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Prince William

‘Shame, shame, shame’: Effort to rename highway fails

WOODBRIDGE — An effort to rename Route 1 — Jefferson Davis Highway — in Prince William County failed to gain the support of multiple elected leaders, Tuesday night.

Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi wanted to change the moniker of the highway, named after Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

The Democrat said the highway’s name represents “bigotry and oppression.”

“My intention is not to ignore or to erase history…These names are haunting, and they serve as a reminder of a time of great pain, suffering, and great loss,” said Principi.

His motion failed to gain a second, and that drew the ire of many who came to speak to the Board of Supervisors in favor of the name change. (more…)

“Dead!!!” was painted in gold spray paint’ on “Stonewall” Jackson monument

From an email: 

The National Park Service (NPS) is actively working to remove paint that was poured and sprayed on the General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson monument at Manassas National Battlefield Park. The vandalism happened overnight and was discovered at approximately 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 4.

Vandals poured a large quantity of white paint on three of the four sides of the polished granite base, and “Dead!!!” was painted in gold spray paint. NPS law enforcement park rangers are investigating the incident; anyone with information is asked to call 301-714-2235.

NPS preservation experts have started to remove the paint from the monument, and are assessing the best methods to remove remaining paint, oils and residue.

The monument was erected in 1940 at the site where Jackson first received the nickname “Stonewall,” at the First Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861.

Photo: National Park Service 

Donations now accepted ahead of Habitat for Humanity Re-Store opening

WOODBRIDGE — A new Habitat for Humanity Re-Store — the first in Woodbridge — is now accepting donations.

Located off of Prince William Parkway, this is the second Habitat for Humanity store in the Prince William County region. The first opened last year on Hastings Drive in Manassas. 

Both stores were once Food Lion grocery stores. 

While we don’t yet know on which date the new store will open, Habitat for Humanity Prince William County Director Traci DeGroat tell us “We hope to have more news about our Certificate of Occupancy in a couple days and then we can decide on a store opening date.”

From a press release: 

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore – Woodbridge location has received the necessary permits to allow it to stock the store for opening. Unlike other stores that buy merchandise to sell, the ReStore relies on donations of inventory from businesses, homeowners and renters.

The ReStore accepts donations of new and gently used household items and building materials such as furniture, appliances, cabinetry, windows, hardware, lumber, tools, flooring, lighting, home décor and more. All donations are tax-deductible as the ReStore is operated by Habitat for Humanity Prince William County, a 501(c)3 charity. The donated items are sold to the general public at 40% – 90% off retail prices. Funds raised from the sale of merchandise at the ReStore help Habitat for Humanity build and repair homes in partnership with families who need safe and affordable housing.


Who remembers the Potomac Mills of the 1990s?

These memories are posted to the Potomac Mills mall Facebook page and capture scenes of the mall in the 1990s. 

In 1996, the mall was Virginia’s largest tourist attraction. 

When Potomac Mills opened in 1985, it was home to the first IKEA store in the U.S.

It’s still located at 2700 Potomac Mills Circle in Woodbridge.


15-year-old shooting death: ‘what happened is not as you read in the news’


WOODBRIDGE — Ruben Urbina, 15, was shot and killed by a Prince William County police officer Sept. 15.

After receiving a 911 call from a male who said they no longer wanted to live, had a bomb strapped to his chest, threatening to hurt others, police stated that they shot Urbina as he wielded a three-foot-long crowbar at them and ignored commands to drop the weapon.

Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney Paul Ebert called the shooting “justified.”

Urbina’s family, friends, a school teacher, and former pastor gathered outside the Prince William County Government Center Tuesday night to mourn his death,

His brother, Oscar, said this:

“We don’t agree with the story as reported in the news… what happened is not as you read in the news. The fact and truth of what happened will be uncovered.”

The family did not take any questions from the line of reporters who showed up to cover the vigil. No one wanted to talk about the events that led up to the shooting death of the 15-year-old.

Ruben attended school at Pace West in Prince William County. His brother, Oscar, said school officials placed his brother at PACE West because Ruben needed a school with fewer students to excel in his studies. (more…)

Brann steps aside: ‘It has been a pleasure to serve as the Acting School Board member’

Shawn Brann will be seated on the dais for a Prince William County School Board for the last time tonight. 

The acting Nokesville School Board member will step aside when Gil Trenum, the elected school board member for the district returns after a 1-year military deployment to Africa. 

From Brann: 

I will be serving as the Acting Board member for the Brentsville District for the meeting tomorrow night; Mr. Trenum will be back by the meeting on October 18.

It has been a pleasure to serve as the Acting School Board member for the Brentsville District over the past year.  I did my best to fill the big shoes of Mr. Trenum while he served our country.  As a Brentsville District resident, I look forward to having our most experienced School Board member return to the dais.  I appreciate the support that I received from so many over the past year, and the compliments that I have received as this year comes to a close.  This experience only further validated my belief that education has transformative power and can make a difference in the lives of our students.

Trenum’s 2o16 deployment did not come without controversy from his fellow school board members. 

Chairman Ryan Sawyers wanted the board to appoint a temporary fill-in for Trenum. But Trenum, backed by Republicans, wanted to choose his temporary appointment — which ended up being Brann.

State Senator Scott Surrovell requested a legal opinion on the matter from Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring which stated the School Board was obligated to fill the seat and could not leave it empty until Trenum’s return. 

‘Route 3 westbound at Exit 130B in Fredericksburg will be closed for several hours’

Headed to Fredericksburg overnight Thursday? 

From a press release: 

The Interstate 95 southbound exit ramp to Route 3 westbound at Exit 130B in Fredericksburg will be closed for several hours early Thursday morning to allow crews to remove overhead signs.

The ramp will be closed from midnight to 3 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 5.

I-95 southbound traffic seeking to access Route 3 westbound will be detoured to Exit 130A to Route 3 eastbound, then directed to make a U-turn at Gateway Boulevard to Route 3 westbound. The ramp will reopen at 3 a.m. Thursday.

A single lane will remain closed on the exit ramp through 4:30 a.m. Thursday.

Message boards and additional signs will notify motorists of the detour and guide them along the alternate route.

Overhead signs are being removed as part of the ongoing I-95 Safety Improvements Project at Route 3. Additional lane closures are scheduled this week at the following dates and times:

Additional Lane Closures:


  • Route 3 Westbound: Wednesday – Friday, 10 p.m. ?? 9 a.m.

   10 p.m. – one lane closed

   Midnight –7 a.m. – two lanes closed

   7 a.m. – 9 a.m. – one lane closed Thursday and Friday morning

Construction is underway to improve safety at the Exit 130 (Route 3) interchange in Fredericksburg.                                                          

This project will enhance safety by reducing vehicle merging and weaving that can lead to crashes, injuries and congestion on Route 3 and I-95.  These improvements are designed to lower the crash risk by eliminating conflict points where vehicles currently merge.

2-million gallon water tank near Potomac Mills is getting a face lift

WOODBRIDGE — The Prince William County Service Authority has 23 water tanks in its system. 

This month, it is rehabilitating a tank built in 1999 near Potomac Mills mall on Shoppers Best Way in Woodbridge.

Our Q and A with the Service Authority: 

What is the cost? 

The range to recondition/ rehab the tanks is estimated cost $500,000 to $1.4 million per tank. The Potomac Mills will have an estimated cost of $1.1 million to rehabilitate.

Why is the work being done? 

We believe it will pay dividends in the long run in the form of better water quality and will extend the useful life of the tank. Each rehab includes a washout, any needed metal repairs or upgrades to enhance safety, painting of the exterior and the interior of the tank and a visual inspection and disinfection of the structure prior to putting it back in service. The interior washout also helps the removal any mud, silt and other debris inside the tank to enhance water quality.

Is there a rehab schedule for PWCSA tanks? What is the schedule interval? (more…)

Sheetz opens Bristow store, renovates Haymarket location

A new Sheetz gas station is open in Bristow, while a Sheetz in Haymarket (the first Sheetz to be built in Prince William County in the mid-1990s) is being renovated. 

From an email: 

The Bristow store, located at 11627 Nokesville Road, is 6,478 sq. feet with indoor and outdoor seating.  It has the ability to fuel 12 vehicles at one time. 

The interior construction at the Haymarket store, located at 15315 Washington St., wrapped up last week.  That is also a 6,479 sq. foot store location with indoor/outdoor seating.  Work is currently being done at gas pumps at that store.  Work on the pumps is projected to wrap up in late November, and when completed, 20 cars will be able to fuel at the same time.

Firearm brandished after argument outside Cheesecake Factory

From police: 

Brandishing of a Firearm – On September 25 at 4:20PM, officers responded to the Cheesecake Factory located at 2708 Potomac Mills Cir in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a brandishing. The investigation revealed that an unknown male was involved in a verbal altercation with a restaurant employee.

The male went outside and was followed by another restaurant employee. During the encounter outside, a vehicle approached the employee and a passenger brandished a firearm at him. The male eventually got into the vehicle and fled the area. No injuries were reported. There is no suspect description available at this time.

Dumfries gets nearly $10,000 in emergency equipment from Firehouse Subs

DUMFRIES — Police in Dumfries will receive a donation of emergency equipment from Firehouse Subs during a special ceremony on Thursday. 

The town is one of the multiple jurisdictions that received donations of equipment from the restaurant chain A dedication ceremony will take place at a Firehouse Subs at 13305 Worth Avenue in Woodbridge at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 5.

From a press release: 


Town of Dumfries Police Department received two automated external defibrillators (AEDs), 14 first aid kits, 14 trauma kits, 14 seatbelt cutters and two breaching tools, entry kits and flashlights worth a combined $8,263. The awarded AEDs will be placed into police cruisers, helping ensure the department is prepared to provide medical assistance if an individual goes into cardiac arrest.

The remaining equipment will provide officers with necessary first aid supplies during medical emergencies, which accounts for 37 percent of the department’s calls.

“This grant is a great opportunity for a smaller police department like the Town of Dumfries,” said Town of Dumfries Police Department Chief Nicholas Esposito. “We desperately need equipment that will help us render aid to the public, as well as keep our officers safe. This equipment will help us respond to individuals in a much faster way than we could before. We will also be able to administer first aid while waiting for medical staff to assist. This grant is a great success for not only the Police Department, but for the residents of the Town of Dumfries as well.”

Vote for these guys, says Prince William Chamber

The Prince William Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee made its endorsements in this year’s local House of Delegates races.  

Voters will head to the polls Nov. 7.

From a press release:

The Prince William Chamber Political Action Committee, the political arm of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, announced its endorsements of candidates for the Virginia General Assembly:

31st House District – Scott Lingamfelter

40th House District – Tim Hugo

50th House District – Jackson Miller

51st House District – Richard Anderson

52nd House District – Luke Torian

87th House District – John Bell

Candidate endorsements were determined through a questionnaire and interview process along with an evaluation and comparative analysis of the policy platforms and records of each individual as they related to that of the region’s business community.

“The Chamber PAC is proud to support the above list of candidates. These endorsements were earned through demonstrated leadership and responsiveness to those issues of importance to the Chamber and its member businesses,” said Brian Gordon, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, and the Chairman of the Prince William Chamber PAC. “Their collective record of advocacy and action in the legislative arena has served to bolster the local economy and we look forward to continuing to work side by side with these leaders in Richmond toward our shared objective of improving the local business climate.”  (more…)

Dale City Elementary School ready to celebrate 50 years

DALE CITY — Dale City Elementary School was the first public school in Dale City.

It opened in 1967, and parents, teachers, students, and staff on Oct. 20 will mark the school’s 50th anniversary.

Patricia Shomo, an ESOL teacher at the elementary school, told us:

“We’ve got we have a lot of things planned. In fact, during the day they’re going to be two different celebrations. During the day, is going to be for the parents and the children and the current students.

We’re setting up a very large timeline. That timeline is going to have Dale City events and everything important that has happened to Dale City. Pictures of the kids. I found some pictures from 1967. A lot of the old retired teachers have brought a lot of things a lot of pictures, and so I’ve been busy scanning those and making collages and things like that…it’s going to be a large timeline integrating daily events with world events and pop culture.

We have a gentleman bringing one of the first personal computers so the kids can play on that. We have a gentleman from the Virginia Telephone Museum…and he’s going to bring television, telephone, record player. Everything entertainment from 1967 and you had a demonstration. And with his iPhone, he is going to demonstrate how all of that is now in this (pointing to her smartphone).”

Dale City Elementary School started with a small student population and blossomed in no time.

Principal Cindy Crowe-Miller:

“The school that actually opened in spring of 1967, in April, with 50 kids. By the time the next fall opened it was up to hundreds and hundreds…it was the first public school in Dale City area, and it grew exponentially.

But it was back then, and it still is now, truly a neighborhood school. We’re one of the smaller schools in Prince William with only two buses, so it’s generally a “walking” school.”

With a student population of 470, Dale City Elementary School is smaller than other nearby schools Bel Air and Neabsco Elementary schools that boast 700 or more students.”

Over the years, the demographics at the school have changed.


“…the school opened in 1967 and a lot of people were moving to Fort Belvoir, a lot of veterans came to this area were signed to Fort Belvoir, so they built all these smaller homes, and it was very much a more of a white middle-class community back then. So it’s changed through the years. But it’s there’s still a lot of the old sense of…the core community still is here.”

Today, about 75 percent of the school students receive free or reduced student lunches. Shomo, who has done much of the research and planning for the school’s 50th-anniversary celebration, is one of five English as Second Language teachers that work at the school.

Many of the parents of Dale City Elementary students don’t work regular nine to five jobs, but rather two to three jobs, at all hours of the day. That has made it nearly impossible for the school to recruit parent volunteers, or to maintain a Parent-Teacher Organization.

However, parents still play a role in the success of this school.


“We want the parents in the school no matter what. So now we schedule things during the day for them to come in and watch their children perform, or be part of the school. We don’t have nighttime events as much because it’s harder for them because they don’t have babysitters, they don’t have a lot of families around… our biggest challenge is having the parents feel really part of the school, and to invest in the child’s education in a way that we all we want.”

A time capsule that will include items from students and teachers to be opened at the school’s 100th anniversary event — to include an iPad with saved photos of the school, and instructions on how to operate it in case no one knows how to use an iPad in 50 years — will be buried during the celebration. A special 50th Anniversary Facebook page is being used to chronicle the anniversary events.

The event open to the public, to include area elected officials, will take place Oct. 20 from 5 to 7. Parents, teachers, and students will celebrate throughout the day before the evening event.

Vigil for teen shot, killed planned outside government center

There’s going to be a vigil outside the Prince William County Government Center on Tuesday afternoon following the shooting death of a 15-year-old boy by a Prince William County Police officer last month. 

The vigil takes place at 5:30 p.m. The Prince William County Board of Supervisors is set to meet at 2 p.m. inside the government center. 

From an email: 

Tomorrow night there is a VIGIL TO REMEMBER RUBEN URBINA.
The Urbina family and the Prince William County community will come together to remember the life of Ruben Urbina, a 15 year old shot and killed by Prince William County Police
When: Tuesday, October 3, 2017, 5:30 PM EST
Where: McCoart Administration Building, 1 County Complex Court, Woodbridge, VA 22191
Who: The Urbina family, community members of Prince William County, La ColectiVA, CASA of
Virginia, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Northern Virginia
On September 15, 2017 15 year-old, Ruben Urbina, was killed by a Prince William County police officer outside of his home in Haymarket, Virginia. The Urbina family, along with community members and organizations will hold a vigil…
The vigil will be held in front of the McCoart Administration Building in lead up to the Board of Supervisors meeting that evening. The Urbina family and the Prince William County community want justice for Ruben to make sure that no other family ever has to experience such a tragic loss.
Officers were called to the 6800 block of Hartzell Hill Lane in Haymarket on the day Urbina was shot and killed for a possible hostage situation. 
Details from the police department on the day of the incident: 

As officers were responding, information was received that one of the parties involved had a bomb strapped to his chest and was holding a family member hostage. When officers arrived, they observed a male individual in front of the residence. During the encounter, the individual brandished a crowbar and began walking toward the officers in a threatening manner.

The officers gave the individual multiple commands to drop the crowbar which he refused. At that point, one of the officers fired their Department issued weapon towards the individual, striking him in the upper body. Officers provided immediate first aid until rescue personnel arrived.

The individual was pronounced dead at the scene. No officers were injured.

More: Police shooting death of 15-year-old Haymarket teen ruled justified

Fire & Rescue Station 26 open and ready for service

From County of Prince William Department of Fire & Rescue:

On Saturday, September 30th, at 6:00 a.m., Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue’s newest station, Station 26, will open for service. Station 26 is located at 5026 Davis Ford Road near the Government Center on Prince William Parkway.

The 18,000 square feet, $11.2 million station has three apparatus bays to house an engine and an Advanced Life Support (ALS) medic unit. In addition, the station will include sleeping quarters, a kitchen, dayroom, physical fitness room, and offices for 27 fire and rescue personnel. (more…)

It’s the last day to comment on Prince William Forest Park proposed fee increase

Prince William Forest Park wants to raise the fees it charges park visitors. 

From an email: 

“We are committed to keeping the park affordable, but we also want to provide visitors with the best possible experience,” said Prince William Forest Park Superintendent Tanya Gossett. “The park reinvests revenue from entrance and camping fees directly into its visitor facilities and services – historic cabin camps, picnic pavilions, ranger programs, hiking trails, comfort stations – everything visitors enjoy returning for time and time again.”

Most recently, Prince William Forest Park used fee revenue to upgrade public restrooms, improve the Visitor Center, update camping areas with fire pits and grills, and improve roads and hiking trails. The proposed changes to the park’s fee structure will help the park make infrastructure and amenity improvements at Turkey Run and Oak Ridge campgrounds, such as replacing aging water and sewer lines and adding shower facilities.

Visitors wishing to make comments may send an email to e-mail us, leave a note on our facebook page at, on twitter @PWForestPark…

We’re told the Public Comment period for the fee increase began on Aug. 25 and was originally slated to end on Sept. 18, but was extended until today.  

We learned about the fee increase this morning after we saw this tweet: 


‘Mission BBQ is opening its 54th location in Woodbridge’

WOODBRIDGE — In less than an hour, a new place for barbeque will open in Woodbridge. 

Mission BBQ will open its second location in our region today. The restaurant, known as the place where the National Anthem is played each day at noon, opened its first regional location in Stafford in 2015. ‘

The new restaurant is located at 13890 Shoppers Best Way Woodbridge near Potomac Mills mall.

Mission BBQ just sent us this press release: 

MISSION BBQ is opening its 54th location in Woodbridge, VA on Monday, October 2, 2017. This will be the 11th location in Virginia for the restaurant known for its traditional American BBQ with a hefty side of patriotism.

Co-founders, Bill Kraus and Steve Newton achieved the original goal of 40 restaurants two years ahead of schedule in November 2016. The opening of the Woodbridge is part of MISSION BBQ’s new expansion plans, with a targeted goal of 80 restaurants throughout the East Coast by the end of 2018.

As is tradition with the opening of every MISSION BBQ, the Woodbridge location will host charity nights throughout the week leading up to the Grand Opening, with all sales donated to organizations chosen by local police and fire departments in the Woodbridge Community, as well as the USO.

Grand Opening DayOpen to the Public

Monday, October 2: 12 Noon

Live rendition of the National Anthem, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony.  Doors open immediately afterward.

The grand opening comes after a series of pre-opening events. 

From a press release: 

Firefighters Friends and Family Night – Private Party – Invitation Only

Wednesday, September 27: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Benefiting The Johnny Thomas Foundation

Police Officers Friends and Family Night – Private Party – Invitation Only

Thursday, September 28: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Benefiting The Fisher Fund  

Military Appreciation Night – Open to the Public

Friday, September 29: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Benefiting the USO – Metropolitan Washington–Baltimore  

Gainesville under 21 club transitioning to restaurant, comedy venue

GAINESVILLE — That didn’t last long.

Club Eclipse, the only under 21-club in Prince William County, will transition into a restaurant and live comedy venue in the coming weeks.

While a menu has yet to be established, drinks will also be served once the transition is complete.

Eclipse opened about three months ago, and, so far, the attendance has been disappointing.

“The kids aren’t’ showing up,” said owner Jason Flis.

And that has left Flis and his team scratching their heads. The establishment opened and catered to teens, and had multiple security guards, a dress code, and drug-sniffing dogs on site, he said.

“We don’t know if that was scaring them off,” he added.

Right now, the club is still open for teens and does not yet serve alcoholic drinks. It is the only venue in Prince William County that caters to an under-21 crowd.

Four suspects charged in carjacking

Leggett, James
Spinner, Antoinette
Leggett, Wanya
Carroll, Tyree

From Prince William County police:

Carjacking | Malicious Wounding *SUSPECTS IDENTIFIED AND ARRESTED – During the course of the investigation, detectives with the Robbery Unit identified and obtained warrants for the arrest of four suspects involved in a carjacking which was reported to have occurred at an unknown location on Georgetown Rd in Woodbridge on September 20.

Following the investigation, all four suspects were subsequently arrested. The investigation continues (more…)

Firefighters dispatched to fire at Stonewall Middle School

From County of Prince William Department of Fire & Rescue:

On Thursday, September 28th at 7:17 p.m., fire and rescue units were dispatched to a structure fire located in the 10100 block of Lomond Drive in Manassas.

Upon arrival, fire and rescue crews discovered fire in a classroom trailer on the grounds of Stonewall Middle School. Firefighters initiated suppression and immediately extinguished the fire.

No injuries reported. (more…)

Shining Sol Candle Company is celebrating their 1 year retail store anniversary, Friday, Sept. 29 – Sunday, Oct.1

Shining Sol Candle Company is celebrating their 1 year retail store anniversary, Friday (Sept 29) -Sunday (October 1). As a way of saying thanks to all of our amazing customers, we have a full-on celebration happening at the store. There are deals, steals, prizes, food, discounts, a raffle, and much more. Some of the fun includes:
With every purchase, customers get to spin our “Wheel of Deals”! Earn discounts, free Shining Sol products, or free prizes from participating
Historic Downtown Manassas businesses (over $1,000 worth of goodies to be given away)!
Every $20 spent in-store or online earns a raffle ticket entry, with the grand prize being a brand new guitar graciously provided by Dean Guitars ($600 value!)
Friday evening is the return of “Make-Your-Own” Candle time, a fan favorite! Make your own candle from 5pm – 9pm.
Saturday features food provided by Okra’s Cajun Creole.
Offer: 3 candle tins for $30.
Offer: 5 wax melts for $25.
Offer: Buy a warmer, get a free wax melt ($5.99 value).
Saturday also features the Steins, Wines and Spirits event happening at Harris Pavilion from 12pm – 5pm.
From the guys who made it happen: 
“I don’t have the words to explain how thankful I am for the friends we’ve made and customers we have gained in our first year of business in Historic Downtown Manassas. To say all expectations were exceeded is an understatement. Thank you all for getting us to this milestone. I hope we continue to pique the interest of the Historic Downtown district and provide unique products that the community can be as proud of as we are.”
“I can’t believe what we have been able to accomplish in this past year. We are so grateful for all of our customers and we will continue to make amazing products for all of you.” 
“I can’t believe it’s been one year already! We’ve met so many awesome people, made lots of new friends, partnered with countless local businesses, and all in a cool little place called Manassas (where Pete and I were born and raised). Our whole crew (Pete, Sara, myself, Elizabeth, Kara, Jen, Tina, Brittany) can’t thank everyone enough for showing us support and shopping with us this past year. We’re going to continue to make great products, support our local community and have a whole lot of fun while doing it all. Small business can be a tough road a lot of times, but you’ve all made it a lot easier with your support and encouragement. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” 

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