WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia



Prince William

Updated: 2-alarm fire at Lorton incinerator was ‘deep-seated and will take multiple days to extinguish’


Photo  Tweeted by @ffxfirerescue by @mountainstwin1

We’re working to get more on this story from Fairfax County fire and rescue officials. Here’s what we know now. 

From Covanta

The I-95 Energy/Resource Recovery Facility, operating as Covanta Fairfax, Inc., began commercial operation in June 1990. The facility processes more than 3,000 tons per day of municipal solid waste for a population of more than 900,000 in the Washington, D.C. suburbs of Fairfax County, Virginia. The 22.9-acre facility in Lorton, VA, sells more than 80 megawatts of renewable energy – enough energy to meet the needs of over 80,000 homes. It is the first Covanta facility to have a system to recover very small particles of non-ferrous metal for recycling. 


From Fairfax County fire and rescue:  (more…)

Dump truck loses brakes, crashes into Occoquan waterfront park

Photo from Potomac Local Flickr Pool 

OCCOQUAN, Va. — The driver of a dump truck lost control of his rig after the breaks went out while traveling down Route 123 south from Fairfax County, crossing the Occoquan River into Prince William.

After making efforts to stop, authorities said the truck rolled backward and crashed into an Occoquan Town waterfront park, according to a town official. 

Now officials in the town are wrangling with the cost to repair Mamie Davis Park, known for its river walk and gazebo. 

From Occoquan Town Manager Kirstyn B. Jovanovich: 

“On Friday, January 13, a dump truck lost its brakes on Route 123 and turned on to Commerce Street in an attempt to reduce its speed and avoid damage to other vehicles. After turning left onto Washington Street, the truck ended up rolling backwards on Washington Street and landing inside Mamie Davis Park. (more…)

Thomas Charles Vrtis

Thomas Charles Vrtis of Woodbridge, Virginia (formerly of St. Charles, Illinois) passed away at home on January 28, 2017. He was 87.

Tom was born on December 24, 1929, in Oak Park, Illinois, the son of Charles and Anna (Kucera) Vrtis. He grew up in La Grange, Illinois, with seven brothers and sisters. After completing his elementary education at St. Francis Xavier School in La Grange and his high school education at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Tom attended Loyola University of Chicago and graduated with a degree in accounting in 1951. Following college, he served two years in the United States Army as a 1st Lieutenant, and was stationed in Germany as part of the post-WWII allied occupation forces. After returning home, Tom joined the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, which would be the first stop in his lifelong work as an accountant in the Chicagoland area. (more…)

Horizon Business Brokers just finished their best year ever by brokering the sale of 19 local businesses. But was 2016 a fluke?

Horizon Business Brokers just finished their best year ever by brokering the sale of 19 locally owned businesses.

Horizon Business Brokers, LLC was founded in 2006 by Dustin Zeher, a longtime resident of Prince William County having grown up in Lake Ridge, where he still lives.

Horizon Business Brokers: I was introduced to the Business Brokerage Industry by my father’s childhood friend who was a Business Broker in New York and immediately became interested as I always had a passion for small business ownership, law, real estate, finance, and helping people; business brokerage was an industry that allowed me to play a role in each.

I decided to get my feet wet and see if I liked the business, so I became an Associate Business Broker for a Maryland-based firm. I worked with them for about a year where I quickly realized I enjoyed the business and had the promise to be a good deal maker.

I soon took the leap of faith to go into business for myself and Horizon Business Brokers was born soon after that.

Potomac Local: Do Businesses in our area sell?

Horizon Business Brokers: Absolutely, and they sell fast. The national average time to sell a business is 8 to 12 months. Our average is only 5-7 months, and we have sold businesses in as little as 30 days.

PL: What kind of businesses sell? (more…)

Stream restoration will help reduce flood risk, improve fish passage on Dewey’s and Quantico Creeks

Photo by Prince William County Communications Office 


Restoration to improve the resiliency of the Possum Point Road culvert – located on Route 633 at the Prince William County and Town of Dumfries line – over Dewey’s Creek has wrapped up after nearly three months of work, interrupted by frequent heavy rainfalls and storms. Dewey’s Creek is a tributary of Quantico Creek, which is a tidal tributary of the Potomac River.

The restoration will improve sediment transport, water flow, and fish habitat. In addition, it will reduce flood risk to the surrounding community, which includes approximately 50 homes southeast of the culvert as well as the Possum Point Power Station, located on the banks of the Potomac River and serving the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.

Growing development within the watershed has increased the risk of culvert failure. Stormwater runoff from paved surfaces and yards causes flows to increase in the creek, leading to erosion, increased sediment accumulation at the culvert and constriction of water flow during high flow conditions.

Instead of replacing the culvert with something larger, the project involved restoring Dewey’s Creek for approximately 400 feet above the culvert. Stream banks were sloped and terraced to reconnect the creek to its floodplain, while rock elevation controls and riffles were constructed to eliminate sediment build-up at the culvert’s entrance and improve water flow and fish habitat.


Surovell’s bill targeting ‘left lane bandits’ passes House

Photo by Flickr user Doug Kerr 

RICHMOND, Va. — House of Delegates has approved a bill that would impose a mandatory $250 fine for driving too slowly in the left lane on highways.

HB 2201 was introduced by Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, and co-sponsored by Democrats Del. Kaye Kory of Falls Church and Sen. Scott Surovell of Fairfax to show bipartisan support for the measure. O’Quinn said this is something that affects all Virginians, regardless of which side of the aisle they align themselves with.

“It doesn’t matter which corner of the commonwealth you come from,” he said when addressing the bill on the House floor Monday. “It doesn’t matter which interstate or four-lane highway that you have going through the districts you represent. I guarantee you are going to encounter this many times, even if you’re on the highways for just a few minutes.”

“Left lane bandits,” as they are often known, have become a “particularly pervasive and ever-growing problem” on Virginia roadways, O’Quinn said.


Request for community support in honoring local superheroes

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On March 23 from 2:00-4:30 p.m. the members of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, together with the police, fire and rescue communities serving Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, will gather for the 31st Annual Prince William Valor Awards.

The event, which is open to the public, is held annually to recognize the men and women in uniform who go above and beyond the call of duty in keeping our community and its people safe and secure: the local superheroes. For the third year in a row, the event will be held at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, located at 10960 George Mason Circle in Manassas.

“This year we are hoping to fill the auditorium of the Hylton Performing Arts Center with the people of this community who appreciate the sacrifices made by public safety officials,” says Chamber Chairman C.C. Bartholomew, a local realtor and Prince William County Resident. “In a year when the climate on social media and across the country has been charged with fear and uncertainty, the Prince William region has been blessed to be served by forward-thinking and fair-minded public servants who also put their lives on the line in ways that we almost never hear about. Our Valor Awards shine the light on these brave and selfless individuals. I am asking that if you are at all able to attend the 2017 event, that you would strongly consider buying a ticket and joining us to show your appreciation.”

What should you expect when you attend the Valor Awards event?


Prince William gains 596 new jobs from economic development projects

The Prince William County Department of Economic Development today announced it logged $1.3 billion capital investment, added 596 new jobs and retained 80 existing jobs from 23 economic development projects in 2016.

From an agency press release: 

The 23 projects consisted of 18 new business attractions, 3 expansions of existing businesses and 2 business retentions. The projects spanned a range of industries (information technology, life sciences, data centers, distribution, recreation, federal contracting and manufacturing) – representative of the diversity of the underlying Prince William County economy.  Of the 596 new jobs to be created from these projects, approximately 70% will be in industry sectors targeted by the County.

In the last five calendar years [2012-2016], projects closed by the Prince William County Department of Economic Development alone intend to invest a record of nearly $4.0 billion and create approximately 2,600 new jobs


Speros D. Thomaidis

Lt. Col. Speros D. “Spatz” Thomaidis (USMC-Ret.) of Dumfries, Va., passed away peacefully at his home, surrounded by his family, on Jan. 27, 2017. Spatz, age 86, joins his beloved wife, Kiki Zaharoolis Thomaidis, brother Nikos D. Thomaidis and “adopted brother” George Romanos, all who predeceased him.

The son of Greek immigrants, Spatz was born during the Great Depression in Highland Falls, NY, where he learned to speak English at public schools and, as a child, worked and lived at his family’s business, The West Point Arms Hotel and Restaurant. He graduated valedictorian of his high school class and went on to earn a degree from Cornell University, where he was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.
Spatz epitomized the term “Semper Fi.”

He proudly and voluntarily served his country in the United States Marine Corps for 24 years — as a Platoon Leader in the Korean War and as a Battalion Commander in the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat V for meritorious service in Vietnam. A dedicated husband, father and an excellent provider, he also worked for 18 years in the private sector. (more…)

Chill Seekers needed for Dumfries polar plunge

Photo by Plunge Virginia

From Special Olympics Virginia: 

Grab your best costume and your favorite flip flops and get set to get wet at the NOVA Polar Plunge® Fest, Feb. 25 at Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant & Crabhouse in Dumfries. We’re seeking brrrave fans to dash and splash in support of Special Olympics Virginia’s 27,000+ athletes with and without disabilities. With your support, we can reach our $100,000 fundraising goal, and create more Special Olympics champions.

The 2017 NOVA Polar Plunge® Fest, presented by the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Virginia and the Prince William County Police Department, kicks off Saturday, Feb. 25 at 10 am. Plunges will take place into the Potomac at Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant & Crabhouse at approximately 2 pm. Current Plunge teams include VISA volunteers, who are leading the way in fundraising, the Prince William County Police, a team made up of active members of the department, and many Special Olympics volunteers and athletes from across Northern Virginia. (more…)

Mohammad Sherdil, suspect in Dale City murder, nabbed in New York City

From Prince William police: 

Malicious Wounding *ARREST – On January 31, detectives with the Violent Crimes Bureau received a tip from Crime Solvers which lead to the arrest of Mohammad Ekram SHERDIL by members of the US Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force and NYPD detectives in New York [City].  The accused was wanted for a shooting which occurred in the 3500 block of Forestdale Ave in Woodbridge on December 9. The accused remains in custody in New York pending extradition back to Virginia.

Arrested on February 1: [No Photo Available]

Mohammad Ekram SHERDIL, 22, of 3507 Forestdale Ave in Woodbridge

Charged with 2 counts of aggravated malicious wounding

Court Date: Pending | Status: Pending Extradition

Carlos Castro to be presented with Leadership Vision Award

From Leadership Prince William spokesperson Kathy Bentz:

Carlos Castro, an alumnus of the Leadership Prince William Class of 2010 and a nationally recognized business leader, will receive the coveted 2017 Leadership Vision Award at the Evening of Excellence on Friday, June 16, 2017. The Leadership Vision Award is presented by Leadership Prince William and honors an individual who lives or works in Prince William County, Manassas or Manassas Park and whose leadership has had a positive impact in our community and beyond. (more…)

VDOT’s take on the new Haymarket DDI at I-66

Photo by VDOT Northern Virginia

From VDOT spokeswoman Ellen Kamilakis:

I’ve loved working on this project because it has so many up sides. Safer, faster, cheaper! We knew we would have to fight the misconceptions of it being dangerous, and how people wouldn’t understand, but so far they have. Since it is not completely done (still need to open third lane, finish multi-use path, overhead signs, mast arm signals, concrete islands) it’s hard for people to conceptualize the finished product. I for one didn’t grasp that I was on temporary pavement, and when it was complete in the spring, the intersection lines would be longer and leaner that what is there now.

I have followed the news articles and read the comments (looking for misconceptions that I can address), and all we have left are people that claim, despite all of the studies, that this will somehow be a dangerous intersection. The only thing to refute that is time, so we watch and wait.

I found this to be an interesting exchange on Twitter: https://twitter.com/VaDOTNOVA/status/82552774911269274

What to do if you’re having trouble paying your Dominion bill

Photo by Flickr user Adam Theo


Cold weather can bring discomfort and worry about higher winter bills, but Dominion Virginia Power is working hard to help customers stay warm this winter by providing energy education, flexible payment options, and energy assistance.

Customers can prevent higher-than-expected bills by reducing energy waste:

· Seal up air leaks around doors and windows, have your heat pump tuned up, change furnace air filters and replace incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs. More efficiency tips can be found here and links to energy efficiency rebates can be found here.
· Customers are encouraged to call 1-888-366-8280 to determine eligibility for no-cost weatherization services.
· One-on-one educational outreach is available to all customers at Dominion’s local EnergyShare demonstration events. For more information, visit our events page here.

‘2 adults and their pets, 2 dogs and 1 cat, displaced by the fire’

From Prince William fire and rescue: 

On Tuesday, January 31st at 2:19 a.m., fire and rescue units were dispatched to a structure fire in a single-family home located in the 18400 block of Running Pine Court in Triangle.

Upon arrival, fire and rescue crews observed fire blazing from the second floor at which time they were informed two people were trapped inside the home; a second alarm was immediately requested as firefighters initiated an immediate search and rescue. Two residents were located within the structure and were assisted down a ladder to safety.

Additional searches were conducted during extinguishment of the fire but were negative.

The occupants sustained smoke inhalation and were treated on scene and released without further medical treatment.

A Building Inspector has posted the home unsafe. Red Cross responded to assist 2 adults and their pets, 2 dogs and 1 cat, displaced by the fire. Preliminary damages are estimated at $25,000; the fire is currently under investigation] by the Fire Marshal’s Office.

Cyclist safety, and tuition transparency bills passed

Week three saw our General Assembly in full swing and movement on many bills – on Wednesday, eleven of my bills were heard in one day!

First, over 100 residents came out for my two Town Halls in Prince William County. There were many questions about my “hand’s free” legislation, coal ash legislation, increasing teacher salaries, tuition affordability, predatory lending, and other issues. (more…)

Prince William strategic plan: ‘Does it reflect the needs and wants of our citizens?’

For 25 years, Prince William County has produced a citizen-driven Strategic Plan, aimed at guiding the course of our budget and local legislation.  
The Board of Supervisors determines the issues important to our community’s success, then appoints two citizen volunteers per supervisor to study those issues.  
For the better part of 2016, the Strategic Plan Team explored and studied five topics: Transportation, Economic Development, Human Services, Education & Public Safety.
The result? The 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, unanimously adopted by the Board.  
But what does this Plan really do?   (more…)
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