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Supervisor Anderson: ‘I think the litter problem has gotten worse’

Prince William County Supervisor Ruth Anderson writes Potomac Local to say the litter is a problem in our region, and that it could lead to homeowners, and business leaders looking to locate elsewhere. 

From Anderson: 

“I think the litter problem has gotten worse. My office Adopted-A-Spot along Devil’s Reach Road through “Keep Prince William Beautiful” to clean up litter in the public right-of-ways. Today was our second time picking up litter…about 5 weeks after our first time. We spend 1.5 hours each time…………..we picked up just as much litter this time as we did last time……….bottles, balloons, cans, fast food bags, grocery bags…….even a “lucky penny” today. (more…)

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Kids can touch the bus at upcoming Potomac Nationals game

From PRTC: 

A OmniLink bus will be on hand this Sunday at a Potoamc Nationals game in Woodbridge — for the children. 

More from PRTC: 

“Kids and adults will enjoy touring an OmniRide commuter bus and an OmniLink local bus before and during the Potomac Nationals game. Check out the comfy seats! Get photos next to the giant wheels! See how the wheelchair lift or ramp works! We’ll see you on Sunday!”

PRTC spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo says: 

“We’re hosting a Touch-A-Bus event because it’s a way to introduce PRTC to kids and adults who might not be familiar with our services. Many children are fascinated by big vehicles, and this event allows them to see a bus up close and talk with a real bus operator. It’s also an opportunity for adults to reconsider their current method of commuting and get information about the benefits of public transportation.

We’ve participated in Touch-A-Bus events in the past, but there are no estimates for typical attendance.”

The “touch-a-bus” event runs from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 7, at Richard G. Pfitzner Stadium at 7 County Complex Court in Woodbridge.

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‘Food Lion buggy, sheet metal, lawn mower tires, syringes’ found during Occoquan clean up

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Submitted:

“It was a hot and humid day, but that did not stop volunteers from coming out to join The Friends of the Occoquan (FOTO), Prince William Trails & Streams Coalition and Prince William Soil & Water Conservation District from cleaning up the Occoquan Watershed.

Despite being a rescheduled event, 110 faithful FOTO volunteers combed the shores on foot and by boat to relieve the beautiful Occoquan of unsightly debris. SEV1Tech Company, US Marine Staff Academy, Optimist Club, Ms. Pawlik’s Penn Elementary School Class, Manassas Osborn High School students, Boy Scout Troop 1369 and many families with their children collected 88 trash bags and 33 bags of biodegradables and miscellaneous items, such as tires, wooden flower boxes, a Food Lion buggy, sheet metal, lawn mower tires, syringes, cigarette lighters, Styrofoam pieces, coolers, wooden planks, etc.”

 

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I-95 bridge crews wrap up early on repair work

The first phase of work to repair an aging bridge that carries drivers on Interstate 95 over the Neabsco Creek near a rest area in Dale City wrapped up early this morning.

From VDOT spokeswoman Ellen Kamilakis: 

“Went very well, we finished early…” 

Crews closed one lane of I-95 south at the bridge at 9 p.m. Saturday to jackhammer and cut a hole into the bridge deck that needed to be replaced. The work on the 54-year-old bridge was announced earlier this month. (more…)

News
Man started fire before committing suicide

After a body was found inside a burning Lake Ridge apartment, investigators ruled the death a suicide. 

From Prince William police: 

Death Investigation *UPDATE – The preliminary investigation into the incident indicates that the deceased party is believed to have started a fire inside the residence before taking his own life by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the upper body. This incident was jointly investigated by detectives from the Prince William County Police Homicide Unit and investigators from the Department of Fire and Rescue’s Fire Marshals’ Office.

News
BB gun brandished on Hylton High School grounds

From Prince William police: 

Brandishing a Firearm – On April 27 at 8:44PM, officers responded to Hylton High School located at 14051 Spriggs Rd in Woodbridge (22193) to investigate a fight with a weapon. The investigation revealed that the victim, an 18-year-old male, and the accused, an acquaintance, were involved in verbal altercation which escalated. During the encounter, the accused brandished a firearm which he had retrieved from his vehicle. The parties eventually separated and the police were contacted. Following the investigation, the accused was located and arrested without incident at his residence later that evening. Further investigation determined that the firearm was a BB gun.

Arrested on April 28:

Jose Angil MULLER, 18, of 14704 Delano Dr in Woodbridge

Charged with brandishing a firearm on school grounds

Court Date: June 28, 2017 | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

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Monterroso-Reyes charged with indecent liberties with a minor

From Prince William police: 

Sexual Assault Investigation – On April 10, detectives from the Special Victim’s Unit responded to investigate a sexual assault that was reported to have occurred at a residence in Woodbridge (22191) sometime after January 2017. The investigation revealed that the victim, a 13-year-old female juvenile, was inappropriately touched by the accused, an acquaintance. The victim recently disclosed the incident to a family member who contacted police. Following the investigation, the accused was arrested on April 26 without incident.

Arrested on April 26:

Omar Anael MONTERROSO-REYES, 20, of 2926 Wythe Ct in Woodbridge

Charged with 1 count of indecent liberties with a minor, 2 counts of sexual battery, and 1 count of use of communications systems to facilitate certain offenses

Court Date: Pending | Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond

News
NOVA picks up $14,000 tab for coder boot camp giving transitioning military members new skills, job options

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Missing your child’s baseball game because you’re stuck in traffic: There’s an app for that.

It’s called the Interactive Scorebook, and it was developed at the Workforce Development Center in Woodbridge as part of an intensive 12-week coding boot camp. The application can be used to score games, pinpoint players on the diamond, and to post the data for real-time monitoring for those who can’t make it to the field.

“If you’ve ever scored a baseball game, there’s a lot of paper involved. We’ve eliminated all of that, and we’ve made it more user-friendly,” said the application’s developer Kevin Allen.

Later, he and his partner Olympew Jordan might add more features like the current weather on the field, a text message function to alert parents to canceled games, or a feature that allows team moms to coordinate who is bringing the snacks. (more…)

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3 adults, 5 children, pet displaced by Woodbridge townhouse fire

From Prince William Fire and Rescue: 

On Thursday, April 27th at 2:51 p.m., fire and rescue units were dispatched to a townhouse fire located in the 2100 block of Gunsmith Terrace in Woodbridge.

Upon arrival, firefighters observed smoke showing from the rear of the first and second floor. As fire and rescue crews made entry they encountered a small kitchen fire which was quickly extinguished.

One occupant was transported to a local medical facility for minor injuries. No additional injuries reported.

According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, the townhome sustained minimal damage estimated at $25,000. The Building Official has posted the home unsafe.

Red Cross was on scene to assist the family, 3 adults, 5 children and their pet.

The origin and cause of the fire was unattended cooking on a kitchen stove top and has been determined as accidental.

News
Woodbridge man, 18, charged with armed robbery

From Prince William County Police:

Armed Robbery *ARREST – On April 26, detectives from the Robbery Unit identified and arrested the suspect involved in the robbery which occurred in the area of Vantage Dr and John Diskin Cir in Woodbridge on April 25. The suspect, identified as Demetrious Jerome DONIGAN, was arrested without incident.

Arrested on April 26:
Demetrious Jerome DONIGAN, 18, of 15481 Chopawamsic Ct in Woodbridge
Charged with robbery and use of a firearm in commission of a felony
Court Date: June 5, 2017 |Bond: Held WITHOUT Bond (more…)

News
Prince William County police to host neighborhood watch training

From Prince William County Police Department:

The Crime Prevention Unit of the Prince William County Police Department is hosting a Neighborhood Watch training on Tuesday, May 2, at 7 p.m. The event should last about an hour.

Has it been awhile since you and your Watch members were trained? Are you a new coordinator taking over an existing Watch, or a new coordinator looking for training for everyone in your neighborhood? If you answered “yes” to any of these, then this training is for you! (more…)

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Manassas students fill up on ‘second-chance breakfast’

It’s 9 a.m., and a quiet middle school cafeteria suddenly fills with the voices of hungry students making a dash for the breakfast line.

On the menu: Mini blueberry pancakes, fruit, milk, and juice. Students walk through the line, grab their favorite quick-serve breakfast items and find a table to sit, eat, and chat with their friends.

“I eat it every day. I love the pancakes,” said Christopher, 14.

The students at Grace E. Metz Middle School in Manassas sit for about 10 minutes, scarf breakfast, and then it’s back to class.

On Tuesday, Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe and State Sen. Jeremy McPike joined them to recognize a nutritional milestone: getting more children to eat school breakfast.

The Manassas public school won its division in a contest to increase the number of students who eat breakfast. There were 19% more Metz students eating school breakfast between October and December 2016 versus the same time the year before. McAuliffe on Tuesday, along with “No Kid Hungry Virginia” announced the winners of the Virginia Breakfast Challenge, a campaign to increase school breakfast participation across the state. (more…)

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Fare hikes, western maintenance facility funding comes with new PRTC budget

Fare hikes are coming for bus riders in Prince William County.

OmniRide commuters paying with SmarTrip will pay $6.90, up from $6.50, and cash fares are up from $8.75 to $9.20. A single ride on local OmniLink bus would increase to $1.55, up from $1.50. Overall, it’s an average 5% fare increase for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission.

There will also be service cuts to some routes, removing underused services such as the route between Manassas Junction shopping center and Manassas Mall, and the elimination of a route between Lindendale Road and the Dale City commuter lot on the system’s Navy Yard route.

The eliminations and reroutings are expected to save PRTC $200,000. (more…)

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Drivers urged to use alternate routes for two weekends of bridge repair

Drivers are urged to avoid southbound I-95 in Dale City for two weekends, April 29-May 1 and May 5-8, as lanes will be closed for bridge deck repair. Congestion and delays are expected to be extensive.

· Southbound I-95 will be reduced from three to two lanes over Neabsco Creek (mile marker 156) from 9 p.m. Saturday, April 29 to 6 a.m. Monday, May 1, and again from 10 p.m. Friday, May 5 to 6 a.m. Monday, May 8.

· Ramps from eastbound and westbound Dale Boulevard to southbound I-95 will also be closed to all except emergency vehicles. (more…)

News
‘For the first time, Occoquan Elementary Principal Hamish Brewer was at a loss for words’

Occoquan Elementary School Principal Hamish Brewer, already known for being an outgoing educator who likes to merge fun and learning in the classroomearned national award for outstanding leadership Tuesday.

It was presented to him while we were covering Betsy DeVos’ visit to nearby Ashland Elementary. So, here’s a report from the Prince William County Public Schools Communications Office: 

For the first time, Occoquan Elementary Principal Hamish Brewer was at a loss for words. He was stunned speechless when Jim Baldwin, executive director of the Virginia Association for Elementary School Principals, presented the National Distinguished Principal Award for Virginia to him at a surprise school assembly this morning.

“I’ll accept this for the team,” Brewer said, crediting students, staff, and parents for the school’s tremendous performance since he has been at the helm. Occoquan Elementary has high numbers of low-income families and non-English speaking learners. Earlier this year, the school was named a National Distinguished Title 1 School.

“I love beating the odds every day,” Brewer says. “We have a relentless passion for children, and a relentless passion for excellence.”

Mr. Brewer has formed a magical collaboration and synergy of a village that has taken on the world to show that all children learn, love, and celebrate their educational experiences. He has created a highoctane, highachieving and nurturing educational environment,” said an official with the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, quoting from a letter nominating Brewer for the awardStudents say Principal Brewer is visionary, caring, and relentless and they know that he loves them.

It took clever planning to pull off the surprise assembly this morning, but Occoquan Elementary School Assistant Principal Bill Knight, Associate Superintendent Craig Gfeller, and a handful of others managed to do that. While several staff members kept Principal Brewer in his office chatting, students quietly left their classrooms and assembled in the cafeteria.

“Why are we talking?” Brewer thought to himself. “We’ve got work to do!” Then a call came over the public address system asking him to come to the cafeteria; again, puzzlement: “What is this for?” Brewer thought, “It’s too early for the goodbye celebration….we’ve got SOLs coming up!” Little did he know.

News
Updated: Kamari Wells was last seen getting off of a school bus in Woodbridge

From Prince William police: 

**MISSING CHILD: The Prince William County Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing child, Kamari Wells. On April 25 at approximately 6:00PM, officers responded to the 15000 block of William Bayliss Ct in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a missing child.

The investigation revealed that Kamari was last seen getting off of a school bus in the area of William Bayliss Ct at approximately 4:15PM that afternoon but did not return home. Anyone with information of his whereabouts is asked to call police at 703-792-6500.

Kamari Wells is described as a 7-year-old black male, 3’5’’, and approximately 60lbs. He has short, curly black hair and brown eyes. Kamari was last seen wearing black pants with rips around the knee area, a black & white striped shirt, a black & white hoodie with gray sleeves, and black tennis shoes with the white “Nike” logo.  Kamari is also carrying a black “Ninja Turtle” backpack.

Updated 10 p.m. 

UPDATE: Kamari Wells, who was reported missing earlier this evening, has been located with a family member and is safe. Thank you for your assistance.



The near-fully restored Brentsville Jail, once home to moonshiners, horse thieves, and murderers will be opened to the public May 13

The project to restore the Brentsville Jail has reached the final stage, with completion expected any day now. It comes just a few short years before the community will celebrate 200 years of history.

From county seat to small rural town, Brentsville has seen a lot of change during that time. The one surviving building that best represents the changing role of this town is the two-story brick building commonly called the Brentsville Jail.

Brentsville served as the Seat of Prince William County from 1822 to 1893 and the Brentsville Jail housed those accused of everything from selling liquor without a license to horse stealing, to murder.

When the County Seat moved to Manassas, the use of the jail changed as well. The Courthouse was sold and converted into a private school for teachers, in-turn the jail was refitted to act as a student dormitory.

Later when the school moved on, the jail-turned-dormitory became a private residence until it was eventually purchased, given to the county to be used as office space. Today the Jail is in the final stages of the stabilization and restoration project that began in 2010, which will see the building used in yet another purpose; a public museum.

The future museum will explore the people whose stories are connected to the building. The main orientation room will not only explore the history of the jail but also tie it to the history of the town of Brentsville and larger story of Prince William County.

The adjacent room will be a historically furnished Jailor’s Office that will examine the lives of the various jailers and their families who at one time lived in the building as caretakers. Across the hall will be another historically furnished room, a criminal cell, in which an inmate was famously assassinated.

The final room downstairs will include STEM-based architectural activities that will highlight the building construction.

The exhibit will continue upstairs featuring a historically furnished debtor’s cell and early 20th dormitory room. An audio room will examine the stories of some of the individuals incarcerated in the jail, such as abolitionists, individuals suffering from mental illness, female criminals, and others.

The final room will explore the African-American experience in both Brentsville and Prince William County through most of the 19th century. Two interactive kiosks will also allow visitors to examine some primary documents that are not normally available to the general public.

Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre is hosting a special Jail Grand Opening on Saturday, May 13, 2017.

Although the museum exhibits will not be installed by opening day, visitors will be allowed to explore the building and receive special tours. Also, special lectures will be offered throughout the day, covering many exciting topics. At 11 a.m., local historian Arwen Bicknell will talk about her new book: Justice and Vengeance Scandal, Honor and Murder in 1872 Virginia, which highlights a murder that took place in the Brentsville Jail.

At 1 p.m., Dr. Sherri Huerta will explore the African-American history of the building with “’Remanded to Jail’: How Enslaved Persons Experienced Life and Death in the Brentsville Jail.”

Finally, at 3 p.m. local historian Morgan Breeden will talk about his experience living in the jail when it was his family’s private residence.

The dedication begins at 10 a.m. and programs run through 4 p.m.

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visits Ashland Elementary School

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PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Finding childcare is this area is not only expensive, but it can also be nearly impossible.

That’s the message Air Force Lt. Col. Rojan Robotham brought to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday when she toured Ashland Elementary School near Woodbridge. The airman urged DeVos to continue funding childcare programs through the Department of Education.

When they’re not in school, Robotham, who lives in Prince William County and not on a military base, places her in children private day care. The cost for private daycare vs. the cost she would pay to use a child development center on a base is about double.

“I live in Woodbridge, and I can’t drive my kids to the closest CDC at Quantico and make it to work on time,” she said.

And in some cases, the need for private daycare is so great there’s often not enough to go around in the region.

Robotham was one of a handful of military members and their families who spoke with DeVos during roundtable session on Tuesday. With a concentration of military families who live nearby, the school was recognized for its ability to cater to the needs of military children and spouses who are used to moving around.

“I worry about the experiences my son is going to have, and if he is going to have the correct requirements to graduate high school after we move to California,” said Air Force Col. Ceir Coral.

Coral’s son now attends Forest Park High School, and his daughter goes to Ashland. He stated that they chose to move into the Ashland neighborhood because both schools had a reputation for being military-friendly.

The school is also known for recognizing military holidays and special events.

“We don’t [celebrate] Veteran’s Day. We do Veteran’s month,” quipped Jacks.

Andy Jacks, principal at Ashland, said he wore a red, white, and blue striped suit and posted a photo of himself wearing on Twitter to show families how military-friendly his school is. He led DeVos around the school on a guided tour that included stops in classrooms, a computer lad, and a reading room where DeVos sat on the floor and read to children.

DeVos, appointed Education Secretary by President Trump, was greeted by a group of protesters who stood in the rain holding signs that stated “Welcome Secretary DeVos” and “Fund Public Education.”

The secretary is a supporter of school vouchers and charter schools. She spent about an and a half today during her visit Prince William County. She did more listening to students, teachers, and parents than talking.

“It was a wonderful welcome here, and just to see the faces of the children I met here, that’s the best,” she told reporters.

News
Leesylvania State Park needs volunteers to spruce up the fishing pier

Good morning Prince William – Happy National Volunteer Week! Thanks for all you do- we live in a wonderful community because of you!

· Leesylvania State Park needs volunteers to spruce up the fishing pier by replacing boards and power washing the pier. This pier affords fisherman year round access as well those early birds up to watch the sunrise. Please email Ben at: degrob@hotmail.com to learn more.

· Project Mend a House is registering participants in their Live Well Workshops. The is a free 6 week class to help you with several painful conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, asthma, chronic pain and heart disease. The next session begins May 9th at the Woodbridge Senior Center. Please call Jodie at (571) 494-5577 to learn more.

· Friends of the Kennedy Center need volunteers for their JFKC Open House on Saturday May 27th. This event will celebrate what would have been President Kennedy’s 100th Birthday. Please register on their website by May 12th- Kennedy-center.org. Jobs include check-in, artist liaison, information tables and more!

· Saved Hands Foundation needs volunteers to teach life skills to adults in Woodbridge two days a week from 4-5pm. Please email Pamela at:info@savedhandsfoundation.org to learn more about the great services given to the homeless clients in the community. (more…)


Nominate your mother for the Manassas Park Community Center 2nd Annual Mother’s Day Makeover Contest

How many ways can you tell your mother how much she means to you and pamper her at the same time? It is not as hard as you may think. All you need to do is to enter your mom in the Manassas Park Community Center (MPCC) Mother’s Day Makeover Contest! The winning mother will receive the following gifts and services:
 
•Transportation to participating vendors courtesy of Yellow Cab Company
 
•Expert hair styling by Jaisyn Markley at PR at Partners
 
•Expert makeup by Niki Kalfamanolis at PR at Partners
 
•Manicure and pedicure from Pretty Nails in Manassas Park
 
•A clothing item of her choice from DeeDee of LulaRoe
 
•A balloon sculpture from Nani’s
 
•Flowers by Montejo’s Florist
 
•Digital photos from Carol Fleurette Photography
 
•A catered meal from Heart 2 Heart Catering
 
•Cookies from Bijou’s Sweet Treats
 
•A jewelry item of her choice from Lisa Briones of Paparazzi
 
•A gift basket by Lisa Marie
 
•3 free months of membership toward an annual membership at the Manassas Park Community Center
 
Each of these generous business owners is donating either their time or their products to help the Manassas Park Community Center (MPCC) staff truly make your mother feel extra special this Mother’s Day!
 
Then on May 13, from 12:30 pm. – 2 p.m., join us for the big reveal and the announcement of the contest winner at the MPCC! There will be fun for everyone and activities for the kids!
 
There will also be a photo booth! For $5 per photo, you can capture a great photo of mom and her family. Then, after you have your photo taken at the photo booth, you can decorate a free picture frame! What a great complement to that photo booth portrait!
 
The kids will love the clowns Safari Bingo and Sweet Pickle the Ballonatic Clown as they make giant bubbles, create balloon figures, and play with puppets! Kids can have their faces painted by Elaine Jenkins of Dabbledy Doo, and can make a free Mother’s Day card at our cardmaking station!
 
Click here to nominate your mother before the April 28 deadline! Then plan to attend all the fun on May 13 from 12:30pm-2:20pm! 

News
U.S. Education Secretary DeVos will tour Ashland Elementary Tuesday

We first tipped you last week that U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos will visit a Prince William County Public School on Tuesday. 

Today, we learn that school is Ashland Elementary near Manassas, located at 15300 Bowman’s Folly Drive. 

Here’s more in a statement from Prince William County Public Schools: 

U.S. Education Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will tour Prince William County Public Schools’ Ashland Elementary to see the amazing work being done to educate every child, and especially to aid military-connected families during this “Month of the Military Child.”

“A tour by Principal Andy Jacks will allow the Secretary to join in classroom activities with teachers and students. The Secretary will also meet with military-connected students, parents, and staff members to learn of the outstanding ongoing efforts to serve this important part of the Ashland Elementary community.”

The tour is expected to last between 9:30 and 11 a.m. A total of 830 children attend Ashland Elementary School.

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