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Beltway lanes to shift Friday

HOT lane work is ongoing at the Springfield Mixing Bowl. (VDOT)

HOT lane work is ongoing at the Springfield Mixing Bowl. (VDOT)

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. – A five-lane portion of the Capital Beltway will be reduced to four lanes tomorrow.

The Virginia Department of Transportation calls it a lane shift, and it will take place three-quarters of a mile before Va. 620 (Braddock Road). The new lane configuration will be in place until late December and comes as part of the Beltway High Occupancy Vehicle lanes project.

At 9:30 p.m. Friday, crews will work to re-stripe the pavement and place barriers around the construction zone, reducing traffic down to one lane in the area.

The new traffic pattern should be in place by 9 a.m. Saturday, a VDOT spokeswoman said.

Transportation officials tell motorists to expect major delays in the area during the construction hours.

Crews aimed to complete the lane shift on July 9, but inclement weather prevented them from doing so.

The HOT lanes will be two new lanes between Springfield and Dulles Toll Road, which will add capacity to the Beltway. Vehicles with three or more passengers will be able to use the lanes for free or single drivers can opt to pay a toll to use the lanes when they are completed in late 2013.

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Woodbridge gas leak contained

WOODBRIDGE – Crews worked Tuesday night to contain a gas leak in a Woodbridge neighborhood.

Fire and Rescue crews were called to the 1200 block of East Longview Drive about 8:30 p.m. for a report of a leaking one-inch gas main.

No one was evacuated, but officials did close a portion of the two lane street, near Marumsco Acres Park, according to initial reports.

The gas leak was later capped Wednesday morning by crews from Washington Gas, said Prince William Fire and Rescue Department spokeswoman Kim Hylander.

This story was featured on insidenova.com.

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Road rage trial dates set

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Two men involved in a road rage incident that left 13 rounds fired at a dump truck on Interstate 95 in Woodbridge have been indicted.

The trial for Gabriel Poventud, 25, of 15192 Bannon Way in Woodbridge, begins Dec. 28. He is charged with attempted murder, use of a firearm in commission of a felony, shooting at an occupied vehicle and reckless handling of a firearm.

The second man charged in the road rage incident, James A. Bingham, 44, of 3713 Cordell Avenue in Woodbridge, will have his day in court Jan. 4. He faces charges of attempted murder and reckless driving. (more…)

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Found human remains still unidentified

LORTON, Va.—Skeletal remains found in Lorton on Monday night will be sent to Richmond for a closer examination.

The medical examiner’s office in Fairfax County worked Tuesday with an anthropologist to try and identify a human skull and skeletal remains found on Furnace Road about 8 p.m. Monday.

The team decided Tuesday to turn the case over to forensic scientists at the state medical examiner’s office in Richmond.

“It will hopefully happen sooner than later, but it could take weeks or months before we hear anything,” said Fairfax police spokeswoman Tawny Wright. (more…)

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Crews working gas leak

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – A gas leak at a single family home in Woodbridge has got the attention of rescue personnel.

Gas company officials were called and fire and rescue personnel used to control the scene in the 1200 block of East Longview Drive in Woodbridge just after 8:30 p.m., after someone reported a gas leak.

No one has been evacuated from their homes, but several blocks of the two lane thoroughfare have been closed traffic, according to initial reports.

The homes affected by the reported two-inch gas line rupture sit near Marumsco Acres Park, between Lamar Road and Melbourne Avenue.

We’ll have more on this story when we get it.

This story appeared on insidenova.com.

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Girl pinned in crash still in pain

Rulla Andress watches police investigate the crash that injured her daughter.

WOODBRIDGE, Va.—Michaela Andress had to go to Fairfax Inova Hospital again Monday, four days after she was flown there after being struck by a van in Woodbridge.

The 15-year-old girl suffered a broken pelvic bone after the driver of a Chevrolet Astro van backed into her as she was getting out of a medical transport van Thursday in front of an orthodontist’s office on Optiz Boulevard. Michaela was going there to have her braces adjusted. She and her mother often take the medical van to the girl’s appointments because her mother doesn’t drive.

The medical van stopped in the middle of the parking lot that morning, blocking other vehicles that had parked in the lot. One of those blocked was the Astro, and when the driver backed out, she pinned Michaela between both vehicles.

That driver was going to pick up her father at their home in the Southbridge neighborhood to bring him back to a nearby doctor’s office for an appointment. Her cell phone rang as she was backing out, and she looked to see who was calling but didn’t take the call. (more…)

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UPDATE: Human remains sent to Richmond

UDPATED: The human skull and skeletal remains found on Furnace Road in Fairfax County will be sent to the state’s medical examiner’s office in Richmond.

A state medical examiner and an anthropologist worked Tuesday to identify the remains during an autopsy but came up empty.

Once the remains have been sent, it could be weeks before an identification is made, said Fairfax police spokeswoman Tawny Wright. (more…)

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Copy paper, supplies needed for schools

Cynthia McAree and Robert Sowell Sr. of Apple Federal Credit Union, and Stafford School Board Chairman Dana Reinboldt-Griffis-Widewater and School Board member Stephanie J. Johnson – Aquia, kick off the annual “Stuff the Bus" school supplies drive on Monday. (Mary Davidson)

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – When school officials last year set out to collect school supplies for children in Stafford County, residents and businesses donated $30,000 in supplies to the cause.

Those supplies, like pencils, notebook paper and marble composition books, went to help more than 350 families.

This year they hope to do better.

Members of Stafford’s school board and banking managers from Apple Federal Credit Union gathered in North Stafford on Monday to kick off this year’s Stuff the Bus school supplies drive.

As part of the drive, now through August 25 you can drop off new school supplies to the Apple FCU branch in the Doc Stone Shopping Center, at Chick-Fil-A at Doc Stone, Storage 2000 in Aquia and on Va. 610 in North Stafford, the Walmart at Stafford Lakes off U.S. 17 and the Stafford County Public Schools Administration Building near the county’s courthouse.

One item that elementary schools can use this year: white copy paper.

“A lot of jurisdictions across the country have faced financial difficulties and we’re no different. Copy paper is an important thing to have as teachers use it for worksheet assignments they pass out,” said Stafford County School Board Chairman Diana Rienboldt – Griffis-Widewater.

School officials reminded those who will donate this year that many stores, including the ones the Stuff the Bus drive has partnered with, already have school supplies stocked. (more…)

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VRE says goodbye to Amtrak

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

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – It seemed like a long time coming but a French company is now in charge of operating of Virginia’s commuter railroad.

Keolis Rail Services of America began operating Virginia Railway Express trains on the system’s Fredericksburg and Manassas lines today as part of a five year, $85 million contract. After months of wrangling between VRE, Federal Rail Administration officials and Amtrak managers – who did not want their employees persuaded to work for the French firm – Keolis hired more than 80 new conductors, assistant conductors and engineers in May to facilitate train operations.

Offers were made to Amtrak employees to stay, but only one Amtrak worker decided to join the French firm that has never operated in the U.S. before now.

One week ago today, while many enjoyed a day off because of the observed July 4 holiday, Keolis crews made their first full test runs on the VRE system. (more…)

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Exclusive: Drowning victim was looking to start new life

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va.  – It was a marriage that brought the Kangs and Ackermans together. It was a sad and unexpected accident on Thursday that brought them even closer.

Miwha Kang, 61, died early Friday morning at Mary Washington Hospital after she fell into a swimming pool at her home on Cardinal Drive in south Stafford.

Her death has been tough on her husband, Paul, who found her in the pool. It’s also been difficult on the rest of Kang’s extended family, whom are doing all they can to comfort each other during a trying time. (more…)

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House removed from Beltway

A mobile home involved in a crash on the Capital Beltway is hauled away.

UDPATE: The house trailer that fell onto the Capital Beltway on Thursday afternoon and snarled traffic has been removed.

Crews were seen hauling away the prefabricated home at 5:37 p.m., about 20 minutes earlier than state police initially estimated it would be cleared from the roadway.

The house was being transported by tractor trailer when at 12:19 p.m. a car changed lanes and cut the driver of the tractor trailer off, just north of Dulles Toll Road.

The driver of the tractor trailer then swerved into another lane to avoid hitting the encroaching vehicle, but in doing so collided with a Ford F-450 pickup, a state police spokeswoman said.

The trailer flipped and the house hit the pavement.

No one was injured, and so far no charges have been filed in the crash, but the damage to traffic flow in the area was done. (more…)

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Girl, 15, hit by van outside dentist office

Rulla Andress watches police investigate the crash that injured her daughter.

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Michaela never made it to the dentist Thursday to get her braces adjusted.

The 15-year-old girl and her mother, Rulla Andress, rode a medical transport van to her dentist’s office, in the 2200 block of Opitz Boulevard in Woodbridge.

When Michaela got out of the large, Dodge van, she was struck by a Chevrolet Astro van that was backing out of its parking space.

Michaela’s mother said her daughter laid on the ground, screaming in pain after she was hit.

The driver of the medical van called 911, he said, and Michaela was flown to a local hospital to be treated for her injuries.

Police have not said how serious Michaela’s injuries are or if anyone has been charged.

“She’s just the perfect child,” said Andress, holding back tears and smoking a cigarette as she watched the helicopter that had her daughter inside fly over the crash scene, on its way to the hospital. (more…)

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75 tips gained in Harrington case

FAIRFAX, Va. – The phones have been ringing at the Virginia State Police office since investigators linked the abduction and sex assault of a woman in Fairfax and the death of a Virginia Tech student.

Investigators last week said newly discovered forensic evidence linked the death of 20-year-old Morgan Harrington, who disappeared from a Metallica concert at University of Virginia in October, to the case of a 26-year-old woman who was abducted and raped while walking home to her apartment complex on Jermantown Road in 2005.

Harrington traveled to UVA with friends to see the band perform, but later separated from her friends and then went missing.

“Since the story went national, we have received 75 credible tips from portions of the state and the country,” said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

In addition to traditional sources of media, police credit bloggers with helping to publicize this latest development in the case.

So far only a sketch of the man suspected in both crimes has been released and no arrest has been made. (more…)

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Woman dies, child seriously injured in fire

TRIANGLE, Va. – A Triangle woman died in a New Jersey hospital after suffering injuries from a house fire in Jamesburg, N.J. last weekend.

Michelle Gonzalez, 25, died Wednesday morning from complications from smoke inhalation, according to a mycentraljersey.com published report.

The fire, the cause of which is yet to be determined, also killed her 28-year-old sister, Jayme Lowenberg, and injured three young children – two of which are Gonzalez’s.

According to the report, the 2-year-old girl is listed as stable in the burn unit at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, N.J.

Gonzalez’s 11-month-old son remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Lowenberg, died just moments after handing her infant son to a Good Samaritan who climbed a ledge to reach the child. The boy is also listed in critical condition.

This story appeared on insidenova.com.

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HOV hours extended on I-95

Photo: Mary Davidson

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. – The sun sets later during the summer and now drivers can use Interstate 95’s High Occupancy Vehicle lanes a bit later too.

Until Sept. 23, the lanes will remain open to southbound travelers until midnight Monday through Thursday, allowing drivers to skirt traffic delays that may be caused by highway construction and increased traffic on the highway, said Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jennifer McCord.

The HOV lanes will then reopen to northbound traffic the following day at 2 a.m. (more…)

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Residents asked to conserve power

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – The increase in temperatures prompted a local power company to demand on Wednesday that residents decrease their use of air conditioners and household appliances.

Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative issued an emergency declaration to its customers at 1:30 p.m., after energy demand on its power grid soared. People in 13 states and in Washington receive electricity from the grid.

The utility asked residents to reduce the amount of electricity used in their homes between 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. That meant turning up the in-home thermostat to 78 degrees, and not using household appliances like the stove, oven, dishwasher or clothes dryer until after sunset. (more…)

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Stafford, Woodbridge residents deal with heat

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Another hot day across the region meant more people turned to a local cooling shelter for relief.

Prince William officials in a statement issued early Wednesday urged residents without air-conditioning to get out of their homes and into county libraries and government buildings, all of which are air-conditioned. (more…)

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Fighter prepares for Florida match

Brian Van Hoven wrestles at his home gym in Woodbridge, preparing for his fight this weekend in Florida. (Photo: Mary Davidson)

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — With his opponent’s undefeated record, Brian Van Hoven knows he has his work cut out for him.

The 35-year-old fighter, who stands at 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighs 155 pounds, boasts 5 wins and one loss, spent his Independence Day weekend working out in the gym before he steps into the ring this weekend in Orlando, Fla.

“Once he feels the power and my speed in my hands he is going to want to make it a wrestling match, and I am going to keep it on my feet, and I feel that my wrestling is going to be superior to his,” said Van Hoven.

The mixed martial arts, or MMA, fighter from Woodbridge will looking to add another win to his professional MMA record while facing Vinnie Samero on Saturday as part of World Extreme Fighting, where 20 fighters will face off at Florida’s Silver Spurs Arena.

One year younger than Van Hoven, Samero stands 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighs 155 pounds, has never lost during his pro career and hails from Orlando – making him the hometown hero, said Van Hoven. (more…)

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Thieves target landscaping equipment

FAIRFAX COUNTY Va. — Thefts of landscaping equipment in the Newington area has been on the rise in recent weeks.

Now police and the presidents of two landscaping companies, East Coast Professional Landscaping and GMI Professional Landscaping Services, will speak to the public at noon, asking whoever is stealing their equipment to stop.

They’ll speak at 7819 Loisdale Road in Newington.

Since February, there have been 75 reports of thefts of various pieces of landscaping equipment in that area, police said.

It’s estimated the stolen equipment has cost the victim businesses about $500,000, according to Fairfax police.

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Predator fish caught in Quantico Creek

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Once you catch a Snakehead fish you have to kill it immediately.

And that’s what Joey Campbell did after reeling one in July 1, while fishing on Quantico Creek and the Potomac River.

His Snakehead weighed in at 13.6 pounds, about average for a fish that can grow to be 33-inches long.

The Northern Snakehead is an invader from Asia and Korea, and since 2002 has been found in the Potomac and in Aquia Creek in Stafford County, to points north in Prince William, Fairfax and near Maryland shores.

It’s still a mystery as to how this creepy fish found its way to here. One thought is someone who owned one as a pet and then released it into the river. (more…)

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Mt. Vernon welcomes new U.S. citizens July 4th

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Lance Cpl. John Ramirez knows what it’s like to have a loved one taken away.

Ten years ago, guerrilla fighters in Columbia abducted his uncle, taking him away from Ramirez and his family. It was a trying situation, one that left Ramirez thinking that he would never see his uncle again, he said.

But by the “grace of god” Ramirez’s uncle was returned to him, he said.

His family then came to the U.S. in 2000. Ramirez became a Marine in 2007.

On Sunday on the Fourth of July, at the home of this nation’s first president, he became a U.S. citizen. (more…)

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