Covering the Greater Prince William County, Virginia Area

Woodbridge Local

Letter: You Should Attend U.S. 1 Interchange Meeting

On Thursday, March 24, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) officials will hold a public hearing about the proposed North Woodbridge Interchange at Route 1 and Route 123.  This public hearing will be the first opportunity for the community to review the new proposal and provide feedback to VDOT officials. I encourage all Woodbridge residents to attend the public hearing from 5:00 to 8 pm. at Botts Fire Hall, located at 1306 F Street, Woodbridge.

To date, funding has not been available to proceed with the North Woodbridge Interchange project. However, money will be allocated to fund at least phase I of the interchange in the Governor’s transportation package that recently passed the General Assembly.  I am very excited about the beginning of this important project after decades of planning and promises.

Once funding is available, the North Woodbridge Interchange will be the fourth major road project in the Woodbridge Magisterial District since I took office in 2008.  We have repaired Featherstone Road over the CSX railroad tracks, expanded the Neabsco Creek Bridge and expanded Route 1 from Cardinal Drive to Neabsco Road to alleviate flooding issues in this corridor, expanded Route 1 from Neabsco Mills to Featherstone Road, and opened Neabsco Road from Opitz Boulevard to Dale Boulevard.

I look forward to the dialogue that will ensue during and after the VDOT public hearing.  A healthy exchange of ideas will ensure we get the best project design possible.  Once you see the plan for the North Woodbridge Interchange, please let me know your thoughts so I can also speak to VDOT on behalf of the community.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call me at 703-792-4646 or email

Frank J. Principi
Woodbridge District Supervisor

Anyone may submit an open letter to by emailing it to and writing Open Letter in the subject line.

Woodbridge Preschool Turns 40

Cloverdale School staff photo.

By Kristina Schnack Kotlus

For most children preschool lasts for two or three years, but for Cloverdale School in Woodbridge the fun has lasted for 40.  This small school described by parents as having a “family feel” serves children from two and a half through second grade.

Cloverdale School began as a ministry of Lutheran Church of the Covenant in Cloverdale in Dale City but moved in 1990 to Bethel United Methodist in Woodbridge, and now exists as a non-sectarian school.

Meredyth Stirling, the school’s music teacher since 1984, says that “by maintaining a half-day program instead of converting to a daycare, Cloverdale has continued to attract supportive, involved families who enjoy a very connected relationship to the teachers”.

Stirling also shared that for the teachers at the school, some of whom have been with the program for well over 20 years, there is a certain sisterhood, fostered with communication and an annual Christmas kick line number that the children have come to expect during the holiday show.

Cloverdale School will be celebrating its 40th Birthday this Sunday, March 20, from 5 – 7 p.m.  Former students are invited, and the school has already had numerous responses from retired staff as well as former students, some of whom now bring their own children to preschool at their alma mater.

When asked what brings people back with such fond memories, Stirling said it was the teaching philosophy to “let children be who they are.  That’s the magic –– to let children be children.”

Lorton Man Faces DUI, Eluding Charges

Oliver Rivera-Williams faces multiple charges in Pricne William County, police say.

Woodbridge, Va. –– Police say a Lorton man stopped on DUI suspicion tried to run away on foot but was later captured.

Officers stopped a driver in the area of Old Bridge Road and Westridge Drive in Lake Ridge about 2:11 a.m. Saturday.

An officer got of the patrol car and approached the driver, spoke with him, but the driver then raced off, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

The driver led police on a chase to the area of Westridge Drive and Quarterhorse Lane where he jumped out of his car and fled on foot.

Officers caught up with the man and arrested him.

Oliver Rivera-Williams, 25, is charged with felony eluding, driving under the influence of alcohol, with resisting arrest and with driving on a suspended license, said Perok.

He is scheduled to appear in court May 3.

Police in Woodbridge were also kept busy over the weekend with a series of larcenies from autos.

Officers were called to the area of Jonathan Court and Vals Way in Montclair for a report of several cars had been broken into and valuables removed, said Perok.

The items, however, were dumped in a surrounding neighborhood.

At 8:38 a.m. Saturday,  police were called to Lindsay Chevrolet on U.S. 1 in Woodbridge after someone stole 20 tires and rims from five cars parked on the lot. A sixth vehicle had a rear window smashed out, said Perok.

The damage was valued at $15,500, and the incident is possibly related to another vandalism reported on March 7 in Manassas.

Vandals went to Koons GMC and stole 36 tires and rims valuing $45,000, police said.

Connolly to Speak on Opening Wildlife Refuge

Kevin Parker, with binoculars in hand, leads a tour group at to the beach portion of the Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge on the Potomac River in Woodbridge. (Mary Davidson)

Woodbridge, Va. –– Opening the Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge to the public is once again at the center of debate.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va. 11th) along with a panel of conversationalists  are scheduled to appear for a public meeting and question and answer session on opening the publicly-owned land to the public.

The refuge sits along the Potomac River in Woodbridge, behind Virginia Railway Express’ Rippon station.

Since last year when Connolly urged the National Fish and Wildlife Service to open the refuge to the public, the idea has been gaining ground.

Conservationists are also calling for opening two other federally-owned properties to the public: Dove’s Landing on the Occoquan River and Lake Manassas.

“These three publicly owned properties have one thing in common. Although they are valuable potential resources for recreational and educational uses, they are all closed to the public,” said Prince William Conversation Alliance Director Kim Hosen.

Last month, officials with the fish and wildlife service ended a public comment period for a new plan that will govern Featherstone and the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge for the next 15 years.

But the report details concerns, such as allowing visitors to the area would harm the environment by bringing hikers, pollution would increase as more used cars to get to the refuges, and there remains the threat visitors may do harm to the land either on purpose for by accident, according to a preliminary report from the fish and wildlife service.

Visitors have not been allowed at Featherstone since the land was acquired by the federal government in 1979.

Last summer, the fish and wildlife service invited residents to tour Featherstone for the first time.

The meeting is scheduled from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Monday March 21 at the Prince William County Government Center on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge.

Police: Man Jumps from Car During Pursuit

Earl Fisher, 26, of Woodbridge, faces charges after a police pursuit. (Submitted)

Dumfries, Va. –– When getting away from police in a car didn’t work, state troopers said one man tried to escape on foot.

A Virginia State Police trooper at 8:04 a.m. Friday tried to stop a driver on Interstate 95 in Prince William County for having an expired inspection sticker.

But the driver would not stop and then led the trooper on a high-speed chase for about five miles at speeds reaching 100 mph, said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

The driver was behind the wheel of a 2000 Ford Explorer, and decided to exit the highway at milepost 152 in Dumfries.

The chase winded its way onto eastbound Dumfries Road (Va. 234), where the driver jumped from the moving SUV and took off on foot, said Geller.

Troopers caught up with the man and placed him under arrest.

Earl Fisher, 26, of Woodbridge, is charged following the chase, said Geller.

No one was injured in the incident.

Slug Changes Focus of Next Town Hall Meeting

Brenda Higgins, a commuter affected by the parking changes at Potomac Mills mall, waits to add her comment at a town hall meeting held in Woodbridge in February 2011. (File)

Woodbridge, Va. –– Commuters will have another chance to be heard this month at a town hall meeting.

Woodbridge Supervisor Frank Principi and Occoquan Supervisor Mike May will hold commuter town hall at 7 p.m. March 23 at the Ferlazzo Building on U.S. 1 Woodbridge.

Last month, the two leaders held a similar meeting to discuss the loss of 750 commuter parking spaces at Potomac Mills mall. Since then the First Baptist Church of Woodbridge near Prince William Parkway and Minnieville Road agreed to lease 350 commuter parking spaces to the county for resident’s use.

“At our last town hall, we heard loud and clear that our commuters wanted parking spaces close to Potomac Mills with enough capacity to slug so their lives were not completely disrupted.   I believe we accomplished this goal,” said Principi.

At the end of the last town hall, many commuters said they would be interested in attending another meeting. This time, officials want to learn more about how commuters are coping with the changes.

“The purpose of the follow up meeting is to update the community as to the logistics of the new First Baptist leased lot, including what bus routes will come through and what slug lines may form.  We will also receive community feedback as to how commuter patterns have changed following the Potomac Mills reduction in spaces,” said May.

Following the loss of the mall parking spaces, Slugs (those who ride in vehicles of three or more occupants to use the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on Interstate 95 and 395) bound for Arlington were told to begin parking at a commuter lot off Gemini Way in Dale City. Those bound for Washington could still continue to park at the mall’s remaining 250 spaces designated for commuter parking.

Late last month, state transportation officials said construction would soon begin on a $7.8 million, 600-space commuter lot near the existing Horner Road lot in Woodbridge.

The lot will be built on the site of an old commuter bus garage.

Sources: Armed Thieves at Center of FBI Raids

Dale City, Va. –– The FBI says residents of Dale City’s Birchdale neighborhood they are not in danger.

Despite the massive show of force used last night during raids on two homes on Bremerton Drive, federal authorities say the police action was prompted by an ongoing investigation.

Sources tell that investigation stretches far beyond Dale City.

“The law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation are in the business of keeping the public safe, including when arrests and searches are involved.  The activities of law enforcement are extensively planned and every precaution is taken.  We are confident that there is no danger to the public at this time,” said FBI spokesman Andrew Ames.

But it’s still not clear why federal authorities raided those two houses.

Sources say the sing was part of larger search for a band of armed thieves operating as part of a national crime organization.

The FBI has been tight lipped about the incident and said they cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.

Additionally, there has been no information released about on any arrests made.

DQ Delays Reopening

Dale City, Va. –– You’re going to have to put your brain freeze on hold for a bit longer.

The Dairy Queen restaurant in Center Plaza in Dale City is being renovated and was scheduled to reopen on March 22.

On Wednesday, we learned the owners of the store have hit some snags in the renovation process and have pushed back the reopening to March 29.

Yes, that’s only one week later than the original reopening date, but for some of us who love the creamy goodness of soft serve ice cream that can feel like an eternity.

Rebecca Visperas manages the restaurant and says the location will reopen as a “DQ Grill and Chill,” offering more menu options for the tired and famished.

Another Dairy Queen restaurant on Smoketown Road in Woodbridge across from Potomac Mills mall is also undergoing renovations.

That franchise is owned by a different organization than the one that owns the location in Dale City, said Visperas.

Neabsco Creek Clean Up Planned

Woodbridge, Va. –– Take a closer look beneath the waters of the Neabsco Creek and you’ll see tires and other plastic trashed that’s gathered there over the years.

On the ground near the stream lie old tarps, rusted out sheets of metal, plastic toys, soccer balls and a small assortment of other unsavory items you wouldn’t want in your front yard.

But now the Woodbridge Potomac Communities Civic Association wants to clean up the area.

They will hold a creek clean-up event on Saturday March 19 from 9 a.m. to Noon.

Those who want to participate are encouraged to wear boots or old shoes, as well as old clothes they you don’t mind getting dirty.

You’re also asked to bring a shovel, and to put your name on it, as this job may require a bit of elbow grease to clean up the creek.

Children are also welcome at the clean up, said WCCA spokesman Colin Davenport.

The association will provide volunteers with gloves, vests and trash bags.

Participants are encouraged to park at Neabsco Eagles Park (at the baseball fields) off Neabsco Road.

Gas Prices Rise Amid Overseas Worries

Stafford resident Jerome Thomas filled up his V8 Toyota Tundra at the WaWa station on Garrisonville Road, and said he was not happy about rising gas prices. (Mary Davidson/

The last time gas prices spiked like this was following Hurricane Katrina, AAA Mid Atlantic says.

Fuel prices in the region continued their upward climb over the weekend forcing drivers to pay more to get where they’re going.

Today, the price to fill up a 15-gallon gallon gas tank at stations in North Stafford will cost you $51.21 on average.

Most gas prices in North Stafford average $3.41 per gallon, but according to AAA Mid Atlantic’s Gas Price Finder, the most expensive gas in the Stafford area is at the Shell station on Courthouse Road (Va. 630).

In Woodbridge, the price goes up an average of $52.72 to fill a 15-gallon gas tank.

Fuel prices in the area are averaging $3.51 per gallon, but the most expensive gas in Woodbridge is at a BP station at 13400 Jefferson Davis Highway, at $3.55 per gallon, according to the Gas Price Finder.

In Lorton, the price rises again to $53.15 to fill up a 15-gallon gas tank.

The average price for fuel here is $3.54 per gallon, but the most expensive gas is at Southern Maryland Oil at 8225 Gunston Cove Road.

This time last year, the average price to fill a 15-gallon tank in the Potomac Communities cost residents $39.71.

The high prices at the pump come as the price of a barrel of oil broke the $100 mark last week, settling at $102.23 a barrel.

“The national average gas price jumped 18 cents this week and 31 cents over the past two weeks, driven by soaring crude oil prices in response to continued unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, as well as speculation that such uprisings will spread to other oil heavyweights in the region. Prices at the pump are in a state of flux right now, surpassing the $3.50 a gallon benchmark this weekend and heading higher as crude oil prices continue to climb, said AAA Mid Atlantic spokesman John Townsend.”

And it’s not going to get any easier at the pump any time soon.

Gas prices are projected to rise above $3.75 per gallon by April, AAA predicts.

PRTC Says $1.9 million Would Lessen Fare Increase Impact

OmniLink riders transfer buses at the Potomac Rappahannock Transportation Center in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge, Va. –– More money will offset the impact of proposed fare increases for OmniRide commuter buses, transit officials say.

Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission has presented its proposed 2012 operating budget, which has the agency spending $36.2 million dollars to maintain service. No new services will be added as part of the proposed budget.

Of the annual subsidies PRTC receives, Prince William taxpayers will be responsible for $9.85 million of the transit agency’s operating cost in the coming year, according to proposed budget documents filed with the county.

In addition to the 2012 proposed budget, the transit agency also filed two six-year plans with the county. One budgets for a $1.9 million one-time supplement from the county’s general fund and the other doesn’t budget for the additional funding.

With the supplement, fares on PRTC buses are anticipated to go up by eight percent in 2013, 2015 and 2017, respectively, and most buses could be retired after 14 years in service, said PRTC Director Alfred H. Harf.

Without the supplement, fares would increase by 10 percent every other year between 2013 and 2017 and buses would have an average of 15 years in service.

Transit officials point to some recent accomplishments in recent years, like the completion of a park and ride lot outside PTRC’s Woodbridge headquarters, overhauling buses and purchasing 17 new ones, adding surveillance cameras on their entire bus fleet, and new roadside bus shelters.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the amount of local subsidy PRTC receives from Prince William County.

Flood Restrictions Lifted After Slow VRE Commute

Update 7:30 a.m. Monday
Woodbirdge, Va. –– All flash flood restrictions on have been lifted on Virginia Railway Express lines.

But passengers this morning from Fredericksburg to Manassas had to deal with problems created by yesterday’s rain.

About 4:30 a.m., drivers headed to the Bull Run station at Manassas Regional Airport found out the access road to the station, Piper Lane, had been flooded out. The transit agency told drivers to find an alternate route to the station.

On the Fredericksburg line, flood restrictions would slow trains from Woodbridge to Washington.

Riders at the Woodbridge station would also have to contend with a non-working elevator at the station.

Special needs passengers who needed to find alternate means of transportation were asked to call a taxi to take them to work, to save the receipt, and then to give it to VRE for reimbursement.

The transit agency warned last night Sunday’s rains could create delays, as the rail lines run along creeks and stream beds.

Initially this morning VRE anticipated no delays, but as time wore on they issued more and more emails to riders detailing each new found situation and reason for delay.

Original Post 9:10 p.m. Sunday
Virginia Railway Express officials are watching weather conditions closely.

As of Sunday night, there was one active flood restriction, between the Alexandria and L’Enfant stations, that if left in place through the morning could slow trains.

Some of the delays on the system’s Fredericksburg line could be between 30 and 45 minutes and up to one hour on the Manassas line, according to VRE officials.

The transit system said they would “keep our fingers crossed” the rain would not cause significant delays for Monday morning’s commute.

A flood warning was issued for the region Sunday afternoon into the evening hours.

It was set to expire at 9:30 p.m.

For much of the day Sunday, a deluge of rain caused water to pond on portions of U.S. 1 in North Stafford, forcing the closure of the southbound right lane just south of Boswells Corner.

Police: Man Traded Sexual Messages with Girl

Olajide Kola Koyi, 23, is charged with taking indecent liberties with a child, police say.

Woodbridge, Va. –– A Maryland man has been charged with taking indecent liberties with a child.

Police say a 13-year-old girl in Woodbridge exchanged messages via computer and cell phone with an adult male from Greenbelt, Md.

Olajide Kola Koyi, 23, is charged with taking indecent liberties with a child, possessing child pornography and with using communication systems to facilitate offenses involving children, said Price William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

He was held without bond, his court date was not released.

Quinn’s Officially Opens at Potomac Town Center

Terry Quinn cuts the ribbon, officially opening his new store in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge, Va. –– With the cutting of a ribbon, Terry Quinn opened his newest jewelry store Wednesday to the applause of area business owners.

The new store, Quinns 2, sits in the Potomac Town Center in Woodbridge next to Wegmans.

It is the successor to Quinn’s Goldsmith, which opened more than 20 years ago in Occoquan.

“My goal is to have one shop to go back and do what I love to do, and that is jewelry work,” Quinn told the crowd of about 50 well wishers. “I had a store for 20 years, and with this new one, maybe someday we’ll have three. But I’m really overwhelmed with the two I have right now.”

In addition to drinks and snacks, there were politicians on hand to wish Quinn well.

“Terry is joining 65 new retailers that are coming here to Potomac Town Center, and these town centers are really the new look of Prince William,” said Prince William Board Chairman Corey A. Stewart.

Also there was the Mayor of the Occoquan – a small village in eastern Prince William where Quinn’s has become a household name.

“We wish you the best of luck in your new store, as long as you don’t close the one in Occoquan,” said Mayor Ernie Porta.

The new store is brighter and resembles that of a traditional jewelry store inside modern shopping centers.

Setting it apart from mall jewelry stores, however, is a new water fountain made in Florida from Italian marble. Quinn will donate it, and the coin that has been dropped inside of the fountain, to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The store also has on site jewelry repair, and Quinn says it’s his goal to invite customers to the shop for a social hour where they can choose a piece of jewelry they would like Quinn to make and then see him craft it.

During his grand opening week, Quinn will offer various jewelry pieces from his vendors and will give away a one-carat diamond from his own collection.

The grand opening festivities will continue on Saturday.

OnmiRide Will Serve Church Commuter Lot

OmniLink switch riders buses at the Potomac Rappahannock Transportation Center in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge, Va. –– New commuter parking spaces will bring new bus stops for OmniRide commuters.

OmniRide commuter buses that serve Rossyln and Ballston will be rerouted as of Monday March 14 to serve those who park in the newly acquired 370 parking spaces at the First Baptist Church of Woodbirdge near Minnieville Road and Prince William Parkway.

Commuters will now be able to catch the bus at a stop across from the church on Minnieville Road.

Another stop will be added on Minnieville Road, just after Elm Farm Road, in the turn lane at the church, said Potomac and Rapphannock Transportation spokeswoman Christine Rodrigo.

But with new bus stops old ones have to go away.

OmniRide buses will no longer serve stops certain stops along Prince William Parkway, at Malta Street across from BJ’s Wholesale Club, before Sonora Street near BJ’s Wholesale, at Golansky Boulevard and at Telegraph Road.

PRTC says new printed schedules reflecting the change will be made later this spring.

The move comes following Potomac Mills mall’s massive reduction of commuter parking spaces on Valentine’s Day.

Prince William officials last week announced a $288,600 deal to rent 370 parking spaces from the First Baptist Church of Woodbridge for one year.

*This story has been corrected to reflect only buses that serve Rosslyn and Ballston have been rerouted.

Prince William School Bus Driver Charged

Vera Elizabeth Hull, 40, is charged with DUI, police say.

Woodbridge, Va. –– A Prince William County Schools bus driver has been charged with driving under the influence.

Police say they stopped the woman in the 13300 block of Gordon Boulevard in Woodbridge at 1 a.m. Saturday.

The woman was not driving a bus or working at the time of the arrest, police say.

Vera Elizabeth Hull, 40, of Bayside Avenue in Woodbridge, is charged with DUI, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Her court date and bond information was not available Tuesday morning.

Dr. Seuss’ Birthday Marks Childrens Reading Day

By Kristina Schnack Kotlus

Loosen up your tongue muscles and get ready for tongue twisters.

Wednesday is Read Across America Day, celebrated annually on Dr. Seuss’ Birthday.

Librarians across the region are preparing special programs ranging from story times to family crafts.

Lorton Library plans to celebrate the day with a “Seuss is Loose” program with childrens librarian Anne Heising, who will wear the traditional red and white “Cat in the Hat” headwear.

“We’ll be reading a few Seuss favorites like Hop on Pop, and we’ll have bubble wrap for the kids to pop after we read”, Heising said.

Chinn Park Library in Woodbridge, in addition to story times, has a “Super SEUSS” movie time planned at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Schools are also celebrating, as Antietam Elementary School in Lake Ridge plans to commemorate the Seuss’ birthday with a special “book character day” where children dress up as their favorite character from a book and bring the story to share with friends.

Tami Chaffee, a parent of two Antietam students  noted that her children are both “really looking forward to dressing up on Read Across America Day and will be going as Darth Vader and Betsy Ross, since my daughter’s class just finished historical VIPs in history.”

More reading celebrations will take place this weekend, when local non-profit CRIBS will offer a free event: “The Cat in the Hat Presents: STEM, What is a Scientist?”

The event is for children between the ages of four and eight, and director Barbara Edwards –– a Kindergarten teacher by day –– founded CRIBS to help families encourage children to embrace reading and learning.

Edwards says careers of the future are in science and mathematics technology, and feels that this event will help tie literacy in with hands-on science and fun.

The event will be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m., at 12184 Chaucer Lane in Lake Ridge.

The National Education Association created Read Across America day in 1997 in hopes of motivating children to read throughout the year.

Kristina Schnack Kotlus covers style and events for and lives with her family in Woodbridge.

East Coast Rapist’s Face Now on Billboards

Police have turned to digital billboard technology to catch the East Coast Rapist.

Authorities in Fairfax and Prince William counties in a partnership with the FBI and other police agencies have posted sketches on digital billboards in states where the rapist is believed to have struck – in Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Virginia.

The most recent attack is believed to have happened Oct. 31, 2009 in Dale City, when three female teenagers were approached and two raped as they were walking home from a night of trick-or-treating.

The attack happened behind Glendale Plaza, as a man approached the victim’s –– two of the girls were age 16 and the other 17 –– from behind with a gun.

He led them into a clearing in a wooded ravine and raped the two 17-year-olds while the 16-year-old looked on, police say.

The 16-year-old was able to use her cell phone to text her mother for help, but as police closed in the man was able to get away, police said.

Following the attack, the two 17-year-old girls were treated at a local hospital and the 16-year-old was not injured.

In all, the serial rapist has been tied to 12 attacks that began in February 1997.

“These billboards give each local police department, and the FBI, an added edge to identifying, locating and apprehending the subject,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Division, Ronald Hosko. “The public is the most important tool law enforcement has for solving crime.”

The billboard’s come after authorities launched a new website aimed at reaching out to the public to get more information about the serial rapist’s whereabouts.

His victims have been black, white or Hispanic females, and he generally approaches victims on foot and threatens them with a knife or handgun, asks for money to give the impression he is robbing the victim. The serial rapist has never been known to take anything from his victims, however.

In the earliest assaults, the man approached his victims on bicycles, authorities said.

He’s been known to wear a black mask or hooded sweatshirt to conceal his face.

With Bonds, Schools to be Renovated

Potomac Senior High School in Woodbridge. (Mary Davidson/

Woodbridge, Va — At least 13 schools in Prince William County will receive upgrades if the Board of Supervisors agrees to sell $51.2 million in bonds.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on selling the general obligation bonds.

The agenda item has a good chance of passing, say officials, as county staff has already suggested selling the bonds at the request of the Prince William County School Board.

Schools in the Potomac Communities to be upgraded:

Potomac Senior High School
$7.65 million will be spent on a 55,000 square foot addition to the existing building, which will include 30 new classrooms, renovations to the gym, locker rooms, cafeteria and administrative areas.

The school opened in 1981, has 1,700 students and 100 teachers.

Swans Creek Elementary School
$4.8 million will be spent on a 10,200 square foot addition to the existing building, which will include six new classrooms, additional resource space, a renovated physical education area and a renovated clinic.

The school opened in September 2001.

Westridge Elementary School
$4.1 million will be spent on a 13,250 square foot addition to the existing building, which will include six new classrooms, additional resource space, a renovated physical education area and a renovated clinic.

School bus parking lot expansion at Gar-Field High School

$1 million will be spent on expanding the school bus parking lot at Gar-Field Senior High School, which will include the construction of new toilet facilities.

School officials say any left over money will go to fund new school projects.

Fire Engulfs Garage


Woodbridge, Va. –– A two-car garage caught fire Sunday, prompting volunteer fire fighters to spring into action.

The blaze broke out at 4:03 p.m. in the 1400 block of Horner Road in Woodbridge.

When fire and rescue crews arrived, the saw the garage had been completely engulfed in flames, said OWL VFD spokeswoman Rebecca Barnes.

Fire crews worked to make sure the flames did not spread to adjacent homes.

No one was injured, and the fire was extinguished.

In addition to fire crews from Woodbridge, volunteers from Dale City were also called to help combat the flames.

An investigation into what caused the fire is still ongoing, said Barnes.

Remaining Portion of Potomac Mills Sign Gone

High winds blew through the region once again on Friday and took the remaining portion of the iconic Potomac Mills mall sign with it.

Update 2:25 p.m.
The large sign at Potomac Mills mall overlooking Interstate 95 has fallen to the ground as high winds sweep the area.

Woodbridge,Va. –– Winds are once again battering the large Potomac Mills mall sign that stands high atop its perch looking over Interstate 95.

At 2 p.m., the north-facing portion of the sign was hanging on by a tread during another round of violent wind gusts to sweep the area.

Virginia State Police had been notified the sign – made of banner-like material – could fall 150 feet to the highway below, said Potomac Mills spokeswoman Caroline Barry Green.

“We have people in place ready to react when it falls down, but right now with the current wind speeds there is no way we can send someone up there to bring it down safely,” said Green.

While this is the second round of high winds to whip the area with gusts of over 50 mph, the south-facing portion of the sign blew away during last weekend’s violent wind gusts that fanned wild fires across much of Northern Virginia and Maryland.

State troopers assisted crews in retrieving the downed sign and no one was injured.

Mall officials have already had a plan in the works to replace the portion of the sign that had been missing, which is about 50 feet wide.

Now, they’ll have to replace both sides of the sign, said Green.

The iconic sign has stood in the same spot since the mall opened in 1985.

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