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News
Minorities Want Fair Districts

Woodbridge, Va. –– An alternative to Prince William County’s redistricting plan will be presented tonight prior to the County Board hearing.

At 6:30 p.m., minority residents are expected to present their drawn maps that are expected to counter the lines drawn by officials that for the next 10 years will govern political boundaries and districts in the county. The presentation will be held at the Prince William County Government Center in Woodbridge.

A press release from the organizing group says minorities have for years been excluded from county services under previously drawn maps.

The county board will take up a public hearing on the redistricting process that must be completed April 18.

Officials say Prince William must reexamine its magisterial districts as they have experiences major growth in the past 10 years.

According to proposed district maps produced by the county, the Coles District would expand to include portions of the Manassas area. Each district would encompass about 57,000 residents.

The public hearing to address the changes begins tonight at 7:30.

News
Lawyer Will Not Pursue Case Against Prince William

Carillo Dean admitted to killing his family in 2009. (Prince William police)

Carillo Dean

Update Wednesday
The lawyer representing the family who lost two children and their mother to gunshot wounds in 2009 says he will not pursue a civil case against Prince William County.

Kevin Lockland represented Kevin Kirk after a former Prince William County Park Ranger, Carillo Dean, shot and killed his 13-year-old son Connor, 15-year-old daughter Brittany, and his 45-year-old ex-wife Elizabeth inside of their Triangle home.

“I’ve spoken with the paramedics who worked the night of the shooting, and with the doctors at the hospital and learned that Brittany suffered a non-recoverable wound,” said Lockland.

Kirk has long argued that police and fire and rescue responders had a delayed arrival to the Triangle home where Dean committed the shootings, and that delay cost Brittany her life.

Once inside, a police officer found Connor and Elizabeth dead from gunshot wounds, but Brittany still clinging to life. She later died at an area hospital.

Lockland says he’ll take the case in an effort to get a civil judgment against Dean, if it will help Kirk in the grieving process.

Original Post 9:40 a.m. Tuesday
The father of two children shot and killed by a former Prince William park ranger says law enforcement is protecting one of their own by not seeking a death sentence.

Carillo Dean was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without the chance of parole Friday in the 2009 shooting deaths of 13-year-old Connor Kirk, 15-year-old Brittany Kirk, and their mother, 45-year-old Elizabeth Dean inside of their Triangle home.

The father of two children and ex-husband to Elizabeth Dean, Kevin Kirk, plans to file a civil suit against the county.

‘They are protecting each other, and that’s OK. But this is not over, people. This is far from over,” said Kirk following Dean’s sentencing.

Dean in December admitted to the killings, and the victim’s family was hoping for a death penalty conviction. But that didn’t happen after doctors who evaluated Dean said he couldn’t say why he killed his wife and two step children.

Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney Paul Ebert –– the prosecutor with the most death row-convictions in the Virginia –– after speaking with doctors decided not to seek the death penalty.

“It’s one of the most horrible and tragic cases we’ve had in this jurisdiction, and I thought long and hard when I decided not to seek the death penalty, based on what the doctors had to say,” said Ebert.

He called the case “hard to understand,” that it “baffled doctors” and said that hopefully time would heal the family’s wounds.

Ebert called Dean a “pseudo cop,” and said he understood it is against policy for a county park ranger to carry a gun while on duty.

Following the shooting, Dean called 911 and asked to speak with a supervisor on duty, but then hung up and then called a non-emergency number and once more asked to speak with a supervisor.

Connor and Elizabeth were dead, but Brittany still clung to life as a dispatcher looked up the name of a supervisor Dean knew from his time as a park ranger, according to court records.

The supervisor, a now-retired police officer, was paged and then called Dean at his home, where Dean told him to come to his house for an “emergency,” according to court records.

When the lone officer arrived, Dean told him he had shot his family. The officer went inside to find Elizabeth Dean and Connor dead, but Brittany was still clinging to life, according to court records.

She was flown to a hospital where she died hours later.

Kirk says he may never be able to forgive Dean for what he’s done, and plans to haunt him during his time in prison.

“When he first killed my children and ex-wife we heard from a lot of children and our friends, and we decided that once he was sentenced to prison we would travel to that prison, ask to see him –– he doesn’t have to come down to see us, but we still will go –– and ask him ‘why did you kill my [expletive] kids?”’

News
Moran Endorses Lateef

Prince William County, Va. –– The man looking to unseat Prince William County Board Chairman Corey Stewart got a nod Monday from a seasoned Northern Virginia politician.

Democratic congressman Jim Moran (D-8th) endorsed Babur Lateef in his bid to become Prince William’s next board chair.

“Congressman Moran has been a strong advocate for Northern Virginia’s families and businesses for decades,” Lateef said. “I welcome his support of my campaign.”

Leteef is an eye surgeon for Woodbridge and announced his candidacy in January.

He has mounted his campaign against Stewart by saying taxes rose during his term as Board Chair, along with class sizes in county schools.

Stewart has long clung to illegal immigration as a camping issue, and launched a crackdown on illegal immigrants after he was reelected to the post in 2007.

Moran was elected in 1990 and is now serving his 10th term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The general election will be held November 8.

Traffic
Short 95 Merge Ramp to be Extended

Photo: Mary Davidson

Photo: Mary Davidson

Commuters use a busy Interstate 95 near Woodbridge on a weekday morning. (Mary Davidson)

Woodbridge, Va. –– That short merge lane from Gordon Boulevard (Va. 123) onto Interstate 95 south will be extended.

For years drivers merging onto the busy highway from Va. 123 in Woodbridge had to contend with a shorter than average merge lane.

But the new, longer merge lane will mean delays for drivers over the next six weeks.

The project to extend the lane began yesterday. Crews will shift the and narrow the ramp from Va. 123 to I-95 south so they can extend the acceleration lane, said the Virginia Department of Transportation.

On the weekend of May 13, crews will close this ramp to traffic as part of the construction project.

News
Spring Garden Tips Offered

By Kristina Schnack Kotlus
kkotlus@potomaclocal.com

If your green thumb is looking a little black around the edges the Prince William Master Gardeners can help.

Nancy Berlin, Natural Resources Specialist for the Virginia Cooperative Extension and Master Gardener Coordinator says that the Master Gardener program exists to cultivate a joy for gardening, not just plants.  “We offer environmental education programs for all ages and skill levels, you don’t have to be a Master to get involved,” said Berlin.

Master Gardener volunteers will be teaching “Preparing a New Garden Bed” and “Getting Ready for Spring” at the Benedictine Monastery in Bristow on April 9, from 9 a.m. to noon.  They are also available at the Dale City Farmers Market to answer questions on the first and third Sunday each month of the market.

They also frequently hold seminars at Chinn Library in Woodbridge, the next one titled “Pruning: The Time is Now,” which will be held on June 20th.

If your yard won’t make it until the first Master Gardener event, Berlin offers the following easy steps to tackle your yard and garden for spring.

1. Clean Up: Old debris can harbor pests and should be disposed of says Berlin.  She also recommends ensuring your tools are sharp and your lawnmower in good repair with a sharp blade.

2. Know Your Garden:
Noting and repairing any drainage issues and having your soil tested will ensure success of new plants.  Berlin says that the Cooperative Extension office in Manassas or Chinn Library have soil test kits, which home owns can mail directly to Virginia Tech for a $10 fee.

3. Cut:
Pruning trees is an important part of keeping them healthy. “We will be having a pruning class on June 20 at Chinn Library for spring blooming shrubs”, notes Berlin, “but in the mean time, Virginia Tech does provide a pruning calendar online.”  Ornamental grasses should also be cut, and can be divided to give to friends or neighbors.

4. Maintain:
Stay ahead of weeds by clearing them as they come.  “You want to introduce as few chemicals as possible.  However, the Extension office can offer recommendations to target specific weeds if necessary, so bring a sample to the Manassas office- Monday through Wednesday from 9-5 are best.”  Also, get in to the habit of watering 1 inch per week when there is insufficient rainfall, especially if you have new plantings.

5. Add: Once your garden and lawn are in good working order, you can start to add new plantings.  Berlin recommends native plants as they are more suited to rainfall and soil conditions.  New plantings should only be planted after the threat of frost has passed.

6. Plan for Fall: Fall is the best time to fertilize your lawn based on your soil test results.  “A BEST Lawns evaluation offered through the extension office can be a tremendous help, but we’re also here to answer questions about insects, wildlife, gardening, and lawns anytime.”

The Virginia Cooperative Extension Help Desk is staffed by Master Gardener volunteers, and can be reached by calling 703-792-7747″, shares Berlin.  This is also the number to use to register for any of the classes offered by the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners.

Kristina Schnack Kotlus is PotomacLocal.com’s Style and Events producer and lives with her family in Woodbridge.

News
Homeless Camp Relocation Began with Calls to Delegate

Homeless campers in Dale City were forced from their homes on a cloverleaf intersection on I-95 on Thursday. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Dale City, Va. –– Virginia State Police on Thursday made good on their promise to remove a band of homeless campers in Dale City.

About 10:45 a.m., troopers focused their attention on the islands of a cloverleaf intersection at Interstate 95 and Dale Boulevard. The campers were made to pack up their things and leave the state-owned land, which they technically had been trespassing on.

“Nobody has been cited with any trespassing, and we are also coordinating with the shelter coordinator to see if VDOT can take items of value to a drop-off location so that they can later be picked up, and nothing is lost,” said state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

State police say campers crossing Dale Boulevard posed a safety hazard to motorists.

Some drivers complained to Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-31), who says the campers are a danger to public safety.

“I think we need to enforce no-trespassing laws on the state-owned land, just imagine if you hit one of those folks…if you hit somebody and take their life, it’s a bad wrap and a lasting memory that nobody wants to have,” said Lingamfelter.

The state delegate who represents Woodbridge then shared his concerns with VDOT, which in turn then asked the state police to begin enforcing the no trespassing rule.

One week ago, troopers began telling campers –– some of which have spent the past 10 years living in the woods –– they were no longer welcome on state property.

(Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Many who left the camps Thursday said they would try to make camps at other locations in Woodbridge, on a privately owned parcel of land behind Home Depot and the Smoketown Stations shopping center off Prince William Parkway.

Campers said they chose to live on the islands of the cloverleaf because it’s close to the Prince William County Winter Shelter, where many can shower and have a hot meal.

While police issued no citations Thursday, at least 21 people at the camps were issued written warnings stating they would be arrested if they returned to the property.

All of the homeless campers had left the property by 5 p.m., said Geller.

News
Police to Disband Homeless Camp

Virginia State Police on Thursday will move force the homeless from tent camps in Dale City. The state’s transportation department says they are trespassing on state property. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Woodbridge, Va. –– In less than 24 hours, those who live in a homeless camp along Interstate 95 in Dale City will be forced to leave.

Virginia State Police on Thursday will enter a homeless camp near the intersection of I-95 and Dale Boulevard and force many off the land who for years have lived at the overwhelmingly self-sustaining community.

That land is maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation, which asked state police for help in removing the people in the tents.

“Last week, the Virginia Department of Transportation put up no trespassing signs, and we have had state troopers going to the camps to let them know that they will need to vacate the land by March 31,” said state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

Troopers began notifying residents of the camps March 23 that they would have to leave, said Geller.

The encampment is located near the Prince William heating and cooling shelter, next to the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission’s bus terminal on Telegraph Road.

Nearby, a planned National Museum of Americans in Wartime was approved last fall for construction behind K-Mart. Now enough money needs to be raised by the museum organization so it can be built. The wartime museum will include recreated combat landscapes and working tanks and planes.

In recent months the camp has become known as a dangerous place for some.

Last June, a man was shot in the ear at the camp. The victim suffered injuries that were not life threatening, but it prompted a police search for the shooter.

Johnny McManus in December was found guilty for assault and battery in connection with the incident and sentenced to 12 months in jail, according to court records.

We’ll have more on this story as it develops.

Traffic
Growth Meeting Planned

Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi

Woodbridge, Va. –– There’s long been talk of a commuter ferry in North Woodbridge, wider roads and new urbanized construction. Now officials will hold a meeting to discuss how to redevelop the area.

Prince William Supervisor Frank Principi has announced a smart growth symposium to be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 14, at the Harbour View Events Center in Woodbridge.

Speakers at the event will include Dr. Stephen Fuller of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis, and Executive Director of the Coalition of Smart Growth Stewart Schultz.

The event is free, but attendees are encouraged to make reservations by calling 703-792-4646 or by emailing woodbridgedistrict@pwcgov.org.

“For those who have a home or business in Woodbridge, I encourage you to take advantage of this unique opportunity to be involved in designing the future of your community,” said Principi in a press release.

There will also be a discussion of how to fund improvements in the area.

This meeting comes after the Virginia Department of Transportation last week unveiled plans to widen U.S. 1 between Occoquan Road and Annapolis Way to six lanes, and add an interchange at U.S. 1 and Gordon Boulevard (Va. 123).

Some business owners who attending the plan’s unveiling said a wider road would have negative impacts on their business.

Officials in Prince William have long said a wider U.S. 1 with improved transit options would be the impetus for new growth in the neighborhood.

The events center is located at 13200 Marina Way in Woodbridge.

News
McDonnell to Stump in Woodbridge

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell

Woodbridge, Va. –– Political season in Woodbridge kicks off next month with an appearance from Gov. Robert F. McDonnell.

The governor is expected to appear at 8:30 a.m. Saturday April 9 at an event for Del. Richard Anderson (R-51).

The event is a fundraiser for the freshman delegate who is looking to return to Richmond for another two years.

The event is not free, but will be held at Appliance Connection at 13851 Telegraph Road #101 in Woodbridge.

The appliance store has another political connection , as Prince William County Supervisor Marty Nohe on his LinkedIn page lists himself as the president of the store.

News
Woman Faces Underage Sex Charges

Lacy Dashiell Hill faces two counts of carnal knowledge after police say she had sex with 14-year-old boy. (Submitted)

Woodbridge, Va. –– A woman is behind bars charged with having sex with a 14-year-old boy.

Police say 30-year-old Lacy Dashiell Hill had sex with the boy March 9 in the 5500 block of Spangler Lane in Dale City.

She had been having sex with the boy since October 2009, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Hill, who lives in Woodbridge, was arrested on Friday and charged with two counts of carnal knowledge.

Her court date was not released.

News
Gunshot wound, rape, stabbings investigated

Clarence Rodney Cox, 34, of Chester, Va., is charged with raping a teenage girl in Woodbridge. (Submitted)

Woodbridge, Va. –– One man was shot in the chest during a home invasion in Woodbridge early Saturday.

Police were called at 2:26 a.m. to the 14200 block of Mount Pleasant Drive after two men broke into the home, went to the victim’s bedroom, kicked in the door and shot a man in the chest, police said.

The victim was flown to a hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Police say they don’t consider the home invasion a random act, and that their investigation continues.

No one else was injured in the shooting.

Police are also investigating a rape that happened at 3:53 p.m. Saturday, in the 2700 block of Landings Loop in Woodbridge.

Police said a 17-year-old female was raped by an acquaintance who was later arrested, said Perok.

Clarence Rodney Cox, 34, of 12401 Banner Way in Chester, Va. is charged with rape. He was held without bond.

On Friday, police were called to two stabbing incidents –– one at Potomac Mills mall and the other in Dumfries.

Police at 2:26 p.m. Friday were called to the area of Main Street (U.S. 1) and Quantico Gateway Drive after a 26-year-old man was stabbed in the upper body by an acquaintance, said Perok.

The victim was taken to a local hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life threatening.

And a mob scene developed at Potomac Mills mall on Friday when a 17-year-old boy was walking through the parking lot when he was approached by several people. An altercation ensued and the boy was stabbed in his abdomen, said Perok.

Those involved fled the scene and the boy was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

News
Hamilton Pleads Guilty

Hamilton is charged in a December 2009 shooting at Northern Virginia Community College’s Woodbridge campus.

Jason Hamilton is charged in a December 2009 shooting at Northern Virginia Community College’s Woodbridge campus.

Update
Jason Michael Hamilton pleaded guilty today to walking into the Woodbridge campus of Northern Virginia Community College and attempting to kill his professor.

The 21-year-old delivered the plea this morning in a Manassas courtroom.

He will be sentenced Sept. 9, and faces 80 years in prison, officials said.

Original Post
Prince William County, Va
. –– The man accused of shooting a high-powered rifled inside a community college in Woodbridge is expected to make a plea in court today.

Jason Michael Hamilton, 21, accused in the 2009 shooting inside Northern Virginia Community College’s Woodbridge campus is due in a Manassas courtroom at 10 a.m.

The Associated Press last week reported Hamilton and his layers were working on a plea deal.

The alleged shooter has received a mental evaluation, and Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney has said he believes Hamilton has mental issues, but is not insane and is able to stand trial.

Police charged Hamilton in December 2009, after they said he walked into the four-story building off Neabsco Mills Road and fire shots at a math professor.

The bullets missed their targets and no one was injured. The rifle jammed and Hamilton surrendered to a campus security officer, police said.

Following the shooting, college officials commissioned an after-action report about the shooting that stated it took up to 40 minutes before text messages and other notifications were sent to other students, staff and faculty at other NVCC campuses.

Traffic
New Law Closes School Bus Loophole

Woodbridge, Va. –– There’s a lot of meaning in the two-letter word “at.”

A bill by Del. Richard Anderson (R-51) adds the word to an existing law passed in the 1970s that mandates drivers stop at school buses.

Without the word, some judges interpreted the law literally to where drivers must stop school buses, not stop “at” school buses.

Some drivers who failed to stop at a stopped school bus loading or unloading children were let off the hook because of the loophole, said Anderson.

The new law takes effect immediately unlike other bills signed into law which take affect July 1.

“I was pleased to patron this legislation to ensure that our children are safe on their trips to and from school.  Parents expect us to take care of their students from the time they leave home and until they return.  This bill does just that,” said Anderson in a press release.

Anderson drafted the bill and filed it with the house clerk’s office, but it was similar to another bill by Del. Scott Surovell (D-44).

Surovell’s bill was absorbed into Anderson’s bill and both freshman delegates worked together to pass the legislation.

Traffic
U.S. 1 Expansion Worries Business Owners

By Stephanie Tipple and KJ Mushung
For PotomacLocal.com

Anyone who has ever driven in the Occoquan area of Woodbridge may recall less than fond memories of massive gridlock and a sometimes tortuous daily commute. This rise in traffic issues has called for an expansion of U.S. 1 by the Virginia Department of Transportation, which has plans to raise the street level and add on-ramps in place of ordinary intersection turns.

A meeting was held March 24 to showcase the current plans for the project and allow residents to voice their concerns about the coming changes. The meeting, attended by over 100 people, started with a question and answer period, followed by a formal presentation given by those involved with the project.

John Maddox, with the engineering firm Whitman, Requardt & Associates, presented the overview. He stated that the changes were to be made in a “critical area for Prince William County” and went over what some of the alterations would look like, including the proposed detouring of Dawson Beach Road onto Express Drive and Belmont Bay Drive in order to turn left on U.S. 1 or reach Occoquan Road, which could impact the commute for the Belmont Bay community during the two phases of construction.

The estimated costs of the project are expected to be $236 million. This will cover the engineering costs, obtaining businesses and homes in the construction path for the right-of-way and the overall construction of the infrastructure, which will be comprised of widening both U.S. 1 and Va. 123, as well as a shared use path to enhance commuting and road capabilities between the area just north of Prince William Parkway, and the Occoquan River.

The plan is slated to go before the Prince William County Board of Supervisors this summer. If all goes smoothly and the design is approved, the acquisition of 20 acres of land, including the location of 41 businesses, one non-profit organization and a few homes, will begin in early 2012. But it’s the purchase of this right of way that had some people upset.

Richard “Dick” Krauss and Richard “Dick” Lynn are business partners who assert that this project could put them out of business if it goes through as planned. Krauss and Lynn own the Occoquan Harbour Marina, the building that holds Water’s Edge restaurant, the events facility Harbour View and Solis Energy Solutions in Woodbridge.

Lynn said that, while he supports Phase 1 of the project, Phase 2 would devastate his businesses because access to them would be cut off. He gave an example of why the plan is not feasible. “If a [marina] customer is bringing in his boat that’s 50 feet long and 15 and a half feet wide, how’s he supposed to make a U-turn at Route 1 and Furnace Road [to get to us]? He’s got another 35 to 40 feet of tractor in front of him and he’s 15-and-a-half feet wide. How’s he supposed to do that?”

Lynn pointed out that the next place for a customer to attempt a U-turn is further north under a bridge with a low clearance.

Ron Cole, general manager of the 991 Annapolis Way building that houses General Dynamics, expressed concern for Phase 2’s affect on Annapolis Way. He said the business owners need trouble-free access to their businesses, both for employees and for customers.

“It’s going to be inconvenient,” he said.

The General Dynamics Woodbridge Technical Center currently has approximately 120 employees, and another 100 will be moving to that location, according to Cole.

One area homeowner, Leah Kaiz, spoke about the sound impact that she said will be apparent in the area of construction. She expressed concern that the Jersey walls will “create a funnel-bouncing sound from the barriers,” that will amplify the automobile and train sounds that are present in the community.

Frank Principi, Prince William County Supervisor for the Woodbridge district, was very positive about the expansion of U.S. 1 despite the issues that may arise from construction. He said that these changes are a way to both move traffic efficiently in the community and boost investment in the area because it will create a more functional infrastructure and relieve some of the gridlock.

As for addressing public concern, Principi said, “This is what the process is all about: to get all of these concerns out on the table and work through each one by one.”

Comments from the community were encouraged and can be submitted to VDOT by April 4. Principi gave his web address, NewWoodbridge.org, as another place to go for information and communication about the plan.

To check in on progress of construction, visit VDOT’s website for updates and to make comments about the U.S. 1 expansion project.

KJ Mushung is the Newspaper Training Director and Stephanie Tipple is a columnist at NOVA Fortnightly.

News
North Stafford Principal is Tops

Tom Nichols (front) addresses NSHS faculty and students following the announcement of his selection as Stafford County Principal of the Year. (Submitted)

By Kristina Schnack Kotlus
kkotlus@potomaclocal.com

Stafford, Va. — A Stafford County High School principal has been named one of the county’s top educators.

Tom Nichols of North Stafford High School was selected by Stafford County Public Schools as their 2011 Principal of the Year and has also been honored by the Washington Post in their Distinguished Educational Leadership Awards.

According to Stafford County Schools Nichols has taught in Stafford since 1991, beginning his career as a technology teacher and founding the first modular technology foundations lab in Virginia, at Brooke Point High School, where he also served as Assistant Principal.

Nichols was appointed Principal of North Stafford in 2004.

Nichols is noted for implementing the Jostens’ Renaissance Program to recognize not only success in students, but faculty and staff as well.  A Stafford County Schools release also indicates Nichols creation of a freshman at-risk academy and a credit recovery program to ensure that students graduate on time.

Along with other Distinguished Educational Leadership Award recipients, Nichols will be recognized at a reception on April 28.

Kristina Schnack Kotlus is PotomacLocal.com’s Style and Events producer and lives with her family in Woodbridge.

Traffic
Pain at Gas Pump Continues

Drivers travel north on Interstate 95 at Garrisonville Road (Va. 610) in North Stafford. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Gas prices are still going up as the weekend approaches.

In North Stafford on Friday, the average price of unleaded gasoline was $3.51 per gallon.

Some of the cheapest gas in the area could be found at the Wawa on Garrisonville Road (Va. 610) and at the Verlro gas stations on Va. 610 and U.S. 1 in North Stafford, for $3.47 per gallon.

The most expensive gas in the area was at the Stafford Sunoco on Courthouse Road at $3.61 per gallon.

Last week the average price per gallon in the area was $3.48 per gallon, while six months ago the price per gallon price of gas was $2.58, according to AAA Mid Atlantic.

The price of gas goes up for drivers in Woodbridge, where the average price per gallon of gas is $3.63.

Some of the cheapest fuel can be found at Wawa at Daniel Stuart Square, at Optiz Boulevard and U.S. 1, and at 7-Eleven on Telegraph Road at Prince William Parkway, at $3.55 per gallon.

The most expensive gas in the area, at $3.87 per gallon, is at a Shell station at 15423 Jefferson Davis Highway (U.S. 1) in Woodbridge.

In Lorton, the average price per gallon of gas is $3.64, according to AAA Mid Atlantic.

The price at the pump has not only affected drivers, but transit agencies as well.

If prices rise to $4 per gallon as predicted, transit providers nationwide who are already say they are turning away passengers because of crowded buses, could see the addition of 670 million passenger trips, according to the American Public Transportation Association.

News
Cardboard Coyote Scares Geese

Prince William County is using cardboard coyotes to scare away geese.

Yes, that is a giant coyote you’re seeing when you pull into the Prince William County Government Center in Woodbridge. But don’t be alarmed.

It’s actually a cardboard cutout of a coyote propped up by a piece of plastic pipe sticking up from the ground.

In this coyote’s mouth is a plastic trash bag.

It’s enough to make anyone stand, stare and scratch their heads. But the coyote is there for a reason.

“It’s our eco-friendly way of keeping the geese away!  The geese won’t come down because they think it’s a coyote holding a dead bird.  We just put it up, and so far, so good!,” said Prince William County spokeswoman Nikki Brown.

This isn’t a new idea when it comes to repelling geese. At least one company has made it its business to manufacture animated cardboard cut-out dogs to chase away the aggressive birds.

According to E-How.com, some people have tried to erect a low fence around areas they don’t want geese walking into.

Others have used sirens, whistles, sprinklers, shell crackers fired from a shot gun. Of course, E-How states, check with your local law enforcement to see if that is allowed.

News
Police: Woman’s Body was in Dumpster

Woodbridge, Va. –– The body found inside of a trash dumpster in Woodbridge on Wednesday is that of a woman believed to between 20 and 40-years-old.

Police said the body was badly burned when it was discovered by fire crews called to extinguish an outside fire about 10 a.m. Wednesday, in the 1300 block of Bayside Avenue.

Police say they don’t know the woman’s race, but do say the victim weighed 120 to 140 pounds, had dark, straight hair and was possibly missing her front left tooth, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

While those are the results of the state medical examiner’s autopsy report, police still don’t know how the woman died.

They are asking anyone who may be able to identify the victim to come forward.

They’re also seeking a suspect in the case that may have suffered injuries to their face, arms, or had singed hair at the time the fire was started, said Perok.

Residents in the Bayvue neighborhood where the body was found say they witnessed nothing unusual prior to the discovery of the body.

The dumpster in which the body was found sits next to a community center where children play, say neighbors.

Traffic
See the Planned U.S. 1 Interchange Tonight

This rendering shows what drivers traveling north on U.S. 1 would see after the intersection at Va. 123 is built. (VDOT)

Woodbridge, Va. –– Residents and business owners in North Woodbridge are about to find out just how wide U.S. 1 is going to get.

State and Prince William County transportation officials will be on hand tonight from 5 to 8 p.m. to discuss a $228 million project to widen the four lane highway to six lanes, as well as construct an interchange at Gordon Boulevard (Va. 123) and U.S. 1.

Planners and elected officials have long said project is the impetus for new growth the long beleaguered section of Prince William.

The widening will take place between Mary’s Way and the Occoquan River, and Gordon Boulevard (Va. 123) will be widened to six lanes between the planned interchange at U.S. 1 and Interstate 95.

The interchange will carry Va. 123 over U.S. 1 in an effort to separate the lanes of traffic, connecting Va. 123 to Belmont Bay Drive, providing better access to a Virginia Railway Express station and the Belmont Bay mixed-use neighborhood.

The interchange using elevated ramps to carry cars up to an elevated Va. 123 will eliminate signal lights at U.S. 1 and Va. 123 and at U.S. 1 and Annapolis Way just prior to the Occoquan River

The light at U.S. 1 and Occoquan Road will remain, however, new through and turn lanes would improve traffic flow, according to VDOT.

The public hearing will take place at the Botts Fire Hall at 1306 F Street in Woodbridge.

Later this summer, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors will have to approve the project and construction would begin in 2014.

News
Thunder to Snow?

Prince William County, Va. –– Those lightning strikes that rolled through the Woodbridge area last night did more than leave rolling thunder and rain-soaked pavement in their wake – the knocked out the electricity to one home near Montclair.

Fire and rescue crews were called to a home at 15644 Piedmont Place off Cardinal Drive in Woodbridge.

No one was injured, but the lightning knocked out the power in the home, said Prince William fire and rescue spokesman Joseph Robertson.

With no lights, the family stayed overnight with neighbors, according to reports from the scene.

A line of storms moved through the region last night about 7 p.m. Wednesday night.

The National Weather Service posted a severe thunderstorm watch for the area, but none of the storms ever became severe.

As we look to the weekend we may go from lightning and thunder to snow.

Temperatures are forecast to be in the low 30s on Saturday night into Sunday morning, and with rain moving in overnight some snow could develop, forecasters say.

News
Body Found in Dumpster

Update 1:30 p.m.
The state medical examiner has confirmed a body was found inside a trash dumpster in Woodbridge on Wednesday. Police call it a suspicious death.

At 9:55 a.m., fire and rescue crews were called to the 1300 block of Bayside Avenue for a report of an outside fire. When they arrived, they doused the flames coming from a medium-sized trash and discovered what appeared to be human remains.

Two hours later, the state medical examiner confirmed the presence of burnt, human remains.

Police have not identified the body, which has been sent to the state medical examiner’s office for identification.

Update 12:15 p.m.
It was a group of career firefighters this morning who discovered what was reported to be a body inside of a dumpster in Woodbridge’s Bayside neighborhood.

Fire crews were called to the 1300 block of Bayside Avenue at 9:50 a.m. Wednesday for a report of an outside fire, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Shortly thereafter, police were called to the scene, where they closed a portion of Bayside Driver to make room for a crime scene truck, more officers, and hordes of curious onlookers.

Police say they are waiting or the state medical examiner that is in route to the scene to confirm if what is inside the dumpster is a body.

Original Post 10:40 a.m.
Woodbridge, Va. —
Police say they are trying to determine if a body has been found inside of a trash dumpster in Woodbridge.

Investigators descended on the 1300 block of Bayside Avenue about 10:15 a.m. after someone called 911 to report a body had been found.

Initial reports indicate the body was badly burned, and fire crews remain on the scene here working with police.

The dumpster sits in a parking lot next to a community center on Bayside Avenue, just behind Marumsco Plaza off U.S. 1.

Stay with us for updates.

Update 12:15 p.m.
It was a group of career firefighters this morning who discovered what was reported to be a body inside of a dumpster in Woodbridge’s Bayside neighborhood.

Original Post 10:40 a.m.
Fire crews were called to the 1300 block of Bayside Avenue just after 9 a.m. Wednesday for a report of an outside fire, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Shortly thereafter, police were called to the scene, where they closed a portion of Bayside Driver to make room for a crime scene truck, more officers, and hordes of curious onlookers.

Police say they are waiting or the state medical examiner that is in route to the scene to confirm if what is inside the dumpster is a body.

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