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Prince William

Guilty plea entered in Popeye’s slaying

Daniel Lipscomb, 28, pled guilty to abduction in the 2008 death of a 23-year-old fast food restaurant manager. (News & Messenger)

Woodbridge, Va. –– The man charged in the 2008 murder of a fast food manager pleaded guilty this morning.

According to News & Messenger, Daniel Lipscomb, 28, pleaded gulty of abduction this morning in Prince William County court, and the judge accepted. That clears the way for him to be sentenced to five years in prison.

Lipscomb was charged after he entered the Popeye’s Chicken restaurant in Smoketown Plaza in Woodbridge on Jan. 22, 2008, demanded cash from the 23-year-old manager, and shot the manager in the head when he told Lipscomb he couldn’t open the safe, police originally reported.

The victim was rushed to Potomac Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

VRE addresses Fredericksburg line delays

More delays this morning prompted Virginia Railway Express officials to once again open the Metro option for its riders, which allows VRE passengers to board Metro for free with a valid VRE ticket.

This afternoon, the commuter railroad has issued an explanation of what prompted the move.

Monday’s delays also forced the agency to hand out free rides to those who were inconvenienced. (more…)

Wartime museum fate could be decided Tuesday

A depiction of the proposed American Wartime Museum. (Courtesy image)

Dale City, Va. –– A new museum slated to be built in Dale City, where wars would be reenacted and relived, could be approved Tuesday night.

County supervisors at 7:30 p.m. will hold a public hearing on the American Wartime Museum, which if constructed would be located on 67 acres of land behind Kmart, off Dale Boulevard, and would open Veteran’s Day 2014.

The site is now home to several homeless camps, filled with residents who accept assistance from a nearby warming and cooling shelter on Potomac Mills Road.

The exhibits at the museum would be interactive, showing the harsh realities of war and showcasing the sacrifices made by those who served in all branches of the military, Coast Guard and National Guard, in every war since World War I, according to the organization’s Web site. (more…)

I-95 widening continues this week

Interstate 95 south at Woodbridge. (VDOT)

There are some ongoing construction projects going on in the region, and with this helpful list of road closures and anticipated delays, maybe you can avoid sitting in traffic this week.

I-95 Widening

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

I-95 south from Exit 166, Fairfax County Pkwy (Va.7100) to Exit 160, Gordon Blvd. (Va. 123) – Two lanes closed Monday – 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.

I-95 north between the Exit 160, Gordon Blvd. (Va. 123) and one mile south of Exit 166, Fairfax County Pkwy (Va. 7100) – Right lane closed Monday – Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for bridge work. (more…)

Flags ordered to be flown at half staff today

Kyle Wilson was killed in a Woodbridge house fire in 2008.

Woodbridge, Va. –– Prince William County will honor fallen firefighters today as the county executive has ordered all county flags flown at half staff.

The order is in effect between sunrise until sunset on Monday.

On April 16, 2007, Prince William County firefighter Kyle Wilson, 24, was killed in the line of duty during a house fire near Rippon Landing in Woodbridge.

Wilson was the first firefighter to die in the line of duty in the department’s 41-year history.

He was a 2000 graduate of C.D. Hylton High School and later graduated from George Mason University.

*This story has been corrected.

Dumfries body identified as homeless man

Dumfries, Va. –– The body found behind a Dumfries shopping plaza this week is that of a homeless man.

Kenneth Michael Hostetter, 66, was found behind a closed restaurant in the Triangle Shopping Plaza on Wednesday.

Investigators told News & Messenger they do not suspect foul play, and that the body was so badly decomposed police had to bring in a forensic anthropologist to identify the remains.

Those who had met Hostetter said he was a man of very limited financial means. (more…)

Sprinklers douse fire at apartment building

Woodbridge, Va. –– Fire officials say a sprinkler system inside of a Woodbridge apartment complex helped to save lives.

Crews were called to the 3200 block of Blazer Loop about 2 p.m. Thursday for a report of a fire.

When they arrived, they found that a sprinkler system inside the building had put out a grease fire in a kitchen of one of the apartments,  and had also stopped the fire from spreading further, said Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department spokeswoman Kim Hylander.

No one was injured, but three residents were left homeless and were taken in by the Red Cross. (more…)

Paying taxes late this year will cost you

Woodbridge, Va. –– Personal property taxes are due Tuesday, and if you don’t pay on time you’re going to pay more in the end.

For those in the Woodbridge area who pay late, a computer system notifies Prince William officials and a letter is then sent out telling the late payer they owe penalties and interest, and any amount they might have underpaid in their original payment, said county spokeswoman Nikki Brown.

Last year in Prince William, 3,700 letters notifying residents of late payments were mailed in October and November. (more…)

Dumfries power customers restored

Update 3:30 p.m. – The lights are back on

Dominion Virginia Power says all 139 customers who lost power in Dumfries this morning have their electricity turned back on.

A utility pole snapped and fell into a swimming pool, causing the outage, said Dominion spokeswoman Le Ha Anderson.

A majority of the customers had their power restored by 4 a.m., while two others had to wait until 1:30 p.m. for the juice to be turned back on.


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…)

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.

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.”

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…)

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…)

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.


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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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.

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