 in Dale City, where she delivered a campaign speech for her husband, President Barack Obama, and greeted a crowd of about 450 people.

But the impromptu gathering in Occoquan was an intimate affair. The First Lady took time out to give everyone inside the bakery a hug, listen to a child play violin, and then – with her own money – bought an apple and cherry pie, said Glynn.

“I was so happy, and she was, honestly, so sweet. She was very, very kind,” said Glynn, who admitted she was surprised to see the Obama in their bakery.

In an email, even Occoquan Mayor Earine Porta chimed in about the First Lady’s visit.

“The First Lady could not have been more gracious, taking time to speak and take photographs with customers and staff–and to purchase some of Mom’s fine offerings,” stated Porta.

For Glynn, she’s never been visited by a president or a first lady, and this is not something she’ll soon forget.

“No, it was insane, it was really cool,” she said.

 

News
Occoquan 5K Run/Walk Begins Sunday Morning

OCCOQUAN, Va. — Historic Occoquan will be home to a 5K run and walk this weekend, to benefit the Washington Regional Transplant Community.

Dubbed “The Race to Donate Life,” the event will begin at 9 a.m. Sunday but events associated with the run/walk will start as early as 7:30 a.m. This is the first time the event has been held, and the first time Occoquan has been chosen to hold the event.

Runners and walkers of any skill level are all welcome to participate. There is a $30 registration fee for adults and a $5 fee for children 12 and younger. All proceeds will benefit programs that raise awareness about eye, tissue, and organ donations, according to the Washington Regional Transplant Community.

After the event, Mayor Earnie Porta urged participants to stick around and enjoy lunch specials at various restaurants throughout the village.

News
Video: Venus Lures Occoquan Residents

LORTON, Va. —A once-in-a-lifetime event brought about 30 people out to the Vulcan rock quarry above Occoquan.

Many of them lined to up to attempt to peer through the persistent cloud cover to view the Transit of Venus — A celestial event that occurs roughly every 100 years. It’s when Venus passes across the sun in plain view from Earth, and it was best viewed on the East Coast Tuesday between 6 and 8 p.m.

Occoquan Mayor Earine Porta, an armature astronomer, brought his telescope to the quarry and allowed residents to peer through its lens. While the clouds made for less than optimum viewing for the event, some onlookers were able to view the Transit by watching live NASA video of the event on their cell phones.

When the Transit does occur, Porta said it occurs in pairs eight years apart. He traveled to Egypt to view the Transit of Venus in 2004, but this time around said there were too many events happening in the town – such as last weekend’s spring craft show and the upcoming charity duck splash – for him to travel to Tahiti where prime viewing for this year’s Transit was said to be premium.

A two-for-one event, Porta and the Occoquan Town Council also held their regularly scheduled meeting at the quarry Tuesday night.

News
Prince William Slush Funds Banned

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Elected officials in Prince William County today voted to do away with discretionary funds.

In a letter from At-large Board Chairman Corey Stewart, the county’s top official announced the Board banned the monies known as slush funds from their budgets. The funds were not in the best interest of the county government or taxpayers, stated Stewart.

The Board also put in place tighter restrictions on how staff members who work at offices of Prince William Supervisors enter into contracts. The latter move was to fend off additional criticism of the Board, whose eight members have come under fire for the use of discretionary funds to pay for pet projects.

As part of the new rules, each Supervisors office will receive $20,000 less per year to bring funding in line with that of the At-large Chairman. In a press release, officials outlined how Supervisors may spend monies going forward.

• Funds may not be appropriated in cash or through in-kind donations to any non-governmental organization or any governmental entity that is the recipient of appropriated funds in the Prince William County budget:

• Funds may not be used to sponsor events or advertise in any publication associated with events;

• If a Supervisor is to attend an event in furtherance of the official duties of the District Supervisor, funds may be used to purchase a single ticket for admission to the event for the individual District Supervisor and/or designated staff member;

• Fund balances currently existing in District Office expense accounts for the current fiscal year or carried over from prior years may be transferred to a currently approved Capital Improvement Project fund or approved future Capital Improvement Projects;

• Fund balances remaining in District Office expense accounts at the end of each future fiscal year shall be automatically transferred to the County Revenue Stabilization Fund or to an approved Capital Improvement Project at the request of the District Supervisor;

• Board members will not pay nor incur a legal obligation to pay overtime or allow incurred comp time to Board office employees;

• No Board member will employ or retain any full-time or part-time employee on the County payroll who owns, is employed by, or is a contractor to any company which offers services for hire to any political campaign of that Board member;

• No Board member will engage or retain any vendor services using County funds where the vendor has been retained or is currently retained by the political campaign of that Board member;

• Every Board member will follow County Personnel Manual policies regarding nepotism in hiring employees and managing Board offices;

• Board members may retain up to 10% of salary and benefits cost on an annual basis to cover any unintended staff costs year-to-year.

 

News
Occoquan Council Will View Venus Transit

OCCOQUAN, Va. — The most pressing matter on the Occoquan Town Council agenda this week: the Planet Venus.

Mayor Earnie Porta and council members will hold their regular session at 6 p.m. at the Vulcan Materials rock quarry just across the river from the tiny town, where Porta will set up his telescope so all can view the celestial event.

The event, where the planet passes across the disc of the sun, occurs about once a century and comes in pairs, with the last one in 2004. Porta witnessed that transit from Egypt, but this time around said the scheduled town meeting kept him from traveling to a more optimum viewing space.

The rock quarry with its high ground and view of the horizon will provide some great views, if the weather cooperates.

“Even if it doesn’t rain, it’s still a bit of a crap shoot. We’ll need a clear view of the horizon to see the transit, and in June there is often cloud build-up on the horizon at the end of the day. Hopefully, though, we will have clear skies. And even if we don’t get to see the transit, perhaps folks will otherwise enjoy an outdoor meeting,” said Porta in a press release.

Porta said he proposed the idea of an outdoor meeting to the Town Council about a month ago and members were supportive of an outdoor meeting.

Porta’s telescope will be set up from 6 p.m. until the sun sets after 8 p.m., which should be the best time to view the transit.

 

News
Occoquan Craft Fair This Weekend

OCCOQUAN, Va. — It’s only a matter of hours until Occoquan’s Spring Craft Show begins.

The first of two this year, the spring show will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. It will feature country and contemporary crafters, and crafters will line the tiny town’s Mill Street in its business district.

Parking in the town is limited, but shuttle buses will run from commuter lots at Interstate 95 and Annapolis Way, the Old Hechinger’s Lot at the corner of Va. 123 and Old Bridge Road, at Tackett’s Mill. A shuttle bus will also run from the parking lot of Vulcan Quarry just across the Occoquan River in Lorton.

Occoquan’s Fall Craft Fair is held in September and features items for the December holiday season.

 

News
Crime Watch: Girl, 10, Sexually Assaulted

FROM UNEDITED POLICE REPORTS:

Aggravated Sexual Battery – On May 22nd at 4:56PM, detectives from the Special Victims Unit began an investigation into a sexual assault which was reported to have occurred in the 3500 block of Buffalo Ct in Woodbridge

(22193). The investigation revealed that the victim, a 10 year old girl of Woodbridge, was sexually assaulted by the accused, a known family member, the night prior. Following an investigation, the accused was subsequently arrested.

Arrested:

Jason Edward BOXLEY, 37, of the 3500 block of Buffalo Ct in Woodbridge, Charged with aggravated sexual battery, forcible sodomy, object sexual penetration and indecent liberties

Court date unavailable, held WITHOUT bond

Hall

Assault and Battery – On May 18th, detectives from the Physical Abuse Unit began an investigation into an assault which was reported to have occurred at Kerrydale Elementary School located at 13199 Kerrydale Rd in Woodbridge (22193) on May 17th. The investigation revealed that on that date the victim, a 10 year old male student, was assaulted by the accused, a teacher at the

school. The victim sustained minor injuries as a result of the assault. Following

an investigation, the accused was subsequently arrested on May 22nd.

Arrested:

Cynthia Farris HALL, 35, of 11809 Golden Eagle Ct in Woodbridge

Charged with assault & battery

Court date unavailable, released on a $2,000 unsecured bond

Johnson

Narcotics Investigation – On May 22nd, detectives from the Prince William County Police Street Crimes Unit and the ATF Task Force, concluded a narcotics investigation into the selling of marijuana and cocaine with the following arrest which was made in the 2700 block of Potomac Mills Cl in Woodbridge (22192). As a result of the search, ecstasy and marijuana were recovered.

Arrested:

David Hakeem JOHNSON, 22, of 1502 Monroe Ct in Fort Washington, MD. Charged with 2 counts of distribution of a schedule I or II narcotic [cocaine & ecstasy], distribution of marijuana and possession of a firearm with narcotics Court date set for August 17, 2012, held WITHOUT bond

Narcotics Investigation– On May 22nd, detectives from the Street Crimes Unit conducted a vehicle stop in the 13900 block of

Noel

Jefferson Davis Hwy in Woodbridge (22191). As a result of the encounter, two of the vehicles occupants, the below listed accused individuals, were arrested on drug charges. A search of the vehicle resulted in marijuana, heroin, cocaine and an undisclosed amount of U.S. Currency being recovered.

Arrested:

Calvin Lawrence NOEL, 32, of 14782 Candlewood Ct in Woodbridge

Charged with possession with intent to distribute a schedule I or II narcotic [cocaine] andpossession of marijuana Court date set for July 20, 2012, bond information unavailable Delvon Martez MCCORMICK, 33, of 13917 Mount Peasant Dr in Woodbridge. Charged with possession of schedule I or II narcotic. Court date set for July 20, 2012, bond information unavailable

Kwatchey

Abduction / Domestic Assault & Battery – On May 23rd at 9:49PM, police responded to the 3300 block of Mystic Ct in Dumfries (22026) for a domestic. The victim, a 44 year old woman of Dumfries, reported to police that she and the accused, a known acquaintance, were involved in a verbal altercation which escalated. During the encounter, the accused allegedly assaulted the victim and prevented her from leaving the residence or calling police. Police were eventually contacted and responded to the residence. No injuries were reported. The accused was arrested without incident.

Arrested:

Daniel KWATCHEY, 40, of the 3300 block of Mystic Ct in Dumfries

Charged with abduction and domestic assault & battery

Court date and bond information unavailable

News
Occoquan on Flood Watch

OCCOQUAN, Va. — Heavy rains Wednesday night had Occoquan officials on watch for rising water as The National Weather Service placed Prince William County under a flood warning.

No flooding has been reported in the town so far, but the river that runs through much of Prince William County appeared swollen this afternoon.

So far, Prince William has been deluged with several inches of rain this week as slow-moving storms dropped heavy rains, wind, and some hail across the area. Wednesday night was no exception, as a large thunderstorm inundated the Woodbridge area for more  than an hour.

“We were really surprised when we saw river levels in the town come up to the level of the docks on Tuesday, but we’ve not seen any flooding from the river or from the creek,” said Occoquan Mayor Earnie Porta.

Porta is referring to the Ballywhack Creek that last fall flooded out much of the town.

Officials will continue to monitor conditions as the chance of showers and thunderstorms remain in the forecast, said Porta.

On Tuesday, emergency officials in Prince William became concerned about rising water levels where the Occoquan River spills over Lake Jackson Dam near Manassas. Residents who live near the 85-year-old dam were warned about the possibility of evacuating their homes due to the swollen river.

A press release from Prince William fire and rescue officials Wednesday stated water level had receded there. 

Showers and thunderstorms remain in the forecast for Thursday, which much of the rain expected to fall after noon, according to the weather service.

News
Occoquan School Board Member Resigns

Prince William County School Board Chairman Milton C.  Johns learned of Grant Lattin’s resignation first through an email.

Lattin resigned his position as the Occoquan District School Board representative last night and could not immediately be reached for comment, but he told Johns he was resigning for personal reasons. His resignation follows that of former Neabsco District School Board member Julie Lucas in 2009.

“Grant came on the Board at the same time I did in 2004, and I have immense respect for him as a Board member and as a father. We didn’t always agree on every issue, but then few people always do,” said Johns.

At the next Board meeting, sitting members must vote to accept Lattin’s resignation.

Johns said the Board will accept letters from interested replacement candidates later this summer. After reviewing their them for interest and qualifications, the Board is expected to appoint Lattin’s replacement at the it’s second meeting in September to and have the new member seated by their first meeting in October.

Lisa Bell now sits in Julie Lucas’ former seat on the Board.

ORIGINAL POST 1045 p.m. Wednesday

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Occoquan District School Board Representative Grant Lattin has resigned.

Bristow Beat reports Lattin resigned due to personal reasons, and that he was praised for his service to the schools by Board Chairman Milt Johns.

Lattin started his third term on the School Board in January and lives in Lake Ridge with his family. Five of his children graduated from Woodbridge Senior High School.

The Board will soon announce plans to fill his seat, said schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer.

Traffic
Portion of Occoquan Road Closed

OCCOQUAN, Va. — A portion of Occoquan Road will close so sections of underground pipe can be laid.

According to a newsletter distributed by Prince William County Occoquan Supervisor Mike May, the road will close between Old Bridge Road and Riverview Lane today until Wednesday. The developer of Potomac Crest, a new residential area being erected near Occoquan, will install underground storm drains, water mains, and sanitary mains.

Anyone with questions about the road closure is invited to call the Virginia Department of Transportation’s permit office at 703-366-1916.

 

News
Woodbridge Firefighter Honored for Service

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — GEICO annually pays tribute to an active duty enlisted service member from each branch of the armed services, as well as one drilling reservist from all components, for their special achievements and contributions to the public good of the civilian and/or military community.

Operations Specialist First Class David Neuner, stationed at the United States Coast Guard Navigation Center in Alexandria and an active member of the OWL Volunteer Fire Department, was recently selected as the 2011 Active Duty GEICO Military Service Award recipient for the Coast Guard.

Neuner was recognized for his contributions to fire prevention and safety. In his two years of service at OWL, he provided over 2,300 hours of service between his training, duty shifts, and public education events. He also conducted CPR and defibrillator training at the Navigation Center. Neuner and the other recipients were recognized on April 30 in Washington, DC, by Tony Nicely, President and CEO of GEICO, the Honorable David McGinnis, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, and several senior Admirals and Generals from each of the Armed Services.

USCG Navigation Center Executive Officer, Commander Tom Harrington, noted in his remarks that “Petty Officer Neuner’s dedication to his community sets the standard for others to strive for.” OWL Fire Chief Jim McAllister notes that “Firefighter Neuner was also awarded the New Fire Crew Member of the Year for 2010 for his outstanding dedication to the department as a new member.”

Petty Officer Neuner and his wife Naomi and daughter Hailey are temporarily living in Fort Lauderdale, FL, where Neuner is preparing for imminent deployment to the USCGC ADAK (WPB-1333) in the Arabian Gulf. He plans to return to the Woodbridge area after his deployment

-Submitted 

News
Boat Connects Tourists to Occoquan River

By URIAH KISER

OCCOQUAN, Va. — Millions of drivers each year cross the Occoquan River on Interstate 95’s Purple Heart Bridge in Woodbridge.

If you’re one of them, maybe next time you should look down at the river below. OK, maybe you should keep your eyes on the road. But unbeknownst to many, the waters below that link to Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay are bustling with activity.

Capt. Mark Perry pilots Miss Rivershore, a pontoon charter boat that ferries passengers on an hour-long roundtrip boat ride from the Occoquan Regional Park in Lorton and from the river walk in the Town of Occoquan. He’s been the captain of this boat for the past eight years, and working as a concessionaire with the town for the last three years, offering an affordable opportunity to see the river.

“It amazing how the people of Prince William County have no idea that we control about 20 miles of beautiful waterfront property,” said Perry.

Property is something he knows about – Perry is a real estate broker by day and on his tour likes to rattle off the values of properties nestled along the river. Many homes here cost $1 million or more, as living near navigable waters helps increase a property’s value, said Perry.

Perry’s father brought him and his family to live in Triangle in 1961, and Perry’s never left the area. With years of local knowledge under his belt, when Miss Rivershore glides underneath bridges high above the river that carry U.S. 1 and rail traffic up and down the east coast, Perry reminds riders of 1972’s Hurricane Agnes. The storm impacted the entire region, but on the Occoquan it knocked loose a sand barge that drifted downstream and collided with the bridge, causing the structure to collapse. Remarkably, no one was injured, he said.

Perry runs charters for all kinds of reasons, from fishing, swim parties, to taxiing revelers to the nearby Tim’s Rivershore restaurant in Dumfries. He leaves from Occoquan every Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and Sundays noon until dark, charging $10 for adults, $5 for children, and gives free rides to those under four-years-old.

“My business is going to grow because it’s an affordable way to enjoy the river, seeing all these people on the river in their bikinis and their bathing suits doesn’t hurt, but I really enjoy my job immensely,” said Perry.

 

News
Grant to Benefit Occoquan Clean Ups

Virginia American Water announced that two nonprofit environmental organizations have each received $3,000 through the company’s Environmental Grant Program to advance protection of water resources.

Petersburg-based Friends of the Lower Appomattox River, which works to protect the Appomattox River and promote its natural beauty and history, will use its grant to install informational and interpretive signage at significant points along the river. The signage will increase awareness of the river’s amenities and encourage protection of its resources.

The Friends of the Occoquan, which is based in Woodbridge and works to preserve and maintain the Occoquan Watershed, will use its grant to organize biannual river cleanups and for educational materials for civic organizations, youth groups and schools.

“We are committed to protecting the environment in the communities we serve and proud to support the efforts of local organizations that share our vision,” said Virginia American Water President William R. Walsh. “We established the Environmental Grant Program to offer assistance to our community partners, while leveraging local resources and capabilities to make a positive impact on the environment.”

Established in 2005, American Water’s Environmental Grant Program offers funds for innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect the watersheds, surface water and/or groundwater supplies in the local communities the company serves.

News
Occoquan Ducks Up for Adoption

OCCOQUAN, Va. — Tickets are now available online for the 6th Annual Duck Splash Race in the Town of Occoquan.

Watch thousands of rubber ducks drop from a bridge and race along the Occoquan River on Saturday, June 16, at 12:30 p.m. “Adopt” a duck for $5 and win one of ten cash prizes ranging from $20 to $500. Net proceeds benefit the 501(c)(3) Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition, an organization dedicated to building a ne

Traffic
HOV Lanes to Close this Weekend, Again Next Week

Photo: Mary Davidson

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A portion of the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes will close again tonight and tomorrow as work on the 95 Express Lanes project ramps up.

The HOV express lanes facility is normally open to southbound drivers Friday night through Saturday afternoon. Tonight and tomorrow beginning at 11 p.m., however, the lanes will close from Franconia-Springfield Parkway to Va. 234 in Dumfries as crews complete test boring work.

Drivers will have to use the regular travel lanes to get where they’re going until 10 a.m. Saturday, and again on Sunday, when the HOV lanes are reopened for regular use.

But work on the HOV lanes doesn’t stop this weekend. It will continue throughout next week as the HOV lanes will close from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and again from 11 p.m. to 10 a.m. next Friday and Saturday, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

By 11 p.m. during the planned work next week, drivers headed north on Interstate 95 will be able to enter the HOV lanes north through an entrance just past Exit 169 in Springfield. Drivers who use Franconia-Springfield Parkway will also be able to enter the northbound HOV lanes by 11 p.m., VDOT states.

When complete, the 95 Express Lanes will charge single drivers a toll to use the lanes at all times while vehicles with three or more occupants will be able to use the lanes for free. The express lanes will also be extended nine-miles south from Dumfries to Va. 610 in North Stafford.

Currently, vehicles must have three or more occupants to use the lanes between 6 and 9 a.m., and 3:30 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Drivers can use the lanes for free during all other times.

 

News
Fallen Prince William Firefighter Remembered

UPDATED: PRINCE WILLIAM FIRE CHIEF REMARKS

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The first and only Prince William County firefighter to die in the line of duty will be remembered today.

Kyle Wilson, 24, was killed five years ago today when he went inside a burning home on Marsh Overlook Drive in Woodbridge to search for those who might have been trapped inside the home. County officials read a message over the public emergency radio at 6 a.m. and will repeat it at 6 p.m. commemorating Wilson’s death.

“Five years ago today Technician I Kyle Wilson made the ultimate sacrifice while operating at Box 1209, 15474 Marsh Overlook Drive. Kyle was staffing Tower 512 and was killed in the line of duty while performing a primary search looking for possible trapped occupants. The Department of Fire and Rescue has made a solemn promise, we will never forget Kyle or the sacrifice he made,” the statement reads.

On the day of the fire, all the occupants of the home had made it out safely unbeknownst to Wilson. Inside the home, he became trapped under a stairwell, radioed for help, but fire fighters couldn’t reach him in time.

While widely covered in Prince William County, Wilson’s death received little attention in the region as he died on the same day as the Virginia Tech shooting massacre.

Prince William fire and rescue chief Kevin McGee issued a statement this morning about Wilson.

“Our Department and our fire and rescue system will never be the same as it was prior to the dispatch to 15474 Marsh Overlook Drive. It shouldn’t be the same and it won’t. We have done much together to improve and make corrections over the past five years to enhance firefighter safety and improve service to our community. We have more work to do,” stated McGee.

The chief asked residents to keep Wilson’s family and friends in their thoughts today.

Kyle Wilson’s family, friends, and and fellow firefighters remember him now each year during the fifth annual “Kyle Wilson 10K Walk for Fitness,” as a way to remember his service to the community and provide a scholarship for those who wish to attend the athletic training program at George Mason University – Wilson’s alma mater.

The walk will be held this year at 9 a.m. at C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge.

 

News
Nohe: Fair Process Led to Voting Exemption

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — During the decennial political redistricting process in 2011, no Prince William politician’s district changed as much as Marty Nohe’s.

He’s the Supervisor for the county’s Coles District, which now spans the western portion of Dale City west to the Manassas area. Increasing from 57,000 to 62,000 residents in his district last year, Nohe now represents about 30,000 more residents that he did previously, he said.

Magisterial districts like Coles, as well as state and congressional election districts are redrawn every 10 years by politicians  to account for population changes, and, some argue, to ensure the greatest possible reelection outcome for the current political party occupying a particular district.

Once approved by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, the new magisterial maps were sent to the federal government for preclearance — a review under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

They were approved, but on Wednesday officials announced Prince William was given a pass under section five of the act governing preclearance, making it the largest jurisdiction in Virginia to receive such a bailout.

“Having had a very fair and non-partisan redistricting process that was widely adopted by the community was really the lynchpin that made it possible for us to get bailed out that preclearance [requirement],” said Nohe.

Virginia is one of nine states primarily in the southeast, and various jurisdictions in New York City, North Carolina, California, Michigan and others, that must submit to the preclearance process. In Virginia, 14 jurisdictions have been given a pass including Fairfax City, Roanoke, and Winchester.

“I think it speaks very well with the redistricting process we went through. We applied for a bailout of preclearance prior to that redistricting process, and we had looked into it in previous years but we had not pursued it because, for whatever reason, it was not the right time,” said Nohe.

Now, Prince William County can be looked to as example in the redistricting process, he said. He added, other jurisdictions should make sure they meet preclearance requirements if considering applying for a bailout.

Jurisdictions are provided an opportunity to be exempted from the requirement of preclearance, known as “bailout” if they can demonstrate ten years of unbiased voting regulation practices. This requires:

• Evidence that no test or device has been used to determine voter eligibility

• No federal examiners were assigned

• All voting changes were submitted in a timely manner

• No objections by DOJ or denials by D.C. Court were levied against the jurisdiction

• Elimination of dilutive voting procedures

• Constructive efforts made to eliminate harassment and intimidation of voters

• Opportunities for convenient registration and voting expanded

• Minority persons have been appointed as election officials throughout all stages of registration/electoral process

Source: Prince William County

 

News
Crime Declines in Prince William

MURDER CASES AT 10-YEAR LOW

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — In 2011, police in Prince William County investigated and solved three murder cases – the fewest number of murders in the county in 10 years.

There were six fewer murders in Prince William in 2011 than there were in 2010, according to the police department’s annual crime statistic report released today. Detectives in Prince William in 2006 investigated 16 murders, the year that saw the most murders in the county in the past 10 years.

Overall, the report shows the crime rate in the county continued its five-year decline.

The number of reported rapes in the county fell from 53 to 46 in 2011, so did the number of reported robberies from 221 to 173. The categories like burglary, larceny, aggravated assault, and vehicle theft also saw fewer reported instances in 2011.

“The crime rate in Prince William County continues to decline in 2011 at 17.5 crimes per 1,000 residents. This downward trend represents a decrease in the rate of criminal activity. The crime rate is intended to serve as a basic indicator of overall crime trends and is a commonly accepted community measure,” the police report states.

The county’s population was tallied at 409,345 residents, up 11,000 more from the previous year.

Some crimes in Prince William County, however, saw a rise in reported incidents last year.

Assaults, DUI, weapons charges, and charges for the sale and manufacture of drugs rose, the report states.

There were also 91 more reportable traffic crashes in 2011 leading to a 2.9 percent rise in the county’s overall crash rate. Of the 11 fatal crashes that took the lives of 12 people in Prince William in 2011, three involved large commercial trucks, one involved a motorcycle, and one involved a pedestrian death. There were seven fewer fatal traffic crashes in 2011 than in 2010 in Prince William, according to the report.

News
Fire Warnings Continue in Prince William, Stafford

With conditions still ripe for wildfires, Stafford authorities banned outside burning and Prince William officials remind residents to wait until after 4 p.m. to burn.

The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag warning for the region today, as they have since the weekend, warning that the combination of high winds, low humidity and dry conditions produce an atmosphere where wildfires flourish.

In Stafford, an outside burning ban remains in effect until 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to a statement from the county’s fire marshal. Officials in Prince William remind residents to adhere to the state’s burning law that restricts outside burning between 4 p.m. and midnight.

“Most outside burn permits are limited to commercial or agriculture operations and as part of the process a comprehensive review of the operation are conducted before a permit will be approved and issued,” said Prince William fire and rescue spokeswoman Kim Hylander.

Residents in Prince William are urged to call 703-792-6360 for more information on obtaining burn permits.

It’s recommended that residents make sure that grills, recreational or campfires are supervised during use and that they are completely extinguished, said Hylander. With the forecasted gusty winds today, Hylander also said residents should secure all outdoor furniture, trash receptacles, cooking grills, and other freestanding items that may become air born causing injury and damage if not properly secured.

News
‘Mayor’s Paddles’ Kayaking in Occoquan

By Stephanie Tipple

OCCOQUAN, Va. — The Mayor of Occoquan wants area families to get into the paddling business.

Town Mayor Earnie Porta announced “Mayor’s Paddles,” a yearly kayaking tour hosted by Occoquan Regional Park, will take place at the park on 9751 Ox Road just across the Occoquan River in Fairfax County, every first and third Saturday of the month.

The kayak tours, which run from April 7 until mid-fall, start at 11 a.m. and aim to provide families with a memorable tour of historic Occoquan, all from the perspective of the Occoquan River.

Those who are already well versed in the history of Occoquan also have the option to rent kayaks for $10, or you can bring your own kayak plus a launching fee, and then join in on any tours that are going on, or head out on your own and explore the river.

 

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