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Traffic study complete for proposed Kaiser South medical hub

WOODBRIDGE — If Kaiser Permanente builds a new medical campus, its patients are sure to follow.

The 335,000 square feet Kaiser South Northern Virginia Hub campus would be located on Minnieville Road, east of Caton Hill Road in Woodbridge. A new traffic analysis of the Minnieville and Caton Hill roads in the proposed development area shows about 530 trips to the center would be made during the morning hours and about 580 in the afternoon.

On a Virginia Department of Transportation-rated scale of A being the best and F the worst, the largest nearby intersection at Minneivlle and Caton Hill roads today operates at Level of Service D in the mornings, where there are a lot of cars but drivers can easily maneuver around the intersection. In the afternoons, it’s Level E where conditions are worse.

By 2020, traffic at the intersection will worsen, according to the study, with the intersection operating at Level E during the morning and afternoon peak rush hours, with some lanes operating at Level F. The study takes into account for 2% growth in traffic related to population growth in the area between now and 2020. (more…)

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Parking brake fix complete for Prince William school buses

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — A total of 4,000 public school buses in Virginia, including those in Prince William County, has been upgraded.

The parking brake upgrade for 340 Prince William County school buses was completed on July 26. This new layer of protection adds an interlocking device which prevents the parking brakes from accidentally disengaging.

The Thomas Built Buses were not unsafe without this feature, but now have an extra layer of protection that is required by state law.

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) discovered the missing feature this past spring. Immediate action was taken by Sonny Merryman Inc., a bus dealer with its Northern Virginia headquarters in Bristow, to upgrade all affected buses before the start of the 2017-18 school year.

Over the course of 10 weeks, a specialized team of a dozen field technicians traveled throughout 86 school districts, installing the interlocking device on over 2,000 public school buses.

VDOE is continuing to track the installation progress on other affected public school buses.

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Civil War Weekend cancellation a bust for small business

MANASSAS — The annual Civil War Weekend in Downtown Manassas is canceled.

The three-day event that had been planned for Aug. 25, 26, and 27 draws hundreds to the city each August, where period re-enactors flock to the city museum lawn to show how Civil War soldiers lived. Live bands and a period dance were also planned as part of the event.

The cancellation comes after the recent white nationalist’s rally and counter protests in Charlottesville where one woman was killed, and two Virginia State Police troopers died when the helicopter they were flying to monitor the protests crashed.

“Recent events have ignited passions in this country surrounding the Civil War and the symbols representing it. The City of Manassas is saddened by these events and abhors the violence happening around the country. The city does not wish to further exacerbate the situation.” said Manassas spokeswoman Patty Prince. (more…)

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20 years in the making, Arkendale project on track to speed up train service

QUANTICO — Nine miles of new track and improvements to Quantico’s rail station is underway and are hoped to help alleviate some of the congestion on the busy Interstate 95 corridor between Stafford and Washington, D.C.

The Arkendale to Powell’s Creek ‘third track project’ on the Potomac River is a $115 million-dollar investment of federal and state funds to benefit intercity passenger rail service in the I-95 Corridor.

Part of a larger initiative, The Atlantic Gateway, the Arkendale project includes construction of a third track between Richmond and Washington. The third track segment will be used to enhance the performance schedule for intercity passenger service, high-speed passenger rail service, and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter service while preserving freight operations by allowing trains to meet, pass or overtake other trains.

Project improvements also include structures such as under-grade and overhead railroad bridges, railroad crossings and signal systems.

Improvements to Quantico Station include conversion of a side platform to an island platform with a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks, enabling all three tracks to serve the passenger station. (more…)

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Breakfast Links: A dream of a river ferry, Panda Express to open

A commuter ferry service on the Potomac River is coming to Alexandria and Washington. Might it one day come to Prince William County? [Prince William Times]

A teenager from Bristow missing since Aug. 5 now has the resources of the FBI committed to her search. [Insidenova.com]

Panda Express will open its doors on Garrisonville Road in Stafford. This will be the first such restaurant in the chain to open in the county. [Free Lance-Star]

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Seafood restaurant Out of the Blue opens in Gainesville

GAINESVILLE — A new seafood restaurant, Out of the Blue, has opened in Gainesville, promising customers the best blue crabs in the area.

Husband-wife duo Daniel and Ryan Pell have taken the next step in their careers by opening their own restaurant. Out of the Blue was born through the blending of the couples professional experiences.

“We’ve been both in the restaurant industry for a very long time and really just starting our own restaurant was the next natural step for us,” said owner Ryan Pell.

They say their new operation set apart from their competitors due to their access to local fish houses and seafood wholesalers along the east coast. (more…)

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Stonewall Jackson monument will stand at Manassas Battlefield

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PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — A monument to Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson will stand at Manassas National Battlefield Park.

The National Park Service says it, and all Confederate monuments on national park land will remain standing.

“That is the Park Service’s policy on the matter,” said Ray Brown, a spokesman for the Manassas National Battlefield Park.

The National Park Service made the determination this afternoon.

The decision comes a day after Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe issued a statement calling for the removal of Confederate statues in the state: (more…)

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More skimmer devices found at Woodbridge gas stations

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WOODBRIDGE — More skimming devices have been found at gas pumps in Prince William County.

From Prince William police:

Since last week, the Prince William County Police Department has responded to calls involving skimmer devices being located on ATMs at five separate 7-Eleven locations in central Prince William County. Over the past few month, police have also located skimming devices at area gas stations and other ATM locations.

Below is a list the 7-Eleven locations, which reported skimming devices recently (map). If you have visited one of these locations recently and used the ATM, you are asked to monitor your bank accounts for suspicious activity and, if needed, notify your bank that your card information may have been compromised.

Ø 5041 Prince William Pkwy, Woodbridge
Ø 13660 Minnieville Rd, Woodbridge
Ø 4804 Dale Blvd, Woodbridge
Ø 7001 Dale Blvd, Woodbridge
Ø 14116 Minnieville Rd, Woodbridge

These latest skimmer incidents come after one was found at an Exxon gas station at the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Worth Avenue on July 7. (more…)

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Breakfast Links: No Harris Teeter tax incentives, Stafford’s Confederate flag

Tax incentives for Harris Teeter are no longer on the table in Stafford County. The county’s board of supervisors said a developer who initially wanted them to lure the grocer to Aquia Town Center withdrew its request [Free-Lance Star]

A controversial power line in Haymarket may be built overhead, along Interstate 66. Dominion is close to abandoning plans to build the line along Carver Road, where freed slaves lived after the Civil War. [Insidenova.com]

A large Confederate battle flag that waves high above Interstate 95 in Stafford County drew the ire of residents Tuesday. Residents asked leaders to denounce the flag that sits on private property or to introduce flag pole height restrictions. [Free Lance-Star]

The Mormon Temple will allow people outside the Mormon faith to come inside the castle-like structure for the first time in 40 years. Renovations at the temple on the, which resembles something seen in the Wizard of Oz, will mean visitors will get the chance to look inside the structure on the Capital Beltway in Maryland. [Bethesda Magazine]

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Route 28 fix won’t mean the end of the Bi-County Parkway

MANASSAS — When it comes to fixing Route 28, it’s down to a few options.

Option 1: Widen Route 28 from four to six lanes in Prince William County to match the widening taking place across the border in Fairfax County. That option is one of the costliest, as the county doesn’t own the right-of-way and about 70 businesses in the corridor would need to razed, said Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe.

“We’ve seen that option will bring more traffic to Route 28 because you’re widening the road and therefore providing more capacity,” said Nohe.

Nohe is not only the District Supervisor where thousands of commuters each day fill a congested Route 28 to get to and from work, but he’s also the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority Chairman. He’s now an expert on Route 28 congestion from Liberia Avenue in Manassas, through Yorkshire, to the Fairfax County line.

Option 2: Extend Godwin Drive from Route 234 business north along the Prince William County and Manassas line. The road would bisect the Loch Lomond and Westgate communities and would connect with Route 28 at one of two places: south of the Fairfax County line in Yorkshire, or run across a new bridge over the Bull Run and connect to Route 28 at Ordway Drive in Fairfax County.

Prince William County already owns the right-of-way for a Godwin Drive extension. It was purchased for a never-built project called the Tri-County Parkway that was supposed to take drivers to Loudoun County. To complete such an extension, some property on the Godwin corridor would need to be taken, but it is a “dramatically less” amount of property that would be needed than if the county were to widen Route 28 through Yorkshire. (more…)

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Prince William School Board Chairman calls for renaming Stonewall Jackson schools for ‘real heroes’

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — An online fundraiser to rename Stonewall Jackson Senior high and middle schools in Prince William County launched Wednesday.

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Ryan Sawyers, the county’s At-large School Board Chairman, a Democrat who is now seeking a seat in Congress, issued a rallying cry to supporters calling for the name changes after this past weekend’s violent white nationalist protests in Charlottesville where three people died.

“When we name a school after someone we honor and celebrate that person. These schools were named in a time when Brown v. Board of Education, integration, and the Civil Rights Act were being implemented across our country. Under the false rhetoric of ‘heritage,’ these schools were, in fact, named after a Confederate icon as a “thumb in the eye” to Federal actions ending their continued racial segregation of public schools,” Sawyers stated.

Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was a Confederate general and is regarded by historians as one of the most gifted military commanders in U.S. history. Jackson fought at the 1st and 2nd battles of Manassas during the Civil War and later died at age 39 after a battle in Chancellorsville outside Fredericksburg.

Stonewall Middle School, located at 10100 Lomond Drive near Manassas opened in 1964 and is home to 1,140 students. Stonewall Jackson Senior High School, located at 8820 Rixlew Lane near Manassas, opened in 1973, is home to 2,400 students, and the county’s International Baccalaureate Program. (more…)

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Adopt Me Wednesday: Goofy is a young pup eager for training

Spotsylvania Animal shelter has a furbaby in need of a forever family. Goofy is a hound mix, about a year and a half, and is neutered. 

Here’s a little about Goofy:

Goofy is still waiting for his forever family to come along. Goofy is a young pup, good with other dogs, has lived with cats around but is mouthy so needs older children and some training to break that bad habit. Please consider coming to meet/adopt him today before 4 p.m.

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Opening for Ali Krieger sports complex set for spring

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PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — A sports field complex to be named after soccer standout Ali Kreiger will be ready by next summer.

SunCal, the developers of Potomac Shores in southeastern Prince William County, finished construction of one of three large rectangular soccer fields and a softball field.

Prince William County Parks and Recreation spokesman Brent Heavner provided Potomac Local this statement:

SunCal completed construction on one multi-sport rectangular field and one softball field last month with plans to complete three more rectangular fields and a parking lot by the end of the year.

Once we take possession of a field, there is considerable work we have to do to get the surface ready for play.

We hope to have the Softball field ready for play this fall, with the four rectangular fields opening for play next summer. (more…)

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Popular Leesylvania State Park turns away visitors

WOODBRIDGE — Vistors count on Leesylvania State Park to provide hiking trails, picnic tables, a bit of history, and expansive views of the Potomac River.

This summer, however, some would-be park guests have been turned away at the gate. Park officials said there’s just no more room for them.

Leesylvania State Park has been temporarily closed six times this summer due to capacity issues. There are 600 parking spaces in the park, and when all 600 are full, Chief Ranger Karen Lambey closes the entrance gate.

When more parking spaces open up, the gate is reopened to more visitors.

“People like to visit us, and when were closed it really does impact the quality of the visit,” said Lambey. (more…)

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Breakfast Links: School loses $20,000; Winning ‘architect’ coach dies

Bob Sherrill helped to earn Gar-Field Senior High School the nickname “school of champions” during the 1970s and 80s. He’s being remembered this week as the “architect” of the winning sports program after his death. He was 83 years old. [Prince William Times]

The murder of Wilfredo Guardado-Huezo, 25, of Manassas back in April was planned. Court documents show. His murder is related to the MS-13 street gang, which is showing a rebound in the Washington, D.C. region with recent crimes in Maryland and Virginia. [Washington Post]

Gar-Field Senior High School PTSO is out $20,000, and the former head of the organization could be to blame. Calanda Victoria James-Morgan, 40, of Nokesville, was indicted for six counts of embezzlement this month. She’s due in a Prince William County courtroom. [Prince William Times]

A 21-year-old Stafford woman died after a car crash on Saturday, August 12. The crash happened near the Grace Preparatory School when the driver crossed a double yellow line and struck a pick-up truck head on. The driver was pulled from the car and later died [Stafford County Sheriff’s Office]

Hobby Lobby will open a second location in Prince William County in Gainesville. It currently has a store on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge. [Bristow Beat]

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BerkleyNet finds the secret to attracting and keeping talent — make them feel valued

Editors note: This sponsored post is the first in a monthly series written by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Potomac Local.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — An insurance company headquartered in Prince William County encourages young professionals to write on the walls.

This is not your typical coverage provider.

Started in a warehouse in Manassas in 2006, tech firm BerkleyNet is a leader in forward-thinking business growth in Prince William County. BerkleyNet is a member company of W. R. Berkley Corporation, a Fortune 500 company.

Headquartered in Innovation Technology Park in Prince William County, their business is entirely online, a unique concept for a firm that provides workers compensation insurance.

In just 11 years they have grown from six to over 200 employees. The majority are headquartered in Prince William County, with satellite offices in places like Minneapolis, Nashville, Tenn. and Las Vegas.

John Goldwater, BerkleyNet’s former President, and CEO, has gone on to become an Executive Vice President of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Five founding employees remain on BerkleyNet’s senior leadership team.

The most unique aspect of their business growth? They hire curious problem-solvers, encourage ownership and invest in their employees. (more…)

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Makee is the GOP replacement candidate in Virginia House District 2

STAFFORD — He doesn’t have big political aspirations, but he stepped up to be the GOP’s man in a pinch.

Michael Makee (pronounced Mackie) retired as Naval Commander after 20 years and is the Republican replacement candidate in Virginia’s House District 2. The 47-year-old Naval Academy graduate stepped in after Laquan Austion dropped out of the race on Friday.

Makee moved to Stafford with his wife two years ago and is the father of six children ages 12 to 24. Mary Kathleen “Katy” Makee has been his wife for 25 years. He serves on the Stafford County Utilities Commission and is the treasurer of the Stafford County Republican Committee.

This is his first run for political office.

“I don’t have big political aspirations,” Makee told Potomac Local. “I understand the military side of how the government works, and now I will learn how the state and local side of the government,” said Makee. (more…)

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Fallen Virginia State Police troopers had ties to Prince William, Manassas

Virginia State Police continue morn the loss of two of their own — one of them from Prince William County.

The two troopers were killed Saturday after a police helicopter they were in crashed on a farm outside Charlottesville. The troopers were monitoring the fatal protest in the city where one woman was killed and several others injured during a white nationalist march.

Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, of Prince William County, are remembered today in a press release from Virginia State Police:

Bates

Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates (1976 – 2017)

Trooper-Pilot Bates was born in Manassas, Va. and graduated from Brentsville District Middle-Senior High School in Nokesville, Va. in 1994.

He served as a Trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol from 1998 until he joined the Virginia State Police in 2004. He graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy on August 27, 2004, as a member of the 107th Basic Session.

His first assignment was in Virginia State Police Richmond Division’s Area 8 Office, which encompasses the City of Richmond and Henrico County.

(more…)

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Electoral Board studies pay increase for poll workers

WOODBRIDGE — Election officers in Prince William County may get raise.

The county’s Electoral Board is reviewing a plan to increase pay for its election officers who work long hours on Election Day in November, during town elections in May, June primaries, and on special elections such as this year’s Clerk of the Court vote.

Many elections officers, assistant polling place chiefs, and chiefs work the polls from opening at 6 a.m. to close at 7 p.m. Election Day. Officers are paid $125 a day, assistant chiefs $150, and poll chiefs $200.

Increasing poll worker pay would put Prince William County in line with its neighbor to the north in Fairfax County which pays poll workers $175 a day, assistant chiefs $200, and poll leaders $250 a day. (more…)

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Virginia airplane owners get a tax break for repairs

MANASSAS — Airplane owners and repair shops will get a tax break.

Small airplane small repair shops and larger maintenance, repair, and overhaul aircraft facilities commonly referred to as MROs will get a break when they purchase parts, supplies, or engines to maintain an aircraft. Delegate Richard Anderson, an Air Force Colonel and former head of the Civil Air Patrol introduced the legislation during this year’s General Assembly.

The new law is expected to have an impact on economic development in the state and our region. Many airplane owners traditionally fly out of state to places like North Carolina for regular aircraft maintenance or repair.

“I am very proud to have worked with my partners in the General Assembly, the Virginia Aviation Business Association, and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association in crafting this legislation. Virginia is home to several thousand general aviation aircraft, but has few major maintenance and repair operations,” said Anderson. (more…)

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Free admission today at the Prince William County Fair

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You can get in free this afternoon to the 68th Annual Prince William County Fair.

Everyone who comes between to 2 and 5 p.m. will get free admission to the fairgrounds as part of Free Gate Admission Day. Tickets are required once again after 5 p.m. and are sold for $10 for each adult or $6 for children or seniors.

The Power Wheels Derby will take place tonight in the grandstand. Children, ages 3 to 5 will participate in the first round at 5 p.m., and then children ages 6 to 10 will go at 5:30 p.m.

For the main event at 7 p.m. in the grandstand, yard warriors will bring their green machines for the annual garden tractor pull.

Other events in the far include No Joes Circus, the Butterfly Experience, chainsaw art, Jurassic Kingdom, the rides on the midway, and more.

Tomorrow night is ladies night at the fair. The gates open at 5 p.m. and all ladies are free. The demolition derby returns to the grandstand at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The fair is open today from 2 until 10 p.m., Wednesday through Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., and on the final day of the fair Saturday from 2 to 10 p.m.

*Photos: Keith Walker, Prince William County Government 

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