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Woodbridge Local

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Breakfast Links: A dream of a river ferry, Panda Express to open

A commuter ferry service on the Potomac River is coming to Alexandria and Washington. Might it one day come to Prince William County? [Prince William Times]

A teenager from Bristow missing since Aug. 5 now has the resources of the FBI committed to her search. [Insidenova.com]

Panda Express will open its doors on Garrisonville Road in Stafford. This will be the first such restaurant in the chain to open in the county. [Free Lance-Star]

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More skimmer devices found at Woodbridge gas stations

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WOODBRIDGE — More skimming devices have been found at gas pumps in Prince William County.

From Prince William police:

Since last week, the Prince William County Police Department has responded to calls involving skimmer devices being located on ATMs at five separate 7-Eleven locations in central Prince William County. Over the past few month, police have also located skimming devices at area gas stations and other ATM locations.

Below is a list the 7-Eleven locations, which reported skimming devices recently (map). If you have visited one of these locations recently and used the ATM, you are asked to monitor your bank accounts for suspicious activity and, if needed, notify your bank that your card information may have been compromised.

Ø 5041 Prince William Pkwy, Woodbridge
Ø 13660 Minnieville Rd, Woodbridge
Ø 4804 Dale Blvd, Woodbridge
Ø 7001 Dale Blvd, Woodbridge
Ø 14116 Minnieville Rd, Woodbridge

These latest skimmer incidents come after one was found at an Exxon gas station at the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Worth Avenue on July 7. (more…)

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Opening for Ali Krieger sports complex set for spring

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PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — A sports field complex to be named after soccer standout Ali Kreiger will be ready by next summer.

SunCal, the developers of Potomac Shores in southeastern Prince William County, finished construction of one of three large rectangular soccer fields and a softball field.

Prince William County Parks and Recreation spokesman Brent Heavner provided Potomac Local this statement:

SunCal completed construction on one multi-sport rectangular field and one softball field last month with plans to complete three more rectangular fields and a parking lot by the end of the year.

Once we take possession of a field, there is considerable work we have to do to get the surface ready for play.

We hope to have the Softball field ready for play this fall, with the four rectangular fields opening for play next summer. (more…)

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Popular Leesylvania State Park turns away visitors

WOODBRIDGE — Vistors count on Leesylvania State Park to provide hiking trails, picnic tables, a bit of history, and expansive views of the Potomac River.

This summer, however, some would-be park guests have been turned away at the gate. Park officials said there’s just no more room for them.

Leesylvania State Park has been temporarily closed six times this summer due to capacity issues. There are 600 parking spaces in the park, and when all 600 are full, Chief Ranger Karen Lambey closes the entrance gate.

When more parking spaces open up, the gate is reopened to more visitors.

“People like to visit us, and when were closed it really does impact the quality of the visit,” said Lambey. (more…)

BerkleyNet finds the secret to attracting and keeping talent — make them feel valued

Editors note: This sponsored post is the first in a monthly series written by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Potomac Local.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — An insurance company headquartered in Prince William County encourages young professionals to write on the walls.

This is not your typical coverage provider.

Started in a warehouse in Manassas in 2006, tech firm BerkleyNet is a leader in forward-thinking business growth in Prince William County. BerkleyNet is a member company of W. R. Berkley Corporation, a Fortune 500 company.

Headquartered in Innovation Technology Park in Prince William County, their business is entirely online, a unique concept for a firm that provides workers compensation insurance.

In just 11 years they have grown from six to over 200 employees. The majority are headquartered in Prince William County, with satellite offices in places like Minneapolis, Nashville, Tenn. and Las Vegas.

John Goldwater, BerkleyNet’s former President, and CEO, has gone on to become an Executive Vice President of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Five founding employees remain on BerkleyNet’s senior leadership team.

The most unique aspect of their business growth? They hire curious problem-solvers, encourage ownership and invest in their employees. (more…)

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Makee is the GOP replacement candidate in Virginia House District 2

STAFFORD — He doesn’t have big political aspirations, but he stepped up to be the GOP’s man in a pinch.

Michael Makee (pronounced Mackie) retired as Naval Commander after 20 years and is the Republican replacement candidate in Virginia’s House District 2. The 47-year-old Naval Academy graduate stepped in after Laquan Austion dropped out of the race on Friday.

Makee moved to Stafford with his wife two years ago and is the father of six children ages 12 to 24. Mary Kathleen “Katy” Makee has been his wife for 25 years. He serves on the Stafford County Utilities Commission and is the treasurer of the Stafford County Republican Committee.

This is his first run for political office.

“I don’t have big political aspirations,” Makee told Potomac Local. “I understand the military side of how the government works, and now I will learn how the state and local side of the government,” said Makee. (more…)

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Electoral Board studies pay increase for poll workers

WOODBRIDGE — Election officers in Prince William County may get raise.

The county’s Electoral Board is reviewing a plan to increase pay for its election officers who work long hours on Election Day in November, during town elections in May, June primaries, and on special elections such as this year’s Clerk of the Court vote.

Many elections officers, assistant polling place chiefs, and chiefs work the polls from opening at 6 a.m. to close at 7 p.m. Election Day. Officers are paid $125 a day, assistant chiefs $150, and poll chiefs $200.

Increasing poll worker pay would put Prince William County in line with its neighbor to the north in Fairfax County which pays poll workers $175 a day, assistant chiefs $200, and poll leaders $250 a day. (more…)

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Virginia airplane owners get a tax break for repairs

MANASSAS — Airplane owners and repair shops will get a tax break.

Small airplane small repair shops and larger maintenance, repair, and overhaul aircraft facilities commonly referred to as MROs will get a break when they purchase parts, supplies, or engines to maintain an aircraft. Delegate Richard Anderson, an Air Force Colonel and former head of the Civil Air Patrol introduced the legislation during this year’s General Assembly.

The new law is expected to have an impact on economic development in the state and our region. Many airplane owners traditionally fly out of state to places like North Carolina for regular aircraft maintenance or repair.

“I am very proud to have worked with my partners in the General Assembly, the Virginia Aviation Business Association, and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association in crafting this legislation. Virginia is home to several thousand general aviation aircraft, but has few major maintenance and repair operations,” said Anderson. (more…)

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Free admission today at the Prince William County Fair

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You can get in free this afternoon to the 68th Annual Prince William County Fair.

Everyone who comes between to 2 and 5 p.m. will get free admission to the fairgrounds as part of Free Gate Admission Day. Tickets are required once again after 5 p.m. and are sold for $10 for each adult or $6 for children or seniors.

The Power Wheels Derby will take place tonight in the grandstand. Children, ages 3 to 5 will participate in the first round at 5 p.m., and then children ages 6 to 10 will go at 5:30 p.m.

For the main event at 7 p.m. in the grandstand, yard warriors will bring their green machines for the annual garden tractor pull.

Other events in the far include No Joes Circus, the Butterfly Experience, chainsaw art, Jurassic Kingdom, the rides on the midway, and more.

Tomorrow night is ladies night at the fair. The gates open at 5 p.m. and all ladies are free. The demolition derby returns to the grandstand at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The fair is open today from 2 until 10 p.m., Wednesday through Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., and on the final day of the fair Saturday from 2 to 10 p.m.

*Photos: Keith Walker, Prince William County Government 

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Beer, ads, and emails: An update from Potomac Local

We’ve made some changes on our PotomacLocal.com homepage to better serve you.

This spring, we replaced the sidebar ads on the right side of the website with more site features, such as a new weather widget, our most recent sponsored posts, and a listing of the most-viewed stories on the website.

Info widgets 

We also created a new section on our homepage to feature Public Safety News in our coverage area of Prince William County, Stafford County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. As soon as the public safety agencies in our community post incident information on their social media pages, we’re grabbing it automatically and publishing it to our website.

The new weather widget shows the latest update from the National Weather Service office in Sterling, so you’ll always be able to see current conditions and the latest forecast. (more…)

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Like mom, like daughter: Both winners in Prince William fair baby contest

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MANASSAS — There’s one thing Morgan Welch did before her child won the Prince William County Fair Baby Contest.

“I got a hot husband,” said the 25-year-old Manassas woman, who, presumably, helped to make a beautiful baby.

Welch, 25, and her husband, Mike, entered their 10-month-old daughter Aliva Grace into the judging for the cutest baby age nine to 18 months contest on Saturday, August 12.

Alivia, in a blue dress with a pink bow in her hair, won the first place purple ribbon.

It’s the same ribbon Morgan Welch has behind glass hanging on her wall at home. Like mother like daughter, Morgan Welch won the Prince William County Beautiful Baby Contest when she was 18 months old in 1993.

“I thought this was so cute, I just wanted to come out and be a part of it again,” said Aliva’s mother, Morgan. (more…)

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Updated: Dove to hold fast in 11th District race

Exclusive

A source tells Potomac Local a replacement for Laquan Austion could be Jeffery Dove, who is now running for congress.

Austion today dropped out of Virginia’s Hosue District 2 race in Prince William and Stafford counties. Dove is running against Democrat Gerry Connolly (D-11 Fairfax, Prince William) who has held the job since 2009.

Dove is running against Democrat Gerry Connolly (D-11 Fairfax, Prince William) who has held the job since 2009. He has yet to comment for this story.

Last year, Dove took to Twitter and showed interest in the House District 2 seat, which serves residents in Prince William and Stafford counties.

From Dove’s Twitter page:

If Dove becomes the candidate, he would face Democrat Jennifer Carroll Foy in the House District 2 race. Foy is a public defender and professor at Northern Virginia Community College. 

She issued a statement Friday afternoon after Austion dropped out of the race. 

“I would like to thank Laquan Austion for stepping up to run. I will continue to work to earn the votes of all of my neighbors in the Second District. I will fight to expand Medicaid to 400,000 more Virginians, protect funding for Planned Parenthood and women’s health care, end the school-to-prison pipeline, and find solutions to our broken transportation system. I have devoted my entire life to public service — fighting for the voiceless as a public defender and foster mother — and hope to serve all of the Second District as Delegate.”

The HD2 race has been an eventful one this year. Republican Mark Dudenhefer in January made a surprise announcement stating he would not seek reelection for the seat.

In June, Democrat Josh King requested a recount following a close Primary race with fellow Foy, who won the recount by 12 votes.

Updated: 

Jeff Dove will stay the course in the 11th Congressional District race. 

He sent Potomac Local this statement: 

“While I am honored that the many Republicans have put my name into the mix for this seat,  I am currently laser focused on making life better for the people of the 11th Congressional District.”

 

 

News
Laquan Austion drops out of House District 2 race

STAFFORD — Republicans in Stafford and Prince William counties are looking for a new candidate for House District 2.

Laquan Austion dropped out.

“Laquan Austion is withdrawing his candidacy for the Second House District effective today. We appreciate his willingness to run for office and serve. We have already started the process of recruiting a strong candidate that will give voters a clear choice in November.”

Austion came under fire this week when the Richmond Times-Dispatch learned the candidate provided false information to voters on his LinkedIn page, and to Potomac Local about his education. Austion claimed to have a Masters Degree from The George Washington University that he didn’t possess.

The report also stated Austion purchased an Audi automobile but never made a payment, A court case in this matter, as well as another debt were dismissed because Austion was not able to be located, according to the Times-Dispatch story. (more…)



Governor McAuliffe breaks ground on I-395 Express Lanes extension

Reliable and faster travel choices coming on I-395 Corridor 

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today joined the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and its private partner and operator of the I-95 Express Lanes, Transurban, to break ground on the start of construction of an eight-mile extension of the I-395 Express Lanes from Turkeycock Run near Edsall Road in Alexandria to the Washington, D.C. border. The project provides more options for faster and more reliable travel in one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the country and expands the region’s network of express lanes. The project includes a long-term investment in transit for the corridor, through a yearly payment of $15 million (to be escalated annually) that will be paid by Transurban to the Commonwealth. This annual transit payment will support transit and multimodal initiatives benefitting the corridor.

“Anyone who travels on I-395 and I-95 today can attest that this is one of the most congested corridors in the country,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Today’s groundbreaking is the first project of the Commonwealth’s larger Atlantic Gateway Initiative which aims to unlock the I-95 Corridor. The Atlantic Gateway Initiative and the I-395 project demonstrate how we can work with our public and private partners to improve the quality of life for Virginians and our visitors – and keep our new Virginia economy growing.”

Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne added, “Under Governor McAuliffe’s leadership, today’s milestone is one more step toward expanding the express lanes network in Northern Virginia, and providing travelers with much-needed travel choices to reach their destinations faster. The key benefit continues to be options, and we are ready to focus on delivering this new choice on 395.”

The I-395 Express Lanes project provides specific benefits for the thousands of commuters who work at or near the Pentagon, as well as the many carpoolers or commuter bus users transferring at the Pentagon to continue to their destination. By reconstructing the Pentagon’s South Parking area and adding new bus lanes and HOV commuter and “slug” lanes to improve traffic flow and safety for buses and carpools, the project’s benefits extend well beyond the express lanes.

Other key project features include adding a fourth regular lane on I-395 South between the Duke Street and Edsall Road Interchanges, to help relieve the congestion which occurs when I-395 shrinks from four to three lanes in this area. Additionally, the project includes rehabilitating several I-395 bridges, and building new sound walls to protect neighboring communities.

The project is anticipated to cost approximately $500 million, with a combination of private and public funds. The project is one element of the Commonwealth’s Atlantic Gateway Program, a series of major improvements to the I-95/I-395 corridor.

“We are pleased to partner with Virginia to deliver a critical missing link that will connect Express Lanes customers to new destinations along I-395 and Washington D.C.,” said Jennifer Aument, Group General Manager, North America, Transurban. “Crews will begin work right away on improvements that are going to help drivers on I-395 get home faster, while also generating funds to support new transit options. As construction begins, we encourage all travelers to stay alert to changing conditions, avoid distractions and keep an eye out for workers on the road.”

Plans to extend the Express Lanes began in November 2015 with a Framework Agreement under the 95 Express Lanes Comprehensive Agreement between VDOT and Transurban. In February 2017, after meeting specific project-delivery and financial criteria, the Commonwealth approved Transurban’s proposal to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the 395 Express Lanes extension.

AECOM Engineering Company and Lane Construction are under contract to Transurban to design and build the extended 395 Express Lanes. The express lanes are scheduled to open in fall 2019 and the other elements of the project are expected to be completed by summer 2020.

Construction of the expanded express lanes will occur largely within VDOT’s right-of-way; however, some work such as sound wall construction may require crews to access right-of-way and areas adjacent to the project corridor. Preliminary work such as geotechnical investigations and surveying began last March.

More information about the project is available at: 395expresslanes.com and virginiadot.org/395express

 

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Groundbreaking set for new Coles fire station

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — A new fire station will be built next to the Coles District Fire and Rescue Department.

A groundbreaking for the 21,400 square-foot replacement fire and rescue station on Route 234 on 13712 Dumfries Road near Independent Hill will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 14. When it opens, the new station will house a heavy rescue, tanker, a basic life-support ambulance, and a truck to battle brush fires.

The Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department will continue to operate its HAZMAT unit from the new Coles station, too. The new building will feature expanded office space, sleeping quarters, more suitable apparatus areas, and hazmat storage, according to the county’s capital improvement plan.

The current building sits on nine acres of land and is assessed at $1.4 million. It will be torn down after the new fire station opens in fall 2018.

The area on which the old station sits will be used for training first responders for HAZMAT situations, said Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe. He said there was no discussion on selling the land on the busy Route 234 corridor to the private developer after the new fire station opens.

When viewing the current building from the front, the new station will be built to the left of the existing structure. The new station is slated to cost $10.7 million. (more…)

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Potomac River Living Shoreline Project gets another financial boost

WOODBRIDGE — Dominion Energy today donated another $35,000 to the Living Shorelines Project at Leesylvania State Park.

Company officials joined Chief Park Ranger Karen Lambey on the Potomac River shoreline in Woodbridge to present the check.

“This project is very important to us, and anytime we have an opportunity to help with these environmental projects, we like to do so,” said Deborah Tompkins Johnson, with Dominion.

The latest donation brings Dominion Energy’s contribution effort to about $100,000, she added.

So far in the $500,000 effort to preserve the shoreline, two and a half large stone sills have been built off the shoreline of Leesylvania State Park to protect the land, plants, and aquatic life from waves, boat wake. The sills also stop beachline erosion and allow native grasses to take root and grow to better hold in place the shoreline.

A small area of standing water separates the shore from the rock sills.

“We’ve seen fish lay eggs, and find safety from predators in the standing water areas,” said Lambey.

One and a half more sills still need to be installed for a total of four for the project to be complete. The encompasses 25 feet of shoreline and will be completed two years from now.

Over the past 20 years, Leesylvania has seen 25 feet or more of erosion on its shoreline.

“There’s a drop off here where there wasn’t one before,” said Lambey, while standing on a trail overlooking the river at the park’s Potomac Beach picnic area.

(more…)

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Mission BBQ donates $2 for each red cup purchased

Mission BBQ will bring back it’s red Amercian Hero’s cup this late summer.

When diners purchase a drink in the cup for $3.99, a total of $2 of the purchase will go to a charity chosen by local fire and police departments. Customers may keep the cup and bring them back for discounted refills.

Funds from cup purchases in Stafford County will go to Operation Warm: Coats for Kids, according to Stafford County Fire Chief Mark Lockhart.

The promotion runs Aug. 11 through Sept. 11.

Mission BBQ has locations in North Stafford at 267 Garrisvonville Road, and a soon-to-open location on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge. A company spokeswoman was unable to provide us with information about the opening of the Woodbridge location.

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Adopt Me Wednesday: Reggie is neutered and gets along great with other dogs

The Stafford County Animal Shelter as a furry friend waiting for his forever home. 

Here’s what they had to say: 

His name is Reggie. He’s about 2-3 years old! Very energetic and playful!

Gets along great with other dogs, but we aren’t sure about kitties. He is neutered and up to date on his vaccines. He was found as a stray so we aren’t sure if he is housebroken or not.

Reggie also does better with older children as he can get a little rough with little ones when he plays

You can visit the animal shelter’s website for more information, as well as see operating hours so you can visit Reggie and other animals in Stafford County.

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Prince William is outgrowing its voting precincts

WOODBRIDGE — Elections officials in Prince William County are warning of continued long lines at voting precincts due to population growth, according to public documents.

The Board of Supervisors this month denied a request to set a public hearing to allow for the creation of five new voting precincts and corresponding polling places, as well as shift precinct boundaries. By law, the changes would have needed to have been made by September 8, enough time (60 days) before the November 7 General Election.

In this off-year election when, traditionally, lines are shorter, voters will head to the polls to select a new governor, candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates, and municipal offices in Manassas and Manassas Park.

After the Presidential Election of Barack Obama in 2012, long voter lines in Prince William County got congressional attention.

None of Prince William County’s 92 voting precincts may have more than 5,000 registered voters, according to state law. Four precincts were found to have more than 4,000 voters as of July 1: (more…)

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Saved Hands Foundation is preparing for School Back Pack Giveaway

· Good morning Prince William – Saved Hands Foundation is in the final week preparing for their Annual August Back to School Back Pack Giveaway! It’s as easy as picking up a few extra items this week and dropping them off starting at 12 noon on Saturday, August 12th at Potomac Library, 2201 Opitz Blvd. in Woodbridge. Please help a kid start the new school year with the basics to make them be successful. Contact Pamela at 703-895-6681 for more info.

· Merrimac Farm is looking for volunteers to help in the gardens on both Saturday, August 12th and August 26th, 9 a.m.- 12 noon. Come get your hands dirty and enjoy. Please call (703) 499-4954 for more info.

· Delta Sigma Theta Sorority has the best deal in town for all you crab lovers- come join their event at VFW Post 1503 on Minnieville Road for all you can eat crabs, flounder, wing dings, corn on the cob, potatoes, beans and much more for just $65 a ticket- wow! This event supports their scholarship and public service fund. Please check out their website at pwcacdst.org to purchase tickets.

· Habitat for Humanity in Manassas needs volunteers to help at the Restore. It’s a super fun, busy place. Please sign up on their volunteer calendar for the shift that works best for you: habitatpwc.org. (more…)

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‘The accused assaulted the victim and grabbed her by the neck’

From Prince William County police:

Strangulation | Brandishing a Firearm – On August 2 at 3:05 p.m., officers responded to a residence located in the 7000 block of Lakota Drive in Woodbridge to investigate an assault involving weapons. The investigation revealed the victim, a 31-year-old woman, and the accused, an acquaintance, were involved in a verbal altercation, which escalated physically.

During the encounter, the accused assaulted the victim and, at one point, grabbed her by the neck. The victim was eventually able to separate from the accused. The accused then retrieved a firearm and pointed it towards the victim. The accused also broke property inside the home including the victim’s cell phone.

When the accused left the home briefly, the victim was able to lock the door and contact police. Officers arrived and detained the accused without further incident. Minor injuries were reported. Following the investigation, the accused, identified as Cristian Alexander PLEITEZ-CORTEZ, was arrested. (more…)

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