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Metro option opened for riders at noon

Update – Metro option open for evening commute

Starting at noon, Virginia Railway Express riders will be able to show a valid VRE ticket to Metro station managers, who will then let them ride Metro to get home.

The Metro option was opened this afternoon after all service on VRE’s Manassas line was canceled Friday due to low-hanging power lines over the rails, and trains on the system’s Fredericksburg line this morning were delayed because of flood restrictions imposed by CSX, the railroad which owns the tracks. (more…)

News
Belvoir OktoberFest washed out

There will be no OktoberFest at Ft. Belvoir tonight.

That’s the latest word from officials at the Army Base, who say today’s heavy rains forced the cancellation of the event.

All is not lost, however, as tonight’s keg tapping event will go on as scheduled at 6 p.m., and will be held in the Wells Field House on base, said Ft. Belvoir spokesman Donald Carr.

Crews are said to be working “nonstop” to ready the grounds for tomorrow’s scheduled 6 p.m. opening of Ft. Belvoir’s OktoberFest.

News
Chemical spill victims released from hospital

File photo

Update 4 p.m. – Teacher, custodian and administrator identified as chemical spill victims

Prince William County Public School officials say a female teacher and custodian, and a male administrator were the ones who were sent to a local hospital after formaldehyde spilled this morning at Saunders Middle School on Spriggs Road in Woodbridge.

Their names have not been released.

None of the three were hurt, and the chemical spill has since been cleaned up, said schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer.

The school is expected to open on time Friday.

Update 1:30 p.m. – No one hurt in chemical spill

School officials say the three people who were taken to the hospital after a chemical spill at Saunders Middle School in Woodbridge are OK.

The three have yet to be identified, but Prince William County Public Schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer said they were not injured and have been released from the hospital.

Woodbridge, Va –– Fire and rescue crews are the scene of an apparent chemical spill at Saunders Middle School on Spriggs Road.

Initial reports indicate Formaldehyde spilled at school just before 10 a.m., sending three people to the hospital.

Full statement from Prince William County Public Schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer:

“At about 9 a.m. this morning, there was a small chemical spill in a science lab at Saunders Middle School when a student accidentally bumped into the container and it fell to the floor. At this time, no students appear to be affected by the spill. However, three staff members were transported to the hospital via ambulance as a precaution, following our protocol. PWC Fire Department Hazmat unit and Risk Management are on the scene. Poison control has been contacted. The affected lab and an adjoining classroom were evacuated. As a precaution, there will be no class changes until the all-clear is given by the Fire Department. Saunders administration is in the process of preparing communication to be sent home with the students as well as preparing an auto-dialer message and a message for the web site.”

News
Rains bring flooding, stops utility work

A sign warns drivers on Old Colchester Road and Giles Run Creek in Lorton to beware of high water.

Lorton, Va. –– The rain came down in spurts Thursday morning, sometimes in light showers and others times in torrential downpours.

Thick fog began to form over the Occoquan River about 8:30 a.m., adding to an already horrendous rush hour that saw backups on Interstate 95 from Dumfries to the 14th Street Bridge.

Drivers seeking a bailout from slow northbound U.S. 1 traffic took back roads, like Old Colchester Road in Lorton. (more…)

News
Police: Victim slapped, robbed

Palma (Fairfax police)

Fairfax County, Va. –– A Woodbridge man has been charged in connection to a robbery at a Springfield shopping plaza.

On Sunday, a 28-year-old man flagged down a police officer and told him that a man slapped him and then demanded that he hand over all of his cash, said Fairfax police spokesman Richard Henry.

The victim did as he was told and handed over the cash, and the alleged robber fled the scene.

But police today are crediting a fast police response with being able to apprehend their suspect. (more…)

News
VRE to Fredericksburg on time

Update 4 p.m. – Flood restrictions lifted on VRE’s Fredericksburg line

After stating all trains on the Fredericksburg line would be delayed this evening after CSX railroad extended flood restrictions, now the commuter railroad has said those restrictions have been lifted and no further delays are expected tonight on the Fredericksburg line.

Update 3:10 p.m. – All VRE Fredericksburg line trains to be delayed

Virginia Railway Express officials say all trains on the system’s Fredericksburg line will be delayed tonight, as CSX railroad extends their flood restrictions until 7 p.m.

The announcement comes after massive delays this morning slowed VRE commuters for more than an hour.

The commuter railroad says the Metro option will be open until 8 p.m., where VRE riders can show Metro station managers a valid VRE ticket to use the system.

(more…)

News
Buffalo Wild Wings to open

A sign on Potomac Mills Road in Woodbridge heralds the coming of Buffalo Wild Wings, which will be located across from Potomac Mills mall.

Woodbridge, Va. –– Those looking for a job, a beer or some wings will soon be able to head over to a new Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Woodbridge.

The popular restaurant chain with locations in Gainesville and Fredericksburg, and 40 others, is opening its newest location on Potomac Mills Road, at near the Outback Steakhouse in the Potomac Festival shopping center. (more…)

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Heavy rains could slow trains

Woodbridge, Va. –– A flash flood warning has prompted Virginia Railway Express to warn passengers of possible service disruptions.

A large area of rain that is associated with Tropical Storm Nicole, which is moving its way up along the East Coast over the next 36 hours, will bring a deluge of rain, forecasters said.

A flash flood watch was put into effect for the Potomac communities by the National Weather Service earlier today. But if that watch is increased to a flood warning, train speeds on VRE’s trainlines will slow. (more…)

News
Utility, safety crews prepare for storm

The rain is coming, but utility crews say they are ready for the storm.

The Potomac communities have been placed under flood a watch as the remnants of a tropical system moving up the East Coast from Florida has its sights set on our region.

The storm is expected to bring up to six inches of rain between this afternoon and Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. (more…)

News
Update: Potomac trail could cost $5 million

Wooodbridge District Supervisor Frank J. Principi on Saturday signs a new agreement that paves the way for the expansion of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail in Prince William County. (Submitted)

UPDATED: An 8-mile stretch of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail in Woodbridge could cost as much as $5 million.

According to one preliminary estimate, one stretch of the trail, between Neabsco Creek and Metz Wetlands, which would connect Rippon Lodge with Leesylvania State Park, would cost $2 million, said Wooodbridge District Supervisor Frank J. Principi.

That cost is included in the original $5 million estimate.

“We are now in the middle of engaging engineers to better assess the ultimate costs of the projects.  While some funding exists, additional funding will be needed from federal and state grants, proffers, land donations, and volunteer association sweat equity in helping to build the trail,” said Principi.

The cost estimates come from the original planning organizations, which include the Prince William County Park Authority, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and U.S. Department of the Interior. (more…)

News
VRE is looking for a few opinionated riders

A Virginia Railway Express train pulls into the Woodbridge station. (File Photo: Mary Davidson)

Virginia Railway Express wants to know more about what’s on their passengers’ minds.

The commuter railroad is asking riders who board at the Quantico, Woodbridge and Lorton stations to consider joining its Passenger Alliance Coalition.

VRE plans to hold a PAC meeting this fall, with another to come later – possibly next year.

“Meetings take place twice a year in our Alexandria office and usually last between an hour and a half to two hours, with frequent email dialogue in between meetings,” said VRE spokesman Ryan Lang. (more…)

News
Man involved in U.S. 1 crash Tuesday

Emergency crews in Woodbridge on Tuesday strap an apparent crash victim to a stretcher. Officials would not comment on the extent of his injuries, but said he was not taken to a hospital.

Woodbridge, Va. –– Officials say a man who was involved in a crash Tuesday morning in Woodbridge was not taken to the hospital, despite rescue crews loading him on to stretcher alongside busy U.S. 1.

The crash happened shortly before 8:30 a.m., reportedly at the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in the 14500 block of U.S. 1 at Featherstone Road.

Emergency crews and police were on the scene across from the restaurant, in the parking lot of a Shell gas station, where they had one apparent victim strapped to a stretcher, and then loaded him into the back of an ambulance.

A Prince William police spokesman said a police crash investigation team did not investigate the crash, did not provided details of the crash, and would not comment on the extent of the man’s injuries.

Traffic did not appear to be affected by the crash.

News
225 pounds of drugs collected in Woodbridge

DEA Agent Tom Golden takes unused prescription drugs from a Woodbridge resident who declined to give her name Saturday.

Woodbridge, Va. –– Residents took old prescription drugs shopping with them Saturday.

At the collection center at Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge, DEA agents collected 225 pounds of old, unused prescription drugs as part of the first-ever National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Statewide on Saturday officials collected 5,500 pounds of prescription drugs at more than 75 collection sites, said DEA spokeswoman Melissa Bell.

More than 10,000 pounds of prescription drugs were collected in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington.

It’s not known how many pound of drugs were collected nationwide, said Bell. (more…)

News
Non profit hopes to spay, neuter feral cats

Dumfries, Va. –– One organization is working to spay and neuter feral cats, one feline at a time.

Residents who live near feral cat colonies may soon be able to call the Prince William County Animal Shelter, which will then have someone from the non-profit Save a Dog Save a Cat organization teach them how to trap the cats, so the residents then take them to the animal shelter to have them spayed or neutered, and then bring them back to the colony, as part of the “One Spay at a Time” program. (more…)

News
Free child seat demos to be given

Fairfax County, Va. –– Police used three words to remind parents to secure their children in their cars – anchor, tether and latch.

Parents and caregivers are invited to stop by Fair Oaks Mall today between 1 and 3 p.m., for a police demonstration on how to properly install a child seat restraint or to have theirs checked by a professional.

“It’s the responsibility of every parent and caregiver to make sure their children are safely restrained; every trip, every time,” said Fairfax police Cmdr. Susan Culin. “Laws and the restraint devices can be complicated; we encourage motorists to take advantage of this opportunity to talk with the professionals and to learn more.”

Last year in the county, officers issued 1,709 summonses for improper child restraints. This year officers have issued 1,209 summonses for the charge, according to police.

News
Old prescription drugs accepted today at mall, hospital

Woodbridge, Va. –– Going to Potomac Mills mall today? Take some old, unused prescription medication with you.

The outlet mall in Woodbridge, and the Stafford Hospital Center off U.S. 1 in Stafford, are two of more than 75 locations in Virginia where residents today can drop off unused prescription medications, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., as part of the first-ever National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

The initiative is designed to raise awareness of, and curb prescription drug abuse, officials said. (more…)

News
Storm drains labeled to curb pollution

Woodbridge, Va. –– Storm drains in a growing Woodbridge neighborhood got their proper labeling earlier this month.

Volunteers with the Prince William Clean Community Council spent Sept. 19 labeling drains in the Belmont Bay neighborhood, just off U.S. 1 in North Woodbridge. (more…)

News
Fire department awarded for “green” station

Dale City Volunteer Fire Department Station 10 off Dale Boulevard.

Dale City, Va. –– The Dale City Volunteer Fire Department knows what it means to go green.

The organization on Friday was awarded the Washington Business Journal Green Business Design Award for Fire Station 10 on Dale Boulevard – a building that was already awarded with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold rating.

“Dale City Volunteer Fire Department Station 10 is the first volunteer fire department to achieve a LEED Gold rating in the United States,” said DCVFD President and Captain Jeremy McPike.

McPike was instrumental in the construction of the $7.3 million building which opened last year. (more…)

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Traffic hot spots to avoid

Get ready for some road work in our area. Here is a list pf projects and places, provided to us from the Virginia Department of Transportation, you may want to avoid if you can.

Interstate 95 Widening

Nighttime work – Closures occur between 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless otherwise noted.

I-95 south from Accotink Creek to Exit 160, Gordon Blvd. (Va.123) – Two lanes closed Sunday – Thursday nights 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. for  milling, paving and striping.

Weekday work – Closures occur between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. (more…)

Traffic
State urges use of Woodbridge – Tysons bus

The Woodbridge – Tysons Express Bus. (Urban Trekker)

Woodbridge, Va. –– As work on the High Occupancy Toll lanes continues on the Capital Beltway, state transportation officials want more drivers use the Tysons Corner Express bus to get around traffic delays.

The bus runs between the Woodbridge Virginia Railway Express Station and Tysons Corner, and is one of two state-funded buses that provide free wireless internet to riders. It uses the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on Interstate 95, but then uses the regular travel lanes on the Beltway to make it the rest of the trek.

“As part of our plan to keep traffic moving during this intense construction phase, we strive to move more people with fewer cars,” said Virginia Mega Projects Program Director John Lynch. “By providing vanpool incentives, express bus services and other ways to get around, commuters have more control over how they want to spend their time instead of getting stuck behind the wheel of a car.”

The push to get more people to use the bus comes while ridership numbers are going up. (more…)

News
Woman attacked in Lorton

The man who tried to snatch a purse from a Lorton woman, and then pushed her to the ground, looked like this. (Fairfax County police)

Lorton, Va. –– A woman told police a man tried to steal her purse, and now investigators have asked Lorton residents to keep an eye out for the would-be thief.

The victim was walking to her home in the 9400 block of Cherwek Drive, just off U.S. 1, at 8:50 p.m. Sept. 15, when a man approached her and grabbed her purse, said Fairfax police Franconia District spokesman Richard Henry on Thursday.

The purse was hanging around the woman’s neck by its strap, which prevented the man from taking it.

But a struggle ensued during the attempted theft, and the man grabbed the woman by the shoulder and threw her to the ground, said Henry. (more…)

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