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Prince William

Thousands of Virginia bridges get low grade despite VDOT assurances they’re safe to use

It’s difficult to avoid driving over a bridge in Virginia, and motorists often don’t give them a second thought. Drivers are unaware that some of the structures they have come to trust are in a troubling state, especially in the southwestern part of the commonwealth.

Of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s nine districts, Bristol has the highest number of bridges and culverts rated D or lower on the agency’s “health index,” an indication of the overall soundness of a structure. (Culverts are tunnels that allow streams or drains to flow under the road.)

Data obtained from VDOT shows that 451 bridges and culverts of over 3,400 in the Bristol district have that low grade, and 182 structures were deemed structurally deficient, or “poor.” The worst structure, a bridge in Scott County, has a grade of 12 on a 100-point scale – a solid F.

Even so, state officials say motorists should not worry.

“Scary terms aside, if there were a problem out there, [the bridges] would be investigated and closed,” said Michelle Earl, communications manager for VDOT’s Bristol district. “This is nothing we toy around with.”

Many bridges across the state need major repairs and possible replacement. While the vast, rural Bristol district has more than its share of such bridges, it is aggressively attacking the problem, officials say.

Gary Lester, a bridge engineer for the Bristol district, said there are many reasons for a high number of bridges with low grades, but two stand out: Bristol has more bridges than any other VDOT district, and because of the area’s geography, they are built differently than anywhere else in the state.

The Bristol district is a mountainous region with many streams to cross, and winters are harsh. This means that more salt is used on the roads due to snow, which corrodes the exposed steel in the simply designed bridges.

“In the past, we’ve used a lot of steel beams with timber decks because those were the cheapest and easiest for our crews to put in at the time,” Lester said. Most of the bridges were constructed in the early- to mid- 20th century.

The bridges needed to go up fast, so they were designed differently than those in Northern Virginia, Fredericksburg or Hampton Roads – districts that have the fewest structurally deficient bridges. Those bridges have a design life, or the time in which the bridge is structurally sound, of 50 to 100 years. Bridges built with just steel beams and timber decks in the Bristol district have a design life of about 25 years and need costly rehabilitation much more often.

Dr. David Mokarem, a research associate at Virginia Tech, said VDOT’s health index is determined by the overall condition of all of the bridge’s parts. He said that traffic, load capacity and the geography of the district are factors in determining the grade.

Age and design life are also important factors. The needs for each district also depends on how much the bridges are used, so it makes sense that the more populous northern and eastern areas of Virginia see most of the funding from VDOT. That doesn’t mean that Bristol’s situation can be ignored.

“If [the grade] is 65 percent, that’s low,” Mokarem said. “They need to be fixed, repaired … something needs to be done.”

Lester is addressing the need in his district by looking at his bridges differently. He said he focuses on the structurally deficient bridges. This means that the bridge either can be crossed only by light vehicles and loads or cannot be used at all until it is rehabilitated or completely reconstructed.

The formula for determining structural deficiency is more accurate than the health index, Lester said. The formula, based on federal guidelines, divides the bridge into its deck structure and substructure and carefully calculates the health of those two parts.

The rating is out of nine. Once a bridge receives a four or below, it is considered structurally deficient and must have signage to advertise its load capability. To put that rating in perspective, a brand-new bridge with a few cracks is given a score of eight.

Every bridge is inspected every two years, and if they are structurally deficient, they are inspected once a year or more, Earl said.

VDOT had a goal over the past five years to decrease the number of structurally deficient bridges in each district by 15 percent. Bristol was the only district to exceed that goal. The district is replacing those bridges with ones that have a design life of 100 years.

“We’re looking at the overall load on a bridge before they go structurally deficient, and we’re looking at the condition of the joints to improve those so they don’t leak any water to get down into the structural elements, which will be a new performance measure,” Lester said. VDOT plans to announce these new performance measures in the next few weeks.

As the measures take effect, Lester said that the number of bridges determined to be structurally deficient should go down each year. The district will continue to work hard to bridge the structural and financial gaps.

“There’s new funding available to help improve bridges,” Earl said. “Public safety is our ultimate goal, so if there was an issue out there, it would get closed.”

Deep pothole plugged behind Woodbridge Target, Value City Furniture stores

Remember that growing pothole we reported this past summer in Woodbridge? 

The nearly 10-foot deep hole was located behind a Target and Value City Furniture stores in the Parkway Crossing West Shopping Center in Woodbridge.

We received an email today from Prince William County Occoquan District Supervisor Ruth Anderson telling us the that the hole is gone. It also included a photo of the newly patched hole.

From Anderson: 

Photo by Bill Milne today. Sink hole off of Telegraph Road appears to be fixed.

No word yet on who patched the hole. Over the summer, Anderson’s office pleaded with property owners to fix the pothole that had been preventing traffic through a portion of the shopping center’s parking lot.

Anderson also asked Prince William County staff to find out who was responsible for the fix.


No snow accumulation expected, but here’s the link to delays/closures list just in case

We’ve got some forecasted snowfall off to our west, but no accumulation expected in our area. 

If you wake up and see snow on the ground, you can check this list for area school and government delays and closings.

From VDOT: 

Virginia Department of Transportation crews are preparing for more winter weather, this time during Tuesday morning rush hour.

Crews reapplied anti-icing treatment on the roads Monday. The storm is currently forecasted to arrive very early Tuesday morning, and crews will mobilize aroundmidnight to treat problem areas with salt and sand as needed ahead of rush hour.

Drivers are asked to:

— Continue to check weather forecasts, as storm timing and intensity can change. Temperatures are expected to hover right around freezing.
— Factor in extra time or consider delaying their morning commute.
— Consider every road to be an icy road, especially in the dark.
— Reduce your speed and always use your headlights.
— Be patient; remember that many fellow drivers are not comfortable driving in adverse weather conditions.
— Take it slow on bridges, ramps, and overpasses, and other known trouble spots.
— Ensure gas tanks and windshield wiper fluid tanks are full.

And the winter fun doesn’t stop there. Arctic air will pour into our region Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, as low temperatures are expected to dip into the single digits. 


OWL Volunteer Fire Department responds to warehouse fire

From Occoquan Woodbridge Lorton Volunteer Fire Department:

Woodbridge, VA December 9th, 6:00 a.m. – Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Firefighters responded to the report of a two story commercial structure fire at 14339 Jefferson Davis Hwy in Woodbridge. Crews arrived within minutes and reported smoke showing from the roof.

Crews forcibly entered through front door and found fire on the first floor. The source of the fire was found in a storage area and was contained. An additional sweep of the building was conducted. The fire was knocked down in less than 10 minutes.

Several people were inside an adjacent unit evacuated.

The blaze is under investigation by the Prince William County Fire Marshal’s Office. Fire and Rescue units from OWL VFD, Dale City VFD, Dumfries – Triangle VFD, PWCDF&R, and PWCPD responded to the incident.

OWL VFD is one of the largest and busiest volunteer fire departments in the United States with almost 300 members. OWL VFD provides fire suppression, EMS care, and rescue services to 80,000 residents in our 27 square mile area through the operation of three fire stations. OWL volunteer Firefighters and EMTs work the 6 pm to 6 am shift, five days a week, plus 24/7 holidays and weekends.

Santa pays a visit to children on Virginia Railway Express

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Hundreds packed the annual Santa Trains on the Virginia Railway Express.

With snow falling, Santa paid a visit to trains that left stations in Manassas, Woodbridge, Burke, Fredericksburg, and Spotsylvania.

We were on a train that left the Fredericksburg station headed north to Woodbridge to capture the photos in this post.

The popular trains are part of the Operation Lifesaver project. Online tickets for the special event sell out each year in a matter of minutes, while the remainder of the tickets is usually sold in less than 24 hours at VRE stations.

New shoulder replacement procedure gives the gift of movement

Ernie Krapfl is avid table tennis player. But, the 74-year-old’s game was nearly derailed by a severe shoulder injury.

“I had been losing a lot of sleep because of the pain. I had a separation and a torn rotator cuff,” he explains.

Krapfl had been living with the injury since his college days and kept putting off getting surgery because of the fear of a lengthy recovery.

But his primary care physician shared with him the many advances which had taken place over the last several decades and advised him to visit a specialist. That’s when Krapfl met board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon Cyrus Press, MD.

“The majority of my patients are baby boomers. They’re active and they want to remain active. They’re looking for solutions to their problems that extend beyond pain relief,” explains Dr. Press.

Dr. Press, a specialist at the Sentara OrthoJoint Center®, was the first surgeon in Northern Virginia to utilize stemless shoulder replacement surgery. Dr. Press thought Ernie Krapfl could be a good candidate for the state of the art procedure.

During a shoulder replacement, the ball and socket of the shoulder are removed. The ball is replaced with metal and the socket is replaced with plastic.

“The newer technology, which this patient received, is a stemless shoulder replacement. This minimizes the amount of entry we have to go into the bone in order to put this metal ball on,” explains Dr. Press.

That means less pain for stemless shoulder replacement patients.

And, for Ernie Krapfl, that means he’s been able to return to the game his loves,” I’m now ready to challenge Dr. Press to a match!” he says laughing.

Here’s a look at tomorrow’s I-66 (outside the Beltway) today

Work is underway to add new E-ZPass Express Lanes to Interstate 66 Outside the Beltway, from Gainesville in Prince William County to Dunn Loring in Fairfax County.

The new lanes will be similar to those on I-95, 495, and soon on 395 that will allow vehicles with three or more occupants to travel free with an E-ZPass Flex electronic transponder. Single drivers with an E-ZPass Flex or standared E-ZPass may choose to pay a toll to use the lanes. 

The video in this post was provided by I-66 Mobility Partners, the private consortium working to build the new lanes, to give drivers on the general purpose lanes and on the paid and ridesharing E-ZPass Lanes a view of what the newly reconfigured road will look like when it opens by the end of 2022.

From the Virginia Department of Transportation: 

The project will modify nearly 23 miles of I-66 providing two express lanes in each direction alongside three regular lanes from I-495 to University Boulevard near Route 29 in Gainesville, with dedicated express lanes access points, and space in the median reserved for future transit. In addition, the project consists of 4,000 park and ride spaces, new and expanded commuter bus service throughout the corridor, safety and operational improvements at key interchanges, auxiliary lanes between interchanges, and bicycle and pedestrian paths and connections.

Under a 50-year partnership agreement that protects the public, I-66 EMP assumes responsibility for all costs to design, build, operate and maintain the 66 Express Lanes. This agreement requires zero public investment and requires EMP to pay $800 million for transit service in the corridor and $350 million in other projects to improve the I-66 corridor over the next 50 years. The project’s financial close was reached on November 9, securing the funding necessary to move forward.

The tolls that debuted on I-66 inside the Beltway from Lee Highway to Rosslyn, from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays, are part of a seperate project paid for an operated by VDOT.

As part of that project, a new four-mile lane will be built on I-66 east from the Dulles Connector Road to Fairfax Drive in Fairfax and Arlington counties. The $86 million contract for that project for that project was awarded on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, four days atfer tolls went into effect on I-66 inside the Beltway. 

I-66 inside the Beltway is now the only highway in the U.S. that is tolled on all lanes during peak periods. Tolls collected on this portion of the highway will go to fund transit improvements along the corridor with the idea of taking more cars off the road, making more room for those who choose to pay the toll or carpool on the lanes.

Lawmakers say the tolls — as much as $40 one way during its first week — are too high, and they demanded the state temporality halt tolling on I-66 inside the Beltway until a new agreement can be reached. 

Today will stay dry through the evening commute, but then…

The Virginia Department of Transportation began treating roads Thursday. Even if we don’t get a lot of wintry precipitation out of this storm, treating the roads earlier is a good idea to make sure we don’t end up once again in this nightmare commute scenario from 2016.

OmniRide aims to grow. But first, 12 people must go.

Anonymous letter prompts investigation into discrimination claims 

WOODBRIDGE — An anonymous letter that surfaced less than a week ago has now prompted a two-month investigation into allegations of systemic discrimination at OmniRide.

Chairman of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission Frank Principi, the group that oversees OmniRide and OmniLink commuter buses, said he would engage the Prince William County Government’s equal opportunity employment office, all in an effort to bring in a third-party to investigate the claims.

The letter has not been made public by the transit agency. It comes as the firm looks to consolidate its dispatch operations, fix inefficiencies, and stop redundancies as the organization looks to evolve from a commuter bus company to a full-fledged transit agency.

Under OmniRide Director Robert “Bob” Schneider’s plan, the jobs of 12 full-time employees and one part-timer, to include seven radio dispatchers, a manager, bus monitor, and transit operations planner employed by OmniRide, would be eliminated. The dispatch and bus monitor jobs would be handed over to First Transit; those employees are potentially going to work for the Ohio-based firm contracted to operate OmniRide and OmniLink buses.

The consolidation would save the transit agency nearly $1 million over the next year. Employees who are let go from the organization would be paid four weeks severance pay and full medical and dental through March 2018. 

Additionally, per PRTC’s personnel policy, employees would receive payment for unused sick leave at 25% for each hour over 450 hours accrued.

The reduction in force, now delayed, was to have taken effect January 13.

More than 50 people, most of them OmniRide and First Transit employees, packed the PRTC Commissioners meeting Thursday night to express their disapproval of the Schnieder’s plan.

“These people who live here and have their big homes, and work at the Pentagon, I don’t know why they can’t get together and solve this,” said bus driver Emory Large. “We provide a great service for this county, and many of us can barely afford to live in this county.”

Others warned that privatizing the dispatch jobs could lead to poor customer service.

“We need control,” one employee told the commission. “When you contract it out, it saves you money, but you lose control. Our people have the experience with the equipment.”

Prince William County NAACP Chapter President Cozy Bailey also spoke, calling for a fair and timely investigation.

Scheider says those whose jobs are on the chopping block perform redundant tasks or ones that could be contracted out to save money.

“For instance, you have a window dispatcher who gives dispatch orders to drivers in the morning, and then has fewer things to do during the day after the buses leave the lot,” he explained.

However, Schneider is taking the discrimination claim seriously.

“We want this to be a great place, where people feel comfortable going to work, so if there has been ‘systemic’ discrimination…, we want to investigate those claims,” he said. “We don’t want future actions to be viewed through an ‘inappropriate’ lens.”

Principi told the crowd his commission would work to address employees concerns, as well as see that a fair investigation is carried out.

“I see that will most likely discuss this again at our February meeting. Interviews of employees need to be conducted, records reviewed,” said Principi. “It’s hard to say it will conclude in February. It may take longer.”

t’s the future that OmniRide is looking forward to with the staffing reductions and by modifying some jobs and adding other new positions.

The cost savings from the 14 staff reductions salaries of those would fund the new positions.

Existing modified positions include:

  • Human resources manager
  • Director of planning
  • Director of mobility services
  • Quality assurance specialist
  • Transit planner

New positions include:

  • Chief development officer
  • Chief financial officer
  • Planning specialist
  • Web designer
  • Support services manager
  • Data analyst

In October, the commission directed Schneider to develop a plan for what OmniRide will look like in 2020. Part of that vision is examining, and making tweaks to the staffing structure at the transit agency.

Breakfast Links: Another trial delay for man accused of slaying Prince William cop

Ronald Hamilton — the man accused of shooting three Prince William County police officers after killing his wife last year — won’t face a jury until August, now that his trial has been delayed a second time. []

Prince William Supervisor Frank Principi, D-Woodbridge, is calling on the county to spend an additional $200,000 to expand treatment programs for opioid addicts, though his fellow supervisors are urging caution. []

The Prince William School Board made history last week by appointing its first-ever student representative. [Prince William Times]

Dulles Glass & Mirror, Inc., celebrates growth with Governor Terry McAuliffe at ribbon cutting ceremony

Dulles Glass and Mirror, Inc., celebrated the opening of its new facility at a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe as the special guest, as well as Prince William County Supervisor Jeanine Lawson.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on December 5, 2017, at Dulles Glass’s new headquarters at 7610 Doane Drive, Manassas, Prince William County, VA 20109. The new, 84,000 square foot facility will house expanded glass manufacturing operations to solidify the company’s position as the premier nationwide online glass seller and streamline the production process for the company’s line of premium glass shower door enclosures.

“Our move into Prince William County is a great example of a productive partnership between a government and a local business.Our government is delivering on the promise of creating a job-friendly environment where businesses can grow and expand. We’re proof of successful partnership,” said Dr. Bahram Nasehi, CEO of Dulles Glass.

“I am pleased to celebrate the expansion of Dulles Glass and Mirror, a company that has thrived in Virginia for 45 years,” said Governor McAuliffe speaking at the grand opening ceremony. “When a Virginia-headquartered manufacturing company chooses to expand their facility, it is a testament to the Commonwealth’s strong economy and talented workforce. The manufacturing industry continues to gain momentum across Virginia, with more than 240,000 employed in the sector, and small businesses, like Dulles Glass and Mirror, are contributing to that energy and the new Virginia economy.”

The management team at Dulles Glass enjoyed taking Governor McAuliffe and other officials for a tour of the manufacturing facilities. Attendees of the event included officials from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Prince William County Department of Economic Development, and the Prince William County Industrial Development Authority and many others.

Dulles Glass & Mirror announced earlier this year that they are bringing $7.5 million in capital investment and 136 jobs to Prince William County. With the expansion of the headquarters, research and development, manufacturing, and warehouse operations, Dulles Glass & Mirror will bring 40 net new jobs with an average wage of $51,092, over a five-year period.


About Dulles Glass and Mirror, Inc.

Founded in 1972, Dulles Glass and Mirror, Inc. is a privately held company that manufactures glass, mirror and shower doors for residential and commercial uses. The company delivers its products nationally and offers premium frameless glass shower door and other glass installation services in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. The company also offers a large variety of glass and mirror products that are customizable through its online store. To learn more visit:

Historic Downtown Manassas Holiday Gift Guide

Are you looking for unique gifts this holiday season but not interested in the hustle and bustle found at the major retailers?

Why not shop small in the City of Manassas. You’re sure to find something for everyone on your list at one of the charming shops in Historic Downtown.

All lit up for the holidays, Historic Downtown Manassas is a hidden gem with independently-owned boutiques featuring jewelry, homeware, clothing, original art, candles, and much more. Take a look at these gift suggestions to get a glimpse of what Manassas shopping has to offer. Check out for a full list of stores and activities. Better yet, bring the family and enjoy a day of shopping, an amazing meal and perhaps a little hot chocolate and ice skating.  

Fun & Tasty Stocking Stuffers

Bacon treats? Lip gloss? Fidget Spinners? Yup. You can get all three, and even Havana Banana flavored soda at Popcorn Monkey. If they have an oversized stocking, you could also put a tin of delicious popcorn in there…it would not disappoint. Prices on stocking stuffers starting at $3.99.

Popcorn Monkey

For the Person Who Has Everything

There’s at least one person on everyone’s list that you agonize over every year. A great way to approach a gift for the person who has everything is to pick delicious perishable items. Manassas Olive Oil Company will allow you to customize a gift basket with things like artisan olive oils, balsamic vinegar, and pour spouts, and a dipping dish. The friendly staff will even package it up with a pretty holiday bow.

Manassas Olive Oil

For the Kids (No batteries or assembly required)

Give your child the opportunity to discover their music talent by teaching their fingers something useful (other than how to use a Nintendo controller). Prince William String Academy offers music lessons in piano, violin, viola, cello, and bass. Four half-hour lessons with a professional musician, only $140. 

For the Person Who Embraces the Holiday Spirit 

These one-of-a-kind earrings from McCall Studio Gallery (a division of DMVISUAL) will ensure that the person donning these beauties will be sparkling brighter than the tree. Pick up some holiday spirit with these snowman or Christmas tree crystal earrings. A pair starts at $30.99.      

McCall Design

For the Person Who’s Ready to Get Fit in 2018 

Center Street Studio is the perfect place to start or continue your fitness journey. The easiest way to get started is with the Wellness Package for New Students for only $199. The package includes the “Intro to the Pilates Reformer” (three private Pilates apparatus lessons), a three-class yoga pass, two thirty-minute health-coaching consultations.* Give the gift of transformation- a more confident and healthy you in the new year. 

*For new students to Center Street Studios only. One package per person.

For the Hostess with the Mostess 

For the person who loves to host, give them a beautiful serving platter that can suit any occasion, season or holiday. Introducing the Nora Fleming platter- with interchangeable “minis,” you can transform one platter into the ultimate platter for every possible celebration. Platters and minis are available at Love, Charley (along with lots of other charming shabby chic homewares). Prices vary depending on the size of the dish.  

For the Craft Beer Aficionado 

For the lover of craft beer, or the person looking to expand their palate, pick-up a limited or barrel-aged release, available only at the Heritage Brewing taproom. Toast to friendship with the gift that will be the perfect addition to any holiday dinner table. Six packs start at $11.99. 

Your Virginia state inspection sticker is moving to the left

From  a press release: 

Effective Jan. 1, 2018, Virginia state inspection stickers will no longer be affixed to the bottom center of a vehicle’s windshield. Due to new innovations in the automotive industry, the state inspection stickers will be placed in the bottom left corner of the windshield, when viewed from inside the vehicle. This change in location will also apply to the placement of any other authorized stickers. There have been no changes made to the size or appearance of the existing vehicle inspection sticker.

The relocation stems from the fact that automobile manufacturers now offer crash avoidance technology in many of their vehicles.  In such vehicles, the new technology utilizes the center of the windshield. Therefore the placement of items in that area, including stickers, could prevent crash avoidance systems from operating properly.

“The core mission of the Virginia Safety Inspection Program is to promote highway safety and the crash avoidance technology is another tool provided by manufacturers to ensure vehicles operated on the roadways are safe at all times,” said Capt. R.C. Maxey Jr., Virginia State Police Safety Division Commander. “Therefore, we immediately began evaluating the situation and set forth to make the necessary changes to the Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Manual, which governs the placement of the safety inspection sticker on all vehicles.”

Existing Virginia vehicle inspection stickers are to remain in their current position – in the bottom center of the windshield. Once a vehicle is inspected and issued a 2019 sticker, the new inspection sticker must be placed in the lower left corner, which is consistent with other states across the nation.

The Virginia State Police Safety Division began Dec. 2, 2017, notifying all Virginia certified inspections stations of the placement change that is to take effect Jan. 1, 2018.

Working out and keeping fit during the holidays and beyond

During the holidays well, okay most of the time, it sure feels like we are living our lives in the fast lane! Everything all the time, one of the lines from the song by the Eagles, sums up the frantic and often frenetic activities occurring during the holidays. If you are like many people, the time you spend in the gym may suffer because you simply do not have the time or the energy to work out as you would like.

Manassas Park Community Center (MPCC) fitness instructor Kathleen Joubert suggests that you work out with a friend. “Find someone with similar fitness and workout goals to your own, and plan to meet at the gym,” advises Joubert, “Discuss the classes you wish to attend, and plan to be there.

She points out that you are not as likely to miss classes if you know you have someone waiting for you. If you are working out alone, you may find any excuse not to go to the gym, but if you know your friend is there, waiting, and will be annoyed that you did not show up, you are more apt to go.

“I always tell people that is exactly how it began with me,” Joubert explains,When I was trying to get into a workout routine I had a great friend and workout partner who I did not want to disappoint so I went to the gym–even if I really didn’t want tobecause I didn’t want to let my workout partner down.

Joubert adds in order to keep motivated, stick to the classes and work out programs that you and your workout partner both like. It can turn into a competition, but if it gets you to the gym, then you both win!

Another helpful tip is not to stop at home before you go to the gym. Joubert always changes into her gym clothes before leaving work, and drives directly to the gym. “It is harder in the winter because it gets dark so early, but we all know that if you stop at home, you will find your way to the warm, comfy couch, and you will not make it to the gym as you initially planned,” Joubert adds.

If you prefer to work out alone, Joubert cautions not to do something she sees every day, “I always cringe when I see people lifting more weight than they should. Her experience and training reinforce her philosophy that it is more important to use less weight and do more repetitions.

“I am that instructor who will go right over to people and correct them immediately. I do not wish to embarrass anyone, but I know the correct form and if you are trying to lift weights that are too heavy, your form will be less than perfect, and that is how injuries happen,” Joubert explains.

“In my classes, I help people shape muscle, not build muscle,” Joubert clarifies, “If you are in my body sculpting class, and you are having a difficult time finishing the set, you are probably lifting too much weight.Most people are surprised when she tells them that men should only be lifting between 10-20 pounds, and women should probably lift no more than 16 pounds, which is only 8 pounds on each side. “Using lighter weights and increasing the repetition to three sets of twelve is a good way to maximize your workout without inviting injury,” she said.

Joubert likes to talk about diets with her students and stresses the importance of keeping portions small. “A great diet tip I always share is to keep your calorie intake in moderation by eating only a spoonful of whatever you wish to eat! If you are at a buffet, eat everything—but only one spoonful of everything,” she laughs.

Another tip Joubert recommends is to give yourself realistic goals. If your goal is to just get to the gym regularly, once you meet that goal, then give yourself another goal that you can meet such as attending

2 to 3 classes a week. She warns doing too much too quickly can lead to injury. She would rather see you building up to a goal rather than wearing yourself out from doing too much too fast.

“We really are our own worst critics,” Joubert added emphasizing she has heard every excuse for not going to the gym including people who say they are too fat, too old, or too embarrassed. She assures you that once you begin your workout routine, and start meeting your attainable goals, you will want to go to the gym!

Are you motivated to take one of the classes taught by Kathleen Joubert at the Community Center? She teaches Kickboxing on Tuesdays from 7:30 pm-8:20 pm, Body Sculpting on Wednesdays from 6:00pm-6:50 pm, and Boot Camp class on Saturdays from 8:30 am-9:20 am.

See you in class!

The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park, Va. Managed by the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation, the facility offers group exercise classes, basketball courts, a swimming pool, wellness areas, and recreational programs.

For more information, visit us at or call at 703-335-8872.

After a long list of starts and stops, the Haymarket power line case will head back to Richmond

In a letter full of legalese, Virginia’s State Corporation Commission says it will consider new evidence in the case to build an overhead powerline in Haymarket.

Overall, the commission will once again review the need for the project following continued questions about who, or which company or data center — reportedly Amazon — would benefit from the new transmission line. The new transmission line would end near a newly constructed data center near the intersection of Routes 55 and 15 in Haymarket.

On Wednesday, SCC spokesman Andy Farmer said the organization would within the next two weeks release a new timeline for the additional proceedings.

“We are looking forward to providing the Commission with the requested information about this important project and continuing to provide reliable energy to customers in the Haymarket region,” said Dominion Energy spokesman Chuck Penn.

The decision to remand the case back to the SCC in Richmond comes after a summer of starts and stops for the project.

In June, the SCC voted to support the construction of a new 10 mile, 234,000-volt transmission line over one of two proposed routes: The railroad route, or the Carver Road route.

In July, Dominion asked the SCC to pause the power line process for 60 days to work with Prince William County leaders to obtain the right of way for easements to construct the Carver Road route.

Dominion didn’t get them, and county leaders joined with protesters to call attention to the fact that the Carver Road area was home to some of the first freed slaves in the state, meaning the area had historical significance.

Dominion then went back to the SCC and asked to build another alternate route, the Interstate 66 Overhead Route.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey Stewart has long been an outspoken opponent of Dominion Energy’s business practices and told Potomac Local on Wednesday that leaders have long questioned the need for the new power line.

“The SCC is finally waking up to the fact that Dominion lies and they don’t care about people’s property rights, they don’t care about working with localities minimize disruption to homes and businesses and a lot of people across Virginia are waking up to the fact that Dominion is not a good corporate citizen,” said Stewart, who is running to replace Tim Kaine as Virginia’s U.S. Senator.

Police say a Ford Escape struck and killed Robert Gerner

Police have identified the car they say struck and killed Robert James Gerner, 55, of Triangle on Nov. 29

From a press release: 

Fatal Crash Investigation *SUSPECT VEHICLE – Based on the investigation into the fatal hit & run crash which occurred in the 18800 block of Fuller Heights Rd in Triangle on November 29, investigators from the Crash Investigation Unit believe the striking vehicle involved in the collision was a light-color, Ford Escape between model years 2001 and 2004. The vehicle would have sustained damage to a headlight and a hood mounted bug deflector.

Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to contact Investigator Cruz Reyes at 703-792-4443 or email their contact information to The investigation continues.

Further Suspect Vehicle Description:

A light color, Ford Escape, between 2001 & 2004 model, with damage to a headlight and a hood mounted bug deflector

Two face charges in armed robbery outside PRTC Transit Center

From Prince William police: 

Armed Robbery Investigations *ARREST | Armed Robbery *NEW INCIDENT – On December 4 at 12:01PM, officers responded to the PRTC Terminal located at 14700 Potomac Mills Rd in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a robbery.

The victim, a 15-year-old male juvenile, reported to police that he was waiting for a bus in the above


area when he was approached by two acquaintances. During the encounter, one of the acquaintances brandished a handgun and demanded the victim’s property. The suspects then took the victim’s cell phone before fleeing the area on foot.

A police K-9 responded to search for the suspects who were not immediately located. A short time later, a witness located the suspects in a nearby business and contacted police. Officers arrived and detained both the suspects, identified as Aariq Michael NEDD and a 17-year-old male juvenile, without incident.

Upon further investigation, detectives with the Robbery Unit determined that NEDD and the 17-year-old male juvenile along with a third suspect, identified as Charles Leonard GASKINS, were involved in several other robberies which occurred in the Woodbridge area since October. Following the investigation, detectives obtained multiple warrants for GASKINS who was arrested without incident following a search warrant which was executed at his residence. The investigation continues.

                Arrested on December 4:

                Charles Leonard GASKINS, 18, of 1338 Cranes Bill Way in Woodbridge

Charged with 6 counts of robbery, 6 counts of conspiracy to commit a robbery, and 6 counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony

                Court Date: January 16, 2018 | Bond: Held WITHOUT bond


Aariq Michael NEDD, 18, of 15429 Marsh Overlook Dr in Woodbridge

Charged with 5 counts of robbery, 4 counts of conspiracy to commit a robbery, and 3 count of use of a firearm in commission of a felony

                Court Date: January 16, 2018 | Bond: Held WITHOUT bond


17-year-old male juvenile of Woodbridge [Juvenile]

Charged with 6 counts of robbery, 6 counts of conspiracy to commit a robbery, and 6 count of use of a firearm in commission of a felony

                Court Date: Pending | Bond: Held at the Juvenile Detention Center

Riding the bus in Dumfries on Saturday? Expect delays, missed stops.

The annual Dumfries Christmas Parade on Saturday will cause some delays for riders of the local OmniLink bus.

From the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission: 

OmniLink buses on the Route 1 and Dumfries routes will detour and miss multiple stops on Saturday, December 9 due to road closures for the Town of Dumfries’ Annual Christmas Parade.

Main Street will be closed from approximately 10:00 a.m. to approximately 2:30 p.m. Northbound buses will follow normal routing, but southbound buses will detour.

Route 1 OmniLink Missed Stops:

-N. Main St at Graham St (Stop #279)
-N. Main St at Washington St (Stop #378)
-S. Main St at Lansing Ct (Stop #298)
-S. Main St at Curtis Dr (Stop #379)
-S. Main St at Quantico Gateway Dr (Stop #1837)

Route 1 OmniLink Alternate Stops:

-Route 1 @ Dumfries Rd (Stop #377)
-Williamstown Dr @ Fraley Rd (across from inbound stop)
-Old Triangle Rd @ Fort Sumter Ct (across from inbound stop)
-Old Triangle Rd @ Sedgewick Pl (across from inbound stop)
-Old Triangle Rd @ Graham Park Rd (across from inbound stop) 

Dumfries OmniLink Missed Stops:

N. Main St at Graham St (Stop #279)
-N. Main St at Washington St (Stop #378)
-S. Main St at Lansing Ct (Stop #298)
-Graham Park Road before Old Triangle (Stop #1755)

Dumfries OmniLink Alternate Stops:

-Route 1 @ Dumfries Rd (Stop #377)
-Williamstown Dr @ Fraley Rd (across from inbound stop)
-Old Triangle Rd @ Fort Sumter Ct (across from inbound stop)
-Old Triangle Rd @ Sedgewick Pl (across from inbound stop)
-Old Triangle Rd @ Graham Park Rd (across from inbound stop)
-Old Triangle Rd @ Sound View Circle (Stop #1756)

Despite a brand new portion of trail, there’s no room to walk on Catharpin Road

There are pedestrian connection problems between Haymarket and Gainesville.

“I’ve don’t know if you’ve been down Catharpin Road, between the bridge and Route 55, but there is nowhere to walk,” said Prince William County Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland.

No, I hadn’t ever walked down Catharpin Road, but I knew the bridge Candland referenced was recently built. So I decided to take a walk.

Catharpin Road is a two-lane thoroughfare linking the busy Heathcote Boulevard with Route 55, the John Marshall Highway. The bridge carries cars and pedestrians over Interstate 66.

As more homes pop up, and they are, more people are choosing to use Catharpin Road to walk to where they’re going, as referenced by the beaten down path on the northbound side of Catharpin Road.

I parked my car at a nearby Harris Teeter grocery store, and then walked along Catharpin headed to the bridge. Candland was correct when he said there is no room to walk along the street the closer to you get to the bridge.

I tried to say out of the road and walk in people’s front yards. However, that became impossible the closer I got to the bridge. Drivers had to dodge me, a pedestrian walking in the lane.

The new, two-lane bridge opened in August as part of $65 million projects to widen I-66 between Route 29 in Gainesville and Route 15 in Haymarket. As bridges go, it’s a nice one, complete with a 10-foot shared use trail on the northbound side of the bridge.

But the trail nearly starts and stops on the bridge, and there’s no connection to another shared-use path about 650 yards away near the Harris Teeter.

This problem is commonly referred to as “sidewalks to nowhere.” In some cases, developers, and in the case with the bridge the Virginia Department of Transportation, will have to build a sidewalk or trail and not connect it to anything, because it’s either not apart of the project, or funding ran out.

But there’s an effort underway to get new funding to complete the trail. Prince William County officials applied for funds, including state grants, to finish the trial.

The total estimated cost of the completed trail is $2.6 million.

“The proposed 10’ wide asphalt trail will be on the east side of Catharpin Road, from John Marshall Highway (Route 55) to the existing bridge on I-66. The trail will continue from the existing bridge on I-66, 660’ north to tie into an existing trail, for a total length of 2,250 [feet],’ Prince William County Regional Transportation Planner Paolo J. Belita penned to Potomac Local in an email.

The county has yet to hear if the money has been awarded, so, there’s no timeframe on when the trail will be completed.

“This trail will better connect employment centers to where people live,” added Candland.

The shock and awe that was Monday’s opening of E-ZPass Express Lanes on I-66 inside the Beltway

The highest toll to travel the nine-mile portion of Interstate 66, from the Captial Beltway to Washington. D.C. jumped as high as $34.50 on Monday morning.

The peak toll was reached at 8:36 a.m. The low for the morning: $4.50 at 5:36 a.m.

Monday was the first day that drivers on I-66 had to contend with new tolls on I-66 inside the Beltway. Drivers must now have an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex to use the highway between 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., and 3 to 7 p.m. every weekday.

Single drivers must pay while vehicles with two or more occupants can ride free with an E-ZPass Flex. But all vehicles must have an E-ZPass to ride.

It’s a change from the old rules that mandated, up until last week, drivers traveling on I-66 inside the Beltway during peak rush hour travel times must have two or more occupants in the car — no E-ZPass required.

During Monday afternoon’s commute, it was clear drivers who that may have once taken I-66 instead opted to stay off the highway and use arterial roads like U.S. Route 50.

It seems commuters rolled well with the changes on Monday morning. 

“No significant crashes or traffic problems to report with this morning’s rush hour. State police thanks all the motorists who put the extra effort into planning ahead and being prepared for the I-66 changes,” wrote Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller in an email to Potomac Local.

The Virginia Department of Transportation released the following stats on first-day E-ZPass Express Lane “Inside the Beltway” travel: 

Following the first morning rush hour for drivers using the new 66 Express Lanes inside the Beltway, the Virginia Department of Transportation provides the following statistics:
About 86% of users traveled with E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex. The remaining 14% were likely traveling without a transponder (this figure also include motorcycles, which do not need a transponder to use the lanes).

High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV-2+)
About 37% of vehicles traveled as carpools and rode for free (using E-Z Pass Flex set to HOV-this also includes buses) over the four-hour period.

Average Speeds and Travel Times
Average speeds on this segment of I-66 were 57 miles per hour, compared with an average of 37 mph at last year this time.
Average travel times were 10-12 minutes for the I-66 corridor during the morning rush hour, compared with a range of 15 to 25 minutes during a typical Monday morning period.

Arterial Routes
Signals and engineering staff monitored parallel arterial routes such as George Washington Parkway, Routes 7, 29, 50, 123 and 193. On average, traffic volumes, speeds, and travel times remained similar when compared with figures from last year at this time.

This marks the first new opening of an E-ZPass Express Lane opening in three years, since the opening of the I-95 Express Lanes from Route 610 in Stafford to Alexandria in December 2014. Virginia’s toll lane network continues to expand as work is underway to add E-ZPass Express Lanes to I-66 outside the Beltway, from Gainesville to Dunn Loring, and to convert old HOV lanes to toll lanes from Alexandria to the Pentagon.

I-66 outside the Beltway remains the nation’s only HOV-2 highway, meaning drivers may use the HOV lane with just 2 occupants of the vehicle. Today’s changes inside the Beltway make the new road the toll-only highway facility in the nation, during rush hour.

From VDOT: 

“The I-66 Inside the Beltway Express Lanes-the nation’s first peak-period, all-lanes-dynamically-tolled roadway-are designed to offer new travel choices that move more people on I-66 with greater speed and reliability. Toll prices will change based on real-time traffic volumes in order to manage demand for the lanes and keep traffic moving.”

The old exemptions for those using I-66 to access the Dulles Toll Road, or using a Clean Special Fuel license plate reserved for hybrid cars, also went out the window on Monday. 

“Exemptions for Dulles International Airport users and Clean Special Fuel License Plate vehicles (hybrids) are no longer in effect. The lanes remain open to all users during off-peak periods, including weekends.”

If you ride a motorcycle, you can still use I-66 any time for free, and you don’t need an E-ZPass.

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