For a Better Commute. For a Better Prince William County.

Prince William

VRE brass to hold Web chat

VRE’s top official wants to hear from you tomorrow, and he wants to know how things are going on the rails.

Dale Zehner will hold one another one of his regular online chats will passengers of Virginia’s only commuter rail service Wednesday at noon.

In addition to Zehner, Keolis Transportation (the company charged with operating VRE trains) manager for the Manassas line Scott Treece, will also take part in the Web chat.

Riders can post their questions early to this page on VRE’s website. Questioners are urged to check back to the same link, as it is where the chat will take place, according to a VRE press release.

Related: The Virginia – North Carolina High-Speed Rail Compact is scheduled to meet Friday in Richmond to discuss a planned high-speed rail line between Washington and Charlotte, N.C.

Woman carjacked outside Safeway

Fairfax County, Va. –– A woman was carjacked at gunpoint outside a grocery store Wednesday.

The 38-year-old victim was coming out of a Safeway at 5980 Kingstowne Center in Fairfax County when a man approached her and then pointed a gun.

He demanded her purse, keys and cell phone, got them, and drove off her in her 1993 Toyota Camry. (more…)

Car slams into community center

A car slammed into a community center in Lake Ridge on Sunday. (Submitted)

Lake Ridge, Va. –– One person was taken to the hospital after their car crashed into building in Lake Ridge.

OWL Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department crews were called to an apartment complex on Sherbrook Circle just after 5 p.m. Sunday. When they arrived, crews found a car had plowed into a community center, and rescue crews had to pull the unidentified driver to safety.

The driver was taken to a local hospital suffering injuries that did not appear to be life threatening, said OWL VFD Chief Jim McAllister.

No one was inside the building when the car plowed into the structure. (more…)

Pedestrian killed on U.S. 1

Mount Vernon, Va. –– A man was killed Saturday night in the Mount Vernon area while crossing U.S. 1.

The victim was struck by a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee at 9:52 p.m. in the area of Jana Lee Avenue.

The yet-to-be-identified victim was taken to a local hospital where he later died.

The driver of the Grand Cherokee, a 58-year-old man from Maryland, stayed on the scene, police said.

Speed, alcohol does not appear to be factors in the crash. Police also added the victim was not using a crosswalk when he was struck. (more…)

Area road work to resume

Fairfax County — Virginia transportation officials suspended roadwork on most major highway projects throughout the state in observance of the 2010 holiday season.

But the New Year means crews and equipment will soon be working again.

Here’s some info you need to get around two of the major road projects happening right now in the Potomac Communities:

BRAC/ Fairfax County Parkway Extension

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

I-95 north and south, and HOV for one mile south of Franconia Springfield Pkwy (Route 7900) overpass – Multiple lanes closed Monday – Friday nights for overhead sign work. (more…)

Free cab rides offered tonight

Plan on having a few too many tonight while ringing in the New Year? Some can get a free cab ride home.

SoberRide will offer free cab rides home (up to a $30 fare) from now until 6 a.m. Saturday.

While residents in south Fairfax and Woodbridge can get in on the free rides, no cab company in Stafford County is participating in the SoberRide program. (more…)

Late jazz musician frequented area high school

Dr. Billy Taylor, legendary jazz preformer and educator, died Wednesday at 89. (Credit: Travis Sullivan's Blog)

Woodbridge, Va. –– The legendary Dr. Billy Taylor died Wednesday at age 89.

The Washington native, renowned pianist and jazz educator often gave performances at C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge as part of “Billy Taylor’s Jazz at the Kennedy Center Program.”

The educational show was televised nationally by the Prince William Network, a media services division of the county public school system.

“He was our favorite artist and was always a gentleman who was never demanding. But when working with him you knew you were working with a giant of the jazz world and you made sure everything was perfect for his performances,” said Prince William Network Director Ben Swecker.

Taylor lived outside New York City and died of apparent heart failure, according to his website. (more…)

Metro robber said to have pockmarks

Fairfax County, Va. –– A man walking to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station Christmas Eve was robbed at gunpoint.

Police said the 41-year-old victim from New York was walking about 3 p.m. in the 6800 block of Frontier Drive, outside the transit station near Springfield Mall, when it happened.

As he was walking, the victim saw three men sitting in a newer model, light gray Dodge pick-up. One of the inside the truck got out, approached him, pulled out a handgun and then demanded money from the victim. (more…)

No VRE service Friday

Virginia Railway Express will not operate Friday Dec. 31, 2010 in observance of New Year’s Eve.

The commuter railroad will resume full service Monday Jan. 3, 2011.

Today, VRE operated trains only designated on the schedule as S.

The next time the railroad plans to modify their schedule will be Jan. 17, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, according to a press release.

Vote: Top Stories of 2010 has been around nearly a year, and in that time we’ve managed to attract a lot of readers and responses to our stories.

Have a look at our poll, click your mouse and choose the what you think was the biggest story of the year.

Below our poll you’ll find the top five most read stories that appeared on our site this year, and we’ll also say please keep those clicks coming!

Top 5 Most Read Stories on in 2010

1. Photos of Krystal Ball surface on Web
2. A woman and her pet fox
3. Fire at FBI Academy at Quantico
3. Buffalo Wild Wings to open
3. Man defends woman then beat up

New ramp on 95 opens

(File) Drivers travel past the Pohick Road overpass at Lorton on the new fourth lane that opened Friday on Interstate 95 in Fairfax County. (VDOT)

Fairfax County, Va. –– Drivers on Interstate 95 today will have a new exit ramp to use in Fairfax County.

The ramp at mile post 166B south from the highway onto Fairfax County Parkway will reopen this afternoon, making travel easier for those headed to the northern section of Ft. Belvoir Army Base.

At 9 a.m., crews will close the right lane of I-95 south between Springfield-Franconia Parkway and Fairfax County Parkway. At noon, crews will remove traffic control devices put in place in November 2009, when the ramp closed to traffic, and plan to have the improved ramp open by 1:30 p.m. (more…)

Rumors, reward money and still no arrest in shootings

Editor’s note: The shootings at the National Museum of the Marine Corps and other military facilities in the region brought national media attention to the Potomac Communities in 2010.

National Museum of the Marine Corps (Mary Davidson)

Triangle, Va. –– It was quiet at the National Museum of the Marine Corps on the October day when someone shot at the building, damaging the custom-made glass that adorns its majestic facade.

Following the Oct. 16 shooting at the museum in Triangle, police found several bullet holes in the glass, supposedly put there by someone who federal investigators maintain has a grudge against the military, someone who could have suffered a significant loss or financial hardship.

Over the course of the next month, the museum would be targeted a second time. The Pentagon, a Marine recruiting center in Chantilly and a U.S. Coast Guard recruiting center outside Potomac Mills mall were also targets of the suspected gunman. (more…)

Small toiletries help homeless in big ways

Gayle Sanders is the Director of the Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge, Va. –– For those living in the woods, in transitional housing, or for those who don’t know where they’ll sleep tonight, small donations really add up.

The AfterShare program at the Volunteers of America Chesapeake Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center (always a mouthful) is collecting shampoo, toiletries and other small, everyday items many people may not even think to donate.

The collection is part of VOA’s 15 Days of Giving drive, which urges residents to donate to the organization before the Dec. 31 federal deadline.

While clothes and cash are always welcome donations, the shelter in Woodbridge is always in need of ethnic hair products and deodorant. (more…)

Cell service expands in Stafford

Stafford County, Va. ­­–– Verizon has expanded its 3G data and cell phone coverage in Stafford County.

But the technology comes as customers in other parts of the region are seeing upgrades to even faster portions of the company’s cell phone data network.

Big Red announced Monday that two new cell sites have been constructed in the Berea section of the county, expanding Verizon’s service along the U.S. 17 corridor in south Stafford. (more…)

Is the trash worth it?

Fairfax County’s Energy Resource Recovery Center in Lorton is up for grabs, but one official says it will cost too much to buy it. (Fairfax County)

Lorton, Va. –– The Fairfax County incinerator is that large boxy-looking tower on the skyline overlooking Interstate 95. Now officials must decide if they want to buy it.

For the past 30 years, the county has leased the facility to a company called Covanta, which during that time has used the incinerator to convert waste into energy, powering up to 75,000 homes.

It has been in operation since 1990, but now that lease is running out. (more…)

Buzzed driving could get you cuffed

Get ready to see more police officers stopping drivers this holiday season.

Police in Prince William County plan to set up sobriety checkpoints in Woodbridge, Lake Ridge, Dale City, Dumfries, as well as other portions of the county, hoping to find some very worthy “buzzed drivers.”

Even if you’ve had a few to drink and then get behind the wheel, police say “buzzed” driving is just as bad as drunk driving. (more…)

Anderson to lead Civil Air Patrol


Woodbridge, Va. –– Richard L. Anderson has accepted a high-ranking position in with the Civil Air Patrol.

The republican delegate from Virginia’s 51nd District, which includes Woodbridge and Lake Ridge, was appointed chairman of the organization’s board of governors this fall.

He will assume his new role in February.

Anderson, a retired Air Force Colonel, brings with him more than 30 years of experience working with defense missile and space command.

He joined the Civil Air Patrol in 1969 and has served the organization as both a cadet and senior member.

“It is truly a privilege to be elected chairman of the Board of Governors,” Anderson said in a press release. “I look forward to this new opportunity to continue to serve this outstanding organization, one of the premier community service organizations in America.”

Later in his CAP career, Anderson from 1993 until 96 was one of the youngest national commanders ever to serve in the organization. (more…)

REI store to open in Woodbridge

Woodbridge, Va. –– Shoppers at Stonebridge Potomac Town Center will soon get a taste of the great outdoors.

Recreational Equipment Incorporated, better known as REI, plans to open a new location at the shopping center in spring 2012.

The store will boast two stories of camping, hiking, cycling, fitness and paddling gear, as well as clothing and accessories.

It will also include a bike shop for quick repairs, and an educational room where customers and community members will be able to see outdoor-related presentations and events.

The new store is expected to bring 50 new jobs to the area. Most of the hiring will take place three months prior to the store’s opening, company officials announced today. (more…)

After defending woman, man beaten

Fredericksburg, Va. –– Two Woodbridge men are charged in the brutal beating of a man who came to the aid of a woman.

A police officer saw four men beating a man who appeared to be unconscious outside Fatty J’s bar in Fredericksburg after it had closed at 1:06 a.m. Saturday, the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star reports.

Two of the attackers fled when they saw the police officer, but two others were arrested.

The victim was treated on the scene and declined to go to the hospital, according to the report.

As it turns out, the victim earlier that night saw a group of four men harassing a 24-year-old woman from Spotsylvania County who had also been inside the bar. He then approached the men and told them to leave the woman alone. (more…)

FBI offers cash for military shooter

National Museum of the Marine Corps (Mary Davidson)

Woodbridge, Va. –– Investigators now hope a 20 thousand dollar reward will help lead them to whoever shot at five military installations in Northern Virginia.

The FBI announced the reward this morning, saying the money would be handed out for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person responsible in a series of shootings at military installations beginning Oct. 16 at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle.

“We are following every lead that comes in and continue to call for the assistance of the public in helping us identify the person or persons responsible,” said John G. Perren, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  “We are confident that someone out there has additional information that will be helpful to this investigation.”

No one has been injured in the shootings, but the Marine museum has twice been struck by the same shooter, police said. (more…)

Woodbridge firefighters test smoke alarms

Woodbridge, Va. –– Firefighters in Woodbridge visited more than 20 homes Saturday to help residents test their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, a department spokeswoman said.

Many of the residents welcomed firefighters from OWL Volunteer Fire Department into their homes, and supplied new batteries to put into their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

“Eighty percent of child fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms. It’s a tragic statistic that could be reduced by adopting the simple habit of the changing your battery when you change your clocks” said OWL VFD Chief Jim McAllister.

The department urges residents to replace their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms every 10 years. (more…)

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