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A rash of armed robberies hits northern Woodbridge neighborhoods

WOODBRIDGE — Police are investigating a string of armed robberies that occurred Sunday and Monday in the Woodbridge area. 

The robbers brandished firearms in each of the incidents. The description of the suspects in each a case is similar. 

Each of the reported incidents took place between East Longview Drive and Horner Road, in the northern section of Woodbridge.

Anyone with information on the robberies is encouraged to call Prince William County Crimes Solvers. 

Here is the information on the robberies from Prince William police: 

Armed Robbery – On September 10 at 2:10PM, officers responded to the 1400 block of G St in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a robbery. The victim, a 59-year-old man of Woodbridge, reported to police that he was walking in the above area when he approached two unknown males. During the encounter, one of the suspects brandished a firearm then rummage through the victim’s pocket. The suspects took the victim’s wallet then fled the area on foot. No injuries were reported. A police K-9 searched the surrounding area for the suspects who were not located. The investigation continues.

Suspect Descriptions:

Black male, between 28 & 30 years of age, 5’10”, 150lbs, with short black hair

Last seen wearing a black shirt and black pantz

Black male, between 28 & 30 years of age, 5’06”, 140lbs, with short black hair

Last seen wearing a black shirt and black pants

Armed Robbery – On September 10 at 1:10AM, officers responded to the area of Woodbridge St and Horner Rd in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a robbery. The victim, 30 year old man of Woodbridge, reported to police that he was walking in the above area when he was approached by an unknown male. During the encounter, the suspect brandished a firearm and demanded the victim’s property. The suspect took the victim’s passport then fled the area on foot. No injuries were reported. A police K-9 searched the surrounding area for the suspect who was not located.

Suspect Description:

Black male of an unknown age, 5’11”, 170lbs, with brown eyes and a medium build

Last seen wearing a black sweatshirt (more…)

Bull Run Rotary Clubs needs volunteers to help support SERVE

Good Morning Prince William – September is National Preparedness Month! In light of recent disasters such as wildfires, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, please take some time to prepare for emergencies before they happen. Remember, disasters don’t plan ahead, but You Can! Please visit for great information on how you can prepare an emergency kit for your family and pets.

· Please join us in Manassas Park on September 16 at the Emergency Preparedness Fair 10am-2pm at the Fire Rescue Department, 9080 Manassas Drive in Manassas Park. For more information, please call (703) 335-8845. Also, the wonderful folks in City of Manassas are hosting their Preparedness Month Fun Fair on September 23, 9am-1pm at the Manassas Farmer’s Market on Prince William Street, across from Baldwin Elementary School. Emergency kits, kid activities, emergency vehicles and lots of important emergency preparedness information will be available at both events.

· The Manassas, Bull Run Rotary Clubs supporting the great work at SERVE needs tons of volunteers for the Lou Maroon Golf Tournament on Wednesday, September 13th at the Evergreen Country Club. Jobs include check-in of teams, run the putting contest, sell raffle tickets, take photos and greet golfers as they tee off. Volunteers need to be at least 18 years old and be able to stand for the 2-3 hour shift. Shifts are 9 a.m. -12pm, 12-2:30 p.m. and 2:30-5pm. come join the fun for a fabulous cause. Please call Navara at (571) 748-2536 to learn more. (more…)

Pets rescued from Irma brought to Prince William

DUMFRIES — Pets rescued from Hurrican Irma are looking for new homes in our area.

The Prince William Humane Society worked to bring 28 dogs and 16 cats from hurricane-ravaged Florida to the county’s animal shelter, and to its adoption center in Dumfries.

The pets were in animal shelters in Florida but were evacuated along with residents before the category three storm’s landfall on Sunday afternoon.

“A lot of them are scared because of what they’ve been through. There’s a lot of barking going on,” said Prince William Humane Society Center Manager Jill Gregory. “They’re sweet, and I’ve never seen a group of animals so aware of being brought to safety.”

Many of the animals came to Prince William with no medical records. A group of 12 kittens all came with severe upper respiratory infections and are being treated at Minnieville Animal Hospital.

Many of the animals are not spayed or neutered. All of them will be treated so that they can be ready for adoption, added Gregory. The animals will become available for adoption in the coming weeks after they are treated.

The animals will be divided between the Prince William County Animal Shelter, located at 14087 Bristow Road, and the county headquarters for the Human Society at 17983 Dumfries Shopping Plaza in Dumfries.

Speeding fines are going up on Featherbed, and possibly Featherstone

GAINESVILLE — Drivers on Featherbed Lane watch out: Fines for speeding will increase.

New signs are warning drivers an additional fine of up to $200 will be installed along the two-lane thoroughfare in western Prince William County. According to county documents, based on the number requests from residents for speed enforcement, as well as speed studies completed in the area, “Featherbed Lane has a documented speeding problem.”

Three new signs warning of the higher fines will be placed along the route, from Sudley Road to Route 29. The road will keep its 25 mph speed limit.

The fines collected could generate additional revenue for the county, according to county documents.

One of the state requirements for the signs to be installed, county officials noted they received a petition requesting the new signs be installed, signed by more than half of the residents who live in the area.

Signs notifying residents that county leaders were seeking comments from residents about the new increased speeding fines signs were posted along Featherbed Lane between July 17 and 31. No one commented, county documents state.

The new signs should be installed in about a month. County late this year leaders will also consider installing similar signs along Featherstone Road in Woodbridge, according to Steve Stevens, at the Prince William County Transportation Departement. (more…)

Will Starbucks replace the Starbucks at Cheshire Station?

DALE CITY — Will a new Starbucks be built at Cheshire Station?

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors will decide on Tuesday. If approved, the new chain coffee house will be built across from a Safeway grocery store in the existing Cheshire Station shopping center at the intersection of Minnieville Road and Dale Boulevard.

The Starbucks would sit next to Yogi Creme, in the southeast quadrant of an intersection of the shopping plaza and Minnieville Road. The store would be 2,082 square-feet in size, have a drive-through window, and feature a 355-square-foot patio for outdoor seating.

The Prince William County Planning Commission approved the structure in July, sending it to the board of supervisors for final approval.

The drive-through Starbucks would sit along a busy thoroughfare. According to a 2015 Virginia Department of Transportation study, a total of 45,000 cars per day travel past the shopping center on the six-lane Minnieville Road.

The new Starbucks would replace an existing smaller Starbucks store in the plaza, which does not have a drive-through window.

The land on which Cheshire Station sits was rezoned in from agricultural to business in 2000, clearing the way for construction of the shopping center which has always been anchored by Safeway.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors will take up the measure at its scheduled 7:30 p.m. meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.

New contract awarded for trailer classrooms

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — Prince William County’s next batch of trailer classrooms will come from North Carolina.

The school division this week approved a new contract with Modular Technologies, of Kinston, N.C. for the future acquisition of trailer, or modular classrooms, as the division calls them.

There are no plans to add to the division’s fleet of 211 portable trailer classrooms dispatched to schools across the county, said schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer.

However, when it does, the division has agreed to pay Modular Technologies up to $48,000 for a single-wide trailer, and up to $62,000 for a double-wide trailer. Those prices include extras like carpeting, siding, and delivery costs. (more…)

Residents examine Route 28 Manassas bypass, unintended consequences

MANASSAS PARK — Extending Godwin Drive across the Bull Run River into Fairfax County is shaping up to be the most popular idea to relieve congestion on Route 28.

But some residents question whether four-and-a-half mile road, with and its nearly $200 million price tag, will do anything at for congestion relief on Route 28 in Manassas.

The roadway has become Northern Virginia’s most congested corridor.

Dubbed “Alternative 2B,” the proposed road would extend Godwin Drive from Sudley Road near the Manassas Mall, between the Lomond neighborhood in Prince William County and residential neighborhoods in Manassas Park, across a new bridge over the Bull Run River connecting to Route 28 in Fairfax County.

About 200 people gathered Thursday night at the Manassas Park Community Center to gain insight, and to give input to local officials. Several large project display boards lined the room showing where roads could go, and whose homes could be at risk.

Prince William County Coles District Supervisor and Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) Chairman Marty Nohe stressed no decision has been made on where to place any new road.

“I couldn’t stand here and look you in the eye and tell you there won’t be impacts from this project. There will be impacts, and some will be impacted more than others,” Nohe told the crowd. “We won’t see these big maps change. We will see a more detailed map.” (more…)

Hidden along Route 28, Eavesdrop Brewery to open late fall

First on Potomac Local 

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — A new brewery located in Yorkshire will invite commuters to pull out of traffic and get into a tasting room.

Eavesdrop Brewery will offer a taste of rural Virginia just outside Manassas, serving farm-brewed beer made with ingredients sourced from the farm where it was brewed.

Also offered there will be tastings of locally-made cheeses, meats, and honey from farms west of Manassas, located between Marshall and Front Royal.

The brewery will be located on Route 28 in Yorkshire, near the new Orchard Bridge apartments and the Fairfax County line. The brewery is still under construction and is partially made from an old building that was used to grow racing pigeons. 

“The space was used for that purpose, and that’s good to know as we incorporate our farm-to-table model,” said Jeb Carney, a co-founder of Eavesdrop Brewery. (more…)

School Board members fight to save attorney’s seat

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — The first school board meeting of the new school year in Prince William County and, already, there is more infighting among those elected to lead.

The county School Board on Wednesday night spent the better part of an hour debating whether or not it should allow School Board Attorney Mary McGowan to keep her seat alongside School Board members on the dais during public meetings.

A series of emails sent by School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers on Wednesday morning demanded McGowan be removed from the head table, and he asserted that he alone as school board chairman had the authority to remove her.

McGowan has had the job of defending the School Board in two lawsuits involving Sawyers. Earlier this year, Sawyers sued School Division Superintendent Steven Walts after he didn’t give Sawyers access to emails by his predecessor Milton C. Johns. (more…)

Route 1 name change could cost small businesses thousands

WOODBRIDGE — A proposal to rename Route 1 in Woodbridge would end up costing small business owners.

Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi on Tuesday introduced an ordinance that would, in part, rename Jefferson Davis Highway in eastern Prince William County, the road named after the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

The four-lane thoroughfare is lined with small and medium-sized businesses and restaurants that would not only have to go back and reproduce printed marketing materials to list a new address but would also have to revamp their web presence and search engine optimization.

“It would be a major headache, and it would create a lot of work for small business owners,” said Scot Small, CEO of RevBuilders Marketing. (more…)

Route 28 improvement community meetings start tonight

MANASSAS PARK — Though a dinosaur, the Tri-County Parkway remains in Prince William County’s Comprehensive Plan — for now.

The road has been talked about for more than 12 years and will probably never be built.

The county’s board of supervisors on Tuesday declined to remove the road from its comprehensive plan ahead of two community meetings, the first of which is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Manassas Park Community Center at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park.

Prince William leaders opted to hear from constituents before removing the parkway that would have taken drivers from the intersection of Sudley Road and Godwin Drive in Prince William County north through Fairfax County, terminating in Loudoun County.

Instead of the Tri-County Parkway, a plan to extend Godwin Drive from the Sudley Road to Route 28 at the Fairfax County line is one of three alternatives to be discussed at tonight’s meeting. Two others include widening Route 28 in its existing right-of-way, and extending Euclid Avenue from Manassas north to Orchard Bridge Drive, creating a Route 28 bypass, of sorts. (more…)

Suspect enters gas station through shattered door

DUMFRIES — Police are investigating the burglary of a gas station in Dumfries.

Officers were called to the Valero gas station at 17315 Jefferson Davis Highway at 2:52 a.m. An alarm had been activated, triggering the police call.

Someone shattered a front glass door and forced their way inside, then took cigarettes. The intruder fled on foot.

A police K-9 was called to search for the suspect who got away.

The intruder, who was caught on video, is described as black man, between 25 and 30 years old, 225 pounds, 5 feet 10 inches tall, with short black hair, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, dark jeans, and dark shoes.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to contact the Prince William County Police Department.

Despite dead stadium deal, Potomac Nationals in talks to keep team in county

County leader wants new plan for Pfitzner stadium if Minor League team moves out

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — The Potomac Nationals want to stay in Prince William County and are looking for a way to make that happen.

“We’re exploring all options, including a few locations in Prince William County, ” said Art Silber, the owner of the Minor Leauge Baseball team.

A deal between the team, the Prince William County Government, and developers of Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center to build a new $35 million stadium at the Woodbridge shopping center fell through in July.

Silber offered no details about new ongoing negotiations. The talks are with private land owners and do not involve the county government, according to sources.

The team has played in Woodbridge since 1983. Though Silber threatened to move or sell the team should a new stadium deal not be reached in July, he said today that staying in the county is on the top of his organization’s priority list.

Silber has long said the county-owned facility is below the standards of Minor Leauge Baseball. The team continues to play in the 34-year-old facility only because of waivers issued by Minor League Baseball. (more…)

Federal funds will be used to purchase home, demolish it

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — Prince William County will use federal grant money to purchase a home in a flood plain and demolish it.

The one-story, three bedroom home at 7803 Lake Drive near Manassas was built in 1969 on the bank of the Bull Run River. It is often inundated with flood waters during periods of moderate rains, according to county documents.

The county will purchase the 1.16 acres of land with $245,950 from a Federal Flood Mitigation Assistance Program grant. The sale is expected to close in mid-September, and the home and all other structures on the property will be demolished within six weeks after closing, county documents state.

The property is valued at $232,100, according to the Prince William County property assesor. The county will purchase the property for $200,600, and give any remaining funds from the federal grant to the property owners after demolition is complete.

A call to the property owners was not immediately returned. (more…)

‘March to Confront White Supremacy’ passes through Gainesville

GAINESVILLE — Multiple groups of people on Monday moved along Route 29 in Gainesville as part of the “March to Confront White Supremacy.”

A cluster of state and local police took position near a bridge near University Avenue about 9 a.m. At various stops along the road, about 100 walkers would eventually join the walk which arrived in Gainesville on Saturday night.

After spending Saturday night at various locations around Gainesville, and driving places as far as Charlottesville to join them, walkers set out again at 9:30 a.m. bound for Fairfax County.

Some wore signs that read “Justucia,” the Spanish word for justice. Some pushed baby strollers. Marchers ranged in age and ethnicity.

The marchers were to have started at the WaWa on Route 29 in Gainesville Monday. But the night before, the decision was made to move the starting point further north the highway because they had made better than anticipated progress the day before.

The group is expected to arrive in Washington tomorrow to demand President Donald Trump to step down from office. (more…)

Updated: Officials approve Colgan High School speed zone

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — A new school speed zone could be coming to the one-year-old Charles Colgan Sr. High School.

County officials in public documents state there have been multiple requests for a 35 mph zone in front of the school located on Route 234, near Hoadly Road at Independent Hill. A public hearing on the matter is scheduled tomorrow, Sept. 5 at 2 p.m. at the Prince William County Board of Supervisors meeting at the Prince William County Government Center in Woodbridge.

The zone, if enacted, would slow traffic on Route 234 from 55 p.m. to 35 p.m. on weekdays when school is in session from 7 to 8 a.m., and again from 1:40 to 2:40 p.m.

The change will impact an estimated 6,000 cars per day on the busy four-lane arterial roadway. The speed zone would be in effect 1,000 feet from the school building and would encompass a portion of the roadway that includes nearby businesses such as a BP gas station, and a Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative office, a fire and rescue station, and homes. (more…)

Prince William must ax old Tri-County Parkway if it hopes for funding for Godwin Drive Extended

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — Out with the Tri-County Parkway and in with Godwin Drive Extended.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday could decide to remove the Tri–County Parkway, a limited-access highway from Manassas to Loudoun County conceived 12 years ago but never built, from Prince William’s comprehensive plan.

The Tri-County Parkway would have carried vehicles from the intersection of Route 234 and Godwin Drive to Loudoun County Parkway. The planned road is not to be confused with the on-again, off-again project, the Bi-County Parkway from Dumfries to Dulles Airport.

Removing the Tri-County Parkway from the comprehensive plan would allow supervisors to replace it with a new road called Godwin Drive Extended. This planned roadway in Prince William would traverse nearly the same path that was planned for the Tri-County Parkway along the border of Manassas, however, instead of taking drivers all the way to Loudoun County it would end at the border of Prince William and Fairfax counties at Compton Road. (more…)

Amtrak engineer killed in crash, police search for driver who fled the scene

DUMFRIES — Police are asking anyone with information on the crash that killed an Amtrak engineer to come forward.

James Henry Taylor IV, 47, of Fredericksburg, died after he was struck by a dark-colored sedan at mile post 152 on Interstate 95 in Dumfries.

The crash occurred at 11:11 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. A witness told police the sedan swerved out of a lane, crossed multiple northbound lanes of traffic, and then struck a tan 2006 Hyundai Elantra driven by Taylor.

The impact caused both vehicles to run off the left side of the road and collide with a guardrail. The two cars collided again a second time, according to police. (more…)

Updated: Taco Bell, Firestone, Autobell car wash coming to Route 28

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — Would a new Taco Bell, carwash, and tire store be right for Route 28 just outside Manassas?

That’s what the Prince William County Board of Supervisors must decide on Tuesday.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Pavilion Capital is seeking approval of special use permits for the three business, one of which is the drive-through and dine-in fast food restaurant mentioned above, a Firestone tire center, and an Autobell car wash. If approved, the Autobell car wash would be the 14th in the state behind locations in Sterling, and in Hampton Roads.

The three new businesses would sit next to each other on the east side of Route 28 across from the intersection of Hornbaker Road.

The Firestone tire center would have eight service bays. It would be located near an existing Virginia Tire and Auto location that opened last year. (more…)

Senator, congregation rallies around Dumfries church after ‘white power’ sign found on door

DUMFRIES — Pastor William Thompson was in the hospital on Sunday, and it was his wife, Etta who came to church about 9:30 a.m. to open the building for Sunday school.

“I just walked up and there they were,” Etta said. “I just started shaking.”

Someone had taped a paper sign to the front door of the Greater Praise Temple on Main Street, one of the many small churches in Dumfries. There on the sheet of paper was a picture man wearing a suit and a white hood, a Confederate battle flag, and the words “white power.”

Now out of the hospital, today William joined Etta at their church to offer words of forgiveness to the person who posted the racist sign on his door.

“Over the years, I’ve learned that if you’re doing something good something bad is going to happen. I kind of expected it,” said William Thompson. “If I could speak to the person who put this on our door, I would tell him I love him, and I forgive him.” (more…)

Labor Day vacationers expected to fill E-ZPass Express lanes

Long-distance travelers use the E-ZPass Express Lanes on Interstate 95.

And the operators of the lanes said they’ll be ready for them, Today via a press release, they’re warning other drivers to be ready for them, too, this Labor Day weekend.

“Last Labor Day, the busiest getaway travel times on the regular I-95 lanes and the 95 Express Lanes was Wednesday between 4 to 7 p.m. and Thursday between 2 to 6 p.m. As such, drivers traveling along the 95 Express Lanes corridor over Labor Day weekend should prepare for heavy traffic volumes,” according to a press release.”

Beginning Tuesday, September 5, the start of the weekday morning reversal will shift from 10 a.m. back to 11 a.m. Here’s what drivers can expect Labor Day weekend:

Thursday, August 31: Southbound reversal begins at 10 a.m.
Friday, September 1: Southbound reversal begins at 10 a.m.
Saturday, September 2: Lanes reverse to northbound at 2 p.m.
Sunday, September 3: Lanes remain northbound
Monday, September 4: Express Lanes remain northbound all day
Tuesday, September 5: End of early summer reversal – southbound reversal now begins at 11 a.m.”

A survey conducted by toll lanes operators in May found 40% of users travel the E-ZPass Express Lanes when traveling to vacation destinations.

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